Part 5 out of 10
as the matter was taken up by the town-council of the borough."
"But I assure you, my dear sir, there is nothing between Captain M'Intyre
and me that can render such respectable interference necessary."
"See it be so; for otherwise, I will stand second to both parties."
So saying, the old gentleman got into the chaise, close to which Miss
M'Intyre had detained her brother, upon the same principle that the owner
of a quarrelsome dog keeps him by his side to prevent his fastening upon
another. But Hector contrived to give her precaution the slip, for, as he
was on horseback, he lingered behind the carriages until they had fairly
turned the corner in the road to Knockwinnock, and then, wheeling his
horse's head round, gave him the spur in the opposite direction.
A very few minutes brought him up with Lovel, who, perhaps anticipating
his intention, had not put his horse beyond a slow walk, when the clatter
of hoofs behind him announced Captain Mlntyre. The young soldier, his
natural heat of temper exasperated by the rapidity of motion, reined his
horse up suddenly and violently by Lovel's side, and touching his hat
slightly, inquired, in a very haughty tone of voice, "What am I to
understand, sir, by your telling me that your address was at my service?"
"Simply, sir," replied Lovel, "that my name is Lovel, and that my
residence is, for the present, Fairport, as you will see by this card."
"And is this all the information you are disposed to give me?"
"I see no right you have to require more."
"I find you, sir, in company with my sister," said the young soldier,
"and I have a right to know who is admitted into Miss M'Intyre's
"I shall take the liberty of disputing that right," replied Lovel, with a
manner as haughty as that of the young soldier;--"you find me in society
who are satisfied with the degree of information on my affairs which I
have thought proper to communicate, and you, a mere stranger, have no
right to inquire further."
"Mr. Lovel, if you served as you say you have"--
"If!" interrupted Lovel,--"_if_ I have served as _I say_ I have?"
"Yes, sir, such is my expression--_if_ you have so served, you must know
that you owe me satisfaction either in one way or other."
"If that be your opinion, I shall be proud to give it to you, Captain
M'Intyre, in the way in which the word is generally used among
"Very well, sir," rejoined Hector, and, turning his horse round, galloped
off to overtake his party.
His absence had already alarmed them, and his sister, having stopped the
carriage, had her neck stretched out of the window to see where he was.
"What is the matter with you now?" said the Antiquary, "riding to and fro
as your neck were upon the wager--why do you not keep up with the
"I forgot my glove, sir," said Hector.
"Forgot your glove!--I presume you meant to say you went to throw it
down--But I will take order with you, my young gentleman--you shall
return with me this night to Monkbarns." So saying, he bid the postilion
--If you fail Honour here,
Never presume to serve her any more;
Bid farewell to the integrity of armes;
And the honourable name of soldier
Fall from you, like a shivered wreath of laurel
By thunder struck from a desertlesse forehead.
A Faire Quarrell.
Early the next morning, a gentleman came to wait upon Mr. Lovel, who was
up and ready to receive him. He was a military gentleman, a friend of
Captain M'Intyre's, at present in Fairport on the recruiting service.
Lovel and he were slightly known to each other. "I presume, sir," said
Mr. Lesley (such was the name of the visitor), "that you guess the
occasion of my troubling you so early?"
"A message from Captain M'Intyre, I presume?"
"The same. He holds himself injured by the manner in which you declined
yesterday to answer certain inquiries which he conceived himself entitled
to make respecting a gentleman whom he found in intimate society with his
"May I ask, if you, Mr. Lesley, would have inclined to satisfy
interrogatories so haughtily and unceremoniously put to you?"
"Perhaps not;--and therefore, as I know the warmth of my friend M'Intyre
on such occasions, I feel very desirous of acting as peacemaker. From Mr.
Lovel's very gentleman-like manners, every one must strongly wish to see
him repel all that sort of dubious calumny which will attach itself to
one whose situation is not fully explained. If he will permit me, in
friendly conciliation, to inform Captain M'Intyre of his real name, for
we are led to conclude that of Lovel is assumed"--
"I beg your pardon, sir, but I cannot admit that inference."
"--Or at least," said Lesley, proceeding, "that it is not the name by
which Mr. Lovel has been at all times distinguished--if Mr. Lovel will
have the goodness to explain this circumstance, which, in my opinion, he
should do in justice to his own character, I will answer for the amicable
arrangement of this unpleasant business."
"Which is to say, Mr. Lesley, that if I condescend to answer questions
which no man has a right to ask, and which are now put to me under
penalty of Captain M'Intyre's resentment, Captain MIntyre will condescend
to rest satisfied? Mr. Lesley, I have just one word to say on this
subject--I have no doubt my secret, if I had one, might be safely
entrusted to your honour, but I do not feel called upon to satisfy the
curiosity of any one. Captain M'Intyre met me in society which of itself
was a warrant to all the world, and particularly ought to be such to him,
that I was a gentleman. He has, in my opinion, no right to go any
further, or to inquire the pedigree, rank, or circumstances, of a
stranger, who, without seeking any intimate connection with him, or his,
chances to dine with his uncle, or walk in company with his sister."
"In that case, Captain M'Intyre requests you to be informed, that your
farther visits at Monkbarns, and all connection with Miss M'Intyre, must
be dropt, as disagreeable to him."
"I shall certainly," said Lovel, "visit Mr. Oldbuck when it suits me,
without paying the least respect to his nephew's threats or irritable
feelings. I respect the young lady's name too much (though nothing can be
slighter than our acquaintance) to introduce it into such a discussion."
"Since that is your resolution, sir," answered Lesley, "Captain M'Intyre
requests that Mr. Lovel, unless he wishes to be announced as a very
dubious character, will favour him with a meeting this evening, at seven,
at the thorn-tree in the little valley close by the ruins of St. Ruth."
"Most unquestionably, I will wait upon him. There is only one difficulty
--I must find a friend to accompany me, and where to seek one on this
short notice, as I have no acquaintance in Fairport--I will be on the
spot, however--Captain M'Intyre may be assured of that."
Lesley had taken his hat, and was as far as the door of the apartment,
when, as if moved by the peculiarity of Lovel's situation, he returned,
and thus addressed him: "Mr. Lovel, there is something so singular in all
this, that I cannot help again resuming the argument. You must be
yourself aware at this moment of the inconvenience of your preserving an
incognito, for which, I am convinced, there can be no dishonourable
reason. Still, this mystery renders it difficult for you to procure the
assistance of a friend in a crisis so delicate--nay, let me add, that
many persons will even consider it as a piece of Quixotry in M'Intyre to
give you a meeting, while your character and circumstances are involved
in such obscurity."
"I understand your innuendo, Mr. Lesley," rejoined Lovel; and though I
might be offended at its severity, I am not so, because it is meant
kindly. But, in my opinion, he is entitled to all the privileges of a
gentleman, to whose charge, during the time he has been known in the
society where he happens to move, nothing can be laid that is unhandsome
or unbecoming. For a friend, I dare say I shall find some one or other
who will do me that good turn; and if his experience be less than I could
wish, I am certain not to suffer through that circumstance when you are
in the field for my antagonist."
"I trust you will not," said Lesley; "but as I must, for my own sake, be
anxious to divide so heavy a responsibility with a capable assistant,
allow me to say, that Lieutenant Taffril's gun-brig is come into the
roadstead, and he himself is now at old Caxon's, where he lodges. I think
you have the same degree of acquaintance with him as with me, and, as I
am sure I should willingly have rendered you such a service were I not
engaged on the other side, I am convinced he will do so at your first
"At the thorn-tree, then, Mr. Lesley, at seven this evening--the arms, I
presume, are pistols?"
"Exactly. M'Intyre has chosen the hour at which he can best escape from
Monkbarns--he was with me this morning by five, in order to return and
present himself before his uncle was up. Good-morning to you, Mr. Lovel."
And Lesley left the apartment.
Lovel was as brave as most men; but none can internally regard such a
crisis as now approached, without deep feelings of awe and uncertainty.
In a few hours he might be in another world to answer for an action which
his calmer thought told him was unjustifiable in a religious point of
view, or he might be wandering about in the present like Cain, with the
blood of his brother on his head. And all this might be saved by speaking
a single word. Yet pride whispered, that to speak that word now, would be
ascribed to a motive which would degrade him more low than even the most
injurious reasons that could be assigned for his silence. Every one, Miss
Wardour included, must then, he thought, account him a mean dishonoured
poltroon, who gave to the fear of meeting Captain M'Intyre the
explanation he had refused to the calm and handsome expostulations of Mr.
Lesley. M'Intyre's insolent behaviour to himself personally, the air of
pretension which he assumed towards Miss Wardour, and the extreme
injustice, arrogance, and incivility of his demands upon a perfect
stranger, seemed to justify him in repelling his rude investigation. In
short, he formed the resolution which might have been expected from so
young a man,--to shut the eyes, namely, of his calmer reason, and follow
the dictates of his offended pride. With this purpose he sought
The lieutenant received him with the good breeding of a gentleman and the
frankness of a sailor, and listened with no small surprise to the detail
which preceded his request that he might be favoured with his company at
his meeting with Captain M'Intyre. When he had finished, Taffril rose up
and walked through his apartment once or twice. "This is a most singular
circumstance," he said, "and really"--
"I am conscious, Mr. Taffril, how little I am entitled to make my present
request, but the urgency of circumstances hardly leaves me an
"Permit me to ask you one question," asked the sailor;--"is there
anything of which you are ashamed in the circumstances which you have
declined to communicate."
"Upon my honour, no; there is nothing but what, in a very short time, I
trust I may publish to the whole world."
"I hope the mystery arises from no false shame at the lowness of your
friends perhaps, or connections?"
"No, on my word," replied Lovel.
"I have little sympathy for that folly," said Taffril--"indeed I cannot
be supposed to have any; for, speaking of my relations, I may be said to
have come myself from before the mast, and I believe I shall very soon
form a connection, which the world will think low enough, with a very
amiable girl, to whom I have been attached since we were next-door
neighbours, at a time when I little thought of the good fortune which has
brought me forward in the service."
"I assure you, Mr. Taffril," replied Lovel, "whatever were the rank of my
parents, I should never think of concealing it from a spirit of petty
pride. But I am so situated at present, that I cannot enter on the
subject of my family with any propriety."
"It is quite enough," said the honest sailor--"give me your hand; I'll
see you as well through this business as I can, though it is but an
unpleasant one after all--But what of that? our own honour has the next
call on us after our country;--you are a lad of spirit, and I own I think
Mr. Hector M'Intyre, with his long pedigree and his airs of family, very
much of a jackanapes. His father was a soldier of fortune as I am a
sailor--he himself, I suppose, is little better, unless just as his uncle
pleases; and whether one pursues fortune by land, or sea, makes no great
difference, I should fancy."
"None in the universe, certainly," answered Lovel.
"Well," said his new ally, "we will dine together and arrange matters for
this rencounter. I hope you understand the use of the weapon?"
"Not particularly," Lovel replied.
"I am sorry for that--M'Intyre is said to be a marksman."
"I am sorry for it also," said Lovel, "both for his sake and my own: I
must then, in self-defence, take my aim as well as I can."
"Well," added Taffril, "I will have our surgeon's mate on the field--a
good clever young fellow at caulking a shot-hole. I will let Lesley, who
is an honest fellow for a landsman, know that he attends for the benefit
of either party. Is there anything I can do for you in case of an
"I have but little occasion to trouble you," said Lovel. "This small
billet contains the key of my escritoir, and my very brief secret. There
is one letter in the escritoir" (digesting a temporary swelling of the
heart as he spoke), "which I beg the favour of you to deliver with your
"I understand," said the sailor. "Nay, my friend, never be ashamed for
the matter--an affectionate heart may overflow for an instant at the
eyes, if the ship were clearing for action; and, depend on it, whatever
your injunctions are, Dan Taffril will regard them like the bequest of a
dying brother. But this is all stuff;--we must get our things in fighting
order, and you will dine with me and my little surgeon's mate, at the
Graeme's-Arms over the way, at four o'clock."
"Agreed," said Lovel.
"Agreed," said Taffril; and the whole affair was arranged.
It was a beautiful summer evening, and the shadow of the solitary
thorn-tree was lengthening upon the short greensward of the narrow
valley, which was skirted by the woods that closed around the ruins of
St. Ruth. *
* [Supposed to have been suggested by the old Abbey of Arbroath in *
Lovel and Lieutenant Taffril, with the surgeon, came upon the ground
with a purpose of a nature very uncongenial to the soft, mild, and
pacific character of the hour and scene. The sheep, which during the
ardent heat of the day had sheltered in the breaches and hollows of the
gravelly bank, or under the roots of the aged and stunted trees, had now
spread themselves upon the face of the hill to enjoy their evening's
pasture, and bleated, to each other with that melancholy sound which at
once gives life to a landscape, and marks its solitude.--Taffril and
Lovel came on in deep conference, having, for fear of discovery, sent
their horses back to the town by the Lieutenant's servant. The opposite
party had not yet appeared on the field. But when they came upon the
ground, there sat upon the roots of the old thorn a figure as vigorous in
his decay as the moss-grown but strong and contorted boughs which served
him for a canopy. It was old Ochiltree. "This is embarrassing enough,"
said Lovel:--"How shall we get rid of this old fellow?"
"Here, father Adam," cried Taffril, who knew the mendicant of yore--
"here's half-a-crown for you. You must go to the Four Horse-shoes yonder
--the little inn, you know, and inquire for a servant with blue and
yellow livery. If he is not come, you'll wait for him, and tell him we
shall be with his master in about an hour's time. At any rate, wait there
till we come back,--and--Get off with you--Come, come, weigh anchor."
"I thank ye for your awmous," said Ochiltree, pocketing the piece of
money; "but I beg your pardon, Mr. Taffril--I canna gang your errand e'en
"Why not, man? what can hinder you?"
"I wad speak a word wi' young Mr. Lovel."
"With me?" answered Lovel: "what would you say with me? Come, say on, and
The mendicant led him a few paces aside. "Are ye indebted onything to the
Laird o' Monkbarns?"
"Indebted!--no, not I--what of that?--what makes you think so?"
"Ye maun ken I was at the shirra's the day; for, God help me, I gang
about a' gates like the troubled spirit; and wha suld come whirling there
in a post-chaise, but Monkbarns in an unco carfuffle--now, it's no a
little thing that will make his honour take a chaise and post-horse twa
"Well, well; but what is all this to me?"
"Ou, ye'se hear, ye'se hear. Weel, Monkbarns is closeted wi' the shirra
whatever puir folk may be left thereout--ye needna doubt that--the
gentlemen are aye unco civil amang themsells."
"For heaven's sake, my old friend"--
"Canna ye bid me gang to the deevil at ance, Mr. Lovel? it wad be mair
purpose fa'ard than to speak o' heaven in that impatient gate."
"But I have private business with Lieutenant Taffril here."
"Weel, weel, a' in gude time," said the beggar--"I can use a little wee
bit freedom wi' Mr. Daniel Taffril;--mony's the peery and the tap I
worked for him langsyne, for I was a worker in wood as weel as a
"You are either mad, Adam, or have a mind to drive me mad."
"Nane o' the twa," said Edie, suddenly changing his manner from the
protracted drawl of the mendicant to a brief and decided tone. "The
shirra sent for his clerk, and as the lad is rather light o' the tongue,
I fand it was for drawing a warrant to apprehend you--I thought it had
been on a _fugie_ warrant for debt; for a' body kens the laird likes
naebody to pit his hand in his pouch--But now I may haud my tongue, for I
see the M'Intyre lad and Mr. Lesley coming up, and I guess that
Monkbarns's purpose was very kind, and that yours is muckle waur than it
The antagonist now approached, and saluted with the stern civility which
befitted the occasion. "What has this old fellow to do here?" said
"I am an auld fallow," said Edie, "but I am also an auld soldier o' your
father's, for I served wi' him in the 42d."
"Serve where you please, you have no title to intrude on us," said
M'Intyre, "or"--and he lifted his cane _in terrorem,_ though without the
idea of touching the old man.
But Ochiltree's courage was roused by the insult. "Haud down your switch,
Captain M'Intyre! I am an auld soldier, as I said before, and I'll take
muckle frae your father's son; but no a touch o' the wand while my
pike-staff will haud thegither."
"Well, well, I was wrong--I was wrong," said M'Intyre; "here's a crown
for you--go your ways--what's the matter now?"
The old man drew himself up to the full advantage of his uncommon height,
and in despite of his dress, which indeed had more of the pilgrim than
the ordinary beggar, looked from height, manner, and emphasis of voice
and gesture, rather like a grey palmer or eremite preacher, the ghostly
counsellor of the young men who were around him, than the object of their
charity. His speech, indeed, was as homely as his habit, but as bold and
unceremonious as his erect and dignified demeanour. "What are ye come
here for, young men?" he said, addressing himself to the surprised
audience; "are ye come amongst the most lovely works of God to break his
laws? Have ye left the works of man, the houses and the cities that are
but clay and dust, like those that built them--and are ye come here among
the peaceful hills, and by the quiet waters, that will last whiles aught
earthly shall endure, to destroy each other's lives, that will have but
an unco short time, by the course of nature, to make up a lang account at
the close o't? O sirs! hae ye brothers, sisters, fathers, that hae tended
ye, and mothers that hae travailed for ye, friends that hae ca'd ye like
a piece o' their ain heart? and is this the way ye tak to make them
childless and brotherless and friendless? Ohon! it's an ill feight whar
he that wins has the warst o't. Think on't, bairns. I'm a puir man--but
I'm an auld man too--and what my poverty takes awa frae the weight o' my
counsel, grey hairs and a truthfu' heart should add it twenty times. Gang
hame, gang hame, like gude lads--the French will be ower to harry us ane
o' thae days, and ye'll hae feighting eneugh, and maybe auld Edie will
hirple out himsell if he can get a feal-dyke to lay his gun ower, and may
live to tell you whilk o' ye does the best where there's a good cause
There was something in the undaunted and independent manner, hardy
sentiment, and manly rude elocution of the old man, that had its effect
upon the party, and particularly on the seconds, whose pride was
uninterested in bringing the dispute to a bloody arbitrament, and who, on
the contrary, eagerly watched for an opportunity to recommend
"Upon my word, Mr. Lesley," said Taffril, "old Adam speaks like an
oracle. Our friends here were very angry yesterday, and of course very
foolish;--today they should be cool, or at least we must be so in their
behalf. I think the word should be forget and forgive on both sides,--
that we should all shake hands, fire these foolish crackers in the air,
and go home to sup in a body at the Graeme's-Arms."
"I would heartily recommend it," said Lesley; "for, amidst a great deal
of heat and irritation on both sides, I confess myself unable to discover
any rational ground of quarrel."
"Gentlemen," said M'Intyre, very coldly, "all this should have been
thought of before. In my opinion, persons that have carried this matter
so far as we have done, and who should part without carrying it any
farther, might go to supper at the Graeme's-Arms very joyously, but would
rise the next morning with reputations as ragged as our friend here, who
has obliged us with a rather unnecessary display of his oratory. I speak
for myself, that I find myself bound to call upon you to proceed without
"And I," said Lovel, "as I never desired any, have also to request these
gentlemen to arrange preliminaries as fast as possible."
"Bairns! bairns!" cried old Ochiltree; but perceiving he was no longer
attended to--"Madmen, I should say--but your blood be on your heads!" And
the old man drew off from the ground, which was now measured out by the
seconds, and continued muttering and talking to himself in sullen
indignation, mixed with anxiety, and with a strong feeling of painful
curiosity. Without paying farther attention to his presence or
remonstrances, Mr. Lesley and the Lieutenant made the necessary
arrangements for the duel, and it was agreed that both parties should
fire when Mr. Lesley dropped his handkerchief.
The fatal sign was given, and both fired almost in the same moment.
Captain M'Intyre's ball grazed the side of his opponent, but did not draw
blood. That of Lovel was more true to the aim; M'Intyre reeled and fell.
Raising himself on his arm, his first exclamation was, "It is nothing--it
is nothing--give us the other pistols. "But in an instant he said, in a
lower tone, "I believe I have enough--and what's worse, I fear I deserve
it. Mr. Lovel, or whatever your name is, fly and save yourself--Bear all
witness, I provoked this matter." Then raising himself again on his arm,
he added, "Shake hands, Lovel--I believe you to be a gentleman--forgive
my rudeness, and I forgive you my death--My poor sister!"
The surgeon came up to perform his part of the tragedy, and Lovel stood
gazing on the evil of which he had been the active, though unwilling
cause, with a dizzy and bewildered eye. He was roused from his trance by
the grasp of the mendicant. "Why stand you gazing on your deed?--What's
doomed is doomed--what's done is past recalling. But awa, awa, if ye wad
save your young blood from a shamefu' death--I see the men out by yonder
that are come ower late to part ye--but, out and alack! sune eneugh, and
ower sune, to drag ye to prison."
"He is right--he is right," exclaimed Taffril; "you must not attempt to
get on the high-road--get into the wood till night. My brig will be under
sail by that time, and at three in the morning, when the tide will serve,
I shall have the boat waiting for you at the Mussel-crag. Away-away, for
"O yes! fly, fly!" repeated the wounded man, his words faltering with
"Come with me," said the mendicant, almost dragging him off; "the
Captain's plan is the best--I'll carry ye to a place where ye might be
concealed in the meantime, were they to seek ye 'wi' sleuth-hounds."
"Go, go," again urged Lieutenant Taffril--"to stay here is mere madness."
"It was worse madness to have come hither," said Lovel, pressing his
hand--"But farewell!" And he followed Ochiltree into the recesses of the
--The Lord Abbot had a soul
Subtile and quick, and searching as the fire;
By magic stairs he went as deep as hell,
And if in devils' possession gold be kept,
He brought some sure from thence--'tis hid in caves,
Known, save to me, to none.--
The Wonder of a Kingdome.
Lovel almost mechanically followed the beggar, who led the way with a
hasty and steady pace, through bush and bramble, avoiding the beaten
path, and often turning to listen whether there were any sounds of
pursuit behind them. They sometimes descended into the very bed of the
torrent, sometimes kept a narrow and precarious path, that the sheep
(which, with the sluttish negligence towards property of that sort
universal in Scotland, were allowed to stray in the copse) had made along
the very verge of its overhanging banks. From time to time Lovel had a
glance of the path which he had traversed the day before in company with
Sir Arthur, the Antiquary, and the young ladies. Dejected, embarrassed,
and occupied by a thousand inquietudes, as he then was, what would he now
have given to regain the sense of innocence which alone can
counter-balance a thousand evils! "Yet, then," such was his hasty and
involuntary reflection, "even then, guiltless and valued by all around
me, I thought myself unhappy. What am I now, with this young man's blood
upon my hands?--the feeling of pride which urged me to the deed has now
deserted me, as the actual fiend himself is said to do those whom he has
tempted to guilt." Even his affection for Miss Wardour sunk for the time
before the first pangs of remorse, and he thought he could have
encountered every agony of slighted love to have had the conscious
freedom from blood-guiltiness which he possessed in the morning.
These painful reflections were not interrupted by any conversation on the
part of his guide, who threaded the thicket before him, now holding back
the sprays to make his path easy, now exhorting him to make haste, now
muttering to himself, after the custom of solitary and neglected old age,
words which might have escaped Lovel's ear even had he listened to them,
or which, apprehended and retained, were too isolated to convey any
connected meaning,--a habit which may be often observed among people of
the old man's age and calling.
At length, as Lovel, exhausted by his late indisposition, the harrowing
feelings by which he was agitated, and the exertion necessary to keep up
with his guide in a path so rugged, began to flag and fall behind, two or
three very precarious steps placed him on the front of a precipice
overhung with brushwood and copse. Here a cave, as narrow in its entrance
as a fox-earth, was indicated by a small fissure in the rock, screened by
the boughs of an aged oak, which, anchored by its thick and twisted roots
in the upper part of the cleft, flung its branches almost straight
outward from the cliff, concealing it effectually from all observation.
It might indeed have escaped the attention even of those who had stood at
its very opening, so uninviting was the portal at which the beggar
entered. But within, the cavern was higher and more roomy, cut into two
separate branches, which, intersecting each other at right angles, formed
an emblem of the cross, and indicated the abode of an anchoret of former
times. There are many caves of the same kind in different parts of
Scotland. I need only instance those of Gorton, near Rosslyn, in a scene
well known to the admirers of romantic nature.
The light within the eave was a dusky twilight at the entrance, which
failed altogether in the inner recesses. "Few folks ken o' this place,"
said the old man; "to the best o'my knowledge, there's just twa living by
mysell, and that's Jingling Jock and the Lang Linker. I have had mony a
thought, that when I fand mysell auld and forfairn, and no able to enjoy
God's blessed air ony langer, I wad drag mysell here wi' a pickle
ait-meal; and see, there's a bit bonny dropping well that popples that
self-same gate simmer and winter;--and I wad e'en streek mysell out here,
and abide my removal, like an auld dog that trails its useless ugsome
carcass into some bush or bracken no to gie living things a scunner wi'
the sight o't when it's dead--Ay, and then, when the dogs barked at the
lone farm-stead, the gudewife wad cry, Whisht, stirra, that'll be auld
Edie,' and the bits o' weans wad up, puir things, and toddle to the door
to pu' in the auld Blue-Gown that mends a' their bonny-dies--But there
wad be nae mair word o' Edie, I trow."
He then led Lovel, who followed him unresistingly, into one of the
interior branches of the cave. "Here," he said, "is a bit turnpike-stair
that gaes up to the auld kirk abune. Some folks say this place was howkit
out by the monks lang syne to hide their treasure in, and some said that
they used to bring things into the abbey this gate by night, that they
durstna sae weel hae brought in by the main port and in open day--And
some said that ane o' them turned a saint (or aiblins wad hae had folk
think sae), and settled him down in this Saint Ruth's cell, as the auld
folks aye ca'd it, and garr'd big the stair, that he might gang up to the
kirk when they were at the divine service. The Laird o' Monkbarns wad hae
a hantle to say about it, as he has about maist things, if he ken'd only
about the place. But whether it was made for man's devices or God's
service, I have seen ower muckle sin done in it in my day, and far ower
muckle have I been partaker of--ay, even here in this dark cove. Mony a
gudewife's been wondering what for the red cock didna craw her up in the
morning, when he's been roasting, puir fallow, in this dark hole--And,
ohon! I wish that and the like o' that had been the warst o't! Whiles
they wad hae heard the din we were making in the very bowels o' the
earth, when Sanders Aikwood, that was forester in thae days, the father
o' Ringan that now is, was gaun daundering about the wood at e'en, to see
after the Laird's game and whiles he wad hae seen a glance o' the light
frae the door o' the cave, flaughtering against the hazels on the other
bank;--and then siccan stories as Sanders had about the worricows and
gyre-carlins that haunted about the auld wa's at e'en, and the lights
that he had seen, and the cries that he had heard, when there was nae
mortal e'e open but his ain; and eh! as he wad thrum them ower and ower
to the like o' me ayont the ingle at e'en, and as I wad gie the auld
silly carle grane for grane, and tale for tale, though I ken'd muckle
better about it than ever he did. Ay, ay--they were daft days thae;--but
they were a' vanity, and waur,--and it's fitting that they wha hae led a
light and evil life, and abused charity when they were young, suld
aiblins come to lack it when they are auld."
While Ochiltree was thus recounting the exploits and tricks of his
earlier life, with a tone in which glee and compunction alternately
predominated, his unfortunate auditor had sat down upon the hermit's
seat, hewn out of the solid rock, and abandoned himself to that
lassitude, both of mind and body, which generally follows a course of
events that have agitated both, The effect of his late indisposition,
which had much weakened his system, contributed to this lethargic
despondency. "The puir bairn!" said auld Edie, "an he sleeps in this damp
hole, he'll maybe wauken nae mair, or catch some sair disease. It's no
the same to him as to the like o' us, that can sleep ony gate an anes our
wames are fu'. Sit up, Maister Lovel, lad! After a's come and gane, I
dare say the captain-lad will do weel eneugh--and, after a', ye are no
the first that has had this misfortune. I hae seen mony a man killed, and
helped to kill them mysell, though there was nae quarrel between us--and
if it isna wrang to kill folk we have nae quarrel wi', just because they
wear another sort of a cockade, and speak a foreign language, I canna see
but a man may have excuse for killing his ain mortal foe, that comes
armed to the fair field to kill him. I dinna say it's right--God forbid--
or that it isna sinfu' to take away what ye canna restore, and that's the
breath of man, whilk is in his nostrils; but I say it is a sin to be
forgiven if it's repented of. Sinfu' men are we a'; but if ye wad believe
an auld grey sinner that has seen the evil o' his ways, there is as much
promise atween the twa boards o' the Testament as wad save the warst o'
us, could we but think sae."
With such scraps of comfort and of divinity as he possessed, the
mendicant thus continued to solicit and compel the attention of Lovel,
until the twilight began to fade into night. "Now," said Ochiltree, "I
will carry ye to a mair convenient place, where I hae sat mony a time to
hear the howlit crying out of the ivy tod, and to see the moonlight come
through the auld windows o' the ruins. There can be naebody come here
after this time o' night; and if they hae made ony search, thae
blackguard shirra'-officers and constables, it will hae been ower lang
syne. Od, they are as great cowards as ither folk, wi' a' their warrants
and king's keys*--I hae gien some o' them a gliff in my day, when they
were coming rather ower near me--But, lauded be grace for it! they canna
stir me now for ony waur than an auld man and a beggar, and my badge is a
gude protection; and then Miss Isabella Wardour is a tower o' strength,
ye ken"--(Lovel sighed)--"Aweel, dinna be cast down--bowls may a' row
right yet--gie the lassie time to ken her mind. She's the wale o' the
country for beauty, and a gude friend o' mine--I gang by the bridewell as
safe as by the kirk on a Sabbath--deil ony o' them daur hurt a hair o'
auld Edie's head now; I keep the crown o' the causey when I gae to the
borough, and rub shouthers wi' a bailie wi' as little concern as an he
were a brock."
* The king's keys are, in law phrase, the crow-bars and hammers used to
force doors and locks, in execution of the king's warrant.
While the mendicant spoke thus, he was busied in removing a few loose
stones in one angle of the eave, which obscured the entrance of the
staircase of which he had spoken, and led the way into it, followed by
Lovel in passive silence.
"The air's free eneugh," said the old man; "the monks took care o' that,
for they werena a lang-breathed generation, I reckon; they hae contrived
queer tirlie-wirlie holes, that gang out to the open air, and keep the
stair as caller as a kail-blade."
Lovel accordingly found the staircase well aired, and, though narrow, it
was neither ruinous nor long, but speedily admitted them into a narrow
gallery contrived to run within the side wall of the chancel, from which
it received air and light through apertures ingeniously hidden amid the
florid ornaments of the Gothic architecture.
"This secret passage ance gaed round great part o' the biggin," said the
beggar, "and through the wa' o' the place I've heard Monkbarns ca' the
Refractory" [meaning probably _Refectory_], "and so awa to the Prior's
ain house. It's like he could use it to listen what the monks were saying
at meal-time,--and then he might come ben here and see that they were
busy skreighing awa wi' the psalms doun below there; and then, when he
saw a' was right and tight, he might step awa and fetch in a bonnie lass
at the cove yonder--for they were queer hands the monks, unless mony lees
is made on them. But our folk were at great pains lang syne to big up the
passage in some parts, and pu' it down in others, for fear o' some
uncanny body getting into it, and finding their way down to the cove: it
wad hae been a fashious job that--by my certie, some o' our necks wad hae
They now came to a place where the gallery was enlarged into a small
circle, sufficient to contain a stone seat. A niche, constructed exactly
before it, projected forward into the chancel, and as its sides were
latticed, as it were, with perforated stone-work, it commanded a full
view of the chancel in every direction, and was probably constructed, as
Edie intimated, to be a convenient watch-tower, from which the superior
priest, himself unseen, might watch the behaviour of his monks, and
ascertain, by personal inspection, their punctual attendance upon those
rites of devotion which his rank exempted him from sharing with them. As
this niche made one of a regular series which stretched along the wall of
the chancel, and in no respect differed from the rest when seen from
below, the secret station, screened as it was by the stone figure of St.
Michael and the dragon, and the open tracery around the niche, was
completely hid from observation. The private passage, confined to its
pristine breadth, had originally continued beyond this seat; but the
jealous precautions of the vagabonds who frequented the cave of St. Ruth
had caused them to build it carefully up with hewn stones from the ruin.
"We shall be better here," said Edie, seating himself on the stone bench,
and stretching the lappet of his blue gown upon the spot, when he
motioned Lovel to sit down beside him--"we shall be better here than doun
below; the air's free and mild, and the savour of the wallflowers, and
siccan shrubs as grow on thae ruined wa's, is far mair refreshing than
the damp smell doun below yonder. They smell sweetest by night-time thae
flowers, and they're maist aye seen about rained buildings. Now, Maister
Lovel, can ony o' you scholars gie a gude reason for that?"
Lovel replied in the negative.
"I am thinking," resumed the beggar, "that they'll be, like mony folk's
gude gifts, that often seem maist gracious in adversity--or maybe it's a
parable, to teach us no to slight them that are in the darkness of sin
and the decay of tribulation, since God sends odours to refresh the
mirkest hour, and flowers and pleasant bushes to clothe the ruined
buildings. And now I wad like a wise man to tell me whether Heaven is
maist pleased wi' the sight we are looking upon--thae pleasant and quiet
lang streaks o' moonlight that are lying sae still on the floor o' this
auld kirk, and glancing through the great pillars and stanchions o' the
carved windows, and just dancing like on the leaves o' the dark ivy as
the breath o' wind shakes it--I wonder whether this is mair pleasing to
Heaven than when it was lighted up wi' lamps, and candles nae doubt, and
roughies,* and wi' the mirth and the frankincent that they speak of in
the Holy Scripture, and wi' organs assuredly, and men and women singers,
and sackbuts, and dulcimers, and a' instruments o' music--I wonder if
that was acceptable, or whether it is of these grand parafle o'
ceremonies that holy writ says, It is an abomination to me.
* Links, or torches.
I am thinking, Maister Lovel, if twa puir contrite spirits like yours and
mine fand grace to make our petition"--
Here Lovel laid his hand eagerly on the mendicant's arm, saying,--"Hush!
I heard some one speak."
"I am dull o' hearing," answered Edie, in a whisper, "but we're surely
safe here--where was the sound?"
Lovel pointed to the door of the chancel, which, highly ornamented,
occupied the west end of the building, surmounted by the carved window,
which let in a flood of moonlight over it.
"They can be nane o' our folk," said Edie in the same low and cautious
tone; "there's but twa o' them kens o' the place, and they're mony a mile
off, if they are still bound on their weary pilgrimage. I'll never think
it's the officers here at this time o' night. I am nae believer in auld
wives' stories about ghaists, though this is gey like a place for them--
But mortal, or of the other world, here they come!--twa men and a light."
And in very truth, while the mendicant spoke, two human figures darkened
with their shadows the entrance of the chancel--which had before opened
to the moon-lit meadow beyond, and the small lantern which one of them
displayed, glimmered pale in the clear and strong beams of the moon, as
the evening star does among the lights of the departing day. The first
and most obvious idea was, that, despite the asseverations of Edie
Ochiltree, the persons who approached the ruins at an hour so uncommon
must be the officers of justice in quest of Lovel. But no part of their
conduct confirmed the suspicion. A touch and a whisper from the old man
warned Lovel that his best course was to remain quiet, and watch their
motions from their present place of concealment. Should anything appear
to render retreat necessary, they had behind them the private stair-case
and cavern, by means of which they could escape into the wood long before
any danger of close pursuit. They kept themselves, therefore, as still as
possible, and observed with eager and anxious curiosity every accent and
motion of these nocturnal wanderers.
After conversing together some time in whispers, the two figures advanced
into the middle of the chancel; and a voice, which Lovel at once
recognised, from its tone and dialect, to be that of Dousterswivel,
pronounced in a louder but still a smothered tone, "Indeed, mine goot
sir, dere cannot be one finer hour nor season for dis great purpose. You
shall see, mine goot sir, dat it is all one bibble-babble dat Mr.
Oldenbuck says, and dat he knows no more of what he speaks than one
little child. Mine soul! he expects to get as rich as one Jew for his
poor dirty one hundred pounds, which I care no more about, by mine honest
wort, than I care for an hundred stivers. But to you, my most munificent
and reverend patron, I will show all de secrets dat art can show--ay, de
secret of de great Pymander."
"That other ane," whispered Edie, "maun be, according to a' likelihood,
Sir Arthur Wardour--I ken naebody but himsell wad come here at this time
at e'en wi' that German blackguard;--ane wad think he's bewitched him--he
gars him e'en trow that chalk is cheese. Let's see what they can be
This interruption, and the low tone in which Sir Arthur spoke, made Lovel
lose all Sir Arthur's answer to the adept, excepting the last three
emphatic words, "Very great expense;" to which Dousterswivel at once
replied--"Expenses!--to be sure--dere must be de great expenses. You do
not expect to reap before you do sow de seed: de expense is de seed--de
riches and de mine of goot metal, and now de great big chests of plate,
they are de crop--vary goot crop too, on mine wort. Now, Sir Arthur, you
have sowed this night one little seed of ten guineas like one pinch of
snuff, or so big; and if you do not reap de great harvest--dat is, de
great harvest for de little pinch of seed, for it must be proportions,
you must know--then never call one honest man, Herman Dousterswivel. Now
you see, mine patron--for I will not conceal mine secret from you at all
--you see this little plate of silver; you know de moon measureth de
whole zodiack in de space of twenty-eight day--every shild knows dat.
Well, I take a silver plate when she is in her fifteenth mansion, which
mansion is in de head of _Libra,_ and I engrave upon one side de worts,
[Shedbarschemoth Schartachan]--dat is, de Emblems of de Intelligence of
de moon--and I make this picture like a flying serpent with a turkey-
cock's head--vary well. Then upon this side I make de table of de moon,
which is a square of nine, multiplied into itself, with eighty-one
numbers on every side, and diameter nine--dere it is done very proper.
Now I will make dis avail me at de change of every quarter-moon dat I
shall find by de same proportions of expenses I lay out in de
suffumigations, as nine, to de product of nine multiplied into itself--
But I shall find no more to-night as maybe two or dree times nine,
because dere is a thwarting power in de house of ascendency."
"But, Dousterswivel," said the simple Baronet, "does not this look like
magic?--I am a true though unworthy son of the Episcopal church, and I
will have nothing to do with the foul fiend."
"Bah! bah!--not a bit magic in it at all--not a bit--It is all founded on
de planetary influence, and de sympathy and force of numbers. I will show
you much finer dan dis. I do not say dere is not de spirit in it, because
of de suffumigation; but, if you are not afraid, he shall not be
"I have no curiosity to see him at all," said the Baronet, whose courage
seemed, from a certain quaver in his accent, to have taken a fit of the
"Dat is great pity," said Dousterswivel; "I should have liked to show you
de spirit dat guard dis treasure like one fierce watchdog--but I know how
to manage him;--you would not care to see him?"
"Not at all," answered the Baronet, in a tone of feigned indifference; "I
think we have but little time."
"You shall pardon me, my patron; it is not yet twelve, and twelve precise
is just our planetary hours; and I could show you de spirit vary well, in
de meanwhile, just for pleasure. You see I would draw a pentagon within a
circle, which is no trouble at all, and make my suffumigation within it,
and dere we would be like in one strong castle, and you would hold de
sword while I did say de needful worts. Den you should see de solid wall
open like de gate of ane city, and den--let me see--ay, you should see
first one stag pursued by three black greyhounds, and they should pull
him down as they do at de elector's great hunting-match; and den one
ugly, little, nasty black negro should appear and take de stag from them
--and paf--all should be gone; den you should hear horns winded dat all
de ruins should ring--mine wort, they should play fine hunting piece, as
goot as him you call'd Fischer with his oboi; vary well--den comes one
herald, as we call Ernhold, winding his horn--and den come de great
Peolphan, called de mighty Hunter of de North, mounted on hims black
steed. But you would not care to see all this?"*
* Note F. Witchcraft.
"Why, I am not afraid," answered the poor Baronet,--"if--that is--does
anything--any great mischiefs, happen on such occasions?"
"Bah! mischiefs? no!--sometimes if de circle be no quite just, or de
beholder be de frightened coward, and not hold de sword firm and straight
towards him, de Great Hunter will take his advantage, and drag him
exorcist out of de circle and throttle him. Dat does happens."
"Well then, Dousterswivel, with every confidence in my courage and your
skill, we will dispense with this apparition, and go on to the business
of the night."
"With all mine heart--it is just one thing to me--and now it is de time--
hold you de sword till I kindle de little what you call chip."
Dousterswivel accordingly set fire to a little pile of chips, touched and
prepared with some bituminous substance to make them burn fiercely; and
when the flame was at the highest, and lightened, with its shortlived
glare, all the ruins around, the German flung in a handful of perfumes
which produced a strong and pungent odour. The exorcist and his pupil
both were so much affected as to cough and sneeze heartily; and, as the
vapour floated around the pillars of the building, and penetrated every
crevice, it produced the same effect on the beggar and Lovel.
"Was that an echo?" said the Baronet, astonished at the sternutation
which resounded from above; "or"--drawing close to the adept, "can it be
the spirit you talked of, ridiculing our attempt upon his hidden
"N--n--no," muttered the German, who began to partake of his pupil's
terrors, "I hope not."
Here a violent of sneezing, which the mendicant was unable to suppress,
and which could not be considered by any means as the dying fall of an
echo, accompanied by a grunting half-smothered cough, confounded the two
treasure-seekers. "Lord have mercy on us!" said the Baronet.
"_Alle guten Geistern loben den Herrn!_" ejaculated the terrified adept.
"I was begun to think," he continued, after a moment's silence, "that
this would be de bestermost done in de day-light--we was bestermost to go
away just now."
"You juggling villain!" said the Baronet, in whom these expressions
awakened a suspicion that overcame his terrors, connected as it was with
the sense of desperation arising from the apprehension of impending ruin
--"you juggling mountebank! this is some legerdemain trick of yours to
get off from the performance of your promise, as you have so often done
before. But, before Heaven! I will this night know what I have trusted to
when I suffered you to fool me on to my ruin! Go on, then--come fairy,
come fiend, you shall show me that treasure, or confess yourself a knave
and an impostor, or, by the faith of a desperate and ruined man, I'll
send you where you shall see spirits enough."
The treasure-finder, trembling between his terror for the supernatural
beings by whom he supposed himself to be surrounded, and for his life,
which seemed to be at the mercy of a desperate man, could only bring out,
"Mine patron, this is not the allerbestmost usage. Consider, mine
honoured sir, that de spirits"--
Here Edie, who began to enter into the humour of the scene, uttered an
extraordinary howl, being an exaltation and a prolongation of the most
deplorable whine in which he was accustomed to solicit charity.
Dousterswivel flung himself on his knees--"Dear Sir Arthurs, let us go,
or let me go!"
"No, you cheating scoundrel!" said the knight, unsheathing the sword
which he had brought for the purposes of the exorcism, "that shift shall
not serve you--Monkbarns warned me long since of your juggling pranks--I
will see this treasure before you leave this place, or I will have you
confess yourself an impostor, or, by Heaven, I'll run this sword through
you, though all the spirits of the dead should rise around us!"
"For de lofe of Heaven be patient, mine honoured patron, and you shall
hafe all de treasure as I knows of--yes, you shall indeed--But do not
speak about de spirits--it makes dem angry."
Edie Ochiltree here prepared himself to throw in another groan, but was
restrained by Lovel, who began to take a more serious interest, as he
observed the earnest and almost desperate demeanour of Sir Arthur.
Dousterswivel, having at once before his eyes the fear of the foul fiend,
and the violence of Sir Arthur, played his part of a conjuror extremely
ill, hesitating to assume the degree of confidence necessary to deceive
the latter, lest it should give offence to the invisible cause of his
alarm. However, after rolling his eyes, muttering and sputtering German
exorcisms, with contortions of his face and person, rather flowing from
the impulse of terror than of meditated fraud, he at length proceeded to
a corner of the building where a flat stone lay upon the ground, bearing
upon its surface the effigy of an armed warrior in a recumbent posture
carved in bas-relief. He muttered to Sir Arthur, "Mine patrons, it is
here--Got save us all!"
Sir Arthur, who, after the first moment of his superstitious fear was
over, seemed to have bent up all his faculties to the pitch of resolution
necessary to carry on the adventure, lent the adept his assistance to
turn over the stone, which, by means of a lever that the adept had
provided, their joint force with difficulty effected. No supernatural
light burst forth from below to indicate the subterranean treasury, nor
was there any apparition of spirits, earthly or infernal. But when
Dousterswivel had, with great trepidation, struck a few strokes with a
mattock, and as hastily thrown out a shovelful or two of earth (for they
came provided with the tools necessary for digging), something was heard
to ring like the sound of a falling piece of metal, and Dousterswivel,
hastily catching up the substance which produced it, and which his shovel
had thrown out along with the earth, exclaimed, "On mine dear wort, mine
patrons, dis is all--it is indeed; I mean all we can do to-night;"--and
he gazed round him with a cowering and fearful glance, as if to see from
what comer the avenger of his imposture was to start forth.
"Let me see it," said Sir Arthur; and then repeated, still more sternly,
"I will be satisfied--I will judge by mine own eyes." He accordingly held
the object to the light of the lantern. It was a small case, or casket,--
for Lovel could not at the distance exactly discern its shape, which,
from the Baronet's exclamation as he opened it, he concluded was filled
with coin. "Ay," said the Baronet, "this is being indeed in good luck!
and if it omens proportional success upon a larger venture, the venture
shall be made. That six hundred of Goldieword's, added to the other
incumbent claims, must have been ruin indeed. If you think we can parry
it by repeating this experiment--suppose when the moon next changes,--I
will hazard the necessary advance, come by it how I may."
"Oh, mine good patrons, do not speak about all dat," said Dousterswivel,
"as just now, but help me to put de shtone to de rights, and let us
begone our own ways." And accordingly, so soon as the stone was replaced,
he hurried Sir Arthur, who was now resigned once more to his guidance,
away from a spot, where the German's guilty conscience and superstitious
fears represented goblins as lurking behind each pillar with the purpose
of punishing his treachery.
"Saw onybody e'er the like o' that!" said Edie, when they had disappeared
like shadows through the gate by which they had entered--"saw ony
creature living e'er the like o' that!--But what can we do for that puir
doited deevil of a knight-baronet? Od, he showed muckle mair spunk, too,
than I thought had been in him--I thought he wad hae sent cauld iron
through the vagabond--Sir Arthur wasna half sae bauld at Bessie's-apron
yon night--but then, his blood was up even now, and that makes an unco
difference. I hae seen mony a man wad hae felled another an anger him,
that wadna muckle hae liked a clink against Crummies-horn yon time. But
what's to be done?"
"I suppose," said Lovel, "his faith in this fellow is entirely restored
by this deception, which, unquestionably, he had arranged beforehand."
"What! the siller?--Ay, ay--trust him for that--they that hide ken best
where to find. He wants to wile him out o' his last guinea, and then
escape to his ain country, the land-louper. I wad likeit weel just to hae
come in at the clipping-time, and gien him a lounder wi' my pike-staff;
he wad hae taen it for a bennison frae some o' the auld dead abbots. But
it's best no to be rash; sticking disna gang by strength, but by the
guiding o' the gally. I'se be upsides wi' him ae day."
"What if you should inform Mr. Oldbuck?" said Lovel.
"Ou, I dinna ken--Monkbarns and Sir Arthur are like, and yet they're no
like neither. Monkbarns has whiles influence wi' him, and whiles Sir
Arthur cares as little about him as about the like o' me. Monkbarns is no
that ower wise himsell, in some things;--he wad believe a bodle to be an
auld Roman coin, as he ca's it, or a ditch to be a camp, upon ony leasing
that idle folk made about it. I hae garr'd him trow mony a queer tale
mysell, gude forgie me. But wi' a' that, he has unco little sympathy wi'
ither folks; and he's snell and dure eneugh in casting up their nonsense
to them, as if he had nane o' his ain. He'll listen the hale day, an yell
tell him about tales o' Wallace, and Blind Harry, and Davie Lindsay; but
ye maunna speak to him about ghaists or fairies, or spirits walking the
earth, or the like o' that;--he had amaist flung auld Caxon out o' the
window (and he might just as weel hae flung awa his best wig after him),
for threeping he had seen a ghaist at the humlock-knowe. Now, if he was
taking it up in this way, he wad set up the tother's birse, and maybe do
mair ill nor gude--he's done that twice or thrice about thae mine-warks;
ye wad thought Sir Arthur had a pleasure in gaun on wi' them the deeper,
the mair he was warned against it by Monkbarns."
"What say you then," said Lovel, "to letting Miss Wardour know the
"Ou, puir thing, how could she stop her father doing his pleasure?--and,
besides, what wad it help? There's a sough in the country about that six
hundred pounds, and there's a writer chield in Edinburgh has been driving
the spur-rowels o' the law up to the head into Sir Arthur's sides to gar
him pay it, and if he canna, he maun gang to jail or flee the country.
He's like a desperate man, and just catches at this chance as a' he has
left, to escape utter perdition; so what signifies plaguing the puir
lassie about what canna be helped? And besides, to say the truth, I wadna
like to tell the secret o' this place. It's unco convenient, ye see
yoursell, to hae a hiding-hole o' ane's ain; and though I be out o' the
line o' needing ane e'en now, and trust in the power o' grace that I'll
neer do onything to need ane again, yet naebody kens what temptation ane
may be gien ower to--and, to be brief, I downa bide the thought of
anybody kennin about the place;--they say, keep a thing seven year, an'
yell aye find a use for't--and maybe I may need the cove, either for
mysell, or for some ither body."
This argument, in which Edie Ochiltree, notwithstanding his scraps of
morality and of divinity, seemed to take, perhaps from old habit, a
personal interest, could not be handsomely controverted by Lovel, who was
at that moment reaping the benefit of the secret of which the old man
appeared to be so jealous.
This incident, however, was of great service to Lovel, as diverting his
mind from the unhappy occurrence of the evening, and considerably rousing
the energies which had been stupefied by the first view of his calamity.
He reflected that it by no means necessarily followed that a dangerous
wound must be a fatal one--that he had been hurried from the spot even
before the surgeon had expressed any opinion of Captain M'Intyre's
situation--and that he had duties on earth to perform, even should the
very worst be true, which, if they could not restore his peace of mind or
sense of innocence, would furnish a motive for enduring existence, and at
the same time render it a course of active benevolence.--Such were
Lovel's feelings, when the hour arrived when, according to Edie's
calculation--who, by some train or process of his own in observing the
heavenly bodies, stood independent of the assistance of a watch or
time-keeper--it was fitting they should leave their hiding-place, and
betake themselves to the seashore, in order to meet Lieutenant Taffril's
boat according to appointment.
They retreated by the same passage which had admitted them to the prior's
secret seat of observation, and when they issued from the grotto into the
wood, the birds which began to chirp, and even to sing, announced that
the dawn was advanced. This was confirmed by the light and amber clouds
that appeared over the sea, as soon as their exit from the copse
permitted them to view the horizon.--Morning, said to be friendly to the
muses, has probably obtained this character from its effect upon the
fancy and feelings of mankind. Even to those who, like Lovel, have spent
a sleepless and anxious night, the breeze of the dawn brings strength and
quickening both of mind and body. It was, therefore, with renewed health
and vigour that Lovel, guided by the trusty mendicant, brushed away the
dew as he traversed the downs which divided the Den of St. Ruth, as the
woods surrounding the ruins were popularly called, from the sea-shore.
The first level beam of the sun, as his brilliant disk began to emerge
from the ocean, shot full upon the little gun-brig which was lying-to in
the offing--close to the shore the boat was already waiting, Taffril
himself, with his naval cloak wrapped about him, seated in the stern. He
jumped ashore when he saw the mendicant and Lovel approach, and, shaking
the latter heartily by the hand, begged him not to be cast down.
"M'Intyre's wound," he said, "was doubtful, but far from desperate."
His attention had got Lovel's baggage privately sent on board the brig;
"and," he said, "he trusted that, if Lovel chose to stay with the vessel,
the penalty of a short cruise would be the only disagreeable consequence
of his rencontre. As for himself, his time and motions were a good deal
at his own disposal, he said, excepting the necessary obligation of
remaining on his station."
"We will talk of our farther motions," said Lovel, "as we go on board."
Then turning to Edie, he endeavoured to put money into his hand. "I
think," said Edie, as he tendered it back again, "the hale folk here have
either gane daft, or they hae made a vow to rain my trade, as they say
ower muckle water drowns the miller. I hae had mair gowd offered me
within this twa or three weeks than I ever saw in my life afore. Keep the
siller, lad--yell hae need o't, I'se warrant ye, and I hae nane my claes
is nae great things, and I get a blue gown every year, and as mony siller
groats as the king, God bless him, is years auld--you and I serve the
same master, ye ken, Captain Taffril; there's rigging provided for--and
my meat and drink I get for the asking in my rounds, or, at an orra time,
I can gang a day without it, for I make it a rule never to pay for nane;
--so that a' the siller I need is just to buy tobacco and sneeshin, and
maybe a dram at a time in a cauld day, though I am nae dram-drinker to be
a gaberlunzie;--sae take back your gowd, and just gie me a lily-white
Upon these whims, which he imagined intimately connected with the honour
of his vagabond profession, Edie was flint and adamant, not to be moved
by rhetoric or entreaty; and therefore Lovel was under the necessity of
again pocketing his intended bounty, and taking a friendly leave of the
mendicant by shaking him by the hand, and assuring him of his cordial
gratitude for the very important services which he had rendered him,
recommending, at the same time, secrecy as to what they had that night
witnessed.--"Ye needna doubt that," said Ochiltree; "I never tell'd tales
out o' yon cove in my life, though mony a queer thing I hae seen in't."
The boat now put off. The old man remained looking after it as it made
rapidly towards the brig under the impulse of six stout rowers, and Lovel
beheld him again wave his blue bonnet as a token of farewell ere he
turned from his fixed posture, and began to move slowly along the sands
as if resuming his customary perambulations.
Wiser Raymondus, in his closet pent,
Laughs at such danger and adventurement
When half his lands are spent in golden smoke,
And now his second hopeful glasse is broke,
But yet, if haply his third furnace hold,
Devoteth all his pots and pans to gold. *
* The author cannot remember where these lines are to be found: perhaps
in Bishop Hall's Satires. [They occur in Book iv. Satire iii.]
About a week after the adventures commemorated in our last chapter, Mr.
Oldbuck, descending to his breakfast-parlour, found that his womankind
were not upon duty, his toast not made, and the silver jug, which was
wont to receive his libations of mum, not duly aired for its reception.
"This confounded hot-brained boy!" he said to himself; "now that he
begins to get out of danger, I can tolerate this life no longer. All goes
to sixes and sevens--an universal saturnalia seems to be proclaimed in my
peaceful and orderly family. I ask for my sister--no answer. I call, I
shout--I invoke my inmates by more names than the Romans gave to their
deities--at length Jenny, whose shrill voice I have heard this half-hour
lilting in the Tartarean regions of the kitchen, condescends to hear me
and reply, but without coming up stairs, so the conversation must be
continued at the top of my lungs. "--Here he again began to hollow aloud
--"Jenny, where's Miss Oldbuck?"
"Miss Grizzy's in the captain's room."
"Umph!--I thought so--and where's my niece?"
"Miss Mary's making the captain's tea."
"Umph! I supposed as much again--and where's Caxon?"
"Awa to the town about the captain's fowling-gun, and his setting-dog."
"And who the devil's to dress my periwig, you silly jade?--when you knew
that Miss Wardour and Sir Arthur were coming here early after breakfast,
how could you let Caxon go on such a Tomfool's errand?"
"Me! what could I hinder him?--your honour wadna hae us contradict the
captain e'en now, and him maybe deeing?"
"Dying!" said the alarmed Antiquary,--"eh! what? has he been worse?"
"Na, he's no nae waur that I ken of."*
* It is, I believe, a piece of free-masonry, or a point of conscience,
among the Scottish lower orders, never to admit that a patient is doing
better. The closest approach to recovery which they can be brought to
allow, is, that the pairty inquired after is "Nae waur."
"Then he must be better--and what good is a dog and a gun to do here, but
the one to destroy all my furniture, steal from my larder, and perhaps
worry the cat, and the other to shoot somebody through the head. He has
had gunning and pistolling enough to serve him one while, I should
Here Miss Oldbuck entered the parlour, at the door of which Oldbuck was
carrying on this conversation, he bellowing downward to Jenny, and she
again screaming upward in reply.
"Dear brother," said the old lady, "ye'll cry yoursell as hoarse as a
corbie--is that the way to skreigh when there's a sick person in the
"Upon my word, the sick person's like to have all the house to himself,--
I have gone without my breakfast, and am like to go without my wig; and I
must not, I suppose, presume to say I feel either hunger or cold, for
fear of disturbing the sick gentleman who lies six rooms off, and who
feels himself well enough to send for his dog and gun, though he knows I
detest such implements ever since our elder brother, poor Williewald,
marched out of the world on a pair of damp feet, caught in the
Kittlefitting-moss. But that signifies nothing; I suppose I shall be
expected by and by to lend a hand to carry Squire Hector out upon his
litter, while he indulges his sportsmanlike propensities by shooting my
pigeons, or my turkeys--I think any of the _ferae naturae_ are safe from
him for one while."
Miss M'Intyre now entered, and began to her usual morning's task of
arranging her uncle's breakfast, with the alertness of one who is too
late in setting about a task, and is anxious to make up for lost time.
But this did not avail her. "Take care, you silly womankind--that mum's
too near the fire--the bottle will burst; and I suppose you intend to
reduce the toast to a cinder as a burnt-offering for Juno, or what do you
call her--the female dog there, with some such Pantheon kind of a name,
that your wise brother has, in his first moments of mature reflection,
ordered up as a fitting inmate of my house (I thank him), and meet
company to aid the rest of the womankind of my household in their daily
conversation and intercourse with him."
"Dear uncle, don't be angry about the poor spaniel; she's been tied up at
my brother's lodgings at Fairport, and she's broke her chain twice, and
came running down here to him; and you would not have us beat the
faithful beast away from the door?--it moans as if it had some sense of
poor Hector's misfortune, and will hardly stir from the door of his
"Why," said his uncle, "they said Caxon had gone to Fairport after his
dog and gun."
"O dear sir, no," answered Miss M'Intyre, "it was to fetch some dressings
that were wanted, and Hector only wished him to bring out his gun, as he
was going to Fairport at any rate."
"Well, then, it is not altogether so foolish a business, considering what
a mess of womankind have been about it--Dressings, quotha?--and who is to
dress my wig?--But I suppose Jenny will undertake"--continued the old
bachelor, looking at himself in the glass--"to make it somewhat decent.
And now let us set to breakfast--with what appetite we may. Well may I
say to Hector, as Sir Isaac Newton did to his dog Diamond, when the
animal (I detest dogs) flung down the taper among calculations which had
occupied the philosopher for twenty years, and consumed the whole mass of
materials--Diamond, Diamond, thou little knowest the mischief thou hast
"I assure you, sir," replied his niece, "my brother is quite sensible of
the rashness of his own behaviour, and allows that Mr. Lovel behaved very
"And much good that will do, when he has frightened the lad out of the
country! I tell thee, Mary, Hector's understanding, and far more that of
feminity, is inadequate to comprehend the extent of the loss which he has
occasioned to the present age and to posterity--_aureum quidem opus_--a
poem on such a subject, with notes illustrative of all that is clear, and
all that is dark, and all that is neither dark nor clear, but hovers in
dusky twilight in the region of Caledonian antiquities. I would have made
the Celtic panegyrists look about them. Fingal, as they conceitedly term
Fin-Mac-Coul, should have disappeared before my search, rolling himself
in his cloud like the spirit of Loda. Such an opportunity can hardly
again occur to an ancient and grey-haired man; and to see it lost by the
madcap spleen of a hot-headed boy! But I submit--Heaven's will be done!"
Thus continued the Antiquary to _maunder,_ as his sister expressed it,
during the whole time of breakfast, while, despite of sugar and honey,
and all the comforts of a Scottish morning tea-table, his reflections
rendered the meal bitter to all who heard them. But they knew the nature
of the man. "Monkbarns's bark," said Miss Griselda Oldbuck, in
confidential intercourse with Miss Rebecca Blattergowl, "is muckle waur
than his bite."
In fact, Mr. Oldbuck had suffered in mind extremely while his nephew was
in actual danger, and now felt himself at liberty, upon his returning
health, to indulge in complaints respecting the trouble he had been put
to, and the interruption of his antiquarian labours. Listened to,
therefore, in respectful silence, by his niece and sister, he unloaded
his discontent in such grumblings as we have rehearsed, venting many a
sarcasm against womankind, soldiers, dogs, and guns, all which implements
of noise, discord, and tumult, as he called them, he professed to hold in
This expectoration of spleen was suddenly interrupted by the noise of a
carriage without, when, shaking off all sullenness at the sound, Oldbuck
ran nimbly up stairs and down stairs, for both operations were necessary
ere he could receive Miss Wardour and her father at the door of his
A cordial greeting passed on both sides. And Sir Arthur, referring to his
previous inquiries by letter and message, requested to be particularly
informed of Captain M'Intyre's health.
"Better than he deserves," was the answer--"better than he deserves, for
disturbing us with his vixen brawls, and breaking God's peace and the
"The young gentleman," Sir Arthur said, "had been imprudent; but he
understood they were indebted to him for the detection of a suspicious
character in the young man Lovel."
"No more suspicious than his own," answered the Antiquary, eager in his
favourites defence;--"the young gentleman was a little foolish and
headstrong, and refused to answer Hector's impertinent interrogatories--
that is all. Lovel, Sir Arthur, knows how to choose his confidants
better--Ay, Miss Wardour, you may look at me--but it is very true;--it
was in my bosom that he deposited the secret cause of his residence at
Fairport; and no stone should have been left unturned on my part to
assist him in the pursuit to which he had dedicated himself."
On hearing this magnanimous declaration on the part of the old Antiquary,
Miss Wardour changed colour more than once, and could hardly trust her
own ears. For of all confidants to be selected as the depositary of love
affairs,--and such she naturally supposed must have been the subject of
communication,--next to Edie Ochiltree, Oldbuck seemed the most uncouth
and extraordinary; nor could she sufficiently admire or fret at the
extraordinary combination of circumstances which thus threw a secret of
such a delicate nature into the possession of persons so unfitted to be
entrusted with it. She had next to fear the mode of Oldbuck's entering
upon the affair with her father, for such, she doubted not, was his
intention. She well knew that the honest gentleman, however vehement in
his prejudices, had no great sympathy with those of others, and she had
to fear a most unpleasant explosion upon an _e'claircissement_ taking
place between them. It was therefore with great anxiety that she heard
her father request a private interview, and observed Oldbuck readily
arise and show the way to his library. She remained behind, attempting to
converse with the ladies of Monkbarns, but with the distracted feelings
of Macbeth, when compelled to disguise his evil conscience by listening
and replying to the observations of the attendant thanes upon the storm
of the preceding night, while his whole soul is upon the stretch to
listen for the alarm of murder, which he knows must be instantly raised
by those who have entered the sleeping apartment of Duncan. But the
conversation of the two virtuosi turned on a subject very different from
that which Miss Wardour apprehended.
"Mr. Oldbuck," said Sir Arthur, when they had, after a due exchange of
ceremonies, fairly seated themselves in the _sanctum sanctorum_ of the
Antiquary,--"you, who know so much of my family matters, may probably be
surprised at the question I am about to put to you."
"Why, Sir Arthur, if it relates to money, I am very sorry, but"--
"It does relate to money matters, Mr. Oldbuck."
"Really, then, Sir Arthur," continued the Antiquary, "in the present
state of the money-market--and stocks being so low"--
"You mistake my meaning, Mr. Oldbuck," said the Baronet; "I wished to ask
your advice about laying out a large sum of money to advantage."
"The devil!" exclaimed the Antiquary; and, sensible that his involuntary
ejaculation of wonder was not over and above civil, he proceeded to
qualify it by expressing his joy that Sir Arthur should have a sum of
money to lay out when the commodity was so scarce. "And as for the mode
of employing it," said he, pausing, "the funds are low at present, as I
said before, and there are good bargains of land to be had. But had you
not better begin by clearing off encumbrances, Sir Arthur?--There is the
sum in the personal bond--and the three notes of hand," continued he,
taking out of the right-hand drawer of his cabinet a certain red
memorandum-book, of which Sir Arthur, from the experience of former
frequent appeals to it, abhorred the very sight--"with the interest
thereon, amounting altogether to--let me see"--
"To about a thousand pounds," said Sir Arthur, hastily; "you told me the
amount the other day."
"But there's another term's interest due since that, Sir Arthur, and it
amounts (errors excepted) to eleven hundred and thirteen pounds, seven
shillings, five pennies, and three-fourths of a penny sterling--But look
over the summation yourself."
"I daresay you are quite right, my dear sir," said the Baronet, putting
away the book with his hand, as one rejects the old-fashioned civility
that presses food upon you after you have eaten till you nauseate--
"perfectly right, I dare say; and in the course of three days or less you
shall have the full value--that is, if you choose to accept it in
"Bullion! I suppose you mean lead. What the deuce! have we hit on the
vein then at last? But what could I do with a thousand pounds' worth, and
upwards, of lead? The former abbots of Trotcosey might have roofed their
church and monastery with it indeed--but for me"--
"By bullion," said the Baronet, "I mean the precious metals,--gold and
"Ay! indeed?--and from what Eldorado is this treasure to be imported?"
"Not far from hence," said Sir Arthur, significantly. "And naow I think
of it, you shall see the whole process, on one small condition."
"And what is that?" craved the Antiquary.
"Why, it will be necessary for you to give me your friendly assistance,
by advancing one hundred pounds or thereabouts."
Mr. Oldbuck, who had already been grasping in idea the sum, principal and
interest, of a debt which he had long regarded as wellnigh desperate, was
so much astounded at the tables being so unexpectedly turned upon him,
that he could only re-echo, in an accent of wo and surprise, the words,
"Advance one hundred pounds!"
"Yes, my good sir," continued Sir Arthur; "but upon the best possible
security of being repaid in the course of two or three days."
There was a pause--either Oldbuck's nether jaw had not recovered its
position, so as to enable him to utter a negative, or his curiosity kept
"I would not propose to you," continued Sir Arthur, "to oblige me thus
far, if I did not possess actual proofs of the reality of those
expectations which I now hold out to you. And I assure you, Mr. Oldbuck,
that in entering fully upon this topic, it is my purpose to show my
confidence in you, and my sense of your kindness on many former
Mr. Oldbuck professed his sense of obligation, but carefully avoided
committing himself by any promise of farther assistance.
"Mr. Dousterswivel," said Sir Arthur, "having discovered"--
Here Oldbuck broke in, his eyes sparkling with indignation. "Sir Arthur,
I have so often warned you of the knavery of that rascally quack, that I
really wonder you should quote him to me."
"But listen--listen," interrupted Sir Arthur in his turn, "it will do you
no harm. In short, Dousterswivel persuaded me to witness an experiment
which he had made in the ruins of St. Ruth--and what do you think we
"Another spring of water, I suppose, of which the rogue had beforehand
taken care to ascertain the situation and source."
"No, indeed--a casket of gold and silver coins--here they are."
With that, Sir Arthur drew from his pocket a large ram's horn, with a
copper cover, containing a considerable quantity of coins, chiefly
silver, but with a few gold pieces intermixed. The Antiquary's eyes
glistened as he eagerly spread them out on the table.
"Upon my word--Scotch, English, and foreign coins, of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries, and some of them _rari--et rariores--etiam
rarissimi!_ Here is the bonnet-piece of James V., the unicorn of James
II.,--ay, and the gold festoon of Queen Mary, with her head and the
Dauphin's. And these were really found in the ruins of St. Ruth?"
"Most assuredly--my own eyes witnessed it."
"Well," replied Oldbuck; "but you must tell me the when--the where-the
"The when," answered Sir Arthur, "was at midnight the last full moon--the
where, as I have told you, in the ruins of St. Ruth's priory--the how,
was by a nocturnal experiment of Dousterswivel, accompanied only by
"Indeed!" said Oldbuck; "and what means of discovery did you employ?"
"Only a simple suffumigation," said the Baronet, "accompanied by availing
ourselves of the suitable planetary hour."
"Simple suffumigation? simple nonsensification--planetary hour? planetary
fiddlestick! _Sapiens dominabitur astris._ My dear Sir Arthur, that
fellow has made a gull of you above ground and under ground, and he would
have made a gull of you in the air too, if he had been by when you was
craned up the devil's turnpike yonder at Halket-head--to be sure the
transformation would have been then peculiarly _apropos._"
"Well, Mr. Oldbuck, I am obliged to you for your indifferent opinion of
my discernment; but I think you will give me credit for having seen what
I _say_ I saw."
"Certainly, Sir Arthur," said the Antiquary,--"to this extent at least,
that I know Sir Arthur Wardour will not say he saw anything but what he
_thought_ he saw."
"Well, then," replied the Baronet, "as there is a heaven above us, Mr.
Oldbuck, I saw, with my own eyes, these coins dug out of the chancel of
St. Ruth at midnight. And as to Dousterswivel, although the discovery be
owing to his science, yet, to tell the truth, I do not think he would
have had firmness of mind to have gone through with it if I had not been
"Ay! indeed?" said Oldbuck, in the tone used when one wishes to hear the
end of a story before making any comment.
"Yes truly," continued Sir Arthur--"I assure you I was upon my guard--we
did hear some very uncommon sounds, that is certain, proceeding from
among the ruins."
"Oh, you did?" said Oldbuck; "an accomplice hid among them, I suppose?"
"Not a jot," said the Baronet;--"the sounds, though of a hideous and
preternatural character, rather resembled those of a man who sneezes
violently than any other--one deep groan I certainly heard besides; and
Dousterswivel assures me that he beheld the spirit Peolphan, the Great
Hunter of the North--(look for him in your Nicolaus Remigius, or Petrus
Thyracus, Mr. Oldbuck)--who mimicked the motion of snuff-taking and its
"These indications, however singular as proceeding from such a personage,
seem to have been _apropos_ to the matter," said the Antiquary; "for you
see the case, which includes these coins, has all the appearance of being
an old-fashioned Scottish snuff-mill. But you persevered, in spite of the
terrors of this sneezing goblin?"
"Why, I think it probable that a man of inferior sense or consequence
might have given way; but I was jealous of an imposture, conscious of the
duty I owed to my family in maintaining my courage under every
contingency, and therefore I compelled Dousterswivel, by actual and
violent threats, to proceed with what he was about to do;--and, sir, the
proof of his skill and honesty is this parcel of gold and silver pieces,
out of which I beg you to select such coins or medals as will best suit
"Why, Sir Arthur, since you are so good, and on condition you will permit
me to mark the value according to Pinkerton's catalogue and appreciation,
against your account in my red book, I will with pleasure select"--
"Nay," said Sir Arthur Wardour, "I do not mean you should consider them
as anything but a gift of friendship and least of all would I stand by
the valuation of your friend Pinkerton, who has impugned the ancient and
trustworthy authorities upon which, as upon venerable and moss-grown
pillars, the credit of Scottish antiquities reposed."
"Ay, ay," rejoined Oldbuck, "you mean, I suppose, Mair and Boece, the
Jachin and Boaz, not of history but of falsification and forgery. And
notwithstanding all you have told me, I look on your friend Dousterswivel
to be as apocryphal as any of them."
"Why then, Mr. Oldbuck," said Sir Arthur, "not to awaken old disputes, I
suppose you think, that because I believe in the ancient history of my
country, I have neither eyes nor ears to ascertain what modern events
pass before me?"
"Pardon me, Sir Arthur," rejoined the Antiquary; "but I consider all the
affectation of terror which this worthy gentleman, your coadjutor, chose
to play off, as being merely one part of his trick or mystery. And with
respect to the gold or silver coins, they are so mixed and mingled in
country and date, that I cannot suppose they could be any genuine hoard,
and rather suppose them to be, like the purses upon the table of
--Money placed for show,
Like nest-eggs, to make clients lay,
And for his false opinions pay.--
It is the trick of all professions, my dear Sir Arthur. Pray, may I ask
you how much this discovery cost you?"
"About ten guineas."
"And you have gained what is equivalent to twenty in actual bullion, and
what may be perhaps worth as much more to such fools as ourselves, who
are willing to pay for curiosity. This was allowing you a tempting profit
on the first hazard, I must needs admit. And what is the next venture he
"An hundred and fifty pounds;--I have given him one-third part of the
money, and I thought it likely you might assist me with the balance."
"I should think that this cannot be meant as a parting blow--is not of
weight and importance sufficient; he will probably let us win this hand
also, as sharpers manage a raw gamester.--Sir Arthur, I hope you believe
I would serve you?"
"Certainly, Mr. Oldbuck; I think my confidence in you on these occasions
leaves no room to doubt that."
"Well, then, allow me to speak to Dousterswivel. If the money can be
advanced usefully and advantageously for you, why, for old
neighbourhood's sake, you shall not want it but if, as I think, I can
recover the treasure for you without making such an advance, you will,
I presume, have no objection!"
"Unquestionably, I can have none whatsoever."
"Then where is Dousterswivel?" continued the Antiquary.
"To tell you the truth, he is in my carriage below; but knowing your
prejudice against him"--
"I thank Heaven, I am not prejudiced against any man, Sir Arthur: it is
systems, not individuals, that incur my reprobation." He rang the bell.
"Jenny, Sir Arthur and I offer our compliments to Mr. Dousterswivel, the
gentleman in Sir Arthur's carriage, and beg to have the pleasure of
speaking with him here."
Jenny departed and delivered her message. It had been by no means a part
of the project of Dousterswivel to let Mr. Oldbuck into his supposed
mystery. He had relied upon Sir Arthur's obtaining the necessary
accommodation without any discussion as to the nature of the application,
and only waited below for the purpose of possessing himself of the
deposit as soon as possible, for he foresaw that his career was drawing
to a close. But when summoned to the presence of Sir Arthur and Mr.
Oldbuck, he resolved gallantly to put confidence in his powers of
impudence, of which, the reader may have observed, his natural share was
--And this Doctor,
Your sooty smoky-bearded compeer, he
Will close you so much gold in a bolt's head,
And, on a turn, convey in the stead another
With sublimed mercury, that shall burst i' the heat,
And all fly out _in fumo._--
"How do you do, goot Mr. Oldenbuck? and I do hope your young gentleman,
Captain M'Intyre, is getting better again? Ach! it is a bat business when
young gentlemens will put lead balls into each other's body."
"Lead adventures of all kinds are very precarious, Mr. Dousterswivel; but
I am happy to learn," continued the Antiquary, "from my friend Sir
Arthur, that you have taken up a better trade, and become a discoverer of
"Ach, Mr. Oldenbuck, mine goot and honoured patron should not have told a
word about dat little matter; for, though I have all reliance--yes,
indeed, on goot Mr. Oldenbuck's prudence and discretion, and his great
friendship for Sir Arthur Wardour--yet, my heavens! it is an great
"More ponderous than any of the metal we shall make by it, I fear,"
"Dat is just as you shall have de faith and de patience for de grand
experiment--If you join wid Sir Arthur, as he is put one hundred and
fifty--see, here is one fifty in your dirty Fairport bank-note--you put
one other hundred and fifty in de dirty notes, and you shall have de pure
gold and silver, I cannot tell how much."
"Nor any one for you, I believe," said the Antiquary. "But, hark you, Mr.
Dousterswivel: Suppose, without troubling this same sneezing spirit with
any farther fumigations, we should go in a body, and having fair
day-light and our good consciences to befriend us, using no other
conjuring implements than good substantial pick-axes and shovels, fairly
trench the area of the chancel in the ruins of St. Ruth, from one end to
the other, and so ascertain the existence of this supposed treasure,
without putting ourselves to any farther expense--the ruins belong to Sir
Arthur himself, so there can be no objection--do you think we shall
succeed in this way of managing the matter?"
"Bah!--you will not find one copper thimble--But Sir Arthur will do his
pleasure. I have showed him how it is possible--very possible--to have de
great sum of money for his occasions--I have showed him de real
experiment. If he likes not to believe, goot Mr. Oldenbuck, it is nothing
to Herman Dousterswivel--he only loses de money and de gold and de
silvers--dat is all."
Sir Arthur Wardour cast an intimidated glance at Oldbuck who, especially
when present, held, notwithstanding their frequent difference of opinion,
no ordinary influence over his sentiments. In truth, the Baronet felt,
what he would not willingly have acknowledged, that his genius stood
rebuked before that of the Antiquary. He respected him as a shrewd,
penetrating, sarcastic character--feared his satire, and had some
confidence in the general soundness of his opinions. He therefore looked
at him as if desiring his leave before indulging his credulity.
Dousterswivel saw he was in danger of losing his dupe, unless he could
make some favourable impression on the adviser.
"I know, my goot Mr. Oldenbuck, it is one vanity to speak to you about de
spirit and de goblin. But look at this curious horn;--I know, you know de
curiosity of all de countries, and how de great Oldenburgh horn, as they
keep still in the Museum at Copenhagen, was given to de Duke of
Oldenburgh by one female spirit of de wood. Now I could not put one trick
on you if I were willing--you who know all de curiosity so well--and dere
it is de horn full of coins;--if it had been a box or case, I would have
"Being a horn," said Oldbuck, "does indeed strengthen your argument. It
was an implement of nature's fashioning, and therefore much used among
rude nations, although, it may be, the metaphorical horn is more frequent
in proportion to the progress of civilisation. And this present horn," he
continued, rubbing it upon his sleeve, "is a curious and venerable relic,
and no doubt was intended to prove a _cornucopia,_ or horn of plenty, to
some one or other; but whether to the adept or his patron, may be justly
"Well, Mr. Oldenbuck, I find you still hard of belief--but let me assure
you, de monksh understood de _magisterium._"
"Let us leave talking of the _magisterium,_ Mr. Dousterswivel, and think
a little about the magistrate. Are you aware that this occupation of
yours is against the law of Scotland, and that both Sir Arthur and myself
are in the commission of the peace?"
"Mine heaven! and what is dat to de purpose when I am doing you all de
goot I can?"
"Why, you must know that when the legislature abolished the cruel laws
against witchcraft, they had no hope of destroying the superstitious
feelings of humanity on which such chimeras had been founded; and to
prevent those feelings from being tampered with by artful and designing
persons, it is enacted by the ninth of George the Second, chap. 5, that
whosoever shall pretend, by his alleged skill in any occult or crafty
science, to discover such goods as are lost, stolen or concealed, he
shall suffer punishment by pillory and imprisonment, as a common cheat
"And is dat de laws?" asked Dousterswivel, with some agitation.
"Thyself shall see the act," replied the Antiquary.
"Den, gentlemens, I shall take my leave of you, dat is all; I do not like
to stand on your what you call pillory--it is very bad way to take de
air, I think; and I do not like your prisons no more, where one cannot
take de air at all."
"If such be your taste, Mr. Dousterswivel," said the Antiquary, "I advise
you to stay where you are, for I cannot let you go, unless it be in the
society of a constable; and, moreover, I expect you will attend us just
now to the ruins of St. Ruth, and point out the place where you propose
to find this treasure."
"Mine heaven, Mr. Oldenbuck! what usage is this to your old friend, when
I tell you so plain as I can speak, dat if you go now, you will not get
so much treasure as one poor shabby sixpence?"
"I will try the experiment, however, and you shall be dealt with
according to its success,--always with Sir Arthur's permission."
Sir Arthur, during this investigation, had looked extremely embarrassed,
and, to use a vulgar but expressive phrase, chop-fallen. Oldbuck's
obstinate disbelief led him strongly to suspect the imposture of
Dousterswivel, and the adept's mode of keeping his ground was less
resolute than he had expected. Yet he did not entirely give him up.
"Mr. Oldbuck," said the Baronet, "you do Mr. Dousterswivel less than
justice. He has undertaken to make this discovery by the use of his art,
and by applying characters descriptive of the Intelligences presiding
over the planetary hour in which the experiment is to be made; and you
require him to proceed, under pain of punishment, without allowing him
the use of any of the preliminaries which he considers as the means of
"I did not say that exactly--I only required him to be present when we
make the search, and not to leave us during the interval. I fear he may
have some intelligence with the Intelligences you talk of, and that
whatever may be now hidden at Saint Ruth may disappear before we get
"Well, gentlemens," said Dousterswivel, sullenly, "I will make no
objections to go along with you but I tell you beforehand, you shall not
find so much of anything as shall be worth your going twenty yard from
your own gate."
"We will put that to a fair trial," said the Antiquary; and the Baronet's
equipage being ordered, Miss Wardour received an intimation from her
father, that she was to remain at Monkbarns until his return from an
airing. The young lady was somewhat at a loss to reconcile this direction
with the communication which she supposed must have passed between Sir
Arthur and the Antiquary; but she was compelled, for the present, to
remain in a most unpleasant state of suspense.
The journey of the treasure-seekers was melancholy enough. Dousterswivel
maintained a sulky silence, brooding at once over disappointed
expectation and the risk of punishment; Sir Arthur, whose golden dreams
had been gradually fading away, surveyed, in gloomy prospect, the
impending difficulties of his situation; and Oldbuck, who perceived that
his having so far interfered in his neighbours affairs gave the Baronet a
right to expect some actual and efficient assistance, sadly pondered to
what extent it would be necessary to draw open the strings of his purse.
Thus each being wrapped in his own unpleasant ruminations, there was
hardly a word said on either side, until they reached the Four
Horse-shoes, by which sign the little inn was distinguished. They
procured at this place the necessary assistance and implements for
digging, and, while they were busy about these preparations, were
suddenly joined by the old beggar, Edie Ochiltree.
"The Lord bless your honour," began the Blue-Gown, with the genuine
mendicant whine, "and long life to you!--weel pleased am I to hear that
young Captain M'Intyre is like to be on his legs again sune--Think on
your poor bedesman the day."
"Aha, old true-penny!" replied the Antiquary. "Why, thou hast never come
to Monkbarns since thy perils by rock and flood--here's something for
thee to buy snuff,"--and, fumbling for his purse, he pulled out at the
same time the horn which enclosed the coins.
"Ay, and there's something to pit it in," said the mendicant, eyeing the
ram's horn--"that loom's an auld acquaintance o' mine. I could take my
aith to that sneeshing-mull amang a thousand--I carried it for mony a
year, till I niffered it for this tin ane wi' auld George Glen, the
dammer and sinker, when he took a fancy till't doun at Glen-Withershins
"Ay! indeed?" said Oldbuck;--"so you exchanged it with a miner? but I
presume you never saw it so well filled before"--and opening it, he
showed the coins.
"Troth, ye may swear that, Monkbarns: when it was mine it neer had abune
the like o' saxpenny worth o' black rappee in't at ance. But I reckon
ye'll be gaun to mak an antic o't, as ye hae dune wi' mony an orra thing
besides. Od, I wish anybody wad mak an antic o' me; but mony ane will
find worth in rousted bits o' capper and horn and airn, that care unco
little about an auld carle o' their ain country and kind."
"You may now guess," said Oldbuck, turning to Sir Arthur, "to whose good
offices you were indebted the other night. To trace this cornucopia of
yours to a miner, is bringing it pretty near a friend of ours--I hope we
shall be as successful this morning, without paying for it."
"And whare is your honours gaun the day," said the mendicant, "wi' a'
your picks and shules?--Od, this will be some o' your tricks, Monkbarns:
ye'll be for whirling some o' the auld monks down by yonder out o' their
graves afore they hear the last call--but, wi' your leave, I'se follow ye
at ony rate, and see what ye mak o't."
The party soon arrived at the ruins of the priory, and, having gained the
chancel, stood still to consider what course they were to pursue next.
The Antiquary, meantime, addressed the adept.
"Pray, Mr. Dousterswivel, what is your advice in this matter? Shall we
have most likelihood of success if we dig from east to west, or from west
to east?--or will you assist us with your triangular vial of May-dew, or
with your divining-rod of witches-hazel?--or will you have the goodness
to supply us with a few thumping blustering terms of art, which, if they
fail in our present service, may at least be useful to those who have not
the happiness to be bachelors, to still their brawling children withal?"
"Mr. Oldenbuck," said Dousterswivel, doggedly, "I have told you already
that you will make no good work at all, and I will find some way of mine
own to thank you for your civilities to me--yes, indeed."
"If your honours are thinking of tirling the floor," said old Edie, "and
wad but take a puir body's advice, I would begin below that muckle stane
that has the man there streekit out upon his back in the midst o't."
"I have some reason for thinking favourably of that plan myself," said
"And I have nothing to say against it," said Oldbuck: "it was not unusual
to hide treasure in the tombs of the deceased--many instances might be
quoted of that from Bartholinus and others."
The tombstone, the same beneath which the coins had been found by Sir
Arthur and the German, was once more forced aside, and the earth gave
easy way to the spade.
"It's travell'd earth that," said Edie, "it howks gae eithly--I ken it
weel, for ance I wrought a simmer wi' auld Will Winnet, the bedral, and
howkit mair graves than ane in my day; but I left him in winter, for it
was unco cald wark; and then it cam a green Yule, and the folk died thick
and fast--for ye ken a green Yule makes a fat kirkyard; and I never dowed
to bide a hard turn o' wark in my life--sae aff I gaed, and left Will to
delve his last dwellings by himsell for Edie."
The diggers were now so far advanced in their labours as to discover that
the sides of the grave which they were clearing out had been originally
secured by four walls of freestone, forming a parallelogram, for the
reception, probably, of the coffin.
"It is worth while proceeding in our labours," said the Antiquary to Sir
Arthur, "were it but for curiosity's sake. I wonder on whose sepulchre
they have bestowed such uncommon pains."
"The arms on the shield," said Sir Arthur, and sighed as he spoke it,
"are the same with those on Misticot's tower, supposed to have been built
by Malcolm the usurper. No man knew where he was buried, and there is an
old prophecy in our family, that bodes us no good when his grave shall be
"I wot," said the beggar, "I have often heard that when I was a bairn--
If Malcolm the Misticot's grave were fun',
The lands of Knockwinnock were lost and won."
Oldbuck, with his spectacles on his nose, had already knelt down on the
monument, and was tracing, partly with his eye, partly with his finger,
the mouldered devices upon the effigy of the deceased warrior. "It is the
Knockwinnock arms, sure enough," he exclaimed, "quarterly with the coat
"Richard, called the red-handed Wardour, married Sybil Knockwinnock, the
heiress of the Saxon family, and by that alliance," said Sir Arthur,
"brought the castle and estate into the name of Wardour, in the year of
"Very true, Sir Arthur; and here is the baton-sinister, the mark of
illegitimacy, extended diagonally through both coats upon the shield.
Where can our eyes have been, that they did not see this curious monument
"Na, whare was the through-stane, that it didna come before our een till
e'enow?" said Ochiltree; "for I hae ken'd this auld kirk, man and bairn,
for saxty lang years, and I neer noticed it afore; and it's nae sic mote
neither, but what ane might see it in their parritch."
All were now induced to tax their memory as to the former state of the
ruins in that corner of the chancel, and all agreed in recollecting a
considerable pile of rubbish which must have been removed and spread
abroad in order to malke the tomb visible. Sir Arthur might, indeed, have
remembered seeing the monument on the former occasion, but his mind was
too much agitated to attend to the circumstance as a novelty.
While the assistants were engaged in these recollections and discussions,
the workmen proceeded with their labour. They had already dug to the
depth of nearly five feet, and as the flinging out the soil became more
and more difficult, they began at length to tire of the job.
"We're down to the till now," said one of them, "and the neer a coffin or
onything else is here--some cunninger chiel's been afore us, I reckon;"--
and the labourer scrambled out of the grave.
"Hout, lad," said Edie, getting down in his room--"let me try my hand for
an auld bedral;--ye're gude seekers, but ill finders."
So soon as he got into the grave, he struck his pike-staff forcibly down;
it encountered resistance in its descent, and the beggar exclaimed, like
a Scotch schoolboy when he finds anything, "Nae halvers and quarters--
hale o' mine ain and 'nane o' my neighbour's."
Everybody, from the dejected Baronet to the sullen adept, now caught the
spirit of curiosity, crowded round the grave, and would have jumped into
it, could its space have contained them. The labourers, who had begun to
flag in their monotonous and apparently hopeless task, now resumed their
tools, and plied them with all the ardour of expectation. Their shovels
soon grated upon a hard wooden surface, which, as the earth was cleared
away, assumed the distinct form of a chest, but greatly smaller than that
of a coffin. Now all hands were at work to heave it out of the grave, and
all voices, as it was raised, proclaimed its weight and augured its
value. They were not mistaken.
When the chest or box was placed on the surface, and the lid forced up by
a pickaxe, there was displayed first a coarse canvas cover, then a
quantity of oakum, and beneath that a number of ingots of silver. A
general exclamation hailed a discovery so surprising and unexpected. The
Baronet threw his hands and eyes up to heaven, with the silent rapture of
one who is delivered from inexpressible distress of mind. Oldbuck, almost
unable to credit his eyes, lifted one piece of silver after another.
There was neither inscription nor stamp upon them, excepting one, which
seemed to be Spanish. He could have no doubt of the purity and great
value of the treasure before him. Still, however, removing piece by
piece, he examined row by row, expecting to discover that the lower
layers were of inferior value; but he could perceive no difference in
this respect, and found himself compelled to admit, that Sir Arthur had
possessed himself of bullion to the value, perhaps of a thousand pounds
sterling. Sir Arthur now promised the assistants a handsome recompense
for their trouble, and began to busy himself about the mode of conveying
this rich windfall to the Castle of Knockwinnock, when the adept,
recovering from his surprise, which had squalled that exhibited by any
other individual of the party, twitched his sleeve, and having offered
his humble congratulations, turned next to Oldbuck with an air of
"I did tell you, my goot friend, Mr. Oldenbuck, dat I was to seek
opportunity to thank you for your civility; now do you not think I have
found out vary goot way to return thank?"
"Why, Mr. Dousterswivel, do you pretend to have had any hand in our good
success?--you forget you refused us all aid of your science, man; and you
are here without your weapons that should have fought the battle which
you pretend to have gained in our behalf: you have used neither charm,
lamen, sigil, talisman, spell, crystal, pentacle, magic mirror, nor
geomantic figure. Where be your periapts, and your abracadabras man? your
Mayfern, your vervain,
Your toad, your crow, your dragon, and your panther,
Your sun, your moon, your firmament, your adrop,
Your Lato, Azoch, Zernich, Chibrit, Heautarit,
With all your broths, your menstrues, your materials,
Would burst a man to name?--
Ah! rare Ben Jonson! long peace to thy ashes for a scourge of the quacks
of thy day!--who expected to see them revive in our own?"
The answer of the adept to the Antiquary's tirade we must defer to our
_Clause._--You now shall know the king o' the beggars' treasure:--
Yes--ere to-morrow you shall find your harbour
Here,--fail me not, for if I live I'll fit you.
The Beggar's Bush.