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Title: Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland
       Volume 12

Author: Various

Editor: Alexander Leighton

Release Date: October 27, 2010 [EBook #34149]

Language: English

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WILSON'S TALES OF THE BORDERS

AND OF SCOTLAND.

HISTORICAL, TRADITIONARY, & IMAGINATIVE.

WITH A GLOSSARY.

REVISED BY

ALEXANDER LEIGHTON

ONE OF THE ORIGINAL EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS.

VOL. XII.

LONDON:

WALTER SCOTT, 14 PATERNOSTER SQUARE

AND NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE.

1885.


CONTENTS

The Scottish Hunters of Hudson's Bay, (Hugh Miller)

The Professor's Tales, (Professor Thomas Gillespie)
The Wedding

Mike Maxwell and the Gretna Green Lovers, (Alexander Leighton)

Reuben Purves; or, the Speculator, (John Mackay Wilson)

The Sea-Storm, (Oliver Richardson)

The Heir of Inshannock, (James Maidment)

The Mosstrooper, (Alexander Campbell)

The Forger, (Alexander Campbell)

The Surgeon's Tales, (Alexander Leighton)
The Three Letters
The Glass Back

We'll Have Another, (John Mackay Wilson)

The Scottish Veteran, (John Howell)

The White Woman of Tarras, (Patrick Maxwell)


WILSON'S TALES OF THE BORDERS, AND OF SCOTLAND.


THE SCOTTISH HUNTERS OF HUDSON'S BAY.

The gloom of a boisterous winter evening was settling over one of the wild, inhospitable tracts which lie to the north of the St Lawrence. The earth, far as the eye could reach, was covered, to the depth of many feet, by a continuous sheet of frozen snow; over which the bellying clouds, heavily charged with the materials of a fresh storm, hung in terrible array, fold beyond fold, as they descended on every side to mingle with the distant horizon. On the one hand, a frozen lake, deeply buried, like all the rest of the landscape, stretched its flat, unvaried surface for leagues along the waste; on the other, a winding shore, covered with stunted trees and bushes, alternately advanced into the level, in the form of low, long promontories, or retired into little hollow bays, edged with rock, and overhung by thickets of pine. All was sublimely wild and desolate. The piercing north wind went whistling in sudden gusts along the frozen surface of the lake, dashing against each other the stiff, brittle branches of the underwood, and shaking off their icicles, or whirling the lighter snow into huge columns, that ever and anon went stalking along the waste like giants, and seemed at times to thrust their foreheads into the very clouds. Not a single human habitation—not so much as the wigwam of an Indian, or aught that could give evidence of even the occasional visits of man—could be seen in the whole frozen circle, from the centre to the horizon. All seemed alike uninhabitable and uninhabited—a dreary unpeopled desert, the undisputed domain of solitude and winter.

And yet, on this dismal evening, the landscape was enlivened by two human figures. They were mounted on a rude sledge, drawn by four large dogs, that now, as the evening began to darken, were urging their way at full speed across one of the wider bays of the lake. The keen, penetrating wind blew right ahead, so intensely chill that it felt to the naked hand like a stream of ice; and the travellers, who were seated, with their backs to the blast, on the front part of the car, and who from time to time half turned their heads to direct the course of the dogs, drew closer and closer together as they felt their limbs stiffening, and a drowsy torpor stealing over all their faculties, under the deadening influence of the cold. They were dressed from head to foot in the skins of wild animals, with hoods, like those worn by the Esquimaux, projecting over their faces, and long strips of some thick, coarse fur wrapped in a spiral fashion round their limbs. One of them—a robust, dark-complexioned young man, rather above the middle size—had an Indian blanket bound round his shoulders; the other—who, though tall and well-made, was of a rather slighter form, and much less deeply bronzed by the climate—was closely enveloped in the folds of a Scottish plaid.

"I am afraid, Sandy, it's all over with us," said Innes Cameron, the fairer and handsomer of the two; "I have been dead asleep for the last ten minutes—ah, me! and dreaming of Scotland, too, and of one I shall never, never see more. Do you think there can be any chance of our yet reaching the log-house?"

"I have been more than half asleep, too," said Sandy Munro, the more robust traveller, "and my feet are ice to the ankles; but, if we can hold out for barely one quarter-of-an-hour longer, we are safe. Pine Creek Point is quite at hand—see how it stretches black across the snow yonder, not four hundred yards away; and, hearken! you may hear the wind whistling through the branches. There is a little bay beyond it, and the log-house is at the bottom of the bay. Just strive and keep up for a few minutes longer, Innes, and we shall get over this night with all the rest."

The sledge reached the promontory, and entered the wood. It was thick and dark; and there was a rustling and crackling on every side, as the dogs went bounding among the underwood—their ears and tails erected, and opening from time to time in quick, sharp barkings, sure indications that they deemed themselves near the close of their journey. The trees began to open; and, descending an abrupt ice declivity, the travellers found themselves on the edge of a narrow creek, that went winding into the interior, between steep banks laden with huge piles of snow, which, hollowed by the blast into a thousand fantastic forms, hung bellying over the level. A log-house, buried half-way to the eaves in front, and overtopped by an immense wreath behind—resembling some hapless vessel in the act of foundering—occupied an inflection of the bank opposite the promontory; and in a few minutes the travellers had crossed the creek, and stood fronting the door.

"Ah, no kindly smoke comes frae the lum, Innes," said Sandy, leaping out of the car; "all dark, too, as midnight at Yule; but we maun just bestir ourselves, and get up a blaze. Do exert yourself, my bonny man, or we shall perish yet. Unfasten the dogs, and be sure you hang up the harness out of their reach, or the puir hungry wratches will eat it up, every snap, afore morning. Unfasten the door, too, and get out our driest skins and driest tinder; and I, meanwhile, shall provide you with brushwood aneugh to keep up a bonfire till morning."

He seized an axe, and began to ply lustily among the underwood; while his neighbour unharnessed the dogs, and, clearing the door, entered the log-house, which soon began to throw up a thick steam through the snow. We shall take the liberty of following him. The apartment was about ten feet square; the walls formed of undressed logs, and the roof of shingles. The snow peeped in a hundred different places through the interstices; and a multitude of huge icicles, the effects of a late partial thaw, hung half-way down from the ceiling to the floor, and now glistened in the light, as the flames rose gaily on the hearth. The dogs were whining and pawing in a corner, impatient for their evening repast. In a few minutes Sandy had half-filled the apartment with brushwood, and then set himself to assist his companion, who seemed but indifferently skilled in the culinary art, in preparing supper, which consisted mostly of frozen fish and biscuit, relished by a dram of excellent rum. It was soon smoking on the floor, and, with the assistance of the dogs, soon discussed; and the two fur-gatherers sat indulging in the genial heat, with the long dark evening before them, and neither of them in the least disposed to retire to the bed of brushwood and skins which they had formed on the floor, immediately behind them.

"We are strange, changeable creatures," said Sandy—"the bairn sticks to us a' life lang; and, if we dinna laugh, and cry just in the ae breath, it's no that the feelings dinna vary, but that the pride o' consistency winna always let us show what we feel. Little mair nor an hour ago, we were baith perishin in the bitter cauld, half resigned to die, that we might escape frae our misery, and noo here we are as happy as if there were no such things as death or hardship i' the warld. Man, what a bonny fire! I could maist forget that I was a puir Hudson's Bay fur-gatherer, and that kindly Scotland was four thousand miles awa."

"What," said his companion, "could have induced a steady, sensible fellow like you, Sandy, to indenture with the company? 'Tis easy to divine what brought most of our comrades here—they resemble David's associates in the Cave of Adullam; but you, who could have been neither in debt nor distress, and who are always so much the reverse of discontented—I could never guess what brought you. Come, now, let us have your story; the night is long and tedious, and I know not how we could pass it to better purpose."

"But I do," replied Sandy. "My story is nae story ava. I am but a rude man amang rude men like mysel; but you, Innes, what could hae brought you here? You are a gentleman and a scholar, though ye hae but sma' skill, maybe, in niffering brandy and glass beads for the skins o' foumarts; and your story, no a vera gay one, I fear, will hae a' the interest o' an auld ballad. It's but fair, however, that ye should hae mine, such as it is, first. But draw just a wee bittie out o' the draught; for there's a cauld, bitter wind soughin ben frae the door—and only hear how the storm rages arout!

"There's a curious prejudice," continued Sandy, "among our country folks—and, I suppose, among the folks o' every other country besides—against some particular handicrafts. It's foolish in maist cases. The souters o' Selkirk were gallant fellows; and, had a' our Scottish knights fought half as weel at Flodden, our country would hae lost a battle less; and yet ye canna but ken how our auld poets o' the time—Dunbar, and Kennedy, and Davie Lindsay—ridicule the puir souters. They say that, once on a time, the vera deil himsel wadna keep company wi' ane o' them, till he had first got the puir man to wash himsel. Now, the prejudice against tailors is hardly less strong in our ain days; and yet a tailor may be a stalwart fellow, and bear a manly heart. I'm no sure, had it no been for this prejudice, that I would now hae been a fur-gatherer on the shores o' Hudson's Bay."

"Would to heaven," exclaimed his companion, interrupting him, "that I had been bred a tailor! I'm mistaken if any such prejudice would have sent me across the Atlantic."

"We can be a' wise enough on our neebor's weaknesses, Innes," said Sandy; "but to the story.

"I come frae a seaport town in the north o' Scotland, no twenty miles frae Inverness, your ain bonny half-Hieland, half-Lowland home. My father, who had married late in life, was an old grey-headed man from the time I first remember him. He had a sma' family; and, in his anxiety to see us a' doing for oursels, I was apprenticed to a tailor in my tenth year. Weel do I mind wi' what a disconsolate feeling I left the twa cows I used to herd on a bonny brae-side speckled wi' gowans and buttercups, to be crumpled down on the corner o' a board hardly bigger than an apron, amang shreds and patches o' a' the colours o' the rainbow, wi' an outlook through a dusty window on the side wa's o' an auld warehouse. And then my comrades were such queer fallows, fu o' a droll, little, wee sort o' conceit, that could ride on the neck o' a new button, and a warld o' fashious bits o' tricks, naething sae guid as the tricks o' a jackanapes, but every grain as wicked; and aften hae they played them aff on the puir simple laddie. There are nane o' our craftsfolks, Innes, but hae some peculiarity to mark them that grows up oot o' their profession; and there's nae class mair marked than the class I belong to."

"I have read Lamb on the Melancholy of Tailors," said Innes, "and remember laughing heartily at the quaint humour of some of his remarks; but I never wasted a thought on the subject after laying him down."

"Ah, Lamb, wi' a' his bonny, bairn-like humour and simplicity," said Sandy, "is but a Cockney feelosopher after a', and kent naething o' the matter. Melancholy o' tailors, forsooth! Why, man, a Hieland tailor is aye the heartiest cock, and has aye the maist auld stories i' the parish. But I maun gie you the feelosophy o' the thing at some ither time.—I got on but ill wi' my companions," continued Sandy; "and the royitous laddies outside used to jibe me wi' no being a man sax years afore I ceased being a boy. Is it no hard that tailors should lose the reputation o' manhood through a stupid misconception o' the sense o' an auld-warld author? He tells us the tailor canna mak a man, just in the spirit that Burns tells us a king canna mak an honest man. And, instead o' the pith o' the remark being brought to bear on the beau and the coxcomb, wha never separate the human creature frae his dress, it's brought, oot o' sheer misapprehension, to bear against the puir artisan."

"I see, Sandy," said Innes, with a smile, "you are still influenced by l'esprit de corps. If you once get back to Scotland, you will take to your old trade, and die a master tailor."

"I wish to goodness I were there to try!" replied Sandy. "But the story lags wofully. I got on as I best could—longing sadly, i' the lang bonny days o' simmer, to be oot amang the rocks o' the Sutors, or on the sea, and in winter, thinking o' the Bay o' Udoll, wi' its wild ducks and its swans, and o' the gran fun I could hae amang them wi' my auld pistol—whan my master employed an auld ae-legged sodger to work wi' him as a journeyman. He was a real fine fellow, save that he liked the drap drink a wee owre weel, maybe; and he had wandered owre half the warld. He had been in Egypt wi' Abercromby, and at Corunna wi' Moore, and o'er a' Spain and at Waterloo wi' Wellington, and in mony a land and in mony a fight besides; and noo he had come hame wi' a snug pension, and a budget o' first-rate fine stories, that made the ears tingle and the heart beat higher, to live and die amang his freends. Oh, the delight I hae taen in that man's company! Why, Innes, at pension time, though I never cared muckle for drink for its ain sake, I hae listened to his stories i' the public-house till I hae felt my head spinnin round like a tap, and my feet hae barely saired to carry me hame. I hae charged Bonaparte's Invincibles wi' him, fifty and fifty times, and helped him to carry aff Moore frae beside the thorn bush where he fell, and scaled wi' him the breach at St Sebastian; and, in short, sae filled was I wi' the spirit o' the sodger, that, had the wars no been owre, I would hae broken my indentures, and gane awa to break heads and see foreign countries. As it was, however, I learned to like my employment ten times waur nor ever, and to break a head, noo and then, amang the town prentices. Spite o' my close, in-door employment, I had grown stalwart and strong; and I mind, on ae occasion, beating twa young fallows who had twitted me on being but a ninth. Weel, the term o' my apprenticeship cam till an end at last; and, flingin awa my thimble wi' a jerk, and sendin my needle after it like an arrow, I determined on seeing the warld. My crony, the auld veteran, advised me to enter the army. I was formed baith in mind and body, he said, for a sodger; and if I took but care—a thing he never could do himsel—I micht dee a serjeant. But whatever love I micht hae for a guid fecht, I had nane for the parade, and my thorough dread and detestation o' the halberds o'er-mastered ony little ambition I micht hae indulged in when I dreamed o' a battle. I thocht o' a voyage to Greenland—o' gangin a-sodgerin wi' Lord Byron to Greece—o' emigratin to New South Wales or the Cape—o' turnin a farmer in the backwoods—o' indenturin for a Jamaica over-seer—o' goin oot to Mexica for a miner—ay, and o' fifty ither plans besides—whan an adverteesement o' the Hudson's Bay Company caught my notice, and determined me at once. I needna tell ye what the directors promised to active young men: a paradise o' a country to live in—the fun o' huntin and fishin frae Monday to Saturday nicht for our only wark—and pocketfus o' money for our pay. I blessed my stars, and closed wi' the agent at once. And now, here I am, Innes, in the seventh year o' my service, no that meikle disposed to contemn my auld profession, and mair nor half tired o' huntin, fishin, and seein the warld. But just twa months mair, my boy, and I am free. And now, may I no expect your story in turn?"

The wind, which had been rising since nightfall, now began to howl around the log-house and through the neighbouring woods, like the roar of the sea in a storm. There was an incessant creaking among the beams of the roof, and the very floor at times seemed to rise and fall under the foot, like the deck of a vessel which, after having lain stranded on the beach, has just begun to float. The storm, which had been so long impending, burst out in all its fury, and for some time the two fur-gatherers, impressed by a feeling of natural awe, sat listening to it in silence. The sounds rose and fell by intervals; at times sinking into a deep, sullen roar, when all was comparatively still around; at times swelling into thunder. In a pause of the blast, Sandy rose and flung open the door. Day had sunk more than two hours before, and there was no moon, but there was a strong flare of greenish-coloured light on the snow, that served to discover the extreme dreariness of the scene; and through a bore in the far north, resembling, as Sandy said, the opening of a dark lantern, he could see that, beyond the cloud, the heavens were all a-flame with the aurora borealis. Earth and sky seemed mingled; the snow, loose and fluctuating, and tossing its immense wreaths to the hurricane, resembled the sea in a storm when the waves run highest; the ice, though so deeply covered before, lay in some places dark and bare, while in others, beneath the precipices, the drift had accumulated over it to the depth of many fathoms. Again the blast came roaring onwards with the fury of a tornado, and Sandy shut and bolted the door.

"Ane o' the maist frightfu nichts, Innes," he said, "I ever saw in America. It will be weel if we're no baith buried a hunder feet deep afore mornin, wi' the log-house for our coffin. The like happened, about twenty years syne, at Badger Hollow, where twa puir chields were covered up till their skulls had grown white aneath their bannets. But though alane, and in the desert, we're no oot o' the reach o' Providence yet."

"Ah no, my poor friend!" said Innes; "I do not feel, in these days, that life is highly desirable; but nature shrinks from dissolution, and I am still fain to live on. A poet, Sandy, would view our situation at present with something like complacency; but I am afraid he would deem your story, amusing as it is, little in keeping with the scene around us, and a night so terrible as this. I can scarcely ask a tailor if he remembers the little bit in 'Thalaba,' where the cave of the Lapland sorceress is described? The long night of half-a-year has closed, and wastes of eternal snow are stretching around; while in the midst, beside her feeble light, that seems lost in the gloom of the cavern, the sorceress is seated, ever drawing out and out from the revolving distaff the golden thread of destiny."

"I mind better," replied Sandy, "Jamie Hogg's wild story o' my brother craftsman, Allan Gordon, and how he wintered at the Pole in the cabin o' a whomilt Greenlandman, wi' Nannie and a rum cask for his companions. Dear me, how the roarins o' the bears outside used to amaze the puir chield every time he was foolish aneugh to let himsel grow sober! But gudesake, Innes, what's that?"

There was something sufficiently frightful in the interruption. A fearfully-prolonged howl was heard outside, mingling with the hurricane, and, in a moment after, the snorting and pawing of some animal at the door. Sandy snatched up his musket, hastily examined the pan, to ascertain that his powder had escaped the damp, and, setting it on full cock, pointed it to the place whence the noises proceeded. Innes armed himself with a hunting-spear. The sounds were repeated, but in a less frightful tone: they were occasioned evidently by a dog whining for admittance. "Some puir brute," said Sandy, "who has lost his master." And, opening the door, a large Newfoundland dog came rushing into the hut. With more than brute sagacity, he flung himself at the feet of the fur-gatherers, as if imploring protection and assistance; and then, springing up and laying hold of the skirts of Sandy's blanket, he began to tug him violently towards the door.

"Let us follow the animal," said Innes; "it may be the means of rescuing a fellow-creature from destruction; his master, I am convinced, is perishing in the snow."

"I shall not fail you, Innes," exclaimed Sandy; and, hastily wrapping their plaids around them, and snatching up, the one a loaded musket, the other a bottle of spirits, the fur-gatherers plunged fearlessly into the storm and the darkness.

A greenish-coloured light still glimmered faintly from the north, through the thick drift and the falling snow, too faint, indeed, to enable them to catch the outlines of surrounding objects, but sufficient to show them the dog moving over the ice a few yards before them, like a little black cloud. They followed hard in his track towards the bottom of the creek. The steep banks on either hand contracted as they advanced, till at length they could see their shagged summits high above them in the darkness, and could hear the storm raging in the pines, though it had become comparatively calm in the shelter below. The creek at length terminated in a semicircular recess, surrounded by a steep wall of precipices. The dog bounded forward to a fissure in the rock—and there, at the edge of a huge wreath of snow, which half shut up the entrance, lay what seemed, in the uncertain light, the dead body of a man. The dog howled piteously over it, breathed hard in the face, and then looked up imploringly to the fur-gatherers. Innes leaped over the wreath, followed by Sandy, and, on raising up the body, found, though the extremities were stiff and cold as the ice on which it lay, that life was not yet extinct.

"Some unlucky huntsman," said Sandy; "we maun carry him, Innes, to the log-house; life is sweet even among the deserts o' Hudson's Bay."

The perishing hunter muttered a few broken syllables, like a man in the confusion of a dream. "It grows dark, Catherine," he said, "and I am sick at heart, and cold."

"Puir, puir fallow!" exclaimed Sandy—"he's thinkin o' his wife or sweetheart; but he'll no perish this time, Innes, if we can help it. Pity, man, for the car and dogs; but minutes are precious, and we maun just lug him wi' us as we best may."

Rolling their plaids around the almost lifeless stranger, the fur-gatherers bore him away over the ice, the dog leaping and barking with very joy before them; and in less than half-an-hour they had all reached the log-house.

The means of restoring suspended animation, with which the casualties of so many Hudson's Bay winters had made Sandy well acquainted, were resorted to on this occasion with complete success; and the stranger gradually recovered. He proved to be one of the most trusted and influential of the company's managers—a native of Scotland, and much loved and respected among the inferior retainers of the settlement, for an obliging disposition and great rectitude of principle. He was a keen sportsman, and had left his place of residence in the morning, on a solitary hunting excursion, accompanied only by his dog. But, trusting to his youth and strength, the enthusiasm of the hunter had drawn him mile after mile from home; and, on the breaking out of the storm, he had lost his way among the interminable bays and creeks of the lake. On his recovery, he was profuse in his expressions of gratitude, and meant all that he said. He was, perhaps, not much afraid to die, he remarked, but then he had many inducements to live, and there were more than himself who had a stake in his life, and who would feel grateful to his preservers.

"Compose yourself," said Innes; "you have been strangely tried to-night, and your spirits are still much flurried. Set yourself to sleep, for never had man more need; and my companion and I shall watch beside you during the night. Remember you are our patient, and entirely under our control." The manager good-humouredly acquiesced in the prescription, and in a few minutes after was fast asleep.

"Now, Innes," said Sandy, "as there's to be no bed for us to-night, you maunna forget that you're pledged to me for your story. Remember, my bonny man, our bargain when ye got mine."

"I do remember," replied Innes; "but I well know you will be both tired and sleepy ere I have done."

"I have long had a liking for you, Sandy," continued Innes—"I knew you from the first to be a man of a different cast from any of our fellows; and, ever since I saw you take part with the poor Indian, whom the two drunken Irishmen attempted to rob of his rum and his wife, I have wished for your friendship. It is not good for man to be alone, and I have been much too solitary since I entered with the company. You were, when in Scotland, the victim of a silly prejudice against a humble, but honest calling, but you could have lived in it, notwithstanding, had not a love for wandering drawn you abroad. I, on the contrary—thought like the hare with many friends, I was a favourite with every one—was literally starved out of it. My father was a gentleman farmer, not thirty miles from Inverness, whom the high war prices of cattle and grain had raised from comparative poverty to sudden, though short-lived, affluence. No man could be more sanguine in his hopes for his children. He had three boys, and all of us were educated for the liberal professions, in the full belief that we were all destined to rise in the world, and become eminent. Alas! my brother, the divine, died of a broken heart, a poor over-toiled usher in an English academy; my brother, the doctor, perished in Greenland, where he had gone as the surgeon of a whaler, after waiting on for years in the hope of some better appointment; and here am I, a lawyer—prepared to practise, as soon as we get courts established among the red men of Hudson's Bay. But I anticipate. I am not sure nature ever intended that I should stand high as a scholar; but I was no trifler, and so passed through the classes with tolerable eclat. I am not at all convinced, either, that I possess the capabilities of a first-rate lawyer; but I am certain I have seen men rise in the world with not more knowledge, and with, perhaps, even less judgment to direct it. What I chiefly wanted, I suspect, was a genius for the knavish parts of the profession. Will you believe me when I say I have known as much actual crime committed in the office of a pettifogging country lawyer, as I ever saw tried in a sheriff court. Oh, what finished rascality have I not seen skulking under the shelter of the statute-book!—what remorseless blackening of character, for the sake of a paltry fee!—what endless breaches of promise!—what shameless betrayals of trust!—what reckless waste of property! Sandy Munro, I am a poor Hudson's Bay fur-gatherer, and can indulge in no other hope than that I shall one day lay my bones at the side of some nameless creek or jungle; but rather that, a thousand, thousand times, than affluence, and influence, and respectability—ay, respectability—through the wretched means by which I have seen all these secured!"

"You are an honest chield, Innes," said Sandy, grasping him by the hand. "I have had a regard for you ever since I first saw you; and the mair I ken o' you the mair my respect rises."

"My father," continued Innes, "was respectably connected; I had a turn for dress, a tolerably genteel figure, and was fond of female society; and, during the four years I served with the lawyer in Inverness, I found myself a welcome guest in all the more respectable circles of the place. Scarcely a tea-drinking or dancing party was got up among the élite of the burgh, but I was sure of an invitation. I danced, played on the flute, handed round the tea and the sweetmeats—all par excellence—and was quite an adept in the art of speaking a great deal without saying anything. In short, I became a most accomplished trifler—an effect, perhaps, of my very imperfect love of my profession. The men who rise to eminence, you know, rarely begin their course as fine fellows; and were it not for a circumstance to which I owe more of my happiness and more of my misery than to any other, I would have had to attribute my failure in life less to an untoward destiny than to the dissipation of this period. But I was taught diligence by the very means through which most young people are untaught it. I fell in love. There was a pretty, simple lassie, the daughter of one of the bailies of the place, whom I used frequently to meet with in our evening parties, and with whose appearance I was mightily taken from the moment I first saw her. She united, in a rare degree, all the elegance of the young lady with all the simplicity of the child; and, with better sense than falls to the share of nineteen-twentieths of her sex, was more devoid than any one I ever knew of their characteristic cunning. You have heard, I daresay, that young ladies are anxious about getting husbands; but, trust me, it is all a mistake. The anxiety is too natural a one to be experienced by so artificial a personage as the mere young lady. It is not persons but things she longs after—settlements, not sweethearts. I have had a hundred young-lady friends, who liked my youth and gentility, and who used to dance, and romp, and chat with me, with all the good-will possible, but who thought as little of me as a sweetheart as if I were one of themselves. Thoughts of that tender class were to be reserved for some rich Indian, with a complexion the colour of a drum-head, and a liver like a plum-pudding. This bonny lassie, however, was born—poor thing!—with natural feelings. We met, and learned to like one another; we sang and laughed together; talked of scenery and the belles lettres; and, in short, lost our hearts to one another ere we so much as dreamed that we had hearts to lose. You must be in love, Sandy, ere all I could tell you could give you adequate notions of the happiness I have enjoyed with that bonny, kind-hearted lassie. Love, I have said, taught me diligence. I applied to my profession anew, determined to be a lawyer, and the husband of Catherine. I waded through whole tomes of black-letter statutes, studied my way over forty folios of decisions, and did what I suppose no one ever did before—read Grigor on the Game-laws. Not half-a-dozen practitioners in the country could draw out a deed of settlement with equal adroitness—not one succeeded in putting fewer double meanings into a will. My master used to consult me on conveyancing; and when, at the expiry of my term, I left his office and set up for myself, you will not wonder it was with the hope that my at least average acquirements would secure for me an average portion of success. You will see how that hope was realised.

"The father of my sweetheart was, as I have said, a Inverness bailie; he was extensively engaged in trade, and all deemed him a rising man; but the case was otherwise. An unlucky speculation, and the unexpected failure of a friend, involved him in ruin; and I saw his office shut up not three weeks after I had opened my own. A week after brought me the intelligence of my father's death. He had been sinking in the world for years before; getting, much against his will, into arrears with every one; and now, immediately on his death, all his effects were seized by the laird. He was an easy-tempered, obliging man—credulous and confiding—and hence, perhaps, his misfortunes. You will deem me cold and selfish, Sandy, to speak in this way of my father; and yet, believe me, I felt as a son ought to feel; but repeated blows have a stupefying effect, and I can now tell you, with scarcely a twinge, of hopes blighted and friends lost. All my hopes of rising by my profession soon failed me. No one entered my office. Though not without some confidence in my acquirements, as you may see, I have ever had a sort of shamefaced bashfulness about me, that has done me infinite harm. People were afraid to trust their cases with one who seemed to mistrust himself—the forward, the impudent, and the unprincipled carried off all the employment, and I was left to starve."

"Honest, unlucky chield!" ejaculated Sandy, with a profound yawn. "One might guess, by the way ye bargain wi' the Indians, that ye hae a vast deal owre little brass for makin a fortune by the law. But what cam o' your puir simple lassie, Innes, when her father broke?"

"Ah, dear, good girl," replied Innes, "with all her simplicity, she was, by much, better fitted for making her way through the world than her lover. She was highly accomplished, drew beautifully, read Chateaubriand in the original, and had a pretty taste for music. Through the recommendation of a friend, she was engaged as governess in the family of a Highland proprietor, in which, when I left Scotland, she continued to be employed—well, I trust, for her own happiness—usefully, I am sure, for others. I shall forget many things, Sandy, ere I forget the day I passed with her on the green top of Tomnahurich, ere we parted, as it proved, for ever. You know that beautiful hill—the queen of all our Highland Tomhans—with the long winding canal on the one side, and the brattling Ness on the other, and surrounded by an assemblage of the loveliest hills that ever dressed in purple and blue. It was a beautiful day in early spring, and the sun shone cheerily on a hundred white cottages at our feet, each looking out from its own little thicket of birch and laburnum, and on the distant town, with its smoke-wreath resting over it, and its two old steeples rising through. The world was busy all around us: we could see the ploughman following his team, and the mariner warping onward his vessel; the hum of eager occupation came swelling with the breeze from the far-off streets—and yet there was I, a poor supernumerary among the millions of my countrymen, parting almost broken-hearted from her whom I loved better than myself, just because there was no employment for me. Oh, the agony of that parting! But 'tis passed, Sandy, and 'tis but folly thus to recall it. No one, as I have already told you, ever thought of entering my office—no one, save my landlord and the old woman with whom I lived; and you may believe there was little of comfort in their visits. I was in arrears to the one for rent, and to the other for lodging. So far was I reduced, that, in passing through the old woman's room, I have been fain to take a potato from off her platter, and that single potato has formed my meal for the time. On one occasion I was for two days together without food."

"Goodness gracious!" exclaimed Sandy—"what came o' a' the grand freends that used to gie ye the teas and suppers? Had they nae bowels ava?"

"I would sooner have starved, Sandy, than have made my wants known to the best of them. But there was one on whom I had a nearer claim, to whom I applied in vain—a brother of my father—a close old hunks, who, though he had realised thousands as a ship-broker in London, had not heart enough to part with a shilling for the benefit of his poor nephew. But I believe the wretched man was well-nigh as unkind to himself as he was to me, and, in the midst of his wealth, fared nearly as ill. You are getting sleepy, Sandy, and I daresay 'tis little wonder you should; but I find a melancholy satisfaction in thus retracing the untoward events of the past, which I am certain I could not feel, did conscience whisper that my misfortunes were in any great degree owing to myself. Well, but to conclude. I became squalid and shabby; all the ladies sent me to Coventry, and all the gentlemen spurned me as a fellow of no spirit. I had mistaken my profession, it was said; and blockheads, who had been guiltless of a single new idea all their lives long, used to repeat from one another that my father, in making a wretched lawyer of me, had spoiled a good ploughman. I could bear no longer. The Hudson's Bay Company had an agent, you know, at Inverness. I called on him one evening after a day of fasting and miserable low spirits—and now here I am, in the second year of my service with the company."

"But, how, Innes, man," inquired Sandy, "could ye hae found heart to leave Scotland, without seein the puir lassie, your sweetheart? Do ye ken aught o' her now?"

"Know of her!" exclaimed Innes; "alas! I too surely know I have lost her. The last thing but one that I did ere I sailed from Stromness, was to write her to say how I had fallen from all my hopes regarding her, and to bid her forget me; the very last thing I did was to cry over a kind, cheerful letter, which had followed me all the way from Inverness, and in which she urged me to keep up my heart, for that all would yet be well with us. Little did she know, when writing it, what I was on the eve of becoming—a poor vagabond fur-gatherer on the wild shores of Hudson's Bay. Dear, generous girl! I trust she is happy."

"May I ask," said the manager, who, unknown to the two fur-gatherers, had lain awake for some time, listening to the narrative—"may I ask if you are not Innes Cameron, late of Inverness, only surviving son of Colin Cameron of Glendocharty, and nephew of the lately deceased Malachi Cameron, of Upper Thames Street, London?"

"I am that Innes Cameron," said the fur-gatherer; "and so my poor old uncle is dead?"

"And having died intestate," continued the manager, "you, as heir-at-law, succeed to his entire estate, personal and real, consisting of a property of a few hundred acres in the vicinity of Inverness, and twenty thousand pounds vested in the three per cents. A considerable remittance from London has been waiting you for the last month at the Hawk River Settlement, and, what you will deem very handsome in the circumstances, a free discharge from the company for your five remaining years' servitude. I am acting manager at the River, and to my care the whole has been committed."

Innes seemed astounded by the intelligence; his gayer companion leaped up and performed a somerset on the floor.

"Innes, Innes, Innes!" he exclaimed, "why are ye no dancin?—why are ye no dancin? Did I no ken ye were born to be a gentleman? I maun hae a double glass to drink luck to ye; and I'm sure the manager winna say no. Goodness, man, it's the best news I hae heard in America yet!"

Morning at length broke—a calm, clear morning, for the clouds had passed away with the storm—and the travellers, after sharing in an ample, though not very delicate, repast, prepared to set out on their journey. The dogs were harnessed, and the car laden. The manager, who, from the fatigue and exhaustion of the previous night, still felt indisposed, was mounted in front; the two fur-gatherers were lacing on their snow-shoes to follow on foot. At length the sun rose far to the south, through a deep frosty haze, that seemed to swaddle the horizon with a broad belt of russet, and the travellers set out in the direction of a distant promontory of the lake. The snow all around, the woods that rose thick over the level, the overhanging banks of the lake, the hills in the far distance, were all bathed in one rich glow of crimson, that more than emulated the blush of a summer's evening at sunset; the shadows of the travellers, as they stretched for many fathoms across the lake, had each a moon-like halo round the head, like the glory in an old painting; and the very air, laden with frost rime, sparkled to the sun, like the gold water of the chemist. The scene was altogether strangely, I had almost said unnaturally, beautiful; it was one of those which, once seen, are never forgotten.

"You have been silent, Innes," said Sandy, "for the last half-hour, and look as wae and anxious as if some terrible mishanter had befallen ye. I'll wad the best quid in my spleuchan, ye hae been thinkin about Catherine Roberts, and o' your chance o' findin her single. I'd advise ye, man, just for fear o' a disappointment, to marry the manager's sister: she's ane o' the best, bonny lassies I ever saw, and plays strathspeys and pibrochs like an angel. Oh, had ye but heard her at 'Lochaber no more,' and the 'Flowers o' the Forest,' ye wad hae grat like a bairn, as I did. Dear me, but she's a fine lassie! Had I as mony thousands as ye hae, Innes, I wad marry her mysel."

"How came you to hear her music?" asked Innes, in a tone that showed he took but little interest in the query.

"Ah, there's a story belongs to that question," replied Sandy. "It's about a month or twa mair nor a twelvemonth noo, sin Tam M'Intyre and I set out frae Racoon Settlement, on ane o' the weariest and maist desperate journeys I have yet taen in America. About Christmas, a huntsman, in passing the settlement, tauld us there was to be a grand ball on New-year's Day at the Hawk River, and that there were to be four Scotch lassies at it, who had come owre the simmer afore, forbye a bonnie young leddie, the manager's sister. The River, ye ken, is no mickle aboon twa hundred miles frae Racoon Settlement, and Tam M'Intyre and I, who for five years hadna seen a living creature liker a woman than an Indian squaw, resolved on going to the ball, to see the lassies. We yoked our sledges on a snell frosty morning, set out across the great lake, and reached the log-house at Bear's Point about dark. We got up a rousin fire, and drunk maybe a glass or twa extra owre our cracks about Scotland and the lassies; but I'll tak my aith on't there was neither o' us meikle the waur. But, however it happened, about midnight we baith awakened mair nor half scomfisht, and there was the roof in a bright lowe aboon our heads. M'Intyre singed a' his whiskers and eebrees in getting out; I was luckier, and escaped wi' the loss only o' my blanket and our twa days' provisions. But we just couldna help it; and, yokin our dogs by the light o' the burnin, aff we set, weel aware that we wad baith miss our breakfasts or we reached the Hawk River. We travelled a' that day and a' the next nicht, the dogs hearty and strong, puir brutes, for we had been lucky aneugh to get the hinder half o' a black fox in a trap—the other half had been eaten by the wolves; but oursels, Innes, were like to famish. When mornin came, we were within thirty miles o' the Hawk River. There was little wind, but the frost burned like het iron. I dinna remember a sneller morning. M'Intyre had to thaw his nose three times, and my chin and ears had twice got as hard as bits o' stockfish. We had rubbed off a' the skin in trying to mak the blood circulate, and baith our faces had so swelled out o' the size, and shape, and colour o' humanity, that, when we reached the settlement, we were fain to steal into an outside hut, just that the lassies mightna see us. Man, but it was a sair begeck! The ball night came, and we were still uglier than ever, and I thought I wad hae gane daft wi' vexation. We could hear the noise o' the fiddles, and the dancin—and that was just a'. M'Intyre had some thoughts o' hangin himsel oot o' spite. Just when we were at the warst, however, a genteel tap comes to the door; and there there was a smart bonny lassie wi' a message to us frae her mistress, the manager's sister. We were asked down, she said; her mistress, hearing o' our misluck, and that we had baith come frae the north country, had got up a snug little supper for us, where there would be none to ferlie at us, and was noo waitin our comin. Was this no kind, Innes? I made a veil o' my plaid as I best could, M'Intyre muffled himself up in a napkin, and aff we went to the manager's. But, oh man! sic kindness frae sae sweet a leddy! She sang and played till us—and weel did it set her to do baith; and mixed up our toddy for us—for we were gey blate, as ye may think; and, on takin our leave, she shook hands wi' us as gin we had been her equals. I've never been fule aneugh to be in love, Innes—beggin your pardon for sayin sae—but I feel I could lay down my life for that bonny lassie ony day. Weel, but kindliness is a kindly thing!"

"What is the young lady's name?" inquired Innes, with some eagerness, as a sudden thought came across him. "Her brother, I think, calls her Catherine."

"Ah, no your Catherine, though," said Sandy; "the manager's name is Pringle, ye ken, and that's no Roberts."

"I am a fool," replied Innes, with a sigh; "and you see it, Sandy."

The track pursued by the party, which had hitherto lain along the edge of the lake, now ascended the steep wooded bank which hung over it, and, after winding for several miles through a series of shaggy thickets, with here and there an intervening swamp, opened into an extensive plain. A few straggling clumps of copsewood served to enliven the otherwise unvaried surface, and, in the far distance, there was a range of snowy hills that seemed to rise directly over a deep narrow valley in which the plain terminated. There was no wind, and a column of smoke, which issued from the centre of a distant wood, arose majestically in the clear sunshine, till, reaching a lighter stratum of air, it spread out equally on every side, like the foliage of a stately tree.

"Some Indian settlement," said the manager. "There is much of beauty in this wild scene, Mr Cameron—beauty merging into the sublime; and the poor red men, its sole inhabitants, form exactly the sort of figures one would choose to introduce into such a landscape. I am now much more a lover of such scenes than before my sister joined me."

"A taste for the wild and savage seems to be an acquired one," remarked Innes; "a taste for the beautiful is natural. Certainly the first comes later in life to the individual, and it is scarcely ever found among the uneducated. One of the finest wild scenes in Ross-shire—a deep, rocky ravine, overhung with wood, and with a turbulent Highland stream roaring through it—is known by all the country folk in the neighbourhood by the name of the Ugly Burn."

"The remark chimes in with my experience," said the manager. "I ever admired the beautiful; but it was Catherine who first taught me to admire the sublime. There is a savagely wild scene before us, where I can now spend whole hours in the fine summer evenings, but which I used to regard, only a few years ago, as positively a disagreeable one. But such scenes make ever the deepest impression, whether the mind be cultivated or no."

"Ay, Mr Pringle," remarked Sandy; "and frae that I draw my main consolation for havin spent sae mony o' my best years in gatherin skins for a wheen London merchants."

"How?" inquired the manager.

"Why, I just find that I am to bring hame wi' me recollections and impressions aneugh to ser' me a' my life after; recollections o' mony a desert prairie, and mony a fearfu storm—o' encounters wi' wild beasts and wild men—o' a' that we deem hardship now, but which we will find it pleasure to dwell on afterwards."

"Thank you for the remark, Sandy!" said Innes; "I find I am to bring home with me something of that kind, too."

Towards the close of the day, the course of the travellers had lain along the banks of the river; the waters were bound, from side to side, with a broad belt of ice, but, at the rapids, they could hear them growling beneath, like a wild beast in its den; and, just as the evening was beginning to darken, they descended into a deep hollow, surrounded by immense precipices and overhung by trees, into the upper part of which the stream precipitated itself in one unbroken sheet of foam, which had resisted the extremest influence of the frost. Innes thought he had never before seen a scene of wilder or more savage grandeur. There was a lofty amphitheatre of rock all around; the centre was occupied by a dark mossy basin, in which the waters boiled and bubbled as in a huge caldron; a broad, level strip, edged with trees and bushes, lay immediately under the precipices; and, directly beneath the cataract, there was a fantastic assemblage of tall riven peaks, laden with icicles, that seemed in the gloom a conclave of giants. A deep, gloomy cavern, whose echoes answered incessantly to the roar of the torrent, opened behind and under it; while, immediately in front, there rose a large circular mound, roughened with a multitude of lesser hillocks, and now wrapped up, like all the rest of the landscape, in a deep covering of snow.

"'Tis an Indian burying-place," said the manager, pointing to the mound; "wild and savage, you see, as the people who have chosen it for their final resting-place. These hillocks are sepulchral cairns. My sister spends most of her summer evenings here—for we are now little more than a mile from the settlement; and she has taught me to be well-nigh as fond of it as herself. Should she die in this country, I am pledged to lay her among the poor Indians. There are strange stories among them of yonder cave and cataract—the one is a place of purification, they say, the other, a way to the land of spirits. I am certain you will feel much interest, Mr Cameron, in discussing with Catherine what she terms the beginnings of mythology, as illustrated by this place. She has naturally an original and highly vigorous mind, and her father (by the way, she is but a half-sister of mine) spared no pains in cultivating it. But now that we have gained the ridge, yonder is the settlement; see—that higher light comes from Catherine's window. Trust me, you may calculate on her warmest gratitude for what her brother owes you."

Hawk River Settlement is situated in the middle of a valley, surrounded by low, swelling hills, with a river in front, and a deep pine-wood behind. It forms a small straggling village, composed mostly of log-houses, with a range of stone and lime buildings—the store places of the company—rising in the centre. On reaching the manager's house—a handsome erection of two storeys—Innes and his companion were shown into a small, but very neat parlour. There were books, musical instruments, and drawings. The very arrangement of the furniture showed the delicate and nicely-regulated taste of an accomplished female. The shutters were fast barred, there were candles burning on a neat mahogany table, and the cheerful wood-fire glowed through the bars of a grate, and threw up a broad powerful flame, that, in the intense frost, roared in the chimney.

"Ah," said Innes to the manager, "your neat, Scotch-looking parlour brings Scotland to my mind, and my old evening parties; it reminds me, too, that a dress of skins is not quite the fittest for meeting a young lady in. Can you not indulge me with a change of dress?"

"Ah, how stupid I am," replied the manager, "not to have thought of that! Attribute it all to my eagerness to introduce you to Catherine. There is a whole chestful of clothes from London waiting you below. Come this way. We shall join you, Sandy, in less than twenty minutes, when Mr Cameron has made his toilet; and Catherine, meanwhile, will find what amusement for you she can."

On their return, Catherine and the fur-gatherer were engaged in conversation.

She was a lady of about two-and-twenty; paler of cheek and sparer of form than she had been once; for there was an indescribable something in her expression that served to tell of sufferings long endured, and exertions painfully protracted; but she was still eminently beautiful; and there was an air of mingled spirit and good-nature in the light of her fine black eyes, and the smile that seemed lurking about her mouth, that might well be termed fascinating. Sandy had evidently felt its influence ere his companion entered the room.

"And what," eagerly inquired the lady, as the manager opened the door, "is the name of your companion, the man to whom, with you, my brave, warmhearted countryman, I owe the life of my brother?"

"Good heavens!" ejaculated Innes, springing forward, "can it be possible?—Catherine Roberts, the best, truest, dearest of all my friends!"

"Innes Cameron!" exclaimed Catherine; and in one moment of intense, life-invigorating joy, whole years of suffering were forgotten.

But why lengthen a story rapidly hastening to its conclusion, in the vain attempt to describe what, from its very nature, must always elude description? Never was there a happier evening passed on the shores of Hudson's Bay.

It has long since become a truism, that, when fortune ceases to persecute a man, his story ceases to interest. It was certainly so with Innes Cameron and his story. Few men could be happier than he for the two months he remained at Hawk River Settlement. When, however, the ice broke up, and vessel after vessel began to arrive from Europe, he had become happier still; and when, about the middle of summer, he sailed for Stromness, in the good ship Falcon, accompanied by Miss Roberts and his old comrade, Sandy, there was yet a further accession to his happiness. An old file of Inverness newspapers, from which I manage to extract a good deal of amusement in the long winter evenings—for no one writes more pleasingly than Carruthers—shows me that his enjoyments were not wholly full, until after his arrival in Scotland, when he was married, says the paper, "at Belville Cottage, by the Rev. Dr Rose, to the beautiful and highly accomplished Miss Catherine Roberts." I find, in a more recent number of the same newspaper, a very neat description of a masonic procession in one of our northern towns. "There is, to a native of Scotland," says the editor, "something very pleasing in the contemplation of a goodly assemblage of Scotchmen, powerful in muscle and sinew—suited either to repulse or invade—to preserve the fame of their country, or to extend it; and this feeling was of general experience among the people of Sutorcreek on Friday last. After the brethren had paraded the streets, they returned to their lodge, where dinner was prepared for them, and where, after choosing Mr Alexander Munro, late of Hudson's Bay, as their master for the ensuing year, they spent the evening in meet cordiality." And here my story ends. The lives of a country gentleman, of superior talent and worth, and a shrewd, honest mechanic—varied only by those migrations which the Vicar of Wakefield describes—migrations from the blue room to the brown, or from the workshop to the street—however redolent of happiness and comfort to themselves, furnish the writer with but little scope for either narrative or description.


THE PROFESSOR'S TALES.


THE WEDDING.

On a certain vacation-day of August, of which I have still a vivid recollection, I fished in Darr Water; and with so much success, that night had gathered over me ere I was aware. I was at this moment fully fifteen miles from home, in a locality unmarked by one single feature of civilisation; for here neither plough, nor sickle, nor spade had ever made an impression. For anything I knew to the contrary, there was not a human habitation nearer than ten miles. I was loaded down to the very earth with fish, and not a little fatigued by the forenoon's travel and sport. It behoved me, however, at all events and risks, to set my face homewards; and, although I might have followed the Darr till it united with the Clyde, and thus made my way with a certainty home at last, yet I preferred retracing my steps, and saving at least a dozen of miles of mountain travel. But the mist was close and crawly, lying before me in damp, danky obscurity; and the wind, which during the day had amounted to a breeze, was now wrapped up, and put to rest in a wet blanket. All was still, except the voice of the plover, mire-snipe, and peese-weep. The moss or muir, or something partaking of the nature of both, and rightly neither, was lone, uniform, and unmarked; it was like sailing without star or compass over the Pacific. Meanwhile, day, which seemed to be desirous of accelerating its departure, disappeared, and I was left alone in my wilderness. I could not even lie down to rest, for the spongy earth gave up its moisture in jets and squirts. I hurried on, however, following my breath, which smoked like a furnace amidst the mountain mist, and trailing my fish, in a large bag, after me. I had killed somewhere about sixteen dozen. At last I gained a small stream, and, as I have an instinctive liking for all manner of streams, I was led by the ear along its course, till I found myself in a close ravine or dell, surrounded on each hand by steep grassy ascents, scaurs and rocks. I kept by the voice of the water, which now fell more contractedly over gullet and precipice, till at last, to my infinite delight, I heard, or thought I heard, the bark of a dog; and in a few seconds one of these faithful animals occupied the steep above me, giving audible intimation of my unlooked-for presence. The shepherd's voice followed hard behind; and I never was happier in my life than on the recognition of a fellow-creature. My tale was soon told, and as readily understood and believed. To travel home on such a night was out of the question; so I was conducted to the shepherd's sheiling—to that covert in the wilderness in which there is more downright shelter, comfort, and happiness than in town palaces; for comfort and happiness are inmates of the bosom rather than of the home.

My entrance was welcomed by the shepherd's wife and an only daughter. There was likewise a young lad, of about twelve years, who was the younger of two sons, the elder being dead. Servants there were none; for where all serve themselves, there is no need of what the Americans call "helps." Nothing could exceed the kind hospitalities of this family; the very dogs, with a couple of young puppies, gathered round me. They licked the wet from my legs and clothes, and seemed sufficiently satisfied even with a look of approbation. My supper was the uncelebrated, but unequalled, Dumfries-shire feast—champit potatoes. I slept soundly till morning; and, after a breakfast of porridge—"Scotland's halesome food"—and learning that the young and beautiful woman, the shepherd's daughter, was to be married on Saturday eight-days, I bent my way homewards, to hear and bear merited reproof for the anxiety which my absence (which was, however, luckily attributed to a stolen visit to an aunt) had occasioned.

Saturday eight-days dawned, and by this time I had resumed my fishing preceptor and companion, Willie Herdman, to accompany me to the mountains, thinking to decoy him, as it were, to the neighbourhood of the wedding, and there to treat him with a view of the happy party and blooming bride. I kept my own secret, and we were within a mile of the sheiling ere I disclosed it. It was then about two o'clock, and, so far as we could guess, precisely the marriage dinner-hour. Willie, who was an old soldier, had no objection to join in the merriment, nor to drink a glass to the future happiness of the young folks. So on we trudged, our lines rolled up, and our fishing-wallet (for baskets we had none) properly adjusted. We soon caught the descending stream; and, at a pretty sharp turning, came all at once within view of the hospitable cottage; but, to our surprise, there was neither noise nor cavalcade—all was desolation and silence around. The very dogs rather seemed to challenge than to invite our advance, and neither smoke nor bustle indicated any preparation. At first I thought that I had mistaken my way, and was upon the point of entering, to ascertain the fact, when the shepherd presented himself in the doorway. I then could hear the voice of mourning—"Rachel weeping" within, and the boy lying across a half-demolished hay-rick, crying and sobbing as if his heart would burst. The face of the shepherd was blank and awful—it was as if by a sudden concussion of the brain he had lost all recollection of the past. He stood leaning against both lintels of the door, and neither advanced nor retreated. At last, hearing the voice of lamentation wax louder and louder behind him, he turned suddenly round, and disappeared. Impressed with the belief that something terrible had happened, but not knowing the nature or extent of it, I advanced to the boy, with whom, as a fellow-fisher in the mountain streams, I had made up an acquaintance at the former meeting, and, taking him firmly by the shoulder, endeavoured to turn his face towards me; but he kept it concealed in the hay, and refused either commiseration or comfort. The very dogs seemed aware of the calamity, and one of them howled mournfully from the corner of a peat-stack adjoining. At last a woman, with whom I was totally unacquainted, emerged from the doorway, and informed us of the cause of all this lamentation. She had been sent for as a relation from a distance, and had only arrived a few hours before. The particulars were as follows:—Two days previous to the day set apart for the marriage, the young, light-hearted, and blooming bride had been employed in building a rick or stack of bog-hay, for winter fodder to the cow. She was in the act of completing the erection, and standing on the contracted apex, when her foot slipped, and she fell head foremost, and at once dislocated her neck. Had there been immediate medical assistance (as had been injudiciously communicated to the family), the fatal accident might have been remedied; but, alas! there was not, and, long ere surgical aid could be procured, the ill-fated bride had ceased to breathe!

The first thought of the household had been directed towards the bridegroom, who had, ever since the fatal tidings, lost his reason, and become apparently fatuous, ever and anon insisting that the wedding should take place "for a' that!"

We did not deem it proper, nor would it have been so, to inflict our presence upon such a household. And for months after, I never slept without dreaming of this incident, and of the distressed family—of whose future fortunes I know nothing further.


MIKE MAXWELL AND THE GRETNA GREEN LOVERS.

There are many individuals who think they are safe if they act within the strict letter of the law of the land, although they transgress the precepts of Holy Writ, as well as the dictates of their conscience. There is a wide field of right and wrong, good and evil, within the lines of demarcation drawn by legislators or moralists; and as the acts therein performed are equally removed from punishment and reward, the merit of the actors is the greater, the less they are influenced by the hope of praise or the fear of censure. It would, indeed, be as absurd for an individual to say that he cannot be blamed if he acts within the law, as for another to allege that he can do no good unless his actions are blazoned in the columns of a newspaper, after the fashion of the five-pound donations of dukes and duchesses; but, clear as the proposition is, there are many who pretend to say that it is far from being self-evident. To such mole-eyed moralists, the best lesson is one derived from a practical example drawn from life; and we shall, as public moral teachers, in our humble sphere, proceed to lay one, not, we hope, altogether divested of amusement, before our readers.

The remembrance of the strange individual, Michael Maxwell, who lived, in the end of the last century, in the village of Gretna, so famed for irregular marriages, is not, it is supposed, yet extinct. He was the son of a small farmer, called David Maxwell, who claimed relationship to the Maxwells of Tinwald; and having died when Michael was still young, left him to the care of his mother, without, however, any means of support. His friends gave him a little education, and endeavoured to prevail upon him to learn some trade; but early habits of roving, and living on the chance occurrences of the day—perhaps strengthened by the continued assistance of his mother's friends, who got her a small house, with an acre or two of ground, for a trifling rent, and thus furnished some occasion for his services (when these could be procured) at home—rendered all kinds of business disagreeable to him.

He became remarkable, as he grew up, for great strength, strong love of enterprise, and amazing bodily agility, so that no man in that part of Dumfries-shire could cope with him at the games of the neighbourhood, or in personal contest. Of these gifts he was prouder than those who are possessed of undisputed superiority, in any respect, generally are; but he claimed also the possession of other qualities, which are not often found associated with those we have mentioned: an adroit cunning, or Scottish sagacity, and certain powers of humour, on which he plumed himself more than on his bodily strength and agility. In his trials of strength with the English, whom he loved to vanquish, he sometimes contrived to bring all those qualities into operation at once—a feat in which he delighted. Giving his English vaunting opponent in a wrestling match every advantage, he allowed him gradually to get more confident and proud of his anticipated victory, wiled him on to greater exertions and more impertinent boastings, and, when he saw him rising on his tiptoe for the last triumphant throw, laid him on his back like a child, amidst the mirth and applause of the assembled crowds.

It was a problem which few of the people about Gretna even attempted to solve, how Mike Maxwell, as he was called, lived; and how he contrived to keep a swift black mare always well fed and redd, besides supporting his old mother, apparently from the proceeds of a small mailing of ground, formed an addition to the difficulty, and set the wits of the wiseacres at defiance. Some supposed that he had a secret intercourse with the smugglers of the Solway, and that he kept the horse for the purpose of aiding him in directing the contraband dealers on what part of the coast to land their commodities; others again surmised that he was secretly employed by the village secular-marriage priest, to act as avant courier to runaway couples, whom, by leading through circuitous roads, he might enable to escape from their pursuers.

Of all those who speculated on the subject, none felt a greater interest in the mystery than a young Englishwoman of the name of Alice Parker, the daughter of a widow who lived on the English side of the Borders, and with whom Maxwell had been long on habits of great intimacy, notwithstanding of an indomitable prejudice he entertained against her country and countrymen. The great leveller of all distinctions of rank shows little respect for national prejudices; the two were devoted to each other, and would have been united, if he would have complied with her repeated request, to satisfy her as to the means whereby he maintained himself, and would maintain her. The condition of the young woman was reasonable; and one night, as she was accompanying him a short way on his road homewards, she pressed the point with so much force, that Maxwell could scarcely resist an explanation.

"It is not I alone," said she, "who feel a curiosity on this subject, which perhaps you may think only concerns yourself. The inhabitants of the surrounding country all know you, in consequence of the fame of your strength; and my countrymen of Cumberland, by token of their broken limbs and dislocated joints, know you in particular to their cost. It is to this fame, which you yourself have produced, that you owe the curiosity that is entertained about your means of living; for your maimed enemies would fain make out that you betake yourself to the highway—a very convenient and satisfactory way of accounting for the mystery, as it includes an explanation of your object in keeping Black Bess there; who, as I mention her name, looks about to chide me for the imputation."

"Weel may she," answered Maxwell, "for it is a foul charge; and if I knew wha originated it, I wad mak the place o' him it sprang frae (his head) sae dizzy that he wad be at some loss again to find it. But is it no yersel, Alice, wha maks the charge, and faithers it on the hail o' Cumberland, to force me to gie ye an explanation, which, after a', ye dinna need? The mailin I rent frae Laird Dempster keeps Bess, the kailyard my mither, and" (smiling, and taking his companion round the neck) "a man in love, Alice, needs little meat."

"No one has any chance with you, Mike," replied she. "Your arm lays your foes on the ground, and your Scottish tongue, made supple by cunning, baffles all attempts to reach your judgment; yet you have not succeeded in this instance, for you tell me in plain terms that, if I marry you, I must live on love. That sounds not well in the land of roast beef, of which I am as fond as my neighbours; so you shall be no husband of mine."

"You forget, Alice," said Maxwell, still smiling, "the three weeks ye lay in bed sick wi' love, when I left ye for Bridget o' the Glen. How muckle o' yer national dish did ye eat durin that time?"

"Again at your Scottish humour!" replied Alice; "but I am in earnest. You treat me ill, Mike. What is your love to me, if I am denied your confidence? Yet may I not be asking poison? I could not hear that you were a lawless man, and live a week after I was intrusted with the secret. Unhappy fate, to love, and be forced, by the mysterious conduct of my lover, to suspect his honesty!"

"You are on dangerous ground, Alice," said Maxwell. "We o' the north side o' the Borders say that love has nae suspicions, and that whar there are suspicions, there is nae love. Do ye mean that I should suspect yer love, as ye do my honesty."

"Would to heaven," cried Alice, "there were as little ground in the one case as in the other! Here comes a carriage at full speed; take Bess to the side of the road."

"Na," cried Mike, with a sudden start, and looking in the direction of the carriage; "Bess and I will tak the middle o' the road. She'll no stay behind a carriage; she has owre muckle gentle bluid in her veins."

The carriage came up with great speed; the blinds were up, and the route was to Gretna.

"Guid-nicht, Alice," cried Mike, as he flung himself suddenly on the back of Bess, and bounded off immediately behind the flying carriage.

The young woman stood and looked after her friend with feelings of surprise, and it was some moments before she became sufficiently self-possessed to try to account for so abrupt a departure. Was he angry with her? His conversation showed the reverse, and his good-nature was a prominent feature of his character. A painful question followed these thoughts: Was he away after the carriage, to realise the suspicion she had been communicating to him by the privilege of love? It seemed too likely; for he had never left her before without many endearing expressions of attachment; and she had observed the sudden change of manner and look which seemed to be produced by the approaching vehicle. All the vague reports she had heard concerning him came in aid of these suspicious appearances; and as she wandered slowly home to Netherwood, where her mother resided, she sunk into a gloomy train of thought, which shadowed forth, on the dim horizon of futurity, disgrace and shame to her lover, and misfortune and death to herself.

The carriage which Maxwell followed under such unfavourable appearances was, as already said, on the route for Gretna. The speed of the horses, and the loud cracking of the whip which propelled them, indicated haste; and the close blinds told of adventure, secresy, and love. Maxwell followed hard; and just as the vehicle turned to take the direction of the village, Black Bess and her rider flew past with the speed of light, and by another path reached the back-door of a small house, where she stopped. Maxwell descended, and tapped lightly at the door.

"David Hoggins," said he, "are you in?"

"Yes," answered the individual addressed; "what's wanted?" And the door was opened by an old man in a Kilmarnock nightcap.

"There's a couple on the road, David," said Maxwell, "dootless in search o' you. The night is gettin dark, and the carriage-lights winna tell them north frae south. I'll wait at the back-door till you try and get me engaged to lead the fugitives out o' danger and the reach o' their pursuers."

"The auld condition, I fancy," said David—"half and half."

"Lively," answered Mike—"quick; the row o' the wheels mak the village ring. There, they're landed. Awa wi' your noose, and dinna let me slip through the loop."

"I'm as sure's a hangman," said David, nodding significantly, and shutting the door, to proceed to the front of the house, where his presence was in great request.

Maxwell stood for a considerable time waiting the issue of his proposal, stroking down occasionally the sleek back of Bess, and at times muttering somewhat irreverent expressions of impatience against David and his customers. At last the door opened.

"They dinna need ye," said David; "Jehu will do their business, though it's clear they're pursued. They're for Berwick, and intend travellin a' nicht. She's a bonny cratur, man; sae young and guileless, and yet sae fond o' the wark, that she wad hae been doin wi' ae witness, to save the time o' gettin anither. As for him, I can see naething o' him for whiskers, the cause, I fear, o' a' the mischief. It's a Chancery touch, doubtless. They're for aff this minute. Five guineas, Mike—ha! ha!" (shutting the door.)

"Five guineas," muttered Maxwell, imitating David's laugh, "and naething for me. Come, Bess, and let us try what our Scottish cunning may do against English treachery. It has filled our purse afore, and I dinna see how it shouldna do't again. If they winna hae us as guides, they canna refuse us (that is, Bess, if your heels keep, as they say, the spur o' your head) as followers; and I hae made as muckle i' the ae capacity as the ither. Come, lass" (throwing himself in the saddle, and clapping her sleek neck as she tossed her head in the air), "come—hark! the wheels row—awa—but whip or spur—awa—we'll try baith their mettle and metal."

As he finished these words, he dashed down the lane, the foot of which he reached just as the carriage containing the buckled lovers passed, at the top of the speed of their spurred horses. It was clear they were afraid of pursuit, and were hastening on to Berwick, to take shipping for the Continent, the usual retreat of all runaway lovers passing through Gretna. Confiding in the abilities of Bess, Mike allowed the carriage to proceed onwards for half-a-mile before he seriously took the way, as he did not wish to be observed following it so near to the village. He kept moving in the middle of the road, reining in Bess, who, having been gratified by the noise of the carriage-wheels, pricked up her ears, pawed the ground, and capered from side to side. Roused by the sound of a strange voice, he started and turned round.

"You've time yet, man," cried Giles Baldwin, a Cumberland man, whose arm Mike had broken at a wrestling-match the year before, and whose suit to Alice Parker he had strangled by her consent. "But her going's like a Scotsman running from an Englishman over the Borders. Were my arm whole, I'd lead Bess's head to the follow. Away, man, or the booty's lost, like the field o' Flodden, before it is won."

"Ye've anither arm to brak, Giles," said Mike, in a low voice. "A craven has nae richt to be impudent till a' his banes are cracked, and then, like the serpent, he may bend and spit his venom. I'll see ye at the next match at Carlisle, and let ye feel the strength o' the grip o' friendship and kind remembrance. Tell Alice, as ye pass Netherwood, that I'm awa after a carriage, to show a couple the way to Berwick. Marriages beget marriages, they say; and she'll maybe tak ye, to be neebor-like, and to get quit o' me, against whom ye hae tried to poison her ear."

Saying these words, Mike bounded away; and gave the Cumberland man no opportunity of replying, otherwise than by bawling out some further impertinence about his successful rival's expectation of booty from the expedition in which he was engaged.

"If I had been to put mysel within the reach o' the arm o' the law," muttered Mike to himself, as he moved rapidly along, "this man's impudence micht hae scared me and saved me; but, thanks to Lewie Threshum, the writer o' Dumfries, I ken what I'm about. I can wring a man, in wrestling, to within an inch o' his life; and cut so close by an act o' parliament, that the leaves o't move by the wind o' my flight. Nae fiscal dare speak to me, sae lang as my Scottish cunning does justice to Threshum's counsel, and my arm defends me against a' ithers. Stretch on, guid Bess, and let me hae twa words wi' the happy couple."

The spirited animal increased her speed, and, in a short time, approached the carriage, which continued to whirl along with great rapidity. A series of quick bounds brought Mike alongside of it. He now saw that the blinds were still up, and the driver so intent upon propelling his horses forward, that he did not know that any one was in pursuit, while the noise of the vehicle prevented the possibility of hearing the soft pattering of Bess's heels. Taking the point of his whip, Mike gave a slight and knowing tap on the carriage-blind, like the announcement of an expected lover. A noise, as of sudden fright and agitation, followed from within.

"A's richt," muttered Mike to himself.

But the blinds were still kept up. He paced on a little further, and, seeing that no answer was returned to his application, repeated the rap a little louder than before.

"Who's there?" cried a rough voice.

"A friend," answered Mike.

"What is your name?" said the other, evidently in agitation.

"I never gie my name through closed doors," answered Mike; "and sae lang as ane acts within the law, there's nae use for imitatin the ways o' jail birds. My name, however, is no unlike your lady's maiden ane—an admission I mak through sheer courtesy and guid manners, and respect for her worthy faither."

The blind was taken down hurriedly, and a face covered with a great profusion of curly black hair presented itself. Mike drew down his hat, so as to cover his face, and, clapping Bess on the neck, paced along at great ease. After trying to scan his countenance, the gentleman seemed at a great loss.

"What is it, sir, that you wish with me?" said he, "or what is your object in thus disturbing peaceable travellers by legal turnpikes?"

"I beg your pardon," replied Mike. "The night is dark, and the road lonely; I thought ye micht hae wished a companion—sma' thanks for my courtesy. The gentlemen in the carriage that's comin up behind, at a speed greater than yours, ken better what is due to Scottish civility. I accompanied them a space, and enjoyed their conversation. They're in search o' twa Gretna fugitives, and wished me to assist them in the pursuit. I'm sorry I left them, seein I hae forgathered wi' ithers wha dinna appreciate fully my motives. I think I canna do better than ask Bess to slacken her pace, and bring me again to the enjoyment o' their society and conversation."

A suppressed scream from a female within followed this speech. The gentleman withdrew his head, to assist the lady; the coachman looked round, and was inclined to halt; but the words, "Drive on!" rang in his ears, and he obeyed. Mike calmly kept his course, clapping Bess's neck occasionally, and pretending not to notice the agitation and confusion within the carriage, where it seemed as if the lady had gone off in a faint. After some time, the same whiskered face appeared at the carriage-window.

"Hark ye, friend," said he, in an agitated tone; "you're a Scotchman, I presume, and must be up, as we say in London. What would you take to put the gentlemen in the other carriage off the scent?"

"What scent?" asked Mike, gravely.

"The scent of the couple they're after," said the other. "Could you not stimulate their noses with a red herring drag? Don't understand me? Hey, man, quick! What say ye?"

"I understand ye," answered Mike, "mair easily than I can assist ye, I fear. The hounds ken their track owre weel. They're for Berwick direct; but a Scotchman micht maybe send them scamperin to Newcastle—I mean that is possible, barely possible."

"Well, well!—what say ye?" replied the other. "Name your sum. Come, quick!"

"Let me see," said Mike; "by returnin, I may lose the market—a dead loss o' twenty pound, at least. Gie me that, and I'll answer for their being twenty miles on their way to Newcastle by the time ye're twenty miles on to Berwick."

"Here, here, then," said the gentleman, holding out his hand.

Mike met him half-way, and received a handful of guineas, among which was a ring.

"Keep yersel and the braw leddy easy," said he, as he put the money into his pocket. "Drive on, my lad" (to the driver), "and, if ye keep aff the Newcastle road, ye'll no fa' into the hands o' the chancellor."

With these words, Mike drew up Bess's head, turned, and sauntered slowly back to Gretna, gratifying his humour by a few words of soliloquy.

"But whar is the coach, wi' its contents, I was to send on to Newcastle? A principle o' honesty I hae aboot me maks me almost wish for an opportunity o' fulfillin my promise; but a' I undertook to insure was safety, and if they hae safety ony way, they get value for their siller; so, after a', I'm nae cheat. But here's anither coach drivin at deil's speed."

"Holloa! sirrah!" cries a person from the window; "met you a carriage on your way, driving quickly, and with closed blinds, towards Berwick?"

"You'll no likely find what ye want atween this and Berwick," replied Mike. "But I dinna wonder at your speed; I could almost wish to flee after her mysel. Sweet cratur!—she maun be fond o' whiskers."

"Then you have met the carriage!" cried the man, with great vehemence, quickened by the concluding remark of Mike. "Quick, quick—tell us where they are, and whither going. We lose time."

"I lose nane," replied Mike; "I'm saunterin at ony rate, thinkin o' my poverty; are o' the very warst o' a' subjects o' mortal meditation."

"Will money drag a direct answer from you, sir?" cried the man.

"No; but it will draw it out o' me as smoothly as oil," replied Mike.

"Here, then," said the other, handing him some—"will that satisfy you?"

"Double it," said Mike, "and I'll halve your labour."

The eagerness of the pursuers forced a ready compliance.

"The lady and gentleman you are in quest o'," said Mike, "hae changed their minds, and are on to Newcastle. They gave out Berwick as a decoy—an hour's ridin will bring ye up to them. But, hark ye! I have acted honourably by you—you maun do the same by me; and, therefore, when ye come up to the fugitives, ye will act discreetly, and say naething o' your informer. A nod's as guid's a wink——ye ken the rest."

The pursuers took no time to reply, but flew off at full speed to Newcastle, while Mike sought, at his ease, his mother's house, at a little distance from Gretna. About two hours after he arrived, a loud knock came to the door. Mike himself opened it.

"Is your name Mike Maxwell?" said a man habited like a sheriff-officer.

"It is," said Mike; "and wha in thae parts doesna ken me, either by grip or sicht?"

"It's by the first I get my acquaintance o' folk," said the officer, as he seized his prisoner. "I apprehend ye in the name o' the king, for highway robbery, committed on a lady and gentleman bound for Berwick."

Maxwell threw himself back, and, freeing himself from the grasp of the man, laid him, by one blow, at his feet. His humour was gratified; and, laughing boisterously, he lifted the messenger from the ground.

"That was merely for your impudence," said Mike. "I'm owre confident o' innocence, either to fecht or flee. A present is nae robbery—they gied me what I got o' their ain free-will and accord; and, if this is the way they tak to get their gifts back again, I can only say that the presents o' the English to the Scotch are like their blows—weel returned."

"Then you admit having the property of the lady and gentleman," said a second officer, who, attended by a concurrent, now came up. "We must search you."

"There's nae occasion for that," said Mike; "there's the guineas and the ring."

"But where is the portmanteau and the papers?" said the officer, as he took the gold. "Search the house, Jem, while we hold him; the hen's no far off when the chicken whistles."

The man searched the house. Mike looked surprised and confused, and suspected they had mistaken their man. He told them he had taken no portmanteau, and expressed total ignorance of what they meant. The men only laughed at him; they had got a damning evidence against him already—the ring, which had carved on it the initials "C. B." (Charles Beachum), the individual who had been robbed; and they did not require to hesitate an instant about his apprehension. They therefore carried him direct to Dumfries Jail.

Next morning, the news had spread far and wide that Mike Maxwell had been apprehended for highway robbery; he and another individual, unknown, having, on the previous night, attacked a travelling-carriage, knocked down the driver, wounded the gentleman, frightened the lady, and carried off a portmanteau filled with valuable articles, and particularly many important documents, together with the gentleman's diamond ring (which had been found on Maxwell's person), and other things of great value. On being examined, Maxwell thought it best to tell (with a slight exception) the truth; that he had followed the carriage to inform the runaway couple that they were pursued, and had received the money and the ring for undertaking to disappoint their pursuers. He kept the secret to himself, that when he got the money he did not know, certainly, that there were any persons in pursuit, and had therefore obtained it on false pretences; but, even with this prudent qualification, his examination was held to be just as complete an admission of the highway robbery as any criminal ever uttered, under the excitement of fear or the promise of pardon. The great desideratum was the portmanteau, which the robbers had carried off; and this, by the request of Captain Beachum, who had left instructions to that effect at the next inn, as he proceeded onwards, was searched for by many individuals, under promise of a very high reward.

About two hours after his examination, Maxwell was told that a young woman wished to get in to see him. He knew at once who it was; and the jailer, who was an old acquaintance, permitted her to enter.

"The secret that is denied to true love," said Alice, as she stood before Mike, looking at him sorrowfully and dignifiedly, "is sometimes told to the king. You hate my country, yet an Englishwoman would have saved you, if your confidence had been equal to the love you have expressed for me. When I asked you how you lived, you told me that a lover requires little food. How much, Mike Maxwell, does a prisoner within these walls either require or get? What avails your Scottish cunning now, and how much does it transcend English honesty? But, thank heaven, I have made a narrow escape! What would your strength, your fair face, and manly bearing, which have made such conquests at our country games, have yielded me of pride or pleasure, if I had been wedded to a robber? Is it possible that that word and Mike Maxwell claim kindred?—that Alice Parker, who treasured up your image in her bosom as a sacred thing, or a charm against the evil eye, should this day be doomed to the pain of saying that that hateful word and the name of her heart's choice are one and the same? Miserable hour!"

"Alice," replied Maxwell, "I did you injustice. I should have confided everything to your bosom; but I didna require to pollute that pure casket wi' the confidence o' a robber. I am nae robber—the first man wha said the word was laid in an instant at my feet, and sae should a' slanderers be served. I defy Scotland and England to prove Mike Maxwell a robber."

"The ring you have given up to the sheriff," said Alice, "is proof against you."

"Ha, Alice," replied Mike, laughing, "rings are dangerous things. Was the ane I got frae you, wi' a plait o' that raven hair in't, a sign o' robbery?"

"Would to heaven that it had been such a sign!" said the maiden; "I would not then have had to lament this miserable hour, and this dreadful night." (Pausing.) "But can it be, Mike, that you are so hardened in vice that you can laugh in a jail?"

"And why no, my love, if ane is innocent?" replied Maxwell. "I am indebted for this apprehension to some enemy—probably my rival, Giles Baldwin—who has got up a story about a portmanteau that never was stolen; and my honesty in confessin that I got the ring frae the gentleman for puttin the English beagles wha pursued him aff the scent, has gien the lee some colour o' truth. Conscious as I am o' my innocence, I am determined to keep up my spirits, laugh at my enemies till I get out, and then mak game o' their banes, by giein them joints whar nature never intended them to be."

"You have often, in playfulness, mocked me, Mike," answered she, "and turned the inquiries of my love into questions to myself, by the force of your Scottish humour; but I bear faith that you never told me a lie. Yet, when I think of the mystery of your life, your secresy, the strange way in which you left me last night, to make after the carriage, your admission concerning the ring, and many other circumstances, I must also admit that my heart is not satisfied. I cannot help it. Even my love, unbounded as it is, does not enable me to vanquish a cold feeling that, like the shivering of an ague, creeps over my skin. I cannot say I disbelieve you; but oh, what would I not give for proof to still this restless aching heart!" (Pausing.) "That proof, Mike, I shall have. The unpretending Englishwoman, whose counsel the wily Scotchman despised, shall now try to redeem the character of her countrywomen, and show that love and honesty are stronger than wiles and secresy."

"Weel said, heroine Alice!" cried Mike, still laughing. "Ye intend to mak me guilty, to increase the glory o' your efforts to save me; but, thanks to the laws o' our country, there's nae great merit in savin an innocent man. I defy a' my faes, and wad prefer a kiss o' my bonny Alice" (clasping her to his bosom), "to a' her noble endeavours to do that which innocence itsel will do for her lover."

"We stand at present on a new footing, Mike," said she, as she struggled to get free, and retired back. "I must have my proof. Till then, farewell!"

"Noble wench!" said Mike, as she departed. "However I may dislike her suspicions, I canna but admire her guidness and spirit. But Lewie Threshum will goon blaw awa this cloud, wi' the wind o' the leaves o' Stair or Mackenzie, and a' will shine bright again on Alice Parker and Mike Maxwell."

The views and feelings of Alice were very different: she suspected her lover, and the thought was death to her; yet her native nobility of soul urged her to the task of draining every source of evidence to prove his innocence. She called on Lewis Threshum, who had undertaken Mike's defence, and learned from him, what pained her to the uttermost, that the evidence, so far as it went, was loaded with heavy presumptions against the prisoner. A letter had been lodged in the hands of the fiscal, from Captain Beachum, stating that the robbery was committed at a distance of about ten miles from Gretna; that the perpetrators were two ruffians, mounted on good horses; that they had taken the portmanteau filled with valuable papers, and also his purse, containing a balance of twenty-two guineas, and a diamond ring, marked "C. B.;" all of which they carried off in the direction of Gretna. The letter contained authority to the Lord Advocate to prosecute the perpetrators, and recover the articles. The ring and guineas, minus two, had been found on Mike Maxwell, within some hours of the robbery. Then Giles Baldwin had sworn that he saw Mike Maxwell in full pursuit after the carriage some short time before the robbery was committed; and some other individuals swore that they saw him return to Gretna some time after, mounted on his black mare. In addition to all this, was Mike's improbable examination, which seemed of itself to be conclusive of the case. This appeared to Alice overpowering, especially when she added to it what she herself had witnessed—the arrival of the carriage, and the precipitate retreat of Mike, at a time when it was impossible he could know that there was (according to his theory) any carriage coming up in pursuit of the other.

She went home, sad and disconsolate, and passed the remaining part of the day and the night in the greatest misery. She revolved in her head various schemes for eliciting something favourable to her lover; but the absence of Captain Beachum, who could alone give any account of the circumstances attending the alleged robbery, formed a bar to her inquiries which she could not overleap. As she sat next evening, musing on the unfortunate current of events that cast her from the elevation of the pride of one who possessed the favour of the most proper and comely man of the Borders, to the shame of the confidential friend and lover of a robber, who might shortly be hanged, after associating, on the scaffold, her name with his sorrows—she was roused from her grief by a tap at the window. She started. It was Mike's rap, and the very hour at which he generally visited her. She flew to the window, thinking he had escaped, and had thus come to communicate the joyful tidings.

"Is it possible? It is not you, Mike?" she said, lowly.

"No, but it is his friend," said a voice she thought she knew.

"What friend?" said she; "and with what object does he call here?"

"Names have a dangerous odour," said the other, "when the beagles are out and snuffing every breeze for the scent of red game. You wish Mike Maxwell well—you visited him yesterday; would you aid in his escape?"

"Doubtless," said Alice. "Tell me what I could do to attain that object honourably."

"Here is the portmanteau," said the other, "which was taken from Captain Beachum. If it is sent back to him, he will give up the prosecution against Mike, as all he wants is the papers contained in it. Open the window a little till I rest the end of it on the sill."

Rendered stupid by this statement, Alice obeyed like an automaton. She lifted up the window. The portmanteau was placed within it in an instant.

"Get it sent to Beachum," said the voice. "I joined Mike in the robbery, and wish him to get off."

The window fell from the powerless hold of the thunderstruck girl, and struck the speaker's hand which was on the end of the portmanteau. The blow was a severe one; he ran off, and the portmanteau fell down within the house, where it lay as if it had been placed there by the hands of a housewife. It was some time before the miserable girl came back to the consciousness of her true position. The last words of the voice—"I joined Mike in the robbery, and wish him to get off"—rung in her ears like a death-knell; and the next moment her eyes fell on the fatal portmanteau—the very article stolen by her lover—that which was to convict him, to hang him. She grew frantic, ran to the door, looked east and west through the shadows of the trees, flew first one way, then another, called aloud, screamed, and called again. No one answered. The man was gone. She returned into the house, where her eyes again met and recoiled from the damning memorial. Terror now took possession of her mind. The circumstance of the portmanteau being found there would form the only link wanting of the evidence that would hang her lover. Were she to state how it came there—concealing the last dreadful words which still haunted her ear—she would not be believed; and if she told the whole truth, including the fatal words, the same result—the condemnation of her lover—would follow. What therefore was she to do? She could not discover it; but could she conceal it without danger to herself as well as to him? It was clear she could not; and, besides, her soul abhorred secresy and deceit of all kinds.

As she sat in this state of doubt and despair, a noise of footsteps was heard at the door, with whisperings and broken ejaculations. A tremor passed over her. They might be officers of justice come to search the house. A rap sounded softly on the door, and the whisperings continued. The portmanteau must, in any view, be concealed in the meantime; and, until her mind was made up, she flew and seized the covering of the bed, and hurriedly threw it over the glaring evidence of her lover's guilt. She had scarcely accomplished this hasty, but fatal concealment, when the door opened, and three sheriff-officers entered the house, and asked her if Mike Maxwell had left anything to her charge? The necessity for acting prudently called up her energies. She stood erect before the men.

"No," she replied, "Mike Maxwell committed nothing to my charge."

"We have here a warrant for a search, young woman; and you will not be annoyed by our putting it to execution."

She was silent, and shook from head to heel. One of the men drew off the bed-cover, and discovered the object of their search. Captain Beachum's name was on the top of it.

"So Mike committed nothing to your charge?" said the man, addressing Alice again.

"No," she answered, firmly.

"You can tell that to the sheriff," said the man. "Meantime, we take this article along with us."

He threw the portmanteau on his shoulders, and departed along with the concurrents, leaving the girl fixed to the floor like a statue.

In a short time after, her mother, who was against Maxwell's suit, and blamed her daughter for having anything to do with him, entered the house. Alice dared not make her mother her confidant; she was reduced to the necessity of not only wrestling single-handed with her difficulty, but of concealing it from her parent. Bed-time came, and she retired to rest, but slept none. At daybreak she started, dressed herself, and, without saying one word to her mother, proceeded to Dumfries to visit Lewis Threshum. On arriving at his house, she found he was in the prison along with Maxwell, and waited till he came home. She informed him truly of everything that had taken place, and saw, from the effects of her communication, that she was condemning her lover. Starting up in great agitation, he cried—

"Mike's life is in your hands, Alice: will you hang or save him?"

"Save him if I can," replied the girl.

"Then you must tell the shirra," said Lewie, "everything ye've tauld me, but the last words uttered by the secret visiter. These you maun keep in your bosom, and hauld like grim death, otherwise Mike's a dead man."

"I will speak the truth," said Alice, calmly.

"Didna you love Mike?" said the writer, staring at her.

"Yes, but I loved also, and still love, truth and honesty."

"Idiot cratur!" ejaculated Lewie, stamping with his feet. "Mike Maxwell is a dead man—Mike Maxwell is a dead man!" (Pausing and looking at her.) "Will you hide yourself then?"

"No," replied she; "I do not love secresy."

"Hang him then!" cried the infuriated man; "hang him, and then drown yourself, like the rest o' your inconsistent sex."

Offended by the violence of Threshum, which resulted, however, from his wish to save his friend and her lover, Alice left the room suddenly, and had scarcely got to the door, when she heard the writer calling after her. At this moment she was seized by a sheriff-officer, and conducted before the sheriff to be examined. She told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The fatal words of the secret visiter—"I joined Mike in the robbery, and wish him to get off"—were formally recorded, and the deposition closed. Threshum, finding the necessity of exerting his best energies to overcome the weight of this overpowering evidence, called at the office of the fiscal, and demanded, on behalf of his client, to see the contents of the portmanteau. This was conceded to him; and the man of the law, having examined carefully the papers in presence of the fiscal, and taken notes of them, departed, to turn his information to the best account he could for his client. He discovered that the papers belonged to Mr William Anson, merchant in Bristol, the guardian of the runaway bride, Miss Julia Anson.

This done, Lewis got hold of Alice before she left Dumfries, and took her with him to the prisoner, to see if the efforts of Mike would have any effect upon making her depart from her intention of adhering to the truth on the day of trial—the examination she had already undergone being merely a step in the preparation of the evidence. When they entered, they found Mike enjoying himself over some brandy, which the friendship of the jailer had procured for him. Lewis told him, with a grave face, of the extraordinary circumstances attending the recovery of the portmanteau, and, in particular, the words uttered by the individual who handed it in at the window. Mike remained unmoved.

"And do ye believe the words o' the ruffian wha thus hounds me?" said he to Alice.

"I cannot disbelieve what accords so well with everything else I have seen," replied she. "Alas! would that I could disbelieve them!"

"But ye'll keep them at least to yersel, Alice?" said Mike.

"If I could keep my heart to mysel, Mike, I would," replied she. "But God does not allow that, and I must speak the truth. What would you have me to do?"

"To say naething," replied he.

"Fule, man!" rejoined Lewis; "say naething! That wad hang ye mair certainly than what she has already said to the fiscal (to whom she has tauld everything), and intends to repeat at the trial, unless we can, in some way, prevent it. Say naething, man! You and she are tryin, like the competin millspinners o' Dryden's mill, which o' ye is best at twistin hemp. If she said naething, wha wad be presumed to be the depositor o' the portmanteau in the hands o' Alice Parker, the weel-kenned lover o' Mike Maxwell? Wha but Mike Maxwell himsel? Could it come frae a mair likely hand than that on whase finger the owner's diamond ring was, or micht hae been? Ye're baith fules. The lassie should swear, and she maun swear (unless, indeed, she wants to hang ye, which seems to be the case), that the portmanteau was handed in at the window by a man wha said ye were innocent, and had sent back the papers to try to save ye."

"Will ye say that, Alice?" said Mike.

"I cannot tell a lie, Mike," replied Alice. "I will speak the truth; and I would do that if Alice Parker's neck, in place of Mike Maxwell's, were in danger of the rope."

"Incomprehensible wench!" cried Mike. "Is this the last and strongest proof o' your affection? Does this agree wi' the sabbin heart and watery ee o' the greetin Alice, as she used to hang round my neck amang the green shaws o' Netherwood, and get me to promise that I never again wad see May Balfour? or does it agree wi' my promise, made on the condition that you wad renounce Giles Baldwin, wha, I fear, is at the bottom o' a' this affair? Is it common for women to agree to marry simple men, and then hang them?—to promise them a gowden ring for the finger, and gie them a hempen ane for the craig?"

"It is common for women to love," replied Alice, "and it is too common for women to lie for love; but the love that is leagued with the falsehood of the tongue, cannot be supported by the truth of the heart. No woman ever loved man as I loved you, Mike; but you are only a man, and there is a God" (looking upwards) "to be loved—ay, and to be feared. But you say you are innocent; and when did white-robed innocence require the piebald, ragged covering of falsehood, to show the purity which it covers? It were a mockery of the laws of God and man, to swear falsely to save an innocent man. And, alas! if you are guilty (and appearances are sadly against you), no falsehood ought to save you from the injured laws of your country."

"The plain Scotch o' a' this English, Mike," said Lewie, "is, that the lassie is determined to hang ye, as a repayment for a' the kisses ye were at the trouble to gie her in the holms o' Netherwood; and, after ye're dead, she'll sing 'Gilderoy' owre your grave. But, in sober seriousness, she's an idiot, like a' the rest o' her English freends. A Scotchwoman wad hae leed through fire and brimstone for her lover; and, after she swore the rope aff his neck, placed her saft arms round his craig, in place o' the hemp. Mercy on me, whar wad be a' my glory at proofs if folk were to speak the truth? My pawkieness, slyness, cunnin, art, and triumph o' the cross-question, wad be o' nae mair avail than sae muckle ordinary fair rubbish o' straightforward judgments and honesty. Keep up your spirits, Mike; I'll no let her hang ye. The English man or woman's no born that will hang Mike Maxwell."

"Are ye resolved, Alice?" said Mike, approaching her, and holding out his arms to enfold her.

"I am," replied she, receding. "Clear yourself by the aid of truth, and there's no haven in this world that could be dearer to me than these arms. Till then, I am the bride of sorrow. Farewell!"

And she departed, leaving Lewis Threshum with Maxwell.

"Saw ye ever sic a stubborn fule?" said Lewie.

"I never saw sae noble a wench," replied Mike.

"Ha! ha!" cried the writer. "A pair o' fules! Ye're the first man, Mike, I ever heard praise the person that swears awa his life; but this nonsense will neither prove nor pay. We maun set aboot discoverin the mystery o' this adventure at Alice's window. Ae thing seems to me perfectly clear; and that is, that it wasna the robber that handed in that portmanteau."

"Hoo do ye mak oot that?" said Mike.

"You're as simple's the puir English fule," replied Lewie. "Wad the man wha took the portmanteau frae Captain Beachum hae admitted to Alice Parker that he was the robber? and, what's mair, wad he hae said that ye joined him in the robbery—a lee—at the very moment when he wanted to save ye by returnin the stolen article?"

"You astonish me, Lewie," said Mike; "thae things never occurred to me."

"A lawyer's ee has twa lenses," said Lewie. "The man, whaever he is, who handed in that portmanteau at Alice Parker's window is your enemy, and no the robber. How he got the portmanteau is a different thing; but maybe we may be able to discover that also."

"If my enemy," said Mike, "he maun be Giles Baldwin, the lover o' Alice."

"Ha!" cried Lewie, "there's light there, man. Why was the portmanteau no taen to yer mother's? The question's a curious ane. Baldwin was the likely man to tak it to Alice's, and the only man wha wad hae tauld the lover o' his successfu rival that that rival was the robber. There's conies i' this hole; I see the marks o' their feet; and whar will ye find a better terrier than Lewie Threshum? Mair, man: wha sent the officers to Alice's house? That I'll sune discover. Keep up your spirits, Mike; and, while ye try to shake that fause English woman frae yer heart, I'll try and keep Hangie frae yer craig."

And away Lewie hastened; to continue his inquiries. He went first to the officers who searched for the portmanteau, and ascertained from them, through the influence of that heart-aperient whisky, that it was in fact Giles Baldwin who had told them to go and search the house of Widow Parker. Lewis next proceeded to Gretna, where he interrogated Alice more distinctly.

"If ye're determined to speak the truth," said he to the grieved girl, "ye should tell us the hail truth, as ye did te the shirra. Did the voice o' the man no strike ye as a kent ane?"

"It did," replied Alice; "but though I have been trying to discover whose it resembled, I have not been able to make anything of it."

"What say ye to Giles Baldwin's?" said Lewie.

"When you mention it," said Alice, "it does strike me that the resemblance between the two voices was very great. But a thought now strikes me: when the man said that Mike had joined him in the robbery, I let fall the window, which struck him over the knuckles a severe blow. The mark must be on his hand yet. For God's sake, fly to Giles' house, and see if his hand is hurt. If that is the case, I will believe that Mike Maxwell is an innocent man."

"Why," said Lewie, looking cunningly into her face.

"Because," said she, "Mike Maxwell never would have joined Giles Baldwin, his enemy, in a robbery; and, therefore, the statement made to me at the window was a lie; and one lie, like a fly in a box of ointment, corrupts the whole mass of evidence."

"My writing-chamber maun be like a charnel-house, then," said Lewie. "But, lassie, you're surely Scotch, wi' merely an English tongue."

"Sir," said Alice, "I would wish you would hasten to Giles Baldwin, rather than joke about this serious affair."

"A' my triumph in the law consists in jokin when I am serious," replied Lewie, with a grave face. "Ye wadna tak my advice when I wanted ye to save yer lover; and now I'll no tak yours when ye want me to save him" (leering); "I mean, Alice, just that I'll gang to Giles Baldwin at my ain time. Will ye swear to his voice and his hand?"

"If Giles Baldwin's hand," said she, "is cut in such a way as might have been done by the fall of that window, I will swear to my perfect belief of his being the man who handed in the portmanteau."

"Aneugh, aneugh," cried Lewie; "I kent ye were Scotch; and now I'll awa to Giles, and shak hands wi' him."

Lewis departed, and went away direct to Baldwin's house. He found Giles at the door, and, holding out his hand, asked him, in a friendly manner, how he did. Giles intuitively extended his hand, which, as Lewie seized it, he observed, was clearly peeled along the back, a little above the knuckles.

"Ye hae a hard grip, Giles," said the writer. "Is this the arm that Mike Maxwell broke at the wrestlin match last year?" (Looking down at his hand.) "I declare, there's the marks o' Mike's fingers on yer hand yet! But I'm sorry ye hae fa'n into this new scrape, Giles. The craig's a mair kittle part than the arm or the hand, and aften does penance for the acts o' its restless freend. I'm sorry for you, Giles."

"What's the matter?" said Giles. "I need no man's sorrow, nor money either."

"A man that has been successful in the highway doesna need the last," said Lewie; "but he is in great need o' the first. It was strange that twa enemies should join thegither to commit robbery. It's now quite ascertained that you and Mike Maxwell were the robbers o' Captain Beachum."

"Wha dares say that?" replied Giles, looking alarmed.

"Alice Parker," said Lewie. "That nicht ye handed into her Captain Beachum's portmanteau at the window, and got your hand" (taking hold of it) "hurt by the fa' o' the sash (the mark is on't yet—Providence winna let thae marks heal), you told her very honestly—but I canna say, Giles, it was prudent o' ye—at least I wadna hae dune sae unguarded a trick—that Mike Maxwell joined you in the robbery. You then told Jem Anderson, the shirra-officer, to gae and search for the portmanteau in Widow Parker's hoose. What made ye do that, man? Couldna ye hae come to me, and gien me six and eightpence for an advice? The neck o' a sheep, wi' the head at ae end, and the harrigals at the ither, is worth eighteen-pence. Surely the craig o' a man is worth six and eightpence."

Giles was bewildered by this speech, and appeared like a man who gets the folds and meshes of a net thrown over him. He stood and stared at the writer. The great terror was the charge of robbery, of which he was quite innocent; and he was conscious that he had so far convicted himself, by an unwary statement to that effect made for a certain purpose to Alice Parker. His mind, occupied by this fear, let go the apprehension of a discovery of the mere act of handing in the portmanteau.

"I see no harm in handing in the portmanteau," he said, irresolutely, his mind still occupied by the major terror; "a person finding it on the road might take that way of returning it to the owner, and saving poor Mike. I committed no robbery."

"Giles Baldwin," said Lewie "this winna do; I can prove that ye hae admitted being a robber. Now, tak yer choice—admit the truth about the portmanteau, (for I dinna believe ye stole it), or run the risk o' a trial for yer life. If ye refuse me, I'll hae ye apprehended within an hour."

The scrape into which Giles had got was evident to himself. He saw no way of escaping; but he was still dogged and silent.

"Guid-day, Mr Baldwin!" said Lewis; "ye needna try to flee the country; I'll hae twa beagles after ye afore ye can even cut a stick frae that ash to help ye on. Twa hangins on ae wuddy maks twa pair o' shoon to the hangman, but only ae ploy to the people."

"Mr Threshum," cried Baldwin, as the writer was going out, "what do you want?"

"Explain to me a' ye ken about the portmanteau," said Lewis, "and I'll guarantee ye against the wuddy: that's fair."

"I found the portmanteau," said Giles, at last overcome with fear, "and gave it to Alice Parker to send to the owner, and save Mike."

"That's no a' true," said Lewis. "If ye wanted to save Mike, why did ye tell a lee, and say that he was ane o' the robbers, yoursel bein the ither?"

Giles was caught; he saw now that he had only one course, and agreed to sign a paper, setting forth all he knew and everything he did in relation to the transaction. Lewis sat down accordingly, and took down his declaration, which, after it was finished, he signed and authenticated. It bore that he had a grudge against Mike Maxwell, for having broken his arm, and taken from him his lover, Alice Parker. He had heard the suspicions which were afloat in regard to Mike's mode of living; and, having seen him that night sitting on Black Bess, and looking after the carriage, he suspected he was after prey. He insulted him in the way mentioned; and Mike having retaliated in the way also already set forth, Giles was wroth against him, and seeing, some time after, a carriage hastening after the other, he got up behind it, and rode on, with the view of watching the motions of Mike, and of being enabled to inform upon him, and thus revenge himself. After riding for some time, he heard the conversation between Mike and the gentleman in the carriage, which has been already detailed; and, having proceeded on some distance farther, to get some whisky at a house where he was acquainted, he noticed, as the carriage swerved to a side, a portmanteau lying on the ground. He jumped down, and, taking hold of the article, swung it behind a hedge, and covered it with leaves and twigs. Some time after, two men came up, and asked him if he had seen a portmanteau. He denied that he had, and they passed on. Then came two sheriff-officers, who told him that a robbery had been committed on a lady and gentleman going to Berwick, whereby a valuable portmanteau had been taken from the carriage. This made Giles prick up his ears: he suspected that Mike had been the robber; and his suspicion was confirmed by the fact, that he had heard him send the gentleman in the second coach to Newcastle, though he knew they were after the couple that were bound for Berwick—a device resorted to by Mike, no doubt, for preventing them from coming upon the robbed couple, and giving information against him when they had met. Filled with this suspicion, and his desire of revenge, Giles sent the officers to Mike's house, and afterwards gave as much evidence against him as he could, consistently with his wish to keep the contents of the portmanteau to himself. Having gone and examined it next day, he found nothing in it but papers; and therefore resolved upon committing it to the charge of Alice, and then informing the officers that it was in her custody. To prevent Alice from telling how it came into her possession, and of course to leave the presumption open that she had got it from Mike, he said that Mike had been one of the robbers; and the reason why he had said that he himself was the other, was, that he was personating one of the robbers at the time when he was speaking to Alice; and, as he knew that the report spoke of two robbers, he glided naturally into the statement he had made to Alice, whom he wished also to prejudice against his rival. This declaration Giles signed; and Lewis came away with it in his pocket very well pleased. He read it to Alice Parker as he passed along. She was delighted beyond adequate powers of expression, and only wanted an explanation of the ring to satisfy her entirely.

"That ye'll get too," said Lewie. "I hae a' that, cut and dry; but the time's no just come yet. Ye maun hae patience, and I wad recommend to ye to pay some attention in the meantime to puir Mike, and mak amends for yer cruelty, in refusin to tell a lee to save the life o' a fellow-cratur."

"If people were not cruel to themselves," said Alice, "they would not require any one to commit for them so heinous a sin."

Lewis left her, and returned to Dumfries, where he communicated his success to Mike. Some time afterwards, the former understood that Captain Beachum had written from Paris, wishing to avoid a personal appearance in Scotland; but the Lord Advocate wrote him back, to say that, if he did not appear, he would neither get the criminal prosecuted, nor receive up his portmanteau and papers. The captain (leaving his young wife on the Continent) accordingly came over to Dumfries, extremely anxious to have the trial over, and get possession of his papers. As soon as Threshum knew he was arrived at the Cross Keys, he waited upon him.

"Captain Beachum," said Lewis, "ye hae committed an honest man to prison, on a charge o' being the individual wha robbed ye o' your portmanteau, guineas, and ring. Wad ye ken him if ye saw him?"

"No," said the captain; "but there's proof enough against him; he had my ring in his possession, and the portmanteau was discovered in the house of his sweetheart."

"The last part o' the charge gaes for naething," said Lewis, "as I can prove to your satisfaction; and the first proves nae robbery, but only your munificence in giein a man a dimond ring, as a luck-penny to a bargain, whereby ye saved yersel and yer wife frae the vengeance o' Mr Anson, wha was that nicht followin you wi' a' the speed o' a guardian's flight after his ward."

"What mean you?" said the captain.

"Do ye no recollect," said Lewis, "o' giein a man on a black mare twenty guineas to mak a red-herrin drag across the nose o' Mr Anson?"

"I do," said the captain; "but I did not give him the ring."

"I can assure ye that ye did, though," said Lewis. "Recollect yoursel."

"I'm not inclined to try to recollect my own stupidity," said the captain. "It is impossible I could be so foolish as to give away my diamond ring, either as a present or by mistake."

"If you're no inclined to do that muckle justice to an injured man, maybe you'll gie me the papers that belang to Mr Anson, by virtue o' this letter o' authority" (taking out the letter). "Tak your choice."

"The papers, sir," said the captain, getting frightened, "are all I want. I care nothing for the prosecution of the man. It's certainly possible I may have given him the ring by mistake; but how do you account for the portmanteau being in his lover's house?"

Lewis read to him Giles Baldwin's deposition.

"Then," said the captain, "all the evidence against Maxwell is the ring?"

"Naething mair," said Lewis.

"He shall not be hanged for that," said the captain. "I shall go off to the authorities, and inform them that it is very probable I gave the man the ring in the way you mention. You say nothing of Mr Anson and the papers, you know."

"I canna interfere, luckily," said Lewis.

On the statement of Captain Beachum, Mike was liberated. He afterwards took a farm, married Alice Parker, whom he admired the more for her love of truth, and lived with happily for many years; but he ever lamented the course of life he had led. He ran a great risk of being hanged, from the curious combination of circumstances that conspired against him—lost reputation by it, and caused unspeakable grief to one of the best of women. Hence our moral: that one is not always safe from the effects of vice, though he act within the laws.


REUBEN PURVES; or, THE SPECULATOR.

Speculation is the soul of business; it is the mainspring of improvement; it is essential to prosperity. Burns has signified that he could not stoop to crawl into what he considered as the narrow holes of bargain-making; and nine out of every ten persons who consider themselves high-minded profess to sympathise with him, and say he was right. But our immortal bard, in so saying, looked only at the odds and ends—the corners and the disjointed extremities—of bargain-making, properly so called; and he suffered his pride and his prejudices to blind, in this instance, his mighty spirit, and contract his grasp, so that he saw not the all-powerful, the humanising, and civilising influence of the very bargain-making which he despised. True it is, that as a spirit of speculation or bargain-making contracts itself, and every day becomes more and more a thing of farthings and of fractions, it begets a grovelling spirit of meanness, that may eventually end in dishonesty; but as it expands, it exalts the man, imbues his mind with liberality, and benefits society. The spirit of commercial speculation will spread abroad, until it render useless the sword of the hero, cause it to rust in its scabbard, and to be regarded as the barbarous plaything of antiquity. It will go forth as a dove from the ark of society, bearing the olive-branch of peace and of mutual benefits unto all lands, until men shall learn war no more.

But at present I am not writing an essay on speculation or enterprise, but the history of Reuben Purves, the Speculator; and I shall therefore begin with it at once. Reuben was born in Galashiels, than which I do not know a more thriving town, or one more beautifully situated, on all the wide Borders. As you pass it, seated on the outside of the Chevy-Chase coach on a summer day (if perchance a sunny shower shall have fallen), it lies before you as a long and silvered line, the blue slates reflecting back the sunbeams. In its streets, cleanliness and prosperity join hands; while before it and behind it rise hills high enough to be called mountains, where the gorgeous heather purples in its season. Before it—I might say through it—wimples the Gala, almost laving its thresholds. There the spirit of speculation and of trade has taken up "a local habitation and a name," in the bosom of poetry. On the one hand is the magic of Abbotsford, on the other the memories of Melrose. But its description is best summed up in the condemnation of a Cockney traveller, who said, "Vy, certainly, Galashiels would be wery pretty, were it not its vood and vater!"

But I again digress from the history of Reuben Purves. I have said that he was born in Galashiels: his father was a weaver, and the father brought his son up to his own profession. But although Reuben

"Was a wabster guid,
Could stown a clue wi' onybody,"

his apprenticeship (if his instructions from his father could be called one) was scarce expired, when, like Othello, he found "his occupation gone," and the hand-loom was falling into disuse. Arkwright, who was long considered a mere bee-headed barber, had—though in a great measure by the aid of others—brought his mechanism to a degree of perfection that not only astonished the world, but held out a more inexhaustible and a richer source of wealth to Britain than its mines did to Peru. Deep and bitter were the imprecations of many against the power-loom; for it is difficult for any man to see good in that which dashes away his hard-earned morsel from the mouths of his family, and leaves them calling in vain for food. But there were a few spirits who could appreciate the vast discovery, and who in it perceived not only the benefits it would confer on the country, but on the human race. Arkwright, who, though a wonderful man, was not one of deep or accurate knowledge, with a vanity which in him is excusable, imagined that he could carry out the results of his improvements to an extent that would enable the country to pay off the national debt. It was a wild idea; but, extravagant as it was, it must be acknowledged that the fruits of his discoveries enabled Britain to bear up against its burdens, and maintain its faith, in times of severest trial and oppression.

Reuben's father was one of those who complained most bitterly against the modern innovation. He said, "the work could never be like a man's work. It was a ridiculous novelty, and would justly end in the ruin of all engaged in it." It had, indeed, not only reduced his wages the one-half, but he had not half his wonted employment, and he saw nothing but folly, ruin, and injustice in the speculation. Reuben, however, pondered more deeply; he entered somewhat into the spirit of the projector. He not only entertained the belief that it would enrich the nation, but he cherished the hope that it would enrich himself. How it was to accomplish his own advancement he did not exactly perceive, but he lived in the idea—he dreamed of it—nothing could make him divest himself of it; and he was encouraged by his mother saying—

"Weel, Reuben, I canna tell, things may be as ye say—only there is very little appearance o' them at present, when the wages o' you and your faither put thegither are hardly the half o' what ane o' ye could hae made. But ae thing is certain—they who bode for a silk gown always get a sleeve o't."

"Nonsense, woman! ye're as bad as him," was the reply of his father; "wherefore would ye encourage the callant in his havers? I wonder, seeing the distress we are a' brought to, he doesna think shame to speak o' such a thing. Mak a fortune by the newfangled system, indeed!—my truly! if it continue meikle langer, he winna be able to get brose without butter."

"Weel, faither," was the answer of Reuben, "we'll see; but you must perceive that there is no great improvement can take place, let it be what it will, without doing injury to somebody. And it is our duty to watch every opportunity to make the most of it."

"In my belief, the laddie is out o' his head," rejoined the father; "but want will bring him to his senses."

Reuben, however, soon found that it became almost impossible to keep soul and body together by the labours of the loom. He therefore began to speculate on what he ought to do; and, like my honoured namesake, the respectable poet, but immortal ornithologist, he took unto himself a PACK, and, with it upon his shoulders, he resolved to perambulate the Borders. There was no disgrace in the calling, for it is as ancient, perhaps more ancient, than nobility; and we are told that, even in the time of Solomon, "there were chapmen in the land in those days." Therefore Reuben Purves became a chapman. He, as his original trade might lead one to suppose, was purely a dealer in "soft" goods; and when he entered a farmhouse, among the bonny buxom girls, he would have flung his pack upon the table, and said—

"Here, now, my braw lassies; look ye here! Here's the real upright, downright, elegant, and irresistible muslin for frills, which no sweetheart upon this earth could have the power to withstand. And here's the gown-pieces—cheap, cheap—actually giein them awa—the newest, the most elegant patterns! Only look at them!—it is a sin to see them so cheap! Naething could be mair handsome! Now or never, lassies. Look at the ribands, too—blue, red, yellow, purple, green, plain, flowered, and gauze. Now is the time for buskin your cockernony—naething could withstand them wi' sic faces as yours—naething, naething, and that ye would find. It would be out o' the question to talk o't. Come, hinnies, only observe them, I'm sure ye canna but buy—or look at this lawn."

"O Reuben, man," they would have said, "they are very bonny; but we hae nae siller."

"Havers!" answered he; "young queans like you talking about siller! Sell your hair, dears, and buy lang lawn?"

Then did Reuben pull forth his scissors, and begin to exercise the functions of a hairdresser, in addition to his calling as a chapman—thinning, and sometimes almost cropping, the fair, the raven, the auburn, or the brown tresses of the serving-maids, and giving them his ribands and his cambrics in exchange for their shorn locks. The ringlets he disposed of to the hairdressers in Edinburgh, Newcastle, or Carlisle, and he confessed that he found it a very profitable speculation; and where the colour or texture of the hair was beautiful, he invariably preferred bartering for it, to receiving payment in money. This was a trait in Reuben's character, at the outset of his career as a speculator, which showed that he had a correct appreciation of the real principles of trade—that he knew the importance of barter, without which commerce could not exist; and it afforded an indication of the future merchant.

He was in the habit of visiting every town, village, and farm-stead within sixty miles of the Borders—to the north and to the south—and taking in the entire breadth of the island. His visits became as regular as clock-work. No merchant now-a-days knows more exactly the day and almost the hour when he may expect a visit from the traveller of the house with which he deals, accompanied with an invitation to drink a bottle of wine, and pay his account, than the people in the Border villages knew when Reuben would appear amongst them.

It was shrewdly suspected that Reuben did not confine himself solely to the sale of ribands, gown-pieces, and such-like ware, but that his goodly pack was in fact a magazine, in which was concealed tea, cognac, and tobacco. At all events, he prospered amazingly, and in the course of three years—though he lessened its weight at every village he came to—his pack overgrew his shoulders, and prosperity compelled him, first, to have recourse to a pack-horse, and, before he had had it long, to a covered cart or caravan. In short, on arriving at a village, instead of going round from house to house, with his stock upon his shoulders, as he was wont to do, he sent round the drummer or bellman: or, where no such functionaries are known, he employed some other individual, with a key and a trencher, to go round the village and make the proclamation—

"This is to give notice, that Mr Reuben Purves, with his grand and elegant assortment of the newest and most fashionable varieties of soft-ware goods, and other commodities, all bought by him for ready money, so that great bargains may be expected, has just arrived (at such an inn), and will remain for this day only; therefore those who wish the real superior articles, at most excellent bargains, will embrace the present opportunity."

Let not the reader despise Reuben because he practised and understood the mysteries of puffing. There is nothing done in this world without it. No gardener ever "lichtlied" his own leeks. All men practise it, from the maker of books to the maker of shoe-blacking, or the vender of matches. From the grandiloquent advertisement of a metropolitan auctioneer, down to the "only true and particular account" of an execution, bawled by a flying-stationer on the streets, the spirit of puffing, in its various degrees, is to be found. Therefore we blame not Reuben; he only did what other people did, though perhaps after a different fashion, and with better success. It gave a promise of his success as a tradesman. He said he ventured on it as a speculation, and finding it to suit his purpose, he continued it. In truth, scarce had the herald made the proclamation which I have quoted, until Reuben's cart was literally besieged. His customers said, "it went like a cried fair—there was nae getting forward to it."

Moreover, he was always civil; he was always obliging. He had a smile and a pleasant and merry word for every one. Buy or not buy, his courtesy never failed him. In short, he would do anything to oblige his customers, save to give them credit; and that, as he said, was not because he had any doubt of their honesty, or that he was unwilling to serve them, but because he had laid it down as a rule never to trust a single penny, which rule he could not break. He was also possessed of a goodly person; was some five feet ten inches in height; he had fair hair, a ruddy, cheerful countenance, intelligent blue eyes; and his years but little exceeded thirty.

At this period of Reuben's history, there lived in the town of Moffat one Miss Priscilla Spottiswoode. Now, Priscilla was a portly, and withal a comely, personage, and though rather stout, she was tall in proportion to her stoutness. Nothing could surpass the smoothness of the clear red and white upon her goodly countenance. There was by no means too much red, and constitutional good-nature shed a sort of perpetual smile over her features, like a sunbeam irradiating a tranquil lake. In short, it was a reproach to every bachelor in the town and parish of Moffat, to have permitted forty-and-four summers to roll over the head of Priscilla, without one amongst them having the manliness to step forward and offer his hand to rescue her from a state of single solitariness. She had been for more than twenty years the maid, or rather I might say the nurse, of an old and rich lady, who at her death bequeathed to her five hundred pounds.

Reuben first saw Priscilla about three months after she had received the legacy. "Five hundred pounds," thought he, "would set a man on his feet." He also gazed on her kind, comely, smiling countenance, and he said within himself that "the men of Moffat were blind." And eventually he concluded, communing with himself, that the fair Priscilla was a speculation worthy the thinking of. She wished to purchase a few yards of lace for cap-borders, and such-like purposes; and as Reuben sold them to her, he said to her a hundred pleasant things, and he let drop some well-timed and well-turned compliments, and she blushed as his eulogy on the lace aptly ended in praise of her own fair features. Yet this was not all; for he not only sold to her fifty per cent. cheaper than he would have parted with his goods to any other purchaser, but he politely—by what appeared a wilful sort of accident—contrived to give her a full yard into her bargain. Priscilla looked upon Reuben with more than complacency; she acknowledged (that is, to herself) that he was the best-looking, polite, and most sensible young man she had ever seen. She resolved that in future she would deal with no one else; and, indeed, she had got such an excellent bargain of the lace, that she had come to the determination of again visiting his stock, and making a purchase of other articles. And, added she, to a particular friend, "It does a body good to buy from him, for he is always so pleasant."

But Reuben saved her the trouble; for early the next day he called at her house, with a silk dress under his arm. He said—

"It was the last piece of the kind he had—indeed it was a perfect beauty, equal to real India, and would become her exceedingly—and not to think about the price, for that was no object."

"What, then, am I to think about?" thought Priscilla; and she admired the silk much, but, peradventure, if the truth were told, she admired its owner more.

Reuben spent more than two hours beneath the roof of the too-long-neglected spinster. Often in those two hours she blushed, his tongue faltered, and when he rose to depart, he had neither the silk beneath his arm, nor the cash for it in his pocket; but he shook her hand long and fervently, and he would have saluted her fair cheek—but true love, like true genius, people say, is always modest. Priscilla, on being left alone, felt her heart in a very unusual tumult; and now she examined her face in a mirror, and again admired the silk which he had presented to her. She had always heard him spoken of as a steady, thriving, and deserving young man; and it became a settled point in her mind, that, if he directly popped the important question, she would be as candid with him, and at once answer, "Yes."

Reuben was frequently seen in Moffat after this, even when he brought no goods for sale; and within six months after her purchase of the lace, the sacred knot, which no man may unloose, was tied between them; and at the age of forty-and-four years and four months, but before time had "wrote a wrinkle" on her fair brow, Miss Priscilla Spottiswoode blushed into Mrs Purves.

While following his avocation as a chapman, Reuben had accumulated somewhat more than two hundred pounds, which, with the five hundred that his wife brought him, raised his capital to more than seven hundred. But he was not a man to look only at the needle point of things, or whose soul would be lost in a nut-shell. Onward! onward! was the ruling principle of Reuben—he had been fortunate in all his speculations, and he trusted to be fortunate still. Never, during all his wanderings, had he lost sight of the important discoveries of Arkwright, and of the improvements which were every day being made upon them; and, while he was convinced that they would become a source of inexhaustible wealth to the nation, he still cherished the hope and the belief that they would enrich himself. He said also—and Mrs Purves agreed with him—that travelling the country was a most uncomfortable life for a married man. He therefore sold his horse and his covered cart, disposed of his stock at prime cost, and, with his wife and capital, removed to Manchester.

He took a room and a cellar at the top of Dean Street, and near to the foot of Market Street,

"Where merchants most do congregate."

The upper room served them for bedchamber, parlour, kitchen, and all, while the cellar he converted into a wareroom. Perhaps, having more than seven hundred pounds to begin the world with, some may think that he might have taken more commodious premises; but rents were becoming high in Manchester—many a great merchant has begun business in a cellar—and Reuben, quoting the words of poor Richard, said:—

"Vessels large may venture more,
But little boats should keep near shore."

And he further said, "I am but serving my time yet; we must creep before we walk."

Never was any man who prospered in the affairs of this world more diligent in business than Reuben Purves, and in Priscilla he found an admirable helpmate. She soon learned the name, the price, and the quality of every description of goods; and when he was necessarily absent, she could attend to the orders of customers as promptly as himself. The reader unacquainted with the Manchester mode of business, is not to suppose that Reuben, although his stock was wedged up in a cellar, was a retail draper or haberdasher. Its magnitude considered, there are fewer such in Manchester than in any other town in the kingdom; but Reuben commenced as a wholesale merchant—one who supplies the country dealers. He always went to the markets to purchase with the money in his hand, as Joseph the patriarch's brethren came to him to buy corn—and pity it is that the good old custom has too much fallen into disuse. He made his purchases chiefly from the small manufacturers, to whom ready money was an object of importance, and consequently bought his goods to much advantage to himself. During his extensive perambulations on the Borders, also, he had become generally acquainted with the drapers in all the towns upon his circuit; and at the seasons when they generally visit Manchester, he might have been seen rapidly passing along what is now called Piccadilly, and passing the coach from the north, just as it drew up to the inn; and if one whose face he knew stepped off it or out of it, Reuben turned suddenly round as if by accident, took the north-country purchaser by the hand, and invited him home to "eat beef" with him, or to take supper, as the case might be. He was generally successful; for to resist his solicitations was a matter of difficulty, and after partaking of a frugal meal and a single glass, the stranger was invited to examine the stock in the wareroom, and seldom failed of becoming the purchaser of a part. By such means, and perseverance, his business in a few years increased exceedingly. He was of opinion that there is hardly anything too difficult for resolute perseverance to accomplish or overcome, at least he always found it so; and I confess I am very much of his mind.

Within three years he had taken extensive warerooms. He had a clerk, a salesman, four warehousemen, a traveller, and a porter. He had also taken his father from the loom. Reuben had seized fortune at the flood, and he floated down with the stream. He said he never undertook a speculation, but he was convinced in his own mind it would be successful. He also said, that fortune-making was like courtship; it was never venture never win—only to know what you were venturing upon.

I should have mentioned, that, previous to this, Priscilla had made Reuben the happy father of twin daughters, and the one they named Rachel, the other Elizabeth. The mother gloried in her children, and her husband looked on them with delight. He was a fortunate man and a happy one; and his cup of felicity, if it did not run over, was well filled.

In a short time, Reuben not only supplied with goods to a great extent the merchants on the Borders, but throughout the three kingdoms; and he also exported extensively to other countries, and even to some where the importation of British goods was prohibited.

"A fig for their tariffs," he was wont to say, snapping his fingers; "the profit will cover the risk. The principle of trade is like the principle of steam—there is no restraining it. Neither kings, emperors, congresses, nor laws, are a match for it. They canna cage it up like a bird. They might as well say to the waves of the sea, 'hitherto shalt thou come and no farther,' as to the spirit of trade—'stop!'"

In these speculations however, Reuben frequently experienced the common fate of the smuggler; and the goods which he sent into countries where they were prohibited were seized. He was of too ardent a temperament to be merely the purchaser and vender of other men's manufactures, and eventually he erected a cotton-mill of his own, a few miles out of Manchester.

And here it will, perhaps, be more acceptable to the reader, that I detail the remainder of Reuben's narrative in his own words, as he related it to an old schoolfellow in his native town, after an absence from it of more than thirty years. It was delivered with his unchanged Scottish accent, and with many Scottish phrases and modes of expression, which a residence of more than three times ten years in England had not destroyed:—

I was now (said he, alluding to the erection of the mill), at what I had always considered as the very pinnacle of my ambition—the proprietor of a cotton-mill, and of one, too, that had cost me several thousands in completing it. I had no manner of doubt, but that it would turn out the master-speculation of my existence; for, bless ye, at that period, to have a mill was to have a mine. A spinning-jenny was worth its weight in rubies. There was Arkwright, made a fortune like a nobleman's in a jiffy; and Robert Peel, greatly to his credit from being a weaver lad, I may say, in less than no time, made a fortune that could have bought up half the gentry in the country. Indeed, wealth just poured in upon the millowners; and, I must confess, they werna bad times for the like o' me, that bought their calicoes, and got them dressed and printed to sell them out, as you may judge from my having been able to erect a mill of my own before I had been many years in business. But, I must confess, that the mill ran between me and my wits. All the time it was building, I was out and in frae the town to see how the workmen were getting on, wet or dry; and, I dare to say, that if I dreamed about it once during the twelve months it was in hands, I dreamed about it a thousand times. Many a time Priscilla has said to me—

"Reuben, I doubt ye are thinking owre meikle about that mill, and really it's no richt—it is sinfu. I fear it is aneugh to mak the concern no prosper."

"My dear," I used to say, "do ye consider what an immense speculation it is?—it is like death or life to me; and, if I dinna think o't, and look after the workmen to see how they are gettin on wi' it, who, do ye suppose, would? There is naething like a man lookin after his own concerns; and, where there is sae meikle at stake, it is impossible but to think o't."

But, sir, I looked after the progress of the mill, and my thoughts were taken up concerning it, to the neglect of my more immediate business. After commencing in the wholesale line, I found it impossible to abide by my original rule of—no credit; and, during my frequent absence from my warehouse, my salesman had admitted the names of men into my books of whom I knew nothing, but whom I afterwards learned were not to be trusted. Their payments were not forthcoming in the proper season; and, in looking after them, I put off insuring the mill at the time I intended. Delay, sir, is a curse to a person in business; it is as dangerous as the blandishments of a harlot to the young—and so I found it. On the very night that the machinery and everything was completed, I allowed the spinners and others that I had engaged, to have a supper and dance in it wi' their wives and sweethearts. I keepit them company for an hour mysel, and very merry they were. But, after charging them all to keep sober and harmonious one with another, and to see that they locked the doors behind them when they broke up, and to leave everything right, I wished them good-night; and they drank my health, and gave me three cheers as I left them. I got into my gig, and drove home to Manchester. But I dinna think I had been three hours in bed, when Priscilla gied me a dunch with her elbow, and, says she—

"Waken, Reuben! waken!—there's an unco knocking at the street-door."

"Hoot! it will be some drunk body passing," says I, and turned round on my side to compose myself to sleep again.

But the knock, knocking, continued louder and louder.

"That is nae drunk body," said Priscilla; "something has happened."

I started owre the bed, and I was hardly half-dressed, when I heard the street-door open, and the servant lass come fleein up the stair.

"What is it?" cried I.

"Oh, sir—the mill!—the mill!" said she.

Had she shot me, she could not have rendered me more stupefied.

"What about the mill?" cries I, all shaking with agitation.

"Oh, it's on fire—it's on fire!" replied the lassie.

I heard Priscilla scream, "On fire!" and she also sprung to the floor.

I cannot tell ye how I threw on my coat—I know that I banged out without a napkin about my neck, and, rushing down the stairs, I couldna even stop to get the horse from the stable and saddled, but away I flew upon my feet. If ever a man ran as if for his life, it was me that night. It was six miles to the mill, but I never slacked for a single moment. I didna even discover, though the stones were cutting my feet, that I had come away without my shoes. The mill absorbed both thought and sense—I was dead to everything else. But oh, upon reaching it, what a sight presented itself to my view! There was the great red flames roaring and raging up the height of its five storeys; and the very wheels of the machinery, seen through the windows, glowing as bright as when in the hands of the smith that formed them. The great suffocating clouds of smoke came rolling about me, and even blinding me. Hundreds of women ran about screaming, some carrying water, and some running in the way of others, and drunken men staggered to and fro, like lost spirits in the midst of their tortures. Oh, sir, it was an awful sight for any one to behold; but for me to witness it was terrible! For some minutes I was bereft of both speech and reason; and, had the spectators not held me back, I would have rushed into the middle of the flames. Crash after crash, the newly-erected walls and the floors fell in, and I was a helpless spectator of the destruction of my own property. In one night, yea, in one hour, more than half of the fortune that I had struggled for years to gather together, was swept, as by a whirlwind, from off the face of the earth!

I stood till I beheld the edifice that had been the pride of my heart a mass of smoking ruins, with, I may say, scarce one stone left upon another. All the manufacturers round about sympathised with me very sincerely, and one of them drove me back to Manchester in his drosky. When I entered my own house, I believe I appeared like a person on whom sentence of death has been passed, as he is removed from the bar, and led back to his prison.

"Weel, Reuben," asked Priscilla, in her own calm and gentle way, "is the damage great?"

"Oh, my dear," said I, "there is nothing left but a heap o' ashes! Nothing! nothing!—we are ruined!"

"No, no," replied she, as quietly as ever, "we arena ruined. The back is aye made fit for the burden. The Hand that sent the misfortune, as we think it, upon us, will enable us to bear up against it. Now, just ye compose yersel, and dinna be angry at what I am gaun to say, but we are just as rich now as we were three years ago; and, I am sure, Reuben, we were quite as happy then as we are now. Ye have still a very excellent business, and a fortune far beyond onything that you and I could ever expect to possess when we cam thegither. You have your health and I have mine; and our twa bits o' bairnies are growing up to be a comfort to us baith. They will ne'er feel the loss o' the cotton-mill, and you and I ne'er kenned the guid o't. Wherefore, then, should ye grieve? Ye ought rather to be thankfu that it is nane o' your family that is taen frae ye. And, I have nae doubt that, although we self-wise and shortsighted mortals canna see it, this visitation will be for the guid o' us a'. It is better that ye should lose the mill than forget your Maker; and, forgie me for saying it, but I feared it was setting your heart upon the things o' this world to a degree which did not become the faither o' a Christian family. Therefore, let me entreat you to say, 'His will be done,' and to believe that this has fallen upon you for the best. Our loss is not so great but that, if times keep good, we may soon o'ercome it."

I had often experienced the value of my wife, and admired her meek, patient spirit and affectionate heart; but I never, until this trial came upon me, knew her real worth. She enabled me to begin the world; ay, sir, and this far she had guided me through it. She was better than twelve years older than me—but what of that? She looked as young like at forty as ever I saw another woman do at twenty; and now, when she has been my wife for thirty years, I hardly ken her aulder. A glaiket lassie, under such circumstances, might have wrung her hands, and upbraided me for allowing the supper and the dance; but Priscilla strove only to comfort me, to imbue my mind with fortitude, and to turn the accident to my eternal advantage. I had long loved and esteemed her, but I now reverenced her.

I sat and I listened to her, and looked in her face for the space of ten minutes, without speaking a word; and, at last, fairly overpowered wi' her gentleness and her tenderness, I rose and took her hand; and "Priscilla," says I, "for your sake, dear, I will think no more about the matter. The mill is destroyed; but, as you say, we may overcome the loss—and I shall try."

Though I have as keen feelings as onybody, I was not a person to sit down long, and croon and shake my head over misfortunes that couldna be helped. I might be driven back from an object, and defeated in accomplishing it; but it would be necessary to take my life before I could be made to relinquish my attempts, or to conquer me. Perseverance, and a restless, ambitious spirit of enterprise, spurred me on.

I endeavoured to extend my business more widely than ever; and, as I had sometimes had losses with houses on the Continent, I resolved to visit France, and Germany, and other places, myself, and see in what situation the land lay. I did so; and in Holland and Switzerland in particular I entered into what proved some very profitable speculations. Now, sir, it is my conviction, that where there is no speculation, there can be no luck. As well might a man with his hands in his pockets expect a guinea to drop into them. People who, perhaps, have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths, or had enough to purchase them a hot joint every day, thrust upon them by accident, will tell you, in speaking of any particular subject, "Oh, I will have nothing to do with it—it is only a speculation." Now, sir, but for some speculation that had been entered into before they were, the one would have neither had the silver spoon in his teeth, nor the other the hot joint. Without speculation, commerce could not exist. In the community where its spirit is not felt, they must be dull as horses in a ring; moving round and round as regularly and as monotonously as the wheels of a machine, to procure the every-day bread and cheese of existence. I have been a speculator all my life—I am a speculator still. Neither you nor I have time for me to enter into the particulars of thirty years' enterprises. It is true I have lost by some, but in more I have been successful, or until this day I would have been a hand-loom weaver in this my native town of Galashiels.

But, sir, within three years I had built another mill. I commenced manufacturer, and prospered; and, in a short time, I began the business of printer also. You understand me—it is a calico-printer I mean, not a book or newspaper printer; for if, in a town in Lancashire, you ask for a printer, nobody would think of showing you to a consumer of ink and paper.

Our two daughters had been educated at a boarding-school in Yorkshire; but they were now come home, and were, I may say, women grown, for they were eighteen; and, although I say it, that, perhaps, ought not to say it, remarkably fine-looking young women they were. People said that Elizabeth was a perfect picture; though, so far as I could judge, Rachel was the bonniest of the two; but they were remarkably like each other. There, however, was this difference between them—Rachel was of a sedate and serious disposition, and very plain in her dress, even plainer, sometimes, than I wished to see her; but she was always so neat, that she set whatever she put on. Elizabeth, on the other hand, though a kind-hearted lassie, was more thoughtless, and more given to the vanities of this world. When her sister was at her books, she was at her looking-glass. She was as fond of dress as Rachel was the reverse. I have often said to her—

"O Bessy! Bessy!—dress will turn your head some day or other. Ye will frighten ony man from having ye."

"Don't be afraid of that, father," she replied, laughing, for there was no putting her out of temper—she was like her mother in that—"there is no danger, and it is time enough yet."

She was also excessively fond of amusements—such as balls, concerts, plays, and parties; much fonder, indeed, than it was agreeable for me or her mother to observe. And we frequently expostulated with her; for, though we did not wish to debar her entirely from such amusements, yet there is a medium to be observed in all things, and we did not like to see her going beyond that medium.

Well, sir, she had been at a party one night in Mosley Street, and a young gentleman, who, I afterwards understood, had shown her a great deal of attention throughout the evening, saw her home. There was no harm in this; but he called again the next day, and, as I shortly after learned, every day. So, when I heard this, I thought it was right and proper that I should see him, and learn who and what he was. I accordingly stopped at home a forenoon for the express purpose, but not much, as I easily observed, to the satisfaction of Elizabeth. About eleven o'clock the gentleman came as usual. I easily saw that he was rather taken aback on perceiving me; but he recovered his self-possession as quick as the eyelids can twinkle, and perfectly confused me with his superabundance of bows and scrapes. I did not like his appearance. He was dressed like a perfect fop. He wore silk stockings, and his feet were wedged into bits of French-soled pumps, which, to my eye, made it perfectly painful to look on them. He had on a light green, very fine, and very fashionable coat and trousers, with a pure white waistcoat, and a riband about his neck. He also carried a cane with an image on the head o't; and he had a great bunch of black curls on each side of his head, which, I verily believe, were pomatumed, brushed, and frizzled.

"I must put an end to your visits, billy," thinks I, before ever he opened his lips.

He was what some ladies would call "a most agreeable young man." In fact, I heard one (not my daughter) pronounce him to be "a prodigious fine gentleman!" "Prodigious!" thought I, when I heard it. He had a great flow of speech and spirits, and could run over all the scandal of the town with a flippancy that disgusted me, but delighted many. He could also talk like a critic about dancers, singers, actors, and race-horses, and discuss the fashions like a milliner. All this I ascertained during the half-hour I was in his company. He also gabbled French and Italian, and played upon a thing like a sort of bass-fiddle without a bow, that they call a guitar. I at once set him down in my own mind for a mere fortune-hunter. He was a shallow puppy; he carried all on the outside of his head, and nothing within it. I found he knew no more about business than the man in the moon. But he pretended to be the son of an Honourable, and carried cards with the words, "Charles Austin, Esq.," engraved upon them. He was above belonging to any profession—he was a gentleman at large.

Disgusted as I was with him, I had not the face to rise and say to him, "Sir, I will thank you to go out of my house, and not to enter it again." And from the manner in which I had been brought up, I had not the manner of what is called—bowing a person to the door. But what vexed me most, while he remained, was to observe that even Priscilla sometimes laughed at the silly things he said, which, as I afterwards told her, was just encouraging him. When he left the house, I turned to Elizabeth, and—

"Now, Betty, hinny," says I, "tak my advice, as yer faither and yer freend, and ne'er speak to that young man again, nor alloo him to keep ye company; for, as sure as my name is Reuben, there is something essentially bad aboot him."

She hung her head, and there was a tear in her ee, and I think for the first time ever I had observed it in my days, she looked rather sulky; but I could get no satisfaction from her.

I think it was between two and three months after this—during which time I had seen and heard no more of the fashionable Charles Austin—that, having business to transact in Liverpool, I took Priscilla down with me in the gig, for the benefit of her health. It was in the summer season, and eleven o'clock had just chimed from the steeple of the collegiate church before we returned at night. But never, never shall I forget our miserable home-coming. There was our poor Rachel, sitting by herself, wringing her hands, and the tears running down her bonny cheeks.

"Rachel! dear Rachel! what is the matter, love?" cried her mother and myself at the same instant.

"O Elizabeth!—Elizabeth is away!" sobbed my poor bairn.

Priscilla was stupified, and she repeated the word "Away!" but the truth broke over me in a moment; and I sank back into a chair, as helpless, for all the world, as a new-born infant.

Rachel tried to compose herself the best way she could; and she informed us that her sister had left the house about ten o'clock in the forenoon, and that she had not since returned. She also mentioned that Elizabeth had been seen in the company of Charles Austin shortly after leaving the house; and that, when she did not return in the course of the day, suspecting that they had fled to Gretna, she had sent my principal clerk, Thomas Galloway, after them, in a chaise-and-four, to bring back Elizabeth.

Distressed as I was, I admired the presence of mind which Rachel had exhibited. She had done all that I could have done myself, had I been at home; and a fitter person than Thomas Galloway could not have been sent. His zeal, honesty, and industry, had long rendered him a favourite with me; and, though he was but a young man, I treated him more as an equal than a clerk. Nor had I any doubt but in the mission he was sent upon, he would show as much courage, if such an article were required, as he had at all times shown zeal and prudence in my service.

But Thomas returned. He had heard nothing of them on the road, and they had not been at Gretna. These tidings threw us all into deeper affliction; and a week passed, and we could hear nothing of my daughter, and our misery increased. But, on the ninth day after her disappearance, a letter arrived from her. It was dated Coldstream. My fears read its contents before it was opened. In it she poured forth a rhapsody in praise of her "dear Charles," as she termed him, and said, if we knew his virtues as well as she knew them, we would love him as she did. She begged forgiveness for the step she had taken, and sought permission to return with her husband, and receive mine and her mother's blessing. She concluded the letter by signing herself our "affectionate and dutiful daughter, Elizabeth Austin."

"Dutiful!—the ungrateful, the silly gipsy!" cried I, flinging down the letter, and trampling it under my feet, in pure madness; "she shall never inherit a penny of mine—she shall never enter my door. She is ruined—she has married worthlessness and misery!"

It was some time before Priscilla said anything; but I saw she was very greatly affected. At last, the mother's love for her offspring got the better of every other consideration in her heart, and she endeavoured to soothe me, and to prevail on me to forgive Elizabeth, and to see her again.

I had intended that the marriage portion of my daughters, on the very day they became wives, should be ten thousand each, providing that I approved of the match—though I by no manner of means wished or intended to direct their choice, or control their affections, further than it was my duty as a parent to see that they did not throw themselves away. But I was perfectly persuaded that, to give ten thousand, or the half of it, or any sum, to such a person as Elizabeth had got, would be no better than to fling it into the fire.

However, the entreaties and persuasion of Priscilla prevailed. I consented that Elizabeth should return, and gave her husband five thousand pounds as her dowery, with a promise of more, if they should conduct themselves to my satisfaction. He had not received the money many days when they set out for London.

Some time previous to this, I thought I had observed a sort of particular kindness between my daughter Rachel and my clerk, Thomas Galloway, of whom I have already spoken, and to whose worth I have borne testimony. He was a native of Newton-Stewart, and a young man of humble parentage, like myself; but I liked him nothing the worse upon that account; for, in my opinion, there is no real respectability, save that only which a man purchases through his own merits. Now, I once or twice, when I went out to enjoy the air in the summer nights, after business hours, perceived Rachel and Thomas oxtering together along the green lanes, behind a place in the suburbs that is called Strangeways. Such was the high opinion that I had of him, that I was determined, if there was anything between them, to offer no obstacle in the world to their marriage. I considered that a character, a disposition, and a knowledge of business, such as Thomas had, were far before riches. But I knew that, in certain respects, both of the two were such bashful creatures, that neither of them would dare to mention the matter to me. So, after their familiarity became every day more apparent, though they tried to hide it, and when, at different times, I had tried humorously to sound both of them in vain, I mentioned the subject to Priscilla. I found that she had perceived it long before me; for women have quick eyes in such matters. But she said that Rachel was such a strange reserved lassie, that, though her own bairn, she could not speak to her with a mother's freedom; though, now that she had heard my mind concerning the match, she would ask Rachel how matters stood between her and Thomas Galloway that very day.

She therefore went into the room where Rachel was sitting sewing, and, after talking about various matters, by way of not just breaking the matter at once, she said—

"Rachel, dear, are ye aware if your faither has ever made ony sort o' recompense to Thomas Galloway for his trouble in gaun a' the way to Gretna after Elizabeth, when the foolish lassie ran away wi' young Mr Austin?"

"I do not think it," replied Rachel.

"Then," said her mother, "he has not done what he ought to have done. Indeed, I think he would only be doing his duty if he were to do something for Thomas; for he is a fine, genteel, deserving lad. Do ye not think so, dear?"

This was a home-thrust which our bit lassie was not prepared for, and it brought the vermilion to her cheeks. But, after a moment's hesitation, she said, though not without a manifest degree of confusion—

"Yes, I think him a very deserving lad."

But her mother had made the first step, and she was not to be put back, and therefore she continued—

"He is a lad that will rise in the world yet, and he weel deserves it; for a kinder, or more prudent, and obliging young man, I never saw—and I am glad, hinny, that ye hae the good sense to think weel o' him."

"Mother!" said Rachel, and her confusion greatly increased.

"Come, love," continued Priscilla, "ye needna blush or conceal onything frae yer mother. She's a bad mother, indeed, that a daughter daurna trust wi' a virtuous secret; and I hope ye ne'er saw onything in me, Rachel, that need debar ye frae making yer feelings known to me. Dinna suppose, love, that I am sae shortsighted but that I hae observed the tender affection that has been long springing up between ye; and I have not only observed it, but I have dune sae wi' satisfaction and pleasure; for I know not a young man that I could have more credit by in calling him son-in-law. So look up, dear, and tell me at once, am I not right—would ye not prefer Thomas to any man ye have seen for your husband?" And she kindly took our daughter by the hand.

"Yes, mother!" faltered my sweet, blushing blossom, and she sank her head on her mother's breast.

"That is right, hinny," said her mother; "but ye micht hae tauld me before, and it would hae saved ye baith mony a weary hour o' uneasiness, I hae nae doobt. But ye shall find nae obstacles in yer way; for it is a match that will gie baith yer faither and me great satisfaction. He has observed the attentions o' Thomas to ye as weel as mysel, and spoke to me concerning it this very hour. Indeed, I may just tell ye, that he desired me to mention the subject to ye; and if I found that yer feelings were as we supposed, that the marriage should immediately take place. And he will also take Thomas into partnership."

Rachel, poor thing, grat with joy when her mother told her what I had said; and when Thomas heard of it, he could have flung himself at my feet. The upshot was, that, in a few weeks, they were married, and I took Thomas into partnership with me, which lifted a great burden off my shoulders—and more particularly as I had recently entered into a canal speculation, and become one of the principal shareholders and directors of the company.

For twelve months from the time that Elizabeth went to London, we had but two letters from her; and one of them was abusing her sister for what she termed her "grovelling spirit," in marrying her father's clerk, and bringing disgrace upon the family. When I saw the letter, my answer back to her was—

"Elizabeth, my woman, do not forget yourself. Your sister has married a deserving lad; and your mother married a packman."

As to her husband, I never, in my born days, had a scribble from his pen. But I heard, from people that had business in London, that they were flinging away the money I had given them with both hands; and that Elizabeth, so far from being a check upon her husband's extravagance, thoughtlessly whirled round with him in the vortex of fashionable dissipation.

The third letter we received from her was written about fourteen months after her marriage. It was in a strain of the wildest agony. In one line, she implored to have her full dowery bestowed upon her, and in the next she demanded it—and again she entreated me to release her "dear Charles," who, as she termed it, had been imprisoned for the paltry sum of five hundred pounds. I saw plainly that to do anything for them would be money thrown away, and only encouraging them in their ridiculous, not to say wicked, course of fashion and folly. Therefore, in a way, I had made up my mind to let them feel what distress was, so that they might come to some kind of an understanding of the value and the use of money, which it was as clear as the sun at noonday that neither the one nor the other of them had. But Priscilla was dreadfully distressed; I never had seen anything put her so much about. We held a sort of family parliament, consisting of my wife and myself, Rachel and her husband, to consider what was best to be done. Rachel, poor thing, pled hard for her sister, which I was pleased to see, though I said nothing; and Thomas suggested that I should release Charles Austin from prison, and give Elizabeth two hundred pounds for their immediate wants, and that I would set up her husband in whatever line of business he might prefer; but that I neither could nor should keep them in idleness and extravagance. This advice was agreed to. I released my hopeful son-in-law from prison, and sent two hundred pounds to my daughter, with a long letter of admonition, entreaty, and advice.

We heard no more of them for six months; and I wrote to Elizabeth again, and her mother wrote, and so did Rachel; but we all wrote in vain—our letters were never noticed. But there was one morning that my son, Thomas Galloway, came into the parlour where I was sitting, with an open letter in his hand, and his face was like the face of death. A trembling seized me all over. I was glad that there was no person beside me, for I saw that something had happened.

"Thomas!" cried I, as I saw the letter shake in his hand, "is my bairn dead?"

"No," said he, "but——" And he stood still, and handed me the letter.

I just glanced my eyes on it, and it fell out of my hand. It showed us that a forgery had been committed upon our house to the extent of ten thousand pounds!—and, oh horrible!—by my own worthless son-in-law, Charles Austin! It was a dreadful trial—I knew not how to act. If I permitted the villain to escape unpunished, I was doing an injustice to society; and, oh, on the other hand, how was it possible that I could send to the gallows the husband of my own bairn! Thomas posted off instantly to London, to see what could be done; and I broke the bitter tidings in the best manner I could to Rachel and her mother. Their distress was even greater than mine. Thomas returned in a few days, and brought us word that the villain had escaped abroad somewhere; but where he could not learn; and it was supposed he had taken his wife and child with him—for they had an infant about eight months old.

It was not the loss of the money, nor even the manner in which it had been lost, that chiefly affected me, but the loss, the ruin, the disgrace of my bairn. Indeed, it made such an impression upon me, that I never was the same man afterwards in any business transaction. Therefore, about twelve months after this melancholy event, I purchased a property in Dumfries-shire, and Priscilla and myself went to reside upon it. I intrusted the entire business to the prudence and experience of Thomas Galloway, and became merely a sleeping partner in the firm.

We had been better than a year in our house in Dumfries-shire—it was about the Christmas time, and Thomas and Rachel were down seeing us, with their little son, who was just beginning to run about and climb upon our knees. It was a remarkably cold and gousty night, and a poor wandering woman came to our door, with a bairn at her breast, and another on her back, and begging a morsel, and a shelter for herself and infants. We were all sitting round the fire, when one of the servants came up and told us concerning her, asking if they might give her a seat by the fire. I never liked to harbour beggars, and, says I—

"No: there is a shilling for her; gie her some broken meat, and tell her to go down to the village—it is only two miles."

"And give her this from me," said Rachel; and Priscilla had her hand in her pocket, when the lass added—

"Poor creature! I dinna believe she is able to crawl as far as the village, for baith her and her infants seem starving to death."

"What like is she?" asked Rachel.

"A bonny young creature, ma'am," answered our servant, "but sair, sair dejected."

"She had better be brought in, father," said my daughter.

"Take her into the kitchen, and let her warm herself and her bairns by the fire," said Priscilla. And the lass went away down-stairs and brought her in.

Well, in the course of half-an-hour, Rachel went down to the kitchen, to see if there was anything that she could do for the poor woman and her infants—anything that they stood in need of, like—such as a gown, a frock, a pair of shoes, or the like of those things. But the sound of her light footsteps was hardly off the stairs, when we heard a scream, and the exclamations—

"Sister! sister!"

I started to my feet—we all started to our feet; and Priscilla, and Thomas, and myself looked for a moment at each other, in an agony of wonder. We hurried down to the kitchen, and there was Rachel weeping on the bosom of the poor wandering woman—my lost, my ruined Elizabeth! She sobbed as though her heart would burst, and would have fallen down and embraced our knees; but her mother pressed her to her bosom, and cried, "My bairn! my bairn!"

I took her hand, and, bursting into tears, could only sob, "My poor Betsy!"—and I felt her heart throb, throbbing, as she pressed my hand to her breast.

Rachel again flung her arms around her neck, and took her and her little ones from the kitchen, to clothe them with her own apparel, and that of her child. Poor Priscilla could do nothing but weep; and, when Rachel had clothed her, and cast aside the rags that covered her, she brought her into the parlour, where we sat waiting for them; and her mother and myself again rose and kissed her cheek, and bade her welcome. Throughout the evening, she sat sobbing and weeping, with her face towards the ground, and could not be comforted. We were not in a state of feeling to ask her questions, nor she to answer them.

But, in a few days, she voluntarily unbosomed her griefs to her sister, who communicated to me her tale of wo. It was evident that she knew nothing of the crime which her husband had committed, and we agreed that she should never know, as it would only add a heavier load to her broken spirit. All she knew was, that he had hastened with her to America, where he had changed his name, in consequence, as he said, of a property that had fallen to him in that country. He had long treated her with coolness and neglect, and prohibited her from writing to us, using threats that made her tremble for her life, if she attempted to do so. But, on arriving in America, his indifference gave place to open brutality; and in a few months he basely deserted her and her infants in a strange land. She sold the few trinkets and articles of apparel he had left her; and, with her children in her arms, fainting and broken-hearted, slowly performed a journey of several hundred miles, to the nearest seaport, where, after waiting for some months, doling out the little money she had left to procure food for her children, she at length found a vessel about to sail for Greenock, and her passage-money deprived her of her last coin. My poor bairn had been landed in Scotland without a penny in her pocket, and was begging her way to Manchester, to throw herself at our feet, when Providence directed her to our door.

Never do I think of the sufferings which my bairn must at this period have endured, but my heart melts within me, and I think what must have been the tortures of her proud spirit before she could seek assistance from the cold and measured hand of charity. Oh, what a struggle there must have been in her gentle bosom, between the agonies of hunger, the feelings of the mother, and the shame that burned upon her face, and deprived her of utterance!—and while her bits of bairnies clung to her neck, or pulled at her tattered gown, and cried, "Bread, mother—give us bread!"—while her own heart was fainting within her—how dreadful must have been the sufferings that my poor Betsy endured! The idea that she was perishing, and begging like a wretched outcast from door to door, while we were faring sumptuously every day, brings the tears to my eyes even to this hour; and often has my heart overflowed in gratitude to the Power that in mercy directed her steps to her father's house.

From that day, she and her children have never left my roof; and she shall still share equally with Rachel. About six months ago, I received a double letter from America. The outer one was from a clergyman, and that which was enclosed bore the signature of Charles Austin. It was his confession on his death-bed, begging my forgiveness, and the forgiveness of his wife—my poor injured Elizabeth—for the wrongs and the cruelties he had committed against her; and declaring that she was ignorant and innocent of the crime he had committed against me. He also beseeched me to provide for his children, for their mother's sake, if they yet lived. It was the letter of a dying penitent. Four thousand of the sum with which he had absconded he had not squandered, and it he had directed to be restored to me. The letter from the clergyman announced the death and burial of the unhappy young man, and that he had been appointed to carry his dying requests into effect.

I communicated the tidings of his death and his repentance of his conduct towards her; and she received them meekly, but wept as the remembrance of young affection touched her heart.

Such, sir, is an account of my speculations, and the losses and crosses with which they have been attended. But success and happiness have predominated; and I must say that I am happier now than ever. And at the season when Rachel and Thomas come down to see us, with the bairns, and they run romping about with Elizabeth's, who are two interesting creatures, and three or four will be crying at once, "Granny this, and granny that," I believe there is not a happier auld woman in Britain than my Priscilla, who first enabled me to speculate to some purpose.


THE SEA-STORM.

It was a beautiful, calm afternoon in summer; the surface of the Solway was as smooth as glass, for it was just high-water, and there was scarcely wind enough to dimple its surface, or to raise the dense train of smoke which the Liverpool steamer left behind her, as she came rapidly and steadily bearing down from Port Carlisle towards Annan Water-foot, where a crowd of passengers were anxiously expecting her arrival. The air was so still that the sound of her paddles, and the rush of water from her bows, were distinctly heard a great distance, and the toll of the bell of Bowness Church fell full and clear upon the ears of the dweller on the Scottish coast. Here and there a solitary sea-gull soared lazily over his shadow in the water, and then bending downwards, dipped his wing in the smooth stream, rising up again with a sharp, quick turn, and a shrill scream, which sounded rather ominously, particularly as there was a kind of bright, hazy indistinctness hanging over the whole scene, and a close, suffocating oppression in the atmosphere, foretelling change and storm. The wooden jetty at the water-foot was crowded with people—some about to embark for Liverpool, others attracted by curiosity, and by the beauty of the afternoon. On the road near the jetty lay a large flock of sheep, and several cattle, ready for embarkation; and Ambrose Clarke's Dumfries coach, and other conveyances, stood at hand, ready to transfer their freights into the steamboat. It was altogether a beautiful and exciting scene; bright and joyous summer seemed to have shed its cheering influence over the spirit of man, as well as over the face of nature; and, amid the throng around me, I did not remark a single unhappy countenance. At length the steamboat bore up for the mouth of the Annan, and, after a great deal of manœuvring with the paddles, was laid safely alongside the jetty. Then came the tug of war, and the peaceful quiet of the calm afternoon was disturbed by the loud and various sounds of embarkation. The bleating of sheep, the bellowing of cattle, the loud shouts of their drivers; the elbowing and jostling of passengers of various classes making a rush on board, dragging after them their trunks or portmanteaus, regardless of legs or elbows in their progress; and, over and above all, the loud, deafening, rushing, roaring noise of the steam, like the voice of some giant bellowing to them all to be as quick as possible—converted the late quiet scene into one of Babel-like confusion. At length the sheep were comfortably wedged up together, and the cattle secured; and then the bell rang as a warning to those who were going to stay on board, and to those who were staying on board too long, to take their departure.

While standing on the jetty, I had exchanged a few commonplace remarks with a frank, middle-aged, gentlemanly-looking man standing near me, who, like myself, was en route for Liverpool; and when the steamboat was fairly off, I made up to my new acquaintance again, and we had a long and amusing conversation together. To those who are fond of studying human character, and who derive amusement from observing its numerous varieties, a public conveyance of any kind is an interesting study—a cabinet in which they may chance to meet with strange and rare specimens to add to their collection of human originals. I do not envy the man who seems to think the warning bell of the steamboat, or the shutting of the door of the stage-coach, a signal to him to close the door of his mouth and ears; and who can doze away in a corner, uninterested and uninteresting, and leaves the conveyance, as he entered it, dull and heavy, uncomfortable and discontented himself, and a species of incubus upon the spirits of his companions.

We had only left our port about two hours, when the sky began to overcast, and heavy clouds rose slowly from the horizon. The wind seemed to be awaiting in silence, and reserving its strength for the approaching conflict of the elements, for there was not a breath stirring; the sea-birds shrieked around us, as if to warn us of approaching danger; and the smoke from the engine-fire hung heavily over the deck, and covered the water around us, as if to hide us from the coming storm. At length the forerunner of the squall appeared in the shape of a broad, bright, sudden blaze of lightning, followed by a rattling peal of thunder, which seemed to have burst open the floodgates of heaven, for the rain descended in torrents from the overcharged clouds, while flash followed flash, and peal followed peal, in rapid succession. A light breeze soon springing up from the south, the flashes of lightning became less and less vivid; and we heard, afar off, the low growling of the thunder, as the clouds slowly and unwillingly retreated before the wind, which now freshened up rapidly. In a short time it blew a gale, and occasioned such a heavy sea, that most of the passengers were driven below by the violent motion of the vessel. I, being an old stager, preferred the cool breeze on deck, to the close, confined air of the cabin; and, to my great surprise, saw my new and agreeable acquaintance walking up and down the deck as unconcernedly as if the boat were lying at the jetty.

"You seem to have excellent sea-legs, sir," said I; "you walk the deck with the confidence of one to whom such unsteady footing is familiar; you do not look like a sailor, but still I am greatly mistaken if this is the first time you have been in a gale of wind."

"You are right," replied he, "in both your conjectures: I am not a sailor by profession, and I have been in many a gale. I owe the greatest happiness of my life to a storm and its consequences."

"Indeed!" said I; "if it is not asking too much, will you favour me with an account of the adventure to which you allude?—it will serve to beguile the time till we turn in."

"With all my heart," said he; "and with the greater pleasure, because I perceive you are a sailor, and will understand me. If you find me tedious, remember you have yourself to blame for the infliction:"—

When I was a youngster, I was sent out by my friends to join a mercantile house in Bombay, of which my father had formerly been a partner. After labouring for some years as clerk, I was admitted as junior member of the firm, and being considered a stirring man of business, I was sent by the heads of the house as supercargo of one of their ships trading to the Straits and China. It was in this way I acquired the sea-legs on which you have been pleased to compliment me; and, what was still more to the purpose, I managed well for my employers, and added considerably to my own resources.

Fortune smiled upon all my private mercantile speculations; and, in the course of a few years, I amassed what I considered a comfortable competency. As my constitution, although it had been severely tried, was still tolerably unimpaired, I thought it wiser to return home at once, to enjoy the moderate fruits of my labour, than to risk my health in the endeavour to add to my means. I accordingly retired from the firm, wound up my affairs, transferred my money to the English funds, and took my passage in a country ship to China. From thence I embarked in a fine Indiaman of 1000 tons burden, called the Columbine, bound to England, and to touch at the Cape of Good Hope. Our passage was quick and pleasant; and I greatly enjoyed our fortnight's stay at the Cape, where our party was increased, by the addition of a lady and gentleman to our cabin circle. The gentleman was a retired surgeon of the Indian army, and one of the funniest little Sancho Panza figures I ever beheld. When he first stepped over the gangway, there was a general titter among the crew at his strange appearance. He was dressed in a little scarlet shell-jacket; a pair of wide Indian-made continuations of nankeen, with stockings as nearly as possible of the same colour; a little black velvet hunting-cap, stuck on one side over his round, fat, rosy face; a walking-cane in one hand (a walking-cane on board a ship!); and a leather bottle, suspended by a belt from his shoulders. On further acquaintance, I found he was as odd in character as in appearance. He was a regular old bachelor, fidgety and particular. His countenance bespoke him a lover of the good things of this life—and it did not belie him, for dearly did he enjoy them all; nothing came amiss to him, that came in a perishable shape, provided it had all the "appliances and means to boot" of the culinary art. It was really quite a treat to hear the smack of genuine pleasure (a kind of parting-salute, a token of good-will and kindly feeling) which followed the engulfment of every mouthful of the captain's excellent claret—and his mouth, like the Irishman's, held exactly a glass; and then his little dark eye twinkled with anticipated delight, as it wandered discursively over the cuddy table, when the covers were raised at dinner. And yet with all this spice of epicurism and apparent selfishness, he was liberal, kind-hearted, and obliging. He had been so long absent from home that he had become completely Indianised; and his strange opinions and expectations respecting England, were in the highest degree ludicrous.

The lady was a young widow, who had accompanied her husband, a Madras civilian, many years her senior, to the Cape, in the hope of re-establishing his health; but it was too late—the hand of death was upon him, and he had been taken from her about six months before our arrival. She remained at the Cape, waiting for expected letters from Madras, and then determined upon proceeding to Europe. She came on board in mourning and in tears: the sight of the ship seemed to have re-awakened the memory of him she regretted; and she did not for some time take her place at the cuddy-table, nor appear among the other passengers. Now and then, in the calm moonlight evenings, she came stealing up like a shadow, and wandered listlessly up and down the deck, leaning on the captain's arm, or bending over the bulwark of the poop, gazing mournfully on the waves below. Time, with the absence of all objects that could revive her painful recollections, soon had the effect of soothing her grief; and after we had crossed the Line, she was persuaded to join the cuddy party. She was young, and without being decidedly beautiful, was one of the most interesting-looking females I had ever met with. There was an air of mild, uncomplaining resignation in her look and manner, which irresistibly attracted sympathy and admiration. During the bustling scenes of my life in various parts of the East, I had met with all varieties and shades of beauty, and, strange to say, had passed unharmed and "fancy-free" through the ordeal of whole constellations of bright and beaming eyes. Love had hitherto been a stranger to me; I had read of it, talked of it, heard of it, but had never felt its overpowering influence; and I had begun to doubt whether I had a heart at all, at least for the tender passion. But I now soon found that I had been mistaken, and that I had feelings, and tender ones too, as well as those whom I had been in the habit of ridiculing for them. I could hardly analyse them at first, they were so various and contradictory. I began with admiration of the widow's expressive countenance and gentle manner. I was loud in her praise to every one who would listen to me: "If ever there was an angel on earth" (afloat I should have said), "she is one." I eagerly sought every opportunity of throwing myself in her way, till I happened to hear one of the officers calling me "the widow's shadow." Then, all at once, I felt confused whenever her eyes met mine; the warm blood rushed to my cheeks, and a flutter of nerve came over me, whenever she spoke to me. I gradually withdrew from her society; lost my appetite; became fond of solitary walks; and was seized with a most extraordinary oppression of the lungs, which obliged me to sigh continually.

"Holloa, Wentworth!" said the officer of the deck to me one night, "what is the matter with you? There was a sigh like the blowing of a grampus!"

He was an old friend of mine, and as kind-hearted a rough diamond as ever breathed.

"I don't know, Wildman," replied I; "I'm afraid my liver is terribly out of order."

"Liver!" said he, with a loud laugh—"tell that to the marines; I suspect it's the heart that's out of trim more than the liver." And so saying, he walked forward to hail the foretop, and left me to my meditations. He left me an enlightened man; his words had flashed conviction on my mind.

"And so," muttered I, "I am actually in love! How strange that the novelty of my emotions should so long have blinded me to their nature! Heigh-ho! But why the plague should I sigh about it? Love! No, no; I'm sure I'm going to have an attack of liver. I wonder if she likes me?"

"Why don't you ask her?" said my sailor friend, who had returned unobserved to his place at my elbow, and had overheard the last part of my soliloquy. "Come, come, Wentworth," said he, seeing that I looked rather annoyed, "don't be angry with me; you have been like the bird that hides its head in the sand, and fancies no one can see it; but I have long observed your growing partiality for the fair widow, and I admire your taste—she is a prize worth trying for. Take a friend's advice, and, if you are in a marrying mood, put your modesty under hatches, and make a bold stroke for a wife at once."

"Oh, nonsense, Wildman!—how can you talk so foolishly? She is in such affliction! I could not dream of following your advice; it would be indelicate in the extreme at present."

"Ay, it is too soon to come to close quarters yet; but there is nothing like laying an anchor to windward in time. Play at long balls with her, my boy. Stand in a corner, and gaze in admiring silence; send a few well-aimed die-away glances through her, and play off a sigh or two now and then, backed by a little sentiment. Why, man, a broadside of such red-hot sighs as yours would riddle her heart, and make her strike her colours at once, if you had but courage to lay her alongside."

Whether it was that I tacitly followed my friend's advice, or that my unconscious silent attentions had made the impression he anticipated, it so came to pass that, in a short time, the fair widow seemed to feel a pleasure in my society beyond that of any other on board. A slight degree of mutual good understanding soon ripens into intimacy on board a ship, where circumstances throw people into such close and constant communion; the flimsy veil of mere artificial politeness is soon seen through, and the character of each individual shows itself in its true colours. The more I saw of hers, the more I admired it; she was so free from the petty vanities of the sex, and so sweet and equable in her temper. She was the daughter of a highly respectable physician in the west of England, whose professional income had enabled him to bestow on all his family a liberal education, and to bring them up suitably to their apparent prospects, and to the station he expected them to fill in society. Her elder brother had gone out to India in a mercantile capacity, and had returned home to recruit his health in his native vale. During the interval of his visit, his father, who had long been in declining health, died, and, contrary to expectation, left his children but poorly provided for; and the brother, after having arranged the family affairs, and placed the juniors under the guardianship of an old and tried friend, persuaded his sister to accompany him to the East. When they arrived at Madras, my fair friend, whom I shall call Emily, was not long without admirers. Among others was an elderly civilian, high in the service, of great wealth and irreproachable character. He urged his suit with the greatest assiduity; and, notwithstanding Emily's evident coldness, he laid his heart and fortune at her feet.

All Emily's friends were urgent with her not to reject so advantageous a settlement. Her brother said nothing on the subject; but she had learned to read his wishes in his countenance. She thought of the almost destitute state of her family at home, and of the opportunities which the wealth and liberality of so excellent a man might afford her of benefiting them; and, after a long struggle of contending feeling, she consented to become the wife of Mr Stacey. He was for two years all he had promised—affectionate, considerate, and attentive to her slightest wishes. She respected and esteemed him, and, when she closed his eyes in a foreign land, she mourned for him as a sincere and valued friend. He had left her by his will the sole and uncontrolled command of his large fortune; and she was now returning home to comfort the declining years of her mother, and rejoicing in the thought that her wealth would enable her effectually to promote the interests of the junior members of her family.

But I must proceed to other matters. Our passage from the Cape had been a long, but to me a most delightful, one, and we were expecting to make the Lizard next day. The captain was very anxious to have a good landfall, as his best chronometer had met with an accident a few days before, and he was rather doubtful as to its correctness. The breeze was light and fair, and the waves were breaking short and crisp, curling their little white crests as they rose and fell in rapid succession; but there was a long, heavy under-swell from the southward, which gave rise to many an ominous shake of the head among the experienced hands on board. For my part, I dreaded no danger, and I enjoyed to the utmost the really beautiful scene around me. There was nothing, to be sure, to be seen but sea and sky; but it was beautiful and boundless nature—nature in her solitude and strength. There were no crowds of human beings jostling and hurrying past each other, as in the haunts of man and of art; but there was the glorious sun, shining in almost unclouded splendour—the sea, with its playful waves dancing and smiling in the sunbeam, and teeming with life and energy. Whole shoals of flying-fish quivered their little wings, glittering like silver in the sun, and then dropped fluttering into the waters; while those "hunters of the sea," dolphins, and bonitos, and albecores, darted, leaped, and plunged in pursuit of them—sometimes rising six or seven abreast, and making immense flying leaps together, as if emulating each other, and putting to shame the steeple-chasing "lords of creation." My attention was diverted from the water by the gradual heeling over of the vessel, and the creaking noise of the blocks, as the freshening breeze gave additional tension to the tacks and sheets; at the same time, I heard one of the men muttering to another, as they stood by the royal cluelines—

"This here breeze is a-freshening fast, Bill. I doesn't like to see them beggars a-galloping round the ship like so many mad horses; and look how the cat's a-whisking about! There's a gale of wind in her tail, I'll take my 'davy."

"Man the royal cluelines!" shouted the officer of the watch. "Haul taut! In royals!"

As soon as the royals were furled, the boatswain piped to dinner; the men went below, and I hastened to my cabin. As I sat at the open port, I could not help recalling the conversation I had overheard, and, looking out, I observed that the clouds were rapidly rising from the southward, and forming into dense dark masses; and I was aware, from the increasing motion of the ship, and the long, crashing rush of the sea under the counter, that the breeze was freshening. "The fellow is a true prophet, after all," muttered I to myself; and, just as I spoke, the ship gave a heavy lurch, and my bookcase, which was badly secured, fetched way, and, with a heavy crash, fell on the deck. Fortunately, there was but little mischief done to my books, and I sent for one of the carpenter's mates to secure the case again. Scarcely had the poor fellow left my cabin, after having finished his work, when I heard the sharp warning tweet tweet of the boatswain's call instantly echoed from three different parts of the lower deck; then came the sound of hurrying feet, and then a long, loud, shrill whistle, followed by a hoarse cry of "All hands reef topsails, ahoy!" then were heard the loud, clear orders, "In topgallantsails! Lower away the topsails!" followed by the whirring, rattling sound of blocks, and the dull flapping of the sails, as the yards were pointed to the wind. Poor Evans, the carpenter's mate of whom I spoke above, was stationed on the foretopsailyard, and in his hurry to lay out, his foot slipped, he lost his hold of the yard, and fell head foremost downwards. The ship was rolling to windward at the time, so that he fell outside the bulwark, struck the anchor in his descent, and must have been senseless when he reached the surface of the water; for, although he went down head-foremost, he struck out mechanically, as if endeavouring to dive, and never rose again. For an instant this sudden and dreadful accident paralysed both officers and men; but it was only for an instant.

"Poor fellow!" said the commanding officer, "he's gone! Come, bear a hand, there aloft! Lay out!—lay out! Tie away!—lay down!"

Again the tweet tweet was heard. "Hoist away!" was the order; and, with a quick and steady tramp, a hundred feet kept time with the merry notes of the fife. The sails were set, the yards trimmed, and, under her reduced canvas, the ship bounded along with great lightness and ease. But the face of nature was no longer smiling: the heavy masses of vapour had risen from the southern horizon, one dense body seeming to push another upwards, as it rose from the gulf of darkness, till the whole surface of the heavens was covered with a veil of gloomy and wildly-driving clouds. The waves were no longer, as Wilson says, "like playful lambs on a mountain's side," but were rushing after each other like wild beasts in search of prey. It was evident that the breeze was freshening fast; but, as it was still free, the ship was making rapid way through the water. I will pass over the next twenty-four hours, during which the breeze continued strong, but steady. At about five P.M. of the next day, a darkness like that of night hung over the horizon to windward, which gradually rose in the centre, forming a hard, clear, well-defined arch, which rapidly enlarged and enlarged, the centre part becoming dim with driving rain.

"Call the hands out—reef topsails!" shouted the captain; and again all was bustle and animation. The sound of the boatswain's cry was hardly out of our ears, before the men were on deck, full of eagerness and emulation, their energies seeming to rise in proportion to the demand upon them. Our topsails were double-reefed and on the caps when the squall struck us; we could hear it howling over the water long before it reached us, the rain driving fiercely before it, mixed with the spray of the waves, which was dashed abroad like mist.

"Lower the driver!—man the gear of the mainsail!"

"All ready, sir!"

"Up mainsail!"

The men who were stationed at the mainsheet unfortunately let it run through their hands; the sail bellied up over the leeyardarm, gave one loud, heavy flap, and, with a report like that of a cannon, split right across, and was blown in pieces, and the tattered remnants fluttered from the yard, as if struggling to escape, and cracking like ten thousand whips. As soon as the blast had expended its fury, the fragments of the mainsail were unbent, and a new sail got up in their place.

"Away, aloft there, topmen!—get the topgallantyards ready for coming down!" was now the cry.

"All ready forward, sir!"

"Ready abaft?"

"All ready, sir!"

"Haul taut!—sway away!—high enough!—lower away!" And, in a few minutes, the topgallantyards were safely landed on deck, and secured on the booms.

Hitherto the weather had been dry and fine, except during the squalls; but, as the night closed in, a thick drizzling rain came on, which drove all the passengers below.

The ship was now plunging and rolling heavily, and the white foam of the long tumbling seas looked doubly ghastly through the gloom, while their roaring formed dismal harmony with the howling of the wind.

Our party was small at the cuddy-table that evening, when we met at eight bells (eight o'clock) to discuss our hot grog and negus. Some of the gentlemen were sick, others tired, and some alarmed at the appearance of things around them.

The mercury in the barometer had fallen considerably; and the captain, as he sat at the table rallying some of his passengers on the extraordinary length of their phizzes, was evidently assuming a cheerfulness he did not feel; and at times looked absent and uneasy.

"Has not the glass fallen very fast, captain?" said one of the military officers.

"Yes," replied he, "a little. That question recalls to my recollection a most ludicrous circumstance that occurred on board a free-trader of which I was mate. I was keeping the middle watch on a beautiful night, when a fine light breeze filled all the small kites, and the weather was looking remarkably steady and clear. All at once the captain came running out in his nightcap and slippers, looked at the compass, and then aloft, and said, 'What kind of night is it, Mr Darby?'

"'Very fine, sir; steady breeze, smooth water; every stitch of sail set that will draw.'

"'Take in all your small sails, sir, as fast as you can; the glass has fallen considerably since I turned in; we are going to have a breeze.'

"I looked at him with surprise, and then to windward; but to hear was to obey—the stunsails, smallstaysails, and royals were taken in. This was scarcely done, when the captain again made his appearance. 'Darby, the glass is falling fast—call the hands out, double-reef the topsails, and down topgallant and royal yards.'

"'Sir!' answered I, staring at him with astonishment.

"'Bear a hand, sir, and get the sail off the ship,' said he, sharply.

"His orders were obeyed, greatly to the surprise of all on board. But even this did not appear to satisfy him. He came on deck again, and this time I kept at a most respectful distance, for I really began to think his head was cracked, and that he might perhaps wish to try how I would look in the same predicament.

"'It's very odd, Darby,' said he; 'I don't understand it; the glass is still falling. Come and look at it.'

"I went with him into his cabin, where the barometer was hanging near his cot, with a swinging lamp beside it. The mercury was very low, uncommonly so; but, while I was looking at it, I heard a heavy drop upon the deck, and, looking downwards, I saw something glittering below the lamp. I stooped to look what it was, and the mystery was solved at once: there was a hole in the bottom of the tube, and the mercury had been oozing out. The captain looked very foolish at first, and then, staring me full in the face, burst into an uproarious fit of laughter, in which I heartily joined him. At daybreak the hands were called out again; but for a very different purpose. 'Crack on everything!' was now the cry; and we were soon spanking along again under a cloud of canvas. But you are not to suppose," continued Captain Darby, "from this anecdote, that I mean to depreciate the value of the marine barometer; it is the seaman's invaluable friend—a prophet whose warnings are not to be disregarded. Many and many a time has it enabled me to prepare in time for a coming gale, which would otherwise have assailed me unawares."

"The gale is freshening fast, sir," said an officer, putting his head into the cuddy-door. The captain hurried out, and gave orders for reefing the courses; and, during the whole of that long and, to us, miserable night, all hands were kept constantly at work; and we heard the loud orders of the officers, and the cries of the answering seamen, confusedly and at intervals, through the roaring of the wind and the rushing of the seas. I slept, or rather lay (for I could not sleep), in one of the round-house cabins; the edge of my cot, at every roll of the ship, knocking against the beams from which it was suspended; and I was every now and then nearly jerked out by the violent pitching, when the ship seemed as if she were endeavouring to dive head-foremost into the depths, to escape the violence of the winds. The ladies' cabins were abaft the round-house; the fair widow's divided from mine only by a thin bulkhead. I would have given all I was worth to be allowed to sit near her, to revive her spirits, and to soothe her fears. I was aware that she was dreadfully alarmed; for, whenever the vessel staggered under the overwhelming attacks of the sea, I heard from her cabin a shuddering of nervous terror. The gentlemen passengers actually envied the poor seamen who were exposed to the pelting of the pitiless storm: they were actively employed, the excitement of the storm left no time for reflection—besides, storm, tempest, and danger were their elements; but we lay idle and helpless, knowing just enough of our danger to imagine it to be much greater—brooding over the chimeras of our own fancies, and anticipating we knew not what of approaching calamity. The continual creak, creak, creaking of the bulkheads—the pattering of the thick shower of spray upon our decks, following the dull, heavy "thud" of some giant sea, which made the ship reel and tremble through every timber—the cries of the seamen, heard indistinctly and at intervals, and then borne far away to leeward on the gale, as if the spirits of the air were shrieking above and around us—formed altogether a fearful medley of wild sounds. At length, towards morning, nothing was heard on deck but the deep, moaning voice of the gale, and the roar of the sea; but new and more ominous sounds arose from the lower deck: there was the monotonous clanking of the pumps, and the rash of water from side to side of the ship, as she rolled heavily and deeply. I could lie in my cot no longer—my nerves were worked up to such a state of excitement; and I rushed on deck to breathe the fresh air, and to see the state of affairs there. It was to me a beautiful, though awful, sight. The sun was just beginning to rise; and the lurid, threatening, angry glare he shed over the horizon gave additional horror to the gloomy scene. The ship looked almost a wreck to my eyes. The topgallantmasts had been got on deck; the booms were crowded with wet sails and rigging; the small ropes aloft were bellying out with the wind, and then striking violently against the mast with the roll of the ship; the hatches were battened down; lifelines were stretched along from the poop to the forecastle; heavy seas were striking the bow, every now and then pouring volumes of clear blue water over the decks, while the spray flew like a thick shower overhead, nearly half-mast high; the horizon all round was pitchy black, except where a dull, hazy, fiery gleam marked its eastern verge; the surface of the water was one wide sheet of white foam, glistening through the gloom; and the strength of the gale seemed absolutely to blow the tops off the giant seas, and scattered them abroad in showers of spoon drift. The deck was deserted, except by the captain and the officer of the watch—one watch of the men having been sent below to the pumps, and the other to their hammocks. The captain was standing under the lee of the weather bulwark, holding on by the main brace, looking pale and exhausted; near him, with his arm round the poop-ladder, stood the officer of the watch, muffled up in his pea-jacket, his eyes red and inflamed, and speaking in a low, husky whisper, his voice being completely broken with the exertion of the night.

"Ah, Mr. Wentworth," said the captain, when I made my appearance, "you are soon tired of your cot. I did not expect to see any of you idlers on deck in such weather as this."

"It is more pleasant here than down below, I should think, Captain Darby. Sleep is out of the question. I hope the gale is not going to last much longer?"

"There is no chance of its moderating at present," said he; "the glass is still falling, and the appearance of the weather is as bad as it well can be!"

"Whereabouts are we now, captain? Are we not very near the English coast?"

"Yes—we're not very far from it; I hope we shall make the land soon."

I asked one or two more questions, which the captain evidently evaded answering. I accordingly desisted from my inquiries; but a dark and undefined presentiment of evil came over me, which I strove in vain to shake off. Finding the captain so uncommunicative, and the spray, that was constantly dashing over the decks, anything but comfortable, I thought my wisest plan would be to crawl to my cot again. On my way to my cabin, I lingered for a few minutes under the poop awning, and happened to overhear the captain say, in a low voice, to the chief mate—

"Charters, I wish the sun would show his face again—I don't like this groping work. I'd give a hundred pounds to be as many miles to the westward—we are much too near a lee shore, for my taste."

"Oh, sir, we shall, perhaps, see some of the pilot-boats soon, and then we shall be right enough."

"Ten chances to one against it," replied the other, "in such weather as this. However, we will fire a gun every five minutes, in case any of them should be cruising in our neighbourhood. I wish we had bent our cables before this gale set in. As soon as the hands are called out, we will bend them, and get the anchors clear, that we may be prepared for the worst."

"Ay, ay, sir."

This was pretty comfort for me; but as I knew that talking would not mend matters, I did not mention what I had heard to any of the other passengers. A very short time had elapsed when the hands were called out, and the orders of the captain were carried into effect as actively as possible. It was a work of considerable difficulty and no little danger to bend the cables, as the ship was plunging and rolling awfully, and every now and then taking green seas over all, and volumes of water rushed through the open hawse-hole into the lower deck. At last it was accomplished, and the men had a temporary respite from their labour. The gale, so far from moderating, rather increased in fury; but the leak had not gained upon us, and the maintopmast still seemed to stand stiffly up to the gale, with the close-reefed sail upon it. About four o'clock in the afternoon, a heavy sea struck the quarter, filled one quarter-boat, and broke it away from the tackles, and stove the other; and at the same time the ship lurched so deeply, that the muzzles of her quarterdeck guns were buried in the water, one of the maintopmast backstays gave way, and the mast, with a loud crash, went toppling over the side. I was standing under the poop awning at the time, and was nearly washed off my feet by a body of water rushing out of the cuddy; and at the same time I heard the screaming of the ladies in the after cabin. I ran aft, and knocking at the fair widow's door, was immediately admitted, and found everything in the greatest confusion, and herself in extreme alarm. The sea had burst in the quarterport, and deluged the cabin with water; the deck was strewed with furniture, dashing and tumbling about with the motion of the ship; and Emily herself was clinging to one of the stanchions, pale with terror, and drenched to the skin. "Oh, Mr Wentworth!" was all she could utter, before she fell fainting into my arms. I will not enter into a description of my feelings at that moment, when the only woman I had ever truly loved was lying helpless in my embrace; suffice it that I felt I could die for her. In a short time she revived; and blushing deeply, apologised for the trouble and alarm she had occasioned me. My heart was on my lips. I had hitherto, from a feeling of delicacy, abstained from expressing all I felt towards her; but now she looked so lovely, so gentle, so confiding, that I was just on the point of giving utterance to the emotions of my heart, when the entrance of the servants coming to secure the furniture interrupted the unseasonable disclosure. I then hastened on deck, where a sight awaited me which almost paralysed my excited nerves. The ship was lying to, but anything but lying still, under the storm mainstaysail; the wreck of the maintopmast was hanging down the lee-mainrigging, banging backwards and forwards with the motion of the ship; the men were clinging like cats to the mainrigging, actively employed in endeavouring to secure and clear away the wreck; the wind had drawn more round to the eastward, and was blowing a perfect hurricane—when all at once a loud cry was heard from the forecastle, of "Breakers on the leebeam!" and their white tumbling crests were soon distinctly seen by all on deck, and it was evident we were fast approaching them. For an instant there was a pause of dead silence among the crew; officers and men looked at each other, and at the breakers, with blank dismay. The sharp, quick, distinct tones of the captain's voice startled them into habitual attention and activity.

"Stations, wear ship! hard up with the helm! run up the forestaysail! square away the afteryards!"

The staysail just bellied out with the gale, and blew to rags; the ship fell off for a moment, and then flew up to the wind again. "Cut away the mizzenmast!" was the next order; and in five minutes the tall mast fell crashing over the side. The helm was again put up, but in vain; the ship would not pay off; and we were bodily and rapidly drifting down upon the breakers.

"Have both bower cables clear below, and all ready with the sheet!" shouted the captain.

I ran, or rather staggered, as fast as I could to the after cabin, and requested admittance. Emily was there, looking dreadfully pale. I suppose my countenance betrayed the agitation of my mind; for she instantly exclaimed—and her demeanour was unnaturally calm and collected, though her voice trembled, and her cheek was blanched with terror—

"Is there any hope, Mr Wentworth? Tell me the worst; I am prepared for it, and can bear it calmly." I hesitated. "You need not speak," said she; "your silence tells me there is no hope."

"There is indeed none," replied I, "but in the mercy of an overruling Providence. In another hour, our doom, whether for life or for death, will be sealed."

I saw the pang of agony that flitted across her countenance at this intelligence; she gasped for breath, and seemed as if about to faint; but she immediately recovered herself, and looking upwards, with mild resignation, she murmured, "It is a painful trial—but His will be done." By my advice she put on some warmer but lighter clothing, and I then supported her to the quarterdeck. I felt the shuddering of her frame when the awful sight of approaching destruction was before her. The scene, altogether, was one to appal the bravest—to make the boldest "hold his breath;" never will the remembrance of it be erased from my mind; and, to this hour, it sometimes haunts my dreams. Scarcely half-a-mile to leeward lay the coast—dark, frowning, precipitous, and apparently inaccessible; its lower line completely hidden from our view; but at intervals the dark and rugged summits of the rocks were seen through the sheets of white foam dashed over them by the breakers. To windward the prospect was as cheerless; darkness was beginning to settle on the waters; and in the distance nothing was to be seen but the foam of the crested seas, flashing indistinct and ghastly through the gloom. Viewed by that uncertain light, and rising in such various waving forms, they seemed to my overwrought fancy as if the sea had given up her dead, and the spirits of the departed were assembling on the waters, to witness our approaching fate. The ship was already almost a wreck; the mizzenmast was still hanging alongside, having smashed the poop hammock-nettings and bulwark in its fall; the stumps of the fore and maintopmast were all that remained aloft; the giant seas were dashing over the sides, deluging the decks fore and aft, and blinding us with their thick showers of spray; the lower yardarms dipped into the water, as the half-waterlogged ship rolled heavily and deeply, groaning and trembling in every timber, like a living creature in its mortal agony. And then the accompaniments!—oh, how often since have I in fancy heard again the hollow, ominous moaning of the gale, mourning, as it were, over the wreck of its own violence; the roaring of the waters, as they rose, and rushed, and dashed against our side; the dull, mournful, dirge-like sound of our minute-guns; the shuddering cries of the timid; the curses and imprecations of the hardened and desperate! Oh, if the recollection of it be so appalling, what must have been the reality?

Some of the men were actively employed in endeavouring to clear away the wreck of the mizzenmast; others cutting adrift the small booms and spars, and all such light articles as might be instrumental in bearing them to the shore; and the passengers, and those who were unemployed, were gazing, in the gloomy silence of despair, upon their approaching destruction. I saw that there was no hope, and that the last struggle was fast approaching. I lashed the trembling and weeping Emily to a spar, and whispered in her ear, "Pray to the Ruler of the winds and waves, dearest Emily! He can save when there is none other to help!" She pressed my hand in silence, smiled through her tears, and looked upwards.

We had only one resource left now, and that was one of feeble promise—both bower anchors were cut away—the cables ran out to the clinches, and snapped like threads; the sheet-cable shared the same fate.

"I knew it," exclaimed the captain—"I knew it was in vain. No hemp that ever was twisted could stand the strain of such a sea and breeze. It is all over with us now! Every man look out for his own safety! You had better lash yourselves to the spars, my lads!"

The momentary check given to the ship brought her broadside round to the breakers. Never shall I forget the cold shudder which came over me when the vessel rose upon the crest of an enormous sea, and seemed to be balancing herself for a moment, as if loth to meet her doom; another instant, and she struck with a shock that made us all start from the deck, and a crash as if the whole fabric were falling to pieces beneath us. Again she was lifted by the sea, and dashed on the rocks nearer the shore, when she fell over on her side with her masts towards the beach, along which parties of men were hurrying, dimly visible in the dusk of evening, eager, but unable to afford us assistance; while the heights above were thronged with country people, who had been attracted to the spot by the report of our guns. The sea, which had dashed us on our broadside, swept away with it the boats, booms, spars—everything, in fact, from the upper deck; and bore its promiscuous prey onwards towards the beach. What was my agony to see the spar to which Emily was lashed sharing the fate of the rest! She tossed her arms wildly over her head, gave one shrill and piercing scream, and was borne away and hidden from my view by the following sea. "I will save her," I exclaimed, "or perish."

The hull of the stranded ship formed a kind of breakwater, and the sea was comparatively smooth under her lee. I had stripped myself, in preparation for the coming struggle, of all superfluous clothing; and, crawling out as far as possible on the mainmast, I committed myself fearlessly to the sea, which was to me quite a familiar element. A few vigorous strokes, and the friendly elevation of a rising wave gave me a sight of Emily; I immediately swam towards her, and by partly supporting myself on the spar, and directing it towards the shore, I was fortunate enough to succeed in bearing my precious charge in safety to the beach, against which we were dashed with great violence, but fortunately without any injury. She was quite insensible, and lay on the sand so still and pale that at first my heart died within me; I thought she was gone for ever.

"Emily! dearest Emily!" I frantically exclaimed.

A faint sigh was the answer. The sudden revulsion from grief to transport, at this assurance that life was not extinct, was almost too much for me. Faintly, but fervently, did I breathe forth my thanksgivings to a merciful Providence, and then, with the assistance of some of the inhabitants, I bore the still unconscious form of my beloved companion to a fisherman's hut, which was perched in a fissure of the neighbouring rocks.

"Don't be afeared, sir," said the old fisherman who assisted me in supporting Emily; "don't be afeared. Her cheek is a little pale or so; but my ould ooman 'll soon bring the colour into it again. Bless her ould heart, she's a famous doctor? But here we are," said he, giving a thundering rattle against the door. "Betsy, Betsy, heave ahead, ould woman!—this is no night to keep flesh and blood on the wrong side of the house."

The door was cautiously opened, and, shading her candle with her hand from the rude blast, a tidily-dressed, respectable-looking woman made her appearance, who gave a cry of surprise and alarm when she saw the apparently lifeless body of Emily. She began pouring out a whole string of questions which her husband quickly cut short with—

"Come, come, Bet, there's no time for backing and filling now. Get the poor thing stripped, ould ooman, and put her into a warm bed as soon as ee can. There's a ship ashore below there, and this ere lady comed ashore with this ere gentleman."

"For Heaven's sake be quick, my good woman," said I; "you shall be handsomely rewarded for your trouble."

"Reward, sir!" replied the woman; "neither Bill nor me looks for reward for doing our duty. More's the luck, there's a good fire in both ends of the house to-night; bring her in here, poor thing."

In half-an-hour, thanks to blankets, hot water, and Schiedam, Emily was in a quiet and placid slumber; and the fisherman and I, after having fortified ourselves with a glass of good Hollands, hastened again to the beach. The storm was still raging in all its fury; lights were flashing along the shore, and parties of men were running up and down, some in search of plunder, others with the more benevolent wish to afford assistance to the shipwrecked crew of the Indiaman. The beach was strewed with broken spars, hen-coops, chests of tea, and ship timber; and every now and then the fisherman's light flashed upon a dead body, lying extended partly on the sand and partly in the water. As we were hurrying along, I stumbled, and nearly fell over something soft, which I could not distinguish in the darkness, the fisherman being some paces ahead of me with his lantern. I stooped down, and found it was a human body.

"Poor fellow!" muttered I—"he sleeps sound; 'tis the sleep of death." As I spoke, my hand touched the face, which, to my great surprise, was still warm. "Ah, there is life here still!" And of this I soon had startling conviction; for my finger was suddenly and sharply bitten, and, at the same moment I saw a little, round, dim-looking bundle rolling over and over with great rapidity along the beach. I was startled at first; but quickly recovered myself, and gave chase to the mysterious-looking object, calling out to the fisherman to join me. We soon overtook the object of our pursuit; and, cold and wearied as we both were, and surrounded by sights and sounds of horror, I could not forbear laughing at the sight that met my eyes. There, rolled up like a hedgehog, with his leather bottle by his side, and a red nightcap fastened on with a pocket-handkerchief, his little round chubby face buried in his hands, and his knees drawn up to his chin, lay the little doctor, his whole body trembling with fright. I flashed the light across his face, but he kept his eyes obstinately shut, and buried his face deeper in his hands.

"Doctor!" said I, shaking him.

"Oh, oh," shuddered he, "don't kill me—that's a good fellow! I'll give you my brandy bottle if you won't." I touched him in the ribs. "Oh! I am a dead man," groaned he, recoiling from the touch; "drowned like an ass at sea, and now going to be stuck like a pig on shore! Oh!"

"Doctor!"

"Never was one in my life!—my name's Posset. Drenched to the skin!—cold—cold! Don't kill me—that's a good fellow. I am so cold."

"Don't you know me, doctor?" said I, almost crying with laughter; "don't you know Wentworth?"

"Eh! What?" returned he, gradually uncoiling himself, till his little thick legs were stretched to their full length (shortness, I should say), and his sharp twinkling eyes stared full up in my face. "So it is! Give me your hand, my boy—who'd have thought it? How did you escape? Devil takes care of his own, eh?"

"So it seems, doctor," said I, laughing; "that accounts satisfactorily for your appearance here."

"Ha, ha, ha! have me there—eh, Wentworth? Help me to take the stopper out of the bottle—that's a good fellow."

He raised himself on his elbow, turned his face to the sky, and held deep communion with his pocket-companion; but, happening to cast his eyes upon mine, he started nimbly to his feet, and, edging close to my side, muttered, with great trepidation—

"Who's your friend, eh? Not a wrecker, I hope? Sad fellows those—cut-throats, and all that."

Having set the little gentleman's fears at rest on that score, we returned to the cottage, which was now crowded with survivors from the wreck, some dreadfully bruised, others only exhausted with cold and fatigue. We heard that several others had taken shelter in another cottage, about half-a-mile distant, and that a messenger had been despatched to a neighbouring town for medical assistance. It was found, on comparing notes, that only about fifty people were saved out of the crew of one hundred and twenty. Sad and silent were the greetings of the survivors; for the loud roaring of the wind, the rattling of the door and casements, and the low, rumbling sound of the distant breakers, recalled but too forcibly the horrors of the scenes they had just witnessed, and the sad fate of their unfortunate shipmates. As soon as the little doctor was revived by the heat, and by a dose of the fisherman's restorative, he hastened to make himself useful in a professional way; and his little rosy cheeks and merry chuckling laugh had the effect of soon dispelling the gloom which hung over the party. In a short time, we heard, in the intervals of the gale, the faint, distant sound of a horse's hoofs, galloping along the beach.

"There comes the young doctor, I'll take my 'davy," said the fisherman. "Never knowed him let the grass grow under his horse's feet in time of need—blessings on his kind heart!" The door opened, and in walked the expected visiter. He was quite a youth in appearance, but tall, and of a most prepossessing exterior.

"I hope there has no serious accident happened, William."

"Serious enough, your honour," said the fisherman. "There's a fine ship stranded just below; many of the poor fellows on the beach are beyond the reach of your assistance; there is not so much as a broken bone here, however—nothing but wet clothes and bruises. But there's a lady in the other end of the house, doctor—you had better go to her first."

We were just going to knock at the door of Emily's room, when the fisherman's wife opened it, and on seeing me, exclaimed—

"Your wife has just wakened from a sound sleep, sir, and looks quite fresh and life-like."

I smiled at the good woman's mistake, which I did not see any occasion to rectify; but I followed the young doctor into the room. I saw in an instant that Emily had heard the woman's address to me; for as soon as her eye caught mine she blushed deeply, and averted her face. I almost flattered myself I heard a gentle sigh.

The young doctor, in the meantime, approached the bed, and was about respectfully to feel her pulse, when, all at once, to my great surprise, he exclaimed—

"Merciful Heaven! Emily, dear Emily!" And, without the slightest ceremony, he printed kiss after kiss upon her fair cheek. My first impulse was to spring forward to chastise him for his insolence; but I felt my limbs tremble under me. I staggered against the wall, hid my face in my hands, and absolutely groaned with anguish of spirit. There was an end to all my bright visions; I had flattered myself that the cup of happiness was just at my lips, and now it seemed to be dashed from them for ever. I had saved Emily only for the arms of a happy rival!

Such were the thoughts that flashed through my mind with the rapidity of lightning; and with them visions of ropes, and razors, and pistols. Two words of Emily dispelled them, and raised me again from the depths of despair into the seventh heaven of hope and happiness. These cabalistic words were—"Dear brother!" The young doctor now turned round to me, and said, hesitatingly—

"And this gentleman, Emily? Pray introduce me to him."

"Mr Wentworth, allow me to introduce to your notice and friendship, my brother, Edward Walford."

"Wentworth!" said young Walford; "there is surely some mistake here, Emily—I thought the woman called this gentleman your husband!"

"So she did, Edward," replied she, blushing; "but it was a mistake on her part, and not a surprising one. I am more astonished at your ignorance of my affairs than at hers. You cannot have received my two last letters from the Cape."

She then informed him of the events which had taken place since she left Madras; spoke kindly and affectionately of her late husband, who, she said, had always behaved like a tender and considerate father to her; and expressed the warmest gratitude to him for his liberal provision for her future welfare. She hinted delicately that, though she grieved for his loss as that of a dear and valued friend, her feelings towards him had been chiefly those of gratitude and esteem. She gave a rapid and graphic sketch of the voyage, and ended with an account of the immediately preceding scenes of its fatal termination. Her cheek grew pale, and her voice trembled, as she detailed the horrors of the wreck.

"Although I had thought myself perfectly resigned," she said, "to what appeared to be my inevitable fate, yet, when that awful sea tore me away from the deck, I felt as if my last earthly hope was wrested from me; that moment, snatched as it were from the confines of a violent and awful death, was crowded with the recollections of a lifetime, which flashed, with lightning-like rapidity, across my memory. I thought of all I had done and suffered, and then of the extinction of my fond hopes of meeting and benefiting those dearest to my heart. There was agony in the thought—I screamed, and became unconscious. The cold dashing of the sea, while it half-drowned, revived me from my fit. I was too faint and frightened to speak, but I was aware that Mr. Wentworth was beside me; I felt that I was saved, and I relapsed into unconsciousness. To this gentleman," she said turning her tearful eyes towards me, "am I indebted, under Heaven, for my escape from a watery grave. Oh, Mr. Wentworth! how can I ever adequately prove my gratitude to you?"

"You owe me none," replied I. "The mere selfish impulses of our nature prompt us to endeavour to save what we value most. I thought I loved you; but it was not till I saw you struggling in the waves that I knew how very dear you were to my heart. Pardon my abruptness; if you think it presumption in a comparative stranger so soon to talk of love, I will wait months, years—only speak one word, Emily—say, may I hope?"

She was silent, but her eyes filled with tears, and she looked beseechingly at her brother.

"I see how it is, Mr. Wentworth," said the doctor, laughing; "my sister deputes me to act as her interpreter. Her eyes say to you, as plain as they can speak (though you do not seem to understand their language), 'You saved my life—who has a better claim upon my hand and heart?' Am I right, Emily?" said he, putting her small fair hand into mine.

She made no reply, but gently returned the pressure of my hand, and looked up in my face with such a sweet smile, that I could not resist the temptation to imprint the first fond seal of love upon her glowing cheek.

"Come, Emily," said young Walford, "your brother has given you to Mr. Wentworth, and now your doctor must take care of you for him. You are too weak yet to bear more excitement; we will leave you to your repose." He then took my arm, and bidding Emily adieu, we went into the other room, where we found the most exhausted of the party stretched on the floor in various attitudes, giving audible notice that their lungs had not been materially injured by their late submersion; while the shuddering moans and convulsive starts of some of the number showed that fancy was busy within them, acting over again the dreadful scenes of the night.

When day had begun to break, the whole party hastened out to the beach. Not a vestige remained of our unfortunate ship: the hull was completely broken up, and the shore was strewed for miles with portions of the wreck. We found Captain Darby, Wildman, and the survivors who had taken refuge in the other cottage, busily employed in the sad duty of collecting the dead bodies of their less fortunate shipmates. Young Walford and I had a long and interesting conversation together, in the course of which he told me that his mother and the rest of the family were living in the neighbouring town, in which he was practising as surgeon. He was obliged to return home immediately, he said, to attend to his professional avocations; and, leaving me to apologise to his sister when she awoke, he promised either to come or send for her as soon as possible. I returned to the cottage. Emily was sleeping, and remained for three or four hours in a sound slumber, from which she had only just awakened, when a post-chaise drove up to the door, a handsome middle-aged lady stepped out, and in a moment Emily was in the arms of her mother. For some time they embraced each other in silence; but their lips were moving, and the tears were streaming down their cheeks.

"Dear, dear mother!" at last sobbed Emily.

"Blessings on my darling!" replied she, holding Emily from her, and then hugging her to her heart; "let me look again on thy sweet face, my child!" she continued, gazing earnestly and affectionately at her, and then murmuring, "Oh, if I had lost you, Emily!" she again burst into an agony of tears. At last recollecting herself, she exclaimed, "Edward has told me all—where is he—where is the gallant man who saved your life?"

"This is Mr Wentworth," said Emily.

Mrs Walford took my hand in both hers, and pressed it to her heart, and, with a broken and trembling voice, she exclaimed—

"The blessing of a widowed mother be upon you, sir. You have saved my grey hairs from going down in sorrow to the grave."

I was greatly affected by her warm expressions of gratitude, and by the almost maternal cordiality with which she urged me to accompany them home. This invitation, it may be readily supposed, I was not at all unwilling to avail myself of; and, as none of the party were encumbered with baggage, nothing having been saved from the wreck, we soon left the cottage, carrying with us the good wishes and blessings of its inmates, whom Mrs Walford had most liberally rewarded for their hospitality. Three months afterwards, Emily Stacely became my wife; and, as I said before, sir, I owe the greatest blessing of my life to a storm and its consequences.

The steamboat soon afterwards entered the Mersey; and, when we parted on the quay at Liverpool, it was with mutual regret, and with a promise to renew our acquaintance as soon as possible. I have since had reason, like Mr Wentworth, to bless a "storm and its consequences;" for the next greatest blessing to a good wife is a good friend, and such he has ever proved himself to be, since our "stormy" meeting in the steamboat.


THE HEIR OF INSHANNOCK.

The ill-fated struggle of the partisans of the House of Stuart, in the year 1745, terminated, as our readers know, in the total ruin of almost all who were engaged in that unfortunate rebellion. The scaffold was deluged with the noblest blood in Scotland; and even those who were so fortunate as to escape the axe of the executioner, became penniless wanderers in a foreign land, meeting with little sympathy, and still less relief.

Amongst those who preferred the risk of hanging in their own country, to the certainty of starvation in a foreign one, was Reginald, or, as he was usually called, Ranald Grahame of Inshannock—a gentleman who was distantly connected with the Viscounts of Dundee. His estates were extensive, although his rental was small. He resided in an old building called the Tower of Gloom, which stood on a ridge of a terrific defile overhanging Loch Lomond.

Great rewards were offered for his apprehension by the Duke of Argyle, who entertained towards him a very hostile feeling, not founded in any patriotic desire to put down a rebel, but from an old grudge, either real or imaginary, which the great M'Callum Mor was not disposed to stomach. Hitherto, every effort to capture Reginald had been fruitless; for, secure in the devoted attachment of his tenantry, and the difficulty of an approach to the tower, he laughed at the threats of the chief of the Campbells, although backed by formidable government proclamations. It was to this security that Reginald became a victim. In his earlier years he had been intimate with Donald Campbell of Dungyle, who, although the nominal proprietor of these lands, derived nothing from them, as they were burdened by what is called, in Scottish law-language, a wadset. Now, Donald found it somewhat inconvenient to live upon nothing, or next to it; and he thought it no bad speculation to exchange his nominal estate for a real one, by handing his friend Reginald over to the tender mercies of the ministers of George II.; and, in return, quietly taking his place in the Tower of Gloom.

Having thus made up his mind on the propriety of bettering his condition, and having reconciled his conscience to the betrayal of his friend, by assuming that, as Reginald would, one day or other, be infallibly taken prisoner and executed, it was much better, although it might shorten his life a few weeks or months, that a friend rather than a stranger should get whatever recompense was to be got. Indeed, if any scruples still lurked in his breast, his duties as a citizen at once put an end to them, for, as he said, "a true patriot must sacrifice every private feeling to the public good." Influenced by these mixed considerations, he applied for, and obtained a promise, if he should be able to surprise the Tower of Gloom and its proprietor, that he would be rewarded with a gift of the forfeited estate of Inshannock.

Having made every arrangement, in the event of success, Donald Campbell, with a body of retainers, proceeded to the Tower of Gloom. Hiding his followers in a copse of wood in the immediate vicinity, Donald hastened to the abode of his friend, and, claiming his hospitality, was readily admitted as an inmate. The result may be easily anticipated: Reginald found himself a prisoner, for the first time in his life. Resolved rather to perish than surrender, the unfortunate laird ran to an apartment overlooking the loch, and leaped from the window into the water. His false friend, seeing his desperate efforts, threw him a rope as if in kindness, to support him, while a boat came near.

"That rope was meant for my neck, and I leave it for a traitor's," were the last words that came from the lips of the betrayed one.

The pangs of remorse penetrated the heart of the insidious Campbell. He leaped himself into a boat, held out an oar toward his drowning friend, with real oaths of fidelity; but Reginald pushed it from him, and abandoned himself to death. The waters of the lake are singularly transparent near the rock on which the Tower of Gloom was perched; and Campbell beheld his victim gradually sinking, till he seemed to lie among the broad weeds under the waters. Once, only once, he saw, or thought he saw, him lift his hand as if to reach his; and that dying hand never left his remembrance.

Campbell having thus successfully accomplished the enterprise he had projected, applied for and obtained the reward he had stipulated for. He received a grant of the lands of Inshannock; and the long-wished-for Tower of Gloom came into his hands, together with the sum of money offered for the capture or death of Reginald. So far, therefore, as worldly matters went, Donald Campbell, Esq. of Inshannock, had no cause to complain. But he was far from happy, for he could not but reproach himself with the death of one who, trusting to his honour, had been basely betrayed; and those reasons of expediency which had satisfied him when he contemplated the deed, after its accomplishment lost all their previous efficacy. He had another and separate cause of distress; his only son, Roderick, a promising youth, above sixteen years of age, had suddenly disappeared in the year 1745, and no traces of him whatever could be found. Every effort had been made to discover his fate, but in vain; thus, although Donald Campbell was, apparently, a man of opulence, he was in reality a much less happy man than when he lived from hand to mouth, and knew not one day where he was to look for provision for the next.

Although this enterprise had been successful, Campbell did not reap all the fruits of his perfidy; for some of the remote portions of the Highland estate which he had procured a gift of from the crown, were altogether unproductive, the tenants refusing to recognise any other chief than the son of the deceased proprietor. William Grahame was, at the time of his father's death, a boy of fifteen. He had been removed from the Tower of Gloom by his mother's relations, about the time of the suppression of the rebellion, and placed by them in the Marischal College in the city of Aberdeen.

The lad, who had no great taste for classical literature, was by no means comfortable, and longed to return to the purple heath of his native hills. So long as his father lived, William behaved himself with considerable propriety, and made some progress in his studies; but no sooner did the tidings arrive of the untimely fate of the ill-starred Reginald, than his son disappeared from the university, and the anxious search of his friends was unable to obtain any traces of his flight. Some time afterwards, a body was found in the river Dee, in a state of great decomposition, which generally was supposed to be that of the young man, and was duly interred as the corpse of the last Grahame of Inshannock.

Time hurried on; and the new proprietor of Inshannock had begun to feel the effect of its rapid transit: he was no longer the vigorous man of forty; and as he passed towards the period of threescore, the effects of age told severely upon him.

For a series of years, Donald Campbell had been very much exposed to the depredations of a set of caterans or gipsies, who frequently kept him in a state of siege in his tower.

This tower was of the true Scottish fabric, divided into three storeys: the highest of which contained the dormitories; the second or middle served as a general refectory; and the lowest contained his cattle, which required this lodgment at night, or very few would have been found next morning.

The leader of the gipsies frequented the fairs on the north side of the Frith, well mounted—paying at inns and ferries like a gentleman; and attended by bands of gillies, whose green coats, cudgels, and knives, were sufficiently feared by the tenantry of the Lennox. The gipsy chieftain had also a grim cur of the true black-faced breed, famous for collecting and driving off sheep, and therefore distinguished by his own name. In the darkest cleughs or ravines, or in the deepest snow, this faithful animal had never been known to abandon the flock commited to his care, or to fail in tracing a fugitive. But, as sight and strength began to fail, the four-footed chieftain was deposed, imprisoned in a byre loft, and finally sentenced to be drowned.

In one of those drear midnights so awful to travellers in the Highlands, a man, wrapped in a large coarse plaid, strode from a stone ridge, on the border of Loch Lomond, into a boat which he had drawn from its covert. He rowed resolutely and alone, looking carefully to the right and to the left, till he suffered the tide to bear his little bark into a gorge or gulf, so narrow, deep, and dark, that no escape but death seemed to await him. Precipices, rugged with dwarf shrubs and broken granite, rose more than a hundred feet on each side, sundered only by the stream, which a thirsty season had reduced to a sluggish and shallow pool. The boatman, poising himself erect on his staff, drew three times the end of a strong chain which hung among the underwood. In a few minutes a basket descended from the pinnacle of the cliff; and, having moored his boat, he placed himself in the wicker carriage, and was safely drawn into a crevice high in the fissure of a rock, into which he disappeared.

The boat was moored; but the adventurer had not observed that it contained another passenger. Underneath a plank, laid artfully along its bottom, and shrouded in his plaid of the darkest green, another man had been lurking more than an hour before the owner of the boat entered it, and remained hidden by the darkness of the night.

His purpose was answered. He had now discovered—what he had sacrificed many a perilous night to obtain a knowledge of—the mode by which the owner of the Tower of Gloom gained access to his impregnable fortress unsuspected. He instantly unmoored the boat, and rowed slowly back across the loch to an island near the centre. He rested on its oars, and looked down into the transparent water. "It is there still," he said to himself; and drawing close among the rocks, leaped on dry land. A dog of the true shepherd breed sat waiting under the bushes, and ran before him till they descended together under an archway of stones and withered branches. "Watch the boat," said the Highlander to his faithful guide, who sprang immediately away to obey him. Meanwhile his master lifted up one of the grey stones, took a bundle from beneath it, and equipped himself in such a suit as a trooper of Campbell's regiment usually wore. He then looked at the edge of his dirk, and returned to his boat.

Having thus acquired an accurate knowledge of the secret mode of access to the tower, the stranger returned to the place where he had seen the basket descending for the purpose of conveying its present possessor to the tower; climbing up its rough face with the activity acquired by mountain warfare, he hung among furze and broken rocks like a wild cat, till he found the crevice through which the basket had seemed to issue. It was artfully concealed by tufts of heather; but creeping on his hands and knees, he forced his way into the interior. There the deepest darkness confounded him, till he had laid his hands on a chain which he rightly guessed to be the same he had seen hanging on the side of the lake when Campbell landed. One end was coiled up; but he readily concluded that the end must have some communication with the keep; and he followed its course, till he found it inserted in what seemed a subterraneous wall. A crevice behind the pulley admitted a gleam of light; but, striving to raise himself, he leaned too forcibly on the chain, and he was somewhat startled to hear the sound of a deep-toned bell.

Donald Campbell was sitting alone in the chamber, from the windows of which, fifteen years before, his betrayed friend, Reginald Grahame, had precipitated himself into the lake below. His eyes were fixed on the blazing logs on the hearth. The thoughts of former times were flitting before him: he pondered on the days of his youth, before ambition and avarice had fixed their poisoned arrows in his heart; ere the world had banished those notions of virtue and religion that his excellent parents had, in his boyhood, so unceasingly inculcated. Many minor delinquencies had he committed; but the crime which now preyed upon his mind was the betrayal of his friend, embittered as it was by the reflection of the sordid motive that induced it.

In this state of mind he was startled by one of those figures which fancy so frequently suggests to a disordered mind. In the masses of the burning embers, he traced the outline of a face: imagination lent its aid; and he recognised a resemblance of Reginald. He started up:—"Avaunt, base mockery; am I to be daunted with a mere figment of the brain? Alas! trifles now disturb me. If I have sinned, I have suffered: the loss of my only son has been the penalty. I have paid for my misdeeds." So saying, he sat back on his chair quite exhausted; and at that moment the bell rung. At the deep and hollow sound he cast his eyes fearfully round, but made no attempt to rise, though he stretched his hand towards a staff which lay near him. The stranger saw the tremor of the dismayed Lord of the Tower; and, putting his lips to the crevice, murmured, "Father," in a low and supplicating tone. That word made Campbell tremble. But when the other added, "Father! father! save me," he sprang to the wall, drew back the iron bolts of a narrow door, invisible to any eye but his own, and gave admission to the muffled man, who leaped eagerly in. Years had passed since Campbell had seen his son, and many rumours had been spread that the younger Campbell had not really perished, but had engaged in the service of the Pretender. The hopes and love of the father all revived in one moment; and the sudden apparition—the appeal for mercy—had full effect on his imagination. The voice, eyes, and figure of the stranger resembled his son: all else might and must be changed by the lapse of so many years. He wept like an infant on his shoulder, grasped his hand a hundred times, and forgot to blame him for the rash disloyalty he had shown to his father's cause.

Roderick, in explanation, mentioned a variety of circumstances explanatory of the reasons of his evasion: how he had escaped, after the battle of Culloden, to France, where he had endeavoured to earn a scanty livelihood; and how he had at last resolved to revisit his native land, in hopes of obtaining the forgiveness of his father. His narrative was much abridged, by the fond delight of the old man weeping and rejoicing over the return of his prodigal son.

Old Campbell eagerly asked by what happy chance he had discovered the secret entrance, and whether any present danger threatened him. Roderick answered the first question by repeating what our readers are already acquainted with; and he added, in answer to the second, that he feared nothing but the emissaries of the government, from whom he could not be better concealed than in the Tower of Gloom. Old Campbell agreed with joyful eagerness, but presently added—

"Roderick, my boy, we must trust in Annette: she's too near in kin to betray you; and ye were to have been her spouse."

Then he explained that his niece was the only one person in his household acquainted with the secret of the basket and the bell; that by her help he could provide a mattress and provisions for his son; but without it he would be forced to hazard the most dangerous inconveniences.

Roderick was commanded to return into the cavern passage, while his delighted father prepared his kinswoman for her new guest; and he listened greedily to catch the answers Annette gave to her uncle's tale. He heard the hurry of her steps preparing, as he supposed, a larger supper for the old laird's table, with the simplicity and hospitality of a Highland maiden. He was not mistaken. When the bannocks, and grouse, and claret were arranged, Campbell presented his restored son to the mistress of the feast. Roderick was pale and dumb as he looked upon her. She came before him like a dream of some lovely picture remembered in his youth; and with her came some remembrance of his former self. The old laird, forgetting that his niece had been but a child, and his son a stripling, when they parted, indulged the joy of his heart, by asking Annette a thousand times whether she remembered her betrothed husband; and urging his son, since he was still unmarried, to pledge his promised bride.

Annette, whose predilections in favour of her cousin had been created by association—for she remembered him as far back as her recollections went—rejoiced at his reappearance, after so long an interval, and seemed by no means disinclined to listen to her uncle's proposition.

Besides the persons just mentioned, there were present in the apartment an old woman, and a dog, also evidently advanced in years. The latter, upon the entrance of Roderick, saluted him with a loud bark; but, strange to say, suddenly paused in the middle of his hostile demonstrations, and, after smelling for half-a-minute, as if he was investigating what sort of person the intruder was, quietly retreated to his place by the fireside, apparently satisfied that all was right.

The fire on the hearth was replenished, and burned cheerfully. Immediately opposite to the dog, on one side of the ingle, sat the woman. She was aged, and bent almost double, with no apparent sense of sight or hearing, though her eyes were fixed on the spindle she was twirling; and sometimes, when the laird raised his voice, she put her lean hand on the hood that covered her ears.

"Do you not remember poor old Moome?" said Annette; and the laird led his supposed son towards the superannuated crone, though without expecting any mark of recognition. Whether she had noticed anything that had passed, could not be gathered from her idiot laugh; and she had almost ceased to speak. Therefore, as if only dumb domestic animals had been sitting by his hearth, Campbell pursued his arrangements for his son's safety, advising him to sleep composedly in the wooden panelled bed that formed a closet off this chamber, without regarding the half-living skeleton, who never left her corner. He gave him his blessing, and departed, taking with him his niece and the key of this dreary room, promising to return and watch by his bedside. He came back in a few minutes; and, while Roderick couched himself on his mattress, took his station by the fire and fell fast asleep, overcome with joy.

The embers gradually sunk on the hearth, and the light diminished in proportion. Roderick, who had lain awake for some time, began to feel the approach of sleep; and, whilst in a state of transition, he observed, by the dying embers of the fire, the old woman cautiously rise, and, removing the dirk from the side of her sleeping master, approach his bed with cautious step and silent tread. The astonishment of Roderick at beholding this infirm creature advance, with a purpose so evidently hostile, was so great, that, in place of jumping from his couch, and wresting the weapon from the hands of its weak and attenuated possessor, he lay fascinated, as birds are said to be by the eyes of the rattlesnake, until the actual advent of the apparent assassin. The motions of the beldame were carefully watched in a quarter which she little suspected; for she barely reached the couch on which her intended victim reposed, and was about to raise her arm to strike, than the aged dog sprang at her throat, and brought her to the ground, from which she never rose again: the frail thread of her existence had been snapped by the suddenness of the onset.

This unexpected occurrence awoke the lord of the tower, who, springing up, beheld the nurse lying on the ground, with the dog growling over her.

This at once aroused Roderick from his trance; and he briefly explained to his father the singularly mysterious scene he had witnessed, and the fact of his rescue by the wonderful sagacity of the dog.

The father was perfectly amazed that such an attempt should have been made on the life of his son by one whom he naturally supposed would, as his vassal, have rather died a thousand deaths than have touched a hair of the head of the son of her chief. The only plausible ground he could assign for this murderous attempt was the insanity of the old woman, who, perhaps, perplexed by the unexpected appearance of a stranger in a place where none had heretofore been, had, by some hallucination, fancied him a robber; and, under this impression, had boldly gone forward to do battle for the laird.

"Dear Roderick," said the father, "this is a sad welcome to the Tower of Gloom. If I was superstitious, I should augur something bad from this event. Poor Moome! she had long been a faithful servant, and I could have wished her fate different. We must conceal it from Annette. She will be sufficiently unhappy as it is; and it would be cruel to add to her annoyance by disclosing the strange fact that she had perished in attempting the life of her benefactor's son. Once more, good-night, dear boy."

So saying, he pressed his son's forehead to his lips, and, removing the body, left Roderick to his own thoughts.

Poor Annette was shocked exceedingly by the unexpected death of the nurse; but sorrow is said to be near akin to love; and, in the delicate attentions of her cousin Roderick, the fair Celt felt her grief strangely soothed, and her bosom experience sensations to which it had previously been a stranger.

Old Campbell witnessed the progress of this passion with great delight, and gave the young couple every opportunity for studying "la belle passion:" indeed, the necessary confinement of Roderick in the tower threw them so much together, that it was no wonder they became attached to each other.

The scene from the top of the tower was magnificent: the clear and pellucid water of the fairest of Scotland's lakes at its feet; the isles with which its glassy bosom was studded, looked like so many fairy bowers; and the magnificent range of mountains to the northward, added to the grandeur of a scene, the beauty of which words can but inadequately express. Often, at night, by the light of the silvery moon, the cousins would repair to this favourite seat, where Roderick would speak

"Of moving accidents by flood and field;
Of hair-breadth 'scapes i' the imminent deadly breach;
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery;"

whilst Annette listened breathless, but delighted, to his words.

It was here that he first ventured to breathe of love. Seizing the guitar from his cousin's hand, he poured forth his feelings in the following verses:—

"Impell'd by angry fate's decree
In foreign lands to roam,
With heavy heart I bid adieu
To happiness and home.
"I braved the perils of the land,
The dangers of the sea;
But every suffering is repaid
By one kind look from thee."

It is unnecessary to trouble our readers with all the love-passages between the two lovesick swains, which, although exceedingly interesting to the parties themselves, is anything but agreeable to any one else. It is sufficient to say, that Annette yielded her heart to her cousin, and that her uncle rejoiced at the surrender. A change for the better was evident in Roderick. He was no longer the gloomy repulsive individual that he once was. His manners gradually softened; and even the coldness with which he originally repelled his father's kindness began to disappear. He had been barely a fortnight in the tower, when he expressed an urgent desire to be allowed to leave it for a short time. Old Campbell was not a little surprised at this, and represented the great risk he ran in leaving a place of security, and exposing himself to the chance of apprehension: he also expressed some curiosity to know what engagement could lure him from his father's house at such a time. Roderick replied, that, were the business his own, he would not have scrupled to have explained everything to his father; but, as any disclosure would compromise other persons, he could not, as a man of honour, betray a trust that had been confided in him. The laird, whose notions of honour were somewhat lax, was not altogether convinced by this reasoning; but he did not press his opposition farther, and Roderick was allowed to depart.

After the absence of a week, Roderick returned, and was welcomed in the most affectionate manner by his father and cousin. Some time afterwards he again left the tower for a few days; but these absences became less and less, as his love prospered. One day his father, who had been from home for some time, returned, and calling his son and niece to his presence, said—

"My dear Roderick, you are now a free man—I hold here a free pardon for all offences. The interest of our chief with government has effected this. The Duke of Argyle is ever ready to assist his clansmen; and the faults and errors of the son have been overlooked in the services of the father. No obstacle longer remains to your nuptials with my beloved niece: take her from my hand as the greatest treasure I can give you."

Roderick's passion was equal to her rapture. Here was every obstacle removed. He could again appear in the world as a free agent, and the husband of one whose beauty was her least recommendation.

"Father," he exclaimed, "I know not how to express my gratitude for these favours. Henceforth you shall——" And here he paused—a blush came over his haughty features, and the sentence was left unfinished.

A week before the nuptials, the old man took his son aside.

"Roderick, I have something for your private ear."

"I attend."

"It is painful for a father to declare his unworthiness to his own offspring; but it must be. A bitter remorse has for many years soured my existence. My wealth is considerable; but it is a burden to me, because it originated in—blood!"

Roderick answered not.

"You must have heard that this tower once belonged to another?"

The son started.

"I have."

"I betrayed my friend. He perished, not by my hands, but by my fault; and from that moment deep remorse has filled my bosom: but of that no more. A sense of justice induces me to act decisively. Reginald Grahame had a son."

Roderick rose from his seat, but made no reply.

"It is of him I would speak. Circumstances have induced me to believe that the leader of the caterans who pursued me so long—who harried my lands, and injured my crops—was that son. His feelings towards me must be deadly; but I forgive him. It is but natural that he should hate the destroyer of his father. Would that he knew the pangs I have suffered—the anguish I have felt!"

"And is this true? Was your remorse so great? Have you repented of this cruel act?"

"Deeply—deeply, my son; but what avails it?"

"Much; for contrition——" And he paused.

"Proceed."

"I mean to say, that a contrite heart is acceptable to Heaven."

"I hope it is—I believe it is. But, to proceed:—I have enough to make you and Annette comfortable; and it is my wish to return to my own estate, now redeemed from the burdens which once pressed heavily upon it. If young Grahame lives, as I suspect he does, I will surrender his father's lands. I ask not his forgiveness—that I expect not—but I request him to take back his own. Have I your consent?"

"Most cordially."

"Then all is right. I must see the gipsy chief. I will place myself in his hands."

"Nay, nay, think not of that. I will myself see him."

"No, no; if he slays me, he but extinguishes a light that soon must be quenched; but if he murder you, I am left desolate, and Annette miserable."

"Feel no alarm: he knows me not. As a stranger I will seek him; and, be assured, no harm will befall me."

After much resistance, the old man yielded; and Roderick left the tower that night. The only companion that accompanied the messenger of peace was the dog who had so strangely rescued Roderick from the maniacal attempt of the old nurse. This escort was accidental, and was not discovered until the traveller had crossed the lake in the boat, which his own hand rowed; when, to his great surprise, as he jumped ashore, the animal, who had quietly slipped aboard, made his appearance.

"Poor fellow," said Roderick, patting him on the head, "what has brought you here? Your old limbs are more fitted for the fireside than for the devious path I must tread. I fear you will regret exchanging the comforts of the tower for the scanty food of the mountain glen."

The distance Roderick had to go was considerable; and, although a good walker, and accustomed to traverse districts as wild, if not wilder, he was unable to accomplish more than thirty miles of his journey; for, as the dog gave evident tokens of fatigue, and was unable to keep up with him, he slackened his pace, and proceeded with less rapidity. The night was dark, and the traveller had wandered considerably from the right path; he saw no traces of civilisation about him; he was apparently in the midst of a large and boundless moor.

"Well, it is not the first time that the heath has been my bed—probably it will not be the last; and, if it must be, I will roll myself up in my plaid, and sleep till dawn. O Oscar, you old fool! why did you not remain where you were? You have deprived me of at least ten miles of my journey, and a comfortable bed to boot."

At this moment the horizon was illumined by a flash of what is termed sheet-lightning, and Roderick observed what appeared to be a dwelling about a quarter-of-a-mile distant. The discovery was certainly far from displeasing; and although the place was much out of the way, Roderick naturally enough conjectured it to be some little snug dwelling, admirably adapted for the purpose of illicit distillation.

After the ordinary pleasure frequently enjoyed by those who wander in unknown paths through Highland districts, of plunging knee-deep in quagmires, and getting thoroughly drenched by the cooling mists from the mountains, Roderick, with some difficulty, arrived at the wished-for haven. It was a small and tolerable-looking bothy, containing, so far as the wanderer could ascertain, a butt and ben. Peeping through a clink in the small orifice intended for a window, it was with no ordinary delight he beheld a capital peat-fire, burning with more than accustomed briskness. As the door was fastened, he "tirled at the pin," as the old ballads term it. A hoarse, but evidently female, voice exclaimed—

"Wha's that, to disturb an honest woman at this time o' nicht?"

"A stranger, who has lost his way."

"Awa wi' ye; we've nae room for strangers in this kintry; gang your ways."

"But, my good woman, I really can do no such thing. Have you the conscience—can you think of sending me back to the bleak moor through which I have been passing, when you have such a capital fire blazing away here? Come, now, have some compassion."

"Let him in, Christie," exclaimed another voice, proceeding evidently from one of a different gender; "perhaps he may come from Macpherson."

The mandate was obeyed; and Roderick found himself in presence of two men, dressed in military attire, and a middle-aged woman of somewhat repulsive aspect. The warlike individuals were making themselves comfortable over a bottle of mountain-dew; and the potency of the "fire-water," as the Indians term it, was pretty evident, from the flushed countenance and thick utterance of the drinkers.

"I am sorry to intrude on you, gentlemen," apologised Roderick; "but I lost my way on the neighbouring moor, and my good stars guided me to this habitation, where I hope——"

"No apologies—no apologies, sir. I have seen service, sir; I receive his majesty's pay; and know how to treat a gentleman as he ought to be treated, sir. Will you join us in a glass, sir?"

Roderick was by no means desirous of partaking of the offer thus so ostentatiously offered; but, as it was his wish to conciliate rather than offend, he pocketed his pride, and took his place at the deal board, which, placed on the top of an old whisky cask, served for a table.

"May I be bold enough, sir, to ask whom I have the honour of pledging?" quoth the inviter, filling his glass. "My name, sir, is Serjeant Patullo—Serjeant Patullo, of his Majesty's fifth troop of cavalry."

With some hesitation, the name of Campbell was uttered by Roderick.

"Campbell, sir? good name—loyal subjects to his gracious Majesty. Mr. Campbell, allow me to introduce Private Kincaid. Your health, Mr. Campbell. Are you in the army, Mr. Campbell? Pardon me for the question, sir; but you have a fine military look."

"I am not presently employed, although, at one period, I saw a good deal of service; but pray, sir—question for question—may I ask to what accident I am to attribute the presence of two military gentlemen in this out-of-the-way place in the Highlands?

"You may well call it out of the way, sir; but a soldier's duty, sir, requires his presence where his country calls him, sir. I am sorry, sir, that I cannot divulge to so polite a gentleman (more especially, sir, as, with your leave, there is somewhat a scant of good breeding in this petticoat country) the cause of our presence here; but state secrets, sir, must not be divulged."

"Certainly," replied Roderick. "I cannot press you further. You will forgive me for pleading fatigue; but, with your leave, I must take a hurried nap, as I require to be early on my road to-morrow morning. Good-night, gentlemen." So saying, he threw himself on a bed in a corner of the room, wrapping himself up in his plaid. The dog took his place beside him.

Roderick soon fell asleep. How long he slumbered he did not know; but he was awakened at last by a confused Babel of voices. Opening his eyes, he saw a third person present, and discovered a face which seemed familiar. The discovery was anything but pleasant; and, he deemed it prudent to remain quiet, and to counterfeit that repose which he certainly was far from feeling.

The parties engaged in altercation had evidently been drinking deeply. The serjeant had thrown by his precision, and was talking volubly.

"I'll tell you, ye Highland blackguard, the man's a gentleman, and you shall not disturb him."

"But," replied the stranger, "I'm no going to be a fule, if ye are ane, serjeant. If ony o' the band get an inkling o' what I'm about, ye'll never put saut on their tails."

"Nonsense," quoth Private Kincaid; "the man's asleep, and never dreaming of caterans, or the Glen of Benvorlich. I wish the Highland devils may be as sound as he is when we get there."

"Just let him be quiet, Macpherson," said the serjeant. "I wish I was as sure of fifty guineas as you are. Come, let's be jolly—fill your tumbler and don't shirk."

Roderick, who, on other occasions, would have scorned to have become an eavesdropper, was impelled by strong and urgent reasons to be a listener; and he easily gathered, from the broken and disjointed conversation of the parties, that Macpherson had been connected with the band of caterans of whom the titular Inshannock was the leader; that, from a quarrel, he had resolved to betray his companions; and induced by a government reward and promise of pardon, had made the bothy a trysting-place, from whence he was to be conducted to a village some few miles distant, where a detachment of the king's troops was stationed, from whence he was to guide them to the hiding-place of those who were sought.

By this time the small hours were gradually becoming larger, and daylight was beginning to creep through the crevices in the diminutive window. The revellers were thoroughly inebriated; and Macpherson, no longer awed by his commander-in-chief, again vowed his determination of rousing the object of his curiosity. The serjeant hiccupped a negative, to which no attention was paid; and Macpherson advanced, as steadily as the effect of his libations would permit, to the side of the bed were Roderick lay, apparently fast asleep. The man of curiosity tottered onward towards the bed; but fate had willed that he should be baffled; for Oscar, who had been watching his footsteps with jealous care, sprang upon him, as he put forth his hand to remove the plaid from the head of the supposed sleeper. The suddenness of the attack brought the intruder to the ground; and the fall entirely removed any glimmerings of reason which his previous inebriety had left him. There he lay all his length in a state of hopeless intoxication.

"Served him right," mutually exclaimed the serjeant and the private; "but what can you expect from a Mac?"

"The Macphersons, Macgregors, and all, are not much better than savages," added the serjeant; who, being a Lowlander, felt that contempt for the Highlanders so common amongst the more southern inhabitants of Scotland.

It is a curious fact—perhaps affording better evidence of the distinctiveness of the two races inhabiting North Britain than any other—that the dislike of the Lowlanders, especially among the lower orders, towards their brethren of the mountains, was extreme, both at the period when the events here related occurred, and long previously: even in these modern times, some portion of the leaven remains. This feeling Serjeant Patullo, a native of Dalkeith, shared with his compatriots.

Roderick rose from the bed not much refreshed, but infinitely delighted by the unexpected manner in which the attempt of Macpherson had been frustrated. Shaking hands with the two military personages, who were just able to keep their feet, and giving his repulsive hostess a gratuity for her night's lodgings, he proceeded on his journey, accompanied by his faithful companion.

"Oscar, twice you have saved me; and your last service was greater than your first. Henceforward we never part."

The rest of the journey was accomplished with speed and safety. The glen of Benvorlich was reached. Two days afterwards the king's troops arrived; but the nest was cold, and not one trace of the caterans could be found. Little did the worthy serjeant imagine through whose timely information the well-arranged scheme had proved abortive. On the contrary, his suspicions rested on Macpherson, who was taken back in custody, to the port of Monteith, and there dismissed with ignominy. A week or two afterwards, he was found murdered, with a label on his breast, bearing these words—"The proper reward of a traitor."

The day preceding that fixed for the nuptials, Roderick returned in safety—Oscar following at his heel. He made no mention of his adventure in the bothy, or his second obligation to his canine attendant; he merely observed that his journey had been prosperous.

"Father, I have seen him; and in the leader of the caterans, the heir of Inshannock was detected. He knew me not as your son. I told him your sorrow and your proffer; and here is his answer."

Here he delivered a letter to Campbell, who, hastily unfolding it, read as follows:—

"Donald Campbell,—In vain you seek, by offering back my own, to extinguish my hatred. It is not by gifts that you could deter me from my revenge. Repent; and if the remorse your messenger so forcibly describes is genuine, it will do more to procure my forgiveness than all the wealth you could heap upon me. I shall watch over you; and if—as I shall learn—your repentance is sincere, you may yet escape my vengeance."

"Strange—very strange!" exclaimed the old man. "Then he rejects my offer. But how could I expect otherwise! The last scion of a noble race, he will not compromise the name of Grahame by accepting even his own from the hand of a Campbell. Well, Roderick, Inshannock shall be your marriage-portion with Annette; and you shall hold these lands under the condition that they shall be replaced by others whensoever William Grahame shall demand them from you."

"Sir, I accept your gift: the lands of Inshannock are mine so long as unclaimed by the lawful proprietor."

"Agreed. Thus one weight is off my mind; and, my dear Roderick, may I hope that the burden will press less heavily on you than it has on me; and that some day, I trust not very remote, shall witness the surrender of your stewardship to the rightful owner?"

"That Inshannock may devolve on him who has best right to it, is as much my wish as yours."

The ensuing day, the minister of Kilmun united Roderick Campbell to Annette Gordon. The marriage was kept quite private, contrary to the usual custom in the Highlands; but this was at the express desire of Roderick, who told his father that it ill became one who had so recently received a pardon for his transgressions to make any public display, even on such an occasion.

Everything, therefore, was quietly managed—two or three friends only being present, to whom the old laird introduced his son for the first time.

In place of returning to the Tower of Gloom, the married couple and the father proceeded to Dungyle, where the honeymoon was spent. Matrimony acts differently upon different people; in some cases it sweetens, in others it sours, the temper. With Roderick it operated in the former manner; for our hero had entirely divested himself of that gloom and melancholy which characterised his conduct upon his first return to the house of his parent. With his father it was different. As his life drew near a close, his despondency increased. It was in vain that Annette soothed him, or that Roderick offered him comfort. No longer was he hunted by the cateran chief—no more were his lands devastated, or his cattle carried off. All was quiet, save the workings of his conscience. He grew weaker and weaker, till at last he was compelled to keep his bed. Medical advice was procured, but in vain. The skill of the physician could not retard the approach of death.

One beautiful evening, as his son sat beside his bedside—

"Roderick," he feebly exclaimed, "my last hour is at hand. One thing I could wish; but that, I fear, is impossible."

"What is it, sir?"

"That William Grahame could witness my sufferings—could satisfy himself of my penitence, and ease my soul by his forgiveness."

"And could his forgiveness afford you relief?"

"It would."

"Then you are forgiven."

"What mean you?"

"I AM William Grahame; and I forgive you from the bottom of my heart."

"My son, what has come over you?"

"Farther concealment would add to my crime. Hear me. I am the son of Reginald Grahame, and the intended avenger of his wrongs. It was I who pursued you, and ravaged your lands. It was to satisfy my vengeance that I stole into the Tower of Gloom. I represented myself as your long-lost son, that I might make you drink the cup of bitterness even to the dregs. I saw Annette: her gentle but affectionate manners, her kind attentions, made a deep impression. When I retired to rest, my breast was strangely perplexed, and the feeling of revenge predominated. Then came the attempt by Moome upon my life, which was averted by the noble animal I had once consigned to destruction, and whose reappearance in the tower filled me with astonishment. The nurse, by some singular instinct, to me inexplicable, had discovered me. Her death preserved my secret.

"This incident again made my purpose waver. I continued in the Tower, where the influence of Annette softened my vindictive feelings. Still I could not bring myself to bear with patience your paternal kindness. I left you, to join my followers, resolving to fly; still Annette drew me back again. Then came the pardon, to me of inestimable value, as under it I could shelter myself from all consequences, even had any one recognised the cateran chief in the heir of the Laird of Dungyle and Inshannock.

"I saw before me a happiness I could never, even in my most imaginative moments, have previously contemplated. It was necessary to visit the band, of which I was still nominally the leader. By a singular mean, I became accidentally aware of a plan to surround and capture my brave companions. A miscreant of the name of Macpherson, who had been with me for some time, and had acquired a knowledge of all our places of retreat, for the sake of lucre, betrayed his associates. I was very nearly in his power; and, but for my faithful Oscar, would have been recognised as the bandit chief, and delivered up to justice. I escaped in time to warn my friends. They fled; and the military sent for the capture were entirely baffled.

"I seized on this moment to devolve the command on the lieutenant, and to resign my sceptre for ever. I parted from my old followers, with deep regret; for they were, to a man, attached to me. Although I had strictly forbidden the shedding of blood, except in self-defence, I afterwards learned that they had avenged themselves on Macpherson, who was watched, seized, reproached, and dirked.

"After I ceased to rule, the band ceased to prosper. Less cautious than heretofore, the captain and the greater part were surprised and slain; some few were taken prisoners, who were tried, convicted, and sent to the plantations. Much as I regretted the loss of so many faithful adherents, still my sorrow was tempered by the reflection that now my secret was safe, and that I was a free agent. I could hardly bring myself to forgive you, for revenge is dear to a Highlander. Time gradually lessened my hatred; but it was not till subsequent events had shown the deepness of your regret, and the reality of your self-reproach, that my resentment finally gave way. I even began to pity; and though, at one time, I should have rejoiced and gloried in my imposture, now I regard it in a different light; and, so far from your asking my forgiveness, it is I ought to be a suppliant to you."

"Roderick—for so I must still call you," ejaculated the old man—"it is not for me to complain. Your presence and your pardon have eased the mental torment I suffered. To me you have acted as a son; continue to do so; let the secret die with us. No one is injured; and the rightful heir resumes the lands of his ancestors without any one to oppose him; for Annette, failing issue of my own body, is my next heir."

"Your will is mine: if such is your command, it shall be obeyed."

"Give me your hand. I shall now die content. It is needless to distress Annette: let her never know that you are not her cousin."

The old laird lingered a few days, and then died in peace and charity with all.

Some twenty-five years after the death of the old Laird of Dungyle, the estates came into the possession of his grandson, Donald. Roderick had gone the way of all flesh; Annette survived him; and in the education of her daughter Isabella sought oblivion for her sorrows. Donald was a fine young man; fond of his mother and sister; but by no means under petticoat government. Whilst at Edinburgh College, he formed an intimacy with the Master of Methven—the eldest son of Lord Methven, a peer of ancient family—and to the friendship thus formed it is more than probable that a love for the Honourable Emma Methven not a little contributed.

As Donald was an excellent match for the daughter of a by-no-means-opulent nobleman, the intimacy was cultivated by the parents; and Roderick, whose great object was the happiness of his son, gave a sanction, before his demise, to the projected union. After the period of mourning had elapsed, preparations were made for the marriage, and the lawyers were busy with the settlements.

One morning, about a fortnight before the day fixed for the nuptials, Donald received a letter, the contents of which excited the most lively astonishment. It was as follows:—

"Sir,—We are instructed by our client, Mr. Roderick Campbell, of Dungyle, to take legal steps against you to recover the estates wrongfully held by you, and which belong to him. We have, therefore, to intimate to you, unless they are surrendered in the course of a fortnight, legal steps will be adopted.—We are, sir, your obedient servants,

"Sharpe & Swift, W.S.

"St. James' Court,
"20th March, 17—."

"Sharp and Swift, with a vengeance!" exclaimed the bewildered youth. "Sharp work, to insist upon my giving up my estate; and swift work to do so in a fortnight. What title can this man set up to my grandfather's estate? None that I can conceive; for the descent from him to my father, and from him to me, is undoubted."

Donald, however, lost no time in communicating this unexpected requisition to his intended father-in-law, to whom he handed the letter. Lord Methven read the epistle carefully.

"Was not Roderick your father's name?"

"It was, my lord."

"He was implicated in the rebellion of 1745?"

"He was, but he got a remission from the late king of all crimes and offences. He was never attainted."

"Then," rejoined his lordship, "I am quite at fault. It certainly did occur to me that this claim might have been rested upon his supposed attainture. With your permission I will place this document in the hands of my family agents, Messrs. Slow & Sure, W.S., and direct them to enter into a communication with the agents of your unknown adversary."

It would not be very interesting to our readers to detail the legal game of chess played by these skilful men of law against each other; and it may suffice to mention, that the claim, which extended to all the large estates of the old Laird of Dungyle, was based upon the fact, that the competitor was neither more nor less than the son, whose place had been filled by Roderick.

As the imposture of Roderick Grahame had been carefully concealed, and the secret had apparently died with him, his son and widow naturally viewed the claim as purely fictitious, and characterised the demand as an attempt to extort money; nevertheless, they were staggered by the bold steps adopted by their opponent, who proceeded to get himself served, before the bailies of the Canongate, as only lawful son of Donald Campbell, of Dungyle and Inshannock. The proof was apparently conclusive: the identification of the claimant was dependent upon the testimony of two witnesses, who swore distinctly to the fact. It was proved that young Campbell went to France, held a situation in the court of Prince Charles, commonly called the Pretender, and that he left it suddenly. This had occurred upwards of twenty years before; but no evidence was given of where he had been after that period, although he gave out that he had been captured at sea by a Barbary corsair, sold as a slave, and had only recently escaped.

The jury—being composed in the manner usual with ordinary Canongate juries—gave themselves little trouble in cross-examination; and, as almost uniformly occurs, served the claimant in terms of his brief, and thus invested him with the legal status of son and heir of the deceased Laird of Dungyle.

Donald was dreadfully grieved by the success of this initiatory proceeding, which was instantly followed up by a reduction of the titles vesting the estates in the person of his father and himself. Painful as the step was, he saw the necessity of breaking off the marriage with his beloved Emma. He waited on Lord Methven, and explained to him the measures adopted on the other side, and his apprehension that there was more in the case of his adversary than he had previously imagined; nay, he added his own impression that the event would turn out adverse to him. "How this has happened, I know not; my father ever was the reputed son and heir of old Dungyle; my mother recognised him as her cousin; and yet this man has made out, to the satisfaction of a jury, that he is the heir of Dungyle.

"But, my dear lord, the worst part of the communication is to come; I dare not any longer aspire to the hand of your daughter, at least until everything is cleared up; although the words nearly choke me, they shall come out—this marriage must proceed no further."

Unable to retain his feelings, he burst into tears.

The peer was deeply moved by the evident sorrow of the young man.

"Donald," said he, "you have acted like a man of honour. I respect you more at this moment than I ever did. Be not cast down; all is not lost; and if the worst come to the worst, have patience, and Emma may yet be yours."

"Bless you, my lord, for these words; they have infused new vigour into me, and they will the better enable me to bear my discomfiture."

"Donald, you must now act as a man of the world. That there is something radically wrong, I am persuaded; for I cannot conceive how a man should wilfully refrain claiming his inheritance for so long a time."

"His capture and sale as a slave may explain this."

"Fiddle-de-dee! this is affirming what is not proved. It is easy enough to circulate such a report; but what does Solomon Slow say to all this, and his worthy partner, Simon Sure?"

"Nothing satisfactory. They merely hum and ha—ask questions, but give no answers. They have sent for the charter-chest from Dungyle, and I expect it here to-day."

The legal proceedings went on with vigour; the reduction was called in court; taken to see, as it is termed; returned and enrolled; and order taken for producing the writings called for. All this was Hebrew to the defender; but he trusted everything to his agents. They, on the other hand, raised a counter-reduction of the service of the claimant, on the ground that the evidence was insufficient. This step was bold, but judicious; for Messrs Sharpe &, Swift began to think, that although the expense of these double proceedings might not be much to a party in possession, it was very different when they had to advance the necessary outlay, as they had taken up the cause on speculation. It was hinted that a douceur, properly applied, might settle the contest; but Donald peremptorily refused any such compromise, by remarking that—

"If I have justice on my side, why pay this man for troubling me? and, if he has justice on his side, it shall never be said that I took advantage of his poverty to compel him into a relinquishment of his just rights. If, upon proper examination, I find that he is the lawful owner of these estates, I will surrender them."

The charter-chest arrived safely, was deposited in the office of Messrs Slow & Sure, and opened in the presence of the young laird. The more recent titles—those called for in the summons—lay on the top. Mr Sure then took up one parcel, and next another.

"Ha! hum!" muttered he, taking off his spectacles, carefully rubbing his glasses with his handkerchief, and then replacing them.—"Marriage contract: so there was a marriage contract? Ha! 'Gives, grants, and dispones'—what—'to Annette Campbell, for her liferent use allenarly, and to her issue male by her marriage with Roderick Campbell, or by any other marriage, lawfully begotten, in fee, all and whole the lands and barony of Dungyle.' This is wonderful! This extinguishes any claim to Dungyle. The lands are validly conveyed. So, if this man is what he calls himself, which I doubt, the game is up with him as to Dungyle. I wish Inshannock was equally safe. So it is," lifting another parcel. "'Disposition and assignation, by D. Campbell, Esq., to Roderick Campbell, Esq., in trust for William Grahame; and, failing the said William, to the trustee and his heirs.' But what is this?" And he lifted a parcel carefully sealed, and addressed to Donald.

On opening the mysterious packet, a paper was discovered, in the handwriting of his father, detailing the facts previously narrated, with a postscript, from which it appeared that, after the death of old Dungyle, his reputed son, having learned that the real son had been alive at least a year previously, proceeded to France, and there ascertained that the true Roderick, upon learning his father's death, had left Paris, had been taken ill on the road, and died. Fortunately, the priest who gave him absolution (for he was a Catholic) was traced; and there was found, wafered to the paper, a certificate of burial under the hands of the proper officials—thus proving to demonstration that the present claimant was an impostor.

In face of such evidence, it was plain that even the skill of Messrs Sharpe & Swift could avail little; and the pretended Dungyle having found it convenient to be off, and "leave no wreck behind," these reputable writers to the signet, or, as the High School boys term them, wicked sinners, made something like a total loss by their speculation. Who the impostor was never transpired; but it was shrewdly suspected that he was an individual to whom the deceased heir of Dungyle had lost various sums of money, besides some family trinkets, in play; and this suspicion was confirmed by the very articles having been brought forward in support of the identity.

We have only to add, that Donald was made happy in the hand of Emma; and of this marriage are sprung the Barons of Inshannock and the Earls of Dungyle.


THE MOSSTROOPER.

"I am determined to gie up this thievin trade, Dick. If I can only escape Sir Robert Cary this time, I'll turn honest man, hing up jack and spear, steel-cap and whinger, and lead the life o' a saint." This was said by Geordie Bourne—one of the most noted freebooters on the Borders, who flourished, in wickedness, about the end of the seventeenth century—and was addressed to one of his associates in crime. But how think you, good reader, was Geordie employed when he expressed this laudable resolution of abandoning his evil ways? Why, in driving before him a score of cattle which he had just harried in Northumberland. "If he could escape Sir Robert Cary!" Ay, but there was the rub. There was scarcely any escaping Sir Robert Cary, who was warden of the East March, on the English side—a generous-minded and high-spirited man, but the especial terror of all those gentlemen who practised the art of living at the expense of their neighbours. As warden of a march, this was his duty; and he performed it with a zeal and activity that threatened to ruin the trade altogether. His men were constantly abroad, on the look-out for visiters from the Scottish side, and those who were brought to him were hanged without mercy; and this would have been Geordie's fate long preceding the period of our story, had he not been an especial favourite with Sir Robert Kerr, the opposite warden, for whom Sir Robert Cary entertained a high respect.

At this period, the latter person lived in the Castle of Witherington, in Northumberland, and it was thither that all the Scottish freebooters were carried who were taken—and it was there that they suffered the penalty of their crimes. The residence of a warden was then, in every sense of the word, a garrison. It was filled with soldiers, both horse and foot, but chiefly the former. These were called the warden's men, and were dressed in a peculiar livery, to denote the service to which they belonged. They were placed under his command, to enable him to keep the peace of the district over which he presided, to repel aggressions, and to apprehend and bring to justice the lawless marauders with which the Borders were then infested. His men, as has been already said, were constantly employed in patrolling the country, and looking out for defaulters; so that the profession of the freebooter was one of great peril, for he had not only to brave the weapons of those whom he spoiled, but the halter of justice, which was always dangling over his head.

To return, however, to Geordie Bourne. In the little we have yet said of this gallant, we have by no means done full justice to his merits. Geordie was not simply a noted character in the times in which he lived, but an extraordinary one. The feats he had performed were the talk and the marvel of the Borders; and certainly, if all was true that was said of him—nay, if the half of it was true (and there is little doubt that fully that proportion at least was so)—he was one of the most daring and desperate ruffians that ever lived. He was, moreover, a man of great personal strength, of large stature, and ferocious courage. Altogether, he stood preeminent, even in those wild and lawless times, for everything that was evil in, and peculiar to, the Border character. But, from what Geordie said on the occasion with which our story opens, it would appear that he had determined to reform. Whether Geordie was in earnest when he announced this resolution, and whether, if he was, it arose from compunctions of conscience, or from the terror of Sir Robert Cary's halter, it would not be easy to say. That he was serious, however, was a thing very much doubted by his friend and associate, Dick Johnston, or Long Dick, as he was more picturesquely styled, who received his communication, on the delicate subject in question, with a very hearty and a very unequivocal burst of laughter.

"You turn saint, Geordie!—you gie up thievin!" exclaimed Dick, so soon as his mirth would permit him to speak, "ay, when the Solway sands grow into green fields, and Annan Water is turned into wine—then ye'll gie up the trade, Geordie, but no till then."

"I'll no delay sae lang, though, Dick; and, laugh as ye like, that ye'll see," replied Geordie. "I'm tired o' this wark, and I'm beginnin to think that I hae fully as much mischief scored against me already as I'll be weel able to answer for." Then suddenly directing his attention to the cattle they were driving before them, and that with an interest which showed pretty plainly that their destiny, at any rate, was to be in no way affected by his proposed reformation, "Hey, Jock," he exclaimed, "look after that brown cow, man. Do ye think folk get their guids for naething? She's gaun aff the road athegither. Confound the beast!—keep her till't, Jock, keep her till't, lad, till we see what kind o' kail she maks. We'll be the greens, and I'm sure she needna grudge to be the beef."

With this witticism, such as it is, the conversation terminated for a time, and the freebooters pursued their way in silence.

Remarking that they had not yet cleared the County of Northumberland, we change the scene for a moment to Witherington Castle, the residence of the warden of the East March, Sir Robert Cary, who, at the moment when we would introduce him to the reader, was engaged in writing despatches to his mistress, Queen Elizabeth, in which he was giving an account of the then present state of the country, and of his own proceedings for the previous month.

While thus employed, a person dressed in the warden's livery, entered the apartment, cap in hand, and advanced to a respectful distance from the warden, where he stood still, and gave two or three gentle hems, to make the latter aware of his presence. He succeeded. Sir Robert raised his head, and, looking at the intruder, "Well, Watt," he said, "what's stirring now? Any interlopers across the March?"

"Why, my lord," replied the person interrogated, "I have just been informed that Geordie Bourne, with half-a-dozen Scottish thieves, has been seen on the tramp, and, if my intelligence be correct, is at this moment driving before him a score of Sir Thomas Carlton's best beeves."

"Ah! Geordie Bourne!" exclaimed Sir Robert, evidently excited by the intelligence, "that fellow would be worth catching indeed. He's one of the most desperate thieves in Christendom; but a valiant rascal withal, and, as I'm told, a very pretty fellow to boot. To horse, then, Watt, my man," added the warden, "and see if you cannot fall in with him. If he is not killed, you will, of course, bring him to Witherington; and I had rather you should not kill him, if you can help it."

"How many men shall I take, my lord?" inquired this subaltern officer of the warden's; for such he was.

"Why, how many men has Bourne with him?" rejoined Sir Robert.

"Six, my lord, I'm told," replied Watt.

"Then take a dozen with you, Watt, and see they be well armed; for these fellows don't part with their prey very readily, and there may be blows going, especially with such a desperado as Geordie Bourne."

Watt bowed, and left the apartment, and Sir Robert Cary resumed his writing. In ten minutes afterwards, thirteen well-mounted and well-armed troopers were seen issuing from the gate of Witherington Castle, and proceeding in the direction of the Scottish Border.

For some time the party proceeded on their way in silence, without exchanging a word—nothing being heard amongst them but the jingling of their harness, and an occasional imprecation on their horses; but this silence was at length thus broken:—

"There will be some knocks going, Jack, if we fall in with this fellow, Bourne," said Watt Tomlins, to the man who rode next him. "Geordie hits hard, and I'm told is one of the best shots in these parts; but we can strike a fair blow, too, Jack, and handle a bow not amiss either; so I think we haven't much to fear from him, after all."

"Why, no, not a bit, Watt," replied Jack, a stout, burly Northumbrian. "We're two to one at any rate, and that's some comfort—that is, Watt," he added, "if you have been rightly informed of the number Bourne has with him. If there's an error there against us, however, it will be rather an awkward business, I doubt."

The reader will at once perceive that, notwithstanding the bravery of this talk, there was fear at the bottom of it. In truth, the warden's men, especially the two who just now spoke, would rather have had to do with half the thieves on the Borders, than with Geordie Bourne alone, of whose courage and prowess they had heard the most tremendous stories. They therefore went on the present errand with no very comfortable feelings; and there is little doubt that, had it not been for the fear of exposure, and the loss of their situations, they would have reported at the castle that Geordie was not anywhere to be seen. But there were others of the party composed of better fighting materials than Watt Tomlins and Jack Foster; and these, though they entertained all due respect for Geordie's strength and valour, were men who would not flinch from their duty from fear of any one. Of some of these, indeed, it was alleged that they had done a little business in Geordie's way themselves, before they entered the service of the warden; so that, in employing them, the latter had acted on the well-known principle, set a thief to catch a thief; and certainly those of this description who were in his service were by far the most expert in detecting and apprehending depredators.

The party had now ridden for several hours without discovering any trace of the object of their pursuit; and, as it was getting dark, they had begun to lose all hopes of success, and to think of returning home. Ah, Geordie, Geordie, lad! you are now rubbing shoulders with a certain apparatus which shall be nameless. It is touch and go with you, Geordie. If the warden's company return at this moment, you are safe. If they go on but another hundred yards, for it is only a turn in the road that conceals you from them, it is all up with you. Your fate is trembling in the balance, and a breath will turn the beam.

The warden's men had now called a halt, to consider the momentous question just alluded to—that is, whether they should proceed or return: when it was decided, nem. con., that they should put about, and live in the hope of catching Geordie on some future day; and on this resolution they were about to act, when one of the troop, suddenly struck with a second thought, proposed that they should proceed precisely the length of that very turn in the road on which Geordie's fate depended, ere they abandoned the chase. As the distance was but trifling, this was readily agreed to; and forward again the whole party rode. On arriving at the stipulated point, they once more drew bridle, suspended all conversation, and, in profound silence, listened attentively to ascertain if there was anything suspicious moving at a distance. While some were thus employed, others were endeavouring to peer through the gloom of the twilight, with a similar view.

"Nothing to be heard or seen, Will—nothing moving," said Tomlins to a stout ferocious-looking Northumbrian Borderer who rode next to him. "Geordie has escaped us this bout."

"Not so fast, Watt; not so fast," replied the person addressed, who was leaning over his horse's neck, and intently scanning the dusky road that stretched away before them in the distance—"I see something moving yonder that looks very like a drove of cattle; and hark! Watt," he added, "there's a shout! On my life, here is Geordie, after all, comrades." This was said in a loud whisper, and the whole party looked intently, and without exchanging a word, in the direction indicated, when all agreed that there was something to be seen, of which it would be proper to have a nearer view; and, under this conviction, the troop again set forward at a hard trot, which, in a few seconds, brought them up with the object of their suspicions. These suspicions were well founded. It was indeed Geordie Bourne, his associates, and their booty. On coming up with the freebooters, the warden's men rushed in upon them, when Geordie himself, ere he was aware of his danger, or could prepare for his defence, was felled to the earth by Will Armstrong; and in the next instant his hands were firmly bound behind his back with cords. The superiority of numbers with which he was attacked left Geordie, powerful and courageous as he was, without a shadow of a chance from resistance. This he perceived, and therefore made no attempt to return the violence with which he was assailed. On regaining his feet, however, being yet ignorant who they were who had thus so suddenly set upon him, he inquired, in a tone and manner which implied a threat of fierce retribution, "Who here dares—who among ye dares to avow this night's work? Let me hear him speak."

"I dare," replied Will Armstrong—"I dare avow it, Geordie Bourne, and perhaps so will Sir Robert Cary."

"Ha! you're warden's men, then," said the freebooter, alarmed at the discovery that he was in the hands of the dreaded enemy of his profession, and becoming instantly more calm and subdued in his manner. "Weel, there's nae help for't, lads—every dog has his day. I hae had mine, and I suppose I maun now straught a tow at Witherington. Deil may care," he added, after a moment's pause—"it's no sax yards o' cord, even though there should be a loop at the end o't, that's gaun to frighten Geordie Bourne." Then instantly recovering all the natural intrepidity of his character, he began to shout out, even while his captors were in the act of still further securing his arms by additional ligatures—

"And it's hey, my lads, for the bonny moonlight,
That on mountain and muirland is streamin sae bright,
Gae saddle my steed, for I maun ride the night
As far as the English border.
"'Tak tent, Jock, lad, for the warden's men
Are ridin o'er hill and ridin through glen.'
Tuts, sax Scots lads 'll keep twascore-and-ten
O' sic feckless loons in order."

And Geordie would have gone on with the complimentary stanzas, of which the first and second have been quoted, had he not been interrupted by a peremptory command to move on. The troop had now formed round the captive, who, besides having his arms bound, as already described, was secured to two horsemen, one on each side of him; and in this order the whole party marched on towards Witherington, where they arrived a little before the hour of supper, when Geordie was immediately conveyed to the strong room appropriated for the reception of such involuntary visiters. Having thus secured his prisoner, Watt Tomlins repaired to Sir Robert Cary, and informed him that Geordie Bourne was taken, and in custody.

"Ha! so you have caught him at last, Watt! I am glad of it," said the warden. "Did he make any resistance?"

"None, my lord," replied Tomlins. "We were too many for him. We took him as gently as a lamb, merely by knocking him down."

"Very gentle proceeding, indeed, Tomlins. It's so far well, however—glad there's no one hurt. What like a fellow is he, this Bourne, Watt? I have heard much of the knave's valour and strength, and should like to see him. He would be an acquisition, the rogue, to my troop, if he could be prevailed upon to take to such an honest calling. Why, I would spare the rascal's life if he would, for I cannot help respecting his bravery, and am loth to put him to death, both on that account and on account of my friend, Sir Robert Kerr, who has a kindness for the knave."

"Why, my lord, as to his appearance," said Tomlins, "he is, I must say, as pretty a fellow as ever put foot in stirrup—six feet, every inch, my lord—and a chest like a horse's; but I fear we couldn't depend on him."

"I doubt that myself, Tomlins," said the warden; "however, I'll think of the matter; but I am unwilling to hang the rogue, if any good at all could be found in him. I'll think of it, however, Tomlins—I'll think of it," repeated Sir Robert; at the same time nodding his head in a manner expressive of his wish to be left alone.

Tomlins, taking the hint, bowed, and retired.

Soon after the supper-hour of the garrison, and when all was quiet within the castle, the door of the strong room in which Geordie Bourne was confined was cautiously opened, and three persons, dressed in the livery of warden's men, entered the apartment. Geordie's athletic figure was extended at full length upon a bench, when the intruders first made their appearance; but he started up on their entrance, and presented such an appalling personification of strength and ferocity, as startled for a moment those who had thus voluntarily obtruded themselves on his seclusion; and, secure as they were—for they were well armed, while he was totally defenceless—they could not contemplate his thick muscular throat, which was bare—thus giving full effect to the fierce but bold and manly countenance of the outlaw—without misgivings as to their safety with such a powerful and desperate man.

Suppressing this fear, however, which, indeed, was wholly unnecessary, as the prisoner neither entertained, nor even conceived for a moment, any intention of doing them an injury—

"Geordie," said the foremost of the visiters, "we have stolen a march on your keepers, just to condole with you a little on your unhappy mischance. We are really sorry to see a brave man like you, Geordie, in this melancholy condition, and we have come to express this to you, and to beg of you to believe that we would help ye out of your strait, if we could."

"Thank ye, friends, thank ye," replied the captive; "but it's a' owre now wi' Geordie Bourne. It's a' luck, lads, a' luck; and the chance has gane against me—that's a'. Never mind: I hae dune pretty fair wark on the English side in my day, and that's some comfort. There's twa or three there, I'm thinkin, that'll no be inconsolable for my fate, nor be at ony loss whether to laugh or to cry when they hear o' my end."

"Ay, Geordie," said one of his visiters, "you have been a pretty wild gallant in your day, as we have heard. Tom," continued the speaker, now turning round to and addressing one of his associates, "go to the buttery, and get a jorum of double ale for our friend Bourne here. It will comfort him a little, and lighten heavy thoughts a bit."

The order thus given was immediately obeyed, and in two or three minutes the messenger returned with a large tankard of the beverage just named. The vessel was handed to Geordie, who instantly applied it to his lips, and took such a copious draught of its powerful contents as soon produced a very sensible effect upon him. His eye began to glisten, and his whole countenance to beam with a savage humour; and, as a natural concomitant of these symptoms, he became extremely communicative. But hold, Geordie, lad—hold, if ye value your life. Be cautious—ye know not who is listening to you. Make no unnecessary disclosures of your little peccadilloes. You long-tongued fool, what assurance have ye that the lord-warden himself does not hear every word you are saying? You know not who are your auditors—neither, apparently, do you care. On, on ye go—little recking that you are but securing your own destruction.

"Ye say right, freends," now said the unwary freebooter; "I have been a pretty rough gallant in my day, and hae dune some things that your warden here would scarce thank me for, I'm thinkin." And, with this preface, Geordie proceeded to unfold a tale of crime that made his auditors stand aghast, accustomed as they were, from the nature of their duties and peculiar situation, to scenes of bloodshed and rapine.

Of these voluntary confessions of Geordie's, as many of them were wholly unfit to be recorded, we will enter into no details, but content ourselves with saying that they included almost every species of human wickedness, and brought on the head of the perpetrator a responsibility for almost every conceivable description of human guilt.

Nor was the horrible effect of these disclosures lessened by the manner in which they were made. The marauder chuckled and laughed as he related the various deeds of violence in which he had been concerned, either as a principal or accessory; and with look and manner called on his auditors for approbation of the dexterity with which some of his robberies had been conducted; and, to say truth, there certainly were many of them contrived with an ingenuity, and executed with a boldness, coolness, and dexterity, which would have gained for Geordie immortal renown, had he had the good fortune to have been born a Spartan. As it was, however, they only secured him a halter.

"Believe me or no, lads," thus Geordie introduced one of his adventures, "I ance rode saxty miles in ae nicht, without ever drawin bridle, except for about the space o' five minutes. I left my ain hoose at the gloamin—rode thirty miles—did my job—and was back again other thirty before cock-crawin, without ever being missed by onybody."

"By my troth, an excellent night's work, George," said the spokesman of the three warden's men. "Pray, what was the cause of your making such an extraordinary exertion on that particular occasion?"

"Why, the cause, ye see, sirs, was just this," replied Geordie: "At the last Border meeting at Lockerby, a Cumberland man, o' the name Tinlin, comes up to me, and he says, says he, 'Geordie, and it warna for breakin the peace, I wad like to break your head, for I dinna believe ye're the man ye pretend to be.' Weel, ye see, sirs, I drew—as I had guid cause to do—and was about to lend the fellow a lick wi' my whinger, when wha should come up behint me at the moment, and grip my sword-arm, but Sir Robert Kerr, just as I was gaun to strike? 'Ha, Geordie!' said he, 'at your auld tricks again! Come, put up your whinger, my man, and dinna be breakin the peace o' the meetin.' Weel, you see, as Sir Robert was a good freend o' mine, and had stood my part in many a strait, I did as he bade me, but wi' a secret oath that I wad tak an opportunity after o' clearin scores wi' Tinlin. And, by my feth, it wasna lang or I got amends o' him. The very next nicht, having beforehand learned whar he lived, I slippit my beast quietly out o' the stable, mounted and set off at a swingin trot for Tinlin's, where I arrived about twelve o'clock at nicht—a distance o' thirty miles; but I kent every fit o' the way. On reachin the house, I rapped at the door. 'Wha's there?' cried Tinlin, jumpin out o' his bed. 'A friend,' said I; and I gied him ane o' your ain names, lads—that is, the name o' ane o' your ain men whom I kent he knew—and said I was frae the warden wi' a message to him to attend a muster. Weel, you see, on that Tinlin opens the door. I was stannin ready wi' my drawn whinger in my hand; and the moment he did this, I gied him at least a foot o' the cauld airn in his wame, before he could say Tintock, and he fell dead at my feet. Having done this, I entered the house, turned out his wife and weans to the drift, set fire to the biggin, and mounted my horse by the licht o't; and, in little mair than four hours after, was in my ain house, without ony ane being a bit the wiser."

And here Geordie gave a chuckle of satisfaction at the recollection of his atrocious feat, and looked to his auditors for a similar expression of approbation. In this, however, he was disappointed. They were by far too much horrified by what they had heard even to assume the appearance of gratification. Indeed, the feelings of him who seemed to be a sort of leading personage amongst the three appeared, from the sudden gravity and sternness of expression which now sat on his countenance, to have undergone a complete and unfavourable change regarding the prisoner. His manner towards him was no longer marked by that frankness and familiarity which had distinguished it on his first entrance; and, in place of listening with anything like interest, or exhibiting any appearance of being entertained by Geordie's communications, as he had been for a time, he now sat with his arms folded across his breast, seemingly engrossed in thoughts of his own. Geordie perceived the change alluded to in his auditor, and immediately drew in; but it was too late. He had already said more than would have hanged a dozen. Abandoning, however, the confessional, or it might perhaps be more correctly called the boasting system, Geordie now took up the pathetic, and resumed, after a short pause—

"But it's a' owre wi' Geordie Bourne now, lads; he'll hae nae mair hanlin o' such doings as these. No; I'll see the bonny holms o' Netherby nae mair, nor the saft moonlight fa'in on the Cheviot Fells.

'And it's hame, hame, hame, my bonny brown steed,
And its riderless hame ye maun gang;
The warden has me fast, and this nicht is my last,
For he swears that the morn I maun hang.'"

"I doubt it is even so, Geordie," said the person, gravely, to whom we have above alluded, on the former's concluding this very appropriate ditty, at the same time rising from his seat, and immediately after bidding the prisoner coldly a good-night, when he quitted the apartment, followed by his associates, the last of whom carefully secured the door with bolt and padlock.

On leaving the captive, his three visiters proceeded down the private staircase, that led to the warden's library, which they entered, when he who had acted as spokesman during the interview with Geordie Bourne hastily began to divest himself of the livery in which he was attired—a process which gradually discovered the richer and more imposing dress of the lord warden underneath; the person spoken of being no other than Sir Robert Cary himself, who had adopted the disguise which he had just thrown off, in order at once to gratify his curiosity with a sight of the celebrated freebooter who was his prisoner, and to ascertain whether he could not discover anything in the man which might afford him a pretext for sparing his life, which, as has been already hinted, he felt some disposition to do. The result, however, of this benevolent attempt we leave the warden himself to communicate. Having thrown off his disguise, he flung himself into a chair, and, leaning his head upon his hand, thought in silence for a few moments; then looking to Watt, who was one of the three that had visited the prisoner, and who was now waiting the warden's commands regarding him—

"That fellow Bourne must hang, Watt," he said; "he must, by Saint Eloy. There never was such a villain on the face of this earth. I cannot spare him—I must not; it would be a gross dereliction of my duty to spare the life of such an atrocious ruffian. Hang, therefore, he must, Watt; and do you see that execution be done upon him betimes to-morrow morning."

On the following morning, when the gates of Witherington Castle were thrown open, the lifeless body of Geordie Bourne was seen hanging from a beam in one of the inner courtyards of the building.


THE FORGER.

In a small town in the south of Scotland, there lived, about seventy years since, a person of the name of Wotherspoon. He was a merchant, and reputed wealthy. But Mr Wotherspoon's wealth was not by any means the sole cause of the respect in which he was held by all who knew him; although, no doubt, it had the usual effect in this way, even in his case. He was respected for his integrity in his dealings, and for the excellence of his moral character generally; while he was esteemed, nay, beloved, for his singularly mild, kind, and inoffensive disposition.

At the period of our story, Mr Wotherspoon was about thirty-two years of age; and, as he had been remarkably industrious in, and attentive to, the business in which he was engaged, and not a little fortunate in some speculations into which he had entered, he had, even at this comparatively early stage of life, acquired the reputation already alluded to—namely, that of being a wealthy man. But it was not in reputation alone that Mr Wotherspoon was rich. He was actually and truly so; and he was so, too, without ever having done a mean thing to obtain his money; more, it is suspected, than can be said of nine-tenths of those who acquire wealth by their own exertions.

Having arrived at this prosperity, Mr Wotherspoon thought he might now, with every propriety, take a step which he had long meditated, but which he had hitherto refrained from taking, at once from a sense of honour and from motives of prudence. This step was, to marry. The object of Mr Wotherspoon's affections, however, was not yet to seek: she had long been found; and it was his desire and anxiety to be previously possessed of means sufficient to secure to her that degree of happiness and comfort to which he conceived her entitled, alone, that had prevented them uniting their destinies many years before. But the period had now arrived, he thought, when this could be done without imprudence.

The lady of Mr Wotherspoon's choice was a Miss Edington, the daughter of a neighbouring country gentleman, of respectable family, but of small fortune. Lucy Edington was a singularly beautiful girl; and in character and disposition as estimable, as in person she was lovely. But William Wotherspoon, though the favoured, was not the only lover of Lucy Edington. Her patience and good temper were severely tried by the pertinacious addresses of a young man in her own neighbourhood of the name of Lorimer. This person was the son of a farmer, and had been brought up to the profession of the law in Edinburgh, where, however, he had, by wild and extravagant courses, destroyed his own health, and nearly ruined his father.

For some years previous to this period, he had been leading an idle life at home—ill health, brought on by his own reckless conduct, having, in the first instance, compelled him to abandon his profession, and an unsettled disposition and dissipated habits preventing him from resuming it, when he could no longer plead the apology of indisposition.

Lorimer, however, was a decidedly clever young man, and his abilities, had they been seconded by good moral principles, would undoubtedly have, in time, raised him high in his profession; but the latter were entirely awanting in his character, as he never suffered any considerations of propriety, decency, or even common honesty, to interfere with, or interrupt the indulgence of, his appetites. He had acquired, moreover, a complete knowledge of, and great dexterity in, the practice of the chicaneries of law, or rather, perhaps, in the art of violating or evading it. The baser departments of legal knowledge had been his chief study. Indeed, for them he had a natural turn, and always felt more in his element when helping a man to cheat his neighbour, than when assisting him to recover his rights. In the former case, he was quite at home—all sharpness and intellect. In the latter, he was no more than a very ordinary person, evincing none of that tact or talent which carried him so swimmingly through the other. But Lorimer, though a clever knave, had none of the redeeming qualities—if such a character can be conceded them—which are frequently found in persons of his description; we mean, liveliness and good humour. He was not a facetious scoundrel. On the contrary, he was quiet, reserved, and morose. He was, in short, what is called a deep designing villain, and the saturnine and sinister expression of his countenance at once proclaimed this.

Such, then, was the rival of William Wotherspoon for the love of Lucy Edington; but he was a rival only by his own constituting, not by any encouragement which he received from Lucy, who loathed and detested him. Lorimer, however, though in part aware of this, persevered in his suit; hoping, in time, to accomplish, by the exercise of his best and favourite faculty, cunning, what honest dealing could not achieve for him.

All his ingenuity, however, could not prevent the marriage of William Wotherspoon and Lucy Edington from taking place. They were united; and the "happy occasion" was celebrated with much mirth and festivity; but the spirit of a demon was hovering over the ceremonies, in the shape of the evil wishes of Lorimer, whose worst passions, where all were bad, were excited to their utmost tension by an occurrence which at once extinguished his own hopes for ever, and consummated those of the man whom, of all others, he most detested—Wotherspoon.

From the hour in which that occurrence took place, Lorimer vowed the most deadly vengeance against his successful rival, and determined that, if ever an opportunity should present itself of doing him an injury, he would avail himself of it, although it were to the extent of his utter destruction and ruin.

Of doing Wotherspoon personal violence, Lorimer did not dream; not that he would not willingly have torn him to pieces, if he could, but, besides being something of a coward, he had a wholesome terror of those laws, which his knowledge of them, seconded by his own inclinations, told him it was safer to evade than to brave.

His schemes of vengeance, therefore, took a professional complexion, if, indeed, vague as they at this time were, they could be said to have assumed any complexion at all. He hoped, in short, by some means or other, to get Wotherspoon involved in the meshes of the law. In the meantime, indeed, there was no prospect whatever of this, or of any other mode of injuring him, being likely to present itself. But the time might come, he thought; and in this hope he cherished his wrath, which, as the sequel will show, was none the worse for keeping.

In the meantime, years passed on, and Wotherspoon continued to prosper in his business; while his domestic happiness—which had been, since the day of his marriage, all, nay, more than he had ever, even in his most sanguine moments, expected—was yearly increasing, with successive additions to his little family circle. In the lover of his youth, Mr Wotherspoon found a kind and affectionate companion of his more advanced years; for Lucy Edington underwent none of those unamiable changes which so frequently attend a change of condition with those of her sex, and which so often mar the happiness of the married life, by occasioning disappointment and regret. If somewhat less volatile than when a maiden, such deficiency was more than compensated for by the matronly grace with which some years of the married state had invested her. But, in manner and disposition, Lucy Edington remained unchanged.

The time which flew thus happily and prosperously over the married pair, and saw them conduct themselves in all circumstances, and on all occasions, with a propriety that merited this good fortune, witnessed very different conduct and very different results on the part of Lorimer. That worthless person still remained an idler about his father's house, breaking the old man's heart with his wild and dissolute practices; for in these he continued to indulge whenever he could command the means; and, as to the mode of obtaining these means, he was not at all scrupulous, as his father rather frequently found to his cost. Young Lorimer would now, in short, do almost anything for money, for which he was often greatly at a loss, to enable him to pursue his desperate and reckless courses; and, acting on this principle, he had opened a source of occasional emolument, by practising, in a small and irregular way, the profession to which he had been bred. He became a low pettifogger, and quickly grew notorious throughout the country as legal adviser in all cases of roguery.

Leaving Lorimer thus creditably employed, we return to follow, for a time, the fortunes of Mr Wotherspoon. It has been said that, during several years succeeding his marriage, Mr Wotherspoon continued to prosper, and to deserve his prosperity—and it was so. But what measure of prudence or foresight can secure a continuance of any worldly blessing, or prevent those changes and vicissitudes, whether for better or for worse, which it is the lot of man to experience? In an evil hour Mr Wotherspoon became a partner, to the extent of nearly his whole means, in that ruinous bubble known by the name of the Ayr Bank, which involved many families in misery and poverty. The speculation was an exceedingly plausible one; and the destruction occasioned by its failure was proportioned to the confidence it had inspired. We need scarcely, we presume, employ plainer terms to intimate to the reader that the Ayr Bank broke down, and that Mr Wotherspoon was one of the many hundreds that were ruined by its insolvency.

Although thus suddenly and cruelly bereft of the fruits of many an anxious and toilsome year, and thus hurled at once from independence to comparative poverty, Mr Wotherspoon did not lose heart, but determined on making another effort to repair the ruined fabric of his fortunes. Having readily procured a settlement with his creditors—one and all of whom entertained the highest opinion of his integrity, and pitied his misfortunes—he again commenced business, but in this he experienced all the difficulties incident to his equivocal position. Credit was reluctantly given, and demands were peremptorily enforced. Still Mr Wotherspoon persevered; and, though greatly straitened occasionally for means, continued not only to keep his feet, but began gradually to improve his circumstances. He was yet, however, in difficulties; and this was pretty generally known amongst those who knew anything at all about him.

It happened, about this period, that Mr Wotherspoon was one day invited to dine at the head inn of the town in which he resided, with a commercial traveller, with whom he was in the habit of dealing, and to whom he had at this time a considerable sum of money to pay. After dinner, when settling accounts with the traveller, Mr Wotherspoon, who was a little elevated with the wine he had drank, remarked, as he handed over the money to the former, that, if he had just one other bill for £50, then running, paid, he would, notwithstanding all that had happened him, be clear with the world. "But," he added, jocularly, "I'll find ways and means to pay that too, although I should take the highway for it, and cry, 'Stand and deliver,' or clap somebody's name to a piece of stamped paper." Mr Wotherspoon's friend laughed at the absurdity of these imprudent expressions, coming, as they did, from one who was so unlikely to have recourse to the expedients alluded to; and the matter went off as a very passable joke.

In about a month after this, as Mrs Wotherspoon was one day standing at the door of her husband's shop, with one of her children in her arms, her curiosity was excited by seeing a post-chaise driven up with unusual speed to the door of the principal inn, which was directly opposite the shop; and she called to her husband, who was inside, to look at the carriage—at the same time expressing a wonder who they could be that were travelling in such haste. But, if Mrs Wotherspoon's curiosity and surprise were excited by this simple circumstance, how much more was the former increased when she saw the two persons who stepped out of the chaise look, for a few seconds, in the direction of the shop, say two or three words to each other, and then cross the street towards it!

"They're coming here, William," she said, in amazement, and addressing her husband. "Who, on all the earth, can they be? and what can they be wanting?"

"Indeed, Lucy," replied Mr Wotherspoon, no less surprised than his wife at the impending visitation, "that's more than I can conjecture; but we'll soon see."

By this time the strangers were upon them.

"Is your name William Wotherspoon?" abruptly and sternly inquired one of the strangers.

"It is, sir," replied the former.

"Humph!" ejaculated the querist, and began searching his pocket, from which he drew a slip of paper. Then again addressing Wotherspoon—

"Mr Wotherspoon, you are our prisoner. We apprehend you in the king's name, and you must immediately accompany us to Edinburgh."

"Your prisoner, gentlemen!" said Mr Wotherspoon, becoming as pale as death, and trembling violently as he spoke, "What for? What crime have I committed? What do you charge me with?"

"Ah! you don't know, I suppose, and can't guess," said one of the messengers, sneeringly; for such, indeed, was the character of the strangers.

"No, indeed, gentlemen, I cannot," said Mr Wotherspoon, in a state of great agitation.

"Very like a mouse-trap, but not so small," exclaimed the messenger. "However, I always like to be civil, and I shall tell you—though I'm confoundedly mistaken, if you don't know it pretty well already. You are apprehended, Mr Wotherspoon," he continued (and now eyeing his prisoner—for in such, a melancholy situation the unfortunate man now stood—with a scrutinising glance), "on a charge of forgery; so, if you please, we'll bundle and go."

In following out this extraordinary conversation, we have necessarily lost sight for a moment of Mrs Wotherspoon. But we do not now call the reader's notice to her with any intention of describing the effects which the appalling occurrence just recorded had at first upon her. This we think it better to leave to the reader's imagination. But her subsequent conduct is more within the power of description.

The unfortunate woman, having hastily laid down the smiling, unconscious innocent that was in her arms when the messengers entered the shop, flung herself upon her husband's neck, and frantically exclaimed that no one should tear her William from her.

"My William guilty of forgery!" she wildly exclaimed. "No, no gentlemen—it's false, it's false. He has always been an honest man, and is well known to be so. He would sooner die than commit such a crime, and I will get all our neighbours to prove this." Then throwing herself on her knees at the messengers' feet, she implored them, by every consideration of humanity and justice, not to take her William away.

"He is innocent, gentlemen," she exclaimed; "before God, he is innocent of the crime you charge him with. Oh! do not take him from me, gentlemen. Look at that babe there, and pity me, and pity us all. Do not believe what has been told you about his having committed a forgery. My William never did, and never could do, such a wicked thing."

"May be so, mistress," said one of the messengers, little affected by these womanish appeals to a clemency which he had no power to show; "but we must do our duty. Here's the warrant," he said, exhibiting a piece of paper which he held in his hand, "for your husband's apprehension, and we must see to its execution."

Having said this, he turned away from her to his associate and Wotherspoon, whom the former had already secured by handcuffs; and in a few seconds the unfortunate man found himself seated in the post-chaise, to which fresh horses had been put, with a messenger on each side of him. A few seconds more, and the carriage was on its way to Edinburgh—a circumstance which was a relief to the unhappy man; for, until the chaise started, he was not out of hearing the shrieks of his miserable wife, who had ultimately been forcibly torn from him.

On arriving at Edinburgh, Mr Wotherspoon was immediately carried to jail, to abide his trial for the forgery with which he was charged.

This forgery consisted in the felonious adhibition of the name of one James Laidlaw, a wealthy farmer in Liddesdale, to a bill for £50. This bill purported to be drawn by Wotherspoon on Laidlaw, and was indorsed by the former to James Lorimer, who again indorsed it, and discounted it in one of the banks in Edinburgh.

Some time previous to this bill becoming due, Lorimer called at the bank where it had been cashed, and stated to the manager, with whom he sought a private interview, that he had discovered that the bill which he had discounted there, bearing to be the acceptance of James Laidlaw to William Wotherspoon, was a forgery, and that he could lead proof to show that Wotherspoon was the perpetrator of the crime. The matter being immediately investigated, it was found that there were sufficient grounds to institute a criminal action against Wotherspoon; and his apprehension, as already described, was the result.

Wotherspoon, in the meantime, however, denied all knowledge of the bill, said he had no transactions whatever with Lorimer or Laidlaw, and that he did not know the latter, even by sight, or in any other way; and in this utter denial he remained firm and consistent to the last, to the great perplexity of his own counsel, who, while he could not resist the weight of evidence which was mustered against his client, and which indeed seemed conclusive, was yet staggered by the cool and pertinacious manner in which Wotherspoon maintained and insisted on his innocence.

In due time the trial of the latter, for the forgery, came on before the High Court of Justiciary, when a long and careful investigation of the case was entered into.

The first witness called by the public prosecutor was Lorimer, who deposed that the bill had been paid over to him by Wotherspoon, for professional services rendered the latter at the time of his bankruptcy. That it was Wotherspoon's handwriting. That Wotherspoon had stated that he had obtained the bill from Laidlaw, in payment of an account for goods with which he had furnished him. That he had discovered the forgery, by having asked Laidlaw, whom he accidentally met some time after, if he had ever had any dealings with Wotherspoon? when the former said he never had, and knew nothing about him. Had, from some circumstances which subsequently occurred, suspected that the bill was a forgery; particularly from Wotherspoon saying, that he would be obliged to retire it himself, in the first instance, as Laidlaw had intimated to him that he could not meet it when due. Witness, knowing Laidlaw to be a wealthy man, thought this very unlikely, and hence his suspicions—suspicions, he said, which were greatly increased by a circumstance which he begged permission to state to the court. Witness then proceeded to relate the expression used by Mr Wotherspoon on the occasion of his dining with the commercial traveller, which, he said, happening to be in an adjoining apartment, he had overheard.

This witness was followed by Laidlaw, the alleged accepter of the bill, who swore that the signature attached to it was not his handwriting; and, in this assertion, he was supported by other evidence; adding, that he had no knowledge whatever of the prisoner, and had never had any transactions with him.

James Anderson, Wotherspoon's shopman, was next called; and when asked if the bill, which was shown him, was his master's handwriting, answered, that he could not say—that it was certainly very like; thought, however, on the whole, that it was not, but would not swear to this. Asked if he ever saw or knew Lorimer to be employed by his master; said, he did not. Asked, if he meant that he never was employed by him, or merely that such a circumstance did not consist with his knowledge? Answered, that it did not consist with his knowledge; but allowed that Lorimer might have been employed by the prisoner without his knowing it.

A person of the name of Andrew Hislop was next put into the witness-box, who swore that Wotherspoon had told him that he had settled with Lorimer, and that he had given him an indorsed bill, in payment of his account; that he had said, at the same time, that the bill was the acceptance of Laidlaw, and was in payment of an account for goods which the prisoner had furnished him.

James Bryce, stabler and innkeeper, Grassmarket, Edinburgh, in whose house the transaction, which was the subject of investigation, was said to have taken place, next deponed that Lorimer, whom he knew very well, and Mr Wotherspoon, the prisoner at the bar, came to his house on the evening of the 14th September; and that he, being asked to sit down at table with them, saw Mr Wotherspoon indorse over a bill to Mr Lorimer, saying, at the same time, that he believed that would about clear scores between them. This witness's evidence was corroborated by that of his wife, who had been also asked to join the party, she being well acquainted with Lorimer, who used to frequent the house when he resided in Edinburgh.

As these two witnesses were of highly respectable character, their evidence was held by the court to be conclusive against the prisoner. The latter, in his defence by his counsel, admitted that he had been in Edinburgh on the day condescended on by the witnesses who had just been examined, but denied that he had ever been in their house, or knew anything at all about them. Denied that he had ever made use of the language, or anything at all like it, attributed to him by Hislop; denied that he ever had employed Lorimer in any way, or ever was owing him a farthing. Admitted that he had used the expressions attributed to him by Lorimer on the occasion condescended on, and acknowledged their impropriety; but said they were spoken merely in jest, and in a spirit of levity, excited by the wine he had drank.

For the rest, the prisoner had only the general respectability of his character to support him, of which he produced abundant proof to the court, and a simple denial of all that had been alleged against him; but this, of course, was of little avail in the face of the direct and positive evidence of his guilt which had been adduced.

The difficulties, too, in which Wotherspoon was known to be at the time had a powerful influence in strengthening the belief of his guilt; while it was observed that the imprudent language used by the prisoner, when in company with the commercial traveller, and which was detailed by Lorimer, made a singularly strong and unfavourable impression on the court—an impression which was but little affected by the apology for, and explanation of it, that had been given.

In short, no doubt remained on the minds of any one present that Wotherspoon was guilty of the crime charged against him; and the jury, in conformity with their own and the general impression, found the libel proven, without retiring from the box; and the unfortunate man was sentenced to suffer death: his counsel having in vain stated, that, from the steadiness, simplicity, and consistency of all the prisoner's answers to his interrogatories, put to him while in prison, he was all but entirely convinced of his innocence. "There was a mystery in the case," he said, "which he could not solve; but a day of retribution was coming," he added, "when the cause would be tried over again, and before a Judge from whom nothing could be concealed, and on whom no plot, however well contrived, could impose."

Wotherspoon heard the terrible judgment pronounced on him with the utmost composure, and persevered in asserting his innocence, both to his counsel and to those of his friends who subsequently visited him in prison. On these last, his declarations produced various effects. Some of them—those who knew him—believed that he had met with foul play from some quarter or another; and their suspicions fell on Lorimer, whose character was well known to them: but there was nothing in the whole case which could warrant them in openly asserting that he had played the villain.

By others, again, Wotherspoon's declarations of innocence were looked upon as proceeding from the natural shame of crime. They pitied the unhappy man sincerely; but, however high might have been their opinion formerly of his integrity, they had no doubt that the pressure of necessitous circumstances had broken down his principles, and that he was guilty of the forgery. And this last was the opinion generally entertained regarding the convict by the public at large; while the first was the most prevalent in the district from which Wotherspoon came, and where he was, of course, best known.

With regard to Lorimer, the directors of the bank in which the forged bill had been discounted were so pleased with his activity and diligence in detecting and proving the forgery, that they not only forgave him the amount of it—for which he was liable as an indorser—but presented him with a handsome gratuity over and above, on the conviction of the offender.

To return to Wotherspoon. Two or three days after his trial and condemnation, the session closed, and the gentleman, a Mr Moffat, who had been employed as his counsel, went to the country to spend a few days at a friend's residence there. On the first day of his arrival, and within an hour after that occurrence, Mr Moffat was invited by his host to take a stroll in the garden, to see some improvement he was then making on it.

At the moment that Mr Moffat and his friend entered the garden, there were two men employed in delving a piece of ground at a little distance from the gate, one of whom, on perceiving the Edinburgh lawyer, hastily flung down his spade, and ran off. Somewhat surprised at this circumstance, Mr Porteous, Mr Moffat's entertainer, inquired of the fugitive's fellow-workman, who was his principal gardener, what it meant.

The man smiled, and said that he believed he did not care to be seen by that gentleman there, pointing to Mr Moffat.

"By me!—afraid to be seen by me!" said the latter, in astonishment. "What can that mean? What's the man's name?"

"His name is Hislop, sir—Andrew Hislop," replied the gardener. "I believe he was witness in some case before the Court of Justiciary lately."

"Right, right!" said Mr Moffat, already a good deal excited by the occurrence. "I thought I recollected the fellow, even from the momentary glance I had of him. Has he ever made any remark to you regarding that trial?" inquired Moffat.

"Why, nothing more, sir, than saying, that it is an ugly job; and that, if he had not been very firm, perhaps somebody else would have swung in place of Wotherspoon."

"Ay, indeed," exclaimed Mr Moffat, struggling hard to conceal the emotion he felt on this first glimmering of a new light on Wotherspoon's case being thus suddenly and most unexpectedly presented to him, and which was so much in accordance with certain preconceived notions of his own regarding that unfortunate case.

"And just now!" said Mr Moffat, eagerly. "What did he say just now, before he left you? Did he say anything?"

"He said, sir, as I told you before, he did not care to meet with you again, lest you should bother him with questions."

"Very well, very well—that'll do, my man," replied Mr Moffat, who now felt convinced that he had got a clue to the mystery which had puzzled him so much in Wotherspoon's case. "That'll do," he said, at the same time leading away his friend, to whom he related the whole circumstances of the trial, mentioned his suspicions, and begged his co-operation—Mr Porteous being a justice of peace—in securing Hislop. This co-operation was readily conceded; and so effectively and promptly, that in less than two hours Hislop was apprehended, although he had got a good many miles away—for his flight had not been a temporary but a final one; and in less than two hours more he was hard and fast in the Heart of Mid-Lothian.

On the day after his apprehension, Hislop was examined before the sheriff—Mr Moffat, who had gone to town on purpose, being also present—when, either through fear of punishment, which he hoped to avert by his disclosures, or from the impulses of an awakened conscience, he told a tale of villany, which—whether the amazing complexity of its character be considered, the singular dexterity with which it was managed, or the astounding depravity which marked it—will scarcely be found paralleled, it is believed, in the annals of crime.

Hislop deponed, in the first place, that Lorimer, not Wotherspoon, was the actual forger of the bill, and that he had seen him write it. That he, Hislop, hired by Lorimer, had personated Wotherspoon in Bryce's house, on the occasion to which the evidence of that witness and his wife referred; and here Hislop called on Mr Moffat to mark the strong resemblance, both in person and countenance, that existed between himself and Wotherspoon; which, now that his attention was called to it, Mr Moffat perceived to be indeed singularly striking.

The deponent further stated, that Lorimer had promised him £10 for his trouble, but had paid him with five. That Wotherspoon had never used the expressions to him that he had attributed to him, when giving evidence on the trial of the former. Lastly, he declared that Lorimer had frequently said to him, in reference at once to the plot against Wotherspoon, and to Wotherspoon himself, "that he would be revenged on the object of his deadly hatred, and would put fifty pounds in his pocket besides."

On the strength of this deposition, Lorimer was now apprehended, while a respite was obtained for Wotherspoon; and the trial of the former, for the identical crime for which the latter was under sentence of death, soon after followed.

On this trial, the deposition of Hislop was, through the activity of Wotherspoon's counsel, corroborated in every particular, and the whole villany laid bare to open day.

The general result of the evidence against Lorimer showed that he had selected Hislop to be an instrument of his atrocious designs chiefly on account of his remarkable resemblance to Wotherspoon. That, still further to heighten this deception, so as to deceive Bryce and his wife, should they, as he expected they would, be confronted with Wotherspoon—or foreseeing, in short, exactly what had happened with regard to him—he had been at the trouble and expense of procuring for Hislop a wig of exactly the same description with that worn by Wotherspoon, and which was of rather a peculiar make and colour. That he had selected a day for coming to Edinburgh, to execute that part of the plot which was performed in Bryce's house, when he knew that Wotherspoon was also in the city; and thus his villanous design was complete in all its parts, and could only have been discovered through the treachery of Hislop. His assertions were all positive, while Wotherspoon's were necessarily all negative; and it is well known how much easier it is to prove than to disprove; and of this Lorimer had the full advantage in the case of the prosecution of the former.

At the desire of the Lord Advocate, the wig which Mr Wotherspoon wore was placed on Hislop's head in court, the former being also present, when Bryce and his wife were called in, and asked to say which of the two was the Mr Wotherspoon they had seen with Lorimer; when both without hesitation and at once, pointed out Hislop; that difference in look and appearance—for, however like two persons may be, some difference between them there always is—being evident, when they were seen together under the circumstances just mentioned, which was scarcely to be detected when they were seen separately by those who were not previously acquainted with them individually and personally: and thus the most fatal evidence of all that had been adduced against Wotherspoon was in one instant rendered not only innocuous to him, but destructive to his persecutor.

The result of Lorimer's trial will be foreseen by the reader. He was condemned to death, and hanged in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh; while Wotherspoon was dismissed from the bar with an unblemished character, and with the sympathy of the whole court and the public at large, for his unmerited sufferings.

Wotherspoon again became a wealthy man, and saw many happy years afterwards; but often said that he would never again speak of forging bills, as Lorimer had declared, after he was condemned to death, that it was his having overheard his idle, but unguarded language on this subject in the inn, that had suggested to him the plot which had so nearly accomplished his destruction.


THE SURGEON'S TALES.


THE THREE LETTERS.

It is a difficult question how far doctors ought voluntarily to interfere in matters of wills. One-half of our profession advocate the moral necessity and propriety of not only putting their patients in such a state of knowledge as to their bodily condition, as to bring out by inference the prudence of arranging their temporal affairs, but of adding suggestions and recommendations to the effect of inducing them to perform this indispensable duty, before the grim tyrant's advances may render it impossible. The other half smile at their bolder and more philanthropic brethren, as fools who interfere with what lies beyond their province, and limit their statements or advice to those necessary replies which are called for by the questions of the patients themselves. Upon all such points, where the truth is sought for in partibus extremis, much has been said, and will be said; and perhaps a thousand years hence the profession and the public may be as far from any simple designative proposition of the real moral truth of the subjects, as they are at present. The fault lies in men's minds, which, seeking eternally to generalise, lose sight of the grand fact in nature—that, as in botany she defies man in his attempts at a natural classification, so, in moral states and conditions of society, she equally defies him to manufacture verbal rules for the regulation of individuals or masses under all existing circumstances. For my part, I have always avoided these verbose questions; and, though I have practised for many years, I have never experienced any difficulty in so regulating my statements and advices to dying patients, as might best suit their temporal interests of health and wealth, without losing sight of what was due to higher and more sacred feelings and prospects of a world to come. To tell some patients that they are dying would be to commit a species of homicide; to conceal from them the state of their bodies, and their approaching dissolution, may be to be accessory to worldly wrongs, to be felt for generations, and to that condemnation that is to be felt for ever; but between those extremes there ranges a wide field for the workings of prudence, an ample space for the exercise of a noble and manly virtue, and scope enough and to spare for the exhibition of all those elevated feelings of good hearts that add grace and beauty to the possessors, and are displayed for the benefit of our fellow-creatures. No man has so much in his power for the benefit of mankind as a medical practitioner; and proud am I to say, that no man, speaking generally, more seldom loses the opportunity of turning it to the proper account. These observations are called forth by a case that, some time ago, came under my observation, where the hand of a ruling Providence spurned the schemes of weak mortals, and took the regulation of a dying person's affairs out of her hands, in a manner as strange as it is dark and mysterious.

Mrs Germain, a widow lady of fortune, sent her niece, a young woman about twenty-three years of age, to request that I would visit her in my professional capacity. The case, I was told, was not an urgent one, and I might call at any time during the course of the day, as suited my arrangements and leisure. I went, accordingly, in a short time afterwards, and was introduced into a very splendid drawing-room, where I observed an elderly lady, whom I took to be Mrs Germain herself, reclining on a damask-covered couch, with the young person who had waited on me sitting on a footstool by her side. The two individuals were interesting in many respects, even at first sight. There was a singular elegance of taste displayed in the dress, though a dishabille, of the elderly one, which, co-operating with a set of features at one time undoubtedly handsome, and now noble and intellectual, bespoke the lady by birth, and one that had cultivated the art of making the body and the mind reflect on each other mutual beauty and adornment. The young one, whom I had seen before, but under the shade of a jealous veil, was one of those blondines so highly prized in French novel-writing, and seldom seen in our country in the perfection of contrast, of dark piercing eyes and light auburn tresses, so frequently seen in France. She was also very elegantly attired; and the graceful manner in which she reclined, with her left arm on the side of the couch, and her right holding a richly-gilt book, from which she had been reading to her aunt, produced an effect which an artist or a lover would not have been slow to acknowledge. On a nearer approach, I soon detected, in the composed and bland features of the elder, the delicate, yet certain, touch of the finger of some latent, lurking disease; which, by draining the blood from the lips, blanching the lower confines of the temples, and depressing the globes of the eyes, had given a melancholy premonition of serious changes about to be effected in vital parts.

Having been introduced by the niece, who rose and handed me a chair, I sat down by the side of the couch, and received an account of the symptoms which had exhibited themselves to the invalid; from which I learned that she had been ailing for several months, but that no indications of serious disease having been detected by her, she had put off her application for medical advice from day to day, in the hope of getting better. How little did she know that, during all that time, she had been unconsciously, yet progressively, travelling the dark path of death!—how little did she now know, as she lay there, arrayed in the tasteful and costly decorations of the body—her face clothed with the composure of easy indolence and the expression of noble pride, and her soft languid eye lighted up with the hope of a long course of happiness supplied from the resources of wealth—that death was busy with the secret parts of her heart! I understood her complaint at the first description of her symptoms—an aneurism or tumour in the region of the fountain of life, which would burst in an instant, and precipitate her in another moment into eternity.

Her complaint defies all the efforts of our profession, and it is, moreover, one which never can with propriety be explained to a patient, because there are few that have firmness enough to enable them to bear up under the certainty of an instantaneous dissolution, and the uncertainty of the dread moment. I therefore exercised that allowable and humane dissimulation which the searching eyes of patients, or that of friends, render necessary for their freedom and relief from fears that would often kill as certainly as the disease which generates them. This might not have been called for by any vigilance on the part of Mrs Germain to read my face; she felt no apprehension, and put no questions as to what I conceived to be the nature of her complaint. But I saw the dark eyes of the niece fixed upon my countenance with a searching intensity of look and solicitude of expression, which showed that, if she could, she would have read the most secret thoughts of my heart. There was affection deep and pure in that look, and the fear of the bursting asunder of ties more dear to her than her own existence. She continued her gaze silently, but thoughtfully; and the conversation of her aunt, which, notwithstanding her weakness, was spirited and buoyant, touching many indifferent topics lightly, and with the ease and grace of high breeding and fine cultivated fancy, struck her ear without carrying a meaning to her mind. I indulged the confidence of the patient, and witnessed, with feelings which we only can know, the delusive spirit of life flapping his golden-coloured wings round the heart whose citadel was already occupied by the demon of death. Such scenes are familiar to us; but there was something in this different from any I had yet witnessed: and I took my departure with an assumed placidity of look, while the inmost recesses of my spirit were convulsed by the laugh of the patient, and the silent-brooding and fearful-searching eye of that angelic being, whose existence seemed to be wound up in her friend.

Even in desperate cases we must prescribe; and in the evening I sent some medicines of the paregoric and hypnotic kind, with a view, simply—for I could do no more—of relieving a slight pain which occasionally, but at considerable intervals, interfered with her good spirits. I continued my visits, and often witnessed scenes similar to those I described. The patient was gradually approaching the dread issue; and still, at every meeting, that beautiful young woman watched my every look, and searched my heart with those brilliant eyes, that spoke some mysterious language, which even the deepest feelings of friendship for her benefactress would scarcely explain. The patient herself felt no solicitude—she saw no danger. It was clearly otherwise with her niece: but what surprised me was, that this devoted girl only looked her intense feelings; she never asked me if her aunt was in danger. Every glance, every movement, showed that she felt it; but the fear of having her apprehensions confirmed—such, at least, was my construction of her strange conduct—sealed up her lips, and constrained her to a solemn silence.

One day I called, and was shown into an anteroom, until some friend had departed. I heard words in an adjoining closet, and knew the voice of Louisa—for such was the name of the fair creature who had claimed so much interest from me.

"Why will not you, my dearest Louisa?" said the soft voice of a young man. "This is terrible! Think, love, meditate, what will be the dreadful issue! Oh, sweet, angelic being! why were you fated to make me adore you for acting against those wishes I now breathe in your ear? Ask the doctor; tell him the awful secret, that our happiness depends on ten written letters of a name; and he has only to say write, and it is written."

"I have already tried to speak to him, but I cannot. Alfred, I see our danger. My aunt, I fear, is dying. The £20,000 left her by her husband goes to a sordid wretch, his brother, if she dies without a will. There is none on earth she loves but me and Alfred. O beloved Alfred! you alone divide, with that angelic woman, the affection of your Louisa. You are poor; I know it; I have wept for it. I have nothing on this earth. If she die without a will, we are beggars, and her last breath will wail our destiny, and her last tear tell her too late her unavailing sympathy. I know all this. It is my night thought, my day dream, my love's whisper, my Alfred's theme; but, God help me, I cannot break this subject to the doctor; my very heart bounds within my bosom at the thought of raising one slight fear in the breast of that woman to whom I owe all the happiness I have ever experienced upon earth. What, oh, what shall be done, Alfred?"

I heard her sobs burst from her, as she sought for sympathy in the bosom of her lover.

"Louisa, love, lift up your head," he answered. "You are sacrificing both of us to a feeling which that excellent woman herself would pronounce a weakness and a cruelty to both you and her. Think, love, what shall be the thoughts, the agonies, of your aunt, if she finds herself firmly locked in the arms of death, and her hands bound up, by his rigid grasp, from obeying the dictates of a bursting, breaking heart. The thought that Augustus Germain, the man she hates, inherits all her fortune, and that her dear Louisa is left by her a beggar, will drag her parting spirit to the confines of the flesh, and torture it in the body's expiring struggle. You tremble at rousing in her a fear of death, by the mention of the will; and you inflict a thousand agonies, by leaving her unprepared for that death when it comes. Louisa, Louisa, lift up your head, and say if these are not the words of truth."

A silence succeeded these words. The girl was in tears, and her feelings choked her reply.

"I feel that you have spoken truth, Alfred," said she; "yet I cannot do it, I cannot—I will rather be a beggar."

"And you will be a beggar, sweet but deluded girl," rejoined the lover; "and Alfred, who would have died for his Louisa, will be also a beggar, through her weakness. Love is hated by the Fates."

Another pause intervened, of some moments.

"But, Alfred," resumed the sobbing girl, "if—if—oh, I tremble at the word—if my aunt should die without a will, and your Louisa, in place of having twenty thousand pounds, is, as she will be, a beggar—will your love for me, Alfred—ah, I choke—the thought swells my heart——"

"I know it—I know it, Louisa," replied he; "mention it not—it is well that your swelling heart binds up the treacherous word—would not Louisa, with all her aunt's wealth, take Alfred, who has nothing—shall not Alfred, who has nothing, take his Louisa, a beggar? Lovely girl! good, elevated, and noble as you are, I question if you sufficiently appreciate the devotedness of your Alfred. But, Louisa, think again of what I have said. I see you again to-morrow. Oh, how time flies, when I think of your aunt!—how it lags when I think of you! Think—think, ere it be too late."

"I cannot—I cannot," replied she.

There was an embrace; he departed, and the disconsolate Louisa sat and wept bitterly alone.

The servant came and told me that Mrs Germain was now alone. I hastened to her. She was, as usual, on the couch. The disease was gradually progressing, but without making much of external ravage; and her spirits were as good as usual.

"Ha, doctor," she said, briskly, as I went forward, "that was Augustus Germain who now went from me. Know you him? He is the brother of my deceased husband; and now, when I am ailing, though, Heaven be praised, not dying, he has begun to sneak about me, for his own private ends. I have not seen his face these six months. Do you know he is in my power? I can leave the whole fortune I got from his brother past him—to whom I please. Ha! ha!"

"And do you intend, madam, to leave it past him?" replied I, looking in her face gravely.

"Intend!" cried she, with another laugh, which I feared would burst the tumour, and end her life in the instant. "Why, to be sure I do. Louisa Milford shall be my heir, though I had a million for every thousand. That girl, sir, is a jewel beyond the value of all that Golconda could give up from its inmost recesses. She loves Alfred Stanford, a young man as noble in his sentiments, as she is kind, and gentle, and true in her affections; but he is poor, and, praise be to Heaven! I have the means of making them rich and happy."

"And why do you delay this act of kindness and duty," said I, with a look fixed on her eyes, "when you and all others are aware how very brittle a thread life hangs by?"

She looked at me firmly and intently as I pronounced these words, and paused a little, as if she felt some slight shock, which she required to overcome.

"Do you think, sir," replied she, "that I ought not to delay that act?"

"Though you were in perfect health, madam, I should, answer, yes, undoubtedly," said I, with eagerness.

"Then I may as well do it now, when I am only slightly ailing," answered she; recovering, in a moment, from the slight uneasiness I had caused her; "yet, somehow or other, I am so filled with the spirit of life—so young—I mean comparatively—with so many years before me—with such a gay world around me, that I cannot help laughing at making a will. I must put on spectacles, I presume, when I sign it, and look grave and antiquated. Ha! ha! Well, I shall send for old parchment Jenkins in the evening; and, as I would wish you to be present at the execution, I will thank you to make your visit to me in the evening to-morrow. Old Goosequill and you may partake of a glass of my burgundy, vintage '94, on the head of the young widow's settlement."

"I shall attend, madam," said I; "and, if you please, I shall send Mr Jenkins to you just now as I pass."

She eyed me somewhat closely again; but the feeling flew off.

"Do so—do," she replied; and I left her.

As I proceeded out to the main door, I passed the small room where Louisa Milford still sat, with the effect of the extraordinary scene that had taken place between her and the young man called Stanford pressing on her bosom. I stood a moment, and heard distinctly her deep sobs and stifled moans. Her sentiments were beautiful, her conduct noble: she would sacrifice twenty thousand pounds to avoid giving the aunt she loved a moment's uneasiness; and she had resisted the impassioned importunities of a lover, who was suspended between beggary and affluence, and who had adroitly addressed himself to the young heart of love, as well as to the immature judgment of youth. I had no liberty to say one word to her of her aunt's intentions; yet I had for some time resolved to communicate to her the true state of her relative's health, with an injunction to keep the fearful nature of the disease a secret from the patient. I knocked at the door, and was requested to walk in. She was hurriedly occupied in drying up her tears, and removing the signs of grief.

"You have been weeping, Miss Milford," I said; "is it for your aunt?"

"Forbid that I should require to weep for her!" she cried, starting, as if stung with pain. "I cannot bear the idea of that woman being in danger. I have watched your eye daily, and have read in it fearful things; but I will comfort her; she shall never know that there is danger near. I will ward off the sad thought; and oh! sir, for mercy's sake, co-operate with me in my love, while you try to save her from the danger, the thought of which she shall never know!"

The remembrance of what had passed a few minutes before between her and her lover, brought out the full effect of the purity of thought that dictated her impassioned words. I surveyed her for a moment with admiration.

"I did not think my professional eye was so easily read, Miss Milford," I replied. "You have read it correctly. Your aunt cannot live. I have thought it my duty to inform you of this. Her complaint is in the region of the heart, and she will likely die in an instant."

She stood for a moment pale and motionless, as if her heart had suddenly ceased its functions. A slow heaving of the bosom showed the approach of a paroxysm of grief; and I trembled lest the sounds should reach the patient's room. I pointed in the direction silently. She understood me; and the strongest workings of nature were overcome by the strength of her fear to cause pain to her she loved. She struggled against the rising passion, and, turning to me, fell suddenly at my feet, and held up her clasped hands in the direction of my countenance.

"And you will not tell her?" she cried, while struggling sobs impeded her speech; "no, no, pity demands it, and I pray for it—let her live in the hope of life! Say, good sir, for Heaven's sake, that you will conceal it from her, and from all others. None shall know it from me—I will die rather than divulge it. She will thus be happy to the end. She requires no preparation—she is spotless—pure as the child unborn; and as she has lived, so shall she die!"

"It is not my intention to communicate it to her," replied I.

"Ah! thanks, thanks, good sir," she replied, in the same impassioned voice. "Bless you—bless you!"

"But this ignorance, Miss Milford," said I, "prevents a settlement of a patient's worldly affairs."

"If that settlement, in the case of my aunt," replied she, fervently, and turning up her eyes to heaven, "is to be purchased by one moment of pain to her, let Augustus Germain take all."

"Extraordinary sentiment!" muttered I—"extraordinary being!" I left her to her grief, and proceeded to the attorney's house. He was at home, and promised to wait on Mrs Germain that day. He called afterwards, and told me that the will would be ready next evening at seven, when I was requested to attend to witness it, along with him. I attended accordingly. The lady was in her usual state of spirits. She sat up on the couch, arrayed in a superb undress. Miss Milford was not present. I observed her in her own room, as I passed, with Stanford sitting by her, holding one of her hands. The attorney, and one of his clerks, and myself, were the only persons present besides the invalid.

"I am dying to hear a will, Mr Jenkins," said the patient, laughing. "I don't think I ever heard one in my life; for my husband's settlement was a contract of marriage, and I fear there is some difference between the two papers."

Mr Jenkins read the settlement.

"Will you not allow me a glass of wine, doctor?" resumed the invalid, in the same strain. "It may steady my hand. I declare I am as nervous as a young bride."

I poured out a glass of her old burgundy, and gave it to her.

"Here is to my own health first!" said she—"for, you know, I'm an invalid; and, secondly, here is to you all, and may you never be worse than I am until you come to die!"

She took up the pen and began to write her name. I looked over her shoulder. She had written Margaret Germ—and the pen was quivering in her hand. She uttered a scream, and fell back—a corpse. In an instant, Louisa and Stanford rushed into the room.

"Is she dead?" cried the attorney. "The will is not signed. It wants three letters. It is useless."

"She is gone," replied I, "for ever."

Louisa threw herself upon the body of her aunt. Stanford looked on like a statue of marble. The scene was heartrending; for the devoted girl clung with such force to the dead body, that it was with difficulty I could get her detached. The loss of the £20,000 was to her nothing. She did not even hear—at least she understood not the writer, when he cried out that the will wanted three letters, and was void. Her whole soul was occupied with the engrossing idea that her aunt was dead; yet so painful was the thought, that she could not bear to hear the truth, and cried with a loud voice on the dead body to answer her with one word of consolation. All this time, Stanford fixed his eye on the fragment of the name to the will. The three letters were worth a fortune.

"Heavens!" I heard him mutter, "is it so? Are my fears realised, and in this dreadful form? Hope on the very brink of being realised, swallowed by the fell demon of despair!"

Louisa was carried out senseless, and Stanford rushed out of the room like a maniac. The dead body was spread out; the will was rolled up in a scroll; the writer went away; and I sought home with eyes filled with tears.

I afterwards learned that the brother came in as heir. Louisa was, indeed, a beggar; but Stanford married her. They are yet poor, and may remain so for life.


THE GLASS BACK.

I have already laid before the public one well-authenticated case of a false conception of identity, arising from the disease called hypochondria. In that case, as well as in most of the others generally met with, the supposed change of identity that takes place is complete, extending to the whole body, which is imagined to pass into a new form of being, different from man, and often into a piece of matter not imbued with life or motion at all. Of this latter case, by far the best known transmutation is that into some very brittle commodity, such as glass; and this is not to be wondered at, even amidst the darkness of our ignorance of the secret workings of those extraordinary changes which seem to shame even the invention of Ovid; for the idea or fantasy, in that case, is only a peculiar type of the feeling of the nervous apprehension or terror, which is the peculiar pathognomonic symptom of the disease itself. It is not difficult to suppose that, when the heart is filled with fear of personal injury, and yet the eye surveys no cause of danger, the mind itself will supply imaginary causes—and this accordingly we find to be the case; neither does it seem to defy our à priori conceptions, that while imaginary objects of detrimental efficacy shall be conjured up from the depths of a dark fancy, a corresponding notion of peculiar brittleness in the body itself shall be generated, to give plausibility to the pre-existing apprehension of serious evil. Indeed, the two seem to be counterparts of each other; and we have only to proceed a step further, to the species of brittleness or liability to detriment, to come to that extraordinary conception, which almost every doctor of extensive practice has witnessed once or twice in his life—that the body is composed of glass, and therefore in continual danger of being cracked or broken to pieces, from the appulse of objects that are every day impinging upon us without doing us any harm. The frequency of the "glass man" is therefore not a matter of very great wonder to a philosophical mind, after the casual condition of the change is admitted. The case has so often occurred, that it now excites little curiosity; but I question much, if the case of a fancied partial transmutation of the flesh into glass may not, as well from its rarity as its grotesqueness, claim a greater share of interest from the faculty, and from the general reader; and when I state that the instance I have to record was witnessed and studied by myself, with a view to the interests of science—a fact of much importance in all reports of extraordinary conditions of human nature—I need say no more in recommendation of it to the attention of the public.

The unhappy subject of the case was a poor man, called Patrick G——, by trade a tailor—a profession, by the way, which is more productive of hypochondria than any other with which I am acquainted, arising, doubtless, from the sedentary habits of the individuals, combined with their irregular modes of living. I have always noticed a peculiar outré character in the ideas and feelings of people inclined to hypochondria; and those who have been permitted to enter the penetralia of the workshop where the board is covered with these unfortunate beings, will justify the remark, by their experience of the strange sayings, grotesque art, and recondite humour, to be found in the peculiar atmosphere of that temple of taste. I make this allusion, of course, with a scientific view, as elucidating a fine point in psychology, and not in the slightest degree influenced by a love of the mere garbage of the food of an ill-timed curiosity. The peculiarity of thought and feeling, incidental to this class, might easily have been discovered in the individual who was so unfortunate as to require my aid; and all his physical appearances would have justified the anticipation of the peculiarity, before he opened his mouth. His complexion was so decidedly what we call saturnine, that it approached to the colour of green. He was at all times excessively irritable, so much so that he was often attacked with spasmodic affections; and at these times he was so easily acted upon by slight and trifling external causes, that his wife, a very sober and decent woman, required to observe the greatest caution in conducting those affairs of her domestic establishment which interfered with either his mind or body. If he was not in this state of irritability, he was sure to be under the power of an extreme rigidity of solids, and torpor of the nervous system, accompanied by their usual concomitant of melancholy, which suggested even a bizarrerie of thought quite different from that of ordinary men. I thought the seat of his disease was the spleen, in consequence of finding an enlargement of that organ; but I afterwards came to be satisfied that his liver, too, was deranged—an opinion very well justified by what afterwards befel him.

The symptoms I have mentioned continued in the man for a period of a year and a-half; but an aggravation of them became soon thereafter apparent, in a very marked increase of his melancholy, accompanied by a shaking nervousness on being approached by any heavy article, subject to movement. When forced out by his wife for the benefit of his health, he kept the side of the wall, shook at the risk of a jostle, as if a push or drive would have killed him, and ran into closes and avenues, to be out of the reach of carriages that were steadily keeping the middle of the high-road. I have observed these symptoms (to us well known) in very aggravated diseases of the stomach, without very marked derangement of the neighbouring organs; and calmed the fears of his wife, by stating that they would probably abate, as the medicines I gave him (chiefly tonics) began to operate upon his system. I had, notwithstanding, my fears that a deeper type of hypochondria was on the eve of exhibiting itself—an opinion formed chiefly from the study of his eye, which was getting daily heavier and gloomier, more turned to the angle of the orbit, and filled with morbid terror, on the approach of any moving thing, however innocuous. To test further the truth of my deduction, I gave him a gentle push aside, and observed that he shrank as if he had been stung by an adder, retreating back from me, and eyeing me with suspicion and dread, as if I had been about to kill him. He was now, I suspected, on the eve of falling into one of two positions, depending upon the temperament of his mind. He would either (as happens with people of an imaginative turn) create fanciful objects of fear that might do him bodily injury, retaining his conception of personal identity unimpaired, or he would pass into the false conviction of being made of some tender substance, capable of being injured by the approach of external objects, but retaining otherwise his conceptions of external things entire—a result more common to minds of a sedate, phlegmatic kind.

My fears turned out too true. The next time I visited him, I was met by his wife in the passage, who said she wished to speak a few words to me before I entered. She whispered that she feared her husband had entirely lost his senses—for that, on the day previous, he had gone to bed, where he had lain ever since in the same position—on his face; and yet, so far as she could ascertain, there was nothing the matter with his back. When she asked him why he lay in that extraordinary position, he turned up a piteous eye in her face, and replied, with a sigh that came from the deepest part of his chest, that she would know that soon enough, requesting her, for the sake of Heaven's mercy and a wife's love, not to touch him, and to keep the bedclothes as light upon him as it was ever, ever in her power to do. I could not, even by the power of anticipation, derived from an ample experience of diseases of this sort, divine the peculiarity of this patient's complaint; but I was soon to have sufficient evidence to unravel the mystery.

On going forward to him, I observed that he was carefully laid on his face, with just so much of his left eye exposed as to serve for a watch over his body, and exhibit the apprehension which filled his soul, and engrossed every other feeling.

"Why in this position?" said I. "The back is the resting-place of patients. Turn, and you will experience the truth of what I say."

"Turn!—oh, that I could!" said he; "but, alas, alas! I dare not; I dare not." And he accompanied his words with a peculiar nervous glance, indicating great uneasiness and fear.

"Why?" rejoined I.

"Ah, sir," he cried, in a choking voice, "I must keep this side uppermost. Glass is brittle, very brittle. I dare not turn; the crash—ay, sir, the crash—would be tremendous. I would be in a hundred pieces in a moment. Dreadful thought!—Do not touch me, for Heaven's sake! approach me not. It is brittle, brittle—ah, very, very brittle!"

These words he accompanied with the same glance of intense fear. I saw at once where the secret lay; but the poor wife stared with glaring eyes, as if she had seen a spectre. She understood nothing; but she watched her husband's eye, and she had never seen there such a wild light before. Argument in such cases is altogether hors d'œuvre, or rather it does much injury, and my course lay in a direction entirely opposite. I had first the precise vitreous locality to discover, which could be done only by an expression of belief of his extraordinary condition.

"Calm yourself," said I; "we will deal with you quietly. Which is the dangerous part?"

I laid my hand between his shoulders, and the bedclothes shook with the tremor of his limbs.

"I never can sit more upon this earth,"[1] he cried, and then paused and sighed. "My occupation's gone," he continued, in the same trembling, choking voice. "Merciful powers, what is to become of one of my profession, if he cannot sit without a crash? Do I not make my bread sitting? and yet, sir, I put it to you—I put it to you who know the strength of a window pane—how can I sit? how can I ever earn a livelihood for that weeping wife? Terrible! terrible!"

His wife, still at a loss for an explanation, looked into my face, where she saw the gravity of a philosophic doctor contemplating one of the miseries of his fellow-creatures, and, besides, interested scientifically in the case before me—one of partial vitrification, where the seat of the fancied transmutation was curiously connected with the prior habits of the individual. The case was serious; and, though I did not wish, by an expression of my real apprehensions, to frighten the poor woman, I could not belie my feelings, by assuming any appearance of carelessness, far less of levity, which I did not in sincerity feel. I could do nothing for the invalid in the position in which he now was, and left him, to consider what plan I should fall upon to dispossess him of this false belief, which, with all the determination and perversity of his complaint, had taken a firm hold of his mind.

Next morning, the patient's wife called upon me, and stated that she had got alarmed at the state of her husband, in consequence of his extraordinary conduct when she endeavoured to get his couch spread up for their night's repose. On taking hold of him, though she did it in the gentlest manner possible, with a view to assist him out of the bed, he screamed out that she was breaking him to fragments, with such vociferation that the neighbours flocked in, to ascertain what was the cause. She could give no proper explanation; for, although she had already got some insight into the nature of the disease, she felt ashamed to exhibit the weakness of her husband; but he, who felt no delicacy on the subject, accused her, with tears in his eyes, of an intention to break him into pieces; called her a cruel woman, and appealed to several of those present whether it was reasonable to suppose that a person who had a part of his body made of glass could be safely handled in the rough manner in which the careless and temerarious woman had begun to touch and move him from the only safe position he could ever enjoy on earth. The poor woman wept as she told me that his speech was received by the neighbours with a loud laugh. I sympathised with her, and told her, with much grave and real sincerity, that I would do everything I could for her husband; and in the meantime recommended her again to try to get him out of bed by the hour of twelve, when I would call and see him, and try some remedy for him.

I called accordingly, but found that the wife's efforts had proved unavailing; he was still in bed on his face, and murmuring strong and bitter reproaches against his helpmate, whom he eyed with an expression of mixed anger and terror.

"Is it not horrible, sir," he vociferated, "that a woman should attempt to take the life of her husband? Say, as a Christian and a man, if I ought not to be handled in a manner suitable to the nature of the substance of which a part of my body is composed? Heavens! 'tis dreadful to be damaged irretrievably by the hands of one who should treat me more softly than others. Ha! my queen, you wish to get quit of me!—but I shall guard the vital and brittle parts from your evil intention. My hands and arms are still of flesh and blood."

I tried to convince him that his wife had no evil intention towards him; but he continued to throw at her wild glances, in which there was apparent, however, much more terror than anger. I tried him on the question of rising; but he fixed his eye upon my face with a piteous expression, and said, in a calm, serious tone—

"Would you, sir, rise if you were in my position, with the danger staring you in the face of being crushed or broken by the first hard substance you came against. What would be my consolation in having the most important part of the body—at least to men of my profession—picked up in fragments, and laid in my coffin?"

"Better run the risk of being damaged," said I, seriously, "than starve in your bed. Your wife says you have work lying to do, and that there is no money in the house."

This statement produced a strong effect upon him. He shook between the horns of the dilemma in which he was placed, and threw a look at me, which said plainly, "Is not my situation horrible and heartrending?" But I retained the sternness of my expression, and yielded him no sympathy where I felt it to be my duty to use severity. I thought it better to leave him in this mood, and took my leave. I had made the statement regarding the necessity of working, at random, and was very well pleased to have it confirmed by Mrs G——, who followed me to the door, and told me that she was, indeed, in great perplexity, in consequence of a large order for mournings having come in that morning, and the two apprentices could do absolutely nothing to it. The case was one of domestic calamity, which I could do little to ameliorate, beyond giving another recommendation to her to strain every effort to get him up.

Something occurred to prevent me calling next day; but on the next day after I waited upon my unhappy patient. The bed was empty. I looked round, and saw no one in the apartment. I was surprised, and dreaded some additional misfortune; but Mrs G——, who came out of the small room in which her husband wrought, stepped cautiously up to me, and whispered in my ear, that he had that morning got up, with the determination to commence work; but that he was still under the same delusion. "Come here," she added, retreating softly to the workshop. I followed her; and, at her desire, directed my eye through a small opening by the side of the door, which was partially open. A most extraordinary sight was exhibited to me. Two apprentices were sitting on a board, working fiercely at the mournings, and holding their heads down, as I thought, to prevent their cruel laughter from being seen by their unfortunate master, who was clearly the cause of their ill-timed and mischievous merriment. At a little distance from them, with his back turned to the wall, was my pale and emaciated patient, busy sewing—on his feet!

"Is not that a dreadful sight, sir?" whispered Mrs G—— in my ear, with a woful countenance. "He has stood in that awful position since six o'clock this morning. He can come no speed; and see you how his apprentices are biting their lips, and holding down their heads to conceal their merriment?"

I was too much occupied studying the motions and appearance of the invalid, to reply to the statement of his wife. He was standing in such a situation that no one could get behind him. There was a deep melancholy over his countenance, which was grotesquely relieved by the nervous light of his grey twinkling eye, as he lifted it at times from the piece of cloth he was busy with, and threw it fearfully in the direction of the apprentices, as if he watched their motions. It was clear that he laboured under an apprehension that some effort would be made to get him to sit, and that he was, mordicus, determined that he would not be broken and immolated in that way—from all which I was satisfied that his wife, or some other person, had been already that day making some attempt upon him to get him to sit down, and thus roused him to the state in which I now saw him. He looked as if he felt the truth of the motto, nusquam tuta fides. He had faith in none, and was on the quick watch to guard and save himself. The sight was undoubtedly an interesting one, in more respects than as a scientific study of one strange phase of human nature; but the only feature in it that surprised me was, that the patient was working with so much ardour—because lethargy, with a total prostration of spirit, is the prevailing symptom of the disease. I could only account for this anomaly, by supposing that the old excitement of a job of mournings had, for a time, overcome the depressing energies of his complaint.

I had meditated a curative process to be applied when he got out of bed; but he was now evidently too much on the quick alert from his alarm, for its application at that time—his studied proximity to the wall excluding all hope of getting behind him; and I augured, besides, some relief from his application to business. I therefore told Mrs G—— that it would be improper to rouse his fears farther by any unsuccessful attempt at dislodging, from his addled brain, his false belief, and that I would call next day, when his confidence in those around him might, in some measure, be restored.

On my calling next day at the same hour, Mrs G—— informed me that he had continued working on his feet for the greater part of the preceding day—turned himself fearfully round when he required to move, so as to keep the supposed brittle region out of the reach of all danger; when he retired to bed, he had laid himself on his face; and he was again working assiduously, in a standing position, in the same way as when I saw him last. I again applied myself to the opening, and satisfied myself that the statement I had received was correct. The scene presented all the extraordinary features—the same standing position, cadaverous face, and nervous watchful eye, in the patient, and the same look of mystery, wonder, and repressed risibility on the part of the apprentices. I opened the door, and entered, requesting Mrs G—— to bring me a chair, on which I sat down right opposite to the patient, who, almost simultaneously with these movements, retreated back, and, coming in contact with the wall of the room, uttered a sudden scream of fear, and again resumed his position. His wife looked at him with pity and affection; but the rebellious apprentices broke forth into a cachinnation, which I instantly repressed by a look, which conveyed a serious reproof, as sincere as it was strong and stern. I proceeded to endeavour to acquire his confidence; but he exhibited great shyness, and kept up a studied system of eyeing me askant, placing his back as near to the wall as he thought consistent with his safety, and keeping a sharp look-out for intruders in that direction. To my inquiry how he felt, he replied, peevishly, that he was so utterly beyond the powers of medicine, that he did not see the use of my visits.

"Heaven help me!" he ejaculated; "I am safe nowhere but in my bed. No necessity will draw me from it, if I'm once there again. My ungrateful wife may starve. I will turn off these rebellious, unfeeling scoundrels. I am sure rounded by enemies, murderers, who would laugh if they saw me cracked in a thousand pieces. They gloat on my screams, as they take every opportunity to pass behind me and jostle me. Better be dashed at once like a potsherd among stones, than exposed to this horrible state of eternal apprehension."

"You nourish vain fears," replied I. "Why not try to sit and compose yourself?"

"Ha! ha! ha!" he cried, with a shrill, sardonic movement of his lungs—"sit on a glass globe!—ha! ha!—all enemies together—murderers all. It is not three hours yet since that woman placed a chair for me, and one of these unfeeling ruffians asked me, with a sneaking, whining sympathy, to take my place on the board, while his ears were tingling for the crash. I'll swear a lawburrows against you all—every mother's son of you."

"You may at least try to sit," said I, calmly rising from the chair—a movement that operated upon him like magnetism—making him throw down the cloth he held in his hand, recoil still farther back, and scream again, loud and shrill.

I made a step forwards to him, which roused his fears still higher; for he was clearly possessed with the idea that I was to force him to sit, or to press him against the wall, and thus shatter him to pieces. The one mode of destruction was just as fearful as the other; and, as I took another step nearer him, he raised a yell that made the whole house ring, and, changing his position, with his back still to the wall, he glided swiftly aside, and seemed, by the furtive glance of his terrorstruck eye, to wish to make for the door—which, however, was guarded by his wife. By this time the two young men had started to their feet, so that he was surrounded by foes on every side; and as the utter desperation of his case thus seemed to increase, he became more and more terrified, repeating his screams at shorter intervals, and placing himself with a caution which, in his excited state, had a strange appearance, closer and closer to the wall. The sight was a grievous one to his wife, and far from an agreeable one to myself; but the apprentices—probably from a spirit of retaliation roused by a memory of former inflictions—enjoyed it with a cruel delight. Having thus far roused his terror, I thought it prudent not to stop short in an operation which, at whatever time performed, must necessarily be attended with all the pain he now suffered; and, throwing out a signal to one of the young men to stand by the chair, and to the other to come to my side, I made boldly towards him, and, notwithstanding of his heartrending screams and looks for pity, seized him by one arm, while the other was willingly laid hold of by my assistant.

At this period of the operation, I was rather importunately addressed by Mrs G——, whose feelings—for she was an irritable creature, and distractedly fond of her husband—overcame her.

"For heaven's sake, let him alone!" she cried. "The neighbours will think we are in reality murdering him. His screams go to my heart, and I cannot stand these wild looks. Heaven pity my unfortunate husband!"

"I am only performing my professional duty," I replied, loudly, to make myself heard in the midst of his screams. "You called me to him; and, if you really wish it, I will leave him to his fate. No man of his profession can do any good in the world by working on his legs. The disease is deep-rooted, and can only be overcome by strong remedies. I think I will cure him; and, if you stop us in the operation, the consequences will be entirely attributable to yourself."

I spoke at this length with the view, purposely, of keeping the patient for some time in the high state of terror to which he was roused; because I was satisfied that, in proportion to the height of his apprehension, was the chance of benefit to result from my expedient for curing him. The woman saw the affair in its proper light; and, though still greatly moved by his screams and pitiful looks, she forbore further entreaty or interference. The apprentices, meanwhile, were all alive and ready for action, expressing by their eloquent leers, which I could not repress, their pleasure in thus having an opportunity—such is human nature—of repaying their taskmaster for his severity, as well as of witnessing one of the most curious operations they had ever heard of. All this time the patient continued his screams—having, at intervals, recourse to exclamatory expostulation.

"Cruel fiends!" he cried, "will you dash me to pieces? Will nothing less serve you than to see a poor harmless being, who never injured one of you, reduced to atoms? And you, too, hard-hearted wretch, whose duty it is to protect me, stand there a witness of my destruction! Unheard-of misery, to have the tenement of an immortal soul reduced to particles no bigger than a farthing!"

We proceeded to drag him forwards, in spite of a resistance strengthened by the energy of terror and despair, and heedless of his cries of "Save me, save me! Death, death in any form but being dashed to shivers!" Having brought him to the chair, the back of which was held firmly by the other apprentice, we turned him round so as to make the bottom of it (composed of hard wood) as fair a mark as our eyes could judge. He was now, as he thought, on the brink of utter extermination; and I was afraid that the terror might have the effect on him which I have noticed in criminals at the moment when the fatal drop is to fall, and, by inducing a fit of syncope, destroy all our labours. It was, however, otherwise, though I never saw a patient on the eve of undergoing the amputation of a limb in such a condition of terror and agony. We were bound to disregard all this; and, having made my assistant understand that it was necessary to lift him (for a simple seating, without a fall, I was satisfied, would do no good), we raised him a foot or two, by the application of considerable strength, and let him down upon the bottom of the chair, with a crash. A louder scream than he had yet uttered announced his fancied death-blow.

"I am murdered! it is all over now!" he ejaculated, with a gasp, while his hands were busy groping about, to feel the pieces of broken glass, which must necessarily be scattered in every direction.

This operation, on his part, I wished to encourage, and liberated his arms, to give him greater scope, while we continued to hold him firmly down on the chair, till we satisfied him that he had received, and could receive, no injury, from pressing upon it with all the weight of his attenuated and sickly body. His groping was accompanied by a trembling that shook all his system; and I saw his terrorstruck eye wavering on the pivot of doubt, whether it might be inclined downwards to witness the wreck of his shivered body. Deep, convulsive sobs, the result of the restrained breath, broke from him in strange sounds, mixed with the groans of one who thought himself in the firm grasp of death. At length he ventured to add the testimony of his eyes to that of his hands; and, when he found that there were no pieces of glass lying about the chair and floor, he turned up the panicstruck orbs in my face, with an expression of mixed wonder and terror, that, to any one but myself, acting in a serious medical capacity, would have appeared ludicrous to an extent infringing upon the diaphragm. As we held him firmly down, in spite of his efforts to bound up, the false conviction, so firmly fixed in his brain, was apparently suffering a silent process of qualification; and the difficulty of reconciling the belief within with the actual state of safety without, was drawing him to the favourable condition of doubt, from which we might augur benefit. As the old conviction rose, at intervals, more strongly on him, his hands were again busy to ascertain the actual state of safety of his body; then his eye sought my face for an assurance in favour of the evidence of touch, and he was for a moment reconciled; again the false conception seized him, again he groped, and felt, and looked, and thus was he precipitated into a state of perplexity, from which he could not get himself disentangled, but from which he might ultimately, as I hoped, rise into a natural belief.

"Where are your smashed glass organs now?" said I. He could reply nothing, but turned up his eye, filled with wonder and doubt, in my face. "You have been labouring under a wretched delusion of the mind. There's no more glass about you than there is about me—and that is my watch-glass. Are you satisfied?"

"Heaven help me! I know not," he replied, in a melancholy tone. "I am perplexed. I cannot conceive why I'm not broken. How is it possible I could have stood the shock? Strange!—wonderful!" And he seemed for a moment lost in the mist of a confused amazement. This was his medicine, and we allowed it to work, by still holding him firm in his position. "It cannot be!" he ejaculated, quickly, as he emerged from his dream of wonder. "It is impossible! I am damaged! Let me up! let me up! and you will see the melancholy wreck."

This request was a fair one, and we removed our restraining hands. In a moment he started up, with a bound, to his feet, casting a fearful look on the bottom of the chair, and clasping the supposed brittle region with his hands, to ascertain whether he was in reality uninjured. The laugh of the apprentices, which I had hitherto restrained by my serious looks, now burst forth, in spite of all their efforts; and, averse as I am to such exhibitions of levity in cases of serious ailments, I could not help now looking upon this powerful ridicule as a necessary and salutary ingredient of the medicine administered to him.

"You are all safe, sir," said I; "not one jot of you injured. I hope to hear no more of your glass. Next time I call, I expect to see you seated at your work, as becomes the decorum of your profession."

I now left him; but I was by no means satisfied that he would not pertinaciously account for his being uninjured, by a recourse to some fallacious reason—such as the strength of the glass—to satisfy his prior conviction; for, before I departed, I saw that his look was as furtive and nervous as before, and his old partiality for the wall was strong within him. My anticipations were too well founded; for I ascertained, next morning, that he was not cured. He had given up work, and betaken himself to bed, where he had gradually relapsed into his old belief—accounting for his entireness by the strength alone of the crystal. I told the woman to call again, and tell me when he ventured up, and I would essay another experiment, which might turn out more successful. Three days passed before I received the announcement that he had again betaken himself to work on his legs. I lost no time in getting two assistants who could work better to my plan than my former coadjutors, and went to the house. It was the dinner-hour of his apprentices, and I had arrived in the opportune moment when the door, which had been bolted all day, to keep me and others out, was still open, after the exit of the workmen. I went, with the assistants, straight in upon him, and got a chair handed to me, precisely as on the former occasion. I soon saw that he was still under the influence of the delusive fiend that had usurped the seat of reason.

"I am determined," said I, resolutely, "to break this brittle appendage. I have made my calculations, and am satisfied that I can smash it and remove it without injury to the vital organs that lie within it. It is, I am satisfied, a mere glass covering, without the slightest connection, in an organic view, with the parts beyond it. Fear not when you hear the crash; for I pledge myself you will thank me for the operation after it is performed."

"No, no!" he vociferated, with screams; "I shall die, inevitably perish, if it is broken. You may as well break my head to pieces with an axe, and say that, because my heart will remain untouched, I will live. Oh, for the love of Heaven, have mercy on me!"

His screams and exclamations produced no effect upon us. We proceeded to take off a part of his garments, and led him, in spite of the most determined and tortuous struggles, to the chair.

"We must break it thoroughly," said I. "Lift him up as high as possible."

My assistant obeyed my directions; and, having raised him as high as our strength would permit, we brought him down with a hard crash, as formerly on the chair, at the very moment that my other assistant dashed, with great force, on the floor a large globular glass bottle, which he had, by my desire, brought with him for the purpose. The crash was tremendous, and rang in the victim's ear like a death-knell.

"Pick me up—pick me up!" cried the patient. "I'm all in atoms. You would not believe me once that I was made in these parts of glass. Ah, you see now the melancholy evidence of the fact!"

We held him steady, and he rolled his eyes from side to side, surveying the broken fragments of his vitrified substance with symptoms of horror. I noticed the hair on his head rise and stand as stiff as porcupine quills, and all his body was shaken by tremors that seemed to reach his heart. After allowing the conviction that the appendage was absolutely broken to take proper root in his mind—

"You are cured," said I. "The glass lies about you, and your body is entire. I was right in my diagnosis. It is proved; the glass was a mere covering—a species of fourth skin over the epidermis; and, being gone, the natural body is freed from the encumbrance. Rise and judge for yourself."

These words, with the slow progress of his own mental workings, and, above all, the sound and sight of the glass, wrought wonders. He rose deliberately from his seat—examined himself—looked around him—turned and re-turned—looked at me and my assistants—at his wife, who had come in wondering at the noise and strange appearance of the glass—and at the broken evidence, at once of his disorder and his cure.

"This is most wonderful!" he at last ejaculated. "Margaret, woman, look at that! Where is your scepticism now, your laughs, and your jeers, and your vain efforts to shake my belief? This may teach you sobriety of thought, and inspire you with confidence in my opinions. I was never deceived in my life. Man never found me wrong: and here is my last victory over the foolish prejudices of all my neighbours."

Saying this, he took a part of the glass, and turned it round in his hand.

"Perfect, pure, brittle glass," he continued. "A pier-glass might have been made of it."

"I would rather say a convex mirror, Mr G——," said I, laughing, contrary to my professional gravity.

"But, doctor," said he, "why were you so hard of belief? It was long ere you would believe me. I have conquered you too; but, I must confess, you have conquered my disease."

"Yes; I have mastered it at last," said I; "it will never trouble you again. Would you have the goodness to allow me to take a part of the fragments home with me, to put in my museum."

"Most certainly," he replied; "but it's natural that I should have the liberty of retaining a considerable part, to evidence for my sincerity, and to exhibit as a great natural curiosity to the world."

This matter was easily arranged. The patient mended from that day. The joy of the relief he had experienced shot its rays through his heart and system, quickened his blood, and roused his lethargic nerves. His daydreams vanished, and his nervous fears were replaced by a healthy, firm confidence. He was, last time I saw him, a very healthy person, saw through the glass clearly, and laughed heartily at my ingenuity in overcoming his complaint.


WE'LL HAVE ANOTHER.

When the glass, the laugh, and the social "crack" go round the convivial table, there are few who may not have heard the words, "We'll have another!" It is an oft-repeated phrase, and it seems a simple one; yet, simple as it appears, it has a magical and fatal influence. The lover of sociality yieldeth to the friendly temptation it conveys, nor dreameth that it is a whisper from which scandal catcheth its thousand echoes—that it is a phrase which has blasted reputation—withered affection's heart—darkened the fairest prospects—ruined credit—conducted to the prison-house, and led to the grave. When our readers again hear the words, let them think of our present story.

Adam Brown was the eldest son of a poor widow, who kept a small shop in a village near the banks of the Teviot. From infancy, Adam was a mild, retiring boy, and he was seldom seen to join in the sports of his schoolmates. On the winter evenings, he would sit poring over a book by the fire, while his mother would say, "Dinna stir up the fire, bairn; ye dinna mind that coals are dear; and I'm sure ye'll hurt yoursel wi' pore, porin owre yer books—for they're never oot o' yor hand." In the summer, too, Adam would steal away from the noise of the village to some favourite shady nook by the river-side; and there, on the gowany brae, he would, with a standard author in his hand, "crack wi' kings," or "hold high converse with the mighty dead." He was about thirteen when his father died; and the Rev. Mr Douglas, the minister of the parish, visiting the afflicted widow, she said, "She had had a sair bereavement; yet she had reason to be thankfu that she had ae comfort left, for her poor Adam was a great consolation to her; every nicht he had read a chapter to his younger brothers; and oh, sir," she added, "it wad mak your heart melt to have heard my bairn pray for his widowed mother." Mr Douglas became interested in the boy, and finding him apt to learn, he placed him for another year at the parish school, at his own expense. Adam's progress was all that his patron could desire. He became a frequent visiter at the manse, and was allowed the use of the minister's library. Mr Douglas had a daughter, who was nearly of the same age as his young protegé. Mary Douglas was not what could be called beautiful, but she was a gentle and interesting girl. She and Adam read and studied together. She delighted in a flower-garden, and he was wont to dress it; and he would often wander miles, and consider himself happy when he obtained a strange root to plant in it.

Adam was now sixteen. It was his misfortune, as it has been the ruin of many, to be without an aim. His mother declared that she was at a loss what to make him; "but," added she, "he is a guid scholar, that is ae thing—and Can Do is easy carried about." Mr Douglas himself became anxious about Adam's prospects: he evinced a dislike to be apprenticed to any mechanical profession, and he was too old to remain longer a burden upon his mother. At the suggestion of Mr Douglas, therefore, when about seventeen, he opened a school in a neighbouring village. Some said that he was too young; others that he was too simple—that he allowed the children to have all their own way; and a few even hinted that he went too much back and forward to the manse in the adjoining parish, to pay attention to his school. However these things might be, certain it is the school did not succeed; and, after struggling with it for two years, he resolved to try his fortune in London.

He was to sail from Leith, and his trunk had been sent to Hawick to be forwarded by the carrier. Adam was to leave his mother's house early on the following morning; and on the evening preceding his departure he paid his farewell visit to the manse. Mr Douglas received him with his wonted kindness; he gave him one or two letters of recommendation, and much wholesome advice, although the good man was nearly as ignorant of what is called the world as the youth who was about to enter it. Adam sat long, and said little; for his heart was full, and his spirit heavy. He had never said to Mary Douglas, in plain words, that he loved her—he had never dared to do so; and he now sat with his eyes anxiously bent upon her, trembling to bid her farewell. She too was silent. At length he rose to depart; he held out his hand to Mr Douglas; the latter shook it affectionately, adding, "Farewell, Adam! May Heaven protect you against the numerous temptations of the great city!" He turned towards Mary—he hesitated—his hands dropped by his side. "Could I speak wi' you a moment?" said he, and his tongue faltered as he spoke. With a tear glistening in her eyes, she looked towards her father, who nodded his consent, and she arose and accompanied Adam to the door. They walked towards the flower-garden—he had taken her hand in his—he pressed it, but he spoke not, and she offered not to withdraw it. He seemed struggling to speak; and at length, in a tone of earnest fondness—and he shook as he spoke—he said, "Will you not forget me, Mary?"

A half-smothered sob was her reply, and a tear fell on his hand.

"Say you will not," he added, yet more earnestly.

"O Adam!" returned she, "how can you say forget!—Never—never!"

"Enough—enough!" he continued, and they wept together.

It was scarce daybreak when Adam rose to take his departure, and to bid his mother and his brethren farewell. "Oh!" exclaimed she, as she placed his breakfast before him, "is this the last meal that my bairn's to eat in my house?" He ate but little; and she continued, weeping as she spoke, "Eat, hinny, eat; ye have a lang road before ye. And, O Adam! aboon everything earthly, mind that ye write to me every week; never think o' the postage—for, though it should tak my last farthing, I maun hear frae ye."

He took his staff in his hand, and prepared to depart. He embraced his younger brothers, and tears were their only and mutual adieu. His parent sobbed aloud. "Fareweel, mother!" said he, in a voice half-choked with anguish—"fareweel!"

"God bless my bairn!" she exclaimed, wringing his hand, and she leaned her head upon his shoulder, and wept as though her heart would burst. In agony, he tore himself from her embrace, and hurried from the house; and during the first miles of his journey, at every rising ground, he turned anxiously round, to obtain another lingering look of the place of his nativity; and, in the fulness and bitterness of his feelings, he pronounced the names of his mother, and his brethren, and of Mary Douglas, in the same breath.

We need not describe his passage to London, nor tell how he stood gazing wonderstruck, like a graven image of amazement, as the vessel winded up the Thames, through the long forests of masts, from which waved the flags of every nation.

It was about mid-day, early in the month of April, when the smack drew up off Hermitage Stairs, and Adam was aroused from his reverie of astonishment, by a waterman who had come upon deck, and who, pulling him by the buttonhole, said, "Boat, master? boat!" Adam did not exactly understand the question, but, seeing the other passengers getting their luggage into the boats, he followed their example. On landing, he was surrounded by a group of porters, several of whom took hold of his trunk, all inquiring, at the same moment, where he wished it taken to. This was a question he could not answer. It was one he had never thought of before. He looked confused, and replied, "I watna."

"Watna!" said one of the Cockney burden-bearers—"Watna!—there an't such a street in all London."

Adam was in the midst of London, and he knew not a living soul among its million of inhabitants. He knew not where to go; but, recollecting that one of the gentlemen to whom Mr Douglas had recommended him was a Mr Davison, a merchant in Cornhill, he inquired—

"Does ony o' ye ken a Mr Davison, a merchant in Cornhill?"

"Vy, I can't say as how I know him," replied a porter; "but, if you wish your luggage taken there, I will find him for you in a twinkling."

"And what wad ye be asking to carry the bit box there?" said Adam, in a moment betokening an equal proportion of simplicity and caution.

"Hasking?" replied the other—"vy, I'm blessed if you get any one to carry it for less than four shillings."

"I canna afford four shillings," said Adam; "and I'll be obleeged to ye if ye'll gie me a lift on to my shouther wi't, and I'll carry it mysel."

They uttered some low jests against his country, and left him to get his trunk upon his shoulders as he best might. Adam said truly that he could not afford four shillings; for, after paying his passage, he had not thirty shillings left in the world.

It is time, however, that we should describe Adam more particularly to our readers. He was dressed in a coarse grey coat; with trousers of the same colour, a striped waistcoat; a half-worn broad-brimmed hat, and thick shoes, studded with nails, which clattered as he went. Thus arrayed, and with his trunk upon his shoulders, Adam went tramping and clattering along East Smithfield, over Tower-hill, and along the Minories, inquiring at every turning—"If any one could direct him to Mr Davison's, the merchant in Cornhill?" There was many a laugh, and many a joke, at poor Adam's expense, as he went trudging along, and more than once the trunk fell to the ground, as he came in contact with the crowds who were hurrying past him. He had been directed out of his way; but at length he arrived at the place he sought. He placed his burden on the ground—he rang the bell—and again and again he rang, but no one answered. His letter was addressed to Mr Davison's counting-house—it was past business hours, and the office was locked up for the day. Adam was now tired, disappointed, and perplexed. He wist not what to do. He informed several "decent-looking people," as he said, "that he was a stranger, and he would be obleeged to them if they could recommend him to a lodging." He was shown several, but the rent per week terrified Adam. He was sinking under his burden, when, near the corner of Newgate Street, he inquired of an old Irish orange-woman, if "she could inform him where he would be likely to obtain a lodging at the rate of eighteen-pence or two shillings a-week?

"Sure, and it's I who can, jewel," replied she; "and an iligant room it is, with a bed his Holiness might rest his blessed bones on, and never a one slapes in it at all but my own boy Barney; and, barring when Barney's in dhrink—and that's not above twice a-week—you'll make mighty plaisant sort of company together."

Adam was glad to have the prospect of a resting-place of any sort before him at last, and with a lighter heart and a freer step he followed the old orange-woman. She conducted him to Green Dragon Court, and desiring him to follow her up a long, dark, dirty stair, ushered him into a small, miserable-looking garret, dimly lighted by a broken skylight, while the entire furniture consisted of four wooden posts without curtains, which she termed a bed, a mutilated chair, and a low wooden stool. "Now, darlint," said she, observing Adam fatigued, "here is a room fit for a prince; and sure you won't be thinking half-a-crown too much for it?"

"Weel," said Adam, for he was ready to lie down anywhere, "we'll no quarrel about a sixpence."

The orange-woman left him, having vainly recommended him "to christen his new tenement with a drop of the cratur." Adam threw himself upon the bed, and, in a few minutes, his spirit wandered in its dreams amidst the "bonny woods and braes" of Teviotdale. Early on the following day he proceeded to the counting-house of Mr Davison, who received him with a hurried sort of civility—glanced over the letter of introduction—expressed a hope that Mr Douglas was well—said he would be happy to serve him—but he was engaged at present, and, if Mr Brown would call again, if he should hear of anything, he would let him know. Adam thanked him, and, with his best bow (which was a very awkward one), withdrew. The clerks in the outer office tittered, as poor Adam, with his heavy hobnailed shoes, tramped through the midst of them. He delivered the other letter of introduction, and the gentleman to whom it was addressed received him much in the same manner as Mr Davison had done, and his clerks also smiled at Adam's grey coat, and gave a very peculiar look at his clattering shoes, and then at each other. Day after day he repeated his visits to the counting-houses of these gentlemen—sometimes they were too much engaged to see him, at others they simply informed him that they were sorry they had heard of nothing to suit him, and continued writing, without noticing him again; while Adam, with a heavy heart, would stand behind their desk, brushing the crown of his brown broad-brimmed hat with his sleeve. At length the clerks in the outer office merely informed him their master had heard of nothing for him. Adam saw it was in vain—three weeks had passed, and the thirty shillings which he had brought to London were reduced to ten.

He was wandering disconsolately down Chancery Lane, with his hands thrust in his pockets, when his attention was attracted to a shop, the windows and door of which were covered with written placards, and on these placards were the words, "Wanted, a Book-keeper"—"Wanted, by a Literary Gentleman, an Amanuensis"—in short, there seemed no sort of a situation for which there was not a person wanted, and each concluded with "inquire within." Adam's heart and his eyes overflowed with joy. There were at least half-a-dozen places which would suit him exactly—he was only at a loss now which to choose upon—and he thought also that Mr Douglas' friends had used him most unkindly in saying they could hear of no situation for him, when here scores were advertised in the streets. At length he fixed upon one. He entered the shop. A sharp, Jewish-looking little man was writing at a desk—he received the visiter with a gracious smile.

"If ye please, sir," said Adam, "will ye be so good as inform me where the gentleman lives that wants the book-keeper?"

"With pleasure," said the master of the register office; "but you must give me five shillings, and I will enter your name."

"Five shillings!" repeated Adam, and a new light began to dawn upon him. "Five shillings, sir, is a deal o' money and, to tell ye the truth, I can very ill afford it; but, as I am much in want o' a situation, maybe ye wad tak half-a-crown."

"Can't book you for that," said the other, "but give me your half-crown, and you may have the gentleman's address."

He directed him to a merchant in Thames Street. Adam quickly found the house; and, entering with his broad-brimmed hat in his hand, and scraping the hob-nails along the floor—"Sir," said he, "I'm the person Mr Daniells o' Chancery Lane has sent to you as a book-keeper."

"Mr Daniells—Mr Daniells?" said the merchant; "don't know any such person—have not wanted a book-keeper these six months."

"Sir," said Adam, "are ye no Mr Robertson o' 54 Thames Street?"

"I am," replied the merchant; "but," added he, "I see how it is. Pray, young man, what did you give this Mr Daniells to recommend you to the situation?"

"Half-a-crown, sir," returned Adam.

"Well," said the other, "you have more money than wit. Good-morning, sir, and take care of another Mr Daniells."

Poor Adam was dumfoundered; and, in the bitterness of his spirit, he said London was a den o' thieves. I might tell you how his last shilling was expended—how he lived upon bread and water—how he fell into arrears with the orange-woman for the rent of his garret—how she persecuted him—how he was puzzled to understand the meaning of the generous words, "Money Lent;"—how the orange-woman, in order to obtain her rent, taught him the mystery of the three golden balls—and how the shirts which his mother had made him from a web of her own spinning, and his books, and all that he had, save the clothes upon his back, were pledged—and how, when all was gone, the old landlady turned him to the door, houseless, friendless, penniless, with no companion but despair. We might have dwelt upon these things, but must proceed with his history.

Adam, after enduring privations which would make humanity shudder, obtained the situation of assistant-porter in a merchant's office. The employment was humble, but he received it joyfully. He was steady and industrious, and it was not long until he was appointed warehouseman; and his employer, finding that, in addition to his good qualities, he had received a superior education, made him one of his confidential clerks. He had held the situation about two years. The rust, as his brother clerks said, was now pretty well rubbed off Scotch Adam. His hodden-grey was laid aside for the dashing green, his hobnailed shoes for fashionable pumps, and his broad-brimmed hat for a narrow-crowned beaver; his speech, too, had caught a sprinkling of the southern accent; but, in other respects, he was the same inoffensive, steady, and serious being as when he left his mother's cottage.

His companions were wont to "roast" Adam, as they termed it, on what they called his Methodism. They had often urged him to accompany them to the theatre; but, for two years, he had stubbornly withstood their temptations. The stage was to Adam what the tree of knowledge was to his first namesake and progenitor. He had been counselled against it, he had read against it, he had heard sermons against it; but had never been within the walls of a theatre. The Siddons, and her brother John Kemble, then in the zenith of their fame, were filling not only London, but Europe, with their names. One evening they were to perform together—Adam had often heard of them—he admired Shakspere—his curiosity was excited—he yielded to the solicitations of his companions, and accompanied them to Covent Garden. The curtain was drawn up. The performance began. Adam's soul was riveted, his senses distracted. The Siddons swept before him like a vision of immortality—Kemble seemed to draw a soul from the tomb of the Cĉsars; and, as the curtain fell, and the loud music pealed, Adam felt as if a new existence and a new world had opened before him, and his head reeled with wonder and delight.

When the performances were concluded, his companions proposed to have a single bottle in an adjoining tavern; Adam offered some opposition, but was prevailed upon to accompany them. Several of the players entered—they were convivial spirits, abounding with wit, anecdote, and song. The scene was new, but not unpleasant to Adam. He took no note of time. He was unused to drink, and little affected him. The first bottle was finished. "We'll Have Another," said one of his companions. It was the first time Adam had heard the fatal words, and he offered no opposition. He drank again—he began to expatiate on divers subjects—he discovered he was an orator. "Well done, Mr Brown," cried one of his companions, "there's hope of you yet; we'll have another, my boy—three's band!" A third bottle was brought; Adam was called upon for a song. He could sing, and sing well too; and, taking his glass in his hand, he began—

"'Stop, stop, we'll hae anither gill,
Ne'er mind a lang-tongued beldame's yatter
They're fools wha'd leave a glass o' yill
For ony wife's infernal clatter.
"'There's Bet, when I gang hame the night,
Will set the hail stair-head a ringin—
Let a' the neebors hear her flyte,
Ca' me a brute, and stap my singin.
She'll yelp about the bairns' rags—
Ca' me a drucken gude-for-naethin!
She'll curse my throat and drouthy bags,
And at me thraw their duddy claethin!'

"Chorus, gentlemen—chorus!" cried Adam, and continued—

"'The fient a supper I'll get there—
A dish o' tongue is a' she'll gie me!
She'll shake her nieve and rug her hair,
And wonder how she e'er gaed wi' me!
She vows to leave me, and I say,
"Gang, gang! for dearsake!—that's a blessin!"
She rins to get her claes away,
But—o' the kist the key's amissin!
"'The younkers a' set up a skirl.
They shriek and cry, "Oh dinna, mither!"
I slip to bed, and fash the quarrel
Neither ae way nor anither.
Bet creeps beside me, unco dour.
I clap her back, and say, "My dawtie!"
Quo' she, "Weel, weel, my passion's owre;
But dinna gang a-drinkin, Watty."'"

"Bravo, Scotchy!" shouted one. "Your health and song, Mr Brown," cried another. Adam's head began to swim—the lights danced before his eyes—he fell from his chair. One of his friends called a hackney-coach; and, half insensible of where he was, he was conveyed to his lodgings. It was afternoon on the following day before he appeared at the counting-house, and his eyes were red, and he had the languid look of one who had spent a night in revelry. That night he was again prevailed upon to accompany his brother clerks to the club-room, "just," as they expressed it, "to have one bottle to put all right." That night he again heard the words—"We'll have another," and again he yielded to their seduction.

But we will not follow him through the steps and through the snares by which he departed from virtue, and became entangled in vice. He became an almost nightly frequenter of the tavern, the theatre, or both, and his habits opened up temptations to grosser viciousness. Still he kept up a correspondence with Mary Douglas, the gentle object of his young affections, and, for a time, her endeared remembrance haunted him like a protecting angel, whispering in his ear, and saving him from depravity. But his religious principles were already forgotten; and, when that cord was snapped asunder, the fibre of affection that twined around his heart did not long hold him in the path of virtue. As the influence of company grew upon him, her remembrance lost its power, and Adam Brown plunged headlong into all the pleasures and temptations of the metropolis.

Still he was attentive to business—he still retained the confidence of his employer—his salary was liberal—he still sent thirty pounds a-year to his mother; and Mary Douglas yet held a place in his heart, though he was changed—fatally changed. He had been about four years in his situation, when he obtained leave for a few weeks to visit his native village. It was on a summer afternoon, when a chaise from Jedburgh drove up to the door of the only public-house in the village. A fashionably-dressed young man alighted, and, in an affected voice, desired the landlord to send a porter with his luggage to Mrs Brown's. "A porter, sir?" said the innkeeper—"there's naething o' the kind in the toun; but I'll get twa callants to tak it alang."

He hastened to his mother's. "Ah! how d'ye do?" said he, slightly shaking the hands of his younger brothers; but a tear gathered in his eye as his mother kissed his cheek. She, good soul, when the first surprise was over, said "she hardly kenned her bairn in sic a fine gentleman." He proceeded to the manse, and Mary marvelled at the change in his appearance and his manner; yet she loved him not the less: but her father beheld the affectation and levity of his young friend, and grieved over them.

He had not been a month in the village when Mary gave him her hand, and they set out for London together. For a few weeks after their arrival, he spent his evenings at their own fireside, and they were blessed in the society of each other. But it was not long until company again spread its seductive snares around him. Again he listened to the words—"We'll have another"—again he yielded to their temptation, and again the force of habit made him its slave. Night followed night, and he was irritable and unhappy, unless in the midst of his boon companions. Poor Mary felt the bitterness and anguish of a deserted wife; but she upbraided him not—she spoke not of her sorrows. Health forsook her cheeks, and gladness had fled from her spirit; yet as she nightly sat hour after hour waiting his return, as he entered, she welcomed him with a smile, which not unfrequently was met with an imprecation or a frown. They had been married about two years. Mary was a mother, and oft at midnight she would sit weeping over the cradle of her child, mourning in secret for its thoughtless father.

It was her birth-day, her father had come to London to visit them; she had not told him of her sorrows, and she had invited a few friends to dine with them. They had assembled; but Adam was still absent. He had been unkind to her; but this was an unkindness she did not expect from him. They were yet waiting, when a police-officer entered. His errand was soon told. Adam Brown had become a gambler, as well as a drunkard—he had been guilty of fraud and embezzlement—his guilt had been discovered, and the police were in quest of him. Mr Douglas wrung his hands and groaned. Mary bore the dreadful blow with more than human fortitude. She uttered no scream—she shed no tears; for a moment she sat motionless—speechless. It was the dumbness of agony. With her child at her breast, and in the midst of her guests, she flung herself at her father's feet. "Father!" she exclaimed, "for my sake!—for my helpless child's sake—save! oh, save my poor husband!"

"For your sake, what I can do I will do, dearest," groaned the old man.

A coach was ordered to the door, and the miserable wife and her father hastened to the office of her husband's employer.

When Adam Brown received intelligence that his guilt was discovered from a companion, he was carousing with others in a low gambling-house. Horror seized him, and he hurried from the room; but he returned in a few minutes. "We'll have another!" he exclaimed, in atone of frenzy; and another was brought. He half-filled a glass—he raised it to his lips—he dashed into it a deadly poison, and, ere they could stay his hand, the fatal draught was swallowed. He had purchased a quantity of arsenic when he rushed from the house.

His fellow-gamblers were thronging around him, when his injured wife and her grey-haired father entered the room. "Away, tormentors!" he exclaimed, as his glazed eyes fell upon them, and he dashed his hand before his face.

"My husband! my dear husband!" cried Mary, flinging her arms around his neck; "look on me—speak to me! All is well!"

He gazed on her face—he grasped her hand. "Mary—my injured Mary!" he exclaimed, convulsively, "can you forgive me—youyou? O God! I was once innocent! Forgive me, dearest!—for our child's sake, curse not its guilty father!"

"Husband!—Adam!" she cried, wringing his hand—"come with me, love, come—leave this horrid place—you have nothing to fear—your debt is paid."

"Paid!" he exclaimed, wildly. "Ha! ha! Paid!"

They were his last words. Convulsions came upon him; the film of death passed over his eyes, and his troubled spirit fled.

She clung round his neck—she yet cried, "Speak to me!"—she refused to believe that he was dead, and her reason seemed to have fled with his spirit.

She was taken from his body and conveyed home. The agony of grief subsided into a stupor approaching imbecility. She was unconscious of all around; and within three weeks from the death of her husband, the broken spirit of Mary Douglas found rest, and her father returned in sorrow with her helpless orphan to Teviotdale.


THE SCOTTISH VETERAN.

It was upon one of those clear, chill, but not unpleasant days, that so often occur towards the latter end of November, that an aged female, and one much younger, in all the bloom of maiden beauty, overcast by a tender shade of melancholy, that gave tenfold interest to her lovely countenance, and mellowed the lustre of her dark hazel eyes, were seen sitting at the door of a cottage on the banks of one of the tributaries of the silver Tweed. The full round orb of the sun was sinking slowly behind a huge bank of clouds, tinged by his departing rays, that lingered as if regretting his short career, and loth to depart. The deep shades of twilight closed quickly upon the scene; but the females sat engaged at their work, as if it had been an eve of autumn. Margaret Blair, the more aged of the two, sat gazing in one direction with unwearied assiduity, only occasionally looking at the progress she made at the stocking she was busy knitting; and Jeanie Aitken, the younger, bent her steadfast gaze at intervals in the same direction, towards the road that skirted the foot of the neighbouring hills. Heavy clouds began to rise in the east; the wind had changed towards that quarter, and howled mournfully along the waste.

"Jeanie, my dear," said Margaret, "Jamie has gotten a fine day to travel in. Do you see no appearance o' him yet? Your young een are far clearer than mine. These heavy clouds mak me fear for the nicht. I am sure he might hae been here lang before this time, if his heart yearned as mickle to see me as mine does to see him. I trust that naething has happened to him on the road. Many a danger has he passed through in the wars. It would be an awfu thing were ony misfortune to happen him when he is sae near hame. God has preserved him in the battlefield; and oh, I trust and pray He will still be his guide! Do you no see ony signs o' him yet? The nicht will soon be on, and I fear it will be a stormy ane."

A deep sigh escaped from Jeanie as she answered, "Oh no; I see no one on the road. Dear mother, retire into the house—you must be very cold—I will watch yet a little. I hope he will soon be here, and then we will be so happy when we meet." The tears that filled her eyes, and the trembling accents in which she spoke, betrayed a heart ill at ease.

It was at this period I arrived at the cottage, in hopes of seeing my old schoolfellow; for a letter had been received a few days before, in which he informed his mother and Jean that he would be with them this day, as he had received his discharge.

Jeanie and James had long loved each other; they were cousins, and had been brought up together; but he had enlisted in anger, and forsaken her. With all his faults, she had never ceased to love him; and, from the day he went off to join his regiment, for six long years they had never heard of him. About three months after the battle of Victoria, the carrier to the town of Dunse brought them two letters as he passed—one for Margaret Blair, the other for Jeanie Aitken. They were from James. I was shown both the letters, which will unfold the previous history of my friends, and the feelings of the reformed son better than I can, and introduce the Veteran in a more favourable light than I have as yet been enabled to do.

"Victoria.

"Dearest Mother,—My folly has at length fallen upon my own head, and heavy is the load I will bear until I receive an answer to this, containing your forgiveness for my wicked neglect of your counsels, and despising the instructions of my worthy father—the result of all which has been my giving myself so much to evil company, and deserting you in your old age. But, dear mother, I am now an altered man. On the dark and cheerless guard, at the dead hour of the night, my conscience often awoke, and rendered me almost desperate—when sinking under fatigue, hunger, and thirst, on the long and toilsome march, it has given a keener edge to my sufferings; still I warred against the better feelings that arose in my breast—for I was still wayward and proud; but now, lingering under my wounds, I humble myself in the dust, before that God I so long neglected, who alone speaks peace to my humbled spirit! Be not alarmed at the mention of my wounds. I am now out of danger, and will be enabled to join my regiment in a few weeks—would it were to join your peaceful fireside. But, though I am unworthy to obtain yet for a time this my earnest prayer, I feel assured I shall yet be spared to comfort your declining years. And that every blessing may be yours until then, is the prayer of your now repentant and loving son,

"James Blair.

"P.S.—Is cousin Jeanie still unmarried? Does she reside still near you? I hope she is still unchanged, unreasonable that I am. If she is, give her the letter; if not, burn it. The scenes and feelings I enjoyed before I left your roof are dearer and stronger here in Spain than I can express, or you imagine. I do not request you to write soon—it would be unjust and unkind to doubt it for a moment. Again, I am your now altered and dutiful son until death.

"J. B."

The letter to Jeanie was received with a trembling hand, and placed in her bosom, that felt it impart a buoyancy to her feelings, she had been long a stranger to. As soon as she had finished reading the letter to Margaret, she retired to a beautiful knowe that overtopped the burn, and seated herself among the long yellow broom, where the most pleasant of her days had passed with her James. There they had herded together; there they had first plighted their young loves; and there James had left her in anger, without hope of ever returning to her again. On this loved spot, every moment she could spare had been passed, musing upon her absent lover, or praying for his safety and return; and now, with a feeling of pleasure she had been long a stranger to, she drew the letter from her bosom, and broke it open, while joy and grief filled her heart by turns.

"Victoria.

"Dearest and beloved, but much-injured Jean,—Dare I hope you ever think of me? I fear, if you do, it is with anger and contempt; for I feel, and my heart is like to burst with the thought, that I have used you ill. Believe me, it was in anger at I knew not what. You, with the prudence I now esteem you for, refused to fulfil your promise of marriage, because I had given myself too much up to company—to my shame I own, to dissipation. Believe me, my love, I now feel, in all its bitterness, my folly, and your wisdom. I am no longer the 'roaring boy' I used to boast myself among my associates; but the humbled lover and son. The privations and toils of war have opened my eyes to my true interests. For a time I was the most reckless in our company; for I strove, by riot, to drive from my mind the upbraidings of my heart; but I strove in vain. The early lessons I had received in rectitude embittered all my guilty joys, and at length triumphed. Let me pour into your bosom the history of my reformation. It was on the eve of the battle of Fuentes de Honore the first serious reflection came over my mind. The whole after part of the day I had been engaged in the work of death, with all my energies aiding in the destruction of my species, my mind excited to the utmost. Thrice we had driven the enemy through the village before us, over the dead and wounded. My comrades were falling thick around me. Evening came to stop the work of death. My bosom friend, the companion of my follies, had fallen, early in the action, at the foot of the brae, by the burn-side. I remember the spot well. O Jeanie, how could I forget it? It was so like the spot where we last parted—where the most innocent and happiest of my hours had been spent—that, even in the hottest of the fire, the resemblance strung my arm, and fired my soul to double daring. I could not endure that an enemy should be in possession of it, and drive us from the sacred ground. I rejoiced that I was put on duty, to bury the dead and remove the wounded. I hurried to the spot where my friend had fallen, to assist him if alive, or to pay the last duty if dead. Alas! Jeanie, what a sight there met my eyes! He lay, adding to the pile of bleeding bodies, that, only a few hours before, were all in life and health. Silent and sad, we dug a trench, and deposited the victims of war. The French parties were out on the same duty; we mixed friendly together, only enemies by a cruel necessity, and, like dogs, brought out to fight for the interest or amusement of others. Several of them could speak a little English. We drank and ate together. They had plenty; we were at this time almost famished, being in advance of our supplies. Fear, my love, you know, is no part of my nature; but the uncertainty of human life as a soldier had never struck my mind with so much force as now. I returned an altered man. I felt as if we were never to meet again, and I never should reach my native vale, to lay my mother's head in the grave. I own, with shame, I had until now striven to forget you, but could not; for, sleeping or waking, you were ever in my thoughts, night after night you were present in my dreams, and day found me almost distracted. Dissipation only brought greater anguish; yet my proud heart would not stoop to communicate its woes to those who alone could give relief. Every draught that joined I anxiously looked for an acquaintance from my native place; and I would have given a kingdom for the knowledge that you were still free. I knew your faithful nature; but I had basely deserted you; wounded that heart I ought to have cherished, because it would act contrary to the dictates of a desecrating advice, that would have ruined us both. At length the battle of Victoria was fought; in which action I was wounded in the thigh; but still I kept the ranks. We were sorely pressed by the enemy; but nature could support me no longer, and I sank to the ground, as our regiment was forced to retire, overpowered by superior numbers. A charge of cavalry passed over the ground where I lay; and, O Jeanie! what horror did I feel at this moment! I commended my soul to God—my mother's and your name escaped from my lips—the horses passed over me—and when, from a swoon, I awoke to consciousness, the surgeons were setting the bone of my leg, and a bandage was already upon my wound in the thigh. I will not pain you more. I am now almost well, and often amuse myself with the thought that, were you to see the pale and emaciated soldier upon his crutches, you would look in vain for Jamie Blair. But be cheerful, my love; for the surgeon says I will be as sound a man as ever, and join my regiment in a few weeks. How much better were it to join you and my mother! But the time will come in course, and I hope soon. If pity ever found a place in your bosom, send me your forgiveness; and, if you can send me the assurance that, in spite of all my follies, you love me dear as ever, I will now do all in my power to be worthy of it. If you refuse to pardon me, you will drive me to despair, and I shall volunteer for every forlorn hope, and rush upon danger, until death relieve me from my present state of mind. Return me, my love, good for evil, and give peace to that heart that wounded yours. Remembered or forgot, dearest Jean, I shall ever remain yours until death,

"James Blair."

On the evening of the day after the receipt of these letters, when I made my usual call, I was astonished at the change that had taken place in the widow's cottage. The sadness had passed from the brow of Jean, and hope had given a new lustre to her eye. Margaret was all garrulity, and loud in the praises of James; but Jean was silent, and seemed to luxuriate in the present feelings with which her soul was filled. I departed myself with a feeling of happiness at the welcome news from my old schoolfellow, and walked home more stately and erect, as if my consequence had been enhanced by my friendship and intimacy with one of Wellington's heroes; and crooned, with peculiar spirit and satisfaction, as I walked along, "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled."

It would be superfluous to say that Jeanie returned such an answer as James might wish. Joy once more became an inmate of Widow Blair's cottage, and thanksgivings were now mingled in their prayers for the absent soldier. The correspondence was as regular as the vicissitudes of war would permit; and often, when I had occasion to go to town, I was intrusted with the letter and penny to lodge in the post-office for James Blair. Month after month rolled on; peace was at length concluded; the troops were returning to Britain; and James, being a seven-years' man, and his period of service nearly expired, we could calculate to a day the time we expected to have him once more among us. But for a time we were disappointed. In no home in Britain did the return of Bonaparte from Elba cause greater sorrow than in the widow's cottage. James was once more embarked for the Continent with his regiment—was present at the battle of Waterloo—escaped the dreadful carnage unhurt—and marched with the army for Paris, where he got his discharge, and was on his return at the commencement of this narrative.

The shades of evening had forced the females to retire, benumbed with cold, long before my accustomed visit. I was grieved and disappointed at not finding James, and sorry to see the anxiety and grief of the mother and sweetheart. The clouds had now covered the whole sky; the darkness was intense; the wind blew with a piercing keenness, and snow had begun to fall fast, and drift along the waste. I gave them all the comfort I could, and retired, promising to call again in the morning—having in vain urged them to retire to rest; and, upon my return next day, I learned that, after my departure, they continued to watch—going repeatedly out to examine the state of the weather, or beguiled by the shaking of the door struck by the blast, and thinking some one tried the latch. Still no one came—hour after hour passed on—their humble supper stood untouched—the fears of the mother were expressed in wailings and ejaculatory prayers for his safety; and Jeanie's expressive countenance betrayed the anxiety under which she laboured. Their evening devotions were made with pious hope—their usual hour of retiring to rest had long gone by; yet neither thought of sleep—for all that was most dear on earth to them was, they feared, exposed to the pitiless storm, and they still sat by the fire, shrinking at every gust of wind, as if it had struck themselves, while the candle burned on the window-sill, a beacon to guide the wanderer. At length the door opened, and a thin, weather-beaten figure staggered in, and sank upon the floor, exhausted and senseless. The anticipated joyful meeting was one of anguish and alarm. Care and assiduity restored the soldier to warmth and animation; and hope and joy succeeded to fear and grief. James had come from London to Leith in one of the smacks; and, after leaving Haddington, anxious to reach his mother's as soon as possible, had left the highway, and struck into the country, over the Lammermuir Hills, by a route dear and familiar to him; and, being some miles shorter, chosen as much for the sake of former recollections, which were crowding upon him at every step, as for its shortness. The day was clear and bracing when he left Haddington, and all induced him to follow this route; but he had miscalculated his strength, and the shades of evening overtook him in the middle of the mountains. The sky began to lour, and threatened a storm. Ere he had reached the heights, the snow fell fast, the wind and drift threatened to overwhelm him, and all around became one undistinguishable chaos. He could recognise no mark by which to know whether he was in the right track or not. Confused and bewildered, but not dismayed, he stood still for a few minutes, to collect his energies; and having recalled to his recollection that the wind blew from the direction in which he wished to proceed, he started afresh, and battled with the storm, till at length he recognised a well-remembered cairn on the heights, against which he stumbled, and of which he gained his knowledge only by groping; for it was so dark that he could not see his own hand a few inches from his face. Having felt it round and round, he came to the broad, flat stone on the southern side, the shepherd's dial, which gave a thrill of hope to his breast, like a glimpse of the polar star to the tempest-tossed mariner. Starting anew, and still keeping his face to the biting blast, again he stumbled upon a cairn, and felt it round and round; and, to his surprise and regret, found it to be the same. Disappointed and confused, he started afresh—twice he struggled round the same circle upon the heights, each time adding to the despondency that began to steal upon him, till, exhausted and almost hopeless, he threw himself on the lee side of the cairn, to recover his strength. He thought some strange fatality attended him; yet was loth to yield to despair, and struggled manfully against it; but a languor came over him, attended by an almost irresistible drowsiness; and all he had suffered in the retreat to Corunna could not be compared to his present situation. There, companionship had lightened the most intense sufferings; severe as they often were, they were not, as now, without that aid which sustains men in the most trying cases—the countenance of their fellow-men. Here he was alone, in a sea of snow, within a few miles of his mother's door!—the thought was bitterness unutterable, such as he had never felt before. Death he had often braved in all his forms—in the battlefield he had gazed upon him in the pomp and tumult of war, when the excited mind unheeded his presence; but here he seemed to hold his victim in suspense, until his very presence might produce the parting of soul and body from very fear of him. He struggled to rise, and combat the feelings that he knew must prove fatal to him; but his limbs were stiff, and would not obey his will, and he commended his soul to his Creator, and resigned himself to his fate. His mind became more calm, his thoughts less confused; and, as he lay musing, it occurred to him that he had erred in taking the wind for his compass, for perhaps it blew round the top of the hill (as it did), and was the cause of his always returning to the same spot. The idea occurred to him, that, if he had held straight on until he came to a running water, and followed its course, it would have guided him to some mill or cottage. This acted upon his mind like an electric spark, his heart warmed, and his limbs resumed, under the inspiration of hope that once more came to his aid, their former energy. Onwards he urged his way, stumbling, at every few paces, over the unequal ground; and, with severe labour, he cleared the hills, and anxiously listened for the sound of running water; but the howling of the blast deadened every sound; and he still urged his way, dragging his weary limbs after him, till a faint rushing was heard, and a black chasm appeared at his feet, over which he must have fallen on the next step. He returned thanks to God for his preservation. The chasm was the well-remembered linn, only a few hundred yards from his mother's cottage; and he had thought, more than once, he had distinguished a faint light in the gloom, at times distinct, then vanishing again, but now easily made out. His heart leaped for joy, for he knew it proceeded from his mother's cottage-window. He kept the burn-side, and proceeded straight to the house; but his energies were entirely spent. He reached it, lifted the latch, and remembered no more until he found his mother and Jeanie hanging over him and chafing his benumbed limbs. After a night's repose, the hardy veteran had risen full of vigour, as if the last night's escape from death had been only a dream. I could perceive melancholy reflections mixed with the joy he felt at finding all well at his return; but he said to me, with much bitterness,

"Eight years I have spent, of the prime of my life, in the service of my country; a few shillings, the remainder of my marching-money, is all I possess in the world; and I have returned to my mother's house, a poorer man, in every respect, than I left it."

A cloud passed over his brow—a sigh escaped—his altered look Jeanie watched with pain. She spoke not, but the sigh fell on his mother's ear. She grasped his hand, and, pressing it to her bosom,

"Jamie," said she, "my bairn, why do ye sigh on this blessed day? Are ye vexed that ye hae come back to yer auld mither and Jeanie?"

"I am not, mother," replied he; "indeed; I am not; but a few painful recollections steal over my mind; and the consciousness that I am alone the cause adds to their bitterness. Jennie, I am at home, and find you all I could wish; but complete happiness is yet at a distance. We cannot be united until I have recovered, by care and industry, what I have lost by my unprofitable absence."

Jeanie blushed, and hung down her head; her breast seemed too narrow to contain the feelings that rose in it; but his mother hastily interfered.

"Jamie," said she, "ye maunna tak that view o' yer situation. This cottage, and a' that is in it, is yer ain. Ye'll no begrudge me my room in it for a' my time; and yer cousin has saved some pounds for this happy meeting, and winna put ye aff as she ance did before—for now she's satisfied ye're an altered man. What say ye, lassie? Am I richt?"

Jeanie spoke not; but her looks showed her approval; and the happy pair sat gazing at him as if they feared he was soon about to leave them, and they could not look enough. I began to speak of the scenes he had witnessed in Spain, when his mother inquired what he considered his most unlooked-for escape.

"Indeed, mother," he replied, "it is hard to say; but I think it was at the storming of Badajos, before my better feelings had returned to me. I was then reckless of everything; and, being in the grenadier company, I volunteered for the forlorn hope. I had been before on the same duty, and knew it was as well to volunteer as to be commanded, for the duty must be done, and volunteering has a more soldier-like sound; so we who were to form the party immediately sold everything we possessed, and drank it with our comrades. This was the practice of many, for we knew what we had to do as soon as it was dark; and, if we escaped death, we might look upon it as a miracle; and thus were determined to enjoy life while we had it. This is a soldiers philosophy: enjoy all you have in your power; for what you leave after you fall you know not who will enjoy. I have eaten the last morsel of bread in my haversack going into action, and my comrades did the same, lest we might fall and another eat it. As soon as the hour arrived, we were at our post and formed, then marched on in dead silence towards the breach, headed by a captain and a lieutenant. I was on the right, and heard the lieutenant sob once or twice. The captain turned to him and said, in an under voice—

"'Return, if you are afraid.'

"'No,' replied the lieutenant, in a firm voice, though not much louder than a whisper, 'I am not afraid. I fear not danger, but will face it with any man in the British army; but, good God! my mother and sister——'"

A dreadful crash stunned me—a mine had been sprung, and we were all scattered in different directions, the greater part mangled and dead. When I recovered my recollection, I was sweltering in the ditch of the place, almost suffocated, and sinking. I was sorely bruised and bewildered; and, led more by instinct than reason—for I was incapable of thinking—I struggled to get at some support; and fortunately got hold of some willow twigs that were growing in the side of the ditch, and clung to them, while my faculties gradually came to me, and I felt in all its force the horrors of my situation. The noise was louder than thunder; the shot was entering the banks, and plunging into the water around me like a hail-storm, while splinters of shells were flying past in every direction. I was at one moment covered with water, and the next with mud and earth, torn by the shot from the side of the ditch. The whistling of the balls, the shouts of the men, the volleys of musketry, and deafening roar of the guns, and constant flashes of light that shot fearfully across the darkness of the scene, rendered my mind a chaos of confusion. I felt not what could be called fear; I had, in vain, more than once tried to extricate myself from my horrible situation. A callous, regardless feeling was upon me; and I passed the tedious hours in a kind of stupor, much resembling a fearful nightmare. I felt fully the desperate situation I was in, and my utter inability to relieve myself; but there was no use of making it worse than it was by fretting—and morning at length came. The firing had for a long time ceased; and I was dragged out more dead than alive, benumbed and bruised. Most of the volunteers had perished, and along with them the lieutenant, for whom I felt more regret than for any officer I had ever known to fall in the field of war. I often thought how much more commendable his feelings were than my own; for I had never even thought of you until I returned once more safe to the camp, and coolly turned over in my mind the whole occurrences of this fearful night. My conscience, I own, did upbraid me; but I soon shook off the uneasy feeling.

Jeanie heard the recital with a thrill of horror; and, while tears were falling fast—

"O Jamie!" said she, "little did we imagine the half of the dangers you were exposed to, or the misery you must have endured."

"We had sufferings," replied he, "enough and to spare; but we had also our enjoyments, with a relish no one at home, in the calm of domestic life, can have the most distant conception of. The soldier's life, in an enemy's country, is made up of extremes, either of hardship or enjoyment. When the toilsome march is over, how sound and sweetly he sleeps, even on the hard, bare ground, under the canopy of heaven! But, if his billet be good, he is the happiest of mortals—words cannot express his pleasures. After a rapid pursuit of the enemy, such as we had after the French to Victoria, when we were far in advance of our commissariat, and our stomachs were keen, sweet, sweet was our dry hard beef, so hard and black from overdriving, we were forced to bruise it between two stones, before our eager teeth could masticate it. Victuals and drink were all we coveted, and we were not over scrupulous how we came by them. We were quartered in Alcantara for a winter, after a summer of privations, and we lived like kings. Four of us were quartered upon one house; our rations were regularly served; and we had abundance and to spare. In Spain, almost every family has a barrel of olive oil for a supply during the winter; for they cook a great many victuals with it. We had become as fond of it as the natives. I recollect that our host had two large barrels filled behind the door; and complaints having being made by the inhabitants, every day, of the depredations committed upon their oil by the soldiers, our host was as jealous as the rest, examined his store night and morning, and gave us the greatest character for honesty. But little did he know whom he praised; for we were no better than the rest—only more cunning; and it was fortunate for us when the route came, for I am sure there was not the depth of a finger of oil in one of the barrels, we having had the precaution to put in as much water as we drew oil, to save appearances."

"Jamie, Jamie," said Margaret, "ye were sair left. Oh, man, did ye steal frae the poor folk in that gate?"

"Indeed, mother," replied he, "we did not think we stole when provisions were in the case. The Spaniards, no doubt, said we were only better than the French in this respect; for the French took openly whatever they chose, and abused them to boot; we only stole provisions, when unobserved, and always gave them fair words for what we took, whether detected or not. Perhaps they were indebted to Wellington and the provost-marshal for this; for I assure you there was no mercy for us when detected. There were two brothers hanged upon the same tree, just before the battle of Victoria, for being detected in taking a little flour when we were in great want. I recollect we marched past them."

"Oh, Jamie," said the mother, "ye've seen strange sichts."

"Ay, and heard strange things, too," replied he. "I will tell you what I heard from a German, one of the legion, who had been severely wounded, and lay next my berth in the hospital:—He had served in a regiment of Swiss in the pay of Great Britain, which had been raised to stop the progress of the French, in the early part of the revolutionary war, and had been with it in Italy and Corsica. They had been hurried, by forced marches, from Constance to Rome, in the depth of a severe winter, and suffered much. The French were in such superior numbers, that they were forced to fly before them until they were joined by the British under General Stewart, when they made a successful stand for some time, and had a great deal of hard fighting. It was during one of these checks, after a severe action, that they lay for some weeks in an old castle, which they had fortified in the best manner they could. The French lay in front, in great force, their foraging parties scouring the country, and cutting off their supplies; so that they were reduced to the most extreme want of provisions, and suffered sadly from the severity of the weather. The cold was most intense; snow or sleet fell almost every day; while firing was not to be had. Their clothing almost worn out, great numbers were barefooted. Under such circumstances, it was with difficulty that human nature could bear up under its sufferings. The men became desperate, and numbers were falling sick, and dying every day. In the midst of these horrors, urged by extreme misery, three Germans conceived an idea the most repugnant to human nature that can be conceived by man, and put it in execution. One evening they were seen in deep consultation by their comrades, and, towards the middle of the night, they stole down to one of the vaults, of which there were many under the castle, and earnestly and fearlessly invoked the devil to come to them, and enter into an agreement upon any terms he chose. All they would stipulate for was to be delivered from their present misery; but they called in vain—no devil or other appearance could they perceive, although they remained calling upon him for a long time. At length they left the vault, much disappointed at their failure. It was remarked by all the regiment—for they told what they had been about—that none of the three survived any length of time after this, and all died by uncommon modes. The first that fell was Gualter Stulzer. That very night he awoke in his sleep, and, starting to his feet, shouted out, at the loudest pitch of his voice, in a manner that awoke all in the hall, and made us tremble—'Ho! ho! you are come at length—I am your man; take me anywhere, only take me hence;' and fell upon his face. When the day broke, we found him quite dead. We thought he had been in a dream. Not one of us could have risen to assist him, had we thought he was not, for all was dark, and we thought the evil one was present in the room. The two others, who were not in the same part of the building, we had no doubt were in the same state, until we saw them alive and well in the morning. A few days after this melancholy event, another of them was found dead at his post, with horror most strongly expressed on his countenance. The third survived only till we reached Corsica, where he was hanged for a cruel murder, a short time after our landing. And thus perished these three desperate men—the only instance really authentic of the kind I ever heard of in all my life."

"His presence," said Margaret, "be aboot us a', to keep us frae evil! Ye hae made my flesh creep on my banes. Surely, my bairn, they must hae been Pagans. We read, in the blessed Word, that Esau sold his birthright for a mess o' potage. But men to gang and offer to sell their sauls to the evil one? Ohon! Ohon!"

"No one can say," replied James, "what he will or will not do, until the hour of trial is past. These Germans gave implicit belief to stories of diablerie and witchcraft, and hoped to be relieved from their sufferings by becoming warlocks. You yourself are not free from the belief that such things have been."

"I maun first doubt my Bible, Jamie," said she, "ere I doubt ony sic thing. Hae we no a commandment against witchcraft, and a pattern o' what they were in the Witch o' Endor? Hae I no kent folk that werena canny mysel? I only wonder he camna at their ca', to seal the bargain wi' them. I may say I ken o' nane at present that has a very ill name; but, when I was a young lass, Ellen Grĉme was feared owre a' the kintry side for her unholy power, after she witched Bauldy Scott, the minister's man, for something he had either said or done to her. She had a bauld and bitter tongue in her head; and, after giein him ill names until she was tired, she spat at him, and ended wi' saying—'Bauldy Scott, mind my words!—ye'll rue, ere lang, meddling wi' me.' Bauldy only leuch at her; but didna feel owre easy, for a' that. Aweel, a day or twa after the collyshangie wi' Ellen, he had to gang to Hawick, on some business about a web he had been weavin for the bailie's wife. A' went weel aneugh until he was comin hame in the evenin, whan, just as he was in the middle o' the hills—for he took the shortest cut hame—he met wi' a muckle black tyke o' a dog, that looked hard and sair at him, and followed, whether he wad or no. He feared to clod it; for it was an unsonsy like beast, and he had a druther that it wasna a canny creature. Bauldy took fervently to prayer and psalm-singin, and the dog soon left him; but he was nae sooner out o' sicht, than there cam on sic a mist that he fairly tint his gate, and wandered he knew not where, until wi' perfect fatigue he sat down on a stane. The nicht was closin in fast upon him, and he kendna whither he had dandered nearer or farther frae hame. There he sat, whiles prayin, whiles thinkin on his wife and weans, but oftener o' Ellen Grĉme and her threat, and the awesome black dog he had met. He was like to gang demented. The time hung sae dreich on his hand, he thocht the world was standin still. He daredna open his een, for fear he might be scared by some awesome sicht. So still was all around him, that the very beatin o' his ain heart sounded in his lugs like a death-watch. This grave-like calm and stillness became to him waur than any noise could hae been; and, to mak a lang tale short, there he sat on the stane till the grey o' the mornin. And whar was't, do ye think, he had been sittin the lee-lang nicht? No a hunder yards frae his ain door, on the big stane that stans by the kirk-stile, at the self and same spot where Ellen Grĉme had threatened him! That he had been bewitched, few in the parish doubted; and he himself believed, until the day o' his death, that he had seen the evil one in the form o' the black dog, who, being forced to flee by the force o' his prayers, had raised the mist to bewilder and prevent his gettin hame. He made a lang complaint to the minister against Ellen; but he wadna tak it up, and only laughed at Bauldy, and said, 'Are ye sure ye didna pree owre deep o' the yill in Hawick, Bauldy?' Now, this was warst o' a'; for, puir man, he had baith the skaith and the scorn; but few thocht waur o' the minister for no takin up Bauldy's case."

"It may be as you say, mother," said James—"I never thought seriously on the subject; but this I know—I never felt so comfortable, when sentinel upon a lonely outpost, as I did in garrison or in camp. I remember once, while we lay in the valley of Roncesvalles, a short time before we entered France, I was on duty upon an outpost, with the enemy in front. I had almost made a fool of myself by giving a false alarm. I never was so much out of sorts in my life with real terror; I shook like a dog in a wet sack. My station was an old building, a complete ruin, without roof, and not more than six feet of wall standing in any part of it; so that, with a glance of my eye, I could examine recesses of the interior. My turn came at twelve o'clock. The orders were to allow no one to advance without the word and countersign; and if any movement was perceived in the enemy's lines, to fire off my piece, and fall back upon the mainguard. I had been upon my station for about half-an-hour, or better, musing upon various things—but Jeanie and you were ever uppermost in my thoughts. Suddenly a strange sound fell upon my ear. I could not distinguish whether it was a sigh or a low moan. I became all attention for a recurrence of the sound, and cocked my musket. Never did the click fall so loud upon my ear. Thus I stood at post, gazing, with eyes almost starting from their sockets, around me. It did not occur again. While I stood thus, I began to recover, and thought I had been deceived, uncocked my musket, and resumed my measured pace, peering on every side, and searching with my eyes, as far as the gloom of a starry night, without moonlight, would admit. I had not made above a dozen turns upon my allotted bounds, when the same sounds fell upon my ears, but much more distinct. It was a heavy groan, and appeared to come from my right—not in the direction of the enemy's lines. Again I cocked my musket. All was still as death after the groan. I stooped towards the ground to listen, but could discern no foot-tread upon it, or the smallest movement. I walked round the ruin, and examined it with care; but all was still and void. I looked in the direction I thought the sound had come from, when all at once there appeared to rise out of the ground, at a short distance from me, a most uncouth figure. It had the appearance of a monk in his cloak, with the hood up, and a pair of horns upon his head. From the outline between me and the sky, so appalling was the vision, that I clapped my musket to my shoulder, and called, "Who goes there?" A heavy groan was the only reply, and the whole disappeared into the ground as suddenly as it had risen out of it. A cold sweat covered my whole body—my knees knocked against each other, as I stood rooted to the spot. I would have fired, but had not the power at first; and as I recovered, I was ashamed, as I knew my comrades would laugh at me, and the officers give no credit to my story. I had not the power to withdraw my eyes from the spot. Again I saw the same appearance rise out of the ground, but with more fearful distinctness, and gaze upon me, utter a groan, and again vanish. This was too much. I was almost overcome, when I heard the tread of the relief advancing to change guard. My nerves were in a moment strung to energy again by the sound of the human voice. Although, in a whisper, I related what I had witnessed to them, all were inclined to laugh, save he who was to take my place. However, it was agreed to go to the spot I pointed out, and examine it. When we reached the place, we found, behind some low bushes, scarcely, in the dark, to be discerned from the ground, a wounded mule, so weak that it could not rise from the ground upon its feet. At our approach, it attempted to rise, but could only elevate its fore-quarters, as it had been shot through the loins, and fell down again with a groan. None of us laughed more heartily than I did at this elucidation of the fearful vision. These outpost duties often occurred, and we liked them worse than an action. So little did we dread fight, that I have heard the men say seriously, when they had lost even so trifling a necessary as a rosette, "I wish we may have an action soon, that I may pick up one." In action, so cool and steady had we become, that jests and remarks were made as freely, and even with more spirit than on a parade or in the barrack-room. In an affair of outposts, the sharpest I was ever in, and when the balls were whistling around us like grasshoppers on a sunny bank, James Graham, my left-hand man, said—

"Blair, they have hit me at last, confound them! and broke some of my ribs. I both heard and felt them crack like pipe-staples; but I will have a shot or two while I can stand to them." After a few minutes, he said, "They have hit me, but not cut me. There is no blood on my trousers, yet my breast is confounded sore." He put his hand into a pocket he had in the breast of his coat, and pulled out a favourite knife, stamped on the ground in anger, and cried, "Oh, the French blackguards! they have broken my knife, and I bought it in the High Street of Edinburgh." And he resumed his fire, if possible, with redoubled energy, taking as cool and deliberate an aim as if he had been firing at a target for a prize in his native village.

In the same skirmish, James Paterson's bonnet fell over the wall which we were lining, as he was taking out some cartridges to place them in his breast. The enemy were in triple force not one hundred yards from the other side.

"I shan't go bareheaded for all that," said he, and leaned his musket against the wall, climbed over it, gathered up his ammunition as calmly as if he had been in the barrack-yard, placed his bonnet on his head, and leaped back unhurt. An aid-de-camp, who rode past at the time, cried out to us—

"Well done, my brave men! They may march over your bodies, but they cannot drive you back."

We gave him three cheers, and the enemy soon after fell back. But, Jeanie, lassie, I fear you think I am boasting far too much of myself and comrades. I would not speak to you of a soldier's life, were it not that you, my friend, invite me to it; but I assure you that those parts of it which are most dreaded by the people at home have in them great interest, and serve to enliven the otherwise monotonous duties of a campaign in an enemy's country, where our fatigues in marching and countermarching are scarce bearable. If we found any fault with the general, in our private conversation, it was, that we had not fighting enough. Our opinion was, the hotter war, the sooner peace; and we always felt a consciousness of being able to beat the enemy, if we were only led on.

"O Jamie, my bairn!" said Margaret, "evil communications corrupt good manners. I wadna hae believed, had onybody but yersel tauld me, yer nature could hae changed sae muckle as to tak delight in sic a life. My heart is sair to hear ye speak wi sae muckle relish o' sic bloody wark."

"Mother, you wrong me," replied the veteran. "I rejoice that there is now no call for such doings. While I was in Spain, my heart was ever here with you and Jeanie. I cannot help feeling my blood move quicker in my veins when I recall these moments of intense excitement. It is all the reward I shall ever have for my fatigues and wounds. We felt that we fought in Spain to keep the battle from our own beloved homes; and the scenes of rapine and desolation we witnessed there gave us double energy; for the foe that ravaged the fields of Spain had long threatened the land of our fathers, where all we held dear remained. A short time before the siege of Burgos, a party of our regiment were sent as a convoy to some stores. We halted at a village, where a foraging party of the French had been only a few hours before. Every house was a scene of ruin and blood. In one cottage that we entered, we found a beautiful young female sitting upon the ground, weeping over the bodies of her murdered father and brother, who had fallen defending her from the violence of the French soldiers. As the evening was soon to be upon us, we were halted until daybreak in the morning. Donald Ross, one of the men in our company, was particularly struck with the charms of the female, and, somehow, or other, became so intimate with her, that she agreed to go with him as soon as she had buried her father and brother—and she was as good as her word. Donald being a Roman Catholic, they were married by a Spanish priest, and lived happy enough for some time. While we lay at Abrantes, a party of Spanish guerillas came into the town. All at once, Maritornes became very dull and uneasy. Donald, at his coming home, often found her in tears; but she would not impart to him the cause of her distress. Ross, who loved her with all his heart, became himself uneasy upon her account. All at once she was amissing, and no accounts of her could be had, although diligent search was made for her. The guerillas were still in the neighbourhood of the town; and Donald suspected that she had gone to some of them, and resolved to go and make the necessary inquiries. On the morning of the day he was to have gone, having got leave from his officer, her body was found, stabbed to the heart, concealed in a thicket near the town. Poor Donald wept over her like an infant, and, after becoming a little more calm, swore a fearful vengeance on her murderer, should he ever meet him, and to do all in his power to discover the cruel perpetrator. The day following her interment, as he was indulging his grief for her loss, and thinking of means to trace her destroyer, near the spot where her body had been found, one of the guerillas started from behind a tree, and thrust a knife at his bosom. Fortunately it struck his breastplate, and glanced off. In a twinkling his bayonet was plunged to the socket in the body of the assassin, and he fell, grinding his teeth in rage and pain. Donald shouted for assistance, not to aid him in the strife—for his enemy was now helpless, and to all appearance dead at his feet—but to assist in bearing him into the town, as he had an impression on his mind that this was the murderer of his beloved. Two of his comrades who were in the neighbourhood came to his aid, bore the wounded man into the town, and carried him to the hospital, where his wound, which proved to be mortal, was dressed. Before his death, he confessed the murder of Maritornes, and gave the following account of himself:—His father had been a vine-dresser, whose vineyard joined that of the parents of Maritornes, so that they had been brought up together from their earliest childhood. After he came to man's estate, the beauty of Maritornes had made a violent impression upon him; but, being of a wild and unsettled turn of mind, her parents had disapproved of his attentions to her; and she herself had never encouraged his addresses, but had always appeared uneasy and fearful in his presence. He had tried every method to win her affections in vain, and had been involved in several quarrels upon her account with the other youths, one of whom he had slain, and was forced to fly. The war breaking out soon after, he had joined one of the guerilla parties, and had never seen or heard of her since he left the village, until he found her the wife of a vile heretic, as he thought. The sight was too much for him, and he resolved to murder her; for, he said, the hope of at one time or other winning her affections had never forsaken his mind until then; and he vowed the death of her and her seducer, as he supposed Donald to be. She had seen and recognised her tormentor, which had been the cause of her distress. For several days he had tracked and watched her steps like a bloodhound, until he accomplished his horrid purpose; and he showed not the least contrition for the deed, but appeared to regret that he had not slain Donald also. It was long before Donald ceased to regret the death of Maritornes, or to think of her; but it was perhaps wisely ordered for himself, for, after the battle of Bayonne was fought, and the peace made, the troops left for England. None of the men were allowed to take their Portuguese or Spanish wives out of the country along with them; and there were several hundreds, who had followed the army and clung to their husbands in all our privations, wherever we went. Poor things! my heart bled for them. When the order came, it was one of the most heartrending scenes to witness the distress of both parties—the despair and wailings of the females, and the anguish of many of the men—severals deserted, and all promised to return for these poor creatures, as soon as it was in their power. Many are the disconsolate females who still languish in their lonely homes, hoping in vain for the return of husbands they shall never see again, and who, if alive, only think of them now with indifference, or perhaps have heartlessly formed new ties."

"O Jamie, Jamie," said Jeanie, "it is not possible, I learn frae yoursel, to tell a pleasing tale o' war. They are all o' blood, injustice, and violence. It gradually steels the heart to the best feelings o' the human race, and does away wi' the sense o' right and wrong by a false plea o' necessity. Surely man is never placed, but by his ain evil passions, in a situation where it is necessary either to be unjust or cruel."

"Let us forget, my love," said James, "that such things ever were, and look forward in hope. I have, no doubt, the world once more to begin. I am not yet an old man; and, if I am not rich in cash, I am richer in experience than many others who have been at home, and shall, by the blessing of God, do my endeavour to put to use my dear-purchased wisdom. I shall then be more fortunate than poor Walter B—— and several others I have known."

"Dear Jamie, tell us about Walter—what o' him?" said Margaret.

There were severals in the army (continued James) whom I knew as common soldiers, that had been born to rank and riches—one in particular, Walter B——. I will give you his lamentable story, as I had it from his own mouth, in one of his fits of melancholy and repentance. We were on the heights above Roncesvalles, and the weather was more boisterous than I had ever seen it in my life anywhere; the gusts of wind blew down our tents, and the hailstorms were so severe, that we were forced to shelter ourselves from them by any means we could, and even the very mules were scarce able to endure their severity. He had been in one of his desponding fits for several days, and I had done all in my power to amuse him in vain. Towards the shades of evening, we sat shivering and cowering from the extreme cold, and, having given him an outline of my own history, he in return gave me his, nearly as follows:—He was a native of England, and a relative of some of the oldest families in it. His father had been one of the established clergy, and held a rich living, beloved and respected for his benevolence and piety. Walter, who was an only son, had received as good an education as England could afford; but, unfortunately for himself, he was of an unsettled and extravagant disposition, and was always getting himself into disagreeable situations, from which he was always relieved, after a show of contrition, by his indulgent parent. Thus matters waxed worse and worse with him, until he could not from very shame apply to his forgiving father. He had lost a large sum of money at play in London, and had no means of liquidating the debt. In an agony of shame and remorse, he fled, and, having no means of maintaining himself, changed his name, and enlisted as a private soldier. His distressed parent, for several years, knew not whether he was dead or alive. Matters remained thus with him until the arrival of a new chaplain to the regiment in which he was serving. Shortly after the chaplain joined, he recognised Walter, spoke to and reasoned with him in a truly Christian spirit, and chide him for his cruelty to his parent, who continued to mourn his loss, and would, he had no doubt, once more receive him to his bosom, would he only promise to behave more circumspectly in future, and express his sorrow for what he had done. Poor Walter was heartily sick of his present situation, and requested the chaplain to write for him what he chose, and, upon the receipt of an answer from his father, he would do all in his power to regain his pardon and confidence. In a few weeks after, Walter got his discharge, and returned to his father's mansion, where he was received with joy and forgiveness. His parent only appeared to have lived to be blessed in the return of his prodigal son; for he died in about three months after his return. Walter was his sole heir and was now rich, as he had been lately poor, while a private soldier. For a few months, he was all that his relations could have wished him—reserved and penitent for his former follies, and most punctual in his religious duties. In this frame of mind he became attached to a young lady, the daughter of a neighbouring squire, rather his superior in rank and fortune. To her he was wed, and lived in happiness and peace for some months, when unfortunately he paid a visit to London with his young wife; and, as bad fortune would have it, he once again launched out into all his former extravagance, and soon became embarrassed in his circumstances. An unsuccessful bet at a horse-race once more placed him in the same position he had been in at his first enlistment: but his distress was tenfold greater, for his young and innocent wife was now a partaker in his misery. He solemnly declared to me he more than once resolved to put a period to his existence, but was always prevented by some trivial interruption or other. At this critical period, an uncle of his wife's died, and she was his sole heir. Thus, once again, he was unexpectedly snatched from beggary, and was much richer than he was at his father's death; but, alas for him! not wiser; for, with accelerated pace, he held on his former career, and the consequence was, that he was forced to leave his young and beautiful wife to the charity of her relations. Under his assumed name, he became my companion in the ranks—a strange, interesting, even fearful companion, too, he was at times; for he would occasionally be the most light-hearted and amusing person in the group; at others, he was sullen and morose, scarce a monosyllable would escape his lips; and, when irritated, the expressions he made use of were sublimely fearful, such as a devil might have used, making even the most depraved of the men quail. Yet, when in his quiet and gentle moods, I have listened to his discourse with rapture. One hour of his conversation conveyed more information to my mind than a month of reading could have done. I have seen him, when we were alone, weep like a child over his fallen fortunes; then, the next moment, knit his brows, compress his lips, clench his fists, and stamp upon the ground, and call upon death to deliver him from his own thoughts. Times out of number I have heard him express a wish that he might fall in the next action. He had escaped without a scratch until the battle of Bayonne. Well do I remember the conversation we had the evening before. It were tedious to repeat it; but he expressed his fears that the enemy would miss him, and declared to me his firm determination to desert and remain in Spain (he spoke the language like a native) rather than return to England; for there was a rumour in the camp at the time of the reverses of Bonaparte, and the anticipations of a speedy peace. Towards the close of the action we had driven in the opposing column, and the fire had slackened; hundreds of dead and wounded lay around us, for the affair had been very sharp.

"Blair," said he, "I knew they could not hit me; I must live on in misery."

Scarce were the words spoken, when he fell upon his face. I stopped, and turned him on his back; his eyes were fixed in death; his countenance more placid and resigned than I ever remember to have seen it. He grasped my hand, his lips moved, but the noise of the firing deadened his voice. I placed my ear to his lips, and could just make out—

"James, I am now happy. Gracious God, pardon your erring creature!"

A slight shiver passed along his frame, and all was over. What his real name was I never knew, or I would have written to his wife. Such were his talents, that, had his mind been well regulated, there was no effort that man can accomplish he was not capable of; but, alas! he perished, the victim of his uncontrolled passions.

Here ended the soldier's narratives. James Blair had returned, and in health, but he had not found happiness, neither had his mother or cousin; yet his hopes were most reasonable. He had only attained one object, to find another more difficult to attain, humble as that object is—a way to earn his daily bread. Matters were in this state, when a rumour spread through the parish that a captain had purchased an estate which had been for some time in the market, and meant to build a new house, and live constantly at it. This was a matter of great joy to us, for it brought hope of employment, for a time at least; and James brightened up. The weather was no sooner favourable, than the new proprietor came to survey his purchase, and plan his improvements. A number of labourers were employed, and James among the rest; for he was first in his application. The captain, struck by his cleanly and military appearance, was much taken with him, and inquired as to his services. James gave a modest account of them, and retired, the captain making no observation at the time; but it was observed that he oftener stopped and spoke to him than to any other of his work-people, and observed him more closely. Still nothing uncommon had occurred to James, more than the rest. He received his wages the same as the others, and was most assiduous to please and give satisfaction to his employer. Since his return, he had been most punctual in his attendance at church, and zealous in his religious duties—for he felt all the heart-consoling comforts they are calculated to bestow; and thus had won back to himself the approbation of his own mind and the esteem of others, who had formerly thought very lightly of his principles and conduct.

The consequence was, that James (who, before he went from among us, was well skilled in all the branches of agricultural labour) was appointed grieve by the new proprietor over his estate, towards the end of the harvest, and put into possession of a neat house before the winter commenced. All obstructions to his wedding with Jeanie Aitken were now removed; they were married, and after the wedding she left the widow's cottage for her own house, a happy bride; but the Widow Blair would not leave her cottage to live with them. Years thus rolled on; James's family had increased to three, two boys and a girl, when Widow Blair paid the debt of nature, and was buried beside her husband. James had accumulated a small sum of money by his industry and strict economy, when his excellent and worthy master died suddenly, and he was again without a way to live, though in much better circumstances than when he had first returned. He was now under a great necessity to exert himself, but he could not at once make up his mind as to the manner. He at last resolved to emigrate, and set sail for Sydney towards the fall of the leaf. I have parted with relations and dearest friends, but never did I feel a sharper throe than when I last bade farewell to James Blair and Jeanie Aitken.

But I have often a letter from them. In my last, James says he is prosperous far above his deserts. He is sole proprietor of thousands of sheep of the best breed; and has the range of more land than he can ride round in a long day.


THE WHITE WOMAN OF TARRAS.

Up among the wild moors of Liddlesdale and Ewesdale rises the Tarras, a small, black-looking stream, which, after dashing and brawling through scenes as wild as itself, joins the Esk near Irvine, about twelve or fifteen miles from its source. In the olden time, the banks of the Tarras formed one of the favourite resorts of the freebooters of the Scottish Borders, who, in the midst of their inaccessible morasses, either set pursuit at defiance, or made an easy conquest of those who were foolhardy enough to follow them into their strongholds. They have long ceased their roving and adventurous life—pursuer and pursued have long been lying in the quiet churchyards, or slumbering in their forgotten graves among the wild hills where they fought and fell; but Tarras has since been haunted by other spirits than the turbulent ones of whom we have spoken; for, when the days of rapine and murder were past, it was but natural that superstition should people the wild and desolate morasses with the spirits of the departed.

The "march of intellect" is gradually trampling under foot the legends, omens, and superstitions which formerly flourished in their strength amid the wild fastnesses of the land; and they are seldom talked of now but as things that have been, but never will be again. The incidents upon which the present tale is founded were matters of common conversation some sixty or seventy years since, and the belief in their truth was general and implicit; now, they only live in the recollection of the aged, like a half-forgotten dream in their early days. It was from an infirm old man, the son of our ghost-seer that the tradition was obtained.

Late one evening, in the autumn of 17—, Willie Bell, the blacksmith, was standing at the door, wondering what had become of his apprentice, John Graham, who had left Clay-yett that morning, to go to the neighbouring town of Langholm, where his father was lying dangerously ill. It was bright moonlight—calm and beautiful; the few clouds seen in the sky lay still and motionless on the horizon, like barks becalmed at sea, only waiting for a breeze to waft them.

"I hope naething has happened the callant," said Nelly, the guidwife; "it's a bonny nicht—he canna hae tint the gate."

"Hout, na," said Willie, "he kens the gate as weel's I do mysel—there's nae fear o' him; but I'm thinkin, maybe, his father's waur than he expeckit, and he'll be bidin at the Langholm a' nicht."

"Puir chiel! I did hear tell that his father was waitin on; but I hope he's no that far gane yet."

It was now near nine o'clock, and the good folks were beginning to be rather uneasy about John Graham, who had faithfully promised to return before eight, when they heard the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps, and presently the object of their solitude appeared, running at the top of his speed, and looking anxiously behind him, as if dreading pursuit, or flying from danger. He soon reached the cottage, and staggered to the door, where he leaned, apparently quite exhausted. His face was ghastly pale, large drops of perspiration stood on his brow, and his limbs trembled as if he were under the influence of ague.

"Mercy on us!" said Nelly, looking wonderingly and anxiously in his face, "what ails the callant? Speak, my bonny man! What ails ye?"

"Gie's a sowp water," said John Graham—"I'm amaist deed."

The water seemed to revive him a little, and he stared wildly around him.

"D'ye see ought?" said he; "eh!—what's yon?"

"Hoot, the laddie's daft; there's nought yonder but just the holly buss, lookin, for a' the world, like a man body in the moonlicht."

"Eh, whow!—eh, whow!" groaned the poor boy to himself, burying his face in his hands. "Nelly!" said he, at last, slowly and solemnly, "tell me the truth! When a body sees a ghost, is it no a warnin that his ain time's no far aff?"

"Hout, na! I hae seen half-a-score ghosts mysel, and I'm no a bit the waur. Some folks threep that it's no canny to speak to a ghost; for, if ane does, there's sure some mischief to follow."

"Deil's i' the woman, clatterin about ghosts!" said the blacksmith; "it's silly havers aboot them athegither. What is a ghost? It canna be a body—for we ken that the bodies o' the dead are moulderin in the grave; it canna be a soul—for what could gar a happy speerit come back frae heaven to revisit this wearisome warld?—and frae the ither bit, Auld Clootie wad tak far owre guid care o' them to let e'er a speerit among them won back again. Na, na! there's nae sic thing as ghosts."

"Whether there's ghosts or no," said John Graham, solemnly, "I'm thinking I've seen ane the nicht. Gude be thankit, I didna speak till't!"

"Seen a ghost!" cried Nelly. "Eh, John!—whar was't?—what was't like?"

"Oh, like a holly buss, I'se warran," said the blacksmith, sneeringly; "or like a mucklecalf, or the shadow o' himsel."

"Never heed him, John, lad," said Nelly; "say yer say, and tell us a' about it."

Weel, Nelly, ye see, I'd been at the Langholm, and I fand my puir faither just waitin on, and my mother maist dementit, sabbin and greetin fit to kill hersel; and the doctor was fleechin on her to haud her tongue, and no disturb her husband in his last moments; and sair wark had we baith to keep her quiet. The doctor tell't us that my faither had just come to the warst, and that it was just the toss up o' a bawbee whether he lived or died. Weel, about the four hours, my faither fell into a sound sleep, and when he awakened up again, he'd gotten the turn; and the doctor said if he was keepit quiet, there was nae fear but he'd won owre it. Eh, but my mother was a pleased woman, and whan she gied the guidman the cordial, she kissed him, and cried out affectionately, "Geordie! Gude be thankit, ye're spared till us! Gae to sleep, my man."

She then steekit the door, and cam ben and took a muckle bottle oot o' the cupboard, and mixed a glass o' real guid toddy, and said to me—

"Tak this afore ye gang hame, my bairn; 'twill do ye nae harm; drink it, and be thankfu that yer faither's life's spared. Ye maunna bide ony longer, but get back to yer maister's as fast as ye can; it's bonny moonlicht, and young limbs mak quick wark. Guid-nicht! His blessin be wi' ye!"

Weel, I made the best o' my way owre the hill, and was aye thinkin o' my faither, and what a sad thing 'twad hae been if he'd been taen frae us; when, just as I'd gotten to yon side o' Tarras, and was passin a holly buss near the Gallsyke, I felt a' at ance, I canna tell hoo—the air seemed quite cauld and damp, a tremblin cam owre me, my flesh seemed as if 'twere creepin thegither, and a fear o' I dinna ken what garred me look roun, and there, as I'm a leevin man, no sax yards frae me, walkin the same gate wi' mysel, was a leddy a' dressed oot in white. It was bricht moon licht—I couldna be mistaen, I saw her as plain as I see yersel at this moment. I rubbit my een, thinkin I micht be dreamin—for I'd heard tell o' folk walkin in their sleep—but, na! there she was still. I didna ken hoo it was—whether it was the glass o' toddy my mother had gien me, or that I didna dread there was onything forbye common aboot her—but I didna feel at a' afeard o' her, though I still had the same unco oot-o'-the-way scudderin, and dread o' something I couldna conceive what. To tell the truth, I was mair pleased nor feared, to see a leevin body sae near me, and me sae fearfu in mysel. Weel, there she walkit, never turnin her head to the richt nor the left, and me glowrin at her, but no daurin to speak; for she was grandly dressed, just like a leddy, wi' pinners on her head, and buckles glintin in her shoon. There was a little wind at the time, but it never stirred her claes, and her feet gaed fast o'er the grund, but nae sound cam frae them; I didna notice a' that at the time, but I minded it after.

"We had gotten as far as the auld aik-tree yonder, when, while I had my eye upon her—while I could tak my Bible aith she was there beside me—she was gane as clean's a whistle. I lookit ahint the tree—I lookit a' round me, but I seed nought; and then a' at ance, the thocht cam into my head that I'd seen a ghost. I couldna doot it, for the cauld air had passed awa wi' her, and I felt as if the chill had gaen clean out o' my bluid; for when I cam to think o' the awfu' company I'd been in, I maist swarfed wi' fear; and as soon's I cam roun, I set aff for hame as fast's my legs wad carry me."

"Weel, that beats a'," said the blacksmith; "ye've seen the White Leddy o' Tarras!"

"And wha's that?" said John Graham.

"Come yer ways in, lad, and sit doun, and I'll tell a' I ken aboot her, for I'm thinkin nane o' us 'll be for gaun to bed enow; and it's better for ye to be sitting by the cheerfu ingle than cowerin aneath the bedclaes. Nelly, woman! gie's oot the whisky—the puir lad 'll no be the waur for a sowp, and I dinna care to tak a drap, to keep him company."

After they were all comfortably seated, and had dispelled the thoughts of spirits with the toddy cup, Willie began his story:

It's nae mony years sin' there lived a man o' the name o' Archy Brown, at the Windy Hill, up by yonder. He was a puir weaver body, wi' a wife and a hantel o' weans, and sair wark he had to keep the house owre his head. The wife was a clean, canty body, and keepit a'thing trig and comfortable, and made the maist o' what she could get, and that was but little; but content, they say, is better than riches, and she aye keepit her heart abune, and tried to mak her guidman as contented as hersel. But it wadna do—Archy was a disappointed, unhappy man; he was aye grumbling at his hard fate, and wonnerin what he'd dune, that he should be forced to work hard for his bread, whan ithers, nae better than himsel, he thocht, were sittin wi' their hans afore them, doin naething ava. But this wadna do; it taks a stout heart to face a stey brae—and Archy seemed to hae tint his athegither. Wark cam slowly in, and when it did come, it was sair negleckit, till, at last, if it hadna been the respeck they had for his wife, his employers wad hae left him ane and a'. Archy had just suppit his parritch, after a grumlin day's wark in August, and was sittin by the ingle cheek, looking as black as the back o' the lum, and the wife was busy washin the dishes and puttin a'thing richt.

"Hech," says Archy, with a pech, "but this is a weary warld."

"Hoot," said the wife, "the warld's weel enough, if 'twarna the folk that's in't; it's a guid and a bonny warld, Archy, and thankfu we should be that we hae health to enjoy it."

"Thankfu!" said Archie. "My certie! guid richt hae we to be thankfu, and can hardly get the bite and sowp to pit in our mous, when there are sae mony that dinna ken what to mak o' a' their havins!"

"Ou, Archy, man! ye're aye thinkin o' them that's better off than yersel; but think how mony wad be happy to change wi' ye. There's mony a ane this nicht, Archy, that has nae shelter fo his head but the lift abune him, and that's fain to cower ahint the dyke frau the cauld blast."

"Gae 'wa wi' your preachins!" said Archy. "Is't no aneugh to hear the minister on the Sabbath, but I maun be plagued wi' a wife playin hum in my lug a' the day lang?"

The wife held her tongue, but the tears were rinnin doun her cheeks, as she wiped doun the dresser. Archy was a guid-hearted though a fretfu man; and the sicht o' his wife's distress softened him.

"Come, come, Nancy, woman, dinna tak on sae; ye ken I lo'e ye weel—for a kind and guid wife hae ye aye been to me; and ye sudna heed what I say, when the vera heart's bluid within me is soured by disappointment. I could bear't a' weel aneugh for mysel; but to think o' my havin wiled ye frae yer faither's beil hame, to share the fortunes o' a broken man, gars my heart grue; and whiles I feel as if I could risk my saul to the evil ane, to procure ye ease and comfort."

"Oh, Archy! shut such wicked thochts oot o' yer heart, or maybe, whan temptation comes, ye'll tak it by the hand, instead o' resistin it. Mindna for me—I want naething to mak me happy but to see ye pleased; and I'd far fainer see ye smile as ye used to do lang syne, than be the brawest o' the braw withoot it."

The darkness o' night was noo beginnin to spread owre the earth, and Archy and the wife were just ettlin to gang to bed, when a saft rap cam to the door, and a hand tirled at the sneck.

"Wha can that be, in Gude's name?" whispered Nance. "Rise, Archy, man, and speer at them what they're seekin at this untimous hour."

"Wha's that?" said Archy, in a loud tone o' voice, though it trembled a wee when he thocht o' bogles, and rievers, and a' sic-like deevilry.

A saft and gentle voice answered—

"Can you give me a guide over the hills as far as Langholm? I'm a lone unprotected woman, and have lost my way."

"Is there onybody wi' ye forbye yersel?" said the cautious Archy.

"No one. Pray let me in to rest for a short time. I am no beggar; you shall be well rewarded for your kindness."

"Reward!" replied Archy, drawin the sneck—"there's nane needed; it should never be said that Archy Brown, puir though he be, wad keep his door steekin again' them that haena beil."

The door was by this time open, and Nance had lighted the candle. The stranger walked in. Great was the surprise o' baith at the unexpected sight; they were maist as frightened as if they'd seen a bogle. The stranger was a tall, handsome woman, a' dressed oot like a leddy, wi' pinners on her head, and a' sorto' whirlygeerums—I dinna ken their names, but, howsomever, they a' gaed to prove that she was a leddy, and no ane like themsels; and when she spak, her voice was saft and gentle, and her words as grand as if they were oot o' a printed book. Then she had grand buckles in her shoon, and rings on her wee white hand, and a'thing grander aboot her than they'd ever seen afore. Weel, she sat doun by the ingle cheek, and askit again could they furnish her wi' a guide to Langholm; and they persuadit her to bide where she was a' nicht, and Archy wad gang wi' her himsel the neist morning. It was lang ere they could gar her stop; but there were nae roads herewa in thae days; and she was feared to gang farrer by hersel, and Archy dounricht refused to leave the hoose. She tell't them she had come fra the south country and that she was travellin to Embro to see a freend; and aye as she spak she sighed and sobbit; and when she laid aff her rich manteel, they saw that a' wasna richt; and they lookit at her hand, but there was nae weddin-ring upon't; and then Nance lookit in her face, and saw dule and sorrow there, but naething waur—for her beauty was like that o' a sorrowin angel; and she had sic a look o' innocence, that Nance dreaded she had been beguiled by the warmth and innocence o' her heart—that she was aiblins a puir thing mair sinned again' than sinnin; and Nance's ain heart warmed till her, and she fleeched on, and made muckle o' her. Sair did the puir thing greet; but she never loot on wha she was, or where she cam frae, or wha 'twas she was seekin; but said that she was a wanderer and an ootcast, and nae leevin soul cared for her, and the sooner she was dead the better for hersel. Puir Nance was sair put aboot to comfort her; but at last she persuadit her to sup some milk and bread, and gang to her bed. Archy and Nance sleepit on the flure—at least Nance sleepit, for Archy couldna; the deil was busy wi' him; the siller buckles and the braw rings were aye glintin in his een whenever he steekit them, and hinner't him frae sleepin. He closed his een and tried to snore, and to fancy that he was sleepin; but aye the langer he tried, the waur and the wickeder were the thochts that cam intil his head; till at last he got up on his elbow, and sat glowrin at the bed where the stranger leddy lay soun sleepin; and aye the langer he lookit, the mair he thocht what a happy man he wad be if he had a' her braw rings, and the gowd that was in her purse, and her siller buckles and a'. Weel, neist morning, the leddy waukens up, and cries to Nance that 'twas time for her to tak the road; but Nance wadna hear tell o't till she had gien her her breakfast.

"It's no muckle we hae," said Nance; "but, sic as it is, ye're welcome to a share o't. Just sup yer milk and bread, while Archy snogs himsel up to gang wi' ye."

As soon as they'd finished their breakfast, the leddy took oot a bonny silken purse, that looked as if it wad burst, and gied Nance a piece o' gowd.

"I'm no for't," said Nance; "there's nae needcessity, ye're vera welcome to a' ye got."

But the leddy wad insist upon her takin it; while Archy's een glistened at the sicht o' the purse, and he bit his lip, and his breast gaed up and doun like the bellows o' the smiddy, and his fingers opened and shut upon his thigh, like the claws o' a cat just gaun to loup at a mouse.

The morning, though calm, was cauld; but, aboot twa hours after they had left, Nance heard the sough o' a comin wind. It was an awesome and an unca sound—she had never heard the like afore—it was like the groans o' the deein; and, as she hearkened till't moanin past the door, she fancied she heard a body cryin for help. Nance was terribly frightened; for it seemed to her that the wind was no just a common wind, but the voice o' a speerit—a kind o' whisper fare anither warld. A' at ance, there cam sic a blast as was never seen nor heard afore nor since, at the Windy Hill. A' the winds o' heaven seemed to hae been let loose at ance, and the noise o' their roarin was loud as the loudest thunder. Nance ran out o' the hoose, thinkin that clay wa's couldna even bide the brunt o' sic a storm; and there she waited for the upshot. She cowered down on the ground, and covered her head wi' her apron, while the noise o' a thousand storms was around her. Nance thocht it strange that she didna feel the wind as weel as hear't and she keek't out frae under her apron—and there was nae visible appearance o' the presence o' the storm: the sound was a ragin tempest round her; but the lang grass was standin unshaken, and the leaves o' the trees were without motion. A dread o' the powers o' the air cam owre Nance—she thought she heard their bodily voices about her—and, wi' a loud skirl, she swarfed awa on the grund! Some o' the neighbours had seen Nance fa', and cam rinnin to help her; but it was lang or she was a'richt again. When she cam round, she steekit her een, and stappit her lugs—moanin, "Oh, that wind!—that awesome wind!" The neighbours a' wondered; for nane but Nance had heard aught extraordinary. Nance waited lang for Archy to come in to his dinner; but it was weel on to the gloamin when he cam back. Nance heard his fitfa, and ran to the door to meet him—

"Eh, but ye've been lang o' comin, Archy! How did ye leave the leddy, puir thing?"

"Oh, she's safe at the end o' her journey," replied Archy, wi' a kind o' laugh that sounded unco like a groan.

"Puir body," said Nance, "she maun hae been sair wearied; but, Archy, ye maun hae been maist blawn awa wi' that awesome wind."

"What wind?" said Archy; "there wasna ony wind; it was as lown as a simmer day."

"Oh, man, ye dinna say sae! Aboot twa hours after ye left this, there cam on sic a storm, that I thocht the house wad come doun on my head, and——"

"Twa hours," said Archy; and he turned as white's a clout, and the cauld sweat stood on his face.

"Mercy on us, Archy," said the wife, "what ails ye? Ane wad think he'd heard that awfu wind yersel; it maist frichtened me to death. It was for a' the warld, whan it first beguid, like the groans and moans o' a deein body."

"Haud yer whisht, woman," said Archy, very short-like; "its no canny to talk o' sic things. Hae, tak my coat, and pit it awa i' the kist."

"'Odsake, Archy!" cried Nance, haudin the coat to the licht; "what in Gude's name, is this that's on't—Its bluid! Where got ye that?"

"Ou," said Archy, "there was a man killin a muckle sou in Tarras, and he cried to me to help him, and I didna mind that I'd gotten a guid coat to my back."

"Weel, that beats a'! Here's ane o' the bonny rings the leddy had on her fingers in yer pocket! How cam ye by that?"

"What's your business, woman?" said Archy, wi' an oath. "Did I no tell ye afore, that the leddy was safe and sound at her journey's end? She wad insist on giein me the ring, to keep for my kindness to her."

"Did she no send ony word back by ye?"

"Ay, she thankit ye for yer kindness, and said she'd send ye word when she got to the far end——But it'll be long or that," muttered Archy to himsel.

Weeks and months gaed by, but still nae word cam o' the leddy; and puir Nance was wae for her; for she dreaded something uncommon had happened her. Archy gaed to Embro', and cam back wi' siller, and a lang story how an auld friend had died, and left him a hantle money.

The leddy was never heard tell o' again—she had nae kith nor kin to speer after her—she cam like a dream, and vanished like ane; but there's a stane on the banks o' Tarras, wi' a mark upon it that o' the storms and floods o' years heena been able to wash oot—it's the mark o' blood; and aft sin syne the figure o' a leddy, o' dressed in white, has been seen wanderin in the mirk or the bright moonlicht, and aye vanishin like a flaff o' lichtnin. A sober man may pass the Tarras a hundred times, and see nought; but, after a Langholm hiring-day, or a July fair, if a man hae taen twa-three cheerers forbye common, he's maist sure to see the White Leddy o' Tarras!

END OF VOL. XII


[1] A case of this kind occurred also in or near the town of Dundee in Scotland, where the glass was limited to the same regions—below the lumbars.






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