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Bride of lammermoor


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BrideofLammermoor



bySirWalterScott
March,1996[Etext#471]

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TheBrideofLammermoor


bySirWalterScott


INTRODUCTIONTOTHEBRIDEOF
LAMMERMOOR
THEAuthor,onaformeroccasion,declinedgivingtherealsourcefromwhich
hedrewthetragicsubjectofthishistory,because,thoughoccurringatadistant
period,itmightpossiblybeunpleasingtothefeelingsofthedescendantsofthe
parties.ButashefindsanaccountofthecircumstancesgivenintheNotesto
Law’sMemorials,byhisingeniousfriend,CharlesKirkpatrickSharpe,Esq.,and
alsoindicatedinhisreprintoftheRev.Mr.Symson’spoemsappendedtothe
LargeDescriptionofGalloway,astheoriginaloftheBrideofLammermoor,the
Authorfeelshimselfnowatlibertytotellthetaleashehaditfromconnexions
ofhisown,wholivedveryneartheperiod,andwerecloselyrelatedtothe
familyofthebride.
ItiswellknownthatthefamilyofDalrymple,whichhasproduced,withinthe
spaceoftwocenturies,asmanymenoftalent,civilandmilitary,andofliterary,
political,andprofessionaleminence,asanyhouseinScotland,firstroseinto
distinctioninthepersonofJamesDalrymple,oneofthemosteminentlawyers
thateverlived,thoughthelaboursofhispowerfulmindwereunhappily
exercisedonasubjectsolimitedasScottishjurisprudence,onwhichhehas
composedanadmirablework.
HemarriedMargaret,daughtertoRossofBalneel,withwhomheobtaineda
considerableestate.Shewasanable,politic,andhigh-mindedwoman,so
successfulinwhatsheundertook,thatthevulgar,nowaypartialtoherhusband
orherfamily,imputedhersuccesstonecromancy.Accordingtothepopular
belief,thisDameMargaretpurchasedthetemporalprosperityofherfamilyfrom
theMasterwhomsheservedunderasingularcondition,whichisthusnarrated
bythehistorianofhergrandson,thegreatEarlofStair:“Shelivedtoagreatage,
andatherdeathdesiredthatshemightnotbeputunderground,butthather
coffinshouldstanduprightononeendofit,promisingthatwhilesheremained
inthatsituationtheDalrymplesshouldcontinuetoflourish.Whatwastheold
lady’smotivefortherequest,orwhethershereallymadesuchapromise,Ishall
nottakeuponmetodetermine;butit’scertainhercoffinstandsuprightinthe
isleofthechurchofKirklistown,theburial-placebelongingtothefamily.”The
talentsofthisaccomplishedraceweresuifficienttohaveaccountedforthe
dignitieswhichmanymembersofthefamilyattained,withoutanysupernatural


assistance.Buttheirextraordinaryprosperitywasattendedbysomeequally
singularfamilymisfortunes,ofwhichthatwhichbefelltheireldestdaughterwas
atonceunaccountableandmelancholy.
MissJanetDalrymple,daughterofthefirstLordStairandDameMargaretRoss,
hadengagedherselfwithouttheknowledgeofherparentstotheLord
Rutherford,whowasnotacceptabletothemeitheronaccountofhispolitical
principlesorhiswantoffortune.Theyoungcouplebrokeapieceofgold
together,andpledgedtheirtrothinthemostsolemnmanner;anditissaidthe
youngladyimprecateddreadfulevilsonherselfshouldshebreakherplighted
faith.Shortlyafter,asuitorwhowasfavouredbyLordStair,andstillmoresoby
hislady,paidhisaddressestoMissDalrymple.Theyoungladyrefusedthe
proposal,andbeingpressedonthesubject,confessedhersecretengagement.
LadyStair,awomanaccustomedtouniversalsubmission,forevenherhusband
didnotdaretocontradicther,treatedthisobjectionasatrifle,andinsistedupon
herdaughteryieldingherconsenttomarrythenewsuitor,DavidDunbar,son
andheirtoDavidDunbarofBaldoon,inWigtonshire.Thefirstlover,amanof
veryhighspirit,theninterferedbyletter,andinsistedontherighthehad
acquiredbyhistrothplightedwiththeyounglady.LadyStairsenthimfor
answer,thatherdaughter,sensibleofherundutifulbehaviourinenteringintoa
contractunsanctionedbyherparents,hadretractedherunlawfulvow,andnow
refusedtofulfilherengagementwithhim.
Thelover,inreturn,declinedpositivelytoreceivesuchananswerfromanyone
buthismistressinperson;andasshehadtodealwithamanwhowasbothofa
mostdeterminedcharacterandoftoohighconditiontobetrifledwith,Lady
StairwasobligedtoconsenttoaninterviewbetweenLordRutherfordandher
daughter.Butshetookcaretobepresentinperson,andarguedthepointwiththe
disappointedandincensedloverwithpertinacityequaltohisown.She
particularlyinsistedontheLeviticallaw,whichdeclaresthatawomanshallbe
freeofavowwhichherparentsdissentfrom.ThisisthepassageofScriptureshe
foundedon:
“IfamanvowavowuntotheLord,orswearanoathtobindhissoulwitha
bond;heshallnotbreakhisword,heshalldoaccordingtoallthatproceedeth
outofhismouth.
“IfawomanalsovowavowuntotheLord,andbindherselfbyabond,beingin
herfather’shouseinheryouth;“Andherfatherhearhervow,andherbond


wherewithshehathboundhersoul,andherfathershallholdhispeaceather:
thenallhervowsshallstand,andeverybondwherewithshehathboundhersoul
shallstand.
“Butifherfatherdisallowherinthedaythatheheareth;notanyofhervows,or
ofherbondswherewithshehathboundhersoul,shallstand:andtheLordshall
forgiveher,becauseherfatherdisallowedher.”—Numbersxxx.2-5.
Whilethemotherinsistedonthesetopics,theloverinvainconjuredthedaughter
todeclareherownopinionandfeelings.Sheremainedtotallyoverwhelmed,asit
seemed—mute,pale,andmotionlessasastatue.Onlyathermother’scommand,
sternlyuttered,shesummonedstrengthenoughtorestoretoherplightedsuitor
thepieceofbrokengoldwhichwastheemblemofhertroth.Onthisheburst
forthintoatremendouspassion,tookleaveofthemotherwithmaledictions,and
ashelefttheapartment,turnedbacktosaytohisweak,ifnotfickle,mistresss:
“Foryou,madam,youwillbeaworld’swonder”;aphrasebywhichsome
remarkabledegreeofcalamityisusuallyimplied.Hewentabroad,andreturned
notagain.IfthelastLordRutherfordwastheunfortunateparty,hemusthave
beenthethirdwhoborethattitle,andwhodiedin1685.
ThemarriagebetwixtJanetDalrympleandDavidDunbarofBaldoonnowwent
forward,thebrideshowingnorepugnance,butbeingabsolutelypassivein
everythinghermothercommandedoradvised.Onthedayofthemarriage,
which,aswasthenusual,wascelebratedbyagreatassemblageoffriendsand
relations,shewasthesame—sad,silent,andresigned,asitseemed,toher
destiny.Alady,verynearlyconnectedwiththefamily,toldtheAuthorthatshe
hadconversedonthesubjectwithoneofthebrothersofthebride,amereladat
thetime,whohadriddenbeforehissistertochurch.Hesaidherhand,whichlay
onhisassheheldherarmaroundhiswaist,wasascoldanddampasmarble.
But,fullofhisnewdressandthepartheactedintheprocession,the
circumstance,whichhelongafterwardsrememberedwithbittersorrowand
compunction,madenoimpressiononhimatthetime.
Thebridalfeastwasfollowedbydancing.Thebrideandbridegroomretiredas
usual,whenofasuddenthemostwildandpiercingcrieswereheardfromthe
nuptialchamber.Itwasthenthecustom,topreventanycoarsepleasantrywhich
oldtimesperhapsadmitted,thatthekeyofthenuptialchambershouldbe
entrustedtothebridesman.Hewascalledupon,butrefusedatfirsttogiveitup,
tilltheshrieksbecamesohideousthathewascompelledtohastenwithothersto


learnthecause.Onopeningthedoor,theyfoundthebridegroomlyingacrossthe
threshold,dreadfullywounded,andstreamingwithblood.Thebridewasthen
soughtfor.Shewasfoundinthecornerofthelargechimney,havingnocovering
savehershift,andthatdabbledingore.Thereshesatgrinningatthem,mopping
andmowing,asIheardtheexpressionused;inaword,absolutelyinsane.The
onlywordsshespokewere,“Takupyourbonnybridegroom.”Shesurvivedthis
horriblescenelittlemorethanafortnight,havingbeenmarriedonthe24thof
August,anddyingonthe12thofSeptember1669.
TheunfortunateBaldoonrecoveredfromhiswounds,butsternlyprohibitedall
inquiriesrespectingthemannerinwhichhehadreceivedthem.“Ifalady,”he
said,“askedhimanyquestionuponthesubject,hewouldneitheranswerhernor
speaktoheragainwhilehelived;ifagentleman,hewouldconsideritasa
mortalaffront,anddemandsatisfactionashavingreceivedsuch.”Hedidnot
verylongsurvivethedreadfulcatastrophe,havingmetwithafatalinjurybya
fallfromhishorse,asherodebetweenLeithandHolyroodHouse,ofwhichhe
diedthenextday,28thMarch1682.Thusafewyearsremovedalltheprincipal
actorsinthisfrightfultragedy.
Variousreportswentabroadonthismysteriousaffair,manyofthemvery
inaccurate,thoughtheycouldhardlybesaidtobeexaggerated.Itwasdifficultat
thattimetobecomeacquaintedwiththehistoryofaScottishfamilyabovethe
lowerrank;andstrangethingssometimestookplacethere,intowhicheventhe
lawdidnotscrupulouslyinquire.
ThecredulousMr.Lawsays,generally,thattheLordPresidentStairhada
daughter,who,“beingmarried,thenightshewasbridein,wastakenfromher
bridegroomandharledthroughthehouse(byspirits,wearegiventounderstand)
andafterwarddied.Anotherdaughter,”hesays,“wassupposedtobepossessed
withanevilspirit.”
Myfriend,Mr.Sharpe,givesanothereditionofthetale.Accordingtohis
information,tiwasthebridegroomwhowoundedthebride.Themarriage,
accordingtothisaccount,hadbeenagainsthermother’sinclination,whohad
givenherconsentintheseominouswords:“Weel,youmaymarryhim,butsair
shallyourepentit.”
Ifindstillanotheraccountdarklyinsinuatedinsomehighlyscurrilousand
abusiveverses,ofwhichIhaveanoriginalcopy.Theyaredocketedasbeing


written“UponthelateViscountStairandhisfamily,bySirWilliamHamiltonof
Whitelaw.ThemarginalsbyWilliamDunlop,writerinEdinburgh,asonofthe
LairdofHousehill,andnephewtothesaidSirWilliamHamilton.”Therewasa
bitterandpersonalquarrelandrivalrybetwixttheauthorofthislibel,aname
whichitrichlydeserves,andLordPresidentStair;andthelampoon,whichis
writtenwithmuchmoremalicethanart,bearsthefollowingmotto:
Stair’sneck,mind,wife,songs,grandson,andtherest,Arewry,false,witch,
pests,parricide,possessed.
Thismalignantsatirist,whocallsupallthemisfortunesofthefamily,doesnot
forgetthefatalbridalofBaldoon.Heseems,thoughhisversesareasobscureas
unpoetical,tointimatethattheviolencedonetothebridegroomwasbythe
interventionofthefoulfiend,towhomtheyoungladyhadresignedherself,in
casesheshouldbreakhercontractwithherfirstlover.Hishypothesisis
inconsistentwiththeaccountgiveninthenoteuponLaw’sMemorials,buteasily
reconcilabletothefamilytradition.
InallStair’soffspriungwenodifferenceknow,Theydothefemalesasthemales
bestow;Soheofoneofhisdaughters’marriagesgavetheward,Likeatrue
vassal,toGlenluce’sLaird;Heknewwhatshedidtohermasterplight,Ifsheher
faithtoRutherfurdshouldslight,Which,likehisown,forgreedhebroke
outright.NickdidBaldoon’sposteriorrightderide,And,asfirstsubstitute,did
seizethebride;Whate’erhetohismistressdidorsaid,Hethrewthebridegroom
fromthenuptialbed,Intothechimneydidsohisrivalmaul,Hisbruisedbones
ne’erwerecuredbutbythefall.
OneofthemarginalnotesascribedtoWilliamDunlopappliestotheabovelines.
“ShehadbetrothedherselftoLordRutherfoordunderhorridimprecations,and
afterwardsmarriedBaldoon,hisnevoy,andhermotherwasthecauseofher
breachoffaith.”
Thesametragedyisalludedtointhefollowingcoupletandnote:
Whattrainofcursesthatbasebroodpursues,Whentheyoungnephewwedsold
uncle’sspouse.
Thenoteontheword“uncle”explainsitasmeaning“Rutherfoord,whoshould
havemarriedtheLadyBaldoon,wasBaldoon’suncle.”Thepoetryofthissatire
onLordStairandhisfamilywas,asalreadynoticed,writtenbySirWilliam


HamiltonofWhitelaw,arivalofLordStairforthesituationofPresidentofthe
CourtofSession;apersonmuchinferiortothatgreatlawyerintalents,and
equallyill-treatedbythecalumnyorjustsatireofhiscontemporariesasan
unjustandpartialjudge.Someofthenotesarebythatcuriousandlaborious
antiquary,RobertMilne,who,asavirulentJacobite,willinglylentahandto
blackenthefamilyofStair.
Anotherpoetoftheperiod,withaverydifferentpurpose,hasleftanelegy,in
whichhedarklyhintsatandbemoansthefateoftheill-starredyoungperson,
whoseveryuncommoncalamityWhitelaw,Dunlop,andMilnethoughtafitting
subjectforbuffooneryandribaldry.ThisbardofmildermoodwasAndrew
Symson,beforetheRevolutionministerofKirkinner,inGalloway,andafterhis
expulsionasanEpiscopalianfollowingthehumbleoccupationofaprinterin
Edinburgh.HefurnishedthefamilyofBaldoon,withwhichheappearstohave
beenintimate,withanelegyonthetragiceventintheirfamily.Inthispiecehe
treatsthemournfuloccasionofthebride’sdeathwithmysterioussolemnity.
Theversesbearthistitle,“OntheunexpecteddeathofthevirtuousLadyMrs.
JanetDalrymple,LadyBaldoon,younger,”andaffordustheprecisedatesofthe
catastrophe,whichcouldnototherwisehavebeeneasilyascertained.“Nupta
August12.DomumDuctaAugust24.ObiitSeptember12.Sepult.September
30,1669.”Theformoftheelegyisadialoguebetwixtapassengeranda
domesticservant.Thefirst,recollectingthathehadpassedthatwaylately,and
seenallaroundenlivenedbytheappearancesofmirthandfestivity,isdesirousto
knowwhathadchangedsogayasceneintomourning.Wepreservethereplyof
theservantasaspecimenofMr.Symson’sverses,whicharenotofthefirst
quality:
Sir,‘tistruthyou’vetold.Wedidenjoygreatmirth;butnow,ahme!Ourjoyful
song’sturn’dtoanelegie.Avirtuouslady,notlongsinceabride,Wastoa
hopefulplantbymarriagetied,Andbroughthomehither.Wedidallrejoice,
Evenforhersake.ButpresentlyourvoiceWasturn’dtomourningforthatlittle
timeThatshe’denjoy:shewanedinherprime,ForAtropus,withherimpartial
knife,Sooncutherthread,andtherewithalherlife;Andforthetimewemayit
wellremember,ItbeinginunfortunateSeptember;

Wherewemustleavehertilltheresurrection.‘TisthentheSaintsenjoytheirfull


perfection.
Mr.Symsonalsopouredforthhiselegiacstrainsuponthefateofthewidowed
bridegroom,onwhichsubject,afteralongandquerulouseffusion,thepoet
arrivesatthesoundconclusion,thatifBaldoonhadwalkedonfoot,whichit
seemswashisgeneralcustom,hewouldhaveescapedperishingbyafallfrom
horseback.Astheworkinwhichitoccursissoscarceasalmosttobeunique,
andasitgivesusthemostfullaccountofoneoftheactorsinthistragictale
whichwehaverehearsed,wewill,attheriskofbeingtedious,insertsomeshort
specimensofMr.Symson’scomposition.Itisentitled:
“AFuneralElegie,occasionedbythesadandmuchlamenteddeathofthat
worthilyrespected,andverymuchaccomplishedgentleman,DavidDunbar,
younger,ofBaldoon,onlysonandapparentheirtotherightworshipfulSir
DavidDunbarofBaldoon,KnightBaronet.HedepartedthislifeonMarch28,
1682,havingreceivedabruisebyafall,ashewasridingthedaypreceding
betwixtLeithandHolyroodHouse;andwashonourablyinterredintheAbbey
ChurchofHolyroodHouse,onApril4,1682.”
Menmight,andveryjustlytoo,concludeMeguiltyoftheworstingratitude,
ShouldIbesilent,orshouldIforbearAtthissadaccidenttoshedatear;Atear!
saidI?ah!that’sapetitthing,Averylean,slight,slenderoffering,Toomean,
I’msure,forme,wherewitht’attendTheunexpectedfuneralofmyfriend:A
glassofbrinytearschargeduptoth’brim.Wouldbetoofewformetoshedfor
him.
Thepoetproceedstostatehisintimacywiththedeceased,andtheconstancyof
theyoungman’sattendanceonpublicworship,whichwasregular,andhadsuch
effectupontwoorthreeotherthatwereinfluencedbyhisexample:
SothatmyMuse‘gainstPriscianavers,He,onlyhe,WEREmyparishioners;
Yea,andmyonlyhearers.
Hethendescribesthedeceasedinpersonandmanners,fromwhichitappears
thatmoreaccomplishmentswereexpectedinthecompositionofafine
gentlemaninancientthanmoderntimes:
Hisbody,thoughnotverylargeortall,Wassprightly,active,yeaandstrong
withal.Hisconstitutionwas,ifrightI’veguess’d,Bloodmixtwithcholer,saidto
bethebest.In’sgesture,converse,speech,discourse,attire,Hepractis’dthat


whichwisemenstilladmire,Commend,andrecommend.What’sthat?you’ll
say.‘Tisthis:heeverchoos’dthemiddleway‘Twixtbothth’extremes.Amost
inev’rythingHedidthelike,‘tisworthournoticing:Sparing,yetnotaniggard;
liberal,Andyetnotlavishoraprodigal,Asknowingwhentospendandwhento
spare;Andthat’salessonwhichnotmanyareAcquaintedwith.Hebashfulwas,
yetdaringWhenhesawcause,andyetthereinnotsparing;Familiar,yetnot
common,forheknewTocondescend,andkeephisdistancetoo.Heus’d,and
thatmostcommonly,togoOnfoot;Iwishthathehadstilldoneso.Th’affairsof
courtwereuntohimwellknown;Andyetmeanwhileheslightednothisown.
Heknewfullwellhowtobehaveatcourt,Andyetbutseldomdidtheretoresort;
Butlov’dthecountrylife,choos’dtoinureHimselftopast’rageandagriculture;
Proving,improving,ditching,trenching,draining,Viewing,reviewing,andby
thosemeansgaining;Planting,transplanting,levelling,erectingWalls,
chambers,houses,terraces;projectingNowthis,nowthatdevice,thisdraught,
thatmeasure,Thatmightadvancehisprofitwithhispleasure.Quickinhis
bargains,honestincommerce,Justinhisdealings,beingmuchadverseFrom
quirksoflaw,stillreadytoreferHiscauset’anhonestcountryarbiter.Hewas
acquaintedwithcosmography,Arithmetic,andmodernhistory;Witharchitecture
andsuchartsasthese,WhichImaycallspecificksciencesFitforagentleman;
andsurelyheThatknowsthemnot,atleastinsomedegree,Maybrookthetitle,
buthewantsthething,Isbutashadowscarceworthnoticing.Helearnedthe
French,be’tspokentohispraise,Inverylittlemorethanfourtydays.”
Thencomesthefullburstofwoe,inwhich,insteadofsayingmuchhimself,the
poetinformsuswhattheancientswouldhavesaidonsuchanoccasion:
Aheathenpoet,atthenews,nodoubt,Wouldhaveexclaimed,andfuriously
cry’doutAgainstthefates,thedestiniesandstarrs,What!thistheeffectof
planetariewarrs!Wemighthaveseenhimrageandrave,yeaworse,‘Tisvery
likewemighthaveheardhimcurseTheyear,themonth,theday,thehour,the
place,Thecompany,thewager,andtherace;Decryallrecreations,withthe
namesOfIsthmian,Pythian,andOlympickgames;Exclaimagainstthemall
botholdandnew,BoththeNemaeanandtheLethaeantoo:Adjudgeallpersons,
underhighestpain,Alwaystowalkonfoot,andthenagainOrderallhorsestobe
hough’d,thatweMightnevermorethelikeadventuresee.
SupposingourreadershavehadenoughofMr.Symson’swoe,andfinding
nothingmoreinhispoemworthyoftranscription,wereturntothetragicstory.


Itisneedlesstopointouttotheintelligentreaderthatthewitchcraftofthe
motherconsistedonlyintheascendencyofapowerfulmindoveraweakand
melancholyone,adnthattheharshnesswithwhichsheexercisedhersuperiority
inacaseofdelicacyhaddrivenherdaughterfirsttodespair,thentofrenzy.
Accordingly,theAuthorhasendeavouredtoexplainthetragictaleonthis
principle.WhateverresemblanceLadyAshtonmaybesupposedtopossessto
thecelebratedDameMargaretRoss,thereadermustnotsupposethattherewas
anyideaoftracingtheportraitofthefirstLordViscountStairinthetrickyand
mean-spiritedSirWilliamAshton.LordStair,whatevermightbehismoral
qualities,wascertainlyoneofthefirststatesmenandlawyersofhisage.
TheimaginarycastleofWolf’sCraghasbeenidentifiedbysomeloverof
localitywiththatofFastCastle.TheAuthorisnotcompetenttojudgeofthe
resemblancebetwixttherealandimaginaryscenes,havingneverseenFast
Castleexceptfromthesea.Butfortalicesofthisdescriptionarefound
occupying,likeospreys’nests,projectingrocks,orpromontories,inmanyparts
oftheeasterncoastofScotland,andthepositionofFastCastleseemscertainly
toresemblethatofWolf’sCragasmuchasanyother,whileitsvicinitytothe
mountainridgeofLammermoorrenderstheassimilationaprobableone.
Wehaveonlytoadd,thatthedeathoftheunfortunatebridegroombyafallfrom
horsebackhasbeeninthenoveltransferredtothenolessunfortunatelover.


CHAPTERI
ByCaukandkeeltowinyourbread,Wi’whigmaleeriesforthemwhaneed,
WhilkisagentletradeindeedTocarrythegaberlunzieon.
OldSong.

FEWhavebeeninmysecretwhileIwascompilingthesenarratives,norisit
probablethattheywilleverbecomepublicduringthelifeoftheirauthor.Even
werethateventtohappen,Iamnotambitiousofthehonoureddistinction,digito
monstrari.Iconfessthat,wereitsafetocherishsuchdreamsatall,Ishouldmore
enjoythethoughtofremainingbehindthecurtainunseen,liketheingenious
managerofPunchandhiswifeJoan,andenjoyingtheastonishmentand
conjecturesofmyaudience.ThenmightI,perchance,heartheproductionsofthe
obscurePeterPattiesonpraisedbythejudiciousandadmiredbythefeeling,
engrossingtheyoungandattractingeventheold;whilethecritictracedtheir
fameuptosomenameofliterarycelebrity,andthequestionwhen,andby
whom,thesetaleswerewrittenfilledupthepauseofconversationinahundred
circlesandcoteries.ThisImayneverenjoyduringmylifetime;butfartherthan
this,Iamcertain,myvanityshouldneverinducemetoaspire.
Iamtoostubborninhabits,andtoolittlepolishedinmanners,toenvyoraspire
tothehonoursassignedtomyliterarycontemporaries.Icouldnotthinkawhit
morehighlyofmyselfwereIfoundworthyto“comeinplaceasalion”fora
winterinthegreatmetropolis.Icouldnotrise,turnround,andshowallmy
honours,fromtheshaggymanetothetuftedtail,“roaryouan’twereany
nightingale,”andsoliedownagainlikeawell-behavedbeastofshow,andallat
thecheapandeasyrateofacupofcoffeeandasliceofbreadandbutterasthin
asawafer.AndIcouldillstomachthefulsomeflatterywithwhichtheladyof
theeveningindulgeshershow-monstersonsuchoccasions,asshecramsher
parrotswithsugar-plums,inordertomakethemtalkbeforecompany.Icannot
betemptedto“comealoft”forthesemarksofdistinction,and,likeimprisoned
Samson,Iwouldratherremain—ifsuchmustbethealternative—allmylifein
themill-house,grindingformyverybread,thanbebroughtforthtomakesport
forthePhilistinelordsandladies.Thisproceedsfromnodislike,realoraffected,


tothearistocracyoftheserealms.Buttheyhavetheirplace,andIhavemine;
and,liketheironandearthenvesselsintheoldfable,wecanscarcecomeinto
collisionwithoutmybeingthesuffererineverysense.Itmaybeotherwisewith
thesheetswhichIamnowwriting.Thesemaybeopenedandlaidasideat
pleasure;byamusingthemselveswiththeperusal,thegreatwillexcitenofalse
hopes;byneglectingorcondemningthem,theywillinflictnopain;andhow
seldomcantheyconversewiththosewhosemindshavetoiledfortheirdelight
withoutdoingeithertheoneortheother.
InthebetterandwisertoneoffeelingwithOvidonlyexpressesinonelineto
retractinthatwhichfollows,Icanaddressthesequires—
Parve,necinvideo,sineme,liber,ibisinurbem.
NordoIjointheregretoftheillustriousexile,thathehimselfcouldnotin
personaccompanythevolume,whichhesentforthtothemartofliterature,
pleasure,andluxury.Weretherenotahundredsimilarinstancesonrecord,the
rateofmypoorfriendandschool-fellow,DickTinto,wouldbesufficienttowarn
meagainstseekinghappinessinthecelebritywhichattachesitselftoa
successfulcultivatorofthefinearts.
DickTinto,whenhewrotehimselfartist,waswonttoderivehisoriginfromthe
ancientfamilyofTinto,ofthatilk,inLanarkshire,andoccasionallyhintedthat
hehadsomewhatderogatedfromhisgentlebloodinusingthepencilforhis
principalmeansofsupport.ButifDick’spedigreewascorrect,someofhis
ancestorsmusthavesufferedamoreheavydeclension,sincethegoodmanhis
fatherexecutedthenecessary,and,Itrust,thehonest,butcertainlynotvery
distinguished,employmentoftailorinordinarytothevillageofLangdirdumin
thewest..UnderhishumbleroofwasRichardborn,andtohisfather’shumble
tradewasRichard,greatlycontrarytohisinclination,earlyindentured.OldMr.
Tintohad,however,noreasontocongratulatehimselfuponhavingcompelled
theyouthfulgeniusofhissontoforsakeitsnaturalbent.Hefaredlikethe
school-boywhoattemptstostopwithhisfingerthespoutofawatercistern,
whilethestream,exasperatedatthiscompression,escapesbyathousand
uncalculatedspurts,andwetshimalloverforhispains.Evensofaredthesenior
Tinto,whenhishopefulapprenticenotonlyexhaustedallthechalkinmaking
sketchesupontheshopboard,butevenexecutedseveralcaricaturesofhis
father’sbestcustomers,whobeganloudlytomurmur,thatitwastoohardto
havetheirpersonsdeformedbythevestmentsofthefather,andtobeatthesame


timeturnedintoridiculebythepenciloftheson.Thisledtodiscreditandlossof
practice,untiltheoldtailor,yieldingtodestinyandtotheentreatiesofhisson,
permittedhimtoattempthisfortuneinalineforwhichhewasbetterqualified.
Therewasaboutthistime,inthevillageofLangdirdum,aperipateticbrotherof
thebrush,whoexercisedhisvocationsubJovefrigido,theobjectofadmiration
ofalltheboysofthevillage,butespeciallytoDickTinto.Theagehadnotyet
adopted,amongstotherunworthyretrenchments,thatilliberalmeasureof
economywhich,supplyingbywrittencharactersthelackofsymbolical
representation,closesoneopenandeasilyaccessibleavenueofinstructionand
emolumentagainstthestudentsofthefinearts.Itwasnotyetpermittedtowrite
upontheplastereddoorwayofanalehouse,.orthesuspendedsignofaninn,
“TheOldMagpie,”or“TheSaracen’sHead,”substitutingthatcolddescription
forthelivelyeffigiesoftheplumedchatterer,ortheturban’dfrownoftheterrific
soldan.Thatearlyandmoresimpleageconsideredalikethenecessitiesofall
ranks,anddepictedthesymbolsofgoodcheersoastobeobvioustoall
capacities;welljudgingthatamanwhocouldnotreadasyllablemight
neverthelessloveapotofgoodaleaswellashisbetter-educatedneighbours,or
evenastheparsonhimself.Actinguponthisliberalprinciple,publicansasyet
hungforththepaintedemblemsoftheircalling,andsign-painters,iftheyseldom
feasted,didnotatleastabsolutelystarve.
Toaworthyofthisdecayedprofession,aswehavealreadyintimated,DickTinto
becameanassistant;andthus,asisnotunusualamongheaven-borngeniusesin
thisdepartmentofthefinearts,begantopaintbeforehehadanynotionof
drawing.
Histalentforobservingnaturesooninducedhimtorectifytheerrors,adnsoar
abovetheinstructions,ofhisteacher.Heparticularlyshoneinpaintinghorses,
thatbeingafavouritesignintheScottishvillages;and,intracinghisprogress,it
isbeautifultoobservehowbydegreeshelearnedtoshortenthebacksand
prolongthelegsofthesenobleanimals,untiltheycametolooklesslike
crocodiles,andmorelikenags.Detraction,whichalwayspursuesmeritwith
stridesproportionedtoitsadvancement,hasindeedallegedthatDickonceupon
atimepaintedahorsewithfivelegs,insteadoffour.Imighthaverestedhis
defenceuponthelicenseallowedtothatbranchofhisprofession,which,asit
permitsallsortsofsingularandirregularcombinations,maybeallowedto
extenditselfsofarastobestowalimbsupernumeraryonafavouritesubject.But
thecauseofadeceasedfriendissacred;andIdisdaintobottomitso


superficially.Ihavevisitedthesigninquestion,whichyetswingsexaltedinthe
villageofLangdirdum;andIamreadytodeponeupontheoaththatwhathas
beenidlymistakenormisrepresentedasbeingthefifthlegofthehorse,is,in
fact,thetailofthatquadruped,and,consideredwithreferencetotheposturein
whichheisdelineated,formsacircumstanceintroducedandmanagedwithgreat
andsuccessful,thoughdaring,art.Thenagbeingrepresentedinarampantor
rearingposture,thetail,whichisprolongedtillittouchestheground,appearsto
formapointd’appui,andgivesthefirmnessofatripodtothefigure,without
whichitwouldbedifficulttoconceive,placedasthefeetare,howthecourser
couldmaintainhisgroundwithouttumblingbackwards.Thisboldconception
hasfortunatelyfallenintothecustodyofonebywhomitisdulyvalued;for,
whenDick,inhismoreadvancedstateofproficiency,becamedubiousofthe
proprietyofsodaringadeviationtoexecuteapictureofthepublicanhimselfin
exchangeforthisjuvenileproduction,thecourteousofferwasdeclinedbyhis
judiciousemployer,whohadobserved,itseems,thatwhenhisalefailedtodoits
dutyinconciliatinghisguests,oneglanceathissignwassuretoputthemin
goodhumour.
ItwouldbeforeigntomypresentpurposetotracethestepsbywhichDickTinto
improvedhistouch,andcorrected,bytherulesofart,theluxurianceofafervid
imagination.Thescalesfellfromhiseyesonviewingthesketchesofa
contemporary,theScottishTeniers,asWilkiehasbeendeservedlystyled.He
threwdownthebrush.tookupthecrayons,and,amidhungerandtoil,and
suspenseanduncertainty,pursuedthepathofhisprofessionunderbetter
auspicesthanthoseofhisoriginalmaster.Stillthefirstrudeemanationsofhis
genius,likethenurseryrhymesofPope,couldtheseberecovered,willbedear
tothecompanionsofDickTinto’syouth.Thereisatankardandgridironpainted
overthedoorofanobscurechange-houseintheBackWyndofGandercleugh–ButIfeelImusttearmyselffromthesubject,ordwellonittoolong.
Amidhiswantsandstruggles,DickTintohadrecourse,likehisbrethren,to
levyingthattaxuponthevanityofmankindwhichhecouldnotextractfrom
theirtasteandliberality—onaword,hepaintedportraits.Itwasinthismore
advancedstateofproficiency,whenDickhadsoaredabovehisoriginallineof
business,andhighlydisdainedanyallusiontoit,that,afterhavingbeen
estrangedforseveralyears,weagainmetinthevillageofGandercleugh,I
holdingmypresentsituation,andDickpaintingcopiesofthehumanfacedivine
ataguineaperhead.Thiswasasmallpremium,yet,inthefirstburstof
business,itmorethansufficedforallDick’smoderatewants;sothatheoccupied


anapartmentattheWallaceInn,crackedhisjestwithimpunityevenuponmine
hosthimself,andlivedinrespectandobservancewiththechambermaid,hostler,
andwaiter.
Thosehalcyondaysweretooserenetolastlong.WhenhishonourtheLairdof
Gandercleugh,withhiswifeandthreedaughters,theminister,thegauger,mine
esteemedpatronMr.JedediahCleishbotham,andsomerounddozenofthe
feuarsandfarmers,hadbeenconsignedtoimmortalitybyTinto’sbrush,custom
begantoslacken,anditwasimpossibletowringmorethancrownsandhalfcrownsfromthehardhandsofthepeasantswhoseambitionledthemtoDick’s
painting-room.
Still,thoughthehorizonwasoverclouded,nostormforsometimeensued.Mine
hosthadChristianfaithwithalodgerwhohadbeenagoodpaymasteraslongas
hehadthemeans.Andfromaportraitofourlandlordhimself,groupedwithhis
wifeanddaughters,inthestyleofRubens,whichsuddenlyappearedinthebest
parlour,itwasevidentthatDickhadfoundsomemodeofbarteringartforthe
necessariesoflife.
Nothing,however,ismoreprecariousthanresourcesofthisnature.Itwas
observedthatDickbecameinhisturnthewhetstoneofminehost’swit,without
venturingeitheratdefenceorretaliation;thathiseaselwastransferredtoa
garret0room,inwhichtherewasscarcespaceforittostandupright;andthathe
nolongerventuredtojointheweeklyclub,ofwhichhehadbeenoncethelife
andsoul.Inshort,DickTinto’sfriendsfearedthathehadactedliketheanimal
calledthesloth,which,heavingeatenupthelastgreenleafuponthetreewhere
ithasestablisheditself,endsbytumblingdownfromthetop,anddyingof
inanition.IventuredtohintthistoDick,recommendedhistransferringthe
exerciseofhisinestimabletalenttosomeothersphere,andforsakingthe
commonwhichhemightbesaidtohaveeatenbare.
“Thereisanobstacletomychangeofresidence,”saidmyfriend,graspingmy
handwithalookofsolemnity.
“Abillduetomylandlord,Iamafraid?”repliedI,withheartfeltsympathy;“if
anypartofmyslendermeanscanassistinthisemergence–-”
“No,bythesoulofSirJoshua!”answeredthegenerousyouth,“Iwillnever
involveafriendintheconsequencesofmyownmisfortune.Thereisamodeby


whichIcanregainmyliberty;andtocreepeventhroughacommonseweris
betterthantoremaininprison.”
Ididnotperfectlyunderstandwhatmyfriendmeant.Themuseofpainting
appearedtohavefailedhim,andwhatothergoddesshecouldinvokeinhis
distresswasamysterytome.Weparted,however,withoutfurtherexplanation,
andIdidnotseehimuntilthreedaysafter,whenhesummonedmetopartakeof
the“foy”withwhichhislandlordproposedtoregalehimerehisdeparturefor
Edinburgh.
IfoundDickinhighspirits,whistlingwhilehebuckledthesmallknapsack
whichcontainedhiscolours,brushes,pallets,andcleanshirt.Thathepartedon
thebesttermswithminehostwasobviousfromthecoldbeefsetforthinthelow
parlour,flankedbytwomugsofadmirablebrownstout;andIownmycuriosity
wasexcitedconcerningthemeansthroughwhichthefaceofmyfriend’saffairs
hadbeensosuddenlyimproved.IdidnotsuspectDickofdealingwiththedevil,
andbywhatearthlymeanshehadextricatedhimselfthushappilyIwasatatotal
losstoconjecture.
Heperceivedmycuriosity,andtookmebythehand.“Myfriend,”hesaid,“fain
wouldIconceal,evenfromyou,thedegradationtowhichithasbeennecessary
tosubmit,inordertoaccomplishanhonourableretreatfromGandercleaugh.But
whatavailsattemptingtoconcealthatwhichmustneedsbetrayitselfevenbyits
superiorexcellence?Allthevillage—alltheparish—alltheworld—willsoon
discovertowhatpovertyhasreducedRichardTinto.:
Asuddenthoughtherestruckme.Ihadobservedthatourlandlordwore,onthat
memorablemorning,apairofbrannewvelveteensinsteadofhisancient
thicksets.
“What,”saidI,drawingmyrighthand,withtheforefingerandthumbpressed
together,nimblyfrommyrighthaunchtomyleftshoulder,“youhave
condescendedtoresumethepaternalartstowhichyouwerefirstbred—long
stitches,ha,Dick?”
Herepelledthisunluckyconjecturewithafrownandapshaw,indicativeof
indignantcontempt,andleadingmeintoanotherroom,showedme,resting
againstthewall,themajesticheadofSirWilliamWallace,grimaswhensevered
fromthetrunkbytheordersoftheEdward.


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