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occasionally with his father's tenants, reason why, hearing so many opimix easily in their conversation, and nions patiently, we should not be occasionally share the food and lod- patiently heard in our turn, parging of the humblest cottagers : sup- ticularly as our brief commentary pose such a one in other scenes to have will neither consume much of the enlarged his mind by books and good reader's time, nor lead him into de. conversation, should he afterwards be tails with which he is already famicontent to live among his own people, liar. In the mean time, we stop to and take a paternal interest in their congratulate the author on his good concerns, besides discharging the usual fortune in hearing so many encomifunctions of landlord and magistrate; ums, and seeing so many commentahe will know more of the nature and ries on his works while they are yet capacities of mankind, (though per- fresh from the press. Shakespeare, haps less of manners, as ever varying whom he most resembles, had slept in in the artificial world of fashion,) than the dust more than a century before any courtier, fine gentleman, or phi- the crowd of commentators rose up losopher of the same calibre.
hovering over his bones like the bees Those graphic likenesses of " many, over the carcase of Sampson's lion. coloured life," with which we have been But the libation of praise which has so variously delighted, are not mere vi- only been poured on the tombs of his sions of fancy, nor yet the result of deep illustrious predecessors, has been ofstudy. They are strong features of fered to him, our author, in an overreality reflected from the mirror of a flowing cup, of which it would appear mind quick to apprehend, and tena- he has drank without intoxication. cious to retain the images that pass Long may he live to enjoy this sober before it. They are not only retained certainty of waking bliss !” with perfect fidelity, but arranged in The Legend of Montrose must disto such groupes as are calculated to appoint those who are led by the title bring out their peculiarities into strong to expect a finished portrait of that and clear light. " They are not antic flower of chivalry. On finding Mashapes, wild natives of the brain,” but jor Dalgety the prominent figure creatures that live and move, and have in the story, many may be as disa being. Our author is not the arti- satisfied as was Master Slender when ficer of the figures that flit before us. he complained that he had got a Their colours are
a great lubberly boy instead of Anne “ By nature's sweet and cunning hand laid Page. The Earl of II nteith is the
most captivating figure in the group, He only assigns them the parts they
if we except Annot Lyle, who neither have to act in his inimitable drama.
says or does any thing except playing Like Prospero's dainty Ariel, they
on the harp, and singing a song income and go at his bidding. Pros
ferior in poetry to any other of those pero himself did not create his obe for which we are indebted to the audient spirits, but found them in the thor. Yet by some inexplicable island of enchantment, and constrain- power of captivation in her “gracious ed them by his powerful spells to be
silence," and her well arranged hair the agents of his will, to awake fear,
and tartan dress, all men look after amazement, sorrow, and remorse in her when she disappears, and wish for the objects of his delusive art, and her return; and Menteith seems to with equal ease assume forms of grace
have as many rivals as the author has and beauty to charm their sight, or
readers of the same sex. Who else sooth their wearied senses with the but our incognito could throw such a sweetest tones of aërial music. No- potent spell round a figure so little thing can be more obvious than the seen or heard ? But, to return to parallel between the magician of Min Dalgety, we must be indulged in one lan and the Scottish wizard, the last quotation:,
quotation, which will set the ample specimen of whose art we now pro
figure of the ritt-master distinctly beceed to consider.
fore the eyes of every one worthy to It is superfluous to give a detailed behold that formidable apparition. account of a story universally known, " The solitary stranger was mounted and which all kinds of readers are upon an able horse, fit for military service, now commenting upon to the best and for the great weight which he had to of their abilities. But we see no carry, and his rider occupied his demipique,
or war saddle, with an air that showed it for Gustavus, the horse, induces our was his familiar seat. He had a bright endurance of him full as much as his burnished head-piece, with a plume of military skill, presence of mind, and feathers, together with a cuirass, thick professional sagacity; and when Gusenough to resist a musket-ball, with a tavus falls in the battle of Inverlochy, back-piece of lighter materials. These de
. we feel nearly as much regret as we fensive arms he wore over a buff jerkin,
should have done had the wound been along with a pair of gauntlets or steel.
inflicted on his master. Though begloves, the tops of which reached up to his elbow, and which, like the rest of his ar, come familiar with it in so many inmour, were of bright steel. At the front stances, we have never done wonderof his military saddle hung a case of pis. ing at the plastic power displayed in tols, far beyond the ordinary size, nearly this author's mimic creations. His is a two feet in length, and carrying bullets theatre where there are neither mutes of twenty to the pound. A buff-belt, with nor candle-snuffers,-figures busy and a broad silver buckle, sustained on one full of life continually pass before us, side a long straight double-edged broad- not merely amusing us for the mosword, with a strong guard, and a bladem
ment, but claiming an interest in our calculated either to strike or push. On the right side hung a dagger of about
feelings, and a place in our memory. eighteen inches in length; a shoulder-belt
The very animals that make up the sustained at his back a musquetoon or
dumb show in his scenes insist on blunderbuss, and was crossed by a bande- taking their place in the remembered lier containing his charges of ammunition. groupes that haunt our fancy. Who Thigh-pieces of steel, then termed taslets, can forget the beautiful animal that met the tops of his huge jack-boots, and bore Claverhouse through fields of completed the equipage of a well-armed carnage, and over precipices of dantrooper of the period.
ger,--the fond and faithful Wasp, so “The appearance of the horseman him. inhospitably received by the family of self corresponded well with his military
Pepper and Mustard, -or the little equipage, to which he had the air of having
quey that was called Effie, and so been long inured. He was above the middle size, and of strength sufficient to bear
carefully fed by David Deans? Here, with ease the weight of his weapons, offen
too, the author's char cter breaks sive and defensive. His age might be
forth in all the beauty of benevolence. about forty and upwards, and his counte. He luxuriates in strewing lights of nance was that of a resolute weather-beaten kindness and intelligence from his veteran, who had seen many fields, and full stores, even over the inferior creabrought away in token more than one tion, when they casually appear among
The skilful management of light This singular personage never for and shade in his delineations produces a moment derogates from his charac- a variety in portraits that seem someter, by saying or doing any thing that what akin to each other, like that we could properly be said or done by any daily meet with in life. Meg Merriother man. Nothing can be more ad- lees is old and poor, wanders about mirable than the account he gives of without a settled home, and is feared the different services in which he had and respected by her equals from her been engaged, and his motives for native superiority of talent and lofty quitting them. They are detailed in sense of right breaking through the the author's very best manner, and in cloud of depravity and ignorance by spite of the sordid selfishness of his which she is surrounded. Edie character, and his utter destitution of Ochiltree is also old, poor, a wanderevery amiable quality, we feel some er, and has been engaged in scenes good will to him on account of his not favourable to moral purity; and, reverence for the great Gustavus, the from this casual resemblance in a few lion of the North, and bulwark of the exterior circumstances, many not caProtestant religion. The radiance of pable, it should seem, of discrimination, the Protestant hero's splendid exploits, or given to depreciate what they do not not only throws a light over the hard well understand, have accused the auand sordid characters of his adherent, thor of copying himself in these two but the very horse, whom he names most discordant characters, which agree after his great leader, derives an in- in no one particular excepting in those terest from that circumstance. Per- circumstances, merely extrinsic, that haps the regard the ritt-master shows have been already mentioned. Edie
has as little of the stern and solemn At the period to which the story in commanding power that in the lowest question belongs, it appears that no state of poverty and wretchedness less than five regiments had been overawes us in Meg, as Meg has of raised in Scotland to assist Gustavus, Edie's gay good humour, sarcastic the lion of the North, and bulwark of wit, pliant accommodation, and occa- the Protestant faith. Considering sional tits of penitence, and endeavours the love of a military life, and the at piety. We respect Meg, but shrink hatred of Popery then prevalent in from her. We do not respect Edie, this country, it is but fair to suppose yet very much incline to draw near that many joined the standard of that and chat with him. There is infinite- heroic monarch from motives equally ly more tact and nice discrimination pure and noble. Of such it may be shown in marking the specific differ- conjectured, that they returned to ence of characters, having these casual their own country when their leader's and merely superficial points of resem- glorious career was closed at Lutzen. blance, than in depicting those who Very many, however, who went young are in every particular distinct from abroad, without even the advantage of each other. We have been somewhat dispatching their commons in the scandalized at hearing some of our Marischal College, might forget their countrymen, in the same spirit, com- own country, without giving fealty or pare Dalgetty, the rapacious, heart- affection to any other, become hardless, and coarse-minded soldier of for- hearted and unprincipled among the tune, as near of kin, and resembling scenes of plunder and devastation, in feature our much respected fa- which they daily witnessed, and finalvourite the Baron of Bradwardine. ly be prepared to sell their services This comparison is worthy of Captain with perfect indifference to the readiFluellin himself. The circumstances est bidder. The long period of peace of being both Scotchmen, bred at a which preceded the war, in which the Scotch college, and going early to serve Scotch estates for a while made comin a foreign country, produce an inevit- mon cause with the English Parliaable resemblance in some outward cir- ment, precluded the possibility of cumstances. But, in regard to charac- finding officers, or even soldiers of exteristic traits, it can only be by the perience in the military arts at home. most marked contrast that we can as- Thus depending upon the mercesociate such a character with the noble- nary troops who had served abroad minded, disinterested, honourable, and for recruiting and conducting their generous Baron, self-denied, careless army, it may well be supposed to conof every thing but strict truth, with tain many such as the ritt-master, the most delicate feeling of honour, who is brought forward as “ Knight and the most devoted sense of loyalty, of the Shire," to represent them all. still rising in dignity as he sinks in The arrangements of a Highland fortune, and commanding our highest household are, upon the whole, not esteem when fallen into the depth of ill described. The story of the wager adversity. Even when we view him about the silver candlesticks appears in the ludicrous attitude of scrambling somewhat forced, and does not come into his sheltering cave, or guarding in easily. The main fact, though it the inside of Janet's door, in his faded appears not very probable, is neveruniform, the temptation to smile is theless very true. It happened to instantly checked by veneration melt- Macdonald of Keppoch, who, on hearing into sympathy. His pedantry, ing some young Englishmen who were his prolixity, his pride of pedigree, with him on a shooting party boast of are all forgot; and if we do smile, their family plate, and particularly of it is at the recollection of another massive candlesticks, told them he worthy of old renown, of whom the would show them some that were Baron forcibly reminds us. The gaunt larger and far more valuable, sendand meagre form of Don Quixote, ing a private message home before him. with all his delicate honour, shaded He introduced his friends into the by certain absurdities, less harmless dining-room, where two tall Highthan those of the Baron, rises to our landers completely armed were standfancy as a more suitable associate than ing with great torches of lighted fir in that assigned to him by some of his their hands to verify his boast. countrymen...
The story of the dreadful incident
that drove the mother of Allan Mac- view in his own dungeon with the reauley to wander through the moun- doubted Major, yet that is more prowins in a state of distraction, and the bable than his leaving his clan to attraction that drew her from the fight the battle without him, which force of habit to watch the milking of we know did actually happen, otherthe cattle in the shealings, has also an wise we should consider it as nearly air of romance, but is nevertheless impossible. literally true, as is the account of her The Son of the Mist seems to have pregnancy, her recovery, and the im- been born three or four centuries too petuous temper of the son born under late ; yet he belongs not to the age of such inauspicious circumstances. A the Fingalians, not being sufficiently worthy and respectable family still ex- exalted and poetical for that cloudy ist, descended from this hard fated period. Even with all the exasperalady. The name of Macauley, under tion, which we take for granted, which they are shadowed forth, be- there is, in his character, a ferocilonged to a small but fierce and vin- ty always revolting, and in the ardictive sept, the head of which is well ticle of death so startling, that we were remembered as being in possession of much inelined to be of Dalgetty's Ardincaple during those troublous opinion, with regard to the want of times.
decorum in his exit. Lord Byron has The well known fact of Montrose seen fit to invest his heroes with a making his first appearance in this kind of terrific or demoniac grandeur, country, in the disguise of a servant, as he seems to think it, by making appears revolting to some who have them die not only impenitent, but forgotten or never known the history breathing a sort of defiance to the of that period. Yet this circumstance terrors of a dark futurity. So did not is extremely well managed, the hero even the villains of Shakespeare, and performs his part in the masquerade so do not the Highlanders of Scotadmirably, and supports the charac- land, however savage or ferocious. ter of a respectful, yet manly and well Their very wildest superstitions have informed domestic so well, that it a solemn tincture of pious feeling is merely in decorous propriety of mingled with them, and those doubts manners above ordinary servants, that of the soul's immortality in which any glearn of elegance breaks through impenitence takes refuge, never once his disguise. The Menteith appears entered into the mind of the most salike the blossom of every thing love vage Highlander. On the contrary, ly and noble in character ; and there is the more ignorant and superstitious a fine contrast between his generous they are, they are so much the more disdain and abhorrence of Dalgetty's sensibly impressed with the existence avowed, selfish, and unprincipled ver- of separate spirits, whose reappearance satility, and the experience of life, that on earth they consider as something reconciles his no less noble-minded frequent and familiar. Their firm friend to the necessity of using his conviction of the reality of such visitalents, and profiting by his military tations, predisposes them to those skill and hard-headed valour, without lively dreams and passionate reveries bestowing on him his esteem or his of fond recollection, which serve to confidence. Dalgetty is altogether an confirm the illusion. Such a person admirable and highly finished por- as the author describes might in his trait. We have met with nothing in ignorance think the barbarities he exlife or in fiction that exactly resem- ercised on his enemies in some meables him, and yet we have not a doubt sure justified by the injuries he had of his existence, easily conceiving how sustained. He might not feel resuch a character might be found a- morse as it would act upon a more enmidst the scenes and events with lightened and better regulated mind. which he was connected. Gillespie But still a sense of futurity is ever Gruamach merely walks out of the present to those whose creed admits frame in which contemporary writers of so slight a partition between the have inclosed his portrait, to act unseen world and that which we in, and to avoid action with the preci- habit. . sion, upon the whole, of historical It has been already observed, that truth. To be sure we have no accu- this author draws no fancy pictures rate details in said writers of his inter. The prototypes of his characters are
before his mind's eye, and if in any siderable exaggeration, and the softer instance there is a little indistinctness, traits of tenderness, social affection, and if the lights and shades are not right- gentle courtesy, find no place upon the ly distributed, or the attitudes not canvass? These people, in some degree, fitly chosen, it is not from want of resemble the country they inhabit. skill in the painter, but we may con- The bleak moors and desart eminenclude that he has not had a distinct ces, the dusky mountains and rugged view of the objects that his ever faith- rocks, impress the mind of a stranger ful pencil pourtrays. In personal ob- only with images of sublime desolaservation, One only has equalled him, tion, while the soft retired beauties and of those he has not met with in of sheltered glens, and glades of fresh his ordinary walks, he has notices and flowery verdure opening in natusufficient to supply the deficiency. ral woods, are only discovered and The Covenanters still live and speak enjoyed in their full extent by those in the memorials they have left be- to whom residence has made these hind, among which ample materials occult beauties familiar. To give the are found for many of the subordinate same free and faithful portraiture of figures which fill up his inimitable the domestic manners of the Highpaintings. One class of beings exists landers, as that exhibited in this work however, who have not afforded him of the Lowland Scotch, the author these facilities of observation. A peo- should be as familiarly acquainted ple concealed among their mountains, with them. This, without a knowwho have not been described by others, ledge of their language and a residence and have left no written memorials among them, is impossible. All that of themselves, and who, in times of can be expected he performs; all that old, secluded in their fastnesses, were he knows he tells, “ but with no only characterized by their fidelity to friendly voice," and this we cannot their chiefs, the impetuosity of their wonder at, knowing from what sources valour, and their predatory incursions he drew his information. into the more fertile districts of the The lions of the high country were Lowlands. Divided from all other not painters, and the painters of the people of Scotland, their manner of low country have given such likenesses thinking and expressing themselves of them as the ingenious Mr Tinto were as little known as the obscure drew of the patriot hero of Scotland recesses of their country. They were, for the front of the Wallace Inn, all in short, a kind of non-descripts. stern, and grim, and warlike. InThose that did know any thing of deed, the lights in which they apthem, only saw them as dangerous pear, and the scenes in which they neighbours or declared enemies. To are engaged, do not admit of much the southern counties they were lit- softer drawing. But the cruelty and tle if at all known, and they who bitterness of hatred which was the redwelt on their borders knew them to sult of the mortal feud betwixt the their cost, drew them under every dis- families of Montrose and Argyle, are advantage, and reported of them with here shown in their darkest colours, malevolent exaggeration. Indeed, it not such as they existed in the period must be allowed they saw only the brought under review, but such as worst specimens of the mountain po- was produced by the exasperation of pi lation. The hand of power, direct- the calamitous scene of which this ed by embittered revenge, had reach- was the opening. ed them in many instances, and sow- One of the most distinguishing chaed the seeds of interminable hatred racteristics of this author is, that milk betwixt those bordering clans and of human kindness which mingles thir more powerful neighbours with his ink in the description of the And it is from these neighbours that most faulty and even culpable of his we derive such accounts of the coun- dramatis persone. The goodness of try as that given by Bailie Jarvie, his temper and the kindness of his and such pictures as those exhibited heart is evident in the indulgent views in the Legend of Montrose. Must we he gives of our fellow nature in all its wonder, then, if drawn from such varieties. The impious and profligate sources, the harsher features of the Bothwell, though hardened in wickmountaineers should appear with con edness, and brutal in insolence, asserts