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Title: Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland - Volume 11
Author: Campbell, Alexander, 1822-1892, Wilson, John Mackay, 1804-1835, Gillespie, Thomas, Bethune, Alexander, Richardson, Oliver
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland - Volume 11" ***

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  Tales of the Borders





  VOL. XI.




  THE DOMINIE'S CLASS            (_John Mackay Wilson_)            1

  THE CONTRAST OF WIVES          (_Alexander Leighton_)           33

  THE PROFESSOR'S TALES          (_Professor Thomas Gillespie_)
      THE SOCIAL MAN                                              65

  THE TWO COMRADES               (_Alexander Campbell_)           90

  THE SURTOUT                    (_Alexander Campbell_)          106

      THE SUICIDE                (_Alexander Leighton_)          121

  THE GHOST OF HOWDYCRAIGS       (_Alexander Bethune_)           153

  THE GHOST OF GAIRYBURN         (_Alexander Bethune_)           185

  THE SMUGGLER                   (_John Mackay Wilson_)          217

  THE SCHOOLFELLOWS              (_Oliver Richardson_)           250

      BERWICK IN 1296            (_John Mackay Wilson_)          281





    "Their ends as various as the roads they take
    In journeying through life."

There is no class of men to whom the memory turns with more
complacency, or more frequently, than to those who "taught the young
idea how to shoot." There may be a few tyrants of the birch, who never
inspired a feeling save fear or hatred; yet their number is but few,
and I would say that the schoolmaster _is abroad_ in more senses than
that in which it is popularly applied. He is abroad in the memory and
in the affections of his pupils; and his remembrance is cherished
wheresoever they may be. For my own part, I never met with a teacher
whom I did not love when a boy, and reverence when a man; from him
before whom I used to stand and endeavour to read my task in his eyes,
as he held the book before his face, and the page was reflected in his
spectacles--and from his spectacles I spelled my _qu_--to him who, as
an elder friend, bestowed on me my last lesson. When a man has been
absent from the place of his nativity for years, and when he returns
and grasps the hands of his surviving kindred, one of his first
questions to them (after family questions are settled) is--"Is Mr ----,
my old schoolmaster, yet alive?" And if the answer be in the
affirmative, one of the first on whom he calls is the dominie of his
boyhood; and he enters the well-remembered school--and his first
glance is to the seat he last occupied--as an urchin opens the door
and admits him, as he gently taps at it, and cries to the master (who
is engaged with a class), when the stranger enters--

"Sir, here's one wants you."

Then steps forward the man of letters, looking anxiously--gazing as
though he had a right to gaze in the stranger's face; and, throwing
out his head, and particularly his chin, while he utters the
hesitating interrogative--"Sir?" And the stranger replies--"You don't
know me, I suppose? I am such-an-one, who was at your school at such a
time." The instiller of knowledge starts--

"What!" cries he, shifting his spectacles, "you Johnnie (Thomas, or
Peter, as the case may be) So-and-so?--it's not possible! O man, I'm
glad to see ye! Ye'll mak me an auld man, whether I will or no. And
how hae ye been, and where hae ye been?"--And, as he speaks, he flings
his tawse over to the corner where his desk stands. The young stranger
still cordially shakes his hand, a few kindly words pass between them,
and the teacher, turning to his scholars, says--"You may put by your
books and slates, and go for the day;" when an instantaneous movement
takes place through the school; there is a closing of books, a
clanking of slates, a pocketing of pencils, a clutching for hats,
caps, and bonnets, a springing over seats, and a falling off seats, a
rushing to the door, and a shouting when at the door a "_hurra for
play!_"--and the stranger seems to have made a hundred happy, while
the teacher and he retire, to

    "Drink a cup o' kindness,
    For auld langsyne."

But to proceed with our story of stories. There was a Dr Montgomery, a
native of Annan, who, after he had been for more than twenty years a
physician in India, where he had become rich, visited his early home,
which was also the grave of his fathers. There were but few of his
relatives in life when he returned (for death makes sad havoc in
families in twenty years); but, after he had seen them, he inquired if
his old teacher, Mr Grierson, yet lived; and being answered in the
affirmative, the doctor proceeded to the residence of his first
instructor. He found him occupying the same apartments in which he
resided thirty years before, and which were situated on the south side
of the main street, near the bridge.

When the first congratulations--the shaking of hands and the
expressions of surprise--had been got over, the doctor invited the
dominie to dinner; and, after the cloth was withdrawn, and the better
part of a bottle of port had vanished between them, the man of
medicine thus addressed his ancient preceptor:--

"Can you inform me, sir, what has become of my old class-fellows?--who
of them are yet in the land of the living?--who have caught the face
of fortune as she smiled, or been rendered the 'sport o' her slippery
ba'?' Of the fate of one of them I know something, and to me their
history would be more interesting than a romance."

"Do ye remember the names that ye used to gie ane anither?" inquired
the man of letters, with a look of importance, which showed that the
history of the whole class was forthcoming.

"I remember them well," replied the doctor; "there were seven of us:
Solitary Sandy--Glaikit Willie--Venturesome Jamie--Cautious
Watty--Leein' Peter--Jock the dunce--and myself."

"And hae ye forgot the lounderings that I used to gie ye, for ca'in
ane anither such names?" inquired Mr Grierson, with a smile.

"I remember you were displeased at it," replied the other.

"Weel, doctor," continued the teacher, "I believe I can gratify your
curiosity, and I am not sure but you'll find that the history of your
class-fellows is not without interest. The career of some of them has
been to me as a recompense for a' the pains I bestowed on them, and
that o' others has been a source o' grief. Wi' some I hae been
disappointed, wi' ithers, surprised; but you'll allow that I did my
utmost to fleech and to thrash your besetting sins out o' ye a'. I
will first inform ye what I know respecting the history of Alexander
Rutherford, whom all o' ye used to ca' Solitary Sandy, because he
wasna a hempy like yoursels. Now, sir, harken to the history of


I remarked that Sandy was an extraordinary callant, and that he would
turn out a character that would be heard tell o' in the world; though
that he would ever rise in it, as some term it, or become rich in it I
did not believe. I dinna think that e'er I had to raise the tawse to
Sandy in my life. He had always his task as ready by heart as he could
count his fingers. Ye ne'er saw Sandy looking over his book, or
nodding wi' it before his face. He and his lessons were like twa
acquaintances--fond o' each other's company. I hae observed fra the
window, when the rest o' ye would hae been driving at the hand-ba',
cleeshin your peerie-taps, or endangerin' your legs wi' the
duck-stane, Sandy wad been sitting on his hunkers in the garden,
looking as earnestly on a daisy or ony bit flower, as if the twa
creatures could hae held a crack wi' ane anither, and the bonny leaves
o' the wee silent things whispered to Sandy how they got their
colours, how they peeped forth to meet the kiss o' spring, and how the
same power that created the lowly daisy called man into existence, and
fashioned the bright sun and the glorious firmament. He was ance dux
and aye dux. From the first moment he got to the head o' the class,
there he remained as immoveable as a mountain. There was nae trapping
him; for his memory was like clockwark. I canna say that he had a
great turn for mathematics; but ye will remember, as weel as me, that
he was a great Grecian; and he had screeds o' Virgil as ready aff by
heart as the twenty-third psalm. Mony a time hae I said concerning
him, in the words o' Butler--

    "Latin to him's no more difficil,
    Than for a blackbird 'tis to whistle."

The classics, indeed, were his particular hobby; and, though I was
proud o' Sandy, I often wished that I could direct his bent to studies
o' greater practical utility. His exercises showed that he had an
evident genius for poetry, and that o' a very high order; but his
parents were poor, and I didna see what poetry was to put in his
pocket. I therefore by no means encouraged him to follow out what I
conceived to be a profitless, though a pleasing, propensity; but, on
the contrary, when I had an opportunity o' speakin' to him by himsel,
I used to say to him--

"Alexander, ye have a happy turn for versification, and there is both
boldness and originality about your ideas--though no doubt they would
require a great deal of pruning before they could appear in a
respectable shape before the world. But you must not indulge in
verse-writing. When you do it, let it only be for an exercise, or for
amusement, when you have nothing better to do. It may make rhyme
jingle in your ears, but it will never make sterling coin jink in your
pockets. Even the immortal Homer had to sing his own verses about the
streets; and ye have heard the epigram--

    'Seven cities now contend for _Homer dead_,
    Through which the _living Homer_ begg'd his bread.'

Boethius, like Savage in our own days, died in a prison; Terence was a
slave, and Plautus did the work of a horse. Cervantes perished for
lack of food, on the same day that our great Shakspere died; but
Shakspere had worldly wisdom as well as heavenly genius. Camoens died
in an almshouse. The magical Spenser was a supplicant at court for
years, for a paltry pension, till hope deferred made his heart sick,
and he vented his disappointment in these words--

    'I was promised, on a time,
    To have reason for my rhyme:
    From that time unto this season,
    I received not rhyme nor reason.'

Butler asked for bread, and they gave him a stone. Dryden lived
between the hand and the mouth. Poor Otway perished through penury;
and Chatterton, the inspired boy, terminated his wretchedness with a
pennyworth of poison. But there is a more striking example than these,
Sandy. It was but the other day that our immortal countryman, Robbie
Burns--the glory o' our age--sank, at our very door, neglected and in
poverty, wi' a broken heart, into the grave. Sandy,' added I, 'never
think o' being a poet. If ye attempt it, ye will embark upon an ocean
where, for every one that reaches their desired haven, ninety-and-nine
become a wreck.'

On such occasions, Sandy used to listen most attentively, and crack to
me very auld-farrantly. Well, sir, it was just after ye went to learn
to be a doctor, that I resolved to try and do something to push him
forward mysel, as his parents were not in ability; and I had made
application to a gentleman on his behalf, to use his influence to
procure him a bursary in ane o' the universities, when Sandy's faither
died, and, puir man, left hardly as muckle behind him as would pay the
expenses o' the funeral. This was a death-blow to Sandy's prospects
and my hopes. He wasna seventeen at the time, and his widowed mother
had five bairns younger. He was the only ane in the family that she
could look up to as a bread-winner. It was about harvest; and, when
the shearing commenced, he went out wi' ithers and took his place on
the rig. As it was his first year, and he was but a learner, his wages
were but sma'; but, sma' as they were, at the end o' the season he
brought them hame, and my puir blighted scholar laddie thought himsel
a man, when he placed his earnings, to a farthing, in his mother's

I was sorry for Sandy. It pained me to see one by whom I had had so
much credit, and who, I was conscious, would make ane o' the brightest
ornaments o' the pu'pit that ever entered it, throwing his learning
and his talents awa', and doomed to be a labouring man. I lost mony a
night's sleep on his account; but I was determined to serve him if I
could, and I at last succeeded in getting him appointed tutor in a
gentleman's family o' the name o' Crompton, owre in Cumberland. He was
to teach twa bits o' laddies English and arithmetic, Latin and Greek.
He wasna out eighteen when he entered upon the duties o' his office;
and great cause had I to be proud o' my scholar, and satisfied wi' my
recommendation; for, before he had been six months in his situation, I
received a letter from the gentleman himsel, intimating his esteem for
Sandy, the great progress his sons had made under his tuition, and
expressing his gratitude to me for recommending such a tutor. He was,
in consequence, kind and generous to my auld scholar, and he doubled
his wages, and made him presents beside; so that Sandy was enabled to
assist his mother and his brethren.

But we ne'er hae a sunny day, though it be the langest day in summer,
but sooner or later, a rainy ane follows it. Now, Mr Crompton had a
daughter about a year younger than Sandy. She wasna what people would
ca' a pretty girl, for I hae seen her; but she had a sonsy face and
intelligent een. She also, forsooth, wrote sonnets to the moon, and
hymns to the rising sun. She, of a' women, was the maist likely to
bewitch puir Sandy; and she did bewitch him. A strong liking sprang up
between them. They couldna conceal their partiality for ane anither.
He was everything that was perfect in her een, and she was an angel in
his. Her name was Ann; and he had celebrated it in every measure, from
the hop-and-step line of four syllables to that o' fourteen, which
rolleth like the echoing o' the trumpet.

Now her faither, though a ceevil and a kind man, was also a shrewd,
sharp-sighted, and determined man; and he saw the flutter that had
risen up in the breasts o' his daughter and the young tutor. So he
sent for Sandy, and without seeming to be angry wi' him, or even
hinting at the cause--

"Mr Rutherford," said he, "you are aware that I am highly gratified
with the manner in which you have discharged the duties of tutor to my
boys; but I have been thinking that it will be more to their advantage
that their education, for the future, be a public one, and to-morrow I
intend sending them to a boarding-school in Yorkshire."

"To-morrow!" said Sandy, mechanically, scarce knowing what he said, or
where he stood.

"To-morrow," added Mr. Crompton; "and I have sent for you, sir, in
order to settle with you respecting your salary."

This was bringing the matter home to the business and the bosom o' the
scholar somewhat suddenly. Little as he was versed in the ways o' the
world, something like the real cause for the hasty removal o' his
pupils to Yorkshire began to dawn upon his mind. He was stricken with
dismay and with great agony, and he longed to pour out his soul upon
the gentle bosom o' Ann. But she had gone on a visit with her mother
to a friend in a different part of the country, and Mr Crompton was to
set out with his sons for Yorkshire on the following day. Then, also,
would Sandy have to return to the humble roof o' his mother. When he
retired to pack up his books and his few things, he wrung his
hands--yea, there were tears upon his cheeks--and, in the bitterness
of the spirit, he said--

"My own sweet Ann! and shall I never see thee again--never hear
thee--never hope!" And he laid his hand upon his forehead, and pressed
it there, repeating as he did so--"never! oh, never!"

I was surprised beyond measure when Sandy came back to Annan, and, wi'
a wobegone countenance, called upon me. I thought that Mr. Crompton
was not a man of the discernment and sagacity that I had given him
credit to be, and I desired Sandy not to lay it so sair to heart, for
that something else would cast up. But, in a day or two, I received a
letter from the gentleman himsel, showing me how matters stood, and
giving me to understand the _why_ and the _wherefore_.

"O the gowk!" said I, "what business had he to fa' in love, when he
had the bairns and his books to mind?"

So I determined to rally him a wee thought on the subject, in order to
bring him back to his senses; for, when a haflins laddie is labouring
under the first dizziness o' a bonnie lassie's influence, I dinna
consider that he is capable o' either seeing, feeling, hearing, or
acting wi' the common-sense discretion o' a reasonable being. It is a
pleasant heating and wandering o' the brain. Therefore, the next time
I saw him--

"Sandy," says I, "wha was't laid Troy in ashes?"

He at first started and stared at me, rather vexed like, but at last
he answered, wi' a sort o' forced laugh, "A woman."

"A woman, was it?" says I; "and wha was the cause o' Sandy Rutherford
losing his situation as tutor, and being sent back to Annan?"

"Sir!" said he, and he scowled down his eyebrows, and gied a look at
me that wad hae spained a ewe's lamb. I saw that he was too far gone,
and that his mind was in a state that it would not be safe to trifle
wi'; so I tried him no more upon the subject.

Weel, as his mother, puir woman, had enough to do, and couldna keep
him in idleness, and as there was naething for him in Annan, he went
to Edinburgh to see what would cast up, and what his talents and
education would do for him there. He had recommendations from several
gentlemen, and also from myself. But month after month passed on, and
he was like to hear of nothing. His mother was becoming extremely
unhappy on his account, and the more so because he had given up
writing, which astonished me a great deal, for I could not divine the
cause of such conduct as not to write to his own mother, to say that
he was well or what he was doing; and I was the more surprised at it,
because of the excellent opinion I had entertained of his character
and disposition. However, I think it would be about six months after
he had left, I received a letter from him; and, as that letter is of
importance in giving you an account of his history, I shall just step
along to the school for it, where I have it carefully placed in my
desk, and shall bring it and any other papers that I think may be
necessary in giving you an account of your other schoolfellows.

Thus saying, Dominie Grierson, taking up his three-cornered hat and
silver-mounted walking-stick, stalked out of the room. And, as people
generally like to have some idea of the sort of person who is telling
them a story, I shall here describe to them the appearance of Mr
Grierson. He was a fine-looking old man, about five feet nine inches
high; his age might be about threescore and fifteen, and he was a
bachelor. His hair was as white as the driven snow, yet as fresh and
as thick as though he had been but thirty. His face was pale. He could
not properly be called corpulent, but his person had an inclination
that way. His shoes were fastened with large silver buckles; he wore a
pair of the finest black lamb's-wool stockings; breeches of the same
colour, fastened at the knees by buckles similar to those in his
shoes. His coat and waistcoat were also black, and both were
exceedingly capacious; for the former, with its broad skirts, which
descended almost to his heels, would have made a greatcoat now-a-days;
and in the kingly flaps of the latter, which defended his loins, was
cloth enough and to spare to have made a modern vest. This, with the
broad-brimmed, round-crowned, three-cornered hat, already referred to,
a pair of spectacles, and the silver-mounted cane, completed the
outward appearance of Dominie Grierson, with the exception of his
cambric handkerchief, which was whiter than his own locks, and did
credit to the cleanliness of his housekeeper, and her skill as a

In a few moments he returned, with Sandy's letter and other papers in
his hand, and, helping himself to another glass of wine, he rubbed the
glass of his spectacles with his handkerchief, and said--

"Now, doctor, here is poor Sandy's letter; listen, and ye shall hear

                                             "_Edinburgh, June 10, 17--_

     "HONOURED SIR,--I fear that, on account of my not having written to
     you, you will ere now have accused me of ingratitude; and when I
     tell you that, until the other day, I have not for months even
     written to my mother, you may think me undutiful, as well as
     ungrateful. But my own breast holds me guiltless of both. When I
     arrived here, I met with nothing but disappointments, and those I
     found at every hand. For many weeks I walked the streets of this
     city in despair, hopeless as a fallen angel. I was hungry, and no
     one gave me to eat; but they knew not that I was in want. Keen
     misery held me in its grasp--ruin caressed me, and laughed at its
     plaything. I will not pain you by detailing a catalogue of the
     privations I endured, and which none but those who have felt and
     fathomed the depths of misery can imagine. Through your letter of
     recommendation, I was engaged to give private lessons to two
     pupils; but the salary was small, and that was only to be paid
     quarterly. While I was teaching them, I was starving, living on a
     penny a day. But this was not all. I was frequently without a
     lodging; and, being expelled from one for lack of the means of
     paying for it, it was many days before I could venture to inquire
     for another. My lodging was on a common-stair, or on the bare
     sides of the Calton; and my clothes, from exposure to the weather,
     became unsightly. They were no longer fitting garments for one who
     gave lessons in a fashionable family. For several days I observed
     the eyes of the lady of the house where I taught fixed with a most
     supercilious and scrutinising expression upon my shabby and
     unfortunate coat. I saw and felt that she was weighing the
     shabbiness of my garments against my qualifications, and I trembled
     for the consequence. In a short time my worst fears were realised;
     for, one day, calling as usual, instead of being shown into a small
     parlour, where I gave my lessons, the man-servant, who opened the
     door, permitted me to stand in the lobby, and in two minutes
     returned with two guineas upon a small silver plate, intimating, as
     he held them before me, that 'the services of Mr Rutherford were no
     longer required.' The sight of the two guineas took away the
     bitterness and mortification of the abrupt dismissal. I pocketed
     them, and engaged a lodging; and never, until that night, did I
     know or feel the exquisite luxury of a deep, dreamless sleep. It
     was bathing in Lethe, and rising refreshed, having no
     consciousness, save the grateful feeling of the cooling waters of
     forgetfulness around me. Having some weeks ago translated an old
     deed, which was written in Latin, for a gentleman who is what is
     called an in-door advocate, and who has an extensive practice, he
     has been pleased to take me into his office, and has fixed on me a
     liberal salary. He advises me to push my way to the bar, and kindly
     promises his assistance. I shall follow his advice, and I despair
     not but I may one day solicit the hand of the only woman I ever
     have loved, or can love, from her father, as his equal. I am, sir,
     yours, indebtedly,

                                                    "ALEX. RUTHERFORD."

Now, sir (continued the dominie), about three years after I had
received this letter, my old scholar was called to the bar, and a
brilliant first appearance he made. Bench, bar, and jury were lost in
wonder at the power o' his eloquence. A Demosthenes had risen up
amongst them. The half o' Edinburgh spoke o' naething but the young
advocate. But it was on the very day that he made his first appearance
as a pleader, that I received a letter from Mr. Crompton, begging to
know if I could gie him ony information respecting the old tutor o'
his family, and stating, in the language o' a broken-hearted man, that
his only daughter was then upon her death-bed, and that, before she
died, she begged she might be permitted to see and to speak with
Alexander Rutherford. I enclosed the letter, and sent it off to the
young advocate. He was sitting at a dinner-party, receiving the homage
of beauty and the congratulations of learned men, when the fatal
letter was put into his hands. He broke the seal--his hand shook as he
read--his cheeks grew pale--and large drops of sweat burst upon his
brow. He rose from the table. He scarce knew what he did. But within
half-an-hour he was posting on his way to Cumberland. He reached the
house, her parents received him with tears, and he was conducted into
the room where the dying maiden lay. She knew his voice, as he

"He is come!--he is come! He loves me still!" cried the poor thing,
endeavouring to raise herself upon her elbow.

Sandy approached the bedside--he burst into tears--he bent down, and
kissed her pale and wasted cheeks, over which death seemed already to
have cast its shadow.

"Ann! my beloved Ann!" said he; and he took her hand in his, and
pressed it to his lips; "do not leave me--we shall yet be happy!"

Her eyes brightened for a moment--in them joy struggled with death,
and the contest was unequal. From the day that he had been sent from
her father's house, she had withered away, as a tender flower that is
transplanted to an unkindly soil. She desired that they would lift her
up, and she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and, gazing anxiously
in his face, said--

"And Alexander still loves me--even in death!"

"Yes, dearest--yes!" he replied. But she had scarce heard his answer,
and returned it with a smile of happiness, when her head sank upon
his bosom, and a deep sigh escaped from hers. It was her last. Her
soul seemed only to have lingered till her eyes might look on him. She
was removed a corpse from his breast; but on that breast the weight of
death was still left. He became melancholy--his ambition died--she
seemed to have been the only object that stimulated him to pursue fame
and to seek for fortune. In intense study he sought to forget his
grief--or rather he made them companions--till his health broke under
them; and in the thirtieth year of his age died one who possessed
talents and learning that would have adorned his country, and rendered
his name immortal. Such, sir, is the brief history o' yer auld
class-fellow, Solitary Sandy.

In the history o'


(continued Mr Grierson), the only thing remarkable is, that he has
been as fortunate a man as he was a thochtless laddie. After leaving
the school, he flung his Greek and Latin aside, and that was easily
done, for it was but little that he ever learned, and less that he
remembered, for he paid so little attention to onything he did, that
what he got by heart one day, he forgot the next. In spite o' the
remonstrances o' his friends, naething would haud Willie but he would
be a sailor. Weel, he was put on board o' an American trader, and for
several years there was naething heard o' concerning him, but
accidents that had happened him, and all through his glaikitness.
Sometimes he was fa'ing owre a boat, and was mostly drowned; and at
ither times, we heard o' him fa'ing headlong into the ship's hold;
ance o' his tumbling overboard in the middle o' the great Atlantic;
and at last, o' his fa'ing from the mast upon the deck, and having his
legs broken. It was the luckiest thing that ever happened him. It
brought him to think, and gied him leisure to do it; he was laid up
for twelve weeks, and, during part o' the time, he applied himself to
navigation, in the elements o' which science I had instructed him.
Soon after his recovery, he got the command o' a vessel, and was very
fortunate, and, for several years, he has been sole owner of a number
of vessels, and is reputed to be very rich. He also married weel, as
the phrase runs, for the woman had a vast o' money, only she was--a
mulatto. That, sir, is a' I ken concerning William Armstrong, or, as
ye ca'ed him, Glaikit Willie; for he was a callant that was so
thochtless when under my care, that he never interested me a great
deal. And noo, sir, I shall gie ye a' the particulars I know
concerning the fate o'


Ye will remember him best o' ony o' them, I reckon; for even when ye
were baith bits o' callants, there was a sort o' rivalship between ye
for the affections o' bonny Katie Alison, the loveliest lassie that
ever I had at my school. I hae frequently observed the looks o'
jealousy that used to pass between ye when she seemed to show mair
kindness to ane than anither; and, when ye little thocht I saw ye, I
hae noticed ane o' ye pushing oranges into her hand, and anither
sweeties. When she got a bit comb, too, to fasten up her gowden hair,
I weel divined whose pennies had purchased it--for they were yours,
doctor. I remember, also, hoo ye was aye a greater favourite wi' her
than Jamie, and hoo he challenged ye to fecht him for her affections,
and o'ercam' ye in the battle, and sent ye to the school next day wi'
yer face a' disfigured--and I, as in duty bound, gied each o' ye a
heartier thrashin than ye had gien ane anither. Katie hung her head a'
the time, and when she looked up, a tear was rowin in her bonny blue
een. But ye left the school and the country-side when ye was little
mair than seventeen; and the next thing that we heard o' ye was that
ye had gane oot to India about three years afterwards. Yer departure
evidently removed a load from Jamie's breast. He followed Katie like
her shadow, though with but little success, as far as I could
perceive, and as it was generally given out.

But, ye must remember, in his case the name o' Venturesome Jamie was
well applied. Never in my born days did I know such a callant. He
would have climbed the highest trees as though he had been speeling
owre a common yett, and swung himsel by the heels frae their topmost
branches. Oh, he was a terrible laddie! When I hae seen ye a' bathing
in the river, sometimes I used to tremble for him. He was a perfect
amphibious animal. I have seen him dive from a height of twenty or
thirty feet, and remain under the water till I almost lost my breath
wi' anxiety for his uprising; and then he would have risen at as many
yards distant from the place where he had dived. I recollect o'
hearing o' his permitting himsel to be suspended owre a precipice
aboon a hundred feet high, wi' a rope fastened round his oxters, and
three laddies like himsel hauding on by the ither end o't--and this
was dune merely to harry the nest o' a waterwagtail. Had the screams
o' the callants, who found him owre heavy for them, and that they were
unable to draw him up again, not brought some ploughmen to their
assistance, he must have been precipitated into eternity. However, as
I intended to say, it was shortly after the news arrived o' your
having sailed for India, that a fire broke out in the dead o' nicht in
a house occupied by Katie Alison's father. Never shall I forget the
uproar and consternation o' that terrible nicht. There was not a
countenance in the town but was pale wi' terror. The flames roared and
raged from every window, and were visible through some parts in the
roof. The great black clouds o' smoke seemed rushing from the crater
of a volcano. The floors o' the second storey were falling, and
crashing, and crackling, and great burning sparks, some o' them as big
as a man's hand, were rising in thousands and tens o' thousands from
the flaming ruins, and were driven by the wind, like a shower o' fire,
across the heavens. It was the most fearsome sight I had ever beheld.
But this was not the worst o't; for, at a window in the third storey,
which was the only one in the house from which the flames were not
bursting, stood bonny Katie Alison, wringing her hands and screaming
for assistance, while her gowden hair fell upon her shouthers, and her
cries were heard aboon the raging o' the conflagration. I heard her
cry distinctly, "My father!--my father!--will nobody save my father?"
for he lay ill of a fever in the room where she was, and was
unconscious of his situation. But there was none to render them
assistance. At times, the flames and the smoke, issuing from the
windows below, concealed her from the eyes of the multitude. Several
had attempted her rescue, but all of them had been forced to retreat,
and some of them scorched fearfully; for in many places the stairs had
given way, and the flames were bursting on every side. They were
attempting to throw up a rope to her assistance--for the flames issued
so fiercely from the lower window, that, though a ladder had been
raised, no man could have ascended it--when at that moment, my old
scholar, James Johnstone (Venturesome Jamie, indeed!), arrived. He
heard the cries o' Katie--he beheld her hands outstretched for
help--"Let me past!--let me past!--ye cowards! ye cowards!" cried he,
as he eagerly forced his way through the crowd. He rushed into the
door, from which the dense smoke and the sparks were issuing as from a
great furnace. There was a thrill o' horror through the crowd, for
they kenned his character, and they kenned also his fondness for
Katie--and no one expected to see him in life again. But, in less than
ten seconds from his rushing in at the door, he was seen to spring
forward to the window where Katie stood--he flung his arm round her
waist, and, in an instant, both disappeared--but, within a quarter of
a minute, he rushed out at the street-door, through the black smoke
and the thick sparks, wi' the bonny creature that he adored in his
arms. O doctor, had ye heard the shout that burst frae the
multitude!--there was not one amongst them at that moment that couldna
have hugged Jamie to his heart. His hands were sore burned, and on
several places his clothes were on fire. Katie was but little hurt;
but, on finding herself on the street, she cast an anxious and
despairing look towards the window from which she had been snatched,
and again wringing her hands, exclaimed, in accents of bitterness that
go through my heart to this day--

"My father! oh, my father! Is there no help for him?--shall my father

"The rope!--gie me the rope!" cried Jamie.

He snatched it from the hand of a bystander, and again rushed into the
smoking ruins. The consternation of the crowd became greater, and
their anxiety more intense than before. Full three minutes passed, and
nothing was seen of him. The crowded street became as silent as death;
even those who were running backward and forward, carrying water, for
a time stood still. The suspense was agonising. At length he appeared
at the window, with the sick man wrapped up in the bedclothes, and
holding him to his side with his right arm around him. The hope and
fear of the people became indescribable. Never did I witness such a
scene--never may I witness such again! Having fastened one end of the
rope to the bed, he flung the other from the window to the street;
and, grasping it with his left hand, he drew himself out of the
window, with Katie's father in his arm, and, crossing his feet around
the rope, he slid down to the street, bearing his burden with him!
Then, sir, the congratulations o' the multitude were unbounded. Every
one was anxious to shake him by the hand; but what with the burning
his right hand had sustained, and the worse than burning his left had
suffered wi' the sliding down a rope frae a third storey, wi' a man
under his arm, I may say that my venturesome and gallant auld scholar
hadna a hand to shake.

Ye canna be surprised to hear--and, at the time o' life ye've arrived
at, ye'll be no longer jealous; besides, during dinner, I think ye
spoke o' having a wife and family--I say, therefore, doctor, that
ye'll neither be jealous nor surprised to hear, that from that day
Katie's dryness to Jamie melted down. Moreover, as ye had gane out to
India, where ye would be mair likely to look after siller than think
o' a wife, and as I understand ye had dropped correspondence for some
length o' time, ye couldna think yoursel in ony way slighted. Now,
folk say that "nineteen _nay-says_ are half a _yes_." For my part (and
my age is approaching the heels o' the patriarchs), I never put it in
the power o' woman born to say _No_ to me. But, as I have heard and
believe, Katie had said _No_ to Jamie before the fire, not only
nineteen times, but thirty-eight times twice told, and he found
seventy-six (which is about my age) nae nearer a _yea_ than the first
_nay_. And folk said it was a' on account o' a foolish passion for the
doctor laddie that had gane abroad. But Katie was a kind, gratefu
lassie. She couldna look wi' cauldness upon the man that had not only
saved her life, but her father's also; and I ought to have informed
you that, within two minutes from the time of her father's being
snatched from the room where he lay, the floor fell in, and the flames
burst from the window where Katie had been standing a few minutes

Her father recovered from the fever, but he died within six months
after the fire, and left her a portionless orphan, or what was next
door to it. Jamie urged her to make him happy, and at last she
consented, and they were married. But ye remember that his parents
were in affluent circumstances; they thought he had demeaned himself
by his marriage, and they shut their door upon him, and disowned him
athegither. As he was his father's heir, he was brought up to no
calling or business whatsoever; and, when the auld man not only vowed
to cut him off wi' a shilling, on account of his marriage, but
absolutely got his will altered accordingly, what did the silly lad
do, but, in desperation, list into a regiment that was gaun abroad.
"The laddie has done it in a fit o' passion," said I, "and what will
become o' poor Katie?" Weel, although it was said that the lassie
never had ony particular affection for him, but just married him out
o' gratitude, and although several genteel families in the
neighbourhood offered her respectable and comfortable situations (for
she was universally liked), yet the strange creature preferred to
follow the hard fortunes o' Jamie, who had been disowned on her
account, and she implored the officers of the regiment to be allowed
to accompany him. It is possible that they were interested with her
appearance, and what they had heard of his connection, and the manner
in which he had been treated, for they granted her request; and about
a month after he enlisted, the regiment marched from Carlisle, and
Katie accompanied her husband. They went abroad somewhere--to the East
or West Indies, I believe; but from that day to this I have never
heard a word concerning either the one or the other, or whether they
be living or not. All I know is, that the auld man died within two
years after his son had become a soldier, and, keeping his resentment
to his last breath, actually left his property to a brother's son. And
that, sir, is all that I know of Venturesome Jamie and your old
sweetheart, Katie.

The doctor looked thoughtful, exceedingly thoughtful; and the old
dominie, acquiring additional loquacity as he went on, poured out
another glass, and added--

"But come, doctor, we will drink a bumper, 'for auld langsyne,' to the
lassie wi' the gowden locks, be she dead or living."

"With my whole heart and soul," replied the doctor, impassionedly;
and, pouring out a glass, he drained it to the dregs.

"The auld feeling is not quenched yet, doctor," said the venerable
teacher, "and I am sorry for it; for, had I known, I would have spoken
more guardedly. But I will proceed to gie ye an account o' the rest o'
your class-fellows, and I will do it briefly. There was Walter
Fairbairn, who went amongst ye by the name o'


He was the queerest laddie that ever I had at my school. He had
neither talent nor cleverness; but he made up for both, and, I may
say, more than made up for both, by method and application. Ye would
have said that nature had been in a miserly humour when it made his
brains; but, if it had been niggardly in the quantity, it certainly
had spared no pains in placing them properly. He was the very reverse
o' Solitary Sandy. I never could get Watty to scan a line or construe
a sentence richt in my days. He did not seem to understand the nature
o' words, or, at least, in so far as applied to sentiment, idea, or
fine writing. Figures were Watty's alphabet; and, from his earliest
years, pounds, shillings, and pence were the syllables by which he
joined them together. The abstruser points of mathematics were beyond
his intellect; but he seemed to have a liking for the _certainty_ of
the science, and he manifested a wish to master it. My housekeeper
that then was has informed me that, when a' the rest o' ye wad hae
been selling your copies as waste-paper, for _taffy_, or what some ca'
_treacle-candy_, Watty would only part wi' his to the paper purchaser
for money down; and when ony o' ye took a greenin for the sweet things
o' the shopkeeper, without a halfpenny to purchase one, Watty would
volunteer to lend ye the money until a certain day, upon condition
that ye would then pay him a penny for the loan o' his halfpenny. But
he exhibited a grand trait o' this disposition when he cam to learn
the rule o' _Compound Interest_. Indeed, I need not say he _learned_,
it, for he literally _devoured_ it. He wrought every question in
Dilworth's Rule within two days; and, when he had finished it (for he
seldom had his slate away from my face, and I was half tired wi'
saying to him, "That will do, sir"), he came up to my desk, and, says
he, wi' a face as earnest as a judge--

"May I go through this rule again, sir?"

"I think ye understand it, Watty," said I, rather significantly.

"But I would like to be perfect in it, sir," answered he.

"Then go through it again, Watty," said I, "and I have nae doubt but
ye will be _perfect_ in it very quickly."

I said this wi' a degree o' irony which I was not then, and which I am
not now, in the habit of exhibiting before my scholars; but, from what
I had observed and heard o' him, it betrayed to me a trait in human
nature that literally disgusted me. But I have no pleasure in dwelling
upon his history. Shortly after leaving the school, he was sent up to
London to an uncle; and, as his parents had the means o' setting him
up in the world, he was there to make choice o' a profession. After
looking about the great city for a time, it was the choice and
pleasure o' Cautious Watty to be bound as an apprentice to a
pawnbroker. He afterwards commenced business for himself, and every
day in his life indulging in his favourite study, compound interest,
and, as far as he durst, putting it in practice, he in a short time
became rich. But, as his substance increased, he did not confine
himself to portable articles, or such things as are usually taken in
pledge by the members of his profession; but he took estates in
pledge, receiving the title-deeds as his security; and in such cases
he did exact his compound interest to the last farthing to which he
could stretch it. He neither knew the meaning of generosity nor mercy.
Shakspere's beautiful apostrophe to the latter god-like attribute in
the "Merchant of Venice," would have been flat nonsense in the
estimation of Watty. He had but one answer to every argument and to
every case, and which he laid to his conscience in all his
transactions (if he had a conscience), and that was--"A bargain's a
bargain!" This was his ten times repeated phrase every day. It was the
doctrine by which he swore; and Shylock would have died wi' envy to
have seen Watty exacting his "_pound o' flesh_." I have only to tell
ye that he has been twice married. The first time was to a widow four
years older than his mother, wi' whom he got ten thousand. The second
time was to a maiden lady, who had been a coquette and a flirt in her
day, but who, when the deep crow-feet upon her brow began to reflect
sermons from her looking-glass, became a patroniser of piety and
religious institutions. Watty heard o' her fortune, and o' her
disposition and habits. He turned an Episcopalian, because she was
one. He became a sitter and a regular attender in the same pew in the
church. He began his courtship by opening the pew-door to her when he
saw her coming, before the sexton reached it. He next sought her out
the services for the day in the prayer-book--he had it always open,
and ready to put in her hand. He dusted the cushion on which she was
to sit with his handkerchief, as she entered the pew. He, in short,
showed her a hundred little pious attentions. The sensibility of the
converted flirt was affected by them. At length he offered her his arm
from the pew to the hackney-coach or sedan-chair which waited for her
at the church-door; and, eventually, he led her to the altar in the
seventy-third year of her age; when, to use his own words, he married
her thirty thousand pounds, and took the old woman before the minister
as a witness. Such, sir, is all I know concerning Cautious Watty.

The next o' your auld class-mates that I have to notice (continued Mr.
Grierson) is


Peter Murray was the cause o' mair grief to me than ony scholar that
ever was at my school. He could not tell a story the same way in which
he heard it, or give you a direct answer to a positive question, had
it been to save his life. I sometimes was at a loss whether to
attribute his grievous propensity to a defect o' memory, a
preponderance o' imagination over baith memory and judgment, or to the
natural depravity o' his heart, and the force o' abominable habits
early acquired. Certain it is, that, all the thrashing that I could
thrash, I couldna get the laddie to speak the truth. His parents were
perpetually coming to me to lick him soundly for this lie and the
other lie; and I did lick him, until I saw that bodily punishment was
of no effect. Moral means were to be tried, and I did try them. I
tried to shame him out o't. I reasoned wi' him. I showed him the folly
and the enormity o' his offence, and also pointed out its
consequences--but I might as weel hae spoken to the stane in the wa'.
He was Leein Peter still. After he left me, he was a while wi' a
grocer, and a while wi' a haberdasher, and then he went to a painter,
and after that he was admitted into a writer's office; but one after
another, they had to turn him away, and a' on account o' his
unconquerable habit o' uttering falsehoods. His character became so
well known, that nobody about the place would take him to be anything.
He was a sad heartbreak to his parents, and they were as decent people
as ye could meet wi'. But, as they had respectable connections, they
got him into some situation about Edinburgh, where his character and
his failings were unknown. But it was altogether useless. He was
turned out of one situation after another, and a' on account o' his
incurable and dangerous habit, until his friends could do no more for
him. Noo, doctor, I daresay ye may have observed, that a confirmed
drunkard, rather than want drink, will steal to procure it--and, as
sure as that is the case, tak my word for it, that, in nine cases out
o' ten, he who begins by being a habitual liar, will end in being a
thief. Such was the case wi' Leein Peter. After being disgraced and
turned from one situation after anither, he at last was caught in the
act of purloining his master's property, and cast into prison. He
broke his mother's heart, and covered his father's grey hairs wi'
shame; and he sank from one state o' degradation to another, till now,
I believe, he is ane o' those prowlers and pests o' society who are to
be found in every large town, and who live naebody can tell how, but
every one can tell that it cannot be honestly. Such, sir, has been the
fate o' Leein Peter.

There is only another o' your book-mates that I have to make mention
o', and that is John Mathewson or


Many a score o' times hae I said that Jock's head was as impervious to
learning as a nether-millstane. It would hae been as easy to hae
driven mensuration into the head o' an ox, as instruction into the
brain o' Jock Mathewson. He was born a dunce. I fleeched him, and I
coaxed him, and I endeavoured to divert him, to get him to learn, and
I kicked him, and I cuffed him; but I might as weel hae kicked my heel
upon the floor, or fleeched the fireplace. Jock was knowledge-proof.
All my efforts were o' no avail. I could get him to learn nothing, and
to comprehend nothing. Often I had half made up my mind to turn him
awa from the school, for I saw that I never would have any credit by
the blockhead. But what was most annoying was, that here was his
mother at me, every hand-awhile, saying--

"Mr Grierson, I'm really surprised at ye. My son John is not coming on
ava. I really wush ye wad tak mair pains wi' him. It is an unco thing
to be paying you guid money, and the laddie to be getting nae guid for
it. I wad hae ye to understand that his faither doesna make his money
sae easily--no by sitting on a seat, or walking up and down a room--as
ye do. There's such-a-ane's son awa into the Latin, nae less, I
understand, and my John no out o' the Testament. But, depend upon it,
Mr Grierson, if ye dinna try to do something wi' him, I maun tak him
awa frae your school, and that is the short and the lang o't."

"Do sae, ma'am," said I, "and I'll thank ye. Mercy me! it's a bonny
thing, indeed--do ye suppose that I had the makin o' your son? If
Nature has formed his head out o' a whinstane, can I transform it into
marble? Your son would try the patience o' Job--his head is thicker
than a door-post. I can mak naething o' him. I would sooner teach a
hundred than be troubled wi' him."

"Hundred here, hundred there!" said she, in a tift; "but it's a hard
matter, Mr Grierson, for his faither and me to be payin ye money for
naething; and if ye dinna try to mak something o' him, I'll tak him
frae your school, and that will be baith seen and heard tell o'!"

So saying, away she would drive, tossing her head wi' the airs o' my
lady. Ye canna conceive, sir, what a teacher has to put up wi'.
Thomson says--

                    "Delightful task,
    To teach the young idea how to shoot!"

I wish to goodness he had tried it, and a month's specimen o' its
_delights_ would have surfeited him, and instead o' what he has
written, he would have said--

                    "Degrading thought,
    To be each snivelling blockhead's parent's slave!"

Now, ye'll remember that Jock was perpetually sniftering and gaping
wi' his mouth, or even sucking his thumb like an idiot. There was nae
keeping the animal cleanly, much less instructing him; and then, if he
had the book in his hand, there he sat staring owre it, wi' a look as
vacant and stupid as a tortoise. Or, if he had the slate before him,
there was he drawing scores on't, or amusing himsel wi' twirling and
twisting the pencil in the string through the frame. Never had I such
a lump o' stupidity within the walls o' my school.

After his leaving me, he was put as an apprentice to a bookseller. I
thought, of all the callings under the sun, that which had been chosen
for him was the least suited to a person o' his capacity. But--would
ye believe it, sir?--Jock surprised us a'. He fairly turned the corner
on a' my calculations. When he began to look after the lassies, he
also began to "smart up." He came to my night-school when he would be
about eighteen, and I was perfectly astonished at the change that had
taken place, even in the appearance o' the callant. His very nose,
which had always been so stuffed and thick like, was now an ornament
to his face. He had become altogether a lively, fine-looking lad; and,
more marvellous still, his whole heart's desire seemed to be to learn;
and he did learn with a rapidity that both astonished and delighted
me. I actually thought the instructions which I had endeavoured to
instil into him for years, and apparently without effect, had been
lying dormant, as it were, in the chambers o' his brain, like a cuckoo
in winter--that they had been sealed up as fast as I imparted them, by
some cause that I did not comprehend, and that now they had got vent,
and were issuing out in rapid and vigorous strength, like a person
refreshed after a sleep.

After he had been two years at the night-school, so far from
considering him a dunce, I regarded him as an amazingly clever lad.
From the instance I had had in him, I began to perceive that precocity
o' intellect was nae proof o' its power. Well, shortly after the time
I am speaking o', he left Annan for Glasgow, and after being a year or
twa there, he commenced business upon his own account. I may safely
say, that never man was more fortunate. But, as his means increased,
he did not confine himself to the business in which he had been
brought up, but he became an extensive shipowner; he also became a
partner in a cotton-mill concern. He was elected a member of the town
council, and was distinguished as a leading member and orator of the
guild. Eventually, he rose to be one of the city magistrates. He is
now also an extensive landed proprietor; and I even hear it affirmed,
that it is in contemplation to put him in nomination for some place or
other at the next election. Such things happen, doctor--and wha would
hae thocht it o' Jack the dunse?

Now, sir (added the dominie), so far as I have been able, I have given
you the history o' your schoolfellows. Concerning you, doctor, I have
known less and heard less than o' ony o' them. You being so far awa,
and so long awa, and your immediate relations about here being dead,
so that ye have dropped correspondence, I have heard nothing
concerning ye; and I have often been sorry on that account; for,
believe me, doctor (here the doctor pushed the bottle to him, and the
old man, helping himself to another glass, and drinking it, again
continued)--I say, believe me, doctor, that I never had twa scholars
under my care, o' whose talents I had greater opinion than o' Solitary
Sandy and yoursel; and it has often vexed me that I could hear
naething concerning ye, or whether ye were dead or living. Now, sir,
if ye'll favour me wi' an account o' your history, from the time o'
your going out to India, your auld dominie will be obliged to ye; for
I like to hear concerning ye a', as though ye had been my ain bairns.

"There is little of interest in my history, sir," said the doctor;
"but, as far as there is any, your wish shall be gratified." And he
proceeded as is hereafter written.


"In your history, sir, of Venturesome Jamie, which you are unable to
finish, you mentioned the rivalry that existed between him and me, for
the affections o' bonny Katie Alison. James was a noble fellow. I am
not ashamed that I had such a rival. In our youth I esteemed him while
I hated him. But, sir, I do not remember the time when Katie Alison
was not as a dream in my heart--when I did not tremble at her touch.
Even when we pulled the gowans and cowslips together, though there had
been twenty present, it was for Katie that I pulled mine. When we
plaited the rushes, I did it for her. She preferred me to Jamie, and I
knew it. When I left your school, and when I proceeded to India, I did
not forget her. But, as you said, men go there to make money--so did
I. My friends laughed at my boyish fancy--they endeavoured to make me
ashamed of it. I became smitten with the eastern disease of
fortune-making, and, though I did not forget her, I neglected her.

But, sir, to drop this: I was not twenty-one when I arrived in Bombay;
nor had I been long there till I was appointed physician to several
Parsee families of great wealth. With but little effort, fortune
opened before me. I performed a few surgical operations of
considerable difficulty, with success. In several desperate cases I
effected cures, and my name was spread not only through the city, but
throughout the island. The riches I went to seek I found. But even
then, sir, my heart would turn to your school, and to the happy hours
I had spent by the side of bonny Katie Alison.

However, it would be of no interest to enter into the details of my
monotonous life. I shall dwell only upon one incident, which is, of
all others, the most remarkable that ever occurred to me, and which
took place about six years after my arrival in India. I was in my
carriage, and accompanying the remains of a patient to the burial
ground--for you know that doctors cannot cure, when death is
determined to have its way. The burial ground lies about three miles
from Bombay, across an extensive and beautiful plain, and the road to
it is by a sort of avenue, lined and shaded on each side by
cocoa-nut-trees, which spread their branches over the path, and distil
their cooling juice into the cups which the Hindoos have placed around
them to receive it. You can form but a faint conception of the clear
azure of an Indian sky, and never had I seen it more beautiful than on
the day to which I refer, though some of the weather-prophets about
Bombay were predicting a storm.

We were about the middle of the avenue I have described, when we
overtook the funeral of an officer who had held a commission in a
corps of Sepoys. The coffin was carried upon the shoulders of four
soldiers; before it marched the Sepoys, and behind it, seated in a
palanquin, borne by four Hindoos, came the widow of the deceased. A
large black veil thrown over her head, almost enveloped her person.
Her head was bent upon her bosom, and she seemed to weep bitterly. We
followed behind them to the burial-place; but, before the service was
half concluded, the heavens overcast, and a storm, such as I had never
witnessed, burst over our heads, and hurled its fury upon the graves.
The rain poured down in a fierce and impetuous torrent--but you know
not, in this country, what a torrent of rain is. The thunder seemed
tearing heaven in twain. It rolled, reverbed, and pealed, and rattled
with its tremendous voice over the graves of the dead, as though it
were the outbursting of eternity--the first blast of the archangel's
trumpet announcing the coming judgment! The incessant lightnings
flashed through the air, like spirits winged with flame, and awakening
the dead.

The Sepoys fled in terror, and hastened to the city, to escape the
terrible fury of the storm. Even those who had accompanied my friend's
body fled with them, before the earth was covered over the dead that
they had followed to the grave. But still, by the side of the
officer's grave, and unmindful of the storm, stood his poor widow. She
refused to leave the spot till the last sod was placed upon her
husband's bosom. My heart bled for her. Within three yards from her
stood a veteran English serjeant, who, with the Hindoos that bore her
palanquin, were all that remained in the burial-place.

Common humanity prompted me to offer her a place in my carriage back
to the city. I inquired of the serjeant who the deceased was. He
informed me that he was a young Scotch officer--that his marriage had
offended his friends--that they had denounced him in consequence--that
he had enlisted--and that the officers of the regiment which he had
first joined, had procured him an ensigncy in a corps of Sepoys, but
that he had died, leaving the young widow who wept over his grave, a
stranger in a strange land. And, added the serjeant, "a braver fellow
never set foot upon the ground."

When the last sod had been placed upon the grave, I approached the
young widow. I respectfully offered to convey her and the serjeant to
the city in my carriage, as the violence of the storm increased.

At my voice she started--she uttered a suppressed scream--she raised
her head--she withdrew her handkerchief from her eyes!--I beheld her
features!--and, gracious Heaven!--whom, sir!--whom--whom did I see,
but my own Katie Alison!

"Doctor!--doctor!" exclaimed the old dominie, starting from his seat,
"what do I hear?"

"I cannot describe to you," continued the other, "the tumultuous joy,
combined with agony, the indescribable feelings of that moment. We
stood--we gasped--we gazed upon each other; neither of us spoke. I
took her hand--I led her to the carriage--I conveyed her to the

"And, oh doctor, what then?" inquired the dominie.

"Why, sir," said the doctor, "many days passed--many words were
spoken--mutual tears were shed for Jamie Johnstone--and bonny Katie
Alison, the lassie of my first love, became my wife, and is the mother
of my children. She will be here in a few days, and will see her old


In the absence of that finely-adjusted balance of power which ought to
be found in the state of marriage, it becomes a nice question, whether
less evil results from an overstretched domination on the part of the
husband, or from his due submission or subjugation to an authority
exercised by her, and carried farther than is generally deemed
consistent with the delicacy of her sex, or the situation in which she
is placed. Connected with this question is that which comprises the
comparative evil arising from a superabundance or deficiency of the
intellectual powers of the wife. We are too well aware of the
uselessness, as well as the impracticability, of solving such
speculative questions, to say a single word on either side of the
vexed argument to which they have given rise; but we will be within
our province, and probably not beyond the wishes of our readers, if we
lay before them a _case of real life_, involving a solution of the
question in one exemplary instance, where the "grey mare" is not only
found to be the "better horse," but where, by her powers of judicious
leading, she saves not only herself but her partner from the dangers
of a rough road and a precipitous course. In those good days of old
Scotland, when the corporation hall formed the theatre wherein was
enacted the great play (comedy, if you please) of "Burgh Ambition,"
the influence of petticoat power extended its secret workings behind
the green curtain, and often regulated all the actions of the
performers in a manner which was not only totally concealed from the
spectators, but even from the moving puppets themselves. In one
instance--that to which we have referred--this secret authority
transpired, and in a manner so ludicrous that it deserves to be
recorded. The incorporation of Dyers and Scourers of P---- (at the
time of which we speak a considerable fraternity) had a deacon and
boxmaster; the former named Murdoch Waldie, and the latter Andrew
Todd. Their names still figure in the old books of the corporation, if
these are not gone astray; and there is, or was, an entry in these
same books, connected with the reign of the two worthies, which,
illustrative and probative as it is of our story, we shall have
occasion to lay before our readers. Well, to proceed in historical
order, the worthy boxmaster had been married for a number of years. He
might be about fifty years of age, was of small stature, very bland
and affable in his manners, of an easy disposition, but, withal, as
ambitious of fame as any of the aspirants for office in his
corporation. Endowed by nature with very inadequate powers of
judgment, he experienced no want of the powers of speech, which was as
fluent as a shallow mind could make it; and he had, besides, a species
of humour about him, which owed its existence rather to the simplicity
and _bonhommie_ of his nature, than to the more ordinary source of a
perception of the ludicrous. As almost every want is remedied by some
equipollent surrogation which strangely often supplies its place,
Andrew Todd was _sensible_ of his want of mental powers; and thus he
exhibited that sense of a _want of sense_, which is often more
valuable than sense itself, in so far as the modesty with which it is
accompanied leads the individual to seek the assistance of good
advisers, by which he sometimes surpasses, in the race of life,
conceited wiseacres. We do not say that he married Mrs Jean Todd
merely because he saw she was endowed with greater powers than
himself; but it is certain that, after he came to appreciate the
extent of her understanding, he had the prudence to take every
advantage of her excellent sense and judgment, as well in the private
affairs of his business, as in the public concerns of the corporation
treasurership, with which he came, by her means, to be invested. This
was not only advantageous to his pecuniary interests, but congenial to
his feelings, as, getting quit, in this way, of the trouble of
thinking--a most laborious operation to him, and generally very ill
executed, if not altogether bungled--he was left at liberty to indulge
his speech and humour; two powers which had nothing more to do with
judgment or even common sense, than with the sublimated spirit of
genius itself.

His wife, Mrs Jean, was, as partly hinted, the very opposite of her
husband. She was a large, stout, gaucy woman, at least twice as big as
her mate. She had been, early in life, considerably pitted with the
small-pox, enough of the traces of which were still left to give her
that sturdy, hardy aspect they generally impart; while a strong and
somewhat rough voice, agreeing well with her other attributes, gave
her ideas and sentiments an apparent breadth and weight, which, added
to their own sterling qualities, could not fail to produce a
considerable effect even on men of strong minds, and to give her a
decided advantage over her sex. Her original powers of mind were
strengthened by reading--an occupation in which, as it required
silence, her husband very seldom engaged; and, what few women are able
to accomplish, she never allowed this favourite habit to interfere
with the regulation of her domestic economy, or of the actions of her
husband. Bold and masculine, however, as she was, she was a
kind-hearted woman; and, having no family to her husband, she was a
warm friend, a ready adviser to all her female acquaintances, and a
charitable giver to those who, after a strict and very stern
investigation, she thought worthy of her assistance.

The deacon of the incorporation again, Murdoch Waldie, was a man of a
very different cast from the boxmaster. He was a person of
considerable parts; but his conceit, which led him to conceive himself
cleverer than nature had made him, produced often all the consequences
which result from a deficiency of mental parts. Proud and domineering,
he loved to rule his corporation with dignity and authority; while his
love of official show and domestic parade rendered him extravagant,
and made him poor, notwithstanding of a good trade, which he carried
on with great success. In his choice of a wife, there might have been
perceived the tendency of his peculiar disposition; for he married a
beauty, who qualified his love of authority by an affected softness,
gentleness, and meekness, and his self-conceit, by showing herself
inferior to him in understanding, as indeed she was, though she
excelled him in another quality, which more than supplied its place.
What with his business, his deaconship, his chain, his gold-headed
cane, and his fair wife, dressed in the gaudy colours of his own
dyeing, Deacon Waldie was an important personage in those times, when
to be high in a corporation was to be in the enjoyment of the truest
elevation to which human nature, in this world, could aspire.

Vain, showy, gaudy, and frivolous, Mrs Deacon Waldie held the same
position to Mrs Todd that the boxmaster did to her husband. She had no
sense or power to rule her lord, who, indeed, would not have submitted
to female authority; but she had what Mrs Todd wanted, and what served
her purpose equally well, and that was cunning--the signal quality of
small, weak minds, and the very curse of the whole race of man and
woman. This insidious power enabled her to detect her husband's
failings, as well as to profit by them--and hence her affectation of
total subjugation to his high will and authority, and her tame system
of according and assenting to everything he said or did, whether right
or wrong. But in all this her selfish cunning had a part; because,
while she pretended to love him, and dote on him and prize him beyond
all mortals, her adulation, her blandishments, and submission were
accompanied or followed always by _petitions_. She contrived to have
hardihood enough to make the most unreasonable requests, and to show
that she was too sensitive, too fragile, and too weak, to bear a
refusal. If her suit was rejected, she flung herself upon the haughty
deacon's bosom, and sobbed; and what deacon could withstand the appeal
of beauty in tears? The sight was the very personification of the
triumph of his pride and dignity. The chain of his official authority,
and the arms of a praying, supplicating, weeping wife, hanging at the
same time around his proud neck, were the very counterparts of each
other. His love of subjugation bent, as it often does, his own head;
and cunning enjoyed its greatest triumph in overcoming one, by turning
his own weapons against himself.

The contrast which we have thus exhibited between these two couples,
is that of real everyday life. The characters of too many married
parties partake, more or less, of the qualities possessed by those we
have now mentioned; but how strangely do apparent contrasts often meet
in grotesque resemblances? Mrs Todd ruled her husband, and he knew it;
but Mrs Waldie ruled her husband, and he was ignorant of it: while the
one followed her occupation for her own and her husband's good, the
other was bent (unconsciously, it may be) on her own and her husband's

These two couples were on the most intimate terms--the circumstance of
the two husbands being office-bearers of the same corporation having
increased an intimacy which had been of considerable duration. But
there was little respect felt for her showy friends on the part of the
wife of the minor official, who probably saw that their extravagance
was fast driving them to ruin. This foresight was soon verified. The
demands of Mrs Deacon Waldie were not limited to her own wants and
wishes--they were extended to those of her friends. Her father,
trusting to the reputation of her husband's deaconship, had occasion
for his security to the extent of £200; and she was fixed upon as the
instrument to wring, by her usual artifice, out of her proud lord and
master, not only his own name to the bond, but also that of some of
his friends, to be procured through his means and intercession. She
had, for a considerable time, been occupied zealously in endeavouring
to accomplish her object--bringing into contrast her husband's proud
domination, and her innocent and interesting weakness and timidity,
and showing, as she hung round his neck, her helplessness and
insignificance, at the very moment when she was exercising more power
than ever was arrogated by the boxmaster's wife in all her female
tyranny. She succeeded in her scheme, and Waldie consented--but only
as a king grants the prayer of a petition--not only to give his own
name to the bill, but to endeavour to get that of Mr Andrew Todd.
Tears of thankfulness, and a full acknowledgment of his great power
over her, was the reward offered and granted for this great
condescension and unparalleled favour. But it was more easy for Mrs
Waldie to ask, and give thanks and tears, and for her husband to
vouchsafe his own name as cautioner, than for him to get out of the
clutches of Mrs Jean Todd the consent of her husband. The deacon knew
how his brother-official was ruled by his wife, and lustily despised
the white-livered caitiff for his pusillanimity.

"I canna promise, Mrs Deacon Waldie," said he to his wife, according
to the fashion of address that suited his dignity--"I canna promise to
get the boxmaster to gie his name to yer faither's bond. He's sae
completely, puir cratur! under the power and direction o' a woman,
that he daurna tak sae muckle liberty wi' his ain. The woman brocht
him naething when he married her, but the iron rod o' authority by
which she rules him; and yet, strange to say, he seems to like her the
better for a' the stern dominion she exercises owre him."

"That's a fault, I'm sure, ye canna charge me wi'," replied his wife.

"No, Margaret," said the deacon; "you dare not presume to dictate to
me; and, to do you justice, you never attempted it; but I began ye
fair. I showed you at first the proper conduct o' a husband towards
his wife--firm but kind; and the duty o' a wife towards a
husband--obedient and loving; and it was weel that you had the sense
to understand me, and the good-nature to comply wi' my wishes; for, if
I had seen the least glimpse o' an inclination to rule me or force me
into yer measures, there wad sune hae been rebellion in the house o'
Deacon Waldie. The consequences o' a wife's domination are weel
exemplified in the case o' that contemptible man whase assistance we
now require. He daurna assist a freend. His wife is cash-keeper,
conscience-keeper, housekeeper, and, by and by, she may be box-keeper,
to the entire disgrace o' oor trade, wha, though they live by women
(for men never employ dyers), wouldna relish to acknowledge the
authority o' a female boxmaster. When a man resigns himsel to the
authority o' a wife, he is dune for a' guid to himsel as weel as his

"Ye canna, my dear Murdoch," said the soft wife, "look upon a tame
husband, wha submits to the rule o' a wife, wi' mair contemp and ill
favour than I do upon the virago wha presumes to reverse the order o'
nature, and wrest the authority frae the lord o' the creation."

"You gie a fine turn to the sentiment, Margaret," replied the
gratified deacon. "I am anxious (but it is my ain free will) to do yer
faither this service; and I will try, for ance, if I canna fecht Mrs
Jean Todd wi' her ain weapons. The boxmaster's no dead to shame; and
surety, if there's ony power on earth whereby the blush can be brought
to the face o' man, it's the power o' being in a condition to tell
him to that very face he is _henpecked_. The very word has a spur and
a neb in't to rouse him to the vindication o' the rights o' man. I was
aye afraid o't; and, God be thanked! I hae escaped even the very
chance o' its application to me."

"You forgot, my love, that you hae also _me_ to thank for that
happiness," said the wife.

"No, it is mysel, it is mysel," cried the proud lord of his own
household. "It lies in my native sense o' the rights o' our superior
sex, and my firmness o' purpose in keepin the reins ticht upon ye. You
hae only the merit o' no rebellin; but even your rebellion I would hae
sune laid."

"I fancy, then," said Mrs Waldie, gently, "it will be your intention
and pleasure to see the boxmaster immediately."

"No, Mrs Waldie," replied the deacon, a little touched; "not
_immediately_, but by and by."

The deacon, however, did almost immediately wait upon the boxmaster,
and got him to adjourn to a tavern in the Lawnmarket, at that time
much frequented by the members of the incorporation. They had scarcely
seated themselves when the superior official opened his subject.

"I am a frank man, Mr Todd," began he, "and I winna hesitate to tell
ye at ance that I want a favour frae ye. Will ye join me in security
for my father-in-law to the extent o' twa hunder pounds?"

The boxmaster paused, and thought of the stern chamberlain at home. He
was inclined to assist his deacon, who was a person of great
importance in his eyes, but he saw the danger which might result from
his going out of his province, and acting upon what he conceived to be
right. His pause was at once understood by the deacon, whose keenness
to make a dash at the supposed obstacle to his suit arose from his
contempt of his friend's pusillanimous conduct, and his desire to
attain the object of his request.

"I can read your thoughts, Mr Todd," said he, as the boxmaster still
paused, and seemed irresolute and confused. "You _wish_ to serve, but
you daurna. Mrs Todd winna let ye follow the counsel o' yer ain heart.
This is a delicate subject; but I am your freend, and would wish to
redeem ye frae the slavery o' a woman's (and otherwise, I grant, a
guid and sensible woman's) domination in matters wherein she has nae
legitimate authority."

He waited the effect of this speech, which was a kind of touchstone.

"I see nae delicacy in a subject," replied the boxmaster, "whar
there's nae secresy. How does it come to be known that my wife is my
counsellor and adviser?--Because I mak nae secret o' what I hae nae
reason to be ashamed o'. I dinna ken how you feel, Mr Waldie, but I
think it's the pleasantest thing on earth to be, as it were, compelled
to alloo yersel to be taen care o', and defended, and nursed, and
petted, and ruled, by a guid wife. In my opinion, to be loved by a
wife is only the half o' oor right. Ony woman may love a man--it's a
woman's _trade_ to love; but when you see a dear cratur takin the
pains and trouble o' governin a' yer actions--ay, and as it were, even
yer very thoughts--lookin wi' a keen and carefu ee after yer maist
minute affairs, regulatin yer conduct, keepin yer siller, directin yer
financial, domestic, personal, private, and public operations; and, in
short, _thinkin_ for ye--how is it possible for a man to see sae
muckle care taen wi' him and his concerns, without bein filled wi'
gratitude and affection to her wha labours sae officiously for his

"Mr Andrew Todd," said the deacon, impatiently, "you are describin ane
o' the maist pitifu and contemptible spirits that ever warmed the
scaly body o' a reptile that has nae sting. What man wi' a spark o'
independence in his breast would think o' resignin his judgment into
the hands o' a woman? They are guid craturs in their ain place, and
baith interestin and usefu when they are occupied in conductin the
affairs o' their houses, obeyin the commands o' their husbands, and
ministerin to his slichtest wishes, as if every look were an act of
parliament; but, to stoop to mak a woman a counsellor, to gie her a
vote in the great council o' the noble thoughts o' man's divine mind!
Unheard o' humiliation! Why, man, a woman is only the twenty-fourth
part o' a man, seein we hae, as the doctors say, twenty-four ribs; and
we hae the authority o' Scripture for sayin that, at the very best,
she is only a help to man. She was, besides, the beginnin o' a' evil.
And yet this fractional thing, this help, this unlucky author o' the
waes o' mortals, ye dignify and raise up into the very place and power
o' yer inheritance frae Adam; reversin the order o' nature, degradin
our noble sex and makin laughinstocks o' a' married men."

"I'm no sure if there's muckle practical truth in a' this, deacon,"
said Andrew, smiling good-naturedly. "Suppose, for an instant, that,
besides the satisfaction and pleasure I derive frae nestlin safely in
the arms o' my wife's judgment, and courin aneath her protectin
wing--whilk gies me, sometimes, a flap I like as weel as her kindest
embrace--I hae discovered that her thoughts and reflections are a
thousand times better than the boxmaster's--what say ye to that,
deacon? I hae seen an oaken tree twenty-four times bigger than its
parent, and yet a' it ever had to thank the auld stock for was an
acorn. Sae, in place o' only bein a twenty-fourth part, as you say, o'
man, I am satisfied I hae scarcely a twenty-fourth part o' my wife's
mind; and will onybody tell me that a wise counsellor should be
rejected, because she happens to be dressed in petticoats?"

"Yes, Mr Todd, I will tell you that," replied the deacon. "The private
sodger has dootless often a mind superior to the general's; but he
maun still keep the ranks. Mind is naething in this affair--station
is everything. Look at Mrs Margaret Waldie--a cleverer cratur doesna
exist--that is, in her ain way; but did she ever dare to counsel me?
Did she ever presume to sway or alter, in the slightest degree, the
decrees o' my judgment? Na; she has owre muckle respect for the status
and respectability o' her lord and maister. Rouse yersel, Andrew; tak
example by me, man; act as your kind heart prompts in this freendly
affair; and join me in the bond, whereby you'll incur nae danger."

"I am anxious to oblige ye, deacon," said Andrew; "but I scarcely
think it wad be a gratefu part in me to repay a' Mrs Jean Todd's care
o' me for twenty years, by actin, in this affair, upon my ain
individual and responsible judgment. I micht anger her, and she micht
withdraw frae me her countenance and protection: I micht as weel lose
the licht o' the sun. Ye dinna understand me, deacon; ye are made to
command--I to obey. Pressure brings out the power o' the spring; and
a' my happiness in life is produced and brocht out by the weight o'
the judgment and authority o' Mrs Jean Todd. Her very mind seems to
hae passed into mine; and I feel, when I'm thinking her thoughts, a
satisfaction I never feel when my ain are passin, like unbidden
ghaists, through my mind. But surely I hae some excuse: is she no a
noble cratur? How she maks a body shake wi' the sound o' her voice,
and the solidity o' her thoughts! and how beautifully she softens doun
the impression o' her authority, by restorin, wi' a half-severe,
half-kind sort o' a smile, peculiar to hersel, the confidence she
frightened awa by the mere force o' her superior intellect!"

"How beautifully, in short, Andrew," said the deacon, "are you
_henpecked_! That is the very soul and marrow o' a' ye hae uttered."

"Ay; and I glory to be pecked by _such_ a hen!" cried Andrew, with
sparkling eyes, and a real and unsophisticated appearance of triumph.

The deacon, notwithstanding of his anxiety to get the bond signed,
laughed outright at this tremendous sally of the boxmaster's
enthusiasm of servitude; but it was a laugh of derision, and he forgot
that he was himself daily losing more feathers, by a silent process of
peculation going on under his wing, than were taken from Andrew by the
conservative operation of his wife's billing and cooing.

"Then I suppose you will not refuse my request?" said the deacon,
"seein you glory in the _henpeckin_ it may produce. Seriously, will ye
comply wi' my request?"

"Seriously, deacon, I am inclined to oblige ye," replied Andrew, "if I
could get Mrs Jean to agree to it. I'll try her this very nicht. I can
say nae mair."

The deacon could make no more of him. He went home, and reported the
result of the negotiation to his wife, who despaired of success, but
overpowered her husband with thanks for what he had done. She had a
secret wish that he should do more--viz., call upon Mrs Jean Todd
herself, and solicit her. The difficulty of accomplishing this was to
herself apparent; but she was determined to carry her point in some
way or another; so she straightway began to weep bitterly, crying that
her father would be ruined; but never hinting any remedy for her
distress. This paroxysm of affected grief produced its usual effect
upon the proud husband; who, hard as a rock when attempted to be
dictated to, was as weak as a child when attacked with tears, and an
apparent helpless subjugation to his high will. He took the weeping
wife in his arms, and asked her what more he could do to assist her
father in this emergency.

"There's only ae way," said she, wiping her eyes; "there's just ae
remedy for our case."

"What is it, my love?" said the deacon.

"I canna mention't," said the cunning wife. "It's against a' the high
and proud feelins o' yer noble natur."

"But we are sometimes obliged to sacrifice our feelins," said the
gratified deacon. "Speak, my dear Margaret; ye ken wha ye're speakin
to. What is your remedy?"

"It's to ca' upon Mrs Jean Todd yersel," said she, holding away her
head, while another burst of tears overtook her voluntarily.

The deacon started back in amazement. The request _was_ against all
the feelings of his nature. The proud stickler for marital rule was in
an extraordinary position: first, his wife was governing him at that
moment, unknown to himself; and, secondly, he was requested to sue, at
the feet of a woman, for liberty to her husband to act as he chose.

"Margaret," said the deacon, "_you_, I am sure, dinna ask me to
overturn, at ae blow, a' the principles o' my life, conversation, and

"Na, Murdoch," said she, throwing her arms round his neck, and weeping
again--"na, na; _I_ dinna _ask_ ye."

"But ye maybe wish it, my dear Peggy," replied he, whimpering.
"Necessity is a great power: maybe ye feel _compelled_ to wish it."

"Maybe I do," said the wife, with another burst.

"Weel, Peggy, dry up yer tears, my love," said the conquered lord;
"I'll awa to Mrs Jean Todd."

And he was as good as his word. Away he went, to recognise that
authority in a wife which he so heartily despised, and to which he was
himself, at the very moment, bowing his head. He took the bill with
him, with the view of taking advantage of a compliance upon the
instant, as he feared the effects of a night's reconsideration. He
found the couple in a curious position. They were sitting, one on each
side of the fire. Mrs Jean Todd had on her spectacles; but her book
was lying on the table. Mr Todd was apparently doing nothing; but he
was thinking more deeply, and with more difficulty, than was his
partner, who was occupied doubtless in digesting what she had been
reading. Mr Todd was, in truth, at that very moment in the very act of
endeavouring to call up courage to tell his wife the import of the
deacon's request, and to make some attempt at supporting his petition.
A few words had passed previous to the entry of the deacon.

"I had a lang sederunt wi' our worthy deacon the day," said Andrew.
"He's no an ill body, the deacon. I canna forget the trouble he took
on my appointment to the honourable office o' boxmaster."

"It was _I_ that made ye boxmaster, Andrew," said Mrs Jean Todd. "I
commanded the suffrages o' the hail corporation. Deacon Waldie couldna
hae opposed me. I was at the blind side o' the electors, through their
wives; and what man could hae dared to compete wi' the electors'
wives, when they were determined to vote for me? The deacon professes
to laugh at _our_ authority. Puir man! he forgets, or doesna see, that
there's no a man in the hail corporation wha is mair ruled, and mair
dangerously ruled, by his wife than he is! She'll ruin him; and that
ye'll sune see. Nae tradesman could stand her extravagance; and, I
understand, she cunningly contrives to get him to assist _her_
friends, and to despise and disregard his ain. How different is my
conduct! Your friends, Andrew, I hae assisted; and the only thing I
ever left to your unassisted judgment was the benefiting o' mine."

This sensible speech had, as the sun does the fire, extinguished
Andrew's mental cogitations, and put out his courage. A silence had
reigned for several minutes, when Mr Deacon Waldie entered. Drawing in
a chair, he commenced--

"The boxmaster would doubtless be tellin ye, madam," said he, "that I
wanted a sma' favour aff him. My wife's father requires a bill for
intromissions the noo to the extent o' twa hunder pounds, and the
employers insist upon twa securities. They micht hae been content wi'
mysel; but, seein they hae refused my single name, I hae asked Andrew
to gie his, as a mere matter o' form, alang wi' my ain. I dinna doot"
(looking into Mrs Jean Todd's face, and attempting to laugh) "that ye
may hae _some_ influence wi' the boxmaster. He's quite _against_ it"
(looking at Andrew, and winking--a device observed by the quick-eyed
dame), "though there's nae danger; and I hae, therefore, come at ance
to the fountain-head o' a' authority. Just say to the boxmaster that
he ought sae far to oblige a freend, and the bill, which I hae here in
my hand, will be signed in an instant."

This speech was understood in a moment by Mrs Jean Todd. The manner
of her husband previous to the entry of the deacon--the deacon's
visit so soon after the meeting, his speech, his wink, and all
together--satisfied her that her husband was inclined to sign the
bill, and that they had laid their heads together to accomplish
their object by the manoeuvre to which they had thus resorted. Her
pride and honesty made her despise these underhand and crooked
schemes; but her prudence prevented her from showing either her
penetration or her feelings. There was one thing, however, which she
was determined not to countenance. She knew that Deacon Waldie
despised, and, indeed, openly, and at all times, and often in her
own presence, denounced the husband who allowed himself to be
dictated to by his wife; and now he was in the very act of proving
that her husband was worthy of that denouncement, and that she
herself was the individual who, by exercising authority over her
husband, had degraded him, and rendered him the subject of the
deacon's scorn. This hurt her beyond bearing; but she was determined
that she should not recognise this imputed authority. At the same
time, she could not allow her husband to be ruined; and the question
was, how she should act in these trying circumstances? Her quick
mind was soon at work. For some time she contrived to prevent an
awkward silence from sitting down upon them and producing
embarrassment; and this she accomplished by putting a few
insignificant questions to the deacon regarding his father-in-law,
while she was deliberating with herself what she was to do, and how
she was to escape from the dilemma in which she was situated.

In the first place, she caught her husband's eye, through which the
charm of her authority could generally be very easily sent. She
endeavoured to retain his glance, and to show that she was decidedly
opposed to this scheme, and saw through all its bearings. Without
altogether losing this hold of Andrew, she directed a prudent and
cautious speech to the ears of the deacon.

"I winna affect, Mr Deacon Waldie," said she, "notwithstanding I hae
often heard yer sentiments on the subject o' the authority o' wives--I
winna affect either to be ignorant o' my husband's affairs, or to be
careless o' what concerns baith him and me. I will say further, that I
dinna hesitate to gie him a guid advice when I think he requires it;
for out o' many counsellors comes wisdom; and, as Solomon says, 'every
purpose is established by counsel.' Though 'a good wife,' says the
same wise man, 'layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands holdeth
the distaff,' her business doesna finish there; for he adds, that 'the
heart o' her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have
no fear o' spoil.' But there's a limit to a wife's interference. You
say my husband has already declared his opinion" (looking at
Andrew)--"why then should I be asked to overturn the resolution o' his
ain mind and judgment? If my advice had been asked in time, it would
hae been given; but I canna think o' endeavourin to overrule my
master, when ance his mind is made up and his resolution fixed."

She rose as she finished this judicious speech, and left the room,
kindly bidding the deacon good-night. Both the men were surprised.
The deacon was chagrined. The boxmaster was left in great doubt and
perplexity. Both had great cause; for the first was caught in his own
snare, and the latter had had thrown upon him a superabundance of
power and authority in forming his own judgments that he never got
awarded to him before. The deacon was determined not to lose his
ground. _The dame had left the matter in the hands of the boxmaster_.
That was a great point gained; and he set about to convince Andrew
that he was left at liberty to do as he chose. But the worthy
boxmaster had very great doubts and scruples upon the subject, and
wished to follow Mrs Jean, to consult her in private. To this again
the deacon could not give his consent; but continued to pour into the
ears of the irresolute boxmaster all the arguments he could muster, to
satisfy him that the construction he had put upon Mrs Jean Todd's
speech was favourable to the exercise of his liberty, at least in this
case. The position was scarcely denied by Andrew; but he could not get
out of his mind the expression of his wife's eye. He had read in it a
denial and a reproof. At the same time, he could not reconcile it with
her speech, which was entirely different from anything of the kind he
had ever witnessed. Her opinions were always ready and decided; and he
never saw her shrink from declaring a difference of sentiment, when
she entertained an opinion different from his. Why, then, did she in
this instance depart from her ordinary course? The question was
difficult to answer. It seemed that she _did actually_ in a manner
leave it to himself. The deacon seemed to be right in his
construction; and his arguments were almost unanswerable.

"If," said he, "Mrs Jean Todd had been hostile to this measure, would
she not have declared it _manfully_, as is her uniform practice in
similar cases?"

The boxmaster could not answer the question satisfactorily; and the
deacon, continuing his arguments, persuasions, promises, and
flatteries, at last got the victim to put his name to the bill. Upon
the instant the door opened, and Mrs Jean Todd appeared before them.
She went forward to the table, and laid her hand upon the document.

"Is that your signature, sir?" said she, looking calmly at her

"Ou ay--I believe, yes--I did put my name to that paper," replied
Andrew, in great agitation; "but I thocht ye left me to do as I chose
when ye gaed oot. If ye didna want me to sign it, ye shouldna hae left
the room."

"A bill is no a bindin document," continued she, without seeming to
attend to what the boxmaster said, "until it be delivered. It's no
delivered sae lang as it is in my hands; and never will be delivered
by me sae lang as I recollect the words o' the wise man o' the east,
wha said--'If thou be surety for thy friend, thou art snared with the
words o' thy mouth.' Yet this paper is no my property. The stamp is
yours, though my husband's name is still his." Turning to the
boxmaster, who was shaking and retaining his breath with pure
fear--"Do you stand by this, sir," said she, in a commanding voice,
which increased his fear, "or do ye repent o't?"

"I repent o't," replied Andrew, with dry lips, and a gurgling of the
throat, as if he had been on the eve of choking.

"Then, I fancy," continued Mrs Jean Todd, "ye would like yer name back

"Ou ay--surely," replied Andrew.

"Well, then," said she, as she with the greatest coolness took up her
scissors that hung by her side, and with affected precision cut away
his name; "there it is"--handing it to him. And turning to the
deacon--"The rest is yours, sir--I hae nae richt to meddle wi' your
name--there's yer paper"--returning to him the mutilated bill.

At this operation the deacon stared with a stupified look of wonder
and contempt. He had never before seen so cool an example of female
rule and marital weakness; and his pride, his selfishness, and his
spite were all roused and interested by the extraordinary sight. He
was too much affected for indulging in a vulgar expression of feelings
which could not adequately be expressed by mere language. Taking up
his hat, and casting upon the boxmaster a look of sovereign contempt,
and upon Mrs Jean Todd one of anger, he bowed as low as a deacon ought
to do, and left the room. The circumstance produced no very unpleasant
consequences to either the boxmaster or his wife. She, no doubt,
reproved him for his stupidity; but the point of her wrath was turned
away by the repentance and soft words of her husband, who promised
never to do the like again. He had, besides, some defence, arising out
of her dubious conduct, which, though quite easily understood, he
could not well comprehend. The naïvete of his statement, that "she
shouldna hae left him unprotected," was quite enough to have mollified
a much sterner woman than Mrs Jean Todd, and during that same night
they were a far happier couple than Deacon Waldie and his fair spouse.

When the deacon went home, and reported the extraordinary proceeding
to his obedient wife, the grief it occasioned was in some degree
overcome, on the part of the husband, by the favourable contrast it
enabled him to form between the boxmaster and his wife, and him and
his obedient spouse. Mrs Waldie did all in her power to aid the
operation; but she did not forget the bill, which her father was
pressing hard to procure.

"Surely every man's no under the rule o' his wife," said she, with the
view to leading to another cautioner.

"No, God be thanked!" said the deacon, "there are some independent men
i' the world besides mysel. Every husband's no _henpecked_. Every man
that has a wife doesna 'glory' in being 'pecked by _such_ a hen.'"

"There's William M'Gillavry," said the sly wife, in a soft and
unassuming tone; "_he_ is independent o' his wife."

"Do ye mean, Peggy, that I should get him to sign the bill?"

"Na," replied she, "I dinna say that; I merely meant that he was an
independent man like you, wha, if _ye asked_ him to do it, wouldna
refuse on such a ground as the want o' consent o' his wife. Oh, what
will my puir faither do? I canna live if he is in sorrow and
perplexity." (Weeping.) "I saw William M'Gillavry yesterday. He asked
kindly for ye. Ye haena visited him for a lang time. Twa husbands sae
like each other might meet oftener, and twa wives, wha agree in the ae
grand point o' submittin to the authority o' their lords and masters,
might, wi' advantage, be greater gossips than we hae been."

"Might I try William, think ye, Margaret?" said he.

"My puir advice canna be o' muckle avail to ye," said she; "ye ken
best yersel; but I think, _if_ he were asked, he wadna refuse the sma'

"I see you wish me to try him, Peggy," said he; "and I _will_ try

Away hastened the deacon to William M'Gillavry. He found him at home;
and, as a deacon, was well received. Having opened the subject to him,
he found that M'Gillavry was not inclined to become cautioner, unless
he got put into his hands some security, that, in the event of his
being called upon to pay the money, he might, in the end, be safe.
This proposition was not expected by the deacon, who did not possess
any portable security that he could give. He endeavoured to get his
friend to be satisfied with his own obligation, to keep him scatheless
against all the effects of his obligation; but the other would not
agree to this, and, pretending to be called away by some one, left the
room for a little, promising to be back instantly. In the meantime,
the deacon heard a conflict of words in an adjoining apartment, in the
course of which several half-sentences met his ear. The wordy war was
between William M'Gillavry and his wife. Her notes were shrill and
high, and repeatedly she said--"Get my brither John's bill frae
him"--"that will do"--"he, puir fallow! canna pay't, at ony rate, and
I want to save him frae the hands o' the law." The deacon did not
understand this broken conversation; but he could easily perceive that
his friend was taking the advice of his wife. The words of old
Fleming's ballad of evil wives came into his mind:--

    "An evil wyfe is the werst aught
      That ony man can haif,
    For he may never sit in saught
      Onless he be her sklaif."

As he muttered the last words, forgetful of his own case, his friend

"My wife's brither," said he, "has a bill in your corporation's box
for £250. You can impledge that in my hands, and I'll sign yer
father-in-law's security."

"The corporation's property's no mine," answered the deacon; "I hae,
besides, nae power owre't; the bill's i' the box, and Mr Andrew Todd
has the key."

"I ken that," replied the other (who was a dishonest man), with a
knowing wink; "but ye can easily get haud o' the paper, and I'll gie
ye a back letter that I winna use't unless I'm obliged to pay yer
father-in-law's debt. Naebody will ever hear o't."

The proposition did not altogether please the deacon, who, though very
far from being an upright man, did not care about his frailty being
known to another. He said he would think of what had passed between
them, and came away. His wife, when he came home, was waiting in the
greatest anxiety. Her father had called in the meantime, and told her,
that, if he did not get the bill immediately, with two good names upon
it, he would be put in jail. This alarmed his daughter, who, if she
could save her father, cared little for the ruin of her husband. She
heard with deep anguish the announcement of another disappointment.
Having been weeping before he came in, her eyes were red and swollen,
and the bad intelligence again struck the fountain of her tears, and
made her weep and moan bitterly. The deacon was moved at the picture
of distress. He had not told her William M'Gillavry's proposition, but
only simply that he had refused, unless adequate security were put
into his hands. His wife's grief wrung from him every satisfaction he
could bestow; for he could not stand and witness the sorrow of his
tender and obedient partner, while there remained any chance of
ameliorating her anguish.

"There is ae way, Peggy, o' gettin this affair managed," said he, at

"What is that?" said she, looking up, and throwing back her curls,
which, amidst all her grief, were never forgot.

"William M'Gillavry's wife's brother," said he, "is awin our
corporation £250; and his bill for that sum is in our corporation box.
He says he would sign the bill to your father, if I gave him his
brother-in-law's bill to hauld in security; but I'm no quite sure if
that wad be honest."

"Thae things lie far out o' a weak woman's way," said she. "We haena
the power o' mind possessed by you men; but, if I were entitled to
speak a word on the subject, I would say there was nae dishonesty whar
there was nae wrang. Ye ken the signin o' my faither's bill's a mere
form; and, if William M'Gillavry's brither-in-law's bill were taen out
the box, it would just be put back again. Correct me, my dear Murdoch,
if ye think me wrang."

"I dinna think ye're far wrang, Peggy," said the deacon; "but how is
William M'Gillavry's brither-in-law's bill to be got out o' our
corporation box? There's the difficulty--and I needna ask a woman how
that's to be got owre."

"Na, Murdoch--ye needna ask me that question," replied the wife. "It's
far beyond the reach o' my puir brain; but, if it's in the power o'
ony mortal man to say how a difficulty o' that kind's to be mastered,
it is in that o' Murdoch Waldie. Maybe ye may gie't a cast through yer
powerfu mind. Oh! if ye saw my distractit faither! He left me just as
you cam in, wi' the tears o' sorrow rinnin doun his auld cheeks. Will
ye think o't, my dear Murdoch?" (embracing him) "What's weel intended
canna be wrang; and what's planned by a mind like yours canna fail."

"I couldna get the key frae Andrew Todd," said the gratified deacon,
"unless I told him an untruth."

"A lee for guid has been justified," said the wife. "Rahab was
approved for hiding the spies, and denyin their presence; but I
couldna ask ye to imitate Rahab. I hae nae richt to dictate to my

"But wouldna ye _wish_ me, my dear Peggy, to stretch a point to get
yer faither's tears dried up, and yer ain stopped? Dinna hesitate,
Peggy--speak yer mind bauldly--I'll forgie ye."

"Ou ay," whimpered the gentle dame. "If Rahab was justified, sae will
Murdoch Waldie be forgiven."

"Weel--I'll try the boxmaster again," said the deacon.

Next day, accordingly, he threw himself in the way of Mr Andrew Todd.
The boxmaster had been in the corporation hall, and was returning home
to deposit the key of the box in the place where he kept it. The
deacon got him inveigled into a public-house, where, when they had
seated themselves, he saw that Mr Todd was blushing scarlet, doubtless
at the recollection of the scene that had taken place the day before.

"Ye needna be ashamed, Andrew," said the deacon, "at the conduct of
Mrs Jean Todd. _Ye_ werena to blame--I assoilzie ye. Think nae mair
o't. You can just sign a fresh bill. I'll buy the stamp round the
corner at Dickson's, and we can draw it out here."

"I beg yer pardon," replied Andrew; "I maunna get into that scrape
again. I'll never resist the authority o' Mrs Jean Todd mair on
earth. To her I owe my boxmastership--my trade--my status--my
health--my happiness--and a' that's worth livin for in this evil
warld; and she will never hae it to say again, that I'm no gratefu for
the care she taks o' me, and the love she bears to me. Let the warld
say, if they like, that I am henpecked--I dinna care."

"Weel, weel," replied the deacon; "we were speakin o' bills. Are ye
quite sure that ye haena allowed the days o' grace in Templeton's bill
to expire? There's indorsers there; and if it is as I suspect, ye've
lost recourse, and may be liable for the debt."

"Mercy on us!" cried the terrified Andrew. "It's impossible. Dinna
say't. Let me count." (Using his fingers). "Count, deacon--count,

"I think we had better see the bill itsel," cried the deacon. "Where's
the key?"

"Here it is," replied the simple boxmaster, taking it out.

"Give it to me," said the deacon, taking it out of Andrew's hand;
"we'll sune see if the bill's past due."

Waldie hurried out of the room, telling Andrew, as he went out, that
he would come back, and inform him how the fact stood. The mind of the
boxmaster was now too much occupied about the danger of having allowed
the days of grace to pass without intimation to the indorsers on the
bill, to have any space left for doubting the honesty of the deacon.
The suspicion of having been cajoled never approached him; he sat and
sipped the liquor that lay before him, occupied all the time in a
brown study, with the thought continually rising--"What will Mrs Jean
Todd say to my stupidity, in making myself responsible for the amount
of Templeton's bill? It will ruin me; and a' her care and prudence
will in an instant be scattered to the winds." He still sat, expecting
the deacon to return with the required information. Half-an-hour
passed, and no deacon came; but a messenger came with a note, stating
that all was quite safe, and that, as something had occurred to
prevent the writer from returning to the tavern, he had sent that
intelligence, to ease his mind, and that he would return the key in
the course of the day. Andrew's mind was relieved by this statement;
he paid the tavern-keeper for the liquor, and went away, to resume his
ordinary occupations.

At dinner-time he went home; and, during the meal, he began talking
again about Deacon Waldie.

"After a'," said he, "he is a guid cratur, the deacon. After the usage
he got here last nicht, wha could hae thocht he wad hae taen ony
interest in my affairs?"

"Ye dinna require an assistant," replied Mrs Jean Todd, "sae lang as I

"That's true," replied Andrew; "but the deacon has dune for me what ye
couldna hae dune."

"What is that?" inquired the wife.

"He apprised me o' the danger I stood in," replied the boxmaster,
"anent Templeton's bill, that's in the corporation box. I had
forgotten the date o' its becomin due, and he brocht it to my mind.
A's safe yet."

The very word "bill" made Mrs Todd prick up her ears.

"I hae lang thocht," replied she, "that yer corporation papers, at
least yer bills, which require greater care than the rest, should be
placed here, under my protection. The circumstance that has occurred
this day proves that I am richt. Let us awa to the hall this instant,
and bring hame a' the papers that are valuable, and for which you may
be responsible. Is the key on the hook?"

"No; but I'm on the hook," muttered Andrew to himself, as he began for
the first time to suspect he had been duped. "No," said he aloud.

"Give it to me, then," said she. "It will be in yer pocket, dootless."

Andrew began to exhibit symptoms of fear, which were in an instant
perceived and understood by the quick-eyed dame, who was accustomed to
_look_ for indications of that kind. She saw that something was wrong.
He remained silent, and his agitation increased as she fixed upon him
her piercing, relentless eye.

"Give me the key, man," said she, in an angry tone.

He still remained silent; his agitation increased, and he trembled in
every limb.

"There's something wrang, Andrew," said she. "Tell me what it is. I'm
no angry. By tryin to conceal it, ye may ruin us baith; by tellin me,
we may hae a chance o' bein saved. Come, now, has Deacon Waldie the

"Ay," said Andrew, in a low tone. "He asked me for't, to see if the
bill was past due, and said he would come back wi't; but he never made
his appearance."

The good dame said not a word. She saw the necessity for promptitude,
and, running to her bedroom, hurriedly dressed herself. In a few
minutes she was on her way to the corporation hall. In a few minutes
more she arrived; and, having got admittance, placed herself in a
recess, where the incorporation box was deposited, and so disposed
herself as that she might see whether any person interfered with the
treasury. In a short time Deacon Waldie entered the hall, and, with
secret furtive steps, approached the box. He looked about him, but did
not perceive the dame, who, as she saw him approach, retired back
farther into the recess. He took out the key, and applied it to the
lock. It was now time for Mrs Todd to save her husband. Starting
quickly out of the recess, she walked solemnly and dignifiedly up to
the official, before whom she presented herself with a low curtsey.

"How are you, Mr Deacon Waldie?" said she, repeating her curtsey, and
looking at him with an eye that pierced him to the heart.

The deacon, who was a great stickler for etiquette, felt himself, as
he saw the dame curtseying before him, compelled to return the
compliment; but the consciousness of guilt, the cutting satire of the
dame's courteous demeanour, the surprise at seeing her there, and his
fear of being exposed, all operated so strongly, that his bow was
checked, and transformed into a low cringe, making him appear only
half his natural size; while the consciousness of rectitude, and the
superiority of virtue, swelled out the breast of his silent accuser,
and added apparently to her physical proportions. Recovering himself
in some degree--

"I was just about to examine our corporation papers," said he,
irresolutely. "I like to assist Mr Todd in his _official_ capacity,
while _you_ keep him right in his _private_ affairs."

"Between the twa," replied the dame, without changing her countenance,
"he maun be weel taen care o'."

As she said this, she quietly and deliberately took the key out of the
lock; and into a large red cloth pocket, which hung alongside of a
pair of scissors, with which the deacon was already well acquainted
(having tested their sharpness), she deposited the important
instrument. She then made another low curtsey.

"Guid-day to ye, Mr Deacon Waldie!" she said, as she departed; "mak my
best respects to Mrs Deacon Waldie, and to her worthy father."

The deacon stood stiff with amazement, looking after the erect,
dignified figure of Mrs Jean Todd, as she walked slowly along the hall
of the incorporation to the door.

He skulked off in the best way he could; but she, with erect body and
noble carriage, directed her steps homeward, where she found her
husband in a state of intense fear and anxiety, both on account of the
danger he was exposed to, and of the meeting that was about to take
place with his wife. On the latter account, there might apparently
have been little reason for apprehension; for their meetings were very
unlike those mentioned in the old song--

    "Then up scho gate ane mekle rung,
      And the gudeman he made to the door;
    Quoth he, 'Dame, I sall hald my tung,
      For an we fecht, I'll get the woir.'"

Her mode of conducting her rule was different _toto cælo_. She walked
into the house with the same erect carriage she usually exhibited,
especially when upon duty, and closing the door after her, without
using any such jealous precaution as turning the key in the lock--a
mode of enforcing the conjugal authority she despised--she went up to
the table where her husband sat, with his hand upon his brow. That
flag of distress she paid little attention to; for she had often
before seen Andrew endeavour to make her own pity plead the cause of
his imprudence.

"Here is the key of the treasury-box, Mr Todd," said she.

Andrew was greatly relieved; but wonder took the place of his fear,
for he could not conceive how his wife could so soon have got the key
out of the hands of the deacon--and yet for certain the key was before
his eyes.

"See you that ring?" continued the dame, holding out a steel key-hoop,
on which were hung a score of keys, shining as bright as silver, from
the eternal motion to which they were exposed in the red pocket of
their mistress.

"Ay, weel do I see it," replied Andrew, "and weel do I ken't. It is by
that magic ring that a' my guids and gear are girded and prevented
frae fa'in into the staves o' that bankruptcy and ruin I threatened
this day to bring upon them."

The dame replied nothing to the remark of her husband, though she was
inwardly well pleased to see him penitent; but, opening the
spring-clasp, she deliberately placed the treasury-box key upon the
ring, along with the score of others that had hung there for a score
of years. She did not deign to accompany this act by a single word of
objurgation. Her faith rested altogether upon the ring, and to have
tried to add to the security it afforded her, by impressing her
husband with a deeper sense of his imprudence, appeared to her to be
sheer supererogation. Opening the entrance to her red "pouch," she
consigned, with a suitable admonitory jingle, the whole bunch to the
keeping of that huge conservatory of the virtues of "hussyskep." She
then resumed her ordinary duties, and Andrew was delighted to have
"got off," as he inwardly termed his relief, with so easily-borne a
reproof of his weakness and imprudence.

The circumstances we have here narrated became, some time after, known
to the public, through what channel it would be difficult to say,
although it is not improbable that the boxmaster, vain of the
protecting care of his wife, had given some hint of it, which, having
been taken advantage of by Deacon Waldie's enemies, gave rise to
reports, and latterly to a true exposition of the whole affair. The
effect of such a transaction upon the credit of any man could not fail
to be ruinous. In a very short time Deacon Waldie became suspected and
shunned--no one would trust him, few would deal with him; and, before
the termination of the period of his deaconship, he failed--falling
thus a victim to that female domination he so much dreaded, and for
submitting to which he so much despised his friend the boxmaster.

The fate of Mr Todd was signally different. At the end of the period
of his office, there was a special meeting called of the trade, for
the purpose of making a vote of thanks to their official, for saving
the incorporation-box from spoliation, and presenting him with a small
piece of plate, in commemoration of his services. This was a delicate
matter. The members knew well to whom they owed the obligation; but
they could not, in a public hall, declare that their boxmaster was
assisted in his official capacity by his wife, and, therefore, they
resolved upon taking no notice of the _real boxmaster_; who, however,
like all good wives, would be gratified by the notice that was taken
of her husband. The vote of thanks was accordingly moved by the
chairman, and supported by a very good speech. Mr Todd rose to

"Gentlemen," he said, "ye maunna think that I am sae blind as no to
see what is yer true meanin, concealed though it be under this thick
veil o' courtesy and delicate regard to my feelins. Ye want to try to
conceal frae me that ye ken how muckle baith you and I are obliged to
a sensible and discreet woman; and ye hae twa reasons for this:
_first_, ye dinna like to acknowledge that ye are indebted to a woman
for savin frae the hands o' the spoiler the incorporation-box; and,
_secondly_, ye dinna like to say that yer boxmaster is under the
kindly care and protection o' his guidwife. Now, as to the first, I
leave it in yer ain hands; but as to the second, I will free ye frae
a' delicacy and difficulty, for I here acknowledge and declare, wi'
pride and pleasure, that Mrs Jean Todd is my counsellor and adviser in
a' my affairs, baith public and private; and mony a time she has kept
me frae that ruin whilk my ain wit and wisdom never could hae saved me
frae. I dinna need to say that it was that admirable woman wha saved
the incorporation-box: the thing is already owre the town, and
dootless kenned to ye a', and, I warrant ye, also to yer wives. Why,
then, should I accept o' honour I never wrocht for, and couldna hae
merited by a' the power and skill o' my puir abilities? 'The labourer
is worthy o' his hire.' 'Honour to him to whom honour is due.' I
therefore move that the thanks ye intended for me should be offered to
Mrs Jean Todd--to whom also, wi' your permission, I would suggest that
the piece o' silver-plate should be presented."

This speech produced much laughter throughout the hall. Some humorous
member relished the idea, and, standing up, seconded the boxmaster's

"A' our difficulty has vanished," he began; "and glad am I to see that
the honour we intended for the _real_ conservator o' our
corporation-box may be, through the noble spirit o' our _nominal_
boxmaster, communicated without the intervention o' a deputy. I second
Mr Todd's motion, because I admire his spirit, and because I rejoice
in an opportunity of doing justice to thae great conservators o' our
sex--the strong-minded, gaucy, thrifty, and loving wives o' Scotland,
to whom our very nation (if it were kenned) awes the character it has
acquired owre the face o' the earth, for its prudence, its honesty,
and its trustworthiness. Weel do I ken that the dear craturs hae
suffered for their exertions in the cause o' our sex, and their
authority has been attempted to be put an end to by drunken caitiffs,
wha, wantin the nobility o' mind to admire and _serve_ wham they canna
equal, blaw up their pot-companions against petticoat authority, by
dubbin them _henpecked_, forgettin, the wretched craturs, that that
very hen supplies often the egg, at least clocks to preserve it for
future increase. The very men the dear craturs feed, and clothe, and
protect, and cherish, sing in the pot-houses that they want their

    'Becaus their wifis hes maistery,
    That they dar nawayis cheip;
    Bot gif it be in privity,
    Quhan thair wifis are in sleip.'

And, while the sang is birrin through the fumes o' the ale, thae very
wives are busy toilin to hae the singers weel fed, cled, and cared
for, in a' their concerns. What a noble example, on the other side o'
the question, has Mr Todd this day exhibited! Wives are generally
honoured through their husbands. He shall be honoured through his
wife. What I hae said, I believe will meet wi' the approbation o'
this meetin; but I'm no sae sure o' the success o' what comes--because
I propose to tak a sma' liberty wi' the English language, and, by a
kind o' a trope or figure o' speech, to keep the name, while we boldly
change the thing. I'm weel aware that our minutes bear that _Mr_ Todd
is our boxmaster; but we ken better than that, and we, whase trade it
is to change colours, can hae nae difficulty in reconcilin the tints.
I therefore move, as an amendment, that the piece o' plate be
presented at once to Mrs Jean Todd, _our boxmaster_."

The suggestion took; the humour was relished; the minutes were
altered; the name of Mrs Jean Todd was substituted for Mr Andrew Todd;
and the books of the incorporation bore, and bear to this day, that
the plate had been presented to Mrs Jean Todd, "_their boxmaster_," as
a memorial of the gratitude of the trade for her exertions in saving
the incorporation's treasury.



As we look upon the title of our tale, now that we have written it, we
cannot suppress a shudder of horror. Like the handwriting on the wall,
it seems typical of misery, revolution, and death. Revolution and
death, do we say? What revolution, in the common sense of the word--we
mean in a political one--was ever productive of such deplorable
effects, as that moral revolution to which the bottle bears the social
man?--what death, viewed merely as a physical evil, can be compared to
that moral and intellectual destruction to which the good fellow so
often subjects himself? It is no palliation of the evil to say that
the social man is led by the best qualities of his heart, by the
noblest faculties of his intellect, into the path which leads to utter
wretchedness--to remorse, disease, and premature death in this world;
and, if the combined testimony of reason and revelation be sufficient
to establish any fact--to punishment in the next. Our faculties are
good or bad only according as they are cultivated or controlled; and
we cannot see that the unregulated social feelings which lead a man to
plunge into dissipation, and to drag his friends along with him into
the gulf of vice, are a whit less dangerous or fearful than the
universally execrated disposition which impels him to plunge a dagger
into his own heart, or to bury it in the bosom of his fellow-creature.
On the contrary, they seem calculated to produce even greater
mischief, and, therefore, are more worthy of general deprecation, in
the same degree that a secret enemy is more deserving of universal
abhorrence than an avowed one: the one stands forth with an open
defiance, and a weapon drawn before the eyes of his victim, who may
save himself by flight or conflict--the other "smiles, and smiles, and
murders while he smiles."

How many noble beings have we known, destroyed utterly by the
disposition to what is vulgarly called good-fellowship!--in how many
instances have we known splendid talents, high love of moral
rectitude, nay, even strong religious principles, strangled by the
social feelings! At first, doubtless, there was but a slight
dereliction of duty, mourned for sincerely, and punished by severe
remorse; but, gradually, and with insidious motion, the victim
revolved in a wider sphere, and more remote from the orbit of virtue,
until, at length, escaping entirely from the attraction which had held
him in the just path, he fell, with headlong and irresistible
velocity, into the shapeless void of vice--the dark chaos of crime.

Our heart sickens as we pass in review before us the numbers of our
early friends who have run this terrific career, who now fill timeless
graves, or are yet in the land of existence, bearing about in their
bosoms a living hell--whose hearts are already sepulchres. And, but
that we thought the relation we are about to deliver may be of service
to some who, already standing on the brink, are not fully aware of
their danger--but that we conceived the tale of talent, generosity,
and worth, miserably destroyed by the unregulated social feelings, may
arrest some kindred spirit in its path to unanticipated misery--we
should yield to the impulse which urges us to fling down our pen, and
give ourselves up to sorrow for the departed.

William Riddell was the only son of a shepherd, who dwelt upon the
moorlands that overhang one of the tributaries of the Tweed. The old
man was one of those characters which have been so often and so well
described--a stern, grave, intelligent, religious Scottish shepherd.
The broad Lowland bonnet did not cover a shrewder head than old David
Riddell's; nor did the hodden grey coat, throughout wide Scotland,
wrap a warmer or more honest heart.

His honesty was manifest to all--the warmth of his feelings was
latent, and required to be struck by strong emotion, ere it was
developed externally. The solitary influences of nature, when
habitually contemplated in her more wild and solemn aspects, seem
calculated to mould minds of good natural capabilities, but which are
shut out from the social acquisition of knowledge, into forms like
that of David Riddell's. If they all, like the nature which has
breathed its spirit into them, seem somewhat rugged and stern, they
all, like her also, bear the sterling stamp of sincerity. The
elements, which "are not flatterers, but counsellors that feelingly
persuade him what he is," are his familiar companions--among the
remote valleys, and along the precipitous mountain-sides, and upon the
wide moorlands, their irresistible power leads him to look with awe up
to their Creator and Controller, and humility also is impressed upon
him; but with these a confident reliance on the mercy and benevolence
of the Being who regulates them is naturally produced: and thus it is,
that, with this awe and humility, a slavish fear is no portion of his
character; for he has been in the heart of a thousand mists, and has
yet returned safely to his cottage ingle--he has braved the storms of
many winters, and still looks, with a prophetic eye, upon the fresh
green of approaching springs, and the purple heath-blooms of coming
summers. In a mind thus constituted, duplicity can never dwell. There
are millions who, shut up in cities, and shrinking from the inclemency
of the seasons, look on the shepherd of the mountains as one worthy
only of commiseration--who paint him as a wretch whose soul is as
barren as his moorlands, and think of him as a slave, wandering, with
vacant mind and wearied frame, over gloomy solitudes, earning with
misery to-day the food which enables his body to bear the toil of

How wide is this of the truth!--The sweet and tranquil joys of home
are his, enhanced a thousand-fold by previous privation--the delights
of connubial and filial love are more keenly felt by him, in the
simplicity of nature, than by the luxurious citizen or the ermined
noble; and though he has never heard the chant of the cathedral choir,
or listened to the consecrated melody of an organ peal, the sublime
transports of religion have thrilled his bosom beneath the solitary
sky, amid the wild, or by the margin of the cataract that rolls its
unvisited torrent over nameless cliffs. It is a mistaken belief that
poverty and toil shut the shepherd's eyes from the loveliness of
nature--nor is it true, that, because he is rude in speech, and
possessed of little book-learning, he does not feel keenly, and
translate faithfully, the beautiful language which she utters to the
heart of man. Wordsworth has so exquisitely described what we are
wishing to express, that we shall, without apology for the length of
the quotation, repeat his words:--

    "Grossly that man errs, who should suppose
    That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks,
    Are things indifferent to the shepherd's thoughts:
    Fields, where with cheerful spirits he has breathed
    The common air--the hills, which he so oft
    Has climb'd with vigorous steps--which have impress'd
    So many incidents upon his mind,
    Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear,
    Which, like a book, preserves the memory
    Of the dumb animals whom he has saved,
    Has fed or shelter'd; linking to such acts,
    So grateful in themselves, the certainty
    Of honourable gain;--these fields, these hills,
    Which are his living being, even more
    Than his own blood--what could they less?--have laid
    Strong hold on his affections, are to him
    A pleasurable feeling of blind love--
    The pleasure which there is in life itself."

It was with this well-spring of quiet happiness in his breast, that
David Riddell had gone from day to day among his flock, and returned
to his cottage fireside. His wife Rachel was one of those women of
whom, notwithstanding the habitual discontent and sneers of men, there
are thousands in this world, in this kingdom--nay, among our own
Border hills--who, like the stars of heaven during the daylight, hold
on their course noiselessly and unseen, but are, nevertheless, shining
with a sweet and steady radiance, every one in its place, in the
firmament. Placid, pious, and cheerful, with a quiet but kind heart,
that ever and anon displayed its workings in the sweet light of her
eyes, or in the "heartsome" smile that arranged her still lovely
features into the symmetry of benevolence; in adversity--for she had
lost children, and had known sickness--in adversity, patient and
resigned; in prosperity--for their flocks had flourished, and many of
their harvests had been abundant--in prosperity, not too much elated,
but happy with a calm and grateful joy; finally, possessed of a gentle
and forbearing nature, which rendered innocuous the occasional
sternness or irritability of her husband, and turned insensibly aside
the shafts which might have otherwise struck deadly at their domestic
peace:--such was the partner of the joys and the sharer of the sorrows
of David Riddell for above a quarter-of-a-century. Thus situated, it
could not be but that he had been a happy man. For, though care and
trouble had not unfrequently entered his dwelling, they had never long
remained; nor do they ever continue to haunt a house in which
good-nature and true piety are inmates. Four sweet children had been
taken from them, each at an age which seemed more interesting than the
other, and sorrow had, for a time, darkened their dwelling; but the
tears of those griefs were now dried, and, save an occasional sigh
from the bereaved parents, as some casual circumstance recalled their
lost little ones to their recollections, the only traces of their
former afflictions were to be found in the prodigality of affection
which they lavished on their only remaining child. David Riddell was
verging towards threescore, when William, the subject of the following
narrative, was born. The old man's heart was entirely bound up in this
child of his age. Frequently, not from necessity, but impelled by
love, had he performed the ministrations of a mother to him; often, on
a sunny day, had he carried him, like a lamb, in the corner of his
plaid, up to the hills; and often, laying the unconscious infant on
the purple heath upon the mountain-side, had he knelt down before him,
beneath the solitary sky, and poured out his heart in gratitude to the
God who had bestowed on him this precious gift. When little William
was able to follow his father among the flocks, they became
inseparable; and it was beautiful to behold the old man laying aside
the gravity and sternness of his nature, and renewing, with his little
boy, the sports which the lapse of half-a-century had well-nigh swept
from his memory. They sought out together the nest of the lapwing and
the moorfowl; they chased the humble-bee over the heath in company;
or, loitering down the mountain streams, assisted each other in the
pursuit of the speckled trout. The old man taught his boy, amid the
secluded glens, or upon the naked hill-tops, to modulate his voice to
the hymns consecrated to religion throughout Scotland; the rich melody
of the "Old Hundred," or the "Martyrs," rose in concert from their
lips; or, perhaps the aged shepherd played on the simple Scottish
flageolet, on which he had been, in his youth, a skilful performer,
some of the touching airs of his mother-land, and then, placing the
pipe in William's hands, assisted him, by kind encouragement or
skilful rebuke, to follow out the beautiful strain. Thus they lived

    "A pair of friends, though one was young,
    And Matthew seventy-two."

Linked closer and closer together by these sweet natural ties, they
were happy, and their affection was the grateful theme of all the
inhabitants of the valley.

A little incident which occurred in William's childhood had determined
his father to rear him for the ministry. While yet only five years of
age, he was found one day by his father, with an old family Bible upon
his knee, some of the leaves of which he had torn out, and was
arranging after a fashion of his own. On being asked by his father
what he was doing, he replied, "That he thought the evangelists
differed in some portions of their history, and that he was trying to
discover wherein the difference lay."[C] The old man retired with
streaming eyes; and from that moment William Riddell was, like Samuel
of old, vowed to the service of God.

As he grew in years, he displayed proofs of talent which astonished
the shepherd, and filled old David's heart with exultation. Before he
was fifteen, there was not a stream nor a legend that belonged to his
native hills which he had not celebrated in song. His pen was always
ready to assist the shepherd lads in their rustic loves; and the
crabbed and grasping little tyrants of the valley had, more than once,
winced under his satire or his ridicule. The old man, as we have said,
rejoiced in the genius of his son, and had always, in his ample
pockets, good store of the young poet's productions, wherewith to
regale such of his companions as chose to listen. Rachel, however,
with a more prophetic eye, saw, in the vivacity of her boy's nature,
the germs of as much grief as joy to himself, and used commonly to
shake her head and sigh, while her husband and his friends were
convulsed with laughter at some of William's sallies.

At length the period arrived when he was to be sent to college.

I need not attempt to describe the feelings of the family when this
little revolution in their domestic life occurred; the quiet but deep
anxiety of Rachel--the restless and troubled looks and actions of the
old shepherd--and the exulting anticipation of the bright world into
which he was about to enter, which William displayed, tempered or
repressed, every now and then, by natural sorrow, at leaving the hills
and streams where his boyhood had been spent pleasantly, and the dear
parents to whom he owed so deep a debt of love. The last words of
David to his son, as he stood grasping his hand, at the foot of the
glen where the path turns off to the next market town--while big tears
stood heavily on his eyelashes, visitants unknown for twenty
years--were almost those of Michael to Luke, in Wordsworth's exquisite

          "Amid all fear
    And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou
    Mayest bear in mind the life thy fathers lived,
    Who, being innocent, did for that cause
    Bestir them in good deeds."

The old shepherd and his son had never been separated for a single
night--now they parted knowing that many months must elapse before
they could behold one another again. It was a bitter moment, though
full of the germs of joyful anticipation.

William had taken his farewell embrace, and, with convulsive sobs, had
walked hastily away to a little distance; he turned, and beheld his
aged father still standing on the spot, with clasped hands uplifted,
and eyes fixed intently on his own receding form. He was unable to
withstand the sight--he rushed back again, and threw himself, in an
agony of affection, upon the old man's neck, weeping--though a manlier
heart throbbed not--weeping like a child. But at length they parted; a
sadder heart never entered into the solitudes of nature than old David
Riddell bore into the mountains on that evening--a purer never left
the innocence of the country for the crowded city, than his son
carried with him to the metropolis of Scotland.

For four years William attended college during the winter, and
remained with his father during the summer months.

It was not that his labour was required by the old man: for he had now
amassed a sufficient sum, with his moderate habits, to make him
independent; but the sight of William was pleasant to the aged
shepherd, among the hills where they had played together, and which
were consecrated to their affections. The young student had
distinguished himself highly at college, and had gained the esteem,
both publicly and privately expressed, of many of his preceptors. His
heart was still uncontaminated, his morals pure, and his habits
simple, as when he was a boy. It was at this time that Rachel died. As
her life had been peaceful, and, upon the whole, happy, so her
death-bed was tranquil and resigned. She had rejoiced, with her
husband, in the promising career of their son, and, as her dim eyes
descried his manly form bent over her in an attitude of deepest grief,
she could scarcely but feel her natural sorrow at leaving him quenched
in the glad anticipations of his future prospects in life. Yet the
misery which his ardent and imaginative nature _might_ inflict upon
him was still not shut out from her mind, and almost her last words
were to warn him against indulging it too far. She died, and the old
shepherd and his son were left to attempt to comfort each other.
William was again about to depart to college, and he would fain have
had his father to give up his duties, and accompany him to Edinburgh.
He dwelt upon his increasing feebleness, his age, already beyond the
common lot of man, the solitude to which he would be left, the comfort
they would be to each other, if together. To all this the old man

"Comfort, my boy, there is none for me in this world, except in thee.
Gradually the circle of my love has been narrowed: first, my own
parents, then my children, last, my beloved Rachel, have been swept
away; and now thou only art left for my earthly affections to embrace.
Gladly for thy sake would I go to the city; but I think these hills
could not bear to look on another while I lived--this cottage to
shelter another shepherd while I am able to fling my plaid around me.
It is a foolish fancy for an old man to cherish, yet I cannot bid it
depart. Go, then, alone, my dearest lad, and leave me in these scenes,
which have become part of my being, to perform the duties in which my
life has been spent. And still remember, William, when temptations
assail thee, or bad men would lead thee by the cords of vanity or
friendship into vice, that there is a grey-haired man among these
hills, whom the tale would send in sorrow to the grave--a heart that
for twenty years has been fed by its love for thee, which would break
to know thou hadst become unworthy of that love. Farewell! and may
that good Being who has brought me in safety out of the heart of a
thousand storms preserve thee from the deadlier tempests of the world
of vice!"

William returned to college, with a heart softened both by grief and
love. Strange, that out of this wholesome state of mind should have
sprung the elements of wretchedness and vice! Yet so it was. He had
written a poem on the subject of his late affliction, and had breathed
into it the very soul of sorrow. The wild and beautiful scenery amid
which he dwelt, and which he loved and knew so well, had also given
its hues to the language and the thoughts of his muse: his rich and
now cultivated taste imparted elegance and harmony to his numbers; the
poem was at once original, chaste, and imaginative; it gained him the
esteem of the highest literary circles in Edinburgh, and he became a
cherished guest in the houses of many distinguished men for whom he
had never hoped to indulge any feelings save those of distant and
respectful admiration. He emerged into a new world, too beautiful and
dazzling for him at first to see his way clearly through its mazes.
His undoubted genius commanded the respect of the men--his manly
feeling, and the ingenious eloquence of his address, presently made
him a distinguished favourite with the female portion of his
acquaintance. The tone of his thoughts and feelings underwent a
perfect revolution. Once introduced into the society of the polite and
the learned, the bashfulness and awkwardness of the shepherd-lad
seemed to fall off from him, without effort of his own, but naturally,
like the crustaceous envelope in the metamorphosis of insects. He felt
as if he were a denizen of the clime in which he now luxuriated, and
as if, till now, he had been living in a foreign land. He discovered,
to his amazement, that those great men, whose very names he had been
wont to utter with reverence, and before whose glance his eye had been
accustomed to fall abashed, were the most easy, familiar, and
communicative companions possible--that scarcely one of them was so
severe in their morality as his old father--that they listened to his
opinions with attention, and replied to them with respect. Then,
again, among the satellites of these literary luminaries--those whom,
till now, in the reflected light of their primaries, he had been wont
to behold with respect, and almost with envy--he presently perceived
weakness, dimness, and aberration; and he perceived, also, how capable
he was of outshining them all; or, to speak in less metaphorical
phrase, he found among the less distinguished literary persons who
haunted the tables of the great, a degree of ignorance on subjects of
general science, a slavishness of demeanour, and a petty jealousy,
which he could not but despise, and which it required very little
penetration to perceive that the great man despised also. He soon
acquired, therefore, a confidence in his own powers, and a conscious
respect for, I had almost said pride in, the rectitude of his
feelings, to which, till now, he had been an entire stranger. And if
such was his success with the men, his conquest over his own timidity,
in the presence of women, struck him with yet greater surprise. He who
had been accustomed to blush and look down before a peasant girl,
presently found himself able to gaze steadily into the eyes of a noble
matron or maiden, undazzled by the jewelled coronet upon her head, or
yet more brilliant charms in which nature and art had arrayed her
brow, and neck, and bosom. The witchery of woman in all her
loveliness, instead of, as he had often imagined, causing his heart to
sink, and his cheek to burn, and his tongue to be dumb in his mouth,
awoke the latent powers of his nature--it thrilled his heart with
exulting admiration, and filled his eyes with a bold, steady radiance,
and poured from his lips the eloquence which female loveliness can
alone call forth. His nature was changed--that is, the external
development of his nature, for his heart remained the same; and often,
amid crowded assemblies and rich peals of concerted music, it called
on his imagination to portray the old solitary shepherd, amid the
hills of his boyhood, or to recall the simple strains which his father
had taught him to play upon the rude Scottish pipe.

At the period to which we refer, the literary society of Edinburgh was
by no means distinguished for its abstemiousness. A "good" fellow, and
a clever one, were almost synonymous terms. Sir Walter Scott, in his
novel of "Guy Mannering," has matchlessly described the convivial
habits of the Scottish advocates: the habits of the whole literary
society of Edinburgh were pretty similar. Why should I detail the
circumstances of William's seduction from sobriety? The example of
those whom he had been accustomed to admire, respect, and love; the
gay sallies of his younger associates; the witchery of the society of
genius; the flowing feeling which followed the circulation of the
bowl; the song, the speech, the story, the flash of wit, the jocose
roll of humour, and, above all, the forgiving approval (for how else
should we designate it?) of the ladies--all assailed him at once, and,
beneath their attacks, his reason and resolve,

    "That column of true majesty in man,"

fell. Age, wisdom, youth, wit, humour, friendship, love, and
beauty--what could a raw shepherd lad oppose to all these? "The
request of his aged father, the injunction of the moral law, the
direct command of God!" some stern, _perhaps_ good man may reply.
William tried to control his career by means of these; but the attacks
were unceasing, various, distracting--the defence was in the hands of
one, and he, alas! too often disposed to admit the enemy. We will pass
rapidly over this part of our departed friend's career. He mingled, at
first sparingly, at length more freely, in the convivial habits of his
new friends; he felt the thrill of friendship; he was keenly alive to
the social glow which the bowl awakens; his heart also was elated by
the love of men of genius, and his vanity gratified by their
loudly-expressed admiration. Unfortunately, he engaged to write for a
new periodical which some of his friends were then attempting to
establish. Amid the solitude of his native hills he had experienced
the grateful and rapid awakening of noble ideas; he was surprised to
find that, in the city, amid the distractions of ambition, music,
love, and wine, he could only now and then call up his natural powers
to his aid. He had pledged himself to support the new periodical to a
certain extent; and, in order to fulfil his promise, at the
instigation of an acquaintance, he stimulated himself to its
accomplishment by means of brandy. This was the first time he had ever
drank ardent spirits for the sake of the effects which they produce.
The paper which he had written was universally admired, the sale of
the periodical was very much increased by its influence, and he was
plied by the proprietors with new and lucrative engagements.

On the very morning on which he had received these proposals, he also
received a letter from his aged father, informing him, that the
brother of the old man, who was engaged in commerce, and for whom he
had some time ago become surety, had failed, and that the whole of the
little earnings of his past life would be required to liquidate the

William closed with the proposal of the proprietors of the magazine,
and wrote to the old man a letter, partly of condolence, but more of
triumph. He was almost glad that the resources of his father were
destroyed, now that he himself had the means of supporting him; and it
was with a joyous heart that he sat down to write his paper for the
new periodical. But alas! he felt what all who have so occupied
themselves have felt, how the mind becomes weak, and the fancy flags,
when compelled to action. He rushed into society, to escape from the
dreadful depression which follows high mental excitement; the warmth
of friendship with which he was met fell gratefully on his spirit; the
glee and glory of social intercourse first relieved his wearied
faculties, and then pleasantly excited them; the titillation of
gratified vanity, and the exercise of intellectual power, combined to
make the scene fascinating; he went more and more into society; it
became more and more necessary to him--he was a _social man_. His
father was a strange, I had almost said a stubborn man in some
respects, and he might in some measure be blamed for this gradual
sliding from sobriety of his son. To the affectionate letter of
William, which beseeched him, now that his little hoard had been
carried away, and now that his years were above fourscore, to come to
Edinburgh, and dwell with his son, the old man answered, that God had
yet left him vigour to mount the hills, and thread the valleys; and
that, so long as this was the case, he would consider it unjust to
become a burden to others. There was a stern independence and lofty
resolve in the determination of the aged shepherd which harmonised
well with his character; but it fell like lead upon the bright dreams
of William--it strangled many of his best resolutions of future virtue
and industry. He did not know that his father had already heard of his
relaxed habits, and had even had reported to him, in exaggerated
phrase, the detail of some of his midnight carousals. William went on,
gaining fame, but losing virtue. In the popular use of the word, it
was _impossible_ for him to resist the importunities of those who
pressed him to partake of their bottle or their bowl. They grasped his
hand cordially; they sang the songs which he loved, or perhaps had
written; they drank his health with cheers of enthusiasm. It was
_impossible_ for him to resist the entreaties of those persons--it was
_impossible_ for him not to believe them sincere. Nor were they
otherwise; but the value of the sincerity of the intemperate and the
immoral, what is it?

    "Ashes within beautiful fruit."

William Riddell passed the whole of his examinations, and was, as the
students say, "ready for a church." Nor was he long in procuring one.
Among the friends to whom his genius and character had recommended him
was a nobleman, who had the gift of the very kirk to which William and
his father had been accustomed to resort. The incumbent died; the
nobleman presented the living to William. With the new duties which
now devolved upon him, came a crowd of new feelings and springs of
action. He gave up his engagement with the literary periodical, he
retired from his social companions, and he devoted himself to grave
and worthy study and contemplation. The struggle was severe; but he
bore up against it under the excitement of the new responsibility
which had fallen upon him. He went down to the country with some of
the most distinguished members of the Scottish Church, who officiated
at his ordination. A proud, a tumultuously happy day was it for old
David Riddell, who, with wonder and awe, felt his horny hand grasped
by the great men whose very names he had considered subservient to his
happiness of old time, and beheld his son, little William, the boy
whom he had taught the alphabet upon Scaurhope Hill, with the pebbles
that lie there--beheld him holding high discourse with these same
dignitaries, saw that his opinions were listened to with respect, and
that his thoughts, according as they were solemn or ludicrous, were
responded to by these great men with gravity or broad grins. A
delightful day was it to the old shepherd, as he beheld the first man
in the General Assembly--the greatest man in the Scottish Kirk--lay
his hand upon the youthful head of his beloved son, and consecrate him
to the care of the souls who dwelt in the very valley where he had
been born and reared, in which his genius was known, and his family,
though humble, respected.

There was another, and an equally strong reason, for William's giving
up his convivial habits and boisterous companions. He was in love.

It was at that least romantic of all places for a lover, a ball in
Edinburgh, that William Riddell, the new pastor of Mosskirk, had first
met Ellen Ogilvie, the daughter of the principal heritor of his
parish, the owner of the hills on which his father had watched the
sheep for above threescore years. Ellen had beheld him moving, a gay
and welcome visitant, in noble halls; her hand had met his in the
dance, in exchange with those of countesses and duchesses; she had
heard his praise echoed from house to house, and from mouth to mouth;
she was now alone in the country, with nothing but ignorant or coarse
men around her: let it not seem wonderful that she, though the only
daughter of a wealthy landholder, should bestow her love on the poor,
handsome, manly, eloquent pastor of Mosskirk. And if this does not
seem wonderful, it will surely not appear singular that the proud,
haughty, bigoted, and ignorant father of Ellen should forbid the
match, and should threaten with his vengeance the usurper of his
daughter's love.

His vengeance! How weak a word to such a being as William! Not that he
would not have rejoiced, for Ellen's sake, and for the sake of
decorum, to have had the old gentleman's approval; not that he would
not have used every possible means, consistent with honour and the
dignity of his own character, to have gained the good opinion of the
father of his beloved; but the laird was a man of the world, of acres,
and of hundreds; his litany lay in pounds, shillings, and pence; his
affections were wrapped up in rents and lordships; and that a poor
parson, however God had chosen to ennoble him by genius and generous
sentiments--that a poor parson should have dared to look upon a child
of his with the eyes of affection, upon the child who was the natural
heir of all those riches which he had laboured for half-a-century to
amass, smote him as a personal insult, as an indignity which nothing
but blood could wipe out. The mother of Ellen had all along thought
differently; and from the first moment in which she had perceived the
affection that existed between them (and oh, how much quicker women
are than men in discovering these things!) she had encouraged their

William Riddell, the minister of Mosskirk, was out of the canons of
the duello, and the laird, therefore, instead of calling him out, was
compelled to be satisfied with disinheriting Ellen, who, under
circumstances which fully exonerated her from her father's tyrannical
wishes, became William's wife.

My friend William had always been one of those persons who abhorred
the usual terms on which wives are sought and husbands achieved.
"Keeping a wife," was a phrase of blasphemy to him, or at least it
seemed desecrating women to the level of a dog, a horse, or a
cow--the "keeping" of which appeared, according to their phraseology,
a matter of the same general import as the cherishing a beloved
partner of all in which the human heart takes an interest. Nor,
although he was a shepherd's son, could he perceive much inequality in
a minister who earned four hundred pounds a-year, by looking after the
spiritual interests of some hundreds of individuals, and who was to
become the confidant of their griefs, and the sharer of their joys,
their supporter in sickness, and their guide in the common path of
life--he could not perceive much presumption in such a man matching
himself with the daughter of an ignorant and coarse person, whose
worth lay only in his wealth, whose character was not esteemed by his
neighbours, and whose sympathy for suffering human nature only
developed itself now and then in his bestowal of a basin of hot soup
upon a starving beggar at Christmas.

On the contrary, if William thought about the matter in this relation
at all, he considered, and justly, that he was rather conferring an
honour than receiving one from the father of Ellen. But the old
gentleman thought, as the world thinks, differently; and accordingly,
in his wrath, he disinherited her.

It was unfortunate for the full gratification of his malice, that
William was impassible to this mode of punishment, and that he beheld
the whole of the old gentleman's possessions conveyed over to a
charitable institution, with as much pleasure as if he had signed them
away of his own accord.

In the parish of Mosskirk, as in most of the country parishes in
Scotland, there were a number of intelligent men who associated
frequently together for the sake of cultivating scientific knowledge,
and conversing on various subjects of interest in literature and
philosophy. At the time when William was inducted into Mosskirk, all
the ministers of the neighbouring parishes were members of this
society, and it was generally held on a convivial footing. Some of the
members came from a distance, others were jolly fellows naturally; and
thus it happened that their discussions frequently dipped deep into
the night, and sometimes were not settled until cock-crow.

Into this society William Riddell was welcomed with enthusiastic
honours, and was at once made perpetual president. His fame as a poet
had gone before him, and his genial warmth as a man followed up with
general applause the sensation which he had created. He had natural
powers capable of supporting him in the sphere to which his reputation
had raised him. He had wit, humour, pathos, and fluency; and, eager to
earn the opinion of his parishioners, he exerted himself to gain it,
and he succeeded. Throughout the whole of his parish, he was admired
as a man of genius and eloquence, he was respected as a man of
irreproachable moral worth, and beloved as a friend, who shared
sincerely in the gladness, and sympathised in the sorrows, of his
flock. Unfortunately, the habits of many of his parishioners, as well
as of those of the literary club to which I have alluded, were the
very reverse of temperate. For a time the attraction of his young
wife, and presently that of his infant son, kept him from indulging in
nocturnal potations. But afterwards these attractions lost their
force; the glory and the glee of the musical and literary conclave
overcame all his resolves; and, night after night, it happened that he
returned to his manse at unseasonable hours, and greeted his wife with
the leer of intoxication, instead of the steady glance of affection.
We should have said that, before this, old David Riddell, moved by his
son's entreaties, had given up his duties among the hills, and had
come to live with him at Mosskirk Manse. A weekly delight was it to
the old man to behold his son arrayed in his black gown, and with the
smooth white bands drooping decently upon his bosom, delivering from
the pulpit of his native parish the words of eternal truth; and
pleasant was it to the old shepherd ever and anon to recognise, in the
elegant but simple language of the pastor, some of those sentiments
which he himself had instilled into his mind, while he was yet a
shepherd lad upon the moorlands.

But it could not long be concealed from him that William was irregular
in his habits. When the fact first struck him, he almost swooned away;
for the forebodings of Rachel rushed into his mind, and he saw, as it
seemed, for the first time, that his son's destruction was sealed.

It was long, however, before he could bring himself to speak on the
subject to William; he felt the shame which his son appeared to have
abandoned; and his own temperate blood sent a blush into his withered
cheek at the idea of addressing the child of his heart, the minister
of God, on the subject of his intemperance. The miserable struggles of
the old man before he gave utterance to his sentiments to William, we
are utterly unable to describe--we leave them to our reader's
imagination. At length, however, on a morning after the minister of
Mosskirk had shamefully been supported home by two of his
parishioners, in a state of deplorable intoxication, the old shepherd
gathered up resolution to speak to his son. He did not denounce,
insult, or even upbraid him; but, with tears in his eyes, delicately
alluding to his misconduct, assured him that such another occurrence
would cause him to leave the manse for ever; for that, though he might
not be able to prevent, he was resolved never to sanction, the fearful
immorality which drunkenness carries in its train, more hideous still
when attached to a minister of the Gospel.

William, already disgusted with himself, and humbled before his own
heart, was crushed to the earth by his old father's appeal. He threw
himself upon his aged parent's neck, and entreated his forgiveness.
"My forgiveness, my boy!" replied the shepherd; "you cannot offend
me, and therefore it is vain to ask for my forgiveness. My heart is so
utterly bound up in thee, that, though it may deplore, it cannot
denounce any conduct of thine. It is as it were but a servant of
thine, and in good or in evil report, will follow in its train. But,
if my sufferings, and the sneers of men, have no influence over thee,
think, oh, my dear boy! think on death, the judgment, eternity!"

Will it be believed, that, after this appeal, the remorse which he
suffered, and the resolutions of reformation which he made, a single
week saw the minister of Mosskirk reel into his manse, assisted by the
pastor of the Methodist Chapel, at two o'clock in the morning? Such
was the distressing reality; and the next morning, without speaking to
his son, but giving, amid heart-broken sobs and sighs, his blessing to
his daughter-in-law and her children, old David Riddell removed from
his son's roof: nor could all his entreaties induce him to return.

Let me hasten to conclude. The conduct of William became presently so
notoriously shameful, that it could no longer be overlooked by his
parishioners, and he was more than once called upon by some of them
with remonstrances, which increased gradually in severity. Still the
infatuated man proceeded, until at length his behaviour became a
public slander to his own parishioners and to the whole church. He was
yet, however, so much beloved for his generous warmth of heart, and
admired for his talents, that a last effort was made to prevent the
sentence of expulsion, which had been passed against him, from being
carried into effect; and his punishment was commuted, if so it could
be called, into making a public apology, from his own pulpit, to his
people, for his shameful irregularities. On the day of this
heartrending exhibition, not more than one-fourth of the congregation
were present; the remainder being absent that they might not behold
the spectacle of their pastor's humiliation. But old David Riddell
was there, supported, for the first, and alas! for the last time, into
church by a friend. Until now, the aged man had always walked
unsupported, and with a firm, nay, with something of an elastic step,
up to his pew; but during the past week, since he had heard the news
of his son's public disgrace, and the public penance which he was to
perform, his vital powers had sunk with fearful rapidity. To those
even who had seen him, on the preceding Sabbath, move decently into
his accustomed spot, and depositing the broad-brimmed hat, which, on
the Lord's-day, he exchanged for the broad Lowland bonnet, smooth
backwards his thin light-grey locks, he appeared scarcely like the
same man. His form was now bent nearly double; he shuffled his feet
painfully over the ground; his head shook from weakness, not from age;
his eyes were red and dim; he looked like a man who was only three or
four steps from the open grave. When, after the service was concluded,
William began to read the humiliating apology which he had written,
the aged shepherd crept painfully down upon his knees, and, burying
his face in his clasped hands, remained absorbed in prayer. The last
words had fallen from the minister's lips; there was a dead stillness
throughout the church, for all were penetrated with sorrow and shame
at their pastor's disgrace, when a deep groan broke from the old
shepherd, and startled the congregation from the silence in which they
were indulging. All eyes, and those of the minister among the rest,
were instantly directed towards the old man; his frame remained for a
moment in the attitude which we have described, and the next instant
it fell heavily upon the floor--a corpse!

We shall not give pain to our readers, nor harrow up our own feelings,
by attempting to describe the misery which this event caused William
Riddell. It seemed to be one of those griefs which cannot, and ought
not to be outlived--a punishment greater than man is able to bear. So
thought William--if the flash of this conviction across the settled
gloom of his spirit could be called thought. Yet days, weeks, months,
passed away, and he lived on, nay, performed his duties; and, at
length, by the caresses of his wife and child, became even, as it
were, sullenly reconciled to life. He found, however, that it was
impossible for him ever to regain his former station in society. His
brother ministers avoided him; and one or two of them, more harsh or
orthodox than the rest, took occasion to allude to his misconduct in a
public manner. The most respectable portion of his parishioners
pitied, but, in general, kept aloof from him. Degraded and sunk as he
was, William had a nature formed to feel, in all their most exquisite
torture, these indignities and slights. The persons who came to
comfort and sympathise with him, were unhappily those whose sympathy
was more dangerous than their contempt. How shall we go on? William
again, after severe struggles, gave way to the entreaties of some of
those mistaken friends, and to the treacherous wishes of his own
heart. He became a confirmed drunkard! He seemed to have at length
cast behind him every thought of reverence for God and his holy
vocation--every particle of respect for himself or his fellow-men. He
had two or three attacks of brain fever, brought on by his excesses;
and he no sooner recovered from them than he went on as before. His
poor young wife exhausted every argument which reason could
afford--every blandishment with which affection and beauty could
supply her, to reclaim him, but in vain. He retained, or seemed to
retain, even, all the warmth of his first love for her; and, in his
hours of intoxication, he seemed most strongly to acknowledge her
worth and loveliness; but the necessity for the violent excitement of
ardent spirits had overcome all other considerations; she wept long
and bitterly: then, as despair began to close in upon her, she
(dreadful that we should have it to relate!) sought, in the example
of her husband to escape from her sorrow! Ellen Ogilvie, the young,
the graceful, the beautiful, the accomplished, the gentle, feminine
creature, whose very frame seemed to shrink from the slightest
coarseness in speech or action, became a drunkard!

Many years had passed away between the time when the old shepherd had
perished in the church and the time to which we now refer, and William
had a family of two sons and three daughters. If Ellen's father was
unfavourable to her marriage at first, it will be easily imagined that
he never now acknowledged them. His young family, therefore, had
nothing to depend upon except their father's exertions, and they were
about to be closed for ever.

The time arrived when it was impossible for William to be suffered any
longer to remain in his charge. He was thrust out of his church, and
expelled from the ministry. The messenger who delivered this message
to him, delivered it to one more dead than alive. His excesses had at
length brought on a fit of apoplexy; he was but partially recovered
from it, and could only, in a dim manner, comprehend the purport of
the message, when, with his wife and children, he was removed from the
manse. A friend sheltered him for a time--afterwards he was conveyed
over to Edinburgh. Within a twelvemonth he died, having been chained
down to bed by his disease, one-half of his frame being dead, with
mind enough to see poverty and inevitable misery ready to crush his
helpless family, but without the power to use the slightest exertion
in order to avert the impending calamity. It was in a garret in the
High Street, upon rotten straw, the spectacle of an emaciated and
shattered wife before his eyes, and the cries of his starving children
sounding in his ears, that William Riddell breathed his last! What
availed it then that he had been good and pure, full of generous
sentiments, endowed with a graceful person, a noble genius, and a
manly eloquence? These otherwise invaluable qualities had been all
sunk or scattered by the spendthrift extravagances of the Social Man.

It is now about five years ago, since, as we were hurrying past
Cassels Place, at the foot of Leith Walk, we were attracted by a crowd
who had gathered round a poor intoxicated woman. She had fallen
beneath the wheel of a waggon, and both her legs were crushed in a
terrible manner. As two or three assistants carried her past a
gas-light towards the nearest house, we were struck by the
resemblance--hideous, indeed, and bloated--which her features wore to
some one whom we had known. We inquired her history, and, to our
horror, discovered that this was indeed Ellen Ogilvie--the widow of
our poor friend, William Riddell. It was useless attempting to save
her; her vital energies were sinking rapidly beneath the injuries
which she had received. She revived a little from the effect of some
wine which we gave her, and began incoherently to speak of her past
life. "You see me here, sir," said she, "a poor, wretched, degraded
creature:--I was not always thus. There was not a happier heart in
wide Scotland than mine was, ten years ago. But my husband, sir, was a
Social Man!" A convulsive sob checked her words--her head sank back on
the pillow--her lower jaw fell--the death-rattle sounded in her
throat--and in a few moments the unfortunate woman expired.


Still and calm lay the sleeping waters of Loch Ard, as they reposed in
their beauty on the morning of the 17th of August, 17--. The hour was
early, and the rays of the rising sun had not yet dispersed the thick
mists that hung on the bosoms of the surrounding hills. The scenery
around, although of the most romantic character, and composed of the
choicest materials for the picturesque, had an air of gloominess and
rawness about it, that did but little justice to the thousand beauties
which its simple elements of wood and water, rock and hill, were
capable, by their various combinations, of producing. That scene yet
wanted the life and soul, the cheering, spirit-stirring influence of
the blessed sunlight, to bring out its loveliness, and to exhibit its
details in all their fairy brightness. This want was not long of being
supplied. The sun rose in all his splendour; the mist rolled away from
the face of the hill; the calm, placid surface of the lake, like a
mighty mirror, embedded in its rude and gigantic, but gorgeous
framework of wooded mountains, shone with dazzling effulgence; and the
hills and forests displayed themselves in their robes of brightest

As every one who has visited these romantic regions knows, the road
that conducts to Aberfoyle from the west end of Loch Ard runs, for a
considerable space, close by the margin of the lake on its northern
side--and a most beautiful locality this is. The road is low and
level; on one hand is the bright, smooth, sandy shore of the loch,
with its clear, shallow water; and, on the other, steep mountains,
shaggy with primeval woods. We have directed the attention of the
reader to this particular point of the landscape, for the purpose of
saying, that, at the moment at which our story opens (namely, on the
morning of the 17th of August, 17--), two persons were seen, at the
early hour which our description would indicate, trudging silently
along by the margin of the lake. They were two young men, and
evidently prosecuting a journey of some length. Over the shoulder of
each projected a stout oak stick, on whose extremity a small bundle
was suspended; probably, small as they were, containing all the
earthly possessions of their bearers. Yet, however poor the lads might
be in world's wealth--for they were, as was sufficiently evident from
their dress, of the humblest class--they were rich in the gifts of
nature; for a couple of handsomer-looking young men than they were the
Highlands of Scotland could not have produced. Strongly built, and
exhibiting in their erect and springy gait the peculiar muscular
energy of their mountain education, they appeared men capable of any
fatigue, and, to judge by the air of calm determination and mild
resolution expressed in their bold and manly countenances, of any deed
of honourable daring. Such was the personal appearance--for, although
differing in individual features, they resembled each other in their
general characteristics--of James M'Intyre and Roderick M'Leod, which
were the names of the two young men whom we have just introduced to
the reader. The ages of the two seemed to be about equal--somewhere
about five or six-and-twenty; in stature they were also nearly the
same; but, if there was any difference between them in this
particular, it was in favour of M'Intyre, who stood nearly six feet in
height. M'Leod might be an inch shorter. They had been brought up
together from their infancy; had a thousand times together climbed the
heights of Cruagh Moran, and as often swam across the deep, dark
waters of Loch Uisk, which lay just before their doors. Their parents
were next door neighbours in the little village of Ardvortan,
situated in one of the most beautiful straths in the West of Scotland.
James and Roderick had not only been companions from their earliest
years, but earned their scanty subsistence; and they were now,
together, about to try their fortunes in a world to which they had
hitherto been strangers. Stories of the warlike renown of their
ancestors, with more recent tales of the achievements of their
countrymen who had enlisted in the 42nd and other Highland regiments,
had roused the martial spirit which they inherited from their fathers,
and determined them to leave their peaceful glen and native hills, to
seek, in "the ranks of death," for that which they had been taught to
believe was the proudest gift of fortune--a soldier's fame.

It was a sad, and yet a proud day, for the mothers of the young men,
that on which they left their native village. Natural affection
deplored their departure, while maternal pride gloried in visions of
the honours that awaited them on the fields of war. The plumed bonnet,
the belted plaid, and all the other gallant array of the Highland
soldier, presented themselves to the fond mothers; and they thought,
as they gazed on the stately forms of their sons for the last time,
how well they would look in the martial garb which they were about to
assume. The young men, then, whom we have represented as wending their
way by the margin of Loch Ard, and prosecuting a southward journey,
were proceeding to Glasgow, one of the recruiting stations of the --th
Highland regiment, to enrol themselves in that gallant corps, which
was already filled with their friends and countrymen.

On arriving at Glasgow, which, although a distance of nearly forty
miles from the spot where we first introduced them to the reader, they
made out with perfect ease on the evening of the same day on which
they left their native village, the young men repaired to a well-known
resort of the privates of Highland regiments which were from time to
time quartered in Glasgow. This was a low, dark public-house in the
High Street of that city, kept by a Serjeant M'Nab, an old veteran,
who had seen service in his day; and who, although he had now retired
into private life, continued to maintain all his military connections
with as much zeal as if he was still in the discharge of his military
duties; and, indeed, this he was to some extent, having still an
authority to enlist. The house of M'Nab was thus filled from morning
to night with soldiers of various grades of rank--serjeants,
corporals, and privates--and of various degrees of standing, from the
raw, newly-enrolled recruit, with his stiff black stock--the only
article of his military equipment with which he had been yet
provided--to the veteran serjeant, who had literally fought his way to
his present rank. In every corner of every room in this favourite
resort of the Celtic warriors, lay heaps of muskets resting against
the wall; and on every table lay piles of Highland bonnets--their
owners being engaged in discussing the contents of the oft-replenished
_half-mutchkin stoup_. Occasionally, too, the scream of a bagpipe
might be suddenly heard in some apartment, where the party by which it
was occupied had attained the point of musical excitement, while, over
all, except the sounds of the aforenamed instrument, prevailed the din
of noisy, but good-humoured colloquy, in sonorous Gaelic; for no other
language was ever heard in the warlike domicile of Serjeant M'Nab.

Such, then, was the house--further distinguished, we forgot to say, by
the sign of the Ram's Head--to which James M'Intyre and Roderick
M'Leod now repaired. They were met at the door by M'Nab, then in the
act of bidding good-by to a batch of serjeants, who, adjusting their
bonnets as they stepped, one after the other, from beneath the low
doorway of the Ram's Head, were about to form a recruiting party to
beat up through the streets for young aspirants after military
glory--a single drummer and fifer being in attendance for this

"Ah, Shames! Ou Rory!" exclaimed M'Nab, taking each of the young men,
who were both well known to him (he being from the same part of the
country), by the hand; "what has brought you" (we translate, for this
was spoken in Gaelic) "to this quarter of the world?"

The lads smiled, and said they would inform him of that presently.
Accustomed to such visits, for such a purpose as M'Intyre and M'Leod
now made, M'Nab at once guessed their object, and, without any further
remark, conducted them into his own private apartment, where, the tact
of the recruiting serjeant and the natural hospitality of the man
combining, he entertained them liberally with the best his house
afforded. During this refection, the young men made known the object
of their visit. The serjeant highly approved of their spirit,
descanted on the glories of a soldier's life, stirred up their
ambition of military fame by recounting various exploits performed by
relations and acquaintances of their own with whom he had served, and
concluded by tendering them the ominous shilling. It was accepted, and
James M'Intyre and Roderick M'Leod became soldiers in His Majesty's
--th regiment of foot.

Desirous, however, as the young men were of enlisting, there was a
condition which they insisted on being conceded them, before they
finally committed themselves. This was, that they should continue
comrades after they became soldiers; that is, as is well known to
every one in the least conversant with these matters, that they should
occupy the same bed, and be placed in a position to render each other
the little services of domestic intercourse in quarters.

M'Nab at once promised that their wishes in this respect should be
complied with; and the promise was faithfully kept. The two lads were
allowed to continue as comrades after they had joined the regiment;
and in this situation maintained that feeling of tender friendship for
each other, which had distinguished the previous part of their lives.

Two handsomer or finer-looking soldiers than James M'Intyre and
Roderick M'Leod, after they had donned the full costume of the corps
to which they belonged, and had acquired the military air of their new
profession, could not have been found, not only in their own regiment,
but perhaps in the whole British army. Modest in their manners, quiet
and civil in their deportment, cleanly, sober and attentive to their
duties, they were beloved by their equals, and looked upon with
especial favour by their superiors; they were, in short, the pride and
boast of the regiment--no small honour in a corps where there was an
unusual proportion of stout and steady men.

For some years, the military life of M'Intyre and M'Leod was unmarked
by any striking vicissitude. The usual movements of the corps from
place to place occurred; but hitherto they had not been called on to
take any share in active service. Their turn, however, was to
come--and it did come. They were ordered to America, shortly after the
commencement of the first war with that country and Great Britain.
Previous to their embarking for the seat of war, the two comrades
obtained three days' leave of absence--it was all that could be
allowed them--to visit their friends in the Highlands. The time was
short--too short for the distance they had to travel; but, as the
point of embarkation was Greenock, they thought they could make it
out; and, by travelling night and day, they did so. They presented
themselves in their native glen in the full costume of their corps,
and gratified their mothers' hearts by this display of their military
appointments. A few short hours of enjoyment succeeded; another bitter
parting followed; and the two comrades were again on their way to
rejoin their regiment. On the second day after, they were crossing
the ocean with their regiment, to the seat of war in the new world.

In this new scene of experience, the two friends distinguished
themselves as much by their bravery as they had before by their
exemplary and soldierly conduct. In all the actions in which they were
engaged, they made themselves conspicuous by their gallantry, and by
several instances of individual heroism. But they rendered themselves
still more remarkable by the tenderness of their friendship, made
manifest in a thousand little acts of brotherly love. They stood
together foremost in the fight, and attended each other with
unremitting kindness and assiduity, when wounds and sickness had
alternately stretched them on the couch of suffering. Their affection
for each other soon became, in short, a subject of general remark,
exciting a singular degree of interest, from the romantic character
with which the bravery of the two friends had invested it.

About this time--that is, about the middle of the war--the regiment to
which M'Intyre and M'Leod belonged had the misfortune to lose their
commanding officer, who was killed in action. To the regiment this was
a misfortune, and one of the most serious kind; for the gallant
soldier who had fallen was the friend as well as the commander of his
men. He studied and adapted himself to their peculiarities; knew and
appreciated their character; and was beloved by them in return, for
the kind consideration which he always evinced for their best
interests. He was, moreover, their countryman--a circumstance which
formed an additional tie between him and the brave men whom he

But the death of Colonel Campbell was a double mischance to the
regiment; inasmuch as to his loss was added the misfortune of his
place being supplied by a man of totally opposite character. His
successor, stern, and unforgiving, endeavoured to procure that
efficiency in his corps through fear, which his predecessor had
commanded through love. He was an Englishman; and was a perfect
stranger to the feelings and national peculiarities of the men over
whom he was thus so suddenly placed; neither was he at any pains to
acquire so necessary a piece of information, nor in any way to conform
his system of discipline to the peculiar spirit of the mountain band
which was now under his harsh and undiscriminating control.

Unfortunate, however, as was the circumstance of this officer's being
put in command of the --th regiment to every soldier in that gallant
corps generally, there were two individuals to whom it was indeed a
misfortune of the most melancholy and deplorable kind, and these two
the most meritorious and deserving men in the regiment. Need we say
that these were James M'Intyre and Roderick M'Leod? But we must detail
the circumstances as they occurred.

To do this, then, let us mention that, after a weary night-march of
many miles over a mountainous road covered with snow, the --th
regiment, with several others, found itself within cannon-shot of one
of the enemy's positions. The ground destined for the British troops
having been gained, the whole were ordered silently to bivouac, till
the morning light should enable them to advance to the attack, which
was the particular object of the movement. It was yet, however, some
hours till morning; and it was thus necessary, in case of sudden
surprisal, to establish a chain of outposts around the position
occupied by the troops. Amongst those selected for this duty was
Roderick M'Leod, who was placed alone in a solitary post at one of the
most remote points of the circle formed by the British sentinels. It
was a perilous and important position; and for these reasons was it
that M'Leod was chosen to occupy it--every reliance being placed on
his courage, vigilance, and well-known steadiness.

Aware of the importance of his trust, Roderick, with his shouldered
firelock, commenced pacing smartly--for the night was intensely
cold--in the limits of his appointed place, and keeping a sharp
look-out in the direction of the enemy. This position he had occupied
about half-an-hour, when he thought he heard footsteps approaching.
Roderick brought down and cocked his piece, and stood ready to fire.
The sounds became more audible. He raised his musket to his shoulder,
and placed his finger on the trigger. He saw some persons approaching,
apparently with confident step. He challenged, and was answered. It
was a picket of his own regiment, commanded by a serjeant, a
particular acquaintance and friend, the son of one of his father's
neighbours. He was making a round of the outposts, to see that all
were on the alert, and to inquire if anything had been stirring.

"All quiet, Roderick?" said Serjeant More M'Alister, on approaching
the former.

"All quiet, serjeant," replied M'Leod.

"Cold work this, Rory," rejoined the serjeant, at the same time
drawing a flask from his bosom, and handing it to the former; "here,
take a mouthful of that, to keep the frost out."

M'Leod, perishing of cold, gratefully acknowledged the very timous
kindness, placed the flask to his mouth, and unguardedly took a hearty
pull of the brandy it contained. Shortly after, the visiting party
moved off on their rounds, and, for a little time subsequently, M'Leod
felt himself renovated by the spirits he had taken. The excitement,
however, was but temporary; reaction took place; a degree of lassitude
came over him, which, aided as it was by the fatigue of his previous
march and the severity of the cold, he found himself unable to shake
off. In this state of feeling, he leaned against a tree which stood
close by his post, and, ere he was aware, fell into a profound sleep.
At this unfortunate moment, his commanding officer, accompanied by a
small party, rode up to M'Leod. He was found asleep; and, still more
heinous offence, when awakened, he was found to be the worse of
drink--a momentary incoherence, and the smell of his breath, which
betrayed the presence of ardent spirits, being held as conclusive
proof by his superior that he was drunk.

"I am not drunk, sir," replied M'Leod, calmly, on being harshly
charged with that offence by Colonel Maberly.

"You _are_, sir," was the peremptory rejoinder. "Besides, you have
been asleep at your post. Men, disarm that fellow, and make him your

The order was instantly obeyed. M'Leod's musket and bayonet were taken
from him; another man was placed on his post; and he was marched away,
to abide the consequence of his dereliction of military duty. As the
intended attack on the enemy took place on the following morning, no
proceedings were instituted in M'Leod's case for some days after; but
all dreaded the most fatal result from these, when they should occur,
from the ferocious and unforgiving nature of Colonel Maberly.

We fear we would but weaken the effect of the reader's more impressive
conceptions, were we to attempt to describe the feelings of M'Intyre
during the days of agonising suspense between the period of his
comrade's arrestment and the judgment which followed. He refused all
sustenance; and, from being one of the most active and cheerful men in
the regiment, became careless in his duties and morose in his temper,
and seemed as if he courted, or would willingly have done something
calculated to expose him to the same fate which he had no doubt
awaited his unhappy comrade. The two unfortunate men--for the one was
scarcely less an object of compassion than the other--had frequent
interviews previous to M'Leod's receiving the sentence which was
thought due to his offence; and these were of the most heartrending
description. These men, of stout frame and lion heart, who side by
side had often marched unappalled up to the cannon's mouth, wept in
each other's arms like women. Words they had none, or they were but

At length the fatal judgment was passed. M'Leod was condemned to be
shot; and the sentence was ordered to be carried into execution on the
afternoon of the same day on which it was awarded. The unhappy victim
of military law shrunk not at the contemplation of the miserable fate
that awaited him. He heard it announced with unmoved countenance and
unshrinking nerve; his only remark, simply expressed in his native
language, being, "that, as to being shot, he minded it not; but he
could have wished that it had been on the field of battle." Although
prepared for the dreadful intelligence which was to inform him of the
doom of his comrade--for he had no doubt from the first that it would
be so--M'Intyre knew not yet the one-half of the misery that awaited
him in connection with the impending death of his friend. It was
possible to aggravate to him the horrors of that event tenfold, and to
increase inconceivably the torture of his already agonised mind--and
poor M'Intyre found it was so.

We leave it to the reader to conceive what were his feelings, when he
was informed that he was to be one of the firing-party--one of his
comrade's executioners! This was a refinement in cruelty which had
been reserved for Colonel Maberly. It was unparalleled. But his order
had gone forth. He had willed it so, and it was known that he never
yielded a point on which he had once determined. It was believed also,
that his usual obstinacy and hard-heartedness would be increased in
this case, from an idea that he was adding to the terror of the
example, by the savage proceeding just alluded to. The idea, however,
of compelling one comrade to assist in putting another to death, was
so revolting to every feeling of humanity, so wantonly cruel, that the
men of the regiment determined on sending a deputation to the colonel,
to entreat of him to rescind his order, and to relieve M'Intyre of
the horrible duty to which he had appointed him. This deputation
accordingly waited on the commanding officer, and, in the most
respectful language, preferred their petition. They did not seek a
remission of the unfortunate man's sentence; for they felt and
acknowledged that, however stern and cruelly severe it was, it was yet
according to military law; but they implored that his comrade might
not be compelled to share in its execution. The petition was preferred
in vain. Colonel Maberly was inexorable. "He had given his orders," he
said, briefly and impatiently, "and they must be obeyed."

Finding it in vain to urge their request farther, the deputation sadly
withdrew, to communicate to M'Intyre, who was awaiting their return in
a state of mind bordering on distraction, the result of their mission.
When it was told him, he said nothing, made no reply, but seemed lost
in thought for some moments. At length--

"I will go to the colonel myself," he said; "and, if there be any
portion of our common nature in him, he will not refuse to hear me. If
he does not----"

Here he clenched his teeth fiercely together, but left the sentence
unfinished. Acting on the resolution which he had thus formed,
M'Intyre sought out Colonel Maberly. When he found him--

"Colonel," he said, touching his bonnet with a military salute, "you
have ordered me to be of the party who are to shoot"--here his voice
faltered, and it was some seconds before he could add--"my comrade,

"I have, sir--and what of that?" replied the colonel, fiercely; but he
quailed when he marked the deadly scowl that now gleamed in the eye of

"It was cruel, sir," replied the latter, with a desperate calmness and
determination of manner; "and I implore you, as you hope for mercy
from the God that made you, to release me from this horrible duty."

"Sir," exclaimed Colonel Maberly, furiously, "do you mean to
mutiny?--do you mean to disobey orders?"

"No, sir, I do not. I merely ask you to relieve me from the dreadful
task of being my comrade's executioner."

"Then I'll be d--d if I do!" said the military tyrant.

"You had better, sir, _for your own sake_," replied M'Intyre.

"What, sir! Do you threaten me?" exclaimed Colonel Maberly, in an
outrageous passion.

"Oh no, sir," replied M'Intyre, with an air of affected respect; but
it was one in which some deep mysterious meaning might have been
discovered. "Will you absolve me from this duty?"

"No, sir; I will not," replied Colonel Maberly, turning on his heel,
and cutting the conference short by walking away.

"Your blood be upon your own head, you cruel, merciless man!" muttered
M'Intyre, as he looked after Colonel Maberly, himself continuing to
stand the while in the spot where the latter had left him.

M'Intyre soon after returned to his quarters, and was seen calmly and
silently preparing his arms for the dreadful duty which they were
about to be called on to perform. In making these preparations, he was
observed to be particularly careful that everything should be in the
most serviceable condition. He fitted several flints to his piece,
snapping each repeatedly, before being satisfied with its efficiency,
and was even at the pains to dry and pulverise a small quantity of
powder for priming, to insure a more certain explosion than could be
counted on in its original state of grittiness.

In the meantime, the hour of execution approached, and at length
arrived. The entire regiment was drawn out to witness the example
which was about to be made of the consequences that attended such
departures from duty as M'Leod's misconduct involved. Being formed in
military order, and the prisoner placed in a conspicuous yet secure
position, the whole were marched off, to the music of fife and muffled
drum, to a level piece of ground at the distance of about a quarter of
a mile from the quarters occupied by the regiment. M'Leod's conduct on
this trying occasion was in perfect keeping with his general
character. It was calm, firm, and manly. His step was steady and
dignified; and his whole bearing bespoke at once a resigned and
undaunted spirit. Yet it might not, nay, it certainly would not, have
been so, had he known that the comrade of his bosom was to be one of
his executioners. This, however, had been mercifully concealed from
him. It was all his fellow-soldiers could do for him; but, to a man,
had they all anxiously and carefully kept from him the appalling
secret; for they knew it would have unnerved him in the hour of
trial--in the hour of death.

All unconscious, therefore, of the additional misery with which the
cruel order of his commanding officer was yet to visit him, M'Leod
marched undauntedly on to his doom. His mien was erect, his eye calm
and composed, and a slight paleness of countenance alone bore
testimony to his consciousness of the awful situation in which he was
placed. On reaching the locality intended for the scene of execution,
the corps was formed into three sides of a square. In the centre of
that which was vacant, the prisoner was placed; and, at the distance
of about twenty yards further in the square, stood the firing party.
On the left of these, and between them and the prisoner, stood Colonel
Maberly, who, in consequence of having seen some very marked symptoms
of disgust with his severity in the corps, had determined on presiding
at the execution in person.

It was now, for the first time, that M'Leod became aware that his
comrade was to be of the number of his executioners. He saw him
amongst the firing-party. Unknowing the fact, and never dreaming of
the possibility of such an atrocity as that which M'Intyre's position
involved, M'Leod calmly asked a serjeant who stood near him--"What
does James do there?" The serjeant evaded a reply, or rather affected
not to hear him. At this moment the chaplain of the regiment came up
to the unfortunate man, to administer the comfort and consolation of
religious aid to the doomed soldier. But, ere he could enter on his
sacred duties, M'Leod, on whose mind some approximation to the horrid
truth as regarded the part assigned his comrade had now flashed, put
the same question to the chaplain as he had done to the serjeant.

"Mr Fraser," he said, "I guess the truth; but I would fain be assured
of it. Why is my comrade, James M'Intyre, amongst the firing-party?"

The chaplain, as the serjeant had done, endeavoured to evade a reply,
by directing the unhappy man to matters of spiritual concernment; but
he would not be evaded, and again repeated the question. Thus pressed,
the chaplain could no longer avoid the explanation he sought. He told
him M'Intyre was one of the firing-party by order of the commanding

"I guessed as much," said M'Leod, calmly. "It is a piece of dreadful
cruelty; but may God forgive him, as I freely do!"

He then, without making any further remark, entered solemnly and
composedly into the devotional exercises prescribed by his spiritual
comforter. These concluded, and everything being ready for the last
fatal act of the tragedy, the firing-party were ordered to advance
nearer, when M'Intyre, stepping out from his place amongst them,
advanced towards the colonel, and again implored him to release him
from the dreadful duty imposed on him. The colonel's reply was as
determined and peremptory as before.

"Do your duty, sir!" he said, waving his hand impatiently as a signal
to M'Intyre to return to his place, and stepping a pace or two away
from him as he spoke. "Do your duty, sir, or I'll compel you; I'll
have you in the same situation with your friend."

M'Intyre obeyed the ruthless order without saying another word. He
returned to his place. The prisoner's eyes were now bandaged. The
firing-party had levelled their muskets, and were waiting the fatal
sign. It was made. Colonel Maberly himself made it. The volley was
discharged, and M'Leod fell; but he fell not alone. In the same
instant, the commanding officer of the --th regiment was also
stretched lifeless on the plain. The well-aimed musket of M'Intyre had
sent its ball through the heart of the ruthless tyrant. On
perpetrating the deed, the former threw his piece on the ground,
exclaiming, "Roderick is avenged, and the mercy the tyrant showed to
others has been meted out to himself!" and offered himself up, an
unresisting prisoner, to whoever might choose to execute that duty.

It was some minutes--so sudden and unexpected had been the
catastrophe--before any one made the slightest movement; all looking
on in silent and fixed amazement, but we cannot add with much regret;
till at length a serjeant stepped out of the ranks, and seized
M'Intyre by the breast.

"Right, Serjeant Thompson, right," said the latter, calmly; "you are
doing your duty. I know what awaits me, and I am prepared for it. I
did not do what I have done without making up my mind to the

These were indeed inevitable. On the third day thereafter, the roll of
the muffled drum announced that M'Intyre's hour was come; and he fell,
but not unpitied, beneath the bullets of a party of his
fellow-soldiers, on the identical spot where, three days before, his
unfortunate comrade had met a similar doom.


"The decreet's oot the morn, Mr Fairly, against that man Simmins,"
quoth an equivocal-looking gentleman, with a stick under his arm, a
marvellously shabby hat, a rusty black coat, waistcoat pinned up to
the throat, and followed out by a battered stock, glazed and greasy,
with its edges worn to the bone; and thus making an unseemly
exhibition of the internal composition of said article of wearing
apparel. No shirt, or at least none visible; countenance bearing
strong marks of dissipation; voice loud and ferocious; look equivocal.
Such was the personage who conveyed the information above recorded to
Mr Fairly; and, considering the very particular nature of that
information, together with certain other little circumstances
thereafter following, the reader will be at no great loss, we should
suppose, to guess both the nature of his profession and the purpose of
his call. In case, however, he should not, we beg to inform him that
the speaker was one of those meritorious enforcers of the law, called,
in Scotland, messengers--in England, bailiffs.

Mr Fairly, again--the person spoken to--was a fashionable tailor in a
certain city not a hundred miles from Arthur's Seat. He was a little,
active man, sharp and keen as a razor; and altogether a
dangerous-looking customer to those who found it inconvenient to
settle his demands in due time; he was, in short, the dread and terror
of dilatory payers. In such cases, he hung out the black flag, and
gave no quarter. He was, in truth, just as merciless a tailor as ever
cut cloth, and well were his savage propensities known to, and much
were they respected by, a certain class of his customers--meaning
those who stuck too long on the left-hand side of his ledger--the
fatal ledger. Such, then, was our other interlocutor, Mr Fairly. We
have only to add, that the scene which we have opened was in a certain
parlour in that gentleman's house, and then to proceed with the
conference which this necessary digression has interrupted.

"The decreet's oot the morn, Mr Fairly, against that man Simmins,"
said his visiter, Mr John Howison; "what do ye mean to do? Are we to

It was a needless question; for Fairly incarcerated everybody, right
and left, in such circumstances, sparing neither sex nor age.

"Incarcerate!" he repeated, with a ferocious emphasis. "Surely,
surely. Nab the scoundrel. Don't give him a minute beyond his time.
Let me see what were the articles again." And he proceeded to turn
over the leaves of his ominous ledger. "Ay, a surtout, extra superfine
Saxony blue, richly braided, &c. &c., £4:15s., due 21st December, and
this is the 19th January. A month past date! Nab him, Howison. Nab the
villain, and we'll give him six months of the cage, at any rate, and
that'll be some satisfaction."

Howison grinned a grin, partly of satisfaction at the prospect of a
job, and partly of approval of his employer's wit. "But I don't know
the chap exactly," said the former. "I only saw him once."

"Oh, that's easily sorted," replied Fairly. "Although you don't know
him, you may know my surtout, which he constantly wears--having no
other coat, I verily believe, to his back. Here, see, here is the
neighbour of it." And he ran into a back apartment, whence he shortly
returned with a very flashy article of the description he referred to,
and, expanding it before Howison, bade him mark its peculiarities.
"Sir," he said, "it's one of a thousand. The only one of the same cut
and fashion in the whole city. _That_ I know. I would pick it out,
blind, from amongst a million."

Howison having carefully scanned the garment, declared that he was
ready to take his chance of recognising his man--other circumstances
corroborating--by its particular cut and adornments; and, in truth, he
needed have little hesitation about the matter; for, indeed, the
surtout was, as Fairly had said, one of a thousand. It was altogether
a very marked sort of article, especially in the department of
braiding, that being singularly rich and voluminous; and if, as its
maker had also said, it had not its fellow in the town (barring, of
course, the duplicate which he was now exhibiting), there could be no
difficulty whatever in identifying the devoted debtor.

Matters being thus arranged, the messenger, after having obtained
Simmins' address, took leave of his employer, with full authority to
visit the unhappy owner of the surtout with the utmost vengeance of
the law, and with a promise on his own part that he would duly inform
the latter of his subsequent proceedings in the case--meaning thereby,
that, so soon as the bird was caged, he would give due intimation

Leaving the process just detailed at the point to which we have
brought it, we beg to introduce the reader to another personage who
figures in our little drama: this is Mr Jacob Merrilees, a student of
medicine, a gentlemanly young man, of limited means, but fair
prospects, and, withal, talented and promising. He was at this moment
pursuing his studies at the college of ----, and was making a progress
in professional learning that augured well for his future success in
the world. But, with this part of his history we have little or
nothing to do--our interest in him being on a totally different

Talented, however, as our young friend was, he had, like other men,
his little weaknesses; one in particular--but it was a natural and a
harmless one--this was a rather excessive fastidiousness on the score
of dress. He loved, of all things, to be smartly attired; and was
thus, upon the whole, something of a dandy in his way. Unfortunately
for poor Jacob, however, this was a taste which he was not always able
to indulge in to the extent he could have wished. His circumstances,
or rather his father's penuriousness, prevented it; and the
consequence was, that he frequently found himself considerably below
his own standard of perfection in the article toggery. It is true,
that one less particular in this matter would hardly have agreed with
him; but such were his own feelings on the subject, and that was

Having mentioned the little weakness above alluded to--if, indeed, it
can be called a weakness--it becomes our duty to show cause for having
called the reader's attention to it. This duty, then, we will
forthwith discharge; but we must be allowed to do so in our own way.
We have said that our friend Merrilees was making rapid progress in
his professional education; he was so, but he was advancing with no
less celerity in another and fully more congenial study--namely, the
study of love. What fair maiden, in the eyes of Jacob Merrilees, could
compete with Miss Julia Willoughby? None. She was peerless! She was
the fairest of the fair! Miss Julia Willoughby, then, was the chosen
of Jacob's heart; but he had yet no assurance that his tender feelings
towards her were reciprocated. Little else than the ordinary
courtesies of society had yet passed between them, although these were
certainly rapidly melting into more familiar intercourse. Still, as we
said before, Jacob could not positively fix on the precise position
which he held in the affections of Miss Julia Willoughby. He was still
in a state of uncertainty; for no particular mark of favour had yet
been bestowed upon him by the coy fair one. Judge, then, good reader,
of the joyous feelings of the enamoured Jacob Merrilees, when he
received the following note, written on glazed pink paper, sealed with
the impression of a heart pierced by an arrow--said heart being
supported by two pigeons--and folded into something of the fashion of
a love-knot. Judge, then, good reader, we say, of his feelings on
receiving this precious billet, the first palpable hint of his
acceptability with which he had ever been favoured by his fair

     "DEAR MR MERRILEES,--Would you make one of a party to visit the
     wax-work to-morrow? I should be happy if you could. There will be
     several young ladies of my acquaintance with us, and one or two
     gentlemen. We propose meeting at our house. Hour, twelve of the
     clock precisely. It _will particularly gratify me_, if you can make
     it convenient to be one of the party," &c. &c.


"Dear, delightful creature!" exclaimed Jacob, in an ecstasy of
rapture, and kissing the delicious document with the fervour and
enthusiasm of a rapt and devoted love. "Make it convenient?" he
exclaimed, with expressive energy. "Ay, that I will, adored and
beloved Julia! although ten thousand difficulties were in my way. All
engagements, all considerations, all duties, light of my life, idol of
my adoration, must give way to thy slightest wish. It will
particularly gratify thee!" he exclaimed, with a laugh of wild
ecstasy. "Will it, will it?--oh! will it? Then am I a happy man
indeed!" and he began to pace the room with the light rapid step of
sudden and excessive joy.

In this process Jacob had indulged for several minutes, without
adverting, as he usually did, in similar circumstances, to the
representation of his own handsome person in a large mirror, which
hung on one side of the apartment. As his fervour, however, began to
abate, he threw glances at the glass _en passant_, and, with every
turn, these glances became more earnest, and of longer duration, until
he at length fairly planted himself before the faithful reflector, in
order to submit his person to a thorough and deliberate inspection.
The survey was perfectly satisfactory to Jacob; and he was turning
away, highly gratified by its results, when his eye fell on the sleeve
of his coat. "Ha," said Jacob, "getting scuffy, by all that's
annoying. Had no idea. Won't do, won't do--that's clear. Can never go
through the streets with Julia and her fair bevy of acquaintances in
such a coat as this--never, never, never."

And, in great perplexity at the discovery he had made, Jacob flung
himself down in a chair, and, with his hand placed on his forehead,
began to think profoundly on the means of remedying the evil of a
shabby coat. The time was too short to admit of his providing a new
one; and, indeed, although it had been longer, this was an experiment
on his tailor on which he could hardly have ventured, that gentleman
having lately shown symptoms of restiveness which were by no means
encouraging. What was to be done then?

"I have it!" said Jacob, starting up: "I will borrow a coat for the
nonce from my friend, Bob Simmins. He will supply me with the
desiderated garment."

No sooner conceived than executed. Down Jacob immediately sat, and
forthwith indited the following billet to his friend Bob:--

     "DEAR BOB,--Being invited for to-morrow to a party, at which there
     is to be a large infusion of the fair sex, and finding after a
     careful inspection, that my coat is not in the most healthy
     condition, might I request the favour of your lending me a
     corresponding piece of toggery for the occasion, if you have such
     an article to spare, and said article be of a kind creditable to
     the wearer.

     "We are about a size, I think, and can therefore calculate on a
     fit. Yours truly,                              JACOB MERRILEES."

Having written this note, Jacob forthwith sealed it, and put it into
the hands of the maid-servant, with a request that she would see to
its immediate delivery. The request was complied with. In ten minutes
after, the girl was in the presence of the redoubted Bob Simmins; for
redoubted he was, Bob being one of the most dashing fellows of his
time, nevertheless of a rigid adherence to the praiseworthy rule of
never paying a copper to anybody for anything.

Having opened his friend's note, and scanned it over--

"Ah yes, let me see"--and he stroked his chin, threw himself back in
the chair, gazed on the roof, and thought for a moment. At length--"My
compliments to Mr Merrilees," he said; "I will send him what he wants
to-morrow morning."

In due course of time, to-morrow morning made its appearance, and with
it came to Jacob's lodgings the promised article of dress. A bundle
neatly put up, and whose outward covering was a yellow silk
handkerchief, was handed in to Mr Merrilees, as he sat at breakfast.
At once guessing at the contents of the package, Jacob started up,
undid the knots by which it was secured, with an eager and impatient
hand, took up the article it contained, shook out its folds, and gazed
with ecstasy on a splendid surtout. It was Simmins'. Jacob knew it
again. He had seen it a thousand times on his friend, and as often had
praised and admired it. The cut, the braiding, the elegant fur
neck--all had been marked, and cordially approved of. How good of
Simmins, poor fellow! to send him his best coat! It was an obligation
he would never forget.

Having unfolded the surtout, Jacob's next proceeding was to try it on.
It was a beautiful fit. Not the hundredth part of an inch too short,
too long, or too wide. It was, in fact, just the thing. Couldn't have
been better, although it had been cut for him by Stultz's foreman.
Convinced of this pleasing truth, Jacob stood before the glass for
fully a quarter-of-an-hour, throwing himself into various attitudes,
in order to bring out all the beauties of the much-admired garment;
and every change of position increasing the favourable opinion which
he entertained of his own appearance. Satisfied with the contemplation
of himself in the mirror, Jacob now commenced a series of turns up and
down the apartment; sometimes throwing his arms akimbo, sometimes
folding them across his breast, and anon glancing down with a smile of
ineffable admiration on the flowing skirts of his surtout. This new
test of the merits of the borrowed garment having also been found
satisfactory, and every other ordeal to which it could be subjected
having also been had recourse to, and it having stood them all, Jacob
put the last finishing touch to his person, gave a last look at the
glass, and, with mincing step, went forth to conquer and to captivate.
And never did man or woman either take the field for such a purpose
with greater confidence in their own powers, or with greater certainty
of success.

Before proceeding, however, to the place of meeting, Jacob bethought
him of making a run the length of his friend Bob's, just to thank him
for his kindness, and to show him how the surtout fitted. Obeying this
impulse, he was, in a few minutes after, in the presence of the
obliging Simmins. A lively chat ensued between the two friends, and
continued with unabated energy, until Jacob, suddenly pulling out his
watch, found that his appointed hour had passed. On making this
discovery, he started from his chair, seized his hat, rushed out of
the house, and, at the top of his speed, made for the residence of his
beloved Julia Willoughby. Notwithstanding his speed, however, he was a
little late. The party were already assembled. This was a trifle
awkward; but it had its advantages, as we shall presently show. The
approach to Miss Willoughby's residence was through a garden of
considerable length, and thus all visiters might be fully, fairly, and
minutely scanned as they advanced. Now, Jacob being a little late, as
we have already said, the party, particularly the ladies, in their
impatience for his arrival, had clustered around the windows, and were
anxiously looking for his advent; so that the moment he opened the
gate, both himself and his surtout were in full view of some
half-dozen or more admiring spinsters. It was a complete triumph to
Jacob, and he felt it to be so. He saw that all eyes were bent on him
as he approached the house; that his surtout had attracted particular
notice, and had become a subject of general remark and general
approbation. He felt, in short, conscious that he had excited a
sensation amongst the fair spectators of his approach. He saw the
flutter of agitation. He marked the blush, the averted eye. He was
delighted, elated. His surtout was triumphant. It had produced all the
effects, so far as others are concerned, for which a surtout can be
coveted. Conscious of the impression he had made, through the medium
of his surtout, Jacob's step became more buoyant, his head more erect,
and his whole mien more elevated and dignified.

Thus he entered the parlour, where the waiting party were assembled;
and here, again, he had the satisfaction of finding his surtout an
object of general observation. But let us ask, while Jacob is thus
enjoying the favouring smiles of the fair, and thus revelling in his
own delightful feelings, who and what are they, these two fellows who
are skulking about Mr Willoughby's garden gate, as if waiting the
egress of some one? Why, it is Howison--no other; and another
professional gentleman, a concurrent. They are upon business. They
have got scent of prey, and are following it out, with noses as keen
and purpose as fell as those of a sleuth-hound. There can be no doubt
of it. Hear them; listen to the gentle small talk that is passing
between them.

Howison loquitur, and wiping his perspiring forehead with his
handkerchief: "Feth, Davy, that was a rin; and no to mak him oot after
a'. But we'll nail him yet."

Concurrent respondent: "But are ye sure it was him after a'?"

"Oh, perfectly! I canna be mistaen. It's the surtout, beyond a' manner
o' doubt; and of course it's the man, too, seein he cam oot o' the
house we were directed to."

The reasoning being quite satisfactory to the concurrent, he ventured
no further remark on the subject of identity; and we avail ourselves
of the temporary pause which now took place between the speakers, to
explain, that they had seen Jacob emerging from Simmins'. They were
just approaching at the moment; but the rapid rate at which the former
was going prevented the closer intimacy which they intended, and hence
the chase.

"Will we pin him in this house, then?" inquired Davy, again resuming
the conversation.

"No; they might deny him. We'll wait whar we are a bit, till he comes
oot. Dog him, if he taks the direction o' the jail, and nab him at a
convenient opportunity."

"He may bilk us."

"We'll tak care o' that. We'll gie him heels for't, Davy, if that's
his gemm."

A pause in the conversation, which was not for some time interrupted,
here ensued. After a short while, however, it was again broken in

"Whisht! whisht! Back, Davy, back!" (The two professional gentlemen
were ensconced in a close or entry directly opposite Mr Willoughby's
garden-gate.) "Back, Davy, back!" said Howison. "There's somebody
comin. I hear folk speakin and lauchin in the garden."

Davy listened an instant, then acknowledged there were good grounds
for the assertion, and immediately drew himself farther into his
hiding-place, like an alarmed snail into its shell.

Howison, as the principal, now placed himself in front of his
assistant, squeezed himself as close as he could to the wall, until he
stuck as close to, and as flat on it, as a bat. He then, by a
dexterous movement, thrust his head in a lateral direction, till his
nose just cleared the corner of the close, when, closing his left eye,
and concentrating his whole powers of vision in his right, he planted
the solitary optic with eager vigilance on the garden gate, to watch
the coming forth of those who were on its opposite side. For this he
had not long to wait. In a few moments the gate flew open, and out
sallied, with frequent bursts of merriment, one of the gayest and most
joyous parties that a bright summer day ever brought forth; and gayest
and most joyous of the whole was Jacob Merrilees. Of the whole squad
his laugh was the loudest, his motions the liveliest, his looks the
most cheerful. Jacob was in his element. He was in the midst of a bevy
of ladies. One hung on each arm; while others, to whom fortune had not
been so propitious in allowing them to get nearer his person,
contented themselves with taking the arms again of their more favoured
sisters--of those two enviable spinsters who had secured the posts of
honour, the immediate vicinity of the admired Jacob Merrilees. Jacob
was thus in the very centre of the gay band of fair spinsters; and a
proud man was he of his enviable position. He talked!--ye gods, how he
talked!--and chattered away in a manner most delightful to hear; at
least so it seemed, from the frequent bursts of laughter which he
elicited from his lively protegées. He smirked, and he smiled, and he
bowed, first to one side and then to another, after his most
captivating manner, and, in short, did all that a man who was pleased
with himself, and desired to please others, could possibly do to
maintain these agreeable feelings. He was the king of the roost--that
was evident; the very centre of attraction; the delight, the glory,
the leading star in the galaxy of beauty of which he formed a part.

The party having cleared the gate, took the road with a circular sweep
round, and a burst of merriment that sufficiently betokened the
lightness of heart and of heel of those of whom it was composed.

"Deek yon, Davy," exclaimed Howison, at this interesting moment, and
now addressing the worthy just named, who had by this time come up
alongside of him, and was also indulging himself in a bird's-eye view
of the party round the corner of the close. "Deek yon, Davy. He's aff
like a paitrik: but we'll bring him up wi' a short turn, I'm thinkin.
We'll pit a slug through his wing. Little does he ken wha's watchin

"Wull we gie chase?" said the concurrent, who stood at this instant
like a dog in the slip, with his neck on the stretch, and every nerve
braced for the run.

"No, no; gie him the start a bit till he gathers confidence, and then
we'll pounce on him. Wary, Davy, wary! keep in a bit. Dinna shute oot
your head so far. If he gets a glisk o' ye, he'll tak to his trotters
in a minnit, and gie us an infernal rin for't. See what lang legs the
sinner has."

"I think I could rin him ony day," replied Howison's concurrent, "and
gie him a start o' a hunner yards to the bargain."

"I'm no sure o' that," rejoined Howison, shaking his head doubtingly;
"ye dinna ken hoo a man can rin wi' a caption at his heels. It maks
them go at a deevil o' a rate. I've seen great, fat, auld chaps, that
ye wadna hae thocht could rin a yard an't were to save their lives,
flee like the win before a 'Whereas.'"

"Noo, noo, Davy," continued Howison, and now recalling his neighbour's
attention to business, "let us be joggin. He's takin the richt road,
so we'll just pin him at our leisure."

Saying this, the pair started, and in a short time were hovering on
the skirts of the heedless party, and their heedless and unwary
leader, the devoted Jacob Merrilees.

Wholly unconscious, as the reader will readily believe, of the plot
that was thickening over his head, or, rather, at his heels, Jacob was
continuing the career of banter, and lively small talk, and smart
repartee, which distinguished his first appearance at the garden gate,
when he suddenly felt himself gently touched from behind on the left
shoulder. He turned round, but without quitting the arms of the fair
ladies who hung upon him, and looked frowningly on Howison.

"What do you mean, sir?" inquired Jacob, indignantly, and now glancing
also at Howison's companion, who stood close by, with his stick tucked
under his arm.

To this query the only reply was a knowing wink, and a significant wag
of the forefinger, which, when translated, meant--"Come here, friend,
and I'll tell you."

"Get along with you, sir!" said Jacob, contemptuously.

"Thank you, but I won't," replied Howison, saucily.

"No! Then what the devil do you want?"

"You," said the former, emphatically. "But you had better conduct
yourself quietly, for your own sake."

"Now, my good fellow," replied Jacob, in a satirically calm tone,
"_do_ tell me what you mean?"

"Do ye ken such a man as Fairly the tailor?" inquired Howison, who
always affected a degree of playfulness in the execution of this
department of his duties. "Do ye ken Fairly the tailor?" he said, with
an intelligent smile.

"I know no such man, sir; never heard his name before," replied Jacob,
angrily, and now urging his fair protegées onwards--the whole party
having been stopped by the incident just detailed.

"Not so fast, friend," exclaimed Howison, making after his prey, and
again slapping him on the shoulder, but now less ceremoniously. "You
are my prisoner, and here's my authority," he added, pulling out a
crumpled piece of paper. It was the decreet against Simmins. "Although
_you_ don't know Fairly, _I_ happen to know Fairly's surtout. The
short and the long of the matter is, sir," continued Howison, "that I
arrest you at the instance of John Fairly, tailor and clothier, for a
debt of £4:15s., with interest and expenses, said debt being the price
of the identical surtout which you have just now on your back. So come
along quietly, or it may be worse for you."

We do not suppose it is necessary that we should describe the
amazement of the unhappy wearer of the surtout in question, on so very
extraordinary and incomprehensible a statement being made to him, nor
that of his party, from the same cause. The reader will at once
conceive what it was, without any such proceeding on our part.

Confounded, however, and amazed as he was, Jacob's presence of mind
instantly showed him that he was in a dilemma, a regular scrape. That
he must either acknowledge--and, in the presence of all his fair
friends, there was death in the idea--that the surtout he wore, and
which had procured for him so much admiration, was a borrowed one, or
quietly submit to be dragged to jail as the true debtor. Jacob further
saw exactly how the case stood. He saw that his friend Simmins had
never paid for the very flashy article in which he was now arrayed (a
discovery this, however, which did not in the least surprise him), and
that _he_ was the person for whom the honours of Howison were

Having, however, no fancy for incarceration, Jacob finally determined
on avowing the distressing fact, that his surtout was a borrowed one,
and that, not being its true owner, he was, of course, free of the
attentions of Mr Howison. With a face, then, red as scarlet, and a
voice expressive of great tribulation, Jacob made a public
acknowledement of this humiliating truth, and was about to avail
himself of the advantage which he calculated on deriving from
it--namely, that of proceeding on his way--when, to his great horror
and further confusion, he found that Howison determined on still
sticking to him. In great agitation, Jacob again repeated that he was
not Simmins, and that he had merely borrowed the surtout from that
gentleman. To these earnest asseverations, Howison at first merely
replied by an incredulous smile, then added--"It may be sae, sir; but
that's a matter that maun be cleared up afterwards. In the meantime
ye'll go wi' me, if you please; and, if no o' your ain accord, as I
wad advise ye, by force, as I'll compel ye." Saying this, he plunged
his hand into one of his pockets, and produced a pair of handcuffs,
like a rat-trap. The exhibition of these ornaments, and the dread of
getting up a scene on the public street, at once decided the
unfortunate surtout-borrower to submit to his fate, and to walk
quietly off with his new friends, Mr Howison and concurrent.

In ten minutes after, Jacob found himself snugly quartered in an airy
chamber, with grated windows, commanding a pleasant view of a
tread-mill in full operation; and here he remained, until the
following morning brought such evidence of his identity as procured
his liberation. On once more snuffing the fresh air, Jacob swore he
would take care again whose coat he borrowed, when he should have
occasion to ask such a favour from a friend; and we would advise the
reader to exercise the like caution, should he ever find himself in
similar circumstances.



It is a vain question, that which has been often stirred among men of
our profession and metaphysicians, whether insanity--including under
that word all the modes of derangement of the mental powers--is
strictly a _disease_, the definition of which, according to the best
authorities, is "an alternation from a perfect state of bodily
health." Both parties may, to a certain extent, be right; for the one,
including chiefly the metaphysicians, can successfully exhibit a
gradation in the scale of derangement: beginning at the slightest
peculiarity; passing on to an eccentricity; from that to idiosyncrasy;
from that to a decay or an extraordinary increase of strength in a
particular faculty--say memory; from that to a decay or an increase in
the intensity of a feeling, an emotion, or a passion; from that to
false perception--such as monomania, progressing to derangement as to
one point or subject, often called madness, _quoad hoc_; and so on,
through many other changes, almost imperceptible in their differences,
to perfect madness--all without the slightest indication of a
pathological nature being to be discovered or detected by the finest
dissecting-knife. On the other hand, again, it is indisputable--for we
medical men have demonstrated the fact--that a certain _degree_ of
madness is almost always accompanied with derangement in the cerebral
organs--the most ordinary appearance being the existence of a fluid of
a certain kind in the chambers of the brain.

The best and the cleverest of us must let these questions alone; for,
so long as we remain--and that may be, as it likely will be, for
ever--ignorant of the subtle principle of organic life--the nature of
the mysterious union of mind and matter--we will never be able to tell
(notwithstanding all our mental achievements) whether madness has its
primary beginning in the body or in the mind. We must remain contented
with a knowledge of exciting causes, and with that melancholy lore
which treasures up--alas! for how little good!--the dreadful symptoms
which distinguish this miserable state of proud man from all other
conditions of his earthly sorrow; exhibiting him conscious of being
still a human creature impressed with the image of God, yet incapable
of using the proudest gift of Heaven--his reason; susceptible of and
suffering the most excruciating of all pains--imaginary evils,
torments, agonies--yet placed beyond the pale of human sympathy; bent
upon--following with cunning and assiduity the cruellest modes of
self-immolation; and sometimes calmly _reasoning_ on the nature of the
mysterious power that impels to a horrible and revolting suicide.

I have been led into this train of thought by the circumstances of the
case I am now about to relate. It is one of a calm, reasoning,
determined self-destroyer, in whom, with the single exception of
wishing to die by violent and bloody means, I could discover no mental
derangement. The case occurs every day; but there are circumstances in
this of a peculiar nature, which set it apart from others I have
witnessed, and seen described; and, as it bears the invaluable stamp
of truth, my description of it may be held to be a chapter, and a
melancholy one, in the wonderful history of human life, wherein,
perhaps, the succeeding capital division may consist of an account of
our own tragic fate, not less lamentable or less awful. Such creatures
are we lords of the creation!--so completely veiled are the destinies
of man!

It was, I think, in the month of December in the winter of 18--, that
a man in the garb of a farmer called upon me, and requested me to
visit George B----, a person, he said, of his own craft, who held a
small sheep-farm back among the hills about three miles distant. I
asked the messenger if the man was in danger, and if he wished me to
proceed instantly to his residence, or if a call the first time that I
passed that way, which might be next day, would suffice. He replied
that his friend was not in immediate danger, and did not wish me to
travel three miles for the special purpose of seeing him, but would be
contented with, and grateful for, a visit from me on any early day
that suited my convenience.

On the following day, I happened to be in that quarter of the country,
and called at the house to which I had been directed. The day was
cloudy, raw, and cold, and a stern north wind whistled among the
brackens of the hills. I was struck with the situation and appearance
of the house. It had formerly been a mansion-house, and was much
larger than the ordinary residences of small sheep-farmers among the
hills. The situation was peculiarly bleak, sequestered, and even
dismal: no trees could be discovered in any direction; there was no
outhouses attached to the dwelling; and no neighbouring residence was
to be seen. The house stood alone, big, gaunt, cold, and comfortless,
in the midst of bare hills, exposed to the bitter wind that careered
through the valleys and ravines. Nor, as I approached, did I discover
any signs of domestic stir or comfort. Several of the windows were
closed up--the under part of the house apparently being only inhabited
by the inmates, who showed no anxiety to ascertain by looking out who
it was that had accomplished the task of getting to this barren and
sequestered place.

On knocking at the door, it was opened by a young woman about eighteen
years of age. She appeared to be delicate--being thin in her person,
pale in her complexion, and of an irritable temperament, for she
started when she saw me. An expression of melancholy pervaded
features not unhandsome, and attracted particularly my attention, by
almost instantly exciting my sympathy. I asked her if George B---- was
in the house. She answered that her father, for such he was, had just
gone to bed, having been for some time ailing. I told her that it was
upon that account I had come to see him. She seemed then to know who I
was, and thanked me for my attention. I stepped in; and, as I followed
the young woman through a long passage to the room occupied by her
father, she told me that her mother had died about a year before, and
that there was no other individual living in the house but her and her
remaining parent. A gloomy, unhappy pair! thought I, as I looked on
her sombre face, and heard the wind moaning through the big, open

On entering the room, which was cold and poorly furnished, I observed
George B---- sitting up in his bed reading a book, which I discovered
to be a large Bible. He had a napkin bound round his temples. His face
exhibited the true melancholic hue, being of a swarthy yellow; his
eyes wore the heaviness generally found in people of that temperament;
the muscles were firmly bound down by the rigid, severe, and
desponding expression of dejection, generally found associated with
these other characteristics; and throughout his face and manner there
was exhibited an indifference to surrounding objects, which was only
very partially relaxed by his recognition of me as I entered. There
was, however, nothing of the look of a diseased man about him; for his
face was full and fleshy, his nerves firm and well strung, his eye
steady and unclouded, and his voice, as he welcomed me in, strong, and
even rough and burly. His face resembled very much the _ideal_ of that
of the old Covenanters; and the large Bible he held in his hands aided
the conception, and increased the picturesque effect of the whole
aspect of the man.

He knew, or took it for granted, that I was the surgeon he had sent
for, pointed to a chair, that I might sit down, and beckoned to his
daughter Margaret, as he called her, to leave the room. The young
woman retired slowly, and I observed, as she proceeded towards the
door, she threw back two or three nervous looks, which I thought
indicated a strong feeling of apprehension, mixed with her filial
sympathy. As the door shut, it sounded as if it had lost the catch;
the father caught the sound, appeared angry, and requested me to rise
and shut it effectually, and, as he added, carefully. I complied, and
he seemed to listen for some time, as if to try to ascertain whether
his daughter had proceeded along the passage to the kitchen. He was
uncertain, and listened again, but was still unresolved; at last, he
said he was sorry to give me so much trouble, but he felt he could not
enter upon the subject about which he wished to consult me until he
was satisfied, beyond the possibility of doubt, that Margaret was not
listening. I rose and went to the door. On opening it, I saw the young
woman standing behind it. On perceiving me, she retreated
precipitately and fearfully along the dark passage. I shut the door;
and, being unwilling, in my ignorance of the cause of all this
mysterious secrecy and suspicion, to betray the poor girl, who had
perhaps some good legitimate object in solicitude, I said simply that
there was now nobody there. He was satisfied; and I again sat down.

I then asked him what was the particular complaint about which he
wished to consult me.

"That is precisely what I wish to know," he replied. "I hae nae
complaint aboot _my body_, which, God be thanked! is just as strong as
it used to be. But there is a change in my mind, different frae the
healthy griefs, and sorrows, and pains o' mortals. My wife, the best
o' women, died a year ago. In a short time after, I lost the greater
number o' my sheep in a storm, which prevented me frae payin my
Candlemas rent. But mony a man loses his wife, and mony a shepherd his
sheep, without tellin a doctor o' their loss. I laid my account wi'
sufferin grief as heavy as mortal ever suffered; and in this house, in
this bed, on these hills, in the kirk, and at our cattle trysts, I hae
struggled wi' my sorrow. But, sir," leaning his head towards me, and
speaking low, "_it winna a' do_."

He paused, and, as he fixed his eye upon me, drew a deep sigh, as if
he had already, as it were, broached a subject that was fearful to

"What mean you?" said I.

"I mean, that _I canna live_!" he replied, energetically, seizing the
Bible with a spasmodic grasp--closing it--throwing it to the back of
the bed--then falling in an instant into a state of real dejection,
with his arms folded over his breast, and his eyes cast down.

"Grief often produces these gloomy thoughts," said I; "but they are
the mere fancies of a sick mind--generated in sorrow, and dying with
the time-subdued cause that produces them. There is not a bereaved
husband, wife, parent, or child in the land, that does not, in the
first struggle with a new grief, entertain and cherish, for passing
moments of agony, such sick fancies of rebelling nature. You have not
yet given time and your energies a fair trial. You must have

"There is some consolation in that," he replied. "I am glad when I
think that the thought that haunts and alarms me is no sae dangerous
as it sometimes appears to me. This book (sweet comforter!) tells me
that Tobit prayed to be dissolved, and become earth, because o' his
sorrow. It tells me, also, that Job, in his agonies, cried, 'My soul
chooseth strangling and death rather than life.' My experience o' the
ills o' life (and a man o' sixty-five must have some portion o' that)
informs me o' the truth o' what you have told me, that an
extraordinary burden o' grief often wrings frae the sick soul a wish
to dee and be at rest. But oh! I fear my situation is different. I hae
_mair_ than a wish to be dissolved; for sure none o' my brethren in
sorrow"--here his voice fell almost to a whisper, and tears rolled
down his cheek--"ever lay wi' the like o' that"--holding up a
razor--"under his sick pillow."

I was alarmed, being utterly unprepared for this exhibition.

"You need be under nae alarm," he continued, wiping the tears from his
eyes. "My courage is not yet strong enough. God be praised for it!
Moments o' fearfu fortitude sometimes come owre me, and I have held
that instrument in my clenched hand--ay, within an inch o' my bared
throat; but the resolution passes as quickly as it comes, and terror,
cowardice, and a shiverin cauld--dreadfu to suffer--come in their
place. Lay it past, sir--lay it past."

I obeyed; and, as I proceeded to place the instrument on the top of a
chest of drawers, I heard the noise of some one in the passage, with
suppressed ejaculations of--"O God! O God!"

"I wadna hae shown you that," he continued, as I sat down, "but that
it is my wish to tell you the warst; for nae man can expect
assistance, if he is ashamed or afraid to show his necessities and his
danger. I didna send for you to cure my body, but to examine my mind,
and tell me if it is sound and healthy, or weak and diseased, and
therefore I will conceal naething frae ye that may show you its state
and condition."

I was pleased to find I had so tractable a patient. I paused for a
moment, to consider in what way I should draw him out, and on what
side I should attack him--whether I should argue calmly with him, and
endeavour to stimulate his feelings of duty to his Maker, to himself
and his poor daughter; or shake him roughly as a vain and sinful
dreamer who had voluntarily swallowed a pernicious soporific, and try
to awaken him, and keep him awake, after the manner of our remedial
endeavours to save those who have attempted to poison themselves by
laudanum. I saw, in an instant, that he was by far too strong-minded a
man to be operated upon effectually by the mere charm of the imputed
reach and strength of our cabalistic lore--an agent, if well employed,
of great good in our profession--and too determined (for such
resolutions are always, in some degree, a false result of reasoning
powers) to be put from his purpose either by a firm pressure of
logical authority, or the subtle and more dangerous means of
good-humoured or severe satire. My course was clearly to endeavour to
affect the form of his own reasoning, and, if possible, to invest it
with a character which might be recognised as true by the peculiar,
and, no doubt, morbid perceptions he possessed of moral truth. I began
by securing his eye, which I saw was, at times, inclined to wander, or
take on that unmeaning, dull, glazed aspect which people in the act of
brooding over intense sorrows--as if the optic nerves were thereby
paralysed--so often exhibit.

"What train of mind are you in generally," said I, "when the wish to
die, accompanied with the fortitude you have mentioned, comes upon you
in its strongest form?"

"I first fall into a state of low spirits," said he, "and then nae
effort I can use will tak my mind aff my dead wife. I think for whole
hours--sometimes on the hills, sometimes in the house, and sometimes
in my bed--of our courtship, our marriage, our happy life, and her
miserable, painful, untimely death. This feeds my sorrow, which grows
stronger, and descends deeper and deeper, till it reaches my brain,
and I am sunk in the darkness o' despair. To escape frae thoughts o'
past sorrows that are owre strong to be borne, I try to look forward
to the future; but, alas! I see naething there but the pain o' livin
for a number o' comfortless years o' auld age, draggin after me, a
memory clogged wi' past ills, and naething afore me but a jail, and
want, and lingerin death."

"These are false views of life," said I--"overstrained and morbid. I
must teach you to think better. You have a daughter who will comfort
you, and whom you are bound to support and protect."

"True, true," he cried; "I hae a dochter, and a better never
sacrificed her ain thochts and feelins to the comforts o' a faither.
The idea o' leavin her, young, faitherless, poor, and full o' sorrow,
in the midst o' a bad world, has before this" (lowering his voice)
"brought down that rebellious hand from this throat. But, alas for the
inconsistency and mutability o' man's fancies!--dearly as I love that
creature, and she is now my only comfort, my very affection for her
sometimes sinks me deeper into that sorrow which produces the dreadfu
purpose o' takin awa my ain life; for I think--oh! how weak is man's
proud reason, when the heart is broken wi' grief!--that an auld parent
under the ban o' poverty is a burden to a child. His death (so in
these unhappy moments do I think) relieves the unhappy bairn o' twa
evils--that o' toilin maybe in vain to support him, and that o'
witnessin age, decrepitude, pain, misery, and want, wringin frae his
shrivelled and diseased body groans o' agony, strikin the heart o' his
child wi' mair pain than would be caused by the knell o' his death."

He now sank his face in the bedclothes, which he grasped with a
spasmodic hand, and groaned so deep and loud that the sounds might
have reached the passage. I again heard a noise from that quarter, as
if of stifled sighs and hysterical sobs. I was placed between the
groans of a father bent against his own judgment on self-destruction,
and the terrors and griefs of a daughter listening to the horrible
recital of her parent's designs against his life. The loneliness of
the house, and the solitude of the unhappy pair--with no one to aid
the young woman, in the event of any appalling extremity to which the
unnatural purpose of her father might drive him--struck me forcibly. I
had no recollection of ever experiencing a scene of grief so peculiar,
with such fearful and uncertain issues, so irremediable and
heart-stirring. The groans of the one and the sobs of the other seemed
to vie with each other in the effect they produced upon me; but, great
as the pain of the father was, the sufferings of the daughter, perhaps
as peculiar and touching as any that could be conceived, engaged to
the greatest extent my sympathy. It was my duty and wish to try to
remove the fundamental cause of all this suffering; and I waited the
end of the paroxysm of the father's sorrow in order to resume the

"These views," said I, as he calmed, "which you take of life, and its
duties and affections, are all false and distorted. It is our duty to
try to regulate our thoughts as well as our actions by some steady
supporting principle, which mankind have agreed in considering as
true, whether it be derived from the direct Word of God or from the
written tablets of the heart. The taking away of our life--originally
given to us as a trust, or imposed on us by the Author of all good,
for certain ends and purposes which are veiled from our view--is
undoubtedly in many respects, as regards God himself, ourselves, our
children, and our neighbours, a great, flagrant, horrible crime. It is
against the law of God, the law of our country, the organic law of our
physical constitution, and the moral law of our minds. It is indeed
the only act that can be mentioned that is against _all_ these. It
does not require me to tell you that suicide, with other murders, was
denounced by God himself, speaking in words that all mankind have
heard, from the 'thick cloud' that hung over Mount Sinai. You are, I
presume, a Christian, and the Sacred Book containing that denunciation
lies at your side; and yet you have made the dreadful confession to
me, that you have dared to meditate on the breaking, the despising,
the contemning of the command of Him who by less than a command--ay,
than even a word, by the lifting up of his finger--may consign you to
an eternity of agony, in comparison of which all the sorrow you now
suffer is less than a grain of sand to the sandbanks of the sea."

"It is true, it is true!" replied the unhappy man. "I know, I _feel_
that every word you have uttered is true, maist true and undeniable as
are the sentiments o' this holy book," grasping again the Bible; "but
can ye--wha, by the command o' books and education, can dive farther
into the nature o' the mind than ane like me--explain this mystery,
that, when my soul is filled wi' the darkness o' sorrow, and my
rebellious purpose o' self-murder whispers in my mind treachery and
war against God, thae truths ye hae uttered, for they hae occurred to
me before, tak flight like guid angels, and leave me to warsle wi' a
power that subdues me? It is then that I am in danger, and the hand
that has held up to my throat that fatal instrument I had under my
pillow, has the moment before been lifted up vainly in prayer to God,
to throw owre my mind the light o' thae grand truths. What avails it,
then, that there are times when I love them, and am guided by them,
and thank Heaven for the precious gift o' knowin, feelin, and
appreciatin them, if there are other moments when they flee frae me,
and I am left powerless in the grasp o' my enemy?" Pausing, and
falling again into a fit of dejection. "I fear, I fear the best o' us
are only the slaves o' some mysterious power. But"--starting up, as if
recollecting himself--"I put a question to you--answer me in the name
o' Heaven; for if I gie mysel up to the belief o' an all-powerful
necessity, I am a lost man and a self-murderer."

He was now clearly approaching a rock whereon many a gallant bark has
been shivered to atoms. Even healthy-minded men cannot look at the
question of the necessity of the will without staggering and reeling;
and hypochondriacs love to get drunk by inhaling the vapours of
mysticism that rise from it, destroying as they do all moral
responsibility, and concealing the vengeance of heaven and the terrors
of hell. It was necessary to lead him from this dangerous subject,
which it was clear he had been studying and dreaming about, with all
that love of subtlety and mysticism which melancholy generates.

"No sensible man," said I, "believes in the absolute necessity of the
will. After the will is fixed, the liberty is already exercised, and
there is indeed _no will_ in the mind at all, until it takes the form
of an active, moving, propelling principle. But these are abstruse
fancies, which you must fly, if you wish to possess a healthy mind.
Sorrow, or any other feeling of pain, will extinguish while it lasts
the burning lights of principle or sentiment. The pain of the
amputation of a limb prevents, while it lasts, the natural working of
the mind; but _grief may be averted_, and the great healing secret of
that is, that the mind _must_ be occupied. Renounce all abstruse
thinking, all day-dreaming, all sorrowful remembering, all sentimental
musing--look upon application, exercise, work, as a duty and a
medicine, and I will answer for your expelling from your mind that
dreadful purpose that entails upon you misery, and disgraces the
nature of man."

"Your advice is excellent," replied he, somewhat roused; "but,
unfortunately, I hae got the same frae my ain mind; and, what is mair,
I hae tried it--I hae tried it again and again;--the medicine is worth
nae mair to me than a bread pill. My efforts to exercise my mind, when
a fit o' sorrow presses upon it, only mak the sorrow the heavier, by
makin the mind less able to bear it. My soul is for ever bent on that
question o' the necessity o' the will which you despise and avoid. I
will, God is my witness, argue it with you, calmly and reasonably."

"Unless you agree to renounce that question," said I, "I can do you no

"Then," replied he, with a groan, "I am left to Heaven and my
unavoidable fate. May God have mercy on my soul!"

And he again relapsed into a fit of dejection, his head leaning on his
breast, and his eyes fixed on the bed.

I could, I found, make no more of him that day, and my other
avocations required my departure. I told him I would call again, and
bring or send him some medicine.

"It is an unnecessary waste o' your valuable time," he said, lifting
up his head, "to call again upon a wretch like me. I am much obliged
to you for advice; but the only medicine for me is--_death_."

He pronounced the fearful word with an emphatic guttural tone, which
gave it a terrific effect. I opened the door to depart, and was
surprised to find that it would not go back sufficiently to allow me
to pass freely. The probable cause of the interruption flashed upon
my mind in an instant. Without speaking a word, I edged myself
through, and saw, lying at the back of the door, the body of the
unfortunate young woman, in a state of insensibility. I had presence
of mind enough not to carry her into the room where her father lay;
but, seeing the light of the kitchen at the further end of the long
gloomy passage, I snatched her up in my arms, and hastened with her
thither. Having laid her on a small truckle bed, whereon, I presume,
she usually slept, I found she was in a deep swoon; and,
notwithstanding that it was getting dark, and my time was expired, I
waited her recovery. As she lay before me, pale as a corpse, and as
I thought of the cause of her illness, and looked round in vain for
any one to give her assistance or consolation (the groans of her
father, which I indistinctly heard, being the only answer that would
have been given to a call for aid in a house more like a haunt for
ghosts and spectres than a residence for human beings), I felt the
impression of her peculiar misery pass over me, making me shudder as
if I had been seized with a fit of the ague. The frail, brittle
creature lying there, a victim of hysterics, fit only to be
cherished and guarded by a doting mother--placed in a large, empty,
gousty mansion--doomed to guard alone a suicide and a father, and,
perhaps, to wrestle with him through blood--her parent's blood!--for
the preservation of a remaining spark of a self-taken life! She at
length recovered, exhibiting the ordinary precursors of returning
consciousness--convulsive shiverings, rolling of the eyes, and
beating about with the hands. On perceiving me indistinctly, she

"Death! death!--that was the word he spoke sae wildly.--Ah! I know it
now!--James H---- has lang tried to conceal it frae me; but I hae
discovered it at last. Can you save him, sir?--can you save the
faither o' her wha has scarcely anither freend on earth?"

A flood of tears followed this ejaculation. She tore her hair like a
maniac. I tried everything in my power to pacify her; but terror had
completely mastered her weak nerves, and she shook as the successive
frightful images suggested by her situation passed through her excited
and still confused mind.

"Is there no one in those parts," said I, "that can attend your
father, and assist you? Who is the James H---- you just now mentioned?"

"He is my cousin," replied she. "He lived with us for some time; but
my father and he quarrelled about a _razor_, which he said James
wanted to steal from him. But I see it now. There was nae theft.
James, poor James, was innocent, and wanted to save him; but they
concealed it frae me, and my cousin was turned away."

The mention of the word razor made me start. I had left the instrument
on the head of the drawers, and I had even now heard the wretched
man's groans. I hurried to the room, and entered softly. He was in a
fit of dejection, groaning, at intervals, deeply, like a man in bodily
pain. I took up the instrument without being noticed, and returned to
the kitchen. It was now almost dark. I had three miles to ride through
wild hill paths, and I heard some threatening indications of a
night-storm. The young woman was still lying on the couch, with her
terrors undiminished; but I could do nothing more for her, and to have
impressed her with the necessity of watching her parent would have
created additional alarm, without increasing her zeal in a cause that
concerned too nearly her own heart. I told her, therefore, that I
required to depart, and was in the act of leaving to go to the door,
when, in a paroxysm of terror, she started up, and seized me,
clutching me firmly, and crying loudly--

"Will you leave me alone wi' him in this house, and throughout the
dark night! He will do it when you are gone. Heaven preserve me frae
the sight o' a father's blood!"

I tried to calm her, and to reason with her; but it was in vain. She
still clung to me; and I found myself necessitated either to use some
gentle force to detach myself from her grasp, or remain all night. I
adopted the former expedient, and rushing out, shut the door after me,
mounted my horse, and proceeded home. She had come out after me; for I
heard her cries for some time as I rode forward in the dark.

Though soon out of sight of the house, I felt myself unconsciously
turning my head once or twice in the direction of the deserted
mansion. With all my efforts to think of some other subject--and my
own safety among these wild hills might have been sufficient to occupy
my attention--I could not, for some time, take my mind off the scene I
had witnessed, and the prospective misery that, in such different
forms, waited these two individuals. When I had gone about a mile and
a-half on my journey, I was accosted by a man, who asked me familiarly
how George B---- was. I recognised in him at once the individual who
had asked me to call for him. I told him that he was well enough in
his body, but had taken some wild and distorted views of life, which
might place him in danger of his own hands, while there was nobody in
the house to watch him but his daughter, who did not seem to me to be
well fitted for the task, seeing she was weakly, hysterical, and
timid. He told me he knew all I had stated; that his name was James
H----; that he was a cousin of the young woman's, George B---- having
been married on his mother's sister; that he had resided in the house,
and had discovered the tendency of his uncle's mind; and that, on one
occasion, he had snatched out of his hands a razor with which he
intended to destroy himself--an act for which he was expelled the
house, though he was the acknowledged suitor of the young woman, whom
he intended to wed. I told him he should marry her, protect her, and
save the father; but he replied that the old man would neither allow
him to live in the house, nor take his daughter from him; so that she
was compelled to remain in the dreadful condition in which I had found
her. I told him to call upon me next day, and proceeded homewards.

Before James H---- called, which he did about two o'clock, I revolved
in my mind what should be done for the unfortunate man. I recollected
that, in a conversation I had with Dr D---- of Edinburgh, he told me
of a case of melancholy, and accompanying determination to commit
self-murder, which he had successfully treated by presenting to the
mind of the patient such horrific stories and narratives of men who
had taken their own lives, and suffered in their death inexpressible
agonies, and such shocking pictures of murders where the wretched
victims were brought back, by the hand of their offended Maker, from
the gates of death, with their consciences seared by the burning iron
of his vengeance, that the man got alarmed, was cured of his thirst
for his own blood, and never again spoke of self-destruction. I
resolved upon trying this expedient, and could not think of a better
book for my purpose than that extraordinary record of human vice and
suffering, the "Newgate Calendar." I fortunately possessed a copy,
with those fearfully graphic pictures, that suit so well, in their
coarse, half-caricatured, grotesque delineations, with the dreadful
narratives they are intended to illustrate. I picked out the most
fearful volume, that contained, at the same time, the greatest number
of attempted self-murders, where the victims were snatched from their
own chosen death, and, after their wounds were healed, devoted to that
pointed out by the law as due to their crimes. When James H---- called
in the afternoon, I gave him the volume, and requested him to hand it
to the patient's daughter, with directions to put it into the hands of
her father, as having been sent to him by me. He said he would take
the first opportunity of complying with my request.

I had no visits to make that required my presence in that part of the
country for two or three days. On the second day after I had sent the
book, I had another call from James H----, who said that he had been
requested by the patient's daughter to return the volume, and to
request another one, which the patient desired, above all things, to
be sent to him that day. I accordingly sent him another volume,
although I did not know whether to augur well or ill from this
anxiety; but I was inclined to be of opinion that the symptom was an
auspicious one. Two days afterwards, the messenger called again, with
a repetition of his former request for another volume as soon as it
could be sent. I complied with it instantly; sending, however, on this
occasion, two--for I thought my medicine was operating beneficially,
and it was of that kind that could be of no use unless administered in
large doses, so, as it were, to surfeit and sicken the disease, and
force it, by paralysing its energies, to relinquish its grasp of the
patient's mind and body.

Two days more having elapsed, I felt anxious to ascertain the effect
of my moral _emetocathartics_, and set out on the special errand of
visiting my patient. The house, as I approached, exhibited the same
still, dead-like aspect it possessed on my first visit. On knocking at
the door, it was opened timidly and slowly by the daughter, who
appeared to be paler, more sorrow-stricken, more weak and irritable,
than on the occasion of my former visit. Her eye exhibited that
terrorstruck look which nervous people, kept on the rack of a fearful
apprehension, so often exhibit. Her voice was low, monotonous, and
weak, as if she had been exhausted by mental anxiety, watching, and
care. There was still no one in the house but her and her father; the
same stillness reigned everywhere--the same air of dejection--the same
goustiness in the large empty dwelling. On asking her how her father
was, she replied, mournfully, that he had scarcely ever been out of
his bed since my last visit; that he lay, night and day, reading the
books I had sent him; that he had eaten very little meat, and had
fallen several times into dreadful fits of groaning, and talking to
himself. She added that he felt, at times, disinclined to see her; but
at others, his affection for her rose to such a height, that he flung
his arms about her neck, and wept like a child on her bosom. She had
proposed to him, she said, to bring some person into the house; but he
got into a violent rage when she mentioned it, and said he would expel
the first intruder, whether man or woman. She had therefore been
compelled to remain alone. She had lain at the back of his room-door
every night, watching his motions, whereby, in addition to her grief,
she had caught a violent rheumatism, which had stricken into her
bones. When, for a short time, she had gone to sleep, she was awakened
by terrific dreams and nightmares, which made her cry aloud for help,
and exposed the situation she had taken, for the purpose of watching
her parent, and defeating his purpose of self-murder.

I proceeded to the patient's room. When I entered, which I did softly,
I found him lying in bed, with his head, as formerly, bound up in a
handkerchief; a volume of the "Newgate Calendar" lying on his breast.
So occupied was he with his enjoyment of this _morceau_ of horrors,
that he did not notice my entry or approach to his bedside. I stood
and gazed at him. He had finished the page that was open before
him--exhibiting John Torrance, the blacksmith of Hockley. His eye
rested at least five minutes on this horrific picture; and, as he
continued his rapt gaze, he drew deep sighs--his breast heaving with
great force, as if to throw off an unbearable load. He turned the
page, and noticed me.

"You are very intent upon that book," said I. "I hope it _interests_

"Yes," replied he. "My mind has been dead or entranced for a year.
This is the only thing in the world I have met wi' during my sorrow
capable o' putting life into my soul. It seems as if all the energies
that have been lying useless for that period had risen at the magic
power o' this wonderfu book, to pour their collected strength upon its

"Then it has served its end," said I, doubting greatly the truth of my
own statement. "I sent it for the purpose of entertaining you--that
is--interesting you."

"Entertaining me!" he ejaculated. "You mean, binding my soul wi' iron
bands: my heart now loves the misery it formerly loathed. But, sir, I
am not _fed_ with this food. I devour it wi' a false and ravenous
appetite; and were there a thousand volumes, I think I could read
them a' before I broke bread or closed an ee."

He rolled out these words with a volubility and an enthusiasm that
surprised me. It was clear that I had poisoned the mind of this poor
man. I had stimulated and partly fed his appetite for horrors.
Familiarity with fearful objects kills the terror, and sometimes
raises in its place a morbid affection--a fact established in France
at the end of the last century by an empirical test of a horrific
character, but which no knowledge of man's mind could have dreamed of
_à priori_. Why had I forgotten this matter of history, and allowed
myself to be led astray by vain theories and partial experiments? What
was I now to do? The man's appetite for the bloody narratives was so
strong, that, even while I was thus cogitating, his greedy eye had
again sought the page. It was necessary that I should conceal from him
my apprehensions, and take up his words on a feigned construction.

"This kind of reading," said I, "interests you, I presume, because it
fills your mind with a salutary disgust and terror--makes you loathe
the act of the suicide--and mans your soul against the hateful purpose
you entertained against your own life."

He looked to the door, and beckoned to me to see if it was shut. I
went and satisfied him that it was, while I was myself assured that
she whom he was so anxious to deceive was again at her post behind it.

"You ask me," he continued, "if this book has disgusted or terrified
me against my purpose o' deein. Are we disgusted and terrified at what
we love? I hae seen the day when thae stories had sma' attraction for
me. But, alas! alas! I am a changed--a fearfully changed man. My soul
now gloats owre tales o' crime and scenes o' blood. To me there is an
interest, an indescribable, mysterious interest in this book, beyond
the charm o' the miser's wealth, or the bridegroom's bride--ay, sir,
or what I ance thocht was in life to the deein sinner. It is a
medicine; but"--pausing, and eyeing me sorrowfully--"do you mean it to
_kill_ or _cure_?"

"To save you from self-destruction," said I--"the most fearful and the
most cowardly of all the terminations of human life."

"If you could keep me readin this _for ever_," he said, "yer object
would be served."

"I can give you no more of it," said I, conscious that, by indulging
his morbid appetite for blood, I had been leading him to his ruin.

"Then I must read thae volumes owre, and owre, and owre again," said
he; "and when I hae dune, I hae naething mair to interest me in this
dark, bleak warld."

He fell now into one of his fits of dejection, assuming his accustomed
attitude of folding his hands over his breast, and fixing his eyes on
the bed, while deep sighs and groans were thrown from his heaving
breast. It was necessary, I now saw, to take from him the book which
had produced an effect the very opposite of what I had intended and
expected. I took it up and placed it beside the other volume that was
lying on a side-table, with a view to take them away with me--blaming
myself sorely and deservedly for the injury I had done by
experimenting so rashly on the life and eternal interests of a human
being. As I moved away the volume, he observed me, and followed it
wistfully and sorrowfully with his eye.

"Ye hae dune weel," he said--"ye hae whetted my appetite for my ain
life; and it matters naething that the whetter and the whet-stane are
taen awa when they're nae mair needed!"

I felt keenly the reproach, for it was just. I might have taken credit
for a good intention; but my sympathy for the wretched being
restrained any wish I had to defend myself I endeavoured to change
the subject of our conversation, and turn his mind to a subject which
I knew engaged his interests and feelings more than anything else on

"Your daughter," said I, "is unwell. She seems to be miserable. I know
a change upon her both in mind and body, since I called here only a
few days ago. Her body is thin and emaciated, her cheek is blanched,
and her eye dimmed. These signs do not visit the young frame for
nothing. I fear she has heard of the deadly intention you still
persist in entertaining--to take away your own life. It is clear to me
that her sickly constitution cannot long stand against a terror and an
apprehension which even the aged and the strong cannot endure without
grievous injury to all the faculties of the body and mind. Sir, take
heed"--pausing and looking at him seriously and impressively--"you may
become _a daughter's murderer_ before your _cowardly_ courage enables
you to become _your own_!"

"Hold, sir!--hold!" cried the roused man. "You now speak daggers to
me! I could hae borne this when you were here last; but ye hae
unmanned me--ye hae made me familiar wi' him, the king o' terrors, wha
waits for me. I know him in his worst shapes. He is nae langer hideous
to me; and, being his friend, I canna be my dochter's faither and
guardian! Why cam you here to revive a struggle that was past? My mind
was made up. Owre the pages o' that book, my resolution was fixed; now
you wad re-resolve me back to my doubt, my pain, my insufferable
agony, by bringin up into my mind the tender image o' a sufferin,
sorrowin, starvin dochter. My Margaret--my Margaret!--her mother's
image--the pledge o' a love dearer than life----"

The door opened, and the young woman, who had been listening at the
back of it, rushed in and flung herself on the bosom of the agonised

"O father!" she cried, "I ken everything. Yer dreadfu purpose has been
revealed to me. Ye intend to tak awa yer ain life, which my mother,
yer beloved Agnes, on her death-bed, bade ye preserve for my sake. But
ye canna do that without takin also mine. Yer death will be my death.
I hae already seen yer bleedin body in my dreams--the image haunts me
like a spirit, and leaves me nae rest. The doctor says true--ye will
kill me before yer dreadfu purpose is fulfilled; but if, in God's
will, I should be left when ye are awa, wha is to guard me, wha is to
comfort me--without freends, without means, and without health?"

The scene now presented to me transcended anything I had ever seen
during my long intercourse with suffering humanity. The excited girl
clung with a firm grasp to the neck of her parent, and sobbed
intensely; while he, struggling to be liberated, and holding away his
face to the back of the bed, groaned and appealed for relief in
broken, guttural, half-choked aspirations to Heaven. I saw his eyes
turned to the throne of mercy, and big tears rolled down his rugged
cheeks. In my anxiety to aid this struggle, and assist him to the
return to his natural love of life and duty to his God, I was afraid
to interfere with the sacred service of a bursting heart, turned in
its agony to the only source of consolation and healing virtue; while,
if I allowed this opportunity to escape, I might not have another for
adding a mortal's means and energies (sometimes God's instruments) to
the workings of nature, and the silent but powerful voice of religion
speaking from the innermost recesses of his moral constitution.

"This is nature and truth," said I, after a pause--"powers a thousand
times stronger than the brain-sick fancies of a diseased mind. It is
the voice of God himself, sounding through the heart, and, like the
electric energy, heaving it with convulsive throes, as if to cast
forth from it the impious daring and unnatural purpose you have
cherished in it so long that no lesser power will expel it. I rejoice
in these throes; cherish them and aid them, for they are the
expulsers of poison that, having got into your blood, and reached the
heart, the seat of life, madly stimulates it to self-destruction. This
is the time--here is the vantage-ground of a return to all that is
right, true, and good, from cowardice, cruelty, irreligion, and even
rebellion against God!"

"Listen to him--listen to him!" cried the young woman, still sobbing.
"Hear thae words o' truth, for they are sent from Heaven. Receive them
into your heart, and it will be changed, and I will live to see my
father enjoy life and be happy."

"_When?_" groaned the miserable man, satirically, as if roused by the
sound of the distasteful word "happy." "When I am sittin at the window
o' a prison, thinkin o' my dead Agnes, and lookin at the red settin o'
my sixty-fifth sun?"

These words showed that the struggle had been ineffectual. Released
from the grasp of his daughter, who sat at the side of the bed, he
doggedly and sternly folded his arms, and relapsed into a silent fit
of dejection. No effort would make him open his lips. There seemed to
be no principle of reaction in his moral economy; all was penetrated
by a fatal lethargy, which closed up every issue, broke every spring
of living thought, feeling, or motion. My professional knowledge was
entirely useless, my personal services unavailing. I called to him
loudly to answer me, and got no reply but deep groans. I even shook
him roughly, and tried to bend his head to his weeping daughter. My
efforts were quickened by a sense that bore in upon me with fearful
strength and importunity, that I had, by experimenting on his mind,
and filling it with images of horror, increased the disease I intended
to cure. Pained beyond measure, I was anxious to redeem my fault and
correct my error by getting him again engaged in conversation, whereby
I might have a last opportunity of drawing him into a train of thought
which might lead to a sense of his awful condition, and a prospect of
escaping from its present misery, and its horrible consequences. But
my medicine had operated too powerfully. There he sat, unmoved,
immoveable--a sad and melancholy victim of the worst species of
hypochondria--that which exhibits as one of its pathognomonic
symptoms, the desire, the determination, persevered in through all
difficulties, all oppositions, all wiles and schemes, to commit

I waited for a considerable period, standing at the side of his bed,
to see if he would exhibit any signs of returning moral vitality: but
in vain. My other pressing avocations demanded imperiously my presence
in quarters where I could be of more service. The daughter was herself
buried in despondency, her face being hid in her hands, and broken
ejaculations escaping from her lips. I took up the book which had
produced so much harm, and whispered lowly in her ear, to request
James H---- to call for me next day. At the sound of this name she
started, and looked up wildly. I was afraid I might have to encounter
another scene like that I had witnessed on the occasion of my last
departure. I therefore hurried away, giving her no time to reply,
where conversation was apparently useless. My intention was to try and
devise some means of introducing a person into the house--though
against the determined will of the father--to guard him and assist the
daughter; but that could only be done through the medium of the
messenger who went between me and the young woman.

When I had got some distance from the house, I could not resist the
feeling that on the occasion of my prior visit compelled me to look
back upon this miserable dwelling. I had seen diseases of all kinds
grinding the feelings of unhappy man; but in the worst of them there
is some principle, either of resistance or resignation, that comes to
the aid of the sufferer, and enables him to pass the ordeal, whether
for life or death. The duty he is called upon to perform is to
_bear_; for no man I ever yet saw on a sick-bed can get quit of the
thought--however much he may try to philosophise about physical
causes, or to conceal his sense of a divine influence--that he is
placed there by a superior Hand _for the very purpose of suffering_,
with a view to some end that is veiled from his eye. Every pang,
therefore, that is borne carries with it, or leaves after it, some
feeling of necessity to _bear_, and a satisfaction of having endured,
and to a certain extent obeyed, the behest of Him that sent it. In
many, this feeling is strong and decided, yielding comfort and
consolation when no other power could have any effect; and though in
others it may be less discernible--being often denied by the patients
themselves, and attempted to be laughed at and scorned--it is, I
assert, still there, silently working its progress in the heart, and
spreading its balm even against the sufferer's own rebellious will.
But the case of the suicide is left purposely by Him against whose law
and authority the unholy purpose is directed, in a solitary condition
of unmitigated horror; for the desire to get quit of pain--the
inheritance of mortals--is itself the very exclusion of that
resignation which is its legitimate antidote, while the devoted
victim, obeying a necessity that forces him to eschew a misery he is
not noble-minded enough to bear, not only has _no good_ in view, but
is conscious that he is flying _from_ evil, _through_ evil, _to_ evil;
so that from behind, around him, within him, before him--wherever he
casts his eye--there is nothing but darkness, pain, and utter
desolation. To complete the scene--there is, perhaps, no living
_natural_ evil more peculiar and acute, and less capable of generating
resistance or resignation, than the rack of apprehension and terror of
an only daughter watching, alone and unaided, the issues of a purpose
that is, in all likelihood, to force her through the energies of the
strongest instinct--filial affection--to stop, with her trembling
hands, the flow of a father's life-blood. Yet all this evil, this
misery, was to be found in that house, standing alone in the midst of
these bleak hills, like a temple dedicated to sorrow.

Next day James H---- called upon me, having seen the young woman,
unknown to the father, on the previous night, and received from her
the instructions I left for him. He saw himself the necessity of
something being done towards the amelioration of the condition of the
two unhappy individuals; but he acknowledged the difficulty of
effecting it. He perceived (what was true) that, if any watch were set
over his uncle, it might only make certain that which at present was
doubtful; that the watchman could only proceed on the principle that
he was mad, and bind him, or confine him, or otherwise treat him as
insane; and that, besides, he knew no one who, without pay (and there
was no money), would undertake so unpleasant a duty, which might last
for weeks, or months, or even years. No concealed surveillance could
be kept over him; for he suspected in an instant the object of any one
visiting him, and had ordered one or two individuals, who had come
from a distance to call for him, out of the house, suspecting (such is
the way of all his unhappy tribe) that they came for the purpose of
observing his motions. The difficulty was greatly owing to the lonely
position of the house: the cloak of friendly intercourse might have
covered the frequent visits of near neighbours; but there were none
such--for the nearest house was two miles off; and as for relations,
they were in another part of the country, distant in locality as well
as blood.

The case was hedged with difficulties. Violent diseases require strong
remedies. I recollected that James H---- said, on a former occasion,
that he was the suitor of the young woman, and wished to wed her. I
came to a resolution on the instant--firm, decided, and sound. I told
him that, if he wished to save the father and the daughter, he must
accelerate his intended marriage with the latter, even in the midst of
the unfortunate circumstances in which she was placed, and under the
unfavourable auspices of an event of joy being shadowed with a cloud
of sorrow. This would give him a claim on the daughter; and if the old
man would not permit his son-in-law to remain in the house, and assist
him as formerly with the labours of his land, he could threaten to
take her from him altogether--a threat that would not, in all
likelihood, fail to make him consent to his becoming an inmate in the
house. The young man was pleased with an advice that quadrated with
his wishes, and left me, to consult with some other friends on the
propriety of instantly following it.

I heard the banns proclaimed next Sunday in the parish church, and was
somewhat surprised at the rapidity with which my advice had been
adopted, and the plan put into execution. The intelligence was
promptly communicated to me by the bridegroom himself, who informed me
also that the fact of the proclamation of the banns had been
communicated to his uncle, who had expressed himself strongly against
the match. He had, in fact, taken up a strong prejudice against his
nephew, in consequence of the latter's interference with his purpose
of self-immolation. He had never allowed the young man to come near
him since the day on which he had taken the razor out of his hands by
force; and the intelligence that he was to marry his daughter, and
deprive him of her society, roused him to fury. He denounced the
union, and said that it added another drop of bitterness to the cup of
his misery, which was already overflowing. I told the young man that
the anger into which his uncle had been thrown would, in all
likelihood, do him more good than harm: it might stimulate a mind,
dead or dormant, from the effects of brooding over imaginary evils,
which produced ten times more self-murders than the real misfortunes
of life. He told me the marriage would not, on account of his uncle's
anger, be put off; that it was fixed for the 15th of the month, and
would be celebrated in private. I informed him that I required to go
to a distant part of the country, and could not, for some time, see
his uncle, and that he must endeavour, by all means, to support and
comfort the unhappy bride in her watchful care over her unfortunate
father, who, according to his account, was still under the cloud from
which he threatened every instant to draw down the lightning that was
to strike him to death.

When I returned from my journey, I called again upon the unfortunate
man, in the hope of finding some amelioration in his condition, as
well as that of his daughter. I found him still in bed, though he had
been up and out on several occasions since I visited him. I saw no
signs of improvement. I endeavoured to get him engaged in a
conversation about his own condition; but I saw that, in place of
being fond of dwelling on the state of his mind, talking of his
sorrows, and contemplating the purpose he entertained against his
existence, he showed an utter repugnance to the subject, having become
perfectly taciturn, sullen, and morose, giving me monosyllables for
answers, and sometimes not deigning even to show that he attended to
me, or understood me. The only thing that seemed to interest him was
his daughter's marriage--looking dark and gloomy when the subject was
broached, and muttering indistinct words of reproach and anger. The
condition of his daughter was changed; but it was only a new form of
anguish. Some days previous, she had observed him with another razor
in his hand; but he had secreted it somewhere, and all her efforts had
as yet been ineffectual to get it. Her watch had therefore been more
unremitting--her apprehensions were increased, while her strength was
greatly diminished. She was reduced to a shadow; the pale skin that
covered her face seemed to be in contact with the bones; while her
eyes burned with fever and excitement. Yet _her marriage_ was fixed to
take place two or three days after! She could not avoid it; she had
pledged her word, and her father's safety depended in a great degree
upon it. She could bear her condition no longer--all her powers of
suffering were worn out; and if her father would not permit her
husband to remain in the house, she would, she said, allow the latter
to exercise what authority he pleased, in endeavouring, by force, to
save his father-in-law and his wife from the ruin that seemed to await
them. The gloom that enveloped her mind was deepened by the contrast
of the light of a happiness she had long sighed for, now changed into
a refinement of peculiar pain. She shuddered when she thought of her
marriage with the man she loved, and feared that the power of Heaven
would fall on her, for presuming to bring joy into the chamber of
mourning, if not death. As she spoke, tears moistened her burning eye,
and ran down her thin, pallid cheeks. She wished the ceremony over, as
an evil to be endured, and then fate must take its course, though she
feared the termination would be miserable, as well for her father as
for her. His life was hanging by a thread; hers was worn out by
watching, fainting, and suffering, till it was on the very eve of
leaving the body, which was no longer able to support or contain it.
These were the misfortunes in the inside of the house; but there were
others without-doors. The landlord had sequestrated the stock
belonging to her father--a circumstance that had plunged him deeper in
his despondency and misery, and explained the very altered state in
which I had found him. The attorney, a hard man, _laughed_ at the
_device_ of threatened self-murder, resorted to for the purpose of
exciting his sympathy, and robbing his client's pocket.

"Yes," she concluded, "he _laughed_"--and she repeated the word
"laughed" with a hysterical action of the throat, as if it choked her,
and next moment burst into tears.

Two days afterwards, a man on horseback arrived at my door, and rapped
with great violence; his horse was heated, and foaming at the mouth,
as if it had been hard pressed, and he himself was flushed and
excited. He told me, in a hurried manner, that I was wanted instantly
at George B----'s; he had been sent to me by another man, and could
tell me nothing beyond the fact that something very alarming had taken
place, and that, if I did not hasten thither on the instant, and with
my very greatest speed, I could be of no use. I took with me what I
conceived might be wanted, for my suspicions were more communicative
than the messenger, and proceeded, with all the expedition in my
power, to the house where I had lately seen so much suffering.

On my entering the house, a most extraordinary spectacle presented
itself. On the small truckle-bed that stood opposite the door in the
kitchen lay a female figure, dressed in white, with both her hands
wrapped up in cloth, from which issues of blood rolled on the bed; and
her face, not less pale than her dress, was spotted and besmeared with
the same element. It was Margaret B---- in her _marriage dress_. A
young woman, her bridesmaid, was beside her, looking in her face as if
to see whether life was still in her body. A young man, also dressed
as if for the marriage, hurried me to the apartment of George B----,
where a scene not less awful was presented to me. The unhappy man was
lying in the middle of the floor, on his back, with his throat cut,
and James H----, in his bridegroom clothes, was bending over him, with
his hands busily occupied in stanching a wound that would have let out
ten lives, if he had had as many to destroy; the floor was literally
swimming in blood, and on a chair in the corner of the room lay the
fatal instrument, still open. My services were useless: the man was
dead; his attendants were engaged in stopping blood already curdled
with death. I hurried to the patient that was still living. She had
lost almost the whole blood of her body, and it was difficult to
detect in her any symptoms of life. I unloosed the cloths from her
hands; they were cut in a fearful manner--the blade of the razor,
which she had, in her struggles with her parent, endeavoured to wrest
from him, having been _whisked_ through them when hard clenched. No
one had been in the house; her marriage-dress was still
incomplete--her bosom bare, and her head uncovered; a proof that she
had been called from the mirror wherein she saw a half-dressed bride,
to see a father kill himself by his own hand against her efforts to
save him. Her screams were heard by the bridesmaid and bridegroom, as
they approached the house; but, before they entered, the struggle was
nearly over; they found her bending over the body of her father, which
lay on the floor, grasping the open wound with her hands. So spoke the
attendants as I dressed the wounds. I took up several arteries; but
there was one in the left wrist which, for a long period, defied my
efforts, unassisted as I was with professional aid, to stem its
torrent. I succeeded at last--so, at least, I thought--in my
endeavours to stop all the issues. Vain thought! _Death_ had stopped

This was the first time I had seen a _dead bride_.


    "_They_ gather round, and wonder at the tale
    Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly."--BLAIR.

After all that has been written, printed, and circulated, in the way
of "Statistical Accounts," "Topographical Descriptions," "Guides to
Picturesque Scenery," &c., there are still large tracts of country in
Scotland of which comparatively little is known. While certain
districts have risen, all at once, into notoriety, and occupied for a
time the efforts of the press and the attention of the public, there
are others, perhaps little inferior to them in point of scenery,
through which no traveller has passed, no writer drawn his pen, and
upon which no printer has inked his types. Among other neglected
regions, the Ochil Hills may be mentioned--at least the eastern part
of them. These, so far as we know, have not been fruitful of battles,
and consequently the historian has had nothing to say concerning them.
They are traversed by few roads; the few that do exist are nearly
impassable, except to pedestrians of a daring disposition; and the
novelist, never having seen them, has not thought of making them the
home of his imaginary heroes. They have given birth to no poet of
eminence--none such has condescended to celebrate them in his songs;
and, except to the few scattered inhabitants who nestle in their
hollows, they are nearly unknown.

This, however, is not the fault of the hills themselves, but of the
circumstances just alluded to; for here heroes might have found a
field on which to spill whole seas of blood; novelists might have
found all the variation of hill, valley, rock, and stream, with which
they usually ornament their pages; and Ossian himself, had it been his
fortune to travel in the district, might have found "grey mist" and
"brown heath" to his heart's content, and, in the proper season, as
much snow as would have served to deck out at least half-a-dozen
"Morvens" in their winter coat. These hills, on the east and south,
rise from the adjoining country by a gradual slope, surmounted, in
some instances, by thriving plantations, while, in others, the plough
and harrow have reached what appears to be their summit. On the north,
they are terminated by a rocky front, which runs nearly parallel to
the river Tay, and afterwards to the Earn, thus forming the southern
boundary of Strathearn, which is perhaps one of the most fertile
districts in Scotland. The elevation on this side is partly composed
of the rocky front just mentioned; partly of a cultivated slope at its
base; and partly of a green acclivity above, which, when seen from the
plain below, seems to crown the whole, while it conceals from the eye
those barren altitudes and dreary regions which lie behind. But, after
having surmounted this barrier, the prospect which then opens may be
regarded as a miniature picture of those more lofty mountain-ranges
which are to be found in other parts of the island. Here the ground
again declines a little, forming a sort of shoulder upon the ascent,
as if the Great Architect of nature had intended thereby to secure the
foundation of the superstructure which he was about to rear above. It
then rises into frowning eminences, on which nothing seems to vegetate
except coarse heath, a few stunted whin-bushes, and, here and there,
an _astrogalus_, a _lotus carniculatus_; or a white _orchus_. Those,
however, with the exception of the first, are too scanty to produce
any effect upon the colouring of the landscape; and the whole looks
withered, brown, and, in some instances, even black, in the distance.
But, on passing these barren altitudes, or on penetrating one of the
gorges by which the central district communicates with the country
around, and of which there are several, the eye is saluted with
extensive tracts of plantation--some composed of the light-green
larch, others of the sombre-looking Scottish pine; and, where the soil
is more favourable to the growth of corn, portions of cultivated land,
interspersed with streams, giving a fresher green to their banks,
clumps of trees standing in sheltered positions, and the isolated
habitations of men.

The last of these may be said to constitute a sort of _little world_,
enclosed by a mountain rampart of its own--holding little or no
communication with the great world without; and consequently escaping
all the contamination which such intercourse is supposed to imply.
But, if its inhabitants had escaped the contamination, it were
reasonable to infer that they had missed that stimulus which mind
derives from mind, when brought into close contact; and also many of
those improvements and more correct modes of thinking which almost
every passing year brings forth. In such a region, children must
travel far for education; and men, not unfrequently, live and die in
the prejudices in which they were nursed. To conclude this imperfect
sketch, it may be observed that the scenery of these hills is bleak,
rather than bold; barren, rather than wild; and though some parts of
them possess a sort of dreary interest, in general they can lay no
claim to that quality which has been denominated the _sublime_.

The particular district of Fifeshire in which the following incidents
occurred lies between the villages of Strathmiglo and Auchtermuchty on
the south, and those of Newburgh and Abernethy on the north. From the
last of these places, which is still known as the metropolis of the
ancient Pictish empire, a deep and narrow gorge, called _Abernethy
Glen_, stretches southward amongst the Ochils for more than a mile. On
leaving the open fertile country below, and getting into this pass,
the contrast is striking. In some places the footpath winds along the
face of a bank so steep, that, but for the circumstance of its being
composed of earth, it might have almost been termed a precipice; and
here, if the passenger should miss his footing, it would be nearly
impossible for him to stop himself till he reached the bottom, in
which a turbulent stream brawls and foams over rocks and stones,
disturbing the silence and the solitude of the place with sounds which
have a tendency to inspire feelings of superstitious fears. The scene,
from its nature and situation, appears to be well suited for those
transactions which, according to popular brief, "surpass Nature's
law;" and it has been regarded as the favourite haunt of _witches_,
_fairies_, _ghosts_, and other mysterious beings, from time
immemorial. Numbers of the inhabitants of the village below had been
scared, in their nocturnal rambles, by the orgies of these uncouth
neighbours; many a belated traveller had seen strange sights, and
heard stranger sounds, in this haunted dell; many a luckless lad, in
journeying through it, to see the mistress of his heart, had met such
adventures as to drive love nearly out of his head for whole weeks to
come; and even maids, upon whom the sun went down in the dangerous
pass, had seen things at the mention of which they shook their heads,
and seemed unable to speak. Nor were there awanting instances of
individuals who, in returning at the "witching time of night" from a
delightful interview, in the course of which the marriage-day was
settled, had been so terrified that they forgot every word of what had
been said; and, when the minister and the marriage-guests arrived,
behold they were found in the barn or in the field, or, what was
worse, they had gone upon a journey, and were not to be found at all.
Those of the villagers who had not seen and heard of these unearthly
doings for themselves, had been told of them by their mothers and
grandmothers; and thus one generation after another went forth into
the world completely armed against sceptics and unbelievers of all
sorts. If any one ventured to doubt the veracity of these statements,
or to call in question the cogency of the arguments by which they
supported them, they had only to appeal to the testimony of their
fathers and grandfathers, their mothers and grandmothers, and the most
sceptical were convinced at once. No man durst venture to cast the
shadow of a doubt upon such incontrovertible evidence, because to have
done so would have been to implicate their relations in the charge of
speaking beside the truth, and these, they said, "were decent,
respectable folk, and never kenned for lee'rs in their lives."

In this metropolis, and near the scene of these memorable events,
Nelly Kilgour was born--the exact date of her birth we do not pretend
to determine, though it must have been some time in the eighteenth
century--and had lived, running about, going to school, and serving
sundry of the lieges who were indwellers thereof, till she had arrived
at years of discretion--in other words, till she had seen
three-and-thirty "summers," as a poet would say, and nearly the same
number of winters, as our reader may guess. It has been said that
there are three distinct questions which a woman naturally puts to
herself at three different periods of her life. The first is--"Who
will I take?"--a most important question, no doubt; and we may
reasonably suppose that it occurs about the time when the attentions
of the other sex first awaken her to a sense of her own charms, and
she is thus ready to look upon every one who smiles on her as a lover,
and every young fellow who contemplates her face while talking to her
as anxious to become her husband. The second question, which is
scarcely less important, is--"Who will I get?" and this, we may again
suppose, begins to be repeated seriously, after she has seen the same
individual smile upon half-a-dozen damsels on the same day, and after
she has learned that it is possible for an unmarried man to
contemplate her own fair face with the deepest interest, and converse
with her on the most interesting subjects on Monday morning, and then
go and do the same to another on Tuesday evening. But the last, and
perhaps the most important, as it certainly is the most perplexing of
these questions, is--"_Will I get onybody ava?_" and this, there can
be little doubt, begins to force itself upon her attention, after the
smiles of her admirers have become so faint that they are no longer
able to climb over the nose; when, instead of talking of love, they
begin to yawn, and speak about the weather; in short, after she
becomes conscious that her charms are at a discount, and that those
who are coming up behind her are every day stealing away her

Through the whole of the previous stages Nelly Kilgour had passed; and
she had now arrived at this important question, which, as has been
just said, is the last a woman can put to herself. She had seen her
admirers, one after another, come and look in her face, and continue
their visits, their smiles, and their conversation for a season, and
then go away and leave her, as if they had got nothing else to do. She
had spent a considerable portion of her life, as has been already
observed, in serving the lieges in and about the place of her
nativity--to no purpose, as it appeared; at least, in so far as the
getting of the husband was concerned, nothing had been effected. The
proper season for securing this desideratum of the female world was
fast wearing away; something, she saw, must of necessity be done; and,
thinking that women, like some other commodities, might sell better at
a distance than at home, she engaged herself as a servant on the
little farm of _Howdycraigs_--a place situated among that portion of
the Ochils already noticed.

When she entered upon this engagement, which was to last for a year,
she was spoken of as "a weel _reikit_ lass"--the meaning of which
phrase is, that she had already provided what was considered a
woman's part of the furnishing of a house; and some of the sober
matrons "wondered what had come owre a' the lads noo," and said, "they
were sure Nelly Kilgour wad mak a better wife than ony o' thae young
glaikit hizzies wha carried a' their reikin to the kirk on their back
ilka Sabbath." But, of Nelly's being made a wife, there was no
prospect; she was _three-and-thirty_; so far as was known, no lover
had ever ventured to throw himself upon his knees before her, begging
to be permitted to kiss her _foot_, and threatening, at the same time,
to _hang himself_, if she did not consent to be his better half; still
there was no appearance of any one doing so; and those who delighted
in tracing effects back to their proper causes, began to recollect
that her mother, "when she was a thoughtless lassie," had once given
some offence to one of the witches, who were accused of holding
nightly revels in the glen; and the witch, by way of retaliation, had
said, that "the bairn unborn would maybe hae cause to rue its mother's
impudence." Nelly had been born after this oracular saying was
uttered; and the aged dames who remembered it doubted not that this
was the true cause of her celibacy. And when they heard that she was
engaged to go to Howdycraigs at Martinmas, and that Jock Jervis was
engaged to go there also, they said that, "if it hadna been for the
witch's ill _wisses_, they were sure Nelly would mak baith a better
sweetheart and a better wife to Jock, than that licht-headed limmer,
Lizzy Gimmerton."

From this the reader will perceive that Jock and Nelly were to be
fellow-servants; he was the only man, and she was the only woman--the
master and mistress excepted--about the place; and much of their time
was necessarily spent together. During the stormy days of winter, when
he was thrashing in the barn, she was employed in _shakin the strae_
and _riddlin the corn_, which he had separated from the husks; and in
the long evenings, while she was washing the dishes, or engaged in
spinning, he sat by the fire telling stories about lads and lasses,
markets and tent-preachings, and sometimes he even sung a verse or two
of a song, to keep her from wearying. On these occasions, she would
tuck up the sleeves of her short-gown an inch or two beyond the
ordinary extent, or allow her neckerchief to sink a little lower than
usual, for the purpose, as is supposed, of showing him that she was
not destitute of charms, and that her arms and neck, where not exposed
to the weather, were as white as those of any lady in the land. In
such circumstances, Jock, who was really a lad of some spirit, could
not refrain from throwing his arms about her waist, and toozling her
for a kiss. This was, no doubt, the very reverse of what she had
anticipated; and to these unmannerly efforts on the part of the youth,
she never failed to offer a becoming resistance, by turning away her
head, to have the place threatened as far from the danger as
possible--raising her hand, and holding it between their faces, so as
to retard the progress of the enemy, at least for a time; and, lest
these defensive operations should be misunderstood, uttering some such
deprecatory sentence as the following:--"Hoot! haud awa, Jock! If ye
want a kiss, gang and kiss Lizzy Gimmerton, and let me mind my wark."
But it has been ascertained by the ablest engineers that the most
skilfully-constructed and most bravely-defended fortifications must
ultimately fall into the hands of a besieging army, if it be only
properly provided, and persevere in the attack. This theory is no
longer disputed, and the present case is one among a number of
instances in which its truth has been experimentally proved. Jock was
provided with a certain degree of strength, and a most laudable
portion of perseverance in these matters, and, in spite of all the
resistance which Nelly could offer, he was in general triumphant;
after which she could only sigh and look down, as she threatened him
with some terrible vengeance, such as--"makin his parritch without
saut," or "giving him sour milk to his sowans at supper-time," or
doing something else which would seriously annoy him. At these
threatenings the victor only laughed, and not unfrequently, too, he
renewed the battle and repeated the offence, by robbing her of another
kiss. To reclaim him from these wicked ways, she could only repeat her
former threatenings--adding, perhaps, to their number anything new
which happened to come into her head; but then, like those mothers who
think threatening is enough, and who, by sparing the rod, sometimes
spoil the child, she always forgot to inflict the punishment when the
opportunity for doing so occurred; and Jock, as a natural consequence
of this remissness on the part of the _executive_, became hardened in
his transgressions.

But, when not engaged in these battles, Jock was rather kind to Nelly
than otherwise; sometimes he assisted her with such parts of her work
as a man could perform; and sometimes, too, when the evening was wet
or stormy, to save her from going out, he would take her pitchers of
his own accord, and "bring in a raik o' water." This kindness Nelly
was careful to repay by mending his coat, darning his stockings, and
performing various other little services for him. When the faculty of
observation has few objects upon which to exercise itself, little
things become interesting; this interchange of good offices was soon
noticed by the wise women of the neighbourhood, and, as they knew of
only one cause from which such things could proceed, to that cause
they attributed them, making certain in their own minds that the whole
secret would, some day or other, be brought before the parish by the
session-clerk. Such was the general belief; and whether it was "the
birds of the air," as Solomon saith, or whether it was the beggars and
_chapmen_, occasionally quartered at Howdycraigs, who "carried the
matter," is of little importance; but in time the whole of the facts,
with the inferences drawn therefrom, reached Nelly's former
acquaintances, and then, for some reason which has never been
satisfactorily explained, they saw occasion entirely to alter their
previous opinion. Instead of saying, as they had done before, that
"Nelly _wud_ mak a guid wife to Jock--'_at she wud_," they now said,
that "Jock, wha was scarcely outgane nineteen, was owre young ever to
think o' marryin an auld hizzie o' three-and-thirty like her;" that
"the carryin o' the water, and the darnin o' the stockins, _wud_ a'
end in naething;" that "Jock _wud_ be far better without her;" and
when they recollected the implied malediction of the witch, they
considered that it was as impossible for her to be his wife, as it is
for potatoes to grow above ground; and concluded the discussion with a
pious wish "that she micht aye be keepit in the richt road."

In the course of the winter, Jock had been absent for several
nights, during which he was understood to have braved the terrors of
witch, ghost, and fairy, in going to see Lizzie Gimmerton; but Nelly
took no further notice of the circumstance than by asking "if he had
seen naething about the glen." On these occasions he promptly denied
having been "near the glen;" and Nelly, whether she believed him or
not, was obliged to be satisfied. But this gave her an opportunity,
of which she never failed to avail herself, to give him a friendly
caution to "tak care o' himsel when he gaed that airt after it was
dark;" nor did she forget to assign a proper reason for her care
over him, by reminding him of as many of the supernatural sights
which had been seen in this region as she could remember. These
hints were not without their effect; for, as the spring, which was
said to be a particularly dangerous season, advanced, Jock's
nocturnal wanderings were nearly discontinued. But Abernethy Market,
which, time out of mind, had been held between the 20th and the 30th
of May, was now approaching, and to this important period the
parties in question looked forward with very different feelings.
_Markets_ have frequently changed the destinies of lads and lasses
in the same manner as _revolutions_ have sometimes changed the
dynasties of kings--the latter always aiming at subverting an
established government; the former is often the means of
overthrowing an empire in the heart; and, for these reasons, both
should be avoided by all who would wish to live at peace. Jock
looked forward to the pleasure which he should have in spending a
whole day with the peerless Lizzie Gimmerton--stuffing her pockets
with _sweeties_ and gingerbread, and paying innumerable compliments
to her beauty the while; and poor Nelly apprehended nothing less
than the loss of every particle of that influence which she had some
reason for supposing she now possessed over him. In this dilemma,
she resolved to accompany him to the scene of action, and there to
watch the revolutions of the wheel of fortune, if peradventure
anything in her favour might turn up.

"Jock," said she, on the evening previous to the important day, "I'm
gaun wi' ye to the market, and ye maun gie me my market-fare."

At this announcement Jock scratched his head, looked demure for a
little, and appeared as though he would have preferred solitude to
society in the proposed expedition. But he could find no excuse for
declining the honour thus intended him. He recollected, moreover,
that, as he had been the better for Nelly's care in time past, so her
future favour was essential to his future comfort, and that it would
be prejudicial in the last degree to his interest to offend her. After
having thought of these things, in a time infinitely shorter than that
in which they can be spoken of, Jock sagely determined to yield to
"necessity," which, according to the common proverb, "has no law." He
also determined to watch the revolutions of the wheel of fortune, in
the hope that his own case might come uppermost. But, for the present
putting on as good a grace as he could, "Aweel, aweel, Nelly," said
he, "I'll be unco glad o' your company; for to say, the truth, I dinna
like very weel to gang through the glen my lane. If it hadna been for
you, the feint a _fit_ would have been at my stockings langsyne; and
as ye aye darned them, and mendit the knees o' my breeks, and the
elbows o' my coat forby, it would be ill o' my pairt no to gie you
your market-fare. Sae we can e'en gang thegither; and if we dinna lose
ither i' the thrang, I'll maybe get you to come owre the hill wi' at

"Mind noo ye've promised," said Nelly, highly pleased with the
reception her proposal had met;--"mind ye've promised to come hame wi'
me; and there's no ane in a' the warld I would like sae weel to come
hame wi' as our ain Jock."

"I'll mind that," said Jock. But, notwithstanding what he said, he had
no intention of coming home with Nelly; his thoughts ran in another
direction; he had merely spoken of the thing because he fancied it
would _please_; the idea of her presence, as matters now stood, was
anything but agreeable to him; and he trusted to the chapter of
accidents for "losing her i' the thrang," as himself would have said,
and thus regaining his freedom.

On the following day they journeyed together to the scene of popular
confusion--whiling away the time with such conversation as their
knowledge of courtships, marriages, births, baptisms, and burials,
could supply. Nelly frequently looked in Jock's face, to try if she
could read his thoughts; but somehow, in the present instance, his
eyes were either turned upon the ground, or seized with an unwonted
wandering. At one time he kept carefully examining the road, as though
he had lost a shilling; at another he surveyed the tops of the distant
hills with as much care as if he had been speculating upon their
heights and distances. And while these intelligencers were thus
employed, she could read but little; yet, nevertheless, his manner was
courteous; and in their conduct and conversation they exhibited a fine
specimen of that harmony which, in most instances, results from a wish
to please and to be pleased on the part of the female.

On arriving at the market, Jock soon discovered the mistress of his
affections in the person of Lizzie Gimmerton. But, in the plenitude of
her power, and the extent of her dominion, she had become capricious,
as despotic sovereigns are very apt to do; and nettled, as it
appeared, at the long intervals which had lately occurred between the
times of his making obeisance at her throne, she had chosen another
sweetheart, whom she now dignified with the honour of leading her from
place to place, and showing her off to the admiring multitude.
Supported by this new minister, she seemed to pay no attention to the
smiles and sly winks with which Jock greeted her; but still he did not
despair of being the successful candidate, if he were only left at
liberty to offer the full amount of his devotion; and to this object
he now began to direct his thoughts.

A certain chapman had displayed a number of necklaces, and other showy
trinkets of little value, upon his stand, which was thus the most
brilliantly-decorated of any in the market. This had drawn together a
crowd of purchasers, and other people, who were anxious to see the
sparkling wares. Men civilly pushed aside men, and maidens pushed
aside maidens, while each appeared eager to have a peep at some
particular article, or to learn the price thereof; and to this place
Jock drew Nelly, under pretence of giving her her market-fare from
among the gewgaws which it afforded. But, while she was looking about
for something which "she might wear for his sake," as she said, and
which, at the same time, would be an easy purchase, he contrived to
jostle rather rudely the people on both sides of him, making them
jostle those who stood next them, and those again perform the same
operation on others at a greater distance. This, as he had
anticipated, soon produced a universal hubbub; every one, to be
avenged for the insult or injury he had sustained, thrust his elbows
into the sides of such as he supposed were the aggressors. These were
not slow to retaliate. In a short time the innocent and the guilty
were involved in the same confusion; and, while the precious wares of
the packman, and the persons of his customers, were both in imminent
danger, Jock started off, leaving Nelly to make the best of her way
out of a bad bargain. He had now obtained his freedom; and in a
twinkling he was by the side of Lizzie Gimmerton, whom he found at
another stand, receiving the benediction of her new jo in the form of
a "pennyworth of _peppermint-drops_."

"How are ye the day, Lizzie?" said he, in tones so tender, that he had
supposed they would melt any heart which was less hard than Clatchert

"No that ill, Jock," was the reply; "how are ye yersel? and how's

And therewith the damsel put her arm in that of her companion, whom
she now permitted, or rather urged, to lead her away; and, as he did
so, she turned on Jock a side-long look, accompanied by a sort of
smile, which told him, in terms not to be mistaken, that he was not
her only sweetheart, and that, at present, he was not likely to be a
successful one.

If we could form such a thing as a proper conception of one who, in
attempting to ascend a throne, stumbled, fell below it, and, in
looking up from thence, saw another seated in his place, perhaps we
should have some idea of Jock's feelings on this occasion. Like a true
hero, he, no doubt, thought of thrashing his rival's skin for him; but
then this was by no means doing the whole of the work, for it was
Lizzie Gimmerton who had led away the man, and not the man who had
led away Lizzie Gimmerton; and, though the man were thrashed into
chaff, Lizzie Gimmerton might very probably find as many more as she
pleased, willing to be led away in the same manner, which, in the end,
might entail upon Jock the labour of thrashing half the people in the
market, not to mention the risk which he would run of being thrashed
himself. Finding that this plan would not do, it were difficult to say
if he did not entertain serious thoughts of making a pilgrimage to the
River Earn, for the purpose of drowning himself, or of taking signal
vengeance upon the hard-hearted maiden in some other way; but, as
farther speculations upon the subject, in the existing state of our
information, must be purely conjectural, it were absurd to follow
them. In the beginning of his despair, he looked down, as men very
naturally do; but, in the middle of it, he looked up, to see what was
to be done, and there he saw Nelly, who was not so easily "lost i' the
thrang" as he had imagined, standing close beside him, and regarding
him with a look of real compassion, which contrasted strongly with the
malicious smile of the other damsel.

"Dinna vex yersel owre sair, Jock," said she, "though Lizzie's awa wi'
anither lad; when he leaves her, I'll warrant she'll be glad to see ye

"The deil confound her and her lads baith!" said Jock, his despair
beginning to pass off in a passion. "If ever I gae near her again, may
I fa' and brak my leg i' the first burn I cross! Ye're worth at least
five dozen o' her yersel, Nelly; and, if ye can let byganes be
byganes, and gang wi' me through the market, I'll let her see, afore
lang, that I can get anither sweetheart, though she should gang and
hang hersel!"

This sudden change in Jock's sentiments must have been produced by
what is commonly called a _reaction_. But Nelly, who had no
inclination for being thus shown off, tried to persuade him to desist
from his present purpose.

"Na, na, Jock," said she, "we'll no gang trailin through the market
like twa _pointers_ tethered thegither wi' a string, for fear the
youngest ane should rin aff. But, if ye like, Ise try to keep sicht o'
ye; and, if ye like too, we'll gang hame afore it's late, for it wad
vex me sair to see you spendin your siller _unwordily_, and still
sairer to hear tell o' ye gettin ony fricht about the glen. Sae, if ye
think me worth your while, we can gang hame thegither, and I'll tak
your arm after we're on the road. If a lad hae ony wark wi' a lass, or
a lass ony wark wi' a lad, it's no the best way to be lettin a' the
warld ken about it."

With her care, and the wisdom of her counsel upon this occasion, Jock
felt sensibly touched.

"Aweel, Nelly," said he, "I'll e'en tak your advice; ye never
counselled me to do a wrang thing in your life, and I'll gang hame wi'
ye ony time ye like. But come away," he continued, "and look out some
grand thing for your market-fare. I've ten shillings i' my pouch--no
ae bawbee o't spent yet; and, be what it like, if that'll buy't, yese
no want it."

In compliance with his wishes, they began to look about for the
article in question; but Nelly, who had lived long enough to know the
value of money, would suffer him to purchase nothing of an expensive
nature; and, after some friendly expostulation, a pair of scissors was
agreed upon, for which he paid sixpence, and she put them in her
pocket, observing, at the same time, that "they would be o' mair use
to her than twenty ells o' riband, or a hale pouchfu o' _sweeties_."

"I've often wondered," said she, "if a lass could hae ony _real_ likin
for a lad, when she was temptin him to fling awa his siller, buyin
whigmaleeries, to gar her look like an _antic_ amang ither folk, or
how she thought a lad wha would let his siller gang that gate, could
ever provide for the wants o' a house, if they should come to hae ane
o' their ain."

Jock readily acknowledged the good sense of all this; he also
acknowledged to himself that young women with such sentiments were not
over and above being rife; and, though Nelly was not very young, he
thought her a more discerning lass than he had ever done before. They
therefore kept together during what remained of their stay; and, as
Jock's greatest fault was a propensity to spend his money on trifles,
Nelly easily persuaded him to accompany her home before the afternoon
was far advanced.

They accordingly journeyed up the glen together; and, without
encountering either ghost, witch, or fairy, they had reached a part of
the road from which a house, a barn, and a byre, were to be seen. The
husband and wife were already home from the market, whither they had
gone to buy a cow, and standing at the end of the house with their
three children, the oldest of whom appeared to be a stout girl, beside
them. Such scenes seem to have a peculiar charm for women, and Nelly
was the first to notice it.

"Look, Jock," said she, "yonder's Andrew Braikens and his wife hame
frae the market already. Dinna ye see them standing at the end o'
their house there, and their three bairns beside them, and baith
lookin as happy as the day's lang? Noo, Jock," she continued, looking
in his face as she spoke, "tak an example by them, and when ye get a
wife, if she's a guid ane, aye tak her advice afore ony ither body's,
and ye'll never hae cause to rue it. Afore Andrew was married, he ran
to a' the markets i' the round; he could never win hame that day he
gaed awa; his pouches were aye toom, and his duds were aften like to
bid him guid-day. Folk ca'd him a _weirdless cratur_ and a
_ne'er-do-weel_; and when he fell in wi' Tibby Crawford, some o' them
said, if they were her, they wouldna tak him, and ithers leugh at him
for drawin up wi' an auld hizzie like her; but Tibby took Andrew, and
Andrew took Tibby's advice; and noo they've a haudin o' their ain, wi'
plenty o' baith meat and claes, and three bonny bairns into the

Jock seemed to listen more attentively to this harangue than he had
ever done to a sermon in his life. During the latter part of it he
appeared thoughtful; and, when it was concluded--"I've been thinkin,"
said he, "that, as Andrew and Tibby hae come sae weel on----" Here he
seemed to have forgotten what he was about to say, and was silent.

"Weel, Jock," said the other, "as I was gaun to say, there's Betsy
Braikens, a stout lassie already; she's Sandy Crawford's cousin, as ye
ken brawly, and troth I wouldna wonder muckle at seein her----"

"Ou ay, Nelly," interrupted Jock; "but, as I was gaun to tell ye, I've
been thinkin----" Here, however, he again halted, and seemed to have
nothing farther to say.

"I dinna ken what ye've been thinkin," said Nelly, after a
considerable pause; "but I think they would need to hae a hantle
patience that listen to your thoughts, for ye're unco lang o' coming
out wi' them. But, whatever they are, ye needna hesitate sae muckle in
tellin them to me, for I never telled a tale o' yours owre again in my

"It's no for that either," said Jock, laughing; "but I just thought
shame to speak about it, and yet there's nae ill in't, after a'. I've
been thinkin, aye since ye wouldna let me gie half-a-crown for yon
_strowl_ o' lace i' the market, that you and me micht do waur than
make a bargain oorsels. I wad just need somebody like you to look
after me; and noo, Nelly, if you would promise to be my wife, I would
never seek anither."

Nelly's countenance brightened up with a glow of satisfaction, such as
it had not exhibited for years, at hearing these words. But, striving
to suppress those unwonted feelings which were rising in her bosom,
and endeavouring to appear as unconcerned as before--"Hoot, Jock," was
her reply, "what need I promise?--though I were to mak twenty
promises, ye ken brawly that ye would just rin awa and leave me, to
follow the first bonny lass ye saw, at the next market or the next
tent-preachin; and then, _guid-day to ye, Nelly_."

These words, though apparently intended to discourage Jock in his
suit, were spoken in such a manner as to produce a quite contrary
effect. We need not, however, repeat his vows and promises, and the
solemn oaths with which he confirmed them: they were such as have been
a thousand times made, and, sad to say, nearly as often broken, upon
similar occasions. But when they were concluded, though Nelly did not
speak, she _looked_ a promise which, to Jock, was satisfactory! She
also allowed him to have a kiss without the customary battle, or, at
least, without a battle of the customary length; and for what remained
of that and the two following days, though she was three-and-thirty,
she looked almost as young as if she had been only two-and-twenty.

But "pleasures," which everybody now likens to "poppies spread," are,
in most instances, short-lived. On the third day from Abernethy
Market, Betsy Braikens, in returning from Auchtermuchty, whither she
had been on some errand, called at Howdycraigs, "to speer for her
cousin, Sandy Crawford, who was the herd laddie, and to tell Nelly
Kilgour, of whom she had also some acquaintance, that Grizzy Glaiket
had haen a bairn to Geordy Gowkshanks. No ane kenned a single thing
about it afore it cam hame," continued the girl; "and, as he has
naething to enable him to pay for it, and her father is determined no
to let him gang, the folk say that he'll just hae to marry her."

Geordy Gowkshanks was no other than the beau who had been seen
gallanting Lizzie Gimmerton through the market; and Nelly felt a
strange misgiving when she heard his name mentioned in the present
affair, for she doubted not, when matters stood thus, that some
attempt would be forthwith made to recall Jock to his former
allegiance. Nor was she long left in suspense; for Jock himself soon
came in for his dinner, and the girl exclaimed--"Losh, Jock, I'm glad
I've seen ye, for, if ye hadna come in, I would forgotten to tell ye
that I saw Lizzie last nicht, and when I telled her that I was comin
owre here on the morn, and that I would maybe see you, she bade me be
sure to speer if ye had gotten ony fricht wi' the witches about the
glen, or if ye was feared for the _croupie craws_ fleein awa wi' ye
after it was dark, that ye never cam owre to see your auld
acquaintances about Abernethy noo!"

These questions, and the new light which they threw upon an old
subject, made both Jock and Nelly look thoughtful, though it is
reasonable to suppose their thoughts ran in very different channels.
The effects of _reaction_ have been already noticed; but, after
_reaction_ has _acted_, there are such things as the _actions_
themselves beginning to _react_. Jock was now under the influence of
the last-mentioned principle. Its exact operations need not be
particularised; but, from that hour, his kindness to Nelly began to
abate, and she began to feel less comfortable under the change than
might have been expected from a discreet damsel of her years. On the
following night she slept but little; and next morning she rose
earlier than was her usual, and was just beginning to kindle up the
fire, when she heard Jock engaged in a low but earnest conversation
with the _herd laddie_. She was separated from them only by a thin
partition, or _clay hallan_, as it was called in those days, so that
she could easily hear what was passing; and, reprehensible as her
conduct in this respect may seem, she could not refrain from

"I need a new bannet," said Jock; "and I'm gaun owre to Abernethy for
ane the morn's nicht--but mind, Sandy, ye maunna tell Nell whar I am;
and, if she happens to speer, ye can just say that I'm awa down to
Auchtermuchty for a pickle snuff."

"Aweel, aweel," said the other, "I can haud my tongue. But what need
can there be for makin lees aboot it? I'll warrant Nell winna care how
aften ye gang to Abernethy."

"I hae nae time to tell ye aboot it enow," said Jock; "but I'll maybe
tell ye afterhend--and mind, as your name's Sandy Crawford, dinna ye
speak aboot it; and I'll gie ye as muckle market-fare as ye can
devour, _gin_ mid-simmer."

As this conversation concluded, Nelly contrived to get into her bed
again without noise; and, covering herself up with the bedclothes, and
pretending to sleep, Jock passed through the kitchen without in the
least suspecting that she had become a party to his supposed secret.
From what she had heard, however, she saw plainly what was _brewing_,
and whither fate was tending. She saw that Lizzy Gimmerton's scheme
for once more attaching Jock to her interest had already succeeded;
and that, if he should "break both his leg and his neck in the first
burn he crossed," he had determined to go again and see her. But what
could she do to prevent things from taking their course? Like other
disconsolate maidens, she might lament in secret, and shed tears of
disappointment and sorrow without number--but this would by no means
mend the matter. Jock, she thought, would make a good husband, if he
had only a wife who knew how to manage him; but, unless something
extraordinary interposed, he was likely to get one who was a still
greater fool than himself; and, at this distance of time, it were
difficult to say how far _benevolence_, and a wish to prevent him from
making himself a mis-sworn man, might have a place in her
cogitations. She thought, also, that she would make a good wife, if it
were only her good fortune to get a husband; but, then, something or
other had always come to thwart her wishes in this respect; and even
now, when the prize seemed almost won, without a miracle, or
something, at least, out of the ordinary course of events, she stood a
fair chance for being again left in the lurch. She felt that it was a
sore matter to have hope from time to time deferred in this manner;
but what to do she could not exactly determine. She, however,
determined to leave nothing undone; and, after her, let none despair!

Whether upon that morning the cows had given an extraordinary quantity
of milk, or whether Nelly had forgotten to empty the milking-pail of
water before she began to milk them, is not known; but, on coming in
from the byre, she could not, by any means, get the cogs to hold the
milk. Her mistress was called; and, after some consultation, Nelly
recollected that "Margaret Crawford"--who was the _herd laddie's_
mother--"had plenty o' milk-dishes; and she would maybe lend them a
cog or twa."

"The drap milk that the cogs winna haud may stand i' the water-pitcher
afore supper-time," she continued; "and Sandy may rin owre to
Gairyburn, after he comes in, and stay a' nicht wi' his mither, and
get the cog, and be back next morning in time to tak oot the kye."

This plan seemed at least feasible; and the farther prosecution of it
was left to Nelly.

"What's the matter wi' the milk the nicht?" inquired Sandy, as Nelly
was hastening him with his supper.

"I ken o' naething that can be the matter," was her reply--"but what's
the matter wi't, say ye?"

"I dinna ken either," said the boy; "but it's turned terrible
blue-like, isn't it? I can compare it to naething but the syndins o'
my mither's sye-dish."

"Hoot! never mind the milk," rejoined Nelly; "but sup ye up yer supper
as fast as ye're able, and rin owre to yer mither, and tell her the
mistress sent ye to see if she could gie ye a len o' ane o' her
milk-cogs, for a fortnicht or sae, till the _first flush_ gang aff
Hawky. Ye can stay a' nicht at Gairyburn," she added; "and ye'll be
back in braw time next morning to gang _out_."

The boy seemed glad of an opportunity to spend a night in his paternal
home. His supper was soon despatched, and away he went.

The shortsightedness of mortals has been a theme for the moralists of
all ages to descant upon; and Nelly, had her history been sooner
known, might have afforded them as good a subject as any which they
have hitherto discussed. Attached as she evidently was to Jock, had
her foresight extended so far as to show her what was to follow, she
would certainly have strained every nerve to prevent him from being
left alone on that momentous night. Alone, however, he was left;
and--as he lay dreaming of Lizzy Gimmerton, and the happiness he
should experience from finding himself again reinstated in her
favour--exactly at the solitary hour of midnight a most terrible
apparition entered his apartment. How it entered was never known; for
the _outer_ door was securely locked; and the good people of the house
being, one and all, fast asleep, saw it not; but, as doors, windows,
walls, and roofs, afford no obstruction to an immaterial essence, its
entrance need not be matter of surprise. It was, in all respects save
one, a most legitimate ghost. A winding-sheet was wrapped round what
appeared to be its body; its head was tied up in a white handkerchief;
and its face and hands, where they were visible, were as white as the
drapery in which it was attired; but, then, in its right hand it
carried _a candle_--a thing which ghosts are not accustomed to do.
But, as there are exigencies among mortals which sometimes oblige
them to deviate from the common rules of conduct, the same things may,
perhaps, occur among ghosts. In the present instance, indeed,
something of the kind seemed to be indispensable; for, without such
aid, more than half its terrors would have been invisible. The candle,
moreover, was evidently the candle of a ghost; for it showed only a
small point of white flame in the middle, while around the edges it
burned as blue as _brimstone_ itself. In short, the light which it
gave must have been a thousand times more appalling than that of those
flames which Milton emphatically calls "darkness visible."

Jock, however, still continued to sleep, till it uttered a hollow
groan, which awakened him; and then, rubbing his eyes, to make certain
that he was not still dreaming, he stared at it in inexpressible
terror. It returned his stare with a steady look of defiance and a
horrible grin, which seemed to make the blood curdle at the remotest
extremity of his body. It, however, appeared willing to abide by the
law of ghosts, and to wait in silence till it should be spoken to. But
Jock had already lost the power of speech. His erected hair had nearly
thrown off his nightcap; his tongue seemed to have fallen back into
his throat; not even a scream of terror could he utter, far less an
articulate sound; and it might have waited till morning, or till the
end of time, before an accent of his had set it at liberty to deliver
its message. But here it showed itself possessed of something like
"business habits," or at least of ten times more sense than the
majority of those ghosts who, "at the crowing of the cock," have been
obliged to run off without having effected anything except perhaps
frightening some rustic nearly out of his wits. When _it_ saw no
prospect of being spoken to, it spoke; and in this its example should
be imitated by all future ghosts.

"Jock Jervis," it said, in tones so hollow and so sepulchral, that no
further doubts could be entertained of its authority--"Jock Jervis,
ye ken the promises and the solemn oaths ye've made already to Nelly
Kilgour; and if ye dinna fulfil thae promises, and mak her yer married
wife afore a fortnicht is at an end, ye maun gang to hell-fire, to be
burned for a mis-sworn loon. And mair than a' that, if ye prove
fause-hearted, I'll choke ye wi' this windin-sheet, and fling ye owre
my shouther, and carry ye to Arangask kirkyard, and gie ye to the
witches, to pick your banes ahint the aisle, afore ye get leave to
gang aff the earth."

Having uttered this terrible malediction, it shook its winding-sheet,
and then waved the candle round its head. The _white_ part of the
flame immediately disappeared; the _blue_ parted into a thousand
fragments, and flew through the apartment in as many directions, like
infernal meteors.

While these appalling phenomena were passing before the eyes of the
terrified spectator, the ghost had disappeared, he could scarcely tell
how, and in a moment more all was dark--awfully dark. But of those
terrific sparkles which the candle had emitted in going out, one had
fallen on Jock's hand, which happened to be lying out of the
bedclothes, and there it continued to sputter and to burn most
distressingly blue, till the pain, which, in this case, amounted to
torment, and the absence of the ghost, restored his speech; or, at
least, restored him the use of his tongue. He roared out most lustily
for comfort in his distress, and for assistance against his spiritual
enemies, in case they should reappear; and the noise which he thus
made soon alarmed Nelly, who, with her under-petticoat hastily thrown
on, and wanting the whole of her upper garments, came into the
apartment, holding a half-trimmed lamp in her hand, rubbing her eyes,
and alternately speaking to herself and him.

"Sic a noise I never heard i' my life; and yet I dinna like to gae
near him afore I get my claes on; but that's awfu--Jock, man, what's
the matter wi' ye? Na, no ae word will he speak, but roar and cry as
if somebody were stickin him. Jock, man, it's me--it's your auld
acquaintance, Nelly, but tell me, Jock, hae ye gane clean out o' yer

"O Nelly, Nelly!" said Jock, "is't you--is't you?--gie's a haud o' yer
hand, woman--oh, gie's a haud o' yer hand, for I canna speak."

"Atweel no," said Nelly; "if ye had on yer claes, and were butt at the
kitchen fire, I micht maybe gie ye my hand, if it were to do ye guid;
but, as lang as ye lie there, and roar and squall that gate, ye needna
look for a hand o' mine."

"Aweel, Nelly, I canna help it," said the other. "I'll never be at the
kitchen fire again, I fear; and if ye dinna gie me your hand, ye'll
maybe repent it when it's owre late; for I canna stand this lang, and
I'll no be lang to the fore. My hand's burnin as if it were in a
smiddy fire; but that's naething. Oh, if I could only touch somebody,
to let me ken it's flesh and blood that I'm speakin till."

On hearing that he was really in pain, Nelly could no longer stand
back. "Dear me," said she, "what can be the matter wi' ye?" and, as
she spoke, she took his hand in hers to examine it with the lamp.
"It's burned, I declare!" she continued, in a tone of sympathy, which
appeared somewhat to comfort him; "how did that happen? But I maun rin
for some _sour 'ream_ to rub it wi'."

"No, no, Nelly," said Jock, grasping her hand firmly in his, to detain
her, and now considerably relieved by the consciousness that he was in
the presence of one who had hands and arms, and a body of flesh and
blood like his own; "dinna leave me," he continued, "and I'll tell ye
a' about it. It's no five minutes yet since I saw a ghaist--oh dear,
oh dear! it gars my very blood rin cauld o' thinkin on't--and it said,
if I dinna marry you in less than a fortnicht, I maun gang to
hell-fire to be burned, for the promises I made i' the glen. O Nelly,
Nelly, tak pity on me, and let the marriage be on Monanday, or Tysday
at farrest."

"You're surely wrang, Jock," was the reply; "if the ghaist kenned
onything ava, it would ken brawly that ye had nae wark wi' me. It had
been Lizzie Gimmerton it bade ye tak, and ye had just taen up the tale

"Na, na," rejoined the other; "it was you--it was Nelly Kilgour. Oh,
I'll never forget its words!--and if ye winna tak pity on me, what am
I to do?"

"Ye needna speer what ye're to do at me," said Nelly; "but it seems
the ghaist and you maun think that ye can get me to _marry_ ony time
ye like, just as ye would get a pickle strae to gather up ahint your
horse on a mornin. But I daresay, after a', the ghaist would ken
brawly that it needna sent you to Lizzie upon sic an errand, for the
first lad that would gang awa wi' her, she would gang awa wi' him, and
leave you to whistle on your thumb or your forefinger, if it answered
you better; and yet ye micht gang owre _the morn's nicht_, and gie her
a trial."

The awful words, "hell-fire," and "pick your banes at the back o' the
aisle," were still ringing in Jock's ears. Nelly's observation seemed
to preclude all hope of escape from the terrible doom which they
plainly denounced, and he groaned deeply, but did not speak: this was
what the other could not endure, and she now tried to comfort him in
the best manner she could.

"I'm no sayin," she resumed, "but I would tak ye, rather than see ony
ill come owre ye, if ye would only promise to gie up your glaikit
gates, and to do your best to keep yoursel and me comfortable." Here
she was interrupted by the guidman, who, like herself, had been
awakened by the first alarm; but, in coming into the kitchen, and
hearing only Jock and her conversing together, he had thought it best
to dress himself before he entered upon an investigation of the
matter. He was now at the bedside, however, and anxious to learn what
had occasioned such an uproar. And Jock, who had been partly recovered
from his terror by Nelly's presence, and partly by her assurance that
she would become his wife rather than see him carried away by his
spiritual foe, began to give them a most sublime account of the ghost.

"I canna tell ye hoo it cam in," said he, "for it was i' the middle o'
the floor afore I was waukin. But when I first opened my een, there it
stood wi' three or four windin-sheets about it, and its head rowed up
in a white clout, and its face and its hands a hantle whiter than
either the windin-sheet or the clout--only I thought I saw some earth
stickin on that side o' its nose that was farrest frae the licht. But
what was a thousand times waur than a' that, it had a cannel in its
hand that micht weel hae terrified a hale army o' sodgers; and I aye
think yet, it had been the deevil himsel, and nae ghaist, for the
cannel had just a wee _peek_ o' white low i' the middle, and a' round
the edges it burned as blue as a blawort, and bizzed and spitted, and
threw out sparks like blue starns. And after it had telled me what
I've telled you, it gae the cannel a wave round its head, and then the
hale hoose, wa's, roof, and riggin, gaed a' in a blue low; and I saw
the ghaist flee up through the couple bauks as clear as ever I saw the
owsen afore me when the sun was shinin! But I could stand nae mair,
for I steekit my een, and I'm sure I lay dead for near an hour. But
when I cam to life again, the hale house was filled wi' a smell o'
brimstane that would putten down a' the bees'-skeps i' the yard; and
my richt hand was burning just as if ye had dippit it in a tar-kettle,
and then set a lunt till't; but it was ten times waur than tar, for it
had the smell o' brimstane, and it would scarcely gang out. The pain
garred me roar as I never roared in a' my life afore; and I'm sure
I'll never forget the relief I felt when Nelly cam to see what had

As an evidence of the truth of this account, Jock showed them his
hand, upon which a portion of the skin was really burned as black as a
cinder. The goodman and the goodwife, both of whom were now present,
stood astonished at this circumstance; but Nelly, who had evinced a
considerable degree of composure in this trying scene, now appeared
less dismayed.

"Hoot, man!" said she, addressing Jock, "dinna gang out o' your wits
though ye've gotten a fear; mony a ane has seen a ghaist, and lived to
see their bairns' bairns after a'--sae may ye, if ye would only tak
heart again."

"O Nelly, Nelly," said Jock, "I micht maybe tak heart, if ye would
only promise faithfully, afore witnesses, to let yoursel be married
next week."

"What need I promise," rejoined Nelly, "when, for onything I ken, ye
may be gaun to see Lizzie Gimmerton _the morn's nicht_?"

"Oh dear! oh dear!" ejaculated Jock. Again the terrible denunciation
of the ghost rang in his ears, and again he groaned in an agony of
despair. But here the master and mistress interposed in his behalf,
and, by their mediation, Nelly was at last brought to consent to that
important change in her condition which alone would save him from
perdition. She still insisted, however, on making conditions; and
these were, _first_, that he should not go to a market except when he
had some business to transact; _second_, that, upon these occasions,
he should always take her along with him, if she was willing to go;
_third_, that he should never enter upon any important concern without
first apprising her of it; and, _fourth_, that he should always come
home to his own fireside when his day's work was done.

These conditions were readily subscribed by Jock, or, which is the
same thing, they were agreed to before witnesses, after which Nelly
frankly consented to be his wife. When this had been settled, she
would have made out another set of conditions, specifying what her own
conduct was to be, and what he might expect of her in certain
situations; but Jock had determined on making an unconditional
surrender of himself and his effects into her hands; and all she was
permitted to say was, that "she would do her best to mak a guid wife
to him."

Matters were thus far satisfactorily adjusted; but still Jock could
not rest till his promised bride was _contracket_, as he phrased it;
and, to free his mind from those remains of terror under which he
still laboured, the master of the house went in quest of the dominie
as soon as daylight began to appear. Dominies are seldom slow in these
matters; a contract of marriage was forthwith drawn up in the usual
form; due proclamation of their intentions was made in the church next
Sabbath; and, as the case was an urgent one, they were cried out in
the same day. On Monday the marriage was solemnised in a becoming
manner; and, when the parties were put to bed, Jock, who had up to
that moment been rather feverish on the subject of the ghost, declared
that "he wasna feared noo."

Had this marriage been brought about by ordinary means, it might have
staggered some of the lieges in their faith--at least it must have
taxed their ingenuity to reconcile the event, happening as it had
done, in the face of a plain prediction, with the unlimited power
which the witches certainly possessed; but, as it was, the matter
needed no comment. The decision of the witch had evidently been
reversed in the court of the ghosts, who, from being a superior order,
had power to do such things; and thus Nelly Kilgour had got a husband,
even after she had been predestined, by the former of these
authorities, to a life of single blessedness.

Jock had also good reason to congratulate himself on the intervention
of his spiritual _friend_--the ghost being no longer regarded as an
enemy; for, in less than six months from the date of his marriage,
Lizzie Gimmerton was discovered to be in a condition which would have
been rather derogatory to his fame, had she been his yoke-fellow. It
was acknowledged upon all hands, however, that he had got a better
bargain. In a few weeks after the marriage, his appearance was so much
improved, that people, of their own accord, began to call him _John_;
and, in another month, his wife was the only individual who still
persisted in calling him _Jock_. But this, in her case, was, as it
appeared, "habit and repute," and could not be easily altered. Whoever
had an empty snuff-box, Jock's was always full; whoever might be seen
at church with coarse or ill-washed linen, Jock was not among the
number; whoever went to the public-house, or to the houses of their
neighbours, for amusement, Jock came always home "to his ain
fireside;" and, when others were heard to complain of the
thriftlessness of their wives, he only said that "he had aye been a
hantle better since he got Nelly than ever he was afore."

In conclusion, it may be remarked, that, though Nelly was evidently
the _managing partner_, she gave herself no airs of superiority. She
seldom did anything without taking her husband's advice; but, while
she sought, she tried to direct his opinion into the proper channel,
by pointing out what was likely to be results of the affair, if it
were conducted in such a manner; and thus his advice was, in general,
only an echo of her own sentiments. If Jock, in the presence of
others, directed her to do anything, she, in general, did it, without
questioning its propriety; but, if she thought it was wrong, she
represented the case to him when they were by themselves--telling him,
at the same time, that "she just did it to please him, though she
thought it was wrang." Upon these occasions, his common reply was--

"Deed ay, Nelly, I daresay ye're richt. I dinna aye see sae far afore
me as ye do; but I'm sure, wi' a' my fauts, ye canna say but I like ye
as weel yet as ever I did."

"Deed do ye," was frequently Nelly's rejoinder; "and proud am I to
think that my ain Jock aye likes his ain wife better than ither

Within a year after their marriage, Nelly made her husband the father
of a female child, who was christened Jenny Jervis. In a few years,
their united industry enabled them to stock the little farm of
Rummledykes--of which they were so fortunate as to obtain a _tack_.
The place consisted, for the most part, of pasture ground; but Jock
laboured assiduously to improve and cultivate it. Nelly, by her
management of the dairy, contributed materially to increase their
possessions; and here we must leave them, contented and happy, for the
present--promising, however, to give the reader some glimpses of their
subsequent history--and perhaps some hints, too, which may enable him
to form his own conjectures as to those supernatural appearances which
brought about their union--in a future story.


In the fulfilment of our promise of "a future story," which we made at
the termination of "The Ghost of Howdycraigs," we may premise thus:--

It would be both trite and bombastic to say, as some orators have
done, that "time rolls on;" and yet it is wholly owing to their having
been so often repeated, that such sayings excite no interest, and the
subjects to which they refer pass unnoticed; for, however we may
forget the truth, or however the regular recurrence of evening and
morning, summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, may make us callous
to the result which these revolutions are destined to produce, nothing
can be more certain than that Time never pauses in his career. His
progress may be observed, not only in those great events which give
birth to new eras in the history of the world--in the overthrow of
ancient empires, the extinction of ancient dynasties, and the
discovery of new countries: it may be traced in the occurrences of
every year, every month, and almost of every day. The connections of
families, the numbers of which they are composed, their relative
position in society, and their prospects in life, are undergoing
perpetual changes. Changeable as are the fortunes, so are the minds
and the emotions of men: one hour they laugh, another they weep; and,
perhaps, the very next hour they laugh again; while events the most
important and the most trifling, the most solemn and the most
ludicrous, mingle together, and follow each other by a law which fools
our powers of investigation, and baffles our understanding.

Eighteen years had nearly elapsed since the period at which the
former part of this history concludes; and _the Ghost of Howdycraigs_
was nearly forgotten. Betsy Braikens, who was then only a girl, was
now a full-grown woman, who, for the last eight or nine of the
above-mentioned years, would not have been irreconcilably offended
with a well-looking sweetheart for proposing to make her his wife. Her
brother James, who, in the same interval, had arrived at man's estate,
had been endeavouring, not very successfully, for some time past to
establish himself as a merchant in Perth; and his cousin, Sandy
Crawford, whom the reader will recollect as the herd laddie at
Howdycraigs, had, by the death of his father, been promoted to be
tacksman of Gairyburn; upon which place he resided with his mother.
Jenny Jervis, too, with whose birth the preceding story concludes, was
by this time a lass upon whom those who were neither too young nor too
old might have looked with as much interest at least as it is common
to bestow on a maiden in her eighteenth year. It is also probable that
she herself had begun to steal an occasional glance at the young men
of the district, as she saw them passing on the road, or assembled at
their rustic sports; and to recollect, when her mind was otherwise
unoccupied, that one was tall, that another had dark eyes, that a
third had a smiling countenance; and, perhaps, that a fourth united
all these charms in his proper person.

It was the middle of winter, or what is commonly called "the daft
days," which has long been a season of festivity to the rich, and, in
so far as circumstances will permit, to the poor also. The cottagers
were invited to each other's houses, to spend an evening in
forgetfulness of care. Cakes, cheese, and ale, supplied them with a
cheap, and, at the same time, a cheery repast. The old people talked
of bygone times, and the feats of dexterity or strength which they had
performed in their youth, with all the enthusiasm of heroes when
"fighting their battles over again;" while the young ones looked in
each other's faces, and laughed heartily at little jests.
Unpremeditated compliments were paid in off-handed profusion; old and
incredible stories were revived; and, in the words of Goldsmith, "news
much older than their ale went round;" but, whatever might be their
age, at such seasons they were certain to produce as much merriment as
upon the occasion when they were first produced. To conclude the

    "The nappy reek'd wi' mantling 'ream,
    And shed a heart-inspiring stream;
    And luntin pipe and sneeshin mill
    Were handed round wi' richt guid-will."

Sandy Crawford and his mother had been invited to "get their cakes,"
and spend the evening with John Jervis and his wife. They came,
according to custom; and, after the cheese, the oaten bread, and the
ale had been sent round in the usual manner--

"Troth, Nelly," said Margaret Crawford, addressing her hostess, "your
Jenny's turned a perfect woman, I declare. Sic an odds there's on her
within the last twalmonth! Mony a time I look at her when she's gaun
past; and, to say the truth, ye may weel be proud o' yer dochter, for
I dinna see a bonnier lassie i' the hale country-side than she is."

"Beauty is only skin-deep," said Nelly, with a smile of satisfaction,
which showed how highly she appreciated the quality in her daughter
which she pretended to undervalue. "But the lassie's weel aneugh,
though she were nae freend o' mine. And noo, Sandy," she continued, in
a jesting tone, and turning from the mother to the son as she spoke,
"what think ye o' her for a wife? Yer mither seems to be unco weel
pleased wi' her; I'm sure I would like weel to see ye gang thegither,
and I dinna think our Jock would say onything against sic a marriage."

"Hoot, woman," interrupted her husband, "were I to haver like you, I
would say that, if I thought she would only turn out half as guid a
wife to him as you've dune to me, I would maist advise him to tak her;
but she's our ain bairn, and we should haud our tongues."

"That's as true as ye hae said it," rejoined Nelly; "fathers and
mithers should say little on sic a subject; but as this is a nicht on
which a'body haver, ye maun just allow me to haver too: when folk only
haver for diversion, it can do little ill. And sae, as I was gaun to
say," she continued, again addressing Sandy, "yer mither seems to be
pleased; I'm weel pleased; Jock's no that sair set against the match,
and noo there's naebody's consent awantin but your ain."

"Ay," said Sandy, "there's anither yet, though you've forgotten about
it; ye maun get her consent too afore it can be a bargain. Jenny has a
heart as weel as her neebors, I'll warrant her," he continued,
stealing a look at the object of whom he spoke, "and I'm maybe no
amang the folk she likes best."

"Weel, Jenny, it's a' at your door noo, I declare," said her mother,
laughing outright. "What say ye to this affair?"

"Oh, if ye would only haud your tongue!" said Jenny, blushing, and
still keeping her eyes fixed upon a rather profitless occupation in
which she had been engaged for some time past--namely, that of folding
and unfolding the corners of her apron with great assiduity; but the
rest of the company, if we except Sandy, perhaps, were so deeply
engaged in their own nonsensical conversation, that they took no
notice of this circumstance.

"That's just the way wi' a' young folk," said Nelly, still laughing;
"the lad thinks the lass has some ither body that she likes better
than him, and the lass thinks the lad pays mair attention to anither
than he does to her; she daurna say a word unless she maybe tak the
dorts and misca him; he hesitates to speak for fear he should be
refused; and between them they aften contrive to torment ane anither
for years, when twa words micht settle the matter, and mak them baith
happy. But I'm sure, Margaret, if they would only leave the thing to
you and me, we could mak a bargain for them the nicht yet."

"It's likely, at least, that we would mak a bargain sooner than they
would do," said the other. But the sigh with which she concluded
bespoke some emotion which accorded ill with the lightness of the
previous conversation. There was a something, too, in her manner,
which seemed to say that, while she was not averse to the proposed
match, she did not altogether relish the jest in which its immediate
consummation had been spoken of.

Mothers have frequently thrown serious obstacles in the path of young
people when they supposed themselves travelling on the highway to
happiness; but sometimes, too, they seem inclined to give them an
opportunity of forming that liking for each other, without which,
according to the popular creed, no happiness can exist. Nelly now
proposed that, while the guidman was suppering the horse, Margaret
should go with her to the byre and see the cow, the yearling, and the
calf, which, she said, "were in wonderfu guid order, considerin how
little they had to gie them." Sandy and Jenny were thus left to
themselves; but upon this occasion they seemed to have the greatest
difficulty in keeping up a sort of intermitting conversation upon the
weather, the state of the roads, and some other subjects of the same
kind. Each wished to appear witty and amiable in the eyes of the
other; but somehow their wits seemed to have forsaken them, and they
appeared to be perfectly ignorant of the means by which their wishes
could be accomplished. Perhaps the former conversation had awakened,
or rather called into a state of activity, some feelings which they
knew not how to express; and it might be that, while these feelings
predominated, they could not think of anything else in such a manner
as to talk of it to the purpose; or perhaps it was only the mere
awkwardness of finding themselves, for the first time since they were
children, thus left to each other, which in a great measure locked up
their conversational powers. Be the matter as it may, with the "eldern
dames" it was otherwise.

When they got to the byre, Margaret appeared more willing to resume
the former subject than to look at her neighbour's chattels. "Ye would
maybe think," said she, "that I didna seem sae frank as I micht hae
done when ye spoke about Jenny and Sandy; but, for a' that, I've aften
thought, if ever it were the laddie's luck to get a wife, Jenny would
mak a better ane than ony ither young woman I ken. But after him
that's now awa began to tak death till himsel," she continued,
lowering her voice to a confidential whisper, "when he made owre the
tack to Sandy, he left me as a burden upon Gairyburn. Noo, the place
is but sma, as ye ken, and there's but ae house on't, and, if he were
to marry, I dinna ken how a'thing would answer."

"Hoot, woman," rejoined the other, "ye've a _butt and a ben_; the
house would haud ye a' brawly. And, though our lassie's owre young to
be a wife to onybody, and I was only passin a joke about her and
Sandy, if she were a year or twa aulder, and if a'thing were
agreeable, I canna say but I would like weel to see them gang
thegither. For it's just the gate o' a' mithers--they would aye like
to see their ain bairns gettin guid bargains. No that I would care a
snuff for the lassie gettin a man wi' a hantle riches; but I would
like to see her get ane that would ken how to guide her, and how to
guide the warld too. Noo, Sandy is baith a canny and a carefu chield;
and, if they dinna thrive, I'm sure it wouldna be his faut."

"It's a' true ye say," responded Margaret; "and weel it pleases me to
hear your guid opinion o' my son. He has a wark wi' the lassie
already, if I'm no far deceived; for ony time when she comes owre to
our house, I've remarkit that he's aye kinder to her than to ony ither
body. But there's a proverb that says, 'young wives seldom like auld
guidmithers'--and that's what troubles me."

"But that needna trouble ye owre muckle either," was the reply;
"for--what's this I was gaun to say, again?--ou ay--wi' respect to
Jenny, puir thing, if it were her guid fortune to draw his affection,
I'm sure she would strive, as far as lay in her power, to mak ye

"I dinna doubt a single word o' what ye say," rejoined the other.
"Jenny is a dutiful and a kind-hearted lassie; I ken that weel. But,
as the auld sayin is, ilka body kens their ain sair best; and, though
it's nae doubt a weakness, I maun e'en tell ye a'. When I was
married--I mind as weel as yesterday--baith David and me thought we
could live happy wi' his mither; and we did live happy, for aught days
or sae; but, after that, I could do naethin to please her. If I tried
to 'earn the milk, it was either owre het or owre cauld when I put in
the 'earning; if I began to wash the dishes, she aye milkit the kye
first, and then she wondered how some folk had sae little sense. I
could neither mak the parritch, nor wash, nor spin, nor mak up a hasp
o' yarn--no, nor soop in the very house, to please her; and, though I
tried, as far as was in my power, to do a'thing her way, it gae me
mony a sleepless nicht, and cost him that's awa nae little vexation.
And weel do I mind mony a time I wondered what pleasure she could tak
in distressin me; but I think noo it was just a frailty o' our
nature--a something that auld folk canna help. And I think, too, I've
discovered the cause o' her grumlin since I began to see the prospect
o' Sandy takin a wife. Now, ye'll nae doubt think it strange," she
continued, in a hesitating tone--"ye'll nae doubt think it strange,
Nelly; but, dearly as I like my ain son--and weel as I would like to
see him happy wi' a woman wha loved him better than a' the warld
beside--still there's a something in the idea o' anither comin in to
be the mistress o' the hoose whaur I've had the management sae lang,
that aye distresses me when I think on't."

"I dinna wonder ava at what ye say," responded Nelly. "If I were in
your place, a' that troubles you would trouble me. But there's naebody
without something to distress them; and we maun just look upon things
o' that kind as a _crook in our lot_, a something that maun be borne.
But, after a', woman, if the twa were to gang thegither, could ye no
come owre here? Ye have only him, and we have only her; the little
gear we hae maun a' gang to him at last; and, if the young folk could
live thegither in ane o' the places, the auld folk micht surely do the
same in the tither."

"Thank ye, Nelly--thank ye!" said Margaret; "ye're aye the same
guid-hearted creature yet. But a body's ain hame's aye kindly. And
yet, if sic a thing were to happen, I would rather come here, than
gang to ony freend I hae." As she uttered these words, she made an
involuntary motion forward, and would have fallen, had she not
supported herself by the wall.

"Dear me, Margaret, what's the matter wi' ye?" said Nelly, in a tone
of evident alarm.

"It's a dizziness i' my head, woman," was the reply. "I've never been
mysel since that illness I had afore the term. Thae curious turns come
owre me aye, noo and then," she continued, her voice sinking and
saddening as she spoke; "and, for the last six weeks, it's been borne
in upon me, that I'm no to be lang to the fore. Now, if I was taen
awa, Sandy would be sair to mean wi' naebody about the house but a
servant; and that gars me sometimes think I would maist like to see
him married to some carefu lass like your Jenny afore my head be laid

"Wheesht, Margaret!" said the other; "never let thae thoughts come
owre ye, for there's an auld proverb that says, _thought can kill and
thought can cure_. And I doubt I've driven the joke owre far already.
But, though it's natural aneugh for young lasses to like to get
husbands, and natural aneugh, too, for their mithers to like to see
them weel married, I would ten times owre see our Jenny live and dee
without a man a'thegither, rather than see her married to the best man
on earth, if her marriage were to gie you real vexation, or be the
means o' shortenin your days."

"It's no that," said Margaret, in the same low solemn tone in which
she had before spoken--"it's no onything ye have said that has hurt
me, for I've thought about a' thae things afore. When I had that ill
turn afore Martinmas, when folk thought I was deein, I began to
consider wha would be maist likely to keep a comfortable hame to my
ain bairn; and then, I confess, my thoughts turned upon your Jenny.
This made me look mair attentively at baith him and her than I had
ever done before; and twa or three times, when she cam owre to see how
I was, I thought I saw something like the first symptoms of affection
in his manner as weel as hers; and I felt glad at the sicht. But, as I
began to get a little better, and to be able to gang about again, the
things that had happened wi' my ain guidmither came fresh to my
memory, and I thought I would like to manage the house mysel, and do
for the best as lang as I was able. But I fear," she added, with a
deep sigh, "this complaint, whatever it is, will weather me afore it's

"Na, Margaret; I hope better things," said the other; "and ye maun
strive to hope for better things too. Though ye mayna be sae stout
through the winter, when the warm weather comes in ye'll gather
strength again; and, if ance ye had yer fit on a May gowan, ye'll be
as hale and hearty as the best o' us."

"It's lang to the month o' May," said Margaret, in a voice unwontedly
solemn; "and, afore that time come round, hundreds that are laughin
and makin muckle sport the nicht may be cauld in their graves. But
promise, if I'm taen awa, that ye'll do yer best to supply my place,
and to bring the twa thegither if ye can."

Nelly was really distressed to think that this gloomy presentiment had
taken such firm hold of her neighbour's mind; but, fancying that it
had been in some measure suggested by their former conversation, and
hoping that it would soon pass off, she promised to comply with her
wishes, and then urged her to rejoin the company within.

They accordingly went into the house, where they found the little
party--which, in their absence, consisted of only three--engaged in a
cheerful conversation. Freed at length from that embarrassment which
they had experienced while alone, the others soon recovered their
spirits and their freedom of speech. Margaret, however, could not so
easily recover her former cheerfulness. She strove, indeed, to appear
as merry as the rest; but her late indisposition, though only of a
momentary nature, seemed to have left an effect upon her spirits which
did not immediately pass away. There was also a something in the
fitfulness of her manner, and the expression of deep solemnity into
which her countenance frequently relapsed after a laugh, which told
too plainly that her merriment came not from the heart. These symptoms
were soon observed, and by degrees her sadness appeared to communicate
itself to the rest of the company.

In this state of things, they seemed to feel as if an early separation
would have been a relief, and almost the only relief of which the case
would admit. When the propriety of a measure is felt by a whole
company, some one or other of their number in general stammers upon
the wishes of the rest; and here, shortly after the above-mentioned
feeling had begun to prevail, Margaret Crawford said that--"As the
nicht was dark and micht end in rain, she thought it would be best for
her and Sandy to gang hame afore it was late." To this proposal Nelly
and her husband made a friendly show of resistance such as is common
on these occasions, and urged, as reasons for delaying their guests,
that "it was not late yet," and that "they would be hame in braw time,
though they staid anither hour." But this resistance, though
reiterated, was so faint, that it was at once felt to be formal; and
Margaret, who had no very great temptation to do otherwise, seemed
inclined to adhere to her first intention. She therefore repeated her
reasons for going home; and, at the same time expressed a hope, "if
_naething extrordinar_ cam i' the way, that she would see John and
Nelly, and Jenny too, at Gairyburn, some nicht neist week, to spend
the e'enin wi' her"--after which, the little company broke up.

The night was far advanced before Jenny could close her eyes; and when
at last she did sink into the arms of the "leaden god," it was only to
dream of having lost her way, along with Sandy Crawford, in some wide
and wildering desert which she had never seen before. At first the
scene seemed solitary, shaded with lofty yews, and tangled with
trailing shrubs; dark clouds spread a gloom over it; mists rested on
the top of every rock; and the night-dews hung heavily from every
branch and every blade of grass. Then the prospect appeared to
brighten: the landscape assumed a variety of charms; every hour
disclosed some new beauty, or opened up some glowing vista which she
had not before seen. The sun gradually dissipated the clouds which
hitherto had concealed him, and, bursting through, dried up the
superfluous moisture from the earth; the air became pure, and the day
delightfully warm; and, though as yet she had discovered no road by
which she could return, she did not feel greatly perplexed. But the
pleasing prospect was soon overcast: clouds appeared to gather round
them; anon she was separated from her companion by rocks and
unfathomable gulfs, the nature and extent of which she could not
distinctly see. At times she fancied he was lost, and felt inclined to
weep at the thought that she should never see him more; then she
obtained a glimpse of him, as if he still waited for her, and then her
heart panted to come up with him; then he disappeared, and she knew
not which way to turn. At last she thought Betsy Braikens came up to
her, and offered to conduct her to where he was; but at that moment
the sky grew dark, and the storm raged so terribly, that she could not
stir a step to follow her. It soon ceased, however; the day again
cleared; she seemed to see him advancing to meet her, with a smile of
welcome upon his countenance; and, just as he was about to throw his
arms around her waist, she started aside to avoid his embrace, struck
her arm upon the post of the bed, and the pain which the circumstance
occasioned, aided by an importunate knocking at the door, awakened
her. On being thus made aware that some one wanted admittance, she
started up, threw on a part of her clothes, snatched up the poker,
broke the _gathering-coal_, and stirred the fire, which instantly
burst forth in a blaze; and then she hastened to open the door.

The present visiter was Sandy Crawford, in most respects the very same
as she had seen him in her dream; but the _smile_ with which that
illusion had presented her was wanting, and in its stead she thought
she could discover, by the light of the fire, marks of anxiety,
perturbation, and fear, upon his countenance. The contrast was so
striking, that she almost forgot one part of it was only a dream. At
the very first glance, she felt certain that something was wrong; and
she would have inquired what it was, but, before she could speak, he
told her, in terms which betrayed his own agitation, that his mother,
without having previously complained of being worse than her ordinary,
had been struck with what appeared to be _palsy_ in the course of the
night, that she was now wholly deprived of speech, and nearly
deprived of motion in one side, and that he had hastened thither as
soon as she could be left, to beg either her or her mother to come
over and watch her till he could procure further assistance. He would
have said something more--he would have hinted the probability of the
fatal termination of his mother's disease, and the further probability
that this termination might occur in a few hours, both of which were
painfully impressed upon his heart; but he shrank from the idea of
speaking on such a subject, as though he apprehended some mysterious
connection between his own words and the fate of his mother, and that
what he was about to say might hurry on the crisis which he wished to
avert. He was therefore silent; while Jenny, between the effects of
her dream, and the alarming intelligence which she had just heard,
knew not what to answer, or what she should do. In general, she
possessed activity, and all that was necessary to enable her to render
assistance in any case with which she was acquainted; but she was
susceptible of strong impressions--those who are so seldom act with
ease in an untried situation--and she was now placed in one which was
perfectly new to her. In her agitation, she would have stood where she
was, like a statue, or she would have accompanied him without taking
time to put on what remained of her clothes, had he repeated his
request; but her mother, who had been awakened by the opening of the
door, on overhearing the conversation which followed, had dressed
herself with characteristic despatch, now came to her daughter's

"Dinna forget to milk the cow, lassie," said she, "nor to mak yer
father's parritch about eight o'clock, and I'll rin owre mysel, and
see what's the matter wi' puir Margaret Crawford. But, if I'm no back
afore dinner-time, mind ye to come and see how she is." With these
brief orders, Nelly wrapped herself up in her cloak, and hastened to
carry her services where they were most wanted.

On reaching Gairyburn, they found Margaret, as she had been
represented, very ill. The shock, however, did not, as there was at
first some reason to fear, prove immediately mortal; and about noon,
when Jenny arrived, her mother proposed that she herself should go
home, leaving her in constant attendance, and promising, at the same
time, to return as often as possible, and give them all the assistance
in her power. This arrangement appeared satisfactory to all parties;
but, at the end of three weeks, a second shock brought rest to the
sufferer, and mourning to the house of Gairyburn.

This mournful event, as is common in such cases, brought together the
whole of the friends and relations of the deceased; and among the rest
came Betsy Braikens and her brother. Betsy had been for some time past
residing with that brother in Perth; but, as soon as it was known that
she had arrived, those who pretended to take an interest in the
affairs of her cousin hastened to represent to her in the strongest
terms the necessity of her coming "to _keep his house_;" and, yielding
to their representations, she did offer her services. These were
declined, however, from the consideration that it would be
inconvenient for her brother to want her assistance. But, as soon as
it was understood that she had made such an offer, the very
individuals who had advised her to make it began to search for other
motives than their own advice, and they soon discovered what they
considered a sufficient reason for her doing so, in the embarrassed
circumstances of her brother. It was generally believed that his trade
had never been very flourishing, and some surmises had lately reached
them of the failure of a merchant in Glasgow, with whom he was
understood to be connected, which would involve him in very
considerable pecuniary difficulties. Putting these things together,
they deemed them a sufficient warrant for supposing that Betsy had her
cousin's _hand_ as well as his house in view, and that, if she did not
succeed in securing one of them at least, she might soon have no
house to keep.

This supposition was not altogether without a foundation; for all his
endeavours had been so unsuccessful of late, that her brother had now
come to the determination of dropping business, as soon as he could
sell off his stock, and wind up his affairs; but, as it would be
several months before this could be done with any prospect of
advantage, he still continued to keep his intentions a perfect secret.
And this being the case, it was agreed on the evening of the funeral
that he and his sister should set off, early next morning, for Perth.

The weather, however, did not appear to favour their intentions. For
the last eight days it had been fair, and uncommonly mild, with slight
frosts during the night, so that, in the estimation of the country
people, "the earth was prepared for a storm." But, on the day alluded
to, the atmosphere had become loaded with stagnant vapours; a
continuous mass of dark, leaden-coloured cloud, which seemed to rest
upon the nearest hills, arched the concave; not a single speck of blue
sky had been visible since morning; and in the evening, one of those
dense and wildering falls of snow, which have frequently misled the
traveller, came on.

The night was one which, in most respects, seemed to accord with the
sorrowful feelings of the little party at Gairyburn. It was gloomy and
silent; while the snow continued to accumulate around the house, as if
to exclude everything which might have a tendency to disturb their
recollections of the solemn scene in which they had been so lately
engaged. At times, a sort of conversation, carried on in subdued
tones, prevailed for a season; and then it was followed by
considerable intervals of silence, broken only by an occasional sigh,
a casual observation on the stillness of the night, or an injunction
to stir the fire. Anon, the colloquial powers of the party seemed to
gather strength from the repose which they had been permitted to
enjoy; and the discourse was again renewed, to continue for a season,
and then to flag, as it had done before. In most respects, this
conversation bore a striking resemblance to the evening fire of the
poor widow, which is only kept alive by an occasional handful of
brushwood thrown upon the expiring embers; after which it emits a
flickering flame for a short while, and then gradually decays, till
the last spark is scarcely perceptible, and it is only prevented from
utter extinction by a repetition of the same process.

In one of these intervals of silence, Betsy Braikens had gone to the
door--partly to pass the time which hung so heavily, and partly to see
if there was any prospect of being able to travel in the morning.
While thus reconnoitring, her attention was attracted by a whistle,
followed by a faint cry for assistance, which, though evidently at a
distance, was, owing to the stillness of the night, distinctly heard.
This made her listen more attentively. The whistle and the cry were
repeated, which satisfied her that they proceeded from some one in
distress; and she now thought it time to give notice of what she had
heard to those within. On hearing the circumstance, her brother and
cousin immediately set off in the direction which she had pointed out;
and in a short time they returned, bringing along with them a
stranger, who had lost his way when it grew dark; and, after having
wandered for several hours among the hills, without knowing where he
was going, had at last stumbled over a bank into a miry slough, where,
as he was unable to extricate himself from the mud, he would in all
probability have perished, but for the assistance which he had

The care of ministering to the new guest devolved principally upon
Betsy Braikens, who had been the first to give notice of his previous
distress; and for such an office she was better qualified than any
other female who, at the time, could have been found, within several
miles--both from that knowledge of the conventionalities of society
which she had acquired during her residence in Perth, and from a
disposition which was naturally kind. With that alacrity which is
common to her sex, she made the necessary preparations for enabling
him to shift such parts of his clothes as were wet. A repast
calculated to refresh him, after the fatigues of his journey, was next
provided; and, as there was no inn or other place of accommodation
within reach, and the night was one in which no stranger could find
his way, she represented the necessity of his remaining where he was
till morning; and then he might travel with her and her brother, if he
chanced to be journeying in that direction; and, if his road was
different, he would at least have the advantage of daylight to direct
his steps.

To this proposal the stranger did not seem to be averse. In such
circumstances, men are often more grateful for a mere trifle than, in
others, they would be for the greatest favours. He seemed highly
sensible of the kindness with which he was treated, and soon began to
regard his entertainers with a feeling of respect. Upon further
conversation, it was discovered that his name was Robert Walker--that
he was the son of the Glasgow merchant whoso failure has been already
noticed as having been prejudicial to the interests of James Braikens;
and, on learning that he was in the society of one who had been in the
habit of dealing with his father, he proceeded to give them a brief
sketch of his story.

After his prospects had been obscured by the bankruptcy of his father,
he had succeeded in procuring for himself a situation in Aberdeen;
and, as he was a good pedestrian--and had, moreover, a liking for
rural scenery, rural manners, and unfrequented roads--these
considerations, backed by motives of economy, had induced him to
undertake the journey on foot. He had accordingly proceeded by
Kinross, intending to make his line as straight as possible, without
paying much attention to the highways; and, on reaching the village of
Strathmiglo, he had been directed across a part of the Ochils as the
nearest road to Newburgh--at which part he intended to cross the Tay.
He had taken these directions, and pushed forward, in the expectation
that he would reach the last-mentioned place before it was late; but
the snow coming on, he soon lost all traces of the road, and, what was
worse, he soon after lost everything like an idea of what direction he
was travelling in. He had, however, no alternative but to proceed.
Exertion was indispensable to prevent his limbs from being benumbed
with cold; but the dense fall of snow prevented him from seeing any
distant object upon which he might direct his course, and thus arrive
at some place of shelter. In this state of uncertainty, he had
wandered he neither knew where nor how long, when--stumbling over the
bank, as already noticed, and being unable to extricate himself--he
was beginning to fear that he had reached the end of his journey
before his deliverers reached him.

On the following morning, which was fair, though the clouds still
appeared to be far from having discharged the whole of their contents,
the stranger was easily induced to accompany Betsy Braikens and her
brother to Perth--alleging, as his reason for doing so, a wish to see
the town, and the possibility of his being there able to procure some
mode of conveying himself to Aberdeen less laborious than travelling
had now become. They accordingly set forward together; but before they
had reached the head of Abernethy Glen, the snow again began to fall,
accompanied by gusts of wind, which whirled whole wreaths into the air
at once, and drove the dazzling particles before them with such
violence, that suffocation seemed to be the inevitable consequence of
being long exposed to the fury of the storm. In a short time the snow
had accumulated to such a depth in the hollows as to render
travelling a most laborious operation; and it was with some difficulty
that the party reached the domicile of Andrew Braikens, where they
thought it best to take shelter for the present, and postpone their
further journey till the weather should be more favourable. The storm
continued for nearly forty-eight hours without intermission, so that,
dating from the time at which they set out, it was not till the
evening of the third day that they reached Perth.

Whatever loss in the way of business this delay might have occasioned,
the merchant found, on his arrival, that it was only his absence which
had saved him from being declared bankrupt, and, in all probability,
imprisoned for debt at the same time. But, on the previous day, one of
his most clamorous creditors had been suddenly taken ill. A temporary
respite was thus obtained; and, with the assistance of Robert Walker,
who exerted all his oratorical powers in his behalf, matters were
again patched up, and he was allowed to go on with the concerns of his
shop as before. These things being settled, this new friend
strenuously advised him to retain his business if possible, assuring
him, at the same time, that there was nothing like perseverance, and
then went on his way, whither we follow him not.

At Gairyburn things went on much in the same way as they had done
before, except that the management of the house was now committed to
the care of a servant-girl. But some circumstances soon transpired
which led the people around to suppose that the girl might, in due
time, be promoted to be mistress of what at present she only managed
for another. Sandy Crawford had bought rather a better suit of
mournings for Jenny Jervis than it was common to give to a servant;
and this, along with a number of other incidents and occurrences, too
minute to be enumerated here, but not so minute as to escape the
notice of a country population, was made the subject of discussion at
the firesides of the neighbouring cottages. But as neither men nor
women, since the world began, were ever known to agree about either
religion or politics, or any other important matter whatever, so here
there was a difference of opinion; and many were the conferences and
disputes which ensued. With one party, the buying of the gown, and the
other corroborating circumstances, were deemed incontestable evidence;
and they affirmed that Sandy and Jenny only waited till the proper
season for laying aside their mournings, to be married. In this
marriage they saw, or at least fancied they could see, such a number
of advantages as would render it most desirable. "Jenny," they said,
"was a thrifty lassie, and wad mak a guid wife. She kenned a' about
the management o' the kye, and she wad aye hae her mither at hand to
apply to in ony strait." Another party differed from them entirely,
both as to the conclusiveness of the evidence, and the advantages to
be derived from the marriage. "The buyin o' the gown," they
maintained, "was naething. Jenny Jervis was a young, thoughtless
lassie, wha wad be soon aneugh married four or five years hence; and
they were sure Sandy wad be far better wi' his cousin Betsy, wha was
baith a weel-faured and a weel-conditioned cummer, and had some
experience in the management o' a house." They said, further, that
"Betsy, they were sure, wad be the woman; for Sandy was a thoughtfu
callant; and though he might be led awa, for a time, wi' twa blue een,
a slender waist, and the red and white on a lassie's face, he wad soon
come to see that ither things were needfu to a man fechtin for his
bread, and strugglin for the rent o' a farm." A third party presumed
to differ from both of these in every particular save one. They
admitted, indeed, that Sandy "was a thoughtfu callant;" but from that
very admission they drew a quite contrary conclusion. "Baith Betsy and
Jenny," they averred, "might remain _single_ lang aneugh for him; and
if he ever took a wife ava, they were sure it wadna be in ony hurry."
They also pointed out several advantages which were likely to accrue
to him from adopting this theory, and several disadvantages which
would infallibly result from his adoption of any other. "The place,"
they said, "was but sma', and the rent high; and as lang as he had
only a servant, he had naething but her bit year's wage to pay at the
term. But, were he to tak a wife, he wad hae to get new beds, and new
chairs, and a hantle whigmaleeries forby, that wad cost him nae little
siller; he wad hae to buy _fykes_ to her in ilka market, and in ilka
shop he cam past--not to mention bairns' meat and bairns' claes--mair
o' baith, maybe, than the place wad afford." Thus, as the great
political world is at present divided into Tories, Whigs, and
Radicals, this little sequestered district was divided into parties,
which, for the sake of distinction, we shall denominate _Jervisines_,
_Braikenites_, and _Malthusians_.

Though Betsy Braikens had not been at Gairyburn for several years
before the death of her aunt, after that occurrence she continued to
pay occasional visits there; and it was observed, by those who knew
and could interpret the signs of the times, that her cousin always
looked more thoughtful for a day or two after she went away, than was
his usual. This seemed to favour the theory of the _Jervisines_, who
said that he was pestered with her visits, and did not know how to get
quit of her. The _Braikenites_, on the other hand, maintained, that,
if he did not give her some encouragement, she would not return so
often; and that his thoughtful looks were occasioned by regret at her

Several months after the death of Margaret Crawford, and just as the
first party were beginning to be certain that their theory was the
correct one, and that they would, ere long, obtain a notable victory
over their opponents, both Betsy and her brother paid a visit to
Gairyburn. They stayed a night and a day with their cousin; and, after
they had taken their departure, it was observed that he looked more
thoughtful than he had done on any former occasion, with the
additional aggravation of his thoughtfulness not passing away in a day
or two, as it had done before. At the end of a fortnight, the
neighbours said to each other--"Preserve us a'! saw ye ever sic an
alteration as has come owre Sandy Crawford! He's surely seen something
that's no canny, and daurna speak aboot it." At the end of a month,
they might have made the same observation; but by that time they had
become accustomed to the change, and they only said--"Puir fellow!
he's as sair altered as though that cummer frae Perth had ta'en awa
his last penny."

He was indeed changed, though not to the extent which they seemed to
suppose. He managed the whole of his concerns as he had done before;
in company or conversation there was little perceptible difference;
but, when silent or alone, there was frequently an expression of
resignation on his countenance, as if some misfortune were impending
which he could not avert, and which, if it should fall, he had
determined to endure with patience. Strict observations were now made
on his conduct towards Jenny; and here, too, an alteration was
discovered, though that alteration did not seem to admit of being
explicitly expressed in words. It was agreed, however, by the wise
women who had made the observations, that he appeared like one who had
determined never again to urge his suit, and that he had certainly
made up his mind to see her give her hand to another. This conclusion
was favourable to the Malthusians: they repeated their assertion, that
"he was a thoughtfu callant, and that he had determined not to marry
at all;" while the others, if they did not "hide their diminished
heads," were at least compelled to hold their peace.

But of all who were puzzled by the mysterious change in the manners
of the should-be bridegroom, none were more so than poor Jenny
herself, who really loved him, and who had been led to suppose that he
loved her in return, though hitherto he had never directly declared
his intention of marrying her. Her mother was equally puzzled to
assign a satisfactory reason for the change; but she was not equally
affected by it. In her younger years, she had learned, from
experience, that there is nothing more mutable than the heart of a
lover; and she fancied, even in ordinary cases, that it was only by
practising a great deal of art and finesse that a husband could be
secured. This, in her estimation, being the case, she determined
that--if the experience which she had acquired in these matters could
be rendered available--her daughter should not remain so long
unmarried as she had done herself; and she immediately set her head to
work to contrive the means of bringing about a marriage as speedily as
possible. Nelly recollected some years ago having had a young _pig_,
which could not be prevailed upon to take its victuals. She had tried
to feed it, or, in other words, to thrust meat into its mouth, in the
hope that it would then swallow it; but this only served to make it
more obdurate in its resistance. It seemed determined to starve itself
to death, and she knew not what to make of it. Her husband, however,
bethought him of a scheme which proved successful: on the following
day, he brought home another, which was put in beside its refractory
kinsman, and afterwards, when she came with the victuals, they
immediately commenced fighting about their respective shares. It was
then _who should get most_; and each would have eaten up the whole, if
its skin would have contained as much. The bee is said to gather honey
from every flower; and there are some people who will learn something
from every incident. Nelly instantly discovered a strong analogy
between the case of the single _pig_ and its victuals, and the case of
a young woman with a single sweetheart; and, having discovered an
analogy in the cases, she felt certain that there must also be an
analogy in the cures. The present emergency seemed to be a most
favourable opportunity for trying the correctness of this theory by
that best of all possible tests--an experiment; and she forthwith
resolved, were the thing practicable, that Jenny should have a new
sweetheart, if peradventure his presence would produce a favourable
revolution in the sentiments of the old one.

Measures were accordingly adopted, and the most feasible schemes were
laid--schemes which, with proper management, could hardly have failed
of success. Jenny also received such hints and instructions as were
deemed necessary to enable her to act her part. But Jenny was, as her
mother phrased it, "an even-forrit, silly, simple lassie;" and in her
hands nothing succeeded. It was with the utmost difficulty that she
could be brought to give the slightest encouragement to a new lover,
and if at any time she did muster sufficient resolution to smile upon
a rival in the presence of Sandy Crawford, her eye immediately turned
upon the latter, to see if he approved of what she had done; and when,
in his guarded look, she could read neither approbation nor
disapprobation, a deep sigh commonly revealed her apprehensions for
having done wrong. The preposterousness of such conduct needs no
remark; its evident tendency was, to keep him free from the slightest
suspicions of having a competitor for her hand, and the most distant
idea that he was in any danger of losing her--and all this in the
midst of schemes intended to produce a contrary effect!

It is probable that other schemes might have been devised, or the same
ones might have been prosecuted to a still greater extent; but what
had been already done, aided by his own observation, had opened his
eyes to some things of which he was not before fully aware. Hitherto,
he seemed to have supposed that he was himself the only sufferer; but
he now discovered that there was another whom he was making unhappy,
and her unhappiness evidently pained him, adding, at the same time, to
his other causes of anxiety, whatever they were, and consequently to
the thoughtfulness of his looks. But still he seemed to fear coming to
an explanation, as much as if he had been certain that such a step
would destroy his last remains of hope. He could not, however, long
endure such an idea; and adopting what had become the least painful
alternative, he seemed to have made up his mind to the unfolding of
that secret which, hitherto, he had kept to himself.

"Jenny," said he, one day, after a long and thoughtful silence, "for
some months I have scarcely known what it was to be happy for a single
hour; and, strange as ye may think it, _love_ has been one of the
principal causes of my misery. Had it not been for _that_, I could
have thought lightly of poverty and everything else. I have acted
foolishly, perhaps, and made myself altogether unworthy of the woman
whom I love; but, yet, I would fain hope that she will not despise me,
and I am now resolved----"

At hearing these words, Jenny's heart had begun to palpitate
violently. But, just as he uttered the word "_resolved_," a rap was
heard at the door; and, on its being opened, Betsy Braikens came in,
and saluted her cousin with a profusion of smiles; while poor Jenny,
to conceal her own agitation, was glad to make an excuse for leaving
the house.

As soon as Betsy's coming was known, people were on the alert. On
Sabbath she accompanied her cousin to the church, and, on the road
thither, it was observed that the thoughtful expression of his
countenance had passed away--that, after making the proper allowance
for the solemnity of the day, he was to all appearance as cheerful as
ever he had been in his life; and that he behaved to his relation
with the greatest kindness, accompanied by an easiness of manner for
which the wise women could only account by supposing that a still
nearer relationship was in contemplation, or, in other words, that the
marriage-day was already set. The star of the _Braikenites_ was now in
the ascendant; they began to feel certain that their opinions had all
along been correct; and they upbraided their opponents for their
slowness of belief, and their backwardness to place implicit
confidence in the understanding of those who were evidently wiser than

The Tuesday following was that on which _Auchtermuchty Market_
occurred. Betsy remained until that important day; went to the market
with her cousin like a betrothed damsel; while Jenny, who had also
been invited to accompany him, preferred staying at home; and, to
place the matter beyond further dispute, he bought and presented the
former with a gown, so fine and so costly, that those who had seen it
declared "there wasna anither like it selled that day i' the town." No
man, it was affirmed, would thus throw away money in buying gowns,
unless he expected to be benefited by the wearer--and the triumph of
the Braikenites was now almost complete.

While these important events were passing, it was not to be expected
that Jenny should remain an unconcerned spectator. She had been the
first to notice that remarkable change for the better which his
cousin's presence had produced in the looks and manners of Sandy
Crawford. She saw his cheerfulness restored--she saw his kindness to
Betsy; and, for the first time in her life, she believed that he
_really_ loved her.

On the day after the market, Betsy Braikens was to go home, and her
cousin gallantly offered to accompany her as far as her father's.
Shortly after they were gone, Jenny hastened to tell her mother what
she had seen and heard. Nelly now considered that her own character
for prudence and management was at stake; and Jenny was prevailed upon
to adopt her views, and to promise to be directed by her advice.

In the evening, when Sandy Crawford returned from escorting his
cousin, he was in high spirits; it was also evident that he had drunk
a _glass_ or two more than was his usual, though not so much as to
injure his understanding; and he now appeared most anxious to obtain a
private conference with Jenny. Between her and the _herd laddie_ a
sort of tacit understanding appeared now to exist, for he did not
leave the house to follow his pastime, as was his wont; and, when his
master bade him "gang and clean out his byre," the boy told him that
he had done so already. He next desired him to "bring some water from
the well for a drink, as he was thirsty." But Jenny, who answered for
him, said that, "as the cow had been _tigging_ in the afternoon, he
would be tired with chasing her;" and she took the pitcher and went to
obey the order herself. The individual who had given it followed her
out; but she was at the well, and had filled her pitcher, before he
could come near enough to speak. When he had almost come up with her,
he repeated her name, in that low, earnest tone, which people
sometimes use when they wish to draw the attention of a listener; but
she either did not hear, or did not _wish_ to hear him. He made
certain of meeting her, however, as she returned; but here also he was
deceived, for she went round by the other side of the _kailyard_, for
the purpose, as it appeared, of taking with her a handful of sticks,
with which to kindle up the fire next morning. On seeing this
manoeuvre, he jumped over the dike, repeating her name as he had
done before; but, on the present, as on the former occasion, she
either heard him not, or pretended not to hear him; and, by hastening
her pace, she had reached the house-door before he could intercept
her. As a _dernier_ resource, the last-mentioned personage was now
ordered to "gang and water the horse." And he rose to obey; but here
again Jenny seemed to sympathise with him in his labours. "As the cow
had _tiggit_ i' the afternoon," she said, "it was like aneugh the
horse micht rin awa i' the e'enin; and, as the laddie, puir thing, had
chased the cow till he was ready to fa' down, it couldna be expeckit
that he would be able to chase the horse, and sae she would gang and
help him."

If ever Jenny Jervis had been puzzled to account for the conduct of
Sandy Crawford, he was now as much puzzled to account for the change
which had come over her. He thought of the subject without being able
to come to any conclusion, and then thought of it again to as little
purpose as he had done before, till at last, wearied out with vain
conjectures, he flung himself upon his bed in a state of mind not easy
to be described; and when Jenny, who was in no great haste to return,
came in, his heavy breathing told that he was already asleep. On
stealing a glance into the apartment where he was, she saw that he was
still lying with his clothes on, and that his sleep was of that
profound sort which commonly lasts for the night.

Sandy Crawford had fallen asleep, little dreaming of either alarm or
danger; but, about midnight, he was disturbed by an indistinct and
inarticulate sound, which, though it conveyed no meaning to his ear,
was loud enough to awake him. Slowly and heavily he opened his eyes;
but it was not dark, as he expected it to be. On the contrary, a
strange light glimmered around him, and, on turning his head to see
whence it proceeded, he saw in the middle of the floor a spectre,
which might have well appalled the heart of a hero. The ghost of
Howdycraigs, to which his present visiter bore a striking resemblance,
rushed back upon his memory, and he would have trembled, but that he
did not recollect any bad consequences which followed that memorable
event. Thus, in time, even ghosts might fail to terrify, were they to
repeat their visits too often. In the present instance, it were
difficult to say if Sandy was not strengthened for the sight by some
faint hope that this might be a second marriage-making expedition of
the same benevolent spirit, and that it might eventually help him to a
_wife_, the getting of which thing he had begun to regard as no easy

The ghost of Gairyburn, however, at first bade fair for being as
famous in its day and generation as the ghost of Howdycraigs had been;
and doubtless it had succeeded in a less hazardous enterprise. Like
the other, its head was tied up in a white handkerchief, its body was
carefully wrapped in the folds of an ample winding-sheet. On its feet
it wore white stockings, but no shoes--the absence of which exhibited
a finely-turned ankle to such advantage, that any male onlooker might
have been excused for wishing it a substantial woman. But then its
face and hands were as white as the finest flour or the whitest chalk
could have made them--thus setting every earthly feeling, except fear,
at defiance. In one hand it carried a candle, which burned as blue as
any spiritual light ever burned, while with the other it managed its
apparel, which was scrupulously clean--thus making it appear that it
had been washed since it left its subterranean abode, from which
circumstance it were reasonable to infer that it was either a female
ghost, or had got a wife to do these things for it.

Though we have thus detained the reader, by describing it, _it_
detained not its auditor; for, as soon as he appeared to be fully
awake--"Sandy Crawford," it said. But it was evidently an apprentice
in the task it had undertaken, and knew but little of the manner in
which a message should be delivered; for here its voice faltered, and
its hands trembled in a most curious manner--thus making it evident
that ghosts have feelings as well as mortals, and that they may
sometimes be sent upon errands they dislike. The shaking of its hands
caused the blue flame to fall from the candle, which immediately
burned out with a clear and natural light; while that which had fallen
hissed and sputtered on the floor. In attempting to remedy this
mistake, by restoring the blue flame to its proper place, it seemed to
burn its fingers--at least it drew back its hand with the appearance
of pain, drawing in its breath, and starting up rather hurriedly at
the same time. While performing the last mentioned of these
operations, it unfortunately struck its head against the back of a
chair, which chanced to be standing near, and ruffled its head-dress,
from under which a most enchanting ringlet of fair hair escaped, and
began to play about its white temples. One mistake followed another:
in attempting to replace the hair, it passed a portion of the
winding-sheet, in which it was muffled up, over its face; and when it
was removed, its lips were no longer pale, but provokingly red--one
cheek was of the same hue, and the deep blush of the other was now
beginning to shine through its treacherous covering. As a further
proof of its inexperience, it heaved a deep sigh, and was about to
retire in apparent confusion, when Sandy, who had overcome his fear so
far as to look at it steadily for the last minute or two, started up,
with a heroism which has seldom been equalled, and, endeavouring to
catch it in his arms, he exclaimed--

"Jenny, ye daft limmer, what set ye to playin thae mad pranks at this
time o' nicht?"

In this emergency the ghost, confused as it was, contrived to make its
escape; but not before it had thrown the winding-sheet which it wore
around the very woman for whom he had mistaken it. By some "cantrip
slight," it had no doubt brought her there to be ready in case of
accidents, and it now left her to be caught in its stead. Jenny, not
being a ghost, could not escape so easily; and, though she struggled
a little when she found herself in the arms of a man, she did not
appear extremely anxious to get away, while Sandy was so much pleased
at having got her by herself at last, that he soon forgot the terrors
of the ghost.

"Jenny," he continued, still mistaking her for his spiritual visiter,
"if I hadna _liket_ ye better than every ither living cratur, since ye
was a lassie, I declare I would never kenned ye dressed up as ye are
in a' that trumpery. But now that I've gotten ye, I maun keep ye, for
I've been wishing to tell ye something this lang time; but ye aye ran
frae me as if I had been a _ghost_, though ye see I've catched you
when ye was tryin to act ane."

The candle which the ghost had left was now placed in a candlestick;
and as Jenny appeared perfectly willing to listen to whatever he might
have to say, he proceeded to give her such information as served in a
great measure to clear up the whole of the mystery.

Though he had been long attached to her, and had felt a growing
inclination to call her his wife, his mother's death had prevented him
from speaking of the subject for a time. During this interval, Betsy
Braikens had come oftener than once, soliciting assistance for her
brother; upon these occasions, he had always given her what
ready-money he could command, and, at last, to save him from
bankruptcy, he had become security for a hundred pounds, which was
considerably more than his whole effects were worth. No sooner had he
done this than he began to doubt the possibility of his cousin ever
being able to redeem his debts; in which case his own prospects were
ruined. The idea that it would be criminal to involve an unsuspecting
female in misery and poverty made him resolve to say nothing of his
affections, till he should see what was to be the issue; and for a
time he had kept his resolution. But he had determined to make a
candid confession of his circumstances, and run any risk which she
might be willing to share, when he was interrupted by Betsy Braikens,
who had come expressly for the purpose of telling him that her brother
had redeemed the whole of his debts, and was now in prosperous
circumstances. In a few days thereafter Jenny went to reside with her
mother for a short time; and one evening, as Sandy bade her
good-night, he gave her a clap on the shoulder, and called her his
"spectre bride." On the following week they went to Perth; and Jenny
Jervis and Betsy Braikens were married on the same day--the former to
Sandy Crawford, and the latter to Robert Walker, who had kept up a
regular correspondence with her ever since the night on which he lost
his way among the snow.


The golden days of the smuggler are gone by; his hiding-places are
empty; and, like Othello, he finds his "occupation gone." Our
neighbours on the other side of the herring-pond now bring us _dry
bones_, according to the law, instead of _spirits_, contrary to the
law. Cutters, preventive-boats, and border-rangers, have destroyed the
_trade_--it is becoming as a tale that was told. From Spittal to
Blyth--yea, from the Firth of Forth to the Tyne--brandy is no longer
to be purchased for a trifle; the kilderkin of Holland gin is no
longer placed at the door in the dead of night; nor is a yard of
tobacco to be purchased for a penny. The smuggler's phrase, that the
"_cow has calved_,"[D] is becoming obsolete. Now, smuggling is almost
confined to crossing "the river," here and there, the "ideal line by
fancy drawn;" to Scotland saying unto England, "Will you taste?" and
to England replying, "Cheerfully, sister." There was a time, however,
when the clincher-built lugger plied her trade as boldly, and almost
as regularly, as the regular coaster; and that period is within the
memory of those who are yet young. It was an evil and a dangerous
trade; and it gave a character to the villagers on the sea-coasts
which, even unto this day, is not wholly effaced. But in the character
of the smuggler there was much that was interesting--there were many
bold and redeeming points. I have known many; but I prefer, at
present, giving a few passages from the history of one who lived
before my time, and who was noted in his day as an extraordinary

Harry Teasdale was a native of Embleton, near Bamborough. He was the
sole owner of a herring-boat and a fishing-cobble; he was also the
proprietor of the house in which he lived, and was reputed to be worth
money--nor was it any secret that he had obtained his property by
other means than those of the haddock hand-line and the herring-net.
Harry, at the period we take up his history, was between forty and
fifty years of age. He was a tall thin man, with long sandy hair
falling over his shoulders, and the colour of his countenance was
nearly as rosy as the brandy in which he dealt. But, if there was the
secrecy of midnight in his calling, his heart and his hand were open
as mid-day. It is too true that money always begets the outward show
of respect for him who possesses it, though in conduct he may be a
tyrant, and in capacity a fool; but Harry Teasdale was respected, not
because he was reputed to be rich, but because of the boldness and
warmness of his heart, the readiness of his hand, and the clearness of
his head. He was the king of fishermen, and the prince of smugglers,
from Holy Island to Hartlepool. Nevertheless, there was nothing
unusual in his appearance. Harry looked like his occupation. His dress
(save where disguise was necessary) consisted in a rudely-glazed
sou'-wester, the flap of which came over his shoulders, half covering
his long sandy hair. Around him was a coarse and open _monkey_ or
_pea_-jacket, with a Guernsey frock beneath, and a sort of canvas kilt
descending below the knee; and his feet were cased in a pair of
sea-boots. When not dressing his hand-lines or sorting his nets, he
might generally be seen upon the beach, with a long telescope under
his arm. As Harry was possessed of more of this world's substance than
his brother fishermen, so also was there a character of greater
comfort and neatness about his house. It consisted of three rooms; but
it also bore the distinguishing marks of a smuggler's habitation. At
the door hung the hand-line, the hooks, and the creel; and in a
corner of Harry's sleeping-room a "_keg_" was occasionally visible;
while over the chimneypiece hung a cutlass and four horse-pistols; and
in a cupboard there were more packages of powder and pistol-bullets
than it became a man of peace to have in his possession. But the third
room, which he called his daughter's, contained emblems of peace and
happiness. Around the walls were specimens of curious needlework, the
basket of fruit and of flowers, and the landscape--the "_sampler_,"
setting forth the genealogy of the family for three generations, and
the age of her whose fair hands wrought it. Around the window, also,
carefully trained, were varieties of the geranium, and the rose, the
bigonia, and cressula, the aloe, and the ice-plant, with others of
strange leaf and lovely covering. This Harry called his daughter's
room--and he was proud of her: she was his sole thought, his only
boast. His weatherbeaten countenance always glowed, and there was
something like a tear in his eyes, when he spoke of "my Fanny." She
had little in common with the daughter of a fisherman; for his
neighbours said that her mother had made her unfit for anything, and
that Harry was worse than her mother had been. But that mother was no
more, and she had left their only child to her widowed husband's care;
and, rough as he appeared, never was there a more tender or a more
anxious parent--never had there been a more affectionate husband. But
I may here briefly notice the wife of Harry Teasdale, and his first
acquaintance with her.

When Harry was a youth of one-and-twenty, and as he and others of his
comrades were one day preparing their nets upon the sea-banks for the
north herring-fishing, a bitter hurricane came suddenly away, and they
observed that the mast of a Scotch smack, which was then near the
Ferne Isles, was carried overboard. The sea was breaking over her, and
the vessel was unmanageable; but the wind being from the north-east,
she was driving towards the shore. Harry and his friends ran to get
their boats in readiness, to render assistance if possible. The smack
struck the ground between Embleton and North Sunderland, and being
driven side-on by the force of the billows, which were dashing over
her, formed a sort of break-water, which rendered it less dangerous
for a boat to put off to the assistance of the passengers and crew,
who were seen clinging in despair to the flapping ropes and sides of
the vessel. Harry's cobble was launched along the beach to where the
vessel was stranded, and he and six others attempted to reach her.
After many ineffectual efforts, and much danger, they gained her side,
and a rope was thrown on board. Amongst the smack's passengers was a
Scottish gentleman, with his family, and their governess. She was a
beautiful creature, apparently not exceeding nineteen; and as she
stood upon the deck, with one hand clinging to a rope, and in the
other clasping a child to her side, her countenance alone, of all on
board, did not betoken terror. In the midst of the storm, and through
the raging of the sea, Harry was struck with her appearance. She was
one of the last to leave the vessel; and when she had handed the child
into the arms of a fisherman, and was herself in the act of stepping
into the boat, it lurched, the vessel rocked, a sea broke over it, she
missed her footing, and was carried away upon the wave. Assistance
appeared impossible. The spectators on the shore and the people in the
boat uttered a scream. Harry dropped the helm, he sprung from the
boat, he buffeted the boiling surge, and, after a hopeless struggle,
he clutched the hand of the sinking girl. He bore her to the boat;
they were lifted into it.

"Keep the helm, Ned," said he, addressing one of his comrades who had
taken his place; "I must look after this poor girl--one of the seamen
will take your oar." And she lay insensible, with her head upon his
bosom, and his arm around her waist.

Consciousness returned before they reached the shore, and Harry had
her conveyed to his mother's house. It is difficult for a sensitive
girl of nineteen to look with indifference upon a man who has saved
her life, and who risked his in doing so; and Eleanor Macdonald (for
such was the name of the young governess) did not look with
indifference upon Harry Teasdale. I might tell you how the shipwrecked
party remained for five days at Embleton, and how, during that period,
love rose in the heart of the young fisherman, and gratitude warmed
into affection in the breast of Eleanor--how he discovered that she
was an orphan, with no friend, save the education which her parents
had conferred on her, and how he loved her the more, when he heard
that she was friendless and alone in the world--how the tear was on
his hardy cheek when they parted--how more than once he went many
miles to visit her--and how Eleanor Macdonald, forsaking the
refinements of the society of which she was a dependant, became the
wife of the Northumbrian fisherman. But it is not of Harry's younger
days that I am now about to write. Throughout sixteen happy years they
lived together; and though, when the tempests blew and the storms
raged, while his skiff was on the waves, she often shed tears for his
sake, yet, though her education was superior to his, his conduct and
conversation never raised a blush to her cheeks. Harry was also proud
of his wife, and he showed his pride, by spending every moment he
could command at her side, by listening to her words, and gazing on
her face with delight. But she died, leaving him an only daughter as
the remembrancer of their loves; and to that daughter she had imparted
all that she herself knew.

Besides his calling as a fisherman, and his adventures as a smuggler
on sea, Harry also made frequent inland excursions. These were
generally performed by night, across the wild muir, and by the most
unfrequented paths. A strong black horse, remarkable for its swiftness
of foot, was the constant companion of his midnight journeys. A
canvas bag, fastened at both ends, and resembling a wallet, was
invariably placed across the back of the animal, and at each end of
the bag was a keg of brandy or Hollands, while the rider sat over
these; and behind him was a large and rude portmanteau, containing
packages of tea and tobacco. In his hand he carried a strong
riding-whip, and in the breast-pocket of his greatcoat two
horse-pistols, always loaded and ready for extremities. These journeys
frequently required several days, or rather nights, for their
performance; for he carried his contraband goods to towns fifty miles
distant, and on both sides of the Border. The darker the night was,
and the more tempestuous, the more welcome it was to Harry. He saw
none of the beauties in the moon on which poets dwell with admiration.
Its light may have charms for the lover, but it has none for the
smuggler. For twenty years he had carried on this mode of traffic with
uninterrupted success. He had been frequently pursued; but his good
steed, aided by his knowledge of localities, had ever carried him
beyond the reach of danger; and his _stow-holes_ had been so secretly
and so cunningly designed, that no one but himself was able to
discover them, and informations against him always fell to the ground.

Emboldened by long success, he had ceased to be a mere purchaser of
contraband goods upon the sea, and the story became current that he
had bought a share of a lugger, in conjunction with an Englishman then
resident at Cuxhaven. His brother-fishermen were not all men of
honour; for you will find black sheep in every society, and amongst
all ranks of life. Some of them had looked with an envious eye upon
Harry's run of good fortune, and they bore it with impatience; but
now, when he fairly, boldly, and proudly stepped out of their walk,
and seemed to rise head and shoulders above them, it was more than
they could stand. It was the lugger's first trip, and they, having
managed to obtain intelligence of the day on which she was to sail
with a rich cargo, gave information of the fact to the commander of a
revenue-cutter then cruising upon the coast.

I have mentioned that Harry was in the habit of wandering along the
coast with a telescope under his arm. From the period of his wife's
death, he had not gone regularly to sea, but let others have a share
of his boats for a stipulated portion of the fish they caught. Now, it
was about daybreak, on a morning in the middle of September, that he
was on the beach as I have described him, and perceiving the figure of
the cutter on the water, he raised his glass to his eye, to examine it
more minutely. He expected the lugger on the following night, and the
cutter was an object of interest to Harry. As day began to brighten,
he knelt down behind a sand-bank, in order that he might take his
observations, without the chance of being discovered; and while he yet
knelt, he perceived a boat pulled from the side of the cutter towards
the shore. At the first glance, he descried it to be an Embleton
cobble, and before it proceeded far, he discovered to whom it
belonged. He knew that the owner was his enemy, though he had not the
courage openly to acknowledge it, and in a moment the nature of his
errand to the cutter flashed through Harry's brain.

"I see it! I see it all!" said the smuggler, dashing the telescope
back into its case; "the low, the skulking coward, to go blab upon a
neighbour! But Ise have the weather-gauge o' both o' them, or my
name's not Harry Teasdale."

So saying, he hastened home to his house--he examined his cutlass, his
pistols, the bullets, and the powder. "All's right," said the
smuggler, and he entered the room where his daughter slept. He laid
his rough hand gently upon hers.

"Fanny, love," said he, "thou knowest that I expect the lugger
to-night, and I don't think I shall be at home, and I mayn't be all
to-morrow; but you won't fret, like a good girl, I know you won't.
Keep all right, love, till I be back; and say nothing."

"Dear father," returned Fanny, who was now a lovely girl of eighteen,
"I tremble for this life which we lead--as my poor mother said, it
adds the punishment of the law to the dangers of the sea."

"Oh, don't mention thy mother, dearest!" said the smuggler, "or thou
wilt make a child of thy father, when he should be thinking of other
things. Ah, Fanny! when I lost thy mother, I lost everything that gave
delight to my heart. Since then, the fairest fields are to me no
better than a bare muir, and I have only thee, my love--only my Fanny,
to comfort me. So, thou wilt not cry now--thou wilt not distress thy
father, wilt thou? No, no! I know thou wilt not. I shall be back to
thee to-morrow, love."

More passed between the smuggler and his daughter--words of
remonstrance, of tenderness, and assurance; and when he had left her,
he again went to the beach, to where his boat had just landed from the
night's fishing. None of the other boats had yet arrived. As he
approached, the crew said they "saw by his face there was something
unpleasant in the wind," and others added--

"Something's vexed Skipper Harry this morning, and that's a shame, for
a better soul never lived."

"Well, mates," said he, as he approached them, "have you seen a shark
cruising off the coast this morning?"

"No," was the reply.

"But I have," said Harry, "though she is making off to keep out of
sight now; and, more than that, I have seen a cut-throat lubber that I
would not set my foot upon--I mean the old Beelzebub imp, with the
white and yellow stripe on his yawl, pull from her side. And what was
he doing there? Was it not telling them to look out for the lugger?"

Some of the boat's crew uttered sudden and bitter imprecations.

"Let us go and sink the old rascal before he reach the shore," said

"With all my heart," cried another; for they were all interested in
the landing of the lugger, and in the excitement of the moment they
wist not what they said.

"Softly, softly, my lads," returned Harry; "we must think now what we
can do for the cargo and ourselves, and not of him."

"Right, master," replied another; "that is what I am thinking."

"Now, look ye," continued Harry, "I believe we shall have a squall
before night, and a pretty sharp one, too; but we mustn't mind that
when our fortunes are at stake. Hang all black-hearted knaves that
would peach on a neighbour, say I; but it is done in our case, and we
must only do our best to make the rascal's story stick in his throat,
or be the same as if it had; and I think it may be done yet. I know,
but the peachers can't, that the lugger is to deliver a few score kegs
at Blyth before she run down here. We must off and meet her, and give

"Ay, ay, Master Teasdale, thou'rt right; but, now that the thing has
got wind, the sharks will keep a hawk's eye on us, and how we are to
do it, I can't see."

"Why, because thou'rt blind," said Harry.

"No, hang it, and if I be, master," replied the other; "I can see as
far as most o' folks, as ye can testify; and I dow see plain enough,
that if we put to sea now, we shall hae the cutter after us; and that
would be what I call only leading the shark to where the salmon lay."

"Man, I wonder to hear thee," said Harry; "folk wad say thou hadst nae
mair gumption than a born fool. Do ye think I wad be such an ass as
to send out spies in the face o' the enemy? Hae I had a run o' gud
luck for twenty years, and yet ye think me nae better general than
that comes to? I said, nae doubt, that we should gang to sea to meet
the lugger, though there will be a squall, and a heavy one, too,
before night, as sure as I'm telling ye; but I didna say that we
should dow sae under the bows o' the cutter, in our awn boat, or out
o' Embleton."

"Right, right, master," said another, "no more you did. Ned isn't half

The name of the fisherman alluded to was Ned Thomson.

"Well, Ned, my lad," continued Harry, "I tell thee what must be done:
I shall go saddle my old nag, get thou a horse from thy wife's
father--he has two, and can spare one--and let us jog on as fast as we
can for Blyth; but we mustn't keep by the coast, lest the king's folk
get their eyes upon us. So away, get ready, lad, set out as quick as
thee can--few are astir yet. I won't wait on thee, and thou won't wait
on me; but whoever comes first to Felton Brig shall just place two
bits o' stones about the middle--on the parapet I think they ca' it;
but it is the dyke on each side o' the brig I mean, ye knaw. Put them
on the left-hand side in gaun alang, down the water; or if they're
there when ye come up, ye'll ken that I'm afore ye. So get ready,
lad--quick as ever ye can. Tell the awd man naething about what ye
want wi' the horse--the fewer that knaw onything about thir things the
better. And ye, lads, will be upon the look-out; and, if we can get
the lugger run in here, have a'thing in readiness."

"No fear o' that, master," said they.

"Well, sir," said Ned, "I'll be ready in a trap-stick, but I knaw the
awd chap will kick up a sang about lendin his horse."

"Tell him I'll pay for it, if ye break its legs," said Harry.

The crew of the boat laughed, and some of them said--"Nobody will
doubt that, master--you are able enough to do it."

It must be observed that, since Harry had ceased to go regularly to
sea, and when he was really considered to be a rich man, the crew of
his boat began to call him _master_, notwithstanding his sou'-wester
and canvas kilt. And now that it was known to them, and currently
rumoured in Embleton, that he was part proprietor of a lugger, many of
the villagers began to call Fanny Miss Teasdale; and it must be said,
that in her dress and conversation she much nearer approximated to one
that might be styled _Miss_, than to a fisherman's daughter. But, when
the character and education of her mother are taken into account, this
will not be wondered at.

It would be uninteresting to the reader to describe the journey of
Harry and Ned Thomson to Blyth; before they arrived at Felton, Harry
had overtaken Ned, and they rode on together.

On arriving at Blyth, they stopped at the door of an individual who
was to receive forty kilderkins of Hollands from the lugger, and a
quantity of tobacco. It is well known to be the first duty of an
equestrian traveller to look after his horse, and to see that it is
fed; but, in this instance, Harry forgot the established rule--the
horses were given in charge of a girl to take them to a stable, to see
them fed, or otherwise, and Harry hastened into the house, and
breathlessly inquired of its owner--"I hope to heaven, sir, ye have
heard nothing of the Swallow?"

[The lugger was called the "Swallow," from the carpenter in Cuxhaven,
who built her, having warranted that she "would _fly_ through the

"Why, nothing," replied Harry's brother smuggler; "but we shall be on
the look-out for her to-night."

"So far well," said Harry; "but I hope you have no fear of any king's
lobsters being upon the coast, or rats ashore?"

"I don't think we have anything to fear from the cutters," said the
other; "but I won't answer for the spies on shore; there are folk wi'
us here, as weel as wi' ye, that canna see their neighbours thrive and
haud their tongue; and I think some o' them hae been gaun owre aften
about wi' the spy-glass this day or two."

"Then," said Harry, "the lugger doesna break bulk here, nor at
Embleton outher--that's flat. Get ye a boat ready, neighbour, and we
maun off and meet her, or ye may drink sma' yill to your venture and

"It is growing too stormy for a boat to venture out," answered the

"Smash, man!" rejoined Harry; "wad you sit here on your hunkers, while
your capital is in danger o' being robbed frae ye as simply as ye
would snuff out a candle, and a' to escape a night's doukin! Get up,
man--get a boat--we maun to sea--we maun meet the lugger, or you and I
are done men--clean ruined a'thegither. I hae risked the better part
o' my bit Fanny's fortune upon this venture, and, Heaven! I'll suffer
death ten thousand-fold afore I see her brought to poverty; sae get a
boat--get it--and if ye daurna gang out, and if nane o' your folk daur
gang, Ned and me will gang our tow sels."

"Surely ye wad be mad, Harry, to attempt such a thing in an open boat
to-night," said the Blyth merchant.

"Mad or no mad," answered Harry, "I hae said it, and I am determined.
There is nae danger yet wi' a man that knaws how to manage a boat. If
ye gang pullin through thick and thin, through main strength and for
bare life, as many of the folk upon our coast dee, then there is
danger--but there is nae use for the like o' that. It isna enough to
manage an oar; you must knaw how to humour the sea, and to manage a
wave. Dinna think I've been at sea mair than thirty years without
knawing something about the matter. But I tell you what it is,
friend--ye knaw what the Bible says--'The race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong;' now, the way to face breakers, or a
storm at sea, is not to pull through desperation, as if your life
depended on the pulling; but when you see a wave coming, ye must
backwater and backwater, and not pull again until ye see an
opportunity of gauin forward. It is the trusting to mere pulling, sir,
that makes our life-boats useless. The rowers in a life-boat should
study the sea as well as their oars. They should consider that they
save life by watching the wave that breaks over the vessel, as well as
by straining every nerve to reach her. Now, this is a stormy night,
nae doubt, but we maun just consider ourselves gaun off to the lugger
in the situation o' folk gaun off in a life-boat. We maun work cannily
and warily, and I'll tak the management o' the boat mysel."

"If ye dow that, master," said Ned Thomson, "then I gang wi' ye to a
dead certainty."

"Well, Harry," replied the merchant, "if it maun be sae, it just maun
be sae; but I think it a rash and a dangerous undertaking. I wad
sooner risk a' that I have on board."

"Why, man, I really wonder to hear ye," said Harry; "folk wad say that
ye had been swaddled in lambs' wool a' your life, and nursed on your
mother's knee. Get a boat, and let us off to the lugger, and nae mair
about it."

His orders were obeyed; and, about an hour after sunset, himself, with
Ned Thomson, the merchant, and four others, put off to sea. They had
indeed embarked upon a perilous voyage--before they were a mile from
the shore, the wind blew a perfect hurricane, and the waves chased
each other in circles, like monsters at play. Still Harry guided the
boat with unerring skill. He ordered them to draw back from the
bursting wave--they rose over it--he rendered it subservient to his
purpose. Within two hours he descried the lights of the lugger. He
knew them, for he had given directions for their use, and similar
lights were hoisted from the cobble which he steered.

"All's well!" said Harry, and in his momentary joy he forgot the
tempestuous sea in which they laboured. They reached the lugger--they
gained the deck.

"Put back, friend--put back," was the first salutation of Harry to the
skipper; "the camp is blown, and there are sharks along shore."

"The devil!" replied the captain, who was an Englishman; "and what
shall we do?"

"Back, back," answered Harry; "that is all in the meantime."

But the storm now raged with more fierceness--it was impossible for
the boat to return to the shore, and Harry and his comrades were
compelled to put to sea with the lugger. Even she became in danger,
and it required the exertions of all hands to manage her.

The storm continued until near daybreak, and the vessel had plied many
miles from the shore; but as day began to dawn, and the storm abated,
an enemy that they feared more appeared within a quarter-of-a-mile
from them, in the shape of a cutter-brig. A gun was fired from the
latter, as a signal for the lugger to lie to. Consternation seized the
crew, and they hurried to and fro upon the deck in confusion.

"Clear the decks!" cried the skipper; "they shan't get all without
paying for it. Look to the guns, my hearties."

"Avast! Master Skipper," said Harry; "though my property be in danger,
I see no cause why I should put my neck in danger too. It will be time
enough to fight when we canna better dow; and if we can keep them in
play a' day there will be sma' danger in wur gi'en them the slip at

"As you like, Mr Teasdale," said the skipper; "all's one to me. Helm
about, my lad," added he, addressing the steersman, and away went the
lugger, as an arrow, scudding before the wind.

The cutter made all sail, and gave chase, firing shot after shot. She
was considered one of the fastest vessels in the service; and though,
on the part of Harry and his friends, every nerve was strained, every
sail hoisted, and every manoeuvre used, they could not keep the
lugger out of harm's way. Every half-hour he looked at his watch, and
wished for night, and his friend, the skipper, followed his example.
There was a hot chase for several hours; and, though tubs of brandy
were thrown overboard by the dozen, still the whizzing bullets from
the cutter passed over the heads of the smugglers. It ought to be
mentioned, also, that the rigging of the lugger had early sustained
damage, and her speed was checked. About sunset a shot injured her
rudder, and she became for a time, as Harry described her, "as
helpless as a child." The cutter instantly bore down upon her.

"Now for it, my lads!" cried the skipper; "there is nothing for it but
fighting now--I suppose that is what you mean, Master Teasdale?"

Harry nodded his head, and quietly drew his pistols from the
breast-pocket of his greatcoat; and then added--

"Now, lads, this is a bad job, but we must try to make the best on't,
and, as we hae gone thus far" (and he discharged a pistol at the
cutter as he spoke), "ye knaw it is o' nae use to think o'
yielding--it is better to be shot than hanged."

In a few minutes the firing of the cutter was returned by the lugger,
from two large guns and a number of small-arms. Harry, in the midst of
the smoke and flame of the action, and the havoc of the bullets, was
as cool and collected as if smoking his pipe upon the beach at

"See to get the helm repaired, lad, as fast as ye can," said he to the
carpenter, while in the act of reloading his pistols. "Let us fight
away, but mind ye your awn wark."

Harry's was the philosophy of courage, mingled with the calculations
of worldly wisdom.

The firing had been kept up on both sides for the space of
half-an-hour, and the decks of both were stained with the blood of the
wounded, when a party from the brig, headed by her first mate,
succeeded in boarding the lugger. Harry seized a cutlass which lay
unsheathed by the side of the companion, and was the first who rushed
forward to repel them.

"Out o' my ship, ye thieves!" cried he, while, with his long arm, he
brandished the deadly weapon, and for a moment forgot his habitual

Others of the crew instantly sprang to the assistance of Harry; and,
after a short but desperate encounter, the invaders were driven from
the deck, leaving their chief mate, insensible from wounds, behind

The rudder being repaired so as to render her manageable, the lugger
kept up a sort of retreating fight until night set in, when, as Harry
said, "she gave the cutter the slip like a knotless thread."

But now a disagreeable question arose amongst them, and that was, what
they should do with the wounded officer, who had been left as a prize
in their hands--though a prize that they would much rather have been
without. Some wished that he might die of his wounds, and so they
would get rid of him; for they were puzzled how to dispose of him in
such a way as not to lead to their detection, and place their lives in
jeopardy. Harry was on his knees by the side of the officer, washing
his wounds with Riga balsam, of which they had a store on board, and
binding them up, when one desperate fellow cut short the perplexity
and discussion of the crew, by proposing to fling their _prize_

On hearing the brutal proposal, Harry sprang to his feet, and hurling
out his long bony arm, he exclaimed, "Ye savage!" and, dashing his
fist in the face of the ruffian, felled him to the deck.

The man (if we may call one who could entertain so inhuman an idea by
the name of man) rose, bleeding, growling, and muttering threats of

"Ye'll blab, will ye?" said Harry, eyeing him fiercely; "threaten to
dow it again, and there's the portion that's waiting for yur neck!"
and, as he spoke, he pointed with his finger to the cross-tree of
the lugger, and added, "and ye knaw that the same reward awaits ye
if ye set yur weel-faur'd face ashore! Out o' my sight, ye

For three days and nights, after her encounter with the brig, the
lugger kept out to sea; and on the fourth night, which was thick,
dark, and starless, Harry resolved to risk all; and, desiring the
skipper to stand for the shore, all but run her aground on Embleton
beach. No light was hoisted, no signal given. Harry held up his
finger, and every soul in the lugger was mute as death. A boat was
lowered in silence, and four of the crew being placed under the
command of Ned Thomson, pulled ashore. The boat flew quickly, but the
oars seemed only to kiss the water, and no sound audible at the
distance of five yards proceeded from their stroke.

"Now, pull back quietly, mates," said Ned, "and I'll be aboard wi'
some o' wur awn folks in a twinkling."

It was between one and two in the morning, and there was no outward
sign amongst the fishermen of Embleton that they were on the alert for
the arrival of a smuggler. The party who gave information to the
cutter having missed Harry for a few days, justly imagined that he had
obtained notice of what they had done; and also believed that he had
ordered the cargo to be delivered on some other part of the coast, and
they therefore were off their guard. Ned, therefore, proceeded to the
village; and, at the houses of certain friends, merely gave three
distinct and peculiar taps with his fingers upon their shutterless
windows, from none of which, if I may use the expression, proceeded
even the _shadow_ of light; but no sooner was the last tap given upon
each, than it was responded to by a low cough from within. No words
passed; and at one window only was Ned detained for a space exceeding
ten seconds, and that was at the house of his master, Harry Teasdale.
Fanny had slept but little since her father left; when she sought rest
for an hour, it was during the day, and she now sat anxiously watching
every sound. On hearing the understood signal, she sprang to the door.
"Edward!" she whispered, eagerly, "is it you?--where is my
father?--what has detained him?"

"Don't be asking questions now, Miss Fanny--sure it is very foolish,"
replied Ned, in the same tone; "Master will be here by and by; but ye
knaw we have bonny wark to dow afore daylight yet. Gud-nicht, hinny."

So saying, Ned stole softly along the village; and, within
half-an-hour, half-a-dozen boats were alongside the lugger; and, an
hour before daybreak, every tub and every bale on board was safely
landed and stowed away.

Yet, after she was a clean ship, there was one awkward business that
still remained to be settled, and that was how they were to dispose of
the wounded officer of the cutter-brig. A consultation was held--many
opinions were given.

"At ony rate we must act like Christians," said Harry.

Some proposed that he should be taken over to Holland and landed
there; but this the skipper positively refused to do, swearing that
the sooner he could get rid of such a customer the better.

"Why, I canna tell," said Ned Thomson; "but what dow ye say, if we
just take him ashore, and lay him at the door o' the awd rascal that
gied information on us?"

"Capital!" cried two or three of the conclave; "that's just the
ticket, Ned!"

"Nonsense!" interrupted Harry, "it's nae such thing. Man, Ned, I
wonder that sic a clever chap as ye aye talks like a fool. Why, ye
might as weel go and ask them to tak you and me off to Morpeth before
dinner-time, as to lay him at their door this morning."

"Well, Master Teasdale," said the skipper, who was becoming impatient,
"what would you have us to do with him?"

"Why, I see there's naething for it," answered Harry, "but I maun tak
the burden o' him upon my awn shouthers. Get the boat ready." So
saying, and while it was yet dark, he entered the cabin where the
wounded officer lay, but who was now conscious of his situation.

"I say, my canny lad," said Harry, approaching his bedside, and
addressing him, "ye maun allow me to tie a bit handkerchur owre yur
een for a quarter-of-an-hour or sae.--Ye needna be feared, for there's
naething shall happen ye--but only, in looking after yur gud, I maunna
lose sight o' my awn. You shall be ta'en ashore as gently as we can."

The wounded man was too feeble to offer any resistance, and Harry,
binding up his eyes, wrapped the clothes on the bed around him, and
carried him in his arms upon deck. In the same manner he placed him in
the boat, supporting him with his arm, and, on reaching the shore, he
bore him on his shoulders to his house.

"Now, sir," said he, as he set him down from his shoulders on an
arm-chair, "ye needna be under the smallest apprehension, for every
attention shall be paid ye here; and, as soon as ye are better, ye
shall be at liberty to return, safe and sound, to your friends, your
ship, or wherever ye like." Harry then turned to his daughter, and
continued--"Now, my bird, come awa in by wi' me, and I will let ye
knaw what ye have to dow."

Fanny wondered at the unusual burden which her father had brought
upon his shoulders into the house; and at his request she anxiously
accompanied him into her own apartment. When they had entered, and he
had shut the door behind them, he took her hand affectionately, and,
addressing her in a sort of whisper, said--

"Now, Fanny, love, ye maun be very cautious--as I knaw ye will be--and
mind what I am telling ye to dow." He then made her acquainted with
the rank of their inmate, and the manner in which he had fallen into
their hands, and added--"Now, darling, ye see we maun be very
circumspect, and keep his being here a secret frae everybody: he maun
remain ignorant o' his awn situation, nowther knawing where he is, nor
in whose hands he is; for if it were found out, it wad be as much as
your father's life is worth. Now he maun stop in this room, as it
looks into the garden, and he can see naething frae it, nor will
onybody be able to see him. Ye maun sleep wi' the lass in the kitchen,
and yur '_sampler_,' and every book, or onything that has a name on't,
maun be taken out o' the room. It winna dow for onybody but you and me
ever to see him, or to wait on him; and, when we dow, he maunna be
allowed to see either yur face or mine; but I will put my awd mask on,
that I used to wear at night sometimes when there was onything
particular to dow, and I thought there wad be danger in the way; and,"
continued he, as the doating parent rose in his bosom, "it wadna be
_chancy_ for him to see my Fanny's face at ony rate; and when ye dow
see him, ye maun have your features so concealed, that, if he met you
again, he wadna knaw ye. Now, hinny, ye'll attend to a' that I've
said--for ye remember your father's life depends on it--and we maun be
as kind to the lad as we can, and try to bring him about as soon as
possible, to get clear on him."

Fanny promised to obey her father's injunctions; but fears for his
safety, and the danger in which he was placed, banished every other
thought. The books, the "_sampler_," everything that could lead the
stranger to a knowledge of the name of his keepers, or of the place
where he was, was taken out of the room.

Harry, muffling up his face, returned to the apartment where the
wounded man was, and, supporting him on his arm, he led him to that
which he was to occupy. He then took the bandage from his eyes, and,
placing him on the bed, again desired him to keep himself easy, and
wished him "good-morning," for day was now beginning to dawn.

The name of our smuggler's wounded prisoner was Augustus Hartley. He
was about twenty-four years of age, and the son of a gentleman of
considerable property in Devonshire; and, at the period we speak of,
he was in expectation of being removed from his situation as second
officer of the brig, and promoted to the command of a revenue-cutter.
The wounds which he had received on the deck of the lugger were
severe, and had reduced him to a state of extreme feebleness; but they
were not dangerous. He knew not where he was, and he marvelled at the
treatment he experienced; for it was kind, yea, even roughly
courteous, and unlike what he might have expected from the hands of
such men as those into whose power he had fallen. Anxiety banished
sleep; and when the risen sun lighted up the chamber where he lay, he
stretched forth his hand and drew aside the curtains, to ascertain
whether the appearance of the apartment would in any way reveal the
mystery which surrounded his situation. But it rather increased it. In
the window were the flowers--around the walls the curious needlework;
the furniture was neatly arranged--there was an elegance over all;
and, to increase his wonder, in a corner by the window was a small
harp, and a few pages of music lay on a table near him.

"Surely," thought Augustus, "this cannot be the habitation of a
half-uncivilised smuggler; and yet the man who brought me here seemed

He drew back his head upon his pillow, to seek the explanation in
conjectures which he could not otherwise obtain; and while he lay
conjuring up strange fancies, Harry, with the mask upon his face, his
hair tied up and concealed, and his body wrapped in a greatcoat,
entered the room.

"Well, how art thou now, lad?" said the smuggler, approaching the bed;
"dost think ye could take breakfast yet?"

Augustus thanked him; but the appearance of Harry in his strange
disguise increased his curiosity and anxiety.

Harry withdrew, and again returned with the breakfast; and though an
awkward waiter, he was an attentive one. Few words passed between
them, for the questions which Augustus felt desirous to ask were
checked by the smuggler saying--"Now, my canny lad, while ye are here
I maun lay an embargo on your asking ony questions, either at me or
onybody else. Ye shall be taken gud care on--if ye want onything, just
tak that bit stick at your bedside, and gie a rap on the floor, and
I'll come to ye. Ye shall want for naething; and, as soon as ye are
better, ye shall be at liberty to gang where ye like. But I maun
caution ye again, that ye are to ask nae questions."

Augustus again thanked him, and was silent.

At the end of eight days, he was able to rise from his bed, and to sit
up for a few hours. Harry now said to him--

"As thou wilt be dull, belike thou wilt have nae objections to a
little music to cheer thee."

Thus saying, he left the room, and, in a few minutes, returned with
Fanny. He was disguised as before, and her features were concealed by
several folds of black crape, which covered her head and face, after
the fashion of a nun. She curtsied with a modest grace to the
stranger as she entered.

"That cannot be the daughter of a rude and ignorant smuggler," thought
Augustus; "and how should such a creature be connected with them?" He
noted the elegance of her form, and his imagination again began to
dream. The mystery of his situation deepened around him, and he gazed
anxiously on the thick and folded veil that concealed her features.

"Wilt thou amuse the poor gentleman with a song, love," said Harry,
"for I fear he has but a dull time on't?"

Fanny took the harp which stood in the corner--she touched the
trembling cords--she commenced a Scottish melody; and, as Augustus
listened to the music of her clear and silvery voice, blending with
the tones of the instrument, it

    "Came o'er the ear like the sweet south
    Breathing upon a bank of violets,
    Stealing and giving odour."

It seemed the sweetest strain to which he had ever listened; and
romance and mystery lent it their magic. His eyes kindled at the
sounds; and when Harry saw the change that was produced on him, he was
well pleased to observe it, and he was proud also of his daughter's
performance, and in the simplicity and fulness of his heart he said--

"Thou mayest amuse the gentleman with thy music every day, child, or
thou mayest read to him, to mak him as comfortable as we can; only he
must ask thee no questions, and thou must answer him none. But I can
trust to thee."

From that moment Augustus no longer wearied for the days of his
captivity to pass away; and he retired to rest, or rather to dream of
the veiled songstress, and to conjure up a thousand faces of youth and
beauty which might be like her face--for he doubted not but her
countenance was lovely as her form was handsome; and he pictured dark
eyes where the soul beamed, and the raven hair waved on the snowy
temples, with the soft blue eyes where affection smiled, and the
flaxen tresses were parted on the brow; but he knew not which might be
like hers on whom his imagination dwelt.

Many days passed; and, during a part of each, Fanny sat beside him to
beguile his solitude. She read to him; they conversed together; and
the words which fell from her lips surprised and delighted him. She
also taught him the use of the harp, and he was enabled to play a few
tunes. He regarded her as a veiled angel, and his desire to look upon
her features each day became more difficult to control. He argued that
it was impossible to love one whose face he had never seen--yet, when
she was absent from his side, he was unhappy until her return; she had
become the one idea of his thoughts--the spirit of his fancies; he
watched her fair fingers as they glided on the harp--his hand shook
when he touched them, and more than once he half raised it to untie
the thick veil which hid her features from him.

But, while such feelings passed through his mind, others of a kindred
character had crept into the bosom of Fanny, and she sighed when she
thought that, in a few weeks, she would see him no more, that even her
face he might not see, and that her name he must never know; and fears
for her father's safety mingled with the feelings which the stranger
had awakened in her bosom. She had beheld the anxiety that glowed in
his dark eyes--she had listened to his impassioned words--she felt
their influence: but duty forbade her to acknowledge that she felt it.

Eight weeks had passed; the wounds of Augustus were nearly healed; his
health was restored, and his strength returned, and Harry said that in
another week he might depart; but the announcement gave no joy to him
to whom it was addressed. His confinement had been robbed of its
solitariness, it had become as a dream in which he delighted, and he
could have asked but permission to gaze upon the face of his
companion, to endure it for ever. About an hour after he received this
intelligence, Fanny entered the apartment. He rose to meet her--he
took her hand, and they sat down together. But her harp lay
untouched--she spoke little--he thought she sighed, and he, too, was

"Lady," said he, anxiously, still holding her hand in his, "I know not
where I am, nor by whom I am surrounded--this only I know, that you,
with an angel's care, have watched over me, that you have restored me
to health, and rendered confinement more grateful than liberty; but,
in a few days, we must part--part, perhaps, for ever; then, before I
go, grant me but one request--let me look upon the face of her whose
remembrance will dwell in my heart as its dearest thought, while the
pulse of life throbs within it."

"I must not, I dare not," said Fanny, and she paused and sighed; "'tis
not worth looking on," she added.

"Nay, dearest," continued he, "deny me not--it is a small request.
Fear nothing--never shall danger fall upon any connected with you
through me. I will swear to you----"

"Swear not!" interrupted Fanny--"I dare not!--no!--no!" and she again

He pressed her hand more closely within his. A breathless silence
followed, and a tear glistened in his eyes. Her bosom heaved--her
countenance bespoke the struggle that warred in her breast.

"Do I look as one who would betray your friends--if they be your
friends?" said he, with emotion.

"No," she faltered, and her head fell on her bosom.

He placed his hand across her shoulders--it touched the riband by
which the deep folds of the veil were fastened over her head--it was
the impulse of a moment--he unloosed it, the veil fell upon the floor,
and the flaxen locks and the lovely features of Fanny Teasdale were
revealed. Augustus started in admiration; for weeks he had conjured up
phantoms of ideal beauty, but the fair face before him exceeded them
all. She blushed--her countenance bespoke anxiety rather than
anger--tears fell down her cheeks, and he kissed them away. He sat,
silently gazing on her features, drawing happiness from her eyes.

Again ten days had passed, and, during each of them, Fanny, in the
absence of her father, sat unveiled by his side. Still he knew not her
name, and, when he entreated her to pronounce it, she wept, and
replied, "I dare not."

He had told her his. "Call me _your_ Augustus," said he, "and tell me
by what name I shall call _you_, my own. Come, dearest, do you doubt
me still? Do you still think me capable of the part of an informer?"

But she wept the more, for she knew that to tell her name was to make
known her father's also--to betray him, and to place his life in
jeopardy. He urged her yet more earnestly, and he had sunk upon his
knee, and was pressing her hand to his lips, when Harry, in the
disguise in which he had always seen him, entered the room. The
smuggler started back.

"What!" cried he, sternly, "what hast thou done, girl?--shown thy face
and betrayed me?--and told thy name, and mine, too, I suppose?"

"Oh no! no! dear father!" she exclaimed, flinging her arms around him;
"I have not--indeed I have not. Do not be angry with your Fanny."

"Fanny!" hastily exclaimed Augustus--"Fanny! Bless thee for that

"That thou mayest make it the clue to destroy her father!" returned
the smuggler.

"No, sir," answered Augustus, proudly, "but that I may treasure it up
in my heart, as the name of one who is dearer to me than the life
which thou hast preserved."

"Ay! ay!" replied Harry, "thou talkest like every hot-headed youth;
but it was an ungrateful return in thee, for preserving thy life, to
destroy my peace. Get thee ben to the other room, Fanny, for thou'st
been a silly girl."

She rose weeping, and withdrew.

"Now, sir," continued Harry, "thou must remain nae langer under this
roof. This very hour will I get a horse ready, and conduct thee to
where ye can go to your friends, or wherever ye like; and as ye were
brought blindfolded here, ye maun consent to be taken blindfolded

"Nay, trust to my honour, sir," said Augustus--"I am incapable of
betraying you."

"I'm no sae sure about that," returned the smuggler, "and it's best to
be sure. I trusted to your honour that ye wad ask no questions while
here--and how have you kept your honour? Na, lad, na!--what ye dinna
see ye winna be able to swear to. So make ready." Thus saying, Harry
left the apartment, locking the door behind him.

It was about an hour after nightfall, and within ten minutes the
smuggler again entered the room. He carried a pistol in one hand, and
a silk handkerchief in the other. He placed the pistol upon the table,
and said, "I have no time to argue--allow me to tie thy eyes up, lest
worse follow."

Augustus requested that he might see Fanny but for a few minutes, and
he would comply without a murmur.

"No," said Harry, sternly; "wouldst tamper with my child's heart, when
her trusting in thee would place my life in thy power? Say no more--I
won't hear thee," he continued, again raising the pistol in his hand.

Augustus, finding expostulation vain, submitted to have his eyes bound
up; and as the smuggler was leading him from the house, the bitter
sobs of Fanny reached his ear: he was almost tempted to burst from the
grasp of his conductor, and rush towards her; but, endeavouring to
suppress the tumult of his feelings, he exclaimed aloud--

"Forget me not, dear Fanny!--we shall meet again."

"Never!" whispered Harry in his ear.

The smuggler's horse stood ready at the door. In a moment he sprang
upon the saddle (if saddle it could be called), and, taking Augustus
by the hand, placed him behind him; and at a word spoken the
well-trained animal started off, as though spurs had been dashed into
its sides. For several hours they galloped on, but in what direction
Augustus knew not, nor wist he from whence he had been brought. At
length the smuggler suddenly drew up his horse, and exclaimed,

Augustus obeyed, but scarce had his feet touched the ground, when
Harry, crying "Farewell!" dashed away as an arrow shot from a bow; and
before the other could unfasten the handkerchief with which his eyes
were bound up, the horse and its rider were invisible.

It was drawing towards grey dawn, and he knew neither where he was nor
in what direction to proceed. He remembered, also, that he was without
money; but there was something heavy tied in a corner of the
handkerchief, which he yet held in his hand. He examined it, and found
ten guineas, wrapped in a scrap of paper, on which some words seemed
to be written. He longed for day, that he might be enabled to read
them, and, as the light increased, he deciphered, written with a
trembling hand--

"You may need money.--Think sometimes of me!"

"Heaven bless thee, my unknown Fanny!" cried he, "whoever thou art;
never will I think of any but thee."

I need not tell about his discovering in what part of the country the
smuggler had left him; of his journey to his father's house in
Devonshire, or his relation of what had befallen him; nor how he dwelt
upon the remembrance of Fanny, and vainly endeavoured to trace where
her residence was, or to discover what was her name beyond Fanny.

He was appointed to the command of a cutter, and four years passed
from the period of the scenes that had been described, when, following
in pursuit of a smuggling vessel, he again arrived upon the coast of
Northumberland. Some of his crew, who had been on shore, brought him
information that the vessel was delivering her cargo near Embleton;
and, ordering two boats to be manned, he instantly proceeded to the
land. They came upon the smuggler; a scuffle ensued, and one of
Captain Hartley's men was stabbed by his side with a clasp-knife, and
fell dead at his feet; and he wrenched the knife from the hand of the
murderer, who with his companions, effected his escape without being

But day had not yet broken when two constables knocked at the door of
Harry Teasdale, and demanded admission. The servant-girl opened the
door--they rushed into the house, and to the side of the bed where he
slept. They grasped him by the shoulder, and exclaimed--

"You are our prisoner."

"Your prisoner!" replied Harry; "for what, neighbours?"

"Weel dow ye knaw for what," was the answer.

Harry sprang upon the floor, and, in the excitement of the moment, he
raised his hand to strike the officers of the law.

"You are only making things worse," said one of them; and he submitted
to have handcuffs placed upon his wrists.

Fanny sprang into the room, exclaiming--

"My father--my father!" and flinging her arms around his neck; "oh,
what is it?--what is it?" she continued, breathless, and her voice
choked with sobbing--"what do they say that you have done?"

"Nothing, love--nothing," said he endeavouring to be calm; "it is some
mistake, but some one shall answer for it."

His daughter's arms were forcibly torn from around his neck; and he
was taken before a neighbouring magistrate, by whom the deposition of
Captain Hartley had been received. Harry was that morning committed to
the county prison on a charge of murder. I shall neither attempt to
describe his feelings, nor will I dwell upon the agony which was worse
than death to his poor daughter. She knew her father innocent; but she
knew not his accusers, nor the nature of the evidence which they would
bring forward to prove him guilty of the crime which they imputed to

But the fearful day of trial came. Harry Teasdale was placed at the
bar. The principal witness against him was Captain Hartley. The colour
came and went upon the prisoner's cheeks, as his eye fell upon the
face of his accuser. He seemed struggling with sudden emotion; and
many who observed it took it as a testimony of guilt. In his evidence
Captain Hartley deposed, that he and a part of his crew came upon the
smugglers on the beach, while in the act of concealing their goods;
that he, and the seaman who was murdered by his side, having attacked
three of the smugglers, the tallest of the three, whom he believed to
be the prisoner, with a knife gave the mortal stab to the deceased;
that he raised the weapon also against him, and that he only escaped
the fate of his companion by striking down the arm of the smuggler,
and wrenching the knife from his hands, who then escaped. He also
stated that, on examining the knife, which was of great length, he
read the words, "HARRY TEASDALE," which were deeply burned into its
bone handle, and which led to the apprehension of the prisoner. The
knife was then produced in court, and a murmur of horror ran through
the multitude.

Other witnesses were examined, who proved that, on the day of the
murder, they had seen the knife in the hands of the prisoner; and the
counsel for the prosecution, in remarking on the evidence, pronounced
it to be

    "Confirmation strong as holy writ."

The judge inquired of the prisoner if he had anything to say, or aught
to bring forward in his defence.

"I have only this to say, my lord," said Harry, firmly, "that I am as
innocent o' the crime laid to my charge as the child unborn. My poor
daughter and my servant can prove that, on the night when the deed was
committed, I never was across my own door. And," added he, firmly, and
in a louder tone, and pointing to Captain Hartley as he spoke, "I can
only say that he whose life I saved at the peril o' my own has,
through some mistake, endeavoured to take away mine; and his
conscience will carry its punishment when he discovers his error."

Captain Hartley started to his feet, his cheeks became pale; he
inquired, in an eager tone, "Have you seen me before?" The prisoner
returned no answer; and at that moment the officer of the court called
the name of

"_Fanny Teasdale!_"

"Ha!" exclaimed the captain, convulsively, and suddenly striking his
hand upon his breast--"is it so?"

The prisoner bowed his head and wept. The court were stricken with

Fanny was led towards the witness-box; there was a buzz of admiration
and of pity as she passed along. Captain Hartley beheld her--he
clasped his hands together. "Gracious heavens! my own Fanny!" he
exclaimed aloud.

He sprang forward--he stood by her side--her head fell on his bosom.
"My lord!--O my lord!" he cried, wildly, addressing the judge, "I
doubt--I disbelieve, my own evidence. There must be some mistake. I
cannot be the murderer of the man who saved me--of my Fanny's father!"

The most anxious excitement prevailed through the court: every
individual was moved, and, on the bench, faces were turned aside to
conceal a tear.

The judge endeavoured to restore order.

The shock of meeting with Augustus, in such a place and in such an
hour, though she knew not that he was her father's accuser, added to
her agony, was too much for Fanny, and, in a state of insensibility,
she was carried out of the court.

Harry's servant-girl was examined; and, although she swore that, on
the night on which the murder was committed, he had not been out of
his own house, yet, in her cross-examination, she admitted that he
frequently was out during the night without her knowledge, and that he
_might_ have been so on the night in question. Other witnesses were
called, who spoke to the excellent character of the prisoner, and to
his often-proved courage and humanity; but they could not prove that
he had not been engaged in the affray in which the murder had been

Captain Hartley strove anxiously to undo the impression which his
evidence had already produced; but it was too late.

The judge addressed the jury, and began to sum up the evidence. He
remarked upon the knife with which the deed was perpetrated, being
proved and acknowledged to be the property of the prisoner--of its
being seen in his hand on the same day, and of his admitting the
fact--on the resemblance of the figure to that of the individual who
was seen to strike the blow, and on his inability to prove that he was
not that individual. He was proceeding to notice the singular scene
that had occurred, with regard to the principal witness and the
prisoner, when a shout was heard from the court-door, and a gentleman,
dressed as a clergyman, pressed through the crowd, and reaching the
side of the prisoner, he exclaimed, "My lord, and gentlemen of the
jury, _the prisoner, Harry Teasdale, is innocent_!"

"Thank Heaven!" exclaimed Captain Hartley.

The spectators burst into a shout, which the judge instantly
suppressed, and desired the clergyman to be sworn, and to produce his
evidence. "We are here to give it," said two others, who had followed
behind them.

The clergyman briefly stated that he had been sent for on the previous
evening to attend the death-bed of an individual whom he named, and
who had been wounded in the affray with Captain Hartley's crew, and
that, in his presence, and in the presence of the other witnesses who
then stood by his side, a deposition had been taken down from his lips
an hour before his death. The deposition, or confession, was handed
into court; and it set forth that his hand struck the fatal blow, and
with Harry Teasdale's knife, which he had found lying upon the stern
of his boat on the afternoon of the day on which the deed was
committed--and, farther, that Harry was not upon the beach that night.

The jury looked for a moment at each other--they instantly rose, and
their foreman pronounced the prisoner "_Not Guilty!_" A loud and
spontaneous shout burst from the multitude. Captain Hartley sprang
forward--he grasped his hand.

"I forgive thee, lad," said Harry.

Hartley led him from the dock--he conducted him to Fanny, whom he had
taken to an adjoining inn.

"Here is your father!--he is safe!--he is safe, my love!" cried
Augustus, as he entered the room where she was.

Fanny wept on her father's bosom, and he kissed her brow, and said,
"Bless thee."

"And canst thou bless me, too," said Augustus, "after all that I have

"Well, well, I see how it is to be," said Harry; and he took their
hands and placed them in each other. I need only add, that Fanny
Teasdale became the happy wife of Augustus Hartley; and Harry, having
acquired a competency, gave up the trade of a smuggler.


A few years ago, I happened to pass through the main street of
Carlisle, just as the south mail had "pulled up" at the door of "The
Bush." The night was very cold; the horses were tossing their heads,
and pawing the ground, impatient to escape from the restraint of their
harness; and the steam, which rose in clouds from their bodies, gave
evidence that they had just "come off" a rapid and fatiguing stage. At
the coach-door stood a middle-aged, gentlemanly-looking man, whose
blue nose, muffled throat, and frozen body, pointed him out as one of
the new arrivals. As I loitered slowly past, the stranger, who had
just settled the claims of the guard, turned round, and observed me.
His keen eye rested for a moment on my features--he started, looked
again, and then said--

"No; I cannot be mistaken. I surely ought to know that face. Is not
your name Lorrimer?"

"It is," replied I, surprised at being thus accosted by a perfect
stranger. "You seem to be better acquainted with my name, sir, than I
am with yours; for I am not conscious of ever having seen you before."

"Look at me again, Frank; try if you cannot recollect me," said he, as
we entered the travellers' room, and the gas-light shone full on his

I looked; but in vain.

"I am ashamed to say, I do not know who you can be, though I have a
kind of consciousness that your features are those of an old friend."

"Do you remember Richard Musgrave?"

"What! Dick Muzzy? To be sure I do--the kindest-hearted fellow that
ever dog's-eared a Latin grammar. What news of my old schoolmate?"

"He is speaking to you now."

"Is it possible? You Richard Musgrave? Why, Richard was younger, I
rather think, than myself; and you, begging your pardon, look almost
old enough to be my father."

"So it is, notwithstanding. I am Richard Musgrave. Time and climate
must have altered me even more sadly than I conceived, since Frank
Lorrimer fails to recognise me."

He was indeed changed. Some alteration might have been expected, for
several years had elapsed since we had met; but time alone could not
have thus metamorphosed him. We had been schoolfellows and intimate
friends; and, when he left home, ten years before, he was a handsome,
vigorous young fellow, with hair dark as a raven's wing, and a brow
clear as alabaster. Now, his hair was iron-grey, his features were
dark and sunburned, and the scar, of a sabre-wound apparently,
disfigured his forehead. Even with my knowledge of his identity, some
minutes elapsed ere I could persuade myself that the friend of my
early years stood before me; but my recollection slowly revived as I
gazed upon him, and I wondered at my own stupidity in not having
sooner recognised him.

"Musgrave, my dear fellow," said I, shaking him cordially by the hand,
"I rejoice to see you. Time has altered us both outwardly; but, I
trust, it has left our hearts unchanged. The recollection of youthful
joys and sorrows is the last to leave us. Amid all the changes and
chances of life, our thoughts fondly dwell upon the days of our
innocent and happy childhood; and all the friendships we form in after
years can never efface the remembrance of those who were dear to us in
early youth. I have often thought of you, Musgrave, and often, though
in vain, I have made anxious inquiries after the fate of my old
friend and schoolfellow; and, now that you _have_ returned, I should
have passed you by as a common stranger, had your memory been as
treacherous as my own."

"You forget, my dear fellow," replied he, "that _you_ are but little
changed; your florid cheek, and smooth, unwrinkled brow, prove that
time has been flowing on in a smooth, unruffled current with _you_;
that you have been leading a life of ease and comfort. But look at me;
on my sunburned features you may read a tale of hardship and exposure.
Look at my brow! these premature wrinkles are mementos of care and
anxiety. But, come, I have much to ask and to tell you; if you have
leisure, let us retire to a private room, and talk over the past. I
cannot, I find, proceed on my journey till the morning, and I could
not employ my time more agreeably than in conversation with an old

I willingly complied with his request, and we were soon seated beside
a comfortable fire, with "all appliances and means to boot," for
making the evening pass with _spirit_.

"Now, Frank," said Musgrave, "before we commence, set my mind at rest
about my family. Do you know anything of them?"

"It is some time since I saw them; but I heard a few days ago that
they were all well."

"Thank you, thank you, my dear fellow; you have removed a load of
anxiety from my mind. Fill your glass to 'auld langsyne,' and then we
will talk over old scenes and old friends."

Long and confidential was our conversation, and varied were the
feelings which it excited. There can be few more interesting events in
a man's life than the unexpected meeting with a long-absent friend.
There is a mournful pleasure in recalling the past, in contrasting the
sad experience of maturer years with the sanguine and glowing
anticipations of our youth. For a few passing moments we forget the
march of time, we look back through the long vista of years, and once
more the warm, and joyous, and fresh feelings of youth seem to gush
forth, and to soften and revive our world-seared and hardened hearts.
So it was with _us_.

The present was for awhile forgotten by us; we were living in the
past; and loud and joyful were our bursts of merriment when we talked
of old jokes and adventures; and then again the thought came over us,
like a chilling blight, suffusing our eyes with tears, that the
curtain of death had fallen over most of our young and cheerful
fellow-actors on the early stage of life. It was with saddened and
subdued hearts we dwelt upon the brief career of some of our early
companions; and we sat for some minutes in silence, musing upon the
vicissitudes of human life. At last, with a forced attempt at
merriment, Musgrave exclaimed, in the words of an old sea ditty--

            "'Come, grieving's a folly;
              So let us be jolly:
    If we've troubles at sea, boys, we've pleasures on shore.'"

"Replenish your tumbler, Frank," continued he; "we'll talk no more of
the past; that's gone beyond recall; but let us make the most of the
present. We have not many hours before us; and I have heard nothing of
your adventures since we parted, nor you of mine. Set a good example,
and begin."

"My story is soon told," replied I; "for, as you remarked before, time
has been flowing on, for me, quiet and undisturbed. I have no
adventures to relate--no stirring accidents by field or flood; mine
has been a humdrum, peaceful life, unmarked by variety, except those
common ones which would be uninteresting to a man of travel and
adventure like yourself."

"Nothing connected with my old friend can prove uninteresting," said
Musgrave; "so pray commence your tale."

Thus urged, I began as follows:--I continued at school two years after
you so suddenly left it, and was then bound apprentice to a lawyer in
this town. I did not much like the profession which had been chosen
for me; but there was no help for it. I knew that my father had no
interest, and that I must trust entirely to my own exertions for a
provision for my future life. I therefore applied myself diligently to
my duties, and soon had the good fortune to gain the confidence of my
employer. I had been with him about three years, when he sent me to a
neighbouring village to wait upon a client of his. This gentleman was
a retired post-captain, a man who had seen much service, and had been
often and severely wounded.

He was, as I had been before informed, as smart an officer as ever
trod a ship's deck; his whole heart was in his profession; and his
long residence on shore had not broken him of his habit of
interlarding his conversation with sea-phrases; and he delighted in
talking over the adventures of his past life to all who would listen
to him. Notwithstanding his little peculiarities, he was universally
loved and respected. He was a hospitable, kind-hearted man, and a
"gentleman of Nature's own making;" for, though he was a little
wanting in external polish, his actions proved him worthy of the
title. I had often heard of him before, but had never chanced to meet
him. I was much pleased with him at first sight: there was so much
warmth and frankness in his reception of me; and I felt at home with
him in a minute. He was a man of short stature, upright as a dart,
with iron-grey hair, and a keen, quick eye; and had on, when I met him
in the avenue to his house, an old rusty hat, pinched up in the rims,
and placed transversely on his head, so as to look like a "fore and
after," as he called it, or, as we would say, a cocked hat.

"Oh," interrupted Musgrave, "you need not take the trouble of
explaining sea terms to _me_; they are as natural to me as my native
tongue almost."

"I forgot," replied I, "that you are a chip of the same block; so I
will continue my _yarn_--you see I have picked up a little sea-lingo
too. After I had transacted my business with Captain Trimmer, he
pressed me to stay and partake of family fare."

"We pipe to dinner at six-bells," said he; "three o'clock, I mean. You
will have plain fare and a sailor's welcome; which, you know, is a
warm one either to friend or foe."

I accepted his frank invitation with pleasure; and, as it still wanted
an hour to dinner-time, he proposed that we should "take a cruise"
through the grounds till "the grub" was ready. During the walk, he
amused me greatly with his tales of the sea; but I was often obliged
to request him to interpret terms which were as unintelligible to me
as Hebrew or Sanscrit. He laughed heartily at my ignorance, but did
all in his power to enlighten me.

"You have not had the benefit of a sea education, so what can we
expect from you? I'll tell you what, my young friend--I would as soon
come athwart the hawse of a shark as a lawyer (no offence to _you_),
but, somehow or other, I like the cut of your jib, and think we shall
be good friends nevertheless."

"Oh," said I, laughing, alluding to my professional visit, "I am not
the lawyer, but the lawyer's _avant courier_--the pilot-fish, not the

He laughed heartily, and kept bantering me on the sharking
propensities of my tribe in such an amusing manner that I could not
restrain my mirth. At last, the dinner-bell rang.

"Ah! there's pipe to dinner at last! Come along, youngster; let's see
if you can take your grub as well as you can take a joke."

We dined alone; for his only daughter, he told me, had gone to visit a
neighbour, and would not return till evening. The dinner was
substantial and good; the wines excellent; but, though the old
gentleman pressed me much to drink, he was very moderate himself. When
the cloth was removed, he said--

"Now I will pipe to grog; if you like to join my mess, do so, unless
you prefer your wine."

"Why, if you have no objection," said I, "I will not desert this
capital claret; you may have all the grog to yourself."

"Well, tastes differ; of course, as a landsman you prefer wine; but
you know the old song says--

    'A sailor's sheet-anchor is grog.'"

He told me a number of his old adventures; and hours passed away like
minutes in listening to them; but I am free to admit that none of his
yarns were half so pleasant to me as some of the silken thread-ends he
let fall about his daughter Emmeline. There was something in the rough
manner in which he gave vent to the feelings of a father, that
possessed a tenderness which never could have been expressed by the
soft vocables of sentimentality. It is thus (excuse my poetry) that we
often admire the fragrance of a flower the more for the rough petals
from which it emanates. I was captivated, and twitched the old
gentleman on the string which yielded me the best music, till I
thought he suspected some love-larking in my sly attempts to get him
to praise the absent fair one.

"Come, come," he said, "mind your grog; although _I_ say it, who
shouldn't say it, she's as pretty a little craft as ever sailed the
ocean of life; but we're not to take her in tow throughout all our
voyages--so we'll drop her."

"Not till I drink to her, with your leave, sir," said I.

"Oh, as to that, there's no harm," said he. "All I say is, it's a
pity you belong to the land sharks. If you'd been a seaman, I might
have fancied you for a son-in-law."

The words startled me; and, if he had had the keen perception of a
refined man of the world, he might have augured something from the
sound of my voice, though my words belied my thoughts.

"Well, here's to her!" said I; "and may her fortune yield her a better
cast up than a limb of the----" Law I would have said, but he roared
out devil, with a laugh, and I joined him.

But, as I had a long walk before me, I was obliged to take my leave of
the old gentleman rather early in the night. His daughter had not yet
returned; but he was not uneasy on her account, as it was a fine
moonlight night, and she was well acquainted with the road.

"Let me see you often, my young friend," said the captain; "I should
like to become better acquainted with you. We always pipe to breakfast
at nine o'clock, and to dinner at three. I hate your late shore hours.
Come whenever you are inclined to do so. I shall be happy to see you."

We shook hands, and parted; and I was really quite sorry to leave my
new and agreeable friend.

I was walking quietly along the road homewards; the moon was shining
brightly, and the shadow of the high hedge darkened half the road,
when I thought I heard the sound of suppressed voices some short
distance ahead of me. I stopped and listened, and, almost immediately
afterwards, I saw two men creep out from the light side of the road,
and, looking cautiously around, dart over into the shade. The stealthy
motions of the men, and their evident wish for concealment, impressed
me with a conviction that mischief of some kind was intended, and I
was determined to watch their movements. I got through the hedge, and
crept silently along the back of it, till I came to a kind of recess
for holding stones, where I paused and listened. I again heard the
murmur of voices near me, and, crawling quietly on, I came close
behind the speakers, so near to them that I could distinctly hear
every word they said, though I could not see them.

"She'll be here soon, Jem," said one of them; "we couldn't have had a
better night for such a job."

"Too much light, for my taste," replied the other; "however, we must
make the best on't. Our own mothers wouldn't know us in this disguise,
and, without it, she would be too frightened to take particular notice
of us. But are you sure she has the swag?"

"Certain, Smooth-faced Jess told me that her mistress was going to
receive the rent for her father this evening."

"Oh, that's all right; we'll save her the trouble of carrying it all
the way home. It will be rather awkward, though, if she has any one
with her."

"No fear of that. I was in the shrubbery when she was leaving the
house; and I heard her refuse to have a servant with her. I took the
short cut across the fields to join you; and I'm surprised she has not
come up yet. She can't be long, however."

This was a pleasant conversation for me to overhear; it was evident
that robbery, if not murder, was about to be perpetrated, and I was as
evidently destined to be a witness of the act. I might, to be sure,
have sneaked out of the scrape, as the men were quite unconscious of
my vicinity; but I could not bear the thought of deserting a
fellow-creature in the hour of danger, without some attempt for her
rescue--and yet what could I do? I was unarmed, except with a small
walking cane, which would be of little avail against two ruffians, who
were, of course, well provided with the means of offence. I was just
meditating to crawl onwards, and endeavour to warn the expected female
of her danger, when I was arrested by hearing one of the rascals
murmur--"Here she is at last, Jem." A light step was now heard; and,
peeping through a gap in the hedge close beside me, I saw a female
form fast approaching. The lady--for such she seemed by her dress--was
walking along the illuminated part of the road, apparently unconscious
of danger or fear; for she was humming a tune, and every now and then
glancing up at the moon. The critical moment had arrived. I could
almost _hear_ the throbbing of my heart, I felt such a feverish
impatience to put an end to my suspense; my nerves were strung to a
pitch of desperation. I felt as if the strength of a dozen men were in
my arm. I seized a large stone, and, crouching in the gap of the
hedge, I waited with breathless impatience for the expected attack.
The lady was nearly opposite me, when the ruffians rushed out upon
her. There was a faint scream, a momentary struggle, and she lay on
the ground at their feet. Their backs were turned towards me. During
the noise of the scuffle, my footsteps were unheard, and I was close
to them before they were aware.

"Silence! or I'll settle you!" said one of the robbers to his almost
unconscious victim; whom, with all the coolness of fancied security,
he was beginning to plunder. I dashed the stone I held in my hand into
his face, and he fell senseless to the ground, with a heavy groan,
while I shouted at the same time, as if addressing some one behind me,
"Now, Harry, blow the other rascal's brains out." The other _rascal_,
however, did not wait to see the result. He was over the hedge in a
moment, and running for bare life. I pretended to follow him, shouting
aloud till he disappeared into the next enclosure. I then returned to
the road, where I found the man still lying senseless, though
breathing heavily. I took the handkerchief from his neck and bound his
hands together; and tearing the crape from his face, I took a long and
steady look at his features, that I might be able to swear to his
identity, if necessary. The lady, who was fortunately unhurt, and had
by this time recovered from her alarm, overwhelmed me with
acknowledgments, which I parried as well as I was able; and I
endeavoured to turn her thoughts into another channel, by requesting
her to look at the face of the senseless man. After a little
hesitation, she did so, and immediately recognised him as an old
servant of her father's--a worthless vagabond, who had been discharged
for theft, and had vowed revenge. Hitherto I had had little time to
take any particular notice of the appearance of the lady I had been so
fortunate as to rescue. I had merely remarked the grace of her form,
and the soft, sweet tone of her voice; but now that I had leisure to
look at her features, as the moonbeam rested brightly upon them, I was
struck with their beauty: I felt, as Byron has it,

            "My sinking heart confess
    The might, the majesty of loveliness."

I gladly offered to escort her to her home, which, she said, was only
about half-a-mile distant, and where we could procure assistance to
remove the still insensible footpad. Before we set off, however, I
took the liberty of securing his pistols, which could be of no service
to him in his present state, but might materially benefit us. After a
sharp walk of ten minutes, the lady stopped at a gate, which I
immediately knew to be the one I had so lately left.

"Now, sir, I am at home. Allow me to welcome to it my brave deliverer,
and to introduce him to my father."

"I require no introduction," replied I, "if you are, as I surmise, the
daughter of Captain Trimmer."

"Do you know him?--he is my father."

"I only left him about an hour ago; and fortunate it was that I did
not yield to his urgent wish for me to remain longer."

Captain Trimmer listened in breathless anxiety as his daughter told
the tale of her danger and deliverance; and drawing a long breath when
it was ended, he muttered "Heaven be praised!" He then rang the bell
violently, and gave the servants orders, and directions where to find
the wounded footpad.

"And now, my dear young friend," said he, "what can I say to _you_? I
can't say anything just now, my heart is too full! but there's my
hand, and you shall find me, as long as I live, a firm and warm

I could only press _his_ affectionately in reply. He insisted upon my
remaining where I was for the night, and despatched a man on horseback
to explain to my friends the reason of my absence. From this time my
intercourse with the worthy captain became daily more intimate--almost
every spare hour of my time was devoted to his society. As his
character opened out upon me, I saw in his conduct so many proofs of
genuine goodness of heart and rectitude of principle, that I felt as
much affection and respect for him as for a dear and honoured parent.
His daughter Emmeline, too, was one of those gentle, retiring
characters, who may require to be known to be admired, and whose
virtues, like those of the sweet and modest violet, require to be
sought after to be properly appreciated. I was always fond of music.
We all know its influence over the feelings--its power to awaken the
hidden sympathies of the heart--to recall the joys and sorrows of the
past, and to stir up glowing anticipations and high resolves for the
future. Her voice was clear and sweet as a bird's; and when she
warbled over the melodies of her native land, I felt so much absorbed
in the beauty of the strain, as almost to forget the singer. You
smile, and anticipate the result. How could it be otherwise? How could
I live in close and constant communion with one so fascinating, and
escape the fascination? It is not amid the factitious glare and
excitement of society that such characters as hers can be appreciated:
there the tinsel too often glitters more brightly than the pure gold;
but in the calm and peaceful intercourse of domestic life, their pure
and gentle influence is felt and valued. I was becoming daily more and
more an admirer of the gentle Emmeline, when the sudden death of my
father awakened me from my dream of love, and startled me into serious
consideration. He died as he had lived--poor; for it was found, on
examining his affairs, that, though maintaining an appearance of
wealth and comfort, his life must have been a constant struggle with
difficulties; and there was barely sufficient left behind to satisfy
the claims of his creditors. Deeply as I was grieved by his loss, I
must say that feeling was not a little heightened by the
disappointment of finding myself unprovided for. I had always been led
to hope, that, though my father, from a wish to give me a spirit of
independence, had left me, during my early life, to the exertions of
my own energies for support, yet that at his death, he would leave me
a handsome competency. But this hope was now disappointed, and with it
vanished my bright dreams of Emmeline and happiness. I could not bear
the thoughts of exposing the woman of my heart to the risk of poverty
and privation. She knew not of my love, and now she must remain for
ever in ignorance of it; for what had I to offer her?--a heart, and
nothing more; and you know, Musgrave, that though _loving_ hearts are
very pretty things in _poetry_, _smoking_ ones would better furnish
forth a poor man's table. I gradually withdrew myself from the society
of my good old friend, though it cost me many a severe pang to do so;
and whenever I did meet him, I had always some faltering excuse to
make about press of business, ill health, or bad weather. I was
talking to him one day, when Emmeline, whom I had not seen for some
time, unexpectedly joined us. The conscious blood rushed to my face
immediately, and I stammered out some incoherent apology in reply to
her expression of surprise at my long absence. The old man noticed my
embarrassment, and became silent and thoughtful. At last, turning to
his daughter, he said, "Emmeline, my love, see what we are to have
for dinner; Mr. Lorimer will take family fare with us. Not a word,
youngster" (to me, as I was beginning to remonstrate), "I am
commanding officer here." We walked on together for some time in
silence; at last he stopped, and taking my hand, while he looked full
in my face he said---

"I am not so blind, Mr. Lorimer, but I can see which way the land
lies. I like to be fair and above-board with every one; and you are
not the man I shall break through the rule with. I like you, Frank
Lorimer; and I would do much to serve you. Emmeline--(ah, there go the
red colours again!)--you love her Frank!--win her and wear her if you
can; you have my free and full consent. I have heard of your father's
death, and its results; and I understand and honour the motives that
have induced you to absent yourself from us. I am not a rich man, but
I have enough to make two young people happy; and I know no one to
whom I would more joyfully confide my daughter's happiness than to

Kind, generous old man! I had not a word to say. I merely pressed his
hand in silence and tears. Yes, tears; for joy can weep as well as
grief. I was soon again a constant visiter at Oak Lodge; and in a few
months I had the happiness of calling Emmeline my own. I have been now
married three years, and have every day greater cause to bless the
happy chance which first led me to Oak Lodge. My excellent
father-in-law lives with us, and delights in spending his day in
nursing his little grandchildren. Long may he be spared to us!

"What! married and a father! O Frank, what a fortunate fellow you have
been! Here have I been buffeting about the world for years, the
shuttlecock of fate, hunting fortune in every corner of the world, and
I return home, poor and penniless as the day I left it. I, whose early
dreams were all of the happiness of a married life, shall sink into
my grave a solitary bachelor, without one loved hand to tend my
pillow, and to smooth my passage to the tomb."

"Oh, nonsense. Cheer up, Musgrave," said I; "I shall dance at your
wedding yet. But why need you care now about the scurvy tricks of
fortune abroad, since you have returned to enjoy her favours at home?"

"Favours! What do you mean, Frank?"

"Have you not heard of the death of your poor brother George, and that
the lawsuit in which your father was so long engaged has terminated
favourably for him. He is now in possession of a rental of three
thousand per annum, to which, of course, you will be heir?"

"Heavens! you don't say so!" exclaimed Musgrave; "but I am sure you
would not deceive me. I have not heard from home for upwards of a
twelvemonth. Frank, you are a fine fellow; shake hands with me."

"Ay, that I will," said I; "and I congratulate you with all my heart.
I am glad I have been the first to communicate such pleasing
intelligence; and now, the least you can do in return is to give me an
account of yourself since we parted."

"Why, I'm not in the best mood in the world for storytelling," replied
Musgrave; "this unexpected good fortune has rather destroyed my
equilibrium; however, I will brush up my memory for your
gratification, though the retrospect will be anything but agreeable to
myself. You remember, I daresay, the day when I left school; on my
memory, at least, the recollection of it is as vivid as if it were
yesterday. When I drove away in my uncle's carriage, I thought I was
going home on a temporary visit, and little imagined I was never to
return. When I arrived at home, I found in the drawing-room with my
father a little, active, dark-looking man, with a stern, prompt
manner, who was introduced to me as Captain Fleetwood."

"Richard, my boy," said my father, "you have often expressed a wish to
go to sea, and I have now an opportunity of gratifying you. My friend
Captain Fleetwood has volunteered to take you out with him as
midshipman; and, as I know I could not intrust you to better hands, I
am glad to avail myself of his offer. The warning is rather a short
one, as you must be on board your ship within a fortnight; you have no
time to lose; and I will accompany you to town to prepare your
equipment. We will leave this to-morrow morning at nine o'clock."

I was rather staggered by this sudden announcement; for, though it had
always been the dearest wish of my heart to go to sea, yet there was
something so unexpected in the accomplishment of it, that I repented
of my choice. My heart sank at the thought of such a sudden parting
from home and all that was dear to me; besides, as I had just left
school, I would have preferred having a few days' holiday, and an
opportunity of strutting in my sailor's dress before the eyes of my
admiring schoolfellows. However, there was no help for it now--my lot
was cast for life; and, in a fortnight's time, I was fairly shipped on
board the Anne, a snug free-trader, bound to the East Indies. I pass
over the various details of my early career; you may find an accurate
description of my first feelings and impressions, and those of five
hundred others, on first joining a ship, in any circulating library in
the kingdom. I encountered the usual hardships, and was exposed to the
usual privations, incidental to the life of a sailor; but, as there
was nothing particularly worthy of notice in the first seven or eight
years of my sailor's life, I shall pass at once to the most
interesting event in a career of no trifling variety. It is now
upwards of two years since I went out chief mate of my old ship, under
the command of my first friend, Captain Fleetwood, who was a clever,
active seaman himself, and well qualified to make those under him the
same. We had a crew of twenty-five young and able fellows, with, as
usual, a sprinkling of black sheep among them. Our passengers were
four in number--a gentleman and his wife, and two young ladies, going
out to Bombay under their protection; all agreeable and well-informed
people, and the young ladies blessed with a tolerable share of beauty.
Time passed very pleasantly with us, for we were uncommonly favoured
in wind and weather; and our captain, who was as kind and benevolent
as a man, as he was strict and unflinching as an officer, delighted in
promoting to the utmost every plan for the comfort and amusement of
the crew.

"Och, isn't he a broth of a boy, now, that captain of ours?" I heard
one of our men say to another, on one of the quiet tropical evenings,
when the crew were enjoying themselves in the "waist," and the captain
was whirling one of the ladies round in a waltz on the quarterdeck.
"He's as full of fun as a monkey."

"Take care you don't shave the monkey too close, though, Mike, or
perhaps the _cat_ will shave _you_."

"Is it the cat you mane?" replied Mike; "then, by the powers, it's
myself that's not afeered for the 'cat,' for she never wags her tail
here but when a man's either an ass or a skulk, and no man can say
black's the white of the eye of Mike Delaney. But I say, Tom, hasn't
this been an out-and-out passage? Why, we've never had nothing to do
but to spin yarns and knot them; we might have stowed away the
reef-points in the hold, we've never had no 'casion for them, and as
for salt water, we haven't had a breeze to wash our faces for us since
we left home. Blowed if we shan't get too fine for our work by and
by--reg'lar gentlemen afloat. I think I'll sport a pair of them
overalls that the long-shore beggars call gloves, to keep my flippers
white," said Mike--at the same time spreading out a pair as dirty as
the back of a chimney and as broad as the back of a skate.

"Gloves and delicate flippers like that!" answered his companion; "no,
no, Mike--'twould be a sin and a shame to _hide_ it; that's a regular
dare-devil hand--it cares neither for soap nor water. But, Mike, the
voyage is not half over yet. We've had a fair weather passage so far;
but I'm always afeerd of those unkimmon fine beginnings; ev'rything
goes by contraries in this here world, and a good beginning often
brings in its wake a bad ending. It's not in the coorse of nature to
see such a long spell of fine weather; it's quite unnatural; it'll
break out, by and by, in a fresh place--see if it don't. That 'ere
butcher, the sea, lies there a-smiling at us as if we were so many
hinnocent lambs; but he'll maybe have his hand on our throats yet."

"Well, Tom, it's never no use smelling mischief afore it comes; time
enough when it does show its ugly mug, to grin in its face. I'm not
the man to turn my back on it--nor you neither, for that matter, I'll
be bound."

We had run nearly thirty-four degrees to the south of the equator,
when the weather became very variable, and the wind at last settled
into a strong breeze from the northward. One evening, we were spanking
along with the wind in that quarter, with a heavy confused sea, when a
thick gloom gradually overspread the sky, and the mercury, falling in
the barometer, gave warning of approaching bad weather. All our small
sails were taken in, and every necessary precaution adopted to prepare
for a change. Our topsails were reefed, and the mainsail was hauled up
and handled. About 6 P.M. Captain Fleetwood came on deck, and asked
what I thought of the weather.

"Bad enough, sir; it does not seem to have made up its mind what to
do; however, we are tolerably well prepared for a change, whichever
way it may be."

"You must keep a sharp look-out, Musgrave; if it should begin to rain,
depend upon it, the wind will chop suddenly round to southward. You
must not let it take you unawares."

"I'll look for it in time, sir."

He had scarcely left the deck, when a light, drizzling rain came on, a
partial lull succeeded, and the wind veered suddenly round to the
south-westward. We were prepared for it, however, and our yards were
soon trimmed to the wind; but our troubles were only beginning. The
breeze freshened up so rapidly, that we had barely time to take in
sail fast enough; no sooner was one reef in, than it became necessary
to take in another. The sea was running, as landsmen say, mountains
high; the winds howled through our rigging; and the giant albatrosses
hovered round us, seen indistinctly for a moment through the gloom,
and then soaring away on the gale, as if they were floating down a
stream--their enormous wings extended, but motionless.

But men were aloft, close-reefing, and preparing to furl the
foretopsail, when a heavy sea struck the ship, and a sudden squall
laid her over on her beam-ends almost. The sudden jerk carried away
the topmast backstays. There was no rolling tackle on the topsailyard,
which jerked violently as the ship fell over, and the mast snapped
just above the parrell. Five of the poor fellows were thrown off the
topsailyard to leeward; we heard their cries dying away on the breeze;
we could not see them, the weather was so thick, and darkness was
coming on; and as for saving them, the attempt to do so would have
been madness, although several men sprung forward to volunteer. It was
with heavy hearts the men set to work to clear away the wreck; the
cries of their poor shipmates were still ringing in their ears, and an
hour or two elapsed before it was accomplished. All night long we were
hard at work, furling sails, and sending down yards and masts; and
when the morning appeared, the ship was hove to, with her head to the
south-eastward, under a storm staysail. The decks were lumbered with
wet sails, the main and mizen-topgallantmast and yards, and the
remnants of canvas and rigging saved from the wreck of the topmast.
We spliced the mainbrace, or, as you would say, served out drams; and
the helm being lashed a-lee, the ship's company were sent below, to
obtain the rest they stood so much in need of. Poor fellows! they were
not allowed to enjoy it long.

"Where is the captain?" said the carpenter, rushing up the
quarter-hatch with a face like a ghost--"where is the captain?"

"Well, Soundings," said Captain Fleetwood, "what do you want with me?"

"It's just about the soundings, sir, I want to speak to you." Then,
drawing close to his side, he muttered, "There are four feet water in
the well, sir."

The captain started, but recovered himself immediately.

"Very well. Rig the pumps directly. Mr. Musgrave, call the hands out;
the ship has taken a little too much water in, over all. Heaven grant
it's nothing worse!" murmured he.

The scene around us was now dreary and desolate in the extreme: the
sky was dark, gloomy, and threatening; light, angry-looking,
discoloured clouds flitted over it, like spirits disturbed, while
overhead the scud careered with lightning-like rapidity; the sea was
covered, as far as the eye could reach, with white foam, and the spray
was blown over the ship in a constant heavy shower; the little "Mother
Carey's chickens" were dipping their tiny wings in the waves under our
stern, and the stormy petrel and albatross swept in wide circles round
our storm-tossed vessel. The gale howled mournfully through our
rigging, and every now and then a giant sea dashed against our side,
and threw torrents of water over our decks. The hatches were battened
down fore and aft, and the monotonous clanking of the pumps was heard,
mingled with the loud cheers of the men, as they spirited each other
up to renewed exertions, and the loud "spell oh!" when the different
gangs relieved each other at the pump brakes. The whole of that day
was one of incessant labour; for, when, after some hours of hard work,
we had gained considerably upon the water, and relaxed a little from
our exertions, we found that renewed efforts were required to keep the
enemy at bay. Next morning the wind had greatly decreased, and was
gradually dying away; but a high sea was still running, and the ship
laboured tremendously. More sail was made to steady her; but, in spite
of all our efforts, the leak increased; and at last it became evident,
after everything had been done which seamanship could propose, or
perseverance carry into effect, that the ship was in a foundering
state. The captain, who had shewn himself active and energetic during
the excitement of the storm, now proved that he possessed that true
courage which can face unflinchingly the slow but sure approach of
danger and of death. Calm and collected, nay, even cheerful, at least
in appearance, his example encouraged and animated the crew, now
almost exhausted with their constant exertions. He ordered one watch
below to their hammocks, while the other was busied in fitting out the
boats, and preparing provisions to put into them, and in keeping the
pumps steadily but slowly at work. At last the hands were called
out--"Out boats!" and when they were all assembled, Captain Fleetwood
addressed them as follows:--

"My lads, the ship is sinking under us, and we must take to the boats.
You have been active, patient, and obedient hitherto--be so still, and
you may yet all be saved. Remember, that, as long as _one_ of your
officers is above the water with you, to that officer you owe
obedience. For my part, I am determined--and you know I am no
flincher--to maintain my authority with my life; but I hope you will
not put me to the proof. My intention is to steer for the Island of
Tristan d'Acunha, which, if Providence favours us, we may reach in a
week or ten days; but much depends upon your own exertions. Now, go
below, and take the last meal you will ever eat on board your old
ship. Heaven grant that we may all meet once more on shore!"

The men listened in silence, and uncovered while he spoke; and when he
ended, they burst into a loud cheer, and one of them shouted out--

"We will stand by you to the last, sir!"

"Ay, that we will," was responded by all.

The captain took off his hat, and bowed, evidently much affected, and
dismissed them.

In about twenty minutes they were again called up, and the boats were
hoisted out. We had two quarter-boats, a launch, and a jolly-boat,
which were amply sufficient to hold our whole number, reduced as it
was by the loss of the five poor fellows in the gale; one of the
quarter-boats, however, proved to be so leaky when lowered into the
water, that we were obliged to abandon her. The other boats were
furnished with masts, sails, a fortnight's short provision and water,
arms--everything, in fact, that could be thought of as likely to be
necessary. The captain took charge of the launch, and the second mate
and I cast lots for the cutter; the chance was against me, and I took
command of the jolly-boat. We were eight-and-twenty in number: twelve
men, the captain, and two of the passengers, in the launch; myself,
one of the ladies, and four men, in the jolly-boat; and the remainder
in the cutter. When we had shoved off from the ship, we lay on our
oars at some little distance, as if by mutual consent, to see the last
of her; but the captain shouted out--

"Come, my lads, we have no time to spare; give the old craft one
parting cheer, and let us make the best of our way."

The men stood up, and, taking off their hats, gave three loud and
lengthened cheers. The deserted ship seemed as if she heard and wished
to acknowledge the compliment; her head turned gradually towards us;
she rose slowly and heavily before the swell, then dipped her bows
deep into the water, gave a heavy roll, and sank to rise no more. A
stifled groan broke from the men at this sad sight, which cast an
evident damp over their spirits.

"Come, cheer up, my lads," said the captain; "we've seen the last of
as good a craft as ever floated; but it's of no use being downhearted.
Let us have a cheer for good success!"

The men caught his tone immediately, and their spirits rose when they
saw how cheerfully he bore his loss. Tristan d'Acunha bore about S.
10° W., about 200 miles distant; and, as the wind had again drawn to
the northward, we had every prospect of reaching it in the course of
five or six days. For the first two days we went along merrily enough
with a fine steady breeze, and tolerably smooth water, but, on the
afternoon of the third, the sky again became overcast, and there was
every appearance of another "round turn" in the wind. As night closed
in around us, the captain hailed us from the launch, and desired us to
keep as near together as possible, for fear of separation. This order
was obeyed as long as we were able; but, in the darkness, we soon lost
sight of each other, and the sound of our voices was drowned in the
increasing noise of wind and sea. About ten o'clock, the wind suddenly
shifted in a sharp squall; the sail was taken aback, and the little
boat lay over for a moment as if never to rise again. Fortunately the
haulyards gave way, and the sail went overboard, or she must have been
capsized; as it was, she was nearly half-full of water. I immediately
jumped forward to drag the sail in again, when, to my horror, I heard
the sound of voices crying for help, to leeward: the sail had knocked
two of the men overboard, and it was their dying cry we heard. We
pulled round the boat, and shouted out to them; there was no
answer--they were gone; they must have been half-drowned before they
could get clear of the sail, which had fallen on the top of them. Our
grief for their loss was soon absorbed by our fears for our own
safety. There were now only three of us remaining--for the lady could
be of no assistance--in a small boat, half-full of water; the wind and
sea rising, darkness all around, and the nearest land upwards of one
hundred miles distant; our prospects were dismal indeed. Fortunately
for us, however, we had no time to brood over our misfortunes; the
necessity for active exertion drove all thoughts but those of present
danger from our minds. We baled the boat out as fast as possible, got
the broken mast in-board, and made all as snug as we could. The wind
had shifted, as I said before, to the southward, and came on to blow
fresh; and the sea was again rapidly rising. We had nothing for it but
to keep the boat right before the wind, although it carried us almost
in a contrary direction to the course we wished to steer.

At daylight, we looked anxiously around for the other boats; but in
vain did we strain our eyes--nothing was visible. Sad were our
forebodings as to the fate of our shipmates, and gloomy our
anticipations of the future for ourselves. The wind had moderated
considerably, but we were still obliged to run before it; and it was
not till late in the afternoon that we considered it safe to turn the
boat's head again to the southward. By this time it was almost calm,
but our two oars could do little against the head sea; and after
tugging away at them for some time, we were obliged to lay them in
from sheer exhaustion, merely keeping the boat's head to the sea. A
light breeze springing up at last from the northward, we got the stump
of the mast up, and set the reefed sail upon it, and began slowly to
make headway in the wished-for direction.

During the whole of our perilous voyage, the young lady, who had been
committed to my charge, behaved with the greatest courage and
resignation; not a complaint escaped her lips, though she was drenched
to the skin by the spray and rain; not a scream did she utter when the
dark sea rose under our stern, threatening to engulf our little bark.
We did all we could to make her as comfortable as circumstances would
allow; for rough indeed must be the nature that does not feel kindly
towards youth and beauty in distress. She received all our attentions
with such heartfelt expressions of gratitude, and bore her discomforts
with such cheerful resignation, that the men could not help audibly
expressing their admiration, and vowing to spend their life's-blood in
her service.

The sun was again smiling over our heads, and the water rippled under
the bows of the boat, as she danced before the breeze; and our spirits
were revived by the change. On examining our stock of provisions, we
found that most of our biscuit was completely saturated with salt
water, and that, with the most sparing economy, we had barely
sufficient rum and meat left to last us for a week longer. We
immediately spread the wet bread on the boat's thwarts to dry, and cut
the meat into small equal portions.

"Now, Miss Neville," said I, laughing--though, Heaven knows, there was
little joy in my heart--"I, as commander of this vessel, constitute
you acting-purser; you shall serve out our rations to us equally and
fairly, and, if any one of my ship's company shall dare to question
the justness of your division, or to attempt to help himself without
your permission, he shall feel the weight of my anger."

There was _faint_ laugh at this _faint_ attempt at pleasantry on my
part; and Miss Neville replied--

"I think, _Captain_ Musgrave, you might have appointed a more
sufficient purser than myself; however, I will do my best to justify
your choice."

Another day, and another, we kept crawling slowly on; there was little
or no wind, and our two oars made but little way. I said before that
the boat's crew was reduced to two men and myself. One of these men, a
Scotchman, named M'Farlane, had only lately recovered from a severe
attack of illness, before we left the ship. The fatigue incurred
during the gale, and the danger and excitement of our situation since,
had a fatal effect upon the poor fellow's already shattered
constitution; he suffered in silence, never uttering a word of
complaint; but it was evident to us all that he was sinking fast. On
this day he had been taking his turn at the oar, in spite of my

"You will kill yourself, M'Farlane," said I. "You are not strong
enough to pull; take the helm, and give Riley the oar again."

"No, sir," replied he; "Riley has had his spell, and I will take mine,
though I die for it. I feel that I am going; but let me die in
harness. No man shall have it to say that Tom M'Farlane was not game
to the last."

Miss Neville joined her entreaties to mine, that he would give over
rowing; but in vain.

"Heaven bless you, ma'am," said he--"and it will bless you, and bring
you in safety out of your dangers. You are just beginning the voyage
of life--and a rough beginning it has been; but never fear. You'll
make a happy port at last. As for me, my voyage is just over. I have
had both rough and smooth in my time. I've had no cause to complain;
and I shall die happy, if I die doing my duty."

The words were scarcely uttered, when he ceased rowing. I turned
round, and saw him, with his face deadly pale, bending over the oar,
which he was in vain endeavouring to dip in the water. He made two or
three convulsive movements, as if in the act of rowing, muttered
"Hurrah, my lads!" and, with a heavy groan, fell backward. Riley and I
raised him immediately, blood was gushing from his nose and mouth,
which we in vain attempted to staunch. He opened his eyes once,
shuddered, and expired. I will not attempt to describe the feelings
with which we gazed upon the body of our unfortunate shipmate, and
thought how soon a still more dreadful doom might be ours. Death, with
all its horrid accompaniments of starvation, drowning, &c., came
before us. All the horrible stories we had heard of deaths at sea, of
misery, hunger, and cannibalism, came crowding upon our memories. At
last the silence was broken by Riley, who growled out--

"Well, there's one more going to feed the fishes! It'll be our turn
soon. However, its some comfort he has left his share of the grub
behind: there'll be more for those who remain."

I could hardly restrain my anger at this cold-blooded speech; but a
look from Emily Neville checked me. Riley, however, observed the
impression his words had made upon me, and, with a diabolical sneer,

"You need not look so black about it. I don't care a button about your
looks or your anger either. One man's as good as another now, and I
won't obey you any longer."

"Riley," said I, starting forward, and seizing him by the collar,
while my voice trembled with suppressed passion, "mark my words! As
long as one plank of this boat hangs to another, I am your officer;
and while I have life in my body, you _shall_ obey me."

The scoundrel was staggered by my firmness, and sat gloomily down upon
the "thwart." Riley had been one of our _black sheep_ on board the
Anne. I never liked the fellow. He was always a skulking,
discontented, vagabond; ever foremost in mischief, and striving to
make his shipmates as mutinous as himself. I saw, by his louring
looks, and his sullen, dogged manner, that we must, before long, come
into collision again, and I determined to prepare for the worst. I
threw all the fire-arms overboard, except a single musket and a brace
of pistols, the latter of which I loaded deliberately before his

"Come," said I, "the sun is long past the meridian, we must pipe to
dinner. Miss Neville, serve out our allowance, if you please."

While Riley received his modicum of spirits, he growled out, "Here's a
pretty allowance for a hard-working man. Not a stroke more will I put
till I get more rum."

"Not a drop more shall you have till the regular time; you must be
contented with just enough to keep soul and body together, like your
neighbours; we must not all be sacrificed to gratify your greediness."

"Better die at once," said he, "than starve by inches; a short life
and a merry one for me!--so hand out the stuff at once, for have it I
_will_." And he made a rush to snatch the spirits from Miss Neville.

"Back, scoundrel!" said I, cocking one of my pistols, "or I'll blow
your brains out."

The words were scarcely out of my mouth, when the rascal stooped, and
snatching up a cutlass which he had concealed in the bottom of the
boat, made a cut at me with it, which, but for the tough rim of my
leather hat, would have laid my skull open. As it was, I shall carry
the scar to my grave. One touch of my trigger, and Miss Neville and I
were left in the boat alone. The ball went through his head; he
staggered against the gunwale, toppled overboard, and sank at once,
tinging the water with his blood. Miss Neville was now obliged to act
as doctor as well as purser. She washed my wound, and bound it up as
well as she was able. We neither of us spoke; but fearful were the
thoughts that passed through my mind. The boat lay becalmed upon the
water; my strength, wounded as it was, could do little towards forcing
her onwards. Unless a breeze sprung up, we must lie in utter
helplessness, and die a lingering death by starvation! Miss Neville
read my thoughts, and, stifling her own fears, exerted herself to
inspire me with confidence.

"Fear not, Mr. Musgrave," said she; "the merciful Providence which
has watched over us hitherto, will protect us till the end. Utterly
helpless and hopeless as our situation appears at present, He _can_
save us, and He _will_."

Her words inspired me with renewed energy; and, with a good deal of
difficulty, I stepped the mast, which we had unshipped for greater
convenience in rowing. Next day we made the land, and, before evening,
after a little danger in passing the surf, I landed my precious charge
in safety.

But I must hurry to the conclusion of my tale, for I see Lorrimer, you
are beginning to yawn, and I am tired of it myself.

My first care was to seek a snug shelter among the rocks where I
quickly lighted a fire, and shared with my fair fellow prisoner the
last remains of our slender sea stock. For the next day's subsistence
we were obliged to rely upon my skill as a fowler. I spread the
remainder of the powder to dry, and contrived to make up a rude bed
for Miss Neville, on which, worn out with fatigue and excitement, she
soon enjoyed that rest which she so much required. I retired to a
little distance to watch her slumbers; but very soon followed her
example. In the morning, invigorated and refreshed, I sallied out with
my gun, and soon succeeded in procuring some birds for our morning
meal; I then climbed the highest part of the island, and set up the
boat's mast with a handkerchief flying from it, in hopes of attracting
the attention of some passing South Sea whaler. Weeks passed in dreary
monotony; we wanted for none of the absolute necessaries of life; but
we were prisoners, and that consciousness alone was enough to make
_me_ discontented and restless. My fair companion bore all her
inconveniences unrepiningly, and did all in her power to soothe and
comfort me; her sweet disposition, and gentle, silent attentions,
insensibly withdrew my thoughts from the discomforts of the present,
and hope pictured a bright future of happiness with her whom fate had
thrown upon my protection. One morning at daybreak, I climbed as
usual to my signal-post, and there, about three miles to windward of
the island, a ship was standing under easy sail to the westward. The
ship was hove to, and a boat lowered. I rushed down to apprise Miss
Neville of the joyful event, and we both hurried to the beach, to
receive our welcome visiters. After considerable difficulty, on
account of the surf, they effected a landing, and were greeted by us
with the warmest gratitude. The vessel, we were told, was the Medusa,
South Seaman, and had been out from England nearly two years; they had
observed my flag some time before they hove to, and at first thought
it had been left there by some former ship, as there were no settlers
on the island at the time; but they fortunately saw me through their
glasses, and determined upon landing.

The evening was closing in cloudy and threatening, the surf was
beginning to run high, and everything indicated bad weather.

"Come, be quick!" said the captain of the Medusa, who was in the boat;
"jump in, we've no time to lose; there's a gale coming on, and I
wouldn't wait two minutes longer for the world."

As we were struggling through the heavy surf, a sudden roll of the
boat threw me overboard, and in a moment I was swept some distance
towards the beach. I swam for the shore immediately, as I knew it was
in vain to attempt reaching the boat again, or to hope that they would
risk their own lives, or the safety of the ship, by longer delay. I
was an excellent swimmer, and reached shore in safety, where I had the
mortification of seeing the Medusa make sail, and haul off the land. I
comforted myself, however, with the reflection, that Emily Neville was
in safety, and that, if the captain of the Medusa was a _Christian_,
he would return to take me off the island. That night a heavy gale of
wind came on from the north-west and a constant succession of stormy
changes of wind and calm followed for some time. In about a month, a
sail hove in sight; it was the Medusa! Oh, how delighted I was, once
more to feel a solid plank under my foot! I felt myself at home once
more when I touched her deck, and asked for Emily Neville. She was
gone! The Medusa had fallen in with a Cape trader, and Miss Neville
had taken a passage on board of her to the Cape, from whence she meant
to proceed to England. Imagine my disappointment! For two months
longer we beat about in these latitudes in the Medusa, and then, our
cargo being completed, we shaped our course homewards. On my arrival
in England, I went to my old friend, Darcy, who provided me with the
needful, and I am now so far on my way home. You tell me I have gained
a fortune; but I have lost the only girl I ever loved, and without her
fortune is valueless.

I did what I could to comfort Musgrave, but he would not be comforted.

Next morning he proceeded on his journey. A short time afterwards,
there appeared in the papers the following announcement--"Arrival in
the river, the Proserpine, from the Cape. The vessel has on board one
of the survivors of the wreck of the ship Anne, which foundered at sea
some months since, the lady was saved in one of the ship's boat, and
taken off the island of Tristan d'Acunha by the Medusa whaler."

I immediately wrote to Musgrave, congratulating him on this happy
event; and received an answer in the course of a few weeks, telling me
that he was now amply repaid for his past dangers and disappointment;
for Emily Neville had consented to become his wife, and to share with
him the bounties, as she had before partaken with him of the harsher
dispensations, of Providence.


Somewhat more than five hundred years ago, and Berwick-upon-Tweed was
the most wealthy and flourishing city in Great Britain. Its commerce
was the most extensive, its merchants the most enterprising and
successful. London in some measure strove to be its rival, but it
possessed not a tenth of the natural advantages, and Berwick continued
to bear the palm alone--being styled the Alexandria of the nations,
the emporium of commerce, and one of the first commercial cities of
the world. This state of prosperity it owed almost solely to Alexander
III., who did more for Berwick than any sovereign that has since
claimed its allegiance. He brought over a colony of wealthy Flemings,
for whom he erected an immense building, called the Red Hall (situated
where the wool market now stands), and which at once served as
dwelling-houses, factories, and a fortress. The terms upon which he
granted a charter to this company of merchants were, that they should
defend, even unto death, their Red Hall against every attack of an
enemy, and of the English in particular. Wool was the staple commodity
of their commerce, but they also traded extensively in silks and in
foreign manufactures. The people of Berwick understood FREE TRADE in
those days. In this state of peace and enviable prosperity it
continued till the spring of 1296. The bold, the crafty, and
revengeful Edward I. meditated an invasion of Scotland; and Berwick,
from its wealth, situation, and importance, was naturally anticipated
to be the first object of his attack. To defeat this, Baliol--whom we
can sometimes almost admire, though generally we despise and pity
him--sent the chief men of Fife and their retainers to the assistance
of the town. Easter week arrived, but no tidings were heard of
Edward's movements, and business went on with its wonted bustle.
Amongst the merchants of the Red Hall was one known by the appellation
of William the Fleming, and he had a daughter, an heiress and an only
child, whose beauty was the theme of Berwick's minstrels, when rhyme
was beginning to begin. Many a knee was bent to the rich and beautiful
Isabella; but she preferred the humble and half-told passion of
Francis Scott, who was one of the clerks in the Red Hall, to all the
chivalrous declarations of prouder lovers. Francis possessed industry
and perseverance; and these, in the eyes of her father, were
qualifications precious as rubies. These, with love for his daughter,
overcome other mercenary objections, and the day for their marriage
had arrived. Francis and Isabella were kneeling before the altar, and
the priest was pronouncing the service, the merchant was gazing fondly
over his child, when a sudden and hurried peal from the Bell Tower
broke upon the ceremony, and cries of "The English! to arms!" were
heard from the street. The voice of the priest faltered--he stopped;
William the Fleming placed his hand upon his sword; the bridegroom
started to his feet, and the fair Isabella clung to his side. "Come,
children," said the merchant, "let us to the Hall--a happier hour may
bless your nuptials--this is no moment for bridal ceremony." And in
silence, each man grasping his sword, they departed from the chapel,
where the performance of the marriage rites was broken by the sounds
of invasion. The ramparts were crowded with armed citizens, and a
large English fleet was seen bearing round Lindisfarne. In a few hours
the hostile vessels entered the river, and commenced a furious attack
upon the town. Their assault was returned by the inhabitants as men
who were resolved to die for liberty. For hours the battle raged, and
the Tweed became as a sheet of blood. But while the conflict rose
fiercest, again the Bell Tower sent forth its sounds of death. Edward,
at the head of thirty-five thousand chosen troops, had crossed the
river at Coldstream, and was now seen encamping at the foot of Halidon
Hill. Part of his army immediately descended upon the town, to the
assistance of his fleet. They commenced a resolute attack from the
north, while the greater part of the garrison held bloody combat with
the ships in the river. Though thus attacked upon both sides, the
besieged fought with the courage of surrounded lions, and the proud
fleet was defeated and driven from the river. The attacks of the army
were desperate, but without success, for desperate were the men who
opposed them. Treachery, however, that to this day remains
undiscovered, existed in the town; and, at an hour when the garrison
thought not, the gates were deceitfully opened, and the English army
rushed like a torrent upon the streets. Wildly the work of slaughter
began. With the sword and with the knife, the inhabitants defended
every house, every foot of ground. Mild mothers and gentle maidens
fought for their thresholds with the fury of hungry wolves--and
delicate hands did deeds of carnage. The war of blood raged from
street to street, while the English army poured on like a ceaseless
stream. Shouts, groans, the clang of swords, and the shrieks of women
mingled together. Fiercer grew the close and the deadly warfare; but
the numbers of the besieged became few. Heaps of dead men lay at every
door, each with his sword glued to his hands by the blood of an enemy.
Of the warriors from Fife, every man perished; but their price was a
costly sacrifice of the boldest lives in England. The streets ran deep
with blood; and, independent of slaughtered enemies, the mangled and
lifeless bodies of seventeen thousand of the inhabitants paved the
streets. The war of death ceased only from lack of lives to prey upon.
With the exception of the Red Hall, the town was an awful and a
silent charnel-house. Within it were the thirty brave Flemings,
pouring their arrows upon the triumphant besiegers, and resolved to
defend it to death. Amongst them was the father of Isabella, and by
his side his intended son-in-law, his hands, which lately held a
bride's dripping with blood. The entire strength of the English army
pressed around the Hall; and fearful were the doings which the band of
devoted merchants, like death's own marksmen, made in the midst of
them. What the besiegers, however, failed to effect by force, they
effected by fire; and the Red Hall became enveloped in flames--its
wool, its silk, and rich merchandise blazing together, and causing the
fierce element to ascend like a pyramid. Still the brave men stood in
the midst of the conflagration, unquailed, hurling death upon their
enemies; and, as the fire raged from room to room, they rushed to the
roof of their hall, discharging their last arrow on their besiegers,
and waving their swords around their heads, with a shout of triumph.
There also stood the father, his daughter, and her lover, smiling and
embracing each other in death. Crash succeeded crash--the flames
ascended higher and higher--and the proud building was falling to
pieces. A louder crash followed, the fierce element surrounded the
brave victims--the gentle Isabella, leaning on her bridegroom, was
seen waving her slender hand in triumph round her head--the hardy band
waved their swords, and shouted, "_Liberty!_" and in one moment more
the building fell to the earth; and the heroes, the bridegroom, and
his bride, were buried in the ruins of their fortress and their

Thus fell the Red Hall, and with it the commercial glory of Berwick.

                             END OF VOL. XI.


[A] This tale was written by Mr Wilson from the circumstance of "The
Tales of the Borders" having been adopted as a lesson-book in several

[B] The contrast here shown may be extended by a reference to "The
Henpecked Man," and thus three specimens of the _uxori emancipatus_
will be brought into comparison.--ED.

[C] The same anecdote is related of Dr Thomas Brown, the philosopher.

[D] A phrase signifying that a smuggling vessel had delivered her

  Transcriber's note:

  Obvious punctuation errors were corrected.

  The following printers errors were addressed.

  Page 13 'new' to 'knew'
  (He scarce knew what he did)

  Page 13 'is' to 'his'
  (took her hand in his)

  Page 16 'fund' to 'found'
  (who found him owre heavy for them)

  Page 20 'mannner' to 'manner'
  (and the manner in which)

  Page 21 'certainly' to certainty'
  (a liking for the certainty of the science)

  Page 21 ''ve' to 'ye'
  (the rest of ye wad hae been selling)

  Page 24 'duplicate 'as' removed.
  (people as ye could, meet)

  Page 38 'uparalleled' to 'unparalleled'
  (condescension and unparalleled favour)

  Page 120 'indentity' to 'identity'
  (evidence of his identity)

  Page 125 'secresy' to 'secrecy'
  (this mysterious secrecy and suspicion)

  Page 129 'father' to 'faither'
  (to the comforts o' a faither)
  Changed to maintain consistency of dialect.

  Page 151 'bridemaid' to 'bridesmaid'
  (her bridesmaid was beside her)

  Page 152 'succeded' to 'succeeded'
  (I succeeded at last)

  Page 171 'she' to She'
  (She also allowed him)

  Page 177 'pike' to 'pick'
  (to pick your banes ahint)

  Page 210 'thse' to 'these'
  (While these important events)

  Page 217 'Frith' to 'Firth'
  (the Firth of Forth to the Tyne)

  Page 218 'secresy' to 'secrecy'
  (there was the secrecy of midnight)

  Page 257 'though' to 'thought'
  (when I thought I heard)

  Page 266 'uncomonly' to 'uncommonly'
  (we were uncommonly favoured)

  Page 280 'of' to 'off'
  (and taken off the island)

  Page 282 'buisness' to 'business'
  (and business went on)

  Page 282 'Lindisferne' to 'Lindisfarne'
  (was seen bearing round Lindisfarne)

  These words are spelt thus throughout the book with
  the exception of two places which have been standardised with the

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