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"I always supposed Mrs Martha to be a sensible girl," said the doctor, " and now I know it. These vegetable waters, my good lady, are nothing but a devilish compound of treacle and poisonous roots, enough to sicken a dromedary, let alone a Christian. What, indeed, can Mrs Ogilvie know of the noble arts of Physic and Chirurgery? Only let me see the young lady, and I will administer such medicaments, as will, under Heaven's blessing, restore her to her wonted lustihood."
"If she would only take them," sighed the mother; " but, alas, doctor, I fear me you would not commend her good sense, did you hear her foolish and inappropriate conversation, and see the manner in which she sometimes behaves. Indeed, I often think that the late unhappy battle has turned her head. She is ever inquiring about it, and takes no thought of household matters. Nay, she would be out one morning, to search for the dead, as she said, and she talked so wildly that I was obliged to make fast the door of her chamber. And when I have found her weeping, and asked her why she did so, she has answered,' Is it not enough to make all people weep, to think of father fighting against son ?'—and then she would say, that all her tears could not wash out the dear blood that was shed at Langside."
"The case is not a little alarming," said the doctor, putting on one of his foreboding looks; "yet I would fain comfort myself with the hope, that the poor young lady is not entirely crazed, and that proper treatment may yet bring her into her right judgment. Lead me to her incontinently, good Mrs Menzies, for I doubt she is in a critical situation."
Martha was sitting by the bed side, in a languishing and disconsolate posture, as her mother ushered in worthy Dr Macclutch. She little expected the visit of a physician, and still less wished it; for her trouble was beyond the reach of doctors and drugs.
"Here, Martha, I have brought you our excellent friend Dr Macclutch, to inquire into your state," said the mother.
"How is my fair young lady?" was the salutation of the good natured leech.
"I am well—quite well—indeed, I am," said Martha, for the appearance of the doctor merely annoyed her.
"You look, it is true, in lusty health," was the answer, " and are in no measure emaciated; yet, my good young lady, these are but deceiving symptoms, and not at all to be trusted. Your worthy mother informs me that you are ailing: what is it you complain of?"
"1 complain of nothing, doctor,—of nothing," she added, weepgin, "but a wretched world—a world full of strife and evil passions —where worth perishes, and hope is ever blasted—where Might iv. 2 L
makes Right, and love, and truth, and honour, are trampled to the dust—where father fights against son, and the best blood of all the land is shed like water."
"True, lady, we must all lament the late unhappy struggle, by which I myself have been greatly embarrassed; but now that Mary, umquhile Queen, has fled to England, we may look for peaceful and happy days."
"You may—/never can; for that which made life sweet to me, and the earth beautiful, is for ever lost, and no hope—no wish—remains to my poor fancy, except the grave."
The doctor now began to be assured that his patient's head was affected. "Suffer me, my dear young lady," he said, "to feel your pulse. Ay,—it is rather feverish, and we must phlebotomize. Where lies your chief ailment?"
Martha almost instinctively pressed her hand on her heart, while the doctor, unseen by her, touched his forehead significantly with his finger. At this last sign, the poor mother fell a crying. "O Martha, love! what makes you lose your senses, and speak in that way? will you break my heart altogether! And what makes that weary battle afflict you so 1 You have lost no friend, and had no hand in it. If you had been cut on the head, you might have had some cause for raving, as poor Master Patrick is doing"—
"Hush!" said the Doctor, holding out his hand, and the old lady checked herself instantaneously. But a name had struck the ear of Martha, too deeply cherished to pass unnoticed.
"Master Patrick!" she exclaimed, rising eagerly from her seat, —" What said you of the young Master Elphinston 1—Is he not lost—slain—dead? Or,—O merciful God!—does he yet live and b-eathe»"
"The young Master Patrick," stammered out the doctor, "is a gentleman of whom, my good young lady, it would be indecorous— I mean imprudent, to speak, seeing that his worthy father, the Baron"—
"He lives!" interrupted Martha. "Say that he lives, or my heart will burst!"
"That the young master lives," returned the doctor, "may be predicated or indeed affirmed, without breaking faith, or saying in what lady's house he lives, or what learned chirurgeon has been intrusted with his critical case."
"Enough—he lives," murmured Martha, sinking back into her chair, while her face, which before was highly flushed, became deadly pale. "But he is wounded," she added, recovering herself, after a pause—"dying, perhaps—I knowit all—and under your care, doctor. I can see that—but in what lady's house? Is it indeed so? Here? within these walls? Do I guess aright, or is my head in truth deranged?"
"Who could have told you?" said the simple chirurgeon. "I am sure unless your mother has"—
"Nay, doctor," said the old lady," blame me not, for unless it was yourself even now, I am sure—But, in truth, we have nothing to fear from Martha, and if it gives her comfort to know that young Master Patrick is under this roof, why should we withhold it?"
"Why, indeed, dearest mother?" said Martha, sinking into her arms, and giving vent to her feelings in a flood of tears. "Leave me," she added, "leave me for a little, until this foolish weakness is over. Master Patrick, you know, was an old friend—an acquaintance, whom we all thought lost, and blame me not if I should be moved to hear of his safety. Leave me for a little, that I may compose myself."
Scarcely had the mother and physician left the apartment—scarcely had the door closed upon them, ere Martha was on her knees, breathing a silent but heartfelt thanksgiving to Heaven, for restoring to this world of hope him upon whom all her happiness rested. She rose from her devotion with calm and elevated feelings, and proceeded to dress herself in simple attire. "I will attend him," she said to herself, "and administer to his wants; for what hand but mine should soothe his aching head?"
The young Master Klphinston had not had a conscious moment from the time he had been brought under the roof of Mrs Menzies. The fever which had seized his brain was at its height, and he continued to rave as if he were still in the midst of the battle. But when Martha entered his apartment, and knelt by his bedside, he became suddenly silent, and gazed earnestly at her. "Do you know me, Master Patrick?" she whispered tenderly, as she parted the raven locks that hung dishevelled over his burning brow.
"I know you," said the young man. "You are a vision from heaven of my own Martha, come to mock me when the battle's lost. But do not leave me, for even in dreams, and on the bloody field, would I see that sweet face!"
"O Patrick! this is no dream—no vision! You have been sorely wounded, and now lie in safety under my mother's roof.''
"Ay, we fought it bravely—inch by inch. But Where's the traitor brother? Has he escaped the sword? Down with the bastard— bastard in body and soul! And she—our Queen! whither doth she fly? Are ye men, that ye would hunt the stricken deer? O, shame on your recreant souls! One bold struggle yet, my noble fellows, and the day is ours! Cowards! Do you shrink before these rebels? Follow me! The Queen—the Queen!''
"Alas, his mind still lingers in the giddy fight," said the mother. "Speak to him, Martha, of home."
But Martha could not speak; her heart was swelling, and she was obliged to bury her face in the clothes, and sob aloud.
"Who weeps?" continued the young master. "Is it thee, Martha, my own love? You were ever tender-hearted, and well may weep, to see the banner of our Queen stricken in the dust To horse! Did I not say I would save her? Ha! my father! why do you hold my arm? I dare not strike thee—nor curse thee—but let me away! Would you have me play lagger in the fight, old man, and stain your family scutcheon? It must not be—let me off! Who is this that dares to hold me down? Knave! Ruffian! who are you?"
"Your very good friend, Dr Macclutch, Master Patrick," said the doctor, who was exerting himself strenuously to keep the young man in bed.
"Macclutch! Ha, ha, ha! That is good. How goes your market, doctor? Do you still poison as well as ever? Who is so fortunate as to be your gravedigger? What are your burial charges? Have you brought the coffin with you? Don't pinch it—who cares for fir?—give the poor creature elbow-room; 'tis all he will ever require, since you have relieved him of his complaints. A fee? You will find it in his clenched fist. It wont open without the knife. Bravely done! What signify the fingers and thumbs of a dead man? But tho teeth!—secure the teeth, doctor: they go for something, and, to speak truth, you have need of a few yourself. Hollo! Have you got a wife? Is she good at the needle, for she will be kept busy with shrouds."
"This, dear Master Patrick," said the doctor, somewhat mortified, "is good Mrs Menzies, in whose house you are, and this is her daughter, Mrs Martha."
"Martha!" echoed Patrick, sinking back in feebleness upon his couch, for his fits of raving were but of short duration; "Martha! I know it all. She is dead, for the doctor has been here, and I have seen her vision. Then, what have I to live for, since love and glory have departed from this earth. Come again, sweet vision ! and hang over me in my dreams." And thus murmuring, he gradually fell into a slumber.
Two or three days passed over in this state, during which Martha was unwearied in her attendance at the sick bed of the young Master. In the evenings, the baron regularly visited his son, and spent several hours in his presence, for Patrick, although he may have offended by espousing the cause of Queen Mary, had all along been the favourite of his father. At length tho danger of the fever was overcome by a vigorous constitution, and the young Master became gradually conscious of his situation. l1 was to him a delightful feeling to find himself tended by the one whom he loved best, and though weak and emaciated, never had he experienced so much calm bliss as during the days of his convalescence. "For such a nurse," he said "it is worth being unwell. And, O Martha! when I am fairly better, my first care will be to make you mine for ever. You fear my father; but he is too deeply interested in me, to stand in the wuy of my happiness, and were it otherwise, he must now know your excellence, and be proud to call you his daughter."
It was after a week or two had elapsed, and Patrick was so far recovered as to be able to walk about, although he still confined himself to the house, that the Baron Elphinston requested a private interview with Dr Macclutch. "I have sent for you, good doctor," he said, "in order to express my satisfaction at the attention you have paid pour Patrick during his severe illness, and the fidelity with which you have otherwise conducted yourself. This is but a poor recompense for your services," he added, placing a purse in the doctor's hand. "Nay, put it up. It was not on that account alone, that I sent for you. What I wished to consult you about was another matter. During the height of Patrick's fever, he repeatedly made use of expressions by which I could discern that he was deeply attached to the daughter of Mrs Menzies, and indeed he has himself this morning stated so to me, and implored my sanction to their union. At another time, and under other circumstances, I might have strongly objected to such a union; but Patrick's happiness, I see, so much depends on its accomplishment, that I cannot refuse his request, especially now that Heaven has so mercifully restored him to me. Besides, I have had occasion to admire the conduct of the young lady during his long illness, and if she may not be, in point of lineage, a proper match to the young Master of Elphinston, she is in every other respect all that I could wish. Even in lineage, she is not altogether deficient, for, as you may be aware, she is well connected by the female side, and—what perhaps you may think of more consequence, in these troublous times, to the younger son of a poor baron —she is possessed, I am given to understand, of a very handsome dowry."
"My lord," said the doctor, "it gives me great satisfaction to know that you are inclined to sanction the espousals of Master Patrick and Mrs Martha; for a more worthy and deserving young lady is not to be found in the kingdom; and as you well remark, she has a heavy tocher of her own—a pretty penny, believe me.n
"Good Master John Knox," interrupted the baron, " has been exerting himself stoutly with the Regent to procure pardons for many