« AnteriorContinuar »
The present Earl has made vast improvements in the in barrels, filled with sharp iron spikes, from the top of castle and estate of Cawdor, and is entitled to the special the Cluny, a high hill in the immediate vicinity of the thanks of all lovers of out-door nature,' as the cockneys heath. The sentence was duly enforced, and the lacerated term it, for the excellent walks be has made on each side bodies of the witches interred on the roadside, east of of the burn, and for embellishing and opening up its ro- Forres, where two gigantic stones, called The Witches' mantic scenery to all who choose to wander on its banks. Stones,' still mark the spot. Anathemas were fulminated And what higher enjoyment can there be, when the larch against the hill of Cluny, dooming it to eternal barrenhas “hung its tassels forth,' and the birch-trees are full ness, and against all who should disturb the stones. of leaf and fragrance—when cur northern skies are al- | Time rolled on-many forgot and more contemned the most as clear and cloudless as those of Italy, and our warm malediction, and at length the people of Forres resolved heathy broes redolent of bees and birds—than to ramble to plant and adorn the hill of Cluny. The spot is inon the banks of the roaring linn, full fifty fathoms above deed a beautiful one, commanding one of the most exits rocky bed, or forget ourselves among the quiet nooks tensive prospects in Britain, in which the mighty waters and glens, where the lintie' builds her nest, and the of the ocean are interposed betwixt a magnificent range clear popling springs freshen the green sward ? Lovely of hills and a lovely expanse of plain, rich with woods, are the calm grassy brooks of England, with their wil- streams, cottages, and other insignia of cultivation. As lows and alders, winding on amidst the pomp of cultivated an inducement to enjoy this view, the inhabitants began nature, or bursting forth from some green coppice or re- i by erecting a fine monument to the memory of Nelson, cess like that so exquisitely described by Wordsworth: on the summit of the hill, and then proceeded to decoLet us trace this streamlet to its source:
rate it with trees. For some time these grew well, and Feebly it tinkles with an earthy souud,
promised to form a lasting ornament to the place-but And a few steps may bring us to the spot
one day a fire broke out, nobody could tell how or where,
was consumed or blasted, and instead of the green shady
boughs and leaves which graced the scene, nothing was But what are all the still, shady, or sedgy brooks of merry seen but gloomy charcoal spars, and other marks of desoEngland, though fraught with wild flowers and water- lation. This was the first prank of the witches, but, uncresses, to our Highland burns leaping from bank to brae, fortunately, it was not the last. The hill was again in life and light, over rock and scaur, imparting interest planted, again the trees and wilding shoots put forth and vivacity to the dreariest landscape. There is something their gay and glorious garniture, and again the same elevating as well as cheerful in their wild music and calamity occurred. Rewards were offered for the appreendless gyrations. In England, while loitering by the hension of incendiaries, and punishments threatened to meadows, we may be soothed and delighted; but the all malicious boys and needy unscrupulous stick-gatherers, imagination is dormant or pruned down, so that we do but no offender or socius criminis could be discovered. not hail the star of the morning, or kindle at the midday Other attempts were made at cultivation, but invariably splendour, as on the highland moor or hillside, with its with the same result. The young people still had hope, brawling burn, grey cairn or rock, and feathery birches. but the more sage and considerate of the inhabitants
One of the most valuable relics of Cawdor Castle was shook their heads and thought of Macbeth's Witches and destroyed about or fifteen years ago. The bed on the unrepealed sentence of barrenness! Like Hartleap which King Duncan slept when murdered by Macbeth, Well, the spot is cursed fell a prey to a fire which broke out in the building, and
Now, here is neither grass nor pleasant shade; anly a few sh-ods of it remain. This loss was irreparable
The sun on drearier hollow never shoue; quarie our the pedigree and identity of the bed
So will it be, as I have often said, - well authenticated; yet so much doubt and uncer
Till trees, and stones, and fountain, all are gone.' tainty hang over the history of the memorable king, and Wordsworth, let us remark en passant, is an admirable his rise and fall, that we were half disposed, with the companion in a solitary mountainous journey. We may meditative poet, to grieve less for what time had taken laugh or weep with Shakspeare, declaim with Milton, away than what it had left behind. Let the traveller delight in Dryden's long resounding lines, lively fancy, who loves to luxuriate in Shaksperian visions, push on a and natural energy, but Wordsworth above all seems to few miles from Cawdor, and he will have ample scope for strike the key to which the heart vibrates and responds indulging the musing mood.
among the hills.
There is an antique simplicity and According to tradition, the testimony of Ilector massiveness in his thoughts and diction, which seem in Boethius, and the imperishable authority of the Bard of keeping with the grey wildered rocks and streams. We have Avon, Macbeth met the hags who foretold his future tried Pope and Campbell, but however excellent they are destiny on the blasted heath' of Forres. This memo- in winning us back to nature amidst the hum of men, in rable spot is situated a little to the west of the town, and crowded cities, or in the dry and dusky turmoil of busiis still the same steril moor, undistinguished by aught ness, they fail to satisfy the heart or fill the imagination. save its wide black expanse of turf and heather, and un- In solitude, Cowper is better; Thomson better still-for disturbed excepting by the sportsman's gun, or the rattling he is more glowing and expansive; but for a journey among of the stage-coaches that wind along the road that inter- the mountains, we prefer Wordsworth to them all. sects its dreary surface. A small knoll is pointed out Some men never learn wisdom from experience, even under the name of Macbeth's hillock,' as the place when it is bought, not borrowed. Notwithstanding the where the Thane was accosted by the Weird Sisters. So startling occurrences and frequent losses on the hill of little has of late been heard of witches, that it was Cluny, caused by the Weird Sisters, a gentleman lately generally believed they had faded into thin air or common attempted to break one of the witch stones to furnish dust, like Michael Scott of famous memory, who smote materials for building. The whole neighbourhood, howthe Eildon hills in twain, or other personages of the same ever, rose en masse and insisted on the stone being restamp; or that, if they were still occasionally in the body, placed in its ancient situation, where it still continues, they had, like Prospero, abandoned their magic art, and bound together with iron bars or clumps. A still stronger ceased to ply their rites and incantations. Circumstances, instance of obduracy and hardihood remains to be related. however, have occurred which induce a strong suspicion The lairds have it actually in contemplation to divide, that they still 'round about the caldron' go, and evince plant, and cultivate, the identical blasted heath! This their old predilection for blasted heaths, in utter contempt has raised a great outcry among the peasants for more of the efforts of those who, actuated no doubt by the best reasons than one. The moor has from time immemorial motives, would seek to improve the character of the soil. been used as a common, and was familiarly held to be
Centuries ago, two of the hags are said to have been no man's land. The lawyers are, therefore, they say, tried and convicted at Forres, and condemned to be rolled | worse than the witches, for the latter always secured to them a range of good outshot pasture.' But hopes are off his wet greatcoat, and stood considering what he still entertained that the Sisters will protect their own should do next, when an inner door slowly opened, and wild domain, and assert their ancient supremacy. The the withered head of a cross-looking old woman, in a longrepeated conflagrations at Cluny, and a spontaneous fire eared white nightcap, was thrust into the kitchen. which took place lately at the Moss of Inshoch (part of • Richard Douglas-are you there! It is well you are the heath), are held to be indications of supernatural come,' whispered the old crone. wrath not to be mistaken. · The moss wi' the fire • Is my brother alive yet, Jenny ?' said the man, as he spurting through it, looked for all the world like the started and turned towards the speaker. caldron itsel', and a strange serpent was lately seen fly
Just! and that's all; but he wants to see you, and ing in the air at the same place !' Whether it be pos- some others besides ; so you had better make haste;' and sible to find a counterpoise to this supernatural machinery she led the way up the creaking oak stairs as she spoke. remains to be proved; but men are changed as well as •Whom do you mean?' inquired Richard, as he followed times. The lairds are resolved to cultivate the blasted her. heath, and the men of Forres to plant the hill of Cluny, • Those you may not like to see. But you had better trusting rather to closer observation and a better police not thwart him now when he is so near his end.' And I, than dreading the effects of a fast-decaying superstition. without leaving time for further query, she entered the No change of circumstances, however, will banish the sick chamber. associations which Shakspeare has attached to this barren It was a large, gloomy room, with only one small casespot. Strangers will still ask — How far is't called to ment, which was nearly choked up by the drifted snos; Forres ?' and imagination summon up the Weird Sisters but a fire blazed upon the hearth, and its light fell full in their wild and wasted attire.
upon the countenance of the dying laird of Ravenshaw, as he lay eagerly watching the opening door. When he say
who entered, he turned away with evident disappointTHE BROTHERS OF RAVENSHAW. ment, and until his brother went up to the bedside and By Madame WOLFENSBERGER, Authoress of The Ward of the
spoke to him, he took no other notice of his presence. Crown,' &c.
I want none of your whining,' he said at length, as
Richard endeavoured to look distressed. I shall be dead "The wicked are like the troulied sea when it cannot rest.
in another hour, and you are heartily glad of it: so don't WINTER rapidly and visibly drew near, and nature lay think to humbug me; and keep your tears for a better subdued before his withering influence in solemn desola- occasion : they'll do you no good now, I can promise you. tion; beavy clouds veiled the summits of the hills, and Did you not say she would come, Jenny P' he added, the snow which had already spread a universal shroud turning anxiously towards the old woman; did you not over those elevated regions, came at length on the wings tell her I was dying? Hush! hush! I hear a noise," he of the tempest, drifting down the valleys, when a solitary cried, again fixing his eager glance upon the door ; ' she horseman rode over the narrow Gothic bridge, which is coming! The Lord in heaven be thanked!' crosses a wild stream near the village of Ravenshaw, in • Who is coming ?' inquired Richard, with a counteone of the most romantic districts of Northumberland. nance scarcely less agitated than that of the dying man.
He was a stout, weather-beaten man, apparently about • One you will not like to see, though she is your own sixty, dressed in a coarse greatcoat, above the upturned flesh and blood,' returned his brother Mark, in a tremucape of which an old hat, tied down with a red cotton lous voice, as he fell back nearly exhausted on his pillow. handkerchief, was just apparent, as he bent forward on his • What, Rebecca Ainsley P' horse, and endeavoured to shield his face from the sleet, • Ay!' who has a better claim to the blessing of a dying which the east wind blew furiously up the stream. His man than his own sister?' legs were defended by a pair of heavy boots, with tops the • What! a vile, ungrateful hussey like that? Mark colour of mahogany, and a single spur projected from his Douglas, are you mad but if she is coming hither, it is right heel, which he thrust continually into the bleeding time for me to be gone, for I have sworn never to stand side of his shaggy pony; and his large, red, freckled under the same roof with her to my dying day. hands laid a stick across its back every two minutes, * It was a wicked oath, and sworn in wrath,' said the though the poor little beast had been trotting for more laird ; ' and if you quit this house before you break it and than an hour at its utmost speed.
forgive her, I will leave you my curse as my only legacy. But whatever might be the cause of his haste, when he I know you love money better than your own soul, turned into a narrow lane, which wound up a steep bank Richard; and a mournful smile rested for a moment on from the river side, to a solitary farm-house on the top his pale lips ; 'I have long known it; but look at me-you of a broom-covered hill, he was obliged to dismount, and are but one year younger-and what good can all the lead his horse up the difficult a scent, which the frost had riches of this world do you, when you are as I am now? made almost impassable. 'l he building to which he Purify your heart, Richard; learn to love and fear God; directed his way was an extensive stone dwelling, erected for that, and that only, can give peace upon a death-bed.' by the proprietors of the neighbouring castle in the days Richard made no reply, but though steps on the stairs of their prosperity as a jointure house ; when its small were at that moment distinctly audible, he did not leave windows and the high walls, enclosing the farm-yard and the room, but stood with a sullen frown by his brother's stables, were judged, if not absolutely necessary, at least bed, listening to the approaching sounds. a prudent precaution against freebooters, in that remote Old Jenny eagerly opened the door, and with a look of neighbourhood. In summer it commanded a beautiful gladness, though her cheek was wet with tears, bid a prospect over hill and valley, of the winding river, and the woman enter, who stood near the threshold, and turning woods, and the ruined castle on its banks; but the land to her master, told him it was Rebecca Ainsley. Had she around it was neglected : the fences were choked with not done so, the brothers might scarcely have recognised weeds; the scattered trees that grew on the bare green in the tall and care-worn female before them, the pretty before the door were dying away; and its broken win- girl against whom they had vowed vengeance more than dows and unhinged shutters spoke of nothing but care- thirty years before, for marrying their father's herdsman. lessness and discomfort within.
She was wrapped in a patched red cloak, discoloured by The horseman put his pony into an open stable, and age and weather, and her rusty black silk bonnet vas entered the house by a back door, like one well acquainted covered with snow: but though time bad withered her with the premises, without seeing a living creature. It bloom, there was nothing unpleasing in the woman's loos; was in vain he called, and knocked with his iron hand the wrinkles of sorrow were round her mouth, and her repeatedly against the kitchen table; all was still as the hair was sprinkled with grey; but there was a calm and grave through the building, except when heavy steps holy resignation stamped upon her brow, a quiet lustre in moved occasionally across the room above. He had pulled | her large dark eyes, which belong only to those who are
lighted through life by the radiance of eternity. 'Re- knew not but that she whom he detested might be the becca,' said the sick man, in a tremulous voice, as he held inheritor of the wealth he had coveted from childhood. out his pale thin hand towards her, 'I have sent for you Maddened by the bare suspicion, the darkest projects to ask your forgiveness before I die! You will not refuse arose like unbidden phantoms before him, until on one, to speak comfort to me in my last hour, I hope, though I which he had long meditated and shrewdly planned, he have little right to expect it, for I have been very cruel fixed his wandering thoughts. The ancestors of Richard to you—no, not cruel, I will not say cruel, but careless, Douglas had been small landed proprietors, or lairds, as and that is as bad.'
they are called in Northumberland, for many generations, Oh, Mark,' said the poor woman, grasping his out- and with rankling envy he saw his brother inherit his stretched hand in hers, I know your heart never was father's acres, whilst he was compelled, as a younger son, hard, but you have had wicked counsellors.'
to rent another's land; but though, whilst the weak and Perhaps I have, Rebecca ; but let me not lay my sins careless Mark grew daily poorer on his own estate, he acon other men; the hour is coming when I must answer cumulated considerable wealth by frugality and industry, for my own deeds, and they, alas, have been unmerciful his gains were insufficient to gratify his avarice. His to you; but have pity upon me, and say you forgive me.' cold and calculating heart was through life utterly en
*Yes, Mark, I forgive you, with my whole soul,' replied grossed by the withering love of gold: as a boy, no holy, the woman, clasping her hands fervently, as she knelt no gentle feeling, had ever shed its cheerful radiance beside the bed ; . and, oh, may my blessing be upon you over the sullen mirror of his mind; in the vigour of manhere and hereafter, for letting me see you once more in hood, he cursed his only sister because she wedded a poor, this world. We loved each other when we were children, but honest man: he had ruled his feeble-minded brother Mark, and there is no love upon earth like that.' with despotic sway, in hope of his inheritance, and he
'Yes,' said the dying man, as tears streamed down his swore, in the dark recesses of his venomous heart, as he hollow cheeks; • I have often dreamt how we used to sit stood beside the bed of death, that he would sooner perish by the river side together, and scramble through the than relinquish one atom of his store. No rememwoods when the nuts were ripe, though maybe you brances of moral or religious principle made this bad man thought I forgot it. Oh, Rebecca, my unkindness to you shrink from the commission of crime; for though Richard has made my own life a lonely and a sad one; but it is Douglas had been well educated for his station in life, nearly over, and I shall die blest in the hope of mercy, knowledge is not virtue; it may elevate the objects of since you have forgiven me, if I leave you and your crime, but it will never prevent its commission in some brother Richard in peace with one another.'
form or other. It did not teach Bonaparte to sacrifice his Rebecca at these words sprang hastily from her knees, own desires to the happiness of any living creature; it and fixing a withering look on Richard, who stood un- neither made Augustus respect the life of Cicero, nor the moved at the opposite side of the bed, drew up her slen- pupil of Aristotle restrain the fury of his passions. Mirader figure wi a stern dignity which betokened little in- beau, the genius of thc French revolution, was a monster clination to comply with Mark's request. A long series of depravity; and Robespierre himself was a man of eduof heartless persecutions, of wrongs done both to her de- cation. Knowledge, on the contrary, when, undirected by ceased husband and herself, flashed upon her mind, and religion, it is made the servant of vice, has in all ages roused, for an instant, an evil spirit within her, as she produced most fearful consequences; and, in the humble gazed on him who had been their cause ; but she had case of Richard Douglas, instead of arresting his guilty been long taught by adversity the wickedness of yielding purpose, it only afforded him the means of accomplishing to the dictates of passion ; and one look on the agitated it with facility. Not a word did the farmer exchange countenance of her dying brother subdued the remem- with old Jenny, or his sister, till they had finished their brance of her wrongs: she stretched out her hand to- melancholy task; and then, assuming a stern look of wards Richard, and said in a low voice, ‘I forgive him.' authority, he commanded them both to quit the room, and Mark, grasping the bed-clothes convulsively, sprang leave him
to watch the dead. wildly up from his pillow, and fixed his glassy eyes with an • That I wont, I can tell you,' said Jenny, firmly. 'I unutterable expression on the countenance of his brother, smoothed my master's pillow when he was alive, and as he stood for a moment immoveable. Even the stern I will watch him now the breath is out of his body, as heart of Richard quailed beneath the glance, and faintly I watched his father and mother before him.' muttering 'we are friends,' he coldly touched his sister's * Hold your peace, and begone,' replied the farmer. proffered hand.
' You have been mistress here too long already, old Jeze• The blessing of God be upon you, Rebecca, and upon bel, and I will teach you now who is master.' you, Richard, if you are kind to her ; but may the curse Master, truly !' retorted the angry old woman; 'you of a dying man rest on your head, if you fail to act a had better learn that yourself, before you pretend to inbrother's part towards her when I am gone,' were the last struct other people. Master, forsooth! A better man words of the laird of Ravenshaw; and a faint smile parted than you will be master here, or I am much mistaken.' his thin lips, as he sunk, soon afterwards, into a quiet • It is false!' cried Douglas, shaking his fist, and turnslumber, from which he was never to awaken.
ing pale with rage. The winter storm blew loud and shrill, as the spirit of Be silent, both of you !' exclaimed Rebecca, in a stern Mark Douglas fled to its eternal home; but the strife of voice, as she laid her hand on old Jenny's arm; ' are you eril passions in his brother's breast was yet more fearful not ashamed to profane the chamber of death with your than the tempest, as he stood with his arms folded, quarrels? Are you not ashamed to let anger dry the eye watching, in gloomy silence, old Jenny and his sister per- of grief, and the voice of discord sound above the corpse forming the last friendly offices to the dead. He heard which is not cold in its shroud ? At that hard-hearted not the howling blast flapping to and fro the crazy shutters man I wonder not,' she added, darting a look of unutterof the dilapidated building ; he heard not the storm howl. able scorn at Richard; but I thought, Jenny, you loved ing fitfully over the bending trees, nor the rushing of the your master better than to dry your tears so soon. If swollen river, as it hurried wildly over rock and bush; he his conscience gives him no fears in the presence of the was listening alone to the evil voices of avarice, hatred, dead, leave him. We may find other ways to prove our and revenge, which, like demons, prompted him to evil. affection to the deceased, and submission is our duty He shrunk not from the spectacle of death before him; now.' he grieved not for the dead; to see Mark in his winding- Jenny made no further opposition, but turned with resheet had been his wish for years, and now it was accom- newed tears towards the door, and before the two women plished ; yet, like all evil wishes, its gratification brought had closed it after them, they heard the harsh laugh of rather anguish than joy, for he saw Rebecca, whom he Richard, as he repeated the word 'conscience,' and swore had laboured for years to shut out from his brother's love, that a mug of ale and a pipe would quiet the worst constanding invited and forgiven beneath that roof, and I science in Christendom.
But though supplied with both, he did not find them of his money, with the farm, and all the stock upon it, so efficient in his own particular case as he anticipated; he had bequeathed to his sister, Rebecca Ainsley, to make he listened anxiously to the steps of the household as they up, as he expressed it, for his long unkindness and neretired, one after another, to rest, and when he heard the glect. rustling of old Jenny's and his sister's garments, as they • Blockhead! fool!' muttered the indignant farmer, passed the door, his heart grew chill within him. It was between his teeth, as he crumpled up the paper in his not the memory of the past which troubled him, for his hands; "he thought to huinbug me finely, but I will be an! happy self-esteem convinced him he had never erred; overmatch for him, and that impudent jade, yet;' and but it could not blind him to the enormity of a deed he taking another will, which, from a mistrust of his brother's had resolved that night to commit, and as he glanced to intentions, he had long ago prepared for such an emerwards the shrouded corpse, a recollection of the eternity gency, he placed it exactly where he found the real one. which awaited him, and the punishments prepared for He then hurried to the grate, where the fire had long been sin, flashed on bis mind for the first time in his life, like out, set fire to that important document with the candle the lightning which discovers to the perishing mariner he held, and stood watching its leaves catching fire, one the abyss of destruction, ere he is lost in its depths for after another, and flaming brightly up the chimney, with ever. In vain he swallowed a long draught from his tan- a smile of fiendish exultation, when a loud knocking at kard, and threw fresh coals on the fire; the shrill cry of the outer door, close beside him, made him start as if a the screech-owl sent the blood throbbing to his heart, and pistol had been fired at his ear. he listened to the howling of the sheep-dogs, mingling Who upon earth are you at this time of night?' were with the blast, with an anxious dread, which brought a the first words he uttered, as he glanced from the blaze cold damp on his brow. At length the clock on the stairs before him, which had only accomplished half its work of began to strike; it seemed to him that he had been for destruction, to the still open cupboard, with a momentary hours alone, and a sickening feeling of disappointment hesitation how to act ; then rushing forward, he locked its crept over him, when the echo of the tenth stroke died panelled door, thrust the keys into his pocket, and returnaway in silence. This is folly,' be muttered to himself, ing to the grate, used his utmost endeavours to quicken starting from his seat, when assured that all was still. the progress of the flames. In another minute the knock• It must be done, and the sooner it is done the better.' ing at the door was repeated with redoubled violence; and Nevertheless his hands trembled as he drew off his rid- such were the feelings of Richard, that had he been within ing boots, and he glanced more than once behind him reach of the intruder, he would have silenced him for at the corpse, as he stole softly across the room, towards ever with the poker he instinctively grasped. "Ya an oaken chest of antique fashion, which stood in a corner fool,' he muttered with a deep curse, cannot you wait near the window. He searched eagerly and anxiously patiently five minutes, till I get up stairs again ;' but the in the pockets of poor Mark's clothes, which still lay on sound of some one moving above warned him retreat was the top of it, and drew forth, as noiselessly as possible, impossible. He could no longer doubt that the house was a bunch of keys, one of which he well knew belonged to roused, and that his absence from the dead man's chamthe coffer. With a trembling hand he turned it in the ber would be discovered. A moment's reflection convinced lock; half raised the heavy lid; then cast a terrified look him that his best plan was to open the door, and pretend towards the dead-for guilt dreads it knows not what that he had come down stairs for that purpose. -but the corpse was there, motionless and still as before, No sooner, therefore, had he seen the blaze in the chimand he proceeded more courageously with his task. ney expire, than, in answer to a third knocking, more
The object of his search was his brother's will. But in long and violent than before, he proceeded to unbar the vain he rummaged amongst the dusty rubbish which had door. I thought you were all gone to your last sleep,' lain above fifty years undisturbed—a strange mixture said the gruff voice of an old man, who entered from the of tattered bibles, tragical ballads, registers, and certifi- yard, almost at the same instant that old Jenny appeared, cates of births, deaths, and marriages, receipts for house with a cry of astonishment, at the further end of the medicines, and certain cures for corns : there was no will kitchen. to be found. With bitter disappointment he again lower- • You must have the hearts of savages, to keep a poor ed the ponderous lid, and was about to replace the keys in body freezing in the east wind, this stormy night, for so the pocket from whence he took them, when a new long a while. I am almost perished. Richard Douglas, thought came suddenly across him, that there was still a is that you, man ? What sends you so far from home such chance of finding the important document in a cupboard weather as this? Something out of the common! for eh, in the kitchen, where he knew that Mark sometimes kept master, it's a time for them that hae a hearth to sit close his money; and, assured that every one in the house but to it now;' and he stamped his well patched shoes against himself was in bed, he did not hesitate an instant to de- the floor as he spoke, till the snow fell in showers around. scend thither. Even his callous heart, albeit unused to I may better ask you what sends you here, Jemmy, fear, felt as if a load had been removed from it when he at this time of night?' returned the farmer, as he stared left the dead man's room-he felt as if he had escaped with amazement on the strange figure before him; for from a witness of his guilt; and forgetting that there is though, in common with all the country round, he knew an eye from which no deed nor thought is hid, he hur- the stranger well, he wondered greatly what had brought ried anxiously but unshrinkingly towards the kitchen. him there at such an hour ; and, truly, the old man apHe lost not a moment in opening the cupboard door, and peared little fitted to brave the inclemency of the season ; his eager eye had just caught a glimpse of the corner of a for his patched coat of many colours was a poor defence packet like that he sought, and his hand was stretched against the wintry blast, and his feeble and wasted limbs out to seize the prize, when it was arrested by a rustling seemed unequal to carry the burdens he bore, even over on the outside of the window. He trembled with fear, the smooth paths of summer. At his back was a huge pack and a cold damp stood on his brow, as he looked towards of rags, which it was part of his trade to collect; an open the high narrow casement, the shutter of which was partly wallet, for such chance morsels as the charity of good unclosed; but there was nothing to be seen but the snow housewives might please to bestow upon him, hung down which rested in mounds against the lower panes, and no in front; whilst in one hand he held an oaken stick, and sound to be heard but the barking of the dogs.
on the other arm carried a basket, well defended by an “It is only a fox crossing the farm yard,' said he to oil cloth from the weather, full of needles, tapes, gingerhimself; ' for what should send any human creature there bread, and such little wares, which he frequently gare inat this time of night?' and thus re-assured, he drew out stead of money in payment for rags, and sold whenever the will, broke the seals, and glanced his eye over the he found a customer by the cottage fireside or in the contents. He soon saw enough to convince him that his farmer's kitchen. fears were not ill-founded : Mark had left him a hun- Some people said that Jemmy had once been a soldier; dred pounds, and fifty pounds to old Jenny; but the rest | but that was beyond the memory of man, and he had been known to all the existing generations as a hawker, for chamber, he protested he was not the least cold, and if fifty years at least. His hair was white as snow, his he had a drop of milk, and a slice of ryebread, they might sharp thin features wore somewhat the hue of a well- go up stairs again, and leave him to find a bed in the baysunned apple, and the vivacity of his pale blue eyes was loft when he had finished his supper. still undimmed by age, and never clouded by ill-humour. Old Jenny, who was more than half asleep, made no Jemmy had no home; but his spirit was too proud to re- objection, and when Richard Douglas had seen her up ceive parish relief, though his age and apparent poverty stairs before him, and taken one hasty glance at the firemight well have entitled him to it. He had been ever place, where all was cold and black, he wished the ped. used to a wandering life, and would have died in the lar good night, and returned to watch the corpse, well poorhouse in a week. He loved the free air, and the chang- satisfied that he had contrived to accomplish his purpose ing sky, and the cheering sunshine, and the sounds and so fully before the old man's arrival. the fragrance of nature; for though an old man, the spirit Whilst he sat by the blazing fire, forgetful of the preof his youth had not forsaken him; nay, even the white sence of the dead, the pedlar was not idle below. He had storms of winter had charms for old Jemmy; for he saw seen more of Richard's proceedings in the kitchen before the hand of his Creator in all his works, and his heart was he knocked at the door than he chose to confess; and as cheered within him, when, trusting in the promises of his soon as he was certain that he was perfectly free from obRedeemer, he forgot in his solitary rambles his age, his servation, he proceeded to the grate, to try if he could disdeprivations, and his toil, in joyous anticipations of a more cover by a nearer examination what the farmer had been perfect world, whose 'invisible glories he beheld in the about. So thoroughly had the fire done its work upon all visible beauties of the present.'
the upper leaves of the will, that not a trace remained of Wherever he went, old Jemmy was always welcome, what they had been but the black flimsy ashes, which for his honesty and his truth were proverbial; and the good- floated away, even before the old man's breath, as he bent wives, who had known him from their childhood, were ever over them with his candle; but as he poked lower, some ready to give him a basin of milk or porridge, and a warm scraps of white paper still remained unconsumed, and a seat by the fire on a winter's night; their husbands were piece of the last page, nearly the size of a man's hand, amused by his news and his ballads, and their children though burnt all round the edges, was uninjured by the saved all their odd halfpence to buy his gingerbread. To flames. poor Mark Douglas, whose idle mind found little amuse- The pedlar seized them with the exultation of a diament for itself, he was always a welcome visiter, for even mond seeker who discovers in the moment of despair his arrival made a change in his monotonous existence, his long-dreamt-of prize; and forthwith seating himself and Richard saw in one instant, as he expressed his asto- on a three-legged stool, and placing his enormous specnishment at the pedlar's appearance, that he was ignorant tacles on the tip of his nose, proceeded to examine the of the laird's illness and death.
precious documents with no little curiosity. “Ho! ho ! “What brought me here, say you ?'replied Jemmy, when what have we here ?' he muttered to himself. “Mark the old housekeeper, with many expressions of surprise, Douglas;' ay, faith, that is poor Mark's writing, sure had assisted him to set his basket on the table. That enough ; and that is his seal too, I will be sworn, for he which brings many a richer man where he had rather not always used the top of Jenny's thimble; and here is the be-necessity, to be sure. But what is the matter with date of the year, and the day of the month-the twentyyou all? What has happened? The fire is out, which fourth of last December-just one month ago; and these is what I never saw on that hearth before; and you both are the witnesses names, I suppose, for I warrant it has look as solemn as crows at a funeral !'
been a will. Here is James Stuart—that will be the * There is a corpse in the house,' returned the old wo- miller: I can ask him more about it; and Ralph Jonesman, in a solemn voice.
the schoolmaster-he is whiles not over civil; for he * A corpse! Whose corpse ? You don't mean to say does not approve of his scholars eating gingerbread ; and that my old friend, Mark Douglas, has departed ?' he is grown very proud since he was made clerk of the
. It is but too true. We only knew his danger this parish; but he would maybe answer a civil question for morning, and he was a dead man when the sun went all that; and who is this ? Nobody I know-Peter down.'
Green. He will likely be the lawyer's clerk, to judge by Well, well,' returned the pedlar, with a deep sigh, he that fine flourish at the end of his name, and I wish with has had a quiet end, at any rate; and it's what we must all my heart I knew who his master was, for there is all come to. He was a harmless body, to say the worst something very queer in all this, that is certain : and of him, and you and I will miss him, Jenny, though no- what is on this other scrap? Rebecca Ainsley, the whole body else may. But who is watching the body, when I of my- -Ah ! hah! Richard Douglas was not burning a see you both here?
will, in the dead of the night, for nothing, I am con• There is no one with it just now,' answered the farmer, vinced ; and if ever I saw guilt on the face of any living ' for I left it to answer your knocking.'
man, it was plainly stamped on his, when he opened the Shame on you!' cried the old housekeeper. What door to me so slowly and unwillingly. But I must see all business was that of yours: there were people enough in and say nothing for the present, and keep these precious the house to open the door to a traveller, this stormy little bits of paper as carefully as gold, till God sees fit, night, without you leaving your brother's corpse when the in his own good time, to call the wicked to justice.' breath is hardly out of it.
With this reflection he drew a huge old greasy mole“And you only came down stairs after I knocked ? skin pocket-book from a secret recess of his manyWell, that is unaccountable,' said the pedlar, with a coloured waistcoat; and after depositing the scraps most searching glance at Richard. Then, as the fire is out, carefully therein, took up his basket, and retired to the what could make the great light in the kitchen, before I hay-loft for the rest of the night. knocked at all ?'
( To be concluded in our next Number.) That is more than I can say.'
A light in the kitchen !' cried Jenny, with affright. Heaven defend us, Jemmy, what could that mean? It
DARING EXPLOIT OF BANDITTI. bodes no good.'
De Los Torres, a nobleman of great wealth, had just arMaybe not,' said the old man, taking a sly look from rived at his estates in the vega of Granada. His chateau under his grey eyebrows at the farmer, whose restless un- is situated on the skirts of a populous village, about eight easiness would have been visible to a less keen observer. or nine miles from Granada, and to seize and carry him Jemmy saw more than he knew exactly how to account off from his own castle was the daring scheme of the robfor; and when Richard, who was unwilling to leave him ber chief. For several days some of the robbers were alone with old Jenny, proposed his sitting the remainder stationed in the neighbourhood as spies, to watch his moof the night with him by the fire in the dead man's tions, and to report when and where he could be most suc