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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Antiquary, Complete, by Sir Walter Scott

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Title: The Antiquary, Complete

Author: Sir Walter Scott

Release Date: October 25, 2006 [EBook #7005]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE ANTIQUARY, COMPLETE ***




Produced by David Widger





                             THE ANTIQUARY

                       BY SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.

                               COMPLETE



                              VOLUME ONE


           I knew Anselmo. He was shrewd and prudent,
                Wisdom and cunning had their shares of him;
                But he was shrewish as a wayward child,
           And pleased again by toys which childhood please;
           As---book of fables, graced with print of wood,
                Or else the jingling of a rusty medal,
                Or the rare melody of some old ditty,
           That first was sung to please King Pepin's cradle




                              INTRODUCTION


The present work completes a series of fictitious narratives, intended to
illustrate the manners of Scotland at three different periods. _Waverley_
embraced the age of our fathers, _Guy Mannering_ that of our own youth,
and the _Antiquary_ refers to the last ten years of the eighteenth
century. I have, in the two last narratives especially, sought my
principal personages in the class of society who are the last to feel the
influence of that general polish which assimilates to each other the
manners of different nations. Among the same class I have placed some of
the scenes in which I have endeavoured to illustrate the operation of the
higher and more violent passions; both because the lower orders are less
restrained by the habit of suppressing their feelings, and because I
agree, with my friend Wordsworth, that they seldom fail to express them
in the strongest and most powerful language. This is, I think, peculiarly
the case with the peasantry of my own country, a class with whom I have
long been familiar. The antique force and simplicity of their language,
often tinctured with the Oriental eloquence of Scripture, in the mouths
of those of an elevated understanding, give pathos to their grief, and
dignity to their resentment.

I have been more solicitous to describe manners minutely than to arrange
in any case an artificial and combined narrative, and have but to regret
that I felt myself unable to unite these two requisites of a good Novel.

The knavery of the adept in the following sheets may appear forced and
improbable; but we have had very late instances of the force of
superstitious credulity to a much greater extent, and the reader may be
assured, that this part of the narrative is founded on a fact of actual
occurrence.

I have now only to express my gratitude to the Public for the
distinguished reception which, they have given to works, that have little
more than some truth of colouring to recommend them, and to take my
respectful leave, as one who is not likely again to solicit their favour.

                  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To the above advertisement, which was prefixed to the first edition of
the Antiquary, it is necessary in the present edition to add a few words,
transferred from the Introduction to the Chronicles of the Canongate,
respecting the character of Jonathan Oldbuck.

"I may here state generally, that although I have deemed historical
personages free subjects of delineation, I have never on any occasion
violated the respect due to private life. It was indeed impossible that
traits proper to persons, both living and dead, with whom I have had
intercourse in society, should not have risen to my pen in such works as
Waverley, and those which, followed it. But I have always studied to
generalise the portraits, so that they should still seem, on the whole,
the productions of fancy, though possessing some resemblance to real
individuals. Yet I must own my attempts have not in this last particular
been uniformly successful. There are men whose characters are so
peculiarly marked, that the delineation of some leading and principal
feature, inevitably places the whole person before you in his
individuality. Thus the character of Jonathan Oldbuck in the Antiquary,
was partly founded on that of an old friend of my youth, to whom I am
indebted for introducing me to Shakspeare, and other invaluable favours;
but I thought I had so completely disguised the likeness, that it could
not be recognised by any one now alive. I was mistaken, however, and
indeed had endangered what I desired should be considered as a secret;
for I afterwards learned that a highly respectable gentleman, one of the
few surviving friends of my father, and an acute critic, had said, upon
the appearance of the work, that he was now convinced who was the author
of it, as he recognised, in the Antiquary, traces of the character of a
very intimate friend* of my father's family."

* [The late George Constable of Wallace Craigie, near Dundee.]

I have only farther to request the reader not to suppose that my late
respected friend resembled Mr. Oldbuck, either in his pedigree, or the
history imputed to the ideal personage. There is not a single incident in
the Novel which is borrowed from his real circumstances, excepting the
fact that he resided in an old house near a flourishing seaport, and that
the author chanced to witness a scene betwixt him and the female
proprietor of a stage-coach, very similar to that which commences the
history of the Antiquary. An excellent temper, with a slight degree of
subacid humour; learning, wit, and drollery, the more poignant that they
were a little marked by the peculiarities of an old bachelor; a soundness
of thought, rendered more forcible by an occasional quaintness of
expression, were, the author conceives, the only qualities in which the
creature of his imagination resembled his benevolent and excellent old
friend.

The prominent part performed by the Beggar in the following narrative,
induces the author to prefix a few remarks of that character, as it
formerly existed in Scotland, though it is now scarcely to be traced.

Many of the old Scottish mendicants were by no means to be confounded
with the utterly degraded class of beings who now practise that wandering
trade. Such of them as were in the habit of travelling through a
particular district, were usually well received both in the farmer's ha',
and in the kitchens of the country gentlemen. Martin, author of the
_Reliquiae Divi Sancti Andreae,_ written in 1683, gives the following
account of one class of this order of men in the seventeenth century, in
terms which would induce an antiquary like Mr. Oldbuck to regret its
extinction. He conceives them to be descended from the ancient bards, and
proceeds:---"They are called by others, and by themselves, Jockies, who
go about begging; and use still to recite the Sloggorne (gathering-words
or war-cries) of most of the true ancient surnames of Scotland, from old
experience and observation. Some of them I have discoursed, and found to
have reason and discretion. One of then told me there were not now above
twelve of them in the whole isle; but he remembered when they abounded,
so as at one time he was one of five that usually met at St. Andrews."

The race of Jockies (of the above description) has, I suppose, been long
extinct in Scotland; but the old remembered beggar, even in my own time,
like the Baccoch, or travelling cripple of Ireland, was expected to merit
his quarters by something beyond an exposition of his distresses. He was
often a talkative, facetious fellow, prompt at repartee, and not withheld
from exercising his powers that way by any respect of persons, his
patched cloak giving him the privilege of the ancient jester. To be a
_gude crack,_ that is, to possess talents for conversation, was essential
to the trade of a "puir body" of the more esteemed class; and Burns, who
delighted in the amusement their discourse afforded, seems to have looked
forward with gloomy firmness to the possibility of himself becoming one
day or other a member of their itinerant society. In his poetical works,
it is alluded to so often, as perhaps to indicate that he considered the
consummation as not utterly impossible. Thus in the fine dedication of
his works to Gavin Hamilton, he says,--

                     And when I downa yoke a naig,
                    Then, Lord be thankit, I can beg.

Again, in his Epistle to Davie, a brother Poet, he states, that in their
closing career--

                     The last o't, the warst o't,
                         Is only just to beg.

And after having remarked, that

                  To lie in kilns and barns at e'en,
                  When banes are crazed and blude is thin,

Is doubtless great distress; the bard reckons up, with true poetical
spirit, the free enjoyment of the beauties of nature, which might
counterbalance the hardship and uncertainty of the life, even of a
mendicant. In one of his prose letters, to which I have lost the
reference, he details this idea yet more seriously, and dwells upon it,
as not ill adapted to his habits and powers.

As the life of a Scottish mendicant of the eighteenth century seems to
have been contemplated without much horror by Robert Burns, the author
can hardly have erred in giving to Edie Ochiltree something of poetical
character and personal dignity, above the more abject of his miserable
calling. The class had, intact, some privileges. A lodging, such as it
was, was readily granted to them in some of the out-houses, and the usual
_awmous_ (alms) of a handful of meal (called a _gowpen_) was scarce
denied by the poorest cottager. The mendicant disposed these, according
to their different quality, in various bags around his person, and thus
carried about with him the principal part of his sustenance, which he
literally received for the asking. At the houses of the gentry, his cheer
was mended by scraps of broken meat, and perhaps a Scottish "twalpenny,"
or English penny, which was expended in snuff or whiskey. In fact, these
indolent peripatetics suffered much less real hardship and want of food,
than the poor peasants from whom they received alms.

If, in addition to his personal qualifications, the mendicant chanced to
be a King's Bedesman, or Blue-Gown, he belonged, in virtue thereof, to
the aristocracy of his order, and was esteemed a parson of great
importance.

These Bedesmen are an order of paupers to whom the Kings of Scotland were
in the custom of distributing a certain alms, in conformity with the
ordinances of the Catholic Church, and who where expected in return to
pray for the royal welfare and that of the state. This order is still
kept up. Their number is equal to the number of years which his Majesty
has lived; and one Blue-Gown additional is put on the roll for every
returning royal birth-day. On the same auspicious era, each Bedesman
receives a new cloak, or gown of coarse cloth, the colour light blue,
with a pewter badge, which confers on them the general privilege of
asking alms through all Scotland,--all laws against sorning, masterful
beggary, and every other species of mendicity, being suspended in favour
of this privileged class. With his cloak, each receives a leathern purse,
containing as many shillings Scots (videlicet, pennies sterling) as the
sovereign is years old; the zeal of their intercession for the king's
long life receiving, it is to be supposed, a great stimulus from their
own present and increasing interest in the object of their prayers. On
the same occasion one of the Royal Chaplains preaches a sermon to the
Bedesmen, who (as one of the reverend gentlemen expressed himself) are
the most impatient and inattentive audience in the world. Something of
this may arise from a feeling on the part of the Bedesmen, that they are
paid for their own devotions, not for listening to those of others. Or,
more probably, it arises from impatience, natural, though indecorous in
men bearing so venerable a character, to arrive at the conclusion of the
ceremonial of the royal birth-day, which, so far as they are concerned,
ends in a lusty breakfast of bread and ale; the whole moral and religious
exhibition terminating in the advice of Johnson's "Hermit hoar" to his
proselyte,

                   Come, my lad, and drink some beer.

Of the charity bestowed on these aged Bedesmen in money and clothing,
there are many records in the Treasurer's accompts. The following
extract, kindly supplied by Mr. Macdonald of the Register House, may
interest those whose taste is akin to that of Jonathan Oldbuck of
Monkbarns.



                              BLEW GOWNIS.

In the Account of Sir Robert Melvill of Murdocarney,
Treasurer-Depute of King James IV., there are the following Payments:--

                              "Junij 1590.

"Item, to Mr. Peter Young, Elimosinar, twentie four gownis of blew
clayth, to be gevin to xxiiij auld men, according to the yeiris of his
hienes age, extending to viii xx viii elnis clayth; price of the elne
xxiiij _s. _                             Inde, ij _c_j _li. _xij _s. _

"Item, for sextene elnis bukrum to the saidis gownis, price of the elne x
_s. _                                    Inde,viij _li. _

"Item, twentie four pursis, and in ilk purse twentie four schelling
                                        Inde, xxciij _li. _ xvj _s. _

"Item, the price of ilk purse iiij _d. _      Inde, viij _s. _

"Item, for making of the saidis gownis       viij _li. _"


In the Account of John, Earl of Mar, Great Treasurer of Scotland, and of
Sir Gideon Murray of Enbank, Treasurer-Depute, the Blue-Gowns also appear
thus:--

                              "Junij 1617.

"Item, to James Murray, merchant, for fyftene scoir sex elnis and aine
half elne of blew claith to be gownis to fyftie ane aigeit men, according
to the yeiris of his Majesteis age, at xl _s. _ the elne
                                        Inde,vj _c_ xiij _li. _

"Item, to workmen for careing the blewis to James Aikman, tailyeour, his
hous xiij _s. _ iiij _d. _

"Item, for sex elnis and ane half of harden to the saidis gownis, at vj
_s. _ viij _d. _ the elne                 Inde,xliij _s. _iiij _d. _

"Item, to the said workmen for careing of the gownis fra the said James
Aikman's hous to the palace of Halyrudehous xviij _s. _

"Item, for making the saidis fyftie ane gownis, at xij _s. _ the peice
                                        Inde,xxx _li. _xij _s. _

"Item, for fyftie ane pursis to the said puire menlj _s. _

"Item, to Sir Peter Young,li _s. _ to be put in everie ane of the saidis
ljpursis to the said poore men j _c_xxxl jj _s. _

"Item, to the said Sir Peter, to buy breid and drink to the said puir men
vj _li. _xiij _s. _iiij _d. _

"Item, to the said Sir Peter, to be delt amang uther puire folk j _c_li.

"Item, upoun the last day of Junii to Doctor Young, Deane of Winchester,
Elimozinar Deput to his Majestic, twentie fyve pund sterling, to be gevin
to the puir be the way in his Majesteis progress    Inde,iij _c li. _"


I have only to add, that although the institution of King's Bedesmen
still subsists, they are now seldom to be seen on the streets of
Edinburgh, of which their peculiar dress made them rather a
characteristic feature.

Having thus given an account of the genus and species to which Edie
Ochiltree appertains, the author may add, that the individual he had in
his eye was Andrew Gemmells, an old mendicant of the character described,
who was many years since well known, and must still be remembered, in the
vales of Gala, Tweed, Ettrick, Yarrow, and the adjoining country.

The author has in his youth repeatedly seen and conversed with Andrew,
but cannot recollect whether he held the rank of Blue-Gown. He was a
remarkably fine old figure, very tall, and maintaining a soldierlike or
military manner and address. His features were intelligent, with a
powerful expression of sarcasm. His motions were always so graceful, that
he might almost have been suspected of having studied them; for he might,
on any occasion, have, served as a model for an artist, so remarkably
striking were his ordinary attitudes. Andrew Gemmells had little of the
cant of his calling; his wants were food and shelter, or a trifle of
money, which he always claimed, and seemed to receive as his due. He,
sung a good song, told a good story, and could crack a severe jest with
all the acumen of Shakespeare's jesters, though without using, like them,
the cloak of insanity. It was some fear of Andrew's satire, as much as a
feeling of kindness or charity, which secured him the general good
reception which he enjoyed everywhere. In fact, a jest of Andrew
Gemmells, especially at the expense of a person of consequence, flew
round the circle which he frequented, as surely as the bon-mot of a man
of established character for wit glides through the fashionable world,
Many of his good things are held in remembrance, but are generally too
local and personal to be introduced here.

Andrew had a character peculiar to himself among his tribe for aught I
ever heard. He was ready and willing to play at cards or dice with any
one who desired such amusement. This was more in the character of the
Irish itinerant gambler, called in that country a "carrow," than of the
Scottish beggar. But the late Reverend Doctor Robert Douglas, minister of
Galashiels, assured the author, that the last time he saw Andrew
Gemmells, he was engaged in a game at brag with a gentleman of fortune,
distinction, and birth. To preserve the due gradations of rank, the party
was made at an open window of the chateau, the laird sitting on his chair
in the inside, the beggar on a stool in the yard; and they played on the
window-sill. The stake was a considerable parcel of silver. The author
expressing some surprise, Dr. Douglas observed, that the laird was no
doubt a humourist or original; but that many decent persons in those
times would, like him, have thought there was nothing extraordinary in
passing an hour, either in card-playing or conversation, with Andrew
Gemmells.

This singular mendicant had generally, or was supposed to have, much
money about his person, as would have been thought the value of his life
among modern foot-pads. On one occasion, a country gentleman, generally
esteemed a very narrow man, happening to meet Andrew, expressed great
regret that he had no silver in his pocket, or he would have given him
sixpence. --"I can give you change for a note, laird," replied Andrew.

Like most who have arisen to the head of their profession, the modern
degradation which mendicity has undergone was often the subject of
Andrew's lamentations. As a trade, he said, it was forty pounds a-year
worse since he had first practised it. On another occasion he observed,
begging was in modern times scarcely the profession of a gentleman; and
that, if he had twenty sons, he would not easily be induced to breed one
of them up in his own line. When or where this _laudator temporis acti_
closed his wanderings, the author never heard with certainty; but most
probably, as Burns says,

                   --he died a cadger-powny's death,
                          At some dike side.

The author may add another picture of the same kind as Edie Ochiltree and
Andrew Gemmells; considering these illustrations as a sort of gallery,
open to the reception of anything which may elucidate former manners, or
amuse the reader.

The author's contemporaries at the university of Edinburgh will probably
remember the thin, wasted form of a venerable old Bedesman, who stood by
the Potterrow-Port, now demolished, and, without speaking a syllable,
gently inclined his head, and offered his hat, but with the least
possible degree of urgency, towards each individual who passed. This man
gained, by silence and the extenuated and wasted appearance of a palmer
from a remote country, the same tribute which was yielded to Andrew
Gemmells' sarcastic humour and stately deportment. He was understood to
be able to maintain a son a student in the theological classes of the
University, at the gate of which the father was a mendicant. The young
man was modest and inclined to learning, so that a student of the same
age, and whose parents where rather of the lower order, moved by seeing
him excluded from the society of other scholars when the secret of his
birth was suspected, endeavoured to console him by offering him some
occasional civilities. The old mendicant was grateful for this attention
to his son, and one day, as the friendly student passed, he stooped
forward more than usual, as if to intercept his passage. The scholar drew
out a halfpenny, which he concluded was the beggar's object, when he was
surprised to receive his thanks for the kindness he had shown to Jemmie,
and at the same time a cordial invitation to dine with them next
Saturday, "on a shoulder of mutton and potatoes," adding, "ye'll put on
your clean sark, as I have company." The student was strongly tempted to
accept this hospitable proposal, as many in his place would probably have
done; but, as the motive might have been capable of misrepresentation, he
thought it most prudent, considering the character and circumstances of
the old man, to decline the invitation.

Such are a few traits of Scottish mendicity, designed to throw light on a
Novel in which a character of that description plays a prominent part. We
conclude, that we have vindicated Edie Ochiltree's right to the
importance assigned him; and have shown, that we have known one beggar
take a hand at cards with a person of distinction, and another give
dinner parties.

I know not if it be worth while to observe, that the Antiquary,* was not
so well received on its first appearance as either of its predecessors,
though in course of time it rose to equal, and, with some readers,
superior popularity.

* Note A. Mottoes.






                          EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION

                                    TO

                              THE ANTIQUARY.


"THE ANTIQUARY" was begun in 1815; the bargain for its publication by
Constable was made in the October of that year. On December 22 Scott
wrote to Morritt: "I shall set myself seriously to 'The Antiquary,' of
which I have only a very general sketch at present; but when once I get
my pen to the paper it will walk fast enough. I am sometimes tempted to
leave it alone, and try whether it will not write as well without the
assistance of my head as with it,--a hopeful prospect for the reader!'"
It is amazing enough that he even constructed "a general sketch," for to
such sketches he confesses that he never could keep constant. "I have
generally written to the middle of one of these novels without having the
least idea how it was to end,--in short, in the _hab nab at a venture
style_ of composition" (Journal, Feb. 24, 1828). Yet it is almost
impossible but that the plot of "The Antiquary" should have been duly
considered. Scott must have known from the first who Lovel was to turn
out to be, and must have recognised in the hapless bride of Lord
Glenallan the object of the Antiquary's solitary and unfortunate passion.
To introduce another Wandering Heir immediately after the Harry Bertram
of "Guy Mannering" was rather audacious. But that old favourite, the Lost
Heir, is nearly certain to be popular. For the Antiquary's immortal
sorrow Scott had a model in his own experience. "What a romance to tell!
--and told, I fear, it will one day be. And then my three years of
dreaming and my two years of wakening will be chronicled doubtless. But
the dead will feel no pain." The dead, as Aristotle says, if they care
for such things at all, care no more than we do for what has passed in a
dream.

The general sketch probably began to take full shape about the last day
of 1815. On December 29 Scott wrote to Ballantyne:--

DEAR JAMES,--

               I've done, thank'God, with the long yarns
                   Of the most prosy of Apostles--Paul,1
               And now advance, sweet heathen of Monkbarns,
                  Step out, old quizz, as fast as I can scrawl.

In "The Antiquary" Scott had a subject thoroughly to his mind. He had
been an antiquary from his childhood. His earliest pence had been devoted
to that collection of printed ballads which is still at Abbotsford. These
he mentions in the unfinished fragment of his "Reliquiae Trotcosienses,"
in much the same words as in his manuscript note on one of the seven
volumes.

"This little collection of Stall tracts and ballads was formed by me,
when a boy, from the baskets of the travelling pedlars. Until put into
its present decent binding it had such charms for the servants that it
was repeatedly, and with difficulty, recovered from their clutches. It
contains most of the pieces that were popular about thirty years since,
and, I dare say, many that could not now be procured for any price
(1810)."

Nor did he collect only--

                      "The rare melody of some old ditties
          That first were sung to please King Pepin's cradle.

"Walter had soon begun to gather out-of-the-way things of all sorts. He
had more books than shelves [sic]; a small painted cabinet with Scotch
and Roman coins in it, and so forth. A claymore and Lochaber axe, given
him by old Invernahyle, mounted guard on a little print of Prince
Charlie; and Broughton's Saucer was hooked up on the wall below it."
He had entered literature through the ruined gateway of archleology, in
the "Border Minstrelsy," and his last project was an edition of
Perrault's "Contes de Ma Mere l'Oie." As pleasant to him as the purchase
of new lands like Turn Again, bought dearly, as in Monkbarns's case, from
"bonnet lauds," was a fresh acquisition of an old book or of old armour.
Yet, with all his enthusiasm, he did not please the antiquaries of his
own day. George Chalmers, in Constable's "Life and Correspondence"
(i. 431), sneers at his want of learning. "His notes are loose and
unlearned, as they generally are." Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, his
friend in life, disported himself in jealous and ribald mockery of
Scott's archaeological knowledge, when Scott was dead. In a letter of
the enigmatic Thomas Allen, or James Stuart Hay, father of John Sobieski
and Charles Edward Stuart, this mysterious person avers that he never
knew Scott's opinion to be held as of any value by antiquaries (1829).
They probably missed in him "a sort of pettifogging intimacy with dates,
names, and trifling matters of fact,--a tiresome and frivolous accuracy
of memory" which Sir Arthur Wardour reproves in Monkbarns. Scott, in
brief, was not as Dry-as-dust; all the dead bones that he touches come
to life. He was as great an archeologist as a poet can be, and, with
Virgil, was the greatest antiquary among poets. Like Monkbarns, he was
not incapable of being beguiled. As Oldbuck bought the bodle from the
pedlar at the price of a rare coin, so Scott took Surtees's "Barthram's
Dirge," and his Latin legend of the tourney with the spectre knight, for
genuine antiquities. No Edie Ochiltree ever revealed to him the truth
about these forgeries, and the spectre knight, with the ballad of
"Anthony Featherstonhaugh," hold their own in "Marmion," to assure the
world that this antiquary was gullible when the sleight was practised by
a friend. "Non est tanti," he would have said, had he learned the truth;
for he was ever conscious of the humorous side of the study of the
mouldering past. "I do not know anything which relieves the mind so much
from the sullens as a trifling discourse about antiquarian oldwomanries.
It is like knitting a stocking,--diverting the mind without occupying
it." ("Journal," March 9, 1828).

Begun about Jan. 1, 1816, "The Antiquary" was published before May 16,
1816, when Scott writes to say that he has sent Mr. Morritt the novel
"some time since." "It is not so interesting as its predecessors; the
period does not admit of so much romantic situation. But it has been
more fortunate than any of them in the sale, for six thousand went off
in the first six days, and it is now at press again." The Preface of the
first edition ends with the melancholy statement that the author "takes
his respectful leave, as one who is not likely again to solicit favour."
Apparently Scott had already determined not to announce his next novels
("The Black Dwarf" and "Old Mortality") as "by the Author of Waverley."
Mr. Constable, in the biography of his father, says (iii. 84): "Even
before the publication of 'The Antiquary,' John Ballantyne had been
impowered by the Author to negotiate with Mr. Murray and Mr. Blackwood
for the first series of the 'Tales of my Landlord.'" The note of
withdrawal from the stage, in the first edition of "The Antiquary," was
probably only a part of another experiment on public sagacity. As
Lockhart says, Mr. Murray and Mr. Blackwood thought that the consequent
absence of the Author of "Waverley's" name from the "Tales of my
Landlord" would "check very much the first success of the book;" but
they risked this, "to disturb Constable's tenure."

Scott's temporary desertion of Constable in the "Tales of my Landlord"
may have had various motives. There was a slight grudge against
Constable, born of some complications of the Ballantynes' affairs.
Perhaps the mere amusement of the experiment on public sagacity was one
of the more powerful reasons for the change. In our day Lord Lytton and
Mr. Trollope made similar trials of their popularity when anonymous, the
former author with the greater success. The idea of these masquerades and
veils of the incognito appears to have bewitched Constable. William
Godwin was writing for him his novel "Mandeville," and Godwin had
obviously been counselled to try a disguise. He says (Jan. 30, 1816) "I
have amused my imagination a thousand times since last we parted with the
masquerade you devised for me. The world is full of wonder. An old
favourite is always reviewed with coldness. . . . 'Pooh,' they say;
'Godwin has worn his pen to the stump!' . . . But let me once be equipped
with a significant mask and an unknown character from your masquerade
shop, and admitted to figure in with the 'Last Minstrel,' the 'Lady of
the Lake,' and 'Guy Mannering' in the Scottish carnival, Gods! how the
boys and girls will admire me! 'Here is a new wonder!' they will say.
'Ah, this is something like! Here is Godwin beaten on his own ground. . .
Here is for once a Scottish writer that they cannot say has anything of
the Scotchman about him.'"

However, Mr. Godwin did not don the mask and domino. "Mandeville" came
out about the same time as "Rob Roy;" but the "craziness of the public"
for the Author of "Waverley" was not changed into a passion for the
father-in-law of Shelley.

"'The Antiquary,' after a little pause of hesitation, attained popularity
not inferior to 'Guy Mannering,' and though the author appears for a
moment to have shared the doubts which he read in the countenance of
James Ballantyne, it certainly was, in the sequel, his chief favourite
among all his novels.'"

As Scott said to Terry, "If a man will paint from nature, he will be
likely to amuse those who are daily looking at it." The years which saw
the first appearance of "Guy Mannering" also witnessed that of "Emma." By
the singular chance, or law, which links great authors closely in time,
giving us novelists in pairs, Miss Austen was "drawing from nature" at
the very moment when Scott was wedding nature with romance. How
generously and wisely he admired her is familiar, and it may, to some,
seem curious that he never deliberately set himself to a picture of
ordinary life, free from the intrusion of the unusual, of the heroic.
Once, looking down at the village which lies on the Tweed, opposite
Melrose, he remarked that under its roofs tragedies and tales were
doubtless being lived. 'I undertake to say there is some real romance at
this moment going on down there, that, if it could have justice done to
it, would be well worth all the fiction that was ever spun out of human
brains.'  But the example he gave was terrible,--"anything more dreadful
was never conceived by Crabbe;" yet, adds Lockhart, "it would never have
entered into his head to elaborate such a tale." He could not dwell in
the unbroken gloom dear to some modern malingerers. But he could easily
have made a tale of common Scotch life, dark with the sorrow of
Mucklebackit, and bright with the mirth of Cuddie Headrigg. There was,
however, this difficulty,--that Scott cared not to write a story of a
single class. "From the peer to the ploughman," all society mingles in
each of his novels. A fiction of middle-class life did not allure him,
and he was not at the best, but at his worst, as Sydney Smith observed,
in the light talk of society. He could admire Miss Austen, and read her
novels again and again; but had he attempted to follow her, by way of
variety, then inevitably wild as well as disciplined humour would have
kept breaking in, and his fancy would have wandered like the old knights
of Arthur's Court, "at adventure." "St. Ronan's Well" proved the truth of
all this. Thus it happens that, in "The Antiquary," with all his sympathy
for the people, with all his knowledge of them, he does not confine
himself to their cottages. As Lockhart says, in his admirable piece of
criticism, he preferred to choose topics in which he could display "his
highest art, that of skilful contrast."

Even the tragic romance of "Waverley" does not set off its Macwheebles
and Callum Begs better than the oddities of Jonathan Oldbuck and his
circle are relieved, on the one hand by the stately gloom of the
Glenallans, on the other by the stern affliction of the poor fisherman,
who, when discovered repairing "the auld black bitch of a boat," in which
his boy had been lost, and congratulated by his visitors on being capable
of the exertion, makes answer, "And what would you have me to do, unless
I wanted to see four children starve, because one is drowned? It 's weel
with you gentles, that can sit in the house with handkerchers at your
een, when ye lose a friend; but the like o' us maun to our work again,
if our hearts were beating as hard as ony hammer." And to his work again
Scott had to go when he lost the partner of his life.

The simple unsought charm which Lockhart notes in "The Antiquary" may
have passed away in later works, when what had been the amusement of
happy days became the task of sadness. But this magic "The Antiquary"
keeps perhaps beyond all its companions,--the magic of pleasant memories
and friendly associations. The sketches of the epoch of expected
invasion, with its patriotic musters and volunteer drillings, are
pictures out of that part in the author's life which, with his early
Highland wanderings ("Waverley") and his Liddesdale raids ("Guy
Mannering"), was most dear to him. In "Redgauntlet," again, he makes, as
Alan Fairford, a return on his youth and his home, and in "Rob Roy" he
revives his Highland recollections, his Highland lairds of "the blawing,
bleezing stories." None of the rest of the tales are so intimate in their
connection with Scott's own personal history. "The Antiquary" has always,
therefore, been held in the very first rank of his novels.

As far as plot goes, though Godwin denied that it had any story, "The
Antiquary" may be placed among the most careful. The underplot of the
Glenallans, gloomy almost beyond endurance, is very ingeniously made to
unravel the mystery of Lovel. The other side-narrative, that of
Dousterswivel, is the weak point of the whole; but this Scott justifies
by "very late instances of the force of superstitious credulity, to a
much greater extent." Some occurrence of the hour may have suggested the
knavish adept with his divining-rod. But facts are never a real excuse
for the morally incredible, or all but incredible, in fiction. On the
wealth and vraisemblance and variety of character it were superfluous to
dilate. As in Shakspeare, there is not even a minor person but lives and
is of flesh and blood, if we except, perhaps, Dousterswivel and Sir
Arthur Wardour. Sir Arthur is only Sir Robert Hazlewood over again, with
a slightly different folly and a somewhat more amiable nature. Lovel's
place, as usual, is among the shades of heroes, and his love-affair is
far less moving, far more summarily treated, than that of Jenny Caxon.
The skilful contrasts are perhaps most remarkable when we compare Elspeth
of the Burnfoot with the gossiping old women in the post-office at
Fairport,--a town studied perhaps from Arbroath. It was the opinion of
Sydney Smith that every one of the novels, before "The Fortunes of
Nigel," contained a Meg Merrilies and a Dominie Sampson. He may have
recognized a male Meg in Edie Ochiltree,--the invaluable character who is
always behind a wall, always overhears everything, and holds the threads
of the plot. Or he may have been hypercritical enough to think that
Elspeth of the Burnfoot is the Meg of the romance. Few will agree with
him that Meg Merrilies, in either of these cases, is "good, but good too
often."

The supposed "originals" of certain persons in the tale have been topics
of discussion. The character of Oldbuck, like most characters in fiction,
is a combination of traits observed in various persons. Scott says, in a
note to the Ashiestiel fragment of Autobiography, that Mr. George
Constable, an old friend of his father's, "had many of those
peculiarities of character which long afterwards I tried to develop in
the character of Jonathan Oldbuck." Sir Walter, when a child, made Mr.
Constable's acquaintance at Prestonpans in 1777, where he explored the
battle-field "under the learned guidance of Dalgetty." Mr. Constable
first introduced him to Shakspeare's plays, and gave him his first German
dictionary. Other traits may have been suggested by John Clerk of Eldin,
whose grandfather was the hero of the story "Praetorian here, Praetorian
there, I made it wi' a flaughter spade." Lockhart is no doubt right in
thinking that Oldbuck is partly a caricature of Oldbuck's creator,--Sir
Walter indeed frankly accepted the kinship; and the book which he began
on his own collection he proposed to style "Reliquim Trotcosienses; or,
the Gabions of Jonathan Oldbuck."

Another person who added a few points to Oldbuck was "Sandy Gordon,"
author of the "Itinerarium Septentrionale" (1726), the very folio which
Monkbarns carried in the dilatory coach to Queensferry. Gordon had been
a student in the University of Aberdeen; he was an amateur in many arts,
but antiquarianism was his favourite hobby. He was an acquaintance of Sir
John Clerk of Eldin, the hero of the Praetorium. The words of Gordon in
his "Itinerarium," where he describes the battle of the Grampians, have
supplied, or suggested, the speech of Monkbarns at the Kaim of Kinprunes.
The great question was, Where is the Mons Grampius of Tacitus? Dismissing
Camden's Grantsbain, because he does not know where it is, Gordon says,
"As for our Scotch Antiquaries, they are so divided that some will have
it to be in the shire of Angus, or in the Mearns, some at the Blair of
Athol in Perthshire, or Ardoch in Strathallan, and others at
Inverpeffery." Gordon votes for Strathern, "half a mile short of the Kirk
of Comrie." This spot is both at the foot of the Montes Grampii, "and
boasts a Roman camp capable of holding an army fit to encounter so
formidable a number as thirty thousand Caledonians. . . . Here is the
Porta Decumana, opposite the Prcetoria, together with the dextra and
sinistra gates," all discovered by Sandy Gordon. "Moreover, the situation
of the ground is so very exact with the description given by Tacitus,
that in all my travels through Britain I never beheld anything with more
pleasure. . . . Nor is it difficult, in viewing this ground, to say where
the Covinarii, or Charioteers, stood. In fine, to an Antiquary, this is a
ravishing scene." He adds the argument "that Galgacus's name still
remains on this ground, for the moor on which the camp stood is called to
this day Galdachan, or Galgachan Rosmoor." All this lore Gordon
illustrates by an immense chart of a camp, and a picture of very small
Montes Grampii, about the size and shape of buns. The plate is dedicated
to his excellency General Wade.

In another point Monkbapns borrows from Gordon. Sandy has a plate (page
20) of "The Roman Sacellum of Mars Signifer, vulgarly called 'Arthur's
Oon.' With regard to its shape, it is not unlike the famous Pantheon at
Rome before the noble Portico was added to it by Marcus Agrippa." Gordon
agrees with Stukeley in attributing Arthur's Oon to Agricola, and here
Monkbarns and Lovel adopt almost his words. "Time has left Julius
Agricola's very name on the place; . . . and if ever those initial
letters J. A. M. P. M. P. T., mentioned by Sir Robert Sibbald, were
engraven on a stone in this building, it may not be reckoned altogether
absurd that they should bear this reading, JULIUS AGRICOLA MAGNUS
PIETATIS MONUMENTUM POSUIT TEMPLUM; but this my reader may
either accept or reject as he pleases. However, I think it may be as
probably received as that inscription on Caligula's Pharos in Holland,
which having these following letters, C. C. P. F., is read Caius Caligula
Pharum Fecit." "This," Monkbarns adds, "has ever been recorded as a sound
exposition."

The character of Edie Ochiltree, Scott himself avers to have been
suggested by Andrew Gemmells, pleasantly described in the Introduction.
Mr. Chambers, in "Illustrations of the Author of 'Waverley," clears up a
point doubtful in Scott's memory, by saying that Geimells really was a
Blue-Gown. He rode a horse of his own, and at races was a bookmaker. He
once dropped at Rutherford, in Teviotdale, a clue of yarn containing
twenty guineas. Like Edie Ochiltree, he had served at Fontenoy. He died
at Roxburgh Newton in 1793, at the age of one hundred and five, according
to his own reckoning. "His wealth was the means of enriching a nephew in
Ayrshire, who is now (1825) a considerable landholder there, and belongs
to a respectable class of society."

An old Irus of similar character patrolled Teviotdale, while Andrew
Gemmells was attached to Ettrick and Yarrow. This was Blind Willie Craw.
Willie was the Society Journal of Hawick, and levied blackmail on the
inhabitants. He is thus described by Mr. Grieve, in the Diary already
quoted: "He lived at Branxholme Town, in a free house set apart for the
gamekeeper, and for many a year carried all the bread from Hawick used in
my father's family. He came in that way at breakfast-time, and got a
wallet which he put it in, and returned at dinner-time with the 'bawbee
rows' and two loaves. He laid the town of Hawick under contribution for
bawbees, and he knew the history of every individual, and went rhyming
through the town from door to door; and as he knew something against
every one which they would rather wish should not be rehearsed, a bawbee
put a stop to the paragraph which they wished suppressed. Willie Craw was
the son of a gamekeeper of the duke's, and enjoyed a free house at
Branxholme Town as long as he lived."

Had Burns ever betaken himself to the gaberlunzie's life, which he speaks
of in one of his poems as "the last o't, the worst o't," he would have
proved a much more formidable satirist than poor Willie Craw, the last of
the "blind crowders." Burns wrote, of course, in a spirit of reckless
humour; but he could not, even in sport, have alluded to the life as
"suited to his habits and powers," had gaberlunzies been mere mendicants.
In Herd's collection of Ballads is one on the ancient Scottish beggar:--

                In Scotland there lived a humble beggar,
                  He had nor house, nor hald, nor hame;
                  But he was well liked by ilk a body,
                And they gave him sunkets to rax his wame.

                A sieve fu' o' meal, a handfu' o' groats,
                  A dad o' a bannock, or pudding bree,
                  Cauld porridge, or the lickings o' plates,
                Wad make him as blythe as a body could be.

The dress and trade of the beggar are said to have been adopted by James
V. in his adventures, and tradition attributes to him a song, "The
Gaberlunzie Man."

One of Edie's most charming traits is his readiness to "fight for his
dish, like the laird for his land," when a French invasion was expected.
Scott places the date of "The False Alarm," when he himself rode a
hundred miles to join his regiment, on Feb. 2, 1804.

Lockhart gives it as an event of 1805 (vol. ii. p. 275). The occasion
gave great pleasure to Scott, on account of the patriotism and courage
displayed by all classes. "Me no muckle to fight for?" says Edie. "Isna
there the country to fight for, and the burns I gang dandering beside,
and the hearths o' the gudewives that gie me my bit bread, and the bits
o' weans that come toddling to play wi' me when I come about a landward
town?" Edie had fought at Fontenoy, and was of the old school. Scott
would have been less pleased with a recruit from St. Boswells, on the
Tweed. This man was a shoemaker, John Younger, a very intelligent and
worthy person, famous as an angler and writer on angling, who has left an
account of the "False Alarm" in his memoirs. His view was that the
people, unlike Edie, had nothing to fight for, that only the rich had any
reason to be patriotic, that the French had no quarrel with the poor. In
fact, Mr. Younger was a cosmopolitan democrat, and sneered at the old
Border glories of the warlike days. Probably, however, he would have done
his duty, had the enemy landed, and, like Edie, might have remembered the
"burns he dandered beside," always with a fishingrod in his hand.

     The Editor cannot resist the temptation to add that the patriotic
     lady mentioned in Scott's note, who "would rather have seen her son
     dead on that hearth than hear that he had been a horse's length
     behind his companions," was his paternal great-grandmother, Mrs.
     John Lang. Her husband, who died shortly afterwards, so that she was
     a widow when Scott conversed with her, chanced to be chief
     magistrate of Selkirk. His family was aroused late one night by the
     sound of a carriage hurrying down the steep and narrow street. Lord
     Napier was bringing, probably from Hawick, the tidings that the
     beacons were ablaze. The town-bell was instantly rung, the
     inhabitants met in the marketplace, where Scott's statue now stands,
     and the whole force, with one solitary exception, armed and marched
     to Dalkeith. According to the gentleman whose horse and arms were
     sent on to meet him, it was intended, if the French proved
     victorious, that the population of the Border towns should abandon
     their homes and retire to the hills.

No characters in the "Antiquary," except Monkbarns and Edie Ochiltree,
seem to have been borrowed from notable originals. The frauds of
Dousterswivel, Scott says, are rendered plausible by "very late instances
of the force of superstitious credulity to a much greater extent." He can
hardly be referring to the career of Cagliostro, but he may have had in
his memory some unsuccessful mining speculations by Charles Earl of
Traquair, who sought for lead and found little or none in Traquair hills.
The old "Statistical Account of Scotland" (vol. xii. p. 370) says nothing
about imposture, and merely remarks that "the noble family of Traquair
have made several attempts to discover lead mines, and have found
quantities of the ore of that metal, though not adequate to indemnify the
expenses of working, and have therefore given up the attempt." This was
published in 1794, so twenty years had passed when "The Antiquary" was
written. If there was here an "instance of superstitious credulity," it
was not "a very late instance." The divining, or "dowsing," rod of
Dousterswivel still keeps its place in mining superstition and in the
search for wells.

With "The Antiquary" most contemporary reviews of the novels lose their
interest. Their author had firmly established his position, at least till
"The Monastery" caused some murmurings. Even the "Quarterly Review" was
infinitely more genial in its reception of "The Antiquary" than of "Guy
Mannering." The critic only grumbled at Lovel's feverish dreams, which,
he thought, showed an intention to introduce the marvellous. He
complained of "the dark dialect of Anglified Erse," but found comfort in
the glossary appended. The "Edinburgh Review" pronounced the chapter on
the escape from the tide to be "I the very best description we have ever
met, inverse or in prose, in ancient or in modern writing." No reviewer
seems to have noticed that the sun is made to set in the sea, on the east
coast of Scotland. The "Edinburgh," however, declared that the Antiquary,
"at least in so far as he is an Antiquary," was the chief blemish on the
book. The "sweet heathen of Monkbarns" has not suffered from this
disparagement. The "British Critic" pledged its reputation that Scott was
the author. If an argument were wanted, "it would be that which has been
applied to prove the authenticity of the last book of the Iliad,--that
Homer must have written it, because no one else could." Alas! that
argument does not convince German critics.
                                            ANDREW LANG.





                             CHAPTER FIRST.


               Go call a coach, and let a coach be called,
               And let the man who calleth be the caller;
               And in his calling let him nothing call,
               But Coach! Coach! Coach! O for a coach, ye gods!
                                 Chrononhotonthologos.

It was early on a fine summer's day, near the end of the eighteenth
century, when a young man, of genteel appearance, journeying towards the
north-east of Scotland, provided himself with a ticket in one of those
public carriages which travel between Edinburgh and the Queensferry, at
which place, as the name implies, and as is well known to all my northern
readers, there is a passage-boat for crossing the Firth of Forth. The
coach was calculated to carry six regular passengers, besides such
interlopers as the coachman could pick up by the way, and intrude upon
those who were legally in possession. The tickets, which conferred right
to a seat in this vehicle, of little ease, were dispensed by a
sharp-looking old dame, with a pair of spectacles on a very thin nose,
who inhabited a "laigh shop," _anglice,_ a cellar, opening to the High
Street by a straight and steep stair, at the bottom of which she sold
tape, thread, needles, skeins of worsted, coarse linen cloth, and such
feminine gear, to those who had the courage and skill to descend to the
profundity of her dwelling, without falling headlong themselves, or
throwing down any of the numerous articles which, piled on each side of
the descent, indicated the profession of the trader below.

The written hand-bill, which, pasted on a projecting board, announced
that the Queensferry Diligence, or Hawes Fly, departed precisely at
twelve o'clock on Tuesday, the fifteenth July 17--, in order to secure
for travellers the opportunity of passing the Firth with the flood-tide,
lied on the present occasion like a bulletin; for although that hour was
pealed from Saint Giles's steeple, and repeated by the Tron, no coach
appeared upon the appointed stand. It is true, only two tickets had been
taken out, and possibly the lady of the subterranean mansion might have
an understanding with her Automedon, that, in such cases, a little space
was to be allowed for the chance of filling up the vacant places--or the
said Automedon might have been attending a funeral, and be delayed by the
necessity of stripping his vehicle of its lugubrious trappings--or he
might have staid to take a half-mutchkin extraordinary with his crony the
hostler--or--in short, he did not make his appearance.

The young gentleman, who began to grow somewhat impatient, was now joined
by a companion in this petty misery of human life--the person who had
taken out the other place. He who is bent upon a journey is usually
easily to be distinguished from his fellow-citizens. The boots, the
great-coat, the umbrella, the little bundle in his hand, the hat pulled
over his resolved brows, the determined importance of his pace, his brief
answers to the salutations of lounging acquaintances, are all marks by
which the experienced traveller in mail-coach or diligence can
distinguish, at a distance, the companion of his future journey, as he
pushes onward to the place of rendezvous. It is then that, with worldly
wisdom, the first comer hastens to secure the best berth in the coach for
himself, and to make the most convenient arrangement for his baggage
before the arrival of his competitors. Our youth, who was gifted with
little prudence, of any sort, and who was, moreover, by the absence of
the coach, deprived of the power of availing himself of his priority of
choice, amused himself, instead, by speculating upon the occupation and
character of the personage who was now come to the coach office.

He was a good-looking man of the age of sixty, perhaps older,--but his
hale complexion and firm step announced that years had not impaired his
strength or health. His countenance was of the true Scottish cast,
strongly marked, and rather harsh in features, with a shrewd and
penetrating eye, and a countenance in which habitual gravity was
enlivened by a cast of ironical humour. His dress was uniform, and of a
colour becoming his age and gravity; a wig, well dressed and powdered,
surmounted by a slouched hat, had something of a professional air. He
might be a clergyman, yet his appearance was more that of a man of the
world than usually belongs to the kirk of Scotland, and his first
ejaculation put the matter beyond question.

He arrived with a hurried pace, and, casting an alarmed glance towards
the dial-plate of the church, then looking at the place where the coach
should have been, exclaimed, "Deil's in it--I am too late after all!"

The young man relieved his anxiety, by telling him the coach had not yet
appeared. The old gentleman, apparently conscious of his own want of
punctuality, did not at first feel courageous enough to censure that of
the coachman. He took a parcel, containing apparently a large folio, from
a little boy who followed him, and, patting him on the head, bid him go
back and tell Mr. B----, that if he had known he was to have had so much
time, he would have put another word or two to their bargain,--then told
the boy to mind his business, and he would be as thriving a lad as ever
dusted a duodecimo. The boy lingered, perhaps in hopes of a penny to buy
marbles; but none was forthcoming. Our senior leaned his little bundle
upon one of the posts at the head of the staircase, and, facing the
traveller who had first arrived, waited in silence for about five minutes
the arrival of the expected diligence.

At length, after one or two impatient glances at the progress of the
minute-hand of the clock, having compared it with his own watch, a huge
and antique gold repeater, and having twitched about his features to give
due emphasis to one or two peevish pshaws, he hailed the old lady of the
cavern.

"Good woman,--what the d--l is her name?--Mrs. Macleuchar!"

Mrs. Macleuchar, aware that she had a defensive part to sustain in the
encounter which was to follow, was in no hurry to hasten the discussion
by returning a ready answer.

"Mrs. Macleuchar,--Good woman" (with an elevated voice)--then apart, "Old
doited hag, she's as deaf as a post--I say, Mrs. Macleuchar!"

"I am just serving a customer.--Indeed, hinny, it will no be a bodle
cheaper than I tell ye."

"Woman," reiterated the traveller, "do you think we can stand here all
day till you have cheated that poor servant wench out of her half-year's
fee and bountith?"

"Cheated!" retorted Mrs. Macleuchar, eager to take up the quarrel upon a
defensible ground; "I scorn your words, sir: you are an uncivil person,
and I desire you will not stand there, to slander me at my ain
stair-head."

"The woman," said the senior, looking with an arch glance at his destined
travelling companion, "does not understand the words of action.--Woman,"
again turning to the vault, "I arraign not thy character, but I desire to
know what is become of thy coach?"

"What's your wull?" answered Mrs. Macleuchar, relapsing into deafness.

"We have taken places, ma'am," said the younger stranger, "in your
diligence for Queensferry"----"Which should have been half-way on the
road before now," continued the elder and more impatient traveller,
rising in wrath as he spoke: "and now in all likelihood we shall miss the
tide, and I have business of importance on the other side--and your
cursed coach"--

"The coach?--Gude guide us, gentlemen, is it no on the stand yet?"
answered the old lady, her shrill tone of expostulation sinking into a
kind of apologetic whine. "Is it the coach ye hae been waiting for?"

"What else could have kept us broiling in the sun by the side of the
gutter here, you--you faithless woman, eh?"

Mrs. Macleuchar now ascended her trap stair (for such it might be called,
though constructed of stone), until her nose came upon a level with the
pavement; then, after wiping her spectacles to look for that which she
well knew was not to be found, she exclaimed, with well-feigned
astonishment, "Gude guide us--saw ever onybody the like o' that?"

"Yes, you abominable woman," vociferated the traveller, "many have seen
the like of it, and all will see the like of it that have anything to do
with your trolloping sex;" then pacing with great indignation before the
door of the shop, still as he passed and repassed, like a vessel who
gives her broadside as she comes abreast of a hostile fortress, he shot
down complaints, threats, and reproaches, on the embarrassed Mrs.
Macleuchar. He would take a post-chaise--he would call a hackney coach
--he would take four horses--he must--he would be on the north side,
to-day--and all the expense of his journey, besides damages, direct and
consequential, arising from delay, should be accumulated on the devoted
head of Mrs. Macleuchar.

There, was something so comic in his pettish resentment, that the younger
traveller, who was in no such pressing hurry to depart, could not help
being amused with it, especially as it was obvious, that every now and
then the old gentleman, though very angry, could not help laughing at his
own vehemence. But when Mrs. Macleuchar began also to join in the
laughter, he quickly put a stop to her ill-timed merriment.

"Woman," said he, "is that advertisement thine?" showing a bit of
crumpled printed paper: "Does it not set forth, that, God willing, as you
hypocritically express it, the Hawes Fly, or Queensferry Diligence, would
set forth to-day at twelve o'clock; and is it not, thou falsest of
creatures, now a quarter past twelve, and no such fly or diligence to be
seen?--Dost thou know the consequence of seducing the lieges by false
reports?--dost thou know it might be brought under the statute of
leasing-making? Answer--and for once in thy long, useless, and evil life,
let it be in the words of truth and sincerity,--hast thou such a coach?
--is it _in rerum natura?_--or is this base annunciation a mere swindle on
the incautious to beguile them of their time, their patience, and three
shillings of sterling money of this realm?--Hast thou, I say, such a
coach? ay or no?"

"O dear, yes, sir; the neighbours ken the diligence weel, green picked
oat wi' red--three yellow wheels and a black ane."

"Woman, thy special description will not serve--it may be only a lie with
a circumstance."

"O, man, man!" said the overwhelmed Mrs. Macleuchar, totally exhausted at
having been so long the butt of his rhetoric, "take back your three
shillings, and make me quit o' ye."

"Not so fast, not so fast, woman--Will three shillings transport me to
Queensferry, agreeably to thy treacherous program?--or will it requite
the damage I may sustain by leaving my business undone, or repay the
expenses which I must disburse if I am obliged to tarry a day at the
South Ferry for lack of tide?--Will it hire, I say, a pinnace, for which
alone the regular price is five shillings?"

Here his argument was cut short by a lumbering noise, which proved to be
the advance of the expected vehicle, pressing forward with all the
dispatch to which the broken-winded jades that drew it could possibly be
urged. With ineffable pleasure, Mrs. Macleuchar saw her tormentor
deposited in the leathern convenience; but still, as it was driving off,
his head thrust out of the window reminded her, in words drowned amid the
rumbling of the wheels, that, if the diligence did not attain the Ferry
in time to save the flood-tide, she, Mrs. Macleuchar, should be held
responsible for all the consequences that might ensue.

The coach had continued in motion for a mile or two before the stranger
had completely repossessed himself of his equanimity, as was manifested
by the doleful ejaculations, which he made from time to time, on the too
great probability, or even certainty, of their missing the flood-tide. By
degrees, however, his wrath subsided; he wiped his brows, relaxed his
frown, and, undoing the parcel in his hand, produced his folio, on which
he gazed from time to time with the knowing look of an amateur, admiring
its height and condition, and ascertaining, by a minute and individual
inspection of each leaf, that the volume was uninjured and entire from
title-page to colophon. His fellow-traveller took the liberty of
inquiring the subject of his studies. He lifted up his eyes with
something of a sarcastic glance, as if he supposed the young querist
would not relish, or perhaps understand, his answer, and pronounced the
book to be Sandy Gordon's _Itinerarium Septentrionale,_* a book
illustrative of the Roman remains in Scotland.

* Note B. Sandy Gordon's _Itinerarium._

The querist, unappalled by this learned title, proceeded to put several
questions, which indicated that he had made good use of a good education,
and, although not possessed of minute information on the subject of
antiquities, had yet acquaintance enough with the classics to render him
an interested and intelligent auditor when they were enlarged upon. The
elder traveller, observing with pleasure the capacity of his temporary
companion to understand and answer him, plunged, nothing loath, into a
sea of discussion concerning urns, vases, votive, altars, Roman camps,
and the rules of castrametation.

The pleasure of this discourse had such a dulcifying tendency, that,
although two causes of delay occurred, each of much more serious duration
than that which had drawn down his wrath upon the unlucky Mrs.
Macleuchar, our =Antiquary= only bestowed on the delay the honour of a
few episodical poohs and pshaws, which rather seemed to regard the
interruption of his disquisition than the retardation of his journey.

The first of these stops was occasioned by the breaking of a spring,
which half an hour's labour hardly repaired. To the second, the Antiquary
was himself accessory, if not the principal cause of it; for, observing
that one of the horses had cast a fore-foot shoe, he apprized the
coachman of this important deficiency. "It's Jamie Martingale that
furnishes the naigs on contract, and uphauds them," answered John, "and I
am not entitled to make any stop, or to suffer prejudice by the like of
these accidents."

"And when you go to--I mean to the place you deserve to go to, you
scoundrel,--who do you think will uphold _you_ on contract? If you don't
stop directly and carry the poor brute, to the next smithy, I'll have you
punished, if there's a justice of peace in Mid-Lothian;" and, opening the
coach-door, out he jumped, while the coachman obeyed his orders,
muttering, that "if the gentlemen lost the tide now, they could not say
but it was their ain fault, since he was willing to get on."

I like so little to analyze the complication of the causes which
influence actions, that I will not venture to ascertain whether our
Antiquary's humanity to the poor horse was not in some degree aided by
his desire of showing his companion a Pict's camp, or Round-about, a
subject which he had been elaborately discussing, and of which a
specimen, "very curious and perfect indeed," happened to exist about a
hundred yards distant from the spot where this interruption took place.
But were I compelled to decompose the motives of my worthy friend (for
such was the gentleman in the sober suit, with powdered wig and slouched
hat), I should say, that, although he certainly would not in any case
have suffered the coachman to proceed while the horse was unfit for
service, and likely to suffer by being urged forward, yet the man of
whipcord escaped some severe abuse and reproach by the agreeable mode
which the traveller found out to pass the interval of delay.

So much time was consumed by these interruptions of their journey, that
when they descended the hill above the Hawes (for so the inn on the
southern side of the Queensferry is denominated), the experienced eye of
the Antiquary at once discerned, from the extent of wet sand, and the
number of black stones and rocks, covered with sea-weed, which were
visible along the skirts of the shore, that the hour of tide was past.
The young traveller expected a burst of indignation; but whether, as
Croaker says in "The Good-natured Man," our hero had exhausted himself in
fretting away his misfortunes beforehand, so that he did not feel them
when they actually arrived, or whether he found the company in which he
was placed too congenial to lead him to repine at anything which delayed
his journey, it is certain that he submitted to his lot with much
resignation.

"The d--l's in the diligence and the old hag, it belongs to!--Diligence,
quoth I? Thou shouldst have called it the Sloth--Fly, quoth she? why, it
moves like a fly through a glue-pot, as the Irishman says. But, however,
time and tide tarry for no man, and so, my young friend, we'll have a
snack here at the Hawes, which is a very decent sort of a place, and I'll
be very happy to finish the account I was giving you of the difference
between the mode of entrenching _castra stativa_ and _castra costiva,_
things confounded by too many of our historians. Lack-a-day, if they had
ta'en the pains to satisfy their own eyes, instead of following each
other's blind guidance!--Well! we shall be pretty comfortable at the
Hawes; and besides, after all, we must have dined somewhere, and it will
be pleasanter sailing with the tide of ebb and the evening breeze."

In this Christian temper of making the best of all occurrences, our
travellers alighted at the Hawes.




                             CHAPTER SECOND.


              Sir, they do scandal me upon the road here!
                A poor quotidian rack of mutton roasted
                Dry to be grated! and that driven down
              With beer and butter-milk, mingled together.
                It is against my freehold, my inheritance.
              Wine is the word that glads the heart of man,
              And mine's the house of wine. _Sack,_ says my bush,
             _Be merry and drink Sherry,_ that's my posie.
                        Ben Jonson's _New Inn._

As the senior traveller descended the crazy steps of the diligence at the
inn, he was greeted by the fat, gouty, pursy landlord, with that mixture
of familiarity and respect which the Scotch innkeepers of the old school
used to assume towards their more valued customers.

"Have a care o' us, Monkbarns (distinguishing him by his territorial
epithet, always most agreeable to the ear of a Scottish proprietor), is
this you? I little thought to have seen your honour here till the summer
session was ower."

"Ye donnard auld deevil," answered his guest, his Scottish accent
predominating when in anger though otherwise not particularly
remarkable,--"ye donnard auld crippled idiot, what have I to do with the
session, or the geese that flock to it, or the hawks that pick their
pinions for them?"

"Troth, and that's true," said mine host, who, in fact, only spoke upon a
very general recollection of the stranger's original education, yet would
have been sorry not to have been supposed accurate as to the station and
profession of him, or any other occasional guest--"That's very true,--but
I thought ye had some law affair of your ain to look after--I have ane
mysell--a ganging plea that my father left me, and his father afore left
to him. It's about our back-yard--ye'll maybe hae heard of it in the
Parliament-house, Hutchison against Mackitchinson--it's a weel-kenn'd
plea--its been four times in afore the fifteen, and deil ony thing the
wisest o' them could make o't, but just to send it out again to the
outer-house.--O it's a beautiful thing to see how lang and how carefully
justice is considered in this country!"

"Hold your tongue, you fool," said the traveller, but in great
good-humour, "and tell us what you can give this young gentleman and me
for dinner."

"Ou, there's fish, nae doubt,--that's sea-trout and caller haddocks,"
said Mackitchinson, twisting his napkin; "and ye'll be for a mutton-chop,
and there's cranberry tarts, very weel preserved, and--and there's just
ony thing else ye like."

"Which is to say, there is nothing else whatever? Well, well, the fish
and the chop, and the tarts, will do very well. But don't imitate the
cautious delay that you praise in the courts of justice. Let there be no
remits from the inner to the outer house, hear ye me?"

"Na, na," said Mackitchinson, whose long and heedful perusal of volumes
of printed session papers had made him acquainted with some law phrases
--"the denner shall be served _quam primum_ and that _peremptorie._" And
with the flattering laugh of a promising host, he left them in his sanded
parlour, hung with prints of the Four Seasons.

As, notwithstanding his pledge to the contrary, the glorious delays of
the law were not without their parallel in the kitchen of the inn, our
younger traveller had an opportunity to step out and make some inquiry of
the people of the house concerning the rank and station of his companion.
The information which he received was of a general and less authentic
nature, but quite sufficient to make him acquainted with the name,
history, and circumstances of the gentleman, whom we shall endeavour, in
a few words, to introduce more accurately to our readers.

Jonathan Oldenbuck, or Oldinbuck, by popular contraction Oldbuck, of
Monkbarns, was the second son of a gentleman possessed of a small
property in the neighbourhood of a thriving seaport town on the
north-eastern coast of Scotland, which, for various reasons, we shall
denominate Fairport. They had been established for several generations,
as landowners in the county, and in most shires of England would have
been accounted a family of some standing But the shire of----was filled
with gentlemen of more ancient descent and larger fortune. In the last
generation, also, the neighbouring gentry had been almost uniformly
Jacobites, while the proprietors of Monkbarns, like the burghers of the
town near which they were settled, were steady assertors of the
Protestant succession. The latter had, however, a pedigree of their own,
on which they prided themselves as much as those who despised them valued
their respective Saxon, Norman, or Celtic genealogies. The first
Oldenbuck, who had settled in their family mansion shortly after the
Reformation, was, they asserted, descended from one of the original
printers of Germany, and had left his country in consequence of the
persecutions directed against the professors of the Reformed religion. He
had found a refuge in the town near which his posterity dwelt, the more
readily that he was a sufferer in the Protestant cause, and certainly not
the less so, that he brought with him money enough to purchase the small
estate of Monkbarns, then sold by a dissipated laird, to whose father it
had been gifted, with other church lands, on the dissolution of the great
and wealthy monastery to which it had belonged. The Oldenbucks were
therefore, loyal subjects on all occasions of insurrection; and, as they
kept up a good intelligence with the borough, it chanced that the Laird
of Monkbarns, who flourished in 1745, was provost of the town during that
ill-fated year, and had exerted himself with much spirit in favour of
King George, and even been put to expenses on that score, which,
according to the liberal conduct of the existing government towards their
friends, had never been repaid him. By dint of solicitation, however, and
borough interest, he contrived to gain a place in the customs, and, being
a frugal, careful man, had found himself enabled to add considerably to
his paternal fortune. He had only two sons, of whom, as we have hinted,
the present laird was the younger, and two daughters, one of whom still
flourished in single blessedness, and the other, who was greatly more
juvenile, made a love-match with a captain in the _Forty-twa,_ who had no
other fortune but his commission and a Highland pedigree. Poverty
disturbed a union which love would otherwise have made happy, and Captain
M'Intyre, in justice to his wife and two children, a boy and girl, had
found himself obliged to seek his fortune in the East Indies. Being
ordered upon an expedition against Hyder Ally, the detachment to which he
belonged was cut off, and no news ever reached his unfortunate wife,
whether he fell in battle, or was murdered in prison, or survived in what
the habits of the Indian tyrant rendered a hopeless captivity. She sunk
under the accumulated load of grief and uncertainty, and left a son and
daughter to the charge of her brother, the existing Laird of Monkbarns.

The history of that proprietor himself is soon told. Being, as we have
said, a second son, his father destined him to a share in a substantial
mercantile concern, carried on by some of his maternal relations. From
this Jonathan's mind revolted in the most irreconcilable manner. He was
then put apprentice to the profession of a writer, or attorney, in which
he profited so far, that he made himself master of the whole forms of
feudal investitures, and showed such pleasure in reconciling their
incongruities, and tracing their origin, that his master had great hope
he would one day be an able conveyancer. But he halted upon the
threshold, and, though he acquired some knowledge of the origin and
system of the law of his country, he could never be persuaded to apply it
to lucrative and practical purposes. It was not from any inconsiderate
neglect of the advantages attending the possession of money that he thus
deceived the hopes of his master. "Were he thoughtless or light-headed, or
_rei suae prodigus,_" said his instructor, "I would know what to make of
him. But he never pays away a shilling without looking anxiously after
the change, makes his sixpence go farther than another lad's half-crown,
and wilt ponder over an old black-letter copy of the acts of parliament
for days, rather than go to the golf or the change-house; and yet he will
not bestow one of these days on a little business of routine, that would
put twenty shillings in his pocket--a strange mixture of frugality and
industry, and negligent indolence--I don't know what to make of him."

But in process of time his pupil gained the means of making what he
pleased of himself; for his father having died, was not long survived by
his eldest son, an arrant fisher and fowler, who departed this life, in
consequence of a cold caught in his vocation, while shooting ducks in the
swamp called Kittlefittingmoss, notwithstanding his having drunk a bottle
of brandy that very night to keep the cold out of his stomach. Jonathan,
therefore, succeeded to the estate, and with it to the means of
subsisting without the hated drudgery of the law. His wishes were very
moderate; and as the rent of his small property rose with the improvement
of the country, it soon greatly exceeded his wants and expenditure; and
though too indolent to make money, he was by no means insensible to the
pleasure of beholding it accumulate. The burghers of the town near which
he lived regarded him with a sort of envy, as one who affected to divide
himself from their rank in society, and whose studies and pleasures
seemed to them alike incomprehensible. Still, however, a sort of
hereditary respect for the Laird of Monkbarns, augmented by the knowledge
of his being a ready-money man, kept up his consequence with this class
of his neighbours. The country gentlemen were generally above him in
fortune, and beneath him in intellect, and, excepting one with whom he
lived in habits of intimacy, had little intercourse with Mr. Oldbuck of
Monkbarns. He, had, however, the usual resources, the company of the
clergyman, and of the doctor, when he chose to request it, and also his
own pursuits and pleasures, being in correspondence with most of the
virtuosi of his time, who, like himself, measured decayed entrenchments,
made plans of ruined castles, read illegible inscriptions, and wrote
essays on medals in the proportion of twelve pages to each letter of the
legend. Some habits of hasty irritation he had contracted, partly, it was
said in the borough of Fairport, from an early disappointment in love in
virtue of which he had commenced misogynist, as he called it, but yet
more by the obsequious attention paid to him by his maiden sister and his
orphan niece, whom he had trained to consider him as the greatest man
upon earth, and whom he used to boast of as the only women he had ever
seen who were well broke in and bitted to obedience; though, it must be
owned, Miss Grizzy Oldbuck was sometimes apt to _jibb_ when he pulled the
reins too tight. The rest of his character must be gathered from the
story, and we dismiss with pleasure the tiresome task of recapitulation.

During the time of dinner, Mr. Oldbuck, actuated by the same curiosity
which his fellow-traveller had entertained on his account, made some
advances, which his aye and station entitled him to do in a more direct
manner, towards ascertaining the name, destination, and quality of his
young companion.

His name, the young gentleman said, was Lovel.

"What! the cat, the rat, and Lovel our dog? Was he descended from King
Richard's favourite?"

"He had no pretensions," he said, "to call himself a whelp of that
litter; his father was a north-of-England gentleman. He was at present
travelling to Fairport (the town near to which Monkbarns was situated),
and, if he found the place agreeable, might perhaps remain there for some
weeks."

"Was Mr. Lovel's excursion solely for pleasure?"

"Not entirely."

"Perhaps on business with some of the commercial people of Fairport?"

"It was partly on business, but had no reference to commerce."

Here he paused; and Mr. Oldbuck, having pushed his inquiries as far as
good manners permitted, was obliged to change the conversation. The
Antiquary, though by no means an enemy to good cheer, was a determined
foe to all unnecessary expense on a journey; and upon his companion
giving a hint concerning a bottle of port wine, he drew a direful picture
of the mixture, which, he said, was usually sold under that denomination,
and affirming that a little punch was more genuine and better suited for
the season, he laid his hand upon the bell to order the materials. But
Mackitchinson had, in his own mind, settled their beverage otherwise, and
appeared bearing in his hand an immense double quart bottle, or magnum,
as it is called in Scotland, covered with saw-dust and cobwebs, the
warrants of its antiquity.

"Punch!" said he, catching that generous sound as he entered the parlour,
"the deil a drap punch ye'se get here the day, Monkbarns, and that ye may
lay your account wi'."

"What do you mean, you impudent rascal?"

"Ay, ay, it's nae matter for that--but do you mind the trick ye served me
the last time ye were here!"

"I trick you!"

"Ay, just yoursell, Monkbarns. The Laird o' Tamlowrie and Sir Gilbert
Grizzlecleuch, and Auld Rossballoh, and the Bailie, were just setting in
to make an afternoon o't, and you, wi' some o' your auld-warld stories,
that the mind o' man canna resist, whirl'd them to the back o' beyont to
look at the auld Roman camp--Ah, sir!" turning to Lovel, "he wad wile the
bird aff the tree wi' the tales he tells about folk lang syne--and did
not I lose the drinking o' sax pints o' gude claret, for the deil ane wad
hae stirred till he had seen that out at the least?"

"D'ye hear the impudent scoundrel!" said Monkbarns, but laughing at the
same time; for the worthy landlord, as he used to boast, know the measure
of a guest's foot as well as e'er a souter on this side Solway; "well,
well, you may send us in a bottle of port."

"Port! na, na! ye maun leave port and punch to the like o' us, it's
claret that's fit for you lairds; and, I dare say, nane of the folk ye
speak so much o' ever drank either of the twa."

"Do you hear how absolute the knave is? Well, my young friend, we must
for once prefer the _Falernian_ to the _vile Sabinum._"

The ready landlord had the cork instantly extracted, decanted the wine
into a vessel of suitable capaciousness, and, declaring it _parfumed_ the
very room, left his guests to make the most of it.

Mackitchinson's wine was really good, and had its effect upon the spirits
of the elder guest, who told some good stories, cut some sly jokes, and
at length entered into a learned discussion concerning the ancient
dramatists; a ground on which he found his new acquaintance so strong,
that at length he began to suspect he had made them his professional
study. "A traveller partly for business and partly for pleasure?--why,
the stage partakes of both; it is a labour to the performers, and
affords, or is meant to afford, pleasure to the spectators. He seems, in
manner and rank, above the class of young men who take that turn; but I
remember hearing them say, that the little theatre at Fairport was to
open with the performance of a young gentleman, being his first
appearance on any stage.--If this should be thee, Lovel!--Lovel? yes,
Lovel or Belville are just the names which youngsters are apt to assume
on such occasions--on my life, I am sorry for the lad."

Mr. Oldbuck was habitually parsimonious, but in no respects mean; his
first thought was to save his fellow-traveller any part of the expense of
the entertainment, which he supposed must be in his situation more or
less inconvenient. He therefore took an opportunity of settling privately
with Mr. Mackitchinson. The young traveller remonstrated against his
liberality, and only acquiesced in deference to his years and
respectability.

The mutual satisfaction which they found in each other's society induced
Mr. Oldbuck to propose, and Lovel willingly to accept, a scheme for
travelling together to the end of their journey. Mr. Oldbuck intimated a
wish to pay two-thirds of the hire of a post-chaise, saying, that a
proportional quantity of room was necessary to his accommodation; but
this Mr. Lovel resolutely declined. Their expense then was mutual, unless
when Lovel occasionally slipt a shilling into the hand of a growling
postilion; for Oldbuck, tenacious of ancient customs, never extended his
guerdon beyond eighteen-pence a stage. In this manner they travelled,
until they arrived at Fairport* about two o'clock on the following day.

* [The "Fairport" of this novel is supposed to refer to the town of *
Arbroath, in Forfarshire, and "Musselcrag," _post,_ to the fishing
village of * Auchmithie, in the same county.]

Lovel probably expected that his travelling companion would have invited
him to dinner on his arrival; but his consciousness of a want of ready
preparation for unexpected guests, and perhaps some other reasons,
prevented Oldbuck from paying him that attention. He only begged to see
him as early as he could make it convenient to call in a forenoon,
recommended him to a widow who had apartments to let, and to a person who
kept a decent ordinary; cautioning both of them apart, that he only knew
Mr. Lovel as a pleasant companion in a post-chaise, and did not mean to
guarantee any bills which he might contract while residing at Fairport.
The young gentleman's figure and manners; not to mention a well-furnished
trunk, which soon arrived by sea, to his address at Fairport, probably
went as far in his favour as the limited recommendation of his
fellow-traveller.




                             CHAPTER THIRD.


                 He had a routh o' auld nick-nackets,
                 Rusty airn caps, and jinglin-jackets,
               Would held the Loudons three in tackets,
                            A towmond gude;
               And parritch-pats, and auld sayt-backets,
                           Afore the flude.
                                           Burns.

After he had settled himself in his new apartments at Fairport, Mr. Lovel
bethought him of paying the requested visit to his fellow-traveller. He
did not make it earlier, because, with all the old gentleman's
good-humour and information, there had sometimes glanced forth in his
language and manner towards him an air of superiority, which his
companion considered as being fully beyond what the difference of age
warranted. He therefore waited the arrival of his baggage from Edinburgh,
that he might arrange his dress according to the fashion of the day, and
make his exterior corresponding to the rank in society which he supposed
or felt himself entitled to hold.

It was the fifth day after his arrival, that, having made the necessary
inquiries concerning the road, he went forth to pay his respects at
Monkbarns. A footpath leading over a heathy hill, and through two or
three meadows, conducted him to this mansion, which stood on the opposite
side of the hill aforesaid, and commanded a fine prospect of the bay and
shipping. Secluded from the town by the rising ground, which also
screened it from the north-west wind, the house had a solitary, and
sheltered appearance. The exterior had little to recommend it. It was an
irregular old-fashioned building, some part of which had belonged to a
grange, or solitary farm-house, inhabited by the bailiff, or steward, of
the monastery, when the place was in possession of the monks. It was here
that the community stored up the grain, which they received as
ground-rent from their vassals; for, with the prudence belonging to their
order, all their conventional revenues were made payable in kind, and
hence, as the present proprietor loved to tell, came the name of
Monkbarns. To the remains of the bailiff's house, the succeeding lay
inhabitants had made various additions in proportion to the accommodation
required by their families; and, as this was done with an equal contempt
of convenience within and architectural regularity without, the whole
bore the appearance of a hamlet which had suddenly stood still when in
the act of leading down one of Amphion's, or Orpheus's, country dances.
It was surrounded by tall clipped hedges of yew and holly, some of which
still exhibited the skill of the _topiarian_ artist,* and presented
curious arm-chairs, towers, and the figures of Saint George and the
Dragon.

* _Ars Topiaria,_ the art of clipping yew-hedges into fantastic figures.
A Latin poem, entitled _Ars Topiaria,_ contains a curious account of the
process.

The taste of Mr. Oldbuck did not disturb these monuments of an art now
unknown, and he was the less tempted so to do, as it must necessarily
have broken the heart of the old gardener. One tall embowering holly was,
however, sacred from the shears; and, on a garden seat beneath its shade,
Lovel beheld his old friend with spectacles on nose, and pouch on side,
busily employed in perusing the London Chronicle, soothed by the summer
breeze through the rustling leaves, and the distant dash of the waves as
they rippled upon the sand.

Mr. Oldbuck immediately rose, and advanced to greet his travelling
acquaintance with a hearty shake of the hand. "By my faith," said he, "I
began to think you had changed your mind, and found the stupid people of
Fairport so tiresome, that you judged them unworthy of your talents, and
had taken French leave, as my old friend and brother-antiquary Mac-Cribb
did, when he went off with one of my Syrian medals."

"I hope, my good sir, I should have fallen under no such imputation."

"Quite as bad, let me tell you, if you had stolen yourself away without
giving me the pleasure of seeing you again. I had rather you had taken my
copper Otho himself.--But come, let me show you the way into my _sanctum
sanctorum_--my cell I may call it, for, except two idle hussies of
womankind," (by this contemptuous phrase, borrowed from his
brother-antiquary, the cynic Anthony a-Wood, Mr. Oldbuck was used to
denote the fair sex in general, and his sister and niece in particular),
"that, on some idle pretext of relationship, have established themselves
in my premises, I live here as much a Coenobite as my predecessor, John
o' the Girnell, whose grave I will show you by and by."

Thus speaking the old gentleman led the way through a low door; but
before entrance, suddenly stopped short to point out some vestiges of
what he called an inscription, and, shaking his head as he pronounced it
totally illegible, "Ah! if you but knew, Mr. Lovel, the time and trouble
that these mouldering traces of letters have cost me! No mother ever
travailed so for a child--and all to no purpose--although I am almost
positive that these two last marks imply the figures, or letters, LV, and
may give us a good guess at the real date of the building, since we know,
_aliunde,_ that it was founded by Abbot Waldimir about the middle of the
fourteenth century--and, I profess, I think that centre ornament might be
made out by better eyes than mine."

"I think," answered Lovel, willing to humour the old man, "it has
something the appearance of a mitre."

"I protest you are right! you are right! it never struck me before--see
what it is to have younger eyes--A mitre--a mitre--it corresponds in
every respect."

The resemblance was not much nearer than that of Polonius's cloud to a
whale, or an owzel; it was sufficient, however, to set the Antiquary's
brains to work. "A mitre, my dear sir," continued he, as he led the way
through a labyrinth of inconvenient and dark passages, and accompanied
his disquisition with certain necessary cautions to his guest--"A mitre,
my dear sir, will suit our abbot as well as a bishop--he was a mitred
abbot, and at the very top of the roll--take care of these three steps--I
know Mac-Cribb denies this, but it is as certain as that he took away my
Antigonus, no leave asked--you'll see the name of the Abbot of Trotcosey,
_Abbas Trottocosiensis,_ at the head of the rolls of parliament in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries--there is very little light here, and
these cursed womankind always leave their tubs in the passage--now take,
care of the corner--ascend twelve steps, and ye are safe!"

Mr. Oldbuck had by this time attained the top of the winding stair which
led to his own apartment, and opening a door, and pushing aside a piece
of tapestry with which it was covered, his first exclamation was, "What
are you about here, you sluts?" A dirty barefooted chambermaid threw down
her duster, detected in the heinous fact of arranging the _sanctum
sanctorum,_ and fled out of an opposite door from the face of her
incensed master. A genteel-looking young woman, who was superintending
the operation, stood her ground, but with some timidity.

"Indeed, uncle, your room was not fit to be seen, and I just came to see
that Jenny laid everything down where she took it up."

"And how dare you, or Jenny either, presume to meddle with my private
matters?" (Mr. Oldbuck hated _puttting to rights_ as much as Dr.
Orkborne, or any other professed student.) "Go, sew your sampler, you
monkey, and do not let me find you here again, as you value your ears.--I
assure you, Mr. Lovel, that the last inroad of these pretended friends to
cleanliness was almost as fatal to my collection as Hudibras's visit to
that of Sidrophel; and I have ever since missed

                    My copperplate, with almanacks
                    Engraved upon't and other knacks
                    My moon-dial, with Napier's bones,
                    And several constellation Stones;
                    My flea, my morpeon, and punaise,
                      I purchased for my proper ease.

And so forth, as old Butler has it."

The young lady, after courtesying to Lovel, had taken the opportunity to
make her escape during this enumeration of losses. "You'll be poisoned
here with the volumes of dust they have raised," continued the Antiquary;
"but I assure you the dust was very ancient, peaceful, quiet dust, about
an hour ago, and would have remained so for a hundred years, had not
these gipsies disturbed it, as they do everything else in the world."

It was indeed some time before Lovel could, through the thick atmosphere,
perceive in what sort of den his friend had constructed his retreat. It
was a lofty room of middling size, obscurely lighted by high narrow
latticed windows. One end was entirely occupied by book-shelves, greatly
too limited in space for the number of volumes placed upon them, which
were, therefore, drawn up in ranks of two or three files deep, while
numberless others littered the floor and the tables, amid a chaos of
maps, engraving, scraps of parchment, bundles of papers, pieces of old
armour, swords, dirks, helmets, and Highland targets. Behind Mr.
Oldbuck's seat (which was an ancient leathern-covered easy-chair, worn
smooth by constant use) was a huge oaken cabinet, decorated at each
corner with Dutch cherubs, having their little duck-wings displayed, and
great jolter-headed visages placed between them. The top of this cabinet
was covered with busts, and Roman lamps and paterae, intermingled with
one or two bronze figures. The walls of the apartment were partly clothed
with grim old tapestry, representing the memorable story of Sir Gawaine's
wedding, in which full justice was done to the ugliness of the Lothely
Lady; although, to judge from his own looks, the gentle knight had less
reason to be disgusted with the match on account of disparity of outward
favour, than the romancer has given us to understand. The rest of the
room was panelled, or wainscotted, with black oak, against which hung two
or three portraits in armour, being characters in Scottish history,
favourites of Mr. Oldbuck, and as many in tie-wigs and laced coats,
staring representatives of his own ancestors. A large old-fashioned oaken
table was covered with a profusion of papers, parchments, books, and
nondescript trinkets and gewgaws, which seemed to have little to
recommend them, besides rust and the antiquity which it indicates. In the
midst of this wreck of ancient books and utensils, with a gravity equal
to Marius among the ruins of Carthage, sat a large black cat, which, to a
superstitious eye, might have presented the _genius loci,_ the tutelar
demon of the apartment. The floor, as well as the table and chairs, was
overflowed by the same _mare magnum_ of miscellaneous trumpery, where it
would have been as impossible to find any individual article wanted, as
to put it to any use when discovered.

Amid this medley, it was no easy matter to find one's way to a chair,
without stumbling over a prostrate folio, or the still more awkward
mischance of overturning some piece of Roman or ancient British pottery.
And, when the chair was attained, it had to be disencumbered, with a
careful hand, of engravings which might have received damage, and of
antique spurs and buckles, which would certainly have occasioned it to
any sudden occupant. Of this the Antiquary made Lovel particularly aware,
adding, that his friend, the Rev. Doctor Heavysterne from the Low
Countries, had sustained much injury by sitting down suddenly and
incautiously on three ancient calthrops, or _craw-taes,_ which had been
lately dug up in the bog near Bannockburn, and which, dispersed by Robert
Bruce to lacerate the feet of the English chargers, came thus in process
of time to endamage the sitting part of a learned professor of Utrecht.

Having at length fairly settled himself, and being nothing loath to make
inquiry concerning the strange objects around him, which his host was
equally ready, as far as possible, to explain, Lovel was introduced to a
large club, or bludgeon, with an iron spike at the end of it, which, it
seems, had been lately found in a field on the Monkbarns property,
adjacent to an old burying-ground. It had mightily the air of such a
stick as the Highland reapers use to walk with on their annual
peregrinations from their mountains; but Mr. Oldbuck was strongly tempted
to believe, that, as its shape was singular, it might have been one of
the clubs with which the monks armed their peasants in lieu of more
martial weapons,--whence, he observed, the villains were called
_Colve-carles,_ or _Kolb-kerls,_ that is, _Clavigeri,_ or club-bearers.
For the truth of this custom, he quoted the chronicle of Antwerp and that
of St. Martin; against which authorities Lovel had nothing to oppose,
having never heard of them till that moment.

Mr. Oldbuck next exhibited thumb-screws, which had given the Covenanters
of former days the cramp in their joints, and a collar with the name of a
fellow convicted of theft, whose services, as the inscription bore, had
been adjudged to a neighbouring baron, in lieu of the modern Scottish
punishment, which, as Oldbuck said, sends such culprits to enrich England
by their labour, and themselves by their dexterity. Many and various were
the other curiosities which he showed;--but it was chiefly upon his books
that he prided himself, repeating, with a complacent air, as he led the
way to the crowded and dusty shelves, the verses of old Chaucer--

               For he would rather have, at his bed-head,
               A twenty books, clothed in black or red,
                    Of Aristotle, or his philosophy,
                    Than robes rich, rebeck, or saltery.

This pithy motto he delivered, shaking his head, and giving each guttural
the true Anglo-Saxon enunciation, which is now forgotten in the southern
parts of this realm.

The collection was indeed a curious one, and might well be envied by an
amateur. Yet it was not collected at the enormous prices of modern times,
which are sufficient to have appalled the most determined as well as
earliest bibliomaniac upon record, whom we take to have been none else
than the renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha, as, among other slight
indications of an infirm understanding, he is stated, by his veracious
historian, Cid Hamet Benengeli, to have exchanged fields and farms for
folios and quartos of chivalry. In this species of exploit, the good
knight-errant has been imitated by lords, knights, and squires of our own
day, though we have not yet heard of any that has mistaken an inn for a
castle, or laid his lance in rest against a windmill. Mr. Oldbuck did not
follow these collectors in such excess of expenditure; but, taking a
pleasure in the personal labour of forming his library, saved his purse
at the expense of his time and toil, He was no encourager of that
ingenious race of peripatetic middle-men, who, trafficking between the
obscure keeper of a stall and the eager amateur, make their profit at
once of the ignorance of the former, and the dear-bought skill and taste
of the latter. When such were mentioned in his hearing, he seldom failed
to point out how necessary it was to arrest the object of your curiosity
in its first transit, and to tell his favourite story of Snuffy Davie and
Caxton's Game at Chess.--"Davy Wilson," he said, "commonly called Snuffy
Davy, from his inveterate addiction to black rappee, was the very prince
of scouts for searching blind alleys, cellars, and stalls for rare
volumes. He had the scent of a slow-hound, sir, and the snap of a
bull-dog. He would detect you an old black-letter ballad among the leaves
of a law-paper, and find an _editio princeps_ under the mask of a school
Corderius. Snuffy Davy bought the Game of Chess, 1474, the first book
ever printed in England, from a stall in Holland, for about two groschen,
or twopence of our money. He sold it to Osborne for twenty pounds, and as
many books as came to twenty pounds more. Osborne resold this inimitable
windfall to Dr. Askew for sixty guineas. At Dr. Askew's sale," continued
the old gentleman, kindling as he spoke, "this inestimable treasure
blazed forth in its full value, and was purchased by Royalty itself for
one hundred and seventy pounds!--Could a copy now occur, Lord only
knows," he ejaculated, with a deep sigh and lifted-up hands--"Lord only
knows what would be its ransom; and yet it was originally secured, by
skill and research, for the easy equivalent of two-pence sterling. *
Happy, thrice happy, Snuffy Davie!--and blessed were the times when thy
industry could be so rewarded!

* This bibliomaniacal anecdote is literally true; and David Wilson, the
author need not tell his brethren of the Roxburghe and Bannatyne Clubs,
was a real personage.

"Even I, sir," he went on, "though far inferior in industry and
discernment and presence of mind, to that great man, can show you a few
--a very few things, which I have collected, not by force of money, as any
wealthy man might,--although, as my friend Lucian says, he might chance
to throw away his coin only to illustrate his ignorance,--but gained in a
manner that shows I know something of the matter. See this bundle of
ballads, not one of them later than 1700, and some of them an hundred
years older. I wheedled an old woman out of these, who loved them better
than her psalm-book. Tobacco, sir, snuff, and the Complete Syren, were
the equivalent! For that, mutilated copy of the Complaynt of Scotland, I
sat out the drinking of two dozen bottles of strong ale with the late
learned proprietor, who, in gratitude, bequeathed it to me by his last
will. These little Elzevirs are the memoranda and trophies of many a walk
by night and morning through the Cowgate, the Canongate, the Bow, St.
Mary's Wynd,--wherever, in fine, there were to be found brokers and
trokers, those miscellaneous dealers in things rare and curious. How
often have I stood haggling on a halfpenny, lest, by a too ready
acquiescence in the dealer's first price, he should be led to suspect the
value I set upon the article!--how have I trembled, lest some passing
stranger should chop in between me and the prize, and regarded each poor
student of divinity that stopped to turn over the books at the stall, as
a rival amateur, or prowling bookseller in disguise!--And then, Mr.
Lovel, the sly satisfaction with which one pays the consideration, and
pockets the article, affecting a cold indifference, while the hand is
trembling with pleasure!--Then to dazzle the eyes of our wealthier and
emulous rivals by showing them such a treasure as this" (displaying a
little black smoked book about the size of a primer); "to enjoy their
surprise and envy, shrouding meanwhile, under a veil of mysterious
consciousness, our own superior knowledge and dexterity these, my young
friend, these are the white moments of life, that repay the toil, and
pains, and sedulous attention, which our profession, above all others, so
peculiarly demands!"

Lovel was not a little amused at hearing the old gentleman run on in this
manner, and, however incapable of entering into the full merits of what
he beheld, he admired, as much as could have been expected, the various
treasures which Oldbuck exhibited. Here were editions esteemed as being
the first, and there stood those scarcely less regarded as being the last
and best; here was a book valued because it had the author's final
improvements, and there another which (strange to tell!) was in request
because it had them not. One was precious because it was a folio, another
because it was a duodecimo; some because they were tall, some because
they were short; the merit of this lay in the title-page--of that in the
arrangement of the letters in the word Finis. There was, it seemed, no
peculiar distinction, however trifling or minute, which might not give
value to a volume, providing the indispensable quality of scarcity, or
rare occurrence, was attached to it.

Not the least fascinating was the original broadside,--the Dying Speech,
Bloody Murder, or Wonderful Wonder of Wonders,--in its primary tattered
guise, as it was hawked through the streets, and sold for the cheap and
easy price of one penny, though now worth the weight of that penny in
gold. On these the Antiquary dilated with transport, and read, with a
rapturous voice, the elaborate titles, which bore the same proportion to
the contents that the painted signs without a showman's booth do to the
animals within. Mr. Oldbuck, for example, piqued himself especially in
possessing an _unique_ broadside, entitled and called "Strange and
Wonderful News from Chipping-Norton, in the County of Oxon, of certain
dreadful Apparitions which were seen in the Air on the 26th of July 1610,
at Half an Hour after Nine o'Clock at Noon, and continued till Eleven, in
which Time was seen Appearances of several flaming Swords, strange
Motions of the superior Orbs; with the unusual Sparkling of the Stars,
with their dreadful Continuations; With the Account of the Opening of the
Heavens, and strange Appearances therein disclosing themselves, with
several other prodigious Circumstances not heard of in any Age, to the
great Amazement of the Beholders, as it was communicated in a Letter to
one Mr. Colley, living in West Smithfield, and attested by Thomas Brown,
Elizabeth Greenaway, and Anne Gutheridge, who were Spectators of the
dreadful Apparitions: And if any one would be further satisfied of the
Truth of this Relation, let them repair to Mr. Nightingale's at the Bear
Inn, in West Smithfield, and they may be satisfied."*

* Of this thrice and four times rare broadside, the author possesses an
exemplar.

"You laugh at this," said the proprietor of the collection, "and I
forgive you. I do acknowledge that the charms on which we doat are not so
obvious to the eyes of youth as those of a fair lady; but you will grow
wiser, and see more justly, when you come to wear spectacles.--Yet stay,
I have one piece of antiquity, which you, perhaps, will prize more
highly."

So saying, Mr. Oldbuck unlocked a drawer, and took out a bundle of keys,
then pulled aside a piece of the tapestry which concealed the door of a
small closet, into which he descended by four stone steps, and, after
some tinkling among bottles and cans, produced two long-stalked
wine-glasses with bell mouths, such as are seen in Teniers' pieces, and a
small bottle of what he called rich racy canary, with a little bit of
diet cake, on a small silver server of exquisite old workmanship. "I will
say nothing of the server," he remarked, "though it is said to have been
wrought by the old mad Florentine, Benvenuto Cellini. But, Mr. Lovel, our
ancestors drank sack--you, who admire the drama, know where that's to be
found.--Here's success to your exertions at Fairport, sir!"

"And to you, sir, and an ample increase to your treasure, with no more
trouble on your part than is just necessary to make the acquisitions
valuable."

After a libation so suitable to the amusement in which they had been
engaged, Lovel rose to take his leave, and Mr. Oldbuck prepared to give
him his company a part of the way, and show him something worthy of his
curiosity on his return to Fairport.




                             CHAPTER FOURTH.

                The pawkie auld carle cam ower the lea,
                Wi' mony good-e'ens and good-morrows to me,
                    Saying, Kind Sir, for your courtesy,
                    Will ye lodge a silly puir man?
                                  The Gaberlunzie Man.

Our two friends moved through a little orchard, where the aged
apple-trees, well loaded with fruit, showed, as is usual in the
neighbourhood of monastic buildings, that the days of the monks had not
always been spent in indolence, but often dedicated to horticulture and
gardening. Mr. Oldbuck failed not to make Lovel remark, that the planters
of those days were possessed of the modern secret of preventing the roots
of the fruit-trees from penetrating the till, and compelling them to
spread in a lateral direction, by placing paving-stones beneath the trees
when first planted, so as to interpose between their fibres and the
subsoil. "This old fellow," he said, "which was blown down last summer,
and still, though half reclined on the ground, is covered with fruit, has
been, as you may see, accommodated with such a barrier between his roots
and the unkindly till. That other tree has a story:--the fruit is called
the Abbot's Apple; the lady of a neighbouring baron was so fond of it,
that she would often pay a visit to Monkbarns, to have the pleasure of
gathering it from the tree. The husband, a jealous man, belike, suspected
that a taste so nearly resembling that of Mother Eve prognosticated a
similar fall. As the honour of a noble family is concerned, I will say no
more on the subject, only that the lands of Lochard and Cringlecut still
pay a fine of six bolls of barley annually, to atone the guilt of their
audacious owner, who intruded himself and his worldly suspicions upon the
seclusion of the Abbot and his penitent.--Admire the little belfry rising
above the ivy-mantled porch--there was here a _hospitium, hospitals,_ or
_hospitamentum_ (for it is written all these various ways in the old
writings and evidents), in which the monks received pilgrims. I know our
minister has said, in the Statistical Account, that the _hospitium_ was
situated either in the lands of Haltweary or upon those of Half-starvet;
but he is incorrect, Mr. Lovel--that is the gate called still the
Palmer's Port, and my gardener found many hewn stones, when he was
trenching the ground for winter celery, several of which I have sent as
specimens to my learned friends, and to the various antiquarian societies
of which I am an unworthy member. But I will say no more at present; I
reserve something for another visit, and we have an object of real
curiosity before us."

While he was thus speaking, he led the way briskly through one or two
rich pasture-meadows, to an open heath or common, and so to the top of a
gentle eminence. "Here," he said, "Mr. Lovel, is a truly remarkable
spot."

"It commands a fine view," said his companion, looking around him.

"True: but it is not for the prospect I brought you hither; do you see
nothing else remarkable?--nothing on the surface of the ground?"

"Why, yes; I do see something like a ditch, indistinctly marked."

"Indistinctly!--pardon me, sir, but the indistinctness must be in your
powers of vision. Nothing can be more plainly traced--a proper _agger_ or
_vallum,_ with its corresponding ditch or _fossa._ Indistinctly! why,
Heaven help you, the lassie, my niece, as light-headed a goose as
womankind affords, saw the traces of the ditch at once. Indistinct!--why,
the great station at Ardoch, or that at Burnswark in Annandale, may be
clearer, doubtless, because they are stative forts, whereas this was only
an occasional encampment. Indistinct!--why, you must suppose that fools,
boors, and idiots, have ploughed up the land, and, like beasts and
ignorant savages, have thereby obliterated two sides of the square, and
greatly injured the third; but you see, yourself, the fourth side is
quite entire!"

Lovel endeavoured to apologize, and to explain away his ill-timed phrase,
and pleaded his inexperience. But he was not at once quite successful.
His first expression had come too frankly and naturally not to alarm the
Antiquary, and he could not easily get over the shock it had given him.

"My dear sir," continued the senior, "your eyes are not inexperienced:
you know a ditch from level ground, I presume, when you see them?
Indistinct! why, the very common people, the very least boy that can herd
a cow, calls it the Kaim of Kinprunes; and if that does not imply an
ancient camp, I am ignorant what does."

Lovel having again acquiesced, and at length lulled to sleep the
irritated and suspicious vanity of the Antiquary, he proceeded in his
task of cicerone. "You must know," he said, "our Scottish antiquaries
have been greatly divided about the local situation of the final conflict
between Agricola and the Caledonians; some contend for Ardoch in
Strathallan, some for Innerpeffry, some for the Raedykes in the Mearns,
and some are for carrying the scene of action as far north as Blair in
Athole. Now, after all this discussion," continued the old gentleman,
with one of his slyest and most complacent looks, "what would you think,
Mr. Lovel,--I say, what would you think,--if the memorable scene of
conflict should happen to be on the very spot called the Kaim of
Kinprunes, the property of the obscure and humble individual who now
speaks to you?" Then, having paused a little, to suffer his guest to
digest a communication so important, he resumed his disquisition in a
higher tone. "Yes, my good friend, I am indeed greatly deceived if this
place does not correspond with all the marks of that celebrated place of
action. It was near to the Grampian mountains--lo! yonder they are,
mixing and contending with the sky on the skirts of the horizon! It was
_in conspectu classis_--in sight of the Roman fleet; and would any
admiral, Roman or British, wish a fairer bay to ride in than that on your
right hand? It is astonishing how blind we professed antiquaries
sometimes are! Sir Robert Sibbald, Saunders Gordon, General Roy, Dr.
Stokely,--why, it escaped all of them. I was unwilling to say a word
about it till I had secured the ground, for it belonged to auld Johnnie
Howie, a bonnet-laird* hard by, and many a communing we had before he and
I could agree.

* A bonnet-laird signifies a petty proprietor, wearing the dress, along
with the habits of a yeoman.

At length--I am almost ashamed to say it--but I even brought my mind to
give acre for acre of my good corn-land for this barren spot. But then it
was a national concern; and when the scene of so celebrated an event
became my own, I was overpaid.--Whose patriotism would not grow warmer,
as old Johnson says, on the plains of Marathon? I began to trench the
ground, to see what might be discovered; and the third day, sir, we found
a stone, which I have transported to Monkbarns, in order to have the
sculpture taken off with plaster of Paris; it bears a sacrificing vessel,
and the letters A. D. L. L. which may stand, without much violence, for
_Agricola Dicavit Libens Lubens._"

"Certainly, sir; for the Dutch Antiquaries claim Caligula as the founder
of a light-house, on the sole authority of the letters C. C. P. F., which
they interpret _Caius Caligula Pharum Fecit._"

"True, and it has ever been recorded as a sound exposition. I see we
shall make something of you even before you wear spectacles,
notwithstanding you thought the traces of this beautiful camp indistinct
when you first observed them."

"In time, sir, and by good instruction"--

"--You will become more apt--I doubt it not. You shall peruse, upon your
next visit to Monkbarns, my trivial Essay upon Castrametation, with some
particular Remarks upon the Vestiges of Ancient Fortifications lately
discovered by the Author at the Kaim of Kinprunes. I think I have pointed
out the infallible touchstone of supposed antiquity. I premise a few
general rules on that point, on the nature, namely, of the evidence to be
received in such cases. Meanwhile be pleased to observe, for example,
that I could press into my service Claudian's famous line,

               Ille Caledoniis posuit qui castra pruinis.

For _pruinis,_ though interpreted to mean _hoar frosts,_ to which I own
we are somewhat subject in this north-eastern sea-coast, may also signify
a locality, namely, _Prunes;_ the _Castra Pruinis posita_ would therefore
be the Kaim of Kinprunes. But I waive this, for I am sensible it might be
laid hold of by cavillers as carrying down my Castra to the time of
Theodosius, sent by Valentinian into Britain as late as the year 367, or
thereabout. No, my good friend, I appeal to people's eye-sight. Is not
here the Decuman gate? and there, but for the ravage of the horrid
plough, as a learned friend calls it, would be the Praetorian gate. On
the left hand you may see some slight vestiges of the _porta sinistra,_
and on the right, one side of the _porta dextra_ wellnigh entire. Here,
then, let us take our stand, on this tumulus, exhibiting the foundation
of ruined buildings,--the central point--the _praetorium,_ doubtless, of
the camp. From this place, now scarce to be distinguished but by its
slight elevation and its greener turf from the rest of the fortification,
we may suppose Agricola to have looked forth on the immense army of
Caledonians, occupying the declivities of yon opposite hill,--the
infantry rising rank over rank, as the form of ground displayed their
array to its utmost advantage,--the cavalry and _covinarii,_ by which I
understand the charioteers--another guise of folks from your Bond-street
four-in-hand men, I trow--scouring the more level space below--

                       --See, then, Lovel--See--
            See that huge battle moving from the mountains!
        Their gilt coats shine like dragon scales;--their march
        Like a rough tumbling storm.--See them, and view them,
                       And then see Rome no more!--

Yes, my dear friend, from this stance it is probable--nay, it is nearly
certain, that Julius Agricola beheld what our Beaumont has so admirably
described!--From this very Praetorium"--

A voice from behind interrupted his ecstatic description--"Praetorian
here, Praetorian there, I mind the bigging o't."

Both at once turned round, Lovel with surprise, and Oldbuck with mingled
surprise and indignation, at so uncivil an interruption. An auditor had
stolen upon them, unseen and unheard, amid the energy of the Antiquary's
enthusiastic declamation, and the attentive civility of Lovel. He had the
exterior appearance of a mendicant. A slouched hat of huge dimensions; a
long white beard which mingled with his grizzled hair; an aged but
strongly marked and expressive countenance, hardened, by climate and
exposure, to a right brick-dust complexion; a long blue gown, with a
pewter badge on the right arm; two or three wallets, or bags, slung
across his shoulder, for holding the different kinds of meal, when he
received his charity in kind from those who were but a degree richer than
himself:--all these marked at once a beggar by profession, and one of
that privileged class which are called in Scotland the King's Bedesmen,
or, vulgarly, Blue-Gowns.

"What is that you say, Edie?" said Oldbuck, hoping, perhaps, that his
ears had betrayed their duty--"what were you speaking about!"

"About this bit bourock, your honour," answered the undaunted Edie; "I
mind the bigging o't."

"The devil you do! Why, you old fool, it was here before you were born,
and will be after you are hanged, man!"

"Hanged or drowned, here or awa, dead or alive, I mind the bigging o't."

"You--you--you--," said the Antiquary, stammering between confusion and
anger, "you strolling old vagabond, what the devil do you know about it?"

"Ou, I ken this about it, Monkbarns--and what profit have I for telling
ye a lie?--l just ken this about it, that about twenty years syne, I, and
a wheen hallenshakers like mysell, and the mason-lads that built the lang
dike that gaes down the loaning, and twa or three herds maybe, just set
to wark, and built this bit thing here that ye ca' the--the--Praetorian,
and a' just for a bield at auld Aiken Drum's bridal, and a bit blithe
gae-down wi' had in't, some sair rainy weather. Mair by token, Monkbarns,
if ye howk up the bourock, as ye seem to have began, yell find, if ye hae
not fund it already, a stane that ane o' the mason-callants cut a ladle
on to have a bourd at the bridegroom, and he put four letters on't,
that's A. D. L. L.--Aiken Drum's Lang Ladle--for Aiken was ane o' the
kale-suppers o' Fife."

"This," thought Lovel to himself, "is a famous counterpart to the story
of _Keip on this syde._" He then ventured to steal a glance at our
Antiquary, but quickly withdrew it in sheer compassion. For, gentle
reader, if thou hast ever beheld the visage of a damsel of sixteen, whose
romance of true love has been blown up by an untimely discovery, or of a
child of ten years, whose castle of cards has been blown down by a
malicious companion, I can safely aver to you, that Jonathan Oldbuck of
Monkbarns looked neither more wise nor less disconcerted.

"There is some mistake about this," he said, abruptly turning away from
the mendicant.

"Deil a bit on my side o' the wa'," answered the sturdy beggar; "I never
deal in mistakes, they aye bring mischances.--Now, Monkbarns, that young
gentleman, that's wi' your honour, thinks little of a carle like me; and
yet, I'll wager I'll tell him whar he was yestreen at the gloamin, only
he maybe wadna like to hae't spoken o' in company."

Lovel's soul rushed to his cheeks, with the vivid blush of
two-and-twenty.

"Never mind the old rogue," said Mr. Oldbuck; "don't suppose I think the
worse of you for your profession; they are only prejudiced fools and
coxcombs that do so. You remember what old Tully says in his oration,
_pro Archia poeta,_ concerning one of your confraternity--_quis nostrum
tam anino agresti ac duro fuit--ut--ut_--I forget the Latin--the meaning
is, which of us was so rude and barbarous as to remain unmoved at the
death of the great Roscius, whose advanced age was so far from preparing
us for his death, that we rather hoped one so graceful, so excellent in
his art, ought to be exempted from the common lot of mortality? So the
Prince of Orators spoke of the stage and its professor."

The words of the old man fell upon Lovel's ears, but without conveying
any precise idea to his mind, which was then occupied in thinking by what
means the old beggar, who still continued to regard him with a
countenance provokingly sly and intelligent, had contrived to thrust
himself into any knowledge of his affairs. He put his hand in his pocket
as the readiest mode of intimating his desire of secrecy, and securing
the concurrence of the person whom he addressed; and while he bestowed on
him an alms, the amount of which rather bore proportion to his fears than
to his charity, looked at him with a marked expression, which the
mendicant, a physiognomist by profession, seemed perfectly to
understand.--"Never mind me, sir--I am no tale-pyet; but there are mair
een in the warld than mine," answered he as he pocketed Lovel's bounty,
but in a tone to be heard by him alone, and with an expression which
amply filled up what was left unspoken. Then turning to Oldbuck--"I am
awa' to the manse, your honour. Has your honour ony word there, or to Sir
Arthur, for I'll come in by Knockwinnock Castle again e'en?"

Oldbuck started as from a dream; and, in a hurried tone, where vexation
strove with a wish to conceal it, paying, at the same time, a tribute to
Edie's smooth, greasy, unlined hat, he said, "Go down, go down to
Monkbarns--let them give you some dinner--Or stay; if you do go to the
manse, or to Knockwinnock, ye need say nothing about that foolish story
of yours."

"Who, I?" said the mendicant--"Lord bless your honour, naebody sall ken a
word about it frae me, mair than if the bit bourock had been there since
Noah's flood. But, Lord, they tell me your honour has gien Johnnie Howie
acre for acre of the laigh crofts for this heathery knowe! Now, if he has
really imposed the bourock on ye for an ancient wark, it's my real
opinion the bargain will never haud gude, if you would just bring down
your heart to try it at the law, and say that he beguiled ye."

"Provoking scoundrel!" muttered the indignant Antiquary between his
teeths--"I'll have the hangman's lash and his back acquainted for this."
And then, in a louder tone,--"Never mind, Edie--it is all a mistake."

"Troth, I am thinking sae," continued his tormentor, who seemed to have
pleasure in rubbing the galled wound, "troth, I aye thought sae; and it's
no sae lang since I said to Luckie Gemmers, Never think you, luckie' said
I, that his honour Monkbarns would hae done sic a daft-like thing as to
gie grund weel worth fifty shillings an acre, for a mailing that would be
dear o'a pund Scots. Na, na,' quo' I, depend upon't the lard's been
imposed upon wi that wily do-little deevil, Johnnie Howie.' But Lord haud
a care o' us, sirs, how can that be,' quo' she again, when the laird's
sae book-learned, there's no the like o' him in the country side, and
Johnnie Howie has hardly sense eneugh to ca' the cows out o' his
kale-yard?' Aweel, aweel,' quo' I, but ye'll hear he's circumvented him
with some of his auld-warld stories,'--for ye ken, laird, yon other time
about the bodle that ye thought was an auld coin"--

"Go to the devil!" said Oldbuck; and then in a more mild tone, as one
that was conscious his reputation lay at the mercy of his antagonist, he
added--"Away with you down to Monkbarns, and when I come back, I'll send
ye a bottle of ale to the kitchen."

"Heaven reward your honour!" This was uttered with the true mendicant
whine, as, setting his pike-staff before him, he began to move in the
direction of Monkbarns.--"But did your honour," turning round, "ever get
back the siller ye gae to the travelling packman for the bodle?"

"Curse thee, go about thy business!"

"Aweel, aweel, sir, God bless your honour! I hope ye'll ding Johnnie
Howie yet, and that I'll live to see it." And so saying, the old beggar
moved off, relieving Mr. Oldbuck of recollections which were anything
rather than agreeable.

"Who is this familiar old gentleman?" said Lovel, when the mendicant was
out of hearing.

"O, one of the plagues of the country--I have been always against
poor's-rates and a work-house--I think I'll vote for them now, to have
that scoundrel shut up. O, your old-remembered guest of a beggar becomes
as well acquainted with you as he is with his dish--as intimate as one of
the beasts familiar to man which signify love, and with which his own
trade is especially conversant. Who is he?--why, he has gone the vole--
has been soldier, ballad-singer, travelling tinker, and is now a beggar.
He is spoiled by our foolish gentry, who laugh at his jokes, and rehearse
Edie Ochiltree's good thing's as regularly as Joe Miller's."

"Why, he uses freedom apparently, which is the soul of wit," answered
Lovel.

"O ay, freedom enough," said the Antiquary; "he generally invents some
damned improbable lie or another to provoke you, like that nonsense he
talked just now--not that I'll publish my tract till I have examined the
thing to the bottom."

"In England," said Lovel, "such a mendicant would get a speedy cheek."

"Yes, your churchwardens and dog-whips would make slender allowance for
his vein of humour! But here, curse him! he is a sort of privileged
nuisance--one of the last specimens of the old fashioned Scottish
mendicant, who kept his rounds within a particular space, and was the
news-carrier, the minstrel, and sometimes the historian of the district.
That rascal, now, knows more old ballads and traditions than any other
man in this and the four next parishes. And after all," continued he,
softening as he went on describing Edie's good gifts, "the dog has some
good humour. He has borne his hard fate with unbroken spirits, and it's
cruel to deny him the comfort of a laugh at his betters. The pleasure of
having quizzed me, as you gay folk would call it, will be meat and drink
to him for a day or two. But I must go back and look after him, or he
will spread his d--d nonsensical story over half the country."*

* Note C. Praetorium.

So saying our heroes parted, Mr. Oldbuck to return to his _hospitium_ at
Monkbarns, and Lovel to pursue his way to Fairport, where he arrived
without farther adventure.




                             CHAPTER FIFTH.


                     _Launcelot Gobbo._ Mark me now:
                      Now will I raise the waters.
                                         Merchant of Venice.

The theatre at Fairport had opened, but no Mr. Lovel appeared on the
boards, nor was there anything in the habits or deportment of the young
gentleman so named, which authorised Mr. Oldbuck's conjecture that his
fellow-traveller was a candidate for the public favour. Regular were the
Antiquary's inquiries at an old-fashioned barber who dressed the only
three wigs in the parish which, in defiance of taxes and times, were
still subjected to the operation of powdering and frizzling, and who for
that purpose divided his time among the three employers whom fashion had
yet left him; regular, I say, were Mr. Oldbuck's inquiries at this
personage concerning the news of the little theatre at Fairport,
expecting every day to hear of Mr. Lovel's appearance; on which occasion
the old gentleman had determined to put himself to charges in honour of
his young friend, and not only to go to the play himself, but to carry
his womankind along with him. But old Jacob Caxon conveyed no information
which warranted his taking so decisive a step as that of securing a box.

He brought information, on the contrary, that there was a young man
residing at Fairport, of whom the _town_ (by which he meant all the
gossips, who, having no business of their own, fill up their leisure
moments by attending to that of other people) could make nothing. He
sought no society, but rather avoided that which the apparent gentleness
of his manners, and some degree of curiosity, induced many to offer him.
Nothing could be more regular, or less resembling an adventurer, than his
mode of living, which was simple, but so completely well arranged, that
all who had any transactions with him were loud in their approbation.

"These are not the virtues of a stage-struck hero," thought Oldbuck to
himself; and, however habitually pertinacious in his opinions, he must
have been compelled to abandon that which he had formed in the present
instance, but for a part of Caxon's communication. "The young gentleman,"
he said, "was sometimes heard speaking to himsell, and rampauging about
in his room, just as if he was ane o' the player folk."

Nothing, however, excepting this single circumstance, occurred to confirm
Mr. Oldbuck's supposition; and it remained a high and doubtful question,
what a well-informed young man, without friends, connections, or
employment of any kind, could have to do as a resident at Fairport.
Neither port wine nor whist had apparently any charms for him. He
declined dining with the mess of the volunteer cohort which had been
lately embodied, and shunned joining the convivialities of either of the
two parties which then divided Fairport, as they did more important
places. He was too little of an aristocrat to join the club of Royal True
Blues, and too little of a democrat to fraternise with an affiliated
society of the _soi-disant_ Friends of the People, which the borough had
also the happiness of possessing. A coffee-room was his detestation; and,
I grieve to say it, he had as few sympathies with the tea-table.--In
short, since the name was fashionable in novel-writing, and that is a
great while agone, there was never a Master Lovel of whom so little
positive was known, and who was so universally described by negatives.

One negative, however, was important--nobody knew any harm of Lovel.
Indeed, had such existed, it would have been speedily made public; for
the natural desire of speaking evil of our neighbour could in his case
have been checked by no feelings of sympathy for a being so unsocial. On
one account alone he fell somewhat under suspicion. As he made free use
of his pencil in his solitary walks, and had drawn several views of the
harbour, in which the signal tower, and even the four-gun battery, were
introduced, some zealous friends of the public sent abroad a whisper,
that this mysterious stranger must certainly be a French spy. The Sheriff
paid his respects to Mr. Lovel accordingly; but in the interview which
followed, it would seem that he had entirely removed that magistrate's
suspicions, since he not only suffered him to remain undisturbed in his
retirement, but it was credibly reported, sent him two invitations to
dinner-parties, both which were civilly declined. But what the nature of
the explanation was, the magistrate kept a profound secret, not only from
the public at large, but from his substitute, his clerk, his wife and his
two daughters, who formed his privy council on all questions of official
duty.

All these particulars being faithfully reported by Mr. Caxon to his
patron at Monkbarns, tended much to raise Lovel in the opinion of his
former fellow-traveller. "A decent sensible lad," said he to himself,
"who scorns to enter into the fooleries and nonsense of these idiot
people at Fairport--I must do something for him--I must give him a
dinner;--and I will write Sir Arthur to come to Monkbarns to meet him. I
must consult my womankind."

Accordingly, such consultation having been previously held, a special
messenger, being no other than Caxon himself, was ordered to prepare for
a walk to Knockwinnock Castle with a letter, "For the honoured Sir Arthur
Wardour, of Knockwinnock, Bart." The contents ran thus:

"Dear Sir Arthur,

"On Tuesday the 17th curt._stilo novo,_ I hold a coenobitical symposion
at Monkbarns, and pray you to assist thereat, at four o'clock precisely.
If my fair enemy, Miss Isabel, can and will honour us by accompanying
you, my womankind will be but too proud to have the aid of such an
auxiliary in the cause of resistance to awful rule and right supremacy.
If not, I will send the womankind to the manse for the day. I have a
young acquaintance to make known to you, who is touched with some strain
of a better spirit than belongs to these giddy-paced times--reveres his
elders, and has a pretty notion of the classics--and, as such a youth
must have a natural contempt for the people about Fairport, I wish to
show him some rational as well as worshipful society.--I am, Dear Sir
Arthur, etc. etc. etc."

"Fly with this letter, Caxon," said the senior, holding out his missive,
_signatum atque sigillatum,_ "fly to Knockwinnock, and bring me back an
answer. Go as fast as if the town-council were met and waiting for the
provost, and the provost was waiting for his new-powdered wig."

"Ah sir," answered the messenger, with a deep sigh, "thae days hae lang
gane by. Deil a wig has a provost of Fairport worn sin' auld Provost
Jervie's time--and he had a quean of a servant-lass that dressed it
herself, wi' the doup o' a candle and a drudging-box. But I hae seen the
day, Monkbarns, when the town-council of Fairport wad hae as soon wanted
their town-clerk, or their gill of brandy ower-head after the haddies, as
they wad hae wanted ilk ane a weel-favoured, sonsy, decent periwig on his
pow. Hegh, sirs! nae wonder the commons will be discontent and rise
against the law, when they see magistrates and bailies, and deacons, and
the provost himsell, wi' heads as bald and as bare as ane o' my blocks!"

"And as well furnished within, Caxon. But away with you!--you have an
excellent view of public affairs, and, I dare say, have touched the cause
of our popular discontent as closely as the provost could have done
himself. But away with you, Caxon!"

And off went Caxon upon his walk of three miles--

                  He hobbled--but his heart was good!
                  Could he go faster than he could?--

While he is engaged in his journey and return, it may not be impertinent
to inform the reader to whose mansion he was bearing his embassy.

We have said that Mr. Oldbuck kept little company with the surrounding
gentlemen, excepting with one person only. This was Sir Arthur Wardour, a
baronet of ancient descent, and of a large but embarrassed fortune. His
father, Sir Anthony, had been a Jacobite, and had displayed all the
enthusiasm of that party, while it could be served with words only. No
man squeezed the orange with more significant gesture; no one could more
dexterously intimate a dangerous health without coming under the penal
statutes; and, above all, none drank success to the cause more deeply and
devoutly. But, on the approach of the Highland army in 1745, it would
appear that the worthy baronet's zeal became a little more moderate just
when its warmth was of most consequence. He talked much, indeed, of
taking the field for the rights of Scotland and Charles Stuart; but his
demi-pique saddle would suit only one of his horses; and that horse could
by no means be brought to stand fire. Perhaps the worshipful owner
sympathized in the scruples of this sagacious quadruped, and began to
think, that what was so much dreaded by the horse could not be very
wholesome for the rider. At any rate, while Sir Anthony Wardour talked,
and drank, and hesitated, the Sturdy provost of Fairport (who, as we
before noticed, was the father of our Antiquary) sallied from his ancient
burgh, heading a body of whig-burghers, and seized at once, in the name
of George II., upon the Castle of Knockwinnock, and on the four
carriage-horses, and person of the proprietor. Sir Anthony was shortly
after sent off to the Tower of London by a secretary of state's warrant,
and with him went his son, Arthur, then a youth. But as nothing appeared
like an overt act of treason, both father and son were soon set at
liberty, and returned to their own mansion of Knockwinnock, to drink
healths five fathoms deep, and talk of their sufferings in the royal
cause. This became so much a matter of habit with Sir Arthur, that, even
after his father's death, the non-juring chaplain used to pray regularly
for the restoration of the rightful sovereign, for the downfall of the
usurper, and for deliverance from their cruel and bloodthirsty enemies;
although all idea of serious opposition to the House of Hanover had long
mouldered away, and this treasonable liturgy was kept up rather as a
matter of form than as conveying any distinct meaning. So much was this
the case, that, about the year 1770, upon a disputed election occurring
in the county, the worthy knight fairly gulped down the oaths of
abjuration and allegiance, in order to serve a candidate in whom he was
interested;--thus renouncing the heir for whose restoration he weekly
petitioned Heaven, and acknowledging the usurper whose dethronement he
had never ceased to pray for. And to add to this melancholy instance of
human inconsistency, Sir Arthur continued to pray for the House of Stuart
even after the family had been extinct, and when, in truth, though in his
theoretical loyalty he was pleased to regard them as alive, yet, in all
actual service and practical exertion, he was a most zealous and devoted
subject of George III.

In other respects, Sir Arthur Wardour lived like most country gentlemen
in Scotland, hunted and fished--gave and received dinners--attended races
and county meetings--was a deputy-lieutenant and trustee upon turnpike
acts. But, in his more advanced years, as he became too lazy or unwieldy
for field-sports, he supplied them by now and then reading Scottish
history; and, having gradually acquired a taste for antiquities, though
neither very deep nor very correct, he became a crony of his neighbour,
Mr. Oldbuck of Monkbarns, and a joint-labourer with him in his
antiquarian pursuits.

There were, however, points of difference between these two humourists,
which sometimes occasioned discord. The faith of Sir Arthur, as an
antiquary, was boundless, and Mr. Oldbuck (notwithstanding the affair of
the Praetorium at the Kaim of Kinprunes) was much more scrupulous in
receiving legends as current and authentic coin. Sir Arthur would have
deemed himself guilty of the crime of leze-majesty had he doubted the
existence of any single individual of that formidable head-roll of one
hundred and four kings of Scotland, received by Boethius, and rendered
classical by Buchanan, in virtue of whom James VI. claimed to rule his
ancient kingdom, and whose portraits still frown grimly upon the walls of
the gallery of Holyrood. Now Oldbuck, a shrewd and suspicious man, and no
respecter of divine hereditary right, was apt to cavil at this sacred
list, and to affirm, that the procession of the posterity of Fergus
through the pages of Scottish history, was as vain and unsubstantial as
the gleamy pageant of the descendants of Banquo through the cavern of
Hecate.

Another tender topic was the good fame of Queen Mary, of which the knight
was a most chivalrous assertor, while the esquire impugned it, in spite
both of her beauty and misfortunes. When, unhappily, their conversation
turned on yet later times, motives of discord occurred in almost every
page of history. Oldbuck was, upon principle, a staunch Presbyterian, a
ruling elder of the kirk, and a friend to revolution principles and
Protestant succession, while Sir Arthur was the very reverse of all this.
They agreed, it is true, in dutiful love and allegiance to the sovereign
who now fills* the throne; but this was their only point of union.

* The reader will understand that this refers to the reign of our late
gracious Sovereign, George the Third.

It therefore often happened, that bickerings hot broke out between them,
in which Oldbuck was not always able to suppress his caustic humour,
while it would sometimes occur to the Baronet that the descendant of a
German printer, whose sires had "sought the base fellowship of paltry
burghers," forgot himself, and took an unlicensed freedom of debate,
considering the rank and ancient descent of his antagonist. This, with
the old feud of the coach-horses, and the seizure of his manor-place and
tower of strength by Mr. Oldbuck's father, would at times rush upon his
mind, and inflame at once his cheeks and his arguments. And, lastly, as
Mr. Oldbuck thought his worthy friend and compeer was in some respects
little better than a fool, he was apt to come more near communicating to
him that unfavourable opinion, than the rules of modern politeness
warrant. In such cases they often parted in deep dudgeon, and with
something like a resolution to forbear each other's company in future:

But with the morning calm reflection came; and as each was sensible that
the society of the other had become, through habit, essential to his
comfort, the breach was speedily made up between them. On such occasions,
Oldbuck, considering that the Baronet's pettishness resembled that of a
child, usually showed his superior sense by compassionately making the
first advances to reconciliation. But it once or twice happened that the
aristocratic pride of the far-descended knight took a flight too
offensive to the feelings of the representative of the typographer. In
these cases, the breach between these two originals might have been
immortal, but for the kind exertion and interposition of the Baronet's
daughter, Miss Isabella Wardour, who, with a son, now absent upon foreign
and military service, formed his whole surviving family. She was well
aware how necessary Mr. Oldbuck was to her father's amusement and
comfort, and seldom failed to interpose with effect, when the office of a
mediator between them was rendered necessary by the satirical shrewdness
of the one, or the assumed superiority of the other. Under Isabella's
mild influence, the wrongs of Queen Mary were forgotten by her father,
and Mr. Oldbuck forgave the blasphemy which reviled the memory of King
William. However, as she used in general to take her father's part
playfully in these disputes, Oldbuck was wont to call Isabella his fair
enemy, though in fact he made more account of her than any other of her
sex, of whom, as we have seen, he, was no admirer.

There existed another connection betwixt these worthies, which had
alternately a repelling and attractive influence upon their intimacy. Sir
Arthur always wished to borrow; Mr. Oldbuck was not always willing to
lend. Mr. Oldbuck, per contra, always wished to be repaid with
regularity; Sir Arthur was not always, nor indeed often, prepared to
gratify this reasonable desire; and, in accomplishing an arrangement
between tendencies so opposite, little _miffs_ would occasionally take
place. Still there was a spirit of mutual accommodation upon the whole,
and they dragged on like dogs in couples, with some difficulty and
occasional snarling, but without absolutely coming to a stand-still or
throttling each other.

Some little disagreement, such as we have mentioned, arising out of
business, or politics, had divided the houses of Knockwinnock and
Monkbarns, when the emissary of the latter arrived to discharge his
errand. In his ancient Gothic parlour, whose windows on one side looked
out upon the restless ocean, and, on the other, upon the long straight
avenue, was the Baronet seated, now turning over the leaves of a folio,
now casting a weary glance where the sun quivered on the dark-green
foliage and smooth trunks of the large and branching limes with which the
avenue was planted. At length, sight of joy! a moving object is seen, and
it gives rise to the usual inquiries, Who is it? and what can be his
errand? The old whitish-grey coat, the hobbling gait, the hat
half-slouched, half-cocked, announced the forlorn maker of periwigs, and
left for investigation only the second query. This was soon solved by a
servant entering the parlour,--"A letter from Monkbarns, Sir Arthur."

Sir Arthur took the epistle with a due assumption of consequential
dignity.

"Take the old man into the kitchen, and let him get some refreshment,"
said the young lady, whose compassionate eye had remarked his thin grey
hair and wearied gait.

"Mr. Oldbuck, my love, invites us to dinner on Tuesday the 17th," said
the Baronet, pausing;--"he really seems to forget that he has not of late
conducted himself so civilly towards me as might have been expected."

"Dear sir, you have so many advantages over poor Mr. Oldbuck, that no
wonder it should put him a little out of humour; but I know he has much
respect for your person and your conversation;--nothing would give him
more pain than to be wanting in any real attention."

"True, true, Isabella; and one must allow for the original descent;
--something of the German boorishness still flows in the blood; something
of the whiggish and perverse opposition to established rank and
privilege. You may observe that he never has any advantage of me in
dispute, unless when he avails himself of a sort of pettifogging intimacy
with dates, names, and trifling matters of fact--a tiresome and frivolous
accuracy of memory, which is entirely owing to his mechanical descent."

"He must find it convenient in historical investigation, I should think,
sir?" said the young lady.

"It leads to an uncivil and positive mode of disputing; and nothing seems
more unreasonable than to hear him impugn even Bellenden's rare
translation of Hector Boece, which I have the satisfaction to possess,
and which is a black-letter folio of great value, upon the authority of
some old scrap of parchment which he has saved from its deserved destiny
of being cut up into tailor's measures. And besides, that habit of minute
and troublesome accuracy leads to a mercantile manner of doing business,
which ought to be beneath a landed proprietor whose family has stood two
or three generations. I question if there's a dealer's clerk in Fairport
that can sum an account of interest better than Monkbarns."

"But you'll accept his invitation, sir?"

"Why, ye--yes; we have no other engagement on hand, I think. Who can the
young man be he talks of?--he seldom picks up new acquaintance; and he
has no relation that I ever heard of."

"Probably some relation of his brother-in-law Captain M'Intyre."

"Very possibly--yes, we will accept--the M'Intyres are of a very ancient
Highland family. You may answer his card in the affirmative, Isabella; I
believe I have, no leisure to be _Dear Sirring_ myself."

So this important matter being adjusted, Miss Wardour intimated "her own
and Sir Arthur's compliments, and that they would have the honour of
waiting upon Mr. Oldbuck. Miss Wardour takes this opportunity to renew
her hostility with Mr. Oldbuck, on account of his late long absence from
Knockwinnock, where his visits give so much pleasure." With this
_placebo_ she concluded her note, with which old Caxon, now refreshed in
limbs and wind, set out on his return to the Antiquary's mansion.





                             CHAPTER SIXTH.


                   _Moth._ By Woden, God of Saxons,
            From whence comes Wensday, that is, Wednesday,
                   Truth is a thing that I will ever keep
                   Unto thylke day in which I creep into
                             My sepulcre--
                             Cartwright's _Ordinary._

Our young friend Lovel, who had received a corresponding invitation,
punctual to the hour of appointment, arrived at Monkbarns about five
minutes before four o'clock on the 17th of July. The day had been
remarkably sultry, and large drops of rain had occasionally fallen,
though the threatened showers had as yet passed away.

Mr. Oldbuck received him at the Palmer's-port in his complete brown suit,
grey silk stockings, and wig powdered with all the skill of the veteran
Caxon, who having smelt out the dinner, had taken care not to finish his
job till the hour of eating approached.

"You are welcome to my symposion, Mr. Lovel. And now let me introduce you
to my Clogdogdo's, as Tom Otter calls them--my unlucky and
good-for-nothing womankind--_malae bestiae,_ Mr. Lovel."

"I shall be disappointed, sir, if I do not find the ladies very
undeserving of your satire."

"Tilley-valley, Mr. Lovel,--which, by the way, one commentator derives
from _tittivillitium,_ and another from _talley-ho_--but tilley-valley,
I say--a truce with your politeness. You will find them but samples of
womankind--But here they be, Mr. Lovel. I present to you in due order, my
most discreet sister Griselda, who disdains the simplicity, as well as
patience annexed to the poor old name of Grizzel; and my most exquisite
niece Maria, whose mother was called Mary, and sometimes Molly."

The elderly lady rustled in silks and satins, and bore upon her head a
structure resembling the fashion in the ladies' memorandum-book for the
year 1770--a superb piece of architecture, not much less than a modern
Gothic castle, of which the curls might represent the turrets, the black
pins the _chevaux de frise,_ and the lappets the banners.

The face, which, like that of the ancient statues of Vesta, was thus
crowned with towers, was large and long, and peaked at nose and chin, and
bore, in other respects, such a ludicrous resemblance to the physiognomy
of Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck, that Lovel, had they not appeared at once, like
Sebastian and Viola in the last scene of the "Twelfth Night," might have
supposed that the figure before him was his old friend masquerading in
female attire. An antique flowered silk gown graced the extraordinary
person to whom belonged this unparalleled _tete,_ which her brother was
wont to say was fitter for a turban for Mahound or Termagant, than a
head-gear for a reasonable creature, or Christian gentlewoman. Two long
and bony arms were terminated at the elbows by triple blond ruffles, and
being, folded saltire-ways in front of her person, and decorated with
long gloves of a bright vermilion colour, presented no bad resemblance to
a pair of gigantic lobsters. High-heeled shoes, and a short silk cloak,
thrown in easy negligence over her shoulders, completed the exterior of
Miss Griselda Oldbuck.

Her niece, the same whom Lovel had seen transiently during his first
visit, was a pretty young woman, genteelly dressed according to the
fashion of the day, with an air of _espieglerie_ which became her very
well, and which was perhaps derived from the caustic humour peculiar to
her uncle's family, though softened by transmission.

Mr. Lovel paid his respects to both ladies, and was answered by the elder
with the prolonged courtesy of 1760, drawn from the righteous period,

                       When folks conceived a grace
                       Of half an hour's space,
                       And rejoiced in a Friday's capon,

and by the younger with a modern reverence, which, like the festive
benediction of a modern divine, was of much shorter duration.

While this salutation was exchanging, Sir Arthur, with his fair daughter
hanging upon his arm, having dismissed his chariot, appeared at the
garden door, and in all due form paid his respects to the ladies.

"Sir Arthur," said the Antiquary, "and you, my fair foe, let me make
known to you my young friend Mr. Lovel, a gentleman who, during the
scarlet-fever which is epidemic at present in this our island, has the
virtue and decency to appear in a coat of a civil complexion. You see,
however, that the fashionable colour has mustered in his cheeks which
appears not in his garments. Sir Arthur, let me present to you a young
gentleman, whom your farther knowledge will find grave, wise, courtly,
and scholar-like, well seen, deeply read, and thoroughly grounded in all
the hidden mysteries of the green-room and stage, from the days of Davie
Lindsay down to those of Dibdin--he blushes again, which is a sign of
grace."

"My brother," said Miss Griselda, addressing Lovel, "has a humorous way
of expressing himself, sir; nobody thinks anything of what Monkbarns
says--so I beg you will not be so confused for the matter of his
nonsense; but you must have had a warm walk beneath this broiling sun
--would you take anything?--a glass of balm-wine?"

Ere Lovel could answer, the Antiquary interposed. "Aroint thee, witch!
wouldst thou poison my guests with thy infernal decoctions? Dost thou not
remember how it fared with the clergyman whom you seduced to partake of
that deceitful beverage?"

"O fy, fy, brother!--Sir Arthur, did you ever hear the like?--he must
have everything his ain way, or he will invent such stories--But there
goes Jenny to ring the old bell to tell us that the dinner is ready."

Rigid in his economy, Mr. Oldbuck kept no male servant. This he disguised
under the pretext that the masculine sex was too noble to be employed in
those acts of personal servitude, which, in all early periods of society,
were uniformly imposed on the female. "Why," would he say, "did the boy,
Tam Rintherout, whom, at my wise sister's instigation, I, with equal
wisdom, took upon trial--why did he pilfer apples, take birds' nests,
break glasses, and ultimately steal my spectacles, except that he felt
that noble emulation which swells in the bosom of the masculine sex,
which has conducted him to Flanders with a musket on his shoulder, and
doubtless will promote him to a glorious halbert, or even to the gallows?
And why does this girl, his full sister, Jenny Rintherout, move in the
same vocation with safe and noiseless step--shod, or unshod--soft as the
pace of a cat, and docile as a spaniel--Why? but because she is in her
vocation. Let them minister to us, Sir Arthur,--let them minister, I
say,--it's the only thing they are fit for. All ancient legislators, from
Lycurgus to Mahommed, corruptly called Mahomet, agree in putting them in
their proper and subordinate rank, and it is only the crazy heads of our
old chivalrous ancestors that erected their Dulcineas into despotic
princesses."

Miss Wardour protested loudly against this ungallant doctrine; but the
bell now rung for dinner.

"Let me do all the offices of fair courtesy to so fair an antagonist,"
said the old gentleman, offering his arm. "I remember, Miss Wardour,
Mahommed (vulgarly Mahomet) had some hesitation about the mode of
summoning his Moslemah to prayer. He rejected bells as used by
Christians, trumpets as the summons of the Guebres, and finally adopted
the human voice. I have had equal doubt concerning my dinner-call. Gongs,
now in present use, seemed a newfangled and heathenish invention, and the
voice of the female womankind I rejected as equally shrill and dissonant;
wherefore, contrary to the said Mahommed, or Mahomet, I have resumed the
bell. It has a local propriety, since it was the conventual signal for
spreading the repast in their refectory, and it has the advantage over
the tongue of my sister's prime minister, Jenny, that, though not quite
so loud and shrill, it ceases ringing the instant you drop the bell-rope:
whereas we know, by sad experience, that any attempt to silence Jenny,
only wakes the sympathetic chime of Miss Oldbuck and Mary M'Intyre to
join in chorus."

With this discourse he led the way to his dining-parlour, which Lovel had
not yet seen;--it was wainscotted, and contained some curious paintings.
The dining-table was attended by Jenny; but an old superintendent, a sort
of female butler, stood by the sideboard, and underwent the burden of
bearing several reproofs from Mr. Oldbuck, and inuendos, not so much
marked, but not less cutting, from his sister.

The dinner was such as suited a professed antiquary, comprehending many
savoury specimens of Scottish viands, now disused at the tables of those
who affect elegance. There was the relishing Solan goose, whose smell is
so powerful that he is never cooked within doors. Blood-raw he proved to
be on this occasion, so that Oldbuck half threatened to throw the greasy
sea-fowl at the head of the negligent housekeeper, who acted as priestess
in presenting this odoriferous offering. But, by good-hap, she had been
most fortunate in the hotch-potch, which was unanimously pronounced to be
inimitable. "I knew we should succeed here," said Oldbuck exultingly,
"for Davie Dibble, the gardener (an old bachelor like myself), takes care
the rascally women do not dishonour our vegetables. And here is fish and
sauce, and crappit-heads--I acknowledge our womankind excel in that dish
--it procures them the pleasure of scolding, for half an hour at least,
twice a-week, with auld Maggy Mucklebackit, our fish-wife. The
chicken-pie, Mr. Lovel, is made after a recipe bequeathed to me by my
departed grandmother of happy memory--And if you will venture on a glass
of wine, you will find it worthy of one who professes the maxim of King
Alphonso of Castile,--Old wood to burn--old books to read--old wine to
drink--and old friends, Sir Arthur--ay, Mr. Lovel, and young friends too,
to converse with."

"And what news do you bring us from Edinburgh, Monkbarns?" said Sir
Arthur; "how wags the world in Auld Reekie?"

"Mad, Sir Arthur, mad--irretrievably frantic--far beyond dipping in the
sea, shaving the crown, or drinking hellebore. The worst sort of frenzy,
a military frenzy, hath possessed man, woman, and child."

"And high time, I think," said Miss Wardour, "when we are threatened with
invasion from abroad and insurrection at home."

"O, I did not doubt you would join the scarlet host against me--women,
like turkeys, are always subdued by a red rag--But what says Sir Arthur,
whose dreams are of standing armies and German oppression?"

"Why, I say, Mr. Oldbuck," replied the knight, "that so far as I am
capable of judging, we ought to resist _cum toto corpore regni_--as the
phrase is, unless I have altogether forgotten my Latin--an enemy who
comes to propose to us a Whiggish sort of government, a republican
system, and who is aided and abetted by a sort of fanatics of the worst
kind in our own bowels. I have taken some measures, I assure you, such as
become my rank in the community; for I have directed the constables to
take up that old scoundrelly beggar, Edie Ochiltree, for spreading
disaffection against church and state through the whole parish. He said
plainly to old Caxon, that Willie Howie's Kilmarnock cowl covered more
sense than all the three wigs in the parish--I think it is easy to make
out that inuendo--But the rogue shall be taught better manners."

"O no, my dear sir," exclaimed Miss Wardour, "not old Edie, that we have
known so long;--I assure you no constable shall have my good graces that
executes such a warrant."

"Ay, there it goes," said the Antiquary; "you, to be a staunch Tory, Sir
Arthur, have nourished a fine sprig of Whiggery in your bosom--Why, Miss
Wardour is alone sufficient to control a whole quarter-session--a
quarter-session? ay, a general assembly or convocation to boot--a
Boadicea she--an Amazon, a Zenobia."

"And yet, with all my courage, Mr. Oldbuck, I am glad to hear our people
are getting under arms."

"Under arms, Lord love thee! didst thou ever read the history of Sister
Margaret, which flowed from a head, that, though now old and somedele
grey, has more sense and political intelligence than you find now-a-days
in the whole synod? Dost thou remember the Nurse's dream in that
exquisite work, which she recounts in such agony to Hubble Bubble?--When
she would have taken up a piece of broad-cloth in her vision, lo! it
exploded like a great iron cannon; when she put out her hand to save a
pirn, it perked up in her face in the form of a pistol. My own vision in
Edinburgh has been something similar. I called to consult my lawyer; he
was clothed in a dragoon's dress, belted and casqued, and about to mount
a charger, which his writing-clerk (habited as a sharp-shooter) walked to
and fro before his door. I went to scold my agent for having sent me to
advise with a madman; he had stuck into his head the plume, which in more
sober days he wielded between his fingers, and figured as an artillery
officer. My mercer had his spontoon in his hand, as if he measured his
cloth by that implement, instead of a legitimate yard. The banker's
clerk, who was directed to sum my cash-account, blundered it three times,
being disordered by the recollection of his military _tellings-off_ at
the morning-drill. I was ill, and sent for a surgeon--

               He came--but valour so had fired his eye,
               And such a falchion glittered on his thigh,
               That, by the gods, with such a load of steel,
              I thought he came to murder,--not to heal.

I had recourse to a physician, but he also was practising a more
wholesale mode of slaughter than that which his profession had been
supposed at all times to open to him. And now, since I have returned
here, even our wise neighbours of Fairport have caught the same valiant
humour. I hate a gun like a hurt wild duck--I detest a drum like a
quaker;--and they thunder and rattle out yonder upon the town's common,
so that every volley and roll goes to my very heart."

"Dear brother, dinna speak that gate o' the gentlemen volunteers--I am
sure they have a most becoming uniform--Weel I wot they have been wet to
the very skin twice last week--I met them marching in terribly doukit, an
mony a sair hoast was amang them--And the trouble they take, I am sure it
claims our gratitude."

"And I am sure," said Miss M'Intyre, "that my uncle sent twenty guineas
to help out their equipments."

"It was to buy liquorice and sugar-candy," said the cynic, "to encourage
the trade of the place, and to refresh the throats of the officers who
had bawled themselves hoarse in the service of their country."

"Take care, Monkbarns! we shall set you down among the black-nebs by and
by."

"No Sir Arthur--a tame grumbler I. I only claim the privilege of croaking
in my own corner here, without uniting my throat to the grand chorus of
the marsh--_Ni quito Rey, ni pongo Rey_--I neither make king nor mar
king, as Sancho says, but pray heartily for our own sovereign, pay scot
and lot, and grumble at the exciseman--But here comes the ewe-milk cheese
in good time; it is a better digestive than politics."

When dinner was over, and the decanters placed on the table, Mr. Oldbuck
proposed the King's health in a bumper, which was readily acceded to both
by Lovel and the Baronet, the Jacobitism of the latter being now a sort
of speculative opinion merely,--the shadow of a shade.

After the ladies had left the apartment, the landlord and Sir Arthur
entered into several exquisite discussions, in which the younger guest,
either on account of the abstruse erudition which they involved, or for
some other reason, took but a slender share, till at length he was
suddenly started out of a profound reverie by an unexpected appeal to his
judgment.

"I will stand by what Mr. Lovel says; he was born in the north of
England, and may know the very spot."

Sir Arthur thought it unlikely that so young a gentleman should have paid
much attention to matters of that sort.

"I am avised of the contrary," said Oldbuck.

"How say you, Mr. Lovel?--speak up for your own credit, man."

Lovel was obliged to confess himself in the ridiculous situation of one
alike ignorant of the subject of conversation and controversy which had
engaged the company for an hour.

"Lord help the lad, his head has been wool-gathering!--I thought how it
would be when the womankind were admitted--no getting a word of sense out
of a young fellow for six hours after.--Why, man, there was once a people
called the Piks"--

"More properly _Picts,_" interrupted the Baronet.

"I say the _Pikar, Pihar, Piochtar, Piaghter,_ or _Peughtar,_"
vociferated Oldbuck; "they spoke a Gothic dialect"--

"Genuine Celtic," again asseverated the knight.

"Gothic! Gothic! I'll go to death upon it!" counter-asseverated the
squire.

"Why, gentlemen," sad Lovel, "I conceive that is a dispute which may be
easily settled by philologists, if there are any remains of the
language."

"There is but one word," said the Baronet, "but, in spite of Mr.
Oldbuck's pertinacity, it is decisive of the question."

"Yes, in my favour," said Oldbuck: "Mr. Lovel, you shall be judge--I have
the learned Pinkerton on my side."

"I, on mine, the indefatigable and erudite Chalmers."

"Gordon comes into my opinion."

"Sir Robert Sibbald holds mine."

"Innes is with me!" vociferated Oldbuck.

"Riston has no doubt!" shouted the Baronet.

"Truly, gentlemen," said Lovel, "before you muster your forces and
overwhelm me with authorities, I should like to know the word in
dispute."

"_Benval_" said both the disputants at once.

"Which signifies _caput valli,_" said Sir Arthur.

"The head of the wall," echoed Oldbuck.

There was a deep pause.--"It is rather a narrow foundation to build a
hypothesis upon," observed the arbiter.

"Not a whit, not a whit," said Oldbuck; "men fight best in a narrow ring
--an inch is as good as a mile for a home-thrust."

"It is decidedly Celtic," said the Baronet; "every hill in the Highlands
begins with _Ben._"

"But what say you to _Val,_ Sir Arthur; is it not decidedly the Saxon
_wall?_"

"It is the Roman _vallum,_" said Sir Arthur;--"the Picts borrowed that
part of the word."

"No such thing; if they borrowed anything, it must have been your _Ben,_
which they might have from the neighbouring Britons of Strath Cluyd."

"The Piks, or Picts," said Lovel, "must have been singularly poor in
dialect, since, in the only remaining word of their vocabulary, and that
consisting only of two syllables, they have been confessedly obliged to
borrow one of them from another language; and, methinks, gentlemen, with
submission, the controversy is not unlike that which the two knights
fought, concerning the shield that had one side white and the other
black. Each of you claim one-half of the word, and seem to resign the
other. But what strikes me most, is the poverty of the language which has
left such slight vestiges behind it."

"You are in an error," said Sir Arthur; "it was a copious language, and
they were a great and powerful people; built two steeples--one at
Brechin, one at Abernethy. The Pictish maidens of the blood-royal were
kept in Edinburgh Castle, thence called _Castrum Puellarum._"

"A childish legend," said Oldbuck, "invented to give consequence to
trumpery womankind. It was called the Maiden Castle, _quasi lucus a non
lucendo,_ because it resisted every attack, and women never do."

"There is a list of the Pictish kings," persisted Sir Arthur, "well
authenticated from Crentheminachcryme (the date of whose reign is
somewhat uncertain) down to Drusterstone, whose death concluded their
dynasty. Half of them have the Celtic patronymic _Mac_ prefixed--Mac, _id
est filius;_--what do you say to that, Mr. Oldbuck? There is Drust
Macmorachin, Trynel Maclachlin (first of that ancient clan, as it may be
judged), and Gormach Macdonald, Alpin Macmetegus, Drust Mactallargam"
(here he was interrupted by a fit of coughing)--"ugh, ugh, ugh--Golarge
Macchan--ugh, ugh--Macchanan--ugh--Macchananail, Kenneth--ugh--ugh--
Macferedith, Eachan Macfungus--and twenty more, decidedly Celtic names,
which I could repeat, if this damned cough would let me."

"Take a glass of wine, Sir Arthur, and drink down that bead-roll of
unbaptized jargon, that would choke the devil--why, that last fellow has
the only intelligible name you have repeated--they are all of the tribe
of Macfungus--mushroom monarchs every one of them; sprung up from the
fumes of conceit, folly, and falsehood, fermenting in the brains of some
mad Highland seannachie."

"I am surprised to hear you, Mr. Oldbuck: you know, or ought to know,
that the list of these potentates was copied by Henry Maule of Melguin,
from the Chronicles of Loch Leven and St. Andrews, and put forth by him
in his short but satisfactory history of the Picts, printed by Robert
Freebairn of Edinburgh, and sold by him at his shop in the Parliament
Close, in the year of God seventeen hundred and five, or six, I am not
precisely certain which--but I have a copy at home that stands next to my
twelvemo copy of the Scots Acts, and ranges on the shelf with them very
well. What say you to that, Mr. Oldbuck?"

"Say?--why, I laugh at Harry Maule and his history," answered Oldbuck,
"and thereby comply with his request, of giving it entertainment
according to its merits."

"Do not laugh at a better man than yourself," said Sir Arthur, somewhat
scornfully.

"I do not conceive I do, Sir Arthur, in laughing either at him or his
history,"

"Henry Maule of Melgum was a gentleman, Mr. Oldbuck."

"I presume he had no advantage of me in _that_ particular," replied the
Antiquary, somewhat tartly.

"Permit me, Mr. Oldbuck--he was a gentleman of high family, and ancient
descent, and therefore"--

"The descendant of a Westphalian printer should speak of him with
deference? Such may be your opinion, Sir Arthur--it is not mine. I
conceive that my descent from that painful and industrious typographer,
Wolfbrand Oldenbuck, who, in the month of December 1193, under the
patronage, as the colophon tells us, of Sebaldus Scheyter and Sebastian
Kammermaister, accomplished the printing of the great Chronicle of
Nuremberg--I conceive, I say, that my descent from that great restorer of
learning is more creditable to me as a man of letters, than if I had
numbered in my genealogy all the brawling, bullet-headed, iron-fisted,
old Gothic barons since the days of Crentheminachcryme--not one of whom,
I suppose, could write his own name."

"If you mean the observation as a sneer at my ancestry," said the knight,
with an assumption of dignified superiority and composure, "I have the
pleasure to inform you, that the name of my ancestor, Gamelyn de
Guardover, Miles, is written fairly with his own hand in the earliest
copy of the Ragman-roll."

"Which only serves to show that he was one of the earliest who set the
mean example of submitting to Edward I. What have, you to say for the
stainless loyalty of your family, Sir Arthur, after such a backsliding as
that?"

"It's enough, sir," said Sir Arthur, starting up fiercely, and pushing
back his chair; "I shall hereafter take care how I honour with my company
one who shows himself so ungrateful for my condescension."

"In that you will do as you find most agreeable, Sir Arthur;--I hope,
that as I was not aware of the extent of the obligation which you have
done me by visiting my poor house, I may be excused for not having
carried my gratitude to the extent of servility."

"Mighty well--mighty well, Mr. Oldbuck--I wish you a good evening--Mr.
a--a--a--Shovel--I wish you a very good evening."

Out of the parlour door flounced the incensed Sir Arthur, as if the
spirit of the whole Round Table inflamed his single bosom, and traversed
with long strides the labyrinth of passages which conducted to the
drawing-room.

"Did you ever hear such an old tup-headed ass?" said Oldbuck, briefly
apostrophizing Lovel. "But I must not let him go in this mad-like way
neither."

So saying, he pushed off after the retreating Baronet, whom he traced by
the clang of several doors which he opened in search of the apartment for
tea, and slammed with force behind him at every disappointment. "You'll
do yourself a mischief," roared the Antiquary; "_Qui ambulat in tenebris,
nescit quo vadit_--You'll tumble down the back-stair."

Sir Arthur had now got involved in darkness, of which the sedative effect
is well known to nurses and governesses who have to deal with pettish
children. It retarded the pace of the irritated Baronet, if it did not
abate his resentment, and Mr. Oldbuck, better acquainted with the
_locale,_ got up with him as he had got his grasp upon the handle of the
drawing-room door.

"Stay a minute, Sir Arthur," said Oldbuck, opposing his abrupt entrance;
"don't be quite so hasty, my good old friend. I was a little too rude
with you about Sir Gamelyn--why, he is an old acquaintance of mine, man,
and a favourite; he kept company with Bruce and Wallace--and, I'll be
sworn on a black-letter Bible, only subscribed the Ragman-roll with the
legitimate and justifiable intention of circumventing the false Southern
--'twas right Scottish craft, my good knight--hundreds did it. Come,
come, forget and forgive--confess we have given the young fellow here a
right to think us two testy old fools."

"Speak for yourself, Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck," said Sir Arthur with much
majesty.

"A-well, a-well--a wilful man must have his way."

With that the door opened, and into the drawing-room marched the tall
gaunt form of Sir Arthur, followed by Lovel and Mr. Oldbuck, the
countenances of all the three a little discomposed.

"I have been waiting for you, sir," said Miss Wardour, "to propose we
should walk forward to meet the carriage, as the evening is so fine."

Sir Arthur readily assented to this proposal, which suited the angry mood
in which he found himself; and having, agreeable to the established
custom in cases of pet, refused the refreshment of tea and coffee, he
tucked his daughter under his arm; and after taking a ceremonious leave
of the ladies, and a very dry one of Oldbuck--off he marched.

"I think Sir Arthur has got the black dog on his back again," said Miss
Oldbuck.

"Black dog!--black devil!--he's more absurd than womankind--What say you,
Lovel?--Why, the lad's gone too."

"He took his leave, uncle, while Miss Wardour was putting on her things;
but I don't think you observed him."

"The devil's in the people! This is all one gets by fussing and bustling,
and putting one's self out of one's way in order to give dinners, besides
all the charges they are put to!--O Seged, Emperor of Ethiopia!" said he,
taking up a cup of tea in the one hand, and a volume of the Rambler in
the other,--for it was his regular custom to read while he was eating or
drinking in presence of his sister, being a practice which served at once
to evince his contempt for the society of womankind, and his resolution
to lose no moment of instruction,--"O Seged, Emperor of Ethiopia! well
hast thou spoken--No man should presume to say, This shall be a day of
happiness."

Oldbuck proceeded in his studies for the best part of an hour,
uninterrupted by the ladies, who each, in profound silence, pursued some
female employment. At length, a light and modest tap was heard at the
parlour door. "Is that you, Caxon?--come in, come in, man."

The old man opened the door, and thrusting in his meagre face, thatched
with thin grey locks, and one sleeve of his white coat, said in a subdued
and mysterious tone of voice, "I was wanting to speak to you, sir."

"Come in then, you old fool, and say what you have got to say."

"I'll maybe frighten the ladies," said the ex-friseur.

"Frighten!" answered the Antiquary,--"what do you mean?--never mind the
ladies. Have you seen another ghaist at the Humlock-knowe?"

"Na, sir--it's no a ghaist this turn," replied Caxton;--"but I'm no easy
in my mind."

"Did you ever hear of any body that was?" answered Oldbuck;--"what reason
has an old battered powder-puff like you to be easy in your mind, more
than all the rest of the world besides?"

"It's no for mysell, sir; but it threatens an awfu' night; and Sir
Arthur, and Miss Wardour, poor thing"--

"Why, man, they must have met the carriage at the head of the loaning, or
thereabouts; they must be home long ago."

"Na, sir; they didna gang the road by the turnpike to meet the carriage,
they gaed by the sands."

The word operated like electricity on Oldbuck. "The sands!" he exclaimed;
"impossible!"

"Ou, sir, that's what I said to the gardener; but he says he saw them
turn down by the Mussel-craig. In troth, says I to him, an that be the
case, Davie, I am misdoubting"--

"An almanac! an almanac!" said Oldbuck, starting up in great alarm--"not
that bauble!" flinging away a little pocket almanac which his niece
offered him.--"Great God! my poor dear Miss Isabella!--Fetch me instantly
the Fairport Almanac."--It was brought, consulted, and added greatly to
his agitation. "I'll go myself--call the gardener and ploughman--bid them
bring ropes and ladders--bid them raise more help as they come along
--keep the top of the cliffs, and halloo down to them--I'll go myself."

"What is the matter?" inquired Miss Oldbuck and Miss M'Intyre.

"The tide!--the tide!" answered the alarmed Antiquary.

"Had not Jenny better--but no, I'll run myself," said the younger lady,
partaking in all her uncle's terrors--"I'll run myself to Saunders
Mucklebackit, and make him get out his boat."

"Thank you, my dear, that's the wisest word that has been spoken yet
--Run! run!--To go by the sands!" seizing his hat and cane; "was there
ever such madness heard of!"




                            CHAPTER SEVENTH.

                       --Pleased awhile to view
               The watery waste, the prospect wild and new;
               The now receding waters gave them space,
               On either side, the growing shores to trace
               And then returning, they contract the scene,
               Till small and smaller grows the walk between.
                                            Crabbe.

The information of Davie Dibble, which had spread such general alarm at
Monkbarns, proved to be strictly correct. Sir Arthur and his daughter had
set out, according to their first proposal, to return to Knockwinnock by
the turnpike road; but when they reached the head of the loaning, as it
was called, or great lane, which on one side made a sort of avenue to the
house of Monkbarns, they discerned, a little way before them, Lovel, who
seemed to linger on the way as if to give him an opportunity to join
them. Miss Wardour immediately proposed to her father that they should
take another direction; and, as the weather was fine, walk home by the
sands, which, stretching below a picturesque ridge of rocks, afforded at
almost all times a pleasanter passage between Knockwinnock and Monkbarns
than the high-road.

Sir Arthur acquiesced willingly. "It would be unpleasant," he said, "to
be joined by that young fellow, whom Mr. Oldbuck had taken the freedom to
introduce them to." And his old-fashioned politeness had none of the ease
of the present day which permits you, if you have a mind, to _cut_ the
person you have associated with for a week, the instant you feel or
suppose yourself in a situation which makes it disagreeable to own him.
Sir Arthur only stipulated, that a little ragged boy, for the guerdon of
one penny sterling, should run to meet his coachman, and turn his
equipage back to Knockwinnock.

When this was arranged, and the emissary despatched, the knight and his
daughter left the high-road, and following a wandering path among sandy
hillocks, partly grown over with furze and the long grass called bent,
soon attained the side of the ocean. The tide was by no means so far out
as they had computed but this gave them no alarm;--there were seldom ten
days in the year when it approached so near the cliffs as not to leave a
dry passage. But, nevertheless, at periods of spring-tide, or even when
the ordinary flood was accelerated by high winds, this road was
altogether covered by the sea; and tradition had recorded several fatal
accidents which had happened on such occasions. Still, such dangers were
considered as remote and improbable; and rather served, with other
legends, to amuse the hamlet fireside, than to prevent any one from going
between Knockwinnock and Monkbarns by the sands.

As Sir Arthur and Miss Wardour paced along, enjoying the pleasant footing
afforded by the cool moist hard sand, Miss Wardour could not help
observing that the last tide had risen considerably above the usual
water-mark. Sir Arthur made the same observation, but without its
occurring to either of them to be alarmed at the circumstance. The sun
was now resting his huge disk upon the edge of the level ocean, and
gilded the accumulation of towering clouds through which he had travelled
the livelong day, and which now assembled on all sides, like misfortunes
and disasters around a sinking empire and falling monarch. Still,
however, his dying splendour gave a sombre magnificence to the massive
congregation of vapours, forming out of their unsubstantial gloom the
show of pyramids and towers, some touched with gold, some with purple,
some with a hue of deep and dark red. The distant sea, stretched beneath
this varied and gorgeous canopy, lay almost portentously still,
reflecting back the dazzling and level beams of the descending luminary,
and the splendid colouring of the clouds amidst which he was setting.
Nearer to the beach the tide rippled onward in waves of sparkling silver,
that imperceptibly, yet rapidly, gained upon the sand.

With a mind employed in admiration of the romantic scene, or perhaps on
some more agitating topic, Miss Wardour advanced in silence by her
father's side, whose recently offended dignity did not stoop to open any
conversation. Following the windings of the beach, they passed one
projecting point of headland or rock after another, and now found
themselves under a huge and continued extent of the precipices by which
that iron-bound coast is in most places defended. Long projecting reefs
of rock, extending under water and only evincing their existence by here
and there a peak entirely bare, or by the breakers which foamed over
those that were partially covered, rendered Knockwinnock bay dreaded by
pilots and ship-masters. The crags which rose between the beach and the
mainland, to the height of two or three hundred feet, afforded in their
crevices shelter for unnumbered sea-fowl, in situations seemingly secured
by their dizzy height from the rapacity of man. Many of these wild
tribes, with the instinct which sends them to seek the land before a
storm arises, were now winging towards their nests with the shrill and
dissonant clang which announces disquietude and fear. The disk of the sun
became almost totally obscured ere he had altogether sunk below the
horizon, and an early and lurid shade of darkness blotted the serene
twilight of a summer evening. The wind began next to arise; but its wild
and moaning sound was heard for some time, and its effects became visible
on the bosom of the sea, before the gale was felt on shore. The mass of
waters, now dark and threatening, began to lift itself in larger ridges,
and sink in deeper furrows, forming waves that rose high in foam upon the
breakers, or burst upon the beach with a sound resembling distant
thunder.

Appalled by this sudden change of weather, Miss Wardour drew close to her
father, and held his arm fast. "I wish," at length she said, but almost
in a whisper, as if ashamed to express her increasing apprehensions, "I
wish we had kept the road we intended, or waited at Monkbarns for the
carriage."

Sir Arthur looked round, but did not see, or would not acknowledge, any
signs of an immediate storm. They would reach Knockwinnock, he said, long
before the tempest began. But the speed with which he walked, and with
which Isabella could hardly keep pace, indicated a feeling that some
exertion was necessary to accomplish his consolatory prediction.

They were now near the centre of a deep but narrow bay or recess, formed
by two projecting capes of high and inaccessible rock, which shot out
into the sea like the horns of a crescent;--and neither durst communicate
the apprehension which each began to entertain, that, from the unusually
rapid advance of the tide, they might be deprived of the power of
proceeding by doubling the promontory which lay before them, or of
retreating by the road which brought them thither.

As they thus pressed forward, longing doubtless to exchange the easy
curving line, which the sinuosities of the bay compelled them to adopt,
for a straighter and more expeditious path, Sir Arthur observed a human
figure on the beach advancing to meet them. "Thank God," he exclaimed,
"we shall get round Halket-head!--that person must have passed it;" thus
giving vent to the feeling of hope, though he had suppressed that of
apprehension.

"Thank God, indeed!" echoed his daughter, half audibly, half internally,
as expressing the gratitude which she strongly felt.

The figure which advanced to meet them made many signs, which the haze of
the atmosphere, now disturbed by wind and by a drizzling rain, prevented
them from seeing or comprehending distinctly.--Some time before they met,
Sir Arthur could recognise the old blue-gowned beggar, Edie Ochiltree. It
is said that even the brute creation lay aside their animosities and
antipathies when pressed by an instant and common danger. The beach under
Halket-head, rapidly diminishing in extent by the encroachments of a
spring-tide and a north-west wind, was in like manner a neutral field,
where even a justice of peace and a strolling mendicant might meet upon
terms of mutual forbearance.

"Turn back! turn back!" exclaimed the vagrant; "why did ye not turn when
I waved to you?"

"We thought," replied Sir Arthur, in great agitation, "we thought we
could get round Halket-head."

"Halket-head!--the tide will be running on Halket-head by this time like
the Fall of Fyers!--it was a' I could do to get round it twenty minutes
since--it was coming in three feet abreast. We will maybe get back by
Bally-burgh Ness Point yet. The Lord help us!--it's our only chance. We
can but try."

"My God, my child!"--"My father! my dear father!" exclaimed the parent
and daughter, as, fear lending them strength and speed, they turned to
retrace their steps, and endeavoured to double the point, the projection
of which formed the southern extremity of the bay.

"I heard ye were here frae the bit callant ye sent to meet your
carriage," said the beggar, as he trudged stoutly on a step or two behind
Miss Wardour; "and I couldna bide to think o' the dainty young leddy's
peril, that has aye been kind to ilka forlorn heart that cam near her.
Sae I lookit at the lift and the rin o' the tide, till I settled it that
if I could get down time eneugh to gie you warning, we wad do weel yet.
But I doubt, I doubt, I have been beguiled! for what mortal ee ever saw
sic a race as the tide is risening e'en now? See, yonder's the Ratton's
Skerry--he aye held his neb abune the water in my day--but he's aneath it
now."

Sir Arthur cast a look in the direction in which the old man pointed. A
huge rock, which in general, even in spring-tides, displayed a hulk like
the keel of a large vessel, was now quite under water, and its place only
indicated by the boiling and breaking of the eddying waves which
encountered its submarine resistance.

"Mak haste, mak haste, my bonny leddy," continued the old man--"mak
haste, and we may do yet! Take haud o' my arm--an auld and frail arm it's
now, but it's been in as sair stress as this is yet. Take haud o' my arm,
my winsome leddy! D'ye see yon wee black speck amang the wallowing waves
yonder? This morning it was as high as the mast o' a brig--it's sma'
eneugh now--but, while I see as muckle black about it as the crown o' my
hat, I winna believe but we'll get round the Ballyburgh Ness, for a'
that's come and gane yet."

Isabella, in silence, accepted from the old man the assistance which Sir
Arthur was less able to afford her. The waves had now encroached so much
upon the beach, that the firm and smooth footing which they had hitherto
had on the sand must be exchanged for a rougher path close to the foot of
the precipice, and in some places even raised upon its lower ledges. It
would have been utterly impossible for Sir Arthur Wardour, or his
daughter, to have found their way along these shelves without the
guidance and encouragement of the beggar, who had been there before in
high tides, though never, he acknowledged, "in sae awsome a night as
this."

It was indeed a dreadful evening. The howling of the storm mingled with
the shrieks of the sea-fowl, and sounded like the dirge of the three
devoted beings, who, pent between two of the most magnificent, yet most
dreadful objects of nature--a raging tide and an insurmountable
precipice--toiled along their painful and dangerous path, often lashed by
the spray of some giant billow, which threw itself higher on the beach
than those that had preceded it. Each minute did their enemy gain ground
perceptibly upon them! Still, however, loth to relinquish the last hopes
of life, they bent their eyes on the black rock pointed out by Ochiltree.
It was yet distinctly visible among the breakers, and continued to be so,
until they came to a turn in their precarious path, where an intervening
projection of rock hid it from their sight. Deprived of the view of the
beacon on which they had relied, they now experienced the double agony of
terror and suspense. They struggled forward, however; but, when they
arrived at the point from which they ought to have seen the crag, it was
no longer visible: the signal of safety was lost among a thousand white
breakers, which, dashing upon the point of the promontory, rose in
prodigious sheets of snowy foam, as high as the mast of a first-rate
man-of-war, against the dark brow of the precipice.

The countenance of the old man fell. Isabella gave a faint shriek, and,
"God have mercy upon us!" which her guide solemnly uttered, was piteously
echoed by Sir Arthur--"My child! my child!--to die such a death!"

"My father! my dear father!" his daughter exclaimed, clinging to him
--"and you too, who have lost your own life in endeavouring to save
ours!"

"That's not worth the counting," said the old man. "I hae lived to be
weary o' life; and here or yonder--at the back o' a dyke, in a wreath o'
snaw, or in the wame o' a wave, what signifies how the auld gaberlunzie
dies?"

"Good man," said Sir Arthur, "can you think of nothing?--of no help?
--I'll make you rich--I'll give you a farm--I'll"--

"Our riches will be soon equal," said the beggar, looking out upon the
strife of the waters--"they are sae already; for I hae nae land, and you
would give your fair bounds and barony for a square yard of rock that
would be dry for twal hours."

While they exchanged these words, they paused upon the highest ledge of
rock to which they could attain; for it seemed that any further attempt
to move forward could only serve to anticipate their fate. Here, then,
they were to await the sure though slow progress of the raging element,
something in the situation of the martyrs of the early church, who,
exposed by heathen tyrants to be slain by wild beasts, were compelled for
a time to witness the impatience and rage by which the animals were
agitated, while awaiting the signal for undoing their grates, and letting
them loose upon the victims.

Yet even this fearful pause gave Isabella time to collect the powers of a
mind naturally strong and courageous, and which rallied itself at this
terrible juncture. "Must we yield life," she said, "without a struggle?
Is there no path, however dreadful, by which we could climb the crag, or
at least attain some height above the tide, where we could remain till
morning, or till help comes? They must be aware of our situation, and
will raise the country to relieve us."

Sir Arthur, who heard, but scarcely comprehended, his daughter's
question, turned, nevertheless, instinctively and eagerly to the old man,
as if their lives were in his gift. Ochiltree paused--"I was a bauld
craigsman," he said, "ance in my life, and mony a kittywake's and
lungie's nest hae I harried up amang thae very black rocks; but it's
lang, lang syne, and nae mortal could speel them without a rope--and if I
had ane, my ee-sight, and my footstep, and my hand-grip, hae a' failed
mony a day sinsyne--And then, how could I save _you?_ But there was a
path here ance, though maybe, if we could see it, ye would rather bide
where we are--His name be praised!" he ejaculated suddenly, "there's ane
coming down the crag e'en now!"--Then, exalting his voice, he hilloa'd
out to the daring adventurer such instructions as his former practice,
and the remembrance of local circumstances, suddenly forced upon his
mind:--"Ye're right!--ye're right!--that gate--that gate!--fasten the
rope weel round Crummies-horn, that's the muckle black stane--cast twa
plies round it--that's it!--now, weize yoursell a wee easel-ward--a wee
mair yet to that ither stane--we ca'd it the Cat's-lug--there used to be
the root o' an aik tree there--that will do!--canny now, lad--canny now
--tak tent and tak time--Lord bless ye, tak time--Vera weel!--Now ye maun
get to Bessy's apron, that's the muckle braid flat blue stane--and then,
I think, wi' your help and the tow thegither, I'll win at ye, and then
we'll be able to get up the young leddy and Sir Arthur."

The adventurer, following the directions of old Edie, flung him down the
end of the rope, which he secured around Miss Wardour, wrapping her
previously in his own blue gown, to preserve her as much as possible from
injury. Then, availing himself of the rope, which was made fast at the
other end, he began to ascend the face of the crag--a most precarious and
dizzy undertaking, which, however, after one or two perilous escapes,
placed him safe on the broad flat stone beside our friend Lovel. Their
joint strength was able to raise Isabella to the place of safety which
they had attained. Lovel then descended in order to assist Sir Arthur,
around whom he adjusted the rope; and again mounting to their place of
refuge, with the assistance of old Ochiltree, and such aid as Sir Arthur
himself could afford, he raised himself beyond the reach of the billows.

The sense of reprieve from approaching and apparently inevitable death,
had its usual effect. The father and daughter threw themselves into each
other's arms, kissed and wept for joy, although their escape was
connected with the prospect of passing a tempestuous night upon a
precipitous ledge of rock, which scarce afforded footing for the four
shivering beings, who now, like the sea-fowl around them, clung there in
hopes of some shelter from the devouring element which raged beneath. The
spray of the billows, which attained in fearful succession the foot of
the precipice, overflowing the beach on which they so lately stood, flew
as high as their place of temporary refuge; and the stunning sound with
which they dashed against the rocks beneath, seemed as if they still
demanded the fugitives in accents of thunder as their destined prey. It
was a summer night, doubtless; yet the probability was slender, that a
frame so delicate as that of Miss Wardour should survive till morning the
drenching of the spray; and the dashing of the rain, which now burst in
full violence, accompanied with deep and heavy gusts of wind, added to
the constrained and perilous circumstances of their situation.

"The lassie!--the puir sweet, lassie!" said the old man: "mony such a
night have I weathered at hame and abroad, but, God guide us, how can she
ever win through it!"

His apprehension was communicated in smothered accents to Lovel; for with
the sort of freemasonry by which bold and ready spirits correspond in
moments of danger, and become almost instinctively known to each other,
they had established a mutual confidence.--"I'll climb up the cliff
again," said Lovel--"there's daylight enough left to see my footing; I'll
climb up, and call for more assistance."

"Do so, do so, for Heaven's sake!" said Sir Arthur eagerly.

"Are ye mad?" said the mendicant: "Francie o' Fowlsheugh, and he was the
best craigsman that ever speel'd heugh (mair by token, he brake his neck
upon the Dunbuy of Slaines), wodna hae ventured upon the Halket-head
craigs after sun-down--It's God's grace, and a great wonder besides, that
ye are not in the middle o' that roaring sea wi' what ye hae done
already--I didna think there was the man left alive would hae come down
the craigs as ye did. I question an I could hae done it mysell, at this
hoar and in this weather, in the youngest and yaldest of my strength--But
to venture up again--it's a mere and a clear tempting o' Providence,"

"I have no fear," answered Lovel; "I marked all the stations perfectly as
I came down, and there is still light enough left to see them quite well
--I am sure I can do it with perfect safety. Stay here, my good friend, by
Sir Arthur and the young lady."

"Dell be in my feet then," answered the bedesman sturdily; "if ye gang,
I'll gang too; for between the twa o' us, we'll hae mair than wark eneugh
to get to the tap o' the heugh."

"No, no--stay you here and attend to Miss Wardour--you see Sir Arthur is
quite exhausted."

"Stay yoursell then, and I'll gae," said the old man;--"let death spare
the green corn and take the ripe."

"Stay both of you, I charge you," said Isabella, faintly; "I am well, and
can spend the night very well here--I feel quite refreshed." So saying,
her voice failed her--she sunk down, and would have fallen from the crag,
had she not been supported by Lovel and Ochiltree, who placed her in a
posture half sitting, half reclining, beside her father, who, exhausted
by fatigue of body and mind so extreme and unusual, had already sat down
on a stone in a sort of stupor.

"It is impossible to leave them," said Lovel--"What is to be done?--Hark!
hark!--did I not hear a halloo?"

"The skreigh of a Tammie Norie," answered Ochiltree--"I ken the skirl
weel."

"No, by Heaven!" replied Lovel, "it was a human voice."

A distant hail was repeated, the sound plainly distinguishable among the
various elemental noises, and the clang of the sea-mews by which they
were surrounded. The mendicant and Lovel exerted their voices in a loud
halloo, the former waving Miss Wardour's handkerchief on the end of his
staff to make them conspicuous from above. Though the shouts were
repeated, it was some time before they were in exact response to their
own, leaving the unfortunate sufferers uncertain whether, in the
darkening twilight and increasing storm, they had made the persons who
apparently were traversing the verge of the precipice to bring them
assistance, sensible of the place in which they had found refuge. At
length their halloo was regularly and distinctly answered, and their
courage confirmed, by the assurance that they were within hearing, if not
within reach, of friendly assistance.




                             CHAPTER EIGHTH.

              There is a cliff, whose high and bending head
                 Looks fearfully on the confined deep;
                 Bring me but to the very brim of it,
              And I'll repair the misery thou dost bear.
                                    King Lear.

The shout of human voices from above was soon augmented, and the gleam of
torches mingled with those lights of evening which still remained amidst
the darkness of the storm. Some attempt was made to hold communication
between the assistants above and the sufferers beneath, who were still
clinging to their precarious place of safety; but the howling of the
tempest limited their intercourse to cries as inarticulate as those of
the winged denizens of the crag, which shrieked in chorus, alarmed by the
reiterated sound of human voices, where they had seldom been heard.

On the verge of the precipice an anxious group had now assembled. Oldbuck
was the foremost and most earnest, pressing forward with unwonted
desperation to the very brink of the crag, and extending his head (his
hat and wig secured by a handkerchief under his chin) over the dizzy
height, with an air of determination which made his more timorous
assistants tremble.

"Haud a care, haud a care, Monkbarns!" cried Caxon, clinging to the
skirts of his patron, and withholding him from danger as far as his
strength permitted--"God's sake, haud a care!--Sir Arthur's drowned
already, and an ye fa' over the cleugh too, there will be but ae wig left
in the parish, and that's the minister's."

"Mind the peak there," cried Mucklebackit, an old fisherman and smuggler
--"mind the peak--Steenie, Steenie Wilks, bring up the tackle--I'se
warrant we'll sune heave them on board, Monkbarns, wad ye but stand out
o' the gate."

"I see them," said Oldbuck--"I see them low down on that flat stone
--Hilli-hilloa, hilli-ho-a!"

"I see them mysell weel eneugh," said Mucklebackit; "they are sitting
down yonder like hoodie-craws in a mist; but d'yo think ye'll help them
wi' skirling that gate like an auld skart before a flaw o' weather?
--Steenie, lad, bring up the mast--Od, I'se hae them up as we used to
bouse up the kegs o' gin and brandy lang syne--Get up the pickaxe, make
a step for the mast--make the chair fast with the rattlin--haul taught
and belay!"

The fishers had brought with them the mast of a boat, and as half of the
country fellows about had now appeared, either out of zeal or curiosity,
it was soon sunk in the ground, and sufficiently secured. A yard across
the upright mast, and a rope stretched along it, and reeved through a
block at each end, formed an extempore crane, which afforded the means of
lowering an arm-chair, well secured and fastened, down to the flat shelf
on which the sufferers had roosted. Their joy at hearing the preparations
going on for their deliverance was considerably qualified when they
beheld the precarious vehicle by means of which they were to be conveyed
to upper air. It swung about a yard free of the spot which they occupied,
obeying each impulse of the tempest, the empty air all around it, and
depending upon the security of a rope, which, in the increasing darkness,
had dwindled to an almost imperceptible thread. Besides the hazard of
committing a human being to the vacant atmosphere in such a slight means
of conveyance, there was the fearful danger of the chair and its occupant
being dashed, either by the wind or the vibrations of the cord, against
the rugged face of the precipice. But to diminish the risk as much as
possible, the experienced seaman had let down with the chair another
line, which, being attached to it, and held by the persons beneath, might
serve by way of _gy,_ as Mucklebackit expressed it, to render its descent
in some measure steady and regular. Still, to commit one's self in such a
vehicle, through a howling tempest of wind and rain, with a beetling
precipice above and a raging abyss below, required that courage which
despair alone can inspire. Yet, wild as the sounds and sights of danger
were, both above, beneath, and around, and doubtful and dangerous as the
mode of escaping appeared to be, Lovel and the old mendicant agreed,
after a moment's consultation, and after the former, by a sudden strong
pull, had, at his own imminent risk, ascertained the security of the
rope, that it would be best to secure Miss Wardour in the chair, and
trust to the tenderness and care of those above for her being safely
craned up to the top of the crag.

"Let my father go first," exclaimed Isabella; "for God's sake, my
friends, place him first in safety!"

"It cannot be, Miss Wardour," said Lovel;--"your life must be first
secured--the rope which bears your weight may"--

"I will not listen to a reason so selfish!"

"But ye maun listen to it, my bonnie lassie," said Ochiltree, "for a' our
lives depend on it--besides, when ye get on the tap o' the heugh yonder,
ye can gie them a round guess o' what's ganging on in this Patmos o'
ours--and Sir Arthur's far by that, as I'm thinking."

Struck with the truth of this reasoning, she exclaimed, "True, most true;
I am ready and willing to undertake the first risk--What shall I say to
our friends above?"

"Just to look that their tackle does not graze on the face o' the crag,
and to let the chair down and draw it up hooly and fairly;--we will
halloo when we are ready."

With the sedulous attention of a parent to a child, Lovel bound Miss
Wardour with his handkerchief, neckcloth, and the mendicant's leathern
belt, to the back and arms of the chair, ascertaining accurately the
security of each knot, while Ochiltree kept Sir Arthur quiet. "What are
ye doing wi' my bairn?--what are ye doing?--She shall not be separated
from me--Isabel, stay with me, I command you!"

"Lordsake, Sir Arthur, haud your tongue, and be thankful to God that
there's wiser folk than you to manage this job," cried the beggar, worn
out by the unreasonable exclamations of the poor Baronet.

"Farewell, my father!" murmured Isabella--"farewell, my--my friends!" and
shutting her eyes, as Edie's experience recommended, she gave the signal
to Lovel, and he to those who were above. She rose, while the chair in
which she sate was kept steady by the line which Lovel managed beneath.
With a beating heart he watched the flutter of her white dress, until the
vehicle was on a level with the brink of the precipice.

"Canny now, lads, canny now!" exclaimed old Mucklebackit, who acted as
commodore; "swerve the yard a bit--Now--there! there she sits safe on dry
land."

A loud shout announced the successful experiment to her fellow-sufferers
beneath, who replied with a ready and cheerful halloo. Monkbarns, in his
ecstasy of joy, stripped his great-coat to wrap up the young lady, and
would have pulled off his coat and waistcoat for the same purpose, had he
not been withheld by the cautious Caxon. "Haud a care o' us! your honour
will be killed wi' the hoast--ye'll no get out o'your night-cowl this
fortnight--and that will suit us unco ill.--Na, na--there's the chariot
down by; let twa o' the folk carry the young leddy there."

"You're right," said the Antiquary, readjusting the sleeves and collar of
his coat, "you're right, Caxon; this is a naughty night to swim in.--Miss
Wardour, let me convey you to the chariot."

"Not for worlds till I see my father safe."

In a few distinct words, evincing how much her resolution had surmounted
even the mortal fear of so agitating a hazard, she explained the nature
of the situation beneath, and the wishes of Lovel and Ochiltree.

"Right, right, that's right too--I should like to see the son of Sir
Gamelyn de Guardover on dry land myself--I have a notion he would sign
the abjuration oath, and the Ragman-roll to boot, and acknowledge Queen
Mary to be nothing better than she should be, to get alongside my bottle
of old port that he ran away from, and left scarce begun. But he's safe
now, and here a' comes"--(for the chair was again lowered, and Sir Arthur
made fast in it, without much consciousness on his own part)--"here a'
comes--Bowse away, my boys! canny wi' him--a pedigree of a hundred links
is hanging on a tenpenny tow--the whole barony of Knockwinnock depends on
three plies of hemp--_respice finem, respice funem_--look to your end
--look to a rope's end.--Welcome, welcome, my good old friend, to firm
land, though I cannot say to warm land or to dry land. A cord for ever
against fifty fathom of water, though not in the sense of the base
proverb--a fico for the phrase,--better _sus. per funem,_ than _sus. per
coll._"

While Oldbuck ran on in this way, Sir Arthur was safely wrapped in the
close embraces of his daughter, who, assuming that authority which the
circumstances demanded, ordered some of the assistants to convey him to
the chariot, promising to follow in a few minutes, She lingered on the
cliff, holding an old countryman's arm, to witness probably the safety of
those whose dangers she had shared.

"What have we here?" said Oldbuck, as the vehicle once more ascended
--"what patched and weather-beaten matter is this?" Then as the torches
illumed the rough face and grey hairs of old Ochiltree,--"What! is it
thou?--Come, old Mocker, I must needs be friends with thee--but who the
devil makes up your party besides?"

"Ane that's weel worth ony twa o' us, Monkbarns;--it's the young stranger
lad they ca' Lovel--and he's behaved this blessed night as if he had
three lives to rely on, and was willing to waste them a' rather than
endanger ither folk's. Ca' hooly, sirs, as ye, wad win an auld man's
blessing!--mind there's naebody below now to haud the gy--Hae a care o'
the Cat's-lug corner--bide weel aff Crummie's-horn!"

"Have a care indeed," echoed Oldbuck. "What! is it my _rara avis_--my
black swan--my phoenix of companions in a post-chaise?--take care of
him, Mucklebackit."

"As muckle care as if he were a graybeard o' brandy; and I canna take
mair if his hair were like John Harlowe's.--Yo ho, my hearts! bowse away
with him!"

Lovel did, in fact, run a much greater risk than any of his precursors.
His weight was not sufficient to render his ascent steady amid such a
storm of wind, and he swung like an agitated pendulum at the mortal risk
of being dashed against the rocks. But he was young, bold, and active,
and, with the assistance of the beggar's stout piked staff, which he had
retained by advice of the proprietor, contrived to bear himself from the
face of the precipice, and the yet more hazardous projecting cliffs which
varied its surface. Tossed in empty space, like an idle and unsubstantial
feather, with a motion that agitated the brain at once with fear and with
dizziness, he retained his alertness of exertion and presence of mind;
and it was not until he was safely grounded upon the summit of the cliff,
that he felt temporary and giddy sickness. As he recovered from a sort of
half swoon, he cast his eyes eagerly around. The object which they would
most willingly have sought, was already in the act of vanishing. Her
white garment was just discernible as she followed on the path which her
father had taken. She had lingered till she saw the last of their company
rescued from danger, and until she had been assured by the hoarse voice
of Mucklebackit, that "the callant had come off wi' unbrizzed banes, and
that he was but in a kind of dwam." But Lovel was not aware that she had
expressed in his fate even this degree of interest,--which, though
nothing more than was due to a stranger who had assisted her in such an
hour of peril, he would have gladly purchased by braving even more
imminent danger than he had that evening been exposed to. The beggar she
had already commanded to come to Knockwinnock that night. He made an
excuse.--"Then to-morrow let me see you."

The old man promised to obey. Oldbuck thrust something into his hand
--Ochiltree looked at it by the torchlight, and returned it--"Na, na! I
never tak gowd--besides, Monkbarns, ye wad maybe be rueing it the morn."
Then turning to the group of fishermen and peasants--"Now, sirs, wha will
gie me a supper and some clean pease-strae?"

"I," "and I," "and I," answered many a ready voice.

"Aweel, since sae it is, and I can only sleep in ae barn at ance, I'll
gae down with Saunders Mucklebackit--he has aye a soup o' something
comfortable about his begging--and, bairns, I'll maybe live to put ilka
ane o' ye in mind some ither night that ye hae promised me quarters and
my awmous;" and away he went with the fisherman.

Oldbuck laid the band of strong possession on Lovel--"Deil a stride ye's
go to Fairport this night, young man--you must go home with me to
Monkbarns. Why, man, you have been a hero--a perfect Sir William Wallace,
by all accounts. Come, my good lad, take hold of my arm;--I am not a
prime support in such a wind--but Caxon shall help us out--Here, you old
idiot, come on the other side of me.--And how the deil got you down to
that infernal Bessy's-apron, as they call it? Bess, said they? Why, curse
her, she has spread out that vile pennon or banner of womankind, like all
the rest of her sex, to allure her votaries to death and headlong ruin."

"I have been pretty well accustomed to climbing, and I have long observed
fowlers practise that pass down the cliff."

"But how, in the name of all that is wonderful, came you to discover the
danger of the pettish Baronet and his far more deserving daughter?"

"I saw them from the verge of the precipice."

"From the verge!--umph--And what possessed you _dumosa pendere procul de
rupe?_--though _dumosa_ is not the appropriate epithet--what the deil,
man, tempted ye to the verge of the craig?"

"Why--I like to see the gathering and growling of a coming storm--or, in
your own classical language, Mr. Oldbuck, _suave est mari magno_--and so
forth--but here we reach the turn to Fairport. I must wish you
good-night."

"Not a step, not a pace, not an inch, not a shathmont, as I may say,--the
meaning of which word has puzzled many that think themselves antiquaries.
I am clear we should read _salmon-length_ for _shathmont's-length._ You
are aware that the space allotted for the passage of a salmon through a
dam, dike, or weir, by statute, is the length within which a full-grown
pig can turn himself round. Now I have a scheme to prove, that, as
terrestrial objects were thus appealed to for ascertaining submarine
measurement, so it must be supposed that the productions of the water
were established as gauges of the extent of land.--Shathmont--salmont
--you see the close alliance of the sounds; dropping out two _h_'s, and a
_t,_ and assuming an _l,_ makes the whole difference--I wish to heaven no
antiquarian derivation had demanded heavier concessions."

"But, my dear sir, I really must go home--I am wet to the skin."

"Shalt have my night-gown, man, and slippers, and catch the antiquarian
fever as men do the plague, by wearing infected garments. Nay, I know
what you would be at--you are afraid to put the old bachelor to charges.
But is there not the remains of that glorious chicken-pie--which, _meo
arbitrio,_ is better cold than hot--and that bottle of my oldest port,
out of which the silly brain-sick Baronet (whom I cannot pardon, since he
has escaped breaking his neck) had just taken one glass, when his infirm
noddle went a wool-gathering after Gamelyn de Guardover?"

So saying he dragged Lovel forward, till the Palmer's-port of Monkbarns
received them. Never, perhaps, had it admitted two pedestrians more
needing rest for Monkbarns's fatigue had been in a degree very contrary
to his usual habits, and his more young and robust companion had that
evening undergone agitation of mind which had harassed and wearied him
even more than his extraordinary exertions of body.




                             CHAPTER NINTH.

           "Be brave," she cried, "you yet may be our guest,
               Our haunted room was ever held the best.
               If, then, your valour can the sight sustain
               Of rustling curtains and the clinking chain
            If your courageous tongue have powers to talk,
            When round your bed the horrid ghost shall walk
               If you dare ask it why it leaves its tomb,
            I'll see your sheets well air'd, and show the Room."
                                        True Story.

The reached the room in which they had dined, and were clamorously
welcomed by Miss Oldbuck.

"Where's the younger womankind?" said the Antiquary.

"Indeed, brother, amang a' the steery, Maria wadna be guided by me she
set away to the Halket-craig-head--I wonder ye didna see her."

"Eh!--what--what's that you say, sister?--did the girl go out in a night
like this to the Halket-head?--Good God! the misery of the night is not
ended yet!"

"But ye winna wait, Monkbarns--ye are so imperative and impatient"--

"Tittle-tattle, woman," said the impatient and agitated Antiquary, "where
is my dear Mary?"

"Just where ye suld be yoursell, Monkbarns--up-stairs, and in her warm
bed."

"I could have sworn it," said Oldbuck laughing, but obviously much
relieved--"I could have sworn it;--the lazy monkey did not care if we
were all drowned together. Why did you say she went out?"

"But ye wadna wait to hear out my tale, Monkbarns--she gaed out, and she
came in again with the gardener sae sune as she saw that nane o' ye were
clodded ower the Craig, and that Miss Wardour was safe in the chariot;
she was hame a quarter of an hour syne, for it's now ganging ten--sair
droukit was she, puir thing, sae I e'en put a glass o' sherry in her
water-gruel."

"Right, Grizel, right--let womankind alone for coddling each other. But
hear me, my venerable sister--start not at the word venerable; it implies
many praiseworthy qualities besides age; though that too is honourable,
albeit it is the last quality for which womankind would wish to be
honoured--But perpend my words: let Lovel and me have forthwith the
relics of the chicken-pie, and the reversion of the port."

"The chicken-pie! the port!--ou dear! brother--there was but a wheen
banes, and scarce a drap o' the wine."

The Antiquary's countenance became clouded, though he was too well bred
to give way, in the presence of a stranger, to his displeased surprise at
the disappearance of the viands on which he had reckoned with absolute
certainty. But his sister understood these looks of ire. "Ou dear!
Monkbarns, what's the use of making a wark?"

"I make no wark, as ye call it, woman."

"But what's the use o' looking sae glum and glunch about a pickle banes?
--an ye will hae the truth, ye maun ken the minister came in, worthy man
--sair distressed he was, nae doubt, about your precarious situation, as
he ca'd it (for ye ken how weel he's gifted wi' words), and here he wad
bide till he could hear wi' certainty how the matter was likely to gang
wi' ye a'--He said fine things on the duty of resignation to Providence's
will, worthy man! that did he."

Oldbuck replied, catching the same tone, "Worthy man!--he cared not how
soon Monkbarns had devolved on an heir-female, I've a notion;--and while
he was occupied in this Christian office of consolation against impending
evil, I reckon that the chicken-pie and my good port disappeared?"

"Dear brother, how can you speak of sic frivolities, when you have had
sic an escape from the craig?"

"Better than my supper has had from the minister's _craig,_ Grizzle--it's
all discussed, I suppose?"

"Hout, Monkbarns, ye speak as if there was nae mair meat in the house
--wad ye not have had me offer the honest man some slight refreshment
after his walk frae the manse?"

Oldbuck half-whistled, half-hummed, the end of the old Scottish ditty,

                 O, first they eated the white puddings,
                    And then they eated the black, O,
                 And thought the gudeman unto himsell,
                    The deil clink down wi' that, O!

His sister hastened to silence his murmurs, by proposing some of the
relies of the dinner. He spoke of another bottle of wine, but recommended
in preference a glass of brandy which was really excellent. As no
entreaties could prevail on Lovel to indue the velvet night-cap and
branched morning-gown of his host, Oldbuck, who pretended to a little
knowledge of the medical art, insisted on his going to bed as soon as
possible, and proposed to despatch a messenger (the indefatigable Caxon)
to Fairport early in the morning, to procure him a change of clothes.

This was the first intimation Miss Oldbuck had received that the young
stranger was to be their guest for the night; and such was the surprise
with which she was struck by a proposal so uncommon, that, had the
superincumbent weight of her bead-dress, such as we before described,
been less preponderant, her grey locks must have started up on end, and
hurled it from its position.

"Lord haud a care o' us!" exclaimed the astounded maiden.

"What's the matter now, Grizel?"

"Wad ye but just speak a moment, Monkbarns?"

"Speak!--what should I speak about? I want to get to my bed--and this
poor young fellow--let a bed be made ready for him instantly."

"A bed?--The Lord preserve us!" again ejaculated Grizel.

"Why, what's the matter now?--are there not beds and rooms enough in the
house?--was it not an ancient _hospitium,_ in which, I am warranted to
say, beds were nightly made down for a score of pilgrims?"

"O dear, Monkbarns! wha kens what they might do lang syne?--but in our
time--beds--ay, troth, there's beds enow sic as they are--and rooms enow
too--but ye ken yoursell the beds haena been sleepit in, Lord kens the
time, nor the rooms aired.--If I had kenn'd, Mary and me might hae gaen
down to the manse--Miss Beckie is aye fond to see us--(and sae is the
minister, brother)--But now, gude save us!"--

"Is there not the Green Room, Grizel?"

"Troth is there, and it is in decent order too, though naebody has
sleepit there since Dr. Heavysterne, and"--

"And what?"

"And what! I am sure ye ken yoursell what a night he had--ye wadna expose
the young gentleman to the like o' that, wad ye?"

Lovel interfered upon hearing this altercation, and protested he would
far rather walk home than put them to the least inconvenience--that the
exercise would be of service to him--that he knew the road perfectly, by
night or day, to Fairport--that the storm was abating, and so forth
--adding all that civility could suggest as an excuse for escaping from
a hospitality which seemed more inconvenient to his host than he could
possibly have anticipated. But the howling of the wind, and the pattering
of the rain against the windows, with his knowledge of the preceding
fatigues of the evening, must have prohibited Oldbuck, even had he
entertained less regard for his young friend than he really felt, from
permitting him to depart. Besides, he was piqued in honour to show that
he himself was not governed by womankind--"Sit ye down, sit ye down, sit
ye down, man," he reiterated;--"an ye part so, I would I might never draw
a cork again, and here comes out one from a prime bottle of--strong ale
--right _anno domini_--none of your Wassia Quassia decoctions, but brewed
of Monkbarns barley--John of the Girnel never drew a better flagon to
entertain a wandering minstrel, or palmer, with the freshest news from
Palestine.--And to remove from your mind the slightest wish to depart,
know, that if you do so, your character as a gallant knight is gone for
ever. Why, 'tis an adventure, man, to sleep in the Green Room at
Monkbarns.--Sister, pray see it got ready--And, although the bold
adventurer, Heavysterne, dree'd pain and dolour in that charmed
apartment, it is no reason why a gallant knight like you, nearly twice as
tall, and not half so heavy, should not encounter and break the spell."

"What! a haunted apartment, I suppose?"

"To be sure, to be sure--every mansion in this country of the slightest
antiquity has its ghosts and its haunted chamber, and you must not
suppose us worse off than our neighbours. They are going, indeed,
somewhat out of fashion. I have seen the day, when if you had doubted the
reality of a ghost in an old manor-house you ran the risk of being made a
ghost yourself, as Hamlet says.--Yes, if you had challenged the existence
of Redcowl in the Castle of Glenstirym, old Sir Peter Pepperbrand would
have had ye out to his court-yard, made you betake yourself to your
weapon, and if your trick of fence were not the better, would have
sticked you like a paddock, on his own baronial midden-stead. I once
narrowly escaped such an affray--but I humbled myself, and apologised to
Redcowl; for, even in my younger days, I was no friend to the
_monomachia,_ or duel, and would rather walk with Sir Priest than with
Sir Knight--I care not who knows so much of my valour. Thank God, I am
old now, and can indulge my irritabilities without the necessity of
supporting them by cold steel."

Here Miss Oldbuck re-entered, with a singularly sage expression of
countenance.--"Mr. Lovel's bed's ready, brother--clean sheets--weel aired
--a spunk of fire in the chimney--I am sure, Mr. Lovel," (addressing
him), "it's no for the trouble--and I hope you will have a good night's
rest--But"--

"You are resolved," said the Antiquary, "to do what you can to prevent
it."

"Me?--I am sure I have said naething, Monkbarns."

"My dear madam," said Lovel, "allow me to ask you the meaning of your
obliging anxiety on my account."

 "Ou, Monkbarns does not like to hear of it--but he kens himsell that the
room has an ill name. It's weel minded that it was there auld Rab Tull
the town-clerk was sleeping when he had that marvellous communication
about the grand law-plea between us and the feuars at the Mussel-craig.
--It had cost a hantle siller, Mr. Lovel; for law-pleas were no carried on
without siller lang syne mair than they are now--and the Monkbarns of
that day--our gudesire, Mr. Lovel, as I said before--was like to be
waured afore the Session for want of a paper--Monkbarns there kens weel
what paper it was, but I'se warrant he'll no help me out wi' my tale--but
it was a paper of great significance to the plea, and we were to be
waured for want o't. Aweel, the cause was to come on before the fifteen
--in presence, as they ca't--and auld Rab Tull, the town-clerk, he cam ower
to make a last search for the paper that was wanting, before our gudesire
gaed into Edinburgh to look after his plea--so there was little time to
come and gang on. He was but a doited snuffy body, Rab, as I've heard
--but then he was the town-clerk of Fairport, and the Monkbarns heritors
aye employed him on account of their connection wi' the burgh, ye ken."

"Sister Grizel, this is abominable," interrupted Oldbuck; "I vow to
Heaven ye might have raised the ghosts of every abbot of Trotcosey, since
the days of Waldimir, in the time you have been detailing the
introduction to this single spectre.--Learn to be succinct in your
narrative.--Imitate the concise style of old Aubrey, an experienced
ghost-seer, who entered his memoranda on these subjects in a terse
business-like manner; _exempli gratia_--At Cirencester, 5th March, 1670,
was an apparition.--Being demanded whether good spirit or bad, made no
answer, but instantly disappeared with a curious perfume, and a melodious
twang'--_Vide_ his Miscellanies, p. eighteen, as well as I can remember,
and near the middle of the page."

"O, Monkbarns, man! do ye think everybody is as book-learned as
yoursell?--But ye like to gar folk look like fools--ye can do that to Sir
Arthur, and the minister his very sell."

"Nature has been beforehand with me, Grizel, in both these instances, and
in another which shall be nameless--but take a glass of ale, Grizel, and
proceed with your story, for it waxes late."

"Jenny's just warming your bed, Monkbarns, and ye maun e'en wait till
she's done.--Weel, I was at the search that our gudesire, Monkbarns that
then was, made wi' auld Rab Tull's assistance;--but ne'er-be-licket could
they find that was to their purpose. Aud sae, after they had touzled out
mony a leather poke-full o' papers, the town-clerk had his drap punch at
e'en to wash the dust out of his throat--we never were glass-breakers in
this house, Mr. Lovel, but the body bad got sic a trick of sippling and
tippling wi' the bailies and deacons when they met (which was amaist ilka
night) concerning the common gude o' the burgh, that he couldna weel
sleep without it--But his punch he gat, and to bed he gaed; and in the
middle of the night he got a fearfu' wakening!--he was never just himsell
after it, and he was strucken wi' the dead palsy that very day four
years. He thought, Mr. Lovel, that he heard the curtains o' his bed
fissil, and out he lookit, fancying, puir man, it might hae been the cat
--But he saw--God hae a care o' us! it gars my flesh aye creep, though I
hae tauld the story twenty times--he saw a weel-fa'ard auld gentleman
standing by his bedside, in the moonlight, in a queer-fashioned dress,
wi' mony a button and band-string about it, and that part o' his garments
which it does not become a leddy to particulareeze, was baith side and
wide, and as mony plies o't as of ony Hamburgh skipper's--He had a beard
too, and whiskers turned upwards on his upper-lip, as lang as baudrons'
--and mony mair particulars there were that Rab Tull tauld o', but they are
forgotten now--it's an auld story. Aweel, Rab was a just-living man for a
country writer--and he was less feared than maybe might just hae been
expected; and he asked in the name o' goodness what the apparition
wanted--and the spirit answered in an unknown tongue. Then Rab said he
tried him wi' Erse, for he cam in his youth frae the braes of Glenlivat
--but it wadna do. Aweel, in this strait, he bethought him of the twa or
three words o' Latin that he used in making out the town's deeds, and he
had nae sooner tried the spirit wi' that, than out cam sic a blatter o'
Latin about his lugs, that poor Rab Tull, wha was nae great scholar, was
clean overwhelmed. Od, but he was a bauld body, and he minded the Latin
name for the deed that he was wanting. It was something about a cart, I
fancy, for the ghaist cried aye, _Carter, carter_--"

"_Carta,_ you transformer of languages!" cried Oldbuck;--"if my ancestor
had learned no other language in the other world, at least he would not
forget the Latinity for which he was so famous while in this."

"Weel, weel, _carta_ be it then, but they ca'd it _carter_ that tell'd me
the story. It cried aye _carta,_ if sae be that it was _carta,_ and made
a sign to Rab to follow it. Rab Tull keepit a Highland heart, and banged
out o' bed, and till some of his readiest claes--and he did follow the
thing up stairs and down stairs to the place we ca' the high dow-cot--(a
sort of a little tower in the corner of the auld house, where there was a
Tickle o' useless boxes and trunks)--and there the ghaist gae Rab a kick
wi' the tae foot, and a kick wi' the tother, to that very auld
east-country tabernacle of a cabinet that my brother has standing beside
his library table, and then disappeared like a fuff o' tobacco, leaving
Rab in a very pitiful condition."

"_Tenues secessit in auras,_" quoth Oldbuck. "Marry, sir, _mansit odor_
--But, sure enough, the deed was there found in a drawer of this forgotten
repository, which contained many other curious old papers, now properly
labelled and arranged, and which seemed to have belonged to my ancestor,
the first possessor of Monkbarns. The deed, thus strangely recovered, was
the original Charter of Erection of the Abbey, Abbey Lands, and so forth,
of Trotcosey, comprehending Monkbarns and others, into a Lordship of
Regality in favour of the first Earl of Glengibber, a favourite of James
the Sixth. It is subscribed by the King at Westminster, the seventeenth
day of January, A. D. one thousand six hundred and twelve--thirteen. It's
not worth while to repeat the witnesses' names."

"I would rather," said Lovel with awakened curiosity, "I would rather
hear your opinion of the way in which the deed was discovered."

"Why, if I wanted a patron for my legend, I could find no less a one than
Saint Augustine, who tells the story of a deceased person appearing to
his son, when sued for a debt which had been paid, and directing him
where, to find the discharge.*

*Note D. Mr. Rutherford's dream.

But I rather opine with Lord Bacon, who says that imagination is much
akin to miracle-working faith. There was always some idle story of the
room being haunted by the spirit of Aldobrand Oldenbuck, my
great-great-great-grandfather--it's a shame to the English language that,
we have not a less clumsy way of expressing a relationship of which we
have occasion to think and speak so frequently. He was a foreigner, and
wore his national dress, of which tradition had preserved an accurate
description; and indeed there is a print of him, supposed to be by
Reginald Elstracke, pulling the press with his own hand, as it works off
the sheets of his scarce edition of the Augsburg Confession. He was a
chemist as well as a good mechanic, and either of these qualities in this
country was at that time sufficient to constitute a white witch at least.
This superstitious old writer had heard all this, and probably believed
it, and in his sleep the image and idea of my ancestor recalled that of
his cabinet, which, with the grateful attention to antiquities and the
memory of our ancestors not unusually met with, had been pushed into the
pigeon-house to be out of the way--Add a _quantum sufficit_ of
exaggeration, and you have a key to the whole mystery."

"O brother! brother! but Dr. Heavysterne, brother--whose sleep was so
sore broken, that he declared he wadna pass another night in the Green
Room to get all Monkbarns, so that Mary and I were forced to yield our"--

"Why, Grizel, the doctor is a good, honest, pudding-headed German, of
much merit in his own way, but fond of the mystical, like many of his
countrymen. You and he had a traffic the whole evening in which you
received tales of Mesmer, Shropfer, Cagliostro, and other modern
pretenders to the mystery of raising spirits, discovering hidden
treasure, and so forth, in exchange for your legends of the green
bedchamber;--and considering that the _Illustrissimus_ ate a pound and a
half of Scotch collops to supper, smoked six pipes, and drank ale and
brandy in proportion, I am not surprised at his having a fit of the
night-mare. But everything is now ready. Permit me to light you to your
apartment, Mr. Lovel--I am sure you have need of rest--and I trust my
ancestor is too sensible of the duties of hospitality to interfere with
the repose which you have so well merited by your manly and gallant
behaviour."

So saying, the Antiquary took up a bedroom candlestick of massive silver
and antique form, which, he observed, was wrought out of the silver found
in the mines of the Harz mountains, and had been the property of the very
personage who had supplied them with a subject for conversation. And
having so said, he led the way through many a dusky and winding passage,
now ascending, and anon descending again, until he came to the apartment
destined for his young guest.




                             CHAPTER TENTH.


                 When midnight o'er the moonless skies
                 Her pall of transient death has spread,
                 When mortals sleep, when spectres rise,
                   And none are wakeful but the dead;
                   No bloodless shape my way pursues,
                   No sheeted ghost my couch annoys,
                   Visions more sad my fancy views,--
                       Visions of long departed joys.
                                        W. R. Spenser.

When they reached the Green Room, as it was called, Oldbuck placed the
candle on the toilet table, before a huge mirror with a black japanned
frame, surrounded by dressing-boxes of the same, and looked around him
with something of a disturbed expression of countenance. "I am seldom in
this apartment," he said, "and never without yielding to a melancholy
feeling--not, of course, on account of the childish nonsense that Grizel
was telling you, but owing to circumstances of an early and unhappy
attachment. It is at such moments as these, Mr. Lovel, that we feel the
changes of time. The same objects are before us--those inanimate things
which we have gazed on in wayward infancy and impetuous youth, in anxious
and scheming manhood--they are permanent and the same; but when we look
upon them in cold unfeeling old age, can we, changed in our temper, our
pursuits, our feelings--changed in our form, our limbs, and our
strength,--can we be ourselves called the same? or do we not rather look
back with a sort of wonder upon our former selves, as being separate and
distinct from what we now are? The philosopher who appealed from Philip
inflamed with wine to Philip in his hours of sobriety, did not choose a
judge so different, as if he had appealed from Philip in his youth to
Philip in his old age. I cannot but be touched with the feeling so
beautifully expressed in a poem which I have heard repeated:*

*Probably Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads had not as yet been published.

                   My eyes are dim with childish tears,
                       My heart is idly stirred,
                   For the same sound is in my ears
                      Which in those days I heard.

                   Thus fares it still in our decay;
                        And yet the wiser mind
                   Mourns less for what time takes away,
                       Than what he leaves behind.

Well, time cures every wound, and though the scar may remain and
occasionally ache, yet the earliest agony of its recent infliction is
felt no more."--So saying, he shook Lovel cordially by the hand, wished
him good-night, and took his leave.

Step after step Lovel could trace his host's retreat along the various
passages, and each door which he closed behind him fell with a sound more
distant and dead. The guest, thus separated from the living world, took
up the candle and surveyed the apartment.

The fire blazed cheerfully. Mrs. Grizel's attention had left some fresh
wood, should he choose to continue it, and the apartment had a
comfortable, though not a lively appearance. It was hung with tapestry,
which the looms of Arras had produced in the sixteenth century, and which
the learned typographer, so often mentioned, had brought with him as a
sample of the arts of the Continent. The subject was a hunting-piece; and
as the leafy boughs of the forest-trees, branching over the tapestry,
formed the predominant colour, the apartment had thence acquired its name
of the Green Chamber. Grim figures in the old Flemish dress, with slashed
doublets covered with ribbands, short cloaks, and trunk-hose, were
engaged in holding grey-hounds, or stag-hounds, in the leash, or cheering
them upon the objects of their game. Others, with boar-spears, swords,
and old-fashioned guns, were attacking stags or boars whom they had
brought to bay. The branches of the woven forest were crowded with fowls
of various kinds, each depicted with its proper plumage. It seemed as if
the prolific and rich invention of old Chaucer had animated the Flemish
artist with its profusion, and Oldbuck had accordingly caused the
following verses, from that ancient and excellent poet, to be embroidered
in Gothic letters, on a sort of border which he had added to the
tapestry:--

              Lo! here be oakis grete, streight as a line,
              Under the which the grass, so fresh of line,
              Be'th newly sprung--at eight foot or nine.
              Everich tree well from his fellow grew,
              With branches broad laden with leaves new,
              That sprongen out against the sonne sheene,
              Some golden red and some a glad bright green.

And in another canton was the following similar legend:--

                  And many an hart and many an hind,
                    Was both before me, and behind.
                  Of fawns, sownders, bucks and does,
                    Was full the wood and many roes,
                    And many squirrels that ysate
                    High on the trees and nuts ate.

The bed was of a dark and faded green, wrought to correspond with the
tapestry, but by a more modern and less skilful hand. The large and heavy
stuff-bottomed chairs, with black ebony backs, were embroidered after the
same pattern, and a lofty mirror, over the antique chimney-piece,
corresponded in its mounting with that on the old-fashioned toilet.

"I have heard," muttered Lovel, as he took a cursory view of the room and
its furniture, "that ghosts often chose the best room in the mansion to
which they attached themselves; and I cannot disapprove of the taste of
the disembodied printer of the Augsburg Confession." But he found it so
difficult to fix his mind upon the stories which had been told him of an
apartment with which they seemed so singularly to correspond, that he
almost regretted the absence of those agitated feelings, half fear half
curiosity, which sympathise with the old legends of awe and wonder, from
which the anxious reality of his own hopeless passion at present detached
him. For he now only felt emotions like those expressed in the lines,--

                 Ah! cruel maid, how hast thou changed
                        The temper of my mind!
                 My heart, by thee from all estranged,
                        Becomes like thee unkind.

He endeavoured to conjure up something like the feelings which would, at
another time, have been congenial to his situation, but his heart had no
room for these vagaries of imagination. The recollection of Miss Wardour,
determined not to acknowledge him when compelled to endure his society,
and evincing her purpose to escape from it, would have alone occupied his
imagination exclusively. But with this were united recollections more
agitating if less painful,--her hair-breadth escape--the fortunate
assistance which he had been able to render her--Yet what was his
requital? She left the cliff while his fate was yet doubtful--while it
was uncertain whether her preserver had not lost the life which he had
exposed for her so freely. Surely gratitude, at least, called for some
little interest in his fate--But no--she could not be selfish or unjust
--it was no part of her nature. She only desired to shut the door against
hope, and, even in compassion to him, to extinguish a passion which she
could never return.

But this lover-like mode of reasoning was not likely to reconcile him to
his fate, since the more amiable his imagination presented Miss Wardour,
the more inconsolable he felt he should be rendered by the extinction of
his hopes. He was, indeed, conscious of possessing the power of removing
her prejudices on some points; but, even in extremity, he determined to
keep the original determination which he had formed, of ascertaining that
she desired an explanation, ere he intruded one upon her. And, turn the
matter as he would, he could not regard his suit as desperate. There was
something of embarrassment as well as of grave surprise in her look when
Oldbuck presented him--and, perhaps, upon second thoughts, the one was
assumed to cover the other. He would not relinquish a pursuit which had
already cost him such pains. Plans, suiting the romantic temper of the
brain that entertained them, chased each other through his head, thick
and irregular as the motes of the sun-beam, and, long after he had laid
himself to rest, continued to prevent the repose which he greatly needed.
Then, wearied by the uncertainty and difficulties with which each scheme
appeared to be attended, he bent up his mind to the strong effort of
shaking off his love, "like dew-drops from the lion's mane," and resuming
those studies and that career of life which his unrequited affection had
so long and so fruitlessly interrupted. In this last resolution he
endeavoured to fortify himself by every argument which pride, as well as
reason, could suggest. "She shall not suppose," he said, "that, presuming
on an accidental service to her or to her father, I am desirous to
intrude myself upon that notice, to which, personally, she considered me
as having no title. I will see her no more. I will return to the land
which, if it affords none fairer, has at least many as fair, and less
haughty than Miss Wardour. Tomorrow I will bid adieu to these northern
shores, and to her who is as cold and relentless as her climate." When he
had for some time brooded over this sturdy resolution, exhausted nature
at length gave way, and, despite of wrath, doubt, and anxiety, he sank
into slumber.

It is seldom that sleep, after such violent agitation, is either sound or
refreshing. Lovel's was disturbed by a thousand baseless and confused
visions. He was a bird--he was a fish--or he flew like the one, and swam
like the other,--qualities which would have been very essential to his
safety a few hours before. Then Miss Wardour was a syren, or a bird of
Paradise; her father a triton, or a sea-gull; and Oldbuck alternately a
porpoise and a cormorant. These agreeable imaginations were varied by all
the usual vagaries of a feverish dream;--the air refused to bear the
visionary, the water seemed to burn him--the rocks felt like down pillows
as he was dashed against them--whatever he undertook, failed in some
strange and unexpected manner--and whatever attracted his attention,
underwent, as he attempted to investigate it, some wild and wonderful
metamorphosis, while his mind continued all the while in some degree
conscious of the delusion, from which it in vain struggled to free itself
by awaking;--feverish symptoms all, with which those who are haunted by
the night-hag, whom the learned call Ephialtes, are but too well
acquainted. At length these crude phantasmata arranged themselves into
something more regular, if indeed the imagination of Lovel, after he
awoke (for it was by no means the faculty in which his mind was least
rich), did not gradually, insensibly, and unintentionally, arrange in
better order the scene of which his sleep presented, it may be, a less
distinct outline. Or it is possible that his feverish agitation may have
assisted him in forming the vision.

Leaving this discussion to the learned, we will say, that after a
succession of wild images, such as we have above described, our hero, for
such we must acknowledge him, so far regained a consciousness of locality
as to remember where he was, and the whole furniture of the Green Chamber
was depicted to his slumbering eye. And here, once more, let me protest,
that if there should be so much old-fashioned faith left among this
shrewd and sceptical generation, as to suppose that what follows was an
impression conveyed rather by the eye than by the imagination, I do not
impugn their doctrine. He was, then, or imagined himself, broad awake in
the Green Chamber, gazing upon the flickering and occasional flame which
the unconsumed remnants of the faggots sent forth, as, one by one, they
fell down upon the red embers, into which the principal part of the
boughs to which they belonged had crumbled away. Insensibly the legend of
Aldobrand Oldenbuck, and his mysterious visits to the inmates of the
chamber, awoke in his mind, and with it, as we often feel in dreams, an
anxious and fearful expectation, which seldom fails instantly to summon
up before our mind's eye the object of our fear. Brighter sparkles of
light flashed from the chimney, with such intense brilliancy as to
enlighten all the room. The tapestry waved wildly on the wall, till its
dusky forms seemed to become animated. The hunters blew their horns--the
stag seemed to fly, the boar to resist, and the hounds to assail the one
and pursue the other; the cry of deer, mangled by throttling dogs--the
shouts of men, and the clatter of horses' hoofs, seemed at once to
surround him--while every group pursued, with all the fury of the chase,
the employment in which the artist had represented them as engaged. Lovel
looked on this strange scene devoid of wonder (which seldom intrudes
itself upon the sleeping fancy), but with an anxious sensation of awful
fear. At length an individual figure among the tissued huntsmen, as he
gazed upon them more fixedly, seemed to leave the arras and to approach
the bed of the slumberer. As he drew near, his figure appeared to alter.
His bugle-horn became a brazen clasped volume; his hunting-cap changed to
such a furred head-gear as graces the burgomasters of Rembrandt; his
Flemish garb remained but his features, no longer agitated with the fury
of the chase, were changed to such a state of awful and stern composure,
as might best portray the first proprietor of Monkbarns, such as he had
been described to Lovel by his descendants in the course of the preceding
evening. As this metamorphosis took place, the hubbub among the other
personages in the arras disappeared from the imagination of the dreamer,
which was now exclusively bent on the single figure before him. Lovel
strove to interrogate this awful person in the form of exorcism proper
for the occasion; but his tongue, as is usual in frightful dreams,
refused its office, and clung, palsied, to the roof of his mouth.
Aldobrand held up his finger, as if to impose silence upon the guest who
had intruded on his apartment, and began deliberately to unclasp the
venerable, volume which occupied his left hand. When it was unfolded, he
turned over the leaves hastily for a short space, and then raising his
figure to its full dimensions, and holding the book aloft in his left
hand, pointed to a passage in the page which he thus displayed. Although
the language was unknown to our dreamer, his eye and attention were both
strongly caught by the line which the figure seemed thus to press upon
his notice, the words of which appeared to blaze with a supernatural
light, and remained riveted upon has memory. As the vision shut his
volume, a strain of delightful music seemed to fill the apartment--Lovel
started, and became completely awake. The music, however, was still in
his ears, nor ceased till he could distinctly follow the measure of an
old Scottish tune.

He sate up in bed, and endeavoured to clear his brain of the phantoms
which had disturbed it during this weary night. The beams of the morning
sun streamed through the half-closed shutters, and admitted a distinct
light into the apartment. He looked round upon the hangings,--but the
mixed groups of silken and worsted huntsmen were as stationary as
tenter-hooks could make them, and only trembled slightly as the early
breeze, which found its way through an open crevice of the latticed
window, glided along their surface. Lovel leapt out of bed, and, wrapping
himself in a morning-gown, that had been considerately laid by his
bedside, stepped towards the window, which commanded a view of the sea,
the roar of whose billows announced it still disquieted by the storm of
the preceding evening, although the morning was fair and serene. The
window of a turret, which projected at an angle with the wall, and thus
came to be very near Lovel's apartment, was half-open, and from that
quarter he heard again the same music which had probably broken short his
dream. With its visionary character it had lost much of its charms--it
was now nothing more than an air on the harpsichord, tolerably well
performed--such is the caprice of imagination as affecting the fine arts.
A female voice sung, with some taste and great simplicity, something
between a song and a hymn, in words to the following effect:--

                 "Why sitt'st thou by that ruin'd hill,
                  Thou aged carle so stern and grey?
                  Dost thou its former pride recall,
                     Or ponder how it passed away?

             "Know'st thou not me!" the Deep Voice cried,
                   "So long enjoyed, so oft misused--
                    Alternate, in thy fickle pride,
                    Desired, neglected, and accused?

                "Before my breath, like, blazing flax,
                    Man and his marvels pass away;
                    And changing empires wane and wax,
                   Are founded, flourish and decay.

                "Redeem mine hours--the space is brief--
                While in my glass the sand-grains shiver,
                   And measureless thy joy or grief,
                When Time and thou shalt part for ever!"

While the verses were yet singing, Lovel had returned to his bed; the
train of ideas which they awakened was romantic and pleasing, such as his
soul delighted in, and, willingly adjourning till more broad day the
doubtful task of determining on his future line of conduct, he abandoned
himself to the pleasing languor inspired by the music, and fell into a
sound and refreshing sleep, from which he was only awakened at a late
hour by old Caxon, who came creeping into the room to render the offices
of a valet-de-chambre.

"I have brushed your coat, sir," said the old man, when he perceived
Lovel was awake; "the callant brought it frae Fairport this morning, for
that ye had on yesterday is scantly feasibly dry, though it's been a'
night at the kitchen fire; and I hae cleaned your shoon. I doubt ye'll no
be wanting me to tie your hair, for" (with a gentle sigh) "a' the young
gentlemen wear crops now; but I hae the curling tangs here to gie it a
bit turn ower the brow, if ye like, before ye gae down to the leddies."

Lovel, who was by this time once more on his legs, declined the old man's
professional offices, but accompanied the refusal with such a douceur as
completely sweetened Caxon's mortification.

"It's a pity he disna get his hair tied and pouthered," said the ancient
friseur, when he had got once more into the kitchen, in which, on one
pretence or other, he spent three parts of his idle time--that is to say,
of his _whole_ time--"it's a great pity, for he's a comely young
gentleman."

"Hout awa, ye auld gowk," said Jenny Rintherout, "would ye creesh his
bonny brown hair wi' your nasty ulyie, and then moust it like the auld
minister's wig? Ye'll be for your breakfast, I'se warrant?--hae, there's
a soup parritch for ye--it will set ye better tae be slaistering at them
and the lapper-milk than meddling wi' Mr. Lovel's head--ye wad spoil the
maist natural and beautifaest head o' hair in a' Fairport, baith burgh
and county."

The poor barber sighed over the disrespect into which his art had so
universally fallen, but Jenny was a person too important to offend by
contradiction; so, sitting quietly down in the kitchen, he digested at
once his humiliation, and the contents of a bicker which held a Scotch
pint of substantial oatmeal porridge.



                            CHAPTER ELEVENTH.


            Sometimes he thinks that Heaven this pageant sent,
               And ordered all the pageants as they went;
             Sometimes that only 'twas wild Fancy's play,--
               The loose and scattered relics of the day.

We must now request our readers to adjourn to the breakfast parlour of
Mr. Oldbuck, who, despising the modern slops of tea and coffee, was
substantially regaling himself, _more majorum,_ with cold roast-beef, and
a glass of a sort of beverage called _mum_--a species of fat ale, brewed
from wheat and bitter herbs, of which the present generation only know
the name by its occurrence in revenue acts of parliament, coupled with
cider, perry, and other excisable commodities. Lovel, who was seduced to
taste it, with difficulty refrained from pronouncing it detestable, but
_did_ refrain, as he saw he should otherwise give great offence to his
host, who had the liquor annually prepared with peculiar care, according
to the approved recipe bequeathed to him by the so-often mentioned
Aldobrand Oldenbuck. The hospitality of the ladies offered Lovel a
breakfast more suited to modern taste, and while he was engaged in
partaking of it, he was assailed by indirect inquiries concerning the
manner in which he had passed the night.

"We canna compliment Mr. Lovel on his looks this morning, brother--but he
winna condescend on any ground of disturbance he has had in the night
time. I am certain he looks very pale, and when he came here he was as
fresh as a rose."

"Why, sister, consider this rose of yours has been knocked about by sea
and wind all yesterday evening, as if he had been a bunch of kelp or
tangle, and how the devil would you have him retain his colour?"

"I certainly do still feel somewhat fatigued," said Lovel,
"notwithstanding the excellent accommodations with which your hospitality
so amply supplied me."

"Ah, sir!" said Miss Oldbuck looking at him with a knowing smile, or what
was meant to be one, "ye'll not allow of ony inconvenience, out of
civility to us."

"Really, madam," replied Lovel, "I had no disturbance; for I cannot term
such the music with which some kind fairy favoured me."

"I doubted Mary wad waken you wi' her skreighing; she dinna ken I had
left open a chink of your window, for, forbye the ghaist, the Green Room
disna vent weel in a high wind--But I am judging ye heard mair than
Mary's lilts yestreen. Weel, men are hardy creatures--they can gae
through wi' a' thing. I am sure, had I been to undergo ony thing of that
nature,--that's to say that's beyond nature--I would hae skreigh'd out at
once, and raised the house, be the consequence what liket--and, I dare
say, the minister wad hae done as mickle, and sae I hae tauld him,--I ken
naebody but my brother, Monkbarns himsell, wad gae through the like o't,
if, indeed, it binna you, Mr. Lovel."

"A man of Mr. Oldbuck's learning, madam," answered the questioned party,
"would not be exposed to the inconvenience sustained by the Highland
gentleman you mentioned last night."

"Ay, ay--ye understand now where the difficulty lies. Language? he has
ways o' his ain wad banish a' thae sort o' worricows as far as the
hindermost parts of Gideon" (meaning possibly Midian), "as Mr.
Blattergowl says--only ane widna be uncivil to ane's forbear, though he
be a ghaist. I am sure I will try that receipt of yours, brother, that ye
showed me in a book, if onybody is to sleep in that room again, though I
think, in Christian charity, ye should rather fit up the matted-room
--it's a wee damp and dark, to be sure, but then we hae sae seldom
occasion for a spare bed."

"No, no, sister;--dampness and darkness are worse than spectres--ours are
spirits of light, and I would rather have you try the spell."

"I will do that blythely, Monkbarns, an I had the ingredients, as my
cookery book ca's them--There was _vervain_ and _dill_--I mind that
--Davie Dibble will ken about them, though, maybe, he'll gie them Latin
names--and Peppercorn, we hae walth o' them, for"--

"Hypericon, thou foolish woman!" thundered Oldbuck; "d'ye suppose you're
making a haggis--or do you think that a spirit, though he be formed of
air, can be expelled by a receipt against wind?--This wise Grizel of
mine, Mr. Lovel, recollects (with what accuracy you may judge) a charm
which I once mentioned to her, and which, happening to hit her
superstitious noddle, she remembers better than anything tending to a
useful purpose, I may chance to have said for this ten years. But many an
old woman besides herself"--

"Auld woman, Monkbarns!" said Miss Oldbuck, roused something above her
usual submissive tone; "ye really are less than civil to me."

"Not less than just, Grizel: however, I include in the same class many a
sounding name, from Jamblichus down to Aubrey, who have wasted their time
in devising imaginary remedies for non-existing diseases.--But I hope, my
young friend, that, charmed or uncharmed--secured by the potency of
Hypericon,

                      With vervain and with dill,
                      That hinder witches of their will,

or left disarmed and defenceless to the inroads of the invisible world,
you will give another night to the terrors of the haunted apartment, and
another day to your faithful and feal friends."

"I heartily wish I could, but"--

"Nay, but me no _buts_--I have set my heart upon it."

"I am greatly obliged, my dear sir, but"--

"Look ye there, now--_but_ again!--I hate _but;_ I know no form of
expression in which he can appear, that is amiable, excepting as a _butt_
of sack. But is to me a more detestable combination of letters than _no_
itself._No_ is a surly, honest fellow--speaks his mind rough and round at
once._But_ is a sneaking, evasive, half-bred, exceptuous sort of a
conjunction, which comes to pull away the cup just when it is at your
lips--

                             --it does allay
                The good precedent--fie upon _but yet!_
                _But yet_ is as a jailor to bring forth
                         Some monstrous malefactor."

"Well, then," answered Lovel, whose motions were really undetermined at
the moment, "you shall not connect the recollection of my name with so
churlish a particle. I must soon think of leaving Fairport, I am afraid
--and I will, since you are good enough to wish it, take this opportunity
of spending another day here."

"And you shall be rewarded, my boy. First, you shall see John o' the
Girnel's grave, and then we'll walk gently along the sands, the state of
the tide being first ascertained (for we will have no more Peter Wilkins'
adventures, no more Glum and Gawrie work), as far as Knockwinnock Castle,
and inquire after the old knight and my fair foe--which will but be
barely civil, and then"--

"I beg pardon, my dear sir; but, perhaps, you had better adjourn your
visit till to-morrow--I am a stranger, you know."

"And are, therefore, the more bound to show civility, I should suppose.
But I beg your pardon for mentioning a word that perhaps belongs only to
a collector of antiquities--I am one of the old school,


  When courtiers galloped o'er four counties
  The ball's fair partner to behold,
  And humbly hope she caught no cold."

"Why, if--if--if you thought it would be expected--but I believe I had
better stay."

"Nay, nay, my good friend, I am not so old-fashioned as to press you to
what is disagreeable, neither--it is sufficient that I see there is some
_remora,_ some cause of delay, some mid impediment, which I have no title
to inquire into. Or you are still somewhat tired, perhaps;--I warrant I
find means to entertain your intellects without fatiguing your limbs--I
am no friend to violent exertion myself--a walk in the garden once a-day
is exercise, enough for any thinking being--none but a fool or a
fox-hunter would require more. Well, what shall we set about?--my Essay
on Castrametation--but I have that in _petto_ for our afternoon cordial;
--or I will show you the controversy upon Ossian's Poems between
Mac-Cribb and me. I hold with the acute Orcadian--he with the defenders
of the authenticity;--the controversy began in smooth, oily, lady-like
terms, but is now waxing more sour and eager as we get on--it already
partakes somewhat of old Scaliger's style. I fear the rogue will get some
scent of that story of Ochiltree's--but at worst, I have a hard repartee
for him on the affair of the abstracted Antigonus--I will show you his
last epistle and the scroll of my answer--egad, it is a trimmer!"

So saying, the Antiquary opened a drawer, and began rummaging among a
quantity of miscellaneous papers, ancient and modern. But it was the
misfortune of this learned gentleman, as it may be that of many learned
and unlearned, that he frequently experienced, on such occasions, what
Harlequin calls _l'embarras des richesses;_ in other words, the abundance
of his collection often prevented him from finding the article he sought
for. "Curse the papers!--I believe," said Oldbuck, as he shuffled them to
and fro--"I believe they make themselves wings like grasshoppers, and fly
away bodily--but here, in the meanwhile, look at that little treasure."
So saying, he put into his hand a case made of oak, fenced at the corner
with silver roses and studs--"Pr'ythee, undo this button," said he, as he
observed Lovel fumbling at the clasp. He did so,--the lid opened, and
discovered a thin quarto, curiously bound in black shagreen--"There, Mr.
Lovel--there is the work I mentioned to you last night--the rare quarto
of the Augsburg Confession, the foundation at once and the bulwark of the
Reformation drawn up by the learned and venerable Melancthon, defended by
the Elector of Saxony, and the other valiant hearts who stood up for
their faith, even against the front of a powerful and victorious emperor,
and imprinted by the scarcely less venerable and praiseworthy Aldobrand
Oldenbuck, my happy progenitor, during the yet more tyrannical attempts
of Philip II. to suppress at once civil and religious liberty. Yes, sir
--for printing this work, that eminent man was expelled from his
ungrateful country, and driven to establish his household gods even here
at Monkbarns, among the ruins of papal superstition and domination.
--Look upon his venerable effigies, Mr. Lovel, and respect the honourable
occupation in which it presents him, as labouring personally at the
press for the diffusion of Christian and political knowledge.--And see
here his favourite motto, expressive of his independence and
self-reliance, which scorned to owe anything to patronage that was not
earned by desert--expressive also of that firmness of mind and tenacity
of purpose recommended by Horace. He was indeed a man who would have
stood firm, had his whole printing-house, presses, fonts, forms, great
and small pica, been shivered to pieces around him--Read, I say, his
motto, --for each printer had his motto, or device, when that
illustrious art was first practised. My ancestor's was expressed, as you
see, in the Teutonic phrase, Kunst macht Gunst--that is, skill, or
prudence, in availing ourselves of our natural talents and advantages,
will compel favour and patronage, even where it is withheld from
prejudice or ignorance."

"And that," said Lovel, after a moment's thoughtful silence--"that, then,
is the meaning of these German words?"

"Unquestionably. You perceive the appropriate application to a
consciousness of inward worth, and of eminence in a useful and honourable
art.--Each printer in those days, as I have already informed you, had his
device, his impresa, as I may call it, in the same manner as the doughty
chivalry of the age, who frequented tilt and tournament. My ancestor
boasted as much in his, as if he had displayed it over a conquered field
of battle, though it betokened the diffusion of knowledge, not the
effusion of blood. And yet there is a family tradition which affirms him
to have chosen it from a more romantic circumstance."

"And what is that said to have been, my good sir?" inquired his young
friend.

"Why, it rather encroaches on my respected predecessor's fame for
prudence and wisdom--_Sed semel insanivimus omnes_--everybody has played
the fool in their turn. It is said, my ancestor, during his
apprenticeship with the descendant of old Faust, whom popular tradition
hath sent to the devil under the name of Faustus, was attracted by a
paltry slip of womankind, his master's daughter, called Bertha--they
broke rings, or went through some idiotical ceremony, as is usual on such
idle occasions as the plighting of a true-love troth, and Aldobrand set
out on his journey through Germany, as became an honest _hand-werker;_
for such was the custom of mechanics at that time, to make a tour through
the empire, and work at their trade for a time in each of the most
eminent towns, before they finally settled themselves for life. It was a
wise custom; for, as such travellers were received like brethren in each
town by those of their own handicraft, they were sure, in every case, to
have the means either of gaining or communicating knowledge. When my
ancestor returned to Nuremburg, he is said to have found his old master
newly dead, and two or three gallant young suitors, some of them
half-starved sprigs of nobility forsooth, in pursuit of the _Yung-fraw_
Bertha, whose father was understood to have bequeathed her a dowry which
might weigh against sixteen armorial quarters. But Bertha, not a bad
sample of womankind, had made a vow she would only marry that man who
would work her father's press. The skill, at that time, was as rare as
wonderful; besides that the expedient rid her at once of most of her
_gentle_ suitors, who would have as soon wielded a conjuring wand as a
composing stick. Some of the more ordinary typographers made the attempt:
but none were sufficiently possessed of the mystery--But I tire you."

"By no means; pray, proceed, Mr. Oldbuck--I listen with uncommon
interest."

"Ah! it is all folly. However--Aldobrand arrived in the ordinary dress,
as we would say, of a journeyman printer--the same in which he had
traversed Germany, and conversed with Luther, Melancthon, Erasmus, and
other learned men, who disdained not his knowledge, and the power he
possessed of diffusing it, though hid under a garb so homely. But what
appeared respectable in the eyes of wisdom, religion, learning, and
philosophy, seemed mean, as might readily be supposed, and disgusting, in
those of silly and affected womankind, and Bertha refused to acknowledge
her former lover, in the torn doublet, skin cap, clouted shoes, and
leathern apron, of a travelling handicraftsman or mechanic. He claimed
his privilege, however, of being admitted to a trial; and when the rest
of the suitors had either declined the contest, or made such work as the
devil could not read if his pardon depended on it, all eyes were bent on
the stranger. Aldobrand stepped gracefully forward, arranged the types
without omission of a single letter, hyphen, or comma, imposed them
without deranging a single space, and pulled off the first proof as clear
and free from errors, as if it had been a triple revise! All applauded
the worthy successor of the immortal Faustus--the blushing maiden
acknowledged her error in trusting to the eye more than the intellect
--and the elected bridegroom thenceforward chose for his impress or device
the appropriate words, _Skill wins favour._'--But what is the matter with
you?--you are in a brown study! Come, I told you this was but trumpery
conversation for thinking people--and now I have my hand on the Ossianic
Controversy."

"I beg your pardon," said Lovel; "I am going to appear very silly and
changeable in your eyes, Mr. Oldbuck--but you seemed to think Sir Arthur
might in civility expect a call from me?"

"Psha! psha! I can make your apology; and if you must leave us so soon as
you say, what signifies how you stand in his honours good graces?--And I
warn you that the Essay on Castrametation is something prolix, and will
occupy the time we can spare after dinner, so you may lose the Ossianic
Controversy if we do not dedicate this morning to it. We will go out to
my ever-green bower, my sacred holly-tree yonder, and have it _fronde
super viridi._

               Sing heigh-ho! heigh-ho! for the green holly,
         Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.

But, egad," continued the old gentleman, "when I look closer at you, I
begin to think you may be of a different opinion. Amen with all my heart
--I quarrel with no man's hobby, if he does not run it a tilt against
mine, and if he does--let him beware his eyes. What say you?--in the
language of the world and worldlings base, if you can condescend to so
mean a sphere, shall we stay or go?"

"In the language of selfishness, then, which is of course the language of
the world--let us go by all means."

"Amen, amen, quo' the Earl Marshall," answered Oldbuck, as he exchanged
his slippers for a pair of stout walking shoes, with _cutikins,_ as he
called them, of black cloth. He only interrupted the walk by a slight
deviation to the tomb of John o' the Girnel, remembered as the last
bailiff of the abbey who had resided at Monkbarns. Beneath an old
oak-tree upon a hillock, sloping pleasantly to the south, and catching a
distant view of the sea over two or three rich enclosures, and the
Mussel-crag, lay a moss-grown stone, and, in memory of the departed
worthy, it bore an inscription, of which, as Mr. Oldbuck affirmed (though
many doubted), the defaced characters could be distinctly traced to the
following effect:--

                    Here lyeth John o' ye Girnell;
                Erth has ye nit, and heuen ye kirnell.
                 In hys tyme ilk wyfe's hennis clokit,
             Ilka gud mannis herth wi' bairnis was stokit.
              He deled a boll o' bear in firlottis fyve,
        Four for ye halie kirke, and ane for puir mennis wyvis.

"You see how modest the author of this sepulchral commendation was;--he
tells us that honest John could make five firlots, or quarters, as you
would say, out of the boll, instead of four,--that he gave the fifth to
the wives of the parish, and accounted for the other four to the abbot
and chapter--that in his time the wives' hens always laid eggs--and devil
thank them, if they got one-fifth of the abbey rents; and that honest
men's hearths were never unblest with offspring--an addition to the
miracle, which they, as well as I, must have considered as perfectly
unaccountable. But come on--leave we Jock o' the Girnel, and let us jog
on to the yellow sands, where the sea, like a repulsed enemy, is now
retreating from the ground on which he gave us battle last night."

Thus saying, he led the way to the sands. Upon the links or downs close
to them, were seen four or five huts inhabited by fishers, whose boats,
drawn high upon the beach, lent the odoriferous vapours of pitch melting
under a burning sun, to contend with those of the offals of fish and
other nuisances usually collected round Scottish cottages. Undisturbed by
these complicated steams of abomination, a middle-aged woman, with a face
which had defied a thousand storms, sat mending a net at the door of one
of the cottages. A handkerchief close bound about her head, and a coat
which had formerly been that of a man, gave her a masculine air, which
was increased by her strength, uncommon stature, and harsh voice. "What
are ye for the day, your honour?" she said, or rather screamed, to
Oldbuck; "caller haddocks and whitings--a bannock-fluke and a
cock-padle."

"How much for the bannock-fluke and cock-padle?" demanded the Antiquary.

"Four white shillings and saxpence," answered the Naiad.

"Four devils and six of their imps!" retorted the Antiquary; "do you
think I am mad, Maggie?"

"And div ye think," rejoined the virago, setting her arms akimbo, "that
my man and my sons are to gae to the sea in weather like yestreen and the
day--sic a sea as it's yet outby--and get naething for their fish, and be
misca'd into the bargain, Monkbarns? It's no fish ye're buying--it's
men's lives."

"Well, Maggie, I'll bid you fair--I'll bid you a shilling for the fluke
and the cock-padle, or sixpence separately--and if all your fish are as
well paid, I think your man, as you call him, and your sons, will make a
good voyage."

"Deil gin their boat were knockit against the Bell-Rock rather! it wad be
better, and the bonnier voyage o' the twa. A shilling for thae twa bonnie
fish! Od, that's ane indeed!"

"Well, well, you old beldam, carry your fish up to Monkbarns, and see
what my sister will give you for them."

"Na, na, Monkbarns, deil a fit--I'll rather deal wi' yoursell; for though
you're near enough, yet Miss Grizel has an unco close grip--I'll gie ye
them" (in a softened tone) "for three-and-saxpence."

"Eighteen-pence, or nothing!"

"Eighteen-pence!!!" (in a loud tone of astonishment, which declined into
a sort of rueful whine, when the dealer turned as if to walk away)--"Yell
no be for the fish then?"--(then louder, as she saw him moving off)
--"I'll gie ye them--and--and--and a half-a-dozen o' partans to make the
sauce, for three shillings and a dram."

"Half-a-crown then, Maggie, and a dram."

"Aweel, your honour maun hae't your ain gate, nae doubt; but a dram's
worth siller now--the distilleries is no working."

"And I hope they'll never work again in my time," said Oldbuck.

"Ay, ay--it's easy for your honour, and the like o' you gentle-folks to
say sae, that hae stouth and routh, and fire and fending and meat and
claith, and sit dry and canny by the fireside--but an ye wanted fire, and
meat, and dry claes, and were deeing o' cauld, and had a sair heart,
whilk is warst ava', wi' just tippence in your pouch, wadna ye be glad to
buy a dram wi't, to be eilding and claes, and a supper and heart's ease
into the bargain, till the morn's morning?"

"It's even too true an apology, Maggie. Is your goodman off to sea this
morning, after his exertions last night?"

"In troth is he, Monkbarns; he was awa this morning by four o'clock, when
the sea was working like barm wi' yestreen's wind, and our bit coble
dancing in't like a cork."

"Well, he's an industrious fellow. Carry the fish up to Monkbarns."

"That I will--or I'll send little Jenny, she'll rin faster; but I'll ca'
on Miss Grizzy for the dram mysell, and say ye sent me."

A nondescript animal, which might have passed for a mermaid, as it was
paddling in a pool among the rocks, was summoned ashore by the shrill
screams of its dam; and having been made decent, as her mother called it,
which was performed by adding a short red cloak to a petticoat, which was
at first her sole covering, and which reached scantily below her knee,
the child was dismissed with the fish in a basket, and a request on the
part of Monkbarns that they might be prepared for dinner. "It would have
been long," said Oldbuck, with much self-complacency, "ere my womankind
could have made such a reasonable bargain with that old skin-flint,
though they sometimes wrangle with her for an hour together under my
study window, like three sea-gulls screaming and sputtering in a gale of
wind. But come, wend we on our way to Knockwinnock."




                            CHAPTER TWELFTH.


              Beggar?--the only freeman of your commonwealth;
              Free above Scot-free, that observe no laws,
                   Obey no governor, use no religion
           But what they draw from their own ancient custom,
           Or constitute themselves, yet they are no rebels.
                                            Brome.

With our reader's permission, we will outstep the slow, though sturdy
pace of the Antiquary, whose halts, as he, turned round to his companion
at every moment to point out something remarkable in the landscape, or to
enforce some favourite topic more emphatically than the exercise of
walking permitted, delayed their progress considerably.

Notwithstanding the fatigues and dangers of the preceding evening, Miss
Wardour was able to rise at her usual hour, and to apply herself to her
usual occupations, after she had first satisfied her anxiety concerning
her father's state of health. Sir Arthur was no farther indisposed than
by the effects of great agitation and unusual fatigue, but these were
sufficient to induce him to keep his bedchamber.

To look back on the events of the preceding day, was, to Isabella, a very
unpleasing retrospect. She owed her life, and that of her father, to the
very person by whom, of all others, she wished least to be obliged,
because she could hardly even express common gratitude towards him
without encouraging hopes which might be injurious to them both. "Why
should it be my fate to receive such benefits, and conferred at so much
personal risk, from one whose romantic passion I have so unceasingly
laboured to discourage? Why should chance have given him this advantage
over me? and why, oh why, should a half-subdued feeling in my own bosom,
in spite of my sober reason, almost rejoice that he has attained it?"

While Miss Wardour thus taxed herself with wayward caprice, she, beheld
advancing down the avenue, not her younger and more dreaded preserver,
but the old beggar who had made such a capital figure in the melodrama of
the preceding evening.

She rang the bell for her maid-servant. "Bring the old man up stairs."

The servant returned in a minute or two--"He will come up at no rate,
madam;--he says his clouted shoes never were on a carpet in his life, and
that, please God, they never shall.--Must I take him into the servants'
hall?"

"No; stay, I want to speak with him--Where is he?" for she had lost sight
of him as he approached the house.

"Sitting in the sun on the stone-bench in the court, beside the window of
the flagged parlour."

"Bid him stay there--I'll come down to the parlour, and speak with him at
the window."

She came down accordingly, and found the mendicant half-seated,
half-reclining, upon the bench beside the window. Edie Ochiltree, old man
and beggar as he was, had apparently some internal consciousness of the
favourable, impressions connected with his tall form, commanding
features, and long white beard and hair. It used to be remarked of him,
that he was seldom seen but in a posture which showed these personal
attributes to advantage. At present, as he lay half-reclined, with his
wrinkled yet ruddy cheek, and keen grey eye turned up towards the sky,
his staff and bag laid beside him, and a cast of homely wisdom and
sarcastic irony in the expression of his countenance, while he gazed for
a moment around the court-yard, and then resumed his former look upward,
he might have been taken by an artist as the model of an old philosopher
of the Cynic school, musing upon the frivolity of mortal pursuits, and
the precarious tenure of human possessions, and looking up to the source
from which aught permanently good can alone be derived. The young lady,
as she presented her tall and elegant figure at the open window, but
divided from the court-yard by a grating, with which, according to the
fashion of ancient times, the lower windows of the castle were secured,
gave an interest of a different kind, and might be supposed, by a
romantic imagination, an imprisoned damsel communicating a tale of her
durance to a palmer, in order that he might call upon the gallantry of
every knight whom he should meet in his wanderings, to rescue her from
her oppressive thraldom.

After Miss Wardour had offered, in the terms she thought would be most
acceptable, those thanks which the beggar declined as far beyond his
merit, she began to express herself in a manner which she supposed would
speak more feelingly to his apprehension. "She did not know," she said,
"what her father intended particularly to do for their preserver, but
certainly it would be something that would make him easy for life; if he
chose to reside at the castle, she would give orders"--

The old man smiled, and shook his head. "I wad be baith a grievance and a
disgrace to your fine servants, my leddy, and I have never been a
disgrace to onybody yet, that I ken of."

"Sir Arthur would give strict orders"--

"Ye're very kind--I doubtna, I doubtna; but there are some things a
master can command, and some he canna--I daresay he wad gar them keep
hands aff me--(and troth, I think they wad hardly venture on that ony
gate)--and he wad gar them gie me my soup parritch and bit meat. But trow
ye that Sir Arthur's command could forbid the gibe o' the tongue or the
blink o' the ee, or gar them gie me my food wi' the look o' kindness that
gars it digest sae weel, or that he could make them forbear a' the
slights and taunts that hurt ane's spirit mair nor downright misca'ing?
--Besides, I am the idlest auld carle that ever lived; I downa be bound
down to hours o' eating and sleeping; and, to speak the honest truth, I
wad be a very bad example in ony weel regulated family."

"Well, then, Edie, what do you think of a neat cottage and a garden, and
a daily dole, and nothing to do but to dig a little in your garden when
you pleased yourself?"

"And how often wad that be, trow ye, my leddy? maybe no ance atween
Candlemas and Yule and if a' thing were done to my hand, as if I was Sir
Arthur himsell, I could never bide the staying still in ae place, and
just seeing the same joists and couples aboon my head night after
night.--And then I have a queer humour o' my ain, that sets a strolling
beggar weel eneugh, whase word naebody minds--but ye ken Sir Arthur has
odd sort o' ways--and I wad be jesting or scorning at them--and ye wad
be angry, and then I wad be just fit to hang mysell."

"O, you are a licensed man," said Isabella; "we shall give you all
reasonable scope: So you had better be ruled, and remember your age."

"But I am no that sair failed yet," replied the mendicant. "Od, ance I
gat a wee soupled yestreen, I was as yauld as an eel. And then what wad
a' the country about do for want o' auld Edie Ochiltree, that brings news
and country cracks frae ae farm-steading to anither, and gingerbread to
the lasses, and helps the lads to mend their fiddles, and the gudewives
to clout their pans, and plaits rush-swords and grenadier caps for the
weans, and busks the laird's flees, and has skill o' cow-ills and
horse-ills, and kens mair auld sangs and tales than a' the barony
besides, and gars ilka body laugh wherever he comes? Troth, my leddy, I
canna lay down my vocation; it would be a public loss."

"Well, Edie, if your idea of your importance is so strong as not to be
shaken by the prospect of independence"--

"Na, na, Miss--it's because I am mair independent as I am," answered the
old man; "I beg nae mair at ony single house than a meal o' meat, or
maybe but a mouthfou o't--if it's refused at ae place, I get it at
anither--sae I canna be said to depend on onybody in particular, but just
on the country at large."

"Well, then, only promise me that you will let me know should you ever
wish to settle as you turn old, and more incapable of making your usual
rounds; and, in the meantime, take this."

"Na, na, my leddy: I downa take muckle siller at ance--it's against our
rule; and--though it's maybe no civil to be repeating the like o' that
--they say that siller's like to be scarce wi' Sir Arthur himsell, and
that he's run himsell out o' thought wi' his honkings and minings for
lead and copper yonder."

Isabella had some anxious anticipations to the same effect, but was
shocked to hear that her father's embarrassments were such public talk;
as if scandal ever failed to stoop upon so acceptable a quarry as the
failings of the good man, the decline of the powerful, or the decay of
the prosperous.--Miss Wardour sighed deeply--"Well, Edie, we have enough
to pay our debts, let folks say what they will, and requiting you is one
of the foremost--let me press this sum upon you."

"That I might be robbed and murdered some night between town and town?
or, what's as bad, that I might live in constant apprehension o't?--I am
no"--(lowering his voice to a whisper, and looking keenly around him)--"I
am no that clean unprovided for neither; and though I should die at the
back of a dyke, they'll find as muckle quilted in this auld blue gown as
will bury me like a Christian, and gie the lads and lasses a blythe
lykewake too; sae there's the gaberlunzie's burial provided for, and I
need nae mair. Were the like o' me ever to change a note, wha the deil
d'ye think wad be sic fules as to gie me charity after that?--it wad flee
through the country like wildfire, that auld Edie suld hae done siccan a
like thing, and then, I'se warrant, I might grane my heart out or onybody
wad gie me either a bane or a bodle."

"Is there nothing, then, that I can do for you?"

"Ou ay--I'll aye come for my awmous as usual,--and whiles I wad be fain
o' a pickle sneeshin, and ye maun speak to the constable and
ground-officer just to owerlook me; and maybe ye'll gie a gude word for
me to Sandie Netherstanes, the miller, that he may chain up his muckle
dog--I wadna hae him to hurt the puir beast, for it just does its office
in barking at a gaberlunzie like me. And there's ae thing maybe mair,
--but ye'll think it's very bald o' the like o' me to speak o't."

"What is it, Edie?--if it respects you it shall be done if it is in my
power."

"It respects yoursell, and it is in your power, and I maun come out wi't.
Ye are a bonny young leddy, and a gude ane, and maybe a weel-tochered
ane--but dinna ye sneer awa the lad Lovel, as ye did a while sinsyne on
the walk beneath the Briery-bank, when I saw ye baith, and heard ye too,
though ye saw nae me. Be canny wi' the lad, for he loes ye weel, and it's
to him, and no to anything I could have done for you, that Sir Arthur and
you wan ower yestreen."

He uttered these words in a low but distinct tone of voice; and without
waiting for an answer, walked towards a low door which led to the
apartments of the servants, and so entered the house.

Miss Wardour remained for a moment or two in the situation in which she
had heard the old man's last extraordinary speech, leaning, namely,
against the bars of the window; nor could she determine upon saying even
a single word, relative to a subject so delicate, until the beggar was
out of sight. It was, indeed, difficult to determine what to do. That her
having had an interview and private conversation with this young and
unknown stranger, should be a secret possessed by a person of the last
class in which a young lady would seek a confidant, and at the mercy of
one who was by profession gossip-general to the whole neighbourhood, gave
her acute agony. She had no reason, indeed, to suppose that the old man
would wilfully do anything to hurt her feelings, much less to injure her;
but the mere freedom of speaking to her upon such a subject, showed, as
might have been expected, a total absence of delicacy; and what he might
take it into his head to do or say next, that she was pretty sure so
professed an admirer of liberty would not hesitate to do or say without
scruple. This idea so much hurt and vexed her, that she half-wished the
officious assistance of Lovel and Ochiltree had been absent upon the
preceding evening.

While she was in this agitation of spirits, she suddenly observed Oldbuck
and Lovel entering the court. She drew instantly so far back from the
window, that she could without being seen, observe how the Antiquary
paused in front of the building, and pointing to the various scutcheons
of its former owners, seemed in the act of bestowing upon Lovel much
curious and erudite information, which, from the absent look of his
auditor, Isabella might shrewdly guess was entirely thrown away. The
necessity that she should take some resolution became instant and
pressing;--she rang, therefore, for a servant, and ordered him to show
the visitors to the drawing-room, while she, by another staircase, gained
her own apartment, to consider, ere she made her appearance, what line of
conduct were fittest for her to pursue. The guests, agreeably to her
instructions, were introduced into the room where company was usually
received.




                           CHAPTER THIRTEENTH.


                     --The time was that I hated thee,
                And yet it is not that I bear thee love.
                Thy company, which erst was irksome to me,
                            I will endure--
                But do not look for further recompense.
                                        As You Like It.

Miss Isabella Wardour's complexion was considerably heightened, when,
after the delay necessary to arrange her ideas, she presented herself in
the drawing-room.

"I am glad you are come, my fair foe," said the Antiquary greeting her
with much kindness, "for I have had a most refractory, or at least
negligent auditor, in my young friend here, while I endeavoured to make
him acquainted with the history of Knockwinnock Castle. I think the
danger of last night has mazed the poor lad. But you, Miss Isabel,--why,
you look as if flying through the night air had been your natural and
most congenial occupation; your colour is even better than when you
honoured my _hospitium_ yesterday. And Sir Arthur--how fares my good old
friend?"

"Indifferently well, Mr. Oldbuck; but I am afraid, not quite able to
receive your congratulations, or to pay--to pay--Mr. Lovel his thanks for
his unparalleled exertions."

"I dare say not--A good down pillow for his good white head were more
meet than a couch so churlish as Bessy's-apron, plague on her!"

"I had no thought of intruding," said Lovel, looking upon the ground, and
speaking with hesitation and suppressed emotion; "I did not--did not mean
to intrude upon Sir Arthur or Miss Wardour the presence of one who--who
must necessarily be unwelcome--as associated, I mean, with painful
reflections."

"Do not think my father so unjust and ungrateful," said Miss Wardour. "I
dare say," she continued, participating in Lovel's embarrassment--"I dare
say--I am certain--that my father would be happy to show his gratitude
--in any way--that is, which Mr. Lovel could consider it as proper to
point out."

"Why the deuce," interrupted Oldbuck, "what sort of a qualification is
that?--On my word, it reminds me of our minister, who, choosing, like a
formal old fop as he is, to drink to my sister's inclinations, thought it
necessary to add the saving clause, Provided, madam, they be virtuous.
Come, let us have no more of this nonsense--I dare say Sir Arthur will
bid us welcome on some future day. And what news from the kingdom of
subterranean darkness and airy hope?--What says the swart spirit of the
mine? Has Sir Arthur had any good intelligence of his adventure lately in
Glen-Withershins?"

Miss Wardour shook her head--"But indifferent, I fear, Mr. Oldbuck; but
there lie some specimens which have lately been sent down."

"Ah! my poor dear hundred pounds, which Sir Arthur persuaded me to give
for a share in that hopeful scheme, would have bought a porter's load of
mineralogy--But let me see them."

And so saying, he sat down at the table in the recess, on which the
mineral productions were lying, and proceeded to examine them, grumbling
and pshawing at each which he took up and laid aside.

In the meantime, Lovel, forced as it were by this secession of Oldbuck,
into a sort of tete-a'-tete with Miss Wardour, took an opportunity of
addressing her in a low and interrupted tone of voice. "I trust Miss
Wardour will impute, to circumstances almost irresistible, this intrusion
of a person who has reason to think himself--so unacceptable a visitor."

"Mr. Lovel," answered Miss Wardour, observing the same tone of caution,
"I trust you will not--I am sure you are incapable of abusing the
advantages given to you by the services you have rendered us, which, as
they affect my father, can never be sufficiently acknowledged or repaid.
Could Mr. Lovel see me without his own peace being affected--could he see
me as a friend--as a sister--no man will be--and, from all I have ever
heard of Mr. Lovel, ought to be, more welcome but"--

Oldbuck's anathema against the preposition _but_ was internally echoed by
Lovel. "Forgive me if I interrupt you, Miss Wardour; you need not fear my
intruding upon a subject where I have been already severely repressed;
--but do not add to the severity of repelling my sentiments the rigour of
obliging me to disavow them."

"I am much embarrassed, Mr. Lovel," replied the young lady, "by your--I
would not willingly use a strong word--your romantic and hopeless
pertinacity. It is for yourself I plead, that you would consider the
calls which your country has upon your talents--that you will not waste,
in an idle and fanciful indulgence of an ill-placed predilection, time,
which, well redeemed by active exertion, should lay the foundation of
future distinction. Let me entreat that you would form a manly
resolution"--

"It is enough, Miss Wardour;--I see plainly that"--

"Mr. Lovel, you are hurt--and, believe me, I sympathize in the pain which
I inflict; but can I, in justice to myself, in fairness to you, do
otherwise? Without my father's consent, I never will entertain the
addresses of any one, and how totally impossible it is that he should
countenance the partiality with which you honour me, you are yourself
fully aware; and, indeed"--

"No, Miss Wardour," answered Lovel, in a tone of passionate entreaty; "do
not go farther--is it not enough to crush every hope in our present
relative situation?--do not carry your resolutions farther--why urge what
would be your conduct if Sir Arthur's objections could be removed?"

"It is indeed vain, Mr. Lovel," said Miss Wardour, "because their removal
is impossible; and I only wish, as your friend, and as one who is obliged
to you for her own and her father's life, to entreat you to suppress this
unfortunate attachment--to leave a country which affords no scope for
your talents, and to resume the honourable line of the profession which
you seem to have abandoned."

"Well, Miss Wardour, your wishes shall be obeyed;--have patience with me
one little month, and if, in the course of that space, I cannot show you
such reasons for continuing my residence at Fairport, as even you shall
approve of, I will bid adieu to its vicinity, and, with the same breath,
to all my hopes of happiness."

"Not so, Mr. Lovel; many years of deserved happiness, founded on a more
rational basis than your present wishes, are, I trust, before, you. But
it is full time, to finish this conversation. I cannot force you to adopt
my advice--I cannot shut the door of my father's house against the
preserver of his life and mine; but the sooner Mr. Lovel can teach his
mind to submit to the inevitable disappointment of wishes which have been
so rashly formed, the more highly be will rise in my esteem--and, in the
meanwhile, for his sake as well as mine, he must excuse my putting an
interdict upon conversation on a subject so painful."

A servant at this moment announced that Sir Arthur desired to speak to
Mr. Oldbuck in his dressing-room.

"Let me show you the way," said Miss Wardour, who apparently dreaded a
continuation of her tete-a-tete with Lovel, and she conducted the
Antiquary accordingly to her father's apartment.

Sir Arthur, his legs swathed in flannel, was stretched on the couch.
"Welcome, Mr. Oldbuck," he said; "I trust you have come better off than
I have done from the inclemency of yesterday evening?"

"Truly, Sir Arthur, I was not so much exposed to it--I kept _terra
firma_--you fairly committed yourself to the cold night-air in the most
literal of all senses. But such adventures become a gallant knight better
than a humble esquire,--to rise on the wings of the night-wind--to dive
into the bowels of the earth. What news from our subterranean Good Hope!
--the _terra incognita_ of Glen-Withershins?"

"Nothing good as yet," said the Baronet, turning himself hastily, as if
stung by a pang of the gout; "but Dousterswivel does not despair."

"Does he not?" quoth Oldbuck; "I do though, under his favour. Why, old
Dr. H--n* told me, when I was in Edinburgh, that we should never find
copper enough, judging from the specimens I showed him, to make a pair of
sixpenny knee-buckles--and I cannot see that those samples on the table
below differ much in quality."

* Probably Dr. Hutton, the celebrated geologist.

"The learned doctor is not infallible, I presume?"

"No; but he is one of our first chemists; and this tramping philosopher
of yours--this Dousterswivel--is, I have a notion, one, of those learned
adventurers described by Kirchner, _Artem habent sine arte, partem sine
parte, quorum medium est mentiri, vita eorum mendicatum ire;_ that is to
say, Miss Wardour"--

"It is unnecessary to translate," said Miss Wardour--"I comprehend your
general meaning; but I hope Mr. Dousterswivel will turn out a more
trustworthy character."

"I doubt it not a little," said the Antiquary,--"and we are a foul way
out if we cannot discover this infernal vein that he has prophesied about
these two years."

"_You_ have no great interest in the matter, Mr. Oldbuck," said the
Baronet.

"Too much, too much, Sir Arthur; and yet, for the sake of my fair foe
here, I would consent to lose it all so you had no more on the venture."

There was a painful silence of a few moments, for Sir Arthur was too
proud to acknowledge the downfall of his golden dreams, though he could
no longer disguise to himself that such was likely to be the termination
of the adventure. "I understand," he at length said, "that the young
gentleman, to whose gallantry and presence of mind we were so much
indebted last night, has favoured me with a visit--I am distressed that I
am unable to see him, or indeed any one, but an old friend like you, Mr.
Oldbuck."

A declination of the Antiquary's stiff backbone acknowledged the
preference.

"You made acquaintance with this young gentleman in Edinburgh, I
suppose?"

Oldbuck told the circumstances of their becoming known to each other.

"Why, then, my daughter is an older acquaintance, of Mr. Lovel than you
are," said the Baronet.

"Indeed! I was not aware of that," answered Oldbuck somewhat surprised.

"I met Mr. Lovel," said Isabella, slightly colouring, "when I resided
this last spring with my aunt, Mrs. Wilmot."

"In Yorkshire?--and what character did he bear then, or how was he
engaged?" said Oldbuck,--"and why did not you recognise him when I
introduced you?"

Isabella answered the least difficult question, and passed over the
other--"He had a commission in the army, and had, I believe, served with
reputation; he was much respected, as an amiable and promising young
man."

"And pray, such being the case," replied the Antiquary, not disposed to
take one reply in answer to two distinct questions, "why did you not
speak to the lad at once when you met him at my house? I thought you had
less of the paltry pride of womankind about you, Miss Wardour."

"There was a reason for it," said Sir Arthur with dignity; "you know the
opinions--prejudices, perhaps you will call them--of our house concerning
purity of birth. This young gentleman is, it seems, the illegitimate son
of a man of fortune; my daughter did not choose to renew their
acquaintance till she should know whether I approved of her holding any
intercourse with him."

"If it had been with his mother instead of himself," answered Oldbuck,
with his usual dry causticity of humour, "I could see an excellent reason
for it. Ah, poor lad! that was the cause, then, that he seemed so absent
and confused while I explained to him the reason of the bend of bastardy
upon the shield yonder under the corner turret!"

"True," said the Baronet, with complacency--"it is the shield of Malcolm
the Usurper, as he is called. The tower which he built is termed, after
him, Malcolm's Tower, but more frequently Misticot's Tower, which I
conceive to be a corruption for _Misbegot._ He is denominated, in the
Latin pedigree of our family, _Milcolumbus Nothus;_ and his temporary
seizure of our property, and most unjust attempt to establish his own
illegitimate line in the estate of Knockwinnock, gave rise to such family
feuds and misfortunes, as strongly to found us in that horror and
antipathy to defiled blood and illegitimacy which has been handed down to
me from my respected ancestry."

"I know the story," said Oldbuck, "and I was telling it to Lovel this
moment, with some of the wise maxims and consequences which it has
engrafted on your family politics. Poor fellow! he must have been much
hurt: I took the wavering of his attention for negligence, and was
something piqued at it, and it proves to be only an excess of feeling. I
hope, Sir Arthur, you will not think the less of your life because it has
been preserved by such assistance?"

"Nor the less of my assistant either," said the Baronet; "my doors and
table shall be equally open to him as if he had descended of the most
unblemished lineage."

"Come, I am glad of that--he'll know where he can get a dinner, then, if
he wants one. But what views can he have in this neighbourhood? I must
catechise him; and if I find he wants it--or, indeed, whether he does or
not--he shall have my best advice." As the Antiquary made this liberal
promise, he took his leave of Miss Wardour and her father, eager to
commence operations upon Mr. Lovel. He informed him abruptly that Miss
Wardour sent her compliments, and remained in attendance on her father,
and then, taking him by the arm, he led him out of the castle.

Knockwinnock still preserved much of the external attributes of a
baronial castle. It had its drawbridge, though now never drawn up, and
its dry moat, the sides of which had been planted with shrubs, chiefly of
the evergreen tribes. Above these rose the old building, partly from a
foundation of red rock scarped down to the sea-beach, and partly from the
steep green verge of the moat. The trees of the avenue have been already
mentioned, and many others rose around of large size,--as if to confute
the prejudice that timber cannot be raised near to the ocean. Our walkers
paused, and looked back upon the castle, as they attained the height of a
small knoll, over which lay their homeward road; for it is to be supposed
they did not tempt the risk of the tide by returning along the sands. The
building flung its broad shadow upon the tufted foliage of the shrubs
beneath it, while the front windows sparkled in the sun. They were viewed
by the gazers with very different feelings. Lovel, with the fond
eagerness of that passion which derives its food and nourishment from
trifles, as the chameleon is said to live on the air, or upon the
invisible insects which it contains, endeavoured to conjecture which of
the numerous windows belonged to the apartment now graced by Miss
Wardour's presence. The speculations of the Antiquary were of a more
melancholy cast, and were partly indicated by the ejaculation of _cito
peritura!_ as he turned away from the prospect. Lovel, roused from his
reverie, looked at him as if to inquire the meaning of an exclamation so
ominous. The old man shook his head. "Yes, my young friend," said he, "I
doubt greatly--and it wrings my heart to say it--this ancient family is
going fast to the ground!"

"Indeed!" answered Lovel--"you surprise me greatly."

"We harden ourselves in vain," continued the Antiquary, pursuing his own
train of thought and feeling--"we harden ourselves in vain to treat with
the indifference they deserve, the changes of this trumpery whirligig
world. We strive ineffectually to be the self-sufficing invulnerable
being, the _teres atque rotundus_ of the poet;--the stoical exemption
which philosophy affects to give us over the pains and vexations of human
life, is as imaginary as the state of mystical quietism and perfection
aimed at by some crazy enthusiasts."

"And Heaven forbid that it should be otherwise!" said Lovel, warmly
--"Heaven forbid that any process of philosophy were capable so to sear
and indurate our feelings, that nothing should agitate them but what
arose instantly and immediately out of our own selfish interests! I
would as soon wish my hand to be as callous as horn, that it might
escape an occasional cut or scratch, as I would be ambitious of the
stoicism which should render my heart like a piece of the nether
millstone."

The Antiquary regarded his youthful companion with a look half of pity,
half of sympathy, and shrugged up his shoulders as he replied--"Wait,
young man--wait till your bark has been battered by the storm of sixty
years of mortal vicissitude: you will learn by that time, to reef your
sails, that she may obey the helm;--or, in the language of this world,
you will find distresses enough, endured and to endure, to keep your
feelings and sympathies in full exercise, without concerning yourself
more in the fate of others than you cannot possibly avoid."

"Well, Mr. Oldbuck, it may be so;--but as yet I resemble you more in your
practice than in your theory, for I cannot help being deeply interested
in the fate of the family we have just left."

"And well you may," replied Oldbuck. "Sir Arthur's embarrassments have of
late become so many and so pressing, that I am surprised you have not
heard of them. And then his absurd and expensive operations carried on by
this High-German landlouper, Dousterswivel"--

"I think I have seen that person, when, by some rare chance, I happened
to be in the coffee-room at Fairport;--a tall, beetle-browed,
awkward-built man, who entered upon scientific subjects, as it appeared
to my ignorance at least, with more assurance than knowledge--was very
arbitrary in laying down and asserting his opinions, and mixed the terms
of science with a strange jargon of mysticism. A simple youth whispered
me that he was an _Illumine',_ and carried on an intercourse with the
invisible world."

"O, the same--the same. He has enough of practical knowledge to speak
scholarly and wisely to those of whose intelligence he stands in awe;
and, to say the truth, this faculty, joined to his matchless impudence,
imposed upon me for some time when I first knew him. But I have since
understood, that when he is among fools and womankind, he exhibits
himself as a perfect charlatan--talks of the _magisterium_--of sympathies
and antipathies--of the cabala--of the divining-rod--and all the trumpery
with which the Rosicrucians cheated a darker age, and which, to our
eternal disgrace, has in some degree revived in our own. My friend
Heavysterne know this fellow abroad, and unintentionally (for he, you
must know, is, God bless the mark! a sort of believer) let me into a good
deal of his real character. Ah! were I caliph for a day, as Honest Abon
Hassan wished to be, I would scourge me these jugglers out of the
commonwealth with rods of scorpions. They debauch the spirit of the
ignorant and credulous with mystical trash, as effectually as if they had
besotted their brains with gin, and then pick their pockets with the same
facility. And now has this strolling blackguard and mountebank put the
finishing blow to the ruin of an ancient and honourable family!"

"But how could he impose upon Sir Arthur to any ruinous extent?"

"Why, I don't know. Sir Arthur is a good honourable gentleman; but, as
you may see from his loose ideas concerning the Pikish language, he is by
no means very strong in the understanding. His estate is strictly
entailed, and he has been always an embarrassed man. This rapparee
promised him mountains of wealth, and an English company was found to
advance large sums of money--I fear on Sir Arthur's guarantee. Some
gentlemen--I was ass enough to be one--took small shares in the concern,
and Sir Arthur himself made great outlay; we were trained on by specious
appearances and more specious lies; and now, like John Bunyan, we awake,
and behold it is a dream!"

"I am surprised that you, Mr. Oldbuck, should have encouraged Sir Arthur
by your example."

"Why," said Oldbuck, dropping his large grizzled eyebrow, "I am something
surprised and ashamed at it myself; it was not the lucre of gain--nobody
cares less for money (to be a prudent man) than I do--but I thought I
might risk this small sum. It will be expected (though I am sure I cannot
see why) that I should give something to any one who will be kind enough
to rid me of that slip of womankind, my niece, Mary M'Intyre; and perhaps
it may be thought I should do something to get that jackanapes, her
brother, on in the army. In either case, to treble my venture, would have
helped me out. And besides, I had some idea that the Phoenicians had in
former times wrought copper in that very spot. That cunning scoundrel,
Dousterswivel, found out my blunt side, and brought strange tales (d--n
him) of appearances of old shafts, and vestiges of mining operations,
conducted in a manner quite different from those of modern times; and
I--in short, I was a fool, and there is an end. My loss is not much worth
speaking about; but Sir Arthur's engagements are, I understand, very
deep, and my heart aches for him and the poor young lady who must share
his distress."

Here the conversation paused, until renewed in the next chapter.




                           CHAPTER FOURTEENTH.


              If I may trust the flattering eye of sleep,
              My dreams presage some joyful news at hand:
              My bosom's lord sits lightly on his throne,
                 And all this day, an unaccustomed spirit
              Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
                                    Romeo and Juliet.

The account of Sir Arthur's unhappy adventure had led Oldbuck somewhat
aside from his purpose of catechising Lovel concerning the cause of his
residence at Fairport. He was now, however, resolved to open the subject.
"Miss Wardour was formerly known to you, she tells me, Mr. Lovel?"

"He had had the pleasure," Lovel answered, to see her at Mrs. Wilmot's,
in Yorkshire."

"Indeed! you never mentioned that to me before, and you did not accost
her as an old acquaintance."

"I--I did not know," said Lovel, a good deal embarrassed, "it was the
same lady, till we met; and then it was my duty to wait till she should
recognise me."

"I am aware of your delicacy: the knight's a punctilious old fool, but I
promise you his daughter is above all nonsensical ceremony and prejudice.
And now, since you have, found a new set of friends here, may I ask if
you intend to leave Fairport as soon as you proposed?"

"What if I should answer your question by another," replied Lovel, "and
ask you what is your opinion of dreams?"

"Of dreams, you foolish lad!--why, what should I think of them but as the
deceptions of imagination when reason drops the reins? I know no
difference betwixt them and the hallucinations of madness--the unguided
horses run away with the carriage in both cases, only in the one the
coachman is drunk, and in the other he slumbers. What says our Marcus
Tullius--_Si insanorum visis fides non est habenda, cur credatur
somnientium visis, quae multo etiam perturbatiora sunt, non intelligo._"

"Yes, sir; but Cicero also tells us, that as he who passes the whole day
in darting the javelin must sometimes hit the mark, so, amid the cloud of
nightly dreams, some may occur consonant to future events."

"Ay--that is to say, _you_ have hit the mark in your own sage opinion?
Lord! Lord! how this world is given to folly! Well, I will allow for once
the Oneirocritical science--I will give faith to the exposition of
dreams, and say a Daniel hath arisen to interpret them, if you can prove
to me that that dream of yours has pointed to a prudent line of conduct."

"Tell me, then," answered Lovel, "why when I was hesitating whether to
abandon an enterprise, which I have perhaps rashly undertaken, I should
last night dream I saw your ancestor pointing to a motto which encouraged
me to perseverance?--why should I have thought of those words which I
cannot remember to have heard before, which are in a language unknown to
me, and which yet conveyed, when translated, a lesson which I could so
plainly apply to my own circumstances?"

The Antiquary burst into a fit of laughing. "Excuse me, my young friend
--but it is thus we silly mortals deceive ourselves, and look out of doors
for motives which originate in our own wilful will. I think I can help
out the cause of your vision. You were so abstracted in your
contemplations yesterday after dinner, as to pay little attention to the
discourse between Sir Arthur and me, until we fell upon the controversy
concerning the Piks, which terminated so abruptly;--but I remember
producing to Sir Arthur a book printed by my ancestor, and making him
observe the motto; your mind was bent elsewhere, but your ear had
mechanically received and retained the sounds, and your busy fancy,
stirred by Grizel's legend I presume, had introduced this scrap of German
into your dream. As for the waking wisdom which seized on so frivolous a
circumstance as an apology for persevering in some course which it could
find no better reason to justify, it is exactly one of those juggling
tricks which the sagest of us play off now and then, to gratify our
inclination at the expense of our understanding."

"I own it," said Lovel, blushing deeply;--"I believe you are right, Mr.
Oldbuck, and I ought to sink in your esteem for attaching a moment's
consequence to such a frivolity;--but I was tossed by contradictory
wishes and resolutions, and you know how slight a line will tow a boat
when afloat on the billows, though a cable would hardly move her when
pulled up on the beach."

"Right, right," exclaimed the Antiquary. "Fall in my opinion!--not a
whit--I love thee the better, man;--why, we have story for story against
each other, and I can think with less shame on having exposed myself
about that cursed Praetorium--though I am still convinced Agricola's camp
must have been somewhere in this neighbourhood. And now, Lovel, my good
lad, be sincere with me--What make you from Wittenberg?--why have you
left your own country and professional pursuits, for an idle residence in
such a place as Fairport? A truant disposition, I fear."

"Even so," replied Lovel, patiently submitting to an interrogatory which
he could not well evade. "Yet I am so detached from all the world, have
so few in whom I am interested, or who are interested in me, that my very
state of destitution gives me independence. He whose good or evil fortune
affects himself alone, has the best right to pursue it according to his
own fancy."

"Pardon me, young man," said Oldbuck, laying his hand kindly on his
shoulder, and making a full halt--"_sufflamina_--a little patience, if
you please. I will suppose that you have no friends to share or rejoice
in your success in life--that you cannot look back to those to whom you
owe gratitude, or forward to those to whom you ought to afford
protection; but it is no less incumbent on you to move steadily in the
path of duty--for your active exertions are due not only to society, but
in humble gratitude to the Being who made you a member of it, with powers
to serve yourself and others."

"But I am unconscious of possessing such powers," said Lovel, somewhat
impatiently. "I ask nothing of society but the permission of walking
innoxiously through the path of life, without jostling others, or
permitting myself to be jostled. I owe no man anything--I have the means
of maintaining, myself with complete independence; and so moderate are my
wishes in this respect, that even these means, however limited, rather
exceed than fall short of them."

"Nay, then," said Oldbuck, removing his hand, and turning again to the
road, "if you are so true a philosopher as to think you have money
enough, there's no more to be said--I cannot pretend to be entitled to
advise you;--you have attained the _acme'_--the summit of perfection. And
how came Fairport to be the selected abode of so much self-denying
philosophy? It is as if a worshipper of the true religion had set up his
staff by choice among the multifarious idolaters of the land of Egypt.
There is not a man in Fairport who is not a devoted worshipper of the
Golden Calf--the mammon of unrighteousness. Why, even I, man, am so
infected by the bad neighbourhood, that I feel inclined occasionally to
become an idolater myself."

"My principal amusements being literary," answered Lovel, "and
circumstances which I cannot mention having induced me, for a time at
least, to relinquish the military service, I have pitched on Fairport as
a place where I might follow my pursuits without any of those temptations
to society which a more elegant circle might have presented to me."

"Aha!" replied Oldbuck, knowingly,--"I begin to understand your
application of my ancestor's motto. You are a candidate for public
favour, though not in the way I first suspected,--you are ambitious to
shine as a literary character, and you hope to merit favour by labour and
perseverance?"

Lovel, who was rather closely pressed by the inquisitiveness of the old
gentleman, concluded it would be best to let him remain in the error
which he had gratuitously adopted.

"I have been at times foolish enough," he replied, "to nourish some
thoughts of the kind."

"Ah, poor fellow! nothing can be more melancholy; unless, as young men
sometimes do, you had fancied yourself in love with some trumpery
specimen of womankind, which is indeed, as Shakspeare truly says,
pressing to death, whipping, and hanging all at once."

He then proceeded with inquiries, which he was sometimes kind enough to
answer himself. For this good old gentleman had, from his antiquarian
researches, acquired a delight in building theories out of premises which
were often far from affording sufficient ground for them; and being, as
the reader must have remarked, sufficiently opinionative, he did not
readily brook being corrected, either in matter of fact or judgment, even
by those who were principally interested in the subjects on which he
speculated. He went on, therefore, chalking out Lovel's literary career
for him.

"And with what do you propose to commence your debut as a man of
letters?--But I guess--poetry--poetry--the soft seducer of youth. Yes!
there is an acknowledging modesty of confusion in your eye and manner.
And where lies your vein?--are you inclined to soar to the higher
regions of Parnassus, or to flutter around the base of the hill?"

"I have hitherto attempted only a few lyrical pieces," said Lovel.

"Just as I supposed--pruning your wing, and hopping from spray to spray.
But I trust you intend a bolder flight. Observe, I would by no means
recommend your persevering in this unprofitable pursuit--but you say you
are quite independent of the public caprice?"

"Entirely so," replied Lovel.

"And that you are determined not to adopt a more active course of life?"

"For the present, such is my resolution," replied the young man.

"Why, then, it only remains for me to give you my best advice and
assistance in the object of your pursuit. I have myself published two
essays in the Antiquarian Repository,--and therefore am an author of
experience, There was my Remarks on Hearne's edition of Robert of
Gloucester, signed _Scrutator;_ and the other signed _Indagator,_ upon a
passage in Tacitus. I might add, what attracted considerable notice at
the time, and that is my paper in the Gentleman's Magazine, upon the
inscription of OElia Lelia, which I subscribed _OEdipus._So you see I am
not an apprentice in the mysteries of author-craft, and must necessarily
understand the taste and temper of the times. And now, once more, what do
you intend to commence with?"

"I have no instant thoughts of publishing."

"Ah! that will never do; you must have the fear of the public before your
eyes in all your undertakings. Let us see now: A collection of fugitive
pieces; but no--your fugitive poetry is apt to become stationary with the
bookseller. It should be something at once solid and attractive--none of
your romances or anomalous novelties--I would have you take high ground
at once. Let me see: What think you of a real epic?--the grand
old-fashioned historical poem which moved through twelve or twenty-four
books. We'll have it so--I'll supply you with a subject--The battle
between the Caledonians and Romans--The Caledoniad; or, Invasion
Repelled;--let that be the title--it will suit the present taste, and you
may throw in a touch of the times."

"But the invasion of Agricola was _not_ repelled."

"No; but you are a poet--free of the corporation, and as little bound
down to truth or probability as Virgil himself--You may defeat the Romans
in spite of Tacitus."

"And pitch Agricola's camp at the Kaim of--what do you call it," answered
Lovel, "in defiance of Edie Ochiltree?"

"No more of that, an thou lovest me--And yet, I dare say, ye may
unwittingly speak most correct truth in both instances, in despite of the
_toga_ of the historian and the blue gown of the mendicant."

"Gallantly counselled!--Well, I will do my best--your kindness will
assist me with local information."

"Will I not, man?--why, I will write the critical and historical notes on
each canto, and draw out the plan of the story myself. I pretend to some
poetical genius, Mr. Lovel, only I was never able to write verses."

"It is a pity, sir, that you should have failed in a qualification
somewhat essential to the art."

"Essential?--not a whit--it is the mere mechanical department. A man may
be a poet without measuring spondees and dactyls like the ancients, or
clashing the ends of lines into rhyme like the moderns, as one may be an
architect though unable to labour like a stone-mason--Dost think Palladio
or Vitruvius ever carried a hod?"

"In that case, there should be two authors to each poem--one to think and
plan, another to execute."

"Why, it would not be amiss; at any rate, we'll make the experiment;--not
that I would wish to give my name to the public--assistance from a
learned friend might be acknowledged in the preface after what flourish
your nature will--I am a total stranger to authorial vanity."

Lovel was much entertained by a declaration not very consistent with the
eagerness wherewith his friend seemed to catch at an opportunity of
coming before the public, though in a manner which rather resembled
stepping up behind a carriage than getting into one. The Antiquary was
indeed uncommonly delighted; for, like many other men who spend their
lives in obscure literary research, he had a secret ambition to appear in
print, which was checked by cold fits of diffidence, fear of criticism,
and habits of indolence and procrastination. "But," thought he, "I may,
like a second Teucer, discharge my shafts from behind the shield of my
ally; and, admit that he should not prove to be a first-rate poet, I am
in no shape answerable for his deficiencies, and the good notes may very
probably help off an indifferent text. But he is--he must be a good poet;
he has the real Parnassian abstraction--seldom answers a question till it
is twice repeated--drinks his tea scalding, and eats without knowing what
he is putting into his mouth. This is the real _aestus,_ the _awen_ of
the Welsh bards, the _divinus afflatus_ that transports the poet beyond
the limits of sublunary things. His visions, too, are very symptomatical
of poetic fury--I must recollect to send Caxon to see he puts out his
candle to-night--poets and visionaries are apt to be negligent in that
respect." Then, turning to his companion, he expressed himself aloud in
continuation--

"Yes, my dear Lovel, you shall have full notes; and, indeed, think we may
introduce the whole of the Essay on Castrametation into the appendix--it
will give great value to the work. Then we will revive the good old forms
so disgracefully neglected in modern times. You shall invoke the Muse
--and certainly she ought to be propitious to an author who, in an
apostatizing age, adheres with the faith of Abdiel to the ancient form of
adoration.--Then we must have a vision--in which the Genius of Caledonia
shall appear to Galgacus, and show him a procession of the real Scottish
monarchs:--and in the notes I will have a hit at Boethius--No; I must not
touch that topic, now that Sir Arthur is likely to have vexation enough
besides--but I'll annihilate Ossian, Macpherson, and Mac-Cribb."

"But we must consider the expense of publication," said Lovel, willing to
try whether this hint would fall like cold water on the blazing zeal of
his self-elected coadjutor.

"Expense!" said Mr. Oldbuck, pausing, and mechanically fumbling in his
pocket--"that is true;--I would wish to do something--but you would not
like to publish by subscription?"

"By no means," answered Lovel.

"No, no!" gladly acquiesced the Antiquary--"it is not respectable. I'll
tell you what: I believe I know a bookseller who has a value for my
opinion, and will risk print and paper, and I will get as many copies
sold for you as I can."

"O, I am no mercenary author," answered Lovel, smiling; "I only wish to
be out of risk of loss."

"Hush! hush! we'll take care of that--throw it all on the publishers. I
do long to see your labours commenced. You will choose blank verse,
doubtless?--it is more grand and magnificent for an historical subject;
and, what concerneth you, my friend, it is, I have an idea, more easily
written."

This conversation brought them to Monkbarns, where the Antiquary had to
undergo a chiding from his sister, who, though no philosopher, was
waiting to deliver a lecture to him in the portico. "Guide us, Monkbarns!
are things no dear eneugh already, but ye maun be raising the very fish
on us, by giving that randy, Luckie Mucklebackit, just what she likes to
ask?"

"Why, Grizel," said the sage, somewhat abashed at this unexpected attack,
"I thought I made a very fair bargain."

"A fair bargain! when ye gied the limmer a full half o' what she seekit!
--An ye will be a wife-carle, and buy fish at your ain hands, ye suld
never bid muckle mair than a quarter. And the impudent quean had the
assurance to come up and seek a dram--But I trow, Jenny and I sorted
her!"

"Truly," said Oldbuck (with a sly look to his companion), "I think our
estate was gracious that kept us out of hearing of that controversy.
--Well, well, Grizel, I was wrong for once in my life _ultra crepidam_
--I fairly admit. But hang expenses!--care killed a cat--we'll eat the
fish, cost what it will.--And then, Lovel, you must know I pressed you
to stay here to-day, the rather because our cheer will be better than
usual, yesterday having been a gaude' day--I love the reversion of a
feast better than the feast itself. I delight in the _analecta,_ the
_collectanea,_ as I may call them, of the preceding day's dinner, which
appear on such occasions--And see, there is Jenny going to ring the
dinner-bell."




                           CHAPTER FIFTEENTH.


        Be this letter delivered with haste--haste--post-haste!
        Ride, villain, ride,--for thy life--for thy life--for thy life.
                  Ancient Indorsation of Letters of Importance.

Leaving Mr. Oldbuck and his friend to enjoy their hard bargain of fish,
we beg leave to transport the reader to the back-parlour of the
post-master's house at Fairport, where his wife, he himself being absent,
was employed in assorting for delivery the letters which had come by the
Edinburgh post. This is very often in country towns the period of the day
when gossips find it particularly agreeable to call on the man or woman
of letters, in order, from the outside of the epistles, and, if they are
not belied, occasionally from the inside also, to amuse themselves with
gleaning information, or forming conjectures about the correspondence and
affairs of their neighbours. Two females of this description were, at the
time we mention, assisting, or impeding, Mrs. Mailsetter in her official
duty.

"Eh, preserve us, sirs!" said the butcher's wife, "there's ten--eleven
--twall letters to Tennant and Co.--thae folk do mair business than a'
the rest o' the burgh."

"Ay; but see, lass," answered the baker's lady, "there's twa o' them
faulded unco square, and sealed at the tae side--I doubt there will be
protested bills in them."

"Is there ony letters come yet for Jenny Caxon?" inquired the woman of
joints and giblets; "the lieutenant's been awa three weeks."

"Just ane on Tuesday was a week," answered the dame of letters.

"Wast a ship-letter?" asked the Fornerina.

"In troth wast."

"It wad be frae the lieutenant then," replied the mistress of the rolls,
somewhat disappointed--"I never thought he wad hae lookit ower his
shouther after her."

"Od, here's another," quoth Mrs. Mailsetter. "A ship-letter--post-mark,
Sunderland." All rushed to seize it.--"Na, na, leddies," said Mrs.
Mailsetter, interfering; "I hae had eneugh o' that wark--Ken ye that Mr.
Mailsetter got an unco rebuke frae the secretary at Edinburgh, for a
complaint that was made about the letter of Aily Bisset's that ye opened,
Mrs. Shortcake?"

"Me opened!" answered the spouse of the chief baker of Fairport; "ye ken
yoursell, madam, it just cam open o' free will in my hand--what could I
help it?--folk suld seal wi' better wax."

"Weel I wot that's true, too," said Mrs. Mailsetter, who kept a shop of
small wares, "and we have got some that I can honestly recommend, if ye
ken onybody wanting it. But the short and the lang o't is, that we'll
lose the place gin there's ony mair complaints o' the kind."

"Hout, lass--the provost will take care o' that."

"Na, na, I'll neither trust to provost nor bailier" said the
postmistress,--"but I wad aye be obliging and neighbourly, and I'm no
again your looking at the outside of a letter neither--See, the seal has
an anchor on't--he's done't wi' ane o' his buttons, I'm thinking."

"Show me! show me!" quoth the wives of the chief butcher and chief baker;
and threw themselves on the supposed love-letter, like the weird sisters
in Macbeth upon the pilot's thumb, with curiosity as eager and scarcely
less malignant. Mrs. Heukbane was a tall woman--she held the precious
epistle up between her eyes and the window. Mrs. Shortcake, a little
squat personage, strained and stood on tiptoe to have her share of the
investigation.

"Ay, it's frae him, sure eneugh," said the butcher's lady;--"I can read
Richard Taffril on the corner, and it's written, like John Thomson's
wallet, frae end to end."

"Haud it lower down, madam," exclaimed Mrs. Shortcake, in a tone above
the prudential whisper which their occupation required--"haud it lower
down--Div ye think naebody can read hand o' writ but yoursell?"

"Whist, whist, sirs, for God's sake!" said Mrs. Mailsetter, "there's
somebody in the shop,"--then aloud--"Look to the customers, Baby!"--Baby
answered from without in a shrill tone--"It's naebody but Jenny Caxon,
ma'am, to see if there's ony letters to her."

"Tell her," said the faithful postmistress, winking to her compeers, "to
come back the morn at ten o'clock, and I'll let her ken--we havena had
time to sort the mail letters yet--she's aye in sic a hurry, as if her
letters were o' mair consequence than the best merchant's o' the town."

Poor Jenny, a girl of uncommon beauty and modesty, could only draw her
cloak about her to hide the sigh of disappointment and return meekly home
to endure for another night the sickness of the heart occasioned by hope
delayed.

"There's something about a needle and a pole," said Mrs. Shortcake, to
whom her taller rival in gossiping had at length yielded a peep at the
subject of their curiosity.

"Now, that's downright shamefu'," said Mrs. Heukbane, "to scorn the poor
silly gait of a lassie after he's keepit company wi' her sae lang, and
had his will o' her, as I make nae doubt he has."

"It's but ower muckle to be doubted," echoed Mrs. Shortcake;--"to cast up
to her that her father's a barber and has a pole at his door, and that
she's but a manty-maker hersell! Hout fy for shame!"

"Hout tout, leddies," cried Mrs. Mailsetter, "ye're clean wrang--It's a
line out o' ane o' his sailors' sangs that I have heard him sing, about
being true like the needle to the pole."

"Weel, weel, I wish it may be sae," said the charitable Dame Heukbane,
--"but it disna look weel for a lassie like her to keep up a
correspondence wi' ane o' the king's officers."

"I'm no denying that," said Mrs. Mailsetter; "but it's a great advantage
to the revenue of the post-office thae love-letters. See, here's five or
six letters to Sir Arthur Wardour--maist o' them sealed wi' wafers, and
no wi' wax. There will be a downcome, there, believe me."

"Ay; they will be business letters, and no frae ony o' his grand friends,
that seals wi' their coats of arms, as they ca' them," said Mrs.
Heukbane;--"pride will hae a fa'--he hasna settled his account wi' my
gudeman, the deacon, for this twalmonth--he's but slink, I doubt."

"Nor wi' huz for sax months," echoed Mrs. Shortcake--"He's but a brunt
crust."

"There's a letter," interrupted the trusty postmistress, "from his son,
the captain, I'm thinking--the seal has the same things wi' the
Knockwinnock carriage. He'll be coming hame to see what he can save out
o' the fire."

The baronet thus dismissed, they took up the esquire--"Twa letters for
Monkbarns--they're frae some o' his learned friends now; see sae close as
they're written, down to the very seal--and a' to save sending a double
letter--that's just like Monkbarns himsell. When he gets a frank he fills
it up exact to the weight of an unce, that a carvy-seed would sink the
scale--but he's neer a grain abune it. Weel I wot I wad be broken if I
were to gie sic weight to the folk that come to buy our pepper and
brimstone, and suchlike sweetmeats."

"He's a shabby body the laird o' Monkbarns," said Mrs. Heukbane; "he'll
make as muckle about buying a forequarter o' lamb in August as about a
back sey o' beef. Let's taste another drop of the sinning" (perhaps she
meant _cinnamon_) "waters, Mrs. Mailsetter, my dear. Ah, lasses! an ye
had kend his brother as I did--mony a time he wad slip in to see me wi' a
brace o' wild deukes in his pouch, when my first gudeman was awa at the
Falkirk tryst--weel, weel--we'se no speak o' that e'enow."

"I winna say ony ill o'this Monkbarns," said Mrs. Shortcake; "his brother
neer brought me ony wild-deukes, and this is a douce honest man; we serve
the family wi' bread, and he settles wi' huz ilka week--only he was in an
unco kippage when we sent him a book instead o' the _nick-sticks,_*
whilk, he said, were the true ancient way o' counting between tradesmen
and customers; and sae they are, nae doubt."

* Note E. Nick-sticks.

"But look here, lasses," interrupted Mrs. Mailsetter, "here's a sight for
sair e'en! What wad ye gie to ken what's in the inside o' this letter?
This is new corn--I haena seen the like o' this--For William Lovel,
Esquire, at Mrs. Hadoway's, High Street, Fairport, by Edinburgh, N. B.
This is just the second letter he has had since he was here."

"Lord's sake, let's see, lass!--Lord's sake, let's see!--that's him that
the hale town kens naething about--and a weel-fa'ard lad he is; let's
see, let's see!" Thus ejaculated the two worthy representatives of mother
Eve.

"Na, na, sirs," exclaimed Mrs. Mailsetter; "haud awa--bide aff, I tell
you; this is nane o' your fourpenny cuts that we might make up the value
to the post-office amang ourselves if ony mischance befell it;--the
postage is five-and-twenty shillings--and here's an order frae the
Secretary to forward it to the young gentleman by express, if he's no at
hame. Na, na, sirs, bide aff;--this maunna be roughly guided."

"But just let's look at the outside o't, woman."

Nothing could be gathered from the outside, except remarks on the various
properties which philosophers ascribe to matter,--length, breadth, depth,
and weight, The packet was composed of strong thick paper, imperviable by
the curious eyes of the gossips, though they stared as if they would
burst from their sockets. The seal was a deep and well-cut impression of
arms, which defied all tampering.

"Od, lass," said Mrs. Shortcake, weighing it in her hand, and wishing,
doubtless, that the too, too solid wax would melt and dissolve itself, "I
wad like to ken what's in the inside o' this, for that Lovel dings a'
that ever set foot on the plainstanes o' Fairport--naebody kens what to
make o' him."

"Weel, weel, leddies," said the postmistress, "we'se sit down and crack
about it.--Baby, bring ben the tea-water--Muckle obliged to ye for your
cookies, Mrs. Shortcake--and we'll steek the shop, and cry ben Baby, and
take a hand at the cartes till the gudeman comes hame--and then we'll try
your braw veal sweetbread that ye were so kind as send me, Mrs.
Heukbane."

"But winna ye first send awa Mr. Lovel's letter?" said Mrs. Heukbane.

"Troth I kenna wha to send wi't till the gudeman comes hame, for auld
Caxon tell'd me that Mr. Lovel stays a' the day at Monkbarns--he's in a
high fever, wi' pu'ing the laird and Sir Arthur out o' the sea."

"Silly auld doited carles!" said Mrs. Shortcake; "what gar'd them gang to
the douking in a night like yestreen!"

"I was gi'en to understand it was auld Edie that saved them," said Mrs.
Heukbane--"Edie Ochiltree, the Blue-Gown, ye ken; and that he pu'd the
hale three out of the auld fish-pound, for Monkbarns had threepit on them
to gang in till't to see the wark o' the monks lang syne."

"Hout, lass, nonsense!" answered the postmistress; "I'll tell ye, a'
about it, as Caxon tell'd it to me. Ye see, Sir Arthur and Miss Wardour,
and Mr. Lovel, suld hae dined at Monkbarns"--

"But, Mrs. Mailsetter," again interrupted Mrs. Heukbane, "will ye no be
for sending awa this letter by express?--there's our powny and our
callant hae gane express for the office or now, and the powny hasna gane
abune thirty mile the day;--Jock was sorting him up as I came ower by."

"Why, Mrs. Heukbane," said the woman of letters, pursing up her mouth,
"ye ken my gudeman likes to ride the expresses himsell--we maun gie our
ain fish-guts to our ain sea-maws--it's a red half-guinea to him every
time he munts his mear; and I dare say he'll be in sune--or I dare to
say, it's the same thing whether the gentleman gets the express this
night or early next morning."

"Only that Mr. Lovel will be in town before the express gaes aff," said
Mrs. Heukbane; "and where are ye then, lass? But ye ken yere ain ways
best."

"Weel, weel, Mrs. Heukbane," answered Mrs. Mailsetter, a little out of
humour, and even out of countenance, "I am sure I am never against being
neighbour-like, and living and letting live, as they say; and since I hae
been sic a fule as to show you the post-office order--ou, nae doubt, it
maun be obeyed. But I'll no need your callant, mony thanks to ye--I'll
send little Davie on your powny, and that will be just five-and-
threepence to ilka ane o' us, ye ken."

"Davie! the Lord help ye, the bairn's no ten year auld; and, to be plain
wi' ye, our powny reists a bit, and it's dooms sweer to the road, and
naebody can manage him but our Jock."

"I'm sorry for that," answered the postmistress, gravely; "it's like we
maun wait then till the gudeman comes hame, after a'--for I wadna like to
be responsible in trusting the letter to sic a callant as Jock--our Davie
belangs in a manner to the office."

"Aweel, aweel, Mrs. Mailsetter, I see what ye wad be at--but an ye like
to risk the bairn, I'll risk the beast."

Orders were accordingly given. The unwilling pony was brought out of his
bed of straw, and again equipped for service--Davie (a leathern post-bag
strapped across his shoulders) was perched upon the saddle, with a tear
in his eye, and a switch in his hand. Jock good-naturedly led the animal
out of town, and, by the crack of his whip, and the whoop and halloo of
his too well-known voice, compelled it to take the road towards
Monkbarns.

Meanwhile the gossips, like the sibyls after consulting their leaves,
arranged and combined the information of the evening, which flew next
morning through a hundred channels, and in a hundred varieties, through
the world of Fairport. Many, strange, and inconsistent, were the rumours
to which their communications and conjectures gave rise. Some said
Tennant and Co. were broken, and that all their bills had come back
protested--others that they had got a great contract from Government, and
letters from the principal merchants at Glasgow, desiring to have shares
upon a premium. One report stated, that Lieutenant Taffril had
acknowledged a private marriage with Jenny Caxon--another, that he had
sent her a letter upbraiding her with the lowness of her birth and
education, and bidding her an eternal adieu. It was generally rumoured
that Sir Arthur Wardour's affairs had fallen into irretrievable
confusion, and this report was only doubted by the wise, because it was
traced to Mrs. Mailsetter's shop,--a source more famous for the
circulation of news than for their accuracy. But all agreed that a packet
from the Secretary of State's office, had arrived, directed for Mr.
Lovel, and that it had been forwarded by an orderly dragoon, despatched
from the head-quarters at Edinburgh, who had galloped through Fairport
without stopping, except just to inquire the way to Monkbarns. The reason
of such an extraordinary mission to a very peaceful and retired
individual, was variously explained. Some said Lovel was an emigrant
noble, summoned to head an insurrection that had broken out in La
Vende'e--others that he was a spy--others that he was a general officer,
who was visiting the coast privately--others that he was a prince of the
blood, who was travelling _incognito._

Meanwhile the progress of the packet which occasioned so much
speculation, towards its destined owner at Monkbarns, had been perilous
and interrupted. The bearer, Davie Mailsetter, as little resembling a
bold dragoon as could well be imagined, was carried onwards towards
Monkbarns by the pony, so long as the animal had in his recollection the
crack of his usual instrument of chastisement, and the shout of the
butcher's boy. But feeling how Davie, whose short legs were unequal to
maintain his balance, swung to and fro upon his back, the pony began to
disdain furthur compliance with the intimations he had received. First,
then, he slackened his pace to a walk This was no point of quarrel
between him and his rider, who had been considerably discomposed by the
rapidity of his former motion, and who now took the opportunity of his
abated pace to gnaw a piece of gingerbread, which had been thrust into
his hand by his mother in order to reconcile this youthful emissary of
the post-office to the discharge of his duty. By and by, the crafty pony
availed himself of this surcease of discipline to twitch the rein out of
Davies hands, and applied himself to browse on the grass by the side of
the lane. Sorely astounded by these symptoms of self-willed rebellion,
and afraid alike to sit or to fall, poor Davie lifted up his voice and
wept aloud. The pony, hearing this pudder over his head, began apparently
to think it would be best both for himself and Davie to return from
whence they came, and accordingly commenced a retrograde movement towards
Fairport. But, as all retreats are apt to end in utter rout, so the
steed, alarmed by the boy's cries, and by the flapping of the reins,
which dangled about his forefeet--finding also his nose turned homeward,
began to set off at a rate which, if Davie kept the saddle (a matter
extremely dubious), would soon have presented him at Heukbane's
stable-door,--when, at a turn of the road, an intervening auxiliary, in
the shape of old Edie Ochiltree, caught hold of the rein, and stopped his
farther proceeding. "Wha's aught ye, callant? whaten a gate's that to
ride?"

"I canna help it!" blubbered the express; "they ca' me little Davie."

"And where are ye gaun?"

"I'm gaun to Monkbarns wi' a letter."

"Stirra, this is no the road to Monkbarns."

But Davie could oinly answer the expostulation with sighs and tears.

Old Edie was easily moved to compassion where childhood was in the
case.--"I wasna gaun that gate," he thought, "but it's the best o' my
way o' life that I canna be weel out o' my road. They'll gie me quarters
at Monkbarns readily eneugh, and I'll e'en hirple awa there wi' the
wean, for it will knock its hams out, puir thing, if there's no somebody
to guide the pony.--Sae ye hae a letter, hinney? will ye let me see't?"

"I'm no gaun to let naebody see the letter," sobbed the boy, "till I
gie't to Mr. Lovel, for I am a faithfu' servant o' the office--if it
werena for the powny."

"Very right, my little man," said Ochiltree, turning the reluctant pony's
head towards Monkbarns; "but we'll guide him atween us, if he's no a' the
sweerer."

Upon the very height of Kinprunes, to which Monkbarns had invited Lovel
after their dinner, the Antiquary, again reconciled to the once degraded
spot, was expatiating upon the topics the scenery afforded for a
description of Agricola's camp at the dawn of morning, when his eye was
caught by the appearance of the mendicant and his protegee. "What the
devil!--here comes Old Edie, bag and baggage, I think."

The beggar explained his errand, and Davie, who insisted upon a literal
execution of his commission by going on to Monkbarns, was with difficulty
prevailed upon to surrender the packet to its proper owner, although he
met him a mile nearer than the place he had been directed to. "But my
minnie said, I maun be sure to get twenty shillings and five shillings
for the postage, and ten shillings and sixpence for the express--there's
the paper."

"Let me see--let me see," said Oldbuck, putting on his spectacles, and
examining the crumpled copy of regulations to which Davie
appealed. "Express, per man and horse, one day, not to exceed ten
shillings and sixpence. One day? why, it's not an hour--Man and horse?
why, 'tis a monkey on a starved cat!"

"Father wad hae come himsell," said Davie, "on the muckle red mear, an ye
wad hae bidden till the morn's night."

"Four-and-twenty hours after the regular date of delivery! You little
cockatrice egg, do you understand the art of imposition so early?"

"Hout Monkbarns! dinna set your wit against a bairn," said the beggar;
"mind the butcher risked his beast, and the wife her wean, and I am sure
ten and sixpence isna ower muckle. Ye didna gang sae near wi' Johnnie
Howie, when"--

Lovel, who, sitting on the supposed _Praetorium,_ had glanced over the
contents of the packet, now put an end to the altercation by paying
Davies demand; and then turning to Mr. Oldbuck, with a look of much
agitation, he excused himself from returning with him to Monkbarns' that
evening.--"I must instantly go to Fairport, and perhaps leave it on a
moment's notice;--your kindness, Mr. Oldbuck, I can never forget."

"No bad news, I hope?" said the Antiquary.

"Of a very chequered complexion," answered his friend. "Farewell--in good
or bad fortune I will not forget your regard."

"Nay, nay--stop a moment. If--if--" (making an effort)--"if there be any
pecuniary inconvenience--I have fifty--or a hundred guineas at your
service--till--till Whitsunday--or indeed as long as you please."

"I am much obliged, Mr. Oldbuck, but I am amply provided," said his
mysterious young friend. "Excuse me--I really cannot sustain further
conversation at present. I will write or see you, before I leave
Fairport--that is, if I find myself obliged to go."

So saying, he shook the Antiquary's hand warmly, turned from him, and
walked rapidly towards the town, "staying no longer question."

"Very extraordinary indeed!" said Oldbuck;--"but there's something about
this lad I can never fathom; and yet I cannot for my heart think ill of
him neither. I must go home and take off the fire in the Green Room, for
none of my womankind will venture into it after twilight."

"And how am I to win hame?" blubbered the disconsolate express.

"It's a fine night," said the Blue-Gown, looking up to the skies; "I had
as gude gang back to the town, and take care o' the wean."

"Do so, do so, Edie;" and rummaging for some time in his huge waistcoat
pocket till he found the object of his search, the Antiquary added,
"there's sixpence to ye to buy sneeshin."





                           CHAPTER SIXTEENTH.

     "I am bewitched with the rogue's company. If the rascal has not
     given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged; it could
     not be else. I have drunk medicines."
                            Second Part of Henry IV.

Regular for a fortnight were the inquiries of the Antiquary at the
veteran Caxon, whether he had heard what Mr. Lovel was about; and as
regular were Caxon's answers, "that the town could learn naething about
him whatever, except that he had received anither muckle letter or twa
frae the south, and that he was never seen on the plainstanes at a'."

"How does he live, Caxon?"

"Ou, Mrs. Hadoway just dresses him a beefsteak or a muttonchop, or makes
him some Friar's chicken, or just what she likes hersell, and he eats it
in the little red parlour off his bedroom. She canna get him to say that
he likes ae thing better than anither; and she makes him tea in a
morning, and he settles honourably wi' her every week."

"But does he never stir abroad?"

"He has clean gi'en up walking, and he sits a' day in his room reading or
writing; a hantle letters he has written, but he wadna put them into our
post-house, though Mrs. Hadoway offered to carry them hersell, but sent
them a' under ae cover to the sheriff; and it's Mrs. Mailsetter's belief,
that the sheriff sent his groom to put them into the post-office at
Tannonburgh; it's my puir thought, that he jaloused their looking into
his letters at Fairport; and weel had he need, for my puir daughter
Jenny"--

"Tut, don't plague me with your womankind, Caxon. About this poor young
lad.--Does he write nothing but letters?"

"Ou, ay--hale sheets o' other things, Mrs. Hadoway says. She wishes
muckle he could be gotten to take a walk; she thinks he's but looking
very puirly, and his appetite's clean gane; but he'll no hear o' ganging
ower the door-stane--him that used to walk sae muckle too."

"That's wrong--I have a guess what he's busy about; but he must not work
too hard neither. I'll go and see him this very day--he's deep,
doubtless, in the Caledoniad."

Having formed this manful resolution, Mr. Oldbuck equipped himself for
the expedition with his thick walking-shoes and gold-headed cane,
muttering the while the words of Falstaff which we have chosen for the
motto of this chapter; for the Antiquary was himself rather surprised at
the degree of attachment which he could not but acknowledge be
entertained for this stranger. The riddle was notwithstanding easily
solved. Lovel had many attractive qualities, but he won our Antiquary's
heart by being on most occasions an excellent listener.

A walk to Fairport had become somewhat of an adventure with Mr. Oldbuck,
and one which he did not often care to undertake. He hated greetings in
the market-place; and there were generally loiterers in the streets to
persecute him, either about the news of the day, or about some petty
pieces of business. So, on this occasion, he had no sooner entered the
streets of Fairport, than it was "Good-morrow, Mr. Oldbuck--a sight o'
you's gude, for sair een: what d'ye think of the news in the Sun the
day?--they say the great attempt will be made in a fortnight."

"I wish to the Lord it were made and over, that I might hear no more
about it."

"Monkbarns, your honour," said the nursery and seedsman, "I hope the
plants gied satisfaction?--and if ye wanted ony flower-roots fresh frae
Holland, or" (this in a lower key) "an anker or twa o' Cologne gin, ane
o' our brigs cam in yestreen."

"Thank ye, thank ye,--no occasion at present, Mr. Crabtree," said the
Antiquary, pushing resolutely onward.

"Mr. Oldbuck," said the town-clerk (a more important person, who came in
front and ventured to stop the old gentleman), "the provost,
understanding you were in town, begs on no account that you'll quit it
without seeing him; he wants to speak to ye about bringing the water frae
the Fairwell-spring through a part o' your lands."

"What the deuce!--have they nobody's land but mine to cut and carve on?
--I won't consent, tell them."

"And the provost," said the clerk, going on, without noticing the rebuff,
"and the council, wad be agreeable that you should hae the auld stones at
Donagild's chapel, that ye was wussing to hae."

"Eh!--what?--Oho! that's another story--Well, well, I'll call upon the
provost, and we'll talk about it."

"But ye maun speak your mind on't forthwith, Monkbarns, if ye want the
stones; for Deacon Harlewalls thinks the carved through-stanes might be
put with advantage on the front of the new council-house--that is, the
twa cross-legged figures that the callants used to ca' Robin and Bobbin,
ane on ilka door-cheek; and the other stane, that they ca'd Ailie Dailie,
abune the door. It will be very tastefu', the Deacon says, and just in
the style of modern Gothic."

"Lord deliver me from this Gothic generation!" exclaimed the Antiquary,
--"A monument of a knight-templar on each side of a Grecian porch, and a
Madonna on the top of it!--_O crimini!_--Well, tell the provost I wish to
have the stones, and we'll not differ about the water-course. It's lucky
I happened to come this way to-day."

They parted mutually satisfied; but the wily clerk had most reason to
exult in the dexterity he had displayed, since the whole proposal of an
exchange between the monuments (which the council had determined to
remove as a nuisance, because they encroached three feet upon the public
road), and the privilege of conveying the water to the burgh through the
estate of Monkbarns, was an idea which had originated with himself upon
the pressure of the moment.

Through these various entanglements, Monkbarns (to use the phrase by
which he was distinguished in the country) made his way at length to Mrs.
Hadoway's. This good woman was the widow of a late clergyman at Fairport,
who had been reduced by her husband's untimely death, to that state of
straitened and embarrassed circumstances in which the widows of the
Scotch clergy are too often found. The tenement which she occupied, and
the furniture of which she was possessed, gave her the means of letting a
part of her house; and as Lovel had been a quiet, regular, and profitable
lodger, and had qualified the necessary intercourse which they had
together with a great deal of gentleness and courtesy, Mrs. Hadoway, not,
perhaps, much used to such kindly treatment, had become greatly attached
to her lodger, and was profuse in every sort of personal attention which
circumstances permitted her to render him. To cook a dish somewhat better
than ordinary for "the poor young gentleman's dinner;" to exert her
interest with those who remembered her husband, or loved her for her own
sake and his, in order to procure scarce vegetables, or something which
her simplicity supposed might tempt her lodger's appetite, was a labour
in which she delighted, although she anxiously concealed it from the
person who was its object. She did not adopt this secrecy of benevolence
to avoid the laugh of those who might suppose that an oval face and dark
eyes, with a clear brown complexion, though belonging to a woman of
five-and-forty, and enclosed within a widow's close-drawn pinners, might
possibly still aim at making conquests; for, to say truth, such a
ridiculous suspicion having never entered into her own head, she could
not anticipate its having birth in that of any one else. But she
concealed her attentions solely out of delicacy to her guest, whose power
of repaying them she doubted as much as she believed in his inclination
to do so, and in his being likely to feel extreme pain at leaving any of
her civilities unrequited. She now opened the door to Mr. Oldbuck, and
her surprise at seeing him brought tears into her eyes, which she could
hardly restrain.

"I am glad to see you, sir--I am very glad to see you. My poor gentleman
is, I am afraid, very unwell; and oh, Mr. Oldbuck, he'll see neither
doctor, nor minister, nor writer! And think what it would be, if, as my
poor Mr. Hadoway used to say, a man was to die without advice of the
three learned faculties!"

"Greatly better than with them," grumbled the cynical Antiquary. "I tell
you, Mrs. Hadoway, the clergy live by our sins, the medical faculty by
our diseases, and the law gentry by our misfortunes."

"O fie, Monkbarns!--to hear the like o' that frae you!--But yell walk up
and see the poor young lad?--Hegh sirs? sae young and weel-favoured--and
day by day he has eat less and less, and now he hardly touches onything,
only just pits a bit on the plate to make fashion--and his poor cheek
has turned every day thinner and paler, sae that he now really looks as
auld as me, that might be his mother--no that I might be just that
neither, but something very near it."

"Why does he not take some exercise?" said Oldbuck.

"I think we have persuaded him to do that, for he has bought a horse from
Gibbie Golightly, the galloping groom. A gude judge o' horse-flesh Gibbie
tauld our lass that he was--for he offered him a beast he thought wad
answer him weel eneugh, as he was a bookish man, but Mr. Lovel wadna look
at it, and bought ane might serve the Master o' Morphie--they keep it at
the Graeme's Arms, ower the street;--and he rode out yesterday morning
and this morning before breakfast--But winna ye walk up to his room?"

"Presently, presently. But has he no visitors?"

"O dear, Mr. Oldbuck, not ane; if he wadna receive them when he was weel
and sprightly, what chance is there of onybody in Fairport looking in
upon him now?"

"Ay, ay, very true,--I should have been surprised had it been otherwise
--Come, show me up stairs, Mrs. Hadoway, lest I make a blunder, and go
where I should not."

The good landlady showed Mr. Oldbuck up her narrow staircase, warning him
of every turn, and lamenting all the while that he was laid under the
necessity of mounting up so high. At length she gently tapped at the door
of her guest's parlour. "Come in," said Lovel; and Mrs. Hadoway ushered
in the Laird of Monkbarns.

The little apartment was neat and clean, and decently furnished
--ornamented, too, by such relics of her youthful arts of sempstress
--ship as Mrs. Hadoway had retained; but it was close, overheated, and,
as it appeared to Oldbuck, an unwholesome situation for a young person in
delicate health,--an observation which ripened his resolution touching a
project that had already occurred to him in Lovel's behalf. With a
writing-table before him, on which lay a quantity of books and papers,
Lovel was seated on a couch, in his night-gown and slippers. Oldbuck was
shocked at the change which had taken place in his personal appearance.
His cheek and brow had assumed a ghastly white, except where a round
bright spot of hectic red formed a strong and painful contrast, totally
different from the general cast of hale and hardy complexion which had
formerly overspread and somewhat embrowned his countenance. Oldbuck
observed, that the dress he wore belonged to a deep mourning suit, and a
coat of the same colour hung on a chair near to him. As the Antiquary
entered, Lovel arose and came forward to welcome him.

"This is very kind," he said, shaking him by the hand, and thanking him
warmly for his visit--"this is very kind, and has anticipated a visit
with which I intended to trouble you. You must know I have become a
horseman lately."

"I understand as much from Mrs. Hadoway--I only hope, my good young
friend, you have been fortunate in a quiet horse. I myself inadvertently
bought one from the said Gibbie Golightly, which brute ran two miles on
end with me after a pack of hounds, with which I had no more to do than
the last year's snow; and after affording infinite amusement, I suppose,
to the whole hunting field, he was so good as to deposit me in a dry
ditch--I hope yours is a more peaceful beast?"

"I hope, at least, we shall make our excursions on a better plan of
mutual understanding."

"That is to say, you think yourself a good horseman?"

"I would not willingly," answered Lovel, "confess myself a very bad one."

"No--all you young fellows think that would be equal to calling
yourselves tailors at once--But have you had experience? for, _crede
experto,_ a horse in a passion is no joker."

"Why, I should be sorry to boast myself as a great horseman; but when I
acted as aide-de-camp to Sir----in the cavalry action at--, last year, I
saw many better cavaliers than myself dismounted."

"Ah! you have looked in the face of the grisly god of arms then?--you are
acquainted with the frowns of Mars armipotent? That experience fills up
the measure of your qualifications for the epopea! The Britons, however,
you will remember, fought in chariots--_covinarii_ is the phrase of
Tacitus;--you recollect the fine description of their dashing among the
Roman infantry, although the historian tells us how ill the rugged face
of the ground was calculated for equestrian combat; and truly, upon the
whole, what sort of chariots could be driven in Scotland anywhere but on
turnpike roads, has been to me always matter of amazement. And well now
--has the Muse visited you?--have you got anything to show me?"

"My time," said Lovel, with a glance at his black dress, "has been less
pleasantly employed."

"The death of a friend?" said the Antiquary.

"Yes, Mr. Oldbuck--of almost the only friend I could ever boast of
possessing."

"Indeed? Well, young man," replied his visitor, in a tone of seriousness
very different from his affected gravity, "be comforted. To have lost a
friend by death while your mutual regard was warm and unchilled, while
the tear can drop unembittered by any painful recollection of coldness or
distrust or treachery, is perhaps an escape from a more heavy
dispensation. Look round you--how few do you see grow old in the
affections of those with whom their early friendships were formed! Our
sources of common pleasure gradually dry up as we journey on through the
vale of Bacha, and we hew out to ourselves other reservoirs, from which
the first companions of our pilgrimage are excluded;--jealousies,
rivalries, envy, intervene to separate others from our side, until none
remain but those who are connected with us rather by habit than
predilection, or who, allied more in blood than in disposition, only keep
the old man company in his life, that they may not be forgotten at his
death--

                    _Haec data poena diu viventibus._

Ah, Mr. Lovel! if it be your lot to reach the chill, cloudy, and
comfortless evening of life, you will remember the sorrows of your youth
as the light shadowy clouds that intercepted for a moment the beams of
the sun when it was rising. But I cram these words into your ears against
the stomach of your sense."

"I am sensible of your kindness," answered the youth; "but the wound that
is of recent infliction must always smart severely, and I should be
little comforted under my present calamity--forgive me for saying so--by
the conviction that life had nothing in reserve for me but a train of
successive sorrows. And permit me to add, you, Mr. Oldbuck, have least
reason of many men to take so gloomy a view of life. You have a competent
and easy fortune--are generally respected--may, in your own phrase,
_vacare musis,_ indulge yourself in the researches to which your taste
addicts you; you may form your own society without doors--and within you
have the affectionate and sedulous attention of the nearest relatives."

"Why, yes--the womankind, for womankind, are, thanks to my training, very
civil and tractable--do not disturb me in my morning studies--creep
across the floor with the stealthy pace of a cat, when it suits me to
take a nap in my easy-chair after dinner or tea. All this is very well;
but I want something to exchange ideas with--something to talk to."

"Then why do you not invite your nephew, Captain M'Intyre, who is
mentioned by every one as a fine spirited young fellow, to become a
member of your family?"

"Who?" exclaimed Monkbarns, "my nephew Hector?--the Hotspur of the North?
Why, Heaven love you, I would as soon invite a firebrand into my
stackyard. He's an Almanzor, a Chamont--has a Highland pedigree as long
as his claymore, and a claymore as long as the High Street of Fairport,
which he unsheathed upon the surgeon the last time he was at Fairport. I
expect him here one of these days; but I will keep him at staff's end, I
promise you. He an inmate of my house! to make my very chairs and tables
tremble at his brawls. No, no--I'll none of Hector M'Intyre. But hark ye,
Lovel;--you are a quiet, gentle-tempered lad; had not you better set up
your staff at Monkbarns for a month or two, since I conclude you do not
immediately intend to leave this country?--I will have a door opened out
to the garden--it will cost but a trifle--there is the space for an old
one which was condemned long ago--by which said door you may pass and
repass into the Green Chamber at pleasure, so you will not interfere with
the old man, nor he with you. As for your fare, Mrs. Hadoway tells me you
are, as she terms it, very moderate of your mouth, so you will not
quarrel with my humble table. Your washing"--

"Hold, my dear Mr. Oldbuck," interposed Lovel, unable to repress a smile;
"and before your hospitality settles all my accommodations, let me thank
you most sincerely for so kind an offer--it is not at present in my power
to accept of it; but very likely, before I bid adieu to Scotland, I shall
find an opportunity to pay you a visit of some length."

Mr. Oldbuck's countenance fell. "Why, I thought I had hit on the very
arrangement that would suit us both,--and who knows what might happen in
the long run, and whether we might ever part? Why, I am master of my
acres, man--there is the advantage of being descended from a man of more
sense than pride--they cannot oblige me to transmit my goods chattels,
and heritages, any way but as I please. No string of substitute heirs of
entail, as empty and unsubstantial as the morsels of paper strung to the
train of a boy's kite, to cumber my flights of inclination, and my
humours of predilection. Well,--I see you won't be tempted at present
--but Caledonia goes on I hope?"

"O certainly," said Lovel; "I cannot think of relinquishing a plan so
hopeful."

"It is indeed," said the Antiquary, looking gravely upward,--for, though
shrewd and acute enough in estimating the variety of plans formed by
others, he had a very natural, though rather disproportioned good opinion
of the importance of those which originated with himself--"it is indeed
one of those undertakings which, if achieved with spirit equal to that
which dictates its conception, may redeem from the charge of frivolity
the literature of the present generation."

Here he was interrupted by a knock at the room door, which introduced a
letter for Mr. Lovel. The servant waited, Mrs. Hadoway said, for an
answer. "You are concerned in this matter, Mr. Oldbuck," said Lovel,
after glancing over the billet, and handing it to the Antiquary as he
spoke.

It was a letter from Sir Arthur Wardour, couched in extremely civil
language, regetting that a fit of the gout had prevented his hitherto
showing Mr. Lovel the attentions to which his conduct during a late
perilous occasion had so well entitled him--apologizing for not paying
his respects in person, but hoping Mr. Lovel would dispense with that
ceremony, and be a member of a small party which proposed to visit the
ruins of Saint Ruth's priory on the following day, and afterwards to dine
and spend the evening at Knockwinnock Castle. Sir Arthur concluded with
saying, that he had sent to request the Monkbarns family to join the
party of pleasure which he thus proposed. The place of rendezvous was
fixed at a turnpike-gate, which was about an equal distance from all the
points from which the company were to assemble.

"What shall we do?" said Lovel, looking at the Antiquary, but pretty
certain of the part he would take.

"Go, man--we'll go, by all means. Let me see--it will cost a post-chaise
though, which will hold you and me, and Mary M'Intyre, very well--and the
other womankind may go to the manse--and you can come out in the chaise
to Monkbarns, as I will take it for the day."

"Why, I rather think I had better ride."

"True, true, I forgot your Bucephalus. You are a foolish lad, by the by,
for purchasing the brute outright; you should stick to eighteenpence a
side, if you will trust any creature's legs in preference to your own."

"Why, as the horse's have the advantage of moving considerably faster,
and are, besides, two pair to one, I own I incline"--

"Enough said--enough said--do as you please. Well then, I'll bring either
Grizel or the minister, for I love to have my full pennyworth out of
post-horses--and we meet at Tirlingen turnpike on Friday, at twelve
o'clock precisely. "--And with this ageement the friends separated.




                          CHAPTER SEVENTEENTH.

          Of seats they tell, where priests, 'mid tapers dim,
          Breathed the warm prayer, or tuned the midnight hymn
               To scenes like these the fainting soul retired;
               Revenge and Anger in these cells expired:
             By Pity soothed, Remorse lost half her fears,
             And softened Pride dropped penitential tears.
                           Crabbe's Borough.

The morning of Friday was as serene and beautiful as if no pleasure party
had been intended; and that is a rare event, whether in novel-writing or
real life. Lovel, who felt the genial influence of the weather, and
rejoiced at the prospect of once more meeting with Miss Wardour, trotted
forward to the place of rendezvous with better spirits than he had for
some time enjoyed. His prospects seemed in many respects to open and
brighten before him--and hope, although breaking like the morning sun
through clouds and showers, appeared now about to illuminate the path
before him. He was, as might have been expected from this state of
spirits, first at the place of meeting,--and, as might also have been
anticipated, his looks were so intently directed towards the road from
Knockwinnock Castles that he was only apprized of the arrival of the
Monkbarns division by the gee-hupping of the postilion, as the
post-chaise lumbered up behind him. In this vehicle were pent up, first,
the stately figure of Mr. Oldbuck himself; secondly, the scarce less
portly person of the Reverend Mr. Blattergowl, minister of Trotcosey, the
parish in which Monkbarns and Knockwinnock were both situated. The
reverend gentleman was equipped in a buzz wig, upon the top of which was
an equilateral cocked hat. This was the paragon of the three yet
remaining wigs of the parish, which differed, as Monkbarns used to
remark, like the three degrees of comparison--Sir Arthur's ramilies being
the positive, his own bob-wig the comparative, and the overwhelming
grizzle of the worthy clergyman figuring as the superlative. The
superintendent of these antique garnitures, deeming, or affecting to
deem, that he could not well be absent on an occasion which assembled all
three together, had seated himself on the board behind the carriage,
"just to be in the way in case they wanted a touch before the gentlemen
sat down to dinner." Between the two massive figures of Monkbarns and the
clergyman was stuck, by way of bodkin, the slim form of Mary M'Intyre,
her aunt having preferred a visit to the manse, and a social chat with
Miss Beckie Blattergowl, to investigating the ruins of the priory of
Saint Ruth.

As greetings passed between the members of the Monkbarns party and Mr.
Lovel, the Baronet's carriage, an open barouche, swept onward to the
place of appointment, making, with its smoking bays, smart drivers, arms,
blazoned panels, and a brace of outriders, a strong contrast with the
battered vehicle and broken-winded backs which had brought thither the
Antiquary and his followers. The principal seat of the carriage was
occupied by Sir Arthur and his daughter. At the first glance which passed
betwixt Miss Wardour and Lovel, her colour rose considerably;--but she
had apparently made up her mind to receive him as a friend, and only as
such, and there was equal composure and courtesy in the mode of her reply
to his fluttered salutation. Sir Arthur halted the barouche to shake his
preserver kindly by the hand, and intimate the pleasure he had on this
opportunity of returning him his personal thanks; then mentioned to him,
in a tone of slight introduction, "Mr. Dousterswivel, Mr. Lovel."

Lovel took the necessary notice of the German adept, who occupied the
front seat of the carriage, which is usually conferred upon dependants or
inferiors. The ready grin and supple inclination with which his
salutation, though slight, was answered by the foreigner, increased the
internal dislike which Lovel had already conceived towards him; and it
was plain, from the lower of the Antiquary's shaggy eye-brow, that he too
looked with displeasure on this addition to the company. Little more than
distant greeting passed among the members of the party, until, having
rolled on for about three miles beyond the place at which they met, the
carriages at length stopped at the sign of the Four Horse-shoes, a small
hedge inn, where Caxon humbly opened the door, and let down the step of
the hack-chaise, while the inmates of the barouche were, by their more
courtly attendants, assisted to leave their equipage.

Here renewed greetings passed: the young ladies shook hands; and Oldbuck,
completely in his element, placed himself as guide and cicerone at the
head of the party, who were now to advance on foot towards the object of
their curiosity. He took care to detain Lovel close beside him as the
best listener of the party, and occasionally glanced a word of
explanation and instruction to Miss Wardour and Mary M'Intyre, who
followed next in order. The Baronet and the clergyman he rather avoided,
as he was aware both of them conceived they understood such matters as
well, or better than he did; and Dousterswivel, besides that he looked on
him as a charlatan, was so nearly connected with his apprehended loss in
the stock of the mining company, that he could not abide the sight of
him. These two latter satellites, therefore, attended upon the orb of Sir
Arthur, to whom, moreover, as the most important person of the society,
they were naturally induced to attach themselves.

It frequently happens that the most beautiful points of Scottish scenery
lie hidden in some sequestered dell, and that you may travel through the
country in every direction without being aware of your vicinity to what
is well worth seeing, unless intention or accident carry you to the very
spot. This is particularly the case in the country around Fairport, which
is, generally speaking, open, unenclosed, and bare. But here and there
the progress of rills, or small rivers, has formed dells, glens, or as
they are provincially termed, _dens,_ on whose high and rocky banks trees
and shrubs of all kinds find a shelter, and grow with a luxuriant
profusion, which is the more gratifying, as it forms an unexpected
contrast with the general face of the country. This was eminently the
case with the approach to the ruins of Saint Ruth, which was for some
time merely a sheep-track, along the side of a steep and bare hill. By
degrees, however, as this path descended, and winded round the hillside,
trees began to appear, at first singly, stunted, and blighted, with locks
of wool upon their trunks, and their roots hollowed out into recesses, in
which the sheep love to repose themselves--a sight much more gratifying
to the eye of an admirer of the picturesque than to that of a planter or
forester. By and by the trees formed groups, fringed on the edges, and
filled up in the middle, by thorns and hazel bushes; and at length these
groups closed so much together, that although a broad glade opened here
and there under their boughs, or a small patch of bog or heath occurred
which had refused nourishment to the seed which they sprinkled round, and
consequently remained open and waste, the scene might on the whole be
termed decidedly woodland. The sides of the valley began to approach each
other more closely; the rush of a brook was heard below, and between the
intervals afforded by openings in the natural wood, its waters were seen
hurling clear and rapid under their silvan canopy.

Oldbuck now took upon himself the full authority of cicerone, and
anxiously directed the company not to go a foot-breadth off the track
which he pointed out to them, if they wished to enjoy in full perfection
what they came to see. "You are happy in me for a guide, Miss Wardour,"
exclaimed the veteran, waving his hand and head in cadence as he repeated
with emphasis,


               I know each lane, and every alley green,
               Dingle, or bushy dell, of this wild wood,
               And every bosky bower from side to side. *

* (Milton's _Comus._)

Ah! deuce take it!--that spray of a bramble has demolished all Caxon's
labours, and nearly canted my wig into the stream--so much for
recitations, _hors de propos._"

"Never mind, my dear sir," said Miss Wardour; "you have your faithful
attendant ready to repair such a disaster when it happens, and when you
appear with it as restored to its original splendour, I will carry on the
quotation:

                So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
                And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
               And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
                       Flames on the forehead"--*

* (_Lycidas._)

"O! enough, enough!" answered Oldbuck; "I ought to have known what it was
to give you advantage over me--But here is what will stop your career of
satire, for you are an admirer of nature, I know." In fact, when they had
followed him through a breach in a low, ancient, and ruinous wall, they
came suddenly upon a scene equally unexpected and interesting.

They stood pretty high upon the side of the glen, which had suddenly
opened into a sort of amphitheatre to give room for a pure and profound
lake of a few acres extent, and a space of level ground around it. The
banks then arose everywhere steeply, and in some places were varied by
rocks--in others covered with the copse, which run up, feathering their
sides lightly and irregularly, and breaking the uniformity of the green
pasture-ground.--Beneath, the lake discharged itself into the huddling
and tumultuous brook, which had been their companion since they had
entered the glen. At the point at which it issued from "its parent lake,"
stood the ruins which they had come to visit. They were not of great
extent; but the singular beauty, as well as the wild and sequestered
character of the spot on which they were situated, gave them an interest
and importance superior to that which attaches itself to architectural
remains of greater consequence, but placed near to ordinary houses, and
possessing less romantic accompaniments. The eastern window of the church
remained entire, with all its ornaments and tracery work; and the sides,
upheld by flying buttresses whose airy support, detached from the wall
against which they were placed, and ornamented with pinnacles and carved
work, gave a variety and lightness to the building. The roof and western
end of the church were completely ruinous; but the latter appeared to
have made one side of a square, of which the ruins of the conventual
buildings formed other two, and the gardens a fourth. The side of these
buildings which overhung the brook, was partly founded on a steep and
precipitous rock; for the place had been occasionally turned to military
purposes, and had been taken with great slaughter during Montrose's wars.
The ground formerly occupied by the garden was still marked by a few
orchard trees. At a greater distance from the buildings were detached
oaks and elms and chestnuts, growing singly, which had attained great
size. The rest of the space between the ruins and the hill was a
close-cropt sward, which the daily pasture of the sheep kept in much
finer order than if it had been subjected to the scythe and broom. The
whole scene had a repose, which was still and affecting without being
monotonous. The dark, deep basin, in which the clear blue lake reposed,
reflecting the water lilies which grew on its surface, and the trees
which here and there threw their arms from the banks, was finely
contrasted with the haste and tumult of the brook which broke away from
the outlet, as if escaping from confinement and hurried down the glen,
wheeling around the base of the rock on which the ruins were situated,
and brawling in foam and fury with every shelve and stone which
obstructed its passage. A similar contrast was seen between the level
green meadow, in which the ruins were situated, and the large
timber-trees which were scattered over it, compared with the precipitous
banks which arose at a short distance around, partly fringed with light
and feathery underwood, partly rising in steeps clothed with purple
heath, and partly more abruptly elevated into fronts of grey rock,
chequered with lichen, and with those hardy plants which find root even
in the most and crevices of the crags.

"There was the retreat of learning in the days of darkness, Mr. Lovel!"
said Oldbuck,--around whom the company had now grouped themselves while
they admired the unexpected opening of a prospect so romantic;--"there
reposed the sages who were aweary of the world, and devoted either to
that which was to come, or to the service of the generations who should
follow them in this. I will show you presently the library;--see that
stretch of wall with square-shafted windows--there it existed, stored, as
an old manuscript in my possession assures me, with five thousand
volumes. And here I might well take up the lamentation of the learned
Leland, who, regretting the downfall of the conventual libraries,
exclaims, like Rachel weeping for her children, that if the Papal laws,
decrees, decretals, clementines, and other such drugs of the devil--yea,
if Heytesburg's sophisms, Porphyry's universals, Aristotle's logic, and
Dunse's divinity, with such other lousy legerdemains (begging your
pardon, Miss Wardour) and fruits of the bottomless pit,--had leaped out
of our libraries, for the accommodation of grocers, candlemakers,
soapsellers, and other worldly occupiers, we might have been therewith
contented. But to put our ancient chronicles, our noble histories, our
learned commentaries, and national muniments, to such offices of contempt
and subjection, has greatly degraded our nation, and showed ourselves
dishonoured in the eyes of posterity to the utmost stretch of time--O
negligence most unfriendly to our land!"

"And, O John Knox" said the Baronet, "through whose influence, and under
whose auspices, the patriotic task was accomplished!"

The Antiquary, somewhat in the situation of a woodcock caught in his own
springe, turned short round and coughed, to excuse a slight blush as he
mustered his answer--"as to the Apostle of the Scottish Reformation"--

But Miss Wardour broke in to interrupt a conversation so dangerous.
"Pray, who was the author you quoted, Mr. Oldbuck?"

"The learned Leland, Miss Wardour, who lost his senses on witnessing the
destruction of the conventual libraries in England."

"Now, I think," replied the young lady, "his misfortune may have saved
the rationality of some modern antiquaries, which would certainly have
been drowned if so vast a lake of learning had not been diminished by
draining."

"Well, thank Heaven, there is no danger now--they have hardly left us a
spoonful in which to perform the dire feat."

So saying, Mr. Oldbuck led the way down the bank, by a steep but secure
path, which soon placed them on the verdant meadow where the ruins stood.
"There they lived," continued the Antiquary, "with nought to do but to
spend their time in investigating points of remote antiquity,
transcribing manuscripts, and composing new works for the information of
posterity."

"And," added the Baronet, "in exercising the rites of devotion with a
pomp and ceremonial worthy of the office of the priesthood."

"And if Sir Arthur's excellence will permit," said the German, with a low
bow, "the monksh might also make de vary curious experiment in deir
laboraties, both in chemistry and _magia naturalis._"

"I think," said the clergyman, "they would have enough to do in
collecting the teinds of the parsonage and vicarage of three good
parishes."

"And all," added Miss Wardour, nodding to the Antiquary, "without
interruption from womankind."

"True, my fair foe," said Oldbuck; "this was a paradise where no Eve was
admitted, and we may wonder the rather by what chance the good fathers
came to lose it."

With such criticisms on the occupations of those by whom the ruins had
been formerly possessed, they wandered for some time from one moss-grown
shrine to another, under the guidance of Oldbuck, who explained, with
much plausibility, the ground-plan of the edifice, and read and expounded
to the company the various mouldering inscriptions which yet were to be
traced upon the tombs of the dead, or under the vacant niches of the
sainted images.

"What is the reason," at length Miss Wardour asked the Antiquary, "why
tradition has preserved to us such meagre accounts of the inmates of
these stately edifices, raised with such expense of labour and taste, and
whose owners were in their times personages of such awful power and
importance? The meanest tower of a freebooting baron or squire who lived
by his lance and broadsword, is consecrated by its appropriate legend,
and the shepherd will tell you with accuracy the names and feats of its
inhabitants;--but ask a countryman concerning these beautiful and
extensive remains--these towers, these arches, and buttresses, and
shafted windows, reared at such cost,--three words fill up his answer
--they were made up by the monks lang syne.'"

The question was somewhat puzzling. Sir Arthur looked upward, as if
hoping to be inspired with an answer--Oldbuck shoved back his wig--the
clergyman was of opinion that his parishioners were too deeply impressed
with the true presbyterian doctrine to preserve any records concerning
the papistical cumberers of the land, offshoots as they were of the great
overshadowing tree of iniquity, whose roots are in the bowels of the
seven hills of abomination--Lovel thought the question was best resolved
by considering what are the events which leave the deepest impression on
the minds of the common people--"These," he contended, "were not such as
resemble the gradual progress of a fertilizing river, but the headlong
and precipitous fury of some portentous flood. The eras by which the
vulgar compute time, have always reference to some period of fear and
tribulation, and they date by a tempest, an earthquake, or burst of civil
commotion. When such are the facts most alive, in the memory of the
common people, we cannot wonder," he concluded, "that the ferocious
warrior is remembered, and the peaceful abbots are abandoned to
forgetfulness and oblivion."

"If you pleashe, gentlemans and ladies, and ashking pardon of Sir Arthur
and Miss Wardour, and this worthy clergymansh, and my goot friend Mr.
Oldenbuck, who is my countrymansh, and of goot young Mr. Lofel also, I
think it is all owing to de hand of glory."

"The hand of what?" exclaimed Oldbuck.

"De hand of glory, my goot Master Oldenbuck, which is a vary great and
terrible secrets--which de monksh used to conceal their treasures when
they were triven from their cloisters by what you call de Reform."

"Ay, indeed! tell us about that," said Oldbuck, "for these are secrets
worth knowing."

"Why, my goot Master Oldenbuck, you will only laugh at me--But de hand of
glory is vary well known in de countries where your worthy progenitors
did live--and it is hand cut off from a dead man, as has been hanged for
murther, and dried very nice in de shmoke of juniper wood; and if you put
a little of what you call yew wid your juniper, it will not be any
better--that is, it will not be no worse--then you do take something of
de fatsh of de bear, and of de badger, and of de great eber, as you call
de grand boar, and of de little sucking child as has not been christened
(for dat is very essentials), and you do make a candle, and put it into
de hand of glory at de proper hour and minute, with de proper ceremonish,
and he who seeksh for treasuresh shall never find none at all,"

"I dare take my corporal oath of that conclusion," said the Antiquary.
"And was it the custom, Mr. Dousterswivel, in Westphalia, to make use of
this elegant candelabrum?"

"Alwaysh, Mr. Oldenbuck, when you did not want nobody to talk of nothing
you wash doing about--And the monksh alwaysh did this when they did hide
their church-plates, and their great chalices, and de rings, wid very
preshious shtones and jewels."

"But, notwithstanding, you knights of the Rosy Cross have means, no
doubt, of breaking the spell, and discovering what the poor monks have
put themselves to so much trouble to conceal?"

"Ah! goot Mr. Oldenbuck," replied the adept, shaking his head
mysteriously, "you was very hard to believe; but if you had seen de great
huge pieces of de plate so massive, Sir Arthur,--so fine fashion, Miss
Wardour--and de silver cross dat we did find (dat was Schroepfer and my
ownself) for de Herr Freygraf, as you call de Baron Von Blunderhaus, I do
believe you would have believed then."

"Seeing _is_ believing indeed. But what was your art--what was your
mystery, Mr. Dousterswivel?"

"Aha, Mr. Oldenbuck! dat is my little secret, mine goot sir--you sall
forgife me that I not tell that. But I will tell you dere are various
ways--yes, indeed, dere is de dream dat you dream tree times--dat is a
vary goot way."

"I am glad of that," said Oldbuck; "I have a friend" (with a side-glance
to Lovel) "who is peculiarly favoured by the visits of Queen Mab."

"Den dere is de sympathies, and de antipathies, and de strange properties
and virtues natural of divers herb, and of de little divining-rod."

"I would gladly rather see some of these wonders than hear of them," said
Miss Wardour.

"Ah, but, my much-honoured young lady, this is not de time or de way to
do de great wonder of finding all de church's plate and treasure; but to
oblige you, and Sir Arthur my patron, and de reverend clergymans, and
goot Mr. Oldenbuck, and young Mr. Lofel, who is a very goot young
gentleman also, I will show you dat it is possible, a vary possible, to
discover de spring, of water, and de little fountain hidden in de ground,
without any mattock, or spade, or dig at all."

"Umph!" quoth the Antiquary, "I have heard of that conundrum. That will
be no very productive art in our country;--you should carry that property
to Spain or Portugal, and turn it to good account."

"Ah! my goot Master Oldenbuck, dere is de Inquisition and de Auto-da-fe'
--they would burn me, who am but a simple philosopher, for one great
conjurer."

"They would cast away their coals then," said Oldbuck; "but," continued
he, in a whisper to Lovel, "were they to pillory him for one of the most
impudent rascals that ever wagged a tongue, they would square the
punishment more accurately with his deserts. But let us see: I think he
is about to show us some of his legerdemain."

In truth, the German was now got to a little copse-thicket at some
distance from the ruins, where he affected busily to search for such a
wand as would suit the purpose of his mystery: and after cutting and
examining, and rejecting several, he at length provided himself with a
small twig of hazel terminating in a forked end, which he pronounced to
possess the virtue proper for the experiment that he was about to
exhibit. Holding the forked ends of the wand, each between a finger and
thumb, and thus keeping the rod upright, he proceeded to pace the ruined
aisles and cloisters, followed by the rest of the company in admiring
procession. "I believe dere was no waters here," said the adept, when he
had made the round of several of the buildings, without perceiving any of
those indications which he pretended to expect--"I believe those Scotch
monksh did find de water too cool for de climate, and alwaysh drank de
goot comfortable, Rhinewine. But, aha!--see there!" Accordingly, the
assistants observed the rod to turn in his fingers, although he pretended
to hold it very tight.--"Dere is water here about, sure enough," and,
turning this way and that way, as the agitation of the divining-rod
seemed to increase or diminish, he at length advanced into the midst of a
vacant and roofless enclosure which had been the kitchen of the priory,
when the rod twisted itself so as to point almost straight downwards.
"Here is de place," said the adept, "and if you do not find de water
here, I will give you all leave to call me an impudent knave."

"I shall take that license," whispered the Antiquary to Lovel, "whether
the water is discovered or no."

A servant, who had come up with a basket of cold refreshments, was now
despatched to a neighbouring forester's hut for a mattock and pick-axe.
The loose stones and rubbish being removed from the spot indicated by the
German, they soon came to the sides of a regularly-built well; and when a
few feet of rubbish were cleared out by the assistance of the forester
and his sons, the water began to rise rapidly, to the delight of the
philosopher, the astonishment of the ladies, Mr. Blattergowl, and Sir
Arthur, the surprise of Lovel, and the confusion of the incredulous
Antiquary. He did not fail, however, to enter his protest in Lovers ear
against the miracle. "This is a mere trick," he said; "the rascal had
made himself sure of the existence of this old well, by some means or
other, before he played off this mystical piece of jugglery. Mark what he
talks of next. I am much mistaken if this is not intended as a prelude to
some more serious fraud. See how the rascal assumes consequence, and
plumes himself upon the credit of his success, and how poor Sir Arthur
takes in the tide of nonsense which he is delivering to him as principles
of occult science!"

"You do see, my goot patron, you do see, my goot ladies, you do see,
worthy Dr. Bladderhowl, and even Mr. Lofel and Mr. Oldenbuck may see, if
they do will to see, how art has no enemy at all but ignorance. Look at
this little slip of hazel nuts--it is fit for nothing at all but to whip
de little child"--("I would choose a cat and nine tails for your
occasions," whispered Oldbuck apart)--"and you put it in the hands of a
philosopher--paf! it makes de grand discovery. But this is nothing, Sir
Arthur,--nothing at all, worthy Dr. Botherhowl--nothing at all, ladies
--nothing at all, young Mr. Lofel and goot Mr. Oldenbuck, to what art can
do. Ah! if dere was any man that had de spirit and de courage, I would
show him better things than de well of water--I would show him"--

"And a little money would be necessary also, would it not?" said the
Antiquary.

"Bah! one trifle, not worth talking about, maight be necessaries,"
answered the adept.

"I thought as much," rejoined the Antiquary, drily; "and I, in the
meanwhile, without any divining-rod, will show you an excellent venison
pasty, and a bottle of London particular Madeira, and I think that will
match all that Mr. Dousterswivel's art is like to exhibit."

The feast was spread _fronde super viridi,_ as Oldbuck expressed himself,
under a huge old tree called the Prior's Oak, and the company, sitting
down around it, did ample honour to the contents of the basket.



                           CHAPTER EIGHTEENTH.

               As when a Gryphon through the wilderness,
               With winged course, o'er hill and moory dale,
                 Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
                 Had from his wakeful custody purloined
                  The guarded gold: So eagerly the Fiend--
                                   Paradise Lost.

When their collation was ended, Sir Arthur resumed the account of the
mysteries of the divining-rod, as a subject on which he had formerly
conversed with Dousterswivel. "My friend Mr. Oldbuck will now be
prepared, Mr. Dousterswivel, to listen with more respect to the stories
you have told us of the late discoveries in Germany by the brethren of
your association."

"Ah, Sir Arthur, that was not a thing to speak to those gentlemans,
because it is want of credulity--what you call faith--that spoils the
great enterprise."

"At least, however, let my daughter read the narrative she has taken down
of the story of Martin Waldeck."

"Ah! that was vary true story--but Miss Wardour, she is so sly and so
witty, that she has made it just like one romance--as well as Goethe or
Wieland could have done it, by mine honest wort."

"To say the truth, Mr. Dousterswivel," answered Miss Wardour, "the
romantic predominated in the legend so much above the probable, that it
was impossible for a lover of fairyland like me to avoid lending a few
touches to make it perfect in its kind. But here it is, and if you do not
incline to leave this shade till the heat of the day has somewhat
declined, and will have sympathy with my bad composition, perhaps Sir
Arthur or Mr. Oldbuck will read it to us."

"Not I," said Sir Arthur; "I was never fond of reading aloud."

"Nor I," said Oldbuck, "for I have forgot my spectacles. But here is
Lovel, with sharp eyes and a good voice; for Mr. Blattergowl, I know,
never reads anything, lest he should be suspected of reading his
sermons."

The task was therefore imposed upon Lovel, who received, with some
trepidation, as Miss Wardour delivered, with a little embarrassment, a
paper containing the lines traced by that fair hand, the possession of
which he coveted as the highest blessing the earth could offer to him.
But there was a necessity of suppressing his emotions; and after glancing
over the manuscript, as if to become acquainted with the character, he
collected himself, and read the company the following tale:--


                    [The Fortunes of Martin Waldeck.]

The solitudes of the Harz forest in Germany,* but especially the
mountains called Blocksberg, or rather Brockenberg, are the chosen scenes
for tales of witches, demons, and apparitions.

* The outline of this story is taken from the German, though the Author
is at present unable to say in which of the various collections of the
popular legends in that language the original is to be found.

The occupation of the inhabitants, who are either miners or foresters, is
of a kind that renders them peculiarly prone to superstition, and the
natural phenomena which they witness in pursuit of their solitary or
subterraneous profession, are often set down by them to the interference
of goblins or the power of magic. Among the various legends current in
that wild country, there is a favourite one, which supposes the Harz to
be haunted by a sort of tutelar demon, in the shape of a wild man, of
huge stature, his head wreathed with oak leaves, and his middle cinctured
with the same, bearing in his hand a pine torn up by the roots. It is
certain that many persons profess to have seen such a form traversing,
with huge strides, in a line parallel to their own course, the opposite
ridge of a mountain, when divided from it by a narrow glen; and indeed
the fact of the apparition is so generally admitted, that modern
scepticism has only found refuge by ascribing it to optical deception. *

*The shadow of the person who sees the phantom, being reflected upon a
cloud of mist, like the image of the magic lantern upon a white sheet, is
supposed to have formed the apparition.

In elder times, the intercourse of the demon with the inhabitants was
more familiar, and, according to the traditions of the Harz, he was wont,
with the caprice usually ascribed to these earth-born powers, to
interfere with the affairs of mortals, sometimes for their weal,
sometimes for their wo. But it was observed that even his gifts often
turned out, in the long run, fatal to those on whom they were bestowed,
and it was no uncommon thing for the pastors, in their care of their
flocks, to compose long sermons, the burden whereof was a warning against
having any intercourse, direct or indirect, with the Harz demon. The
fortunes of Martin Waldeck have been often quoted by the aged to their
giddy children, when they were heard to scoff at a danger which appeared
visionary.

A travelling capuchin had possessed himself of the pulpit of the thatched
church at a little hamlet called _Morgenbrodt,_ lying in the Harz
district, from which he declaimed against the wickedness of the
inhabitants, their communication with fiends, witches, and fairies, and,
in particular, with the woodland goblin of the Harz. The doctrines of
Luther had already begun to spread among the peasantry (for the incident
is placed under the reign of Charles V. ), and they laughed to scorn the
zeal with which the venerable man insisted upon his topic. At length, as
his vehemence increased with opposition, so their opposition rose in
proportion to his vehemence. The inhabitants did not like to hear an
accustomed quiet demon, who had inhabited the Brockenberg for so many
ages, summarily confounded with Baal-peor, Ashtaroth, and Beelzebub
himself, and condemned without reprieve to the bottomless Tophet. The
apprehensions that the spirit might avenge himself on them for listening
to such an illiberal sentence, added to their national interest in his
behalf. A travelling friar, they said, that is here to-day and away
to-morrow, may say what he pleases: but it is we, the ancient and
constant inhabitants of the country, that are left at the mercy of the
insulted demon, and must, of course, pay for all. Under the irritation
occasioned by these reflections, the peasants from injurious language
betook themselves to stones, and having pebbled the priest pretty
handsomely, they drove him out of the parish to preach against demons
elsewhere.

Three young men, who had been present and assisting on this occasion were
upon their return to the hut where they carried on the laborious and mean
occupation of preparing charcoal for the smelting furnaces. On the way,
their conversation naturally turned upon the demon of the Harz and the
doctrine of the capuchin. Max and George Waldeck, the two elder brothers,
although they allowed the language of the capuchin to have been
indiscreet and worthy of censure, as presuming to determine upon the
precise character and abode of the spirit, yet contended it was
dangerous, in the highest degree, to accept of his gifts, or hold any
communication with him, He was powerful, they allowed, but wayward and
capricious, and those who had intercourse with him seldom came to a good
end. Did he not give the brave knight, Ecbert of Rabenwald, that famous
black steed, by means of which he vanquished all the champions at the
great tournament at Bremen? and did not the same steed afterwards
precipitate itself with its rider into an abyss so steep and fearful,
that neither horse nor man were ever seen more? Had he not given to Dame
Gertrude Trodden a curious spell for making butter come? and was she not
burnt for a witch by the grand criminal judge of the Electorate, because
she availed herself of his gift? But these, and many other instances
which they quoted, of mischance and ill-luck ultimately attending on the
apparent benefits conferred by the Harz spirit, failed to make any
impression upon Martin Waldeck, the youngest of the brothers.

Martin was youthful, rash, and impetuous; excelling in all the exercises
which distinguish a mountaineer, and brave and undaunted from his
familiar intercourse with the dangers that attend them. He laughed at the
timidity of his brothers. "Tell me not of such folly," he said; "the
demon is a good demon--he lives among us as if he were a peasant like
ourselves--haunts the lonely crags and recesses of the mountains like a
huntsman or goatherd--and he who loves the Harz forest and its wild
scenes cannot be indifferent to the fate of the hardy children of the
soil. But, if the demon were as malicious as you would make him, how
should he derive power over mortals, who barely avail themselves of his
gifts, without binding themselves to submit to his pleasure? When you
carry your charcoal to the furnace, is not the money as good that is paid
you by blaspheming Blaize, the old reprobate overseer, as if you got it
from the pastor himself? It is not the goblins gifts which can endanger
you, then, but it is the use you shall make of them that you must account
for. And were the demon to appear to me at this moment, and indicate to
me a gold or silver mine, I would begin to dig away even before his back
were turned,--and I would consider myself as under protection of a much
Greater than he, while I made a good use of the wealth he pointed out to
me."

To this the elder brother replied, that wealth ill won was seldom well
spent; while Martin presumptuously declared, that the possession of all
the treasures of the Harz would not make the slightest alteration on his
habits, morals, or character.

His brother entreated Martin to talk less wildly upon the subject, and
with some difficulty contrived to withdraw his attention, by calling it
to the consideration of the approaching boar-chase. This talk brought
them to their hut, a wretched wigwam, situated upon one side of a wild,
narrow, and romantic dell, in the recesses of the Brockenberg. They
released their sister from attending upon the operation of charring the
wood, which requires constant attention, and divided among themselves the
duty of watching it by night, according to their custom, one always
waking, while his brothers slept.

Max Waldeck, the eldest, watched during the first two hours of the night,
and was considerably alarmed by observing, upon the opposite bank of the
glen, or valley, a huge fire surrounded by some figures that appeared to
wheel around it with antic gestures. Max at first bethought him of
calling up his brothers; but recollecting the daring character of the
youngest, and finding it impossible to wake the elder without also
disturbing Martin--conceiving also what he saw to be an illusion of the
demon, sent perhaps in consequence of the venturous expressions used by
Martin on the preceding evening, he thought it best to betake himself to
the safeguard of such prayers as he could murmur over, and to watch in
great terror and annoyance this strange and alarming apparition. After
blazing for some time, the fire faded gradually away into darkness, and
the rest of Max's watch was only disturbed by the remembrance of its
terrors.

George now occupied the place of Max, who had retired to rest. The
phenomenon of a huge blazing fire, upon the opposite bank of the glen,
again presented itself to the eye of the watchman. It was surrounded as
before by figures, which, distinguished by their opaque forms, being
between the spectator and the red glaring light, moved and fluctuated
around it as if engaged in some mystical ceremony. George, though equally
cautious, was of a bolder character than his elder brother. He resolved
to examine more nearly the object of his wonder; and, accordingly after
crossing the rivulet which divided the glen, he climbed up the opposite
bank, and approached within an arrow's flight of the fire, which blazed
apparently with the same fury as when he first witnessed it.

The appearance, of the assistants who surrounded it resembled those
phantoms which are seen in a troubled dream, and at once confirmed the
idea he had entertained from the first, that they did not belong to the
human world. Amongst these strange unearthly forms, George Waldeck
distinguished that of a giant overgrown with hair, holding an uprooted
fir in his hand, with which, from time to time, he seemed to stir the
blazing fire, and having no other clothing than a wreath of oak leaves
around his forehead and loins. George's heart sunk within him at
recognising the well-known apparition of the Harz demon, as he had been
often described to him by the ancient shepherds and huntsmen who had seen
his form traversing the mountains. He turned, and was about to fly; but
upon second thoughts, blaming his own cowardice, he recited mentally the
verse of the Psalmist, "All good angels, praise the Lord!" which is in
that country supposed powerful as an exorcism, and turned himself once
more towards the place where he had seen the fire. But it was no longer
visible.

The pale moon alone enlightened the side of the valley; and when George,
with trembling steps, a moist brow, and hair bristling upright under his
collier's cap, came to the spot on which the fire had been so lately
visible, marked as it was by a scathed oak-tree, there appeared not on
the heath the slightest vestiges of what he had seen. The moss and wild
flowers were unscorched, and the branches of the oak-tree, which had so
lately appeared enveloped in wreaths of flame and smoke, were moist with
the dews of midnight.

George returned to his hut with trembling steps, and, arguing like his
elder brother, resolved to say nothing of what he had seen, lest he
should awake in Martin that daring curiosity which he almost deemed to be
allied with impiety.

It was now Martin's turn to watch. The household cock had given his first
summons, and the night was well-nigh spent. Upon examining the state of
the furnace in which the wood was deposited in order to its being _coked_
or _charred,_ he was surprised to find that the fire had not been
sufficiently maintained; for in his excursion and its consequences,
George had forgot the principal object of his watch. Martin's first
thought was to call up the slumberers; but observing that both his
brothers slept unwontedly deep and heavily, he respected their repose,
and set himself to supply the furnace with fuel without requiring their
aid. What he heaped upon it was apparently damp and unfit for the
purpose, for the fire seemed rather to decay than revive. Martin next
went to collect some boughs from a stack which had been carefully cut and
dried for this purpose; but, when he returned, he found the fire totally
extinguished. This was a serious evil, and threatened them with loss of
their trade for more than one day. The vexed and mortified watchman set
about to strike a light in order to rekindle the fire but the tinder was
moist, and his labour proved in this respect also ineffectual. He was now
about to call up his brothers, for circumstances seemed to be pressing,
when flashes of light glimmered not only through the window, but through
every crevice of the rudely built hut, and summoned him to behold the
same apparition which had before alarmed the successive watches of his
brethren. His first idea was, that the Muhllerhaussers, their rivals in
trade, and with whom they had had many quarrels, might have encroached
upon their bounds for the purpose of pirating their wood; and he resolved
to awake his brothers, and be revenged on them for their audacity. But a
short reflection and observation on the gestures and manner of those who
seemed to "work in the fire," induced him to dismiss this belief, and
although rather sceptical in such matters, to conclude that what he saw
was a supernatural phenomenon. "But be they men or fiends," said the
undaunted forester, "that busy themselves yonder with such fantastical
rites and gestures, I will go and demand a light to rekindle our
furnace." He, relinquished at the same time the idea of awaking his
brethren. There was a belief that such adventures as he was about to
undertake were accessible only to one person at a time; he feared also
that his brothers, in their scrupulous timidity, might interfere to
prevent his pursuing the investigation he had resolved to commence; and,
therefore, snatching his boar-spear from the wall, the undaunted Martin
Waldeck set forth on the adventure alone.

With the same success as his brother George, but with courage far
superior, Martin crossed the brook, ascended the hill, and approached so
near the ghostly assembly, that he could recognise, in the presiding
figure, the attributes of the Harz demon. A cold shuddering assailed him
for the first time in his life; but the recollection that he had at a
distance dared and even courted the intercourse which was now about to
take place, confirmed his staggering courage; and pride supplying what he
wanted in resolution, he advanced with tolerable firmness towards the
fire, the figures which surrounded it appearing still more wild,
fantastical, and supernatural, the more near he approached to the
assembly. He was received with a loud shout of discordant and unnatural
laughter, which, to his stunned ears, seemed more alarming than a
combination of the most dismal and melancholy sounds that could be
imagined. "Who art thou?" said the giant, compressing his savage and
exaggerated features into a sort of forced gravity, while they were
occasionally agitated by the convulsion of the laughter which he seemed
to suppress.

"Martin Waldeck, the forester," answered the hardy youth;--"and who are
you?"

"The King of the Waste and of the Mine," answered the spectre;--"and why
hast thou dared to encroach on my mysteries?"

"I came in search of light to rekindle my fire," answered Martin,
hardily, and then resolutely asked in his turn, "What mysteries are those
that you celebrate here?"

"We celebrate," answered the complaisant demon, "the wedding of Hermes
with the Black Dragon--But take thy fire that thou camest to seek, and
begone! no mortal may look upon us and live."

The peasant struck his spear-point into a large piece of blazing wood,
which he heaved up with some difficulty, and then turned round to regain
his hut, the shouts of laughter being renewed behind him with treble
violence, and ringing far down the narrow valley. When Martin returned to
the hut, his first care, however much astonished with what he had seen,
was to dispose the kindled coal among the fuel so as might best light the
fire of his furnace; but after many efforts, and all exertions of bellows
and fire-prong, the coal he had brought from the demon's fire became
totally extinct without kindling any of the others. He turned about, and
observed the fire still blazing on the hill, although those who had been
busied around it had disappeared. As he conceived the spectre had been
jesting with him, he gave way to the natural hardihood of his temper,
and, determining to see the adventure to an end, resumed the road to the
fire, from which, unopposed by the demon, he brought off in the same
manner a blazing piece of charcoal, but still without being able to
succeed in lighting his fire. Impunity having increased his rashness, he
resolved upon a third experiment, and was as successful as before in
reaching the fire; but when he had again appropriated a piece of burning
coal, and had turned to depart, he heard the harsh and supernatural voice
which had before accosted him, pronounce these words, "Dare not return
hither a fourth time!"

The attempt to kindle the fire with this last coal having proved as
ineffectual as on the former occasions, Martin relinquished the hopeless
attempt, and flung himself on his bed of leaves, resolving to delay till
the next morning the communication of his supernatural adventure to his
brothers. He was awakened from a heavy sleep into which he had sunk, from
fatigue of body and agitation of mind, by loud exclamations of surprise
and joy. His brothers, astonished at finding the fire extinguished when
they awoke, had proceeded to arrange the fuel in order to renew it, when
they found in the ashes three huge metallic masses, which their skill
(for most of the peasants in the Harz are practical mineralogists)
immediately ascertained to be pure gold.

It was some damp upon their joyful congratulations when they learned from
Martin the mode in which he had obtained this treasure, to which their
own experience of the nocturnal vision induced them to give full credit.
But they were unable to resist the temptation of sharing in their
brother's wealth. Taking now upon him as head of the house, Martin
Waldeck bought lands and forests, built a castle, obtained a patent of
nobility, and, greatly to the indignation of the ancient aristocracy of
the neighbourhood, was invested with all the privileges of a man of
family. His courage in public war, as well as in private feuds, together
with the number of retainers whom he kept in pay, sustained him for some
time against the odium which was excited by his sudden elevation, and the
arrogance of his pretensious.

And now it was seen in the instance of Martin Waldeck, as it has been in
that of many others, how little mortals can foresee the effect of sudden
prosperity on their own disposition. The evil propensities in his nature,
which poverty had checked and repressed, ripened and bore their
unhallowed fruit under the influence of temptation and the means of
indulgence. As Deep calls unto Deep, one bad passion awakened another the
fiend of avarice invoked that of pride, and pride was to be supported by
cruelty and oppression. Waldeck's character, always bold and daring but
rendered harsh and assuming by prosperity, soon made him odious, not to
the nobles only, but likewise to the lower ranks, who saw, with double
dislike, the oppressive rights of the feudal nobility of the empire so
remorselessly exercised by one who had risen from the very dregs of the
people. His adventure, although carefully concealed, began likewise to be
whispered abroad, and the clergy already stigmatized as a wizard and
accomplice of fiends, the wretch, who, having acquired so huge a treasure
in so strange a manner, had not sought to sanctify it by dedicating a
considerable portion to the use of the church. Surrounded by enemies,
public and private, tormented by a thousand feuds, and threatened by the
church with excommunication, Martin Waldeck, or, as we must now call him,
the Baron von Waldeck, often regretted bitterly the labours and sports of
his unenvied poverty. But his courage failed him not under all these
difficulties, and seemed rather to augment in proportion to the danger
which darkened around him, until an accident precipitated his fall.

A proclamation by the reigning Duke of Brunswick had invited to a solemn
tournament all German nobles of free and honourable descent; and Martin
Waldeck, splendidly armed, accompanied by his two brothers, and a
gallantly-equipped retinue, had the arrogance to appear among the
chivalry of the province, and demand permission to enter the lists. This
was considered as filling up the measure of his presumption. A thousand
voices exclaimed, "We will have no cinder-sifter mingle in our games of
chivalry." Irritated to frenzy, Martin drew his sword and hewed down the
herald, who, in compliance with the general outcry, opposed his entry
into the lists. An hundred swords were unsheathed to avenge what was in
those days regarded as a crime only inferior to sacrilege or regicide.
Waldeck, after defending himself like a lion, was seized, tried on the
spot by the judges of the lists, and condemned, as the appropriate
punishment for breaking the peace of his sovereign, and violating the
sacred person of a herald-at-arms, to have his right hand struck from his
body, to be ignominiously deprived of the honour of nobility, of which he
was unworthy, and to be expelled from the city. When he had been stripped
of his arms, and sustained the mutilation imposed by this severe
sentence, the unhappy victim of ambition was abandoned to the rabble, who
followed him with threats and outcries levelled alternately against the
necromancer and oppressor, which at length ended in violence. His
brothers (for his retinue were fled and dispersed) at length succeeded in
rescuing him from the hands of the populace, when, satiated with cruelty,
they had left him half dead through loss of blood, and through the
outrages he had sustained. They were not permitted, such was the
ingenious cruelty of their enemies, to make use of any other means of
removing him, excepting such a collier's cart as they had themselves
formerly used, in which they deposited their brother on a truss of straw,
scarcely expecting to reach any place of shelter ere death should release
him from his misery.

When the Waldecks, journeying in this miserable manner, had approached
the verge of their native country, in a hollow way, between two
mountains, they perceived a figure advancing towards them, which at first
sight seemed to be an aged man. But as he approached, his limbs and
stature increased, the cloak fell from his shoulders, his pilgrim's staff
was changed into an uprooted pine-tree, and the gigantic figure of the
Harz demon passed before them in his terrors. When he came opposite to
the cart which contained the miserable Waldeck, his huge features dilated
into a grin of unutterable contempt and malignity, as he asked the
sufferer, "How like you the fire my coals have kindled?" The power of
motion, which terror suspended in his two brothers, seemed to be restored
to Martin by the energy of his courage. He raised himself on the cart,
bent his brows, and, clenching his fist, shook it at the spectre with a
ghastly look of hate and defiance. The goblin vanished with his usual
tremendous and explosive laugh, and left Waldeck exhausted with this
effort of expiring nature.

The terrified brethren turned their vehicle toward the towers of a
convent, which arose in a wood of pine-trees beside the road. They were
charitably received by a bare-footed and long-bearded capuchin, and
Martin survived only to complete the first confession he had made since
the day of his sudden prosperity, and to receive absolution from the very
priest whom, precisely on that day three years, he had assisted to pelt
out of the hamlet of Morgenbrodt. The three years of precarious
prosperity were supposed to have a mysterious correspondence with the
number of his visits to the spectral fire upon the bill.

The body of Martin Waldeck was interred in the convent where he expired,
in which his brothers, having assumed the habit of the order, lived and
died in the performance of acts of charity and devotion. His lands, to
which no one asserted any claim, lay waste until they were reassumed by
the emperor as a lapsed fief, and the ruins of the castle, which Waldeck
had called by his own name, are still shunned by the miner and forester
as haunted by evil spirits. Thus were the miseries attendant upon wealth,
hastily attained and ill employed, exemplified in the fortunes of Martin
Waldeck.




                           CHAPTER NINETEENTH.


                 Here has been such a stormy encounter
                 Betwixt my cousin Captain, and this soldier,
                 About I know not what!--nothing, indeed;
                 Competitions, degrees, and comparatives
                          Of soldiership!--
                                    A Faire Qurrell.

The attentive audience gave the fair transcriber of the foregoing legend
the thanks which politeness required. Oldbuck alone curled up his nose,
and observed, that Miss Wardour's skill was something like that of the
alchemists, for she had contrived to extract a sound and valuable moral
out of a very trumpery and ridiculous legend. "It is the fashion, as I am
given to understand, to admire those extravagant fictions--for me,

                            --I bear an English heart,
             Unused at ghosts and rattling bones to start."

"Under your favour, my goot Mr. Oldenbuck," said the German, "Miss
Wardour has turned de story, as she does every thing as she touches, very
pretty indeed; but all the history of de Harz goblin, and how he walks
among de desolate mountains wid a great fir-tree for his walking cane,
and wid de great green bush around his head and his waist--that is as
true as I am an honest man."

"There is no disputing any proposition so well guaranteed," answered the
Antiquary, drily. But at this moment the approach of a stranger cut short
the conversation.

The new comer was a handsome young man, about five-and-twenty, in a
military undress, and bearing, in his look and manner, a good deal of
the martial profession--nay, perhaps a little more than is quite
consistent with the ease of a man of perfect good-breeding, in whom no
professional habit ought to predominate. He was at once greeted by the
greater part of the company. "My dear Hector!" said Miss M'Intyre, as she
rose to take his hand--

"Hector, son of Priam, whence comest thou?" said the Antiquary.

"From Fife, my liege," answered the young soldier, and continued, when he
had politely saluted the rest of the company, and particularly Sir Arthur
and his daughter--"I learned from one of the servants, as I rode towards
Monkbarns to pay my respects to you, that I should find the present
company in this place, and I willingly embrace the opportunity to pay my
respects to so many of my friends at once."

"And to a new one also, my trusty Trojan," said Oldbuck. "Mr. Lovel, this
is my nephew, Captain M'Intyre--Hector, I recommend Mr. Lovel to your
acquaintance."

The young soldier fixed his keen eye upon Lovel, and paid his compliment
with more reserve than cordiality and as our acquaintance thought his
coldness almost supercilious, he was equally frigid and haughty in making
the necessary return to it; and thus a prejudice seemed to arise between
them at the very commencement of their acquaintance.

The observations which Lovel made during the remainder of this pleasure
party did not tend to reconcile him with this addition to their society.
Captain M'Intyre, with the gallantry to be expected from his age and
profession, attached himself to the service of Miss Wardour, and offered
her, on every possible opportunity, those marks of attention which Lovel
would have given the world to have rendered, and was only deterred from
offering by the fear of her displeasure. With forlorn dejection at one
moment, and with irritated susceptibility at another, he saw this
handsome young soldier assume and exercise all the privileges of a
_cavaliere servente._ He handed Miss Wardour's gloves, he assisted her in
putting on her shawl, he attached himself to her in the walks, had a hand
ready to remove every impediment in her path, and an arm to support her
where it was rugged or difficult; his conversation was addressed chiefly
to her, and, where circumstances permitted, it was exclusively so. All
this, Lovel well knew, might be only that sort of egotistical gallantry
which induces some young men of the present day to give themselves the
air of engrossing the attention of the prettiest women in company, as if
the others were unworthy of their notice. But he thought he observed in
the conduct of Captain M'Intyre something of marked and peculiar
tenderness, which was calculated to alarm the jealousy of a lover. Miss
Wardour also received his attentions; and although his candour allowed
they were of a kind which could not be repelled without some strain of
affectation, yet it galled him to the heart to witness that she did so.

The heart-burning which these reflections occasioned proved very
indifferent seasoning to the dry antiquarian discussions with which
Oldbuck, who continued to demand his particular attention, was
unremittingly persecuting him; and he underwent, with fits of impatience
that amounted almost to loathing, a course of lectures upon monastic
architecture, in all its styles, from the massive Saxon to the florid
Gothic, and from that to the mixed and composite architecture of James
the First's time, when, according to Oldbuck, all orders were confounded,
and columns of various descriptions arose side by side, or were piled
above each other, as if symmetry had been forgotten, and the elemental
principles of art resolved into their primitive confusion. "What can be
more cutting to the heart than the sight of evils," said Oldbuck, in
rapturous enthusiasm, "which we are compelled to behold, while we do not
possess the power of remedying them?" Lovel answered by an involulatary
groan. "I see, my dear young friend, and most congenial spirit, that you
feel these enormities almost as much as I do. Have you ever approached
them, or met them, without longing to tear, to deface, what is so
dishonourable?"

"Dishonourable!" echoed Lovel--"in what respect dishonourable?"

"I mean, disgraceful to the arts."

"Where? how?"

"Upon the portico, for example, of the schools of Oxford, where, at
immense expense, the barbarous, fantastic, and ignorant architect has
chosen to represent the whole five orders of architecture on the front of
one building."

By such attacks as these, Oldbuck, unconscious of the torture he was
giving, compelled Lovel to give him a share of his attention,--as a
skilful angler, by means of his line, maintains an influence over the
most frantic movements of his agonized prey.

They were now on their return to the spot where they had left the
carriages; and it is inconceivable how often, in the course of that short
walk, Lovel, exhausted by the unceasing prosing of his worthy companion,
mentally bestowed on the devil, or any one else that would have rid him
of hearing more of them, all the orders and disorders of architecture
which had been invented or combined from the building of Solomon's temple
downwards. A slight incident occurred, however, which sprinkled a little
patience on the heat of his distemperature.

Miss Wardour, and her self-elected knight companion, rather preceded the
others in the narrow path, when the young lady apparently became desirous
to unite herself with the rest of the party, and, to break off her
_tete-a-tete_ with the young officer, fairly made a pause until Mr.
Oldbuck came up. "I wished to ask you a question, Mr. Oldbuck, concerning
the date of these interesting ruins."

It would be doing injustice to Miss Wardour's _savoir faire,_ to suppose
she was not aware that such a question would lead to an answer of no
limited length. The Antiquary, starting like a war-horse at the trumpet
sound, plunged at once into the various arguments for and against the
date of 1273, which had been assigned to the priory of St. Ruth by a late
publication on Scottish architectural antiquities. He raked up the names
of all the priors who had ruled the institution, of the nobles who had
bestowed lands upon it, and of the monarchs who had slept their last
sleep among its roofless courts. As a train which takes fire is sure to
light another, if there be such in the vicinity, the Baronet, catching at
the name of one of his ancestors which occurred in Oldbuck's
disquisition, entered upon an account of his wars, his conquests, and his
trophies; and worthy Dr. Blattergowl was induced, from the mention of a
grant of lands, _cum decimis inclusis tam vicariis quam garbalibus, et
nunquan antea separatis,_ to enter into a long explanation concerning the
interpretation given by the Teind Court in the consideration of such a
clause, which had occurred in a process for localling his last
augmentation of stipend. The orators, like three racers, each pressed
forward to the goal, without much regarding how each crossed and jostled
his competitors. Mr. Oldbuck harangued, the Baronet declaimed, Mr.
Blattergowl prosed and laid down the law, while the Latin forms of feudal
grants were mingled with the jargon of blazonry, and the yet more
barbarous phraseology of the Teind Court of Scotland. "He was," exclaimed
Oldbuck, speaking of the Prior Adhemar, "indeed an exemplary prelate;
and, from his strictness of morals, rigid execution of penance, joined to
the charitable disposition of his mind, and the infirmities endured by
his great age and ascetic habits"--

Here he chanced to cough, and Sir Arthur burst in, or rather continued
--"was called popularly Hell-in-Harness; he carried a shield, gules with
a sable fess, which we have since disused, and was slain at the battle of
Vernoil, in France, after killing six of the English with his own"--

"Decreet of certification," proceeded the clergyman, in that prolonged,
steady, prosing tone, which, however overpowered at first by the
vehemence of competition, promised, in the long run, to obtain the
ascendancy in this strife of narrators;--"Decreet of certification having
gone out, and parties being held as confessed, the proof seemed to be
held as concluded, when their lawyer moved to have it opened up, on the
allegation that they had witnesses to bring forward, that they had been
in the habit of carrying the ewes to lamb on the teind-free land; which
was a mere evasion, for"--

But here the Baronet and Mr. Oldbuck having recovered their wind, and
continued their respective harangues, the three _strands_ of the
conversation, to speak the language of a rope-work, were again twined
together into one undistinguishable string of confusion.

Yet, howsoever uninteresting this piebald jargon might seem, it was
obviously Miss Wardour's purpose to give it her attention, in preference
to yielding Captain M'Intyre an opportunity of renewing their private
conversation. So that, after waiting for a little time with displeasure,
ill concealed by his haughty features, he left her to enjoy her bad
taste, and taking his sister by the arm, detained her a little behind the
rest of the party.

"So I find, Mary, that your neighbour has neither become more lively nor
less learned during my absence."

"We lacked your patience and wisdom to instruct us, Hector."

"Thank you, my dear sister. But you have got a wiser, if not so lively an
addition to your society, than your unworthy brother--Pray, who is this
Mr. Lovel, whom our old uncle has at once placed so high in his good
graces?--he does not use to be so accessible to strangers."

"Mr. Lovel, Hector, is a very gentleman-like young man."

"Ay,--that is to say, he bows when he comes into a room, and wears a coat
that is whole at the elbows."

"No, brother; it says a great deal more. It says that his manners and
discourse express the feelings and education of the higher class."

"But I desire to know what is his birth and his rank in society, and what
is his title to be in the circle in which I find him domesticated?"

"If you mean, how he comes to visit at Monkbarns, you must ask my uncle,
who will probably reply, that he invites to his own house such company as
he pleases; and if you mean to ask Sir Arthur, you must know that Mr.
Lovel rendered Miss Wardour and him a service of the most important
kind."

"What! that romantic story is true, then?--And pray, does the valorous
knight aspire, as is befitting on such occasions, to the hand of the
young lady whom he redeemed from peril? It is quite in the rule of
romance, I am aware; and I did think that she was uncommonly dry to me as
we walked together, and seemed from time to time as if she watched
whether she was not giving offence to her gallant cavalier."

"Dear Hector," said his sister, "if you really continue to nourish any
affection for Miss Wardour"--

"If, Mary?--what an _if_ was there!"

"--I own I consider your perseverance as hopeless."

"And why hopeless, my sage sister?" asked Captain M'Intyre: "Miss
Wardour, in the state of her father's affairs, cannot pretend to much
fortune;--and, as to family, I trust that of Mlntyre is not inferior."

"But, Hector," continued his sister, "Sir Arthur always considers us as
members of the Monkbarns family."

"Sir Arthur may consider what he pleases," answered the Highlander
scornfully; "but any one with common sense will consider that the wife
takes rank from the husband, and that my father's pedigree of fifteen
unblemished descents must have ennobled my mother, if her veins had been
filled with printer's ink."

"For God's sake, Hector," replied his anxious sister, "take care of
yourself! a single expression of that kind, repeated to my uncle by an
indiscreet or interested eavesdropper, would lose you his favour for
ever, and destroy all chance of your succeeding to his estate."

"Be it so," answered the heedless young man; "I am one of a profession
which the world has never been able to do without, and will far less
endure to want for half a century to come; and my good old uncle may tack
his good estate and his plebeian name to your apron-string if he pleases,
Mary, and you may wed this new favourite of his if you please, and you
may both of you live quiet, peaceable, well-regulated lives, if it
pleases Heaven. My part is taken--I'll fawn on no man for an inheritance
which should be mine by birth."

Miss M'Intyre laid her hand on her brother's arm, and entreated him to
suppress his vehemence. "Who," she said, "injures or seeks to injure you,
but your own hasty temper?--what dangers are you defying, but those you
have yourself conjured up?--Our uncle has hitherto been all that is kind
and paternal in his conduct to us, and why should you suppose he will in
future be otherwise than what he has ever been, since we were left as
orphans to his care?"

"He is an excellent old gentleman, I must own," replied M'Intyre, "and I
am enraged at myself when I chance to offend him; but then his eternal
harangues upon topics not worth the spark of a flint--his investigations
about invalided pots and pans and tobacco-stoppers past service--all
these things put me out of patience. I have something of Hotspur in me,
sister, I must confess."

"Too much, too much, my dear brother! Into how many risks, and, forgive
me for saying, some of them little creditable, has this absolute and
violent temper led you! Do not let such clouds darken the time you are
now to pass in our neighbourhood, but let our old benefactor see his
kinsman as he is--generous, kind, and lively, without being rude,
headstrong, and impetuous."

"Well," answered Captain M'Intyre, "I am schooled--good-manners be my
speed! I'll do the civil thing by your new friend--I'll have some talk
with this Mr. Lovel."

With this determination, in which he was for the time perfectly sincere,
he joined the party who were walking before them. The treble disquisition
was by this time ended; and Sir Arthur was speaking on the subject of
foreign news, and the political and military situation of the country,
themes upon which every man thinks himself qualified to give an opinion.
An action of the preceding year having come upon the _tapis,_ Lovel,
accidentally mingling in the conversation, made some assertion concerning
it, of the accuracy of which Captain M'Intyre seemed not to be convinced,
although his doubts were politely expressed.

"You must confess yourself in the wrong here, Hector," said his uncle,
"although I know no man less willing to give up an argument; but you were
in England at the time, and Mr. Lovel was probably concerned in the
affair."

"I am speaking to a military man, then?" said M'Intyre; "may I inquire to
what regiment Mr. Lovel belongs?"--Mr. Lovel gave him the number of the
regiment. "It happens strangely that we should never have met before, Mr.
Lovel. I know your regiment very well, and have served along with them at
different times."

A blush crossed Lovel's countenance. "I have not lately been with my
regiment," he replied; "I served the last campaign upon the staff of
General Sir----."

"Indeed! that is more wonderful than the other circumstance!--for
although I did not serve with General Sir----, yet I had an opportunity
of knowing the names of the officers who held situations in his family,
and I cannot recollect that of Lovel."

At this observation Lovel again blushed so deeply as to attract the
attention of the whole company, while, a scornful laugh seemed to
indicate Captain M'Intyre's triumph. "There is something strange in
this," said Oldbuck to himself; "but I will not readily give up my
phoenix of post-chaise companions--all his actions, language, and
bearing, are those of a gentleman."

Lovel in the meanwhile had taken out his pocket-book, and selecting a
letter, from which he took off the envelope, he handed it to Mlntyre.
"You know the General's hand, in all probability--I own I ought not to
show these exaggerated expressions of his regard and esteem for me." The
letter contained a very handsome compliment from the officer in question
for some military service lately performed. Captain M'Intyre, as he
glanced his eye over it, could not deny that it was written in the
General's hand, but drily observed, as he returned it, that the address
was wanting. "The address, Captain M'Intyre," answered Lovel, in the same
tone, "shall be at your service whenever you choose to inquire after it!"

"I certainly shall not fail to do so," rejoined the soldier.

"Come, come," exclaimed Oldbuck, "what is the meaning of all this? Have
we got Hiren here?--We'll have no swaggering youngsters. Are you come
from the wars abroad, to stir up domestic strife in our peaceful land?
Are you like bull-dog puppies, forsooth, that when the bull, poor fellow,
is removed from the ring, fall to brawl among themselves, worry each
other, and bite honest folk's shins that are standing by?"

Sir Arthur trusted, he said, the young gentlemen would not so far forget
themselves as to grow warm upon such a trifling subject as the back of a
letter.

Both the disputants disclaimed any such intention, and, with high colour
and flashing eyes, protested they were never so cool in their lives. But
an obvious damp was cast over the party;--they talked in future too much
by the rule to be sociable, and Lovel, conceiving himself the object of
cold and suspicious looks from the rest of the company, and sensible that
his indirect replies had given them permission to entertain strange
opinions respecting him, made a gallant determination to sacrifice the
pleasure he had proposed in spending the day at Knockwinnock.

He affected, therefore, to complain of a violent headache, occasioned by
the heat of the day, to which he had not been exposed since his illness,
and made a formal apology to Sir Arthur, who, listening more to recent
suspicion than to the gratitude due for former services, did not press
him to keep his engagement more than good-breeding exactly demanded.

When Lovel took leave of the ladies, Miss Wardour's manner seemed more
anxious than he had hitherto remarked it. She indicated by a glance of
her eye towards Captain M'Intyre, perceptible only by Lovel, the subject
of her alarm, and hoped, in a voice greatly under her usual tone, it was
not a less pleasant engagement which deprived them of the pleasure of Mr.
Lovel's company. "No engagement had intervened," he assured her; "it was
only the return of a complaint by which he had been for some time
occasionally attacked."

"The best remedy in such a case is prudence, and I--every friend of Mr.
Lovel's will expect him to employ it."

Lovel bowed low and coloured deeply, and Miss Wardour, as if she felt
that she had said too much, turned and got into the carriage. Lovel had
next to part with Oldbuck, who, during this interval, had, with Caxon's
assistance, been arranging his disordered periwig, and brushing his coat,
which exhibited some marks of the rude path they had traversed. "What,
man!" said Oldbuck, "you are not going to leave us on account of that
foolish Hector's indiscreet curiosity and vehemence? Why, he is a
thoughtless boy--a spoiled child from the time he was in the nurse's
arms--he threw his coral and bells at my head for refusing him a bit of
sugar; and you have too much sense to mind such a shrewish boy: _aequam
servare mentem_ is the motto of our friend Horace. I'll school Hector by
and by, and put it all to rights." But Lovel persisted in his design of
returning to Fairport.

The Antiquary then assumed a graver tone.--"Take heed, young man, to your
present feelings. Your life has been given you for useful and valuable
purposes, and should be reserved to illustrate the literature of your
country, when you are not called upon to expose it in her defence, or in
the rescue of the innocent. Private war, a practice unknown to the
civilised ancients, is, of all the absurdities introduced by the Gothic
tribes, the most gross, impious, and cruel. Let me hear no more of these
absurd quarrels, and I will show you the treatise upon the duello, which
I composed when the town-clerk and provost Mucklewhame chose to assume
the privileges of gentlemen, and challenged each other. I thought of
printing my Essay, which is signed _Pacificator;_ but there was no need,
as the matter was taken up by the town-council of the borough."

"But I assure you, my dear sir, there is nothing between Captain M'Intyre
and me that can render such respectable interference necessary."

"See it be so; for otherwise, I will stand second to both parties."

So saying, the old gentleman got into the chaise, close to which Miss
M'Intyre had detained her brother, upon the same principle that the owner
of a quarrelsome dog keeps him by his side to prevent his fastening upon
another. But Hector contrived to give her precaution the slip, for, as he
was on horseback, he lingered behind the carriages until they had fairly
turned the corner in the road to Knockwinnock, and then, wheeling his
horse's head round, gave him the spur in the opposite direction.

A very few minutes brought him up with Lovel, who, perhaps anticipating
his intention, had not put his horse beyond a slow walk, when the clatter
of hoofs behind him announced Captain Mlntyre. The young soldier, his
natural heat of temper exasperated by the rapidity of motion, reined his
horse up suddenly and violently by Lovel's side, and touching his hat
slightly, inquired, in a very haughty tone of voice, "What am I to
understand, sir, by your telling me that your address was at my service?"

"Simply, sir," replied Lovel, "that my name is Lovel, and that my
residence is, for the present, Fairport, as you will see by this card."

"And is this all the information you are disposed to give me?"

"I see no right you have to require more."

"I find you, sir, in company with my sister," said the young soldier,
"and I have a right to know who is admitted into Miss M'Intyre's
society."

"I shall take the liberty of disputing that right," replied Lovel, with a
manner as haughty as that of the young soldier;--"you find me in society
who are satisfied with the degree of information on my affairs which I
have thought proper to communicate, and you, a mere stranger, have no
right to inquire further."

"Mr. Lovel, if you served as you say you have"--

"If!" interrupted Lovel,--"_if_ I have served as _I say_ I have?"

"Yes, sir, such is my expression--_if_ you have so served, you must know
that you owe me satisfaction either in one way or other."

"If that be your opinion, I shall be proud to give it to you, Captain
M'Intyre, in the way in which the word is generally used among
gentlemen."

"Very well, sir," rejoined Hector, and, turning his horse round, galloped
off to overtake his party.

His absence had already alarmed them, and his sister, having stopped the
carriage, had her neck stretched out of the window to see where he was.

"What is the matter with you now?" said the Antiquary, "riding to and fro
as your neck were upon the wager--why do you not keep up with the
carriage?"

"I forgot my glove, sir," said Hector.

"Forgot your glove!--I presume you meant to say you went to throw it
down--But I will take order with you, my young gentleman--you shall
return with me this night to Monkbarns." So saying, he bid the postilion
go on.



                           CHAPTER TWENTIETH.


                         --If you fail Honour here,
                 Never presume to serve her any more;
                 Bid farewell to the integrity of armes;
                    And the honourable name of soldier
            Fall from you, like a shivered wreath of laurel
            By thunder struck from a desertlesse forehead.
                                    A Faire Quarrell.

Early the next morning, a gentleman came to wait upon Mr. Lovel, who was
up and ready to receive him. He was a military gentleman, a friend of
Captain M'Intyre's, at present in Fairport on the recruiting service.
Lovel and he were slightly known to each other. "I presume, sir," said
Mr. Lesley (such was the name of the visitor), "that you guess the
occasion of my troubling you so early?"

"A message from Captain M'Intyre, I presume?"

"The same. He holds himself injured by the manner in which you declined
yesterday to answer certain inquiries which he conceived himself entitled
to make respecting a gentleman whom he found in intimate society with his
family."

"May I ask, if you, Mr. Lesley, would have inclined to satisfy
interrogatories so haughtily and unceremoniously put to you?"

"Perhaps not;--and therefore, as I know the warmth of my friend M'Intyre
on such occasions, I feel very desirous of acting as peacemaker. From Mr.
Lovel's very gentleman-like manners, every one must strongly wish to see
him repel all that sort of dubious calumny which will attach itself to
one whose situation is not fully explained. If he will permit me, in
friendly conciliation, to inform Captain M'Intyre of his real name, for
we are led to conclude that of Lovel is assumed"--

"I beg your pardon, sir, but I cannot admit that inference."

"--Or at least," said Lesley, proceeding, "that it is not the name by
which Mr. Lovel has been at all times distinguished--if Mr. Lovel will
have the goodness to explain this circumstance, which, in my opinion, he
should do in justice to his own character, I will answer for the amicable
arrangement of this unpleasant business."

"Which is to say, Mr. Lesley, that if I condescend to answer questions
which no man has a right to ask, and which are now put to me under
penalty of Captain M'Intyre's resentment, Captain MIntyre will condescend
to rest satisfied? Mr. Lesley, I have just one word to say on this
subject--I have no doubt my secret, if I had one, might be safely
entrusted to your honour, but I do not feel called upon to satisfy the
curiosity of any one. Captain M'Intyre met me in society which of itself
was a warrant to all the world, and particularly ought to be such to him,
that I was a gentleman. He has, in my opinion, no right to go any
further, or to inquire the pedigree, rank, or circumstances, of a
stranger, who, without seeking any intimate connection with him, or his,
chances to dine with his uncle, or walk in company with his sister."

"In that case, Captain M'Intyre requests you to be informed, that your
farther visits at Monkbarns, and all connection with Miss M'Intyre, must
be dropt, as disagreeable to him."

"I shall certainly," said Lovel, "visit Mr. Oldbuck when it suits me,
without paying the least respect to his nephew's threats or irritable
feelings. I respect the young lady's name too much (though nothing can be
slighter than our acquaintance) to introduce it into such a discussion."

"Since that is your resolution, sir," answered Lesley, "Captain M'Intyre
requests that Mr. Lovel, unless he wishes to be announced as a very
dubious character, will favour him with a meeting this evening, at seven,
at the thorn-tree in the little valley close by the ruins of St. Ruth."

"Most unquestionably, I will wait upon him. There is only one difficulty
--I must find a friend to accompany me, and where to seek one on this
short notice, as I have no acquaintance in Fairport--I will be on the
spot, however--Captain M'Intyre may be assured of that."

Lesley had taken his hat, and was as far as the door of the apartment,
when, as if moved by the peculiarity of Lovel's situation, he returned,
and thus addressed him: "Mr. Lovel, there is something so singular in all
this, that I cannot help again resuming the argument. You must be
yourself aware at this moment of the inconvenience of your preserving an
incognito, for which, I am convinced, there can be no dishonourable
reason. Still, this mystery renders it difficult for you to procure the
assistance of a friend in a crisis so delicate--nay, let me add, that
many persons will even consider it as a piece of Quixotry in M'Intyre to
give you a meeting, while your character and circumstances are involved
in such obscurity."

"I understand your innuendo, Mr. Lesley," rejoined Lovel; and though I
might be offended at its severity, I am not so, because it is meant
kindly. But, in my opinion, he is entitled to all the privileges of a
gentleman, to whose charge, during the time he has been known in the
society where he happens to move, nothing can be laid that is unhandsome
or unbecoming. For a friend, I dare say I shall find some one or other
who will do me that good turn; and if his experience be less than I could
wish, I am certain not to suffer through that circumstance when you are
in the field for my antagonist."

"I trust you will not," said Lesley; "but as I must, for my own sake, be
anxious to divide so heavy a responsibility with a capable assistant,
allow me to say, that Lieutenant Taffril's gun-brig is come into the
roadstead, and he himself is now at old Caxon's, where he lodges. I think
you have the same degree of acquaintance with him as with me, and, as I
am sure I should willingly have rendered you such a service were I not
engaged on the other side, I am convinced he will do so at your first
request."

"At the thorn-tree, then, Mr. Lesley, at seven this evening--the arms, I
presume, are pistols?"

"Exactly. M'Intyre has chosen the hour at which he can best escape from
Monkbarns--he was with me this morning by five, in order to return and
present himself before his uncle was up. Good-morning to you, Mr. Lovel."
And Lesley left the apartment.

Lovel was as brave as most men; but none can internally regard such a
crisis as now approached, without deep feelings of awe and uncertainty.
In a few hours he might be in another world to answer for an action which
his calmer thought told him was unjustifiable in a religious point of
view, or he might be wandering about in the present like Cain, with the
blood of his brother on his head. And all this might be saved by speaking
a single word. Yet pride whispered, that to speak that word now, would be
ascribed to a motive which would degrade him more low than even the most
injurious reasons that could be assigned for his silence. Every one, Miss
Wardour included, must then, he thought, account him a mean dishonoured
poltroon, who gave to the fear of meeting Captain M'Intyre the
explanation he had refused to the calm and handsome expostulations of Mr.
Lesley. M'Intyre's insolent behaviour to himself personally, the air of
pretension which he assumed towards Miss Wardour, and the extreme
injustice, arrogance, and incivility of his demands upon a perfect
stranger, seemed to justify him in repelling his rude investigation. In
short, he formed the resolution which might have been expected from so
young a man,--to shut the eyes, namely, of his calmer reason, and follow
the dictates of his offended pride. With this purpose he sought
Lieutenant Taffril.

The lieutenant received him with the good breeding of a gentleman and the
frankness of a sailor, and listened with no small surprise to the detail
which preceded his request that he might be favoured with his company at
his meeting with Captain M'Intyre. When he had finished, Taffril rose up
and walked through his apartment once or twice. "This is a most singular
circumstance," he said, "and really"--

"I am conscious, Mr. Taffril, how little I am entitled to make my present
request, but the urgency of circumstances hardly leaves me an
alternative."

"Permit me to ask you one question," asked the sailor;--"is there
anything of which you are ashamed in the circumstances which you have
declined to communicate."

"Upon my honour, no; there is nothing but what, in a very short time, I
trust I may publish to the whole world."

"I hope the mystery arises from no false shame at the lowness of your
friends perhaps, or connections?"

"No, on my word," replied Lovel.

"I have little sympathy for that folly," said Taffril--"indeed I cannot
be supposed to have any; for, speaking of my relations, I may be said to
have come myself from before the mast, and I believe I shall very soon
form a connection, which the world will think low enough, with a very
amiable girl, to whom I have been attached since we were next-door
neighbours, at a time when I little thought of the good fortune which has
brought me forward in the service."

"I assure you, Mr. Taffril," replied Lovel, "whatever were the rank of my
parents, I should never think of concealing it from a spirit of petty
pride. But I am so situated at present, that I cannot enter on the
subject of my family with any propriety."

"It is quite enough," said the honest sailor--"give me your hand; I'll
see you as well through this business as I can, though it is but an
unpleasant one after all--But what of that? our own honour has the next
call on us after our country;--you are a lad of spirit, and I own I think
Mr. Hector M'Intyre, with his long pedigree and his airs of family, very
much of a jackanapes. His father was a soldier of fortune as I am a
sailor--he himself, I suppose, is little better, unless just as his uncle
pleases; and whether one pursues fortune by land, or sea, makes no great
difference, I should fancy."

"None in the universe, certainly," answered Lovel.

"Well," said his new ally, "we will dine together and arrange matters for
this rencounter. I hope you understand the use of the weapon?"

"Not particularly," Lovel replied.

"I am sorry for that--M'Intyre is said to be a marksman."

"I am sorry for it also," said Lovel, "both for his sake and my own: I
must then, in self-defence, take my aim as well as I can."

"Well," added Taffril, "I will have our surgeon's mate on the field--a
good clever young fellow at caulking a shot-hole. I will let Lesley, who
is an honest fellow for a landsman, know that he attends for the benefit
of either party. Is there anything I can do for you in case of an
accident?"

"I have but little occasion to trouble you," said Lovel. "This small
billet contains the key of my escritoir, and my very brief secret. There
is one letter in the escritoir" (digesting a temporary swelling of the
heart as he spoke), "which I beg the favour of you to deliver with your
own hand."

"I understand," said the sailor. "Nay, my friend, never be ashamed for
the matter--an affectionate heart may overflow for an instant at the
eyes, if the ship were clearing for action; and, depend on it, whatever
your injunctions are, Dan Taffril will regard them like the bequest of a
dying brother. But this is all stuff;--we must get our things in fighting
order, and you will dine with me and my little surgeon's mate, at the
Graeme's-Arms over the way, at four o'clock."

"Agreed," said Lovel.

"Agreed," said Taffril; and the whole affair was arranged.

It was a beautiful summer evening, and the shadow of the solitary
thorn-tree was lengthening upon the short greensward of the narrow
valley, which was skirted by the woods that closed around the ruins of
St. Ruth. *

* [Supposed to have been suggested by the old Abbey of Arbroath in *
Forfarshire.]

 Lovel and Lieutenant Taffril, with the surgeon, came upon the ground
with a purpose of a nature very uncongenial to the soft, mild, and
pacific character of the hour and scene. The sheep, which during the
ardent heat of the day had sheltered in the breaches and hollows of the
gravelly bank, or under the roots of the aged and stunted trees, had now
spread themselves upon the face of the hill to enjoy their evening's
pasture, and bleated, to each other with that melancholy sound which at
once gives life to a landscape, and marks its solitude.--Taffril and
Lovel came on in deep conference, having, for fear of discovery, sent
their horses back to the town by the Lieutenant's servant. The opposite
party had not yet appeared on the field. But when they came upon the
ground, there sat upon the roots of the old thorn a figure as vigorous in
his decay as the moss-grown but strong and contorted boughs which served
him for a canopy. It was old Ochiltree. "This is embarrassing enough,"
said Lovel:--"How shall we get rid of this old fellow?"

"Here, father Adam," cried Taffril, who knew the mendicant of yore
--"here's half-a-crown for you. You must go to the Four Horse-shoes yonder
--the little inn, you know, and inquire for a servant with blue and
yellow livery. If he is not come, you'll wait for him, and tell him we
shall be with his master in about an hour's time. At any rate, wait there
till we come back,--and--Get off with you--Come, come, weigh anchor."

"I thank ye for your awmous," said Ochiltree, pocketing the piece of
money; "but I beg your pardon, Mr. Taffril--I canna gang your errand e'en
now."

"Why not, man? what can hinder you?"

"I wad speak a word wi' young Mr. Lovel."

"With me?" answered Lovel: "what would you say with me? Come, say on, and
be brief."

The mendicant led him a few paces aside. "Are ye indebted onything to the
Laird o' Monkbarns?"

"Indebted!--no, not I--what of that?--what makes you think so?"

"Ye maun ken I was at the shirra's the day; for, God help me, I gang
about a' gates like the troubled spirit; and wha suld come whirling there
in a post-chaise, but Monkbarns in an unco carfuffle--now, it's no a
little thing that will make his honour take a chaise and post-horse twa
days rinnin'."

"Well, well; but what is all this to me?"

"Ou, ye'se hear, ye'se hear. Weel, Monkbarns is closeted wi' the shirra
whatever puir folk may be left thereout--ye needna doubt that--the
gentlemen are aye unco civil amang themsells."

"For heaven's sake, my old friend"--

"Canna ye bid me gang to the deevil at ance, Mr. Lovel? it wad be mair
purpose fa'ard than to speak o' heaven in that impatient gate."

"But I have private business with Lieutenant Taffril here."

"Weel, weel, a' in gude time," said the beggar--"I can use a little wee
bit freedom wi' Mr. Daniel Taffril;--mony's the peery and the tap I
worked for him langsyne, for I was a worker in wood as weel as a
tinkler."

"You are either mad, Adam, or have a mind to drive me mad."

"Nane o' the twa," said Edie, suddenly changing his manner from the
protracted drawl of the mendicant to a brief and decided tone. "The
shirra sent for his clerk, and as the lad is rather light o' the tongue,
I fand it was for drawing a warrant to apprehend you--I thought it had
been on a _fugie_ warrant for debt; for a' body kens the laird likes
naebody to pit his hand in his pouch--But now I may haud my tongue, for I
see the M'Intyre lad and Mr. Lesley coming up, and I guess that
Monkbarns's purpose was very kind, and that yours is muckle waur than it
should be."

The antagonist now approached, and saluted with the stern civility which
befitted the occasion. "What has this old fellow to do here?" said
M'Intyre.

"I am an auld fallow," said Edie, "but I am also an auld soldier o' your
father's, for I served wi' him in the 42d."

"Serve where you please, you have no title to intrude on us," said
M'Intyre, "or"--and he lifted his cane _in terrorem,_ though without the
idea of touching the old man.

But Ochiltree's courage was roused by the insult. "Haud down your switch,
Captain M'Intyre! I am an auld soldier, as I said before, and I'll take
muckle frae your father's son; but no a touch o' the wand while my
pike-staff will haud thegither."

"Well, well, I was wrong--I was wrong," said M'Intyre; "here's a crown
for you--go your ways--what's the matter now?"

The old man drew himself up to the full advantage of his uncommon height,
and in despite of his dress, which indeed had more of the pilgrim than
the ordinary beggar, looked from height, manner, and emphasis of voice
and gesture, rather like a grey palmer or eremite preacher, the ghostly
counsellor of the young men who were around him, than the object of their
charity. His speech, indeed, was as homely as his habit, but as bold and
unceremonious as his erect and dignified demeanour. "What are ye come
here for, young men?" he said, addressing himself to the surprised
audience; "are ye come amongst the most lovely works of God to break his
laws? Have ye left the works of man, the houses and the cities that are
but clay and dust, like those that built them--and are ye come here among
the peaceful hills, and by the quiet waters, that will last whiles aught
earthly shall endure, to destroy each other's lives, that will have but
an unco short time, by the course of nature, to make up a lang account at
the close o't? O sirs! hae ye brothers, sisters, fathers, that hae tended
ye, and mothers that hae travailed for ye, friends that hae ca'd ye like
a piece o' their ain heart? and is this the way ye tak to make them
childless and brotherless and friendless? Ohon! it's an ill feight whar
he that wins has the warst o't. Think on't, bairns. I'm a puir man--but
I'm an auld man too--and what my poverty takes awa frae the weight o' my
counsel, grey hairs and a truthfu' heart should add it twenty times. Gang
hame, gang hame, like gude lads--the French will be ower to harry us ane
o' thae days, and ye'll hae feighting eneugh, and maybe auld Edie will
hirple out himsell if he can get a feal-dyke to lay his gun ower, and may
live to tell you whilk o' ye does the best where there's a good cause
afore ye."

There was something in the undaunted and independent manner, hardy
sentiment, and manly rude elocution of the old man, that had its effect
upon the party, and particularly on the seconds, whose pride was
uninterested in bringing the dispute to a bloody arbitrament, and who, on
the contrary, eagerly watched for an opportunity to recommend
reconciliation.

"Upon my word, Mr. Lesley," said Taffril, "old Adam speaks like an
oracle. Our friends here were very angry yesterday, and of course very
foolish;--today they should be cool, or at least we must be so in their
behalf. I think the word should be forget and forgive on both sides,
--that we should all shake hands, fire these foolish crackers in the air,
and go home to sup in a body at the Graeme's-Arms."

"I would heartily recommend it," said Lesley; "for, amidst a great deal
of heat and irritation on both sides, I confess myself unable to discover
any rational ground of quarrel."

"Gentlemen," said M'Intyre, very coldly, "all this should have been
thought of before. In my opinion, persons that have carried this matter
so far as we have done, and who should part without carrying it any
farther, might go to supper at the Graeme's-Arms very joyously, but would
rise the next morning with reputations as ragged as our friend here, who
has obliged us with a rather unnecessary display of his oratory. I speak
for myself, that I find myself bound to call upon you to proceed without
more delay."

"And I," said Lovel, "as I never desired any, have also to request these
gentlemen to arrange preliminaries as fast as possible."

"Bairns! bairns!" cried old Ochiltree; but perceiving he was no longer
attended to--"Madmen, I should say--but your blood be on your heads!" And
the old man drew off from the ground, which was now measured out by the
seconds, and continued muttering and talking to himself in sullen
indignation, mixed with anxiety, and with a strong feeling of painful
curiosity. Without paying farther attention to his presence or
remonstrances, Mr. Lesley and the Lieutenant made the necessary
arrangements for the duel, and it was agreed that both parties should
fire when Mr. Lesley dropped his handkerchief.

The fatal sign was given, and both fired almost in the same moment.
Captain M'Intyre's ball grazed the side of his opponent, but did not draw
blood. That of Lovel was more true to the aim; M'Intyre reeled and fell.
Raising himself on his arm, his first exclamation was, "It is nothing--it
is nothing--give us the other pistols." But in an instant he said, in a
lower tone, "I believe I have enough--and what's worse, I fear I deserve
it. Mr. Lovel, or whatever your name is, fly and save yourself--Bear all
witness, I provoked this matter." Then raising himself again on his arm,
he added, "Shake hands, Lovel--I believe you to be a gentleman--forgive
my rudeness, and I forgive you my death--My poor sister!"

The surgeon came up to perform his part of the tragedy, and Lovel stood
gazing on the evil of which he had been the active, though unwilling
cause, with a dizzy and bewildered eye. He was roused from his trance by
the grasp of the mendicant. "Why stand you gazing on your deed?--What's
doomed is doomed--what's done is past recalling. But awa, awa, if ye wad
save your young blood from a shamefu' death--I see the men out by yonder
that are come ower late to part ye--but, out and alack! sune eneugh, and
ower sune, to drag ye to prison."

"He is right--he is right," exclaimed Taffril; "you must not attempt to
get on the high-road--get into the wood till night. My brig will be under
sail by that time, and at three in the morning, when the tide will serve,
I shall have the boat waiting for you at the Mussel-crag. Away-away, for
Heaven's sake!"

"O yes! fly, fly!" repeated the wounded man, his words faltering with
convulsive sobs.

"Come with me," said the mendicant, almost dragging him off; "the
Captain's plan is the best--I'll carry ye to a place where ye might be
concealed in the meantime, were they to seek ye 'wi' sleuth-hounds."

"Go, go," again urged Lieutenant Taffril--"to stay here is mere madness."

"It was worse madness to have come hither," said Lovel, pressing his
hand--"But farewell!" And he followed Ochiltree into the recesses of the
wood.




                          CHAPTER TWENTY-FIRST.


                      --The Lord Abbot had a soul
               Subtile and quick, and searching as the fire;
               By magic stairs he went as deep as hell,
               And if in devils' possession gold be kept,
         He brought some sure from thence--'tis hid in caves,
                        Known, save to me, to none.--
                                   The Wonder of a Kingdome.

Lovel almost mechanically followed the beggar, who led the way with a
hasty and steady pace, through bush and bramble, avoiding the beaten
path, and often turning to listen whether there were any sounds of
pursuit behind them. They sometimes descended into the very bed of the
torrent, sometimes kept a narrow and precarious path, that the sheep
(which, with the sluttish negligence towards property of that sort
universal in Scotland, were allowed to stray in the copse) had made along
the very verge of its overhanging banks. From time to time Lovel had a
glance of the path which he had traversed the day before in company with
Sir Arthur, the Antiquary, and the young ladies. Dejected, embarrassed,
and occupied by a thousand inquietudes, as he then was, what would he now
have given to regain the sense of innocence which alone can
counter-balance a thousand evils! "Yet, then," such was his hasty and
involuntary reflection, "even then, guiltless and valued by all around
me, I thought myself unhappy. What am I now, with this young man's blood
upon my hands?--the feeling of pride which urged me to the deed has now
deserted me, as the actual fiend himself is said to do those whom he has
tempted to guilt." Even his affection for Miss Wardour sunk for the time
before the first pangs of remorse, and he thought he could have
encountered every agony of slighted love to have had the conscious
freedom from blood-guiltiness which he possessed in the morning.

These painful reflections were not interrupted by any conversation on the
part of his guide, who threaded the thicket before him, now holding back
the sprays to make his path easy, now exhorting him to make haste, now
muttering to himself, after the custom of solitary and neglected old age,
words which might have escaped Lovel's ear even had he listened to them,
or which, apprehended and retained, were too isolated to convey any
connected meaning,--a habit which may be often observed among people of
the old man's age and calling.

At length, as Lovel, exhausted by his late indisposition, the harrowing
feelings by which he was agitated, and the exertion necessary to keep up
with his guide in a path so rugged, began to flag and fall behind, two or
three very precarious steps placed him on the front of a precipice
overhung with brushwood and copse. Here a cave, as narrow in its entrance
as a fox-earth, was indicated by a small fissure in the rock, screened by
the boughs of an aged oak, which, anchored by its thick and twisted roots
in the upper part of the cleft, flung its branches almost straight
outward from the cliff, concealing it effectually from all observation.
It might indeed have escaped the attention even of those who had stood at
its very opening, so uninviting was the portal at which the beggar
entered. But within, the cavern was higher and more roomy, cut into two
separate branches, which, intersecting each other at right angles, formed
an emblem of the cross, and indicated the abode of an anchoret of former
times. There are many caves of the same kind in different parts of
Scotland. I need only instance those of Gorton, near Rosslyn, in a scene
well known to the admirers of romantic nature.

The light within the eave was a dusky twilight at the entrance, which
failed altogether in the inner recesses. "Few folks ken o' this place,"
said the old man; "to the best o'my knowledge, there's just twa living by
mysell, and that's Jingling Jock and the Lang Linker. I have had mony a
thought, that when I fand mysell auld and forfairn, and no able to enjoy
God's blessed air ony langer, I wad drag mysell here wi' a pickle
ait-meal; and see, there's a bit bonny dropping well that popples that
self-same gate simmer and winter;--and I wad e'en streek mysell out here,
and abide my removal, like an auld dog that trails its useless ugsome
carcass into some bush or bracken no to gie living things a scunner wi'
the sight o't when it's dead--Ay, and then, when the dogs barked at the
lone farm-stead, the gudewife wad cry, Whisht, stirra, that'll be auld
Edie,' and the bits o' weans wad up, puir things, and toddle to the door
to pu' in the auld Blue-Gown that mends a' their bonny-dies--But there
wad be nae mair word o' Edie, I trow."

He then led Lovel, who followed him unresistingly, into one of the
interior branches of the cave. "Here," he said, "is a bit turnpike-stair
that gaes up to the auld kirk abune. Some folks say this place was howkit
out by the monks lang syne to hide their treasure in, and some said that
they used to bring things into the abbey this gate by night, that they
durstna sae weel hae brought in by the main port and in open day--And
some said that ane o' them turned a saint (or aiblins wad hae had folk
think sae), and settled him down in this Saint Ruth's cell, as the auld
folks aye ca'd it, and garr'd big the stair, that he might gang up to the
kirk when they were at the divine service. The Laird o' Monkbarns wad hae
a hantle to say about it, as he has about maist things, if he ken'd only
about the place. But whether it was made for man's devices or God's
service, I have seen ower muckle sin done in it in my day, and far ower
muckle have I been partaker of--ay, even here in this dark cove. Mony a
gudewife's been wondering what for the red cock didna craw her up in the
morning, when he's been roasting, puir fallow, in this dark hole--And,
ohon! I wish that and the like o' that had been the warst o't! Whiles
they wad hae heard the din we were making in the very bowels o' the
earth, when Sanders Aikwood, that was forester in thae days, the father
o' Ringan that now is, was gaun daundering about the wood at e'en, to see
after the Laird's game and whiles he wad hae seen a glance o' the light
frae the door o' the cave, flaughtering against the hazels on the other
bank;--and then siccan stories as Sanders had about the worricows and
gyre-carlins that haunted about the auld wa's at e'en, and the lights
that he had seen, and the cries that he had heard, when there was nae
mortal e'e open but his ain; and eh! as he wad thrum them ower and ower
to the like o' me ayont the ingle at e'en, and as I wad gie the auld
silly carle grane for grane, and tale for tale, though I ken'd muckle
better about it than ever he did. Ay, ay--they were daft days thae;--but
they were a' vanity, and waur,--and it's fitting that they wha hae led a
light and evil life, and abused charity when they were young, suld
aiblins come to lack it when they are auld."

While Ochiltree was thus recounting the exploits and tricks of his
earlier life, with a tone in which glee and compunction alternately
predominated, his unfortunate auditor had sat down upon the hermit's
seat, hewn out of the solid rock, and abandoned himself to that
lassitude, both of mind and body, which generally follows a course of
events that have agitated both, The effect of his late indisposition,
which had much weakened his system, contributed to this lethargic
despondency. "The puir bairn!" said auld Edie, "an he sleeps in this damp
hole, he'll maybe wauken nae mair, or catch some sair disease. It's no
the same to him as to the like o' us, that can sleep ony gate an anes our
wames are fu'. Sit up, Maister Lovel, lad! After a's come and gane, I
dare say the captain-lad will do weel eneugh--and, after a', ye are no
the first that has had this misfortune. I hae seen mony a man killed, and
helped to kill them mysell, though there was nae quarrel between us--and
if it isna wrang to kill folk we have nae quarrel wi', just because they
wear another sort of a cockade, and speak a foreign language, I canna see
but a man may have excuse for killing his ain mortal foe, that comes
armed to the fair field to kill him. I dinna say it's right--God forbid
--or that it isna sinfu' to take away what ye canna restore, and that's
the breath of man, whilk is in his nostrils; but I say it is a sin to be
forgiven if it's repented of. Sinfu' men are we a'; but if ye wad believe
an auld grey sinner that has seen the evil o' his ways, there is as much
promise atween the twa boards o' the Testament as wad save the warst o'
us, could we but think sae."

With such scraps of comfort and of divinity as he possessed, the
mendicant thus continued to solicit and compel the attention of Lovel,
until the twilight began to fade into night. "Now," said Ochiltree, "I
will carry ye to a mair convenient place, where I hae sat mony a time to
hear the howlit crying out of the ivy tod, and to see the moonlight come
through the auld windows o' the ruins. There can be naebody come here
after this time o' night; and if they hae made ony search, thae
blackguard shirra'-officers and constables, it will hae been ower lang
syne. Od, they are as great cowards as ither folk, wi' a' their warrants
and king's keys*--I hae gien some o' them a gliff in my day, when they
were coming rather ower near me--But, lauded be grace for it! they canna
stir me now for ony waur than an auld man and a beggar, and my badge is a
gude protection; and then Miss Isabella Wardour is a tower o' strength,
ye ken"--(Lovel sighed)--"Aweel, dinna be cast down--bowls may a' row
right yet--gie the lassie time to ken her mind. She's the wale o' the
country for beauty, and a gude friend o' mine--I gang by the bridewell as
safe as by the kirk on a Sabbath--deil ony o' them daur hurt a hair o'
auld Edie's head now; I keep the crown o' the causey when I gae to the
borough, and rub shouthers wi' a bailie wi' as little concern as an he
were a brock."

* The king's keys are, in law phrase, the crow-bars and hammers used to
force doors and locks, in execution of the king's warrant.

While the mendicant spoke thus, he was busied in removing a few loose
stones in one angle of the eave, which obscured the entrance of the
staircase of which he had spoken, and led the way into it, followed by
Lovel in passive silence.

"The air's free eneugh," said the old man; "the monks took care o' that,
for they werena a lang-breathed generation, I reckon; they hae contrived
queer tirlie-wirlie holes, that gang out to the open air, and keep the
stair as caller as a kail-blade."

Lovel accordingly found the staircase well aired, and, though narrow, it
was neither ruinous nor long, but speedily admitted them into a narrow
gallery contrived to run within the side wall of the chancel, from which
it received air and light through apertures ingeniously hidden amid the
florid ornaments of the Gothic architecture.

"This secret passage ance gaed round great part o' the biggin," said the
beggar, "and through the wa' o' the place I've heard Monkbarns ca' the
Refractory" [meaning probably _Refectory_], "and so awa to the Prior's
ain house. It's like he could use it to listen what the monks were saying
at meal-time,--and then he might come ben here and see that they were
busy skreighing awa wi' the psalms doun below there; and then, when he
saw a' was right and tight, he might step awa and fetch in a bonnie lass
at the cove yonder--for they were queer hands the monks, unless mony lees
is made on them. But our folk were at great pains lang syne to big up the
passage in some parts, and pu' it down in others, for fear o' some
uncanny body getting into it, and finding their way down to the cove: it
wad hae been a fashious job that--by my certie, some o' our necks wad hae
been ewking."

They now came to a place where the gallery was enlarged into a small
circle, sufficient to contain a stone seat. A niche, constructed exactly
before it, projected forward into the chancel, and as its sides were
latticed, as it were, with perforated stone-work, it commanded a full
view of the chancel in every direction, and was probably constructed, as
Edie intimated, to be a convenient watch-tower, from which the superior
priest, himself unseen, might watch the behaviour of his monks, and
ascertain, by personal inspection, their punctual attendance upon those
rites of devotion which his rank exempted him from sharing with them. As
this niche made one of a regular series which stretched along the wall of
the chancel, and in no respect differed from the rest when seen from
below, the secret station, screened as it was by the stone figure of St.
Michael and the dragon, and the open tracery around the niche, was
completely hid from observation. The private passage, confined to its
pristine breadth, had originally continued beyond this seat; but the
jealous precautions of the vagabonds who frequented the cave of St. Ruth
had caused them to build it carefully up with hewn stones from the ruin.

"We shall be better here," said Edie, seating himself on the stone bench,
and stretching the lappet of his blue gown upon the spot, when he
motioned Lovel to sit down beside him--"we shall be better here than doun
below; the air's free and mild, and the savour of the wallflowers, and
siccan shrubs as grow on thae ruined wa's, is far mair refreshing than
the damp smell doun below yonder. They smell sweetest by night-time thae
flowers, and they're maist aye seen about rained buildings. Now, Maister
Lovel, can ony o' you scholars gie a gude reason for that?"

Lovel replied in the negative.

"I am thinking," resumed the beggar, "that they'll be, like mony folk's
gude gifts, that often seem maist gracious in adversity--or maybe it's a
parable, to teach us no to slight them that are in the darkness of sin
and the decay of tribulation, since God sends odours to refresh the
mirkest hour, and flowers and pleasant bushes to clothe the ruined
buildings. And now I wad like a wise man to tell me whether Heaven is
maist pleased wi' the sight we are looking upon--thae pleasant and quiet
lang streaks o' moonlight that are lying sae still on the floor o' this
auld kirk, and glancing through the great pillars and stanchions o' the
carved windows, and just dancing like on the leaves o' the dark ivy as
the breath o' wind shakes it--I wonder whether this is mair pleasing to
Heaven than when it was lighted up wi' lamps, and candles nae doubt, and
roughies,* and wi' the mirth and the frankincent that they speak of in
the Holy Scripture, and wi' organs assuredly, and men and women singers,
and sackbuts, and dulcimers, and a' instruments o' music--I wonder if
that was acceptable, or whether it is of these grand parafle o'
ceremonies that holy writ says, It is an abomination to me.

* Links, or torches.

I am thinking, Maister Lovel, if twa puir contrite spirits like yours and
mine fand grace to make our petition"--

Here Lovel laid his hand eagerly on the mendicant's arm, saying,--"Hush!
I heard some one speak."

"I am dull o' hearing," answered Edie, in a whisper, "but we're surely
safe here--where was the sound?"

Lovel pointed to the door of the chancel, which, highly ornamented,
occupied the west end of the building, surmounted by the carved window,
which let in a flood of moonlight over it.

"They can be nane o' our folk," said Edie in the same low and cautious
tone; "there's but twa o' them kens o' the place, and they're mony a mile
off, if they are still bound on their weary pilgrimage. I'll never think
it's the officers here at this time o' night. I am nae believer in auld
wives' stories about ghaists, though this is gey like a place for them
--But mortal, or of the other world, here they come!--twa men and a
light."

And in very truth, while the mendicant spoke, two human figures darkened
with their shadows the entrance of the chancel--which had before opened
to the moon-lit meadow beyond, and the small lantern which one of them
displayed, glimmered pale in the clear and strong beams of the moon, as
the evening star does among the lights of the departing day. The first
and most obvious idea was, that, despite the asseverations of Edie
Ochiltree, the persons who approached the ruins at an hour so uncommon
must be the officers of justice in quest of Lovel. But no part of their
conduct confirmed the suspicion. A touch and a whisper from the old man
warned Lovel that his best course was to remain quiet, and watch their
motions from their present place of concealment. Should anything appear
to render retreat necessary, they had behind them the private stair-case
and cavern, by means of which they could escape into the wood long before
any danger of close pursuit. They kept themselves, therefore, as still as
possible, and observed with eager and anxious curiosity every accent and
motion of these nocturnal wanderers.

After conversing together some time in whispers, the two figures advanced
into the middle of the chancel; and a voice, which Lovel at once
recognised, from its tone and dialect, to be that of Dousterswivel,
pronounced in a louder but still a smothered tone, "Indeed, mine goot
sir, dere cannot be one finer hour nor season for dis great purpose. You
shall see, mine goot sir, dat it is all one bibble-babble dat Mr.
Oldenbuck says, and dat he knows no more of what he speaks than one
little child. Mine soul! he expects to get as rich as one Jew for his
poor dirty one hundred pounds, which I care no more about, by mine honest
wort, than I care for an hundred stivers. But to you, my most munificent
and reverend patron, I will show all de secrets dat art can show--ay, de
secret of de great Pymander."

"That other ane," whispered Edie, "maun be, according to a' likelihood,
Sir Arthur Wardour--I ken naebody but himsell wad come here at this time
at e'en wi' that German blackguard;--ane wad think he's bewitched him--he
gars him e'en trow that chalk is cheese. Let's see what they can be
doing."

This interruption, and the low tone in which Sir Arthur spoke, made Lovel
lose all Sir Arthur's answer to the adept, excepting the last three
emphatic words, "Very great expense;" to which Dousterswivel at once
replied--"Expenses!--to be sure--dere must be de great expenses. You do
not expect to reap before you do sow de seed: de expense is de seed--de
riches and de mine of goot metal, and now de great big chests of plate,
they are de crop--vary goot crop too, on mine wort. Now, Sir Arthur, you
have sowed this night one little seed of ten guineas like one pinch of
snuff, or so big; and if you do not reap de great harvest--dat is, de
great harvest for de little pinch of seed, for it must be proportions,
you must know--then never call one honest man, Herman Dousterswivel. Now
you see, mine patron--for I will not conceal mine secret from you at all
--you see this little plate of silver; you know de moon measureth de
whole zodiack in de space of twenty-eight day--every shild knows dat.
Well, I take a silver plate when she is in her fifteenth mansion, which
mansion is in de head of _Libra,_ and I engrave upon one side de worts,
[Shedbarschemoth Schartachan]--dat is, de Emblems of de Intelligence of
de moon--and I make this picture like a flying serpent with a
turkey-cock's head--vary well. Then upon this side I make de table of de
moon, which is a square of nine, multiplied into itself, with eighty-one
numbers on every side, and diameter nine--dere it is done very proper.
Now I will make dis avail me at de change of every quarter-moon dat I
shall find by de same proportions of expenses I lay out in de
suffumigations, as nine, to de product of nine multiplied into
itself--But I shall find no more to-night as maybe two or dree times
nine, because dere is a thwarting power in de house of ascendency."

"But, Dousterswivel," said the simple Baronet, "does not this look like
magic?--I am a true though unworthy son of the Episcopal church, and I
will have nothing to do with the foul fiend."

"Bah! bah!--not a bit magic in it at all--not a bit--It is all founded on
de planetary influence, and de sympathy and force of numbers. I will show
you much finer dan dis. I do not say dere is not de spirit in it, because
of de suffumigation; but, if you are not afraid, he shall not be
invisible."

"I have no curiosity to see him at all," said the Baronet, whose courage
seemed, from a certain quaver in his accent, to have taken a fit of the
ague.

"Dat is great pity," said Dousterswivel; "I should have liked to show you
de spirit dat guard dis treasure like one fierce watchdog--but I know how
to manage him;--you would not care to see him?"

"Not at all," answered the Baronet, in a tone of feigned indifference; "I
think we have but little time."

"You shall pardon me, my patron; it is not yet twelve, and twelve precise
is just our planetary hours; and I could show you de spirit vary well, in
de meanwhile, just for pleasure. You see I would draw a pentagon within a
circle, which is no trouble at all, and make my suffumigation within it,
and dere we would be like in one strong castle, and you would hold de
sword while I did say de needful worts. Den you should see de solid wall
open like de gate of ane city, and den--let me see--ay, you should see
first one stag pursued by three black greyhounds, and they should pull
him down as they do at de elector's great hunting-match; and den one
ugly, little, nasty black negro should appear and take de stag from them
--and paf--all should be gone; den you should hear horns winded dat all
de ruins should ring--mine wort, they should play fine hunting piece, as
goot as him you call'd Fischer with his oboi; vary well--den comes one
herald, as we call Ernhold, winding his horn--and den come de great
Peolphan, called de mighty Hunter of de North, mounted on hims black
steed. But you would not care to see all this?"*

* Note F. Witchcraft.

 "Why, I am not afraid," answered the poor Baronet,--"if--that is--does
anything--any great mischiefs, happen on such occasions?"

"Bah! mischiefs? no!--sometimes if de circle be no quite just, or de
beholder be de frightened coward, and not hold de sword firm and straight
towards him, de Great Hunter will take his advantage, and drag him
exorcist out of de circle and throttle him. Dat does happens."

"Well then, Dousterswivel, with every confidence in my courage and your
skill, we will dispense with this apparition, and go on to the business
of the night."

"With all mine heart--it is just one thing to me--and now it is de time
--hold you de sword till I kindle de little what you call chip."

Dousterswivel accordingly set fire to a little pile of chips, touched and
prepared with some bituminous substance to make them burn fiercely; and
when the flame was at the highest, and lightened, with its shortlived
glare, all the ruins around, the German flung in a handful of perfumes
which produced a strong and pungent odour. The exorcist and his pupil
both were so much affected as to cough and sneeze heartily; and, as the
vapour floated around the pillars of the building, and penetrated every
crevice, it produced the same effect on the beggar and Lovel.

"Was that an echo?" said the Baronet, astonished at the sternutation
which resounded from above; "or"--drawing close to the adept, "can it be
the spirit you talked of, ridiculing our attempt upon his hidden
treasures?"

"N--n--no," muttered the German, who began to partake of his pupil's
terrors, "I hope not."

Here a violent of sneezing, which the mendicant was unable to suppress,
and which could not be considered by any means as the dying fall of an
echo, accompanied by a grunting half-smothered cough, confounded the two
treasure-seekers. "Lord have mercy on us!" said the Baronet.

"_Alle guten Geistern loben den Herrn!_" ejaculated the terrified adept.
"I was begun to think," he continued, after a moment's silence, "that
this would be de bestermost done in de day-light--we was bestermost to go
away just now."

"You juggling villain!" said the Baronet, in whom these expressions
awakened a suspicion that overcame his terrors, connected as it was with
the sense of desperation arising from the apprehension of impending ruin
--"you juggling mountebank! this is some legerdemain trick of yours to
get off from the performance of your promise, as you have so often done
before. But, before Heaven! I will this night know what I have trusted to
when I suffered you to fool me on to my ruin! Go on, then--come fairy,
come fiend, you shall show me that treasure, or confess yourself a knave
and an impostor, or, by the faith of a desperate and ruined man, I'll
send you where you shall see spirits enough."

The treasure-finder, trembling between his terror for the supernatural
beings by whom he supposed himself to be surrounded, and for his life,
which seemed to be at the mercy of a desperate man, could only bring out,
"Mine patron, this is not the allerbestmost usage. Consider, mine
honoured sir, that de spirits"--

Here Edie, who began to enter into the humour of the scene, uttered an
extraordinary howl, being an exaltation and a prolongation of the most
deplorable whine in which he was accustomed to solicit charity.

Dousterswivel flung himself on his knees--"Dear Sir Arthurs, let us go,
or let me go!"

"No, you cheating scoundrel!" said the knight, unsheathing the sword
which he had brought for the purposes of the exorcism, "that shift shall
not serve you--Monkbarns warned me long since of your juggling pranks--I
will see this treasure before you leave this place, or I will have you
confess yourself an impostor, or, by Heaven, I'll run this sword through
you, though all the spirits of the dead should rise around us!"

"For de lofe of Heaven be patient, mine honoured patron, and you shall
hafe all de treasure as I knows of--yes, you shall indeed--But do not
speak about de spirits--it makes dem angry."

Edie Ochiltree here prepared himself to throw in another groan, but was
restrained by Lovel, who began to take a more serious interest, as he
observed the earnest and almost desperate demeanour of Sir Arthur.
Dousterswivel, having at once before his eyes the fear of the foul fiend,
and the violence of Sir Arthur, played his part of a conjuror extremely
ill, hesitating to assume the degree of confidence necessary to deceive
the latter, lest it should give offence to the invisible cause of his
alarm. However, after rolling his eyes, muttering and sputtering German
exorcisms, with contortions of his face and person, rather flowing from
the impulse of terror than of meditated fraud, he at length proceeded to
a corner of the building where a flat stone lay upon the ground, bearing
upon its surface the effigy of an armed warrior in a recumbent posture
carved in bas-relief. He muttered to Sir Arthur, "Mine patrons, it is
here--Got save us all!"

Sir Arthur, who, after the first moment of his superstitious fear was
over, seemed to have bent up all his faculties to the pitch of resolution
necessary to carry on the adventure, lent the adept his assistance to
turn over the stone, which, by means of a lever that the adept had
provided, their joint force with difficulty effected. No supernatural
light burst forth from below to indicate the subterranean treasury, nor
was there any apparition of spirits, earthly or infernal. But when
Dousterswivel had, with great trepidation, struck a few strokes with a
mattock, and as hastily thrown out a shovelful or two of earth (for they
came provided with the tools necessary for digging), something was heard
to ring like the sound of a falling piece of metal, and Dousterswivel,
hastily catching up the substance which produced it, and which his shovel
had thrown out along with the earth, exclaimed, "On mine dear wort, mine
patrons, dis is all--it is indeed; I mean all we can do to-night;"--and
he gazed round him with a cowering and fearful glance, as if to see from
what comer the avenger of his imposture was to start forth.

"Let me see it," said Sir Arthur; and then repeated, still more sternly,
"I will be satisfied--I will judge by mine own eyes." He accordingly held
the object to the light of the lantern. It was a small case, or casket,
--for Lovel could not at the distance exactly discern its shape, which,
from the Baronet's exclamation as he opened it, he concluded was filled
with coin. "Ay," said the Baronet, "this is being indeed in good luck!
and if it omens proportional success upon a larger venture, the venture
shall be made. That six hundred of Goldieword's, added to the other
incumbent claims, must have been ruin indeed. If you think we can parry
it by repeating this experiment--suppose when the moon next changes,--I
will hazard the necessary advance, come by it how I may."

"Oh, mine good patrons, do not speak about all dat," said Dousterswivel,
"as just now, but help me to put de shtone to de rights, and let us
begone our own ways." And accordingly, so soon as the stone was replaced,
he hurried Sir Arthur, who was now resigned once more to his guidance,
away from a spot, where the German's guilty conscience and superstitious
fears represented goblins as lurking behind each pillar with the purpose
of punishing his treachery.

"Saw onybody e'er the like o' that!" said Edie, when they had disappeared
like shadows through the gate by which they had entered--"saw ony
creature living e'er the like o' that!--But what can we do for that puir
doited deevil of a knight-baronet? Od, he showed muckle mair spunk, too,
than I thought had been in him--I thought he wad hae sent cauld iron
through the vagabond--Sir Arthur wasna half sae bauld at Bessie's-apron
yon night--but then, his blood was up even now, and that makes an unco
difference. I hae seen mony a man wad hae felled another an anger him,
that wadna muckle hae liked a clink against Crummies-horn yon time. But
what's to be done?"

"I suppose," said Lovel, "his faith in this fellow is entirely restored
by this deception, which, unquestionably, he had arranged beforehand."

"What! the siller?--Ay, ay--trust him for that--they that hide ken best
where to find. He wants to wile him out o' his last guinea, and then
escape to his ain country, the land-louper. I wad likeit weel just to hae
come in at the clipping-time, and gien him a lounder wi' my pike-staff;
he wad hae taen it for a bennison frae some o' the auld dead abbots. But
it's best no to be rash; sticking disna gang by strength, but by the
guiding o' the gally. I'se be upsides wi' him ae day."

"What if you should inform Mr. Oldbuck?" said Lovel.

"Ou, I dinna ken--Monkbarns and Sir Arthur are like, and yet they're no
like neither. Monkbarns has whiles influence wi' him, and whiles Sir
Arthur cares as little about him as about the like o' me. Monkbarns is no
that ower wise himsell, in some things;--he wad believe a bodle to be an
auld Roman coin, as he ca's it, or a ditch to be a camp, upon ony leasing
that idle folk made about it. I hae garr'd him trow mony a queer tale
mysell, gude forgie me. But wi' a' that, he has unco little sympathy wi'
ither folks; and he's snell and dure eneugh in casting up their nonsense
to them, as if he had nane o' his ain. He'll listen the hale day, an yell
tell him about tales o' Wallace, and Blind Harry, and Davie Lindsay; but
ye maunna speak to him about ghaists or fairies, or spirits walking the
earth, or the like o' that;--he had amaist flung auld Caxon out o' the
window (and he might just as weel hae flung awa his best wig after him),
for threeping he had seen a ghaist at the humlock-knowe. Now, if he was
taking it up in this way, he wad set up the tother's birse, and maybe do
mair ill nor gude--he's done that twice or thrice about thae mine-warks;
ye wad thought Sir Arthur had a pleasure in gaun on wi' them the deeper,
the mair he was warned against it by Monkbarns."

"What say you then," said Lovel, "to letting Miss Wardour know the
circumstance?"

"Ou, puir thing, how could she stop her father doing his pleasure?--and,
besides, what wad it help? There's a sough in the country about that six
hundred pounds, and there's a writer chield in Edinburgh has been driving
the spur-rowels o' the law up to the head into Sir Arthur's sides to gar
him pay it, and if he canna, he maun gang to jail or flee the country.
He's like a desperate man, and just catches at this chance as a' he has
left, to escape utter perdition; so what signifies plaguing the puir
lassie about what canna be helped? And besides, to say the truth, I wadna
like to tell the secret o' this place. It's unco convenient, ye see
yoursell, to hae a hiding-hole o' ane's ain; and though I be out o' the
line o' needing ane e'en now, and trust in the power o' grace that I'll
neer do onything to need ane again, yet naebody kens what temptation ane
may be gien ower to--and, to be brief, I downa bide the thought of
anybody kennin about the place;--they say, keep a thing seven year, an'
yell aye find a use for't--and maybe I may need the cove, either for
mysell, or for some ither body."

This argument, in which Edie Ochiltree, notwithstanding his scraps of
morality and of divinity, seemed to take, perhaps from old habit, a
personal interest, could not be handsomely controverted by Lovel, who was
at that moment reaping the benefit of the secret of which the old man
appeared to be so jealous.

This incident, however, was of great service to Lovel, as diverting his
mind from the unhappy occurrence of the evening, and considerably rousing
the energies which had been stupefied by the first view of his calamity.
He reflected that it by no means necessarily followed that a dangerous
wound must be a fatal one--that he had been hurried from the spot even
before the surgeon had expressed any opinion of Captain M'Intyre's
situation--and that he had duties on earth to perform, even should the
very worst be true, which, if they could not restore his peace of mind or
sense of innocence, would furnish a motive for enduring existence, and at
the same time render it a course of active benevolence.--Such were
Lovel's feelings, when the hour arrived when, according to Edie's
calculation--who, by some train or process of his own in observing the
heavenly bodies, stood independent of the assistance of a watch or
time-keeper--it was fitting they should leave their hiding-place, and
betake themselves to the seashore, in order to meet Lieutenant Taffril's
boat according to appointment.

They retreated by the same passage which had admitted them to the prior's
secret seat of observation, and when they issued from the grotto into the
wood, the birds which began to chirp, and even to sing, announced that
the dawn was advanced. This was confirmed by the light and amber clouds
that appeared over the sea, as soon as their exit from the copse
permitted them to view the horizon.--Morning, said to be friendly to the
muses, has probably obtained this character from its effect upon the
fancy and feelings of mankind. Even to those who, like Lovel, have spent
a sleepless and anxious night, the breeze of the dawn brings strength and
quickening both of mind and body. It was, therefore, with renewed health
and vigour that Lovel, guided by the trusty mendicant, brushed away the
dew as he traversed the downs which divided the Den of St. Ruth, as the
woods surrounding the ruins were popularly called, from the sea-shore.

The first level beam of the sun, as his brilliant disk began to emerge
from the ocean, shot full upon the little gun-brig which was lying-to in
the offing--close to the shore the boat was already waiting, Taffril
himself, with his naval cloak wrapped about him, seated in the stern. He
jumped ashore when he saw the mendicant and Lovel approach, and, shaking
the latter heartily by the hand, begged him not to be cast down.
"M'Intyre's wound," he said, "was doubtful, but far from desperate."
His attention had got Lovel's baggage privately sent on board the brig;
"and," he said, "he trusted that, if Lovel chose to stay with the vessel,
the penalty of a short cruise would be the only disagreeable consequence
of his rencontre. As for himself, his time and motions were a good deal
at his own disposal, he said, excepting the necessary obligation of
remaining on his station."

"We will talk of our farther motions," said Lovel, "as we go on board."

Then turning to Edie, he endeavoured to put money into his hand. "I
think," said Edie, as he tendered it back again, "the hale folk here have
either gane daft, or they hae made a vow to rain my trade, as they say
ower muckle water drowns the miller. I hae had mair gowd offered me
within this twa or three weeks than I ever saw in my life afore. Keep the
siller, lad--yell hae need o't, I'se warrant ye, and I hae nane my claes
is nae great things, and I get a blue gown every year, and as mony siller
groats as the king, God bless him, is years auld--you and I serve the
same master, ye ken, Captain Taffril; there's rigging provided for--and
my meat and drink I get for the asking in my rounds, or, at an orra time,
I can gang a day without it, for I make it a rule never to pay for nane;
--so that a' the siller I need is just to buy tobacco and sneeshin, and
maybe a dram at a time in a cauld day, though I am nae dram-drinker to be
a gaberlunzie;--sae take back your gowd, and just gie me a lily-white
shilling."

Upon these whims, which he imagined intimately connected with the honour
of his vagabond profession, Edie was flint and adamant, not to be moved
by rhetoric or entreaty; and therefore Lovel was under the necessity of
again pocketing his intended bounty, and taking a friendly leave of the
mendicant by shaking him by the hand, and assuring him of his cordial
gratitude for the very important services which he had rendered him,
recommending, at the same time, secrecy as to what they had that night
witnessed.--"Ye needna doubt that," said Ochiltree; "I never tell'd tales
out o' yon cove in my life, though mony a queer thing I hae seen in't."

The boat now put off. The old man remained looking after it as it made
rapidly towards the brig under the impulse of six stout rowers, and Lovel
beheld him again wave his blue bonnet as a token of farewell ere he
turned from his fixed posture, and began to move slowly along the sands
as if resuming his customary perambulations.






                               THE ANTIQUARY

                            By Sir Walter Scott



                                VOLUME TWO.



CHAPTER FIRST.

                 Wiser Raymondus, in his closet pent,
                 Laughs at such danger and adventurement
              When half his lands are spent in golden smoke,
              And now his second hopeful glasse is broke,
                 But yet, if haply his third furnace hold,
                Devoteth all his pots and pans to gold.*

* The author cannot remember where these lines are to be found: perhaps
in Bishop Hall's Satires. [They occur in Book iv. Satire iii.]


About a week after the adventures commemorated in our last chapter, Mr.
Oldbuck, descending to his breakfast-parlour, found that his womankind
were not upon duty, his toast not made, and the silver jug, which was
wont to receive his libations of mum, not duly aired for its reception.

"This confounded hot-brained boy!" he said to himself; "now that he
begins to get out of danger, I can tolerate this life no longer. All goes
to sixes and sevens--an universal saturnalia seems to be proclaimed in my
peaceful and orderly family. I ask for my sister--no answer. I call, I
shout--I invoke my inmates by more names than the Romans gave to their
deities--at length Jenny, whose shrill voice I have heard this half-hour
lilting in the Tartarean regions of the kitchen, condescends to hear me
and reply, but without coming up stairs, so the conversation must be
continued at the top of my lungs. "--Here he again began to hollow aloud
--"Jenny, where's Miss Oldbuck?"

"Miss Grizzy's in the captain's room."

"Umph!--I thought so--and where's my niece?"

"Miss Mary's making the captain's tea."

"Umph! I supposed as much again--and where's Caxon?"

"Awa to the town about the captain's fowling-gun, and his setting-dog."

"And who the devil's to dress my periwig, you silly jade?--when you knew
that Miss Wardour and Sir Arthur were coming here early after breakfast,
how could you let Caxon go on such a Tomfool's errand?"

"Me! what could I hinder him?--your honour wadna hae us contradict the
captain e'en now, and him maybe deeing?"

"Dying!" said the alarmed Antiquary,--"eh! what? has he been worse?"

"Na, he's no nae waur that I ken of."*

* It is, I believe, a piece of free-masonry, or a point of conscience,
among the Scottish lower orders, never to admit that a patient is doing
better. The closest approach to recovery which they can be brought to
allow, is, that the pairty inquired after is "Nae waur."

"Then he must be better--and what good is a dog and a gun to do here, but
the one to destroy all my furniture, steal from my larder, and perhaps
worry the cat, and the other to shoot somebody through the head. He has
had gunning and pistolling enough to serve him one while, I should
think."

Here Miss Oldbuck entered the parlour, at the door of which Oldbuck was
carrying on this conversation, he bellowing downward to Jenny, and she
again screaming upward in reply.

"Dear brother," said the old lady, "ye'll cry yoursell as hoarse as a
corbie--is that the way to skreigh when there's a sick person in the
house?"

"Upon my word, the sick person's like to have all the house to himself,--
I have gone without my breakfast, and am like to go without my wig; and I
must not, I suppose, presume to say I feel either hunger or cold, for
fear of disturbing the sick gentleman who lies six rooms off, and who
feels himself well enough to send for his dog and gun, though he knows I
detest such implements ever since our elder brother, poor Williewald,
marched out of the world on a pair of damp feet, caught in the
Kittlefitting-moss. But that signifies nothing; I suppose I shall be
expected by and by to lend a hand to carry Squire Hector out upon his
litter, while he indulges his sportsmanlike propensities by shooting my
pigeons, or my turkeys--I think any of the _ferae naturae_ are safe from
him for one while."

Miss M'Intyre now entered, and began to her usual morning's task of
arranging her uncle's breakfast, with the alertness of one who is too
late in setting about a task, and is anxious to make up for lost time.
But this did not avail her. "Take care, you silly womankind--that mum's
too near the fire--the bottle will burst; and I suppose you intend to
reduce the toast to a cinder as a burnt-offering for Juno, or what do you
call her--the female dog there, with some such Pantheon kind of a name,
that your wise brother has, in his first moments of mature reflection,
ordered up as a fitting inmate of my house (I thank him), and meet
company to aid the rest of the womankind of my household in their daily
conversation and intercourse with him."

"Dear uncle, don't be angry about the poor spaniel; she's been tied up at
my brother's lodgings at Fairport, and she's broke her chain twice, and
came running down here to him; and you would not have us beat the
faithful beast away from the door?--it moans as if it had some sense of
poor Hector's misfortune, and will hardly stir from the door of his
room."

"Why," said his uncle, "they said Caxon had gone to Fairport after his
dog and gun."

"O dear sir, no," answered Miss M'Intyre, "it was to fetch some dressings
that were wanted, and Hector only wished him to bring out his gun, as he
was going to Fairport at any rate."

"Well, then, it is not altogether so foolish a business, considering what
a mess of womankind have been about it--Dressings, quotha?--and who is to
dress my wig?--But I suppose Jenny will undertake"--continued the old
bachelor, looking at himself in the glass--"to make it somewhat decent.
And now let us set to breakfast--with what appetite we may. Well may I
say to Hector, as Sir Isaac Newton did to his dog Diamond, when the
animal (I detest dogs) flung down the taper among calculations which had
occupied the philosopher for twenty years, and consumed the whole mass of
materials--Diamond, Diamond, thou little knowest the mischief thou hast
done!"

"I assure you, sir," replied his niece, "my brother is quite sensible of
the rashness of his own behaviour, and allows that Mr. Lovel behaved very
handsomely."

"And much good that will do, when he has frightened the lad out of the
country! I tell thee, Mary, Hector's understanding, and far more that of
feminity, is inadequate to comprehend the extent of the loss which he has
occasioned to the present age and to posterity--_aureum quidem opus_--a
poem on such a subject, with notes illustrative of all that is clear, and
all that is dark, and all that is neither dark nor clear, but hovers in
dusky twilight in the region of Caledonian antiquities. I would have made
the Celtic panegyrists look about them. Fingal, as they conceitedly term
Fin-Mac-Coul, should have disappeared before my search, rolling himself
in his cloud like the spirit of Loda. Such an opportunity can hardly
again occur to an ancient and grey-haired man; and to see it lost by the
madcap spleen of a hot-headed boy! But I submit--Heaven's will be done!"

Thus continued the Antiquary to _maunder,_ as his sister expressed it,
during the whole time of breakfast, while, despite of sugar and honey,
and all the comforts of a Scottish morning tea-table, his reflections
rendered the meal bitter to all who heard them. But they knew the nature
of the man. "Monkbarns's bark," said Miss Griselda Oldbuck, in
confidential intercourse with Miss Rebecca Blattergowl, "is muckle waur
than his bite."

In fact, Mr. Oldbuck had suffered in mind extremely while his nephew was
in actual danger, and now felt himself at liberty, upon his returning
health, to indulge in complaints respecting the trouble he had been put
to, and the interruption of his antiquarian labours. Listened to,
therefore, in respectful silence, by his niece and sister, he unloaded
his discontent in such grumblings as we have rehearsed, venting many a
sarcasm against womankind, soldiers, dogs, and guns, all which implements
of noise, discord, and tumult, as he called them, he professed to hold in
utter abomination.

This expectoration of spleen was suddenly interrupted by the noise of a
carriage without, when, shaking off all sullenness at the sound, Oldbuck
ran nimbly up stairs and down stairs, for both operations were necessary
ere he could receive Miss Wardour and her father at the door of his
mansion.

A cordial greeting passed on both sides. And Sir Arthur, referring to his
previous inquiries by letter and message, requested to be particularly
informed of Captain M'Intyre's health.

"Better than he deserves," was the answer--"better than he deserves, for
disturbing us with his vixen brawls, and breaking God's peace and the
King's."

"The young gentleman," Sir Arthur said, "had been imprudent; but he
understood they were indebted to him for the detection of a suspicious
character in the young man Lovel."

"No more suspicious than his own," answered the Antiquary, eager in his
favourites defence;--"the young gentleman was a little foolish and
headstrong, and refused to answer Hector's impertinent interrogatories--
that is all. Lovel, Sir Arthur, knows how to choose his confidants
better--Ay, Miss Wardour, you may look at me--but it is very true;--it
was in my bosom that he deposited the secret cause of his residence at
Fairport; and no stone should have been left unturned on my part to
assist him in the pursuit to which he had dedicated himself."

On hearing this magnanimous declaration on the part of the old Antiquary,
Miss Wardour changed colour more than once, and could hardly trust her
own ears. For of all confidants to be selected as the depositary of love
affairs,--and such she naturally supposed must have been the subject of
communication,--next to Edie Ochiltree, Oldbuck seemed the most uncouth
and extraordinary; nor could she sufficiently admire or fret at the
extraordinary combination of circumstances which thus threw a secret of
such a delicate nature into the possession of persons so unfitted to be
entrusted with it. She had next to fear the mode of Oldbuck's entering
upon the affair with her father, for such, she doubted not, was his
intention. She well knew that the honest gentleman, however vehement in
his prejudices, had no great sympathy with those of others, and she had
to fear a most unpleasant explosion upon an _e'claircissement_ taking
place between them. It was therefore with great anxiety that she heard
her father request a private interview, and observed Oldbuck readily
arise and show the way to his library. She remained behind, attempting to
converse with the ladies of Monkbarns, but with the distracted feelings
of Macbeth, when compelled to disguise his evil conscience by listening
and replying to the observations of the attendant thanes upon the storm
of the preceding night, while his whole soul is upon the stretch to
listen for the alarm of murder, which he knows must be instantly raised
by those who have entered the sleeping apartment of Duncan. But the
conversation of the two virtuosi turned on a subject very different from
that which Miss Wardour apprehended.

"Mr. Oldbuck," said Sir Arthur, when they had, after a due exchange of
ceremonies, fairly seated themselves in the _sanctum sanctorum_ of the
Antiquary,--"you, who know so much of my family matters, may probably be
surprised at the question I am about to put to you."

"Why, Sir Arthur, if it relates to money, I am very sorry, but"--

"It does relate to money matters, Mr. Oldbuck."

"Really, then, Sir Arthur," continued the Antiquary, "in the present
state of the money-market--and stocks being so low"--

"You mistake my meaning, Mr. Oldbuck," said the Baronet; "I wished to ask
your advice about laying out a large sum of money to advantage."

"The devil!" exclaimed the Antiquary; and, sensible that his involuntary
ejaculation of wonder was not over and above civil, he proceeded to
qualify it by expressing his joy that Sir Arthur should have a sum of
money to lay out when the commodity was so scarce. "And as for the mode
of employing it," said he, pausing, "the funds are low at present, as I
said before, and there are good bargains of land to be had. But had you
not better begin by clearing off encumbrances, Sir Arthur?--There is the
sum in the personal bond--and the three notes of hand," continued he,
taking out of the right-hand drawer of his cabinet a certain red
memorandum-book, of which Sir Arthur, from the experience of former
frequent appeals to it, abhorred the very sight--"with the interest
thereon, amounting altogether to--let me see"--

"To about a thousand pounds," said Sir Arthur, hastily; "you told me the
amount the other day."

"But there's another term's interest due since that, Sir Arthur, and it
amounts (errors excepted) to eleven hundred and thirteen pounds, seven
shillings, five pennies, and three-fourths of a penny sterling--But look
over the summation yourself."

"I daresay you are quite right, my dear sir," said the Baronet, putting
away the book with his hand, as one rejects the old-fashioned civility
that presses food upon you after you have eaten till you nauseate--
"perfectly right, I dare say; and in the course of three days or less you
shall have the full value--that is, if you choose to accept it in
bullion."

"Bullion! I suppose you mean lead. What the deuce! have we hit on the
vein then at last? But what could I do with a thousand pounds' worth, and
upwards, of lead? The former abbots of Trotcosey might have roofed their
church and monastery with it indeed--but for me"--

"By bullion," said the Baronet, "I mean the precious metals,--gold and
silver."

"Ay! indeed?--and from what Eldorado is this treasure to be imported?"

"Not far from hence," said Sir Arthur, significantly. "And naow I think
of it, you shall see the whole process, on one small condition."

"And what is that?" craved the Antiquary.

"Why, it will be necessary for you to give me your friendly assistance,
by advancing one hundred pounds or thereabouts."

Mr. Oldbuck, who had already been grasping in idea the sum, principal and
interest, of a debt which he had long regarded as wellnigh desperate, was
so much astounded at the tables being so unexpectedly turned upon him,
that he could only re-echo, in an accent of wo and surprise, the words,
"Advance one hundred pounds!"

"Yes, my good sir," continued Sir Arthur; "but upon the best possible
security of being repaid in the course of two or three days."

There was a pause--either Oldbuck's nether jaw had not recovered its
position, so as to enable him to utter a negative, or his curiosity kept
him silent.

"I would not propose to you," continued Sir Arthur, "to oblige me thus
far, if I did not possess actual proofs of the reality of those
expectations which I now hold out to you. And I assure you, Mr. Oldbuck,
that in entering fully upon this topic, it is my purpose to show my
confidence in you, and my sense of your kindness on many former
occasions."

Mr. Oldbuck professed his sense of obligation, but carefully avoided
committing himself by any promise of farther assistance.

"Mr. Dousterswivel," said Sir Arthur, "having discovered"--

Here Oldbuck broke in, his eyes sparkling with indignation. "Sir Arthur,
I have so often warned you of the knavery of that rascally quack, that I
really wonder you should quote him to me."

"But listen--listen," interrupted Sir Arthur in his turn, "it will do you
no harm. In short, Dousterswivel persuaded me to witness an experiment
which he had made in the ruins of St. Ruth--and what do you think we
found?"

"Another spring of water, I suppose, of which the rogue had beforehand
taken care to ascertain the situation and source."

"No, indeed--a casket of gold and silver coins--here they are."

With that, Sir Arthur drew from his pocket a large ram's horn, with a
copper cover, containing a considerable quantity of coins, chiefly
silver, but with a few gold pieces intermixed. The Antiquary's eyes
glistened as he eagerly spread them out on the table.

"Upon my word--Scotch, English, and foreign coins, of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries, and some of them _rari--et rariores--etiam
rarissimi!_ Here is the bonnet-piece of James V., the unicorn of James
II.,--ay, and the gold festoon of Queen Mary, with her head and the
Dauphin's. And these were really found in the ruins of St. Ruth?"

"Most assuredly--my own eyes witnessed it."

"Well," replied Oldbuck; "but you must tell me the when--the where-the
how."

"The when," answered Sir Arthur, "was at midnight the last full moon--the
where, as I have told you, in the ruins of St. Ruth's priory--the how,
was by a nocturnal experiment of Dousterswivel, accompanied only by
myself."

"Indeed!" said Oldbuck; "and what means of discovery did you employ?"

"Only a simple suffumigation," said the Baronet, "accompanied by availing
ourselves of the suitable planetary hour."

"Simple suffumigation? simple nonsensification--planetary hour? planetary
fiddlestick! _Sapiens dominabitur astris._ My dear Sir Arthur, that
fellow has made a gull of you above ground and under ground, and he would
have made a gull of you in the air too, if he had been by when you was
craned up the devil's turnpike yonder at Halket-head--to be sure the
transformation would have been then peculiarly _apropos._"

"Well, Mr. Oldbuck, I am obliged to you for your indifferent opinion of
my discernment; but I think you will give me credit for having seen what
I _say_ I saw."

"Certainly, Sir Arthur," said the Antiquary,--"to this extent at least,
that I know Sir Arthur Wardour will not say he saw anything but what he
_thought_ he saw."

"Well, then," replied the Baronet, "as there is a heaven above us, Mr.
Oldbuck, I saw, with my own eyes, these coins dug out of the chancel of
St. Ruth at midnight. And as to Dousterswivel, although the discovery be
owing to his science, yet, to tell the truth, I do not think he would
have had firmness of mind to have gone through with it if I had not been
beside him."

"Ay! indeed?" said Oldbuck, in the tone used when one wishes to hear the
end of a story before making any comment.

"Yes truly," continued Sir Arthur--"I assure you I was upon my guard--we
did hear some very uncommon sounds, that is certain, proceeding from
among the ruins."

"Oh, you did?" said Oldbuck; "an accomplice hid among them, I suppose?"

"Not a jot," said the Baronet;--"the sounds, though of a hideous and
preternatural character, rather resembled those of a man who sneezes
violently than any other--one deep groan I certainly heard besides; and
Dousterswivel assures me that he beheld the spirit Peolphan, the Great
Hunter of the North--(look for him in your Nicolaus Remigius, or Petrus
Thyracus, Mr. Oldbuck)--who mimicked the motion of snuff-taking and its
effects."

"These indications, however singular as proceeding from such a personage,
seem to have been _apropos_ to the matter," said the Antiquary; "for you
see the case, which includes these coins, has all the appearance of being
an old-fashioned Scottish snuff-mill. But you persevered, in spite of the
terrors of this sneezing goblin?"

"Why, I think it probable that a man of inferior sense or consequence
might have given way; but I was jealous of an imposture, conscious of the
duty I owed to my family in maintaining my courage under every
contingency, and therefore I compelled Dousterswivel, by actual and
violent threats, to proceed with what he was about to do;--and, sir, the
proof of his skill and honesty is this parcel of gold and silver pieces,
out of which I beg you to select such coins or medals as will best suit
your collection."

"Why, Sir Arthur, since you are so good, and on condition you will permit
me to mark the value according to Pinkerton's catalogue and appreciation,
against your account in my red book, I will with pleasure select"--

"Nay," said Sir Arthur Wardour, "I do not mean you should consider them
as anything but a gift of friendship and least of all would I stand by
the valuation of your friend Pinkerton, who has impugned the ancient and
trustworthy authorities upon which, as upon venerable and moss-grown
pillars, the credit of Scottish antiquities reposed."

"Ay, ay," rejoined Oldbuck, "you mean, I suppose, Mair and Boece, the
Jachin and Boaz, not of history but of falsification and forgery. And
notwithstanding all you have told me, I look on your friend Dousterswivel
to be as apocryphal as any of them."

"Why then, Mr. Oldbuck," said Sir Arthur, "not to awaken old disputes, I
suppose you think, that because I believe in the ancient history of my
country, I have neither eyes nor ears to ascertain what modern events
pass before me?"

"Pardon me, Sir Arthur," rejoined the Antiquary; "but I consider all the
affectation of terror which this worthy gentleman, your coadjutor, chose
to play off, as being merely one part of his trick or mystery. And with
respect to the gold or silver coins, they are so mixed and mingled in
country and date, that I cannot suppose they could be any genuine hoard,
and rather suppose them to be, like the purses upon the table of
Hudibras's lawyer--

                       --Money placed for show,
                   Like nest-eggs, to make clients lay,
                   And for his false opinions pay.--

It is the trick of all professions, my dear Sir Arthur. Pray, may I ask
you how much this discovery cost you?"

"About ten guineas."

"And you have gained what is equivalent to twenty in actual bullion, and
what may be perhaps worth as much more to such fools as ourselves, who
are willing to pay for curiosity. This was allowing you a tempting profit
on the first hazard, I must needs admit. And what is the next venture he
proposes?"

"An hundred and fifty pounds;--I have given him one-third part of the
money, and I thought it likely you might assist me with the balance."

"I should think that this cannot be meant as a parting blow--is not of
weight and importance sufficient; he will probably let us win this hand
also, as sharpers manage a raw gamester.--Sir Arthur, I hope you believe
I would serve you?"

"Certainly, Mr. Oldbuck; I think my confidence in you on these occasions
leaves no room to doubt that."

"Well, then, allow me to speak to Dousterswivel. If the money can be
advanced usefully and advantageously for you, why, for old
neighbourhood's sake, you shall not want it but if, as I think, I can
recover the treasure for you without making such an advance, you will,
I presume, have no objection!"

"Unquestionably, I can have none whatsoever."

"Then where is Dousterswivel?" continued the Antiquary.

"To tell you the truth, he is in my carriage below; but knowing your
prejudice against him"--

"I thank Heaven, I am not prejudiced against any man, Sir Arthur: it is
systems, not individuals, that incur my reprobation." He rang the bell.
"Jenny, Sir Arthur and I offer our compliments to Mr. Dousterswivel, the
gentleman in Sir Arthur's carriage, and beg to have the pleasure of
speaking with him here."

Jenny departed and delivered her message. It had been by no means a part
of the project of Dousterswivel to let Mr. Oldbuck into his supposed
mystery. He had relied upon Sir Arthur's obtaining the necessary
accommodation without any discussion as to the nature of the application,
and only waited below for the purpose of possessing himself of the
deposit as soon as possible, for he foresaw that his career was drawing
to a close. But when summoned to the presence of Sir Arthur and Mr.
Oldbuck, he resolved gallantly to put confidence in his powers of
impudence, of which, the reader may have observed, his natural share was
very liberal.





CHAPTER SECOND.


                          --And this Doctor,
             Your sooty smoky-bearded compeer, he
             Will close you so much gold in a bolt's head,
             And, on a turn, convey in the stead another
             With sublimed mercury, that shall burst i' the heat,
                      And all fly out _in fumo._--
                                        The Alchemist.

"How do you do, goot Mr. Oldenbuck? and I do hope your young gentleman,
Captain M'Intyre, is getting better again? Ach! it is a bat business when
young gentlemens will put lead balls into each other's body."

"Lead adventures of all kinds are very precarious, Mr. Dousterswivel; but
I am happy to learn," continued the Antiquary, "from my friend Sir
Arthur, that you have taken up a better trade, and become a discoverer of
gold."

"Ach, Mr. Oldenbuck, mine goot and honoured patron should not have told a
word about dat little matter; for, though I have all reliance--yes,
indeed, on goot Mr. Oldenbuck's prudence and discretion, and his great
friendship for Sir Arthur Wardour--yet, my heavens! it is an great
ponderous secret."

"More ponderous than any of the metal we shall make by it, I fear,"
answered Oldbuck.

"Dat is just as you shall have de faith and de patience for de grand
experiment--If you join wid Sir Arthur, as he is put one hundred and
fifty--see, here is one fifty in your dirty Fairport bank-note--you put
one other hundred and fifty in de dirty notes, and you shall have de pure
gold and silver, I cannot tell how much."

"Nor any one for you, I believe," said the Antiquary. "But, hark you, Mr.
Dousterswivel: Suppose, without troubling this same sneezing spirit with
any farther fumigations, we should go in a body, and having fair
day-light and our good consciences to befriend us, using no other
conjuring implements than good substantial pick-axes and shovels, fairly
trench the area of the chancel in the ruins of St. Ruth, from one end to
the other, and so ascertain the existence of this supposed treasure,
without putting ourselves to any farther expense--the ruins belong to Sir
Arthur himself, so there can be no objection--do you think we shall
succeed in this way of managing the matter?"

"Bah!--you will not find one copper thimble--But Sir Arthur will do his
pleasure. I have showed him how it is possible--very possible--to have de
great sum of money for his occasions--I have showed him de real
experiment. If he likes not to believe, goot Mr. Oldenbuck, it is nothing
to Herman Dousterswivel--he only loses de money and de gold and de
silvers--dat is all."

Sir Arthur Wardour cast an intimidated glance at Oldbuck who, especially
when present, held, notwithstanding their frequent difference of opinion,
no ordinary influence over his sentiments. In truth, the Baronet felt,
what he would not willingly have acknowledged, that his genius stood
rebuked before that of the Antiquary. He respected him as a shrewd,
penetrating, sarcastic character--feared his satire, and had some
confidence in the general soundness of his opinions. He therefore looked
at him as if desiring his leave before indulging his credulity.
Dousterswivel saw he was in danger of losing his dupe, unless he could
make some favourable impression on the adviser.

"I know, my goot Mr. Oldenbuck, it is one vanity to speak to you about de
spirit and de goblin. But look at this curious horn;--I know, you know de
curiosity of all de countries, and how de great Oldenburgh horn, as they
keep still in the Museum at Copenhagen, was given to de Duke of
Oldenburgh by one female spirit of de wood. Now I could not put one trick
on you if I were willing--you who know all de curiosity so well--and dere
it is de horn full of coins;--if it had been a box or case, I would have
said nothing."

"Being a horn," said Oldbuck, "does indeed strengthen your argument. It
was an implement of nature's fashioning, and therefore much used among
rude nations, although, it may be, the metaphorical horn is more frequent
in proportion to the progress of civilisation. And this present horn," he
continued, rubbing it upon his sleeve, "is a curious and venerable relic,
and no doubt was intended to prove a _cornucopia,_ or horn of plenty, to
some one or other; but whether to the adept or his patron, may be justly
doubted."

"Well, Mr. Oldenbuck, I find you still hard of belief--but let me assure
you, de monksh understood de _magisterium._"

"Let us leave talking of the _magisterium,_ Mr. Dousterswivel, and think
a little about the magistrate. Are you aware that this occupation of
yours is against the law of Scotland, and that both Sir Arthur and myself
are in the commission of the peace?"

"Mine heaven! and what is dat to de purpose when I am doing you all de
goot I can?"

"Why, you must know that when the legislature abolished the cruel laws
against witchcraft, they had no hope of destroying the superstitious
feelings of humanity on which such chimeras had been founded; and to
prevent those feelings from being tampered with by artful and designing
persons, it is enacted by the ninth of George the Second, chap. 5, that
whosoever shall pretend, by his alleged skill in any occult or crafty
science, to discover such goods as are lost, stolen or concealed, he
shall suffer punishment by pillory and imprisonment, as a common cheat
and impostor."

"And is dat de laws?" asked Dousterswivel, with some agitation.

"Thyself shall see the act," replied the Antiquary.

"Den, gentlemens, I shall take my leave of you, dat is all; I do not like
to stand on your what you call pillory--it is very bad way to take de
air, I think; and I do not like your prisons no more, where one cannot
take de air at all."

"If such be your taste, Mr. Dousterswivel," said the Antiquary, "I advise
you to stay where you are, for I cannot let you go, unless it be in the
society of a constable; and, moreover, I expect you will attend us just
now to the ruins of St. Ruth, and point out the place where you propose
to find this treasure."

"Mine heaven, Mr. Oldenbuck! what usage is this to your old friend, when
I tell you so plain as I can speak, dat if you go now, you will not get
so much treasure as one poor shabby sixpence?"

"I will try the experiment, however, and you shall be dealt with
according to its success,--always with Sir Arthur's permission."

Sir Arthur, during this investigation, had looked extremely embarrassed,
and, to use a vulgar but expressive phrase, chop-fallen. Oldbuck's
obstinate disbelief led him strongly to suspect the imposture of
Dousterswivel, and the adept's mode of keeping his ground was less
resolute than he had expected. Yet he did not entirely give him up.

 "Mr. Oldbuck," said the Baronet, "you do Mr. Dousterswivel less than
justice. He has undertaken to make this discovery by the use of his art,
and by applying characters descriptive of the Intelligences presiding
over the planetary hour in which the experiment is to be made; and you
require him to proceed, under pain of punishment, without allowing him
the use of any of the preliminaries which he considers as the means of
procuring success."

"I did not say that exactly--I only required him to be present when we
make the search, and not to leave us during the interval. I fear he may
have some intelligence with the Intelligences you talk of, and that
whatever may be now hidden at Saint Ruth may disappear before we get
there."

"Well, gentlemens," said Dousterswivel, sullenly, "I will make no
objections to go along with you but I tell you beforehand, you shall not
find so much of anything as shall be worth your going twenty yard from
your own gate."

"We will put that to a fair trial," said the Antiquary; and the Baronet's
equipage being ordered, Miss Wardour received an intimation from her
father, that she was to remain at Monkbarns until his return from an
airing. The young lady was somewhat at a loss to reconcile this direction
with the communication which she supposed must have passed between Sir
Arthur and the Antiquary; but she was compelled, for the present, to
remain in a most unpleasant state of suspense.

The journey of the treasure-seekers was melancholy enough. Dousterswivel
maintained a sulky silence, brooding at once over disappointed
expectation and the risk of punishment; Sir Arthur, whose golden dreams
had been gradually fading away, surveyed, in gloomy prospect, the
impending difficulties of his situation; and Oldbuck, who perceived that
his having so far interfered in his neighbours affairs gave the Baronet a
right to expect some actual and efficient assistance, sadly pondered to
what extent it would be necessary to draw open the strings of his purse.
Thus each being wrapped in his own unpleasant ruminations, there was
hardly a word said on either side, until they reached the Four
Horse-shoes, by which sign the little inn was distinguished. They
procured at this place the necessary assistance and implements for
digging, and, while they were busy about these preparations, were
suddenly joined by the old beggar, Edie Ochiltree.

"The Lord bless your honour," began the Blue-Gown, with the genuine
mendicant whine, "and long life to you!--weel pleased am I to hear that
young Captain M'Intyre is like to be on his legs again sune--Think on
your poor bedesman the day."

"Aha, old true-penny!" replied the Antiquary. "Why, thou hast never come
to Monkbarns since thy perils by rock and flood--here's something for
thee to buy snuff,"--and, fumbling for his purse, he pulled out at the
same time the horn which enclosed the coins.

"Ay, and there's something to pit it in," said the mendicant, eyeing the
ram's horn--"that loom's an auld acquaintance o' mine. I could take my
aith to that sneeshing-mull amang a thousand--I carried it for mony a
year, till I niffered it for this tin ane wi' auld George Glen, the
dammer and sinker, when he took a fancy till't doun at Glen-Withershins
yonder."

"Ay! indeed?" said Oldbuck;--"so you exchanged it with a miner? but I
presume you never saw it so well filled before"--and opening it, he
showed the coins.

"Troth, ye may swear that, Monkbarns: when it was mine it neer had abune
the like o' saxpenny worth o' black rappee in't at ance. But I reckon
ye'll be gaun to mak an antic o't, as ye hae dune wi' mony an orra thing
besides. Od, I wish anybody wad mak an antic o' me; but mony ane will
find worth in rousted bits o' capper and horn and airn, that care unco
little about an auld carle o' their ain country and kind."

"You may now guess," said Oldbuck, turning to Sir Arthur, "to whose good
offices you were indebted the other night. To trace this cornucopia of
yours to a miner, is bringing it pretty near a friend of ours--I hope we
shall be as successful this morning, without paying for it."

"And whare is your honours gaun the day," said the mendicant, "wi' a'
your picks and shules?--Od, this will be some o' your tricks, Monkbarns:
ye'll be for whirling some o' the auld monks down by yonder out o' their
graves afore they hear the last call--but, wi' your leave, I'se follow ye
at ony rate, and see what ye mak o't."

The party soon arrived at the ruins of the priory, and, having gained the
chancel, stood still to consider what course they were to pursue next.
The Antiquary, meantime, addressed the adept.

"Pray, Mr. Dousterswivel, what is your advice in this matter? Shall we
have most likelihood of success if we dig from east to west, or from west
to east?--or will you assist us with your triangular vial of May-dew, or
with your divining-rod of witches-hazel?--or will you have the goodness
to supply us with a few thumping blustering terms of art, which, if they
fail in our present service, may at least be useful to those who have not
the happiness to be bachelors, to still their brawling children withal?"

"Mr. Oldenbuck," said Dousterswivel, doggedly, "I have told you already
that you will make no good work at all, and I will find some way of mine
own to thank you for your civilities to me--yes, indeed."

"If your honours are thinking of tirling the floor," said old Edie, "and
wad but take a puir body's advice, I would begin below that muckle stane
that has the man there streekit out upon his back in the midst o't."

"I have some reason for thinking favourably of that plan myself," said
the Baronet.

"And I have nothing to say against it," said Oldbuck: "it was not unusual
to hide treasure in the tombs of the deceased--many instances might be
quoted of that from Bartholinus and others."

The tombstone, the same beneath which the coins had been found by Sir
Arthur and the German, was once more forced aside, and the earth gave
easy way to the spade.

"It's travell'd earth that," said Edie, "it howks gae eithly--I ken it
weel, for ance I wrought a simmer wi' auld Will Winnet, the bedral, and
howkit mair graves than ane in my day; but I left him in winter, for it
was unco cald wark; and then it cam a green Yule, and the folk died thick
and fast--for ye ken a green Yule makes a fat kirkyard; and I never dowed
to bide a hard turn o' wark in my life--sae aff I gaed, and left Will to
delve his last dwellings by himsell for Edie."

The diggers were now so far advanced in their labours as to discover that
the sides of the grave which they were clearing out had been originally
secured by four walls of freestone, forming a parallelogram, for the
reception, probably, of the coffin.

"It is worth while proceeding in our labours," said the Antiquary to Sir
Arthur, "were it but for curiosity's sake. I wonder on whose sepulchre
they have bestowed such uncommon pains."

"The arms on the shield," said Sir Arthur, and sighed as he spoke it,
"are the same with those on Misticot's tower, supposed to have been built
by Malcolm the usurper. No man knew where he was buried, and there is an
old prophecy in our family, that bodes us no good when his grave shall be
discovered."

"I wot," said the beggar, "I have often heard that when I was a bairn--

              If Malcolm the Misticot's grave were fun',
              The lands of Knockwinnock were lost and won."

Oldbuck, with his spectacles on his nose, had already knelt down on the
monument, and was tracing, partly with his eye, partly with his finger,
the mouldered devices upon the effigy of the deceased warrior. "It is the
Knockwinnock arms, sure enough," he exclaimed, "quarterly with the coat
of Wardour."

"Richard, called the red-handed Wardour, married Sybil Knockwinnock, the
heiress of the Saxon family, and by that alliance," said Sir Arthur,
"brought the castle and estate into the name of Wardour, in the year of
God 1150."

"Very true, Sir Arthur; and here is the baton-sinister, the mark of
illegitimacy, extended diagonally through both coats upon the shield.
Where can our eyes have been, that they did not see this curious monument
before?"

"Na, whare was the through-stane, that it didna come before our een till
e'enow?" said Ochiltree; "for I hae ken'd this auld kirk, man and bairn,
for saxty lang years, and I neer noticed it afore; and it's nae sic mote
neither, but what ane might see it in their parritch."

All were now induced to tax their memory as to the former state of the
ruins in that corner of the chancel, and all agreed in recollecting a
considerable pile of rubbish which must have been removed and spread
abroad in order to malke the tomb visible. Sir Arthur might, indeed, have
remembered seeing the monument on the former occasion, but his mind was
too much agitated to attend to the circumstance as a novelty.

While the assistants were engaged in these recollections and discussions,
the workmen proceeded with their labour. They had already dug to the
depth of nearly five feet, and as the flinging out the soil became more
and more difficult, they began at length to tire of the job.

"We're down to the till now," said one of them, "and the neer a coffin or
onything else is here--some cunninger chiel's been afore us, I reckon;"--
and the labourer scrambled out of the grave.

"Hout, lad," said Edie, getting down in his room--"let me try my hand for
an auld bedral;--ye're gude seekers, but ill finders."

So soon as he got into the grave, he struck his pike-staff forcibly down;
it encountered resistance in its descent, and the beggar exclaimed, like
a Scotch schoolboy when he finds anything, "Nae halvers and quarters--
hale o' mine ain and 'nane o' my neighbour's."

Everybody, from the dejected Baronet to the sullen adept, now caught the
spirit of curiosity, crowded round the grave, and would have jumped into
it, could its space have contained them. The labourers, who had begun to
flag in their monotonous and apparently hopeless task, now resumed their
tools, and plied them with all the ardour of expectation. Their shovels
soon grated upon a hard wooden surface, which, as the earth was cleared
away, assumed the distinct form of a chest, but greatly smaller than that
of a coffin. Now all hands were at work to heave it out of the grave, and
all voices, as it was raised, proclaimed its weight and augured its
value. They were not mistaken.

When the chest or box was placed on the surface, and the lid forced up by
a pickaxe, there was displayed first a coarse canvas cover, then a
quantity of oakum, and beneath that a number of ingots of silver. A
general exclamation hailed a discovery so surprising and unexpected. The
Baronet threw his hands and eyes up to heaven, with the silent rapture of
one who is delivered from inexpressible distress of mind. Oldbuck, almost
unable to credit his eyes, lifted one piece of silver after another.
There was neither inscription nor stamp upon them, excepting one, which
seemed to be Spanish. He could have no doubt of the purity and great
value of the treasure before him. Still, however, removing piece by
piece, he examined row by row, expecting to discover that the lower
layers were of inferior value; but he could perceive no difference in
this respect, and found himself compelled to admit, that Sir Arthur had
possessed himself of bullion to the value, perhaps of a thousand pounds
sterling. Sir Arthur now promised the assistants a handsome recompense
for their trouble, and began to busy himself about the mode of conveying
this rich windfall to the Castle of Knockwinnock, when the adept,
recovering from his surprise, which had squalled that exhibited by any
other individual of the party, twitched his sleeve, and having offered
his humble congratulations, turned next to Oldbuck with an air of
triumph.

"I did tell you, my goot friend, Mr. Oldenbuck, dat I was to seek
opportunity to thank you for your civility; now do you not think I have
found out vary goot way to return thank?"

"Why, Mr. Dousterswivel, do you pretend to have had any hand in our good
success?--you forget you refused us all aid of your science, man; and you
are here without your weapons that should have fought the battle which
you pretend to have gained in our behalf: you have used neither charm,
lamen, sigil, talisman, spell, crystal, pentacle, magic mirror, nor
geomantic figure. Where be your periapts, and your abracadabras man? your
Mayfern, your vervain,

           Your toad, your crow, your dragon, and your panther,
           Your sun, your moon, your firmament, your adrop,
                Your Lato, Azoch, Zernich, Chibrit, Heautarit,
           With all your broths, your menstrues, your materials,
                      Would burst a man to name?--

Ah! rare Ben Jonson! long peace to thy ashes for a scourge of the quacks
of thy day!--who expected to see them revive in our own?"

The answer of the adept to the Antiquary's tirade we must defer to our
next chapter.





CHAPTER THIRD.

   _Clause._--You now shall know the king o' the beggars' treasure:--
            Yes--ere to-morrow you shall find your harbour
            Here,--fail me not, for if I live I'll fit you.
                                       The Beggar's Bush.

The German, determined, it would seem, to assert the vantage-ground on
which the discovery had placed him, replied with great pomp and
stateliness to the attack of the Antiquary.

"Maister Oldenbuck, all dis may be very witty and comedy, but I have
nothing to say--nothing at all--to people dat will not believe deir own
eye-sights. It is vary true dat I ave not any of de things of de art, and
it makes de more wonder what I has done dis day. But I would ask of you,
mine honoured and goot and generous patron, to put your hand into your
right-hand waistcoat pocket, and show me what you shall find dere."

Sir Arthur obeyed his direction, and pulled out the small plate of silver
which he had used under the adept's auspices upon the former occasion.
"It is very true," said Sir Arthur, looking gravely at the Antiquary;
"this is the graduated and calculated sigil by which Mr. Dousterswivel
and I regulated our first discovery."

"Pshaw! pshaw! my dear friend," said Oldbuck, "you are too wise to
believe in the influence of a trumpery crown-piece, beat out thin, and a
parcel of scratches upon it. I tell thee, Sir Arthur, that if
Dousterswivel had known where to get this treasure himself, you would not
have been lord of the least share of it."

"In troth, please your honour," said Edie, who put in his word on all
occasions, "I think, since Mr. Dunkerswivel has had sae muckle merit in
discovering a' the gear, the least ye can do is to gie him that o't
that's left behind for his labour; for doubtless he that kend where to
find sae muckle will hae nae difficulty to find mair."

Dousterswivel's brow grew very dark at this proposal of leaving him to
his "ain purchase," as Ochiltree expressed it; but the beggar, drawing
him aside, whispered a word or two in his ear, to which he seemed to give
serious attention,

Meanwhile Sir Arthur, his heart warm with his good fortune, said aloud,
"Never mind our friend Monkbarns, Mr. Dousterswivel, but come to the
Castle to-morrow, and I'll convince you that I am not ungrateful for the
hints you have given me about this matter--and the fifty Fairport dirty
notes, as you call them, are heartily at your service. Come, my lads, get
the cover of this precious chest fastened up again."

But the cover had in the confusion fallen aside among the rubbish, or the
loose earth which had been removed from the grave--in short, it was not
to be seen.

"Never mind, my good lads, tie the tarpaulin over it, and get it away to
the carriage.--Monkbarns, will you walk? I must go back your way to take
up Miss Wardour."

"And, I hope, to take up your dinner also, Sir Arthur, and drink a glass
of wine for joy of our happy adventure. Besides, you should write about
the business to the Exchequer, in case of any interference on the part of
the Crown. As you are lord of the manor, it will be easy to get a deed of
gift, should they make any claim. We must talk about it, though."

"And I particularly recommend silence to all who are present," said Sir
Arthur, looking round. All bowed and professed themselves dumb.

"Why, as to that," said Monkbarns, "recommending secrecy where a dozen of
people are acquainted with the circumstance to be concealed, is only
putting the truth in masquerade, for the story will be circulated under
twenty different shapes. But never mind--we will state the true one to
the Barons, and that is all that is necessary."

"I incline to send off an express to-night," said the Baronet.

"I can recommend your honour to a sure hand," said Ochiltree; "little
Davie Mailsetter, and the butcher's reisting powny."

"We will talk over the matter as we go to Monkbarns," said Sir Arthur.
"My lads" (to the work-people), "come with me to the Four Horse-shoes,
that I may take down all your names.--Dousterswivel, I won't ask you to
go down to Monkbarns, as the laird and you differ so widely in opinion;
but do not fail to come to see me to-morrow."

Dousterswivel growled out an answer, in which the words, "duty,"--"mine
honoured patron,"--and "wait upon Sir Arthurs,"--were alone
distinguishable; and after the Baronet and his friend had left the ruins,
followed by the servants and workmen, who, in hope of reward and whisky,
joyfully attended their leader, the adept remained in a brown study by
the side of the open grave.

"Who was it as could have thought this?" he ejaculated unconsciously.
"Mine heiligkeit! I have heard of such things, and often spoken of such
things--but, sapperment! I never, thought to see them! And if I had gone
but two or dree feet deeper down in the earth--mein himmel! it had been
all mine own--so much more as I have been muddling about to get from this
fool's man."

Here the German ceased his soliloquy, for, raising his eyes, he
encountered those of Edie Ochiltree, who had not followed the rest of the
company, but, resting as usual on his pike-staff, had planted himself on
the other side of the grave. The features of the old man, naturally
shrewd and expressive almost to an appearance of knavery, seemed in this
instance so keenly knowing, that even the assurance of Dousterswivel,
though a professed adventurer, sunk beneath their glances. But he saw the
necessity of an e'claircissement, and, rallying his spirits, instantly
began to sound the mendicant on the occurrences of the day. "Goot Maister
Edies Ochiltrees"--

"Edie Ochiltree, nae maister--your puir bedesman and the king's,"
answered the Blue-Gown.

"Awell den, goot Edie, what do you think of all dis?"

"I was just thinking it was very kind (for I darena say very simple) o'
your honour to gie thae twa rich gentles, wha hae lands and lairdships,
and siller without end, this grand pose o' silver and treasure (three
times tried in the fire, as the Scripture expresses it), that might hae
made yoursell and ony twa or three honest bodies beside, as happy and
content as the day was lang."

"Indeed, Edie, mine honest friends, dat is very true; only I did not
know, dat is, I was not sure, where to find the gelt myself."

"What! was it not by your honours advice and counsel that Monkbarns and
the Knight of Knockwinnock came here then?"

"Aha--yes; but it was by another circumstance. I did not know dat dey
would have found de treasure, mine friend; though I did guess, by such a
tintamarre, and cough, and sneeze, and groan, among de spirit one other
night here, dat there might be treasure and bullion hereabout. Ach, mein
himmel! the spirit will hone and groan over his gelt, as if he were a
Dutch Burgomaster counting his dollars after a great dinner at the
Stadthaus."

"And do you really believe the like o' that, Mr. Dusterdeevil!--a
skeelfu' man like you--hout fie!"

"Mein friend," answered the adept, foreed by circumstances to speak
something nearer the truth than he generally used to do, "I believed it
no more than you and no man at all, till I did hear them hone and moan
and groan myself on de oder night, and till I did this day see de cause,
which was an great chest all full of de pure silver from Mexico--and what
would you ave nae think den?"

"And what wad ye gie to ony ane," said Edie, "that wad help ye to sic
another kistfu' o' silver!"

"Give?--mein himmel!--one great big quarter of it."

"Now if the secret were mine," said the mendicant, "I wad stand out for a
half; for you see, though I am but a puir ragged body, and couldna carry
silver or gowd to sell for fear o' being taen up, yet I could find mony
folk would pass it awa for me at unco muckle easier profit than ye're
thinking on."

"Ach, himmel!--Mein goot friend, what was it I said?--I did mean to say
you should have de tree quarter for your half, and de one quarter to be
my fair half."

"No, no, Mr. Dusterdeevil, we will divide equally what we find, like
brother and brother. Now, look at this board that I just flung into the
dark aisle out o' the way, while Monkbarns was glowering ower a' the
silver yonder. He's a sharp chiel Monkbarns--I was glad to keep the like
o' this out o' his sight. Ye'll maybe can read the character better than
me--I am nae that book learned, at least I'm no that muckle in practice."

With this modest declaration of ignorance, Ochiltree brought forth from
behind a pillar the cover of the box or chest of treasure, which, when
forced from its hinges, had been carelessly flung aside during the ardour
of curiosity to ascertain the contents which it concealed, and had been
afterwards, as it seems, secreted by the mendicant. There was a word and
a number upon the plank, and the beggar made them more distinct by
spitting upon his ragged blue handkerchief, and rubbing off the clay by
which the inscription was obscured. It was in the ordinary black letter.

"Can ye mak ought o't?" said Edie to the adept.

"S," said the philosopher, like a child getting his lesson in the primer
--"S, T, A, R, C, H,--_Starch!_--dat is what de woman-washers put into de
neckerchers, and de shirt collar."

"Search!" echoed Ochiltree; "na, na, Mr. Dusterdeevil, ye are mair of a
conjuror than a clerk--it's _search,_ man, _search_--See, there's the
_Ye_ clear and distinct."

"Aha! I see it now--it is _search--number one._ Mein himmel! then there
must be a _number two,_ mein goot friend: for _search_ is what you call
to seek and dig, and this is but _number one!_ Mine wort, there is one
great big prize in de wheel for us, goot Maister Ochiltree."

"Aweel, it may be sae; but we canna howk fort enow--we hae nae shules,
for they hae taen them a' awa--and it's like some o' them will be sent
back to fling the earth into the hole, and mak a' things trig again. But
an ye'll sit down wi' me a while in the wood, I'se satisfy your honour
that ye hae just lighted on the only man in the country that could hae
tauld about Malcolm Misticot and his hidden treasure--But first we'll rub
out the letters on this board, for fear it tell tales."

And, by the assistance of his knife, the beggar erased and defaced the
characters so as to make them quite unintelligible, and then daubed the
board with clay so as to obliterate all traces of the erasure.

Dousterswivel stared at him in ambiguous silence. There was an
intelligence and alacrity about all the old man's movements, which
indicated a person that could not be easily overreached, and yet (for
even rogues acknowledge in some degree the spirit of precedence) our
adept felt the disgrace of playing a secondary part, and dividing
winnings with so mean an associate. His appetite for gain, however, was
sufficiently sharp to overpower his offended pride, and though far more
an impostor than a dupe, he was not without a certain degree of personal
faith even in the gross superstitions by means of which he imposed upon
others. Still, being accustomed to act as a leader on such occasions, he
felt humiliated at feeling himself in the situation of a vulture
marshalled to his prey by a carrion-crow.--"Let me, however, hear this
story to an end," thought Dousterswivel, "and it will be hard if I do not
make mine account in it better as Maister Edie Ochiltrees makes
proposes."

The adept, thus transformed into a pupil from a teacher of the mystic
art, followed Ochiltree in passive acquiescence to the Prior's Oak--a
spot, as the reader may remember, at a short distance from the ruins,
where the German sat down, and silence waited the old man's
communication.

"Maister Dustandsnivel," said the narrator, "it's an unco while since I
heard this business treated anent;--for the lairds of Knockwinnock,
neither Sir Arthur, nor his father, nor his grandfather--and I mind a wee
bit about them a'--liked to hear it spoken about; nor they dinna like it
yet--But nae matter; ye may be sure it was clattered about in the
kitchen, like onything else in a great house, though it were forbidden in
the ha'--and sae I hae heard the circumstance rehearsed by auld servants
in the family; and in thir present days, when things o' that auld-warld
sort arena keepit in mind round winter fire-sides as they used to be, I
question if there's onybody in the country can tell the tale but mysell--
aye out-taken the laird though, for there's a parchment book about it, as
I have heard, in the charter-room at Knockwinnock Castle."

"Well, all dat is vary well--but get you on with your stories, mine goot
friend," said Dousterswivel.

"Aweel, ye see," continued the mendicant, "this was a job in the auld
times o' rugging and riving through the hale country, when it was ilka
ane for himsell, and God for us a'--when nae man wanted property if he
had strength to take it, or had it langer than he had power to keep it.
It was just he ower her, and she ower him, whichever could win upmost, a'
through the east country here, and nae doubt through the rest o' Scotland
in the self and same manner.

"Sae in these days Sir Richard Wardour came into the land, and that was
the first o' the name ever was in this country. There's been mony o' them
sin' syne; and the maist, like him they ca'd Hell-in-Harness, and the
rest o' them, are sleeping down in yon ruins. They were a proud dour set
o' men, but unco brave, and aye stood up for the weel o' the country, God
sain them a'--there's no muckle popery in that wish. They ca'd them the
Norman Wardours, though they cam frae the south to this country. So this
Sir Richard, that they ca'd Red-hand, drew up wi' the auld Knockwinnock
o' that day--for then they were Knockwinnocks of that Ilk--and wad fain
marry his only daughter, that was to have the castle and the land. Laith,
laith was the lass--(Sybil Knockwinnock they ca'd her that tauld me the
tale)--laith, laith was she to gie into the match, for she had fa'en a
wee ower thick wi' a cousin o' her ain that her father had some ill-will
to; and sae it was, that after she had been married to Sir Richard jimp
four months--for marry him she maun, it's like--ye'll no hinder her
gieing them a present o' a bonny knave bairn. Then there was siccan a
ca'-thro', as the like was never seen; and she's be burnt, and he's be
slain, was the best words o' their mouths. But it was a' sowdered up
again some gait, and the bairn was sent awa, and bred up near the
Highlands, and grew up to be a fine wanle fallow, like mony ane that
comes o' the wrang side o' the blanket; and Sir Richard wi' the Red-hand,
he had a fair offspring o'his ain, and a was lound and quiet till his
head was laid in the ground. But then down came Malcolm Misticot--(Sir
Arthur says it should be _Misbegot,_ but they aye ca'd him Misticot that
spoke o't lang syne)--down cam this Malcolm, the love-begot, frae
Glen-isla, wi' a string o' lang-legged Highlanders at his heels, that's
aye ready for onybody's mischief, and he threeps the castle and lands are
his ain as his mother's eldest son, and turns a' the Wardours out to the
hill. There was a sort of fighting and blude-spilling about it, for the
gentles took different sides; but Malcolm had the uppermost for a lang
time, and keepit the Castle of Knockwinnock, and strengthened it, and
built that muckle tower that they ca' Misticot's tower to this day."

"Mine goot friend, old Mr. Edie Ochiltree." interrupted the German, "this
is all as one like de long histories of a baron of sixteen quarters in
mine countries; but I would as rather hear of de silver and gold."

"Why, ye see," continued the mendicant, "this Malcolm was weel helped by
an uncle, a brother o' his father's, that was Prior o' St. Ruth here; and
muckle treasure they gathered between them, to secure the succession of
their house in the lands of Knockwinnock. Folk said that the monks in
thae days had the art of multiplying metals--at ony rate, they were very
rich. At last it came to this, that the young Wardour, that was
Red-hand's son, challenged Misticot to fight with him in the lists as
they ca'd them--that's no lists or tailor's runds and selvedges o'
claith, but a palin'-thing they set up for them to fight in like
game-cocks. Aweel, Misticot was beaten, and at his brother's mercy--but
he wadna touch his life, for the blood of Knockwinnock that was in baith
their veins: so Malcolm was compelled to turn a monk, and he died soon
after in the priory, of pure despite and vexation. Naebody ever kenn'd
whare his uncle the prior earded him, or what he did wi' his gowd and
silver, for he stood on the right o' halie kirk, and wad gie nae account
to onybody. But the prophecy gat abroad in the country, that whenever
Misticot's grave was fund out, the estate of Knockwinnock should be lost
and won."

"Ach! mine goot old friend, Maister Edie, and dat is not so very
unlikely, if Sir Arthurs will quarrel wit his goot friends to please Mr.
Oldenbuck.--And so you do tink dat dis golds and silvers belonged to goot
Mr. Malcolm Mishdigoat?"

"Troth do I, Mr. Dousterdeevil."

"And you do believe dat dere is more of dat sorts behind?"

"By my certie do I--How can it be otherwise?--_Search--No. I_--that is as
muckle as to say, search and ye'll find number twa. Besides, yon kist is
only silver, and I aye heard that' Misticot's pose had muckle yellow gowd
in't."

"Den, mine goot friends," said the adept, jumping up hastily, "why do we
not set about our little job directly?"

"For twa gude reasons," answered the beggar, who quietly kept his sitting
posture;--"first, because, as I said before, we have naething to dig wi',
for they hae taen awa the picks and shules; and, secondly, because there
will be a wheen idle gowks coming to glower at the hole as lang as it is
daylight, and maybe the laird may send somebody to fill it up--and ony
way we wad be catched. But if you will meet me on this place at twal
o'clock wi' a dark lantern, I'll hae tools ready, and we'll gang quietly
about our job our twa sells, and naebody the wiser for't."

"Be--be--but, mine goot friend," said Dousterswivel, from whose
recollection his former nocturnal adventure was not to be altogether
erased, even by the splendid hopes which Edie's narrative held forth, "it
is not so goot or so safe, to be about goot Maister Mishdigoat's grabe at
dat time of night--you have forgot how I told you de spirits did hone and
mone dere. I do assure you, dere is disturbance dere."

"If ye're afraid of ghaists," answered the mendicant, coolly, "I'll do
the job mysell, and bring your share o' the siller to ony place you like
to appoint."

"No--no--mine excellent old Mr. Edie,--too much trouble for you--I will
not have dat--I will come myself--and it will be bettermost; for, mine
old friend, it was I, Herman Dousterswivel, discovered Maister
Mishdigoat's grave when I was looking for a place as to put away some
little trumpery coins, just to play one little trick on my dear friend
Sir Arthur, for a little sport and pleasures. Yes, I did take some what
you call rubbish, and did discover Maister Mishdigoat's own monumentsh--
It's like dat he meant I should be his heirs--so it would not be civility
in me not to come mineself for mine inheritance."

"At twal o'clock, then," said the mendicant, "we meet under this tree.
I'll watch for a while, and see that naebody meddles wi' the grave--it's
only saying the laird's forbade it--then get my bit supper frae Ringan
the poinder up by, and leave to sleep in his barn; and I'll slip out at
night, and neer be mist."

"Do so, mine goot Maister Edie, and I will meet you here on this very
place, though all de spirits should moan and sneeze deir very brains
out."

So saying he shook hands with the old man, and with this mutual pledge of
fidelity to their appointment, they separated for the present.





CHAPTER FOURTH.

                          --See thou shake the bags
                 Of hoarding abbots; angels imprisoned
                         Set thou at liberty--
                Bell, book, and candle, shall not drive me back,
                        If gold and silver beckon to come on.
                                              King John.

The night set in stormy, with wind and occasional showers of rain. "Eh,
sirs," said the old mendicant, as he took his place on the sheltered side
of the large oak-tree to wait for his associate--"Eh, sirs, but human
nature's a wilful and wilyard thing!--Is it not an unco lucre o' gain wad
bring this Dousterdivel out in a blast o' wind like this, at twal o'clock
at night, to thir wild gousty wa's?--and amna I a bigger fule than
himsell to bide here waiting for him?"

Having made these sage reflections, he wrapped himself close in his
cloak, and fixed his eye on the moon as she waded amid the stormy and
dusky clouds, which the wind from time to time drove across her surface.
The melancholy and uncertain gleams that she shot from between the
passing shadows fell full upon the rifted arches and shafted windows of
the old building, which were thus for an instant made distinctly visible
in their ruinous state, and anon became again a dark, undistinguished,
and shadowy mass. The little lake had its share of these transient beams
of light, and showed its waters broken, whitened, and agitated under the
passing storm, which, when the clouds swept over the moon, were only
distinguished by their sullen and murmuring plash against the beach. The
wooded glen repeated, to every successive gust that hurried through its
narrow trough, the deep and various groan with which the trees replied to
the whirlwind, and the sound sunk again, as the blast passed away, into a
faint and passing murmur, resembling the sighs of an exhausted criminal
after the first pangs of his torture are over. In these sounds,
superstition might have found ample gratification for that State of
excited terror which she fears and yet loves. But such feeling is made no
part of Ochiltree's composition. His mind wandered back to the scenes of
his youth.

"I have kept guard on the outposts baith in Germany and America," he said
to himself, "in mony a waur night than this, and when I ken'd there was
maybe a dozen o' their riflemen in the thicket before me. But I was aye
gleg at my duty--naebody ever catched Edie sleeping."

As he muttered thus to himself, he instinctively shouldered his trusty
pike-staff, assumed the port of a sentinel on duty, and, as a step
advanced towards the tree, called, with a tone assorting better with his
military reminiscences than his present state--"Stand! who goes there?"

"De devil, goot Edie," answered Dousterswivel, "why does you speak so
loud as a baarenhauter, or what you call a factionary--I mean a
sentinel?"

"Just because I thought I was a sentinel at that moment," answered the
mendicant. "Here's an awsome night! Hae ye brought the lantern and a pock
for the siller?"

"Ay-ay, mine goot friend," said the German, "here it is--my pair of what
you call saddlebag; one side will be for you, one side for me;--I will
put dem on my horse to save you de trouble, as you are old man."

"Have you a horse here, then?" asked Edie Ochiltree.

"O yes, mine friend--tied yonder by de stile," responded the adept.

"Weel, I hae just ae word to the bargain--there sall nane o' my gear gang
on your beast's back."

"What was it as you would be afraid of?" said the foreigner.

"Only of losing sight of horse, man, and money," again replied the
gaberlunzie.

"Does you know dat you make one gentlemans out to be one great rogue?"

"Mony gentlemen," replied Ochiltree, "can make that out for themselves--
But what's the sense of quarrelling?--If ye want to gang on, gang on--if
no--I'll gae back to the gude ait-straw in Ringan Aikwood's barn that I
left wi' right ill-will e'now, and I'll pit back the pick and shule whar
I got them."

Dousterswivel deliberated a moment, whether, by suffering Edie to depart,
he might not secure the whole of the expected wealth for his own
exclusive use. But the want of digging implements, the uncertainty
whether, if he had them, he could clear out the grave to a sufficient
depth without assistance, and, above all, the reluctance which he felt,
owing to the experience of the former night, to venture alone on the
terrors of Misticot's grave, satisfied him the attempt would be
hazardous. Endeavouring, therefore, to assume his usual cajoling tone,
though internally incensed, he begged "his goot friend Maister Edie
Ochiltrees would lead the way, and assured him of his acquiescence in all
such an excellent friend could propose."

"Aweel, aweel, then," said Edie, "tak gude care o' your feet amang the
lang grass and the loose stones. I wish we may get the light keepit in
neist, wi' this fearsome wind--but there's a blink o' moonlight at
times."

Thus saying, old Edie, closely accompanied by the adept, led the way
towards the ruins, but presently made a full halt in front of them.

"Ye're a learned man, Mr. Dousterdeevil, and ken muckle o' the marvellous
works o' nature--Now, will ye tell me ae thing?--D'ye believe in ghaists
and spirits that walk the earth?--d'ye believe in them, ay or no?"

"Now, goot Mr. Edie," whispered Dousterswivel, in an expostulatory tone
of voice, "is this a times or a places for such a questions?"

"Indeed is it, baith the tane and the t'other, Mr. Dustanshovel; for I
maun fairly tell ye, there's reports that auld Misticot walks. Now this
wad be an uncanny night to meet him in, and wha kens if he wad be ower
weel pleased wi' our purpose of visiting his pose?"

"_Alle guten Geister_"--muttered the adept, the rest of the conjuration
being lost in a tremulous warble of his voice,--"I do desires you not to
speak so, Mr. Edie; for, from all I heard dat one other night, I do much
believes"--

"Now I," said Ochiltree, entering the chancel, and flinging abroad his
arm with an air of defiance, "I wadna gie the crack o' my thumb for him
were he to appear at this moment: he's but a disembodied spirit, as we
are embodied anes."

"For the lofe of heavens," said Dousterswivel, "say nothing at all
neither about somebodies or nobodies!"

"Aweel," said the beggar (expanding the shade of the lantern), "here's
the stane, and, spirit or no spirit, I'se be a wee bit deeper in the
grave;" and he jumped into the place from which the precious chest had
that morning been removed. After striking a few strokes, he tired, or
affected to tire, and said to his companion, "I'm auld and failed now,
and canna keep at it--time about's fair play, neighbour; ye maun get in
and tak the shule a bit, and shule out the loose earth, and then I'll tak
turn about wi' you."

Dousterswivel accordingly took the place which the beggar had evacuated,
and toiled with all the zeal that awakened avarice, mingled with the
anxious wish to finish the undertaking and leave the place as soon as
possible, could inspire in a mind at once greedy, suspicious, and
timorous.

Edie, standing much at his ease by the side of the hole, contented
himself with exhorting his associate to labour hard. "My certie! few ever
wrought for siccan a day's wage; an it be but--say the tenth part o' the
size o' the kist, No. I., it will double its value, being filled wi' gowd
instead of silver. Od, ye work as if ye had been bred to pick and shule--
ye could win your round half-crown ilka day. Tak care o' your taes wi'
that stane!" giving a kick to a large one which the adept had heaved out
with difficulty, and which Edie pushed back again to the great annoyance
of his associate's shins.

Thus exhorted by the mendicant, Dousterswivel struggled and laboured
among the stones and stiff clay, toiling like a horse, and internally
blaspheming in German. When such an unhallowed syllable escaped his lips,
Edie changed his battery upon him.

"O dinna swear! dinna swear! Wha kens whals listening!--Eh! gude guide
us, what's you!--Hout, it's just a branch of ivy flightering awa frae the
wa'; when the moon was in, it lookit unco like a dead man's arm wi' a
taper in't--I thought it was Misticot himsell. But never mind, work you
away--fling the earth weel up by out o' the gate--Od, if ye're no as
clean a worker at a grave as Win Winnet himsell! What gars ye stop now?--
ye're just at the very bit for a chance."

"Stop!" said the German, in a tone of anger and disappointment, "why, I
am down at de rocks dat de cursed ruins (God forgife me!) is founded
upon."

"Weel," said the beggar, "that's the likeliest bit of ony. It will be but
a muckle through-stane laid doun to kiver the gowd--tak the pick till't,
and pit mair strength, man--ae gude down-right devvel will split it, I'se
warrant ye--Ay, that will do Od, he comes on wi' Wallace's straiks!"

In fact, the adept, moved by Edie's exhortations, fetched two or three
desperate blows, and succeeded in breaking, not indeed that against which
he struck, which, as he had already conjectured, was the solid rock, but
the implement which he wielded, jarring at the same time his arms up to
the shoulder-blades.

"Hurra, boys!--there goes Ringan's pick-axe!" cried Edie "it's a shame o'
the Fairport folk to sell siccan frail gear. Try the shule--at it again,
Mr. Dusterdeevil."

The adept, without reply, scrambled out of the pit, which was now about
six feet deep, and addressed his associate in a voice that trembled with
anger. "Does you know, Mr. Edies Ochiltrees, who it is you put off your
gibes and your jests upon?"

"Brawly, Mr. Dusterdeevil--brawly do I ken ye, and has done mony a day;
but there's nae jesting in the case, for I am wearying to see ae our
treasures; we should hae had baith ends o' the pockmanky filled by this
time--I hope it's bowk eneugh to haud a' the gear?"

"Look you, you base old person," said the incensed philosopher, "if you
do put another jest upon me, I will cleave your skull-piece with this
shovels!"

"And whare wad my hands and my pike-staff be a' the time?" replied Edie,
in a tone that indicated no apprehension. "Hout, tout, Maister
Dusterdeevil, I haena lived sae lang in the warld neither, to be shuled
out o't that gate. What ails ye to be cankered, man, wi' your friends?
I'll wager I'll find out the treasure in a minute;" and he jumped into
the pit, and took up the spade.

"I do swear to you," said the adept, whose suspicions were now fully
awake, "that if you have played me one big trick, I will give you one big
beating, Mr. Edies."

"Hear till him now!" said Ochiltree, "he kens how to gar folk find out
the gear--Od, I'm thinking he's been drilled that way himsell some day."

At this insinuation, which alluded obviously to the former scene betwixt
himself and Sir Arthur, the philosopher lost the slender remnant of
patience he had left, and being of violent passions, heaved up the
truncheon of the broken mattock to discharge it upon the old man's head.
The blow would in all probability have been fatal, had not he at whom it
was aimed exclaimed in a stern and firm voice, "Shame to ye, man!--do ye
think Heaven or earth will suffer ye to murder an auld man that might be
your father?--Look behind ye, man!"

Dousterswivel turned instinctively, and beheld, to his utter
astonishment, a tall dark figure standing close behind him. The
apparition gave him no time to proceed by exorcism or otherwise, but
having instantly recourse to the _voie de fait,_ took measure of the
adept's shoulders three or four times with blows so substantial, that he
fell under the weight of them, and remained senseless for some minutes
between fear and stupefaction. When he came to himself, he was alone in
the ruined chancel, lying upon the soft and damp earth which had been
thrown out of Misticot's grave. He raised himself with a confused
sensation of anger, pain, and terror, and it was not until he had sat
upright for some minutes, that he could arrange his ideas sufficiently to
recollect how he came there, or with what purpose. As his recollection
returned, he could have little doubt that the bait held out to him by
Ochiltree, to bring him to that solitary spot, the sarcasms by which he
had provoked him into a quarrel, and the ready assistance which he had at
hand for terminating it in the manner in which it had ended, were all
parts of a concerted plan to bring disgrace and damage on Herman
Dousterswivel. He could hardly suppose that he was indebted for the
fatigue, anxiety, and beating which he had undergone, purely to the
malice of Edie Ochiltree singly, but concluded that the mendicant had
acted a part assigned to him by some person of greater importance. His
suspicions hesitated between Oldbuck and Sir Arthur Wardour. The former
had been at no pains to conceal a marked dislike of him--but the latter
he had deeply injured; and although he judged that Sir Arthur did not
know the extent of his wrongs towards him, yet it was easy to suppose he
had gathered enough of the truth to make him desirous of revenge.
Ochiltree had alluded to at least one circumstance which the adept had
every reason to suppose was private between Sir Arthur and himself, and
therefore must have been learned from the former. The language of Oldbuck
also intimated a conviction of his knavery, which Sir Arthur heard
without making any animated defence. Lastly, the way in which
Dousterswivel supposed the Baronet to have exercised his revenge, was not
inconsistent with the practice of other countries with which the adept
was better acquainted than with those of North Britain. With him, as with
many bad men, to suspect an injury, and to nourish the purpose of
revenge, was one and the same movement. And before Dousterswivel had
fairly recovered his legs, he had mentally sworn the ruin of his
benefactor, which, unfortunately, he possessed too much the power of
accelerating.

But although a purpose of revenge floated through his brain, it was no
time to indulge such speculations. The hour, the place, his own
situation, and perhaps the presence or near neighbourhood of his
assailants, made self-preservation the adept's first object. The lantern
had been thrown down and extinguished in the scuffle. The wind, which
formerly howled so loudly through the aisles of the ruin, had now greatly
fallen, lulled by the rain, which was descending very fast. The moon,
from the same cause, was totally obscured, and though Dousterswivel had
some experience of the ruins, and knew that he must endeavour to regain
the eastern door of the chancel, yet the confusion of his ideas was such,
that he hesitated for some time ere he could ascertain in what direction
he was to seek it. In this perplexity, the suggestions of superstition,
taking the advantage of darkness and his evil conscience, began again to
present themselves to his disturbed imagination. "But bah!" quoth he
valiantly to himself, "it is all nonsense all one part of de damn big
trick and imposture. Devil! that one thick-skulled Scotch Baronet, as I
have led by the nose for five year, should cheat Herman Dousterswivel!"

As he had come to this conclusion, an incident occurred which tended
greatly to shake the grounds on which he had adopted it. Amid the
melancholy _sough_ of the dying wind, and the plash of the rain-drops on
leaves and stones, arose, and apparently at no great distance from the
listener, a strain of vocal music so sad and solemn, as if the departed
spirits of the churchmen who had once inhabited these deserted rains were
mourning the solitude and desolation to which their hallowed precincts
had been abandoned. Dousterswivel, who had now got upon his feet, and was
groping around the wall of the chancel, stood rooted to the ground on the
occurrence of this new phenomenon. Each faculty of his soul seemed for
the moment concentred in the sense of hearing, and all rushed back with
the unanimous information, that the deep, wild, and prolonged chant which
he now heard, was the appropriate music of one of the most solemn dirges
of the Church of Rome. Why performed in such a solitude, and by what
class of choristers, were questions which the terrified imagination of
the adept, stirred with all the German superstitions of nixies,
oak-kings, wer-wolves, hobgoblins, black spirits and white, blue spirits
and grey, durst not even attempt to solve.

Another of his senses was soon engaged in the investigation. At the
extremity of one of the transepts of the church, at the bottom of a few
descending steps, was a small iron-grated door, opening, as far as he
recollected, to a sort of low vault or sacristy. As he cast his eye in
the direction of the sound, he observed a strong reflection of red light
glimmering through these bars, and against the steps which descended to
them. Dousterswivel stood a moment uncertain what to do; then, suddenly
forming a desperate resolution, he moved down the aisle to the place from
which the light proceeded.

Fortified with the sign of the cross, and as many exorcisms as his memory
could recover, he advanced to the grate, from which, unseen, he could see
what passed in the interior of the vault. As he approached with timid and
uncertain steps, the chant, after one or two wild and prolonged cadences,
died away into profound silence. The grate, when he reached it, presented
a singular spectacle in the interior of the sacristy. An open grave, with
four tall flambeaus, each about six feet high, placed at the four
corners--a bier, having a corpse in its shroud, the arms folded upon the
breast, rested upon tressels at one side of the grave, as if ready to be
interred--a priest, dressed in his cope and stole, held open the service
book--another churchman in his vestments bore a holy-water sprinkler, and
two boys in white surplices held censers with incense--a man, of a figure
once tall and commanding, but now bent with age or infirmity, stood alone
and nearest to the coffin, attired in deep mourning--such were the most
prominent figures of the group. At a little distance were two or three
persons of both sexes, attired in long mourning hoods and cloaks; and
five or six others in the same lugubrious dress, still farther removed
from the body, around the walls of the vault, stood ranged in motionless
order, each bearing in his hand a huge torch of black wax. The smoky
light from so many flambeaus, by the red and indistinct atmosphere which
it spread around, gave a hazy, dubious, and as it were phantom-like
appearance to the outlines of this singular apparition, The voice of the
priest--loud, clear, and sonorous--now recited, from the breviary which
he held in his hand, those solemn words which the ritual of the Catholic
church has consecrated to the rendering of dust to dust. Meanwhile,
Dousterswivel, the place, the hour, and the surprise considered, still
remained uncertain whether what he saw was substantial, or an unearthly
representation of the rites to which in former times these walls were
familiar, but which are now rarely practised in Protestant countries, and
almost never in Scotland. He was uncertain whether to abide the
conclusion of the ceremony, or to endeavour to regain the chancel, when a
change in his position made him visible through the grate to one of the
attendant mourners. The person who first espied him indicated his
discovery to the individual who stood apart and nearest the coffin, by a
sign, and upon his making a sign in reply, two of the group detached
themselves, and, gliding along with noiseless steps, as if fearing to
disturb the service, unlocked and opened the grate which separated them
from the adept. Each took him by an arm, and exerting a degree of force,
which he would have been incapable of resisting had his fear permitted
him to attempt opposition, they placed him on the ground in the chancel,
and sat down, one on each side of him, as if to detain him. Satisfied he
was in the power of mortals like himself, the adept would have put some
questions to them; but while one pointed to the vault, from which the
sound of the priest's voice was distinctly heard, the other placed his
finger upon his lips in token of silence, a hint which the German thought
it most prudent to obey. And thus they detained him until a loud
Alleluia, pealing through the deserted arches of St. Ruth, closed the
singular ceremony which it had been his fortune to witness.

When the hymn had died away with all its echoes, the voice of one of the
sable personages under whose guard the adept had remained, said, in a
familiar tone and dialect, "Dear sirs, Mr. Dousterswivel, is this you?
could not ye have let us ken an ye had wussed till hae been present at
the ceremony?--My lord couldna tak it weel your coming blinking and
jinking in, in that fashion."

"In de name of all dat is gootness, tell me what you are?" interrupted
the German in his turn.

"What I am? why, wha should I be but Ringan Aikwood, the Knockwinnock
poinder?--and what are ye doing here at this time o' night, unless ye
were come to attend the leddy's burial?"

"I do declare to you, mine goot Poinder Aikwood," said the German,
raising himself up, "that I have been this vary nights murdered, robbed,
and put in fears of my life."

"Robbed! wha wad do sic a deed here?--Murdered! od ye speak pretty blithe
for a murdered man--Put in fear! what put you in fear, Mr.
Dousterswivel?"

"I will tell you, Maister Poinder Aikwood Ringan, just dat old miscreant
dog villain blue-gown, as you call Edie Ochiltrees."

"I'll neer believe that," answered Ringan;--"Edie was ken'd to me, and my
father before me, for a true, loyal, and sooth-fast man; and, mair by
token, he's sleeping up yonder in our barn, and has been since ten at
e'en--Sae touch ye wha liket, Mr. Dousterswivel, and whether onybody
touched ye or no, I'm sure Edie's sackless."

"Maister Ringan Aikwood Poinders, I do not know what you call sackless,--
but let alone all de oils and de soot dat you say he has, and I will tell
you I was dis night robbed of fifty pounds by your oil and sooty friend,
Edies Ochiltree; and he is no more in your barn even now dan I ever shall
be in de kingdom of heafen."

"Weel, sir, if ye will gae up wi' me, as the burial company has
dispersed, we'se mak ye down a bed at the lodge, and we'se see if Edie's
at the barn. There was twa wild-looking chaps left the auld kirk when we
were coming up wi' the corpse, that's certain; and the priest, wha likes
ill that ony heretics should look on at our church ceremonies, sent twa
o' the riding saulies after them; sae we'll hear a' about it frae them."

Thus speaking, the kindly apparition, with the assistance of the mute
personage, who was his son, disencumbered himself of his cloak, and
prepared to escort Dousterswivel to the place of that rest which the
adept so much needed.

"I will apply to the magistrates to-morrow," said the adept; "oder, I
will have de law put in force against all the peoples."

While he thus muttered vengeance against the cause of his injury, he
tottered from among the ruins, supporting himself on Ringan and his son,
whose assistance his state of weakness rendered very necessary.

When they were clear of the priory, and had gained the little meadow in
which it stands, Dousterswivel could perceive the torches which had
caused him so much alarm issuing in irregular procession from the ruins,
and glancing their light, like that of the _ignis fatuus,_ on the banks
of the lake. After moving along the path for some short space with a
fluctuating and irregular motion, the lights were at once extinguished.

"We aye put out the torches at the Halie-cross Well on sic occasions,"
said the forester to his guest. And accordingly no farther visible sign
of the procession offered itself to Dousterswivel, although his ear could
catch the distant and decreasing echo of horses' hoofs in the direction
towards which the mourners had bent their course.





CHAPTER FIFTH.

                       O weel may the boatie row
                       And better may she speed,
                      And weel may the boatie row
                    That earns the bairnies' bread!
                   The boatie rows, the boatie rows,
                       The boatie rows fu' weel,
                 And lightsome be their life that bear
                       The merlin and the creel!
                                        Old Ballad.

We must now introduce our reader to the interior of the fisher's cottage
mentioned in CHAPTER eleventh of this edifying history. I wish I could
say that its inside was well arranged, decently furnished, or tolerably
clean. On the contrary, I am compelled to admit, there was confusion,--
there was dilapidation,--there was dirt good store. Yet, with all this,
there was about the inmates, Luckie Mucklebackit and her family, an
appearance of ease, plenty, and comfort, that seemed to warrant their old
sluttish proverb, "The clartier the cosier." A huge fire, though the
season was summer, occupied the hearth, and served at once for affording
light, heat, and the means of preparing food. The fishing had been
successful, and the family, with customary improvidence, had, since
unlading the cargo, continued an unremitting operation of broiling and
frying that part of the produce reserved for home consumption, and the
bones and fragments lay on the wooden trenchers, mingled with morsels of
broken bannocks and shattered mugs of half-drunk beer. The stout and
athletic form of Maggie herself, bustling here and there among a pack of
half-grown girls and younger children, of whom she chucked one now here
and another now there, with an exclamation of "Get out o' the gate, ye
little sorrow!" was strongly contrasted with the passive and
half-stupified look and manner of her husband's mother, a woman advanced
to the last stage of human life, who was seated in her wonted chair close
by the fire, the warmth of which she coveted, yet hardly seemed to be
sensible of--now muttering to herself, now smiling vacantly to the
children as they pulled the strings of her _toy_ or close cap, or
twitched her blue checked apron. With her distaff in her bosom, and her
spindle in her hand, she plied lazily and mechanically the old-fashioned
Scottish thrift, according to the old-fashioned Scottish manner. The
younger children, crawling among the feet of the elder, watched the
progress of grannies spindle as it twisted, and now and then ventured to
interrupt its progress as it danced upon the floor in those vagaries
which the more regulated spinning-wheel has now so universally
superseded, that even the fated Princess in the fairy tale might roam
through all Scotland without the risk of piercing her hand with a
spindle, and dying of the wound. Late as the hour was (and it was long
past midnight), the whole family were still on foot, and far from
proposing to go to bed; the dame was still busy broiling car-cakes on the
girdle, and the elder girl, the half-naked mermaid elsewhere
commemorated, was preparing a pile of Findhorn haddocks (that is,
haddocks smoked with green wood), to be eaten along with these relishing
provisions.

While they were thus employed, a slight tap at the door, accompanied with
the question, "Are ye up yet, sirs?" announced a visitor. The answer,
"Ay, ay,--come your ways ben, hinny," occasioned the lifting of the
latch, and Jenny Rintherout, the female domestic of our Antiquary, made
her appearance.

"Ay, ay," exclaimed the mistress of the family--"Hegh, sirs! can this be
you, Jenny?--a sight o' you's gude for sair een, lass."

"O woman, we've been sae ta'en up wi' Captain Hector's wound up by, that
I havena had my fit out ower the door this fortnight; but he's better
now, and auld Caxon sleeps in his room in case he wanted onything. Sae,
as soon as our auld folk gaed to bed, I e'en snodded my head up a bit,
and left the house-door on the latch, in case onybody should be wanting
in or out while I was awa, and just cam down the gate to see an there was
ony cracks amang ye."

"Ay, ay," answered Luckie Mucklebackit, "I see you hae gotten a' your
braws on; ye're looking about for Steenie now--but he's no at hame the
night; and ye'll no do for Steenie, lass--a feckless thing like you's no
fit to mainteen a man."

"Steenie will no do for me," retorted Jenny, with a toss of her head that
might have become a higher-born damsel; "I maun hae a man that can
mainteen his wife."

"Ou ay, hinny--thae's your landward and burrows-town notions. My certie!
--fisherwives ken better--they keep the man, and keep the house, and keep
the siller too, lass."

"A wheen poor drudges ye are," answered the nymph of the land to the
nymph of the sea. "As sune as the keel o' the coble touches the sand,
deil a bit mair will the lazy fisher loons work, but the wives maun kilt
their coats, and wade into the surf to tak the fish ashore. And then the
man casts aff the wat and puts on the dry, and sits down wi' his pipe and
his gill-stoup ahint the ingle, like ony auld houdie, and neer a turn
will he do till the coble's afloat again! And the wife she maun get the
scull on her back, and awa wi' the fish to the next burrows-town, and
scauld and ban wi'ilka wife that will scauld and ban wi'her till it's
sauld--and that's the gait fisher-wives live, puir slaving bodies."

"Slaves?--gae wa', lass!--ca' the head o' the house slaves? little ye ken
about it, lass. Show me a word my Saunders daur speak, or a turn he daur
do about the house, without it be just to tak his meat, and his drink,
and his diversion, like ony o' the weans. He has mair sense than to ca'
anything about the bigging his ain, frae the rooftree down to a crackit
trencher on the bink. He kens weel eneugh wha feeds him, and cleeds him,
and keeps a' tight, thack and rape, when his coble is jowing awa in the
Firth, puir fallow. Na, na, lass!--them that sell the goods guide the
purse--them that guide the purse rule the house. Show me ane o' yer bits
o' farmer-bodies that wad let their wife drive the stock to the market,
and ca' in the debts. Na, na."

"Aweel, aweel, Maggie, ilka land has its ain lauch--But where's Steenie
the night, when a's come and gane? And where's the gudeman?"*

* Note G. Gyneocracy.

"I hae putten the gudeman to his bed, for he was e'en sair forfain; and
Steenie's awa out about some barns-breaking wi' the auld gaberlunzie,
Edie Ochiltree: they'll be in sune, and ye can sit doun."

"Troth, gudewife" (taking a seat), "I haena that muckle time to stop--but
I maun tell ye about the news. Yell hae heard o' the muckle kist o' gowd
that Sir Arthur has fund down by at St. Ruth?--He'll be grander than ever
now--he'll no can haud down his head to sneeze, for fear o' seeing his
shoon."

"Ou ay--a' the country's heard o' that; but auld Edie says that they ca'
it ten times mair than ever was o't, and he saw them howk it up. Od, it
would be lang or a puir body that needed it got sic a windfa'."

"Na, that's sure eneugh.--And yell hae heard o' the Countess o' Glenallan
being dead and lying in state, and how she's to be buried at St. Ruth's
as this night fa's, wi' torch-light; and a' the popist servants, and
Ringan Aikwood, that's a papist too, are to be there, and it will be the
grandest show ever was seen."

"Troth, hinny," answered the Nereid, "if they let naebody but papists
come there, it'll no be muckle o' a show in this country, for the auld
harlot, as honest Mr. Blattergowl ca's her, has few that drink o' her cup
o' enchantments in this corner o' our chosen lands.--But what can ail
them to bury the auld carlin (a rudas wife she was) in the night-time?--I
dare say our gudemither will ken."

Here she exalted her voice, and exclaimed twice or thrice, "Gudemither!
gudemither!" but, lost in the apathy of age and deafness, the aged sibyl
she addressed continued plying her spindle without understanding the
appeal made to her.

"Speak to your grandmither, Jenny--Od, I wad rather hail the coble half a
mile aff, and the nor-wast wind whistling again in my teeth."

"Grannie," said the little mermaid, in a voice to which the old woman was
better accustomed, "minnie wants to ken what for the Glenallan folk aye
bury by candle-light in the ruing of St. Ruth!"

The old woman paused in the act of twirling the spindle, turned round to
the rest of the party, lifted her withered, trembling, and clay-coloured
band, raised up her ashen-hued and wrinkled face, which the quick motion
of two light-blue eyes chiefly distinguished from the visage of a corpse,
and, as if catching at any touch of association with the living world,
answered, "What gars the Glenallan family inter their dead by torchlight,
said the lassie?--Is there a Glenallan dead e'en now?"

"We might be a' dead and buried too," said Maggie, "for onything ye wad
ken about it;"--and then, raising her voice to the stretch of her
mother-in-law's comprehension, she added,

"It's the auld Countess, gudemither."

"And is she ca'd hame then at last?" said the old woman, in a voice that
seemed to be agitated with much more feeling than belonged to her extreme
old age, and the general indifference and apathy of her manner--"is she
then called to her last account after her lang race o' pride and power?--
O God, forgie her!"

"But minnie was asking ye," resumed the lesser querist, "what for the
Glenallan family aye bury their dead by torch-light?"

"They hae aye dune sae," said the grandmother, "since the time the Great
Earl fell in the sair battle o' the Harlaw, when they say the coronach
was cried in ae day from the mouth of the Tay to the Buck of the Cabrach,
that ye wad hae heard nae other sound but that of lamentation for the
great folks that had fa'en fighting against Donald of the Isles. But the
Great Earl's mither was living--they were a doughty and a dour race, the
women o' the house o' Glenallan--and she wad hae nae coronach cried for
her son, but had him laid in the silence o' midnight in his place o'
rest, without either drinking the dirge, or crying the lament. She said
he had killed enow that day he died, for the widows and daughters o' the
Highlanders he had slain to cry the coronach for them they had lost, and
for her son too; and sae she laid him in his gave wi' dry eyes, and
without a groan or a wail. And it was thought a proud word o' the family,
and they aye stickit by it--and the mair in the latter times, because in
the night-time they had mair freedom to perform their popish ceremonies
by darkness and in secrecy than in the daylight--at least that was the
case in my time; they wad hae been disturbed in the day-time baith by the
law and the commons of Fairport--they may be owerlooked now, as I have
heard: the warlds changed--I whiles hardly ken whether I am standing or
sitting, or dead or living."

And looking round the fire, as if in a state of unconscious uncertainty
of which she complained, old Elspeth relapsed into her habitual and
mechanical occupation of twirling the spindle.

"Eh, sirs!" said Jenny Rintherout, under her breath to her gossip, "it's
awsome to hear your gudemither break out in that gait--it's like the dead
speaking to the living."

"Ye're no that far wrang, lass; she minds naething o' what passes the
day--but set her on auld tales, and she can speak like a prent buke. She
kens mair about the Glenallan family than maist folk--the gudeman's
father was their fisher mony a day. Ye maun ken the papists make a great
point o' eating fish--it's nae bad part o' their religion that, whatever
the rest is--I could aye sell the best o' fish at the best o' prices for
the Countess's ain table, grace be wi' her! especially on a Friday--But
see as our gudemither's hands and lips are ganging--now it's working in
her head like barm--she'll speak eneugh the night. Whiles she'll no speak
a word in a week, unless it be to the bits o' bairns."

"Hegh, Mrs. Mucklebackit, she's an awsome wife!" said Jenny in reply.
"D'ye think she's a'thegither right? Folk say she downa gang to the kirk,
or speak to the minister, and that she was ance a papist but since her
gudeman's been dead, naebody kens what she is. D'ye think yoursell that
she's no uncanny?"

"Canny, ye silly tawpie! think ye ae auld wife's less canny than anither?
unless it be Alison Breck--I really couldna in conscience swear for her;
I have kent the boxes she set fill'd wi' partans, when"--

"Whisht, whisht, Maggie," whispered Jenny--"your gudemither's gaun to
speak again."

"Wasna there some ane o' ye said," asked the old sibyl, "or did I dream,
or was it revealed to me, that Joscelind, Lady Glenallan, is dead, an'
buried this night?"

"Yes, gudemither," screamed the daughter-in-law, "it's e'en sae."

"And e'en sae let it be," said old Elspeth; "she's made mony a sair heart
in her day--ay, e'en her ain son's--is he living yet?"

"Ay, he's living yet; but how lang he'll live--however, dinna ye mind his
coming and asking after you in the spring, and leaving siller?"

"It may be sae, Magge--I dinna mind it--but a handsome gentleman he was,
and his father before him. Eh! if his father had lived, they might hae
been happy folk! But he was gane, and the lady carried it in--ower and
out-ower wi' her son, and garr'd him trow the thing he never suld hae
trowed, and do the thing he has repented a' his life, and will repent
still, were his life as lang as this lang and wearisome ane o' mine."

"O what was it, grannie?"--and "What was it, gudemither?"--and "What was
it, Luckie Elspeth?" asked the children, the mother, and the visitor, in
one breath.

"Never ask what it was," answered the old sibyl, "but pray to God that ye
arena left to the pride and wilfu'ness o' your ain hearts: they may be as
powerful in a cabin as in a castle--I can bear a sad witness to that. O
that weary and fearfu' night! will it never gang out o' my auld head!--
Eh! to see her lying on the floor wi' her lang hair dreeping wi' the salt
water!--Heaven will avenge on a' that had to do wi't. Sirs! is my son out
wi' the coble this windy e'en?"

"Na, na, mither--nae coble can keep the sea this wind; he's sleeping in
his bed out-ower yonder ahint the hallan."

"Is Steenie out at sea then?"

"Na, grannie--Steenie's awa out wi' auld Edie Ochiltree, the gaberlunzie;
maybe they'll be gaun to see the burial."

"That canna be," said the mother of the family; "we kent naething o't
till Jock Rand cam in, and tauld us the Aikwoods had warning to attend--
they keep thae things unco private--and they were to bring the corpse a'
the way frae the Castle, ten miles off, under cloud o' night. She has
lain in state this ten days at Glenallan House, in a grand chamber a'
hung wi' black, and lighted wi' wax cannle."

"God assoilzie her!" ejaculated old Elspeth, her head apparently still
occupied by the event of the Countess's death; "she was a hard-hearted
woman, but she's gaen to account for it a', and His mercy is infinite--
God grant she may find it sae!" And she relapsed into silence, which she
did not break again during the rest of the evening.

"I wonder what that auld daft beggar carle and our son Steenie can be
doing out in sic a nicht as this," said Maggie Mucklebackit; and her
expression of surprise was echoed by her visitor. "Gang awa, ane o' ye,
hinnies, up to the heugh head, and gie them a cry in case they're within
hearing; the car-cakes will be burnt to a cinder."

The little emissary departed, but in a few minutes came running back with
the loud exclamation, "Eh, Minnie! eh, grannie! there's a white bogle
chasing twa black anes down the heugh."

A noise of footsteps followed this singular annunciation, and young
Steenie Mucklebackit, closely followed by Edie Ochiltree, bounced into
the hut. They were panting and out of breath. The first thing Steenie did
was to look for the bar of the door, which his mother reminded him had
been broken up for fire-wood in the hard winter three years ago; "for
what use," she said, "had the like o' them for bars?"

"There's naebody chasing us," said the beggar, after he had taken his
breath: "we're e'en like the wicked, that flee when no one pursueth."

"Troth, but we were chased," said Steenie, "by a spirit or something
little better."

"It was a man in white on horseback," said Edie, "for the soft grund that
wadna bear the beast, flung him about, I wot that weel; but I didna think
my auld legs could have brought me aff as fast; I ran amaist as fast as
if I had been at Prestonpans."*

* [This refers to the flight of the government forces at the battle of
Prestonpans, 1745.]

"Hout, ye daft gowks!" said Luckie Mucklebackit, "it will hae been some
o' the riders at the Countess's burial."

"What!" said Edie, "is the auld Countess buried the night at St. Ruth's?
Ou, that wad be the lights and the noise that scarr'd us awa; I wish I
had ken'd--I wad hae stude them, and no left the man yonder--but they'll
take care o' him. Ye strike ower hard, Steenie I doubt ye foundered the
chield."

"Neer a bit," said Steenie, laughing; "he has braw broad shouthers, and I
just took measure o' them wi' the stang. Od, if I hadna been something
short wi' him, he wad hae knockit your auld hams out, lad."

"Weel, an I win clear o' this scrape," said Edie, "I'se tempt Providence
nae mair. But I canna think it an unlawfu' thing to pit a bit trick on
sic a landlouping scoundrel, that just lives by tricking honester folk."

"But what are we to do with this?" said Steenie, producing a pocket-book.

"Od guide us, man," said Edie in great alarm, "what garr'd ye touch the
gear? a very leaf o' that pocket-book wad be eneugh to hang us baith."

"I dinna ken," said Steenie; "the book had fa'en out o' his pocket, I
fancy, for I fand it amang my feet when I was graping about to set him on
his logs again, and I just pat it in my pouch to keep it safe; and then
came the tramp of horse, and you cried, Rin, rin,' and I had nae mair
thought o' the book."

"We maun get it back to the loon some gait or other; ye had better take
it yoursell, I think, wi' peep o' light, up to Ringan Aikwood's. I wadna
for a hundred pounds it was fund in our hands."

Steenie undertook to do as he was directed.

"A bonny night ye hae made o't, Mr. Steenie," said Jenny Rintherout, who,
impatient of remaining so long unnoticed, now presented herself to the
young fisherman--"A bonny night ye hae made o't, tramping about wi'
gaberlunzies, and getting yoursell hunted wi' worricows, when ye suld be
sleeping in your bed, like your father, honest man."

This attack called forth a suitable response of rustic raillery from the
young fisherman. An attack was now commenced upon the car-cakes and
smoked fish, and sustained with great perseverance by assistance of a
bicker or two of twopenny ale and a bottle of gin. The mendicant then
retired to the straw of an out-house adjoining,--the children had one by
one crept into their nests,--the old grandmother was deposited in her
flock-bed,--Steenie, notwithstanding his preceding fatigue, had the
gallantry to accompany Miss Rintherout to her own mansion, and at what
hour he returned the story saith not,--and the matron of the family,
having laid the gathering-coal upon the fire, and put things in some sort
of order, retired to rest the last of the family.





CHAPTER SIXTH.

                           --Many great ones
          Would part with half their states, to have the plan
                 And credit to beg in the first style.
                                            Beggar's Bush.

Old Edie was stirring with the lark, and his first inquiry was after
Steenie and the pocket-book. The young fisherman had been under the
necessity of attending his father before daybreak, to avail themselves of
the tide, but he had promised that, immediately on his return, the
pocket-book, with all its contents, carefully wrapped up in a piece of
sail-cloth, should be delivered by him to Ringan Aikwood, for
Dousterswivel, the owner.

The matron had prepared the morning meal for the family, and, shouldering
her basket of fish, tramped sturdily away towards Fairport. The children
were idling round the door, for the day was fair and sun-shiney. The
ancient grandame, again seated on her wicker-chair by the fire, had
resumed her eternal spindle, wholly unmoved by the yelling and screaming
of the children, and the scolding of the mother, which had preceded the
dispersion of the family. Edie had arranged his various bags, and was
bound for the renewal of his wandering life, but first advanced with due
courtesy to take his leave of the ancient crone.

"Gude day to ye, cummer, and mony ane o' them. I will be back about the
fore-end o'har'st, and I trust to find ye baith haill and fere."

"Pray that ye may find me in my quiet grave," said the old woman, in a
hollow and sepulchral voice, but without the agitation of a single
feature.

"Ye're auld, cummer, and sae am I mysell; but we maun abide His will--
we'll no be forgotten in His good time."

"Nor our deeds neither," said the crone: "what's dune in the body maun be
answered in the spirit."

"I wot that's true; and I may weel tak the tale hame to mysell, that hae
led a misruled and roving life. But ye were aye a canny wife. We're a'
frail--but ye canna hae sae muckle to bow ye down."

"Less than I might have had--but mair, O far mair, than wad sink the
stoutest brig e'er sailed out o' Fairport harbour!--Didna somebody say
yestreen--at least sae it is borne in on my mind, but auld folk hae weak
fancies--did not somebody say that Joscelind, Countess of Glenallan, was
departed frae life?"

"They said the truth whaever said it," answered old Edie; "she was buried
yestreen by torch-light at St. Ruth's, and I, like a fule, gat a gliff
wi' seeing the lights and the riders."

"It was their fashion since the days of the Great Earl that was killed at
Harlaw;--they did it to show scorn that they should die and be buried
like other mortals; the wives o' the house of Glenallan wailed nae wail
for the husband, nor the sister for the brother.--But is she e'en ca'd to
the lang account?"

"As sure," answered Edie, "as we maun a' abide it."

"Then I'll unlade my mind, come o't what will."

This she spoke with more alacrity than usually attended her expressions,
and accompanied her words with an attitude of the hand, as if throwing
something from her. She then raised up her form, once tall, and still
retaining the appearance of having been so, though bent with age and
rheumatism, and stood before the beggar like a mummy animated by some
wandering spirit into a temporary resurrection. Her light-blue eyes
wandered to and fro, as if she occasionally forgot and again remembered
the purpose for which her long and withered hand was searching among the
miscellaneous contents of an ample old-fashioned pocket. At length she
pulled out a small chip-box, and opening it, took out a handsome ring, in
which was set a braid of hair, composed of two different colours, black
and light brown, twined together, encircled with brilliants of
considerable value.

"Gudeman," she said to Ochiltree, "as ye wad e'er deserve mercy, ye maun
gang my errand to the house of Glenallan, and ask for the Earl."

"The Earl of Glenallan, cummer! ou, he winna see ony o' the gentles o'
the country, and what likelihood is there that he wad see the like o' an
auld gaberlunzie?"

"Gang your ways and try;--and tell him that Elspeth o' the Craigburnfoot
--he'll mind me best by that name--maun see him or she be relieved frae
her lang pilgrimage, and that she sends him that ring in token of the
business she wad speak o'."

Ochiltree looked on the ring with some admiration of its apparent value,
and then carefully replacing it in the box, and wrapping it in an old
ragged handkerchief, he deposited the token in his bosom.

"Weel, gudewife," he said, "I'se do your bidding, or it's no be my fault.
But surely there was never sic a braw propine as this sent to a yerl by
an auld fishwife, and through the hands of a gaberlunzie beggar."

With this reflection, Edie took up his pike-staff, put on his
broad-brimmed bonnet, and set forth upon his pilgrimage. The old woman
remained for some time standing in a fixed posture, her eyes directed to
the door through which her ambassador had departed. The appearance of
excitation, which the conversation had occasioned, gradually left her
features; she sank down upon her accustomed seat, and resumed her
mechanical labour of the distaff and spindle, with her wonted air of
apathy.

Edie Ochiltree meanwhile advanced on his journey. The distance to
Glenallan was ten miles, a march which the old soldier accomplished in
about four hours. With the curiosity belonging to his idle trade and
animated character, he tortured himself the whole way to consider what
could be the meaning of this mysterious errand with which he was
entrusted, or what connection the proud, wealthy, and powerful Earl of
Glenallan could have with the crimes or penitence of an old doting woman,
whose rank in life did not greatly exceed that of her messenger. He
endeavoured to call to memory all that he had ever known or heard of the
Glenallan family, yet, having done so, remained altogether unable to form
a conjecture on the subject. He knew that the whole extensive estate of
this ancient and powerful family had descended to the Countess, lately
deceased, who inherited, in a most remarkable degree, the stern, fierce,
and unbending character which had distinguished the house of Glenallan
since they first figured in Scottish annals. Like the rest of her
ancestors, she adhered zealously to the Roman Catholic faith, and was
married to an English gentleman of the same communion, and of large
fortune, who did not survive their union two years. The Countess was,
therefore, left all early widow, with the uncontrolled management of the
large estates of her two sons. The elder, Lord Geraldin, who was to
succeed to the title and fortune of Glenallan, was totally dependent on
his mother during her life. The second, when he came of age, assumed the
name and arms of his father, and took possession of his estate, according
to the provisions of the Countess's marriage-settlement. After this
period, he chiefly resided in England, and paid very few and brief visits
to his mother and brother; and these at length were altogether dispensed
with, in consequence of his becoming a convert to the reformed religion.

But even before this mortal offence was given to its mistress, his
residence at Glenallan offered few inducements to a gay young man like
Edward Geraldin Neville, though its gloom and seclusion seemed to suit
the retired and melancholy habits of his elder brother. Lord Geraldin, in
the outset of life, had been a young man of accomplishment and hopes.
Those who knew him upon his travels entertained the highest expectations
of his future career. But such fair dawns are often strangely overcast.
The young nobleman returned to Scotland, and after living about a year in
his mother's society at Glenallan House, he seemed to have adopted all
the stern gloom and melancholy of her character. Excluded from politics
by the incapacities attached to those of his religion, and from all
lighter avocationas by choice, Lord Geraldin led a life of the strictest
retirement. His ordinary society was composed of the clergyman of his
communion, who occasionally visited his mansion; and very rarely, upon
stated occasions of high festival, one or two families who still
professed the Catholic religion were formally entertained at Glenallan
House. But this was all; their heretic neighbours knew nothing of the
family whatever; and even the Catholics saw little more than the
sumptuous entertainment and solemn parade which was exhibited on those
formal occasions, from which all returned without knowing whether most to
wonder at the stern and stately demeanour of the Countess, or the deep
and gloomy dejection which never ceased for a moment to cloud the
features of her son. The late event had put him in possession of his
fortune and title, and the neighbourhood had already begun to conjecture
whether gaiety would revive with independence, when those who had some
occasional acquaintance with the interior of the family spread abroad a
report, that the Earl's constitution was undermined by religious
austerities, and that in all probability he would soon follow his mother
to the grave. This event was the more probable, as his brother had died
of a lingering complaint, which, in the latter years of his life, had
affected at once his frame and his spirits; so that heralds and
genealogists were already looking back into their records to discover the
heir of this ill-fated family, and lawyers were talking with gleesome
anticipation, of the probability of a "great Glenallan cause."

As Edie Ochiltree approached the front of Glenallan House,* an ancient
building of great extent, the most modern part of which had been designed
by the celebrated Inigo Jones, he began to consider in what way he should
be most likely to gain access for delivery of his message; and, after
much consideration, resolved to send the token to the Earl by one of the
domestics.

* [Supposed to represent Glammis Castle, in Forfarshire, with which the
Author was well acquainted.]

With this purpose he stopped at a cottage, where he obtained the means of
making up the ring in a sealed packet like a petition, addressed, _Forr
his hounor the Yerl of Glenllan--These._ But being aware that missives
delivered at the doors of great houses by such persons as himself, do not
always make their way according to address, Edie determined, like an old
soldier, to reconnoitre the ground before he made his final attack. As he
approached the porter's lodge, he discovered, by the number of poor
ranked before it, some of them being indigent persons in the vicinity,
and others itinerants of his own begging profession,--that there was
about to be a general dole or distribution of charity.

"A good turn," said Edie to himself, "never goes unrewarded--I'll maybe
get a good awmous that I wad hae missed but for trotting on this auld
wife's errand."

Accordingly, he ranked up with the rest of this ragged regiment, assuming
a station as near the front as possible,--a distinction due, as he
conceived, to his blue gown and badge, no less than to his years and
experience; but he soon found there was another principle of precedence
in this assembly, to which he had not adverted.

"Are ye a triple man, friend, that ye press forward sae bauldly?--I'm
thinking no, for there's nae Catholics wear that badge."

"Na, na, I am no a Roman," said Edie.

"Then shank yoursell awa to the double folk, or single folk, that's the
Episcopals or Presbyterians yonder: it's a shame to see a heretic hae sic
a lang white beard, that would do credit to a hermit."

Ochiltree, thus rejected from the society of the Catholic mendicants, or
those who called themselves such, went to station himself with the
paupers of the communion of the church of England, to whom the noble
donor allotted a double portion of his charity. But never was a poor
occasional conformist more roughly rejected by a High-church
congregation, even when that matter was furiously agitated in the days of
good Queen Anne.

"See to him wi' his badge!" they said;--"he hears ane o' the king's
Presbyterian chaplains sough out a sermon on the morning of every
birth-day, and now he would pass himsell for ane o' the Episcopal church!
Na, na!--we'll take care o' that."

Edie, thus rejected by Rome and Prelacy, was fain to shelter himself from
the laughter of his brethren among the thin group of Presbyterians, who
had either disdained to disguise their religious opinions for the sake of
an augmented dole, or perhaps knew they could not attempt the imposition
without a certainty of detection.

The same degree of precedence was observed in the mode of distributing
the charity, which consisted in bread, beef, and a piece of money, to
each individual of all the three classes. The almoner, an ecclesiastic of
grave appearance and demeanour, superintended in person the accommodation
of the Catholic mendicants, asking a question or two of each as he
delivered the charity, and recommending to their prayers the soul of
Joscelind, late Countess of Glenallan, mother of their benefactor. The
porter, distinguished by his long staff headed with silver, and by the
black gown tufted with lace of the same colour, which he had assumed upon
the general mourning in the family, overlooked the distribution of the
dole among the prelatists. The less-favoured kirk-folk were committed to
the charge of an aged domestic.

As this last discussed some disputed point with the porter, his name, as
it chanced to be occasionally mentioned, and then his features, struck
Ochiltree, and awakened recollections of former times. The rest of the
assembly were now retiring, when the domestic, again approaching the
place where Edie still lingered, said, in a strong Aberdeenshire accent,
"Fat is the auld feel-body deeing, that he canna gang avay, now that he's
gotten baith meat and siller?"

"Francis Macraw," answered Edie Ochiltree, "d'ye no mind Fontenoy, and
keep thegither front and rear?'"

"Ohon! ohon!" cried Francie, with a true north-country yell of
recognition, "naebody could hae said that word but my auld front-rank
man, Edie Ochiltree! But I'm sorry to see ye in sic a peer state, man."

"No sae ill aff as ye may think, Francis. But I'm laith to leave this
place without a crack wi' you, and I kenna when I may see you again, for
your folk dinna mak Protestants welcome, and that's ae reason that I hae
never been here before."

"Fusht, fusht," said Francie, "let that flee stick i' the wa'--when the
dirt's dry it will rub out;--and come you awa wi' me, and I'll gie ye
something better thau that beef bane, man."

Having then spoke a confidential word with the porter (probably to
request his connivance), and having waited until the almoner had returned
into the house with slow and solemn steps, Francie Macraw introduced his
old comrade into the court of Glenallan House, the gloomy gateway of
which was surmounted by a huge scutcheon, in which the herald and
undertaker had mingled, as usual, the emblems of human pride and of human
nothingness,--the Countess's hereditary coat-of-arms, with all its
numerous quarterings, disposed in a lozenge, and surrounded by the
separate shields of her paternal and maternal ancestry, intermingled with
scythes, hour glasses, skulls, and other symbols of that mortality which
levels all distinctions. Conducting his friend as speedily as possible
along the large paved court, Macraw led the way through a side-door to a
small apartment near the servants' hall, which, in virtue of his personal
attendance upon the Earl of Glenallan, he was entitled to call his own.
To produce cold meat of various kinds, strong beer, and even a glass of
spirits, was no difficulty to a person of Francis's importance, who had
not lost, in his sense of conscious dignity, the keen northern prudence
which recommended a good understanding with the butler. Our mendicant
envoy drank ale, and talked over old stories with his comrade, until, no
other topic of conversation occurring, he resolved to take up the theme
of his embassy, which had for some time escaped his memory.

"He had a petition to present to the Earl," he said;--for he judged it
prudent to say nothing of the ring, not knowing, as he afterwards
observed, how far the manners of a single soldier* might have been
corrupted by service in a great house.

* A single soldier means, in Scotch, a private soldier.

"Hout, tout, man," said Francie, "the Earl will look at nae petitions--
but I can gie't to the almoner."

"But it relates to some secret, that maybe my lord wad like best to see't
himsell."

"I'm jeedging that's the very reason that the almoner will be for seeing
it the first and foremost."

"But I hae come a' this way on purpose to deliver it, Francis, and ye
really maun help me at a pinch."

"Neer speed then if I dinna," answered the Aberdeenshire man: "let them
be as cankered as they like, they can but turn me awa, and I was just
thinking to ask my discharge, and gang down to end my days at Inverurie."

With this doughty resolution of serving his friend at all ventures, since
none was to be encountered which could much inconvenience himself,
Francie Macraw left the apartment. It was long before he returned, and
when he did, his manner indicated wonder and agitation.

"I am nae seer gin ye be Edie Ochiltree o' Carrick's company in the
Forty-twa, or gin ye be the deil in his likeness!"

"And what makes ye speak in that gait?" demanded the astonished
mendicant.

"Because my lord has been in sic a distress and surpreese as I neer saw a
man in my life. But he'll see you--I got that job cookit. He was like a
man awa frae himsell for mony minutes, and I thought he wad hae swarv't
a'thegither,--and fan he cam to himsell, he asked fae brought the packet
--and fat trow ye I said?"

"An auld soger," says Edie--"that does likeliest at a gentle's door; at a
farmer's it's best to say ye're an auld tinkler, if ye need ony quarters,
for maybe the gudewife will hae something to souther."

"But I said neer ane o' the twa," answered Francis; "my lord cares as
little about the tane as the tother--for he's best to them that can
souther up our sins. Sae I e'en said the bit paper was brought by an auld
man wi' a long fite beard--he might be a capeechin freer for fat I ken'd,
for he was dressed like an auld palmer. Sae ye'll be sent up for fanever
he can find mettle to face ye."

"I wish I was weel through this business," thought Edie to himself; "mony
folk surmise that the Earl's no very right in the judgment, and wha can
say how far he may be offended wi' me for taking upon me sae muckle?"

But there was now no room for retreat--a bell sounded from a distant part
of the mansion, and Macraw said, with a smothered accent, as if already
in his master's presence, "That's my lord's bell!--follow me, and step
lightly and cannily, Edie."

Edie followed his guide, who seemed to tread as if afraid of being
overheard, through a long passage, and up a back stair, which admitted
them into the family apartments. They were ample and extensive, furnished
at such cost as showed the ancient importance and splendour of the
family. But all the ornaments were in the taste of a former and distant
period, and one would have almost supposed himself traversing the halls
of a Scottish nobleman before the union of the crowns. The late Countess,
partly from a haughty contempt of the times in which she lived, partly
from her sense of family pride, had not permitted the furniture to be
altered or modernized during her residence at Glenallan House. The most
magnificent part of the decorations was a valuable collection of pictures
by the best masters, whose massive frames were somewhat tarnished by
time. In this particular also the gloomy taste of the family seemed to
predominate. There were some fine family portraits by Vandyke and other
masters of eminence; but the collection was richest in the Saints and
Martyrdoms of Domenichino, Velasquez, and Murillo, and other subjects of
the same kind, which had been selected in preference to landscapes or
historical pieces. The manner in which these awful, and sometimes
disgusting, subjects were represented, harmonized with the gloomy state
of the apartments,--a circumstance which was not altogether lost on the
old man, as he traversed them under the guidance of his quondam
fellow-soldier. He was about to express some sentiment of this kind, but
Francie imposed silence on him by signs, and opening a door at the end of
the long picture-gallery, ushered him into a small antechamber hung with
black. Here they found the almoner, with his ear turned to a door
opposite that by which they entered, in the attitude of one who listens
with attention, but is at the same time afraid of being detected in the
act.

The old domestic and churchman started when they perceived each other.
But the almoner first recovered his recollection, and advancing towards
Macraw, said, under his breath, but with an authoritative tone, "How dare
you approach the Earl's apartment without knocking? and who is this
stranger, or what has he to do here?--Retire to the gallery, and wait for
me there."

"It's impossible just now to attend your reverence," answered Macraw,
raising his voice so as to be heard in the next room, being conscious
that the priest would not maintain the altercation within hearing of his
patron,--"the Earl's bell has rung."

He had scarce uttered the words, when it was rung again with greater
violence than before; and the ecclesiastic, perceiving further
expostulation impossible, lifted his finger at Macraw, with a menacing
attitude, as he left the apartment.

"I tell'd ye sae," said the Aberdeen man in a whisper to Edie, and then
proceeded to open the door near which they had observed the chaplain
stationed.





CHAPTER SEVENTH.


                             --This ring.--
               This little ring, with necromantic force,
               Has raised the ghost of pleasure to my fears,
               Conjured the sense of honour and of love
               Into such shapes, they fright me from myself.
                                     The Fatal Marriage.

The ancient forms of mourning were observed in Glenallan House,
notwithstanding the obduracy with which the members of the family were
popularly supposed to refuse to the dead the usual tribute of
lamentation. It was remarked, that when she received the fatal letter
announcing the death of her second, and, as was once believed, her
favourite son, the hand of the Countess did not shake, nor her eyelid
twinkle, any more than upon perusal of a letter of ordinary business.
Heaven only knows whether the suppression of maternal sorrow, which her
pride commanded, might not have some effect in hastening her own death.
It was at least generally supposed that the apoplectic stroke, which so
soon afterwards terminated her existence, was, as it were, the vengeance
of outraged Nature for the restraint to which her feelings had been
subjected. But although Lady Glenallan forebore the usual external signs
of grief, she had caused many of the apartments, amongst others her own
and that of the Earl, to be hung with the exterior trappings of woe.

The Earl of Glenallan was therefore seated in an apartment hung with
black cloth, which waved in dusky folds along its lofty walls. A screen,
also covered with black baize, placed towards the high and narrow window,
intercepted much of the broken light which found its way through the
stained glass, that represented, with such skill as the fourteenth
century possessed, the life and sorrows of the prophet Jeremiah. The
table at which the Earl was seated was lighted with two lamps wrought in
silver, shedding that unpleasant and doubtful light which arises from the
mingling of artificial lustre with that of general daylight. The same
table displayed a silver crucifix, and one or two clasped parchment
books. A large picture, exquisitely painted by Spagnoletto, represented
the martyrdom of St. Stephen, and was the only ornament of the apartment.

The inhabitant and lord of this disconsolate chamber was a man not past
the prime of life, yet so broken down with disease and mental misery, so
gaunt and ghastly, that he appeared but a wreck of manhood; and when he
hastily arose and advanced towards his visitor, the exertion seemed
almost to overpower his emaciated frame. As they met in the midst of the
apartment, the contrast they exhibited was very striking. The hale cheek,
firm step, erect stature, and undaunted presence and bearing of the old
mendicant, indicated patience and content in the extremity of age, and in
the lowest condition to which humanity can sink; while the sunken eye,
pallid cheek, and tottering form of the nobleman with whom he was
confronted, showed how little wealth, power, and even the advantages of
youth, have to do with that which gives repose to the mind, and firmness
to the frame.

The Earl met the old man in the middle of the room, and having commanded
his attendant to withdraw into the gallery, and suffer no one to enter
the antechamber till he rung the bell, awaited, with hurried yet fearful
impatience, until he heard first the door of his apartment, and then that
of the antechamber, shut and fastened by the spring-bolt. When he was
satisfied with this security against being overheard, Lord Glenallan came
close up to the mendicant, whom he probably mistook for some person of a
religious order in disguise, and said, in a hasty yet faltering tone, "In
the name of all our religion holds most holy, tell me, reverend father,
what am I to expect from a communication opened by a token connected with
such horrible recollections?"

The old man, appalled by a manner so different from what he had expected
from the proud and powerful nobleman, was at a loss how to answer, and in
what manner to undeceive him. "Tell me," continued the Earl, in a tone of
increasing trepidation and agony--"tell me, do you come to say that all
that has been done to expiate guilt so horrible, has been too little and
too trivial for the offence, and to point out new and more efficacious
modes of severe penance?--I will not blench from it, father--let me
suffer the pains of my crime here in the body, rather than hereafter in
the spirit!"

Edie had now recollection enough to perceive, that if he did not
interrapt the frankness of Lord Glenallan's admissions, he was likely to
become the confidant of more than might be safe for him to know. He
therefore uttered with a hasty and trembling voice--"Your lordship's
honour is mistaken--I am not of your persuasion, nor a clergyman, but,
with all reverence, only puir Edie Ochiltree, the king's bedesman and
your honour's."

This explanation be accompanied by a profound bow after his manner, and
then, drawing himself up erect, rested his arm on his staff, threw back
his long white hair, and fixed his eyes upon the Earl, as he waited for
an answer.

"And you are not then," said Lord Glenallan, after a pause of surprise--
"You are not then a Catholic priest?"

"God forbid!" said Edie, forgetting in his confusion to whom he was
speaking; "I am only the king's bedesman and your honour's, as I said
before."

The Earl turned hastily away, and paced the room twice or thrice, as if
to recover the effects of his mistake, and then, coming close up to the
mendicant, he demanded, in a stern and commanding tone, what he meant by
intruding himself on his privacy, and from whence he had got the ring
which he had thought proper to send him. Edie, a man of much spirit, was
less daunted at this mode of interrogation than he had been confused by
the tone of confidence in which the Earl had opened their conversation.
To the reiterated question from whom he had obtained the ring, he
answered composedly, "From one who was better known to the Earl than to
him."

"Better known to me, fellow?" said Lord Glenallan: "what is your
meaning?--explain yourself instantly, or you shall experience the
consequence of breaking in upon the hours of family distress."

"It was auld Elspeth Mucklebackit that sent me here," said the beggar,
"in order to say"--

"You dote, old man!" said the Earl; "I never heard the name--but this
dreadful token reminds me"--

"I mind now, my lord," said Ochiltree, "she tauld me your lordship would
be mair familiar wi' her, if I ca'd her Elspeth o' the Craigburnfoot--she
had that name when she lived on your honour's land, that is, your
honour's worshipful mother's that was then--Grace be wi' her!"

"Ay," said the appalled nobleman, as his countenance sunk, and his cheek
assumed a hue yet more cadaverous; "that name is indeed written in the
most tragic page of a deplorable history. But what can she desire of me?
Is she dead or living?"

"Living, my lord; and entreats to see your lordship before she dies, for
she has something to communicate that hangs upon her very soul, and she
says she canna flit in peace until she sees you."

"Not until she sees me!--what can that mean? But she is doting with age
and infirmity. I tell thee, friend, I called at her cottage myself, not a
twelvemonth since, from a report that she was in distress, and she did
not even know my face or voice."

"If your honour wad permit me," said Edie, to whom the length of the
conference restored a part of his professional audacity and native
talkativeness--"if your honour wad but permit me, I wad say, under
correction of your lordship's better judgment, that auld Elspeth's like
some of the ancient ruined strengths and castles that ane sees amang the
hills. There are mony parts of her mind that appear, as I may say, laid
waste and decayed, but then there's parts that look the steever, and the
stronger, and the grander, because they are rising just like to fragments
amaong the ruins o' the rest. She's an awful woman."

"She always was so," said the Earl, almost unconsciously echoing the
observation of the mendicant; "she always was different from other women
--likest perhaps to her who is now no more, in her temper and turn of
mind.--She wishes to see me, then?"

"Before she dies," said Edie, "she earnestly entreats that pleasure."

"It will be a pleasure to neither of us," said the Earl, sternly, "yet
she shall be gratified. She lives, I think, on the sea-shore to the
southward of Fairport?"

"Just between Monkbarns and Knockwinnock Castle, but nearer to Monkbarns.
Your lordship's honour will ken the laird and Sir Arthur, doubtless?"

A stare, as if he did not comprehend the question, was Lord Glenallan's
answer. Edie saw his mind was elsewhere, and did not venture to repeat a
query which was so little germain to the matter.

"Are you a Catholic, old man?" demanded the Earl.

"No, my lord," said Ochiltree stoutly; for the remembrance of the unequal
division of the dole rose in his mind at the moment; "I thank Heaven I am
a good Protestant."

"He who can conscientiously call himself _good,_ has indeed reason to
thank Heaven, be his form of Christianity what it will--But who is he
that shall dare to do so!"

"Not I," said Edie; "I trust to beware of the sin of presumption."

"What was your trade in your youth?" continued the Earl.

"A soldier, my lord; and mony a sair day's kemping I've seen. I was to
have been made a sergeant, but"--

"A soldier! then you have slain and burnt, and sacked and spoiled?"

"I winna say," replied Edie, "that I have been better than my
neighbours;--it's a rough trade--war's sweet to them that never tried
it."

"And you are now old and miserable, asking from precarious charity the
food which in your youth you tore from the hand of the poor peasant?"

"I am a beggar, it is true, my lord; but I am nae just sae miserable
neither. For my sins, I hae had grace to repent of them, if I might say
sae, and to lay them where they may be better borne than by me; and for
my food, naebody grudges an auld man a bit and a drink--Sae I live as I
can, and am contented to die when I am ca'd upon."

"And thus, then, with little to look back upon that is pleasant or
praiseworthy in your past life--with less to look forward to on this side
of eternity, you are contented to drag out the rest of your existence?
Go, begone! and in your age and poverty and weariness, never envy the
lord of such a mansion as this, either in his sleeping or waking moments
--Here is something for thee."

The Earl put into the old man's hand five or six guineas. Edie would
perhaps have stated his scruples, as upon other occasions, to the amount
of the benefaction, but the tone of Lord Glenallan was too absolute to
admit of either answer or dispute. The Earl then called his servant--"See
this old man safe from the castle--let no one ask him any questions--and
you, friend, begone, and forget the road that leads to my house."

"That would be difficult for me," said Edie, looking at the gold which he
still held in his hand, "that would be e'en difficult, since your honour
has gien me such gade cause to remember it."

Lord Glenallan stared, as hardly comprehending the old man's boldness in
daring to bandy words with him, and, with his hand, made him another
signal of departure, which the mendicant instantly obeyed.





CHAPTER EIGHTH.

                For he was one in all their idle sport,
               And like a monarch, ruled their little court
               The pliant bow he formed, the flying ball,
               The bat, the wicket, were his labours all.
                                         Crabbe's Village.

Francis Macraw, agreeably to the commands of his master, attended the
mendicant, in order to see him fairly out of the estate, without
permitting him to have conversation, or intercourse, with any of the
Earl's dependents or domestics. But, judiciously considering that the
restriction did not extend to himself, who was the person entrusted with
the convoy, he used every measure in his power to extort from Edie the
nature of his confidential and secret interview with Lord Glenallan. But
Edie had been in his time accustomed to cross-examination, and easily
evaded those of his quondam comrade. "The secrets of grit folk," said
Ochiltree within himself, "are just like the wild beasts that are shut up
in cages. Keep them hard and fast sneaked up, and it's a' very weel or
better--but ance let them out, they will turn and rend you. I mind how
ill Dugald Gunn cam aff for letting loose his tongue about the Major's
leddy and Captain Bandilier."

Francis was therefore foiled in his assaults upon the fidelity of the
mendicant, and, like an indifferent chess-player, became, at every
unsuccessful movement, more liable to the counter-checks of his opponent.

"Sae ye uphauld ye had nae particulars to say to my lord but about yer
ain matters?"

"Ay, and about the wee bits o' things I had brought frae abroad," said
Edie. "I ken'd you popist folk are unco set on the relics that are
fetched frae far-kirks and sae forth."

"Troth, my Lord maun be turned feel outright," said the domestic, "an he
puts himsell into sic a carfuffle, for onything ye could bring him,
Edie."

"I doubtna ye may say true in the main, neighbour," replied the beggar;
"but maybe he's had some hard play in his younger days, Francis, and that
whiles unsettles folk sair."

"Troth, Edie, and ye may say that--and since it's like yell neer come
back to the estate, or, if ye dee, that ye'll no find me there, I'se e'en
tell you he had a heart in his young time sae wrecked and rent, that it's
a wonder it hasna broken outright lang afore this day."

"Ay, say ye sae?" said Ochiltree; "that maun hae been about a woman, I
reckon?"

"Troth, and ye hae guessed it," said Francie--"jeest a cusin o' his nain
--Miss Eveline Neville, as they suld hae ca'd her;--there was a sough in
the country about it, but it was hushed up, as the grandees were
concerned;--it's mair than twenty years syne--ay, it will be
three-and-twenty."

"Ay, I was in America then," said the mendicant, "and no in the way to
hear the country clashes."

"There was little clash about it, man," replied Macraw; "he liked this
young leddy, ana suld hae married her, but his mother fand it out, and
then the deil gaed o'er Jock Webster. At last, the peer lass clodded
hersell o'er the scaur at the Craigburnfoot into the sea, and there was
an end o't."

"An end ot wi' the puir leddy," said the mendicant, "but, as I reckon,
nae end o't wi' the yerl."

"Nae end o't till his life makes an end," answered the Aberdonian.

"But what for did the auld Countess forbid the marriage?" continued the
persevering querist.

"Fat for!--she maybe didna weel ken for fat hersell, for she gar'd a' bow
to her bidding, right or wrang--But it was ken'd the young leddy was
inclined to some o' the heresies of the country--mair by token, she was
sib to him nearer than our Church's rule admits of. Sae the leddy was
driven to the desperate act, and the yerl has never since held his head
up like a man."

"Weel away!" replied Ochiltree:--"it's e'en queer I neer heard this tale
afore."

"It's e'en queer that ye heard it now, for deil ane o' the servants durst
hae spoken o't had the auld Countess been living. Eh, man, Edie! but she
was a trimmer--it wad hae taen a skeely man to hae squared wi' her!--But
she's in her grave, and we may loose our tongues a bit fan we meet a
friend.--But fare ye weel, Edie--I maun be back to the evening-service.
An' ye come to Inverurie maybe sax months awa, dinna forget to ask after
Francie Macraw."

What one kindly pressed, the other as firmly promised; and the friends
having thus parted, with every testimony of mutual regard, the domestic
of Lord Glenallan took his road back to the seat of his master, leaving
Ochiltree to trace onward his habitual pilgrimage.

It was a fine summer evening, and the world--that is, the little circle
which was all in all to the individual by whom it was trodden, lay before
Edie Ochiltree, for the choosing of his night's quarters. When he had
passed the less hospitable domains of Glenallan, he had in his option so
many places of refuge for the evening, that he was nice, and even
fastidious in the choice. Ailie Sim's public was on the road-side about a
mile before him, but there would be a parcel of young fellows there on
the Saturday night, and that was a bar to civil conversation. Other
"gudemen and gudewives," as the farmers and their dames are termed in
Scotland, successively presented themselves to his imagination. But one
was deaf, and could not hear him; another toothless, and could not make
him hear; a third had a cross temper; and a fourth an ill-natured
house-dog. At Monkbarns or Knockwinnock he was sure of a favourable and
hospitable reception; but they lay too distant to be conveniently reached
that night.

"I dinna ken how it is," said the old man, "but I am nicer about my
quarters this night than ever I mind having been in my life. I think,
having seen a' the braws yonder, and finding out ane may be happier
without them, has made me proud o' my ain lot--But I wuss it bode me
gude, for pride goeth before destruction. At ony rate, the warst barn
e'er man lay in wad be a pleasanter abode than Glenallan House, wi' a'
the pictures and black velvet, and silver bonny-wawlies belonging to it--
Sae I'll e'en settle at ance, and put in for Ailie Sims."

As the old man descended the hill above the little hamlet to which he was
bending his course, the setting sun had relieved its inmates from their
labour, and the young men, availing themselves of the fine evening, were
engaged in the sport of long-bowls on a patch of common, while the women
and elders looked on. The shout, the laugh, the exclamations of winners
and losers, came in blended chorus up the path which Ochiltree was
descending, and awakened in his recollection the days when he himself had
been a keen competitor, and frequently victor, in games of strength and
agility. These remembrances seldom fail to excite a sigh, even when the
evening of life is cheered by brighter prospects than those of our poor
mendicant. "At that time of day," was his natural reflection, "I would
have thought as little about ony auld palmering body that was coming down
the edge of Kinblythemont, as ony o' thae stalwart young chiels does
e'enow about auld Edie Ochiltree."

He was, however, presently cheered, by finding that more importance was
attached to his arrival than his modesty had anticipated. A disputed cast
had occurred between the bands of players, and as the gauger favoured the
one party, and the schoolmaster the other, the matter might be said to be
taken up by the higher powers. The miller and smith, also, had espoused
different sides, and, considering the vivacity of two such disputants,
there was reason to doubt whether the strife might be amicably
terminated. But the first person who caught a sight of the mendicant
exclaimed, "Ah! here comes auld Edie, that kens the rules of a' country
games better than ony man that ever drave a bowl, or threw an axle-tree,
or putted a stane either;--let's hae nae quarrelling, callants--we'll
stand by auld Edie's judgment."

Edie was accordingly welcomed, and installed as umpire, with a general
shout of gratulation. With all the modesty of a Bishop to whom the mitre
is proffered, or of a new Speaker called to the chair, the old man
declined the high trust and responsibility with which it was proposed to
invest him, and, in requital for his self-denial and humility, had the
pleasure of receiving the reiterated assurances of young, old, and
middle-aged, that he was simply the best qualified person for the office
of arbiter "in the haill country-side." Thus encouraged, he proceeded
gravely to the execution of his duty, and, strictly forbidding all
aggravating expressions on either side, he heard the smith and gauger on
one side, the miller and schoolmaster on the other, as junior and senior
counsel. Edie's mind, however, was fully made up on the subject before
the pleading began; like that of many a judge, who must nevertheless go
through all the forms, and endure in its full extent the eloquence and
argumentation of the Bar. For when all had been said on both sides, and
much of it said over oftener than once, our senior, being well and ripely
advised, pronounced the moderate and healing judgment, that the disputed
cast was a drawn one, and should therefore count to neither party. This
judicious decision restored concord to the field of players; they began
anew to arrange their match and their bets, with the clamorous mirth
usual on such occasions of village sport, and the more eager were already
stripping their jackets, and committing them, with their coloured
handkerchiefs, to the care of wives, sisters, and mistresses. But their
mirth was singularly interrupted.

On the outside of the group of players began to arise sounds of a
description very different from those of sport--that sort of suppressed
sigh and exclamation, with which the first news of calamity is received
by the hearers, began to be heard indistinctly. A buzz went about among
the women of "Eh, sirs! sae young and sae suddenly summoned!"--It then
extended itself among the men, and silenced the sounds of sportive mirth.

All understood at once that some disaster had happened in the country,
and each inquired the cause at his neighbour, who knew as little as the
querist. At length the rumour reached, in a distinct shape, the ears of
Edie Ochiltree, who was in the very centre of the assembly. The boat of
Mucklebackit, the fisherman whom we have so often mentioned, had been
swamped at sea, and four men had perished, it was affirmed, including
Mucklebackit and his son. Rumour had in this, however, as in other cases,
gone beyond the truth. The boat had indeed been overset; but Stephen, or,
as he was called, Steenie Mucklebackit, was the only man who had been
drowned. Although the place of his residence and his mode of life removed
the young man from the society of the country folks, yet they failed not
to pause in their rustic mirth to pay that tribute to sudden calamity
which it seldom fails to receive in cases of infrequent occurrence. To
Ochiltree, in particular, the news came like a knell, the rather that he
had so lately engaged this young man's assistance in an affair of
sportive mischief; and though neither loss nor injury was designed to the
German adept, yet the work was not precisely one in which the latter
hours of life ought to be occupied.

Misfortunes never come alone. While Ochiltree, pensively leaning upon his
staff, added his regrets to those of the hamlet which bewailed the young
man's sudden death, and internally blamed himself for the transaction in
which he had so lately engaged him, the old man's collar was seized by a
peace-officer, who displayed his baton in his right hand, and exclaimed,
"In the king's name."

The gauger and schoolmaster united their rhetoric, to prove to the
constable and his assistant that he had no right to arrest the king's
bedesman as a vagrant; and the mute eloquence of the miller and smith,
which was vested in their clenched fists, was prepared to give Highland
bail for their arbiter; his blue gown, they said, was his warrant for
travelling the country.

"But his blue gown," answered the officer, "is nae protection for
assault, robbery, and murder; and my warrant is against him for these
crimes."

"Murder!" said Edie, "murder! wha did I e'er murder?"

"Mr. German Doustercivil, the agent at Glen-Withershins mining-works."

"Murder Doustersnivel?--hout, he's living, and life-like, man."

"Nae thanks to you if he be; he had a sair struggle for his life, if a'
be true he tells, and ye maun answer for't at the bidding of the law."

The defenders of the mendicant shrunk back at hearing the atrocity of the
charges against him, but more than one kind hand thrust meat and bread
and pence upon Edie, to maintain him in the prison, to which the officers
were about to conduct him.

"Thanks to ye! God bless ye a', bairns!--I've gotten out o' mony a snare
when I was waur deserving o' deliverance--I shall escape like a bird from
the fowler. Play out your play, and never mind me--I am mair grieved for
the puir lad that's gane, than for aught they can do to me."

Accordingly, the unresisting prisoner was led off, while he mechanically
accepted and stored in his wallets the alms which poured in on every
hand, and ere he left the hamlet, was as deep-laden as a government
victualler. The labour of bearing this accumulating burden was, however,
abridged, by the officer procuring a cart and horse to convey the old man
to a magistrate, in order to his examination and committal.

The disaster of Steenie, and the arrest of Edie, put a stop to the sports
of the village, the pensive inhabitants of which began to speculate upon
the vicissitudes of human affairs, which had so suddenly consigned one of
their comrades to the grave, and placed their master of the revels in
some danger of being hanged. The character of Dousterswivel being pretty
generally known, which was in his case equivalent to being pretty
generally detested, there were many speculations upon the probability of
the accusation being malicious. But all agreed, that if Edie Ochiltree
behaved in all events to suffer upon this occasion, it was a great pity
he had not better merited his fate by killing Dousterswivel outright.





CHAPTER NINTH

               Who is he?--One that for the lack of land
              Shall fight upon the water--he hath challenged
              Formerly the grand whale; and by his titles
                 Of Leviathan, Behemoth, and so forth.
                 He tilted with a sword-fish--Marry, sir,
                 Th' aquatic had the best--the argument
                      Still galls our champion's breech.
                                               Old Play.

"And the poor young fellow, Steenie Mucklebackit, is to be buried this
morning," said our old friend the Antiquary, as he exchanged his quilted
night-gown for an old-fashioned black coat in lieu of the snuff-coloured
vestment which he ordinarily wore, "and, I presume, it is expected that I
should attend the funeral?"

"Ou, ay," answered the faithful Caxon, officiously brushing the white
threads and specks from his patron's habit. "The body, God help us! was
sae broken against the rocks that they're fain to hurry the burial. The
sea's a kittle cast, as I tell my daughter, puir thing, when I want her
to get up her spirits; the sea, says I, Jenny, is as uncertain a
calling"--

"As the calling of an old periwig-maker, that's robbed of his business by
crops and the powder-tax. Caxon, thy topics of consolation are as ill
chosen as they are foreign to the present purpose._Quid mihi cum
faemina_? What have I to do with thy womankind, who have enough and to
spare of mine own?--I pray of you again, am I expected by these poor
people to attend the funeral of their son?"

"Ou, doubtless, your honour is expected," answered Caxon; "weel I wot ye
are expected. Ye ken, in this country ilka gentleman is wussed to be sae
civil as to see the corpse aff his grounds; ye needna gang higher than
the loan-head--it's no expected your honour suld leave the land; it's
just a Kelso convoy, a step and a half ower the doorstane."

"A Kelso convoy!" echoed the inquisitive Antiquary; "and why a Kelso
convoy more than any other?"

"Dear sir," answered Caxon, "how should I ken? it's just a by-word."

"Caxon," answered Oldbuck, "thou art a mere periwig-maker--Had I asked
Ochiltree the question, he would have had a legend ready made to my
hand."

"My business," replied Caxon, with more animation than he commonly
displayed, "is with the outside of your honour's head, as ye are
accustomed to say."

"True, Caxon, true; and it is no reproach to a thatcher that he is not an
upholsterer."

He then took out his memorandum-book and wrote down "Kelso convoy--said
to be a step and a half over the threshold. Authority--Caxon.--_Quaere_--
Whence derived? _Mem._ To write to Dr. Graysteel upon the subject."

Having made this entry, he resumed--"And truly, as to this custom of the
landlord attending the body of the peasant, I approve it, Caxon. It comes
from ancient times, and was founded deep in the notions of mutual aid and
dependence between the lord and cultivator of the soil. And herein I must
say, the feudal system--(as also in its courtesy towards womankind, in
which it exceeded)--herein, I say, the feudal usages mitigated and
softened the sternness of classical times. No man, Caxon, ever heard of a
Spartan attending the funeral of a Helot--yet I dare be sworn that John
of the Girnel--ye have heard of him, Caxon?"

"Ay, ay, sir," answered Caxon; "naebody can hae been lang in your
honour's company without hearing of that gentleman."

"Well," continued the Antiquary, "I would bet a trifle there was not a
_kolb kerl,_ or bondsman, or peasant, _ascriptus glebae,_ died upon the
monks' territories down here, but John of the Girnel saw them fairly and
decently interred."

"Ay, but if it like your honour, they say he had mair to do wi' the
births than the burials. Ha! ha! ha!" with a gleeful chuckle.

"Good, Caxon, very good!--why, you shine this morning."

"And besides," added Caxon, slyly, encouraged by his patron's
approbation, "they say, too, that the Catholic priests in thae times gat
something for ganging about to burials."

"Right, Caxon! right as my glove! By the by, I fancy that phrase comes
from the custom of pledging a glove as the signal of irrefragable faith--
right, I say, as my glove, Caxon--but we of the Protestant ascendency
have the more merit in doing that duty for nothing, which cost money in
the reign of that empress of superstition, whom Spenser, Caxon, terms in
his allegorical phrase,

                  --The daughter of that woman blind,
                    Abessa, daughter of Corecca slow--

But why talk I of these things to thee?--my poor Lovel has spoiled me,
and taught me to speak aloud when it is much the same as speaking to
myself. Where's my nephew, Hector M'Intyre?"

"He's in the parlour, sir, wi' the leddies."

"Very well," said the Antiquary, "I will betake me thither."

"Now, Monkbarns," said his sister, on his entering the parlour, "ye
maunna be angry."

"My dear uncle!" began Miss M'Intyre.

"What's the meaning of all this?" said Oldbuck, in alarm of some
impending bad news, and arguing upon the supplicating tone of the ladies,
as a fortress apprehends an attack from the very first flourish of the
trumpet which announces the summons--"what's all this?--what do you
bespeak my patience for?"

"No particular matter, I should hope, sir," said Hector, who, with his
arm in a sling, was seated at the breakfast table;--"however, whatever it
may amount to I am answerable for it, as I am for much more trouble that
I have occasioned, and for which I have little more than thanks to
offer."

"No, no! heartily welcome, heartily welcome--only let it be a warning to
you," said the Antiquary, "against your fits of anger, which is a short
madness--_Ira furor brevis_--but what is this new disaster?"

"My dog, sir, has unfortunately thrown down"--

"If it please Heaven, not the lachrymatory from Clochnaben!" interjected
Oldbuck.

"Indeed, uncle," said the young lady, "I am afraid--it was that which
stood upon the sideboard--the poor thing only meant to eat the pat of
fresh butter."

"In which she has fully succeeded, I presume, for I see that on the table
is salted. But that is nothing--my lachrymatory, the main pillar of my
theory on which I rested to show, in despite of the ignorant obstinacy of
Mac-Cribb, that the Romans had passed the defiles of these mountains, and
left behind them traces of their arts and arms, is gone--annihilated--
reduced to such fragments as might be the shreds of a broken-flowerpot!

                            --Hector, I love thee,
                  But never more be officer of mine."

"Why, really, sir, I am afraid I should make a bad figure in a regiment
of your raising."

"At least, Hector, I would have you despatch your camp train, and travel
_expeditus,_ or _relictis impedimentis._ You cannot conceive how I am
annoyed by this beast--she commits burglary, I believe, for I heard her
charged with breaking into the kitchen after all the doors were locked,
and eating up a shoulder of mutton. "--(Our readers, if they chance to
remember Jenny Rintherout's precaution of leaving the door open when she
went down to the fisher's cottage, will probably acquit poor Juno of that
aggravation of guilt which the lawyers call a _claustrum fregit,_ and
which makes the distinction between burglary and privately stealing. )

"I am truly sorry, sir," said Hector, "that Juno has committed so much
disorder; but Jack Muirhead, the breaker, was never able to bring her
under command. She has more travel than any bitch I ever knew, but"--

"Then, Hector, I wish the bitch would travel herself out of my grounds."

"We will both of us retreat to-morrow, or to-day, but I would not
willingly part from my mother's brother in unkindness about a paltry
pipkin."

"O brother! brother!" ejaculated Miss M'Intyre, in utter despair at this
vituperative epithet.

"Why, what would you have me call it?" continued Hector; "it was just
such a thing as they use in Egypt to cool wine, or sherbet, or water;--I
brought home a pair of them--I might have brought home twenty."

"What!" said Oldbuck, "shaped such as that your dog threw down?"

"Yes, sir, much such a sort of earthen jar as that which was on the
sideboard. They are in my lodgings at Fairport; we brought a parcel of
them to cool our wine on the passage--they answer wonderfully well. If I
could think they would in any degree repay your loss, or rather that they
could afford you pleasure, I am sure I should be much honoured by your
accepting them."

"Indeed, my dear boy, I should be highly gratified by possessing them. To
trace the connection of nations by their usages, and the similarity of
the implements which they employ, has been long my favourite study.
Everything that can illustrate such connections is most valuable to me."

"Well, sir, I shall be much gratified by your acceptance of them, and a
few trifles of the same kind. And now, am I to hope you have forgiven
me?"

"O, my dear boy, you are only thoughtless and foolish."

"But Juno--she is only thoughtless too, I assure you--the breaker tells
me she has no vice or stubbornness."

"Well, I grant Juno also a free pardon--conditioned, that you will
imitate her in avoiding vice and stubbornness, and that henceforward she
banish herself forth of Monkbarns parlour."

"Then, uncle," said the soldier, "I should have been very sorry and
ashamed to propose to you anything in the way of expiation of my own
sins, or those of my follower, that I thought _worth_ your acceptance;
but now, as all is forgiven, will you permit the orphan-nephew, to whom
you have been a father, to offer you a trifle, which I have been assured
is really curious, and which only the cross accident of my wound has
prevented my delivering to you before? I got it from a French savant, to
whom I rendered some service after the Alexandria affair."

The captain put a small ring-case into the Antiquary's hands, which, when
opened, was found to contain an antique ring of massive gold, with a
cameo, most beautifully executed, bearing a head of Cleopatra. The
Antiquary broke forth into unrepressed ecstasy, shook his nephew
cordially by the hand, thanked him an hundred times, and showed the ring
to his sister and niece, the latter of whom had the tact to give it
sufficient admiration; but Miss Griselda (though she had the same
affection for her nephew) had not address enough to follow the lead.

"It's a bonny thing," she said, "Monkbarns, and, I dare say, a valuable;
but it's out o'my way--ye ken I am nae judge o' sic matters."

"There spoke all Fairport in one voice!" exclaimed Oldbuck "it is the
very spirit of the borough has infected us all; I think I have smelled
the smoke these two days, that the wind has stuck, like a _remora,_ in
the north-east--and its prejudices fly farther than its vapours. Believe
me, my dear Hector, were I to walk up the High Street of Fairport,
displaying this inestimable gem in the eyes of each one I met, no human
creature, from the provost to the town-crier, would stop to ask me its
history. But if I carried a bale of linen cloth under my arm, I could not
penetrate to the Horsemarket ere I should be overwhelmed with queries
about its precise texture and price. Oh, one might parody their brutal
ignorance in the words of Gray:

                   Weave the warp and weave the woof,
                   The winding-sheet of wit and sense,
                   Dull garment of defensive proof,
                  'Gainst all that doth not gather pence."

The most remarkable proof of this peace-offering being quite acceptable
was, that while the Antiquary was in full declamation, Juno, who held him
in awe, according to the remarkable instinct by which dogs instantly
discover those who like or dislike them, had peeped several times into
the room, and encountering nothing very forbidding in his aspect, had at
length presumed to introduce her full person; and finally, becoming bold
by impunity, she actually ate up Mr. Oldbuck's toast, as, looking first
at one then at another of his audience, he repeated, with
self-complacency,

                  "Weave the warp and weave the woof,--

"You remember the passage in the Fatal Sisters, which, by the way, is not
so fine as in the original--But, hey-day! my toast has vanished!--I see
which way--Ah, thou type of womankind! no wonder they take offence at thy
generic appellation!"--(So saying, he shook his fist at Juno, who scoured
out of the parlour.)--"However, as Jupiter, according to Homer, could not
rule Juno in heaven, and as Jack Muirhead, according to Hector M'Intyre,
has been equally unsuccessful on earth, I suppose she must have her own
way." And this mild censure the brother and sister justly accounted a
full pardon for Juno's offences, and sate down well pleased to the
morning meal.

When breakfast was over, the Antiquary proposed to his nephew to go down
with him to attend the funeral. The soldier pleaded the want of a
mourning habit.

"O, that does not signify--your presence is all that is requisite. I
assure you, you will see something that will entertain--no, that's an
improper phrase--but that will interest you, from the resemblances which
I will point out betwixt popular customs on such occasions and those of
the ancients."

"Heaven forgive me!" thought M'Intyre;--"I shall certainly misbehave, and
lose all the credit I have so lately and accidentally gained."

When they set out, schooled as he was by the warning and entreating looks
of his sister, the soldier made his resolution strong to give no offence
by evincing inattention or impatience. But our best resolutions are
frail, when opposed to our predominant inclinations. Our Antiquary,--to
leave nothing unexplained, had commenced with the funeral rites of the
ancient Scandinavians, when his nephew interrupted him, in a discussion
upon the "age of hills," to remark that a large sea-gull, which flitted
around them, had come twice within shot. This error being acknowledged
and pardoned, Oldbuck resumed his disquisition.

"These are circumstances you ought to attend to and be familiar with, my
dear Hector; for, in the strange contingencies of the present war which
agitates every corner of Europe, there is no knowing where you may be
called upon to serve. If in Norway, for example, or Denmark, or any part
of the ancient Scania, or Scandinavia, as we term it, what could be more
convenient than to have at your fingers' ends the history and antiquities
of that ancient country, the _officina gentium,_ the mother of modern
Europe, the nursery of those heroes,

               Stern to inflict, and stubborn to endure,
                         Who smiled in death?--

How animating, for example, at the conclusion of a weary march, to find
yourself in the vicinity of a Runic monument, and discover that you have
pitched your tent beside the tomb of a hero!"

"I am afraid, sir, our mess would be better supplied if it chanced to be
in the neighbourhood of a good poultry-yard."

"Alas, that you should say so! No wonder the days of Cressy and Agincourt
are no more, when respect for ancient valour has died away in the breasts
of the British soldiery."

"By no means, sir--by no manner of means. I dare say that Edward and
Henry, and the rest of these heroes, thought of their dinner, however,
before they thought of examining an old tombstone. But I assure you, we
are by no means insensible to the memoir of our fathers' fame; I used
often of an evening to get old Rory MAlpin to sing us songs out of Ossian
about the battles of Fingal and Lamon Mor, and Magnus and the Spirit of
Muirartach."

"And did you believe," asked the aroused Antiquary, "did you absolutely
believe that stuff of Macpherson's to be really ancient, you simple boy?"

"Believe it, sir?--how could I but believe it, when I have heard the
songs sung from my infancy?"

"But not the same as Macpherson's English Ossian--you're not absurd
enough to say that, I hope?" said the Antiquary, his brow darkening with
wrath.

But Hector stoutly abode the storm; like many a sturdy Celt, he imagined
the honour of his country and native language connected with the
authenticity of these popular poems, and would have fought knee-deep, or
forfeited life and land, rather than have given up a line of them. He
therefore undauntedly maintained, that Rory MAlpin could repeat the whole
book from one end to another;--and it was only upon cross-examination
that he explained an assertion so general, by adding "At least, if he was
allowed whisky enough, he could repeat as long as anybody would hearken
to him."

"Ay, ay," said the Antiquary; "and that, I suppose, was not very long."

"Why, we had our duty, sir, to attend to, and could not sit listening all
night to a piper."

"But do you recollect, now," said Oldbuck, setting his teeth firmly
together, and speaking without opening them, which was his custom when
contradicted--"Do you recollect, now, any of these verses you thought so
beautiful and interesting--being a capital judge, no doubt, of such
things?"

"I don't pretend to much skill, uncle; but it's not very reasonable to be
angry with me for admiring the antiquities of my own country more than
those of the Harolds, Harfagers, and Hacos you are so fond of."

"Why, these, sir--these mighty and unconquered Goths--_were_ your
ancestors! The bare-breeched Celts whom theysubdued, and suffered only to
exist, like a fearful people, in the crevices of the rocks, were but
their Mancipia and Serfs!"

Hector's brow now grew red in his turn. "Sir," he said, "I don't
understand the meaning of Mancipia and Serfs, but I conceive that such
names are very improperly applied to Scotch Highlanders: no man but my
mother's brother dared to have used such language in my presence; and I
pray you will observe, that I consider it as neither hospitable,
handsome, kind, nor generous usage towards your guest and your kinsman.
My ancestors, Mr. Oldbuck"--

"Were great and gallant chiefs, I dare say, Hector; and really I did not
mean to give you such immense offence in treating a point of remote
antiquity, a subject on which I always am myself cool, deliberate, and
unimpassioned. But you are as hot and hasty, as if you were Hector and
Achilles, and Agamemnon to boot."

"I am sorry I expressed myself so hastily, uncle, especially to you, who
have been so generous and good. But my ancestors"--

"No more about it, lad; I meant them no affront--none."

"I'm glad of it, sir; for the house of M'Intyre"--

"Peace be with them all, every man of them," said the Antiquary. "But to
return to our subject--Do you recollect, I say, any of those poems which
afforded you such amusement?"

"Very hard this," thought M'Intyre, "that he will speak with such glee of
everything which is ancient, excepting my family. "--Then, after some
efforts at recollection, he added aloud, "Yes, sir,--I think I do
remember some lines; but you do not understand the Gaelic language."

"And will readily excuse hearing it. But you can give me some idea of the
sense in our own vernacular idiom?"

"I shall prove a wretched interpreter," said M'Intyre, running over the
original, well garnished with _aghes, aughs,_ and _oughs,_ and similar
gutterals, and then coughing and hawking as if the translation stuck in
his throat. At length, having premised that the poem was a dialogue
between the poet Oisin, or Ossian, and Patrick, the tutelar Saint of
Ireland, and that it was difficult, if not impossible, to render the
exquisite felicity of the first two or three lines, he said the sense was
to this purpose:

                      "Patrick the psalm-singer,
            Since you will not listen to one of my stories,
                      Though you never heard it before,
                             I am sorry to tell you
                  You are little better than an ass"--

"Good! good!" exclaimed the Antiquary; "but go on. Why, this is, after
all, the most admirable fooling--I dare say the poet was very right. What
says the Saint?"

"He replies in character," said M'Intyre; "but you should hear MAlpin
sing the original. The speeches of Ossian come in upon a strong deep
bass--those of Patrick are upon a tenor key."

"Like MAlpin's drone and small pipes, I suppose," said Oldbuck. "Well?
Pray go on."

"Well then, Patrick replies to Ossian:

                     Upon my word, son of Fingal,
                     While I am warbling the psalms,
                     The clamour of your old women's tales
                     Disturbs my devotional exercises."

"Excellent!--why, this is better and better. I hope Saint Patrick sung
better than Blattergowl's precentor, or it would be hang--choice between
the poet and psalmist. But what I admire is the courtesy of these two
eminent persons towards each other. It is a pity there should not be a
word of this in Macpherson's translation."

"If you are sure of that," said M'Intyre, gravely, "he must have taken
very unwarrantable liberties with his original."

"It will go near to be thought so shortly--but pray proceed."

"Then," said M'Intyre, "this is the answer of Ossian:

                     Dare you compare your psalms,
                            You son of a--"

"Son of a what?" exclaimed Oldbuck.

"It means, I think," said the young soldier, with some reluctance, "son
of a female dog:

                           Do you compare your psalms,
                To the tales of the bare-arm'd Fenians"

"Are you sure you are translating that last epithet correctly, Hector?"

"Quite sure, sir," answered Hector, doggedly.

"Because I should have thought the nudity might have been quoted as
existing in a different part of the body."

Disdaining to reply to this insinuation, Hector proceeded in his
recitation:

                        "I shall think it no great harm
             To wring your bald head from your shoulders--

But what is that yonder?" exclaimed Hector, interrupting himself.

"One of the herd of Proteus," said the Antiquary--"a _phoca,_ or seal,
lying asleep on the beach."

Upon which M'Intyre, with the eagerness of a young sportsman, totally
forgot both Ossian, Patrick, his uncle, and his wound, and exclaiming--"I
shall have her! I shall have her!" snatched the walking-stick out of the
hand of the astonished Antiquary, at some risk of throwing him down, and
set off at full speed to get between the animal and the sea, to which
element, having caught the alarm, she was rapidly retreating.

Not Sancho, when his master interrupted his account of the combatants of
Pentapolin with the naked arm, to advance in person to the charge of the
flock of sheep, stood more confounded than Oldbuck at this sudden
escapade of his nephew.

"Is the devil in him," was his first exclamation, "to go to disturb the
brute that was never thinking of him!"--Then elevating his voice,
"Hector--nephew--fool--let alone the _Phoca_--let alone the _Phoca_!--
they bite, I tell you, like furies. He minds me no more than a post.
There--there they are at it--Gad, the _Phoca_ has the best of it! I am
glad to see it," said he, in the bitterness of his heart, though really
alarmed for his nephew's safety--"I am glad to see it, with all my heart
and spirit."

In truth, the seal, finding her retreat intercepted by the light-footed
soldier, confronted him manfully, and having sustained a heavy blow
without injury, she knitted her brows, as is the fashion of the animal
when incensed, and making use at once of her fore-paws and her unwieldy
strength, wrenched the weapon out of the assailant's hand, overturned him
on the sands, and scuttled away into the sea, without doing him any
farther injury. Captain M'Intyre, a good deal out of countenance at the
issue of his exploit, just rose in time to receive the ironical
congratulations of his uncle, upon a single combat worthy to be
commemorated by Ossian himself, "since," said the Antiquary, "your
magnanimous opponent has fled, though not upon eagle's wings, from the
foe that was low--Egad, she walloped away with all the grace of triumph,
and has carried my stick off also, by way of _spolia opima._"

M'Intyre had little to answer for himself, except that a Highlander could
never pass a deer, a seal, or a salmon, where there was a possibility of
having a trial of skill with them, and that he had forgot one of his arms
was in a sling. He also made his fall an apology for returning back to
Monkbarns, and thus escape the farther raillery of his uncle, as well as
his lamentations for his walking-stick.

"I cut it," he said, "in the classic woods of Hawthornden, when I did not
expect always to have been a bachelor--I would not have given it for an
ocean of seals--O Hector! Hector!--thy namesake was born to be the prop
of Troy, and thou to be the plague of Monkbarns!"





CHAPTER TENTH.

             Tell me not of it, friend--when the young weep,
         Their tears are luke-warm brine;--from your old eyes
             Sorrow falls down like hail-drops of the North,
             Chilling the furrows of our withered cheeks,
              Cold as our hopes, and hardened as our feeling--
          Theirs, as they fall, sink sightless--ours recoil,
             Heap the fair plain, and bleaken all before us.
                               Old Play.

The Antiquary, being now alone, hastened his pace, which had been
retarded by these various discussions, and the rencontre which had closed
them, and soon arrived before the half-dozen cottages at Mussel-crag.
They had now, in addition to their usual squalid and uncomfortable
appearance, the melancholy attributes of the house of mourning. The boats
were all drawn up on the beach; and, though the day was fine, and the
season favourable, the chant, which is used by the fishers when at sea,
was silent, as well as the prattle of the children, and the shrill song
of the mother, as she sits mending her nets by the door. A few of the
neighbours, some in their antique and well-saved suits of black, others
in their ordinary clothes, but all bearing an expression of mournful
sympathy with distress so sudden and unexpected, stood gathered around
the door of Mucklebackit's cottage, waiting till "the body was lifted."
As the Laird of Monkbarns approached, they made way for him to enter,
doffing their hats and bonnets as he passed, with an air of melancholy
courtesy, and he returned their salutes in the same manner.

In the inside of the cottage was a scene which our Wilkie alone could
have painted, with that exquisite feeling of nature that characterises
his enchanting productions,

The body was laid in its coffin within the wooden bedstead which the
young fisher had occupied while alive. At a little distance stood the
father, whose ragged weather-beaten countenance, shaded by his grizzled
hair, had faced many a stormy night and night-like day. He was apparently
revolving his loss in his mind, with that strong feeling of painful grief
peculiar to harsh and rough characters, which almost breaks forth into
hatred against the world, and all that remain in it, after the beloved
object is withdrawn. The old man had made the most desperate efforts to
save his son, and had only been withheld by main force from renewing them
at a moment when, without the possibility of assisting the sufferer, he
must himself have perished. All this apparently was boiling in his
recollection. His glance was directed sidelong towards the coffin, as to
an object on which he could not stedfastly look, and yet from which he
could not withdraw his eyes. His answers to the necessary questions which
were occasionally put to him, were brief, harsh, and almost fierce. His
family had not yet dared to address to him a word, either of sympathy or
consolation. His masculine wife, virago as she was, and absolute mistress
of the family, as she justly boasted herself, on all ordinary occasions,
was, by this great loss, terrified into silence and submission, and
compelled to hide from her husband's observation the bursts of her female
sorrow. As he had rejected food ever since the disaster had happened, not
daring herself to approach him, she had that morning, with affectionate
artifice, employed the youngest and favourite child to present her
husband with some nourishment. His first action was to put it from him
with an angry violence that frightened the child; his next, to snatch up
the boy and devour him with kisses. "Yell be a bra' fallow, an ye be
spared, Patie,--but ye'll never--never can be--what he was to me!--He has
sailed the coble wi' me since he was ten years auld, and there wasna the
like o' him drew a net betwixt this and Buchan-ness.--They say folks maun
submit--I will try."

And he had been silent from that moment until compelled to answer the
necessary questions we have already noticed. Such was the disconsolate
state of the father.

In another corner of the cottage, her face covered by her apron, which
was flung over it, sat the mother--the nature of her grief sufficiently
indicated by the wringing of her hands, and the convulsive agitation of
the bosom, which the covering could not conceal. Two of her gossips,
officiously whispering into her ear the commonplace topic of resignation
under irremediable misfortune, seemed as if they were endeavouring to
stun the grief which they could not console.

The sorrow of the children was mingled with wonder at the preparations
they beheld around them, and at the unusual display of wheaten bread and
wine, which the poorest peasant, or fisher, offers to the guests on these
mournful occasions; and thus their grief for their brother's death was
almost already lost in admiration of the splendour of his funeral.

But the figure of the old grandmother was the most remarkable of the
sorrowing group. Seated on her accustomed chair, with her usual air of
apathy, and want of interest in what surrounded her, she seemed every now
and then mechanically to resume the motion of twirling her spindle; then
to look towards her bosom for the distaff, although both had been laid
aside. She would then cast her eyes about, as if surprised at missing the
usual implements of her industry, and appear struck by the black colour
of the gown in which they had dressed her, and embarrassed by the number
of persons by whom she was surrounded. Then, finally, she would raise her
head with a ghastly look, and fix her eyes upon the bed which contained
the coffin of her grandson, as if she had at once, and for the first
time, acquired sense to comprehend her inexpressible calamity. These
alternate feelings of embarrassment, wonder, and grief, seemed to succeed
each other more than once upon her torpid features. But she spoke not a
word--neither had she shed a tear--nor did one of the family understand,
either from look or expression, to what extent she comprehended the
uncommon bustle around her. Thus she sat among the funeral assembly like
a connecting link between the surviving mourners and the dead corpse
which they bewailed--a being in whom the light of existence was already
obscured by the encroaching shadows of death.

When Oldbuck entered this house of mourning, he was received by a general
and silent inclination of the head, and, according to the fashion of
Scotland on such occasions, wine and spirits and bread were offered round
to the guests. Elspeth, as these refreshments were presented, surprised
and startled the whole company by motioning to the person who bore them
to stop; then, taking a glass in her hand, she rose up, and, as the smile
of dotage played upon her shrivelled features, she pronounced, with a
hollow and tremulous voice, "Wishing a' your healths, sirs, and often may
we hae such merry meetings!"

All shrunk from the ominous pledge, and set down the untasted liquor with
a degree of shuddering horror, which will not surprise those who know how
many superstitions are still common on such occasions among the Scottish
vulgar. But as the old woman tasted the liquor, she suddenly exclaimed
with a sort of shriek, "What's this?--this is wine--how should there be
wine in my son's house?--Ay," she continued with a suppressed groan, "I
mind the sorrowful cause now," and, dropping the glass from her hand, she
stood a moment gazing fixedly on the bed in which the coffin of her
grandson was deposited, and then sinking gradually into her seat, she
covered her eyes and forehead with her withered and pallid hand.

At this moment the clergyman entered the cottage. Mr. Blattergowl, though
a dreadful proser, particularly on the subject of augmentations,
localities, teinds, and overtures in that session of the General
Assembly, to which, unfortunately for his auditors, he chanced one year
to act as moderator, was nevertheless a good man, in the old Scottish
presbyterian phrase, God-ward and man-ward. No divine was more attentive
in visiting the sick and afflicted, in catechising the youth, in
instructing the ignorant, and in reproving the erring. And hence,
notwithstanding impatience of his prolixity and prejudices, personal or
professional, and notwithstanding, moreover, a certain habitual contempt
for his understanding, especially on affairs of genius and taste, on
which Blattergowl was apt to be diffuse, from his hope of one day
fighting his way to a chair of rhetoric or belles lettres,--
notwithstanding, I say, all the prejudices excited against him by these
circumstances, our friend the Antiquary looked with great regard and
respect on the said Blattergowl, though I own he could seldom, even by
his sense of decency and the remonstrances of his womankind, be _hounded
out,_ as he called it, to hear him preach. But he regularly took shame to
himself for his absence when Blattergowl came to Monkbarns to dinner, to
which he was always invited of a Sunday, a mode of testifying his respect
which the proprietor probably thought fully as agreeable to the
clergyman, and rather more congenial to his own habits.

To return from a digression which can only serve to introduce the honest
clergyman more particularly to our readers, Mr. Blattergowl had no sooner
entered the hut, and received the mute and melancholy salutations of the
company whom it contained, than he edged himself towards the unfortunate
father, and seemed to endeavour to slide in a few words of condolence or
of consolation. But the old man was incapable as yet of receiving either;
he nodded, however, gruffly, and shook the clergyman's hand in
acknowledgment of his good intentions, but was either unable or unwilling
to make any verbal reply.

The minister next passed to the mother, moving along the floor as slowly,
silently, and gradually, as if he had been afraid that the ground would,
like unsafe ice, break beneath his feet, or that the first echo of a
footstep was to dissolve some magic spell, and plunge the hut, with all
its inmates, into a subterranean abyss. The tenor of what he had said to
the poor woman could only be judged by her answers, as, half-stifled by
sobs ill-repressed, and by the covering which she still kept over her
countenance, she faintly answered at each pause in his speech--"Yes, sir,
yes!--Ye're very gude--ye're very gude!--Nae doubt, nae doubt!--It's our
duty to submit!--But, oh dear! my poor Steenie! the pride o' my very
heart, that was sae handsome and comely, and a help to his family, and a
comfort to us a', and a pleasure to a' that lookit on him!--Oh, my bairn!
my bairn! my bairn! what for is thou lying there!--and eh! what for am I
left to greet for ye!"

There was no contending with this burst of sorrow and natural affection.
Oldbuck had repeated recourse to his snuff-box to conceal the tears
which, despite his shrewd and caustic temper, were apt to start on such
occasions. The female assistants whimpered, the men held their bonnets to
their faces, and spoke apart with each other. The clergyman, meantime,
addressed his ghostly consolation to the aged grandmother. At first she
listened, or seemed to listen, to what he said, with the apathy of her
usual unconsciousness. But as, in pressing this theme, he approached so
near to her ear that the sense of his words became distinctly
intelligible to her, though unheard by those who stood more distant, her
countenance at once assumed that stern and expressive cast which
characterized her intervals of intelligence. She drew up her head and
body, shook her head in a manner that showed at least impatience, if not
scorn of his counsel, and waved her hand slightly, but with a gesture so
expressive, as to indicate to all who witnessed it a marked and
disdainful rejection of the ghostly consolation proffered to her. The
minister stepped back as if repulsed, and, by lifting gently and dropping
his hand, seemed to show at once wonder, sorrow, and compassion for her
dreadful state of mind. The rest of the company sympathized, and a
stifled whisper went through them, indicating how much her desperate and
determined manner impressed them with awe, and even horror.

In the meantime, the funeral company was completed, by the arrival of one
or two persons who had been expected from Fairport. The wine and spirits
again circulated, and the dumb show of greeting was anew interchanged.
The grandame a second time took a glass in her hand, drank its contents,
and exclaimed, with a sort of laugh,--"Ha! ha! I hae tasted wine twice in
ae day--Whan did I that before, think ye, cummers?--Never since"--and the
transient glow vanishing from her countenance, she set the glass down,
and sunk upon the settle from whence she had risen to snatch at it.

As the general amazement subsided, Mr. Oldbuck, whose heart bled to
witness what he considered as the errings of the enfeebled intellect
struggling with the torpid chill of age and of sorrow, observed to the
clergyman that it was time to proceed with the ceremony. The father was
incapable of giving directions, but the nearest relation of the family
made a sign to the carpenter, who in such cases goes through the duty of
the undertaker, to proceed in his office. The creak of the screw-nails
presently announced that the lid of the last mansion of mortality was in
the act of being secured above its tenant. The last act which separates
us for ever, even from the mortal relies of the person we assemble to
mourn, has usually its effect upon the most indifferent, selfish, and
hard-hearted. With a spirit of contradiction, which we may be pardoned
for esteeming narrow-minded, the fathers of the Scottish kirk rejected,
even on this most solemn occasion, the form of an address to the
Divinity, lest they should be thought to give countenance to the rituals
of Rome or of England. With much better and more liberal judgment, it is
the present practice of most of the Scottish clergymen to seize this
opportunity of offering a prayer, and exhortation, suitable to make an
impression upon the living, while they are yet in the very presence of
the relics of him whom they have but lately seen such as they themselves,
and who now is such as they must in their time become. But this decent
and praiseworthy practice was not adopted at the time of which I am
treating, or at least, Mr. Blattergowl did not act upon it, and the
ceremony proceeded without any devotional exercise.

The coffin, covered with a pall, and supported upon hand-spikes by the
nearest relatives, now only waited the father to support the head, as is
customary. Two or three of these privileged persons spoke to him, but he
only answered by shaking his hand and his head in token of refusal. With
better intention than judgment, the friends, who considered this as an
act of duty on the part of the living, and of decency towards the
deceased, would have proceeded to enforce their request, had not Oldbuck
interfered between the distressed father and his well-meaning tormentors,
and informed them, that he himself, as landlord and master to the
deceased, "would carry his head to the grave." In spite of the sorrowful
occasion, the hearts of the relatives swelled within them at so marked a
distinction on the part of the laird; and old Alison Breck, who was
present among other fish-women, swore almost aloud, "His honour Monkbarns
should never want sax warp of oysters in the season" (of which fish he
was understood to be fond), "if she should gang to sea and dredge for
them hersell, in the foulest wind that ever blew." And such is the temper
of the Scottish common people, that, by this instance of compliance with
their customs, and respect for their persons, Mr. Oldbuck gained more
popularity than by all the sums which he had yearly distributed in the
parish for purposes of private or general charity.

The sad procession now moved slowly forward, preceded by the beadles, or
saulies, with their batons,--miserable-looking old men, tottering as if
on the edge of that grave to which they were marshalling another, and
clad, according to Scottish guise, with threadbare black coats, and
hunting-caps decorated with rusty crape. Monkbarns would probably have
remonstrated against this superfluous expense, had he been consulted;
but, in doing so, he would have given more offence than he gained
popularity by condescending to perform the office of chief-mourner. Of
this he was quite aware, and wisely withheld rebuke, where rebuke and
advice would have been equally unavailing. In truth, the Scottish
peasantry are still infected with that rage for funeral ceremonial, which
once distinguished the grandees of the kingdom so much, that a sumptuary
law was made by the Parliament of Scotland for the purpose of restraining
it; and I have known many in the lowest stations, who have denied
themselves not merely the comforts, but almost the necessaries of life,
in order to save such a sum of money as might enable their surviving
friends to bury them like Christians, as they termed it; nor could their
faithful executors be prevailed upon, though equally necessitous, to turn
to the use and maintenance of the living the money vainly wasted upon the
interment of the dead.

The procession to the churchyard, at about half-a-mile's distance, was
made with the mournful solemnity usual on these occasions,--the body was
consigned to its parent earth,--and when the labour of the gravediggers
had filled up the trench, and covered it with fresh sod, Mr. Oldbuck,
taking his hat off, saluted the assistants, who had stood by in
melancholy silence, and with that adieu dispersed the mourners.

The clergyman offered our Antiquary his company to walk homeward; but Mr.
Oldbuck had been so much struck with the deportment of the fisherman and
his mother, that, moved by compassion, and perhaps also, in some degree,
by that curiosity which induces us to seek out even what gives us pain to
witness, he preferred a solitary walk by the coast, for the purpose of
again visiting the cottage as he passed.





CHAPTER ELEVENTH

              What is this secret sin, this untold tale,
              That art cannot extract, nor penance cleanse?
                    --Her muscles hold their place;
              Nor discomposed, nor formed to steadiness,
               No sudden flushing, and no faltering lip.--
                                     Mysterious Mother.

The coffin had been borne from the place where it rested. The mourners,
in regular gradation, according to their rank or their relationship to
the deceased, had filed from the cottage, while the younger male children
were led along to totter after the bier of their brother, and to view
with wonder a ceremonial which they could hardly comprehend. The female
gossips next rose to depart, and, with consideration for the situation of
the parents, carried along with them the girls of the family, to give the
unhappy pair time and opportunity to open their hearts to each other and
soften their grief by communicating it. But their kind intention was
without effect. The last of them had darkened the entrance of the
cottage, as she went out, and drawn the door softly behind her, when the
father, first ascertaining by a hasty glance that no stranger remained,
started up, clasped his hands wildly above his head, uttered a cry of the
despair which he had hitherto repressed, and, in all the impotent
impatience of grief, half rushed half staggered forward to the bed on
which the coffin had been deposited, threw himself down upon it, and
smothering, as it were, his head among the bed-clothes, gave vent to the
full passion of his sorrow. It was in vain that the wretched mother,
terrified by the vehemence of her husband's affliction--affliction still
more fearful as agitating a man of hardened manners and a robust frame--
suppressed her own sobs and tears, and, pulling him by the skirts of his
coat, implored him to rise and remember, that, though one was removed, he
had still a wife and children to comfort and support. The appeal came at
too early a period of his anguish, and was totally unattended to; he
continued to remain prostrate, indicating, by sobs so bitter and violent,
that they shook the bed and partition against which it rested, by
clenched hands which grasped the bed-clothes, and by the vehement and
convulsive motion of his legs, how deep and how terrible was the agony of
a father's sorrow.

"O, what a day is this! what a day is this!" said the poor mother, her
womanish affliction already exhausted by sobs and tears, and now almost
lost in terror for the state in which she beheld her husband--"O, what an
hour is this! and naebody to help a poor lone woman--O, gudemither, could
ye but speak a word to him!--wad ye but bid him be comforted!"

To her astonishment, and even to the increase of her fear, her husband's
mother heard and answered the appeal. She rose and walked across the
floor without support, and without much apparent feebleness, and standing
by the bed on which her son had extended himself, she said, "Rise up, my
son, and sorrow not for him that is beyond sin and sorrow and temptation.
Sorrow is for those that remain in this vale of sorrow and darkness--I,
wha dinna sorrow, and wha canna sorrow for ony ane, hae maist need that
ye should a' sorrow for me."

The voice of his mother, not heard for years as taking part in the active
duties of life, or offering advice or consolation, produced its effect
upon her son. He assumed a sitting posture on the side of the bed, and
his appearance, attitude, and gestures, changed from those of angry
despair to deep grief and dejection. The grandmother retired to her nook,
the mother mechanically took in her hand her tattered Bible, and seemed
to read, though her eyes were drowned with tears.

They were thus occupied, when a loud knock was heard at the door.

"Hegh, sirs!" said the poor mother, "wha is that can be coming in that
gate e'enow?--They canna hae heard o' our misfortune, I'm sure."

The knock being repeated, she rose and opened the door, saying
querulously, "Whatna gait's that to disturb a sorrowfu' house?"

A tall man in black stood before her, whom she instantly recognised to be
Lord Glenallan. "Is there not," he said, "an old woman lodging in this or
one of the neighbouring cottages, called Elspeth, who was long resident
at Craigburnfoot of Glenallan?"

"It's my gudemither, my lord," said Margaret; "but she canna see onybody
e'enow--Ohon! we're dreeing a sair weird--we hae had a heavy
dispensation!"

"God forbid," said Lord Glenallan, "that I should on light occasion
disturb your sorrow;--but my days are numbered--your mother-in-law is in
the extremity of age, and, if I see her not to-day, we may never meet on
this side of time."

"And what," answered the desolate mother, "wad ye see at an auld woman,
broken down wi' age and sorrow and heartbreak? Gentle or semple shall not
darken my door the day my bairn's been carried out a corpse."

While she spoke thus, indulging the natural irritability of disposition
and profession, which began to mingle itself with her grief when its
first uncontrolled bursts were gone by, she held the door about one-third
part open, and placed herself in the gap, as if to render the visitor's
entrance impossible. But the voice of her husband was heard from within--
"Wha's that, Maggie? what for are ye steaking them out?--let them come
in; it doesna signify an auld rope's end wha comes in or wha gaes out o'
this house frae this time forward."

The woman stood aside at her husband's command, and permitted Lord
Glenallan to enter the hut. The dejection exhibited in his broken frame
and emaciated countenance, formed a strong contrast with the effects of
grief, as they were displayed in the rude and weatherbeaten visage of the
fisherman, and the masculine features of his wife. He approached the old
woman as she was seated on her usual settle, and asked her, in a tone as
audible as his voice could make it, "Are you Elspeth of the Craigburnfoot
of Glenallan?"

"Wha is it that asks about the unhallowed residence of that evil woman?"
was the answer returned to his query.

"The unhappy Earl of Glenallan."

"Earl!--Earl of Glenallan!"

"He who was called William Lord Geraldin," said the Earl; "and whom his
mother's death has made Earl of Glenallan."

"Open the bole," said the old woman firmly and hastily to her
daughter-in-law, "open the bole wi' speed, that I may see if this be the
right Lord Geraldin--the son of my mistress--him that I received in my
arms within the hour after he was born--him that has reason to curse me
that I didna smother him before the hour was past!"

The window, which had been shut in order that a gloomy twilight might add
to the solemnity of the funeral meeting, was opened as she commanded, and
threw a sudden and strong light through the smoky and misty atmosphere of
the stifling cabin. Falling in a stream upon the chimney, the rays
illuminated, in the way that Rembrandt would have chosen, the features of
the unfortunate nobleman, and those of the old sibyl, who now, standing
upon her feet, and holding him by one hand, peered anxiously in his
features with her light-blue eyes, and holding her long and withered
fore-finger within a small distance of his face, moved it slowly as if to
trace the outlines and reconcile what she recollected with that she now
beheld. As she finished her scrutiny, she said, with a deep sigh, "It's a
sair--sair change; and wha's fault is it?--but that's written down where
it will be remembered--it's written on tablets of brass with a pen of
steel, where all is recorded that is done in the flesh.--And what," she
said after a pause, "what is Lord Geraldin seeking from a poor auld
creature like me, that's dead already, and only belongs sae far to the
living that she isna yet laid in the moulds?"

"Nay," answered Lord Glenallan, "in the name of Heaven, why was it that
you requested so urgently to see me?--and why did you back your request
by sending a token which you knew well I dared not refuse?"

As he spoke thus, he took from his purse the ring which Edie Ochiltree
had delivered to him at Glenallan House. The sight of this token produced
a strange and instantaneous effect upon the old woman. The palsy of fear
was immediately added to that of age, and she began instantly to search
her pockets with the tremulous and hasty agitation of one who becomes
first apprehensive of having lost something of great importance;--then,
as if convinced of the reality of her fears, she turned to the Earl, and
demanded, "And how came ye by it then?--how came ye by it? I thought I
had kept it sae securely--what will the Countess say?"

"You know," said the Earl, "at least you must have heard, that my mother
is dead."

"Dead! are ye no imposing upon me? has she left a' at last, lands and
lordship and lineages?"

"All, all," said the Earl, "as mortals must leave all human vanities."

"I mind now," answered Elspeth--"I heard of it before but there has been
sic distress in our house since, and my memory is sae muckle impaired--
But ye are sure your mother, the Lady Countess, is gane hame?"

The Earl again assured her that her former mistress was no more.

"Then," said Elspeth, "it shall burden my mind nae langer!--When she
lived, wha dared to speak what it would hae displeased her to hae had
noised abroad? But she's gane--and I will confess all."

Then turning to her son and daughter-in-law, she commanded them
imperatively to quit the house, and leave Lord Geraldin (for so she still
called him) alone with her. But Maggie Mucklebackit, her first burst of
grief being over, was by no means disposed in her own house to pay
passive obedience to the commands of her mother-in-law, an authority
which is peculiarly obnoxious to persons in her rank of life, and which
she was the more astonished at hearing revived, when it seemed to have
been so long relinquished and forgotten.

"It was an unco thing," she said, in a grumbling tone of voice,--for the
rank of Lord Glenallan was somewhat imposing--"it was an unco thing to
bid a mother leave her ain house wi' the tear in her ee, the moment her
eldest son had been carried a corpse out at the door o't."

The fisherman, in a stubborn and sullen tone, added to the same purpose.
"This is nae day for your auld-warld stories, mother. My lord, if he be a
lord, may ca' some other day--or he may speak out what he has gotten to
say if he likes it; there's nane here will think it worth their while to
listen to him or you either. But neither for laird or loon, gentle or
semple, will I leave my ain house to pleasure onybody on the very day my
poor"--

Here his voice choked, and he could proceed no farther; but as he had
risen when Lord Glenallan came in, and had since remained standing, he
now threw himself doggedly upon a seat, and remained in the sullen
posture of one who was determined to keep his word.

But the old woman, whom this crisis seemed to repossess in all those
powers of mental superiority with which she had once been eminently
gifted, arose, and advancing towards him, said, with a solemn voice, "My
son, as ye wad shun hearing of your mother's shame--as ye wad not
willingly be a witness of her guilt--as ye wad deserve her blessing and
avoid her curse, I charge ye, by the body that bore and that nursed ye,
to leave me at freedom to speak with Lord Geraldin, what nae mortal ears
but his ain maun listen to. Obey my words, that when ye lay the moulds on
my head--and, oh that the day were come!--ye may remember this hour
without the reproach of having disobeyed the last earthly command that
ever your mother wared on you."

The terms of this solemn charge revived in the fisherman's heart the
habit of instinctive obedience in which his mother had trained him up,
and to which he had submitted implicitly while her powers of exacting it
remained entire. The recollection mingled also with the prevailing
passion of the moment; for, glancing his eye at the bed on which the dead
body had been laid, he muttered to himself, "_He_ never disobeyed _me,_
in reason or out o' reason, and what for should I vex _her_?" Then,
taking his reluctant spouse by the arm, he led her gently out of the
cottage, and latched the door behind them as he left it.

As the unhappy parents withdrew, Lord Glenallan, to prevent the old woman
from relapsing into her lethargy, again pressed her on the subject of the
communication which she proposed to make to him.

"Ye will have it sune eneugh," she replied;--"my mind's clear eneugh now,
and there is not--I think there is not--a chance of my forgetting what I
have to say. My dwelling at Craigburnfoot is before my een, as it were
present in reality:--the green bank, with its selvidge, just where the
burn met wi' the sea--the twa little barks, wi' their sails furled, lying
in the natural cove which it formed--the high cliff that joined it with
the pleasure-grounds of the house of Glenallan, and hung right ower the
stream--Ah! yes--I may forget that I had a husband and have lost him--
that I hae but ane alive of our four fair sons--that misfortune upon
misfortune has devoured our ill-gotten wealth--that they carried the
corpse of my son's eldest-born frae the house this morning--But I never
can forget the days I spent at bonny Craigburnfoot!"

"You were a favourite of my mother," said Lord Glenallan, desirous to
bring her back to the point, from which she was wandering.

"I was, I was,--ye needna mind me o' that. She brought me up abune my
station, and wi' knowledge mair than my fellows--but, like the tempter of
auld, wi' the knowledge of gude she taught me the knowledge of evil."

"For God's sake, Elspeth," said the astonished Earl, "proceed, if you
can, to explain the dreadful hints you have thrown out! I well know you
are confidant to one dreadful secret, which should split this roof even
to hear it named--but speak on farther."

"I will," she said--"I will!--just bear wi' me for a little;"--and again
she seemed lost in recollection, but it was no longer tinged with
imbecility or apathy. She was now entering upon the topic which had long
loaded her mind, and which doubtless often occupied her whole soul at
times when she seemed dead to all around her. And I may add, as a
remarkable fact, that such was the intense operation of mental energy
upon her physical powers and nervous system, that, notwithstanding her
infirmity of deafness, each word that Lord Glenallan spoke during this
remarkable conference, although in the lowest tone of horror or agony,
fell as full and distinct upon Elspeth's ear as it could have done at any
period of her life. She spoke also herself clearly, distinctly, and
slowly, as if anxious that the intelligence she communicated should be
fully understood; concisely at the same time, and with none of the
verbiage or circumlocutory additions natural to those of her sex and
condition. In short, her language bespoke a better education, as well as
an uncommonly firm and resolved mind, and a character of that sort from
which great virtues or great crimes may be naturally expected. The tenor
of her communication is disclosed in the following chapter.




CHAPTER TWELFTH.

                    Remorse--she neer forsakes us--
            A bloodhound staunch--she tracks our rapid step
            Through the wild labyrinth of youthful frenzy,
            Unheard, perchance, until old age hath tamed us
         Then in our lair, when Time hath chilled our joints,
             And maimed our hope of combat, or of flight,
             We hear her deep-mouthed bay, announcing all
             Of wrath, and wo, and punishment that bides us.
                                            Old Play.

"I need not tell you," said the old woman, addressing the Earl of
Glenallan, "that I was the favourite and confidential attendant of
Joscelind, Countess of Glenallan, whom God assoilzie!"--(here she crossed
herself)--"and I think farther, ye may not have forgotten that I shared
her regard for mony years. I returned it by the maist sincere attachment,
but I fell into disgrace frae a trifling act of disobedience, reported to
your mother by ane that thought, and she wasna wrang, that I was a spy
upon her actions and yours."

"I charge thee, woman," said the Earl, in a voice trembling with passion,
"name not her name in my hearing!"

"I must," returned the penitent firmly and calmly, "or how can you
understand me?"

The Earl leaned upon one of the wooden chairs of the hut, drew his hat
over his face, clenched his hands together, set his teeth like one who
summons up courage to undergo a painful operation, and made a signal to
her to proceed.

"I say, then," she resumed, "that my disgrace with my mistress was
chiefly owing to Miss Eveline Neville, then bred up in Glenallan House as
the daughter of a cousin-german and intimate friend of your father that
was gane. There was muckle mystery in her history,--but wha dared to
inquire farther than the Countess liked to tell?--All in Glenallan House
loved Miss Neville--all but twa, your mother and mysell--we baith hated
her."

"God! for what reason, since a creature so mild, so gentle, so formed to
inspire affection, never walked on this wretched world?"

"It may hae been sae," rejoined Elspeth, "but your mother hated a' that
cam of your father's family--a' but himsell. Her reasons related to
strife which fell between them soon after her marriage; the particulars
are naething to this purpose. But oh! doubly did she hate Eveline Neville
when she perceived that there was a growing kindness atween you and that
unfortunate young leddy! Ye may mind that the Countess's dislike didna
gang farther at first than just showing o' the cauld shouther--at least
it wasna seen farther; but at the lang run it brak out into such
downright violence that Miss Neville was even fain to seek refuge at
Knockwinnock Castle with Sir Arthur's leddy, wha (God sain her!) was then
wi' the living."

"You rend my heart by recalling these particulars--But go on,--and may my
present agony be accepted as additional penance for the involuntary
crime!"

"She had been absent some months," continued Elspeth, "when I was ae
night watching in my hut the return of my husband from fishing, and
shedding in private those bitter tears that my proud spirit wrung frae me
whenever I thought on my disgrace. The sneck was drawn, and the Countess
your mother entered my dwelling. I thought I had seen a spectre, for even
in the height of my favour, this was an honour she had never done me, and
she looked as pale and ghastly as if she had risen from the grave. She
sat down, and wrung the draps from her hair and cloak,--for the night was
drizzling, and her walk had been through the plantations, that were a'
loaded with dew. I only mention these things that you may understand how
weel that night lives in my memory,--and weel it may. I was surprised to
see her, but I durstna speak first, mair than if I had seen a phantom--
Na, I durst not, my lord, I that hae seen mony sights of terror, and
never shook at them. Sae, after a silence, she said, Elspeth Cheyne (for
she always gave me my maiden name), are not ye the daughter of that
Reginald Cheyne who died to save his master, Lord Glenallan, on the field
of Sheriffmuir?' And I answered her as proudly as hersell nearly--As sure
as you are the daughter of that Earl of Glenallan whom my father saved
that day by his own death.'"

Here she made a deep pause.

"And what followed?--what followed?--For Heaven's sake, good woman--But
why should I use that word?--Yet, good or bad, I command you to tell me."

"And little I should value earthly command," answered Elspeth, "were
there not a voice that has spoken to me sleeping and waking, that drives
me forward to tell this sad tale. Aweel, my Lord--the Countess said to
me, My son loves Eveline Neville--they are agreed--they are plighted:
should they have a son, my right over Glenallan merges--I sink from that
moment from a Countess into a miserable stipendiary dowager, I who
brought lands and vassals, and high blood and ancient fame, to my
husband, I must cease to be mistress when my son has an heir-male. But I
care not for that--had he married any but one of the hated Nevilles, I
had been patient. But for them--that they and their descendants should
enjoy the right and honours of my ancestors, goes through my heart like a
two-edged dirk. And this girl--I detest her!'--And I answered, for my
heart kindled at her words, that her hate was equalled by mine."

"Wretch!" exclaimed the Earl, in spite of his determination to preserve
silence--"wretched woman! what cause of hate could have arisen from a
being so innocent and gentle?"

"I hated what my mistress hated, as was the use with the liege vassals of
the house of Glenallan; for though, my Lord, I married under my degree,
yet an ancestor of yours never went to the field of battle, but an
ancestor of the frail, demented, auld, useless wretch wha now speaks with
you, carried his shield before him. But that was not a'," continued the
beldam, her earthly and evil passions rekindling as she became heated in
her narration--"that was not a'; I hated Miss Eveline Neville for her ain
sake, I brought her frae England, and, during our whole journey, she
gecked and scorned at my northern speech and habit, as her southland
leddies and kimmers had done at the boarding-school, as they cald it"--
(and, strange as it may seem, she spoke of an affront offered by a
heedless school-girl without intention, with a degree of inveteracy
which, at such a distance of time, a mortal offence would neither have
authorized or excited in any well-constituted mind)--"Yes, she scorned
and jested at me--but let them that scorn the tartan fear the dirk!"

She paused, and then went on--"But I deny not that I hated her mair than
she deserved. My mistress, the Countess, persevered and said, Elspeth
Cheyne, this unruly boy will marry with the false English blood. Were
days as they have been, I could throw her into the Massymore* of
Glenallan, and fetter him in the Keep of Strathbonnel.

* _Massa-mora,_ an ancient name for a dungeon, derived from the Moorish
language, perhaps as far back as the time of the Crusades.

But these times are past, and the authority which the nobles of the land
should exercise is delegated to quibbling lawyers and their baser
dependants. Hear me, Elspeth Cheyne! if you are your father's daughter as
I am mine, I will find means that they shall not marry. She walks often
to that cliff that overhangs your dwelling to look for her lover's boat--
(ye may remember the pleasure ye then took on the sea, my Lord)--let him
find her forty fathom lower than he expects!'--Yes! ye may stare and
frown and clench your hand; but, as sure as I am to face the only Being I
ever feared--and, oh that I had feared him mair!--these were your
mother's words. What avails it to me to lie to you?--But I wadna consent
to stain my hand with blood.--Then she said, By the religion of our holy
Church they are ower _sibb_ thegither. But I expect nothing but that both
will become heretics as well as disobedient reprobates;'--that was her
addition to that argument. And then, as the fiend is ever ower busy wi'
brains like mine, that are subtle beyond their use and station, I was
unhappily permitted to add--But they might be brought to think themselves
sae _sibb_ as no Christian law will permit their wedlock.'"

Here the Earl of Glenallan echoed her words, with a shriek so piercing as
almost to rend the roof of the cottage.--"Ah! then Eveline Neville was
not the--the"--

"The daughter, ye would say, of your father?" continued Elspeth. "No--be
it a torment or be it a comfort to you--ken the truth, she was nae mair a
daughter of your father's house than I am."

"Woman, deceive me not!--make me not curse the memory of the parent I
have so lately laid in the grave, for sharing in a plot the most cruel,
the most infernal"--

"Bethink ye, my Lord Geraldin, ere ye curse the memory of a parent that's
gane, is there none of the blood of Glenallan living, whose faults have
led to this dreadfu' catastrophe?"

"Mean you my brother?--he, too, is gone," said the Earl.

"No," replied the sibyl, "I mean yoursell, Lord Geraldin. Had you not
transgressed the obedience of a son by wedding Eveline Neville in secret
while a guest at Knockwinnock, our plot might have separated you for a
time, but would have left at least your sorrows without remorse to canker
them. But your ain conduct had put poison in the weapon that we threw,
and it pierced you with the mair force because ye cam rushing to meet it.
Had your marriage been a proclaimed and acknowledged action, our
stratagem to throw an obstacle into your way that couldna be got ower,
neither wad nor could hae been practised against ye."

"Great Heaven!" said the unfortunate nobleman--"it is as if a film fell
from my obscured eyes! Yes, I now well understand the doubtful hints of
consolation thrown out by my wretched mother, tending indirectly to
impeach the evidence of the horrors of which her arts had led me to
believe myself guilty."

"She could not speak mair plainly," answered Elspeth, "without confessing
her ain fraud,--and she would have submitted to be torn by wild horses,
rather than unfold what she had done; and if she had still lived, so
would I for her sake. They were stout hearts the race of Glenallan, male
and female, and sae were a' that in auld times cried their gathering-word
of _Clochnaben_--they stood shouther to shouther--nae man parted frae his
chief for love of gold or of gain, or of right or of wrang. The times are
changed, I hear, now."

The unfortunate nobleman was too much wrapped up in his own confused and
distracted reflections, to notice the rude expressions of savage
fidelity, in which, even in the latest ebb of life, the unhappy author of
his misfortunes seemed to find a stern and stubborn source of
consolation.

"Great Heaven!" he exclaimed, "I am then free from a guilt the most
horrible with which man can be stained, and the sense of which, however
involuntary, has wrecked my peace, destroyed my health, and bowed me down
to an untimely grave. Accept," he fervently uttered, lifting his eyes
upwards, "accept my humble thanks! If I live miserable, at least I shall
not die stained with that unnatural guilt!--And thou--proceed if thou
hast more to tell--proceed, while thou hast voice to speak it, and I have
powers to listen."

"Yes," answered the beldam, "the hour when you shall hear, and I shall
speak, is indeed passing rapidly away. Death has crossed your brow with
his finger, and I find his grasp turning every day coulder at my heart.
Interrupt me nae mair with exclamations and groans and accusations, but
hear my tale to an end! And then--if ye be indeed sic a Lord of Glenallan
as I hae heard of in _my_ day--make your merrymen gather the thorn, and
the brier, and the green hollin, till they heap them as high as the
house-riggin', and burn! burn! burn! the auld witch Elspeth, and a' that
can put ye in mind that sic a creature ever crawled upon the land!"

"Go on," said the Earl, "go on--I will not again interrupt you."

He spoke in a half-suffocated yet determined voice, resolved that no
irritability on his part should deprive him of this opportunity of
acquiring proofs of the wonderful tale he then heard. But Elspeth had
become exhausted by a continuous narration of such unusual length; the
subsequent part of her story was more broken, and though still distinctly
intelligible in most parts, had no longer the lucid conciseness which the
first part of her narrative had displayed to such an astonishing degree.
Lord Glenallan found it necessary, when she had made some attempts to
continue her narrative without success, to prompt her memory by
demanding--"What proofs she could propose to bring of the truth of a
narrative so different from that which she had originally told?"

"The evidence," she replied, "of Eveline Neville's real birth was in the
Countess's possession, with reasons for its being for some time kept
private;--they may yet be found, if she has not destroyed them, in the
left hand drawer of the ebony cabinet that stood in the dressing-room.
These she meant to suppress for the time, until you went abroad again,
when she trusted, before your return, to send Miss Neville back to her
ain country, or to get her settled in marriage."

"But did you not show me letters of my father's, which seemed to me,
unless my senses altogether failed me in that horrible moment, to avow
his relationship to--to the unhappy"--

"We did; and, with my testimony, how could you doubt the fact, or her
either? But we suppressed the true explanation of these letters, and that
was, that your father thought it right the young leddy should pass for
his daughter for a while, on account o'some family reasons that were
amang them."

"But wherefore, when you learned our union, was this dreadful artifice
persisted in?"

"It wasna," she replied, "till Lady Glenallan had communicated this fause
tale, that she suspected ye had actually made a marriage--nor even then
did you avow it sae as to satisfy her whether the ceremony had in verity
passed atween ye or no--But ye remember, O ye canna but remember weel,
what passed in that awfu' meeting!"

"Woman! you swore upon the gospels to the fact which you now disavow."

"I did,--and I wad hae taen a yet mair holy pledge on it, if there had
been ane--I wad not hae spared the blood of my body, or the guilt of my
soul, to serve the house of Glenallan."

"Wretch! do you call that horrid perjury, attended with consequences yet
more dreadful--do you esteem that a service to the house of your
benefactors?"

"I served her, wha was then the head of Glenallan, as she required me to
serve her. The cause was between God and her conscience--the manner
between God and mine--She is gane to her account, and I maun follow. Have
I taulds you a'?"

"No," answered Lord Glenallan--"you have yet more to tell--you have to
tell me of the death of the angel whom your perjury drove to despair,
stained, as she thought herself, with a crime so horrible. Speak truth--
was that dreadful--was that horrible incident"--he could scarcely
articulate the words--"was it as reported? or was it an act of yet
further, though not more atrocious cruelty, inflicted by others?"

"I understand you," said Elspeth. "But report spoke truth;--our false
witness was indeed the cause, but the deed was her ain distracted act. On
that fearfu' disclosure, when ye rushed frae the Countess's presence and
saddled your horse, and left the castle like a fire-flaught, the Countess
hadna yet discovered your private marriage; she hadna fund out that the
union, which she had framed this awfu' tale to prevent, had e'en taen
place. Ye fled from the house as if the fire o' Heaven was about to fa'
upon it, and Miss Neville, atween reason and the want o't, was put under
sure ward. But the ward sleep't, and the prisoner waked--the window was
open--the way was before her--there was the cliff, and there was the
sea!--O, when will I forget that!"

"And thus died," said the Earl, "even so as was reported?"

"No, my lord. I had gane out to the cove--the tide was in, and it flowed,
as ye'll remember, to the foot o' that cliff--it was a great convenience
that for my husband's trade--Where am I wandering?--I saw a white object
dart frae the tap o' the cliff like a sea-maw through the mist, and then
a heavy flash and sparkle of the waters showed me it was a human creature
that had fa'en into the waves. I was bold and strong, and familiar with
the tide. I rushed in and grasped her gown, and drew her out and carried
her on my shouthers--I could hae carried twa sic then--carried her to my
hut, and laid her on my bed. Neighbours cam and brought help; but the
words she uttered in her ravings, when she got back the use of speech,
were such, that I was fain to send them awa, and get up word to Glenallan
House. The Countess sent down her Spanish servant Teresa--if ever there
was a fiend on earth in human form, that woman was ane. She and I were to
watch the unhappy leddy, and let no other person approach.--God knows
what Teresa's part was to hae been--she tauld it not to me--but Heaven
took the conclusion in its ain hand. The poor leddy! she took the pangs
of travail before her time, bore a male child, and died in the arms of
me--of her mortal enemy! Ay, _ye_ may weep--she was a sightly creature to
see to--but think ye, if I didna mourn her then, that I can mourn her
now? Na, na, I left Teresa wi' the dead corpse and new-born babe, till I
gaed up to take the Countess's commands what was to be done. Late as it
was, I ca'd her up, and she gar'd me ca' up your brother"--

"My brother?"

"Yes, Lord Geraldin, e'en your brother, that some said she aye wished to
be her heir. At ony rate, he was the person maist concerned in the
succession and heritance of the house of Glenallan."

"And is it possible to believe, then, that my brother, out of avarice to
grasp at my inheritance, would lend himself to such a base and dreadful
stratagem?"

"Your mother believed it," said the old beldam with a fiendish laugh--"it
was nae plot of my making; but what they did or said I will not say,
because I did not hear. Lang and sair they consulted in the black
wainscot dressing-room; and when your brother passed through the room
where I was waiting, it seemed to me (and I have often thought sae since
syne) that the fire of hell was in his cheek and een. But he had left
some of it with his mother, at ony rate. She entered the room like a
woman demented, and the first words she spoke were, Elspeth Cheyne, did
you ever pull a new-budded flower?' I answered, as ye may believe, that I
often had. Then,' said she, ye will ken the better how to blight the
spurious and heretical blossom that has sprung forth this night to
disgrace my father's noble house--See here;'--(and she gave me a golden
bodkin)--nothing but gold must shed the blood of Glenallan. This child is
already as one of the dead, and since thou and Teresa alone ken that it
lives, let it be dealt upon as ye will answer to me!' and she turned away
in her fury, and left me with the bodkin in my hand.--Here it is; that
and the ring of Miss Neville, are a' I hae preserved of my ill-gotten
gear--for muckle was the gear I got. And weel hae I keepit the secret,
but no for the gowd or gear either."

Her long and bony hand held out to Lord Glenallan a gold bodkin, down
which in fancy he saw the blood of his infant trickling.

"Wretch! had you the heart?"

"I kenna if I could hae had it or no. I returned to my cottage without
feeling the ground that I trode on; but Teresa and the child were gane--
a' that was alive was gane--naething left but the lifeless corpse."

"And did you never learn my infant's fate?"

"I could but guess. I have tauld ye your mother's purpose, and I ken
Teresa was a fiend. She was never mair seen in Scotland, and I have heard
that she returned to her ain land. A dark curtain has fa'en ower the
past, and the few that witnessed ony part of it could only surmise
something of seduction and suicide. You yourself"--

"I know--I know it all," answered the Earl.

"You indeed know all that I can say--And now, heir of Glenallan, can you
forgive me?"

"Ask forgiveness of God, and not of man," said the Earl, turning away.

"And how shall I ask of the pure and unstained what is denied to me by a
sinner like mysell? If I hae sinned, hae I not suffered?--Hae I had a
day's peace or an hour's rest since these lang wet locks of hair first
lay upon my pillow at Craigburnfoot?--Has not my house been burned, wi'
my bairn in the cradle?--Have not my boats been wrecked, when a' others
weather'd the gale?--Have not a' that were near and dear to me dree'd
penance for my sin?--Has not the fire had its share o' them--the winds
had their part--the sea had her part?--And oh!" she added, with a
lengthened groan, looking first upwards towards Heaven, and then bending
her eyes on the floor--"O that the earth would take her part, that's been
lang lang wearying to be joined to it!"

Lord Glenallan had reached the door of the cottage, but the generosity of
his nature did not permit him to leave the unhappy woman in this state of
desperate reprobation. "May God forgive thee, wretched woman," he said,
"as sincerely as I do!--Turn for mercy to Him who can alone grant mercy,
and may your prayers be heard as if they were mine own!--I will send a
religious man."

"Na, na--nae priest! nae priest!" she ejaculated; and the door of the
cottage opening as she spoke, prevented her from proceeding.





CHAPTER THIRTEENTH.


          Still in his dead hand clenched remain the strings
              That thrill his father's heart--e'en as the limb,
          Lopped off and laid in grave, retains, they tell us,
              Strange commerce with the mutilated stump,
          Whose nerves are twinging still in maimed existence.
                                           Old Play.

The Antiquary, as we informed the reader in the end of the thirty-first
CHAPTER, [tenth] had shaken off the company of worthy Mr. Blattergowl,
although he offered to entertain him with an abstract of the ablest
speech he had ever known in the teind court, delivered by the procurator
for the church in the remarkable case of the parish of Gatherem.
Resisting this temptation, our senior preferred a solitary path, which
again conducted him to the cottage of Mucklebackit. When he came in front
of the fisherman's hut, he observed a man working intently, as if to
repair a shattered boat which lay upon the beach, and going up to him was
surprised to find it was Mucklebackit himself. "I am glad," he said in a
tone of sympathy--"I am glad, Saunders, that you feel yourself able to
make this exertion."

"And what would ye have me to do," answered the fisher gruffly, "unless I
wanted to see four children starve, because ane is drowned? It's weel wi'
you gentles, that can sit in the house wi' handkerchers at your een when
ye lose a friend; but the like o' us maun to our wark again, if our
hearts were beating as hard as my hammer."

Without taking more notice of Oldbuck, he proceeded in his labour; and
the Antiquary, to whom the display of human nature under the influence of
agitating passions was never indifferent, stood beside him, in silent
attention, as if watching the progress of the work. He observed more than
once the man's hard features, as if by the force of association, prepare
to accompany the sound of the saw and hammer with his usual symphony of a
rude tune, hummed or whistled,--and as often a slight twitch of
convulsive expression showed, that ere the sound was uttered, a cause for
suppressing it rushed upon his mind. At length, when he had patched a
considerable rent, and was beginning to mend another, his feelings
appeared altogether to derange the power of attention necessary for his
work. The piece of wood which he was about to nail on was at first too
long; then he sawed it off too short, then chose another equally ill
adapted for the purpose. At length, throwing it down in anger, after
wiping his dim eye with his quivering hand, he exclaimed, "There is a
curse either on me or on this auld black bitch of a boat, that I have
hauled up high and dry, and patched and clouted sae mony years, that she
might drown my poor Steenie at the end of them, an' be d--d to her!" and
he flung his hammer against the boat, as if she had been the intentional
cause of his misfortune. Then recollecting himself, he added, "Yet what
needs ane be angry at her, that has neither soul nor sense?--though I am
no that muckle better mysell. She's but a rickle o' auld rotten deals
nailed thegither, and warped wi' the wind and the sea--and I am a dour
carle, battered by foul weather at sea and land till I am maist as
senseless as hersell. She maun be mended though again the morning tide--
that's a thing o' necessity."

Thus speaking, he went to gather together his instruments, and attempt to
resume his labour,--but Oldbuck took him kindly by the arm. "Come, come,"
he said, "Saunders, there is no work for you this day--I'll send down
Shavings the carpenter to mend the boat, and he may put the day's work
into my account--and you had better not come out to-morrow, but stay to
comfort your family under this dispensation, and the gardener will bring
you some vegetables and meal from Monkbarns."

"I thank ye, Monkbarns," answered the poor fisher; "I am a plain-spoken
man, and hae little to say for mysell; I might hae learned fairer
fashions frae my mither lang syne, but I never saw muckle gude they did
her; however, I thank ye. Ye were aye kind and neighbourly, whatever folk
says o' your being near and close; and I hae often said, in thae times
when they were ganging to raise up the puir folk against the gentles--I
hae often said, neer a man should steer a hair touching to Monkbarns
while Steenie and I could wag a finger--and so said Steenie too. And,
Monkbarns, when ye laid his head in the grave (and mony thanks for the
respect), ye, saw the mouls laid on an honest lad that likit you weel,
though he made little phrase about it."

Oldbuck, beaten from the pride of his affected cynicism, would not
willingly have had any one by on that occasion to quote to him his
favourite maxims of the Stoic philosophy. The large drops fell fast from
his own eyes, as he begged the father, who was now melted at recollecting
the bravery and generous sentiments of his son, to forbear useless
sorrow, and led him by the arm towards his own home, where another scene
awaited our Antiquary.

As he entered, the first person whom he beheld was Lord Glenallan. Mutual
surprise was in their countenances as they saluted each other--with
haughty reserve on the part of Mr. Oldbuck, and embarrassment on that of
the Earl.

"My Lord Glenallan, I think?" said Mr. Oldbuck.

"Yes--much changed from what he was when he knew Mr. Oldbuck."

"I do not mean," said the Antiquary, "to intrude upon your lordship--I
only came to see this distressed family."

"And you have found one, sir, who has still greater claims on your
compassion."

"My compassion? Lord Glenallan cannot need my compassion. If Lord
Glenallan could need it, I think he would hardly ask it."

"Our former acquaintance," said the Earl--

"Is of such ancient date, my lord--was of such short duration, and was
connected with circumstances so exquisitely painful, that I think we may
dispense with renewing it."

So saying, the Antiquary turned away, and left the hut; but Lord
Glenallan followed him into the open air, and, in spite of a hasty "Good
morning, my lord," requested a few minutes' conversation, and the favour
of his advice in an important matter.

"Your lordship will find many more capable to advise you, my lord, and by
whom your intercourse will be deemed an honour. For me, I am a man
retired from business and the world, and not very fond of raking up the
past events of my useless life;--and forgive me if I say, I have
particular pain in reverting to that period of it when I acted like a
fool, and your lordship like"--He stopped short.

"Like a villain, you would say," said Lord Glenallan--"for such I must
have appeared to you."

"My lord--my lord, I have no desire to hear your shrift," said the
Antiquary.

"But, sir, if I can show you that I am more sinned against than sinning--
that I have been a man miserable beyond the power of description, and who
looks forward at this moment to an untimely grave as to a haven of rest,
you will not refuse the confidence which, accepting your appearance at
this critical moment as a hint from Heaven, I venture thus to press on
you."

"Assuredly, my lord, I shall shun no longer the continuation of this
extraordinary interview."

"I must then recall to you our occasional meetings upwards of twenty
years since at Knockwinnock Castle,--and I need not remind you of a lady
who was then a member of that family."

"The unfortunate Miss Eveline Neville, my lord; I remember it well."

"Towards whom you entertained sentiments"--

"Very different from those with which I before and since have regarded
her sex. Her gentleness, her docility, her pleasure in the studies which
I pointed out to her, attached my affections more than became my age
though that was not then much advanced--or the solidity of my character.
But I need not remind your lordship of the various modes in which you
indulged your gaiety at the expense of an awkward and retired student,
embarrassed by the expression of feelings so new to him, and I have no
doubt that the young lady joined you in the well-deserved ridicule--it is
the way of womankind. I have spoken at once to the painful circumstances
of my addresses and their rejection, that your lordship may be satisfied
everything is full in my memory, and may, so far as I am concerned, tell
your story without scruple or needless delicacy."

"I will," said Lord Glenallan. "But first let me say, you do injustice to
the memory of the gentlest and kindest, as well as to the most unhappy of
women, to suppose she could make a jest of the honest affection of a man
like you. Frequently did she blame me, Mr. Oldbuck, for indulging my
levity at your expense--may I now presume you will excuse the gay
freedoms which then offended you?--my state of mind has never since laid
me under the necessity of apologizing for the inadvertencies of a light
and happy temper."

"My lord, you are fully pardoned," said Mr. Oldbuck. "You should be
aware, that, like all others, I was ignorant at the time that I placed
myself in competition with your lordship, and understood that Miss
Neville was in a state of dependence which might make her prefer a
competent independence and the hand of an honest man--But I am wasting
time--I would I could believe that the views entertained towards her by
others were as fair and honest as mine!"

"Mr. Oldbuck, you judge harshly."

"Not without cause, my lord. When I only, of all the magistrates of this
county--having neither, like some of them, the honour to be connected
with your powerful family--nor, like others, the meanness to fear it,--
when I made some inquiry into the manner of Miss Neville's death--I shake
you, my lord, but I must be plain--I do own I had every reason to believe
that she had met most unfair dealing, and had either been imposed upon by
a counterfeit marriage, or that very strong measures had been adopted to
stifle and destroy the evidence of a real union. And I cannot doubt in my
own mind, that this cruelty on your lordship's part, whether coming of
your own free will, or proceeding from the influence of the late
Countess, hurried the unfortunate young lady to the desperate act by
which her life was terminated."

"You are deceived, Mr. Oldbuck, into conclusions which are not just,
however naturally they flow from the circumstances. Believe me, I
respected you even when I was most embarrassed by your active attempts to
investigate our family misfortunes. You showed yourself more worthy of
Miss Neville than I, by the spirit with which you persisted in
vindicating her reputation even after her death. But the firm belief that
your well-meant efforts could only serve to bring to light a story too
horrible to be detailed, induced me to join my unhappy mother in schemes
to remove or destroy all evidence of the legal union which had taken
place between Eveline and myself. And now let us sit down on this bank,--
for I feel unable to remain longer standing,--and have the goodness to
listen to the extraordinary discovery which I have this day made."

They sate down accordingly; and Lord Glenallan briefly narrated his
unhappy family history--his concealed marriage--the horrible invention by
which his mother had designed to render impossible that union which had
already taken place. He detailed the arts by which the Countess, having
all the documents relative to Miss Neville's birth in her hands, had
produced those only relating to a period during which, for family
reasons, his father had consented to own that young lady as his natural
daughter, and showed how impossible it was that he could either suspect
or detect the fraud put upon him by his mother, and vouched by the oaths
of her attendants, Teresa and Elspeth. "I left my paternal mansion," he
concluded, "as if the furies of hell had driven me forth, and travelled
with frantic velocity I knew not whither. Nor have I the slightest
recollection of what I did or whither I went, until I was discovered by
my brother. I will not trouble you with an account of my sick-bed and
recovery, or how, long afterwards, I ventured to inquire after the sharer
of my misfortunes, and heard that her despair had found a dreadful remedy
for all the ills of life. The first thing that roused me to thought was
hearing of your inquiries into this cruel business; and you will hardly
wonder, that, believing what I did believe, I should join in those
expedients to stop your investigation, which my brother and mother had
actively commenced. The information which I gave them concerning the
circumstances and witnesses of our private marriage enabled them to
baffle your zeal. The clergyman, therefore, and witnesses, as persons who
had acted in the matter only to please the powerful heir of Glenallan,
were accessible to his promises and threats, and were so provided for,
that they had no objections to leave this country for another. For
myself, Mr. Oldbuck," pursued this unhappy man, "from that moment I
considered myself as blotted out of the book of the living, and as having
nothing left to do with this world. My mother tried to reconcile me to
life by every art--even by intimations which I can now interpret as
calculated to produce a doubt of the horrible tale she herself had
fabricated. But I construed all she said as the fictions of maternal
affection. I will forbear all reproach. She is no more--and, as her
wretched associate said, she knew not how the dart was poisoned, or how
deep it must sink, when she threw it from her hand. But, Mr. Oldbuck, if
ever, during these twenty years, there crawled upon earth a living being
deserving of your pity, I have been that man. My food has not nourished
me--my sleep has not refreshed me--my devotions have not comforted me--
all that is cheering and necessary to man has been to me converted into
poison. The rare and limited intercourse which I have held with others
has been most odious to me. I felt as if I were bringing the
contamination of unnatural and inexpressible guilt among the gay and the
innocent. There have been moments when I had thoughts of another
description--to plunge into the adventures of war, or to brave the
dangers of the traveller in foreign and barbarous climates--to mingle in
political intrigue, or to retire to the stern seclusion of the anchorites
of our religion;--all these are thoughts which have alternately passed
through my mind, but each required an energy, which was mine no longer,
after the withering stroke I had received. I vegetated on as I could in
the same spot--fancy, feeling, judgment, and health, gradually decaying,
like a tree whose bark has been destroyed,--when first the blossoms fade,
then the boughs, until its state resembles the decayed and dying trunk
that is now before you. Do you now pity and forgive me?"

"My lord," answered the Antiquary, much affected, "my pity--my
forgiveness, you have not to ask, for your dismal story is of itself not
only an ample excuse for whatever appeared mysterious in your conduct,
but a narrative that might move your worst enemies (and I, my lord, was
never of the number) to tears and to sympathy. But permit me to ask what
you now mean to do, and why you have honoured me, whose opinion can be of
little consequence, with your confidence on this occasion?"

"Mr. Oldbuck," answered the Earl, "as I could never have foreseen the
nature of that confession which I have heard this day, I need not say
that I had no formed plan of consulting you, or any one, upon affairs the
tendency of which I could not even have suspected. But I am without
friends, unused to business, and, by long retirement, unacquainted alike
with the laws of the land and the habits of the living generation; and
when, most unexpectedly, I find myself immersed in the matters of which I
know least, I catch, like a drowning man, at the first support that
offers. You are that support, Mr. Oldbuck. I have always heard you
mentioned as a man of wisdom and intelligence--I have known you myself as
a man of a resolute and independent spirit;--and there is one
circumstance," said he, "which ought to combine us in some degree--our
having paid tribute to the same excellence of character in poor Eveline.
You offered yourself to me in my need, and you were already acquainted
with the beginning of my misfortunes. To you, therefore, I have recourse
for advice, for sympathy, for support."

"You shall seek none of them in vain, my lord," said Oldbuck, "so far as
my slender ability extends;--and I am honoured by the preference, whether
it arises from choice, or is prompted by chance. But this is a matter to
be ripely considered. May I ask what are your principal views at
present?"

"To ascertain the fate of my child," said the Earl, "be the consequences
what they may, and to do justice to the honour of Eveline, which I have
only permitted to be suspected to avoid discovery of the yet more
horrible taint to which I was made to believe it liable."

"And the memory of your mother?"

"Must bear its own burden," answered the Earl with a sigh: "better that
she were justly convicted of deceit, should that be found necessary, than
that others should be unjustly accused of crimes so much more dreadful."

"Then, my lord," said Oldbuck, "our first business must be to put the
information of the old woman, Elspeth, into a regular and authenticated
form."

"That," said Lord Glenallan, "will be at present, I fear, impossible. She
is exhausted herself, and surrounded by her distressed family. To-morrow,
perhaps, when she is alone--and yet I doubt, from her imperfect sense of
right and wrong, whether she would speak out in any one's presence but my
own. I am too sorely fatigued."

"Then, my lord," said the Antiquary, whom the interest of the moment
elevated above points of expense and convenience, which had generally
more than enough of weight with him, "I would propose to your lordship,
instead of returning, fatigued as you are, so far as to Glenallan House,
or taking the more uncomfortable alternative of going to a bad inn at
Fairport, to alarm all the busybodies of the town--I would propose, I
say, that you should be my guest at Monkbarns for this night. By
to-morrow these poor people will have renewed their out-of-doors
vocation--for sorrow with them affords no respite from labour,--and we
will visit the old woman Elspeth alone, and take down her examination."

After a formal apology for the encroachment, Lord Glenallan agreed to go
with him, and underwent with patience in their return home the whole
history of John of the Girnel, a legend which Mr. Oldbuck was never known
to spare any one who crossed his threshold.

The arrival of a stranger of such note, with two saddle-horses and a
servant in black, which servant had holsters on his saddle-bow, and a
coronet upon the holsters, created a general commotion in the house of
Monkbarns. Jenny Rintherout, scarce recovered from the hysterics which
she had taken on hearing of poor Steenie's misfortune, chased about the
turkeys and poultry, cackled and screamed louder than they did, and ended
by killing one-half too many. Miss Griselda made many wise reflections on
the hot-headed wilfulness of her brother, who had occasioned such
devastation, by suddenly bringing in upon them a papist nobleman. And she
ventured to transmit to Mr. Blattergowl some hint of the unusual
slaughter which had taken place in the _basse-cour,_ which brought the
honest clergyman to inquire how his friend Monkbarns had got home, and
whether he was not the worse of being at the funeral, at a period so near
the ringing of the bell for dinner, that the Antiquary had no choice left
but to invite him to stay and bless the meat. Miss M'Intyre had on her
part some curiosity to see this mighty peer, of whom all had heard, as an
eastern caliph or sultan is heard of by his subjects, and felt some
degree of timidity at the idea of encountering a person, of whose
unsocial habits and stern manners so many stories were told, that her
fear kept at least pace with her curiosity. The aged housekeeper was no
less flustered and hurried in obeying the numerous and contradictory
commands of her mistress, concerning preserves, pastry and fruit, the
mode of marshalling and dishing the dinner, the necessity of not
permitting the melted butter to run to oil, and the danger of allowing
Juno--who, though formally banished from the parlour, failed not to
maraud about the out-settlements of the family--to enter the kitchen.

The only inmate of Monkbarns who remained entirely indifferent on this
momentous occasion was Hector M'Intyre, who cared no more for an Earl
than he did for a commoner, and who was only interested in the unexpected
visit, as it might afford some protection against his uncle's
displeasure, if he harboured any, for his not attending the funeral, and
still more against his satire upon the subject of his gallant but
unsuccessful single combat with the _phoca,_ or seal.

To these, the inmates of his household, Oldbuck presented the Earl of
Glenallan, who underwent, with meek and subdued civility, the prosing
speeches of the honest divine, and the lengthened apologies of Miss
Griselda Oldbuck, which her brother in vain endeavoured to abridge.
Before the dinner hour, Lord Glenallan requested permission to retire a
while to his chamber. Mr. Oldbuck accompanied his guest to the Green
Room, which had been hastily prepared for his reception. He looked around
with an air of painful recollection.

"I think," at length he observed, "I think, Mr. Oldbuck, that I have been
in this apartment before."

"Yes, my lord," answered Oldbuck, "upon occasion of an excursion hither
from Knockwinnock--and since we are upon a subject so melancholy, you may
perhaps remember whose taste supplied these lines from Chaucer, which now
form the motto of the tapestry."

"I guess", said the Earl, "though I cannot recollect. She excelled me,
indeed, in literary taste and information, as in everything else; and it
is one of the mysterious dispensations of Providence, Mr. Oldbuck, that a
creature so excellent in mind and body should have been cut off in so
miserable a manner, merely from her having formed a fatal attachment to
such a wretch as I am."

Mr. Oldbuck did not attempt an answer to this burst of the grief which
lay ever nearest to the heart of his guest, but, pressing Lord
Glenallan's hand with one of his own, and drawing the other across his
shaggy eyelashes, as if to brush away a mist that intercepted his sight,
he left the Earl at liberty to arrange himself previous to dinner.





CHAPTER FOURTEENTH

                           --Life, with you,
            Glows in the brain and dances in the arteries;
           'Tis like the wine some joyous guest hath quaffed,
                 That glads the heart and elevates the fancy:
                 Mine is the poor residuum of the cup,
             Vapid, and dull, and tasteless, only soiling,
             With its base dregs, the vessel that contains it.
                                            Old Play.

"Now, only think what a man my brother is, Mr. Blattergowl, for a wise
man and a learned man, to bring this Yerl into our house without speaking
a word to a body! And there's the distress of thae Mucklebackits--we
canna get a fin o' fish--and we hae nae time to send ower to Fairport for
beef, and the mutton's but new killed--and that silly fliskmahoy, Jenny
Rintherout, has taen the exies, and done naething but laugh and greet,
the skirl at the tail o' the guffaw, for twa days successfully--and now
we maun ask that strange man, that's as grand and as grave as the Yerl
himsell, to stand at the sideboard! and I canna gang into the kitchen to
direct onything, for he's hovering there, making some pousowdie* for my
Lord, for he doesna eat like ither folk neither--And how to sort the
strange servant man at dinner time--I am sure, Mr. Blattergowl,
a'thegither, it passes my judgment."

* _Pousowdie,_--Miscellaneous mess.

"Truly, Miss Griselda," replied the divine, "Monkbarns was inconsiderate.
He should have taen a day to see the invitation, as they do wi' the
titular's condescendence in the process of valuation and sale. But the
great man could not have come on a sudden to ony house in this parish
where he could have been better served with _vivers_--that I must say--
and also that the steam from the kitchen is very gratifying to my
nostrils;--and if ye have ony household affairs to attend to, Mrs.
Griselda, never make a stranger of me--I can amuse mysell very weel with
the larger copy of Erskine's Institutes."

And taking down from the window-seat that amusing folio, (the Scottish
Coke upon Littleton), he opened it, as if instinctively, at the tenth
title of Book Second, "of Teinds or Tythes," and was presently deeply
wrapped up in an abstruse discussion concerning the temporality of
benefices.

The entertainment, about which Miss Oldbuck expressed so much anxiety,
was at length placed upon the table; and the Earl of Glenallan, for the
first time since the date of his calamity, sat at a stranger's board,
surrounded by strangers. He seemed to himself like a man in a dream, or
one whose brain was not fully recovered from the effects of an
intoxicating potion. Relieved, as he had that morning been, from the
image of guilt which had so long haunted his imagination, he felt his
sorrows as a lighter and more tolerable load, but was still unable to
take any share in the conversation that passed around him. It was,
indeed, of a cast very different from that which he had been accustomed
to. The bluntness of Oldbuck, the tiresome apologetic harangues of his
sister, the pedantry of the divine, and the vivacity of the young
soldier, which savoured much more of the camp than of the court, were all
new to a nobleman who had lived in a retired and melancholy state for so
many years, that the manners of the world seemed to him equally strange
and unpleasing. Miss M'Intyre alone, from the natural politeness and
unpretending simplicity of her manners, appeared to belong to that class
of society to which he had been accustomed in his earlier and better
days.

Nor did Lord Glenallan's deportment less surprise the company. Though a
plain but excellent family-dinner was provided (for, as Mr. Blattergowl
had justly said, it was impossible to surprise Miss Griselda when her
larder was empty), and though the Antiquary boasted his best port, and
assimilated it to the Falernian of Horace, Lord Glenallan was proof to
the allurements of both. His servant placed before him a small mess of
vegetables, that very dish, the cooking of which had alarmed Miss
Griselda, arranged with the most minute and scrupulous neatness. He ate
sparingly of these provisions; and a glass of pure water, sparkling from
the fountain-head, completed his repast. Such, his servant said, had been
his lordship's diet for very many years, unless upon the high festivals
of the Church, or when company of the first rank were entertained at
Glenallan House, when he relaxed a little in the austerity of his diet,
and permitted himself a glass or two of wine. But at Monkbarns, no
anchoret could have made a more simple and scanty meal.

The Antiquary was a gentleman, as we have seen, in feeling, but blunt and
careless in expression, from the habit of living with those before whom
he had nothing to suppress. He attacked his noble guest without scruple
on the severity of his regimen.

"A few half-cold greens and potatoes--a glass of ice-cold water to wash
them down--antiquity gives no warrant for it, my lord. This house used to
be accounted a _hospitium,_ a place of retreat for Christians; but your
lordship's diet is that of a heathen Pythagorean, or Indian Bramin--nay,
more severe than either, if you refuse these fine apples."

"I am a Catholic, you are aware," said Lord Glenallan, wishing to escape
from the discussion, "and you know that our church"----

"Lays down many rules of mortification," proceeded the dauntless
Antiquary; "but I never heard that they were quite so rigorously
practised--Bear witness my predecessor, John of the Girnel, or the jolly
Abbot, who gave his name to this apple, my lord."

And as he pared the fruit, in spite of his sister's "O fie, Monkbarns!"
and the prolonged cough of the minister, accompanied by a shake of his
huge wig, the Antiquary proceeded to detail the intrigue which had given
rise to the fame of the abbot's apple with more slyness and
circumstantiality than was at all necessary. His jest (as may readily be
conceived) missed fire, for this anecdote of conventual gallantry failed
to produce the slightest smile on the visage of the Earl. Oldbuck then
took up the subject of Ossian, Macpherson, and Mac-Cribb; but Lord
Glenallan had never so much as heard of any of the three, so little
conversant had he been with modern literature. The conversation was now
in some danger of flagging, or of falling into the hands of Mr.
Blattergowl, who had just pronounced the formidable word, "teind-free,"
when the subject of the French Revolution was started--a political event
on which Lord Glenallan looked with all the prejudiced horror of a
bigoted Catholic and zealous aristocrat. Oldbuck was far from carrying
his detestation of its principles to such a length.

"There were many men in the first Constituent Assembly," he said, "who
held sound Whiggish doctrines, and were for settling the Constitution
with a proper provision for the liberties of the people. And if a set of
furious madmen were now in possession of the government, it was," he
continued, "what often happened in great revolutions, where extreme
measures are adopted in the fury of the moment, and the State resembles
an agitated pendulum which swings from side to side for some time ere it
can acquire its due and perpendicular station. Or it might be likened to
a storm or hurricane, which, passing over a region, does great damage in
its passage, yet sweeps away stagnant and unwholesome vapours, and
repays, in future health and fertility, its immediate desolation and
ravage."

The Earl shook his head; but having neither spirit nor inclination for
debate, he suffered the argument to pass uncontested.

This discussion served to introduce the young soldier's experiences; and
he spoke of the actions in which he, had been engaged, with modesty, and
at the same time with an air of spirit and zeal which delighted the Earl,
who had been bred up, like others of his house, in the opinion that the
trade of arms was the first duty of man, and believed that to employ them
against the French was a sort of holy warfare.

"What would I give," said he apart to Oldbuck, as they rose to join the
ladies in the drawing-room, "what would I give to have a son of such
spirit as that young gentleman!--He wants something of address and
manner, something of polish, which mixing in good society would soon give
him; but with what zeal and animation he expresses himself--how fond of
his profession--how loud in the praise of others--how modest when
speaking of himself!"

"Hector is much obliged to you, my lord," replied his uncle, gratified,
yet not so much so as to suppress his consciousness of his own mental
superiority over the young soldier; "I believe in my heart nobody ever
spoke half so much good of him before, except perhaps the sergeant of his
company, when was wheedling a Highland recruit to enlist with him. He is
a good lad notwithstanding, although he be not quite the hero your
lordship supposes him, and although my commendations rather attest the
kindness than the vivacity of his character. In fact, his high spirit is
a sort of constitutional vehemence, which attends him in everything he
sets about, and is often very inconvenient to his friends. I saw him
to-day engage in an animated contest with a _phoca,_ or seal (_sealgh,_
our people more properly call them, retaining the Gothic guttural _gh_),
with as much vehemence as if he had fought against Dumourier--Marry, my
lord, the _phoca_ had the better, as the said Dumourier had of some other
folks. And he'll talk with equal if not superior rapture of the good
behaviour of a pointer bitch, as of the plan of a campaign."

"He shall have full permission to sport over my grounds," said the Earl,
"if he is so fond of that exercise."

"You will bind him to you, my lord," said Monkbarns, "body and soul: give
him leave to crack off his birding-piece at a poor covey of partridges or
moor-fowl, and he's yours for ever--I will enchant him by the
intelligence. But O, my lord, that you could have seen my phoenix Lovel!
--the very prince and chieftain of the youth of this age; and not
destitute of spirit neither--I promise you he gave my termagant kinsman a
_quid pro quo_--a Rowland for his Oliver, as the vulgar say, alluding to
the two celebrated Paladins of Charlemagne."

After coffee, Lord Glenallan requested a private interview with the
Antiquary, and was ushered to his library.

"I must withdraw you from your own amiable family," he said, "to involve
you in the perplexities of an unhappy man. You are acquainted with the
world, from which I have long been banished; for Glenallan House has been
to me rather a prison than a dwelling, although a prison which I had
neither fortitude nor spirit to break from."

"Let me first ask your lordship," said the Antiquary, "what are your own
wishes and designs in this matter?"

"I wish most especially," answered Lord Glenallan, "to declare my
luckless marriage, and to vindicate the reputation of the unhappy
Eveline--that is, if you see a possibility of doing so without making
public the conduct of my mother."

"_Suum cuique tribuito,_" said the Antiquary; "do right to everyone. The
memory of that unhappy young lady has too long suffered, and I think it
might be cleared without further impeaching that of your mother, than by
letting it be understood in general that she greatly disapproved and
bitterly opposed the match. All--forgive me, my lord--all who ever heard
of the late Countess of Glenallan, will learn that without much
surprise."

"But you forget one horrible circumstance, Mr. Oldbuck," said the Earl,
in an agitated voice.

"I am not aware of it," replied the Antiquary.

"The fate of the infant--its disappearance with the confidential
attendant of my mother, and the dreadful surmises which may be drawn from
my conversation with Elspeth."

"If you would have my free opinion, my lord," answered Mr. Oldbuck, "and
will not catch too rapidly at it as matter of hope, I would say that it
is very possible the child yet lives. For thus much I ascertained, by my
former inquiries concerning the event of that deplorable evening, that a
child and woman were carried that night from the cottage at the
Craigburnfoot in a carriage and four by your brother Edward Geraldin
Neville, whose journey towards England with these companions I traced for
several stages. I believed then it was a part of the family compact to
carry a child whom you meant to stigmatize with illegitimacy, out of that
country where chance might have raised protectors and proofs of its
rights. But I now think that your brother, having reason, like yourself,
to believe the child stained with shame yet more indelible, had
nevertheless withdrawn it, partly from regard to the honour of his house,
partly from the risk to which it might have been exposed in the
neighbourhood of the Lady Glenallan."

As he spoke, the Earl of Glenallan grew extremely pale, and had nearly
fallen from his chair.--The alarmed Antiquary ran hither and thither
looking for remedies; but his museum, though sufficiently well filled
with a vast variety of useless matters, contained nothing that could be
serviceable on the present or any other occasion. As he posted out of the
room to borrow his sister's salts, he could not help giving a
constitutional growl of chagrin and wonder at the various incidents which
had converted his mansion, first into an hospital for a wounded duellist,
and now into the sick chamber of a dying nobleman. "And yet," said he, "I
have always kept aloof from the soldiery and the peerage. My
_coenobitium_ has only next to be made a lying-in hospital, and then, I
trow, the transformation will be complete."

When he returned with the remedy, Lord Glenallan was much better. The new
and unexpected light which Mr. Oldbuck had thrown upon the melancholy
history of his family had almost overpowered him. "You think, then, Mr.
Oldbuck--for you are capable of thinking, which I am not--you think,
then, that it is possible--that is, not impossible--my child may yet
live?"

"I think," said the Antiquary, "it is impossible that it could come to
any violent harm through your brother's means. He was known to be a gay
and dissipated man, but not cruel nor dishonourable; nor is it possible,
that, if he had intended any foul play, he would have placed himself so
forward in the charge of the infant, as I will prove to your lordship he
did."

So saying, Mr. Oldbuck opened a drawer of the cabinet of his ancestor
Aldobrand, and produced a bundle of papers tied with a black ribband, and
labelled,--Examinations, etc., taken by Jonathan Oldbuck, J. P., upon the
18th of February, 17--; a little under was written, in a small hand,
_Eheu Evelina_! The tears dropped fast from the Earl's eyes, as he
endeavoured, in vain, to unfasten the knot which secured these documents.

"Your lordship," said Mr. Oldbuck, "had better not read these at present.
Agitated as you are, and having much business before you, you must not
exhaust your strength. Your brother's succession is now, I presume, your
own, and it will be easy for you to make inquiry among his servants and
retainers, so as to hear where the child is, if, fortunately, it shall be
still alive."

"I dare hardly hope it," said the Earl, with a deep sigh. "Why should my
brother have been silent to me?"

"Nay, my lord, why should he have communicated to your lordship the
existence of a being whom you must have supposed the offspring of"--

"Most true--there is an obvious and a kind reason for his being silent.
If anything, indeed, could have added to the horror of the ghastly dream
that has poisoned my whole existence, it must have been the knowledge
that such a child of misery existed."

"Then," continued the Antiquary, "although it would be rash to conclude,
at the distance of more than twenty years, that your son must needs be
still alive because he was not destroyed in infancy, I own I think you
should instantly set on foot inquiries."

"It shall be done," replied Lord Glenallan, catching eagerly at the hope
held out to him, the first he had nourished for many years;--"I will
write to a faithful steward of my father, who acted in the same capacity
under my brother Neville--But, Mr. Oldbuck, I am not my brother's heir."

"Indeed!--I am sorry for that, my lord--it is a noble estate, and the
ruins of the old castle of Neville's-Burgh alone, which are the most
superb relics of Anglo-Norman architecture in that part of the country,
are a possession much to be coveted. I thought your father had no other
son or near relative."

"He had not, Mr. Oldbuck," replied Lord Glenallan; "but my brother
adopted views in politics, and a form of religion, alien from those which
had been always held by our house. Our tempers had long differed, nor did
my unhappy mother always think him sufficiently observant to her. In
short, there was a family quarrel, and my brother, whose property was at
his own free disposal, availed himself of the power vested in him to
choose a stranger for his heir. It is a matter which never struck me as
being of the least consequence--for if worldly possessions could
alleviate misery, I have enough and to spare. But now I shall regret it,
if it throws any difficulty in the way of our inquiries--and I bethink me
that it may; for in case of my having a lawful son of my body, and my
brother dying without issue, my father's possessions stood entailed upon
my son. It is not therefore likely that this heir, be he who he may, will
afford us assistance in making a discovery which may turn out so much to
his own prejudice."

"And in all probability the steward your lordship mentions is also in his
service," said the Antiquary.

"It is most likely; and the man being a Protestant--how far it is safe to
entrust him"--

"I should hope, my lord," said Oldbuck gravely, "that a Protestant may be
as trustworthy as a Catholic. I am doubly interested in the Protestant
faith, my lord. My ancestor, Aldobrand Oldenbuck, printed the celebrated
Confession of Augsburg, as I can show by the original edition now in this
house."

"I have not the least doubt of what you say, Mr. Oldbuck," replied the
Earl, "nor do I speak out of bigotry or intolerance; but probably the
Protestant steward will favour the Protestant heir rather than the
Catholic--if, indeed, my son has been bred in his father's faith--or,
alas! if indeed he yet lives."

"We must look close into this," said Oldbuck, "before committing
ourselves. I have a literary friend at York, with whom I have long
corresponded on the subject of the Saxon horn that is preserved in the
Minster there; we interchanged letters for six years, and have only as
yet been able to settle the first line of the inscription. I will write
forthwith to this gentleman, Dr. Dryasdust, and be particular in my
inquiries concerning the character, etc., of your brother's heir, of the
gentleman employed in his affairs, and what else may be likely to further
your lordship's inquiries. In the meantime your lordship will collect the
evidence of the marriage, which I hope can still be recovered?"

"Unquestionably," replied the Earl: "the witnesses, who were formerly
withdrawn from your research, are still living. My tutor, who solemnized
the marriage, was provided for by a living in France, and has lately
returned to this country as an emigrant, a victim of his zeal for
loyalty, legitimacy, and religion."

"That's one lucky consequence of the French, revolution, my lord--you
must allow that, at least," said Oldbuck: "but no offence; I will act as
warmly in your affairs as if I were of your own faith in politics and
religion. And take my advice--If you want an affair of consequence
properly managed, put it into the hands of an antiquary; for as they are
eternally exercising their genius and research upon trifles, it is
impossible they can be baffled in affairs of importance;--use makes
perfect--and the corps that is most frequently drilled upon the parade,
will be most prompt in its exercise upon the day of battle. And, talking
upon that subject, I would willingly read to your lordship, in order to
pass away the time betwixt and supper"--

"I beg I may not interfere with family arrangements," said Lord
Glenallan, "but I never taste anything after sunset."

"Nor I either, my lord," answered his host, "notwithstanding it is said
to have been the custom of the ancients. But then I dine differently from
your lordship, and therefore am better enabled to dispense with those
elaborate entertainments which my womankind (that is, my sister and
niece, my lord) are apt to place on the table, for the display rather of
their own house-wifery than the accommodation of our wants. However, a
broiled bone, or a smoked haddock, or an oyster, or a slice of bacon of
our own curing, with a toast and a tankard--or something or other of that
sort, to close the orifice of the stomach before going to bed, does not
fall under my restriction, nor, I hope, under your lordship's."

"My no-supper is literal, Mr. Oldbuck; but I will attend you at your meal
with pleasure."

"Well, my lord," replied the Antiquary, "I will endeavour to entertain
your ears at least, since I cannot banquet your palate. What I am about
to read to your lordship relates to the upland glens."

Lord Glenallan, though he would rather have recurred to the subject of
his own uncertainties, was compelled to make a sign of rueful civility
and acquiescence.

The Antiquary, therefore, took out his portfolio of loose sheets, and
after premising that the topographical details here laid down were
designed to illustrate a slight essay upon castrametation, which had been
read with indulgence at several societies of Antiquaries, he commenced as
follows: "The subject, my lord, is the hill-fort of Quickens-bog, with
the site of which your lordship is doubtless familiar--it is upon your
store-farm of Mantanner, in the barony of Clochnaben."

"I think I have heard the names of these places," said the Earl, in
answer to the Antiquary's appeal.

"Heard the name? and the farm brings him six hundred a-year--O Lord!"

Such was the scarce-subdued ejaculation of the Antiquary. But his
hospitality got the better of his surprise, and he proceeded to read his
essay with an audible voice, in great glee at having secured a patient,
and, as he fondly hoped, an interested hearer.

"Quickens-bog may at first seem to derive its name from the plant
_Quicken,_ by which, _Scottice,_ we understand couch-grass, dog-grass, or
the _Triticum repens_ of Linnaeus, and the common English monosyllable
_Bog,_ by which we mean, in popular language, a marsh or morass--in
Latin, _Palus._ But it may confound the rash adopters of the more obvious
etymological derivations, to learn that the couch-grass or dog-grass, or,
to speak scientifically, the _Triticum repens_ of Linnaeus, does not grow
within a quarter of a mile of this castrum or hill-fort, whose ramparts
are uniformly clothed with short verdant turf; and that we must seek a
bog or _palus_ at a still greater distance, the nearest being that of
Gird-the-mear, a full half-mile distant. The last syllable, _bog,_ is
obviously, therefore, a mere corruption of the Saxon _Burgh,_ which we
find in the various transmutations of _Burgh, Burrow, Brough, Bruff,
Buff,_ and _Boff,_ which last approaches very near the sound in question
--since, supposing the word to have been originally _borgh,_ which is the
genuine Saxon spelling, a slight change, such as modern organs too often
make upon ancient sounds, will produce first _Bogh,_ and then, _elisa H,_
or compromising and sinking the guttural, agreeable to the common
vernacular practice, you have either _Boff_ or _Bog_ as it happens. The
word _Quickens_ requires in like manner to be altered,--decomposed, as it
were,--and reduced to its original and genuine sound, ere we can discern
its real meaning. By the ordinary exchange of the _Qu_ into _Wh,_
familiar to the rudest tyro who has opened a book of old Scottish poetry,
we gain either Whilkens, or Whichensborgh--put we may suppose, by way of
question, as if those who imposed the name, struck with the extreme
antiquity of the place, had expressed in it an interrogation, To whom did
this fortress belong?'--Or, it might be _Whackens-burgh,_ from the Saxon
_Whacken,_ to strike with the hand, as doubtless the skirmishes near a
place of such apparent consequence must have legitimated such a
derivation," etc. etc. etc.

I will be more merciful to my readers than Oldbuck was to his guest; for,
considering his opportunities of gaining patient attention from a person
of such consequence as Lord Glenallan were not many, he used, or rather
abused, the present to the uttermost.





CHAPTER FIFTEENTH.

                         Crabbed age and youth
                         Cannot live together:--
                         Youth is full of pleasance,
                              Age is full of care;
                         Youth like summer morn,
                         Age like winter weather;
                         Youth like summer brave,
                         Age like winter bare.
                                      Shakspeare.

In the morning of the following day, the Antiquary, who was something of
a sluggard, was summoned from his bed a full hour earlier than his custom
by Caxon. "What's the matter now?" he exclaimed, yawning and stretching
forth his hand to the huge gold repeater, which, bedded upon his India
silk handkerchief, was laid safe by his pillow--"what's the matter now,
Caxon?--it can't be eight o'clock yet."

"Na, sir,--but my lord's man sought me out, for he fancies me your
honour's valley-de-sham,--and sae I am, there's nae doubt o't, baith your
honour's and the minister's--at least ye hae nae other that I ken o'--and
I gie a help to Sir Arthur too, but that's mair in the way o' my
profession."

"Well, well--never mind that," said the Antiquary--"happy is he that is
his own valley-de-sham, as you call it--But why disturb my morning's
rest?"

"Ou, sir, the great man's been up since peep o' day, and he's steered the
town to get awa an express to fetch his carriage, and it will be here
briefly, and he wad like to see your honour afore he gaes awa."

"Gadso!" ejaculated Oldbuck, "these great men use one's house and time as
if they were their own property. Well, it's once and away. Has Jenny come
to her senses yet, Caxon?"

"Troth, sir, but just middling," replied the barber; "she's been in a
swither about the jocolate this morning, and was like to hae toomed it a'
out into the slap-bason, and drank it hersell in her ecstacies--but she's
won ower wi't, wi' the help o' Miss M'Intyre."

"Then all my womankind are on foot and scrambling, and I must enjoy my
quiet bed no longer, if I would have a well-regulated house--Lend me my
gown. And what are the news at Fairport?"

"Ou, sir, what can they be about but this grand news o' my lord,"
answered the old man, "that hasna been ower the door-stane, they threep
to me, for this twenty years--this grand news of his coming to visit your
honour?"

"Aha!" said Monkbarns; "and what do they say of that, Caxon?"

"'Deed, sir, they hae various opinions. Thae fallows, that are the
democraws, as they ca' them, that are again' the king and the law, and
hairpowder and dressing o' gentlemen's wigs--a wheen blackguards--they
say he's come doun to speak wi' your honour about bringing doun his hill
lads and Highland tenantry to break up the meetings of the Friends o' the
People;--and when I said your honour never meddled wi' the like o' sic
things where there was like to be straiks and bloodshed, they said, if ye
didna, your nevoy did, and that he was weel ken'd to be a kingsman that
wad fight knee-deep, and that ye were the head and he was the hand, and
that the Yerl was to bring out the men and the siller."

"Come," said the Antiquary, laughing--"I am glad the war is to cost me
nothing but counsel."

"Na, na," said Caxon--"naebody thinks your honour wad either fight
yoursell, or gie ony feck o' siller to ony side o' the question."

"Umph! well, that's the opinion of the democraws, as you call them--What
say the rest o' Fairport?"

"In troth," said the candid reporter, "I canna say it's muckle better.
Captain Coquet, of the volunteers--that's him that's to be the new
collector,--and some of the other gentlemen of the Blue and a' Blue Club,
are just saying it's no right to let popists, that hae sae mony French
friends as the Yerl of Glenallan, gang through the country, and--but your
honour will maybe be angry?"

"Not I, Caxon," said Oldbuck; "fire away as if you were Captain Coquet's
whole platoon--I can stand it."

"Weel then, they say, sir, that as ye didna encourage the petition about
the peace, and wadna petition in favour of the new tax, and as you were
again' bringing in the yeomanry at the meal mob, but just for settling
the folk wi' the constables--they say ye're no a gude friend to
government; and that thae sort o' meetings between sic a powerfu' man as
the Yerl, and sic a wise man as you,--Od they think they suld be lookit
after; and some say ye should baith be shankit aff till Edinburgh
Castle."

"On my word," said the Antiquary, "I am infinitely obliged to my
neighbours for their good opinion of me! And so I, that have never
interfered with their bickerings, but to recommend quiet and moderate
measures, am given up on both sides as a man very likely to commit high
treason, either against King or People?--Give me my coat, Caxon--give me
my coat;--it's lucky I live not in their report. Have you heard anything
of Taffril and his vessel?"

Caxon's countenance fell.--"Na, sir, and the winds hae been high, and
this is a fearfu' coast to cruise on in thae eastern gales,--the
headlands rin sae far out, that a veshel's embayed afore I could sharp a
razor; and then there's nae harbour or city of refuge on our coast--a'
craigs and breakers;--a veshel that rins ashore wi' us flees asunder like
the powther when I shake the pluff--and it's as ill to gather ony o't
again. I aye tell my daughter thae things when she grows wearied for a
letter frae Lieutenant Taffril--It's aye an apology for him. Ye sudna
blame him, says I, hinny, for ye little ken what may hae happened."

"Ay, ay, Caxon, thou art as good a comforter as a valet-de-chambre.--Give
me a white stock, man,--dye think I can go down with a handkerchief about
my neck when I have company?"

"Dear sir, the Captain says a three-nookit hankercher is the maist
fashionable overlay, and that stocks belang to your honour and me that
are auld warld folk. I beg pardon for mentioning us twa thegither, but it
was what he said."

"The Captain's a puppy, and you are a goose, Caxon."

"It's very like it may be sae," replied the acquiescent barber: "I am
sure your honour kens best."

Before breakfast, Lord Glenallan, who appeared in better spirits than he
had evinced in the former evening, went particularly through the various
circumstances of evidence which the exertions of Oldbuck had formerly
collected; and pointing out the means which he possessed of completing
the proof of his marriage, expressed his resolution instantly to go
through the painful task of collecting and restoring the evidence
concerning the birth of Eveline Neville, which Elspeth had stated to be
in his mother's possession.

"And yet, Mr. Oldbuck," he said, "I feel like a man who receives
important tidings ere he is yet fully awake, and doubt whether they refer
to actual life, or are not rather a continuation of his dream. This
woman--this Elspeth,--she is in the extremity of age, and approaching in
many respects to dotage. Have I not--it is a hideous question--have I not
been hasty in the admission of her present evidence, against that which
she formerly gave me to a very--very different purpose?"

Mr. Oldbuck paused a moment, and then answered with firmness--"No, my
lord; I cannot think you have any reason to suspect the truth of what she
has told you last, from no apparent impulse but the urgency of
conscience. Her confession was voluntary, disinterested, distinct,
consistent with itself, and with all the other known circumstances of the
case. I would lose no time, however, in examining and arranging the other
documents to which she has referred; and I also think her own statement
should be taken down, if possible in a formal manner. We thought of
setting about this together. But it will be a relief to your lordship,
and moreover have a more impartial appearance, were I to attempt the
investigation alone in the capacity of a magistrate. I will do this--at
least I will attempt it, so soon as I shall see her in a favourable state
of mind to undergo an examination."

Lord Glenallan wrung the Antiquary's hand in token of grateful
acquiescence. "I cannot express to you," he said, "Mr. Oldbuck, how much
your countenance and cooperation in this dark and most melancholy
business gives me relief and confidence. I cannot enough applaud myself
for yielding to the sudden impulse which impelled me, as it were, to drag
you into my confidence, and which arose from the experience I had
formerly of your firmness in discharge of your duty as a magistrate, and
as a friend to the memory of the unfortunate. Whatever the issue of these
matters may prove,--and I would fain hope there is a dawn breaking on the
fortunes of my house, though I shall not live to enjoy its light,--but
whatsoever be the issue, you have laid my family and me under the most
lasting obligation."

"My lord," answered the Antiquary, "I must necessarily have the greatest
respect for your lordship's family, which I am well aware is one of the
most ancient in Scotland, being certainly derived from Aymer de Geraldin,
who sat in parliament at Perth, in the reign of Alexander II., and who by
the less vouched, yet plausible tradition of the country, is said to have
been descended from the Marmor of Clochnaben. Yet, with all my veneration
for your ancient descent, I must acknowledge that I find myself still
more bound to give your lordship what assistance is in my limited power,
from sincere sympathy with your sorrows, and detestation at the frauds
which have so long been practised upon you.--But, my lord, the matin meal
is, I see, now prepared--Permit me to show your lordship the way through
the intricacies of my _cenobitium,_ which is rather a combination of
cells, jostled oddly together, and piled one upon the top of the other,
than a regular house. I trust you will make yourself some amends for the
spare diet of yesterday."

But this was no part of Lord Glenallan's system. Having saluted the
company with the grave and melancholy politeness which distinguished his
manners, his servant placed before him a slice of toasted bread, with a
glass of fair water, being the fare on which he usually broke his fast.
While the morning's meal of the young soldier and the old Antiquary was
despatched in much more substantial manner, the noise of wheels was
heard.

"Your lordship's carriage, I believe," said Oldbuck, stepping to the
window. "On my word, a handsome _quadriga,_--for such, according to the
best _scholium,_ was the _vox signata_ of the Romans for a chariot which,
like that of your lordship, was drawn by four horses."

"And I will venture to say," cried Hector, eagerly gazing from the
window, "that four handsomer or better-matched bays never were put in
harness--What fine forehands!--what capital chargers they would make!--
Might I ask if they are of your lordship's own breeding?"

"I--I--rather believe so," said Lord Glenallan; "but I have been so
negligent of my domestic matters, that I am ashamed to say I must apply
to Calvert" (looking at the domestic).

"They are of your lordship's own breeding," said Calvert, "got by Mad Tom
out of Jemina and Yarico, your lordship's brood mares."

"Are there more of the set?" said Lord Glenallan.

"Two, my lord,--one rising four, the other five off this grass, both very
handsome."

"Then let Dawkins bring them down to Monkbarns to-morrow," said the Earl
--"I hope Captain M'Intyre will accept them, if they are at all fit for
service."

Captain M'Intyre's eyes sparkled, and he was profuse in grateful
acknowledgments; while Oldbuck, on the other hand, seizing the Earl's
sleeve, endeavoured to intercept a present which boded no good to his
corn-chest and hay-loft.

"My lord--my lord--much obliged--much obliged--But Hector is a
pedestrian, and never mounts on horseback in battle--he is a Highland
soldier, moreover, and his dress ill adapted for cavalry service. Even
Macpherson never mounted his ancestors on horseback, though he has the
impudence to talk of their being car-borne--and that, my lord, is what is
running in Hector's head--it is the vehicular, not the equestrian
exercise, which he envies--

                Sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum
                           Collegisse juvat.

His noddle is running on a curricle, which he has neither money to buy,
nor skill to drive if he had it; and I assure your lordship, that the
possession of two such quadrupeds would prove a greater scrape than any
of his duels, whether with human foe or with my friend the _phoca._"

"You must command us all at present, Mr. Oldbuck," said the Earl
politely; "but I trust you will not ultimately prevent my gratifying my
young friend in some way that may afford him pleasure."

"Anything useful, my lord," said Oldbuck, "but no _curriculum_--I protest
he might as rationally propose to keep a _quadriga_ at once--And now I
think of it, what is that old post-chaise from Fairport come jingling
here for?--I did not send for it."

"_I_ did, sir," said Hector, rather sulkily, for he was not much
gratified by his uncle's interference to prevent the Earl's intended
generosity, nor particularly inclined to relish either the disparagement
which he cast upon his skill as a charioteer, or the mortifying allusion
to his bad success in the adventures of the duel and the seal.

"You did, sir?" echoed the Antiquary, in answer to his concise
information. "And pray, what may be your business with a post-chaise? Is
this splendid equipage--this _biga,_ as I may call it--to serve for an
introduction to a _quadriga_ or a _curriculum_?"

"Really, sir," replied the young soldier, "if it be necessary to give you
such a specific explanation, I am going to Fairport on a little
business."

"Will you permit me to inquire into the nature of that business, Hector?"
answered his uncle, who loved the exercise of a little brief authority
over his relative. "I should suppose any regimental affairs might be
transacted by your worthy deputy the sergeant--an honest gentleman, who
is so good as to make Monkbarns his home since his arrival among us--I
should, I say, suppose that he may transact any business of yours,
without your spending a day's pay on two dog-horses, and such a
combination of rotten wood, cracked glass, and leather--such a skeleton
of a post-chaise, as that before the door."

"It is not regimental business, sir, that calls me; and, since you insist
upon knowing, I must inform you Caxon has brought word this morning that
old Ochiltree, the beggar, is to be brought up for examination to-day,
previous to his being committed for trial; and I'm going to see that the
poor old fellow gets fair play--that's all."

"Ay?--I heard something of this, but could not think it serious. And
pray, Captain Hector, who are so ready to be every man's second on all
occasions of strife, civil or military, by land, by water, or on the
sea-beach, what is your especial concern with old Edie Ochiltree?"

"He was a soldier in my father's company, sir," replied Hector; "and
besides, when I was about to do a very foolish thing one day, he
interfered to prevent me, and gave me almost as much good advice, sir, as
you could have done yourself."

"And with the same good effect, I dare be sworn for it--eh, Hector?--
Come, confess it was thrown away."

"Indeed it was, sir; but I see no reason that my folly should make me
less grateful for his intended kindness."

"Bravo, Hector! that's the most sensible thing I ever heard you say. But
always tell me your plans without reserve,--why, I will go with you
myself, man. I am sure the old fellow is not guilty, and I will assist
him in such a scrape much more effectually than you can do. Besides, it
will save thee half-a-guinea, my lad--a consideration which I heartily
pray you to have more frequently before your eyes."

Lord Glenallan's politeness had induced him to turn away and talk with
the ladies, when the dispute between the uncle and nephew appeared to
grow rather too animated to be fit for the ear of a stranger, but the
Earl mingled again in the conversation when the placable tone of the
Antiquary expressed amity. Having received a brief account of the
mendicant, and of the accusation brought against him, which Oldbuck did
not hesitate to ascribe to the malice of Dousterswivel, Lord Glenallan
asked, whether the individual in question had not been a soldier
formerly?--He was answered in the affirmative.

"Had he not," continued his Lordship, "a coarse blue coat, or gown, with
a badge?--was he not a tall, striking-looking old man, with grey beard
and hair, who kept his body remarkably erect, and talked with an air of
ease and independence, which formed a strong contrast to his profession?"

"All this is an exact picture of the man," refumed Oldbuck.

"Why, then," continued Lord Glenallan, "although I fear I can be of no
use to him in his present condition, yet I owe him a debt of gratitude
for being the first person who brought me some tidings of the utmost
importance. I would willingly offer him a place of comfortable
retirement, when he is extricated from his present situation."

"I fear, my lord," said Oldbuck, "he would have difficulty in reconciling
his vagrant habits to the acceptance of your bounty, at least I know the
experiment has been tried without effect. To beg from the public at large
he considers as independence, in comparison to drawing his whole support
from the bounty of an individual. He is so far a true philosopher, as to
be a contemner of all ordinary rules of hours and times. When he is
hungry he eats; when thirsty he drinks; when weary he sleeps; and with
such indifference with respect to the means and appliances about which we
make a fuss, that I suppose he was never ill dined or ill lodged in his
life. Then he is, to a certain extent, the oracle of the district through
which he travels--their genealogist, their newsman, their master of the
revels, their doctor at a pinch, or their divine;--I promise you he has
too many duties, and is too zealous in performing them, to be easily
bribed to abandon his calling. But I should be truly sorry if they sent
the poor light-hearted old man to lie for weeks in a jail. I am convinced
the confinement would break his heart."

Thus finished the conference. Lord Glenallan, having taken leave of the
ladies, renewed his offer to Captain M'Intyre of the freedom of his
manors for sporting, which was joyously accepted,

"I can only add," he said, "that if your spirits are not liable to be
damped by dull company, Glenallan House is at all times open to you. On
two days of the week, Friday and Saturday, I keep my apartment, which
will be rather a relief to you, as you will be left to enjoy the society
of my almoner, Mr. Gladsmoor, who is a scholar and a man of the world."

Hector, his heart exulting at the thoughts of ranging through the
preserves of Glenallan House, and over the well-protected moors of
Clochnaben--nay, joy of joys! the deer-forest of Strath-Bonnel--made many
acknowledgements of the honour and gratitude he felt. Mr. Oldbuck was
sensible of the Earl's attention to his nephew; Miss M'Intyre was pleased
because her brother was gratified; and Miss Griselda Oldbuck looked
forward with glee to the potting of whole bags of moorfowl and
black-game, of which Mr. Blattergowl was a professed admirer. Thus,--
which is always the case when a man of rank leaves a private family where
he has studied to appear obliging,--all were ready to open in praise of
the Earl as soon as he had taken his leave, and was wheeled off in his
chariot by the four admired bays. But the panegyric was cut short, for
Oldbuck and his nephew deposited themselves in the Fairport hack, which,
with one horse trotting, and the other urged to a canter, creaked,
jingled, and hobbled towards that celebrated seaport, in a manner that
formed a strong contrast to the rapidity and smoothness with which Lord
Glenallan's equipage had seemed to vanish from their eyes.





CHAPTER SIXTEENTH.

              Yes! I love justice well--as well as you do--
             But since the good dame's blind, she shall excuse me
              If, time and reason fitting, I prove dumb;--
                  The breath I utter now shall be no means
                  To take away from me my breath in future.
                                          Old Play.

By dint of charity from the town's-people in aid of the load of
provisions he had brought with him into durance, Edie Ochiltree had
passed a day or two's confinement without much impatience, regretting his
want of freedom the less, as the weather proved broken and rainy.

"The prison," he said, "wasna sae dooms bad a place as it was ca'd. Ye
had aye a good roof ower your head to fend aff the weather, and, if the
windows werena glazed, it was the mair airy and pleasant for the summer
season. And there were folk enow to crack wi', and he had bread eneugh to
eat, and what need he fash himsell about the rest o't?"

The courage of our philosophical mendicant began, however, to abate, when
the sunbeams shone fair on the rusty bars of his grated dungeon, and a
miserable linnet, whose cage some poor debtor had obtained permission to
attach to the window, began to greet them with his whistle.

"Ye're in better spirits than I am," said Edie, addressing the bird, "for
I can neither whistle nor sing for thinking o' the bonny burnsides and
green shaws that I should hae been dandering beside in weather like this.
But hae--there's some crumbs t'ye, an ye are sae merry; and troth ye hae
some reason to sing an ye kent it, for your cage comes by nae faut o'
your ain, and I may thank mysell that I am closed up in this weary
place."

Ochiltree's soliloquy was disturbed by a peace-officer, who came to
summon him to attend the magistrate. So he set forth in awful procession
between two poor creatures, neither of them so stout as he was himself,
to be conducted into the presence of inquisitorial justice. The people,
as the aged prisoner was led along by his decrepit guards, exclaimed to
each other, "Eh! see sic a grey-haired man as that is, to have committed
a highway robbery, wi' ae fit in the grave!"--And the children
congratulated the officers, objects of their alternate dread and sport,
Puggie Orrock and Jock Ormston, on having a prisoner as old as
themselves.

Thus marshalled forward, Edie was presented (by no means for the first
time) before the worshipful Bailie Littlejohn, who, contrary to what his
name expressed, was a tall portly magistrate, on whom corporation crusts
had not been conferred in vain. He was a zealous loyalist of that zealous
time, somewhat rigorous and peremptory in the execution of his duty, and
a good deal inflated with the sense of his own power and importance;--
otherwise an honest, well-meaning, and useful citizen.

"Bring him in! bring him in!" he exclaimed. "Upon my word these are awful
and unnatural times! the very bedesmen and retainers of his Majesty are
the first to break his laws. Here has been an old Blue-Gown committing
robbery--I suppose the next will reward the royal charity which supplies
him with his garb, pension, and begging license, by engaging in
high-treason, or sedition at least--But bring him in."

Edie made his obeisance, and then stood, as usual, firm and erect, with
the side of his face turned a little upward, as if to catch every word
which the magistrate might address to him. To the first general
questions, which respected only his name and calling, the mendicant
answered with readiness and accuracy; but when the magistrate, having
caused his clerk to take down these particulars, began to inquire
whereabout the mendicant was on the night when Dousterswivel met with his
misfortune, Edie demurred to the motion. "Can ye tell me now, Bailie, you
that understands the law, what gude will it do me to answer ony o' your
questions?"

"Good?--no good certainly, my friend, except that giving a true account
of yourself, if you are innocent, may entitle me to set you at liberty."

"But it seems mair reasonable to me now, that you, Bailie, or anybody
that has anything to say against me, should prove my guilt, and no to be
bidding me prove my innocence."

"I don't sit here," answered the magistrate, "to dispute points of law
with you. I ask you, if you choose to answer my question, whether you
were at Ringan Aikwood, the forester's, upon the day I have specified?"

"Really, sir, I dinna feel myself called on to remember," replied the
cautious bedesman.

"Or whether, in the course of that day or night," continued the
magistrate, "you saw Steven, or Steenie, Mucklebackit?--you knew him, I
suppose?"

"O, brawlie did I ken Steenie, puir fallow," replied the prisoner;--"but
I canna condeshend on ony particular time I have seen him lately."

"Were you at the ruins of St. Ruth any time in the course of that
evening?"

"Bailie Littlejohn," said the mendicant, "if it be your honour's
pleasure, we'll cut a lang tale short, and I'll just tell ye, I am no
minded to answer ony o' thae questions--I'm ower auld a traveller to let
my tongue bring me into trouble."

"Write down," said the magistrate, "that he declines to answer all
interrogatories, in respect that by telling the truth he might be brought
to trouble."

"Na, na," said Ochiltree, "I'll no hae that set down as ony part o' my
answer--but I just meant to say, that in a' my memory and practice, I
never saw ony gude come o' answering idle questions."

"Write down," said the Bailie, "that, being acquainted with judicial
interrogatories by long practice, and having sustained injury by
answering questions put to him on such occasions, the declarant refuses"

"Na, na, Bailie," reiterated Edie, "ye are no to come in on me that gait
neither."

"Dictate the answer yourself then, friend," said the magistrate, "and the
clerk will take it down from your own mouth."

"Ay, ay," said Edie--"that's what I ca' fair play; I'se do that without
loss o' time. Sae, neighbour, ye may just write down, that Edie
Ochiltree, the declarant, stands up for the liberty--na, I maunna say
that neither--I am nae liberty-boy--I hae fought again' them in the riots
in Dublin--besides, I have ate the King's bread mony a day. Stay, let me
see. Ay--write that Edie Ochiltree, the Blue-Gown, stands up for the
prerogative--(see that ye spell that word right--it's a lang ane)--for
the prerogative of the subjects of the land, and winna answer a single
word that sall be asked at him this day, unless he sees a reason fort.
Put down that, young man."

"Then, Edie," said the magistrate, "since you will give no information on
the subject, I must send you back to prison till you shall be delivered
in due course of law."

"Aweel, sir, if it's Heaven's will and man's will, nae doubt I maun
submit," replied the mendicant. "I hae nae great objection to the prison,
only that a body canna win out o't; and if it wad please you as weel,
Bailie, I wad gie you my word to appear afore the Lords at the Circuit,
or in ony other coart ye like, on ony day ye are pleased to appoint."

"I rather think, my good friend," answered Bailie Littlejohn, "your word
might be a slender security where your neck may be in some danger. I am
apt to think you would suffer the pledge to be forfeited. If you could
give me sufficient security, indeed"--

At this moment the Antiquary and Captain M'Intyre entered the apartment.
--"Good morning to you, gentlemen," said the magistrate; "you find me
toiling in my usual vocation--looking after the iniquities of the people
--labouring for the _respublica,_ Mr. Oldbuck--serving the King our
master, Captain M'Intyre,--for I suppose you know I have taken up the
sword?"

"It is one of the emblems of justice, doubtless," answered the
Antiquary;--"but I should have thought the scales would have suited you
better, Bailie, especially as you have them ready in the warehouse."

"Very good, Monkbarns--excellent! But I do not take the sword up as
justice, but as a soldier--indeed I should rather say the musket and
bayonet--there they stand at the elbow of my gouty chair, for I am scarce
fit for drill yet--a slight touch of our old acquaintance _podagra;_ I
can keep my feet, however, while our sergeant puts me through the manual.
I should like to know, Captain M'Intyre, if he follows the regulations
correctly--he brings us but awkwardly to the _present._" And he hobbled
towards his weapon to illustrate his doubts and display his proficiency.

"I rejoice we have such zealous defenders, Bailie," replied Mr. Oldbuck;
"and I dare say Hector will gratify you by communicating his opinion on
your progress in this new calling. Why, you rival the Hecate' of the
ancients, my good sir--a merchant on the Mart, a magistrate in the
Townhouse, a soldier on the Links--_quid non pro patria?_ But my business
is with the justice; so let commerce and war go slumber."

"Well, my good sir," said the Bailie, "and what commands have you for
me?"

"Why, here's an old acquaintance of mine, called Edie Ochiltree, whom
some of your myrmidons have mewed up in jail on account of an alleged
assault on that fellow Dousterswivel, of whose accusation I do not
believe one word."

The magistrate here assumed a very grave countenance. "You ought to have
been informed that he is accused of robbery, as well as assault--a very
serious matter indeed; it is not often such criminals come under my
cognizance."

"And," replied Oldbuck, "you are tenacious of the opportunity of making
the very most of such as occur. But is this poor old man's case really so
very bad?"

"It is rather out of rule," said the Bailie--"but as you are in the
commission, Monkbarns, I have no hesitation to show you Dousterswivel's
declaration, and the rest of the precognition." And he put the papers
into the Antiquary's hands, who assumed his spectacles, and sat down in a
corner to peruse them.

The officers, in the meantime, had directions to remove their prisoner
into another apartment; but before they could do so, M'Intyre took an
opportunity to greet old Edie, and to slip a guinea into his hand.

"Lord bless your honour!" said the old man; "it's a young soldier's gift,
and it should surely thrive wi' an auld ane. I'se no refuse it, though
it's beyond my rules; for if they steek me up here, my friends are like
eneugh to forget me--out o'sight out o'mind, is a true proverb; and it
wadna be creditable for me, that am the king's bedesman, and entitled to
beg by word of mouth, to be fishing for bawbees out at the jail window
wi' the fit o' a stocking, and a string." As he made this observation he
was conducted out of the apartment.

Mr. Dousterswivel's declaration contained an exaggerated account of the
violence he had sustained, and also of his loss.

"But what I should have liked to have asked him," said Monkbarns, "would
have been his purpose in frequenting the ruins of St. Ruth, so lonely a
place, at such an hour, and with such a companion as Edie Ochiltree.
There is no road lies that way, and I do not conceive a mere passion for
the picturesque would carry the German thither in such a night of storm
and wind. Depend upon it, he has been about some roguery, and in all
probability hath been caught in a trap of his own setting--_Nec lex
justitior ulla._"

The magistrate allowed there was something mysterious in that
circumstance, and apologized for not pressing Dousterswivel, as his
declaration was voluntarily emitted. But for the support of the main
charge, he showed the declaration of the Aikwoods concerning the state in
which Dousterswivel was found, and establishing the important fact that
the mendicant had left the barn in which he was quartered, and did not
return to it again. Two people belonging to the Fairport undertaker, who
had that night been employed in attending the funeral of Lady Glenallan,
had also given declarations, that, being sent to pursue two suspicious
persons who left the ruins of St. Ruth as the funeral approached, and
who, it was supposed, might have been pillaging some of the ornaments
prepared for the ceremony, they had lost and regained sight of them more
than once, owing to the nature of the ground, which was unfavourable for
riding, but had at length fairly lodged them both in Mucklebackit's
cottage. And one of the men added, that "he, the declarant, having
dismounted from his horse, and gone close up to the window of the hut, he
saw the old Blue-Gown and young Steenie Mucklebackit, with others, eating
and drinking in the inside, and also observed the said Steenie
Mucklebackit show a pocket-book to the others;--and declarant has no
doubt that Ochiltree and Steenie Mucklebackit were the persons whom he
and his comrade had pursued, as above mentioned." And being interrogated
why he did not enter the said cottage, declares, "he had no warrant so to
do; and that as Mucklebackit and his family were understood to be
rough-handed folk, he, the declarant, had no desire to meddle or make
with their affairs, _Causa scientiae patet._ All which he declares to be
truth," etc.

"What do you say to that body of evidence against your friend?" said the
magistrate, when he had observed the Antiquary had turned the last leaf.

"Why, were it in the case of any other person, I own I should say it
looked, _prima facie,_ a little ugly; but I cannot allow anybody to be in
the wrong for beating Dousterswivel--Had I been an hour younger, or had
but one single flash of your warlike genius, Bailie, I should have done
it myself long ago. He is _nebulo nebulonum,_ an impudent, fraudulent,
mendacious quack, that has cost me a hundred pounds by his roguery, and
my neighbour Sir Arthur, God knows how much. And besides, Bailie, I do
not hold him to be a sound friend to Government."

"Indeed?" said Bailie Littlejohn; "if I thought that, it would alter the
question considerably."

"Right--for, in beating him," observed Oldbuck, "the bedesman must have
shown his gratitude to the king by thumping his enemy; and in robbing
him, he would only have plundered an Egyptian, whose wealth it is lawful
to spoil. Now, suppose this interview in the ruins of St. Ruth had
relation to politics,--and this story of hidden treasure, and so forth,
was a bribe from the other side of the water for some great man, or the
funds destined to maintain a seditious club?"

"My dear sir," said the magistrate, catching at the idea, "you hit my
very thoughts! How fortunate should I be if I could become the humble
means of sifting such a matter to the bottom!--Don't you think we had
better call out the volunteers, and put them on duty?"

"Not just yet, while _podagra_ deprives them of an essential member of
their body. But will you let me examine Ochiltree?"

"Certainly; but you'll make nothing of him. He gave me distinctly to
understand he knew the danger of a judicial declaration on the part of an
accused person, which, to say the truth, has hanged many an honester man
than he is."

"Well, but, Bailie," continued Oldbuck, "you have no objection to let me
try him?"

"None in the world, Monkbarns. I hear the sergeant below--I'll rehearse
the manual in the meanwhile. Baby, carry my gun and bayonet down to the
room below--it makes less noise there when we ground arms." And so exit
the martial magistrate, with his maid behind him bearing his weapons.

"A good squire that wench for a gouty champion," observed Oldbuck.--
"Hector, my lad, hook on, hook on--Go with him, boy--keep him employed,
man, for half-an-hour or so--butter him with some warlike terms--praise
his dress and address."

Captain M'Intyre, who, like many of his profession, looked down with
infinite scorn on those citizen soldiers who had assumed arms without any
professional title to bear them, rose with great reluctance, observing
that he should not know what to say to Mr. Littlejohn; and that to see an
old gouty shop-keeper attempting the exercise and duties of a private
soldier, was really too ridiculous.

"It may be so, Hector," said the Antiquary, who seldom agreed with any
person in the immediate proposition which was laid down--"it may possibly
be so in this and some other instances; but at present the country
resembles the suitors in a small-debt court, where parties plead in
person, for lack of cash to retain the professed heroes of the bar. I am
sure in the one case we never regret the want of the acuteness and
eloquence of the lawyers; and so, I hope, in the other, we may manage to
make shift with our hearts and muskets, though we shall lack some of the
discipline of you martinets."

"I have no objection, I am sure, sir, that the whole world should fight
if they please, if they will but allow me to be quiet," said Hector,
rising with dogged reluctance.

"Yes, you are a very quiet personage indeed," said his uncle, "whose
ardour for quarrelling cannot pass so much as a poor _phoca_ sleeping
upon the beach!"

But Hector, who saw which way the conversation was tending, and hated all
allusions to the foil he had sustained from the fish, made his escape
before the Antiquary concluded the sentence.





CHAPTER SEVENTEENTH.

            Well, well, at worst, 'tis neither theft nor coinage,
             Granting I knew all that you charge me with.
            What though the tomb hath borne a second birth,
             And given the wealth to one that knew not on't,
                     Yet fair exchange was never robbery,
                         Far less pure bounty--
                                          Old Play.

The Antiquary, in order to avail himself of the permission given him to
question the accused party, chose rather to go to the apartment in which
Ochiltree was detained, than to make the examination appear formal by
bringing him again into the magistrate's office. He found the old man
seated by a window which looked out on the sea; and as he gazed on that
prospect, large tears found their way, as if unconsciously, to his eye,
and from thence trickled down his cheeks and white beard. His features
were, nevertheless, calm and composed, and his whole posture and mien
indicated patience and resignation. Oldbuck had approached him without
being observed, and roused him out of his musing by saying kindly, "I am
sorry, Edie, to see you so much cast down about this matter."

The mendicant started, dried his eyes very hastily with the sleeve of his
gown, and endeavouring to recover his usual tone of indifference and
jocularity, answered, but with a voice more tremulous than usual, "I
might weel hae judged, Monkbarns, it was you, or the like o' you, was
coming in to disturb me--for it's ae great advantage o' prisons and
courts o' justice, that ye may greet your een out an ye like, and nane o'
the folk that's concerned about them will ever ask you what it's for."

"Well, Edie," replied Oldbuck, "I hope your present cause of distress is
not so bad but it may be removed."

"And I had hoped, Monkbarns," answered the mendicant, in a tone of
reproach, "that ye had ken'd me better than to think that this bit
trifling trouble o' my ain wad bring tears into my auld een, that hae
seen far different kind o' distress.--Na, na!--But here's been the puir
lass, Caxon's daughter, seeking comfort, and has gotten unco little--
there's been nae speerings o' Taffril's gunbrig since the last gale; and
folk report on the key that a king's ship had struck on the Reef of
Rattray, and a' hands lost--God forbid! for as sure as you live,
Monkbarns, the puir lad Lovel, that ye liked sae weel, must have
perished."

"God forbid indeed!" echoed the Antiquary, turning pale--"I would rather
Monkbarns House were on fire. My poor dear friend and coadjutor! I will
down to the quay instantly."

"I'm sure yell learn naething mair than I hae tauld ye, sir," said
Ochiltree, "for the officer-folk here were very civil (that is, for the
like o' them), and lookit up ae their letters and authorities, and could
throw nae light on't either ae way or another."

"It can't be true! it shall not be true!" said the Antiquary, "And I
won't believe it if it were!--Taffril's an excellent sea man, and Lovel
(my poor Lovel!) has all the qualities of a safe and pleasant companion
by land or by sea--one, Edie, whom, from the ingenuousness of his
disposition, I would choose, did I ever go a sea-voyage (which I never
do, unless across the ferry), _fragilem mecum solvere phaselum,_ to be
the companion of my risk, as one against whom the elements could nourish
no vengeance. No, Edie, it is not, and cannot be true--it is a fiction of
the idle jade Rumour, whom I wish hanged with her trumpet about her neck,
that serves only with its screech-owl tones to fright honest folks out of
their senses.--Let me know how you got into this scrape of your own."

"Are ye axing me as a magistrate, Monkbarns, or is it just for your ain
satisfaction!"

"For my own satisfaction solely," replied the Antiquaxy.

"Put up your pocket-book and your keelyvine pen then, for I downa speak
out an ye hae writing materials in your hands--they're a scaur to
unlearned folk like me--Od, ane o' the clerks in the neist room will
clink down, in black and white, as muckle as wad hang a man, before ane
kens what he's saying."

Monkbarns complied with the old man's humour, and put up his
memorandum-book.

Edie then went with great frankness through the part of the story already
known to the reader, informing the Antiquary of the scene which he had
witnessed between Dousterswivel and his patron in the ruins of St. Ruth,
and frankly confessing that he could not resist the opportunity of
decoying the adept once more to visit the tomb of Misticot, with the
purpose of taking a comic revenge upon him for his quackery. He had
easily persuaded Steenie, who was a bold thoughtless young fellow, to
engage in the frolic along with him, and the jest had been inadvertently
carried a great deal farther than was designed. Concerning the
pocket-book, he explained that he had expressed his surprise and sorrow
as soon as he found it had been inadvertently brought off: and that
publicly, before all the inmates of the cottage, Steenie had undertaken
to return it the next day, and had only been prevented by his untimely
fate.

The Antiquary pondered a moment, and then said, "Your account seems very
probable, Edie, and I believe it from what I know of the parties. But I
think it likely that you know a great deal more than you have thought it
proper to tell me, about this matter of the treasure trove--I suspect you
have acted the part of the Lar Familiaris in Plautus--a sort of Brownie,
Edie, to speak to your comprehension, who watched over hidden treasures.
--I do bethink me you were ten Sir Arthur made his successful attack upon
Misticot's grave, and also that when the labourers began to flag, you,
Edie, were again the first to leap into the trench, and to make the
discovery of the treasure. Now you must explain an this to me, unless you
would have me use you as ill as Euclio does Staphyla in the _Aulularia._"

"Lordsake, sir," replied the mendicant, "what do I ken about your
Howlowlaria?--it's mair like a dog's language than a man's."

"You knew, however, of the box of treasure being there?" continued
Oldbuck.

"Dear sir," answered Edie, assuming a countenance of great simplicity,
"what likelihood is there o'that? d'ye think sae puir an auld creature as
me wad hae kend o' sic a like thing without getting some gude out o't?--
and ye wot weel I sought nane and gat nane, like Michael Scott's man.
What concern could I hae wi't?"

"That's just what I want you to explain to me," said Oldbuck; "for I am
positive you knew it was there."

"Your honour's a positive man, Monkbarns--and, for a positive man, I must
needs allow ye're often in the right."

"You allow, then, Edie, that my belief is well founded?"

Edie nodded acquiescence.

"Then please to explain to me the whole affair from beginning to end,"
said the Antiquary.

"If it were a secret o' mine, Monkbarns," replied the beggar, "ye suldna
ask twice; for I hae aye said ahint your back, that for a' the nonsense
maggots that ye whiles take into your head, ye are the maist wise and
discreet o' a' our country gentles. But I'se een be open-hearted wi' you,
and tell you that this is a friend's secret, and that they suld draw me
wi' wild horses, or saw me asunder, as they did the children of Ammon,
sooner than I would speak a word mair about the matter, excepting this,
that there was nae ill intended, but muckle gude, and that the purpose
was to serve them that are worth twenty hundred o' me. But there's nae
law, I trow, that makes it a sin to ken where ither folles siller is, if
we didna pit hand til't oursell?"

Oldbuck walked once or twice up and down the room in profound thought,
endeavouring to find some plausible reason for transactions of a nature
so mysterious--but his ingenuity was totally at fault. He then placed
himself before the prisoner.

"This story of yours, friend Edie, is an absolute enigma, and would
require a second OEdipus to solve it--who OEdipus was, I will tell you
some other time if you remind me--However, whether it be owing to the
wisdom or to the maggots with which you compliment me, I am strongly
disposed to believe that you have spoken the truth, the rather that you
have not made any of those obtestations of the superior powers, which I
observe you and your comrades always make use of when you mean to deceive
folks." (Here Edie could not suppress a smile.) "If, therefore, you will
answer me one question, I will endeavour to procure your liberation."

"If ye'll let me hear the question," said Edie, with the caution of a
canny Scotchman, "I'll tell you whether I'll answer it or no."

"It is simply," said the Antiquary, "Did Dousterswivel know anything
about the concealment of the chest of bullion?"

"He, the ill-fa'ard loon!" answered Edie, with much frankness of manner--
"there wad hae been little speerings o't had Dustansnivel ken'd it was
there--it wad hae been butter in the black dog's hause."

"I thought as much," said Oldbuck. "Well, Edie, if I procure your
freedom, you must keep your day, and appear to clear me of the bail-bond,
for these are not times for prudent men to incur forfeitures, unless you
can point out another _Aulam auri plenam quadrilibrem_--another _Search,
No. I._"

"Ah!" said the beggar, shaking his head, "I doubt the bird's flown that
laid thae golden eggs--for I winna ca' her goose, though that's the gait
it stands in the story-buick--But I'll keep my day, Monkbarns; ye'se no
loss a penny by me--And troth I wad fain be out again, now the weather's
fine--and then I hae the best chance o' hearing the first news o' my
friends."

"Well, Edie, as the bouncing and thumping beneath has somewhat ceased, I
presume Bailie Littlejohn has dismissed his military preceptor, and has
retired from the labours of Mars to those of Themis--I will have some
conversation with him--But I cannot and will not believe any of those
wretched news you were telling me."

"God send your honour may be right!" said the mendicant, as Oldbuck left
the room.

The Antiquary found the magistrate, exhausted with the fatigues of the
drill, reposing in his gouty chair, humming the air, "How merrily we live
that soldiers be!" and between each bar comforting himself with a
spoonful of mock-turtle soup. He ordered a similar refreshment for
Oldbuck, who declined it, observing, that, not being a military man, he
did not feel inclined to break his habit of keeping regular hours for
meals--"Soldiers like you, Bailie, must snatch their food as they find
means and time. But I am sorry to hear ill news of young Taffril's brig."

"Ah, poor fellow!" said the bailie, "he was a credit to the town--much
distinguished on the first of June."

"But," said Oldbuck, "I am shocked to hear you talk of him in the
preterite tense."

"Troth, I fear there may be too much reason for it, Monkbarns;--and yet
let us hope the best. The accident is said to have happened in the
Rattray reef of rocks, about twenty miles to the northward, near
Dirtenalan Bay--I have sent to inquire about it--and your nephew run out
himself as if he had been flying to get the Gazette of a victory."

Here Hector entered, exclaiming as he came in, "I believe it's all a
damned lie--I can't find the least authority for it, but general rumour."

"And pray, Mr. Hector," said his uncle, "if it had been true, whose fault
would it have been that Lovel was on board?"

"Not mine, I am sure," answered Hector; "it would have been only my
misfortune."

"Indeed!" said his uncle, "I should not have thought of that."

"Why, sir, with all your inclination to find me in the wrong," replied
the young soldier, "I suppose you will own my intention was not to blame
in this case. I did my best to hit Lovel, and if I had been successful,
'tis clear my scrape would have been his, and his scrape would have been
mine."

"And whom or what do you intend to hit now, that you are lugging with you
that leathern magazine there, marked Gunpowder?"

"I must be prepared for Lord Glenallan's moors on the twelfth, sir," said
M'Intyre.

"Ah, Hector! thy great _chasse,_ as the French call it, would take place
best--

                   Omne cum Proteus pecus egit altos
                            Visere montes--

Could you meet but with a martial _phoca,_ instead of an unwarlike
heath-bird."

"The devil take the seal, sir, or _phoca,_ if you choose to call it so!
It's rather hard one can never hear the end of a little piece of folly
like that."

"Well, well," said Oldbuck, "I am glad you have the grace to be ashamed
of it--as I detest the whole race of Nimrods, I wish them all as well
matched. Nay, never start off at a jest, man--I have done with the
_phoca_--though, I dare say, the Bailie could tell us the value of
seal-skins just now."

"They are up," said the magistrate, "they are well up--the fishing has
been unsuccessful lately."

"We can bear witness to that," said the tormenting Antiquary, who was
delighted with the hank this incident had given him over the young
sportsman: One word more, Hector, and

              We'll hang a seal-skin on thy recreant limbs.

Aha, my boy! Come, never mind it; I must go to business.--Bailie, a word
with you: you must take bail--moderate bail, you understand--for old
Ochiltree's appearance."

"You don't consider what you ask," said the Bailie; "the offence is
assault and robbery."

"Hush! not a word about it," said the Antiquary. "I gave you a hint
before--I will possess you more fully hereafter--I promise you, there is
a secret."

"But, Mr. Oldbuck, if the state is concerned, I, who do the whole
drudgery business here, really have a title to be consulted, and until I
am"--

"Hush! hush!" said the Antiquary, winking and putting his finger to his
nose,--"you shall have the full credit, the entire management, whenever
matters are ripe. But this is an obstinate old fellow, who will not hear
of two people being as yet let into his mystery, and he has not fully
acquainted me with the clew to Dousterswivel's devices."

"Aha! so we must tip that fellow the alien act, I suppose?"

"To say truth, I wish you would."

"Say no more," said the magistrate; "it shall forthwith be done--he shall
be removed _tanquam suspect_--I think that's one of your own phrases,
Monkbarns?"

"It is classical, Bailie--you improve."

"Why, public business has of late pressed upon me so much, that I have
been obliged to take my foreman into partnership. I have had two several
correspondences with the Under Secretary of State--one on the proposed
tax on Riga hemp-seed, and the other on putting down political societies.
So you might as well communicate to me as much as you know of this old
fellow's discovery of a plot against the state."

"I will, instantly, when I am master of it," replied Oldbuck---"I hate
the trouble of managing such matters myself. Remember, however, I did not
say decidedly a plot against the state I only say I hope to discover, by
this man's means, a foul plot."

"If it be a plot at all, there must be treason in it, or sedition at
least," said the Bailie--"Will you bail him for four hundred merks?"

"Four hundred merks for an old Blue-Gown! Think on the act 1701
regulating bail-bonds!--Strike off a cipher from the sum--I am content to
bail him for forty merks."

"Well, Mr. Oldbuck, everybody in Fairport is always willing to oblige
you--and besides, I know that you are a prudent man, and one that would
be as unwilling to lose forty, as four hundred merks. So I will accept
your bail, _meo periculo_--what say you to that law phrase again? I had
it from a learned counsel. I will vouch it, my lord, he said, _meo
periculo._"

"And I will vouch for Edie Ochiltree, _meo periculo,_ in like manner,"
said Oldbuck. "So let your clerk draw out the bail-bond, and I will sign
it."

When this ceremony had been performed, the Antiquary communicated to Edie
the joyful tidings that he was once more at liberty, and directed him to
make the best of his way to Monkbarns House, to which he himself returned
with his nephew, after having perfected their good work.





CHAPTER EIGHTEENTH.

                Full of wise saws and modern instances.
                                       As You Like It.

"I wish to Heaven, Hector," said the Antiquary, next morning after
breakfast, "you would spare our nerves, and not be keeping snapping that
arquebuss of yours."

"Well, sir, I'm sure I'm sorry to disturb you," said his nephew, still
handling his fowling-piece;--"but it's a capital gun--it's a Joe Manton,
that cost forty guineas."

"A fool and his money are soon parted, nephew--there is a Joe Miller for
your Joe Manton," answered the Antiquary; "I am glad you have so many
guineas to throw away."

"Every one has their fancy, uncle,--you are fond of books."

"Ay, Hector," said the uncle, "and if my collection were yours, you would
make it fly to the gunsmith, the horse-market, the dog-breaker,--
_Coemptos undique nobiles libros--mutare loricis Iberis._"

"I could not use your books, my dear uncle," said the young soldier,
"that's true; and you will do well to provide for their being in better
hands. But don't let the faults of my head fall on my heart--I would not
part with a Cordery that belonged to an old friend, to get a set of
horses like Lord Glenallan's."

"I don't think you would, lad--I don't think you would," said his
softening relative. "I love to tease you a little sometimes; it keeps up
the spirit of discipline and habit of subordination--You will pass your
time happily here having me to command you, instead of Captain, or
Colonel, or Knight in Arms,' as Milton has it; and instead of the
French," he continued, relapsing into his ironical humour, "you have the
_Gens humida ponti_--for, as Virgil says,

              Sternunt se somno diversae in littore phocae;

which might be rendered,

                   Here phocae slumber on the beach,
                  Within our Highland Hector's reach.

Nay, if you grow angry, I have done. Besides, I see old Edie in the
court-yard, with whom I have business. Good-bye, Hector--Do you remember
how she splashed into the sea like her master Proteus, _et se jactu dedit
aequor in altum_?"

M'Intyre,--waiting, however, till the door was shut,--then gave way to
the natural impatience of his temper.

"My uncle is the best man in the world, and in his way the kindest; but
rather than hear any more about that cursed _phoca,_ as he is pleased to
call it, I would exchange for the West Indies, and never see his face
again."

Miss M'Intyre, gratefully attached to her uncle, and passionately fond of
her brother, was, on such occasions, the usual envoy of reconciliation.
She hastened to meet her uncle on his return, before he entered the
parlour.

"Well, now, Miss Womankind, what is the meaning of that imploring
countenance?--has Juno done any more mischief?"

"No, uncle; but Juno's master is in such fear of your joking him about
the seal--I assure you, he feels it much more than you would wish;--it's
very silly of him, to be sure; but then you can turn everybody so sharply
into ridicule"--

"Well, my dear," answered Oldbuck, propitiated by the compliment, "I will
rein in my satire, and, if possible, speak no more of the _phoca_--I will
not even speak of sealing a letter, but say _umph,_ and give a nod to you
when I want the wax-light--I am not _monitoribus asper,_ but, Heaven
knows, the most mild, quiet, and easy of human beings, whom sister,
niece, and nephew, guide just as best pleases them."

With this little panegyric on his own docility, Mr. Oldbuck entered the
parlour, and proposed to his nephew a walk to the Mussel-crag. "I have
some questions to ask of a woman at Mucklebackit's cottage," he observed,
"and I would willingly have a sensible witness with me--so, for fault of
a better, Hector, I must be contented with you."

"There is old Edie, sir, or Caxon--could not they do better than me?"
answered M'Intyre, feeling somewhat alarmed at the prospect of a long
_tete-a-tete_ with his uncle.

"Upon my word, young man, you turn me over to pretty companions, and I am
quite sensible of your politeness," replied Mr. Oldbuck. "No, sir, I
intend the old Blue-Gown shall go with me--not as a competent witness,
for he is, at present, as our friend Bailie Littlejohn says (blessings on
his learning!) _tanquam suspectus,_ and you are _suspicione major,_ as
our law has it."

"I wish I were a major, sir," said Hector, catching only the last, and,
to a soldier's ear, the most impressive word in the sentence,--"but,
without money or interest, there is little chance of getting the step."

"Well, well, most doughty son of Priam," said the Antiquary, "be ruled by
your friends, and there's no saying what may happen--Come away with me,
and you shall see what may be useful to you should you ever sit upon a
court-martial, sir."

"I have been on many a regimental court-martial, sir," answered Captain
M'Intyre. "But here's a new cane for you."

"Much obliged, much obliged."

"I bought it from our drum-major," added M'Intyre, "who came into our
regiment from the Bengal army when it came down the Red Sea. It was cut
on the banks of the Indus, I assure you."

"Upon my word, 'tis a fine ratan, and well replaces that which the _ph_--
Bah! what was I going to say?"

The party, consisting of the Antiquary, his nephew, and the old beggar,
now took the sands towards Mussel-crag--the former in the very highest
mood of communicating information, and the others, under a sense of
former obligation, and some hope for future favours, decently attentive
to receive it. The uncle and nephew walked together, the mendicant about
a step and a half behind, just near enough for his patron to speak to him
by a slight inclination of his neck, and without the trouble of turning
round. (Petrie, in his Essay on Good-breeding, dedicated to the
magistrates of Edinburgh, recommends, upon his own experience, as tutor
in a family of distinction, this attitude to all led captains, tutors,
dependants, and bottle-holders of every description. ) Thus escorted, the
Antiquary moved along full of his learning, like a lordly man of war, and
every now and then yawing to starboard and larboard to discharge a
broadside upon his followers.

"And so it is your opinion," said he to the mendicant, "that this
windfall--this _arca auri,_ as Plautus has it, will not greatly avail Sir
Arthur in his necessities?"

"Unless he could find ten times as much," said the beggar, "and that I am
sair doubtful of;--I heard Puggie Orrock, and the tother thief of a
sheriff-officer, or messenger, speaking about it--and things are ill aff
when the like o' them can speak crousely about ony gentleman's affairs. I
doubt Sir Arthur will be in stane wa's for debt, unless there's swift
help and certain."

"You speak like a fool," said the Antiquary.--"Nephew, it is a remarkable
thing, that in this happy country no man can be legally imprisoned for
debt."

"Indeed, sir?" said M'Intyre; "I never knew that before--that part of our
law would suit some of our mess well."

"And if they arena confined for debt," said Ochiltree, "what is't that
tempts sae mony puir creatures to bide in the tolbooth o' Fairport
yonder?--they a' say they were put there by their creditors--Od! they
maun like it better than I do, if they're there o' free will."

"A very natural observation, Edie, and many of your betters would make
the same; but it is founded entirely upon ignorance of the feudal system.
Hector, be so good as to attend, unless you are looking out for another--
Ahem!" (Hector compelled himself to give attention at this hint. ) "And
you, Edie, it may be useful to you _reram cognoscere causas._ The nature
and origin of warrant for caption is a thing _haud alienum a Scaevolae
studiis._--You must know then, once more, that nobody can be arrested in
Scotland for debt."

"I haena muckle concern wi' that, Monkbarns," said the old man, "for
naebody wad trust a bodle to a gaberlunzie."

"I pr'ythee, peace, man--As a compulsitor, therefore, of payment, that
being a thing to which no debtor is naturally inclined, as I have too
much reason to warrant from the experience I have had with my own,--we
had first the letters of four forms, a sort of gentle invitation, by
which our sovereign lord the king, interesting himself, as a monarch
should, in the regulation of his subjects' private affairs, at first by
mild exhortation, and afterwards by letters of more strict enjoinment and
more hard compulsion--What do you see extraordinary about that bird,
Hector?--it's but a seamaw."

"It's a pictarnie, sir," said Edie.

"Well, what an if it were--what does that signify at present?--But I see
you're impatient; so I will waive the letters of four forms, and come to
the modern process of diligence.--You suppose, now, a man's committed to
prison because he cannot pay his debt? Quite otherwise: the truth is, the
king is so good as to interfere at the request of the creditor, and to
send the debtor his royal command to do him justice within a certain
time--fifteen days, or six, as the case may be. Well, the man resists and
disobeys: what follows? Why, that he be lawfully and rightfully declared
a rebel to our gracious sovereign, whose command he has disobeyed, and
that by three blasts of a horn at the market-place of Edinburgh, the
metropolis of Scotland. And he is then legally imprisoned, not on account
of any civil debt, but because of his ungrateful contempt of the royal
mandate. What say you to that, Hector?--there's something you never knew
before."*

* The doctrine of Monkbarns on the origin of imprisonment for civil debt
in Scotland, may appear somewhat whimsical, but was referred to, and
admitted to be correct, by the Bench of the Supreme Scottish Court, on
5th December 1828, in the case of Thom _v._ Black. In fact, the Scottish
law is in this particular more jealous of the personal liberty of the
subject than any other code in Europe.

"No, uncle; but, I own, if I wanted money to pay my debts, I would rather
thank the king to send me some, than to declare me a rebel for not doing
what I could not do."

"Your education has not led you to consider these things," replied his
uncle; "you are incapable of estimating the elegance of the legal
fiction, and the manner in which it reconciles that duress, which, for
the protection of commerce, it has been found necessary to extend towards
refractory debtors, with the most scrupulous attention to the liberty of
the subject."

"I don't know, sir," answered the unenlightened Hector; "but if a man
must pay his debt or go to jail, it signifies but little whether he goes
as a debtor or a rebel, I should think. But you say this command of the
king's gives a license of so many days--Now, egad, were I in the scrape,
I would beat a march and leave the king and the creditor to settle it
among themselves before they came to extremities."

"So wad I," said Edie; "I wad gie them leg-bail to a certainty."

"True," replied Monkbarns; "but those whom the law suspects of being
unwilling to abide her formal visit, she proceeds with by means of a
shorter and more unceremonious call, as dealing with persons on whom
patience and favour would be utterly thrown away."

"Ay," said Ochiltree, "that will be what they ca' the fugie-warrants--I
hae some skeel in them. There's Border-warrants too in the south country,
unco rash uncanny things;--I was taen up on ane at Saint James's Fair,
and keepit in the auld kirk at Kelso the haill day and night; and a cauld
goustie place it was, I'se assure ye.--But whatna wife's this, wi' her
creel on her back? It's puir Maggie hersell, I'm thinking."

It was so. The poor woman's sense of her loss, if not diminished, was
become at least mitigated by the inevitable necessity of attending to the
means of supporting her family; and her salutation to Oldbuck was made in
an odd mixture between the usual language of solicitation with which she
plied her customers, and the tone of lamentation for her recent calamity.

"How's a' wi' ye the day, Monkbarns? I havena had the grace yet to come
down to thank your honour for the credit ye did puir Steenie, wi' laying
his head in a rath grave, puir fallow. "--Here she whimpered and wiped
her eyes with the corner of her blue apron--"But the fishing comes on no
that ill, though the gudeman hasna had the heart to gang to sea himsell--
Atweel I would fain tell him it wad do him gude to put hand to wark--but
I'm maist fear'd to speak to him--and it's an unco thing to hear ane o'
us speak that gate o' a man--However, I hae some dainty caller haddies,
and they sall be but three shillings the dozen, for I hae nae pith to
drive a bargain ennow, and maun just tak what ony Christian body will
gie, wi' few words and nae flyting."

"What shall we do, Hector?" said Oldbuck, pausing: "I got into disgrace
with my womankind for making a bad bargain with her before. These
maritime animals, Hector, are unlucky to our family."

"Pooh, sir, what would you do?--give poor Maggie what she asks, or allow
me to send a dish of fish up to Monkbarns."

And he held out the money to her; but Maggie drew back her hand. "Na, na,
Captain; ye're ower young and ower free o' your siller--ye should never
tak a fish-wife's first bode; and troth I think maybe a flyte wi' the
auld housekeeper at Monkbarns, or Miss Grizel, would do me some gude--And
I want to see what that hellicate quean Jenny Ritherout's doing--folk
said she wasna weel--She'll be vexing hersell about Steenie, the silly
tawpie, as if he wad ever hae lookit ower his shouther at the like
o'her!--Weel, Monkbarns, they're braw caller haddies, and they'll bid me
unco little indeed at the house if ye want crappit-heads the day."

And so on she paced with her burden,--grief, gratitude for the sympathy
of her betters, and the habitual love of traffic and of gain, chasing
each other through her thoughts.

"And now that we are before the door of their hut," said Ochiltree, "I
wad fain ken, Monkbarns, what has gar'd ye plague yoursell wi' me a' this
length? I tell ye sincerely I hae nae pleasure in ganging in there. I
downa bide to think how the young hae fa'en on a' sides o' me, and left
me an useless auld stump wi' hardly a green leaf on't."

"This old woman," said Oldbuck, "sent you on a message to the Earl of
Glenallan, did she not?"

"Ay!" said the surprised mendicant; "how ken ye that sae weel?"

"Lord Glenallan told me himself," answered the Antiquary; "so there is no
delation--no breach of trust on your part; and as he wishes me to take
her evidence down on some important family matters, I chose to bring you
with me, because in her situation, hovering between dotage and
consciousness, it is possible that your voice and appearance may awaken
trains of recollection which I should otherwise have no means of
exciting. The human mind--what are you about, Hector?"

"I was only whistling for the dog, sir," replied the Captain "she always
roves too wide--I knew I should be troublesome to you."

"Not at all, not at all," said Oldbuck, resuming the subject of his
disquisition--"the human mind is to be treated like a skein of ravelled
silk, where you must cautiously secure one free end before you can make
any progress in disentangling it."

"I ken naething about that," said the gaberlunzie; "but an my auld
acquaintance be hersell, or anything like hersell, she may come to wind
us a pirn. It's fearsome baith to see and hear her when she wampishes
about her arms, and gets to her English, and speaks as if she were a
prent book, let a-be an auld fisher's wife. But, indeed, she had a grand
education, and was muckle taen out afore she married an unco bit beneath
hersell. She's aulder than me by half a score years--but I mind weel
eneugh they made as muckle wark about her making a half-merk marriage wi'
Simon Mucklebackit, this Saunders's father, as if she had been ane o' the
gentry. But she got into favour again, and then she lost it again, as I
hae heard her son say, when he was a muckle chield; and then they got
muckle siller, and left the Countess's land, and settled here. But things
never throve wi' them. Howsomever, she's a weel-educate woman, and an she
win to her English, as I hae heard her do at an orra time, she may come
to fickle us a'."





CHAPTER NINETEENTH

           Life ebbs from such old age, unmarked and silent,
           As the slow neap-tide leaves yon stranded galley.--
              Late she rocked merrily at the least impulse
              That wind or wave could give; but now her keel
              Is settling on the sand, her mast has ta'en
           An angle with the sky, from which it shifts not.
              Each wave receding shakes her less and less,
              Till, bedded on the strand, she shall remain
                               Useless as motionless.
                                                 Old Play.

As the Antiquary lifted the latch of the hut, he was surprised to hear
the shrill tremulous voice of Elspeth chanting forth an old ballad in a
wild and doleful recitative.

                "The herring loves the merry moonlight,
                     The mackerel loves the wind,
                But the oyster loves the dredging sang,
                     For they come of a gentle kind."

A diligent collector of these legendary scraps of ancient poetry, his
foot refused to cross the threshold when his ear was thus arrested, and
his hand instinctively took pencil and memorandum-book. From time to time
the old woman spoke as if to the children--"Oh ay, hinnies, whisht!
whisht! and I'll begin a bonnier ane than that--

                 "Now haud your tongue, baith wife and carle,
                      And listen, great and sma',
                  And I will sing of Glenallan's Earl
                     That fought on the red Harlaw.

                 "The cronach's cried on Bennachie,
                       And doun the Don and a',
                  And hieland and lawland may mournfu' be
                       For the sair field of Harlaw.--

I dinna mind the neist verse weel--my memory's failed, and theres unco
thoughts come ower me--God keep us frae temptation!"

Here her voice sunk in indistinct muttering.

"It's a historical ballad," said Oldbuck, eagerly, "a genuine and
undoubted fragment of minstrelsy! Percy would admire its simplicity--
Ritson could not impugn its authenticity."

"Ay, but it's a sad thing," said Ochiltree, "to see human nature sae far
owertaen as to be skirling at auld sangs on the back of a loss like
hers."

"Hush! hush!" said the Antiquary--"she has gotten the thread of the story
again. "--And as he spoke, she sung--

              "They saddled a hundred milk-white steeds,
                   They hae bridled a hundred black,
               With a chafron of steel on each horse's head,
                  And a good knight upon his back. "--

"Chafron!" exclaimed the Antiquary,--"equivalent, perhaps, to
_cheveron;_--the word's worth a dollar,"--and down it went in his red
book.

                  "They hadna ridden a mile, a mile,
                        A mile, but barely ten,
                   When Donald came branking down the brae
                       Wi' twenty thousand men.

                 "Their tartans they were waving wide,
                       Their glaives were glancing clear,
                  Their pibrochs rung frae side to side,
                       Would deafen ye to hear.

                 "The great Earl in his stirrups stood
                      That Highland host to see:
                  Now here a knight that's stout and good
                         May prove a jeopardie:

                 "What wouldst thou do, my squire so gay,
                       That rides beside my reyne,
                   Were ye Glenallan's Earl the day,
                       And I were Roland Cheyne?

                 "To turn the rein were sin and shame,
                       To fight were wondrous peril,
                 What would ye do now, Roland Cheyne,
                       Were ye Glenallan's Earl?'

Ye maun ken, hinnies, that this Roland Cheyne, for as poor and auld as I
sit in the chimney-neuk, was my forbear, and an awfu' man he was that
dayin the fight, but specially after the Earl had fa'en, for he blamed
himsell for the counsel he gave, to fight before Mar came up wi' Mearns,
and Aberdeen, and Angus."

Her voice rose and became more animated as she recited the warlike
counsel of her ancestor--

                  "Were I Glenallan's Earl this tide,
                      And ye were Roland Cheyne,
                  The spur should be in my horse's side,
                     And the bridle upon his mane.

                 "If they hae twenty thousand blades,
                       And we twice ten times ten,
                  Yet they hae but their tartan plaids,
                       And we are mail-clad men.

                 "My horse shall ride through ranks sae rude,
                      As through the moorland fern,
                 Then neer let the gentle Norman blude
                      Grow cauld for Highland kerne.'"

"Do you hear that, nephew?" said Oldbuck;--"you observe your Gaelic
ancestors were not held in high repute formerly by the Lowland warriors."

"I hear," said Hector, "a silly old woman sing a silly old song. I am
surprised, sir, that you, who will not listen to Ossian's songs of Selma,
can be pleased with such trash. I vow, I have not seen or heard a worse
halfpenny ballad; I don't believe you could match it in any pedlar's pack
in the country. I should be ashamed to think that the honour of the
Highlands could be affected by such doggrel. "--And, tossing up his head,
he snuffed the air indignantly.

Apparently the old woman heard the sound of their voices; for, ceasing
her song, she called out, "Come in, sirs, come in--good-will never halted
at the door-stane."

They entered, and found to their surprise Elspeth alone, sitting "ghastly
on the hearth," like the personification of Old Age in the Hunter's song
of the Owl,* "wrinkled, tattered, vile, dim-eyed, discoloured, torpid."

* See Mrs. Grant on the Highland Superstitions, vol. ii. p. 260, for this
fine translation from the Gaelic.

"They're a' out," she said, as they entered; "but an ye will sit a blink,
somebody will be in. If ye hae business wi' my gude-daughter, or my son,
they'll be in belyve,--I never speak on business mysell. Bairns, gie them
seats--the bairns are a' gane out, I trow,"--looking around her;--"I was
crooning to keep them quiet a wee while since; but they hae cruppen out
some gate. Sit down, sirs, they'll be in belyve;" and she dismissed her
spindle from her hand to twirl upon the floor, and soon seemed
exclusively occupied in regulating its motion, as unconscious of the
presence of the strangers as she appeared indifferent to their rank or
business there.

"I wish," said Oldbuck, "she would resume that canticle, or legendary
fragment. I always suspected there was a skirmish of cavalry before the
main battle of the Harlaw."*

* Note H. Battle of Harlaw.

"If your honour pleases," said Edie, "had ye not better proceed to the
business that brought us a' here? I'se engage to get ye the sang ony
time."

"I believe you are right, Edie--_Do manus_--I submit. But how shall we
manage? She sits there the very image of dotage. Speak to her, Edie--try
if you can make her recollect having sent you to Glenallan House."

Edie rose accordingly, and, crossing the floor, placed himself in the
same position which he had occupied during his former conversation with
her. "I'm fain to see ye looking sae weel, cummer; the mair, that the
black ox has tramped on ye since I was aneath your roof-tree."

"Ay," said Elspeth; but rather from a general idea of misfortune, than
any exact recollection of what had happened,--"there has been distress
amang us of late--I wonder how younger folk bide it--I bide it ill. I
canna hear the wind whistle, and the sea roar, but I think I see the
coble whombled keel up, and some o' them struggling in the waves!--Eh,
sirs; sic weary dreams as folk hae between sleeping and waking, before
they win to the lang sleep and the sound! I could amaist think whiles my
son, or else Steenie, my oe, was dead, and that I had seen the burial.
Isna that a queer dream for a daft auld carline? What for should ony o'
them dee before me?--it's out o' the course o' nature, ye ken."

"I think you'll make very little of this stupid old woman," said Hector,
--who still nourished, perhaps, some feelings of the dislike excited by
the disparaging mention of his countrymen in her lay--"I think you'll
make but little of her, sir; and it's wasting our time to sit here and
listen to her dotage."

"Hector," said the Antiquary, indignantly, "if you do not respect her
misfortunes, respect at least her old age and grey hairs: this is the
last stage of existence, so finely treated by the Latin poet--

                                --Omni
               Membrorum damno major dementia, quae neo
               Nomina, servorum, nec vultus agnoscit amici,
               Cum queis preterita coenavit nocte, nec illos
                            Quos genuit, quos ecluxit."

"That's Latin!" said Elspeth, rousing herself as if she attended to the
lines, which the Antiquary recited with great pomp of diction--"that's
Latin!" and she cast a wild glance around her--"Has there a priest fund
me out at last?"

"You see, nephew, her comprehension is almost equal to your own of that
fine passage."

"I hope you think, sir, that I knew it to be Latin as well as she did?"

"Why, as to that--But stay, she is about to speak."

"I will have no priest--none," said the beldam, with impotent vehemence;
"as I have lived I will die--none shall say that I betrayed my mistress,
though it were to save my soul!"

"That bespoke a foul conscience," said the mendicant;--"I wuss she wad
mak a clean breast, an it were but for her sake;" and he again assailed
her.

"Weel, gudewife, I did your errand to the Yerl."

"To what Earl? I ken nae Earl;--I ken'd a Countess ance--I wish to Heaven
I had never ken'd her! for by that acquaintance, neighbour, their cam,"--
and she counted her withered fingers as she spoke "first Pride, then
Malice, then Revenge, then False Witness; and Murder tirl'd at the
door-pin, if he camna ben. And werena thae pleasant guests, think ye, to
take up their quarters in ae woman's heart? I trow there was routh o'
company."

"But, cummer," continued the beggar, "it wasna the Countess of Glenallan
I meant, but her son, him that was Lord Geraldin."

"I mind it now," she said; "I saw him no that langsyne, and we had a
heavy speech thegither. Eh, sirs! the comely young lord is turned as auld
and frail as I am: it's muckle that sorrow and heartbreak, and crossing
of true love, will do wi' young blood. But suldna his mither hae lookit
to that hersell?--we were but to do her bidding, ye ken. I am sure
there's naebody can blame me--he wasna my son, and she was my mistress.
Ye ken how the rhyme says--I hae maist forgotten how to sing, or else the
tune's left my auld head--

                  "He turn'd him right and round again,
                       Said, Scorn na at my mither;
                   Light loves I may get mony a ane,
                       But minnie neer anither.

Then he was but of the half blude, ye ken, and her's was the right
Glenallan after a'. Na, na, I maun never maen doing and suffering for the
Countess Joscelin--never will I maen for that."

Then drawing her flax from the distaff, with the dogged air of one who is
resolved to confess nothing, she resumed her interrupted occupation.

"I hae heard," said the mendicant, taking his cue from what Oldbuck had
told him of the family history--"I hae heard, cummer, that some ill
tongue suld hae come between the Earl, that's Lord Geraldin, and his
young bride."

"Ill tongue?" she said in hasty alarm; "and what had she to fear frae an
ill tongue?--she was gude and fair eneugh--at least a' body said sae. But
had she keepit her ain tongue aff ither folk, she might hae been living
like a leddy for a' that's come and gane yet."

"But I hae heard say, gudewife," continued Ochiltree, "there was a
clatter in the country, that her husband and her were ower sibb when they
married."

"Wha durst speak o' that?" said the old woman hastily; "wha durst say
they were married?--wha ken'd o' that?--Not the Countess--not I. If they
wedded in secret, they were severed in secret--They drank of the
fountains of their ain deceit."

"No, wretched beldam!" exclaimed Oldbuck, who could keep silence no
longer, "they drank the poison that you and your wicked mistress prepared
for them."

"Ha, ha!" she replied, "I aye thought it would come to this. It's but
sitting silent when they examine me--there's nae torture in our days; and
if there is, let them rend me!--It's ill o' the vassal's mouth that
betrays the bread it eats."

"Speak to her, Edie," said the Antiquary; "she knows your voice, and
answers to it most readily."

"We shall mak naething mair out o' her," said Ochiltree. "When she has
clinkit hersell down that way, and faulded her arms, she winna speak a
word, they say, for weeks thegither. And besides, to my thinking, her
face is sair changed since we cam in. However, I'se try her ance mair to
satisfy your honour.--So ye canna keep in mind, cummer, that your auld
mistress, the Countess Joscelin, has been removed?"

"Removed!" she exclaimed; for that name never failed to produce its usual
effect upon her; "then we maun a' follow--a' maun ride when she is in the
saddle. Tell them to let Lord Geraldin ken we're on before them. Bring my
hood and scarf--ye wadna hae me gang in the carriage wi' my leddy, and my
hair in this fashion?"

She raised her shrivelled arms, and seemed busied like a woman who puts
on her cloak to go abroad, then dropped them slowly and stiffly; and the
same idea of a journey still floating apparently through her head, she
proceeded, in a hurried and interrupted manner,--"Call Miss Neville--What
do you mean by Lady Geraldin? I said Eveline Neville, not Lady Geraldin--
there's no Lady Geraldin; tell her that, and bid her change her wet gown,
and no' look sae pale. Bairn! what should she do wi' a bairn?--maidens
hae nane, I trow.--Teresa--Teresa--my lady calls us!--Bring a candle;--
the grand staircase is as mirk as a Yule midnight--We are coming, my
lady!"--With these words she sunk back on the settle, and from thence
sidelong to the floor. *

* Note I. Elspeth's death.

 Edie ran to support her, but hardly got her in his arms, before he said,
"It's a' ower--she has passed away even with that last word."

"Impossible," said Oldbuck, hastily advancing, as did his nephew. But
nothing was more certain. She had expired with the last hurried word that
left her lips; and all that remained before them were the mortal relics
of the creature who had so long struggled with an internal sense of
concealed guilt, joined to all the distresses of age and poverty.

"God grant that she be gane to a better place!" said Edie, as he looked
on the lifeless body; "but oh! there was something lying hard and heavy
at her heart. I have seen mony a ane dee, baith in the field o' battle,
and a fair-strae death at hame; but I wad rather see them a' ower again,
as sic a fearfu' flitting as hers!"

"We must call in the neighbours," said Oldbuck, when he had somewhat
recovered his horror and astonishment, "and give warning of this
additional calamity. I wish she could have been brought to a confession.
And, though of far less consequence, I could have wished to transcribe
that metrical fragment. But Heaven's will must be done!"

They left the hut accordingly, and gave the alarm in the hamlet, whose
matrons instantly assembled to compose the limbs and arrange the body of
her who might be considered as the mother of their settlement. Oldbuck
promised his assistance for the funeral.

"Your honour," said Alison Breck, who was next in age to the deceased,
"suld send doun something to us for keeping up our hearts at the
lykewake, for a' Saunders's gin, puir man, was drucken out at the burial
o' Steenie, and we'll no get mony to sit dry-lipped aside the corpse.
Elspeth was unco clever in her young days, as I can mind right weel, but
there was aye a word o' her no being that chancy. Ane suldna speak ill o'
the dead--mair by token, o' ane's cummer and neighbour--but there was
queer things said about a leddy and a bairn or she left the
Craigburnfoot. And sae, in gude troth, it will be a puir lykewake, unless
your honour sends us something to keep us cracking."

"You shall have some whisky," answered Oldbuck, "the rather that you have
preserved the proper word for that ancient custom of watching the dead.--
You observe, Hector, this is genuine Teutonic, from the Gothic
_Leichnam,_ a corpse. It is quite erroneously called _Late-wake,_ though
Brand favours that modern corruption and derivation."

"I believe," said Hector to himself, "my uncle would give away Monkbarns
to any one who would come to ask it in genuine Teutonic! Not a drop of
whisky would the old creatures have got, had their president asked it for
the use of the _Late-wake._"

While Oldbuck was giving some farther directions, and promising
assistance, a servant of Sir Arthur's came riding very hard along the
sands, and stopped his horse when he saw the Antiquary. "There had
something," he said, "very particular happened at the Castle"--(he could
not, or would not, explain what)--"and Miss Wardour had sent him off
express to Monkbarns, to beg that Mr. Oldbuck would come to them without
a moment's delay."

"I am afraid," said the Antiquary, "his course also is drawing to a
close. What can I do?"

"Do, sir?" exclaimed Hector, with his characteristic impatience,--"get on
the horse, and turn his head homeward--you will be at Knockwinnock Castle
in ten minutes."

"He is quite a free goer," said the servant, dismounting to adjust the
girths and stirrups,--"he only pulls a little if he feels a dead weight
on him."

"I should soon be a dead weight _off_ him, my friend," said the
Antiquary.--"What the devil, nephew, are you weary of me? or do you
suppose me weary of my life, that I should get on the back of such a
Bucephalus as that? No, no, my friend, if I am to be at Knockwinnock
to-day, it must be by walking quietly forward on my own feet, which I
will do with as little delay as possible. Captain M'Intyre may ride that
animal himself, if he pleases."

"I have little hope I could be of any use, uncle, but I cannot think of
their distress without wishing to show sympathy at least--so I will ride
on before, and announce to them that you are coming.--I'll trouble you
for your spurs, my friend."

"You will scarce need them, sir," said the man, taking them off at the
same time, and buckling them upon Captain Mlntyre's heels, "he's very
frank to the road."

Oldbuck stood astonished at this last act of temerity, "are you mad,
Hector?" he cried, "or have you forgotten what is said by Quintus
Curtius, with whom, as a soldier, you must needs be familiar,--_Nobilis
equus umbra quidem virgae regitur; ignavus ne calcari quidem excitari
potest;_ which plainly shows that spurs are useless in every case, and, I
may add, dangerous in most."

But Hector, who cared little for the opinion of either Quintus Curtius or
of the Antiquary, upon such a topic, only answered with a heedless "Never
fear--never fear, sir."

              With that he gave his able horse the head,
              And, bending forward, struck his armed heels
              Against the panting sides of his poor jade,
                Up to the rowel-head; and starting so,
                He seemed in running to devour the way,
                      Staying no longer question.

"There they go, well matched," said Oldbuck, looking after them as they
started--"a mad horse and a wild boy, the two most unruly creatures in
Christendom! and all to get half an hour sooner to a place where nobody
wants him; for I doubt Sir Arthur's griefs are beyond the cure of our
light horseman. It must be the villany of Dousterswivel, for whom Sir
Arthur has done so much; for I cannot help observing, that, with some
natures, Tacitus's maxim holdeth good: _Beneficia eo usque laeta sunt dum
videntur exsolvi posse; ubi multum antevenere, pro gratia odium
redditur,_--from which a wise man might take a caution, not to oblige any
man beyond the degree in which he may expect to be requited, lest he
should make his debtor a bankrupt in gratitude."

Murmuring to himself such scraps of cynical philosophy, our Antiquary
paced the sands towards Knockwinnock; but it is necessary we should
outstrip him, for the purpose of explaining the reasons of his being so
anxiously summoned thither.





CHAPTER TWENTIETH.


             So, while the Goose, of whom the fable told,
                Incumbent, brooded o'er her eggs of gold,
             With hand outstretched, impatient to destroy,
                Stole on her secret nest the cruel Boy,
             Whose gripe rapacious changed her splendid dream,
            --For wings vain fluttering, and for dying scream.
                                   The Loves of the Sea-weeds.

From the time that Sir Arthur Wardour had become possessor of the
treasure found in Misticot's grave, he had been in a state of mind more
resembling ecstasy than sober sense. Indeed, at one time his daughter had
become seriously apprehensive for his intellect; for, as he had no doubt
that he had the secret of possessing himself of wealth to an unbounded
extent, his language and carriage were those of a man who had acquired
the philosopher's stone. He talked of buying contiguous estates, that
would have led him from one side of the island to the other, as if he
were determined to brook no neighbour save the sea. He corresponded with
an architect of eminence, upon a plan of renovating the castle of his
forefathers on a style of extended magnificence that might have rivalled
that of Windsor, and laying out the grounds on a suitable scale. Troops
of liveried menials were already, in fancy, marshalled in his halls, and
--for what may not unbounded wealth authorize its possessor to aspire
to?--the coronet of a marquis, perhaps of a duke, was glittering before
his imagination. His daughter--to what matches might she not look
forward? Even an alliance with the blood-royal was not beyond the sphere
of his hopes. His son was already a general--and he himself whatever
ambition could dream of in its wildest visions.

In this mood, if any one endeavoured to bring Sir Arthur down to the
regions of common life, his replies were in the vein of Ancient Pistol--

                   A fico for the world, and worldlings base
                   I speak of Africa and golden joys!

The reader may conceive the amazement of Miss Wardour, when, instead of
undergoing an investigation concerning the addresses of Lovel, as she had
expected from the long conference of her father with Mr. Oldbuck, upon
the morning of the fated day when the treasure was discovered, the
conversation of Sir Arthur announced an imagination heated with the hopes
of possessing the most unbounded wealth. But she was seriously alarmed
when Dousterswivel was sent for to the Castle, and was closeted with her
father--his mishap condoled with--his part taken, and his loss
compensated. All the suspicions which she had long entertained respecting
this man became strengthened, by observing his pains to keep up the
golden dreams of her father, and to secure for himself, under various
pretexts, as much as possible out of the windfall which had so strangely
fallen to Sir Arthur's share.

Other evil symptoms began to appear, following close on each other.
Letters arrived every post, which Sir Arthur, as soon as he had looked at
the directions, flung into the fire without taking the trouble to open
them. Miss Wardour could not help suspecting that these epistles, the
contents of which seemed to be known to her father by a sort of
intuition, came from pressing creditors. In the meanwhile, the temporary
aid which he had received from the treasure dwindled fast away. By far
the greater part had been swallowed up by the necessity of paying the
bill of six hundred pounds, which had threatened Sir Arthur with instant
distress. Of the rest, some part was given to the adept, some wasted upon
extravagances which seemed to the poor knight fully authorized by his
full-blown hopes,--and some went to stop for a time the mouths of such
claimants as, being weary of fair promises, had become of opinion with
Harpagon, that it was necessary to touch something substantial. At length
circumstances announced but too plainly, that it was all expended within
two or three days after its discovery; and there appeared no prospect of
a supply. Sir Arthur, naturally impatient, now taxed Dousterswivel anew
with breach of those promises through which he had hoped to convert all
his lead into gold. But that worthy gentleman's turn was now served; and
as he had grace enough to wish to avoid witnessing the fall of the house
which he had undermined, he was at the trouble of bestowing a few learned
terms of art upon Sir Arthur, that at least he might not be tormented
before his time. He took leave of him, with assurances that he would
return to Knockwinnock the next morning, with such information as would
not fail to relieve Sir Arthur from all his distresses.

"For, since I have consulted in such matters, I ave never," said Mr.
Herman Dousterswivel, "approached so near de _arcanum,_ what you call de
great mystery,--de Panchresta--de Polychresta--I do know as much of it as
Pelaso de Taranta, or Basilius--and either I will bring you in two and
tree days de No. III. of Mr. Mishdigoat, or you shall call me one knave
myself, and never look me in de face again no more at all."

The adept departed with this assurance, in the firm resolution of making
good the latter part of the proposition, and never again appearing before
his injured patron. Sir Arthur remained in a doubtful and anxious state
of mind. The positive assurances of the philosopher, with the hard words
Panchresta, Basilius, and so forth, produced some effect on his mind. But
he had been too often deluded by such jargon, to be absolutely relieved
of his doubt, and he retired for the evening into his library, in the
fearful state of one who, hanging over a precipice, and without the means
of retreat, perceives the stone on which he rests gradually parting from
the rest of the crag, and about to give way with him.

The visions of hope decayed, and there increased in proportion that
feverish agony of anticipation with which a man, educated in a sense of
consequence, and possessed of opulence,--the supporter of an ancient
name, and the father of two promising children,--foresaw the hour
approaching which should deprive him of all the splendour which time had
made familiarly necessary to him, and send him forth into the world to
struggle with poverty, with rapacity, and with scorn. Under these dire
forebodings, his temper, exhausted by the sickness of delayed hope,
became peevish and fretful, and his words and actions sometimes expressed
a reckless desperation, which alarmed Miss Wardour extremely. We have
seen, on a former occasion, that Sir Arthur was a man of passions lively
and quick, in proportion to the weakness of his character in other
respects; he was unused to contradiction, and if he had been hitherto, in
general, good-humoured and cheerful, it was probably because the course
of his life had afforded no such frequent provocation as to render his
irritability habitual.

On the third morning after Dousterswivel's departure, the servant, as
usual, laid on the breakfast table the newspaper and letters of the day.
Miss Wardour took up the former to avoid the continued ill-humour of her
father, who had wrought himself into a violent passion, because the toast
was over-browned.

"I perceive how it is," was his concluding speech on this interesting
subject,--"my servants, who have had their share of my fortune, begin to
think there is little to be made of me in future. But while I _am_ the
scoundrel's master I will be so, and permit no neglect--no, nor endure a
hair's-breadth diminution of the respect I am entitled to exact from
them."

"I am ready to leave your honour's service this instant," said the
domestic upon whom the fault had been charged, "as soon as you order
payment of my wages."

Sir Arthur, as if stung by a serpent, thrust his hand into his pocket,
and instantly drew out the money which it contained, but which was short
of the man's claim. "What money have you got, Miss Wardour?" he said, in
a tone of affected calmness, but which concealed violent agitation.

Miss Wardour gave him her purse; he attempted to count the bank notes
which it contained, but could not reckon them. After twice miscounting
the sum, he threw the whole to his daughter, and saying, in a stern
voice, "Pay the rascal, and let him leave the house instantly!" he strode
out of the room.

The mistress and servant stood alike astonished at the agitation and
vehemence of his manner.

"I am sure, ma'am, if I had thought I was particularly wrang, I wadna hae
made ony answer when Sir Arthur challenged me. I hae been lang in his
service, and he has been a kind master, and you a kind mistress, and I
wad like ill ye should think I wad start for a hasty word. I am sure it
was very wrang o' me to speak about wages to his honour, when maybe he
has something to vex him. I had nae thoughts o' leaving the family in
this way."

"Go down stair, Robert," said his mistress--"something has happened to
fret my father--go down stairs, and let Alick answer the bell."

When the man left the room, Sir Arthur re-entered, as if he had been
watching his departure. "What's the meaning of this?" he said hastily, as
he observed the notes lying still on the table--"Is he not gone? Am I
neither to be obeyed as a master or a father?"

"He is gone to give up his charge to the housekeeper, sir,--I thought
there was not such instant haste."

"There _is_ haste, Miss Wardour," answered her father, interrupting her;
--"What I do henceforth in the house of my forefathers, must be done
speedily, or never."

He then sate down, and took up with a trembling hand the basin of tea
prepared for him, protracting the swallowing of it, as if to delay the
necessity of opening the post-letters which lay on the table, and which
he eyed from time to time, as if they had been a nest of adders ready to
start into life and spring upon him.

"You will be happy to hear," said Miss Wardour, willing to withdraw her
father's mind from the gloomy reflections in which he appeared to be
plunged, "you will be happy to hear, sir, that Lieutenant Taffril's
gun-brig has got safe into Leith Roads--I observe there had been
apprehensions for his safety--I am glad we did not hear them till they
were contradicted."

"And what is Taffril and his gun-brig to me?"

"Sir!" said Miss Wardour in astonishment; for Sir Arthur, in his ordinary
state of mind, took a fidgety sort of interest in all the gossip of the
day and country.

"I say," he repeated in a higher and still more impatient key, "what do I
care who is saved or lost? It's nothing to me, I suppose?"

"I did not know you were busy, Sir Arthur; and thought, as Mr. Taffril is
a brave man, and from our own country, you would be happy to hear"--

"Oh, I am happy--as happy as possible--and, to make you happy too, you
shall have some of my good news in return." And he caught up a letter.
"It does not signify which I open first--they are all to the same tune."

He broke the seal hastily, ran the letter over, and then threw it to his
daughter. "Ay--I could not have lighted more happily!--this places the
copestone."

Miss Wardour, in silent terror, took up the letter. "Read it--read it
aloud!" said her father; "it cannot be read too often; it will serve to
break you in for other good news of the same kind."

She began to read with a faltering voice, "Dear Sir."

"He _dears_ me too, you see, this impudent drudge of a writer's office,
who, a twelvemonth since, was not fit company for my second table--I
suppose I shall be dear Knight' with him by and by."

"Dear Sir," resumed Miss Wardour; but, interrupting herself, "I see the
contents are unpleasant, sir--it will only vex you my reading them
aloud."

"If you will allow me to know my own pleasure, Miss Wardour, I entreat
you to go on--I presume, if it were unnecessary, I should not ask you to
take the trouble."

"Having been of late taken into copartnery," continued Miss Wardour,
reading the letter, "by Mr. Gilbert Greenhorn, son of your late
correspondent and man of business, Girnigo Greenhorn, Esq., writer to the
signet, whose business I conducted as parliament-house clerk for many
years, which business will in future be carried on under the firm of
Greenhorn and Grinderson (which I memorandum for the sake of accuracy in
addressing your future letters), and having had of late favours of yours,
directed to my aforesaid partner, Gilbert Greenhorn, in consequence of
his absence at the Lamberton races, have the honour to reply to your said
favours."

"You see my friend is methodical, and commences by explaining the causes
which have procured me so modest and elegant a correspondent. Go on--I
can bear it."

And he laughed that bitter laugh which is perhaps the most fearful
expression of mental misery. Trembling to proceed, and yet afraid to
disobey, Miss Wardour continued to read--"I am for myself and partner,
sorry we cannot oblige you by looking out for the sums you mention, or
applying for a suspension in the case of Goldiebirds' bond, which would
be more inconsistent, as we have been employed to act as the said
Goldiebirds' procurators and attorneys, in which capacity we have taken
out a charge of horning against you, as you must be aware by the schedule
left by the messenger, for the sum of four thousand seven hundred and
fifty-six pounds five shillings and sixpence one-fourth of a penny
sterling, which, with annual-rent and expenses effeiring, we presume will
be settled during the currency of the charge, to prevent further trouble.
Same time, I am under the necessity to observe our own account, amounting
to seven hundred and sixty-nine pounds ten shillings and sixpence, is
also due, and settlement would be agreeable; but as we hold your rights,
title-deeds, and documents in hypothec, shall have no objection to give
reasonable time--say till the next money term. I am, for myself and
partner, concerned to add, that Messrs. Goldiebirds' instructions to us
are to proceed _peremptorie_ and _sine mora,_ of which I have the
pleasure to advise you, to prevent future mistakes, reserving to
ourselves otherwise to age' as accords. I am, for self and partner, dear
sir, your obliged humble servant, Gabriel Grinderson, for Greenhorn and
Grinderson."

"Ungrateful villain!" said Miss Wardour.

"Why, no--it's in the usual rule, I suppose; the blow could not have been
perfect if dealt by another hand--it's all just as it should be,"
answered the poor Baronet, his affected composure sorely belied by his
quivering lip and rolling eye--"But here's a postscript I did not notice
--come, finish the epistle."

"I have to add (not for self but partner) that Mr. Greenhorn will
accommodate you by taking your service of plate, or the bay horses, if
sound in wind and limb, at a fair appreciation, in part payment of your
accompt."

"G--d confound him!" said Sir Arthur, losing all command of himself at
this condescending proposal: "his grandfather shod my father's horses,
and this descendant of a scoundrelly blacksmith proposes to swindle me
out of mine! But I will write him a proper answer."

And he sate down and began to write with great vehemence, then stopped
and read aloud:--"Mr. Gilbert Greenhorn,--in answer to two letters of a
late date, I received a letter from a person calling himself Grinderson,
and designing himself as your partner. When I address any one, I do not
usually expect to be answered by deputy--I think I have been useful to
your father, and friendly and civil to yourself, and therefore am now
surprised--And yet," said he, stopping short, "why should I be surprised
at that or anything else? or why should I take up my time in writing to
such a scoundrel?--I shan't be always kept in prison, I suppose; and to
break that puppy's bones when I get out, shall be my first employment."

"In prison, sir?" said Miss Wardour, faintly.

"Ay, in prison to be sure. Do you make any question about that? Why, Mr.
what's his name's fine letter for self and partner seems to be thrown
away on you, or else you have got four thousand so many hundred pounds,
with the due proportion of shillings, pence, and half-pence, to pay that
aforesaid demand, as he calls it."

"I, sir? O if I had the means!--But where's my brother?--why does he not
come, and so long in Scotland? He might do something to assist us."

"Who, Reginald?--I suppose he's gone with Mr. Gilbert Greenhorn, or some
such respectable person, to the Lamberton races--I have expected him this
week past; but I cannot wonder that my children should neglect me as well
as every other person. But I should beg your pardon, my love, who never
either neglected or offended me in your life."

And kissing her cheek as she threw her arms round his neck, he
experienced that consolation which a parent feels, even in the most
distressed state, in the assurance that he possesses the affection of a
child.

Miss Wardour took the advantage of this revulsion of feeling, to
endeavour to soothe her father's mind to composure. She reminded him that
he had many friends.

"I had many once," said Sir Arthur; "but of some I have exhausted their
kindness with my frantic projects; others are unable to assist me--others
are unwilling. It is all over with me. I only hope Reginald will take
example by my folly."

"Should I not send to Monkbarns, sir?" said his daughter.

"To what purpose? He cannot lend me such a sum, and would not if he
could, for he knows I am otherwise drowned in debt; and he would only
give me scraps of misanthropy and quaint ends of Latin."

"But he is shrewd and sensible, and was bred to business, and, I am sure,
always loved this family."

"Yes, I believe he did. It is a fine pass we are come to, when the
affection of an Oldbuck is of consequence to a Wardour! But when matters
come to extremity, as I suppose they presently will--it may be as well to
send for him. And now go take your walk, my dear--my mind is more
composed than when I had this cursed disclosure to make. You know the
worst, and may daily or hourly expect it. Go take your walk--I would
willingly be alone for a little while."

When Miss Wardour left the apartment, her first occupation was to avail
herself of the half permission granted by her father, by despatching to
Monkbarns the messenger, who, as we have already seen, met the Antiquary
and his nephew on the sea-beach.

Little recking, and indeed scarce knowing, where she was wandering,
chance directed her into the walk beneath the Briery Bank, as it was
called. A brook, which in former days had supplied the castle-moat with
water, here descended through a narrow dell, up which Miss Wardour's
taste had directed a natural path, which was rendered neat and easy of
ascent, without the air of being formally made and preserved. It suited
well the character of the little glen, which was overhung with thickets
and underwood, chiefly of larch and hazel, intermixed with the usual
varieties of the thorn and brier. In this walk had passed that scene of
explanation between Miss Wardour and Lovel which was overheard by old
Edie Ochiltree. With a heart softened by the distress which approached
her family, Miss Wardour now recalled every word and argument which Lovel
had urged in support of his suit, and could not help confessing to
herself, it was no small subject of pride to have inspired a young man of
his talents with a passion so strong and disinterested. That he should
have left the pursuit of a profession in which he was said to be rapidly
rising, to bury himself in a disagreeable place like Fairport, and brood
over an unrequited passion, might be ridiculed by others as romantic, but
was naturally forgiven as an excess of affection by the person who was
the object of his attachment. Had he possessed an independence, however
moderate, or ascertained a clear and undisputed claim to the rank in
society he was well qualified to adorn, she might now have had it in her
power to offer her father, during his misfortunes, an asylum in an
establishment of her own. These thoughts, so favourable to the absent
lover, crowded in, one after the other, with such a minute recapitulation
of his words, looks, and actions, as plainly intimated that his former
repulse had been dictated rather by duty than inclination. Isabella was
musing alternately upon this subject, and upon that of her father's
misfortunes, when, as the path winded round a little hillock covered with
brushwood, the old Blue-Gown suddenly met her.

With an air as if he had something important and mysterious to
communicate, he doffed his bonnet, and assumed the cautious step and
voice of one who would not willingly be overheard. "I hae been wishing
muckle to meet wi' your leddyship--for ye ken I darena come to the house
for Dousterswivel."

"I heard indeed," said Miss Wardour, dropping an alms into the bonnet--"I
heard that you had done a very foolish, if not a very bad thing, Edie--
and I was sorry to hear it."

"Hout, my bonny leddy--fulish? A' the world's fules--and how should auld
Edie Ochiltree be aye wise?--And for the evil--let them wha deal wi'
Dousterswivel tell whether he gat a grain mair than his deserts."

"That may be true, Edie, and yet," said Miss Wardour, "you may have been
very wrong."

"Weel, weel, we'se no dispute that e'ennow--it's about yoursell I'm gaun
to speak. Div ye ken what's hanging ower the house of Knockwinnock?"

"Great distress, I fear, Edie," answered Miss Wardour; "but I am
surprised it is already so public."

"Public!--Sweepclean, the messenger, will be there the day wi' a' his
tackle. I ken it frae ane o' his concurrents, as they ca' them, that's
warned to meet him; and they'll be about their wark belyve; whare they
clip, there needs nae kame--they shear close eneugh."

"Are you sure this bad hour, Edie, is so very near?--come, I know, it
will."

"It's e'en as I tell you, leddy. But dinna be cast down--there's a heaven
ower your head here, as weel as in that fearful night atween the
Ballyburghness and the Halket-head. D'ye think He, wha rebuked the
waters, canna protect you against the wrath of men, though they be armed
with human authority?"

"It is indeed all we have to trust to."

"Ye dinna ken--ye dinna ken: when the night's darkest, the dawn's
nearest. If I had a gude horse, or could ride him when I had him, I
reckon there wad be help yet. I trusted to hae gotten a cast wi' the
Royal Charlotte, but she's coupit yonder, it's like, at Kittlebrig. There
was a young gentleman on the box, and he behuved to drive; and Tam Sang,
that suld hae mair sense, he behuved to let him, and the daft callant
couldna tak the turn at the corner o' the brig; and od! he took the
curbstane, and he's whomled her as I wad whomle a toom bicker--it was a
luck I hadna gotten on the tap o' her. Sae I came down atween hope and
despair, to see if ye wad send me on."

"And, Edie--where would ye go?" said the young lady.

"To Tannonburgh, my leddy" (which was the first stage from Fairport, but
a good deal nearer to Knockwinnock), "and that without delay--it's a' on
your ain business."

"Our business, Edie? Alas! I give you all credit for your good meaning;
but"--

"There's nae _buts_ about it, my leddy, for gang I maun," said the
persevering Blue-Gown.

"But what is it that you would do at Tannonburgh?--or how can your going
there benefit my father's affairs?"

"Indeed, my sweet leddy," said the gaberlunzie, "ye maun just trust that
bit secret to auld Edie's grey pow, and ask nae questions about it.
Certainly if I wad hae wared my life for you yon night, I can hae nae
reason to play an ill pliskie t'ye in the day o' your distress."

"Well, Edie, follow me then," said Miss Wardour, "and I will try to get
you sent to Tannonburgh."

"Mak haste then, my bonny leddy--mak haste, for the love o' goodness!"--
and he continued to exhort her to expedition until they reached the
Castle.





CHAPTER TWENTY-FIRST.

               Let those go see who will--I like it not--
               For, say he was a slave to rank and pomp,
               And all the nothings he is now divorced from
                 By the hard doom of stern necessity:
                 Yet it is sad to mark his altered brow,
                 Where Vanity adjusts her flimsy veil
               O'er the deep wrinkles of repentant anguish.
                                         Old Play.

When Miss Wardour arrived in the court of the Castle, she was apprized by
the first glance that the visit of the officers of the law had already
taken place. There was confusion, and gloom and sorrow, and curiosity
among the domestics, while the retainers of the law went from place to
place, making an inventory of the goods and chattels falling under their
warrant of distress, or poinding, as it is called in the law of Scotland.
Captain M'Intyre flew to her, as, struck dumb with the melancholy
conviction of her father's ruin, she paused upon the threshold of the
gateway.

"Dear Miss Wardour," he said, "do not make yourself uneasy; my uncle is
coming immediately, and I am sure he will find some way to clear the
house of these rascals."

"Alas! Captain M'Intyre, I fear it will be too late."

"No," answered Edie, impatiently--"could I but get to Tannonburgh. In the
name of Heaven, Captain, contrive some way to get me on, and ye'll do
this poor ruined family the best day's doing that has been done them
since Redhand's days--for as sure as e'er an auld saw came true,
Knockwinnock house and land will be lost and won this day."

"Why, what good can you do, old man?" said Hector.

But Robert, the domestic with whom Sir Arthur had been so much displeased
in the morning, as if he had been watching for an opportunity to display
his zeal, stepped hastily forward and said to his mistress, "If you
please, ma'am, this auld man, Ochiltree, is very skeely and auld-farrant
about mony things, as the diseases of cows and horse, and sic like, and I
am sure be disna want to be at Tannonburgh the day for naething, since he
insists on't this gate; and, if your leddyship pleases, I'll drive him
there in the taxed-cart in an hour's time. I wad fain be of some use--I
could bite my very tongue out when I think on this morning."

"I am obliged to you, Robert," said Miss Wardour; "and if you really
think it has the least chance of being useful"---

"In the name of God," said the old man, "yoke the cart, Robie, and if I
am no o' some use, less or mair, I'll gie ye leave to fling me ower
Kittlebrig as ye come back again. But, O man, haste ye, for time's
precious this day."

Robert looked at his mistress as she retired into the house, and seeing
he was not prohibited, flew to the stable-yard, which was adjacent to the
court, in order to yoke the carriage; for, though an old beggar was the
personage least likely to render effectual assistance in a case of
pecuniary distress, yet there was among the common people of Edie's
circle, a general idea of his prudence and sagacity, which authorized
Robert's conclusion that he would not so earnestly have urged the
necessity of this expedition had he not been convinced of its utility.
But so soon as the servant took hold of a horse to harness him for the
taxed-cart, an officer touched him on the shoulder--"My friend, you must
let that beast alone--he's down in the schedule."

"What!" said Robert, "am I not to take my master's horse to go my young
leddy's errand?"

"You must remove nothing here," said the man of office, "or you will be
liable for all consequences."

"What the devil, sir," said Hector, who having followed to examine
Ochiltree more closely on the nature of his hopes and expectations,
already began to bristle like one of the terriers of his own native
mountains, and sought but a decent pretext for venting his displeasure,
"have you the impudence to prevent the young lady's servant from obeying
her orders?"

There was something in the air and tone of the young soldier, which
seemed to argue that his interference was not likely to be confined to
mere expostulation; and which, if it promised finally the advantages of a
process of battery and deforcement, would certainly commence with the
unpleasant circumstances necessary for founding such a complaint. The
legal officer, confronted with him of the military, grasped with one
doubtful hand the greasy bludgeon which was to enforce his authority, and
with the other produced his short official baton, tipped with silver, and
having a movable ring upon it--"Captain M'Intyre,--Sir, I have no quarrel
with you,--but if you interrupt me in my duty, I will break the wand of
peace, and declare myself deforced."

"And who the devil cares," said Hector, totally ignorant of the words of
judicial action, "whether you declare yourself divorced or married? And
as to breaking your wand, or breaking the peace, or whatever you call it,
all I know is, that I will break your bones if you prevent the lad from
harnessing the horses to obey his mistress's orders."

"I take all who stand here to witness," said the messenger, "that I
showed him my blazon, and explained my character. He that will to Cupar
maun to Cupar,"--and he slid his enigmatical ring from one end of the
baton to the other, being the appropriate symbol of his having been
forcibly interrupted in the discharge of his duty.

Honest Hector, better accustomed to the artillery of the field than to
that of the law, saw this mystical ceremony with great indifference; and
with like unconcern beheld the messenger sit down to write out an
execution of deforcement. But at this moment, to prevent the well-meaning
hot-headed Highlander from running the risk of a severe penalty, the
Antiquary arrived puffing and blowing, with his handkerchief crammed
under his hat, and his wig upon the end of his stick.

"What the deuce is the matter here?" he exclaimed, hastily adjusting his
head-gear; "I have been following you in fear of finding your idle
loggerhead knocked against one rock or other, and here I find you parted
with your Bucephalus, and quarrelling with Sweepclean. A messenger,
Hector, is a worse foe than a _phoca,_ whether it be the _phoca barbata,_
or the _phoca vitulina_ of your late conflict."

"D--n the _phoca,_ sir," said Hector, "whether it be the one or the
other--I say d--n them both particularly! I think you would not have me
stand quietly by and see a scoundrel like this, because he calls himself
a king's messenger, forsooth--(I hope the king has many better for his
meanest errands)--insult a young lady of family and fashion like Miss
Wardour?"

"Rightly argued, Hector," said the Antiquary; "but the king, like other
people, has now and then shabby errands, and, in your ear, must have
shabby fellows to do them. But even supposing you unacquainted with the
statutes of William the Lion, in which _capite quarto versu quinto,_ this
crime of deforcement is termed _despectus Domini Regis_--a contempt, to
wit, of the king himself, in whose name all legal diligence issues,--
could you not have inferred, from the information I took so much pains to
give you to-day, that those who interrupt officers who come to execute
letters of caption, are _tanquam participes criminis rebellionis?_ seeing
that he who aids a rebel, is himself, _quodammodo,_ an accessory to
rebellion--But I'll bring you out of this scrape."

He then spoke to the messenger, who, upon his arrival, had laid aside all
thoughts of making a good by-job out of the deforcement, and accepted Mr.
Oldbuck's assurances that the horse and taxed-cart should be safely
returned in the course of two or three hours.

"Very well, sir," said the Antiquary, "since you are disposed to be so
civil, you shall have another job in your own best way--a little cast of
state politics--a crime punishable _per Legem Juliam,_ Mr. Sweepclean--
Hark thee hither."

And after a whisper of five minutes, he gave him a slip of paper, on
receiving which, the messenger mounted his horse, and, with one of his
assistants, rode away pretty sharply. The fellow who remained seemed to
delay his operations purposely, proceeded in the rest of his duty very
slowly, and with the caution and precision of one who feels himself
overlooked by a skilful and severe inspector.

In the meantime, Oldbuck, taking his nephew by the arm, led him into the
house, and they were ushered into the presence of Sir Arthur Wardour,
who, in a flutter between wounded pride, agonized apprehension, and vain
attempts to disguise both under a show of indifference, exhibited a
spectacle of painful interest.

"Happy to see you, Mr. Oldbuck--always happy to see my friends in fair
weather or foul," said the poor Baronet, struggling not for composure,
but for gaiety--an affectation which was strongly contrasted by the
nervous and protracted grasp of his hand, and the agitation of his whole
demeanour--"I am happy to see you. You are riding, I see--I hope in this
confusion your horses are taken good care of--I always like to have my
friend's horses looked after--Egad! they will have all my care now, for
you see they are like to leave me none of my own--he! he! he! eh, Mr.
Oldbuck?"

This attempt at a jest was attended by a hysterical giggle, which poor
Sir Arthur intended should sound as an indifferent laugh.

"You know I never ride, Sir Arthur," said the Antiquary.

"I beg your pardon; but sure I saw your nephew arrive on horseback a
short time since. We must look after officers' horses, and his was as
handsome a grey charger as I have seen."

Sir Arthur was about to ring the bell, when Mr. Oldbuck said, "My nephew
came on your own grey horse, Sir Arthur."

"Mine!" said the poor Baronet; "mine was it? then the sun had been in my
eyes. Well, I'm not worthy having a horse any longer, since I don't know
my own when I see him."

"Good Heaven!" thought Oldbuck, "how is this man altered from the formal
stolidity of his usual manner!--he grows wanton under adversity--_Sed
pereunti mille figurae._"--He then proceeded aloud--"Sir Arthur, we must
necessarily speak a little on business."

"To be sure," said Sir Arthur; "but it was so good that I should not know
the horse I have ridden these five years--ha! ha! ha!"

"Sir Arthur," said the Antiquary, "don't let us waste time which is
precious; we shall have, I hope, many better seasons for jesting--
_desipere in loco_ is the maxim of Horace. I more than suspect this has
been brought on by the villany of Dousterswivel."

"Don't mention his name, sir!" said Sir Arthur; and his manner entirely
changed from a fluttered affectation of gaiety to all the agitation of
fury; his eyes sparkled, his mouth foamed, his hands were clenched--
"don't mention his name, sir," he vociferated, "unless you would see me
go mad in your presence! That I should have been such a miserable dolt--
such an infatuated idiot--such a beast endowed with thrice a beast's
stupidity, to be led and driven and spur-galled by such a rascal, and
under such ridiculous pretences!--Mr. Oldbuck, I could tear myself when I
think of it."

"I only meant to say," answered the Antiquary, "that this fellow is like
to meet his reward; and I cannot but think we shall frighten something
out of him that may be of service to you. He has certainly had some
unlawful correspondence on the other side of the water."

"Has he?--has he?--has he indeed?--then d--n the house-hold goods,
horses, and so forth--I will go to prison a happy man, Mr. Oldbuck. I
hope in heaven there's a reasonable chance of his being hanged?"

"Why, pretty fair," said Oldbuck, willing to encourage this diversion, in
hopes it might mitigate the feelings which seemed like to overset the
poor man's understanding; "honester men have stretched a rope, or the law
has been sadly cheated--But this unhappy business of yours--can nothing
be done? Let me see the charge."

He took the papers; and, as he read them, his countenance grew hopelessly
dark and disconsolate. Miss Wardour had by this time entered the
apartment, and fixing her eyes on Mr. Oldbuck, as if she meant to read
her fate in his looks, easily perceived, from the change in his eye, and
the dropping of his nether-jaw, how little was to be hoped.

"We are then irremediably ruined, Mr. Oldbuck?" said the young lady.

"Irremediably?--I hope not--but the instant demand is very large, and
others will, doubtless, pour in."

"Ay, never doubt that, Monkbarns," said Sir Arthur; "where the slaughter
is, the eagles will be gathered together. I am like a sheep which I have
seen fall down a precipice, or drop down from sickness--if you had not
seen a single raven or hooded crow for a fortnight before, he will not
lie on the heather ten minutes before half-a-dozen will be picking out
his eyes (and he drew his hand over his own), and tearing at his
heartstrings before the poor devil has time to die. But that d--d
long-scented vulture that dogged me so long--you have got him fast, I
hope?"

"Fast enough," said the Antiquary; "the gentleman wished to take the
wings of the morning, and bolt in the what d'ye call it,--the coach and
four there. But he would have found twigs limed for him at Edinburgh. As
it is, he never got so far, for the coach being overturned--as how could
it go safe with such a Jonah?--he has had an infernal tumble, is carried
into a cottage near Kittlebrig, and to prevent all possibility of escape,
I have sent your friend Sweepclean to bring him back to Fairport _in
nomine regis,_ or to act as his sick-nurse at Kittlebrig, as is most
fitting. And now, Sir Arthur, permit me to have some conversation with
you on the present unpleasant state of your affairs, that we may see what
can be done for their extrication;" and the Antiquary led the way into
the library, followed by the unfortunate gentleman.

They had been shut up together for about two hours, when Miss Wardour
interrupted them with her cloak on as if prepared for a journey. Her
countenance was very pale, yet expressive of the composure which
characterized her disposition.

"The messenger is returned, Mr. Oldbuck."

"Returned?--What the devil! he has not let the fellow go?"

"No--I understand he has carried him to confinement; and now he is
returned to attend my father, and says he can wait no longer."

A loud wrangling was now heard on the staircase, in which the voice of
Hector predominated. "You an officer, sir, and these ragamuffins a party!
a parcel of beggarly tailor fellows--tell yourselves off by nine, and we
shall know your effective strength."

The grumbling voice of the man of law was then heard indistinctly
muttering a reply, to which Hector retorted--"Come, come, sir, this won't
do;--march your party, as you call them, out of this house directly, or
I'll send you and them to the right about presently."

"The devil take Hector," said the Antiquary, hastening to the scene of
action; "his Highland blood is up again, and we shall have him fighting a
duel with the bailiff. Come, Mr. Sweepclean, you must give us a little
time--I know you would not wish to hurry Sir Arthur."

"By no means, sir," said the messenger, putting his hat off, which he had
thrown on to testify defiance of Captain M'Intyre's threats; "but your
nephew, sir, holds very uncivil language, and I have borne too much of it
already; and I am not justified in leaving my prisoner any longer after
the instructions I received, unless I am to get payment of the sums
contained in my diligence." And he held out the caption, pointing with
the awful truncheon, which he held in his right hand, to the formidable
line of figures jotted upon the back thereof.

Hector, on the other hand, though silent from respect to his uncle,
answered this gesture by shaking his clenched fist at the messenger with
a frown of Highland wrath.

"Foolish boy, be quiet," said Oldbuck, "and come with me into the room--
the man is doing his miserable duty, and you will only make matters worse
by opposing him.--I fear, Sir Arthur, you must accompany this man to
Fairport; there is no help for it in the first instance--I will accompany
you, to consult what further can be done--My nephew will escort Miss
Wardour to Monkbarns, which I hope she will make her residence until
these unpleasant matters are settled."

"I go with my father, Mr. Oldbuck," said Miss Wardour firmly--"I have
prepared his clothes and my own--I suppose we shall have the use of the
carriage?"

"Anything in reason, madam," said the messenger; "I have ordered it out,
and it's at the door--I will go on the box with the coachman--I have no
desire to intrude--but two of the concurrents must attend on horseback."

"I will attend too," said Hector, and he ran down to secure a horse for
himself.

"We must go then," said the Antiquary.

"To jail," said the Baronet, sighing involuntarily. "And what of that?"
he resumed, in a tone affectedly cheerful--"it is only a house we can't
get out of, after all--Suppose a fit of the gout, and Knockwinnock would
be the same--Ay, ay, Monkbarns--we'll call it a fit of the gout without
the d--d pain."

But his eyes swelled with tears as he spoke, and his faltering accent
marked how much this assumed gaiety cost him. The Antiquary wrung his
hand, and, like the Indian Banians, who drive the real terms of an
important bargain by signs, while they are apparently talking of
indifferent matters, the hand of Sir Arthur, by its convulsive return of
the grasp, expressed his sense of gratitude to his friend, and the real
state of his internal agony.--They stepped slowly down the magnificent
staircase--every well-known object seeming to the unfortunate father and
daughter to assume a more prominent and distinct appearance than usual,
as if to press themselves on their notice for the last time.

At the first landing-place, Sir Arthur made an agonized pause; and as he
observed the Antiquary look at him anxiously, he said with assumed
dignity--"Yes, Mr. Oldbuck, the descendant of an ancient line--the
representative of Richard Redhand and Gamelyn de Guardover, may be
pardoned a sigh when he leaves the castle of his fathers thus poorly
escorted. When I was sent to the Tower with my late father, in the year
1745, it was upon a charge becoming our birth--upon an accusation of high
treason, Mr. Oldbuck;--we were escorted from Highgate by a troop of
life-guards, and committed upon a secretary of state's warrant; and now,
here I am, in my old age, dragged from my household by a miserable
creature like that" (pointing to the messenger), "and for a paltry
concern of pounds, shillings, and pence."

"At least," said Oldbuck, "you have now the company of a dutiful
daughter, and a sincere friend, if you will permit me to say so, and that
may be some consolation, even without the certainty that there can be no
hanging, drawing, or quartering, on the present occasion. But I hear that
choleric boy as loud as ever. I hope to God he has got into no new
broil!--it was an accursed chance that brought him here at all."

In fact, a sudden clamour, in which the loud voice and somewhat northern
accent of Hector was again preeminently distinguished, broke off this
conversation. The cause we must refer to the next chapter.




CHAPTER TWENTY-SECOND.

           Fortune, you say, flies from us--She but circles,
           Like the fleet sea-bird round the fowler's skiff,--
               Lost in the mist one moment, and the next
               Brushing the white sail with her whiter wing,
               As if to court the aim.--Experience watches,
                                And has her on the wheel--
                                               Old Play.

The shout of triumph in Hector's warlike tones was not easily
distinguished from that of battle. But as he rushed up stairs with a
packet in his hand, exclaiming, "Long life to an old soldier! here comes
Edie with a whole budget of good news!" it became obvious that his
present cause of clamour was of an agreeable nature. He delivered the
letter to Oldbuck, shook Sir Arthur heartily by the hand, and wished Miss
Wardour joy, with all the frankness of Highland congratulation. The
messenger, who had a kind of instinctive terror for Captain M'Intyre,
drew towards his prisoner, keeping an eye of caution on the soldier's
motions.

"Don't suppose I shall trouble myself about you, you dirty fellow," said
the soldier; "there's a guinea for the fright I have given you; and here
comes an old _forty-two_ man, who is a fitter match for you than I am."

The messenger (one of those dogs who are not too scornful to eat dirty
puddings) caught in his hand the guinea which Hector chucked at his face;
and abode warily and carefully the turn which matters were now to take.
All voices meanwhile were loud in inquiries, which no one was in a hurry
to answer.

"What is the matter, Captain M'Intyre?" said Sir Arthur.

"Ask old Edie," said Hector;--"I only know all's safe and well."

"What is all this, Edie?" said Miss Wardour to the mendicant.

"Your leddyship maun ask Monkbarns, for he has gotten the yepistolary
correspondensh."

"God save the king!" exclaimed the Antiquary at the first glance at the
contents of his packet, and, surprised at once out of decorum,
philosophy, and phlegm, he skimmed his cocked hat in the air, from which
it descended not again, being caught in its fall by a branch of the
chandelier. He next, looking joyously round, laid a grasp on his wig,
which he perhaps would have sent after the beaver, had not Edie stopped
his hand, exclaiming "Lordsake! he's gaun gyte!--mind Caxon's no here to
repair the damage."

Every person now assailed the Antiquary, clamouring to know the cause of
so sudden a transport, when, somewhat ashamed of his rapture, he fairly
turned tail, like a fox at the cry of a pack of hounds, and ascending the
stair by two steps at a time, gained the upper landing-place, where,
turning round, he addressed the astonished audience as follows:--

"My good friends, _favete linguis_--To give you information, I must
first, according to logicians, be possessed of it myself; and, therefore,
with your leaves, I will retire into the library to examine these papers
--Sir Arthur and Miss Wardour will have the goodness to step into the
parlour--Mr. Sweepclean, _secede paulisper,_ or, in your own language,
grant us a supersedere of diligence for five minutes--Hector, draw off
your forces, and make your bear-garden flourish elsewhere--and, finally,
be all of good cheer till my return, which will be _instanter._"

The contents of the packet were indeed so little expected, that the
Antiquary might be pardoned, first his ecstasy, and next his desire of
delaying to communicate the intelligence they conveyed, until it was
arranged and digested in his own mind.

Within the envelope was a letter addressed to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq. of
Monkbarns, of the following purport:--

"Dear Sir,--To you, as my father's proved and valued friend, I venture to
address myself, being detained here by military duty of a very pressing
nature. You must by this time be acquainted with the entangled state of
our affairs; and I know it will give you great pleasure to learn, that I
am as fortunately as unexpectedly placed in a situation to give effectual
assistance for extricating them. I understand Sir Arthur is threatened
with severe measures by persons who acted formerly as his agents; and, by
advice of a creditable man of business here, I have procured the enclosed
writing, which I understand will stop their proceedings until their claim
shall be legally discussed, and brought down to its proper amount. I also
enclose bills to the amount of one thousand pounds to pay any other
pressing demands, and request of your friendship to apply them according
to your discretion. You will be surprised I give you this trouble, when
it would seem more natural to address my father directly in his own
affairs. But I have yet had no assurance that his eyes are opened to the
character of a person against whom you have often, I know, warned him,
and whose baneful influence has been the occasion of these distresses.
And as I owe the means of relieving Sir Arthur to the generosity of a
matchless friend, it is my duty to take the most certain measures for the
supplies being devoted to the purpose for which they were destined,--and
I know your wisdom and kindness will see that it is done. My friend, as
he claims an interest in your regard, will explain some views of his own
in the enclosed letter. The state of the post-office at Fairport being
rather notorious, I must send this letter to Tannonburgh; but the old man
Ochiltree, whom particular circumstances have recommended as trustworthy,
has information when the packet is likely to reach that place, and will
take care to forward it. I expect to have soon an opportunity to
apologize in person for the trouble I now give, and have the honour to be
your very faithful servant,

"Reginald Gamelyn Wardour."
"Edinburgh, 6th August, 179-."


The Antiquary hastily broke the seal of the enclosure, the contents of
which gave him equal surprise and pleasure. When he had in some measure
composed himself after such unexpected tidings, he inspected the other
papers carefully, which all related to business--put the bills into his
pocket-book, and wrote a short acknowledgment to be despatched by that
day's post, for he was extremely methodical in money matters--and lastly,
fraught with all the importance of disclosure, he descended to the
parlour.

"Sweepclean," said he, as he entered, to the officer who stood
respectfully at the door, "you must sweep yourself clean out of
Knockwinnock Castle, with all your followers, tag-rag and bob-tail. Seest
thou this paper, man?"

"A sist on a bill o' suspension," said the messenger, with a disappointed
look;--"I thought it would be a queer thing if ultimate diligence was to
be done against sic a gentleman as Sir Arthur--Weel, sir, I'se go my ways
with my party--And who's to pay my charges?"

"They who employed thee," replied Oldbuck, "as thou full well dost know.
--But here comes another express: this is a day of news, I think."

This was Mr. Mailsetter on his mare from Fairport, with a letter for Sir
Arthur, another to the messenger, both of which, he said, he was directed
to forward instantly. The messenger opened his, observing that Greenhorn
and Grinderson were good enough men for his expenses, and here was a
letter from them desiring him to stop the diligence. Accordingly, he
immediately left the apartment, and staying no longer than to gather his
posse together, he did then, in the phrase of Hector, who watched his
departure as a jealous mastiff eyes the retreat of a repulsed beggar,
evacuate Flanders.

Sir Arthur's letter was from Mr. Greenhorn, and a curiosity in its way.
We give it, with the worthy Baronet's comments.

"Sir--[Oh! I am _dear_ sir no longer; folks are only dear to Messrs.
Greenhorn and Grinderson when they are in adversity]--Sir, I am much
concerned to learn, on my return from the country, where I was called on
particular business [a bet on the sweepstakes, I suppose], that my
partner had the impropriety, in my absence, to undertake the concerns of
Messrs. Goldiebirds in preference to yours, and had written to you in an
unbecoming manner. I beg to make my most humble apology, as well as Mr.
Grindersons--[come, I see he can write for himself and partner too]--and
trust it is impossible you can think me forgetful of, or ungrateful for,
the constant patronage which my family [_his_ family! curse him for a
puppy!] have uniformly experienced from that of Knockwinnock. I am sorry
to find, from an interview I had this day with Mr. Wardour, that he is
much irritated, and, I must own, with apparent reason. But in order to
remedy as much as in me lies the mistake of which he complains [pretty
mistake, indeed! to clap his patron into jail], I have sent this express
to discharge all proceedings against your person or property; and at the
same time to transmit my respectful apology. I have only to add, that Mr.
Grinderson is of opinion, that if restored to your confidence, he could
point out circumstances connected with Messrs. Goldiebirds' present claim
which would greatly reduce its amount [so, so, willing to play the rogue
on either side]; and that there is not the slightest hurry in settling
the balance of your accompt with us; and that I am, for Mr. G. as well as
myself, Dear Sir [O ay, he has written himself into an approach to
familiarity], your much obliged and most humble servant,

"Gilbert Greenhorn."


"Well said, Mr. Gilbert Greenhorn," said Monkbarns; "I see now there is
some use in having two attorneys in one firm. Their movements resemble
those of the man and woman in a Dutch baby-house. When it is fair weather
with the client, out comes the gentleman partner to fawn like a spaniel;
when it is foul, forth bolts the operative brother to pin like a
bull-dog. Well, I thank God that my man of business still wears an
equilateral cocked hat, has a house in the Old Town, is as much afraid of
a horse as I am myself, plays at golf of a Saturday, goes to the kirk of
a Sunday, and, in respect he has no partner, hath only his own folly to
apologize for."

"There are some writers very honest fellows," said Hector; "I should like
to hear any one say that my cousin, Donald M'Intyre, Strathtudlem's
seventh son (the other six are in the army), is not as honest a fellow"--

"No doubt, no doubt, Hector, all the M'Intyres are so; they have it by
patent, man--But I was going to say, that in a profession where unbounded
trust is necessarily reposed, there is nothing surprising that fools
should neglect it in their idleness, and tricksters abuse it in their
knavery. But it is the more to the honour of those (and I will vouch for
many) who unite integrity with skill and attention, and walk honourably
upright where there are so many pitfalls and stumbling-blocks for those
of a different character. To such men their fellow citizens may safely
entrust the care of protecting their patrimonial rights, and their
country the more sacred charge of her laws and privileges."

"They are best aff, however, that hae least to do with them," said
Ochiltree, who had stretched his neck into the parlour door; for the
general confusion of the family not having yet subsided, the domestics,
like waves after the fall of a hurricane, had not yet exactly regained
their due limits, but were roaming wildly through the house.

"Aha, old Truepenny, art thou there?" said the Antiquary. "Sir Arthur,
let me bring in the messenger of good luck, though he is but a lame one.
You talked of the raven that scented out the slaughter from afar; but
here's a blue pigeon (somewhat of the oldest and toughest, I grant) who
smelled the good news six or seven miles off, flew thither in the
taxed-cart, and returned with the olive branch."

"Ye owe it o' to puir Robie that drave me;--puir fallow," said the
beggar, "he doubts he's in disgrace wi' my leddy and Sir Arthur."

Robert's repentant and bashful face was seen over the mendicant's
shoulder.

"In disgrace with me?" said Sir Arthur--"how so?"--for the irritation
into which he had worked himself on occasion of the toast had been long
forgotten. "O, I recollect--Robert, I was angry, and you were wrong;--go
about your work, and never answer a master that speaks to you in a
passion."

"Nor any one else," said the Antiquary; "for a soft answer turneth away
wrath."

"And tell your mother, who is so ill with the rheumatism, to come down to
the housekeeper to-morrow," said Miss Wardour, "and we will see what can
be of service to her."

"God bless your leddyship," said poor Robert, "and his honour Sir Arthur,
and the young laird, and the house of Knockwinnock in a' its branches,
far and near!--it's been a kind and gude house to the puir this mony
hundred years."

"There"--said the Antiquary to Sir Arthur--"we won't dispute--but there
you see the gratitude of the poor people naturally turns to the civil
virtues of your family. You don't hear them talk of Redhand, or
Hell-in-Harness. For me, I must say, _Odi accipitrem qui semper vivit in
armis_--so let us eat and drink in peace, and be joyful, Sir Knight."

A table was quickly covered in the parlour, where the party sat joyously
down to some refreshment. At the request of Oldbuck, Edie Ochiltree was
permitted to sit by the sideboard in a great leathern chair, which was
placed in some measure behind a screen.

"I accede to this the more readily," said Sir Arthur, "because I remember
in my fathers days that chair was occupied by Ailshie Gourlay, who, for
aught I know, was the last privileged fool, or jester, maintained by any
family of distinction in Scotland."

"Aweel, Sir Arthur," replied the beggar, who never hesitated an instant
between his friend and his jest, "mony a wise man sits in a fule's seat,
and mony a fule in a wise man's, especially in families o' distinction."

Miss Wardour, fearing the effect of this speech (however worthy of
Ailsbie Gourlay, or any other privileged jester) upon the nerves of her
father, hastened to inquire whether ale and beef should not be
distributed to the servants and people whom the news had assembled round
the Castle.

"Surely, my love," said her father; "when was it ever otherwise in our
families when a siege had been raised?"

"Ay, a siege laid by Saunders Sweepclean the bailiff, and raised by Edie
Ochiltree the gaberlunzie, _par nobile fratrum,_" said Oldbuck, "and well
pitted against each other in respectability. But never mind, Sir Arthur--
these are such sieges and such reliefs as our time of day admits of--and
our escape is not less worth commemorating in a glass of this excellent
wine--Upon my credit, it is Burgundy, I think."

"Were there anything better in the cellar," said Miss Wardour, "it would
be all too little to regale you after your friendly exertions."

"Say you so?" said the Antiquary: "why, then, a cup of thanks to you, my
fair enemy, and soon may you be besieged as ladies love best to be, and
sign terms of capitulation in the chapel of Saint Winnox!"

Miss Wardour blushed--Hector coloured, and then grew pale.

Sir Arthur answered, "My daughter is much obliged to you, Monkbarns; but
unless you'll accept of her yourself, I really do not know where a poor
knight's daughter is to seek for an alliance in these mercenary times."

"Me, mean ye, Sir Arthur? No, not I! I will claim privilege of the
duello, and, as being unable to encounter my fair enemy myself, I will
appear by my champion--But of this matter hereafter. What do you find in
the papers there, Hector, that you hold your head down over them as if
your nose were bleeding?"

"Nothing particular, sir; but only that, as my arm is now almost quite
well, I think I shall relieve you of my company in a day or two, and go
to Edinburgh. I see Major Neville is arrived there. I should like to see
him."

"Major whom?" said his uncle.

"Major Neville, sir," answered the young soldier.

"And who the devil is Major Neville?" demanded the Antiquary.

"O, Mr. Oldbuck," said Sir Arthur, "you must remember his name frequently
in the newspapers--a very distinguished young officer indeed. But I am
happy to say that Mr. M'Intyre need not leave Monkbarns to see him, for
my son writes that the Major is to come with him to Knockwinnock, and I
need not say how happy I shall be to make the young gentlemen
acquainted,--unless, indeed, they are known to each other already."

"No, not personally," answered Hector, "but I have had occasion to hear a
good deal of him, and we have several mutual friends--your son being one
of them. But I must go to Edinburgh; for I see my uncle is beginning to
grow tired of me, and I am afraid"--

"That you will grow tired of him?" interrupted Oldbuck,--"I fear that's
past praying for. But you have forgotten that the ecstatic twelfth of
August approaches, and that you are engaged to meet one of Lord
Glenallan's gamekeepers, God knows where, to persecute the peaceful
feathered creation."

"True, true, uncle--I had forgot that," exclaimed the volatile Hector;
"but you said something just now that put everything out of my head."

"An it like your honours," said old Edie, thrusting his white bead from
behind the screen, where he had been plentifully regaling himself with
ale and cold meat--"an it like your honours, I can tell ye something that
will keep the Captain wi' us amaist as weel as the pouting--Hear ye na
the French are coming?"

"The French, you blockhead?" answered Oldbuck--"Bah!"

"I have not had time," said Sir Arthur Wardour, "to look over my
lieutenancy correspondence for the week--indeed, I generally make a rule
to read it only on Wednesdays, except in pressing cases,--for I do
everything by method; but from the glance I took of my letters, I
observed some alarm was entertained."

"Alarm?" said Edie, "troth there's alarm, for the provost's gar'd the
beacon light on the Halket-head be sorted up (that suld hae been sorted
half a year syne) in an unco hurry, and the council hae named nae less a
man than auld Caxon himsell to watch the light. Some say it was out o'
compliment to Lieutenant Taffril,--for it's neist to certain that he'll
marry Jenny Caxon,--some say it's to please your honour and Monkbarns
that wear wigs--and some say there's some auld story about a periwig that
ane o' the bailies got and neer paid for--Onyway, there he is, sitting
cockit up like a skart upon the tap o' the craig, to skirl when foul
weather comes."

"On mine honour, a pretty warder," said Monkbarns; "and what's my wig to
do all the while?"

"I asked Caxon that very question," answered Ochiltree, "and he said he
could look in ilka morning, and gie't a touch afore he gaed to his bed,
for there's another man to watch in the day-time, and Caxon says he'll
friz your honour's wig as weel sleeping as wauking."

This news gave a different turn to the conversation, which ran upon
national defence, and the duty of fighting for the land we live in, until
it was time to part. The Antiquary and his nephew resumed their walk
homeward, after parting from Knockwinnock with the warmest expressions of
mutual regard, and an agreement to meet again as soon as possible.





CHAPTER TWENTY-THIRD.

              Nay, if she love me not, I care not for her:
              Shall I look pale because the maiden blooms
              Or sigh because she smiles, and smiles on others
              Not I, by Heaven!--I hold my peace too dear,
                    To let it, like the plume upon her cap,
             Shake at each nod that her caprice shall dictate.
                                          Old Play.

"Hector," said his uncle to Captain M'Intyre, in the course of their walk
homeward, "I am sometimes inclined to suspect that, in one respect, you
are a fool."

"If you only think me so in _one_ respect, sir, I am sure you do me more
grace than I expected or deserve."

"I mean in one particular _par excellence,_" answered the Antiquary. "I
have sometimes thought that you have cast your eyes upon Miss Wardour."

"Well, sir," said M'Intyre, with much composure.

"Well, sir," echoed his uncle--"Deuce take the fellow! he answers me as
if it were the most reasonable thing in the world, that he, a captain in
the array, and nothing at all besides, should marry the daughter of a
baronet."

"I presume to think, sir," said the young Highlander, "there would be no
degradation on Miss Wardour's part in point of family."

"O, Heaven forbid we should come on that topic!--No, no, equal both--both
on the table-land of gentility, and qualified to look down on every
_roturier_ in Scotland."

"And in point of fortune we are pretty even, since neither of us have got
any," continued Hector. "There may be an error, but I cannot plead guilty
to presumption."

"But here lies the error, then, if you call it so," replied his uncle:
"she won't have you, Hector."

"Indeed, sir?"

"It is very sure, Hector; and to make it double sure, I must inform you
that she likes another man. She misunderstood some words I once said to
her, and I have since been able to guess at the interpretation she put on
them. At the time I was unable to account for her hesitation and
blushing; but, my poor Hector, I now understand them as a death-signal to
your hopes and pretensions. So I advise you to beat your retreat and draw
off your forces as well as you can, for the fort is too well garrisoned
for you to storm it."

"I have no occasion to beat any retreat, uncle," said Hector, holding
himself very upright, and marching with a sort of dogged and offended
solemnity; "no man needs to retreat that has never advanced. There are
women in Scotland besides Miss Wardour, of as good family"--

"And better taste," said his uncle; "doubtless there are, Hector; and
though I cannot say but that she is one of the most accomplished as well
as sensible girls I have seen, yet I doubt, much of her merit would be
cast away on you. A showy figure, now, with two cross feathers above her
noddle--one green, one blue; who would wear a riding-habit of the
regimental complexion, drive a gig one day, and the next review the
regiment on the grey trotting pony which dragged that vehicle, _hoc erat
in votis;_--these are the qualities that would subdue you, especially if
she had a taste for natural history, and loved a specimen of a _phoca._"

"It's a little hard, sir," said Hector, "I must have that cursed seal
thrown into my face on all occasions--but I care little about it--and I
shall not break my heart for Miss Wardour. She is free to choose for
herself, and I wish her all happiness."

"Magnanimously resolved, thou prop of Troy! Why, Hector, I was afraid of
a scene. Your sister told me you were desperately in love with Miss
Wardour."

"Sir," answered the young man, "you would not have me desperately in love
with a woman that does not care about me?"

"Well, nephew," said the Antiquary, more seriously, "there is doubtless
much sense in what you say; yet I would have given a great deal, some
twenty or twenty-five years since, to have been able to think as you do."

"Anybody, I suppose, may think as they please on such subjects," said
Hector.

"Not according to the old school," said Oldbuck; "but, as I said before,
the practice of the modern seems in this case the most prudential,
though, I think, scarcely the most interesting. But tell me your ideas
now on this prevailing subject of an invasion. The cry is still, They
come."

Hector, swallowing his mortification, which he was peculiarly anxious to
conceal from his uncle's satirical observation, readily entered into a
conversation which was to turn the Antiquary's thoughts from Miss Wardour
and the seal. When they reached Monkbarns, the communicating to the
ladies the events which had taken place at the castle, with the
counter-information of how long dinner had waited before the womankind
had ventured to eat it in the Antiquary's absence, averted these delicate
topics of discussion.

The next morning the Antiquary arose early, and, as Caxon had not yet
made his appearance, he began mentally to feel the absence of the petty
news and small talk of which the ex-peruquier was a faithful reporter,
and which habit had made as necessary to the Antiquary as his occasional
pinch of snuff, although he held, or affected to hold, both to be of the
same intrinsic value. The feeling of vacuity peculiar to such a
deprivation, was alleviated by the appearance of old Ochiltree,
sauntering beside the clipped yew and holly hedges, with the air of a
person quite at home. Indeed, so familiar had he been of late, that even
Juno did not bark at him, but contented herself with watching him with a
close and vigilant eye. Our Antiquary stepped out in his night-gown, and
instantly received and returned his greeting.

"They are coming now, in good earnest, Monkbarns. I just cam frae
Fairport to bring ye the news, and then I'll step away back again. The
Search has just come into the bay, and they say she's been chased by a
French fleet.

"The Search?" said Oldbuck, reflecting a moment. "Oho!"

"Ay, ay, Captain Taffril's gun-brig, the Search."

"What? any relation to _Search, No. II.?_" said Oldbuck, catching at the
light which the name of the vessel seemed to throw on the mysterious
chest of treasure.

The mendicant, like a man detected in a frolic, put his bonnet before his
face, yet could not help laughing heartily.--"The deil's in you,
Monkbarns, for garring odds and evens meet. Wha thought ye wad hae laid
that and that thegither? Od, I am clean catch'd now."

"I see it all," said Oldbuck, "as plain as the legend on a medal of high
preservation--the box in which the' bullion was found belonged to the
gun-brig, and the treasure to my phoenix?"--(Edie nodded assent),--"and
was buried there that Sir Arthur might receive relief in his
difficulties?"

"By me," said Edie, "and twa o' the brig's men--but they didna ken its
contents, and thought it some bit smuggling concern o' the Captain's. I
watched day and night till I saw it in the right hand; and then, when
that German deevil was glowering at the lid o' the kist (they liked
mutton weel that licked where the yowe lay), I think some Scottish deevil
put it into my head to play him yon ither cantrip. Now, ye see, if I had
said mair or less to Bailie Littlejohn, I behoved till hae come out wi'
a' this story; and vexed would Mr. Lovel hae been to have it brought to
light--sae I thought I would stand to onything rather than that."

"I must say he has chosen his confidant well," said Oldbuck, "though
somewhat strangely."

"I'll say this for mysell, Monkbarns," answered the mendicant, "that I am
the fittest man in the haill country to trust wi' siller, for I neither
want it, nor wish for it, nor could use it if I had it. But the lad hadna
muckle choice in the matter, for he thought he was leaving the country
for ever (I trust he's mistaen in that though); and the night was set in
when we learned, by a strange chance, Sir Arthur's sair distress, and
Lovel was obliged to be on board as the day dawned. But five nights
afterwards the brig stood into the bay, and I met the boat by
appointment, and we buried the treasure where ye fand it."

"This was a very romantic, foolish exploit," said Oldbuck: "why not trust
me, or any other friend?"

"The blood o' your sister's son," replied Edie, "was on his hands, and
him maybe dead outright--what time had he to take counsel?--or how could
he ask it of you, by onybody?"

"You are right. But what if Dousterswivel had come before you?"

"There was little fear o' his coming there without Sir Arthur: he had
gotten a sair gliff the night afore, and never intended to look near the
place again, unless he had been brought there sting and ling. He ken'd
weel the first pose was o' his ain hiding, and how could he expect a
second? He just havered on about it to make the mair o' Sir Arthur."

"Then how," said Oldbuck, "should Sir Arthur have come there unless the
German had brought him?"

"Umph!" answered Edie drily. "I had a story about Misticot wad hae
brought him forty miles, or you either. Besides, it was to be thought he
would be for visiting the place he fand the first siller in--he ken'd na
the secret o' that job. In short, the siller being in this shape, Sir
Arthur in utter difficulties, and Lovel determined he should never ken
the hand that helped him,--for that was what he insisted maist upon,--we
couldna think o' a better way to fling the gear in his gate, though we
simmered it and wintered it e'er sae lang. And if by ony queer mischance
Doustercivil had got his claws on't, I was instantly to hae informed you
or the Sheriff o' the haill story."

"Well, notwithstanding all these wise precautions, I think your
contrivance succeeded better than such a clumsy one deserved, Edie. But
how the deuce came Lovel by such a mass of silver ingots?"

"That's just what I canna tell ye--But they were put on board wi' his
things at Fairport, it's like, and we stowed them into ane o' the
ammunition-boxes o' the brig, baith for concealment and convenience of
carriage."

"Lord!" said Oldbuck, his recollection recurring to the earlier part of
his acquaintance with Lovel; "and this young fellow, who was putting
hundreds on so strange a hazard, I must be recommending a subscription to
him, and paying his bill at the Ferry! I never will pay any person's bill
again, that's certain.--And you kept up a constant correspondence with
Lovel, I suppose?"

"I just gat ae bit scrape o' a pen frae him, to say there wad, as
yesterday fell, be a packet at Tannonburgh, wi' letters o' great
consequence to the Knockwinnock folk; for they jaloused the opening of
our letters at Fairport--And that's a's true; I hear Mrs. Mailsetter is
to lose her office for looking after other folk's business and neglecting
her ain."

"And what do you expect now, Edie, for being the adviser, and messenger,
and guard, and confidential person in all these matters?"

"Deil haet do I expect--excepting that a' the gentles will come to the
gaberlunzie's burial; and maybe ye'll carry the head yoursell, as ye did
puir Steenie Mucklebackit's.--What trouble was't to me? I was ganging
about at ony rate--Oh, but I was blythe when I got out of Prison, though;
for I thought, what if that weary letter should come when I am closed up
here like an oyster, and a' should gang wrang for want o't? and whiles I
thought I maun mak a clean breast and tell you a' about it; but then I
couldna weel do that without contravening Mr. Lovel's positive orders;
and I reckon he had to see somebody at Edinburgh afore he could do what
he wussed to do for Sir Arthur and his family."

"Well, and to your public news, Edie--So they are still coming are they?"

"Troth they say sae, sir; and there's come down strict orders for the
forces and volunteers to be alert; and there's a clever young officer to
come here forthwith, to look at our means o' defence--I saw the Bailies
lass cleaning his belts and white breeks--I gae her a hand, for ye maun
think she wasna ower clever at it, and sae I gat a' the news for my
pains."

"And what think you, as an old soldier?"

"Troth I kenna--an they come so mony as they speak o', they'll be odds
against us. But there's mony yauld chields amang thae volunteers; and I
mauna say muckle about them that's no weel and no very able, because I am
something that gate mysell--But we'se do our best."

"What! so your martial spirit is rising again, Edie?

                Even in our ashes glow their wonted fires!

I would not have thought you, Edie, had so much to fight for?"

"_Me_ no muckle to fight for, sir?--isna there the country to fight for,
and the burnsides that I gang daundering beside, and the hearths o'the
gudewives that gie me my bit bread, and the bits o' weans that come
toddling to play wi' me when I come about a landward town?--Deil!" he
continued, grasping his pike-staff with great emphasis, "an I had as gude
pith as I hae gude-will, and a gude cause, I should gie some o' them a
day's kemping."

"Bravo, bravo, Edie! The country's in little ultimate danger, when the
beggar's as ready to fight for his dish as the laird for his land."

Their further conversation reverted to the particulars of the night
passed by the mendicant and Lovel in the ruins of St. Ruth; by the
details of which the Antiquary was highly amused.

"I would have given a guinea," he said, "to have seen the scoundrelly
German under the agonies of those terrors, which it is part of his own
quackery to inspire into others; and trembling alternately for the fury
of his patron, and the apparition of some hobgoblin."

"Troth," said the beggar, "there was time for him to be cowed; for ye wad
hae thought the very spirit of Hell-in-Harness had taken possession o'
the body o' Sir Arthur. But what will come o' the land-louper?"

"I have had a letter this morning, from which I understand he has
acquitted you of the charge he brought against you, and offers to make
such discoveries as will render the settlement of Sir Arthur's affairs a
more easy task than we apprehended--So writes the Sheriff; and adds, that
he has given some private information of importance to Government, in
consideration of which, I understand he will be sent back to play the
knave in his own country."

"And a' the bonny engines, and wheels, and the coves, and sheughs, doun
at Glenwithershins yonder, what's to come o' them?" said Edie.

"I hope the men, before they are dispersed, will make a bonfire of their
gimcracks, as an army destroy their artillery when forced to raise a
siege. And as for the holes, Edie, I abandon them as rat-traps, for the
benefit of the next wise men who may choose to drop the substance to
snatch at a shadow."

"Hech, sirs! guide us a'! to burn the engines? that's a great waste--Had
ye na better try to get back part o' your hundred pounds wi' the sale o'
the materials?" he continued, with a tone of affected condolence.

"Not a farthing," said the Antiquary, peevishly, taking a turn from him,
and making a step or two away. Then returning, half-smiling at his own
pettishness, he said, "Get thee into the house, Edie, and remember my
counsel, never speak to me about a mine, nor to my nephew Hector about a
_phoca,_ that is a sealgh, as you call it."

"I maun be ganging my ways back to Fairport," said the wanderer; "I want
to see what they're saying there about the invasion;--but I'll mind what
your honour says, no to speak to you about a sealgh, or to the Captain
about the hundred pounds that you gied to Douster"--

"Confound thee!--I desired thee not to mention that to me."

"Dear me!" said Edie, with affected surprise; "weel, I thought there was
naething but what your honour could hae studden in the way o' agreeable
conversation, unless it was about the Praetorian yonder, or the bodle
that the packman sauld to ye for an auld coin."

"Pshaw! pshaw!" said the Antiquary, turning from him hastily, and
retreating into the house.

The mendicant looked after him a moment, and with a chuckling laugh, such
as that with which a magpie or parrot applauds a successful exploit of
mischief, he resumed once more the road to Fairport. His habits had given
him a sort of restlessness, much increased by the pleasure he took in
gathering news; and in a short time he had regained the town which he
left in the morning, for no reason that he knew himself, unless just to
"hae a bit crack wi' Monkbarns."





CHAPTER TWENTY-FOURTH.

                    Red glared the beacon on Pownell
                        On Skiddaw there were three;
                    The bugle horn on moor and fell
                        Was heard continually.
                                     James Hogg.

The watch who kept his watch on the hill, and looked towards Birnam,
probably conceived himself dreaming when he first beheld the fated grove
put itself into motion for its march to Dunsinane. Even so old Caxon, as
perched in his hut, he qualified his thoughts upon the approaching
marriage of his daughter, and the dignity of being father-in-law to
Lieutenant Taffril, with an occasional peep towards the signal-post with
which his own corresponded, was not a little surprised by observing a
light in that direction. He rubbed his eyes, looked again, adjusting his
observation by a cross-staff which had been placed so as to bear upon the
point. And behold, the light increased, like a comet to the eye of the
astronomer, "with fear of change perplexing nations."

"The Lord preserve us!" said Caxon, "what's to be done now? But there
will be wiser heads than mine to look to that, sae I'se e'en fire the
beacon."

And he lighted the beacon accordingly, which threw up to the sky a long
wavering train of light, startling the sea-fowl from their nests, and
reflected far beneath by the reddening billows of the sea. The brother
warders of Caxon being equally diligent, caught, and repeated his signal.
The lights glanced on headlands and capes and inland hills, and the whole
district was alarmed by the signal of invasion. *

* Note J. Alarms of Invasion.

Our Antiquary, his head wrapped warm in two double night-caps, was
quietly enjoying his repose, when it was suddenly broken by the screams
of his sister, his niece, and two maid-servants.

"What the devil is the matter?" said he, starting up in his bed--
"womankind in my room at this hour of night!--are ye all mad?"

"The beacon, uncle!" said Miss M'Intyre.

"The French coming to murder us!" screamed Miss Griselda.

"The beacon! the beacon!--the French! the French!--murder! murder! and
waur than murder!"--cried the two handmaidens, like the chorus of an
opera.

"The French?" said Oldbuck, starting up--"get out of the room, womankind
that you are, till I get my things on--And hark ye, bring me my sword."

"Whilk o' them, Monkbarns?" cried his sister, offering a Roman falchion
of brass with the one hand, and with the other an Andrea Ferrara without
a handle.

"The langest, the langest," cried Jenny Rintherout, dragging in a
two-handed sword of the twelfth century.

"Womankind," said Oldbuck in great agitation, "be composed, and do not
give way to vain terror--Are you sure they are come?"

"Sure, sure!" exclaimed Jenny--"ower sure!--a' the sea fencibles, and the
land fencibles, and the volunteers and yeomanry, are on fit, and driving
to Fairport as hard as horse and man can gang--and auld Mucklebackit's
gane wi' the lave--muckle gude he'll do!--Hech, sirs!--_he'll_ be missed
the morn wha wad hae served king and country weel!"

"Give me," said Oldbuck, "the sword which my father wore in the year
forty-five--it hath no belt or baldrick--but we'll make shift."

So saying he thrust the weapon through the cover of his breeches pocket.
At this moment Hector entered, who had been to a neighbouring height to
ascertain whether the alarm was actual.

"Where are your arms, nephew?" exclaimed Oldbuck--"where is your
double-barrelled gun, that was never out of your hand when there was no
occasion for such vanities?"

"Pooh! pooh! sir," said Hector, "who ever took a fowling-piece on action?
I have got my uniform on, you see--I hope I shall be of more use if they
will give me a command than I could be with ten double-barrels. And you,
sir, must get to Fairport, to give directions for quartering and
maintaining the men and horses, and preventing confusion."

"You are right, Hector,--l believe I shall do as much with my head as my
hand too. But here comes Sir Arthur Wardour, who, between ourselves, is
not fit to accomplish much either one way or the other."

Sir Arthur was probably of a different opinion; for, dressed in his
lieutenancy uniform, he was also on the road to Fairport, and called in
his way to take Mr. Oldbuck with him, having had his original opinion of
his sagacity much confirmed by late events. And in spite of all the
entreaties of the womankind that the Antiquary would stay to garrison
Monkbarns, Mr. Oldbuck, with his nephew, instantly accepted Sir Arthur's
offer.

Those who have witnessed such a scene can alone conceive the state of
bustle in Fairport. The windows were glancing with a hundred lights,
which, appearing and disappearing rapidly, indicated the confusion within
doors. The women of lower rank assembled and clamoured in the
market-place. The yeomanry, pouring from their different glens, galloped
through the streets, some individually, some in parties of five or six,
as they had met on the road. The drums and fifes of the volunteers
beating to arms, were blended with the voice of the officers, the sound
of the bugles, and the tolling of the bells from the steeple. The ships
in the harbour were lit up, and boats from the armed vessels added to the
bustle, by landing men and guns destined to assist in the defence of the
place. This part of the preparations was superintended by Taffril with
much activity. Two or three light vessels had already slipped their
cables and stood out to sea, in order to discover the supposed enemy.

Such was the scene of general confusion, when Sir Arthur Wardour,
Oldbuck, and Hector, made their way with difficulty into the principal
square, where the town-house is situated. It was lighted up, and the
magistracy, with many of the neighbouring gentlemen, were assembled. And
here, as upon other occasions of the like kind in Scotland, it was
remarkable how the good sense and firmness of the people supplied almost
all the deficiencies of inexperience.

The magistrates were beset by the quarter-masters of the different corps
for billets for men and horses. "Let us," said Bailie Littlejohn, "take
the horses into our warehouses, and the men into our parlours--share our
supper with the one, and our forage with the other. We have made
ourselves wealthy under a free and paternal government, and now is the
time to show we know its value."

A loud and cheerful acquiescence was given by all present, and the
substance of the wealthy, with the persons of those of all ranks, were
unanimously devoted to the defence of the country.

Captain M'Intyre acted on this occasion as military adviser and
aide-de-camp to the principal magistrate, and displayed a degree of
presence of mind, and knowledge of his profession, totally unexpected by
his uncle, who, recollecting his usual _insouciance_ and impetuosity,
gazed at him with astonishment from time to time, as he remarked the calm
and steady manner in which he explained the various measures of
precaution that his experience suggested, and gave directions for
executing them. He found the different corps in good order, considering
the irregular materials of which they were composed, in great force of
numbers and high confidence and spirits. And so much did military
experience at that moment overbalance all other claims to consequence,
that even old Edie, instead of being left, like Diogenes at Sinope, to
roll his tub when all around were preparing for defence, had the duty
assigned him of superintending the serving out of the ammunition, which
he executed with much discretion.

Two things were still anxiously expected--the presence of the Glenallan
volunteers, who, in consideration of the importance of that family, had
been formed into a separate corps, and the arrival of the officer before
announced, to whom the measures of defence on that coast had been
committed by the commander-in-chief, and whose commission would entitle
him to take upon himself the full disposal of the military force.

At length the bugles of the Glenallan yeomanry were heard, and the Earl
himself, to the surprise of all who knew his habits and state of health,
appeared at their head in uniform. They formed a very handsome and
well-mounted squadron, formed entirely out of the Earl's Lowland tenants,
and were followed by a regiment of five hundred men, completely equipped
in the Highland dress, whom he had brought down from the upland glens,
with their pipes playing in the van. The clean and serviceable appearance
of this band of feudal dependants called forth the admiration of Captain
M'Intyre; but his uncle was still more struck by the manner in which,
upon this crisis, the ancient military spirit of his house seemed to
animate and invigorate the decayed frame of the Earl, their leader. He
claimed, and obtained for himself and his followers, the post most likely
to be that of danger, displayed great alacrity in making the necessary
dispositions, and showed equal acuteness in discussing their propriety.
Morning broke in upon the military councils of Fairport, while all
concerned were still eagerly engaged in taking precautions for their
defence.

At length a cry among the people announced, "There's the brave Major
Neville come at last, with another officer;" and their post-chaise and
four drove into the square, amidst the huzzas of the volunteers and
inhabitants. The magistrates, with their assessors of the lieutenancy,
hastened to the door of their town-house to receive him; but what was the
surprise of all present, but most especially that of the Antiquary, when
they became aware, that the handsome uniform and military cap disclosed
the person and features of the pacific Lovel! A warm embrace, and a
hearty shake of the hand, were necessary to assure him that his eyes were
doing him justice. Sir Arthur was no less surprised to recognise his son,
Captain Wardour, in Lovel's, or rather Major Neville's company. The first
words of the young officers were a positive assurance to all present,
that the courage and zeal which they had displayed were entirely thrown
away, unless in so far as they afforded an acceptable proof of their
spirit and promptitude.

"The watchman at Halket-head," said Major Neville, "as we discovered by
an investigation which we made in our route hither, was most naturally
misled by a bonfire which some idle people had made on the hill above
Glenwithershins, just in the line of the beacon with which his
corresponded."

Oldbuck gave a conscious look to Sir Arthur, who returned it with one
equally sheepish, and a shrug of the shoulders,

"It must have been the machinery which we condemned to the flames in our
wrath," said the Antiquary, plucking up heart, though not a little
ashamed of having been the cause of so much disturbance--"The devil take
Dousterswivel with all my heart!--I think he has bequeathed us a legacy
of blunders and mischief, as if he had lighted some train of fireworks at
his departure. I wonder what cracker will go off next among our shins.
But yonder comes the prudent Caxon.--Hold up your head, you ass--your
betters must bear the blame for you--And here, take this what-d'ye-call
it"--(giving him his sword)--"I wonder what I would have said yesterday
to any man that would have told me I was to stick such an appendage to my
tail."

Here he found his arm gently pressed by Lord Glenallan, who dragged him
into a separate apartment. "For God's sake, who is that young gentleman
who is so strikingly like"--

"Like the unfortunate Eveline," interrupted Oldbuck. "I felt my heart
warm to him from the first, and your lordship has suggested the very
cause."

"But who--who is he?" continued Lord Glenallan, holding the Antiquary
with a convulsive grasp.

"Formerly I would have called him Lovel, but now he turns out to be Major
Neville."

"Whom my brother brought up as his natural son--whom he made his heir--
Gracious Heaven! the child of my Eveline!"

"Hold, my lord--hold!" said Oldbuck, "do not give too hasty way to such a
presumption;--what probability is there?"

"Probability? none! There is certainty! absolute certainty! The agent I
mentioned to you wrote me the whole story--I received it yesterday, not
sooner. Bring him, for God's sake, that a father's eyes may bless him
before he departs."

"I will; but for your own sake and his, give him a few moments for
preparation."

And, determined to make still farther investigation before yielding his
entire conviction to so strange a tale, he sought out Major Neville, and
found him expediting the necessary measures for dispersing the force
which had been assembled.

"Pray, Major Neville, leave this business for a moment to Captain Wardour
and to Hector, with whom, I hope, you are thoroughly reconciled" (Neville
laughed, and shook hands with Hector across the table), "and grant me a
moment's audience."

"You have a claim on me, Mr. Oldbuck, were my business more urgent," said
Neville, "for having passed myself upon you under a false name, and
rewarding your hospitality by injuring your nephew."

"You served him as he deserved," said Oldbuck--"though, by the way, he
showed as much good sense as spirit to-day--Egad! if he would rub up his
learning, and read Caesar and Polybus, and the _Stratagemata Polyaeni,_ I
think he would rise in the army--and I will certainly lend him a lift."

"He is heartily deserving of it," said Neville; "and I am glad you excuse
me, which you may do the more frankly, when you know that I am so
unfortunate as to have no better right to the name of Neville, by which I
have been generally distinguished, than to that of Lovel, under which you
knew me."

"Indeed! then, I trust, we shall find out one for you to which you shall
have a firm and legal title."

"Sir!--I trust you do not think the misfortune of my birth a fit
subject"--

"By no means, young man," answered the Antiquary, interrupting him;--"I
believe I know more of your birth than you do yourself--and, to convince
you of it, you were educated and known as a natural son of Geraldin
Neville of Neville's-Burgh, in Yorkshire, and I presume, as his destined
heir?"

"Pardon me--no such views were held out to me. I was liberally educated,
and pushed forward in the army by money and interest; but I believe my
supposed father long entertained some ideas of marriage, though he never
carried them into effect."

"You say your _supposed_ father?--What leads you to suppose Mr. Geraldin
Neville was not your real father?"

"I know, Mr. Oldbuck, that you would not ask these questions on a point
of such delicacy for the gratification of idle curiosity. I will
therefore tell you candidly, that last year, while we occupied a small
town in French Flanders, I found in a convent, near which I was
quartered, a woman who spoke remarkably good English--She was a Spaniard
--her name Teresa D'Acunha. In the process of our acquaintance, she
discovered who I was, and made herself known to me as the person who had
charge of my infancy. She dropped more than one hint of rank to which I
was entitled, and of injustice done to me, promising a more full
disclosure in case of the death of a lady in Scotland, during whose
lifetime she was determined to keep the secret. She also intimated that
Mr. Geraldin Neville was not my father. We were attacked by the enemy,
and driven from the town, which was pillaged with savage ferocity by the
republicans. The religious orders were the particular objects of their
hate and cruelty. The convent was burned, and several nuns perished--
among others Teresa; and with her all chance of knowing the story of my
birth: tragic by all accounts it must have been."

"_Raro antecedentem scelestum,_ or, as I may here say, _scelestam,_" said
Oldbuck, "_deseruit poena_--even Epicureans admitted that. And what did
you do upon this?"

"I remonstrated with Mr. Neville by letter, and to no purpose. I then
obtained leave of absence, and threw myself at his feet, conjuring him to
complete the disclosure which Teresa had begun. He refused, and, on my
importunity, indignantly upbraided me with the favours he had already
conferred. I thought he abused the power of a benefactor, as he was
compelled to admit he had no title to that of a father, and we parted in
mutual displeasure. I renounced the name of Neville, and assumed that
under which you knew me. It was at this time, when residing with a friend
in the north of England who favoured my disguise, that I became
acquainted with Miss Wardour, and was romantic enough to follow her to
Scotland. My mind wavered on various plans of life, when I resolved to
apply once more to Mr. Neville for an explanation of the mystery of my
birth. It was long ere I received an answer; you were present when it was
put into my hands. He informed me of his bad state of health, and
conjured me, for my own sake, to inquire no farther into the nature of
his connection with me, but to rest satisfied with his declaring it to be
such and so intimate, that he designed to constitute me his heir. When I
was preparing to leave Fairport to join him, a second express brought me
word that he was no more. The possession of great wealth was unable to
suppress the remorseful feelings with which I now regarded my conduct to
my benefactor, and some hints in his letter appearing to intimate there
was on my birth a deeper stain than that of ordinary illegitimacy, I
remembered certain prejudices of Sir Arthur."

"And you brooded over these melancholy ideas until you were ill, instead
of coming to me for advice, and telling me the whole story?" said
Oldbuck.

"Exactly; then came my quarrel with Captain M'Intyre, and my compelled
departure from Fairport and its vicinity."

"From love and from poetry--Miss Wardour and the Caledoniad?"

"Most true."

"And since that time you have been occupied, I suppose, with plans for
Sir Arthur's relief?"

"Yes, sir; with the assistance of Captain Wardour at Edinburgh."

"And Edie Ochiltree here--you see I know the whole story. But how came
you by the treasure?"

"It was a quantity of plate which had belonged to my uncle, and was left
in the custody of a person at Fairport. Some time before his death he had
sent orders that it should be melted down. He perhaps did not wish me to
see the Glenallan arms upon it."

"Well, Major Neville--or let me say, Lovel, being the name in which I
rather delight--you must, I believe, exchange both of your _alias's_ for
the style and title of the Honourable William Geraldin, commonly called
Lord Geraldin."

The Antiquary then went through the strange and melancholy circumstances
concerning his mother's death.

"I have no doubt," he said, "that your uncle wished the report to be
believed, that the child of this unhappy marriage was no more--perhaps he
might himself have an eye to the inheritance of his brother--he was then
a gay wild young man--But of all intentions against your person, however
much the evil conscience of Elspeth might lead her to inspect him from
the agitation in which he appeared, Teresa's story and your own fully
acquit him. And now, my dear sir, let me have the pleasure of introducing
a son to a father."

We will not attempt to describe such a meeting. The proofs on all sides
were found to be complete, for Mr. Neville had left a distinct account of
the whole transaction with his confidential steward in a sealed packet,
which was not to be opened until the death of the old Countess; his
motive for preserving secrecy so long appearing to have been an
apprehension of the effect which the discovery, fraught with so much
disgrace, must necessarily produce upon her haughty and violent temper.

In the evening of that day, the yeomanry and volunteers of Glenallan
drank prosperity to their young master. In a month afterwards Lord
Geraldin was married to Miss Wardour, the Antiquary making the lady a
present of the wedding ring--a massy circle of antique chasing, bearing
the motto of Aldobrand Oldenbuck, _Kunst macht gunst._

Old Edie, the most important man that ever wore a blue gown, bowls away
easily from one friend's house to another, and boasts that he never
travels unless on a sunny day. Latterly, indeed, he has given some
symptoms of becoming stationary, being frequently found in the corner of
a snug cottage between Monkbarns and Knockwinnock, to which Caxon
retreated upon his daughter's marriage, in order to be in the
neighbourhood of the three parochial wigs, which he continues to keep in
repair, though only for amusement. Edie has been heard to say, "This is a
gey bein place, and it's a comfort to hae sic a corner to sit in in a bad
day." It is thought, as he grows stiffer in the joints, he will finally
settle there.

The bounty of such wealthy patrons as Lord and Lady Geraldin flowed
copiously upon Mrs. Hadoway and upon the Mucklebackits. By the former it
was well employed, by the latter wasted. They continue, however, to
receive it, but under the administration of Edie Ochiltree; and they do
not accept it without grumbling at the channel through which it is
conveyed.

Hector is rising rapidly in the army, and has been more than once
mentioned in the Gazette, and rises proportionally high in his uncle's
favour; and what scarcely pleases the young soldier less, he has also
shot two seals, and thus put an end to the Antiquary's perpetual harping
upon the story of the _phoca._People talk of a marriage between Miss
M'Intyre and Captain Wardour; but this wants confirmation.

The Antiquary is a frequent visitor at Knockwinnock and Glenallan House,
ostensibly for the sake of completing two essays, one on the mail-shirt
of the Great Earl, and the other on the left-hand gauntlet of
Hell-in-Harness. He regularly inquires whether Lord Geraldin has
commenced the Caledoniad, and shakes his head at the answers he
receives._En attendant,_ however, he has completed his notes, which, we
believe, will be at the service of any one who chooses to make them
public without risk or expense to THE ANTIQUARY.





NOTES TO THE ANTIQUARY.



Note A, p. #.--Mottoes.

["It was in correcting the proof-sheets of this novel that Scott first
took to equipping his chapters with mottoes of his own fabrication. On
one occasion he happened to ask John Ballantyne, who was sitting by him,
to hunt for a particular passage in Beaumont and Fletcher. John did as he
was bid, but did not succeed in discovering the lines. 'Hang it,
Johnnie,' cried Scott, 'I believe I can make a motto sooner than you will
find one.' He did so accordingly; and from that hour, whenever memory
failed to suggest an appropriate epigraph, he had recourse to the
inexhaustible mines of "old play" or "old ballad," to which we owe some
of the most exquisite verses that ever flowed from his pen."--_J. G.
Lockhart._

See also the Introduction to "Chronicles of the Canongate," vol. xix.]



Note B, p. #.--Sandy Gordon's Itinerarium.

[This well-known work, the "Itinerarium Septentrionale, or a Journey
thro' most of the Counties of Scotland, and those in the North of
England," was published at London in 1727, folio. The author states, that
in prosecuting his work he "made a pretty laborious progress through
almost every part of Scotland for three years successively." Gordon was
a native of Aberdeenshire, and had previously spent some years in
travelling abroad, probably as a tutor. He became Secretary to the London
Society of Antiquaries in 1736. This office he resigned in 1741, and soon
after went out to South Carolina with Governor Glen, where he obtained a
considerable grant of land. On his death, about the year 1753, he is said
to have left "a handsome estate to his family."--See _Literary Anecdotes
of Bowyer,_ by John Nichols, vol. v., p. 329, etc.]



Note C, p. #.--Praetorium.

It may be worth while to mention that the incident of the supposed
Praetorium actually happened to an antiquary of great learning and
acuteness, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, one of the Barons of the Scottish
Court of Exchequer, and a parliamentary commissioner for arrangement of
the Union between England and Scotland. As many of his writings show, Sir
John was much attached to the study of Scottish antiquities. He had a
small property in Dumfriesshire, near the Roman station on the hill
called Burrenswark. Here he received the distinguished English
antiquarian Roger Gale, and of course conducted him to see this
remarkable spot, where the lords of the world have left such decisive
marks of their martial labours.

An aged shepherd whom they had used as a guide, or who had approached
them from curiosity, listened with mouth agape to the dissertations on
foss and vellum, ports _dextra, sinistra,_ and _decumana,_ which Sir John
Clerk delivered _ex cathedra,_ and his learned visitor listened with the
deference to the dignity of a connoisseur on his own ground. But when the
cicerone proceeded to point out a small hillock near the centre of the
enclosure as the Praetorium, Corydon's patience could hold no longer,
and, like Edie Ochiltree, he forgot all reverence, and broke in with
nearly the same words--"Praetorium here, Praetorium there, I made the
bourock mysell with a flaughter-spade." The effect of this undeniable
evidence on the two lettered sages may be left to the reader's
imagination.

The late excellent and venerable John Clerk of Eldin, the celebrated
author of _Naval Tactics,_ used to tell this story with glee, and being a
younger son of Sir John's was perhaps present on the occasion.



Note D, p. #.--Mr. Rutherfurd's Dream

The legend of Mrs. Grizel Oldbuck was partly taken from an extraordinary
story which happened about seventy years since, in the South of Scotland,
so peculiar in its circumstances that it merits being mentioned in this
place. Mr. Rutherfurd of Bowland, a gentleman of landed property in the
vale of Gala, was prosecuted for a very considerable sum, the accumulated
arrears of teind (or tithe) for which he was said to be indebted to a
noble family, the titulars (lay impropriators of the tithes). Mr.
Rutherfurd was strongly impressed with the belief that his father had, by
a form of process peculiar to the law of Scotland, purchased these lands
from the titular, and therefore that the present prosecution was
groundless. But, after an industrious search among his father's papers,
an investigation of the public records, and a careful inquiry among all
persons who had transacted law business for his father, no evidence could
be recovered to support his defence. The period was now near at hand when
he conceived the loss of his lawsuit to be inevitable, and he had formed
his determination to ride to Edinburgh next day, and make the best
bargain he could in the way of compromise. He went to bed with this
resolution and, with all the circumstances of the case floating upon his
mind, had a dream to the following purpose:--His father, who had been
many years dead, appeared to him, he thought, and asked him why he was
disturbed in his mind. In dreams men are not surprised at such
apparitions. Mr. Rutherfurd thought that he informed his father of the
cause of his distress, adding that the payment of a considerable sum of
money was the more unpleasant to him, because he had a strong
consciousness that it was not due, though he was unable to recover any
evidence in support of his belief, "You are right, my son," replied the
paternal shade; "I did acquire right to these teinds, for payment of
which you are now prosecuted. The papers relating to the transaction are
in the hands of Mr.--, a writer (or attorney), who is now retired from
professional business, and resides at Inveresk, near Edinburgh. He was a
person whom I employed on that occasion for a particular reason, but who
never on any other occasion transacted business on my account. It is very
possible," pursued the vision, "that Mr.--may have forgotten a matter
which is now of a very old date; but you may call it to his recollection
by this token, that when I came to pay his account, there was difficulty
in getting change for a Portugal piece of gold, and that we were forced
to drink out the balance at a tavern."

Mr. Rutherfurd awakened in the morning with all the words of the vision
imprinted on his mind, and thought it worth while to ride across the
country to Inveresk, instead of going straight to Edinburgh. When he came
there he waited on the gentleman mentioned in the dream, a very old man;
without saying anything of the vision, he inquired whether he remembered
having conducted such a matter for his deceased father. The old gentleman
could not at first bring the circumstance to his recollection, but on
mention of the Portugal piece of gold, the whole returned upon his
memory; he made an immediate search for the papers, and recovered them,--
so that Mr. Rutherfurd carried to Edinburgh the documents necessary to
gain the cause which he was on the verge of losing.

The author has often heard this story told by persons who had the best
access to know the facts, who were not likely themselves to be deceived,
and were certainly incapable of deception. He cannot therefore refuse to
give it credit, however extraordinary the circumstances may appear. The
circumstantial character of the information given in the dream, takes it
out of the general class of impressions of the kind which are occasioned
by the fortuitous coincidence of actual events with our sleeping
thoughts. On the other hand, few will suppose that the laws of nature
were suspended, and a special communication from the dead to the living
permitted, for the purpose of saving Mr. Rutherfurd a certain number of
hundred pounds. The author's theory is, that the dream was only the
recapitulation of information which Mr. Rutherfurd had really received
from his father while in life, but which at first he merely recalled as a
general impression that the claim was settled. It is not uncommon for
persons to recover, during sleep, the thread of ideas which they have
lost during their waking hours.

It may be added, that this remarkable circumstance was attended with bad
consequences to Mr. Rutherfurd; whose health and spirits were afterwards
impaired by the attention which he thought himself obliged to pay to the
visions of the night.



Note E, p. #.--Nick-sticks.

A sort of tally generally used by bakers of the olden time in settling
with their customers. Each family had its own nick-stick, and for each
loaf as delivered a notch was made on the stick. Accounts in Exchequer,
kept by the same kind of check, may have occasioned the Antiquary's
partiality. In Prior's time the English bakers had the same sort of
reckoning.

                   Have you not seen a baker's maid,
                   Between two equal panniers sway'd?
                   Her tallies useless lie and idle,
                     If placed exactly in the middle.



Note F, p. #.--Witchcraft.

A great deal of stuff to the same purpose with that placed in the mouth
of the German adept, may be found in Reginald Scott's _Discovery of
Witchcraft,_ Third Edition, folio, London, 1665. The Appendix is
entitled, "An Excellent Discourse of the Nature and Substances of Devils
and Spirits, in two Books; the first by the aforesaid author (Reginald
Scott), the Second now added in this Third Edition as succedaneous to the
former, and conducing to the completing of the whole work." This Second
Book, though stated as succedaneous to the first, is, in fact, entirely
at variance with it; for the work of Reginald Scott is a compilation of
the absurd and superstitious ideas concerning witches so generally
entertained at the time, and the pretended conclusion is a serious
treatise on the various means of conjuring astral spirits.

[Scott's _Discovery of Witchcraft_ was first published in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, London, 1584.]



Note G, p. #.--Gyneocracy.

In the fishing villages on the Firths of Forth and Tay, as well as
elsewhere in Scotland, the government is gyneocracy, as described in the
text. In the course of the late war, and during the alarm of invasion, a
fleet of transports entered the Firth of Forth under the convoy of some
ships of war, which would reply to no signals. A general alarm was
excited, in consequence of which, all the fishers, who were enrolled as
sea-fencibles, got on board the gun-boats which they were to man as
occasion should require, and sailed to oppose the supposed enemy. The
foreigners proved to be Russians, with whom we were then at peace. The
county gentlemen of Mid-Lothian, pleased with the zeal displayed by the
sea-fencibles at a critical moment, passed a vote for presenting the
community of fishers with a silver punch-bowl, to be used on occasions of
festivity. But the fisher-women, on hearing what was intended, put in
their claim to have some separate share in the intended honorary reward.
The men, they said, were their husbands; it was they who would have been
sufferers if their husbands had been killed, and it was by their
permission and injunctions that they embarked on board the gun-boats for
the public service. They therefore claimed to share the reward in some
manner which should distinguish the female patriotism which they had
shown on the occasion. The gentlemen of the county willingly admitted the
claim; and without diminishing the value of their compliment to the men,
they made the females a present of a valuable broach, to fasten the plaid
of the queen of the fisher-women for the time.

It may be further remarked, that these Nereids are punctilious among
themselves, and observe different ranks according to the commodities they
deal in. One experienced dame was heard to characterise a younger damsel
as "a puir silly thing, who had no ambition, and would never," she
prophesied, "rise above the _mussel-line_ of business."



Note H, p. #.--Battle of Harlaw.

The great battle of Harlaw, here and formerly referred to, might be said
to determine whether the Gaelic or the Saxon race should be predominant
in Scotland. Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had at that period the power
of an independent sovereign, laid claim to the Earldom of Ross during the
Regency of Robert, Duke of Albany. To enforce his supposed right, he
ravaged the north with a large army of Highlanders and Islesmen. He was
encountered at Harlaw, in the Garioch, by Alexander, Earl of Mar, at the
head of the northern nobility and gentry of Saxon and Norman descent. The
battle was bloody and indecisive; but the invader was obliged to retire
in consequence of the loss he sustained, and afterwards was compelled to
make submission to the Regent, and renounce his pretensions to Ross; so
that all the advantages of the field were gained by the Saxons. The
battle of Harlaw was fought 24th July 1411.



Note I, p. #.--Elspeth's death.

The concluding circumstance of Elspeth's death is taken from an incident
said to have happened at the funeral of John, Duke of Roxburghe. All who
were acquainted with that accomplished nobleman must remember that he was
not more remarkable for creating and possessing a most curious and
splendid library, than for his acquaintance with the literary treasures
it contained. In arranging his books, fetching and replacing the volumes
which he wanted, and carrying on all the necessary intercourse which a
man of letters holds with his library, it was the Duke's custom to
employ, not a secretary or librarian, but a livery servant, called
Archie, whom habit had made so perfectly acquainted with the library,
that he knew every book, as a shepherd does the individuals of his flock,
by what is called head-mark, and could bring his master whatever volume
he wanted, and afford all the mechanical aid the Duke required in his
literary researches. To secure the attendance of Archie, there was a bell
hung in his room, which was used on no occasion except to call him
individually to the Duke's study.

His Grace died in Saint James's Square, London, in the year 1804; the
body was to be conveyed to Scotland, to lie in state at his mansion of
Fleurs, and to be removed from thence to the family burial-place at
Bowden.

At this time, Archie, who had been long attacked by a liver-complaint,
was in the very last stage of that disease. Yet he prepared himself to
accompany the body of the master whom he had so long and so faithfully
waited upon. The medical persons assured him he could not survive the
journey. It signified nothing, he said, whether he died in England or
Scotland; he was resolved to assist in rendering the last honours to the
kind master from whom he had been inseparable for so many years, even if
he should expire in the attempt. The poor invalid was permitted to attend
the Duke's body to Scotland; but when they reached Fleurs he was totally
exhausted, and obliged to keep his bed, in a sort of stupor which
announced speedy dissolution. On the morning of the day fixed for
removing the dead body of the Duke to the place of burial, the private
bell by which he was wont to summon his attendant to his study was rung
violently. This might easily happen in the confusion of such a scene,
although the people of the neighbourhood prefer believing that the bell
sounded of its own accord. Ring, however, it did; and Archie, roused by
the well-known summons, rose up in his bed, and faltered, in broken
accents, "Yes, my Lord Duke--yes--I will wait on your Grace instantly;"
and with these words on his lips he is said to have fallen back and
expired.



Note J, p. #.--Alarm of invasion.

The story of the false alarm at Fairport, and the consequences, are taken
from a real incident. Those who witnessed the state of Britain, and of
Scotland in particular, from the period that succeeded the war which
commenced in 1803 to the battle of Trafalgar, must recollect those times
with feelings which we can hardly hope to make the rising generation
comprehend. Almost every individual was enrolled either in a military or
civil capacity, for the purpose of contributing to resist the
long-suspended threats of invasion, which were echoed from every quarter.
Beacons were erected along the coast, and all through the country, to
give the signal for every one to repair to the post where his peculiar
duty called him, and men of every description fit to serve held
themselves in readiness on the shortest summons. During this agitating
period, and on the evening of the 2d February 1804, the person who kept
watch on the commanding station of Home Castle, being deceived by some
accidental fire in the county of Northumberland, which he took for the
corresponding signal-light in that county with which his orders were to
communicate, lighted up his own beacon. The signal was immediately
repeated through all the valleys on the English Border. If the beacon at
Saint Abb's Head had been fired, the alarm would have run northward, and
roused all Scotland. But the watch at this important point judiciously
considered, that if there had been an actual or threatened descent on our
eastern sea-coast, the alarm would have come along the coast and not from
the interior of the country.

Through the Border counties the alarm spread with rapidity, and on no
occasion when that country was the scene of perpetual and unceasing war,
was the summons to arms more readily obeyed. In Berwickshire,
Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire, the volunteers and militia got under
arms with a degree of rapidity and alacrity which, considering the
distance individuals lived from each other, had something in it very
surprising--they poured to the alarm-posts on the sea-coast in a state so
well armed and so completely appointed, with baggage, provisions, etc.,
as was accounted by the best military judges to render them fit for
instant and effectual service.

There were some particulars in the general alarm which are curious and
interesting. The men of Liddesdale, the most remote point to the westward
which the alarm reached, were so much afraid of being late in the field,
that they put in requisition all the horses they could find, and when
they had thus made a forced march out of their own country, they turned
their borrowed steeds loose to find their way back through the hills, and
they all got back safe to their own stables. Another remarkable
circumstance was, the general cry of the inhabitants of the smaller towns
for arms, that they might go along with their companions. The
Selkirkshire Yeomanry made a remarkable march, for although some of the
individuals lived at twenty and thirty miles' distance from the place
where they mustered, they were nevertheless embodied and in order in so
short a period, that they were at Dalkeith, which was their alarm-post,
about one o'clock on the day succeeding the first signal, with men and
horses in good order, though the roads were in a bad state, and many of
the troopers must have ridden forty or fifty miles without drawing
bridle. Two members of the corps chanced to be absent from their homes,
and in Edinburgh on private business. The lately married wife of one of
these gentlemen, and the widowed mother of the other, sent the arms,
uniforms, and chargers of the two troopers, that they might join their
companions at Dalkeith. The author was very much struck by the answer
made to him by the last-mentioned lady, when he paid her some compliment
on the readiness which she showed in equipping her son with the means of
meeting danger, when she might have left him a fair excuse for remaining
absent. "Sir," she replied, with the spirit of a Roman matron, "none can
know better than you that my son is the only prop by which, since his
father's death, our family is supported. But I would rather see him dead
on that hearth, than hear that he had been a horse's length behind his
companions in the defence of his king and country." The author mentions
what was immediately under his own eye, and within his own knowledge; but
the spirit was universal, wherever the alarm reached, both in Scotland
and England.

The account of the ready patriotism displayed by the country on this
occasion, warmed the hearts of Scottishmen in every corner of the world.
It reached the ears of the well-known Dr. Leyden, whose enthusiastic love
of Scotland, and of his own district of Teviotdale, formed a
distinguished part of his character. The account which was read to him
when on a sick-bed, stated (very truly) that the different corps, on
arriving at their alarm-posts, announced themselves by their music
playing the tunes peculiar to their own districts, many of which have
been gathering-signals for centuries. It was particularly remembered,
that the Liddesdale men, before mentioned, entered Kelso playing the
lively tune--

                       O wha dare meddle wi' me,
                       And wha dare meddle wi' me!
                       My name it is little Jock Elliot,
                       And wha dare meddle wi' me!

The patient was so delighted with this display of ancient Border spirit,
that he sprung up in his bed, and began to sing the old song with such
vehemence of action and voice, that his attendants, ignorant of the cause
of excitation, concluded that the fever had taken possession of his
brain; and it was only the entry of another Borderer, Sir John Malcolm,
and the explanation which he was well qualified to give, that prevented
them from resorting to means of medical coercion.

The circumstances of this false alarm and its consequences may be now
held of too little importance even for a note upon a work of fiction;
but, at the period when it happened, it was hailed by the country as a
propitious omen, that the national force, to which much must naturally
have been trusted, had the spirit to look in the face the danger which
they had taken arms to repel; and every one was convinced, that on
whichever side God might bestow the victory, the invaders would meet with
the most determined opposition from the children of the soil.





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