Imágenes de página

rose high in foam upon the breakers, or burst upon the beach with a sound resembling distant thunder.

They were now near the centre of a deep but narrow bay, or recess, formed by two projecting capes of high and inaccessible rock, which shot out into the sea like the horns of a crescent; and neither durst communicate the apprehension which each began to entertain, that, from the unusually rapid advance of the tide, they might be deprived of the power of proceeding by doubling the promontory which lay before them, or of retreating by the road which brought them thither.

As they thus pressed forwards,1 Sir Arthur observed a human figure on the beach, advancing to meet them. The figure made many signs, which the haze of the atmosphere, now disturbed by wind and by a drizzling rain, prevented them from seeing or comprehending distinctly. Sir Arthur could recognise the old bluegowned beggar, Edie Ochiltree. “Turn back! turn back," exclaimed Edie ; “why did you not turn when I waved to you?

“We thought,” replied Sir Arthur, in great agitation—“we thought we could get round Halkethead.”2

“Halkethead! the tide will be running on Halkethead by this time 3 like the Fall of Fyers ! It was a' I could do to get round in twenty minutes, since it was coming in three feet abreast.4 We will, maybe, get back by Ballyburgh Ness Point yet. The Lord help us ! it is our only chance ; for what mortal e'e ever saw sic a race as the tide is rinnin' e'en now! See, yonder's the Ratton's Skerry: he aye held his neb abune the water in my day -but he's aneath it now.”5

It was indeed a dreadful evening. The howling of the storm mingled with the shrieks of the sea-fowl, sounded like the dirge of the three devoted beings, who, pent between two of the most magnificent yet most dreadful objects of nature—a raging tide and an insurmountable precipice—toiled along their painful and dangerous path, often lashed by the spray of some giant billow, which threw itself higher on the beach than those that preceded it. Each minute did their enemy gain ground perceptibly upon them! Still, however, loth to relinquish the last hopes of life, the black rock, pointed out by Ochiltree, was yet distinctly visible, and continued to be so, until they came to a turn in their precarious path, where an intervening projection of rock hid it from their sight. Deprived of the view of their beacon, on which they had felied, they now experienced the double agony of terror and suspense.

1 As they thus pressed forwards, Comme ils pressaient ainsi le pas.—2 We could get round Halkethead, Que nous pourrions doubler Halkethead. -3 By this time, À l'heure qu'il est.-—4 Three feet abreast, Å trois pieds de moi.-5 Scotch words : a', all; e'e, eye ; sic, such; rinnin, running; e'en, even; aye, always; abune, above; aneath, beneath.

The countenance of the old man fell. Isabella gave a faint shriek, and—“God have mercy upon us !” which her guide solemnly uttered, was piteously repeated by Sir Arthur. “My child ! my child ! to die such a death !” “My father! my dear father!” his daughter exclaimed, clinging to him ; " and you too, who have lost your own life in endeavouring to save ours.” “That's not worth the counting,” said the old man. “I ha’e learned to be weary o’ life, and here or yonder—at the back o'a dyke in a wreath o' snaw, or in the wame o' a wave—what signifies how the old gaberlunzie dies?“Good man,” said Sir Arthur, “can you think of nothing ? of no help? I'll make you rich-I'll give a farm—I'll “Our riches will soon be equal,” said the beggar, looking out upon the strife of the waters -“they are sae already; for I have nae land, and you would give your fair bounds and barony for a square yard of rock, that would be dry for twal hours.” 1

W. Scott. 1771-1832.

THE PECKSNIFFS' VISIT TO MISS PINCH. Tom PINCH's sister was governess in a family, a lofty family; perhaps the wealthiest brass and copper founders' family known to mankind. They lived at Camberwell ; in a house so big and fiercel that its mere outside, like the outside of a giant's castle, struck terror into vulgar minds and made bold persons quail. There was a great front gate ; with a great bell, whose handle was in itself a note of admiration ; and a great lodge, which being close to the house, rather spoilt the look-out certainly, but made the look-in tremendous. At this entry, a great porter kept constant watch and ward, and when he gave the visitor high leave to pass, he rang a second great bell, responsive to whose note a great footman appeared in due time at a great hall-door, with such great tags upon his liveried shoulder that he was perpetually entangling and hooking himself among the chairs and tables, and led a life of torment which could scarcely have been surpassed, if he had been a blue-bottle in a world of cobwebs. 2

1 Scotch words : ha'e, have ; o' life, of life; a wreath o'snaw, un tas de neige ; in the wame o' a wave, dans le sein d'une vague ; gaberlunzie, porte-besace, mendiant; sae, so; nae, no ; twal, twelve.

To this mansion, Mr Pecksniff, accompanied by his daughters and Mrs Todgers, drove gallantly in a one-horse fly.3 The foregoing ceremonies having been all performed, they were ushered into the house ; and so, by degrees, they got at last into a small room with books in it, where Mr Pinch's sister was at that moment instructing her eldest pupil : to wit, a premature little woman of thirteen years old, who had already arrived at such a pitch of education that she had nothing girlish about her, which was a source of great rejoicing to all her relations and friends.

“ Visitors for Miss Pinch !" said the footman. He must have been an 4 ingenious young man, for he said it very cleverly, with a nice discrimination between the cold respect with which he would have announced visitors to the family, and the warm personal interest with which he would have announced visitors to the cook.

“ Visitors for Miss Pinch !”

Miss Pinch rose hastily, with such tokens of agitation as plainly declared that her list of callers was not numerous. At the same time, the little pupil became alarmingly upright, and prepared herself to take mental notes of all that might be said and done.

1 And fierce, Et si imposante. -2 A blue-bottle in a world of cobwebs, Une grosse mouche dans un dédale de toiles d'araignée.-3 A one-horse fly, Un remise à un cheval.-4 He must have been an, Ce devait être un.

It is a melancholy fact, but it must be related, that Mr Pinch’s sister was not at all ugly. On the contrary, she had a good face, a very mild and prepossessing face. There was something of her brother, much of him indeed, in a certain gentleness of manner and in her look of timid trustfulness ; but she was so far from being a fright, or a dowdy, or a horror, or anything else, predicted by the two Miss Pecksniffs, that those young ladies naturally regarded her with great indignation, feeling that this was by no means what they had come to see.

“Don't be alarmed, Miss Pinch,” said Mr Pecksniff, taking her hand condescendingly in one of his, and patting it with the other. “I have called to see you, in pursuance of a promise given to your brother, Thomas Pinch. My name,-compose yourself, Miss Pinch -is Pecksniff.”

He emphasised these words as though he would have said, “ You see in me, young person, the benefactor of your race ; the patron of your house ; the preserver of your brother, who is fed with manna daily from my table ; and in right of whom there is a considerable balance in my favour at present standing in the books beyond the sky. But I have no pride, for I can afford to do without it !"4

The poor girl felt it all as if it had been gospel truth. Her brother, writing in the fulness of his simple heart, had often told her so, and how much more! As Mr Pecksniff ceased to speak, she hung her head, and dropped a tear upon his hand.

“ Oh very well, Miss Pinch !” thought the sharp pupil, “crying before strangers, as if you didn't like the situation !"

“Thomas is well,” said Mr Pecksniff ; " and sends his love and this letter. I cannot say, poor fellow, that he will ever be distinguished in our profession ; but he has the will to do well,

? And prepared herself to take mental notes of, Et se prépara à prendre note men. talement de.—2 It is a melancholy fact, but it must be related, C'est triste à dire, mais il faut l'avouer.--3 A prepossessing face, Une figure qui prévenait en sa faveur.

- I can afford to do without it. Je puis m'en priver.-5 In the fulness of his simple heart, Dans toute la simplicité de son cœur.

which is the next thing to having the power, and, therefore, we must bear with him. Eh ?”1

“I know he has the will, sir,” said Tom Pinch's sister, “and I know how kindly and considerately you cherish it, for which neither he nor I can ever be grateful enough, as we very often say in writing to each other.”

“ Very pleasant-very proper,” murmured Mr Pecksniff, whose eyes had in the meantime wandered to the pupil. “And how do you do, my very interesting child ?"

“Quite well, I thank you, sir,” replied that frosty innocent.

“ A sweet face this, my dears," said Mr Pecksniff, turning to his daughters. “A charming manner !"

Mrs Todgers vowed that anything so angelic she had never seen. “She wanted but a pair of wings, a dear,” said that good woman, " to be a young syrup,"—meaning, possibly, young seraph.

“If you will give that to your distinguished parents, my amiable little friend,” said Mr Pecksniff, producing one of his professional cards,2 « and will say that I and my daughters ”—

“ And Mrs Todgers, pa,” said Merry

“And Mrs Todgers, of London,” added Mr Pecksniff ; " that I and my daughters, and Mrs Todgers, of London, did not intrude upon them,” as our object simply was to take some notice of Miss Pinch, whose brother is a young man in my employment; but that I could not leave this very chaste mansion without adding my huinble tribute, as an architect, to the correctness and elegance of the owner's taste, and to his just appreciation of that 4 beautiful art, to the cultivation of which I have devoted a life, and to the promotion of whose glory and advancement I have sacrificed aa fortune-I shall be very much obliged to you.”

“ Missis's compliments to Miss Pinch," said the footman, suddenly appearing, and speaking in exactly the same key as before, “and begs to know wot my young lady is a learning of just


i We must bear with him. Eh? Il faut être indulgent avec lui, n'est-ce pas ?2 One of his professional cards, Une carte qui avec son nom portait sa profession.3 Did not intrude upon them, Nous ne sommes pas venus pour les déranger.4 See $ 21.

« AnteriorContinuar »