« PreviousContinue »
ahibazon, Catahibazon ; a thousand terms of equal sound and significance, poured thick and threefold upon the unshrinking Dominie, whose stubborn incredulity bore him out against the pelting of this pitiless storm.
At length, the joyful annunciation that the lady had presented her husband with a fine boy, and was (of course) as well as could be expected, broke off this intercourse. Mr Bertram hastened to the lady's apartment, Meg Merrilies descended to the kitchen to secure her share of the "groaning malt,” and Mannering, after looking ať his watch, and noting, with great minuteness, the hour and minute of the birth, requested, with becoming gravity, that the Dominie would conduct him to some place where he might have a view of the heavenly bodies.
The schoolmaster, without further answer, rose and threw open a door half sashed with glass, which led to an oldfashioned terrace-walk behind the modern
house, communicating with the platform on which the ruins of the ancient castle were situated. The wind had arisen and swept before it the clouds which had formerly obscured the sky. The moon was high, and at full, and all the lesser satellites of heaven shone forth in cloudless effulgence. The scene which their light presented to Mannering was in the highest degree unexpected and striking.
We have observed, that in the latter part of his journey our traveller approached the sea-shore, without being aware how nearly. He now perceived that the ruins of Ellangowan castle were situated upon a promontory, or projection of rock, which formed one side of a small and placid bay on the sea-shore. The modern mansion was situated lower, though closely adjoining, and the ground behind it descended to the sea by a small swelling green bank, divided into levels by natural terraces, on which grew some old trees, and terminating upon the white sand. The other side of the bay, opposite to the old castle, was a sloping and varied promontory, covered chiefly with copsewood, which on that favoured coast grows almost within watermark. A fisherman's cottage peeped from amona of night there were lights moving upon the shore, probably occasioned by the unloading a smuggling lugger from the Isle of Man, which was lying in the bay. On the light being observed from the sashed door of the house, a halloo from the vessel of " Ware-hawk ! Douse the glim!” alarmed those who were on shore, and the lights instantly disappeared.
It was one hour after midnight, and the prospect around was lovely. The grey old towers of the ruin, partly entire, partly broken, here bearing the rusty weather-stains of ages, and there partially mantled with ivy, stretched along the verge of the dark rock which rose on Mannering's right hand. In his front was the quiet bay, whose little waves, crisping and sparkling to the moon-beams, rolled successively along its surface, and dashed with a soft and murmuring ripple against the silvery beach. To the left the woods advanced far into the ocean, waving in the moonlight along ground of an undulating and varied form, and presenting those varieties of light and shade, and that interesting combination of glade and thick. et, upon which the eye delights to rest, charmed with what it sees, yet curious to pierce still deeper into the intricacies of the woodland scenery. Above rolled the planets, each, by its own liquid orbit of light, distinguished from the inferior or more distant stars. So strangely can imagination deceive even those by whose volition it has been excited, that Mannering, while gazing upon these brilliant bodies, was half inclined to believe in the influence ascribed to them by superstition over human events. But Mannering was at youthful lover, and might perhaps' be influenced by the feelings so exquisitely expressed by a modern poet :
“For fable is Love's world, his home, his birth-place:
The intelligible forms of ancient poets,
man as with their friend, and to the lover Yonder they move, from yonder visible sky Skoot influence down; and even at this day 'Tis Jupiter who brings whateler is great, And Venus who brings everything that's fait?"
Such musings soon gave way to others.