Abbildungen der Seite

ment." ?

hath donc ; .but such as kings love neither to the mention of Bothwell's name ima name to acknowledge nor to teward. It was the connected with such a train of guilt, shame, service which the knife renders to the tree and disaster. But the prolonged boast of when trimming it to the quick, and deprive Lindesay gave her time to rally herself, and ing it of ine superfluous growth of rank and to answer with an appearance of cold conunfruitful suckers, which rob it of nourish- tempe—« It is easy to slay an enemy who

enters not the lists. But had Mary Stuart Ru You talk riddles, my lord," said Mary; inherited her father's sword as well as his skot will hope the explanation carries ' no- sceptre, the boldest of her 'rebels should thing insalting with it. "rimoine

not upon that day have complained that * You shall judge, madam," answered they had no one to cope withal. Your Lindesaya? “ With this good sword was lordship will forgive me if I abridge this Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, girded conference. A brief description of a bloody on the memorable day when he acquired fight is long enough to satisfy a lady's cuthe name of Bell-che-Cat, for dragging from riosity; and unless my Lord of Lindesay has the presence of your great-grandfather, the something more important to tell us than of third James of the race, a crew of minions, the deeds which old Bell-the-Cat achieved, flatterers, and favourites, whom he hanged and how he would himself have emulated over the bridge of Lauder, as a warning to them, had time and tide permitted, we will such reptiles how they approach a Scottish retire to our private apartment, and you, throne. With this same weapon, the same Fleming, shall finish reading to us yonder inflexible champion of Scottish honour and little treatise Des Rhodomantades Espagnobility slew at one blow Spens of Kilspin- nolles.” die, a courtier of your grandfather James “ Tarry, madam,” said Lindesay, his comthe Fourth, who had dared to speak lightly plexion reddening in his turn; “ I know of him in the royal presence. They fought your quick wit too well of old to have near the brook of Fala ; and Bell-the-Cat, sought an interview that you might sharpen with this blade, sheared through the thigh its edge at the expense of my honour. of his opponent, and lopped the limb as Lord Ruthven and myself, with Sir Robert easily as a shepherd's boy slices a twig frora Melville as a concurrent, come to your a sapling."

Grace on the part of the Secret Council, to My lord,” replied the Queen, redden. tender to you what much concerns the safety ing, " my nerves are too good to be alarmed of your own life and the welfare of the even by this terrible history.-May I ask State." how a blade so illustrious passed from the

“ The Secret Council ?" said the Queen'; House of Douglas to that of Lindesay?-- “ by what powers can it subsist or act, Methinks it should have been preserved as a while I, from whom it holds its character, consecrated relique, by a family who have am here detained under unjust restraint ? held, all that they could do against their But it matters not—what concerns the wetking, to be done in favour of their country:" fare of Scotland shall be acceptable to Mary

Nay, madam," said Melville, anxiously Stuart, come from whatsoever quarter it will interfering, “ ask not that question of Lord --and for what concerns her own life, she Lindesay–And you, my lord, for shame has lived long enough to be weary of it, even for decency-forbear to reply to it."

at the age of twenty-five.- Where is your *" It is time that this lady should hear the colleague, my lord—why tarrics he?". truth," replied Lindesay.

“He comes, madam," said Melville, ara 14 And be assured that she will be moved Lord Ruthven entered at the instant, hold

to anger by none that you can tell her, mying in his hand a packet. As the Queen dord. There are cases in which just scorn returned his salutation she became deadly has always the mastery over just anger." pale, but instantly recovered herself by dint

“Then know," said Lindesay, “ that of strong and sudden resolution, just as the upon the field of Carberry-hill, when that noble, whose appearance seemed to excite false and infamous traitor and murtherer, such emotions in her bosom, entered the James, sometime Earl of Bothwell, and apartment in company with George Dounick-named Duke of Orkney, offered to do glas, the youngest son of the Knight of personal battle with any of the associated Lochleven, who, during the absence of his nobles who came to drag him to justice, I father and brethren, acted as Seneschal of accepted his challenge, and was by the noble the Castle, under the direction of the elder Earl of Morton gifted with this good sword Lady Lochleven, his father's mother. that I might therewith fight it out-Ah! so help me heaven, had his presumption been tion which would have embarrassed a

Roland soon finds himself in a situaone grain more, or his cowardice one grain less, I should have done such work with youth of principle. He is not, however,

this good steel on his traitorous coruise, that greatly distressed by conflicting duties, the hounds and carrion-crows should have but urged by pity for the Queen, and found their morsels daintily carved to their love for her atiendant, becomes a party use

to her plans of escape. These, aided "The Queen's courage well nigh gave way by George Douglas, the grandson of the Lady of Lochleven, who cherishesa hitherto deigned to preserve. While she deep, though hopeless passion for the love- acknowledges the practical benefits of ly captive, are finally successful, chiefly the Reformation, he dwells fondly and through the ingenuity of Roland. After pensively on the decaying symbols of the escape,

the novel follows the for the Catholic religion, and treats with tunes of Mary until the defeat of her due philosophic gentleness the ancient army and her Aight into England, and wide-spread errors of his species. where she was to meet with so wretch- No one has better exemplified the truth ed a fate. The inferior persons, how- that man dnes not live alone on that ever, are made happy. Roland is dis- which satisfies his reason, but requires covered to be the legitimate son of objects on which he may repose his Julian Avenel-is recognised as the heir imagination and his affections. He looks of Sir Halbert Glendinning--and is mar- tenderly on all that man has venerated; ried to Catherine, whose liveliest pranks and ever finds in it something to excite appear to have been played off by her new love and veneration, if not for the brother Henry, who resembles her as objects of respect, at least for their Sebastian does Viola. After this union, reverers. the White Lady of Avenelwhom our The Abbot is perhaps scarcely equal readers will remember in the Monas- to most of its predecessors in the spirit tery,"is seen to sport by her haunted and reality of its persons. There is, inwell, with a zone of gold around her deed, great skill, and singular forbearbosom as broad as the baldric of an ance, in the manner in which it treats earl.”

the character of the lovely and ill-fated - This is, we are aware, but a meagre Queen. This celebrated' woman has sketch of the plot of The Abbot-but had so many incorrigible foes and tewe regret our defects the less, as most dious champions—has given occasion to of our readers have doubtless read it so much wretched sophistry and weari. for themselves; and a little will suffice some display of antiquarian research — to recal its principal features to their that her name seemed rather fitted io memory: The work is, we think, on“ point a moral ” than to “adorn a the whole, more equable than most of tale.” But our author has managed the productions of its author. It has her introduction so exquisitely has been fewer either of stoopings or uprisings- so chary of the glimpses which he has less of merely wearisome detail, and permitted us to snatch of her antique scarcely any of those grand and unfor- loveliness and has breathed around her gotten scenes which chequer his earlier so sweet and feminine a grace, that she romances. It has nothing in it at all seems as fresh to us as though we now comparable to the sublime and affecting were first acquainted with her beauty scenes at Carlisle in Waverley—to the and her sufferings. She captivates here pictures in Guy Mannering, which in spite of her controversial advocates. Meg Merrilies dignifies—to the com- We know not any modern work which ing in of the sea, or the last moments gives with so little seeming effort, the of Elspeth, in The Antiquary--to the feeling of grace so womanly, and of romantic majesties and humanities of beauty so unspeakably ravishing We Rob Roya-to the battle of Loudon-hill, treat the stories of her guilt as idle tales, for the perils of Morton among the Co- without desiring other conviction than venanters, in Old Mortality—to the sweet that which we feel in her looks-conheroism of Jenny Deans, or the na- fiding in the truth of nature and certural loveliness of the lily of St. Leo- tain that she would not so err from hernard's, in The Heart of Mid Lothian-or self, as to “ embower the spirit of a to the magnificently awful scenes with fiend, in mortal paradise of such sweet which The Bride of Lammermuir closes. flesh.” Catherine Seyton, the regular Perhaps even The Monastery has fca- heroine, is very inferior. She is a strange tures of more “ mark and likelihood” problem, and not worth the solving. than The Abbot, in the frank-hearted The author vexes us by attributing to Mysie Happer, and the delicate fantasies her wild extravagances, and then exbreathed forth by the White Lady of plaining that they were really played off * Avénel. But there is in this novel an by her twin brother. We suspect this interest more gentle, more continuous, solution to be an after-thought, and and more unbroken, than in any by think any one who attentively examines which it has been preceded. Its style, in the story will agree that this is probable. the narrative and reflective passages, has The novelist, we conceive, had formed more of elegance than its author has a vague idea of an original character,

whose female softness and modesty him, the contemplative, the reserved, should be overcome by high enthusiasm and the proud, joyfully to resign family, and singular fortune, and who, thus fortune, life, and renown, for the deliunhinged, should seek refuge in a bois. verance of a Queen from whom he had terous vivacity, and affected inanliness no hope of requital! of demeanour. But wanting the power, Rare as is our author's faculty of obor the time, to finish off the nice and servation, and felicitously as he employs reconciling shades of his portraiture, he its results, we think his power of creahad recourse to attributing to the brother ting and vivifying characters, has someall which he could not readily explain times been the subject of excessive euin the sister. The scene at the rustic logy. He has been compared, in this fair, in particular, could scarcely have plastic art, to Shakspeare, as though he been planned with the idea that the were only inferior to him in wanting the dancer in a female dress, who, though graces of poetry. This appears to us an with a face concealed, was taken for a error, which even national partialities beautiful woman, was really a daring can hardly excuse. The very strict and impetuous soldier. Whether our keeping of all the persons in the romances conjecture be correct or otherwise, the —the very marked characteristic features scenes as at present explained, are very of all their speeches, even on trifling ocunpleasant blemishes. Roland Græme casions—which seems so palpably to de is one of the least admirable of heroes. fine them—are proofs of the vast inferiHe is froward, insolent, and imperious, ority of their author to the poet with without any of the gentleness of huma- whom some have dared to compare him. nity to atone for the want of rigid and There is nothing of this singleness either unbending principle. Yet he is one of in the moral or the physical creations of the most vivid of the author's portraits, nature. There is more of colours and full of the spirit of lusty life, of youth lines which are universal-more interrejoicing in its strength, and of hope mixture of shade with shade-more of which fortune has no power to destroy. gentle connexion and all-pervading harWe seem to behold him with the holy mony throughout every scene--than the branch in his cap, light and careless as novelist can afford to suffer. He is comthe feather on the breeze, bounding on pelled perpetually to discriminate his from novelty to novelty, incapable of persons

by fear lest his readers should remorse for the past or dread of the fu- confound them. They always seem ture. Magdalen Græme, though scarce- conscious of their vocation, and appear ly a character, is a very striking figure almost as if they were aeting parts, and in the romance-always appearing with anxious at every moment not to forget great theatrical effect, and in a pictu- their cue, or deviate from the peculiariresque attitude-and thrilling us by her ties allotted to them. Shakspeare had passionate lamentations over the decay not need of this wearisome jealousy. of her faith, which are softened by her He could permit each trait gradually to fond affection for her foster child. She spread over the surface of the character, is not, however, at all comparable to without fear that it would lose its colourElspeth or Meg Merrilies. Adam ing. He did not tremble lest his persons Woodcock is very slightly marked--the should lose their individuality, by the Abbot not at all, though he gives the predominance of universal qualities. His work its title. George Douglas is a noble persons, therefore, while they can never sketch, but it is no more. Surely the be confounded, appear in the easy negauthor might have found a source of the ligence of nature-partake largely in gehighest interest in the still and deep pas- neral qualities—and excite universal sion of that Scotish noble, which led sympathies.



(WITH A PORTRAIT.) Among the great names which do those principles which they found estahonour to their country, none are more blished, must be content to rank in our entitled to its admiration and gratitude admiration second to the creative minds than those of the men who have in which taught them this use of their favented or restored useful or agreeable culties. But the individual whose powerarts. The most skilful professors who ful genius discovers and renioves the erhave excelled in reducing to practice rors and prejudices which impede the

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »