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Too false to guide us or control!
"And, puzzled, blinded thus, we lose
•* The creatures see of flood and field,
"For why ?—because the good old rule
"A lesson that is quickly learned,
*' All freak ishness of mind is checked;
"All kinds, and creatures, stand and fall
"Since, then, the rule of right is plain.
And thus among these rocks he lived.
So was it— mould, at least have been
Or shall we say an age too soon •
Then rents and factors, rights of chase,
Rob Roy had never lingered here.
And to his sword he would have snid,
* 'Tis fit that we should do our part;
'• Of old things all are over old,
A world of other siult:
"I, too, will have my kings that take
And, if the word had been fulfilled,
Oh! say not so; compare them not;
For thou, although with some wild thoaghts,
And, had it been thy lot to live
For thou wert still the poor man's stay.
Bear witness many a pensive sigh
And, far and near, through vale and hill,
My life has not been a very eventful one, nor have my migrations from the place of my birth been either very numerous or distant. Yet that must be a monotonous existence indeed, which, having endured for upwards of fifty years, as mine has now done, presents us withno circumstance worth relating. Perhaps my own life furnishes as few as that of most men, yet I have witnessed some scenes which I conceive want little but the talent of relating them skilfully to invest them with an interest of no ordinary kind. The most remarkable of these which occurs to me is one in which I was myself an actor. Before proceeding to relate it, however, it may be necessary to premise, that the place of my nativity and of my residence for the first twenty-seven years of my life, was a certain great city in the west, celebrated for its rum-punch and calicoes; its hospitality and its steam-engines. During the latter part of the period of which I have spoken, I enjoyed the acquaintance and friendship of five as fine gentlemanly young fellows as ever breathed the breath of existence. You may think, Mr Editor, this rather an unusual number to speak of in the warm language of familiar intimacy and regard, since we rarely can reckon amongst our acquaintance more than one dear friend—one whom we admit to a pre-eminence in our confidence and esteem—and it may be that of the young men of whom I have spoken. I did not entertain for them all an exactly equal degree of affection: but I did esteem them most sincerely, and I have every reason to believe that the regard was mutual. Four of my young friends, as well as myself, were principal and confidential clerks in an equal number of the first mercantile houses in Glasgow. Our situations were comfortable and respectable, and all of us stood high in the esteem of our several employers. The fifth was doing business on his own account, and prospering. Having the command of a little more money than any of us, he was enabled to indulge in one of his most favourite amusements—an evening sail upon the Clyde, by purchasing a very handsome little barge, which in the pride of his heart, he baptized the Savage. For two successive summers the Savage bore us safely and delightfully along the smooth bosom of the Clyde; for some of us, if not the whole junto, were poor Freeland's sole and exclusive companions in all his little aquatic excursions. Generally a female friend or two, or lover, if you please, accompanied us; and amongst other little additions to our enjoyment on these occasions, was poor Freeland's flute, which he generally brought in his pocket, and on which he played with more than ordinary skill. Melancholy as are the feelings with which 1 record •i reminiscences from the tragical associations which are con- nected with them, I cannot but look back with these emotions—sad yet pleasing—which attend the recollection of enjoyments long passed away. In my mind's eye, I yet see, under the bright sky of a July evening, the little Savage, gently impelled by our oars, which we carelessly and listlessly plied, that we might protract our enjoyment, gliding down the stream, which, filled to the brim with its calm shining waters, and edged with its lovely banks of green, with the Kilpatrick hills in the distance, seemed the very epitome of all that is beautiful in landscape.
On these occasions it was a frequent practice with us, on returning up the river, to land at the fine antique and beautifully situated little village of Govan, where salmon, kippered or fresh from the Clyde, was, and we believe still is, always to be had; and after partaking of a cut or two done in David Dreghorn's best manner, with probably a couple of half-mutchkins of his inimitable whisky-toddy, we re-embarked and proceeded joyously on our way.
Here let me pause for a moment to reflect on the merits of this prince of hosts—the worthy landlord whom I have just named. David, thy pow has now become somewhat lyart with eild,* but thy hospitality is as green and fresh as in the days of thy youth. We remember thee well, David, and we shall remember thee to the last hour of our mortal existence, thou genuine specimen of the Scottish landlord of other years. Never, David, can we forget thy pawky look, thy kindly manner, and thy sly quiet ready wit, which, next to thy kippered salmon, was the joy of our hearts. In these days, David—I mean some thirty years since or thereby—thy hostelrie was situated near to the banks of the Clyde, of which it commanded a most pleasant view. Thou hadst, since then, David, deserted the halls of thy fathers, and taken up thy residence in another part of the village. Whether thou didst judge wisely in this matter I know not; but as it is not pleasing to have old associations disturbed, methinks, if we were to visit thee again, which, were we within a hundred miles of thee, we would assuredly do, we would rather meet thee under the roof-tree of thine ancient domicile than that of thy new mansion. This, however, is but a small matter, after all, my dear David; the rising generation know nothing of thy migration, and cannot therefore have such feelings as are mine on this melancholy subject; and although they did, thy hospitality, thy genuine Scottish and unsophisticated manner, would induce them to seek thy door in preference to all others, wherever it may be.
To return to my tale. For two successive summers, as I have said, the little Savage brought us back in safety from our excursions down the river, but at length a fatal summer came. On a lovely
* Poor I )uvld, we believe, is now gathered to his fsthcrs.
day in the August of that year, with her gay pennons flying, and her white sails bent, she went on her way, but she returned no more. For some weeks previous to the day whose fatal events I am about to record, it was proposed amongst us that we should, on as early a day as possible, take a more lengthened excursion than any we had yet adventured upon, we having hitherto seldom gone farther down the river than Renfrew, about seven miles below Glasgow. After some consideration it was at length resolved that we should run down to Greenock, taking a Saturday as the least busy day, remain there all night, and return again to Glasgow on Sunday. The day was fixed, and soon arrived. Poor Freeland had busily employed himself the whole morning in decking out and preparing his little barge; and by the time we had all assembled at the point of embarkation, she floated before us as trim and gay a pinnace as any party of pleasure could desire.
About ten o'clock in the forenoon we had all arrived, each bringing with him some little contribution in the shape of wine, spirits, cr provisions, as it was intended that we should dine upon the water. The party consisted of the four friends of whom I have already spoken, Mr Freeland, and a beautiful and accomplished young lady, sister to one of the gentlemen and the betrothed of Freeland, and myself. Never was there a more joyous party than we found on this occasion. We who were in the employment of others, excited by that sense of unrestrained liberty, though temporary, which we felt by being, for the day at least, released from the formality and confinement of the counting-house, and Freeland from the presence of herwhomhelovedbeyondeverylivingbeinguponearth. With such joy in our hearts, then, as such circumstances are calculated to excite, was it that we stepped, one after another, on board the Savage. The last preparations being in a few minutes completed, our little barge was gently shoved from the shore. There was little wind, but it was fair, and sufficient to carry us pleasantly down the river at the rate of three or four miles an hour. Freeland was at the helm. Miss T. satnext him, as he had taken care that this disposition should form part of our arrangement in the boat. The laugh and joke went round. The day was delightful. The barge held steadily on her course; and about five o'clock in the afternoon we found ourselves opposite the ancient fortress of Dunglass, where, as it had been previously arranged, we were to take on board Mr Freeland's sister, who resided there during the summer months for the benefit of seabathing.
We accordingly made for the shore, landed, and proceeded to Miss Freelaud's lodgings, where we spent an hour or two, and then, with the addition of that lady to our party, returned to our boat, for the purpose of proceeding on our voyage. We had all embarked, excepting Miss Freeland, who, in the very act of stepping into the boat, assisted by two of the gentlemen, suddenly changed her resolution, flung herself free of her assistants, and declared that she would not go. This was the first interruption which the harmony of our little party had sustained; it damped and mortified us all, and not a little displeased her brother, who, in the irritation of the moment, allowed some slight expressions of that feeling to escape him. To these, however, Miss F. made no reply, but remained firm to her resolution of not forming one of our party. We all by turns endeavoured to induce her to step into the boat, but in vain. She continued to resist our solicitations, mildly indeed, but determinedly. The conduct of Miss F. surprised us as much as it disconcerted us; for until the moment of her being about to embark, she expressed the utmost delight at the prospect of our excursion, and evinced an eagerness to depart, which contrasted strangely with the resolution she seemed now to have adopted, and for which, together with the other singularities with which it was attended, she would assign no reason, though repeatedly pressed to do so. Whether Miss F. entertained a presentiment of the dreadful catastrophe which was soon to happen, and was yet ashamed to own it, for she did not even attempt to dissuade us from proceeding on our voyage; or whether, as is perhaps, after all, more likely, she became alarmed at the appearance of the sea, which was now certainly assuming rather a surly look—the breeze was freshening; the shades of evening, too, were gathering fast, and the clouds hung low and dark over Dunoon. Whether it was the first or the last of these considerations, or whether it was any of them that weighed with Miss F., I know not, for, as I said before, she positively refused to give any reason for her conduct. Finding all our efforts to induce her to change her determination unavailing, we at length pushed off, again set our sails, and again the little Savage went careering through the waters, but now with increased velocity, as the wind, as I have already said, had risen considerably, and was, besides, very perceptibly gaining strength every moment, but not by any means so much as to excite the slightest feeling of alarm. On the contrary, the sense of the rapidity of our motion had increased the exhilaration of our spirits, which were now again pretty much elevated. We had dined—we had forgotten for the time Miss F.'s refusal to join us, and the wine-cup was going merrily round; in short, we were more than happy. The song and joke were again making the circuit of our little party, and with additional enthusiasm and point. Wehadnowrun about eightmiles, when Freeland, having just concluded one of his favourite songs, suddenly started to his feet, marked for a moment, with a look of extreme delight, the ra