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est friend, and others that stude up for purity of doctrine and freedom of conscience, were determined to hear the breath o' the Jacobites before they took part again them, fearing to fa' to the ground like a wall built with unslacked mortar, or from sitting between twa stools."
"They chose an odd quarter," said Morton, " from which to expect freedom of conscience and purity of doctrine."
"O, dear sir!" said the landlady, " the natural dayspring rises in the east, but the spiritual day-spring may rise in the north, for what we blinded mortals ken."
"And Burley went to the north to seek it?" replied the guest.
"Truly ay, sir; and he saw Claver'se himsell, that they ca' Dundee now."
"What!" exclaimed Morton, in amazement; "1 would have sworn that meeting would have been the last of one of their lives."
"Na, na, sir; in troubled times, as I understand," said Mrs. Maclure, "there's sudden changes—Montgomery, and Ferguson, and mony ane mair that were King James's greatest faes, are on his side now—Claver'se spake our friend fair, and sent him to consult with Lord Evandale. But then there was a break-off, for Lord Evandale wadna look at, hear, or speak wi' him ; and now he's anes wud and aye waur, and roars for revenge again Lord Evandale, and will hear nought of onything but burn and slay—and O thae starts o' passion! they unsettle his mind, and gie the enemy sair advantages."
"The enemy V said Morton, "What enemy?"
"What enemy? Are ye acquainted familiarly wi John Balfour o' Burley, and dinna ken that he has had sair and frequent combats to sustain against the Evil One? Did ye ever see him alone, but the bible was in his hand, and the drawn sword on his knee 1 did ye never sleep in the same room wi' him, and hear him strive in his dreams with the delusions of Satan 1 O, ye ken little o' him, if ye have seen him only in fair daylight, for nae man can put the face upon his doleful visits and strifes that he can do. I hae seen him after sic a strife of agony tremble that an infant might hae held him, while the hair on his brow was drapping as fast as ever my puir thatched roof did in a heavy rain."
As she spoke, Morton began to recollect the appearance of Burley during his sleep in the hay-loft at Milnwood, the report of Cuddie that his senses had become impaired, and some whispers current among the Cameronians, who boasted frequently of Burley's soul-exercises, and his strifes with the foul fiend; which several circumstances led him to conclude that this man himself was a victim to those delusions, though his mind, naturally acute and forcible, not only disguised his superstition from those in whose opinion it might have discredited his judgment, but by exerting such a force as is said to be proper to those afflicted with epilepsy, could postpone the fits which it occasioned until he was either freed from superintendence, or surrounded by such as held him more highly on account of these visitations. It was natural to suppose, and could easily be inferred from the narrative of Mrs. Maclure, that disappointed ambition, wrecked hopes, and the downfall of the party which he had served with such desperate fidelity, were likely to aggravate enthusiasm into temporary insanity. It was, indeed, no uncommon circumstance in those singular times, that men like Sir Hany Vane, Harrison, Overton, and others, themselves slaves to the wildest and most enthusiastic dreams, could, when mingling with the world, conduct themselves not only with good sense in difficulties, and courage in dangers, but with the most acute sagacity and determined valour. The subsequent part of Mrs. Maclure's information, confirmed Morton in these impressions.
"In the grey of the morning," she said, " my little Peggy sall show ye the gate to him before the sodgers are up. But ye maun let his hour of danger, as he ca's it, be ower, afore ye venture on him in his place of refuge. Peggy will tell ye when to venture in. She kens his ways weel, for whiles she carries him some little helps that he canna do without to sustain life."
"And in what retreat then," said Morton, "has this unfortunate person found refuge V
"An awsome place," answered the blind woman, " as ever living creature took refuge in. They ca' it the Black Linn of Linklater—it's a doleful place; but he loves it abune a' others, because he has sae often been in safe hiding there; and it's my belief he prefers it to a tapestried chamber and a down bed. But ye'll see't. I hae seen it mysell mony a day syne. I was a daft hempie lassie then, and little thought what was to come o't. Wad ye choose onything, sir, ere ye betake yoursell to your rest, for ye maun stir wi' the first dawn of the grey light V
"Nothing more, my good mother," said Morton, and they parted for the evening.
Morton recommended himself to Heaven, threw himself on the bed, heard, between sleeping and waking, the trampling of the dragoon horses at the riders' return from their patrol, and then slept soundly after such painful agitation.
The darksome cave they enter, where they found
As the morning began to appear on the mountains, a gentle knock was heard at the door of the humble apartment in which Morton slept, and a girlish treble voice asked him from without, "If he wad please gang to the Linn or the folk raise 9"
He arose upon the invitation, and dressing himself hastily, went forth and joined his little guide. The mountain maid tript lightly before him, through the grey haze, over hill and moor. It was a wild and varied walk, unmarked by any regular or distinguishable Hack, and keeping upon the whole, the direction of the ascent of the brook, though without tracing its windings. The landscape, as they advanced, became waster and more wild, until nothing but heath and rock encumbered the side of the valley.
"Is the place still distant9" said Morton.
"Nearly a mile off," answered the girl. "We'll be there belive."
"And do you often go this wild journey, my little maid 9"
"When grannie sends me wi' milk and meal to the Linn," answered the child.
"And are you not afraid to travel so wild a road alone?"
"Hout na, sir," replied the guide; "na living creature wad touch sic a bit thing as I am, and grannie says we need never fear ony thing else when we are doing a gude turn."
"Strong in innocence as in triple mail!" said Morton to himself, and followed her steps in silence.
They soon came to a decayed thicket, where brambles and thorns supplied the room of the oak and birches of which it had once consisted. Here the guide turned short off the open heath, and by a sheep-track, conducted Morton to the brook. A hoarse and sullen roar had in part prepared him for the scene which presented itself, yet it was not to be viewed without surprise and even terror. When he emerged from the devious path which conducted him through the thicket, he found himself placed on a ledge of flat rock, projecting over one side of a chasm not less than a hundred feet deep, where the dark mountain-stream made a decided and rapid shoot over the precipice, and was swallowed up by a deep, black, yawning gulph. The eye in vain strove to see the bottom of the fall; it could catch but one sheet of foaming uproar and sheer descent, until the view was obstructed by the projecting crags, which inclosed the bottom of the waterfall, and hid from sight the dark pool which received its 25* Vol. iI.
tortured waters; far beneath, at the distance of perhaps a quarter of a mile, the eye caught the winding of the stream as it emerged into a more open course. But for that distance, they were lost to sight as much as if a cavern had been arched over them; and indeed the steep and projecting ledges of rock, through which they wound their way in darkness, were very nearly closing and overroofing their course.
While Morton gazed at this scene of tumult, which seemed, by the surrounding thickets and the clefts into which the waters descended, to seek to hide itself from every eye, his little attendant, as she stood beside him on the platform of rock which commanded the best view of the fall, pulled him by the sleeve, and said in a tone which he could not hear without stooping his ear near the speaker, " Hear till him! Eh! hear till him!"
Morton listened more attentively, and out of the very abyss into which the brook fell, and amidst the tumultuary sounds of the cataract, thought he could distinguish shouts, screams, and even articulate words, as if the tortured demon of the stream had been mingling his complaints with the roar of his broken waters.
"This is the way," said the little girl; "follow me gin ye please, sir, but tak tent to your feet;" and, with the daring agility which custom had rendered easy, she vanished from the platform on which she stood, and by notches and slight projections in the rock, scrambled down its face into the chasm which it overhung. Steady, bold, and active, Morton hesitated not to follow her; but the necessary attention to secure his hold and footing in a descent where both foot and hand were needful for security, prevented him from looking around him, till, having descended nigh twenty feet, and being sixty or seventy above the pool which received the fall, his guide made a pause, and he again found himself by her side in a situation that appeared equally romantic and precarious. They were nearly opposite to the waterfall, and in point of level situated at about one-quarter's depth from the point of the cliff over which it thundered, and three