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old earthen dike; he found the nest, but the birds were flown ;-he called aloud ; Oscar trembled and clang to Duncan's breast ; Duncan peeped from his purple covert like a heath-cock on his native waste, and again beheld the ruffian coming straight towards them, with his staff still heaved, and fury in his looks ;-when he came within a few yards he stood still and bellowed out: “ Osear, who, yho !” Oscar quaked, and crept still closer to Duncan's breast'; Duncan almost sunk in the earth ; “Dn him," said the Englishman, - if I had a hold of him I should make both him and the little thievish rascal dear at a small price; they cannot be far gone,
,—I think I hear them;" he then stood listening, but at that instant a farmer came up on horseback, and having heard him call, asked him if he had lost his dog ? The peasant answered in the affirmative, and added, that a blackguard boy had stolen him. The farmer said that he met a boy with a dog about a mile forward. During this dialogue, the farmer's dog came up to Duncan's den,--smelled upon him, and then upon Oscar, --cocked his tail, walked round them growling, and then behaved in a very improper and ancivil manner to Duncan, who took all patiently, uncertain whether he was yet discovered. But so intent was the fellow upon the farmer's intelligence, that he took no notice of the discovery made by the dog, but ran off without looking over his shoulder.
Duncan felt this a deliverance so great that all his other distresses vanished; and as soon as the man was out of his sight, he arose from his coyert, and ran over the moor, and ere it was long, came to a shepherd's house, where he got some whey and bread for his breakfast, which he thought the best meat he had ever tasted, yet shared it with Oscar.
Though I had his history from his own mouth, yet there is a space here which it is impossible to relate with any degree of distinctness or interest. He was a vagabond boy, without
any fixed habitation, and wandered about Herriot Moor, from one farm-house to another, for the space of a year ; staying from one to twenty nights in each house, according as he found the people kind to him. He seldom resented any dignity offered to himself, but whoever insulted Oscar, or offered any observations on the impropriety of their friendship, lost Duncan's company the next morning. He staid several months at a place called Dewar, which he said was haunted by the ghost of a piper; that piper had been murdered there many years before, in a manner somewhat myse terious, or at least unaccountable; and there was scarcely a night on which he was not supposed either to be seen er heard about the house. Duncan slept in the cow-house, and was terribly harassed by the piper; he often heard him scratching about the rafters, and sometimes he would groan like a man dying, or a cow that was choaked in the band ; but at length he saw him at his side one night, which so discompose ed him, that he was obliged to leave the place, after being ill for many days. I shall give this story in Duncan's own words, which I have often heard him repeat without any variation.
“ I had been driving some young cattle to the heights of Willenslee--it grew late before I got home. I was thinking, and thinking, how cruel it was to kill the poor piper ! to cut out his tongue, and stab him in the back. I thought it was no wonder that his ghost took it extremely ill; when, all on a sudden, I perceived a light before me ;-I thought the wand in my hand was all on fire, and threw it away, but I perceive ed the light glide slowly by my right foot, and burn behind me ;-I was nothing afraid, and turned about to look at the light, and there I saw the piper, who was standing hard at my back, and when I turned round, he looked me in the face." “ What was he like, Duncan?” “ He was like a dead body! but I got a short view of him; for that moment all around
me grew dark as a pit I tried to run, but sunk powerless to the earth, and lay in a kind of dream, I do not know how long'; when I came to myself, I got up, and endeavoured to run, but fell to the ground every two steps. I was not a hundred yards from the house, and I am sure I fell upwards of a hundred times. Next day I was in a high fever ; the servants made me a little bed in the kitchen, to which I was confined by illness many days, during which time I suffered the most dreadful agonies by night, always imagining the piper to be standing over me on the one side or the other. As soon as I was able to walk, I left Dewar, and for a long time durst neither sleep alone during the night, nor stay by myself in the day-time."
The superstitious ideas impressed upon Duncan's mind by this unfortunate encounter with the ghost of the piper, seem never to have been eradicated; a strong instance of the power of early impressions, and a warning how much caution is nem cessary in modelling the conceptions of the young and tender mind, for, of all men I ever knew, he is the most afraid of meeting with apparitions. So deeply is his imagination tainted with this startling illusion, that even the calm disquisitions of reason have proved quite inadequate to the task of dispelling it. Whenever it wears late, he is always on the look-out for these ideal beings, keeping a jealous eye upon every bush and brake, in case they should be lurking behind them, ready to fly out and surprise him every moment; and the approach of a person in the dark, or any sudden noise, always deprives him of the power of speech for some time.
After leaving Dewar, he again wandered about for a few weeks; and it appears that his youth, beauty, and peculiarly destitute situation, together with his friendship for his faithful Oscar, had interested the most part of the country people in his behalf; for he was generally treated with kind
He knew his father's name, and the name of his house ;
but as none of the people he visited had ever before heard of either the one or the other, they gave themselves no trouble about the matter.
He staid nearly two years in a place called Cowhaur, un til a wretch, with whom he slept, struck and abused him one day. Duncan, in a rage, flew to the loft, and cut all his Sunday hat, shoes, and coat, in pieces; and, not daring to abide the consequences, decamped that night.
He wandered about for some time longer, among 'the farmers of Tweed and Yarrow; but this life was now become exceedingly disagreeable to him. He durst 'not sleep by himself, and the servants did not always choose to allow a vagrant boy and his great dog to sleep with them.
It was on a rainy night, at the close of harvest, that Duna can came to my father's house. I remember all the circuma stances as well as the transactions of yesterday. The whole of his clothing consisted only of a black coat, which, having been made for a full-grown man, hung fairly to his heels; the hair of his head was rough, curly, and weather-beaten ; but his face was ruddy and beautiful, bespeaking a healthy body, and a sensible feeling heart. Oscar was still nearly as large as himself, and the colour of a fox, having a white stripe down his face, with a ring of the same colour around his neck, and was the most beautiful colley I have ever seen. My heart was knit to Duncan at the first sight, and I wept for joy when I saw my parents so kind to him. My mother, in particular, could scarcely do any thing else than converse with Duncan for several days. I was always of the party, and listened with wonder and admiration; but often have these adventures been repeated to me. My parents, who soon seemed to feel the same concern for him as if he had been their own son, clothed him in blue drugget, and bought him a smart little Highland bonnet; in which dress he looked so charming, that I would not let them have peace until I got one of the same. Indeed,
all that Duncan said or did was to me a pattern; for I loved him as my own life. At my own request, which he persuaded me to urge, I was permitted to be his bed-fellow, and many a happy night and day did I spend with Duncan and Oscar.
As far as I remember, we felt no privation of any kind, and would have been completely happy, if it had not been for the fear of spirits. When the conversation chanced to turn upon the Piper of Dewar, the Maid of Plora, or the Pedlar of Thirlestane Mill, often have we lain with the bed-clothes drawn over our heads till nearly suffocated. We loved the fairies and the brownies, and even felt a little partiality for the mermaids, on account of their beauty and charming songs ; but we were a little jealous of the water-kelpies, and always kept aloof from the frightsome pools. We hated the devil most heartily, although we were not much afraid of him ; but a ghost! oh, dreadful! the names, ghost, spirit, or apparition, sounded in our ears like the knell of destruction, and our hearts sunk within us as if pierced by the cold icy shaft of death. Duncan herded
's cows all the summer-so did I-we could not live asunder. We grew such expert fishers, that the speckled trout, with all his art, could not elude our machinations; we forced him from his watery cove, admired the beautiful shades and purple drops that were painted on his sleek sides, and forthwith added him to our number without reluctance. We assailed the habitation of the wild bee, and rifled her of all her accumulated sweets, though not without encountering the most determined resistance. My father's meadows abounded with hives; they were almost in
hill ock. When the swarm was large, they would beat us off, day after day. In all these desperate engagements, Oscar came to our assistance, and, provided that none of the enemy made a lodgment in his lower defiles, he was always the last combatant of our party on the field. I do not remember of ever be