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adjoining the site of his “ Castle Dangerous,” of which Mr Blore had shown him drawings; and he hoped to pick up some of the minute traditions, in which he had always delighted, among the inhabitants of Douglasdale.
We set out early on the 18th, and ascended the Tweed, passing in succession Yair, Ashestiel, Inner
early life, and celebrated in his writings. The morning was still, but gloomy, and at length we had some thunder. It seemed to excite him vividly, and on coming soon afterwards within view of that remarkable edifice (Drochel Castle) on the moorland ridge between Tweed and Clyde, which was begun but never finished, by the Regent Morton—a gigantic ruin typical of his ambition — Sir Walter could hardly be restrained from making some effort to reach it. Morton, too, was a Douglas, and that name was at present his charm of charms. We pushed on to Biggar, however, and reaching it towards sunset, were detained there for some time by want of posthorses. It was soon discovered who he was ; the population of the little town turned out; and he was evidently gratified with their respectful curiosity. It was the first time I observed him otherwise than annoyed upon such an occasion. Jedburgh, no doubt, hung on his mind, and he might be pleased to find that political differences did not interfere everywhere with his reception among his countrymen. But I fancy the cause lay deeper.
Another symptom that distressed me during this journey was, that he seemed constantly to be setting tasks to his memory. It was not as of old, when, if any one quoted a verse, he, from the fulness of his heart, could not help repeating the context. He was obviously in fear that this prodigious engine had lost, or was losing its tenacity, and taking every occasion to rub and stretch it. He sometimes failed, and gave it up with miseria cogitandi in his eye. At other times he succeeded to admiration, and smiled as he closed his recital. About a mile beyond Biggar, we overtook a parcel of carters, one of whom was maltreating his horse, and Sir Walter called to him from the carriage-window in great indignation. The man looked and spoke insolently; and as we drove on, he used some strong expressions about what he would have done had this happened within the bounds of his sheriffship. As he continued moved in an uncommon degree, I said jokingly, that I wondered his porridge diet had left his blood so warm, and quoted Prior's
“ Was ever Tartar fierce or cruel
Upon a mess of water-gruel ?”
He smiled graciously, and extemporised this variation of the next couplet
" Yet who shall stand the Sheriff's force,
If Selkirk carter beats his horse ? "*
This seemed to put him into the train of Prior, and he repeated several striking passages both of the Alma and the Solomon. He was still at this when we reached a longish hill, and he got out to walk a little. As we climbed the ascent, he leaning heavily on my shoulder, we were met by a couple of beggars, who were, or professed to be, old soldiers both of Egypt and the Peninsula. One of them wanted a leg, which circumstance alone would have opened Scott's purse-strings, though for ex facie a sad old blackguard; but the fellow had recognised his person, as it happened, and in asking an alms bade God bless him fervently by his name. The mendicants went on their way, and we stood breathing on the knoll. Sir Walter followed them with his eye, and planting his stick firmly on the sod, repeated without break or hesitation Prior's verses to the historian Mezeray. That he applied them to himself was touchingly obvious, and therefore I must copy them.
“ Whate'er thy countrymen have done,
In thee is faithfully recited;
* “ But who shall stand his rage and force,
Alma. VOL. X.
And all the living world that view
At once instructed and delighted.
“ Yet for the fame of all these deeds,
With lameness broke, with blindness smitten,
Or any monarch he has written?
66 'Tis strange, dear author, yet it true is,
All covet life, yet call it pain,
Resolve me, Cambray, or Fontaine.
“ The man in graver tragic known,
Still on the stage desires to tarry ;
Unwilling to retire, though weary."
We spent the night at the Inn of Douglas Mill, and at an early hour next morning proceeded to inspect, under the care of one of Lord Douglas's tenants, Mr Haddow, the Castle, the strange old bourg, the Church, long since deserted as a place of worship, and the very extraordinary monuments of the most heroic and powerful family in the annals
of Scotland. That works of sculpture equal to any of the fourteenth century in Westminster Abbey (for such they certainly were, though much mutilated by Cromwell's soldiery) should be found in so remote an inland place, attests strikingly the boundless resources of those haughty lords, “ whose coronet,” as Scott says, “so often counterpoised the crown.” The effigy of the best friend of Bruce is among the number, and represents him cross-legged, as having fallen in battle with the Saracen, when on his way to Jerusalem with the heart of his king.– The whole people of the barony gathered round the doors, and two persons of extreme old age, one so old that he well remembered Duke Willie — that is to say, the Conqueror of Culloden — were introduced to tell all their local legends, while Sir Walter examined by torchlight these silent witnesses of past greatness. It was a strange and a melancholy scene, and its recollection prompted some passages in Castle Dangerous, which might almost have been written at the same time with Lammermoor. The appearance of the village, too, is most truly transferred to the novel; and I may say the same of the surrounding landscape. We descended into a sort of crypt in which the Douglasses were buried until about a century ago, when there was room for no more; the leaden coffins around the wall being piled on each other, until the lower ones had been pressed flat as sheets of pasteboard, while