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soon as he should receive 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 allow 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 Firth. 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 the coast, made the voyage perilous. At length, after spending the whole night upon the firth, 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 sea-coast, 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 sunbeams 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 analyze that inexplicable feeling which binds the person born in a mountainous country to his native 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,” answered 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 you like.”
“I should like it of all things. I must visit that ruin before I continue my journey."
“Ay, it's a queer auld bit,” said the fisherman; “and that highest tower is a gude land-mark as far as Ramsay in Man, and the Point of Ayr- there was muckle fighting about the place lang syne.”
Brown would have inquired 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 land-mark, and that there had been muckle fighting about the bit lang syne.”
“I shall learn more of it,” said Brown to himself, “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 site upon the still agitated waves of the bay beneath. “I believe,” said the steersman, "ye 'll get ashore here as dry as ony gate. “There's a place where their berlins and galleys, as they ca'd them, used to lie in lang syne, but it's no used now, because it's ill carrying gudes 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 burden. The two points of rock which formed the access 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 pick-axe, been formed into a sort of quay. 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 mass in the course of the day. This little quay communicated with a rude staircase, already repeatedly mentioned, which descended from the old castle. There was also a communication between the beach and the quay, by scrambling over the rocks.
“Ye had better land here,” said the lad, “ for the surf 's running high at the Shellicoat-stane, and there will no be a dry thread amang us or we get the cargo out. Na! Da! (in answer to an offer of money) ye have wrought for your passage, and wrought far better than ony o' us. Gude day to ye: I wuss ye weel.”
So saying, he pushed off in order to land his cargo on the opposite side of the bay; and Brown, with a small bundle in his hand, containing the trifling stock of necessaries which he had been obliged to purchase at Allonby, was left on the rocks beneath the ruin.
And thus, unconscious as the most absolute stranger, and in circumstances, which, if not destitute, were for the present highly embarrassing; without the countenance of a friend within the circle of several hundred miles; accused of a heavy crime, and, what was as bad as all the rest, being nearly penniless, did the
harassed wanderer for the first time, after the interval of so many years, approach the remains of the castle, where his ancestors had exercised all but regal dominion.
Mysterious Mother. ENTERING the castle of Ellangowan by a postern door-way, which showed symptoms of having been once secured with the most jealous care, Brown (whom, since he has set foot upon the property of his fathers, we shall hereafter call by his father's name of Bertram) wandered from one ruined apartment to another, surprised at the massive strength of some parts of the building, the rude and impressive magnificence of others, and the great extent of the whole. In two of these rooms, close beside each other, he saw signs of recent habitation. In one small apartment were empty bottles, half-goawed bones, and dried fragments of bread. In the vault which adjoined, and which was defended by a strong door, then left open, he observed a considerable quantity of straw, and in both were the relics of recent fires. How little was it possible for Bertram to conceive, that such trivial circumstances were closely connected with incidents affecting his prosperity, his honour, perhaps his life!
After satisfying his curiosity by a hasty glance through the interior of the castle, Bertram now advanced through the great gate-way which opened to the land, and paused to look upon
the noble landscape which it commanded. Having in vain endeavoured to guess the position of Woodbourne, and having nearly ascertained that of Kippletringan, he turned to take a parting look at the stately ruins which he had just traversed. He admired the massive and picturesque effect of the huge round towers, which, flanking the gate-way, gave a double portion of depth and majesty to the high yet gloomy arch under which it opened. The carved stone escutcheon of the ancient family, bearing for their arms
three wolves' heads, was hung diagonally beneath the helmet and crest, the latter being a wolf couchant pierced with an arrow. On either side stood as supporters, in full human size, or larger, a salvage man proper, to use the language of heraldry, wreathed and cinctured, and holding in his hand an oak tree eradicated, that is, torn up by the roots.
And the powerful barons who owned this blazonry, thought Bertram, pursuing the usual train of ideas which flows upon the mind at such scenes. - do their posterity continue to possess the lands which they had laboured to fortify so strongly? or are they wanderers, ignorant perhaps even of the fame or power of their forefathers, while their hereditary possessions are held by a race of strangers? Why is it, he thought, continuing to follow out the succession of ideas which the scene prompted — why is it thal some scenes awaken thoughts, which belong as it were to dreams of early and shadowy recollection, such as my old Bramin Moonshie would have ascribed to a state of previous existence? Is it the visions of our sleep that float confusedly in our memory, and are recalled by the appearance of such real objects as in any respect correspond to the phantoms they presented to our imagination. How often do we find ourselves in society which we have never before met, and yet feel impressed with a mysterious and ill-defined consciousness, that neither the scene, the speakers, nor the subject are entirely new; nay, feel as if we could anticipate that part of the conversation which has not yet taken place! It is even so with me while I gaze upon that ruin; nor can I divest myself of the idea, that these massive towers, and that dark gateway, retiring through its deep-vaulted and ribbed arches, and dimly lighted by the court-yard beyond, are not entirely strange to me. Can it be that they have been familiar to me in infancy, and that I am to seek in their vicinity those friends of whom my childhood has still a tender though faint remembrance, and whom I early exchanged for such severe task-masters? Yet Brown, who I think would not have deceived me, always told me I was brought off from the eastern coast, after a skirmish in which my father was killed; and I do remember enough of a horrid scene of violence to strengthen his account.