Изображения страниц

the floor itself was entirely paved with others of comparatively modern date, on which coronets and inscriptions might still be traced. Here the silver case that once held the noble heart of the Good Lord James himself, is still pointed out. It is in the form of a heart, which, in memory of his glorious mission and fate, occupies ever since the chief place in the blazon of his posterity :

• The bloody heart blazed in the van,
Announcing Douglas' dreaded name.'

This charnel-house, too, will be recognised easily. Of the redoubted stle itself, there remains but a small detached fragment covered with ivy close to the present mansion ; but he hung over it long, or rather sat beside it, drawing outlines on the turf, and arranging in his fancy the sweep of the old precincts. Before the subjacent and surrounding lake and morass were drained, the position must indeed have been the perfect model of solitary strength. The crowd had followed uş, and were lingering about to see him once more as he got into his carriage. They attended him to the spot where it was waiting, in perfect silence. It was not like a mob, but a procession. He was again obviously gratified, and saluted them with an earnest yet placid air, as he took his leave. He expresses in his Introduction much thankfulness for the attention of Mr Haddow, and also of Lord Douglas's chamberlain, Mr Finlay, who had joined us at the Castle.

It was again a darkish cloudy day, with some occasional mutterings of distant thunder, and perhaps the state of the atmosphere told upon Sir Walter's nerves; but I had never before seen him so sensitive as he was all the morning after this inspection of Douglas. As we drove over the high table-land of Lesmahago, he repeated I know not how many verses from Winton, Barbour, and Blind Harry, with, I believe, almost every stanza of Dunbar's elegy on the deaths of the Makers (poets.) It was now that I saw him, such as he paints himself in one or two passages of his Diary, but such as his companions in the meridian vigour of his life never saw him “ the rushing of a brook, or the sighing of the summer breeze, bringing the tears into his eyes not unpleasantly." Bodily weakness laid the delicacy of the organization bare, over which he had prided himself in wearing a sort of half-stoical mask. High and exalted feelings, indeed, he had never been able to keep concealed, but he had shrunk from exhibiting to human eye the softer and gentler emotions which now trembled to the surface. He strove against it even now, and presently came back from the Lament of the Makers to his Douglasses, and chanted, rather than repeated, in a sort of deep and glowing, though

not distinct recitative, his first favourite among all the ballads,

" It was about the Lammas tide,

When husbandmen do win their hay,
That the Doughty Douglas bownde him to ride

To England to drive a prey," —

- down to the closing stanzas, which again left him

in tears,

My wound is deep-1 fain would sleep –

Take thou the vanguard of the three,
And hide me beneath the bracken-bush,

That grows on yonder lily lee. . .
This deed was done at the Otterburne,

About the dawning of the day.
Earl Douglas was buried by the bracken-bush,

And the Percy led captive away.”

We reached Milton-Lockhart some time before the dinner-hour, and Sir Walter appeared among the friends who received him there with much of his old graceful composure of courtesy. He walked about a little was pleased with the progress made in the new house, and especially commended my brother for having given his bridge “ribs like Bothwell." Greenshields was at hand, and he talked to him cheerfully, while the sculptor devoured his features, as under a solemn sense that they were before his eyes for the last time. My brother had taken care to have no company at dinner except two or three near neighbours with whom Sir Walter had been familiar through life, and whose entreaties it had been impossible to resist. One of these was the late Mr Elliott Lockhart of Cleghorn and Borthwickbraelong member of Parliament for Selkirkshire

the same whose anti-reform address had been preferred to the Sheriff's by the freeholders of that county in the preceding March. But, alas! very soon after that address was accepted, Borthwickbrae (so Scott always called him from his estate in the Forest) had a shock of paralysis as severe as any his old friend had as yet sustained. He, too, had rallied beyond , expectation, and his family were more hopeful, perhaps, than the other's dared to be. Sir Walter and he had not met for a few years—not since they rode side by side, as I well remember, on a merry day's sport at Bowhill; and need not tell any one who knew Borthwickbrae, that a finer or more gallant specimen of the Border gentleman than he was in his prime, never cheered a hunting-field. When they now met (heu quantum mutati!) each saw his own case glassed in the other, and neither of their manly hearts could well contain itself as they embraced. Each exerted himself to the utmost - indeed far too much, and they were both tempted to transgress the laws of their physicians.

At night Scott promised to visit Cleghorn on his

[ocr errors]

way home, but next morning, at breakfast, came a messenger to inform us that Borthwickbrae, on returning to his own house, fell down in another fit, and was now despaired of. Immediately, although he had intended to remain two days, Sir Walter drew my brother aside, and besought him to lend him horses as far as Lanark, for that he must set off with the least possible delay. He would listen to no persuasions. “ No, William,” he said,

“ this is a sad warning. I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh when no man can work. I put that text, many a year ago, on my dial-stone; but it often preached in vain.”

We started accordingly, and making rather a forced march, reached Abbotsford the same night. During the journey he was more silent than I ever before found him;-- he seemed to be wrapped in thought, and was but seldom roused to take notice of any object we passed. The little he said was mostly about Castle Dangerous, which he now seemed to feel sure he could finish in a fortnight, though his observation of the locality must needs cost the re-writing of several passages in the chapters already put into type.

For two or three weeks he bent himself sedulously

* This dial-stone, which used to stand in front of the old cottage, and is now in the centre of the garden, is inscribed, NIE ΓΑΡ ΕΡΧΕΤΑΙ. .

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »