Page images
PDF
EPUB

once more to settle down upon the mass of litigation, effect the writer's release, he is, in that case, conjured, thick as the palpable darkness of Egypt, at the very by every duty of a man to his fellow-mortals, and of sound of Mr. Tough's voice, who on the second day a Christian towards one who professes the same holy after Alan's departure, was heard in answer to the faith, to take the earliest measures for conveying opening counsel. Deep-mouthed, long-breathed, and them with speed and safety to the hands of Alan Fair pertinacious, taking a pinch of snuff betwixt every ford, Esq., Advocate, residing in the family of his sentence, which otherwise seemed interminable the father, Alexander Fairford, Esq., Writer to the Signet, veteran pleader prosed over all the themes which had Brown's Square, Edinburgh. He may be assured of been treated so luminously by Fairford; he quietly and a liberal reward, bes the consciousness of having imperceptibly replaced all the rubbish which the other discharged a real duty to humanity. had cleared away; and succceded in restoring the veil of obscurity and unintelligibility which had for many years darkened the case of Peebles against Plainstanes; and the matter was once more hung up by a MY DEAREST ALAN, remit io an accountant, with instruction to report Feeling as warmly towards you in doubt and in before answer.

So different a result from that which distress, as I ever did in the brightest days of our intithe public had been led to expect from Alan's speech, macy, it is to you whom I address a history which gave rise to various speculations.

may perhaps fall into very different hands. A portion The client hiinself opined that it was entirely of my former spirit descends to my pen, when I write owing, first, to his own absence during the first day's your name, and indulging the happy thought that you pleading, being, as he said, deboshed with brandy, may be my deliverer from my present uncomfortable usquebaugh, and other strong waters, at John's Coffee- and alarming situation, as you have been my guide house, per ambages of Peter Drudgeit, employed to and counsellor on every former occasion, I will subthat effect by and through the device, counsel, and due the dejection which would otherwise overwhelm covyne of Saunders Fairford, his agent, or pretended me. Therefore, as, Heaven knows, I have time agent. Secondly, by the fight and voluntary deser- enough to write, I will endeavour to pour my tion of the younger Fairford, the advocate; on ac- thoughts out, as fully and freely as of old, though count of which he served both father and son with a probably without the same gay and happy levity. petition and complaint against them, for malversation If the papers should reach other hands than yours, in office. So that the apparent and most probable still I will not regret this exposure of my feelings issue of this cause seemed

to menace the melancholy for, allowing for an ample share of the folly incidental Mr. Saunders Fairford with additional subject for to youth and inexperience, I fear not that I have plague and mortification; which was the more galling much to be ashamed of in my narrative; nay, I even as his conscience told him that the case was really hope, that the open simplicity and frankness with given away, and that a very brief resumption of the which I am about to relate every singular and disformer argument, with reference to the necessary au: tressing circumstance, may prepossess even a stranthorities and points of evidence, would have enabled ger in my favour; and that, amid the multitude of Alan, by the mere breath, as it were, of his mouth, to seemingly trivial circumstances which I detailed at blow away the various cobwebs with which Mr. length, a clew may be found to effect my liberation. Tough had again invested the proceedings. But it

Another chance certainly remains-lhe Journal, as went, he said, just like a decreet in absence, and was I may call it, may never reach the hands, either of lost for want of a contradictor.

the dear friend to whom it is addressed, or those of In the mean time, nearly a week passed over with an indifferent stranger, but may become the prey of out Mr. Fairford hearing a word directly from his son. the persons by whom I am at present treated as a He learned, indeed, by a letter from Mr. Crosbie, that prisoner. Let it be so--they will learn from it little the young counsellor had safely reached Dumfries, but what they already know; that, as a man, and but had left that town upon some ulterior researches, I an Englishman, my soul revolts at the usage which the purpose of which he had not communicated. The I have received ; that I am determined to essay every old man, thus left to suspense, and to mortifying re- possible means to obtain my freedom; that captivity collections, deprived also of the domestic society to has not broken my spirit, and that, although they which he had been habituated, began to suffer in may doubtless complete their oppression by inurder, body as well as in mind. He had formed the deter- I am still willing to bequeath my cause to the justice mination of setting out in person for Dumfries-shire, of my country. Undeterred, therefore, by the probawhen, after having been dogged, peevish, and snappish bility that my papers may be torn from me, and subto his clerks and domestics, to an unusual and almost jected to the inspection of one in particular, who, intolerable degree, the acrimonious humours settled causelessly my enemy already, may be yet farther inin a hissing-hot fit of the gout, which is a well-known censed at me for recording the history of my wrongs, tamer of the most froward spirits, and under whose I proceed to resume the history of events which have discipline we shall

, for the present, leave him, as the befallen me since the conclusion of my last letter to continuation of this history assumes, with the next my dear Alan Fairford, dated, if I mistake 10: on the division, a form somewhat different from direct narra- 5th day of this still current month of August

. tive and epistolary correspondence, though partaking Upon the night preceding the date of that let er, I of the character of both.

had been present, for the purpose of an idle frolic, at a dancing party

at the village of Brokenburn, abou.

six miles from Dumfries; many persons must have CHAPTER III.

seen me there, should the fact appear of importance

sufficient to require investigation. I danced, played [The following address is written on the inside of the envelope midnight, when my servant, Şamuel Owen, brought

on the violin, and took part in the festivity, till about

me my horses, and I rode back to a small inn called Into what hands soever these leaves may fall, they Shepherd's Bush, kept by Mrs. Gregson, which had will instruct him, during a certain time at least, in the been occasionally my residence for about a fortnight history of the life of an unfortunate young man, who, in past. I spent the earlier part of the forenoon in writthe heart of a free country, and without any crime being ing a letter which I have already mentioned, to you, laid to his charge, has been, and is, subjected to a my dear Alan, and which, I think, you must have recourse of unlawful and violent restraint. He who ceived in safety. Why did I not follow your advice, opens this letter, is therefore conjured to apply to the so often given me? Why did I linger in the neighnearest magistrate, and, following such indications as bourhood of a danger, of which a kind voice had the papers may afford, to exert himself for the relief warned me? These are now unavailing questions. of one, who, while he possesses every claim to assist- I was blinded by a fatality, and remained futtering ance which oppressed innocence can give, has at the like a moth around the candle, until I have been same time, both the inclination and the means of scorched to some purpose. being grateful to his deliverers. Or, if the person ob- The greater part of the day had passed, and time laining these letters shall want courage or means to hung heavy on my hands. I ought, perhaps, to blush

JOURNAL OF DAREIE LATIMER.

at recollecting what has been often objected to me by which had already appeared, rose high from the the dear friend to whom this letter is addressed, viz. earth, and burst apparently among the stars. the facility with which I have, in moments of indo- Mr. Geddes seemed very thoughtful for some milence, suffered my motions to be directed by any per- nutes, and then said to his sister, "Rachel, though it son who chanced to be near me, instead of taking the waxes late, I must go down to the fishing station, labour of thinking or deciding for myself. I had 'em- and pass the night in the overseer's room tnere." ployed for some time, as a sort of guide and errand- 'Nay, then," replied the lady, “I am but too well boy, a lad named Benjamin, the son of one widow assured that the sons of Belial are menacing these Coliherd, who lives near the Shepherd's Bush, and nets and devices. Joshua, art thou a man of peace, I cannot but remember that, upon several occasions, and wilt thou willingly and wittingly thrust thyself, I had of late suffered him to possess more influence where thou mayst be tempted by the old man Adam over my motions, than at all became the difference of within thee, to enter into debate and strife ?" our age and condition. At present he exerted himself "I am a man of peace, Rachel," answered Mr. to persuade me that it was the finest possible sport to Geddes, "even to the utmost extent which our friends see the fish taken out from the neis placed in the can demand of humanity; and neither have I ever Solway at the reflux of the tide, and urged my going used, nor, with the help of God, will I at any future thither this evening so much, that, looking back on time employ, the arm of flesh to repel or to revenge the whole circumstances, I cannot but think he had injuries. But if I can, by mild reasons, and firm consome especial motive for his conduct. These parti- duct, save those rude men from committing a crime, culars I have mentioned, that if these papers fall into and the property, belonging to myself and others friendly hands, the boy may be sought after and sub- from sustaining damage, surely I do but the daty of mitted to examination.

a man and a Christian. His eloquence being unable to persuade me that I With these words, he ordered his horse instantly; should take any pleasure in seeing the fruitless strug- and his sister ceasing to argue with him, folded her gles of the fish when left in the nets and deserted by arms upon her bosom, and looked up to heaven

with the tide, he artfully suggested, that Mr. and Miss a resigned and yet sorrowful countenance. Geddes, a respectable Quaker family well known in These particulars may appear trivial; but it is betthe neighbourhood, and with whom I had contracted ter, in iny present condition, to exert my faculties in habits of intimacy, would possibly be offended if I recollecting the past, and in recording it than

waste did not make them an early visit. Both, he said, had them in vain and anxious anticipations of the future. been particularly inquiring the reasons of my leaving It would have been scarcely proper in me to remain their house rather suddenly on the previous day. I in the house, from which the master was thus sudresolved, therefore, to walk up to Mount Sharon and denly summoned away; and I therefore begged permake my apologies, and I agreed to permit the boy mission to attend him

to the fishing station, assuring to attend upon me, and wait my return from the his sister that I would be a guarantee for his safety house, that I might fish on my way homeward to The proposal seemed to give much pleasure to Miss Shepherd's Bush, for which amusement, he assured Geddes. 'Let it be so, brother," she said; "and let me. I would find the evening most favourable. I men- the young man have the desire of his heart, that tion this minute circumstance, because I strongly there may be a faithful witnesa to stand by thee in suspect that this boy had a presentiment how the the hour of need, and to report how it shall fare with evening was to terminate with me, and entertained thee. the selfish though childish wish of securing to him- “No, Rachel,” said the worthy man, "thou art to self an angling-rod which he had often admired, as a blame in this, that, to quiet thy apprehensions on my part of my spoils. I may do the boy wrong, but I account, thou shouldst thrust into danger-if danger had before remarked in him the peculiar art of pursuit

shall prove to be-this youth, our guest ; for whom, ing the trifling objects of cupidity proper to his age, doubtless, in case of mishap, as many hearts will with the systematic address of much riper years., ache as may be afflicted on our account.

When we had commenced our walk, I upbraided "Nay, my good friend,” said I, taking Mr. Geddes's him with the coolness of the evening, considering the hand, "I am not so happy as you suppose me. Were season, the easterly wind, and other circumstances, my span to be concluded this evening, few would so unfavourable for angling. He persisted in his own much as know that such a being had existed for story, and made a few casts, as :f to convince me of twenty years on the face of the earth; and of these mv error, but caught no fish; and, indeed, as I am few, only one would sincerely regret me. Do not now convinced, was much more intent on watching therefore, refuse me the privilege of attending, you; my motions, than on taking any. When I ridiculed and of showing, by so trifling an act of kindness, him once more on his fruitless endeavours, he an- that if I have few friends, I am at least desirous to swered with a sneering smile, that "the trouts would serve them." not rise, because there was ihunder in the air;" an "Thou hast a kind heart, I warrant thee," said intimation which, in one sense, I have found too true. Joshua Geddes, returning the pressure of my hand.

I arrived at Mount Sharon; was received by my "Rachel, the young man shall go with me. Why friends there with their wonted kindness; and after should he not face danger, in order to do justice and being a little rallied on my having suddenly left them preserve peace? There is that within me," he added. on the preceding evening, I agreed to make atone- looking upwards, and with a passing enthusiasm ment by staying all night, and dismissed the lad who which I had not before observed, and the absence of attended with my fishing-rod, to carry that informa- which perhaps rather belonged to the sect than to his tion to Shepherd's Bush. It may be doubted whe- own personal character-"1 say, I have that within ther he went thither, or in a different direction. which assures me, that though the ungodly may rage

Betwixt eight and nine o'clock when it began to even like the storm of the ocean, they shall not bare become dark, we walked on the terrace to enjoy the freedom to prevail against us." appearance of the firmament, glittering with ten mil- Having, spoken thus, Mr. Geddes appointed a pony lion of stars; to which a slight touch of early frost to be saddled for my use; and having taken a basket gave tenfold' lustre. As we gazed on this splendid with some provisions, and a servant to carry back scene, Miss Geddes, I think, was the first to point the horses, for which there was no accommodation out to our admiration a shooting or falling star, which, at the fishing station, we set off about nine o'clock at she said, drew a long train after it. Looking to the night, and after three quarters of an hour's riding, part of the heavens which she pointed out, I dis- arrived at our place of destination. tinctly observed two successive sky-rockets arise, The station consists, or then consisted, of buts for and burst in the sky

four or five fishermen, a cooperage and sheds, and a "These meteors," said Mr. Geddes, in answer to better sort of cottage, at which the superintendent his sister's observation, are not formed in heaven, resided. We gave our horses to the servant, to be nor do they bode any good to the dwellers upon carried back to Mount Sharon; my companion exearth."

pressing himself humanely anxious for their safetyAs he spoke, I looked to another quarter of the and knocked at the door of the house. At first we sky, and a rocket, as if a signal in answer to those only heard a barking of dogs; but these animals be

and now,

came quiet on snuffing beneath the door, and ac- "Heis on the outlook for these scums of the earth," knowledging the presence of friends. A hoarse voice answered Davies ; "but it is to no purpose to know then demanded, in rather unfriendly accents, who we when they come, if we are not to stand to our weawere, and what we wanted; and it was not until pons." Joshua named himself, and called upon his super- * We will use none but those of sense and reason, intendent to open, that the latter appeared at the John.”. door of the hut, attended by three large dogs of the “* And you may just as well cast chaff against the Newfoundland breed. He had a flambeau in his wind, as speak sense and reason to the like of them.” hand, and two large heavy ship-pistols stuck into his Well, well, be it so," said Joshua; belt. ' He was a stout, elderly man, who had been a John Davies, I know thou art what the world calls a sailor, as I learned, during the earlier part of his life, brave fellow, and I have ever found thee an honest and was now much confided in by the Fishing Com- one. And now I command you to go to Mount pany, whose concerns he directed under the orders of Sharon, and let Phil lie on the bank-side-see the Mr. Geddes.

poor boy hath a sea cloak, though-and watch what "Thou didst not expect me to-night, friend Davies ?” happens here, and let him bring you the news; and said my friend to the old man, who was arranging if any violence shall be offered to the property there, seats for us by the fire.

I trust to your fidelity to carry my sister to Dumfries, 'No, Masier Geddes," answered he, "I did not to the house of our friends the Corsacks, and inform expect you, nor, to speak the :ruth, did I wish for you the civil authorities of what mischief hath befallen." either."

The old seaman paused a moment. It is hard · These are plain terms, John Davies," answered lines for me,” he said, "to leave your honour in triMr. Geddes.

bulation; and yet, staying here, I am only like to “Ay, ay, sir, I know your worship loves no holyday make bad worse; and your honour's sister, Miss speeches."

Rachel, must be look to, that's certain; for if the "Thou dost guess, I suppose, what brings us here rogues once get their hand to mischief, they will so late, John Davies ?" said Mr. Geddes.

come to Mount Sharon after they have wasted and ** I do suppose, sir,” answered the superintendent, destroyed this here snug little roadstead, where I “that it was because these d-d smuggling wreckers thought to ride at anchor for life.". on the coast are showing their lights to gather their "Right, right, John Davies,” said Joshua Geddes; forces, as they did the night before they broke down "and besi call the dogs with you." the dam-dike and wears up the country; but if that Ay, ay, sir," said the veteran, "for they are somesame be the case, I wish once more you had staid thing of my mind, and would

not keep quiet if they 'away, for your worship carries no fighting tackle saw mischief doing; so maybe they might come to aboard, I think; and there will be work for such ere mischief, poor dumb creatures. So God bless your morning, your worship.”

honour-I mean your worship-I cannot bring my "Worship is due to Heaven only, John Davies,” mouth to say fare you well.-Here, Neptune, Thetis ! said Geddes. “I have often desired thee to desist come, dogs, come. from using that phrase to me."

So saying, and with a very crestfallen countenance, "I won't, then,” said John; "no offence meant: John Davies left the hut. But how the devil can a man stand picking his words, "Now there goes one of the best and most faithful when he is just going to come to blows ?'

creatures that ever was born," said Mr. Geddes, as "I hope not, John Davies,” said Joshua Geddes. the superintendent shut the door of the cottage. " Call in the rest of the men, that I may give them "Nature made him with a heart that would not have their instructions."

suffered him to harm a fly; but thou seest, friend Lati"I may cry till doomsday, Master Geddes, ere a mer, that as men arm their bull-dogs with spiked soul answers—the cowardly lubbers have all made collars, and their game-cocks with steel spurs, to aid sail--the cooper, and all the rest of them, so soon as them in fight, so they corrupt, by education, the best they heard the enemy were at sea. They have all and mildest natures, until fortitude and spirit become taken to the long-boat, and left the ship among the stubbornness and ferociiy. Believe me, friend Latibreakers, except little Phil and myself-they have mer, I would as soon expose my faithtul household !"

dog to a vain combat with a herd of wolves, as yon Swear not at all, John Davies--thou art an honest trusty creature to the violence of the enraged multiman; and I believe without an oath, that thy com tude. But I need say little on this subject to thee, rades love their own bones better than my goods and friend Latimer, who, I doubt not, art trained to bechaltels. And so thou hast no assistance but little lieve that courage is displayed and honour attained, Phil against a hundred men or two ?!.

not by doing and suffering, as becomes a man, that "Why, there are the dogs, your honour knows, which fate calls us to suffer, and justice commands Neptune and Thetis-and the puppy may do some- us to do, but because thou art ready to retort violence thing; and then though your worship-I beg pardon- for violence, and considerest the lightest insult as a though your honour be no great fighter, this young sufficient cause for the spilling of blood, nay, the gentleman may bear a band."

taking of life. --But, leaving these points of controAy, and I see you are provided with arms,” said versy to a more fit season, let us see what our basket Mr. Geddes; "let me see them.''

of provision contains; for in truth, friend Latimer, Ay, ay, sir; here be a pair of buffers will bite as I am one of those whom neither fear nor

anxiety well as bark--these will make sure of two rogues at deprive of their ordinary appetite." least. It would be a shame to strike without firing We found the means of good cheer accordingly, a shot --- Take care your honour, they are double which Mr. Geddes seemed to enjoy as much as if it shotted.”

had been eaten in a situation of perfect safety; nay, * Ay, John Davies, I will take care of them," throw- his conversation appeared to be rather more gay ing the pistols into a tub of water beside him; "and than on ordinary occasions. After eating our supper I wish I could render the whole generation of them we left the hut together, and walked for a few min; useless at the same moment."

utes on the banks of the sea. It was high water, and A deep shade of displeasure passed over John the ebb had not yet cominenced. The moon shone Davies's weatherbeaten countenance. Belike your broad and bright upon the placid face of the Solway honour is going to take the command yourself then?" Frith, and showed a slight ripple upon the stakes

, he said, after a pause.

Why, I can be of little use the tops of which were just visible above the waves, now; and since your worship, or your honour, or and on the dark-coloured buoys which marked the whatever you are, means to strike quietly, I believe upper edge of the enclosure of nets. At a much you will do it better without me than with me, for I greater distance, - for the estuary is here very wide, am like enough to make mischief, I admit; but I'll the line of the English coast was seen on the verge never leave my post without orders.”

of the water, resembling one of those fog-banks on ** Then you have mine, John Davies, to go to Mount which mariners are said to gaze, uncertain whether it Sharon directly, and take the boy Phil with you. be land or atmospherical delusion. Where is he?"

"We shall be undisturbed for some hours," said

by.

[ocr errors]

sustain none.

Mr. Geddes; "they will not come down upon us till continued to advance swiftly and in great order, in the state of the tide permits them to destroy the tide their front nets. Is it not strange to think that human passions "The fiery fiddlers playing martial airs ;" will so soon transform such a tranquil scene as this, into one of devastation and confusion ?"

when, coming close up, they surrounded us by a single It was indeed a scene of exquisite stillness; 80 movement, and there was a universal cry, "Whoop, much so, that the restless waves of the Solway seem- Quaker-whoop, Quaker! Here have we them both, ed, if not absolutely to sleep, at least to slumber; -on the wet Quaker and the dry one." the shore no nighi-bird was heard--the cock had not "Hang up the wet Quaker to dry, and wet the dry sung his first matins, and we ourselves walked more one with a ducking," answered another voice. lightly than by day, as if to suit the sound of our own “Where is the sea-otter, John Davies, that paces to the serene tranquillity around us. At length, destroyed more fish than any sealch upon Ailsay the plaintive cry of a dog broke the silence, and on Craig ?” exclaimed a third voice. "I bave an old our return to the cottage, we found that the younger crow to pluck with him, and a pock to put the feaof the three animals which had gone along with John thers in. Davies, unaccustomed, perhaps, to distant journeys, We stood perfectly passive; for, to have attempted and the duty of following to heel, had strayed from resistance against more than a hundred men, armed the party, and, unable to rejoin them, had wandered with guns, fish-spears, iron-crows, spades, and back to the place of its birth.

bludgeons, would have been an act of utier in sanity, * Another feeble addition to our feeble garrison,” | Mr. Geddes, with his strong sonorous voice, answered said Mr. Geddes, as he caressed the dog, and admit- the question about the superintendent in a manner, ted it into the cottage. "Poor thing!'as thou art the manly indifference of which compelled them to incapable of doing any mischief, I hope thou wilt attend to him.

At least thou mayst do us the good "John Davies," he said, "will, I trust, soon be at service of a sentinel, and perinit us to enjoy a quiet Dumfries": repose, under the certainty that thou wilt alarm us "To fetch down redcoats and dragoons against us, when the enemy is at hand."

you canting old villain !" There were two beds in the superintendent's room, A blow was, at the same time, levelled at my upon which we threw ourselves. Mr. Geddes, with friend, which I parried by interposing the stick I had his happy equanimity of temper, was asleep in the in my hand. I was instantly struck down, and have first five minutes. I lay for some time in doubtful and a faint recollection of hearing some crying, “Kill the anxious thoughts, watching the fire and the motions young spy!" and others, as I thought, interposing on of the restless dog, which, disturbed probably at the my behalf. But a second blow on the head, received absence of John Davies, wandered from the hearth in the scuffle, soon deprived me of sense and conto the door and back again, then came to the bedside, sciousness, and threw me into a state of insensibility, and licked my hands and face, and at length, expe- from which I did not recover immediately. When I riencing no repulse to its advances, established itself did come to myself, I was lying on the bed from which at my feet, and went to sleep, an example which I I had just risen before the fray, and my poor compasoon afterwards followed.

nion, the Newfoundland puppy, itz courage entirely The rage of narration, my dear Alan--for I will cowed by the tumult of the riol, had crept as close to never relinquish the hope that what I am writing me as it could, and lay trembling and whining, as if may one day reach your hands--has not forsaken under the most dreadful terror. I doubted at first me even in my confinement, and the extensive whether I had not dreamed of the tumult, until, as though unimportant details into which I have been I attempted to rise, a feeling of pain and dizziness hurried, render it necessary that I commence ano- assured me that the injury I had sustained was bat ther sheet. Fortunately, my pigmy characters com- too real. I gathered together my senses-listenedprehend a great many words within a small space of and heard at a distance the shouts of the rioters, busy, paper.

doubtless, in their work of devastation. I made second effort to rise, or at least to turn myseil, for I lay with my face to the wall of the cottage, but I

found that my limbs were secured, and my motions CHAPTER IV.

effectually prevented--not indeed by cords, but bylinen DARSIE LATIMER'S JOURNAL, IN CONTINUATION.

or cloth bandages swathed around my ankles, and securing my bands

to my sides. Aware of my utterly The morning was dawning, and Mr. Geddes and I captive condition, I groaned betwixt bodily pain and myself were still sleeping soundly, when the alarm mental distress. was given by my canine bedfellow, who first growled A voice by my bedside whispered, in a whining tone. deeply at intervals, and at length bore more decided "Whisht a-ye, hinnie-whishi,, a-ye; haud your testimony to the approach of some enemy: I opened tongue, like a good bairn-ye have cost us dear the door of the cottage, and perceived, at the d tance eneugh already. My hinnie's clean gane now." of about two hundred yards, a small but close column Knowing, as I thought, the phraseology of the wife of men, which I would have taken for a dark hedge of the itinerant musician, I asked her where ber husbut that I could perceive it was advancing rapidly and band was, and whether he had been hurt. in silence,

"Broken," answered the dame, “all broken to The dog flew towards them, but instantly ran pieces; fit for naught but to be made spunks of-the howling back to me, having probably been chastised best blood that was in Scotland." by a stick or a stone. Uncertain as to the plan of "Broken ?-blood ?-is your husband wounded; tactics or of treaty which Mr. Geddes might think has there been bloodshed-broken limbs ?" proper to adopt, I was about to retire into the cottage, "Broken limbs ?-I wish," answered the beldam, when he suddenly joined me at the door, and, slipping that my hiņnie had broken the best bane in his his arm through mine, said, "Let us go to meet them body, before he had broken his fiddle, that was the manfully, we have done nothing to be ashamed of. best blood in Scotland-it was a cremony, for augh: Friends," he said, raising his voice as we approached that I ken.” them, “who and what are you, and with what pur- "Pshaw-only his fiddle?" said I. pose are you here on my property ?

"I dinna ken what waur your honour could bare A loud cheer was the answer returned, and a brace wished him to do, unless he had broken his neck; and of fiddlers who occupied the front of the march im- this is muckle the same to my binnie Willie and me mediately struck up the insulting air, the words of Chaw, indeed! It is easy to say char, but wha is to which begin,

gie us ony thing to chaw?-the bread-winner's gana. 7. Merrily danced the Quaker's wife, And merrily danced the Quaker."

and we may e'en sit down and starve." Even at that moment of alarm, I think I recognised fiddles.

No, no," I said, “I will pay you for twenty such the tones of the blind fiddler, known by the name of "Twenty such! is that a' ye ken about it? the Wandering Willie, from his itinerant habits. They country hadna the like o't. But if your honour were

water.

to pay us, as nae doubt would be to your credit here seemed to be wet sand; and, as I heard the distant and hereafter, where are ye to get the siller ?" roar of the tide, I had little doubt that we were en

"I have enough of money,” said I, attempting to gaged in passing the formidable estuary which divides reach my hand towards my side-pocket; "unloose the two kingdoms. these bandages, and I will pay you on the spot." There seemed to be at least five or six people about

This hint appeared to move her, and she was ap- the cart, some on foot, others on horseback; the forproaching the bedside, as I hoped, to liberate me from mer lent assistance whenever it was in danger of upmy bonds, when a nearer and more desperate shout setting, or sticking fast in the quicksand; the others was heard, as if the rioters were close by the hut. rode before and acted as guides, often changing the

"I daurna-I daurna," said the poor woman, " they direction of the vehicle as the precarious state of the would murder me and my hinnie Willie baith, and passage required. they have misguided us aneugh already ;- but if there I addressed myself to the men around the cart, and is any thing worldly I could do for your honour, leave endeavoured to move their compassion. I had harmed, out loosing ye???.

I said, no one, and for no action in my life had de What she said recalled me to my bodily suffering. served such cruel treatment. I had no concern whatAgitation, and the effects of the usage I had received, ever in the fishing station which had incurred their had produced a burning thirst. I asked for a drink of displeasure, and my acquaintance with Mr. Geddes

was of a very late date. Lastly, and as my strongest “Heaven Almighty forbid that Epps Ainslie should argument, I endeavoured to excite their fears, by ingie ony sick gentleman cauld well-water, and him in a forming them that my rank in life would not permit fever. Na, na, hinnie, let me alane, I'll do better for me to be either murdered or secreted with impunity; ye than the like of that."

and to interest their avarice, by the promises I made “Give me what you will," I replied ; "let it but be them of reward, if they would effect my deliverance. liquid and cool.”

I only received a scornful laugh in reply to my threats; The woman gave me a large horn accordingly, filled my promises might have done more for the fellows with spirits and water, which, without minute in were whispering togetber as if in hesitation, and I bequiry concerning the nature of its contents, I drained gan to reiterate and increase my offers, when the voice at a draught. Either the spirits taken in such a man- of one of the horsemen, who had suddenly come up, ner, acted more suddenly than usual on my brain, or enjoined silence to the men on foot, and, approaching else there was some drug mixed with the beverage. the side of the cart, said to me, with a strong and deI remember little after drinking it off, only that the termined voice, “Young man, there is no personal appearance of things around me became indistinct; harm designed to you. If you remain silent and quiet, that the woman's form seemed to multiply itself, and you may reckon on good treatment; but if you endeato flit in various figures around me, bearing the same vour to tamper with these men in the execution of lineaments as she herself did. I remember also that their duty, I will take such measures for silencing the discordant noises and cries of those without the you, as you shall remember the longest day you have cottage seemed to die away in a hum like that with to live." which a nurse hushes her babe. At length I fell into I thought I knew the voice which uttered these a deep sound sleep, or rather, a state of absolute in threats; but, in such a situation, my perceptions could sensibility.

not be supposed to be perfectly accurate. I was con-
I have reason to think this species of trance lasted tented to reply, "Whoever you are that speak to me,
for many hours ; indeed, for the whole subsequent day I entreat the benefit of the meanest prisoner, who is
and part of the night. It was not uniformly so pro- not to be subjected legally to greater hardship than is
found, for my recollection of it is chequered with many necessary for the restraint of his person. I entreat
dreams, all of a painful nature, but ioo faint and too that these bonds, which hurt me so cruelly, may be
indistinct to be remembered. At length the moment slackened at least, if not removed altogether."
of waking came, and my sensations were horrible. "I will slacken the belts," said the former speaker ;

A deep sound, which, in the confusion of my senses, "nay, I will altogether remove them, and allow you
I identified with the cries of the rioters, was the first to pursue your journey in a more convenient manner,
thing of which I was sensible; next, I became con provided you will give me your word of honour that
scious that I was carried violently forward in some you will not attempt an escape.”
conveyance, with an unequal motion, which gave me "Never!" I answered, with an energy of which
much pain.' My position was horizontal, and when I despair alone could have rendered me capable-"I
attempted to stretch my hande in order to find some will never submit to loss of freedom a moment longer
mode of securing myself against this species of suffer than I am subjected to it by force."
ing, I found I was bound as before, and the horrible "Enough,” he replied; "the sentiment is natural;
reality rushed on my mind, that I was in the hands of but do not on your side complain that I, who am car-
those who had lately committed a great outrage on rying on an important

undertaking, use the only means
property, and were now about to kidnap, if not to in my power for ensuring its success.",
murder me. I opened my eyes, it was to no purpose I entreated to know what it was designed to do
all around me was dark, for a day had passed over with me; but my conductor, in a voice of menacing
during my captivity. A dispiriting sickness oppressed authority, desired me to be silent on my peril; and my
my head-my heart seemed on fire, while my feet and strength and spirits were too much exhausted to per-
hands were chilled and benumbed with want of circu- mit my continuing a dialogue so singular, even if
Jation. It was with the utmost difficulty that I at I could have promised myself any good result by
length, and gradually, recovered in a sufficient degree doing so.
the power of observing external sounds and circum- It is proper here to add, that, from my recollections
stances; and when I did so, they presented nothing at the time, and from what has since taken place, I
consolatory.

have the strongest possible belief that the man with Groping with my hands, as far as the bandages whom I held this expostulation, was the singular per; would permit, and receiving the assistance of some son residing at Brokenburn, in Dumfries-shire, and occasional glances of the moonlight, I became aware called by the fishers of that hamlet, the Laird of the that the carriage in which I was transported was one Solway Lochs. The cause for his inveterate persecuof the light carts of the country, called tumblers, and tion I cannot pretend even to guess at. that a little attention had been paid to my accommo- In the mean time, the cart was dragged heavily and dation, as I was laid upon some sacks covered with wearily on, until the nearer roar of the advancing tide matting, and filled with straw. Without these, my excited the apprehension of another danger. I could condition would have been still more intolerable, for not mistake the sound, which I had heard upon anthe vehicle, sinking now on one side, and now on the other occasion, when it was only the speed of a fleet other, sometimes sticking absolutely fast, and re- horse which saved me from perishing in the quickquiring the utmost exertions of the animal which drew sands. Thou, my dear Alan, canst not but remember it to put it once more in motion, was subjected to the former circumstances ; and now, wonderful conjolts in all directions, which were very severe. At trast! the very man, to the best of my belief, who then other times it rolled silently and smoothly over what saved me from peril, was the leader of the lawless

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »