The Black Dwarf HTML version

Chapter 8
Now horse and hattock, cried the Laird,--
Now horse and hattock, speedilie;
They that winna ride for Telfer's kye,
Let them never look in the face o' me. ---- Border Ballad.
"Horse! horse! and spear!" exclaimed Hobbie to his kinsmen. Many a ready foot
was in the stirrup; and, while Elliot hastily collected arms and accoutrements, no
easy matter in such a confusion, the glen resounded with the approbation of his
younger friends.
"Ay, ay!" exclaimed Simon of Hackburn, "that's the gate to take it, Hobbie. Let
women sit and greet at hame, men must do as they have been done by; it's the
Scripture says't."
"Haud your tongue, sir," said one of the seniors, sternly; "dinna abuse the Word
that gate, ye dinna ken what ye speak about."
"Hae ye ony tidings?--Hae ye ony speerings, Hobbie?--O, callants, dinna be ower
hasty," said old Dick of the Dingle.
"What signifies preaching to us, e'enow?" said Simon; "if ye canna make help
yoursell, dinna keep back them that can."
"Whisht, sir; wad ye take vengeance or ye ken wha has wrang'd ye?"
"D'ye think we dinna ken the road to England as weel as our fathers before us?--
All evil comes out o' thereaway--it's an auld saying and a true; and we'll e'en
away there, as if the devil was blawing us south."
"We'll follow the track o' Earnscliff's horses ower the waste," cried one Elliot.
"I'll prick them out through the blindest moor in the Border, an there had been a
fair held there the day before," said Hugh, the blacksmith of Ringleburn, "for I aye
shoe his horse wi' my ain hand."
"Lay on the deer-hounds," cried another "where are they?"
"Hout, man, the sun's been lang up, and the dew is aff the grund --the scent will
never lie."
Hobbie instantly whistled on his hounds, which were roving about the ruins of
their old habitation, and filling the air with their doleful howls.
"Now, Killbuck," said Hobbie, "try thy skill this day" and then, as if a light had
suddenly broke on him,--"that ill-faur'd goblin spak something o' this! He may ken
mair o't, either by villains on earth, or devils below--I'll hae it frae him, if I should
cut it out o' his mis-shapen bouk wi' my whinger." He then hastily gave directions
to his comrades: "Four o' ye, wi' Simon, haud right forward to Graeme's-gap. If
they're English, they'll be for being back that way. The rest disperse by twasome
and threesome through the waste, and meet me at the Trysting-pool. Tell my
brothers, when they come up, to follow and meet us there. Poor lads, they will
hae hearts weelnigh as sair as mine; little think they what a sorrowful house they
are bringing their venison to! I'll ride ower Mucklestane-Moor mysell."
"And if I were you," said Dick of the Dingle, "I would speak to Canny Elshie. He
can tell you whatever betides in this land, if he's sae minded."