Part 4 out of 5
being true like the needle to the pole."
"Weel, weel, I wish it may be sae," said the charitable Dame Heukbane,--
"but it disna look weel for a lassie like her to keep up a correspondence
wi' ane o' the king's officers."
"I'm no denying that," said Mrs. Mailsetter; "but it's a great advantage
to the revenue of the post-office thae love-letters. See, here's five or
six letters to Sir Arthur Wardour--maist o' them sealed wi' wafers, and
no wi' wax. There will be a downcome, there, believe me."
"Ay; they will be business letters, and no frae ony o' his grand friends,
that seals wi' their coats of arms, as they ca' them," said Mrs.
Heukbane;--"pride will hae a fa'--he hasna settled his account wi' my
gudeman, the deacon, for this twalmonth--he's but slink, I doubt."
"Nor wi' huz for sax months," echoed Mrs. Shortcake--"He's but a brunt
"There's a letter," interrupted the trusty postmistress, "from his son,
the captain, I'm thinking--the seal has the same things wi' the
Knockwinnock carriage. He'll be coming hame to see what he can save out
o' the fire."
The baronet thus dismissed, they took up the esquire--"Twa letters for
Monkbarns--they're frae some o' his learned friends now; see sae close as
they're written, down to the very seal--and a' to save sending a double
letter--that's just like Monkbarns himsell. When he gets a frank he fills
it up exact to the weight of an unce, that a carvy-seed would sink the
scale--but he's neer a grain abune it. Weel I wot I wad be broken if I
were to gie sic weight to the folk that come to buy our pepper and
brimstone, and suchlike sweetmeats."
"He's a shabby body the laird o' Monkbarns," said Mrs. Heukbane; "he'll
make as muckle about buying a forequarter o' lamb in August as about a
back sey o' beef. Let's taste another drop of the sinning" (perhaps she
meant _cinnamon_) "waters, Mrs. Mailsetter, my dear. Ah, lasses! an ye
had kend his brother as I did--mony a time he wad slip in to see me wi' a
brace o' wild deukes in his pouch, when my first gudeman was awa at the
Falkirk tryst--weel, weel--we'se no speak o' that e'enow."
"I winna say ony ill o'this Monkbarns," said Mrs. Shortcake; "his brother
neer brought me ony wild-deukes, and this is a douce honest man; we serve
the family wi' bread, and he settles wi' huz ilka week--only he was in an
unco kippage when we sent him a book instead o' the _nick-sticks,_*
whilk, he said, were the true ancient way o' counting between tradesmen
and customers; and sae they are, nae doubt."
* Note E. Nick-sticks.
"But look here, lasses," interrupted Mrs. Mailsetter, "here's a sight for
sair e'en! What wad ye gie to ken what's in the inside o' this letter?
This is new corn--I haena seen the like o' this--For William Lovel,
Esquire, at Mrs. Hadoway's, High Street, Fairport, by Edinburgh, N. B.
This is just the second letter he has had since he was here."
"Lord's sake, let's see, lass!--Lord's sake, let's see!--that's him that
the hale town kens naething about--and a weel-fa'ard lad he is; let's
see, let's see!" Thus ejaculated the two worthy representatives of mother
"Na, na, sirs," exclaimed Mrs. Mailsetter; "haud awa--bide aff, I tell
you; this is nane o' your fourpenny cuts that we might make up the value
to the post-office amang ourselves if ony mischance befell it;--the
postage is five-and-twenty shillings--and here's an order frae the
Secretary to forward it to the young gentleman by express, if he's no at
hame. Na, na, sirs, bide aff;--this maunna be roughly guided."
"But just let's look at the outside o't, woman."
Nothing could be gathered from the outside, except remarks on the various
properties which philosophers ascribe to matter,--length, breadth, depth,
and weight, The packet was composed of strong thick paper, imperviable by
the curious eyes of the gossips, though they stared as if they would
burst from their sockets. The seal was a deep and well-cut impression of
arms, which defied all tampering.
"Od, lass," said Mrs. Shortcake, weighing it in her hand, and wishing,
doubtless, that the too, too solid wax would melt and dissolve itself, "I
wad like to ken what's in the inside o' this, for that Lovel dings a'
that ever set foot on the plainstanes o' Fairport--naebody kens what to
make o' him."
"Weel, weel, leddies," said the postmistress, "we'se sit down and crack
about it.--Baby, bring ben the tea-water--Muckle obliged to ye for your
cookies, Mrs. Shortcake--and we'll steek the shop, and cry ben Baby, and
take a hand at the cartes till the gudeman comes hame--and then we'll try
your braw veal sweetbread that ye were so kind as send me, Mrs.
"But winna ye first send awa Mr. Lovel's letter?" said Mrs. Heukbane.
"Troth I kenna wha to send wi't till the gudeman comes hame, for auld
Caxon tell'd me that Mr. Lovel stays a' the day at Monkbarns--he's in a
high fever, wi' pu'ing the laird and Sir Arthur out o' the sea."
"Silly auld doited carles!" said Mrs. Shortcake; "what gar'd them gang to
the douking in a night like yestreen!"
"I was gi'en to understand it was auld Edie that saved them," said Mrs.
Heukbane--"Edie Ochiltree, the Blue-Gown, ye ken; and that he pu'd the
hale three out of the auld fish-pound, for Monkbarns had threepit on them
to gang in till't to see the wark o' the monks lang syne."
"Hout, lass, nonsense!" answered the postmistress; "I'll tell ye, a'
about it, as Caxon tell'd it to me. Ye see, Sir Arthur and Miss Wardour,
and Mr. Lovel, suld hae dined at Monkbarns"--
"But, Mrs. Mailsetter," again interrupted Mrs. Heukbane, "will ye no be
for sending awa this letter by express?--there's our powny and our
callant hae gane express for the office or now, and the powny hasna gane
abune thirty mile the day;--Jock was sorting him up as I came ower by."
"Why, Mrs. Heukbane," said the woman of letters, pursing up her mouth,
"ye ken my gudeman likes to ride the expresses himsell--we maun gie our
ain fish-guts to our ain sea-maws--it's a red half-guinea to him every
time he munts his mear; and I dare say he'll be in sune--or I dare to
say, it's the same thing whether the gentleman gets the express this
night or early next morning."
"Only that Mr. Lovel will be in town before the express gaes aff," said
Mrs. Heukbane; "and where are ye then, lass? But ye ken yere ain ways
"Weel, weel, Mrs. Heukbane," answered Mrs. Mailsetter, a little out of
humour, and even out of countenance, "I am sure I am never against being
neighbour-like, and living and letting live, as they say; and since I hae
been sic a fule as to show you the post-office order--ou, nae doubt, it
maun be obeyed. But I'll no need your callant, mony thanks to ye--I'll
send little Davie on your powny, and that will be just five-and-
threepence to ilka ane o' us, ye ken."
"Davie! the Lord help ye, the bairn's no ten year auld; and, to be plain
wi' ye, our powny reists a bit, and it's dooms sweer to the road, and
naebody can manage him but our Jock."
"I'm sorry for that," answered the postmistress, gravely; "it's like we
maun wait then till the gudeman comes hame, after a'--for I wadna like to
be responsible in trusting the letter to sic a callant as Jock--our Davie
belangs in a manner to the office."
"Aweel, aweel, Mrs. Mailsetter, I see what ye wad be at--but an ye like
to risk the bairn, I'll risk the beast."
Orders were accordingly given. The unwilling pony was brought out of his
bed of straw, and again equipped for service--Davie (a leathern post-bag
strapped across his shoulders) was perched upon the saddle, with a tear
in his eye, and a switch in his hand. Jock good-naturedly led the animal
out of town, and, by the crack of his whip, and the whoop and halloo of
his too well-known voice, compelled it to take the road towards
Meanwhile the gossips, like the sibyls after consulting their leaves,
arranged and combined the information of the evening, which flew next
morning through a hundred channels, and in a hundred varieties, through
the world of Fairport. Many, strange, and inconsistent, were the rumours
to which their communications and conjectures gave rise. Some said
Tennant and Co. were broken, and that all their bills had come back
protested--others that they had got a great contract from Government, and
letters from the principal merchants at Glasgow, desiring to have shares
upon a premium. One report stated, that Lieutenant Taffril had
acknowledged a private marriage with Jenny Caxon--another, that he had
sent her a letter upbraiding her with the lowness of her birth and
education, and bidding her an eternal adieu. It was generally rumoured
that Sir Arthur Wardour's affairs had fallen into irretrievable
confusion, and this report was only doubted by the wise, because it was
traced to Mrs. Mailsetter's shop,--a source more famous for the
circulation of news than for their accuracy. But all agreed that a packet
from the Secretary of State's office, had arrived, directed for Mr.
Lovel, and that it had been forwarded by an orderly dragoon, despatched
from the head-quarters at Edinburgh, who had galloped through Fairport
without stopping, except just to inquire the way to Monkbarns. The reason
of such an extraordinary mission to a very peaceful and retired
individual, was variously explained. Some said Lovel was an emigrant
noble, summoned to head an insurrection that had broken out in La
Vende'e--others that he was a spy--others that he was a general officer,
who was visiting the coast privately--others that he was a prince of the
blood, who was travelling _incognito._
Meanwhile the progress of the packet which occasioned so much
speculation, towards its destined owner at Monkbarns, had been perilous
and interrupted. The bearer, Davie Mailsetter, as little resembling a
bold dragoon as could well be imagined, was carried onwards towards
Monkbarns by the pony, so long as the animal had in his recollection the
crack of his usual instrument of chastisement, and the shout of the
butcher's boy. But feeling how Davie, whose short legs were unequal to
maintain his balance, swung to and fro upon his back, the pony began to
disdain furthur compliance with the intimations he had received. First,
then, he slackened his pace to a walk This was no point of quarrel
between him and his rider, who had been considerably discomposed by the
rapidity of his former motion, and who now took the opportunity of his
abated pace to gnaw a piece of gingerbread, which had been thrust into
his hand by his mother in order to reconcile this youthful emissary of
the post-office to the discharge of his duty. By and by, the crafty pony
availed himself of this surcease of discipline to twitch the rein out of
Davies hands, and applied himself to browse on the grass by the side of
the lane. Sorely astounded by these symptoms of self-willed rebellion,
and afraid alike to sit or to fall, poor Davie lifted up his voice and
wept aloud. The pony, hearing this pudder over his head, began apparently
to think it would be best both for himself and Davie to return from
whence they came, and accordingly commenced a retrograde movement towards
Fairport. But, as all retreats are apt to end in utter rout, so the
steed, alarmed by the boy's cries, and by the flapping of the reins,
which dangled about his forefeet--finding also his nose turned homeward,
began to set off at a rate which, if Davie kept the saddle (a matter
extremely dubious), would soon have presented him at Heukbane's
stable-door,--when, at a turn of the road, an intervening auxiliary, in
the shape of old Edie Ochiltree, caught hold of the rein, and stopped his
farther proceeding. "Wha's aught ye, callant? whaten a gate's that to
"I canna help it!" blubbered the express; "they ca' me little Davie."
"And where are ye gaun?"
"I'm gaun to Monkbarns wi' a letter."
"Stirra, this is no the road to Monkbarns."
But Davie could oinly answer the expostulation with sighs and tears.
Old Edie was easily moved to compassion where childhood was in the case.-
-"I wasna gaun that gate," he thought, "but it's the best o' my way o'
life that I canna be weel out o' my road. They'll gie me quarters at
Monkbarns readily eneugh, and I'll e'en hirple awa there wi' the wean,
for it will knock its hams out, puir thing, if there's no somebody to
guide the pony.--Sae ye hae a letter, hinney? will ye let me see't?"
"I'm no gaun to let naebody see the letter," sobbed the boy, "till I
gie't to Mr. Lovel, for I am a faithfu' servant o' the office--if it
werena for the powny."
"Very right, my little man," said Ochiltree, turning the reluctant pony's
head towards Monkbarns; "but we'll guide him atween us, if he's no a' the
Upon the very height of Kinprunes, to which Monkbarns had invited Lovel
after their dinner, the Antiquary, again reconciled to the once degraded
spot, was expatiating upon the topics the scenery afforded for a
description of Agricola's camp at the dawn of morning, when his eye was
caught by the appearance of the mendicant and his protegee. "What the
devil!--here comes Old Edie, bag and baggage, I think."
The beggar explained his errand, and Davie, who insisted upon a literal
execution of his commission by going on to Monkbarns, was with difficulty
prevailed upon to surrender the packet to its proper owner, although he
met him a mile nearer than the place he bad been directed to. "But my
minnie said, I maun be sure to get twenty shillings and five shillings
for the postage, and ten shillings and sixpence for the express--there's
"Let me see--let me see," said Oldbuck, putting on his spectacles, and
examining the crumpled copy of regulations to which Davie
appealed."Express, per man and horse, one day, not to exceed ten
shillings and sixpence. One day? why, it's not an hour--Man and horse?
why, 'tis a monkey on a starved cat!"
"Father wad hae come himsell," said Davie, "on the muckle red mear, an ye
wad hae bidden till the morn's night."
"Four-and-twenty hours after the regular date of delivery! You little
cockatrice egg, do you understand the art of imposition so early?"
"Hout Monkbarns! dinna set your wit against a bairn," said the beggar;
"mind the butcher risked his beast, and the wife her wean, and I am sure
ten and sixpence isna ower muckle. Ye didna gang sae near wi' Johnnie
Lovel, who, sitting on the supposed _Praetorium,_ had glanced over the
contents of the packet, now put an end to the altercation by paying
Davies demand; and then turning to Mr. Oldbuck, with a look of much
agitation, he excused himself from returning with him to Monkbarns' that
evening.--"I must instantly go to Fairport, and perhaps leave it on a
moment's notice;--your kindness, Mr. Oldbuck, I can never forget."
"No bad news, I hope?" said the Antiquary.
"Of a very chequered complexion," answered his friend. "Farewell--in good
or bad fortune I will not forget your regard."
"Nay, nay--stop a moment. If--if--" (making an effort)--"if there be any
pecuniary inconvenience--I have fifty--or a hundred guineas at your
service--till--till Whitsunday--or indeed as long as you please."
"I am much obliged, Mr. Oldbuck, but I am amply provided," said his
mysterious young friend."Excuse me--I really cannot sustain further
conversation at present. I will write or see you, before I leave
Fairport--that is, if I find myself obliged to go."
So saying, he shook the Antiquary's hand warmly, turned from him, and
walked rapidly towards the town, "staying no longer question."
"Very extraordinary indeed!" said Oldbuck;--"but there's something about
this lad I can never fathom; and yet I cannot for my heart think ill of
him neither. I must go home and take off the fire in the Green Room, for
none of my womankind will venture into it after twilight."
"And how am I to win hame?" blubbered the disconsolate express.
"It's a fine night," said the Blue-Gown, looking up to the skies; "I had
as gude gang back to the town, and take care o' the wean."
"Do so, do so, Edie;" and rummaging for some time in his huge waistcoat
pocket till be found the object of his search, the Antiquary added,
"there's sixpence to ye to buy sneeshin."
"I am bewitched with the rogue's company. If the rascal has not
given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged; it could
not be else. I have drunk medicines."
Second Part of Henry IV.
Regular for a fortnight were the inquiries of the Antiquary at the
veteran Caxon, whether he had heard what Mr. Lovel was about; and as
regular were Caxon's answers, "that the town could learn naething about
him whatever, except that he had received anither muckle letter or twa
frae the south, and that he was never seen on the plainstanes at a'."
"How does he live, Caxon?"
"Ou, Mrs. Hadoway just dresses him a beefsteak or a muttonchop, or makes
him some Friar's chicken, or just what she likes hersell, and he eats it
in the little red parlour off his bedroom. She canna get him to say that
he likes ae thing better than anither; and she makes him tea in a
morning, and he settles honourably wi' her every week."
"But does he never stir abroad?"
"He has clean gi'en up walking, and he sits a' day in his room reading or
writing; a hantle letters he has written, but he wadna put them into our
post-house, though Mrs. Hadoway offered to carry them hersell, but sent
them a' under ae cover to the sheriff; and it's Mrs. Mailsetter's belief,
that the sheriff sent his groom to put them into the post-office at
Tannonburgh; it's my puir thought, that he jaloused their looking into
his letters at Fairport; and weel had he need, for my puir daughter
"Tut, don't plague me with your womankind, Caxon. About this poor young
lad.--Does he write nothing but letters?"
"Ou, ay--hale sheets o' other things, Mrs. Hadoway says. She wishes
muckle he could be gotten to take a walk; she thinks he's but looking
very puirly, and his appetite's clean gane; but he'll no hear o' ganging
ower the door-stane--him that used to walk sae muckle too."
"That's wrong--I have a guess what he's busy about; but he must not work
too hard neither. I'll go and see him this very day--he's deep,
doubtless, in the Caledoniad."
Having formed this manful resolution, Mr. Oldbuck equipped himself for
the expedition with his thick walking-shoes and gold-headed cane,
muttering the while the words of Falstaff which we have chosen for the
motto of this chapter; for the Antiquary was himself rather surprised at
the degree of attachment which he could not but acknowledge be
entertained for this stranger. The riddle was notwithstanding easily
solved. Lovel had many attractive qualities, but he won our Antiquary's
heart by being on most occasions an excellent listener.
A walk to Fairport had become somewhat of an adventure with Mr. Oldbuck,
and one which he did not often care to undertake. He hated greetings in
the market-place; and there were generally loiterers in the streets to
persecute him, either about the news of the day, or about some petty
pieces of business. So, on this occasion, he had no sooner entered the
streets of Fairport, than it was "Good-morrow, Mr. Oldbuck--a sight o'
you's gude, for sair een: what d'ye think of the news in the Sun the
day?--they say the great attempt will be made in a fortnight."
"I wish to the Lord it were made and over, that I might hear no more
"Monkbarns, your honour," said the nursery and seedsman, "I hope the
plants gied satisfaction?--and if ye wanted ony flower-roots fresh frae
Holland, or" (this in a lower key) "an anker or twa o' Cologne gin, ane
o' our brigs cam in yestreen."
"Thank ye, thank ye,--no occasion at present, Mr. Crabtree," said the
Antiquary, pushing resolutely onward.
"Mr. Oldbuck," said the town-clerk (a more important person, who came in
front and ventured to stop the old gentleman), "the provost,
understanding you were in town, begs on no account that you'll quit it
without seeing him; he wants to speak to ye about bringing the water frae
the Fairwell-spring through a part o' your lands."
"What the deuce!--have they nobody's land but mine to cut and carve on?--
I won't consent, tell them."
"And the provost," said the clerk, going on, without noticing the rebuff,
"and the council, wad be agreeable that you should hae the auld stones at
Donagild's chapel, that ye was wussing to hae."
"Eh!--what?--Oho! that's another story--Well, well, I'll call upon the
provost, and we'll talk about it."
"But ye maun speak your mind on't forthwith, Monkbarns, if ye want the
stones; for Deacon Harlewalls thinks the carved through-stanes might be
put with advantage on the front of the new council-house--that is, the
twa cross-legged figures that the callants used to ca' Robin and Bobbin,
ane on ilka door-cheek; and the other stane, that they ca'd Ailie Dailie,
abune the door. It will be very tastefu', the Deacon says, and just in
the style of modern Gothic."
"Lord deliver me from this Gothic generation!" exclaimed the Antiquary,--
"A monument of a knight-templar on each side of a Grecian porch, and a
Madonna on the top of it!--_O crimini!_--Well, tell the provost I wish to
have the stones, and we'll not differ about the water-course. It's lucky
I happened to come this way to-day."
They parted mutually satisfied; but the wily clerk had most reason to
exult in the dexterity he had displayed, since the whole proposal of an
exchange between the monuments (which the council had determined to
remove as a nuisance, because they encroached three feet upon the public
road), and the privilege of conveying the water to the burgh through the
estate of Monkbarns, was an idea which had originated with himself upon
the pressure of the moment.
Through these various entanglements, Monkbarns (to use the phrase by
which he was distinguished in the country) made his way at length to Mrs.
Hadoway's. This good woman was the widow of a late clergyman at Fairport,
who had been reduced by her husband's untimely death, to that state of
straitened and embarrassed circumstances in which the widows of the
Scotch clergy are too often found. The tenement which she occupied, and
the furniture of which she was possessed, gave her the means of letting a
part of her house; and as Lovel had been a quiet, regular, and profitable
lodger, and had qualified the necessary intercourse which they had
together with a great deal of gentleness and courtesy, Mrs. Hadoway, not,
perhaps, much used to such kindly treatment, had become greatly attached
to her lodger, and was profuse in every sort of personal attention which
circumstances permitted her to render him. To cook a dish somewhat better
than ordinary for "the poor young gentleman's dinner;" to exert her
interest with those who remembered her husband, or loved her for her own
sake and his, in order to procure scarce vegetables, or something which
her simplicity supposed might tempt her lodger's appetite, was a labour
in which she delighted, although she anxiously concealed it from the
person who was its object. She did not adopt this secrecy of benevolence
to avoid the laugh of those who might suppose that an oval face and dark
eyes, with a clear brown complexion, though belonging to a woman of
five-and-forty, and enclosed within a widow's close-drawn pinners, might
possibly still aim at making conquests; for, to say truth, such a
ridiculous suspicion having never entered into her own head, she could
not anticipate its having birth in that of any one else. But she
concealed her attentions solely out of delicacy to her guest, whose power
of repaying them she doubted as much as she believed in his inclination
to do so, and in his being likely to feel extreme pain at leaving any of
her civilities unrequited. She now opened the door to Mr. Oldbuck, and
her surprise at seeing him brought tears into her eyes, which she could
"I am glad to see you, sir--I am very glad to see you. My poor gentleman
is, I am afraid, very unwell; and oh, Mr. Oldbuck, he'll see neither
doctor, nor minister, nor writer! And think what it would be, if, as my
poor Mr. Hadoway used to say, a man was to die without advice of the
three learned faculties!"
"Greatly better than with them," grumbled the cynical Antiquary. "I tell
you, Mrs. Hadoway, the clergy live by our sins, the medical faculty by
our diseases, and the law gentry by our misfortunes."
"O fie, Monkbarns!--to hear the like o' that frae you!--But yell walk up
and see the poor young lad?--Hegh sirs? sae young and weel-favoured--and
day by day he has eat less and less, and now he hardly touches onything,
only just pits a bit on the plate to make fashion--,-and his poor cheek
has turned every day thinner and paler, sae that be now really looks as
auld as me, that might be his mother--no that I might be just that
neither, but something very near it."
"Why does he not take some exercise?" said Oldbuck.
"I think we have persuaded him to do that, for he has bought a horse from
Gibbie Golightly, the galloping groom. A gude judge o' horse-flesh Gibbie
tauld our lass that he was--for he offered him a beast he thought wad
answer him weel eneugh, as he was a bookish man, but Mr. Lovel wadna look
at it, and bought ane might serve the Master o' Morphie--they keep it at
the Graeme's Arms, ower the street;--and he rode out yesterday morning
and this morning before breakfast--But winna ye walk up to his room?"
"Presently, presently. But has he no visitors?"
"O dear, Mr. Oldbuck, not ane; if he wadna receive them when he was weel
and sprightly, what chance is there of onybody in Fairport looking in
upon him now?"
"Ay, ay, very true,--I should have been surprised had it been otherwise--
Come, show me up stairs, Mrs. Hadoway, lest I make a blunder, and go
where I should not."
The good landlady showed Mr. Oldbuck up her narrow staircase, warning him
of every turn, and lamenting all the while that he was laid under the
necessity of mounting up so high. At length she gently tapped at the door
of her guest's parlour. "Come in," said Lovel; and Mrs. Hadoway ushered
in the Laird of Monkbarns.
The little apartment was neat and clean, and decently furnished--
ornamented, too, by such relics of her youthful arts of sempstress-ship
as Mrs. Hadoway had retained; but it was close, overheated, and, as it
appeared to Oldbuck, an unwholesome situation for a young person in
delicate health,--an observation which ripened his resolution touching a
project that had already occurred to him in Lovel's behalf. With a
writing-table before him, on which lay a quantity of books and papers,
Lovel was seated on a couch, in his night-gown and slippers. Oldbuck was
shocked at the change which had taken place in his personal appearance.
His cheek and brow had assumed a ghastly white, except where a round
bright spot of hectic red formed a strong and painful contrast, totally
different from the general cast of hale and hardy complexion which had
formerly overspread and somewhat embrowned his countenance. Oldbuck
observed, that the dress he wore belonged to a deep mourning suit, and a
coat of the same colour hung on a chair near to him. As the Antiquary
entered, Lovel arose and came forward to welcome him.
"This is very kind," he said, shaking him by the hand, and thanking him
warmly for his visit--"this is very kind, and has anticipated a visit
with which I intended to trouble you. You must know I have become a
"I understand as much from Mrs. Hadoway--I only hope, my good young
friend, you have been fortunate in a quiet horse. I myself inadvertently
bought one from the said Gibbie Golightly, which brute ran two miles on
end with me after a pack of hounds, with which I had no more to do than
the last year's snow; and after affording infinite amusement, I suppose,
to the whole hunting field, he was so good as to deposit me in a dry
ditch--I hope yours is a more peaceful beast?"
"I hope, at least, we shall make our excursions on a better plan of
"That is to say, you think yourself a good horseman?"
"I would not willingly," answered Lovel, "confess myself a very bad one."
"No--all you young fellows think that would be equal to calling
yourselves tailors at once--But have you had experience? for, _crede
experto,_ a horse in a passion is no joker."
"Why, I should be sorry to boast myself as a great horseman; but when I
acted as aide-de-camp to Sir----in the cavalry action at--, last year, I
saw many better cavaliers than myself dismounted."
"Ah! you have looked in the face of the grisly god of arms then?--you are
acquainted with the frowns of Mars armipotent? That experience fills up
the measure of your qualifications for the epopea! The Britons, however,
you will remember, fought in chariots--_covinarii_ is the phrase of
Tacitus;--you recollect the fine description of their dashing among the
Roman infantry, although the historian tells us how ill the rugged face
of the ground was calculated for equestrian combat; and truly, upon the
whole, what sort of chariots could be driven in Scotland anywhere but on
turnpike roads, has been to me always matter of amazement. And well now--
has the Muse visited you?--have you got anything to show me?"
"My time," said Lovel, with a glance at his black dress, "has been less
"The death of a friend?" said the Antiquary.
"Yes, Mr. Oldbuck--of almost the only friend I could ever boast of
"Indeed? Well, young man," replied his visitor, in a tone of seriousness
very different from his affected gravity, "be comforted. To have lost a
friend by death while your mutual regard was warm and unchilled, while
the tear can drop unembittered by any painful recollection of coldness or
distrust or treachery, is perhaps an escape from a more heavy
dispensation. Look round you--how few do you see grow old in the
affections of those with whom their early friendships were formed! Our
sources of common pleasure gradually dry up as we journey on through the
vale of Bacha, and we hew out to ourselves other reservoirs, from which
the first companions of our pilgrimage are excluded;--jealousies,
rivalries, envy, intervene to separate others from our side, until none
remain but those who are connected with us rather by habit than
predilection, or who, allied more in blood than in disposition, only keep
the old man company in his life, that they may not be forgotten at his
_Haec data poena diu viventibus._
Ah, Mr. Lovel! if it be your lot to reach the chill, cloudy, and
comfortless evening of life, you will remember the sorrows of your youth
as the light shadowy clouds that intercepted for a moment the beams of
the sun when it was rising. But I cram these words into your ears against
the stomach of your sense."
"I am sensible of your kindness," answered the youth; "but the wound that
is of recent infliction must always smart severely, and I should be
little comforted under my present calamity--forgive me for saying so--by
the conviction that life had nothing in reserve for me but a train of
successive sorrows. And permit me to add, you, Mr. Oldbuck, have least
reason of many men to take so gloomy a view of life. You have a competent
and easy fortune--are generally respected--may, in your own phrase,
_vacare musis,_ indulge yourself in the researches to which your taste
addicts you; you may form your own society without doors--and within you
have the affectionate and sedulous attention of the nearest relatives."
"Why, yes--the womankind, for womankind, are, thanks to my training, very
civil and tractable--do not disturb me in my morning studies--creep
across the floor with the stealthy pace of a cat, when it suits me to
take a nap in my easy-chair after dinner or tea. All this is very well;
but I want something to exchange ideas with--something to talk to."
"Then why do you not invite your nephew, Captain M'Intyre, who is
mentioned by every one as a fine spirited young fellow, to become a
member of your family?"
"Who?" exclaimed Monkbarns, "my nephew Hector?--the Hotspur of the North?
Why, Heaven love you, I would as soon invite a firebrand into my
stackyard. He's an Almanzor, a Chamont--has a Highland pedigree as long
as his claymore, and a claymore as long as the High Street of Fairport,
which he unsheathed upon the surgeon the last time he was at Fairport. I
expect him here one of these days; but I will keep him at staff's end, I
promise you. He an inmate of my house! to make my very chairs and tables
tremble at his brawls. No, no--I'll none of Hector M'Intyre. But hark ye,
Lovel;--you are a quiet, gentle-tempered lad; had not you better set up
your staff at Monkbarns for a month or two, since I conclude you do not
immediately intend to leave this country?--I will have a door opened out
to the garden--it will cost but a trifle--there is the space for an old
one which was condemned long ago--by which said door you may pass and
repass into the Green Chamber at pleasure, so you will not interfere with
the old man, nor he with you. As for your fare, Mrs. Hadoway tells me you
are, as she terms it, very moderate of your mouth, so you will not
quarrel with my humble table. Your washing"--
"Hold, my dear Mr. Oldbuck," interposed Lovel, unable to repress a smile;
"and before your hospitality settles all my accommodations, let me thank
you most sincerely for so kind an offer--it is not at present in my power
to accept of it; but very likely, before I bid adieu to Scotland, I shall
find an opportunity to pay you a visit of some length."
Mr. Oldbuck's countenance fell. "Why, I thought I had hit on the very
arrangement that would suit us both,--and who knows what might happen in
the long run, and whether we might ever part? Why, I am master of my
acres, man--there is the advantage of being descended from a man of more
sense than pride--they cannot oblige me to transmit my goods chattels,
and heritages, any way but as I please. No string of substitute heirs of
entail, as empty and unsubstantial as the morsels of paper strung to the
train of a boy's kite, to cumber my flights of inclination, and my
humours of predilection. Well,--I see you won't be tempted at present--
but Caledonia goes on I hope?"
"O certainly," said Lovel; "I cannot think of relinquishing a plan so
"It is indeed," said the Antiquary, looking gravely upward,--for, though
shrewd and acute enough in estimating the variety of plans formed by
others, he had a very natural, though rather disproportioned good opinion
of the importance of those which originated with himself--"it is indeed
one of those undertakings which, if achieved with spirit equal to that
which dictates its conception, may redeem from the charge of frivolity
the literature of the present generation."
Here he was interrupted by a knock at the room door, which introduced a
letter for Mr. Lovel. The servant waited, Mrs. Hadoway said, for an
answer. "You are concerned in this matter, Mr. Oldbuck," said Lovel,
after glancing over the billet, and handing it to the Antiquary as he
It was a letter from Sir Arthur Wardour, couched in extremely civil
language, regetting that a fit of the gout had prevented his hitherto
showing Mr. Lovel the attentions to which his conduct during a late
perilous occasion had so well entitled him--apologizing for not paying
his respects in person, but hoping Mr. Lovel would dispense with that
ceremony, and be a member of a small party which proposed to visit the
ruins of Saint Ruth's priory on the following day, and afterwards to dine
and spend the evening at Knockwinnock Castle. Sir Arthur concluded with
saying, that he had sent to request the Monkbarns family to join the
party of pleasure which he thus proposed. The place of rendezvous was
fixed at a turnpike-gate, which was about an equal distance from all the
points from which the company were to assemble.
"What shall we do?" said Lovel, looking at the Antiquary, but pretty
certain of the part he would take.
"Go, man--we'll go, by all means. Let me see--it will cost a post-chaise
though, which will hold you and me, and Mary M'Intyre, very well--and the
other womankind may go to the manse--and you can come out in the chaise
to Monkbarns, as I will take it for the day."
"Why, I rather think I had better ride."
"True, true, I forgot your Bucephalus. You are a foolish lad, by the by,
for purchasing the brute outright; you should stick to eighteenpence a
side, if you will trust any creature's legs in preference to your own."
"Why, as the horse's have the advantage of moving considerably faster,
and are, besides, two pair to one, I own I incline"--
"Enough said--enough said--do as you please. Well then, I'll bring either
Grizel or the minister, for I love to have my full pennyworth out of
post-horses--and we meet at Tirlingen turnpike on Friday, at twelve
o'clock precisely. "--And with this ageement the friends separated.
Of seats they tell, where priests, 'mid tapers dim,
Breathed the warm prayer, or tuned the midnight hymn
To scenes like these the fainting soul retired;
Revenge and Anger in these cells expired:
By Pity soothed, Remorse lost half her fears,
And softened Pride dropped penitential tears.
The morning of Friday was as serene and beautiful as if no pleasure party
had been intended; and that is a rare event, whether in novel-writing or
real life. Lovel, who felt the genial influence of the weather, and
rejoiced at the prospect of once more meeting with Miss Wardour, trotted
forward to the place of rendezvous with better spirits than he had for
some time enjoyed. His prospects seemed in many respects to open and
brighten before him--and hope, although breaking like the morning sun
through clouds and showers, appeared now about to illuminate the path
before him. He was, as might have been expected from this state of
spirits, first at the place of meeting,--and, as might also have been
anticipated, his looks were so intently directed towards the road from
Knockwinnock Castles that he was only apprized of the arrival of the
Monkbarns division by the gee-hupping of the postilion, as the
post-chaise lumbered up behind him. In this vehicle were pent up, first,
the stately figure of Mr. Oldbuck himself; secondly, the scarce less
portly person of the Reverend Mr. Blattergowl, minister of Trotcosey, the
parish in which Monkbarns and Knockwinnock were both situated. The
reverend gentleman was equipped in a buzz wig, upon the top of which was
an equilateral cocked hat. This was the paragon of the three yet
remaining wigs of the parish, which differed, as Monkbarns used to
remark, like the three degrees of comparison--Sir Arthur's ramilies being
the positive, his own bob-wig the comparative, and the overwhelming
grizzle of the worthy clergyman figuring as the superlative. The
superintendent of these antique garnitures, deeming, or affecting to
deem, that he could not well be absent on an occasion which assembled all
three together, had seated himself on the board behind the carriage,
"just to be in the way in case they wanted a touch before the gentlemen
sat down to dinner." Between the two massive figures of Monkbarns and the
clergyman was stuck, by way of bodkin, the slim form of Mary M'Intyre,
her aunt having preferred a visit to the manse, and a social chat with
Miss Beckie Blattergowl, to investigating the ruins of the priory of
As greetings passed between the members of the Monkbarns party and Mr.
Lovel, the Baronet's carriage, an open barouche, swept onward to the
place of appointment, making, with its smoking bays, smart drivers, arms,
blazoned panels, and a brace of outriders, a strong contrast with the
battered vehicle and broken-winded backs which had brought thither the
Antiquary and his followers. The principal seat of the carriage was
occupied by Sir Arthur and his daughter. At the first glance which passed
betwixt Miss Wardour and Lovel, her colour rose considerably;--but she
had apparently made up her mind to receive him as a friend, and only as
such, and there was equal composure and courtesy in the mode of her reply
to his fluttered salutation. Sir Arthur halted the barouche to shake his
preserver kindly by the hand, and intimate the pleasure he had on this
opportunity of returning him his personal thanks; then mentioned to him,
in a tone of slight introduction, "Mr. Dousterswivel, Mr. Lovel."
Lovel took the necessary notice of the German adept, who occupied the
front seat of the carriage, which is usually conferred upon dependants or
inferiors. The ready grin and supple inclination with which his
salutation, though slight, was answered by the foreigner, increased the
internal dislike which Lovel had already conceived towards him; and it
was plain, from the lower of the Antiquary's shaggy eye-brow, that he too
looked with displeasure on this addition to the company. Little more than
distant greeting passed among the members of the party, until, having
rolled on for about three miles beyond the place at which they met, the
carriages at length stopped at the sign of the Four Horse-shoes, a small
hedge inn, where Caxon humbly opened the door, and let down the step of
the hack-chaise, while the inmates of the barouche were, by their more
courtly attendants, assisted to leave their equipage.
Here renewed greetings passed: the young ladies shook hands; and Oldbuck,
completely in his element, placed himself as guide and cicerone at the
head of the party, who were now to advance on foot towards the object of
their curiosity. He took care to detain Lovel close beside him as the
best listener of the party, and occasionally glanced a word of
explanation and instruction to Miss Wardour and Mary M'Intyre, who
followed next in order. The Baronet and the clergyman he rather avoided,
as he was aware both of them conceived they understood such matters as
well, or better than he did; and Dousterswivel, besides that he looked on
him as a charlatan, was so nearly connected with his apprehended loss in
the stock of the mining company, that he could not abide the sight of
him. These two latter satellites, therefore, attended upon the orb of Sir
Arthur, to whom, moreover, as the most important person of the society,
they were naturally induced to attach themselves.
It frequently happens that the most beautiful points of Scottish scenery
lie hidden in some sequestered dell, and that you may travel through the
country in every direction without being aware of your vicinity to what
is well worth seeing, unless intention or accident carry you to the very
spot. This is particularly the case in the country around Fairport, which
is, generally speaking, open, unenclosed, and bare. But here and there
the progress of rills, or small rivers, has formed dells, glens, or as
they are provincially termed, _dens,_ on whose high and rocky banks trees
and shrubs of all kinds find a shelter, and grow with a luxuriant
profusion, which is the more gratifying, as it forms an unexpected
contrast with the general face of the country. This was eminently the
case with the approach to the ruins of Saint Ruth, which was for some
time merely a sheep-track, along the side of a steep and bare hill. By
degrees, however, as this path descended, and winded round the hillside,
trees began to appear, at first singly, stunted, and blighted, with locks
of wool upon their trunks, and their roots hollowed out into recesses, in
which the sheep love to repose themselves--a sight much more gratifying
to the eye of an admirer of the picturesque than to that of a planter or
forester. By and by the trees formed groups, fringed on the edges, and
filled up in the middle, by thorns and hazel bushes; and at length these
groups closed so much together, that although a broad glade opened here
and there under their boughs, or a small patch of bog or heath occurred
which had refused nourishment to the seed which they sprinkled round, and
consequently remained open and waste, the scene might on the whole be
termed decidedly woodland. The sides of the valley began to approach each
other more closely; the rush of a brook was heard below, and between the
intervals afforded by openings in the natural wood, its waters were seen
hurling clear and rapid under their silvan canopy.
Oldbuck now took upon himself the full authority of cicerone, and
anxiously directed the company not to go a foot-breadth off the track
which he pointed out to them, if they wished to enjoy in full perfection
what they came to see. "You are happy in me for a guide, Miss Wardour,"
exclaimed the veteran, waving his hand and head in cadence as he repeated
I know each lane, and every alley green,
Dingle, or bushy dell, of this wild wood,
And every bosky bower from side to side. *
* (Milton's _Comus._)
Ah! deuce take it!--that spray of a bramble has demolished all Caxon's
labours, and nearly canted my wig into the stream--so much for
recitations, _hors de propos._"
"Never mind, my dear sir," said Miss Wardour; "you have your faithful
attendant ready to repair such a disaster when it happens, and when you
appear with it as restored to its original splendour, I will carry on the
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames on the forehead"--*
"O! enough, enough!" answered Oldbuck; "I ought to have known what it was
to give you advantage over me--But here is what will stop your career of
satire, for you are an admirer of nature, I know." In fact, when they had
followed him through a breach in a low, ancient, and ruinous wall, they
came suddenly upon a scene equally unexpected and interesting.
They stood pretty high upon the side of the glen, which had suddenly
opened into a sort of amphitheatre to give room for a pure and profound
lake of a few acres extent, and a space of level ground around it. The
banks then arose everywhere steeply, and in some places were varied by
rocks--in others covered with the copse, which run up, feathering their
sides lightly and irregularly, and breaking the uniformity of the green
pasture-ground.--Beneath, the lake discharged itself into the huddling
and tumultuous brook, which had been their companion since they had
entered the glen. At the point at which it issued from "its parent lake,"
stood the ruins which they had come to visit. They were not of great
extent; but the singular beauty, as well as the wild and sequestered
character of the spot on which they were situated, gave them an interest
and importance superior to that which attaches itself to architectural
remains of greater consequence, but placed near to ordinary houses, and
possessing less romantic accompaniments. The eastern window of the church
remained entire, with all its ornaments and tracery work; and the sides,
upheld by flying buttresses whose airy support, detached from the wall
against which they were placed, and ornamented with pinnacles and carved
work, gave a variety and lightness to the building. The roof and western
end of the church were completely ruinous; but the latter appeared to
have made one side of a square, of which the ruins of the conventual
buildings formed other two, and the gardens a fourth. The side of these
buildings which overhung the brook, was partly founded on a steep and
precipitous rock; for the place had been occasionally turned to military
purposes, and had been taken with great slaughter during Montrose's wars.
The ground formerly occupied by the garden was still marked by a few
orchard trees. At a greater distance from the buildings were detached
oaks and elms and chestnuts, growing singly, which had attained great
size. The rest of the space between the ruins and the hill was a
close-cropt sward, which the daily pasture of the sheep kept in much
finer order than if it had been subjected to the scythe and broom. The
whole scene had a repose, which was still and affecting without being
monotonous. The dark, deep basin, in which the clear blue lake reposed,
reflecting the water lilies which grew on its surface, and the trees
which here and there threw their arms from the banks, was finely
contrasted with the haste and tumult of the brook which broke away from
the outlet, as if escaping from confinement and hurried down the glen,
wheeling around the base of the rock on which the ruins were situated,
and brawling in foam and fury with every shelve and stone which
obstructed its passage. A similar contrast was seen between the level
green meadow, in which the ruins were situated, and the large
timber-trees which were scattered over it, compared with the precipitous
banks which arose at a short distance around, partly fringed with light
and feathery underwood, partly rising in steeps clothed with purple
heath, and partly more abruptly elevated into fronts of grey rock,
chequered with lichen, and with those hardy plants which find root even
in the most and crevices of the crags.
"There was the retreat of learning in the days of darkness, Mr. Lovel!"
said Oldbuck,--around whom the company had now grouped themselves while
they admired the unexpected opening of a prospect so romantic;--"there
reposed the sages who were aweary of the world, and devoted either to
that which was to come, or to the service of the generations who should
follow them in this. I will show you presently the library;--see that
stretch of wall with square-shafted windows--there it existed, stored, as
an old manuscript in my possession assures me, with five thousand
volumes. And here I might well take up the lamentation of the learned
Leland, who, regretting the downfall of the conventual libraries,
exclaims, like Rachel weeping for her children, that if the Papal laws,
decrees, decretals, clementines, and other such drugs of the devil--yea,
if Heytesburg's sophisms, Porphyry's universals, Aristotle's logic, and
Dunse's divinity, with such other lousy legerdemains (begging your
pardon, Miss Wardour) and fruits of the bottomless pit,--had leaped out
of our libraries, for the accommodation of grocers, candlemakers,
soapsellers, and other worldly occupiers, we might have been therewith
contented. But to put our ancient chronicles, our noble histories, our
learned commentaries, and national muniments, to such offices of contempt
and subjection, has greatly degraded our nation, and showed ourselves
dishonoured in the eyes of posterity to the utmost stretch of time--O
negligence most unfriendly to our land!"
"And, O John Knox" said the Baronet, "through whose influence, and under
whose auspices, the patriotic task was accomplished!"
The Antiquary, somewhat in the situation of a woodcock caught in his own
springe, turned short round and coughed, to excuse a slight blush as he
mustered his answer--"as to the Apostle of the Scottish Reformation"--
But Miss Wardour broke in to interrupt a conversation so dangerous.
"Pray, who was the author you quoted, Mr. Oldbuck?"
"The learned Leland, Miss Wardour, who lost his senses on witnessing the
destruction of the conventual libraries in England."
"Now, I think," replied the young lady, "his misfortune may have saved
the rationality of some modern antiquaries, which would certainly have
been drowned if so vast a lake of learning had not been diminished by
"Well, thank Heaven, there is no danger now--they have hardly left us a
spoonful in which to perform the dire feat."
So saying, Mr. Oldbuck led the way down the bank, by a steep but secure
path, which soon placed them on the verdant meadow where the ruins stood.
"There they lived," continued the Antiquary, "with nought to do but to
spend their time in investigating points of remote antiquity,
transcribing manuscripts, and composing new works for the information of
"And," added the Baronet, "in exercising the rites of devotion with a
pomp and ceremonial worthy of the office of the priesthood."
"And if Sir Arthur's excellence will permit," said the German, with a low
bow, "the monksh might also make de vary curious experiment in deir
laboraties, both in chemistry and _magia naturalis._"
"I think," said the clergyman, "they would have enough to do in
collecting the teinds of the parsonage and vicarage of three good
"And all," added Miss Wardour, nodding to the Antiquary, "without
interruption from womankind."
"True, my fair foe," said Oldbuck; "this was a paradise where no Eve was
admitted, and we may wonder the rather by what chance the good fathers
came to lose it."
With such criticisms on the occupations of those by whom the ruins had
been formerly possessed, they wandered for some time from one moss-grown
shrine to another, under the guidance of Oldbuck, who explained, with
much plausibility, the ground-plan of the edifice, and read and expounded
to the company the various mouldering inscriptions which yet were to be
traced upon the tombs of the dead, or under the vacant niches of the
"What is the reason," at length Miss Wardour asked the Antiquary, "why
tradition has preserved to us such meagre accounts of the inmates of
these stately edifices, raised with such expense of labour and taste, and
whose owners were in their times personages of such awful power and
importance? The meanest tower of a freebooting baron or squire who lived
by his lance and broadsword, is consecrated by its appropriate legend,
and the shepherd will tell you with accuracy the names and feats of its
inhabitants;--but ask a countryman concerning these beautiful and
extensive remains--these towers, these arches, and buttresses, and
shafted windows, reared at such cost,--three words fill up his answer--
they were made up by the monks lang syne.'"
The question was somewhat puzzling. Sir Arthur looked upward, as if
hoping to be inspired with an answer--Oldbuck shoved back his wig--the
clergyman was of opinion that his parishioners were too deeply impressed
with the true presbyterian doctrine to preserve any records concerning
the papistical cumberers of the land, offshoots as they were of the great
overshadowing tree of iniquity, whose roots are in the bowels of the
seven hills of abomination--Lovel thought the question was best resolved
by considering what are the events which leave the deepest impression on
the minds of the common people--"These," he contended, "were not such as
resemble the gradual progress of a fertilizing river, but the headlong
and precipitous fury of some portentous flood. The eras by which the
vulgar compute time, have always reference to some period of fear and
tribulation, and they date by a tempest, an earthquake, or burst of civil
commotion. When such are the facts most alive, in the memory of the
common people, we cannot wonder," he concluded, "that the ferocious
warrior is remembered, and the peaceful abbots are abandoned to
forgetfulness and oblivion."
"If you pleashe, gentlemans and ladies, and ashking pardon of Sir Arthur
and Miss Wardour, and this worthy clergymansh, and my goot friend Mr.
Oldenbuck, who is my countrymansh, and of goot young Mr. Lofel also, I
think it is all owing to de hand of glory."
"The hand of what?" exclaimed Oldbuck.
"De hand of glory, my goot Master Oldenbuck, which is a vary great and
terrible secrets--which de monksh used to conceal their treasures when
they were triven from their cloisters by what you call de Reform."
"Ay, indeed! tell us about that," said Oldbuck, "for these are secrets
"Why, my goot Master Oldenbuck, you will only laugh at me--But de hand of
glory is vary well known in de countries where your worthy progenitors
did live--and it is hand cut off from a dead man, as has been hanged for
murther, and dried very nice in de shmoke of juniper wood; and if you put
a little of what you call yew wid your juniper, it will not be any
better--that is, it will not be no worse--then you do take something of
de fatsh of de bear, and of de badger, and of de great eber, as you call
de grand boar, and of de little sucking child as has not been christened
(for dat is very essentials), and you do make a candle, and put it into
de hand of glory at de proper hour and minute, with de proper ceremonish,
and he who seeksh for treasuresh shall never find none at all,"
"I dare take my corporal oath of that conclusion," said the Antiquary.
"And was it the custom, Mr. Dousterswivel, in Westphalia, to make use of
this elegant candelabrum?"
"Alwaysh, Mr. Oldenbuck, when you did not want nobody to talk of nothing
you wash doing about--And the monksh alwaysh did this when they did hide
their church-plates, and their great chalices, and de rings, wid very
preshious shtones and jewels."
"But, notwithstanding, you knights of the Rosy Cross have means, no
doubt, of breaking the spell, and discovering what the poor monks have
put themselves to so much trouble to conceal?"
"Ah! goot Mr. Oldenbuck," replied the adept, shaking his head
mysteriously, "you was very hard to believe; but if you had seen de great
huge pieces of de plate so massive, Sir Arthur,--so fine fashion, Miss
Wardour--and de silver cross dat we did find (dat was Schroepfer and my
ownself) for de Herr Freygraf, as you call de Baron Von Blunderhaus, I do
believe you would have believed then."
"Seeing _is_ believing indeed. But what was your art--what was your
mystery, Mr. Dousterswivel?"
"Aha, Mr. Oldenbuck! dat is my little secret, mine goot sir--you sall
forgife me that I not tell that. But I will tell you dere are various
ways--yes, indeed, dere is de dream dat you dream tree times--dat is a
vary goot way."
"I am glad of that," said Oldbuck; "I have a friend" (with a side-glance
to Lovel) "who is peculiarly favoured by the visits of Queen Mab."
"Den dere is de sympathies, and de antipathies, and de strange properties
and virtues natural of divers herb, and of de little divining-rod."
"I would gladly rather see some of these wonders than hear of them," said
"Ah, but, my much-honoured young lady, this is not de time or de way to
do de great wonder of finding all de church's plate and treasure; but to
oblige you, and Sir Arthur my patron, and de reverend clergymans, and
goot Mr. Oldenbuck, and young Mr. Lofel, who is a very goot young
gentleman also, I will show you dat it is possible, a vary possible, to
discover de spring, of water, and de little fountain hidden in de ground,
without any mattock, or spade, or dig at all."
"Umph!" quoth the Antiquary, "I have heard of that conundrum. That will
be no very productive art in our country;--you should carry that property
to Spain or Portugal, and turn it to good account."
"Ah! my goot Master Oldenbuck, dere is de Inquisition and de Auto-da-fe'
--they would burn me, who am but a simple philosopher, for one great
"They would cast away their coals then," said Oldbuck; "but," continued
he, in a whisper to Lovel, "were they to pillory him for one of the most
impudent rascals that ever wagged a tongue, they would square the
punishment more accurately with his deserts. But let us see: I think he
is about to show us some of his legerdemain."
In truth, the German was now got to a little copse-thicket at some
distance from the ruins, where he affected busily to search for such a
wand as would suit the purpose of his mystery: and after cutting and
examining, and rejecting several, he at length provided himself with a
small twig of hazel terminating in a forked end, which he pronounced to
possess the virtue proper for the experiment that he was about to
exhibit. Holding the forked ends of the wand, each between a finger and
thumb, and thus keeping the rod upright, he proceeded to pace the ruined
aisles and cloisters, followed by the rest of the company in admiring
procession. "I believe dere was no waters here," said the adept, when he
had made the round of several of the buildings, without perceiving any of
those indications which he pretended to expect--"I believe those Scotch
monksh did find de water too cool for de climate, and alwaysh drank de
goot comfortable, Rhinewine. But, aha!--see there!" Accordingly, the
assistants observed the rod to turn in his fingers, although he pretended
to hold it very tight.--"Dere is water here about, sure enough," and,
turning this way and that way, as the agitation of the divining-rod
seemed to increase or diminish, he at length advanced into the midst of a
vacant and roofless enclosure which had been the kitchen of the priory,
when the rod twisted itself so as to point almost straight downwards.
"Here is de place," said the adept, "and if you do not find de water
here, I will give you all leave to call me an impudent knave."
"I shall take that license," whispered the Antiquary to Lovel, "whether
the water is discovered or no."
A servant, who had come up with a basket of cold refreshments, was now
despatched to a neighbouring forester's hut for a mattock and pick-axe.
The loose stones and rubbish being removed from the spot indicated by the
German, they soon came to the sides of a regularly-built well; and when a
few feet of rubbish were cleared out by the assistance of the forester
and his sons, the water began to rise rapidly, to the delight of the
philosopher, the astonishment of the ladies, Mr. Blattergowl, and Sir
Arthur, the surprise of Lovel, and the confusion of the incredulous
Antiquary. He did not fail, however, to enter his protest in Lovers ear
against the miracle. "This is a mere trick," he said; "the rascal had
made himself sure of the existence of this old well, by some means or
other, before he played off this mystical piece of jugglery. Mark what he
talks of next. I am much mistaken if this is not intended as a prelude to
some more serious fraud. See how the rascal assumes consequence, and
plumes himself upon the credit of his success, and how poor Sir Arthur
takes in the tide of nonsense which he is delivering to him as principles
of occult science!"
"You do see, my goot patron, you do see, my goot ladies, you do see,
worthy Dr. Bladderhowl, and even Mr. Lofel and Mr. Oldenbuck may see, if
they do will to see, how art has no enemy at all but ignorance. Look at
this little slip of hazel nuts--it is fit for nothing at all but to whip
de little child"--("I would choose a cat and nine tails for your
occasions," whispered Oldbuck apart)--"and you put it in the hands of a
philosopher--paf! it makes de grand discovery. But this is nothing, Sir
Arthur,--nothing at all, worthy Dr. Botherhowl--nothing at all, ladies--
nothing at all, young Mr. Lofel and goot Mr. Oldenbuck, to what art can
do. Ah! if dere was any man that had de spirit and de courage, I would
show him better things than de well of water--I would show him"--
"And a little money would be necessary also, would it not?" said the
"Bah! one trifle, not worth talking about, maight be necessaries,"
answered the adept.
"I thought as much," rejoined the Antiquary, drily; "and I, in the
meanwhile, without any divining-rod, will show you an excellent venison
pasty, and a bottle of London particular Madeira, and I think that will
match all that Mr. Dousterswivel's art is like to exhibit."
The feast was spread _fronde super viridi,_ as Oldbuck expressed himself,
under a huge old tree called the Prior's Oak, and the company, sitting
down around it, did ample honour to the, contents of the basket.
As when a Gryphon through the wilderness,
With winged course, o'er hill and moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloined
The guarded gold: So eagerly the Fiend--
When their collation was ended, Sir Arthur resumed the account of the
mysteries of the divining-rod, as a subject on which he had formerly
conversed with Dousterswivel. "My friend Mr. Oldbuck will now be
prepared, Mr. Dousterswivel, to listen with more respect to the stories
you have told us of the late discoveries in Germany by the brethren of
"Ah, Sir Arthur, that was not a thing to speak to those gentlemans,
because it is want of credulity--what you call faith--that spoils the
"At least, however, let my daughter read the narrative she has taken down
of the story of Martin Waldeck."
"Ah! that was vary true story--but Miss Wardour, she is so sly and so
witty, that she has made it just like one romance--as well as Goethe or
Wieland could have done it, by mine honest wort."
"To say the truth, Mr. Dousterswivel," answered Miss Wardour, "the
romantic predominated in the legend so much above the probable, that it
was impossible for a lover of fairyland like me to avoid lending a few
touches to make it perfect in its kind. But here it is, and if you do not
incline to leave this shade till the heat of the day has somewhat
declined, and will have sympathy with my bad composition, perhaps Sir
Arthur or Mr. Oldbuck will read it to us."
"Not I," said Sir Arthur; "I was never fond of reading aloud."
"Nor I," said Oldbuck, "for I have forgot my spectacles. But here is
Lovel, with sharp eyes and a good voice; for Mr. Blattergowl, I know,
never reads anything, lest he should be suspected of reading his
The task was therefore imposed upon Lovel, who received, with some
trepidation, as Miss Wardour delivered, with a little embarrassment, a
paper containing the lines traced by that fair hand, the possession of
which he coveted as the highest blessing the earth could offer to him.
But there was a necessity of suppressing his emotions; and after glancing
over the manuscript, as if to become acquainted with the character, he
collected himself, and read the company the following tale:--
[The Fortunes of Martin Waldeck.]
The solitudes of the Harz forest in Germany,* but especially the
mountains called Blocksberg, or rather Brockenberg, are the chosen scenes
for tales of witches, demons, and apparitions.
* The outline of this story is taken from the German, though the Author
is at present unable to say in which of the various collections of the
popular legends in that language the original is to be found.
The occupation of the inhabitants, who are either miners or foresters, is
of a kind that renders them peculiarly prone to superstition, and the
natural phenomena which they witness in pursuit of their solitary or
subterraneous profession, are often set down by them to the interference
of goblins or the power of magic. Among the various legends current in
that wild country, there is a favourite one, which supposes the Harz to
be haunted by a sort of tutelar demon, in the shape of a wild man, of
huge stature, his head wreathed with oak leaves, and his middle cinctured
with the same, bearing in his hand a pine torn up by the roots. It is
certain that many persons profess to have seen such a form traversing,
with huge strides, in a line parallel to their own course, the opposite
ridge of a mountain, when divided from it by a narrow glen; and indeed
the fact of the apparition is so generally admitted, that modern
scepticism has only found refuge by ascribing it to optical deception. *
*The shadow of the person who sees the phantom, being reflected upon a
cloud of mist, like the image of the magic lantern upon a white sheet, is
supposed to have formed the apparition.
In elder times, the intercourse of the demon with the inhabitants was
more familiar, and, according to the traditions of the Harz, he was wont,
with the caprice usually ascribed to these earth-born powers, to
interfere with the affairs of mortals, sometimes for their weal,
sometimes for their wo. But it was observed that even his gifts often
turned out, in the long run, fatal to those on whom they were bestowed,
and it was no uncommon thing for the pastors, in their care of their
flocks, to compose long sermons, the burden whereof was a warning against
having any intercourse, direct or indirect, with the Harz demon. The
fortunes of Martin Waldeck have been often quoted by the aged to their
giddy children, when they were heard to scoff at a danger which appeared
A travelling capuchin had possessed himself of the pulpit of the thatched
church at a little hamlet called _Morgenbrodt,_ lying in the Harz
district, from which he declaimed against the wickedness of the
inhabitants, their communication with fiends, witches, and fairies, and,
in particular, with the woodland goblin of the Harz. The doctrines of
Luther had already begun to spread among the peasantry (for the incident
is placed under the reign of Charles V. ), and they laughed to scorn the
zeal with which the venerable man insisted upon his topic. At length, as
his vehemence increased with opposition, so their opposition rose in
proportion to his vehemence. The inhabitants did not like to hear an
accustomed quiet demon, who had inhabited the Brockenberg for so many
ages, summarily confounded with Baal-peor, Ashtaroth, and Beelzebub
himself, and condemned without reprieve to the bottomless Tophet. The
apprehensions that the spirit might avenge himself on them for listening
to such an illiberal sentence, added to their national interest in his
behalf. A travelling friar, they said, that is here to-day and away
to-morrow, may say what be pleases: but it is we, the ancient and
constant inhabitants of the country, that are left at the mercy of the
insulted demon, and must, of course, pay for all. Under the irritation
occasioned by these reflections, the peasants from injurious language
betook themselves to stones, and having pebbled the priest pretty
handsomely, they drove him out of the parish to preach against demons
Three young men, who had been present and assisting on this occasion were
upon their return to the hut where they carried on the laborious and mean
occupation of preparing charcoal for the smelting furnaces. On the way,
their conversation naturally turned upon the demon of the Harz and the
doctrine of the capuchin. Max and George Waldeck, the two elder brothers,
although they allowed the language of the capuchin to have been
indiscreet and worthy of censure, as presuming to determine upon the
precise character and abode of the spirit, yet contended it was
dangerous, in the highest degree, to accept of his gifts, or hold any
communication with him, He was powerful, they allowed, but wayward and
capricious, and those who had intercourse with him seldom came to a good
end. Did he not give the brave knight, Ecbert of Rabenwald, that famous
black steed, by means of which he vanquished all the champions at the
great tournament at Bremen? and did not the same steed afterwards
precipitate itself with its rider into an abyss so steep and fearful,
that neither horse nor man were ever seen more? Had he not given to Dame
Gertrude Trodden a curious spell for making butter come? and was she not
burnt for a witch by the grand criminal judge of the Electorate, because
she availed herself of his gift? But these, and many other instances
which they quoted, of mischance and ill-luck ultimately attending on the
apparent benefits conferred by the Harz spirit, failed to make any
impression upon Martin Waldeck, the youngest of the brothers.
Martin was youthful, rash, and impetuous; excelling in all the exercises
which distinguish a mountaineer, and brave and undaunted from his
familiar intercourse with the dangers that attend them. He laughed at the
timidity of his brothers. "Tell me not of such folly," he said; "the
demon is a good demon--he lives among us as if he were a peasant like
ourselves--haunts the lonely crags and recesses of the mountains like a
huntsman or goatherd--and he who loves the Harz forest and its wild
scenes cannot be indifferent to the fate of the hardy children of the
soil. But, if the demon were as malicious as you would make him, how
should he derive power over mortals, who barely avail themselves of his
gifts, without binding themselves to submit to his pleasure? When you
carry your charcoal to the furnace, is not the money as good that is paid
you by blaspheming Blaize, the old reprobate overseer, as if you got it
from the pastor himself? It is not the goblins gifts which can endanger
you, then, but it is the use you shall make of them that you must account
for. And were the demon to appear to me at this moment, and indicate to
me a gold or silver mine, I would begin to dig away even before his back
were turned,--and I would consider myself as under protection of a much
Greater than he, while I made a good use of the wealth he pointed out to
To this the elder brother replied, that wealth ill won was seldom well
spent; while Martin presumptuously declared, that the possession of all
the treasures of the Harz would not make the slightest alteration on his
habits, morals, or character.
His brother entreated Martin to talk less wildly upon the subject, and
with some difficulty contrived to withdraw his attention, by calling it
to the consideration of the approaching boar-chase. This talk brought
them to their hut, a wretched wigwam, situated upon one side of a wild,
narrow, and romantic dell, in the recesses of the Brockenberg. They
released their sister from attending upon the operation of charring the
wood, which requires constant attention, and divided among themselves the
duty of watching it by night, according to their custom, one always
waking, while his brothers slept.
Max Waldeck, the eldest, watched during the first two hours of the night,
and was considerably alarmed by observing, upon the opposite bank of the
glen, or valley, a huge fire surrounded by some figures that appeared to
wheel around it with antic gestures. Max at first bethought him of
calling up his brothers; but recollecting the daring character of the
youngest, and finding it impossible to wake the elder without also
disturbing Martin--conceiving also what he saw to be an illusion of the
demon, sent perhaps in consequence of the venturous expressions used by
Martin on the preceding evening, he thought it best to betake himself to
the safeguard of such prayers as he could murmur over, and to watch in
great terror and annoyance this strange and alarming apparition. After
blazing for some time, the fire faded gradually away into darkness, and
the rest of Max's watch was only disturbed by the remembrance of its
George now occupied the place of Max, who had retired to rest. The
phenomenon of a huge blazing fire, upon the opposite bank of the glen,
again presented itself to the eye of the watchman. It was surrounded as
before by figures, which, distinguished by their opaque forms, being
between the spectator and the red glaring light, moved and fluctuated
around it as if engaged in some mystical ceremony. George, though equally
cautious, was of a bolder character than his elder brother. He resolved
to examine more nearly the object of his wonder; and, accordingly after
crossing the rivulet which divided the glen, he climbed up the opposite
bank, and approached within an arrow's flight of the fire, which blazed
apparently with the same fury as when he first witnessed it.
The appearance, of the assistants who surrounded it resembled those
phantoms which are seen in a troubled dream, and at once confirmed the
idea he had entertained from the first, that they did not belong to the
human world. Amongst these strange unearthly forms, George Waldeck
distinguished that of a giant overgrown with hair, holding an uprooted
fir in his hand, with which, from time to time, he seemed to stir the
blazing fire, and having no other clothing than a wreath of oak leaves
around his forehead and loins. George's heart sunk within him at
recognising the well-known apparition of the Harz demon, as he had been
often described to him by the ancient shepherds and huntsmen who had seen
his form traversing the mountains. He turned, and was about to fly; but
upon second thoughts, blaming his own cowardice, he recited mentally the
verse of the Psalmist, "All good angels, praise the Lord!" which is in
that country supposed powerful as an exorcism, and turned himself once
more towards the place where he had seen the fire. But it was no longer
The pale moon alone enlightened the side of the valley; and when George,
with trembling steps, a moist brow, and hair bristling upright under his
collier's cap, came to the spot on which the fire had been so lately
visible, marked as it was by a scathed oak-tree, there appeared not on
the heath the slightest vestiges of what he had seen. The moss and wild
flowers were unscorched, and the branches of the oak-tree, which had so
lately appeared enveloped in wreaths of flame and smoke, were moist with
the dews of midnight.
George returned to his hut with trembling steps, and, arguing like his
elder brother, resolved to say nothing of what he had seen, lest he
should awake in Martin that daring curiosity which he almost deemed to be
allied with impiety.
It was now Martin's turn to watch. The household cock had given his first
summons, and the night was well-nigh spent. Upon examining the state of
the furnace in which the wood was deposited in order to its being _coked_
or _charred,_ he was surprised to find that the fire had not been
sufficiently maintained; for in his excursion and its consequences,
George had forgot the principal object of his watch. Martin's first
thought was to call up the slumberers; but observing that both his
brothers slept unwontedly deep and heavily, he respected their repose,
and set himself to supply the furnace with fuel without requiring their
aid. What he heaped upon it was apparently damp and unfit for the
purpose, for the fire seemed rather to decay than revive. Martin next
went to collect some boughs from a stack which had been carefully cut and
dried for this purpose; but, when he returned, he found the fire totally
extinguished. This was a serious evil, and threatened them with loss of
their trade for more than one day. The vexed and mortified watchman set
about to strike a light in order to rekindle the fire but the tinder was
moist, and his labour proved in this respect also ineffectual. He was now
about to call up his brothers, for circumstances seemed to be pressing,
when flashes of light glimmered not only through the window, but through
every crevice of the rudely built hut, and summoned him to behold the
same apparition which had before alarmed the successive watches of his
brethren. His first idea was, that the Muhllerhaussers, their rivals in
trade, and with whom they had had many quarrels, might have encroached
upon their bounds for the purpose of pirating their wood; and he resolved
to awake his brothers, and be revenged on them for their audacity. But a
short reflection and observation on the gestures and manner of those who
seemed to "work in the fire," induced him to dismiss this belief, and
although rather sceptical in such matters, to conclude that what he saw
was a supernatural phenomenon. "But be they men or fiends," said the
undaunted forester, "that busy themselves yonder with such fantastical
rites and gestures, I will go and demand a light to rekindle our
furnace." He, relinquished at the same time the idea of awaking his
brethren. There was a belief that such adventures as he was about to
undertake were accessible only to one person at a time; he feared also
that his brothers, in their scrupulous timidity, might interfere to
prevent his pursuing the investigation he had resolved to commence; and,
therefore, snatching his boar-spear from the wall, the undaunted Martin
Waldeck set forth on the adventure alone.
With the same success as his brother George, but with courage far
superior, Martin crossed the brook, ascended the hill, and approached so
near the ghostly assembly, that he could recognise, in the presiding
figure, the attributes of the Harz demon. A cold shuddering assailed him
for the first time in his life; but the recollection that he had at a
distance dared and even courted the intercourse which was now about to
take place, confirmed his staggering courage; and pride supplying what he
wanted in resolution, he advanced with tolerable firmness towards the
fire, the figures which surrounded it appearing still more wild,
fantastical, and supernatural, the more near he approached to the
assembly. He was received with a loud shout of discordant and unnatural
laughter, which, to his stunned ears, seemed more alarming than a
combination of the most dismal and melancholy sounds that could be
imagined. "Who art thou?" said the giant, compressing his savage and
exaggerated features into a sort of forced gravity, while they were
occasionally agitated by the convulsion of the laughter which he seemed
"Martin Waldeck, the forester," answered the hardy youth;--"and who are
"The King of the Waste and of the Mine," answered the spectre;--"and why
hast thou dared to encroach on my mysteries?"
"I came in search of light to rekindle my fire," answered Martin,
hardily, and then resolutely asked in his turn, "What mysteries are those
that you celebrate here?"
"We celebrate," answered the complaisant demon, "the wedding of Hermes
with the Black Dragon--But take thy fire that thou camest to seek, and
begone! no mortal may look upon us and live."
The peasant struck his spear-point into a large piece of blazing wood,
which he heaved up with some difficulty, and then turned round to regain
his hut, the, shouts of laughter being renewed behind him with treble
violence, and ringing far down the narrow valley. When Martin returned to
the hut, his first care, however much astonished with what he had seen,
was to dispose the kindled coal among the fuel so as might best light the
fire of his furnace; but after many efforts, and all exertions of bellows
and fire-prong, the coal he had brought from the demon's fire became
totally extinct without kindling any of the others. He turned about, and
observed the fire still blazing on the hill, although those who had been
busied around it had disappeared. As he conceived the spectre had been
jesting with him, he gave way to the natural hardihood of his temper,
and, determining to see the adventure to an end, resumed the road to the
fire, from which, unopposed by the demon, he brought off in the same
manner a blazing piece of charcoal, but still without being able to
succeed in lighting his fire. Impunity having increased his rashness, he
resolved upon a third experiment, and was as successful as before in
reaching the fire; but when he had again appropriated a piece of burning
coal, and had turned to depart, he heard the harsh and supernatural voice
which had before accosted him, pronounce these words, "Dare not return
hither a fourth time!"
The attempt to kindle the fire with this last coal having proved as
ineffectual as on the former occasions, Martin relinquished the hopeless
attempt, and flung himself on his bed of leaves, resolving to delay till
the next morning the communication of his supernatural adventure to his
brothers. He was awakened from a heavy sleep into which he had sunk, from
fatigue of body and agitation of mind, by loud exclamations of surprise
and joy. His brothers, astonished at finding the fire extinguished when
they awoke, had proceeded to arrange the fuel in order to renew it, when
they found in the ashes three huge metallic masses, which their skill
(for most of the peasants in the Harz are practical mineralogists)
immediately ascertained to be pure gold.
It was some damp upon their joyful congratulations when they learned from
Martin the mode in which he had obtained this treasure, to which their
own experience of the nocturnal vision induced them to give full credit.
But they were unable to resist the temptation of sharing in their
brother's wealth. Taking now upon him as head of the house, Martin
Waldeck bought lands and forests, built a castle, obtained a patent of
nobility, and, greatly to the indignation of the ancient aristocracy of
the neighbourhood, was invested with all the privileges of a man of
family. His courage in public war, as well as in private feuds, together
with the number of retainers whom he kept in pay, sustained him for some
time against the odium which was excited by his sudden elevation, and the
arrogance of his pretensious.
And now it was seen in the instance of Martin Waldeck, as it has been in
that of many others, how little mortals can foresee the effect of sudden
prosperity on their own disposition. The evil propensities in his nature,
which poverty had checked and repressed, ripened and bore their
unhallowed fruit under the influence of temptation and the means of
indulgence. As Deep calls unto Deep, one bad passion awakened another the
fiend of avarice invoked that of pride, and pride was to be supported by
cruelty and oppression. Waldeck's character, always bold and daring but
rendered harsh and assuming by prosperity, soon made him odious, not to
the nobles only, but likewise to the lower ranks, who saw, with double
dislike, the oppressive rights of the feudal nobility of the empire so
remorselessly exercised by one who had risen from the very dregs of the
people. His adventure, although carefully concealed, began likewise to be
whispered abroad, and the clergy already stigmatized as a wizard and
accomplice of fiends, the wretch, who, having acquired so huge a treasure
in so strange a manner, had not sought to sanctify it by dedicating a
considerable portion to the use of the church. Surrounded by enemies,
public and private, tormented by a thousand feuds, and threatened by the
church with excommunication, Martin Waldeck, or, as we must now call him,
the Baron von Waldeck, often regretted bitterly the labours and sports of
his unenvied poverty. But his courage failed him not under all these
difficulties, and seemed rather to augment in proportion to the danger
which darkened around him, until an accident precipitated his fall.
A proclamation by the reigning Duke of Brunswick had invited to a solemn
tournament all German nobles of free and honourable descent; and Martin
Waldeck, splendidly armed, accompanied by his two brothers, and a
gallantly-equipped retinue, had the arrogance to appear among the
chivalry of the province, and demand permission to enter the lists. This
was considered as filling up the measure of his presumption. A thousand
voices exclaimed, "We will have no cinder-sifter mingle in our games of
chivalry." Irritated to frenzy, Martin drew his sword and hewed down the
herald, who, in compliance with the general outcry, opposed his entry
into the lists. An hundred swords were unsheathed to avenge what was in
those days regarded as a crime only inferior to sacrilege or regicide.
Waldeck, after defending himself like a lion, was seized, tried on the
spot by the judges of the lists, and condemned, as the appropriate
punishment for breaking the peace of his sovereign, and violating the
sacred person of a herald-at-arms, to have his right hand struck from his
body, to be ignominiously deprived of the honour of nobility, of which he
was unworthy, and to be expelled from the city. When he had been stripped
of his arms, and sustained the mutilation imposed by this severe
sentence, the unhappy victim of ambition was abandoned to the rabble, who
followed him with threats and outcries levelled alternately against the
necromancer and oppressor, which at length ended in violence. His
brothers (for his retinue were fled and dispersed) at length succeeded in
rescuing him from the hands of the populace, when, satiated with cruelty,
they had left him half dead through loss of blood, and through the
outrages he had sustained. They were not permitted, such was the
ingenious cruelty of their enemies, to make use of any other means of
removing him, excepting such a collier's cart as they had themselves
formerly used, in which they deposited their brother on a truss of straw,
scarcely expecting to reach any place of shelter ere death should release
him from his misery.
When the Waldecks, journeying in this miserable manner, had approached
the verge of their native country, in a hollow way, between two
mountains, they perceived a figure advancing towards them, which at first
sight seemed to be an aged man. But as he approached, his limbs and
stature increased, the cloak fell from his shoulders, his pilgrim's staff
was changed into an uprooted pine-tree, and the gigantic figure of the
Harz demon passed before them in his terrors. When he came opposite to
the cart which contained the miserable Waldeck, his huge features dilated
into a grin of unutterable contempt and malignity, as he asked the
sufferer, "How like you the fire my coals have kindled?" The power of
motion, which terror suspended in his two brothers, seemed to be restored
to Martin by the energy of his courage. He raised himself on the cart,
bent his brows, and, clenching his fist, shook it at the spectre with a
ghastly look of hate and defiance. The goblin vanished with his usual
tremendous and explosive laugh, and left Waldeck exhausted with this
effort of expiring nature.
The terrified brethren turned their vehicle toward the towers of a
convent, which arose in a wood of pine-trees beside the road. They were
charitably received by a bare-footed and long-bearded capuchin, and
Martin survived only to complete the first confession he had made since
the day of his sudden prosperity, and to receive absolution from the very
priest whom, precisely on that day three years, he had assisted to pelt
out of the hamlet of Morgenbrodt. The three years of precarious
prosperity were supposed to have a mysterious correspondence with the
number of his visits to the spectral fire upon the bill.
The body of Martin Waldeck was interred in the convent where he expired,
in which his brothers, having assumed the habit of the order, lived and
died in the performance of acts of charity and devotion. His lands, to
which no one asserted any claim, lay waste until they were reassumed by
the emperor as a lapsed fief, and the ruins of the castle, which Waldeck
had called by his own name, are still shunned by the miner and forester
as haunted by evil spirits. Thus were the miseries attendant upon wealth,
hastily attained and ill employed, exemplified in the fortunes of Martin
Here has been such a stormy encounter
Betwixt my cousin Captain, and this soldier,
About I know not what!--nothing, indeed;
Competitions, degrees, and comparatives
A Faire Qurrell.
The attentive audience gave the fair transcriber of the foregoing legend
the thanks which politeness required. Oldbuck alone curled up his nose,
and observed, that Miss Wardour's skill was something like that of the
alchemists, for she had contrived to extract a sound and valuable moral
out of a very trumpery and ridiculous legend. "It is the fashion, as I am
given to understand, to admire those extravagant fictions--for me,
--I bear an English heart,
Unused at ghosts and rattling bones to start."
"Under your favour, my goot Mr. Oldenbuck," said the German, "Miss
Wardour has turned de story, as she does every thing as she touches, very
pretty indeed; but all the history of de Harz goblin, and how he walks
among de desolate mountains wid a great fir-tree for his walking cane,
and wid de great green bush around his head and his waist--that is as
true as I am an honest man."
"There is no disputing any proposition so well guaranteed," answered the
Antiquary, drily. But at this moment the approach of a stranger cut short
The new comer was a handsome young man, about five-and-twenty, in a
military undress, and bearing, in his look and manner, a good deal of
the, martial profession--nay, perhaps a little more than is quite
consistent with the ease of a man of perfect good-breeding, in whom no
professional habit ought to predominate. He was at once greeted by the
greater part of the company. "My dear Hector!" said Miss M'Intyre, as she
rose to take his hand--
"Hector, son of Priam, whence comest thou?" said the Antiquary.
"From Fife, my liege," answered the young soldier, and continued, when he
had politely saluted the rest of the company, and particularly Sir Arthur
and his daughter--"I learned from one of the servants, as I rode towards
Monkbarns to pay my respects to you, that I should find the present
company in this place, and I willingly embrace the opportunity to pay my
respects to so many of my friends at once."
"And to a new one also, my trusty Trojan," said Oldbuck. "Mr. Lovel, this
is my nephew, Captain M'Intyre--Hector, I recommend Mr. Lovel to your
The young soldier fixed his keen eye upon Lovel, and paid his compliment
with more reserve than cordiality and as our acquaintance thought his
coldness almost supercilious, he was equally frigid and haughty in making
the necessary return to it; and thus a prejudice seemed to arise between
them at the very commencement of their acquaintance.
The observations which Lovel made during the remainder of this pleasure
party did not tend to reconcile him with this addition to their society.
Captain M'Intyre, with the gallantry to be expected from his age and
profession, attached himself to the service of Miss Wardour, and offered
her, on every possible opportunity, those marks of attention which Lovel
would have given the world to have rendered, and was only deterred from
offering by the fear of her displeasure. With forlorn dejection at one
moment, and with irritated susceptibility at another, he saw this
handsome young soldier assume and exercise all the privileges of a
_cavaliere servente._ He handed Miss Wardour's gloves, he assisted her in
putting on her shawl, he attached himself to her in the walks, had a hand
ready to remove every impediment in her path, and an arm to support her
where it was rugged or difficult; his conversation was addressed chiefly
to her, and, where circumstances permitted, it was exclusively so. All
this, Lovel well knew, might be only that sort of egotistical gallantry
which induces some young men of the present day to give themselves the
air of engrossing the attention of the prettiest women in company, as if
the others were unworthy of their notice. But he thought he observed in
the conduct of Captain M'Intyre something of marked and peculiar
tenderness, which was calculated to alarm the jealousy of a lover. Miss
Wardour also received his attentions; and although his candour allowed
they were of a kind which could not be repelled without some strain of
affectation, yet it galled him to the heart to witness that she did so.
The heart-burning which these reflections occasioned proved very
indifferent seasoning to the dry antiquarian discussions with which
Oldbuck, who continued to demand his particular attention, was
unremittingly persecuting him; and he underwent, with fits of impatience
that amounted almost to loathing, a course of lectures upon monastic
architecture, in all its styles, from the massive Saxon to the florid
Gothic, and from that to the mixed and composite architecture of James
the First's time, when, according to Oldbuck, all orders were confounded,
and columns of various descriptions arose side by side, or were piled
above each other, as if symmetry had been forgotten, and the elemental
principles of art resolved into their primitive confusion. "What can be
more cutting to the heart than the sight of evils," said Oldbuck, in
rapturous enthusiasm, "which we are compelled to behold, while we do not
possess the power of remedying them?" Lovel answered by an involulatary
groan. "I see, my dear young friend, and most congenial spirit, that you
feel these enormities almost as much as I do. Have you ever approached
them, or met them, without longing to tear, to deface, what is so
"Dishonourable!" echoed Lovel--"in what respect dishonourable?"
"I mean, disgraceful to the arts."
"Upon the portico, for example, of the schools of Oxford, where, at
immense expense, the barbarous, fantastic, and ignorant architect has
chosen to represent the whole five orders of architecture on the front of
By such attacks as these, Oldbuck, unconscious of the torture he was
giving, compelled Lovel to give him a share of his attention,--as a
skilful angler, by means of his line, maintains an influence over the
most frantic movements of his agonized prey.
They were now on their return to the spot where they had left the
carriages; and it is inconceivable how often, in the course of that short
walk, Lovel, exhausted by the unceasing prosing of his worthy companion,
mentally bestowed on the devil, or any one else that would have rid him
of hearing more of them, all the orders and disorders of architecture
which had been invented or combined from the building of Solomon's temple
downwards. A slight incident occurred, however, which sprinkled a little
patience on the heat of his distemperature.
Miss Wardour, and her self-elected knight companion, rather preceded the
others in the narrow path, when the young lady apparently became desirous
to unite herself with the rest of the party, and, to break off her
_tete-a-tete_ with the young officer, fairly made a pause until Mr.
Oldbuck came up. "I wished to ask you a question, Mr. Oldbuck, concerning
the date of these interesting ruins."
It would be doing injustice to Miss Wardour's _savoir faire,_ to suppose
she was not aware that such a question would lead to an answer of no
limited length. The Antiquary, starting like a war-horse at the trumpet
sound, plunged at once into the various arguments for and against the
date of 1273, which had been assigned to the priory of St. Ruth by a late
publication on Scottish architectural antiquities. He raked up the names
of all the priors who had ruled the institution, of the nobles who had
bestowed lands upon it, and of the monarchs who had slept their last
sleep among its roofless courts. As a train which takes fire is sure to
light another, if there be such in the vicinity, the Baronet, catching at
the name of one of his ancestors which occurred in Oldbuck's
disquisition, entered upon an account of his wars, his conquests, and his
trophies; and worthy Dr. Blattergowl was induced, from the mention of a
grant of lands, _cum decimis inclusis tam vicariis quam garbalibus, et
nunquan antea separatis,_ to enter into a long explanation concerning the
interpretation given by the Teind Court in the consideration of such a
clause, which had occurred in a process for localling his last
augmentation of stipend. The orators, like three racers, each pressed
forward to the goal, without much regarding how each crossed and jostled
his competitors. Mr. Oldbuck harangued, the Baronet declaimed, Mr.
Blattergowl prosed and laid down the law, while the Latin forms of feudal
grants were mingled with the jargon of blazonry, and the yet more
barbarous phraseology of the Teind Court of Scotland. "He was," exclaimed
Oldbuck, speaking of the Prior Adhemar, "indeed an exemplary prelate;
and, from his strictness of morals, rigid execution of penance, joined to
the charitable disposition of his mind, and the infirmities endured by
his great age and ascetic habits"--
Here he chanced to cough, and Sir Arthur burst in, or rather continued--
"was called popularly Hell-in-Harness; he carried a shield, gules with a
sable fess, which we have since disused, and was slain at the battle of
Vernoil, in France, after killing six of the English with his own"--
"Decreet of certification," proceeded the clergyman, in that prolonged,
steady, prosing tone, which, however overpowered at first by the
vehemence of competition, promised, in the long run, to obtain the
ascendancy in this strife of narrators;--"Decreet of certification having
gone out, and parties being held as confessed, the proof seemed to be
held as concluded, when their lawyer moved to have it opened up, on the
allegation that they had witnesses to bring forward, that they had been
in the habit of carrying the ewes to lamb on the teind-free land; which
was a mere evasion, for"--
But here the, Baronet and Mr. Oldbuck having recovered their wind, and
continued their respective harangues, the three _strands_ of the
conversation, to speak the language of a rope-work, were again twined
together into one undistinguishable string of confusion.
Yet, howsoever uninteresting this piebald jargon might seem, it was
obviously Miss Wardour's purpose to give it her attention, in preference
to yielding Captain M'Intyre an opportunity of renewing their private
conversation. So that, after waiting for a little time with displeasure,
ill concealed by his haughty features, he left her to enjoy her bad
taste, and taking his sister by the arm, detained her a little behind the
rest of the party.
"So I find, Mary, that your neighbour has neither become more lively nor
less learned during my absence."
"We lacked your patience and wisdom to instruct us, Hector."
"Thank you, my dear sister. But you have got a wiser, if not so lively an
addition to your society, than your unworthy brother--Pray, who is this
Mr. Lovel, whom our old uncle has at once placed so high in his good
graces?--he does not use to be so accessible to strangers."
"Mr. Lovel, Hector, is a very gentleman-like young man."
"Ay,--that is to say, he bows when he comes into a room, and wears a coat
that is whole at the elbows."
"No, brother; it says a great deal more. It says that his manners and
discourse express the feelings and education of the higher class."
"But I desire to know what is his birth and his rank in society, and what
is his title to be in the circle in which I find him domesticated?"
"If you mean, how he comes to visit at Monkbarns, you must ask my uncle,
who will probably reply, that he invites to his own house such company as
he pleases; and if you mean to ask Sir Arthur, you must know that Mr.
Lovel rendered Miss Wardour and him a service of the most important
"What! that romantic story is true, then?--And pray, does the valorous
knight aspire, as is befitting on such occasions, to the hand of the
young lady whom he redeemed from peril? It is quite in the rule of
romance, I am aware; and I did think that she was uncommonly dry to me as
we walked together, and seemed from time to time as if she watched
whether she was not giving offence to her gallant cavalier."
"Dear Hector," said his sister, "if you really continue to nourish any
affection for Miss Wardour"--
"If, Mary?--what an _if_ was there!"
"--I own I consider your perseverance as hopeless."
"And why hopeless, my sage sister?" asked Captain M'Intyre: "Miss
Wardour, in the state of her father's affairs, cannot pretend to much
fortune;--and, as to family, I trust that of Mlntyre is not inferior."
"But, Hector," continued his sister, "Sir Arthur always considers us as
members of the Monkbarns family."
"Sir Arthur may consider what he pleases," answered the Highlander
scornfully; "but any one with common sense will consider that the wife
takes rank from the husband, and that my father's pedigree of fifteen
unblemished descents must have ennobled my mother, if her veins had been
filled with printer's ink."
"For God's sake, Hector," replied his anxious sister, "take care of
yourself! a single expression of that kind, repeated to my uncle by an
indiscreet or interested eavesdropper, would lose you his favour for
ever, and destroy all chance of your succeeding to his estate."
"Be it so," answered the heedless young man; "I am one of a profession
which the world has never been able to do without, and will far less
endure to want for half a century to come; and my good old uncle may tack
his good estate and his plebeian name to your apron-string if he pleases,
Mary, and you may wed this new favourite of his if you please, and you
may both of you live quiet, peaceable, well-regulated lives, if it
pleases Heaven. My part is taken--I'll fawn on no man for an inheritance
which should be mine by birth."
Miss M'Intyre laid her hand on her brother's arm, and entreated him to
suppress his vehemence. "Who," she said, "injures or seeks to injure you,
but your own hasty temper?--what dangers are you defying, but those you
have yourself conjured up?--Our uncle has hitherto been all that is kind
and paternal in his conduct to us, and why should you suppose he will in
future be otherwise than what he has ever been, since we were left as
orphans to his care?"
"He is an excellent old gentleman, I must own," replied M'Intyre, "and I
am enraged at myself when I chance to offend him; but then his eternal
harangues upon topics not worth the spark of a flint--his investigations
about invalided pots and pans and tobacco-stoppers past service--all
these things put me out of patience. I have something of Hotspur in me,
sister, I must confess."
"Too much, too much, my dear brother! Into how many risks, and, forgive
me for saying, some of them little creditable, has this absolute and
violent temper led you! Do not let such clouds darken the time you are
now to pass in our neighbourhood, but let our old benefactor see his
kinsman as he is--generous, kind, and lively, without being rude,
headstrong, and impetuous."
"Well," answered Captain M'Intyre, "I am schooled--good-manners be my
speed! I'll do the civil thing by your new friend--I'll have some talk
with this Mr. Lovel."
With this determination, in which he was for the time perfectly sincere,
he joined the party who were walking before them. The treble disquisition
was by this time ended; and Sir Arthur was speaking on the subject of
foreign news, and the political and military situation of the country,
themes upon which every man thinks himself qualified to give an opinion.
An action of the preceding year having come upon the _tapis,_ Lovel,
accidentally mingling in the conversation, made some assertion concerning
it, of the accuracy of which Captain M'Intyre seemed not to be convinced,
although his doubts were politely expressed.
"You must confess yourself in the wrong here, Hector," said his uncle,
"although I know no man less willing to give up an argument; but you were
in England at the time, and Mr. Lovel was probably concerned in the
"I am speaking to a military man, then?" said M'Intyre; "may I inquire to
what regiment Mr. Lovel belongs?"--Mr. Lovel gave him the number of the
regiment. "It happens strangely that we should never have met before, Mr.
Lovel. I know your regiment very well, and have served along with them at
A blush crossed Lovel's countenance. "I have not lately been with my
regiment," he replied; "I served the last campaign upon the staff of
"Indeed! that is more wonderful than the other circumstance!--for
although I did not serve with General Sir----, yet I had an opportunity
of knowing the names of the officers who held situations in his family,
and I cannot recollect that of Lovel."
At this observation Lovel again blushed so deeply as to attract the
attention of the whole company, while, a scornful laugh seemed to
indicate Captain M'Intyre's triumph. "There is something strange in
this," said Oldbuck to himself; "but I will not readily give up my
phoenix of post-chaise companions--all his actions, language, and
bearing, are those of a gentleman."
Lovel in the meanwhile had taken out his pocket-book, and selecting a
letter, from which he took off the envelope, he handed it to Mlntyre.
"You know the General's hand, in all probability--I own I ought not to
show these exaggerated expressions of his regard and esteem for me." The
letter contained a very handsome compliment from the officer in question
for some military service lately performed. Captain M'Intyre, as be
glanced his eye over it, could not deny that it was written in the
General's hand, but drily observed, as be returned it, that the address
was wanting. "The address, Captain M'Intyre," answered Lovel, in the same
tone, "shall be at your service whenever you choose to inquire after it!"
"I certainly shall not fail to do so," rejoined the soldier.
"Come, come," exclaimed Oldbuck, "what is the meaning of all this? Have
we got Hiren here?--We'll have no swaggering youngsters. Are you come
from the wars abroad, to stir up domestic strife in our peaceful land?
Are you like bull-dog puppies, forsooth, that when the bull, poor fellow,
is removed from the ring, fall to brawl among themselves, worry each
other, and bite honest folk's shins that are standing by?"
Sir Arthur trusted, he said, the young gentlemen would not so far forget
themselves as to grow warm upon such a trifling subject as the back of a
Both the disputants disclaimed any such intention, and, with high colour
and flashing eyes, protested they were never so cool in their lives. But
an obvious damp was cast over the party;--they talked in future too much
by the rule to be sociable, and Lovel, conceiving himself the object of
cold and suspicious looks from the rest of the company, and sensible that
his indirect replies had given them permission to entertain strange
opinions respecting him, made a gallant determination to sacrifice the
pleasure he had proposed in spending the day at Knockwinnock.
He affected, therefore, to complain of a violent headache, occasioned by
the heat of the day, to which he had not been exposed since his illness,
and made a formal apology to Sir Arthur, who, listening more to recent
suspicion than to the gratitude due for former services, did not press
him to keep his engagement more than good-breeding exactly demanded.
When Lovel took leave of the ladies, Miss Wardour's manner seemed more
anxious than he had hitherto remarked it. She indicated by a glance of
her eye towards Captain M'Intyre, perceptible only by Lovel, the subject
of her alarm, and hoped, in a voice greatly under her usual tone, it was
not a less pleasant engagement which deprived them of the pleasure of Mr.
Lovel's company. "No engagement had intervened," he assured her; "it was
only the return of a complaint by which he had been for some time
"The best remedy in such a case is prudence, and I--every friend of Mr.
Lovel's will expect him to employ it."
Lovel bowed low and coloured deeply, and Miss Wardour, as if she felt
that she had said too much, turned and got into the carriage. Lovel had
next to part with Oldbuck, who, during this interval, had, with Caxon's
assistance, been arranging his disordered periwig, and brushing his coat,
which exhibited some marks of the rude path they had traversed. "What,
man!" said Oldbuck, "you are not going to leave us on account of that
foolish Hector's indiscreet curiosity and vehemence? Why, he is a
thoughtless boy--a spoiled child from the time he was in the nurse's
arms--he threw his coral and bells at my head for refusing him a bit of
sugar; and you have too much sense to mind such a shrewish boy: _aequam
servare mentem_ is the motto of our friend Horace. I'll school Hector by
and by, and put it all to rights." But Lovel persisted in his design of
returning to Fairport.
The Antiquary then assumed a graver tone.--"Take heed, young man, to your
present feelings. Your life has been given yon for useful and valuable
purposes, and should be reserved to illustrate the literature of your
country, when you are not called upon to expose it in her defence, or in
the rescue of the innocent. Private war, a practice unknown to the
civilised ancients, is, of all the absurdities introduced by the Gothic
tribes, the most gross, impious, and cruel. Let me hear no more of these