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to the excise, and a persecutor of the Egyptian race, whom he banishes from their ancient seats on his estate. On the day that the gipsys migrate, the laird is met by the retreating troop and is addressed with a prophetic imprecation and denunciation from Meg, which, like Mannering's astrological predictions, are all in due time most strangely accomplished.
As a specimen of our author's style, we shall quote his account of this transaction, and we are induced to select this passage because it is one of the few which affords an intelligible extract, and because it is certainly one of the most striking and interesting incidents in the whole work.
"At length the term-day, the fatal Martinmas, arrived, and violent measures of ejection were resorted 10. A strong posse of peace-officers, sufficient to render all resistance vain, charged the inhabitants to depart by noon; and, as they did not obey, the officers, in terms of their warrant, proceeded to unroof the cottages, and pull down the wretched doors and windows,--a summary and effectual mode of ejection still practised in some remote parts of Scotland, when a tenant proves refractory. The gypsies, for a time, beheld the work of destruction in sullen silence and inactivity ; then set about saddling and loading their asses, and making preparations for their departure. These were soon accomplished, where all bad the habits of wandering Tartars, and they set forth on their journey to seek new settlements, where their patron should neither be of the quorum, nor custos rotulorum.'--p. 117. 'It was in a hollow way, near the top of a steep ascent upon the
verge of the Ellangowan estate, that Mr. Bertram met the gypsy procession. Four or five men formed the advanced guard, wrapped in long loose great coats, that hid their tall slender figures, as the large slouched hats, drawn over their brows, concealed their wild features, dark eyes, and swarthy faces. Two of them carried long fowling-pieces, one wore a broad sword without a sheath, and all had the Highland dirk, though they did not wear that weapon openly or ostentatiously. Behind them followed the train of laden asses, and small carts, or tumblers, as they were called in that country, on which were laid the decrepid and the helpless, the aged and the infant part of the exiled community. The women in their red cloaks and straw hats, the elder children with bare heads and bare feet, and alınost naked bodies, had the immediate care of the little caravan. The road was narrow, running between two bruken banks of sand, and Mr. Bertram's servant rode forward, smacking his whip with an air of authority, and motioning to their drivers to allow free passage to their betters. His signal was unattended to. He then called to the men who lounged idly on before, beasts' heads, and make room for the Laird to pass.”
6“ He shall have his share of the road,” answered a male gypsy from under his slouched and large brimmed bat, and without raising his face, “ and he shall have no more; the highway is as free to our cuddies as to his gelding.”.
56 Stand to your
The tone of the man being súlky, and even menacing, Mr. Bertram thought it best to put his dignity in his pocket, and pass by the procession quietly, upon such space as they chose to leave for his accommodation, which was narrow enough. To cover with an appearance of indifference his feeling of the want of respect with which he was treated, he addressed one of the men, as be passed him, without any show of greeting, salute, or recognition,-“ Giles Baillie,” he said, “ have you heard that your son Gabriel is well?” (The question respected the young man who had been pressed.)
• “If I had heard otherwise,” said the old man, looking up stern and menacing countenance, you
should have heard of it 100." And he plodded on his way, tarrying no farther question. When the Laird had pressed onward with difficulty among a crowd of familiar faces, in which he now only read hatred and contempt, but which had on all former occasions marked his approach with the reverence due to that of a superior being, and had got clear of the throng, he could not help turning his horse, and looking back to mark the progress of their march. The group would have been an excellent subject for the pencil of Carlotte. The van had already reached a small and stunted thicket, which was at the bottom of the hill, and which gradually hid the line of march until the last stragglers disappeared.- His sensations were bitter enough.'-pp. 118-121.
* As he was about to turn his horse's head to pursue his journey, Meg Merrilies, who had lagged behind the troop, unexpectedly presented herself.
. She was standing upon one of those high banks, which, as we before noticed, overhung the road ; so that she was placed considerably higher than Ellangowan, even though he was on horseback; and her tall figure, relieved against the clear blue sky, seemed almost of supernatural height. We have noticed, that there was in her general attire, or rather in her mode of adjusting it, somewhat of a foreign costume, artfully adopted perhaps for the purpose of adding to the effect of her spells and predictions, or perhaps from some traditional notions respecting the dress of her ancestors. On this occasion, she had a large piece of red cotton cloth rolled about her head in the form of a turban, from beneath which her dark eyes flashed with uncommon lustre. Her long and tangled black hair fell in elf locks from the folds of this singular head gear. Her attitude was that of a sybil in frenzy, and she stretched out, in her right hand, a sapling bough which seemed just pulled. 6" I'll be d -d]," said the groom,
if she has not been cutting the young
ashes in the Dukit Park."— The Laird made no answer, but continued to look at the figure which was thus perched above his path. 6" Ride your ways," said the gypsy,
your ways, Laird of Ellangowan-ride your ways, Godfrey Bertram!—This day have ye quenched seven smoking hearths-see if the fire in your ain parlour burn the blyther for that.-Ye have riven the thack off seven cottar houses-look if your ain roof-tree stand the faster.— Ye
stable your stirks in the shealings at Derncleugh--see that the bare does not couch on the hearthstane at Elangowan.-Ride your ways, Godfrey
Bertram—what do ye glowr after our folk for? –There's thirty hearts there, that wad hae wanted bread ere ye had wanted sunkets, and spent their life-blood ere ye had scratched your finger-yes--there's thirty yonder, from the auld wife of an hundred to the babe that was born last week, that ye have turned out o' their bits o' bields, to sleep with the tod and the black-cock in the muirs !--Ride your ways, Ellangówan.--Our bairns are hinging at our weary backs-look that your
braw cradle at hame be the fairer spread up-not that I am wishing ill to little Harry, or to the babe that's yet to be born-God forbid-and make them kind to the poor, and better folk than their father.—And now, ride e'en your ways, for these are the last words ye'll ever hear Meg Merrilies speak, and this is the last reise that I'll ever cut in the bonny woods of Ellangowan.”
So saying, she broke the sapling she held in her hand, and flung it into the road. Margaret of Anjou, bestowing on her triumphant foes her keen-edged malediction, could not have turned from them with a gesture more proudly contemptuous. The Laird was clearing his voice to speak, and thrusting his hand in his pocket to find half-a-crown; the gypsy waited neither for his reply nor his donation, but strode down the hill to overtake the caravan.'-pp. 122-126.
On the very day in which young Henry completed five years, being the first period of fatality, he and his tutor are mët by a guager who is in pursuit of a desperate set of smugglers—the guager, notwithstanding his urgent and dangerous business, and the shot of the action which is already commenced, takes the child from his preceptor and hurries on to accomplish their double fate, (for it has been prophesied also of the guager that he should die a violent death.) The poor guager is murdered by the smugglers, and the child is carried away to Holland, not without the connivance of a roguish attorney who, in process of time, becomes, as is usual in such cases, the proprietor of the family estate of the Bertrams.
The loss of her son kills Mrs. Bertram at the moment she gives birth to a daughter; and after seventeen years of obscurity and dilapidation, the health and fortune of Mr. Bertram are totally ruined, his estate is purchased by the roguish attorney, and his daughter becoines dependant on the bounty of Mannering who, after a long service in the East Indies, returns, and with, we think, a more than usual curiosity and gratitude hastens to visit the mansion of Ellangowan in return for one night's hospitality-- he arrives at the critical moment of Mr. Bertram's death, and the sale of the household furniture. It will be observed that both Colonel Mannering's visits at Ellangowan are' umaturally well timed.
It now becomes necessary to fill up the chasm of the colonel's Indian absence; and we are accordingly told that having married a wife, with whom he was desperately in love, and by whom * VOL. XII, NO, XXIV,
he has a daughter, he takes umbrage at the attentions of a young ensign of his regiment, which, though meant for the latter, appear to the haughty and jealous Mannering designed for his wife-he soon finds occasion to fight Ensign Brown on some other pretence, and in the duel, mortally, as the colonel supposes, wounds him. Mrs. Mannering soon after dies, and the colonel returns to England * with a troublesome sentimental obstinate daughter, and the agony of thinking that his violence has caused the death of poor Brown, and consequently that of his wife.
Mannering had before cast the nativity of his wife and had found that she was to die in her 39th year, which happened to coincide with the 21st year of young Bertram of Ellangowan; our readers of course already discover that Mr. Brown is no other than this very Bertram, and that the astrologer's predictions of the danger of the gentleman and the death of the lady are both accurately accomplished.
Brown, however, recovers, and by following Miss Julia to her different residences, gives much uneasiness to her father, 'who, however, knows only of an anonymous suitor, and does not suspect that his old antagonist Brown is the cause of his new anxiety. At once to remove his daughter from this dangerous pursuer, and to afford an asylum to his adopted child Miss Bertram, the colonel wishes to purchase Ellangowan; but by one of those unlucky mistakes which, to use one of Mannering's own observations, never happen but in novels,' he is anticipated in this scheme by the attorney who becomes possessed of that ancient seat. The Colonel, however, soon obtains a house in the same neighbourhood, a choice of residence, we must be permitted to say, which does but little credit to his taste, and which appears utterly inconsistent with all his former habits and prejudices ; in fact, it is but one. more of those violent exertions of the author's despotic power by which, for the little purposes of his plot, he sets all probability at defiance, and does not scruple to overturn even the laws of nature when they stand in the way of the progress of his story.
To her northern retreat Mr. Brown follows Miss Manpering, (who witnesses her father's remorse for the supposed death of the ensign, with admirable indifference and after divers hair-breadth scapes' from the arts of the roguish attorney and the violence of his old acquaintances the smugglers, he is, chiefly by the assistance, of the gipsy Meg Merrilies, discovered to be the true Bertram of Ellangowan, and is restored to the estates of his ancestors, while Meg, the attorney and the smugglers all die by one another's hands. Young Bertram, of course, marries Miss Mannering, and his sister has also a lover to whom she is in due time united, when the restoration of her family makes her a suitable
match for the young laird of Hazelwood, and the novel concludes, like the ordinary run of novels, with the reward of all the good, and the punishment of all the bad characters of the drama.
We suppose that our readers will see in this sketch of the story visible marks of inferiority to Waverley, and we are sorry to be obliged to add that we think the details and filling up are, in a still greater degree, below that standard.
The first and most striking objection is the supernatural agency (for so it may be called) of Mr. Guy Manuering of Oxford, and Mrs. Meg Merrilies of Derncleugh. An Oxford scholar might, perhaps, in a family in which he was intimate, have amused himself
, as a plaisanterie de société,' in playing the part of an astrologer; but that he should have fallen into this absurdity on such an occasion as that of his spending one night in the house of an utter stranger, is absolutely incredible. But if this be incredible, what expression can we find to characterize the fulfilment of his prophecy ? an event which, considering that the fates had fair notice that it was to come to pass, they contrive to bring about by very clumsy expedients! It is within the doctrine of chances that one such a prediction should be, by accident, fulfilled; but we believe that numbers are scarcely competent to express the chances against the accomplishment of the second prediction; and when that prediction is combined with another, pronounced at a different time, with regard to a different person, of a different sex, age, and nation, we believe we may safely assert, that all the com-, binations of Hoyle and De Moivre would be insufficient to calculate the degree of improbability, and that the statements in which the plot of this novel is founded are absolutely impossible. But we have not yet stated the full extent of this monstrous absurdity; for the gipsy-woman, in ignorance of Mannering and his astrology, prophesies on sundry occasions to the same effect, and her predictions are all accomplished in conjunction with his.
We think we are therefore authorized to say, either that our author gravely believes what no other man alive believes, or that he has, of malice prepense, committed so great an offence against good taste, as to build his story on what he must know to be a contemptible absurdity.
The next objection we have to make is, that the incidents of the story, though thus unnaturally brought about, and though in themselves sufficiently improbable, are nevertheless trite and hacknied. The cave in the ruined tower—the death of the wounded bandit--the preservation of the traveller by the female accomplice --the den of the smugglers on the sea shore--the stealing away of the young heir--his gentlemanly manners, air and education, under all his disadvantages-his subsequent identification by means of a
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