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blance in their features, pointed her out as the mother of the younger female, and who appeared to listen with a mixture of displeasure and impatience.
T'into produced his sketch with an air of mysterious triumph; and gazed on it as a fond parent looks upon a hopeful child, while he anticipates the future figure he is to make in the world, and the height to which he will raise the honour of his family. He held it at arms’ length from me,-he held it closer,--he placed it upon the top
of a chest of drawers, closed the lower shutter of the casement, to adjust a downward and favourable light,-fell back to the due distance, dragging me after him,-shaded his face with his hand, as if to exclude all but the favourite object,--and ended by spoiling a child's copy-book, which he rolled up so as to serve for the darkened tube of an amateur. I fancy my expressions of enthusiasm had not been in proportion to his own, for he presently exclaimed with vehemence, Mr. Pattieson, I used to think you had an eye in your head.'
I vindicated my claim to the usual allowance of visual organs.
“ Yet, on my honour,' said Dick, ‘I would swear you had been born blind, since you have failed at the first glance to discover the subject and meaning of that sketch. I do not mean to praise my own performance; I leave these arts to others; I am sensible of my deficiencies, conscious that my drawing and colouring may be improved by the time I intend to dedicate to the art. But the conception--the expression--the positions--these tell the story to every one who looks at the sketch; and if I can finish the picture without diminution of the original conception, the name of Tinto shall no more be smothered by the mists of envy and intrigue.
I replied, “that I admired the sketch exceedingly; but that to understand its full merit, I felt it absolutely necessary to be informed of the subject.'
'That is the very thing I complain of,' answered Tinto; ' you have accustomed yourself so much to these creeping twilight details of yours, that you are become incapable of receiving that instant and vivid flash of conviction, which darts on the mind from seeing the happy and expressive combinations of a single scene, and which gathers from the position, attitude, and countenance of the moment, not only the history of the past lives of the personages represented, and the nature of the business on which they are immediately engaged, but lifts even the veil of futurity, and affords a shrewd guess at their future fortunes.
' In that case,' replied I, “ Painting excels the ape of the renowned Gines de Passamont, which only meddled with the past and the present; nay, she excels that very Nature who affords her subjects; for I protest to you, Dick, that were I permitted to peep into that Elizabeth-chamber, and see the persons you have sketched, conversing in flesh and blood, I should not be a jot nearer guessing the nature of their business, than I am at this moment while looking at your sketch. Only generally, from the languishing look of the young lady, and the care you have taken to present a very handsome leg on the part of the gentleman, I presume there is some reference to a love affair between them.'
'Do you really presume to form such a bold conjecture!' said Tinto. And the indignant earnestness with which you see the man urge his suit—the unresisting and passive despair of the younger female--the stern air of inflexible determination in the elder woman, whose looks express at once consciousness that she is acting wrong, and a firm determination to persist in the course she has adopted'
• If her looks express all this, my dear Tinto,' replied I, interrupting him, “your pencil rivals the dramatic art of Mr. Puff in the Critic, who crammed a whole complicated sentence into the expressive shake of lord Burleigh's head.'
My good friend Peter,' replied Tinto, ' I observe you are perfectly incorrigible; however, I have compassion on your dulness, and am unwilling you should be deprived of the pleasure of understanding my picture, and of gaining, at the same time, a subject for your own pen. You must know then, last summer, while I was taking sketches on the coast of East Lothian and Berwickshire, I was seduced into the mountains of Lammermoor by the account I received of some remains of antiquity in that district. Those with which I was most struck, were the ruins of an ancient castle in which that Elizabeth-chamber, as you call it, once existed. I resided for two or three days at a farm-house in the neighbourhood, where the aged goodwife was well acquainted with the history of the castle, and the events which had taken place in it. One of these was of a nature so interesting and singular, that my attention was divided between my wish to draw the old ruins in landscape, and to represent in a history-piece the singular events which have taken place in it. Here are my notes of the tale,' said poor Dick, handing a parcel of loose scraps, partly scratched over with his pencil, partly with his pen, where outlines of caricatures, sketches of turrets, mills, old gables, and dove-cotes, disputed the ground with his written memoranda.
I proceeded, however, to decypher the substance of the manuscript, as well as I could, and wore it into the following Tale, in which, following in part, though not entirely, my friend Tinto's advice, I endeavoured to render my narrative rather descriptive than dramatic. My favourite propensity, however, has at times overcome me, and my persons, like many others in this talking world, speak now and then a great deal more than they act.
The roar of the sea had long announced their approach to the cliffs, on the summit of which, like the nest of some sea-eagle, the founder of the fortalice had perched his eyry. The pale moon, which had hitherto been contending with flitting clouds, now shone out, and gave them a view of the solitary and naked tower, situated on a projecting cliff that beetled on the German ocean. On three
sides the rock was precipitous; on the fourth, which was that toward the land, it had been originally fenced by an artificial ditch and draw-bridge, but the latter was broken down and ruinous, and the former had been in part filled up, so as to allow passage for a horseman into the narrow court-yard, encircled on two sides with low offices and stables, partly ruinous, and closed on the landward front by a low embattled wall, while the remaining side of the quadrangle was occupied by the tower itself, which, tall and narrow, and built of a grayish stone, stood glimmering in the moonlight, like the sheeted spectre of some huge giant. A wilder, or more disconsolate dwelling, it was perhaps difficult to conceive. The sombrous and heavy sound of the billows, successively dashing against the rocky beach at a profound distance beneath, was to the ear what the landscape was to the eye-a symbol of unvaried and monotonous melancholy, not unmingled with horror.
Although the night was not far advanced, there was no sign of living inhabitant about this forlorn abode, excepting that one, and only one, of the narrow and staunchelled windows which appeared at irregular heights and distances in the walls of the building, showed a small glimmer of light.
* There,' said Ravenswood, sits the only male domestic that remains to the house of Ravenswood; and it is well that he does remain there, since otherwise, we had little hope to find either light or fire. But follow me cautiously; the road is narrow,
and admits only one horse in front.'
In effect, the path led along a kind of isthmus, at the peninsular extremity of which the tower was situated, with that exclusive attention to strength and security, in preference to every circumstance of convenience, which dictated to the Scotish barons the choice of their situations, as well as their style of building.
By adopting the cautious mode of approach recommended by the proprietor of this wild hold, they entered the court-yard in safety. But it was long ere the efforts of Ravenswood, though loudly exerted by knocking at the low-browed entrance, and repeated shouts to Caleb to open the gate and admit them, received any answer. “The old man must be departed,' he began to say, 'or fallen into some fit; for the noise I have made would have waked the seven sleepers.'
At length a timid and hesitating voice replied, master-master of Ravenswood, is it you?'
'Yes, it is I, Caleb; open the door quickly.' ' But is it you in very blood and body? For I would sooner face fifty devils as my master's ghaist, or even his wraith,—wherefore aroint
if ye were ten times my master, unless ye come in bodily shape, lith and limb.
It is I, you old fool,' answered Ravenswood, 'in bodily shape, and alive, save that I am half dead with cold.'
The light at the upper window disappeared, and glancing from loop-hole to loop-hole in slow succession, gave intimation that the
bearer was in the act of descending, with great deliberation, a winding stair-case occupying one of the turrets which graced the angles of the old tower. The tardiness of his descent extracted some exclamations of impatience from Ravenswood, and several oaths from his less patient and more mercurial companion. Caleb again paused ere he unbolted the door, and once more asked, if they were men of mould' that demanded entrance at this time of night?
Were I near you, you old fool,' said Bucklaw, 'I would give you sufficient proofs of my bodily condition.'
Open the gate, Caleb,' said his master, in a more soothing tone, partly from his regard to the ancient and faithful seneschal, partly perhaps because he thought that angry words would be thrown away, so long as Caleb had a stout iron-clenched oaken door betwixt his person and the speakers.
At length Caleb, with a trembling hand, undid the bars, opened the heavy door, and stood before them, exhibiting his thin gray hairs, bald forehead, and sharp high features, illuminated by a quivering lamp which he held in one hand, while he shaded and protected its flame with the other. The timorous courteous glance which he threw around him—the effect of the partial light upon his white hair and illumined features, might have made a good painting; but our travellers were too impatient for security against the rising storm, to permit them to indulge themselves in studying the picturesque. “Is it you, my dear master? is it yourself indeed?" exclaimed the old domestic. "I am wae ye suld hae stude waiting at your ain gate, but wha wad hae thought o' seeing ye sae sune, and a strange gentleman with a-(here he exclaimed apart as it were, and to some inmate of the tower, in a voice not meant to be heard by those in the court)-Mysie-Mysie, woman, stir for dear life and get the fire mended; take the auld three-legged stool, or ony thing that's readiest that will make a lowe.- I doubt we are but puirly provided, no expecting ye this some months, when doubtless ye wad hae been received conform till your rank, as guide right is; but natheless'
' Natheless, Caleb,' said the master, we must have our horses put up, and ourselves too, the best way we can. I hope you are not sorry to see me sooner than you expected?' Sorry, my lord!—I am sure ye sall
lord wi' honest folk, as your noble ancestors hae been these three hundred years, and never asked a whig's leave.--Sorry to see the lord of Ravenswood at ane o' his ain castles!-(Then again apart to his unseen associate behind the screen)-Mysie, kill the brood-hen without thinking twice on it; let them care that come ahint.-No to say its our best dwelling,' he added, turning to Bucklaw, but just a strength for the lord of Ravenswood to flee until,—that is, no to free, but to retreat until in troublous times, like the present, when it was ill convenient for him to live farther in the country in ony of his better and mair principal manors; but, for its antiquity, maist
folks think that the outside of Wolf's Crag is worthy of a large perusal.'
. And you are determined we shall have time to make it,' said Ravenswood, somewhat amused with the shifts the old man used to detain them without doors, until his confederate Mysie had made her preparations within.
0, never mind the outside of the house, my good friend,' said Bucklaw; ` let's see the inside, and let our horses see the stable, that's all.'
' O yes, sir-ay, sir-unquestionably, sir,-my lord and ony of his honourable companions'
• But our horses, my old friend-our horses; they will be deadfoundered by standing here in the cold after riding hard, and mine is too good to be spoiled; therefore, once more, our horses,' exclaimed Bucklaw.
‘True-ay-your horses-yes- I will call the grooms;' and stutdily did Caleb roar till the old tower rung again, John-William-Saunders!—The lads are gane out, or sleeping,' he observed, after pausing for an answer, which he knew that he had no human chance of receiving. ‘A’ gaes wrang when the master's out bye; but I'll take care o your cattle mysell.'
'I think you had better,' said Ravenswood, otherwise I see little chance of their being attended to at all.'
Whisht, my lord, whisht, for God's sake,' said Caleb, in an imploring tone, and apart to his master; “if ye dinna regard your ain credit, think on mine; we'll hae hard eneugh wark to make a decent night o't, wi' a' the lies I can tell.'
· Well, well, never mind,' said his master; 'go to the stable. There is hay and corn, I trust?'
'Ou ay, plenty of hay and corn;' this was uttered boldly and aloud, and, in a lower tone, there was some half fous o' aits, and some taits o' meadow-hay, left after the burial.'
Very well,' said Ravenswood, taking the lamp from his domestic's unwilling hand, ‘I will show the stranger up stairs myself,
'I canna think o'that my lord;—if ye wad but hae five minutes, or ten minutes, or, at maist, a quarter of an hour's patience, and look at the fine moonlight prospect of the Bass and North-Berwick Law till I sort the horses, I would marshal ye up, as reason is ye suld be marshalled, your lordship and your honourable visitor. And I hae lockit up the siller candlesticks, and the lamp is not fit
It will do very well in the mean time,' said Ravenswood, and you will have no difficulty for want of light in the stable, for, if I recollect, half the roof is off.'
Very true, my lord,' replied the trusty adherent, and with ready wit instantly added, and the lazy sclater loons have never come to put it on a' this while, your lordship.'