Зображення сторінки


ful presence, and have had sometimes walls were damp and gloomy, and the opportunity of privately releasing hung all around with every kind of the iniserable prisoners that were

While Latham was busily confined by him, .and doomed to handling an old rusty buckler, Rodestruction."

ger was as busily engaged in remov“ What is the name of that exe- ing a small loose stone in the wall. crable villain ?" cried Latham, in- He told Latham, that if they could stinctively grasping his weapon. get it out, they would perceive all “ You must have heard,” replied the that was passing in the room. Their old woman,“ of Jaspar de Glen- curiosity was soon gratified, for it dearn, the powerful English chief." was not long before they succeeded Jaspar de Glendearn !--too well, in their design. As the tapestry my good dame; how often has Hugh was in a very tattered condition, and Latham measured swords with him! in some parts torn in large rents, Mary of heaven! I would tear his they could see every thing quite disheart's blood were he here !” As he tinctly. The chief, a tall, fierce-lookspoke, he was interrupted by loud ing man, and completely armed, repeated knocks at the gate, and the was seated at a table with all his clattering of horses' hoofs in the followers, whose embrowned and court. The old woman exclaimed, savage-looking countenances, shaded “ 'Tis my master! you are both by their dark frizzled locks, were undone ! Oh that I had known he moulded into the expression of the would have arrived at this time !" most deadly passions. The old wo“ Be not alarmed, my good dame," man, who acted in the capacity of cried her guests, starting up from waiter as well as housekeeper, was the seats on which they had been re- supplying their trenchers with large clining, “think not that we will yield portions of the venison, which they our lives tamely up; we will stand devoured with so much eagerness, till our swords drop from our hands.” that they appeared to have fasted “ But," replied the good woman, no inconsiderable time. When the “consider their number,against whom glass began to circulate, they beall your resistance must be unavail- came quite noisy and outrageing; but, Heaven be praised, I can ous. Some were drinking off, to one hide you from all danger of discovery." another, large drafts of wine, and So saying, she raised the tapestry, singing merry ballads, while others and pointed out an almost impercep- were relating, and no doubt exagtible door in the wall, which, on gerating, their warlike feats on the touching a secret spring, flew open, Border, in such confusion and upand displayed what appeared, from roar, that some, perhaps, could not its lofty and noble ceiling, to be a hear their own voices." That raslarge and capacious room.

The old cal Latham !” exclaimed one tall, woman thrust them instantly into fierce-looking fellow, in a tone of it, and on retouching the spring, the thunder, “ had the audacity once to door closed upon them. While the fight hand to hand with me, in one good dame was thus engaged, her of the Border skirmishes ; but I impatient and turbulent master was would have knocked him on the thundering at the gate, and bitterly pate, had not my treacherous blade cursing her tardiness. When she snapped in two, as I was engaged opened it, he poured on her a tor- singly with a cowardly band of his rent of abuse, which she mildly comrades.” “Your memory has cerbore, and led the way to the hall. tainly failed you,” returned one of Our adventurers, from their hiding- the revellers, with a sneer; “ for, if I place, distinctly heard all that pass remember aright, I was standing ed, and they could judge, from the near at the time, when Latham, mailed tread, dangling of arms, and (whose weapon had unluckily sbiverloud uproar of voices, that their foes ed to pieces, as it fell upon your were both well armed, and nume- heavy armour,) grappled you by the rous. They therefore mutually con- throat, and would instantly have gratulated themselves on their secu- done you,' had not you speedily rity. The room in which they were skulked off amidst the throng, like a concealed was the armoury; the fox (as I thought) with its tail be

3 X


hind it; but I suppose you did not found that the very man whom they observe me, since you have been detested and feared had fallen into passing off your valour by your bluse their power. Neither of the Scots tering words;

believe, my coura- answered a word to all the questions geous friend, you would verily fly that were put to them ; but Latham, from your own shadow, although especially, kept a dogged-like silence, you swell yourself so much on ac- and seemed « nursing his wrath to tions we have never heard of.” At keep it warm ;” but naturally of an this all the rioters burst into peals of impetuous temper," jealous of ho, laughter, which so effectually dis- nour, sudden and quick in quarrel,” concerted “the would-be valiant,” he could no longer bear patiently the that he sneaked off, not unlike scoffs and jeers of his insulting foes. the animal he bad been so aptly But we may remark by the bye, that likened to, crest-fallen as he was, the powerful-looking man, whom we into a corner, shrouding bimself in mentioned above, as the roughly. its gloom and his own insignificance. handled antagonist of the fiery Scot, By this time the tapers were sunk took care to keep a very respectable in their sockets; and as the dawn distance. Not so the comrade that began to peep through the case- had jeered him so sorely. He went ments, De Glendearn arose, and gave up to Latham, and shaking his fist the order for departure. His castle in his face, applied to him such inwas but two leagues distant, and he sulting epithets, that the latter, no was compelled to set out imme- longer able to restrain his turbulent diately, to muster all his followers passions, seized him by the throat for some great expedition. As his with the speed of lightning, and present attendants had been engaged dashed him, with almost incredible the night preceding with some Bor- strength, on the walls, a bleeding, derers, and their armour was hacked lifeless corpse. But at the same mo. and damaged, they repaired to the ment, and on the same spot, would very room in which our two adven- Latham have received his death, from turers were concealed, to make up the hands of the now-infuriated the deficiency. As they entered, band, had not Glendearn commanded the two Scots bid themselves behind them to forbear; at the same time some old rusty shields of great mag- exclaiming, “Young man, for this nitude, but not without being heard. crime, independent of your other of The clanking of the heavy armour, fences, you die, before to-morrow's resounding and re-echoing along the sun sets in the west, a cruel, lingering ancient walls, left no room for doubt death; and, impaled on the battle. that the noise had been caused by ments of my castle, the fowls of heasome persons. De Glendearn, there- yen shall devour you.” So saying, fore, ordered the place to be strictly the chief ordered him to be seized searched, and every nook to be ex- and bound, in spite of his resistance, plored ; but all their exertions were and that of his companion, who fruitless, from the situation of our himself met with the same fate. adventurers, which was not in the They then mounted their steeds, and, least suspected. They were accord- along with their helpless prisoners, ingly leaving the .room, in the be- set out to Glendearn Castle. The morn lief that the

sound had been caused was now far advanced, and although by the accidental falling of armour the storm had abated, yet the air was from some elevated quarter, when cold and chill. The landscape, as Latham imprudently stirred from his they entered the rocky mountains post, and again awakened the atten- of England, was grand and sublime. tion of his foes by the dangling of Thick and ancient groves, almost

On search being again impenetrable, were situated, some renewed, they were discovered, and times in the bosom of a deep sequesþrought before the chief, whose ven- tered dell, and often on the brow geance, Latham in particular, from of some lofty mountain, whose cloud. personal motives, had much reason capt summit was environed with to dread. Nothing could exceed the thick wreaths of mist ; while its deastonishment, as well as the savage clivitous sides, covered with snow, joy of their enemies, when they were partially illumed by the beams

the arms.

of the morning sun. It was indeed and their doom. They were conveyed a morning, that, from its wintry as- through several dark winding paspect, tended greatly to increase, in- sages, till they arrived at their pristead of dispelling the gloom of the son, into which they were both prisoners. They therefore travelled rudely cast, and centinels posted onwards in deep dejection; while at the entrance. The cell in even the savage troopers, whose which they were confined was breasts were ever steeled to pity and large and capacious, but cold and compassion, seemed to regard them damp; it was faintly lighted by & with a sort of sympathy, however small aperture in the wall, through faint and transient it was. On which the sun could scarcely ever turning an oblique angle of the glen; penetrate, far less in the present the proud castle of the chief of the season. The bare and clammy Glendearns rose full on their view. walls were exceedingly strong, and It was indeed a lofty and noble of vast thickness, as the dangerstructure, and twenty times worth ous state of the times required it; the degenerate ones of the present since neither life nor property could days. It was very extensive, but in be deemed secure from the depredasome parts uninhabitable, and in a tions of enemies. De Glendearn was, ruinous condition; it however did however, a chieftain of too great not seem so much owing to decay, as power ever to dread molestation to the frequent attacks of enemies. from any quarter; he therefore em It was situated on the very summit ployed all his time in making excurof a rocky mountain, precipitously sions into the territories of his neighsteep; at its basis foamed a deep and bours, where he rendered his name rapid river, which, swollen by the a terror to all, by his ferocious raparains of the preceding night, swept city and unrelenting disposition. The like a deluge up the glen. The rock, two Scots well knew, that whoever which frowned over, and cast a gloom fell into his hands were either conon the waters, was so very steep and fined for ever within the walls of a dangerous of access, that the eagle dungeon, or cruelly murdered ; and could have built its eyrie here in se- as they themselves had no hope of curity, and undisturbed by the da- éscape, the future appeared gloomy ring adventurers, had it not been too enough. They were interrupted in near the busy haunts of men. But the midst of these reflections by the a great number of birds were flying entrance of their jailor with their to and fro, while that ill-omened breakfast. On enquiring some parbird, the raven, as it flapped its ticulars regarding their fate, the felwings above, and sent forth its harsh low kept a sullen silence, and throw notes, seemed to deepen the gloom ing down their meal, darted out of that prevailed. The path that wound the cell. After partaking of their up the rock was so narrow and homely fare, with little appetite, craggy, that the band dismounted, they approached the window, to deand led their horses as cautiously as rive, if possible, some gratification they could, at the same time taking from the scene without. But all care that their prisoners were well around was bleak and gloomy; their secured. The dizzy height on which view was very confined, and they they stood, from which “ the crows could see nothing but chains of and choughs that wing the midway, mountains, whose summits, as they air show scarce as gross as beetles," aspired to the clouds, were covered had not much impression on the with snow, while down their rugged band, as they had always been famic sides rushed, with the greatest fury, liar with the scene ; but the brains the torrents that had accumulated of our two adventurers seemed to from the late heavy rains. The whirl round, as they gazed on the scene indeed was in avison with fearful chasm below. They stopped their present state of mind : they at length before the great gate of beheld death before them, since esthe castle, in the frowning bartizans cape appeared altogether impractiof which, the grated windows, and cable: to be cut off, in the flower of the numerous and savage-looking their days, when just commencing centinels, they beheld their prison the career of glory, was to them source of grief and bitter disappoint- open your dungeon, and then God


They remained buried in speed the rest. Be watchful and such reflections, soinetimes attempt- prudent, then, especially you young ing to solace one another, till Night man,” she continued, addressing her. had spread her shades over the earth; self to Latham ; “ beware lest your but before total darkness had set in, unguarded teinper lead you unto unthey beheld from their window an necessary danger, for then I cannot old woman, walking slowly up the save you, and to-morrow you die! hill. She was wrapped in the ample Remember, then," was the emphafolds of a dark cloak, and as she ap- tic word she pronounced, as she deproached nearer, they found that it scended the hill, and struck into a was no other than their hostess. But neighbouring wood. Our adventuwhy she had travelled so far, and on rers were so much stupified at what foot, afforded matter for conjecture. they had seen, that they knew not As she was looking in every direc- whether they could be more rejoiced tion, she appeared to shun observa- or astonished at the prospect of their tiou; and she proceeded cautiously deliverance. The hours at length onwards, till she stopped directly passed over them, as all hours must before their window. After she do; and when they heard the lone had again looked around her, she turret-bell chiming the appointed said in a low voice, “ My sons, you hour, they felt their hearts beat must, no doubt, be much surprised with mingled hope and alarm. The to see me here, and as if evading old woman, meanwhile, had entered notice ; but when I tell you that I the castle, and as she was softly have travelled from my house so treading the passage that led to the many miles, for the purpose of de- dungeon, the surly tone of the centilivering you from your prison, you nel demanded " who was there?” will think there is much danger if I Perceiving her critical situation, be discovered. You may suppose, she replied, in a faltering tone, however, that an old woman, such «« 'Tis Bertha Rhoderick !" ir What as I, could never free you from these the devil are you doing at such an walls," said she with a good-humour- untoward time of night as this?" ed smile, as she struck her staff on growled out the ruffian. “ Why, the moss-grown walls of the castle ; you know there is to be a great ban“ but, trust me, if I had not had the quet to-morrow, and as I have been means, I would never have travelled about my household duties, I could so far on a fool's errand, at the same not get earlier to my chamber. 'Tis time endangering my life to no pur- a cold night,” she added, well knowpose. As I was coinpelled to live ing his vulnerable part;“ here, take here occasionally, I have got better this flask; it will revive your spirits.” acquainted with the castle than The unsuspicious centinel did as she some of my master's people: many desired him, and it was not long bea time have I saved the prisoners fore he began to stagger, and fall on that were confined here, and doomed the ground in a senseless state. The to death ; and little did I suspect, old woman, overjoyed at the success when I saw you at first, that you of her enterprise, immediately seized would have required my assistance; his keys, and opened the dungeon but since you appear to be good, door. 'Desiring the now-released comely lads, let what happen to me, prisoners to make no noise, she took I won't rest until I have seen you them through several dark passages, safe, and far removed from harm. the Daedalian intricacy of which so At the hour of twelve, (mark me,) bewildered our adventurers, that when all are buried in sleep, I shall they were convinced they could never enter by a private door : I shall have got out of such a labyrinth feign to your centinel that I am without the aid of their experienced one of the inmates of the castle, and guide. They stopped at length at from an appearance of good will, a postern door, which the old woman give him a draught from this flask, unlocked with one of the centinel's which will soon lay him at my feet, keys, and then led them forth into as there is a sleeping potion inixed that part of the castle which stood with it. I will then seize his keys, in ruins. The night was so ver y dark that they could not see their bauch. He happened to go through way before them; and they not un- the passage that led to the dungeon; frequently stumbled over some stones, but the first object that struck his or came in contact with some sbat- sight was the centinel extended on tered wall, to the great detriment of the ground, buried in a profound their skulls.

sleep, while the door of the cell was They soon, however, got to the a-jar, and the birds flown. His first open air. The old woman then gave emotion was that of astonishment, them directions for their journey, which at length proceeded to ungoand was at length departing, when vernable rage. Not doubting that the Scots, overwhelmed with grati. the carelessness of the centinel had tude, earnestly implored her to leave aided the escape of the prisoners, her unworthy master, and go along he drew his dirk, and plunged it with them to their townland. But into the breast of his unconscious she would not listen to their propo- victim, muttering, at the same time, sal ;“ Urge me not,” she said: “con- between his teeth, the most horrid sider, my sons, it may so happen, imprecations. He then ordered the that some unfortunate prisoners, like alarm-bell to be tolled, to arouse his yourselves, may fall under my mas- people, and mounting his steed, at ter's power, and will doubtless perish, the head of his now-assembled troop, if I leave this place, and can't afford he rode with the greatest speed in them my aid. Cease, then, your re- pursuit of the fugitives,

over hill quest, and proceed on your journey, and over dale, through bush, through and may God speed you !" She then briar;" but all in vain, for our re-entered the ruins, and our adven- two adventurers had by this time got turers proceeded on their solitary to St. Walthain's Priory, and were way. When the morn was ushered offering at the altar of that holy in, Sir Jaspar de Glendearn left his Saint their pious prayers for their couch to take a walk, to cool his hair-breadth deliverance. feverish nerves from the night's de- April 12th, 1826. FIFENSIS.



CORRICHOIch, or the Glen of valley; but the traces of human Mist, is at the south-west extremity habitation form but an unimportant of Caithness, where that county is feature in this district, whose princonnected with Sutherland. It is cipal character is that of quiet and singularly romantic, being shut out solitary grandeur. And this granfrom the rest of the country by the deur is rendered the more impressive, lofty ridge of Scerabin on one side, that it is retired from observation, and on the other by the hills of and as yet unbroken by the feet of Maidenpap and Morven. Two beau, tourists and visitors-those persontiful streams, called Langwell and ages who have contrived to rob from Berridale, wind through it in differ- many of the wildest and sublimest ent directions, and fairly encircle scenes of Scotland the poetic halo the mountains, the latter of which of loneliness and desertion which form, as it were, the termination of formerly hung over them. Corrione extremity of the vale, standing choich is yet unstained by such publike giants, to prevent all passage licity. The mountains still rear in that direction. The bottom their heads in unbroken silence, and of the glen is mostly a black moss, the sacredness of retirement has not covered with red heath, and here been violated. It is a spot which and there indented with patches those who wish to witness Nature in of verdure, which afford nourish- her wildest and most exalted mood ment to a few sheep ; but towards should see, and which those who the sides of the mountains it is much have once seen will not easily forget. more fertile, and supports numerous I remember well when I first flocks both of sheep and cattle. A visited this romantic glen. I was few shepherds' cottages are scattered accompanied by a gentleman of the at almost viewless distance over the country, a very excellent and valued

« НазадПродовжити »