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harsh and rough characters which almost breaks forth into hatred against the world and all that remain in it after the beloved object is withdrawn. The old man had made the most desperate efforts to save his son, and had been withheld only by main force from renewing them at a moment when, without any possibility of assisting the sufferer, he must himself have perished. All this apparently was boiling in his recollection. His glance was directed sidelong toward the coffin, as an object on which he could not steadfastly look, and yet from which he could not withdraw his eyes. His answers to the questions which were occasionally put to him were brief, harsh and almost fierce.
His family had not yet dared to address to him a word either of sympathy or consolation. His masculine wife, virago as she was, and absolutely mistress of the family, as she justly boasted herself, on all ordinary occasions, was by this great loss terrified into silence and submission, and compelled to hide from her husband's observation the bursts of her female sorrow. As he had rejected food ever since the disaster had happened, not daring to approach him, she had that morning, with affectionate artifice, employed the youngest and favorite child to present her husband with some nourishment. His first action was to push it from him with an angry violence that frightened the child ; his next was to snatch up the boy and devour him with kisses. “ Ye'll be a braw fellow an’ye be spared, Patie ; but ye'll never-never can be—what he was to me! He has sailed his coble wi' me since he was ten years auld, and there was na the like o' him drew a net betwixt this and Buchan-ness. They say folks maun submit; I will try.” And he had been silent from that moment until compelled to answer necessary questions.
In another corner of the cottage, her face covered by her apron which she had Aung over it, sat the mother, the nature of her grief sufficiently indicated by the wringing of her hands, and the convulsive agitation of her bosom, which the covering could not conceal. Two of her gossips, officiously whispering into her ear the commonplace topic of resignation under irremediable misfortune, seemed as if they were endeavoring to stem the grief which they could not console. The sorrow of the children was mingled with wonder at the preparations they beheld around them, and at the unwonted display of wheaten bread and wine, which the poorest peasant or fisher offers to his guests on these mournful occasions ; and thus their grief for their brother's death was almost already lost in admiration of the splendor of his funeral.
But the figure of the old grandmother was the most remarkable of the sorrowing group. Seated on her accustomed chair, with her usual air of apathy and want of interest in what surrounded her, she seemed every now and then mechanically to resume the motion of twirling her spindle ; then to look toward her bosom for the distaff, although both had been laid aside. She would then cast her eyes about, as if surprised at missing the usual implements of her industry, and appeared struck at the black color of the gown in which they had dressed her, and embarrassed by the number of persons by whom she was surrounded. Then finally she would raise her head with a ghastly look, and fix her eyes upon the bed which contained the coffin of her grandson, as if she had at once, and for the first time, acquired sense to comprehend her inexpressible calamity. These alternate feelings of embarrassment, wonder, and grief seemed to succeed each other more than once upon her torpid features. But she spoke not a word, neither had she shed a tear ; nor did one of the family understand, either from look or expression, to what extent she comprehended the uncommon bustle around her. There she sat among the funeral assembly like a link between the surviving mourners and the dead corpse which they bewailed-a being in whom the light of existence was already obscured by the encroaching shadows of death.
At this moment the clergyman entered the cottage. He had no sooner received the mute and melancholy salutation of the company whom it contained, than he edged himself toward the unfortunate father, and seemed to endeavor to slide in a few words of condolence or of consolation. But the old man was as yet incapable of receiving either. He nodded, however, gruffly, and shook the clergyman's hand in acknowledgment of his good intentions ; but was either unable or unwilling to make any verbal reply. The minister next passed to the mother, moving along the floor as slowly, silently, and gradually as if he was afraid that the ground would, like unsafe ice, break beneath his feet, or that the first echo of a footstep was to dissolve some magic spell, and plunge the hut, with all its inmates, into a subterranean abyss. The tenor of what he had said to the poor woman could only be judged by her answers, as, half-stifled by sobs ill-repressed, and by the covering which she still kept over her countenance, she faintly answered at each pause in his speech
“Yes, sir, yes !-Ye're very gude--ye're very gude ! -nae doubt, nae doubt! It's our duty to submit! But, Oh, dear! My poor Steenie! the pride o' my very heart, that was sae handsome and comely; and a help to his family and a comfort to us a', and a pleasure to a' that lookit on him. Oh, my bairn! my bairn! my bairn! what for is thou lying there? and eh! what for am I left to greet for ye!”
There was no contending with this burst of sorrow and natural affection. Oldbuck had recourse to his snuff-box to conceal the tears which, despite his caustic temper, were apt to start on such occasions. The female attendants whispered, and the men held their bonnets to their faces, and spoke apart with each other.
Mr. Oldbuck observed to the clergyman that it was time to proceed with the ceremony.
The father was incapable of giving directions, but the nearest relatives of the family made a sign to the carpenter—who in such cases goes through the duty of the undertakerto proceed with his office. The creak of the screw-nails presently announced that the lid of the last mansion of mortality was in the act of being secured above its tenant.
The coffin, covered with a pall, and supported upon hand-spikes by the nearest relatives, now only awaited the father to support the head, as is customary. Two or three of these privileged persons spoke to him, but he answered only by shaking his hand and his head in