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ally exposed to risks and losses, and the chances of being over-matched by the cutters, and taken and hanged.
St. Clyde found there was but one way of being comfortable whilst on board; winking at the smugglers' trade, enjoying his own sentiments of regret, and silently hoping Whiggans would soon quit it. Whiggans asked after all St. Clyde's friends at the manse, and the caim of St. Clyde, meaning thereby Villejuive; and Colin assured him that his friends were all well at the manse ; that the minister was greatly puzzled to know where the brandy and tea came from, which he had regularly received; “for, Mr. Whiggans, you are always a bountiful friend, though, from the way you act, Mr. Thornhill could never make out the author of so much continued generosity." Whiggans however would not allow this theme to be dwelt on. And when St. Clyde men. tioned the search and capture of Ler
wick, by Whiggans and his people, and commented on the strict secrecy with which the whole had been kept, Whiggans turned this also off, by asking if “Mr. Levingstone had not promised to obey his wishes ;” and when this was answered in the affirmative, the outlaw expressed a strong wish that “dustie fute" might yet be taken.
St. Clyde was at a loss to assign a meaning to the outlaw's wish, for he did not recollect that “dustie fute" was equivalent to “pedler;" yet he forbore to question Whiggans, and tacitly yet correctly applied the epi. thet to Lerwick.
It was now beginning to get towards evening; the grog was put round pretty freely, and tea was served up. The watch was set, and the moonless night gave a fine picturesque appearance to the bleak rugged hills on the western shore of this deep arm of the sea.
About midnight the vessel neared
the shore, and a lantern was run up to the main-mast head. The signal was answered from the shore by a beacon, which blazed but for an instant; and in less than ten minutes, was very distinctly heard a boat, rowing softly towards the vessel ; but the loco-motion of the lights on the shore, the impatience of Whiggans and his crew, who all strove to conceal their agitation from St.Clyde, plainly indicated there was a good deal to be done before morning.
The lofty hills broke the slight wind that blew, and rendered calm the surface of the loch, which on the opposite shore seemed a little rough; and the creek into which the vessel was now brought, St. Clyde understood not to be far to the north of West Tarbot: and as Whiggans assured him, that so soon as his business was finished there, the vessel was going up the loch, and he might give himself no trouble, our hero was content, in direct opposition to his duty and his feelings, to witness the entire cargo of the vessel landed, in much less time than a regular sailor would have taken up in getting his ship cleared out.
For it was landed thus: the cargo was lashed together upon deck ready for landing; the lugger was anchored at this place of mooring, with a hawser from the shore; and, as soon as the signal was made from the vessel that the bawser was fast, the people on shore for the purpose hauled upon the hawser, draga ged the cargo ashore, and every man marched off with as much as he could carry,
and the vessel was cleared. It was all done in less than ten minutes.
During the preparation for landing the cargo, and whilst it was dragging on shore, Whiggans never uttered a syllable to St.Clyde; but as soon as the
business was over, the outlaw remarked he was sorry St. Clyde should be compelled to witness such an action. Our hero made no reply, but kept his position in looking over the stern of the lugger into the sea; he had turned round and fixed himself in this attitude, that he might not behold this
violation of the laws his sword was bound to defend. Yet his reflections gave him more pain, than would defeat in opposing such lawless practices have cost him; and he reasoned forcibly on the negligence of the excise cutters, the dangerous commerce of those in whose power he now was; and hesitated whether to insist upon being landed instantly, to pursue those who had carried off the cargo, or to watch the manœuvres of Whiggans and his crew, and take such steps afterwards as might induce them to abandon their nefarious game, or bring them to ignominy and punishment.