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not turn round until the knock was repeated. The shutters were not closed, and he saw distinctly a human figure-pale, haggard, motionless, with a long beard and a grisly gash upon the brow. At the first glance he knew it was Blackford, but he stared for a moment without rising from his chair, for it was his belief that his brother was no longer in life.
The Laird threw up the window, however, and my father assisted him into the room. He staggered into his embrace without saying anything; and several minutes elapsed ere my father perceived what was the reality of the case. The poor man had been wounded on the head, and the subsequent exposure and hardship he had undergone had at last quite unshaken his mind. He eat and drank voraciously, (they had not presence of mind to restrain this ;) talked incoherently and wildly of his family and the battle; in short, became utterly delirious,—and died in that state in the course of the next day. I have a distinct recollection, young as I was, of my uncle's funeral leaving the house. I suppose I had cried in my bed, and the maid carried me to the window be
cause she was resolved not to lose the sight herself. I remember the dark stormy night, and se veral figures on horseback, with torches in their hands, about a cart. They carried him to the vault at Blackford, and it was not thought prudent to do this in the day time.
Some days after, an embroidered cap and a silk handkerchief were found in the bog, about a mile behind our house; and from different circumstances which subsequently came to my father's knowledge, he was convinced that his brother had been concealed there for two entire nights before he made his appearance at the window. If this was really the case, it is impossible to imagine anything more miserable-at least I have seen a good many bogs in my time, and certainly none to compare to that. I cannot suppose that a snipe ever staid willingly four-and-twenty hours within its verge.
When you go to that part of the world, they will shew you, if you have any curiosity, the very spot where the Laird's nightcap was found. As for the relic itself, it is now in my possession, and a very pretty nightcap, I assure you, it has been
nothing less than green satin, and silver flowers. A heart proper, stuck through with darts and arrows, adorns the middle of the crown; from which I conclude that the finery had originally been donned in honour of his wedding-night.
My father, having distinguished himself on more occasions than one when in the army, and retired from it only in consequence of losing his right arm at Portobello, was possessed of influence enough to obtain for himself a free gift (fees of office not included) of his brother's forfeited estate from the King. The house which he had hitherto occupied was a hired one, and he now removed to Blackford-not, however, until he had gone to Edinburgh, and invited his brother's widow to come and place herself and her child there under his protection. I remember something of our flitting, but cannot pretend that I have any first impressions about my aunt at your service. I grew up from the verge of infancy under her eye, and should as soon think of saying what my earliest notions were about my own father.
She was only five-and-twenty when her husband died; yet I cannot recal any time at which I did not regard her as an old woman. The widow's costume, no doubt, must bear the chief blame of this; for she that looks young in that abominable close coif and mufflers must indeed be a Hebe. But it is not to be denied, that this lady preserved, during the first years of our acquaintance, a steady coldness, reserve, and mortification of aspect and demeanour, more than sufficient, even if she had been arrayed in all the colours of the rainbow, to impress eyes so young as mine with all the notion of antiquity.
It is certain, that, upon the whole, the Captain and his sister-in-law agreed very well together in the conduct of their joint menage; but it is also certain, that, although little Katharine found a father in mine, I never felt as if I possessed a mother in hers. Every sort of care was bestowed on me, and every appearance of kindness; but it is impossible to deceive a child in some things. I always, from the very beginning, (at least I now think so,) perceived what a difference there was in her style of caressing me and my cousin.