Part 5 out of 7
My grandfather died when I was fifteen. A year later and so threatened
were we by crown officers, private creditors and infuriated peasants,
that it was a question of either fleeing the country or bracing
ourselves for a decisive struggle, and if needs be finding a grave under
the ruins of the castle.
_II.--Meet my Cousin Edmee_
One night, when wind and rain beat fiercely against the old walls of the
castle and I sat at supper with my uncles, a horn was heard at the
portcullis. I had been drinking heavily, and boasting that I would make
a conquest of the first woman brought to Roche-Mauprat--for I had been
rallied on my modesty--when a second blast of the horn announced that it
was my Uncle Lawrence bringing in a prize.
"If it is a woman," cried my Uncle Antony, as he went out to the
portcullis, "I swear by the soul of my father that she shall be yours,
and we'll see if your courage is equal to your conceit."
When the door opened again a woman entered, and one of the Mauprats
whispered to me that the young lady had lost her way at a wolf hunt and
that Lawrence, meeting her in the forest, had promised to escort her to
Rochemaure where she had friends. Never having seen the face of one of
my uncles, and little dreaming she was near their haunt, for she had
never had a glimpse of Roche-Mauprat, she was led into the castle
without having the least suspicion of the trap into which she had
fallen. When I beheld this woman, so young and so beautiful, with her
expression of calm sincerity and goodness, it seemed to me I was
My uncles withdrew, for Antony had pledged his word, and I was left
alone with the stranger. For a moment I felt more bewildered and
stupefied than pleased. With the fumes of wine in my head I could only
suppose this lady was some acquaintance of Lawrence's, and that she had
been told of my drunken boast and was willing to put my gallantry to the
proof. I got up and bolted and double-locked the door.
She was sitting close to the fire, drying her wet garments, without
noticing what I had done. I made up my mind to kiss her, but no sooner
had she raised her eyes to mine than this familiarity became impossible.
All I could say, was:
"Upon my word, mademoiselle, you are a charming creature, and I love
you--as true as my name is Bernard Mauprat."
"Bernard Mauprat!" she cried, springing up; "you are Bernard Mauprat,
you? In that case learn to whom you are speaking, and change your
"Really!" I said with a grin, "but let my lips meet yours, and you shall
see if I am not as nicely mannered as those uncles of mine."
Her lips grew white. Her agony was manifest in every gesture. I
shuddered myself, and was in a state of great perplexity.
This woman was beautiful as the day. I do not believe that there has
ever lived a woman as lovely as she. And this was the first trial of her
She was my young cousin, Edmee de Mauprat, daughter of M. Hubert de
Mauprat, the chevalier. She was of my age, for we were both seventeen,
and I ought to have protected her against the world at the peril of my
"I swear by Christ," she said, taking my hands in hers, "that I am
Edmee, your cousin, your prisoner--yes, and your friend, for I have
always felt an interest in you."
Her words were cut short by the report of a gun outside; more shots were
heard and the alarm trumpet sounded.
I heard my Uncle Lawrence shouting violently at the door. "Where is that
coward? Where is that wretched boy? Bernard, the mounted police are
attacking us, and you are amusing yourself by making love while our
throats are being cut. Come and help us, Bernard."
"May the devil take the lot of you," I cried, "if I believe a single
word of all this."
But the shots rang out louder and for half an hour the fighting was most
desperate. Our band amounted to twenty-four all told, and the enemy were
fifty soldiers in addition to a score of peasants.
As soon as I learnt that we were really being attacked, I had taken my
weapons and done what I called my duty, after leaving Edmee locked in
After three assaults had been repulsed there was a long lull, and I
returned to my captive. The fear lest my uncles should get possession of
Edmee made me mad. I kept on telling her I loved her and wanted her for
myself, and seeing what an animal it was she had to deal with, my cousin
made up her mind accordingly. She threw her arms round me, and let me
kiss her. "Do you love me?" she asked.
From this moment the victory was hers. The wolf in me was conquered, and
the man rose in its place.
"Yes, I love you! Yes, I love you!"
"Well, then," she said distractedly, "let us love each other and escape
"Yes; let us escape," I answered. "I loathe this house, and I loathe my
uncles. I have long wanted to escape. And yet I shall only be hanged,
you know." For I knew I had as much to fear from the besiegers as from
"They won't hang you," she rejoined with a laugh; "my betrothed is a
"Your betrothed!" I burst out in a fit of jealousy. "You are going to be
"And why not?"
"Swear that you will not marry before I die. Swear that you will be mine
sooner than this lieutenant-general's," I cried.
Edmee swore as I asked her, and she made me swear in return that her
promise should be a secret. Then I clasped her in my arms, and we
remained motionless until fresh shots announced that the fight had begun
again. Every moment of delay was dangerous now. I seized a torch, and
lifting a trap door made her descend with me to the cellar. Thence we
passed into a subterranean passage, and finally hurried forth into the
open, holding each other's hands as a sign of mutual trust. I found a
horse that had belonged to my grandfather in the forest, and this animal
carried us some miles from Roche-Mauprat, before it stumbled and threw
us. Edmee was unhurt but my ankle was badly sprained. Fortunately we
were near a lonely building called Gayeau Tower, the dwelling place of a
remarkable man called Patience, a peasant who was both a hermit and a
philosopher, and who, like Edmee, was filled with the new social gospel
of Rousseau. Between these two a warm friendship existed.
"The lamb in the company of the wolf," cried Patience when he saw us.
"My friend," replied Edmee, "welcome him as you welcome me. I was a
prisoner at Roche-Mauprat, and it was he who rescued me."
At that Patience took me by the arm and led me in. A few days later I
was carried to the chateau of the chevalier, M. Hubert de Mauprat, at
Sainte-Severe, and there I learnt that Roche-Mauprat had been taken,
that five of my uncles were dead, and that two, John and Antony, had
"Bernard," added the chevalier, "I owe to you the life I hold dearest in
the world. All my own life shall be devoted to giving you proofs of my
gratitude and esteem. Bernard, we are both of us victims of a vicious
family. The wrong that has been done you shall be repaired. They have
deprived you of education, but your soul has remained pure. Bernard, you
will restore the honour of your family, promise me this."
_III.--I Go to America and Return_
For a long time I am sure my presence was a source of utter discomfort
to the kind and venerable chevalier, and to his daughter. I was boorish
and illiterate and Edmee was one of the most perfect women to be found
in France. She found her happiness in her own family, and the sweetest
simplicity crowned her mental powers and lofty virtues. Brute like, at
that time I saw her only with the eyes of the body, and believed I loved
her because she was beautiful. Her fiance, M. de la Marche, the
lieutenant-general, a shallow and frigid Voltairean, understood her but
little better. A day came when I could understand her--the day when M.
de la Marche could have understood her would never have come.
The first step was taken on my part when I realised that I was ignorant
and savage, and I applied to the Abbe Aubert, the chaplain, whose
offices I had hitherto despised, to instruct me. I learnt quickly, and
soon vanity at my rapid progress became the bane of my life.
With Edmee I was so passionately in love that jealousy would awaken the
old brutality that I thought dead, and I would gladly have killed de la
Marche in a duel. Then after an outburst remorse would overtake me.
My cousin at last told me plainly that while she would be true to her
word, and not marry anyone before me, she would not marry me, and that
on her father's death a convent should be her refuge. I knew my
boorishness was responsible for this, and resolved to leave her.
Lafayette was taking out volunteers to help the United States in their
war of independence. I told him I would go with him, and crossed hastily
into Spain, whence he was going to sail to America.
I left a note to my uncle, and wrote to Edmee that, as far as I was
concerned, she was free, and that, while I would not thwart a wish of
hers, it was impossible for me to witness a rival's triumph.
Before we sailed came the following reply from Edmee:
"You have done well, Bernard. Go where honour and love of truth call
you. Return when your mission is accomplished; you will find me neither
married nor in a convent."
I cannot describe the American war. I stayed till peace was declared,
and then chafing at my long absence from France, for I was away six
years--and more in love with Edmee than ever, at last set sail and in
due time landed at Brest.
I had not sent any letter to announce my coming, and when I reached the
Chateau of Sainte-Severe I almost feared to cross the threshold. Then I
rushed forward and entered the drawing room. The chevalier was asleep
and did not wake. Edmee, bending over her tapestry, did not hear my
For a few seconds I stood looking at her, then I fell at her feet
without being able to say a word. She uttered no cry, no exclamation of
surprise, but took my head in her two arms, and held it for sometime
pressed to her bosom. The good chevalier, who had waked with a start,
stared at us in astonishment; then he said:
"Well, well! what is the meaning of this?"
He could not see my face, hidden as it was in Edmee's breast. She pushed
me towards him, and the old man clasped me in his feeble arms with a
burst of generous affection.
Never shall I forget the welcome they gave me. An immense change had
taken place in me during those years of the war. I had learnt to bring
my instincts and desires into harmony with my affections, my reason, and
I had greatly developed my power of acquiring learning.
Edmee was not surprised at my intellectual progress, but she rejoiced at
it. I had shown it in my letters, she said.
My good uncle, the chevalier, now took a real liking for me, and where
formerly natural generosity and family pride had made him adopt me, a
genuine sympathy made him give me his friendship. He did not disguise
from me that his great desire, before falling into the sleep that knows
no waking, was to see me married to Edmee; and when I told him this was
the one wish of my soul, the one thought of my life, he said:
"I know, I know. Everything depends on her, and I think she can no
longer have any reasons for hesitation.... At all events," he added, "I
cannot see any that she could allege at present."
From these words I concluded that he himself had long been favourable to
my suit, and that any obstacle which might exist lay with Edmee. But so
much did I stand in awe of Edmee's sensitive pride and her unspeakable
goodness that I dared not ask her point-blank to decide my fate. M. de
la Marche I knew had left France, and all thought of an engagement on
his part with Edmee was at an end. In a proud struggle to conceal the
poverty of his estate, all his fortune had gone, and he had not been
long in following me to America.
The chevalier insisted on my visiting my property of Roche-Mauprat.
Thanks to my uncle, great improvements had been accomplished in my
absence, and the land was being well cultivated by good tenants. I knew
that I ought not to neglect my duty, and though I had not set foot on
the accursed soil since the day I left it with Edmee, I set out and was
away two days.
I stayed in the gloomy old house and the only remarkable thing about the
visit was that I had a vision of my wicked uncle John Mauprat.
_IV.--My Trial and Happiness_
We had gone on a hunting party one day after my return, and Edmee and I
were separated from the rest. Somehow the old unbridled passions rose up
within me and I succeeded in affronting Edmee with my fierce speech.
Then I hastened away, ashamed and fearful.
I had not gone more than thirty paces when I heard the report of a gun
from the spot where I had left Edmee. I stopped, petrified with horror,
and then retraced my steps. Edmee was lying on the ground, rigid and
bathed in blood. Patience was standing by her side with his arms crossed
on his breast, and his face livid. For myself, I could not understand
what was taking place. I fancy that my brain, already bewildered by my
previous emotions, must have been paralyzed. I sat down on the ground by
Edmee's side. She had been shot in the breast in two places, and the
Abbe Aubert was endeavouring to staunch the blood with his handkerchief.
"Dead, dead," said Patience, "and there is the murderer! She said so as
she gave up her pure soul to God; and Patience will avenge her! It is
very hard but it must be so! It is God's will, since I alone was here to
learn the truth!"
"Horrible, horrible!" exclaimed the Abbe.
Edmee was carried away to the chateau, and I followed and for several
days remained in a state of prostration. When strength and consciousness
returned I learnt that she was not dead, but that everybody believed me
guilty of attempted murder. Patience himself told me the only thing for
me to do was to leave that part of the country. I swore I was innocent
and would not be saddled with the crime.
Then, one evening, I saw mounted police in the courtyard.
"Good!" I said, "let my destiny take its course." But before quitting
the house, perhaps forever, I wished to see Edmee again for the last
time. I walked straight to her room, and there I found the Abbe and the
doctor. I heard the latter declare that the wounds in themselves were
not mortal, and the only danger was from a violent disturbance in the
I approached the bed, and took Edmee's cold and lifeless hand. I kissed
it a last time, and, without saying a single word to the others, went
and gave myself up to the police.
I was immediately thrown into prison and in a few days my trial began at
the assizes. I was convicted, but through the efforts of certain friends
a revision of my sentence was granted, and I was allowed a new trial.
At this trial Patience appeared and declared that, while he had believed
from what Edmee had said that I was guilty, it had come into his head
that some other Mauprat might have fired the shot. It appeared that John
Mauprat was now living in the neighbourhood, as a penitent Trappist
monk, and he had been seen in company with another monk who was not to
be found since the attack on Edmee. "So I put myself on the track of
this wandering monk," Patience concluded, "and I have discovered who he
is. He is the would-be murderer of Edmee de Mauprat, and his name is
It then turned out that Antony's plot was to kill Edmee, get me hanged
for the murder, and then, when the chevalier was dead, claim the
estates. John Mauprat knew of his brother's intentions but denied all
complicity and was eventually sent back to his monastery. Antony was
subsequently convicted and broken on the wheel.
But before I was finally acquitted Edmee herself gave evidence for me.
She was still far from well but answered clearly all the irritating and
maddening questions that were put to her. When she said to the president
of the court, "Everything which to you seems inexplicable in my conduct
finds its justification in one word: I love him!" I could not help
crying out, "Let them take me to the scaffold now; I am king of all the
But as I have said, it was proved that Antony Mauprat was the criminal;
and no sooner was I acquitted and set at liberty, with my character
completely cleared, than I hastened to Edmee.
I arrived in time to witness my great-uncle's last moments. He
recognised me, clasped me to his breast, blessed me at the same time as
Edmee, and put my hand into his daughter's.
After we had paid the last tribute of affection to our noble and
excellent relative, we left the province for sometime and paid a visit
to Switzerland, Patience and the Abbe Aubert bearing us company.
At the end of Edmee's mourning we returned. This was the time that had
been fixed for our marriage, which was duly celebrated in the village
The years of happiness with my wife beggar description. She was the only
woman I ever loved, and though she has now been dead ten years I feel
her loss as keenly as on the first day, and seek only to make myself
worthy of rejoining her in a better world after I have completed my
* * * * *
Tom Cringle's Log
Michael Scott was a merchant who turned an unquestioned
literary faculty to excellent account. Born at Cowlairs, near
Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 30, 1789, at the age of seventeen
Scott was sent to Jamaica to manage a small estate of his
father's, and a few years later entered business at Kingstown.
Both of these occupations necessitated frequent journeys, by
land and by sea, and the experiences gained thereby form the
basis of "Tom Cringle's Log." The story appeared anonymously
at intermittent intervals in "Blackwood's Magazine" (1829-33),
being published in book form in 1834. Its authorship was
attributed, among others, to Captain Marryatt, and so
successfully did Scott himself conceal his identity with it
that the secret was not known until after his death, which
occurred at Glasgow on November 7, 1835. Of its kind, "Tom
Cringle's Log" is a veritable masterpiece. Humour and pathos
and gorgeous descriptions are woven into a thrilling
narrative. Scott wrote many other things beside "Tom Cringle,"
but only one story, "The Cruise of the Midge" (1836), is in
any way comparable with his first and most famous romance.
_I.--The Quenching of the Torch_
The evening was closing in dark and rainy, with every appearance of a
gale from the westward, and the red and level rays of the setting sun
flashed on the black hull and tall spars of his Britannic Majesty's
sloop Torch. At the distance of a mile or more lay a long,
warlike-looking craft, rolling heavily and silently in the trough of the
A flash was seen; the shot fell short, but close to us, evidently thrown
from a heavy cannon.
Mr. Splinter, the first lieutenant, jumped from the gun he stood on, and
dived into the cabin to make his report.
Captain Deadeye was a staid, wall-eyed veteran, with his coat of a
regular Rodney cut, broad skirts, long waist, and stand-up collar, over
which dangled either a queue, or marlinspike with a tuft of oakum at the
end of it--it would have puzzled old Nick to say which. His lower spars
were cased in tight unmentionables of what had once been white
kerseymere, and long boots, the coal-scuttle tops of which served as
scuppers to carry off the drainings from his coat-flaps in bad weather;
he was, in fact, the "last of the sea-monsters," but, like all his
tribe, as brave as steel, and, when put to it, as alert as a cat.
He no sooner heard Splinter's report, than he sprang up the ladder.
"Clear away the larboard guns!" I absolutely jumped off the deck with
astonishment--who could have spoken it? The enemy was a heavy American
frigate, and it appeared such downright madness to show fight under the
very muzzles of her guns, half a broadside from which was sufficient to
sink us. It was the captain, however, and there was nothing for it but
"Now, men, mind your aim; our only chance is to wing him." The men--with
cutlasses buckled round their waists, and many with nothing but their
trousers on--instinctively cheered. Blaze went our cannonades and long
gun in succession, and down came the fore-topsail; the head of the
topmast had been shot away. "That will do; now knock off, my boys, and
let us run for it. Make all sail."
Jonathan was for an instant paralysed by our impudence; but he yawed and
let drive his whole broadside; and fearfully did it transmogrify us.
Half an hour before we were as gay a little sloop as ever floated, with
a crew of 120 as fine fellows as ever manned a British man-of-war. The
iron-shower sped--ten of the 120 never saw the sun rise again; 17 more
were wounded, three mortally; our hull and rigging were regularly cut to
But we had the start, crippled and be-devilled though we were; and as
the night fell, we contrived to lose sight of our large friend, and
pursue our voyage to Jamaica.
A week later, and the hurricane fell upon us. Our chainplates, strong
fastenings, and clenched bolts, drew like pliant wires, shrouds and
stays were torn away, and our masts and spars were blown clean out of
the ship into the sea. Had we shown a shred of the strongest sail in the
vessel, it would have been blown out of the bolt-rope in an instant.
With four men at the wheel, one watch at the pumps, and the other
clearing the wreck, we had to get her before the wind.
Our spirits were soon dashed, when the old carpenter, one of the coolest
and bravest men in the ship, rose through the forehatch pale as a ghost,
with his white hairs streaming out in the wind. He did not speak to any
of us, but clambered aft, towards the capstan, to which the captain had
"The water is rushing in forward like a mill-stream, sir; she is fast
settling down by the head."
The brig, was, indeed, rapidly losing her buoyancy.
"Stand by, to heave the guns overboard."
Too late, too late! Oh, God, that cry! I was stunned and drowning, a
chaos of wreck was beneath me and around me and above me, and blue,
agonised, gasping faces and struggling arms, and colourless clutching
hands, and despairing yells for help, where help was impossible; when I
felt a sharp bite on the neck, and breathed again. My Newfoundland dog,
Sneezer, had snatched at me, and dragged me out of the eddy of the
For life, dear life, nearly suffocated, amidst the hissing spray, we
reached the cutter, the dog and his helpless master.
* * * * *
For three miserable days I had been exposed, half naked and bareheaded,
in an open boat, without water, or food, or shade. The third fierce West
Indian noon was long passed, and once more the dry, burning sun sank in
the west, like a red hot shield of iron. I glared on the noble dog as he
lay at the bottom of the boat, and would have torn at his throat with my
teeth, not for food, but that I might drink his hot blood; but as he
turned his dull, gray, glazing eye on me, the pulses of my heart
stopped, and I fell senseless.
When my recollection returned, I was stretched on some fresh plantain
leaves, in a low, smoky hut, with my faithful dog lying beside me,
whining and licking my hands and face. Underneath the joists, that bound
the rafters of the roof together, lay a corpse, wrapped in a boatsail,
on which was clumsily written with charcoal, "The body of John Deadeye,
Esq., late commander of his Britannic Majesty's sloop Torch."
There was a fire on the floor, at which Lieutenant Splinter, in his
shirt and trousers, drenched, unshorn, and death-like, was roasting a
joint of meat, whilst a dwarfish Indian sat opposite to him fanning the
flame with a palm-leaf. I had been nourished during my delirium; for the
fierceness of my sufferings were assuaged, and I was comparatively
strong. I anxiously inquired of the lieutenant the fate of our
"All gone down in the old Torch; and had it not been for the launch and
our four-footed friend there, I should not have been here to have told
it. All that the sharks have left of the captain and five seamen came
ashore last night. I have buried the poor fellows on the beach where
they lay, as well as I could, with an oar-blade for a shovel, and the
_bronze ornament_ there," pointing to the Indian, "for an assistant."
_II.--Perils on Land_
I was awakened by the low growling and short bark of the dog. The night
was far spent, and the amber rays of the yet unrisen sun were shooting
up in the east.
"That's a musket shot," said the lieutenant. The Indian crept to the
door, and placed his open palms behind his ears. The distant wail of a
bugle was heard, then three or four dropping shots again, in rapid
succession. Mr. Splinter stooped to go forth, but the Indian caught him
by the leg, uttering the single word "Espanoles" (Spaniards).
On the instant a young Indian woman, with a shrieking infant in her
arms, rushed to the door. There was a blue gunshot wound in her neck,
and her features were sharpened as if in the agony of death. Another
shot, and the child's small, shrill cry blended with the mother's death
shriek; falling backwards the two rolled over the brow of the hill out
of sight. The ball had pierced the heart of the parent through the body
of her offspring. By this time a party of Spanish soldiers had
surrounded the hut, one of whom, kneeling before the low door, pointed
his musket into it. The Indian, who had seen his wife and child shot
down before his face, fired his rifle and the man fell dead.
Half a dozen musket balls were now fired at random through the wattles
of the hut, while the lieutenant, who spoke Spanish well, sung out
lustily that we were English officers who had been shipwrecked.
"Pirates!" growled the officer of the party. "Pirates leagued with
Indian bravos; fire the hut, soldiers, and burn the scoundrels!"
There was no time to be lost; Mr. Splinter made a vigorous attempt to
get out, in which I seconded him with all the strength that remained to
me, but they beat us back again with the butts of their muskets.
"Where are your commissions, your uniforms, if you be British officers?"
We had neither, and our fate appeared inevitable.
The doorway was filled with brushwood, fire was set to the hut, and we
heard the crackling of the palm thatch, while thick, stifling white
smoke burst in upon us through the roof.
"Lend a hand, Tom, now or never." We laid our shoulders to the end wall,
and heaved at it with all our might; when we were nearly at our last
gasp it gave way, and we rushed headlong into the middle of the party,
followed by Sneezer, with his shaggy coat, full of clots of tar, blazing
like a torch. He unceremoniously seized, _par le queue_, the soldier who
had throttled me, setting fire to the skirts of his coat, and blowing up
his cartridge-box. I believe, under Providence, that the ludicrousness
of this attack saved us from being bayoneted on the spot. It gave time
for Mr. Splinter to recover his breath, when, being a powerful man, he
shook off the two soldiers who had seized him, and dashed into the
burning hut again. I thought he was mad, especially when I saw him
return with his clothes and hair on fire, dragging out the body of the
captain. He unfolded the sail it was wrapped up in, and pointing to the
remains of the naval uniform in which the mutilated corpse was dressed,
he said sternly to the officer, "We are in your power, and you may
murder us if you will; but _that_ was my captain four days ago, and you
see at least _he_ was a British officer--satisfy yourself."
The person he addressed, a handsome young Spaniard, shuddered at the
When he saw the crown and anchor, and his Majesty's cipher on the
appointments of the dead officer, he became convinced of our quality,
and changed his tone.
"'Tis true, he is an Englishman. But, gentlemen, were there not three
persons in the hut?"
There were, indeed, and the Indian perished in the flames, making no
attempt to escape.
The officer, who belonged to the army investing Carthagena, now treated
us with great civility; he heard our story, and desired his men to
assist us in burying the remains of our late commander.
We stayed that night with the captain of the outpost, who received us
very civilly at a temporary guard-house, and apologised for the
discomfort under which we must pass the night. He gave us the best he
had, and that was bad enough, both of food and wine, before showing us
into the hut, where we found a rough deal coffin, lying on the very
bench that was to be our bed. This he ordered away with all the coolness
in the world, saying, "It was only one of his people who had died that
morning of yellow fever."
"Comfortable country this," quoth Splinter, "and a pleasant morning we
have had of it, Tom!"
From the Spanish headquarters at Torrecilla we were allowed to go to the
village of Turbaco, a few miles distant from the city for change of air.
"Why, Peter," said Mr. Splinter, addressing a negro who sat mending his
jacket in one of the enclosures near the water gate of the arsenal,
"don't you know me?"
"Cannot say dat I do," rejoined the negro, very gravely. "Have not de
honour of your acquaintance, sir."
"Confound you, sir! But I know you well enough, my man; and you can
scarcely have forgotten Lieutenant Splinter of the Torch, one would
The name so startled the poor fellow, that in his hurry to unlace his
legs, as he sat tailor-fashion, he fairly capsized and toppled down on
"Eh!--no--yes, him sure enough! And who is de piccaniny hofficer? Oh! I
see, Massa Tom Cringle! Where have you dropped from, gentlemen? Where is
de old Torch? Many a time hab I, Peter Mangrove, pilot to him Britannic
Majesty's squadron, taken de old brig in and through amongst de keys at
"She will never give you that trouble again, my boy--foundered--all
hands lost, Peter, but the two you see before you."
"Werry sorry, Massa 'Plinter, werry sorry. What? de black cook's-mate
and all? But misfortune can't be help. Stop till I put up my needle, and
I will take a turn wid you. Proper dat British hofficers in distress
should assist one anoder--we shall consult togeder. How can I serve
"Why, Peter, if you could help us to a passage to Port Royal, it would
be serving us most essentially. Here we have been for more than a month,
without a single vessel belonging to the station having looked in; our
money is running short, and in another six weeks we shall not have a
shot left in the locker."
The negro looked steadfastly at us, and then carefully around before he
"You see, Massa 'Plinter, I am desirable to serve you; it is good for me
at present to make some friend wid the hofficer of de squadron, being as
how dat I am absent widout leave. If you will promise dat you will stand
my friends, I will put you in de way of getting a shove across to de
east end of Jamaica; and I will go wid you, too, for company. But you
must promise dat you will not seek to know more of de vessel, nor of her
crew, than dey are willing to tell you, provided you are landed safe."
Mr. Splinter agreed and presently Peter Mangrove went off in a canoe to a
large, shallow vessel, to reappear with another blackamoor, of as
ungainly an exterior as could well be imagined.
"Pray, sir, are you the master of that vessel?" said the lieutenant.
"No, sir, I am the mate; and I learn you are desirous of a passage to
Jamaica." This was spoken with a broad Scotch accent.
"Yes, we do," said I, in very great astonishment; "but we will not sail
with the devil; and who ever saw a negro Scotchman before?"
The fellow laughed. "I am black, as you see; so were my father and
mother before me. But I was born in the good town of Glasgow,
notwithstanding; and many a voyage I have made as cabin-boy and cook
with worthy old Jock Hunter. But here comes our captain. Captain
Vanderbosh, here are two shipwrecked British officers who wish to be put
ashore in Jamaica; will you take them, and what will you charge for
The man he spoke to was a sun-burnt, iron-visaged veteran.
"Vy for von hundred thaler I will land dem safe in de bay."
The bargain was ratified, and that same evening we set sail. When off
the San Domingo Gate two boats full of men joined us, and our crew was
strengthened by about forty as ugly Christians, of all ages and
countries, as I ever set eyes on. From the moment they came on board
Captain Vanderbosh sank into the petty officer, and the Scottish negro
took the command, evincing great coolness, energy, and skill.
When night had fallen the captain made out a sail to windward.
Immediately every inch of canvas was close furled, every light carefully
extinguished, a hundred and twenty men with cutlasses at quarters, and
the ship under bare poles. The strange sail could be seen through the
night-glasses; she now burned a blue light--without doubt an old
fellow-cruiser of ours, the Spark.
"She is from Santa Martha with a freight of specie, I know," said
Williamson. "I will try a brush with her."
"I know the craft," Splinter struck in, "a heavy vessel of her class,
and you may depend on hard knocks and small profit if you do take her;
while, if she takes you----"
"I'll be hanged if she does," said Williamson, and he grinned at the
conceit; "or, rather, I will blow the schooner up with my own hand
before I strike; better that than have one's bones bleached in chains on
a quay at Port Royal. But you cannot control us, gentlemen; so get down
below, and take Peter Mangrove with you. I would not willingly see those
come to harm who have trusted me."
However, there was no shot flying as yet, and we stayed on deck. All
sail was once more made, and presently the cutter saw us, tacked, and
stood towards us. Her commander hailed: "Ho, the brigantine, ahoy! What
schooner is that?"
"Spanish schooner, Caridad," sung out Williamson.
"Heave-to, and send your boat on board."
"We have none that will swim, sir."
"Very well, bring to, and I will send mine."
We heard the splash of the jolly-boat touching the water; then the
measured stroke of the oars, and a voice calling out, "Give way, my
The character of the vessel we were on board of was now evident; and the
bitter reflection that we were, as it were, chained to the stake on
board of a pirate, on the eve of a fierce contest with one of our own
cruisers, was aggravated by the consideration that a whole boat's crew
would be sacrificed before a shot was fired.
The officer in the boat had no sooner sprung on board than he was caught
by two strong hands, gagged, and thrown down the main hatchway.
"Heave," cried a voice, "and with a will!" and four cold 32-pound shot
were hove at once into the boat alongside, which, crashing through her
bottom, swamped her in a moment, precipitating the miserable crew into
the boiling sea. Their shrieks rang in my ears as they clung to the oars
and some loose planks of the boat.
"Bring up the officer, and take out the gag," said Williamson.
Poor Malcolm, who had been an old messmate of mine, was now dragged to
the gangway, his face bleeding, and heavily ironed, when the blackamoor,
clapping a pistol to his head, bade him, as he feared instant death,
hail the cutter for another boat.
The young midshipman turned his pale mild countenance upwards as he said
firmly, "Never!" The miscreant fired, and he fell dead.
"Fire!" The whole broadside was poured in, and we could hear the shot
rattle and tear along the cutter's deck, and the shrieks and groans of
We now ranged alongside, and close action commenced; never do I expect
to see such an infernal scene again. Up to this moment all had been
coolness and order on board the pirate; but when the yards locked, the
crew broke loose from all control--they ceased to be men--they were
demons, for they threw their own dead and wounded indiscriminately down
the hatchways, to get clear of them. They had stripped themselves almost
naked; and although they fought with the most desperate courage, yelling
and cursing, each in his own tongue, yet their very numbers, pent up in
a small vessel, were against them. Amidst the fire and smoke we could
see that the deck had become a very shamble; and unless they soon
carried the cutter by boarding, it was clear that the coolness and
discipline of the service must prevail. The pirates seemed aware of this
themselves, for they now made a desperate attempt at boarding, led on by
the black captain. While the rush forward was being made, by a sudden
impulse, Splinter and I, followed by Peter, scrambled from our shelter,
and in our haste jumped down, knocking over the man at the wheel.
There was no time to be lost; if any of the crew came aft we were dead
men; so we tumbled down through the cabin skylight, and stowed ourselves
away in the side berths. The noise on deck soon ceased--the cannon were
again plied--gradually the fire slackened, and we could hear that the
pirate had scraped clear and escaped. Some time after this, the
lieutenant commanding the cutter came down. We both knew him well, and
he received us cordially.
In a week we were landed at Port Royal.
* * * * *
I was a midshipman when I began my log, but before I finally left the
West Indies I was promoted to the rank of commander, and appointed to
the Lotus Leaf, under orders for England.
Before I set sail, however, I was married to my cousin Mary in Jamaica;
and when we got to Old England, where the Lotus Leaf was paid off, I
settled for a time on shore, the happiest, etc., until some years
afterwards, when the wee Cringles began to tumble home so fast that I
had to cut and run, and once more betake myself to the salt sea.
* * * * *
SIR WALTER SCOTT
Sir Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh on August 15, 1771. As
a child he was feeble and sickly, and very early he was
smitten with lameness which remained with him through life,
although he matured into a man of robust health. He was
educated for the law, which he began to practise in 1792.
Although he had fair success in his profession, he soon began
to occupy his leisure time with literature, and his first work
was published in 1796. The first of the "Waverley" series made
its appearance anonymously in 1814. As the series progressed,
it became known that Walter Scott was the author of the famous
novels, and he became the idol of the hour. In 1820 a
baronetcy was bestowed upon him. Six years later he joined an
old friend in the establishment of a large printing and
publishing business in Edinburgh, but the venture was not
successful, and Scott soon found himself a bankrupt. Here his
manhood and proud integrity were most nobly shown. With stern
and unfaltering resolution, he set himself to the task of
paying his debts from the profits of his pen. Within a space
of two years he realised for his creditors the amazing sum of
nearly forty thousand pounds, but the limits of endurance had
been reached, and in 1830 he was smitten down with paralysis,
from which he never thoroughly rallied. He died at Abbotsford
on September 31, 1832. As a lyrist Scott especially excelled,
and as a novelist he takes rank among the foremost. Although
many of his works are lax and careless in structure, yet if a
final test in greatness in the field of novel writing be the
power to vitalise character, very few writers can be held to
surpass Sir Walter Scott. According to Basil Hall, "The
Antiquary" was Scott's own favourite romance. It was published
in May, 1816, the third of the Waverley Novels, and in it the
author intended to illustrate the manners of Scotland during
the last ten years of the eighteenth century. "I have been
more solicitous," he writes, "to describe manners minutely,
than to arrange in any case an artificial and combined
narrative, and have but to regret that I felt myself unable to
unite these two requisites of a good novel." Scott took
considerable pains to point out that old Edie Ochiltree, the
wandering mendicant with his blue gown, was by no means to be
confounded with the utterly degraded class of beings who now
practise that wandering trade. Although "The Antiquary" was
not so well received on its first appearance as "Waverley" or
"Guy Mannering," it soon rose to equal, and with some readers,
It was early on a fine summer's day, near the end of the eighteenth
century, when a young man of genteel appearance, journeying towards the
north-east of Scotland, provided himself with a ticket in one of those
public carriages which travel between Edinburgh and the Queensferry, at
which place there is a passage-boat for crossing the Firth of Forth.
The young gentleman was soon joined by a companion, a good-looking man
of the age of sixty, perhaps older, but his hale complexion and firm
step announced that years had not impaired his strength of health. This
senior traveller, Mr. Jonathan Oldenbuck (by popular contraction
Oldbuck), of Monkbarns, was the owner of a small property in the
neighbourhood of a thriving seaport town on the north-eastern coast of
Scotland, which we shall denominate Fairport. His tastes were
antiquarian, his wishes very moderate. The burghers of the town regarded
him with a sort of envy, as one who affected to divide himself from
their rank in society, and whose studies and pleasures seemed to them
alike incomprehensible. Some habits of hasty irritation he had
contracted, partly from an early disappointment in love, but yet more by
the obsequious attention paid to him by his maiden sister and his orphan
Mr. Oldbuck, finding his fellow-traveller an interested and intelligent
auditor, plunged at once into a sea of discussion concerning urns,
vases, and Roman camps, and when they reached Queensferry, and stopped
for dinner at the inn, he at once made some advances towards
ascertaining the name, destination, and quality of his young companion.
His name, the young gentleman said, was Lovel. His father was a north of
England gentleman. He was at present travelling to Fairport, and if he
found the place agreeable, might perhaps remain there for some weeks.
"Was Mr. Lovel's excursion solely for pleasure?"
"Perhaps on business with some of the commercial people of Fairport?"
"It was partly on business, but had no reference to commerce."
Here he paused, and Mr. Oldbuck, having pushed his inquiries as far as
good manners permitted, was obliged to change the conversation.
The mutual satisfaction which they found in each other's society induced
Mr. Oldbuck to propose, and Lovel willingly to accept, a scheme for
travelling together to the end of their journey. A postchaise having
been engaged, they arrived at Fairport about two o'clock on the
Lovel probably expected that his travelling companion would have invited
him to dinner on his arrival; but his consciousness of a want of ready
preparation for unexpected guests prevented Oldbuck from paying him that
attention. He only begged to see him as early as he could make it
convenient to call in a forenoon, and recommended him to a widow who had
apartments to let.
A few days later, when his baggage had arrived from Edinburgh, Mr. Lovel
went forth to pay his respects at Monkbarns, and received a cordial
welcome from Mr. Oldbuck. They parted the best of friends, but the
antiquary was still at a loss to know what this well-informed young man,
without friends, connections, or employment, could have to do as a
resident at Fairport. Neither port wine nor whist had apparently any
charms for him. A coffee-room was his detestation, and he had as few
sympathies with the tea-table. There was never a Master Lovel of whom so
little positive was known, but nobody knew any harm of him.
"A decent, sensible lad," said the Laird of Monkbarns to himself, when
these particulars of Lovel had been reported to him. "He scorns to enter
into the fooleries and nonsense of these idiot people at Fairport. I
must do something for him--I must give him a dinner, and I will write to
Sir Arthur to come to Monkbarns to meet him. I must consult my
Accordingly, such consultation having been held, the following letter
was sent to Sir Arthur Wardour, of Knockwinnock Castle:
"Dear Sir Arthur,--On Tuesday, the 17th inst, I hold a symposium at
Monkbarns, and pray you to assist thereat, at four o'clock precisely. If
my fair enemy, Miss Isabel, can and will honour us by accompanying you,
my womankind will be but too proud. I have a young acquaintance to make
known to you, who is touched with some stain of a better spirit than
belong to these giddy-paced times, reveres his elders, and has a pretty
notion of the classics. And as such a youth must have a natural contempt
for the people about Fairport, I wish to show him some rational as well
as worshipful society. I am, dear Sir Arthur, etc., etc."
In reply to this, at her father's request, Miss Wardour intimated, "her
own and Sir Arthur's compliments, and that they would have the honour of
waiting upon Mr. Oldbuck. Miss Wardour takes this opportunity to renew
her hostility with Mr. Oldbuck, on account of his long absence from
Knockwinnock, where his visits give so much pleasure."
_II.--The Treacherous Sands_
Sir Arthur and his daughter had set out, on leaving Monkbarns, to return
to Knockwinnock by the turnpike road; but when they discerned Lovel a
little before them Miss Wardour immediately proposed to her father that
they should take another direction, and walk home by the sands.
Sir Arthur acquiesced willingly, and the two left the high road, and
soon attained the side of the ocean. The tide was by no means so far out
as they had computed; but this gave them no alarm; there was seldom ten
days in the year when it approached so near the cliffs as not to leave a
As they advanced together in silence a sudden change of weather made
Miss Wardour draw close to her father. As the sun sank the wind rose,
and the mass of waters began to lift itself in larger ridges, and sink
in deeper furrows. Presently, through the drizzling rain, they saw a
figure coming towards them, whom Sir Arthur recognised as the old
blue-gowned beggar, Edie Ochiltree.
"Turn back! Turn back!" exclaimed the vagrant. "The tide is running on
Halket-head, like the Fall of Fyers! We will maybe get back by Ness
Point yet. The Lord help us--it's our only chance! We can but try."
The waves had now encroached so much upon the beach, that the firm and
smooth footing which they had hitherto had on the sand must be exchanged
for a rougher path close to the foot of the precipice, and in some
places even raised upon its lower ledges. It would have been utterly
impossible for Sir Arthur Wardour or his daughter to have found their
way along these shelves without the guidance and encouragement of the
beggar, who had been there before in high tides, though never, he
acknowledged, "in sae awsome a night as this."
It was indeed a dreadful evening. The howling of the storm mingled with
the shrieks of the sea-fowl. Each minute the raging tide gained ground
perceptibly. The three still struggled forward; but at length they
paused upon the highest ledge of rock to which they could attain, for it
seemed that any farther attempt to advance could only serve to
anticipate their fate.
The fearful pause gave Isabella Wardour time to collect the powers of a
mind naturally strong and courageous.
"Must we yield life," she said, "without a struggle? Is there no path,
however dreadful, by which we could climb the crag?"
"I was a bold cragsman," said Ochiltree, "once in my life; but it's lang
syne, and nae mortal could speel them without a rope. But there was a
path here ance--His name be praised!" he ejaculated suddenly, "there's
ane coming down the crag e'en now! there's ane coming down the crag e'en
now!" Then, exalting his voice, he halloo'd out to the daring adventurer
such instructions as his former practice forced upon his mind.
The adventurer, following the directions of old Edie, flung him down the
end of the rope, which he secured around Miss Wardour. Then, availing
himself of the rope, which was made fast at the other end, Ochiltree
began to ascent the face of the crag, and after one or two perilous
escapes, was safe on the broad flat stone beside our friend Lovel. Their
joint strength was able to raise Isabella to the place of safety which
they had attained, and the next thing was to raise Sir Arthur beyond the
reach of the billows.
The prospect of passing a tempestuous night upon a precipitous piece of
rock, where the spray of the billows flew high enough to drench them,
filled old Ochiltree with apprehension for Miss Wardour.
"I'll climb up the cliff again," said Lovel, "and call for more
"If ye gang, I'll gang too," said the bedesman.
"Hark! hark!" said Lovel. "Did I not hear a halloo?"
The unmistakable shout of human voices from above was soon augmented,
and the gleam of torches appeared.
On the verge of the precipice an anxious group had now assembled.
Oldbuck was the foremost and most earnest, pressing forward with
unwonted desperation to the very brink of the crag. Some fishermen had
brought with them the mast of a boat, and this was soon sunk in the
ground and sufficiently secured. A yard, across the upright mast, and a
rope stretched along it, and reeved through a block at each end, formed
an extempore crane, which afforded the means of lowering an arm-chair
down to the flat shelf on which the sufferers had roosted.
Lovel bound Miss Wardour to the back and arms of the chair, while
Ochiltree kept Sir Arthur quiet.
"What are ye doing wi' my bairn? She shall not be separated from me!
Isabel, stay with me, I command you!"
"Farewell, my father!" murmured Isabella; "farewell, my--my friends!"
and, shutting her eyes, she gave the signal to Lovel, and he to those
who were above.
A loud shout announced the success of the experiment. The chair was
again lowered, and Sir Arthur made fast in it; and after Sir Arthur had
been landed safe and sound, old Ochiltree was brought up; finally Lovel
was safely grounded upon the summit of the cliff. As he recovered from a
sort of half-swoon, occasioned by the giddiness of the ascent, he cast
his eyes eagerly around. The object for which they sought was already in
the act of vanishing. Her white garment was just discernible as she
followed on the path which her father had taken. She had lingered till
she saw the last of their company rescued from danger, but Lovel was not
aware that she had expressed in his fate even this degree of interest.
Some few weeks after the perilous escape from the tide, Sir Arthur
invited Mr. Lovel and the Monkbarns family to join him on a visit to the
ruins of a certain priory in the neighbourhood. Lovel at once accepted,
and Mr. Oldbuck decided that there would be room for his niece in a
postchaise. This niece, Mary M'Intyre, like her brother Hector, was an
orphan. They were the offspring of a sister of Monkbarns, who had
married one Captain M'Intyre, a Highlander. Both parents being dead, the
son and daughter were left to the charge of Mr. Oldbuck. The nephew was
now a captain in the army, the niece had her home at Monkbarns.
All went happily at Sir Arthur's party at the ruins, until the
unexpected arrival of Hector M'Intyre. This newcomer, a handsome young
man about five-and-twenty, had ridden to Monkbarns, and learning his
uncle's absence had come straight on to join the company. On his
introduction to Lovel the young soldier bowed with more reserve than
cordiality, and Lovel was equally frigid and haughty in return.
Miss Wardour's obvious determination not to allow Captain M'Intyre an
opportunity for private conversation with her drove Hector to speak to
"Pray who is this Mr. Lovel, whom our old uncle has at once placed so
high in his good graces?"
"If you mean how Mr. Lovel comes to visit at Monkbarns you must ask my
uncle; and you must know that Mr. Lovel rendered Miss Wardour and him a
service of the most important kind."
"What! that romantic story is true, then? And does the valorous knight
aspire to the hand of the young lady whom he redeemed from peril? I did
think that she was uncommonly dry to me as we walked together."
"Dear Hector," said his sister, "do not continue to nourish any
affection for Miss Wardour. Your perseverance is hopeless. Above all, do
not let this violent temper of yours lead you to lose the favour of our
uncle, who has hitherto been all that is kind and paternal to us."
Captain M'Intyre promised to behave civilly, and returned to the
On Lovel mentioning, in the course of conversation, that he was an
officer in a certain regiment, M'Intyre could not refrain from declaring
that he knew the officers of that regiment, and had never heard of the
name of Lovel.
Lovel blushed deeply, and taking a letter out of an envelope, handed it
to M'Intyre. The latter acknowledged the handwriting of General Sir
----, but remarked that the address was missing.
"The address, Captain M'Intyre," answered Lovel, "shall be at your
service whenever you choose to inquire after it."
"I certainly shall not fail to do so," rejoined Hector.
The party broke up, Lovel returned to Fairport, and early next morning
was waited upon by a military friend of Captain M'Intyre. Upon Lovel
declining to give his name the captain insisted on his fighting, and
that very evening the duel was arranged to take place in a valley close
by the ruins of St. Ruth.
Captain M'Intyre's ball grazed the side of his opponent, but did not
draw blood. That of Lovel was more true, and M'Intyre reeled and fell.
The grasp of old Ochiltree, who had appeared on the scene, roused Lovel
to movement, and leaving M'Intyre to the care of a surgeon, he followed
the bedesman into the recesses of the wood, in order to get away by boat
the following morning.
Amid the secret passages of the ruins, well known to Ochiltree, Lovel
was to pass the night; but all rest was impossible by the discovery of
two human figures, one of whom Lovel made out to be a German named
Donsterswivel, a swindling impostor who promised discoveries of gold to
Sir Arthur Wardour, gold buried in the ruins, and only to be unearthed
by magic and considerable expenditure of ready money.
"That other ane," whispered Edie, "maun be, according to a' likelihood,
Sir Arthur Wardour. I ken naebody but himself wad come here at this time
wi' that German blackguard."
Donsterswivel, with much talk of planetary influences, and spirits, and
"suffumigation," presently set fire to a little pile of chips, and when
the flame was at the highest flung in a handful of perfumes, which
produced a strong and pungent odour.
A violent explosion of sneezing, which the mendicant was unable to
suppress, accompanied by a grunting, half-smothered cough, confounded
the two treasure-seekers.
"I was begun to think," said the terrified German, "that this would be
bestermost done in de daylight; we was bestermost to go away just now."
"You juggling villain!" said the baronet; "this is some legerdemain
trick of yours to get off from the performance of your promise, as you
have so often done before. You shall show me that treasure, or confess
yourself a knave."
Here Edie, who began to enter into the humour of the scene, uttered an
extraordinary howl. Donsterswivel flung himself on his knees. "Dear Sir
Arthur, let us go, or let me go!"
"No, you cheating scoundrel!" said the knight, unsheathing his sword. "I
will see this treasure before you leave this place, or, by heaven, I'll
run this sword through you though all the spirits of the dead should
rise around us!"
"For de lofe of heaven, be patient, mine honoured patron; do not speak
about de spirits--it makes dem angry."
Donsterswivel at length proceeded to a corner of the building where lay
a flat stone upon the ground. With great trepidation he removed the
stone, threw out a shovelful or two of earth, and produced a small case
or casket. This was at once opened by the baronet, and appeared to be
filled with coin.
"This is being indeed in good luck," said Sir Arthur; "and if you think
it omens proportional success upon a larger venture, I will hazard the
But the German's guilty conscience and superstitious fears made him
anxious to escape, and accordingly he hurried Sir Arthur from the spot.
"Saw onybody e'er the like o' that!" said Edie to Lovel.
"His faith in the fellow is entirely restored," said Lovel, "by this
deception, which he had arranged beforehand."
"Ay, ay; trust him for that. He wants to wile him out o' his last
guinea, and then escape to his own country, the land-louper."
But thanks to old Edie's efforts, Donsterswivel was checked in his
scheme for the plunder of Sir Arthur Wardour.
_IV.--The Secret is Disclosed_
Captain M'Intyre's wound turned out to be not so dangerous as was at
first suspected, and after some six weeks' nursing at Monkbarns, the
hot-tempered soldier was once more in full health.
It was during those weeks that the Antiquary met after an interval of
more than twenty years, the Earl of Glenallan, a neighbouring laird.
Lord Glenallan and Mr. Oldbuck had both loved the same lady, Eveline
Neville, and against the commands of the old countess, his mother,
Glenallan had married Miss Neville. Driven by the false taunts of the
countess to believe, as her husband did, the marriage invalid, the
unhappy Eveline had thrown herself from the cliffs into the sea, and the
child born to her had been kept in concealment in England by her
brother, Geraldin Neville. The countess died, and an old fish woman,
once the countess's confidential maid, when dying, demanded to see Lord
Glenallan, and on her death-bed told him the truth, and that his child
The scare of a French invasion brought Lord Glenallan, with Mr. Oldbuck,
and Sir Arthur Wardour, to Fairport, and to his uncle's surprise and
satisfaction, Captain M'Intyre acted as military adviser to the
volunteers with remarkable presence of mind, giving instructions calmly
The arrival of an officer from headquarters was eagerly expected in
Fairport, and at length a cry among the people announced "There's the
brave Major Neville come at last!" A postchaise and four drove into the
square, amidst the huzzas of the volunteers and inhabitants, and what
was the surprise of all present, but most especially that of the
Antiquary, when the handsome uniform and military cap disclosed the
person and features of the pacific Lovel! A warm embrace was necessary
to assure him that his eyes were doing him justice. Sir Arthur was no
less surprised to recognise his son, Captain Wardour, as Major Neville's
The first words of the young officers were a positive assurance to all
present that their efforts were unnecessary, that what was merely an
accidental bonfire had been taken for a beacon.
The Antiquary found his arm pressed by Lord Glenallan, who dragged him
aside. "For God's sake, who is that young gentleman who is so strikingly
"Like the unfortunate Eveline," interrupted Oldbuck. "I felt my heart
warm to him from the first. Formerly I would have called him Lovel, but
now he turns out to be Major Neville."
"Whom my brother brought up as his natural son--whom he made his
heir--the child of my Eveline!"
Mr. Oldbuck at once determined to make further investigation, and
returned to Major Neville, who was now arranging for the dispersion of
the force which had been assembled.
"Pray, Major Neville, leave this business for a moment to Captain
Wardour and to Hector, with whom, I hope, you are thoroughly
reconciled"--Neville laughed, and shook hands with Hector across the
table--"and grant me a moment's audience."
"You have every claim on me," said Neville, "for having passed myself
upon you under a false name. But I am so unfortunate as to have no
better right to the name of Neville, than that of Lovel."
"I believe I know more of your birth than you do yourself, and to
convince you of it, you were educated and known as a natural son of
Geraldin Neville, of Neville's-burg, in Yorkshire."
"I did believe Mr. Geraldin Neville was my father, but during the war in
French Flanders, I found in a convent near where we were quartered, a
woman who spoke good English--a Spaniard. She discovered who I was, and
made herself known to me as the person who had charge of me in my
infancy, and intimated that Mr. Geraldin Neville was not my father. The
convent was burned by the enemy, and several nuns perished, among others
this woman. I wrote to Mr. Neville, and on my return implored him to
complete the disclosure. He refused, and, on my importunity, indignantly
upbraided me with the favours he had already conferred. We parted in
mutual displeasure. I renounced the name of Neville, and assumed that of
Lovel. It was at this time, when residing with a friend in the north of
England, that I became acquainted with Miss Wardour, and was romantic
enough to follow her to Scotland. When I was at Fairport, I received
news of Mr. Neville's death. He had made me his heir, but the possession
of considerable wealth did not prevent me from remembering Sir Arthur's
strong prejudices against illegitimacy. Then came my quarrel with
Captain M'Intyre, and my compelled departure from Fairport."
"Well, Major Neville, you must, I believe, exchange both of your aliases
for the style and title of the Honourable William Geraldin, commonly
called Lord Geraldin."
The Antiquary then went through the strange and melancholy circumstances
concerning his mother's death. "And now, my dear sir," said he, in
conclusion, "let me have the pleasure of introducing a son to a father."
We will not attempt to describe such a meeting. The proof on all sides
was found to be complete, for Mr. Neville had left a distinct account of
the whole transaction with his confidential steward in a small packet,
which was not to be opened until the death of the old countess.
In the evening of that day, the yeomanry and volunteers of Glenallan
drank prosperity to their young master; and a month afterwards, Lord
Glenallan was married to Miss Wardour.
Hector is rising rapidly in the army, and rises proportionally high in
his uncle's favour.
* * * * *
"Guy Mannering, or, the Astrologer," the second of the
Waverley series, represents the labour of six weeks. Although
the novel was completed in so short a period, neither
story--if one or two instances of evidences of haste is
ignored--nor characterisation has suffered. For the main theme
Scott was indebted to an old legend of the horoscope of a
new-born infant. In common with nearly all his tales, several
of the characters in "Guy Mannering" were founded on real
persons; Meg Merrilies was the prototype of a gipsy named
Jennie Gordon, and many of the personal features of Dominie
Sampson were obtained from a clergyman who once acted as tutor
at Abbotsford. The hero was at once recognised by Hogg, the
Ettrick shepherd, as a portrait of Scott himself.
It was in the month of November, 17--, when a young English gentleman,
who had just left the University of Oxford, being benighted while
sightseeing in Dumfriesshire, sought shelter at Ellangowan, on the very
night the heir was born. Our hero, Guy Mannering, entering into the
simple humour of Mr. Bertram, his host, agreed to calculate the infant's
horoscope by the stars, having in early youth studied with an old
clergyman who had a firm belief in astrology.
Mannering had once before tried a similar piece of foolery, at the
instance of the young lady to whom he was betrothed, and now found that
the result of the scheme in both cases presaged misfortune in the same
year to the infant as to her. To the baby, three periods would be
particularly hazardous--his fifth, his tenth, his twenty-first year.
He mentally relinquished his art for ever, and to prevent the child
being supposed to be the object of evil prediction, he gave the paper
into Mr. Bertram's hand, and requested him to keep it for five years
with the seal unbroken, after which period he left him at liberty,
trusting that the first fatal year being safely overpast, no credit
would be paid to its farther contents.
When Mrs. Bertram was able to work again, her first employment was to
make a small velvet bag for the scheme of nativity; and though her
fingers itched to break the seal, she had the firmness to enclose it in
two slips of parchment, and put it in the bag aforesaid, and hang it
round the neck of the infant.
It was again in the month of November, more than twenty years after the
above incident, that a loud rapping was heard at the door of the Gordon
Arms at Kippletringan.
"I wish, madam," said the traveller, entering the kitchen, where several
neighbours were assembled, "you would give me leave to warm myself here,
for the night is very cold."
His appearance, voice, and manner, produced an instantaneous effect in
his favour. The landlady installed her guest comfortably by the
fireside, and offered what refreshment her house afforded.
"A cup of tea, ma'am, if you will favour me." Mrs. MacCandlish bustled
about, and proceeded in her duties with her best grace, explaining that
she had a very nice parlour, and everything agreeable for gentlefolks;
but it was bespoke to-night for a gentleman and his daughter, that were
going to leave this part of the country.
The sound of wheels was now heard, and the postilion entered. "No, they
canna' come at no rate, the laird's sae ill."
"But God help them," said the landlady. "The morn's the term--the very
last day they can bide in the house--a' things to be roupit."
"Weel, I tell you, Mr. Bertram canna be moved."
"What Mr. Bertram?" said the stranger. "Not Mr. Bertram of Ellangowan, I
"Just e'en that same, sir; and if ye be a friend o' his, ye've come at a
time when he's sair bested."
"I have been abroad for many years. Is his health so much deranged?"
"Ay, and his affairs an' a'. The creditors have entered into possession
o' the estate, and it's for sale. And some that made the maist o' him,
they're sairest on him now. I've a sma' matter due mysell, but I'd
rather have lost it than gane to turn the auld man out of his house, and
him just dying."
"Ay, but," said the parish clerk, "Factor Glossin wants to get rid of
the auld laird, and drive on the sale, for fear the heir-male should
cast up; for if there's an heir-male, they canna sell the estate for
auld Ellangowan's debt."
"He had a son born a good many years ago," said the stranger. "He is
dead, I suppose?"
"Dead! I'se warrant him dead lang syne. He hasna' been heard o' these
"I wat weel it's no twenty years," said the landlady. "It's no abune
seventeen in this very month. It made an unco noise ower a' this
country. The bairn disappeared the very day that Supervisor Kennedy came
by his end. He was a daft dog! Oh, an' he could ha' handen' off the
smugglers! Ye see, sir, there was a king's sloop down in Wigton Bay, and
Frank Kennedy, he behoved to have her up to chase Dirk Hatteraick's
lugger. He was a daring cheild, and fought his ship till she blew up
like peelings of ingans."
"And Mr. Bertram's child," said the stranger, "what is all this to him?"
"Ou, sir, the bairn aye held an unca wark wi' the supervisor, and it was
generally thought he went on board the vessel with him."
"No, no; you're clean out there, Luckie! The young laird was stown awa'
by a randy gipsy woman they ca'd Meg Merrilies," said the deacon.
But the presenter would not have this version, and told a tale of how an
astrologer, an ancient man, had appeared at the time of the heir's
birth, and told the laird that the Evil One would have power over the
knave bairn, and he charged him that the bairn should be brought up in
the ways of piety, and should aye hae a godly minister at his elbow; and
the aged man vanished away, and so they engaged Dominie Sampson to be
with him morn and night. But even that godly minister had failed to
protect the child, who was last seen being carried off by Frank Kennedy
on his horse to see a king's ship chase a smuggler. The excise-man's
body was found at the foot of the crags at Warroch Point, but no one
knew what had become of the child.
A smart servant entered with a note for the stranger, saying, "The
family at Ellangowan are in great distress, sir, and unable to receive
"I know it," said his master. "And now, madam, if you will have the
goodness to allow me to occupy the parlour----"
"Certainly, sir," said Mrs. MacCandlish, and hastened to light the way.
"And wha' may your master be, friend?"
"What! That's the famous Colonel Mannering, sir, from the East Indies."
"What, him we read of in the papers?"
"Lord safe us!" said the landlady. "I must go and see what he would have
for supper--that I should set him down here."
When the landlady re-entered, Colonel Mannering asked her if Mr. Bertram
lost his son in his fifth year.
"O ay, sir, there's nae doubt of that; though there are many idle
clashes about the way and manner. And the news being rashly told to the
leddy cost her her life that saym night; and the laird never throve from
that day, was just careless of everything. Though when Miss Lucy grew up
she tried to keep order. But what could she do, poor thing? So now
they're out of house and hauld."
_II.--Vanbeest Brown's Reappearance_
Early next morning, Mannering took the road to Ellangowan. He had no
need to inquire the way; people of all descriptions streamed to the sale
from all quarters.
When the old towers of the ruin rose upon his view, thoughts thronged
upon the mind of the traveller. How changed his feelings since he lost
sight of them so many years before! Then life and love were new, and all
the prospect was gilded by their rays. And now, disappointed in
affection, sated with fame, goaded by bitter and repentant
recollections, his best hope was to find a retirement in which to nurse
the melancholy which was to accompany him to his grave. About a year
before, in India, he had returned from a distant expedition to find a
young cadet named Brown established as the habitual attendant on his
wife and daughter, an arrangement which displeased him greatly, owing to
the suggestions of another cadet, though no objection could be made to
the youth's character or manners. Brown made some efforts to overcome
his colonel's prejudice, but feeling himself repulsed, and with scorn,
desisted, and continued his attentions in defiance. At last some trifle
occurred which occasioned high words and a challenge. They met on the
frontiers of the settlement, and Brown fell at the first shot. A horde
of Looties, a species of banditti, poured in upon them, and Colonel
Mannering and his second escaped with some difficulty. His wife's death
shortly after, and his daughter's severe illness, made him throw up his
command and come home. She was now staying with some old friends in
Westmoreland, almost restored to her wonted health and gaiety.
When Colonel Mannering reached the house he found his old acquaintance
paralysed, helpless, waiting for the postchaise to take him away.
Mannering's evident emotion at once attained him the confidence of Lucy
Bertram. The laird showed no signs of recognising Mannering; but when
the man, Gilbert Glossin, who had brought him to this pass, had the
effrontery to make his appearance, he started up, violently reproaching
him, sank into his chair again, and died almost without a groan.
A torrent of sympathy now poured forth, the sale was postponed, and
Mannering decided on making a short tour till it should take place, but
he was called back to Westmoreland, and, owing to the delay of his
messenger, the estate passed into the hands of Glossin. Lucy and Dominie
Sampson, who would not be separated from his pupil, found a temporary
home in the house of Mr. MacMorlan, the sheriff-substitute, a good
friend of the family.
Colonel Mannering lost no time in hiring for a season a large and
comfortable mansion not far from Ellangowan, having some hopes of
ultimately buying that estate. Besides a sincere desire to serve the
distressed, he saw the advantage his daughter Julia might receive from
the company of Lucy Bertram, whose prudence and good sense might be
relied on, and therefore induced her to become the visitor of a season,
and the dominie thereupon required no pressing to accept the office of
librarian. The household was soon settled in its new quarters, and the
young ladies followed their studies and amusements together.
Society was quickly formed, most of the families in the neighbourhood
visited Colonel Mannering, and Charles Hazlewood soon held a
distinguished place in his favour and was a frequent visitor, his
parents quite forgetting their old fear of his boyish attachment to
penniless Lucy Bertram in the thought that the beautiful Miss Mannering,
of high family, with a great fortune, was a prize worth looking after.
They did not know that the colonel's journey to Westmoreland was in
consequence of a letter from his friend there expressing uneasiness
about serenades from the lake beside the house. However, he had returned
without making any discovery or any advance in his daughter's
confidence, who might have told him that Brown still lived, had not her
natural good sense and feeling been warped by the folly of a misjudging,
romantic mother, who had called her husband a tyrant until she feared
him as such.
* * * * *
Vanbeest Brown had escaped from captivity and attained the rank of
captain after Mannering left India, and his regiment having been
recalled home, was determined to persevere in his addresses to Julia
while she left him a ray of hope, believing that the injuries he had
received from her father might dispense with his using much ceremony
So, soon after the Mannerings' settlement in Scotland, he was staying in
the inn at Kippletringan; and, as the landlady said, "a' the hoose was
ta'en wi' him, he was such a frank, pleasant young man." There had been
a good deal of trouble with the smugglers of late, and one day Brown met
the young ladies with Charles Hazlewood. Julia's alarm at his appearance
misled that young man, and he spoke roughly to Brown, even threatening
him with his gun. In the confusion the gun went off, wounding Hazlewood.
Gilbert Glossin, Esq., now Laird of Ellangowan, and justice of the
peace, saw an opportunity of ingratiating himself with the country
gentry, and exerted himself to discover the person by whom young Charles
Hazlewood had been wounded. So it was with great pleasure he heard his
servants announce that MacGuffog, the thief-taker, had a man waiting his
honour, handcuffed and fettered.
The worthy judge and the captive looked at each other steadily. At
length Glossin said:
"So, captain, this is you? You've been a stranger on these coasts for
"Stranger!" replied the other. "Strange enough, I should think, for hold
me der teyvil, if I have ever been here before."
Glossin took a pair of pistols, and loaded them.
"You may retire," said he to his clerk, "and carry the people with you,
but wait within call." Then: "You are Dirk Hatteraick, are you not?"
"Tousand teyvils! And if you know that, why ask me?"
"Captain, bullying won't do. You'll hardly get out of this country
without accounting for a little accident at Warroch Point a few years
Hatteraick's looks grew black as midnight.
"For my part," continued Glossin. "I have no wish to be hard on an old
acquaintance, but I must send you off to Edinburgh this very day."
"Poz donner! you would not do that?" said the prisoner. "Why, you had
the matter of half a cargo in bills on Vanbeest and Vanbruggen!"
"It was an affair in the way of business," said Glossin, "and I have
retired from business for some time."
"Ay, but I have a notion I could make you go steady about, and try the
old course again," said Dirk Hatteraick. "I had something to tell you."
"Of the boy?" said Glossin eagerly.
"Yaw, mynheer," replied the captain coolly.
"He does not live, does he?"
"As lifelich as you or me," said Hatteraick.
"Good God! But in India?" exclaimed Glossin.
"No, tousand teyvils, here--on this dirty coast of yours!" rejoined the
"But, Hatteraick, this--that is, if it be true, will ruin us both, for
he cannot but remember."
"I tell you," said the seaman, "it will ruin none but you, for I am done
up already, and if I must strap for it, all shall out."
Glossin paused--the sweat broke upon his brow; while the hard-featured
miscreant sat opposite coolly rolling his tobacco in his cheek.
"It would be ruin," said Glossin to himself, "absolute ruin, if the heir
should reappear--and then what might be the consequences of conniving
with these men?"
"Hark you, Hatteraick, I can't set you at liberty, but I can put you
where you can set yourself at liberty. I always like to assist an old
So he gave him a file.
"There's a friend for you, and you know the way to the sea, and you must
remain snug at the point of Warroch till I see you."
"The point of Warroch?" Hatteraick's countenance fell. "What--in the
cave? I would rather it was anywhere else. They say he walks. But donner
and blitzen! I never shunned him alive, and I won't shun him dead!"
The justice dismissed the party to keep guard for the night in the old
castle with a large allowance of food and liquor, with the full hope and
belief that they would spend the night neither in watching nor prayer.
Next morning great was the alarm when the escape of the prisoner was
discovered. When the officers had been sent off in all directions
(except the right one), Glossin went to Hatteraick in the cave. A light
soon broke upon his confusion of ideas. This missing heir was Vanbeest
Brown who had wounded young Hazlewood. He hastily explained to Dick
Hatteraick that his goods which had been seized were lying in the
Custom-house at Portanferry, and there to the Bridewell beside it be
would send this younker, when he had caught him; would take care that
the soldiers were dispersed, and he, Dick Hatteraick, could land with
his crew, receive his own goods, and carry the younker Brown back to
"Ay, carry him to Flushing," said the captain, "or to America, or--to
"Psha! Wherever you have a mind."
"Ay, or pitch him overboard?"
"Nay, I advise no violence."
"Nein, nein! You leave that to me Sturm-wetter; I know you of old. But,
hark ye, what am I, Dirk Hatteraick, to be the better for this?"
Glossin made him understand it would not be safe for either of them if
young Ellangowan settled in the country, and their plans were soon
arranged. None of the old crew were alive but the gipsy who had sent the
news of Brown's whereabouts and identity.
Brown, or, as we may now call him, Harry Bertram, had retreated into
England, but now, hearing that Hazlewood's wound was trifling, returned
and landed at Ellangowan Bay; he approached the castle, unconscious as
the most absolute stranger, where his ancestors had exercised all but
Confused memories thronged his mind, and he paused by a curious
coincidence on nearly the same spot on which his father had died, just
as Glossin came up the bank with an architect, to whom he was talking of
alterations; Bertram turned short round upon him, and said:
"Would you destroy this fine old castle, sir?"
He was so exactly like his father in his best days that Glossin thought
the grave had given up its dead. He staggered back, but instantly
recovered, and whispered a few words in the ear of his companion, who
immediately went towards the house, while Glossin talked civilly to
Bertram. By the next evening he was safely locked up in the Bridewell at
Portanferry, until Sir Charles Hazlewood, the injured youth's father, to
whom Glossin had conducted him, could make inquiries as to the truth of
Bertram, unable to sleep, gazing out of the window of his prison, saw a
long boat making for the quay. About twenty men landed and disappeared,
and soon a miscellaneous crowd came back, some carrying torches, some
bearing packages and barrels, and a red glare illuminated land and sea,
and shone full on them, as with ferocious activity they loaded their
boats. A fierce attack was made on the prison gates; they were soon
forced, and three or four smugglers hurried to Bertram's apartment. "Der
teyvil," said the leader, "here's our mark!" And two of them seized on
Bertram, and one whispered, "Make no resistance till you are in the
They dragged him along, and in the confusion outside the gang got
separated. A noise as of a body of horse advancing seemed to add to the
disturbance, the press became furiously agitated, shots were fired, and
the glittering swords of dragoons began to appear. Now came the warning
whisper: "Shake off that fellow, and follow me!"
Bertram, exerting his strength suddenly, easily burst from the other
man's grasp, and dived through a narrow lane after his guide, at the end
of which stood a postchaise with four horses.
"Get into it," said the guide. "You will soon be in a place of safety."
They were driven at a rapid rate through the dark lanes, and suddenly
stopped at the door of a large house. Brown, dizzied by the sudden glare
of light, almost unconsciously entered the open door, and confronted
Colonel Mannering; interpreting his fixed and motionless astonishment
into displeasure at his intrusion, hastened to say it was involuntary.
"Mr. Brown, I believe?" said Colonel Mannering.
"Yes, sir," said the young man modestly but firmly. "The same you knew
in India, and who ventures to hope that you would favour him with your
attestation to his character as a gentleman and man of honour."
At this critical moment appeared Mr. Pleydell, the lawyer who had
conducted the inquiry as to the disappearance of Harry Bertram, who
happened to be staying with Colonel Mannering, and he instantly saw the
likeness to the late laird.
Bertram was as much confounded at the appearance of those to whom he so
unexpectedly presented himself as they were at the sight of him. Mr.
Pleydell alone was in his element, and at once took upon himself the
whole explanation. His catechism had not proceeded far before Dominie
Sampson rose hastily, with trembling hands and streaming eyes, and
"Harry Bertram, look at me!"
"Yes," said Bertram, starting from his seat--"yes, that was my name, and
that is my kind old master."
* * * * *
When they parted for the night Colonel Mannering walked up to Bertram,
gave him joy of his prospects, and hoped unkindness would be forgotten
between them. It was he who had sent the postchaise to Portanferry in
consequence of a letter he had received from Meg Merrilies; it was she
who had sent back the soldiers so opportunely, and through her the next
day Dirk Hatteraick was captured; but, unhappily, she was killed by that
ruffian at the moment of the fulfilment of her hopes for the family of
Glossin also met the fate he deserved at the hands of Hatteraick, who
had claims to no virtue but fidelity to his shipowners.
* * * * *
Mr. Pleydell carried through his law business successfully, and we leave
him and the colonel examining plans for a new house for Julia and
Bertram on the estate of Ellangowan. Another house on the estate was to
be repaired for the other young couple, Lucy and Hazlewood, and called
"And see," said the colonel, "here's the plan of my bungalow, with all
convenience for being separate and sulky when I please."
"And you will repair the tower for the nocturnal contemplation of the
heavenly bodies. Bravo, colonel!"
"No, no, my dear Pleydell! Here ends the astrologer."
* * * * *
The Heart of Midlothian
John Ruskin coupled "Rob Roy" and "The Heart of Midlothian" as
the best of all the "Waverley Novels." The latter,
constituting the second series in the "Tales of My Landlord,"
was published in 1818, and was composed during a period of
recurrent fits of intense bodily pain. The romance gets its
name from Midlothian, or Middle Lothian, an Edinburgh prison
which in days gone by used to mark the centre of the district
of Lothian, between the Tweed and the Forth, now the County of
Edinburgh. According to Scott himself, the story of the
heroism of Jeannie Deans was founded on fact. Her prototype
was one Helen Walker, the daughter of a small Dumfriesshire
farmer, who in order to get the Duke of Argyle to intercede to
save her sister's life got up a petition and actually walked
to London barefoot to present it to his grace. Helen Walker
died in 1791, and on the tombstone of this unassuming heroine
is an inscription by Scott himself.
_I.--In the Tolbooth_
In former times England had her Tyburn, to which the devoted victims of
justice were conducted in solemn procession; and in Edinburgh, a large
oblong square, called the Grassmarket, was used for the same purpose.
This place was crowded to suffocation on the day when John Porteous,
captain of the City Guard, was to be hanged, sentenced to death for
firing on the crowd on the occasion of the execution of a popular
The grim appearance of the populace conveyed the impression of men who
had come to glut their sight with triumphant revenge. When the news that
Porteous was respited for six weeks was announced, a roar of rage and
mortification arose, but speedily subsided into stifled mutterings as
the people slowly dispersed.
That night the mob broke into the Tolbooth, the prison, commonly called
the Heart of Midlothian, dragged the wretched Porteous from the chimney
in which he had concealed himself, and carried him off to the
Grassmarket, where, as the leader of the rioters, a tall man dressed in
woman's clothes said he had spilled the blood of so many innocents.
"Let no man hurt him," continued the speaker. "Let him make his peace
with God, if he can; we will not kill both soul and body."
A young minister named Butler, whom the rioters had met and compelled to
come with them, was brought to the prisoner's side, to prepare him for
instant death. With a generous disregard of his own safety, Butler
besought the crowd to consider what they did. But in vain. The unhappy
man was forced to his fate with remorseless rapidity, and Butler,
separated from him by the press, and unnoticed by those who had hitherto
kept him prisoner, escaped the last horror, and fled from the fatal
His first purpose was instantly to take the road homewards, but other
fears and cares, connected with news he had that day heard, induced him
to linger till daybreak.
Reuben Butler was the grandson of a trooper in Monk's army, and had been
brought up by a grandmother, a widow, a cotter who struggled with
poverty and the hard and sterile soil on the land of the Laird of
Dumbiedikes. She was helped by the advice of another tenant, David
Deans, a staunch Presbyterian, and Jeannie, his little daughter, and
Reuben herded together the handful of sheep and the two or three cows,
and went together to the school; where Reuben, as much superior to
Jeannie Deans in acuteness of intellect as inferior to her in firmness
of constitution, was able to requite in full the kindness and
countenance with which, in other circumstances, she used to regard him.
While Reuben Butler was acquiring at the university the knowledge
necessary for a clergyman, David Deans, by shrewdness and skill, gained
a footing in the world and the possession of some wealth. He had married
again, and another daughter had been born to him. But now his wife was
dead, and he had left his old home, and become a dairy farmer about half
a mile from Edinburgh, and the unceasing industry and activity of
Jeannie was exerted in making the most of the produce of their cows.
Effie, his youngest daughter, under the tend guileless purity of
thought, speech, and action, as by her uncommon loveliness of person.
The news that this girl was in prison on suspicion of the murder of her
child was what kept Reuben Butler lingering on the hills outside
Edinburgh, until a fitting time should arrive to wait upon Jeannie and
her father. Effie denied all guilt of infanticide; but she had concealed
the birth of a child, and the child had disappeared, so that by the law
she was judged guilty.
His limbs exhausted with fatigue, Butler dragged himself up to St.
Leonard's crags, and presented himself at the door of Deans' habitation,
with feelings much akin to the miserable fears of its inhabitants.
"Come in," answered the low, sweet-toned voice he loved best to hear, as
he tapped at the door. The old man was seated by the fire with his
well-worn pocket Bible in his hands, and turned his face away as Butler
entered and clasped the extended hand which had supported his orphan
infancy, wept over it, and in vain endeavoured to say more than "God
comfort you! God comfort you!"
"He will--He doth, my friend," said Deans. "He doth now, and He will yet
more in His own gude time. I have been ower proud of my sufferings in a
gude cause, Reuben, and now I am to be tried with those whilk will turn
my pride and glory into a reproach and a hissing."
Butler had too much humanity to do anything but encourage the good old
man as he reckoned up with conscious pride the constancy of his
testimony and his sufferings, but seized the opportunity as soon as
possible of some private conversation with Jeannie. He gave her the
message he had received from a stranger he had met an hour or two
before, to the effect that she must meet him that night alone at
Muschat's cairn at moonrise.
"Tell him," said Jeannie hastily, "I will certainly come"; and to all
Butler's entreaties and expostulations would give no explanation. They
were recalled--"ben the house," to use the language of the country--by
the loud tones of David Deans, and found the poor old man half frantic
between grief and zealous ire against proposals to employ a lawyer on
Effie's behalf, they being, all, in his opinion, carnal, crafty
But when the poor old man, fatigued with the arguments and presence of
his guests, retired to his sleeping apartment, the Laird of Dumbiedikes
said he would employ his own man of business, and Butler set off
instantly to see Effie herself, and try to get her to give him the
information that she had refused to everyone.
"Farewell, Jeannie," said he. "Take no _rash steps_ till you hear from
Butler was at once recognised by the turnkey when he presented himself
at the Tolbooth, and detained as having been connected with the riots
the night before. One of the prisoners had recognised Robertson, the
leader of the rioters, and seen him trying to persuade Effie Deans to
escape and to save himself from the gallows, being a well-known thief
and prison-breaker, gave information, hoping, as he candidly said, to
obtain the post of gaoler himself.
It became obvious that the father of Effie's child and the slayer of
Porteous were one and the same person, and on hearing from Butler, who
had no reason to conceal his movements, of the stranger he had met on
the hill, the procurator fiscal, otherwise the superintendent of police,
with a strong body-guard, interrupted Jeannie's meeting with the
stranger that night; but he had made her understand that her sister's
life was in her hands before, hearing men approaching, he plunged into
the darkness and was lost to sight.
Soon afterwards, Ratcliffe, the prisoner who had recognised Robertson,
received a full pardon, and becoming gaoler, was repeatedly applied to,
to procure an interview between the sisters; but the magistrates had
given strict orders to the contrary, hoping that they might, by keeping
them apart, obtain some information respecting the fugitive. But Jeannie
knew nothing of Robertson, except having met him that night by
appointment to give her some advice respecting her sister's concern, the
which, she said, was betwixt God and her conscience. And Effie was
equally silent. In vain they offered, even a free pardon, if she would
confess what she knew of her lover.
At length the day was fixed for Effie's trial, and on the preceding
evening Jeannie was allowed to see her sister. Even the hard-hearted
turnkey could not witness the scene without a touch of human sympathy.
"Ye are ill, Effie," were the first words Jeannie could utter. "Ye are
"O, what wad I gie to be ten times waur, Jeannie!" was the reply. "O
that I were lying dead at my mother's side!"
"Hout, lassie!" said Ratcliffe. "Dinna be sae dooms downhearted as a'
that. There's mony a tod hunted that's no killed. They are weel aff has
such a counsel and agent as ye have; ane's aye sure of fair play."
But the mourners had become unconscious of his presence. "O Effie," said
her elder sister, "how could you conceal your situation from me? O
woman, had I deserved this at your hand? Had ye but spoke ae word----"
"What gude wad that hae dune?" said the prisoner. "Na, na, Jeannie; a'
was ower whan once I forgot what I promised when I turned down the leaf
of my Bible. See, the Book aye opens at the place itsell. O see,
Jeannie, what a fearfu' Scripture!"
"O if ye had spoken ae word again!" sobbed Jeannie. "If I were free to
swear that ye had said but ae word of how it stude wi' you, they couldna
hae touched your life this day!"
"Could they na?" said Effie, with something like awakened interest.
"Wha' tauld ye that, Jeannie?"
"It was ane that kenned what he was saying weel eneugh," said Jeannie.
"Hout!" said Ratcliffe. "What signifies keeping the poor lassie in a
swither? I'se uphand it's been Robertson that learned ye that doctrine."
"Was it him?" cried Effie. "Was it him, indeed? O I see it was him, poor
lad! And I was thinking his heart was as hard as the nether millstane,
and him in sic danger on his ain part. Poor George! O, Jeannie, tell me
every word he said, and if he was sorry for poor Effie!"
"What needs I tell ye onything about 't?" said Jeannie. "Ye may be sure
he had ower muckle about onybody beside."
"That's no' true, Jeannie, though a saint had said it," replied Effie.
"But ye dinna ken, though I do, how far he put his life in venture to
save mine." And looking at Ratcliffe, checked herself and was silent.
"I fancy," said he, "the lassie thinks naebody has een but hersell.
Didna I see Gentle Geordie trying to get other folk out of the Tolbooth
forbye Jock Porteous? Ye needna look sae amazed. I ken mair things than
"O my God, my God!" said she, throwing herself on her knees before him.
"D'ye ken where they hae putten my bairn? O my bairn, my bairn! Tell me
wha has taen't away, or what they hae dune wi't!"
As his answer destroyed the wild hope that had suddenly dawned upon her,
the unhappy prisoner fell on the floor in a strong convulsion fit.
Jeannie instantly applied herself to her sister's relief, and Ratcliffe
had even the delicacy to withdraw to the other end of the room to render
his official attendance as little intrusive as possible; while Jeannie
commenced her narrative of all that had passed between her and
Robertson. After a long pause:
"And he wanted you to say something to you folks that wad save my young
life?" said Effie.
"He wanted," said Jeannie, "that I shuld be mansworn!"
"And you tauld him," said Effie, "that ye wadna hear o' coming between
me and death, and me no aughteen year auld yet?"