Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

My father coloured, but would not seem to hear this. ray of the morning sun was likely to reach it till it Much more there was of careless and disrespectul in should rise high in the horizon. Looking up the dell, the stranger's manner and tone of conversation; so you saw a brawling brook issuing in foamy haste that though I know my father's prejudices in favour from a covert of underwood, like a racehorse impaof rank and birth, and though I am aware his other tient to arrive at the goal ; and, if you gazed yet more wise masculine understanding has never entirely earnestly, you might observe part of a high waterfall shaken off the slavish awe of the great, which in his glimmering through the foliage, and giving occasion, earlier days they had so many modes of commanding, doubtless, to the precipitate speed of the brook, still I could hardly excuse him for enduring so much Lower down, the stream became more placid, and insolence-such it seemed to be-as this self-invited opened into a quiet piece of water, which afforded a guest was disposed to offer to him at his own table. rude haven to two or three fishermen's boats, then

One can endure a traveller in the same carriage, if lying high and dry on the sand, the tide being out. Two he treads upon your toes by accident, or even through or three miserable huts could be seen beside this little negligence; but it is very different when, knowing haven, inhabited probably by the owners of the boats, that they are rather of a tender description, he con- but inferior in every respect to the establishment of tinues to pound away at them with his hoofs. In my mine host, though that was miserable enough. poor opinion-and I am a man of peace--you can, in I had but a minute or two to make these observaihat case, hardly avoid a declaration of war.

tions, yet during that space my companion showed I believe my father read my thoughts in my eye; symptoms of impatience, and more than once shouted, for, pulling out his watch, he said, "Half past four, "Cristal —Cristal Nixon," until the old man of the Alan--you should be in your own room by this time preceding evening appeared at the door of one of the Birrenswork will excuse you.

neighbouring cottages or outhouses, leading the Our visiter nodded carelessly, and I had no longer strong black horse which I before commemorated, any pretence to remain. But as I left the room I ready bridled and saddled. My conductor made Crsheard this Magnate of Nithesdale distinctly mention tal a sign with his finger, and, turning from the cotthe name of Latimer

. I lingered; but at length a rage door, led the way up the steep path or ravine direct hint from my father obliged me to withdraw; which connected the sequestered dell with the open and when, an hour afterwards, I was summoned to country. partake of a cup of tea, our guest had departed. He Had I been perfectly aware of the character of the had business that evening in the High Street, and road down which I had been hurried with so much could not spare time even to drink tea. I could not impetuosity on the preceding evening, I greatly queshelp saying, I considered his departure as a relief from tion if I should have ventured the descent; for ii deincivility: "What business has he to upbraid us,” I served no better name than the channel of a torrent, said, “with the change of our dwelling from a more now in a good measure filled with water that dashed inconvenient to a better quarter of the town? What in foam and fury into the dell, being swelled with the was it to him if we chose to imitate some of the con- rains of the preceding night. I ascended this ugly veniences or luxuries of an English dwelling-house, path with some difficulty, although on foot, and felt instead of living piled up above each other in flats? | dizzy when I observed, from such traces as the rains Have his patrician birth and aristocratic fortunes had not obliterated, that the horse seemed almost given him any right to censure those who dispose of to have slid down it upon his haunches the evening the fruits of their own industry, according to their before. own pleasure ?"

My host threw himself on his horse's back, without My father took a long pinch of snuff, and replied, placing a foot in the stirrup-passed me in the peril. Very well

, Alan; very well indeed. I wish Mr. Jous ascent, against which he pressed his steed as if Crossbite or Counsellor Pest had heard you; they the animal had had the footing of a wildcat. The must have acknowledged that you have a talent for water and mud splashed from his heels in his reckforensic elocution; and it may not be amiss to try less course, and a few bounds placed him on the top a little declamation at home now and then, to gather of the bank, where I presently joined him, and found audacity and keep yourself in breath. But touching the horse and rider standing still as a statue; the forthe subject of this paraffle of words, it's not worth mer panting and expanding his broad nostrils to the a pinch of tobacco. D'ye think that I care for Mr. morning wind, the latter motionless, with bis ere Herries of Birrenswork more than any other gentle- fixed on the first beams of the rising sun, which al. man who comes here about business, although I do ready began to peer above the eastern horizon, and not care to go tilting at his throat, because he speaks gild ihe distant mountains of Cumberland and Lidlike a gray goose as he is ? But to say no more about desdale. him, I want to have Darsie Latimer's present direc- He seemed in a reverie, from which he started at tion; for it is possible I may have to write the lad a my approach, and putting his horse in motion, led line with my own hand-and yet I do not well know the way at a leisurely pace, through a broken and -but give me the direction at all events."

sandy road, which traversed a waste, level, and unI did so, and if you have heard from my father ac- cultivated tract of downs, intermixed with morass, cordingly, you know

more, probably, about the subject much like that in the neighbourhood of my quarters of this letter than I who write it. But if you have at Shepherd's Bush. Indeed the whole open ground not, then shall I have discharged a friend's duty, in of this district, where it approaches the sea, has letting you know that there certainly is something except in a few favoured spots, the same uniform and afloat between this disagreeable Laird and my father, dreary character. in which you are considerably interested.

Advancing about a hundred yards from the brink Adieu! and although I have given thee a subject for of the glen, wę gained a still more extensive comwaking dreams, beware of building a castle too heavy mand of this desolate prospect, which seemed even for the foundation ; which, in the present instance, is more dreary, as contrasted with the opposite shores barely the word Latimer occurring in a conversation of Cumberland, crossed and intersected by ten thous betwixt a gentleman of Dumfriesshire and a W. S. of sand lines of trees growing in hedge-rows, shaded Edinburgh-Cætera prorsus ignoro.

with groves and woods of considerable extent, and animated by hamlets and villas, from which thin

clouds of smoke already gave sign of human life and LETTER VI.

human industry.

My conductor had extended his arm, and was (In continuation of Letters III. and IV.)

pointing the road to Shepherd's Bush, when the step

of a horse was heard approaching us. He looked I told thee I walked out into the open air with my sharply around, and having observed who was apgrave and stern landlord. I could now see more per proaching, proceeded in his instructions to me, plantlectly than on the preceding night the secluded glen, ing himself at the same time in the very middle of in which stood the two or three cottages which ap- the path, which, at the place where we halted, had peared to be the abode of him and his family. a slough on the one side, and a sand-bank on the

It was so narrow, in proportion to its depth, that no other.

DARSIE LATIMER TO ALAN FAIRFORD.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

I observed that the rider who approached us slack-! "Be assured I will take none at the hand of ened his horse's pace from a slow trot to a walk, as any man, whether his hat be cocked or broad-brimif desirous to suffer us to proceed, or at least to avoid med," answered the fisherman. "I tell you in fair passing us at a spot where the difficulty of doing so terms, Joshua Geddes, that you and your partners are must have brought us very close to each other. You using unlawful craft to destroy the fish in the Solway know my old failing, Alan, and that I am always will, by stake-nets

and wears; and that

we who fish fair ing to atiend to any thing in preference to the individual ly, and like men, as our fathers did,

have daily and who has for the time possession of the conversation. yearly less sport and less profit. Do not think gravity

Agreeably to this amiable propensity, I was inter- or hypocrisy can carry it off as you have done. The nally speculating concerning the cause of the rider world knows you, and we know you. You will dekeeping aloof from us, when my companion, elevat- stroy the salmon which make the livelihood of fifty ing his deep voice so suddenly and so sternly, as at poor families, and then wipe your mouth, and go to once to recall my wandering thoughts, exclaimed, make a speech at Meeting. But do not hope it will "In the name of the devil, young man, do you think last thus. I give you fair warning, we will be upon that others have no better use for their time than you you one morning soon, when we will not leave a have, that you oblige me to repeat the same thing to stake standing in the pools of the Solway; and down you three times over?-Do you see, I say, yonder the tide they shall every one go, and well if we do not thing at a mile's distance, that looks like a finger- send a lessee along with them. post, or rather like a gallows?-I would it had a "Friend," replied Joshua, with a constrained smile, dreaming fool hanging upon it, as an example to all but that I know thou dost not mean as thou say'st, meditative moon-calves !-Yon gibbet-looking pole I would tell thee we are under the protection of this will guide you to the bridge, where you must pass the country's laws; nor do we the less trust to obtain their large brook; then proceed straight forwards, till seve- protection, that our principles permit us not, by any ral roads divide at a cairn.-Plague on thee, thou art act of violent resistance, to protect ourselves. wandering again!"

"All villanous cant and cowardice," exclaimed the It is indeed quite true, that at this moment the fisherman, "and assumed merely as a cloak to your horseman approached us, and my attention was hypocritical avarice.” again called to him as I made way to let him pass. Nay, say not cowardice, my friend," answered the His whole exterior showed at once that he belonged Quaker, "since thou knowest there may be as much to the Society of Friends, or, as the world and the courage in enduring as in acting; and I will be judged world's law call them, Quakers. A strong and use- by this youth, or by any one else, whether there is not ful iron-gray galloway showed, by its sleek and good more cowardice-even in the opinion of that world condition, that the merciful man was merciful to his whose thoughts are the breath in thy nostrils in the beast. His accoutrements were in the usual unos-armed oppressor, who doth injury, than in the detentatious, but clean and serviceable order, which fenceless and patient sufferer, who endureth it with characterizes these sectaries. His long surtout of constancy." dark-gray superfine cloth descended down to the "I will exchange no more words with you on the middle of his leg, and was buttoned up to his chin, subject," said the fisherman, who, as if something to defend him against the morning air. As usual his moved at the last argument which Mr. Geddes had ample beaver hung down without button or loop, and used, now made room for him to pass forward on his shaded a comely and placid countenance, the gravity journey. "Do not forget, however," he added, "that of which appeared to contain some seasoning of hu- you have had fair warning, nor suppose that we will mour, and had nothing in common with the pinched accept of fair words in apology for foul play. These puritanical air affected by devotees in general. The nets of yours are unlawful--they spoil our fishingsbrow was open and free from wrinkles, whether of and we will have them down at all risks and haage or hypocrisy. The eye was clear, calm, and con- zards. I am a man of my word, friend Joshua." siderate, yet appeared to be disturbed by apprehen- "I trust thou art," said the Quaker; "but thou art sion, not to say fear, as pronouncing the usual saluta- the rather bound to be cautious in rashly affirming tion of "I wish thee a good morrow, friend,” he indi- what thou wilt never execute. For I tell thee, friend, cated, by turning his palfrey close to one side of the that though there is as great a difference between thee path, a wish to glide past us with as little trouble as and one of our people, as there is between a lion and possible just as a traveller would choose to pass a a sheep, yet I know and believe thou hast so much of mastiff of whose peaceable intentions he is by no the lion in thee, that thou wouldst scarce employ thy means confident.

strength and thy rage upon that which professeth no But my friend, not meaning, perhaps, that he should means of resistance. Report says so much good of get off so easily, put his horse quite across the path, thee, at least, if it says little more. so that, without plunging into the slough, or scram- "Time will try,” answered the fisherman;, "and bling up the bank, the Quaker could not have passed hark thee, Joshua, before we part, I will put thee in him. Neither of these was an experiment without the way of doing one good deed, which, credit me, is hazard greater than the passenger seemed willing to better than twenty moral speeches. Here is a stranincur. He halted, therefore, as if waiting

till my com- ger youth, whom heaven has so scantily gifted with panion should make way for him;

and, as they sat brains, that he will bewilder himself in the Sands, as fronting each other, I could not help thinking that he did last night, unless thou wilt kindly show him they might have formed no bad emblem of Peace and the way to Shepherd's Bush; for I have been in War; for although my conductor was unarmed, yet vain endeavouring to make him comprehend the road the whole of his manner, his stern look, and his up- thither-Hast thou so much charity under thy simright seat on horseback, were entirely those of a sol- plicity, Quaker, as to do this good turn ?" dier in undress. He accosted the Quaker in these "Nay, it is thou, friend," answered Joshua, " that words, -"So ho! friend Joshua-thou art early to dost lack charity, to suppose any one unwilling to do the road this morning. Has the spirit moved thee so simple a kindness." and thy righteous brethren to act with some honesty, "Thou art right-I should have remembered it can and pull down yonder tide-nets that keep the fish cost thee nothing. Young gentleman, this pious patfrom coming up the river?"

tern of primitive simplicity will teach thee the right "Surely, friend, not so," answered Joshua, firmly, way to the Shepherd's Bush-ay, and will himself but good-humouredly at the

same time; "thou canst shear thee like a sheep, if you come to buying and not expect that our own hands should pull down what selling with him." our own purses established. Thou killest the fish He then abruptly asked me how long I intended to with spear, line, and coble-net; and we, with snares remain at Shepherd's Bush. and with nets, which work by the ebb and the flow I replied I was at present uncertain--as long, proof the tide. Each doth what seems best in his eyes bably, as I could amuse myself in the neighbourhood. to secure a share of the blessing, which Providence 'You are fond of sport ?" he added, in the same hath bestowed on the river, and that within his own tone of brief inquiry. bounds. I prithee seek no quarrel against us, for thou I answered in the affirmative, but added, I was toshalt have no wrong at our hand."

tally inexperienced. Vol. IV

3 Y

[ocr errors]

"Perhaps if you reside here for some days," he said, , ous; but the plainness of the Quaker had the characwe may mcei again, and I may have the chance of ter of devotional simplicity, and was mingled with giving you a lesson.'

the more real kindness, as if honest Joshua was deEre I could express either thanks or assent, he sirous of atoning, by his sincerity, for the lack of exturned short round with a wave of his hand, by way ternal courtesy. On the contrary, the manners of of adieu, and rode back to the verge of ihe dell from the fisherman were those of one to whom the rules which we had emerged together; and as he remained of good behaviour might be familiar, but who, either standing upon the banks, I could long hear his voice from pride or misanthropy, scorned to observe them. while he shouted down to those within its recesses. Sull I thought of him with interest and curiosity,

Mean while the Quaker and I proceeded on our notwithstanding so much about him that was repuljourney for some time in silence; he restraining his sive; and I promised myself, in the course of my gober-minded steed to a pace which might have suited conversation with the Quaker, to learn all that he a much less active walker than myself, and looking knew on the subject. He turned the conversation, on me from time to time with an expression of curi- however, into a different channel, and inquired into osity, mingled with benignity. For my parh, I cared my own condition in life, and views in visiting this not to speak first. It happened I had never before remote frontier. been in company with one of this particular sect, and, I only thought it necessary to mention my name, afraid that in addressing him I might unwittingly in- and add, that I had been educated to the law, but fringe upon some of their prejudices or peculiarities, I finding myself possessed of some independence, I had patiently remained silent. At length he asked me, of late permitted myself some relaxation, and was whether I had been long in the service of the Laird, residing at Shepherd's Bush to enjoy the pleasures of as men called him.

angling I repeated the words "in his service ?" with such "I do thee no harm, young man,” said my new an accent of surprise, as induced him to say, "Nay, friend, "in wishing thee a better employment for thy but, friend, I mean no offence; perhaps I should grave hours, and a more humane amusement (i have said in his society-an inmate, I mean, in his amusement thou must have) for those of a lighter house ?''

character." "I am totally unknown to the person from whom "You are severe, sir," I replied. "I heard you bet we have just parted,” said I, “and our connexion is a moment since refer yourself to the protection of the only temporary --He had the charity to give me his laws of the country--if there be laws, there must guidance from the Sands, and a night's harbourage be lawyers to explain, and judges to adninister from the tempest. So our acquaintance began, and them." there it is likely to end; for you may observe that Joshua smiled, and pointed to the sheep which our friend is by no means apt to encourage fami- were grazing on the downs over which we were traliarity.”

velling. So little so," answered my companion, “that thy “Were a wolf," he said, "to come even now upon case is, I think, the first in which I ever heard of his yonder flocks, they would crowd for protection. doubtreceiving any one into his house; that is, if thou hast less, around the shepherd and his dog; yet they are really spent the night there."

bitten and harassed daily by the one, shorn, and Why should you doubt it ?" replied I; "there is finally killed and eaten by the other. But I say not no motive I can have to deceive you, nor is the object this to shock you; for, though laws and lawyers are worth it."

evils, yet they are necessary evils in this probationary "Be not angry with me," said the Quaker; " but state of society, till man shall learn to render unto thou knowest that thine own people do not, as we his fellows that which is their due, according to the humbly endeavour to do, confine themselves within light of his own conscience, and through no other the simplicity of truth, but employ the language of compulsion. Mean while, I have known many rightefalsehood, not only for profit, but for compliment, and ous men who have followed thy intended profession sometimes for mere diversion. I have heard various in honesty and uprightness of walk. The greater stories of my neighbour; of most of which I only be their merit, who walk erect in a path which so many lieve a small part, and even then they are difficult to find slippery.". reconcile with each other. But this being the first "And angling,"-said I, "you object to that also time I ever heard of his receiving a stranger within as an amusement, you who, if I understand nightly his dwelling, made me express some doubts. I pray what passed between you and my late landlord, are thee let them not offend thee."

yourself a proprietor of fisheries?" "He does not," said I," appear to possess in much Not a proprietor," he replied, "I am only, in coabundance the means of exercising hospitality, and partnery with others, a tacksman or lessee of some so may be excused from offering it in ordinary valuable salmon-fisheries a little down the coast. But

mistake me not. The evil of angling, with which I "That is to say, friend," replied Joshua, "thou hast class all sports, as they are called, which have the supped ill, and perhaps breakfasted worse. Now my sufferings of animals for their end and object, does small tenement, called Mount Sharon, is nearer to not consist in the mere catching and killing those us by two miles than thine inn; and although going animals with which the bounty of Providence hath thither may prolong thy walk, as taking thee off the stocked the earth for the good of man, but in making straighter road to Shepherd's Bush, yet methinks their protracted agony a principle of delight and enexercise will suit thy youthful limbs, as well as a good joyment. I do indeed cause these fisheries to be conplain meal thy youthful appetite. What say'st thou, ducted for the necessary taking, killing, and selling my young acquaintance ?"

the fish; and in the same way, were I a farmer, I If it puts you not to inconvenience," I replied; should send my lambs to market. But I should as for the invitation was cordially given, and my bread soon think of contriving myself a sport and anuse and milk had been hastily swallowed, and in sniall ment out of the trade of the butcher as out of that of quantity...

the fisher.” “Nay," said Joshua, " use not the language of We argued this point no further; for though I compliment with those who renounce it. Had this thought his arguments a little too high-strained, yet pour courtesy been very inconvenient, perhaps I had as my mind acquitted me of having taken delight in not offered it.

aught but the theory of field-sports, I did not think "I accept the invitation then," said I, "in the same myself called upon stubbornly to advocate a practice good spirit in which you give it.

which had afforded me so little pleasure. The Quaker smiled, reached me his hand, I shook We had by this time arrived at the remains of an it, and we travelled on in great cordiality with each old finger-post, which my host had formerly pointed other. The fact is, I was much entertained by con- out as a landmark. Here, a ruinous wooden bridge, trasting in my own mind, the open manner of the supported by long posts resembling crutches, served kind-hearted Joshua Geddes, with the abrupt, dark, me to get across the water, while my new frend and lofty demeanour of my entertainer on the pre- sought a ford a good way higher up, for the stream ceding evening. Both were blunt and unceremoni- was considerably swelled.

cases.

THE SAME TO THE SAME.

As I paused for his rejoining me, I observed an an

LETTER VII. gler at a little distance pouching trout after trout, as fast almost as he could cast his line; and I own, in

[In continuation.) spite of Joshua's lecture on humanity, I could not but envy his adroitness and success, --so natural is LITTLE Bexdie, with the pony, having been sent off the love of sport to our minds, or so easily are we on the left side of the brook, the Quaker and I sauntaught to assimilate success in field-sports with ideas tered on, like the cavalry and infantry of the same of pleasure, and with the praise due to address and army occupying the opposite banks of a river, and agility. I soon recognised in the successful angler observing the same line of march. But, while my little Benjie, who had been my guide and tutor in that worthy companion was assuring me of a pleasant gentle art

, as you have learned from my former lei- greensward walk to his mansion, little Benjie, who ters. I called I whistled—the rascal recognised me, had been charged to keep in sight, chose to deviate and, starting like a guilty thing, seemed hesitating from the path assigned him, and, turning to the right, whether to approach or to run away; and when he led his charge, Solomon, out of our vision. determined on the former, it was to assail me with a "The villain means to mount him!” cried Joshua, loud clamorous, and exaggerated report of the anxiety with more vivacity than was consistent with his proof all at the Shepherd's Bush for my personal safety; fession of passive endurance. how my landlady had wept, how Sam and the ostler I endeavoured to appease his apprehensions, as he had not the heart to go to bed, but sat up all night pushed on, wiping his brow with vexation, assuring drinking--and how he himself had been up long be- him, that if the boy did mount, he would, for his own fore daybreak to go in quest of me.

sake, ride gently. "And you were switching the water, I suppose," "You do not know him," said Joshua rejecting all said 1, "to discover my dead body ?"

consolation; "he do anything gently !--no, he will This observation produced a long "Na-a-a" of gallop Solomon-he will misuse the sober patience of acknowledged detection ; but, with his natural im- the poor animal who has borne me so long! Yes, I pudence, and confidence in my gocd-nature, he im- was given over to my own devices when I ever let him mediately added, " that he thought I would like a touch the bridle, for such a little miscreant there never fresh trout or twa for breakfast, and the water being was before him in this country!” in such rare trim for the saumon raun,* he couldna He then proceeded to expatiate on every sort of help taking a cast.”

rustic enormity of which he accused Benjie.' He had While we were engaged in this discussion, the hon- been suspected of snaring partridges-was detected by est Quaker returned to the farther end of the wooden Joshua himself in liming singing birds--stood fully bridge to tell me he could not venture to cross the charged with having worried several cats, by aid of a brook in its present state, but would be under the ne- lurcler which attended him, and which was as lean, cessity to ride round by the stone bridge, which was and ragged, and mischievous, as his master. Finally, a mile and a half higher up than his own house. He Benjie stood accused of having stolen a duck, to hunt was about to give me directions how to proceed with it with the said lurcher, which was as dexterous on out him, and inquire for his sister, when I suggested water as on land. I chimed in with my friend, in to him, that if he pleased to trust his horse to little order to avoid giving him farther irritation, and deBenjie, the boy might carry him round by the bridge, clared, I should be disposed, from my own experience, while we walked the shorter and more pleasant to give up Benjie as one of Satan's imps. Joshua road.

Geddes began to censure the phrase as too much exJoshua shook his head, for he was well acquainted aggerated, and otherwise unbecoming the mouth of a with Benjie, who, he said, was the naughtiesi varlet reflecting person; and, just as I was apologizing for it, in the whole neighbourhood. Nevertheless, rather as being a term of common parlance, we heard certain than part company, he agreed to put the pony under sounds on the opposite side of the brook, which his charge for a short season, with many injunctions seemed to indicate that Solomon and Benjie were at that he should not attempt to mount, but lead the issue together. The sand-hills behind which Benjie pony (even Solomon) by the bridle, under the assu- seemed to take his course, had concealed from us, as rances of sixpence in case of proper demeanour, and doubtless he meant they should, his ascent into the penalty that if he transgressed the orders given him, forbidden saddle, and putting Solomon to his metile, verily he should be scourged."

which he was seldom called upon to exert, they had Promises cost Benjie nothing, and he showered cantered away together in great amity, till they came them out wholesale; till the Quaker at length yielded near to the ford from which the palfrey's legitimate up the bridle to him, repeating, his charges, and en- owner had already turned back. forcing them by holding up his forefinger. On my Here a contest of opinions took place between the part, I called to Benjie to leave the fish he had taken horse and his rider. The latter, according to his inat Mount Sharon, making, at the same time, an structions, attempted to direct Solomon towards the apologetic countenance to my new friend, not being distant bridge of stone; but Solomon opined that the quite aware whether the compliment would be agree- ford was the shortest way to his own stable. The able to such a condemner of field-sports.

point was sharply contested, and we heard Benjie He understood me at once, and reminded me of the gee-hupping, tchek-tcheking, and, above all, flogging practical distinction betwixt catching the animals as in greal style; while Solomon, who, docile in his an object of cruel and wanton sport, and eating them general habits, was now stirred beyond his patience. as lawful and gratifying articles of food after they made a great trampling and recalcitration; and it was were killed. On the latter point he had no scruples; their joint noise which we heard, without being able but, on the contrary, assured me, that this brook con- to see, though Joshua might too well guess, the cause tained the real red trout, so highly esteemed by all of it. connoisseurs, and that, when eaten within an hour Alarmed at these indications, the Quaker began to of their being caught, they had a peculiar firmness of shout out, " Benjie—thou varlet !-Solomon---thou substance and delicacy of flavour, which rendered fool!" when the couple presented themselves in full them an agreeable addition to a morning meal, espe- drive, Solomon having now decidedly obtained the cially when earned, like ours, by early rising, and an better of the conflict, and bringing his unwilling rider hour or two's wholesome exercise.

in high career down to the ford. Never was there But to thy alarm be it spoken, Alan, we did not anger changed so fast into humane fear, as that of come so far as the

frying of our fish without farther my good companion. "The varlet will be drowned !" adventure. So it is only to spare thy patience, and he exclaimed-"a widow's son!-her only son !and mine own eyes, that I pull up for the present, and drowned !-let me go—And he struggled with me send thee the rest of my story in a subsequent letter. stoutly as I hung upon him, to prevent him from

plunging into the ford. • The bait made of salmon-row salted and preserved. In a had no fear whatever for Benjie ; for the blackswollen river, and about the month of October is is a most guard vermin, though he could not manage the redeadly bait

fractory horse, stuck on his seat like a monkey. So

lomon and Benjie scrambled through the ford with greatly excelled any thing of the kind which had boen
little inconvenience, and resumed their gallop on the attempted in the neighbourhood.
other side.

If there was a little vanity in the complacent smile It was impossible to guess whether on this last oc- with which Joshua Geddes saw me gaze with delight casion Benjie was running off with Solomon, or So- on a scene so different from the naked waste we had lomon with Benjie; but, judging from character and that day traversed in company, it might surely be motives, I rather suspected the former. I could not permitted to one, who, cultivating and improving the help laughing as the rascal passed me, grinning be- beauties of nature, had found therein, as he said, twixt terror and delight, perched on the very pommel bodily health and a pleasing relaxation for the mind. of the saddle, and holding with extended arms by Ap the bottom of the extended gardens the brook bridle and mane ; while Solomon, the bit secured wheeled round in a wide semicircle, and was itscli between his teeth, and his head bored down betwixt their boundary: The opposite side was no part of his fore-legs, passed his master in this unwonted guise Joshua's domain, but the brook was there skirted by as hard as he could pelt.

a precipitous rock of limestone, which seemed a bar"The mischievous bastard !" exclaimed the Qua- rier of Nature's own erecting around his little Eden ker, terrified out of his usual moderation of speech- of beauty, comfort, and peace. "the doomed gallows-bird !-he will break Solomon's But I must not let thee forget," said the kind wind to a certainty."

Quaker, "amidst thy admiration of these beauties of I prayed him to be comforted-assured him a brush-our little inheritance, that thy breakfast has been a ing gallop would do his favourite no harm-and re- light one." minded him of the censure he had bestowed on me a So saying, Joshua conducted me to a small sashed minute before, for applying a harsh epithet to the door, opening under a porch amply mantled by honeyboy.

suckle and clematis, into a parlour of moderate size ; But Joshua was not without his answer ;-"Friend the furniture of which, in plain ness and excessive youth,” he said, "thou didst speak of the lad's soul, cleanliness, bore the characteristic marks of the sect which thou didst affirm belonged to the enemy, and to which the owner belonged. of that thou couldst say nothing of thine own know, Thy father's Hannah is generally allowed to be an ledge; on the contrary, I did but speak of his outward exception to all Scottish housekeepers, and stands unman which will assuredly be suspended by a cord, if paralleled for cleanliness among the women of Auld he mendeth not his manners. Men say that, young Reekie; but the cleanliness of Hannah is sluttishas he is, he is one of the Laird's gang.'

ness, compared to the scrupulous purifications of theæe “Of the Laird's gang!" said I, repeating the words people, who seem to carry into the minor decencies in surprise-"Do you mean the person with whom I of life that conscientious rigour which they affect in slept last night?-I heard you call him the Laird-Is their morals. he at the head of a gang ?!!

The parlour would have been gloomy, for the win"Nay, I meant no precisely a gang," said the dows were small and ceiling low; but the present Quaker, who appeared in his haste to have spoken proprietor had rendered it more cheerful by opening more than he intended-"a company, or party, I one end into a small conservatory, roofed with glass, should have said; but thus it is, friend Latimer, with and divided from the parlour by a partition of the the wisest men, when they permit themselves to be same. I have never before seen this very pleasing perturbed with passion, and speak as in a fever, or as manner of uniting the comforts of an apartment with with the tongue of the foolish and the forward. And the beauties of a garden, and I wonder it is not more although thou hast been hasty to mark my infirmity, practised by the great. Something of the kind is yet I grieve not that thou hast been a witness to it, hinted at in a paper of the Spectator. seeing that the stumbles of the wise may be no less As I walked towards the conservatory to view it a caution to youth

and inexperience than is the fall of more closely, the parlour chimney engaged my attenthe foolish.'

tion. It was a pile of massive stone, entirely out of This was a sort of acknowledgment of what I had proportion to the size of the apartment.

On the front already begun to suspect-that my new friend's real had once been an armorial scutcheon; for the hamgoodness of disposition, joined to the acquired quiet- mer, or chisel, which had been employed to deface ism of his religious seci, had been unable entirely to the shield and crest, had left uninjured the scroll be check the effervescence of a temper naturally warm neath, which bore the pious motto, Trust in God." and hasty.

Black-letter, you know, was my early passion, and Upon the present occasion, as if sensible he had the tombstones in the Grayfriars' Churchyard early displayed a greater degree of emotion than became yielded up to my knowledge as a decipherer what his character, Joshua avoided farther allusion to Ben- little they could tell of the forgotten dead. jie and Solomon, and proceeded to solicit my atten- Joshua Geddes paused when he saw my eye fixed tion to the natural objects around us, which increased on this relic of antiquity. "Thou canst

read it ?” he in beauty and interest, as, still conducted by the said. meanders of the brook, we left the common behind I repeated the motto, and added, there seemed vesus, and entered a more cultivated and enclosed coun- tiges of a date. try, where arable and pasture ground was agreeably It should be 1537," said he; "for so long ago, at varied with groves and hedges. Descending now the least computation, did my ancestors, in the blinded almost close to the stream, our course lay through a times of Papistry, possess these lands, and in that year little gate, into a pathway, ķept with great neatness, did they build their house." the sides of which were decorated with trees and "It is an ancient descent," said I, looking with re flowering shrubs of the hardier species ; until, ascend; spect upon the monument. "I am sorry the arms ing by a gentle slope, we issued from the grove, and have been defaced." stood almost at once in front of a low but very neat It was perhaps impossible for my friend, Quaker building, of an irregular form; and my guide, shaking as he was to seem altogether void of respect for the me cordially by the hand, made me welcome to Pedigree which he began to recount to me, disclaimMount Sharon.

ing all the while the vanity, usually connected with The wood through which we had approached this this subject; in short, with the air of mingled melanlittle mansion was thrown around it both on the north choly, regret, and conscious dignity, with which Jack and north-west, but, breaking off into different di- Fawkes used to tell us, at College, of his ancestor's rections, was intersected by a few fields, well watered unfortunate connexion with the Gunpowder-Plot. and sheltered. The house fronted to the south-east, "Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher," -- thus haand from thence the pleasure-ground, or, I should rangued Joshua Geddes of Mount Sharon ;-"if we rather say, the gardens sloped down to the water. I ourselves are nothing in the sight of Heaven, how afterwards understood that the father of the present much less than nothing must beour derivation from rolproprietor had a considerable taste for horticulture, ten bones and mouldering dust, whose immortal spirits which had been inherited by his son, and had formed have long since gone to their private account! Yes, these gardens, which, with iheir shaven turf, pleached friend Latimer, my ancestors were renowned among alleys, wildernesses, and exotic trees and shrubs, I the ravenous and bloodthirsty men who then dwelt in

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »