Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Redgauntlet by Sir Walter Scott

Part 2 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

seemed to keep time with some current of internal passion, dark,
slow, and unchanged. 'We run and leap by the side of a lively
and bubbling brook,' thought I, internally, 'as if we would run a
race with it; but beside waters deep, slow, and lonely, our pace
is sullen and silent as their course. What thoughts may be now
corresponding with that furrowed brow, and bearing time with that
heavy step?'

'If you have finished,' said he, looking up to me with a glance
of impatience, as he observed that I ate no longer, but remained
with my eyes fixed upon him, 'I wait to show you the way.'

We went out together, no individual of the family having been
visible excepting my landlord. I was disappointed of the
opportunity which I watched for of giving some gratuity to the
domestics, as they seemed to be. As for offering any recompense
to the master of the household, it seemed to me impossible to
have attempted it.

What would I have given for a share of thy composure, who wouldst
have thrust half a crown into a man's hand whose necessities
seemed to crave it, conscious that you did right in making the
proffer, and not caring sixpence whether you hurt the feelings of
him whom you meant to serve! I saw thee once give a penny to a
man with a long beard, who, from the dignity of his exterior,
might have represented Solon. I had not thy courage, and
therefore I made no tender to my mysterious host, although,
notwithstanding his display of silver utensils, all around the
house bespoke narrow circumstances, if not actual poverty.

We left the place together. But I hear thee murmur thy very new
and appropriate ejaculation, OHE, JAM SATIS!--The rest for
another time. Perhaps I may delay further communication till I
learn how my favours are valued.



I have thy two last epistles, my dear Darsie, and expecting the
third, have been in no hurry to answer them. Do not think my
silence ought to be ascribed to my failing to take interest in
them, for, truly, they excel (though the task was difficult) thy
usual excellings. Since the moon-calf who earliest discovered
the Pandemonium of Milton in an expiring wood-fire--since the
first ingenious urchin who blew bubbles out of soap and water,
thou, my best of friends, hast the highest knack at making
histories out of nothing. Wert thou to plant the bean in the
nursery-tale, thou wouldst make out, so soon as it began to
germinate, that the castle of the giant was about to elevate its
battlements on the top of it. All that happens to thee gets a
touch of the wonderful and the sublime from thy own rich
imagination. Didst ever see what artists call a Claude Lorraine
glass, which spreads its own particular hue over the whole
landscape which you see through it?--thou beholdest ordinary
events just through such a medium.

I have looked carefully at the facts of thy last long letter, and
they are just such as might have befallen any little truant of
the High School, who had got down to Leith Sands, gone beyond the
PRAWN-DUB, wet his hose and shoon, and, finally, had been carried
home, in compassion, by some high-kilted fishwife, cursing all
the while the trouble which the brat occasioned her.

I admire the figure which thou must have made, clinging for dear
life behind the old fellow's back--thy jaws chattering with fear,
thy muscles cramped with anxiety. Thy execrable supper of
broiled salmon, which was enough to ensure the nightmare's
regular visits for a twelvemonth, may be termed a real
affliction; but as for the storm of Thursday last (such, I
observe, was the date), it roared, whistled, howled, and
bellowed, as fearfully amongst the old chimney-heads in the
Candlemaker Row, as it could on the Solway shore, for the very
wind of it--TESTE ME PER TOTAM NOCTEM VIGILANTE. And then in the
morning again, when--Lord help you--in your sentimental delicacy
you bid the poor man adieu, without even tendering him half a
crown for supper and lodging!

You laugh at me for giving a penny (to be accurate, though, thou
shouldst have said sixpence) to an old fellow, whom thou, in thy
high flight, wouldst have sent home supperless, because he was
like Solon or Belisarius. But you forget that the affront
descended like a benediction into the pouch of the old
gaberlunzie, who overflowed in blessings upon the generous donor
--long ere he would have thanked thee, Darsie, for thy barren
veneration of his beard and his bearing. Then you laugh at my
good father's retreat from Falkirk, just as if it were not time
for a man to trudge when three or four mountain knaves, with
naked claymores, and heels as light as their fingers, were
scampering after him, crying FURINISH. You remember what he said
himself when the Laird of Bucklivat told him that FURINISH
signified 'stay a while'. 'What the devil,' he said, surprised
out of his Presbyterian correctness by the unreasonableness of
such a request under the circumstances, 'would the, scoundrels
have had me stop to have my head cut off?'

Imagine such a train at your own heels, Darsie, and ask yourself
whether you would not exert your legs as fast as you did in
flying from the Solway tide. And yet you impeach my father's
courage. I tell you he has courage enough to do what is right,
and to spurn what is wrong--courage enough to defend a righteous
cause with hand and purse, and to take the part of the poor man
against his oppressor, without fear of the consequences to
himself. This is civil courage, Darsie; and it is of little
consequence to most men in this age and country whether they ever
possess military courage or no.

Do not think I am angry with you, though I thus attempt to
rectify your opinions on my father's account. I am well aware
that, upon the whole, he is scarce regarded with more respect by
me than by thee. And, while I am in a serious humour, which it
is difficult to preserve with one who is perpetually tempting me
to laugh at him, pray, dearest Darsie, let not thy ardour for
adventure carry thee into more such scrapes as that of the Solway
Sands. The rest of the story is a mere imagination; but that
stormy evening might have proved, as the clown says to Lear, 'a
naughty night to swim in.'

As for the rest, if you can work mysterious and romantic heroes
out of old cross-grained fishermen, why, I for one will reap some
amusement by the metamorphosis. Yet hold! even there, there is
some need of caution. This same female chaplain--thou sayest so
little of her, and so much of every one else, that it excites
some doubt in my mind. VERY PRETTY she is, it seems--and that is
all thy discretion informs me of. There are cases in which
silence implies other things than consent. Wert thou ashamed or
afraid, Darsie, to trust thyself with the praises of the very
pretty grace-sayer?--As I live, thou blushest! Why, do I not
know thee an inveterate squire of dames? and have I not been in
thy confidence? An elegant elbow, displayed when the rest of the
figure was muffled in a cardinal, or a neat well-turned ankle and
instep, seen by chance as its owner tripped up the Old Assembly
Close, [Of old this almost deserted alley formed the most common
access betwixt the High Street and the southern suburbs.] turned
thy brain for eight days. Thou wert once caught if I remember
rightly, with a single glance of a single matchless eye, which,
when the fair owner withdrew her veil, proved to be single in the
literal sense of the word. And, besides, were you not another
time enamoured of a voice--a mere voice, that mingled in the
psalmody at the Old Greyfriars' Church--until you discovered the
proprietor of that dulcet organ to be Miss Dolly MacIzzard, who
is both 'back and breast', as our saying goes?

All these things considered, and contrasted with thy artful
silence on the subject of this grace-saying Nereid of thine, I
must beg thee to be more explicit upon that subject in thy next,
unless thou wouldst have me form the conclusion that thou
thinkest more of her than thou carest to talk of.

You will not expect much news from this quarter, as you know the
monotony of my life, and are aware it must at present be devoted
to uninterrupted study. You have said a thousand times that I am
only qualified to make my way by dint of plodding, and therefore
plod I must.

My father seems to be more impatient of your absence than he was
after your first departure. He is sensible, I believe, that our
solitary meals want the light which your gay humour was wont to
throw over them, and feels melancholy as men do when the light of
the sun is no longer upon the landscape. If it is thus with him,
thou mayst imagine it is much more so with me, and canst conceive
how heartily I wish that thy frolic were ended, and thou once
more our inmate.


I resume my pen, after a few hours' interval, to say that an
incident has occurred on which you will yourself be building a
hundred castles in the air, and which even I, jealous as I am of
such baseless fabrics, cannot but own affords ground for singular

My father has of late taken me frequently along with him when he
attends the courts, in his anxiety to see me properly initiated
into the practical forms of business. I own I feel something on
his account and my own from this over-anxiety, which, I dare say,
renders us both ridiculous. But what signifies my repugnance?
my father drags me up to his counsel learned in the law,--'Are
you quite ready to come on to-day, Mr. Crossbite?--This is my
son, designed for the bar--I take the liberty to bring him with
me to-day to the consultation, merely that he may see how these
things are managed.'

Mr. Crossbite smiles and bows; as a lawyer smiles on the
solicitor who employs him, and I dare say, thrusts his tongue
into his cheek, and whispers into the first great wig that passes
him, 'What the d--l does old Fairford mean by letting loose his
whelp on me?'

As I stood beside them, too much vexed at the childish part I was
made to play to derive much information from the valuable
arguments of Mr. Crossbite, I observed a rather elderly man, who
stood with his eyes firmly bent on my father, as if he only
waited an end of the business in which he was engaged, to address
him. There was something, I thought, in the gentleman's
appearance which commanded attention. Yet his dress was not in
the present taste, and though it had once been magnificent, was
now antiquated and unfashionable. His coat was of branched
velvet, with a satin lining, a waistcoat of violet-coloured silk,
much embroidered; his breeches the same stuff as the coat. He
wore square-toed shoes, with foretops, as they are called; and
his silk stockings were rolled up over his knee, as you may have
seen in pictures, and here and there on some of those originals
who seem to pique themselves on dressing after the mode of
Methuselah. A CHAPEAU BRAS and sword necessarily completed his
equipment, which, though out of date, showed that it belonged to
a man of distinction.

The instant Mr. Crossbite had ended what he had to say, this
gentleman walked up to my father, with, 'Your servant, Mr.
Fairford--it is long since you and I met.'

My father, whose politeness, you know, is exact and formal,
bowed, and hemmed, and was confused, and at length professed that
the distance since they had met was so great, that though he
remembered the face perfectly, the name, he was sorry to any,
had--really--somehow--escaped his memory.

'Have you forgot Herries of Birrenswork?' said the gentleman,
and my father bowed even more profoundly than before; though I
think his reception of his old friend seemed to lose some of the
respectful civility which he bestowed on him while his name was
yet unknown. It now seemed to be something like the lip-courtesy
which the heart would have denied had ceremony permitted.

My father, however, again bowed low, and hoped he saw him well.

'So well, my good Mr. Fairford, that I come hither determined to
renew my acquaintance with one or two old friends, and with you
in the first place. I halt at my old resting place--you must
dine with me to-day, at Paterson's, at the head of the Horse
Wynd--it is near your new fashionable dwelling, and I have
business with you.'

My father excused himself respectfully, and not without
embarrassment--'he was particularly engaged at home.'

'Then I will dine with you, man,' said Mr. Herries of
Birrenswork; 'the few minutes you can spare me after dinner will
suffice for my business; and I will not prevent you a moment from
minding your own--I am no bottle-man.'

You have often remarked that my father, though a scrupulous
ohserver of the rites of hospitality, seems to exercise them
rather as a duty than as a pleasure; indeed, but for a
conscientious wish to feed the hungry and receive the stranger,
his doors would open to guests much seldomer than is the case. I
never saw so strong an example of this peculiarity (which I
should otherwise have said is caricatured in your description) as
in his mode of homologating the self-given invitation of Mr.
Herries. The embarsassed brow, and the attempt at a smile which
accompanied his 'We will expect the honour of seeing you in Brown
Square at three o'clock,' could not deceive any one, and did not
impose upon the old laird. It was with a look of scorn that he
replied, 'I will relieve you then till that hour, Mr. Fairford;'
and his whole manner seemed to say, 'It is my pleasure to dine
with you, and I care not whether I am welcome or no.'

When he turned away, I asked my father who he was.

'An unfortunate gentleman,' was the reply.

'He looks pretty well on his misfortunes,' replied I. 'I should
not have suspected that so gay an outside was lacking a dinner.'

'Who told you that he does?' replied my father; 'he is OMNI
SUSPICIONE MAJOR, so far as worldly circumstances are concerned.
It is to be hoped he makes a good use of them; though, if he
does, it will be for the first time in his life.'

'He has then been an irregular liver?' insinuated I.

My father replied by that famous brocard with which he silences
all unacceptable queries turning in the slightest degree upon the
failings of our neighbours,--'If we mend our own faults, Alan, we
shall all of us have enough to do, without sitting in judgement
upon other folks.'

Here I was again at fault; but rallying once more, I observed, he
had the air of a man of high rank and family.

'He is well entitled,' said my father, 'representing Herries of
Birrenswork; a branch of that great and once powerful family of
Herries, the elder branch whereof merged in the house of
Nithesdale at the death of Lord Robin the Philosopher, Anno
Domini sixteen hundred and sixty-seven.'

'Has he still,' said I, 'his patrimonial estate of Birrenswork?'

'No,' replied my father; 'so far back as his father's time, it
was a mere designation--the property being forfeited by Herbert
Herries following his kinsman the Earl of Derwentwater to the
Preston affair in 1715. But they keep up the designation,
thinking, doubtless, that their claims may be revived in more
favourable times for Jacobites and for popery; and folks who in
no way partake of their fantastic capriccios do yet allow it to
pass unchallenged, EX COMITATE, if not EX MISERICORDIA.--But were
he the Pope and the Pretender both, we must get some dinner ready
for him, since he has thought fit to offer himself. So hasten
home, my lad, and tell Hannah, Cook Epps, and James Wilkinson, to
do their best; and do thou look out a pint or two of Maxwell's
best--it is in the fifth bin--there are the keys of the wine-
cellar. Do not leave them in the lock--you know poor James's
failing, though he is an honest creature under all other
temptations--and I have but two bottles of the old brandy left--
we must keep it for medicine, Alan.'

Away went I--made my preparations--the hour of dinner came, and
so did Mr. Herries of Birrenswork.

If I had thy power of imagination and description, Darsie, I
could make out a fine, dark, mysterious, Rembrandt-looking
portrait of this same stranger, which should be as far superior
to thy fisherman as a shirt of chain-mail is to a herring-net. I
can assure you there is some matter for description about him;
but knowing my own imperfections, I can only say, I thought him
eminently disagreeable and ill-bred.--No, ILL-BRED is not the
proper word on the contrary, he appeared to know the rules of
good-breeding perfectly, and only to think that the rank of the
company did not require that he should attend to them--a view of
the matter infinitely more offensive than if his behaviour had
been that of uneducated and proper rudeness. While my father
said grace, the laird did all but whistle aloud; and when I, at
my father's desire, returned thanks, he used his toothpick, as if
he had waited that moment for its exercise.

So much for Kirk--with King, matters went even worse. My father,
thou knowest, is particularly full of deference to his guests;
and in the present care, he seemed more than usually desirous to
escape every cause of dispute. He so far compromised his loyalty
as to announce merely 'The King' as his first toast after dinner,
instead of the emphatic 'King George', which is his usual
formula. Our guest made a motion with his glass, so as to pass
it over the water-decanter which stood beside him, and added,
'Over the water.'

My father coloured, but would not seem to hear this. Much more
there was of careless and disrespectful in the stranger's manner
and tone of conversation; so that, though I know my father's
prejudices in favour of rank and birth, and though I am aware his
otherwise masculine understanding has never entirely shaken off
the slavish awe of the great which in his earlier days they had
so many modes of commanding, still I could hardly excuse him for
enduring so much insolence--such it seemed to be as this self-
invited guest was disposed to offer to him at his own table.

One can endure a traveller in the same carriage, if he treads
upon your toes by accident, or even through negligence; but it is
very different when, knowing that they are rather of a tender
description, he continues to pound away at them with his hoofs.
In my poor opinion--and I am a man of peace--you can, in that
case, hardly avoid a declaration of war.

I believe my father read my thoughts in my eye; for, pulling out
his watch, he said; 'Half-past four, Alan--you should be in your
own room by this time--Birrenswork will excuse you.'

Our visitor nodded carelessly, and I had no longer any pretence
to remain. But as I left the room, I heard this magnate of
Nithesdale distinctly mention the name of Latimer. I lingered;
but at length a direct hint from my father obliged me to
withdraw; and when, an hour afterwards, I was summoned to partake
of a cup of tea, our guest had departed. He had business that
evening in the High Street, and could not spare time even to
drink tea. I could not help saying, I considered his departure
as a relief from incivility. 'What business has he to upbraid
us,' I said, 'with the change of our dwelling from a more
inconvenient to a better quarter of the town? What was it to him
if we chose to imitate some of the conveniences or luxuries of an
English dwelling-house, instead of living piled up above each
other in flats? Have his patrician birth and aristocratic
fortunes given him any right to censure those who dispose of the
fruits of their own industry, according to their own pleasure?'

My father took a long pinch of snuff, and replied, 'Very well,
Alan; very well indeed. I wish Mr. Crossbite or Counsellor Pest
had heard you; they must have acknowledged that you have a talent
for forensic elocution; and it may not be amiss to try a little
declamation at home now and then, to gather audacity and keep
yourself in breath. But touching the subject of this paraffle of
words, it's not worth a pinch of tobacco. D'ye think that I care
for Mr. Herries of Birrenswork more than any other gentleman who
comes here about business, although I do not care to go tilting
at his throat, because he speaks like a grey goose, as he is?
But to say no more about him, I want to have Darsie Latimer's
present direction; for it is possible I may have to write the lad
a line with my own hand--and yet I do not well know--but give me
the direction at all events.'

I did so, and if you have heard from my father accordingly, you
know more, probably, about the subject of this letter than I who
write it. But if you have not, then shall I have discharged a
friend's duty, in letting you know that there certainly is
something afloat between this disagreeable laird and my father,
in which you are considerably interested.

Adieu! and although I have given thee a subject for waking
dreams, beware of building a castle too heavy for the foundation;
which, in the present instance, is barely the word Latimer
occurring in a conversation betwixt a gentleman of Dumfriesshire
and a W.S. of Edinburgh--CAETERA PRORSUS IGNORO.



(In continuation of Letters III and IV.)

I told thee I walked out into the open air with my grave and
stern landlord. I could now see more perfectly than on the
preceding night the secluded glen in which stood the two or three
cottages which appeared to be the abode of him and his family.

It was so narrow, in proportion to its depth, that no ray of the
morning sun was likely to reach it till it should rise high in
the horizon. Looking up the dell, you saw a brawling brook
issuing in foamy haste from a covert of underwood, like a race-
horse impatient to arrive at the goal; and, if you gazed yet;
more earnestly, you might observe part of a high waterfall
glimmering through the foliage, and giving occasion, doubtless,
to the precipitate speed of the brook. Lower down, the stream
became more placid, and opened into a quiet piece of water which
afforded a rude haven to two or three fishermen's boats, then
lying high and dry on the sand, the tide being out. Two or three
miserable huts could be seen beside this little haven, inhabited
probably by the owners of the boats, but inferior in every
respect to the establishment of mine host, though that was
miserable enough.

I had but a minute or two to make these observations, yet during
that space my companion showed symptoms of impatience, and more
than once shouted, 'Cristal--Cristal Nixon,' until the old man of
the preceding evening appeared at the door of one of the
neighbouring cottages or outhouses, leading the strong black
horse which I before commemorated, ready bridled and saddled. My
conductor made Cristal a sign with his finger, and, turning from
the cottage door, led the way up the steep path or ravine which
connected the sequestered dell with the open country.

Had I been perfectly aware of the character of the road down
which I had been hurried with so much impetuosity on the
preceding evening, I greatly question if I should have ventured
the descent; for it deserved no better name than the channel of a
torrent, now in a good measure filled with water, that dashed in
foam and fury into the dell, being swelled with the rains of the
preceding night. I ascended this ugly path with some difficulty
although on foot, and felt dizzy when I observed, from such
traces as the rains had not obliterated, that the horse seemed
almost to have slid down it upon his haunches the evening before.

My host threw himself on his horse's back, without placing a foot
in the stirrup--passed me in the perilous ascent, against which
he pressed his steed as if the animal had had the footing of a
wild cat. The water and mud splashed from his heels in his
reckless course, and a few bounds placed him on the top of the
bank, where I presently joined him, and found the horse and rider
standing still as a statue; the former panting and expanding his
broad nostrils to the morning wind, the latter motionless, with
his eye fixed on the first beams of the rising sun, which already
began to peer above the eastern horizon and gild the distant
mountains of Cumberland and Liddesdale.

He seemed in a reverie, from which he started at my approach,
and, putting his horse in motion, led the way at a leisurely pace
through a broken and sandy road, which traversed a waste, level,
and uncultivated tract of downs, intermixed with morass, much
like that in the neighbourhood of my quarters at Shepherd's Bush.
Indeed, the whole open ground of this district, where it
approaches the sea, has, except in a few favoured spots, the same
uniform and dreary character.

Advancing about a hundred yards from the brink of the glen, we
gained a still more extensive command of this desolate prospect,
which seemed even more dreary, as contrasted with the opposite
shores of Cumberland, crossed and intersected by ten thousand
lines of trees growing in hedgerows, shaded with groves and woods
of considerable extent, animated by hamlets and villas, from
which thin clouds of smoke already gave sign of human life and
human industry.

My conductor had extended his arm, and was pointing the road to
Shepherd's Bush, when the step of a horse was heard approaching
us. He looked sharply round, and having observed who was
approaching, proceeded in his instructions to me, planting
himself at the same time in the very middle of the path, which,
at the place where we halted, had a slough on the one side and a
sandbank on the other.

I observed that the rider who approached us slackened his horse's
pace from a slow trot to a walk, as if desirous to suffer us to
proceed, or at least to avoid passing us at a spot where the
difficulty of doing so must have brought us very close to each
other. You know my old failing, Alan, and that I am always
willing to attend to anything in preference to the individual who
has for the time possession of the conversation.

Agreeably to this amiable propensity, I was internally
speculating concerning the cause of the rider keeping aloof from
us, when my companion, elevating his deep voice so suddenly and
so sternly as at once to recall my wandering thoughts, exclaimed,
'In the name of the devil, young man, do you think that others
have no better use for their time than you have, that you oblige
me to repeat the same thing to you three times over? Do you see,
I say, yonder thing at a mile's distance, that looks like a
finger-post, or rather like a gallows? I would it had a dreaming
fool hanging upon it, as an example to all meditative moon-
calves!--Yon gibbet-looking pole will guide you to the bridge,
where you must pass the large brook; then proceed straight
forwards, till several roads divide at a cairn. Plague on thee,
thou art wandering again!

It is indeed quite true that at this moment the horseman
approached us, and my attention was again called to him as I made
way to let him pass. His whole exterior at once showed that he
belonged to the Society of Friends, or, as the world and the
world's law calls them, Quakers. A strong and useful iron-grey
galloway showed, by its sleek and good condition, that the
merciful man was merciful to his beast. His accoutrements were
in the usual unostentatious but clean and servicable order which
characterizes these sectaries. His long surtout of dark-grey
superfine cloth descended down to the middle of his leg, and was
buttoned up to his chin, to defend him against the morning air.
As usual, his ample beaver hung down without button or loop, and
shaded a comely and placid countenance, the gravity of which
appeared to contain some seasoning of humour, and had nothing in
common with the pinched puritanical air affected by devotees in
general. The brow was open and free from wrinkles, whether of
age or hypocrisy. The eye was clear, calm, and considerate, yet
appeared to be disturbed by apprehension, not to say fear, as,
pronouncing the usual salutation of, 'I wish thee a good morrow,
friend,' he indicated, by turning his palfrey close to one side
of the path, a wish to glide past us with as little trouble as
possible--just as a traveller would choose to pass a mastiff of
whose peaceable intentions he is by no means confident.

But my friend, not meaning, perhaps, that he should get off so
easily, put his horse quite across the path, so that, without
plunging into the slough, or scrambling up the bank, the Quaker
could not have passed him. Neither of these was an experiment
without hazard greater than the passenger seemed willing to
incur. He halted, therefore, as if waiting till my companion
should make way for him; and, as they sat fronting each other, I
could not help thinking that they might have formed no bad emblem
of Peace and War; for although my conductor was unarmed, yet the
whole of his manner, his stern look, and his upright seat on
horseback, were entirely those of a soldier in undress, He
accosted the Quaker in these words, 'So ho! friend Joshua, thou
art early to the road this morning. Has the spirit moved thee
and thy righteous brethren to act with some honesty, and pull
down yonder tide-nets that keep the fish from coming up the

'Surely, friend, not so,' answered Joshua, firmly, but good-
humouredly at the same time; 'thou canst not expect that our own
hands should pull down what our purses established. Thou killest
the fish with spear, line, and coble-net; and we, with snares and
with nets, which work by the ebb and the flow of the tide. Each
doth what seems best in his eyes to secure a share of the
blessing which Providence hath bestowed on the river, and that
within his own bounds. I prithee seek no quarrel against us, for
thou shalt have no wrong at our hand.'

'Be assured I will take none at the hand of any man, whether his
hat be cocked or broad-brimmed,' answered the fisherman. 'I tell
you in fair terms, Joshua Geddes, that you and your partners are
using unlawful craft to destroy the fish in the Solway by stake-
nets and wears; and that we, who fish fairly, and like men, as
our fathers did, have daily and yearly less sport and less
profit. Do not think gravity or hypocrisy can carry it off as
you have done. The world knows you, and we know you. You will
destroy the salmon which makes the livelihood of fifty poor
families, and then wipe your mouth, and go to make a speech at
meeting. But do not hope it will last thus. I give you fair
warning, we will be upon you one morning soon, when we will not
leave a stake standing in the pools of the Solway; and down the
tide they shall every one go, and well if we do not send a lessee
along with them.'

'Friend,' replied Joshua, with a constrained smile, 'but that I
know thou dost not mean as thou sayst, I would tell thee we are
under the protection of this country's laws; nor do we the less
trust to obtain their protection, that our principles permit us
not, by any act of violent resistance, to protect ourselves.'

'All villainous cant and cowardice,' exclaimed the fisherman,
'and assumed merely as a cloak to your hypocritical avarice.'

'Nay, say not cowardice, my friend,' answered the Quaker, 'since
thou knowest there may be as much courage in enduring as in
acting; and I will be judged by this youth, or by any one else,
whether there is not more cowardice--even in the opinion of that
world whose thoughts are the breath in thy nostrils--in the armed
oppressor who doth injury, than in the defenceless and patient
sufferer who endureth it with constancy.'

'I will change no more words with you on the subject,' said the
fisherman, who, as if something moved at the last argument which
Mr. Geddes had used, now made room for him to pass forward on his
journey. 'Do not forget, however,' he added, 'that you have had
fair warning, nor suppose that we will accept of fair words in
apology for foul play. These nets of yours are unlawful--they
spoil our fishings--we will have them down at all risks and
hazards. I am a man of my word, friend Joshua.'

'I trust thou art,' said the Quaker; 'but thou art the rather
bound to be cautious in rashly affirming what thou wilt never
execute. For I tell thee, friend, that though there is as great
a difference between thee and one of our people as there is
between a lion and a sheep, yet I know and believe thou hast so
much of the lion in thee, that thou wouldst scarce employ thy
strength and thy rage upon that which professeth no means of
resistance. Report says so much good of thee, at least, if it
says little more.'

'Time will try,' answered the fisherman; 'and hark thee, Joshua,
before we part I will put thee in the way of doing one good deed,
which, credit me, is better than twenty moral speeches. Here is
a stranger youth, whom Heaven has so scantily gifted with brains,
that he will bewilder himself in the Sands, as he did last night,
unless thou wilt kindly show him the way to Shepherd's Bush; for
I have been in vain endeavouring to make him comprehend the road
thither. Hast thou so much charity under thy simplicity, Quaker,
as to do this good turn?'

'Nay, it is thou, friend,' answered Joshua, 'that dost lack
charity, to suppose any one unwilling to do so simple a

'Thou art right--I should have remembered it can cost thee
nothing. Young gentlemen, this pious pattern of primitive
simplicity will teach thee the right way to the Shepherd's Bush--
aye, and will himself shear thee like a sheep, if you come to
buying and selling with him.'

He then abruptly asked me, how long I intended to remain at
Shepherd's Bush.

I replied, I was at present uncertain--as long probably, as I
could amuse myself in the neighbourhood.

'You are fond of sport?' he added, in the same tone of brief

I answered in the affirmative, but added, I was totally

'Perhaps if you reside here for some days,' he said, 'we may meet
again, and I may have the chance of giving you a lesson.'

Ere I could express either thanks or assent, he turned short
round with a wave of his hand by way of adieu, and rode back to
the verge of the dell from which we had emerged together; and as
he remained standing upon the banks, I could long hear his voice
while he shouted down to those within its recesses.

Meanwhile the Quaker and I proceeded on our journey for some time
in silence; he restraining his sober-minded steed to a pace which
might have suited a much less active walker than myself, and
looking on me from time to time with an expression of curiosity,
mingled with benignity. For my part, I cared not to speak first.
It happened I had never before been in company with one of this
particular sect, and, afraid that in addressing him I might
unwittingly infringe upon some of their prejudices or
peculiarities, I patiently remained silent. At length he asked
me, whether I had been long in the service of the laird, as men
called him.

I repeated the words 'in his service?' with such an accent of
surprise, as induced him to say, 'Nay, but, friend, I mean no
offence; perhaps I should have said in his society--an inmate, I
mean, in his house?'

'I am totally unknown to the person from whom we have just
parted,' said I, 'and our connexion is only temporary. He had
the charity to give me his guidance from the Sands, and a night's
harbourage from the tempest. So our acquaintance began, and
there it is likely to end; for you may observe that our friend is
by no means apt to encourage familiarity.'

'So little so,' answered my companion, 'that thy case is, I
think, the first in which I ever heard of his receiving any one
into his house; that is, if thou hast really spent the night

'Why should you doubt it?' replied I; 'there is no motive I can
have to deceive you, nor is the object worth it.'

'Be not angry with me,' said the Quaker; 'but thou knowest that
thine own people do not, as we humbly endeavour to do, confine
themselves within the simplicity of truth, but employ the
language of falsehood, not only for profit, but for compliment,
and sometimes for mere diversion. I have heard various stories
of my neighbour; of most of which I only believe a small part,
and even then they are difficult to reconcile with each other.
But this being the first time I ever beard of his receiving a
stranger within his dwelling, made me express some doubts. I
pray thee let them not offend thee.'

'He does not,' said I, 'appear to possess in much abundance the
means of exercising hospitality, and so may be excused from
offering it in ordinary cases.'

'That is to say, friend,' replied Joshua, 'thou hast supped ill,
and perhaps breakfasted worse. Now my small tenement, called
Mount Sharon, is nearer to us by two miles than thine inn; and
although going thither may prolong thy walk, as taking thee of
the straighter road to Shepherd's Bush, yet methinks exercise
will suit thy youthful limbs, as well as a good plain meal thy
youthful appetite. What sayst thou, my young acquaintance?'

'If it puts you not to inconvenience,' I replied; for the
invitation was cordially given, and my bread and milk had been
hastily swallowed, and in small quantity.

'Nay,' said Joshua, 'use not the language of compliment with
those who renounce it. Had this poor courtesy been very
inconvenient, perhaps I had not offered it.'

'I accept the invitation, then,' said I, 'in the same good spirit
in which you give it.'

The Quaker smiled, reached me his hand, I shook it, and we
travelled on in great cordiality with each other. The fact is,
I was much entertained by contrasting in my own mind, the open
manner of the kind-hearted Joshua Geddes, with the abrupt, dark,
and lofty demeanour of my entertainer on the preceding evening.
Both were blunt and unceremonious; but the plainness of the
Quaker had the character of devotional simplicity, and was
mingled with the more real kindness, as if honest Joshua was
desirous of atoning, by his sincerity, for the lack of external
courtesy. On the contrary, the manners of the fisherman were
those of one to whom the rules of good behaviour might be
familiar, but who, either from pride or misanthropy, scorned to
observe them. Still I thought of him with interest and
curiosity, notwithstanding so much about him that was repulsive;
and I promised myself, in the course of my conversation with the
Quaker, to learn all that he knew on the subject. He turned the
conversation, however, into a different channel, and inquired
into my own condition of life, and views in visiting this remote

I only thought it necessary to mention my name, and add, that I
had been educated to the law, but finding myself possessed of
some independence, I had of late permitted myself some
relaxation, and was residing at Shepherd's Bush to enjoy the
pleasure of angling.

'I do thee no harm, young man,' said my new friend, 'in wishing
thee a better employment for thy grave hours, and a more humane
amusement (if amusement thou must have) for those of a lighter

'You are severe, sir,' I replied. 'I heard you but a moment
since refer yourself to the protection of the laws of the
country--if there be laws, there must be lawyers to explain, and
judges to administer them.'

Joshua smiled, and pointed to the sheep which were grazing on the
downs over which we were travelling. 'Were a wolf,' he said, 'to
come even now upon yonder flocks, they would crowd for
protection, doubtless, around the shepherd and his dogs; yet they
are bitten and harassed daily by the one, shorn, and finally
killed and eaten by the other. But I say not this to shock you;
for, though laws and lawyers are evils, yet they are necessary
evils in this probationary state of society, till man shall learn
to render unto his fellows that which is their due, according to
the light of his own conscience, and through no other compulsion.
Meanwhile, I have known many righteous men who have followed thy
intended profession in honesty and uprightness of walk. The
greater their merit, who walk erect in a path which so many find

'And angling,' said I:--'you object to that also as an amusement,
you who, if I understood rightly what passed between you and my
late landlord, are yourself a proprietor of fisheries.'

'Not a proprietor,' he replied, 'I am only, in copartnery with
others, a tacksman or lessee of some valuable salmon-fisheries a
little down the coast. But mistake me not. The evil of angling,
with which I class all sports, as they are called, which have the
sufferings of animals for their end and object, does not consist
in the mere catching and killing those animals with which the
bounty of Providence hath stocked the earth for the good of man,
but in making their protracted agony a principle of delight and
enjoyment. I do indeed cause these fisheries to be conducted for
the necessary taking, killing, and selling the fish; and, in the
same way, were I a farmer, I should send my lambs to market. But
I should as soon think of contriving myself a sport and amusement
out of the trade of the butcher as out of that of the fisher.'

We argued the point no further; for though I thought his
arguments a little too high-strained, yet as my mind acquitted me
of having taken delight in aught but the theory of field-sports,
I did not think myself called upon stubbornly to advocate a
practice which had afforded me so little pleasure.

We had by this time arrived at the remains of an old finger-post,
which my host had formerly pointed out as a landmark. Here, a
ruinous wooden bridge, supported by long posts resembling
crutches, served me to get across the water, while my new friend
sought a ford a good way higher up, for the stream was
considerably swelled.

As I paused for his rejoining me, I observed an angler at a
little distance pouching trout after trout, as fast almost as he
could cast his line; and I own, in spite of Joshua's lecture on
humanity, I could not but envy his adroitness and success, so
natural is the love of sport to our minds, or so easily are we
taught to assimilate success in field-sports with ideas of
pleasure, and with the praise due to address and agility. I soon
recognized in the successful angler little Benjie, who had been
my guide and tutor in that gentle art, as you have learned from
my former letters. I called--I whistled--the rascal recognized
me, and, starting like a guilty thing, seemed hesitating whether
to approach or to run away; and when he determined on the former,
it was to assail me with a loud, clamorous, and exaggerated
report of the anxiety of all at the Shepherd's Bush for my
personal safety; how my landlady had wept, how Sam and the
ostler had not the heart to go to bed, but sat up all night
drinking--and how he himself had been up long before daybreak to
go in quest of me.

'And you were switching the water, I suppose,' said I, 'to
discover my dead body?'

This observation produced a long 'Na--a--a' of acknowledged
detection; but, with his natural impudence, and confidence in my
good nature, he immediately added, 'that he thought I would like
a fresh trout or twa for breakfast, and the water being in such a
rare trim for the saumon raun, [The bait made of salmon-roe
salted and preserved. In a swollen river, and about the month of
October, it is a most deadly bait.] he couldna help taking a

While we were engaged in this discussion, the honest Quaker
returned to the farther end of the wooden bridge to tell me he
could not venture to cross the brook in its present state: but
would be under the necessity to ride round by the stone bridge,
which was a mile and a half higher up than his own house. He was
about to give me directions how to proceed without him, and
inquire for his sister, when I suggested to him that, if he
pleased to trust his horse to little Benjie, the boy might carry
him round by the bridge, while we walked the shorter and more
pleasant road.

Joshua shook his head, for he was well acquainted with Benjie,
who, he said, was the naughtiest varlet in the whole
neighbourhood. Nevertheless, rather than part company, he agreed
to put the pony under his charge for a short season, with many
injunctions that he should not attempt to mount, but lead the
pony (even Solomon) by the bridle, under the assurances of
sixpence in case of proper demeanour, and penalty that if he
transgressed the orders given him, 'verily he would be scourged.'

Promises cost Benjie nothing, and he showered them out wholesale;
till the Quaker at length yielded up the bridle to him, repeating
his charges, and enforcing them by holding up his forefinger. On
my part, I called to Benjie to leave the fish he had taken at
Mount Sharon, making, at the same time, an apologetic countenance
to my new friend, not being quite aware whether the compliment
would be agreeable to such a condemner of field-sports.

He understood me at once, and reminded me of the practical
distinction betwixt catching the animals as an object of cruel
and wanton sport, and eating them as lawful and gratifying
articles of food, after they were killed. On the latter point he
had no scruples; but, on the contrary, assured me that this brook
contained the real red trout, so highly esteemed by all
connoisseurs, and that, when eaten within an hour of their being
caught, they had a peculiar firmness of substance and delicacy of
flavour, which rendered them an agreeable addition to a morning
meal, especially when earned, like ours, by early rising, and an
hour or two's wholesome exercise.

But to thy alarm be it spoken, Alan, we did not come so far as
the frying of our fish without further adventure. So it is only
to spare thy patience, and mine own eyes, that I pull up for the
present, and send thee the rest of my story in a subsequent


THE SAME TO THE SAME (In continuation.)

Little Benjie, with the pony, having been sent off on the left
side of the brook, the Quaker and I sauntered on, like the
cavalry and infantry of the same army occupying the opposite
banks of a river, and observing the same line of march. But,
while my worthy companion was assuring me of a pleasant
greensward walk to his mansion, little Benjie, who had been
charged to keep in sight, chose to deviate from the path assigned
him, and, turning to the right, led his charge, Solomon, out of
our vision.

'The villain means to mount him!' cried Joshua, with more
vivacity than was consistent with his profession of passive

I endeavoured to appease his apprehensions, as he pushed on,
wiping his brow with vexation, assuring him that, if the boy did
mount, he would, for his own sake, ride gently.

'You do not know him,' said Joshua, rejecting all consolation;
'HE do anything gently!--no, he will gallop Solomon--he will
misuse the sober patience of the poor animal who has borne me so
long! Yes, I was given over to my own devices when I ever let
him touch the bridle, for such a little miscreant there never was
before him in this country.'

He then proceeded to expatiate on every sort of rustic enormity
of which he accused Benjie. He had been suspected of snaring
partridges--was detected by Joshua himself in liming singing-
birds--stood fully charged with having worried several cats, by
aid of a lurcher which attended him, and which was as lean, and
ragged, and mischievous, as his master. Finally, Benjie stood
accused of having stolen a duck, to hunt it with the said
lurcher, which was as dexterous on water as on land. I chimed in
with my friend, in order to avoid giving him further irritation,
and declared I should be disposed, from my own experience, to
give up Benjie as one of Satan's imps. Joshua Geddes began to
censure the phrase as too much exaggerated, and otherwise
unbecoming the mouth of a reflecting person; and, just as I was
apologizing for it, as being a term of common parlance, we heard
certain sounds on the opposite side of the brook, which seemed to
indicate that Solomon and Benjie were at issue together. The
sandhills behind which Benjie seemed to take his course, had
concealed from us, as doubtless he meant they should, his ascent
into the forbidden saddle, and, putting Solomon to his mettle,
which he was seldom called upon to exert, they had cantered away
together in great amity, till they came near to the ford from
which the palfrey's legitimate owner had already turned back.

Here a contest of opinions took place between the horse and his
rider. The latter, according to his instructions, attempted to
direct Solomon towards the distant bridge of stone; but Solomon
opined that the ford was the shortest way to his own stable. The
point was sharply contested, and we heard Benjie gee-hupping,
tchek-tcheking, and, above all, flogging in great style; while
Solomon, who, docile in his general habits, was now stirred
beyond his patience, made a great trampling and recalcitration;
and it was their joint noise which we heard, without being able
to see, though Joshua might too well guess, the cause of it.

Alarmed at these indications, the Quaker began to shout out,
'Benjie--thou varlet! Solomon--thou fool!' when the couple
presented themselves in full drive, Solomon having now decidedly
obtained the better of the conflict, and bringing his unwilling
rider in high career down to the ford. Never was there anger
changed so fast into humane fear, as that of my good companion.
'The varlet will be drowned!' he exclaimed--'a widow's son!--
her only son!--and drowned!--let me go'--And he struggled with me
stoutly as I hung upon him, to prevent him from plunging into the

I had no fear whatever for Benjie; for the blackguard vermin,
though he could not manage the refractory horse, stuck on his
seat like a monkey. Solomon and Benjie scrambled through the
ford with little inconvenience, and resumed their gallop on the
other side.

It was impossible to guess whether on this last occasion Benjie
was running off with Solomon, or Solomon with Benjie; but,
judging from character and motives, I rather suspected the
former. I could not help laughing as the rascal passed me,
grinning betwixt terror and delight, perched on the very pommel
of the saddle, and holding with extended arms by bridle and mane
while Solomon, the bit secured between his teeth, and his head
bored down betwixt his forelegs, passed his master in this
unwonted guise as hard as he could pelt.

'The mischievous bastard!' exclaimed the Quaker, terrified out
of his usual moderation of speech--'the doomed gallows-bird!--he
will break Solomon's wind to a certainty.'

I prayed him to be comforted--assured, him a brushing gallop
would do his favourite no harm and reminded him of the censure he
had bestowed on me a minute before, for applying a harsh epithet
to the boy.

But Joshua was not without his answer; 'Friend youth,' he said,
'thou didst speak of the lad's soul, which thou didst affirm
belonged to the enemy, and of that thou couldst say nothing of
thine own knowledge; on the contrary, I did but speak of his
outward man, which will assuredly be suspended by a cord, if he
mendeth not his manners. Men say that, young as he is, he is one
of the laird's gang.'

'Of the laird's gang!' said I, repeating the words in surprise.
'Do you mean the person with whom I slept last night? I heard
you call him the laird. Is he at the head of a gang?'

'Nay, I meant not precisely a gang,' said the Quaker, who
appeared in his haste to have spoken more than he intended--a
company, or party, I should have said; but thus it is, friend
Latimer, with the wisest men when they permit themselves to be
perturbed with passion, and speak as in a fever, or as with the
tongue of the foolish and the forward. And although thou hast
been hasty to mark my infirmity, yet I grieve not that thou hast
been a witness to it, seeing that the stumbles of the wise may be
no less a caution to youth and inexperience, than is the fall of
the foolish.'

This was a sort of acknowledgement of what I had already begun to
suspect--that my new friend's real goodness of disposition,
joined to the acquired quietism of his religious sect, had been
unable entirely to check the effervescence of a temper naturally
warm and hasty.

Upon the present occasion, as if sensible he had displayed a
greater degree of emotion than became his character, Joshua
avoided further allusion to Benjie and Solomon, and proceeded to
solicit my attention to the natural objects around us, which
increased in beauty and interest, as, still conducted by the
meanders of the brook, we left the common behind us, and entered
a more cultivated and enclosed country, where arable and pasture
ground was agreeably varied with groves and hedges. Descending
now almost close to the stream, our course lay through a little
gate, into a pathway kept with great neatness, the sides of which
were decorated with trees and flowering shrubs of the hardier
species; until, ascending by a gentle slope, we issued from the
grove, and stood almost at once in front of a low but very neat
building, of an irregular form; and my guide, shaking me
cordially by the hand, made me welcome to Mount Sharon.

The wood through which we had approached this little mansion was
thrown around it both on the north and north-west, but, breaking
off into different directions, was intersected by a few fields
well watered and sheltered. The house fronted to the south-east,
and from thence the pleasure-ground, or, I should rather say, the
gardens, sloped down to the water. I afterwards understood that
the father of the present proprietor had a considerable taste for
horticulture, which had been inherited by his son, and had formed
these gardens, which, with their shaven turf, pleached alleys,
wildernesses, and exotic trees and shrubs, greatly excelled
anything of the kind which had been attempted in the

If there was a little vanity in the complacent smile with which
Joshua Geddes saw me gaze with delight on a scene so different
from the naked waste we had that day traversed in company, it
might surely be permitted to one who, cultivating and improving
the beauties of nature, had found therein, as he said, bodily
health, and a pleasing relaxation for the mind. At the bottom of
the extended gardens the brook wheeled round in a wide
semicircle, and was itself their boundary. The opposite side was
no part of Joshua's domain, but the brook was there skirted by a
precipitous rock of limestone, which seemed a barrier of nature's
own erecting around his little Eden of beauty, comfort, and

'But I must not let thee forget,' said the kind Quaker, 'amidst
thy admiration of these beauties of our little inheritance, that
thy breakfast has been a light one.'

So saying, Joshua conducted me to a small sashed door, opening
under a porch amply mantled by honeysuckle and clematis, into a
parlour of moderate size; the furniture of which, in plainness
and excessive cleanliness, bore the characteristic marks of the
sect to which the owner belonged.

Thy father's Hannah is generally allowed to be an exception to
all Scottish housekeepers, and stands unparalleled for
cleanliness among the women of Auld Reekie; but the cleanliness
of Hannah is sluttishness compared to the scrupulous
purifications of these people, who seem to carry into the minor
decencies of life that conscientious rigour which they affect in
their morals.

The parlour would have been gloomy, for the windows were small
and the ceiling low; but the present proprietor had rendered it
more cheerful by opening one end into a small conservatory,
roofed with glass, and divided from the parlour by a partition of
the same. I have never before seen this very pleasing manner of
uniting the comforts of an apartment with the beauties of a
garden, and I wonder it is not more practised by the great.
Something of the kind is hinted at in a paper of the SPECTATOR.

As I walked towards the conservatory to view it more closely, the
parlour chimney engaged my attention. It was a pile of massive
stone, entirely out of proportion to the size of the apartment.
On the front had once been an armorial scutcheon; for the hammer,
or chisel, which had been employed to deface the shield or crest,
had left uninjured the scroll beneath, which bore the pious
motto, 'TRUST IN GOD.' Black-letter, you know, was my early
passion, and the tombstones in the Greyfriars' churchyard early
yielded up to my knowledge as a decipherer what little they could
tell of the forgotten dead.

Joshua Geddes paused when he saw my eye fixed on this relic of
antiquity. 'Thou canst read it?' he said.

I repeated the motto, and added, there seemed vestiges of a date.

'It should be 1537,' said he; 'for so long ago, at the least
computation, did my ancestors, in the blinded times of Papistry,
possess these lands, and in that year did they build their

'It is an ancient descent,' said I, looking with respect upon the
monument. 'I am sorry the arms have been defaced.'

It was perhaps impossible for my friend, Quaker as he was, to
seem altogether void of respect for the pedigree which he began
to recount to me, disclaiming all the while the vanity usually
connected with the subject; in short, with the air of mingled
melancholy, regret, and conscious dignity, with which Jack Fawkes
used to tell us at college of his ancestor's unfortunate
connexion with the Gunpowder Plot.

'Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher,' thus harangued Joshua
Gleddes of Mount Sharon; 'if we ourselves are nothing in the
sight of Heaven, how much less than nothing must be our
derivation from rotten bones and mouldering dust, whose immortal
spirits have long since gone to their private account? Yes,
friend Latimer, my ancestors were renowned among the ravenous and
bloodthirsty men who then dwelt in this vexed country; and so
much were they famed for successful freebooting, robbery, and
bloodshed, that they are said to have been called Geddes, as
likening them to the fish called a Jack, Pike, or Luce, and in
our country tongue, a GED--a, goodly distinction truly for
Christian men! Yet did they paint this shark of the fresh waters
upon their shields, and these profane priests of a wicked
idolatry, the empty boasters called heralds, who make engraven
images of fishes, fowls, and four-footed beasts, that men may
fall down and worship them, assigned the ged for the device and
escutcheon of my fathers, and hewed it over their chimneys, and
placed it above their tombs; and the men were elated in mind, and
became yet more ged-like, slaying, leading into captivity, and
dividing the spoil, until the place where they dwelt obtained the
name of Sharing-Knowe, from the booty which was there divided
amongst them and their accomplices. But a better judgement was
given to my father's father, Philip Geddes, who, after trying to
light his candle at some of the vain wildfires then held aloft at
different meetings and steeple-houses, at length obtained a spark
from the lamp of the blessed George Fox, who came into Scotland
spreading light among darkness, as he himself hath written, as
plentifully as fly the sparkles from the hoof of the horse which
gallops swiftly along the stony road.'--Here the good Quaker
interrupted himself with, 'And that is very true, I must go
speedily to see after the condition of Solomon.'

A Quaker servant here entered the room with a tray, and inclining
his head towards his master, but not after the manner of one who
bows, said composedly, 'Thou art welcome home, friend Joshua, we
expected thee not so early; but what hath befallen Solomon thy

'What hath befallen him, indeed?' said my friend; 'hath he not
been returned hither by the child whom they call Benjie?'

'He hath,' said his domestic, 'but it was after a strange
fashion; for he came hither at a swift and furious pace, and
flung the child Benjie from his back, upon the heap of dung which
is in the stable-yard.'

'I am glad of it,' said Joshua, hastily,--'glad of it, with all
my heart and spirit! But stay, he is the child of the widow--
hath the boy any hurt?'

'Not so' answered the servant, 'for he rose and fled swiftly.'

Joshua muttered something about a scourge, and then inquired
after Solomon's present condition.

'He seetheth like a steaming cauldron,' answered the servant;
'and Bauldie, the lad, walketh him about the yard with a halter,
lest he take cold.'

Mr. Geddes hastened to the stable-yard to view personally the
condition of his favourite, and I followed to offer my counsel as
a jockey. Don't laugh, Alan, sure I have jockeyship enough to
assist a Quaker--in this unpleasing predicament.

The lad who was leading the horse seemed to be no Quaker, though
his intercourse with the family had given him a touch of their
prim sobriety of look and manner. He assured Joshua that his
horse had received no injury, and I even hinted that the exercise
would be of service to him. Solomon himself neighed towards his
master, and rubbed his head against the good Quaker's shoulder,
as if to assure him of his being quite well; so that Joshua
returned in comfort to his parlour, where breakfast was now about
to be displayed.

I have since learned that the affection of Joshua for his pony is
considered as inordinate by some of his own sect; and that he has
been much blamed for permitting it to be called by the name of
Solomon, or any other name whatever; but he has gained so much
respect and influence among them that they overlook these

I learned from him (whilst the old servant, Jehoiachim, entering
and re-entering, seemed to make no end of the materials which he
brought in for breakfast) that his grandfather Philip, the
convert of George Fox, had suffered much from the persecution to
which these harmless devotees were subjected on all sides during
that intolerant period, and much of their family estate had been
dilapidated. But better days dawned on Joshua's father, who,
connecting himself by marriage with a wealthy family of Quakers
in Lancashire, engaged successfully in various branches of
commerce, and redeemed the remnants of the property, changing its
name in sense, without much alteration of sound, from the Border
appellation of Sharing-Knowe, to the evangelical appellation of
Mount Sharon.

This Philip Geddes, as I before hinted, had imbibed the taste for
horticulture and the pursuits of the florist, which are not
uncommon among the peaceful sect he belonged to. He had
destroyed the remnants of the old peel-house, substituting the
modern mansion in its place; and while he reserved the hearth of
his ancestors, in memory of their hospitality, as also the, pious
motto which they had chanced to assume, he failed not to
obliterate the worldly and military emblems displayed upon the
shield and helmet, together with all their blazonry.

In a few minutes after Mr. Geddes had concluded the account; of
himself and his family, his sister Rachel, the only surviving
member of it, entered the room. Her appearance is remarkably
pleasing, and although her age is certainly thirty at least, she
still retains the shape and motion of an earlier period. The
absence of everything like fashion or ornament was, as usual,
atoned for by the most perfect neatness and cleanliness of her
dress; and her simple close cap was perticularly suited to eyes
which had the softness and simplicity of the dove's. Her
features were also extremely agreeable, but had suffered a little
through the ravages of that professed enemy to beauty, the small-
pox; a disadvantage which was in part counterbalanced by a well-
formed mouth, teeth like pearls, and a pleasing sobriety of
smile, that seemed to wish good here and hereafter to every one
she spoke to. You cannot make any of your vile inferences here,
Alan, for I have given a full-length picture of Rachel Geddes; so
that; you cannot say, in this case, as in the letter I have just
received, that she was passed over as a subject on which I feared
to dilate. More of this anon.

Well, we settled to our breakfast after a blessing, or rather an
extempore prayer, which Joshua made upon the occasion, and which
the spirit moved him to prolong rather more than I felt
altogether agreeable. Then, Alan, there was such a dispatching
of the good things of the morning as you have not witnessed since
you have seen Darsie Latimer at breakfast. Tea and chocolate,
eggs, ham, and pastry, not forgetting the broiled fish,
disappeared with a celerity which seemed to astonish the good-
humoured Quakers, who kept loading my plate with supplies, as if
desirous of seeing whether they could, by any possibility, tire
me out. One hint, however, I received, which put me in mind
where I was. Miss Geddes had offered me some sweet-cake, which,
at the moment, I declined; but presently afterwards, seeing it
within my reach, I naturally enough helped myself to a slice, and
had just; deposited it beside my plate, when Joshua, mine host,
not with the authoritative air of Sancho's doctor, Tirteafuera,
but in a very calm and quiet manner, lifted it away and replaced
it on the dish, observing only, 'Thou didst refuse it before,
friend Latimer.'

These good folks, Alan, make no allowance for what your good
father calls the Aberdeen-man's privilege, of 'taking his word
again;' or what the wise call second thoughts.

Bating this slight hint that I was among a precise generation,
there was nothing in my reception that was peculiar--unless,
indeed, I were to notice the solicitous and uniform kindness with
which all the attentions of my new friends were seasoned, as if
they were anxious to assure me that the neglect of worldly
compliments interdicted by their sect, only served to render
their hospitality more sincere. At length my hunger was
satisfied, and the worthy Quaker, who, with looks of great good
nature, had watched my progress, thus addressed his sister:--

'This young man, Rachel, hath last night sojourned in the tents
of our neighbour whom men call the laird. I am sorry I had not
met him the evening before, for our neighbour's hospitality is
too unfrequently exercised to be well prepared with the means of

'Nay, but, Joshua,' said Rachel, 'if our neighbour hath done a
kindness, thou shouldst not grudge him the opportunity; and if
our young friend hath fared ill for a night, he will the better
relish what Providence may send him of better provisions.'

'And that he may do so at leisure,' said Joshua, 'we will pray
him, Rachel, to tarry a day or twain with us: he is young, and
is but now entering upon the world, and our habitation may, if he
will, be like a resting-place, from which he may look abroad upon
the pilgrimage which he must take, and the path which he has to
travel.--What sayest thou, friend Latimer? We constrain not our
friends to our ways, and thou art, I think, too wise to quarrel
with us for following our own fashions; and if we should even
give thee a word of advice, thou wilt not, I think, be angry, so
that it is spoken in season.'

You know, Alan, how easily I am determined by anything resembling
cordiality--and so, though a little afraid of the formality of my
host and hostess, I accepted their invitation, provided I could
get some messenger to send to Shepherd's Bush for my servant and

'Why, truly, friend,' said Joshua, 'thy outward frame would be
improved by cleaner garments; but I will do thine errand myself
to the Widow Gregson's house of reception, and send thy lad
hither with thy clothes. Meanwhile, Rachel will show thee these
little gardens, and then will put thee in some way of spending
thy time usefully, till our meal calls us together at the second
hour after noon. I bid thee farewell for the present, having
some space to walk, seeing I must leave the animal Solomon to his
refreshing rest.'

With these words, Mr. Joshua Geddes withdrew. Some ladies we
have known would have felt, or at least affected, reserve or
embarrassment, at being left to do the honours of the grounds to
(it will be out, Alan)--a smart young fellow--an entire stranger.
She went out for a few minutes, and returned in her plain cloak
and bonnet, with her beaver gloves, prepared to act as my guide,
with as much simplicity as if she had been to wait upon thy
father. So forth I sallied with my fair Quakeress.

If the house at Mount Sharon be merely a plain and convenient
dwelling, of moderate size and small pretensions, the gardens and
offices, though not extensive, might rival an earl's in point of
care and expense. Rachel carried me first to her own favourite
resort, a poultry-yard, stocked with a variety of domestic fowls,
of the more rare as well as the most ordinary kinds, furnished
with every accommodation which may suit their various habits. A
rivulet which spread into a pond for the convenience of the
aquatic birds, trickled over gravel as it passed through the
yards dedicated to the land poultry, which were thus amply
supplied with the means they use for digestion.

All these creatures seemed to recognize the presence of their
mistress, and some especial favourites hastened to her feet, and
continued to follow her as far as their limits permitted. She
pointed out their peculiarities and qualities, with the
discrimination of one who had made natural history her study; and
I own I never looked on barn-door fowls with so much interest
before--at least until they were boiled or roasted. I could not
help asking the trying question, how she could order the
execution of any of the creatures of which she seemed so careful.

'It was painful,' she said, 'but it was according to the law of
their being. They must die; but they knew not when death was
approaching; and in making them comfortable while they lived, we
contributed to their happiness as much as the conditions of their
existence permitted to us.'

I am not quite of her mind, Alan. I do not believe either pigs
or poultry would admit that the chief end of their being was to
be killed and eaten. However, I did not press the argument, from
which my Quaker seemed rather desirous to escape; for, conducting
me to the greenhouse, which was extensive, and filled with the
choicest plants, she pointed out an aviary which occupied the
farther end, where, she said, she employed herself with attending
the inhabitants, without being disturbed with any painful
recollections concerning their future destination.

I will not trouble you with any account of the various hot-houses
and gardens, and their contents. No small sum of money must have
been expended in erecting and maintaining them in the exquisite
degree of good order which they exhibited. The family, I
understood, were connected with that of the celebrated Millar,
and had imbibed his taste for flowers, and for horticulture. But
instead of murdering botanical names, I will rather conduct you
to the POLICY, or pleasure-garden, which the taste of Joshua or
his father had extended on the banks betwixt the house and river.
This also, in contradistinction to the prevailing simplicity, was
ornamented in an unusual degree. There were various
compartments, the connexion of which was well managed, and
although the whole ground did not exceed five or six acres, it
was so much varied as to seem four times larger. The space
contained close alleys and open walks; a very pretty artificial
waterfall; a fountain also, consisting of a considerable jet-
d'eau, whose streams glittered in the sunbeams and exhibited a
continual rainbow. There was a cabinet of verdure, as the French
call it, to cool the summer heat, and there was a terrace
sheltered from the north-east by a noble holly hedge, with all
its glittering spears where you might have the full advantage of
the sun in the clear frosty days of winter.

I know that you, Alan, will condemn all this as bad and
antiquated; for, ever since Dodsley has described the Leasowes,
and talked of Brown's imitations of nature and Horace Walpole's
late Essay on Gardening, you are all for simple nature--condemn
walking up and down stairs in the open air and declare for wood
and wilderness. But NE QUID NIMIS. I would not deface a scene
of natural grandeur or beauty, by the introduction of crowded
artificial decorations; yet such may, I think, be very
interesting, where the situation, in its natural state, otherwise
has no particular charms.

So that when I have a country-house (who can say how soon?) you
may look for grottoes, and cascades, and fountains; nay if you
vex me by contradiction, perhaps I may go the length of a temple
--so provoke me not, for you see of what enormities I am capable.

At any rate, Alan, had you condemned as artificial the rest of
Friend Geddes's grounds, there is a willow walk by the very verge
of the stream, so sad, so solemn, and so silent, that it must
have commanded your admiration. The brook, restrained at the
ultimate boundary of the grounds by a natural dam-dike or ledge
of rocks, seemed, even in its present swollen state, scarcely to
glide along: and the pale willow-trees, dropping their long
branches into the stream, gathered around them little coronals of
the foam that floated down from the more rapid stream above. The
high rock, which formed the opposite bank of the brook, was seen
dimly through the branches, and its pale and splintered front,
garlanded with long streamers of briers and other creeping
plants, seemed a barrier between the quiet path which we trod,
and the toiling and bustling world beyond. The path itself,
following the sweep of the stream, made a very gentle curve;
enough, however, served by its inflection completely to hide the
end of the walk until you arrived at it. A deep and sullen
sound, which increased as you proceeded, prepared you for this
termination, which was indeed only a plain root-seat, from which
you looked on a fall of about six or seven feet, where the brook
flung itself over the ledge of natural rock I have already
mentioned, which there crossed its course.

The quiet and twilight seclusion of this walk rendered it a fit
scene for confidential communing; and having nothing more
interesting to say to my fair Quaker, I took the liberty of
questioning her about the laird; for you are, or ought to be,
aware, that next to discussing the affairs of the heart, the fair
sex are most interested in those of their neighbours.

I did not conceal either my curiosity, or the check which it had
received from Joshua, and I saw that my companion answered with
embarrassment. 'I must not speak otherwise than truly,' she
said; 'and therefore I tell thee, that my brother dislikes, and
that I fear, the man of whom thou hast asked me. Perhaps we are
both wrong--but he is a man of violence, and hath great influence
over many, who, following the trade of sailors and fishermen,
become as rude as the elements with which they contend. He hath
no certain name among them, which is not unusual, their rude
fashion being to distinguish each other by nicknames; and they
have called him the Laird of the Lakes (not remembering there
should be no one called Lord, save one only) in idle derision;
the pools of salt water left by the tide among the sands being
called the Lakes of Solway.'

'Has he no other revenue than he derives from these sands?' I

'That I cannot answer,' replied Rachel; 'men say that he wants
not money, though he lives like an ordinary fisherman, and that
he imparts freely of his means to the poor around him. They
intimate that he is a man of consequence, once deeply engaged in
the unhappy affair of the rebellion, and even still too much in
danger from the government to assume his own name. He is often
absent from his cottage at Broken-burn-cliffs, for weeks and

'I should have thought,' said I, 'that the government would
scarce, at this time of day, be likely to proceed against any one
even of the most obnoxious rebels. Many years have passed away'

'It is true,' she replied; 'yet such persons may understand that
their being connived at depends on their living in obscurity.
But indeed there can nothing certain be known among these rude
people. The truth is not in them--most of them participate in
the unlawful trade betwixt these parts and the neighbouring shore
of England; and they are familiar with every species of falsehood
and deceit.'

'It is a pity,' I remarked, 'your brother should have neighbours
of such a description, especially as I understand he is at some
variance with them.'

'Where, when, and about what matter?' answered Miss Geddes,
with an eager and timorous anxiety, which made me regret having
touched on the subject.

I told her, in a way as little alarming as I could devise, the
purport of what passed betwixt this Laird of the Lakes and her
brother, at their morning's interview.

'You affright me much,' answered she; 'it is this very
circumstance which has scared me in the watches of the night.
When my brother Joshua withdrew from an active share in the
commercial concerns of my father, being satisfied with the
portion of worldly substance which he already possessed, there
were one or two undertakings in which he retained an interest,
either because his withdrawing might have been prejudicial to
friends, or because he wished to retain some mode of occupying
his time. Amongst the more important of these is a fishing
station on the coast, where, by certain improved modes of
erecting snares, opening at the advance of the tide, and shutting
at the reflux, many more fish are taken than can be destroyed by
those who, like the men of Broken-burn, use only the boat-net and
spear, or fishing-rod. They complain of these tide-nets, as men
call them, as an innovation, and pretend to a right to remove and
destroy them by the strong hand. I fear me, this man of
violence, whom they call the laird, will execute these his
threats, which cannot be without both loss and danger to my

'Mr. Geddes,' said I, 'ought to apply to the civil, magistrate;
there are soldiers at Dumfries who would be detached for his

'Thou speakest, friend Latimer,' answered the lady, 'as one who
is still in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. God
forbid that we should endeavour to preserve nets of flax and
stakes of wood, or the Mammon of gain which they procure for us,
by the hands of men of war and at the risk of spilling human

'I respect your scruples,' I replied; 'but since such is your way
of thinking, your brother ought to avert the danger by compromise
or submission.'

'Perhaps it would be best,' answered Rachel; 'but what can I say?
Even in the best-trained temper there may remain some leaven of
the old Adam; and I know not whether it is this or a better
spirit that maketh my brother Joshua determine, that though he
will not resist force by force, neither will he yield up his
right to mere threats, or encourage wrong to others by yielding
to menaces. His partners, he says, confide in his steadiness:
and that he must not disappoint them by yielding up their right
for the fear of the threats of man, whose breath is in his

This observation convinced me that the spirit of the old sharers
of the spoil was not utterly departed even from the bosom of the
peaceful Quaker; and I could not help confessing internally that
Joshua had the right, when he averred that there was as much
courage in sufferance as in exertion.

As we approached the farther end of the willow walk, the sullen
and continuous sound of the dashing waters became still more and
more audible, and at length rendered it difficult for us to
communicate with each other. The conversation dropped, but
apparently my companion continued to dwell upon the apprehensions
which it had excited. At the bottom of the walk we obtained a
view of the cascade, where the swollen brook flung itself in foam
and tumult over the natural barrier of rock, which seemed in vain
to attempt to bar its course. I gazed with delight, and, turning
to express my sentiment to my companion, I observed that she had
folded her hands in an attitude of sorrowful resignation, which
showed her thoughts were far from the scene which lay before her.
When she saw that her abstraction was observed, she resumed her
former placidity of manner; and having given me sufficient time
to admire this termination of our sober and secluded walk,
proposed that me should return to the house through her brother's
farm. 'Even we Quakers, as we are called, have our little
pride,' she said; 'and my brother Joshua would not forgive me,
were I not to show thee the fields which he taketh delight to
cultivate after the newest and best fashion; for which, I promise
thee, he hath received much praise from good judges, as well as
some ridicule from those who think it folly to improve on the
customs of our ancestors.'

As she spoke, she opened a low door, leading through a moss and
ivy-covered wall, the boundary of the pleasure-ground, into the
open fields; through which we moved by a convenient path,
leading, with good taste and simplicity, by stile and hedgerow,
through pasturage, and arable, and woodland; so that in all
ordinary weather, the good man might, without even soiling his
shoes, perform his perambulation round the farm. There were
seats also, on which to rest; and though not adorned with
inscriptions, nor quite so frequent in occurrence as those
mentioned in the account of the Leasowes, their situation was
always chosen with respect to some distant prospect to be
commanded, or some home-view to be enjoyed.

But what struck me most in Joshua's domain was the quantity and
the tameness of the game. The hen partridge scarce abandoned the
roost, at the foot of the hedge where she had assembled her
covey, though the path went close beside her; and the hare,
remaining on her form, gazed at us as we passed, with her full
dark eye, or rising lazily and hopping to a little distance,
stood erect to look at us with more curiosity than apprehension.
I observed to Miss Geddes the extreme tameness of these timid and
shy animals, and she informed me that their confidence arose from
protection in the summer, and relief during the winter.

'They are pets,' she said, 'of my brother, who considers them as
the better entitled to his kindness that they are a race
persecuted by the world in general. He denieth himself,' she
said, 'even the company of a dog, that these creatures may here
at least enjoy undisturbed security. Yet this harmless or humane
propensity, or humour, hath given offence,' she added, 'to our
dangerous neighbours.'

She explained this, by telling me that my host of the preceding
night was remarkable for his attachment to field-sports, which he
pursued without much regard to the wishes of the individuals over
whose property he followed them. The undefined mixture of
respect and fear with which he was generally regarded induced
most of the neighbouring land-holders to connive at what they
would perhaps in another have punished as a trespass; but Joshua
Geddes would not permit the intrusion of any one upon his
premises, and as he had before offended several country
neighbours, who, because he would neither shoot himself nor
permit others to do so, compared him to the dog in the manger, so
he now aggravated the displeasure which the Laird of the Lakes
had already conceived against him, by positively debarring him
from pursuing his sport over his grounds--'So that,' said Rachel
Geddes, 'I sometimes wish our lot had been cast elsewhere than in
these pleasant borders, where, if we had less of beauty around
us, we might have had a neighbourhood of peace and, goodwill.'

We at length returned to the house, where Miss Geddes showed me a
small study, containing a little collection of books, in two
separate presses.

'These,' said she, pointing to the smaller press, 'will, if thou
bestowest thy leisure upon them, do thee good; and these,'
pointing to the other and larger cabinet, 'can, I believe, do
thee little harm. Some of our people do indeed hold, that every
writer who is not with us is against us; but brother Joshua is
mitigated in his opinions, and correspondeth with our friend John
Scot of Amwell, who hath himself constructed verses well approved
of even in the world. I wish thee many good thoughts till our
family meet at the hour of dinner.'

Left alone, I tried both collections; the first consisted
entirely of religious and controversial tracts, and the latter
formed a small selection of history and of moral writers, both in
prose and verse.

Neither collection promising much amusement, thou hast, in these
close pages, the fruits of my tediousness; and truly, I think,
writing history (one's self being the subject) is as amusing as
reading that of foreign countries, at any time.

Sam, still more drunk than sober, arrived in due time with my
portmanteau, and enabled me to put my dress into order, better
befitting this temple of cleanliness and decorum, where (to
conclude) I believe I shall be a sojourner more days than one.
[See Note 1.]

PS.--I have noted your adventure, as you home-bred youths may
perhaps term it, concerning the visit of your doughty laird. We
travellers hold such an incident no great consequence, though it
may serve to embellish the uniform life of Brown's Square. But
art thou not ashamed to attempt to interest one who is seeing the
world at large, and studying human nature on a large scale, by so
bald a narrative? Why, what does it amount to, after all, but
that a Tory laird dined with a Whig lawyer? no very uncommon
matter, especially as you state Mr. Herries to have lost the
estate, though retaining the designation. The laird behaves with
haughtiness and impertinence--nothing out of character in that:
is NOT kicked down stairs, as he ought to have been, were Alan
Fairford half the man that he would wish his friends to think
him. Aye, but then, as the young lawyer, instead of showing his
friend the door, chose to make use of it himself, he overheard
the laird aforesaid ask the old lawyer concerning Darsie Latimer
--no doubt earnestly inquiring after the handsome, accomplished
inmate of his family, who has so lately made Themis his bow and
declined the honour of following her farther. You laugh at me
for my air-drawn castles; but confess, have they not surer
footing, in general, than two words spoken by such a man as
Herries? And yet--and yet--I would rally the matter off, Alan;
but in dark nights even the glow-worm becomes an object of
lustre, and to one plunged in my uncertainty and ignorance, the
slightest gleam that promises intelligence is interesting. My
life is like the subterranean river in the Peak of Derby, visible
only where it crosses the celebrated cavern. I am here, and this
much I know; but where I have sprung from, or whither my course
of life is like to tend, who shall tell me? Your father, too,
seemed interested and alarmed, and talked of writing; would to
Heaven he may!--I send daily to the post-town for letters.



Thou mayst clap thy wings and crow as thou pleasest. You go in
search of adventures, but adventures come to me unsought for; and
oh! in what a pleasing shape came mine, since it arrived in the
form of a client--and a fair client to boot! What think you of
that, Darsie! you who are such a sworn squire of dames? Will
this not match my adventures with thine, that hunt salmon on
horseback, and will it not, besides, eclipse the history of a
whole tribe of Broadbrims?--But I must proceed methodically.

When I returned to-day from the College, I was surprised to see a
broad grin distending the adust countenance of the faithful James
Wilkinson, which, as the circumstance seldom happens above once a
year, was matter of some surprise. Moreover, he had a knowing
glance with his eye, which I should have as soon expected from a
dumb-waiter--an article of furniture to which James, in his usual
state, may be happily assimilated. 'What the devil is the
matter, James?'

'The devil may be in the matter, for aught I ken,' said James,
with another provoking grin; 'for here has been a woman calling
for you, Maister Alan.'

'A woman calling for me?' said I in surprise; for you know well,
that excepting old Aunt Peggy, who comes to dinner of a Sunday,
and the still older Lady Bedrooket, who calls ten times a year
for the quarterly payment of her jointure of four hundred merks,
a female scarce approaches our threshold, as my father visits all
his female clients at their own lodgings. James protested,
however, that there had been a lady calling, and for me. 'As
bonny a lass as I have seen,' added James, 'since I was in the
Fusileers, and kept company with Peg Baxter.' Thou knowest all
James's gay recollections go back to the period of his military
service, the years he has spent in ours having probably been dull

'Did the lady leave no name nor place of address?'

'No,' replied James; 'but she asked when you wad be at hame, and
I appointed her for twelve o'clock, when the house wad be quiet,
and your father at the Bank.'

'For shame, James! how can you think my father's being at home
or abroad could be of consequence?--The lady is of course a
decent person?'

'I'se uphaud her that, sir--she is nane of your--WHEW'--(Here
James supplied a blank with a low whistle)--'but I didna ken--my
maister makes an unco wark if a woman comes here.'

I passed into my own room, not ill-pleased that my father was
absent, notwithstanding I had thought it proper to rebuke James
for having so contrived it, I disarranged my books, to give them
the appearance of a graceful confusion on the table, and laying
my foils (useless since your departure) across the mantelpiece,
that the lady might see I was TAM MARTE QUAM MERCURIO--I
endeavoured to dispose my dress so as to resemble an elegant
morning deshabille--gave my hair the general shade of powder
which marks the gentleman--laid my watch and seals on the table,
to hint that I understood the value of time;--and when I had made
all these arrangements, of which I am a little ashamed when I
think of them, I had nothing better to do than to watch the dial-
plate till the index pointed to noon. Five minutes elapsed,
which. I allowed for variation of clocks--five minutes more
rendered me anxious and doubtful--and five minutes more would
have made me impatient.

Laugh as thou wilt; but remember, Darsie, I was a lawyer,
expecting his first client--a young man, how strictly bred up I
need not remind you, expecting a private interview with a young
and beautiful woman. But ere the third term of five minutes had
elapsed, the door-bell was heard to tinkle low and modestly, as
if touched by some timid hand.

James Wilkinson, swift in nothing, is, as thou knowest,
peculiarly slow in answering the door-bell; and I reckoned on
five minutes good, ere his solemn step should have ascended the
stair. Time enough, thought I, for a peep through the blinds,
and was hastening to the window accordingly. But I reckoned
without my host; for James, who had his own curiosity as well as
I, was lying PERDU in the lobby, ready to open at the first
tinkle; and there was, 'This way, ma'am--Yes, ma'am--The lady,
Mr. Alan,' before I could get to the chair in which I proposed to
be discovered, seated in all legal dignity. The consciousness of
being half-caught in the act of peeping, joined to that native
air of awkward bashfulness of which I am told the law will soon
free me, kept me standing on the floor in some confusion; while
the lady, disconcerted on her part, remained on the threshold of
the room. James Wilkinson, who had his senses most about him,
and was perhaps willing to prolong his stay in the apartment,
busied himself in setting a chair for the lady, and recalled me
to my good-breeding by the hint. I invited her to take
possession of it, and bid James withdraw.

My visitor was undeniably a lady, and probably considerably above
the ordinary rank--very modest, too, judging from the mixture of
grace and timidity with which she moved, and at my entreaty sat
down. Her dress was, I should suppose, both handsome and
fashionable; but it was much concealed by a walking-cloak of
green silk, fancifully embroidered; in which, though heavy for
the season, her person was enveloped, and which, moreover, was
furnished with a hood.

The devil take that hood, Darsie! for I was just able to
distinguish that, pulled as it was over the face, it concealed
from me, as I was convinced, one of the prettiest countenances I
have seen, and which, from a sense of embarrassment, seemed to be
crimsoned with a deep blush. I could see her complexion was
beautiful--her chin finely turned--her lips coral--and her teeth
rivals to ivory. But further the deponent sayeth not; for a
clasp of gold, ornamented with it sapphire, closed the envious
mantle under the incognita's throat, and the cursed hood
concealed entirely the upper part of the face.

I ought to have spoken first, that is certain; but ere I could
get my phrases well arranged, the young lady, rendered desperate
I suppose by my hesitation opened the conversation herself.

'I fear I am an intruder, sir--I expected to meet an elderly

This brought me to myself. 'My father, madam, perhaps. But you
inquired for Alan Fairford--my father's name is Alexander.'

'It is Mr. Alan Fairford, undoubtedly, with whom I wished to
speak,' she said, with greater confusion; 'but I was told that he
was advanced in life.'

'Some mistake, madam, I presume, betwixt my father and myself--
our Christian names have the same initials, though the
terminations are different. I--I--I would esteem it a most
fortunate mistake if I could have the honour of supplying my
father's place in anything that could be of service to you.'

'You are very obliging, sir,' A pause, during which she seemed
undetermined whether to rise or sit still.

'I am just about to be called to the bar, madam,' said I, in
hopes to remove her scruples to open her case to me; 'and if my
advice or opinion could be of the slightest use, although I
cannot presume to say that they are much to be depended upon,

The lady arose. 'I am truly sensible of your kindness, sir; and
I have no doubt of your talents. I will be very plain with you--
it is you whom I came to visit; although, now that we have met, I
find it will be much better that I should commit my communication
to writing.'

'I hope, madam, you will not be so cruel--so tantalizing, I would
say. Consider, you are my first client--your business my first
consultation--do not do me the displeasure of withdrawing your
confidence because I am a few years younger than you seem to have
expected. My attention shall make amends for my want of

'I have no doubt of either,' said the lady, in a grave tone,
calculated to restrain the air of gallantry with which I had
endeavoured to address her. 'But when you have received my
letter you will find good reasons assigned why a written
communication will best suit my purpose. I wish you, sir, a good
morning.' And she left the apartment, her poor baffled counsel
scraping, and bowing, and apologizing for anything that might
have been disagreeable to her, although the front of my offence
seems to be my having been discovered to be younger than my

The door was opened--out she went--walked along the pavement,
turned down the close, and put the sun, I believe, into her
pocket when she disappeared, so suddenly did dullness and
darkness sink down on the square, when she was no longer visible.
I stood for a moment as if I had been senseless, not recollecting
what a fund of entertainment I must have supplied to our watchful
friends on the other side of the green. Then it darted on my
mind that I might dog her, and ascertain at least who or what she
was. Off I set--ran down the close, where she was no longer to
be seen, and demanded of one of the dyer's lads whether he had
seen a lady go down the close, or had observed which way she

'A leddy!'--said the dyer, staring at me with his rainbow
countenance. 'Mr. Alan, what takes you out, rinning like daft,
without your hat?'

'The devil take my hat!' answered I, running back, however, in
quest of it; snatched it up, and again sallied forth. But as I
reached the head of the close once more, I had sense enough to
recollect that all pursuit would be now in vain. Besides, I saw
my friend, the journeyman dyer, in close confabulation with a
pea-green personage of his own profession, and was conscious,
like Scrub, that they talked of me, because they laughed
consumedly. I had no mind, by a second sudden appearance, to
confirm the report that Advocate Fairford was 'gaen daft,' which
had probably spread from Campbell's Close-foot to the Meal-market
Stairs; and so slunk back within my own hole again.

My first employment was to remove all traces of that elegant and
fanciful disposition of my effects, from which I had hoped for so
much credit; for I was now ashamed and angry at having thought an
instant upon the mode of receiving a visit which had commenced so
agreeably, but terminated in a manner so unsatisfactory. I put
my folios in their places--threw the foils into the dressing-
closet--tormenting myself all the while with the fruitless doubt,
whether I had missed an opportunity or escaped a stratagem, or
whether the young person had been really startled, as she seemed
to intimate, by the extreme youth of her intended legal adviser.
The mirror was not unnaturally called in to aid; and that
cabinet-counsellor pronounced me rather short, thick-set, with a
cast of features fitter, I trust, for the bar than the ball--not
handsome enough for blushing virgins to pine for my sake, or even
to invent sham cases to bring them to my chambers--yet not ugly
enough either to scare those away who came on real business--
dark, to be sure, but--NIGRI SUNT HYACINTHI--there are pretty
things to be said in favour of that complexion.

At length--as common sense will get the better in all cases when
a man will but give it fair play--I began to stand convicted in
my own mind, as an ass before the interview, for having expected
too much--an ass during the interview, for having failed to
extract the lady's real purpose--and an especial ass, now that it
was over, for thinking so much about it. But I can think of
nothing else, and therefore I am determined to think of this to
some good purpose.

You remember Murtough O'Hara's defence of the Catholic doctrine
of confession; because, 'by his soul, his sins were always a
great burden to his mind, till he had told them to the priest;
and once confessed, he never thought more about them.' I have
tried his receipt, therefore; and having poured my secret
mortification into thy trusty ear, I will think no more about
this maid of the mist,

Who, with no face, as 'twere, outfaced me.

--Four o'clock.
Plague on her green mantle, she can be nothing better than a
fairy; she keeps possession of my head yet! All during dinner-
time I was terribly absent; but, luckily, my father gave the
whole credit of my reverie to the abstract nature of the
doctrine, VINCO VINCENTEM, ERGO VINCO TE; upon which brocard of
law the professor this morning lectured. So I got an early
dismissal to my own crib, and here am I studying, in one sense,
VINCERE VINCENTEM, to get the better of the silly passion of
curiosity--I think--I think it amounts to nothing else--which has
taken such possession of my imagination, and is perpetually
worrying me with the question--will she write or no? She will
not--she will not! So says Reason, and adds, Why should she take
the trouble to enter into correspondence with one who, instead of
a bold, alert, prompt gallant, proved a chicken-hearted boy, and
left her the whole awkwardness of explanation, which he should
have met half-way? But then, says Fancy, she WILL write, for she
was not a bit that sort of person whom you, Mr. Reason, in your
wisdom, take her to be. She was disconcerted enough, without my
adding to her distress by any impudent conduct on my part. And
she will write, for--By Heaven, she HAS written, Darsie, and with
a vengeance! Here is her letter, thrown into the kitchen by a
caddie, too faithful to be bribed, either by money or whisky, to
say more than that he received it, with sixpence, from an
ordinary-looking woman, as he was plying on his station near the


'Excuse my mistake of to-day. I had accidentally learnt that Mr.
Darsie Latimer had an intimate friend and associate in Mr. A.
Fairford. When I inquired for such a person, he was pointed out
to me at the Cross (as I think the Exchange of your city is
called) in the character of a respectable elderly man--your
father, as I now understand. On inquiry at Brown's Square, where
I understood he resided, I used the full name of Alan, which
naturally occasioned you the trouble of this day's visit. Upon
further inquiry, I am led to believe that you are likely to be
the person most active in the matter to which I am now about to
direct your attention; and I regret much that circumstances,
arising out of my own particular situation, prevent my
communicating to you personally what I now apprise you of in this

'Your friend, Mr. Darsie Latimer, is in a situation of
considerable danger. You are doubtless aware that he has been
cautioned not to trust himself in England. Now, if he has not
absolutely transgressed this friendly injunction, he has at least
approached as nearly to the menaced danger as he could do,
consistently with the letter of the prohibition. He has chosen
his abode in a neighbourhood very perilous to him; and it is only
by a speedy return to Edinburgh, or at least by a removal to some
more remote part of Scotland, that he can escape the machinations
of those whose enmity he has to fear. I must speak in mystery,
but my words are not the less certain; and, I believe, you know
enough of your friend's fortunes to be aware that I could not
write this much without being even more intimate with them than
you are.

'If he cannot, or will not, take the advice here given, it is my
opinion that you should join him, if possible, without delay, and
use, by your personal presence and entreaty, the arguments which
may prove ineffectual in writing. One word more, and I implore
of your candour to take it as it is meant. No one supposes that
Mr. Fairford's zeal in his friend's service needs to be quickened
by mercenary motives. 'But report says, that Mr. Alan Fairford,
not having yet entered on his professional career, may, in such a
case as this, want the means, though he cannot want the
inclination, to act with promptitude. The enclosed note Mr. Alan
Fairford must be pleased to consider as his first professional
emolument; and she who sends it hopes it will be the omen of
unbounded success, though the fee comes from a hand so unknown as
that of

A bank-note of L20 was the enclosure, and the whole incident left
me speechless with astonishment. I am not able to read over the
beginning of my own letter, which forms the introduction to this
extraordinary communication. I only know that, though mixed with
a quantity of foolery (God knows very much different from my
present feelings), it gives an account sufficiently accurate, of
the mysterious person from whom this letter comes, and that I
have neither time nor patience to separate the absurd commentary
from the text, which it is so necessary you should know.

Combine this warning, so strangely conveyed, with the caution
impressed on you by your London correspondent, Griffiths, against

Book of the day: