The Three Perils of Women, Vol. 2
Author(s): Hogg, James
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THREE PERILS OF WOMAN;
A SERIES OF
DOMESTIC SCOTTISH TALES.
PRINTED BY JAMES BALLANTYNE & CO.
THREE PERILS OF WOMAN;
Love, Leasing, and Jealousy.
A SERIES OF
DOMESTIC SCOTTISH TALES.
BY JAMES HOGG,
AUTHOR OF "THE THREE PERILS OF MAN,"
"THE QUEEN'S WAKE," &c. &c.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
The fam'ly sit beside the blaze,
But O, a seat is empty now!
LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN,
THREE PERILS OF WOMAN.
Love. — Continued.
How do you affect this young gentleman,
now that you have been long acquainted
with him, daughter?" said Mrs Bell:
"for I perceive that you are likely to have
both him and these immense properties in
"Nay, how do you affect him, dear mother?
You know I wont be either courted
or married without your consent, and I
cannot have it here. For, tell me, have you
not already given your consent to my wedding
with your gallant nephew — nay, proffered
me on him? And how can you, in
conscience, propose another match, while
that understanding remains in force?"
"I will take the responsibility of that on
myself, daughter. He is a man to be used
by us, not we by him. In the mean time,
I want to know seriously how matters stand
between you and this Squire M'Ion; for,
during your fit, you raved of him without
intermission, and in a strain of vehemence
that almost frightened me."
"Oh me! did I speak of him when I was
ill? But I did not know what I said then,
so you need not mind that."
"But you were going to skew me a letter
from him, which you have forgot."
"Oh no, indeed! — Not from him! — I
never had a letter from him."
"I know, Gatty, that Jaggs brought
you two letters, and that one of these had
agitated you so much that it threw you into
a swoon. And, moreover, you were going
to skew me that letter, when the unopened
one from Mrs Johnson popped into
"Surely I had a letter," said Gatty,
trembling, and fumbling about her pocket
and clothes. "Surely I had a letter; but
the contents of it are like a dream to me.
No, the thing is impossible! — Did Jaggs
say that he gave me two letters?"
"He did, he did. Where is the letter that
made you scream out, and faint in the reading?"
"Surely I had a letter; but it is gone if
I had," said Gatty. "If I had another letter,
it was from cousin Cherry, and I am the
most unfortunate and miserable being that
has life. But I cannot believe it. I have
no other letter; and must have had a strange
dream about one when I was in a trance.
She had a singular dream about a precipice
of glass, the name of which was Love; but
it was not that that was in my head; for,
I think, I dreamed that Cherry Elliot was
a bride, and that I was to be bride-maid,
and pull her glove, and walk with her to
church. — Are you sure I received another
letter by the post to-day?"
"Quite certain, child. Call the boy, he
will inform you as he did me."
"No, I dare not ask him. — What time
of the day is it?"
"It is dinner time. We shall have a
walk in the afternoon."
"The letters will not yet be put into the
post-office at Edinburgh. Oh, what a dreary
time must elapse before they reach this!
— Bring me my Bible, and suffer me to lie
down; I am not very well. Could I but
turn my mind to any thing but that! —
Good Heavens! if the thing be possible,
what a proud, precipitate, and wretched fool
I have been! But I shall be the sufferer,
and it is but justice that I should. I will
go and lie down. I have often taken to my
bed of late."
Child, your behaviour, and the cause
of your distress, are mysteries to me; and,
between a mother and only daughter, such
things should not be."
"It will all come to light time enough,
dearest mother; all time enough, both for
thee and me. I am a merchant, whose venture
is all in one ship; and, when the gallant
vessel is come within sight of the bay,
the richest freight that eye ever greeted, I
know of one shoal that must prove fatal to
all my splendid hopes. — Can a promise of
marriage be broken on the part of a gentleman?"
"No, no; on the part of a real gentleman
it cannot. Have no fears about that."
"Then farewell, mother! I am going to
sleep, and would to heaven that I never lifted
my eyes again!"
Gatty threw herself on the bed, and turned
her face to the wall; and, unmoved and
unmoving as Mrs Bell's temper was, which
was like a frozen sea, that suns cannot
thaw nor storms ruffle, she was for a time
rendered motionless. It was while trying
to guess at the true circumstances of her
daughter's case; but she could not, and
went on in her usual way.
Old Daniel came in from the tup-park
to a late dinner, still in high glee, pleased
that in such hard times there had no addition
been made to his family in the course
of the day; but the parlour table stood uncovered,
and the ladies were not there.
"Grizzy, ye muckle unfarrant bosom!
what for hae ye no set down the dinner?"
"Aw thought it was endless to clap down
a dinner, till aw saw somebody to eat it. Aw
never saw naebody at sic a speed as awm;
for it's aye Grizzy this, an' Grizzy that, an'
Grizzy every thing. Aw wuss somebody
had Grizzy pinned up atween their een."
"What! for a pair o' spectacles, ye jaud?
I think them that see through you will hae
"Aw kens some that wad see nocht o'
their's there, the main sheame to them."
"Come now, Grizzy, my sonsy woman,
ye ken I darena encounter your wit, it is sae
biting. But, in the first place, tell me what
ye hae for dinner; in the second place, how
lung we'll be o' getting it; and, in the third
place, where your auld and young mistresses
"In the first pleace, than, ye sall get a
haggis an' a hworn spoon; an' in the second
pleace, gin ye dinna blaw it will burn ye;
an' in the third pleace, the mistress an' the
miss are at the auld trade o' baskets-meakin'.
Now, aw thinks aw hae gi'en ye as good as
"My certy, woman, but ye hae done that!
Why, Grizzy, thou's a perfect razor, an' cuts
through bane an' gristle. But what do you
mean, ye collop, about baskets-making?"
"Whoy, what does aw mean? Ye ken
that afore ane meakes baskets, he maun cut
wands to be them?"
"Weel; all', in cutting the wands, ane
whiles cuts a finger."
"Weel, an' what then?"
"Whoy then the blood comes, an' it maun
be rowed up wi' a clout. — Ha, ha, ha! aw
thinks aw'll learn grit focks to snap wi' me!"
"You will sae; for siccan wit I never
heard flee frae a pair o' lips. Pray drop it,
lovely maid, and let us mind the ae thing
needfu'. Is Gat quite better?"
"O na, na! Ower again; siching and
sabbing as sair as ever. Some focks leykes
the bed unco weel. But aw needsna tell
you that; ower him an' ower him meakes a
gude shear, an' focks maun fail some time."
"That wit o' yours has carried you quite
up among the mist the day, Grizzy; I dinna
understand a word o' your meaning."
"O, unco leykely! An the cat rin away
wi' the haggis-bag i' the time o' the grace,
where wull ye be than? — Are ye settled yet,
measter? How's the pain i' your midriff?
Ha, ha, ha, ha!"
"That's what we get for joking wi' our
servants," said Daniel, grumbling, as he
went ben the house; "naething but impertinence.
An I took mair o' the mistress's
advice, I wad get mair honour."
His wife joined him at table, and they
had a long consultation about their daughter's
case, of which Daniel could not comprehend
one item: for he still asserted, that
"as long as she was free maid an' leal, he
wad laugh at a' ither stuff; about love, an'
promises, an' siccan flirry-flarry; for an ane
wadna anither wad, an' that made farms sae
dear, an' toops sae cheap."
Gatty spent a restless and unhappy night
and morning. To use a homely expression,
she lay among nettles all the time; and her
mother perceiving that a letter of some importance
was expected, had got it settled
with her daughter that she was to be made
acquainted with the contents. She saw
nought in Mrs Johnson's former letter that
tended to aught but good; and, resolved to
find out the source of her daughter's mental
distress, she took care to be present both
when the boy was dispatched to the post-office,
and when he returned.
Two letters actually arrived; and one of
them being directed to Miss Bell, her mother
carried it up, and presented it to her
in her little bed-chamber; for Gatty had
been two or three times up and down that
morning, and at that instant reclined on her
bed dressed in her wearing apparel.
She took the letter with a smiling countenance,
but it was almost the smile of vacancy
that dilated the lovely and glowing
features. With a trembling and hurried
hand she opened the seal, cast her eyes rapidly
from the head to the bottom of every
page, and then, flinging it to her mother,
she hid her head in the counterpane to listen.
The old lady read as follows: —
"MY DEAREST CHILD,
"Did I not say to you, that my happiness
was too transcendent to be enjoyed without
alloy? Alas! how shall I express to you
my grief and disappointment! The union
of my two children, that on which, of all
earthly things, my heart was the most set,
is strangely and fatally obstructed; so
strangely, that it seems to have been the
will of the Almighty to counteract it, — and
that is all the plea, of reconciliation to the
disappointment which I have to offer either
to my own heart or yours. What do you
think, my improvident Gatty? From the
first hour that my son knew you, you were
the sole object of all his love and all his
ambition. There never was living man who
loved with a more pure and ardent affection;
and it was only from a full conviction of
your settled and growing aversion, that he
was of late reluctantly compelled to abandon
the happy prospect, in which he had indulged,
of an union with you. Would you
believe it? I wept like a child, when, with
tears in his manly eyes, he recounted to me
the plans of life he had laid out, with you,
and himself, and Joseph united; and to
think how all these have been blasted by
a shy and maidenly misunderstanding, is
enough to rend the misguided heart! When
he saw that you had fled from his society,
as a thing no longer to be borne, it seems
he had begun to cast about for happiness
elsewhere; and, taken with the unaffected
kindness and childish simplicity of little
Cherry, what does he, but, in the bitterness
of disappointment, offer her his heart and
his hand; which were at once accepted with
gratitude, and without either a blush or a
frown. He has promised her marriage immediately,
and the poor little innocent being
is all on tiptoe expecting the wedding-day;
so that, instead of my own darling,
the pride and flower of the Lowland Border,
the simple, half-witted, fortuneless
Cherry Elliot is to be my daughter-in-law.
The very idea is absolutely insufferable. I
told him you loved him — loved him with an
affection so ardent, that it had rendered you
scarcely mistress of your words or actions,
and that you were not accountable for
"Is this true?" said Mrs Bell, laying
the letter on her knee.
Gatty was so dreadfully agitated that
she could not answer her.
"You have indeed been a silly girl, and
acted the part of a fool," continued she. —
"Love, fortune, and titles, all sacrificed for
She lifted the letter, and went on: —
"I told him farther, that your heart
would break; that — I knew it, from the ardour
and warmth of your affection for him, —
you were incapable of supporting life without
him. — 'I would rather die myself,' said
he, 'ere I violated the affections of that inestimable
young lady. But what can I do?
I would willingly lay down my life for her;
but my honour is engaged, and I cannot
lay down that.'" —
Gatty uttered a long and profound groan,
and there is little doubt it was from the
The letter went on: —
"'Why did none of you tell me of this
sooner? It has rendered me wretched for
life! Let me act which way I will, I must
now be wretched!' — ‘Cherry is a mere
plaything,' said I; 'a creature so light, so
thoughtless, and so volatile, that she will
be as glad to be off with you to-day, as she
was to be on with you the one preceding.' —
'If I thought that,' said he. — 'You may
think so with safety,' added I. 'And is
the life of Agatha Bell to be thrown away
for a toy? Ah, my dear son, you must not
think of it! The happiness, nay, the life of
her you love, your own happiness, and that
of your only surviving parent, all depend
on this one act of yours, and you must
arouse your spirit to its accomplishment.
Consider that, with Cherry's lightness of
heart, the alteration in the arrangement can
in nowise affect her; and consider the injustice
you would do to Cherry, were you
to marry her while your heart is wholly
another's. It is absolute prostitution, and
must not be thought of.'" —
Gatty turned herself twice over on the
couch; and, rising up on her elbow, desired
her mother to read these sentences over
The old lady complied, and added, that
the worthy nurse was quite right, the thing
was not to be thought of.
"God keep me from being selfish!" said
Gatty. "Let me try to put myself in my
cousin's place, and behave as I could wish
her to behave to me: but one cannot help
her heart's wishes. — I think, mother, I shall
get up. I am wearying to be out, to get a
"Do, my dear," said Mrs Bell. "But
I have only a few lines to read; remain
where you are till you hear the letter out."
She went on: —
"'It is absolute prostitution, and must
not be thought of.' — When I said this, my
dear son eyed me with a piteous look, and,
groaning in spirit, said, 'Consider, my dearest
friend and parent, that my word of honour
is engaged, — my hand is pledged to
an amiable child of nature. Bid me do any
thing, but do not compel me to break my
word of honour. How could I address poor
Cherry, and tell her, that she must give up
her claim, or that I had retracted? No, no!
wretched I must be; but my kind and sweet
little Cherry must not be kicked aside, and
left to perish as a thing of no value!' — And
with that he rose and left me; but he was
so much moved, that my heart bled for
"I have begged of him to come and see
you; to write to you; to write to your father;
to Joseph; — in short, to do any thing
to keep up the connexion with you, and
postpone the consummation of his arrangements
with Cherry; but hitherto, as far as
I can judge, I have entreated in vain. —
What is to be the issue I cannot foresee,
but I dread it will be nothing good. Be
assured, my dear Gatty, you have always
one sincere friend, who will never lose sight
of your interests, or of your wronged affections
for a moment.
"Yours ever, &c.
"Well, child, how do you feel now in
this dilemma?" said Mrs Bell.
"As one whose hope is utterly lost," replied
her daughter. "I have now done with
every thing in this world, one only excepted;
and it is time I were turning my mind
seriously to that."
"I think otherwise," rejoined the dame;
"but if you had asked my advice, matters
had never come to this pass. Still, I conceive,
that, with a little coercion, your lover
may be reclaimed. What is Cherubina Elliot,
that she should be suffered to derange
the affairs of her betters? A toy! that we
sent, at our own expense, to get a little education,
and be a sort of a companion, or rather
an upper waiting-maid to attend to
you: and she to set up her baby-face to be
an obstacle to the desires of so many people
of quality! I will tell you what I think
should be done with her. She should be
well skelped with a pair of good taws, burnt
on the tips, and sent home to her crazy
mother. I'll write Mrs Johnson without
delay, and order her to do so: — to yerk
the fingers of the urchin till the blood follows
the operation, and then to send her
home with the carrier. Yes, I'll tell her to
send her home with the carrier. She set
up to be a bride, and unite the titles of M'—
and Boroland in one, forsooth! I wish I
had the taws in my own hand, or a good
ducking of the monkey before her lover."
"Cease, dear mother," said Gatty, "and
do not irritate me against my cousin. I
feel I can hardly refrain from hating her,
and it is neither my duty nor my right to
do so. Yet I cannot say she is blameless,
for it was she who told my lover all my unguarded
expressions, which provoked him
so much — things that I uttered when I,
hardly knew what I said. You have now
found out the latent cause of all my inconsistencies
and disorders. I have behaved
worse than a child, and it is but justice I
should be the sufferer. Well, Cherry is
the happy girl! what would I give this night
to be the poor little friendless, fortuneless
"How can you say so, daughter? such a
wish, shows the meanness of your spirit. I
declare that little cub — I have no patience
At this part of the colloquy they heard
Daniel's foot coming thumping up the stair,
and instantly he was with them. "What,
in bed again, daughter?" said he. "I wish,
you had a good companion to keep you company
in it, since you like it sae weel. But
aha, lass! ye're no sae far forret as some o'
your neighbours that you little think of. I
hae braw news for ye the day. Hear siccan
a letter as I hae gotten. — Hem!"
"DEAREST UNCLE," — Hem!
"I wrote to my cousin the other day, and
expected a letter back with the post-carrier,
but it is not come, and I therefore address
myself to you to let you know, that I am to be
married as soon as I get your countenance,
and my aunt's, and my cousin's consent to attend
me. But O, dear uncle, you never
heard such news as I have to tell you. That
M'Ion, you know, who persecuted cousin so
much with his love, that he made her fly
the town, finding that he could not get her,
has made love to me; and I once thought
of staying till I took your advice; but you
know I was an orphan, and unprovided, and
I could not find in my heart to refuse him;
so I took him at his word. Now, I wait
but on my cousin coming in to be my best
maid, for I cannot do without her, and I
know she will enjoy my good fortune so
much! And my aunt must also come in,
and countenance me, and help me to buy
my wedding-things; for though I must now
be far above them in the world, and keep
my coach and all that, yet they are above
me as yet, and I wish to pay them all the
attention I can as long as I have it in my
All the time that Daniel had been reading,
his dame kept making a chicking sound
with her tongue by way of derision. But
at this part she lost all patience; and,
snatching at the letter, she tore a piece out
of it; but he wheeled about with his shoulder
to her, and kept his hold. "The chit!
the baby! the impertinent little cub!" exclaimed
she. "Heard any person ever the
like of that? Give me the scrawl, Mr Bell.
I say, give me that provoking hateful
"What to do wi't, mistress?" said Daniel,
turning still round as she advanced on
him. "Stay till I read it out, and then light
your pipe wi't, for aught I care. What ails
ye at our poor fatherless niece's bit wedding
letter, that it pits ye in sic a humstrumpery?
Every ane for her ain hand, and Cherry
Elliot for hers." He went on with the letter.
"But, dear uncle, as I said, you never
heard such news! Is not this M'Ion, who is
my betrothed bridegroom and husband" —
"I say, give me the letter, Mr Bell, that
I may nip it to pieces and burn it."
"Pray do, dear father, burn it before you
Daniel turned his shoulder to them and
went on. —
"M'Ion, who is my betrothed bridegroom
and husband, Mrs Johnson's son —
her own jeetimate son? And he is turning
out to be a lord, and a baron, and a
knight, and a double chief, and has all the
land in the place they call the Highlands.
And I am to be his lady, the right honourable
Lady M'—. Cherry Elliot, the poor
widow's daughter at Gattonside, is to be the
right honourable Lady M'—; and is not
that very extraordinary, uncle?"
"Upon my word it is, niece," said Daniel,
interrupting himself. "And I cannot say
but I rejoice in it as much as if the fortune
had fallen to our own family."
"Now, uncle, you must send in my aunt
and cousin to me directly, for I cannot enjoy
my fortune without mixing my joy with
theirs. And you must come yourself, good
uncle Dan, and give me in marriage; and
Joseph must come and wear the ribbons,
and they shall be knotted with pease of silver
and gold. Think not of the expenses
by the way, for I will pay all the expenses;
I have whole banks at my command. My
lover has given me an order on the king's
bank here for a thousand pounds, and I have
lifted thirty shillings of it already. The
king's great banker smiled as he gave me it,
and said, 'Was I not feared I would soon get
through my fortune if I drew such sums at
a time?' I suppose these men are like all
others, they do not like to part with money;
but I'll astonish him some day, for I'll draw
double the sum, though I should make him
borrow it. Indeed, you know better about
these things, but I wish my lover's money
may be safe enough, for I think the man
had to go into another room and borrow the
money that he gave me.
"Now, I again charge you, uncle, that
you must not neglect me. And if you cannot
get from your tups, my aunt and cousins
must not neglect me; for they must
think what honour I am bringing into the
family, which, I assure you, I enjoy as much
on your accounts, who were always high-looking
people, as my own; and I know my
dear aunt will enjoy the honour very much.
You may tell her, that when I am married I
am to ride with my husband in one coach, and
our servants are to ride behind us in another
coach, so that my very servants will be above
her. So I hope she will think well of her
affectionate niece, for bringing so much respect
and riches to her house. I am very,
very happy, uncle, but I cannot enjoy it without
the company of yourself and the whole
"Your affectionate niece,
Daniel took off his spectacles and looked
his spouse full in the face. There was nothing
to be seen there but gloom, and rage,
and despair. The equanimity of her cold
still temper seemed to be ruffled, as Daniel
had never seen it before, and the first thing
to which that irritation impelled her was to
snatch the letter from him, and to tear and
thrimble it to pieces, for fire there was none
in the room. "Och! what's the matter?"
said Daniel, rubbing his beard with the one
hand, and giving his corduroy breeches a
hitch up with the other. "I canna understand
this! Come, mistress, you and Gat,
ye see, maun make ready for your journey
"Must I, indeed, Mr Bell! And if I do
go, it shall be to whip the urchin with a pair
of leathern taws, and send her home to her
daft mother yammering and blubbering like
a truant school-girl as she is. She a bride!
a right honourable! and ride in her coach,
and her servants above me! The maggot!
The mite of a Gattonside cheese! how I'll
yerk her and yether her! for the house she
lives in is my own!"
"Hout!" said Daniel, "that will never
do. A bride, ye ken, she is. If none of you
will go and countenance my little Cherry,
I'll gang mysel."
Mr Bell, are you not a dunderpate?
Did you ever see farther in your life than
the tail of a tup?"
"Ay, by my certy, have I, mistress!
Shew me the man that will measure ane
better wi' his ee frae the bob o' the tail to
the tip of the nose, an' a' at ae look too!"
"But, for all that, Mr Bell, you do not
see that this minx, Cherry, has undermined
you and me, and all of us; and filched the
fortune and the titles that of right should
have been our daughter's."
"I dinna see that at a', mistress; that
depends entirely on the man's fancy that
the fortune an' titles belang to. I say
again, as Tammy Laidlaw said o' the toop,
Tammy,' said I, 'ye hae gotten fairly the
better in that cut, ye maun gie me up that
good toop again.' 'Na, na, friend,' says
he, 'I want to tak the advantage o' nae
man alive; but when I get the advantage
fairly an' honestly, d—n me but I'll keep
it!' So say I of my poor friendless niece;
since the gentleman has thought proper to
slight our saucy miss, an' bestow a' that
greatness on her cousin, I canna see how
she is to blame in accepting o't. It's never
lost that a friend gets."
"That has been your mode all your life,
Mr Bell, else you might have been the richest
commoner on the Border — to slubber
every thing over that related to your own
interest, above a tup, and a dose of whisky
Daniel set up his hat behind, put both
his hands into his waistcoat pockets, and, seizing
the waist-band of his breeches through
them, he went out of the room whistling,
"When the sheep were in the fauld," very
loud. But his spouse had not done with
him. She seized him by the angle of the
arm, and in a soothing manner besought
him to stay, and she would let him see the
matter in a new light. He complied, and
she read him Mrs Johnson's last letter,
making many sapient remarks on every sentence.
Daniel listened with great attention;
and when he found that his daughter
really was the best beloved, and that the
breaking off of this grand match had originated
in some misconception, he gave a great
grumph; made his eyes reel round all the
ceiling of the little chamber; took a quid
of tobacco, and spit furiously on the carpet.
"Mr Bell, that is perfectly intolerable,"
said his spouse.
"Weel, gang on, mistress. Never mind,"
said Daniel, and thrust his hands into his
waistcoat-pockets. When she had concluded,
he gave another grunt, and added, "It's
rather a hard case this, mistress; but I think
I could manage it an it warna ae thing.
What is to become o' poor Cherry, wi' a'
her wedding braws, an' her order on the
Royal Bank? Confound it, it will never
do. Things maun just take their course."
"Cherry!" exclaimed the dame; "let her
be whipped for her presumption, say I."
"Na, na, mistress," cried Daniel, "nane
of your sklatching in a case of this kind.
The waur you guide her, the mair is he bound
in honour to protect her. I hae another
scheme than that, which, I think, canna
miss. I wonder gin this M'Ion kens ought
at a' about the value of a breed of toops?
Na, na, mistress, ye needna gape an' glowr
an' haud up your hands. The doubling or
tripling of a Highland gentleman's yearly
income is nae flee to be casten to the wa'!
I'll take in hand to do it, or my name is not
Daniel Bell;" and with that he pulled his
right hand from his vest pocket, heaved it
above his head as he spoke, spit out his quid
of tobacco altogether, and came a knock on
the little dressing-table that frightened all
the crows from about the mansion, for the
thought it was the shot of a gun. "An'
mair than that, mistress, I'll settle a bit
handsome portion on my niece, that she may
not miss a venture awthegither; an' wha
is it that says that's no a mair feasible application
to a disappointed bride than a pair
o' taws burnt hard at the ends?" Then in
the pride and plenitude of his wisdom, Daniel
gave the table another blow; made his
eyes goggle once more round the ceiling,
and put his hand again into his waistcoat-pocket.
His wife reasoned long and clearly
on the subject, but Daniel heard nothin
of what she said, so full was his head of his
own grand projects, and victory; for after
thing against my poor cousin; for it is I
who deserve to suffer, and not she. My
hope is lost, — utterly lost; and with this
plain assurance before my eyes, my heart is
broken. I give up all the maddening vanities
of this world; — a first love, with all
its pains and jealousies. And now, dearest
mother, if you would give me heart's-ease,
speak to me of the world that is yet to
Mrs Bell was not very good at that.
She commended religion, but she had not
much to say anent it, being better at vending
long abstract rules of prudence and economy.
She, therefore, tried first to jest
off her daughter's hopeless despair, and afterwards
to reason it off, but without producing
the least effect. The victim of love
remained sunk in apathy, and declared that
she would never rise from that bed. "Since
I cannot have him with honour," said she,
"I give him up; and if you knew how I have
loved, you might then have some idea of.
the pangs I suffer in rending his image from
my bosom. Oh, could I but this day repent
as heartily of my sins, as I do of my behaviour
to him! but to do that of myself is
impossible; all other feelings melt before
the intensity of that regret, which wrings
and gnaws this poor heart without intermission.
All that I now have to beg of
you, mother, is, that you will not torment
me farther by speaking of that which can
only give me pain, or by meddling any farther
with it; for, as the case now stands, no
intermeddling can bring it to good."
Mrs Bell walked about the house in her
usual stately and sailing way, giving orders
about this and that; yet her heart was far
from being at ease about her daughter, who
was going to give up love, fortune, and honours,
at one throw. But that was not the
worst; for she felt that her skin was become
moist and warm, and her pulse fallen
into a quick, fluttering, and intermittent
motion, and these were symptoms that agreed
too well with her daughter's asseverations.
When all the rest retired to sleep, therefore,
the careful matron sat up, and wrote a
long letter to Mrs Johnson, visiting her
daughter's couch at regular intervals, but
saying nothing of what she had been writing.
She neither, however, ordered Mrs
Johnson to whip Cherry, nor to send her
home with the carrier; but she stated to her
her darling's case, and the effect that the
news of her lover's marriage had made on,
her health, copying her own words, that her:
heart was broken, and that she would never
again lift her head from that couch, from
the day he was wedded to another. She
then adverted to the great joy and happiness
that such a connexion with her, (Mrs
Johnson,) would confer on them all, and
conjured her, as she valued all their wellbeings
both in this world and the next,
to urge her utmost influence in breaking
off the one match, and furthering the other.
No pains were to be spared. No stone left
unturned. No fortune refused to Cherry
that she or her crazy mother thought proper
to ask. The letter is too long and formal
to be copied, but that was the substance
Alas for poor little Cherry! Who will
not pity her, with such power and influence
against her, and no one on her side? Had
her lover's heart been fixed, she would then
have been safe, but unluckily that had
been early devoted to another. Ah love!
Into what mazes of grief dost thou lead
lovely woman, without whose angelic form
and eye thou thyself had'st never had a
name, nor beauty a term whereby to distinguish
The next post brought the following letter
to Mrs Bell.—
"MY DEAR FRIEND AND BENEFACTRESS,
"I needed not your letter to put me on
the alert in frustrating this unlucky affair,
and in promoting the alliance between my
brave, my matchless son, and your daughter,
for my heart was as much set on it before
as it was possible to be. I have fought
a hard battle for you, and I think I have
prevailed; but it has been a heart-breaking
business, and I shall hardly forgive myself
for the part I have acted as long as I live.
I must give you the particulars, and then
you may judge of the event. — In the first
place, I entreated, I conjured my son, as he
valued his peace of mind, not to throw away
his first love; assuring him, that her precious
life was at stake. It was impossible
for man to be in a more miserable situation
than he was, between his engagement to simple
and unsuspecting innocence on the one
hand, and strongly rooted affection on the
other, and my heart pitied him; nevertheless,
I pressed him without forbearance to the
course I judged the most proper. In the mean
time, Cherry was never from his side; and
such looks of gratitude and affection I never
saw cast from one human being to another.
Her eye watched his continually; and when.
his chanced to turn on her, she neither
blushed nor looked down, but met his glance
with a smile so full of love, joy, and benevolence,
that it pierced my soul with sorrow
to think of the critical verge on which she
stood. I knew that my son was incapable of
mentioning a separation to her, perhaps even
of giving assent to it; and, therefore, as a
last resource, I resolved to take the hard
task on myself.
"Well, Cherry,' said I, 'so it seems
you purpose becoming my daughter-in-law
one of these days? Why did you never inform
me of this?'
"She answered with great readiness, and
as much propriety, Because, you know, I
thought that did not belong to me. I informed
my own mother and near relations,
and left Mr M'Ion to inform his or not as
"'But, dear Cherry,' said I, do you
really presume to become a lady of quality,
and act a part among the first nobility of
"'It is no presumption of mine,' returned
she very readily. 'The plan and the
proposal came from one whom I thought a
better judge of gentility than either you or
"This poignant answer gave me rather a
better edge for proceeding, and I said, 'My
dear Cherry, I am sorry to inform you that
you can never be my son's bride. I am perfectly
sincere; the thing is impossible.' If
you had seen how she looked in my face!
What amazement was in that look, mixed
with a little offended pride! Still her
answer was not wanting. 'It may be so,'
said she; 'but I will take nobody's word
for that but his own.'
"'You may take my word for it, dear
Cherry,' said I; 'I know that it would
be madness in me to tell you aught but the
truth in this, which is, that his heart was
betrothed to another, and it was only in the
chagrin of imaginary disappointment that
he made a rash offer of his hand to you,
which was accepted ere ever he had time to
reflect on the consequences.'
"The colour then began to part from her
lips, and her cheek grew pale. 'I knew
so much before,' said she; 'for he was too
candid not to tell me that he had loved
another better. But I thought that was
all over; and it was to please him that I
took him at his offer. Whenever he likes
to cast me off, to oblige him I'll submit to
it cheerfully, but only on the condition that
he is to let me love him all my days.'
"How glad was I that my son did not
hear these words! If he had, the whole
world would not have made him cast off
Cherry. But I am cruel. My heart is
adamant, when set on obtaining a desirable
purpose, else I never could have stood this.
I could not speak, but I took her little hand
and kissed it. 'Ah! I see you are going
to relent and let me keep him,' said she,
with a pathos that is inexpressible, save
from lips so simple.
"'The thing is utterly impossible,' said
I. 'His heart is otherwise engaged; and
it would be the most flagrant injustice to
you, were he to give you his hand, while his
heart is devoted to another.'
"'I will take my chance of that,' said
she. 'His heart can never be any thing
but kind to me. Who can it be that he
loves so much better than me?'
"'All concealment is now vain,' answered
I. 'It is your cousin, Miss Bell, who
has the sole possession of his heart.'
"'I suspected as much!' said she with
great vivacity; 'but then I love him
a thousand times better than she, so the
quantity of love will still be made up between
us. I'll not give him up to her; for
she despises him, and has used him vilely.
I will not give him up for one who disdains
"'So far from that being the case,' said
I; 'the news of your espousals have affected
her so deeply, that she has taken to her
bed, and is very ill; and her mother writes
me that she is afraid she cannot survive it.'
"The good creature's countenance altered
again into a shape of the deepest sorrow.
'Ah! mercy on me! that's terrible,'
exclaimed she. 'My dear cousin does not
deserve that at my hand, for she has always
been a good friend to me; and it was she
that made her parents first take notice
of me, when I was very low indeed. I cannot
kill my cousin. But I hope, after all,
it is only a fit of chagrin at my good fortune.
She was rather apt to take the pet
whiles, and go to her bed. But I need not
say that. I find too well how I could bear
it myself. Poor Gatty, I cannot kill her!'
"I then read to her that part of your
letter which related to your daughter's illness,
and her own words, that 'she had laid
down her head on her pillow, and should
never lift it again, after her lover became the
possession of another.' 'So that you see,
my dear girl,' added I, 'if you persist in
holding my son at his word, which he never
will break, you will be the murderer both
of your cousin and him. How could ever
you be happy, or how could he be happy
with you, and such a crime upon your
heads!' Then, for the first time, she fell a
sobbing deeply, and the tears rolled in her
large blue eyes, but did not drop. 'I see
how it is,' said she. — 'I am forsaken. I
am just now like a young bird, that some
vagrant boy has reaved from the nest, and
after carrying it far away from its parents,
he finds a richer covey, tires of the poor little
orphan, and flings it away to shift for itself,
a prey to any hawk or buzzard that
likes to kill it. Well, well! He shall buy
me a yellow gown, the true forsaken colour;
and pull me a willow-flower to wear
for his sake. I wonder, if he were Gatty
Bell's husband, if I might love him?'
"I could hardly speak; but I said,
'Yes, Cherry, you shall love him, and he
shall love you too.'
"'Ah! but then I cannot love him as
I do now,' said she; 'else it would be a
sin. And if he would love me, Gatty would
not let him. I could be content with any
share of his heart, for it is more than I ever
deserved; but I am afraid she knows the
value of it too well to suffer me to share it
"'You can always love and caress him
as a brother,' said I; 'and he will love you
as a sister, far more dearly than it is possible
for him ever to do as his wife, circumstanced
as he now is.'
"'Well, well!' said she; and then the
tears burst from her eyes in torrents, although
her tongue scarcely faltered as she
spoke. 'Well, well! My resolution is taken.
I do not know if she, or any one,
would do as much for me.'
"I put my arm about her neck and tried
to sooth her, by telling her, that she should
have a fortune settled on her that should
render her independent. But she cut me
short, by saying, that any fortune that
would have the effect of making her independent
of him would only add to her misery;
and that she would spurn it. Then
she interrupted herself, 'Ah! but I had
forgot, he must forgive me the sum that I
lifted from the king's banker in his name,
for I am so poor I cannot repay it.'
"'My dear ingenuous girl,' I replied,
take no thought about such a trifle; for
I promise you on my honour, that you shall
have liberty to draw on the king's banker
as long as you live; and that for any sum
that you may either require for yourself,
your mother, or little brothers.'
"'That will indeed be a great matter, on
their account,' said she, 'for I told them I
was going to be a great lady, and would
provide for them all; but disappointments
never come single-handed.'
"At that moment, who should come in
but my son himself, all unconscious of what
had been going on? My blood ran cold to
think of the scene that was likely to take
place; and in what way the painful subject
would be introduced between them. But
Cherry soon put an end to my perplexity
on that score. The little elf is absolutely
a heroine. There is something in the constitution
of her mind capable of being raised
to a height that would render her one of
the first order of mortal beings. She rose
at his approach, as she always does, and extending
her hand to him with a smile of the
utmost benevolence and good nature, said
to him, 'Ah! Mr M'Ion! I am so glad
that you are come just now, for I have a request
to make of you. You are to buy me
a yellow gown with green trimmings, and
green and yellow ribbons for my hair.
These are the true colours for forsaken damsels,
you know, Mr M'Ion; and you are
to pull me a sprig of the weeping willow,
too, to twine with these ribbons. I'll not
have a green leafy sprig, but one of the
early yellow buds that hang down their
heads, and nod and fade so soon. They are
likest myself. Now, will you promise to get
all these for me, Mr M'Ion?'
"'Certainly I will, my love,' said he,
once you are forsaken. But who could
have the heart to forsake so much sweetness
and innocence?' With that he drew
her to his side as he sat down, thinking she
was toying with him; for she said it all with
so much ease of manner that he had no suspicions
of the trial to which she alluded.
"'You once told me,' rejoined she, looking
in his face with the most perfect serenity,
'that you had loved another better than
me; but you did not tell me that you still
loved another better, and had rued your
promise to me.' His colour changed as she
said these words, and he appeared in the utmost
distress. 'It would have been cruel to
have informed you of this, my loved Cherry,'
said he, 'and yet you must have come to
the knowledge of it all too soon, if not also
too late. I have, indeed, rendered myself
wretched; but my sentiments of love and
esteem for you are, and ever shall be, the
same; and, as for my promise to you, that
shall remain inviolate till the day of my
"'So you neither have rued on me, nor
broken your word to me?' said she, with
the same resolute equanimity. 'But, hark,
and I'll tell you a piece of strange news.
I have both rued my promise to you, and
broken it. Nay, you are not to look so distressed,
for I cannot stand that. I know
the whole case; and think you I do not
study the happiness of some others more
than my own?' As she said these words
she drew the Bible to her, merely as if she
had done so mechanically, without knowing
what she did, and opening it somewhere
about the writings of the evangelists, she
continued speaking; for she seemed afraid
that he should begin before her purpose was
fully made manifest. 'See! Do you see
this holy book in my hand?' continued she.
'Before Him, and by Him, who dictated
the words of this good book, with my hand
upon its most sacred page, I swear never to
give you my hand in wedlock as long as
Agatha Bell is living; and all the world
shall not make me break this oath.' We
both sat still in utter consternation at the
heroism of this simple child of nature, without
saying a single word. 'Come now, give
me your hand as a friend,' continued she,
as a betrothed lover no more. That is over.
And give me a kiss into the bargain; it
shall be the last I shall ever ask but one.'
"Never did I behold any thing so transcendant
as the whole demeanour of that extraordinary
girl on this trying occasion; and,
by the way in which my son took her in
his arms and embraced her, I could easily
perceive that he was about to follow her example,
by also entering into some rash vow.
Therefore, I diverted it by taking Cherry
in my arms, and embracing her in my turn;
commending her for the sacrifice she had
made of riches and honours for the happiness
of others; and forthwith proposed, that
my son, having no sisters of his own, should
adopt her as a beloved sister, and protect
and cherish her for life as his second self.
'For, Diarmid,' said I, addressing him
you are not yet aware of the sacrifice she
"'I would sacrifice a thousand times
more for his peace and comfort,' said she,
'were that possible, but it is now out of my
power. I first gave up myself for what I
conceived to be his happiness; but now for
the same object I have given up him; and,
compared with that sacrifice, riches, honours,
and the whole world, are to me as
"Thus ended the most affecting scene I
ever witnessed between two lovers, and I am
still uncertain how matters will bear through.
She watches him with her eye the same as
ever, but her looks seem to be altered. Yet
she talks decidedly of accompanying him to
Bellsburnfoot, and seeing her dear friends,
since they will not come to see her, and of
being her cousin's best maid. So I think,
if matters take no other turn, we shall be
with you in a day or two. Forgive this
large packet, which has cost me near a night
and a day in inditing. — I could not give it
up; and while it was fresh in my mind I
thought it proper to let you know what we
all owe to little Cherry, should our future
prospects turn out according to our hopes.
"Your ever grateful
"P. S. — Call my son still by his former
name. Every one will do so till his rights
and titles are fairly made out. These are
not so much as to be disputed, his uncle's
counsel having given up the plea on the production
of the documents.
The effect that the reading of this epistle
produced on the family group at Bellsburnfoot
may be conceived. The ladies
apparently felt mortified at the resolute behaviour
of Cherry; and, though they spoke
kindly of her, it is probable they wished
she would remain at a distance from them.
Not so old Daniel; he expressed himself
in the most rapturous terms of approbation
he was master of, on the heroic conduct of,
his niece. "I kend she was a fine lassie,
my little Bieny," cried he; "shame light on
the tongue that wad speak o' taking the
taws to siccan a good creature! Let me see
whan ane o' you will do sic a deed. Either
you wi' a' your sees and your saws, mistress, or
your daughter wi' her skirlin fits of love, that
amaist gart me trow ae thing was twae.
But I'll cleed my little niece a' wi' the silk
for this; and gin the callant, Joe, likes to
take her, he shanna want a bit tocher wi'
her. For though her minny was a crazy
limmer, and ran away frae me wi' a red-wud
Elliot, little Bieny has some o' the blood
o' the Bells in her for a' that."
For the ensuing three days there were no
letters, which made the Bells conclude that
the party would to a certainty be with them;
and within doors there was a good deal of
bustle and preparation, so that honest Daniel
could not get any body to speak a word
to, save fat Grizzy, the kitchen-woman, (for
the Border farmers, very properly, never style
any of their servants maids,) and Davie
Shiel, the ewe-herd. The one broke her
incomprehensible wit on her master, and
the other would have talked about tups
with him from morn to even.
"Grizzy, my sonsy lass, come an' gie me
a lift wi' the toop-heck; it's on the wrang
side o' the dyke sin' the wind changed."
"Na, na; ye may get ilka ane o' them
a wife to beild him. They wad maybe lie
on the wrang side o' them too, like somebody
that aw kens. Like draws aye to like, as
the deil said to the blackamoor; an that be
the case, ae toop might gie another a lift."
"Come away, come away, when I bid ye.
I'm no disposed for a jaw just now."
"Ir ye no? The water might be cauld
for your lugs sae soon i' the day. He's a
poor laird wha has naething but tripes an'
puddings to pride himsel o'."
"What are ye jaunderin about, ye haverel?"
"Aw has seen a greater haverel ca' a
nicer out o' the corn though, an' ca' down
the tether-stake too. Take ye that, Maister
"Come away, like a good lass. I'll no
keep ye frae your house-wark aboon ten minutes."
"Some focks might do a great deal in ten
minutes; but aw thinks aw may gang wi'
you, gin ye'll promise to mind me in your
"That I will, that I will; provided ye'll
tell me what to pray for."
"O, aw joost prays aye for three things
D'ye tak me up?"
"Aw joost prays aye to be keepit frae the,
men, the de'il, an' a breed o' toops. Focks
soudna sin their mercies ye ken, maister. —
Gude mornin' t'ye, sir. — An little dogs hae
the langest tails, what's to come o' the
Grizzy went off giggling, and left her
master; for Daniel's servants stood little
in awe of him. He spit out his quid, cursed
her heartily, and then, bursting out a laughing,
be went out to his tups, whistling "Tarry
woo." Such colloquies were occurring at
Bellshurnfoot every hour of the day.
One evening as Mrs Bell and Gatty were
walking by the burn side, they beheld the
Pringleton postchaise leave the turnpike,
and come lumbering up the cart-road. The
two ladies made for home as fast as they
could; but Gatty's limbs failed her so much,
that her mother had almost to drag her in.
When there, she had every appearance of
fainting, for her colour went and came as
quick as the passing shadows of the clouds
over the mountains, when the rack of heaven
flies quickest on the wind.
"I shall never gather courage to meet
him again," said she, "after the way in
which I have behaved. I followed the
course which I thought became the dignity
of my sex, but there never was one who exposed
its weakness so much. Dearest mother,
what shall I do? for I feel I cannot
look him in the face."
"Why, child, you have shewn too much
of that shyness already, which has been to
make up again with interest," said the dame.
"Drop it now for ever; and meet him with
open arms, as an old and beloved acquaintance,
taking no notice of any thing that has
befallen, till an explanation fall in naturally
of its own accord."
Gatty approved of the advice, but was
unable to put it in practice. When the
sound of the coach-wheels fell on her ears
she was obliged to retire; but in a few minutes
Cherry had her in her arms. There
was no reserve of kindness and generosity in
Cherry's whole disposition; they flowed so
freely that they ran beyond their supply.
Gatty returned her embrace with great affection;
but as soon as Cherry's eyes fixed
on her cousin's face, she started back, still
gazing at her, exclaiming with great fervour,
"Ah! I have indeed not been deceived!
you have suffered much more than was represented
to me. Such a change, in so short
a time, I never beheld!"
"I was just about to make the same remark
of you," said Gatty in return; "I
think your looks greatly altered for the
"Me! I never was so well in my life,
nor so merry, nor so happy. Believe me,
cousin, you have taken a load of greatness
from my shoulders that would have crushed
me to nothing."
"Dearest Cherry, how shall I ever repay
your generosity? I am utterly ashamed
"Ay, but your generosity to me began
first, cousin. A body that studies no one's
happiness but her own, does not deserve
that any friend should study her's. Think
you, I will not be happier as I am, seeing
you all so happy, than if I had proved a mere
selfish creature? But indeed you did very
wrong in leaving us: Ah, you did indeed.
You do not yet know the extent of the evil,
but you will know it ere long. I — I mean,
because he did not deserve such treatment
at your hands, that's all."
Mrs Johnson at this moment came in,
and stopped farther remarks on that delicate
It would be endless to recount all that
passed among these attached friends; but
the meeting of the two lovers, after so long
a misunderstanding, was truly affecting. It
is impossible for me to delineate the embarrassment
of Gatty's looks, or the poignancy
of the feelings that warred in her bosom,
where love, shame, and gratitude, were all
in motion. His behaviour to her was marked
with that deference and respect by which
it had always been distinguished; till, by
degrees, the reserve wore off and then the
two indulged in the fullest enjoyment of
Cherry's manner was so marked with hilarity,
either real or affected, that her disappointed
hopes scarcely seemed to mar their
cup of bliss. Daniel's attentions to her
were unintermitted. He caressed her more
than he did all the rest of his family put
together; and not being able to contain his
grand project in her favour, he told her, that
he intended her for his daughter-in-law, by
bringing about a marriage between her and
his son Joseph. Mrs Bell cast her head
very high at this without any farther remark;
but the theme served Cherry for
many an apparently merry hour with Joseph,
when mirth was far from her heart.
She contrived to keep up that or some joke
incessantly; yet, at times, when the lovers
were walking by themselves, she would
sometimes cross her hands and sigh; and
then she could not refrain from always going
to the window, and looking out after
them. On their return into the house,
M'Ion never failed to caress her, toying
with her, and calling her his sister; thereby
pouring the only balm of consolation on
her wounded heart that was in his power to
bestow, and kindling her sunken eye with
a beam of delight. These beams on her
countenance were always as brilliant as they
were short lived, for, alas! they were tasted
with a bitter alloy.
Every explanation having been previously
extracted by letter, the obvious progress
of events was perfectly apparent, and perfectly
understood between the two lovers. There
were no preliminaries to be agreed upon save
one, which Daniel judged to be incumbent
on himself, namely, the doubling of his son--
in-law's income; and M'Ion was actually
bored, night after night, with dissertations
on the value of different breeds of tups, till
there is little doubt of his joining most fervently
in a portion of fat Grizzy's prayer.
I know of no topic so utterly disgusting.
to people not interested in it; yet, over a
part of Scotland, I will defy a stranger to
hear aught else at a social meeting. Converse
with our hinds and shepherds, you
will find men willing to communicate, and
anxious to learn; but with the store-farmers,
it is tups, lambs, crock-ewes, and prices,
without end, and without mitigation. I
would rather sit in a cottage, with an old
wife smoking tobacco, and listen to Ralph
Erskine's Gospel Sonnets.
THE wedding-day at length arrived, and
Dr Kid came up well-powdered to Bellsburnfoot,
where a number of genteel associates
were collected, to wish the young
chief and his lady much joy, and dine with
There was nothing particular happened
that day, save that the bride-maid seemed
peculiarly absent and thoughtful, caring for
nothing, and attending to nothing. What
were the secret workings of her heart it
is hard to say. Perhaps she had still cherished
some feeble spark of hope, that,
through the workings of an inscrutable Providence,
M'Ion might yet be her own;
perhaps it was some hard reflection that
Mrs Bell had thrown out to her in private;
or perhaps it was some inward malady preying
on her vitals. But certain it was, that,
from that day, her manner changed from
the height of apparent gaiety to a sedate
and languid thoughtfulness.
During the time of the momentous ceremony,
when the Doctor desired the parties
to join hands, Cherry, being principal
maid, was standing at the bride's left hand,
like a small comely statue of Corinthian.
marble, as pale and as motionless.
"Join hands," said the Doctor.
Gatty turned her right hand across her
bosom that her cousin might draw her glove,
but Cherry took no notice of it. A pause ensued
in the ceremony; which Cherry never
so much as perceived, but kept her still and
"The parties will please to join hands,".
repeated the Doctor.
M'Ion's hand was already extended: the
bride gave her maiden a quick tap on the
arm to remind her of her duty; Cherry
started as from a dream, but, instead of
pulling off her cousin's glove, she stretched
out her hand to put it into the bridegroom's.
That hand did not open to receive hers.
Poor little Cherry's hand was turned aside;
and the bride, ashamed of the delay on her
part, was obliged to pull off her own glove
with her left hand, and finally gave her hand
to her lover, and with it herself for ever. —
Cherry clasped her hands together, cowered
down, and looked in their faces; then, again
assuming her upright position, her eyes rolled
about from one face to another so rapidly
as to shew that her mind was bewildered.
These looks spoke as plainly, as if she
had said in words, "Where are we? what
have we been about?"
Was it indeed true, that Cherry's generosity
had outrun her capability? That she
had exerted it to a degree, in favour of those
she loved, that she was no longer able to
sustain? If she indeed assumed all that
gaiety to lull asleep every anxiety in the
breasts of the two lovers on her account, it
was a stretch of generosity almost unequalled
in the interminable annals of love. —
That exertion to conceal her real sentiments
was a thing so opposite to her downright
truthful nature, that it must have cost her
much. But, now that it was no longer necesary,
she was weary of it; and the next day
after that of the bridal, she made herself ready,
and manifested her desire of going home
to her mother. She best knew, and she only
knew, the state of her internal feelings, and
she felt that she was sinking into a state
that would render her presence a great drawback
on the happiness of the young couple,
therefore she entreated her uncle to let her
Daniel declared off in a moment. "He
would rather part with his whole family,
Duff's seven sons and altogether, before he
parted with his dear little daughter Bieny;
for his daughter she should be, whether she
became Joseph's wife or not. Now that he
had in a manner lost Gatty, he could not
live without a daughter, and he would not
live without one; and he would let them
a' see, that she should be the best tochered
Lass o' the twa."
"What you say, and what you propose,
is all very proper, Mr Bell," said his cautious
and selfish dame. "You have a right
to protect Miss Elliot, because, you know,
she's your sister's daughter" —
"An' hae I nae mair powerfu' right nor
that?" cried Daniel fiercely, interrupting
"Not that I perceive, sir," said Mrs Bell
with the utmost mildness and suavity of
manners; "for as to the promise of marriage,
that the young people have been
pleased to make a great deal about, why,
you know, if Miss Elliot felt herself injured
in the slightest degree, she could have pursued
"Heard ever ony mortal soul the like o'
that?" exclaimed Daniel: "Od, woman,
ye wad provoke a saunt! — When ye hear
me say I'll part wi' you, or wi' this or that
ordinary thing, that's neither here nor there;
but when I say I'll part wi' my seven best
toops afore I part wi' sic or sic a thing, ye
may be sure I'm serious then."
"Well, a most beautiful and concise explanation
you have given, Mr Bell," returned
she; "and that brings me to what I was
going to say; which was, that although
there is no person whom we like so well to
have about the house as Miss Elliot, — no
person whatever, — yet, if she have urgent
and private motives for going home, I see
no right you have to detain her."
"Never speak to me, woman! Ye're
enough to pit a body mad," cried Daniel,
spitting on the grand dining-room carpet.
"I tell ye aince for a', that my Bieny is
never gaun to be a Gattonside lady ony
mair. I'll gar her haud up her head wi' the
best o' the land yet."
During this bold asseveration, Mrs Bell
rung, and desired Grizzy to bring a cloth
and wipe the carpet.
"Aih me! aw thinks we'll haurdly ken
the track o' a foumart frae that o' a hare
shune," said Grizzy, and cast a triumphant
glance at her master as she left the room.
Cherry still persisted in her resolution,
which was nothing weakened by the hints
that fell from her aunt, until M'Ion and
his bride entered, who soon turned the scale
in Daniel's favour. Gatty requested her to
remain, and accompany her to church, and
on some visiting expeditions; and M'Ion
brought forward an arrangement that was to
take up a whole season, of a journey through
the Highlands as far as Skye, the party to
return by Boroland, and remain there till
the beginning of the winter, which they were
to spend in Edinburgh. In all these arrangements,
he said, he had made up his
mind that his loved sister Cherry was to
bear a part; and he would not only be disappointed
but offended if she refused him.
She had no power to refuse M'Ion any
thing. A hint from him was to her a supreme
law, as it was become indeed to every
one about Bellsburnfoot. Old Daniel said
no more about detaining his little new
daughter, nor Mrs Bell about parting with
her; so Cherry yielded to the bridegroom's
plan without expostulation, but, at the same
time, It was with a rueful smile, as much as
to say, that he had made many kind arrangements
that would never be accomplished.
The mistake that she committed at the
marriage, of offering her hand to the bridegroom
in place of drawing the bride's glove,
was mentioned to her privately by Mrs
Johnson; for though that worthy lady was
now Lady-Dowager M'—, yet, for uniformity's
sake, we shall denominate her by
her old name to the end of the narrative.
Cherry did not remember having done it,
but was greatly shocked at her behaviour;
and said she could not account for her inadvertency
otherwise, than by having thought
so often about going through that ceremony
herself with him. "It was a thing that
constantly haunted my mind," said she,
"with a mixture of terror and boundless
delight, and I was always thinking and
thinking how I should get through it. So,
you see, I had somehow forgot myself, and
thought I was acting the part I had so often
contemplated. — But that never had
been to be," added she, with a deep sigh;
"and I had aye some bodings within me
that it never would."
Mrs Johnson turned away her face, wiped
a tear from her eye, and changed the subject.
The journey to the Highlands was deferred
from day to day, and from week to
week, no one said positively why, though
doubtless some perceived the reason. The
hilarity at Bellsburnfoot died gradually
away after the wedding, till at length it
subsided into a sedate melancholy gloom.
It was in vain that Daniel invited jovial
neighbours, pushed the bottle at even, and
tried jokes about lasses' tochers, and stocking
the Highlands with young M'Duffs;
the shade of melancholy that pervaded the
family was so apparent, that he could not
even keep his company together; and long
before bedtime, on such evenings, he had
often no other amusement, than sitting at
the parlour fire by himself, turning a quid,
about five inches long, from one cheek to
the other, and squirting in the grate, — or,
at times, by a great exertion to keep up his
spirits, crooning a stave of " Tarry woo," or
"The Tup of Durham." Daniel could perceive
nothing wrong, honest man; but, for
all that, he found himself involved in an
atmosphere of gloom that had something in
it contagious, and could not help making
the remark, that "they looked a' rather as
if they had had a burial at his house in
place of a bridal."
There was indeed much looked, but little
thing said at Bellsburnfoot for a good space
at that time; a circumstance that puzzled
both the neighbouring gentry, and the servants
of the family. All were eager to know
something of the cause; but none could
learn any thing, save what Davie Shiel, the
ewe-herd, wrung from fat Grizzy, the witty
kitchen-woman; and we doubt if our
readers will be much enlightened by what
passed between these worthies, although it
proved matter of abundant rumours in the
"Od sauf us! Grizzy, woman, what ails
our master? I never saw him gang as often,
wi' his hands in his pouches, an' his hat
cockit up ahint, a' my life. An' then, instead
o' looking at his toops or his ewes,
(an', though I say't, there's no a better hirsel
i' the coontry,) he's aye gaun looking o'er
his shoulders as he had lost something."
Maybe sae he has, mun. Aw has
kend a body lose a filly an' find a foal
"Dear Grizzy, d'ye see aughts wrang
about the family, or about this grand
"Ey; aw sees better out at the hole o'
my neck than some focks that aw kens dis
out at their lookin' feaces."
"What d'ye see, Grizzy?"
"Aw sees mair that soudna be seen than
a eel dis in a doock dub. An ye war a miller's
naig, whether wad ye eat out o' the
sack ye were tied to, or the ane neist it?"
Davie began to cock his ears at these two
short sentences. "That depends on what
stuff was in the two sacks," said he, answering
to the point, in order to keep Grizzy
likewise to it.
"Ey; or whulk o' them had mucklest
in't," added she. "A hen rins aye to the
heap, an' sae dis a fool til a fat lee. Aw
can tell ye, lad, for a secret, — but ye maunna
be telling it again, — there's some deeds
o' darkness gawn on no very far frae this.
Heard ye nae tell of a herd stealing a fat
haggis nane o' thae nights?"
"Ye'll maybe hear time enough. Ye
had better keep a hare lug, an' an ee i' the
hole o' your neck, as I do. Now, lad, take
ye thae news to your bed wi' ye, an' take
care an' dinna let them cool. Aw has
kend as wee a pultice turn out a brikken
plaister afore this."
Davie smelt a rat; and, after many fruitless
inquiries, he ventured, on the faith of
Grizzy's hints, to spread a report that "it
was suspectit the young lord thought as
muckle o' the wee lass as the lang ane."
The slander flew abroad like fire, and in
short time came back to Bellsburnfoot
with many shameful aggravations, reaching
by some means or other the ears of Mr
Bell. That worthy dame, perceiving the
unremitted attentions of her son-in-law to
Cherry, which were restricted to no bounds,
early nor late, began to wish more than ever
to have them separated. But as she was
not like to have much say in these matters
herself, she applied to her daughter, very
unwarrantably; for she measured every
body's feelings by her own.
"I sometimes think this has rather been
a forced match on your part, Lady M'—.
Do you find that your husband has all that
kindness and attention that you expected?"
"What a mortifying insinuation, clearest
mother! What I have done, I have done;
and, as we cannot call back time to re-model
our actions, wherefore wound my feelings
by such unkind hints? As for the attentions
of my husband, they are all and
more than I ever expected of man. He suffers
me not to have a wish that is not gratified."
"Very well, my dear; that is quite comfortable
for a parent to hear. Therefore, let
the world say what it will, I shall be contented."
"What a singular perversity of disposition!
Why. what has the world to say to
that? The world knows nothing of what is
done here; nor can you know its opinion if
"It is quite needless to regard what the
world says; but there be plenty of tongues
reporting, that your accomplished and noble
husband is more attached to your cousin
than to yourself; and that he devotes those
attentions to the maid that should be paid
to the married wife. Now, though there
no one pays less regard to the vague opinion
of the world than I do, still I think, that,
out of deference to its opinion, the sooner
that little, languishing, insinuating elf is
separated from you and your husband the
"Do you consider how unkind and how
cruel to me such hints as these are, mother?
My husband has reasons for his attentions
to Cherry, and those of the most delicate
nature. That he has those reasons is to me
sufficient, knowing his honourable and affectionate
natune. I therefore beg, and
treat, and pray of you, that while we remain
here I may never again hear an insinuation
of any kind against my husband."
Mrs Bell, somewhat alarmed at the vehement
manner of her daughter, changed
the subject with the greatest indifference;
but she had planted a thorn in her daughter's
too susceptible breast, that soon began
to take root and fester incessantly. She had
suffered much already through dread of the
world's opinion; and now to have it supposed
that she had forced a match, and that
her husband already neglected her for the
sake of another; to know that such a report
was bandied about the parish, and among
their associates, was a mortification that she
could not endure, and she began to long
with impatience for a removal, or an alteration
of circumstances by some mode or other.
She sounded her husband several times, but
found that in every motion Cherry was included;
and, in spite of all her love, and all
her efforts, the spirits of the young and
comely bride sunk so low, that she became
in a manner the leader of the funeral array
at the gloomy mansion of Bellsburnfoot.
The attentions both of M'Ion and his
mother to Cherry were every day more and
more obvious. Mrs Bell perceived it with
equally increasing discontent; and, finding
no other safe point of attack, she fixed on
her husband, and laid open the circumstances,
and the obvious consequences of the
case to him with much perspicuity. The
thing was all so new to Daniel, that he
heard her to the end as with the deepest
concern; but the truth was, that when she
had done, the atrocity of the offence was
but beginning to graze on the surface of his
apprehension; and after all her elaborate
harangue about the deference due to the
opinion of the world, &c., the answer that
Daniel made was no more than this: —
"Hout, mistress! I dinna think there can
be aught wrang atween them."
She then began to declaim against the
coarseness of his ideas, and to speak of sentiments
— and divided affections — and the
universal sovereignty of public opinion; —
which when Daniel heard, he rose with uncommon
agility — looked out at the window
that faced the tup park — put on his hat,
with its hinder brim almost in a vertical
direction, and went out, whistling "The ewe
bughts, Marion." Daniel was never heard
to whistle it so loud in his life.
Mrs Bell, thus baulked in every attempt
to get quit of her husband's affectionate
niece, laid the plan of a last great manoeuvre,
which was, to lay the circumstances before
Miss Elliot; and then she flattered herself;
that, from the disposition she had already
shewn to oblige others, she was sure of success.
But before a fit opportunity offered,
there were some things occurred that puzzled
her sapient and calculating head a good deal.
M'Ion complained of some serious ailment,
although he said not what it was, only that
he was not well. He took his meat, his
drink, and exercise, much as usual; yet nothing
would satisfy him, although he had
studied medicine and surgery himself, but
sending for one of the first-rate professional
gentlemen from Edinburgh to consult with
on his case. His mother urged the fulfilment
of the proposal without delay. He
had prepared his lady not to be alarmed;
but honest Daniel and his spouse thought
it was an extraordinary business that a doctor
should send for another doctor so far, to
cure a disease of which nobody could perceive
any symptoms. It is true, his perceptions
were not over acute, but then her discernment!
what could equal that? — Alas!
there were some there who saw what was totally
concealed from them both.
The great doctor from Edinburgh arrived,
and had a long consultation with M'-
Ion; and, pretending in a jocular manner
that the latter had now constituted him the
family surgeon at Bellsburnfoot, he felt all
their pulses, looked at their tongues, and at
the pupils of their eyes through a glass. To
each of them he prescribed some regimen,
or some mode of life; otherwise, he said, he
would not be accountable for their lives, far
less for their health, for a single day. To
Daniel he prescribed that he should drink
two-thirds less than his ordinary quantum
of whisky-toddy, else there was nothing
more likely than that he should be in heaven
in a fortnight.
"Lord forbid!" said Daniel. "But I'll
tell ye, doctor, it has been my cure, an' my
father's an' grandfather's afore me, for a'
diseases, either o' the flesh or the spirit, an'
fient ane o' us ever had to send for a doctor
frae Edinburgh a' the days o' our lives.
There is an auld say ower this country, that
a Bell never dies but either for drouth or
auld age;' an' though I winna swear to the
truth o' that, doctor, ye may tak back your
prescription for me."
The doctor pronounced him a hopeless
patient, and hoped the rest of the family
would be more tractable, as it was easier to
stop a disease by taking it by the forelock,
than by running after it and holding it by
the tail. Daniel said, "he believed that
was true, as it was exactly the case with a
strang toop." — To Mrs Bell the doctor
prescribed abstinence from weak diluted
diet; to Gatty and her husband travel; to
Mrs Johnson more sleep and a little port
wine; but although he examined Cherry
with more minuteness than any of them, to
her he prescribed nothing, observing, that it
was out of his power to make her better than
she was. He then left the family, all highly
delighted with him as a jocular and
good-humoured gentleman, and was accompanied
part of the way by M'Ion.
From that day forth, the attentions of
the young chief to his adopted sister became
more exclusive than ever; so also were those
of his mother. Cherry was never from his
side, and seemed to live and breathe only in
the light of his countenance, while his exertions
to sooth and keep her in spirits knew
no bounds. Mrs Bell became absolutely
impatient, conceiving that she saw her
daughter drooping through neglect, and determined
on telling Cherry her sentiments,
and that roundly; but she was anxious that
it should be in private, and so constantly
were some of them by her side, early and
late, that for a good while she could find no
It chanced one day that Cherry was pronounced
indisposed, and unable to come
down to breakfast. M'Ion tasted not a
morsel that day, but stalked about the
room like a troubled ghost. Mrs Bell actually
began a "nursing her wrath to keep it
warm," conceiving that her son-in-law would
not have been half so much discomposed if
all the Bells of Burnfoot had been unable to
come down to breakfast; and she longed
not only to have a little dispassionate talk
with Miss Elliot on the subject, but with
M'Ion himself, should the other not avail.
Accordingly, as soon as she had finished
her breakfast, she went to Cherry's room,
and desiring Mrs Johnson to go to her
breakfast, said she would remain with her
dear niece until her return.
They were no sooner alone than Mrs
Bell began thus: — "I have often regretted,
my dear Miss Elliot, that my husband's
and son-in-law's officiousness detained you
here against your inclination; for I perceive
that there is something in the climate, or
the society, that does not agree with your
spirits and constitution."
"Dear aunt, I entreat that you will entertain
no anxiety about me. I declare I
never was in better spirits. Do not you see
that my spirits are all buoyancy?"
"Never tell me, niece. It is evident to
any one who will suffer herself to see things
as they are, that it would have added greatly
to your happiness to have been removed
from this place — as well as to the happiness
"Well, dear aunt, I believe you are
right. I thought so at first, and now I
think so again, since you say it. But you
know I am but a young ignorant creature,
and only know what is right by being told
it. I was made to believe that my remaining
here would add to the happiness of
others, for with that my own was so interwoven
that I had no other; but if it has
proved the reverse, then have I done far
amiss, and I shall be very miserable for having
done it during the short, short interval
that I shall now remain with you."
"Nay, sweet Cherry, never think of hastening
your departure a day on account of
my information, which has no other aim
but your peace and honour. But I cannot
help seeing, nor can I prevent the world
from seeing and blabbing it again — nor can
I prevent my daughter from seeing that the
attentions of her husband, which a young
wife expects should be her own, are all lavished
on you. I assure you it has caused
a great sensation in this family, and all over
the country; and your own good sense, and
genuine honourable disposition, will at once
point out to you the only path that it is
prudent in you to pursue."
"Say no more, dear aunt, I pray you say
no more; you have said quite sufficient for
me, and perhaps rather too much already.
One thing only I crave to know — Does my
cousin wish me away?"
"Why, child, she would be loath to say
so, and sorry to consent to it. But must I
say the truth? — Every one may judge of
her feelings by considering what her own
would be in such a case."
"Thank you, kind aunt, it is enough —
it is enough. And so my dear cousin wishes
me away? Well, I have suffered something
for her; but such things, I suppose, are expected
from poor relations. Ah! but my
Gatty would not wish her Cherry away, if
she but knew what I have suffered for her
happiness. But she will know — she will
know before she die yet. — Well, dear aunt,
you may give my kind love to my cousin,
and tell her that I am very soon going to
leave her now. I thought to have remained
with her and her husband, and with you,
dear aunt, and my kind indulgent uncle,
for a little while — a week or two, perhaps,
or a few days at the least; but now I shall
take my leave of you very soon indeed, and
may God forgive you all, as I hope to be
forgiven at the last; and may you all be
happy with one another, when my insignificant
and presuming face appears no more
among you! — I hear Mrs Johnson coming.
Adieu, dear aunt, you have gained your
point; but give me your hand, and embrace
me before you go away."
Mrs Bell gave her her hand, saying,
"That I will, my prudent and sensible little
girl;" and then stooping down she saluted
her cheek. But Cherry easily perceived that
it was not only a cold formal embrace, but
a compelled one; and then the excellent
dame went out of the room sailing in stately,
majesty, at one time carrying her head very
high, and at another glancing at her feet with
great complacency, having, as she deemed, accomplished
a master-stroke of policy. When
she joined the rest of the family in the breakfasting
room, the satisfaction that beamed
from her benign countenance was apparent
to them all; and as soon as M'Ion
withdrew, she could not contain the relation
of her success longer. From her husband
she expected a bold countercheck, and was
not mistaken; but expecting a thankful acquiescence
from her daughter, she found she
had overshot the mark, and that Gatty was
very much hurt at her mother's interference.
Then the good dame went on with arguments
in justification of what she had done,
till she sent Daniel out to the fields with
his hands in his vest pockets, and her daughter
up stairs in tears.
When Mrs Johnson entered Cherry's
room, she turned her face to the wall, and
the nurse thinking she wanted repose, fell
a reading on the Bible, and continued without
speaking for the space of an hour; but
hearing her from time to time fetching deep
sighs, she at length inquired how she did,
and if she felt herself any worse?
"O no, I am a great deal better," said
she. "But I have been thinking about
preparing for my journey."
"It will, indeed, be a romantic and delightful
journey," said Mrs Johnson, "by
the braes of Athol, the glens of Lorn, and
the wild Hebrides."
"It is not that journey I mean," said
Cherry, "but the journey to my father's
Mrs Johnson gazed for a moment in silence,
and felt as if an arrow of ice had
pierced her heart. "Will you sit up and
take a little of this cordial that your own
doctor has composed for you, my dear?'
said she. "You have been asleep, and your
senses seem to be wavering."
"Not at all," returned she. "I have all
my senses at my command. But it is true,
if it were any matter, that I am proscribed
from that delightful Highland journey. My
aunt wants to send me off without delay to
my mother's house; but I say she is wrong,
it is my father's house that she is sending
"Take a little of this cordial, my dear
Cherry. Your voice is altered; it is vapours
that affect you."
"I tell you not at all," said she, turning
round her face, and smiling languidly.
"Do you not see that I am perfectly collected?
You think I am dreaming, and that
nobody is sending me away? Well, let
that rest. Perhaps so I was. But do you
not think, on the whole, there is a good
deal of ingratitude in this world?"
"Too much, without doubt."
"It is a pity, too, for it is a beautiful
world, and a great deal of goodness in it.
What time of the day is it
"It is, I suppose, about noon. Do you
wish to rise?"
"Yes, when the sun is in the middle of
the arch of heaven, I want to have one look
at the sky, and another at this goodly
world. It seems a bright day, and yet a
tempestuous wind; it is a day of all others
that I like to contemplate. — I'll not have
that frock to-day, bring me the one I wore
on the seventh of July — the white one
trimmed with pink — I'll wear it to-day, for
the sake of something that passed between
another and me that day — and I'll have my
hair trimmed and shaded in the same manner,
too; for this day is the winding up of
the trivial scene that was that day begun."
"Let me do all these little things for
you, dearest Cherry, for your hand is trembling,
and you are in unwonted agitation to-day.
Now, shall I sit with you a while at
"If you please. What a bright, and yet
what a tempestuous day! It is, indeed, an
auspicious day for setting out on a journey!
How easily a bird might scale these storeys
of the heavens on such a day, taking the
direction of yon bright marbled cloud, that
slumbers in perfect stillness above the flying
ones! Ah, my dear friend, do but look
how these little dark specks are chasing one
another up that steep hill — with what amazing
swiftness they are speeding on their
course! Will an unbodied soul climb the
steeps of the firmament with as much ease
and velocity, think you, as these little flying
"With as much ease, and with ten times
more speed, will a happy spirit wing its way
to the abodes of bliss."
"What is a soul, Mrs Johnson? or how
does it journey? Has it wings of air, or of
down? or does it swim the air as a fish does
the sea? — I cannot tell what a soul is."
"Nor can any one, my dearest girl; and
if I could define it, your mind is not in a
capacity to listen; for I perceive it is roaming
wild as the tempest, and frilling with
impatience over some ideal separation."
"Tell me this of the soul — Can it go
and come at pleasure? watch over a beloved
object and walk with him? sit by his side
— hear his sighs — see his looks — listen to
his words, and perhaps lie in his bosom?"
"I often fondly believe all these."
"So do I! so do I! I believe them too,
and will believe them — wherefore should I
not? Come, shall we go?"
"Whither, my dear? whither are you
going? You cannot go abroad to-day; indeed,
believe me, you cannot. Let me put
you to bed; for though I never saw you look
so lovely, your countenance has undergone
a strange alteration. I say, listen to me;
you cannot go abroad to-day."
"Ah! I had forgot! I have to change
my raiment before I go. Come, let us set
about it; come, come."
Mrs Johnson rung the bell violently, and
ordering the servant to tell her son to come
to her, she took hold of Cherry, and half-carrying,
half-leading her, placed her on a
couch; for her looks and motions had become
so wild and irregular, she knew not
what she meditated, and therefore she sat
down with her arms around her. M'Ion
had gone out, but Gatty attended, the tears
scarcely dry on her cheek that she had shed
on account of what her mother had said to
Cherry and herself; for the insinuation fell
on her with a double pang. When she
came in, Cherry held out her hand, and
addressed her in a faint tremulous voice.
"Ah are you indeed come to see me, and
take farewell of me before I set out?"
Gatty gave her her hand in amazement,
without speaking. "It is very kind of you,
but it was not so to wish your poor cousin
away, was it?"
"It shall be the last wish of my heart
but one, Cherry, to part with you."
"Is that true? then I have been deceived.
But what a weight that word has
taken from my heart, which can bear any
thing but unkindness. I wish this assurance
may not make me defer my journey
yet. But I hope not — I hope not. Cousin,
I am strangely given to speaking to-day,
and Mrs Johnson will have it that I am raving,
though I can scarcely give her credit
for it. But do you remember of a dream that
I once told you?"
"Perfectly well — every circumstance of
it. It has never for one day been absent
from my memory."
"Well, that is amazing; it has never
once been in my head from that day to this.
But I witnessed some scenes in the heavens
and the earth to-day, that were all in my
dream; and every part of it recurred to my
memory as fresh as at the moment I saw it.
Well, there are strange things in this
world, and communications that I cannot
comprehend — I wish I could! But do you
not see, cousin, how that dream is wearing
to its fulfilment?"
"I hope it will never wear to its final
fulfilment. But in some respects it may be
said to have done so already. Of all things
I have ever known, that dream has appeared
to me the most remarkable."
"It is so — it is so. When I think of it
it is wonderful. But you do not know it
all. The very hills, and clouds, and shadows.
— I have nothing to rest my head on
here — That day and this are the same —
And now I feel I am going to dream it over
She articulated these broken sentences in
a voice so feeble, that at the last it became
inaudible, and died away; and leaning back
on the couch, with her head on Mrs Johnson's
arms, she fell into a slumber so soft
and so still, that it almost appeared like the
sleep of death. The head was thrown back,
with the face turned towards Mrs Johnson's
cheek, and yet the breathing was so soft she
could not feel it. Neither of the two attendants
were in any alarm. They had remarked
that her spirits had been in a tumult,
and had hopes that this calm sleep
would restore them to their wonted sweetness
It was during this period of calm relaxation
that M'Ion entered. He had been ruminating
in the garden, when the servant
came hastily and delivered his mother's message;
and knowing that she was in attendance
in Cherry's room, he went straight
thither. The alarm that he testified on
viewing the condition of the sweet slumberer,
appeared to them both matter of surprise.
To his lady, in particular, it seemed unaccountably
mistimed; and she could not help
smiling at his perturbation. He held a
downy feather to her lips — her breath moved
its fibres, but could not heave it from
its place. He felt her pulse long and gently,
keeping a stedfast eye on her face, and
ever and anon his heart throbbed as it would
have mounted from its place.
"What do you mean, Diarmid?" whispered
Gatty, in some alarm; "It is nothing
but a sleep, and as peaceful a one as I ever
"Yes, my love, I know it is a sleep; but
I pray you, retire, and do it softly, for there
is more depends upon her awakening out of
such a sleep, than you are aware of."
"If there is any danger whatever, I will
wait with my cousin and you. Why should
I leave her?"
He then took his mother's place with
great caution, desiring her to go with all expedition,
and compound some cordial that
he named; he also motioned to Gatty to go
with her, but she lingered beside him, curious
to see the issue of that slumber that
so much discomposed her husband. He had
his left arm under the pale slumberer's head,
and with his right hand he held her arm,
apparently counting, with the utmost anxiety,
every movement of her pulse, and having
his eye still fixed on her mild relaxed features.
Gatty sat down at a distance, folded
her arms, and watched in silence. Mrs
Johnson came into the room on tiptoe with
the cordial; but M'Ion saw neither, his
eager eyes were fixed on one object alone.
While in that interesting attitude, one of
those which a painter would choose, Cherry
at once opened her serene blue eyes, and
fixed them with a steady but hesitating
gaze on the face of him she loved above all
the world. She awaked, as it were, mechanically,
without so much as a sigh, in the
same way that a flame or spark, which seems
quite extinct, will all at once glimmer up
with a radiance so bright, as to astonish the
beholders. His face was all sadness and
despair, but hers instantly beamed with a
smile of joy. "Am I here already?" said
she. "What a blessed and happy state
this is, and how easily I have attained it!"
With that she started — looked at her
clothes — at his — at all their faces with a
hasty glance, and then added, "Already!
No, I should have said, am I here yet? It
is well, though — it is well. Ah! how fortunate
it is, for if I had gone away without
this interview, I should have been compelled
to return." Then stretching out her
hand, on one of the fingers of which there
was a ruby ring, that he had put on that
day he pledged her his troth — she pointed
to it, and said, "See, do you know this?"
He could not answer her, for his bosom was
bursting with anguish. "And these simple
robes — do you know these? — Why, you cannot
answer me; but I know you do. Now,
do you remember on that day that I returned
you your faith and troth, and released
you from your rash pledge of honour, that
I said, I should never ask another kiss of
you but one? I crave it now."
"This is more than human heart can
support," exclaimed he; and taking her on
his bosom, he impressed a long and burning
kiss on her lips, as they coloured with
a momentary hue of the beryl, in the soul's
last embrace with the heart.
"Now, with that kind kiss, have you
loosed my bonds with mortality — Do you
love me still?"
"The Almighty knows how I love you,
dear, dear, and dying sufferer!" cried he,
through an agony of sobs and tears.
"Then my last feeling of mortal life is
the sweetest," said she; and laying her head
on his bosom, she breathed a few low inarticulate
sounds as of prayer, and again sunk
asleep to awaken no more.
"What does all this mean?" cried Gatty,
starting to her feet, and holding up her
hands in amazement. "Diarmid! Husband!
I say, tell me the meaning of this?"
"Be composed, my love! Be composed!
The meaning is but too obvious. There
fled the sweetest soul that ever held intercourse
"Fled! How fled? She only slumbers,
husband. She will awake. She will awake.
Tell me, Diarmid — tell me, Mrs Johnson,
will not my cousin awake?"
"Yes, my dear child, she will awake,"
said Mrs Johnson, leading Gatty to a seat,
and soothing her. M'Ion scarcely heeded
them; but he answered the question involuntarily,
still holding the body in his arms.
"Yes, she will awake, but not till the great
day of retribution, when I shall stand accountable
for her early doom. — Yes, dear
departed maid! I have indeed been thy
destroyer. — We are all guilty! We are all
guilty — art and part in thy death; but none
of us knew the delicacy of the flower with
which we were toying, till it was too late.
My kind — my innocent — my guiltless Cherubina!
My earthly happiness shall be buried
in thy early grave."
The violence of his grief was here checked
by his lady kneeling at his knee, supported
by Mrs Johnson, who was alarmed
lest she should fall into fits, for her grief
was extravagant, and overstepped her husband's,
as the flame does the burning pile.
"Is my cousin gone?" cried she, in shrieks
of despair. "Has the companion of my
youth departed without bestowing one kiss,
or one benediction on her Gatty? But I
have murdered her! I am accused as one
of her murderers! And now, would to God
that we were both laid in one grave on the
It was altogether a scene of deep dismay.
M'Ion's grief was the most impressive.
Gatty's was extravagance itself.
Mrs Johnson's was profound, but
swayed by reason and experience. Mrs
Bell, perhaps, for once in her life, acknowledged
to her own heart that she had behaved
improperly that morning; but she
went about her household affairs, and ordered
every thing about the body with the
most perfect serenity. Indeed, the servants
remarked that they never saw her walk so
upright, nor carry her head so high before.
But of all their griefs, there was none
more sincere than that of honest Daniel,
although, it must be confessed, it had something
in it bordering on the ludicrous. He
was walking in the tup-park, when he saw
Grizzy coming running toward him, always
waving her hand as a signal for him to
come, but so sore out of breath that she could
not call. Daniel never regarded her, but
kept on his step and whistled his air, smiling
to himself at seeing how fat Grizzy was
puffing. "Ye maun come awa in, sir, directly.
Ye're wantit i' the house."
"Ay; ye may tell them that I'll be
"Naw, but ye maun come directly, sir.
Ye maunna gang whistling your tune
"What's a' the hurry, ye jaud? 'What's
"Od, sir, there's naething good. asteer.
It's Miss Elliot, aw fancy, that's the steer.
She has coupit the bucket, it seems; an's
dead vera hastily."
"Dead? The woman's mad! That's
"Naw, it's nae siccan a thing, sir. Come
ye an' see. There's an awsome day yonder,
skirlin an' yowlin, an' rinnin but an'
ben for winding-sheets."
"Lord help me! Is the dear lassie
really dead? Then they may a' do as they
like for me. Oh dear! oh dear! I wish
we have nae brought a bit favourite lamb
frae its minny just to be it's death."
Daniel took off his hat with the one hand,
hung his head all on one side, and scratched
it with the other; and Grizzy, seeing
the intensity of his grief, left him, with an
injunction to "come away." He obeyed;
but his step, that but a minute before had
the firmness of health, and the spring
of independence, was now changed to a
creeping, broken-down pace, as if every
nerve had lost its elasticity. He entered
the chamber of death with his hat in his
hand; his frame quite palsied; his red jolly
face all over freckled as with the measles;
his nose the colour of blood, and his mouth
wide open. Gatty kneeled at the bed-side
and wept; M'Ion was endeavouring to take
her away and speak comfort to her, but he
himself had the most need of comfort; the
two elder females were busied about the
lovely corpse, which they had not yet begun
to undress, so that Daniel was close at the
bed-side ere any one perceived him. "Ah!
this is a heart-breaking dispensation, Mr
Bell," said Mrs Johnson.
"God pity us! What's to be done?" said
Daniel; "Is she no like to come round
"The vital spark is extinct," said Mrs
"Oh! I hope no! I hope no!" cried
Daniel, in a bass voice of true pathos.
"See, the bit canny face is just as bonny
as ever. Keep your hands off her; or tak
good tent an.' dinna hurt her; for I hope in
the Lord she'll come about again. Mistress,
tak ye care, for ye hae the heart of a dummont,
an' had a' your life. I tell ye a' it's
impossible she can be dead. — See, nurse;
I gar mysel' trow I see a smile forming on
her face even now."
"Your fond hope makes you believe
so, sir. But it is too certain that it is all
over with her. There is no more re-animation
for this body below the sun."
"Weel, but deal gently wi' her. Ye
dinna ken. Him that made her at first,
an' made her sae good, can bring her round
yet if he sees meet. An she be really gane,
ye may do a' as ye like for me! Had the
poor bit lamb died at its mither's side, I
could hae borne the loss. But for us to pu'
it into an unco pasture, an' haud a' its bits
o' yearnings and longings at nought, is what
I'll ne'er win aboon as lang as I'm a man.
Oh, wae's me! wae's me! The like o' you
disna ken. But it's sae natural for a motherless
lamb to tak up wi' ony creature
that's kind to it, that it gaes to my heart to
think how she has been guidit! An' I wish
her dear heart hasna been broken at the
As he said these last words, he cast an indignant
and reproving look at his better half;
who, fearing the turn that his lament was
like to take, deemed it high time to interpose.
"Mr Bell, have you no sense of propriety
or decorum?" said she. "Why will
you stand palavering there, and deterring
us from laying out the body? I assure you
it is more than time that it were done already.
I therefore beseech the gentlemen
M'Ion departed, taking his lady with
him; but Daniel still lingered, looking
wistfully at the bed. Mrs Johnson sympathizing
with him, uncovered the face of
the deceased once more. Daniel stooped
down and looked at it earnestly; and perceiving
that all earthly hope was lost, the
big tears began to drop amain. He then
kissed the pale lips and both the cheeks;
and as he turned away, he wiped his eyes
hard with the sleeve of his coat, and said
these impressive words, "Fareweel, dear
lamb! We'll maybe never meet again."
The funeral, by M'Ion's desire, was conducted
with great pomp and splendour, as became
that of the sister of a Highland Chief;
and it was not till after the performance of
that last duty, that he informed his friends
how he had seen that catastrophe approaching
from the third or fourth day after their arrival
at Bellsburnfoot; That she was then
seized with a hectic fever, which brought
on a rapid consumption, of a nature that no
anodyne could counteract: That he had pretended
illness himself, in order to have the
advice of the first medical person of the nation;
for her disease was of that complexion
that the least serious alarm, or agitation
of spirits, had a tendency to prove fatal:
And that he was not thoroughly satisfied
in his own mind, that something of that nature
had not occurred, hastening her latter
end. Daniel looked at his dame, Gatty at
her mother; but an expressive shake of her
head kept both silent, which was a great
mercy for their broken-hearted kinsman's
peace of mind.
A GLOOMY despondency now brooded
over the family at Bellsburnfoot, and no prospect
appeared that the cloud was soon going
to disperse. Daniel sauntered about from
morning till night, but he never once looked
into the tup-park. He would not so
much as look out at the window that faced
the enclosure, nor whistle a tune above his
breath; but as he jogged along, his breath
was for the most part inadvertently modulated
into one or other of his favourite old
pastoral airs. M'Ion's attention, now that
he had no other care to divide it, at least
no care that attention could alleviate, was
wholly devoted to his lady. There was no
endearment that man could bestow, of
which this affectionate young Chief fell
short; and there was none so much delighted
with this as Mrs Bell, who seemed to
feel the loss of Cherry as one feels an enlargement
in their capacity, or sphere of motion;
and dear as her release from a certain
check on her grandeur and felicity was
bought, she really seemed to enjoy it for a
Alas! how insufficient are all human efforts
in the attainment of felicity, if these
be not founded on virtue and goodness!
Providence so willed it, that this coldhearted
woman's triumph should be but of
short and clouded duration. Her daughter
was, indeed, soothed by her husband's delicate
attentions, but still, on her part, there
seemed something wanting. She was never
delighted. She would at one time fix on
her husband a look of the most indescribable
fondness and affection, but in a very
short time she never failed to take her eyes
away, as if her mind were irresistibly drawn
to something else; while every abstracted
look that settled on M'Ion's face, told expressly
what the feelings were within, "that
he was born to be unhappy, and to render
The reader is now sufficiently acquainted
with the characters of this family group,
to conceive, in some degree, the different
sensations of the two parents, when M'Ion
one morning informed them, in a flood of
tears, that his adored lady was in a most
perilous state of health, — that he accounted
it undutiful in him to withhold the secret
longer from their knowledge, but that she
was fast following her cousin to the grave,
if the goodness of her constitution did not
facilitate some extraordinary and immediate
If there is a pang beyond all redress, it is
the assurance that a beloved object is about
to be taken from us, which no human aid
can save or restore. Once the blow is struck,
hope springs away with the parting breath
to another state of existence, indulging in
dreams of future communion till sorrow often
expands to a twilight of joy, — but here
the sorrow is inexpressible. Daniel received
the information in profound silence, — it
seemed a long time ere his mind could measure
the extent of the calamity, — it could
only take it in by small degrees at a time,
but these still expanded as it advanced, until
at last he came in idea to a new-made
grave, and himself at the head. of it! and all
beyond that appearing to Daniel an unexplored
blank, he lifted up his eyes as if to
look what could be seen farther away. That
was the first motion he made after his son-in-law
communicated to him the woful intelligence;
and it being the genuine emotion
of a feeling heart, there was a sublimity in
it. He was about to speak, but was interrupted
by his experienced and infallible
"I am highly amused at your rueful
looks, Mr M'Ion," said she, "and at the
melancholy tone in which you have made
us acquainted with this profound secret.
How little you know about new-married ladies
of her age! I assure you I should not
be much satisfied to see my daughter look
otherwise than she does."
"Ooh?" cried Daniel, fixing his bent
eyes on his son-in-law for an answer.
"Ooh? Lord send her bodings to be true!
What do ye say to that, sir? The mistress
is gayan auld farrant about women focks?"
M'Ion shook his head. Daniel leaned
his down on his open hand, and, with a deep
groan, said, "Oh dear me! I'm feared I'll
never can stand this storm! When ane
comes on early i' the winter of life, it may
be borne; but when they fa' late i' the year,
after the Candlemas o' ane's age, they're
unco ill to bide. I find my fleece o' warldly
hope is growing unco thin now, — the
win' an' the drift blaw cauld round my
peeled head, an' the snaw's already heart-deep
M'Ion was affected. Mrs Bell again
began to treat the thing with levity, but her
son-in-law checked her by assuring her, that,
to his sorrow, he was too well assured of the
imminence of his dear lady's danger, and
no stranger to the nature of her disease;
and he recommended, above all things, that
the family should join their efforts to prevent
her from falling into lowness of spirits;
and never once in her presence to drop a
hint of her danger, or the illness by which
she was affected.
Their caution proved of no avail, for Gatty
was quite aware of her danger herself; but
the family were playing at cross-purposes:
Gatty was endeavouring to keep her illness
a secret from her husband and parents, for
fear of giving them distress, and they were
keeping it from her, lest its effect on her spirits
might prove fatal. But with Mrs Johnson
she passed no leisure hour without conversing
about her approaching end; and it
was then that the character of that estimable
young lady began to be fully developed.
From the time that she felt her heart
shackled in the bonds of love, her character
may have appeared capricious; for it did so
to herself. But when once she perceived,
or deemed she perceived, her dissolution advancing
on her apace, she gave up, without
repining, all the vanities of this life; all her
hopes of rank, honours, and estimations, as
well as conjugal love, the dearest of all.
Few ever attained a summit more estimated;
but it had been gained by means that
left a corroding wound behind, and soon apprized
her that the anticipated felicity was
not to be long enjoyed. Her cousin's death
had made a deep impression on her mind,
but it had also left her a lesson of resignation
which she determined on copying, without
vain complaints, and without repining.
The only thing that dwelt with a continual
weight on her mind, was the spiritual welfare
of the friends she was going to leave
behind; but with all her art, she could not,
for a long while, draw away any of them
into religious discussion, save Mrs Johnson.
Her husband waived it as a study detrimental
to her spirits. Her mother approved
of religion, and attended its ordinances
with all decent ceremony; but went
no farther, hers not being the religion of
the heart. Daniel believed religion to be
an exceedingly good thing, and held it in
due reverence; but then he knew very little
about it. His father had kept up family
worship at Bellsburnfoot as long as he lived,
and Daniel had always joined him in singing
the psalm with full swing of voice, and
when the old man's eyes began to fail, read
the chapter for him; but these had been the
extent of honest Daniel's private devotions.
And as to the public duties of religion, they
had been attended to in the accustomed
way: That is to say, he rode down to his
parish-church every good day, took his corner-seat
in the breast of the gallery, and one
leashing quid of tobacco after another, —
thought about the breeds of tugs, prices of
wedders, wool, and crock ewes, till the service
was over; and having thus attended to
it with all manner of decency, he chatted
with his companions all the way home, took
his dinner and quantum of whisky toddy;
then, after taking a walk in the tup-park
before evening, he came in and stretched
himself on the sofa, thoroughly convinced.
in his own mind that religion was an exceedingly
good thing. He even once went so
far as to remark to Mrs Malcolm, that "it
was a grand thing religion! an'," added he,
"what wad we be an we wantit it? Nae
better than a wheen heathen savages."
From the hour of his niece's decease Daniel
became an altered man, even in his
Sunday deportment and exercises. He did
not now think of his worldly affairs in the
church, or, if he did, he soon checked such
thoughts, and tried all that he could to take
hold of what the Doctor was saying, though
not always with certain effect. And now,
the dread that his only daughter and darling
child might so soon be snatched from
him, and hurled into another state of existence,
awakened still farther conviction
within him, that some provision was absolutely
necessary for futurity, — that he must
set about seeing after a Jacob's ladder, as
he called it; for he found there was something
within him that rebounded from the
idea that the cold grave was to be his eternal
resting place. The nature of man is
such, that he must be reaching at something
beyond the present, — he is the being of future
hope, and, without that, his happiness
is a dwelling founded on the sand,
a striking verification of these sublime words,
"The rains descended, and the floods
came; and the winds blew, and beat upon
that house that it fell, and the ruin thereof
was great." Daniel found himself groping
his way on a path that ended in a pitfall,
and would gladly have gone in search
of another that evaded it, could he have got
hold of a proper one. He was in this frame
of mind when the following conversation
took place between his daughter and Mrs
"How does my dear young lady feel this
"Better and better. I have been taking
a review of my past life this morning, and
am utterly ashamed of my frivolity; but I
have humbled myself, and asked forgiveness.
I fall the victim of LOVE; and, alas!
I fear that another has likewise fallen the
victim of that love of mine, which must
therefore be unhallowed. I will never try
to cancel it from my heart; but I have been
trying to endear it still farther by a tie of
a more refined and heavenly nature."
"All thy thoughts, that are truly thine
own, are gentle, amiable, and refined; and
blessed is lie who is the object of them!"
said Mrs Johnson. "O, methinks, what a
virtuous and exalted race shall proceed from
this union between thee and my son!"
"That is a cruel remark, dearest nurse;
the cruellest word you ever said to me!
There you have touched the only chord that
could yet bind me for a season to the sorrows
and sins of mortal life. To have been
the mother of a blooming and virtuous offspring,
— to have nursed a young Diarmid
at my breast, and watched the kindling
glance and manly features of the father in
those of a lovely and loving baby, — would
have been a joy indeed! So I have thought,
and so I feel at this moment. Nay, could
I have but lived to give birth to such a
treasure, to kiss him, and bless him in the
name of the Most High, I have thought I
could have died happy and contented. But
the view is a false one, and seen through the
medium of human passion. These would
all have been but tics to bind me faster to
a state in which I have ceased to treasure
my hopes. You will not believe me, Mrs
Johnson, or you would pretend not to do
so; but I have but a very few weeks, and
probably but a very few days, to live: and
now I am resolved, that my whole remaining
time shall be spent in the most strenuous
endeavours to draw those I love and
honour to a sight of their undone state by
nature, and to take hold of the only Rock
of Redemption that is placed before them,
so that we may all meet and be happy together
in another world."
Mrs Johnson, finding she could not
change the bent and current of her adored
daughter-in-law's thoughts, commended
them, and had some hopes, that her ardour
in such an exercise might give her new motives
of action, and a new energy to her
Gatty again assailed her husband privately,
but he still waived the subject by acquiescing
in all her sentiments; and she
found, that when he was disposed to make
any remark, he was much more capable of
teaching her, than she was of teaching him,
She tried her mother again and again; but
she remained severely and immovably the
same. But when she came to converse seriously
with her father, of whom she had
the least hope of all, she found, that he now
began to pay deep attention to her words,
to utter awkward responses to her pious
sayings, and hang on them with a kind of
drowsy and confused delight. Her endeavours
after her father's conversion then became
incessant. She pointed out pieces of
Scripture to him, which he read aloud with
deep interest and strong feeling, wondering
that he had never found them out before;
and, in a few days, she had him praying
privately with her in her chamber. Daniel
had never tried that holy exercise before;
and certainly performed it in as awkward a
manner as may be; for he had nothing but
some old sentences of his father's prayer,
half remembered, and some of the Doctor's
forenoon ones, which he mixed up in a mess
together, in a manner so confused and unmeaning,
that it would have made any other
person save his daughter lose all hold of
gravity. To her they were words of sweetness
and delight, for she viewed them as the
first fruits of a new existence; and, partly
to please her, he persevered daily in the
exercise, until at length he grew strongly
interested in it himself, and had constantly
some new sentences, picked out of Scripture,
or Hervey's Meditations among the Tombs,
introduced into his prayer, till by degrees
it began to bear some similarity to one.
The rest of the family kept purposely away;
but the word soon spread among the servants
of their master's conversion, at which
some of them were much rejoiced, but others
viewed the news with contrary sensations, —
as witness the following conversation between
Davie Shiel and the kitchen-woman:
"What think ye can be the reason,
Grizzy, that our young lady is grown sae
"Aw kens noughts about strunts an' mirligoes.
What's the reason that the merle
sings clearest whan the eggs are chippin'?"
"Ah, Grizzy, Grizzy! I doubt ye hae a
deep meaning there."
"Ay; a scart's as guile as a howlet ony
day, an' a buck as a braid sow. Commend
me to a white saster, and her to the Dundee
croon; what sets ane, misgoggles another."
"Na, weel I wat, lassie, that's true ye
say; for wince a woman taks a whim, aye
the madder she's on't the better. An' it may
set her weel eneugh to fast an' pray; but
the warst thing ever she did in her life, was
the making o' our mister religious. I canna
pit up wi' that ava. I'm sure it wad just
sit as wed on the toop Charlie as on him."
"Aw can tell ye what wad sit better nor
ony o' them, an' wad be a better sight too,
an' that's a great lade o' meal on an ox's
back, an' him gaunchin first at the tae end,
an' than at the tither, to try to get out a
"Hey-gontrins, but ye it a queer ane! —
But I can tell you ae thing; an he dinna
look better after his sheep than he's like to
do, I'll gang an' leave baith him an' them."
"That wad be a sight worth seeing indeed.
Did ye ever see a. cat rin awa after
a fleein' craw, an' leave a dead bull-trout?"
"Na, I trow no, lad. The ferly's i' the
spleughan, no i' the spence. — Aih, wow me!
I wonder whin maidenheads will come as
laigh as three halfpence farthing the ounce?
or gin they maun still keep up to the price
o' the minister's meal?"
"Ye gang aye clean ayont me, Grizzy;
I canna sae muckle as keep sight o' ye,
ye're sae doors clever. But I wad like to
ken what ye think o' this franazy about religion;
for I think an you an' I set our
faces against it, we'll either pit a stop till't,
or swee't aff at a side."
"Aw kens noughts about it; but aw
thinks, an the kirk-sessions war awa', it wad
be a gayan comfortable maundril religion.
But they're a sair drawback on't! They
just sour like a clotch o' soot i' the side o'
ane's parritch bicker. A rough barn-door
maks red-headit hens, an' red-headit hens
wad soon turn dockers. That's ma notion
"Hout, Grizzy, woman! I aux ye a
question in ae sense, an' ye answer it in
another. It is about our maister that I'm
concerned; an' I think you an' I might
spean him frae his prayers an' his sawms."
"That wadna be fair, lad. When there's
a Jacob's lether wantit to speel to the booner
flat, wad ye gar a man fa' by the gate an'
brik his neck? It strikes me, that auld
Dan is right unlike winning to the storey
aboon the ceiling, but it's fair to let him
try. If ane climbs to a nest that there are
nae eggs in, he has naething for't but to
keek in an' come down again."
"Something maun be done, Grizzy, or a'
things about this town will gang to confusion.
A masters e'e double's the darg; an'
ilka ane is nae sae mensefu' as you an' me.
We maun hae him speaned frae this praying
concern, or else he'll mak fools o' us a'."
"Aw thinks, he'll hae nae grit steek wi'
some o' us."
"I maun first hear how he comes on,
Grizzy, for that's the greatest curiosity I
hae in the world; an' if I find he maks a
babble o't, as I ken he will, I'll tax him
wi't, an' try to open his een to his interest.
Now, Grizzy, my dear, ye ken I hae a respect
for you "
"Aih, wow me! what's a' this? I wuss
we maunna grow dizzy, an' coup owes wi'
this blawin' i' our lug! An the wind an'
the rain gang contrair ane anither, the swaird
may get a double droukin' in ae night, an'
wow but that will be braw! What's to be
the upshot o' a' this dear an' spect — a
puddin' an' a pint o' broo, aw fancy?"
"It is just that ye will tak me to some
preevat place, where I can hear a' my maister's
religious exercises, an', if possible, see
how he 'means himsel."
"What will ye gie me, then?"
"Why, I'll gie you an hour's courtin' i'
the hay nook; and then, whatever comes
round, we ken baith the best and the warst
"Tell me the warst o't, or I promise."
"The warst o't is marriage, Grizzy, lass!
— marriage, ye ken."
"Aih, wow me! but the best maim be a
brave thing! — Say nae mair, but think weel;
and, harkye, gin may body miss ye out o'
the ha' at e'en, ye may say ye were awa'
fishing cods an' lobsters; but daft as Grizzy
is, she's no the fool to be catched wi' your
bait. Aih, wow me! an the swan should
caickle in the gainder's nest, there wad be a
dainty tichel o' gezlings!"
Grizzy left the ewe-herd in a trice, capering
and casting him a haughty glance, about
which. Davie was not much cast down, for
he knew the kitchen-woman's weak side
from long acquaintance. Accordingly, when
the rest of the servants were bound to bed,
she desired him to "stay, an' gie her shoe a
steek;" and, as soon as they two were left by
themselves, she conducted him up to a dark
closet, that served as a wardrobe for gentlemen's
clothes, &c. and which was separated
from the chamber where M'Ion and his
lady slept only by a thin partition: for be
it considered, that Gatty did not now sleep
in her little neat garret-room, but in the
best room of the second storey with her husband.
In this room there was a fire kept
all the day, and it often served the ladies
as a drawing-room. It had likewise now
become customary for Daniel to accompany
his daughter thither every night, to spend
some time with her in devotion; and she
longed so much for that sweet hour, that
she often called him away full early in the
evening. There was no door between the
dark closet and the large bed-room, but
Grizzy had contrived a small aperture behind
the edge of the curtain, some years
previous to this, for quite a different purpose
than listening to prayers. It had been
formed, according to some of her malicious
neighbour servant-maids' account, for settling
assignations with a certain waggish
gentleman that once slept there. Be that
as it may, into that closet Grizzy introduced
the curious shepherd; and, after hanging
all round him mantles and great-coats, so
that he could not be seen if any body entered,
she left him, to attend in the kitchen,
lest she should be called.
The family were at supper when Grizzy
conducted her lover to his listening-place;
and, as she knew they would, Daniel and
his daughter retired from table straight to
the bed-chamber, leaving the rest in the
parlour, where they always remained till his
return. Davie had a half view of the table
at which the two were to be placed. There
were a couple of Bibles on it, a large and a
small one; and, as Gatty placed the light
on the table, she opened the large Bible,
sought out a certain psalm, and laid the
book down open before her father's seat.
Davie perceived a serenity, as well as an
animated glow, on her face, that he wondered
at, and thought to himself, "That
wench is gone crazed about religion." Old
Daniel came next in his sight, — took his
seat, — set up his jolly broad face, now a
good deal emaciated, — put on his spectacles,
— and, turning to the Bible, he tried
three or four times whether he saw best
through the glasses or over them. Davie,
who sincerely loved his master, judging this
droll experiment to proceed from mere awkwardness,
and a consciousness that he knew
not what to do next, was moved with despite
at him, and almost quaked to hear
him begin. "Auld gouk!" said Davie
to himself, "I wish ye war a hunder miles
off! Ye're ower lang o' setting up for a
reader an' a prayer. The sheep-fauld an'
the ewe-bught wad set ye better; an' though
I'm far frae lightlifying religion, yet I think
I could hae trustit to your honest heart for
heaven, without making a great bayhay
about it at the hinder-end."
"Where do you wish that we should sing
the night?" said Daniel. Catty pointed
to the 23d verse of the 73d psalm, and desired
him first to read and then sing four
verses there. He read them slowly and distinctly,
and then, looking over the spectacles,
he said, "That's very beautiful. I.
remember of liking weel to hear that read
an' sung langsyne."
"Yes, dear father, it is beautiful," returned
she. "It is even grand and sublime
beyond conception, particularly to a dying
person." Daniel looked her broad in the
face; he had not the power or the heart to
make any remark, but he read the 24th
verse over again aloud, and then the two
following in an under voice, shaking his head
at every line. He was then proceeding to
sing the verses, but she stopped him, and
said, "Do you remember all those parts of
the psalms which you and I have sung together,
"I canna just say that I do," said Daniel.
"I wish particularly that you should
remember them," said she, "and, for that
purpose, I have marked them round with
red ink, in hopes that you sometimes
sing them again for my sake. I cannot
think of being forgotten in my father's
"It will be lang afore ye be forgotten,
gang when an' where you will, my woman,"
"I have had so much delight in these
little devotional exercises with you," said
she, "that I desire to go over all these little
portions of the psalms once more with
my father, while I have a quiet opportunity.
There are not many of them."
"An there were a hundred, I'm sure I's
no weary," said Daniel.
She then began at the 6th psalm, a part
of which was marked, and went on through
all the portions they had sung together, making
her father always read them over himself,
to fix them somewhat in his memory.
She did the same with the portions of Scripture,
only they did not read them over together,
but she shewed him that she had
them all marked for his future remembrance.
Daniel was very much affected,
for he knew what she adverted to, and a
great deal more about her case than she
imagined; but he was afraid of the subject,
and said, by way of putting it off, "But,
Gatty, my dear, I thought I saw some parts
of the psalms marked with red ink in the
same way as the rest, that you passed by,
an' that I ken we didna sing thegither."
She smiled in his face and remained silent,
— an answer seemed hanging on her
tongue, but she lacked the power to give it
utterance. Daniel perceived her hesitating
mood, and continued waiting for an answer,
looking one while over the glasses and
another while through them, straight in her
face, in the same way that Dr Jamieson waits
for an answer to a home question. There
is no manner of questioning so hard to withstand
as this. One must give a positive
answer to it, even though it be by confessing
one's ignorance or error. It is irresistible,
and so it proved in the present instance.
"These are the verses we have yet
to sing," said she, "and you might also
have remarked that they are all numbered.
See, these are all the numbers as they have
followed, and are to follow each other; and,
look, dear father, this is the last, (and she
pointed to the 5th verse of the 31st psalm.)
See, there is but one verse marked for singing
that night, because, perchance, there
may be others here besides you and me."
"I do not understand you — not in the
least," said he; "but I shall endeavour to
do all that you bid me."
She again looked in his face; and then,
taking his hand in both hers, said, with a
smile of the most filial tenderness, "I have
a secret to tell you, clearest father, which I
should have told you long ago, had it not
been out of regard for your present peace
and comfort, and I beg that you will receive
it with the same calm and christian
resignation that I have borne it. You and
I have very soon to part."
Daniel's blood ran cold within him. He
could not look in her face, but he looked
down to the Bible, and, with a deep-drawn
sigh, answered her in these words : "We
maun part when the Lord will."
"Amen!" said she. "That is spoken
like a man and a Christian! And now, father,
I warn you that my dissolution is
drawing on apace, and all the skill of mortal
man cannot protract my existence one
hour. I have had frequent warnings of my
great change both in my body and spirit,
and now it is nigh at hand, even at the
door. My days and hours, like those of all
mankind, were numbered ere ever I was
born; but now their number has been disclosed
to my longing soul."
Dinna let ony o' thae second-sight visions
craze your head, an' shorten your days,
my bairn," said Daniel. "The doctors
say that these things rise frae what they ca'
the nerves, an' shouldna be regardit. Ye
ken ye spak to me about dying in Edinburgh;
an' I think it isna that fair in you
to be sae fond of dying; for I'm sure there
are few whose life might be a greater blessing
baith to hersel an' ithers. I hope, for
my part, that you'll live to see a little noble
Heeland grandson o' mine lay auld Daniel
Bell's right shoulder in the grave."
"That has not been the will of my Creator,
and what he wills must be right," said
she. "No offspring of mine must you ever
see, father. I must go down to the earth
as one who hath never been. I spoke to
you of my death in Edinburgh, because from
the moment I went there I had a presentiment
that the situation in which I found
myself placed was to bring on my death. It
has done so; and yet there was a danger that
I did not see. The joys and anticipations
of life are now over with me. I do not bid
you believe me, but only request that you
will bear in mind, that your Gatty says she
believes, that early on the next Sabbath
morning, between the first and third crowing
of the cock, she shall be lying on that
bed a lifeless corse, and her friends weeping
"That's e'en a dismal belief, but it's a
thing that I downa believe, nor yet think
about," said Daniel. "If the skeel of a'
the doctors, an' the prayers of a' the good an'
a' the righteous, can stand ye in ony stead" —
She interrupted his passionate declamation
by laying her hand on his arm, and
saying, "Hold, dear father! — that is, of all
other things, the one I desired most to speak
to you concerning; and I warn you, that
no apothecary's drugs, these great resorts of
the faithless and the coward, shall ever come
within my lips. They may render my life
comfortless by qualms and vapours, but they
cannot add to my existence one hour or one
moment. That is in the hand of the Almighty;
and to his awards I bow with humble
submission, without repining, and without
a murmur. Nay, believe me, father, I
will take my last look of this world of anxiety,
sin, and suffering, with a joy that I
have no words to describe; and with a hope
of future communion that is likewise inexpressible
as far as regards myself, but is
marred by some fears on account of those I
love, for without their fellowship my joy
would be incomplete. So thinks and so
feels poor human nature. But be that as it
may, none of your self-sufficient doctors,
with their hums and their haws, their shakes
of the head, wise prescriptions, and Latin
labels, for me. All will-o'-wisps to engender
false hopes, lead the poor benighted
soul astray, and leave it on the quaking,
sinking fen. Neither will I have any thing
to do with the exhortations of your formal
divines, who come on a forced journey sorely
against the will of man and horse, and repeat
to me that which they have said to
every person in the same circumstances since
they took up the trade, and pray for me what
they have prayed for thousands. To my
own lips, and to those of my husband and
parents, shall all my petitions to the throne
of grace be confined. I would rather kneel
with you, and join in a petition from the
heart, however simple the expression, than
in the most sublime effusion of the learned
pedagogue, who addresses Heaven in words
of precious length and sonorous cadence, to
set off his own qualifications."
"Ye war aye inclined to rin to extremes
in every thing a' your days, my bairn," said
Daniel. "Your spirit has often brought
me in mind of a razor that's over thin
ground, an' over keen set, whilk, instead of
being usefu' an' serviceable, thraws in the
edge, or is shattered away til a saw, an'
maun either be thrown aside as useless, or
ground up anew. Now, my dear bairn, an
this thin an' sensitive edge war ground off
ye awee on the rough hard whinstone of affliction,
I think ye will live to be a bless.
ing to a' concerned ye."
"I never heard ought said mair pat to
the purpose sin' I was born!" said Davie to
"In your prayers for me to-night, and the
few nights we have to be together, father,"
said Catty, "I entreat that you will not
intercede with the Almighty to lengthen
out my days. That is a matter decided and
acquiesced in, — a register sealed, no more to
"I maun hae my ain way, or else I canna
pray a word," said Daniel. " My petitions
canna be confined to ae subject, nor
twae, nor three, nor maybe half a dozen;
for what comes boonmost maun be out, or
there I stick, lookin o'er my shoulder like
Lot's wife, an' never win farther. But that's
ae thing ye may be sure o', whatever I ask
for on your account will aye be frae the
"That I know well, dear father," returned
she, "and that makes your homely prayers
to me so sweet."
The two now proceeded to their devotions.
They sung together the four verses
prescribed so sweetly, that the shepherd
could not help joining every strain, below
his breath. Daniel read a chapter pointed
out to him in the Gospel with so much simple
seriousness, that the dread of his master
bungling divine exercise by degrees vanished
from Davie's heart, and he only longed to
join in the sacred service. The father and
daughter kneeled together, and so holy did
the occasion seem, and so abstracted from
all earthly hopes, that the hind, in his concealment,
who came to pick out faults, perhaps
to laugh, could not abstain from kneeling
along with them; and it is only from
his report that the following notes of Daniel's
prayer for that evening were taken.
"O Lord, it's but unco seldom that I
come hurklin afore you, to fash ye wi' ony
poor petitions o' mine; for I hae been aye
o'er upliftit an' massy about ought that ye
gae me to complain; an' whan ye were
pleased to tak ought frae me, I held my
tongue. I hae aye countit mysel clean unwordy
o' being heard, or ony way tentit by
sic a good being as thou art, an' therefore
I didna like to come yammerin an' whinin
afore ye every hour o' the day, for this thing
an' the tither thing. Ye ken weel yoursel'
it was out o' nae disrespect, but I
thought it was unco selfish like to be higgle--
hagglin a hale lifetime for favours to a poor
frail worm, an' frae ane wha trend a' my
wants sae weel, an' whom I never yet distrustit.
But now, indeed, my good Lord
an' Master, the time is corned that I maun
expostulate with ye a wee, an' ye're no to
tak it ill. There are some things that the
heart of man can neither thole, nor his head
comprehend, an' then he's obliged to come
to you. Now, I'm no gaun to prig an'
aglebergan wi' ye as ye war a Yorkshireman,
but just let ye hear the plain request,
an' the humble judgment of a poor auld
"Ye hae gi'en me wealth, an' just as
muckle wit as to guide it, an' nae mair. Ye
hae gi'en me a wife that's just sic an' sae,
but, on the hale, about up wi' the average
stock price that's gaun the country. Ye
hae gi'en me twa sons of whom I hae nae
reason to complain, but mony reasons to
thank ye for. But ye gae me a daughter
that has aye been the darling o' my heart,
the very being of a' others for whom I wished
to live, an' on whom I wished to confer
favours. My heart was gratefu' to you for
the gift; an' if I haena expressed my
thankfu'ness as I should hae done, it was a
heavy crime, but I canna help it. An' now
thou's threatenin to take this precious gift
frae me again, in the very May-flower o'
life, an' the bud o' yirthly hope an' beauty.
Is this like the doing of a father an' a friend?
An I were to gie my son Joseph a bonny
ewe-lamb, the flower o' the flock, an' gin he
were to accept o' the gift, an' be thankfu'
for it, — how wad it look in me afterwards,
when the pretty thing was just come to its
prime, if I war to gang yont the hill an'
hand the dogs on it till they pu'd the life
out o't, an' then take the bouk to mysel'?
What wad my son .Joseph say to that?
I think he wad hae reason to complain, an'
I wad be laith to do it. The case is thoroughly
my ain. — An' now, O my gracious
an' kind Father, dinna tak my bit favourite
lamb frae me sae soon. Dinna hund the
dogs o' disease an' death on my darling, to
pu' her precious life away ere ever the silver
cord be loosed, or the wheel broken
in the cistern, — ere the bleat of the murt
has been heard in the ha', or the clank o'
the shears ower the head o' the shearling.
What's to come o' us a', an' especially
what's to come o' auld Daniel Bell, an thou
take away this dear, this beloved thing, that
is kneeling before thee here at my side?
It's as muckle as a' our reasons an' a' our
lives are worth, an' my weak sight can see
nae fatherly hand in sic an act. If thou
canna stock heaven wi' bright an' beauteous
spirits otherwise than at the expense o'
breaking parents' hearts, it strikes me that
thou past a dear pennyworth. But I am
an ignorant an' blindfauldit creature, an'
canna faddom the least o' thy divine decrees,
an' I pray for forgiveness. — I ken thou
wilt do a' for the best at the lang run, but
the feelings that thou host given deserve
some commiseration for the present. I
therefore beg an' implore of thee, for the
sake of him who died for the children of
men, that thou wilt spare my child. Spare
an' recover her, O Lord, that she may live
to shew forth thy praise in the land of the
living; an' if thou wants a prop for ony o'
the sheds in the suburbs o' Heaven, I ken
what will stand thee in as good stead, an'
whae winna grudge yielding up his life for
hers, but will willingly lay down his gray
hairs in the grave in the place o' thae bonny
gouden locks. I hae nae heart ava to live
without her, an' if, in despite of a' I can
say, thou art still pleased to take her to thysel',
my neist request shall be, that thou
take us a' off thegither, tag-rag an' bob--
tail. If I be sinning in this request, it is
because I ken nae better, an' I implore forgiveness;
but it is a father's earnest an'
heart-bleeding petition, that thou wilt spare
the life of his dear child, an' restore her
once more to the light of life, health, an'
"These are my preevat requests, the sentiments
o' my ain heart, an' it's the first time
I had ever the face to express them afore ye
in my Namely mother tongue; but mine's
a case o' great dread an' anxiety, an' admits
o' nae standin on stappin-stanes. —
There's nought for it but plashin through
thick an' thin. If thou hast indeed revealed
to her spirit the secret of her dissolution,
I winna insist on ye brikking
your word; for I ken ye're neither like a
Yorkshire woo'-man, nor a Galloway drover,
to be saying ae thing the day an' another
the morn. But I wad fain hope it is only
a warning gi'en in kindness to lead to repentance,
an' that ye intend makin a Nineveh
job o't after a'. In the faith o' this,
an' of thy infinite mercy, I again implore
of thee to grant me my darling's life, if at
all consistent with thy holy an' just decrees.
— An' this brings me to the second
part of my unworthy discourse. — These are
a father's sentiments, which he was debarred
from uttering, but could not contain
in his breast while on his knees before
thee. We must now, at no more than five
days after date, draw on thy bounty, conjunctly
an' severally, for value received, although
we must confess the ransom to have
been paid by another, not by us.
"O Lord, look down in mercy an' compassion
upon us two poor mortal and dying
creatures here kneeling before thee on the
earth, the crumb-claith below thy throne, —
an' for the sake o' the best day's-man that
ever took a job by the piece since the creation
o' the world, an' executed the sairest
an' the hardest darg, grant us a remission
of our manifold sins. Into these mysteries
o' man's salvation I darena, for my part, sac
muckle as peep through the borrel hole o'
modern devices; but we hae baith sic a perfect
an' thorough dependence on thy fatherly
love an' kindness, that we can never
dread, nor think, nor dream of aught harsh
or severe coming frae the beneficent hand
that made us, — that has fed an' preserved
its sae lang, an' made us a' sae happy
ane anither. Wae be to the captious
tongue that wad represent thee as standing
on flaws an' punctilios with the creatures of
thy hand, even to the nineteenth part of a
strae's balance, when it is evident to a' nature,
that since the day thou created them,
thou never had'st a thought in thy head
that hadna the improvement of the breed,
baith in virtue an' happiness, in view! Our
sins, nae doubt, are many in their number,
an' heinous in their nature; an' gin a' tales
be true, they may be greater an' mair numerous
than we ken ought about. But in
this is our faith founded, that they bear nae
mair proportion to thy mercy in an' through
a Redeemer, than the sand by that burnside
does to the everlasting mountains. If
that pickle sand were sawn ower but the
thousandth part o' the hills that surround
it, it wad never be ken'd nor discovered to
be there; an' nae mair wad our bits of back--
fa'ings, an' shortcomings in duty, be discovered,
if thrown into the boundless ocean o'
redeeming love. There will we set up our
rest in the day of great adversity, an' there
will we place our Jacob's ladder that shall
bear our steps to a better country.
But concerning this young person now
bowing at thy foot-stool, what shall we say,
or how shall we express our feelings? She
is, indeed, resigned to her latter end, an'
rejoices in the hope set before her. Alas!
it isna sae wi' me! I hae a hankering for
her life that I canna get aboon, an' wad
fain hope that ye'll no just render a father's
agony an' utter desolation complete. But
if thou hast otherwise determined, Lord
help me to submit to the blow, for I find I
can never do it of myself. She has been a
dear bairn to me; she has sat on my knee;
she has lain in my bosom, an' slept with
her arms around my neck; as far as I
remember, has never gi'en me a sair heart
sin the day that thou gae her to me. But
if I maun resign her, I maun resign her;
thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Make her meet an' fit for that great an'
awfu' change that sooner or later is awaiting
her, which I darena mention, because I
dinna comprehend it. Ane wad hae thought
that happiness was piled up for her, in this
life, without end, an' without calculation;
but within this wee while, I hae been made
to tremble, lest a' our fine fabric may hae
been sapped in its foundation, an' is shaking
to its fall. O! I fear me, I fear me,
the cop-stane o' that fabric was foully laid,
an' thou hast visited it heavily on our heads,
an' art about to visit it more heavily still,
to show us how little we know what is for
our good. Perhaps, in bitterness of spirit,
she might herself pray to thee for that very
consummation which has broken her heart,
an' is now pressing her down to an early
grave. If so, thou hast granted her request,
but thou hast granted it in displeasure. O
all-mighty an' just God, who can fathom
the depth of thy judgment? It is higher
than heaven, what can we do; it is deeper
than hell, what can we understand? What
shall we, or what can we, do to appease thy
displeasure? Shall I give my first-born for
my transgression, or the fruit of my body
for the sin of my soul? If thou requirest
it, I must; but, in the mean time, we leave
with thee this night two broken an' contrite
spirits, an' bow to thy decision, whaever
it may be." * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
The prayer, of which the above is without
all doubt an imperfect sketch, having
been the very overflowings of a plain and unsophisticated
heart, affected the shepherd
exceedingly, — for those in humble life are
always most taken with humble metaphors
and homely phrase; so that when
Grizzy came to carry him off to the courting,
she found him rivetted to the spot, attending
closely to the parting words of the
father and daughter, and sighing with deep
concern. She hauled him away, however,
and they slid quietly down stairs into the
kitchen; but as it was impossible to make
Grizzy serious for one minute, Davie had
no heart for the hay-nook that night. He
could not refrain from talking about what
he had heard even to his irreverent auditor,
and began by inquiring, "If she had any
conception that their young mistress was
"Aw kens noughts about it ava, nor what
conception is. Aw fancies that's a thing that
there's somebody that aw kens unco feared
for. An she be dyeing, aw thinks she maun
be dyeing white, for she has made somebody's
chafts that aw kens unco bleached like."
"I hae na been as muckle affectit this
lang time. Wow, but our master has rowth
o' gude matter in him, an he could but find
scholar-like expressions. He gart the tears
come to my een oftener than aince."
"Aih, wow me! but aw's wae for thee!
Did he no gi'e in a word for a' liars an'
Grizzy thought of the half-hour's courting
in the hay-nook.
"He put up gude petitions an' strang
ones, Grizzy; an' by an' by, in a few days,
he's gaun to put up ane to heaven, to cut
a' aff thegither, you, an' me, an' the halewort
"De'il ca' him thank for that! He's no
blate! Let him pray for his ain, to live or
dee, as he likes; aw wants nae sic petitions.
When hoddy-craws turn into doos, they're
unco ill for picking out fock's een. Words
are but peughs o' wind, they'll no blaw far,
that's ae comfort. — Aih, wow me! but aw
bes sleepry, an' has into the byre to gang
to look the kye the night yet! Hae, will
ye carry the bouet for me, an' gang foremost?"
"I thought ye had been nae feared for
outher ghaist or deil?"
"Auhaw! but thae new-fashioned prayers
are no to lippen to. The tod kens his
ain whalps amang a' the collie's bairns, an'
gets that gowl in the Gans."
Davie was thus forced by stratagem to
fulfil his promise to Grizzy, which, though
refused at the time, was nevertheless expected;
and she being of great comfort to Davie
at meal-times, he always contrived to keep on
good terms with her, at the expense of a few
kind words now and then, or a kiss in the
dark. It so happened, that Davie's ewes
would scarcely ever let him home to his
meals at the same time with the rest of the
servants; of course he had to dine alone,
when every good bit in the house fell to
Davie's share. Even his sagacious dog,
Miller, looked as plump as a justice; and
never failed, on entering the kitchen, to
wag his busby tail, and lick witty Grizzy's
hand. But at length it so happened, that
Grizzy's marriage was actually brought about
with Davie, and that by the same means
that two-thirds of Border marriages in the
lower class are effected. — A sad change for
poor Miller, as well as Davit's cheek-blade,
now that he and Grizzy have to furnish
food for their own stall.
A FEW days more passed over at Bellsburnfoot
in the silent melancholy of piercing
grief. Daniel had told his wife and son-in--
law of his daughter's hideous forebodings,
and asked their opinion of the matter.
M'Ion said, he did not deem that, in the
course of the disease, her dissolution could
be so nigh; but that such a rooted apprehension
was sufficient to cut off a person in
perfect health, and how much more one whose
distemper prompted her to indulge in visionary
sorrows to the wildest extreme! On the
whole, he said, he greatly dreaded the event;
and it behoved them to take some decisive
measures to put the time over, which being
effected, there was a chance of her recovery.
This gave great comfort to the tenderhearted
and almost despairing father. I
say almost despairing, for he still retained
a hope, that the Almighty would hear his
fervent petitions in behalf of his child, which
were now offered up evening and morning,
and often in private through the day. Yea,
sometimes as he was sauntering by himself,
and communing with his heart, his
faith rose to that pitch, that he assured
himself, "a father's prayers wad no be suffered
to mix an' blaw away i' the winds o'
the glen, or to glaister on the hill-side like
a could shower o' sleet, unless it war for
wiser purposes than his sight could tak in."
As for Mrs Bell, she still deprecated the
idea of any danger. Mrs Johnson knew
first of all her beloved child's strange forebodings,
and gave in to them with too much
assurance that they would prove true, but
with a resolution to avert the blow in the
end, if human aid or ingenuity could aught
avail. She communicated with her son, who
approved of all she had done, and joined
with her in projecting to do all in their
power to get the hour of anticipated dissolution
over; but what was best to be done,
none of them could devise. As yet the sufferer
had never divulged her apprehensions
to her husband; she had never spoken any
thing to him but hope and comfort. But
she once, on the Thursday, said to him,
that she was distressed in spirit, and begged
that he would pray with her. He did so,
and, though shortly, in so sublime and pathetic
a manner, that she was melted into
a flood of tears; and, when he finished, she
hung on his neck, and kissed him. "Well
as I have loved you," said she, "and that
has been as never woman loved, I never
knew till this moment what a treasure I
possessed. These are not the words of one
who is a stranger to the mysteries of redeeming
grace, but bespeak a heart and
tongue well used to divine supplication.
Thanks be to God, the bond that united
us here has its fastening in a sure place, to
which we shall be drawn the one after the
other, and again united."
The Saturday at length arrived which
Gatty had announced as the last day that
she was to live; for she had told it to her
father and Mrs Johnson in confidence, with
the fullest assurance, "that on the next
Sabbath morning, between the second and
third crowing of the cock, she should depart
From the Tuesday she kept herself confined
to her room for the most part, though
from no apparent cause that any stranger
could have discovered. She remained all
the while quite cheerful; and often a wild
unstable ray of happiness flashed from her
eyes, proceeding from anticipations of a sublime
but unknown state of existence. She
seldom looked abroad upon the face of nature,
for she had not that delight in the
beauty of terrestrial objects that her late
cousin possessed. The latter was the pure
unsophisticated child of nature; this, of refined
passion, feeling, and the most romantic
devotion. She employed herself most in
reading her Bible, or rather in searching
through it, and marking certain places with
initials, as with intention that her friends
should peruse and take delight in these passages
when she was no more. Every day
brought the dreaded Sabbath morning a
step nearer to Daniel's door, and each succeeding
day his soul clung closer and closer
to his child. His very existence seemed to
be bound up in hers; and before the close
of the week, whenever he came into her presence,
his breathing consisted of short vehement
sighing, resembling the distant sound
of a water-wheel. His frame was bowed
down, — his features changed to those of the
most overpowering sorrow; and ever and
anon, as he listened to her sweet weakened
voice, that breathed nothing but filial love
and tenderness, he lifted up his woe-bedimmed
eyes to Heaven in the most imploring
manner, manifestly saying in his heart, "O
Lord, wilt thou indeed rend this jewel from
all our bosoms?" On these occasions, his lips
were often observed to be moving, though
no modulation of sound issued; his prayer
was too deep and full of agony for expression,
and seemed as if, by an involuntary
gasp of the soul, it had been drawn from
the external air into the heart. He would
not say prayers before any of the family save
herself; for when urged to suffer them to be
present, he objected to it, and said, "he always
felt as if they stood between God and
him." His prayers became every day more
fervent, until at the last it grew so painful
to hear him, that even Davie could not listen.
But on the final Saturday he was
more resigned, and appeared either determined
to submit patiently to the divine
will, or else convinced that his prayers had
been heard, and that God would grant a reprieve
of this mysterious sentence.
Gatty arose on that day at her usual
hour, and after praying with her father, as
was her wont, she desired to be left alone.
She then dressed herself carefully in her
bridal apparel, which was all of the purest
snowy white, and when thus gorgeously but
decently equipt, she sent for her husband.
He pretended great astonishment at seeing
her look so fresh and beautiful. She smiled
and seemed pleased with the compliment;
he then took her gently in his arms, kissed
and caressed her, endeavouring all that he
could to turn her mind away from the bias
to which he knew well it was tending, and
her affection for him was such, that she listened
long with apparent delight, unwilling
to mar his joyful anticipations. He talked
of the scenery of the Mid-Highlands, — the
dark forests of pine, — the towering Grampian
pyramids that rose behind these, and
that, rising above the mists of the morning,
appeared like the thrones of angels hung between
the earth and heaven. Then he spoke
of the thousand cataracts of the mountains
that were now her own, every one of them
haloed by their tiny rainbows, while the majestic
arch of everlasting promise spanned
the glen above them all, uniting heaven
and earth into one sphere of radiant and celestial
glory. Gatty listened with delight,
which was alone caused by his enthusiasm,
for to her the beauties of external nature
offered no such object of admiration. Her
soul yearned after glories more beatific,
and indulged in shadowing out to itself
scenes beyond the comprehension of mortal
fancy. She therefore took hold of the expression,
"everlasting promise," to break
forth in raptures of delight on the sweet promises
of the Gospel, — the promises of eternal
life and salvation by a Redeemer, from
which she verged designedly, but, as it were,
quite naturally, to the sinfulness, the sorrows,
and constant misery of this present
state of existence, and how happy she deemed
those that were early removed from it.
"Do not you think so, my dear Diarmid?"
added she. "Confess to me that you do,
and that the more dearly you loved a friend,
you would rejoice the more that that friend
was called early home to her father's house
before the days of sorrow arrived, and the
years in which there is no pleasure."
"Nay, but we have duties to fulfil here,
my love — duties of a social nature, from
which it is sinful to shrink," returned he.
"The soul of man is so constituted, that,
whether here or hereafter, we must partake
of our joys with others, else they are no real
joys. Happy, indeed, may they be who are
cut off in early bloom; but surely more happy
are they, who, after fulfilling the Christian
duties of a long life, are taken away from
the midst of an affectionate and virtuous
Gatty wept, and said she hoped to have
heard his sentiments correspond better with
her own, in which case the intelligence she
had to impart might have been shorn of all
its arrows. "Has it never struck you,"
added she, "that I am a dying person?"
"We are all dying creatures, my dearest
Gatty," said he. "But I hope the day
of our separation is yet far distant. And,
believe me, I take this moping melancholy
mood of yours exceedingly ill. It appears
as if you were weary of my love and fellowship,
and those of your friends, and wanted
to escape from us like a truant before your
time. You are ruining a constitution naturally
good, by indulging in feelings so intense
and vehement that no human frame
can withstand them for any length of time.
Indeed I am angry with you, and beseech
you to cheer up your heart, which is the only
anodyne that can restore you to perfect
health, and this family to its wonted happiness."
She took his hand in hers, pressed it,
and wet it with her tears. "We must
part, Diarmid," said she. "The efforts of
man cannot prevail against the hand of
the Almighty. It is decreed that we must
part, and that before the dawning of the
day of the Son of Man."
"You are raving, my love," said he; "and
have mistaken the dreams of a morbid fancy
for the revelation of heaven. Let me hear
no more of such fantasy, else I will indeed
think that you are weary of me, and do not
"Sure you will not deny that there is
still a possibility of a communication between
God and man?" said she.
"Yes I deny it, — positively I deny it,"
returned he; "or if there were, what right
have you or I to presume on being those
favoured individuals, out of so many millions
wiser and better than we?"
"I believe in it. I have prepared myself
for my change," said she, "and have taken
a final leave of all things in this world,
save of him that I love more than all the
world beside, which I will not do till my
last hour. And now I have told you the
secret impression of my heart, in the truth
of which I have the most sacred reliance.
If I live to see the light of a new day, I
shall never more believe in divine revelations
to man, in these latter days of the
Gospel. Now I will talk with you about
any thing you please during the remainder
of the day; but I would rather our converse
were about an hereafter. In this you may
indulge me, corresponding with the views I
have taken up, — be they true or false, the
subject is one of the highest interest and
They talked of future existence till the
close of even; of the interminable joys of
the paradise above, and the journeying of
blessed spirits through the millions of radiant
orbs in the immeasurable bounds of creation.
He never parted from her side; and
when her spirits began to sink, he administered
small portions of a cordial elixir, that
had the effect of soothing her irritated
nerves, and exalting her spirits to such a degree,
that she seemed several times to be
basking in the full fruition of mental delight.
She again and again declared, as the
evening wore to a close, that she had never
in all her life spent so happy a day; and
once added, "For a few such days as this it
would indeed be worth one's while to live!"
The rest of the family were coming and
going the whole day, and all delighted to
see her so well; but M'Ion never quitted
her side. Toward midnight she fell into a
restless slumber, and on waking out of it testified
considerable uneasiness, calling out to
give her more of the delicious elixir, which
she called the elixir of life and joy. "Give
me fulness of it," said she, "for I long exceedingly
to drink of it, feeling as it were
to me the water of life."
He again mixed her up a cordial, which
he sweetened and diluted with wine and
water, and gave her it to drink. She lifted
up her eyes, and her lips moved as if imploring
a blessing on it from above, and
drank it off. Then saying that she felt a
great deal better and more comfortable, she
stretched herself upon the bed, and breathed
some fervent ejaculations in a whisper.
"O these longings, these longings after the
delights of mortal life! Woe's my heart for
them! Woe's my heart for them! These
joys of connubial love! Shall they again
wean my heart from thee? Come, blessed
Jesus, and work a thorough change in my
heart before I step out of one being into
another. — Dearest husband, how wears the
night?" added she aloud.
"It is about the fall of midnight, love;
the morning, I think, approaches. And as
lovely a night it is as at this late season I
have looked on."
"I wish I go not to sleep too soon, for I
should have much to do before the second
watch of the morning. Will you give place
to my father for a short time, dear husband?
and kiss me before you go, lest it
be long, long ere we meet again."
"I will kiss you till the night be over
I will read with you, pray with you, watch
with you, or do whatever you please; but
indeed I cannot leave you to-night, with
these dismal forebodings preying on your
dear heart. Why may not all our friends
join, that we may sing a psalm of humiliation
"O be it so! be it so! there is nothing
so sweet," said she; "sing what verses you
yourself please; but this psalm is not to be
the last. My father has directions for that
— he is to sing the last one, and I would
wish to depart singing it. Therefore, as long
as I am able to speak, will you tell him to
begin at the second crowing of the cock,
and sing it over and over till I appear no
more to feel or understand it? Perhaps I
may be able to give directions myself; but,
alas! I know not what pangs I may have to
undergo in the dreadful separation of matter
M‘Ion was struck dumb at hearing such
expressions, and trembled to think of the
present state of his beloved's mind. But he
had secretly given her in the last cup a
composing or rather sleeping draught, and
had high hopes that she would fall into a
profound slumber, and sleep out the anticipated
hour of dissolution, and that the effect
of this on her enthusiastic and prophetic
mind might be attended with the most
happy consequences. The plan was undoubtedly
a good one; he approved of it in
his heart, and exulted in contemplating the
result. But it was impossible to be in that
young lady's company, in her present state
of excitement, without partaking of her solemn
and awful feelings. It must have been
utterly impossible; for the whole group,
none of whom had at all been noted as devotees,
seem at that time to have entered
deeply into the same holy rapture of impassioned
devotion. M'Ion, with all his
command over his demeanour, and all his
assurance of the success of his scheme, entered
into the solemn impressions of the moment
with an ardour not to be exceeded.
He sung a part of the beautiful 63d psalm;
and bowing on the bed-side, he prayed over
the pale and lovely form, as she lay extended
in her bridal robes, in a strain which
shewed how truly his petitions flowed from
the heart. But he begged her life of the
Almighty in a manner too absolute, and altogether
incompatible with human submission.
In the midst of this passionate aberration,
as he paused to breathe, she said to
him in a whisper, and with a sigh, drawn as
it were from the deepest recess of the heart,
"Oh! don't, my love! don't! — Father, forgive
him, for he knows not what he is saying!"
He, however, went on to an end in the
same strain; and by the time he had finished,
she had fallen so very low that she could
scarcely lift her eyes, or articulate a word.
It being now about that hour of the mornning
on which she had foretold that her
death should happen, they were all plunged
in the deepest distress, as well as seized with
benumbing consternation, save M'Ion himself,
who never doubted the success of his
potion; and perhaps on that ground asked
too unqualifiedly of the Almighty, what he
believed his own ingenuity had provided for,
in a way altogether natural. She lifted her
languid and drowsy eyes toward her father's
face; her lips moved as if in the act of speaking,
and perhaps she believed she was speaking,
but no sound was heard. The old man
was drowned in tears, and convulsed with
weeping; and as he laid down his ear, endeavouring
to catch the half-modulated aspirations,
the cock crew. It was a still dark
morning, and the shrill clarion note rang
through every apartment of the house, although
it came from a distance, across a
small court. Every one started at the sound,
as if touched by electricity, and every eye
watched the motion of all the others. "Is
that the first or second crowing?" whispered
Mrs Johnson. None of them knew; but
none of them could say they had heard the
bird's note before. The sound also struck on
Gatty's ear, all faint and motionless as she
lay. She gave a gentle shiver, spread both
her hands, and again lifting her eyes to her
father's face, she pointed to the Bible, and
articulated the monosyllable, "Now," in a
whisper scarcely audible. "O, my child!
my child!" cried Daniel, as he took the
Bible on his knee — "My dutiful, my loving,
my angelic child! must I indeed lose thee!
O Lord, why art thou thus laying thy hand
upon us in thy hot displeasure? Can they
who descend into the darksome grave praise
thy name, or do thee honour?"
"Be calm, dear sir," said M'Ion; "be
calm and composed, for our darling only
slumbers, and will awake refreshed in the
"Ay! on the morning of the resurrection
day, she will awake," said Daniel.
"That is not a face of earthly slumber."
"The lovely visage is strangely altered,"
said Mrs Johnson. "O God! O God! I
fear that the great and last change is indeed
"No, I tell you no," said M‘Ion; "believe
me, I know better; therefore be composed,
and proceed to sing the verse of the
psalm that you, sir, know of; for she charged
me, that we should all join in singing
it at this time of the morning!"
Daniel, with many sobs and tears, sought
out the place; for there was a mark laid at
it, so that it was easily found, else it had
not been found by him; and when he beheld
the single verse marked round with red
ink; and on the margin, written with her
hand, "the last," he burst out in weeping
anew. As was said before, it was the 5th
verse of the 31st psalm.
"Into thine hands I do commit
My soul; for thou art he,
O thou Jehovah, God of truth!
Who hast redeemed me."
Daniel read it over, and then the group
joined in singing it, which they did in low
and plaintive strains; but she over whose
couch it was sung took no share in the sacred
strain. She lay silent and composed
without breath or motion, and every feature
of the late lovely face appeared to be gradually
undergoing a singular metamorphosis.
When the strain ceased, all their faces
instantly hung over hers. "Is there any
life remaining?" said Daniel.
"Alas, the conflict is over!" said Mrs
Johnson. "Thence has fled the most
elevated soul that ever animated frame s
"I tell you no, mother," said M'Ion rebukingly;
"I beseech you to be calm, an
wait the issue with Christian fortitude. I
tell you that life is not extinct, although
there is a cessation of vitality that I cannot
comprehend. It is a death-like sleep, still
it is only but a sleep. Believe me, it is nothing
beyond. — Please, sir, let us sing these
solemn lines once more, as our darling requested."
He said this to get quit of their
inquiries for a space, for at this time he could
feel no pulsation, and was himself in great
astonishment, although still convinced
could be nothing but a deep sleep produced
by his opiate on a system irritated and exhausted
by intense straining over ecstatic
visions. Daniel complied with his son-in--
law's request, and they sung the stanza over
once again, and again their anxious inquiries
prevailed. These were now altogether
hopeless, on looking at the altered features.
Daniel leaned his head on his two hands
to weep. Mrs Johnson began to give way
to the most passionate expressions of woe;
and Mrs Bell, who had scarcely articulated
a word during that momentous evening, having
no language of her own for such depth
of sorrow, stood in a wan and half frigid
state; the matter having so far outrun her
calculation, that she seemed petrified. But
her habitual self-command prevailed; she
lighted a candle, and with a gait perfectly
upright, but in a hurried pace, went to look
after the dead-linens. M'Ion still sat on
the bed, with his left arm below the sleeper's
head, and his palm resting on the jugular
vein; his right lay across her delicate
breast, and was pressed on the region of the
heart; and it so happened, that by a certain
power of sympathy which has often
been noted to exist between the living and
the newly dead, but has never been thoroughly
explained, whenever he moved either
of his hands there was a palpable muscular
motion took place that shook her whole
frame. Not adverting in the least to this
phenomenon, M'Ion still took it for the
nervous shiver of a disturbed sleeper, and
maintained his point that she was not
dead, but fallen into a deep sleep, or rather
a trance. In what state she then was, it
will never be in the power of man to decide.
The issue turned out so terrible, that the
whole matter has always appeared to me as
much above human agency as human capacity;
if any can comprehend it from a plain
narration of the incidents as they succeeded
one another, the definition shall be put in
their power; but farther I take not on me
M'Ion kept his anxious position, and still
with the same decided assurance — Mrs Bell
remaining long absent, turning and tumbling
over the contents of drawers. Mrs
Johnson several times looked into that face
over which her son hung with such unwearied
hope. But at every time she turned
away with a groan, saying, "Oh, Diarmid!
Your hope is folly! It is worse — it
is madness!" But no — nothing would make
him yield up that hope; he held fast his
integrity, and sat patiently waiting for her
resuscitation. Mrs Bell returned with all
the paraphernalia of dead-clothes and holland
sheets whereon to lay out her deceased
daughter. She stood with these in her
arms at the bed-side for a long space, listening
to the verdict of life or death, — one
said Yes, another said No, and both with the
same degree of assurance. "What is this?"
said she. "Are you all deprived of your
senses, that you cannot decide on the most
obvious thing in nature?"
She laid aside the linens, and first felt
her child's feet and then her hands, — the
chill, cold damps of death were settled on
them. — "Son, your hope is vain," said she;
"it is worse, it is preposterous, the body is
already turning cold and stiff." Then lifting
the candle, she looked into the face, and,
like the other, turned away with a groan,
desiring M'Ion to leave the body and retire,
in a peremptory manner. He could not be
moved, but still kept his position, although
apparently now beginning to doubt. Daniel
likewise looked into the bed, and the
ghastly features of death being also too obvious
to his eyes, he began to entreat his son
to come away. But for a while he refused,
sitting still in utter despondency.
"The ways of heaven are indeed wonderful!"
exclaimed he. "I could have believed
any thing in nature sooner than this! Sure
my beloved wife cannot be reaved from me
thus? No, no, it is impossible, — my mind
cannot take it in. I will not credit man or.
woman on this reverse."
The father and mother again besought
him, and led him away reluctantly from the
body, while the two sorrowful matrons set
about laying it out, and dressing it in all
due form. Daniel and retired to
the parlour, but were both too much overcome
with grief to enter into any conversation.
Their language consisted of short exclamations
of astonishment, scarcely leavened
with due submission to the hand that had
given and taken away; but whether either
of them blamed the decrees of Heaven as
unjust, or did not blame them, could not
afterwards be called to remembrance; but
a shade of remorse hung over both their
consciences for a season, on account of sonic
aggression of that nature,
M'Ion, now left in a great measure to his
own cogitations, could not reason himself
into a belief that his lady had actually departed
this life, without any apparent natural
cause of dissolution, farther than a preconceived
idea that she was to die at that
moment. This he thought might have killed
her, had he not taken care privately to
steep her senses in soft forgetfulness by a
gentle sleeping draught, and he was persuaded
she was in a drowsy and slumbering
state before the predicted hour arrived,
and was sensible neither of its approach
nor of its presence. As to the draught he
had administered to her, it was of so gentle
a nature, that, on a person of full health,
it would have had scarcely any effect at all,
and was only calculated to compose one to
sleep whose frame was debilitated by too
much mental irritation. He was sure of
this; and, therefore, having no dread on account
of his potion, he could discover no
natural cause whatever for his loved lady's
hasty dissolution, and he was no believer in
prodigies. Consequently, he became more
convinced than ever, that it was only a temporary
cessation of life, and that, in all human
probability, she would survive. He
resolved on visiting the corpse once more,
and mentioning his resolution to Daniel,
the latter tried to dissuade him from it, but
his arguments proved weak and inefficient,
for a slender hope was also rekindled in his
own bosom; so prone is the anxious human
mind to linger around the dying form of one
beloved, and to hope even after the pale
lamp of probability is extinguished. Well
may this pertinacity be wondered at; but
so it was, that the two agreed to set out on
their forlorn expedition.
The two matrons had laid out the slender
and elegant form with all manner of
decorum, — the hands were tied to the sides,
and the limbs bound with many shreds of
the purest muslin, — the dead robes were put
on, adorned with many pale roses and edgings
of lace, from the head to the foot, and
the cambric napkin that was tied over the
face was of a texture so fine, that the mould
of every feature was still discernible. It
was on a still, dark morning of October, and
just about the break of day, that the two
friends tapped gently at the door of the dead
chamber. "Who is there?" inquired Mrs
Bell, sternly. The door had been bolted to
prevent all undue interruption, and as M'Ion
turned the handle in vain, he answered,
"Pray, grant me admission for a little while.
I cannot rest unless I look at the dear form
"No," said Mrs Bell. "The face of
the dead does best to be hid from the eye
of the living. It is unmeet to be prying into
the chambers of death. Be content, and remain
where you are."
"I request admission for a short space,"
returned he. "I cannot otherwise have
rest; therefore, pray, suffer us both to come
"It is hard to refuse so small and so tender
a boon," said Mrs Johnson, rising to
open the door, which she did; and the moment
M'Ion entered the room, so mighty
was that undefined power of sympathy between
his frame and the body of the deceased,
that the latter started with a muscular
motion so violent that it seemed like
one attempting to rise. No one perceived
this momentary phenomenon save Mrs Bell,
who at the instant chanced to be arranging
something about the body. She was struck
motionless, and sunk back speechless on the
seat. The two men entered; and, unapprized
that any thing was the matter with the good
dame, went straight forward to the bed.
M'Ion, in the eagerness of hope and anxiety,
laid his hand hastily on the breast, to
feel if there were yet any motion of the
heart. The body, from the same cause as
before, started and shrunk, though not so
violently, on which he raised his hands in
ecstacy, and exclaimed, "Thanks be to the
Almighty, the spark of life remains in her
dear breast, and she may yet be restored to
our prayers without any violation of the laws
"Alas, alas! I cannot believe it," said Daniel,
laying his hand also on the body. "It
is only an illusion of your distempered fancy;
all is cold here now! The spirit of my
bairn is gave to its unkend place of residence."
M'Ion again laid his hand on the breast
of the deceased, (if that term be proper,)
and still there was a slight muscular motion,
though at that time hardly perceptible.
Daniel, however, felt it, and lifting
up his hands and eyes, he cried out in ecstacy,
"Yes, yes! Blessed be his name, there
are certainly some remains of life! O let us
pray to God! Let us pray to God! for no
other hand can now do any thing for us but
With that he prostrated himself on the
bed, with his brow leaning on his dear child's
peaceful bosom, and cried to the Almighty
to restore her, with so much fervency and bitterness
of spirit, that even the hearers trembled,
and durst hardly say Amen in their
hearts. Poor man! He neither knew for what
he asked, nor in what manner his prayer was
to be answered. Let the issue be a warning
to all the human race, cautioning them
to bow with humble submission to the
awards of the Most High. While in the
midst of his vehement and unrestrained
supplication, behold the corpse sat up in the
bed in one moment! The body sprung up
with a power resembling that produced by
electricity. It did not rise up like one wakening
out of a sleep, but with a jerk so violent
that it struck the old man on the cheek,
almost stupifying him; and there sat the
corpse, dressed as it was in its dead-clothes,
a most appalling sight as man ever beheld.
The whole frame appeared to be convulsed,
and as it were struggling to get free of its
bandages. It continued, moreover, a sort of
hobbling motion, as if it moved on springs.
The women shrieked and hid their faces,
and both the men retreated a few steps, and
stood like fixed statues, gazing in terror at
seeing the. accomplishment of their frantic
petitions. At length. M'Ion had the presence
of mind to unbind the napkin from
the face. But what a face was there exhibited!
It was a face of death still; but
that was not all. The most extraordinary
circumstance was, that there was not, in one
feature, the slightest resemblance to the
same face only a few hours before, when the
apparent change took place from life into
death. It was now like the dead countenance
of an idiot, — the eyes were large and
rolled in their sockets, but it was apparent
that they saw nothing, nor threw any reflection
inward on an existing mind. There
was also a voice, and a tongue, but between
them they uttered no intelligible word, only
a few indistinct sounds like the babble
of a running brook. No human heart could
stand this; for though the body seemed to
have life, it was altogether an unnatural
life; or rather, the frame seemed as if agitated
by some demon that knew not how to
exercise or act upon any one of the human
powers or faculties. The women shrieked,
and both of them fell into fits on the floor.
M'Ion stood leaning against a bed-post,
shading his face with his hand, and uttering
groans so prolonged, and in a voice so
hollow and tremulous, that it was frightful
to hear him; in all that terrible scene there
was nothing so truly awful as these cries of
the distracted husband, for cries they certainly
were, rather than groans, though modulated
in the same manner. To have heard
these cries alone from an adjoining apartment,
would almost have been enough to
have put any ordinary person out of their
right mind. Daniel, when her face was
first exposed to view, staggered backward
like one stunned, until he came to a seat
beside the entrance door, on which he sunk
down, still keeping his eyes fixed on the
animated corpse. He was the first to utter
words, which were these: — "Oh, sirs, it's
no her! It's no her! It's no her! They hae
looten my bairn be changed. Oh God, forgie
us! What's to come o' us a' now wi' that
Death would now have been a welcome
visitor indeed, and would have relieved the
family from a horror not to be described;
but now there was no remedy; there the
creature sat struggling and writhing, using
contortions both in body and feature that
were truly terrific. No one knew what
to do or say; but as they were all together
in the same room, so they clung together,
and neither sent for divine nor physician,
unwilling that the deplorable condition of
the family, and the nakedness of their resources,
should be exposed to the blare of
the public voice.
Mrs Bell was the first to resume as much
courage as again to lay hands on this ghastly
automaton, which her pride and dignity
of spirit moved her to, although in a halfstupified
state. "You see what you have
brought us to by your unsanctified rhapsodies,"
said she. "This is the just hand of
Heaven. There is no doubt, however, that
it is the body of my child, although it appears
that the soul is wanting."
"Na, na, na!" exclaimed Daniel, "that's
no my bairn! The spirits hae brought an
uncouth form an' changed it on ye, an' the
body of my dear bairn's ta'en away. Ye
hae neither had the Bible aneath the head,
nor the saut an' the candle aboon the breast.
Never tell me that that's the face o' my
Gatty. Dead or alive, hers was a bonny
face. But what's that like?"
Mrs Bell loosed the bandages from the
hands and the feet, though not without
great perturbation; but she suffered the
dead-clothes to remain on the body, in the
hopes that it might still die away. She
tried also to lay it backward, and compose
it decently on the bed, but felt as if it were
endowed with unnatural force, for it resisted
her pressure, and rebounded upwards.
It also lifted its hand as if with intent to
put away her arm, but could not come in
contact with it. It was like the motion of
one trying to lay hold of something in a
dream. It was not long, however, till the
body fell backward of itself, and with apparent
ease turned itself half over in the
bed with its face away from the light. This
was a sensible relief to the distracted group;
they spread the sheets again decently over
the frame, remained all together in attendance,
and by the time that the sun rose
they heard distinct and well-regulated respirations
issuing from the bed.
It is impossible to give any thing like a
fair description of the hopes, the terrors, and
the transitions from one to another of these,
that agitated the individuals of that family
during this period of hideous suspense.
These were no doubt proportioned to their
various capacities and feelings; but there is
as little doubt that they were felt to a degree
seldom experienced in human nature.
There lay the body of their darling — of that
there could be no doubt, for they had never
been from its side one moment — but the
judgment of God seemed to be upon them;
for they all felt an inward impression admonishing
them that the soul had departed
to the bosom of its Creator at the very moment
foretold by its sweet and heavenly-minded
possessor, and that the Almighty
had, in derision of their unhallowed earnestness
for the prolongation of a natural life,
so little worthy of being put in competition
with a heavenly one, either suffered the
body to retain a mere animal existence, or
given the possession of it to some spirit altogether
unqualified to exercise the organs
so lately occupied by the heaven-born mind.
Yet, when they saw the bed-clothes move,
and heard the regular breathings, they experienced
many a thrilling ray of hope that
all they had witnessed might have been the
effect of some strong convulsion, and that
she might yet be restored to mental light,
to life, and to all their loves. Every time,
however, that they stole a look of the features,
their hopes were blasted anew.
For three days and three nights did this
incomprehensible being lie in that drowsy
and abstracted state, without tasting meat
or drink, nor did she seem affected by any
external object, save by M'Ion's entrance
into the room. On such occasions, she always
started, and uttered a loud and unintelligible
noise, like something between
laughing and anger; but the sound soon
subsided, and generally died away with a
feeble laugh, or sometimes with an articulation
that sounded like "No-no-no!"
All this time no servant or stranger had
been suffered to enter that chamber; and, on
the third day, they agreed to raise up this
helpless creature, and endeavour to supply
nature with some nourishment. They
did so; and now, inured to an intensity of
feeling that almost rendered them desperate,
they were enabled to inspect the features,
and all the bodily organs, with the
most minute exactness. The countenance
had settled into something like the appearance
of human life, — that is, it was not so
thoroughly the face of a dead person as when
it was at first reanimated; the lips had resumed
a faint dye of red, and there were some
slight veins on the cheeks, where the roses
had before blossomed in such beauty and
such perfection. Still it was a face without
the least gleam of mind — a face of mere
idiotism, in the very lowest state of debasement;
and not in one lineament could they
find out the smallest resemblance between
that face, and hers that had so lately been
the intelligent and the lovely Agatha Bell.
M'Ion studied both the contour and profile
with the most particular care, thinking that
these must have remained the same; but in
neither could the slightest likeness be found
out. They combed her beautiful exuberance
of hair, changed her grave-clothes for others
more seemly, and asked her many kind
questions, all of which were either unheard
or disregarded. She swallowed the meat and
drink with which they fed her with great
eagerness, but yet she made no motion
for any more than was proffered to her.
The entrance of M'Ion into the room continued
to affect her violently, and nothing
else besides; and the longer his absence had
been, the more powerful was the impression
on her frame, as well as on her voice and
tongue, — for that incident alone moved her
It would be oppressive and disgusting
farther to continue the description of such
a degradation of our nature, — all the more
benign faculties of the soul revolt from the
contemplation of such an object; let it suffice,
that she continued so long in the same
state, maintaining a mere animal, or rather
vegetable existence, that it was judged proper,
and agreed to by them all, that she
should be conveyed to a private asylum,
established for the accommodation and
treatment of persons of distinction suffering
under the most dreadful of all human
privations. This was soon effected, and
managed with all manner of secrecy, so that
the country might never know the real circumstances
of the case. M'Ion retired to
the Highlands, where he took possession of
the extensive property of his forefathers, and
endeared himself to his people by every species
of kindred attachment. He repaired
the Castle of M——, planned a new village,
and planted an extensive forest, endeavouring
all that he could to forget the
disastrous events that had marred and sullied
the pure stream of his early affections;
but alas! these were too deeply rooted in the
soul ever to be wholly eradicated!
Daniel Bell jogged about in a melancholy
frame of mind; and notwithstanding the
terrible issue of his first great effort in religious
matters, he continued the constant perusal
of the Holy Scriptures — had leaves folded
in at all the places marked by his daughter's
hand, and over these he shed many a
tear of fond remembrance.
Mrs Johnson took furnished lodgings in
Edinburgh, on some pretence or other connected
with the movements of her son, but,
in reality, with the sole intent of often visiting
the poor remains of her who had from
infancy been her darling.
The principal physician of the asylum
had orders to write to M'Ion every week,
which he did; but his letters were all as
much the same as a bulletin of a royal patient's
health; — they merely stated, that his
lady continued in an improving state of bodily
health, but, in her intellectual capacity,
there was no visible alteration. Mrs Johnson,
who had frequent communications with
this gentleman, also wrote occasionally to
her son; but neither was there a ray of hope
conveyed by any of her letters, until the
spring following, when he received one that
awakened the most tender and unwonted
feelings of the heart, and hastened his departure
from the Highlands. This extraordinary
intelligence was no other than that
the poor imbecile and degraded being, that
had once been the partner of his bosom,
was in a way soon to become a mother.
M'Ion hastened to Edinburgh, and arriving
at his mother's house, he testified the greatest
impatience to see the object of his once
fondest love and endearments; but from
this his mother dissuaded him, on account
of the extraordinary effect that his presence
always produced on her nervous system,
which might be attended with the worst of
consequences. She had also written to Bellsburnfoot
to the same purport, and it may
well be conceived what powerful sensations
were there excited. Old Daniel went again
to his prayers; but he had now learned the
most humble submission to the divine will,
and never asked any thing unless on provisional
conditions, seeming rather disposed
to return thanks for every thing bestowed,
even for the heavy rod that had been laid
upon him, than to plead for any new favours,
— a frame of mind the best suited to a sinful
and short-sighted mortal. Joseph remained
at the college, and was merely given
to understand something of his sister's miserable
calamity, and that a temporary confinement
and constant medical attendance
had been judged requisite; but he had not
then been made acquainted with the awful
visitation of Providence that had befallen
M'Ion now took and furnished a house
in Edinburgh, at one of the points nearest
to the asylum in which the shattered and
degraded frame of his poor wife lodged; to
that house he removed his mother, and they
two waited there in the utmost anxiety,
Mrs Johnson visiting the asylum once or
twice every day. They had strong hopes,
that, in the greatest trial of nature, and nature's
affections, there would be a new dawning
of reason after such a long night of
utter darkness. But their fond expectations
proved vain; for in due time this
helpless and forlorn object was safely delivered
of a son, without manifesting the
slightest ray of conscious existence, or of
even experiencing, as far as could be judged,
the same throes of nature to which conscious
beings are subjected.
Here was now a new object of the deepest
interest to them all. — A nurse was provided
for the child in M'Ion's house, and
there was he fostered in the arms, and under
the eye, of his affectionate grandmother.
He proved a healthy, active, and vigorous
boy, possessing a great deal of his mother's
native beauty. — He was baptized by the
name of Colin, after the name of the granduncle
who refused to disinherit his nephew
when his own father had done so; and
none save a husband, and grand-parents,
to whom a son has been born in such circumstances,
of whom there have been few
in the world, can have the smallest conception
of the parental fondness that was
lavished over this child. M'Ion would fondle
over him for hours together — would
hang over him while asleep, shedding tears
of joy on his head, as he kissed his fair
composed brow, or blowzy cheek; and many
were the tender prayers and vows that were
breathed to Heaven on his behalf. Daniel
came frequently all the way to town
purposely to see him, and could hardly
again drag himself away "frae the bit dear
creature," as he expressed himself. On these
occasions the nursery was perfectly filled
with toys of every description. As the boy
grew in stature he grew in spirit — he was
as playful and frolicsome as a kitten —
fierce in his resentment of supposed injuries;
but withal possessed a heart so kith
and obliging, that lie would not offend or
give pain to a living creature. — He was
the darling and delight of all concerned
with him, while she that gave him birth
became as a thing altogether forgotten. Her
condition —her very being, was a mystery
hid with God, to which none of them dared
so much as to turn a scrutinizing glance
or hazard an investigation even in the still
depths of solemn reflection — she was as a
thing that had been — that still continued
to be, and yet was not!
After a lapse of three years, it so happened,
that Daniel, who was then in town,
M'Ion, and Mrs Johnson, chanced one night
very late to be all three sitting before a blazing
fire in M'Ion's splendid dining-room.
There was none present but themselves;
and by a natural concatenation of ideas,
their discourse was carried backward to a
certain painful period of their eventful connection.
They had before that been rather
disposed to be merry, or at least happy and
joyful together. — There was wine on the
table, but no glass had been filled for more
than an hour. — Daniel had thrown of his
leggins and strong shoes, and had placed
both his feet up on the side of the grate
next him, at the risk of singeing his pure--
white lamb-wool stockings; M'Ion held a
newspaper in his hand, in order to amuse
them with a sentence now and then, should
the conversation flag; and Mrs Johnson had
put on her green spectacles, to be ready to
listen. — But there was no pause occurred
in the conversation, until it reached a point
that brought sensations with it which quite
incapacitated M'Ion for unfolding the paper
— for reading a single sentence from it,
as well as the others for listening, if he had.
The conversation was about little Colin;
for scarcely could his paternal grandmother
talk of any thing else, save about his sayings
and pranks. "He was galloping round
and round the room to day," said she,
"astride upon a staff, when a number of
ladies were present, and making such a noise
hying and woing, that I was obliged to reprove
him several times; and at length I
threatened to whip him. On this the little
elf came riding up to my knee, crying wo!
and bridling in his stick. 'Shuly you no
whip poo Cohn, gand-mamma?' said he.
'Yes, but I will whip poor Colin,' said I,
'and very sore too, if he don't make less
noise.' 'Tinking Colin shall make no noise,
den,' said he; and laying down his horse, he
stretched up both his hands, and his dear
little mouth to kiss me."
Daniel blew his nose with his forefinger
and his thumb, and Mrs Johnson took off
her green spectacles and wiped them. M'-
Ion kept his mouth shut, but he was either
laughing or crying in his breast. "It was
a deevilish clever answer," said Daniel, "for
a little monkey o' his years to gie."
"Years, sir!" exclaimed. Mrs Johnson;
"He's so far beyond his years, that I am
often afraid something will happen to him —
he affects my heart more than all the rest
of the world put together. There is a little
boy, called Robert Forbes, with whom
he plays a great deal, and of whom he is
very fond. Robert lives with his mother
and grandmother, the name of the latter
being Mrs Colquhoon. Colin comes to me
one day, and he says, with the most inquisitive
face, 'Is Missy Coon ittle Yobbit's
gand-mamma?' 'Yes she is, my dear,'
said I. 'An' is Missy Fobbis ittle Yobbit's
gand-mamma too?' 'No, my dear boy,'
said I, 'she is his own mamma. Mrs Colquhoon
is his grand-mamma, and Mrs Forbes
is his own mamma.' 'But yan whe
Colin's own mamma?' said he. And after
looking long in my face, and seeing that I
could return him no answer, he turned about,
and added in the most pathetic tone, —
'Poo Colin have no mamma!' No heart
could stand the childish pathos of the remark,
that knew what ours know! He laid
both his hands on his head, and turned
round his back to me. — 'Poo Colin have no
mamma!' said he. The sweet, helpless little
lamb! when I heard him say so, and in
the way that he said it, I thought my heart
would have bursted through my stays."
"An' mine will burst through my doublet,
if ye dinna drap that subject," said Daniel.
"That dings a' I ever heard or ever
felt! How auld is the little dear brat?"
"He is only two years and three months,"
"Ay; that he is, when you remind me!"
returned Daniel. "Well may I remember
that night, an' —" He cut his sentence
short at this word, and looked in their faces
with an unwonted degree of alarm — They
remained silent. "What day of the month
is this?" added he.
"It is the —" said M'Ion.
"This is the —" said Mrs Johnson.
Both of them attempted to answer the
question; but when it came to their recollection
what day of the month it was, none
of them had power to pronounce the number.
Then, indeed, a pause ensued in the
conversation, and it was a long and a profound
one. A scene of terror and dismay
was conjured up to their remembrance, that
had happened to them precisely on such a
night, and on the very same night of all the
nights in the year.
In the midst of this gloomy silence, their
ears were saluted by the rapid approach of
a carriage, which stopped short at the door,
and in an instant the bell was rung. As
they expected no visitor at that time of the
night, they were not a little astonished at
this, and sat in breathless suspense till the
servant entered, and announced a gentleman,
who wanted a private word of M'Ion
in great express.
"Who is it?" said Mrs Johnson, much
"Don't know, mem. His own carriage
and footman in livery," said the servant.
"What can the chap be wanting at this
time o' night?" said Daniel, putting on his
shoes, expecting the man to come in and
stay all night, as every man did who called
at Bellsburnfoot at such an hour.
M'Ion went to the drawing-room, where
he found the head surgeon of the private
asylum, the gentleman sometimes mentioned
before, waiting for him, with a face of
great length and importance; who, without
giving him time to ask how he did, or
what was his business, accosted him as follows:
"I fear, my lord, I am come to you on a
mournful errand; but I judged it my duty
to come and apprize you, that some important
change is just about taking place on my
hapless patient, your lady. And farther,
my lord, as I always tell the plain truth,
I must say, that I am afraid her dissolution
is drawing on with a rapid progress. For
some time past I have observed unusual
symptoms in her case; but this day, since
noon, she has been afflicted in an extra.
ordinary manner, having been alternately
covered with a copious perspiration and
stretched in cold rigidity — her complexion
at one time blooming with the hues of the
rose, and at another, overspread with the
haggard features of death and distraction —
such a case has never come under my eye.
It appeared, for all the world, as if an angel
and a demon had been struggling about the
possession of her frame; and as if sometimes
the one held the citadel, and sometimes
the other. In short, it is evident that
nature can but for a short while support the
conflict, and perhaps, before we reach her,
her doom may be sealed. I am the more
convinced of the near approach of death,
from the following most extraordinary circumstance,
of her extraordinary case: — Just
before I set out hither, I observed her labouring
under some strong commotion; and
when I took a light and looked into her
face, with wonder I perceived that it bloomed
with the beauty of a seraph, and possessed
every line of deep intelligence. While I stood
gazing with wonder, and almost doubting
my own senses, she opened her languid eyes,
and in a feeble voice, but one of the sweet.
est cadence, asked me what the hour was."
"I would journey ten thousand miles to
hear that tongue pronounce my name once
more," said M'Ion; "and to view her once
lovely face, again beaming with the rays of
heavenly intelligence would be worth an
age of sorrow to this forlorn heart. O sir
let us go! — let us go, without losing a moment!
— Her own affectionate father is in
the house, and my mother — We'll all go
together — Come down, dear sir, and speak
to them yourself — for Heaven's sake let us
make haste!" And taking his arm, without
giving him a moment's time, he ran down
stairs with him, rushed into the dining-room
and said, "Come, dearest mother — come, let
us go with this gentleman without delay —
Mr Bell, you must go with us — Poor Gatty
he tells me, is at the point of death, and her
reason is returned in her last moments — O
make haste, and let us go, that we may hear
her speak, and bless us in the name of Jesus
before her final departure!"
Mrs Johnson came forward as if to
question the doctor; but her son in the
height of impatience took her arm, and in
an instant had her seated in the surgeon's
coach. Daniel and the doctor followed them,
and a few minutes brought them to the
asylum, where, with palpitating hearts, they
entered Gatty's apartment on tiptoe, and in
breathless silence. The doctor whispered
the nurse, inquiring how the patient did;
but she only answered by putting her finger
to her lips; and then raising it up on high,
she shook it at the visitors by way of commanding
profound quietness. They all took
seats as they chanced to be standing in the
apartment, arranged at a distance from one
another. The doctor was obliged to withdraw,
in order to visit some other patients
in extremity, and there our three friends
were compelled to sit in the most painful
suspense, gazing on one another. The curtains
were closely drawn; and whenever any
one of the three made a motion to approach
the bed, the same signal was repeated from a
determined countenance of the utmost severity.
They were not so much as suffered
to know if she was dying or dead — sleeping
or awake — sensible or insensible — writhing
in agony, or slumbering away life in calm
repose; and all this apparently from the caprice
of this important and arbitrary matron.
It was about midnight when they arrived
there, and for three hours and a half did
they all submit to sit in silence and suspense.
At length M'Ion lost all patience,
and rising up he advanced towards the bed.
The same signal was repeated; but he disregarded
it, and went forward and seized
the light. But the dame was not to be controlled
in her own department — she seized
his wrist with the firmness of a vice; and,
as he did not choose to begin an engagement
at handicuffs, she again took the light from
him and motioned him to his seat. But
perceiving that she would now be under the
necessity of yielding up some little of her
prerogative to their joint and reasonable
impatience, she took the candle, went round
the bed, and reconnoitred herself; listening
the breathing at one time, then feeling the
arm, and then looking into the face.
"Ay. there is some life still," said she.
"You may now come and look at her if
you list — Poor woman! Hers is a lovely
face now when it has no more to shine!"
M'Ion rushed round the bed, seized the
light, and looked into her face. "O God!
O God!" cried he in raptures, "it is my
Gatty again! — My dearest love! — My life!
— My better angel! — Do you yet know
She lifted her hand, but not her eyes, and
said, in a low whisper, with long pauses,
"Yes, love. I know you — but — hush! —
hush, and do not disturb me. The hour is
near. Has the cock crowed?"
They all looked at one another with eyes
that plainly indicated what painful recollections
were coming over their minds. It was
a renewal of the same scene that had occurred
at Bellsburnfoot precisely three years
before, and beginning, almost to a moment,
at the very time of the morning that it terminated
there by the departure of the reasonable
soul. The old pertinacious nurse
held up her hands, and with most puissant
gestures, declared, that "she could not
have believed such a thing, had it been
sworn to her on the Bible!" and added,
"What a wonderful man that is! There
never was such a man as our doctor!" Then
drawing Mrs Johnson aside, she added, "It
is true, I tell you, mem, there never was such
a man for performing cures on the insane;
and even though they baffle human skill all
their lives, he generally contrives to bring
them to their senses in their last moments,
which I account a great comfort to their
friends, as you will find in this instance."
She was going on lauding this great doctor,
who had got her her place in the asylum;
but Mrs Johnson shook her off, and
joined her two friends at the bed-side, who
were attentively watching the composed countenance
of the resigned sufferer. That was
now for the greater part beautifully intelligent,
but by degrees the lines of death began
again to pass over it. How they trembled!
but none of them ventured to discompose her
in her last trial by any remark. At length
after two or three deep-drawn throbs at long
intervals, her pangs appeared to subside,
and the bloom of youth and beauty again
overspread her face. It came with a sudden
flush, like the bright and ruddy blink
of the morning before the darkness of the
storm. "Alas!" said Mrs Johnson, "I
fear this is the last effort of nature! — Good
woman, can you not procure us the doctor's
"My husband's name, madam, was Mr
Story," said the sick nurse, as she walked
deliberately about, with her arms rolled up
in her shawl, and crossed on her breast —
"But as for the doctor, he must not be
disturbed. The lives, the senses, and the
comforts of so many depend upon his efforts,
that he must have his time. What a
wonderful man he is! He will visit her in
her turn, be assured. Please to stand aside,
and let me examine my charge. Ah, yes
All her sufferings and mental oblivion are
over — the extremities are cold as marble.
But what a comfort to you all, that her
reason has been restored in her last moments!
Thanks to the greatest and most
useful man in existence!"
"Whisht! whisht, my woman!" said
Daniel, mildly. "Mind the second commandment;
an' dinna mak a graven image
o' your doctor."
"Leave the room," said M'Ion; "leave
"I am answerable to the doctor alone for
my behaviour," said she; "and he knows
whom to trust. Leave you the room, I say,
every one of you — Come, come; dismiss, I
say! you have staid too long. I am mistress
"This is intolerable," said M'Ion; and,
seizing her in his arms, he carried her into
the inner lobby, and bolted the door.
The three disconsolate friends were now
left in peace to watch by the couch of their
beloved; and fain would M'Ion have spoken
to her, for he saw that she was in full possession
of her reason, but he dared not, lest
she might be undergoing great bodily and
mental suffering. She was the first to speak
herself, which she did with great difficulty,
her voice being scarcely audible, and her
tongue apparently refusing its office. But
every ear was attention to catch the syllables
as she pronounced them.
"Ah! but the struggle is a long and a
hard one! When shall I be set free from
these bonds? Oh, you are not to pray such
prayers over my dying couch again!"
She took fully two minutes in pronouncing
these few words; and when she had
done, M'Ion was so transported at hearing
her voice again, that he could contain himself
no longer, but threw his arms around
her, kissed her lips and cheek, and exclaimed,
"My dearest, dearest wife! May the
Lord of life bless you, and fit and prepare
you for whatever is his will concerning you;
for life, for death, for judgment, or for eternity!"
"Amen," said she. "That is a sweet
prayer, and one in which I can join with
all my heart. O, when will the day dawn,
and the shadows pass away? Is the third
watch of the morning not yet come?"
"It is come, and passed over, love; and
the day is near to the breaking," said M'Ion.
"Come, and passed over?" said she, lifting
her mild eyes, and looking ruefully upward.
"No — that cannot be. Do not jeer
me at such a time as this."
"The hour that you dreaded is long overpast,
my love," said he. "I do not trifle
with you. And even now the day-beam is
springing in the east."
"It has been a long night, but it has
been a blessed one," said she. "What
visions of glory I have seen! — But if it be
true that you say, O when shall I see my
She gave each of them her hand, and
blessed them; then stretching herself on
the bed, in a few minutes she fell into a
profound sleep, and they all remained in
attendance. The doctor returned in the
morning, bringing the expelled nurse along
with him; and after examining his patient,
he still pronounced her dying, and wondered
that she had subsisted so long; "for
the extremities are already growing cold,"
said he. "They are dead already; and she
will now die upward to the heart."
"The extremities were cold as marble
long ago, worthy sir," said the nurse, feeling
them in her turn; "and suffer me to
assure you, that the blood is gaining on the
chillness, and that the crisis is past."
"Are you sure of that, Mrs Story?" said
"I am," said she. "An hour ago, the
limb was cold to the knee, and now it is
lukewarm down to the heel. The arm is
also warm to the wrist, which you may feel;
and I ween, that in a little space, the hand
will be all over in a glow."
The doctor's face sparkled with joy, as
he turned to the friends, and assured them,
that the critical moment was past, and that
there was now not only a great chance for
her instant recovery, but of long continued
good health, if the event accorded with their
hopes; "for in this long period of absolute
torpidity," added he, "the frame must have,
in a great measure, acquired a thorough renovation.
It will be like that of a new creature,
or a flower newly sprung from a root
that the mildews of a former summer had
blasted. I give you joy of this singular
transition from utter oblivion, into a state
of blessed and happy sensibility. In the
mean time, the greatest care must be had
for a season, that no kind. of irritation be
administered— that none of her passions or
sensibilities be moved, but that life may be
suffered to glide on as calmly as a summer's
"This is indeed a wonderful cure!" exclaimed
the nurse; "such a one as the annals
of surgery cannot produce! The world
does not yet know what a man it possesses!"
"I have had no hand in it," said the
doctor; "if it, indeed, turns out as it promises,
it is a wonderful recovery — a most
wonderful one! But it is exclusively the
work of all-powerful nature, or rather of His
whose hand directs all her secret springs."
"Ah, yes! It is always thus," exclaimed
the nurse. "His modesty and his deference
to Heaven, are even more pre-eminent
than his profound skill."
The doctor smiled benevolently, and even
condescended to shake the old parasite's
hand. The most singular coincidence in
nature, and the one most frequently to be
remarked, is, the highest talents combined
with the most inordinate and unquenchable
thirst of flattery.
Gatty was conveyed in a sick chariot to
her husband's house, and was all the while
in a sound untroubled sleep; for though at
times she lifted her eyes, and articulated a
few words, she was manifestly insensible to
all around her, and all that was going on;
her lethargy continued for three days and
nights; her slumber being all that time undisturbed,
save by the administration of a
few cordials, which her anxious friends deemed
necessary for her subsistence. About the
end of that period she began to revive; but
her whole frame was so languid and powerless,
that she seemed like a creature new to
life and all its functions. She spoke with
difficulty, looked around her with difficulty;
and at first she could not move any of her
limbs, until they were moved for her; but
at every succeeding effort, she gained a little;
till at length, after the lapse of about
twenty days, she was able to walk about
her room with support; and in a short time
after, to go into the drawing-room, which
was on the same storey.
Nothing in life was ever more curious
than the tenor of her ideas at this interesting
period; and as her friends had the
strictest charges not to move any of her
feelings, they found themselves in hard dilemmas
with her every day; and the worst
thing of all was, that their various explanations
did not correspond with one another,
which made her consternation still to increase.
It was many days ere she knew
that she was not at Bellsburnfoot, and could
not conceive why her mother never came
into her room; but Mrs Bell having been
sent for expressly, at length came, so that
anxiety was stilled for the present. Others,
of course, were started every day, although
there was now a calmness and sedateness
in all her inquiries, that they could little
have expected. She had been given to know,
that she had lain in a sleepy insensible state
for three days; and she now numbered the
days of the month with great punctuality.
One day, about the end of the first week
after her awaking, she was lying in bed,
conversing with Mrs Johnson, when she
observed that her mother had changed her
hangings. "I can conceive the purport of
this," said she; "but not where she has
got that splendid set of curtains so suddenly."
Mrs Johnson, not knowing what answer
to make, put it off by asking another question.
"And, pray, what do you suppose
was her purpose in providing these gorgeous
hangings, my dear?" said she.
"It was to do honour to the mortal part
of her honourable daughter," returned Gatty.
"That the friends who came to see
my corpse, might see my frail body lying in
state. Good lady! I honour and respect her
for this, as well as for believing in my prediction."
"You can scarcely either respect her or
yourself the more on that account," said
Mrs Johnson; "seeing it has happily turn
ed out a false prediction."
"O, Mrs Johnson, do not term it a false
one! There is something there that will puzzle
and distract me as long as I live," said
she. "Can it have been a false spirit that
gave me that information?"
Mrs Johnson was alarmed on account of
the subject into which they had been drawn
and made no answer; therefore Gatty added,
"No; it is impossible it could have
been from a false spirit that I had it; for
it was in prayer that it was delivered to
me, when in agony of spirit I was supplicating
the Most High. I know not what
to think of this. My life is a mystery to
"It is a mystery to us all, and must ever
remain so, my dear," said Mrs Johnson.
"You do not yet know the extent of the
mystery, nor ever will. But it is best and
safest for us, to submit, not to inquire. Let
it suffice that you are restored to a degree
of health which no living could have anticipated.
Do you perceive no difference of
your bodily frame?"
"Bless me, I am utterly astonished!" said
she, "now that you remind of it, it appears
to me as if my whole body were swollen. I
am sleek, plump, and smooth; more like one
that has been pampered in luxury, than lying
at the point of death; and all in so few
days too. I cannot comprehend this,"
"I will astonish you yet further, my beloved
daughter-in-law," said Mrs Johnson,
playfully. "Let me comb and curl your
hair, and dress you out like a Flanders
babe, for your husband spends the day with
"Trouble me not with these vanities,"
said she; "I am very well dressed — clean
and neat already."
She, however, sat up, and Mrs Johnson
combed her flowing hair; and when she had
done, she parted it, and threw it forward
over her shoulders, so that it covered her
breast, and flowed on the coverlet.
"Now I think I could stake any bet,"
said she, "that there is not in Scotland as
beautiful a head of hair as my daughter's.
Look at it yourself. What say you?"
"That's not my hair," said she. "You
are quizzing me, Mrs Johnson." And with
that she took hold of a portion of it with
her one hand, and followed it up to the
roots with the other, to feel whether or not
it was really growing in her head. — "What
is the meaning of this?" added she; "it
is twice as long as it was last week, and
twice as bulky; all that I see is beyond my
"You have not yet, I tell you, seen one
half the wonders that you will see," said
Mrs Johnson. "I like to surprise those I
love, when I can do it agreeably."
Gatty's spirits began to exhilarate. She
suffered Mrs Johnson to adorn her head
and put a clean cymar on her body, richly
adorned with lace; and when the delighted
matron had accomplished all these to
her mind, she went and brought Gatty a
small mirror, and desired her to look how
she became them. She did so; and at the
first, she looked three times over her shoulders,
thinking she saw the face and form of
another person. At length she smiled at
what she conceived to be such an ingenious
deception. Behold, the image in the glass
also smiled! It was the face and smile of
an angel in loveliness. A delicate blush
overspread Gatty's soft features when she
beheld this; and when she saw the figure
colouring in the same manner, she gave the
mirror hastily out of her hand, and laid
herself down, covering her face. After a
pause, she said, "There is something I
cannot comprehend in all this. Something
you do not tell me. What day of the
month is this?"
"I believe it is the 30th of October."
"I believe the same, and accounted it
so. How then is this, my dearest friend?
Has there been a miracle wrought here? —
A new creation? For my frame seems altogether
"So long as the alteration is so much
for the better, be content."
"Oh, I cannot endure to look at that
face you shelved me just now; it has so
much of a luxurious appearance — is so mud
of a pampered and guilty-looking thing,
cannot bear it. Pray, let me look at myself
again, for I feel that I have a touch of infidelity
in me relating to my own being."
Mrs Johnson humoured her in this with
great readiness, and brought back the mirror;
for she knew that it was not in the
nature of woman to look at her own face, so
much improven in beauty, and not be delighted;
and though Gatty coloured every
time she beheld hers, yet she called for the
mirror, and looked at it four different times
that forenoon. Then again she fell into deep
meditations, and made further inquiries all
to the same purpose. When at length M‘Ion
entered her chamber, there was a blush of
conscious beauty overspread her features
that formed them into loveliness itself; and
it had been so long since he had seen her attired,
and covered with the bloom of health
that he was in perfect raptures, clasped her
to his bosom, and blessed Heaven again and
again for her restoration. Still none of them
dared to give her a hint of what she had
suffered, or of her long state of utter desolation.
They found that the period was
lost in her estimation, as if it had never
been — that three years, to an hour, was a
total blank in her existence; and that she
deemed the morning on which she awoke
in possession of her right mind, in the private
asylum, the dawning of the same on
which she had prepared for her death at
Bellsburnfoot. Therefore, they agreed to
let her come to the knowledge of the truth
by degrees, as her mind might gather strength
to bear it; for they soon perceived that a total
change for the better had taken place in
her constitution, as well as her intellectual
perceptions, those appearing now to be better
regulated, and not so absolutely under the
influence of keen and incontrollable sensibility.
She was still only in her twenty-first
year, in the very height and blow of youthful
beauty; and what a prospect now opened
to her husband, who so dearly loved her,
and to all her friends, among whom she was
the joy, the life, and the bond of unity! She
had now no complaint, no ailment, but a
feebleness, or want of ability in every part of
her body — she was like a child learning to
walk, as well as to use her hands; but, with
every new attempt, she made advances in improvement,
so that they were all perfectly at
ease on account of that debility. Daniel was
the happiest man in existence; and ever and
anon as he came from amusing himself with
little Colin into his daughter's room, the
tears blinded his eyes; and then when he
went again from the mother to the son, and
beheld the striking likeness, he was affected
in the same way. Often did he say,
that "God was showering down blessings on
an auld man's head, that could plead but
few merits for the gracious boon. But O
it's a pleasant thing," added he, "to hae
creditor that neither seeks principal nor interest
frae ane! — a friend that a body can
draw on at sight, or at five days after date
He has grantit me baith a new lease, and
a renewal of an auld ane, and that without
either rent or grassum, but out o' sheer gude
will and kindness; and it wad be unco ungratefu'
in auld Dan ever to forget it."
The first day that Gatty came out of bed,
she could not stand; the second, she could
walk a few steps, after many attempts; and
the third, around the room, between two of
her friends. It was on that day that she
first looked from the window, and perceived
that she was not at Bellsburnfoot. The
consternation that appeared in her looks
alarmed them before they knew what was
the matter. She had no great eye for external
nature, but she noted at first sight
that the scene was entirely new to her.
"Where am I?" cried she; "husband!
— father! — where am I?"
"You are in your own house, my love,
and hanging on your husband's and father's
arms," said M'Ion.
"In what country, or what world am I
then?" cried she — "This is not my father's
house — I see now there is no part of it the
same. And what towers and palaces are
these? — where am I? This is no house of
my father's or mine."
"Yes, it is your own, my love, and every
thing in it is your own," said M'Ion, "be
you assured of that; and it is situated in
Edinburgh. — Don't you know that we all
live in Edinburgh now? See, there is the
Castle, and yonder are the Pentland Hills.
— We are seated in the most interesting
spot in all the neighbourhood of Edinburgh."
"But Edinburgh!" exclaimed she"when
or how did we come to Edinburgh?
If I have been brought to Edinburgh, I have
been brought in my sleep, which surely is
impossible! Diarmid! — father! — tell me
when we came to this place!"
Daniel could not for his life tell what he
should say, so he hung his head on one side,
and put on a calculating face. — "Humph!"
said Daniel — "it's a gay while now, I dare
Having nothing from this answer, she
fixed her eyes on her husband, and waited
his reply. He answered, jocularly and carelessly,
"Do you not remember of our coming
to Edinburgh, love? — Sure you must? —
But perhaps not — You were in a sickly and
drowsy state, and the whole journey may be
as a blank or a dream to you."
"No," said she, thoughtfully, "I think
I have some faint recollections of every day,
and among these, one of being carried into
this house, which I thought had been a
dream; but I remember of nothing farther,
though I can reckon every day since Sunday
eight-days, — the one which should have
been the day of my death, had the hand of
God not been withheld, whether in mercy
or in anger, time only can disclose. But
I felt then as it were the last throes of existence,
and as if my soul had been separated
from my body, and in it at the same time.
At length I thought it made its escape, or
that I made my escape, and wandered away
darkling among strange people, of different
languages. That must have been a dream,
but it went on as if it had been for ages,
till at the last I found myself compelled to
come back to my old habitation; but I
have not even a dream of our journey hither."
"You must think over it again," said
M'Ion; "it will come to your recollection
by degrees; and if it should not, it is no
matter. You see you are here — restored to
health, to beauty, and to love — and have all
your friends about you. What would you
They led her into the drawing-room,
where every thing was superb to a degree
she had never before even witnessed; they
seated her on a Grecian couch, from which
she looked around her, in silent wonder, at
the grandeur of her new abode. But it proved
a new source of consternation to her —
and no wonder — when she thought to herself,
"When was this grand house bought,
or when furnished, that I should have known
nothing about it? — all in so few days too!
Was it not a curious amusement of my
husband's to be buying and furnishing a
house like a palace, during the very time
that his new-made wife was lying at the
point of death?" Her mind got quite bewildered,
and several times she believed it
to be all a vision, it was so like one of the
tales of the Arabian Nights. When she awakened
in a morning, very little would have
made her a proselyte to the belief of enchantment,
and the influence of the fairies
in weaving the web of her fate. Nevertheless
she felt happy, and a good deal delighted
with every thing; for her nervous disorder
being quite removed, she viewed all
nature in a modified light. She was still
devoutly religious, without being half crazed
about it, and loved her husband as dearly,
without loving to distraction. She became
convinced that something had happened to
her that could not be told, else it would
have been communicated to her; and she
therefore resolved to keep a watchful eye
and an attentive ear, and gain by her own
ingenuity what was denied her in confidence.
When she looked at the alteration in the
features of her parents, and the apparent
improvement in the manly form of M'Ion,
she would ween at times that she had died
and risen again. These were but fleeting
vagaries, that could not bear reason; but
that she had been carried off by the fairies
for a few years, and won again from them,
appeared to her occasionally the least objectionable
supposition that she could form.
One day, while in the midst of these
pleasing and wild illusions, she and Mrs
Johnson were sitting together at a window
in the drawing-room, and, though a day in
November, it was a fine day, bright and
warm; so the two sat in the sun, conversing
about many things. Gatty, chancing to
lean forward on the window, beheld, immediately
below her eye, two children, gorgeously
dressed in the Highland garb, with
bonnets and plumes, kilts, trowsers, &c
They were playing at foot-ball in her own
bleaching-green, and from the moment that
her eye caught a glance of them, her whole
attention was riveted to the tiny elves. Mrs
Johnson was all in the fidgets, looking one
time at the boys, and another time at her
daughter-in-law, anxious to catch every look
and every motion of each of them.
"Look at the dear little lambs, Mrs
Johnson! — why won't you look? — you never
saw any thing like it! See! they don't
play against each other, but always the same
way, and their great ambition is, who to get
most kicks. Well, that is delightful! —
They are so like two fairies! — I never saw
aught in my life so beautiful! Why don't
you look, Mrs Johnson?"
"So I do — I do look, my dear. Think
you there is nothing worth looking at here
but the play of children?"
"I declare you are always looking at me!
— What have you to see here, while such a
delightful scene is exhibiting below the
window? Look at the lesser boy, Mrs
Johnson, how pretty he is! — and dressed in
the tartans of my husband's clan too! —
Is he of the same?"
"Ay, and not far from the head of it
neither," said Mrs Johnson; and at that moment
Daniel and M'Ion entered the room
from their morning's walk. Gatty turned
round, and called to them, with a degree of
lively interest which M'Ion had never witnessed
in her from the time she had become
his wife, "O Diarmid, come hither! — Here
is such a sight as you have not seen in your
walk! — Dear father, look at this!"
They both rushed to the window, but
could see nothing.
"Is it yon towering cloud, like a range
of Highland hills, that you mean?" said
"Is it that drove o' mug sheep?" said
Daniel — "They're gayan weel heckit beasts,
gaun rockie-rowin wi' their cock lugs. But
I hae seen an otherwise sight than that."
"Ah, hear to them!" exclaimed Gatty
and looking in her husband's face archly,
she added, imitating his tone, "A white
cloud, like a range of Highland hills! — A
drove of mug sheep!" (looking at Daniel) —
"Heard ever any person such barbarians?
See you nothing below your eye better worth
looking at than towering clouds and mug
"Oh! the children at their play, is it?"
said M'Ion; "we see that so frequently we
pay no attention to it."
"Is't the bairns ye mean?" said Daniel
— "Ay, that is a sight worth the while to
some o' us!"
Mrs Johnson touched him on the leg
with her foot, to restrain him from going
farther, for Daniel's eyes were beginning to
goggle with delight.
"I never saw a more lovely animated
little fellow than that clansman of ours! —
See how he waddles at the ball!" cried Gatty,
in raptures. "Dear Mrs Johnson, pray
go and fetch him up to me, that I may look
at him, and take him on my knee! — I long
to kiss him, and hear him speak."
"If you will but listen where you are,"
said M'Ion, "you shall soon hear him speak
enough. — He is an impertinent little teazing
brat, I warrant. Better let him stay at
his play, for haply you may get enough of
him, as I intend by and by to request of you
to adopt him as your son."
Gatty looked in his face and smiled, — as
much as to say, It's surely time enough to
think of that. Daniel coughed, and fidgeted,
and turned up the one cheek; but then his
laugh went backward, — that is, in the contrary
direction of other people's; for whereas
other laughers give free vent to their
breath in a loud ha-ha-ha! or a more suppressed
he-he-he! Daniel drew his laugh
inward, making a sound something like
hick-kick-kick! at long intervals; and ever
and anon he drew the bow of his elbow
across his eyes. "Ye canna do't — ower
soon," said Daniel, — "for it's a vera — good
— bairn — I never saw a better — callant sin'
I was born o' my mither!"
"Dear father, what do you know about
the child?" said Gatty, with evident surprise.
All their eyes glanced to Daniel, as with
cautionary hints. "O, no very muckle,"
said Daniel; "but ony body may see he's
a prime bairn — He gangs as tight on his
shanks as he war o' the true Coolly breed."
— Daniel was driven to this reply, not
knowing what to say to get clear off.
As they were chatting thus, little Colin
and Robert Forbes continued their tiny
game. Forbes was taller, but not so stout
and well set as Colin, and the latter got
the greater part of the kicks at the ball.
As they ran on, Colin keeping foremost,
Robert Forbes gave him a push on the
neck, with intent to make him run by the
ball, but in place of that, it made him fall
on his face on the gravel walk. Gatty uttered
a suppressed shriek, and was in the
act of throwing up the window to reprove
Robert. But M'Ion held it down, saying,
"Stop, stop! take no notice, love, till we
see whether or not the urchin resents this
insult." He well knew that he would;
and accordingly Colin rose in a moment,
wiped the gravel from his hands on his philabeg,
and without saying a word, struck
Forbes on the face. The latter, conscious
that he was the aggressor, tried to hold his
assailant off; but Colin both kicked with
his feet, and laid on with his open hands,
till the other fled. As Colin fought, too,
he threatened thus: — "Wat you 'bout,
Yobbit Fobby? Me lain you nock down
"What does the fairy say?" said Gatty.
Colin then, pursuing him round the walk,
overtook him, and pushed him over in his
turn. Forbes cried; on which M'Ion, fearing
he was hurt, threw up the window, and
reproved Colin. — "For shame, Colin!"
cried he — "How dare you hurt poor Robert?"
Colin looked abashed, took Forbes by
the hand to help him up, and said, "Haud
tongue, Yobbit — Colin vedy soddy — No
doo't again, ittle Yobbit."
"God bless the dear little lamb!" exclaimed
Gatty — "Did ever any living see
such a sweet forgiving little cherub? Dear
Diarmid, call him up, call him up!"
"Come in instantly, and speak to me,
sirrah!" cried M'Ion.
"Ise and go wit me, Yobbit Fobby,"
said Colin, hanging his lip; "see, papa
"What does he say?" said Gatty, hardly
able to breathe — "Papa?"
No one answered a word, but all looked
at one another. M'Ion blushed like crimson.
— He had no reason to blush; but he
did so from an apprehension of what his
wife might be thinking at the time; for he
saw there was but one natural way in which
she could interpret this exposure made by
the inadvertent boy, and yet he had not
heart to give a true explanation.
The child, as he had been ordered, came
up stairs as he could win, which was not
very fast, leading Forbes by the hand. He
called at the door several times for admission;
his father and grandmother hesitated,
but Daniel could stand the child's modest
request no longer, as he came on command,
so he rose and let him in. Colin
went straight up to M'Ion at the window,
leading Forbes by the hand. — "No be angy
at poo Colin, papa — ittle Yobbit no hut,
and Colin vedy soddy."
Gatty never so much as opened her mouth,
nor did she caress the boy, although he
came to her very knee, and gave two or
three wistful looks in her face. She gave
M'Ion a momentary glance, but withdrew
her eyes again instantaneously. Daniel was
sniffing, as if labouring under the nightmare,
and Mrs Johnson's eloquence consisted
all in looks, but these were expressive of
the deepest interest. M'Ion gave each of
the boys sixpence to buy toys, and desired
Colin to kiss Robert, and shake hands with
him, which he did; and then Mrs Johnson
led them out. As they went, Colin kept
looking behind him, and said, "Who 'at
bonny lady, gand-mamma? She be angy at
Colin too. No peak one wod to poo Colin."
Gatty's ear caught the appellation grand--
mamma at once, and all doubts that the
boy was her husband's son vanished from
her fancy. Strange unbalanced ideas, at
war with one another, began to haunt her
teeming imagination; and, in the mean
time, her complexion changed from ruddy
to pale, and from pale again to red successively.
She thought the mystery of the
grand house, of which she had never heard
before, was now about to be explained; and
that it had been furnished with such splendour
to be the residence of some favourite
mistress. But then how did this sort with
her husband's character and principles?
And how came her father and mother, and
all, to be living in that house, without taking
any offence? How fain would she have
put the question, "Who in the world is
this boy?" but she had not the face to do
it; and so the conversation stood still. It
stood long still; and Daniel was the first
who endeavoured to set it once more agoing,
with what effect the reader will judge.
"Why, daughter, ye hae neither taen
the little dear bairn on your knee, nor kissed
him, after a' the fraze ye made. That's
unco stepmother-like wark, an' I dinna like
to see't. There never was a finer callant
this yirth, an' the sooner ye acknowledge
him the better, for ye hae it aye to do."
Gatty looked at her apron, and picked
some small diminutive ends of threads from
it, and M'Ion cleared the haze from a pane
of the window, and looked out. He found
that it was a subject, the management of
which required a delicacy that he was not
master of. He could not shock the sensibility
of his dear wife, so lately and so wonderfully
rescued from the most dreadful of
all temporal calamities, by telling her at
once, that she had lain three years in a state
of utter unconsciousness; and he was just
thinking to himself, whether he had not
better suffer her to remain in her present
state of uncertainty, regarding the latitude
of his own morality, than come out with
the naked truth, when he was released from
his dilemma by an incident that threatened
to plunge him still into a deeper one.
A young gentleman entered the room
with his plumed bonnet in his hand; and
this gallant was no other than little Colin
M'Ion-vich-Diarmid again, who came
straight up to his mother's knee; and
kneeling down, he held up his rosy chubby;
face toward hers, and lisped out the following
words: — "Poo Colin come back to beg
a kiss fom his own dea mamma."
Gatty's heart clove to the child; it yearned
over him, so that she could resist the
infantine request no longer. She burst into
a flood of tears, pressed the boy to her bosom,
kissed him, and pressed her moist
burning cheek to his; then again held him
from her to gaze on him. Daniel went to a
corner of the room, in which he fixed his elbow
firm, and leaned his brow upon his arm.
Colin, who was as sharp as a brier, and had
been getting his lesson from Mrs Johnson
in another apartment, now added, "But
Colin beg you blessing too, fo you his own
"Yes, may the God of Heaven shower
his blessings on your guiltless head, lovely
boy!" said she, emphatically. "And though.
I am not so happy as to be your mamma
"But I say you are!" shouted Daniel,
as he advanced from his corner, holding his
face and both his hands straight upward,
and at every step lifting his foot as high
as the other knee. "You are his mother,
dame; an' I winna hear ye deny your ain
flesh an' blood ony langer. I canna do it,
whatever the upshot may be. O, bless ye
baith! — Bless ye! bless ye! bless ye!" and
Daniel kneeled on the floor, folding the
mother and son in his arms. "I tell you
ye are his mother, Gatty, as sure as my
wife was yours."
Mrs Johnson hearing the noise that Daniel
made, came in; and on her Gatty fixed
her bewildered eyes for an explanation,
"My father raves," said she; and man
never witnessed such a countenance of pale
"He tells you nothing but the truth;
my dear," said Mrs Johnson — "he tells
you nothing but the truth. Your life, as
you truly said the other day, has been a
mystery to yourself; it has been a mystery
hid with God. But be assured that is your
son — the son of your own body; for I was
present at his birth, and have nursed him
on my knee, and in my bosom, since that
hour. May he be a blessing and a stay to
you, my dear daughter; for he is indeed
your own child!"
Gatty was paralysed with a confusion of
perplexed ideas; but she involuntarily clasped
the child to her bosom; and, in the meanwhile,
Daniel had his arms round them
Matters were now like to be carried too
far for Colin, who, though the beginner of
the fray, began to dislike it exceedingly;
and kicking furiously, he made his escape,
saying, as he fled across the room, "Colin
not know 'bout tis."
Daniel could not contain himself; he
wept for joy, and absolutely raved, till Mrs
Bell entering the room from looking after
the household affairs, rebuked him; but he
snapped his fingers at her, and said, "He
cared not a fig if he died the morn."
Some explanation was now absolutely
necessary to poor bewildered Gatty. She
sought it herself; and it was communicated
to her in a way as gentle and soothing as
possible. "It is hard for me to believe that
you have all entered into a combination to
mock me," said she; "yet how can it be
otherwise? If that boy is mine, he must
have been born and grown up in a night.
Did you not say to me, that this was the
9th of November?"
"Yes, I did, my love," said M'Ion;
"and I say so still. But you never inquired
at me what year of our redemption
With that he lifted the Almanack from
the drawing-room table, and held the title
page of it before her eyes. Wonders crowded
too close on one another. Her apprehension
could not fathom them; and she
shrunk from the dreadful review. It was
pitiful to behold her beautiful form and features
drawn up as she would have crept
within herself, or into the bowels of the
earth, to shield her from the hideous retrospect.
To divert her farther by something more
pleasant, M'Ion lifted a volume of the Scots
Magazine, and said, "Since I have shewn
you good letter-press, as proof in part of
what you seem disposed to doubt, I will
here produce you another of the same nature."
And, turning to the register of
births, he pointed one out to her, which he
desired her to read. She could not, but
looked on while he read aloud, "On the
17th instant, the lady of Diarmid M'Ion
now Lord M— of a son and heir." "Do
you now believe that little Colin is your
"I know not what to believe, or what to
doubt," cried she wildly. "Where have I
been? or rather, what have I been? Have
I been in a sleep for three years and a day?
Have I been in the grave? Or in a madhouse?
Or in the land of spirits? Or have
I been lying in a state of total insensibility,
dead to all the issues of life? What
sins may I not have committed during three
years of total oblivion?"
"Calm your heart; and be all your apprehensions
allayed, my dearest love," said
M'Ion, interrupting her; "for, guiltless as
your whole life has been, the latter part has
been the most guiltless of any. It is needless
to dissemble. On the hour that you
had predicted to be your last, your soul took
its departure, to all human appearance.
After a while, the body revived, in the same
way as a vegetable revives, but the spirit
was wanting; and in that state of healthful
and moveless lethargy, have you remained
for the long space of three years, unknowing
and unknown. At the third return
of that momentous day, and on the
very hour, the living ray of the divinity returned
to enlighten a frame renovated in
health, and mellowed to ripeness in all its
natural functions, which before were overheated
and irrestrainable. I speak in the
simplicity of nature, and relate circumstances
as they appeared to our eyes; but
into the mysterious workings of the Governor
of Nature, I dare not dive."
"Ay, the very weest turning o' his hand
is far aboon a' our comprehensions," said
Daniel. "But I hae learned this: That
it's wrang in fo'k to be ower misleared and
importunate in their requests to their Maker.
An' that it's best to be thankfu' an'
gratefu' for what we receive; an' gie him
just his ain way o' things. He's no likely
to gang far wrang. An' gin he were, it's
no us crying a', ane for ae thing, an' ane
for another, that's likely to pit him right
If ever there was a woman redeemed from
the gates of death to be a blessing to the
human race, it has been Agatha Bell. Her
life has been modelled after his who could
not err: it has been spent in doing good.
Her angel face has carried comfort and joy
with it wherever it has appeared; and while
she has been the delight of society, both in
a social and domestic capacity, she has been
eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, the instructress
of young persons in the ways of
truth and godliness, and the comforter of
the broken-hearted, and those bowed down
to meet the grave. Who can doubt that
the Almighty will continue to bless such a
benign creature to the end, and her progeny
I SHALL now conclude this tale with transcripts
of two or three letters; which, though
dated some years previous to the time when
the incidents last narrated took place, are,
nevertheless, necessary toward the clearing
up of a former part of this relation, as
well as the proving of my theory, that,
YOUTHFUL LOVE IS THE FIRST AND
GREATEST PERIL OF WOMAN.
I am sorry to be obliged to wind up
my tale with these letters; but it is with
domestic histories, as with all other affairs
of life. — Certain individuals wind themselves
into the tissue of every one of them,
without whom the tale would be more pure,
and the web of life more smooth and equal;
but neither of them so diversified or characteristic.
We must therefore be content
still to take human life as it is, with all its
loveliness, folly, and incongruity.
"BURLHOPE, January 8.
"DEAR COUSIN JOE,
"THIS comes to let you know things
that would be better unknown; but being
as they are, they must be known so far;
and therefore to your friendly breast do I
"You were present at all my splores in
Edinburgh, and know how badly some of
them turned out; but you were also present
at one which we had good reason to
hope would prove some amends for the losses
of the others. I do not say that it will not;
or that, on the whole, it is sure to turn out
a bad venture; far be it from me to say
that; therefore, when you are over your
glass, don't you go to be smirking and whispering
about to your neighbours, that your
cousin Dick has done so and so, or said so
and so, or that he is rued of his wife; for
if you do, I won't quarrel with you, but I'll
start the first man's buttons that dares say
so in my hearing. If I had repented of
what I have done, it is no man's business
and I wouldn't suffer any of them to say it
and I beg, cousin Joe, that if ever you hear
of Simey Dodd, or any other body saying
so, you will tell me plainly — no plumping
or mowing, or saying things by halves — and
I'll settle it with them!
"But I must come to the point. You
know you were my best man, and saw me
married to a lady, whom both you and I
thought a treasure at that time — not that
I do not think so still; I beg you to keep
that in view — but, in short, I was married
— I need not deny that to you, if I were
even disposed to deny it, which is not the
case; and if Simey Dodd say that I deny
my marriage, he had better hold his tongue.
"Well, you know I had every reason to
suppose that my wife loved me; and I am
sure so she did; for she has a kind affectionate
heart, and is very much disposed to
the tender passion. I do not impute this to
her as a fault — far from it — but certainly
there is a great deal of danger in it. However,
a woman cannot help that, you know;
if she is made for love, she must love; and
if evil befal her on that account, why, it is
the more pity; that is all that can be said.
However, I must come to the point, if I
can; but the truth is, that I find my heart
so full of the point, that, rabbit me, if I can
get an, inch nearer to it! But thus far is
certain, that she who is now called Mrs
Rickleton — my wife, I mean — was very
much disposed to the tender and delicate
passion of love; and I liked her the better
for it; — and why should I not still? I don't
see why I should not. Although, in this
case, it must be confessed that it has been
productive of some consequences that could
have been dispensed with; and has deprived
me of a prerogative to which I consider
myself as having been entitled. But
this is a point of law; and as you have been
studying that clear and intricate profession,
I want to consult you about it. It is this:
Whether or not a man is entitled to be the
father of his own child? I think he is; but
I am told, that in law he is not. Now, I
think it a great pity that such a clear in.
fallible thing as the law should take up this
threep, and maintain it; for, let the law
say what it will, I say this, that it is but
fair and reasonable that every man — especially
a man who has an estate to heir
and leases on lands that extend to seventeen
thousand acres, which are heritable
property — ought to be entitled to be the
father of his own child. This is what I
want particularly to be resolved in, before
I proceed any further. I will now give you
the history of the whole matter, which
will enable you to lead a proof in your own
When my wife was very young and
very beautiful, long before the fortune was
left to her, she was courted by a young lawyer,
a gentleman of good connexions and
high respectability. Well, this gentleman
courts and courts at the young simple creature,
until he gains her heart so entirely, that she
would have done any thing for him ever he
liked. If he had bidden her go into the
sea and drown herself, she could not have
refused him, she loved him so perfectly and
so exclusively. But it so happened, that
just when their love was at the very height,
she got wor done day that he was married to
another, which made her very ill, and she took
to her bed, poor woman, and was like to die,
— and no great wonder. He found means,
however, to come back and make his peace
with her, by what means I do not know.
And there I think she was wrong, for I
would have seen him hanged as soon; but
when love is in, wit is out, — make his peace
he did, and she continued to love him as
well as ever, if not better. I can bring
proof if I like, which I do not intend to do,
that for every day and night that they were
together before his marriage, they were two
afterwards, and this I account a most horrid
thing in a lawyer. I do not know of a
man living who so well deserves to have his
buttons scarted as this. But more of this
subject hereafter. You may be sure that I
could find in my heart to maul him, and
kick him, and trail him through gutters by
the feet. Well, perhaps the day will come
yet; but I must come to the point.
"So you see, cousin Joe, they two continued
to love and love on, and what not; until
at length she got her legacy, which, with
her beauty, might have made her a match for
the best lawyer, or the best gentleman in the
country. But the poor thing was so infatuated,
and so overcome with love, that she
continued entirely devoted to this married
lawyer. The devil confound him for a lawyer!
say I. He ought to be turned out
of society. What think you he did? — No
more honourable trick than to wheedle a
good deal of her money from her, which
she bestowed with perfect good will, and lavished
presents on him foreby. I never
knew anything in the world in the least
like it! There is no living can tell what a
woman will do, or what she will not do,
when she is in love with a man, and comes
to be tried by her actions towards him.
Really, the women ought to be pitied! for
whenever any of them falls in love, her peril
is not to be told. She is exactly like a very
bonny ane, whom I saw dancing on a wire
at Edinburgh, a fearsome way from the
ground. — When she had accomplished all
that she intended, and gained her full aim,
she had accomplished but very little, and
gained a very poor prize; but, in the meantime,
she ran the risk of getting a devil of
a fall. Now, bless my heart, cousin Joe,
what prize could any woman promise herself
by continuing in love with a married
lawyer? Any thing in the world but that!
I think if I were a woman, a lawyer is not
the sort of man I would fall in love with,
at any rate. He would be too formal and
cold a creature for me, with his clauses and
his contracts; his farthers and his foresaids;
his procutors and his interlocutors.
But a married lawyer! Good lord, I would
as soon fall in love with the shaft of an old
dry water-pump, or a man of snow, with an
icicle pipe in his teeth. I believe a woman
that is in love is as mad as if she were bitten
by a mad dog, and if that is the case,
she ought to be excused, for no mad body
is accountable for his or her actions; but I
shall turn a lawyer myself if I go on at this
rate, although you see I am carrying on to
"This species of love continued until
at last appeared on the lists to contend the
prize with the lawyer, after which, of course
his chance was over. But it is a fact, that
she had before that above thirty suitors, all
unmarried men, though rather needy of
money some of them, yet not to one of then
would she lend an ear, for the sake of this
confounded brief of a lawyer. She made
no objections to me; indeed she rather
pushed the matter harder than was like to
suit me at the time; but I loved the girl,
and took her, principally because she loved
me so well, and gave me the preference to
all her other lovers. I would have given
a thousand pound, cousin, if Simey Dodd
had courted her. But that's over.
We had not been married a month,
till my wife begins to cry and whine, and
shed tears. And then we conversed about
the matter; and I shall give you our conversation
in our own words; for as I consult
you as a lawyer, and have got our master
of the academy to write out this epistle
for me, I have told him that he must give
it in our own words, spelling and all.
How can I do that,' says he, 'when I hear
but one of the parties?'
"'Then write it and spell it as that one
delivers it to you,' says I, 'and be cworsed
to thee for a dwomonie, although thou calls
thyself measter of the academy!' And now,
cousin, I am looking over his shoulder, and
you shall have one or two of our conversations,
word for word, if thou canst make anything
out of them."
["Be it known to the learned gentleman
to whom this is directed, that I am not accountable
for the grammar or orthography
of what follows.
"ABRAM TELL, M. A. C."]
"'Whoy Keatie, mi loove, how is it
that I find thee puling and boobling and
snorking this geate, when I expects smoils
and loove tokens. What the deuce is the
meatter wo' thee? Hast thou no a house
of thee own, and moe servants than thou
canst coont? Hast thou no beef and mwotton,
shooger and tey? room and brandy?
a fether-bed and a keyed hoosband? and,
rabbit it, what wod'st thou hae?'
"'Oh Richard! my dear Richard!' said
she, 'I am afraid I have used you very
"'Whoten way?' says I.
"'Oh, in marrying you,' says she.
"'Mearrying me?' says I. 'Rabbit
it, how can that be? That was no blame
of yours, when I axed thee.'
"'Oh, but then I am quite unworthy of
you,' said she.
"Whoy thou mwost leave me to joodge
that meatter, Keatie, mi loove,' says I.
'That's nwot a thing that cwomes oonder
"'Indeed, indeed, but I am,' says she,
I am quite unworthy of you.'
"'Whoten way?' says I.
"'Because I'm afraid I have been guilty
of a pa-pa,' said she.
"Now I beg of you to take note of this
confession, cousin, seeing that this lawyer
of hers is a married man. She said she had
been guilty of a papa, or paw-paw, as she
said it, which comes to the same thing."
["Perhaps my friend and patron, Mr
Rickleton, heard wrong here; — perhaps the
lady said a faux-paux.
"A. TELL, M. A. C."]
"This note of the dwomonie's is downright
stwoff, cousin. He won't be forbidden
putting in his notes. But there was no
facks-packs in the matter. She said she
had been guilty of a papa.
"I did not understand this very well, so I
said nothing; but as is soomhow natural for
a man that has an estate, I deed'nt leyke to
hear that there was any oother papa in the
boosiness but myself; so I boott my lip and
knotted my brows, and looked as if I had
been conseedering the point.
"'Now, there it is,' says she, crying;
'I thought I might throw myself on your
mercy, as seeing that love has been the
cause of all my misfortunes; but I see you
are angry with me, and are going to throw
me off. I thought I could have trusted
any thing to the kindness of your heart.'
"'And so thou may'st,' says I; 'I have
a heart to forget and forgive, as well as any
in all Northoomberland, and that thou shalt
find. But there are some things that a man
can forgive, and some things that he cannot
forgive. Tell me the whole matter, and
thou shalt not have cause to rue. Who is
he, the papa?'
"'So then you have discovered my case,
and know all about the matter?' said she.
"'Nwo; the devil take me if I have, or
if I dwo,' says I; 'nwor perhaps never would
if thou had'st holden the tongue of thee.'
[She then appeared to hesitate a good
while, and looked very timorous and wistful,
as if the sun of truth dreaded to peep
from behind the dark cloud of moral turpitude
that overshadowed it.*]
"'You may possibly have heard,' says
she, that it was my mishap to fall deeply
in love with a young gentleman of the law,
who paid his addresses to me long before I
saw you? O, he was such an accomplished
dear man, that I could not but love him!
But woe's my heart! It grieves me to say
that he has used me ill, — most villanously
has he used me!'
"'Has he?' says I. 'You have said
enough! I'll try how the dog's stomach digests
gun bullets. If one of them wiggy
lwords who keep the lawyers to their due
* "My inditing. A. T."
boonds, had ill used wooman of my connection,
I would chop him into board's
meat, mooch more one of them gabbling crew
— cworse them! I'se Richard Rickleton,
of Burlhope, Esquire,' says I, 'and where's
the man that dares to wrong me, or wooman
either?' I meant to have said, 'the man
that dares to wrong me or my wooman either,'
and wondered when she took fright,
and went away crying and swobbing, and
took to her bed. And so ended our first
conference on the subject.
"Nwot long thereafter she says to me,
Richard, my dear,' says she, 'I's not that
very well, and always turning worse. I want,
with your permission, to go to Edinburgh,
to my mother's house, for a little while, to
be near some skill.'
"'Thou shalt have all the skill that the
coontry affords at home,' says I. 'Thou
should be free to go to Edinburgh, and to
stay or come as thou likest, were it nwot for
that cwonfounded lawyer. But I won't troost
my dear wife so far from me, beside one
that she avowedly loves. No matter how
ill he has used her. The worse usage the
"I said so, cousin Joe, and the upshot
has proved that I was so far right. 'But
I'll let thee go on this condition,' says I, 'if
thou'lt swear to me that thou art nwot to
see that lawyer's face.' She moombled and
moombled, and knowed nwot what to say.
'Oho!' says I, 'have I found out what
thou's going for?'
"'Alas, no!' says she. 'You know that
I love you too well to harbour any purpose of
dishonouring you farther. I have dishonoured
you enough already.'
"'Whoten way?' says I.
"'Ah, you know what way!' said she.
Or if you do not, you will soon know.
Therefore, I pray, as you love me, let me
go to Edinburgh for a short time, and, at
all events, I promise to you on my most sacred
oath, not to see my former lover, nor
hear him speak, save in presence of my
"I put my hands below my arms and
winked with both eyes, for I was stoodying
very deep. I doodn't know how far I might
troost an ould wife when I heard the term
— former loover — mentioned. 'Rabbit
these ould hags!' says I to myself, there's
no saying what they will allow, or what they
"'I am sure I would do ten times more
for you, Richard,' says she, 'even though
your life did not depend on it, as mine does.
It is true, I have given up my liberty into
your hands, and with it all that I had to
give, assured that you would never make a
bad use of aught I had committed to you.'
"'And neither I will, Keatie,' says I.
Thou hast conquered. I'll ride with thee
myself the mworn all the way to Felton, and
see thee into the cwoach; and thou shalt
stay with thy mwother as long as thou
leykes. Only, thou's to let me hear from
thee once a week.'
"That was our second conference, and
now our dwomonie shall word the rest.
"Many a morning dawned in the eastern
heaven, yea many a sun rose brilliant from
the ocean that circumvolves our island, and
mounted the highest peaks of the blue Cheviots,
and still found me lying on my lonely
and sleepless pillow." "My patron compels
me to put down, that the above elegant
sentence is d—d nonsense. A. T."]
"Many were the kind letters that passed
between us, but not a word of the lawyer,
though mine to her bore some inquiries
anent the man. Her health continued bad,
she said, and that her doctor had given it
as his decided opinion that she should follow
a regiment" ["Perhaps the word was regimen.
A. T."] — "for some time! Cousin,
cannot tell you how my hair bristled, and
how my blood boiled when I read this prescription.
'What,' said I to myself, 'the
beautiful and accomplished Mrs Rickleton
— My wife — The wife of Richard Rickleton
of Burlhope, Esquire, who is a trustee
on the turnpikes, a freeholder of the county,
and lessee of 17,000 acres of land! Shall
his lady go and follow a regiment of common
soldiers? — A horde of rude, vulgar, and
beastly dogs? — No! sooner shall manhood
give place to depravity — sooner shall my
denomination be changed, and my right
hand lose its strength! I'll annihilate the
base doctor and his prescription together,
or may the name of Rickleton perish from
the dales of Northumberland!"
"It was six weeks subsequent to her departure
that I received this letter, and just
about that time I had begun to press her
return with much sedulity. But without
losing another day I mounted my horse and
rode straight to Edinburgh, to prevent, if
possible, the disgraceful catastrophe; and
all the way my heart burned at the doctor,
at the regiment, and at my spouse herself.
She ought to have staid at home,' thought
I, 'and I told her so, which might have prevented
this dreadful alternative. And what
if she is gone of before I can reach town?
How then shall I deport myself? I'll first
be revenged on the doctor,' thought I,
that's certain; for a gentleman in all his
prescriptions should keep decency and propriety
in view. And then I'll go into the
midst of the regiment, and if any of the
officers have but mentioned love to my wife,
I'll challenge and fight such of them one
by one; if any of the common soldiers have
so much as rubbed elbows with her, I'll
beat them like dogs from the one end of
the regiment to the other.'
"I did not need to put these high resolves
into execution; but riding straight
to town, I put up my horse at the inn nearest
my mother-in-law's house, and ran thither
as fast as I was able. The servant
came to the door at my rap, and I said,
'Well, girl, how are all the people here today?'
"'Quite well, thank you, sir. Are you
the other doctor?'
"'The other doctor? Are you blind?
Are you dreaming? Is that all that I have
for all the half-crown pieces I have given
you? Is my wife here, or is she gone off
with the soldiers?'
"'Your wife, sir? Oh, I beg your pardon,
sir! Your lady is here, sir.'
"'And pray how is her health now?'
"'Middling sir, middling. You had
better call again, sir.'
"Call again? What do you mean by
that? Call again on my own wife? A pretty
hint indeed. May not I see my own
lady anywhere, or in any condition? In
bed or out of bed? Sick or whole? You
shrimp! You mussel! May not I see my
"'It is not convenient for the family at
present, sir. Be so good as call again some
other time. You can't go up stairs just
now, sir. I won't suffer it.'
"This opposition only roused my resolution
to proceed. 'Perhaps her lawyer may
be there,' thought I, 'her former lover; or,
perhaps, an officer of dragoons. I'll see for
once, however. — Can't go up?' says I.
You won't suffer it? And pray who are
you? Can a rabbit or a mouse prevent the
lion from entering his own den when his
mate lies at the end of it? Go, you foumart,
you weazel, you — and chirk at the
door to keep back vermin like yourself!'
So saying, I turned her round by the nape
of the neck gently, and rushed up stairs towards
my wife's room. Ere I was half way
up, a gentleman opened her door from the
inside, to rebuke the maid and turn me
back. But when he saw me his jaws fell
down on his breast with terror, and he staggered
back into the room, speechless and
trembling. When I entered I beheld another
little swarthy gentleman stooping forward
on my wife's bed, while her mother
stood beside him; and another plain-looking
woman sat behind. 'I have catched
the whole bevy of them about her,' thought
I. 'And now will I sift them to the very
souls.' So, as soon as I entered, without
opening my mouth, I closed the door, and
set my back to it; but finding the key inside,
I turned it, took it out, and put it into
my pocket. Then striding straight up to
the bed, all the rest gave place and stood
back aghast, save the little swarthy gentleman
with the spectacles. whom I soon found
out to be the self-same doctor against whom
I had conceived such a mortal spirit of revenge.
Not knowing who I was, he faced
me up. 'Pray sir,' said he, 'what express
business has procured us the honour of your
call at such an unseasonable period?'
"'Are you the doctor?' says I. 'Sir,
are you the doctor that has been prescribing
for my wife of late?'
"'Your wife, sir?' said he, bowing politely
and offering me his hand, which I
could not resist taking. 'O, Mr Rickleton!
I beg ten thousand pardons! I have,
indeed, had the honour of prescribing for
your wife, sir, of late, and I hope to render
you a good and a full account thereof more
ways than one.'
"'You are a pleasant gentleman, and I
like your manner well,' said I; 'but there
is one matter for which I will make you answerable.'
— The regiment was in my head;
at the very root of my tongue; and I was
beginning to extend my voice, when all at
once my attention was arrested by hearing
my wife sobbing bitterly in the bed. This
marred my speech; and, turning my face
suddenly round and poking my nose fairly
into the bed, out of anxiety and fondness
for her that was in it, there I beheld — O
cousin Joe, you can never guess what I beheld!
— no, not if you were going to ransack
your mind for all the greatest improbabilities
that it was possible the world might produce.
If I had not the master of the academy
to write for me, and put my feelings on paper,
I never could. I could not even tell
you what I saw, far less what I felt on that
trying occasion. As sure as the right hand
is on me, cousin, there did I behold my
loved, my adored wife, sitting with a very
young babe at her bosom, and weeping over
it! I thought I should have sunk through
the floor with astonishment, and it was long
before I could speak another word. She
was sitting up with some clothes around
her, and held the child, which was a fine
boy, on her two arms; and, in the mean
time, she was rocking it backwards and forwards
with short swings, looking stedfastly
and affectionately in its face, without
lifting her eyes to me or to any other object,
and the baby's face and breast was all
bathed with her tears. How fain would I
have clasped them both to my bosom and
wept too! — But honour, — stern and magnificent
honour interposed, and I was obliged,
against my inclination, to assume a deportment
of proud offence. 'How's this,
my dear?' says I. 'It's to be hoped that
same baby is not yours?'
"She kept rocking the child as formerly,
and weeping over it still more bitterly;
but she neither lifted her eyes nor moved
her tongue in answer to my question. My
heart was like to melt; so I saw there was
a necessity for rousing myself into a rage
in order to preserve any little scrap of honour
and dignity that remained to me.
Accordingly, I turned to the doctor; and,
tramping my foot violently on the floor, I
said. 'There's for it now, sir! There's for it!
That comes all of your d—d prescriptions!'
"'My prescriptions, Mr Rickleton?'
said he, good-humouredly. 'That boy
came in consequence of my prescriptions
did you say? I beg you will consider, that
I never in my life prescribed for your lady
till within these two weeks.'
"When I heard that, it struck me that
the regiment business could hardly be made
accountable for this sore calamity, and that
I must necessarily look elsewhere for some
one whereon to vent my just vengeance.
The greatest misfortune now befel me that
ever happened to me in my whole life, and
I regret it more than all the rest of my
mishaps together. It was this. — I did not
then know that my wife's lover was a married
man. I had never heard, nor ever once
suspected, such a thing. But I did suspect
that the poor craven that stood gaping and
trembling up in the corner might be my
wife's former lover, as she called him, for
he was a little very spruce-looking handsome
fellow, if he had not been in such a panic.
So I strode up to him, and heaving my fist
above his head, I vociferated into his ear.
I believe, sir, you are the man to whom I
must look for an explanation of this affair?'
"Mhoai, me, sir?' said he, rather flippantly,
though in a sad taking. 'Mhoai, as
far as relates to what is law, sir — mhoai,
perhaps I may!'
"'You then are a lawyer, sir?' said I,
secure of my game.
"'Mhoai, yes, sir, and a married gentleman
like yourself,' said he, 'with a family
of my own, and perfectly well versed
in every thing that relates to the hymeneal
"'Married?' says I. 'Then I fear I
have mistaken my man. I'm sorry for it.
Had you been he; you should have paid the
"When I said so, I saw the doctor's face
change from the darkest dread into a cheerful
smile; and I'll never forget that smile,
for I since have thought there was a sly
sneer of derision in it. The lawyer's face
cleared up likewise most wonderfully. My
revenge not being able to find any vent
there, I determined to make the most of
my party that circumstances would permit
So stepping round again to the doctor,
says, 'Sir, I have the key in my pocket
and before you stir you shall tell me, on
your honour as a gentleman, if that boy is
come to the full and proper time of his
"The doctor hesitated; and do you know,
cousin, so weak and foolish a heart had I,
that I would have given a thousand pounds
if he had said that the child was not.
"He is a fine child, sir,' said he.
"That is no answer to my question,'
"'Since you put it to me on mine honour,
sir, I must say I think he is,' said
"My countenance fell; and I felt a
weakness creeping all over my frame.
'Thank you, sir,' said I. 'And now, sir,'
added I, turning to the spruce lawyer, 'can
you resolve me whether that boy can possibly
be mine or not? It is only a little
better than three months since we were
"The doctor shook his head; but both
the old lady and the lawyer gave him such
looks that he comprehended their meaning;
but, woe be to my stupid head! I did not.
"'Mhoai, sir, I believe,' said the lawyer,
'that the child being born in lawful
wedlock, is yours in the eye of the law.'
"'It strikes me that he has been forthcoming
excessively soon,' says I.
"'Mhoai, sir — Mhoai, that very often
happens with the first child,' said the lawyer.
'But it very rarely ever happens again;
Very rarely, indeed. But, God bless you,
sir! It is quite common with a woman's
"This gave me great comfort. So I opened
the door and thanked the gentlemen for
their courtesy; and they rushed out, the
lawyer foremost and the doctor hard after
him, the two women following slowly after
all; and I then addressed myself to my
wife, asking her many questions in the kindest
and most affectionate manner. But she
would not answer me one word — no, not one
syllable, though I should have questioned
her to this hour. She had not the heart to
deceive me, I believe, poor woman; and, hearing
what she had heard, she dared not confess
anything. I was obliged to leave her and
go in search of her mother, but she was nowhere
to be found; and with that I left
the house to go in search of you, that I
might lay my whole case open to you, trusting
it to your clear head and ingenuous
heart. As I was pushing on in a very confused
state of mind, looking at the seams
between the plainstones, and wondering
that they had not some of them closer jointed,
I never wist till I was touched on the
arm as if by one who wanted to speak to
me. I looked hastily about, and beheld a
decent country-looking young woman, who
smiled in my face as if she wished me to
speak to her. I thought I knew the face,
but not being able to find the woman's
name, after looking her closely in the face,
I turned from her and passed on. The
next moment she laid hold of my arm again,
on which I looked round a second time, and
asked what she wanted.
'I want to speak with you privately
for a few minutes, sir,' said she, if your leisure
suits, and if you will permit me.'
"'With all my heart, my woman,' says
I. 'Shall we go into a change-house?'
"'O there's no occasion for that,' says
she; 'only let us walk apart somewhere by
ourselves, where we may not be seen; for it
does not suit for the like of me to be seen
talking intimately to a gentleman.'
"'I am not remarkably nice that way,
my woman,' says I. 'But I shall go anywhere
"'Follow me, then,' says she. 'But follow
at a little distance, lest we be observed.
I am not certain but that we are both
"I did as she desired me, following her
at a distance so far that I merely kept sight
of her. She turned down a broad close or
wynd, and then in at a dark entry, and
finally, she led me in below a small arched
way that leads under the end of the
North Bridge into the Fish Market.
'Now!' says she, 'if anybody see us together
here, we can at least discern who they
are, and if they are looking after us. I see
you do not know me, sir? But, not to keep
you in suspense, I was in the room with
your lady when you entered, and left it but
just now, and I watched you at a distance,
that as you came out I might tell you something
which I suspect you do not know.'
"'I am very much obliged to you, my
woman,' says I; 'very much indeed. I
stand in need of some person to tell me the
truth here, or tell me where it is to be
found, for I can discover none of it save
what is rolled up in a blanket.'
"'You are the most simple gentleman
that ever was born,' said she. 'When you
came into the room, you appeared to me to
be a man that would carry all the world
before you, and I expected nothing less than
that you were, at the very least, to knock
the two fellows' heads together, and, perhaps,
set fire to the house afterwards. But,
in place of that, you are more simple than
a child, and have not even the foresight of
"'You never were farther mistaken in
your whole life, my woman,' says I. 'That
is one of my mother's old fantastical rants,
and you have had it from her. But so far
contrary is the fact, that it is quite well
known there is not such a quick discerning
fellow on the whole Border.'
"'You may be so in some things, but certainly
not in others,' said she. 'How could
it possibly enter your head that yon fine
boy could be yours?'
"'Whoten way?' says I, very angrily;
for that was a matter I did not like much
to hear meddled with. The woman laughed
at me. I declare she laughed till the
tears came into her eyes.
"'Because I understand that you have
been only a little more than three months
married,' said she. 'Credit me, unless it is
upwards of nine months since you first fell
acquainted with your lady, yon child is not
"'You don't know that,' says I. 'There
may be some exceptions. You heard what
you honest and enlightened gentleman said
on the subject.'
"'It was what yon honest gentleman
said that provoked me more than any thing
I ever heard in my life,' said she; 'and
it was that which tempted me to make this
disclosure. Who do you think yon honest
and enlightened gentleman is? — No other
than the seducer of your lady, and the father
of yon babe. Nay, you need not stagger
and grasp the wind that way, nor clinch
your teeth as if you would tear him all to
pieces, for you have let the proper hour of
punishment slip, and I am sorely mistaken
if he ever trust himself as near your clutches
"‘You are imposing on me, dame,' cried
I, madly. 'You are telling me falsehoods!
Did you not hear him say he was a married
"'For mercy's sake be quiet,' says she;
'else my information is at an end. Stay
till I explain. I will make the matter as
clear to you as the sun at noon. So he is
a married man, and has been so these two
or three years. Before that time, however,
he courted your lady, who was young, a great
beauty, but a fortuneless one; and with
such assiduity did he pursue her, that he
seduced her affections, if not her person.
He married another, which had nigh broken
her heart; but shortly after that, her uncle
in England dying, left her the fortune
which made her richer than her false lover,
his lady, and perhaps all his relations put
together; for having gentle names, they had
not much beside. The lawyer was now
piqued to the heart at having lost so much
good ready money, and so lovely a woman
into the bargain. So what does he but introduce
himself again to your lady, then an
heiress, (for he must be a complete scoundrel,)
and then he laments to her the necessity
he had been under, in compliance with
the advices of friends, of marrying another
while his heart was wholly hers, and would
remain hers, and hers alone, to the day of
his death! To cut the matter short, he so
gained upon her affections, that had been
wholly devoted to him previously, that in a
short time he had both her person and fortune
at his command. It was little short
of infatuation in her; but so strong and unalterable
was her first love, that though her
suitors were numberless, she chose rather to
live yon villain's mistress, than to become
the wife of an honest man. She at
length became sick of his behaviour and
duplicity, and repented of what she had
done when it was too late, resolving to leave
him, and in the duties of honest wedlock
forget his treachery.
"'This is the truth; and yesterday this
same worthy came to my house in the country,
and engaged me to nurse the child. I
was to come and take it away privately, no
one being ever to know save her mother,
her maid, and the surgeon. I came yesterday,
but no entreaty could make her part
with it; and, in truth, I never pitied woman
so much. The bitter consequences
were all represented to her in the strongest
light. She saw shame, disgrace, and ruin,
all impended over her devoted head, yet the
affections of the mother prevailed. She assented
to all their arguments, admitting
the truth of them; but vet she could not
part with the boy. Sometimes she appeared
to be yielding to their remonstrances,
and made an effort to give up the child; but
in place of that, her arms involuntarily held
him the closer, and pressed him again to her
bosom, and, in the meanwhile, she cried so
that I thought it would burst. It appeared
to me that the lady had many sweet and
amiable qualities, but that she had been
grievously misled by a deceitful selfish villain;
and I cannot tell you how much I
pitied her, and how much my heart was on
her side. I advised her, too, all that I
could, to give me up the child, but, I assure
you, it was out of no selfish motive, only I
saw no other mode of saving her from utter
ruin. I beg your pardon, sir, but I must
just tell you what I said. 'If you keep
that child and nurse it,' said I, 'you are undone
for ever. If you give it up to me, your
husband will never know, and you will live
happily and respectably all the rest of your
life with him."
"'I'm singularly obliged to you, honest
woman,' said I, taking off my hat and
bowing very low; 'particularly obliged to
you, indeed, for the honour you intended
me.' And then I made faces, and shook
my head, as if I had been exceedingly
angry with her; but for all that, I was not
angry, but coincided in her sentiments entirely,
and wished that my wife had given
up the child, and that I had never known
a sentence about the matter. What a man
knows nothing about, can never do him any
ill, cousin Joe. However, the woman only
laughed at my affected and impotent wrath,
and went on.
"'Well, the doctor, her seducer, her
mother, and myself, had a long consultation
after we left her; and it was resolved that
we should all meet together at the same
hour to-day, and take the child from her
by force, even though it should be found
necessary to put her in a strait jacket, and
bind both her hands and her feet. — Pray,
sir, do not play the madman here. See,
there are some stragglers of passengers who
will observe us. Restrain your rage until
you meet with the proper object to wreck
it on, and then, I pray you, give it full
scope. My relation is done. We had met
in her room according to appointment, and
waited but the arrival of another gentleman,
who was in the secret, to put our design in
execution; and though, I believe, it would
have broken her heart, it was intended as an
act of mercy. The doctor, who is a good man,
and a man of honour, though steady to the
secrets of his profession, had already intimated
our design to her, when you came in
and knocked the whole scheme on the head.
I shall lose my nursing hire, which was to
have been a very liberal one, but, at all
events, I have had the pleasure of setting
an honest and simple gentleman right in
what concerns his honour.'
"'You shall not lose all, my woman,'
says I. 'There is a guinea-note of Sir
William's for your information. And, now,
Lord have mercy on the dog of a married
lawyer, for I will have none!'
"She thanked me very modestly, and
with the greatest courtesy; and as she was
going away she turned back and said, 'Now,
sir, you must not take it ill if I say, that I
think your lady has been grossly abused,
and that she has many sweet and amiable
qualities. But, Lord help you, sir, you do
not know what we women will do for a man
who gains the ascendancy over us! Really
we ought to be pitied; for we are as much in
his power as the flowers of the field, that
he walks over and treads down at his will.
I therefore think, if you could arrange matters
so as to take her home, and forgive her,
you would never repent it. We have all
need of forgiveness, sir, and if your secret
errors were as much exposed as hers have
been, there would be some need of forgiveness
on her part too.'
"'There's another guinea for your advice,
my woman,' says I. 'You never said
truer words, or words more to the purpose,
and, depend on it, I will not lose sight of
"I then left the honest nurse, after shaking
hands with her most cordially, and
bidding her farewell. But it never came
into my head to ask her address, and she
might have been a useful woman as a witness.
I ran across the hollow towards the
Theatre, but before I reached it I found
my knees shaking, and my whole frame so
overcome with vexation, that I was unable
to ascend a flight of stone steps that I came
to without holding by the wall, and there
was I obliged to stand and breathe, leaning
my head against a corner. I am ashamed
to tell it you, cousin Joe; I am not sure
but I shed a great flood of tears. This had
the effect of settling my brain somewhat;
for before that, I was fairly deranged, and
left my head spinning round. The thing
that affected me most, was grief at having
let go the lawyer. I felt him always uppermost
in my mind, like the taste of an unsavoury
dish, and O how I did long to slice
him in pieces! I staggered over to your lodgings
in Thistle Street, accounting myself
sure of one who would assist me with his
advice; but when I called, I was told that
you had gone into the country on some melancholy
occasion, and none knew when you
would return. I felt then as if I had been
in a wilderness, not knowing a single individual
in town. Fain would I have found
out my wife's lawyer, and started his buttons,
but the thing appeared to me impossible
without your assistance. I might,
perhaps, have compelled my wife to give me
his direction, but I was not sure if I could,
nor how far I was safe in going there again,
without perilling mine honour. Therefore,
I have returned home to Burlhope, as unhappy
a man as ever was born, and without
your advice, only determined on one
thing, which is, to be revenged on the lawyer.
I could easily find in my heart to forgive
my wife, seeing that it was pure and
unadulterated love that was the cause of her
undoing. But it goes exceedingly ill down
with me that my first son, who is to be my
heir, should not be mine. This is a pill I
can hardly swallow: For you can easily see,
that the son of such a creature as yon little
bristling lawyer, would be a very unfit
man for our Border meetings. Simey Dodd
might actually come to have a son that
would swallow him up. I will send a man
and horse all the way to Bellsburnfoot with
this statement, and beg an answer from you
by the bearer. I will meet you in Edinburgh,
or anywhere you please, for I am
burning with impatience to have something
done in this shameful business. And am,
"Yours ever, RICH. RICKLETON."
"DEAR COUSIN DICK,
"I HAVE read the singular narrative made
out between you and the worthy and ingenious
Master of the Academy, whom I honour
and admire; and it appears to me, at
first sight, that there can only be one mode
of proceeding in the business, which is, at
once to part with your wife. Can it ever
go down with your high Border spirit, to
marry the cast-off mistress of a poor petty--
fogging lawyer, and adopt their bantling as
your heir? You have been inveigled into
the former, therefore it behoves you to resent
it, and take the benefit of the only redress
left you. This is what you must
make up your mind to, and act in it with
steadiness and determination. I will manage
the whole business for you, and get
the articles of separation made out ready
"As to the challenging of her seducer, I
see little concern you have with him, but
you may do so if you list. For my part, I
would account the fellow who would embezzle
his kept-mistress's fortune unworthy
of such an honour. I will make inquiry
into the circumstances, and write you from
Edinburgh, where I intend being in three
days at farthest. And am,
Your most obedient,
"Do you think I will not make up my
mind, and stand steadily to my purpose in
this business? Depend on it I will! Sooner
than that brat of the lawyer's shall be laird
of Burlhope, and a trustee on the turnpikes
here, I'll tell you what I have resolved on.
I'll sell my land and my leases; and as I hate
the bankers of Durham for refusing my bills,
I'll have all my payment in their notes, and,
to be revenged on the dogs, I'll burn their
trash of paper, bunch by bunch, at the cross
of their shabby town. I'll discard the lawyer's
mistress and his son for ever, if the law
will do it for me; for you have roused my
spirit to the hottest indignation. But none
of your quirks to bring the lawyer off from
fighting me. He is good enough for killing,
and kill him I will, or he shall kill me,
which I think he is not qualified for. I
have many concerns with him, and each of
them a quarrel on which I am willing to
stake life and death. Firstly, for the wrong
he has done to his own wife, — I will fight him
on that score. Secondly, for seducing a poor
widow's only daughter. Thirdly, for embezzling
her fortune after he had her at his
will. Fourthly, for his seizure of my wife,
and for coming into her own apartment with
ropes and a strait jacket. Do you think I
would suffer that, if she were worse than she
is? Was she not my wife at the time? And,
lastly, for mocking me personally, and telling
me that his bastard was my son in the
eye of the law, and many other impertinent
things. Pray, cousin, start his buttons for
me directly, if you can find him out, which
you may easily do by his way of speaking,
for he cannot begin a sentence without saying,
'Mhoai, Mhoai.'— ["Learned sir, deter
your friend from this battle; depend on it,
that, as Horace says, Flebit et insignis
tota cantabitur urbe. A. T."]
"Sicut ante, RICH. RICKLETON."
"COME to Edinburgh without farther
delay. I have every thing in a fair way for
bringing about the intended separation, —
have notified the matter to the unfortunate
woman, who is entirely resigned to your
will, and means to offer no impediment, and
have also discovered her seducer, who certainly
deserves the rod of correction as richly
as any one I have known. For my part,
I'll take no hand in it, having got myself into
both trouble and disrepute with your brawls
formerly. I cannot, on any account, appear
as your second again; but you will find
plenty who will stand by you in such a case
here, who are as fond of a little mischief as
you can be for your life. Yours, &c.
THE following letter is dated from Edinburgh,
and addressed to "Abram Tell,
Master of the Academy, Ryechester." It
is written in a very peculiar old hand, having
been evidently dictated by Richard to
an amanuensis, whose style of composition
is as remarkable as his writing.
"DEAR, MR DOMONIE,
"As I did promise unto thee, so do I
also hereby set myself to perform. And, behold,
are there not many things whereof I
have to speak? But fret not thyself in anywise,
for as yet hath there no evil befallen
to thy servant. When I descended upon
this great city, I did seek out the abode of
my friend, even of Joseph. And I said
unto him, Wilt thou not go forth with me
to battle against this man of Belial? and he
said, I cannot go. But, behold, there is one
John, the son of Rimmon, who is related
to the nobles of the land, and he has been
a man of war from his youth upward, lo,
shall he not go forth with thee to battle?
And he said, I will go. And I wrote unto
the man that did go in unto my wife,
saying, Hast thou not wronged me, in that
thou past betrayed the woman of my bosom
and wasted her substance? See thou to
it; for I have found thee out, O mine enemy,
and thou shalt answer to me with the
life that is in thee, for the honour and virtue
which thou bast destroyed. Therefore,
come thou forth with thy sword in thine
hand, that we may look one another in the
face, at such place as the son of Rimmon
shall appoint. And John, the son of Rimmon,
went into the house of the man, but, behold,
he was not there; and he left a piece of
parchment, having my name inscribed thereon,
and nothing beside; and the man hath
fled, and to-night we set out in pursuit of
him to a far distant city, from whence thou
shalt hear from me; and, behold, am I not
thy servant?" &c. &c.
The next is dated from Glasgow, and
addressed to Mr Joseph Bell.
"I am requested by our friend, who, it
seems, is slow in the art of penmanship, to
inform you of our proceedings; and I do
assure you I never had such sport in my
life, nor did I ever meet with such a character
as your cousin. He is set on battling
as he calls it, and his spirits always rise, or
fall, in proportion as he supposes he is near,
or distant from, the scene of action. I have
had the greatest difficulty in keeping sight
of Mr Shuttlecock the lawyer, in this city,
and am now thoroughly convinced that it
was not, as his clerk pretended, any business
that brought him here, but that he
merely fled from the face of Mr Rickleton.
He had alighted from the coach on entering
the city, and gone off with a porter;
after calling at every inn and hotel in that
quarter, I could find nothing of him, and, not
knowing him personally, I began to suspect
that all my searching would be in vain.
In the meantime, the irritated husband
was all impatience, and was running about
the streets the whole day in search of his
man; for he always asserted, that he never
would forget the rascal's face, nor mistake
it, as long as he lived. Had you seen him
going biting his lip, and looking into every
gentleman's face who was about the size he
wanted, how you would have been amused!
I often followed him at a distance to enjoy
the scene, and observed many young gentlemen
sore surprised at the looks he gave
them, who also followed him with their eyes,
and did not seem to recover their equanimity
for a good space. Last night, to my
astonishment, he came not in to dinner, at
which I was not a little chagrined, for I
deemed that I had traced the fugitive, and
wanted your friend's signature and acquiescence
in my proceedings. At a late hour
I received a card almost totally illegible,
intimating that I would find him at the
guard-house, where he needed my assistance
very much. I went, and found him in confinement,
on a charge of assault and battery;
and the account that he gave of the
business was the most original I have heard.
I shall try to give it you in his own words,
as nearly as I can recollect, and I am certain
I have not forgot many of his expressions.
"'Whoy, mon, I was rooning and rooning
about,' said he, 'looking for my woife's
lawyer, and, whanoover I could see a noomber
of people, there I was shoore to be in the
moodst of them; and at length I foonds
me mon joost going snooking over some of
his law papers.
"'Hoo-hoo, friend!' says I, 'is this
you?' says I.
"'Ay, to be shoore it is,' says he.
"'And do you know I's very glad I has
found thee?' says I.
"'Ecod so!' says he. 'Thank you sir,'
"'I suppwose thou knows that I has a
bit of an account to settle with thee?' says
"'Yes, I doos,' says he; 'and it is poot
to your charge but not extracted. You can
call and settle it some other time.'
"'No, rabbit it, I'll settle with you before
we part,' says I.
"'Thank you, sir!' says he. 'What
were the articles I foornished you woth?'
"'Nay, it is nwot for the article foornished
me,' says I, 'for that I mean to retoorn
to thee hand. It is for the articles foornished
to me woife.'
"'Thee woife, sir?' says he.
"'Ay, me woife, sir,' says I. 'Noo, I
will bet that thoo'lt deny thou ever knowed
sooch a lady as Mrs Rickleton of Burlhope?
or a Miss M'Nab? or that thou
ever foornished her with anything besides a
set of rwopes and a strait-jacket, which I saw
"'Mrs Rickleton! — Miss M‘Nab! —
I am rather at a lwoss, sir,' says he.
"'There's to help thee memory, then,'
says I, knocking his hat off into the doorty
rooner. But me man was game. He flew
at me nwose like a weasel, and he cworsed
and swore mwost fearfully. 'Cwom, cwom,
me fine fellow, I'se glad to see that,' says I,
for I should not have liked that me woife
had been seduced by a fugicock.' Then I
gived him such a breaker that he toombled
into the doorty siver; and I keecked him
and toombled him over the bwody, and he
rwoared out, 'mworder!' but I employed me
time as well as I could, till the officers came
and apprehended me. And now they have
meade a very oolfaurd stwory out of it, and
they dwon't believe a word about what he
has dwone for me woife.'
"'But are you quite sure of your man,'
says I, 'Mr Rickleton? For I flattered
myself that I had ferreted him out elsewhere.'
"'Ooh, shoore of my man!' exclaimed
he — 'That I am! Rabbit his bloode, if I
shall ever forget a bit of his feace as long as
"I went the next day to hear the parties
examined. The wounded man was brought
in a chair, and appeared to be fearfully
mauled. His statement differed little from
that given me by my friend; only he said
the gentleman charged him with furnishing
some insufficient articles to himself and his
wife, which the complainant could not recollect,
and he was convinced he had mistaken
him, (the complainant,) for another
man; for, on his going home, he had caused
his clerk to look into his ledger, and it contained
no such names as those mentioned
by the aggressor.
In the meantime, there were no questions
put to the complainant relating to his
business, or whence he came, which I wondered
at, but did not interfere. Rickleton
was brought in escorted by two officers;
and the account that he gave of himself set
the whole court a-laughing, but the judge
was always obliged to inquire at others,
what he was saying?' His broad Northumberland
tongue, with the innumerable
gutturals in which it was involved, rendered
his language quite unintelligible to the
worthy Glasgow magistrate, to whom he
gave himself up as an English squire, a freeholder,
a trustee on the roads, and tenant
of an immense extent of land, all in one
breath. He denied nothing with which he
was charged; but, when he came to state
the offence received, the whole house, not
excepting the judge, fell into convulsions of
laughter. You may easily conceive the import
of the charge, for it was of such a nature
that I cannot write it, but not one of
the visible muscles of his face moved. On
the contrary, he grew quite angry; his face
reddened to a flame; his tongue faltered,
and the thread of his accusation grew altother
"'Let me understand you properly,'
says the judge. 'You state yourself as a
gentleman of property in Northumberland,
do you not?'
"Yes, I doos, sir,' says Richard, in a
loud offended tone.
"'And do you reside on your property?'
"'Yes, I doos, sir. I have resided there
all my life.'
"'And do you accuse this gentleman of
debauching your wife and embezzling your
"'Yes, I doos, sur; of debauching me
woife, and embezzling hur property, sur.
"'Well, these are heavy charges, sir, if
you can make them good. Mr M'Twist,
what say you to this?'
"'I say, my lord,' said the complainant,
that I never was in Northumberland in
my life, nor, as far as I know, within fifty
miles of it.'
"'I never said thou wost, and be cworsed
to thee,' cried Richard, in a great rage.
It wos befwore that thou didst all the
evil. And, mwone, did'st thou nwot try to
fworce thy bearn upon me by swome quurk
of thee law? And did I not catch thee in
me woife's own bed-room with a strait jacket
and a fank of mopes to bind her?'
"'I never heard anything so atrocious
as this in the course of my life!' said the
judge. 'Mr M'Twist, was this really
"'Not a word of it, my lord. I assure
you there is some mistake on the part of the
gentleman, as I said at first. Let him state
time and place, and I shall prove an alibi.'
"'Prove a what?' cried Richard, in great
"'Pray, suffer me to put the questions
myself,' said the judge. 'Mr Rickleton,
are you sure of your man? Will you make
oath that this is the gentleman who wronged
you in the affections and fortune of your
"'Yes, I wooll, sur, whenever you like,
and as often as you like.'
"'And, pray, whom do you suppose this
gentleman to be?'
"'Whoy, a dog of an Edinburgh lawyer
— Mr Shootlecock.'
"'Well, sir, it so happens, that, to my personal
knowledge, this gentleman's name is
M'Twist; and, instead of being an Edinburgh
lawyer, he is a master-tailor in Candlerigg
Street, in this city.'
Had you seen your cousin's face when
be heard that it was a Glasgow tailor whom
he had attacked and beaten! You never
saw, I shall be bound to say, so perfect a
picture of disappointed revenge, and humbugged
chagrin. He could not look the
judge in the face, but turned his head first
the one way and then the other, to the great
amusement of a crowded court. He at
length found utterance in bitter recriminations.
"'Wod rabbit the clipped soul of him!'
exclaimed he. 'Whoy but he tould me
that he was a tailor? If I had known that
he was a tailor, I'll be cworsed if I would
have touched him with one of my fingers.
He deserves all that he has got for his stoopidity.
Whoy, after all, I must beg the
gentleman's pardon. I has been guilty of
a foolish mistake.'
"The Glasgow tailor was a man of spirit.
He claimed no damages, but forgave all
freely. He was afraid that the accusation
related to his honour, in having furnished
goods of an inferior quality, which charge
he was resolved to clear himself of. But,
since it had originated in a mistake, owing
to some unfortunate personal resemblance
in him to one who had used the gentleman
so ill, he was content to suffer the consequences.
"The judge highly commended the tailor's
generosity; and then, turning to Mr
Rickleton, he gave him a severe reprimand
for the rash and ungentlemanly attack
made on an innocent man, and advised him,
in future, to seek satisfaction in some more
prudential way, that was not liable to such
"Richard told him broadly, that he had
come all the way from Northumberland to
Edinburgh to challenge the gentleman who
had wronged him. But that, on receiving
his card, he had fled the city, and that he
had followed him here for the same purpose;
but, finding that he was skulking,
and durst not show his face, he was on the
look-out for him, and, thinking he had found
him, he was determined not to quit sight of
him again, as he had once done before.
This confession was unfortunate. Richard
was bound over to keep the peace, and the
next morning the whole affair appeared in
the papers, so that I suppose the little lawyer
may hug himself in safety for this bout.
I am going to try to find him out, however,
and, if he has spirit to take a trip out
of the county, I will risk the restriction.
As for Richard, he will risk anything to
be revenged on him. You shall hear from
us to-morrow, or as soon thereafter as we
have accomplished anything worth detailing.
I remain, Sir,
"Yours most faithfully,
"THE lawyer, as Richard calls him, has
fairly shown the white feather again. I
found him out, though the pains that he
had taken to conceal himself were almost
beyond conception; but I effected it by
offering a small reward to the porter who
would find me out the different men of that
fraternity who had been employed to carry
his trunk from one place to another. I challenged
him to mortal combat, in your cousin's
name, on which he had no other shift
but that of denying his own name, and all
knowledge of the injuries complained of. But
he was in such a terror that I was actually
sorry for him, and, when I proffered to
bring the redoubted Rickleton face to face
with him to prove his identity, I thought
the poor man should have fainted. He
said he had no knowledge of either the one
or the other of us, and ordered me out. I
was obliged to comply, but told him, that he
should not escape in that way. In a short
time I brought Richard, and, without telling
him aught of the circumstances, placed
him in a situation where he could be seen
from Mr Shuttlecock's windows, and, leaving
him there, I desired him to wait for a
short time till I returned. There I suffered
him to pace about for half an hour,
meaning to prevent the hero of the law from
leaving his lodgings till I could prove his
identity, which I had found a cue to. But
the sight of the herculean Northumbrian
had been too much for his nerves, for, when
I called again with a client of his, he had
made his escape by a back-door, and since that
time he has returned no more to his lodgings.
As I do not think him worthy of
any farther pursuit, I have posted him over
all Glasgow, and request that you will do
the same in Edinburgh, that he may no
more be able to show his worthless face.
When a fellow assumes a rank so distinguished
as the one in which he moved, and,
at the same time, commits acts which he
dares not show his face to answer for, the
sooner he is chased from society the better.
Richard is terribly out of sorts. He accounts
the posting no amends whatever.
He says, 'What the dooce signifies your
boots of printed paper? I would not give a
tooch of a boollet or a good sword for fifty
thoosand of them.' Yours, &c.
I AM going into East Lothian for two
or three days, to try to recover part of an
old and very large debt. I pray you to get
all the formalities settled regarding my
separation from my wife, for I am determined
to make an example of her, to deter
all other women from imposing on men
again in the same manner, from this time
to the end of the world. I will make her
to feel the extent of the folly she has committed,
and turn her off to be a byword and
a reproach among all her sex. I have shut
up my breast against pity, and yet there is
something very extenuating in her case.
She was seduced when very young, when
her seducer was rich, and moving in high
life, and she poor, and moving in low life,
and on the pretence of marriage too. I account
nothing of this, it was almost a
natural consequence. But, after he had
slighted her and married another, that she
could not shake herself free of him in any
other way than by marrying me, is what
I will never forgive, and I long exceedingly
to see her face to face once more, to
give vent to the whole of my indignation.
How I would brand her with infamy! If
her conscience is not made of the fore-skull
of a lawyer's head, I shall wring it, and it
would give me a great deal of satisfaction
to see her writhing under the lash for the
dishonour she has brought on me. What
I should do next, I scarcely yet know, but
ray spirit is moved at this present time to
do something highly recriminating, for, you
know, I am apt to run to extremes in everything.
Lose no time, dear cousin Joe, in
bringing this business to an issue. This
letter, you will perceive, is in a lady's
"I have engaged the Domonie to give me a
day's penmanship, in order that I may be enabled
to give you a detail of all the events
that have happened to me since I was last in
Edinburgh. I know that you will have been
expecting some explanation, and it is proper
and right you should have it, after all the
trouble I put you to in settling the terms
of my divorce, or act of separation, as you
were pleased to call it. Perhaps you will
be offended at me for the part I have acted,
and I think myself it was wrong; but
what is disreputable to one man is quite
consistent with the character of another.
An act that would damn Dick Rickleton,
if committed by an Edinburgh lawyer
would only raise his character as a glib,
shrewd fellow, that knew how to cheat or
hoodwink his neighbour, and without that
character they find but little employment.
And, on the other hand, a thing that would
send a lawyer to Coventry, as they say,
would only exalt the character of Dick
Rickleton, as a good-hearted, honest fellow.
Having given you this previous explanation
to prepare you for what is to follow, I shall
now proceed to particulars.
"Notwithstanding your prohibition, I
determined to see my wife before I left
Edinburgh; for I found a spirit of insulted
honour and abused affection burning in my
breast, and I could not renounce the only
opportunity I might ever have, of giving
vent to them, and proving to her that her
once fond husband, Richard Rickleton,
Esquire, of Burlhope, was not a man to be
insulted with impunity. I studied every
cutting reproach that was to be found in
the English language, and treasured them
up to pour upon her head; and, in a special
manner, I intended to dwell largely on
the Seventh Commandment, and to represent
to her the meanness of her error in
taking up with a married lawyer! a knave,
and a coward.
"Well, away I goes, rather early, perhaps,
to call on a lady-nurse, it being between
eight and nine in the morning; but the
damsel of the house would only speak to me
across a large chain, such as they have at
the prison-doors, which I thought proud
treatment; and so I says to the lass, 'I'm
thinking, hinny,' quo' I, 'that ye haena aye
keepit that ousen-sowm linkit across the
door when the men came to gie ye a ca'?'
That made her look two ways at once, and
she said nothing. 'Never ye mind, my
woman,' says I. 'There are some things
that, when once they are done, it is not
easy to undo again; and, in that case, the
doers maun just make the most of them
that they can. Hae, there's half-a-crown to
you, go up the stair and tell Mrs Rickleton
that her husband wants to speak a
word or two to her, before he leaves town;
that he insists on it, and is determined to
take no denial.'
"The lass went, as desired, but still without
taking the chain off the door; and, after
waiting ever so long, she returned, and
said the lady was scarcely in a condition to
be seen at present, but that she begged I
would return in the afternoon, and that I
should then see her. I was obliged to promise
— what could I do? So I went and put
off the day the best way I could, but I durst
not call on you, nor so much as come to the
side of the town that you dwelt on, for I
knew you would disapprove of the violent
measures which I purposed; therefore, I
dined at a coffee-house, drank two half--
mutchkins, and, going to my appointment,
was admitted at once. My wife was up,
sitting by a fire in her bed-room, and dressed
in the most decent and becoming style.
She held the child on her knee, and the little
rogue was all flaunting with muslins
and laces. I entered full of passion and
fury, but in all my life I had never seen
aught half so beautiful and innocent-like as
the mother and the child; and as I saw her
eyes shining through tears, I had not the
heart to begin my system of abuse. However,
I plucked up my spirits, and put on
a brazen face; and I says, in a stern, offended
voice, 'Well, Mrs Cathrine, I suppwose
I's no very welcome visitor here?'
"'Indeed but you are welcome, sir,'
said she; 'and I am very happy at having
this opportunity of speaking a few words to
you, as I may perhaps never have another!'
"'It is not very likely that you will,
madam,' says I. 'Not very likely indeed.
For, once I have told you a piece of my
mind, I intend bidding you farewell for ever.
You have behaved in a fine style!'
"'My behaviour has been such that
there is no treatment too bad for me,' said
she. 'But I have been more sinned against
than sinning. Love alone was my error,
but unluckily my love was first fixed on one
who was capable of turning it to the worst
of purposes. From the moment that I was
first led astray, I repented and loathed myself
for my weakness; yet, for all that, I
found myself entangled in mazes of deceit
and falsehood, from which it was impossible
for me to make my escape. It was to disentangle
myself from the snares of a villain
that I engaged myself with you, not being
then aware of the state to which I was reduced.
Now, it seems that my whole fortune
is at your disposal; and your cousin
has made out articles, ready for our signatures,
which would have been quite fair, and
liberal enough, had that portion of any fortune
that is assigned to me, been tangible.
But you know the greatest part of it has
been lent to my betrayer, and where is the
probability that I shall ever be able to recover
it? The certain consequence, then, to
me, is, that this poor, friendless, outcast
boy, and I, will at once be cast on public
charity. Now, as I have no reliance on any
person but you, and know your goodness of
heart, I must entreat of you, that you will
make the settlement between us so as that
I may be protected against sheer pauperism,
the very thought of which terrifies
me. What would you think, or what would
you do, if this boy and I came begging to
"'What would I do?' says I, hardly
able to contain myself. 'By G—, I knows
well enough what I would do.'
"'Spurn us from the door, without
doubt,' said she.
"'I would see you both d—d first,' says
I; and I was blubbering, I fear, or some
such ridiculous thing, for I could not endure
the thoughts of the woman that had
lain in my bosom coming begging to my
door; and therefore, before I could proceed,
she looked seriously at me, and asked
me why I was so much affected?
"'I's nwot the least affected,' says I. 'I
hates all swort of affectation as I hates a
bully. Thou doos not say that I's affected?'
"'I only asked what you would do, if
this boy and I came begging to your door?
You would not take us in sure, and protect
"'Would I not, Kate?' says I. 'But
cworse me then if I would not. Ay, and
give you the best and beinest seat in the
"'Well, I believe you would,' said she,
for you have a kind and forgiving heart.
But why, then, not take us under your protection
at present, before such extremities
arrive, as arrive they will? I feel that I
cannot live an outcast in the world, without
some one to protect me; for, from the little
experience I have had of my own managemement,
I know I should soon be destitute;
and then what would become of me?'
"'Well, what would you have me to
do?' said I, for I did not know well what
to say. And I found that all the severe
animadversions which I had studied were
in danger of being lost. 'What would
you have me to do?' says I. 'Would you
have me to take you home to my house and
my bosom as I did formerly?'
"'No, no, I am not so unreasonable as
that,' said she, 'and if you were to make
me such an offer I would not accept of it.'
"'The devil you would not!' said I;
for I found myself nettled at such a reply,
and somewhat disappointed. I expected
she would have said, 'Yes,' and I know not
how I should have refused her; but, when
she said she would not accept of such an
offer, I found I was safe, and had nothing
to fear. 'All that I want,' continued she,
'is, that you will not cut me off with any
set portion, but grant me such an allowance
yearly as circumstances and casualties may
require. I have no dread to leave the matter
entirely in your option; only I cannot
endure to be cut off from all mankind, and
to have no one even to think of as a protector.'
"'I never thought of such a thing,
Kate,' says I, 'else the divorce should never
have been sanctioned by me. But I can
easily enter into your feelings; and therefore
let my cousin present you what scrolls
and parchments ever he likes, do not you
subscribe one of them. For I here promise
to you, on the honour of a trustee, (on the
toornpikes, I mean,) that you shall never
want as long as I have. And, if my word
is not sufficient, I shall give you what other
security you choose to ask.'
"'Sufficient!' exclaimed she; 'ay, it is
sufficient to me for a thousand times as much!'
and, with that, she sunk down on her knee,
and, holding the child on her left arm, with
her right hand she took hold of mine, kissed
it, and shed a flood of tears on it. Lord,
cousin Joe, I did not know what to do!
You must excuse me for all the follies I
have committed, for I was quite overcome,
and actually stood puffing and crying, like
a great lubberly boy that had been sent to
drown a litter of pups, and was obliged to
bring them home again from a misgiving of
conscience. Our lucrative and high-wrought
plans of a permanent separation were all
blown up by a woman's breath, and a woman's
tears. Still they were those of a lovely
one, that you must confess, with all her
errors. 'Your word is sufficient to me for
a thousand times as much!' cried she.
And now may the Lord of Heaven bless
you! and I know he will bless you, for this
yielding kindness to a poor hapless sufferer.
Now I have one on whom I can count, to
my heart at least, as a protector, and but
the very last minute I had none. Some
fond thoughts found their way into my bosom,
that perhaps this son of sorrow and
shame that lies at my breast, might live to
protect and support his mother. But the
prospect was a distant one, and then how
did I know but he might live to curse me?
O that was an insupportable thought, but
it was one of those that the guilty feel.
Now, sir, I have gotten much more than
my request of you, and so far beyond my demerits,
that you are repaying me good for
evil, and therefore, before we part for ever,
I bless you once more in the name of
"If you could have stood proof against
this, Cousin Joe, you are made of sterner
stuff than I am. But I need not say that,
for a lawyer is proof against everything,
except the bullets of convenience. For me,
my fortitude was lost, and all my stern remembrances
of wronged love and confidence
"'Katie,' says I, 'as far as I remember,
you are the only person that ever blessed
me in the name of God. My father often
cursed me in that name, but I knew he
meant no ill, honest man, by these curses,
and I took them as pleasantly as they had
been all blessings. I must say, that I feel
it a delightful thing to have one's blessing
so heartily as you have bestowed it to-night,
especially the blessing of one that has offended
and wronged me, and, by this hand,
I want to have a little more of it. Katie,
you were talking but now of parting for
ever. That is a dreary long term, and one
that I never can abide to think of. What
would you think of a plan by which our separation
might be of a shorter date? Or
what would you think of a plan by which
we were not bound to separate at all? Rabbit
it, woman! Once for all, send away
that brat to the father that begot it, and
come away home with me. You are my
wife, in spite of all the laws and counsels of
men, and my wife you shall be. Send away
the child to his own father, and you shall
never hear either of their names mentioned
by me again while we two live. Now I
have gained a victory!' cried I, clapping
my hands, and let the world say what it
will! If it were not for the taunts of Simey
Dodd, I don't give a twopence for all the rest
of the world. There I will be sadly humbled.
Never mind! never mind, honest Dick!
You will, perhaps, get something for which
to laugh at Simey in your turn. Hear,
then, what I say, Kate. Send the boy to
his rascal of a father, for I cannot endure
that he should be heir to my estate, and
come with me, and be my lady, my wife,
and my darling, as you were before.'
"'No, believe me, sir, I cannot do it. If
you would make me mistress of the world,
I cannot do it,' said she. I thought the
woman was crazed, and grew as rigid as a
statue, through utter astonishment. But
she went on. 'You are the most benevolent
and forgiving being that ever breathed
the breath of life, but I cannot again bring
dishonour to your house, and your bed.
And, moreover, it is not in my power to
give up this boy. I see him a helpless and
guiltless being thrown on my care, shunned
by every one else of the human race. I refused
to give him up to his father, on which
he has taken witnesses, and entered a protest,
and, if I cherish not the child, there is
none on earth now to do it. Poor little innocent!
He is an outcast both of God and
man; for, owing to his father's circumstances,
as a married man, I cannot get him introduced
into the Christian church. No
reverend divine will, out of pity or commiseration,
pronounce a blessing on his unhallowed
head, bestowing on him the holy
ordinance of baptism.'
"While she said this she kissed the babe,
and shed tears over him in abundance. I
could not help joining her in the crying
part with all my energy, for in all that
relates to women and children my heart's
butter. 'Beshrew their hearts but it is a
hard case!' says I; and the devil a very
much I would care to get him baptized myself,
and be d—d to him.'
"Deeply as the mother was affected at
this, in spite of all she could do, her crying
turned by degrees into something like
laughter, and that of the most violent kind;
and then it changed into crying again, and
then into laughing, I know not how oft.
I felt disposed still to follow her example,
but I could not contain my passion, and so
I went on. — 'Is it not a hellish thing, that,
because a woman is made beautiful, and
simple, and loving, that therefore she is to
be betrayed and degraded, and then abominated
and kicked about, as she were not
fit to live on the face of God's earth? Mankind
may do so with the rest of womankind
when they like, Kate, but I say, I'll be
d—d ere they shall guide you so!' And
with that I gave a tramp with my foot that
made the joists of the house crash like eggshells,
on which my wife screamed, and in
an instant her old mother and the maid
rushed in between us, where they stood,
holding up their hands, and muttering —
'Hout, hout! — What, what, what! —
What's astir? what's astir?' But I never
so much as saw them, so full was I of my
own conceptions and resolutions, and so I
went in. — 'No, I'll be d—d if they shall!
and I'm not given to cursing and swearing.
But let the world say what it likes, and let
Simey Dodd of Ramshope say what he
likes, I'm determined to gratify my own
humour. — Ah, it is a bitter pill to swallow
that!— the giving of Simey fairly the upper
hand of me. He will sit king of the
dales now, next to the Duke of Northumberland.
Well, I cannot help it! I'll perhaps
get day about with him yet. I am
not disposed to wish ill to any man, but I
do wish from my heart that Simey Dodd
would fall into some tremendous scrape
with the women. Ha-ha-ha! How I would
rejoice, and laugh, and clap my hands!'
"'I think ze honesht man hish been
making rather free wi' zhe bottle,' said the
old toothless wife, making her head move
like an apothecary's sign between her daughter
"'Not a bit,' said my wife. 'You think,
mother, you see before you a half madman;
but, in place of that, you see one with many
of the qualities of an angel.'
"'An anshel!' said the old wife — 'be
me sooth, an' a gay ramshtamphish anshel
he wad be!'
"'I will be sore kept down,' continued I;
'I will hardly dare either go to kirk or
market for a season. But why should I?
I have done nothing that I need think
shame of; and, as long as I can answer to
my own conscience, I will laugh in Simey
Dodd's face, the little d—d chit!'
"'Eh? eh? What'sh zhe man shaying?'
said the old wife, greatly alarmed.
"'I say that I will take home my wife
with me in a chaise and four, for all that is
come and gone yet, and acknowledge her
as my wife to her dying day. And I will
take home her hapless boy with me too, and
give him the education of a gentleman. —
Ay, will I; I'll take the vows on myself
for him; and let me see the eye that dare
wink at him, or the lips that dare cry boo
to his blanket! Now, what think you of
that, you old witch?'
"Oh, meshy pesheve uzh! What'sh zhe
good lad shaying? Ish zhe gaun to make
a' shingsh up again? Am shoozh ma doughzh
muckle ableezhed; poo woman! she has had
an ill mischanter. But zhe Lwod'sh aye
meshiful to hizh ain!'
"'Hold your peace, you old reprobate!'
said I, jocularly, slapping the old dame on
the shoulder; 'hold your peace, till I say
out my say. — I say your daughter is my
wife, and shall be my wife. All injuries are
forgiven, and I will make more of her than
ever. And, hark you, old dowager! — for
every young Northumbrian that she brings
me, I will send you a present of a hundred
pounds, in good Sir William's notes!'
"'Oh, I wush muckle luck to your fieshide,
gudeman! I wush zey may gow up
like olife plantsh about youz table zhound!'
"'Ay, it is a good old wife's wish, with
a sound leaven of self in it,' said I. 'But
now, Katie, my poor misused and brokenhearted
woman, what do you say to all this?'
"She again took my hand, and kissed it,
and then said, as her sobs would let her,
What can I say, but that you have bound
me your slave for ever? My heart is so full,
I cannot thank you. I rejoiced to place my
dependance wholly on your generosity, but
I never thought the human mind capable
of such an act of generosity as this. I can
say nothing, but that I am your slave for
"'Not my slave, Kate,' cried I, 'but
the lady of my right hand; and with this
kiss I cancel all animosity, and thoughts of
injury received, which, indeed, on my part,
never had any existence.'
"Cousin Joe, I have brought home my
wife. I have forgiven her, and taken her to
my bosom; and, whatever the world may
think, I have already enjoyed the deed more
than all the other acts of my life. I lived
in anguish for a few days, out of dread of
the taunts and scorn of my great adversary,
Simey Dodd; but one morning, before I was
out of bed, the servant-maid came and tapped
at our chamber door; 'What is it,
Esther?' says I.
"'It is a gentleman who wants to speak
with you, sir.'
"'A gentleman who wants to speak with
me at this time of the morning! — Who is
it, Esther?' says I.
"'I think it is Mr Dodd of Ramshope,
"'Good Lord! What am I then to do?'
exclaimed I, addressing my wife. 'You may
rise and face him up yourself, Cathrine, for
sutor me if I will! — I'll creep in below the
bed, or fling myself from the window, and
make my escape — Anything in the world
but the encountering of Simey Dodd!'
"I rang the bell violently. 'Esther, tell
the gentleman that I am not at home —
that I cannot be seen either to-day or tomorrow,
for that I am more than a hundred
"'He has sent his horse to the stable,
sir, and is sitting in the dining-room.'
"'Confound the fellow! — I wish he
were dead! What has brought him here
to torment and crow over me to-day?'
"Finding that I had no other resource,
I put on my clothes, and went into the
breakfast room, uncertain whether to encounter
the cutting taunts of my great antagonist,
or strike out at the very first.
Simey could not repress a smile when he
saw me enter, for I was biting my lip, and
looking exactly as if I wanted a quarrel,
and expected one. He, however, rose, and
shook my hand, and asked me how I did,
in so kind a manner, that I was somewhat
moved to accost him in the same style. —
'Why, neighbour Simey,' says I, 'I can
guess the purport of this visit to-day — It is
for no good, you rogue! D—n it, you have
me on the hip now!'
"'No, I have not,' said he; 'it is you
who have me on the hip; and from this
day, and this hour, I succumb to you, and
acknowledge you my superior.'
"'Whaten way?' says I. 'None of your
quizzing, Mr Simey; for I know you too
well of old, to suppose that you are aught
lowered in your own estimation by anything
that I have achieved. On the contrary,
sir, I know you are come to exult
over me, and humble me to the very lowest
"'You never were more mistaken in your
life,' quoth Simey. 'I have always been accustomed
to brag you about everything,
merely on purpose to keep you down, for I
thought you sometimes were inclined to
exalt yourself too much; but there is my
hand, I shall never do it again; and he
who does so in my hearing had better let
"'Thank you, Simey,' says I. — 'But
rabbit me if I comprehend this! — it is so
much the reverse of what I expected, that
I can hardly believe that I am awake; or,
if I am, that it is possible you can be serious.'
"'Believe me, I am,' said he. — 'You
have done a deed of generosity, of which I
was incapable, and which proves you, with
all your obstreperous oddities, to be possessed
of a more gentle, forgiving, and benevolent
heart, than almost any other of
"'It is not an act to be made a precedent
of Simey,' says I.
"'No, it is not,' said he — 'I know that;
but still it ennobles you. I, for my part,
esteem you so much for it, that I profess
myself bound to you, and I will stand by
you, and support your honour on that
ground, as long as I have breath.'
"'Simey, you are a better fellow, and a
braver fellow, and a kinder fellow, than
ever I thought you before,' said I; 'and
your approbation affects me so much, that
I feel very much disposed to play the woman
and cry. But oh, Simon! I am afraid
you do not know all, my good fellow. There
is a child in the case, Simey! — Oh, man,
there is a boy in the case!'
"'Yes, I know all,' said he; 'and so
much do I admire your conduct, with regard
to that child in particular, that you
will not guess for what purpose I have ridden
all the way from Catcleuch here today?'
"'I cannot possibly guess,' said I.
"'Just to request of you that you will
suffer me to stand sponsor for that boy at
his baptism,' said he.
"I then took Simey in my arms, and
blessed him in the best way I could; and,
ever since, the ewe and the lamb are not
more gracious than Simon Dodd and I.
"We had a good rousing drink before
we parted, and we have had several since.
When we get a certain length, we sometimes
take a touch at bragging still; but
we always part and meet as brothers, which
we seldom did before. Thus has my greatest
bane been also removed; and I have no
hesitation in saying to you, Cousin Joe, I
AM HAPPY. I never knew what social
happiness was before. It is so sweet to be
beloved and adored by an amiable being,
whom one has rescued from degradation and
misery — whom I find disposed even to hold
my foibles and faults in estimation; but, as
I know that springs from condescension on
her part, I am doing all that I can to get.
the upper hand of them, and expel them
from the mansion of Burlhope for ever.'
"Thus has ended your great maiden
law-plea, as well as my sublime remonstrance
on the impropriety of breaking the
Seventh Commandment, especially on the
part of the women.
Yours ever, most affectionately,
IN the foregoing tale, or rather in the
three foregoing tales connected into one, I
have, in conformity with my uniform practice,
related nothing but facts, as they happened
in common life. Every one of the
three leading incidents, on which this narrative
is founded, is copied literally from
nature, the circumstances being well known
to me, and to all those dwelling in the
districts in which they happened. To such
as may trace any of the tales to the original
incidents, it is necessary for me to say,
that, as they will perceive, I have thought
proper to change some of the names, in
order that I might not lead the public to
gaze too intensely into the bosoms of families,
or pry into the secret recesses in which
their holiest feelings are treasured up from
all but the eye of Heaven. But in none of
the groups have I altered all the names,
and some of these but very slightly. I have
also been obliged to make a few fanciful connexions
and relations that did not exist, —
such as cousins, sons, &c. — in order to combine
the simple portraits of life and manners
in one group. If any of these slight,
but voluntary deviations from truth, are discovered,
I have to request that due allowances
may be made.
I have now only to ask, Is NOT YOUTHFUL
LOVE THE FIRST AND THE GREATEST
PERIL OF WOMAN? I have shown,
by a simple relation, all founded on literal
facts, that, by yielding to its fascinating
sway, she is exposed to the loss of life — the
loss of reason — the loss of virtue, of honour,
and of happiness. What can be more dreadful?
Yes, yes, my beloved countrywomen,
of this rest assured, that on the first motion
of placing your youthful affections, depends
the future happiness and welfare of your
lives. Read the calendar of female woes
and sorrows from the foundation of the
world, and you will see, that to one point
the main sum of these can all be traced —
namely, to MISPLACED AFFECTION. How
many thousands of lovely and amiable beings,
fitted by nature to have ranked on
the scale of creation next to the sphere of
angels, have, by this one step, inconsiderately
taken, been plunged into an irremediable
course of guilt, shame, and misery!
And how many thousands of precious and
immortal souls have thereby been ruined,
and utterly lost! Let me then implore of
the gentle maiden, who shall deign to read
these red-letter morals of the mountains,
that, on the first breathings of youthful affection,
when the ready blush first mounts
to the cheek, and the radiant eye begins to
sparkle brighter at the sound of a certain
manly voice — let me implore of her then to
pause, and say to herself, "What am I doing,
and whither is my fantasy leading me?
Let me beware, lest I be now entering the
precincts of THE FIRST AND GREATEST
PERIL OF WOMAN."
END OF VOLUME SECOND.
Printed by James Ballantyne & Co.
Cite this Document
The Three Perils of Women, Vol. 2. 2023. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved September 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=183.
"The Three Perils of Women, Vol. 2." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. September 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=183.
The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "The Three Perils of Women, Vol. 2," accessed September 2023, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=183.
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The Three Perils of Women, Vol. 2
|Title||The Three Perils of Women, Vol. 2|
|Year of publication||1823|
Author information: Hogg, James
|AKA||The Ettrick Shepherd|
|Year of birth||1770|
|Place of birth||Ettrick, Selkirkshire, Scotland|
|Occupation||Author, farmer, journalist|
|Education||Little formal schooling|
|Locations where resident||Ettrick, Edinburgh|