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much seeming wretchedness and pri- household accommodation.
He convation, he resided during a summer and structed a larger and more substantial autumn : winter, a season of great se- house, with equal attention to durabilverity on an unsheltered coast, was ex- ity and neatness; he fenced off the pected either to destroy or drive him sea by a barrier of large stones, and from his abode, but he braved every scattered around his dwelling a few of storm, and resisted all offers of food or the common flowers which love to raiment.
blossom near the sea breeze. The The first winter of his abode was smoke of his chimney, and the unreone of prodigious storm and infinite mitting clank of his hammer finishing hardship. The snow lay long and the interior accommodations, were seen deep on the ground, the ice was thick, and heard from afar. When all this on lake and pool, and the Solway pre- was concluded he launched his boat sented one continual scene of commo- and took to the sea again, and became tion and distress. The shore was cov- known from the Mull of Galloway to ered with the wrecks of ships, the ed- the foot of Annan-water. dies choaked with drowned men, and I remember the first time that ever I the sea itself so rough and boisterous saw him was in the market-place of that the fishermen suspended their cus- Dumfries : his beard seemed of more tomary labours, and sat with their fam- than a year's growth, his clothes, once ilies at the hearth-fire, listening to the rich and fine, were darned and patched, sounding of the surge, and relating and over the whole he wore a kind of tales of maritime disaster and ship- boat-cloak, which, fastened round his wreck.
But on Miles Colvine the se- neck, descended nigh the ground; but vere and continued storm seemed to all this penury could not conceal the have no influence. He ranged the step and air of other and better days. shore, collecting for his fire the wrecks He seldom looked in the face of any of ships : he committed his nets and one; man he seemed to regard with an hooks to the sea with his usual skill; eye of scorn, and even deadly hatred ; and having found a drifted boat, which but on women he looked with softness belonged to some unfortunate vessel, and regard, and when he happened to he obtained command over the element meet a mother and child he gazed on most congenial to his heart, and wan- them with something of settled sorrow dered about on the bosom of the waters and affection. He once made a full noon and night, more like a troubled stop, and gazed on a beautiful girl of spirit than a human being. When the four or five years old, who was gatherseverity of winter had passed away, ing primroses on the margin of the and sea-birds laid their eggs in the Nith; the child, alarmed at his uncouth sand, the mariner remitted his excur- appearance, shrieked and fell in its sions at sea, and commenced a labour fright into the deep stream ; the mariwhich surprised many. The sea shore, ner made but one spring from the bank or that portion of the coast which lies into the river,-saved the child, replabetween the margin of the sea and the ced it in its mother's bosom, and recultivated land, a region of shells, and sumed his journey, apparently uncondrift sand, and pebbles, has ever been scious that he had done aught remarkregarded as a kind of common, and the able. Ever after this the children of right of suspending nets, hawling Dumfries pursued him with the hue boats aground, and constructing huts and cry, “Eh! come and see the wild for the summer residence of the fish- bearded man, who saved Mary Lawermen, has never been disputed by the son.” On another occasion, I was natural lord of those thriftless domains. hunting on the Scottish mountain of It was on this debateable ground, be- Criffel, and having reached its summit tween the barren sea and the cultivated I sat down to look around on the prosfield, that the mariner fixed his abode ; pect of sea and land below me, and but it soon appeared that he wished to take some refreshment. At a little extend his possessions, and augment his distance I saw somewhat like the fig
ure of a human being, bedded in the ter. This tale, with all the variations heath, and lying looking on the Sol- which a poetical peasantry readily supway from a projecting rock, so still and ply, found its way from cottage to hammotionless that he seemed dead. I let, and from hamlet to hall. Old men went near; it was Miles Colvine : he shook their heads, and talked of the seemed unconscious of my approach, exploits of the great fiend by sea and and, looking stedfastly on the sea, re- land, and wished that good might hapmained fixed, and muttering, as long as pen to Old England from the visit of I continued on the mountain. Indeed, such a circumnavigator. Others, who wherever he went he talked more like were willing to believe that the apparia man holding communion with his tion was Miles Colvine on a coasting own mind, than one sharing his thoughts voyage, seemed no less ready to conwith others, and the general purport of found the maritime recluse with an evil such imperfect sentences as could be being who had murdered a whole ship's heard was that he had vowed many crew, sunk their ship, and dwelt on the men should perish for some irreparable coast of " cannie Cumberland,” for the wrong they had offered to a lady. express purpose of raising storms, shaSometimes he spoke of the lady as his king corn, and making unwedded wife, or his love, and the men he had mothers of half the fair damsels between doomed to destruction as the lawless Sarkfoot and Saint Bees. Several - crew of his own vessel. At other misfortunes of the latter kind, which times he addressed his seamen as spirits happened about this time, confirmed whom he had sent to be tortured for this suspicion, and his departure from wrongs done in the body, and his lady the coast was as welcome as rain to as an angel that still visited his daily the farmer after a long drought. dreams and his nightly visions. Thro' About a fortnight after this event, I the whole the cry of revenge, and the happened to be on a moonlight excursense of deep injury, were heard and sion by water, as far as the ruined casunderstood by all.
tle of Comlongan. I was accompanied When Miles Colvine had fairly fin- by an idle friend or two, and, on our reished his new residence, and the flow- turn we allowed the receding tide to ers and fruits had returned to field and carry us along the Cumberland coast, tree, he was observed to launch his till we came nearly opposite the cottage boat: this was a common occurrence, of Miles Colvine. As we directed our but a small lair of sheep-skins, a jar boat to the shelter of a small bank, I of water, and some dried fish, called observed a light glimmering in the kippered salmon by the Scotch, looked mariner's house, and landing and aplike preparation for a long journey. proaching closer, I saw plainly the The journey was begun, for he was shadows of two persons, one tall and seen scudding away southward, by the manly, the other slim and sylphlike, light of the stars, and no more was passing and repassing on the wall. Í seen or heard of him for some time. soon obtained a fairer view. I saw Day, after day his door continued shut, the mariner himself, his dress once rude his chimney ceased to smoke, and his and sordid was replaced by one of the nets hung unemployed. At length the coarsest materials, but remarkably revenue cutter from Saint Bees arrived clean, his beard was removed, and at Allanbay, to land a cargo of fine his hair, once matted and wild, Hollands which the officers had taken now hung orderly about his neck and from an Irish smuggler, between Car- temples. The natural colour was rickfergus and the Isle of Man. They black, but snow-white locks now prehad been terribly alarmed, they said, dominated; his look was hale, but on their way, by the appearance, about sorrowful, and he seemed about forty the third watch of the night, of a vis
age. The figure of the creaionary boat navigated by a bearded ture that accompanied him was much fiend, which scudded with supernatural too tender and beautiful to last long in swiftness along the surface of the wa a situation so rude and unprotected as
6 ATHENEUM Vol. 11.
the cottage of a fisherman. It was a female, richly dressed, and of a beauty so exquisite, and a look so full of sweetness and grace, that the rude scene around was not wanted to exalt her above all other maidens I had ever seen. She glided about the cottage, arranging the various articles of furniture, and passing two white hands, out-rivalling the fairest creations of the sculptor, over the rude chairs and tables, and every moment giving a glance at the mariner, like one who took delight in pleasing him, and seemed to work for his sake. And he was pleased. I saw him smile, and no one had ever seen him smile before ; he passed his hand over the long clustering tresses of the maiden ; caused her to sit down beside him, and looked on her face, which outgrowing the child had not yet grown into woman, with a look of affection, and reverence and joy.
I was pondering on what I witnessed, and imagining an interview with the unhappy mariner and his beautiful child, for such his companion was, when I observed the latter tal small musical instrument from a chest, and touching its well-ordered strings with a light and a ready hand, she played several of the simple and plaintive airs so common among the peasantry of the Scottish and English coasts. After a pause she resumed her instrument, and, to an air singularly wild and melancholy, sang the following ballad, which relates to the story of her father's and mother's misfortuues; but the minstrel has observed a mystery in his narrative which excites suspicion rather than gratifies curiosity.
The stars all brightly burn,
Ere your true love return;
The wind sighs lone and low,
Is one of wail and woe ;
One of thy tresses dark
3. O mariner, mariner,
It's whispered in the ball,
Among our maidens all,
of that wide and fatal flood, Cannot cleanse the decks of thy good ship
Or wash thy hands from blood ;
And ere they sunder say,
His thigh thus smiting soon,
By all that's bright aboon,
Or blessed on the flood,
That revel'd in their blood-
My loved one's spirit nigh,
There was a lovely dame,
And left her father's bame"-
Did rain and lighten fast,
Allgrimly grew and ghast :
Wrong'd her as far we ranged;
More fearfully avenged ?
O MARINER, O MARINER.
O mariner, O mariner,
When will our gallant men
With their bomeward hail agen;
And fifteen stood below, And maidens waved them from the shore,
With hands more wbite than snow ;
The sun laugh'd out aboon,
By the waning of yon moon?
The ballad had proceeded thus far, when a band of smugglers from the coasts of Ireland and Scotland, uniting the reckless desperation of the former with the craft and tact of the latter, attracted by the secure and naked coast, and perhaps by the lonely house, which presented hope of plunder with little appearance of resistance, landed to the number of seven, and leaping over the
exterior wall, seized the door and shook back, my darlings," said the miscreant, it violently, calling loudly for admit- “I'll show you a trick worth two of this ; tance. I lay down with my two com- I'll teach you how we bring out a bonpanions behind a small hedge of furze, nie lass from a bolted chamber in little to see the issue of this visit, for at that Ireland;" so saying, he proceeded to time I imagined the mariner maintained prime a pistol, having previously hamsome mysterious correspondence with mered the flint with a little steel cross, these fierce and lawless men. “Open curiously chased and ornamented, the door," said one, in a strong Irish which he took from his bosom. “ Now, accent, “ or by the powers I'll blow come on, my early boys—my souls of your cabin to peelings of potatoes about boys; the boy that wont do as I do your ears, my darlings." _“ Hout, Pa- deserves to be whipped through Purgatrick, or what's your name," said one tory.” In a moment the door opened, of his comrades in Lowland Scotch, Miles Colvine stood on the threshold, "ye mauna gang that rough way to a cocked pistol in his right hand, his wark, we maun speak kindly and can- sword gleaming in his left, his eyes nilie, man, till we get in our hand, and shooting from them a fierce dark light, then we can take it a' our ain way, like but his manner perfectly calm and col Willie Wilson's sow, when she ran off lected. Behind him came the beautiwith the knife in her neck." The ful form of his daughter, with a bent mariner, on hearing this dialogue, pre- pistol in her hand, and shuddering, pared himself for resistance, like one from head to foot at the immediate peperfectly well acquainted with such ril which seemed to beset her father. rencounters. With a sword in one These maritime desperadoes started hand, a cocked pistol in the other, and back at this sudden apparition of an a brace in his belt, he posted himself armed man, and even their miscreant behind the door, and in a low voice ad- leader, forward as he was, recoiled a monished his daughter to retire to a lit- pace or two. The mariner eyed him tle chamber constructed for her accom- for a moment, and said, “Did my modation. With a voice which, though sword then do its work slovenly, and quivering with emotion, lost nothing of did the deep sea not devour thee, thou its native sweetness, the young maiden immeasurable villain ? but God has answered, “ Oh let me be near you ?- given thee back to earth, to become a let me but be near you ?”-Her low warning how sure and how certain just and gentle voice was drowned in the vengeance is.” And leaping on him wild exclamations of one of the smug- as he spoke, I saw the pistol Aash, and glers. “Och, my dears, let us break the gleam of the descending sword, in the door, and clap a red turf to the almost the same instant. I instantly roof, and all to give me light to see to started up with my companions, and kiss this maiden with the sweet voice. the smugglers, perceiving this sudden I have not been within seven acres reinforcement, carried off their combroad of a woman since we sailed with panion, groaning, and cursing, and Miles Colvine's lady.—And by the praying; and pushing their boat from bagpiper she was a bouncer, and a the shore, vanished along the misty pretty din she made about it after all, bosom of the summer sea. and took it into her head to shriek tili I found Miles Colvine standing on the shores rang, and pray till the saints the threshold of his house, and his grew deaf; ah, my hearties, it would'nt daughter on her knees beside him. He do.-What the devil holds this door ? knew me, for we had often passed each stand by till I show you how hand- other on the beach and on the sea, and somely I'll pitch it against the wall ;" he was aware that I was a friend, for I and setting his shoulders to the door, had endeavoured in vain to oblige him he thrust with all his might, and though in his forlorn state with little acts of seconded by his comrades, who seemed kindness. “ Come hither, sir," said all alike eager for violence, the door the mariner, “ I have to thank you for resisted his utmost efforts. “ Stand aid this night." He paused for a mo
ment, and then said, in a lower tone, apartment. Nor was the place devoted to “ I know your faith is not my faith, brute comfort alone: some books, among and that your life is not embittered which I observed Robinson Crusoe, and with wbat has embittered mine. But Homer'sOdyssey inGreek, with a curious tell me, sir, tell me, do you believe that collection of northern legendary ballads, the events of our life are ordained, for were scattered about, and a shepherd's what hath happened to night seems of pipe and a fiddle were there to bring a wise Being's ordering." “ Surely, music to assist in the dissipation of sir,” I said, “God knoweth all things, melancholy thought. May Colvine present and to come, but whether he now came forth from her little chamber, permits evil deeds to be wrought or or- with an increase of loveliness, such as dains good ones to be done”_ Enough, a rose appears when refreshed in dew. enough,” said the mariner, “ May Col- She had laid aside the snood of silk vine, my love, trim thy father's sheal- and pearl which enclosed her hair, and ing, and set the supper-table in array, the curling luxuriance of her ringlets for it is ordained that our deliverers descended over her shoulders, while shall rest with us, and break bread at her white temples, and whiter neck, our board; so come in, Francis Fors- were seen through the waving fleece ter.” And into the mariner's cottage which fell so profusely over them. Her we walked, not unawed by the pres- father gazed on her like one who recals ence of a being of whose temper and the lovely past in the beautiful present, courage we had seen such a proof. and his thoughts had flitted to other
If the exterior of the cottage was days and remoter climes, for after a rude and unskilfully built, the interior brief reverie he said, “ Come, my love, was wonderfully commodious and neat. the vessel is ready, the mariners aboard, The floor was laid of drifted ship tim- the sails spread to the wind, and we ber, and the walls were hung with nets must pass the haunted headland before as with tapestry, and fish-spears and the moon goes down." The maiden gaff-hooks of steel, sharp and bright, meanwhile had filled the supper board were grouped like weapons for battle with such coarse fare as the cabin af.in a chieftain's hall of old. The fruits forded, and addressing her father said, of the fisherman's skill were every “ Sir, the table is prepared, your guests where visible; the chimney-mantle, a are waiting, and will expect you to bless beam of wood which extended from the fare which is set before them." side to side of the cottage, was covered The mariner laid his hat aside, and with kippered salmon, large, and red, sitting in his place, after the manner and savoury, and various kegs were fils of the Presbyterians, said—“ Thou led with salted fish of the many excel- who spreadest thy table on the deep lent kinds which the Solway affords. waters, and rainest down abundance A small bed stood near the chimney, in the desert places, make this coarse swelled with the feathers of sea-fowl, food seem savoury and delicate unto and hillocked high with quilts and these three men and this tender virgin, mantles, from beneath which some lin- —but my hands, on which the blood of en looked out, only rivalled in white- man yet reeks unatoned for, may not ness by the snow. A very small cham- presume to touch blessed food.” And ber was constructed at the farther end, spreading the fold of his mantle over into which May Colvine disappeared his face, and stooping down, he appearfor a moment to re-adjust her dress, ed to busy himself in mental devotion, and, perhaps, add some other of those while, tasting the supper set before us, artificial attractions which women al- and obeying the mute invitation of the ways bring in to the aid of their natur- maiden to a glass of water, we complial charms. The mariner seated him- ed with all the forms which this extraself, motioned me to a seat, over which ordinary, audience seemed to impose a sheepskin was thrown, while a lamp, upon us. After this was past, the fed plentifully with oil, and suspended young woman took up one of the infrom the roof, diffused light over the struments, and singing as she played,