Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Passions wild, and follies vain,“ is.
Pleasures soon exchanged for pain; i
Doubt, and jealousy, and fear,
In the magic dance appear.

Now they wax, and now they dwindle,
Whirling with the whirling spindle.
Twist ye, twine ye ! even so,
Mingle human bliss and woe.

Ere our translator, or rather 'our free imitator, had arranged these stanzas in his head, and while he was yet hammering out a rhyme for spindle, the task of the sybil was accomplished, or her wool was expended. She took the spindle,' now charged with her labours, and, undoing the thread gradually, measured it, by casting it over her elbow, and bringing each loop round between her fore finger and thumb. When she had measured it out, she muttered to herself—"A hank, but not a haill ane—the full years o'the three score and ten, but thrice broken, and

thrice to oop, (i. e. unite); he'll be a lucký lad an he win through wi't.”

Our hero was about to speak to the prophetess, when a voice, hoarse as the waves with which it mingled, halloo'd twice, and with increasing impatience* Meg, Meg Merrilies !-Gypsey-hagtousand deyvils !”

“ I am coming, I am coming, captain," - answered Meg, and in a moment or two

the impatient Commander whom she addressed made his appearance from the broken part of the ruins. ' '

He was apparently a seafaring man, ra. ther under the middle size, and with a countenance bronzed by a thousand con.' flicts with the north-east wind. His frame was prodigiously muscular, strong, and thick-set; so that it seemed as if a man of much greater height would have been an inadequate match in any close personal conflict. He was hard-favoured, and, which was worse, his face bore nothing of the insouciance, the care less frolicsome jollity

.

and vacant curiosity of a sailor on shore 2 These qualities, perhaps, as much as any others, contribute to the high popularity of our seamen, and the general good inclination which our society expresses towards them. Their gallantry, courage, and hardihood are qualities which excite reverence, and perhaps rather humble pacific landsmen in their presence; and neither respect, nor a sense of humiliation, are feelings easily combined with a familiar fondness towards those who inspire them. But the boyish frolics, the exulting high spirits, the unreflecting mirth of a sailor when enjoying himself on shore, temper the more formidable points of his character. There was nothing like these in this man's face; on the contrary, a surly and even savage scowl appeared to dark

en features which would have been harsh : and unpleasant under any expression or

modification. “ Where are you, Mother Deyvilson?" said he, with somewhat of a foreign accent, though speaking perfectly

good English. “ Donner and blitzen! we have been staying this half hour-Come, bless' the good ship and the voyage, and be cursed to ye, for a hag of Satan!” .

At this moment he noticed Mannering, who, from the position which he had taken to watch Meg Merrilies's incantations, had the appearance of some one who was cono cealing himself, being half hidden by the buttress behind which he stood. The capo" tain, for such he stiled himself, made a sudden and startled pause, and thrust his right hand into his bosom between his jacket and waistcoat, as if to draw some weapon. " What cheer, brother? you: seem on the outlook- eh?" . .

Ere Mannering, somewhat struck by the man's gesture and insolent tone of voice, had made any answer, the gypsey emerged from her vault and joined the stranger.' He questioned her in an under tone, look. ing at -Mannering-“ A shark alongside ; eh?”

She answered in the same tone of under

*

dialogue, using the canting language of her tribe—“Cut ben whids, and stow them a gentry cove of the ken.” in ( The fellow's...cloudy visage cleared up. " The top of the morning to you, sir; I find you are a visitor of my friend Mr Bertram-I beg pardon, but I took you for another sort of a person.".

Mannering replied, " And you, sir; I presume, are the master of that vessel in the bay ?" . . " Aye, aye, sir ; I am Captain Dirk Hatteraick, of the Yungfrauw Hagenslaapen, well known on this coast; I am not ashamed of my name, nor of my vessel, nor of my cargo neither for that matter."

“I dare say you have no reason, sir.” : « Tousend donner-no; I'ın all in the way of fair trade-Just loaded yonder at Douglas, in the Isle of Man--neat coniac-real hyson and souchong-Mechlin lace, if you want any–We bumped ashore a hundred kegs last night.” .." Really, sir, I am only a traveller, and

0 rea

U

« ПредишнаНапред »