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from Cleveland ; and only learned by an occasional visit from Bryce Snailsfoot, that the Captain was residing at Burgh Westra, as one of the family. Mordaunt was somewhat surprised at this, although the unlimited hospitality of the islands, which Magnus Troil, both from fortune and disposition, carried to the utmost extent, made it almost a matter of course that he should remain in the family until he disposed of himself otherwise, Still it seemed strange he had not gone to some of the northern isles to inquire after his consort; or that he did not rather choose to make his residence at Lerwick, where fishing vessels often brought news from the coasts and ports of Scotland and Holland. Again, why did he not send for the chest he had deposited at Jarlshof? and still further, Mordaunt thought it would have been but polite if the stranger had sent him some sort of message in token of remembrance.
These subjects of reflection were connected with another still more unpleasant, and more difficult to account for. Until the arrival of this person, scarce a week had passed without bringing him some kind greeting, or token of recollection, from Burgh - Westra ; and pretences were scarce ever wanting for maintaining a constant intercourse. Minna wanted the words of a Norse ballad; or desired to have, for her various collections, feathers, or eggs, or shells, or specimens of the rarer sea-weeds; or Brenda sent a riddle to be resolved, or a song to be learned ; or the honest old Udaller, - in a rude manuscript, which might have passed for an ancient Runic inscription,-sent his hearty greetings to his good young friend, with a present of something to make good cheer, and an earnest request he would come to Burgh-Westra as soon, and stay there as long, as possible. These kindly'tokens of remembrance were often sent by special message; besides which, there was never passenger or traveller who crossed from the one' mansion to the other, that did not bring to Mordaunt some friendly greeting from the Udaller and his family. Of late, this intercourse had become more and more infrequent; and no messenger from Burgh-Westra had visited Jarlshof for several weeks. Mordaunt both observed
and felt this alteration, and it dwelt on his mind, while he questioned Bryce as closely as pride and prudence would permit, to ascertain, if possible, the cause of the changes. Yet he endeavoured to assume an indifferent air while he asked the jagger whether there was no news in the country.
“ Great news,” the jagger replied ; " and a gay mony of them. That crack-brained carle, the new factor, is for making a change in the bismars and the lispunds ;* and our worthy Fowd, Magnus Troil, has sworn, that, sooner than change them for the still-yard, or aught else, he'll Aling Factor Yellowleys from Brassacraig."
“ Is that all?" said Mordaunt, very little interested.
“ All? and eneugh, I think,” replied the pedlar.“ How are folks to buy and sell, if the weights are changed on them ?”
“ Very true,” replied Mordaunt; “ but have you heard of no strange vessels on the coast?"
* These are weights of Norwegian origin, still used in Zetland.
If it was
“ Six Dutch doggers off Brassa; and, as I hear, a high-quartered galliot thing, with a gaff mainsail, lying in Scalloway Bay. She will be from Norway." “ No ships of war, or sloops ?”
None,” replied the pedlar,“ since the Kite Tender sailed with the impress men. His will, and our men were out of her, I wish the deep sea had her.”
“ Were there no news at Burgh-Westra ?-Were the family all well ?"
“ A'weel, and weel to do--out-taken, it may be, something ower muckle daffing and laughing-dancing ilk night, they say, wi' the stranger captain that's living there - he that was ashore on Sumburgh-head the tother day, less daffing served him then.”
“ Daffing ! dancing every night !" said Mordaunt, not particularly well satisfied.—“Whom does Captain Cleveland dance with ?”'
“ Ony body he likes, I fancy,” said the jagger; "at ony rate, he gars a' body yonder dance after his fiddle. But I ken little about it, for. I am no free in conscience to look upon
ing fancies. Folk should mind that life is made but of rotten yarn."
" I fancy that it is to keep them in mind of that wholesome truth, that you deal in such tender wares, Bryce," replied Mordaunt, dissatisfied as well with the tenor of the reply, as with the affected scruples of the respondent.
“ That's as muckle as to say, that I suld hae minded you was a flinger and a fiddler yoursell, Master Mordaunt; but I am an auld man, and maun unburthen my conscience. But ye will be for the dance, I sall warrant, that's to be at Burgh-Westra, on John's Even, (Saunt John's, as the blinded creatures ca’ him ;) and nae doubt ye will be for some warldly braws—hose, waistcoats, or sic like. I hae pieces frae Flanders” -With that he placed his moveable warehouse on the table, and began to unlock it.
“ Dance!" repeated Mordaunt—" Dance on St John's even ?-Were you desired to bid me to it, Bryce ?"
“ Na--but ye ken weel eneugh ye wad be welcome, bidden or no bidden. This captain,