Зображення сторінки

they would have saved, that they his clustered friends, and rent the might avoid the vortex that would heart of his distracted wife. Ever have caught and swept them to de- and anon it came, and hoarser than struction. And often was poor before, and there was an occasional Cruickshanks tantalized with the wildness in his note, and now and approach of help, which came but then a strange and clamorous repeto add to the other miseries of his tition for a time, as if despair had situation, that of the bitterest dis- inspired him with an unnatural enappointment. Yet he bore all calm- ergy. But the shouts became graly. In the transient glimpses they dually shorter, less audible, and bad of 'him, as they were driven less frequent, till at last their eagerpast him, they saw no blenching only listening ears could catch them bis dauntless countenance,—they no longer. ' Is he gone !' was the heard no reproach, no complaint, half-whispered question they put tó no sound, but an occasional short one another, and the smothered reexclamation of encouragement to sponses that were muttered around persevere in their friendly endea- but too plainly told how much the vors. But the evening wore on, fears of all were in unison. and still they were unsuccessful. (66 What was that ?' cried his It seemed to them that something wife in a delirious scream-That more than mere natural causes was was his whistle I heard !! She operating against them. “His hour said truly. A shrill whistle, such is come!' said they, as they regard- as that which is given with the fined one another with looks of awe; gers in the mouth, rose again over our struggles are vain.' The the loud din of the deluge and the courage and the hope which had yelling of the storm. He was not hitherto supported them began to yet gone.

His voice was but fail, and the descending shades of cracked by his frequent exertions to night extinguished the last feeble make it heard, and he had now resparks of both, and put an end to sorted to an easier mode of transtheir endeavors.

mitting to his friends the certainty “Fancy alone can picture the of his safety. For sometime his horrors that must have crept on the unhappy wife drew hope from such unfortunate man,

as, amidst the considerations ; but his whistles, as impenetrable darkness which now they came more loud and prolongprevailed, he became aware of the ed, pierced the ears of his forebodcontinued increase of the flood that ing friends like the ill-omened cry roared around him, by its gradual of some warning spirit ; and it may advance towards his feet, whilst the be matter of question whether all rain and the tempest continued to believed that the sounds they heard beat more and more dreadfully upon were really mortal. Still they came him. That these were long ineffec- louder and clearer for a brief space; tual in shaking his collected mind, but at last they were heard no more, we know from the fact afterwards save in his frantic wife's fancy, who ascertained, that he actually wound continued to start as if she still up his watch while in this dreadful heard them, and to wander about, situation. But, hearing no more and to listen, when all but herself the occasional passing exclamations were satisfied that she could never of those who had been hitherto try- hear them again. ing to succor him, he began to . “ Wet, and weary, and shivering shout for help in a voice that be- with cold, was this miserable wocame every moment more Jong- man, when the tardy dawn of morndrawn and piteous, as, between the ing beheld her, straining her eyem gusts of the tempest, and borne balls through the imperfect light, over the thunder of the waters, it towards the trees where Cruickfell from time to time on the ears of shanks had been last seen. There

[ocr errors]

was something there that looked having muttered, as he went, somelike the figure of a man, and on that thing about “wisdom coming out of her eyes fixed. But those around the mouths of fools.'' her saw, alas ! too well, that what There is another tale of dangershe fondly supposed to be her hus- but of rescue-farther down the band was but a bunch of wreck, Spey, in the plain of Rothes-almost gathered by the flood into one of equal to this in intense interest the trees, for the one to which he that of the family of the Riachs. clung had been swept away;

Mrs. Riach, the grandmother, Sir “The body of poor Cruickshanks Thomas afterwards saw in her own was found in the afternoon of the cottage. How beautifully does he next day, on the Haugh of Danda- tell the meeting ! leith, some four or five miles below. “ She had her Bible in her hand, As it had ever been his uniform apparently the only wreck of propractice to wind his watch up at perty she had saved ; but in that night, and as it was discovered to she had found consolation. Her be nearly full wound when it was soul had been already well attuned taken from his pocket, the fact of to affliction. In this her widowed his having had self-possession state, she had recently lost her son, enough to obey his usual custom, -and now nearly her all was gone; under circumstances so terrible, is for, when I visited her farm, not a as unquestionable as it is wonderful. vestige of new or of old crop was It had stopt at a quarter of an hour left. The house had indeed been past 11 o'clock, which would seem built up, but the offices were still in to fix that as the fatal moment when ruins, a great ravine was dug out the tree was rent away, for when between them and the dwellingthat happened, his struggles amidst house, the surface of the farm was the raging waves of the Spey must reduced to one waste of devastation, have been few and short. When ---yet, with all this, pure religion the men, who had so unsuccessfully had produced its effect, and the attempted to save him, were talking pale mild countenance of the widow, over the matter, and agreeing that lighted by a celestial smile, met me no human help could have availed at her unpretending threshold, him, “I'm thinkin' I could ha' ta'en wearing the expression of Christian him oot,' said a voice in the circle. resignation and gratitude, for the All eyes were turned towards the merciful salvation which had been speaker, and a general expression vouchsafed to her. There was no of contempt followed, for it was a lisp of complaint,-every word she boy of the name of John Rainey, a uttered was expressive of the deep reputed idiot, from the foot of Bel- sense she entertained of the goodrinnes, who spoke. "You !' cried ness of that God, who is ever the a dozen voices at once, 'what would widow's friend, who had so wonderyou have done, you wise man ??- fully preserved herself and those I wud hae tied an empty anker- whom she held most dear. One cask to the end o' a lang lang tow, sight of that woman's face, after an' I would hae floated it afffrae having seen and heard the sum-total near aboot whar the raft was ta'en of her afflictions, was worth a volfirst awa', an' syne, ye see, as the ume of sermons. It is pleasing to stream teuk the raft till the tree, think that her lot is cast on an esmaybe she wud hae ta’en the cask tate where the hearts of both the there too,-an? if Charley Cruick- manager and his constituent are too shanks had ance gotten a haud o' much fraught with the finer feelthe rope

- -He would have finish- ings of humanity not to show the ed, but bis auditors were gone. tenderest mercy towards the shorn They had silently slunk away in dif- ewe.?" ferent directions, one man alone As a relief to these deeply tragic,

or tenderly pathetic tales, turn to the astonished loon, and went a full the following humorous scene : round of the floor with him, ending

“ The haugh above the bridge of with a fling that surprised every Lower Craigellachie was very much one. The fiddle had been found cut up; and the house and nursery in the neighborhood of Arndilly, at the south end of the arch are whither it had merrily floated on gone. The widow of James Shanks, the bosom of the waves. But what amidst the loss of her furniture, was infinitely more extraordinary, house, and her son's garden-ground, the watch, which had hung in a lamented nothing so much as her small bag, suspended by a nail to deceased husband's watch, and his the post of her bed, was found, fiddle, on the strings of which hung watch, bag, post, and all, -near many a tender recollection. That Fochabers, eight or ten miles befiddle, the dulcet strains of which low, and was safely restored to its had come over her 'like the sweet overjoyed owner.” south breathing upon a bed of vio We have now, by quotations, ablets,' stealing the tender affections stracts, and abridgements of Sir of her virgin heart, till they all cen- Thomas's volume, and by occasiontred on her Orpheus Mr. James al description or remark of our own, Shanks; that fiddle, to the sprightly given our readers, we presume, notes of which she had so often some conception of the might and jerked out her youthful limbs, and majesty, the pride and peril, of the whirled round in the wild pirouette Great Moray Floods. "A thousand of the Highland fling, to the ani- humorous incidents, affecting or mating tune of Bogan-Lochan ; that striking illustrations of general nafiddle, in fine, which had been the ture, and of individual character, iddle of her fancy, from the heyday are scattered over the work, which of her youth upwards, 'was gone it is impossible for us to collect. with the water, and was now, for The love of property in poor people aught she knew to the contrarr, in is, from the necessities of their conNorrawa or Denmark !' The grief dition, strong as that of life; and, in of Mrs. Shanks for the loss of this people not absolutely poor, passiona valued violin was more than I shall ate, from the endearing thoughts attempt to paint. Great artists and feelings that cling to objects in often envelope the heads of their themselves valueless, but, from aschief mourners in drapery, from a sociations stretching deep and far conscious inability to do justice to into the soul, above all price. Mathe passion, and so must I hide the ny facts proving this truth are relachrymose head of Mrs. Shanks. lated by Sir Thomas in a philosophiAnd how indeed shall I describe cal spirit, but simply and without her joy, some days afterwards, when parade. One old gentleman of the an idle loon, who had been wander- name of MʻIntosh, after getting hold ing about the banks of the river “o’something he wad hae done ill ' findin' things,' as he said himself, wantin',” risked his life to save his appeared before her astonished and “specs.” “Trouth,” said he to Sir delighted eyes, with the identical Thomas, “ I cou’dna see to read my fiddle in his hands ? The yell of Bible without them—and mair than Mrs. Sbanks was said, by those that, they were silver specs, sent me who heard it, to resemble the wild hame in a present frae my son, the shriek with which her husband was Yepiscopal minister in Canada.”. wont to inspire additional fury into One of the sufferers in the Streens, the heels of the dancers, already the morning after the flood, had his excited by the power of his wonder- heart nearly broken by the fate of ful hand. She kissed and hugged his great store-chest.

He saw it the fiddle, and, as if its very contact settled on an opposite bank. But had music in it, she laid hands on while looking at it with longing eyes,

a remorseless eddy swept it away ; to escape to the braeside. It took and after having run the perilous eight o' the stoutest men in the haill gauntlet of rocks that lined its way country, with the risk o' their lives, thither, it was found afterwards, to get oot my kist.

We syne saw with only an inch in thickness of the the waters rise ower the eaves o' outer part of the meal moistened, our thatch, an' that was the way

that about twenty-seven miles below, at a' things was till ten o'clock neist the mouth of the Findhorn. But it mornin', when we came back, an' fell into the hands of the Philistines fund that a' the sma’ kinkind o' ar-the only instance of theft record- ticles had been floated out o' the ed—and crowdy from that chest ne- back wundo. But waur than a' ver cheered the hearts

of its former that, the haill o' Tam's goods, tea, owner's family more. Francis Gibb, sugar, an' siclike, war a' gane, and from whose farm fifteen acres were the sugar a' melted !” One curious swept, observing that the food was couple, a Mr. and Mrs. Yates, making rapid encroachments on a amused Sir Thomas by a specimen hill, on the brow of which he had of conjugal branglement, as he asksome bee-hives, determined to at- ed them to narrate their misfortunes. tempt removing them; an attempt When a question was put, the womost perilous, from the falling pre- man opened her mouth to reply, like cipices. The ground cracked be- an impatient turkey, but before she neath his feet—but he seized on one could get out half-a-dozen words, hive, and with one bound cleared she was silenced by the sharp the chasm, just as the whole mass “Haud yere tongue, woman !” of was quenching its smoking frag- her husband, who proceeded to dements in the flood below. A woman, liver the response himself with the who, with her husband and family, gravity of an oracle. He told of a narrowly escaped from their falling small lake in his farm, which, he house, was chiefly distressed by the assured Sir Thomas, contains loss of a tubful of clothes. “ It just ploughman, his plough, and a yoke sailed out o' the door,” said she, of oxen. The man was ploughing with a melancholy face, “and was in the very field where Mr. and Mrs. whamled afore my very twa een !” Yates were then reaping, when, A worthy blacksmith, named Mac- scared by a thunder-storm, the anilean, was nearly drowned, by re- mals galloped off with plough and maining to attend to a favorite sow, man into the loch. As the oxen are that was about lying in. The flood always heard bellowing in bad weahad so inundated the sty, that her ther, their tremendous routings on loving master was obliged to carry the 3d and 4th of August, quoth the the lady up stairs to his own bed, Baronet slyly, may be imagined. A where, at the very height of the cowherd-boy who slept in a house Great Moray Flood, she presented that was swept away, being asked if him with a beautiful litter of promis- he had lost anything, “ Ay,” replied ing young pigs, squeaking in the he, “I lost twa sarks, and ane o' storm. These, with the mother, them was clean too !In one scene who was doing as well as could be of imminent danger, where peats in expected, he found it necessary black masses, firewood, poultry, and again to remove, and they were pigs, were all tumbling along, every conveyed to the garret. But had it now and then the young fellows not been for the timely interruption were dashing in, and hauling out of James Edwards, shoemaker, huge pigs by the hind legs, or plungNeptune would have been too much ing up to the neck after some other for Vulcan. A poor woman, an in- live or dead objects. One strapping dustrious little shop-keeper, in tell- hizzie who had leapt out of bed up ing the story of her woes, patheti- to the hips in water, mistaking the cally said, “We had eneuch to do matter entirely, bawled out, “ The


water 's bilin'!” In the midst of a leaped over the end of the bridge, terrified group of grown daughters, and disappeared with his rider in the who were hanging around her, in a stream, then raving along 10 feet house at Ballater, a place of some deep. His companion was Mr. resort and fashion, one lady clung George Williamson. With a braveto her worthy husband, and their ry not often paralleled, he stripped dear papa, till the good man, who and leaped into the furious flood, was rather corpulent, had been diving for his friend in all directions. nearly pressed down into the water, He got hold of the rein and dragged by the weight of their united em- out the horse ; but his rider waz irbraces. “Call you this a watering recoverably lost. This, says Sir place ? " exclaimed he, as he shook Thomas, is perhaps the most gallant himself free from them on reaching action I have to notice ; and Mr. a dry spot; " if you catch me com- George Williamson would indeed ing a-watering again this gait, I'll richly merit some distinguished mark alloo ye to mak a water-kelpie o' of the approbation of his fellow men. me." In one house, when all the Mr. Alexander Don, assistant inmates were expecting nothing but schoolmaster of Strathdon, on his death, the water being several feet return from a visit to his relatives at deep in the room, auld Jean Stro- Drumblade, reached the Bank of noch, fourscore years of age, sat the the Don, about a quarter of a mile whole night, “amid a' the jostling, below the church. Within a few wi' a clockin' hen and a wheen yards of the ford there was a wooden chuckens in her apron.

Some ane bridge, along which he might have said till her, that she might hae ither passed with perfect safety, for it rethings in her mind than a hen and mained uninjured throughout the chuckens, when she was on the whole flood. But a strange infatubrink of yeternity. “Poor things !'ation seems to have come over him, quo' Jean, “ I cudna think o' letting and pushing his horse into the water them be drooned !'" Another of without a moment's pause, both the doleful party "clam up the chim- were engulfed. His body, found ney, an' pat her head oot at the tap, about an hour afterwards, was carwi' her face as black as a sutty- ried to the house of a poor old woman's. 'Oh! Jamie Mill, Jamie man, but she resolutely resisted its Mill,' cried she, 'ye're the blythest passing her threshold. sight that ever I saw !!_Keep creature was overwhelmed by the us a', is that you, Maggy?' quo' superstitious dread, by no means Jamie Mill," who had come to res- uncommon, that the admission of a cue the family ; “.weel, I've seen drowned person into her house was blyther sights than you are at this certain to be followed by some fearprecious moment; but, black though ful calamity. At last she consented ye be, I maun hae ye oot o' that.' to admit it, on condition of its being Poor Jeanie Stronach lost five o' carried three times round her dwellher chuckens, as she was dragged ing. But the charm was but half from the water into the boat." effectual; for during the night the

The loss of human life was not flood swept off her cottage, though great. Besides the deaths already the poor old crone escaped with life. mentioned, one of the most afflicting Another life was lost in the Don, in was that of Mr. William William- a yet more foolish manner than that son, butcher, of George Street, of the schoolmaster. A blacksmith Aberdeen. He was riding between undertook, for a bet, to swim across Kenmay and Monymusk, when his the flooded river, near the Masonhorse started at some wreck that lodge of Glenkindy ; but had his was floating on the road, near a strength been that of Hercules, it bridge then completely flooded over, would have availed him nothing in by the Bank of Don. The animal such a stream. He was whelmed

The poor

« НазадПродовжити »