« PreviousContinue »
sorry, ye have shown this attention to Darsie Latimer, ing, though tne owner took the risk of a domiciliary who is a good lad, as times go; and having now lived visitation, and lay snug in bed, trusting its glimmer under my roof since he left the school, why, there is might, without farther inquiry, be received as sufficient really no great matter in coming under this small ob- evidence of his vigilance. And now, upon this the ligation to him."
third morning after your departure, things are but As I saw my father's scruples were much softened little better; for though the lamp burns in my den, by the consciousness of his superiority in the legal and Voet on the Pandects hath his wisdom spread argument, I took care to accept my pardon as a mat- open before me, yet as I only use him as a readingter of grace, rather than of justice; and only replied, desk on which to scribble this sheet of nonsense to we should feel ourselves duller of an evening, now Darsie Latimer, it is probable the vicinity will be of that you were absent. I will give you my father's little furtherance to my studies. exact words in reply, Darsie. You know him so well, And now, methinks, I hear thee call me an affected that they will not offend you; and you are also aware hypocritical varlet, who, living under such a system of that there mingles with the good man's preciseness distrust and restraint as my father chooses to govern and formality, a fund of shrewd observation and prac- by, nevertheless pretends not to envy you your freetical good sense.
dom and independence. "It is very true,” he said; "Darsie was a pleasant Latimer, I will tell you no lies. I wish my father companion-but over waggish, over waggish, Alan, would allow me a little more exercise of my free will, and somewhat scatter-brained.-By the way, Wilkin- were it but that I might feel the pleasure of doing son must get our ale bottled in English pints now, what would please him of my own accord. A little for a quart bottle is too much, nighi after night, for more spare time, and a little more money to enjoy it, you and me, without his assistance.-But Darsie, as would, besides, neither mishecome my age nor my 1 was saying, is an arch lad, and somewhat light in condition; and it is, I own, provoking to see so many the upper story-I wish him well through the world; in the same situation winging the air at freedom, but he has little solidity, Alan, little solidity." while I sit here, caged up like a cobbler's linnet, 10
I scorn to desert an absent friend, Darsie, so I said chant the same unvaried lesson from sunrise to sunfor you a little more than my conscience warranted : set, not to mention the listening to so many lectures but your defection from your legal studies had driven against idleness, as if I enjoyed or was making use vou far to leeward in my father's good opinion. of the means of amusement! But then I cannot at
"Unstable as water, he shall not excel," said my heart blame either the motive or the object of this father ; "or, as the Septuagint hath it, Ef'usa est severity. For the motive, it is and can only be my sicut aqua-non crescat. He goeth to dancing- father's anxious, devoted, and unremitung affection houses, and readeth novels-sat est."
and zeal for my improvement, with a laudable sense I endeavoured to parry these texts by observing, of the honour of the profession to which he has that the dancing-houses amounted only to one night trained me. at La Pique's ball-the novels (so far as matter of As we have no near relations, the tie betwixt us is notoriety, Darsie) to an odd volume of Tom Jones. of even unusual closeness, though in itself one of the
"But he danced from night to morning," replied strongest which nature can form. I am, and have my father, and he read the idle trash, which the all along been, the exclusive object of my father's author should have been scourged for, at least twenty anxious hopes, and his still more anxious and entimes over. It was never out of his hand.”
grossing fears; so what title have I to complain, I then hinted, that in all probability your fortune although now and then these fears and hopes lead was now so easy as to dispense with your prosecuting him to take a troublesome and incessant charge of the law any farther than you had done; and there all my motions? Besides, I ought to recollect, and, fore you might think you had some title to amuse Darsie, I do recollect, that my father, upon various yourself. This was the least palatable argument of important occasions, has shown that he can be inall.
dulgent as well as strict. The leaving his old apari"If he cannot amuse himself with the law,” said ments in the Luckenbooths was to him like divorcing my father, snappishly, “it is the worse for him. If the soul from the body; yet Dr. R— did but hint he needs not law to teach him to make a fortune, Ithat the better air of this new district was more favouram sure he needs it to teach him how to keep one; able to my health, as I was then suffering under the and it would better become him to be learning this, penalties of 100 rapid a growth, when he exchanged than to be scouring the country like a landlouper, his old and beloved quarters, adjacent to the very going he knows not where to see he knows not Heart of Mid-Lothian, for one of those new tenewhat, and giving treats at Noble-House to fools like ments (entire within themselves) which modern taste himself,”' (an angry glance at poor me.), "Noble- has so lately introduced.-Instance also the inestiHouse, indeed!” he repeated, with elevated voice and mable favour which he conferred on me by receiving sneering tone, as if there were something offensive to you into his house, when you had only the unpleasant him in the very name, though I will venture to say alternative of remaining, though a grown-up lad, in that any place in which you had been extravagant the society of mere boys. This was a thing so conenough to spend five shillings, would have stood as trary to all my father's ideas of seclusion, of economy, deep in his reprobation.
and of the safety to my morals and industry, which Mindful of your idea, that my father knows more he wished to attain, by preserving me from the society of your real situation than he thinks proper to men- of other young people, that, upon my word, I am tion, I thought I would hazard a fishing observation. always rather astonished how I should have had the "I did not see,” I said, “how the Scottish law would impudence to make the request, and that he should be useful to a young gentleman whose fortune would have complied with it. seem to be vested in England.”-I really thought my Then for the object of his solicitude-Do not laugh, father would have beat me.
or hold up your hands, my good Darsie; but upon my "D'ye mean to come round me, sir, per ambages, word I like the profession to which I am in the course as Counseller Pest says? What is it to you where of being educated, and am serious in prosecuting the Parsie Latimer's fortune is vested, or whether he preliminary studies. The law is my vocation--in an hath any fortune, ay or no ?-And what ill would the especial, and, I may say, in a hereditary way, my Scottish law do to him, though he had as much of it vocation; for although I have not the honour to be as either Stair or Bankton, sir? Is not the foundation long to any of the great families who form in Scot: of our municipal law the ancient code of the Roman land, as in France, the noblesse of the robe, and with Empire, devised at a time when it was so much us, at least, carry their heads as high, or rather higher, renowned for its civil polity, sir, and wisdom? Go to * The diminutive and obscure place called Brown's Square, your bed, sir, after your expedition to Noble-House, was hailed about the time of its erection as an extremely ele and see that your lamp be burning, and your book gant improvenient upon the style of designing and efecting before you, ere the sun peeps. Ars longa, vita brevis,
by appraisers, “finished within itsell," or, in the still never were ii not a sin to call the divine science of the law Phraseology, '“ self-contained." It was built about the year by the inferior name of art.
1763-4 ; and the old part of the city being near and accessible, So my lamp did burn, dear Darsie, the next morn
this square soon received many inhabitants, who ventured to remove to so moderate a distance from the High Street
than the noblesse of the sword, --for the former con- and then what would become of Alan Fairford ? They sist more frequently of the “first-born of Egypt,”- might make whom they pleased Lord-Advocate, or yet my grandfather, who, I dare say, was a most ex- Solicitor-General, I should never have the heart to cellent person, had the honour to sign a bitter protest strive for it. All my exertions are intended to vindiagainst the Union, in the respectable character of cate myself one day in your eyes ; and I think I should town-clerk, to the ancient Borough of Birlthegroat; not care a farthing for the embroidered silk gown, and there is some reason-shall I say to hope, or to more than for an old woman's apron, uniess I had suspect ?--that he may have been a natural son of a hopes that thou shouldst be walking the boards to first cousin of the then Fairford of that Ilk, who had admire, and perhaps to envy me. been long numbered among the minor barons. Now That this may be the case, I prithee-beware! See my father mounted a step higher, on the ladder of not a Dulcinea in every slipshod girl, who, with blue legal promotion, being, as you know, as well as I do, leyes, fair hair, a tattered plaid, and a willow-wand in an eminent and respected Writer to his Majesty's her gripe, drives out the village cows to the loaning. Signet; and I myself am destined to mount a round Do not think you will meet a gallant Valentine in higher still, and wear the honoured robe which is every English rider, or an Orson in every Highland sometimes supposed, like Charity, to cover a multitude drover. Vicw things as they are, and not as they of sins. I have, therefore, no choice but to climb up- may be magnified through thy teeming fancy. I have wards, since we have mounted thus high, or else to seen thee look at an old gravel pit, ull thou madest fall down at the imminent risk of my neck. So that out capes, and bays, and inlets, crags, and precipices, I reconcile myself to my destiny; and wbile you are and the whole stupendous scenery of the isle of Feroe, looking from mountain peaks at distant lakes and in what was to all ordinary eyes a mere horsepond. friths, I am, dcapicibus juris, consoling myself with Besides, did I not once find thee gazing with respect visions of crimson and scarlet gowns-with the ap- at a lizard, in the attitude of one who looks upon a pendages of handsome cowls, well lined with salary. crocodile? Now this is, doubtless, so far a harmless
You smile, Darsie, more tuo, and seem to say it is exercise of your imagination, for the puddle cannot little worth while to cozen one's self with such vulgar drown you, nor the Lilliputian alligator eat you up. dreams: yours being, on the contrary, of a high and But it is different in society, where you cannot mistake heroic character, bearing the same resemblance to the character of those you converse with, or suffer mine, that a bench, covered with purple cloth, and your fancy to exaggerate their qualities, good or bad, plentifully loaded with session papers, does to some without exposing yourself not only to ridicule, but to Gothic throne, rough with Barbaric pearl and gold. great and serious inconveniences. Keep guard, thereBut what would you have ?-Sua quemque trahit vo- fore on your imagination, my dear Darsic; and let luptas. And my visions of preferment, though they your old friend assure you, it is the point of your chamay be as unsubstantial at present, are nevertheless racter most pregnant with peril to its good and genemore capable of being realized, than your aspirations rous owner. Adieu! let not the franks of the worthy after the Lord knows what. What says my father's peer remain unemployed; above all, Sis memor mei. proverb? "Look to a gown of gold, and you will at
A. F. least get a sleeve of it." Such is my pursuit; but what dost thou look to? The chance that the mystery, as you call it, which at present overclouds your birth and connexions, will clear up into something inex
LETTER III. pressibly and inconceivably brilliant; and this without any effort or exertion of your own, but purely by the good will of Fortune. I know the pride and haughti
Shepherd's Bush. ness of thy heart, and sincerely do I wish that ihou I HAVE received thine absurd and most conceited hadst more beatings to thank me for, than those epistle. It is well for thee that, Lovelace and Belford which įhou dost acknowledge so gratefully. Then like, we came under a convention to pardon every had I thumped these Quixotical expectations out of species of liberty which we may take with each other; thee, and thou hadst not, as now, conceived thyself since, upon my word, there are some reflections in to be the hero of some romantic history, and con- your last, which would otherwise have obliged me to verted in thy vain imagination, honest Griffiths, citizen return forth with 10 Edinburgh, merely to show you I and broker, who never bestows more than the needful was not what you took me for. upon his quarterly epistles, into some wise Alcander Why, what a pair of prigs hast thou made of us ! or sage Alquife, the mystical and magical protector of -I plunging into scrapes, without having courage to thy peerless destiny. But I know not how it was, get out of them--thy sagacious self, afraid to put one thy skull got harder, I think, and my knuckles be- foot before the other, lest il should run away from its came softer; not to mention that at length thou didst companion ; and so standing still like a post, out of begin to show about thee a spark of something dan mere faintness and coldness of heart, while all the gerous, which I was bound to respect at least, if I did world were driving full speed past thee. Thou a pornot fear it.
trait-painter !-I tell thee, Alan, I have seen a better And while I speak of this, it is not much amiss to seated on the fourth round of a ladder, and painting advise thee to correct a little this cock-a-hoop courage a bare-breeched Highlander, holding a pint-stoup as of thine. I fear much that, like a hot mettled horse, big as himself, and a booted Lowlander, in a bobwig, it will carry the owner into some scrape, out of which supporting a glass of like dimensions; the whole he will find it difficult to extricate himself, especially being designed to represent the sign of the Salutation. if the daring spirit which bore thee thither should How hadst thou the heart to represent thine own chance to fail thee at a pinch. Remember, Darsie, individual self, with all thy motions, like those of a thou art not naturally courageous; on the contrary, we great Dutch doll, depending on the pressure of certain have long since agreed, that, quiet as I am, I have the springs, as duty, reflection, and the like; without the advantage in this importany particular. My courage impulse of which, thou wouldst doubtless have me consists, I think, in strength of nerves and constitu- believe thou wouldst not budge an inch? But have I tional indifference to danger; which, though it never not seen Gravity out of his bed at midnight ? and pushes me on adventure, secures me in full use of my must I, in plain terms, remind thee of certain mad recollection, and tolerably complete self-possession, pranks? Thou hadst ever, with the gravest sentiwhen danger actually arrives. Now, thine seems ments in thy mouth, and the most starched reserve more what may be called intellectual courage; high- in thy manner, a kind of lumbering proclivity towards ness of spirit, and desire of distinction; impulses mischief, although with more inclination to set it which render thee alive to the love of fame, and deaf a-going, than address to carry it through ; and I canto the apprehension of danger, until it forces itself not but chuckle internally, when I think of having suddenly upon thee. I own that whether it is from seen my most venerable monitor, the future President my having caught my father's apprehensions, or that of some high Scottish Court
, puffing, blowing, and I have reason to entertain doubts of my own, I often Aoundering, like a clumsy cari-horse in a bog, where think that this wildfire chase, of romantic situation his efforts to extricate himself only plunge him deeper and adventure, may lead thee into some mischief; at every awkward struggle, till some one--I niyself,
DARSIE LATIMER TO ALAN FAIRFORD.
for example--took compassion on the moaning mon- | targets are used to cover the butter churns; and the ster, and dragged him out by mane and tail.
race has sunk, or is fast sinking, from ruffling bullies As for me, my portrait is, if possible, even more into tame cheaters. Indeed, it was partly my scandalously caricatured. I fail or quail in spirit at conviction that there is little to be seen in the north, the upcome! Where canst thou show me the least which, arriving at your father's conclusion, though symptom of the recreant temper with which thou from different premises, inclined my course in inis hast invested me, (as I trust,) merely to set off the direction, where perhaps I shall see as little. solid and impassible dignity of thine own stupid in One thing, however, I hare seen; and it was with difference? If you ever saw me tremble, be assured pleasure the more indescribable, that I was debarred that my flesh, like that of the old Spanish general, from treading the land which my eyes were permitted only quaked at the dangers into which my spirit was to gaze upon, like those of the dying prophei from the about to lead it. Seriously, Alan, this imputed pov- top of Mount Pisgah-I have seen, in a word, the erty of spirit is a shabby charge to bring against your fruitful shores of merry England ; merry England! friend. I have examined myself as closely as I can, of which I boast myself
a native, and on which I gaze, being, in very truth, a little hurt at your having such even while raging foods and unstable quicksands hard thoughts of me, and on my life I can see no divide us, with the filial affection of a dutiful sun. reason for them. I allow you have, perhaps, some Thou canst not have forgotten, Alan--for wben advantage of me in the steadiness and indifference didst thou ever forget what was interesting to thy of your temper ; but I should despise myself, if I were friend ?-hat the same letter from my friend Grifconscious of the deficiency in courage which you fiths, which doubled my income, and placed my seem willing enough to impute to me. However, I motions at my own free disposal, contained a prosuppose this ungracious hint proceeds from sincere hibitory clause, by which, reason none assigned, I was anxiety for my safety; and so viewing it, I swallow interdicted, as respected my present safety and it as I would do medicine from a friendly doctor, future fortunes, from visiting England; every other although I believed in my heart he had mistaken my part of the British dominions, and a tour, if I pleased, complaint.
on the continent, being left to my own choice.-Where This offensive insinuation disposed of, I thank thee, is the tale, Alan, of a covered dish in the midst of a Alan, for the rest of thy epistle. I thought I heard your royal banquet, upon which the eyes of every guest good father pronouncing the word Noble-House, with were immediately fixed, neglecting all the dainties a mixture of contempt and displeasure, as if the very with which the table was loaded? This clause of naine of the poor little hamlet were odious to him, or, banishment from England-from my native countryas if
you had selected, out of all Scotland, the very from the land of the brave, and the wise, and the place
at which you had no call to dine. But if he free-affects ine more than I am rejoiced by the free had had any particular aversion to that blameless vil. dom and independence assigned to me in all other lage, and very sorry inn, is it not his own fault that I respects. Thus in seeking this extreme boundary of did not accept the invitation of the Laird of Glengal- the country which I am forbidden to tread, I resembie lacher, to shoot a buck in what he emphatically calls the poor teihered horse which, you may have observed, his "country?". Truth is, I had a strong desire to have is always grazing on the very verge of the circle to complied with his Lairdship's invitation. To shoot which it is limited by its halter. a buck! Think how magnificent an idea to one Do not accuse me of romance for obeying this who never shot any thing but hedge-sparrows, and impulse towards the South ; nor suppose that
, to that with a horse-pistol, purchased at a broker's stand gratify the imaginary longing of an idle curiosity, I in the Cowgate!-You, who stand upon your courage, am in any danger of risking the solid comforts of my may remember that I took the risk of firing the said present condition. Whoever has hitherto taken charge pistol for the first time, while you stood at twenty of my motions, has shown me, by convincing proofs, yards' distance; and that, when you were persuaded more weighty than the assurances which they have it would go off without bursting, forgetting all law withheld, that my real advantage is their principal but that of the biggest and strongest, you possessed object. I should be, therefore, worse than a fool did yourself of it exclusively for the rest of the holydays. I object to their authority, even when it seems someSuch a day's sport was no complete introduction to what capriciously exercised; for assuredly, at my age, the noble art of deer-stalking, as it is practised in the I might-intrusted as I am with the care and manHighlands; but I should not have scrupled to accept agement of myself in every other particular expect honest Glengallacher's invitation, at the risk of firing that the cause of excluding me from England should a rifle for the first time, had it not been for the outcry be frankly and fairly stated for my own consideration which your father made at my proposal, in the and guidance. However, I will not grumble about ardour of his zeal for King George, the Hanover suc- the matter. I shall know the whole story one day, I cession, and the Presbyterian faith. I wish I had suppose; and perhaps, as you sometimes surmise, ! stood out, since I have gained so little upon his good shall not find there is any mighty matter in it after all. opinion by submission. All his impressions concern- Yet one cannot help wondering-but, plague on it, ing the Highlanders are taken from the recollections if I wonder any longer, my letter will be as full of of the Forty-five, when he retreated from the West- wonders as one of Karterfelto's advertisements. I Port with his brother volunteers, each to the fortalice have a month's mind, instead of this damnable of his own separate dwelling, so soon as they heard iteration of guesses and forebodings, to give thee the the Adventurer was arrived with his clans as near history of a little adventure which befel me yesterday; them as Kirkliston. The fight of Falkirk-parma though I am sure you will, as usual, turn the opposite non bene selecta-in which I think your sire had his end of the spy-glass on my poor narrative, and reshare with the undaunted western regiment, does not duce, more tuo, to the most petty trivialties, the seem to have improved his taste for the company of circumstances to which thou accusest me of giving the Highlanders; (quære, Alan, dost thou derive the undue consequence. Hang thee, Alan, thou art as courage thou makest such boast of from a hereditary unfit a confidant for a youthful gallant with some source ?)--and stories of Rob Roy Macgregor, and spice of imagination, as ihe old taciturn secretary of Sergeant Alan Mhor Cameron, * have served to paint Facardin of Trebizond. Nevertheless, we must each them in still more sable colours to his imagination. perform our separate destinies. I am doomed to see,
Now, froin all I can understand, these ideas, as ap- act, and tell :---thou like a Dutchman, enclosed in the plied to the present state of the country, are absolutely same Diligence with a Gascon, to hear, and shrug Chimerical. The Pretender is no more remembered thy shoulders. in the Highlands, than if the poor gentleman were Of Dumfries, the capital town of this county, I gathered to his hundred and eight fathers, whose have but little to say, and will not abuse your patience portraits adorn the ancient walls of Holyrood; the by reminding you, that it is built on the gallant river broadswords have passed into other hands; the Nith, and that its churchyard, the highest place of
the whole town, commands an extensive and fine • Or Rob Roy we have had more thau enough. Alan Cameron, commonly called Sergeant Mhor, a freebooter or the prospect. Neither will I take the traveller's privilege same period, was equally remarkable for strength, courage, and of inflicting upon you the whole history of Bruce generosity,
poniarding the Red Comyn in the Church of the
THE SAME TO THE SAME.
Dominicans at this place, and becoming a king and thrashing the water more than an hour with a point-
fingers, and must be deferred until to-morrow, when Many of these particulars I learned from Provost you shall hear from me by way of continuation; and,
who, happening to see me in the market in the mean while, to prevent overhasty conclusions,
LETTER I V.
number of horsemen, who were actually employed in A notably clean Englishwoman keeps this small hunting salmon. Ay, Alan, lift up your hands and house, and my bedroom is sweetened with lavender, eyes as you will, I can give their mode of fishing no has a clean sash-window, and :he walls are, more- name so appropriate; for they chased the fish at full over, adorned with ballads of Fair Rosamond and gallop, and struck them with their barbed spears, as Cruel Barbara Allan. The woman's accent, though you see hunters spearing boars in the old tapestry. uncouth enough, sounds yet kindly in my ear; for I The salmon, to be sure, take the thing more quietly have never yet forgotten the desolate effect produced than the boars; but they are so swift in their own on my infant organs, when I heard on all sides your element, that to pursue and strike them is the task of slow and broad northern pronunciation, which was to a good horseman, with a quick eye, a determined hand, me the tone of a foreign land. I am sensible I my- and full command both of his horse and weapon. The self have since that time acquired Scotch in perfec- shouts of the fellows as they galloped up and down tion, and many a Scotticism withal. Still the sound in the animating exercise their loud bursts of laugh: of the English accentuation comes to my ears as the ter when any of their number caught a fall-and still tones of a friend; and even when heard from the louder acclamations when any of the party made a mouth of some wandering beggar, it has seldom failed capital stroke with his lance-gave so much animato charm forth my mite. You Scotch, who are so tion to the whole scene, that I caught the enthusiasm proud of your own nationality, must make due allow- of the sport, and ventured forward a considerable ance for that of other folks.
space on the sands. The feats of one horseman, in On the next
morning I was about to set forth to the particular, called forth so repeatedly the clamorous stream where I had commenced angler the night be applause of his companions, that the very banks rang fore, but was prevented by a heavy shower of rain, again with their shouts. He was a tall man, well from stirring abroad the whole forenoon; during all mounted on a strong black horse, which he caused to which time I heard my varlet of a guide as loud with turn and wind like a bird in the air, carried a longer his blackguard jokes in the kitchen, as a footman in spear than the others, and wore a sort of fur cap or the shilling gallery ;-so little are modesty and inno- bonnet, with a short feather in it, which gave him on cence the inseparable companions of rusticity and se- the whole, rather a superior appearance to the other clusion.
fishermen. He seemed to hold some sort of authority When after dinner the day cleared, and we at length among them, and occasionally directed their motions sallied out to the river side, I found myself subjected both by voice and hand; at which times I thought to a new trick on the part of my accomplished pre- his gestures were striking, and his voice uncommonly ceptor. Apparently, he liked fishing himself better sonorous and commanding; than the trouble of instructing an awkward novice, The riders began to make for the shore, and the such as I; and in hopes of exhausting my patience, interest of the scene was almost over, while I linand inducing me to resign the rod, as I had done on gered on the sands, with my looks turned to the the preceding day, my friend contrived to keep me shores of England, still gilded by the sun's last rays
and, as it seemed, scarce distant a mile from me. I was utterly unacquainted, when I alighted and be The anxious thoughts which haunt me began to gan to return, in the best fashion I could, my thanks muster in my bosom, and my feet slowly and insen. for the important service which he had just rendered sibly approached the river which divided me from me. the forbidden precints, though without any formed The stranger only replied by an impatient "pshaw!" intention, when my steps were arrested by the sound and was about to ride off, and leave me to my own of a horse galloping; and as I turned, the rider (the resources, when I implored him 10 complete his work same fisherman whom I had formerly distinguished) of kindness, by directing me to Shepherd's Bush, called out to me, in an abrupt manner. Soho, bro- which was, asl informed him, my home for the present. ther! you are too late for Bowness to-night-the ride " To Shepherd's Bush ?" he said; it is but three will make presently,'
miles, but if you know not the land better than the I turned my head and looked at him without an- sand, you may break your neck before you get there; swering; for, to my thinking, his sudden appearance for it is no road for a moping boy in a dark night, (or rather, I should say his unexpected approach) had, and, besides, there are the brook and the fens to cross.' amidst the gathering shadows and lingering light, I was a little dismayed at this communication of something in it which was wild and ominous. such difficulties as my habits have not called on me to
"Are you deaf ?” he added—" or are you mad ?--or contend with. Once more the idea of thy father's have you a mind for the next world ?"
fireside came across me; and I could have been well "I am a stranger," I answered," and had no other contented to have swop'd the romance of my situation, purpose than looking on at the fishing-I am about to together with the glorious independence of control return to the side I came from."
which I possessed at the moment, for the comforts of "Best make haste then," said he. "He that dreams the chimney-corner, though I were obliged to keep my on the bed of the Solway, may wake in the next eyes chained to Erskine's Larger Institutes. world. The sky threatens a blast that will bring in I asked my new friend whether he could not direct the waves three feet a-breast."
me to any house of public entertainment for the night; So saying, he turned his horse and rode off, while and, supposing it probable he was himself a poor man I began to walk back towards the Scottish shore, a I added, with the conscious dignity of a well-filled little alarmed at what I had heard; for the tide ad-pocketbook, that I could make it worth any man's vances with such rapidity upon these fatal sands, that while to oblige me. The fisherman making no well-mounted horsemen lay aside hopes of safety, if answer, I turned away from him with as gallant an they see its white surge advancing while they are yet appearance of indifference as I could command, and at a distance from the bank.
began to take, as I thought, the path which he had These recollections grew more agitating, and, in- pointed out to me. stead of walking deliberately, I began a race as fast His deep voice immediately sounded after me to reas I could, feeling, or thinking I felt, each pool of salt call me. Stay, young man, stay-you have mistaken water through which I splashed, grow deeper and the road already. I wonder your friends send out such deeper. At length the surface of the sand did seem an inconsiderate youth, without some one wiser than considerably more intersected with pools and chan himself to take care of him.” nels full of water-either that the tide was really be- "Perhaps they might not have done so," said I,"f ginning to influence the bed of the estuary, or, as I I had any friends who cared about the matter.” must own is equally probable, that I had, in the hurry "Well, sir," he said, "it is not my custom to open and confusion of my retreat, involved myself in diffi- my house to strangers, but your pinch is like to be a culties which I had avoided in my more deliberate smart one; for, besides the risk from bad roads, fords, advance. Either way, it was rather an unpromising and broken ground, and the night, which looks both state of affairs, for the sands at the same time turned black and gloomy, there is bad company on the road softer, and my footsteps, so soon as I had passed, sometimes—at least it has a bad name, and some hare were instantly filled with water. I began to have come to harm; so that I think I must for once inake odd recollections concerning the snugness of your my rule give way to your necessity, and give you a father's parlour, and the secure footing afforded by night's lodging in my cottage." the pavement of Brown's Square and Scot's close, Why was it, Alan, that I could not help giving an when my better genius, the tall fisherman, appeared involuntary shudder at receiving an invitation so seaonce more close to my side, he and his sable horse sonable in itself, and so suitable to my naturally looming gigantic in the now darkening twilight. inquisitive disposition ? I easily suppressed this un
Are you mad ?” he said, in the same deep tone timely sensation ; and, as I returned thanks, and which had before thrilled on my ear, or are you expressed my hope that I should not disarrange his weary of your life ?-You will be presently amongst family, once more dropped a hint of my desire to the quicksands."-I professed my ignorance of the make compensation for any trouble I might occasion. way, to which he only replied, “There is no time for 'The man answered very coldly, "Your presence will prating--get up behind me."
no doubt give me trouble, sir, but it is of a kind which He probably
expected me to spring from the ground your purse cannot compensate; in a word, although with the activity which these Borderers have, by con- I am content to receive you as my guest, I am no pubstant practice, acquired in every thing relating to lican to call a reckoning." horsemanship; but as I stood irresolute, he extended I begged his pardon, and at his instance, once more his hand, and grasping mine, bid me place my foot on seated myself behind him upon the good horse, which the toe of his boot, and thus raised me in a trice to the went forth steady as before--the moon, whenever she croupe of his horse. I was scarce securely seated, could penetrate the clouds, throwing the huge shadow ere he shook the reins of his horse, who instantly of the animal, with its double burden, on the wild sprung forward; but annoyed, doubtless, by the un- and bare ground over which we passed. usual burden, treated us to two or three bounds, ac- Thou mayst laugh till thou lettest the letter fa!! if companied by as many flourishes of his hind heels. thou wilt, but it reminded me of the Magician AusbThe rider sat like a tower, notwithstanding that the tes on his hippogriff, with a knight trussed up behind unexpected plunging of the animal threw me forward him, in the manner Ariosto has depicted that matter. upon him. The horse was soon compelled to submit Thou art, I know, matter-of-fact enough to affect 070to the discipline of the spur and bridle, and went off tempt of that fascinating and delicious poem ;, bet at a steady hand gallop; thus shortening the devious, think not that, to conform with thy bad taste, I shall for it was by no means a direct path, by which the forbear any suitable illustration which now or here rider, avoiding the loose quicksands, made for the after may occur to me. northern bank.
On we went, the sky blackening around us, and My friend, perhaps I may call him my preserver, the wind beginning to pipe such a wild and melanfor, to a stranger, my situation was fraught with real choly tune as best suited the hollow sounds of the danger,-continued to press on at the same speedy advancing tide, which I could hear at a distance, pace, but in perfect silence, and I was under too much like the roar of some immense monster defrauded as anxiety of mind to disturb him with any questions. its prey. At length we arrived at a part of the shore with which At length, our course was crossed by a deep dell or