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and, alas! need I say still further, that I have thought anxiously upon them as they are likely to affect you, although you have given me such slight cause to do so? The C. is gone from home for several days; Mr H. is almost quite recovered, and I have reason to think that the blame is laid in a quarter different from that where it is deserved. Yet do not think of venturing here. Our fate has been crossed by accidents of a nature too violent and terrible to permit me to think of renewing a correspondence which has so often threatened the most dreadful catastrophe. Farewell, therefore, and believe that no one can wish your happiness more sincerely than
This letter contained that species of advice, which is frequently given for the precise purpose that it may lead to a directly opposite conduct from that which it recommends. At least so thought Brown, who immediately asked the young fisherman if he came from Portanferry.
* Aye; I am auld Willie Johnstone's son, and I I got that letter frae my sister Peggy, that's laundry-maid at Woodbourne.»
My good friend, when do »
but I do not desire to go to Portapferry, I wish you could put me on shore somewhere on the coast.»
« We can easily do that,» said the lad, Although the price of provisions, etc. was then
you sail ?
very low ebb.
very moderate, the discharging his lodgings, and the expences of his living, together with that of a change of dress, which safety as well as decency rendered necessary, brought Brown's purse to a
He left directions at the postoffice that his letters should be forwarded to Kippletringan, whither he resolved to proceed and reclaim the treasure which he had deposited in the hands of Mrs MacCandlish. He also felt it would be his duty to assume his proper character so soon as he received the necessary evidence for supporting it, and, as an officer in the king's service, give and receive every explanation which might be necessary with young Hazlewood. « If he is not very wrong-headed indeed, » he thought, « he must aHow the manner in which I acted to have been the necessary consequence of his own overbearing conduct. »
And now we must suppose him once more embarked on the Solway frith. The wind was adverse, attended by some rain, and they struggled against it without much assistance from the tide. The boat was heavily laden with goods, (part of which were probably contraband) and laboured deep in the sea. Brown, who had been bred a sailor, and was indeed skilled in most athletic exercises, gave his powerful and effectual assistance in rowing, or occasionally in steering the boat, and his advice in the management, which became the more delicate as the wind increased, and, being opposed to the very rapid tides of that coast, made the voyage perilous.
At length, after spending the whole night upon the frith, they were at morning within sight of a beautiful bay upon the Scottish coast. The weather was now more mild. The snow, which had been for some time waning, had given way entirely under the fresh gale of the preceding night. The more distant hills, indeed, retained their snowy mantle, but all the open country was cleared, unless where a few white patches indicated that it had been drifted to an uncommon depth. Even under its wintry appearance, the shore was highly interesting. The line of seacoast, with all its varied curves, indentures, and embayments, swept away from the sight on either hand, in that varied, intricate, yet graceful and easy line, which the eye loves so well to pursue. And it was no less relieved and varied in elevation than in outline, by the different forms of the shore; the beach in some places being edged by steep rocks, and in others rising smoothly from the sands in easy and swelling slopes. Buildings of different kinds caught and reflected the wintry sun-beams of a December morning, and the woods, though now leafless, gave relief and variety to the landscape. Brown felt that lively and awakening interest which taste and sensibility always derive from the beauties of nature, when opening suddenly to the eye, after the dulness and gloom of a night voyage. Perhaps,
for who can presume to analyse that inexplicable feeling which binds the person born in a mountainous country to his na
tive hills?-perhaps some early associations, retaining their effect long after the cause was forgotten, mingled in the feelings of pleasure with which he regarded the scene before him.
« And what,» said Brown to the boatman, « is the name of that fine cape, that stretches into the sea with its sloping banks and hillocks of wood, and forms the right side of the bay?»
« Warroch Point,» said the lad.
« And that old castle, my friend, with the modern house situated just beneath it? It seems at this distance a very large building.»
« That's the Auld Place, sir; and that's the New Place below it. We'll land you there if
» « I should like it of all things. I must visit that ruin before I continue my journey.»
« Aye, it's a queer auld bit; and that highest tower is a good land-mark as far as Ramsay in Man, and the Point of Ayr—there was muckle fighting about it lang syne.»
Brown would have enquired into farther particulars, but a fisherman is seldom an antiquary. His boatman's local knowledge was summed up in the information already given, « that it was a grand landmark, and that there had been fighting about the bit lang syne.»
« I shall learn more of it,» thought Brown, when I
get ashore.» The boat continued its course close under the Point, upon which the castle was situated, which frowned from the summit of its rocky scite upon
the still agitated waves of the bay beneath. « I believe,» said the steersman, « you'll get ashore here as dry as ony gate. There's a place where their berlins and gallies, as they ca'd them, used to lie in lang syne, but it's no used now, because it's ill carrying goods up the narrow stairs, or ower the rocks. Whiles of a moonlight night I have landed articles there though.»
While he thus spoke, they pulled round a point of rock, and found a very small harbour, partly formed by nature, partly by the indefatigable labour of the ancient inhabitants of the castle, who, as the fisherman observed, had found it essential for the protection of their boats and small craft, though it could not receive vessels of any burthen. The two points of rock which
. formed the entrance, approached each other so nearly, that only one boat could enter at a time. On each side were still remaining two immense iron rings, deeply morticed into the solid rock. Through these, according to tradition, there was nightly drawn a huge chain, secured by an immense padlock, for the protection of the haven and the armada which it contained. A ledge of rock had, by the assistance of the chisel and pickaxe, been formed into a sort of
The rock was of extremely hard consistence, and the task so difficult, that, according to the fisherman, a labourer who wrought at the work might in the evening have carried home in his bonnet all the shivers which he had struck from the rock in the course of the day. This little quay communicated