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It was somewhat remarkable, that Mannering had once before tried a similar piece of foolery; at the instance of Sophia Wellwood, the young lady to whom he was attached, and that a similar conjunction of planetary influence threatened her with death, or imprisonment, in her thirty-ninth year. She was at this time eighteen; so that, according to the result of the scheme in both cases, the same year threatened her with the same misfortune that was presaged to the native or infant, whom that night had introduced into the world. Struck with this coincidence, Mannering repeated his calculations; and the result approximated the events predicted, until, at length, the same month, and day of the month, seemed assigned as the period of peril to both. , It will be readily believed, that, in mentioning this circumstance, we lay no weight whatever upon the pretended information thus conveyed. But it often happens, such is our natural love for the marvellous, that we willingly contribute our own efforts to beguile our better judgments. Whether the coincidence which I have mentioned was really one of those singular chances, which sometimes happen against all ordinary calculations ; or whether Mannering, bewildered amid the arithmetical labyrinth and technical jargon of astrology, had insensibly twice followed the same clue to guide him out of the maze; or whether his imagination, seduced by some point of apparent resemblance, lent its aid to make the similitude between the two operation's more exactly accurate than it might otherwise have been, it is impossible to guess; but the impression upon his mind, that the results exactly corresponded, was vividly and indelibly strong.
He could not help feeling surprise at a coincidence so :singular and unexpected. “ Does the devil mingle in the dance, to avenge himself for our trifling with an art said to be of magical origin? Or is it
possible, as Bacon and Sir Thomas Browne admit, that there is some truth in a sober and regulated astrology, and that the influence of the stars is not to be denied, though the due application of it, by the knaves who pretend to practise the art, is greatly to be suspected?! A moment's consideration of the subj ect induced him to dismiss this opinion as fantastical, and only sanctioned by these learned men, either because they durst 'not at once shock the universal prejudices of their age, or because they themselves were not altogether freed from the contagious influence of a prevailing superstition. Yet the result of his calculations in these two instances left so unpleasing an impression upon his mind, that, like Prospero, he mentally relinquished his art, and resolved, neither in jest nor earnest, again to practise judicial astrology, iniz, ...He hesitated a good deal what he should say to the Laird of Ellangowan, concerning the horoscope of his first-born; and, at length, resolved plainly to tell him the judgment which he had formed, at the same time acquainting him with the futility of the rules of art on which he had proceeded. With this resolution he walk, ed out upon the terrace. . .os.
If the view of the scene around Ellangowan had been pleasing by moonlight, it lost none of its beauty by the light of the morning sun. The land, even in the month of November, smiled under its in. fluénce. A steep, but regular ascent, led from the terrace to the neighbouring emi. nence, and conducted Mannering to the front of the old castle. It consisted of two massive round towers, projecting, deeply and darkly, before a curtain, or flat wall, which united them, and thus protecting the main entrance that opened through a lofty arch into the inner court of the castle. The arms of the family, carved in freestone, frowned over the gateway, and the portal shewed the spaces arranged by the architect for lowering the portcullis, and raising the
draw-bridge. A rudę farm-gate, made of young fir-trees nailed together, now form. ed the only safeguard of this once formidable entrance. The esplanade in front of the castle commanded a noble prospect.
The dreary scene of desolation through which Mannering's road had lain on the preceding evening was excluded from the view by some rising grounds, and the land- , scape shewed a pleasing alternation of hill and dale, intersected by a river, which was in some places visible, and hidden in others where it rolled betwixt deep and wooded banks. The spire of a church, and the appearance of some houses, indicated the situation of a village at the place where the stream had its junction with the ocean. The vales, seemed well cultivated, the little enclosures into which they were divided skirting the bottom of the hills, and sometimes carrying their lines of straggling hedgerows a little way up the ascent. Above these were green pastures, tenanted chiefly by herds of black cattle, then the staple