Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

let me take up the matter between you ;' whereupon they stayed, the elder of them saying, ' I sent a present to thy wife, and this fellow hath taken it away. With this, they again fought until the other was wounded in the thigh, which seemed to bleed. Being in great pain, he took out of his bosom something, that I guessed to be the very treasure that I had lost. Now will I make thee return it,' said the first speaker; with that, the other, who was wounded, seemed to go suddenly out of sight, but came again ere I could answer a word. The elder of thein then asked him, saying, Hast thou laid it under the right pillow of the bed where he lay yesternight?' With these words, they both went towards a willow tree to the right, by the new stairs, which tree seemed to cleave open, and as they went in it closed, and I never saw them more. With great haste I returned to my chamber, where, lifting up the right pillow, I found my precions stone; being greatly rejoiced, together with my wife, who joined me in thanking God for its return." '—pp. 304—306.

In his story of the Earl of Tyrone, the author has taken advantage of the circumstance of his having sought refuge in LanCashire; and has contrived to invest his heroic character with superior power and splendour. We may question the correctness, however, of his classing it as a Lancashire tradition ; but it is rendered throughout extremely interesting. Every one must be, more or less, acquainted with the singular history of this nobleman, and if at all read in the history of the United Kingdom, with the gallant stand he made for the liberties of his country, and its unsuccessful termination.

"Houghton Tower' is a tradition founded on the visit of James I. to Sir Richard Houghton, and is described in Nicholl's “Royal Progresses.” This also will meet, we doubt not, with the reader's entire approbation; the story is full of beautiful traits and passages, and is in admirable keeping. We are tempted to give one specimen, and must then content ourselves with referring to the work itself, a perusal of which cannot fail to raise still higher the character of the author :

• “We must return,” said the maiden, looking up, alarmed at seeing, for the first time, that they were cut off from all connection and intercourse with their companions. Her attendant was a perfect stranger, except in name, and though counselled to rely implicitly on his care, by the master of the ceremonies himself, she felt her situation embarrassing and unpleasant.

"" And why must yve return ?" said the mask. The tone startled her : its expression was now soft and beseeching, as though he had before spoken in a masked voice.

“Why!” said she, looking as though she would have pierced through his disguise.

"" Nay, whet dot thy glance so keenly. I am not what I seem, -and yet am not unseemly."

““ Your jests had been better timed had they taken a fitter season.-I must hence." . . •“ Go not, my beauteous Queen,” said the stranger, taking her hand, which she dashed from her with indignation and alarm. She was darting up the crag, but was again detained.

6" ( will worship thee :-thou shalt be my star,-the axle of my thoughts. All ---"

“ Unhand me, Sir,—or I'll call those who have the power to punish, as well as to humble, thy presumption !”

o “Whom wilt thou call, my pretty lamb ? The wolf? The snake is snotched in the bower, and I but beseech thy gratitude. How that look of scorn becomes thee! Pout not so, my Queen, or thou wilt indeed make an excuse for my rudeness.”

"" How! Again this insult ?-Begone, or thou shalt rue that ever thy thought escaped thy tongue. I'll report thee to thy betters.”

6" My betiers ! and who be they, maiden? Thou knowest me not, perdie. Hath not Sir John Finet shorn his love-locks, and eschewed thy service, after leaving thy bower the other niglit?”

This taunt raised her indignation to a blaze:-her bosom swelled at the rebuke.

Still he retained her hand with the other she clung to a withered tree, whose roots held insecurely by the rock. Making another effort, she sprung from his grasp; but the tree was rent from its hold, and she fell with it to the edge of the precipice. Ere the Silver knight could interpose, a faint shriek announced her descent,-a swift crash was beard amongst the boughs and underwood,-a groan, and a rebound. He saw her disappear belind a crag. Then came one thrilling moment of terror, one brief pause in that death-like stillness, and a heavy plunge was heard in the gulf below! He listened—his perceptions grew more acute-eye and ear so painfully susceptible, and their sensibility so keen, that the mind scarcely distinguished its own reactions from realities—from outward impressions on the sense. He thought he heard the gurgle and the death-throe. Then the pale face of the maiden seemed to spring out from the abyss. He rushed down the precipice. Entangled in the copse-wood and bushes, some time elapsed ere he gained the narrow path below. He soon found as in' most other situations, the shortest road the longest that the beaten track would have brought him quicker to his destination ; but these nice calculations were forgotien. All pranked out and bedizened as he was, the puissant knight plunged into the gulf,—but his exertions were fruitless, and he gave up the search. His love for the maiden living and breathing did not prompt him to drown himself for her corpse. With hasty steps he regained the Tower, where he doffed his dripping garments unobserved.' vol. ii. pp. 121-123.

The Lancashire Witches' is a strange, and not unamusing compound of diablerie, of which the following is a sample :

• Not many nights after, as Robin was late in the stable, his mistress came with the usual request, and her magic bridle in her hand.

6. Now, good Robin, the cream is in the bowl, and the beer behind the spigot, and my good man is in bed.”

O" Whither away, mistress ?” said Robin, diligently whispering down and soothing the mare, who trembled from head to foot when she heard her mistress's voice.

"" For a journey, Robin. I have business at Colne; but I will not fail to come back again before sunrise."

• " Aye, mistress, this is always your tale; but measter catched her in a Fouody heat last time, and will not let her go.”

• " But, Robin, she shall be in the stable and dry, two hours before my old churl gets up."

• “ But measter says she maunna go."
"" Thou hast told of me, then,--and a murrain light on thee !"

. With eyes glistening like witch-fires, did the dame bestow her malison. Robin half repented his refusal; but he was stubboro, and his courage pot easily shaken. Besides, he had bragged at the last Michaelmas feast, that he cared not a rush for never a witch in the parish. He had an Agnus Dei in his bosom, and a leaf from the holy herb in his clogs ; and what recked he of spells and incantations? Furthermore, he had a waistcoat of proof given to him by his grandmother.

* “ Since thou hast denied me the mare, I'll take thee in her place.”

• Robin felt in his bosom for the Agnus Dei cake, but it was gone !-He had tbrown off his waistcoat, too, for the work, and his clogs were lying under the rack. Before he could furnish himself with these countercharms, Goody Dickisson threw the bridle upon him, using these portentous words :

"“ Horse, horse, see thou be;

And where I point thee carry me." *Swift as the rush of the wind, Robin felt their power. His nature changed: he grew more agile and capacious; and, without further ado, found Goody upon his back, and his own shanks at an ambling gallop, on the high road to Pendle. He panted and grew weary, but she urged him on with an unsparing hand, lashing and spurring with all her might, until at last poor Robin, unused to such expedition, fagged and could scarcely crawl. But needs must when the witches drive. Rest and respite were denied, until, almost dead with toil and terror, he halted in one of the steep gullies of Pendle, near to Malkin Tower.'-vol. ii. pp. 150, 151.

And no less characteristic is what follows :

• One evening she had lingered longer than usual : she felt unwilling to depart,-to meet again the dull and wearisome realities of life, the petty cares that interest and animate mankind. She loathed her own form and her own species :-earth was too narrow for her desire, and she almost longed to burst its barriers. In the deep agony of her spirit, she cried aloud,

«“Would that my path, like yon clouds, were on the wind, and my dwelling-place in their bosom !”

• A soft breeze came suddenly towards her, rustling the dry heath as it swept along. The grass bent beneath its footsteps, and it seemed to die away in articulate murmurs at her feet. Terror crept upon her, her bosom thrilled, and her whole frame was pervaded by some subtle and mysterious influence.

** Who art thou ?" she whispered, as though to some invisible agent. She listened, but there was no reply:the same soft wind suddenly arose, and crept to her bosom.

"" Who art thou ?" she enquired again, but in a louder tone. The breeze again flapped its wings, mantling upwards from where it lay, as if nestled on her breast. It mounted lightly to her cheek, but it felt hot

almost scorching ;-—when the maiden again cried out as before. It fluttered on her ear, and she thought there came a whisper,

•« I am thy good spirit.”.

6" Oh, tell me," she cried with vehemence :-" show me who thou art !”-A mist curled around her, and a lambent Aame, like the soft lightning of a summer's night, shot from it. She saw a form, glorious but indistinct, and the ilashes grew paler every moment.

« « Leave me not,” she cried;" I will be thine!”

• Then the cloud passed away, and a being stood before her, mightier and more stately than the sons of men. A burning fillet was on his brow, and his eyes glowed with an ever-restless flame.'- vol. ii. pp. 159, 160.

* Latham House'is little more than a well-told narrative of the siege by the Parliamentary troops, under Colonel Rigby, and the spirited defence by the Countess of Derby, in the absence of her lord :

. Moseley was conducted down a dark flight of steps, damp and slippery. The ooze and sline rendered his footing tedious and insecure. Soon he recognized the mighty voice of Gideon bellowing forth a triumpbant psalm. Another stave was just commencing as the door opened, and the torch glared lurid and dismally on the iron features and grisly aspect of the captive. A pair of rude stocks, through which Gideon's long extremities protruded, stood in the middle of the dungeon. He scowled terrifically at the intruders: but suddenly resumed his exercise.

6“ Still at thy devotions?” said Mosely ; but the moody fanatic vouchsafed not to reply.

co We must wait the finishing of this duty, I fear,” said the captain, knowing that interruption would be useless. Silently they awaited the conclusion, when Gideon abruptly cried out,

“ Captain Moseley, are ye, too, cast into this den of lions?”

"“ i came hither on an embassage, and I have craved this visit ere I depart.”

Hast finished my breakfast ?” enquired this stalwart knight from the enchanted wood. “I think your garrison be short of victual, or my.6" Hold thy tongue, thou piece of ill-contrived impertinence,” said the gaoler. “We have victual and drink too: but for such as thou art, it were an ill-bestowed morsel. I marvel what can have possessed my lady to keep thee alive!”.

• The gaoler drew out from his provision-bag a small dark-coloured loaf, which he threw at the hungry captive, who, to say the truth, had been half-starved since his imprisonment.

Gideon was devouring it greedily without any further notice, when he suddenly cried out to his keeper,

"“Where gat ye this coarse stuff? I would not say good-morrow to my dog with so crusty a meal.”

*"It was tossed over the wall,” replied the gaoler. Our friends oft supply us that way with provision, captain. I picked it up as I came, and thought it was too good for thy dainty appetite.'

"" Captain Moseley,” said the hungry drummer with great earnestness,

** take this. Break it before thy brethren, and show them how vilely these Egyptian task-masters do entreat us in the house of bondage." ;

• There was something more than usually impressive in his manner. Moseley took the loaf as requested ; and the gaoler, as if the object before him were beneath suspicion, exclaimed with a knowing look,

*“ Had I not brought the manchet myself, and watched thee narrowly, I should have guessed thou hadst crammed some secret message therein to the camp. But I defy thee, or any of thy batch, to cheat old Gabriel, the rogue's butler!”

*“ Prithee, search,” said Captain Moseley, drawing the loaf from his pocket:-“ thou mayest, peradventure, find treachery in a tooth-mark, for o' my troth they be legibly written.”

<" Nay," said Gabriel, with great self-importance, “ the knave's jaws will score no ciphers. I had as lief interpret pot-hooks and ladles.”

• The captain, again thrusting it beneath his belt, promised to show his commanders with what coarse fare and severity the prisoners were treated.

«« Wilt thou that I intercede for thee before the countess ?” he contipaed: “ if so be that she would remit thee of this durance."

• In a voice of thunder spake the incorrigible Gideon:

6“ Intercede !-I would as lief pray to the saints they should intercede with the Virgin Mary. I will rot from this perch piece-meal ere I pray to yonder ungodly woman. Yet shall I escape out of their hands, but not by mine own might, or mine own strength,” said the lion-hearted captive.

Leaving this indomitable round-head to his fate, Moseley returned to the camp, reporting the ill success of his mission.'-vol. ii. pp. 213—226.

The tale of • Raven Castle’ is a sort of paraphrase of the “ Babes in the Wood ; ” and though here well told, it is still better, we think, mingled with our young recollections, in the ballad.

The others, with the exception of the ‘Bargaith,' from the pen of Mr. Crofton Croker, have nothing very characteristic to recommend them. In two of the latter stories, the author seems to have departed from the style of narrative he had previously adopted, by substituting the first person for the third. He observes, that it adds to the interest of the book ; but we confess we do not clearly see in what manner.

In conclusion, it ought to be mentioned that these volumes are illustrated with a variety of engravings, representing views of castles, old baronial seats, and landscapes, tolerably well executed by Mr. E. Finden.

Art. IV.- Travels in the Interior of Mexico, in 1825, 1826, 1827, and

1828. By Lieutenant R. W. H. Hardy, R.N. 8vo. London: Colburn and Bentley. 1829. Thanks to the Stock-Exchange and the bubble mania, here is another goodly volume of travels in Mexico, and these chiefly in parts unvisited by any tourist since they were explored by Humboldt. Much information has of late been obtained through the

« ZurückWeiter »