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sheriff and his attendants, whom the etiquette betwixt the civil and military power did not permit to come farther.
"This is well GOT UP for a closing scene," said Fergus, smiling disdainfully as he gazed around upon the apparatus of terror. Evan Dhu exclaimed with some eagerness, after looking at the dragoons, "These are the very chields that galloped off at Gladsmuir, ere we could kill a dozen of them. They look bold enough, however." The priest entreated him to be silent.
The sledge now approached, and Fergus turning round embraced Waverly, kissed him on each side of the face, and stepped nimbly into his place. Evan sat down by his side: The priest was to follow in a carriage belonging to his patron, the Catholic gentleman at whose house Flora resided. As Fergus waved his hand to Edward, the ranks closed around the sledge, and the whole procession began to move forward.
There was a momentary stop at the gateway, while the governor of the castle and the high sheriff went through a short ceremony, the military officer there delivering over the persons of the criminals to the civil power. "God save King George !" said the high sheriff. When the formality concluded, Fergus stood erect in the sledge, and with a firm and steady voice, replied, "God save King James!" These were the last words which Waverly heard him speak.
The procession resumed its march, and the sledge vanished from beneath the portal, under which it had stopped for an instant. The dead march, as it is called, was instantly heard; and its melancholy sounds were mingled with those of a muffled peal, tolled from the neighboring cathedral. The sound of the military music died away as the procession moved on; the sullen clang of the bells was soon heard to sound alone.
The last of the soldiers had now disappeared from under the vaulted archway through which they had been filing for several minutes; the court-yard was now totally
empty, but Waverly still stood there as if stupified, his eyes fixed upon the dark pass where he had so lately seen the last glimpse of his friend. At length, a female servant of the governor, struck with surprise and compassion at the stupefied misery which his countenance expressed, asked him if he would not walk into her master's house and sit down? She was obliged to repeat her question twice ere he comprehended her: but at length it recalled him to himself. Declining the courtesy, by a hasty gesture, he pulled his hat over his eyes, and, leaving the castle, walked as swiftly as he could through the empty streets, till he regained his inn; then threw himself into an apartment and bolted the door.
In about an hour and a half, which seemed an age of unutterable suspense, the sound of the drums and fifes, performing a lively air, and the confused murmur of the crowd which now filled the streets, so lately deserted, apprised him that all was over, and that the military and populace were returning from the dreadful scene. I will not attempt to describe his sensations.
DEATH OF MORRIS, THE SPY.-Walter Scott.*
I shall never forget the delightful sensation with which I exchanged the dark, smoky, smothering atmosphere of the Highland hut, in which we had passed the night so uncomfortably, for the refreshing fragrance of the morning air, and the glorious beams of the rising sun, which, from a tabernacle of purple and golden clouds, were darted full on such a scene of natural romance and beauty as had never before greeted my eyes. To the left lay the valley, down which the Forth wandered on its easterly course, surrounding the beautiful detached hill, with all
* At the time the celebrated Highland Chieftain, Rob Roy, was taken prisoner, Morris had been sent as a hostage for his personal safety, which being violated, excited the wrath so powerfully described in this extract.
its garland of woods. On the right, amid a profusion of thickets, knolls, and crags, lay the bed of a broad mountain lake, lightly curling into tiny waves by the breath of the morning breeze, each glittering in its course under the influence of the sunbeams. High hills, rocks and banks, waving with natural forests of birch and oak, formed the borders of this enchanting sheet of water; and, as their leaves rustled to the wind and twinkled in the sun, gave to the depth of solitude a sort of life and vivacity. Man alone seemed to be placed in a state of inferiority, in a scene where all the ordinary features of nature were raised and exalted.
It was under the burning influence of revenge that the wife of MacGregor commanded that the hostage, exchanged for her husband's safety, should be brought into her presence. I believe her sons had kept this unfortunate wretch out of her sight, for fear of the consequences; but if it was so, their humane precaution only postponed his fate. They dragged forward, at her summons, a wretch, already half dead with terror, in whose agonized features, I recognized, to my horror and astonishment, my old acquaintance, Morris.
He fell prostrate before the female chief with an effort to clasp her knees, from which she drew back, as if his touch had been pollution, so that all he could do in token of the extremity of his humiliation, was to kiss the hem of her plaid. I never heard entreaties for life poured forth with such agony of spirit. The ecstacy of fear was such, that instead of paralyzing his tongue, as on ordinary occasions, it even rendered him eloquent, and with cheeks as pale as ashes, hands compressed in agony, eyes that seemed to be taking their last look of all mortal objects, he protested, with the deepest oaths, his total ignorance of any design on the life of Rob Roy, whom he swore he loved and honored as his own soul. In the inconsistency of his terror, he said he was but the agent of others, and he muttered the name of Rashleigh-He prayed but for
life-for life he would give all he had in the world; it was but life he asked-life, if it were to be prolonged under tortures and privations;-he asked only breath, though it should be drawn in the damps of the lowest caverns of their hills.
It is impossible to describe the scorn, the loathing, and contempt, with which the wife of MacGregor regarded this wretched petitioner for the poor boon of existence.
"I could have bid you live," she said, "had life been to you the same weary and wasting burden that it is to me that it is to every noble and generous mind. But you-wretch! you could creep through the world unaffected by its various disgraces, its ineffable miseries, its constantly accumulating masses of crime and sorrow,you could live and enjoy yourself, while the noble-minded are betrayed,-while nameless and birthless villains tread on the neck of the brave and long-descended,—you could enjoy yourself, like a butcher's dog in the shambles battening on garbage, while the slaughter of the brave went on around you! This enjoyment you shall not live to partake of; you shall die, base dog, and that before yon cloud has passed over the sun.'
She gave a brief command, in Gaelic, to her attendants, two of whom seized upon the prostrate suppliant, and hurried him to the brink of a cliff which overhung the flood. He set up the most piercing and dreadful cries that fear ever uttered-I may well term them dreadful, for they haunted my sleep for years afterwards. As the murderers, or executioners, call them as you will, dragged him along, he recognized me even in that moment of horror, and exclaimed, in the last articulate words I ever heard him utter, "O, Mr. Osbaldistone, save me save me!"
I was so much moved by this horrid spectacle, that, although in momentary expectation of sharing his fate, I did attempt to speak in his behalf, but as might have been expected, my interference was sternly disregarded. The victim was held fast by some, while others, binding
a large heavy stone in a plaid, tied it round his neck, and others again eagerly stripped him of some part of his dress. Half-naked, and thus manacled, they hurried him into the lake, there about twelve feet deep, drowning his last death-shriek with a loud halloo of vindictive triumph, over which, however, the yell of mortal agony was distinctly heard. The heavy burden splashed in the darkblue waters of the lake, and the Highlanders, with their pole-axes and swords, watched an instant, to guard, lest, extricating himself from the load to which he was attached, he might have struggled to regain the shore. But the knot had been securely bound; the victim sunk without effort; the waters, which his fall had disturbed, settled calmly over him, and the unit of that life for which he had pleaded so strongly, was forever withdrawn from the sum of human existence.
FUNERAL OF STEENIE MUCKLEBACKIT.-Scott.
The antiquary, being now alone, hastened his pace, and soon arrived before the half-dozen cottages at Muysel-crag. They now had, in addition to their usual squalid and uncomfortable appearance, the melancholy attributes of the house of mourning. The boats were all drawn up on the beach; and, though the day was fine, and the season favorable, the chant, which is used by the fishers when at sea, was silent, as well as the prattle of the children, and the shrill song of the mother, as she sits mending her nets by the door. A few of the neighbors, some in their antique and well-saved suits of black, others in their ordinary clothes, but all bearing an expression of mournful sympathy with distress so sudden and unexpected, stood gathering around the door of Mucklebackit's cottage, waiting till the body was lifted. As the Laird of Monkbarns approached, they made way for him to enter, doffing their hats and bonnets as he passed, with