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THREE DAYS AT CLOVENFORD.
one never feels comfortable at seeing another take his “ pick and wale" before one. And then, as to each fishing the alternate streams first, this is just offering a man
a bonus to pass over every break, in order to have the It is no joke to be obliged, under any circumstances, first whip at the one beyond. It is deferring our amuscto rise at six o'clock. Some people would make you ment till the Greek Calends. We therefore most amibelieve that it is easy, and a habitual practice of theirs; cably partitioned the Tweed for five miles above, and as but we know better. They think because no rational many below, Clovenford, into three equal divisions, and being is awake at that hour, and able to contradict them, each appropriated one, much in the manner that the first they may indulge in what bounces they please. It is all settlers in America shared the lands of the Indians among very well to speak of the beauties of morning ; but if it them. There is an exquisite mockery of justice in men's be our nature to be asleep at that time, it is not pleasure, calling the principles of equity to their aid, while dividing but pain, that is best fitted to shake us out of our slumbers. what not one of them has any right to. Our usurpation, A good rumbling earthquake would be more efficacious however, had the merit of being less violent and less lastthan all the matin larks in the world, or even the fresh ing than that of our prototypes. breeze of morning blowing in at your open window. The lowest division fell to our lot, because, not being “ Blessed be the man who invented sleep; it wraps one very confident of success, we were not very confident of all round like a blanket.” Sleep! give me sleep! Let it our perseverance, and wished to have an agreeable walk “Over my sense gently, oh! gently slide,
before us, should we soon grow tired of fishing. Abbots
ford and Melrose were thus within our reach. This And kiss me into slumber like a bride."
season is perhaps the best fitted for conveying an impresSlumber was, however, out of the question when sion of the peculiar charms of the scenery of the upper Alfred, finding all other means inefficacious, tumbled the Tweed. Its abrupt, but not craggy hills, stretch in whole contents of the water-ewer upon us. It did not beautiful undulations up and down the river, receding at mingle frightfully with our dreams, and make us start up intervals, so as to leave space for green holms, and groves in the agony of drowning, shipwreck, tumbling over the of venerable trees. The surface of the braes is dingy Falls of Niagara. We were not quite asleep, but lying from the long dry grass, to which the mosses somemost amiably and perversely determined not to awake. times lend a richer die, the tone warming at times in We were on the confines of the dreaming land, its tepid long stripes of a deep brown from the stalks of the gales played wooingly round our forehead, the leaves of heather, or cooling down to the grey of the schistus, its woods rustled in our ears, but we were not in it. We where it rises above the soil. The clouds, though broken heard the threatened shower-bath, we believed most at present, hang low : of a sober grey in the distance ; potently that it would come ; for, dozing as we were, we clinging in the foreground like scattered Heeces of mist knew Alfred to be a man of his word, and we heard a to the brows of the hills. The sun breaks through at clattering among the china on the wash-hand-stand. Our intervals, varying the rippling surface of the stream with emotion was therefore wrath, not terror. We started alternate spots of yellow and brown topaz. An uncerup to kick the intruder out of the room, but he had tain breeze is coquetting with such leaves and blossoms already effected his escape.
as are already out. The air is mild. The liquid note We looked at the bed, but our pillow, soaked in water, of the cuckoo fills the valley-a universal and pervading had lost half of its attractions. We made a merit of ne- sound, that seems to be everywhere, and to come from cessity, and began to dress—although in no very placid | nowhere. humour. It was not merely that we had been so rudely We have read, or heard repeated, or dreamed of a legend, startled out of the most delicious state incident to human- not altogether alien to this scene, and as it may amuse the ity; he “who hath been long in city pent,” feels, on reader, we will tell it to him while we are arranging our the morning after a first day's long walk, a certain un- fishing-tackle. It is comfortable stiffness in his joints, and feverish play of his blood. Our ill-humour, however, gradually dispersed under the soothing influence of the labours of the toilet, A short time before the rising of the Presbyterians, and we joined our friends at breakfast with an unruffled which terminated in the rout at Pentland, a young genbrow. Our new-born equanimity was, however, put to tleman of the name of Elliot, had been called by business a sore test, for we were received in the parlour with a to Edinburgh. On his way homeward, he resolved to most uproarious peal of laughter. We felt our choler pay a visit to an old friend of the name of Scott, whose mounting up our throat, but, like Lady Townly, we gave residence was either upon the banks of the Tweed or a great gulp, and swallowed it.
some of its larger tributaries, for on this point the tradiThe repast was no sooner ended, than a council of war tion is not very distinct. Elliot stopped at a small house was held before the door of the inn, to determine the of entertainment not far from Scott's mansion, in order operations of the day. Elbow-room is as indispensable to give his parting directions to a servant he was disto a fisher as a cobbler. It is not that the best angler patching home with some commissions. does not leave enough of trouts in the most sedulously The signs of the times had not altogether escaped the fished stream for his successor, but, somehow or other, notice of our hero. The people were quiet, but reserved,
A FAIRY TALE.
and their looks expressed any thing but satisfaction. In that he would explain his meaning, and he in compliance Edinburgh there were musterings and inspections of narrated “his whole course of wooing." troops, and expresses to and from London were hourly “ I was detained abroad, as you well know, for some departing and arriving. As Elliot travelled along, he years after his majesty's restoration, partly on account of had more than once encountered small parties of military the dilapidated state of my fortunes, and partly because reconnoitring the country, or hastening to some post | I wished to prosecute the career of arms I had comwhich had been assigned them. Fewer labourers were menced. It is now about nine months since I returned to be seen in the fields than was usual at the season. to my native country. It was a gloomy day as I apThe cottars lounged before their doors, and gazed after proached home. You remember the footpath which the passing warriors with an air of sullen apathy. There strikes, across the hill behind the house, from the bed of was no violence or disturbance on the part of the people the stream which mingles, about a mile below us, with
- there had as yet been no arrestments—but it was evi-that on whose banks we now are. Where it separates dent to the most careless that hostile suspicion was from the public road, I gave my horse to the servant, rapidly taking the place of that inactive dislike which intending to pursue the by-path alone, resolved that no had previously existed between the governors and the one should watch my emotions when I again beheld the governed.
home of my fathers. I was looking after the lad, when It was natural that in such a state of the national I heard the tread of horses close behind me. On turntemper, affairs of state should form the chief subject of ing, I saw a tall, elderly gentleman, of commanding aspect, gossip around the fireside of a country inn. Elliot was and by his side a young lady upon a slender milk-white not surprised, while sitting at the long deal table, giving palfrey. I need not describe her, you bave seen her todirections to his servant, to hear the name of his friend day. I was struck with the delicacy of her features, the frequent in the mouths of the peasantry. It was a mat- sweet smile upon her lips, and the living fire that sparkled ter-of-course that at such a period the motions and incli- from her eyes. I gazed after her until a turning of the nations of a wealthy and active landholder of old family road concealed her from my view. should be jealously watched. But it struck him that “ It was in vain that I enquired among my relations Scott's name was always uttered in a low hesitating tone, and acquaintances. No person was known in the neigh. as if the speakers were labouring under a high degree of bourhood such as I described her. The impression she
He continued, therefore, some time after he had left upon me, vivid though it was at the moment, had dismissed his attendant, sitting as if lost in thought, but died away, when one day, as I was walking near the turn anxiously listening to the desultory conversation drop- of the road where I had lost her, she again rode past me ping around him, like the few shots of a distant skirmish. with the same companion. The sweet smile, the glance The allusions of the peasants were chiefly directed to his of the eye, were heightened this time by a blush of recogfriend's wife. She was beautiful and kind, but there nition. The pair were soon lost to me round the elbow was an unearthly light in her dark eye. Then there was of the road. I hurried on, but they had disappeared. a dark allusion to a marriage on the hill-side-far from The straggling trees which obscured the view, ceased at human habitation-to the terror of the clergyman who a bridge which stood a couple of gunshots before me. officiated, at meeting so lovely a creature in so lonely a Before I could reach it, I caught a glimpse of the complace. The Episcopalian predilections of the family of panions. They were at the edge of the stream, a little Scott were not passed unnoticed. And it seemed uni- way above the bridge their horses were drinking. I versally admitted, that the house had been given over to pressed onward, but before I cleared the intervening trees the glamour and fascination of some unearthly being and reached the bridge, they had disappeared. There The power of a leader so connected, in the impending was a small break in the water immediately beneath the strife, was the subject of dark forebodings.
place where they had stood. For a moment, I thought Rather amused to find his old crony become a person that I must have mistaken its whiteness for the white of such consequence, Elliot discharged his reckoning, palfrey, but the glance I had got of them was too clear mounted his steed, and on reaching Scott's residence, was to have been an illusion. Yet no road led in that direc. warmly and cheerfully welcomed. He was immediately tion. I examined the banks on both sides of the river, introduced to the lady, whom he regarded with a degree but that on which I saw them was too bard to receive a of attention which he would have been ashamed to con- hoof-print, and the opposite bank was loose shingle, which fess to himself was in some degree owing to the conver- refused to retain it when made. The exceeding beauty sation he had lately overheard. She was a figure of a of the maiden, the mysterious nature of her disappearance, fairy size, delicately proportioned, with not one feature the irritable humour into which I had worked myself by or point of her form to which any objection could be conjectures and an unavailing search, riveted her inurged. Her rich brown hair clustered down her neck, pression upon my memory. I traversed the country; and lay in massive curls upon her bosom. Her com- telling my story, and making incessant enquiry. In vain! plexion was delicate in the extreme, and the rich blood No one knew of such a person. The peasants began to mantled in her face at every word. Her eyes were a look strangely on me, and whisper in each other's ears. rich brownish bazel, and emitted an almost preternatural I had been deluded by some Nixy. And God knows light, but there was nothing ungentle in their expression. what old prophecies regarding my family were rememThe honey-moon had not elapsed, and she stood before bered, or manufactured for the occasion. the admiring traveller in all the beauty of a bride—the “Five months passed away in vain pursuit. My permost beautiful state of woman's existence--when, to the tinacity was beginning to relax, when one evening, reunfolding delicate beauty of girlhood, is superadded the turning from a visit to our friend Whitelee, I heard a flush of a fuller consciousness of existence, the warmth clashing of swords on the road before me. Two fellows of affection which dare now utter itself unchecked, the ran off as I rode hastily up, leaving a gentleman, who first half-serious, half-playful assumption of matronly had vigorously defended himself against their joint assault, dignity. After a brief interchange of compliment with Are you hurt, sir ?' was my first enquiry.— I fear I her guest, she left the apartment, either because “the am,' replied the stranger, whom I immediately recoghouse affairs called her thence," or because she wished to nised as the companion of the mysterious beauty. "Can leave the friends to the indulgence of an unrestrained I assist you ?-He looked earnestly at me, and with an confidential conversation.
expression of hesitation on his countenance. • Henry “ A perfect fairy queen,” said Elliot, as the door closed Scott, you are a man of honour.'-He paused, but imbehind her. “So you have already heard that silly story ?" mediately resumed. • I have no choice, and I dare answered his host. “Well! I have no right to complain, trust a soldier. Lend me your arm, sir. My dwelling for I have only myself to thank for it.” Elliot requested is not far from here. I accompanied him, he leaning
heavily upon me, for the exertion of the combat had rising in the west, he joined the royal forces at the head shaken his frame, and the loss of blood weakened him. of his tenantry. During his absence, and while the We followed the direction he indicated for nearly half an storm of civil war was raging over the land, his cherished hour round the trackless base of a hill, until we came in one was seized with the pangs of premature labour. She sight of one of those old grey towers which stud our lay in the same grave with her child, before her husband ravines. “There,' said my companion, pointing to the could reach his home. The remembrance of what she ruin. I recognised it immediately. It stood not far had undergone, her loneliness amid the tempests of windistant from the place where he and his fair fellow-tra- ter, her isolation from all friends, had so shaken her veller had disappeared, and had often been examined by frame, that the first attack of illness snapped the thread me, but always in vain.
of life. Her sufferings were comparatively short. But “ Turning an angle of the building we approached a the widower! He sought to efface the remembrance of heap of debris, which in one part encumbered its base. his loss in active service. Wherever the spirit of insubPatting aside some tangled briers which clustered around, ordination showed, he prayed for employment., The he showed me a narrow entry between the ruins and the Presbyterians learned at last to consider him as the emwall. Passing up this, he stopped before a door, and bodied personification of persecution. The story of his gave three gentle knocks ; it opened, and we were admit- mysterious marriage got wind. He was regarded as one ted into a rude narrow vault. It was tenanted, as I had allied to, and acting under, the influence of unholy powers. anticipated, by his fair companion. As soon as her He knew it, and, in the bitterness of his heart, he realarm at seeing her father return exhausted, bleeding, joiced to be marked out by their fear and terror, as one and in company with a stranger, was stilled, and the old who had nothing in common with them. His own man's wound dressed, he turned to explain to me the misery, and this outcast feeling, made him aspire to be circumstances in which I found him. His story was ranked in their minds as a destroying spirit. The young, brief. He was of good family; had killed a cadet of a gallant, and kind-hearted soldier became the most relentnoble house, and was obliged to screen" himself from its less persecutor of the followers of the covenant. Even resentment by darning in ruins and holes of the earth. yet does his memory, and that of his fairy bride, live in In all his wanderings his gentle daughter had never the peasant's memory like a thunderstorm, gloomy and quitted his side.
desolating, yet not without lambent flashes of more than “ I need not weary you with the further details of our earthly beauty. growing acquaintance. It is the common story of a young man and woman thrown frequently into each And now let us turn from these sad thoughts, and other's company in a lonely place. But oh ! tame though address ourselves to the living stream. The class of fishers it may appear to others, the mere memory of the three to which we have the honour to belong, are not utterly months of my life which followed is ecstasy. I saw her inefficient. We do not possess the hand and eye of him daily-in that unfrequented spot there was small danger who strikes the trout inevitably even on those days when of intrusion, and she dared range the hill-side freely. We he merely leaps to tantalize us. But when the “genewalked, and sat, and talked together in the birchen wood rous rage" of hunger is upon the fish, and they rise with beneath the tower, and we felt our love unfold itself as serious intentions upon the fly, we do not always succeed their leaves spread out to the advancing summer. There in missing them. Still our delight is not the tranquil was no check in the tranquil progress of our affections, confidence of the real angler. We miss frequently, and no jealousies, for there were none to be jealous of. Un- then an interval succeeds, during which, not one rascal marked it overpowered us both. It swelled upon us like will look at our flies, and a shuddering prospect of returnthe tide of a breathless summer day, purely and noise- ing with an empty creel creeps over us.
We grow angry lessly.
and fretful, and as we look earnestly at our fly, the visible “ A few weeks ago her father took me aside, and prefa- rushing of the stream makes us giddy, and we grow concing that he had marked with ple sure our growing at- fused and helpless. Still we persevere in thrashing the tachment, asked me if I had sufficient confidence in my water, for who knows but a trout may be lured up at own constancy to pledge myself to be for life an affectionate next cast. But a truce to these forebodings, for I have and watchful guardian of his child ? He went on to say, hooked one. He sucked down the fly instead of rising, that means of escaping from the country had been provi- which is a good augury. There he comes nearer the ded, and offers of promotion in the Spanish service made top, curving himself like a horseshoe, a huge yellow-boy. to him. Your own heart will suggest my answer; and Give him line, and away he goes, making the handle of the I left him, charged to return after nightfall with a cler- reel spin round till it looks like a flat surface. Now pirn gyman. Our good curate is too much attached to the him up; he is getting weaker ; make for the bank. family to refuse me any thing. To him I revealed my Where is there a good landing-place? These perpendistory. At midnight he united me to Ellen, and scarcely cular turf banks are a very plague. D-n him! he's was the ceremony over when Sir James tore himself off. away, leaving his weeping child almost insensible in my Notwithstanding this disappointment—this jilting, as
it were, of our first love-we persevered. We certainly “Two gentlemen, who accompanied Sir James to the had sad misgivings that no such trout would fall to our coast, were witnesses of the marriage. It was therefore lot again that day; and yet the occurrence looked as if unnecessary to let any of the household into the secret. we were beginning to learn the art. In about half an You may guess their astonishment, therefore, when, hour, we had managed to bag—no, to basket a couple of having seen the curate and me ride up the solitary glen dozen, large and small; and having thus secured a sufalone under cloud of night, they saw us return in the ficient stock, not to redeem our character as an angler-course of a few hours with a lady who was introduced to that is past praying for-but to entitle us, on turning the them as their mistress. Great has been their questioning, contents into a plate, to say, with an air of nonchalance, and great has been the delight of our jolly priest to mystify “ it is strange ! there was really no possibility of catching them with dark hints of ruined towers, bill-sides opening, a trout to-day," we buckled up our apparatus, and set off and such like.
The story of the Nixy has been revived on a pilgrimage to Abbotsford and Melrose. too, and Ellen is looked on by many with a superstitious The banks of the river, after you pass Yair Bridge, awe. I rather enjoyed the joke at first, but begin to fear, have a much less romantic appearance. And Abbotsford, from the deep root the folly seems to have taken, it may before Sir Walter laid out his plantations, must have one day bear evil fruits for my delicate girl."
been a singularly bare-looking sort of a place. The house His augury of evil was well founded, but the blight reminded me very much of his own appearance.
It is fell upon his own heart. As soon as he heard of the heavy and substantial, not particularly elegant, and yet,
in the neat trimness of every thing around its huge and by grain-merchants and farmers, and of great stores of (tant soit peu) fantastic bulk, there breathes a quiet spirit grain garnered up for exportation. As a natural conseof bappy superintending vigilance. We asked at a woman quence of all these circumstances, serious disturbances who was near, whether she had heard any accounts that took place in more than one burgh, day of the state of her Sir Walter's health, and there was The town of
in which I then resided, had an air of blitheness about her as she replied “Oh, sir! hitherto been spared, but a riot was, in the temper of the he's a hantle better."
poor, daily to be expected. Numbers of special constaThere is something curious in the growth of Sir Wal- bles were sworn in. The commander of the military ter's reputation. For universality of fame, he is second party then in the barracks was warned to hold himself to no man in Europe. Yet, until within these few years, in readiness. Such members of the county yeomanry this fame, which rests almost exclusively upon his novels, corps as resided in or near the town, were requested to was bestowed from an instinctive consciousness that no lend their aid, if need should be. man but himself could be their author. Not one of the I was sitting comfortably by my fireside, one dark cold many who loved and revered him, could have given any evening, conversing with a friend over a tumbler of better ground for his belief, than hints and surmises. toddy, when we were both summoned to officiate in our And yet, who in his senses ever doubted the paternity of capacity of constables. The poor fellows who fell at these glorious works? We would give something to be Waterloo sprang from their hard curtainless bed with less able to read the riddle of Sir Walter's feelings in pre- reluctance. We lingered rather longer than decency serving this public incognito. He kept his countenance allowed of, buttoning our greatcoats, and adjusting our well, but he was once nearly driven off his guard. | comforters. At last, casting a piteous look at the fire, Mr Scott, as he was then designated, and Mr (now which was just beginning to burn gloriously up, we Baron) Hume, the distinguished Professor of Scotch pressed our hats deeper over our eyes, grasped our batons, Law, were coaching it, one day, to the Parliament House, and sallied forth. in company with another gentleman. All at once Mr The mischief had begun in the mills at the town-head, Hume, assuming a face of the utmost gravity, addressed and as the parties employed in the mob went to work his companions :-“ There is something, gentlemen, that with less reluctance than we had done, the premises were has long weighed upon my mind. I do not think that fairly gutted, and the plunderers, or, more properly I have acted quite correctly in concealing from such old speaking, devastators, on their way to another scene of and intimate friends a matter of considerable interest to action, before a sufficient posse of our body could be musmyself. I AM THE AUTHOR OF THE WAVERLEY Novels.” tered. We encountered the horde coming down the main Mr Scott sat for a moment like a man about to swear or street. The advanced guard consisted of an immense laugh, but checked himself with a kind of convulsive swarm of little ragged boys, running scatteredly with gasp, and looked in silence out of the coach window. stones in their hands and bonnets. These were flanked
By the time we had satisfied ourselves with a long and followed by a number of dirty draggle-tailed drabs, earnest gaze at Abbotsford, the idea of proceeding to most of them with children in their arms. Upon them Melrose was out of the question. The rain, which had followed a dense mass of men of all ages, many of them for some time back fallen at brief intervals, in smart in the garb of sailors, for the tars had learned that the showers, seemed now to bave set in for a night of it. soldiery were likely to be employed against the people, And, as Sir Walter recommends the very reverse of a and there is a standing feud between the salt-waters and rainy day for the inspection of the ruins, we resolved not the lobsters. There was also a vague and ill-regulated to disobey him in his own immediate neighbourhood. sympathy for the suffering they saw around them, workThere might be another reason co-operating—the con- ing at bottom. All this array we half saw, half conjec. sciousness that the trip would, under existing circum- tured, by the dim light of the dirty street lamps. The stances, afford little pleasure. But that was a trifle body was silent but for the incessant pattering of their when compared with the other consideration. We struck feet as they moved along. across the hill to Galashiels, and walked pensively along The word was given to clear the street, and we adthe highway to Clovenford.
vanced with right ill-will upon them. The first ranks Our companions were not returned. We anticipated gave back, but there arose immediately a universal and as much. It wanted three full hours of the late dinner- deafening booting, groaning, yelling, and whistling. The time we had fixed upon, and we knew that such invete- shrill and angry voices of women were heard above all, rate anglers would not flinch until the last moment. So mingled with the wailing of their terrified babes. “We having arrayed ourselves in mine host's Sunday coat, and maun hae meat ;" " Fell the gentle boutchers;" " Tread decked our nether extremity with inexpressibles, con- their livers and barns out;" “ Blast your eyes! give it cerning the proprietor or proprietrix of which we insti- 'em roundly;” “Belay, there! spank him with your pole;" tuted no enquiry, cordially detesting all prying into fa- resounded on every side, in the screaming tones of women, mily secrets, we seated ourselves cosily beside a rousing and the deep voices of sailors, garnished and enforced with fire, and proceeded to inspect the letters and parcels which oaths too dreadful to mention. Nor was this all: a had been left for us by the Edinburgh mail.
shower of stones came whizzing past our ears from the We learned from our private letter, as the newspapers boy-tirailleurs mentioned above, levelling some of our would say, that there had been a mighty riot in our good companions, jingling among the windows, and extinguishtown, and plenty of broken heads and windows. And, ing the lamps. Some of the boldest of the men next atAs we perused our correspondent's glowing accounts of tempted to wrest the batons from the constables who constabulary valour, the feats of our youth came back to stood near them. In this they were assisted by the wo. us, and we remembered the days of
men, who crushed into our ranks, and prevented us giving our cudgels free play. The stones continued to fly in all
directions, hitting the rioters as often as the preservers of During the winter of the year 18–, there was a great the peace. The parties tugged and pulled at each other scarcity of grain in the western districts of Scotland. most stubbornly, while the screams of pain and anger, The expediency of the corn laws was then hotly discuss- the yell of triumph, and hoarse execrations, waxed moed, but the keen hunger of wives and children went fur- mentarily louder and more terrific. ther to embitter the spirits of the lower orders. The At last the constables were driven back, with the loss abstract question was grasped at as a vent for ill-humour, of all their batons and most of their best men. The mob or despairingly, as a last chance for preservation. As rushed onward with a triumphant hurra, and turned usual, exaggerated reports were caught up and circulated down a sjde street leading to a granary, in which they by the hungry operatives, of immense prices demanded believed a great quantity of grain was stored up. The
THE MEAL MOB.
proprietor's house stood beside it. A volley of stones
LITERARY CRITICISM. was discharged against the latter, which shattered every window in the house, and the missiles were followed by a thunder growl of maledictions, which made the hair of Bogle Corbet ; or, The Emigrants. By John Galt, Esq. the innocent inmates rouse on their heads, and their
İn three vols. London. , Colburn and Bentley. 1831. hearts die within them. The crowd stood irresolute for Would that Galt had never published his history of
A tall athletic sailor advanced to the door Lord Byron! But we will think of it no more. of the granary:
“ Have you never a marlinspike to We said on a former occasion that Galt had stumbled bouse open the hatchway here ?" A crow-bar was handed upon the first conception of his novels by a lucky accito him. “ A glim! a glim!” cried voices from different dent. We have been taken to task for this expression; parts of the crowd. It was now for the first time dis- but we abide by it. It was not our intention to speak covered that some of the party had provided themselves lightly—nor did we speak lighty-of their merits; but we with torches, for after a few moments' fumbling a light were, and are of opinion, that it was accident that first was struck, and immediately the pitch brands cast a lurid led Galt to attempt that style of composition, and morelight over the scene. The state of the corn-merchant's over, that to this day he does not feel how materially and family must now have been dreadful. · The multitude exclusively his fame rests upon these productions. Take stood hushed as death, or as the coming thunder-storm. him beyond the enchanted circle of the imaginative world, All this time the sailor of whom we spoke had been which he has been the first to call into existence, and prising away with his bar at the granary door.
although no one will deny that he is a shrewd man, and At this moment a heavy-measured tread was heard of a vigorous intellect, yet none, we suspect, will rank indistinctly in the distance. It drew nearer, and became him high as an author. He is but an indifferent poet, more distinct. Some respectable burghers, who had ga- and a worse critic. His sentiment has that excess which thered and stood aloof gazing on the scene, now edged betrays weakness. There is a pedantic stiffness and concloser to the crowd, and addressed the nearest women straint in his language from which he cannot free himin a low voice : “ Yon's the sodgers.” The hint was self-he moves as if in fetters. taken, for one by one, the women gathered their infants But take his novels from the Ayrshire Legatees down closer in their arms, and dropped off. First one and then to Bogle Corbet—you find the most unequivocal traces another pale-faced consumptive-looking weaver followed of original and nervous genius. His range is narrowtheir example in silence. The trampling sounded now it is almost exclusively confined to the manufacturing disclose at hand, and its measured note was awful in the tricts of the west of Scotland, and to the present century. hush of the dark night. The panic now spread to the His characters are parish ministers, weavers, and masterboys, who flew asunder on all sides, like a parcel of carrion manufacturers, bonnet-lairds, provosts of small burghs, flies when disturbed by a passenger, squalling “Yon 's the and maiden ladies living upon small annuities. He par. sodgers.” So effectual was the dispersion that ensued, rates the histories of these individuals with quiet sly that when the soldiers defiled into the wider space before humour. Like the Dutch painters, he represents the the granary, no one remained except the door-breaker, whole by painfully and minutely finishing each detail ; and one or two of the torch-holders.
and, like the same meritorious class of artists, he not unThe latter threw down their brands and scampered. frequently emits flashes of intensest energy. His lanThe lights were snatched up before they were extinguished guage is akin to his subjects ; it is a strange mixture of by some of the boldest constables. Of all the rioters only burlesque and impressive earnestness. It is quaint, some- , one remained the tall sailor, whom we may term their times ludicrous, always powerful. ringleader. The foremost rank of the soldiers were nearly It is amazing what Galt bas contrived to elicit out of up to him, and others were defiling from behind to intercept the seemingly barren field which he has selected for the him should he attempt to reach the side streets. He stood scene of his own especial labours. By close and anxious still, watchful as a wild beast when surrounded by hunt- scrutiny, he has enabled himself to trace the currents of ers, but with an easy roll of his body, and a good human passion, where they run, like the waters of Styria, humoured smile upon his face. “ Yield, Robert Jones," in subterraneous channels, beneath a barren and stony cried tbe provost, who feared he might meditate a des surface. He shows us the desolating workings of ambiperate and unavailing resistance. But instead of answer- tion, self-will, and malignity-not in the deeds of arms, ing, Robert sprung upon a soldier who was forming and dark excesses of feudal chiefs, or warlike monarchs, into line at his right side, struck up the man's musket, but in the even, pertinacious, onward course of the lawtwisted off the bayonet, and making it shine through the conforming, money-making merchant. We scarcely air in the torchlight light a rocket, tripped up his heels. know a display of more overpowering strength than he “ Not yet, lobster," he exclaimed as the bayonet of the has evinced in his Entail. The unrelenting eagerness fallen hero's left-hand man glanced innocuously past him with which the Laird of Grippie presses onward to the -and disappeared down a dark lane.
gratification of his pride and avarice, is portrayed with the utmost energy.
That part of the tale in which the
old man is described as bending his steps, day after day, Indulging in these reminiscences, and occasionally to a little eminence whence he could command a view of dipping into a letter from one or other of our numerous his broad lands, although, from the shattering of all bir and well-beloved correspondents, the time wore insensibly domestic ties, he found himself alone and disappointed, away. We were reading some beautiful lines by Brydson, despite of his gratified ambition, and took no longer any which shall see the light ere long, when the door opened, pleasure in the sight, is an awful picture. No less inand in stepped our two anglers, bending beneath their tense is the mania of revenge expressed in the character load of trouts, but rigid as two icicles, their faces purple, of Ringan Gilhaise. and their fingers of a milk-and-water blue. Such, said But Galt's chief mastery lies, after all, in his perspi we internally, are the pleasures of your out-and-out cacity to discern those transient and evanescent feelings on angler ; but, checking our sarcastical tendency, we merely attraction and repulsion which bind and dissever menadvised them to shift their clothes while we ordered in the fantastic suspicions and jealousies which bring, as old the dinner ; and thus closed the labours of the day, as we Middleton calls it, “a scurf over life.” In painting men's here close this portion of our Clovenford adventures. mutual misapprehensions of each other-in showing how
each puts his own construction upon, and draws such differing inferences from the same event, he is unrivalled. It is impossible for one who has not read his works to conceive bis naive portraitures of a knot of friends, each,