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Title: Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland - Volume 14
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland - Volume 14" ***

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                     WILSON'S TALES OF THE BORDERS

                            AND OF SCOTLAND.


                            WITH A GLOSSARY.

                               REVISED BY

                           ALEXANDER LEIGHTON























Thirty years ago, there dwelt an old man named Simon Cockburn, who
followed the avocations of parish teacher and precentor. Every Saturday
afternoon, after he had washed his hands from the labours of the week,
he went down to the public-house of the village in which he dwelt, and
took his seat by the parlour window or fire (according as it was summer
or winter), to read the newspaper, and see, as he said, "what country
Bonaparte had conquered _this_ week;" and, as Simon read of some new
achievement of "the terrible Corsican," as he called him, he was wont to
lay down the newspaper, take off his spectacles, and say unto himself
aloud, "But if the chield should come owre to Britain, surely he will
never be guilty o' the cruelty and folly o' doing onything to the parish
schoolmasters. He owes so much to learning himsel, that he will
certainly respect those who impart it to others."

But, if a stranger chanced to be in the room when he had glanced over
the news, and as he began to warm and wax mighty over his single pint
(or mutchkin) bottle of strong ale, Simon's wonted taciturnity gave way
to a flow of speech; and seldom had the conversation continued long,
when he invariably inquired, "Did ever ye hear o' the saying, by what
law the bishops were expelled from Scotland?"

The answer being in the negative, he continued--"Weel, it was neither
by civil law nor by canon law, but by _Dunse Law_!"

"By Dunse Law, old man!" inquired his auditors; "why, what law is that?"

If ye never heard o' it (answered he), it is worth your while going to
see it. Ye may become acquainted wi' it without paying a fee to a
writer. Dunse Law, sir, is a bonny round hill, which rises behind the
honest town o' that name. Ye have a magnificent view upon the top o' it.
In my opinion, it is equal to the view from the Calton at Edinburgh; and
some o' my scholars that have been travellers inform me that the view
from the Calton is every way equal to the far-famed view in the Bay o'
Naples. Ye have the whole Merse lying beneath your feet, like a
beautifully-laid-out and glorious garden--the garden o' some mighty
conqueror, that had converted a province into a pleasure-ground, and
walled it round wi' mountains. There ye behold the Blackadder wimpling
along; the Whitadder curling round below you, and as far as ye can
see--now glittering in a haugh, or buried among woody braes. Before ye,
also, ye behold the Cheviots and the Northumberland hills, wi' a broad
country, the very sister o' the Merse, lying below them, and which runs
to Tweedside, where they stand and look at each other! Down the middle
distance runs the Tweed, shining out here and there, like an illuminated
lake, and receiving the Border rivers o' both countries into its bosom,
just as a hen gathers its young under its wings. To the right hand,
also, ye behold Roxburghshire, wi' the dimness o' distance, like a thin
veil thrown owre its beauty, and its hills a' before ye. Ye see also the
smoke arising from towns, villages, and hamlets, and hovering owre them
in the midway air, like almost transparent clouds. Gentlemen's seats,
and the plantations around them, lie scattered owre the scene;
farmhouses that lairds might live in, and stackyards that no other
country could produce. On each elbow ye have the purple Lammermuir,
where a hundred hirsels graze; and to the east, the mighty ocean, wi'
the ships sailing upon it, where, wi' their white sails spread to the
sun, they look from the distance just like sea-birds poising themselves
on their out-stretched wings owre the deep. Ye see also the islands that
rise wondrously from its bosom--fragments which the great waters have
stolen from the dry land, or the dry land from the waters. But I ought
to have mentioned that, before ye, also, ye see the ruins o' castles,
some o' them still majestic, which changed masters a hundred times, as
victory chanced to decide for the English bow or the Scottish spear, and
which yet bear manifestations o' having been places o' strength and
terror. All these things, sir, and mony mair, do ye see from Dunse
Law--for I have described it very imperfectly; but I hope I have said
aneugh to convince ye that it is no everyday view. And now, I shall
endeavour to explain to ye the meaning o' the saying, that the bishops
were expelled from Scotland by _Dunse Law_.

When the first and unfortunate King Charles had the infatuation--and I
may also say the cruelty--to attempt to bend and twist the consciences
o' our forefaithers, just as if they had been willows in the hands o' a
basketmaker, to make them swallow the service-book, and to clothe and
feed bishops, and bow their heads to them, they, like men who regarded
liberty o' conscience, the freedom o' their country, and, above all, the
right o' worshipping their Maker as he had commanded them in his Word,
to be dearer than life--when the king caused his troopers to ride
rough-shod out owre Scotland, and to awe them into obedience with the
naked sword--they also laid their hands upon their swords, ready to
resist, and, flying to the hills, they congregated together a mighty

The watchword o' the heroic army was, "_For Christ's Crown and the
Covenant_;" and, having congregated together to the number o' many
thousands, they, in accordance with the wish o' the Tables and chief
men, were placed under the command o' the famous General Leslie. When,
therefore, the king heard o' these things, he set out from London
towards Scotland at the head o' his gay cavaliers and valorous men o'
war, doubting not but that, at the glance o' his royal eyes, the
rebellious Scottish peasants would be stricken with awe and reverence,
lay down their arms, and bend their necks before him. Now, General
Leslie was an old man, and a little man; but he had a wise head, and,
like Bonaparte, he had a mighty spirit in his wee breast: and when he
heard that the king was on his way to Scotland, at the head o' a regular
army, he resolved to meet him face to face; and, for that purpose, the
army o' the Covenant marched forward to Dunglass.

But when Charles learned from his spies accounts of the numbers, the
discipline, and enthusiasm of the Covenanters, his heart failed him; and
when he looked on his own army, and perceived that they neither had zeal
in his cause, nor discipline, nor numbers, to enable them to contend
against the army that he was leading them to oppose, he lowered his tone
marvellously. He found that the divine prerogative which surrounds kings
is but a broken hedge, owre which every outlaw may trample, where the
hearts and affections o' the people dinna form an outer bulwark around
it. And though, a few days before, he had denounced all the inhabitants
o' Scotland as traitors, and threatened, in the arrogance and confidence
o' his heart, to deal with them as such, and had even given orders to
his generals to wreak their vengeance on the rebels, he was now glad to
send Lord Holland, with a trumpeter, to the camp o' the Covenanters at
Dunglass, to proclaim to them that he was willing to grant them all
their demands, and that their country should be free, provided they
would profess their allegiance to him, and not approach within ten miles
o' the Border.

Now, sir, the Covenanters were by no means republicans in their
principles: all they wanted was freedom--freedom o' mind and body; the
right o' worshipping in the manner most agreeable to their conscience;
and o' not being compelled to unbutton their pockets to pay for objects
o' which they disapproved. They had a sort o' liking for Charlie. His
faither was a Scotchman, and had been born among them; and they were
anxious to like him, if he would only put it in their power to do it.
They were loth to draw the sword against him; and, when they did do it,
it was for conscience sake. They therefore accepted his conditions
readily; for he promised fairly, and as much, if not more, than they
expected to wring from him by the slaughter o' his troops, and steeping
the land wi' the blood o' its inhabitants.

When Charles, therefore, heard o' the readiness with which they had
agreed to his proposal, in the vanity and delusion o' his spirit, he
attributed it to his great power and glory as a king; and he repented
that he had not offered to them more haughty and less righteous terms.
But those that he had proposed to them he had no design to keep.

He therefore marched forward his army, and encamped on the south bank o'
the Tweed, above Berwick, at a place which historians call the
Birks--which I take to be the fields lying between West Ord and Norham
Castle. Here he soon gave proofs that, having come from the Thames to
the Tweed, it was his resolution not to return until he had wreaked his
vengeance on the people o' Scotland, whom he still regarded as rebels.

When, therefore, General Leslie heard o' the king's doings, he gave
orders to his army to march towards Dunse.

But, before proceeding farther, I must make mention o' a Covenanting
family, who are to be more particularly the objects o' my present
discourse. At that time, there resided in the Castle Wynd in Dunse a
singular and godly woman, one Alice Cockburn (or, as some called her,
Weather-burn, that being her maiden name). She was the wife o' a devout
and worthy man, one Alexander Cockburn, who was the proprietor o' a
croft in the neighbourhood; and they had five sons, all men grown. Their
names were John, James, Andrew, William; and the youngest, who was
nineteen, was called Alexander, after his faither. I hae mentioned Alice
first, not only because her name will be hereafter mentioned in this
narrative, but also because, while we often speak in triumph o' what our
faithers did in securing our civil and religious liberty, we forget to
do justice to our mothers, who were even more enthusiastic in the great
and glorious cause than our faithers were. They fired their zeal--they
first lifted up a voice against tyranny--and, while our faithers fought
in the field, they bound up their bleeding wounds, brought water from
the brooks to cool their parched lips, and were purveyors to the army,
supplying them with clothing and with food.

It was on the evening o' the 5th o' June, 1639, that Alice Cockburn
hastened into her house, exclaiming, "Rise, husband!--rise, sons!--arm
yourselves, and let us awa to Dunse Law; for there is a sicht to be seen
there the nicht, such as never before was witnessed in a' broad
Scotland, nor yet in a' Christendie. Haste ye! gird your swords upon
your thighs, and awa to assist the armies o' the Kirk and our country to
do battle against the Philistines."

"Tell us what ye mean, Alice," said her husband. "The king and his
cavaliers are still near Berwick; I hae heard naething o' our people
having left Dunglass, and there can be nae battle on Dunse Law the
nicht--therefore, what is it ye allude to?"

"The king may be whar ye say," replied she; "but General Leslie and our
men are encamping upon the Law; and they are a host whose numbers seem
countless as the sand upon the sea-shore. Our oppressors will be
consumed as stubble before them, and tyrants will become their
captives. Haste ye, sons; arm yersels to be ready for the fight that is
to fight. Enrol yersels in the army o' the righteous, for the sake o'
the truth, for the sake o' conscience and yer country. And, on my
death-bed, if I be deprived o' every other consolation, I will still be
borne up by the secret joy, that my five sons and my half-marrow drew
their swords, and fought side by side, for the cause o' the Covenant."

"Alice," said her husband, "sae lang as I hae ye to stir me up, and mak
me mair fervent in the great cause, which it is our duty to support with
our whole might and our whole strength, ye shall never hear it said that
Sandy Cockburn shunned the brunt o' danger, or that his sword returned
empty when he met wi' an oppressor weapon to weapon. My richt hand is
aulder and stiffer than it has been; but, when ance suppled, it has lost
but little o' its strength--and I think I can answer for our sons."

"Ye may do that safely," said John, their eldest; "there shall nae want
o' daring be fixed to the name o' Cockburn."

His three younger brothers, James, Andrew, and William, agreed with him,
and spoke in the same manner; but Alexander, the youngest, and the
faither's namesake, though generally esteemed the boldest amongst them,
hastened not to provide himself with arms, as his brothers did, but he
sat with his arms folded upon his bosom, and was silent.

"Alexander," said his mother, "wherefore do ye sit wi' yer arms faulded,
and look like ane that wishes to conceal the word _coward_ written on
his breast?"

"Nae man, no even my brothers, durst ca' me a coward, mother," said he;
"but I canna help thinking that this is an unnatural war, in which
freends and kindred will plunge their swords into each other. And there
are some who would be fighting against us whose swords I would rather
feel pierced through my body, than raise mine against them."

"Oh, wae's me!" she cried, "am I to be disgraced--is the truth to be
deserted by my youngest and dearest--the Benjamin o' my age? Where,
laddie--where are a' the precepts I endeavoured to inculcate into you
now? But I see how it is: it a' arises out o' yer fondness for the
dauchter o' that enemy o' our cause--Robert Stuart. Is there naebody ye
can see to like but her? Her father is a spy and a persecutor, a
defender o' the supremacy o' bishops, an advocate o' the service-book,
and an upholder o' the absolute power o' the king. She is o' the same
spirit and principles as her faither is; and, in that respect, she is
more to be commended than ye are, for she has hearkened to the voice o'
her parents, and has not the sin o' disobedience on her head. Have ye
forgot the command, 'Be not unequally yoked?' Rise, Alexander, I command
ye, get ready yer arms, and gae wi' yer faither, yer brothers, and yer
mother to the camp."

"Na, na, guidwife," said her husband, "that maunna be; for liberty o'
conscience am I buckling on my sword; and I winna see the conscience o'
my ain bairn suffer wrang. If Alexander winna gang wi' us, a' that I ask
o' him is, that he winna draw his sword against the cause in defence o'
which his faither and his brothers go forth, ready to lay down their
lives, if they be required."

"Faither," cried Alexander, springing up, and grasping his hand, "I will
never fight against ye!--never! I stand by your side to the last, or die
by it, and my arm shall be ready to defend ye! Where you go, I will go!"

"That is right, Alexander, my man," said his eldest brother; "I kenned
there was mettle in the callant, and principle, too--though I must say
that he is rather unpleasantly situated, and I canna say that I would
like his case to be my ain."

His arms being sought out also, the father and his sons were accoutred
and ready to depart, when Alice again said--"We have not yet prepared
all that we ought to do. We are but stewards o' the inheritance
intrusted to our hands in this world; and to the sacred cause in which
ye are about to engage, it is our duty also to contribute liberally from
the substance with which we have been blessed. Now, what say ye,
guidman--do ye think that we could afford to take to the camp, and
present before the general, six sheep, six firlots o' wheat, and six
measures o' meal? Have ye faith to venture sae far?"

"Alice," replied he, "can ye doubt me? If it were necessary, I would
consider it my duty not only to part wi' my stock to the last sheep, and
wi' my corn to the last firlot--but I would sell the croft also, and
part wi' the money, rather than see one who has drawn his sword in
defence o' the Covenant and his country want."

"Ye mak my heart glad," answered Alice; "and now let us kneel and give
thanks that we have lived to see the day when the armies o' the Kirk are
gathered together, powerful as those which David led against the

And Alexander Cockburn and his family raised the voice o' thanksgiving,
after which they knelt down together, and he prayed aloud. When they
arose, each man girded his sword upon his thigh, and the father
commanded that a horse should be harnessed, which was laden with the
wheat and the meal for the army of the Covenant. The sheep they drove on
before them, and Alice accompanied her husband and her sons.

I must now, however, take notice o' Mr Stuart, o' whom particular
mention was made by Alice, as being an enemy to the Covenant, and a
persecutor o' its adherents. He was a man o' considerable substance, and
lived about midway between Dunse and Polwarth. His daughter, to whom
young Alexander Cockburn was attached, and whom his mother cast up to
him, was called Flora. She was at that period a bonny young creature o'
eighteen; her hair was like the yellow gowd when the sun shines on't,
and her een were a brighter and a safter blue than the sky on a summer
morning, when there isna a cloud in a' the heavens. She was tall and
gentle-looking, and her waist ye might hae spanned wi' your hand. It was
wranging her to ca' her a persecutor; for though she was an advocate for
Episcopacy, as her faither had taught her to be, there wasna a sentiment
in her heart that could hae wranged a worm.

Young Alexander and Flora had become very early acquainted wi' each
other, and as early intimate. They were yet but bairns in a manner; but,
young as they were, they had a happy _langsyne_, on which they could
look back, in which they had

          "Paidel'd in the burn,
    And pu'd the gowans fine."

They had been playmates from the time that they could toddle hand in
hand thegither; and the hands that they had joined to help each other to
run when but infants, they now wished to join for good and a', that they
might journey pleasantly together through life. Their hearts had become
insensibly twisted around each other, and they had been so long
entwined, that they had become as one.

But I must now inform you of the arrival of Alice, her husband, and her
sons, at Dunse Law. When they arrived at the camp, Alexander the elder
inquired of one who seemed, by the orders which he was giving, to be an
officer, or a man in authority, if he could see the general; for the
officers in the army of the Covenant wore the plain blue bonnet, and the
blue riband streaming from it, without any distinction from the men in
the ranks; and when the men lay upon the bare ground, so did they.

"Ye seem to come wi' a free-will offering," said the officer; "and not
only wi' an offering o' provision, but, judging by your soldierly array,
ye come to fight the battles o' conscience, the Covenant, and our

"We do," said the father; "my five sons and mysel, and these sheep and
provisions, are the offerings o' my children's mother; which, my lord,
or whatever ye may be, wi' her husband and five sons thrown into the
scale, makes nae sma' sacrifice."

"Ye speak truly, worthy friend," said the officer; "we rejoice in such
devotedness towards our glorious purpose. It is a volunteer cause, and
Heaven affords us assurance of victory. Yonder, see ye, is the general
riding round the tents on the black horse; go to him before he take up
his quarters in the castle for the night. He will give ye a gracious

"Weel, that is very odd," said the senior Alexander Cockburn, gazing
upon the general with a look o' surprise. "He is a wee, auld-looking
body. My opinion o' him was, that he would be something like what we
understand Sir William Wallace to have been--a man before whom his
enemies fled, at the shaking o' his spear."

"O Alexander!" said Alice, "hae ye forgot yoursel athegither, or rather
hae ye forgot your Bible? Do ye no remember the purposes for which the
weak things o' this earth were chosen?"

"True, Alice," said he; "I stand corrected." And the father, the mother,
their armed sons, and the sheep and provisions which they brought with
them, were placed before General Leslie.

"Well, good folk," inquired the general, "what would ye wi' me?"

"We come, sir," said the elder Cockburn, lifting his bonnet, "to offer
you our best services o' heart and hand, and to--to----"

Here old Alexander, who, though one o' the most rigid and unbending men
o' the Covenant, was withal a man o' singular modesty, and, in some
respects, o' bashfulness, began to falter; on which Alice, taking upon
herself the office o' speaker, began to say--"Yes, your
excellency--that is, your generalship--we are come----"

But her husband gently pulled her by the sleeve, whispering, "Haud sae,
Alice, just let me gang on--ye ken it behoves a woman to be silent, and
in an assembly to open not her mouth."

Though an obedient and an affectionate wife, this was a point which she
probably would have been disposed to argue with him; but the general,
interfering, said, "Wi' your good leave, sir, I shall hear your wife.
Scotland owes a debt to its wives and mothers, which, as a nation, they
should be proud to acknowledge; they are manifesting a godly enthusiasm,
which is far, far beyond the boasted virtue o' the mothers and maidens
o' Rome, when they saved their city from destruction. Speak on, good

Alice, thus emboldened, proceeded--"Weel, sir, as my husband has said,
he and our sons have come to offer you their best services o' heart and
hand; and o' the little we can spare, we hae brought ye six sheep, six
firlots o' wheat, and six measures o' meal. The latter is but a poor
offering; but when, as a wife, I present to ye my husband, and as a
mother, my five sons, I trust that what we bring will not be altogether
unacceptable; while it shall be my care to provide means at least for
their support; so that, if they be not of assistance to ye, they at
least shall not be a burden."

The old general dismounted, and took Alice by the hand. "While Scotland
can boast o' such wives and mothers as you," said he--"and I am proud to
say there are many such--the enemies o' the Covenant will never be able
to prevail against us."

Alexander Cockburn and his five sons then began to erect a sort o' half
hut, half tent, beside those o' the rest o' the army, that they might be
always in readiness. And, oh, sir, at that period, Dunse Law presented
one o' the grandest sights that ever the eyes o' man were witness to. On
the side o' that hill were encamped four-and-twenty thousand men.
Lowest down, lay the tents o' the nobles and the great officers, their
tops rising like pyramids; before them were placed forty pieces o'
cannon; and between them were the tents o' their captains; and from
every captain's tent streamed a broad blue flag, on which was inscribed
the words I have already quoted--"FOR CHRIST'S CROWN AND THE COVENANT."
Higher up the hill were the straw-covered and turf-built huts o' the
soldiers: and from the rising o' the sun until its going down, ye
wouldna hae heard an oath or a profane expression amongst those
four-and-twenty thousand men; but, on the contrary, hundreds o' the
ministers o' the gospel were there, each man with his Bible in his hand,
and his sword girt upon his thigh, ready to lead his followers to the
battle, or to lay down his life in testimony o' the truth o' the
doctrines which he preached. Morning and night there was public worship
throughout the camp, and the drum summoned the army to prayers and to
hearing the Word, while the services were attended by all, from the
general down to the humblest recruit that had but newly entered the
ranks. At every hour in the day, also, from some part o' the camp or
other, the sounds o' praise and prayer were heard. Every man in that
army was an enthusiast; but he had a glorious cause to excite his
enthusiasm--the cause o' his Creator, and his country's liberty--ay, and
the liberty, the rights, and privileges o' posterity also. Yes, sir, I
say o' posterity; for it is to those men that we are indebted for the
blessings and the freedom which we enjoy beyond the people o' other
countries; though there are men who dared to call them _mere
fanatics_!--fanatics, indeed!--but, oh, they are fanatics that saved
their country--that braved oppression--that defied it even to death, and
that wi' their own blood wrote the irrevocable charter o' our liberty!
If they were fanatics, they were such as every nation in the world would
be proud to call its sons, and would glory to have possessed. They are
fanatics, if they must be called so, whose deeds, whose characters,
whose firmness o' purpose, the integrity o' whose principles, and whose
matchless courage, with the sublime height to which they carried their
devotion, despising imprisonment, pain, and death, render us unworthy o'
being numbered as their descendants. I canna endure to hear the men,
whose graves are the foundations on which are built our civil and
religious liberties, so spoken o'; I winna see their graves--I winna
hear their memories profaned. More fit we were to set up a national
monument in remembrance o' them.

On the day after the army o' the Covenant encamped on Dunse Law, the
king held a grand review o' his army by Tweedside; but just as the
review was over--and when the king and his courtiers were retiring, to
sit down to their wine, and their feasts o' fat things, and his poor
half-hungered soldiers to kitchen out a broken biscuit or a piece o'
bare bannock (while the Covenanters were living like gentlemen on
wheaten bread and flesh-meat every day)--some o' the Loyalists, that had
clearer een than others, observed the great camp upon Dunse Law, and the
hundred banners waving in the wind, and ran to communicate what they had
observed to the king. Charles, to do him justice, was a canny, silly
sort o' a body, but just infatuated wi' his ideas about his
prerogative--by which he meant absolute power--and his foolish desire to
force everybody to swallow a bishop, gown, sleeves, and all! However,
when he heard that the "blue bonnets were bound for the Border," he
spoke angrily and disdainfully to his officers, and upbraided them that
they had not brought him tidings o' the movements o' his enemies; and,
calling for his prospect-glass, he stood upon the bank o' the river--and
there, sure enough, to his sorrow and consternation, he beheld the camp,
and the multitude o' armed men. He even to a nearness counted their
numbers. Now, Dunse, as the crow flies, not being quite seven miles to
where the Tweed forms the border line between Ladykirk and Norham, his
Majesty spoke o' punishing the Covenanters for having broken the compact
that they had entered into not to approach within ten miles--forgetting,
be it remembered, that he was the first aggressor, in having sent his
troops to attack a party o' the Covenanters at Kelso; and forgetting,
also, that his army was unable to stand up, even for a single hour,
against the host who stood over against them. He soon, however, became
sensible o' his weakness, and he again began to offer liberal and
generous terms to his armed subjects; but no sooner did he find them
ready to accept them, than his kingly word became like a whuff o' reek
that has vanished out o' sight in the air!--ye may seek it, but where
will ye find it? The Covenanters were not willing to bathe their swords
in the blood o' their fellow-subjects, and the king was feared to
measure the strength o' his army against the blue-bonneted host.

But, as it is not my intention to narrate to ye a history o' the wars o'
the Covenant, I shall only say that the king, seeing he had no chance if
it came to a battle, consented to summon a parliament, and that
everything should be settled as the Covenanters desired. Both armies
were accordingly disbanded, and Alexander Cockburn and his five sons
returned home to their own house, and laid their weapons aside.

The old man said that "he trusted the time had come when in this country
the sword should be turned into a ploughshare, and the spear into a

But Alice answered him, saying, "O Alexander! a foolish thing has been
done by our rulers. They have got an assurance from the king; but they
ought to have made assurance doubly sure. You have read, and they must
have read--'Put not your trust in princes.' The day is not distant when
they will rue that they overlooked that text."

There was too much o' the nature o' prophecy in the words which Alice
spoke; for twelve months had not passed, when the mischief-making little
churchman, Bishop Laud, and other evil spirits o' a similar stamp, egged
up the simple king to break a' the promises he had made to the people o'
Scotland, and wi' a strong hand carry war and revenge into the country.
But, poor man, he reckoned without his host. His advisers were like the
counsellors o' Solomon's son--they advised him to his ruin. The news o'
his intention ran through Scotland like wildfire. Beacons burned on the
mountains--men gathered on the plains--and before the king was in
readiness to leave London, all Scotland was in arms. Old Leslie was once
more chosen commander-in-chief; and the same valiant men that the year
before had encamped upon Dunse Law, gathered together, and marched
towards the Borders.

They had reached Chousely, which is between three and four miles west o'
Dunse, when Alexander Cockburn and his sons again joined them, and
brought with them an offering o' provisions, as before. The general
again remembered and welcomed them; and he recollected them the more
readily, because Alice accompanied them. On the following morning, when
the army began to march towards the south, she took her leave o' them,
saying, "Fareweel, husband! bairns!--to the protection o' Him whose
battles ye go forth to fight, I resign ye. Pray ye that, whate'er
betide, I may be strengthened to bow my head, and say, '_His will be
done_!' Go, then, acquit yoursels valiantly; think on the sacred cause
in which ye are engaged, and trust in the Hand that will sustain ye.
Bairns, fareweel!--your mother blesses you!--she will pray for you!
Husband, fareweel!--look after our bairns. Alexander! ye are the
youngling o' my flock; and oh, hinny, my heart yearns for ye, lest ye
permit unworthy thoughts to arise in yer breast, that may deprive yer
young arm o' its strength."

"Fear not for me, mother," replied the youth.

She therefore returned home; and they proceeded wi' the army towards
Coldstream, from whence they crossed the Tweed, and proceeded, by way o'
Wooler and Longframlington, towards Newcastle, o' which town they came
within sight on the tenth day after entering Northumberland; but,
finding Newcastle strongly fortified and garrisoned by the king's
troops, under General Conway, they proceeded a few miles up the Tyne to
Newburn, where the civil war in reality began, and the first battle was

When the king's troopers heard that the Covenanters were encamped at
Newburn, they galloped out o' Newcastle, sword in hand; each man
swearing lustily that he would kill a dozen o' the blue-bonnetted
Jockies--as they called the Covenanters in derision--and boasting that
they would make prisoners o' all who escaped the sword. But when the
inhabitants o' the canny toon heard the braggadocio o' the redcoats, as
they galloped through the streets, flourishing their swords, "Dinna brag
tow fast, lads," said they, shaking their heads; "words arena deeds; and
tak care that each ane o' ye doesna catch a Tartar."

Next morning, the battle o' Newburn was fought; and the tone o' the
king's soldiers was indeed lowered. They were routed at every point,
they ran to and fro in confusion, and their panic was like a whirlwind
in a barn-yard. "The road to Durham--show us, show us the road to
Durham!" they cried; and, helter-skelter, neck-or-nought, leaving
swords, pistols, carbines, muskets, everything they could throw away, by
the roadside, away to Durham, and far beyond it, they ran.

Only five o' the army o' the Covenant were left dead on the field, but
among those five was old Alexander Cockburn, the husband o' Alice. After
the battle, his sons found his mangled and lifeless body in a narrow
lane, between two gardens, surrounded by a heap o' dead Loyalists, who
had sunk beneath his sword before he fell.

It is said that the first blow is half the battle; and it was so wi' the
Covenanters upon this occasion; their sudden victory at Newburn not only
struck dismay into the hearts o' the royal troops, but reason and fear
baith began to whisper their warnings in the ears o' the monarch. He
once more became a negotiator and seeker for peace with his
thrice-cheated and injured subjects. They remembered the divine precept,
to forgive their brother though he offended against them seven times in
a day, and they kept this commandment before their eyes in all their
dealings with the king. They forgave him his lack o' faith, and the
hollowness o' his promises; and, extending to him the right hand o'
allegiance, he once more gave his kingly pledge to grant them all that
they desired, and to ratify it by the acts o' a parliament. Puir man! he
had lang been baith king and parliament in his ain person; and he
conceived that in him dwelt absolute power, and absolute wisdom; but
little did he dree what a dear parliament the ane that he then spoke o'
was to be to him. It is distinguished by the emphatic appellation o'
"THE PARLIAMENT" even unto this day; and by that designation it will
continue to be known. Thus the arms and the cause o' the Covenant again
triumphed; and, the objects for which the army took the field being
accomplished, they were dismissed, and returned every man to his own

With afflicted hearts, while they rejoiced at the accomplishment o' the
object for which they had taken up arms, the five sons o' Alice Cockburn
returned to Dunse. She was yet ignorant o' her husband's death, and
having been informed o' their approach, she met them at the door. She
stretched out her arms to welcome them, but they fell, as if suddenly
stricken wi' palsy, by her side; and wi' a trembling voice, and a look
that bespoke her forebodings, she inquired, "Where is _he_?"

They looked sadly one towards another, as if each were anxious that the
other should communicate the tidings. Her eldest son took her hand, and
said mournfully, "Come into the house, mother."

Their sorrowfu looks, their dejected manner, told her but too plainly
her husband's fate.

"He is dead!" she cried, in a tone o' heart-piercing solitariness and
sorrow, as she accompanied them into the house, where she had beheld
them equip themselves for battle.

"My father is dead," said Alexander, her youngest; "but he died bravely,
mother, in the cause in which ye glory, and in which a' Scotland
glories; and, to the deeds done by his hand on the day he fell, we, in a
great measure, owe the freedom o' our country, and the security o' the

She clasped her hands together, and sat down and wept.

"Mother," said her sons, gathering round her, "dinna mourn."

She rose, she wept upon their necks from the eldest to the youngest. "Ye
hae lost a faither," said she, "whose loss to ye nane but thae wha
kenned him at his ain fireside can estimate; and I hae lost hae husband,
who, for eight-and-thirty years, has been dearer to me than the licht o'
the sun, for wherever he was, there was aye sunlicht upon my heart. But
his life has been laid down in a cause worthy o' the first martyrs. I
hae endeavoured to pray--'THY will be done;' and pray for me, bairns,
that I may submit to that will without repining, for the stroke is
heavy, and nature is weak."

Again she sat down and wept, and now she lifted her hands in prayer, and
again she wrung them in the bereavement o' widowhood, saying, "O my
Alexander!--my husband!--shall I never, never see ye again?" And her
sons gathered round her, to comfort her.

On the day following, Alexander, the youngest o' the sons o' Alice, went
towards Polwarth, in the hope o' obtaining an interview with Flora
Stuart, whom he had not seen for several months; for, from the time that
he had joined the Covenanting army on Dunse Law, her father had
forbidden him his house. He spoke o' him as the young traitor, and
forbade Flora, at her peril, to speak to him again. But, as the sang

    Love will venture in where it daurna weel be seen;

and Alexander again ventured to see her whose image was for ever present
wi' his thoughts, as if her portrait were engraven on his heart. It was
about the back end o' harvest, and the full moon was shining bright upon
the stubble fields and the brown hills; he was passing by Chousely (or,
as some call it, Choicelee), the very place where his father, his
brothers, and himself, had last joined the army o' the Covenant, when he
observed a figure tripping along the road before him. One glance was
sufficient. He knew it was she whom he sought--his own Flora. He ran

"Flora!" he cried, "stop, dear--stop--it is me!"

She turned round and said, "Sir!"

The cold abruptness of that word "sir!" was like a dagger driven through
his bosom, and for a moment he stood before her, in silence and
confusion, as one who has been detected o' some offence. But true
affection is never long either in finding words or an equivalent for

"Flora," said he, holding out his hand, "it is long since we met, I hae
suffered affliction since then, and encountered danger, and considering
the long, long friendship--the more than friendship, Flora--that has
been between us, and the vows we have exchanged wi' each other, I think
I micht have expected something mair frae ye now than--'Sir!' Is your
heart changed, Flora--hae ye forgot me--or do ye wish to forget me?"

"No, Alexander," said she, "I hae not forgotten ye; nor hae I forgotten
the vows that hae passed between us, as my unhappy heart is a secret
witness; and if I did wish to forget ye, it wouldna be possible. For,
wherever I micht be, the remembrance o' you would come o'er my thoughts
like the shadow o' a cloud passing across a river."

"And after it had passed, would it leave as little impression upon your
heart, Flora, as the shadow o' a cloud does upon a river?"

"Alexander," she replied, "I am not gaun to argue wi' ye, for I canna.
But oh, man, ye hae drawn your sword against your king--ye hae fought
against him, ye hae been a traitor in the land that gave ye birth; and,
as my faither says, they who are rebellious subjects will never mak good
husbands, or be regulated by the ties o' domestic life."

"Flora," returned he, "I deny altogether that what your faither says is
correct. But, even allowing that it were, I deny that I hae taken up
arms against my king, or that I am a rebellious subject. We took up arms
against injustice, tyranny, and oppression; and the king had previously
taken up arms against us. Look at the whole conduct o' the Covenant
army--hae they not always listened to every proposal o' the king, and
trusted to his royal word as faithful subjects who were wishful to prove
their attachment to his throne and person? But where can ye point out
the instance that he has not fled from his engagement and deceived us,
and showed us that his promises and his pledges were not stronger than
burned straw? Even the last engagement which he has made, and by which
he is to secure to us the rights we have sought for, prayed for, fought
for, I believe he will break--he will try to evade it, and give us
vengeance in its stead--and if he does so, I am no longer his subject,
but his enemy, even though it be at the sacrifice o' you, Flora; and
rather than part wi' you, were it in my power, I would ten thousand
times lay down my own life."

"Alexander," added she, "I haena forgotten the days when we were happy
thegither, and when we neither thought o' kings nor o' onything else,
but our twa sels. But now my faither forbids me to speak to ye; and I
maun obey him. And though I think that, in the principles ye are
following, ye are wrong, very wrong--yet, Alexander, be ye rebel, be ye
what you will, there shall never be another name but yours dear to my
heart--though we ne'er meet again."

"Dinna meet again, dearest!" cried he; "we will meet--we shall meet!--we
shall be happy too! Never talk o' no meeting again." And they clung
round each other's necks and wept.

They wandered lang backward and forward, forgetting how the hours flew
during their lang, fond whispers; and Flora's father, attended by a
servant man, came forth to seek her. He vehemently upbraided and
threatened his daughter, and he as vehemently reviled Alexander. He
called him by names that I couldna mention, and that he bore patiently;
but he also spoke disrespectfully o' his mother--he heaped insults on
the memory o' his dead faither. Alexander could endure no more; he
sprang forward, he grasped him by the throat. He placed his hand upon
his sword, which he still wore, and exclaimed, "Sir! there is a point to
all endurance, and you have passed it!"

Flora rushed forward, she placed her hand on Alexander's
arm--"Forbear!--what would you do?" she cried; "it is my faither!"

"Nothing!" he replied, calmly, yet sternly; "I would do nothing; I have
borne much provocation, and acted rashly--for which rashness forgie me,
Flora. When I first drew my sword to resist oppression, I vowed that,
should I meet one that was dear to you in the ranks o' the oppressor,
though his sword should pierce my body, mine should no be raised against
him. Fareweel, dearest--happier days may come."

Four years had not passed, when the Covenanters found that they had but
small cause to be satisfied wi' the promises and assurances o' the king.
Provoked by his exactions, and his attempts at despotism, the people o'
England had taken up arms against him. Montrose, who had been one o' the
leaders o' the Covenant party, though a man possessed o' wonderfu'
military talents, was to the full as ambitious as he was clever; and he
hadna principle aneugh to withstand royal promises, smiles, and
flattery, he therefore turned traitor to the cause in which he had at
first embarked, and he turned the arms o' his Highlanders, and a body o'
fierce Irishmen, against the men whom, three years before, he had led to
battle. Again many o' the Covenanters rushed to arms, and amongst them
the sons o' Alice Cockburn.

They served as musketeers under Sir James Scott, and fought side by side
at the battle of Tippermuir. When, through the treachery o' some, and
the want o' management o' others, the Covenanters were put to flight,
the little band o' musketeers, seeking refuge in some ruined buildings,
kept up an incessant fire upon the forces o' Montrose, as if resolved to
sell their lives at the dearest price. Montrose, after many efforts
finding that they would not surrender, put himself at the head o' a
powerful body o' Athole men, and rushed upon the gallant band, who
defended themselves like lions at bay. O' the five brothers, who fought
side by side, four fell; and the youngest only was left, like a servant
o' Job of old, to tell the tidings. When Alexander beheld the dead
bodies o' his brothers lying around him, sorrow and revenge raged in his
breast together. His fury became as the fury o' a tiger that is robbed
o' its young. He dashed into the midst o' his enemies--he pressed
forward to where Montrose was, crying, "Vengeance! vengeance!" he
reached him--they engaged hand to hand. Montrose was pressed against a
wall o' the ruins.

"Fause traitor! renegade!" exclaimed Alexander--"here shall I die, the
avenger o' my country and my brothers' blood!"

His sword was uplifted to strike, when a body o' Athole men rushing to
the rescue o' their commander, the sword was shivered in Alexander's
hand, and he was made prisoner.

Several who had heard the words which he had applied to their leader,
and had seen his hand raised against his life, insisted that his
punishment should be death; and in justification o' their demand, they
urged the threat o' the Covenanters to do the same by whosoever Montrose
might send to treat wi' them.

A sort o' court-martial was accordingly held, and the fettered prisoner
was brought forth before a tribunal who had already agreed upon his
sentence. He, however, looked his judges boldly in the face. His cheeks
were not blanched, nor did his lips move with fear; he heard the charges
read against him--the epithets that had been applied to Montrose, who
was the king's representative--and that he had raised his sword against
his life. He daringly admitted his having applied the epithets--he
repeated them again; and, raising his clenched and fettered hands in the
face of his judges, he justified what he had said; and he regretted that
his sword had been broken in his hand before it had accomplished the
deed which he desired.

Montrose drew his brows together, and glanced upon him sternly; but the
young prisoner met his gaze with a look of scorn.

"Away with him," said his judges; "to-morrow, let him be brought forth
for execution. His fate shall be an example to all rebels."

During the night which he had heard to be pronounced the last o' his
existence, and throughout which he heard the heavy tramp o' the sentinel
pacing before the place o' his confinement, he mourned not for his own
fate; but the tears ran down his cheeks when he thought o' his poor
widowed, desolate, and unfriended mother!

"Oh, who," he exclaimed--"who will tell her that her bairns are wi' the
dead!--that there's not one left, from the auldest to the youngest!--but
that her husband and her sons are gone--a' gone! My mother!--my poor
mother!" Then he would pause, strike his hand upon his bosom, lean his
brow against the wall o' the apartment, and raising it again, say, "And
Flora, too--my ain betrothed! who will tell, who will comfort her? Her
father may bear the tidings to her; but there will be nae sympathy for
me in his words, nae compassion for her sorrow. Oh! could I only have
seen her before I died--had there been any ane by whom I could hae sent
her some token o' my remembrance in death, I would hae bared my breast
to the muskets that are to destroy me without regret. But to die in the
manner I am to do, and not three-and-twenty yet! Oh, what will my poor
Flora say?"

Then, folding his arms in wretchedness, he threw himself upon the straw
which had been spread as a bed for his last night's repose.

Early on the following day he was brought forth for execution. Hundreds
o' armed men attended as spectators o' the scene; and, as he was passing
through the midst o' them, he started, as he approached one of them who
stood near to Montrose, and he exclaimed, "Mr. Stuart!"

He stood still for a few moments, and approaching the person whose
appearance had startled him--"Mr. Stuart," he added, "ye hae long
regarded me as an enemy, and as a destroyer o' your peace; but, as one,
the very minutes o' whose existence are numbered and as one for whom ye
once professed to hae a regard, I would make one sma' request to ye--a
dying request--and that is, that ye would take this watch, which is all
I hae to leave, and present it to your daughter, my ain betrothed Flora,
as the last bequest and token o' remembrance o' him to whom her first,
her only vow was plighted."

It was indeed the father o' Flora he addressed, whose loyalty had
induced him to take up arms with Montrose; but he turned away his head,
and waved back his hand, as Alexander addressed him, as though he knew
him not.

Montrose heard the words which the prisoner had spoken, and, approaching
Mr. Stuart, he said, "Sir, our young prisoner seems to know ye--yea, by
his words, it seems that ye were likely to be more than friends. Fear
not to countenance him; if ye can urge aught in his favour--yea, for the
services ye have rendered, if ye desire that he should be
pardoned--speak but the word, and he shall be pardoned. Montrose has
said it."

"My lord," said Stuart, "I will not stand in the way o' justice--I would
not, to save a brother! I have nothing to say for the young man."

And, as he turned away, he muttered, loud enough to be heard, "Let him
meet his appointed doom, and ye will extinguish the last o' a race o'
incorrigible rebels."

"Youth," said Montrose, addressing Alexander, "from the manner in which
ye addressed Mr Stuart, and the way in which he has answered my
inquiries respecting ye, it is evident to me that the turbulent spirit
o' the times has begotten a feeling between ye which ought not to exist;
and, through your quarrel, the heart o' a gentle maiden may be broken.
But I shall have no part in it. I think," he added, in a low tone, "I
have seen your face before. When the lot fell upon me to be the first to
cross the Tweed at Hirselhaugh into England, are ye not the stripling
that was the first to follow me?"

"I am," replied Alexander; "but what signifies that, my lord? _ye have
since crossed the water in an opposite direction!_"

Montrose frowned for a moment; but his better nature forced him to
admire the heroism of his prisoner; and he added, "Consent to leave the
rebellious cause into which you have plunged--embrace the service of
your king, and you are pardoned--you shall be promoted--the hand of the
maiden whom you love shall be yours. I will be surety for what I have

Alexander remained silent for a few minutes, as though there were a
struggle in his bosom what he would say; at length, turning his eyes
towards Montrose, he answered, "What, my lord! turn renegrade like
you!--desert the cause for which my father and my brethren have laid
down their lives! Wi' a' the offers which ye hold out--and tempting one
o' them is--I scorn life at such a price. Let them lead me to execution;
and I have but one request to make to ye. Ye have heard the favour which
I besought o' that man, and which he refused to grant"--as he spoke he
pointed to the father of Flora. "Will ye inform his daughter that
Alexander Cockburn met death as became a man--that his last thoughts
were o' her--that his last breath breathed her name!"

"You shall not die!" exclaimed Montrose, impatiently; "I will not so far
gratify your pride. Conduct him to Perth," added he, addressing those
who guarded the prisoner; "and let him be held in safe keeping till our
further pleasure is known concerning him."

He had admired the dauntless spirit which young Cockburn displayed, and
he sought not his life, but he resolved, if it were possible, to engaged
him in his service.

For many weeks, Alexander remained as a prisoner in Perth, without hope
of rescue, and without being able to learn which cause prevailed--the
King, the Parliament, or the Covenant--for the Civil war was now
carried on by three parties. At length, by daily rubbing the iron bars
o' his prison window wi' some sort o' soap which he contrived to get,
they became so corroded, that the stanchels yielded to his hands as
rotten wood. He tore the blankets that covered him into ribands, and,
fastening them to a portion o' ane o' the broken bars, lowered himself
to the street.

It was night and he fled to the quay--and found concealment in the hold
of a vessel, which, on the following day, sailed for London.

But it is time to return to Alice--the widowed, the all but childless
mother. Day after day she prayed, she yearned, that she might obtain
tidings of her children; but no tidings came. Sleep forsook her solitary
pillow, and, like Rachel, she wept for her children because they were
not. But a messenger of evil at length arrived, bearing intelligence
that four of her sons had fallen in battle, and that the fifth, her
youngest, had been made prisoner, and was sentenced to die.

"My cup o' wretchedness is full," cried the bereaved mother; "have I
none left--not one--not even my Alexander, my youngest, the comfort o'
my age? But I must submit. It is for the best--it is a' for the best, or
it wadna be. I should rejoice that I hae been chastened, and that my
affliction has been for a cause that will confer liberty o' conscience
on posterity, and freedom on our poor distracted country. But oh, I
canna forget, my heart winna do it, that I was ance a wife--that I was a
mother, and had five sons, the marrow o' whom ye wouldna hae found in a'
the Merse, but now my husband is not, and my bairns are not, and I am a
lone widow, wearying to be wi' them, and wi' no ane here to speak to me!
Yet I ought not to murmur!--no! no! It was me that urged them to go
forth and fight the good fight; but, strong as my zeal then was--oh,
human nature and a wife's, a mother's feelings, are strong also!"

But Alice, in the day o' her distress, found a comforter, and one that
sympathised wi' her in all her sorrows, in one whom she had but small
right to expect to be a freend. When she was left to mourn in solitude,
wi' but few to visit her, there was one who came to condole wi' her, and
who, having once visited her, was seldom absent from her side--and that
was Flora Stuart, the betrothed o' her youngest son, o' whom she had
spoken rashly.

"Oh, bairn," said she, addressing Flora, "little, little indeed, does
Alice Cockburn deserve at yer hands!--for but for me, and my puir
Alexander might this day hae been in life, and held yer hand in his. But
forgie me, hinny! It was in a guid cause that I hae sacrificed a' that
was dear to me in this warld--only, it was a sair, sair stroke upon a

Flora strove to comfort her; but it was in vain. She didna repine,
neither did she murmur as those who have no hope; but her health, which
had never been what doctors would call robust, was unable to stand the
shock which her feelings had met wi'; and, in a few weeks after hearing
o' the deaths o' her children, Alice Cockburn was gathered wi' the dead,
and Flora Stuart accompanied her body mourning to the grave.

I have mentioned that Alexander concealed himself on board a vessel
which sailed for London. He had been three days at sea before he
ventured from the place o' his concealment, and the captain himself
being the son o' a Covenanter, he was conveyed to the great city in
safety. He had been but a short time in London, when, meeting with a
gentleman who belonged to the neighbourhood o' Dunse, he learned that
his mother was dead, and that his father's brother, believing that he
was dead also, had taken possession o' the property.

Alexander had never had the same religious feelings in the cause in
which he had been engaged, that his father and his brothers had. He
fought for the sake o' what he called liberty, rather than for any
feeling o' conscience; and his ruling passion was a love o' warlike
adventures. He, therefore, had been but a short time in London, when he
joined the Parliamentary army; and his courage and talents soon drew
upon him the notice o' Cromwell, and others o' the Parliamentary

It was about six years after the battle o' Tippermuir, when one, who was
supposed to be a spy from the royalists, fell into the hands o' a party
belonging to the Parliamentary army. He was examined, and evidence
bearing strongly against him, that he had come amongst them secretly to
pry out where the army would be most vulnerable, and, if possible, to
entrap them into the hands o' their enemies, was produced against him.
He was examined a second time, and letters were found concealed about
his person which left no doubt o' his being a spy. Some voted that he
should be immediately punished with death; but, while all agreed in the
nature o' the punishment that ought to be inflicted, there were some who
proposed that the execution o' his sentence should be deferred for a few
days, until the arrival o' their commanding officer, who was then

During the days that he was thus respited, a daughter o' the spy
arrived, and flinging herself upon her knees before the officers who had
condemned him, she besought them, with tears, that they would spare her
father's life. Her distress might have moved a heart o' stone. Before
them they beheld youth, beauty, loveliness, bathed in misery--bowed down
wi' distress. They saw her tears falling at their feet--but they had
been used to tears o' blood, and her wretchedness moved them not. All
that they could say to her was that their superior officer was not
present, and, with the evidence which they had to submit before him,
they could not revoke the sentence they had passed.

On the third day, the chief officer o' the party arrived. All that had
been proved against the prisoner was told to him, and the papers that
had been concealed about him were placed before him. He was about to
pronounce the words, "He shall surely die," when, pausing, he commanded
that the prisoner should be brought before him.

The doomed one was accordingly ushered into his presence. When the
officer beheld him approach, he started up.

"Can it be possible?" he exclaimed--"Mr Stuart?" and gasped as he spoke.

The prisoner also started at hearing his true name, and raising his head
said, "It is possible! Alexander Cockburn, I am your prisoner--_It is
your turn now_!"

The officer, who was chief in command o' the party, was none other than
Alexander Cockburn, the young Covenanter, and the doomed spy was Mr
Robert Stuart, the father o' Flora.

"Sir," said Alexander, "my turn is indeed come--it is come to prove to
you, that as generous feelings may kindle in the eyes that are barely
shaded by the blue bonnet o' a Covenanter as in those that look proudly
from beneath the gay beaver o' a cavalier. There was a time when I stood
as you were like to have done now, wi' but a few ticks o' a watch
between me and eternity--the watch that ye refused to take from my hand;
and when but the expression o' a wish from your lips was all that was
required to obtain my pardon, my freedom--and that wish ye wouldna

"I ken it, lad! I ken it!" cried the prisoner; "but I am in your power
now; take your revenge--do by me as I would have done by you!"

"No, Mr Stuart!" replied the other, "vengeance belongs not to me. But I
rejoice that, in this instance, for the sake o' one whose name I dare
not mention here, I have the power o' pardoning. Soldiers, unloose his
hands--he is free--he is forgiven."

The soldiers did as they were commanded.

"Alexander Cockburn!" exclaimed the late captive, "will you make me
appear more contemptible than a worm in my own eyes? A minute has not
passed since you reminded me how I hated you, and how deadly I showed my
hatred. The remembrance o' the occasion on which I showed that feeling
has been like a biting adder in my breast ever since; and now to receive
life at your hands would be to make my future existence a mixture o'
wormwood and gall."

"Say not so," said Alexander, stepping forward, and taking his hand. "I
would speak with you in private."

At that moment a voice was heard without, crying, "Let me pass!--pray,
let me pass!--let a daughter intercede with your officer for the life of
a father!"

"Sir, sir!" exclaimed Alexander, "it is _her_!--it is _her_! My Flora's
voice!" And he rushed to the door to meet her.

"Flora!--my own Flora!" he continued; "your father is free--he is
forgiven--he shall live! What! do you not know me? I am your own

"Alexander!" she cried, springing forward to meet him, and, yielding to
the natural feelings o' the man, her father ran towards them, and
embraced them both.

My story (said the schoolmaster) is now at a close. Alexander gave up
his commission in the Parliamentary army. It was low-water mark wi' the
king's people, and Mr Stuart accompanied him; and need I tell ye, that
so did Flora. They had abundance to keep them comfortable; and, on the
day after they arrived at Dunse, she took them to the kirkyard, and
showed them the clean white headstone o' Alice Cockburn.

"Bless ye for this, my ain wife," said Alexander, while the tears were
in his een, and he raised her hand to his lips.

I have only to add (continued the narrator), that I, Simon Cockburn, am
the great-grandson o' Alexander Cockburn and Flora Stuart.



The character of David, Earl of Carrick, better known by the title of
Duke of Rothsay, is one of those which nature seems to delight in
distributing among nations at distant periods, apparently with the view
of teaching mankind, that, however brilliant may be the powers of mind
with which an individual is endowed, however captivating the qualities
of his person, his sparkling wit, his graceful manners, and polite
conversation; and however amiable the generosity, liberality, and
feeling of his heart--though all combined with high rank, and even the
station of a king--he has no charter of immunity from the obligations of
ordinary life; and that, if he endeavours, by the aid of these, to turn
serious things into frolic, and force a pastime from the sanctions of
religious or moral duty, he must pay the usual forfeit of a departure
from the rights of nature, and suffer destruction.

This young prince, it is well known, was the son of Robert III. of
Scotland, who allowed the reins of government to be wrested from his
feeble hands by the cunning and powerful Duke of Albany. The feebleness
of the father was not inherited by the son. Rothsay had powers of mind
which were equal to the management of a kingdom; and these, there is
reason to suppose, he would have displayed for the advantage of his
country, if the current of events in which he was involved had not been
influenced by his uncle, Albany, and turned to suit his schemes of
ambition. The indications of great talent which, in early youth, he
exhibited, were hailed by his father with pride and satisfaction; but by
his uncle, the governor, with well-founded fear and suspicion.
Unfortunately, it soon appeared that the fertility of the soil did not
limit its powers of production to the nobler and more useful plants.
Along with the prince's great powers of intellect, there arose a love of
pleasure which could be gratified only--such was its insatiable
character--by every species of extravagant sally and wild frolic. His
heart was untainted by any inclination to injure seriously the health,
reputation, or interests of any individual, however humble; but,
unfortunately, when a love of enjoyment took possession of him, all his
intellectual powers, as well as some of his moral perceptions, were
abused or overlooked, and a character naturally generous was shaded by
the faults of vicious intemperance.

To make all this the more to be regretted, young Rothsay was a beautiful
youth. His voice was full and melodious, capable of being exerted--and
he had the art to do it--in exciting, by the strains of exquisite music,
the tenderest feelings of the heart. His manner had in it the affability
of a free romping girl, with the grace and dignity of a young prince.
His hilarity seemed to have no interval, and his good-humour was
scarcely capable of being disturbed. His love of amusement, and his
genius in contriving schemes for the promotion of the happiness of his
friends and associates, made his company the desire of the aged and the
envy of the young. Yet, amidst all this, it was remarked as wonderful,
that he seldom lowered the dignity of his rank. Even his frolics were
those of a prince, and his humblest acts were performed with that
consummate grace which can lend a charm to what, in other hands, would
incur the charge of vulgarity.

But, while these fair features often set off with greater effect the
faults which inevitably flow from the indulgence of unlawful passions,
Rothsay had the power of combining his good and evil, and so mixing up
his passionate sallies of intemperance or vicious sport with traits of
generosity, humanity, and feeling, that it was often impossible to say
whether some of his actions were good or bad, or whether the people who
had apparently suffered from his unrestrained licentiousness would have
escaped the injury to be deprived of the benefit which it produced from
the calm reflection of the generous youth.

The friendship of Rothsay was extended to most of the young nobles of
that period; but no one was so successful in securing his affections as
Sir John de Ramorgny--a young man supposed to have come originally from
France, and certainly justifying his extraction by his character.
Originally bred to the church, he was learned beyond the nobles with
whom he associated; and, while few could boast his erudition and
knowledge, fewer still could cope with him in original powers of mind.
But these powers were ill directed; for they were used only in base
intrigues and vicious projects. A more dangerous friend or fatal enemy
could not be found among insidious Frenchmen or the still savage Scots.
His dissimulation, address, and elegance of personal appearance and
manners, were all used, as occasion required, to cover or aid his
designs of ambition, or his base seductions and purposes of revenge.
Able for the weightier projects of war or diplomacy, and admirably
adapted for court intrigue, he did not hesitate to descend to the most
trifling and vulgar pleasures. He could play the murderer, the insidious
betrayer, and the buffoon or mountebank, with equal address and with
equal satisfaction. With these qualities, the more wicked and dangerous
of which he could conceal, Ramorgny was easily able to recommend himself
to Rothsay; and the affection with which he was treated by the prince
was no doubt the effect of a similarity in manners and accomplishments,
and a congeniality of humour, which the unsuspecting and generous prince
mistook for an agreement of disposition.

Scotland is said to have been used from one end to the other, by these
dissolute companions, as the theatre of their amusements. They wandered
about in disguise, laying rich and poor, old and young, under
contributions for their wild pastime. They were often for weeks
associated with bands of wandering minstrels and female dancers,
entering into their humours, playing on their instruments, learning the
secrets of their wandering professions, and imitating their
performances. The protean versatility of their powers rendered their
extravagant exhibitions of easy accomplishment; while their hilarity and
boisterous merriment, recommended by a profusion of money, made them
welcome into whatever society of vagabonds they were ambitious of
entering. Nor was it by merely courting the favours of these tribes that
the companions were permitted to join in their revels. They were able to
stand their ground on an equal footing of reckless hardihood, and, where
occasion required, of pugilistic authority. They could sing and dance,
swear and bawl, get drunk and fight, with the most profligate members of
these outlawed associations.

These extravagances soon became known; and Queen Arabella, the young
duke's mother, was greatly grieved that her eldest son, and the object
of her dearest hopes and most anxious solicitudes, should act a part
which, while it would alienate from him the hearts of the people, would
enable his uncle Albany to continue longer his usurped dominion as
governor of Scotland. An attempt was therefore made to unite him to the
cares and solicitudes of office; and he was soon installed into that of
lieutenant of the kingdom--a council being, at the same time, appointed
to advise with him. This step was not followed by its expected benefits;
for the governor did not consider it either as incompatible with the
duties of his situation, or derogatory to the dignity of his high place,
to resort to his old modes of pleasure and amusement. All that was
required was a greater degree of care employed upon the habiliments of
his disguises; and the lord-lieutenant might have been detected joining
in a rondeau with a singing girl, acting the fanfaron with a Hector,
performing a daring croupade with a rope-dancer, or tripping to the
sound of an Italian theorbo. In all these things he was still kept in
countenance by Ramorgny; who, however, while he was joining him in his
revels, was meditating schemes of villany and selfishness.

The affairs of state having thus little power in withdrawing the prince
from his licentious companions and unbecoming practices, it was next
suggested by the queen, that the restraining influence of a wife's
affections might overcome his propensity for the outlawed pleasures to
which he had become enslaved. The king seconded this measure; and
without consulting the duke's sentiments, or ascertaining his taste in
the choice of a wife, it was communicated to him that the interests of
the nation required him to marry and provide an heir to the throne, and
that his choice of a wife lay between Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of
Archibald, Earl of Douglas, and Elizabeth of Dunbar, daughter of the
powerful Earl of March. Neither of these ladies had ever been seen by
the prince. It was surmised that he had a special favourite of his own,
selected no doubt from a host of willing beauties with whom he
associated; and the intelligence that he was called upon to resign his
liberty into the hands of a woman he had never seen, could not be
expected to be highly relished by a person of his spirit and habits of

Seeking Ramorgny, Rothsay communicated to him the intentions of his
mother, and the commands of his father and the nation, and asked his
advice in so trying an emergency.

"By your father's crown," cried Ramorgny, "I see nothing for it but to
obey. The difficulty lies in the selection; for, if I am able to
appreciate the beauty of woman, thou wilt have to choose between a crow
and a rook. Elizabeth of Dunbar is the descendant of Black Agnes, who
defended that old castle, in the days of the Second David, against the
arms of the Duke of Salisbury; and Elizabeth of Douglas cannot fail to
have in her some portion of the blood of the Black Earl, who fell in
Spain, trusting to the protecting charm of Robert's heart, which he
carried with him in a casket. So thou seest the black choice thou hast
got; and the matter is not mended by having two in thy option, if the
old proverb carries faith, which sayeth, that 'Two blacks will not make
a white.'"

"By the faith of a prince," replied the duke, "it is a black business;
but thou hast been talking genealogically, good Ramorgny, while I wished
to have thy opinion physically. Blood doth not follow the law of the
mountain stream, by getting more muddy as it descends; neither are men
and women of the nature of the gaffled cocks we use to fight at the
mains on the Inch of Perth, which send down their fighting propensities
to the tenth gallinaceous generation. The two Besses may be whiter than
their progenitors, and of less pugnacious propensities!"

"Thy argument, good lieutenant," cried Sir John, "hath the goodly
property of proving two things:--In the first place, it proves that the
two Besses may have white skins; and, secondly, that thou mayest have a
white liver; for, if courage hath no descent but in cocks, thou canst
not boast of having the heart of the first Robert!"

"Hold! thou art too severe," cried Rothsay, "and not logical. Thou art
mixing up actuality with potentiality--for that my liver is not white,
is proved by the blue evidences I painted on thy back, when, in the
gipsy tent at Bothwell, I fought thee for a kiss of the Brown
morris-dancer, Marion of Leghorn, who, having given me the reward of my
victory, dressed thy wounds for pity's sake, and then cudgelled thee for

"I could turn thy argument against thee," answered Ramorgny; "for thy
courage was so much at fault, that thou didst require the aid of an
Italian morris-dancer to do that which good King Robert would have done
himself. But we have wandered from the two Besses, whom it now behoves
us to take up, and treat with more respect. What is thy course?"

"As lieutenant of Scotland, I commission thee, Sir John de Ramorgny, to
repair to the castle of Dunbar, and thereafter to that of Douglas, to
inquire into the qualities of Elizabeth of Dunbar and Elizabeth
Douglas--to note the height of their persons--the hue of their
skins--the colour of their eyes, and the nature of their dispositions;
and thereafter to report as becometh a trusty and faithful commissioner
of the king."

"Thou shalt be obeyed," answered Ramorgny; "but, if the commissioner may
be allowed to judge of the matter of his mission, I would suggest that,
in my opinion, thou hast left out the most important part of my

"What is that?" inquired the prince.

"The dowery, to be sure," answered Ramorgny. "What are complexions and
dispositions, to golden acres? What careth the housewife, who wanteth
strong broth, for the colour of the capon's tail?"

"We will leave that to the queen," said the duke. "Her Majesty wisheth
to put me up to sale, and to knock me down to the highest bidder. We can
bring the earls up to within a few acres of each other, and of the two
pigeons, both equally fat, and brought thus equally within shot, I, to
please my fancy, may strike the fairest."

Ramorgny was satisfied, and proceeded on his mission. He first went to
the residence of March, which at that time was in a castle situated near
the town of Dunse; the castle of Dunbar having been, during the late
wars, so much shattered, that it required to be put in a state of
repair. Ramorgny's rank procured him admittance to the family of the
earl, and his intimacy with Rothsay was a sufficient recommendation to
entitle him to the greatest attention and respect. March viewed his
visit as one of examination and discovery, and took the precaution to
prepare his daughter to treat him as the friend and confidant of her
future husband. A great dinner was got up in honour of the knight, at
which Gawin, the earl's son, and Maitland, his nephew, were present, and
all endeavoured, by every means in their power, to acquire the good-will
of the prince's favourite. It was not these, however, that Ramorgny
wished to study or to please. The daughter was his subject; and his
knowledge of human nature soon enabled him to form an estimate of her
character not far wide of the truth. She was dark, but beautiful; with a
clear, burning eye, which occasionally exhibited flashes of the spirit
of her ancestor, Black Agnes. Her temper was clearly that of a demon;
her spirit, wild and untamed. When contradicted, her anger,
notwithstanding the indications of the displeasure of her parents, burst
forth with ungovernable energy. She disregarded the rules of ordinary
politeness, by applying to her brother Gawin indecorous names. She
scolded the servants; and even, on one occasion, when she had risen from
table, and thought she was unobserved, she applied her fingers to the
ears of a female, and pinched her till she screamed. The earl, who
suspected what was going forward, beckoned to her; the lady winked; the
son pulled her by the gown. Their efforts were unavailing. Ramorgny was
satisfied that Elizabeth of Dunbar was a true scion of the stock of old

The experience which Ramorgny had thus acquired was completely
corroborated by the common report of the Borders, where the young lady
went by the name of Black Bess of Dunbar. She was represented as an
incarnation of Mahoun--a fiend, whom all the efforts of her father and
mother, aided by their relatives, had not been able to subdue, or soften
into the ordinary flexile consistence of mortals. The excuses which were
made to the knight by the parents, that she was ill, and had a headache,
and so forth, only tended to corroborate his experience and the report
of others. His only wonder was, that the Earl of March could have
thought of recommending such a female to the arms of a civilised man--to
a prince. No one but March could have dared!

Ramorgny next directed his steps to the Castle of Douglas, to make his
survey and examination in that quarter. He was received by Earl
Archibald, who was now an old man, with much cordiality, and in a short
time introduced to Elizabeth. The contrast between this lady and the one
he had left was remarkable at first sight, and before she had opened her
mouth to reply to the elegantly-polished compliments of the most
accomplished man of his time. She was fair, with auburn hair and blue
eyes; tall, and elegantly formed; imbued with so much of the spirit of a
gentlewoman, that her whole figure, in its easy, flexile movements,
seemed to obey the slightest touch of the presiding genius of grace and
beauty. Ramorgny felt and acknowledged, with that rapidity with which
men of the world can detect the indications of an elevated soul, the
power of the mute eloquence of this exquisitely-formed complex piece of
nature's machinery. But when the spirit spoke, and the combination of so
many charms started into new life, responding in every turn and
lineament to music that seemed to have been formed to give them
additional grace, and apparently claiming the voice as their own
individual expression, the effect was completed, to the disturbance of
Ramorgny's feelings, and the flight of his peace. Her soft and gentle
tones went straight to his heart. The silken cords of love were cast
around him by every look, motion, and expression; and the prince's
deputy became, in spite of himself, his rival.

Ramorgny felt disinclined to leave the castle. Every additional
circumstance that came under his observation increased his passion. The
prevailing character of Elizabeth's mind and feelings was extreme
gentleness, softness, and sensibility, in which could be discovered no
affectation of sentimentality. Her manner was natural and easy; and it
was impossible to behold her for a moment, without being sensible that
she was a creature formed to sacrifice herself, and her individual
thoughts, wishes, and aspirations, to the happiness of the man who
should be so fortunate as to secure her affections. This softness of
manner extended itself to the style of her speech, which was slow,
smooth, and natural, seeming to derive its sweetness from the perennial
smile that played upon her lips.

Struck with an intense passion, Ramorgny forgot the object of his
mission. The prince was only recollected as an unpleasant object that
came between him and the object of his affections. He resorted to every
means of cultivating the good opinion, if not the love, of the lady;
but, handsome and gallant as he was--invested with the powers of French
love-making, in all its details of conversation, protestation, and
badinage--he could not satisfy himself that the gentle and bewitching
manners of the lady received any accession, from any increase, in his
favour, of the regard and attention she seemed to extend to all the
visiters who frequented her father's castle. Ramorgny surveyed this
equability of enchanting manner, with the pain of one who, fired with, a
strong passion, sees ordinary companions basking in the sunshine of
favour which he wishes to be confined to himself. He felt pained, but
the pain was an increase of passion, with a diminution of hope. His
violent temper hurried him into secret cursing of the day on which he
entered in so thankless an expedition; determinations to escape from his
duty; and vows that he would secure Elizabeth's love, die, or sacrifice
his prince.

Ramorgny's threats were no empty sounds. Restrained by no religion--no
respect for laws--no terror of punishments--no fear of man--and
despising reputation and honour as gewgaws for old women and
children--he was fit for the execution of any measure, executed through
treachery and blood, to gratify his passions. Chagrined by the manner of
Elizabeth, which retained its torturing equability of gentleness and
kindness, without any exhibition of partiality, he was ill prepared for
a letter which arrived from the prince, chiding him for his delay;
hinting, in his manner, that the rooks of Dunbar and Douglas had flown
away with his heart, and requesting him to give up the chase, and return
to his friend. He added, that he understood that his mother, the queen,
had declared for the Douglas; and that he would take her, if she was as
black as the good Sir James himself.

"If thou wilt," ejaculated Ramorgny, as he perused the letter, "thou
shalt at least have the dowery of Ramorgny's sword!"

The incensed knight saw, in the midst of his passion, that little good
would result from remaining at present longer at the castle. His efforts
to produce a corresponding affection in the bosom of Elizabeth were
unavailing. He resolved, therefore, to take his departure; and, having
kissed the hand of his cruel mistress, and bid adieu to Lord Archibald,
he departed. As he journeyed to Linlithgow, where he was to meet the
duke, he occupied himself in deep meditation. His thoughts reverted
continually to Elizabeth Douglas, whom he pictured to himself the loving
and beloved wife of Rothsay, whose success with the fair he envied, but
whose openness and generosity he despised as weakness. There already
existed a rivalship between them as to the affections of a young lady
who had eloped with Ramorgny from her father's house, but who afterwards
left him for the more enchanting society of the young duke. This
Ramorgny had borne with apparent indifference; but, though he was
satisfied that the love of the damsel had not first been solicited by
Rothsay, he could not forgive him his superiority of attraction, and
imputed to him as a fault, what might, with more propriety, have been
termed a misfortune. To lose another object of his affections, and that,
too, by ministering to his own discomfiture, would ill become his
character for intrigue, and ill accord with the present state of his
love for the lady, and hatred for the rival. He must, therefore,
endeavour to prevent the union between Rothsay and Elizabeth Douglas;
and if that should fail, he was resolved that the loss of the lady would
not involve the loss of his victim. His first step was to falsify his
account of the two women; and in this he could not do better than
reverse their attributes, and substitute Bess of Dunbar for the fair

"Well, Ramorgny," cried the prince, as he met the knight in the
audience-chamber of the palace, "what progress hast thou made in the
south? Thy tarrying indicates enjoyment; for when did Ramorgny wait,
when there was not something to afford him pleasure and amusement?"

"Your grace is right," answered Ramorgny. "The pleasures of March's
castle are indeed intoxicating. But thou it was who didst send me in the
way of temptation; and if Elizabeth of Dunbar has, by her enchantment,
drawn largely on the time of thy commissioner, thou hast thyself to
blame. Lord Salisbury, thou knowest, said that her predecessor's
love-shafts--meaning the arrows she sent from the old castle walls--went
straight to the heart; and, as the lieutenant of this kingdom, and the
protector of its subjects, it was thy duty to guard me against a power
which seems to be hereditary in the family of March."

"Oh, then, Black Bess is fair, after all!" cried the duke. "Give me thy
hand. I am right glad on't; for I thought I had no choice--the one being
fair, the other ugly; and to have been forced to marry one woman, to
the exclusion of the darling liberty of selection, would, though she had
been as fair as Venus, have made her like the famed daughter of Phoreus,
whose face was as beautiful as that of the sister of Apollo, but whose
hair was writhing serpents."

"Thy choice, I fear, is not extended by the beauty of Elizabeth of
Dunbar," said Ramorgny; "for what she has, Elizabeth Douglas wants.
March's daughter is a dark beauty, but her colour is not derived from
the dingy hues of earth; it owes a higher origin, even the beams of the
son of Latona himself. Yet the jet eyes from which she sends her
hereditary love-shafts are the softest engines of death I have ever
witnessed. The fire she steals from heaven comes from her as it does
from her cognate thief, Phoebe, as soft as moonbeams. Her gentleness
is that of the lamb, and the tones of her voice are like the soft
strains that come from an AEolian harp, making the heart chase them as
they steal away into death-like silence."

"Bravo!" cried the prince--"a right good wench. I have ever admired
softness in a woman; and I still maintain that there is the same natural
fitness in that ordination, as existeth in the connection between heat
and fire, light and flame, mirth and life, darkness and death! What
sayest thou now to the other Bess?"

"Hast thou ever read of Omphale," replied the knight, "who took from
Hercules his club, and gave him a spindle, and when he complained,
chastised him with her slipper? It was well for the hero that he did not
live in Scotland in these days, when brogues, filled with nails, cover
the soft feet of some of our damsels. Elizabeth Douglas would certainly
imitate Omphale; but, I fear, her slipper would be a brogue; and she
farther differeth from her, in being as ugly as she was fair. She
seemeth to me to be a limb of the devil, which, in its hurry to escape
from the region of fire and brimstone, carried along with it some of
these elements of wrath, of which, I doubt not, she would make good use,
if a husband dared to say to her nay, in place of yea. Thou hast said
that thou lovest softness in woman; but I have heard thee say, in thy
mad freaks--wherein, doubtless, reason had no part--that thou wouldst
rejoice in an opportunity of taming a shrew. Truly, thy wish, at least
to the extent of making an attempt, may be gratified by marrying Bess
Douglas; but I would rede thee to consider, that she might tame _thee_.
Dost thou observe the difference there? Ha! the noble and high-spirited
Rothsay pinned, like a silken nose-cloth, to the skirt of the
linsey-woolsey tunic of a modern Xantippe!"

"Never fear, Ramorgny," cried the duke, impatiently; "thy efforts in my
behalf will save me this degradation. I am obliged to thee for thy
warning, and would repay thee, according to the measure of my gratitude
and thy desert, by recommending to thee as a wife Elizabeth Douglas,
while I will wed her of Dunbar."

The art by which Ramorgny thus sustained, apparently with good-humour,
his conversations with the duke regarding subjects which lay very near
his heart, and invested with serious import, was one of his cleverest
but most deceitful qualities. The duke himself treated everything
lightly; the unrestrainable buoyancy of his mind cast off with resilient
power everything which partook of a sombre character; but Ramorgny was
naturally dark, gloomy, and thoughtful; and his efforts at frolic,
successful as they were, were resorted to only as a means to accomplish
an end. In the present instance, he was necessitated, notwithstanding
the intensity of his passion, his vexation, and disappointment, to keep
up his old manner; for, where truth was generally arrayed in the
trappings of frivolity, deceit might have been suspected in an
appearance of sincerity.

Fortunately, however, the prince was not left altogether to the advice
of Ramorgny; but such is the fate of princes--he got counsel otherwise,
only in the suspicions he entertained of an enemy, his uncle Albany.
Having heard that he wished him to marry Elizabeth Douglas, and to
accompany him to Douglas Castle to see the lady on a certain day, the
prince, to escape the importunities of his uncle, and to gall him--a
pastime in which he took some pleasure--rode off precipitately to
March's castle, to enjoy the society of Elizabeth, in whom he expected
to find all the qualities described by his friend, who enjoyed his
absolute confidence.

When Rothsay arrived at the castle of March, the earl was on the eve of
setting out for Linlithgow, for the purpose of seeing him. The behaviour
of Elizabeth in presence of Ramorgny had filled March with solicitude as
to the issue of the projected match; and he wished to counteract, as far
as possible, the accounts which the favourite would, in all likelihood,
give of his self-willed daughter. On seeing the prince, he began to
entertain hopes that Ramorgny's account was not so unfavourable as he
suspected; but his surprise may be imagined, when, in a short
conversation he had with the prince previous to his introduction to the
ladies, he ascertained that Ramorgny's eulogistic description of
Elizabeth had filled him with an irresistible desire to see so beautiful
and gentle a creature. March looked askance at the prince, conceiving
that he was making him and his family the subject of an ill-timed
frolic; but he saw nothing in the face of the prince but the gravest
sincerity that his versatile temperament could exhibit. It is not
difficult to make doubtful facts quadrate with wishes; and March soon
became satisfied that the prince had received a favourable account, and
was deeply impressed with a sense of the beauty and merits of his
daughter. He immediately introduced him to Elizabeth, according to the
request of the prince; but it was not until he had got a gentle hint,
that he showed any inclination to leave them together--a piece of
etiquette reckoned due to a lover who had been proposed as the husband
of his daughter.

Pleased with the dark beauty, though unable to observe in her eye the
Cynthian beam so elaborately described by Ramorgny, the prince
approached the damsel, and, with that air of gallantry for which he was
so remarkable, fell at her feet, and, seizing her hand, said, in one of
his sweetest accents--

"I know not, gentle damsel, whether I have any authority thus to sue for
a slight indication of thy favour; but what may be refused by thy
goodness to a lover not yet permitted to approach thee with confidence,
may perhaps be granted to the lieutenant of the king. The triumphs of
beauty are best celebrated by favour; and condescension, which is the
prettiest foil of excellence, is exhibited to the kneeling knight, by
extending a hand to grace the act of his rising to receive it."

"Thou mayst e'en rise how and when thou wilt," replied Elizabeth,
snatching from him her hand; "or thou mayst kneel there till brown
Marion of Leghorn or Jean Lindsay of Rossie comes to help thee up. I
care no more for a general lover than I do for a general lieutenant. The
only difference I see between them is, that the one hath many female
slaves, and the other many male ones. By the soul of Black Agnes, I
shall love no man who loveth more than one woman!"

This speech soon raised the prince to his feet. He stared at the damsel,
doubtful if she was serious, or if he had his senses. Her seriousness
was clear enough; for she finished her speech by a stamp of her foot and
a clenching of the hand, suitable accompaniments of a female's oath.

"Art thou Elizabeth of Dunbar, the gentle daughter of the Earl of
March?" said the prince, hesitatingly.

"They say so," replied Elizabeth: "and it is to that reputation I owe a
prince's visit. I was born shortly after the sacking of Roxburgh by my
father; and, if I have any reputation for being gentle, as thou termest
me, it may be owing to my birth having followed so close upon that
famous occasion, on which mothers mourned the murder of their children,
and children hung at the breasts of their dying or dead mothers. There
is none of these things in our days: the world gets effeminate; and, in
place of women defending castles, and wiping the dust from the
battlements with their white handkerchiefs, as my ancestor did at
Dunbar, they teach the arts of spinning and knitting to the men, who,
with the Prince of Scotland at their head, vie with each other in the
softness of their skin and the smoothness of their speeches. How would
Black Agnes have answered to the speech thou didst now address to her
descendant, thinkest thou?"

"Very likely," replied the prince, "in the way in which she answered the
English who attacked her castle, or perhaps in the gentle way in which
thou hast done."

"Would that all men-spinsters were answered in the same way!" rejoined
Elizabeth. "But I would make a distinction: to men who have the boldness
to court women as they would attack a castle, I would speak softly; but
to the white-lipped simperers of smooth sayings, who attack the heart
with a tempest of sighs, and sap its foundations with floods of tears, I
would open the sally-port of my indignation, and kill them with a look."

"Then, I suppose," said the prince, "I owe my life to thy ladyship's
mercy, extended by way of tender exception to my individual case?"

"Say rather that thou owest it to my contempt," replied Elizabeth. "Thou
hast not yet experienced one of my looks. I have treated thee tenderly
because of the love I bear to Queen Arabella, thy mother, to whom I
would beg leave to commit thee for a farther supply of that
milk-and-breadberry, of which, as thy sallow cheeks indicate, thou hast
been cheated in thy infancy. Do not object that thou art too old; for
thy present condition is but an extension of childhood--even now I have
heard thy rattle."

"Women are privileged," replied the prince, losing temper.

"So are children," rejoined Elizabeth, smartly; "when thou hast arrived
at manhood, thou mayest then claim my indignation; meantime I recommend
thee to the queen."

And, saying this, she left the astonished prince standing in the chamber
like a statue. Recovering himself, he left the castle precipitately,
without seeing the earl, biting his lips, and muttering curses against
Ramorgny, who had deceived him, and Elizabeth, who had insulted him. As
he proceeded on his way homewards, he bethought himself of the different
characters Ramorgny gave the two ladies; and wishing to give him credit
for having confounded the attributes applicable to each, he resolved to
see Elizabeth Douglas; and, changing his course, proceeded in the
direction of Castle Douglas.

His arrival at the residence of the old earl, who had contributed to
place his family on the throne, brought into the mind of the prince some
recollections which evolved feelings which were deeply planted in his
nature, and only prevented from producing useful and amiable effects, by
lawless habits borrowed from dissolute companions. With his mind
elevated by noble aspirations, and high hopes of being one day an
ornament to his country, which he sincerely loved, he was in an
excellent mood for appreciating the virtues and beauty of a woman who
could, as a consort, make him a better and a happier man, and, by a
necessary consequence, a better governor, and subsequently a good king.
He met Elizabeth Douglas at a distance from the castle, and introducing
himself in the easy and elegant manner of which no man of his time was
more capable, was delighted with her conversation, and inspired by her
personal charms. Proceeding together to the castle, they were met at the
gate by the old earl, who complimented Rothsay, as well as his daughter,
by saying that all he had sighed for was that they should meet and be
able to appreciate each other's qualities; for he was assured that one
hour's conversation between persons so accomplished, actuated by such
motives, and inspired with such sentiments, would do more to procure an
attachment than a year's diplomacy and court intrigue.

Rothsay willingly remained for some time at the castle, and had frequent
opportunities of conversing with Elizabeth alone, and of appreciating
her noble qualities.

"I had got thee misrepresented to me," said the prince; "but I believe
unintentionally, and by a transposition of names. What would Elizabeth
Douglas think, if she were informed that she was likened to the wife of
Socrates, and the slipper-castigator of Hercules?"

"I should conceive that the reporter did not know me," answered
Elizabeth, "or wished to deceive. I am not an admirer of either of these
ladies, of whom I have before heard; but I plume not myself upon any
other quality than a wish to use my wealth and station for the benefit
of those who, though better and holier than I am, have, by the force of
dire necessity, been obliged to bow their necks under the yoke of
poverty and misfortune. Yet I fear all I can take credit for is a wish
to do good. My actions and my aspirations have not that accordance I
could wish; but, by the blessing of God, I hope to improve in my
self-discipline; and, in the meantime, I trust no one will be able to
accuse me of injuring the humblest of God's creatures."

"How seldom do these sentiments reach the ears of royalty," said
Rothsay, whose heart swelled with his genuine sentiments, long
concealed, "and especially from the lips of nobility! Yet, pleasant as
it is to contemplate goodness in mortals born of sin, it is difficult to
estimate the extent of the influence of generous sympathy when it is
found in the bosom of beauty. Do not pain me by saying I flatter thee.
At present I am not the gay son of King Robert; but by the wand of
enchantment changed for a season--would it were for ever!--into a sober
reasoner on the rights and claims of suffering humanity."

"Report hath not belied thee, good prince, though it hath me; for I have
ever heard that thy sentiments were generous--though, excuse my
boldness, they were not allowed to be called forth into action by the
scenes of common life. Believe a simple maiden, when she taketh the
liberty humbly to suggest, that royalty itself may be more ennobled by
one act of charity than by a glorious victory."

"Sweet maiden," cried the prince, seizing rapturously her hands, "thou
shalt be my counsellor. Thy sentiments shall be enforced by thy beauty,
and my heart and my exchequer be equally under the power of thy generous

By such conversations, Rothsay gained an insight into the heart of his
mistress. He recurred frequently to the report of Ramorgny, and hinted
to the earl that he had found his daughter the very reverse of what she
had been represented to him. The earl paid particular attention to the
hint, and seemed inclined to insinuate that Ramorgny might have had some
cause to misrepresent Elizabeth. The duke, having proceeded so far, felt
his curiosity excited to get an explanation of the earl's remark; and,
upon further question, ascertained that, according to the earl's
opinion, which had been corroborated by his daughter, Ramorgny had been
inspired with a strong passion for Elizabeth, which showed itself in
various forms, and was the cause of his protracted stay at the castle.
This discovery changed, in a great measure, all the prince's feelings
towards his old friend. He had thus convicted him of deception,
practised with a view to his injury, and for the purpose of gratifying a
passion cherished for the intended wife of his friend and his prince.
Amidst all their departures from the rules of sober life, the prince had
never himself been guilty, or patronised in his friend, any breach of
truth and good faith; and this was the first occasion on which this
great cementing principle of mankind had been sacrificed to private
interest. Seriously, however, as he felt it, he resolved upon stating it
to Ramorgny in such a way as might not produce his enmity; for he had
seen enough of him, to be satisfied that he was more capable of forming
a worse enemy than he was of becoming a true friend.

While the prince had thus been engaged in the south, Ramorgny had been
in the north, enjoying his favourite pastime of hunting the red deer
among the hills surrounding the water of Islay. The friends arrived in
Edinburgh about the same time, ignorant of each other's
motions--Ramorgny still labouring under the effect of the passion with
which Elizabeth Douglas had inspired him, and for a partial relief from
whose engrossing influence he had gone to the hills; and the duke
smarting under the pain of a breach of confidence and friendship in one
on whom he had so long placed his affections, and bestowed many favours.

"The hills of Scotland," said Ramorgny, "are exquisite renovators of a
town-worn constitution. The roes of the Highlands supply the strength
which has been wasted on the town hinds. Thou hadst better have been
with me, exerting the powers of a master over the inhabitants of the
forest, than stooping to the counsel of that grave batch of seniors
appointed to advise with thee--that is, to dictate to thee--on the
affairs of the state. Believe me, prince, thou shouldst cashier these
greybeards. Thy own judgment, aided by mine, is quite sufficient to
enable thee to govern this small barbarous kingdom."

"Thy advice," replied the prince, smiling, with some indication of
satire, "if followed, by rejecting the counsel of my constituted
advisers, would be an advice to reject advice contrary to thy advice;
for my council recommend me to marry Elizabeth Douglas, and to reject
the March. Dost thou think that any of the greybeards--Albany is too
ambitious to marry again--have any private intentions on Bess of Dunbar.
If I thought that, I would reject the Douglas, and betake myself to the

"And thou wouldst act sagely in so doing," replied Ramorgny, who did not
yet see the prince's satire. "If any one of these counsellors act from
such a motive--and I am not sure of Arran--he ought to lose his mistress
and his head at the same time."

"Sayest thou so, Ramorgny?" replied the prince. "Is it thy heart that so
speaketh, or thy judgment? Thou hast recommended me to the March, whom I
have seen and conversed with, and well know, and hast endeavoured to
terrify me from the Douglas, whom I have also seen, and can well
appreciate. Art thou quite sure thy advice is purer, sounder, truer, and
wiser, than that of my council?"

This question produced an evident effect upon Ramorgny. He endeavoured
to escape the prince's eye; but he found that no easy matter. Rothsay
kept looking at him intensely, and plainly showed that he was master of
the secret purpose for which he had endeavoured to precipitate him into
a connection that would have made him miserable for life. It was now,
however, too late for Ramorgny to retreat; and, boldly facing his
danger, he replied--

"Thy question carries with it more than meets the ear. If I depreciated
Elizabeth Douglas, and overrated Elizabeth Dunbar, a spirit of liberal
construction would give me credit for having been myself deceived."

"Stop!" said the prince, interrupting him. "I did not say that thou
didst depreciate the one and overrate the other. Why take guilt to

"By St Duthos," cried Ramorgny, who now saw he was caught, and resolved
upon another tack, "it is time now to be grave! Will that cursed spirit
of devilish frolic which I learned from thee cling to me, even after the
dreadful apparition of the first grey hair, which this morning appeared
to me in my glass? But thou art thyself to blame. A master of mirth
thyself--the prime minister of Momus, as well as of King Robert, and my
professor in the science of fun--wert thou unable to discover, in my
outrageous and elaborate description of the two damsels, the traces of
the pencil--for Momus could paint--of the laughing god? If thou wert
not, didst thou not deserve the harmless deception? Say, now, good
prince, condemn, if thou darest, thy scholar of a proficiency which thou
hast taught. Struck by thy own sword of lath, wilt thou amputate the
offending hand? Say, and if thou wilt, strike. A philosopher would
laugh--what shall the merry-making Rothsay do?"

The bold, dashing, laughing manner in which Ramorgny delivered this
speech, joined to a recollection of the high-flown and not serious
account he had given of the two damsels, drove out of the duke's mind
the suspicions roused by the communications of Earl Douglas, and with it
his anger. The boisterous good-humour of his friend carried him along
with him; and, answering the knight in his own way, he cried--

"Why, laugh too, perhaps, good Ramorgny. Thou hast certainly defeated me
in the first instance, but I have conquered thee in the second. I found
in the women what thou hast described them; only I was obliged to
substitute the name of Elizabeth Douglas for Bess of Dunbar. That
descendant of old Agnes is most certainly the devil, or at least his
viceregent. What dost thou think she recommended to me, to increase the
powers of my manhood? Why, milk and panado! The only woman, she thought,
I would be safe in the keeping of was my mother Arabella; the age, of
which she considered me a fair example, had retrograded from the days of
the sacking of Roxburgh by her father, into a state of mature infancy;
and as for our talents for war, she would scarcely allow us the mighty
power of infanticide. In short, thy description of Elizabeth Douglas
applied to her; and, when I say that thy description of her applied to
the other, why should I say that I was charmed with the fair Douglas?
Thou hast painted better than I can. She must be my wife; and I am glad
that my council, my mother, and myself, thus agree on a point which they
believe concerns the nation, but which I opine concerns only myself."

Ramorgny was at the moment well pleased to perceive that he had thus got
out of the scrape; but to have his snare twisted round his own limbs--to
have his description of his own lover adopted by a rival, in describing
her perfections, and thus to have, in a manner, precipitated his own
ruin--for he could not survive the marriage of Elizabeth Douglas with
another--touched him, as an accomplished intriguer, on the tenderest
parts of his nature. A second time deprived of the object of his
affections by his own disciple in the art of love, he determined that,
at least, there should never be a third opportunity for inflicting upon
him such degradation. His revenge deepened, but his smiles and apparent
good-humour quadrated with the increased necessity of concealing his
designs. These and their fatal issue are unfortunately but too well

Untold to Rothsay, certain schemes had, in the meantime, been in
agitation between the Earl of March and a party at court, the object of
which was to get a match brought about between Rothsay and Elizabeth of
Dunbar. These, for a time, wrought so favourably, that March, who never
knew what had taken place between Rothsay and his daughter, entertained
the strongest hopes of success. He had offered an immense dowry, which
the great extent of his estates near the Borders enabled him to pay, as
the price of the connection with royalty; and it would seem that he had
received from head-quarters strong pledges that his wishes would be
gratified. Ramorgny secretly joined the March party; but all their
endeavours could not prevent the final triumph of the Douglas, who had
also offered a large sum with his daughter, and who was, besides, backed
by the queen, and by the secret wishes of Rothsay himself.

The nuptials of the prince with Elizabeth Douglas were celebrated with
great rejoicings at Edinburgh. They were graced by the presence of the
king and the queen, and all the principal nobility of the land. Among
the rest were to be seen two persons destined to supply afterwards the
materials of an extraordinary chapter in the history of Scotland; the
shadows of which, if presentiment had thrown them before, would have
wrapped the gay scene of the marriage in the gloomy mantle of the dismal
Atropos. The first of these was Rothsay's uncle Albany, who, ever since
he was displaced from his governorship by the faction who awarded to the
young prince the lieutenantcy of the kingdom, had prayed fervently for
the death of the royal stripling, that had, with precocious audacity,
dared to compete with disciplined age in the management of the affairs
of the kingdom. The other was Ramorgny, who appeared at the celebration
of the nuptials, dressed in the gayest style, and wearing on his lips
the fallacious smile of the treacherous courtier, while his heart was
filled with rage and jealousy, and his fancy teemed with schemes of
deadly revenge. The picture, to one who could have seen into futurity,
would have presented the extraordinary foreground of an apparent
universal joy, filling all hearts and making all glad; and, close
behind, the grinning furies of revenge writhing in their agonies of a
wild desire to break in upon the unconscious victims, and spread death
and desolation where pleasure was alone to be found.

Ramorgny, who knew the volatile nature of the prince, waited patiently
until the pleasures of the first moon were experienced and exhausted. He
cultivated more than formerly the good opinion of one who retained no
longer any suspicion of the treachery of his friend. Ramorgny knew the
prince's sentiments of his uncle--that there existed between the two
relatives an inimical feeling, amounting, on the side of the uncle, to a
hatred which, derived from thwarted political ambition, would not
hesitate at short and ready measures of removing the object to which it
was directed, and, on that of the nephew, to a youthful impatience of
the surveillance and restraint which his late governor had exercised
over him, and was still ready to employ, when his selfish purposes
required their application. That Rothsay, who, in reality, possessed a
noble and generous spirit, would stoop to any base purpose to get quit
of the authority and interference of his uncle, Ramorgny did not
suppose; but he hoped so far to implicate the thoughtless prince in a
scheme of his devising, as to make his act appear, by misconstruction,
of such a nature to Albany, as would give his revenge the specious
appearance of self-defence, and accelerate the fate of his victim.

In accordance with this scheme, Ramorgny continued, as he had done
formerly, to fill the prince's mind with details of his uncle's inimical
feelings towards him; which was of the more easy accomplishment, that
the prince was already aware of his uncle's disposition. The choleric
youth listened to these tales with impatience, and often allowed himself
to be hurried into extravagant expressions of indignation, which a
servant of Ramorgny's, a servile creature, ready to commit any crime for
money, was instructed, when occasion offered, to note and remember. For
a time, Ramorgny limited his details to such acts as occasionally
occurred, and which the unrestrainable hatred of Albany furnished in
such abundance, that he found no great necessity to have recourse to
invention, unless it were, indeed, to add the colouring, which was
generally of the most extravagant kind, and best suited to reach the
heart of the prince, and influence his anger and indignation.

Farther Ramorgny could not venture for a long time to go. The generous
youth sometimes got wearied with the recital of his uncle's indignities;
and, willing to leave him to his own heart, kept on in the tenor of his
own path; which, however, was none of the straightest--his aberrations
after his marriage being, as before, the result of every new fancy which
such men as Ramorgny, acting on an excited and irregular imagination,
chose, by their consummate arts, to introduce into his mind. This did
not suit Ramorgny. He required stronger materials to work with, and did
not hesitate to use them. It is easy to work for evil in a heart
originally corrupt; but to corrupt, and then to seduce, is a work of
time; and it is to the credit of human nature that virtue is often
strong enough to maintain its place against the attacks of the most
insidious schemers.

It was now Ramorgny's effort to rouse the suspicions of the prince as to
his personal safety from the designs of his uncle. He invented a story
of a conversation which had been overheard between Albany and a ruffian
often employed by him to execute his purposes of revenge. The import of
this conversation was, that Albany, having been superseded in his office
of governor, had resolved upon acquiring it again, and that he could not
succeed in that resolution so long as the prince was alive--that he
accordingly hinted to the ruffian that it would be pleasant to him if he
heard that the duke no longer lived--and that, for such information, a
reward would be given sufficient to stimulate the most scrupulous
executioner that ever aided an unhappy man across the Stygian stream.
All this was communicated to Rothsay by Ramorgny in a whisper, and with
an appearance, tone, and manner suited to the awful nature of the
intelligence. The duke believed the story, and, bursting forth into an
extravagant sally of indignation, cried--

"It is time that princes of the blood-royal should exert the power in
defence of themselves, which is intrusted to them for the defence of
others, when villains, in broad day, lay schemes for their lives. I can
plainly see, and have long seen, that this man and I cannot live in the
same age. Scotland is too narrow for us; and the viceroyal chair must be
polluted with blood! Yet shall age supplant youth? Is it meet that time
should go backwards, and that, by force and through blood, the order of
nature should be changed? It shall not be so! If one is to fall, nature
herself points out the victim--and that victim is Albany!"

These words, uttered in anger, and intended merely to indicate the
injustice of Albany's scheme, and the necessity of self-defence, in the
event of its being attempted to be carried into execution, were
carefully noted by Ramorgny's creature, who was in hearing. They were
plainly capable, however, of another construction by a person who did
not hear the rest of the conversation, and understand their application.
They might mean that Rothsay intended to get his uncle out of the way--a
construction which did not ill accord with the feelings which existed in
the prince's mind against the disturber of his peace, if these had been
formed in another bosom, but unjustified by the prince's noble
disposition, which would have despised any underhand scheme to rid
himself of his bitterest enemy. The words were, however, uttered, and
noted, and remembered; and they were not uttered in vain.

Ramorgny having thus procured evidence of the prince's designs against
the life of his uncle, repaired to Albany, and narrated to him the
statements made by the duke, and referred him, for corroboration, to his
servant. Albany wished nothing more ardently than this communication;
and, even without it, he would have been glad to have joined Ramorgny in
any scheme for the removal of his rival. Other enemies were brought into
action. Sir William Lindsay of Rossie, whose sister the duke had loved
and deserted; and Archibald Douglas, the brother of Elizabeth, piqued by
some private feeling, were willing to aid in the death of one who had
courted the relative of one of them to desert her, and married that of
the other to treat her with neglect. That the prince was unkind or
unfaithful to his wife, who bore a reputation of being so fair and
amiable, has been treated by some historians as a mere fable, resorted
to by the unnatural earl, her brother, as a palliative of conduct which
it was not suited to render in the slightest degree less revolting.
There is reason, however, to suppose that Lindsay had some cause for his
resentment in the desertion of his sister, who loved the duke, and never
recovered from the effects of his unfaithful conduct.

The first project of these conspirators was worthy of the talents of the
individuals who had determined to prostitute the best of the gifts of
God to destroy one of his creatures. It was resolved to work upon the
king in such a way as to procure from him some token of his
disapprobation of the conduct of his son. It is difficult now to
ascertain how this was effected, as there is no doubt that Rothsay still
held a strong claim on the affections of his father. The result,
however, shows that the means must have been of an extraordinary nature;
for King Robert was got to sign a writ for the confinement of the
prince. It is very probable that nothing more was intended by this than
to show the king's displeasure, which would gradually relax as the
slight punishment wrought the expected amendment. It has been doubted
whether such writ was ever truly signed by the king; and surely it is
not difficult to suppose that the men who, holding the gates of the
palace in their hands, could admit or deny whom they chose to the royal
presence, would not stop at forgery which they could conceal, if they
had made up their minds to murder, which has seldom or ever been
successfully concealed. But it matters not, in so far as regards the
fate of the prince, whether the writ was genuine or not. It was acted
upon, and the unfortunate son of a king was seized by his enemies,
Douglas and Ramorgny, lashed in his royal robes to the back of a sorry
horse, and hurried through Fife, to a prison adjoining to the palace of

The unhappy prince now saw that his death was determined; but he little
suspected what was to be its cruel nature. The work of his enemies was
done, but they had delegated what even their hard hearts could not
accomplish to ruffians, from whose bosoms every humane feeling had been
long eradicated. He was put under the charge of two men, brought, it is
supposed, from Aberdeen--a locality as far from the scene of the tragedy
they were to perform as possible--called John Wright and John Selkirk,
names that remained infamous in Scotland for many a day. The faces of
these men, filled with the expression of a determination to resist every
feeling of humanity, contrasted strangely with the countenance of the
royal youth, formed by nature, and moulded by his sympathies, to speak
eloquently the language of affection, and reflect the fair lineaments of
the most beautiful of the graces. It required only one glance of the
prince's inquiring eye, to see that, if his fate depended upon the
feelings of these men, he had no chance of salvation in this world.

The ruffians, having thrown the unfortunate youth into one of the low
dungeons of the prison, without speaking a word, were preparing to leave
him, when, urged by feelings of despair, he fell on his knees, and
besought them to tell him what commission they had got from his enemies
for the fulfilment of his fate.

"Tell me, good friends," he cried, "in what shape death is to come to
the son of a king, that he may prepare his mind to meet his end as
becometh a man. Grant me, at least, the privilege of dying by my own
hand, that the descendant of Bruce may escape the fate of malefactors,
or the mangled termination of the devoted victim of revenge. You are
not, you cannot be, so bad as the sternness of office makes you appear.
Shall the Prince of Scotland sue in vain to the subjects of his father
for the boon of a dagger? Merciful Heaven! am I refused this
request? Then is cruelty to be added to injustice; and perhaps
starvation--dreadful thought--awaits me, with its attendant agonies."

As the unfortunate prince uttered these words, he fell on the damp floor
of the dungeon. His appeal produced nothing but a hollow growl, more
like the sound of a mastiff's anger than the voice of a human being.
Turning abruptly from him, they left him extended on the ground, and in
an instant seemed to be entirely occupied about the manner in which they
should secure, with double certainty, the door of the dungeon. On
lifting his head, the victim heard nothing but the harsh expostulations
of the two men, as they differed about the expediency of riveting the
iron bars by which the door was fastened.

The wretched youth had truly anticipated his fate. Starvation was the
mode of death fixed upon by his cowardly murderers. What might have been
accomplished in an instant, was prolonged for many days. Cruelty was,
indeed, as he had said, added to injustice; and the merciful death of
the malefactor on the gallows was denied to the heartrending entreaties
of a prince. For fifteen days, according to a historian, he was suffered
to remain without food, under the charge of Wright and Selkirk, whose
task it was to watch the agony of their victim till it ended in death.
It is said that, for awhile, the wretched prisoner was preserved in a
remarkable manner, by the kindness of a poor woman, who, in passing
through the garden of Falkland, was attracted by his groans to the
grated window of his dungeon, which was level with the ground, and
became acquainted with his story. It was her custom to steal thither at
night, and bring him food, by dropping small cakes through the grating,
whilst milk, conducted through a pipe to his mouth, was the only way he
could be supplied with drink. But Wright and Selkirk, suspecting from
his appearance that he had some secret supply, watched, and detected the
charitable visitant, and the prince was abandoned to his fate.

Such was the death assigned to the son of a king, the most favoured by
nature, the most engaging, the most generous--what pity is it to add,
the most volatile and irregular--that ever was born to a kingdom, amidst
the acclamations of a loving people!


In these days, when a factitious style is made the vehicle of factitious
feelings, we offer to our readers a simple story; and when we say that
it is a true one, we may hope to claim an interest very different from
that which is inspired by ingenious fiction.

There may be some who yet remember Fanny Rutherford, of the Parish of
Carwhinn. She was one of the most gentle and amiable creatures that ever
breathed--warm in her attachments, confiding in her love, and mild and
kind in her dispositions. The daughter of a country gentleman, of small
estate, but of great respectability, she was, at the period of our
story, in her nineteenth year. Her father, though by no means wealthy,
had spared no expense in her education; and her quick natural parts
enabled her to derive all the benefit which that education was intended
to confer. She was also the joy of two brothers, both intelligent,
clever young men, bred to agricultural pursuits, in which they were
largely and extensively engaged.

Mr Rutherford was a widower; and his household duties therefore devolved
upon Fanny, who discharged them with exemplary propriety.

Hitherto, though of an ardent, susceptible, and even romantic
disposition, Fanny's peace had never been disturbed by love. The quiet
tenor of her days had passed away in the enjoyment of domestic
happiness, and in the interchange of endearments with her father and
brothers, to whom she was devotedly attached, and by whom she was most
sincerely and tenderly loved in return. Neither a thought nor a wish
beyond the sphere of this little round of felicity ever entered the
pure and unsophisticated mind of the happy and innocent girl. But this
was a happiness that was not to last. Love, that bane or blessing of
woman's existence, as its object is unworthy or otherwise, at length
found its way into the guileless bosom of Fanny Rutherford; and, oh,
what a consummation awaited that unfortunate attachment!

At the distance of about a mile from Mr Rutherford's, there lived a
young man of the name of Raeburn, the son of a gentleman in similar
circumstances with the former--that is, a small landed proprietor. This
young man, who had received a very liberal education, was possessed of
an agreeable person and of exceedingly pleasing manners; but there were
occasional developments of character that but very indifferently
harmonised with these qualities; and there were, besides, more than one
little incident in his life that betrayed a degree of selfishness, not
to say heartlessness, that would by no means have been expected in one
of so frank and cheerful a disposition. Still these symptoms were, after
all, of so trifling a character, that they could scarcely be said to
have affected the reputation which Raeburn aimed at, and succeeded with
a great many in acquiring--namely, that of a dashing, careless,
good-hearted, and liberal-minded young fellow.

At this period, Henry Raeburn was residing at home, waiting for an
appointment in the civil service of the East India Company, which had
been promised him by a friend of his father's; and much of the spare
time which his present circumstances placed at his disposal he spent at
Mr Rutherford's, where his agreeable manners and general intelligence
made him at all times a welcome visiter. But to none of the members of
the family were these visits more agreeable than to Fanny, over whose
affections his insinuating address and handsome exterior had made a
complete conquest. Nor was Raeburn himself apparently less the victim
of this passion than she was. He took every opportunity of pouring into
her ear the most ardent expressions of attachment. A thousand times he
swore that he was hers for ever--that the sun would change his course,
the stars forget to shine, ere he became inconstant to his Fanny. To all
these professions of love the unsuspecting and confiding girl lent a
willing ear, and listened and listened to the fascinating tale again and
again, till her whole soul became absorbed by one single idea--until she
found, in short, that she lived for Henry Raeburn alone.

Whether Raeburn was sincere in his professions of attachment to Fanny
Rutherford, at this stage of their acquaintance, we cannot say, and have
no means of ascertaining. That was a circumstance known to his Creator
and himself alone.

The young people, however, made no attempts to conceal their mutual
attachment--at least Fanny made none to conceal hers. Indeed, the
guileless simplicity, and open and candid nature, of the amiable girl
rendered her incapable of concealing it. Neither, though she could,
would she have done it: her sense of propriety and delicacy of feeling
would not have permitted her.

Fanny's father and brothers, therefore, were perfectly aware of the
attachment alluded to; and although, of course, the marriage of the
parties was a thing not to be thought of in their present circumstances,
yet, as Henry was likely soon to obtain a lucrative situation in India,
it was a very probable and very desirable contingency; and with this
prospective consideration, Fanny's father did not disapprove of her
choice, as young Raeburn was otherwise, by birth and education, a
perfectly eligible match for his daughter. All that was wanting was
fortune; and this was a desideratum which there was a reasonable
probability of Henry soon supplying.

When we said, however, that the visits of Fanny's lover were acceptable
to all the members of Mr Rutherford's family, we said fully more than
the facts warranted. There was one, at any rate, of that family to whom
these visits were not only not acceptable, but positively disagreeable.
This person was Fanny's eldest brother, Edward. Possessed of more
penetration than his father or younger brother, he had perceived
something in the character of Raeburn which he did not like, and which
struck him as being strangely at variance with his general pretensions
and professions. He had, in short, discovered several instances of
selfishness and want of principle in the young man, which, though they
were but of a trifling nature, had early imbued him with a secret
prejudice against him; and this he did not hesitate to avow to his own
family, and particularly to Fanny; but, in the latter case, his avowal
was always accompanied by the most tender expressions of affection for
herself, as if to convince her that it was on her account alone that he

One day, on her returning from Mr Raeburn's, where she had been to an
entertainment, and when Henry, who had accompanied her home, had just
left the house--

"My dear Fanny," said her brother, addressing her in the blunt way
peculiar to him, and taking her affectionately by the hand, "I don't
like that fellow Raeburn. I would not willingly or needlessly say any
thing harsh of anyone whom you esteem; but you are guileless, Fanny, and
ignorant of the ways of the world, still more so of the faithlessness of
man, and therefore liable to have your judgment misled by your heart. Be
cautious--be guarded, then, Fanny. Do, for your own sake, my dear
sister, be cautious how you admit this man to tamper with your

"Edward!" replied Fanny, bursting into tears, "what is the meaning of
this solemn objurgation? I have never done, and never will do, anything
without my father's consent and yours, Edward. But surely, surely you
judge unfairly of Henry, Edward. He is far too honourable and upright
to deceive any one, much less----"

"You, you would say," interrupted her brother.

Fanny blushed slightly, and went on: "If you had heard him, as I have
often done, express his sentiments on the duties we owe to each other,
and speak of the rules which ought to regulate our conduct, you would
entertain a very different opinion of him--I am sure you would, Edward."

"Simple girl, simple girl!" said her brother. "He speak of the duties we
owe to each other! He speak of the rules which ought to regulate our
conduct!" he added, with a bitter sneer. "Well, perhaps it is all right,
Fanny," he went on; "I may have judged harshly of Raeburn, and may be
doing him an injustice; but, if I am, I never was more mistaken in a man
in my life. But, Fanny," he added, with a sudden energy of manner, "here
I swear--and I wish Raeburn heard the oath--that, if he deceive or
injure you, I will pursue him to the ends of the earth--ay, through the
snows of Greenland, or the burning deserts of the tropics--and seek a
reparation that will cost the lives of one or both of us."

"Mercy, mercy!" exclaimed the weeping girl, terrified at the fierce
looks and manner of her brother, yet at the same time throwing herself
into his arms. "What dreadful language is this, Edward? What grounds on
earth have you for anticipating so dreadful a catastrophe? I am sure you
have seen nothing to warrant your expressing yourself in this frightful

"I have not said that I anticipated anything, Fanny, regarding this
attachment of yours," replied her brother. "I spoke only hypothetically.
But, from this hour, I say no more on the subject. I trust, however,
that what I have said will not be without its effect upon you, Fanny.
You will perceive, my dear sister," he added, embracing her tenderly,
"that it is my affection, and, I will add, my fears, for you, that have
prompted all I have said."

"I know it, Edward--I know it," replied Fanny; "and I am grateful to
you. But you will soon learn to like Henry better than you now do."

"Woman, woman--still woman to the last," said her brother, smiling. "But
do, Fanny, permit what I have said to make some impression on you." And
Edward left the apartment.

Woman, woman still, as her brother had said, the warmhearted girl's
affections for Raeburn suffered no diminution whatever from what had
just passed between her and her brother. In truth, as such interferences
almost always do, it had the effect rather of increasing her love, by
placing the object of her affections--in her sight, at any rate--in the
light of one who is injured by being harshly judged of.

"My Henry deceive me!" she thought within herself on this
occasion--"impossible! impossible! That kind and gentle look!--can that
deceive? That benignant smile!--can there be treachery there? That frank
and open manner!--is that assumed? No, no, Edward--you wrong Henry; you
do indeed, Edward. You wrong him grievously."

Such were the reflections in which Fanny Rutherford indulged when her
brother had left her, and such was the effect which his fears and
suspicions had upon her unsuspecting and confiding heart.

We have already informed the reader that Raeburn was at this time
waiting for an appointment in the civil service of the East India
Company. This appointment he at length obtained, and he was, at the same
time, ordered to proceed immediately to London, to embark for his new
destination; and with this order he complied, after taking an
affectionate leave of Fanny, to whom he once more, and for the last
time, vowed eternal constancy and love. It is almost unnecessary to add,
that a mutual promise to maintain a frequent and regular correspondence
during the period of their separation was also given by the lovers. But,
besides all this, a distinct arrangement, to which Fanny's father and
brothers were privy, was likewise made, that, so soon as Henry should be
fairly settled in India, and should have ascertained that his income was
sufficient to warrant such a step, Fanny, being previously informed of
this, was to join him, when their destinies should be united.

These matters arranged, Henry proceeded to London, where he soon after
embarked for Calcutta, which he eventually reached in safety, at the end
of the usual period occupied in that voyage.

Faithful to his promise, Henry, soon after his arrival, wrote to Fanny,
and gave a very flattering account of his situation and prospects,
expressing, at the same time, a hope that he would soon be in a
condition to invite her to come out and partake his good fortune.

This letter was followed in due time by another, in which the same
sentiments of love and affection were expressed; but it contained a less
flattering account of his circumstances. These, the writer said, had
scarcely answered the expectations he had formed from them on his first
arrival; and he feared, if they did not improve, that, however painful
their separation was to him, he would be compelled to submit to its
continuance for some time, as he could not think of bringing her there,
so far from her home and her friends, until he should be able to receive
her in a manner that would more unequivocally bespeak the sincerity of
his love than his present means would admit of.

These two letters, as we have said, came in due time; and,
notwithstanding the discouraging tenor of the last, were received by
poor Fanny with the most unfeigned delight. But, when the time came
round that another letter should have reached her from her lover, it was
in vain that the affectionate girl looked for that solace to her
wearied spirit. Week after week passed away, month succeeded month, and,
finally, year followed year, and still no letter came, to raise the
prostrate and withering hopes of poor Fanny Rutherford. For some time
she was impressed with a conviction that her lover was dead; for she
could not, and would not, believe that her Henry was faithless. But in
this belief--perhaps the least afflicting of the two--she was not
permitted long to remain; for it was ascertained, through Henry's
father, not only that he was still living, but that he was getting on
prosperously, and in a fair way of soon realising a fortune.

Unwilling, unwilling, indeed, was poor Fanny to believe this account of
Henry--but it was certain; and this certainty of the neglectfulness, or,
yet worse, faithlessness, of her lover threatened to hurry her to a
premature grave.

Nearly three years had now passed away since the receipt of her last
letter from Henry; and she had long given up all hopes of ever hearing
from him again, or of ever being more to him than she then was. While
sitting alone, however, one morning about this period, her head leaning
upon her hand, and listlessly gazing through a window that overlooked
the approach to her father's house, her curiosity was slightly excited
by observing the person who usually brought the letters from the
neighbouring village hurrying with unwonted speed towards the house,
and, as she approached nearer, waving a letter which she held in her
hand towards Fanny. In an instant the blood, which had long forsaken the
poor girl's cheeks, rushed back to its forgotten repositories. Her heart
beat fast and thick, and a violent tremor seized on her whole emaciated
frame. The letter was, and she now knew it, from Henry Raeburn.

Having got possession of the intensely-interesting document, she rushed
with it up-stairs to her own apartment, bolted the door, and flung
herself down on a bed; laying, at the same time, the letter, which,
from excessive agitation, she was unable at the moment to open, on a
small table beside her. Having, however, in a few minutes regained as
much composure as she conceived would enable her to venture on the
exciting task of perusing the letter, she arose, seized it convulsively,
and staggered with it unfolded in her grasp towards the window, where
she began to read. The letter commenced thus--

     "MY DEAREST, DEAREST FANNY,--What is the meaning of this?
     Cruel, cruel girl, it is now precisely two years and a-half
     since I received your last letter, although I have written to
     you at least six or seven times during that period. What a
     relief, Fanny, it would be to my mind, to know that these
     letters of mine had miscarried--that they had never reached
     you!--for, in that case, I might still hope, still believe,
     that my Fanny was faithful. Indeed, it is in this hope that I
     live; for, as I have been for the last two years going from
     place to place, at a great distance in the interior, I think it
     not improbable that my letters--all of which were despatched
     from these remote residences--have never found their way to

The writer then went on, praying Fanny not to lose a moment in relieving
his mind on this, to him, he said, most painful subject. After a good
deal more to similar purpose, he continued--

     "Will my Fanny not take it amiss--she will not, I know, if she
     still be to me as she once was, and what I still am to her--if
     I request her to send me her portrait?--that, since fortune
     still denies me the happiness of contemplating the original, I
     may, as I assuredly will, find some consolation in possessing
     the copy. I will then," continued the writer, "have you present
     to my corporeal eye, as you are, and have constantly been, to
     my mental vision. Enclosed, my dearest Fanny, you have a draft
     for twenty guineas, which please apply to the purpose just
     expressed, and let there not be a moment lost in forwarding me
     your beloved picture."

The writer then went on to say, that he expected to be in a condition to
invite her out in the course of a twelvemonth or so; and ultimately
finished by a repetition of the most tender expressions of affection and

When Fanny had completed the perusal of this, to her, most gratifying
letter--that is, after she had read it at least six times over--she
rushed wildly down-stairs in quest of her brother Edward; and having
found him, "See, see, Edward!" exclaimed the delighted girl, forcing the
letter into his hands; "read that, Edward, and acknowledge, my brother,
the injustice which you and all of us have done to Henry. I knew, I
knew," she went on, "my Henry would not deceive me. I felt assured that
his silence and seeming neglect would one day be satisfactorily
accounted for, and without impugning his honour."

To these expressions of joy, and delight, and confidence, Fanny's
brother made no reply, but sat down coolly to read the letter that had
been put into his hands; and greatly disappointed was the poor girl, who
was watching his countenance with the most intense interest, while he
read, to find that the contents seemed to excite in him no emotion
whatever. When he finished--"Well, Fanny," he said, dryly, at the same
time carelessly returning her the letter, "it's all very well. I am glad
to find that Raeburn is not altogether the man I feared he was. He seems
to think of you with unabated regard still, Fanny."

"Oh yes, Edward!--oh yes! I knew Henry would not deceive me!" again
repeated the unsuspecting and delighted girl.

Edward, as we have already said, tenderly loved Fanny; and it was this
regard for her that prevented him saying all he thought of the letter he
had just read. He would not, for any consideration, have damped the
feelings of joy and happiness which it had inspired in the bosom of his
sister, by making any remarks that might have a tendency of that kind;
but he could not help observing sufficient grounds for such
observations. He saw, in the first place, that Raeburn's assertion that
he had written several letters to Fanny was a downright falsehood, or,
at best, of a very suspicious character; for his father--who lived, as
the reader will recollect we have already said, in the immediate
neighbourhood, and whom he frequently met with--had never made any
complaint of any interruption in his son's correspondence; and he
(Edward), moreover, knew that Henry's father had received many letters
from him during the very period of the suspension of his correspondence
with Fanny. It therefore appeared extremely odd to him that all the
letters addressed to the one should have miscarried, while all those
addressed to the other had reached their destination in safety, and in
due course of time. In the next place, Edward saw, or thought he saw,
that the general tenor of the letter was forced and unnatural; and,
lastly, that procrastination was apparently still the object of the
writer, notwithstanding his having vaguely named a period when he should
invite Fanny to share his fortunes as his wife.

All this Edward perceived in the letter in question; but the worst he
thought of it was, that Raeburn had for a time forgotten his sister,
probably in a temporary regard for another, and that his affection for
her having returned, he was now anxious to atone for his negligence or
infidelity; and, under this impression, he was willing to overlook the
subterfuge to which Raeburn had had recourse, to account for his
silence; and, in these views of the matter, Edward's father and brother

Two or three days after the receipt of Henry's letter, Fanny, though in
a very indifferent state of health, proceeded to Edinburgh, and had her
likeness taken there in miniature. On her return, the picture was
carefully packed in a small box or case, and, accompanied by a letter
from Fanny, despatched to its remote destination. In this letter, the
poor girl, in allusion to the portrait, said--"I have, in compliance
with your wishes, Henry, sent you my portrait; but I fear it will sadly
disappoint you; for a more unpropitious time for transferring my
miserable countenance to canvas (I believe, however, in this case it is
ivory) could scarcely have been chosen; for I have been extremely ill
for a long time past, and am yet very far from being well. I have been
broken-hearted, Henry, and have been labouring under the worst and most
hopeless of all diseases--a crushed and broken spirit."

Thus did the poor girl allude to the misery which Raeburn's neglect had
entailed on her. Her delicacy forbade her saying more, and her candid
and confiding disposition would not permit her to say less.

Leaving matters in this state at Rose Vale (the name of Mr Rutherford's
residence), we will, with the reader's consent, embark in the same ship
with Fanny's portrait, and proceed to the East Indies, to see with our
own eyes what, at this period, was the general conduct, character, and
circumstances of him for whom that picture was intended. Having done
this--an easy matter with you and us, good reader, though no trifling
affair to others--we shall find Raeburn residing in a very handsome
house at Calcutta; and in one of the most conspicuous places in one of
the principal rooms in that house, we shall find the portrait of Fanny
Rutherford suspended--and well worthy of the distinction was this
likeness of the lovely girl. Beautiful! exceedingly beautiful in her
sadness!--for the painter had been faithful; and but too plainly did
that picture tell of sorrow and of suffering--"of hope deferred, that
maketh the heart sick." Nor did Henry Raeburn seem insensible to the
beauty expressed in that little picture. To every one who visited him he
showed it, with an air of exultation and triumph; pressed on their
notice the soft expression of the fine dark eye, the light, delicate,
and well-arched eyebrow, the ruby lip, and elegantly-formed nose and
chin. But, be it remarked--and it was an odd circumstance--it was to
the young unmarried men alone who visited him that he showed the
picture, and that he thus dwelt on the details of its beauties. Strange
distinction this--to the unmarried alone that he showed the picture, and
enlarged on the attractions of its subject! What does this mean? Much,
much it means; and a darker or more atrocious meaning never disgraced
the act of man. But we will leave the full explanation of this atrocity
to be developed by the progress of our story.

"Ah! you dogs, you!" Raeburn would say, with well-affected jocularity,
to his friends of the description already mentioned, when showing them
Fanny's portrait, "isn't that a pretty girl, now? and am not I a lucky
fellow to have secured the affections of so charming a woman? What would
you give, you rogues, you, for such a creature as that for a wife?"
Then, holding the portrait aloft, "Come, say now, gentlemen, what would
you give for her, suppose I was willing to part with her; which,
perhaps, I am, if I could get a fair price for my right. Bid for her,
gentlemen, bid for her!" he would say, laughingly, and _affecting_ to
make a joke of the matter. "I will put her up to sale, and warrant the
stock to be equal to the sample!" "A thousand rupees!" "Thank you, John.
Very well for a beginning! Get on, gentlemen, get on." "Two thousand!
three thousand!" "That's it. Go it, my spirited lads, go it; but she's
worth six times the money yet." "Eight thousand! ten thousand!" "Ay, now
you get on bravely, and are approaching the mark, though still at a
great distance from it." "Fifteen thousand! twenty thousand!" "Very
well--twenty thousand! Twenty thousand, gentlemen! Will no one bid more!
Why, Tom, I thought you were a better judge of female beauty than to
allow such a bargain as this to slip through your fingers!" "Twenty-five
thousand!" "Well done, Tom; I knew you were a lad of spirit, and had
too much of the knight-errant in you to allow a fair lady like this to
be knocked down below her value. Twenty-five thousand rupees--once,
twice, thrice! There, down she goes--she's yours, Tom; pay me the money,
and I'll order her out for you by the first ship."

This was a scene of frequent occurrence in Raeburn's house, when a
number of young fellows had got together there, and something very like
it was repeated to each of them individually when they chanced to call
alone; particularly in the case of one of them--a Mr Cressingham, the
son of a gentleman who held one of the highest civil situations in
India, and who was enormously wealthy. This was Raeburn's friend, Tom,
as he familiarly called him; and to him he was especially eloquent and
importunate on the subject of Fanny's beauty.

"Well, hang me if she an't a devilish pretty creature that, after all!"
said Tom Cressingham to Raeburn, as they one day sat alone smoking their
hookahs in the apartment in which Fanny's portrait hung, and on which he
was listlessly gazing.

"That she is, Tom," replied Raeburn; "wouldn't you fancy such a girl as
that, now, for a wife, Tom?"

"Faith and I would, Harry; I'd give ten thousand rupees for such a

"You're coming down in your price, Tom," replied Raeburn; "you offered
twenty-five thousand for her the other night."

"Well, I don't know but I would give that sum for her, after all, Harry;
for she's certainly a delightful-looking creature. But why don't you
bring out the girl, and marry her at once yourself, Harry?"

"Umph!" ejaculated Raeburn, "that wouldn't be altogether so convenient
just now. You know I'm confoundedly in debt, Tom" (this was but too
true; for he was grossly dissipated, and was living in a style far
beyond his income), "and must clear my feet a bit before I think of
marrying. Besides, to tell you a secret, Tom, I don't care much about
standing to my Scotch bargain in that matter; and, to be plain with you,
I wish you, or some one else, would relieve me of it, by taking the girl
off my hands; giving me, of course, a handsome consideration for my
right in the property."

This was said jokingly; but it was very easy to see that the speaker
would not care to be thought serious; and this Cressingham perceived.

"Harry," he said, "are you in earnest?"

"To be sure I am," replied Raeburn; "never was more in earnest in my

"Then I'm your man, Harry, if we can agree about the terms," rejoined
Cressingham. "What say you about the consideration."

"Why, I don't know; you see she is a very handsome girl, Tom; and, on
the word of a _gentleman_, I assure you, she is as amiable as she is

"Well, at a word, Harry," said Cressingham, "I'll give you five thousand
pounds sterling money, the day that woman becomes my wife; you being at
the expense of bringing her out, and managing all that part of the

"Done!" said Raeburn.

"Done!" said Cressingham. And they struck hands upon the bargain.

Raeburn's villany, good reader, is now before you fully and fairly. The
conversation just recorded was no joke, but, as he himself acknowledged,
downright earnest; and it will readily be conceded, we think, that a
piece of more heartless depravity is not upon record. Neither, we beg to
assure the reader, is this villany imaginary, nor the character of
Raeburn the invention of fancy. The villany was actually perpetrated,
and the villain actually lived.

Fanny's portrait had been sent for for the express purpose of turning it
to the account to which we have seen it applied. He had sent for it that
he might exhibit it as a sample of goods which he had to dispose of, and
which he meant to sell to the highest bidder; and it was with this
view--with the view of finding a purchaser--that he had hung the
portrait of his victim in a conspicuous place, and had urged on the
notice of his visiters the various beauties which it displayed.

To return to our tale. Raeburn and Cressingham--the latter, we need
hardly say, being nearly as unprincipled as the former--having come to
the understanding which we have just detailed, Raeburn insisted that
their bargain should be expressed on paper; that is, that Cressingham
should bind himself by a written document to fulfil his part of the
transaction--in other words, should bind himself to pay the £5000 on the
day Fanny became his wife; although with what face he could produce such
a document in a court of justice to enforce his claim, in the event of
Cressingham evading it, it certainly is not easy to conceive. But,
desirous of being secure in the meantime, on such a document as that
alluded to, he insisted; and it was instantly given him.

This part of the transaction settled, it was Raeburn's business to
manage the rest:--the first step of which was to get Fanny out; the
next, to get her palmed upon Cressingham; and he lost no time in setting
about it.

As the subsequent proceedings of the villain, however, will be more
strikingly exhibited by shifting the scene once more to Rose Vale, we
request the reader to accompany us thither for a moment.

The year had a good while expired, which Raeburn had fixed on, in his
last letter to Fanny, as the period when he should send for her to join
him at Calcutta; and the poor girl was looking fondly and anxiously for
the promised invitation; but, for several months, she was again doomed
to suffer all the pains of suspense and disappointment. From this,
however, she was at length relieved by the appearance of the
long-expected letter. This, like all its predecessors, was filled with
the most tender expressions of regard and esteem. "It is now," said the
writer, "with the most heartfelt--nay, this is far too tame a phrase--it
is with a delight, my beloved Fanny, which I cannot find language to
express--that I inform you, that the circumstances in which I now find
myself warrant me in inviting you out to share my fortunes. I enclose a
draft for £150, to defray the expense of your passage, and other
contingencies connected with it; and I beg of you, my dearest, dearest
Fanny, as you value my happiness, nay, my existence, to lose no time in
coming out to me; for I will be miserable till you arrive." To this was
added a great many particular directions, as to Fanny's best mode of
proceeding in the business of her embarkation; and again the writer
resumed the strain of adulation with which he had begun; and with this
strain, also, he finally ended.

As in the former case, Fanny instantly put this letter into the hands of
her brother Edward; and again she was disappointed to find that it was
read without the smallest appearance of satisfaction. Neither was it
much more gratifying to her father and younger brother. But their
feelings regarding it proceeded chiefly from their reluctance to part
with Fanny, and to her going alone on so long and dreary a voyage; but
neither they, nor Edward, even with his more serious grounds of
dissatisfaction, felt that they would be warranted in preventing Fanny
from availing herself of the apparent good fortune which she was now
invited to partake. They felt that it would be an act of injustice
towards the amiable girl, to exercise any such authority over her
fortunes and affections; and, therefore, though it was not without great
reluctance, they finally consented to her departure. This conceded, and
every necessary preparation for the voyage being in a few days
completed, Edward accompanied Fanny to London, saw her on board of an
East Indiaman that was about to sail for Calcutta, and having consigned
her to the care of the captain, bade her an affectionate adieu. In less
than an hour afterwards, the ship was under weigh; and Fanny Rutherford
had commenced her ill-starred voyage to the East.

On the ship's arrival at Calcutta, which she reached in safety and in
due course of time, amongst the first persons who came on board of her
were Raeburn and Cressingham. Fanny was down below in the cabin, and in
the act of packing a small trunk, preparatory to her going ashore, when
Raeburn entered. The moment the poor girl saw him, she flew towards him,
with an expression of the wildest delight. But, oh! fond and confiding
heart, what a shock was it to thee--what a withering sensation was
thine--when you found your warm and generous impulses received with a
cold and distant civility!--for in such manner did Raeburn now receive
the gentle, affectionate, and unsuspecting girl, who had crossed the
"rude ocean," left kindred and home, to follow his fortunes--the
fortunes of the man she loved--in a far distant land.

In this atrocious conduct of Raeburn's there was policy as well as
natural heartlessness; for he was desirous of disgusting her with his
coldness, and thus preparing the way for the addresses of Cressingham.
Of this part of the villain's design, Fanny was, of course, utterly
ignorant; but the quick discerning eye of love enabled her instantly to
detect the brutal and ungracious manner of Raeburn, so different from
what she had expected; and the discovery fell upon her spirit with the
most deadly effect. She, however, made no complaint; but it was evident
that the manner of her reception by her deceiver had sunk deep into her
heart. Poor Fanny proceeded with the packing of her little trunk in
silence--a silence interrupted only by an occasional sigh, long drawn,
and heavy laden with grief. Tears, too, might have been detected
stealing down her cheeks, were it not that she kept her head, purposely,
too closely over the trunk to permit their being seen. In the work, too,
in which she was employed, be it observed, Raeburn did not offer her the
smallest assistance, but continued walking up and down the cabin,
whistling carelessly, and looking at the prints with which the walls
were hung.

This was the scene, then, in the cabin, when Raeburn, after the lapse of
a quarter-an-hour or so from the time of his first descending, suddenly,
and without giving Fanny the least previous notice of his intention,
went to the foot of the cabin-stair, and called loudly on Cressingham,
who was on deck. Cressingham appeared at the cabin-door.

"Why don't you come down?" said Raeburn. And he followed up this query
with a significant wink.

"Why, I waited till I should be called," replied Cressingham, with a
knowing smile; at the same time commencing his descent into the cabin.

"Mr Cressingham, Fanny," said Raeburn, when the former came down--"a
very particular friend of mine."

Fanny, before raising her head from the trunk, hurriedly wiped her eyes,
and stood up to receive the stranger; but it was wholly out of the poor
girl's power thus suddenly to regain her composure, or to obliterate
from her countenance the traces of the miserable feelings with which her
soul was agonised. These remained but too plain; and were at once
detected by Cressingham, who, in place of being moved to compassion by
them for the unhappy girl, looked on them as welcome indications of
feelings that promised to favour his own advances; inasmuch as they
bespoke a dissatisfaction on the part of Fanny, at once with her
situation and with Raeburn.

It being now Cressingham's time to begin the performance of his part of
the nefarious plot, he advanced towards Miss Rutherford with one of his
most gracious looks, and welcomed her to Calcutta. Then, placing himself
in a chair directly opposite to her, and leaning forward towards her,
till he had nearly thrust his head into her face, he began a strain of
the most impertinent adulation, not unmingled with expressions of a less
harmless character. These last did not escape Fanny, who deeply felt the
insult they involved, although she was already too much humbled in
spirit to resent them.

When Cressingham had taken up the position described, and had begun the
nauseous badinage alluded to, Raeburn, on some trifling pretence, left
the cabin and went on deck. The motive for this proceeding will at once
present itself to the reader. Cressingham, finding himself thus left
alone with Fanny, was proceeding to use other liberties than those of
speech; and had already, with the most impudent familiarity, thrown one
of his arms around Miss Rutherford's neck, when, with a violent effort,
she extricated herself from him, and rushed, in a state of great
agitation and alarm, up the cabin-stair, calling on Henry, who was at
the moment standing at the stern of the vessel, and directly opposite
the cabin-door.

Guessing, or rather knowing very well, the cause of Fanny's outcry and
terror, he went towards her, and sternly and angrily asked her, "What
she made all this noise for!"

"O Henry! Henry!" exclaimed the agitated girl, "take me out of this,
take me out of this. Let us go on shore, Henry, directly. Do, do, let us
go on shore; for I will not go down into that cabin again."

"Pooh, you silly fool, you!" replied Raeburn, harshly. "What are you
afraid of? Don't you like Cressingham? He's an excellent fellow, only a
little rough or so, now and then; but not a pin the worse for that. Why,
he's one of the handsomest and richest fellows in Calcutta, and half the
girls in the town are cocking their caps at him."

"I have nothing to say to or of Mr Cressingham, Henry," replied Fanny.

"All that I ask of you is, to take me immediately ashore."

With this request Raeburn, seeing that it would not be advisable to push
matters further at that moment, sulkily complied. A boat was ordered
alongside. Fanny's luggage was placed in it, and she, Raeburn, and
Cressingham, were forthwith rowed on shore, where, the moment they
landed, the latter, after whispering something into Raeburn's ear, and
offering some ineffectual attempts at making his peace with Miss
Rutherford, left them.

Where, now, does the reader imagine, did Raeburn conduct the unhappy
victim of his villany. To his own splendid mansion? No. To a decent
hotel, then?--or, probably, he consigned her to the care of some
respectable female friend or acquaintance? Neither of these did the
heartless ruffian do. He took her to a mean lodging, in one of the
meanest parts of the town, pleading some lame apology for not taking her
to his own house; and there left her in the hands of strangers, without
a word of consolation or comfort, or of kindness. He said, however,
before going away, that he would again call in the evening, and would,
in the meantime, send a female domestic from his own house, to attend
her, together with some necessaries.

It would be a vain, an idle task, to attempt to describe what were the
unfortunate girl's feelings, now that the hideous truth, that she had
been deceived and betrayed, though with what view she could not
conjecture, stood undisguised before her. They were dreadful, too
excruciating, too exquisitely agonising, to be expressed in words or in
wailing. Their effect was to benumb every faculty, and to prostrate
every sense; and, as one thus afflicted, sat poor Fanny Rutherford in a
chair, at the window of her shabby apartment.

That evening, the first of her arrival, Raeburn, contrary to his
promise, did not again visit her; but Cressingham came in his place,
and dreadful was the result of this unwelcome visit on the poor girl's
frame. It instantly brought on a crisis in that disease of the mind
under which she was already labouring.

The moment he entered the apartment, she uttered a piercing shriek, and
rushed frantically to the furthest corner of the room, in the greatest
terror, calling on the intruder in the name of Heaven not to come near
her--not to approach her. "Leave me, leave me!" she exclaimed, in a tone
of bitter agony. "If there be the smallest portion of humanity in your
nature, you will leave me instantly. For the love of Heaven," she again
repeated, "and of all that you hold dear, leave me! I am deceived and
betrayed by him in whom I put all my earthly trust. Oh! my father, my
brothers, if ye knew of this. But you will never know it: for I will
never see you again. Never, never, never!"

The extreme agitation, the terror and outcries of the unfortunate girl,
at once arrested Cressingham's progress, and brought several persons
that were in the house around her; and by these last--Cressingham having
sneaked off, without saying a word--it was judged advisable to send
immediately for medical assistance, which was accordingly done. Nor was
it unnecessary; for a strong fever had already seized on the poor young
lady, and was rapidly exhausting her strength.

The medical gentleman sent for instantly attended, and ordered Miss
Rutherford to be put to bed. He then prescribed for her as for one whose
danger he considered imminent; and he was not mistaken. Deeply
interested in the unfortunate girl, from whom he had learned a good deal
of her melancholy story, the medical gentleman who had been called in
did all that man could do to arrest the progress of the fatal disease
under which she was labouring. Night and day he attended her, during her
severe but brief illness, and not only employed his own skill to save
her, but that of some of the most eminent of his professional brethren
in the town, whom he brought to his assistance.

But all human efforts were vain. From hour to hour, the fever went on,
increasing alarmingly, accompanied by a proportionable diminution of the
poor patient's strength, until, at length, the awful and fatal crisis
arrived. On the evening of the third day after her arrival in Calcutta,
Fanny Rutherford breathed her last, surrounded with strangers, and in a
foreign land.

But where was the master ruffian all this time? How was he employed, and
how did he feel, while this dreadful and affecting scene was enacting?
Why, he was giving himself very little concern about it, further than
that which proceeded from his fears for his £5000.

He had indeed called two or three times at Fanny's lodgings during her
illness, to inquire for her, and had even sent her some
cordials--cordials, alas! of which she had never partaken--from his own
house; but more than this he had not done, nor in any other way had he
evinced the smallest sympathy for the unhappy victim of his villany.

Raeburn knew that Fanny's illness was of a dangerous nature--but he had
no idea that it was to terminate as it did so soon; and it was under
this mistaken impression that he and Cressingham called at Fanny's
lodgings on the very evening on which she died, and, as it happened,
within a few minutes after that melancholy event had taken place.

Having tapped gently at the door, which was slowly opened to him by the
lodging-house-keeper herself--

"How is your patient to-night, lady?" he said, addressing the latter,

"She is well, sir--she is well," replied the woman, in whom Fanny's
gentle nature and hard fate--of which she, too, had gathered something
during the unfortunate girl's fits of delirium--had excited a strong
feeling of sympathy. "She is well!--she is well!" she said, wiping her
eyes with her apron as she spoke. "She's in heaven, sir!"

"What!" exclaimed Raeburn, in a tone of voice startling from its
hollowness, and becoming deadly pale; his mean and dastardly soul
instantly sinking under the weight of guilt with which he felt this
dreadful intelligence burdening it. "What! she's not dead?"

"But she is though," replied the woman; "and there's an avenging God
above that will seek out and make a terror and example of those who have
been the cause of this poor girl's death."

"What do you mean, woman?" said Raeburn, in an alarm which he could not
conceal, and which the slightest allusion to his villany was now
sufficient to excite to an overwhelming degree; "you do not mean to say
that she died by violence?"

"I know what I know, Mr Raeburn," rejoined the lodging-house-keeper,
"and that's all I have to say about the matter." And she turned into the

Having by no means any wish to renew the conversation, Raeburn availed
himself of the opportunity presented by the woman's retiring into the
house, to sneak off, which he did, and joined his friend Cressingham,
who was waiting for him at a little distance.

"She's dead, Cressingham!--she's dead!" he said, in great agitation, as
he approached the latter.

"Dead!" exclaimed Cressingham--"is it possible? Why, then, Harry, your
£5000 are gone, and you have been a villain for nothing."

"A villain, did you say, Cressingham?" repeated Raeburn, his lips pale
and quivering as he spoke.

"Yes; surely a villain--a double-dyed villain!" reiterated the former.
"Did you ever imagine you were anything else? My share in the
transaction is bad enough--I allow it; but it's nothing to yours,
Raeburn--nothing; for I would assuredly have married the girl, if she
would have had me. My conduct in the business was perhaps that of a
profligate: but yours--yours, Raeburn--was unquestionably that,"
repeated Cressingham, coolly and considerately--"that of a double-dyed
villain." Saying this, he turned on his heel and left him.

The instances just mentioned were the first and the only ones in which
Raeburn had yet suffered the martyrdom of hearing the opinion of others
of his conduct with regard to Miss Rutherford; but this was a species of
torture to which he was now to be frequently exposed. On this very
occasion, he had not proceeded twenty yards from the place where
Cressingham had left him, when he encountered the medical gentleman who
had been attending his victim. This person, conjecturing, from the
direction whence Raeburn was coming, that he had been inquiring for his
patient, accosted him, and asked him how she was.

Raeburn, it will readily be believed, would have gone fifty miles
about--ay, even on his bare knees--rather than have exposed himself to
this meeting; but it had taken place, and he now, therefore, endeavoured
to suppress his agitation, and tried to look as composed as possible;
and it was with this forced and affected calmness that he replied to the
physician's inquiry, that his patient was dead.

"Dead!" said the kind-hearted man; "ah, poor girl! I knew it was at
hand, but I thought she might have lived for at least twenty-four hours
yet. Well, then," he went on, and now looking Raeburn sternly in the
face, "since it is so, I will tell you, Mr Raeburn, my opinion of what
your conduct has been in this most heartrending affair; for you are
deeply implicated in it. My opinion, then, is, sir, that it has been
most infamous, most atrocious; and, regarding yourself, sir, I certainly
think you one of the most heartless ruffians that ever lived."

"Ruffian, sir!" repeated Raeburn, affecting to feel insulted, although
he was quaking in every limb--"ruffian, sir! I shall have satisfaction
for this, sir, you may depend upon it."

"Satisfaction, you scoundrel!" exclaimed Dr Henderson--the name of
Fanny's medical attendant--"what right have you to satisfaction? Who
would condescend to fight such a dastardly and disgraceful villain as
you are? But, mark me, sir," he went on; "I know who the lady's friends
are; and you may depend upon it, I shall not lose a moment in writing to
inform them of everything connected with this shocking affair, and of
your conduct towards the deceased. Take my word for that, sir. And, sir,
not only will I do this, but I will inform every one I know of your
conduct, until you are scouted from all society."

To this Raeburn made no other reply than by turning on his heel, and
muttering the words, "Dr Henderson, you shall hear from me."

"Hear from you, you basest and most infamous of men!" said the doctor,
looking with an expression of the most profound contempt and hatred
after Raeburn, as he receded; "the less we hear of you or from you, the
better for yourself, you ruffian."

Faithfully redeeming his pledge, Dr Henderson, on the following day,
wrote to Fanny's father, whose address he had learned from her while
attending her, and detailed all he knew--and this was nearly all that
was to be known--regarding Raeburn's conduct to his daughter; for,
although the latter had never accused Raeburn to him of ill-treatment,
the doctor had, by connecting the broken hints which she had dropped
from time to time, and especially by marking certain expressions which
escaped her during her temporary fits of delirium, arrived at a
knowledge of the whole truth. Having executed this part of his threat,
Dr Henderson set diligently about the remaining portion, which was to
give all the publicity he could to the story of Raeburn's infamy; and so
successful was he in his efforts in this way, that he had the
satisfaction in a very short time of seeing him shunned by all his
acquaintances, and completely debarred from respectable society.

After Fanny's death, Raeburn had evinced a disposition to take an active
part in her obsequies; and even expressed a willingness to defray the
whole of the funeral charges. But this Dr Henderson would on no account
permit. Neither would he suffer him to interfere in any way whatever
with the funeral rites; the whole expense of which he insisted on paying
out of his own pocket; and Raeburn knew too well the advantage the
doctor possessed over him, to offer any resistance to these peremptory

Thus stood matters, then, with Raeburn, and thus they remained for about
eighteen months afterwards. He still, during all this time, continued in
possession of his situation; but his superiors, who were well acquainted
with the story of his villany to Miss Rutherford, were eagerly and
anxiously watching for an opportunity to dismiss him. They did not feel
that they would have been warranted in discharging him for his infamous
conduct on the occasion alluded to, as it was a matter of which they had
no right, officially, to take cognisance; but they had determined that
the slightest dereliction of duty on his part should cost him his
situation. Of this Raeburn was perfectly aware; and it required all his
diligence, care, and attention, to avoid the visitation with which he
was threatened. Such, we say, then, was the state of matters with
Raeburn for about eighteen months after Fanny Rutherford's death. At the
expiry of this period, however, that event occurred which winds up this
tragic tale.

One evening, about nine o'clock, Raeburn was sitting solitary in his
room, musing on the miseries to which his villany had subjected him, and
no doubt indulging, as all villains do, in imaginary schemes of
vengeance against his enemies, when a waiter from one of the hotels in
town called, and said that a gentleman there desired to see him
immediately on a matter of importance.

Raeburn, conceiving that it might be on some official business that he
was wanted, instantly repaired to the hotel, and was ushered into the
room where the person was who wished to see him.

That person kept his back towards Raeburn till he had fairly entered the
apartment, and until the waiter who had shown him in had retired. This
done, he suddenly rushed towards the door, snatching up at the same time
one of a pair of pistols which lay on a table in the middle of the room,
and having locked the door in the inside, he fiercely confronted
Raeburn, who, horror-struck at the sight, instantly recognised, in the
person before him, Edward Rutherford, the brother of the unfortunate

"Do you know me, villain? Do you know me?" shouted out Edward, first
seizing him by the breast, and then dashing him from him with a violence
that sent him reeling to the farther end of the apartment. "Do you know
the brother of Fanny Rutherford, murderer? Did you think, ruffian, that
you were safe from my vengeance, because the half of the globe lay
between us? If you did, you mistook Edward Rutherford. But I will waste
no more words on you, villain! The shade of my murdered sister--murdered
by the cruellest of all deaths--is calling aloud for retribution, and,
in her name, I am here to demand it! Here, dastard!" he said, taking up
the other pistol, and presenting it to Raeburn--"here, take this, and
stand to me like a man; for I would not imbrue my hands in your filthy
blood but upon equal terms. Although you but little deserve it, I will
give you a chance for your life! Come, sir," he went on, Raeburn
declining to take the pistol, "take it--take it; for, by the heaven
above us, one or other of us, or both, must die; and your only chance
is in opposing me; for, if you do not fire, I will! By all that's
sacred, I will!" At this moment, Raeburn rushed to the window, with the
view of calling for assistance; and one supplicatory cry, which,
however, was unattended to, he did emit. But, ere he could fully effect
his object, Edward had him by the throat, and, holding his pistol within
a few inches of his head, threatened, if he stirred or repeated his
outcry, that that moment should be his last.

Seeing the desperate situation in which he was placed, the trembling
wretch now took the pistol from Rutherford's hand, being aware, as he
had been told, that it was indeed his only chance for life.

The parties now took their stations, one at each end of the room, and
confronted each other.

"Raise your weapon, Raeburn; raise your weapon!" exclaimed Rutherford,
on observing that his antagonist was not proceeding to assume a hostile
attitude. "Your not firing will not save you from mine. I give you fair

Raeburn elevated, and levelled his pistol.

"Are you ready?" said his terrible opponent.

"Yes," replied Raeburn, faintly.

"Then fire, villain!" exclaimed Rutherford; and both pistols went off at
the same instant, but with very different effect. A retributive power
had directed the fatal engines of destruction. Raeburn's bullet struck
the wall wide of its mark, while Rutherford's passed through the heart
of him at whom it was aimed, and he fell lifeless on the floor.

Rutherford threw himself on his knees, and holding aloft the still
reeking weapon of death, thanked Heaven that he had been permitted to be
the avenger of his sister's wrongs.

The house in which this dreadful scene took place was a large one, and
the apartment, especially selected on that account by Rutherford, was a
remote one; so that the firing was not heard by any of the inmates--at
least not so distinctly as to inform them that it was the noise of
firearms. No one, therefore, appeared to interrupt the escape which
Rutherford now meditated, and lost no time in effecting. He left the
apartment, and, unheeded by any one, descended the great staircase which
led to it and to others, and fled from the house.

Although, however, Rutherford effected his escape in safety, the
transaction which rendered his flight necessary did not long remain
unknown. It came to the ears of justice, and she uncoupled her
bloodhounds after the offender; but, as the whole circumstances of the
case gradually transpired, it is supposed that the pursuit was neither a
very eager nor a very willing one. Certain it is, at any rate, that
Rutherford could nowhere be found, although it is equally certain that
several persons knew very well where he was for nearly two months after
the death of Raeburn.

To these it was known that, immediately after the fatal occurrence in
the hotel, a person closely wrapped up in a travelling-cloak called at
Dr Henderson's, and desired to have a private interview with the doctor.
When that gentleman entered the apartment into which the stranger had
been shown, the latter announced himself to be Edward Rutherford, the
brother of Fanny Rutherford, with whose melancholy story he said the
doctor was so well acquainted.

"The brother of poor Fanny!" said the doctor, in amazement, and at the
same time taking his visiter kindly by the hand. "I am happy to see you,
sir, on your poor unfortunate sister's account. Did you come with the
ship that arrived from England to-day, sir?"

"I did, sir," replied Edward.

"And pray, my dear sir," said the doctor, "if it be not an impertinent
question--I assure you it is put with the most friendly intentions--what
may be your purpose and views in coming out to India?"

"Vengeance, doctor! vengeance!" replied Rutherford, fiercely, "was my
sole object--and I have already had it."

"Raeburn!" exclaimed the doctor, eagerly.

"Yes, sir, Raeburn is no more--his villanous career is ended. I have
killed the ruffian; but, thank God! I killed him in fair fight. Villain
as he was, I took no advantage of him, farther than compelling him to
fight me." Edward then went on to detail the whole proceedings connected
with the duel in the hotel.

When he had concluded--

"On my word, sir," said Dr Henderson, smiling--he could not help
it--"you have made quick work of it indeed; and I assure you, I for one
am not sorry that the villain has met with his deserts. But we must now
care for your safety, Mr Rutherford, from the vengeance of the laws,"
added the doctor; "although I do not see how they can be very severe in
such a case as this. Yet it will be as well for you to keep out of
harm's way for a little. You must remain for some time in concealment;
and a fitter or more secure place than I shall provide for you in my
house here, you could not readily find anywhere; and I must insist on
your availing yourself of it."

Edward did not know how to express the gratitude he felt for the
singular and most disinterested kindness of his worthy host. He was, in
truth, too strongly impressed with it to be able to acknowledge it
otherwise than by a few broken sentences; but there was in these, and
still more in the manner in which they were spoken, enough to show Dr
Henderson that his friendly conduct was properly appreciated.

"Nothing at all, my dear sir!--nothing at all!" said the doctor, in
reply to Edward's attempts at acknowledgment of the generous part he was
acting towards him. "I'm very sure you would do the same for me, were I
placed in your situation. You have, besides, Mr Rutherford--although,
perhaps, a strict morality might question your right to the step you
have taken--you have, I say, notwithstanding this, a claim on the
friendly services of every man who can feel for the wrongs of another,
especially--most especially--such grievous wrongs as yours. It was a
just, and, on the part of him who has suffered, a well-merited

Edward was shortly afterwards introduced into the place of
concealment--a comfortable little apartment, which had been prepared for
him by the kindness of the worthy doctor; and here he remained for about
seven weeks, experiencing every kindness and attention from his
benevolent host, when he was secretly conveyed on board of a ship about
to sail for London, where he arrived in safety, at the expiry of
somewhere about the usual period occupied in such a voyage.

On his return home, Edward found his father at the point of death. The
fate of his unfortunate daughter was hurrying him to the grave. Edward
had not told him what was his object in going out to India; but the old
man had guessed it, and had made several ineffectual attempts to
dissuade him from his purpose. On the former now approaching his
bedside, therefore, "Thank God!'" he said, stretching out his hand to
Edward, "that I see you safe again, my son;" and added--afraid to be
more particular in his inquiries--"have you seen Raeburn?"

"I have, father," was the only reply of his son; but it was said in a
manner, and accompanied by a look, which assured him of what had taken

"I cannot approve, Edward, of what you have done," said his father; "but
God will forgive you!"

They were the last words he spoke; and Raeburn's villany boasted yet
another victim.



There is a splendid book written, called "The Enthusiast;" but, though
it discovers the author's talents, to my apprehension and feelings, it
fails, after a few pages, to keep alive the attention--and why? Just
because the author, portraying the general character of enthusiasm,
steps beyond himself and his own personal observations, and talks about
the workings of the principle in a new and untried combination of
circumstances. From the law which regulates projectiles in _aere_, he
reasons to what should regulate them _in vacuo_; he reasons from things
seen to things unseen; and then leaves both himself and his reader in
the mud and the mist of mere supposition. But, in what I mean to say of
enthusiasm, I pledge myself to state nothing but what I have felt or
seen; and I shall separate this principle from all others, only marking
its influence when it is in a state of intensity, as one marks the
electric spark, not in the cloud or the machine, but as it passes from
one locality to another. Enthusiasm is, in fact, the electrical element
of life. It is more or less everywhere, and often where it is least
suspected. It bursts forth, occasionally, in the character of the
warrior, the scholar, the poet, the speculator; but it remains as
substantially, perhaps, though not so ostensibly, in the bosom of the
parent, the husband, the wife, the child, the friend, the kinsman. The
tradesman is an enthusiast, if he hopes to succeed; the merchant, the
labourer, the mechanic. I have seen a shoemaker as enthusiastic in
making his shoes fit neatly without pinching, as the scholar would be in
divining the meaning of a difficult passage. Without enthusiasm man had
never been what he is. It found him in the world naked, and it clothed
him; houseless, and it covered him; defenceless, and it armed him. It
run him up through the pastoral, the agricultural, to the commercial
state. It composed the "Idylls" of Theocritus, the "Georgics" of Virgil,
and the "Fleece" of Dyer. Without this there had been no shepherds to
sing, and no poets to sing of their singing; no husbandmen to labour,
and no Virgils and Hesiods to speak of their labour and argonautic
expeditions; and no sacred bard to celebrate their pursuit of the golden
fleece, commerce. But, though all this is true, in the enlarged and
diluted sense of the word, it is not so in that sense in which the term
is commonly understood. He is quite an enthusiast in the pursuit of
knowledge--of a fox--or of hoped-for discovery--or of fame or of
fortune--anybody knows to be terms applied to an unusually spirited
pursuit of any or all of these. But the enthusiasm of which I speak is
more limited still. It is a glow which originates and cools in the same
bosom; which has no view beyond itself. It is not a mean to an end, but
mean and end in one. Look at that boy: he is never to be found at a
leisure hour without a fishing-rod in his hand; at that other youth--his
book is his constant companion by the fountain and the hill; at that
religious devotee--prayer and Bible-reading are his heaven; at that
butcher's boy, who is now killing a lamb--his father has put the knife
into his hand to please him--he is an enthusiast in butchery--his
passion feeds on itself: it is, like virtue, its own reward--he cares
not for cutlets or brown roasts.

Having thus narrowed the field to a class, I shall now select an
individual, and that individual shall be one with whom I have had many
opportunities of becoming well acquainted. Curious reader, it is not
you, nor your brother Robert, nor your uncle Andrew, nor any, so far as
I know, of your kindred--it is "myself." And how has enthusiasm wrought
in me? That I am just going to tell you. It has made me, in the first
place, miserable--most miserable; and I'll tell you how. I took it into
my head, when a boy of about eight or nine years of age, that my
mother--my only living parent--was mortal; nay, that she was so old and
infirm--though she was not more than fifty, and in perfect health--that
she would drop down dead, even before my eyes. I followed her wherever
she went; held on by her apron-string, roaring aloud most mournfully,
and shedding, besides, a world of tears. In vain did my kind mother
endeavour to rally me, to reason me, to scold me, and even to chastise
me, out of my dream: it had taken such hold of my imagination, that,
sleeping or waking, it was there. When my mother travelled anywhere
abroad, I was sure to be after her, like a domestic cur. When she went
to offer up her private oblations to a throne of mercy, I crept in under
her plaid, and heard every audible aspiration. In my sleep she was still
before me as I had seen my grandmother--the lips parted, the eyes open,
and set in night. It was horrible. I started into real life, and wept
aloud. I rushed into my mother's apartment, felt her face all over, and
cried bitterly. Reader, have you always been made of pot-mettle? Have
you never experienced any such nervous enthusiasm as this? Have you been
at all times a child of realities--a very steady, thinking, prudent
person; slept like a top, ate like a raven, and talked to the amazement
even of the minister himself? You may be a steady, good person now. You
may even be married, with a family of thirteen children. You may have
succeeded in the world, and feathered your nest. You may have presided
well at various public dinners, and

                                "Never wrote
    One line which, dying, you would wish to blot;"

and for this simple and best of all reasons, that you have never
written, as far as the public is concerned, any lines at all. You may
be a sound-headed lawyer, a calculating merchant, an honest shopkeeper,
or, what is still more commendable, because more rare, an honest judge.
You may sole shoes or make greatcoats to a nicety--fabricate chairs, or
nails, or pins, or periwigs, to a thought; but you are no enthusiast. Do
you see that poor maniac, who is just receiving a visit from his mother
in his cell, whose eyes are turned up in wild uproar to the roof of his
dungeon, and who, in the damp icicles, is apostrophising sun, moon, and
stars, Venus, Jupiter, and Aldubaran? That emaciated form of scarcely
twenty years of age, which a weeping mother clasps, and whom a frenzied
son convulsively strains to his bare and fleshless breast--that is
Ferguson, the poet, the prince of enthusiasts--he at whose genius Burns
lighted that torch which has filled the world with light. Do you mark
that form sitting amongst the sands of Syracuse? The city is taken by
the Roman armies. The enemy are within the walls; pillage and murder are
the order of the hour. But what is that to him?--he is only an
enthusiast. The soldier has challenged him to surrender; his sword is
uplifted, and the challenge is repeated. He heeds it not; the sword
descends--and the greatest mathematician, the most complete enthusiast,
which the world has ever seen, lies before you, a gashed and mangled
corpse. The world--its wonders, its atoms, its various formations!--the
laws--the eternal laws of its construction and form!--there is one who
sung sweetly--oh, how divinely! There is one who sung sublimely--yes, as
one overpowered with the spirit of Him who said, "Let there be light,
and there was light;" but the cord which was overstrained is snapped,
and the bow is unstrung; the pressure upon the delicate fibres of the
brain has been too much, and the building of God has given way. Poor
Lucretius! the disease of which thou didst expire was "enthusiasm."

But it is time to shift the scene--to resort to that exquisite
happiness, and extensive benefit to society, which enthusiasm is
calculated to produce. Poetry is the language of nature. All languages
originated in poetry; the ballad is the mother of all living and dead
books. Whether it be repeated in the shape of Fescenine catches on the
banks of the Tiber, of glorious epic on those of the Scamander, of
chivalrous narrative by the rapid Rhone or sweet Liger--whether it
employ the time and the enthusiastic efforts of the bard, the
troubadour, the harper, or the minstrel--whether it resound through the
recesses of Pindus, of Arcady, or of Yarrow--still, still the ballad
presents the first germ of literature. What are the earlier pages of
Livy's "History" but popular ballads, connected and narratived? What the
history of our own Scotland--of her Bruces, and Wallaces, and all her
many and valorous achievements--but ballads? And

    "How canst thou resist the boundless store
      Of charms which Nature to her votaries yields--
    The warbling woodland--the resounding shore--
      The pomp of groves--and garniture of fields--

    Oh, how canst thou resist, and hope to be forgiven!"

But who can or does resist? Not even the robber Moor, who soliloquises
so poetically the setting sun. Not

    "The swain who, journeying homeward from
    A day's long labour, feels
    The form of beauty smiling on his soul."

Poetry is spread as widely through the human heart as is electricity
through all the works of nature. Man can no more help being poetical,
than he can new-model his frame. But what is the love--the passion of
poetry--but enthusiasm--enthusiasm which converts everything it looks
upon into beauty and sublimity? The man is born desert and lonely: and
is there no beauty in solitude--no grandeur in expansion? The mountains
are highland, wild, heathy, and tempest-beaten: and is there no
sublimity in their cliffs, their scarred fronts, and scarred sides? The
landscape is covered with wood, or there is at least a pleasing
alternation of forest and glade, of peopled levels and wooded hills: and
does not the soul nestle softly and lovingly amidst these pleasing
varieties? But you are making faces, and there is something like an
incipient yawn beginning to travel over your beauteous lips, my dearest
madam. Well, I'll have done with advising you to wed the "spirit of
poetry," if you wish to be completely happy. You need not write poems,
ma'am--that is not necessary; Livy never wrote poetry, and yet he is
every inch a poet. Robertson never wrote verse, and yet he is
essentially poetical. Witness Mexico and Montezuma. "Am I lying on a bed
of roses?"--There, for example, is me _now_--ay, just me--I am every
inch a poet! and yet, with the exception of a few things which need not
be excepted, I never wrote any poetry:--yet I see you want a story, and
you say, am I not reading "The Tales of the Borders, and of
Scotland?"--I cry you mercy, and shall give you the results of my

When in Edinburgh, at the college, while others prolonged the debauch,
it might be, till two or three of a fine moonlight night, I have stolen
away about twelve, taken my course through the King's Park to the
Echoing Rock, and from thence to that long hollow valley of Bagdad,
which runs betwixt Arthur Seat and Salisbury Craigs, and there I have
seen the Island of Inchkeith lying, like a glittering diamond, on the
face of the deep and the silver sea, and hazy shores of Fife, and the
fleecy heavens, and the stars, and the "bonny lady moon," and two
figures in the moonlight; they are walking away from me, and are busily
engaged in conversation--they do not perceive me--I will ensconce myself
behind this large stone till I see what may happen. They have now sat
down on the greensward, and I hear their voices very much elevated. The
woman is reproaching the man in loud and angry tones--the man makes no
reply; or, if he does, it is in an under tone--Ha! he has sprung upon
the woman all at once, like a tiger, and she screams, "Murder, murder!"
aloud. Shall I allow a poor woman to be murdered in the solitude of
nature, without making an effort, even at the risk of my own life, to
save her? My resolution, nerved by the wine I had drunk, was taken in an
instant--I sprang forward, crying loudly to my _companions_ to assist
me. When the horrible object understood how things were going, and
imagining, no doubt, that there were more than _one_ witness of its
horrible doings, it took to its heels with the speed of lightning. I did
not pursue; in fact, I had no inclination to do so; it was sufficient
for me if I could save life--I did not wish to take it, either
personally or legally. When I went up to the poor woman, she was all
astonishment, and her first accents were uttered in thanksgiving to
Almighty God for sending me into the desert for her rescue. I found
that, although the villain had clutched her by the throat, he had not
had time to suffocate her. Her throat was indeed sore from the pressure,
and she breathed for some time with difficulty; but there were no deadly
symptoms about her. What a mysterious Providence is about us!--and we
often know it not. I had originally no intention of taking a moonlight
walk that evening, or rather morning, had it not been to avoid the
impertinence of a fellow-member of the Dialectic Society, who manifestly
wished, in his cups, to fasten a quarrel upon me. I stepped out from
Young's, and was off. I was manifestly the messenger of Heaven, and
could not help regarding myself with a kind of reverence. The poor
woman, who was in fact the wife of this worthless man, gave me her
history, to the following purpose:--

That brute, as you very properly call him, is my husband, and was once
as kind and affectionate to me as I could wish. Ours was what is called
a pure love marriage, for I was born to better circumstances and
prospects than, from my present condition and appearance, you may well
imagine. (Here the poor woman shed tears, and proceeded.) I was the
daughter of a small proprietor in the neighbourhood of Durham, where the
Princess of Wales' regiment of Light Dragoons was raised, and was then
lying, under the command of Lord Darlington. We--that is to say, my
father, my mother, my sister, and myself--used to go frequently into a
field adjoining the city, and see this really handsome regiment
reviewed, and go through their exercise. One day there was a mock battle
represented, in the very field adjoining to my father's house. Several
regiments were collected together, from Newcastle and elsewhere, for the
purpose. It was to be a great show; and the whole town of Durham, as
well as all the country round, were congregated to see the battle.
Cannons were fired, charges of cavalry were made, and a detachment of
the Darlington troop rode, in pursuit of the supposed enemy, past our
door. My father and I were at the upper window when the troop came
dashing along, clearing fences and springing over ditches in the finest
style imaginable. Just as they came opposite to my father's door, a pig,
which had escaped from its confinement in the back-court, dashed
headlong forward amongst the feet of the horses. One of the horses fell;
and the rider, having pitched on his head, was seemingly killed on the
spot. He was immediately carried into our house, and surgical aid was at
hand. It was a dislocation of the neck-bone, and was immediately put to
rights; but the patient was bled, and ordered to be kept quiet for some
days. I naturally became the young gentleman's nurse; for he was the son
of a poor but titled family in the neighbourhood of Darlington. Mr
Fitzwilliam was a handsome man, about my own age; but he was penniless,
and a soldier of fortune. My father, early seeing the danger of my
remaining in the way of temptation, had sent me off to a grand house in
the neighbourhood of Newcastle. But William Fitzwilliam had won my
heart, and, in spite of all watchings and lookings, we were man and wife
in less than a fortnight after my departure for Newcastle.

We were married at Gretna Green; and I have accompanied him ever since,
through Carlisle and Dumfries, Ayr, Glasgow, and ultimately to Jock's
Lodge, where the regiment is now lying. He has taken lodgings for me in
Edinburgh; but of late has sadly deserted me. I have been enabled, by
taking up linen, and sewing articles for the ladies' exhibition, to do
something in aid of our scanty funds. But William has of late undergone
a sad change. He has become addicted to gambling; has even introduced
improper characters, both male and female, into my presence; and has
talked, particularly in his cups, about a divorce and separation. He
wishes _me_, he says, to divorce him; and takes every method of giving
me sufficient grounds for so doing; but, with all his errors and vices,
I love him still, nor can I think, now that I have time to reflect on
it, he would have murdered me outright, even though you had not so
providentially interfered. He has of late succeeded to a title, by the
death of an uncle, who has disinherited him, and left his vast property
past him. This preyed upon his spirits of late; and I have reason to
know that he has been making love, and even offers of marriage, to a
rich widow lady, who dwells not far from York Place, Edinburgh. But my
marriage-lines lie sadly in his way; and it was to attain by force what
he could not otherwise, that he had almost, and, but for you, would have
perhaps altogether, murdered me, a few minutes ago. Poor William! my
heart still bleeds for him; but I will never give up, whilst I live, the
only means which I have of proving myself an honest woman.

All Edinburgh rang next morning with the news--Lord M---- had shot
himself dead in his bedroom.

In the year 1831, I had occasion to be several days in Durham. It
occurred to me, one day, whilst I was sauntering about the cathedral,
that the house, where probably still lived the father of the poor
unfortunate Mrs, or rather _Lady_ M----, might be in the neighbourhood.
I made inquiry; and, without much difficulty, found it out. From what I
learned in the neighbourhood, the poor woman had never taken up her
husband's title. Her father, on hearing of her husband's tragical end,
had relented, and taken her home, to keep his house, and comfort him in
his old age. I asked for her father, and was shown into a neat parlour,
where the old man sat, comfortably pillowed, but terribly pained with
gout and a complication of diseases. I introduced myself as an
acquaintance of Mrs Fitzwilliam, who was immediately sent for, and
entered the parlour. She did not know me, nor was it wonderful; for, as
I went to the country next day after the night adventure, I had no
opportunity of calling upon her. Indeed, I should scarcely have known
her either--her dress and manner were so much more imposing than they
had been at our first and only interview. However, upon my referring to
the circumstances, she immediately took me by the hand, burst into
tears, and, presenting me to her father, who was almost blind, "Papa,"
said she, "this is the gentleman who saved my life." I had the old man's
blessing. A bottle of home-made wine was called for, and discussed, and
I was pressed to come back to dinner; which, however, I politely
refused, for I did not know how far my enthusiastic temperament might
have gone, in the case of a truly beautiful woman, whom I had saved from
death, and whose gratitude led her to think very favourably of me. I
have not heard of her lately; but mean to write to my brother-in-law,
who lives in Durham, about her, and to ascertain whether she is still
living or dead; whether she is yet unmarried, or has again ventured to
face the blacksmith.

Such was one of my moonlight adventures; which, if you are so disposed,
you are at liberty to denominate a "matter of moonshine." But my
enthusiasm has not been limited to moonbeams. I am the mountain child,
and wedded even up to this hour to the mountain-land, with all its wild,
striking, and expanding associations. To meet a fair maiden in a _fair_
is pleasant, as also to replenish her lap with sweet-meats and trinkets.
To get a "canny hour at een, your arms about your deary," is snug,
comfortable, and something more. Burns prefers "rigs of barley," and the
"green rush bushes," as a courting parlour; whilst,

    "Last night, in my late rambles,
      All in the Isle of Sky,
    I met a lovely creature
      Up in the mountains high."

Now the Isle of Sky, and its high mountains, are entire strangers to me;
but I am well acquainted with two pretty decent hills, not above twenty
miles from Dumfries, called Queensberry, _little_ and _big_; and, amidst
their elevated and retired glens, the following incident took place. I
have from my boyhood been distractedly fond of fishing; and, up to this
hour, whenever I visit my native glen, the mania returns; and, though
things are sadly changed, and trouts are diminished both in number and
size, yet still, in spite of all disadvantages, I fish. It was on an
excursion on my way (whilst a young man of twenty) from college, that I
found myself, one dark and misty day, amidst the deep and mazy windings
of the _Brawn_. I was quickly and successively basketing trout after
trout, humming all the while some old Scottish sonnet, and calling in my
little dog, _Don_, from the sheep who were pasturing on the adjoining
hill, named the Dod, when a voice from the depths of the mist and the
solitude reached my ear. It was a voice of wo and deep lamentation.
Having chid Don's impertinence in giving tongue somewhat too freely, I
found, seated upon a grey stone, and weeping aloud, a young woman, about
my own age, with dark blue eyes, and a countenance of the most
prepossessing expression. She sat beside an infant, which she had
deposited on a bed of collected fern or braken, and who was fast asleep.
When she saw me, she started, and seemed disposed to fly; but when I
used my means to reassure her, she ventured to accost me, by informing
me that she had lost her way--that she was nurserymaid at Mitchelslacks,
and had wandered that morning with her charge beyond her accustomed
range, and, the mist coming suddenly on, she found it impossible to
retrace her steps. I thought myself quite in possession of the
information which she wanted, and told her that I would see her and her
little charge safely and immediately home. So, giving up my sport for
the time, I took up the sleeping infant, and immediately addressed
myself, accompanied by the fair wanderer, to the journey. We were
several miles distant from Mitchelslacks; but, as I considered myself
quite familiar with the ground, I struck immediately over the pathless
hill, by what I termed a _near cut_, instead of retracing the stream for
a couple of miles, and then crossing the Dod by a cart track. The child
awoke, and finding itself in strange hands, screamed violently; so I was
soon compelled to place the infant in the loveliest bosom I had ever
seen. I felt my frame tremble all over, as I came into contact with
pretty Peggy's person; and yet, for all the wealth of old Q----, I would
not have even conceived anything which might occasion alarm to so
beautiful and manifestly so innocent a creature. Yet I could not keep my
eyes off her, and found out, in spite of a dark and crawling mist, that
her frame was perfect symmetry, and rounded into that ripened plumpness
which bespeaks the fully-matured woman. We conversed freely as we
travelled; and my romantic feelings became so excited with my position,
that I thought but occasionally, and then indistinctly, of the
direction, right or wrong, in which we were advancing. Peggy from time
to time admonished me, that she trusted to me alone, as she was totally
unacquainted with the hill. Having attained at last the summit of the
steep, I expected to have found a cairn of stones, and, alongside of it
a shepherd's shieling or turf hut, where he reposed at noonday, and
shared his bread and milk with his faithful curs; but no such shieling
or cairn was to be seen. It then became manifest to me, all at once,
that I as well as my fair companion of the mist had lost my way, and
that, unless the day, which was still becoming darker and darker, should
clear up, we should be in danger of increasing instead of lessening the
distance betwixt us and Mitchelslacks. To increase our embarrassment,
the child cried continually, evidently from hunger, and great drops of
rain came down like hail-stones amidst the close and crawling mist. It
was evident that a thunderstorm was brooding--nor were we long kept in
suspense; for, all at once, the mist was kindled into flame around us,
and a sharp, smart crack, followed by the roar of a thousand hills, told
us that we were in the very centre of the electric cloud. Poor Peggy
sank down at once, overcome with terror; whilst I, immediately and
intuitively, squatted down beside her, clasping her to my bosom, child
and all. I may truly say with Patie, in regard to another lovely Peggy--

    "Whilst hard and fast I held her in my grips,
    My very soul cam loupin to my lips."

But the awful flash and peal were repeated, and then, in very truth, and
not metaphorically,

    "Down rush'd a deluge of sonorous hail."

Peggy fainted outright, and the child screamed itself into hysterics,
when all at once a couple of shaggy shepherd's dogs gave tongue in the
neighbourhood. A young, yellow haired shepherd lad stood over us in an
instant; and, guessing at once how matters really stood, had us all
removed, as soon as Peggy had recovered her senses, into the small
shieling, in the immediate neighbourhood of which we were unconsciously
wandering. We had to stoop, and enter upon our hands and knees; and,
when we were all stowed away, there was not an inch of house room which
was not occupied either by human beings or dogs. But, though sitting, or
rather lying, on rushes, these rushes were dry, and our humble shelter
warded off the merciless pelting, whilst the thunder-cloud gradually
took to the top of the higher Queensberry, and left us with a clear
sunny day, and two miles to walk to the child's home. The truth was,
that the family at Mitchelslacks had become alarmed by the absence of
maid and child, and had sent nearly half-a-score of shepherds, and a
full score of dogs, to the hills and glens, on a voyage of discovery;
whilst Mr and Mrs Harkness, the parents, were in a state which may more
easily be imagined than described. All were now well; and I accompanied
the young shepherd, with his sweetheart--for such I soon discovered they
were--home, and had the happiness, by running on before, to be the first
to announce the safety of their child to the worthy and distracted
parents. They had, indeed, given up both the nurse and child for lost,
and their despair had been at least equal to their joy, when I ran
forward and threw the child in the mother's lap. Now, who could doubt
that enthusiasm was abounding in the breast, and shining in the tear-wet
eye of the mother, as she pressed the little lost one to her bosom? It
was, verily. But, after all I have said of the nature of this
extraordinary feeling, I know not if it is ever experienced in a
stronger and purer form than in that of _joy_. I care nothing for the
cause--it may be any one you please. All I insist for is, that it shall
be capable of stimulating, or rather exciting--for the former is a
phrenological word--the mind of the individual, however stupid, obese,
or phlegmatic, to the boiling-point of that most intense species of
human happiness. All the many forms of the feeling seem to tend to this
as the point of their realisation. Pythagoras and his proposition,
Argand and his lamp, Mungo Park and the waters of the Joliba, Mrs
Harkness and her child, and the child, probably, next day with a
butterfly, are all instances of the feeling in the point of
gratification. But I have been again wandering from my story--all
enthusiasm together; for there was love in the affair, which many insist
upon being the strongest, if not the purest, example that can be
presented of this mysterious and pervading essence. Those who think so
can take their own view; I retain mine; and it is very probable that we
are both wrong; and you, ma'am, to whom I formerly addressed myself,
will put us right, by telling us that poetry is the only genuine and
pure form in which this moral electricity can exhibit itself. Let it be
as you say, though I would advise you to be on your guard against your
friend Miss ----, who lost her lover last week, and will insist that
_hope_ is the soul of the feeling; and that, when that is gone,
enthusiasm has no more chance of getting into the mind or heart than I
have of getting into your favour by this digression from a story of
love, originating in, or perfected by, _mist_, one of the most romantic
mediums of the tender passion. So, to make a speedy conclusion, about a
fortnight after this incident, I was again at my old sport, when I was
accosted by my young friend, the shepherd, who now figured in
holiday-attire, and informed me that, as this was his wedding-day, my
company would be acceptable _owre by yonder_ at two o'clock. I pursued
my sport till then, and, in the old chamber of Mitchelslacks, saw Joseph
Robson and Margaret Gibson made man and wife. There was neither dancing
nor revelment of any kind, but there was a plentiful meal, many songs,
and as much punch, prepared in a large bowl, as the company chose to
make use of. All went merry as a marriage-bell. And now I find I am
checked by want of space, at the moment when the _jar_ is fully charged,
and the subtle spirit might have exploded in many more pretty


Woods, natural woods, are most beautiful. To wander all day long amongst
bushes, hazels, oaks, thorns, of every hue and fruit--the haw, crab, and
sloe--is most delightful. To lose one's-self, as it were, at every turn,
and to be arrested by some new feature, ever and anon, as you thread
your mazy course through the pathless wood, is a pleasure, the
recollection of which still haunts and sweetens my dreams of early

    "In life's morning march,
    When my bosom was young."

I don't like forests--they are too stiff and stately--they are like a
tea-and-turn-out party--sombre, silent, and affected. They have not the
easy negligence, the elegant simplicity, the "_simplex munditiis_," of
woods. They are always on their high horses, and darken whilst they look
down upon and despise the underwood. I had as rather associate with a
conclave of high churchmen or consulting doctors, as with a regular,
well-planted, and well-fenced plantation. Here man has played the tailor
with nature; and, in cutting down her skirts, has deprived her of all
that is graceful in drapery and folding. He has made a Bond Street
exquisite of the subject. But, far and beyond all other inanimate
objects, I have always been in love with single, individual, separate
trees. You cannot be truly--as the song has it--in love with many _fair
dames_ at one and the same time; I can never, on that account, bear to
hear the song sung, which begins thus--

    "I'm in love with twenty,
    I'm in love with twenty,
    And I adore as many more--
    There's nothing like a plenty."

I absolutely quarrelled with an old friend for his frequent singing of
this abominable and heretical song, and am scarcely reconciled to him to
this hour, though he has long ago limited his love to one object--he has
been married these thirty years. In the same spirit, and on the same
principle, I affirm, that no child, boy, girl, man, or woman, can be
truly in love with _two trees_ at one and the same time. Oh! I remember
well the old ash-tree that occupied the corner of our kail-yard. There
the same pyet built yearly her nest, and brought _out_ and _up_ her
young. To be sure I _tithed_ them occasionally, and taught her offspring
to imitate speaking most abominably; but still the old lady and
gentleman returned to their tree and their branch, and even to the same
cleft of the branch, annually; and my spirit rejoiced within me, as I
lifted up mine eyes and beheld the black-and-white tail of the dam, as
she sat, from morn to night, upon her beautifully-spotted,
black-and-white eggs. There, underneath that very tree, I did sit and
construct my first paper kite; there did I play from morn to night with
the cat and her kitten; there did I shelter myself from the shower, and
from the meridian heat; there did I repeat my morning and evening prayer
(short, it is true, but pithy--it was the Lord's Prayer, with an
additional petition in behalf of my only surviving parent, my mother);
there did I count my slain on returning from fishing expeditions; and
there, my dear departed friend and cousin, did you and I associate, eve
after eve, in true and holy affection. Alas! the cold earth has closed
over one of the kindest hearts and clearest heads I ever had occasion to
know anything about; but God's will be done. We all hasten to the same
place, however different our courses. Peace, my dear companion, to thy
manes! We shall meet, I hope, anon. In the meantime, I was speaking of
the old ash-tree at Auldwa's, which I have taken the liberty to
transplant to Dunsyett. But our common friend, and the friend of many
past generations, is now laid prostrate (as I am informed) with the
earth. How is the mighty fallen, and the lofty laid low, and the strong
one broken and smashed in his strength! The storm, the dreadful,
unexampled storm, which lately swept over our island with a whirlwind's
impetuosity and a hurricane's strength, has bent the gallant mast, and
sunk the noble ship, and buried its thousands and thousands of fathers,
and brothers, and husbands, and wives, and daughters in the deep sea. It
has uptorn forests, scattered woods to the heavens, and (_inter alia_)
has stooped from its altitude to lay my old and dear companion
prostrate. How many tempests, my poor uprooted friend, hast thou not
braved!--nay, when the fire of heaven split and splintered the adjoining
oak and ash, thou didst escape unhurt. The awful tempest of winter
1794-5, deprived thee, indeed, of a branch or two; but thou wert still
in the manhood of thy being, when the west wind blew as "'twad blaw its
last"--and M'Diarmid's newspaper is enriched with thy remains.

My next associate of the tree species was the "_Castle Beech_." Oh, what
a tree it was, and still (I humbly hope) is!--for the hand of man is not
yet formed in the womb which will dare to cut it down; and it stands
mighty in its individual girth, awful in its spread, and sheltered in
its position. This tree is the chronicler of my school days at
Wallacehall: on the smooth and ample bark of that tree are imprinted or
obliterated recollections of a fearful nature. Oh! who dares to take a
peep into the charnel-house of fifty years? There they are, playing it
hard and happy, at dools toosty, or England and Scotland.

    "Alas! regardless of their doom,
      The little victims play:
    No sense have they of ills to come--
      No cares beyond to-day!"

But let forty years, with Juggernaut wheels, crash and creak over us,
and where are the happy hearts and merry voices? The sea will answer;
for she has had her full share. The river, the bloody river _Nith_, will
and must answer; for in its deceitful waters was lost my old and kind
class-fellow and companion, Richard Reid. The west must give up its
dead, and the east answer to my call. Where am I? My dear schoolfellows,
where are you? Why don't you answer? Alas! _at sixty_, I can scarcely
count six contemporaries who still breathe with me the breath of heaven,
and rejoice in a protracted though misimproved existence. But the old
beech, my kind friend Mr Watt of the castle informs me, is still
standing, though almost by a miracle, for his branches are so large and
numerous that he groaned, and creaked, and swung most dreadfully under
the tempest's shock. But it would not do; even the prince of the aerial
powers was foiled at last, and was compelled to desist from his
unhallowed attempt. The Castle Beech has weathered the storm; and there
are hearts in every land which will rejoice in the information which I
now convey.

But the "Three Brethren," the friends and companions of my more mature
years, are now no more. They have fallen with those cedars of Lebanon,
the mighty monarchs of Arbigland--_they_ have perished, and in their
fate have nearly involved that of their intelligent and benevolent
proprietor. But my heart reverts to Collestoun, and to the banks of the
blue and silver Nith, and to the Three Brethren. The pages of the
intelligent "Times" (county newspaper) are wet with the tears of
lamentation. But the "Times" knows not--it could not, and it cannot
know--the one-half that honest Allan Cunningham and I know about these
remarkable trees. Their traditional history is this:--

Prior to the discovery of Virginia, and of the consequent tobacco trade,
by means of which Glasgow, from being a comparatively insignificant
town, became a large and a prosperous mercantile city, and whilst
Manchester, in England, was almost equally obscure and unimportant,
there was no properly-constructed highway through Dumfries-shire betwixt
these two mercantile depôts. There was, indeed, along the banks of the
Nith, the trace of the old Roman road; but this was obscure, in many
places obliterated, and in all narrow and unaccommodating to
wheel-carriages. Indeed, the road in many cases was impracticable,
unless on horses; and these, too, in some places, were in danger of
disappearing in mosses and quagmires. In this state of things, to talk
of or think of inns, or public-houses of accommodation, was out of the
question. _Where there is no demand, there can be no supply_--that is a
clear case; yet still a certain overland intercourse was carried on
betwixt these two great national marts, Glasgow and Manchester; and a
merchant from the one city was in the habit of mounting a strong nag,
and meeting with a merchant from the other city at what was deemed the
_half-way point_--at the place, namely, where a large tree, with three
outspread and sheltering branches, not only marked the spot of tryst,
but afforded partial shade and shelter. (The reason why these branches
were afterwards denominated the Three Brethren has already formed the
subject of a tale.) Well, by previous arrangement and appointment, the
Glasgow and the Manchester merchants met and transacted business under
this tree, and then retraced their steps homewards; and this continued
for many years to be the nearest and the most commonly-frequented line
of communication betwixt Glasgow and Manchester. It was in this way,
originally, that the benevolent founder of the free school of Closeburn,
Mr Wallace, a native of that parish, and a Glasgow merchant, carried on
this extensive business with Manchester. Many a time has the worthy
founder of the most celebrated institution in the south of Scotland
(with which the name of Mundell will be associated till latest ages)
been seen sitting upon a stone rolled to the foot of this immense tree,
and transacting business with a Manchester merchant, similarly placed
with himself. In process of time, the international intercourse
increased--post-chaises succeeded to strong saddle horses, the roads
were improved, and an inn, or house of accommodation, became absolutely
necessary. It was on this occasion that the once famous, though now
comparatively obscure inn, called of late years Brownhill, arose--an inn
resorted to by travellers of all ranks, in preference to any which even
Dumfries in former times could afford--an inn celebrated as the frequent
resort of Robert Burns, who used to hold high carousal here with its
former convivial landlord, Mr Bacon; in whose house, and on one of the
panes of glass in the window, were originally written those well-known
lines of Burns, beginning--

    "Cursed be the man, the veriest wretch in life,
    The crouching vassal to the tyrant wife,
    Who has no will but by her high permission--
    Who has not sixpence but in her possession....
    I'd charm her with the magic of a switch," &c.

As I happen to know the particular circumstances which accompanied the
writing of these lines, I shall conclude this chapter on trees, by
relating them.

Burns lived at this time at Ellisland, about two miles lower down the
vale than the Three Brethren, and about three miles from Brownhill. Much
of his duty as a gauger lay about the village of Brownhill. Now,
Brownhill was a very convenient half-way house betwixt Thornhill and his
home at Ellisland; and, accordingly, Burns' little stout pony (which I
remember well, though I forget the name) would seldom pass Brownhill.
One day, whilst a boy at the free school of Wallacehall, I chanced to be
lingering about the stable-door at Brownhill, when Burns alighted from
his pony, _wet and weary_, and, giving the beast a slap on the hinder
extremity, exclaimed, "There! make you comfortable for the night, in the
best way you can--and so will the poor gauger!" Burns looked at me very
closely; but I was unknown to him at that time (though I knew him
personally afterwards); and muttering, "One of Mundell's," passed on.
What follows is from undoubted authority; namely, one of the party of
three, who enjoyed this very merry evening. Bacon and Burns were their
bowl of punch a-piece, as well as my friend, and were in high talk and
song; but Mrs Bacon, who did not partake of the festivity, and who, in
fact, was the support of the house, refused to produce the materials for
the fourth bowl. High words arose betwixt her and her husband; who, as
well as Burns and my friend, had by this time given indications of their

    "A wee drap in their ee;"

and Mrs Bacon hid the keys and went to bed. Ere Burns went to repose (or
next morning), he inscribed, with his ready wit, and equally ready
diamond, the lines mentioned on the window-pane.


Kirkyards are to me exceedingly interesting. Alas! those nearest and
dearest to me are now the tenants of these silent retirements. They
contain subjects of intense and protracted recollection. Whenever I have
an hour to spare after dinner in my pedestrian wanderings, I am sure to
deviate into a churchyard, and there to spell and stumble my way through
and over a multiplicity of graves and monuments. But, instead of dealing
in generalities, I shall speak of two particular cases, known to myself,
in the churchyard of the parish of Closeburn. One is on your right hand
as you enter and pass Elder Boe, on Sunday, at the church stile. The
stone is merely an erect headstone, and of considerable dimensions. The
inscription is--"Here lies Richard Reid, aged 16, who perished in
crossing the water of Nith in 1794." Richard, as well as his brother
Stephen, now Colonel Reid, were my particular companions at Wallacehall
School. We were class-fellows. Oh! what fun and frolic we have had
together! The Castle Wood, Barmuir Wood, Gilchrist Land Wood, the
Pothouse Wood, the Whitston Cleughs, and the Gravel Walk, could tell, if
they were permitted, many tales of us three. What nests did we not find!
what nuts did we not gather! what sloes did we not pocket! what brambles
did we not eat! and what _hind_ or raspberries did we not bruise and
convert into _red wine_. And, then, what tree so tall as not to admit
our ascent! what thicket so dense as not to be penetrated! what eel so
lively as not to be decapitated and skinned! and what trout so cunning
as to escape the temptation of our nicely-prepared baits! At England and
Scotland, too--that most expressive game of former Border feuds--we were
most expert; and have seen many suns descend on our protracted contests
at shinty. But, alas! harvest arrived, and with it the vacation; the
oats ripened, and so did the hazel-nuts. The report was, that the
Barjarg Woods were most splendidly supplied with ripe and brown
_leamers_. We could not--we never tried to resist the temptation. But
the rapid river Nith lay betwixt us and the object of our travel. It had
rained, but was now fair; and the water, when we arrived at its banks,
did not seem even moved or swollen. Stephen and I hesitated; Richard was
a bold, manly lad, somewhat older. He plunged at once into the stream,
and bade us follow; so, indeed, we did. Ere we had gained one-third of
the way, upon the stream we observed bits of wood and various floating
substances in it. We became alarmed, and called aloud on Richard; but he
turned round, and laughed us to scorn. We would not stand this, but
pushed on, he still keeping in advance. The powerful current had now
reached his waist, and, even though he had wished to turn, he could not.
The stones were beginning to creep from beneath our feet. All at once, a
large piece of floating timber came down upon poor Richard's position,
and he was borne away by the united force of the obstructed wood and the
stream. He fell; the timber floated over him, and he again rose; but he
was in much deeper water, and manifestly apprehended danger. He screamed
aloud, and we rushed forward--his brother Stephen and I--to the rescue;
but we were all instantly hurled along into a deep and whirling pool.
Over the banks of this eddy there grew and hung a broom bush; more by
accident than management, I got a hold of it. Stephen was struggling
near me, and I caught him with the other hand. I struggled desperately,
and got myself and my companion into the face of a soft and clay brow. I
held like grim death, and at last surmounted the steep. Though
stupified, I saw that one was awanting, and I rushed--for Stephen was
insensible--along the brink of the pool. At the foot of it, and where
the water began to shallow, I saw poor Richard tumbling over without any
signs of life. In an instant I had a hold of his garment, and had
actually pulled him considerably to one side, when, my feet coming in
contact with a large stone, I fell backwards, lost my hold, and the body
of poor Richard was found, next day, a mile and a-half below, at the
bottom of Porter's Hole.

On the opposite side of this churchyard there is a flat flagstone, with
the following inscription--"Here lie the mortal remains of William
Herdman, weaver in Auldwa's of Gilchristland."

Poor Willie Herdman! What associations do not these two magic words
awaken! When Gibraltar stood nobly out, under the command of an Elliot,
against the combined strength of France and Spain, thou wast there to
send the hissing-hot cannon-balls into the hulls of the enemy's
floating-batteries. But, on returning to thy native Nottingham, to taste
of its pure and salubrious ales, thy house was desolate--father, mother,
and sister, all dead--and the place which knew them owned another
tenant. Thy heart sank within thee; and having been bred a weaver in thy
youth, thou didst take the road for Glasgow; but, at Brownhill, chance
brought thee acquainted with Archy Tait of Auldwa's, and with him didst
thou ply thy trade till the mournful end of thy days. But it was neither
as a soldier, nor as a weaver, that I remember thee with so much
interest. It was as the best bait-fisher in the south of Scotland--it
was as my first preceptor in that most delightful art. I see thee still,
before sunrise, ten miles amidst the mountains, and I hear the plash of
the large new-run sea-trout, as it "turns up its silver scaling to the
light" amidst the dark-brown flood. At all times, and almost in all
states of the weather and the water, thy skill was triumphant, and from
thee I derived that art which no man knows, unless instructed by me, to
this hour--the art of fishing _up_, and not _down_, a mountain stream,
with prepared bait. But the hour of thy destiny at last arrived, and it
was a mournful one. It was one of thy triumphs to kill a dish of trouts,
even in the midst of frost, and at New-year's Day. A wager was laid, and
a considerable sum of money was risked, on thy killing a dozen for a
New-year's-day feast. On the last day of the old year, as the time
approached, the weather had become boisterous, and snow-blasts, mixed
with hail, were coursing along the skirts of Queensberry. I was a stout
lad in the high class then, and, being in the constant habit of
accompanying thee on thy fishing expeditions, I made a point of not
being absent on this critical trial of thy skill. Accordingly, when the
last day of December, 179-, dawned, I was by thee aroused from my
slumbers, and, in spite of all maternal remonstrances, I agreed to
accompany thee to Caple. The day was dark and somewhat cloudy; but there
was only a sprinkling of snow on the lower grounds, though the higher
seemed to be much whiter. To fortify himself against the inclemency of
the weather, poor Willie had provided himself with a supply of what he
used to term "his comforter"--namely, some whisky in a bottle. We fished
for about two hours in the deeper and unfrozen pools of Caple, and with
amazing success. Willie had just killed his eleventh trout, when he
turned up the bottom of a pint bottle, quite empty. He was not
intoxicated, but confused. I had not enjoyed the advantage of "the
comforter," and was consequently much more collected, and aware of our
danger. It was betwixt twelve and one when the day suddenly darkened
down, and a terrible snow-drift came up the glen. Mitchelslacks was at
about a mile and a-half's distance. I strongly urged our retreat to that
hospitable mansion in the wilderness; but Willie wanted one trout of his
tale, and he persevered for about half-an-hour longer, when he was so
fortunate as to complete his number. But by this time the snow-drift and
wind were absolutely choking, and I could see that his eyes were
half-shut. He was manifestly in a state of approaching stupor or sleep.
I became exceedingly alarmed, when he sat, or rather fell, down suddenly
beneath a projecting rock, saying that he would rest and sleep for a
little, and then he would accompany me to Mitchelslacks, as I proposed.
I tried to pull him along; but he was incapable of motion. What was to
be done? Poor Willie, who had taught me to fish, and told me so many
stories about the wars, and about Nottingham, and England, and who was
really a kind-hearted, good-natured creature--poor Willie to perish thus
helpless in the drift! I sprang on with renewed strength; but when I
reached Mitchelslacks I fainted, and it was not till I recovered that
Willie's dangerous state was learned. Three shepherds, with Mr. Harkness
at their head, and a suitable accompaniment of dogs, sallied forth, and
in a short time reached the spot; but it was too late. There was still
heat in the interior, but no motion; the pulse had stopped, and the body
was sitting in a reclining posture, leaning against the stone. There
were no marks of previous suffering--all was calm and placid in the
marble countenance--the eyes shut, and the hands reposing on the
fish-basket, as if the last thing he had done was to count his fish! He
was dead!


Peradventure there are few of our readers who have not heard of
"Polwarth on the Green," and the "Polwarth Thorn." The song bearing the
former title is certainly founded upon one of the most popular
traditions on the Borders. Since the commencement of this publication,
we have been many times requested to write a tale upon the subject, and
not less than thrice, from different quarters, within the last seven
days; and as we are at all times anxious to meet the wishes of our
readers, we shall now endeavour to fulfil the request which has been
made to us.

There are none to whom the traditions of other days are not interesting.
They save from oblivion the memory, the deeds, and the manners, of our
fathers. No nation is so sunk in barbarity as to disregard them: the
civilised European and the Indian savage alike cherish them; and the
poets of every land have wed them with song. Yet, nowhere are traditions
more general or more interesting than upon the Borders. Every grey ruin
has its tale of wonder and of war. The solitary cairn on the hillside
speaks of one who died for religion, or for liberty, or belike for both.
The very schoolboy passes it with reverence, and can tell the history of
him whose memory it perpetuates. The hill on which it stands is a
monument of daring deeds, where the sword was raised against oppression,
and where heroes sleep. Every castle hath its legends, its tales of
terror and of blood, "of goblin, ghost, or fairy." The mountain glen,
too, hath its records of love and war. There history has let fall its
romantic fragments, and the hills enclose them. The forest trees whisper
of the past; and, beneath the shadow of their branches, the silent
spirit of other years seems to sleep. The ancient cottage, also, hath
its traditions, and recounts

    "The short and simple annals of the poor."

Every family hath its legends, which record to posterity the actions of
their ancestors, when the sword was law, and even the payment of rent
upon the Borders was a thing which no man understood; but, as Sir Walter
Scott saith, "all that the landlord could gain from those residing upon
his estate was their personal service in battle, their assistance in
labouring the land retained in his natural possession, some petty
quit-rents of a nature resembling the feudal casualties, and perhaps a
share in the spoil which they acquired by rapine." Many of those
traditions are calculated to melt the maiden's heart, to fill age with
enthusiasm, and youth with love of country. But to our story.

In the year 1470, John Sinclair of Herdmanstone, in East Lothian, who
was also Lord of Kimmerghame and Polwarth, dying without male issue, the
estate of Kimmerghame descended to his daughter Marion, and that of
Polwarth to her sister Margaret. His heir-male was his brother, Sir
William Sinclair, to whom the estate of Herdmanstone fell. Sir William,
as the uncle of the co-heiresses, though not appointed as their guardian
by their father, for they were both well-nigh of woman's estate when he
died, craftily took upon himself that duty. He whispered to them that
their estates were not managed as they ought to be--that their bondmen
did not perform the duty required of them--that those they had set over
their grounds as stewards did not render them a faithful account of
their stewardship. He insinuated a thousand suspicions into their young
minds, until their affairs gradually fell into his hands, and he at
length succeeded in gaining the entire management of their estates; and
he now required only to have the disposal of their personal freedom. Men
of power in those days were not very scrupulous as to the means which
they employed to obtain their object; he who had a score of retainers
weighed the scales of life and death in his hands. Nevertheless, aware
of the rank which his nieces held in the estimation of his country, Sir
William knew that it would not be safe to venture upon making them
prisoners by open violence. He therefore courteously invited them to his
house at Herdmanstone, where he stated that the gayest and the proudest
company in broad Scotland would be present to delight them. Marion, who
was fond of amusements, was overjoyed at the invitation; but her sister
Margaret, who was of a graver disposition, said--

"Well, sister, I like not our uncle's kindness--something sinful seems
to laugh in his looks; the very movement of his lips bespeaks more than
it reveals; confide in _me_, dear sister, and distrust _him_. When I was
but a child, playing around our mother's knee, I have heard her say unto
my father, 'Ah, John! I like not your brother; there is a cunning in his
looks, in his very words; he cannot meet you with the straightforward
gaze of an honest man; and methinks he looks upon me as though he
distrusted and hated me; yea, I have often thought, as though he were
plotting evil against me.' So our mother was wont to say; and my father
would reply, 'Dear Elizabeth, think not so cruelly of one who is so near
and dear to me; trust me, that he loves you and yours.'--'It may be so,'
she would reply, 'but there is that in his manner which I cannot
overcome.' Then our father would remain silent for a time, and add,
'Well, there is a want of frankness in Sir William which becomes not a

"Lull your suspicions, my demure sister," the light-hearted Marion
replied; "a thousand times have I heard him say that no one but the
boldest baron in Scotland should wed his niece, Marion."

"And he said truly," replied Margaret; "for, if he have us once within
his power, not even the boldest knight in Scotland will be able to
receive our hands, unless he sue for it with gallant bowmen at his back,
and the unsheathed sword to enforce his suit."

"Oh, then, sister," subjoined Marion, "I suppose you have a knight at
hand who would delight in such handiwork; for is not Sir Patrick Hume of
Wedderburn reputed to be the most valorous knight upon the Borders, and
withal the humble worshipper of fair Margaret Sinclair of Polwarth?"

And as the maiden spoke, she laughed, and tapped her sister
good-naturedly upon the cheek. Margaret blushed, and playfully replied,
"Well, sister, is there no valorous knight at Wedderburn but Sir
Patrick? What think ye of George Hume?"

"No more of this," cried Marion; "let us accept our uncle's invitation,
and mingle with the gay company he has invited to meet us."

"If you will have it so, let it be so," replied Margaret; "but, trust
me, I fear that good will not come of it."

On the following day they set out upon their journey towards
Herdmanstone, accompanied by only two men-servants. The uncle received
them with a show of cordial friendship; but the guests whom they
expected to meet they saw not; and they had been but a few minutes
beneath his roof, when they found themselves prisoners, secured by
gratings, bolts, and bars. On discovering the situation into which they
had been entrapped, Marion wept aloud, and accused herself of being the
unwitting author of her sister's captivity.

"Fear not," said Margaret. "Our uncle is a stern man, he is a man of
blood; but there are as strong hands as his, that will be raised to
deliver the sisters of Kimmerghame and Polwarth, when their captivity
becomes known."

"But how will it be known?" asked Marion; "for who knows that we are

"Let us trust in him who is the orphan's father," replied her sister,
"and leave all to his good providence."

"Amen!" said the other; but she sobbed bitterly as she spoke.

On the second day of their imprisonment, their uncle entered the
apartment where they were confined.

"Weel, maidens," said he, sternly, "how like ye your abode at
Herdmanstone? I have observed the slightfu een with which baith o' you
have looked upon your uncle; and now that ye are in my power, ye shall
repent the airs o' disdain that ye hae taken upon ye. It becomes nae the
blood o' Polwarths to assume a superiority over the house o' Sinclair.
So choose ye--there are twa cousins, who are not very auld, but they're
growing; ye shall hae your choice to marry them, or the deepest dungeon
in Herdmanstone shall be your doom. Your destiny is placed in your own
hands--decide it as ye will; but remember that it is a Sinclair that
never broke his word that wags the finger o' fate over your heads. Eight
days--eight days, remember!" he repeated, and left them.

"Now you will despise me, Margaret," said Marion; "for my maiden
ambition has led us into this trouble. Yet will I rather be an inmate in
our uncle's dungeon than be the wife of the boy-husband he would assign
me. Sister, will you not upbraid me?"

"Upbraid you!" said the calm and gentle Margaret; "stern as is our
uncle, deadly as is his wrath, I fear him not. The other day you spoke
to me jeeringly of Sir Patrick Hume--in the same strain I answered you
respecting his brother George. Eight days will not pass until Sir
Patrick misses me from Polwarth; and, powerful as my uncle may be, bold
and desperate as he is, I know that one stone of Herdmanstone Castle
will not be left standing upon another till we are freed."

"You have a brave heart, sister," said Marion; "but it is small comfort
to me, who must look upon myself as the author of this disaster. And how
think ye that Sir Patrick or his brother George (if ye will speak of
him) are to hear of our confinement? Wot ye not that they know not where
we are; or, if they should know, they will not apprehend that evil could
befall us in the house of our relative?"

"I believe, Marion," answered Margaret, "that within the eight days
which our uncle has named, we shall either be at liberty, or have ceased
to live. It is our lives that he seeks, not that we should be the wives
of his sons. Rather than be so wed, I will die--so will you. But, if we
should die, our deaths would not be unavenged. He would neither enjoy
our estates, nor the triumph of his guilt. Ye have heard the names of
Patrick and George Hume of Wedderburn spoken of as sounds of terror upon
the Borders--their swords have avenged the injured, and released the
captive. Marion, they will avenge our wrongs! Dear sister, be not

It was about daybreak on the fourth day after their imprisonment, that a
musician, who played upon the union or Northumbrian pipe of those days,
approached beneath the window of their apartment, and softly playing an
air, accompanied it with his voice, as follows:--

    "My heart is divided between them,
      I dinna ken which I wad hae;
    Right willing my heart I wad gie them--
      But how can I gie it to twae?
    There's Meggy, a fairer or better
      I'm certain there couldna weel be;
    Dumfounder'd the first time I met her,
      What was sweet Marion to me!

    "Yet Marion is gentle and bonny,
      I liked her ere Meggy I saw,
    And they say it is sinfu for on
      Man upon earth to like twa.
    My heart it is rugg'd and tormented,
      I'd live wi' or die for them baith;
    I've done what I've often repented,
      To baith I have plighted my aith.

    "And oft when I'm walkin wi' Meggy
      I'll say, 'Dear Marion,' and start;
    While fearfu she'll say, 'Weel, I ken ye
      Hae ithers mair dear to your heart.'
    Was ever a man sae confounded?
      I dinna ken what will be dune;
    Baith sides o' my bosom are wounded,
      And they'll be the death o' me sune."

"Hark!" said Marion, as she listened to the strain of the minstrel; "it
is the song of the Egyptian thief, Johnny Faa. Mind ye since he sang it
beneath our window at Kimmerghame?"

"I remember it weel," replied Margaret; "but dinna call him thief,
sister; for, be Johnny a king or no a king, he is one that King James is
glad to lift his bonnet to; and I am sure that he means weel to us at
present. Wheesht ye, Marion, and I will whisper to him a low chant over
the window." And, in a low voice, she sung--

    "O, saw ye my laddie comin, Johnny?
      O, saw ye my laddie comin?
    If ye've no seen him, tell him frae me,
      That I'm a waefu woman.
    We here are sisters twa, Johnny,
      Confined within this tower;
    And ilka time the sun gaes down
      It points to our death-hour."

"I heard it rumoured, gentle maiden," said the gypsy, gazing eagerly
towards the window from whence they looked, "that no good was intended
ye in this place; and though it be not in the power o' Johnny Faa to
bring to ye the assistance o' his own men, yet it strikes me there is
_ane_, if no _twa_, maidens, that I could bring to your rescue, and
that wad make a clap o' thunder ring through the deepest cell in

"Thank ye, Johnny," replied Margaret; "ye're kind--ye're very kind; and
if ye wad carry a bit scrap o' paper to Wedderburn Castle, greatly would
ye aid a distressed damsel."

"I thank ye, my doo, for relying on the word and promise o' John, king
and lord o' Little Egypt. Little do they ken me, and less is their
knowledge o' our race, who think that we would look upon those who are
wronged without seeing them righted. How I heard o' your imprisonment or
the wrong intended ye, never fash your thumb; though a bird waffed it in
my lugs wi' its wings, though it chirped it in them as it chirmed past
me, it is aneugh that I ken o' your wrongs, and that I will assist ye.

Trust me, maidens."

"I will trust ye," answered Margaret.

"Dinna trust him, sister," said Marion; "he may be some spy of our

"Of being a spy," cried the other, "I dinna believe him capable. Stop,
Johnny, or king, or whatever ye be," she added, "and I will throw ye a
word or two, to carry to Sir Patrick Hume of Wedderburn."

She addressed to him a few words, and threw the paper which contained
them into the hands of the gipsy.

"Bless ye for your confidence, my bonny lassie!" said Johnny Faa; "and
before the sun gae down, Sir Patrick Hume shall ken that there is ane
that likes him pining in a captive's prison, wi' nane but ane that his
brother likes to bear her company."

The gipsy king was mounted on an active pony, and although it was
without a saddle, and reined only by a hempen bridle, he dashed off with
it, at the pace of a fleet racer, and directed his course toward the

It was not noon when he arrived at the Castle Wedderburn. The porter at
the gate retreated in terror, as he beheld him, for the name of the Faa
king had become terrible on the Borders, and even the king had been glad
to grant him terms on his own choosing. On being admitted to the
presence of the knight--"What is it, ye vagrant loon," asked Sir
Patrick, "that brings ye to venture within the roof o' honest men?"

"Honest!" said the gipsy--"ha! ha! ha! I daresay your honesty and mine
are muckle about a par. Between us twa it is, tak who can. Ye hae the
bit land, Sir Patrick, but ye havena a stronger or a more cunning hand,
nor yet a sharper sword, than the lord o' Little Egypt. Therefore, speak
at evens wi' me, lest ye rue it."

"And wherefore should I speak at evens," answered Hume, "with the like
o' you, who are at best but the king o' gaberlunzie men?"

"The mischief light on ye!" said the gipsy; "ye have provoked me sair,
and I have tholed wi' your slights and taunting; but try me not wi'
another word, lest ye rue it, Sir Patrick Hume, and your brother rue it,
and every Hume o' the house o' Wedderburn shall be brought to cry dool,
for refusing to listen to the words o' Johnny Faa."

"And what wad ye say if ye had your will, ye braggart knave?" cried the

"Merely," retorted the gipsy, "that there is a bonny lassie, ane wha is
owre guid to be the bride o' sae uncivil an individual as yoursel, now
lying in durance, wi' death or perpetual imprisonment before her, while
ye havena the courage to lift your hand to her rescue."

"Of whom speak ye?" vociferated the Laird of Wedderburn.

"Who," rejoined the gipsy, slyly, "is nearest to your heart?--who
nearest to your door? Have you seen her within these four days?"

"What!" exclaimed Sir Patrick, "speak ye of my Margaret?"

"Of whom does your heart tell you that I speak?" said Faa.

"It is then to her that ye allude?" cried Sir Patrick.

"Ay, it is to her," was the reply; "and what knight are ye that would
remain here idly within your castle, while death threatens the maiden o'
your love?"

"Pardon me, stranger," said Sir Patrick; "tell me where she is."

"Ye ask me to pardon ye now," answered the gipsy, proudly; "ye knew me
before, when the insult was offered, ye know me still. It is not because
ye bear a name powerful in arms, nor yet that I have heard of your deeds
of war, that I come to you; but it is because of the maiden who loves
you as the Mayfly does the summer sun. Margaret Sinclair and her sister
are the prisoners of their uncle, Sir William Sinclair of Herdmanstone.
He has looked with an eye of covetousness upon their estates--he longs
to possess them; and, if they be not yielded to him, the life of the
fair owners now in his power must pay the forfeit."

The knight clasped the hand of the gipsy. "Thank ye, thank ye," he
cried; "I will reward ye for this act of kindness."

"You reward me!" shouted the gipsy king, disdainfully. "Think ye that,
when the King of Little Egypt does an act of humanity or generosity, he
is to be rewarded for it by a Scottish knight! Away with ye, man! I
spurn your thanks! I am as far above them as the moon is above the
glow-worm that glimmers on the ground--ay, as the sun above the fetid
matter from which it draws life. Know, then, that Margaret Sinclair and
her sister will die unless ye have courage to release them, and that
before another Sabbath shine a holiday to you."

Wedderburn held his hand in thankfulness. "Forgive me, forgive me," he
cried; "I have spoken unjustly to one that has a soul within him and who
has sympathised for those in whom my happiness is bound up. Again, I
say, forgive me."

"Ye are forgiven," said the Faa; "and, if assistance be needed in the
hour of peril, ye shall find willing hands ready to help ye, though ye
deserve it not."

So saying, the Faa beckoned his hand, and withdrew from the presence of
Hume. Sir Patrick bore the tidings instantly to his brother; and, within
two hours, a hundred of their retainers stood armed around Wedderburn
Castle. "To Herdmanstone!" was the cry; "and the rescue of the lady-love
of the Lord of Wedderburn!"

"Ay, and for Marion, the maid of Kimmerghame!" cried George, the brother
of Sir Patrick; "and the Sinclairs shall wear stout bucklers and belts
to boot, that this sword pierce not."

The party being marshalled, they took their way across the Lammermuirs
with the brothers Sir Patrick and George Hume at their head. It was
shortly after daybreak when they appeared before Herdmanstone Castle;
and the Lady Margaret was the first to perceive their approach.

"Sister!" she cried; "see! see! aid is at hand--the banner of the Humes
is waving over the fields of Herdmanstone."

"Ye dream, sister!" said Marion, starting from her couch.

"Nay, I dream not," retorted Margaret. "Arise; through the grey light I
perceive the plume of Sir Patrick Hume, and the gay jacket which my
sister wrought for his brother."

Marion sprang forward to the place where her sister stood; they thrust
their hands from the window, to encourage their deliverers to the
rescue, while Sir Patrick and his brother answered them back, crying,
"We come! we come! The haughty and cruel Sinclair shall repent in

The trumpets of the Humes sounded; and, as if prepared for the
approaching conflict, within a few minutes, more than fifty retainers of
Sir William Sinclair were in arms. Ignorant of the number of their
foes, they rushed forth to meet them, hand to hand, and sword to sword.
Long the strife was desperate--it was even doubtful; but, at length,
superiority of numbers, on the part of the Humes, prevailed; the
retainers of Sir William were routed in all directions, and his castle
was assailed, even to its threshold. "To the rescue of the fair
maidens!" shouted the Humes. Independent of the immediate retainers of
Sir William Sinclair, however, his neighbours came to his aid; and
although they were at first as two to one, the conflict had not lasted
long when the Humes became the weaker party. The battle raged
keenly--swords were broken in the grasp of their owners--the strong
war-horse kicked upon the ground, in the agony of death, indenting the
earth with its hoofs as it died, leaving the impression of its
agony--their wounded men grappled with, and reviled each other, as
though they had been foreigners or aliens--spears were broken, and
shields clanked against each other--while the war-shout and the dying
groan mingled together. Victory seemed still to be doubtful; for, though
the Humes fought bravely, and their leaders led them on as with the
heroism of despair, yet every minute the numbers of their adversaries
increased, while theirs, if the expression might be used, became fewer
and more few.

Yet there were two spectators of the conflict who beheld it with
feelings that may not, that cannot be described. Now, the one beheld the
plume which she had adorned for her betrothed husband severed by the
sword of an enemy; while the other saw the gay jerkin which she had
weaved for hers tarnished with blood. They perceived also what we might
term the ebbing and flowing of the deadly feud--the retreating and the
driving back; and they were spectators also of the wounded, the dying,
and the dead. They saw the party in whom their hopes were fixed
gradually overpowered--they beheld them fall back beneath the swords of
their opponents, disputing inch by inch as they retired, and their
hearts fell within them. When hope, fear, and anxiety were wrought to
their highest point of endurance, and the party in whom their trust lay
seemed to be vanquished, and were driven back, at that period, Johnny
Faa, and a number of his followers, rushed to their succour.

"Hurrah!" exclaimed the wanderer, "for the braw lasses o' Polwarth and
Kimmerghame! Fight, ye Humes! fight! There is a prize before ye worthy a
clour on the crown, or even a stab through the brisket."

The approach of the Faa king turned the tide of victory, and his
followers shouted, "The bonny lasses o' Polwarth and Kimmerghame shall
be free!"

"For ever, ay, and a day after it," cried Sir William, "shall the man
inherit a cow's mailing, and a cow to boot, upon the lands o'
Herdmanstone, who this day brings me upon his sword the head o' ane o'
the birkies o' Wedderburn."

Sir William, however, became a suppliant for mercy beneath the red sword
of Patrick Hume; and his life being granted, the Sinclairs gave their
arms into the hands of their opponents. The young brothers each rushed
into the house, to the rescue of the captive damsels; and Margaret and
Marion each fell upon the neck of the man she loved.

On arriving at Polwarth, they were met by the glad villagers, with whom
the fair ladies joined hands, and they danced together in joy around a
thorn-tree, upon the village green.

In a few weeks, each of the maidens gave her hand to her
deliverer--Margaret to Sir Patrick, and Marion to his brother George. On
their marriage-day, the gay dance at the thorn upon the green was
resumed, and a festive crowd tripped joyously around it, blessing the
bride of Polwarth and her fair sister, Marion of Kimmerghame; and the
music to which they that day danced proceeded from the pipes of King
Johnny Faa, who, with half-a-dozen of his people, sat each with a pair
of union pipes beneath his arm, and discoursing "most eloquent music,"
without "fee, favour, or reward," save that they were partakers of the
good things which were that day plentifully circulated upon Polwarth

In concluding this account of the co-heiresses of Polwarth and
Kimmerghame, it is only necessary to add, that, from her union with Hume
of Wedderburn, the fair Margaret became the progenitor of the future
Earls of Marchmont.


In most of the villages on the southern Border, and particularly in part
of Northumberland, together with Norham and Islandshires, there are what
are called annual feasts. In the manner in which they are now kept, they
resemble the _Wakes_ or _Revels_ which are held in various parts of
England. They were originally religious festivals, and are still
commemorated upon the anniversary of the saint to which the church or
religious house in the village, or with which it was connected, was in
olden times dedicated. They have long ago lost their religious
character, and joviality has assumed the place of seriousness.
Nevertheless, although, for more than a century, these feasts have been
attended with much boisterous merriment, there is still much connected
with them that we respect and revere. They came, as it were, whispering
the good, the godlike admonition of Scripture--"Let brotherly love
continue." For in those days, brethren and the children of a family meet
together from afar beneath a father's or a brother's roof--the grandsire
and the grandson sit at the table together--and the words of the
inspired royal bard, that it is good and pleasant for brethren to dwell
together in unity, are exemplified. They are seasons of mutual
forgiveness, and of the exchange of family love. They are also seasons
for which a many a parent's heart longs eagerly; and although they are
what may be termed changeable feasts, they fall on days which they all
know without the aid of an almanack; for there is no calendar so true as
a father's or mother's heart. They are days to which many a mother looks
forward, as to the time when she will press an absent son or daughter
to her bosom--when a father shall give them the right hand of welcome,
and in the fulness of his joy press his teeth upon his lip to conceal
his emotion, while a stranger tear steals out, and seeks a home upon his
cheek. They are, in every house, days in which the "fatted calf" is
killed; and each village or feast has its own particular dainty,
according to the season. At one is the luscious grilse (on that occasion
baked instead of boiled); at another, dishes of fruit; and at a third,
the roast goose. But each feast has its particular viands, and of them
the poorest make an effort to partake. They are not as the Christmas
feast was of old, when the rich fed the poor and their dependants at
their table, and regaled each with a "smack of the good black jack;" but
they are days on which the very poorest strive to make a feast for
themselves, and to see _their own_ around their humble board.

We confess, however, that these feasts do not present sunny pictures
exclusively; there are many who, as we have hinted, crown them with
boisterous merriment. It was an ancient custom to elect, on the morning
after the feast, a _Mayor_, or _Lord of the Festival_, whose word was
law, and who was the sovereign dispenser of fun and frolic, and against
whose command there was no appeal. The farce of "_The Mayor of Garret_"
furnishes a correct example of this species of rustic revelry. We are
not yet very old; but are old enough to remember the time when the
mayor, or lord of the festivities referred to, was chosen in accordance
with the words of Burns--

    "Wha first beside his chair shall fa',
    Let him be king among us a'!"

But it is long since the treatment of a master of the revels ceased even
to be decent--we would say merciful. In most places he is no longer
paraded as an absolute monarch upon the shoulders of his subjects, but
as the slave of the multitude, of whom they delight to make pastime. The
mayor of the village feast, "has fallen from his high estate," of
dictating imperious commands for his short hour of power; and now he is
generally placed in the condition of the frog in the fable, and what may
be sport to his tormentors, is well-nigh death to him.

The festival from which our present story takes its rise was held in
Tweedmouth (the southern suburb of Berwick), nearly seventy years ago;
and, according to custom, on Margaret's day, or the following Monday.
For, although most of them are in some degree held upon the Sunday (a
celebration which would "be more honoured in the breach than in the
observance"), Monday may always be considered as the chief day of the
feast. Now at that period there resided at Tweedmouth a Mrs Mordington,
the widow of the commander of a coasting sloop, who had left her with
two children, a son and daughter. The son, at the period our tale
begins, was about one-and-twenty; his sister, two years younger. The
son's name was George, and he was then a clerk in the office of a
merchant in Gateshead. At the feast of St Margaret's, therefore--which
is commemorated in Tweedmouth in July, when the sun is in the plenitude
of its strength, and when the very birds, oppressed with its heat, leave
the thin air and the upper branches, and, folding their wings, sit
silently in the umbrageous shades, enjoying, well pleased, the coolness
of their leafy shelter--George Mordington returned to Tweedside, to see
his mother and his sister; yea, and there was another whom he longed not
less eagerly to behold, and that was Marion Weatherly, a fair-headed
maiden of nineteen, and the daughter of a master fisherman, who had the
lease of some two hundred yards upon the Tweed, somewhere between where
the Whitadder joins it and the bridge; but whether on the south or north
side I cannot tell. As there may be thousands of the readers of these
tales unacquainted with the nature of salmon fisheries, or of what is
meant by having been a master fisherman in those days, I shall simply
state that Mr Weatherly had taken a lease of a particular spot on one
side of the Tweed, and which was in length about two hundred yards, and
on that space he had the right of casting out and dragging in his nets.
He had this river-farm at a very small sum annually; though, within a
mile from the spot where he held it, we have known a lesser portion of
fishing right in the river let for nearly two thousand pounds sterling
per annum; and that, too, when the wisdom of the present generation
(perhaps I ought to put the generation in the past tense) almost threw a
_dyke_ across the mouth of the river, which built up what was called the
_Meadow Haven_, and which haven was a gut in the rocks, by which the
fish, coming in shoals from the north, entered the river; and this being
built up by the _dyke_ or _pier_ aforesaid, after running their noses
against a stone wall, instead of meeting with the _natural_ entrance to
the river which _nature_ dictated to them to pursue, they were left,
like a pack of fox-hounds that had been thrown off their scent, to seek
the artificial entrance where they might find it, or for another river
if they chose. Thus, the good old Tweed being half blocked up, fishing
waters, in the present day, do not abound with the silver-mailed salmon,
as they did in the days of Mr Weatherly. Besides, the river was then
_fished_, not _harried_! It is not, therefore, wonderful that the father
of Marion became a man of property.

Now, George Mordington and Marion Weatherly had known each other from
childhood. I do not say that they had loved each other from that period;
but they were at the same school together, and even before they left it,
they were _equalled_ to each other. This _equalling_, or, as it is
sometimes called, _evening_ to each other, by schoolmates or
acquaintances, often goes far towards producing the wedded love of riper
years. Many a match would never have been made, but for the schoolboy's
or the comrade's jeer. Once name young hearts in the same breath, and
you draw a magic circle round them; and, however little they may be
acquainted with each other, whoever of the two may break through that
circle, strikes a passing pang into the bosom of the other. Pride feels
wounded, if nothing else does; but there is a feeling deeper and more
tender than pride that has been rudely touched. It does not last long;
but it is keen while it lasts. I am perfectly aware that there are many
who may say, "Pshaw! it is all nonsense; who cares anything about these
things _now_?" No middle-aged person, I grant you. Individuals of such
an age like some home truth--something that comes home to their business
and their bosoms as they are; and when such a thing meets them they say,
"Oh, it is very natural." Granted that _it_ is natural, why should
people of middle age, yea, or of grey hairs, forget that they were once
young; and that what is now "stale, flat, and unprofitable" to them, is
still the feelings of thousands--is still delightful to thousands--was
once _their_ feelings, and delightful to _them_? Though past the sunny
heyday ourselves, we like not to hear either man or woman cry out, with
the Preacher, "all is vanity!" For light is beautiful--so is the sun
that sheds it forth. The fair earth, with its buds, its flowers, its
leaves, its fruits, and its trees with their singing birds--they are all
beautiful--exquisitely beautiful! No man can look upon the works of his
Maker, without adoring, worshipping, and loving the Power that formed
them. Oh, when we so look abroad upon the glorious creation that is
above, beneath, and around us--when we see so much that is measureless,
magnificent, and that steals forth in beauty as a bud opens, until its
loveliness is revealed before the very soul; and, above all, when we
think also of the kind hearts that share our sorrows and our joys, that
watch over us and that throb for us, that mourn with us and rejoice with
us, and that are one with us in all things--we are tempted to say that
all is "not vanity," but that man is the author of his own "vexation of
spirit." Now George Mordington was one who loved all the works of nature
for their loveliness. He saw nothing to which his young heart would
respond, "it is vanity!" He loved the very worm that crawled--writhing
and dying as it crawled--over his path, and pushed it gently with his
foot upon its parent earth, that it might live. Was there nothing in the
scenery of his birthplace that he should admire it? There was neither
the sublimity of mountains to awe him into remembrance--the majesty of
wooded hills (which there might be), nor lakes where echoes died in
music; but there was the Tweed, the stream of his nativity, which rushes
into the arms of the ocean, like a beautiful bride that has been cast
off by her parent, and falls upon the neck of her lover without
adornments; and there was the rich lands of the Merse and Islandshire,
for ever spread out before him, with the everlasting ocean, its calms
and its storms, its placid stillness and its terrible waves--forming
together a scene such as he that has once looked upon can never forget.
Through such scenes George Mordington recollected Marion Weatherly.

It has been mentioned that he was a clerk in Gateshead, and at the
annual festival held in Tweedmouth, he went to visit his mother, his
sister, and the fair Marion. I might--for I have often been a witness of
such a scene--describe the joy of the doating mother as she beheld her
son, in the youthful bloom of manhood, seated at her table. With delight
sparkling in her eyes, she sat gazing on his face, until the tear of
affection rose and bedimmed their radiance. On her left hand sat her
son, and on her right her daughter, and her intended daughter, Marion
Weatherly. Their dinner passed over in happiness--the mother smiled to
look upon her children's joy; and when "a gentle tap came to the door,"
which the daughter best understood, and blushing, responded to it,
George and Marion also arose, and they went into the fields together.
They wandered to and fro in a narrow pathway, the length of which was
rather less than a mile, while on each side of them the ripening grain
formed _a waving wall_, giving promise of an abundant harvest. They
wandered backward and forward, hand locked in hand, until the sun was
lost behind Hallidon, and the stars began to steal out through the grey

When they shook hands at parting--"Now, George," said Marion, "you have
your acquaintances to see, but do not remain late with them; for my sake
and your mother's, do not."

"Dear Marion," said he, "wherefore remind me of this? I know that I must
meet my acquaintances to-night, all of whom are my old friends, many of
them my schoolfellows; I have promised to meet them--I have to leave for
Newcastle to-morrow--and wherefore remind me that I should not remain
late with them?"

"Oh!" she replied, "only that you will remember your character, George."

"Do not be interested about my character," said he; "I have hitherto
supported it with credit to myself, and, I think, dear Marion, I may do
also for the future."

He pressed his lips to hers, and, shaking her hand fervidly, they parted
for the night; but before they parted, they had renewed their young
vows, beneath an ash-tree, where they had sat down together (upon the
footpath which is now known by the name of the "_Willow Back_"), and
where he had carved their names four years before, and there he deepened
the incision which recorded their initials; and, as Virgil somewhere
hath it (though neither of them knew anything about Virgil), they vowed
that, as the "bark expanded, their love would grow." This is a very
common idea amongst love-engravers upon trees; but though a Mantuan
swain might so write, a British peasant would frequently have cause to
say, that, as the tree grew, and the bark expanded, so did his initials
spread, and become vague, and more vague, until fog grew over them; and
upon the heart, as on the tree where he had first carved his name, there
was no trace left.

But George Mordington parted with Marion, and went to a street called
the Kiln Hill, in which there then was an inn, known by the name of "THE
SALMON." In it all the associates of his youth were assembled; and when
he entered they rose simultaneously, each offering his hand, and
exclaiming, "Ah! George! my dear fellow, how are you?"

They sat long, and they drank deeply; and, while the song, the story,
the jest, or the argument went round, they forgot how time and reason
were flying together. It was usual for such companies not to break up
until they had witnessed the election of the mayor. The heads of several
of the party began to go round as well as the glass; and of this number
was George Mordington. He was a youth of the most sober and temperate
habits; and before he had drank off his third glass, he might have said,
in the words of the song, "This is no me!" His very countenance was
changed; his manner, which was, in general, backward and retiring,
became bold and boisterous. Instead of his wonted silence, he was the
chief orator of the company. He spoke of things of which he ought not to
have spoken, and as glass succeeded glass, so did one act of folly
succeed another. Some of the more sober of the company said, they "were
sorry for poor Mordington--but his head could stand nothing; and," added
they, "it is a pity, for he is an excellent fellow." This, however, was
only the sentiment of a part of them; and as he began to exhibit
fantastic tricks, and to declaim with violent gestures upon all
subjects, some said that he would make an excellent _mayor_, and
proposed that a cart should be procured. Against this proposal some of
his acquaintances protested; but the idea pleased his own disordered
fancy, and as the madness of intoxication increased, he insisted that
the bacchanalian honour should be conferred upon him.

"Well done, George!" cried the more thoughtless of the party; "he is the
king of good fellows, every inch of him!"

So saying, they rushed into the street, bearing him upon their
shoulders; and amidst the shouts and laughter of men and boys, he was
placed in a cart, his face rubbed over with soot, his hair bedaubed with
flour, and a broomstick was placed in his hand as his rod of office.

"Hurrah! George Mordington is mayor!" was the cry upon the streets; and
followed by a noisy multitude, he was paraded round the village, and, in
conformity with ancient custom, delivered a speech at every public-house
and baker's door in the place.

Old and young leave their pillows, to "see the mayor," as they term it,
and hasten to the door or window, to witness his procession as he is
hurled along. There were many who, as they perceived him, expressed
regret to see George Mordington in such a situation, and said it would
break his mother's heart.

But, as they passed the door of Mr Weatherly, a sudden cry was heard. It
was a woman's scream of agony, and as it burst forth, the maddened shout
of the multitude was hushed. It struck upon the ear of George Mordington
in the midst of his madness and degradation--it entered his heart. It
was the cry of his betrothed Marion. He struck his hand upon his brow,
and fell back in the cart as if an arrow had entered his breast. Her
voice had startled him, as from a trance, into a consciousness of his
shame and folly.

"He is dead!" cried the crowd--for he fell as if dead, and in a state of
unconsciousness he was conveyed to his mother's house. The poor widow
wept as she beheld her joy turned into shame; and as he opened his eyes
and began to gaze vacantly around, his sister said unto him, but rather
sorrowfully than reproachfully, "Brother! brother! who could have
thought that you would have been guilty of this?"

A groan of anguish was his only reply.

"Daughter," said his mother, "do not upbraid him; he will feel anguish
enough for the shame he has brought upon himself and on us, without our

He started to his feet as he heard her voice, he thrust his fingers in
his hair, he gnashed his teeth together, and howling as one in a
paroxysm of insanity, exclaimed--

"What have I done? I am lost--disgraced for ever!"

"No, my son! no!" said his mother; "you have acted foolishly, very
foolishly; but in time it will be forgotten."

"Never! never!" he answered; "would that the earth would swallow me up!
I am worse than a madman or a villain--I am ashamed of my existence!"

They endeavoured to soothe him; and for a few hours he forgot his shame
in sleep--though not wholly, for his slumber was troubled, and in the
midst of it he groaned, clenched his hands, and grated his teeth
together. The remembrance of his folly was stronger than sleep. He
awoke, and a sensation of horror awoke with him. The extravagance and
the madness of which he had been guilty in the morning were at first
only remembered as a disagreeable and confused dream, which he wished to
chase from his thoughts, and was afraid to remember more vividly. But,
as he saw the tears on the cheeks of his mother and his sister, as they
sat weeping by his bedside, all the absurdities in which he had been an
actor rushed painfully, if not distinctly, across his memory; and he
covered his face with his hands, ashamed to look upon the light, or on
his kindred's face. He was sick and fevered, and his throat was parched;
yet the sense of shame lay on his heart so keenly, that he would not ask
for a drop of water to cool his tongue. For five days he was confined to
his bed; and the physician who had been called in to attend him dreaded
an attack of brain fever. It was ordered that he should be kept calm;
but there was a troubled fire in his breast that burned and denied him
rest. On the sixth day, he ventured to whisper something in his sister's
ear regarding Marion.

"Poor Marion!" she replied; "though she forgives you, her father forbids
her to speak to you again, and has sent her to the north of Scotland,
that she may not have an opportunity of seeing you."

He sat in agony and in silence for a few moments, and rising and taking
his hat, walked feebly towards the door. But, ere he had opened it, he
turned back, and throwing himself upon his seat, cried--

"I am ashamed for the sunlight to fall upon my face, or for the eyes of
any one that I know to look upon me."

When the sun had set, and night began to fall grey upon the river, he
again rose, and went towards the house of Marion's father.

"What want ye?" said the old man, angrily, as he entered; "away, ye
disgrace o' kith and kin, and dinna let the shamefu shadow o' sic a
ne'er-do-weel darken my door! Away wi' ye! Dinna come here--and let ae
telling be as good as a hundred--for daughter o' mine shall never speak
to ye again!"

"You will not," said George, "deal with me so harshly, because I have
been guilty of one act of folly. They have a steady foot who never make
a slip; and, ashamed as I am of my conduct, it certainly has not been so
disgraceful as never to be forgiven."

"I have told ye once, and I tell ye again," cried the old man, more
wrathfully, "that my daughter shanna speak to ye while she breathes. I
hope she has a spirit above it. It would be a fine story for folk to
talk about, that she had married a blackguard that was mayor at
Tweedmouth feast!"

"I deserve your censure," returned George; "but surely there is nothing
so heinous in what I have done as to merit the epithet you apply to me.
I acknowledge and am ashamed of my folly; what can I do more? And I have
also suffered for it."

"Ye acknowledge your folly!" exclaimed the fisherman; "pray, sir, how
could ye deny it? I saw it--the whole toun saw it--my poor daughter was
a witness o' it; and yet ye have the impudence to stand there before me
and say ye acknowledge it! And muckle mends it makes to say ye are sorry
for it! I suppose, sir, the very murderer is sorry for his crime, when
he stands condemned before the judge; but his sorrow, I reckon, is but a
poor reason why he should be pardoned. Away wi' ye, I say--ye shall find
no admission here. At ony rate, I have taken good care to have my silly
bairn out o' your reach, and that she may be out o' the way o' the
disgrace and the scandal that ye have brought upon us."

So saying, the speaker rudely closed the door in the face of his

George Mordington returned to his mother's house, gliding silently, as a
ghost is said to move; for his cheek burned lest any one should look
upon his face. On the following day, he prepared to set out for
Gateshead; but before he went he placed the following letter, addressed
to Marion Weatherly, into the hands of his sister, and which she was to
give to her on her return:--

     "MARION,--I cannot now call you _my_ Marion--I have disgraced
     you, I have dishonoured myself. Your advice, which I deemed
     unnecessary, was not only forgotten, but you know how it was
     insulted. I know you must despise me; and I blame you not--you
     have a right to do so. I have made myself contemptible in your
     eyes, but not more contemptible than my conduct has rendered me
     in my own. I blush to think of you, and your excellence renders
     my folly more despicable. Call it madness--call it what you
     will--for it was the infatuation, the frenzy, the insanity of
     an hour. Yet, dear Marion, by all the hours and scenes of
     happiness that are gone, by all that we have known together,
     and that we might yet know, cast me not off for ever! Had I
     been familiar with the nightly debauch, my degradation would
     have been less, my conduct not so extravagant. Think of me as
     one degraded by folly, but not abandoned to it. I have sinned,
     and that deeply; but my repentance is as bitter as my crime was
     ridiculous. Its remembrance chokes me. _Forgive me, Marion._ I
     write the words, but I could not utter them, for I find that I
     could not stand in your presence, and support the weight of the
     debasement which presses upon me as a galling load. Your father
     has treated me cruelly--I would say that he has insulted me, if
     it were possible to insult one who has so insulted himself. The
     only apology I can, or should, offer for the part I have acted
     ought to be, and must be, found in my future conduct. It is on
     this ground only that I ask and hope for your forgiveness."

So ran his letter; and having delivered it to his sister, under the
promise that it should be given to Marion immediately on her return, he
left his mother's house, and took his journey towards Gateshead.

On arriving at the office of his employers, they looked upon him as
though they knew him not, and he perceived that the place at the desk
which he had formerly occupied was filled by another; for there the tale
of his follies had already reached: so true is it that evil rideth upon
wings which outstrip the wind. His late master sent one of the junior
clerks to inform him that he had no farther occasion for his services.
George stood as if a thunderbolt had smitten him; and he went forth
disconsolate, and began to wander towards South Shields, while the
thought haunted him what he should do, and to whom he should apply for
assistance. He had ruined his character--he was without friends, almost
without money, and he wandered in wretchedness, the martyr of his own
folly. He thought of his mother, of his sister, and of the fair Marion,
and wept; for he not only had drawn down misery upon his own head, but
he had made them miserable also. He took up his lodgings in a mean
public-house by the side of the river, and went round the public offices
in Newcastle and Shields, seeking for employment, but without success.
In all of them he was known; in each, the tale of his indiscretion
seemed to have been heard, for his entrance was greeted with a smile.

In a short time he began to be in want; and, like the prodigal, he would
have "arisen and gone unto his father"--but he had no father's roof to
receive him--no home, save the lowly habitation of his widowed
mother--and he found himself left as an outcast on the earth. In his
despair he applied to the captain of a vessel which was about to sail
for America. During his father's lifetime, he had made some voyages with
him, and obtained a knowledge of a seaman's duty. The skipper of the
American trader, also, to whom he applied, having known him when a clerk
in the merchant's office at Gateshead, agreed to take him on board, and
give him, as he called it, a trial. George Mordington, accordingly,
sailed for America, and several years passed, and his mother heard
nothing concerning him. The letter which he had left with his sister for
Marion had been delivered to her, and as she read it she wept, and her
heart whispered forgiveness. But days, months, and years dragged their
slow course along, and no one heard tidings of him. She began to feel
that, although she had forgiven him, he had forgotten her. Her father
said she "was weel quit o' the ne'er-do-weel--that he had always
determined that he should not speak to her again, and he was glad that
he had not attempted it."

But his poor mother mourned for him as a stricken dove that is robbed of
its young; the tears fell upon her pillow at midnight, as she wept for
her son, her only son, the child of her heart and hopes. Anxious and
fruitless were her inquiries after him. As the mist of morning
vanisheth, so had he departed from her sight; and, like it, when the
sun melteth it away, he was not.

Mrs Mordington had a brother who had been many years in India, and
having returned to Britain, he took up his residence in Ayrshire. Being
a widower, and without children, he sent for his sister and her daughter
to reside with him. They remained as the inmates of his roof for more
than ten years, and during that period she heard nothing of her lost
son. But her brother, who was now an old man, died, leaving to her his
property; and, regarding the place where her husband's bones lay as her
home, she returned to Tweedmouth. There, however, she had not been long,
when disease fell, as a withering blight, on the cheeks of her remaining
child. Year followed year, and, as the leaves dropped from the trees,
her daughter seemed ready to drop into the grave. Over her face
consumption's fitful rainbow spread its beautiful but deadly streaks;
and, though the widow now possessed affluence, she knew not happiness.
Her son was not, and her fair daughter was withering before her, as a
flower on which the cankerworm had fixed its teeth. Yet, long the maiden
lingered, until her aged mother almost hoped that they would go down
into the grave together.

Eighteen years had passed since the festival which had proved fatal to
the early promise and the fond prospects of George Mordington.
Margaret's day had again come round, and the neighbours of the widow,
with their children and friends around them, held a holiday. A slow and
unwieldy vehicle, which was then the only land conveyance between
Berwick and London, stopped in the village. A sunburned stranger
alighted from it, and as he left the coach, a young maiden crossed his
path. She seemed to be seventeen or eighteen years of age, and was
dressed in a mourning-gown, with a white sarcenet hood over her head,
being in the dress of one who was inviting guests to a funeral.

"Maiden," said the stranger, accosting her, "can you inform me where Mrs
Mordington resides?"

"Yes, sir," she replied; "I am bidding for the funeral."

"For what funeral?" he exclaimed, eagerly.

"For her daughter's, sir," answered the maiden.

"My sister--my poor sister!" cried the stranger, clasping his hands

"Your sister!" said she, inquiringly gazing in his face, and throwing
back her hood as she spoke.

"Heaven!" he exclaimed, and starting back; "your name, maiden--your
name!" But he added, "I need not ask it; it is written on your features.
Your mother's name is Marion?"

"It is," replied the astonished and half-terrified girl.

"Show me to my mother's!" he cried, smiting his hand suddenly on his
bosom. "Would that I had this day to be buried in the grave prepared for
my sister!"

Afraid to cast upon him another glance, she conducted him to the house.

"It is here, sir," said she, pointing to the house.

His frame, his features were convulsed; they shook with agitation. He
raised his hand and struck upon the door. It was opened by a woman
dressed in the garb of mourning, and whose years might be described as
being between youth and middle-age.

"Do I dream!" he exclaimed, starting back as he beheld her. "I am
punished!--yes, I am now punished beyond the measure of my crime!
Marion, I am George Mordington!"

She clasped her hands together, a wild shriek escaped her lips, and she
fell back as dead upon the floor. Others who sat with the corpse ran to
her assistance; but his voice had reached an ear where its tones had
lived as a memory that might never die.

"My son! my son!" cried the aged widow, and pressed forward to throw her
arms around his neck.

"My mother!" he cried, springing from the ground, where he had sunk by
the side of Marion.

The widow fell upon the breast of her son, and he wept aloud upon her

Strangers raised Marion and conveyed her from the house. She had long
believed George Mordington, the object of her early affections, was with
the dead; and under this conviction, and in obedience to her father's
command, she had given her hand to another. The maiden whom the
betrothed husband of her youth had met on alighting from the coach was
her daughter, and the features of the girl then were as the mother's had
been when they last parted.

George Mordington accompanied his sister's corpse, as chief mourner, to
the grave. The friends of his boyhood had forgotten the tale of his
folly; but its consequences gnawed with fiercer agony in his heart than
when he was first ashamed to behold his own face in a glass because of
it. On the following day, it was stated that Marion was not expected to
live, and she requested to speak with him before she died. He approached
her bedside--she stretched her hand towards him. "Forgive me, George!"
she cried. "I knew not that you yet lived. I am the wife of one who has
long deserted me; my heart has long been broken, and your appearance has
severed the last cord that linked me with existence. But I leave behind
me a daughter. When I am gone, there will be no parent to provide for
her--no father whose roof will shelter or hand defend her. As you once
loved me, protect my poor child!"

"I will! I will!" he exclaimed. "Farewell, Marion!" And he rushed from
the house.

She lingered for a few weeks, and he followed her to the grave, as he
had done his sister. Yet the remembrance of his early shame still
haunted him, and he imagined that every eye in the place of his birth
looked on him with derision. He gave his mother's furniture in presents
to her neighbours; and, with her and the daughter of Marion, proceeded
to London. The widow lived for a few years, and, at her death, he
bequeathed upon the daughter of his adoption all that his mother

"Maiden," he said, "I cannot look upon thy face, but it reminds me of
the happiness I have lost, of the misery I have brought on myself and
upon others. Child of my Marion, farewell! I leave you, if not rich,
above want. Be virtuous, as your mother was." And again crying,
"Farewell!" he left her; and George Mordington was no more heard of by
any who had known him. But, after the lapse of many years, there
appeared in an American newspaper the following paragraph:--

"Died, at Washington, in the seventieth year of his age, George
Mordington, Esq., a native of Berwick-upon-Tweed, a patriotic senator,
and an upright judge."


Once upon a time, when a good story had not ceased to have a beginning
in this way, there lived a person called William Glenday, who was a sort
of sub-equerry to Mary Queen of Scots; or rather he assumed that title,
because it sounded better than "head groom." This man was a widower, and
lived with his daughter Mary, a very interesting young maiden, of about
twenty years of age, in one of the houses within the precincts of the
Abbey set apart for the Queen's household. William was a quaint
Scotsman, shrewd and caustic in his remarks, like many of his nation. He
was reputed rich, and somewhat addicted to making more than a proper
display of his riches; in other words, he was "purse-proud." He was,
however, a most loyal subject of the queen, whom he held to be a paragon
of beauty. His daughter bore the same name; and it was even whispered
that he had sought to trace a likeness between Mary Glenday and Mary
Queen of Scots. What will the partiality of a father's love not

On the other side of the Abbey strand--that is, on the unprivileged
side--there was a house kept as a tavern or ale-house by a person of the
name of Peter Connal, very well known in those days as a place of resort
for the humble retainers about the palace. Instead of placing a dry
picture of a type of his trade over his door, in the shape of stoups or
bickers overflowing with his famous beverage, Peter conceived that he
would be nearer his purpose of letting the public know the nature of his
calling, by showing them the liquor itself, in a real quaigh, and in the
act of being swallowed by a real toper; at least Peter gave out as a
reason for his sitting on a barrel at his door during a great part of
the day, drinking his ale, that he was merely showing the public a good
example, and exercising the functions of his calling in such a manner as
to fill his purse and his stomach at the same time--a reason which
possessed so much of plausibility, that his wife, Janet Wilkinson, was
not, by the mere power of logic alone, able to show any fallacy attached
to it. Peter had a son named John--a very fine young man, who followed
his father's trade, but demurred somewhat as to the propriety of
imitating his father, when he should come to succeed him, in making
himself a living signboard; a piece of self-willed precocious conceit on
the part of the lad which Peter despised.

Nor did Peter Connal stand in any want of individuals to approve of
these sentiments. Among others who collected at this door, and took
their station on the seat on which he sat, were William Glenday, and an
Italian called Giulio Massetto, a servant in the employ of the famous
David Rizzio. These three were often seen sitting together at the door
of the tavern, drinking Peter's ale, and discussing any point of
interest which the strange proceedings of the palace at that time
offered to their curiosity. Peter did not approve of the intimacy which
existed between Rizzio and the queen; Giulio defended his master; and
William stood up for the unfortunate Mary.

"I canna see what our royal mistress can mean," said Peter, "by a' this
walkin, and ridin, and talkin, and singin, and playin on psalters and
sackbuts, and pipes and whistles, wi' that Italian. It's nae farther
gane than yesterday, that my son John--wha despises his ain drink, fule
that he is--saw the queen and him sittin in the bonny green bower, at
the corner o' the King's Orchard yonder, skirlin ane o' their Italian
sangs, like twa mavises. Is that like a Queen o' Scotland and the wife
o' Darnley? Na! na!"

"Cattivo!" ejaculated the choleric Italian, "thy son doth lie in his
throat. My noble master is the only accomplished gentleman in this
barbarous land; and my royal mistress hath made him her secretary,
because thy kilted barons can only write with their swords."

"And maybe thae kilted barons may write wi' that guidly pen the word
'_death_' on yer noble master's silken sash," answered Peter. "By my
troth, lad, ye had better be at Cremona, playing an Italian strathspey,
than here in our abbey, if ony o' our kilted barons be within hearin."

"Wheesht! wheesht! baith o' ye," said William Glenday; "ye are baith
wrang. It may be ill for Giulio to speak in this fashion; but it may be
waur for you, Peter, wha's living comes frae the palace, if ye are heard
speakin ill o' Rizzio and the queen."

"I just say what I think," said Peter, pertinaciously. "That Italian
piper would be better dangling at the black wuddy up the way yonder,
than at oor queen's tail." And he quietly quaffed off a jug of his ale.

On hearing these words, Giulio could no longer restrain himself. He
started from his seat, and shaking his fist in the face of Peter, turned
on his heel and disappeared.

This scene, though made a little ominous by the fierce expression of the
Italian's face and manner, was not long remembered. Peter continued to
drink his ale, and did not hesitate to speak his mind on a subject which
had, apparently, become of more than ordinary interest to him. The
intimacy between him and William Glenday continued; and their children,
as will appear, had good reasons that it should not be interrupted.

Now John Connal and Mary Glenday were of nearly the same age, and their
sentiments accorded as closely as their years. From their earliest
childhood they had associated together; and the feelings which were
generated in the games and amusements of schoolmates, ripened, as they
grew up, into sentiments of the heart. When the same blue-bell, which
divided their affections at the "Wells o' Weary," was cast away, it was
only to give place to another object of mutual sympathy. The natural
elements of love, thus reinforced by early congenial habits, mutual
enjoyments, and the daily intercourse of an inseparable connection,
produced, in a short time, a strong attachment in the youthful pair,
which had been pledged and re-pledged as often as their fears suggested
any impediment to their ultimate union.

These lovers had now arrived at an age when they might have been united;
and they looked forward to this happy consummation with confidence and
delight. John Connal, however, did not want rivals, who sued in vain for
the hand of Mary. Among these was Giulio Massetto, the Italian, who had
for some time solicited the favour of the maiden. He trusted much to his
superior appearance and polished manners, and looked with contempt on
the poor Scot who dared to dispute with him the hand of his love. Mary
was much annoyed by the Italian's importunate method of wooing;
partaking more, she thought, of the impassioned character of a madman's
ravings, than of the quiet, rational, and sincere mode of a Scottish
courtship. She had repeatedly told him that his suit was in vain; but
every repulse seemed only to increase his assiduity, and add to the
pathos of his protestations and serenades.

This man had earned for himself, since he came to Scotland, a reputation
for every wickedness. He had been concerned in many disgraceful amours,
and violent and bloody quarrels with the inhabitants of Edinburgh, which
brought upon him a hatred equal to that which his master, by his
imprudent conduct with the queen, had produced against himself. It was,
in consequence, suspected that his passion for Mary was a mere
ebullition of that kind of love for which his countrymen were then and
are to this day remarkable; and that, even if he were so fortunate as to
secure the object of his desires on condition of resigning his liberty,
he would, when his passion cooled, leave her to follow some other
equally faithless and disgraceful amour.

Having been unsuccessful in every effort he had made with Mary, Giulio
at last resolved to make an application to her father; and he trusted
that the show of wealth which, by the misplaced kindness of the royal
favourite, he was enabled to make, might have the effect of tempting
William Glenday to endeavour to influence the affections of his

"Thou knowest, William Glenday," said the Italian, one morning, "that I
love thy daughter Mary with the force of affection which a true and
ardent lover ought to bear towards the devoted of his heart; and I have
taken every method known in our country to induce her to forego the
gratification of the infliction of her cruelty on her lover; yet she
continues obdurate and determined that I shall die the victim of a
passion which I cannot control. Yet, if she would but relent, how happy
could I make her! My jewels amount in value to a hundred merks; and my
master, on our marriage, will present me with a hundred more. Wilt thou
aid me in my suit, and endeavour to persuade thy daughter that she ought
to yield to the influence of my love?"

William Glenday, who was himself a little purse-proud and conceited, was
by no means taken on the right side by this high-flown speech, which
was, like all Giulio's conversation and manners, a gross imitation of
the style of his master. William was adverse to his suit on many
grounds; but the rhodomontade of this address, and the attempt to bribe
him by a display of ill-gotten wealth, roused him beyond his natural

"Ye seem, sir, to hae yersel stated aneugh," answered William. "Ye admit
that my dochter winna hae ye; and wharfore should I endeavour to force
her luve? Besides, ye're no o' our country, man; and the lasses o'
Scotland dinna like foreigners. Tak an Italian! tak an Italian! Birds
o' a feather gree best thegither; and the kite and the doo winna assort
ava. I carena a bodle for your merks. If they were in their richt place,
they should maybe be in our ain Scotch exchequer. Neither care I sae
muckle as an auld sang for yer fine speech, which nea doot comes, like
yer merks, frae yer maister. Ye needna, therefore, pursue ony mair this
fruitless wark--which, it would seem, ye continue by nicht in the shape
o' something they ca' serenades--or, as we would say, nicht-waits--as
weel as in the licht o' day, by a constant use o' thae black een o'
yours, aneugh o' themsels to terrify ony young leddy. In addition to a'
this, John Connal has lang been my dochter's lover; and if they wish to
mak a match o't, it shanna be me that'll prevent it."

This calm and self-sufficient oration produced on the fiery and
impatient temper of Giulio that rage which burned on the application of
every spark. It must be confessed that even a Scotchman would have
resented the hints of William, rendered more provoking by the manner in
which they were uttered--a wink or a smile being always at hand to give
piquancy to an innuendo; while an imperturbable, calm, and
self-confident assurance gave the whole an aspect of dictation, mixed
with contempt. Giulio rose suddenly, and without so much as uttering a
word, went away.

In the meantime, the two lovers had got matters in considerable
advancement for their marriage, which was fixed to take place in the
following month. The inhabitants of the Abbey were promised a grand
entertainment in William Glenday's house; and the day was looked forward
to by all and sundry as a kind of holiday. There was, indeed, something
in the match of more than an ordinary character; for, as a pair of twigs
which have fallen connected from a tree into a stream seldom find their
way together to the ocean, it seldom happens that the loves of childhood
can withstand the severing impulses of the conflicting and distracting
interests of a selfish and calculating world. It was even whispered that
one of the maids of honour of the queen intended to grace and dignify
the union by being present at the ceremony. The preparations went on
with spirit. The day approached, and everything seemed to conspire to
add to the happiness of a union apparently under the influence of
smiling and auspicious powers.

On the evening of the day preceding that on which their marriage was to
take place, one of those events occurred which arrest the attention of
thousands. Peter Connal, when coming out of the house of William
Glenday, was stabbed to the heart. A number of persons immediately
collected on hearing his cries--the guard of the palace was roused, and
search made in every direction for the perpetrator of so bloody and
unaccountable an act. Amongst those who rushed out when the cry was
heard, was Mary Glenday and John Connal. The latter was entirely
occupied in getting his father's body carried home, in the hope of his
being only wounded, and with a view to get medical aid. Mary and some
neighbours remained upon the spot, searching about for any trace, by
footsteps or otherwise, which might lead to the discovery of the
murderer. When engaged in this search, her eye fell upon a small sword
lying at a little distance from the spot where the crime was committed.
Upon taking it up, she discovered, to her astonishment, that it was her
father's sword, which she had not missed from the house. She instantly
secreted it under her clothes, and looked about to see if she could
discover her parent. He had not, however, been seen during the tumult;
and, though many inquiries were made for him, no person could tell where
he was. She now flew to the house, and, upon getting into the inner
chamber, applied water to the instrument to wash off the blood, threw
the washings into a place where they could not be seen, and, by means
of ashes from the fire, scoured the instrument, so as to bring back its
brightness. Having hung it up in the spot which it usually occupied, she
turned to leave the room, with a view to go again to the street, to
avoid any suspicion which her absence might suggest as to where she had
been. As she turned, she started on observing the eyes of some person
fixed on her through the window. She trembled from head to foot; and,
unable to proceed a step, fell back into a chair which stood near her,
and again shook with an apprehension which she could not account for.
All these acts which she had performed during the last ten minutes,
appeared to her as wanting the reality of life. She had done them
intuitively; and as no proper, well-defined motive had been present to
her mind during the time she was occupied, she was now equally at a loss
to account for an apprehension which it was impossible there could be
the least ground for. She questioned herself why did she secrete the
sword--run home with it--wash it and scour it? Was she afraid of her
father being charged as the murderer? Impossible! She was not afraid of
that. She could defy the world even to suspect that her father was
guilty of such a crime; and the idea of it was so absurd that it could
not be entertained for a moment. Yet, was she not in fact alarmed? This
was not to be denied. She tried to run over the acts which she had, as
in a dream, performed by the impulse of a power external to herself;
but, on looking to the window again, she saw the same eyes staring in at

At this moment the door opened, and a person came from John Connal to
inform her that Peter was dead, and requesting to know if her father had
yet been seen. She was unable to speak to the messenger, who went away
without an answer. Mary continued to sit waiting with breathless
impatience for the return of her parent. She heard the bustle in the
street gradually die away. Occasional inquiries were made by the
passengers for William Glenday, from whom they wished to get some
explanation of the extraordinary case; but the servant answered them,
and stated that he was not come back, and Mary was indisposed. Eleven
o'clock came, and still no word of her father. She heard some people on
the street going home, remarking it as strange that William Glenday
should be absent, when the father of his daughter's intended husband had
been stabbed dead at his door.

About half-past eleven, William Glenday returned home. He was met by
several people, who told him what had happened. He said he had been
conveying a hound to a gentleman who lived in Leith, and that he had
been detained beyond his usual time. He seemed to be very much affected
by the death; and the more so, he said, that he and Peter had that day
had some words about his daughter's tocher, which had very nearly broken
off the match. He inquired particularly if any clue had been found to
the murderer; and being informed that no trace had yet been got,
returned home.

He found Mary sitting in the state already noticed, and attributed her
apparent sorrow to the circumstance which had occurred. She looked up,
and asked him where he had been when such awful doings had been going on
at his own door. He answered her in the same way he had done the
neighbours. She then asked him if he had been over at Peter's house. He
said that he had not, but would go immediately. On turning to go out,
she observed that his coat was all wet; and, on examining it more
narrowly, discovered that it was wet with blood. At the sight of this
extraordinary coincidence with the circumstances attending the finding
of the sword, she screamed and fainted. Her father, alarmed for his
daughter, hung over her with every demonstration of affection; but,
attributing her illness and the faint to the shock produced by the death
of Peter Connal, he trusted to her speedy recovery when the nervous
excitement under which she laboured had abated.

On recovering herself, Mary looked round her, endeavouring to recollect
some painful idea which she knew had been the cause of her illness. The
moment the thought again struck her, she started up, as if she had found
there was a necessity for something being done. Calming her speech and
manner, by an effort she made for that purpose, she desired her father
to take off his coat, which was wet, and put on another, for the purpose
of going over to Peter Connal's house. William complied, remarking
(without examining the marks of blood which were behind) that Marion
Gray--a woman of irregular habits, who lived in the precincts of the
Abbey, and was well known at that time by the name of Mary's Marion, in
consequence of having, in her better days, received some attention from
the queen--had, as he passed her door, thrown a basin of water upon him,
and instantly disappeared.

William Glenday having gone over to Peter Connal's house, Mary, who had
said nothing to him of the blood, shut the window-shutters, and washed
the coat. The basin in which the bloody water was contained was standing
on the table; and, just as she was about to lift it, she saw that the
window-shutters had been gently opened, and the face of some person was
there gazing in upon her. This apparition again disconcerted the poor
girl, and threw her into fits of trembling; but she got the water
emptied out, and hung up the coat to dry upon a screen at the fire.

When her father returned, Mary asked him how Peter's wife was sustaining
her affliction. She did not ask if any clue had been got to the
murderer. She trembled as the words were on her lips. The circumstances
of the evening bore heavy upon her. She knew that William and Peter had
quarrelled about the tocher, but still she did not suspect her father.
She felt it even impious to say to herself that she did not suspect
him; for she conceived that the mere connection of the ideas of the
murder and of her parent could be nothing but a freak of the devil. Yet
she could not ask her father if any clue had been got to the murderer,
and she could not tell why she felt unable to do that. William talked
about certain probabilities as to this one or that one being the guilty
person, but came to no very satisfactory conclusion. His first idea, he
said, was, that the Italian had done the deed; but he could see no
proper motive that could induce him to commit the crime; and, besides,
Giulio had been seen running out of the palace along with the rest of
the people--no sword had been seen upon him, and none had been found by
the persons who had gone to search for evidence. After indulging in some
conversation of the same kind, and lamenting the death, and the
consequent interference with the marriage, they retired to rest.

The search for the murderer of Peter Connal was continued for many days
without effect. The funeral of the unfortunate man was attended by a
great crowd of people, attracted by the respect in which Peter was held,
and the unusual circumstances of his death. John Connal now took up the
business, carrying his resolution into effect, not to imitate his father
in the matter of the sign-post. He accordingly got a very imposing one
erected, in which he fell into the error which his father had condemned
in such indignant terms; for it was filled up with mere pictures of
casks, bottles, and bickers--things in themselves so sacred in the
estimation of Peter, that he hated all representation of them as a
species of idolatry. The very barrel on which he had so often sat was
turned in. The jaunty and gaudy signboard was not received as a
compensation for the comfortable personalty of Peter. The inhabitants of
the neighbourhood, who had formerly been so delighted with his portly
figure, in the very attitude of doing almost continually that which it
was their wish to imitate, turned away their eyes from the dry contrast
afforded by a mere picture, and sighed over all the vanities of this
fleeting world.

The intercourse between William Glenday and John Connal was not
interrupted by the unaccountable circumstance that had occurred; but it
was soon observed that Mary was not what she used to be. Even John
Connal observed a difference in her manner. She felt a reluctance to fix
another day for the marriage; and the importunities of John seemed only
to increase it.

"Now, my dear Mary," said John, "when our grief for my father is, by the
course o' nature, somewhat moderated, may we no accomplish that which
was interrupted by that melancholy catastrophe? Twenty summers hae gane
owre our heads, and fifteen o' thae hae been cheered by the beating o'
our twa hearts, as by the sangs o' birds on a sunny day. The licht o'
yer lauchin ee has been my only solace amang mony waes; and even on the
occasion which has filled our houses wi' sackcloth, and our hearts wi'
grief, and dashed frae our uplifted hands the cups o' pleasure which hae
been a promise and a covenant between us for a fourth part o' the
ordinary term o' man's pilgrimage on earth, I hae had nae staff o'
support but ye, and nae beam o' hope but what ye hae pleased to
vouchsafe to me. It canna be, then, that this misfortune, which, God
knows, was nane o' my doing, should be turned frae the purpose which it
was by Heaven intended to serve--nae doot to check our joy, which was
owre bricht for mortals, into a total extinguisher o' a' our pleasures,
and a final end to a' our hopes! Na, na, Mary, ye canna think that
Providence will deal wi' us in that gate. And oh, tell me, dearest, for
the sake o' heaven, why ye hae been sae changed to me o' late, and why
ye winna again prepare to gang wi' me to the altar?"

"It's no for me," said Mary, "to interfere wi' the ways o' God--wha,
having allowed us, in his high pleasure, to be joined in our hearts for
sae lang a time--even our hail lives--thocht proper to part us in the
end by sic an awfu token as the death o' yer faither, on the very day
afore our marriage. There was a sign and a meaning in that token which
my heart has read in tears, and interpreted in agony; and sae lang as it
pleases Heaven to conceal frae us the hand which struck the fatal blow
at yer faither's life and our hopes, sae lang, my heart whispers, maun
our union be delayed!"

"That may be for ever, Mary," said the young man.

"No," answered she. "But when that time shall come--and oh, that it may
come sune! for it will be as the dew o' heaven to the parched and gaping
earth--when the bloody hand shall be stretched forth, and the guilty ane
made to stand out in the searching sun o' a bright evidence--then shall
I be able to say whether it may again be that there is any chance for
our being united in the bonds o' matrimony. Till that time shall come,
never mention to me the subject o' this conversation."

"Oh Mary, Mary, take back thae terrible words!" said he.

"No; my heart is filled wi' a grief which nane on earth can lessen; and
it is a sad change that has come owre me, when I can hae a sorrow which
ye canna ken, and though ye kenned it, couldna relieve. Yet sae it is:
yer puir Mary is nae langer what she was, and may never be what she was
again. The flowers o' Arthur's Seat hae lost their colours and their
scents--the bluebells o' the Hunter's Bog ring nae mair peals--and the
water o' St Anthony's spring is drumly and dark, as it is when the
spirit o' the storms sits on the tap o' the 'Lion's Head.' 'Waly, waly,'
is now my sang, the joys o' a bricht morning hae fa'en to the bottom,
like the lees o' a vessel o' wine; and I maun drink thae lees, bitter
as they may be; for Heaven has said the word, and Mary Glenday is
obedient to its behests."

The high-toned determination of the maiden satisfied John that it would
be vain to press a suit at present, which was so clearly interdicted by
some hidden circumstance. What that could be was a subject of intense
interest and curiosity; but, though he thought of it daily and nightly,
he could not even approach the mysterious reason which could change a
human being so entirely, as to make a light-laughing maiden, high in the
hope of being married, a sorrowful and sentimental woman, giving grave
injunctions that her intended nuptials should not be broached in her
presence. At times John thought that her mind was tinged with a
superstitious melancholy, arising from some presentiment that, as their
marriage was interrupted in such an awful manner, Heaven had set its
decree against it. This opinion deserved weight, from the circumstance
that the condition attached by Mary to their union still taking place
was the discovery of the author of the murder; but even that condition
was itself qualified, as if it depended upon the nature of that
discovery whether she would consent to become a wife. The whole matter
appeared a mystery, and John could make nothing of it.

The people in the Abbey discovered that Mary Glenday was entirely
changed. Her cheek became blanched, and her blue eyes dim; while her
general appearance was that of a person labouring under a consumption.
She was seldom seen going out, except to church; and even there she
never looked up. Many questions were put to her, as to the cause of her
dejection, but no satisfactory answers could be got from her. Towards
her father, her kindness continued. It was indeed a kindness altogether
overdone--the result of a wish to heap attentions on him, as if from a
morbid fear that he would not long be preserved to receive or she to
impart them. William Glenday was extremely pained by the change which
had taken place on his daughter. He could not go out without producing
terror in her mind. She was even at times seen following him; and, when
he would turn round and perceive her, she would, as if caught and
ashamed, slip out of his sight. If any person knocked at the door, she
trembled; and if a question was put to her, as to where her father was,
her answer was so confused, that very often the inquirer was obliged to
go away without the information sought. If any one approached the place
where the sword hung, she betrayed uneasiness; and, on one occasion, one
of the grooms under her father having taken down the sword to look at
it, she fainted. She never allowed her father to wear the coat he had on
that night when the murder was committed; and, when he asked for it, she
said she could not find it, although it was carefully secreted in one of
her drawers.

This state of mind in the unhappy girl was not unknown to Giulio
Massetto. He observed her changed appearance, and was well pleased to
hear that there was at present no great likelihood of a union between
her and John Connal. He was observed often to be watching about the door
of the house; and his bold and blustering manner towards John, and his
readiness to speak in his presence about Mary, betrayed a kind of
triumph, mixed with a hope that he might yet succeed where his most
ardent wishes still pointed. He had the boldness, indeed, one day to
make up to her, as she came from church; but she shrank away from him,
and left him in conversation with her father, who still kept on friendly
terms with him.

William Glenday took every method of dispelling his daughter's
melancholy. He proposed, one afternoon, a walk to Duddingston, which she
reluctantly agreed to. They set off accordingly, and visited an
acquaintance who resided there. After they had been there for some time,
a messenger, on horseback, and holding another horse, saddled and
bridled, in his hand, inquired at the door if William Glenday was
within. Mary heard the question, and, having seen the messenger and the
horses from the window, rushed out, and cried that her father was not
within. Her manner betrayed the utmost agitation. She endeavoured to
prevent the servant from stating that William Glenday was in the house;
and it was not until her father, who heard the noise, came out, that the
messenger could know what was the truth. The people of the house could
not account for her conduct on any other principle than that she was
deranged. The messenger bore a request that William Glenday should
instantly repair to the palace; and having committed Mary to the charge
of his friends, he departed.

Mary returned home in the evening. The weather was calm and delightful,
and the sun was setting in that fine amber-coloured radiance, which, in
Scotland, is often so remarkable on an autumn evening. Wearied by her
day's fatigues, she sat down to rest herself. A train of images rose in
her mind, which took away all perception of time, or of the increasing
shades of evening that gradually closed over her. In the midst of her
reverie, she was suddenly startled by a human voice. It was that of
Giulio Massetto.

"Anima mia!" cried the Italian, when he saw her. "Mary Glenday here, on
the brow of the hill, in the gloom of approaching night! Io Godo! Io
Godo! I am well pleased. And now we shall, if it please thee, have some
conversation on a subject which, notwithstanding thy coldness, still
lies next my heart. Thou knowest how I love thee, my sweet Mary; and I
am well pleased to know that thou hast discarded thy old lover, Connal,
who was not, indeed, worthy of the love of such a maiden. Thy father I
shall yet appease and persuade, if thou wilt but answer to my love." And
he held out his hands to embrace her.

"Stand back, sir," said the indignant Mary. "The power does not exist on
this earth that can e'er mak Mary Glenday love Giulio Massetto; and
Heaven winna interfere in sic an affair. I hae tauld ye aften--and this,
I hope, will be the last time--that it is waur than useless to persevere
in a suit which I can ne'er gie ony favour or countenance to. Ye may
perceive, sir, that I am very far frae being in a guid state o' bodily
health; the bloom has gane frae my cheek, and sorrow has flung her
gloomy mantle owre the heart whar joy loved ance to dwell. Ye may, if it
be yer pleasure, continue to persecute ane wha ne'er wranged ye--ye may
shake doun the few lingering grains that remain in the sand-glass o' my
life, and hasten the end o' a miserable existence. Ye may do a' this,
sir; and when ye hae dune it, what will ye hae accomplished? When ye see
the green turf lying on the grave ye hae helped to dig, will that be ony
cause o' pride, or exultation, or thanksgiving? If it will, or if it
can, then I truly say that the heart o' an Italian is no like that o' a
Scotsman. Let me gang, sir, or I will wauken the spirit o' this place
wi' the cries o' a determined and desperate woman."

"I cry thee mercy, maiden," replied Giulio, perfectly unmoved, except by
hurt pride and bitterness. "I'osservo something troubles thee, and thou
makest that a reason for rejecting my love; but what wouldst thou say if
Giulio Massetto, whom thou despisest so much, could tell thee of the
cause of thy illness. It is sometimes more easy to take the grief from
the heart of an unwilling maiden, than to wash the gore from a sword, or
from a garment which has been drenched in the heart's blood of a

These words operated like lightning on the unhappy Mary. She intuitively
fell on her knees, clasped the Italian's legs, clinging to them with the
grasp of death--struggled for breath and power to speak, and
convulsively screamed, "Tak--tak back thae words, and tell me that ye
never uttered them--say that ye didna see me wash the sword, and scoor
it, and hang it up i' my faither's room--say that I didna wash the
bluid frae my faither's coat, and dry it at the fire--say that,
and--and--Mary Glenday will----"

"What?" said the cold-blooded Italian; "wilt thou become my wife?" These
words recalled Mary's wandering senses, but only to consign them to the
power of exhausted nature. She fell senseless at the feet of her
perfidious persecutor. Approaching footsteps were at this instant heard,
which caused the Italian to retreat; and, when Mary recovered, she found
herself in the arms of her father, who led her slowly home.

When examined by her father, Mary pretended that some unknown person had
surprised her on the hill. Her father stated that he thought he
perceived Giulio Massetto part from her when he came up. To this she
gave no very distinct answer, pretending that she was not very sure
whether it was Giulio or not. This was not at all satisfactory to her
father, because he was aware that she had fainted in consequence of the
violence of the person who had suddenly left her on his approach; and if
Giulio had been the individual, she could not have failed to know him.
He felt unwilling, however, to press his daughter farther, because she
seemed quite incapable of supporting any lengthened conversation on this
subject, which seemed to be one of great pain to her.

The weight upon the mind of Mary increased; for she was now overcome by
a feeling of total dependence upon the will of another. The depression
of spirits produced by this accession to her disquietude acted with
increased force on her frame, which daily became more attenuated. It was
observed that she now ceased entirely from speaking of Giulio Massetto
with disrespect or anger. When his name was mentioned, she was
spell-bound and silent. One night a noise was heard at the window, as if
some person had tapped at it in a peculiar and concerted way. William
Glenday looked at his daughter, and asked what it was; she replied it
was rats, and that she had heard the sound often. In a short interval,
however, she arose from her seat, and signified to her father that she
had occasion to leave the house for a few minutes. The latter asked her
whither she intended to go, adding, that, in her present weak state, she
had better remain in the house. She replied, she was just going to visit
a neighbour; and her father not having suspected any connection between
the sound at the window and the departure of his daughter, offered no
further opposition to her expressed wish.

It was about ten o'clock when Mary went out; eleven struck, and she was
no yet come home. William Glenday became alarmed, and sent to inquire if
she was in the neighbour's house she had mentioned. The servant came
back, and informed him that she had not called there for many months.
This increased her father's alarm, and he ran immediately over to the
house of John Connal, to inquire if she was there. John said that he had
not seen her for some days; but his affection for her suggested stronger
dread than that felt even by her father; and seizing his hat, he rushed
out of the house to search for the object nearest to his heart. On going
round the King's Park, he thought he observed two people standing in the
shadow of a house at the corner of the clump of trees, called at that
time the "King's Orchard." On coming nearer, he heard the voice of
Giulio Massetto, and then that of Mary Glenday. He was struck with
intense agony. Could it be that he was now, in his turn, the
unsuccessful rival of the Italian? Everything indicated that fact; and
his fancy, fired by jealousy, now saw distinctly the reason why Mary
would not consent to name another day for their marriage. Her statements
about the murder of his father were used as a device to get quit of her
obligation and pledge to him, and leave her at liberty to wed his rival.
Her bad health was produced by the intensity of a new passion, and the
struggle between conscience and inclination. Her distress, on being
surprised by her father on the night of their visit to Duddingston, was
all affectation; for, as her father himself had stated, she had been in
the company of the Italian, and wished to conceal it.

Stung to the heart by this supposed baseness on the part of his lover,
John went forward, determined that either he or Giulio should die on the
spot. Before he came up, however, the pair separated--the Italian going
one way, and Mary another. John followed Mary, and overtook her.

"Is that you, Mary Glenday?" he cried. "What are ye doing here at this
time o' nicht?"

"O John, dinna ask me what I'm doing here," answered Mary; "but let me
get hame, where I hae mair need to be than in this place at sic an
untimous hour."

"Why are ye here, then, Mary?" said John, with asperity.

"Because I have need to be here," answered she. "And if ye love me,
dinna, for heaven's sake, ask me ony mair aboot it."

"Had Giulio, the Italian, need to be here too?" asked John,

"I winna answer that question, John," answered Mary, "nor ony ither ye
may put to me. I can only say, that, if ye wish to add to the misery o'
ane wha loves ye wi' a' the force o' a breakin heart--wha is worn down
to the weakness o' a silly thread, by what she canna reveal to
mortal--ye hae it in yer power noo to snap it asunder, and send yer ain
Mary to sleep wi' yer murdered faither, in the Canongate kirkyard. Speak
but ane or twa mair o' thae sharp words ye hae noo spoken, and ye will
hae nae mair to do. I hae only to beg, that if ye love me, ye will say
naething o' what ye hae seen or heard this nicht. The chough and the
craw are gane to their rest--gae awa to yours; and, as they were
heedless o' what was said and heard by me as I stood yonder under their
sheltering tree, be ye equally heedless and equally mute. Nae mair. The
life o' Mary Glenday depends on yer discretion!"

As she said these words, she beckoned to John not to go with her. She
went in the direction of home; and he, with a heavy heart, stung with
jealousy--and yet satisfied by her extraordinary conduct that there was
something unexplained, feeling himself bound to conceal his emotions and
obey her commands--went home also.

In the morning, William Glenday called at John's house, to inquire if he
had seen Mary on the previous night. She had been, he said, late in
returning--her spirits were getting worse, her health fast declining,
and everything indicated some mental disease, or some secret of an
extraordinary character, preying upon her mind. John denied having seen
her, and gave a confused assent to what her father stated. This account
did not agree with that given by Mary, who had said that she saw John
Connal on the previous night. William Glenday became, in his turn,
suspicious of John, and now began to think that he was acting
dishonourably by his daughter--a circumstance that would, of itself,
account for her state of health and spirits. He, however, said nothing,
and departed.

Two nights afterwards, when William Glenday returned home about ten
o'clock at night, he was told that Mary had gone out; and the servant
said she thought there was some strange noise at the window before she
departed. Her father was now satisfied that she had left the house to
meet John, and resolved to go himself and ascertain the truth of his
suspicions. He went and called at John's house; and having found that he
had not yet come in, went away to the darkest parts of the
neighbourhood, to see if he could discover whither they had gone. He had
not proceeded far when he met two men carrying a female. This was his
daughter, in a state of insensibility. She was supported by John and
another person. They conveyed her to the house; and having applied some
stimulants, she recovered. William Glenday, with much asperity, blamed
young Connal for not acting honourably towards his daughter, whose
affections he said he was trampling on. The other defended himself as
far as he could, without betraying Mary. He said he had met the stranger
bearing her in his arms, and that he assisted him merely in carrying her
homewards. The stranger, on his part, said he belonged to Leith, and
that, as he went along by the entry from the south back of the Canongate
to the Abbey, he saw the young woman standing with a man--that she was
supplicating him not to do something which he threatened to do;
whereupon he said, in a threatening and angry tone, that, unless she
yielded to him within an hour, he would lodge an information the next
day; and he swore that he would fulfil his threat. On his swearing, the
young girl fell into a swoon; and her companion suddenly disappeared on
seeing the narrator come up to her assistance. William Glenday could
make nothing of this story, and Mary refused to say anything in

On the following day, two officers called at William Glenday's house,
and showed him a warrant for his apprehension upon a charge for the
murder of Peter Connal. Mary heard the statement of the men, and went
again into a swoon. When she recovered, her father had been taken to

A precognition was now led by the crown lawyers. Giulio Massetto was
examined, and stated that, on the night of the murder, he saw Mary
Glenday pick up a sword, which she found lying on the ground near the
place where Peter Connal was slain; that he afterwards saw her, through
the window, washing the blood from her father's sword and coat.
Glenday's servant was next examined, who stated that she saw Mary
washing the sword and her father's coat, by looking through the key-hole
of the door. Mary was next called; but she refused to say anything
against her father; and she was not pressed. Several witnesses,
however, were examined, who asserted that a quarrel took place between
Peter Connal and William Glenday, on the day of the murder, respecting
the amount of the tocher which Peter's son was to get from William
Glenday with his daughter. This evidence the crown-officers conceived to
be very strong, and nothing that the prisoner could say tended to affect
it. The gentleman to whom, on the night that the murder was perpetrated,
he said he conveyed the hound, was a Frenchman, then living at Leith,
who wished to introduce a breed into France, for which country he had
departed. He therefore could not prove an _alibi_. In addition to all
this, the sword itself was produced, and a coat was found in Mary's
cabinet, which presented all the appearances of having been washed. It
was proved, too, that her father was never seen to wear that coat; and
the groom referred to in a previous part of this narrative, said that
Mary Glenday had nearly fainted one day when he took down the sword to
look at it.

As the evidence gradually transpired and came to the ears of Mary, the
effect produced upon her was of a character so intense, that no person
thought she could support life under its influence. A series of swoons
for many days seemed to divide her life with death. Her nerves suffered
alternations of high excitement and the lowest depression; and, at
times, her screams were heard far from the house, and by passengers
going along the street. In quieter moments, she cried for Giulio
Massetto, and said she would now consent to his conditions. The people
around her conceived she was raving, and paid no attention to her wild
request; though they could not restrain their tears, when they thought
of the extraordinary fate of the unfortunate girl. Her early and
romantic love for John Connal--the interruption of her marriage by the
death of her intended father-in-law--her sufferings under the terror,
very far from being causeless, that her father would expiate on the
scaffold the crime of murdering her lover's parent;--these things
became topics of ordinary conversation, and brought tears to the eyes of
many; but no one on earth knew all the sufferings of Mary Glenday. Her
restless nights--her frightful dreams--her cold shivering fears, real
and imaginary--her dependence on the word of a villain for the life of a
parent--the conduct she was obliged to pursue towards her lover, for
whom her affection had not diminished--and the nervous state of body
into which she had fallen, formed a load of misery which would have
bowed the head of an ordinary mortal to the grave.

Nor was the poor maiden now far from that place of rest. No extenuating
evidence could be procured for her father, and the trial was fixed to
take place within a fortnight. Every day of this period brought her more
near to the termination of a mortal's career. She gradually sank to the
last stage of life. The medical gentleman who attended her saw that she
could not survive the period of the trial. John Connal was continually
by her bedside. He had forgotten and forgiven all; though he had not got
a proper explanation of her mysterious conduct. A faint glimmering of
light, however, found its way into his mind; but any hope produced by it
was in a moment clouded by the dreadful thought, that she had all along
suspected her father to be the murderer of his parent, and had even
taken means to conceal it, if she did not, by washing the sword and her
father's coat, absolutely approve of it. When these thoughts came across
young Connal's mind, he flew from the object of his love, beating his
breast in agony; but pity again recalled him; and between so many
conflicting passions, he was next to being a madman.

One night he had been sitting with her to a late hour. She was too far
reduced to enter into anything like conversation--a few words being all
that ever passed; and these were of the most ominous character. After a
long pause, and when she seemed to be occupied with thoughts of her
approaching death, she started up in an instant, and laid hold of John,
who was sitting by her bedside. "Ken ye Mary Gray, John?" she cried,
with a wild scream--"ken ye that woman that is ca'ed Mary's Marion?"

"I do," answered John; "what aboot her, my dear Mary?"

"Awa to her!" she cried--"awa to her! wi' the flicht o' light. A thocht
has come into my head--why has it been sae lang o' comin? Ask her if she
threw ony bluid on my faither's coat on that awfu nicht when yer faither
was murdered?"

With the effort produced by speaking these words, she fell back
exhausted. John went in search of Mary Gray. She was not in the house;
but a young girl told him that she had met her with a man in the
Hunter's Bog. He hurried away to that lonely place. It was now dark, but
the night was quiet; and, though he could not see far, he could hear
with the greatest distinctness. About the middle of the glen, he heard
two persons engaged in conversation.

"For the twa gowd pieces ye gied to me," said a woman, "for assistin ye
in the matter o' fat Peter's death, I dinna thank ye, Giulio, because I
wrocht for it! Hang ye for an Italian dog! do ye think that Scotch
lasses are sae blate as to forget their bargains! Na, na--I hae got
naething frae ye for this last fortnicht, and I'm this nicht in want--so
gie me the silver pieces ye are awin me."

"It is neither gold nor silver that insolence will get out of an
Italian, Mary Gray," said Giulio. "It is another metal that he gives--at
least to a male."

"And did puir Peter Connal," answered she, "gie ye ony insolence when ye
slew him sae unmercifully wi' William Glenday's sword, that ye got me to
steal for ye frae his house, as if ye hadna had ane o' yer ain."

"Yes," answered the Italian. "He was insolent to me when he abused my
master, calling him an Italian piper, and saying he should be hanged for
his services to our gracious queen."

"And wherefore did ye put the crime on William Glenday," asked Mary, "by
using his sword, and getting me to throw bluid on the puir man's coat
when he passed my hoose?"

"Because," said Giulio, "he was also insolent to me. He refused me his
daughter--taunted me about my money, my speech, and my country. Besides,
I wished to stop his daughter's marriage with John Connal, which the
suspicion attaching to him could not fail to do. I was, besides, freed
from any suspicion of doing the deed myself. Other circumstances arose
from chance, favourable to me; for I did not count upon Mary's secreting
the sword, and washing her father's coat, which thou knowest has come
out in evidence against her."

"And it is a strange thing, Giulio," said she, "seeing that yer life is
in my hands, that ye should treat me as ye are noo doin, denyin me the
silver piece sae justly due to me. Are ye no feared I gang up the street
yonder, to the council chaumer, and mak a contract atween you and the
black knave wha hugs his freends sae closely aboot the craig?"

"Thy life would answer for it," said Giulio, sternly.

"And what would Mary's Marion," answered she, "care for a spark, whilk
only noo throws oot a glimmer to show her her shame?"

"Thou jokest, I presume," answered Giulio.

"I will tell ye that," answered Mary, "when I get my silver piece. Tempt
nae mair the wrath o' an angry woman, wha has only to say the word that
will mak yer feet dance i' the air, to a tune o' your ain whistling. It
winna be Davie Rizzio that will save ye if Mary says the word."

The Italian struck the woman violently, who fell, uttering a loud
scream. As John Connal rushed forward, Giulio fled, pursued by the
threats and imprecations of Mary, who, upon returning, was grateful to
John for delivering her from his violence.

Next day Mary Gray was examined by the procurator-fiscal. She gave a
detailed account of Giulio's having bribed her to steal William
Glenday's sword; and afterwards, when he had killed Peter Connal, to
throw blood on Glenday's coat as he passed her door. John Connal gave
next his account of the conversation he had heard between the Italian
and Mary Gray. Other witnesses were examined to prove Giulio's quarrel
with Peter, and also with William Glenday; and one man stated, that when
Giulio joined the people who were rushing out of the palace to see the
fray, he seemed to approach them at an angle, as if he had not come
direct from the palace. In addition to all this, Mary Glenday, who was
examined in bed, gave a satisfactory account of her actings, as they
have been already detailed.

The aspect of matters was now changed. William Glenday was liberated,
and the Italian put in his place. He was afterwards tried, condemned,
and hanged. Mary Glenday recovered, and explained everything to the
satisfaction of her lover to whom she was afterwards married.


On the banks of the Esk, in the County of Dumfries, stood, some years
since, a handsome, substantial-looking mansion, bearing all the marks of
plenty and comfort; while the neat and elegant arrangement of the
grounds around bore evidence to the refined and chaste taste of its
proprietor, Gavin Douglas. He was a gentleman by birth, and, "if merit
gave titles, he might be a lord," for a more kind-hearted, amiable
Christian never existed. He had succeeded to his father's property
nearly thirty years before the time of which we write, and had
constantly resided upon it ever since, growing daily in the love and
respect of all who knew him. His appearance and address were
particularly prepossessing: he was tall and upright in his person; his
manners were bland and gentleman-like; and his fine expanded forehead
and mild expressive eye told of a warm and benevolent heart. He was a
widower; and his family were at a distance--the sons in the pursuit of
their respective professions, and the daughters all happily and
comfortably married, with the exception of the eldest, who resided under
his roof with her three fatherless children. His eldest son, Edward, had
been for some years settled in a mercantile house in Calcutta, where he
had lately married, and had been admitted as one of the partners of the
firm. Gavin Douglas well supplied the place of a father to his little
grandchildren; his whole aim seemed to be, to study _their_ happiness,
and to soothe the sorrow of their bereaved parent.

One summer evening, the family party at Eskhall were seated in their
comfortable drawing-room, engaged in that cheerful, affectionate
conversation which forms the peculiar charm of a well-educated,
well-regulated family circle. The day had been one of the most sultry
and oppressive of the season; but the clouds, which gathered round the
setting sun in dark and gloomy masses, seemed as if waiting in sullen
silence for his disappearance, to pour their fury upon the scenes to
which his rays had given beauty. Nor did they threaten in vain; all the
wrathful energies of nature seemed to have awakened at the very hour
when man and beast were about to seek repose. The rain descended in
torrents, and poured forth, more like a continued stream than a
collection of single drops. The vivid forked lightning appeared, in its
ragged and eccentric course, to tear asunder the veil of darkness, only
to render it doubly visible, while, glancing ten thousand reflections
from the falling rain-drops, it flashed across the eyes of the family
party, startling and dazzling them with its sudden and excessive
brilliancy. The children clung to their grandfather in mute and
breathless awe, and the whole party sat in silence, uninterrupted, save
by involuntary ejaculations, which escaped them at each successive
flash. Not a breath of wind was stirring, not a sound was to be heard,
but the dull, monotonous, incessant pattering of the rain, and the loud,
clear, crackling burst of the thunder, as it rolled peal after peal over
their heads, and apparently in dangerous proximity. At length, the rain
began to relax in its violence, the flashes of lightning became less and
less vivid, and the thunder died away in faint and distant murmurings.

"Grandfather!" said little Gavin, leaving his stronghold between
Douglas's knees, "was not that an awful storm?"

"Yes, my boy," replied the old man; "awful, indeed! and thankful ought
we to be to the good Providence which has blessed us with a roof to
shelter us, while many an uncovered head has been exposed to its
violence. Such a night as this ought to awaken in us a spirit of
gratitude for the blessings we ourselves enjoy, and of charity towards
the wants of others."

"Did you hear that strange noise during the storm, grandfather!" said
little Emma; "it sounded like the bleating of a lamb close by; but I was
so much frightened by the lightning at the time, that I did not mention
it to you, and----There it is again!"

A low, wailing, stifled kind of cry was heard, which almost immediately
ceased, and the whole party started up, with looks of surprise and
alarm, and gazed at each other, as if mutely inquiring from whence the
strange sound could proceed. Again the cry was heard; and Mr Douglas,
seizing one of the candles, rushed to the front-door, to ascertain the
cause of their alarm. Great was his surprise to find, under the porch, a
small wicker-basket, covered with a coarse, ragged shawl, on removing
which, he started to behold the little chubby features of an infant,
which stretched out its little arms, and crowed with delight at the
sight of the candle. Mr Douglas's first impulse was to hurry into the
parlour, where our little hero was safely deposited on a sofa, and
exposed to the curious and inquiring gaze of the assembled party.

"O grandpapa!" shouted little Gavin, clapping his hands, and dancing
round the baby, "I have often heard you say, 'It is an ill wind that
blows nobody good;' and now see what a nice little brother the
thunderstorm has blown us."

"Inhuman wretches!" exclaimed Douglas, "to expose such a sweet infant in
a night like this! But they cannot be far off." And, ringing the bell
violently, he went out with some of the servants in pursuit of the
supposed fugitives: but vain was their search; every nook and corner of
the grounds were examined, but no traces of any such could be
discovered; and Douglas returned, fatigued and disappointed, to the
parlour. On examining the basket in which the child had been laid, a
crumpled and dirty piece of paper was discovered, on which was written,
in a trembling and almost illegible hand, "Be kind to the boy--he comes
of a good family. His name is Philip F. May Heaven prosper you as you
behave to him!" There was likewise a signet ring, with a few Persian
characters engraved upon it. The clothes in which the infant was dressed
were formed of the best materials, neatly and plainly made, but bore
evident tokens of neglect and dirt.

"Poor boy," muttered Gavin; "since your own unnatural father has
deserted you, I will be a father to you. Here, Jane, my love,"
addressing his daughter, "I commit this stray lamb to your charge for
the present; see that he is comfortably settled in the little crib in
your room."

Years passed on; the little foundling had become a tall, handsome
stripling of thirteen, as much beloved for his kind and amiable
disposition, as he was admired for his handsome form and bold and manly
spirit, when Gavin Douglas received a letter from his son Edward in
Calcutta, informing him that by the next ship he intended to send his
eldest daughter, who was now seven years old, home to his care. The ship
by which this letter had been forwarded, having met with a succession of
light and baffling winds, had made so long a passage, that the little
stranger whose approach it announced might be now daily expected. At
length the newspapers gave notice of the arrival off the Start of the
ship Cornwallis; and Gavin Douglas prepared to hasten up to town to
receive his grand-daughter. Philip, who was at home for his school
holidays, and who was now as dear to Douglas as if he had been his own
flesh and blood, entreated and obtained permission to accompany him.
Owing to a long continuance of easterly winds, the Cornwallis made a
tedious passage up the Channel, and our travellers were detained for
some days at Gravesend, awaiting her arrival. To Philip this delay was
most welcome; the bustling scenes around him seemed to arouse the latent
energies of his nature. Accustomed to the quiet and peaceful monotony
of a country life, he felt as if a new sphere of existence was opened to
him; and everything he beheld bore, in his eyes, the stamp of novelty
and excitement. His great delight was to loiter for hours at the stairs
(Gravesend did not then boast of the handsome jetty which now adorns
it), and to gaze at the numerous craft floating on the bosom of the
majestic Thames; some lying at anchor, and others taking advantage of
the tide to hasten towards their various destinations. Frank and open in
his manner, eager and anxious in his thirst for information, the
watermen, who were always lounging in numbers about the stairs, felt a
pleasure in gratifying his curiosity, and in initiating him into all the
mysteries of river seamanship; and he soon learned to distinguish the
different "riggs" of the passing vessels, from the lowly "peter-boat" to
the majestic ship. One morning there was a dead calm; the river was
gliding past unruffled by the slightest air; the cheerful "Yo, heave
oh!" of the sailors, and the loud clanking of the windlass "pauls," were
heard distinctly from some of the distant colliers, shortening in cable,
preparatory to making a start; while the rattling, clattering sounds of
the chains were heard from others which were just "bringing up"--for it
was high-water, and the upward-bound vessels were obliged to come to
anchor. Philip had been at his usual post for some time, when his
attention was attracted by the heavy, sluggish cloud of smoke which hung
in the wake of two steamers, whose low painted chimneys were seen over
the land, which they flitted past with great rapidity, while the tall,
naked spars of a large ship towered far above them. At length their
hulls became distinctly visible.

"Hand here the glass, Jem," said a waterman who was anxiously observing
them, to his comrade; "let me have a squint at her. Ah, I'd swear to her
among a thousand! That's the old Cornwallis! Jump into the boat, Jem,
and let's push out into the stream."

Away flew our friend Philip to the inn, to tell his father, as he called
him, the welcome news. The old gentleman hurried down to the stairs, and
the Cornwallis had hardly let go her anchor in Gravesend Reach, before
he and Philip were on her quarterdeck, inquiring for Catherine Douglas.
Captain M'Dougall of the Cornwallis received them with the greatest
politeness, and, upon Gavin Douglas informing him of the cause of his
visit, he was immediately ushered into one of the round-house cabins,
where a little dark-eyed girl was playing with her ayah.

"Catherine, my dear," said Captain M'Dougall, "here is your grandpapa
come to visit you."

Little Catherine, as we said before, was seven years old, and, like most
Indian children, quick and clever beyond her years. She was a brunette
in complexion--so much so, indeed, that she might have been mistaken for
a descendant from parentage of the climate in which she had been reared.
Her eyes were dark, lively, and brilliant, and a profusion of rich black
hair fell in clusters upon her shoulders. The moment she heard Captain
M'Dougall's announcement, she dropped the toy with which she was
playing, and ran eagerly up to Douglas:--

"Are you really grandpapa Gavin?"

"Yes, my love," said the old gentleman, almost smothering her with

"Are you quite sure?" said she: "then," looking smilingly up in his
face, "I think I love you very much, grandpapa."

Philip was now introduced, and, in five minutes' time the two young
people were sworn friends. Catherine had shown Philip all her rich store
of toys, and had answered all his eager questions about the voyage, the
ship, the uses of various things in the cabin, &c. Be not impatient,
gentle reader, at the details of this childish meeting; the happiness or
misery of life often depends upon trifles light as air, and our friend
Philip's future destiny took its hue from the consequences of that
intimacy of which we have just been describing the commencement. In the
course of a fortnight, the travellers with their young charge returned
to Eskhall, where the little stranger met with the most affectionate
welcome. The banks of the Esk were beautiful as ever; but, to Philip's
eyes, they had lost great part of their attraction; he had had a glimpse
of the scenes of active life, and he was eager to engage in them. The
country sports in which he used to take such delight began to lose their
relish; and his principal amusement now was to wander in the green
fields with little Catherine, and to listen to the tales she told of her
recollections of the distant lands she had left. His curiosity was
excited, and he burned with impatience to visit them, and to judge for
himself; and he expressed to Gavin Douglas his predilection for a
sailor's life, and his eager wish to commence his career as soon as
circumstances would allow. Gavin's heart yearned towards the handsome
and spirited boy, whose eye sparkled, and whose tongue became eloquent,
as he urged his suit; and he felt that the time was come, which he had
long looked forward to with pain, when this young and ardent spirit must
leave his guardian care, and be intrusted to its own impulses. He talked
seriously and affectionately to the boy on the subject of his wishes;
told him--what had hitherto been kept a secret from him--the history of
his first appearance at Eskhall; assured him that he always would be, as
he hitherto had been, in the place of a father to him; and concluded
with saying--"Reflect seriously upon what I have pointed out to you, my
dear boy; I have laid before you, as far as my experience goes, all the
advantages and disadvantages of the profession which you wish to adopt;
weigh the matter carefully in your thoughts; and if, at the end of a
week, you continue in the same mind, I will do all in my power to
promote your wishes."

Poor Philip's astonishment and distress was unbounded, when Gavin
informed him of the mystery that hung over his birth. He had always
hitherto been known by the name of Douglas, and had been accustomed to
consider himself as Gavin's grandson; and the truth burst upon him with
the astounding effect of a thunderbolt. Pale as ashes, with the tears
streaming down his cheeks, he exclaimed--

"Not your grandson, sir? Then who am I? Good heavens! have I been living
from my earliest years a poor dependant upon your bounty? O my generous
benefactor! my more than father! how can I ever prove my gratitude to
you for your unvaried affection and kindness?"

"You have already proved it, Philip, by repaying affection with
affection; by your steady obedience, and constant attention to my
slightest wish. I have a father's love for you, Philip; and, poor, and
unknown, and alien as you are, you have made yourself as dear to me as
if you were my own flesh and blood. I feared that this disclosure would
fall like a blight upon your young spirit; but, painful as it is, it was
necessary that it should be made. Cheer up, my boy! brighter days will
come. I feel a conviction that the secret of your birth will be one day
discovered, and that you will have no reason to blush for your

"Heaven grant it may be so, sir! but I dare not hope. If I had not been
a cause of shame to my parents, would they have deserted me?"

Douglas shook his head, and said--

"Time will show. At all events, my dear Philip, look upon me as your
father until you find a better."

"That can never be, my dear, dear gr----benefactor."

The week of reflection passed away; but not so Philip's resolution,
which was now confirmed and strengthened by his eager desire to relieve
Mr. Douglas from the burden of his support, and by the hope that he
might by some fortunate chance be guided to the discovery of his true
parents. On his making known his decision, Gavin Douglas immediately
wrote to a friend in town, through whose interest he obtained for him an
appointment as midshipman on board an Indiaman which was on the point of
sailing for Bengal and China, and which it was necessary for him to
"join" immediately. Before he left Eskhall, Gavin delivered into his
hands the ring and other articles that had been found in the basket in
which he was exposed when an infant, that he might have some clue
whereby to endeavour to trace out his parents. Delighted as Philip was
at the prospect of entering upon his new profession, he felt the
greatest sorrow at parting from his kind and liberal benefactor, and
from those whom he had been so long accustomed to look upon as near and
dear relations; but still more deeply was he affected at leaving his
beloved little playmate, Catherine. _Her_ grief on the occasion was
excessive. Philip had been her constant companion in all her little
rambles, and her resource and comfort in all her childish difficulties
and sorrows. He had scarcely ever left her side; and now she was to part
with him--perhaps for ever! Poor Philip himself was obliged to exert all
the pride of precocious manhood to resist the contagious example of her
tears; but he did all in his power to comfort the little mourner, and at
last partially succeeded, by reminding her that in a few months the
voyage would be over.

"And _then_, dear Phil, will you come back again?"

"That I will."

"Oh, how glad I shall be to see you again!" And she jumped about,
clapping her little hands for joy, till the recollection of the long
separation that must intervene called forth a fresh torrent of tears.

At length the parting scene was over; and, freighted with the blessings
and good wishes of all who knew him, Philip was fairly launched into the
rough ocean of life, to be exposed to all its storms and quicksands,
from which he had been hitherto safely sheltered in the calm haven of
domestic peace. The first voyage passed safely and happily; and some
years flew by in the same routine of leave-takings and glad meetings.
Philip loved his profession enthusiastically; but, at every successive
parting, he felt more and more unwilling to tear himself from Eskhall
and its beloved inmates. Catherine was now a lovely, elegant girl of
eighteen; her childish preference for Philip had been gradually and
imperceptibly gaining strength, till it had become the ruling passion of
her heart. _He_ loved _her_ fondly and tenderly; but his fears were
excited by her constantly-increasing reserve towards him; there was such
apparent inconsistency between the attentive kindness of her actions,
and the distance and almost coldness of her manner, that he was puzzled
as well as surprised. But the eyes of Gavin Douglas's experience were
open, and he had for some time read--in the changing complexion of
Catherine whenever Philip approached her, in the embarrassment of her
manner whenever she addressed him, and in the suppressed eagerness of
her interest in whatever concerned him--that secret which she shrunk
from confessing even to her own heart. Though he dreaded the consequence
of an attachment which he thought might be productive of only misery and
disappointment, yet he had too much confidence in Philip's honour and
discretion to fear any clandestine avowal of love on his part. He wrote
to his son Edward in Calcutta, informing him of his suspicions and fears
as to the state of Catherine's affections--telling him all the
particulars of Philip's history, and leaving it to his own judgment to
act as he thought circumstances required.

"In the meantime," wrote he, "I cannot openly interfere, lest, by
striving to remedy, I should only increase the evil; but I will
endeavour, quietly and unobtrusively, to keep the young people apart
until I hear your decision. My opinion is, that a final separation will
be the only means of weaning them from each other. Catherine has a
father's home to receive her--when poor _Philip_ leaves _me_, he leaves
his only earthly protector; and, even for my grand-daughter's sake, I
cannot part with one whose amiable and affectionate dispositions have
rendered him dear to me as a son."

The result of this communication was a letter to Catherine from her
father, telling her that he was obliged to visit England for a few
months, on business, and begging her to hold herself in readiness to
accompany him on his return to Calcutta. Philip had just arrived from
abroad when he received this news; and, as is often the case, it was not
till he feared he was going to part with Catherine for ever, that he
felt how deeply and fondly he loved her. He became restless and unhappy;
and wandered away, day after day, alone, under pretence of seeking
amusement in rural sports, but in reality for the sake of indulging the
sorrow that was preying upon his mind. He shunned all society, even that
of her whose image was ever present to him, and absented himself as much
as he possibly could from the family meetings at meals. His dejection
began to have an evident effect upon his health, and the kind-hearted
Gavin grieved to see his young favourite pining under the influence of
his hidden sorrow.

"Philip, my son," said he to him, one day, "why have you not confided in
me, your oldest and dearest friend? I have penetrated your secret,
Philip, and I honour you for endeavouring to confine it to your own
bosom; but you must rouse all your energies to shake off the tyranny of
a passion which your high sense of principle must tell you cannot safely
be indulged in, and is only likely to be productive of sorrow and
disappointment." He then proceeded to remind him delicately of the cloud
that hung over his birth, of his want of means to maintain the woman of
his choice in comfort, and of the absolute necessity for his strenuous
exertions to rise in his profession, as the only chance of bettering
his condition in life; "for though," added the generous man, "it is my
intention to make some provision for you in my will, yet there are so
many claims of relationship upon me, that your proportion will, I fear,
be but small."

Philip's heart swelled, and his eye glistened, as he pressed the old
man's hand, in mute acknowledgment of his kindness; and some moments
elapsed ere he could sufficiently command his feelings to give
expression to them in words. At length, in broken and hurried accents,
he expressed his heartfelt gratitude; he confessed that he had long
loved Catherine, but said that he had never "told his love," hoping that
his prospects might brighten, and that he might then be enabled to prove
himself worthy of the happiness he sought. He acknowledged the justice
and propriety of all Mr Douglas had said, and expressed his conviction
that it was his duty, however painful it might be to his feelings, to
tear himself from the society of one whose presence was so dangerous to
his peace, and to endeavour, however vain that endeavour might be, for
_her_ sake as well as for his own, to conceal, though he could not
stifle, the passion which reigned in his heart. It was agreed upon
between the two friends that Philip should employ his time while on
shore in travelling, till his ship was again ready for sea, and that he
should then join her, without taking leave a second time of his friends,
except by letter. Poor Philip could hardly command his feelings, when
taking what he considered to be his final farewell of Catherine. He knew
that, when he next returned home, Eskhall would have lost its principal
charm in his eyes--that _she_ would no longer be there, and that, in all
human probability, they might never meet again. Catherine only felt, or
appeared to feel, the uneasiness attending a temporary parting; but her
voice trembled slightly as, with a pale but steady countenance, she bade
him adieu; and, leaving the room, with a calm though melancholy manner,
she hurried to her chamber, and, securing the door, gave way to the
sorrow which in his presence she had successfully endeavoured to
restrain. Time passed slowly and heavily with Philip during a rambling
tour which he made through different parts of England and Wales. He
fought manfully against the sorrow that oppressed him, and endeavoured,
by rapidity of motion, and constant variation of scene, to turn his
thoughts into another channel; but in vain--the arrow was fixed too
deeply in his heart. He hurried from place to place, and from change to
change; but he could not fly from himself. In vain did nature present
her varied beauties to his eyes; he gazed listlessly and vacantly upon
all he beheld--he looked as though he saw not, for his heart was
elsewhere, and he felt that for him the charm of existence was over. In
the meantime, Catherine's father had arrived at Eskhall, and had been
informed by Gavin Douglas of Philip's noble struggle with his
unfortunately-placed passion, and of the anguish of mind which his
resolution had cost him.

"Generous young man!" exclaimed Edward Douglas; "he deserves a happier
fate. Would that I could favour his suit! But, poor, unknown, and
perhaps basely born as he is, it is my duty as a father to oppose it."

Shortly before Philip's ship _came afloat_, Edward Douglas was obliged
to go to London on business; and there he found out and introduced
himself to our young friend. Few young men of his age possessed greater
powers of pleasing than Philip; there was a frank ingenuousness in his
manner and address which, seconded by the remarkable beauty of his
features, immediately made a favourable impression upon a stranger--an
impression which a further intimacy seldom failed to strengthen into
affection and esteem. Such was the effect of his introduction to Edward
Douglas. They were mutually pleased with each other, and every hour
that Philip could spare from professional duties was devoted to his new
friend, rendered doubly dear to him by his near connection with her
whose name he dared not mention, though ever in his thoughts.

"My dear fellow," said Douglas to him one day, "I am aware of the
sacrifice you have made of feeling to principle, and I honour and esteem
you for it. Would to heaven your circumstances and my own were
different! Situated as you are, without the means of supporting even
_yourself_, I think I know you too well already to imagine that you
would willingly expose her you love to poverty and humiliation. Were my
circumstances such as to enable me to enrich my daughter, and to follow
the inclinations of my own heart, I know no one for whom I would more
willingly use a father's influence than yourself."

Philip's heart was too full for words; yet, though he felt the hardship,
he acknowledged the justice, of Edward Douglas's objections, and felt
greatly affected by his kind expressions of friendly feeling towards
him. They parted with mutual regret; Edward to return to Eskhall, and
Philip to join his ship at Gravesend.

"Ah!" said Gavin Douglas, one morning, about a fortnight after the above
parting, as the family were seated round the breakfast-table, "there is
the post-bag. Bring it here, James" (to the servant). "It looks too thin
to contain anything, I am afraid. Yes; here is a letter from dear Phil."

"When is he to return, grandfather?" asked Emma, now a full-grown woman.

Catherine was seized with a sudden curiosity to look at a pamphlet which
lay upon the table, and which she held very close to her eyes.

"Return, my love!" said Gavin; "when his voyage is over, I hope. This
letter was sent on shore by the pilot, and is dated 'Off Scilly.' But,
mercy upon us! what is the matter with Catherine?"

The pamphlet had fallen from her hand; the cheek which had flushed to
crimson at the mention of Philip's name was now of death-like paleness;
and she was leaning back in her chair, with her eyes closed, and panting
for breath.

"Thoughtless blockhead that I was!" muttered Gavin Douglas. And he then
set himself to repair the mischief he had done, by bustling about to
procure the necessary remedies, which at last succeeded in restoring
Catherine to consciousness.

"It was a sudden spasm," said she; "I shall soon recover from it."

"Poor girl!" thought Gavin, "I fear not; the evil is more deeply rooted
than I imagined."

From this period, Catherine became quite an altered character. A settled
melancholy seemed to weigh upon her heart. She was mild, gentle, and
affectionate as ever; but the buoyancy of her spirit was gone, and the
smile, which now but seldom brightened her countenance, was evidently
but grief in disguise. Her friends, with delicate consideration, avoided
all allusion to the cause of her sorrow, which was but too well known to
them all; and her fond and grieving father hoped that time and absence,
and the novel scenes she was about to enter into, might work,
imperceptibly to herself, a gradual cure.

Nearly nine months had elapsed since Philip's departure; Catherine, half
broken-hearted, had accompanied her father on shipboard, and was far on
her way to the East; and the Recovery, Philip's ship, was on her
homeward voyage. One fine night in March, the Recovery was running along
the Lagullas Bank, taking advantage of the current which sweeps round
the Cape of Good Hope to the eastward. The wind was light but steady
from the S.E., and the night cloudy, when the look-out man on the
forecastle called out, "A light on the larboard bow, sir!" A small
glimmering light was seen on the horizon to windward, which gradually
enlarged to a broad flame, wavering and flickering in the breeze; and
almost immediately the dull sound of a gun came faintly moaning over the
waters, and a long train of arrowy light went rushing up into the sky,
where it hung for a moment, and then burst into separate flashes, which
gradually died away as they descended. The officer of the deck ran in to
the captain immediately. "I am afraid, sir, there is a ship on fire to
windward. There is a strong light on our weather-beam, and I heard the
report of a gun, and saw the flash of a rocket."

"Indeed! Tell the gunner to clear away one of the guns. Call the hands
out. I will be out in a minute."

The light, in the meantime, was gradually increasing in size, and it was
evident, from the wavering outline which it presented, that the first
conjecture respecting its origin was a correct one; and gun after gun
confirmed it. The captain speedily made his appearance on deck, and,
after a moment's glance to windward, called to the chief mate, "Run the
stunsails in, Mr Waring. Brace sharp up, and bring the ship to the wind.
Are you all ready with that gun, Mr Wad?"

"All ready, sir!"

"Then, fire! Bear a hand, clear away another gun."

The Recovery was now hauled close to the wind, and was slipping rapidly
through the water in the direction of the light; all hands were on deck,
and, after the bustle of taking in and stowing the studdingsails had
subsided, the eyes of all were directed with the greatest anxiety
towards the horizon on the weather-bow, where the flame was now
distinctly seen, sometimes barely visible above the water, and then
bursting upward in broad and vivid jets, waving fitfully in the breeze.
All at once it disappeared, and half suppressed murmurs and ejaculations
burst from the excited crew of the Recovery.

"I fear we are too late, sir!" said Waring, the mate; "the light has

"Very strange!" replied the captain, straining his eyes through the
night-glass. "I hope not! Oh no! I see how it is. Don't you observe that
the red fiery haze still hangs round the spot?--and, hark! there is
another gun! She is on fire abaft, and is running down before the wind.
She has heard our signals. Fire another gun!"

The vessel to windward still continued firing minute-guns, by the louder
report of which it was evident she was rapidly approaching; and in a
short time the dark mass of her canvas was distinctly visible, standing
out in bold relief from its fiery background.

"Have the quarter cutters clear for lowering, Mr Waring," said the
captain. "Away aloft there, topmen; send down whips for the yard
tackles, and have the large cutter all clear for tossing out."

These orders were instantly and actively obeyed; the crew seemed to vie
with each other in their exertions, and strained every nerve in their
eager emulation. They could now clearly discern the dark hull of the
ship, the sails forward hiding the body of the flame, broad masses of
which were seen, with every roll she took, flaring out from each side,
alternately, of the dark screen of canvas.

"Man the gear of the courses!--up courses!--in royals and
topgallantsails!--back the mainyard!" were the orders which now rapidly
succeeded each other; and, in a few moments, the Recovery lay as
motionless as a log on the water.

"Call the hands--out boats!"

The large cutter was quickly hoisted out, the quarter-boats were lowered
and manned, and kept alongside, in readiness to push off at a moment's
warning. The burning ship was rapidly approaching, and was now within
two miles of the Recovery.

"Fire a gun to windward, and burn a blue light," exclaimed the captain;
"she is quite near enough."

The stranger now came slowly and gradually up to the wind, and hove to,
with her maintopsail to the mast, about a mile ahead, and to windward of
the Recovery. An involuntary shout of horror and admiration burst from
the crew of that ship, when the change in the position of the stranger
revealed to them the terrific extent of her danger--of horror for the
imminent peril of her crew, and of irrepressible admiration of the
splendid scene so suddenly unveiled to them. Broad masses of flame were
bursting apparently from her gun-room, and waving over her quarter;
while thick clouds of smoke, glittering with sparks, shot upwards, and
were borne far off to leeward by the breeze. Every rope in the ship was
as distinctly traceable by the glare of the flame, as if it had been
broad daylight. Her mainsail was hauled close up; and her crew, seeming
to have been aware that their only chance of rescue was in flight, had
been actively employed in keeping her headsails wet with streams of
water from the fire-engine, for it was very evident that no earthly
power could check the progress of the flames abaft.

The dark forms of the crew were seen hurrying about her decks,
apparently employed in clearing away the boats, one of which soon pushed
off from her, loaded till her gunwales were within a few inches of the
water, and pulled slowly towards them.

"Shove off in the boats," shouted the captain of the Recovery, "and give
way, my hearties, with a will."

There was not a moment to lose; a spark caught the maintopsail; the
canvas, as dry as tinder with the excessive heat, was in a blaze in a
moment; and, with lightning-like rapidity, sail after sail on the
mainmast caught fire, and blazing for a moment with a broad and
brilliant glare, shrivelled up, and flew in burning tatters to leeward.
It was an awful sight, that pyramid of flame, rising as it were from
the bosom of the deep. Not a sound was to be heard, but that of the
rapidly-moving oars, and the rushing, moaning, and crackling sound of
the flame. The men tugged at their oars in the silence of desperate
energy; life and death depended upon their exertions, and their voices
seemed to be hushed by the extremity of the danger. In the meantime,
sail was made upon the Recovery, and the breeze having partially died
away, she crawled slowly up on the weather-quarter of the stranger, and
again hove to. Boat after boat soon joined her, and, having deposited
their freight, hastened back to the scene of danger for more. The
greater part of the crew of the burning ship were soon safely bestowed
on board of the Recovery, when Philip, who had already made two trips to
the stranger with the boat under his command, pulled towards her again,
to bring off the remainder of her men. He was fast approaching her when
he was hailed by the officer of one of the other boats, who told him
that he had taken off the last of the crew. He was just on the point of
returning to his ship, when he heard sounds of remonstrance and entreaty
from another boat which was slowly approaching; the crew seemed
undecided whether to proceed or return; and, at the same time, he
observed by the light of the fire the officer of the boat struggling
with a man in the stern-sheets, who was apparently endeavouring to jump

"It would be madness--downright madness to return," exclaimed the
officer; "I will not risk the lives of my men--she will blow up

"Let me go!" shouted the stranger; "if I cannot save her, let me die
with her." At this moment the stranger's eye caught sight of Philip, who
was standing up in the boat, and, with a loud and startling cry, he
shouted, "Philip, Philip, save her! Save Catherine!" It was Edward
Douglas! At the same time a shrill scream came over the water, and a
female form was seen at the gangway, waving her hands over her head, and
wringing them in all the anguish of despair. For a moment Philip was
paralysed; it was but for a moment.

"We will save her or perish!" shouted he; "what say you, my lads?" The
men answered him with a cheer, as the boat sprung through the water
under the impulse of their bending oars; and a few vigorous strokes
brought them alongside the blazing ship. It was but the work of a moment
for Philip and one of the boat's crew to spring up the ship's side, and
to lower the fainting Catherine into the arms of the men below. With
careful haste she was laid down in the stern-sheets, and the water
foamed beneath the bows of the boat as her gallant crew bent desperately
to their oars. A handful of water sprinkled on Catherine's face revived
her for a moment; she opened her eyes upon her deliverer, and, murmuring
"Philip!" closed them again, with a shudder, and relapsed into
unconsciousness. The moment the boat reached the Recovery, the ship's
mainyard was filled, the lower tacks were hauled on board, the small
sails set, and she stood to windward, to widen her distance. The
precaution, however, was scarcely necessary, as the blazing wreck was
drifting fast to leeward. Almost immediately after the boat had left
her, she had paid off before the wind, the sails on the foremast caught
fire, and in a very short time the blazing wreck of spars fell forward
over the bows. All eyes were now eagerly directed towards her, to watch
the finale of the catastrophe. They were not kept long in suspense: a
dense cloud of smoke burst from her fore-hatchway, followed by a rush of
bright flame, and a loud and deafening explosion, and then all was
darkness--the hull had disappeared, and not a vestige of the unfortunate
vessel remained, except the fragments of the wreck, which fell far and
wide, pattering and hissing in the water.

It was with a feeling of breathless awe and silent thanksgiving that the
rescued crew gazed upon the scene; and many a cheek among them was
blanched with shuddering horror at the thought of the miserable fate
they had so providentially and narrowly escaped. The most daring and
reckless among them were sobered for a time, and many a half-suppressed
expression of thankfulness to an overruling Providence burst from lips
to which oaths and curses had been but too familiar. As soon as all was
over, sail was made upon the Recovery, the watch was called out, and
arrangements were made for the accommodation of the unexpected addition
to her crew. The name of the unfortunate ship was the Victory--a fine
vessel of six hundred tons. The fire had been occasioned by the
negligence of the steward, who, while unpacking a case of wine, had left
a light burning in the after orlop, which had set fire to the loose
straw, from which the flame was soon communicated to the spirit-room.

"All that men _could_ do, we did," said the captain, when telling the
story; "but, from the first, I had no hope of saving the ship, and
slight was our chance of escape in the boats. When the sound of your gun
reached us, it was as a messenger of hope--a promise of rescue; and
three cheers burst from our crew, as we put our helm up, and stood away
to join you. My men behaved nobly; with death staring them in the face,
they never for a moment failed in their duty, or flinched from the
danger, and exerted themselves to the utmost to keep the fire under, and
to prevent its communicating to the sails. Thanks to a merciful
Providence, and to you, its gallant agents, we have been rescued from a
dreadful doom!"

In the meantime, our friend Philip had hastened to the cabin which had
been appropriated to Edward Douglas, and, knocking at the door, was
immediately admitted.

"Philip!" exclaimed Edward, grasping his hand, while the tears stood in
his eyes, and his voice trembled with emotion; "my dear, my gallant
deliverer!--what an awful fate have you saved us from! If I had lost my
child, how valueless would have been my own preservation! To you, under
Heaven, I owe both: how can I express my gratitude?"

"Oh, speak not thus to me, dear sir; I but did my duty, and am I not
already more than repaid? But how is Miss Douglas?"

"Miss Douglas!" said Edward; "cold and formal indeed! Why not
Catherine?--your Catherine? Have you not earned a right to call her

Philip trembled, and turned pale; and then, when the warm blood, rushing
to his cheeks again, flushed them with emotion, he exclaimed--

"Oh, Mr Douglas! My whole efforts, since we parted, have been to smother
feelings and wishes which your words have again called into life."

"And long may they live, my dear Philip!--my dear son I hope soon to
call you. I will no longer strive against fate. You have saved
Catherine's life; and, if you still retain her love, you have a grateful
father's full and free permission to avail yourself of it. For the rest,
we will trust to Providence, and to the exertions of your own active and
energetic spirit."

"Mr Douglas," said Philip, "your kindness overpowers me. I would risk a
thousand lives, if I had them, for such a recompense; but I must not
take advantage of your excited feelings to obtain a boon, however dear
to me, which your prudence would deny. The same obstacles remain which
at first existed. I am still poor and friendless; the obscurity of my
birth has not been cleared up; and, circumstanced as I am at present,
ought I to avail myself of an accidental advantage, and of your too
generous appreciation of it, to fetter the free choice of your daughter,
who probably may now see those obstacles with far different eyes than in
her early days?"

"Better times may come, Philip; and, in the meanwhile, my daughter's
dowery will be sufficient to afford you both all the comforts, though
not the luxuries of life; your own energy and industry must do the rest.
But you must consult Catherine on the subject--gain her consent; mine
you have, without further condition, already."

After a consultation with his officers, the captain of the Recovery
deemed it expedient to put into the Cape; and the ship's course was
accordingly altered. The wind continuing fair and steady, on the evening
of the fourth day from the disaster, she was close in with the coast;
and the breeze dying away, and a thick fog coming on, she was hove to
for the night. The next morning the fog still continued; nothing was to
be seen of the land, though every eye was strained to penetrate the
gloom, till at last the glad cry was heard from the mast-head, "High
land ahead, sir! Close aboard of us!" All eyes were now turned upwards;
and there, frowning above the bank of fog, appeared the dark outline of
the Table-land. The fog soon cleared off; and, in an hour or two, the
ship rounded Green Point, and came to an anchor in Table Bay. After
Edward Douglas and the rest of the passengers were landed at Cape Town,
Philip, being second officer and _idler_, obtained leave of absence for
a couple of days, and went on shore to join his friends. The
boarding-houses were all crowded; for there were several ships in the
roads, one of which, full of passengers from Bengal, had arrived the day
after the Recovery; but Edward Douglas had contrived to secure
accommodation for Philip in the same house with himself. Several
passengers by the newly-arrived ship had taken up their quarters there;
and among them a fine-looking, elderly man, a General Fortescue, of the
Bengal army. This gentleman happened, on his first arrival, to be shown
into the room where Philip and Edward Douglas were conversing together.
They both rose at his entrance, and he returned the salutation of the
latter with the free and unembarrassed air of a man of the world; but,
when he turned to Philip, he started, and gazed at him for some moments
with a look so fixed and earnest as to call the colour into his cheek.

"Excuse me, sir," said he, at length--"excuse my involuntary rudeness.
Your features awakened recollections of other times, and of long-lost
and dearly-loved friends; and, for the moment, my thoughts wandered into
forgetfulness of the courtesy due to a stranger."

"I hope at least, sir, that the recollections I recalled were not
unpleasing ones?"

"When you have lived to my age, young sir, bitter experience will have
taught you that the 'thread of life is woven of mingled yarn;' and that
shades of sorrow and disappointment may darken the brightest pictures in
memory's retrospect. Few, very few, can look back to the past years of
life with unmingled pleasure, or forward to the future with unmixed

Both Edward Douglas and Philip became greatly interested in this new
acquaintance, especially the latter, who in turn seemed to be the object
of the general's almost exclusive attention. He seemed to watch Philip's
every movement with eager interest, often cast upon him earnest and
inquiring looks, and would then, with a heavy sigh, withdraw his gaze,
as if his features had recalled some faint and shadowy image of the
past, which his memory was in vain endeavouring to realise. A party was
formed to visit the far-famed farm of Constantia, on which the
well-known choice wine of that name is manufactured; and the three
friends set off together on horseback after breakfast next morning.
General Fortescue, notwithstanding the habitual shade of melancholy
which clouded his countenance, proved himself to be an animated and most
agreeable companion. His mind was stored with varied knowledge, and his
conversation was enlivened with anecdotes of events and characters
which had come under the personal observation of a keen and penetrating

"I know not how it is, Mr Douglas," said he, "but I have not felt for
years such a springiness of spirit as I experience to-day. I suppose it
is because this beautiful country recalls to my recollection our own
dear England. Suppose we dismount, and ramble for awhile among the
trees; with our feet upon the soft grass, and under the cooling shade,
our recollections of our distant home will return with greater warmth
and freshness."

This proposal was gladly acceded to by his companions; and, having given
their horses to the care of their attendant, they wandered about for
some time, and at last finding a grassy spot sheltered from the rays of
the sun, they seated themselves, and entered into an animated and
cheerful conversation.

"Pray, Mr Douglas," said General Fortescue, addressing himself to
Philip, "is your father a Scotchman? I should think so from the name."

Philip coloured painfully; and the general, perceiving his confusion,
added, "Excuse the liberty I have taken in asking the question--it did
not arise from idle curiosity. The dearest friend of my early days was a
Douglas, and the name is connected in my remembrance with scenes in
which I spent many of my happiest days, when hope gilded my visions of
the future, alas! only to deceive me. Yes, if Gavin Douglas still
survives, I must find him out."

"Gavin Douglas!" said Edward, in surprise; "was he a Douglas of

"The same," replied he.

"My father!" said Edward.

"Is it possible! And art thou really the son of my dearest and earliest
friend? Wonderful are the mysterious sympathies of nature! How strangely
was I attracted towards you both, but more especially towards your
friend, whom I presume to be your younger brother?"

"No, he is not even a connection, though I hope he soon will be one."

"Then whose son is he?"

Philip, with cheeks glowing, and eyes flashing with vainly-resisted
emotion, answered, in rapid and passionate accents--

"The son of one who was ashamed to own him; who deserted him in his
infancy, and cast him shelterless upon the casual bounty of strangers;
the nameless son of a nameless father; perhaps"--and his eye fell, and
his voice trembled--"the offspring of shame, as of misfortune."

"Never, Philip!" said Edward; "the pure stream rises from the pure
spring. Whoever your father may be, were he the highest in the land, did
he know his son, he would be proud, not ashamed, to own him as such.
But, as we have excited the general's curiosity, have you any objection
to my gratifying it, by reciting the history of your life?"

Philip made a movement of assent; and Edward proceeded to give a rapid
sketch of the events which we have already narrated, from the time of
Philip's desertion down to his gallant conduct on board the Recovery.

The general had listened to his narrative with breathless interest; and,
when it was concluded, asked, in a hurried and agitated manner--

"Was there no clue by which to trace his parentage? No writing, or other
notice of his birth?"

"Yes--a paper, stating his name to be Philip, and that he was born of
good family; and a ring."

"Here it is," said Philip, producing it.

The moment the general's eyes glanced upon it, his cheek turned deadly
pale, he leaned for a moment backward against a tree, and then, with an
eager and trembling hand, he touched a spring at the back of the seal,
and the shield flying open, the initials "P. & M. F." appeared engraved

"My son!" exclaimed the general, embracing Philip, while the tears
poured down his cheeks--"my long-lost Philip! Merciful Heaven! I thank
thee! How blind I was, not to trace before the resemblance to your
sainted mother! The very eyes and forehead of my beloved Mary! My son,
my son! This hour repays me for years saddened by the misery of

Philip, with tears of grateful joy, warmly returned the embraces of his
newly-found parent, and, even in that moment of agitation, his thoughts
gladly reverted to the removal of that which had been the principal
obstacle to Catherine, the mystery of his birth. Edward Douglas, much
affected by the unexpected recognition, had retired to some little
distance, to leave the father and son to the free expression of their
mutual feelings; but he was soon recalled to his former station by the
general, who, shaking him heartily by the hand, said--

"Son of my dearest friend, I owe it to myself and to my boy to narrate
to you the history of my past life, and to account to you both for what
must appear my culpable and unpardonable neglect of him whose uncertain
fate has caused me so many bitter moments."

The tale which followed we give in our own words, as our space will not
allow us to be so diffuse as was the excited narrator.

The father of General Fortescue was a man of high family and extensive
landed property in Ireland; proud of his only son, but prouder still of
the ancient name and large possessions which he fondly hoped that son
was destined to inherit. His mother had died in his early childhood, and
his education was prosecuted under the superintendence of a worthy and
excellent tutor, a Scotchman of the name of Campbell. The elder
Fortescue, who had himself been brought up at Eton, and who had a
strong prejudice in favour of public education, sent his boy, when he
was sufficiently old, to finish his education at that college. There it
was his good fortune to be associated with Gavin Douglas, who was two
years his senior, and immeasurably his superior in talent and character.
Mild and gentle in demeanour, but firm and uncompromising in principle,
Gavin was generally respected and beloved; his society was courted by
all his fellow-students--but he distinguished young Fortescue with his
particular friendship; and to the influence of that friendship the
latter was indebted for all the better traits that adorned his
character. Philip, in his letters, had often written, in the most
glowing terms of youthful enthusiasm, of his talented and estimable
friend; and his father, ever anxious to administer to his gratification,
invited Gavin, whose parents were at the time on the Continent, to spend
his vacation at Mount Fortescue, where he spent some weeks, delighted
with his hospitable reception, but surprised at the luxury and profusion
that surrounded him. But the scene was soon to change. Fortescue had
been for years living in a style of splendid and careless hospitality,
which had from time to time called forth ineffectual remonstrances from
his faithful steward, and at last affairs were brought to a crisis by
the villany of one for whom he had become security to a very
considerable amount. To meet the demands of his creditors, his estates
were sold; and, with about ten thousand pounds saved from their wreck,
he retired to a small town on the shores of the Frith of Clyde, and,
having procured a cadetship for his boy, sent him out to Bengal. This
was a severe trial to old Fortescue. The loss of his estates he could
have borne with comparative firmness, as far as his own comforts were
concerned; but his pride as well as his affection was wounded, when he
thought that his son would be obliged to seek in a _foreign_ land that
fortune which, but for his careless negligence and profusion, he would
have inherited in his _own_. Philip, full of the energy of youthful
hope, was but little affected by the change in his father's
circumstances, for the future was to him bright of promise; but he was
greatly grieved at parting with his father, whose many excellent
qualities had endeared him to his son's affection, and whose chief
weakness was his high aristocratic pride. After ten years' residence in
India, young Fortescue returned home on furlough, with the rank of
captain, and found his father much altered in person, but equally
unchanged in affection towards him, and in that pride of birth which had
ever been his besetting sin--one of the fruits of which was, frequent
invectives against ill-assorted marriages between those whose rank in
life was unequal. After staying with his father for a short time,
Captain Fortescue hastened to pay a long-promised visit to his friend
Gavin Douglas, whose wife had lately died, and who was now living with
his family at Eskhall. On his return, Gavin accompanied him, and
remained for several weeks at Mr Fortescue's. During one of their
rambles in the neighbourhood, they discovered, accidentally, that a
daughter of Mr Campbell, Fortescue's former tutor, was living near them,
under the protection of a maternal aunt. The young men soon sought and
obtained an introduction to these ladies, by whom they were most
cordially received, as friends of the departed Campbell. Mary Campbell
was a beautiful, highly-accomplished girl of eighteen, perfectly natural
and unaffected, and unconscious of the power of her charms. Not so young
Fortescue. In vain did his more quick-sighted and prudent friend,
Douglas, warn him of his danger; in vain did he remind him of the
obstacle which his father's pride would offer to the prosperous
indulgence of his growing passion: he renewed his visits day after day;
and, though he had not spoken of love, his heart was no longer his own.
She who was ever present to his thoughts became naturally the frequent
theme of his conversation, until his father remarked it, and scornfully
and bitterly taunted him with his love for one so much his inferior in

"Think no more of her, Philip," said he; "for, with my consent, you
shall never degrade yourself by marrying one so much beneath you."

It was easier, however, for the father to command than for the son to
obey; love prevailed over duty, and the young people were privately
married; the only persons in the secret being the minister who
officiated, and Mrs Morgan, Mary's maternal aunt. When the time of
Mary's confinement approached, she removed with her aunt to an obscure
village in a distant part of the country, where she died in giving birth
to the hero of our tale. Her husband was inconsolable, and it was some
time before he could bear to look upon the innocent cause of his
bereavement. After performing the last duties to his wife, and
witnessing the baptism of the infant Philip, whom he left under the care
of his grand-aunt, Captain Fortescue went over to the Continent, hoping
by travel to dissipate his grief. For a few months he heard regularly of
his boy's welfare from Mrs Morgan; but soon her correspondence ceased;
and, alarmed by her long-continued silence, he hastened home to
ascertain the cause. On his arrival in Scotland, he heard of the sudden
and dangerous illness of his father. He just reached home in time to
attend his death-bed; and by his unexpected return and filial
affections, cheered his last moments, and received his dying blessing.
But another trial awaited him. He set off as soon as possible to the
village where Mrs Morgan resided, little dreaming of the sad
intelligence that awaited him. She had died about six weeks before,
bequeathing all her small property to little Philip, who had always been
considered as her adopted son, and the orphan child of a distant
relation. The morning after her decease, it was discovered that the
nurse and child were missing, and that an escritoire, which was known to
have contained a large sum of money, had been broken open and ransacked.
Active search had been immediately made after them at first; but was
discontinued, when a woman's bonnet, known to have belonged to the
nurse, and part of a child's dress, were found on the banks of a
neighbouring swollen stream. Poor Fortescue was in despair; but at
length a gleam of hope broke upon him. The _bodies_ had not been found;
and his child might still be in existence. Advertisements were inserted
in all the papers, offering a large reward for the discovery of the
infant; but in vain. The heart-broken father lost all hope; and,
settling his affairs, hastened again to the East. As is too often the
case, fortune smiled upon one who had ceased to value her favours; and
he rose steadily and gradually to the highest grades of his profession.
The object of envy to others, he was miserable in himself. His thoughts
brooded over the past; and at last, after nearly a thirty years'
residence abroad, his heart yearned to revisit before his death the
scene of his past joys and sorrows; and he was thus far on his voyage
when Providence threw in his way his long-lost son.

When the general had finished his narrative, the day was too far
advanced, and the feelings of the party were too much interested
otherwise, to allow them to prosecute their intended visit to
Constantia; they therefore returned to Cape Town, where Catherine was
anxiously expecting their return.

"Catherine, my love," said her father, "I expect a friend to visit me
almost immediately. He is a young man of wealth and rank; and I beg you
will give him a cordial welcome, as you must look upon him as your
future husband, and think no more of Philip Douglas."

"Sir!" said she with the colour fading in her cheek; "forget Philip!

At this moment the door opened, and a servant announced, "Mr Fortescue."
Great was Catherine's surprise, when she raised her eyes, and beheld

"Philip!" exclaimed she; then, looking timidly and inquiringly around,
she added, "But where is Mr Fortescue?"

"Here he stands, my dear Catherine; no longer the foundling Philip
Douglas, but Philip Fortescue, the son of one whom he is proud to call
father. Next to the joy of discovering _him_, is that of finding that
you have bestowed your love on one whose birth will cast no discredit
upon yours."

"The heart acknowledges no distinctions of rank or fortune," replied
she, blushing; "whether Douglas or Fortescue, you would still be my own
dear Philip--the friend of my childhood--the preserver of my life."

"Nobly spoken, my fair young friend," said General Fortescue, who had
entered unperceived. "Although I am not yet your father, allow me to
claim a father's privilege." And he fondly kissed the blushing

But we must hasten to the conclusion of our voyage, and of our tale. The
following announcement appeared two months afterwards in the
papers--"Married, at Eskhall, in Dumfries-shire, on the 13th inst.,
Philip, eldest son of General Fortescue of the Bengal army, to
Catherine, daughter of Edward Douglas, Esq., of Calcutta."


"Bless me, Angus! do you wear a weapon of that kind about you? I never
knew it before," said John Sommerville to his friend Angus M'Intyre, as
he sat looking at him one morning performing his toilet; an operation
which discovered the latter thrusting a _skean dhu_--which all our
readers know is a short knife, with a black horn handle, once a
favourite weapon of the Highlanders--beneath the breast of his coat,
into a sheath which seemed to have been placed there for the especial

"Did you not know that before, John?" said Angus, with a faint smile,
but at the same time evidently desiring that there should be no more
remarks made on the subject; for he hastily buttoned up his coat, after
having placed the weapon in its sheath, as if to cut the conversation
short by putting its subject out of sight.

"No, indeed, I did not," replied Sommerville. "I never saw it before,
and never heard you carried such a thing about you. It's a dangerous
weapon, Angus; and you are a more dangerous man than I thought you," he
added, smiling.

"Tuts! nonsense, man!" said M'Intyre, impatiently. "It'll never harm
you, at any rate, John."

"No, no; I daresay not," replied his friend, good-humouredly; "but it
may hurt others, though. Let me see it, Mac."

Angus reluctantly complied with his request, and put the tiny but
formidable weapon into his hands.

"It has my initials, I declare, on the handle!" exclaimed Sommerville,
as he looked at the letters J. S. which were engraved on the butt-end of
the knife.

"Yes," replied his friend; "it belonged to my maternal grandfather, John
Stewart of Ardnahulish."

Sommerville returned the weapon without further remark, and here the
conversation dropped. We will avail ourselves of the opportunity to say
who the parties were whom we have thus somewhat abruptly introduced to
the reader.

Angus M'Intyre was a native of the Island of Skye, in the West Highlands
of Scotland, and was, at the period of our story (now a pretty old one,
as it happened in the year 17--), an officer of excise in Glasgow. At
this period, the Highland character had not lost all its original
ferocity, and, consequently, the circumstance of an officer of excise,
who was a Highlander, wearing a dirk, even in the discharge of the
peaceable duties--though they were not always so either--that fell to
his lot in a large town, was not by any means considered so very
extraordinary a thing as it would be now. M'Intyre, as we have said, was
a native of the West Highlands of Scotland, and an admirable specimen of
the hardy and intrepid race from which he sprang. He was a very handsome
man, and of the most daring courage, as had been often proved in the
perilous adventures in which his profession occasionally engaged him. He
was, however, of a remarkably quiet disposition, though fiery and
irascible when provoked; but so much did the former prevail in his
nature, that no one who did not know him intimately would have guessed
how fiery a spirit lay couched underneath this thin covering of
placidity, nor deemed, unless they saw that spirit roused, how
formidable a man in his anger its possessor was. Yet, withal, was he a
man of a kind and generous heart. The habit of carrying the deadly
weapon to which we have alluded, Angus had acquired when a youth in the
Highlands, where it was then common to be so armed; and this habit had
adhered to him, notwithstanding the entire change of life to which his
new occupation as an excise officer had introduced him. Angus, in short,
although they had made him a clergyman, would, it was believed by those
who knew him, have carried his skean dhu with him to the pulpit. He made
no boast, however, of being possessed of this weapon. On the contrary,
as we have already in part shown, he very much disliked any allusion to
it; for it was known by a few of his most intimate friends that he did
carry such a thing about with him, and by these such allusions were
sometimes made; but the former, although they had often seen his
naturally fiery temper put to very severe test, never knew an instance
of his having taken advantage of his concealed arms, even to the extent
of a threat, excepting in the single instance of which we are about to
speak; but that alone is sufficient to show--in a very striking light,
we think--the miserable effects of introducing or maintaining barbarous
habits--more especially that of wearing secret weapons--into civilised
and social life.

Of Sommerville, we have not much to say in the way of description. He
was in the same service with M'Intyre--that is, the excise; and was
about the same age--thirty-two or thirty-three. They were intimate
friends, and as frequently together as the nature of their duties would
permit; and were both unmarried. On the same day on which the
conversation with which we opened our story took place, it happened that
Angus and Sommerville were invited together to a tavern-dinner in the
Saltmarket, with some mutual friends. About an hour previous to that
appointed for the festive meeting, Sommerville called on M'Intyre at his
lodgings, with the view of waiting for him, that they might go together
to the house where they were to dine. A few minutes before they left
M'Intyre's lodgings for this purpose, Sommerville said, playfully,

"By the by, Mac, I hope you do not intend taking that infernal weapon
with you to-night?"

"Tuts, man," replied M'Intyre, somewhat testily, "never mind it. What
need ye always harp on that string? Did you never know of a gentleman
wearing a dirk before? It's no such extraordinary or terrible thing,

"Terrible enough in reckless hands," said Sommerville.

M'Intyre looked more and more displeased, as his friend continued to
cling to the subject; but his only reply was,

"Nonsense, John! Come, let us be going--it's near the hour."

"Well, I tell you what it is, Angus," remarked his friend, banteringly,
and still pertinaciously dwelling on the skean dhu, "I won't sit beside
you to-night--I'll take care of that; no, nor within arm's-length of you

"Sit where you please," replied M'Intyre, angrily, and he flung out of
the apartment, followed by Sommerville.

On their reaching the tavern, the company were already assembled, and
were waiting their presence before sitting down to table. As soon as
they entered, however, places were taken; and it happened by chance that
the only vacant chair left for Sommerville was one next his friend
M'Intyre. On observing this, the former jokingly declined it, saying,

"No, no, Mac--I won't sit near you, as I said before. Ye're no canny--I
have discovered that." And he winked significantly; and, following up
the jesting resolution which he had just expressed, he eventually took
his place at a different part of the table. M'Intyre said nothing in
reply to his friend's remarks; but there was a frown upon his brow that
showed pretty plainly, though none present observed it, that he was very
far from being pleased with them. In truth, he was highly irritated at
what appeared to him the it; and that this, instead of being considered
by him as a reason for refraining, was deemed directly the reverse--an
excellent source of small annoyance. What followed on this fatal night
will, we think, be most graphically related in the words of a person,
another intimate friend of M'Intyre's, who was present:--

At the close of the entertainment (said the person alluded to), which
was protracted to a pretty late hour, some high words suddenly arose
between M'Intyre and Sommerville; the former being evidently
predisposed, from some cause or other, to quarrel with the latter; but
so few were they, that I paid but little attention to them, and had no
difficulty in reconciling the parties, as I imagined; but in this, at
least in so far as regarded M'Intyre, I was mistaken. No more words,
however, of an angry nature passed between them. At length the party
broke up--M'Intyre, Sommerville, and myself remaining a short time
behind, when we also left. Sommerville went first, M'Intyre followed,
and I went last. In this order we were passing through the entrance,
which was quite dark, to gain the street, when I was suddenly
horror-struck by hearing Sommerville utter a loud shriek, and, in a
moment after, saying, in a hoarse, unearthly tone, as he staggered
against the wall, "I am a murdered man!--M'Intyre has stabbed me!"

Guessing precisely what had taken place, I rushed to the mouth of the
entrance, and saw M'Intyre crossing the street with as calm and
deliberate a step as if nothing had happened; and, immediately after, he
turned a corner and disappeared. I now returned to Sommerville, whom I
found still leaning against the wall, with his hand upon his wound. In
an instant after, he fell, groaned heavily, and, when I stooped down to
assist him, I found he was gone. Several persons had, by this time,
assembled round us; and, by the assistance of two or three of these, we
had the body of the unfortunate man conveyed to his lodgings. Next
morning, having occasion to be abroad very early, and to pass the
residence of the procurator-fiscal, I saw three men, whom I knew to be
criminal officers, just entering the house. In an instant it crossed my
mind that this untimous visit of these gentlemen to the functionary
above named was, in some way or other, connected with the melancholy
event of the preceding night, and that my unfortunate friend M'Intyre
was about to be apprehended. Fully impressed with this idea, I instantly
hastened to his lodgings, taking such short cuts and by-ways as I knew
would give me several minutes' start of his pursuers--if the men I saw
really were to become such--and the sequel will show they did. On
entering M'Intyre's room, which I did in considerable agitation, I found
him, to my great amazement, sound asleep.

"M'Intyre," said I, shaking him violently by the shoulder, "I fear there
is a warrant out against you, or at least that there will be one out
immediately; so, for God's sake, rise, and let us see whether we cannot
find a hiding-place for you." I then hastily mentioned to him the
grounds of my suspicions of such being the case. While I was speaking,
the unhappy man looked at me with an expression of extreme surprise, and
as if he did not at all comprehend what I meant. In truth, neither he
did; for he had at the moment no recollection whatever of the dreadful
deed he had perpetrated--a circumstance which left no doubt of his
having been greatly under the influence of liquor when it was done,
although I did not at the time think so. By degrees, however, the
horrible truth flashed upon him; and the painful realities of the
preceding night stood before him. His, however, was a stout heart. His
firm nerves shook not under the pressure of the dreadful circumstances
in which he was placed. He made no remarks on my communication, but
immediately rose, and put on his clothes; and this he did with a
coolness and deliberation that both amazed and irritated me; for I was
afraid that the officers of justice would be in upon us every moment.
Having at length dressed, we both sallied out, although I did not at all
know which direction I should recommend my unfortunate friend to take;
neither had he himself any idea whither he should go. We, however,
proceeded down the street in which he lived; and, just as we were about
turning the corner at the foot, happening to look round, we saw the
officers in the act of entering the street at the opposite end. At this
alarming sight, we of course quickened our pace, although we calculated
that some time would be gained by the search to which we did not doubt
the officers would subject the house in which M'Intyre lived. I could
not but admire the coolness and presence of mind which my unfortunate
friend exhibited under these trying circumstances, although I certainly
could have wished the exhibition made in a better cause, and on a more
honourable occasion. In his manner there was not the least flurry nor
agitation. He remained perfectly calm and collected, although an
ignominious death was now staring him in the face. After we had
proceeded a little way, M'Intyre suddenly stopped, and, addressing me,
remarked that my accompanying him could serve no good end, but rather
increase the difficulty of his escape, and that therefore I had better
leave him. To the propriety of this remark I could not but subscribe;
and I therefore, though reluctantly--for, notwithstanding the rash and
indefensible act he had committed, I could not forget the character
which my unfortunate friend had formerly borne, which was that of an
honest, honourable, and warmhearted man--agreed to leave him. Before we
parted, he told me that he now recollected that, previously to his
returning to his lodgings, after he had stabbed Sommerville, he had gone
down to the Clyde, and tossed the fatal weapon with which he had done
the deed as far as he could throw it into the river; but whether this
was merely a precautionary measure, to break at least one link in the
chain of evidence, or the result of a feeling of horror at what he had
done, he did not explain; but my impression was, that it was the latter.
Having agreed in the propriety of my friend's remark as to the
additional danger to which my accompanying him further would expose him,
we parted--I to return to my lodgings, and he to seek shelter where he
might, for he had not at the moment the smallest idea whither he should
direct his steps.

For about ten days after this, I heard nothing of my unhappy friend;
but, at the end of that period, I learned that he had been apprehended,
and was then in Glasgow Jail. This intelligence was subsequently
confirmed by a note from himself, which I received, intimating his
apprehension, and requesting me to call upon him. With this request I
complied, and found my unfortunate friend in the dreadful circumstances
of an imprisoned criminal. He was, however, still calm and collected;
and appeared perfectly resigned to the fate which, he had not the
smallest doubt, awaited him--namely, that he should die upon the
scaffold; and, indeed, no reasonable man could have expected any other
issue; nor could it be denied that he deserved it. Our interview was
short, as it was necessarily carried on in the presence of a turnkey,
and therefore confined to merely general topics. The unhappy man
himself, besides, showed no disposition to prolong it; and, observing
this, I withdrew, after obtaining his promise to apply to me for
anything he might want, and for any service it might be in my power to
render him.

About three weeks after this, while I was at breakfast one morning, my
landlady came into my room, to inform me that there was a young woman at
the door who wished to speak with me. I desired her to be shown in. She
entered; and a more interesting-looking girl I have rarely seen. She
appeared to me about one-and-twenty years of age, and was extremely
graceful, both in person and manner. The latter, indeed, bespoke a much
more elevated condition than her dress--which was that of a domestic
servant--seemed to indicate. Her style of language, too, discovered the
same contradiction to appearances.

Curtseying as she entered, and blushing as she spoke--"You are, sir, I
believe," said she "a friend of poor M'Intyre's, just now in Glasgow
Jail, for--for----" And here her emotion prevented her further

"I was," replied I, interposing to save her feelings, which I saw were
painfully excited, "and I still am, his friend. Would to God I had some
way of showing him, in his misfortune, how sincerely I am so!"

This I said with a degree of earnestness and fervour that seemed to make
a strong impression on my fair, but mysterious visiter. She became pale
and agitated, and I thought I could even discover a tear glittering in
her eye. When this momentary emotion had passed away--

"Then," she said, "I need not hesitate to trust you with a secret." And
she glanced towards the door, to see that it was shut. "This night," she
resumed, "M'Intyre will escape from prison."

"Escape!--how?--by what means?" I exclaimed, in amazement.

"By mine," she replied, calmly.

"By yours!" I said, with increased astonishment.

"Yes, sir, by mine. This night at twelve o'clock he will be without the
prison walls, and at liberty, and you must then do him the last service
he is ever likely to require at your hands. You will have a chaise
waiting at the hour I have mentioned, at the first mile-stone on the
Greenock road. Will you do this, and save the life of your unfortunate

Although a good deal confused by the suddenness and singularity of the
whole affair, I, without a moment's hesitation or reflection, replied
that I would; and, having made this promise, I asked my visiter if she
would further confide in me, by telling me all the particulars connected
with the proposed escape of my friend.

"Not now--not now," she said, gathering a tartan plaid, which she wore,
round her, as if to depart; "but you will probably learn all afterwards.
In the meantime, farewell! and, as you would have a friend do to you in
similar circumstances, so do you to your friend. Be faithful to your

And, ere I could make any further remark, or put any other question, she
hurried out of the apartment, hastily opened the street door, rushed
out, and disappeared.

Interrupting this personal narrative for a time, we will shift the
scene, on the eventful night in question--eventful, at least, to the
unfortunate subject of our story--to the house of the jailer in whose
custody he was; and here we shall find, in the capacity of a domestic
servant, a young woman, bearing a very striking resemblance to her who
visited M'Intyre's friend, as above described. Indeed, there can be no
doubt that they are the same. It was the jailer's custom, at this time,
to make the rounds of the prison precisely at nine o'clock every night,
to see that all was secure; and when this survey was completed, to carry
all the keys with him to his own house, which was included in the
general building, and had interior communication with that portion of it
where prisoners were confined. On bringing up the keys, as usual, on the
night of which we are speaking, the jailer gave them in charge to his
wife, as he was invited out to join a party of friends on some occasion
of merry-making--a circumstance which had been previously known to his
family, and, amongst the rest, to the servant girl a short while since
alluded to. Having received the keys from her husband, the jailer's wife
carried them to her own bedroom for greater safety, and there deposited
them in a drawer. In less than two hours after, this drawer was
secretly visited by the young woman just spoken of, and a particular key
carefully selected, detached from the rest, and transferred from the
drawer in which it had lain into her pocket, when she withdrew with her
prize. Shortly after this, the jailer returned, and retired to bed. When
the whole was still, the purloiner of the key might have been seen
stealing, with cautious steps, down the staircase that led into the
principal passage of the prison, where were stationed two turnkeys--one
at the outer door, and one at the inner. Advancing to the former--

"James," said the girl, "Mr Simpson" (the name of the jailer) "desires
to see you up-stairs immediately. Go to the little parlour, and wait for
him there, and he'll come to you directly."

"Lassie," said the man, "I canna leave the door richtly; but if he wants
me, I suppose I maun gang."

"I'll keep the key till you return," said the former, "and tell Andrew"
(meaning the inner turnkey) "to look after the door till you return,

"Ay, do, like a dear," replied the unsuspecting turnkey, handing her the
key, and hastening away to attend the call of his superior.

On his departure, the girl went, as she had promised, to the other
turnkey; but it was to deliver a very different message from that she
had undertaken. To him, in truth, she made precisely the same
communication as she had done to his neighbour, with a difference of
destination--him she directed to wait his master in the kitchen. This
guardian, trusting in the vigilance of him of the outer door, of whose
absence he was unaware, made no difficulty whatever of obeying, but
instantly ascended to the jailer's kitchen, where he patiently awaited
the appearance of his superior. Having thus disposed of the two
turnkeys, the girl now, with a beating heart, flew to the door of the
apartment in which M'Intyre was confined, applied the key to the lock,
turned its huge bolt, and the way was clear.

"Angus M'Intyre," she said, on flinging up the door, "come forth, come
forth, and fly instantly for your life! There are none to oppose you."

"In the name of God, who are you?" said M'Intyre, instinctively obeying
the call to liberty and freedom. "I should know that voice," he added,
endeavouring to obtain a glimpse of the face of his deliverer, but in
vain, as she was carefully hooded, and the place profoundly dark.

"Hush! hush!--not a word!" said the latter. "What does it signify to you
who I am? Off, off instantly!--you have not a moment to lose. This way,
this way." And she hurried the astonished prisoner, though now no longer
so, through the deserted passage of the jail, till they reached the
outer door, to which she applied the key with which its simple guardian
had intrusted her, and in the next instant M'Intyre and his deliverer
were in the street. On gaining it--

"Now, fly, Angus," said the latter, thrusting, at the same time, a purse
of money into his hand. "At the first mile-stone on the Greenock road,
you will find a chaise waiting you. In that you will proceed to
Greenock, where you will find a ship to sail to-morrow for New York.
Embark on board of her; and you will then, I trust, escape the vengeance
of man--it must be your own business, Angus, to deprecate that of your
God." And without waiting for any reply, or permitting herself to be
known to her companion, she hastened away in the opposite direction to
that she had pointed out to M'Intyre, and disappeared. The latter,
bewildered with the suddenness and strangeness of the proceeding which
had thus so mysteriously led to his liberation, stood for a second
confused, irresolute, and undetermined. His first idea was to pursue
this deliverer, and to insist on ascertaining who she was; but even the
moment he took to deliberate had put this out of his power, for the
night was dark, and she was already out of sight; and where there were
so many ready places of concealment, the pursuit was a hopeless one.
M'Intyre perceived this; and aware, at the same time, how necessary it
was that he should instantly quit the vicinity of the jail, he hastened
to the place where he had been told a chaise would be waiting him. The
chaise was there; M'Intyre flung himself into it, reached Greenock in
about four hours afterwards, and, before another sun had sunk in the
west, he was sailing down the Frith of Clyde, on his way to the opposite
shores of the Atlantic.

Three years after the occurrence of the events just related (continued
the narrator whom we have already quoted), during which time I had heard
nothing more of M'Intyre than that he had effected his escape, nor
anything whatever of his deliverer, I was removed, by order of the Board
of Excise, to the Island of Skye, where I was settled, perhaps, about a
year, when, one day, as I was crossing the country from Portree to
Meystead--a place celebrated in the wanderings of Prince Charles--I met
a party of ladies and gentlemen coming in the opposite direction. They
were a merry squad, with the exception of one of the ladies, who seemed
to take but little share in the obstreperous mirth of her companions;
and it was owing to this circumstance, perhaps, that I found her
engrossing a greater share of my attention than the others; for, in that
hospitable country, we were friends the moment we met, although we had
never seen each other before; and the party, having some provisions with
them, I was requested to favour them with my company to a dejeune,
which, they informed me, they had been on the eve of making before I
joined them. Readily accepting their kind invitation, I accompanied my
new friends in search of a suitable spot for the proposed entertainment.
This was soon found; and we all sat down on the grass to partake of the
good things provided for the occasion. During the repast, I could not
keep my eyes off the lady whose melancholy had first attracted my
attention; for I felt an impression that I had seen the face somewhere
before; but when, where, or under what circumstances, I could not at all
recollect. She seemed also to recognise me; for there was a marked
confusion and agitation, both in her countenance and manner, from the
moment I joined the party to which she belonged. Guessing, from these
expressions, that it would not be agreeable to her that I should make
any attempt at renewing our acquaintance, of whatever nature that might
have been, in the presence of her friends, I forbore; but determined, if
an opportunity was afforded me, of doing so before we parted, as I felt
all that curiosity and uneasiness which such vague and imperfect
recognition of a person's identity is so apt to create. The opportunity
I desired, the lady, of her own accord, subsequently afforded me.

When our repast was concluded, she said, addressing me--

"We are going, sir, to see the falls of Lubdearg, about a mile from
this. It is a very magnificent one; and, if you have never seen it
before, and are in no great hurry to prosecute your journey, you will
perhaps accompany us. My friends here, I am sure, will be glad of such
an addition to their party."

The falls she alluded to I had never seen; and for this reason, but
still more for that before hinted at, I gladly accepted the proposal of
becoming one of the party to Lubdearg. While we were proceeding thither,
my inviter contrived to drop a little way behind her friends; which
perceiving, and conjecturing that she did so for the especial purpose of
affording me an opportunity of speaking with her, I availed myself of
it, with a degree of caution that prevented all appearance of
connivance, and joined her. Being considerably apart from the others,
she said, smiling--

"You have recognised me, I rather think, sir; but do you recollect where
and under what circumstances it was that you saw me?"

"I do not indeed; I have not the most distant idea," I said; "but I
certainly do recollect having seen you before."

"And I, too, recollect well of having seen you. It is impossible I
should ever forget either you or the occasion that introduced me to you.
Do you," she added, "recollect of a young woman calling on you one
morning at your lodgings, to request of you to have a chaise in
readiness, on the Greenock road, to aid"--and here she paused a moment,
and betrayed great emotion--"the escape," she resumed, "of Angus

I need hardly say that, short as this sentence was, I knew ere it was
half concluded that it was the deliverer of my unhappy friend who stood
before me.

"I do, I do, perfectly," I replied--"you are the very person. This is,
indeed, strange--most singular--our meeting here again, and in this way.
But who, in Heaven's name, are you?" I added; "that I have never yet

The lady smiled sadly. "Did you ever hear your unfortunate friend speak
of one Miss Eliza Stewart?" she said.

"Often, often," I replied; "to that lady I always understood he was to
have been married, had not that deplorable occurrence taken place, which
so miserably changed his destiny, and marred all his prospects in life."

"It was so," said my fair companion, with increased emotion. "I am that


"It is true; I am Eliza Stewart."

"Then, here is more perplexity and mystery," said I. "How, in all the
world, came you to appear to me in the dress and character of a servant
girl--you, who are a lady both by birth and education?" (this I knew
from M'Intyre) "and how, above all, did you effect the escape of our
unfortunate friend?"

The lady again smiled with a melancholy air. "I will inform you of all,"
she said, "in a very few words. At the time of Angus' misfortune, I
lived, as you may probably know, with my father at ----, in Skye here.
On hearing of what had taken place, and of Angus' apprehension, I
hastened to Glasgow on pretence of visiting a friend, and got into the
house of the jailer in the character of a domestic servant. I will not
say by whose means I effected this, as it might still bring ruin on
their heads." And here my fair informant gave me the details which are
already before the reader. "On effecting his escape," she went on, "I
immediately resumed my own dress, and returned to my father's house,
where it was next to impossible to detect, in his daughter, the servant
girl of the Glasgow jailer. Our remote situation, besides, further
secured me from the chance of discovery; and I have not yet been
discovered, nor do I suppose I ever will now."

"And why," said I, laughingly, "did you not share the fortunes of the
man in whom you thus took so deep an interest?"

"No, no," said the heroic girl, with an expression of deep feeling; "I
loved M'Intyre, I confess it, with the most sincere and devoted
affection--what I did for him proves it; but I could not think of
uniting myself to a man whose hand was red with the blood of a
fellow-creature; for it cannot be denied that our unfortunate friend,
notwithstanding all his good qualities, was--there is no disguising
it--a----" Here her emotions prevented her finishing the sentence--nor
did she afterwards finish it; but I had no doubt the word she would have
supplied was "murderer."

"Now, sir, you know all," she continued, on recovering from her
perturbation; "but you will make no allusion, I beg of you, to anything
I have told you, to my friends here, amongst whom are my father, mother,
and a sister, who know nothing whatever of the part I acted in effecting
M'Intyre's escape."

With this request I promised compliance. We reached the falls of
Lubdearg. I parted with Eliza Stewart; and we never met again, as, in a
few days afterwards, I left the island; and with this event terminated
all connecting circumstances on my part with "The Skean Dhu."


It was a good many years before the accession of King William III. to
the throne of Britain, that a farmer of the name of William Kerr rented
a farm in the parish of Minniegaff, in the county of Wigton, on the
great road to Port-Patrick. The farm lay at some distance from the road,
at the foot of the hills--a wild and secluded spot, possessing few
beauties, save to a person who had been reared in the neighbourhood,
whose earliest associations were blended with the scenes of his youth.

This farm of Kerr's was of far greater extent than importance, only a
few acres of it being in cultivation; but his flock of sheep was pretty
extensive, and his black cattle numerous. He was looked upon as a
wealthy man at the period of which we speak, had been married for many
years, but had no children to enjoy that wealth which increased from
year to year. This was the only drawback to his earthly happiness; but
he never repined, or let a word escape his lips, to betray the wish of
his heart. Even the rude taunts of his more fortunate neighbours he bore
with unruffled countenance, though he felt them keenly; and he still
loved Grizzel his wife with all the fervour of his first affection--an
affection that was returned with usury.

Such was the situation of the worthy farmer, when, one morning in
harvest, he went out with the earliest dawn to look after some sheep he
had upon a hill in a distant part of the farm. He had counted them, and
was returning to join the reapers, accompanied by Colin, his faithful
dog, who, in devious excursions, circled round the large grey stones
that lay scattered about. He had proceeded for some way without missing
the animal, when he stopped and whistled for him. Colin, contrary to his
usual custom, did not come bounding to his side, but answered by a loud
barking--a circumstance which a little surprised him; but he proceeded
homeward, thinking that he was amusing himself with some animal he had
discovered; and being in haste to join his reapers, paid no further
attention to this act of disobedience in his favourite. Breakfast
passed, and mid-day came, and still Colin did not make his appearance.
His master was both angry and uneasy at his absence; but, in the bustle
and laughter of the harvest field, again forgot the occasional thoughts
of his useful dog that obtruded themselves on his mind. It drew towards
evening, and still no Colin came. The circumstance was becoming
unaccountable; none had seen the dog; and uneasiness succeeded to anger.
He now left his reapers, and went to the house to inquire of Grizzel if
the animal had been in the house; but she answered that she had only
seen him once in the early part of the day, for a minute or two, when,
after receiving a piece of cake, he had ran off with it in his mouth,
nor stopped to eat it, contrary to his usual custom. This, with the
circumstance of his leaving him in the morning, and his unaccountable
absence, confirmed William Kerr in his opinion that something uncommon
must have happened to him. As he could ill do without his assistance to
gather his sheep for the night, without returning to his reapers, he set
out for the spot where the dog had left him, ever and anon calling him
by his well-known whistle and name. The large grey stones and barren
muir echoed the call; but no Colin appeared. At length he came to the
place, and was surprised and overtaken with fear, as he observed the
animal stretched upon the ground, with something close beside him, which
he seemed to watch.

"Colin, Colin!" he called; "poor Colin!"

The dog did not rise: he gave every mute token of joy and pleasure at
the sight of his master, looking over his bushy shoulder, and wagging
his tail; but he made no effort to stir--fearful, apparently, of
disturbing the object that lay beside him.

"Surely," said his master, "my poor dog is bewitched. Colin, you rascal,
what have you there? Come with me to the sheep." But Colin moved not.

The farmer stood rooted to the spot; he had neither the power to advance
nor retreat; a superstitious fear took possession of him; his hair moved
upon his head; a tingling feeling seemed to excite every muscle of his
body, and deprive it of voluntary motion. The fear, in fact, of the
fairies was upon him; he conceived himself the victim of fascination--a
conception well justified by his own conduct, for he could not, for a
time, withdraw his eyes from the object of his alarm. When the subject
was considered, there was ground for his fear. Before him, under the
shadow of a large grey boulder stone, within a few yards, lay his
faithful dog--a creature that had never before required a second call
from him--now deaf to that voice it was his former pleasure to obey at
every hazard. He was supporting something that had the appearance of a
lovely child sound asleep, nestled close into his bosom, the head
resting upon his shaggy side, and its curly, golden hair appearing like
rays of light on the pillow upon which it rested. The face appeared more
beauteous than anything of this earth he had ever seen--so delicate, so
clear, so beautifully blended was rose and lily; but the eyes were
swollen and red with weeping, pearly drops stole in slow succession from
its dark eyelashes, while a heavy sob swelled its little bosom as if it
would awaken it. The farmer, with his eyes almost starting from their
sockets, incapable of motion or cool reflection, stood gazing upon the
pair as they lay before him--the one unconscious, the other, while
showing every symptom of joy he could silently express at sight of his
master, yet seemingly fearful as an anxious mother of disturbing his
sleeping charge. As William Kerr's surprise began to abate, his fears,
if possible, increased.

"Surely," he said to himself, "this is one of the children of the
fairies. God protect me! I am bewitched as well as my poor dog. I never
felt thus before in the presence of mere earthly being. I cannot
move--my knees can scarce support me--I cannot withdraw my eyes from
that fearful object. God deliver me from the power of the enemy!" And he
shut his eyelids by a convulsive effort.

He then attempted to pray, but memory had fled; nor psalm nor prayer
could he call up to his aid, the palsy of fear had so completely
unhinged him. The very beauty of the object increased his alarm; for he
had heard that Satan is never more to be feared than when he appears as
an angel of light. With his eyes shut by a nervous effort, he turned
himself round, and ran to his reapers.

As he approached them, and the distance increased between him and the
object of his fears, his natural firmness returned; but his countenance
still betrayed the agitation of his mind. The reapers were just quitting
the field, having accomplished the labours of the day; and, seeing him
running towards them, crowded round him, eagerly inquiring the cause of
his alarm. It was some time before he could recover his breath (so
swiftly had he run), to give them an account of what he had seen, and
express his regret for the loss of Colin, whom he never more expected to
see. The whole group were struck with fear and amazement, gazing
alternately at the farmer and each other--not knowing what to think of
the strange case; but all agreed that some effort ought to be made for
the recovery of the dog. John Bell, an elder of the church, and a
neighbour farmer, spoke and said--

"My brethren, the power of the evil one is great; but it is overruled
by One greater and more glorious. Let us employ His aid; then we shall
go forth in the strength of our faith, and Satan shall flee from before

He then prayed, and the reapers kneeled. When his address was finished,
he arose with a firm assurance in the divine protection.

"I will go forth," said he, "in the strength of His name, and see what
new delusion of Satan this is. William Kerr, send to the house for the
ha' Bible, that I may carry it as a shield between us and the wiles of
him who will vanish before the holy Book, like mist before the wind."

One of the young men ran to the house, and soon returned, with his
mistress, she herself carrying the important volume, which she delivered
into the hands of John Bell; and the latter, opening it, read aloud to
them that beautiful chapter, the fourteenth of St John's Gospel. They
then proceeded to the spot pointed out by the farmer, chanting a psalm,
which the elder gave out, as they walked behind him. All, excepting the
elder, were unnerved by fear--casting many a timid glance around, and
ready, at the least alarm, to run back. Curiosity to see the conclusion,
and shame, more than firmness, compelled them to advance. Before they
reached the stone where the farmer had seen his dog and his charge,
Colin came bounding to them, barking for joy, and fawning upon his
master and mistress; while the former, in a burst of joy at the recovery
of his favourite, exclaimed--

"Great is the power of the Word! The charm is broken! Colin, Colin, I am
rejoiced to have rescued you from the evil powers. Come, lad, let us to
the hill, and weer in the ewes." And, with his usual whistle, he pointed
to the hill.

Colin would not yet obey the wonted order, but ran back towards the
large grey stone, barking in an unusual manner, returning, again running
towards it, and looking back as if he wished his master to follow. The
whole group were in amazement, and knew not what to think of these
strange actions of the dog; but they had yet more to be surprised at;
for, taking the end of his master's plaid in his mouth, the creature
endeavoured gently to drag him towards the stone. As the party thus
stood irresolute, the faint wailing of a child was distinctly heard, and
a babe, supporting its feeble arms upon the stone, was seen to emerge
from the other side of it. It was the same the farmer had previously
seen: his fears returned--several of the most timid fled; but Colin ran
to the little stranger, and licked the tears that streamed down its
cheeks, while the child put its arms around his neck, and leaned its
head upon its new friend. That they witnessed something out of the usual
order of nature, no one present had the smallest doubt; for how, by
earthly means, could a child of man have reached a spot so lonely and
secluded? The farmer and his wife both endeavoured, by the most
endearing terms, to induce Colin to leave it; but in vain.

"What can this mean?" exclaimed Grizzel. "Colin, Colin, you never before
refused to obey my voice; surely nothing good could induce you to
disregard it. Come, come, and leave that unearthly creature."

John Bell, who had been occupied in mental devotion, at length broke

"Let us not judge harshly," said he; "perhaps it is a Christian child,
dropped here by the fairies as they were bearing it away from its
parents, who now mourn for its loss, and nurse a changeling in its
place. It may have been rescued by the prayer of faith, or some other
means, from their power. In the strength of His name, I will be
convinced of its real nature, either by putting it to flight if it is
unearthly, or rescuing it from death if it is human; for we must not
leave it here to perish through cold and want, and prove ourselves more
cruel than the dumb animal."

As he spoke, the eye of the child turned towards them; it gave a feeble
cry, and stretched out its arms, still supported by the dog. The elder
advanced to it, and placing the Bible upon its head, it smiled in his
face, and grasped his leg. The tears came into the good man's eyes,
while Colin bounded for joy, and licked his hand as it rested upon the
head of the child.

"Come forward, my friends," he said; "it is a lovely child, a Christian
babe, for it smiles at the touch of the blessed Word. It is weak and
sore spent, and calls for attention and kindness."

All the woman was kindled in the heart of the farmer's wife; she ran to
the babe, and pressed it to her bosom, kissing it as it smiled in her
face, and lisped a few words in a language none present could
understand. The fears of all were now nearly dissipated; those who had
fled returned; all the females in turn embraced the babe; but the
fondness of William Kerr for the foundling was now equal to his former
fears. He at once resolved to adopt it as his own, until its sorrowing
parents should reclaim it. Grizzel concurred in the sentiment and
resolution; and he and Colin, who now had resumed all his wonted
obedience, set off for the hill, while the other returned to the house.
As Grizzel carried the child home, she felt her love for it increase;
and the void that had existed in her bosom ever since her marriage was
fast filling up. The child's eyes were of a deep hazel, and gave
indications of beauty; and its clothes were of a far finer texture than
those worn by children of humble rank, and bespoke a good origin. Of all
the females present, she alone felt assured that it was a proper child,
because she wished it to be so; the others looked upon it still with
some misgivings; revolving, doubtless, in their minds, the strangeness
of all the circumstances attending the affair--and not the least of
these was the locality of the child's position. It was a lonely spot,
bearing no good name, close by a beautiful green knoll, standing by a
spring of pure water, and covered with daisies; while all around was
heather or stunted grass, resembling an oasis in the desert. Strange
sights were reported to have been seen near it; and the shepherd lads,
in the still evenings of summer, were wont to hear there strange humming
noises, mixed with faint tinklings--sure signs, of course, of the
presence of the fairies. It was called the Fairy Knowe, while the stone
was called the Eldrich Stone--names of bad omen, and sufficient to scare
all visiters after nightfall. The newly-awakened feelings of Grizzel
deprived all these ideas and recollections of that weight which operated
with the other females, and warped their opinions; and, while they
concluded that nothing good could be found in such a spot, they
cautioned Grizzel, in their kindness, to be wary that the creature did
her no harm. Grizzel herself was not without some misgivings; but she
clung to the babe that lay in her bosom, and resolved to put to the
test, as soon as she reached home, whether it was really a fairy, or a
child stolen by these kidnappers. She believed her test to be sufficient
to make it, if a fairy, leave her presence; if a human babe, to place it
beyond their power to recover it, cleanse it from any spell they might
have put upon it, secure it from the evil eye, and prevent its being
forespoken. For these most important purposes she borrowed a piece of
money (without assigning a reason for wanting it) from one of her
neighbours, and, as soon as she reached home, secured herself in the
spence with the babe (for no one must see her in the act), put the piece
of money into some clean water with salt, stripped the child to the
skin, washed it carefully, then took its shift and passed it thrice
through the smoke of the fire, and put it on again, with the wrong side
out. All this was done not without fear and trembling on the part of
Grizzel; but her new-found treasure was unchanged, and smiled sweetly in
her face as she proceeded in her superstitious operation. Having
supplied its little wants, now fully assured, she put it to bed with
joy and satisfaction, and looked on it till it fell into a sweet sleep.
Scarce had she accomplished this, when William Kerr entered with John
Bell, upon whom he had called as he returned from the hill, to aid him
with his counsel and advice.

"Well, Grizzel," said he, "is it a lad or a lass bairn we hae found; for
I am convinced (for a' the fear it gae me), by what our elder has said,
that it is nae fairy, but an unchristened wean the elves had been
carryin awa frae its parents, wha, I hae nae doot, are noo mournin its

"Indeed, guidman," replied Grizzel, "it is as sonsie a lass bairn as
ever I saw in my life, and a's richt. It is nae fairy, I'm satisfied,
and I'm richt glad on't; for she'll be a great comfort to us, now that
we are getting up in years, if her ain mother doesna come to take her to
her ain bosom; but o' that I think there is little chance; for, by the
few words it spoke, it is nae child o' oor land."

"William Kerr," said the elder, "if, as your wife proposes, you mean to
keep this child, there is one duty to perform, both for its sake and
your own--and that is, it must be baptised; for there is no doubt this
sacred right has either been withheld or neglected, or the enemy would
not have had the power to do as he has done. To-morrow I will go myself
to the minister and talk with him; and next Lord's-day you or I must
present it to be admitted into the visible church, of which I pray it
may be a worthy member. Are you content?"

"Far mair than content," replied the farmer; "I will rejoice, and bless
God, for the occasion as fervently as if she were my ain. While I hae a
bit or a bield she shall neither feel hunger nor cold."

The parties separated for the night, and the new-found stranger slept in
the bosom of the farmer's wife. On the following Sabbath it was taken to
the church of Minniegaff to be baptised. The church was crowded to
excess. Every one that could, by any effort, get there, attended to
witness the christening of a fairy, all expecting something uncommon to
occur. The farmer and his wife, they thought, were too rash to harbour
it in their house, for it was not chancy to be at feud with "the good
people," who, out of revenge, might shoot his cattle; and, verily,
during that summer, a good many had already died of elve shots. As the
christening party approached the church, every one was anxious to get a
peep at the young creature. It was so beautiful that it could not, they
said, be a common child; neither was it a changeling, for changelings
are weazened, yammering, ill-looking things, that greet night and day,
and never grow bigger. Contrary to the expectations of almost all the
congregation, when the farmer and his party entered the church, the
child neither screamed nor flew off in a flash of fire, but smiled as
beautiful as a cherub. The service went on as usual. The farmer stood up
and took the holy vows upon himself, and gave the lovely babe the name
of Helen. The girl throve, and became the pride of her foster-parents,
who loved her as intensely as if she had been their own child; and Colin
became, if possible, more beloved by them, as Helen's playfellow.

A few months after the finding of Helen, as Grizzel was one day
examining the silken dress which she wore when discovered on the muir,
and which had never been put on since--being soiled and damp when taken
off--she discovered a piece of paper in one of the folds, much creased,
as if it had been placed there by some one in a state of great
agitation. It was written in French. Neither the farmer nor herself
could read it, but William, on the first opportunity, took and showed it
to the minister, who translated it as follows:--"Merciful God! protect
me and my child from the fury of my husband, who has returned, after his
long absence, more gloomy than ever. Alas! in what have I offended him?
If I have, without any intention, done so, my dear baby, you cannot
have given offence. Good God! there are preparations for a journey
making in the court-yard--horse, saddle, and pillion. Where am I to be
carried to? My babe! I will not be parted from you but by death. His
feet are on the stairs: I hear his voice. Alas! I tremble at that sound
which was once music to my soul. Holy Virgin! he approaches!" Here the
writing ceased. It threw no light upon the event, further than it showed
that the mother of the child was unhappy, and above the lower ranks of
life. The paper William left with the minister, at his request.

The little Helen grew, and became even more lovely and engaging--the
delight and joy of the farmer and his wife. Yet their happiness had in
it a mixture of pain; for they never thought of her but with a fear
lest, as not being their own child, she should be claimed and taken from
them. Years rolled on, and Helen grew apace. She was of quick parts, and
learned with facility everything she was taught--a circumstance which
induced many to believe that the fairies were her private tutors. The
opinion was justified by other circumstances. She was thoughtful and
solitary for a child. The Eldrich Stone was her favourite haunt. She
seldom joined in the sports of the other children of her age--having,
indeed, little inducement; for they were always fearful of her, and felt
constraint in her presence. Some of the most forward taunted her with
the cognomen of Fairy Helen; and if she was successful (as she often
was) in their childish sports, they left her, saying, "Who could win
with a fairy?" This chilled the joyous heart of the fair Helen, and was
the cause of many tears, which the kind Grizzel would kiss off with more
than maternal love. As she grew up, she withdrew herself from the
society of those who thus grieved her; but there was one individual who
ever took her part, and boldly stood forth in her defence. This was
Willie, "the widow's son," as he was familiarly called, for no one knew
his surname. He lived with an aged woman, who passed as his mother; but
the more knowing females of the village said she could not, from her
apparent age, bear that character. She had come there no one knew from
whence, and inhabited a lone cottage with the boy. She appeared to be
extremely poor, yet sought no aid from any one. William was better clad
than any child in the parish, and much care had been taken in his
education. She had (by the proper legitimate right) the name of being a
witch. She sought not the acquaintance of her neighbours; and, when
addressed by any of them, was very reserved, but civil; while the only
thing that saved her from persecution was her regular and devout
attendance at church, along with the child William, and the good opinion
of the worthy minister. Yet this scarcely saved her; for, when anything
untoward occurred in the neighbourhood, it was always laid to her
charge. William was six or seven years older than Helen, and, still
smarting under the taunts he had himself endured, was her champion, and
none dared offer her insult in his presence. Her timid heart clung to
him and loved him as a brother, and they were ever together--as he
accompanied her to and from school, as if she had been his sister. He
was now about eighteen, tall and athletic for his age, and of a firm and
resolute mind.

It was in the autumn of the year 1688, that a strange horseman, with a
servant behind him, was seen to approach the lone cottage of the
widow--to dismount and enter it. He remained for several hours, during
which his servant was busy purchasing a horse, and the necessary
furniture for an immediate departure. Willie was afterwards seen
bounding across the fields towards the house of William Kerr, which he
entered, with a face beaming with joy.

"Helen," said he, "I am come to bid you farewell; for I am going to
leave Minniegaff for a long time, and I could not think of going
without seeing you, and letting you know my good fortune."

Helen burst into tears, and sobbed. "O Willie!" she cried, "who will
take my part when you are gone? I will have no friend left but my dear
father and mother, and I will miss you so much. But it is wrong for me
to be grieved for your departure, if your fortune is good." And she
tried to subdue her tears.

"Yes, Helen," said he, "my fortune is good. I have found, what I hope
you will soon find, a long-lost father--a parent I knew not existed. I
now know that Elizabeth is not my mother, but has only had the charge of
me during my father's exile in a foreign land. He is now returned with
William, Prince of Orange, and is restored to his estate. I am going to
London to join him, where I will often think of you, Helen. Farewell!"
And clasping the weeping Helen to his bosom, he ran back to his cottage,
took farewell of Elizabeth, and, full of hope and joyous expectation,
soon was out of sight.

After the departure of Willie, Helen felt for long a loneliness she had
never felt before. The Eldrich Stone used to be her favourite resort;
but she was now much dedicated to Elizabeth, who, being left alone,
became fond of her company, passing the greater part of the day in the
farmer's house, but continuing as reserved and taciturn as she had
always been. In vain Grizzel endeavoured to know from her who Willie's
father was, or his name. All she ever would communicate was, that his
was a gallant name; and the time, she hoped, was now come when he might
pronounce it with the best of the land. Thus time passed on, and Willie
was almost forgotten by every one save Elizabeth and Helen--the one
dwelling on the loved theme with all the fondness of a parent; the other
with that of a beloved brother. But no news of him had as yet reached
the cottage of Elizabeth, who was now become very frail, while Helen
paid her every attention in her power.

The seasons had, for the last three years, been most unpropitious; the
poor were suffering from famine, and the more wealthy were much
straitened in their circumstances, and impoverished by the death of
their cattle from want of fodder. In summer--if it could be called
summer--when the sun was not seen for weeks together, when the whole
atmosphere was surcharged by fogs, when the ground was deluged by rain,
and the wind blew piercing cold, the grain that was sown did not ripen
sufficiently either for food to man or seed to sow; while the cattle,
seized by unknown diseases, languished and died. Money, in those distant
parts, was of small avail; for none had grain to dispose of, or help to
bestow upon the numerous applicants who thronged the doors of the larger
farmers. Nettles, marsh mallows, and every weed that was not immediately
hurtful, were eagerly sought after and devoured by the famished people.

Among all this suffering, William Kerr did not escape. The lengthened
and unprecedentedly deep snowstorms were fatal to his flocks, and,
before the fourth winter, he had not one left to take care of. His black
cattle died, until he was equally bereft of all; and that house where
plenty had always been, and from whence the beggar was never sent away
hungry, was now the abode of want bordering on famine. Yet despondency
never clouded his brow, and his heart was strong in Christian faith, and
resigned to the will of God. Evening and morning his simple sacrifice
was offered up to the throne of grace with as fervent love and adoration
as in the days of his greatest prosperity; while the assiduous and
gentle Helen mingled her tears with those of Grizzel, as much for the
misery that was around them as their own. The winter of the fifth year
had set in with unusual severity, long before its usual time, and all
that William had secured of his crop was a few bushels of oats, so black
and bitter, that nothing but the extreme of hunger would have compelled
a human being to have tasted the flour they produced. Their only
cow--the last of six which had in former years abundantly supplied their
dairy--now lean and shrunk, had long since withheld her nourishing
stream. It was a beautiful animal, the pride of Helen and Grizzel, was
reared upon the farm, and obeyed Helen's voice like a dog. With great
exertion and assiduity she had procured for it support; but the grass
did not give its wonted nourishment, being stinted and sour, and in vain
was now all her care. The snow lay deep on the ground, and the animal
was pining with hunger, and must inevitably die from want.

Great was the struggle, and bitter the tears they shed, before they gave
consent to have their favourite put to death. Yet it was reasonable; for
the carcase was requisite to sustain their own existence and that of
Elizabeth, whom the good farmer had removed to his own home, lest she
had died for want, or been plundered in those times of suffering and
distress--when even the bands of natural affection were rent asunder by
famine, and children were devouring in secret any little eatable they
found, without giving a share to their more famished parents, while
parents grudged a morsel to their expiring children. Thus passed another
miserable winter, and death was now busy around them; numbers died from
want and unwholesome food, and among the rest old Elizabeth sickened and
paid the debt of nature; but, to her last moment, she never divulged to
Helen, much as she loved her, any circumstance regarding Willie. Helen,
indeed, in the present distress thought not of him; and when Elizabeth
used to regret his neglect of her, she only remembered him as a former
playfellow and generous school companion.

A few days before she died, as Helen sat by her bedside, administering
to her wants, she put forth her emaciated and withered hands, and taking
Helen's, kissed them, and blessed her for the care and attention she had
paid her. Pointing to a small chest in which her clothes were kept, she
gave Helen the key, and requested her to open it, and bring a small
ebony box to her. Helen did as desired; and, when she received the box,
she opened it by touching a concealed spring. Helen looked on in
amazement; for in the box were many jewels, and several valuable rings.
The old woman took them out, one by one, and laid them upon the bed, in
a careless manner, as if they had been of no value; then took out a
small bundle of letters, which she kissed and wept over for a few
moments; then, looking up, she said--

"O great Author of my being! pardon this, my last thought of earth, when
my whole soul ought to be employed in thanking thee for thy mercies, and
imploring pardon for my many sins. Oh, how I now lament my
infirmities!--but there is still hope for even the chief of sinners,
which I am, in the blood of Jesus." She then sunk overpowered upon her
pillow for a time, and at length recovering, continued--"Dear Helen,
when I am gone, keep these baubles to yourself. Alas! they were
purchased by me by years of misery. These papers you will keep for
William, should he ever return to inquire after me; if not, destroy
them; you are at liberty to look over them if you choose, when I am no
more. In this box you will also find a small sum in gold. When it
pleases God to give his sinful creatures more favourable seasons, it
will restock this present desolate farm, and in part only restore the
debt of gratitude we owe a worthy man."

Helen, with tears, accepted the bequest, and restored it to the oaken
chest; then kneeled by the bedside of the sufferer, and prayed with all
her heart for her recovery; but the hand of death was upon
Elizabeth--she fell into stupor, and never spoke again. Helen and her
foster-parents felt real sorrow at the death of their inmate, for she
was a pleasant companion to a pious auditory. Though taciturn on every
subject but what was of a spiritual nature, her soul became as if on
fire when she conversed on her favourite theme, and a sublimity was in
her language that carried away her hearers, and forced conviction upon
the cold and indifferent.

As soon as the funeral was over, Helen showed to William and his wife
the magnificent bequest of the old lady. Although they knew not the
exact value of the gems, they knew it must be considerable; and the
guineas were above two hundred. Their astonishment was great at the good
fortune of Helen; for they had always thought, from her dress and
humility, that Elizabeth was poor, although she never sought relief, but
lived principally upon the produce of her little kail-yard, and the meal
she purchased each year, in the beginning of winter, along with her
meat. This unexpected wealth added not to their happiness, nor in the
least abated their grief for the loss of the giver. Scanty as the
necessaries of life were, William Kerr was far from poor; but at this
time money could not procure food in many of the distant parts of

By strict economy, they contrived to put over the next long and dismal
winter, and even to have something to spare for the more necessitous of
their neighbours, in hopes that the ensuing spring would put an end to
their privations; but it proved cold and barren as the others had been,
and the more necessitous of the surviving population had retired to the
sea-shore, to eke out a scanty subsistence by picking the shellfish from
the rocks, and eating the softer sea-weeds. Often in vain the most
dexterous fisher essayed his skill, and returned without a single fish;
for even those had forsaken the shores of the famishing land, driven off
by the storms, and the swell, and surge that for weeks together beat
upon the coast.

In this, the extreme of their distress, William Kerr heard that a vessel
had arrived at Stranraer with grain. Without delay he mounted his sole
remaining horse, now so much reduced that it could scarce bear his
weight, and set off for the port--a distance of twenty miles. Short as
it was, it was late in the evening ere he arrived; and he found, to his
regret, that all had been disposed of in a few hours--being dispersed
about the town and immediate neighbourhood. Through much importunity,
and by paying a great price, he procured a scanty supply; and next
morning, laying it on his horse, went back to his home, rejoicing that
he had procured it; for what he had reaped the harvest before was now
nearly all consumed. As there was no appearance of the present summer
being better than the preceding one, he resolved to shut up his house,
and retire to Stranraer, until it should please God to remove His wrath
from the land. He took this step because there he could procure
subsistence for money, although the price was exorbitant.

With regret they bade adieu to the scenes of their former happiness;
and, taking all their valuables and cash, locked up their home; and,
with their one horse, which carried the load, accompanied by Colin, now
old and blind, led by Helen, the sad procession moved on their dull and
weary way. The land was desolate; it was the beginning of June, yet not
a bud was to be seen; the whins showed only their gaudy yellow flowers,
as if in mockery of the surrounding dreary scenes. Arrived at Stranraer,
they found their situation much more comfortable; as provisions could be
had there, although the prices were exorbitant. Several of the
inhabitants imported grain from England and Ireland, in small
quantities, for themselves and such as could purchase at the price they
demanded for it--which comparatively few could; and what was thus
brought was in a manner concealed, for the magistrate, by act of the
Estates of Scotland, had the power to seize any store of grain, either
in passing through the borough or concealed in it, and sell it to the
people at their own price. This prevented those who could from importing
it from a distance, save in small quantities.

Helen's heart bled to see the famishing multitudes wandering along the
beach at high water, like shadows--so thin, so wasted--looking with
longing eyes for the retreat of the tide, that they might commence their
search for any shellfish they could find upon the rocks, or any other
substance which the ingenuity of man could convert to food, however
loathsome, to satisfy the hunger that was consuming them. There were to
be seen mothers, bearing their infants--unmindful of the rain that for
days poured down, more or less; and fathers, more resembling spectres
than men, either upon their knees in the middle of their family,
imploring Heaven for aid, or following the wave in its slow retreat to
the utmost bound with anxious looks, exulting if their search procured
them a few limpets or whelks.

During this tedious summer, William Kerr returned occasionally to his
deserted farm; but it lay waste and uninviting, more resembling a swamp
than arable land. His heart fell within him at the sight. No one had
called; everything remained as it was; even the direction he had written
upon his door, telling where he was to be found, remained undefaced,
save by the pelting rain. Towards autumn the weather became more warm
and dry, and promised a change for the better. The family, with joy,
returned once more to the farm, to prepare for better seasons. As soon
as they entered the cold damp house, where fire had not been kindled for
many months, Colin, the faithful and sagacious dog, blind as he was,
gave a feeble bark for joy, ran tottering round each well-remembered
spot; then, stretching himself on his wonted lair beside the fire, which
Helen was busy kindling, licked her hand as she patted his head,
stretched his limbs, gave a faint howl, and expired. All felt as if they
had lost a friend.

This winter was more mild than any that had been remembered for many
years, and gave token of an early and genial spring. The famine was
still very severe; but hope began to appear in the faces of the most
reduced and desponding. William Kerr procured seed corn from Stranraer,
and distributed some among his less wealthy neighbours to sow their

For eleven long years no word had been received of Willie, the widow's
son, as he had been called, although he had been often the subject of
discourse at William Kerr's fireside. The little ebony box had never
been opened since the day of the funeral. There was now little chance of
his ever returning to receive its contents, and far less of Helen's ever
leaving Minniegaff in quest of him; and, as Elizabeth had allowed Helen,
if she chose, to read the papers, William and Grizzel proposed that she
should do so. She immediately opened it, and took out the packet, which
was neatly sealed, and tied by a riband. There was no direction upon it.
Having broken it open, the first paper was found to be directed "To
William B---- of B----;" and ran thus:--

     "MY DEAR WILLIAM,--You will not have seen this until I am in
     the world of spirits, and I hope the communion of saints in
     heaven, through Jesus our Lord. You have ever believed that I
     am your parent; but I am not. I am only your aunt--your father
     being a much younger brother, who was the delight of his mother
     and myself; for, from his earliest dawning of reason, his mind
     was of a pious turn, and we loved him as much as he was the
     aversion of his father. His elder brother had engrossed all his
     parent's love; for he was more like himself, and cared not for
     anything that savoured of the fear of God. My father had been a
     cavalier, and suffered a share of his sovereign's misfortunes,
     and hated the Covenanters with a perfect hatred; but he
     interfered not with his pious wife in her mode of worship,
     until your father showed an aversion, when yet a boy, to join
     in the profanity and revelry which he and his elder son
     delighted in. It was after this that he began to storm and
     threaten his wife, for instilling her Puritanical notions, as
     he called them, into his children. We were immediately taken
     from her. I was sent to an aunt of his own opinion; and Andrew,
     your father, to the university in Paris. Your father I never
     heard of for some years. My mother I never saw again until she
     was upon her death-bed, when she gave me the jewels you will
     find in the box with this. Make a good use of them, and may
     they prove a blessing, in placing you above want, if I am taken
     away before you are claimed by your father, which he will do if
     he lives, and is allowed to return to Scotland; if not, you
     will be enabled to trace him out by their means. But I must
     proceed:--I was still residing with my father's aunt when your
     father returned to Scotland, bringing with him, from France, a
     Scottish lady of family, whom he had married there. Being very
     uncomfortably situated, I went to reside with him. The troubles
     about religion, which distracted the country, had been laying
     it waste for some time. Your father took a leading part for the
     Covenant, and joined the insurgents. The fatal battle of
     Bothwell Bridge was fought. Your father was dangerously
     wounded; but escaped. He was concealed by a faithful servant,
     and brought home, where we concealed him from the search that
     was made, until his recovery. Your mother, who was of a
     delicate constitution, never recovered the shock. She sickened,
     and died, before her husband was convalescent. Your father was
     obliged to fly his country in disguise; his property was
     confiscated, and a price set upon his head; for, though he had
     been seen to fall, his body had not been found. I was driven
     from his house, and retired to this wild as a place of
     security, of which I informed your father. He was, when I wrote
     this, at the Hague, a merchant, and wealthy. You were too young
     to remember any of these events, and I was as familiar in your
     sight as your sainted mother. If you apply to the Prince of
     Orange, should your father be dead, he will be your friend for
     his sake.

     "ELIZABETH B----."

The next paper was a letter in a neat female hand, which had evidently
been blotted by the tears either of the writer or the reader; for it was
blistered in many places, and the ink effaced:--

     "MY LOVING ELIZABETH,--Pity me, for my heart is broken. I am
     weighed down by many sorrows, and have no one to whom I can
     relieve this bursting heart but you. Alas! the illusions of
     love are gone. I am now the aversion of my lord. I fear his
     love for me is fled for ever, in spite of all my endeavours to
     please him. At the birth of my beauteous babe, he left the
     castle in displeasure. Unfeeling Charles! when I expected
     rapture in his eye at the sight of his child, he turned from it
     as if he loathed it, because it was not a boy. For eighteen
     months he has been in London, at the court, and returned only a
     few weeks since. Alas! how his manner is changed! I am treated
     with harshness and scorn. The only consolation I have now left
     he threatens to deprive me of, and send her, young as she is,
     to a nunnery in France, and make her profess. I have been on my
     knees again and again to my cruel lord, to allow me to be her
     companion. This he sternly refuses. Oh, teach me, my dear
     Eliza, how I may soften his obdurate heart! for, cruel as he
     is, I love him still, and would die a thousand deaths rather
     than offend him. Had I never loved him so sincerely, I never
     had been so miserable. Holy Virgin, be my aid! and all the
     saints befriend me! I know it is not because I am an unworthy
     daughter of the universal church that he now has ceased to love
     me; for he knew I was so before we wed. He, alas! cares for
     nothing holy; and, in his conversation, even favours the church
     of my faith. Again, I implore, advise and pity me, your poor
     and heart-broken

     "LOUISA B----."

The only other paper was also a letter in the same hand, as follows:--

     "MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--Fate has done its worst, and my heart is
     not broken, neither am I distracted. I am bereft of my
     treasure; it was torn from me by its unnatural father, with
     threats and imprecations. I know no more; for nature sank under
     his cruelty. When I recovered, my lord--now _my_ lord no
     longer--had left the castle. I would have followed, though I
     knew not whither; but I was detained a prisoner in my room, and
     denied the presence of every one, except strange menials he had
     appointed as my keepers. I have succeeded in my attempt, and am
     now with my uncle. I leave this land, in which I have suffered
     so much, for France, in search of my heart's treasure; nor will
     I cease my wanderings until I find my child. Farewell! perhaps
     for ever!

     "LOUISA B----."

Helen and the now aged Grizzel shed tears over the sufferings of Louisa,
replaced the papers, and wished that William might once more return, if
it were for no more than to inquire if he could say whether his relation
had found her child or not. The packet could reveal nothing to him but
what he already knew.

The following summer was genial and warm, and the crops luxuriant to
profusion. Nature appeared anxious to make amends for the barrenness of
the preceding years. Famine had disappeared, but poverty had laid its
cold hand upon many a family who before had never known want. The more
fortunate William Kerr and Helen distributed their aid with a liberal
hand to all around them; his farm had resumed its wonted cheerful
appearance; and Helen occasionally visited the Eldrich Stone, as she
went out of a summer evening to meet the worthy farmer on his return
from the hill. The harvest had been gathered in, and a public
thanksgiving made in all the churches for its abundance, when, towards
the end of the year, the worthy old minister died, beloved and regretted
by all. His executor sent to William Kerr the small piece of paper his
wife had found in the clothes of Helen, with a certificate of the date
and circumstances carefully written out at the time. So little had they
thought of it, as of any importance, that its existence was almost
forgotten. Helen put it into the same box with the papers left in her
charge by Elizabeth, and thought no more of it. Happy, loving and
beloved by her foster parents, she had no other wish on earth but to see
them happy by contributing to their comfort. The new incumbent of the
parish, a pious young man, was most assiduous in the performance of his
public duties--visiting all his parishioners with a parent's care,
speaking consolation to the afflicted, and soothing down any little
animosities that arose among them; but it was observed that he called
oftener at William Kerr's, and remained longer there, than at any other
of the houses in the parish; and it was whispered by the young maidens
that Helen was, more than the old man and his wife, the inducement for
these numerous and protracted visits.

The truth was, that he loved Helen, and was not looked upon by her with
indifference; his many virtues had won her esteem, which is near akin to
love, and she received his attentions with a secret pleasure, though no
declaration of love had yet been made by him. In one of their walks,
which had been protracted more than usual, they were returning homewards
by the Eldrich Stone. The evening was mild and serene for the season;
Helen's arm was in his. She felt no fatigue, but stopped from habit at
the much-loved spot. A thought of Willie passed through her mind; a
faint wish to know if he were dead or alive rose in her bosom; and her
head dropped with a sigh as she thought of his being numbered with the
dead. The anxious lover remarked the change; and, taking Helen by the
hand, inquired, with a tremulous voice, the cause of her melancholy. The
ingenuous girl laid open to him the cause, and a pang of jealousy wrung
his heart as he dropped her hand. "Helen," he would have said, "you love
another;" but such was the agitation of his mind, that his tongue
refused utterance to his thoughts.

In silence they walked side by side to the farmer's, as if the faculty
of speech had been taken from them. Contrary to his wont, the minister
did not enter the gate to the enclosure, but, stopping short, wrung
Helen's hand as he bade her good-night, and hurried away, before she
could inquire the cause of his agitation. She burst into tears, and
stood looking after him. He stopped, and with a quick step she saw him
returning. She still stood in the same spot, her eyes following his
every motion. Again he approached, and, leaning upon the gate where she
still stood, said, in a voice almost choked--

"Helen, do you love that person?"

"As a brother I love him, and cherish his memory," the agitated Helen

A groan burst from the minister, as he ran from the spot. Helen entered
the house, for the first time in her life, a prey to anguish. What could
be the cause of the sudden change in the manners of the minister, she
was at a loss to conceive. She retired to bed, but not to rest.

For several days she saw nothing of her lover. He had never left the
manse. On the Sabbath following, Helen and her parents were in their
usual place in the church; but she had a shade of care upon her lovely
countenance which no one had ever seen there before. Contrary to her
wont, her eyes were never once directed to the pulpit; while the
preacher sought her face with more than usual anxiety. Although there
was a tremulousness in his voice at the commencement of the service, he
preached with more than his usual eloquence and fervour.

At the conclusion of the service, the pious hearers crowded round their
pastor; but it was remarked that, although William Kerr and his wife
shook hands with him, Helen passed on out of the churchyard
unaccompanied by him, and without being recognised. The worthy pair were
not less astonished than the rest of the spectators, and wondered much
what could have caused the change. On their way home, they inquired at
Helen, who, without reserve, gave them an account of all that had
occurred at their last interview.

The good dame smiled. "He will soon come back again," said she; "it's a
good sign--only a little jealousy of Willie."

"I am sure," replied Helen, "he need not be jealous of my loving my
brother; for I shall always love him as such."

Grizzel was right: in the course of the following week the minister was
as much abroad as ever, and spent more than his usual time with the
Kerrs. All was explained to the satisfaction of both parties, and a
mutual declaration of love followed. Helen Kerr was soon after led a
bride to the manse, and became its ornament and boast. With the
plenishing of the bride, the old carved oak chest of Elizabeth was also
taken, the ebony box was opened, and, for the first time, her husband
knew of the treasure possessed by his wife. With a playful violence he
pushed it from him, and clasped her in his arms.

"Helen," said he, "you are the jewel I prize; put away from my sight
these baubles. But what papers are these?"

"I am afraid to let you look upon them," said she, "for they are
Willie's; and it is dangerous for me, you know, to speak of _him_."

She undid the riband, and handed them to him. He read them over with
care, along with the slip of paper written in French, and compared the
hand in which it was written with the two letters. Resting his head upon
his hand, he mused for some time, then again compared them, and seemed
lost in thought.

"Helen," said he, at length, "a strange fancy has taken possession of
me--that you are, in some way or other, connected with these papers. It
is so improbable, that I am greatly at a loss to conceive how it can be;
yet the conviction is not the less strong upon my mind. There is a
similarity in the handwriting of the letters that struck me at once.
Their date, and the date of my predecessor's certificate, are very near
each other; there is not a month between the first letter and the
certificate; and the second letter is a short time after the date of
that document. It is very strange; and God, in his good time, if
agreeable to his will, may bring all to light."

About eighteen months after this conversation, Helen, one day, as was
her wont, had walked over to William Kerr's, with her young son in her
arms, to spend an hour or two with them, and wait until her husband
called, on his return to the manse from his visits. William had the
babe in his arms, and was talking, with all the fondness of age, about
its mother, when he first had her on his knees in the same chair and at
the same hearth. Their attention was excited by the tramp of horses'
feet approaching the house. Helen started up, and ran to the window to
see who it might be. She could not recognise them: it was a gentleman in
a military undress, attended by a servant. The first dismounted, and,
giving his horse to the attendant, stepped hastily to the door, which he
opened with the freedom of an old acquaintance, and, before she could
leave the window, he was in the room. Helen recognised him at a glance.

"It is Willie, father!" she cried, in a voice of joy. "I am so happy to
see you again, and well!--for we all thought you had been dead."

It was indeed Willie; but he appeared not to partake of the joy of those
who greeted him with such fervour. He gazed at Helen, and then at the
babe she now held in her arms, in silence; and a deep shade of
disappointment clouded his brow. He had stood thus for a minute or two
in silence, with a hand of each of the old people grasped in his. Helen
felt awkward and abashed at his melancholy and imploring glance, and,
turning from it, appeared busy with her son. Willie seated himself, and
seemed as if in a fit of abstraction, his eyes still fixed on the object
of his early love, and strong emotion depicted on his countenance. The
sight of the child had awakened suspicions which he was not for a time
able to confirm or dissipate by a simple question; and his agitation was
so extreme, that no one present could call up resolution enough to
explain to him how or when Helen had changed her situation. The silence
was painful to all, but to none more than to Willie himself; for he
could read in the looks of William and Grizzel the reason why they were
unwilling to speak. They felt for him; and Helen's eye was filled with
a tear, as she looked up blushingly into the face of one who had claimed
the first love offering of her virgin heart. This state of painful and
too eloquent silence was put an end to by him who had most to dread from
a disclosure. Starting, as if by an effort forcing himself out of a
train of thoughts, he held out his finger, and pointed to the babe that
was looking up smiling into the face of Helen, in whose eye the tear
still stood--

"Is it possible, Helen?" said he, in a voice choking with strong
emotion, and unable to get out the rest of the sentence, the meaning of
which his pointed finger sufficiently indicated.

Helen was silent; the blush rose higher on her face, and the tear
dropped on the face of the child. William and Grizzel looked at each
other, as if each wished the other to speak.

"Speak, Helen," said Willie, partly recovering himself. "Can it be----?"
and he again faltered.

His emotion stopped still more effectually the voice of Helen, who hid
her face on the breast of her child.

"Indeed, and it is just sae," at last said Grizzel. "That is Helen's
bairn, and as bonny a ane it is as she was hersel when we found her by
the Eldrich Stane, wi' her head restin on the side o' puir auld Colin,
wha is since dead. Ah, Willie! ye hae yersel to blame; for ye never let
us ken whether ye were dead or alive."

Willie drew his hand over his eyes, and was silent. There was another
subject that pressed upon his heart, and one which he equally feared to
broach by a question.

"And Elizabeth--my more than mother!" he ejaculated, in a broken
voice--"what of her?"

"She's in the kirkyard o' Minniegaff," answered Grizzel. "The sods are
again grown thegither, and the grass is hail and green owre her grave."

"Oh, did I expect to meet all this!" muttered the unhappy man, as he
held his hands upon his face. There was again silence in the cottage.
"Had my dear friend plenty, and was she well cared for in her last
moments?" he continued, with the same broken voice.

"Nane o' us had plenty at that dreadfu time," answered Grizzel; "death
was the only creature that seemed to hae aneugh. We killed auld Hawky to
save the life o' puir Elizabeth; but her time was come. She died i' the
fear o' God; and you, Willie, that was her only love on earth, was her
last thought, as she left this warld for that better ane whar friends
dinna forget their auld benefactors."

"You are unkind, Grizzel," said he, "to add to my present sorrow by the
reproof contained in that hint. I have to you the appearance of being
undutiful; but I was so situated that it was not in my power to
communicate with her by letter; and to visit her in person was
impossible. I would have been here years since, if I could have
accomplished it; for I can solemnly declare my heart has been ever

"I believe ye, Willie," replied Grizzel. "I was owre hasty. Ye could hae
dune her nae guid, even if ye had been here; for at that time the hand
o' God was upon our sinfu land, and the assistance o' man was o' nae
avail. But your Helen mightna hae been the minister's wife this day, if
ye had been mair mindfu o' Minniegaff and yer auld friends."

The secret which was paining Willie was now fully revealed. The sad
truth that he had lost her of whom he had dreamed for years in foreign
lands, and to see whom he had journeyed night and day, with the hope of
being blessed at the termination of his journey, was fully disclosed.
With not again seeing Elizabeth, he had laid his account; but that he
should lose Helen had never once entered his mind; and the intelligence,
accompanied as it was with the painful vision of seeing her a mother,
with the pledge of her love for another sitting smiling on her knee,
was too painful to be endured. For some time he again sat silent and
moody; but the evil was of that irremediable nature that often
contributes to its cure; and, as the first emotion wore off, he
gratified his auditors with a statement of what had befallen himself
since he left Minniegaff.

"It was with a trusty servant I left Elizabeth to join my father in
London, who had come over from his long exile in the train of King
William. Upon my arrival, I was received with rapture by my beloved
parent, and introduced to my sovereign. Proper masters were engaged to
finish my education. As soon as I was thought ready, I received a
captain's commission in the army, and set out with my regiment for
Ireland. I was present at the battle of the Boyne, where my uncle
fell--he having joined the army of James; and my father became, by this
event, the representative of the family. Being in favour with the court,
the attainder was reversed. I rose rapidly, and had important trusts
committed to my charge, which required my utmost vigilance. My mind was
so occupied with public affairs, that I had little time for indulging in
my own private feelings. I heard of the sufferings in Scotland, and
wrote twice; but these letters appear not to have reached, as I received
no answer. I could not send a special messenger, as I was in another
country, and had no one I could with confidence trust. I was also in
hopes, from year to year, of being relieved, and coming in person; and
thus twelve tedious years have rolled on."

Willie had just finished, when Helen's husband entered, and was
introduced by her. Willie shook hands with him, but not with that
cordiality he had done with the former. There was during tea a
constraint, which gradually wore off; and mutual confidence being
restored, they were as open with each other and kind, as if they had
long been friends. The minister said that he had papers in his
possession which Elizabeth had left in Helen's charge, and which he and
Helen had read, as Elizabeth had allowed; and mentioned the strange
surmises he had regarding the connection his wife had with them. Willie
listened in mute astonishment, and the conflict that was passing in his
mind was strongly marked upon his open and generous countenance.

"It cannot be," he said at length; "for my uncle always declared that he
had sent his child to France by a trusty agent, from whence he had
letters of their safe arrival. He showed these letters to the relations
of his wife, my aunt-in-law, but never would inform them where he had
placed her, or who the agent was. My aunt, who is still alive, has used
every effort to learn its fate, in vain, and still mourns the loss of
her babe."

The minister afterwards walked over to the manse and brought the papers.
Willie at once recognised the handwriting as that of his aunt. Rising,
he embraced Helen, kissed her cheek, and owned her for his cousin. Next
morning his servant was sent off express to H---- Castle, with a packet
to his aunt, who had for several years resided there--having given up
her fruitless search on the Continent. In a few days she arrived at the
manse, and embraced Helen as her long-lost daughter. The scrap of paper
she kissed again and again, as the means of her present happiness. The
silken dress in which Helen was found had been carefully preserved. She
had sewed it with her own hand, and it had been last put on by herself;
for Grizzel thought it too fine for her to wear. Not a doubt remained.
Willie, the widow's son, joined the army again, and made a conspicuous
figure in the wars of Queen Anne. Helen's mother took up her residence
in the manse, and once more, in the close of her life, enjoyed that
happiness in her grandchildren's infancy she had been denied in her own.
The unfeigned piety and example of her daughter and her husband
gradually weaned her from her early faith, which had been much shaken,
in her melancholy hours, by the studies she had pursued to solace her
grief. Till her death she was a devout member of her son-in-law's flock,
and is yet remembered to have been heard talked of as the Good Lady.



A little above Coldstream, on the south side of the Tweed, stands the
village of Wark, where a walled mound is all that remains to point out
where its proud castle once stood. "We know that," some dweller on the
Borders may exclaim; "but what has Wark Castle to do with the Order of
the Garter?" Our answer to this question simply is, that, if tradition
may be trusted, or the historian Froissart believed, but for Wark
Castle, and there would have been no Order of the Garter. But this the
following story will show:--It was early in the autumn of 1342 that
David Bruce, King of Scotland, led an army across the Borders, and laid
waste the towns and villages of Northumberland, as far as Newcastle. The
invading army seized upon the cattle, the flocks, the goods, and the
gold of the Northumbrians; and they were returning, overladen with
spoils, when they passed within two miles of Wark Castle, which was then
the property of the Earl of Salisbury. The earl was absent; but, on the
highest turret of the castle, stood his countess, the peerless Joan
Plantagenet, daughter of the Earl of Kent, and cousin of King Edward.
Her fair cheeks glowed, and her bright eyes flashed indignation, as she
beheld the long line of the Scottish army pass by, laden with the
plunder of her countrymen.

"Am not I a Plantagenet?" she exclaimed--"flows not the blood of England
in my veins?--and shall I tamely behold our enemies parade the spoils of
my country before mine eyes? Ho! warden!" she continued, in a louder
tone, "send hither Sir William Montague."

Sir William was the brother of her husband, and the governor of the

"Behold!" said she, sternly, as the governor approached, and pointing
towards the Scottish army. "Is it well that we should look like
imprisoned doves upon yon rebel host? Or shall ye, Sir Governor,
discharge your duty to your sovereign, if ye strike not one blow for
England and revenge?"

"Fair sister," returned the knight, "ere an hour after nightfall, and
the cry, 'For England and the Rose of Wark!' shall burst as the shout of
death upon the ears of our enemies. A troop of forty horsemen wait but
my word to become the messengers of vengeance."

"Good, my brother," she replied, while her former frown relaxed into a
smile; "and each man who hath done his duty shall, on his return, drink
a cup of wine from the hands of Joan Plantagenet."

Darkness began to gather round the turrets of the castle, and on the
highest the gentle figure of the countess was still indistinctly
visible; now walking round it with impatient steps, and again gazing
eagerly to obtain another glance of the Scottish army, or counting the
fires which sprung up along the lines where it had encamped for the
night, when Sir William and forty of the garrison, mounted on fleet
steeds, sallied from the gate of the outer wall.

"Our ladye speed ye, gallant hearts!" said the fair Joan, as she beheld
them sweep past like a dark cloud on their work of blood.

The Scottish army were encamped a little beyond Carham, carousing around
their fires from flagons filled with the best wine they had found in the
cellars of the Northumbrian nobility; over the fires, suspended from
poles, were skins of sheep and of bullocks, rudely sewed into the form
of bags, and filled with water--these served them as pots, and the flesh
of the animals was boiled in their own skins. Amongst the revellers were
veterans who had fought by the side of Wallace and Bruce; and, while
some recounted the deeds of the patriot, and inspired their comrades
with accounts of his lion-like courage and prodigious strength, others,
with the goblet in hand, fought Bannockburn o'er again. Thus the song,
the jest, the laugh, the tale of war, and the wine-cup went round,
amidst the bustle of culinary preparations, and each man laid his arms
aside, and gave himself up to enjoyment and security.

Suddenly there arose upon their mirth the trampling and the neighing of
war-steeds, the clang of shields, and the shouts of armed men, and naked
swords gleamed through the fire-light. "For England and the Rose of
Wark!" exclaimed Sir William Montague--"For England and our ladye!"
echoed his followers. They rushed through the Scottish lines like a
whirlwind, trampling the late revellers beneath their horses' feet, and
fleshing their swords in the bodies of unarmed men. For a time they left
carnage behind them, and spread consternation before them.

The surprise and panic of the Scottish army, however, were of short
duration. "To horse!--to horse!" rang through the camp, and they began
to enclose the small but desperate band of assailants on every side.

"England is revenged! To the castle with our spoils!" cried Sir William;
and they retreated towards Wark, carrying with them a hundred and sixty
horses laden with plunder, while the Scots pursued them to the very
gates. The countess hastened to the outer gate to meet them; and as, by
the torches borne by her attendants, she surveyed the number of horses
they had taken, and the rich booty which they bore--

"Thanks, Sir William!" cried she--"thanks, my gallant countrymen--ye
have done bravely; merry England hath still its chivalrous and stout
hearts upon the Borders. To-night shall each man pledge his ladye love
in the ruddy wine."

But there was one who welcomed Sir William Montague's return with
silent tears--the gentle Madeline Aubrey, the companion of Joan
Plantagenet, and the orphan daughter of a valiant knight, who had won
his golden spurs by the side of the first Edward, and laid down his life
in defence of his imbecile son. Madeline was, perhaps, less beautiful
than the countess; but her very looks spoke love--love, ardent, tender,
and sincere. Hers was the beauty of the summer moon kissing the quiet
lake, when the nightingale offers up its song--lovely and serene; Joan's
was as the sun flashing upon the gilded sea--receiving the morning
worship of the lark, and demanding admiration.

"Wherefore are ye sad, my sweet Madeline?" said Sir William, tenderly,
as he drew off his gauntlet, and took her fair hand in his. "Joy ye not
that I have returned sound in life and limb?"

"Yes, I joy that my William is safe," answered Madeline; "but will our
safety last? Think ye not that ye have done desperately, and that the
Scottish king, with to-morrow's sun, will avenge the attack ye have made
on his camp to-night?"

"St George! and I pray he may!" added Sir William. "I am the dependant
of my brother, with no fortune but my sword; and I should glory, beneath
the eyes of my Madeline, to win such renown as would gain a dowery
worthy of her hand."

"When that hand is given," added she, "your Madeline will seek no honour
but her William's heart."

"Well, sweetest," rejoined he, "I know that ye rejoice not in the
tournament, nor delight in the battle-field; yet would ye mourn to see
your own true knight vanquished in the one, or turn craven on the other.
Let Scotland's king besiege us if he will, and then with this good sword
shall I prove my love for Madeline."

"Madeline is an orphan," added she, "and the sword hath made her such.
She knows your courage as she knows your love, and she asks no farther
proofs. The deed of chivalry may make the ladye proud of her knight, but
it cannot win her affection."

"Well, sweet one," said he, playfully, "I should love to see thy pretty
face in a monk's cowl, for thou dost preach of peace right potently. But
come, love, wherefore are ye so sad--what troubles thee?"

"'Tis for you I fear," she replied. "I know your daring, and I know that
danger threatens us; and oh! Madeline's hands could not deck your bosom
for the battle; though, in her own breast, she would receive the stroke
of death to shield it. For my sake, be not too rash; for oh! in the
silent hours of midnight--when the spirits of the dead visit the earth,
and the souls of the living mingle with them in dreams--I have seen my
father and my mother, and they have seemed to weep over their
orphan--they have called on me to follow them; and I have thought of
you, and the shout of the battle, and the clash of swords have mingled
in my ears; and when I would have clasped your hands, the shroud has
appeared my bridal garment."

"Come, love, 'tis an idle fancy," said he, tenderly; "dream no more. But
that they have mewed me up in this dull castle, where honour seeks me
not, and reward awaits not, and ere now my Madeline had worn her
wedding-garment. But cheer up; for your sake I will not be rash, though,
for that fair brow I would win a coronet."

"'Tis an honour that I covet not," said she; "nor would I risk thy
safety for a moment to wear a crown."

Madeline was right in her apprehension that King David would revenge the
attack that had been made upon the rear of his army. When, with the
morning sun, he beheld two hundred of his soldiers lying dead upon the
ground--"Now, by my halidome," said he, "and for this outrage, I will
not leave one stone of Wark Castle upon another, but its ruins shall
rise as a cairn over the graves of these men."

Before noon, the entire Scottish host were encamped around the castle;
and the young king sent a messenger to the gates, demanding the countess
and Sir William to surrender.

"Surrender! boasting Scot!" said the chivalrous Joan; "doth your boy
king think that a Plantagenet will yield to a Bruce! Back and tell him
that, ere a Scot among ye enter these gates, ye shall tread Joan
Plantagenet in the dust; and the bodies of the bravest of your army
shall fill the ditches of the castle, that their comrades may pass

"I take not my answer from a woman's tongue," replied the herald; "what
say ye, Sir Governor? Do ye surrender in peace, or choose ye that we
raze Wark Castle with the ground?"

"If King David can, he may," was the brief and bold reply of Sir William
Montague; "yet it were better for him that he should have tarried in
Scotland until his beard be grown, than that he should attempt it."

"Ye speak boldly," answered the herald; "but ye shall not fare the
worse, by reason of your free speech, when a passage shall be made
through these walls for the Scottish army to enter."

The messenger having intimated the refusal of the governor to surrender
to his prince, preparations were instantly made to commence the siege.
The besieged, however, did not behold the preparations of their enemies
and remain inactive. Every means of defence was got in readiness. The
countess hastened from post to post, inspiring the garrison with words
of heroism, and stimulating them with rewards. Even the gentle Madeline
showed that her soul could rise with the occasion worthy of a soldier's
love; and she, too, went from man to man, cheering them on, and with her
sweet and silver tones seemed to rob even death of half its terror. Sir
William's heart swelled with delight as he beheld her mild eye lighted
up with enthusiasm, and heard her voice, which was as music to his ear,
giving courage to the faint-hearted, and heroism to the brave.

"Heaven bless my Madeline!" said he, taking her hand; "ye have taught me
to know what true courage is, and our besiegers shall feel it. They may
raze the walls of the castle with the ground, as they have threatened;
but it shall be at a price that Scotland can never forget; and even
then, my Madeline shall be safe. Farewell now, love, but as night
gathers round, we must again prepare to assume the part of assailants."

"You must!--I know you must!" she replied; "yet be not too rash--attempt
not more than a brave man ought--or all may be lost; you, too, may
perish, and who, then, would protect your Madeline?"

He pressed her hand to his breast--again he cried, "Farewell!" and,
hastening to a troop of horsemen who only waited his commands to sally
from the gate upon the camp of their besiegers, the drawbridge was let
down, and, at the head of his followers, he dashed upon the nearest
point of the Scottish army. Deadly was the carnage which, for a time,
they spread around; and, as they were again driven back and pursued to
the gate, their own dead and their wounded were left behind. Frequently
and suddenly were such sallies made, as the falcon watcheth its
opportunity and darteth on its prey, and as frequently were they driven
back, but never without leaving proof to the Scottish monarch at what a
desperate price Wark Castle was to be purchased. Frequently, too, as
they rushed forth, the countess eagerly and impatiently beheld them from
the turrets; and, as the harvest-moon broke upon their armour, she
seemed to watch every flash of their swords, waving her hand with
exultation, or raising her voice in a strain of triumph. But by her side
stood Madeline, gazing, not less eagerly, and not less interested, on
the work of danger and despair; but her eyes were fixed upon one
only--the young leader of the chivalrous band who braved death for
England and their ladye's sake. She also watched the flashing of the
swords; but her eyes sought those only which glanced where the brightest
helmet gleamed and the proudest plume waved. Often the contest was
beneath the very walls of the castle, and she could hear her lover's
voice, and behold him dashing as a thunderbolt into the midst of his

Obstinate, however, as the resistance of the garrison was, and bloody as
the price, indeed, seemed at which the castle was to be purchased, David
had too much of the Bruce in his blood to abandon the siege. He began to
fill the ditches, and he ordered engines to be prepared to batter down
the walls. The ditches were filled, and, before the heavy and ponderous
blows of the engines, a breach was made in the outer wall, and with a
wild shout a thousand of the Scottish troops rushed into the outer

"Joan Plantagenet disdains ye still!" cried the dauntless countess.
"Quail not, brave hearts," she exclaimed, addressing the garrison, who,
with deadly aim, continued showering their arrows upon the besiegers;
"before I yield, Wark Castle shall be my funeral pile!"

"And mine!" cried Sir William, as an arrow glanced from his hand, and
became transfixed in the visor of one of the Scottish leaders.

Madeline glanced towards him, and her eyes, yet beaming with courage,
seemed to say, "_And mine!_"

"And ours!" exclaimed the garrison--"and ours!" they repeated more
vehemently; and, waving their swords, "Hurrah!" cried they, "for our
ladye, St George, and merry England!"

It was the shout of valiant but despairing men. Yet, as the danger rose,
and as hope became less and less, so rose the determination of the
countess. She was present to animate at every place of assault. She
distributed gold amongst them; her very jewels she gave in presents to
the bravest; but, though they had shed much of the best blood in the
Scottish army, their defence was hopeless, and their courage could not
save them. Almost their last arrow was expended, and they were repelling
their assailants from the inner wall with their spears, when _Want_, the
most formidable enemy of the besieged, began to assail them from within.

It was now that the gentle Madeline, when Sir William endeavoured to
inspire her with hope, replied, "I fear not to die--to die with
you!--but tell me not of hope--it is not to be found in the courage of
the brave garrison, whom famine is depriving of their strength. There is
one hope for us--only one; but it is a desperate hope, and I would
rather die than risk the life of another."

"Nay, name it, dearest," said Sir William, eagerly; "and if the heart or
hand of man can accomplish it, it shall be attempted."

Madeline hesitated.

"Speak, silly one," said the countess, who had overheard them--"where
lies your hope? Could true knight die in nobler cause? Name it: for I
wot ye have a wiser head than a bold heart."

"Name it, do, dear Madeline," entreated Sir William.

"King Edward is now in Yorkshire," she replied; "could a messenger be
despatched to him, the castle might hold out until he hastened to our

"St George! and 'tis a happy thought!" replied the countess. "I have not
seen my cousin Edward since we were children together; but how know ye
that he is in Yorkshire? I expected that, ere now, he was conquering the
hearts of the dark-eyed dames of Brittany, while his arms conquered the

"In dressing the wounds of the aged Scottish nobleman," answered
Madeline, "who was yesterday brought into the castle, he informed me."

"What think _ye_ of _your_ fair ladye's plan for our deliverance, good
brother?" inquired the countess, addressing the governor.

"Madeline said it would be a desperate attempt," replied he,
thoughtfully--"and it would, indeed, be desperate--it is impossible."

"Out on thy knighthood, man!" rejoined the countess. "Is this the
far-famed chivalry of Sir William Montague? Why, it is the proposition
of your own fair ladye, whom, verily, ye cannot believe chivalrous to a
fault. But is it to Joan Plantagenet that ye talk of impossibilities? I
will stake thee my dowery against fair Madeline's, I find a hundred men
in this poor garrison ready to dare and do what you declare impossible."

"You find not _two_, fair sister," said Sir William, proudly.

"Oh, say not _one_--not _one_!" whispered Madeline, earnestly.

Upon every man in the castle did the countess urge the dangerous
mission--she entreated, she threatened, she offered the most liberal,
the most tempting rewards; but the boldest rejected them with dismay.

The Scottish army lay encompassing them around--their sentinels were
upon the watch almost at every step, and to venture beyond the gate of
the castle seemed but to meet death and to seek it.

"At midnight have my fleetest horse in readiness," said Sir William,
addressing his attendant--"what no man dare, I will!"

"My brother!--thanks!--thanks!" exclaimed the countess, in a tone of

Madeline clasped her hands together--her cheeks became pale--her voice
faltered--she burst into tears.

"Weep not, loved one," said Sir William; "the heavens favour the
enterprise which my Madeline conceived. Should the storm increase, there
is hope--it is possible--it will be accomplished." And, while he yet
spoke, the lightning glared along the walls of the castle, and the loud
thunder pealed over the battlements. Yet Madeline wept, and repented
that she had spoken of the possibility of deliverance.

As it drew towards midnight, the terrors of the storm increased, and the
fierce hail poured down in sheets and rattled upon the earth; the
thunder almost incessantly roared louder and more loud; or, when it
ceased, the angry wind moaned through the woods, like a chained giant in
the grasp of an enemy; and the impenetrable darkness was rendered more
dismal by the blue glare of the lightning flashing to and fro.

Silently the castle gate was unbarred; and Sir William, throwing himself
into the saddle, dashed his spurs into the sides of his courser, which
bounded off at its utmost speed, followed by the adieux of his
countrymen, and the prayers and the tears of Madeline. The gate was
scarce barred behind him ere he was dashing through the midst of the
Scottish host. But the noise of the warring elements drowned the
trampling of his horse's feet, or where they were indistinctly heard for
a few moments, the sound had ceased, and the horse and its rider were
invisible, ere the sentinels, who had sought refuge from the fury of the
storm in the tents, could perceive them.

He passed through the Scottish lines in safety; and, proceeding by way
of Morpeth and Newcastle, on the third day he reached the camp of King
Edward, near Knaresborough. The gay and chivalrous monarch, at the head
of a portion of his army, like a true knight, hastened to the relief of
his distressed cousin.

David, however, having heard of the approach of Edward, at the head of
an army more numerous than his own, and his nobles representing to him
that the rich and weighty booty which they had taken in their inroad
into England, together with the oxen and the horses, would be awkward
encumbrances in a battle, he reluctantly abandoned the siege of the
castle, and commenced his march towards Jed Forest, about six hours
before the arrival of Edward and Sir William Montague.

Madeline took the hand of her lover as he entered, and tears of silent
joy fell down her cheeks; but the countess forgot to thank him, in her
eagerness to display her beauty and her gratitude in the eyes of her
sovereign and kinsman. The young monarch gazed, enraptured, on the fair
face of his lovely cousin; and it was evident, while he gazed in her
eyes, he thought not of gentle Philippa, the wife of his boyhood; nor
was it less evident that she, flattered by the gallantry of her princely
relative, forgot her absent husband, though in the presence of his
brother. Edward, finding that it would be imprudent to follow the
Scottish army into the forest, addressing the countess, said, "Our
knights expected, fair coz, to have tried the fair temper of their
lances on the Scottish shields, but, as it may not be, in honour of your
deliverance, to-morrow we proclaim a tournament to be held in the
castle-yard, when each true knight shall prove on the morion of his
antagonist whose ladye-love is the fairest."

The eyes of the countess flashed joy; and she smiled, well pleased at
the proposal of the sovereign; but Madeline trembled as she heard it.

Early on the following morning the castle-yard was fitted up for the
tournament. The monarch and the countess were seated on a dais covered
with a purple canopy, and the latter held in her hand a ring which
gleamed as a morning star, and which the monarch had taken from his
finger, that she might bestow it upon the victor. Near their feet sat
Madeline, an unwilling spectator of the conflict. The names of the
combatants were known to the pursuivants only, and each entered the
lists armed with lance and spear, with their visors down, and having,
for defence, a shield, a sort of cuirass, the helmet, gauntlet, and
gorget. Several knights had been wounded, and many dismounted; but the
interest of the day turned upon the combat of two who already had each
discomfited three. They contended long and keenly; their strength, their
skill, their activity seemed equal. Victory hung suspended between them.

"Our ladye!" exclaimed the monarch, rising with delight; "but they fight
bravely! Who may they be? Were it not that he cannot yet be in England,
I should say the knight in dark armour is Sir John Aubrey."

Madeline uttered a suppressed scream, and cast round a look of mingled
agony and surprise at the monarch; but the half-stifled cry was drowned
by the spectators, who, at that moment, burst into a shout; the knight
in dark armour was unhorsed--his conqueror suddenly placed his lance to
his breast, but as suddenly withdrew it; and, stretching out his mailed
hand to the other, said, "Rise, mine equal! 'twas thy horse's fault, and
none of thine, that chance gave me the victory, though I wished it
much." The conqueror of the day approached the canopy beneath which the
monarch and the countess sat, and, kneeling before the dais, received
the ring from her hands. While she had held the splendid bauble in her
hands during the contest, conscious of her own beauty, of which Border
minstrel and foreign troubadour had sung, she expected, on placing it in
those of the victor, to behold it in homage laid again at her feet. But
it was not so. The knight, on receiving it, bowed his head, and,
stepping back again, knelt before the more lowly seat of Madeline.

"Accept this, dear Madeline," whispered he; and she blushed and startled
at the voice which she knew and loved. The countess cast a glance of
envy on her companion as she beheld the victor at her feet; yet it was
but one, which passed away as the young monarch poured his practised
flatteries in her ear.

The king commanded that the two last combatants should raise their
visors. The victor, still standing by the side of Madeline, obeyed. It
was Sir William Montague.

"Ha! Montague!" said the monarch, "it is you! Well, for your gallant
bearing to-day, you shall accompany us to France--we shall need such
hands as thine to secure the sceptre of our lawful kingdom. But what
modest flower is this that ye deck with your hard-won diamond?" added
he, glancing towards Madeline; and, without waiting a reply, he turned
to the countess, saying, "Is she of thy suite, dear coz? She hath a fair
face, worthy the hand-maiden of beauty's queen."

The countess liked not his inquiries, but, nevertheless, was flattered
by the compliment with which he concluded; and she replied that she was
the orphan daughter of her father's friend, and the worshipful divinity
of Sir William. The other combatant now approached also; and, kneeling
in front of the dais, raised his visor.

"Aubrey!" exclaimed the monarch.

"My brother!" cried Madeline, starting to his side.

"Your brother?" responded Sir William.

"What! my little Madeline a woman?" replied the stranger. "Bless thee,
my own sister!"

"What!" exclaimed the monarch, "the paragon of our tournament the sister
of bold Aubrey? And you, too, the combatant against her chosen champion!
Had ye spilled blood on either side, this day's sport might have spoiled
a bridal. But whence come ye, Aubrey, and when?"

"My liege," replied the other, "having arrived at Knaresborough on the
day after the departure of your majesty, I hastened hither to inform
your grace that France lies open to our arms, and our troops are eager
to embark."

In a few days Edward left Wark, leaving behind him a powerful garrison
for the defence of the castle; but he had left it desolate to poor
Madeline, for he had taken to accompany him, on his invasion of France,
her betrothed husband and her brother. That brother whom she had met but
three days before, she had not seen from childhood--nor was she certain
that he lived--for he had been a soldier from his boyhood, and his life
had been spent in the camp and in foreign wars; while she had been
nurtured under the protection of the Countess of Salisbury.

It was about seven years after the events we have alluded to had
occurred, that Edward, covered with all the fame of a conqueror, if not
the advantages of conquest, returned to England. During his victories
and the din of war, however, he had not forgotten the beauty of his fair
cousin, whose glances had bewildered him at Wark Castle; and now, when
he returned, his admiration was renewed, and she appeared as the first
favourite of his court. He had provided a royal banquet for the nobles
and the knights who had distinguished themselves during the French wars.
A thousand lights blazed in the noble hall--martial music pealed
around--and hundreds of the brightest eyes in England looked love and
delight. The fairest and the noblest in the land thronged the assembly.
Jewels sparkled and studded the gorgeous apparel of the crowd. In the
midst of the hall walked the gay and courtly monarch, with the fair Joan
of Salisbury resting on his arm. They spoke of their first meeting at
Wark, of the siege and the tournament, and again they whispered, and
hands were pressed, and looks exchanged; and, while they walked
together, a blue garter, decked with gold, pearls, and precious stones,
and which, with a golden buckle, had fastened the sandal of the fair
Joan round the best-turned ankle in the hall, became loose and entangled
among her feet. The countess blushed; and the monarch, with the easy
unembarrassment and politeness of a practised gallant, stooped to fasten
the unfortunate riband. As the nobles beheld the sovereign kneel with
the foot of the fair countess on his knee, a hardly suppressed smile
ran through the assembly. But, observing the smile upon the face of his
nobles, the monarch rose proudly, and, with the garter in his hand,
exclaimed, "_Honi soit qui mal y pense_!"--"Shame be to him who thinks
ill of it!" and buckling the garter round his left knee, he added, "Be
this the Order of St George!--and the proudest monarchs and most valiant
knights in Christendom shall be proud to be honoured with the emblem of
thy garter, fair coz."

Scarce, however, was the royal banquet closed, when the voice of
lamentation was heard in every house, though the mourners went not about
the streets; for the living feared to follow their dead to the
sepulchre. The angel of death breathed upon the land; he stretched out
his wings and covered it--at his breath the land sickened--beneath the
shadow of his wings the people perished. The green fields became as a
wilderness, and death and desolation reigned in the market-places. Along
the streets moved cavalcades of the dead--the hearse of the noble and
the car of the citizen; and the dead bodies of the poor were picked up
upon the streets! The churchyards rose as hills, and fields were turned
up for the dead! The husband fled from his dying wife; the mother feared
to kiss her own child; and the bridegroom turned in terror from her who
was to have been his bride upon the morn. There was no cry heard but
"The dead!--the dead!" The plague walked in silence, sweeping its
millions from the earth, laughing at the noisy slaughter of the sword,
making kings to tremble, and trampling upon conquerors as dust.

Such was the state of London, when Sir William Montague and Sir John
Aubrey arrived from France. In every street they met the long trains of
the dead being borne to their grave; but the living had deserted them;
and, if they met an occasional passenger, fear and paleness were upon
his face. They hurried along the streets in silence--for each would have
concealed his thoughts from the other--but the thoughts of both were of
Madeline; and the one trembled lest he should find his betrothed, the
other his sister, with the dead! They proceeded to the house of the
Duchess of Salisbury; but they were told that she had fled, to seek a
place of refuge from the destroying glance of the pestilence. From the
domestics, however, they learned that Madeline had ceased to be the
companion of the duchess; but they were also directed where they would
find her, with a friend in the city--if she yet lived! But, added their
informants, they had heard that, in the street which they named, the
inhabitants died faster than the living could bury them. When the
haughty Joan became the acknowledged favourite of the king, she was no
longer a meet friend or protector to the gentle Madeline; and the latter
had taken up her residence in the house of a merchant, who, in his
youth, had fought by her father's side; and where, if she enjoyed not
the splendour and the luxuries of wealth, neither was she clothed with
the trappings of shame.

With anxious steps the betrothed husband and the brother hastened to the
dwelling of the merchant. They reached it.

"Doth Madeline Aubrey reside here?" inquired they in the same breath.
"Does she live?--does she live?"

"She doth reside here," answered the citizen, "and--the saints be
praised!--good Madeline hath escaped, with my whole house; and I believe
it is for her sake, though she feareth no more the breath of the
pestilence, than though it were healthsome as the summer breeze bearing
the fragrance of the May-thorn. But, belike, ye would speak with her,
gentlemen--ye may step in, good sirs, and wait till her return."

Her brother started back.

"Gracious Heaven! can my Madeline be abroad at a time like this!"
exclaimed Sir William, "when men tremble to meet each other, and the
hands of friends convey contagion! Can ye inform us, good man, where we
shall find her?"

"Nay, that I cannot," answered he; "for, as I have told ye, sweet
Madeline feareth not the plague, but walketh abroad as though it existed
not; and now, doubtless, she is soothing the afflicted, or handing a cup
of water to the dying stranger, whom his own kindred have fled from and
forsaken, when the evil came upon him. But, as ye seem acquainted with
her, will not ye tarry till she come?"

They gazed towards each other with horror and with fear; yet, in the
midst of their apprehensions and dismay, each admired the more than
courage of her of whom Joan Plantagenet had said that she had more
wisdom of head than boldness of heart. They entered the house, and they
sat down together in silence. Slowly, wearily the moments passed on,
each strengthening anxiety, each pregnant with agony.

"She may never return!" groaned Sir William; "for the healthy have been
smitten down upon the streets; and the wretched hirelings, who make a
harvest of death, have borne to the same grave the dying with the dead!"

At length a light footstep was heard upon the stairs. They started to
their feet. The door opened, and Madeline, more beautiful than ever they
had beheld her, stood before them.

"My own!--my Madeline!" cried Sir William, hastening to meet her.

"My sister!" exclaimed her brother.

Her head rested on the bosom of those she loved; and, in the rapture of
the moment, the pestilence and the desolation that reigned around were
forgotten. At length, the danger to which she had exposed herself
recurring to his mind--

"Let us flee from this horrid charnel-house, dearest," said Sir
William, "to where our bridal may not be mingled with sights of wo, and
where the pestilence pursueth not its victims. Come, my own--my
betrothed--my Madeline, let us haste away."

"Wherefore would my William fly?" said she--and a smile of joy and of
confidence played upon her lips; "have ye not defied death from the
sword and the spear, and braved it as it sped with the swift-flying
arrow, and would ye turn and flee from the pestilence which worketh only
what the sword performs, and what chivalry requires as a sacrifice to
the madness of woman's folly? But whither would you flee to escape it?
Be it south or north, it is there; and east or west, it is there also.
If ye flee from the pestilence, would ye flee also from the eye of Him
who sends it?"

Again they urged her to leave the city; and again she endeavoured to
smile; but it died languidly on her lip--the rose on her cheek vanished,
and her mild eyes in a moment became dim. She sank her head upon the
bosom of her lover, and her hand rested on the shoulder of her brother.
The contagion had entered her heart. A darkening spot gathered upon her
fair cheek--it was the shadow of the finger of death--the seal of

"My Madeline!" cried Sir William. "Merciful Heaven!--spare her! spare

"Oh, my sister!" exclaimed her brother, "have I hastened to my native
land, but to behold thee die?"

She feebly pressed their hands in hers--"Leave me--leave me, loved
ones!--my William!--my brother!--flee from me!--there is death in the
touch of your Madeline!--We shall meet again!"

The disease which at that time desolated England was in some respects
peculiar, even as a plague. The dark spots which so clearly indicated
the presence of the spoiler began in a mere darkening of some part of
the body; but so virulent was the disease, and so rapid its onset and
course, that even a visitor might perceive the beginning, and mark the
progress towards death, during the short period of a call.

The plague-spot darkened on the cheek of Madeline Aubrey, and, in a few
hours, she was numbered with its victims.


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