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ANDREW LAURIE'S RETURN.
I went on a tryste to Dalgarnock.-Burns. The ship which bore me to my hopes of the farmer, now winded be. native shore, after an absence of tween long and sinuous lines of green many years, seemed the fairest of all embankments. I passed through ships ;-—the wind which filled our Dumfries, and thought on its ancient sail, and moved the waters, breathed gothic bridge of thirteen arches, with delight and youth around me, and the its defensive gate in the centre-its rude sailor smoothed his locks, and massy walls, its church, where spoke without cursing, as the hills of Bruce spilt the blood of Comyne, and Scotland rose on our view. It is its old castle, which tradition still true, that the hills and glens of Niths- loves to connect by a subterranean dale, on which I gazed as the ship way with the beautiful old abbey of glided along the shore, seemed rough Linclouden, where the
vision of Liand barren, compared to the hills of berty descended to Burns. And spice and the groves of cinnamon, though many of these things which among which I had lived in the east; gave it fame and note have passed but early remembrance sanctified away, and live but in the memory of and shed beauty o'er the land, the aged, or in the romantic descrip
as my foot touched tion of a modern geographer, I thought the shore, enthusiasm and imagina- their absence was far more than tion were busy within me, expanding compensated by the enchantments the vales, and increasing the hills, which the magic wand of plenty, and and giving me back my native place, the enterprize of its merchants and in all the romantic loveliness with its tradesmen had wrought. The which the memory of age invests the river which I had seen in my youth scenes of its youth. But I had not impeded by rocks, and navigation gone far, till enthusiasm began to shut out by impassable sands, now fail, and imagination to subside ;- moved wide and deep along, bearing , I saw no fair and well-known faces, many a going and coming sail,—the -I heard not the greeting of friendly houses rose more lofty and regal, lips,-new generations inherited the the streets were purer and broader, land,- I had returned to a strange and the hum of business and industry people. I walked on, and all the was heard far and wide. “My navale seemed changed ;-the Solway tive towu," I said, “ thy ancient rolled on with diminished waters, name of · Bonnie Dumfries,' --which the Nith was dried into a petty brook, I have heard pronounced by one -the houses seemed small, and the of the fairest and noblest of Scotways narrow. I had seen nature on land's daughters, becomes thee more her grandest scale,-had walked on than ever.” I hurried through the loftier hills, and passed deeper rivers, good old town, which, overflowing and seen more populous cities--and the ancient limits of its walls, had the glory of my native hills, and pushed its streets far among the kirks, and castles, was eclipsed. green fields and gardens, and hast
But other changes than those of ened northward, for my heart lay the imagination had taken place ;- with a little nook of undistinguished the farmer's plough,--the navigator's earth some miles up the river. spade,--and the architect's hammer, The sun was nigh to setting when had been working wonders in the I entered the upper vale of Nith, land. The hills where I had shot among the ancient strong holds of the heathcock waved green with the Douglasses and Kirkpatricks. grain,--the houses, low, and reeky, Here the hand of improvement had a and uncomfortable, with floors of heavier darke to do than even in the clay, and coverings of straw, now lower valley ;-heath had been exshowed roofs of slate glittering in changed for corn,--wild hindberries the sun, and floors of smoothed stone and brambles, for the apple and the or of shaven deal ; while the streams plumb; and the rough-footed fowls of which wandered at will, flooding the the moss and the ling had flown cottages, and sweeping away the away before the flocks of innuniera
ble sheep and cattle which covered observed that kirk and village were all the higher pasture lands. The both gone, and that the plough had memorial stones of the martyrs, passed over the hearth of many a which I left among heather, I found house dear to my heart, and that corn among wheat,—their dwelling place was waving where fifteen chimnies sacred, and their legends renewed; had smoked. 'I'missed the kirk and the men who rode past me as I went, the village, and I looked around for sat formerly in saddles of plaited the signs by which I distinguished the straw, on shaggy and 'uncombed abode of my fathers. There stood horses, they were now in shining an ancient pillar of stone, with rude leather with silver mountings, and on figures and uncouth symbols carved steeds worthy of bearing the burthen on its sides, at the foot of which, in of knighthood. The women who old times, people met and transacted walked to the kirk on Sunday, went bargains, sold cattle, and disposed formerly in gowns of homely gray, of land,—there grew the three oaks, spun by their own frugal hands,— so similar in shape, in stem, and in' they now flaunted in silks and in height, as to countenance the belief scarlets, and the youths fluttered in of the peasantry that not a bough or ruffles, and walked on the very limit a leaf was on one but what had its of fashion. Here and there a broad companion on the others; and which, blue bonnet, with tresses white and growing but a short step asunder, thin flowing from beneath it, might shoot up into a beautiful cone of be seen,-here and there a dame in green, and make them known by the the antique and simple dress of the name of the three brethren, wherever district, moved on stiff and stately, a Scotchman wanders. And beyond -and here and there a car without all these flowed the Nith, its clear wheels dragged heavily along the stream scarce visible between its ground, and here and there a far- green banks, so much had it felt mer persisted in old modes of culti- the influence of summer's heat. I vation, and rode proudly on sonks singled out all these well-known meof straw, with a halter of hair, re- morials, but kirk and village were joicing that in his person the simple no longer visible. I was not preparpatriarchal times were yet preserved. ed for this. I had heard, at times, All else was changed! Though I of the visitations which death had could not help owning the increased made among the hearths of those I wealth and beauty of the country, loved ;-some had dropt away in the I looked upon it with something of fulness of years,-some had sunk in sorrow :—the change seemed to me their prime,-and some had found a so violent and so sudden, that I shut grave in the raging sea, and others my eyes and opened them again, to in the battle trench. One by one, see that imagination was playing me therefore, had passed away of all I none of her pranks. But the scene loved or esteemed, till one alone was stood before me in invariable beauty, left; but I had not heard that the -the hills were there with their well village was desolate, and the kirk remembered outline, and there was cast down,--they had still been prethe hall of Drumlanrig.-once a pa- sent to my imagination; and when lace in a desert, but now looking over far distant, and after hot and peria vast extent of orchards and inclosed lous battle, when I seated myself on fields. All this was proof that the the ground, and washed my hands, place which I sought, and the dwels and removed the stains of battle from ling of my kindred, was nigh. my dress, my thoughts flew home,
At length, I reached the rising and Dalgarnock village and kirk rose ground, from which Dalgarnock before me, full of venerable and kirk, with its ranks of grave-stones, friendly faces. and its little village, are first visible With a slow step and an agitated to one travelling up the river bank. heart I made my way towards the I stood on the very spot on which I old burial ground,- for there I knew, stood in the morning of life, and whatever became of the kirk, the old gazed back on the vale with a full sages of the parish would be buried; heart, when departing for a far coun we are ever unwilling to mingle with try; I stood and gazed now, and my other dust than that of our kindred. heart was scarcely less full when Í On the very brink of the river,-the
walls of which the stream moistens will that they had treated my auld when in flood, stood an old cottage, mistress of Scaur Water sae, who with a spot of garden in which a learned me all that I ken of the few coleworts grew,--the residence, craft, she wad have wagged her when I went abroad, of a person so thumb, and some fool fowk would old that she was suspected of witch- have moaned the death of their brats. craft, and withal so shrewd and Aye, she was the wife for the warld, adroit, that she contrived to levy a - she could find siller where other tax equal to her subsistence on the fowk could see nought thicker than superstitious terrors and credulity of moonshine ; and wi' dog's-pluck, and her fellow parishioners. I remem- herring bone, and hollow hemlock, bered her wandering from house to could make a salve that would rehouse collecting meal, barley, and deem ane frae the grips of death. I cheese, clad in a white mutch, a gray have seen her do't. But the spell gown, and a black mantle, carrying o't's lost. I made some of the salve a long staff in her hand. Age, I myself, and feigh! it was fit to reckoned, had long ago consigned poison a pool of toads; it took all the her to a quiet grave; and if I had honey-comb of a wild' bees' byke to actually seen her rising in her wind- souk the taste o't out of my mouth;". ing sheet, I could not have been and she distorted her face, puckered more startled than I was now on be- her mouth in abhorrence, and coughholding her in the same dress, and ed vehemently, and thus she conwith the self-same looks, seated upon tinued her curious complaint:a stone by the river side, enjoying Aye, aye, unsonsie looks? nobothe warmth of the descending sun. dy cares for unsonsie looks now. I She had strewn her door-step with have seen on a day when they brought brackens and rushes, and there she baked bread, and new cheese, and sat spreading out her withered hands lapfuls of daintiths. I mind the time in the summer heat, and looking to- when the glance of an uncannie ee wards the west, and muttering was reckoned ruinous to any undersnatches of old superstitious prayers, taking.
on whilk ane half rhyme and half prose, which looked askance, shuddered, and rewere imagined in the darker days fused to yield milk,—the horse ane to contain spells against unhappy frowned on threw its rider, - the chances and the approach of evil spi- bride who forgot to bid ane to her rits.
bridal, made her husband lord of a I stood and listened. When she barren bed,--the lass who forgot to concluded her prayers, she began to cast ane a plack as she went to the question their influence in her favour. tryste of her lover, never came mai« Hout, tout, why should I hang up den hame, and the proudest hopes of these sapless shoots from the rotten men, and the wisest wishes of wotree of popery aboon my door head? men, misgave and miscarried. But --they cannot hinder old age and po- now, the fiend have Girzie Gunson, verty to come ben, and these are the if the weakest head of the parish fiends which vex and scaur me. heeds whether she smile or frown. What imp or saint, it matters not I think the spiritual kingdom is over which, can put strength into my on earth,—the reign of spell and canlimbs, and marrow into my bones, traips gone. The only thing whilk and light into my een, that I might has happened to my wish of late, move about as I was wont, and get was when Habbie Hetherton's cow the plack, and the penny, and the bursted o'er a crib of dewy clover,curnie meal, and the ewe milk cheese, I ken whase four quarters he may and an ell or two of the new web, as, thank for that,—he might have given in reason I should. But auld age' me a pound of yellow butter as his has worried up my skill, and the last douce mother did afore him,-let time I tottered out there came after him take that for making mouths at me many of the wicked youngsters, me. Od, I'm no sae auld and feckchips of the tree of perdition, who less as some folk trow ;—there was shouted out 'witch,' and 'beldame,' proud Pennie Purdie, that used to and though I wished them ill enough, cry after me, 'Witch, witch, score the fiend o' ane o' them was a plack thy brow and burn thee.' I trow I the worse. But had it been Sathan's gave her a dainty downcome with
the wild lad of Moffat water. What her annoyance, she confined her rewad ye think?-a gliff after gloaming sentment to the lowering of her fa, who should drop down by our brows, and the shaking of her staff, gate end but Pensie Pennie. I ken o' and an exclamation of " Ah, Andrew your coming cummer, said I, ye are Laurie, thou art an evil one.” But come for a cannie cast of my skill. she never forgave me for the experia Sae I gied her something that gaurd ment I made in expelling witchcraft her skirl, and skriegh-the lucken from the cow; it was observed that browed limmer,- I ken’d weel how her eyes darkened and her brows to do't ;-I had done the samen wi' contracted whenever this feat was mysel ere seventeen simmers were mentioned ; and it was rumoured o'er my head, she deserved it, she about the parish that on the night deserved it; what had she to do wi' when I sought, much to my own my wee auld warld ways !” And she terror, to dissolve the spell, Grizel arose and drew her mantle proudly was seen with dishevelled hair, eyes about her, tossed her head till all the on fire, and feet which seemed touchremainder hairs danced for joy, and ed with unnatural swiftness, running seemed to dilate herself with the round the house where the charm thought that much of her old might was working with many a sob and remained unimpaired.
shriek. It is true that I saw no such I had seen much of the world, and sight, and heard neither sob nor often smiled at the singular super- shriek ; but the people around me stitions and wild beliefs which influa were certain I had both heard and ence mankind in distant parts of the seen something, and the fame of my earth. It was now my turn to be exploit flew far and wide, with many under such influence. I had return a strange addition, and many a mared to the latitude of superstitions, vellous comment. All this, Grizel, which had a seat in my own bosom, with the unsonsie foot, as she was and I could not help feeling some called in the parish, heard from many thing of a mingled curiosity and lips, and every one expected to see alarm, as I gazed on the beldame me withered down by a sudden spell, before me.
I had often molested her -or pining slowly away, - or carwhen a boy, and mimicked the low ried bodily off by evil spirits,-or ering of her brows, and the hanging drowned in the deepest pool in the and trembling of her under lip. I river, and though none of all these had chaced her gray cat into the things came to pass, people shook cauldrons of Creahopelinn, and placed their heads, and muttered old saws sares for her black cat, which half and broken adages, all of which went the dames of the district believed to show that sudden death, or slow, was inhabited by an evil spirit. I would overtake me sometime. I had had stolen her crutch of broomstick, not seen her for some months, though and watched it while it flamed in the I heard she was moving about fire for the flight of the spirit which more dreaded than ever, and I had she was supposed to have conjured begun to think, as I stood on a rising into it. I had dug pitfalls in her ground, and looked back on my napath,--turned the course of a flooded tive place as I left it for a far land, rivulet into her door,-and, to sum that I should never see her more. up all my delinquencies in one deed, At that moment she stood before me, I had, according to ancient prescripc - looked me full in the face, and, tion, boiled pins and nails among laughing till the river bank rang milk at midnight to cure a cow which again, cried, “ bonnie Andrew Lauwas suffering from her witchcraft. rie, he'll never see kith, nor kin, nor
In spite of all these deeds, I was Dalgarnock kirk mair.” something of a favourite with old All this, and much more than this, Grizel. I had done her many little was present to my mind, now as I acts of kindness, carried her many stood and hearkened her curious comlittle presents during the stormy sea- plaint. I thought she was alone, but sons, and protected her and her whole on stealing nearer a step or two, unestablishment from the boys of the vil- der screen of a large bush of holly, lage, who like myself sought amuse- I observed she had a companion,-a ment in such mischief. Even when slim girl some sixteen years oll of she sometimes detected me in working so, who was squatted among the
grass at her feet. She had restless and hastily over her residence, like one piercing black eyes, and short curly taking note of an enemy's country. hair. A sort of bodice enclosed her On the other hand, ancient waist, a kirtle reached under her knee, Grizel brought down her lowering leaving her small active limbs en- brows, and lowered her nether lip tirely bare, and her whole person into close scrutiny of the gipsey's was tanned with the influence of the person, and her whole face seemed sun, as brown as a berry. A string to say—“ Nay, to spy out the land of brass and silver trinkets was round
are ye come. her neck,-a pair of massy gold rings Such suspicious glances appeared depended from her ears, and some to strike awe into the bosom of the thing of a tawdry and stained em- bold young gipsey,--she selected a broidery ran round the neck of her ballad from her basket, and holding bodice. Of all these articles of gip- it up to her of the unsonsie foot, sey finery, as well as of a very hand- said, “ Shall I sing ye a song about some form, the young girl seemed the auld house of Laurie ?-they're sufficiently conscious; and as she a' dead and gane now; but it is weel looked from time to time on her my part to sing a song i' their praise: image, reflected so truly in the quiet many a time have they sheltered water, it was not without a secret the houseless head of a Kennedy frae swelling of pride at her conquests the winter blast: five women and over Geordie Gordon, and Willie fifteen bairns—my ain mother, who Marshall, and Wattie Kennedy, and was drowned in Dryfe, was ane of all other young heroes of the clouted them-have sat at their hearth when cauldron and the mended spoon, from Drumlanrig gardens were a desart, Cosincon to Caerlaverock. A small and the bonnie corn lands of Closebasket, filled with the rude minstrelburn were a' in the Lord's ain hand." sy of the district, stood beside her; and —And with a voice of great natural while she arranged her ballads, and sweetness, she sang, much to my concealed some pieces of coin, which surprise, a song about myself, which her knowledge in palmistry had con- she said was as true as that crooked jured from the reluctant hands of the horns made handsome spoons, and thrifty maidens of Closeburn, her that the cunning hand clouted the eyes were continually peering in the kettle. face of the old dame, and wandering
BONNIE ANDREW LAURIE.
The silver dew was dreeping,
When a' the town was sleeping-,
The earth aneath her flow'rie,
Quo' bonnie Andrew Laurie.
Grew kinder ay and kinder,
How could I be but tender?
I'd give thee't for a dowrie,
Quo' bonnie Andrew Laurie.
When midnight stars are burning,
In hopes of thy returning ;
Shall say right sharp and sourlie,