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man,” he said, “ance in my life, but it's lang lang syne, and nae mortal could speel them without a rope-and if I had ane, my ee-sight, and my footstep, and my hand-grip, hae a' failed mony a day sin syne—and then how could I save you ? But there was a path here ance, though maybe, if we could see it, ye would rather bide where we are. His name be praised !” he ejaculated suddenly, “there's ane coming down the crags e'en now !” Then, exalting his voice, he hilloa'd out to the daring adventurer such instructions as his former practice, and the remembrance of local circumstances suddenly forced upon his mind.
The adventurer following the directions of old Edie, flung him down the end of the rope, which he secured around Miss Wardour, wrapping her previously in his own blue gown, to preserve her as much as possible from injury. Then, availing himself of the rope, which was made fast at the other end, he began to ascend the face of the crag—a most precarious and dizzy undertaking, which, however, after one or two perilous escapes, placed him safe on the broad flat stone beside our friend Lovel. Their joint strength was able to raise Isabella to the place of safety which they had attained. Lovel then descended in order to assist Sir Arthur, around whom he adjusted the rope; and again mounting to their place of refuge, with the assistance of old Ochiltree, and such aid as Sir Arthur himself could afford, he raised himself beyond the reach of the billows.
The sense of reprieve from approaching and apparently inevitable death had its usual effect. The father and daughter threw themselves into each other's arms, kissed and wept for joy, although their escape was connected with the prospect of passing a tempestuous night upon a precipitous ledge of rock, which scarce afforded footing for the four shivering beings who now, like the sea-fowl around them, clung there in hopes of some shelter from the devouring element which raged beneath. The spray of the billows, which attained in fearful succession the foot of the precipice, overflowing the beach on which they so lately stood, flew as high as their place of temporary refuge ; and the stunning sound with which they dashed against the rocks beneath seemed as if they still demanded the fugitives, in accents of thunder, as their destined prey.
It was a summer night doubtless; yet the probability was slender that a frame so delicate as Miss Wardour should survive till morning the drenching of the spray, and the dashing of the rain, which now burst in full violence, accompanied with deep and heavy gusts of wind, added to the constrained and perilous circumstances of their situation.
“The lassie—the puir, sweet lassie,” said the old man; “mony such a night have I weathered at hame and abroad, but how can she ever win through it !”
His apprehension was communicated in smothered accents to Lovel; for, with the sort of freemasonry by which bold and ready spirits correspond in moments of danger, and become almost instinctively known to each other, they had established a mutual confidence. “I'll climb up the cliff again,” said Lovel, “there's day-light enough left to see my footing; I'll climb up and call for more assistance."
“Do so, do, for Heaven's sake!” said Sir Arthur eagerly.
“Are ye mad?" said the mendicant; “Francie o' Fowlsheugh, and he was the best craigsraan that ever speeld heugh (mair by token he brake his neck upon the Dunbuy of Slaines), wadna hae ventured upon the Halket-head craigs after sundown. It 's God's grace, and a great wonder besides, that ye are not in the middle o' that roaring sea wi' what ye hae done already. I didna think there was the man left alive would hae come down the craigs as ye did. I question an' I could hae done it mysel', at this hour and in this
weather, in the youngest and yaldest of my strength. But to venture up again—it's a mere and a clear tempting of Providence."
“I have no fear,” answered Lovel; “I marked all the stations perfectly as I came down, and there is still light enough left to see them quite well-I am sure I can do it with perfect safety. Stay here, my good friend, by Sir Arthur and the young lady."
“Deil be in my feet then," answered the Bedesman sturdily, “if ye gang, I'll gang too; for between the twa o' us, we'll hae mair than wark eneugh to get to the tap o' the heugh.”
“No, no—stay you here and attend to Miss Wardour. You see Sir Arthur is quite exhausted.”
Stay yoursel' then, and I'll gae," said the old man. “Let death spare the green corn, and take the ripe.”
“Stay both of you, I charge you," said Isabella faintly. “I am well, and can spend the night very well here—I feel quite refreshed,” so saying, her voice failed her; she sank down, and would have fallen from the crag, had she not been supported by Lovel and Ochiltree, who placed her in a posture half sitting, half reclining beside her father, who, exhausted by fatigue of body and mind so extreme and unusual, had already sat down on a stone in a sort of stupor.
“It is impossible to leave them,” said Lovel. " What is to be done? Hark! hark !-did I not hear a halloo ?”
A distant hail was repeated, the sound plainly distinguishable among the various elemental noises and the clang of the sea-mews by which they were surrounded. The mendicant and Lovel exerted their voices in a loud halloo, the former waving Miss Wardour's handkerchief on the end of his staff to make them conspicuous from above. Though the shouts were repeated, it was some time before they were in exact response to their own, leaving the unfortunate sufferers uncertain whether, in the darkening twilight and increasing storm, they had made the persons, who apparently were traversing the verge of the precipice to bring them assistance, sensible of the place in which they had found refuge. At length their halloo was regularly and distinctly answered, and their courage confirmed, by the assurance that they were within hearing, if not within reach of friendly assistance.
Scott. Fall of Fyers.—A celebrated Fall (Foyers) in Inverness
shire, formed on a small stream which flows into the east
side of Loch Ness. Skeary, or Skerry.—The name given to a small rocky isle,
which is generally submerged at high water. Such isles
are very common on the Scottish coast. Gaberlunzie. A Scotch term for beggar, or a poor guest
who cannot pay for his entertainment. Bedesman.—A beggar, one in receipt of alms, so called
because such persons were obliged to pray (tell their beads) for the soul of the person who had bequeathed the charity.
ROBIN HOOD AS A POPULAR HERO.
[ALLAN CUNNINGHAM, born in 1784, was a Scottish poet, novelist,
and sculptor. He was on intimate terms with all the literary men of the remarkable epoch in which he lived. He
died on the 29th October, 1842.] The ballads devoted to the exploits of Robin Hood and his whole company of outlaws are amongst the most popular of those interesting remembrances of the past. They breathe of the inflexible heart and honest joyousness of old England; there is more of the national character in them than in all the songs of classic bards or the theories of ingenious philosophers. They are the work of sundry hands : some have a Scottish tone, others taste of the English border; but the chief and most valuable portion belongs to Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, and Yorkshire; and all-and
this includes those with a Scotch sound—are in a true and hearty English taste and spirit.
A few of these ballads are probably the work of some joyous yeoman who loved to range the green woods and enjoy the liberty and licence which they afforded ; but we are inclined to regard them chiefly as the production of the rural ballad-maker, a sort of inferior minstrel, who to the hinds and husbandmen was both bard and historian, and cheered their firesides with rude rhymes and ruder legends, in which the district heroes and the romantic stories of the peasantry were introduced with such embellishments as the taste of the reciter considered acceptable. They are full of incident and of human character; they reflect the manners and feelings of remote times; they delineate much that the painter has not touched and the historian forgotten; they express, but without acrimony, a sense of public injury or of private wrong; nay, they sometimes venture into the regions of fancy, and give pictures in the spirit of romance. A hearty relish for fighting and fun; a scorn of all that is skulking and cowardly; a love of whatever is free and manly and warm-hearted ; a hatred of all oppressors, clerical and lay; and a sympathy for those who loved a merry joke, either practical or spoken, distinguish the ballads of Robin Hood.
The personal character as well as history of the bold outlaw is stamped on every verse. Against luxurious bishops and tyrannic sheriffs his bow was ever bent and his arrow in the string; he attacked and robbed, and sometimes slew, the latter without either compunction or remorse; in his more humoursome moods he contented himself with enticing them in the guise of a butcher or a potter with the hope of a good bargain, into the green wood, where he first made merry and then fleeced them, making them dance to such music as his forest afforded, or join with Friar Tuck in hypocritical thanksgiving for the justice and mercy they had experienced.