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relinquish the last hopes of life, they bent their eyes on the black rock pointed out by Ochiltree. It was yet distinctly visible among the breakers, and continued to be so, until they came to a turn in their precarious path where an intervening projection of rock bid it from their sight. Deprived of the view of the beacon on which they had relied, here then they experienced the double agony of terror and suspense. They struggled forward however ; but, when they arrived at the point from wbich they ought to have seen the crag, it was no longer visible. The signal of safety was lost amidst a thousand white breakers, which, dashing upon the point of the promontory, rose in prodigious sheets of snowy foam as high as the mast of a first-rate man-of-war, against the dark brow of the precipice.
• 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 echoed by Sir Arthur My child! my child :-to die sueh a death!”
«« My father! my dear father!" bis 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 bae lived to be weary o’ life; and here or yonder at the back o' a dyke, in a wreath o'snaw, or in the weam o'a wave, what signifies how the auld gaberlunzie dies!"
"" Good man,” said Sir Arthur, “ can you think of nothing ?m-of no help?I'll make you rich I'll give you a farm--I'll”.
• “Our riches will soon be equal," said the beggar, looking out upon the strife of waters" they are sae already; for I have no land, and you would give your fair bounds and barony for a square yard of rock that would be dry for twal hours."
• While they exchanged these words, they paused upon the highest ledge of rock to which they could attain; for it seemed that any further attempt to move forward could only serve to anticipate their fate. Here then they were to await the sure though slow progress of the raging element, something in the situation of the martyrs of the early church, who, exposed by heathen tyrants to be slain by wild beasts, were compelled for a time to witness the impatience and rage by which the animals were agitated, while awaiting the signal for undoing their grates and letting them loose upon
the victims. • Yet even this fearful pause gave Isabella time to collect the powers of a mind naturally strong and courageous, and which rallied itself at this terrible juncture. “ Must we yield life,” she said, “ without a struggle ? Is there no path, however dreadful, by which we could climb the crag, or at least attain some height above the tide, where we could remain till morning, or till help comes? They must be aware of our situation, and will raise the country to relieve us.'
• Sir Arthur, who heard, but scarcely comprehended, his daughter's question, turned, nevertheless, instinctively and eagerly to the old man, as if their lives were in bis gift. Ochiltree paused. “ I was a bauld craigsman,” he said, “ ance in my life, and mony. a kitty wake's and
lungie's nest hae I barried up amang thae very black rocks; but it's lang, lang syne, and nae mortal could speel them without a rope and if I had ane, my ee-sight, and my foot-step, and my hand-grip, hae a' failed mony a day sin-syne-and then how could I save you?
But there was a path here ance, though may be if we could see it ye wad rather bide where we are his name be praised !” he ejaculated suddenly, “ there's ane coming down the crag e'en now !"--Then, exalting his voice, he holla'd out to the daring adventurer such instructions as his former practice, and the remembrance of local circumstances, suddenly forced upon bis mind :-“ Ye're right-ye're right--that gale, that gate-fasten the rope weel round the Crummie's-born, that's the muckle black stane-cast twa plies round it-that's it-now, weize yoursel a wee easel-ward--a wee mair yet to that ither stane--we ca'd it the Cat's-lug--there used to be the root o'an aik-tree there that will do !
-canny now, lad-canny now-tak tent and take time-Lord bless ye, tak time.- Vera weel ! Now
ye maun get to Bessy's Apron--that's the muckle braid flat blue stane --and then I think, wi' your belp and the tow thegither, we'll be able to get up the young leddy and Sir Arthur.
• The adventurer, following the directions of old Edie, flung him down the end of the rope, which he secured round Miss Wardour, wrapping her previously in his own blue gown, to preserve her as much as possible from injury. Then, availing himself of the rope, which was made fast at the other end, he began to ascend the face of the crag--a most precarious and dizzy undertaking, wbich, however, after one or two perilous escapes, placed him safe on the broad flat stone beside our friend Lovel. Their joint strength was able to raise Isabella to the place of safety which they had attained. Lovel then descended in order to assist Sir Arthur, around whom he adjusted the rope : and again mounting to a place of refuge, with the assistance of old Ochiltree, and such aid as Sir Arthur himself could give, he raised him beyond the reach of the billows.'
This will give the readers a notion of the dialect in which great part of the work is written, and we shall now select a couple of scenes as descriptive of its peculiar taste, and attention to nature :the first shall be one of a lighter cast, which we quote, not because it is the best of the kind, but that it happens to be the first which we have been able to discover of a manageable length.
Upon the links or downs close to them, were seen four or five buts inhabited by fishers, whose boats, drawn high upon the beach, lent the odoriferous vapours of pitch melting under a burning sun, to contend with those of the offals of fish and other nuisances usually collected round Scottish cottages. Undisturbed by these complicated steams of abomination, a middle-aged woman, with a face which had defied a thousand storms, set mending a net at the door of one of the cottages. A bandkerchief close round about her head, a coat, which had formerly been that of a man, gave her a masculine air, which was increased by her strength, uncommon stature, and harsh voice. " What
are ye for the day, your honour ?” she said, or rather screamed, to Oldbuck, “ caller haddocks and whitingsa bannock-fluke and a cockpadle.
“How much for the bannock-fluke and cock-padle ?" demanded the Antiquary.
"Four white shillings and saxpence," answered the Naïad.*
“ Four devils and six of their imps," retorted the Antiquary ; “Do ye: think I am mad, Maggie ?”
“ And div ye think,” rejoined the virago, setting her arms a-kimbo, “ that my man and my sons are to gae to the sea in weather like yestreen and the day-sic a sea as it's yet outbye--and get naething for their fish, and be misca'd into the bargain, Monk barns? It's no fish ye're buying—it's men's lives.”
“ Well, Maggie, I'll bid you fair—I'll bid you a shilling for the fluke and the cock-padle, or sixpence separately--and if all your fish is as well paid, I think your man, as you call him, and your sons, will make a good voyage.”
“ De'il gin their boat were knockit against the Bell-Rock rather! it wad be better, and the bonnier voyage o' the twa. A shilling for thae twa bonny fish! Odd, that's ane indeed!”
“ Well, well, you old beldam, carry your fish up to Monkbarns, and see what my sister will give for them.”
Na, na, Monkbarns, de'il a fit I'll rather deal wi’ yoursel ; for, though you're near aneugh, yet Miss Grizel has an unco close grip-I'll gie ye them in a softened tone) for three-and-saxpence,'
“ Eighteen pence, or nothing?"
“ Eighteen-pence!!!" (in a loud tone of astonishment, which declined in a sort of rueful whine, when the dealer turned as if to walk away) Ye'll no be for the fish then ?"-(then louder as she saw him moving off)—“I'll gie them-and-and—and a half-a-dozen o’partans to make the sauce, for three shillings and a dram.”
“ Half-a-crown then, Maggie, and a dram.”
“ Aweel, your bonour maun hae't your ain gate, nae doubt ; but a dram's worth siller now--the distillery's no working.
“ And I hope they'll never work again in my time,” said Oldbuck.
“Aye, aye--it's easy for your honour, and the like o' you gentle folks, to say sae, that hae stouth and routh, and fire and fending, and meat and claith, and sit dry and canny by the fire-side-But an' ye wanted fire, and meat and dry claise, and were deeing o'cauld, and had a sair heart, whilk is warst ava', wi' just tippence in your pouch, wadna ye be glad to buy a dram wi't, to be eilding and claise, and a supper and heart's ease into the bargain, till the morn's morning ?”
" It's even too true an apology, Maggie. Is your goodman off to sea this morning, after his exertions last night ?”
“ In troth is be, Monkbarns; he was awa this morning by four o'clock, when the sea was working like barm wi' yestreen's wind, and our bit coble dancing in't like a cork.”
* Is not this a mistake for the Nereid? In our early days, at least, the Naiads no ver meddle with cock-padles,' or sea-fish of any kind,
“Well, he's an industrious fellow. Carry the fish up to Monkbarns.!!
. " That I willor I'll send little Jenny, she'll riņ faster; but I'll ca's on Miss Grizzy for the dram mysel, and say ye sent we.”
* A nondescript animal, which might have passed for a mermaid, as it was paddling in a pool among the rocks, was summoned ashore by the shrill screams of its dam ; and having been made decent, as her mother called it, which was performed by adding a short red cloak to a petticoat, which was at first her sole covering, and which reached scantly below her knee, the child was dismissed with the fish in a basket, and a request on the part of Monkbarns, that they might be prepared for dinner. vol. i. pp. 250–255.
Our other quotation shall be the funeral of this fish-wife's son, who within a few days after the foregoing conversation, afforded a melancholy illustration of his mother's forcible expression, that it was not fish but men's lives that the Antiquary was buying.—He had been drowned, and the body, washed ashore, was now to be buried after the fashion of the country. It is a scene,' says the author, which our Wilkie alone would have painted with that exquisite feeling of nature that characterizes his enchanting productions ;' but the author is too modest, and too unjust to his own art. Wilkie, with all his enchanting qualities, could not, the pencil cannot, paint this scene with such touching strokes of nature as we find in the dramatic narration of our author. It is too long to be extracted in extenso, but at the risk of diminishing its effect, we shall venture to put together some detached sentences,
• The body was laid in its coffin within the wooden bedstead which the young fisher had occupied while alive. At a little distance stood the father, whose rugged weather-beaten countenance, shaded by his grizzled hair, had faced many a stormy night and night-like day. The old man had made the most desperate efforts to save his son, and had only been withheld by main force from renewing them at a moment, when, without the possibility of assisting the sufferer, he must bimself have perished. All this apparently was boiling in bis recollection. His glance was directed sidelong towards the coffin, as to an object on which he could not stedfastly look, and yet from which he could not withdraw
• In another corner of the cottage, her face covered by her apron, whicha was flung over it, sat the mother, the nature of her grief sufficiently indicated, by the wringing her hands, and the convulsive agitation of the bosom which the covering could not conceal.'
• The sorrow of the children was mingled with wonder at the preparations they bebeld around them, and at the unusual display of wheaten bread and wine, which the poorest peasant, or fisher, offers to the guests on these mournful occasions ; and thus their grief for their brother's death was almost already lost ini admiration of the splendour of bis 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 towards 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 ber husbandry, and appear caught by the black colour 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 ber 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 bad 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. So she sat among the funeral assembly like a connecting link between the surviving mourners and the dead corpse which they bewailed -- being in whom the light of existence was already obscured by the encroaching shadow of death.'
• When Oldbuck entered this house of mourning, he was received by a general and silent inclination of the head, and according to the fashion of Scotland on such occasions, wine and spirits and bread were offered round to the guests. Elspeth, the old grandmother, as these refreshments were presented, surprised and startled the whole company by motioning to the person who bore them to stop ; then taking a glass in her hand, she rose up, and, as the smile of dotage played upon her shrivelled features, she pronounced with a hollow and tremulous voice, “ Wishing a' your healths, sirs, and often may we hae such merry meetings."
. All shrunk from the ominous pledge, and set down the untasted liquor with a degree of shuddering horror, which will not surprise those who know how many superstitions are still common on such occasions among the Scottish vulgar.'
· As the general amazement subsided, Mr. Oldbuck, whose heart bled to witness what he considered as the errings of the enfeebled intellect struggling with the torpid chill of age and of sorrow, observed to the clergyman that is was time to proceed to the ceremony. The father was incapable of giving directions, but the nearest relation of the family made a sign to the carpenter, who in such cases goes through the duty of the undertaker, to proceed in 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 last act which separates us for ever, even from the mortal reliques of the person we assemble to mourn, has usually its effect upon the most indifferent, selfish, and hardhearted. With a spirit of contradiction, which we may be pardoned for esteeming narrow-minded, the fathers of the Scottish kirk rejected, even on this most solemn occasion, the form of an address to the Divinity, lest they should be thought to give countenance to the rituals of Rome or of England.