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fall (to use a common phrase) by their own virtue or folly, courage or weakness.
Some strong defects it must be admitted this work has; the story of the novel is not very novel, nor yet very probable. The heir of the earldom of Glenallan becomes enamoured of a relation, young, beautiful, and poor, who resides with his mother as a kind of companion. The countess, a proud and ferocious woman, indignant at the thoughts of so unprofitable an alliance for her son, to prevent it, imagines and propagates the monstrous story, that Miss Neville is--not the distant cousin of the young lord, but—his sister, an illegitimate daughter of his father. Although this horrible fiction came too late for the purpose of its inventor-for the marriage had already taken place—the horrors of the supposed discovery occasioned the premature birth of a boy, and the unhappy mother soon after puts an end to her own existence. The father, with a broken heart
, and a restless conscience, estranges himself from the world, while the infant (escaping the fate to which it was doomed by its cruel grandame, by the humane treachery of one of her associates, and the secret generosity of its father's younger brother) survives to be restored, at the end of the third volume, to his rights, titles, and estates.
The protracted life of the dowager Lady Glenallan, and the fide. lity of her copartners in guilt, deferred this explanation ; and the brother of Lord Glenallan died in the belief that the boy, whom he educated as his own natural son, under the name of Lovell
, was the offspring of the legitimate but incestuous marriage of his brother and sister.
Circumstances had occurred to prove to the young Lovell that some strange mystery hung over his birth, and to create a' resolution to endeavour to discover it. This led him to the neighbourhood of the family seats of his supposed father, and introduced him to the acquaintance of Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq. of Monkbarns, the Antiquary, and that of Sir Arthur Wardour, a gentleman of ancient family and encumbered fortune, whose daughter Isabella may be called the heroine of the piece, as she becomes in due season the wife of Lovell, who himself becomes Lord Geraldine, which to the vehement indignation, no doubt, of all true Fitzgeralds) our author assigns as the second title to the House of Glenallan.
It will be seen from the summary, that though the Antiquary gives his name to the work, he can hardly be called its hero; and, indeed, though the peculiarity of his character induces the author to pruduce him very frequently and forwardly in the scene, he has not any great share in the plot, and is evidently recommended to the high mation which he occupies by his humour rather than his use. This
character is, indeed, drawn with great truth and spirit; we should have praised its originality too, if we did not remember, with equal pleasure and affection, our admirable friend the Baron of Bradwardine, of whom Mr. Oldbuck sometimes reminds us, and never without at once gaining and losing a little by the recollectiongaining by his resemblance to that delightful portrait, and losing by a manifest inferiority to his striking original. In another character also, we have to observe a similar instance of self imitation; Edie Ochiltree, a kind of licensed beggar, is but a male Meg Merrilies; his character is, however, admirably drawn, and, in this case, we must confess, that we prefer the copy to the original. Edie is nothing supernatural, and therefore not so striking a personage as Meg; but there is great skill and great effect, as well as great simplicity and truth, in this portrait, and his contribution to the progress of the story is easy and probable, and, on that account, to us, more interesting, than the incantations and prophecies of the witch of the ashen wand.
•We shall extract a description of Edie, not as the most amusing specimen we could produce, but because it is a living portrait of a singular class of the Scottish poor.
• He had the exterior appearance of a mendicant. A slouched hat of huge dimensions ; a long wbite beard, which mingled with his grizzled hair; an aged, but strongly marked and expressive countenance, hardened, by climate and exposure, to a right brick-dust complexion; a long blue gown, with a pewter badge on the right arm; two or three wallets, or bags, slung across his shoulder, for holding the different kinds of meal, when he received his charity in kind from those who were but a degree richer than himself,-all these marked at once a beggar by profession, and one of that privileged class wbich are called in Scotland the king's bedes-men, or, vulgarly, blue-gowns.'- vol. i. p. 78.
Scanty as our limits are, we think that we should scarcely do justice to the author, if we did not make room for the following extract. It greatly exceeds the length in which we commonly indulge; but for this, its uncommon merits will find a ready excuse in the minds of our readers. It is a description of the danger to which Sir Arthur and Miss Wardour are exposed, when caught, by the rising of the tide in a stormy evening, on sands surrounded by inaccessible precipices, the base of which the tide at its full rising would overflow. The scenery is undoubtedly delineated by an imagination at once fervid and poetical; and it is marked by such traits of character and truth, that every craig, and breaker, and precipice are brought distinctly before us.
• When the knight and his daughter reached the side of the ocean, the tide was by no means so far out as they had computed, but
VOL, XV. NO. XXIX.
this gave them nu alarm : there were seldom ten days in the year when it approached so near the cliffs as not to leave a dry passage. But nevertheless, at periods of spring.tide, or even when the ordinary flood was accelerated by high winds, this road was altogether covered by the sea ; and tradition had recorded several fatal accidents which had happened upon such occasions. Still, such dangers were considered as remote and improbable ; and rather served, with other legends, to amuse the bamlet fire-side, than to prevent any one from going between Knockwinnock and Monkbarns by the sands.
* As Sir Arthur and Miss Wardour paced along, enjoying the pleasant footing afforded by the cool moist hard sand, Miss Wardour could pot help observing that the last tide had risen considerably above the usual water-mark. Sir Arthur made the same observation, but with. out its occurring to either of them to be alarmed at the circumstance. The sun was now resting his huge disk upon the edge of the level ocean, and gilded the accumulation of towering clouds, through which he had travelled the livelong day, and which now assembled on all sides like misfortunes and disasters around a sinking empire and falling monarch. Still, however, his dying splendour gave a sombre magnificence to the massive congregation of vapours, forming out of their unsubstantial gloom the show of pyramids and towers, some touched with gold, some with purple, some with a hue of deep and dark red. The distant sea, stretched beneath this variegated and gorgeous canopy, lay almost portentously still, reflecting back the dazzling and level beams of the descending luminary, and the splendid colouring of the clouds amidst which he was setting. Nearer to the beach, the tide rippled onward in waves of sparkling silver, that imperceptibly, yet rapidly, gained upon the sand.
• With a mind employed in admiration of the romantic scene, or perhaps upon some more agitating topic, Miss Wardour advanced in silence by her father's side, whose recently offended dignity did not stoop to open any conversation. Following the windings of the beach, they passed one projecting point or head-land of rock after another, and now found themselves under a huge and continued extent of the precipices by which that iron-bound coast is in most places defended. Long projecting reefs of rocks, extending under water, and only evincing their existence by here and there a peak entirely bare, or by the breakers which foamed over those that were partially covered, rendered Knockwinnock bay dreaded by pilots and ship-masters. The crags wbich arose between the beach and the mainland, to the height of two or three hundred feet, afforded in their crevices shelter for unnumbered sea-fowl, in situations seemingly secured by their dizzy height from the rapacity of man. Many of these wild tribes, with the instinct which sends them to seek the land before a storm arises, were winging towards their nests with the shrill and dissonant clang which announces disquietude and fear. The disk of the sun became almost totally obscured ere he had altogether sunk below the horizon, and na early and lurid shade of darkness blotted the serene twilight of a summer evening. The wind began next to arise, but its wild and moaning
sound was heard for some time, and its effect became visible on the bosom of the sea, before the gale was felt at land. The mass of waters, now dark and threatening, began to lift itself in larger ridges, and sink in deeper furrows, forming waves that rose high in foam upon the breakers, or burst upon the beach with sound resembling distant thunder.
Appalled by this sudden change of weather, Miss Wardour drew close to her father, and held his arm fast. "I wish,” at length she said, but almost in a whisper, as if ashamed to express her increasing apprehensions, “I wish we had kept the road we intended, or waited at Monkbarns for the carriage."
Sir Arthur looked round, but did not see, or would not acknowledge, any signs of an immediate storm. They would reach, he said, Knockwinnock long before the tempest began. But the speed with which he walked, and with which Isabella could hardly keep pace, indicated a feeling that some exertion was necessary to accomplish his consolatory prediction.
They were now near the centre of a deep but narrow bay, or recess, formed by two projecting capes of bigh and inaccesssible 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 unusual 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 forward, longing doubtless to exchange the easy curving line, which the sinuosities of the bay compelled them to adopt, for a straighter and more expeditious path, though less conformable to the line of beauty, Sir Arthur observed a human figure on the beach advancing to meet them. “ Thank God,” he exclaimed, shall get round Halket-head! that fellow must have passed it;" thus giving vent to the feeling of hope, though he had suppressed that of appre- ; bension.
• « Thank God indeed!” echoed his daughter half audibly, half internally, as expressing the gratitude which she really felt.
• The figure which advanced to meet them 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. Some time before they met, Sir Arthur could recognize the old blue-gowned beggar, Edie Ochiltree. It is said that even the brute creation lay aside their animosities and antipathies when pressed by an instant and common danger. The beach under Halket-head, rapidly diminishing in extent by the encroachments of a spring-tide and a north-east wind, was in like manner a neutral field, where even a justice of peace and a strolling mendicant might meet upon terms of mutual forbearance.
“ Turn back! turn back !” exclaimed the vagrant; “ why did ye not turn when I waved to you?”
""We thought,” replied Sir Arthur in great agitation, "we thought we could get round Halket-head.” • Halket-head! The tide will be running on Halket-head by this
time like the Fall of Fiers ! and it was a'I could do to get round it twenty minutes since--it was coming in three feet a-breast. We will may-be get back by Bally-burgh Ness Point yet. The Lord belp-us, it's our only chance. We can but try.”
" My God, my child !" My father, my dear father !” exclaimed the parent and daughter, as, fear lending them strength and speed, they turned to retrace their steps, and endeavour to double the point, the projection of which formed the southern extremity of the bay.
6“ Į heard ye were here, frae the bit callant ye sent to meet your carriage,” said the beggar, as he trudged stoutly on a step or two be hind Miss Wardour, “and I couldna bide to think o' the dainty young leddy's peril, that bas aye been kind to ilka forlorn beart that cam near her. Sae I lookit at the lift and the rin o' the tide, till I settled it that if I could get down time eneugh to gie you warning, we wad do weel yet. But I doubt, I doubt I have been beguiled ! (or what mortal e'e ever saw siç a race as the tide is ripnine'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.'
• Sir Arthur cast a look in the direction in which the old man pointed. A huge rock, which in general, even in spring-tides, displayed a hulk like the keel of a large vessel, was now quite under water, and its place only indicated by the boiling and breaking of the eddying waves which encountered its submarine resistance.
• " Mak baste, mak haste, by bonny leddy," continued the old man, “mak baste, and we may do it yet! Tak haud o' my arm-an auld and frail arm it's now, but it's been in as sair stress as this is yet. Tak baud o'my arm, my winsome leddy! D’ye see yon wee black speck among the wallowing waves yonder? This morning it was as high as the mast o' a brig---but, while I see as muckle black about it as the crown o'my hat, I wiona believe but we'll get round the Bally-burgh Ness for a' that's come and gane yet.”
• Isabella, in silence, accepted from the old man the assistance which Sir Artbur was less able to afford her. The waves had now encroached so much upon the beach, that the firm and smooth footing which they had hitherto had upon the sand must be exchanged for a rougher path close to the foot of the precipice, and in some places even raised upon its lower ledges. It would have been utterly impossible for Sir Arthur Wardour or his daughter to have found their way along these shelves without the guidance and encouragement of the beggar who had been there before in high tides, though never, he acknowledged, “ in so awsome a night as this."
It was indeed a dreadful evening. The howling of the storm mingled with the shrieks of the sea-fowl, and sounded like the dirge of the three devoted beings, who, pent between two of the most magnificent, yet most dreadful objects of naturea 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 which had preceded it. Each minute did their enemy gain ground perceptibly upon them. Still, however, loth to