« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
ideal of what is tasty, and as it is easily carried, Now there was a reason for this. For as the I never travel without it. Do try some-I am two young men sat together before the fire, sure you will like it."
Morden's eyes had chanced to wander to a “You areevidently a gourmet,” replied Lawson, mirror which hung over the mantlepiece—the amazed by his host's facetious volubility.
same, in fact, in which Lawson had that after"I should be ashamed of myself if I were not ! noon beheld the image of the swooning lady. Is not our dinner, at a modest computation, at And seeing his own face and that of his boonleast one third of our lives? But people are so companion reflected therein, side by side, unenlightened, they do not realise this. It is a Morden was immediately struck by the strange fact that great talents are constantly being resemblance which they presented. And the devoted to inven‘ing nice things for us to eat longer he gazed upon it, the more it impressed and drink, but we are callous, and ungrateful, him. and go on just as if these things were not ! Probably most men in his situation would That reminds me, what will you drink now? I have drawn attention to the discovery. But have some sound Bordeaux wine here, and a that was not Eustace's way. With all his bottle of a light nutty Amontillado.”
occasional volubility, there was something "Thank you, that is excellent !” exclaimed radically secretive in his nature, which inclined Lawson, after draining a glass of the latter him to avoid committing himself, even to a vintage, “I feel like a pioneer of civilisation seemingly unimportant course of action, until he when I say so, and certainly you have reason had studied its full bearing. So now, whilst his for satisfaction in being the first to introduce friend talked on, he said nothing, but sat with enlightenment, as you call it, to a barbarous eyes fixed intently upon the glass. district of the country. For here, as Cotton Lawson happened to be talking with animamakes old Montaigne say, the business of those tion, and as he spoke he spontaneously illustrated who drink is 'to pour down, not to taste.'” his discourse with gestures, and movements of
“Ha-ha! Permit me to assist you to another the head, and from time to time shifted his glass."
position. All these movements were observed “I pledge you, sir.”
by Eustace, and presently, like a man in a The young men clinked glasses and drank. mesmeric trance, he began to imitate them. Meantime Morden was not a little surprised Thus when Lawson half-averted his face, he to find his chance-made acquaintance so ready half-averted his; when Lawson raised his right to meet him on his own ground. If he had hand, he raised his left ; when Lawson threw calculated upon “making an impression,” he was himself back in his chair and laughed, he did disappointed; for the sentiment Lawson had the same. The reflections in the glass, of course, just uttered was one which might have fallen followed suit, until at last the four-fold performfrom his own lips. Nor had he been prepared ance of the same action-pamely twice in to hear an old French author cited in a modest reality, and twice in the looking glass-produced out-of-the-way inn. He now began to feel that an effect almost of weirdness. But by this process there was probably nothing in respect of know- Eustace was enabled to study the variations and ledge of the world that he could teach Lawson, Auctuations of the haunting likeness; which, as the almost theatrical polish of whose manners different aspects of the two faces and figures were also impressed him. His curiosity was piqued. disclosed, now grew almost startlingly distinct,
It was soon to receive a further stimulus. and anon seemed almost to be lost sight of. Their light supper ended, the young men drew He continued his pantomime unobserved, until chairs to the fire, and whilst trifling with some it began to exercise an effect almost of fascinadried fruits and nuts, continued their conversation tion upon himself, Of course had the mirror over the bottle. But the character of that been placed on a level with Lawson's eye, all conversation soon underwent a change. In the that was taking place could scarcely have first place, at the outset, as we have seen, Eustace escaped his attention. But it hung high above was the principal talker ; but as time went on his head, and he talked on' unaware. this part was transferred to Lawson. And then He was speaking of his experiences in foreign the inequality of the partnership became countries, and of incidents and accidents of apparent; for whilst the seaman gave himself up travel. As he talked, he from time to time to the colloquy with all the warmth and raised his glass to his lips, and when he set it candour of an open and expansive nature, his down empty, the Master, as in duty bound, interlocutor maintained a passive or receptive refilled it. On the part of Lawson the action attitude, and in any remarks which he might was doubtless partly mechanical, for he was originate dwelt only on the surface of things. a talker who threw himself heart and soul into what he was saying ; yet after he had swallowed “Now we are comfortable! Tell me the two or three glasses of wine, a change in the longest story you know, if you please; and that character of his discourse became noticeable. must be the story of your life. You know it is It assumed a more confidential tone, and began a convention of the novelists that travellers tell to deal more largely with exploits of the speaker's each other tales over the inn fire." own. This change was not lost upon his hearer, Lawson looked thoughtful. whose expression of countenance, as he listened, “Well! it's curious that you should have passed from the puzzled to the inscrutable. asked me for that story in particular; for its the Meantime he kept his eye upon Lawson's glass, very one which, while you were out of the room, whilst putting in a word or two in the conversa I had made up my mind to tell you. And tion, now and again, to keep the ball rolling. there's something singular in that too, for it's a At last, when he thought the right time had story I'm not generally very free with. I have come, he availed himself of a pause to say :- swung in my cot for months together alongside
"My dear sir, you have evidently had an un- the same shipmates, and when they told yarns of usually interesting career! But what I envy their early life, I was always silent as to mine. you fully as much as your experience of men But you must have a charm with you, I believe; and cities, is your admirable knack of describ). for, here we meet for the first, and (as I'm sorry ing them. To meet with the two things in to think) the last time in our lives, and straightcombination is rare ; for as a rule, those who way I feel tempted to make you my confidant. have seen, cannot make others see ; whilst Would my story might profit you! Howthose who can describe, pass their lives in ever, it's unusual, and may serve to pass away libraries, and see nothing worth describing. But an hour. in you are united, in an uncommon degree, the
(To be Continued). two attributes of the ideal raconteur." It was easy to see that Lawson was gratified
The Principal and the School-boy. by the flattery. His was that simple and affectionate nature which is repaid for all things HE perusal of Mr. Robson's interesting by a word of praise ; and, though no 'talker for
paper on “ Halidon Hill” in a recent effect' (for his discourse flowed naturally), he number of this Magazine, brings to our was certainly a little vain of his social cleverness. recollection the following reminiscence of the And if he had been pleased by his success in the late Principal Cairns. kitchen, how much more so by the discrimina- Some years ago, a party of four persons left ting compliments of a professed connoisseur! Glasgow to attend the ordination services of a
His obvious satisfaction was almost touching young minister at Berwick-on-Tweed. While the in its naturalness; he blushed slightly, and train waited for a few minutes at Edinburgh, Dr. murmured something politely and convention- Cairns joined the party which now consisted of ally deprecating.
the Principal, a Glasgow minister, a young The Master smiled ; then he continued : warehouseman, a school-boy, and the present
“I protest that I mean all I say. And writer. Dr. Cairns and the minister almost assuredly I am greatly your debtor, for who immediately got into a discussion on some church would ever have expected to pass an evening so question which had apparently been before them agreeably in a barbarous inn at the world's end? on some former occasion, and so earnestly did However, the night is still young. I suspect they drift into the argument that the other that lazy fellow of ours has gone to bed; but if members of the party remarked to each other, in you will excuse me for a moment, I'll bring in under tones, that the two reverend gentlemen another bottle, and then if you like, we can would probably “talk shop” all the way to talk for an hour or two longer, and you can tell Berwick. But they were agreeably disappointed. me some more of your adventures.”
No sooner had the train got clear of Edinburgh, Lawson was nothing loth, and having left the and into the open country, than the Principal room Eustace presently returned, bearing a suddenly changed the subject by turning to the curiously shaped flask, which he said contained youngest member of the group- a fair-haired l'ajarete, a luscious winter wine, of Spanish blue eyed boy of thirteen or fourteen--and origin. He filled their glasses with the richly. engaging him in conversation. coloured oleaginous liquor, and closing his eyes, Opening wide his knees and drawing the boy sipped as with ravishment. Then, taking a gently in between them, Dr. Cairns began by sweet cake between his fingers, he drew his asking what he was doing at school, how far he chair closer to the fire, and said, in the cajoling, had got on in his studies, what profession he spoiled-child's tone which he so often affected: was thinking of, what department of school-work
he liked best, and what worst. “Very good," replied the Doctor after all the questions had been answered, “Very good, indeed. Now let us have the practical outcome of some of your school-learning. At this moment we are passing through a historical part of the country. Away to the right, yonder, is Prestonpans—tell me anything you know about Prestonpans.”
The boy, feeling quite at home by the Principal's homely and gentle manner, related the story of the battle that had been fought at Prestonpans, quoted the date, mentioned the contending parties, and stated the consequences, all correctly and graphically done.
“ That is capital !” replied the Principal,
the fair-haired boy. “And what other volumes of the Waverley novels have you read?”
“Have you read any of Sir Walter's Poemshis Marmion for example ?".
“No, not yet.”
“Ah, well, when you return to Glasgow, you must read Marmion, and you'll enjoy it all the more when I tell you that we are now passing through some of the scenery of what I consider to be the grandest of all Sir Walter's Poems, Look, yonder is Tantallon Castle where the famous scene took place between the Douglas and Lord Marmion—a scene when once read you'll never forget. Get it off by heart and it
stroking the fair hair of the boy, and entering with so much spirit and enjoyment into the incident that the other members of the party gave up their share of the conversation, and sat listening admiringly to what was going on between almost the two extremes of human intellect-a Principal and a school boy. “That is capital ! Now what text-book was it that gave you such a good account of the battle of Prestonpans ?"
" Please, sir, it was not a school-book, but a volume out of my father's book-case.”
“Ah, that is still better. And what book was it?"
“One of Sir Walter Scott's novels— Waverley." “Capital !” replied Dr. Cairns, again stroking
will furnish you with one of the best recitations in English literature. But, leaving Tantallon and the Douglas behind us, we are now approaching Dunbar. What do you know about Dunbar?”
“Only what the geography-book says?"
“Dunbar, a seaport of Haddingtonshire, famous for its herring-fishing and its export of potatoes."
“Fresh herring and new potatoes!” exclaimed the Doctor in hearty laughter. “And very good things too—the best dinner I used to get when I was a boy like you. Anything else you know about Dunbar outside that good geography-book -any battle fought here?"
“Something about Cromwell defeating the Here the screaming and the thunder of the Scots, but that is all I remember.”
passing express abruptly closed the parting scene. “And plenty too."
Principal and School-boy never again met each As the express thundered past Ayton, and other on the journey of life. The latter, a few approached Berwick, the Principal remarked to years after the incident here narrated, and just the boy that there was only time for one question while entering upon a professional career with more. “Here,” he said, "is Halidon Hill. Can the fairest prospects all in front of him, was you tell me anything about the great battle that called away first. The latter, full of years and was fought here?”
honours, was gathered to his fathers after his "No," replied the boy, “I do not remember life's work had been completed. Sooner or anything about Halidon Hill.”
later! It is this every-day phrase which adds “The less the better," observed the Principal, the deepest pathos to every human parting. "for here the Scots got such a dreadful thrashing that I do not wonder you have nothing to tell me about Halidon Hill. No Scotsman, far The Abbeys of the Border. less a Scottish school-boy, likes to tell about the
BY JAMES THOMSON. battle in which his countrymen suffered so
NO. 1.—MELROSE. severely. We have survived it, however, and can now speak quite calmly of Halidon Hill. But CTANDING amid the ruins of one of those here we are at Berwick."
sacred piles of the Border, who does not The ordination dinner was duly attended, but conjure up in his imagination the scenes the other services were left to the Principal, the that took place within them long ago, when the minister from Glasgow, and the other parties solemn chant was heard, where now the stillchiefly interested. The warehouseman, the ness is unbroken save by the night bird's cry, school-boy, and the present writer, employed and the grass grown cloisters were paced by their leisure in rambling through the steep streets hooded friar? It is the intention of these of the ancient Border town, and along its articles to offer a short sketch of the old surrounding ramparts. Next morning the monastic life and legends connected with warehouseman started for Glasgow by an early the Border fanes, starting with Melrose. train, while the remaining company of the Monastic life commenced on the banks of previous day left Berwick after breakfast. On the Tweed at a very early period. About the arriving at Reston Junction, the present writer year 635 A.D., the King of Northumbria, and the school-boy, (who had previously arranged becoming a convert to Christianity, grew zealous to return home by Berwickshire, on to Melrose, in missionary efforts, and with the assistance of and thence by Yarrow and Moffat), bade good. Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, set about estabbye to Dr. Cairns and the minister. While lishing religious communities, among other standing on the platform of the station, Dr. places at Melrose, then within his dominions. Cairns called a passing porter and inquired how The monastery was founded on a site on the long they had to wait before resuming the Tweed about two miles below the present abbey, journey to Edinburgh.
nearly encircled by a remarkable sweep of the “Ye'll hae five minutes at ony rate," replied river. Here on a clear green meadow amidst the porter. “The London express gangs on first.” the thick forest then all around, the monks
“That's enough.” Stepping out of the founded their home, and called the spot Melrose, carriage, Dr. Cairns approached the school-boy, from two Celtic words signifying a bare prostill standing on the platform, and desired him montory. The first name of celebrity connected to uncover his head, at the same time uncovering with the monastery is that of St. Cuthbert, who his own. Laying his hand upon the boy's head, seemed marked from his boyhood for a religious Principal Cairns reverently pronounced a life, for he is said in youth to have beheld the benediction, and invoked a blessing, in the body of the holy Bishop of Lindisfarne borne manner of one of the patriarchs of old. “My up to heaven in triumph by a company of angels. dear boy,” said Dr. Cairns in conclusion, "you About the time of his death, 687, the community are just starting on the journey of life, while I was joined by the austere visionary Dryethelme, am just about to end mine. In your company who spent the whole of his life at Melrose in yesterday I felt myself as a little child'-glad to the most rigorous voluntary penance. He was exchange for a short while the close of life's believed during a severe illness to have been experience for a taste of the freshness of its dead for one night, and then brought to life beginning. You and I may never meet again again. During the interval he was conducted here, but sooner or later-”.
through both the abodes of bliss and misery.
The horrors he is said to have witnessed in the established at Cisteaux in France. Their rules latter, influenced him to seek mitigation of the of life were very strict. They were obliged to pains of purgatory by anticipating them. Among perform their devotions seven times every twentyother methods, a favourite was to immerse him four hours. The first service was at two in the self daily in the Tweed, even in the depth of morning, and the last at eight at night, so that winter, without undressing or even removing the monks had not much time for sleep. The his wet garments. When asked how he could Scriptures were read to them during their meals, endure such painfully extreme cold, he replied and when any of them went abroad, they were that he had witnessed greater pain and cold. obliged to go two together, to guard and witness The monastery was destroyed in 839, when it each other's conduct, and prompt each other was burned by the King of the Scots, the name to holy thoughts. They were forbidden to buy then given to the wild inhabitants of the High- tithes, or to possess even rents of land. It was lands, and became a ruin after being rebuilt by the labour of their hands in cultivating the
From Photo by
Macintosh and Co., Kelso. towards 1073. The records latterly speak only earth and keeping cattle that they got their of a chapel of St. Cuthbert, which, however, living. The Cistertians took considerable pains was much resorted to by pilgrims, even the to promote learning, and Melrose, with other Pope granting remissions of penance to devotees such communities, seems to have had its own who had visited the shrine at Melrose.
reputation as an abode of scholars. In the year 1136, King David I. laid the The most notable among the early Abbots of foundations of the Abbey of Melrose, two miles Melrose was Waltheof, after death, canonised further up the Tweed, the ground of which the as a saint. He was the younger son present town of Melrose stands, then being of Simon, Earl of Northampton, a stout warrior. occupied by a village called Fordel. The King The son, however, being of quieter disposition continued the name Melrose to the religious than the father, while his brothers in their community, which it had held in its former hours of play imitated the attack and defence home. The monks were of the reformed order of castles, had a bias towards the construccalled Cistertians, from their having been first tion of baby churches. Growing older, his