The Black Dwarf HTML version

Chapter 10
I left my ladye's bower last night--
It was clad in wreaths of snaw,--
I'll seek it when the sun is bright,
And sweet the roses blaw. ------ OLD BALLAD.
Incensed at what he deemed the coldness of his friends, in a cause which
interested him so nearly, Hobbie had shaken himself free of their company, and
was now on his solitary road homeward. "The fiend founder thee!" said he, as he
spurred impatiently his over-fatigued and stumbling horse; "thou art like a' the
rest o' them. Hae I not bred thee, and fed thee, and dressed thee wi' mine ain
hand, and wouldst thou snapper now and break my neck at my utmost need? But
thou'rt e'en like the lave--the farthest off o' them a' is my cousin ten times
removed, and day or night I wad hae served them wi' my best blood; and now, I
think they show mair regard to the common thief of Westburnflat than to their ain
kinsman. But I should see the lights now in Heugh-foot--Wae's me!" he
continued, recollecting himself, "there will neither coal nor candle-light shine in
the Heugh-foot ony mair! An it werena for my mother and sisters, and poor
Grace, I could find in my heart to put spurs to the beast, and loup ower the scaur
into the water to make an end o't a'."--In this disconsolate mood he turned his
horse's bridle towards the cottage in which his family had found refuge.
As he approached the door, he heard whispering and tittering amongst his
sisters. "The deevil's in the women," said poor Hobbie; "they would nicker, and
laugh, and giggle, if their best friend was lying a corp--and yet I am glad they can
keep up their hearts sae weel, poor silly things; but the dirdum fa's on me, to be
sure, and no on them."
While he thus meditated, he was engaged in fastening up his horse in a shed.
"Thou maun do without horse-sheet and surcingle now, lad," he said, addressing
the animal; "you and me hae had a downcome alike; we had better hae fa'en i,
the deepest pool o' Tarras."
He was interrupted by the youngest of his sisters, who came running out, and,
speaking in a constrained voice, as if to stifle some emotion, called out to him,
"What are ye doing there, Hobbie, fiddling about the naig, and there's ane frae
Cumberland been waiting here for ye this hour and mair? Haste ye in, man; I'll
take off the saddle."
"Ane frae Cumberland!" exclaimed Elliot; and putting the bridle of his horse into
the hand of his sister, he rushed into the cottage. "Where is he? where is he!" he
exclaimed, glancing eagerly around, and seeing only females; "Did he bring news
of Grace?"
"He doughtna bide an instant langer," said the elder sister, still with a suppressed
"Hout fie, bairns!" said the old lady, with something of a good- humoured reproof,
"ye shouldna vex your billy Hobbie that way.-- Look round, my bairn, and see if
there isna ane here mair than ye left this morning."
Hobbie looked eagerly round. "There's you, and the three titties."