The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Volume 2, Illustrated
Sir Walter Scott
Part 4 out of 7
Grace, whose occasional residence in that county made him acquainted with
most of the heritors, as landed persons are termed in Scotland.--"He has
a house not far from Dalkeith, wears a black wig and a laced hat?"
"Yes sir," answered Jeanie, who had her reasons for being brief in her
answers upon this topic.
"Ah, my old friend Dumbie!" said the Duke; "I have thrice seen him fou,
and only once heard the sound of his voice--Is he a cousin of yours,
"No, sir,--my Lord."
"Then he must be a well-wisher, I suspect?"
"Ye--yes,--my Lord, sir," answered Jeanie, blushing, and with hesitation.
"Aha! then, if the Laird starts, I suppose my friend Butler must be in
"O no, sir," answered Jeanie, much more readily, but at the same time
blushing much more deeply.
"Well, Jeanie," said the Duke, "you are a girl may be safely trusted with
your own matters, and I shall inquire no farther about them. But as to
this same pardon, I must see to get it passed through the proper forms;
and I have a friend in office who will for auld lang syne, do me so much
favour. And then, Jeanie, as I shall have occasion to send an express
down to Scotland, who will travel with it safer and more swiftly than you
can do, I will take care to have it put into the proper channel;
meanwhile you may write to your friends by post of your good success."
"And does your Honour think," said Jeanie, "that will do as weel as if I
were to take my tap in my lap, and slip my ways hame again on my ain
"Much better, certainly," said the Duke. "You know the roads are not very
safe for a single woman to travel."
Jeanie internally acquiesced in this observation.
"And I have a plan for you besides. One of the Duchess's attendants, and
one of mine--your acquaintance Archibald--are going down to Inverary in a
light calash, with four horses I have bought, and there is room enough in
the carriage for you to go with them as far as Glasgow, where Archibald
will find means of sending you safely to Edinburgh.--And in the way I beg
you will teach the woman as much as you can of the mystery of
cheese-making, for she is to have a charge in the dairy, and I dare swear
you are as tidy about your milk-pail as about your dress."
"Does your Honour like cheese?" said Jeanie, with a gleam of conscious
delight as she asked the question.
"Like it?" said the Duke, whose good-nature anticipated what was to
follow,--"cakes and cheese are a dinner for an emperor, let alone a
"Because," said Jeanie, with modest confidence, and great and evident
self-gratulation, "we have been thought so particular in making cheese,
that some folk think it as gude as the real Dunlop; and if your honour's
Grace wad but accept a stane or twa, blithe, and fain, and proud it wad
make us? But maybe ye may like the ewe-milk, that is, the Buckholmside*
cheese better; or maybe the gait-milk, as ye come frae the
Highlands--and I canna pretend just to the same skeel o' them; but my
cousin Jean, that lives at Lockermachus in Lammermuir, I could speak to
* The hilly pastures of Buckholm, which the Author now surveys,--"Not in
the frenzy of a dreamer's eye,"--are famed for producing the best
ewe-milk cheese in the south of Scotland.
"Quite unnecessary," said the Duke; "the Dunlop is the very cheese of
which I am so fond, and I will take it as the greatest favour you can do
me to send one to Caroline Park. But remember, be on honour with it,
Jeanie, and make it all yourself, for I am a real good judge."
"I am not feared," said Jeanie, confidently, "that I may please your
Honour; for I am sure you look as if you could hardly find fault wi'
onybody that did their best; and weel is it my part, I trow, to do mine."
This discourse introduced a topic upon which the two travellers, though
so different in rank and education, found each a good deal to say. The
Duke, besides his other patriotic qualities, was a distinguished
agriculturist, and proud of his knowledge in that department. He
entertained Jeanie with his observations on the different breeds of
cattle in Scotland, and their capacity for the dairy, and received so
much information from her practical experience in return, that he
promised her a couple of Devonshire cows in reward for the lesson. In
short his mind was so transported back to his rural employments and
amusements, that he sighed when his carriage stopped opposite to the old
hackney-coach, which Archibald had kept in attendance at the place where
they had left it. While the coachman again bridled his lean cattle, which
had been indulged with a bite of musty hay, the Duke cautioned Jeanie not
to be too communicative to her landlady concerning what had passed.
"There is," he said, "no use of speaking of matters till they are
actually settled; and you may refer the good lady to Archibald, if she
presses you hard with questions. She is his old acquaintance, and he
knows how to manage with her."
He then took a cordial farewell of Jeanie, and told her to be ready in
the ensuing week to return to Scotland--saw her safely established in her
hackney-coach, and rolled of in his own carriage, humming a stanza of the
ballad which he is said to have composed:--
"At the sight of Dumbarton once again,
I'll cock up my bonnet and march amain,
With my claymore hanging down to my heel,
To whang at the bannocks of barley meal."
Perhaps one ought to be actually a Scotsman to conceive how ardently,
under all distinctions of rank and situation, they feel their mutual
connection with each other as natives of the same country. There are, I
believe, more associations common to the inhabitants of a rude and wild,
than of a well-cultivated and fertile country; their ancestors have more
seldom changed their place of residence; their mutual recollection of
remarkable objects is more accurate; the high and the low are more
interested in each other's welfare; the feelings of kindred and
relationship are more widely extended, and in a word, the bonds of
patriotic affection, always honourable even when a little too exclusively
strained, have more influence on men's feelings and actions.
The rumbling hackney-coach, which tumbled over the (then) execrable
London pavement, at a rate very different from that which had conveyed
the ducal carriage to Richmond, at length deposited Jeanie Deans and her
attendant at the national sign of the Thistle. Mrs. Glass, who had been
in long and anxious expectation, now rushed, full of eager curiosity and
open-mouthed interrogation, upon our heroine, who was positively unable
to sustain the overwhelming cataract of her questions, which burst forth
with the sublimity of a grand gardyloo:--
"Had she seen the Duke, God bless him--the Duchess--the young ladies?--
Had she seen the King, God bless him--the Queen--the Prince of Wales--the
Princess--or any of the rest of the royal family?--Had she got her
sister's pardon?--Was it out and out--or was it only a commutation of
punishment?--How far had she gone--where had she driven to--whom had she
seen--what had been said--what had kept her so long?"
Such were the various questions huddled upon each other by a curiosity so
eager, that it could hardly wait for its own gratification. Jeanie would
have been more than sufficiently embarrassed by this overbearing tide of
interrogations, had not Archibald, who had probably received from his
master a hint to that purpose, advanced to her rescue. "Mrs. Glass," said
Archibald, "his Grace desired me particularly to say, that he would take
it as a great favour if you would ask the young woman no questions, as he
wishes to explain to you more distinctly than she can do how her affairs
stand, and consult you on some matters which she cannot altogether so
well explain. The Duke will call at the Thistle to-morrow or next day for
"His Grace is very condescending," said Mrs. Glass, her zeal for inquiry
slaked for the present by the dexterous administration of this sugar
plum--"his Grace is sensible that I am in a manner accountable for the
conduct of my young kinswoman, and no doubt his Grace is the best judge
how far he should intrust her or me with the management of her affairs."
"His Grace is quite sensible of that," answered Archibald, with national
gravity, "and will certainly trust what he has to say to the most
discreet of the two; and therefore, Mrs. Glass, his Grace relies you will
speak nothing to Mrs. Jean Deans, either of her own affairs or her
sister's, until he sees you himself. He desired me to assure you, in the
meanwhile, that all was going on as well as your kindness could wish,
"His Grace is very kind--very considerate, certainly, Mr. Archibald--his
Grace's commands shall be obeyed, and--But you have had a far drive, Mr.
Archibald, as I guess by the time of your absence, and I guess" (with an
engaging smile) "you winna be the waur o' a glass of the right Rosa
"I thank you, Mrs. Glass," said the great man's great man, "but I am
under the necessity of returning to my Lord directly." And, making his
adieus civilly to both cousins, he left the shop of the Lady of the
"I am glad your affairs have prospered so well, Jeanie, my love," said
Mrs. Glass; "though, indeed, there was little fear of them so soon as the
Duke of Argyle was so condescending as to take them into hand. I will ask
you no questions about them, because his Grace, who is most considerate
and prudent in such matters, intends to tell me all that you ken
yourself, dear, and doubtless a great deal more; so that anything that
may lie heavily on your mind may be imparted to me in the meantime, as
you see it is his Grace's pleasure that I should be made acquainted with
the whole matter forthwith, and whether you or he tells it, will make no
difference in the world, ye ken. If I ken what he is going to say
beforehand, I will be much more ready to give my advice, and whether you
or he tell me about it, cannot much signify after all, my dear. So you
may just say whatever you like, only mind I ask you no questions about
Jeanie was a little embarrassed. She thought that the communication she
had to make was perhaps the only means she might have in her power to
gratify her friendly and hospitable kinswoman. But her prudence instantly
suggested that her secret interview with Queen Caroline, which seemed to
pass under a certain sort of mystery, was not a proper subject for the
gossip of a woman like Mrs. Glass, of whose heart she had a much better
opinion than of her prudence. She, therefore, answered in general, that
the Duke had had the extraordinary kindness to make very particular
inquiries into her sister's bad affair, and that he thought he had found
the means of putting it a' straight again, but that he proposed to tell
all that he thought about the matter to Mrs. Glass herself.
This did not quite satisfy the penetrating mistress of the Thistle.
Searching as her own small rappee, she, in spite of her promise, urged
Jeanie with still farther questions. "Had she been a' that time at Argyle
House? Was the Duke with her the whole time? and had she seen the
Duchess? and had she seen the young ladies--and specially Lady Caroline
Campbell?"--To these questions Jeanie gave the general reply, that she
knew so little of the town that she could not tell exactly where she had
been; that she had not seen the Duchess to her knowledge; that she had
seen two ladies, one of whom, she understood, bore the name of Caroline;
and more, she said, she could not tell about the matter.
"It would be the Duke's eldest daughter, Lady Caroline Campbell, there is
no doubt of that," said Mrs. Glass; "but doubtless, I shall know more
particularly through his Grace.--And so, as the cloth is laid in the
little parlour above stairs, and it is past three o'clock, for I have
been waiting this hour for you, and I have had a snack myself; and, as
they used to say in Scotland in my time--I do not ken if the word be used
now--there is ill talking between a full body and a fasting."
Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,--
Some banished lover or some captive maid.
By dint of unwonted labour with the pen, Jeanie Deans contrived to
indite, and give to the charge of the postman on the ensuing day, no less
than three letters, an exertion altogether strange to her habits;
insomuch so, that, if milk had been plenty, she would rather have made
thrice as many Dunlop cheeses. The first of them was very brief. It was
addressed to George Staunton, Esq., at the Rectory, Willingham, by
Grantham; the address being part of the information she had extracted
from the communicative peasant who rode before her to Stamford. It was in
"Sir,--To prevent farder mischieves, whereof there hath been enough,
comes these: Sir, I have my sister's pardon from the Queen's Majesty,
whereof I do not doubt you will be glad, having had to say naut of
matters whereof you know the purport. So, Sir, I pray for your better
welfare in bodie and soul, and that it will please the fisycian to visit
you in His good time. Alwaies, sir, I pray you will never come again to
see my sister, whereof there has been too much. And so, wishing you no
evil, but even your best good, that you may be turned from your iniquity
(for why suld ye die?) I rest your humble servant to command,
"_Ye ken wha._"
The next letter was to her father. It is too long altogether for
insertion, so we only give a few extracts. It commenced--
"Dearest and truly honoured father,--This comes with my duty to inform
you, that it has pleased God to redeem that captivitie of my poor sister,
in respect the Queen's blessed Majesty, for whom we are ever bound to
pray, hath redeemed her soul from the slayer, granting the ransom of her,
whilk is ane pardon or reprieve. And I spoke with the Queen face to face
and yet live; for she is not muckle differing from other grand leddies,
saying that she has a stately presence, and een like a blue huntin'
hawk's, whilk gaed throu' and throu' me like a Highland durk--And all
this good was, alway under the Great Giver, to whom all are but
instruments, wrought forth for us by the Duk of Argile, wha is ane native
true-hearted Scotsman, and not pridefu', like other folk we ken of--and
likewise skeely enow in bestial, whereof he has promised to gie me twa
Devonshire kye, of which he is enamoured, although I do still haud by the
real hawlit Airshire breed--and I have promised him a cheese; and I wad
wuss ye, if Gowans, the brockit cow, has a quey, that she suld suck her
fill of milk, as I am given to understand he has none of that breed, and
is not scornfu' but will take a thing frae a puir body, that it may
lighten their heart of the loading of debt that they awe him. Also his
honour the Duke will accept ane of our Dunlop cheeses, and it sall be my
faut if a better was ever yearned in Lowden."--[Here follow some
observations respecting the breed of cattle, and the produce of the
dairy, which it is our intention to forward to the Board of
Agriculture.]--"Nevertheless, these are but matters of the after-harvest,
in respect of the great good which Providence hath gifted us with--and,
in especial, poor Effie's life. And oh, my dear father, since it hath
pleased God to be merciful to her, let her not want your free pardon,
whilk will make her meet to be ane vessel of grace, and also a comfort to
your ain graie hairs. Dear Father, will ye let the Laird ken that we have
had friends strangely raised up to us, and that the talent whilk he lent
me will be thankfully repaid. I hae some of it to the fore; and the rest
of it is not knotted up in ane purse or napkin, but in ane wee bit paper,
as is the fashion heir, whilk I am assured is gude for the siller. And,
dear father, through Mr. Butler's means I hae gude friendship with the
Duke, for their had been kindness between their forbears in the auld
troublesome time bye-past. And Mrs. Glass has been kind like my very
mother. She has a braw house here, and lives bien and warm, wi' twa
servant lasses, and a man and a callant in the shop. And she is to send
you doun a pound of her hie-dried, and some other tobaka, and we maun
think of some propine for her, since her kindness hath been great. And
the Duk is to send the pardun doun by an express messenger, in respect
that I canna travel sae fast; and I am to come doun wi' twa of his
Honour's servants--that is, John Archibald, a decent elderly gentleman,
that says he has seen you lang syne, when ye were buying beasts in the
west frae the Laird of Aughtermuggitie--but maybe ye winna mind him--ony
way, he's a civil man--and Mrs. Dolly Dutton, that is to be dairy-maid at
Inverara; and they bring me on as far as Glasgo, whilk will make it nae
pinch to win hame, whilk I desire of all things. May the Giver of all
good things keep ye in your outgauns and incomings, whereof devoutly
prayeth your loving dauter,
The third letter was to Butler, and its tenor as follows:--
"Master Butler.--Sir,--It will be pleasure to you to ken, that all I came
for is, thanks be to God, weel dune and to the gude end, and that your
forbear's letter was right welcome to the Duke of Argile, and that he
wrote your name down with a kylevine pen in a leathern book, whereby it
seems like he will do for you either wi' a scule or a kirk; he has enow
of baith, as I am assured. And I have seen the queen, which gave me a
hussy-case out of her own hand. She had not her crown and skeptre, but
they are laid by for her, like the bairns' best claise, to be worn when
she needs them. And they are keepit in a tour, whilk is not like the tour
of Libberton, nor yet Craigmillar, but mair like to the castell of
Edinburgh, if the buildings were taen and set down in the midst of the
Nor'-Loch. Also the Queen was very bounteous, giving me a paper worth
fiftie pounds, as I am assured, to pay my expenses here and back agen.
Sae, Master Butler, as we were aye neebours' bairns, forby onything else
that may hae been spoken between us, I trust you winna skrimp yoursell
for what is needfu' for your health, since it signifies not muckle whilk
o' us has the siller, if the other wants it. And mind this is no meant to
haud ye to onything whilk ye wad rather forget, if ye suld get a charge
of a kirk or a scule, as above said. Only I hope it will be a scule, and
not a kirk, because of these difficulties anent aiths and patronages,
whilk might gang ill down wi' my honest father. Only if ye could compass
a harmonious call frae the parish of Skreegh-me-dead, as ye anes had hope
of, I trow it wad please him weel; since I hae heard him say, that the
root of the matter was mair deeply hafted in that wild muirland parish
than in the Canongate of Edinburgh. I wish I had whaten books ye wanted,
Mr. Butler, for they hae haill houses of them here, and they are obliged
to set sum out in the street, whilk are sald cheap, doubtless, to get
them out of the weather. It is a muckle place, and I hae seen sae muckle
of it, that my poor head turns round. And ye ken langsyne, I am nae great
pen-woman, and it is near eleven o'clock o' the night. I am cumming down
in good company, and safe--and I had troubles in gaun up whilk makes me
blither of travelling wi' kend folk. My cousin, Mrs. Glass, has a braw
house here, but a' thing is sae poisoned wi' snuff, that I am like to be
scomfished whiles. But what signifies these things, in comparison of the
great deliverance whilk has been vouchsafed to my father's house, in
whilk you, as our auld and dear well-wisher, will, I dout not, rejoice
and be exceedingly glad. And I am, dear Mr. Butler, your sincere
well-wisher in temporal and eternal things,
After these labours of an unwonted kind, Jeanie retired to her bed, yet
scarce could sleep a few minutes together, so often was she awakened by
the heart-stirring consciousness of her sister's safety, and so
powerfully urged to deposit her burden of joy, where she had before laid
her doubts and sorrows, in the warm and sincere exercises of devotion.
All the next, and all the succeeding day, Mrs. Glass fidgeted about her
shop in the agony of expectation, like a pea (to use a vulgar simile
which her profession renders appropriate) upon one of her own tobacco
pipes. With the third morning came the expected coach, with four servants
clustered behind on the footboard, in dark brown and yellow liveries; the
Duke in person, with laced coat, gold-headed cane, star and garter, all,
as the story-book says, very grand.
He inquired for his little countrywoman of Mrs. Glass, but without
requesting to see her, probably because he was unwilling to give an
appearance of personal intercourse betwixt them, which scandal might have
misinterpreted. "The Queen," he said to Mrs. Glass, "had taken the case
of her kinswoman into her gracious consideration, and being specially
moved by the affectionate and resolute character of the elder sister, had
condescended to use her powerful intercession with his Majesty, in
consequence of which a pardon had been despatched to Scotland to Effie
Deans, on condition of her banishing herself forth of Scotland for
fourteen years. The King's Advocate had insisted," he said, "upon this
qualification of the pardon, having pointed out to his Majesty's
ministers, that, within the course of only seven years, twenty-one
instances of child-murder had occurred in Scotland.
"Weary on him!" said Mrs. Glass, "what for needed he to have telled that
of his ain country, and to the English folk abune a'? I used aye to think
the Advocate a douce decent man, but it is an ill bird*--begging your
Grace's pardon for speaking of such a coorse by-word.
* [It's an ill bird that fouls its own pest.]
And then what is the poor lassie to do in a foreign land?--Why, wae's me,
it's just sending her to play the same pranks ower again, out of sight or
guidance of her friends."
"Pooh! pooh!" said the Duke, "that need not be anticipated. Why, she may
come up to London, or she may go over to America, and marry well for all
that is come and gone."
"In troth, and so she may, as your Grace is pleased to intimate," replied
Mrs. Glass; "and now I think upon it, there is my old correspondent in
Virginia, Ephraim Buckskin, that has supplied the Thistle this forty
years with tobacco, and it is not a little that serves our turn, and he
has been writing to me this ten years to send him out a wife. The carle
is not above sixty, and hale and hearty, and well to pass in the world,
and a line from my hand would settle the matter, and Effie Deans's
misfortune (forby that there is no special occasion to speak about it)
would be thought little of there."
"Is she a pretty girl?" said the Duke; "her sister does not get beyond a
good comely sonsy lass."
"Oh, far prettier is Effie than Jeanie," said Mrs. Glass; "though it is
long since I saw her mysell, but I hear of the Deanses by all my Lowden
friends when they come--your Grace kens we Scots are clannish bodies."
"So much the better for us," said the Duke, "and the worse for those who
meddle with us, as your good old-fashioned sign says, Mrs. Glass. And now
I hope you will approve of the measures I have taken for restoring your
kinswoman to her friends." These he detailed at length, and Mrs. Glass
gave her unqualified approbation, with a smile and a courtesy at every
sentence. "And now, Mrs. Glass, you must tell Jeanie, I hope, she will
not forget my cheese when she gets down to Scotland. Archibald has my
orders to arrange all her expenses."
"Begging your Grace's humble pardon," said Mrs. Glass, "it is a pity to
trouble yourself about them; the Deanses are wealthy people in their way,
and the lass has money in her pocket."
"That's all very true," said the Duke; "but you know, where MacCallummore
travels he pays all; it is our Highland privilege to take from all what
_we_ want, and to give to all what _they_ want."
"Your Grace is better at giving than taking," said Mrs. Glass.
"To show you the contrary," said the Duke, "I will fill my box out of
this canister without paying you a bawbee;" and again desiring to be
remembered to Jeanie, with his good wishes for her safe journey, he
departed, leaving Mrs. Glass uplifted in heart and in countenance, the
proudest and happiest of tobacco and snuff dealers.
Reflectively, his Grace's good humour and affability had a favourable
effect upon Jeanie's situation.--Her kinswoman, though civil and kind to
her, had acquired too much of London breeding to be perfectly satisfied
with her cousin's rustic and national dress, and was, besides, something
scandalised at the cause of her journey to London. Mrs. Glass might,
therefore, have been less sedulous in her attentions towards Jeanie, but
for the interest which the foremost of the Scottish nobles (for such, in
all men's estimation, was the Duke of Argyle) seemed to take in her fate.
Now, however, as a kinswoman whose virtues and domestic affections had
attracted the notice and approbation of royalty itself, Jeanie stood to
her relative in a light very different and much more favourable, and was
not only treated with kindness, but with actual observance and respect.
It depended on herself alone to have made as many visits, and seen as
many sights, as lay within Mrs. Glass's power to compass. But, excepting
that she dined abroad with one or two "far away kinsfolk," and that she
paid the same respect, on Mrs. Glass's strong urgency, to Mrs. Deputy
Dabby, wife of the Worshipful Mr. Deputy Dabby, of Farringdon Without,
she did not avail herself of the opportunity. As Mrs. Dabby was the
second lady of great rank whom Jeanie had seen in London, she used
sometimes afterwards to draw a parallel betwixt her and the Queen, in
which she observed, "that Mrs. Dabby was dressed twice as grand, and was
twice as big, and spoke twice as loud, and twice as muckle, as the Queen
did, but she hadna the same goss-hawk glance that makes the skin creep,
and the knee bend; and though she had very kindly gifted her with a loaf
of sugar and twa punds of tea, yet she hadna a'thegither the sweet look
that the Queen had when she put the needle-book into her hand."
Jeanie might have enjoyed the sights and novelties of this great city
more, had it not been for the qualification added to her sister's pardon,
which greatly grieved her affectionate disposition. On this subject,
however, her mind was somewhat relieved by a letter which she received in
return of post, in answer to that which she had written to her father.
With his affectionate blessing, it brought his full approbation of the
step which she had taken, as one inspired by the immediate dictates of
Heaven, and which she had been thrust upon in order that she might become
the means of safety to a perishing household.
"If ever a deliverance was dear and precious, this," said the letter, "is
a dear and precious deliverance--and if life saved can be made more sweet
and savoury, it is when it cometh by the hands of those whom we hold in
the ties of affection. And do not let your heart be disquieted within
you, that this victim, who is rescued from the horns of the altar,
whereuntil she was fast bound by the chains of human law, is now to be
driven beyond the bounds of our land. Scotland is a blessed land to those
who love the ordinances of Christianity, and it is a faer land to look
upon, and dear to them who have dwelt in it a' their days; and weel said
that judicious Christian, worthy John Livingstone, a sailor in
Borrowstouness, as the famous Patrick Walker reporteth his words, that
howbeit he thought Scotland was a Gehennah of wickedness when he was at
home, yet when he was abroad, he accounted it ane paradise; for the evils
of Scotland he found everywhere, and the good of Scotland he found
nowhere. But we are to hold in remembrance that Scotland, though it be
our native land, and the land of our fathers, is not like Goshen, in
Egypt, on whilk the sun of the heavens and of the gospel shineth
allenarly, and leaveth the rest of the world in utter darkness.
Therefore, and also because this increase of profit at Saint Leonard's
Crags may be a cauld waff of wind blawing from the frozen land of earthly
self, where never plant of grace took root or grew, and because my
concerns make me take something ower muckle a grip of the gear of the
warld in mine arms, I receive this dispensation anent Effie as a call to
depart out of Haran, as righteous Abraham of old, and leave my father's
kindred and my mother's house, and the ashes and mould of them who have
gone to sleep before me, and which wait to be mingled with these auld
crazed bones of mine own. And my heart is lightened to do this, when I
call to mind the decay of active and earnest religion in this land, and
survey the height and the depth, the length and the breadth, of national
defections, and how the love of many is waxing lukewarm and cold; and I
am strengthened in this resolution to change my domicile likewise, as I
hear that store-farms are to be set at an easy mail in Northumberland,
where there are many precious souls that are of our true though suffering
persuasion. And sic part of the kye or stock as I judge it fit to keep,
may be driven thither without incommodity--say about Wooler, or that
gate, keeping aye a shouther to the hills,--and the rest may be sauld to
gude profit and advantage, if we had grace weel to use and guide these
gifts of the warld. The Laird has been a true friend on our unhappy
occasions, and I have paid him back the siller for Effie's misfortune,
whereof Mr. Nichil Novit returned him no balance, as the Laird and I did
expect he wad hae done. But law licks up a', as the common folk say. I
have had the siller to borrow out of sax purses. Mr. Saddletree advised
to give the Laird of Lounsbeck a charge on his hand for a thousand merks.
But I hae nae broo' of charges, since that awfu' morning that a tout of a
horn, at the Cross of Edinburgh, blew half the faithfu' ministers of
Scotland out of their pulpits. However, I sall raise an adjudication,
whilk Mr. Saddletree says comes instead of the auld apprisings, and will
not lose weel-won gear with the like of him, if it may be helped. As for
the Queen, and the credit that she hath done to a poor man's daughter,
and the mercy and the grace ye found with her, I can only pray for her
weel-being here and hereafter, for the establishment of her house now and
for ever, upon the throne of these kingdoms. I doubt not but what you
told her Majesty, that I was the same David Deans of whom there was a
sport at the Revolution, when I noited thegither the heads of twa false
prophets, these ungracious Graces the prelates, as they stood on the Hie
Street, after being expelled from the Convention-parliament.*
* Note P. Expulsion of the Scotch Bishops.
The Duke of Argyle is a noble and true-hearted nobleman, who pleads the
cause of the poor, and those who have none to help them; verily his
reward shall not be lacking unto him.--I have, been writing of many
things, but not of that whilk lies nearest mine heart. I have seen the
misguided thing, she will be at freedom the morn, on enacted caution that
she shall leave Scotland in four weeks. Her mind is in an evil
frame,--casting her eye backward on Egypt, I doubt, as if the bitter
waters of the wilderness were harder to endure than the brick furnaces,
by the side of which there were savoury flesh-pots. I need not bid you
make haste down, for you are, excepting always my Great Master, my only
comfort in these straits. I charge you to withdraw your feet from the
delusion of that Vanity-fair in whilk ye are a sojourner, and not to go
to their worship, whilk is an ill-mumbled mass, as it was weel termed by
James the Sext, though he afterwards, with his unhappy son, strove to
bring it ower back and belly into his native kingdom, wherethrough their
race have been cut off as foam upon the water, and shall be as wanderers
among the nations-see the prophecies of Hosea, ninth and seventeenth,
and the same, tenth and seventh. But us and our house, let us say with
the same prophet, 'Let us return to the Lord, for he hath torn, and he
will heal us--He hath smitten, and he will bind us up.'"
He proceeded to say, that he approved of her proposed mode of returning
by Glasgow, and entered into sundry minute particulars not necessary to
be quoted. A single line in the letter, but not the least frequently read
by the party to whom it was addressed, intimated, that "Reuben Butler had
been as a son to him in his sorrows." As David Deans scarce ever
mentioned Butler before, without some gibe, more or less direct, either
at his carnal gifts and learning, or at his grandfather's heresy, Jeanie
drew a good omen from no such qualifying clause being added to this
sentence respecting him.
A lover's hope resembles the bean in the nursery tale,--let it once take
root, and it will grow so rapidly, that in the course of a few hours the
giant Imagination builds a castle on the top, and by and by comes
Disappointment with the "curtal axe," and hews down both the plant and
the superstructure. Jeanie's fancy, though not the most powerful of her
faculties, was lively enough to transport her to a wild farm in
Northumberland, well stocked with milk-cows, yeald beasts, and sheep; a
meeting-house, hard by, frequented by serious Presbyterians, who had
united in a harmonious call to Reuben Butler to be their spiritual
guide--Effie restored, not to gaiety, but to cheerfulness at least--their
father, with his grey hairs smoothed down, and spectacles on his
nose--herself, with the maiden snood exchanged for a matron's curch--all
arranged in a pew in the said meeting-house, listening to words of
devotion, rendered sweeter and more powerful by the affectionate ties
which combined them with the preacher. She cherished such visions from
day to day, until her residence in London began to become insupportable
and tedious to her; and it was with no ordinary satisfaction that she
received a summons from Argyle House, requiring her in two days to be
prepared to join their northward party.
One was a female, who had grievous ill
Wrought in revenge, and she enjoy'd it still;
Sullen she was, and threatening; in her eye
Glared the stern triumph that she dared to die.
The summons of preparation arrived after Jeanie Deans had resided in the
metropolis about three weeks.
On the morning appointed she took a grateful farewell of Mrs. Glass, as
that good woman's attention to her particularly required, placed herself
and her movable goods, which purchases and presents had greatly
increased, in a hackney-coach, and joined her travelling companions in
the housekeeper's apartment at Argyle House. While the carriage was
getting ready, she was informed that the Duke wished to speak with her;
and being ushered into a splendid saloon, she was surprised to find that
he wished to present her to his lady and daughters.
"I bring you my little countrywoman, Duchess," these were the words of
the introduction. "With an army of young fellows, as gallant and steady
as she is, and, a good cause, I would not fear two to one."
"Ah, papa!" said a lively young lady, about twelve years old, "remember
you were full one to two at Sheriffmuir, and yet" (singing the well-known
"Some say that we wan, and some say that they wan,
And some say that nane wan at a', man
But of ae thing I'm sure, that on Sheriff-muir
A battle there was that I saw, man."
"What, little Mary turned Tory on my hands?--This will be fine news for
our countrywoman to carry down to Scotland!"
"We may all turn Tories for the thanks we have got for remaining Whigs,"
said the second young lady.
"Well, hold your peace, you discontented monkeys, and go dress your
babies; and as for the Bob of Dunblane,
'If it wasna weel bobbit, weel bobbit, weel bobbit,
If it wasna weel bobbit, we'll bob it again.'"
"Papa's wit is running low," said Lady Mary: "the poor gentleman is
repeating himself--he sang that on the field of battle, when he was told
the Highlanders had cut his left wing to pieces with their claymores."
A pull by the hair was the repartee to this sally.
"Ah! brave Highlanders and bright claymores," said the Duke, "well do I
wish them, 'for a' the ill they've done me yet,' as the song goes.--But
come, madcaps, say a civil word to your countrywoman--I wish ye had half
her canny hamely sense; I think you may be as leal and true-hearted."
The Duchess advanced, and, in a few words, in which there was as much
kindness as civility, assured Jeanie of the respect which she had for a
character so affectionate, and yet so firm, and added, "When you get
home, you will perhaps hear from me."
"And from me." "And from me." "And from me, Jeanie," added the young
ladies one after the other, "for you are a credit to the land we love so
Jeanie, overpowered by these unexpected compliments, and not aware that
the Duke's investigation had made him acquainted with her behaviour on
her sister's trial, could only answer by blushing, and courtesying round
and round, and uttering at intervals, "Mony thanks! mony thanks!"
"Jeanie," said the Duke, "you must have _doch an' dorroch,_ or you will
be unable to travel."
There was a salver with cake and wine on the table. He took up a glass,
drank "to all true hearts that lo'ed Scotland," and offered a glass to
Jeanie, however, declined it, saying, "that she had never tasted wine in
"How comes that, Jeanie?" said the Duke,--"wine maketh glad the heart,
"Ay, sir, but my father is like Jonadab the son of Rechab, who charged
his children that they should drink no wine."
"I thought your father would have had more sense," said the Duke, "unless
indeed he prefers brandy. But, however, Jeanie, if you will not drink,
you must eat, to save the character of my house."
He thrust upon her a large piece of cake, nor would he permit her to
break off a fragment, and lay the rest on a salver.
"Put it in your pouch, Jeanie," said he; "you will be glad of it before
you see St. Giles's steeple. I wish to Heaven I were to see it as soon as
you! and so my best service to all my friends at and about Auld Reekie,
and a blithe journey to you."
And, mixing the frankness of a soldier with his natural affability, he
shook hands with his prote'ge'e, and committed her to the charge of
Archibald, satisfied that he had provided sufficiently for her being
attended to by his domestics, from the unusual attention with which he
had himself treated her.
Accordingly, in the course of her journey, she found both her companions
disposed to pay her every possible civility, so that her return, in point
of comfort and safety, formed a strong contrast to her journey to London.
Her heart also was disburdened of the weight of grief, shame,
apprehension, and fear, which had loaded her before her interview with
the Queen at Richmond. But the human mind is so strangely capricious,
that, when freed from the pressure of real misery, it becomes open and
sensitive to the apprehension of ideal calamities. She was now much
disturbed in mind, that she had heard nothing from Reuben Butler, to whom
the operation of writing was so much more familiar than it was to
"It would have cost him sae little fash," she said to herself; "for I hae
seen his pen gan as fast ower the paper, as ever it did ower the water
when it was in the grey goose's wing. Wae's me! maybe he may be
badly--but then my father wad likely hae said somethin about it--Or
maybe he may hae taen the rue, and kensna how to let me wot of his
change of mind. He needna be at muckle fash about it,"--she went on,
drawing herself up, though the tear of honest pride and injured
affection gathered in her eye, as she entertained the suspicion,--
"Jeanie Deans is no the lass to pu' him by the sleeve, or put him in
mind of what he wishes to forget. I shall wish him weel and happy a' the
same; and if he has the luck to get a kirk in our country, I sall gang
and hear him just the very same, to show that I bear nae malice." And as
she imagined the scene, the tear stole over her eye.
In these melancholy reveries, Jeanie had full time to indulge herself;
for her travelling companions, servants in a distinguished and
fashionable family, had, of course, many topics of conversation, in which
it was absolutely impossible she could have either pleasure or portion.
She had, therefore, abundant leisure for reflection, and even for
self-tormenting, during the several days which, indulging the young
horses the Duke was sending down to the North with sufficient ease and
short stages, they occupied in reaching the neighbourhood of Carlisle.
In approaching the vicinity of that ancient city, they discerned a
considerable crowd upon an eminence at a little distance from the high
road, and learned from some passengers who were gathering towards that
busy scene from the southward, that the cause of the concourse was, the
laudable public desire "to see a doomed Scotch witch and thief get half
of her due upo' Haribeebroo' yonder, for she was only to be hanged; she
should hae been boorned aloive, an' cheap on't."
"Dear Mr. Archibald," said the dame of the dairy elect, "I never seed a
woman hanged in a' my life, and only four men, as made a goodly
Mr. Archibald, however, was a Scotchman, and promised himself no
exuberant pleasure in seeing his countrywoman undergo "the terrible
behests of law." Moreover, he was a man of sense and delicacy in his way,
and the late circumstances of Jeanie's family, with the cause of her
expedition to London, were not unknown to him; so that he answered drily,
it was impossible to stop, as he must be early at Carlisle on some
business of the Duke's, and he accordingly bid the postilions get on.
The road at that time passed at about a quarter of a mile's distance from
the eminence, called Haribee or Harabee-brow, which, though it is very
moderate in size and height, is nevertheless seen from a great distance
around, owing to the flatness of the country through which the Eden
flows. Here many an outlaw, and border-rider of both kingdoms, had
wavered in the wind during the wars, and scarce less hostile truces,
between the two countries. Upon Harabee, in latter days, other executions
had taken place with as little ceremony as compassion; for these frontier
provinces remained long unsettled, and, even at the time of which we
write, were ruder than those in the centre of England.
The postilions drove on, wheeling as the Penrith road led them, round the
verge of the rising ground. Yet still the eyes of Mrs. Dolly Dutton,
which, with the head and substantial person to which they belonged, were
all turned towards the scene of action, could discern plainly the outline
of the gallows-tree, relieved against the clear sky, the dark shade
formed by the persons of the executioner and the criminal upon the light
rounds of the tall aerial ladder, until one of the objects, launched into
the air, gave unequivocal signs of mortal agony, though appearing in the
distance not larger than a spider dependent at the extremity of his
invisible thread, while the remaining form descended from its elevated
situation, and regained with all speed an undistinguished place among the
crowd. This termination of the tragic scene drew forth of course a squall
from Mrs. Dutton, and Jeanie, with instinctive curiosity, turned her head
in the same direction.
The sight of a female culprit in the act of undergoing the fatal
punishment from which her beloved sister had been so recently rescued,
was too much, not perhaps for her nerves, but for her mind and feelings.
She turned her head to the other side of the carriage, with a sensation
of sickness, of loathing, and of fainting. Her female companion
overwhelmed her with questions, with proffers of assistance, with
requests that the carriage might be stopped--that a doctor might be
fetched--that drops might be gotten--that burnt feathers and asafoetida,
fair water, and hartshorn, might be procured, all at once, and without
one instant's delay. Archibald, more calm and considerate, only desired
the carriage to push forward; and it was not till they had got beyond
sight of the fatal spectacle, that, seeing the deadly paleness of
Jeanie's countenance, he stopped the carriage, and jumping out himself,
went in search of the most obvious and most easily procured of Mrs.
Dutton's pharmacopoeia--a draught, namely, of fair water.
While Archibald was absent on this good-natured piece of service, damning
the ditches which produced nothing but mud, and thinking upon the
thousand bubbling springlets of his own mountains, the attendants on the
execution began to pass the stationary vehicle in their way back to
From their half-heard and half-understood words, Jeanie, whose attention
was involuntarily rivetted by them, as that of children is by ghost
stories, though they know the pain with which they will afterwards
remember them, Jeanie, I say, could discern that the present victim of
the law had died game, as it is termed by those unfortunates; that is,
sullen, reckless, and impenitent, neither fearing God nor regarding man.
"A sture woife, and a dour," said one Cumbrian peasant, as he clattered
by in his wooden brogues, with a noise like the trampling of a
"She has gone to ho master, with ho's name in her mouth," said another;
"Shame the country should be harried wi' Scotch witches and Scotch
bitches this gate--but I say hang and drown."
"Ay, ay, Gaffer Tramp, take awa yealdon, take awa low--hang the witch,
and there will be less scathe amang us; mine owsen hae been reckan this
"And mine bairns hae been crining too, mon," replied his neighbour.
"Silence wi' your fule tongues, ye churls," said an old woman, who
hobbled past them, as they stood talking near the carriage; "this was nae
witch, but a bluidy-fingered thief and murderess."
"Ay? was it e'en sae, Dame Hinchup?" said one in a civil tone, and
stepping out of his place to let the old woman pass along the
footpath--"Nay, you know best, sure--but at ony rate, we hae but
tint a Scot of her, and that's a thing better lost than found."
The old woman passed on without making any answer.
"Ay, ay, neighbour," said Gaffer Tramp, "seest thou how one witch will
speak for t'other--Scots or English, the same to them."
His companion shook his head, and replied in the same subdued tone, "Ay,
ay, when a Sark-foot wife gets on her broomstick, the dames of Allonby
are ready to mount, just as sure as the by-word gangs o' the hills,--
If Skiddaw hath a cap,
Criffel, wots full weel of that."
"But," continued Gager Tramp, "thinkest thou the daughter o' yon hangit
body isna as rank a witch as ho?"
"I kenna clearly," returned the fellow, "but the folk are speaking o'
swimming her i' the Eden." And they passed on their several roads, after
wishing each other good-morning.
Just as the clowns left the place, and as Mr. Archibald returned with
some fair water, a crowd of boys and girls, and some of the lower rabble
of more mature age, came up from the place of execution, grouping
themselves with many a yell of delight around a tall female fantastically
dressed, who was dancing, leaping, and bounding in the midst of them. A
horrible recollection pressed on Jeanie as she looked on this unfortunate
creature; and the reminiscence was mutual, for by a sudden exertion of
great strength and agility, Madge Wildfire broke out of the noisy circle
of tormentors who surrounded her, and clinging fast to the door of the
calash, uttered, in a sound betwixt laughter and screaming, "Eh, d'ye
ken, Jeanie Deans, they hae hangit our mother?" Then suddenly changing
her tone to that of the most piteous entreaty, she added, "O gar them let
me gang to cut her down!--let me but cut her down!--she is my mother, if
she was waur than the deil, and she'll be nae mair kenspeckle than
half-hangit Maggie Dickson,* that cried saut mony a day after she had
been hangit; her voice was roupit and hoarse, and her neck was a wee
agee, or ye wad hae kend nae odds on her frae ony other saut-wife."
* Note Q. Half-hanged Maggie Dickson.
Mr. Archibald, embarrassed by the madwoman's clinging to the carriage,
and detaining around them her noisy and mischievous attendants, was all
this while looking out for a constable or beadle, to whom he might commit
the unfortunate creature. But seeing no such person of authority, he
endeavoured to loosen her hold from the carriage, that they might escape
from her by driving on. This, however, could hardly be achieved without
some degree of violence; Madge held fast, and renewed her frantic
entreaties to be permitted to cut down her mother. "It was but a tenpenny
tow lost," she said, "and what was that to a woman's life?" There came
up, however, a parcel of savage-looking fellows, butchers and graziers
chiefly, among whose cattle there had been of late a very general and
fatal distemper, which their wisdom imputed to witchcraft. They laid
violent hands on Madge, and tore her from the carriage, exclaiming--
"What, doest stop folk o' king's high-way? Hast no done mischief enow
already, wi' thy murders and thy witcherings?"
"Oh, Jeanie Deans--Jeanie Deans!" exclaimed the poor maniac, "save my
mother, and I will take ye to the Interpreter's house again,--and I will
teach ye a' my bonny sangs,--and I will tell ye what came o' the." The
rest of her entreaties were drowned in the shouts of the rabble.
"Save her, for God's sake!--save her from those people!" exclaimed Jeanie
"She is mad, but quite innocent; she is mad, gentlemen," said Archibald;
"do not use her ill, take her before the Mayor."
"Ay, ay, we'se hae care enow on her," answered one of the fellows; "gang
thou thy gate, man, and mind thine own matters."
"He's a Scot by his tongue," said another; "and an he will come out o'
his whirligig there, I'se gie him his tartan plaid fu' o' broken banes."
It was clear nothing could be done to rescue Madge; and Archibald, who
was a man of humanity, could only bid the postilions hurry on to
Carlisle, that he might obtain some assistance to the unfortunate woman.
As they drove off, they heard the hoarse roar with which the mob preface
acts of riot or cruelty, yet even above that deep and dire note, they
could discern the screams of the unfortunate victim. They were soon out
of hearing of the cries, but had no sooner entered the streets of
Carlisle, than Archibald, at Jeanie's earnest and urgent entreaty, went
to a magistrate, to state the cruelty which was likely to be exercised on
this unhappy creature.
In about an hour and a half he returned, and reported to Jeanie, that the
magistrate had very readily gone in person, with some assistance, to the
rescue of the unfortunate woman, and that he had himself accompanied him;
that when they came to the muddy pool, in which the mob were ducking her,
according to their favourite mode of punishment, the magistrate succeeded
in rescuing her from their hands, but in a state of insensibility, owing
to the cruel treatment which she had received. He added, that he had seen
her carried to the workhouse, and understood that she had been brought to
herself, and was expected to do well.
This last averment was a slight alteration in point of fact, for Madge
Wildfire was not expected to survive the treatment she had received; but
Jeanie seemed so much agitated, that Mr. Archibald did not think it
prudent to tell her the worst at once. Indeed, she appeared so fluttered
and disordered by this alarming accident, that, although it had been
their intention to proceed to Longtown that evening, her companions
judged it most advisable to pass the night at Carlisle.
This was particularly agreeable to Jeanie, who resolved, if possible, to
procure an interview with Madge Wildfire. Connecting some of her wild
flights with the narrative of George Staunton, she was unwilling to omit
the opportunity of extracting from her, if possible, some information
concerning the fate of that unfortunate infant which had cost her sister
so dear. Her acquaintance with the disordered state of poor Madge's mind
did not permit her to cherish much hope that she could acquire from her
any useful intelligence; but then, since Madge's mother had suffered her
deserts, and was silent for ever, it was her only chance of obtaining any
kind of information, and she was loath to lose the opportunity.
She coloured her wish to Mr. Archibald by saying that she had seen Madge
formerly, and wished to know, as a matter of humanity, how she was
attended to under her present misfortunes. That complaisant person
immediately went to the workhouse, or hospital, in which he had seen the
sufferer lodged, and brought back for reply, that the medical attendants
positively forbade her seeing any one. When the application for
admittance was repeated next day, Mr. Archibald was informed that she had
been very quiet and composed, insomuch that the clergyman who acted as
chaplain to the establishment thought it expedient to read prayers beside
her bed, but that her wandering fit of mind had returned soon after his
departure; however, her countrywoman might see her if she chose it. She
was not expected to live above an hour or two.
Jeanie had no sooner received this information than she hastened to the
hospital, her companions attending her. They found the dying person in a
large ward, where there were ten beds, of which the patient's was the
only one occupied.
Madge was singing when they entered--singing her own wild snatches of
songs and obsolete airs, with a voice no longer overstrained by false
spirits, but softened, saddened, and subdued by bodily exhaustion. She
was still insane, but was no longer able to express her wandering ideas
in the wild notes of her former state of exalted imagination. There was
death in the plaintive tones of her voice, which yet, in this moderated
and melancholy mood, had something of the lulling sound with which a
mother sings her infant asleep. As Jeanie entered she heard first the
air, and then a part of the chorus and words, of what had been, perhaps,
the song of a jolly harvest-home.
"Our work is over--over now,
The goodman wipes his weary brow,
The last long wain wends slow away,
And we are free to sport and play.
"The night comes on when sets the sun,
And labour ends when day is done.
When Autumn's gone and Winter's come,
We hold our jovial harvest-home."
Jeanie advanced to the bedside when the strain was finished, and
addressed Madge by her name. But it produced no symptoms of recollection.
On the contrary, the patient, like one provoked by interruption, changed
her posture, and called out with an impatient tone, "Nurse--nurse, turn
my face to the wa', that I may never answer to that name ony mair, and
never see mair of a wicked world."
The attendant on the hospital arranged her in her bed as she desired,
with her face to the wall and her back to the light. So soon as she was
quiet in this new position, she began again to sing in the same low and
modulated strains, as if she was recovering the state of abstraction
which the interruption of her visitants had disturbed. The strain,
however, was different, and rather resembled the music of the Methodist
hymns, though the measure of the song was similar to that of the former:
"When the fight of grace is fought--
When the marriage vest is wrought--
When Faith hath chased cold Doubt away,
And Hope but sickens at delay--
"When Charity, imprisoned here,
Longs for a more expanded sphere,
Doff thy robes of sin and clay;
Christian, rise, and come away."
The strain was solemn and affecting, sustained as it was by the pathetic
warble of a voice which had naturally been a fine one, and which
weakness, if it diminished its power, had improved in softness.
Archibald, though a follower of the court, and a pococurante by
profession, was confused, if not affected; the dairy-maid blubbered; and
Jeanie felt the tears rise spontaneously to her eyes. Even the nurse,
accustomed to all modes in which the spirit can pass, seemed considerably
The patient was evidently growing weaker, as was intimated by an apparent
difficulty of breathing, which seized her from time to time, and by the
utterance of low listless moans, intimating that nature was succumbing in
the last conflict. But the spirit of melody, which must originally have
so strongly possessed this unfortunate young woman, seemed, at every
interval of ease, to triumph over her pain and weakness. And it was
remarkable that there could always be traced in her songs something
appropriate, though perhaps only obliquely or collaterally so, to her
present situation. Her next seemed the fragment of some old ballad:
"Cauld is my bed, Lord Archibald,
And sad my sleep of sorrow;
But thine sall be as sad and cauld,
My fause true-love! to-morrow.
"And weep ye not, my maidens free,
Though death your mistress borrow;
For he for whom I die to-day
Shall die for me to-morrow."
Again she changed the tune to one wilder, less monotonous, and less
regular. But of the words, only a fragment or two could be collected by
those who listened to this singular scene
"Proud Maisie is in the wood,
Walking so early;
Sweet Robin sits on the bush,
Singing so rarely.
"'Tell me, thou bonny bird.
When shall I marry me?'
'When six braw gentlemen
Kirkward shall carry ye.'
"'Who makes the bridal bed,
Birdie, say truly?'--
'The grey-headed sexton,
That delves the grave duly.
"The glow-worm o'er grave and stone
Shall light thee steady;
The owl from the steeple sing,
'Welcome, proud lady.'"
Her voice died away with the last notes, and she fell into a slumber,
from which the experienced attendant assured them that she never would
awake at all, or only in the death agony.
The nurse's prophecy proved true. The poor maniac parted with existence,
without again uttering a sound of any kind. But our travellers did not
witness this catastrophe. They left the hospital as soon as Jeanie had
satisfied herself that no elucidation of her sister's misfortunes was to
be hoped from the dying person.*
* Note R. Madge Wildfire.
Wilt thou go on with me?
The moon is bright, the sea is calm,
And I know well the ocean paths . . .
Thou wilt go on with me!
The fatigue and agitation of these various scenes had agitated Jeanie so
much, notwithstanding her robust strength of constitution, that Archibald
judged it necessary that she should have a day's repose at the village of
Longtown. It was in vain that Jeanie protested against any delay. The
Duke of Argyle's man of confidence was of course consequential; and as he
had been bred to the medical profession in his youth (at least he used
this expression to describe his having, thirty years before, pounded for
six months in the mortar of old Mungo Mangleman, the surgeon at
Greenock), he was obstinate whenever a matter of health was in question.
In this case he discovered febrile symptoms, and having once made a happy
application of that learned phrase to Jeanie's case, all farther
resistance became in vain; and she was glad to acquiesce, and even to go
to bed, and drink water-gruel, in order that she might possess her soul
in quiet and without interruption.
Mr. Archibald was equally attentive in another particular. He observed
that the execution of the old woman, and the miserable fate of her
daughter, seemed to have had a more powerful effect upon Jeanie's mind,
than the usual feelings of humanity might naturally have been expected to
occasion. Yet she was obviously a strong-minded, sensible young woman,
and in no respect subject to nervous affections; and therefore Archibald,
being ignorant of any special connection between his master's prote'ge'e
and these unfortunate persons, excepting that she had seen Madge formerly
in Scotland, naturally imputed the strong impression these events had
made upon her, to her associating them with the unhappy circumstances in
which her sister had so lately stood. He became anxious, therefore, to
prevent anything occurring which might recall these associations to
Archibald had speedily an opportunity of exercising this precaution. A
pedlar brought to Longtown that evening, amongst other wares, a large
broad-side sheet, giving an account of the "Last Speech and Execution of
Margaret Murdockson, and of the barbarous Murder of her Daughter,
Magdalene or Madge Murdockson, called Madge Wildfire; and of her pious
conversation with his Reverence Archdeacon Fleming;" which authentic
publication had apparently taken place on the day they left Carlisle, and
being an article of a nature peculiarly acceptable to such country-folk
as were within hearing of the transaction, the itinerant bibliopolist had
forthwith added them to his stock in trade. He found a merchant sooner
than he expected; for Archibald, much applauding his own prudence,
purchased the whole lot for two shillings and ninepence; and the pedlar,
delighted with the profit of such a wholesale transaction, instantly
returned to Carlisle to supply himself with more.
The considerate Mr. Archibald was about to commit his whole purchase to
the flames, but it was rescued by the yet more considerate dairy-damsel,
who said, very prudently, it was a pity to waste so much paper, which
might crepe hair, pin up bonnets, and serve many other useful purposes;
and who promised to put the parcel into her own trunk, and keep it
carefully out of the sight of Mrs. Jeanie Deans: "Though, by-the-bye, she
had no great notion of folk being so very nice. Mrs. Deans might have had
enough to think about the gallows all this time to endure a sight of it,
without all this to-do about it."
Archibald reminded the dame of the dairy of the Duke's particular charge,
that they should be attentive and civil to Jeanie as also that they were
to part company soon, and consequently would not be doomed to observing
any one's health or temper during the rest of the journey. With which
answer Mrs. Dolly Dutton was obliged to hold herself satisfied. On the
morning they resumed their journey, and prosecuted it successfully,
travelling through Dumfriesshire and part of Lanarkshire, until they
arrived at the small town of Rutherglen, within about four miles of
Glasgow. Here an express brought letters to Archibald from the principal
agent of the Duke of Argyle in Edinburgh.
He said nothing of their contents that evening; but when they were seated
in the carriage the next day, the faithful squire informed Jeanie, that
he had received directions from the Duke's factor, to whom his Grace had
recommended him to carry her, if she had no objection, for a stage or two
beyond Glasgow. Some temporary causes of discontent had occasioned
tumults in that city and the neighbourhood, which would render it
unadvisable for Mrs. Jeanie Deans to travel alone and unprotected betwixt
that city and Edinburgh; whereas, by going forward a little farther, they
would meet one of his Grace's subfactors, who was coming down from the
Highlands to Edinburgh with his wife, and under whose charge she might
journey with comfort and in safety.
Jeanie remonstrated against this arrangement. "She had been lang," she
said, "frae hame--her father and her sister behoved to be very anxious to
see her--there were other friends she had that werena weel in health. She
was willing to pay for man and horse at Glasgow, and surely naebody wad
meddle wi' sae harmless and feckless a creature as she was.--She was
muckle obliged by the offer; but never hunted deer langed for its
resting-place as I do to find myself at Saint Leonard's."
The groom of the chambers exchanged a look with his female companion,
which seemed so full of meaning, that Jeanie screamed aloud--"O Mr.
Archibald--Mrs. Dutton, if ye ken of onything that has happened at Saint
Leonard's, for God's sake--for pity's sake, tell me, and dinna keep me in
"I really know nothing, Mrs. Deans," said the groom of the chambers.
"And I--I--I am sure, I knows as little," said the dame of the dairy,
while some communication seemed to tremble on her lips, which, at a
glance of Archibald's eye, she appeared to swallow down, and compressed
her lips thereafter into a state of extreme and vigilant firmness, as if
she had been afraid of its bolting out before she was aware.
Jeanie saw there was to be something concealed from her, and it was only
the repeated assurances of Archibald that her father--her sister--all her
friends were, as far as he knew, well and happy, that at all pacified her
alarm. From such respectable people as those with whom she travelled she
could apprehend no harm, and yet her distress was so obvious, that
Archibald, as a last resource, pulled out, and put into her hand, a slip
of paper, on which these words were written:--
"Jeanie Deans--You will do me a favour by going with Archibald and my
female domestic a day's journey beyond Glasgow, and asking them no
questions, which will greatly oblige your friend, 'Argyle & Greenwich.'"
Although this laconic epistle, from a nobleman to whom she was bound by
such inestimable obligations, silenced all Jeanie's objections to the
proposed route, it rather added to than diminished the eagerness of her
curiosity. The proceeding to Glasgow seemed now no longer to be an object
with her fellow-travellers. On the contrary, they kept the left-hand side
of the river Clyde, and travelled through a thousand beautiful and
changing views down the side of that noble stream, till, ceasing to hold
its inland character, it began to assume that of a navigable river.
"You are not for gaun intill Glasgow then?" said Jeanie, as she observed
that the drivers made no motion for inclining their horses' heads towards
the ancient bridge, which was then the only mode of access to St. Mungo's
"No," replied Archibald; "there is some popular commotion, and as our
Duke is in opposition to the court, perhaps we might be too well
received; or they might take it in their heads to remember that the
Captain of Carrick came down upon them with his Highlandmen in the time
of Shawfield's mob in 1725, and then we would be too ill received.* And,
at any rate, it is best for us, and for me in particular, who may be
supposed to possess his Grace's mind upon many particulars, to leave the
good people of the Gorbals to act according to their own imaginations,
without either provoking or encouraging them by my presence."
* In 1725, there was a great riot in Glasgow on account of the malt-tax.
Among the troops brought in to restore order, was one of the independent
companies of Highlanders levied in Argyleshire, and distinguished, in a
lampoon of the period, as "Campbell of Carrick and his Highland thieves."
It was called Shawfield's Mob, because much of the popular violence was
directed against Daniel Campbell, Esq. of Shawfield, M. P., Provost of
To reasoning of such tone and consequence Jeanie had nothing to reply,
although it seemed to her to contain fully as much self-importance as
The carriage meantime rolled on; the river expanded itself, and gradually
assumed the dignity of an estuary or arm of the sea. The influence of the
advancing and retiring tides became more and more evident, and in the
beautiful words of him of the laurel wreath, the river waxed--
A broader and yet broader stream.
The cormorant stands upon its shoals,
His black and dripping wings
Half open'd to the wind.
[From Southey's _Thalaba,_ Book xi. stanza 36.]
"Which way lies Inverary?" said Jeanie, gazing on the dusky ocean of
Highland hills, which now, piled above each other, and intersected by
many a lake, stretched away on the opposite side of the river to the
northward. "Is yon high castle the Duke's hoose?"
"That, Mrs. Deans?--Lud help thee," replied Archibald, "that's the old
castle of Dumbarton, the strongest place in Europe, be the other what it
may. Sir William Wallace was governor of it in the old war with the
English, and his Grace is governor just now. It is always entrusted to
the best man in Scotland."
"And does the Duke live on that high rock, then?" demanded Jeanie.
"No, no, he has his deputy-governor, who commands in his absence; he
lives in the white house you see at the bottom of the rock--His Grace
does not reside there himself."
"I think not, indeed," said the dairy-woman, upon whose mind the road,
since they had left Dumfries, had made no very favourable impression,
"for if he did, he might go whistle for a dairy-woman, an he were the
only duke in England. I did not leave my place and my friends to come
down to see cows starve to death upon hills as they be at that pig-stye
of Elfinfoot, as you call it, Mr. Archibald, or to be perched upon the
top of a rock, like a squirrel in his cage, hung out of a three pair of
Inwardly chuckling that these symptoms of recalcitration had not taken
place until the fair malcontent was, as he mentally termed it, under his
thumb, Archibald coolly replied, "That the hills were none of his making,
nor did he know how to mend them; but as to lodging, they would soon be
in a house of the Duke's in a very pleasant island called Roseneath,
where they went to wait for shipping to take them to Inverary, and would
meet the company with whom Jeanie was to return to Edinburgh."
"An island?" said Jeanie, who, in the course of her various and
adventurous travels, had never quitted terra firma, "then I am doubting
we maun gang in ane of these boats; they look unco sma', and the waves
are something rough, and"
"Mr. Archibald," said Mrs. Dutton, "I will not consent to it; I was never
engaed to leave the country, and I desire you will bid the boys drive
round the other way to the Duke's house."
"There is a safe pinnace belonging to his Grace, ma'am, close by,"
replied Archibald, "and you need be under no apprehensions whatsoever."
"But I am under apprehensions," said the damsel; "and I insist upon going
round by land, Mr. Archibald, were it ten miles about."
"I am sorry I cannot oblige you, madam, as Roseneath happens to be an
"If it were ten islands," said the incensed dame, "that's no reason why I
should be drowned in going over the seas to it."
"No reason why you should be drowned certainly, ma'am," answered the
unmoved groom of the chambers, "but an admirable good one why you cannot
proceed to it by land." And, fixed his master's mandates to perform, he
pointed with his hand, and the drivers, turning off the high-road,
proceeded towards a small hamlet of fishing huts, where a shallop,
somewhat more gaily decorated than any which they had yet seen, having a
flag which displayed a boar's head, crested with a ducal coronet, waited
with two or three seamen, and as many Highlanders.
The carriage stopped, and the men began to unyoke their horses, while Mr.
Archibald gravely superintended the removal of the baggage from the
carriage to the little vessel. "Has the Caroline been long arrived?" said
Archibald to one of the seamen.
"She has been here in five days from Liverpool, and she's lying down at
Greenock," answered the fellow.
"Let the horses and carriage go down to Greenock then," said Archibald,
"and be embarked there for Inverary when I send notice--they may stand in
my cousin's, Duncan Archibald the stabler's.--Ladies," he added, "I hope
you will get yourselves ready; we must not lose the tide."
"Mrs. Deans," said the Cowslip of Inverary, "you may do as you
please--but I will sit here all night, rather than go into that there
painted egg-shell.--Fellow--fellow!" (this was addressed to a Highlander
who was lifting a travelling trunk), "that trunk is _mine,_ and that
there band-box, and that pillion mail, and those seven bundles, and the
paper-bag; and if you venture to touch one of them, it shall be at your
The Celt kept his eye fixed on the speaker, then turned his head towards
Archibald, and receiving no countervailing signal, he shouldered the
portmanteau, and without farther notice of the distressed damsel, or
paying any attention to remonstrances, which probably he did not
understand, and would certainly have equally disregarded whether he
understood them or not, moved off with Mrs. Dutton's wearables, and
deposited the trunk containing them safely in the boat.
The baggage being stowed in safety, Mr. Archibald handed Jeanie out of
the carriage, and, not without some tremor on her part, she was
transported through the surf and placed in the boat. He then offered the
same civility to his fellow-servant, but she was resolute in her refusal
to quit the carriage, in which she now remained in solitary state,
threatening all concerned or unconcerned with actions for wages and
board-wages, damages and expenses, and numbering on her fingers the gowns
and other habiliments, from which she seemed in the act of being
separated for ever. Mr. Archibald did not give himself the trouble of
making many remonstrances, which, indeed, seemed only to aggravate the
damsel's indignation, but spoke two or three words to the Highlanders in
Gaelic; and the wily mountaineers, approaching the carriage cautiously,
and without giving the slightest intimation of their intention, at once
seized the recusant so effectually fast that she could neither resist nor
struggle, and hoisting her on their shoulders in nearly a horizontal
posture, rushed down with her to the beach, and through the surf, and
with no other inconvenience than ruffling her garments a little,
deposited her in the boat; but in a state of surprise, mortification, and
terror, at her sudden transportation, which rendered her absolutely mute
for two or three minutes. The men jumped in themselves; one tall fellow
remained till he had pushed off the boat, and then tumbled in upon his
companions. They took their oars and began to pull from the shore, then
spread their sail, and drove merrily across the firth.
"You Scotch villain!" said the infuriated damsel to Archibald, "how dare
you use a person like me in this way?"
"Madam," said Archibald, with infinite composure, "it's high time you
should know you are in the Duke's country, and that there is not one of
these fellows but would throw you out of the boat as readily as into it,
if such were his Grace's pleasure."
"Then the Lord have mercy on me!" said Mrs. Dutton. "If I had had any on
myself, I would never have engaged with you."
"It's something of the latest to think of that now, Mrs. Dutton," said
Archibald; "but I assure you, you will find the Highlands have their
pleasures. You will have a dozen of cow-milkers under your own authority
at Inverary, and you may throw any of them into the lake, if you have a
mind, for the Duke's head people are almost as great as himself."
"This is a strange business, to be sure, Mr. Archibald," said the lady;
"but I suppose I must make the best on't.--Are you sure the boat will not
sink? it leans terribly to one side, in my poor mind."
"Fear nothing," said Mr. Archibald, taking a most important pinch of
snuff; "this same ferry on Clyde knows us very well, or we know it, which
is all the same; no fear of any of our people meeting with any accident.
We should have crossed from the opposite shore, but for the disturbances
at Glasgow, which made it improper for his Grace's people to pass through
"Are you not afeard, Mrs. Deans," said the dairy-vestal, addressing
Jeanie, who sat, not in the most comfortable state of mind, by the side
of Archibald, who himself managed the helm.--"are you not afeard of these
wild men with their naked knees, and of this nut-shell of a thing, that
seems bobbing up and down like a skimming-dish in a milk-pail?"
"No--no--madam," answered Jeanie with some hesitation, "I am not feared;
for I hae seen Hielandmen before, though never was sae near them; and for
the danger of the deep waters, I trust there is a Providence by sea as
well as by land."
"Well," said Mrs. Dutton, "it is a beautiful thing to have learned to
write and read, for one can always say such fine words whatever should
Archibald, rejoicing in the impression which his vigorous measures had
made upon the intractable dairymaid, now applied himself, as a sensible
and good-natured man, to secure by fair means the ascendency which he had
obtained by some wholesome violence; and he succeeded so well in
representing to her the idle nature of her fears, and the impossibility
of leaving her upon the beach enthroned in an empty carriage, that the
good understanding of the party was completely revived ere they landed at
Did Fortune guide,
Or rather Destiny, our bark, to which
We could appoint no port, to this best place?
The islands in the Firth of Clyde, which the daily passage of so many
smoke-pennoned steamboats now renders so easily accessible, were in our
fathers' times secluded spots, frequented by no travellers, and few
visitants of any kind. They are of exquisite, yet varied beauty. Arran, a
mountainous region, or Alpine island, abounds with the grandest and most
romantic scenery. Bute is of a softer and more woodland character. The
Cumbrays, as if to exhibit a contrast to both, are green, level, and
bare, forming the links of a sort of natural bar which is drawn along the
mouth of the firth, leaving large intervals, however, of ocean.
Roseneath, a smaller isle, lies much higher up the firth, and towards its
western shore, near the opening of the lake called the Gare Loch, and not
far from Loch Long and Loch Scant, or the Holy Loch, which wind from the
mountains of the Western Highlands to join the estuary of the Clyde.
In these isles the severe frost winds which tyrannise over the vegetable
creation during a Scottish spring, are comparatively little felt; nor,
excepting the gigantic strength of Arran, are they much exposed to the
Atlantic storms, lying landlocked and protected to the westward by the
shores of Ayrshire. Accordingly, the weeping-willow, the weeping-birch,
and other trees of early and pendulous shoots, flourish in these favoured
recesses in a degree unknown in our eastern districts; and the air is
also said to possess that mildness which is favourable to consumptive
The picturesque beauty of the island of Roseneath, in particular, had
such recommendations, that the Earls and Dukes of Argyle, from an early
period, made it their occasional residence, and had their temporary
accommodation in a fishing or hunting-lodge, which succeeding
improvements have since transformed into a palace. It was in its original
simplicity when the little bark which we left traversing the firth at the
end of last
CHAPTER approached the shores of the isle.
When they touched the landing-place, which was partly shrouded by some
old low but wide-spreading oak-trees, intermixed with hazel-bushes, two
or three figures were seen as if awaiting their arrival. To these Jeanie
paid little attention, so that it was with a shock of surprise almost
electrical, that, upon being carried by the rowers out of the boat to the
shore, she was received in the arms of her father!
It was too wonderful to be believed--too much like a happy dream to have
the stable feeling of reality--She extricated herself from his close and
affectionate embrace, and held him at arm's length, to satisfy her mind
that it was no illusion. But the form was indisputable--Douce David Deans
himself, in his best light-blue Sunday's coat, with broad metal buttons,
and waistcoat and breeches of the same, his strong gramashes or leggins
of thick grey cloth--the very copper buckles--the broad Lowland blue
bonnet, thrown back as he lifted his eyes to Heaven in speechless
gratitude--the grey locks that straggled from beneath it down his
weather-beaten "haffets"--the bald and furrowed forehead--the clear blue
eye, that, undimmed by years, gleamed bright and pale from under its
shaggy grey pent-house--the features, usually so stern and stoical, now
melted into the unwonted expression of rapturous joy, affection, and
gratitude--were all those of David Deans; and so happily did they assort
together, that, should I ever again see my friends Wilkie or Allan, I
will try to borrow or steal from them a sketch of this very scene.
"Jeanie--my ain Jeanie--my best--my maist dutiful bairn--the Lord of
Israel be thy father, for I am hardly worthy of thee! Thou hast redeemed
our captivity--brought back the honour of our house--Bless thee, my
bairn, with mercies promised and purchased! But He _has_ blessed thee, in
the good of which He has made thee the instrument."
These words broke from him not without tears, though David was of no
melting mood. Archibald had, with delicate attention, withdrawn the
spectators from the interview, so that the wood and setting sun alone
were witnesses of the expansion of their feelings.
"And Effie?--and Effie, dear father?" was an eager interjectional
question which Jeanie repeatedly threw in among her expressions of joyful
"Ye will hear--Ye will hear," said David hastily, and over and anon
renewed his grateful acknowledgments to Heaven for sending Jeanie safe
down from the land of prelatic deadness and schismatic heresy; and had
delivered her from the dangers of the way, and the lions that were in the
"And Effie?" repeated her affectionate sister again and again. "And--and"
(fain would she have said Butler, but she modified the direct
inquiry)--"and Mr. and Mrs. Saddletree--and Dumbiedikes--and a' friends?"
"A' weel--a' weel, praise to His name!"
"And--Mr. Butler--he wasna weel when I gaed awa?"
"He is quite mended--quite weel," replied her father.
"Thank God--but O, dear father, Effie?--Effie?"
"You will never see her mair, my bairn," answered Deans in a solemn tone--
"You are the ae and only leaf left now on the auld tree--hale be your
"She is dead!--She is slain!--It has come ower late!" exclaimed Jeanie,
wringing her hands.
"No, Jeanie," returned Deans, in the same grave melancholy tone. "She
lives in the flesh, and is at freedom from earthly restraint, if she were
as much alive in faith, and as free from the bonds of Satan."
"The Lord protect us!" said Jeanie.--"Can the unhappy bairn hae left you
for that villain?"
"It is ower truly spoken," said Deans--"She has left her auld father,
that has wept and prayed for her--She has left her sister, that travailed
and toiled for her like a mother--She has left the bones of her mother,
and the land of her people, and she is ower the march wi' that son of
Belial--She has made a moonlight flitting of it." He paused, for a
feeling betwixt sorrow and strong resentment choked his utterance.
"And wi' that man?--that fearfu' man?" said Jeanie. "And she has left us
to gang aff wi' him?--O Effie, Effie, wha could hae thought it, after sic
a deliverance as you had been gifted wi'!"
"She went out from us, my bairn, because she was not of us," replied
David. "She is a withered branch will never bear fruit of grace--a
scapegoat gone forth into the wilderness of the world, to carry wi' her,
as I trust, the sins of our little congregation. The peace of the warld
gang wi' her, and a better peace when she has the grace to turn to it! If
she is of His elected, His ain hour will come. What would her mother have
said, that famous and memorable matron, Rebecca MacNaught, whose memory
is like a flower of sweet savour in Newbattle, and a pot of frankincense
in Lugton? But be it sae--let her part--let her gang her gate--let her
bite on her ain bridle--The Lord kens his time--She was the bairn of
prayers, and may not prove an utter castaway. But never, Jeanie, never
more let her name be spoken between you and me--She hath passed from us
like the brook which vanisheth when the summer waxeth warm, as patient
Job saith--let her pass, and be forgotten."
There was a melancholy pause which followed these expressions. Jeanie
would fain have asked more circumstances relating to her sister's
departure, but the tone of her father's prohibition was positive. She was
about to mention her interview with Staunton at his father's rectory;
but, on hastily running over the particulars in her memory, she thought
that, on the whole, they were more likely to aggravate than diminish his
distress of mind. She turned, therefore, the discourse from this painful
subject, resolving to suspend farther inquiry until she should see
Butler, from whom she expected to learn the particulars of her sister's
But when was she to see Butler? was a question she could not forbear
asking herself, especially while her father, as if eager to escape from
the subject of his youngest daughter, pointed to the opposite shore of
Dumbartonshire, and asking Jeanie "if it werena a pleasant abode?"
declared to her his intention of removing his earthly tabernacle to that
country, "in respect he was solicited by his Grace the Duke of Argyle, as
one well skilled in country labour, and a' that appertained to flocks and
herds, to superintend a store-farm, whilk his Grace had taen into his ain
hand for the improvement of stock."
Jeanie's heart sunk within her at this declaration. "She allowed it was a
goodly and pleasant land, and sloped bonnily to the western sun; and she
doubtedna that the pasture might be very gude, for the grass looked
green, for as drouthy as the weather had been. But it was far frae hame,
and she thought she wad be often thinking on the bonny spots of turf, sae
fu' of gowans and yellow king-cups, amang the Crags at St. Leonard's."
"Dinna speak on't, Jeanie," said her father; "I wish never to hear it
named mair--that is, after the rouping is ower, and the bills paid. But I
brought a' the beasts owerby that I thought ye wad like best. There is
Gowans, and there's your ain brockit cow, and the wee hawkit ane, that ye
ca'd--I needna tell ye how ye ca'd it--but I couldna bid them sell the
petted creature, though the sight o' it may sometimes gie us a sair
heart--it's no the poor dumb creature's fault--And ane or twa beasts mair
I hae reserved, and I caused them to be driven before the other beasts,
that men might say, as when the son of Jesse returned from battle, 'This
is David's spoil.'"
Upon more particular inquiry, Jeanie found new occasion to admire the
active beneficence of her friend the Duke of Argyle. While establishing a
sort of experimental farm on the skirts of his immense Highland estates,
he had been somewhat at a loss to find a proper person in whom to vest
the charge of it. The conversation his Grace had upon country matters
with Jeanie Deans during their return from Richmond, had impressed him
with a belief that the father, whose experience and success she so
frequently quoted, must be exactly the sort of person whom he wanted.
When the condition annexed to Effie's pardon rendered it highly probable
that David Deans would choose to change his place of residence, this idea
again occurred to the Duke more strongly, and as he was an enthusiast
equally in agriculture and in benevolence, he imagined he was serving the
purposes of both, when he wrote to the gentleman in Edinburgh entrusted
with his affairs, to inquire into the character of David Deans,
cowfeeder, and so forth, at St. Leonard's Crags; and if he found him such
as he had been represented, to engage him without delay, and on the most
liberal terms, to superintend his fancy-farm in Dumbartonshire.
The proposal was made to old David by the gentleman so commissioned, on
the second day after his daughter's pardon had reached Edinburgh. His
resolution to leave St. Leonard's had been already formed; the honour of
an express invitation from the Duke of Argyle to superintend a department
where so much skill and diligence was required, was in itself extremely
flattering; and the more so, because honest David, who was not without an
exeellent opinion of his own talents, persuaded himself that, by
accepting this charge, he would in some sort repay the great favour he
had received at the hands of the Argyle family. The appointments,
including the right of sufficient grazing for a small stock of his own,
were amply liberal; and David's keen eye saw that the situation was
convenient for trafficking to advantage in Highland cattle. There was
risk of "her'ship"* from the neighbouring mountains, indeed, but the
awful name of the Duke of Argyle would be a great security, and a trifle
of _black-mail_ would, David was aware, assure his safety.
* Her'ship, a Scottish word which may be said to be now obsolete;
because, fortunately, the practice of "plundering by armed force," which
is its meaning, does not require to be commonly spoken of.
Still however, there were two points on which he haggled. The first was
the character of the clergyman with whose worship he was to join; and on
this delicate point he received, as we will presently show the reader,
perfect satisfaction. The next obstacle was the condition of his youngest
daughter, obliged as she was to leave Scotland for so many years.
The gentleman of the law smiled, and said, "There was no occasion to
interpret that clause very strictly--that if the young woman left
Scotland for a few months, or even weeks, and came to her father's new
residence by sea from the western side of England, nobody would know of
her arrival, or at least nobody who had either the right or inclination
to give her disturbance. The extensive heritable jurisdictions of his
Grace excluded the interference of other magistrates with those living on
his estates, and they who were in immediate dependence on him would
receive orders to give the young woman no disturbance. Living on the
verge of the Highlands, she might, indeed, be said to be out of Scotland,
that is, beyond the bounds of ordinary law and civilisation."
Old Deans was not quite satisfied with this reasoning; but the elopement
of Effie, which took place on the third night after her liberation,
rendered his residence at St. Leonard's so detestable to him, that he
closed at once with the proposal which had been made him, and entered
with pleasure into the idea of surprising Jeanie, as had been proposed by
the Duke, to render the change of residence more striking to her. The
Duke had apprised Archibald of these circumstances, with orders to act
according to the instructions he should receive from Edinburgh, and by
which accordingly he was directed to bring Jeanie to Roseneath.
The father and daughter communicated these matters to each other, now
stopping, now walking slowly towards the Lodge, which showed itself among
the trees, at about half-a-mile's distance from the little bay in which
they had landed. As they approached the house, David Deans informed his
daughter, with somewhat like a grim smile, which was the utmost advance
he ever made towards a mirthful expression of visage, that "there was
baith a worshipful gentleman, and ane reverend gentleman, residing
therein. The worshipful gentleman was his honour the Laird of
Knocktarlitie, who was bailie of the lordship under the Duke of Argyle,
ane Highland gentleman, tarr'd wi' the same stick," David doubted, "as
mony of them, namely, a hasty and choleric temper, and a neglect of the
higher things that belong to salvation, and also a gripping unto the
things of this world, without muckle distinction of property; but,
however, ane gude hospitable gentleman, with whom it would be a part of
wisdom to live on a gude understanding (for Hielandmen were hasty, ower
hasty). As for the reverend person of whom he had spoken, he was
candidate by favour of the Duke of Argyle (for David would not for the
universe have called him presentee) for the kirk of the parish in which
their farm was situated, and he was likely to be highly acceptable unto
the Christian souls of the parish, who were hungering for spiritual
manna, having been fed but upon sour Hieland sowens by Mr. Duncan
MacDonought, the last minister, who began the morning duly, Sunday and
Saturday, with a mutchkin of usquebaugh. But I need say the less about
the present lad," said David, again grimly grimacing, "as I think ye may
hae seen him afore; and here he is come to meet us."
She had indeed seen him before, for it was no other than Reuben Butler
No more shalt thou behold thy sister's face;
Thou hast already had her last embrace.
Elegy on Mrs. Anne Killigrew.
This second surprise had been accomplished for Jeanie Deans by the rod of
the same benevolent enchanter, whose power had transplanted her father
from the Crags of St. Leonard's to the banks of the Gare Loch. The Duke
of Argyle was not a person to forget the hereditary debt of gratitude,
which had been bequeathed to him by his grandfather, in favour of the
grandson of old Bible Butler. He had internally resolved to provide for
Reuben Butler in this kirk of Knocktarlitie, of which the incumbent had
just departed this life. Accordingly, his agent received the necessary
instructions for that purpose, under the qualifying condition always,
that the learning and character of Mr. Butler should be found proper for
the charge. Upon inquiry, these were found as highly satisfactory as had
been reported in the case of David Deans himself.
By this preferment, the Duke of Argyle more essentially benefited his
friend and _protegee_, Jeanie, than he himself was aware of, since he
contributed to remove objections in her father's mind to the match, which
he had no idea had been in existence.
We have already noticed that Deans had something of a prejudice against
Butler, which was, perhaps, in some degree owing to his possessing a sort
of consciousness that the poor usher looked with eyes of affection upon
his eldest daughter. This, in David's eyes, was a sin of presumption,
even although it should not be followed by any overt act, or actual
proposal. But the lively interest which Butler had displayed in his
distresses, since Jeanie set forth on her London expedition, and which,
therefore, he ascribed to personal respect for himself individually, had
greatly softened the feelings of irritability with which David had
sometimes regarded him. And, while he was in this good disposition
towards Butler, another incident took place which had great influence on
the old man's mind. So soon as the shock of Effie's second elopement was
over, it was Deans's early care to collect and refund to the Laird of
Dumbiedikes the money which he had lent for Effie's trial, and for
Jeanie's travelling expenses. The Laird, the pony, the cocked hat, and
the tabacco-pipe, had not been seen at St. Leonard's Crags for many a
day; so that, in order to pay this debt, David was under the necessity of
repairing in person to the mansion of Dumbiedikes.
He found it in a state of unexpected bustle. There were workmen pulling
down some of the old hangings, and replacing them with others, altering,
repairing, scrubbing, painting, and white-washing. There was no knowing
the old house, which had been so long the mansion of sloth and silence.
The Laird himself seemed in some confusion, and his reception, though
kind, lacked something of the reverential cordiality, with which he used
to greet David Deans. There was a change also, David did not very well
know of what nature, about the exterior of this landed proprietor--an
improvement in the shape of his garments, a spruceness in the air with
which they were put on, that were both novelties. Even the old hat looked
smarter; the cock had been newly pointed, the lace had been refreshed,
and instead of slouching backward or forward on the Laird's head, as it
happened to be thrown on, it was adjusted with a knowing inclination over
David Deans opened his business, and told down the cash. Dumbiedikes
steadily inclined his ear to the one, and counted the other with great
accuracy, interrupting David, while he was talking of the redemption of
the captivity of Judah, to ask him whether he did not think one or two of
the guineas looked rather light. When he was satisfied on this point, had
pocketed his money, and had signed a receipt, he addressed David with
some little hesitation,--"Jeanie wad be writing ye something, gudeman?"
"About the siller?" replied David--"Nae doubt, she did."
"And did she say nae mair about me?" asked the Laird.
"Nae mair but kind and Christian wishes--what suld she hae said?" replied
David, fully expecting that the Laird's long courtship (if his dangling
after Jeanie deserves so active a name) was now coming to a point. And so
indeed it was, but not to that point which he wished or expected.
"Aweel, she kens her ain mind best, gudeman. I hae made a clean house o'
Jenny Balchristie, and her niece. They were a bad pack--steal'd meat and
mault, and loot the carters magg the coals--I'm to be married the morn,
and kirkit on Sunday."
Whatever David felt, he was too proud and too steady-minded to show any
unpleasant surprise in his countenance and manner.
"I wuss ye happy, sir, through Him that gies happiness--marriage is an
"And I am wedding into an honourable house, David--the Laird of
Lickpelf's youngest daughter--she sits next us in the kirk, and that's
the way I came to think on't."
There was no more to be said but again to wish the Laird joy, to taste a
cup of his liquor, and to walk back again to St. Leonard's, musing on the
mutability of human affairs and human resolutions. The expectation that
one day or other Jeanie would be Lady Dumbiedikes, had, in spite of
himself, kept a more absolute possession of David's mind than he himself
was aware of. At least, it had hitherto seemed a union at all times
within his daughter's reach, whenever she might choose to give her silent
lover any degree of encouragement, and now it was vanished for ever.
David returned, therefore, in no very gracious humour for so good a man.
He was angry with Jeanie for not having encouraged the Laird--he was
angry with the Laird for requiring encouragement--and he was angry with
himself for being angry at all on the occasion.
On his return he found the gentleman who managed the Duke of Argyle's
affairs was desirous of seeing him, with a view to completing the
arrangement between them. Thus, after a brief repose, he was obliged to
set off anew for Edinburgh, so that old May Hettly declared, "That a'
this was to end with the master just walking himself aff his feet."
When the business respecting the farm had been talked over and arranged,
the professional gentleman acquainted David Deans, in answer to his
inquiries concerning the state of public worship, that it was the
pleasure of the Duke to put an excellent young clergyman, called Reuben
Butler, into the parish, which was to be his future residence.
"Reuben Butler!" exclaimed David--"Reuben Butler, the usher at Liberton?"
"The very same," said the Duke's commissioner; "his Grace has heard an
excellent character of him, and has some hereditary obligations to him
besides--few ministers will be so comfortable as I am directed to make
"Obligations?--The Duke?--Obligations to Reuben Butler--Reuben Butler a
placed minister of the Kirk of Scotland?" exclaimed David, in
interminable astonishment, for somehow he had been led by the bad success
which Butler had hitherto met with in all his undertakings, to consider
him as one of those step-sons of Fortune, whom she treats with unceasing
rigour, and ends with disinheriting altogether.
There is, perhaps, no time at which we are disposed to think so highly of
a friend, as when we find him standing higher than we expected in the
esteem of others. When assured of the reality of Butler's change of
prospects, David expressed his great satisfaction at his success in life,
which, he observed, was entirely owing to himself (David). "I advised his
puir grand-mother, who was but a silly woman, to breed him up to the
ministry; and I prophesied that, with a blessing on his endeavours, he
would become a polished shaft in the temple. He may be something ower
proud o' his carnal learning, but a gude lad, and has the root of the
matter--as ministers gang now, where yell find ane better, ye'll find ten
waur, than Reuben Butler."
He took leave of the man of business, and walked homeward, forgetting his
weariness in the various speculations to which this wonderful piece of
intelligence gave rise. Honest David had now, like other great men, to go
to work to reconcile his speculative principles with existing
circumstances; and, like other great men, when they set seriously about
that task, he was tolerably successful.
Ought Reuben Butler in conscience to accept of this preferment in the
Kirk of Scotland, subject as David at present thought that establishment
was to the Erastian encroachments of the civil power? This was the
leading question, and he considered it carefully. "The Kirk of Scotland
was shorn of its beams, and deprived of its full artillery and banners of
authority; but still it contained zealous and fructifying pastors,
attentive congregations, and, with all her spots and blemishes, the like
of this Kirk was nowhere else to be seen upon earth."
David's doubts had been too many and too critical to permit him ever
unequivocally to unite himself with any of the dissenters, who upon
various accounts absolutely seceded from the national church. He had
often joined in communion with such of the established clergy as
approached nearest to the old Presbyterian model and principles of 1640.
And although there were many things to be amended in that system, yet he
remembered that he, David Deans, had himself ever been an humble pleader
for the good old cause in a legal way, but without rushing into
right-hand excesses, divisions and separations. But, as an enemy to
separation, he might join the right-hand of fellowship with a minister of
the Kirk of Scotland in its present model. _Ergo,_ Reuben Butler might
take possession of the parish of Knocktarlitie, without forfeiting his
friendship or favour--Q. E. D. But, secondly, came the trying point of
lay-patronage, which David Deans had ever maintained to be a coming in by
the window, and over the wall, a cheating and starving the souls of a
whole parish, for the purpose of clothing the back and filling the belly
of the incumbent.
This presentation, therefore, from the Duke of Argyle, whatever was the
worth and high character of that nobleman, was a limb of the brazen
image, a portion of the evil thing, and with no kind of consistency could
David bend his mind to favour such a transaction. But if the parishioners
themselves joined in a general call to Reuben Butler to be their pastor,
it did not seem quite so evident that the existence of this unhappy
presentation was a reason for his refusing them the comforts of his
doctrine. If the Presbytery admitted him to the kirk, in virtue rather of
that act of patronage than of the general call of the congregation, that
might be their error, and David allowed it was a heavy one. But if Reuben
Butler accepted of the cure as tendered to him by those whom he was
called to teach, and who had expressed themselves desirous to learn,
David, after considering and reconsidering the matter, came, through the
great virtue of if, to be of opinion that he might safely so act in that
There remained a third stumbling-block--the oaths to Government exacted
from the established clergymen, in which they acknowledge an Erastian
king and parliament, and homologate the incorporating Union between
England and Scotland, through which the latter kingdom had become part
and portion of the former, wherein Prelacy, the sister of Popery, had
made fast her throne, and elevated the horns of her mitre. These were
symptoms of defection which had often made David cry out, "My bowels--my
bowels!--I am pained at the very heart!" And he remembered that a godly
Bow-head matron had been carried out of the Tolbooth church in a swoon,
beyond the reach of brandy and burnt feathers, merely on hearing these
fearful words, "It is enacted by the Lords _spiritual_ and temporal,"
pronounced from a Scottish pulpit, in the proem to the Porteous
Proclamation. These oaths were, therefore, a deep compliance and dire
abomination--a sin and a snare, and a danger and a defection. But this
shibboleth was not always exacted. Ministers had respect to their own
tender consciences, and those of their brethren; and it was not till a
later period that the reins of discipline were taken up tight by the
General Assemblies and Presbyteries. The peacemaking particle came again
to David's assistance. _If_ an incumbent was not called upon to make such
compliances, and _if_ he got a right entry into the church without
intrusion, and by orderly appointment, why, upon the whole, David Deans
came to be of opinion, that the said incumbent might lawfully enjoy the
spirituality and temporality of the cure of souls at Knocktarlitie, with
stipend, manse, glebe, and all thereunto appertaining.
The best and most upright-minded men are so strongly influenced by
existing circumstances, that it would be somewhat cruel to inquire too
nearly what weight parental affection gave to these ingenious trains of
reasoning. Let David Deans's situation be considered. He was just
deprived of one daughter, and his eldest, to whom he owed so much, was
cut off, by the sudden resolution of Dumbiedikes, from the high hope
which David had entertained, that she might one day be mistress of that
fair lordship. Just while this disappointment was bearing heavy on his
spirits, Butler comes before his imagination--no longer the half-starved
threadbare usher, but fat and sleek and fair, the beneficed minister of
Knocktarlitie, beloved by his congregation--exemplary in his
life--powerful in his doctrine--doing the duty of the kirk as never
Highland minister did before--turning sinners as a colley dog turns
sheep--a favourite of the Duke of Argyle, and drawing a stipend of eight
hundred punds Scots, and four chalders of victual. Here was a match,
making up in David's mind, in a tenfold degree, the disappointment in
the case of Dumbiedikes, in so far as the goodman of St. Leonard's held
a powerful minister in much greater admiration than a mere landed
proprietor. It did not occur to him, as an additional reason in favour
of the match, that Jeanie might herself have some choice in the matter;
for the idea of consulting her feelings never once entered into the
honest man's head, any more than the possibility that her inclination
might perhaps differ from his own.
The result of his meditations was, that he was called upon to take the
management of the whole affair into his own hand, and give, if it should
be found possible without sinful compliance, or backsliding, or defection
of any kind, a worthy pastor to the kirk of Knocktarlitie. Accordingly,
by the intervention of the honest dealer in butter-milk who dwelt in
Liberton, David summoned to his presence Reuben Butler. Even from this
worthy messenger he was unable to conceal certain swelling emotions of
dignity, insomuch, that, when the carter had communicated his message to
the usher, he added, that "Certainly the Gudeman of St. Leonard's had
some grand news to tell him, for he was as uplifted as a midden-cock upon
Butler, it may readily be conceived, immediately obeyed the summons. He
was a plain character, in which worth and good sense and simplicity were
the principal ingredients; but love, on this occasion, gave him a certain
degree of address. He had received an intimation of the favour designed
him by the Duke of Argyle, with what feelings those only can conceive who
have experienced a sudden prospect of being raised to independence and
respect from penury and toil. He resolved, however, that the old man
should retain all the consequence of being, in his own opinion, the first
to communicate the important intelligence. At the same time, he also
determined that in the expected conference he would permit David Deans to
expatiate at length upon the proposal, in all its bearings, without
irritating him either by interruption or contradiction. This last was the
most prudent plan he could have adopted; because, although there were
many doubts which David Deans could himself clear up to his own
satisfaction, yet he might have been by no means disposed to accept the
solution of any other person; and to engage him in an argument would have
been certain to confirm him at once and for ever in the opinion which
Butler chanced to impugn.
He received his friend with an appearance of important gravity, which
real misfortune had long compelled him to lay aside, and which belonged
to those days of awful authority in which he predominated over Widow
Butler, and dictated the mode of cultivating the crofts of Beersheba. He
made known to Reuben, with great prolixity, the prospect of his changing
his present residence for the charge of the Duke of Argyle's stock-farm
in Dumbartonshire, and enumerated the various advantages of the situation
with obvious self-congratulation; but assured the patient hearer, that
nothing had so much moved him to acceptance, as the sense that, by his
skill in bestial, he could render the most important services to his
Grace the Duke of Argyle, to whom, "in the late unhappy circumstance"
(here a tear dimmed the sparkle of pride in the old man's eye), "he had
been sae muckle obliged."
"To put a rude Hielandman into sic a charge," he continued, "what could
be expected but that he suld be sic a chiefest herdsman, as wicked Doeg
the Edomite? whereas, while this grey head is to the fore, not a clute o'
them but sall be as weel cared for as if they were the fatted kine of
Pharaoh.--And now, Reuben, lad, seeing we maun remove our tent to a
strange country, ye will be casting a dolefu' look after us, and thinking
with whom ye are to hold counsel anent your government in thae slippery
and backsliding times; and nae doubt remembering, that the auld man,
David Deans, was made the instrument to bring you out of the mire of
schism and heresy, wherein your father's house delighted to wallow; aften
also, nae doubt, when ye are pressed wi' ensnaring trials and tentations
and heart-plagues, you, that are like a recruit that is marching for the
first time to the touk of drum, will miss the auld, bauld, and
experienced veteran soldier that has felt the brunt of mony a foul day,
and heard the bullets whistle as aften as he has hairs left on his auld
It is very possible that Butler might internally be of opinion, that the
reflection on his ancestor's peculiar tenets might have been spared, or
that he might be presumptuous enough even to think, that, at his years,
and with his own lights, he might be able to hold his course without the
pilotage of honest David. But he only replied, by expressing his regret,
that anything should separate him from an ancient, tried, and
"But how can it be helped, man?" said David, twisting his features into a
sort of smile--"How can we help it?--I trow, ye canna tell me that--Ye
maun leave that to ither folk--to the Duke of Argyle and me, Reuben. It's
a gude thing to hae friends in this warld--how muckle better to hae an
interest beyond it!"
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