« AnteriorContinuar »
She mutter'd the spell of St Swithin bold,
He that dare sit in St Swithin's Chair,
The Baron has been with King Robert his liege,
She shudders and stops as the charm she speaks ;-
The moan of the wind sunk silent and low,
«I am sorry to disappoint the company, especially Captain Waverley, who listens with such laudable gravity; it is but a fragment, although I think there are other verses describing the return of the Baron from the wars, and how the lady was found clay-cold upon the grounsill ledge:'»
« It is one of those figments,» observed Mr Bradwardipe, «with which the early history of distinguished families was deformed in the
times of superstition; as that of Rome, and other ancient nations, had their prodigies, sir, the which you may read in ancient histories, or in the little work compiled by Julius Obsequens, and inscribed by the learned Scheffer, the editor, to his patron, Benedictus Skytte, Baron of Dudershoff.»
My father has a strange defiance of the marvellous, Captain Waverley, and once stood firm when a whole synod of presbyterian divines were put to the rout by a sudden apparition of the foul fiend.»
Waverley looked as if desirous to hear more.
« Must I tell my story as well as sing my song?–Well—Once upon a time there lived an old woman, called Janet Gellatley, who was suspected to be a witch, on the infallible grounds that she was very old, very ugly, very poor, and had two sons, one of whom was a poet, and the other a fool, which visitation, all the neighl ourhood agreed, had come upon her for the sin of witchcraft. And she was imprisoned for a week in the steeple of the parish church, and sparely supplied with food, and not permitted to sleep, until she herself became as much persuaded of her being a witch as her accusers; and in this lucid and happy state of mind was brought forth to make a clean breast, that is, to make open confession of her sorceries before all the whig gentry and
ministers in the vicinity, who were no conjurors themselves. My father went to see fair play between the witch and the clergy; for the witch had been born on his estate. And while the witch was confessing that the enemy appeared, and made his addresses to her as a handsome black man,—which, if you could have seen poor old blear-eyed Janet, reflected little honour on Apollyon's taste,—and while the auditors listened with astonished ears, and the clerk recorded with a trembling hand, she, all of a sudden, changed the low mumbling tone with which she spoke into a shrill yell, and exclaimed, “Look to yourselves! look to yourselves! I see the Evil One seated in the midst of ye.' The surprise was general, and terror and flight its immediate consequences. Happy were those who were next the door; and many were the disasters that befel hats, bands, cuffs, and wigs, before they could get out of the church, where they left the obstinate prelatist to settle matters with the witch and her admirer, at his own peril or pleasure.
« Risu solvuntur tabulæ,» said the Baron; « when they recovered their panic trepidation, they were too much ashamed to bring any wakening of the process against Janet Gellatley.»
This anecdote led into a long discussion of
All those idle thoughts and phantasies,
Devices, dreams, opinions unsound,
Shows, visions, soothsays, and prophecies,
With such conversation, and the romantic legends which it introduced, closed our hero's second evening in the house of Tully-Veolan.
A Discovery-Waverley becomes domesticated at
The next morning Edward arose betimes, and in a morning walk around the house and its vicinity, came suddenly upon a small court in front of the dog-kennel, where his friend Davie was employed about his four-footed charge. One quick glance of his eye recognised Waverley, when, instantly turning his back, as if he had not observed him, he began to sing part of an old ballad:
Young men will love thee more fair and more fast;
ye so merry the little bird sing?
And the throsile-cock's head is under his winy.
The young man's wrath is like light straw on fire;
Heard ye so merry the little bird sing ?
And the throstle-cock's head is under his wing,