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The surgeons daughter


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Title:TheSurgeon’sDaughter
Author:SirWalterScott

ReleaseDate:September,2004[EBook#6428][Yes,wearemorethanoneyear
aheadofschedule][ThisfilewasfirstpostedonDecember13,2002]
Edition:10
Language:English
Charactersetencoding:ASCII


***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHESURGEON’S
DAUGHTER***

ProducedbyDGarcia,DavidMoynihan,CharlesFranksandtheOnline
DistributedProofreadingTeam

THESURGEON’SDAUGHTER.
CHRONICLESOFTHECANONGATE.
SICITURADASTRA.

INTRODUCTION.—(1831.)
ThetaleoftheSurgeon’sDaughterformedpartofthesecondseriesof
ChroniclesoftheCanongate,publishedin1827;buthasbeenseparatedfromthe
storiesoftheHighlandWidow,&c.,whichitoriginallyaccompanied,and
deferredtothecloseofthiscollection,forreasonswhichprintersandpublishers
willunderstand,andwhichwouldhardlyinterestthegeneralreader.
TheAuthorhasnothingtosaynowinreferencetothislittleNovel,butthatthe
principalincidentonwhichitturns,wasnarratedtohimonemorningat
breakfastbyhisworthyfriend,Mr.Train,ofCastleDouglas,inGalloway,whose
kindassistancehehassooftenhadoccasiontoacknowledgeinthecourseof
theseprefaces;andthatthemilitaryfriendwhoisalludedtoashavingfurnished
himwithsomeinformationastoEasternmatters,wasColonelJamesFerguson
ofHuntlyBurn,oneofthesonsofthevenerablehistorianandphilosopherof
thatname—whichnamehetookthelibertyofconcealingunderitsGaelicform
ofMac-Erries.
Abbotsford,September1831.



*

APPENDIXTOINTRODUCTION.
[Mr.TrainwasrequestedbySirWalterScotttogivehiminwritingthestoryas


nearlyaspossibleintheshapeinwhichhehadtoldit;butthefollowing
narrative,whichhedrewupaccordingly,didnotreachAbbotsforduntilJuly
1832]
IntheoldStockofFife,therewasnotperhapsanindividualwhoseexertions
werefollowedbyconsequencesofsucharemarkablenatureasthoseofDavie
Duff,popularlycalled“TheThaneofFife,”who,fromaveryhumbleparentage,
rosetofilloneofthechairsofthemagistracyofhisnativeburgh.Byindustry
andeconomyinearlylife,heobtainedthemeansoferecting,solelyonhisown
account,oneofthoseingeniousmanufactoriesforwhichFifeshireisjustly
celebrated.Fromthedayonwhichtheindustriousartisanfirsttookhisseatat
theCouncilBoard,heattendedsomuchtotheinterestsofthelittleprivileged
community,thatcivichonourswereconferredonhimasrapidlyastheSetofthe
Royalty[Footnote:TheConstitutionoftheBorough.]couldlegallyadmit.
Tohavetherightofwalkingtochurchonholydays,precededbyaphalanxof
halberdiers,inhabilimentsfashionedasinformertimes,seems,intheeyesof
manyaguildbrother,tobeaveryenviablepitchofworldlygrandeur.Few
personswereevermoreproudofcivichonoursthantheThaneofFife,buthe
knewwellhowtoturnhispoliticalinfluencetothebestaccount.Thecouncil,
court,andotherbusinessoftheburgh,occupiedmuchofhistime,whichcaused
himtointrustthemanagementofhismanufactorytoanearrelation,whosename
wasD––,ayoungmanofdissolutehabits;buttheThane,seeingatlast,thatby
continuingthatextravagantpersoninthatcharge,hisaffairswould,inall
probability,fallintoastateofbankruptcy,appliedtothememberofParliament
forthatdistricttoobtainasituationforhisrelationinthecivildepartmentofthe
state.Theknight,whomitishereunnecessarytoname,knowinghoweffectually
theThaneruledthelittleburgh,appliedintheproperquarter,andactually
obtainedanappointmentforD––inthecivilserviceoftheEastIndiaCompany.
Arespectablesurgeon,whoseresidencewasinaneighbouringvillage,hada
beautifuldaughternamedEmma,whohadlongbeencourtedbyD––.


ImmediatelybeforehisdeparturetoIndia,asamarkofmutualaffection,they
exchangedminiatures,takenbyaneminentartistinFife,andeachsetina
locket,forthepurposeofhavingtheobjectofaffectionalwaysinview.
TheeyesoftheoldThanewerenowturnedtowardsHindostanwithmuch
anxiety;buthisrelationhadnotlongarrivedinthatdistantquarteroftheglobe
beforehehadthesatisfactionofreceivingaletter,conveyingthewelcome
intelligenceofhishavingtakenpossessionofhisnewstationinalargefrontier
townoftheCompany’sdominions,andthatgreatemolumentswereattachedto
thesituation;whichwasconfirmedbyseveralsubsequentcommunicationsofthe
mostgratifyingdescriptiontotheoldThane,whotookgreatpleasurein
spreadingthenewsofthereformedhabitsandsingulargoodfortuneofhis
intendedheir.Noneofallhisformeracquaintancesheardwithsuchjoythe
favourablereportofthesuccessfuladventurerintheEast,asdidthefairand
accomplisheddaughterofthevillagesurgeon;buthispreviouscharactercaused
hertokeepherowncorrespondencewithhimsecretfromherparents,towhom
eventhecircumstanceofherbeingacquaintedwithD––waswhollyunknown,
tillherfatherreceivedaletterfromhim,inwhichheassuredhimofhis
attachmenttoEmmalongbeforehisdeparturefromFife;thathavingbeenso
happyastogainheraffections,hewouldhavemadeherhiswifebeforeleaving
hisnativecountry,hadhethenhadthemeansofsupportingherinasuitablerank
throughlife;andthat,havingitnowinhispowertodoso,heonlywaitedthe
consentofherparentstofulfilthevowhehadformerlymade.
TheDoctorhavingalargefamily,withaverylimitedincometosupportthem,
andunderstandingthatD––hadatlastbecomeapersonofsoberandindustrious
habits,hegavehisconsent,inwhichEmma’smotherfullyconcurred.
AwareofthestraitenedcircumstancesoftheDoctor,D––remittedasumof
moneytocompleteatEdinburghEmma’sOrientaleducation,andfitheroutin
herjourneytoIndia;shewastoembarkatSheerness,onboardoneofthe
Company’sships,foraportinIndia,atwhichplace,hesaid,hewouldwaither
arrival,witharetinuesuitedtoapersonofhisrankinsociety.
Emmasetoutfromherfather’shousejustintimetosecureapassage,as
proposedbyherintendedhusband,accompaniedbyheronlybrother,who,on
theirarrivalatSheerness,metoneC––,anoldschoolfellow,captainoftheship
bywhichEmmawastoproceedtoIndia.


ItwastheparticulardesireoftheDoctorthathisdaughtershouldbecommitted
tothecareofthatgentleman,fromthetimeofherleavingtheshoresofBritain,
tilltheintendedmarriageceremonywasdulyperformedonherarrivalinIndia;a
chargethatwasfranklyundertakenbythegeneroussea-captain.
Onthearrivalofthefleetattheappointedport,D––,withalargecavalcadeof
mountedPindarees,was,asexpected,inattendance,readytosaluteEmmaon
landing,andtocarryherdirectintotheinteriorofthecountry.C––,whohad
madeseveralvoyagestotheshoresofHindostan,knowingsomethingofHindoo
mannersandcustoms,wassurprisedtoseeaprivateindividualintheCompany’s
servicewithsomanyattendants;andwhenD––declinedhavingthemarriage
ceremonyperformedaccordingtotheritesoftheChurch,tillhereturnedtothe
placeofhisabode,C––,moreandmoreconfirmedinhissuspicionthatallwas
notright,resolvednottopartwithEmmatillhehadfulfilled,inthemost
satisfactorymanner,thepromisehehadmadebeforeleavingEngland,ofgiving
herdulyawayinmarriage.Notbeingablebyherentreatiestoalterthe
resolutionofD––,EmmasolicitedherprotectorC––toaccompanyhertothe
placeofherintendeddestination,towhichhemostreadilyagreed,takingwith
himasmanyofhiscrewashedeemedsufficienttoensurethesafecustodyof
hisinnocentprotege,shouldanyattemptbemadetocarryherawaybyforce.
Bothpartiesjourneyedonwardstilltheyarrivedatafrontiertown,wherea
nativeRajahwaswaitingthearrivalofthefairmaidofFife,withwhomhehad
fallendeeplyinlove,fromseeingherminiaturelikenessinthepossessionof
D––,towhomhehadpaidalargesumofmoneyfortheoriginal,andhadonly
intrustedhimtoconveyherinstatetotheseatofhisgovernment.
NosoonerwasthisvillanousactionofD––knowntoC––,thanhe
communicatedthewholeparticularstothecommandingofficerofaregimentof
ScotchHighlandersthathappenedtobequarteredinthatpartofIndia,begging
atthesametime,forthehonourofCaledonia,andprotectionofinjured
innocence,thathewouldusethemeansinhispower,ofresistinganyattempt
thatmightbemadebythenativechieftowrestfromtheirhandsthevirtuous
femalewhohadbeensoshamefullydecoyedfromhernativecountrybythe
worstofmankind.HonouroccupiestoolargeaspaceintheheartoftheGaelto
resistsuchacallofhumanity.
TheRajah,findinghisclaimwasnottobeaccededto,andresolvingtoenforce
thesame,assembledhistroops,andattackedwithgreatfurytheplacewherethe


affrightedEmmawasforatimesecuredbyhercountrymen,whofoughtinher
defencewithalltheirnativevalour,whichatlengthsooverpoweredtheir
assailants,thattheywereforcedtoretireineverydirection,leavingbehindmany
oftheirslain,amongwhomwasfoundthemangledcorpseoftheperfidious
D––.
C––wasimmediatelyafterwardsmarriedtoEmma,andmyinformantassured
mehesawthemmanyyearsafterwards,livinghappilytogetherinthecountyof
Kent,onthefortunebequeathedbythe“ThaneofFife.”
J.T.CASTLEDOUGLAS,July,1832.

MR.CROFTANGRY’SPREFACE.

Indite,mymuseindite,Subpoena’disthylyre,ThepraisestorequiteWhich
rulesofcourtrequire.PROBATIONARYODES.
Theconcludingaliteraryundertaking,inwholeorinpart,is,tothe
inexperiencedatleast,attendedwithanirritatingtitillation,likethatwhich
attendsonthehealingofawound—aprurientimpatience,inshort,toknowwhat
theworldingeneral,andfriendsinparticular,willsaytoourlabours.Some
authors,Iamtold,professanoyster-likeindifferenceuponthissubject;formy
ownpart,Ihardlybelieveintheirsincerity.Othersmayacquireitfromhabit;
but,inmypooropinion,aneophytelikemyselfmustbeforalongtime
incapableofsuchsangfroid.
Frankly,IwasashamedtofeelhowchildishlyIfeltontheoccasion.Noperson
couldhavesaidprettierthingsthanmyselfupontheimportanceofstoicism
concerningtheopinionofothers,whentheirapplauseorcensurerefersto
literarycharacteronly;andIhaddeterminedtolaymyworkbeforethepublic,
withthesameunconcernwithwhichtheostrichlayshereggsinthesand,giving
herselfnofarthertroubleconcerningtheincubation,butleavingtothe
atmospheretobringforththeyoung,orotherwise,astheclimateshallserve.But
thoughanostrichintheory,Ibecameinpracticeapoorhen,whohasnosooner
madeherdeposit,butsherunscacklingabout,tocalltheattentionofeveryone
tothewonderfulworkwhichshehasperformed.


AssoonasIbecamepossessedofmyfirstvolume,neatlystitchedupand
boarded,mysenseofthenecessityofcommunicatingwithsomeonebecame
ungovernable.Janetwasinexorable,andseemedalreadytohavetiredofmy
literaryconfidence;forwheneverIdrewnearthesubject,afterevadingitaslong
asshecould,shemade,undersomepretextorother,abodilyretreattothe
kitchenorthecockloft,herownpeculiarandinviolatedomains.Mypublisher
wouldhavebeenanaturalresource;butheunderstandshisbusinesstoowell,
andfollowsittooclosely,todesiretoenterintoliterarydiscussions,wisely
considering,thathewhohastosellbookshasseldomleisuretoreadthem.Then
myacquaintance,nowthatIhavelostMrs.BethuneBaliol,areofthatdistant
andaccidentalkind,towhomIhadnotfaceenoughtocommunicatethenature
ofmyuneasiness,andwhoprobablywouldonlyhavelaughedatmehadImade
anyattempttointeresttheminmylabours.
Reducedthustoasortofdespair,Ithoughtofmyfriendandmanofbusiness,
Mr.Fairscribe.Hishabits,itwastrue,werenotlikelytorenderhimindulgentto
lightliterature,and,indeed,Ihadmorethanoncenoticedhisdaughters,and
especiallymylittlesongstress,whipintoherreticulewhatlookedverylikea
circulatinglibraryvolume,assoonasherfatherenteredtheroom.Stillhewas
notonlymyassured,butalmostmyonlyfriend,andIhadlittledoubtthathe
wouldtakeaninterestinthevolumeforthesakeoftheauthor,whichthework
itselfmightfailtoinspire.Isenthim,therefore,thebook,carefullysealedup,
withanintimationthatIrequestedthefavourofhisopinionuponthecontents,
ofwhichIaffectedtotalkinthedepreciatorystyle,whichcallsforpoint-blank
contradiction,ifyourcorrespondentpossessagrainofcivility.
ThiscommunicationtookplaceonaMonday,andIdailyexpected(whatIwas
ashamedtoanticipatebyvolunteeringmypresence,howeversureofawelcome)
aninvitationtoeatanegg,aswasmyfriend’sfavouritephrase,oracardtodrink
teawithMissesFairscribe,oraprovocationtobreakfast,atleast,withmy
hospitablefriendandbenefactor,andtotalkoverthecontentsofmyenclosure.
ButthehoursanddayspassedonfromMondaytillSaturday,andIhadno
acknowledgmentwhateverthatmypackethadreacheditsdestination.“Thisis
veryunlikemygoodfriend’spunctuality,”thoughtI;andhavingagainandagain
vexedJames,mymaleattendant,byacloseexaminationconcerningthetime,
place,anddelivery,Ihadonlytostrainmyimaginationtoconceivereasonsfor
myfriend’ssilence.SometimesIthoughtthathisopinionoftheworkhadproved
sounfavourablethathewasaversetohurtmyfeelingsbycommunicatingit—
sometimes,that,escapinghishandstowhomitwasdestined,ithadfoundits


wayintohiswriting-chamber,andwasbecomethesubjectofcriticismtohis
smartclerksandconceitedapprentices.“‘Sdeath!”thoughtI,“ifIweresureof
this,Iwould”—
“Andwhatwouldyoudo?”saidReason,afterafewmoment’sreflection.“You
areambitiousofintroducingyourbookintoeverywritingandreading-chamber
inEdinburgh,andyetyoutakefireatthethoughtsofitsbeingcriticisedbyMr.
Fairscribe’syoungpeople?Bealittleconsistent—forshame!”
“Iwillbeconsistent,”saidI,doggedly;“butforallthat,IwillcallonMr.
Fairscribethisevening.”
Ihastenedmydinner,donn’dmygreat-coat(fortheeveningthreatenedrain,)
andwenttoMr.Fairscribe’shouse.Theolddomesticopenedthedoor
cautiously,andbeforeIaskedthequestion,said,“Mr.Fairscribeisathome,sir;
butitisSundaynight.”Recognising,however,myfaceandvoice,heopenedthe
doorwider,admittedme,andconductedmetotheparlour,whereIfoundMr.
Fairscribeandtherestofhisfamilyengagedinlisteningtoasermonbythelate
Mr.WalkerofEdinburgh,[Footnote:RobertWalker,thecolleagueandrivalof
Dr.HughBlair,inSt.Giles’sChurchEdinburgh]whichwasreadbyMiss
Catherinewithunusualdistinctness,simplicity,andjudgment.Welcomedasa
friendofthehouse,Ihadnothingforitbuttotakemyseatquietly,andmakinga
virtueofnecessity,endeavourtoderivemyshareofthebenefitarisingfroman
excellentsermon.ButIamafraidMr.Walker’sforceoflogicandprecisionof
expressionweresomewhatlostuponme.IwassensibleIhadchosenan
impropertimetodisturbMr.Fairscribe,andwhenthediscoursewasended,I
rosetotakemyleave,somewhathastily,Ibelieve.“Acupoftea,Mr.
Croftangry?”saidtheyounglady.“YouwillwaitandtakepartofaPresbyterian
supper?”saidMr.Fairscribe.—“Nineo’clock—Imakeitapointofkeepingmy
father’shoursonSundayate’en.PerhapsDr.–-(naminganexcellentclergyman)
maylookin.”
Imademyapologyfordeclininghisinvitation;andIfancymyunexpected
appearance,andhastyretreat,hadrathersurprisedmyfriend,since,insteadof
accompanyingmetothedoor,heconductedmeintohisownapartment.
“Whatisthematter,”hesaid,“Mr.Croftangry?Thisisnotanightforsecular
business,butifanythingsuddenorextraordinaryhashappened”—


“Nothingintheworld,”saidI,forcingmyselfuponconfession,asthebestway
ofclearingmyselfoutofthescrape,—“only—onlyIsentyoualittleparcel,and
asyouaresoregularinacknowledginglettersandcommunications,I—Ithought
itmighthavemiscarried—that’sall.”
Myfriendlaughedheartily,asifhesawintoandenjoyedmymotivesandmy
confusion.“Safe?—itcamesafeenough,”hesaid.“Thewindoftheworld
alwaysblowsitsvanitiesintohaven.Butthisistheendofthesession,whenI
havelittletimetoreadanythingprintedexceptInner-Housepapers;yetifyou
willtakeyourkailwithusnextSaturday,Iwillglanceoveryourwork,thoughI
amsureIamnocompetentjudgeofsuchmatters.”
WiththispromiseIwasfaintotakemyleave,notwithouthalfpersuading
myselfthatifoncethephlegmaticlawyerbeganmylucubrations,hewouldnot
beabletorisefromthemtillhehadfinishedtheperusal,nortoendurean
intervalbetwixthisreadingthelastpage,andrequestinganinterviewwiththe
author.
Nosuchmarksofimpatiencedisplayedthemselves.Time,bluntorkeen,asmy
friendJoannasays,swiftorleisurely,heldhiscourse;andontheappointed
Saturday,Iwasatthedoorpreciselyasitstruckfour.Thedinnerhour,indeed,
wasfivepunctually;butwhatdidIknowbutmyfriendmightwanthalfan
hour’sconversationwithmebeforethattime?Iwasusheredintoanempty
drawing-room,and,fromaneedle-bookandwork-baskethastilyabandoned,I
hadsomereasontothinkIinterruptedmylittlefriend,MissKatie,insome
domesticlabourmorepraiseworthythanelegant.Inthiscriticalage,filialpiety
musthideherselfinacloset,ifshehasamindtodarnherfather’slinen.
Shortlyafter,IwasthemorefullyconvincedthatIhadbeentooearlyanintruder
whenawenchcametofetchawaythebasket,andrecommendtomycourtesiesa
redandgreengentlemaninacage,whoansweredallmyadvancesbycroaking
out,“You’reafool—you’reafool,Itellyou!”until,uponmyword,Ibeganto
thinkthecreaturewasintheright.Atlastmyfriendarrived,alittleoverheated.
Hehadbeentakingaturnatgolf,topreparehimfor“colloquysublime.”And
whereforenot?sincethegame,withitsvarietyofodds,lengths,bunkers,tee’d
balls,andsoon,maybenoinadequaterepresentationofthehazardsattending
literarypursuits.Inparticular,thoseformidablebuffets,whichmakeoneball
spinthroughtheairlikearifle-shot,andstrikeanotherdownintotheveryearth
itisplacedupon,bythemal-adroitness,orthemaliciouspurposeoftheplayer—


whataretheybutparallelstothefavourableordepreciatingnoticesofthe
reviewers,whoplayatgolfwiththepublicationsoftheseason,evenas
Altisidora,inherapproachtothegatesoftheinfernalregions,sawthedevils
playingatracketwiththenewbooksofCervantes’days.
Well,everyhourhasitsend.Fiveo’clockcame,andmyfriend,withhis
daughters,andhishandsomeyoungson,who,thoughfairlybuckledtothedesk,
iseverynowandthenlookingoverhisshoulderatasmartuniform,setseriously
aboutsatisfyingthecorporealwantsofnature;I,stimulatedbyanoblerappetite
afterfame,wishedthatthetouchofamagicwandcould,withoutallthe
ceremonyofpickingandchoosing,carvingandslicing,masticatingand
swallowing,havetransportedaquantumsufficitofthegoodthingsonmy
friend’shospitableboard,intothestomachsofthosewhosurroundedit,tobe
thereatleisureconvertedintochyle,whiletheirthoughtswereturnedonhigher
matters.Atlengthallwasover.Buttheyoungladiessatstill,andtalkedofthe
musicoftheFreischutz,fornothingelsewasthenthoughtof;sowediscussed
thewildhunter’ssong,andthetamehunter’ssong,&c.&c.,inallwhichmy
youngfriendswerequiteathome.Luckilyforme,allthishorningandhooping
drewonsomeallusiontotheSeventhHussars,whichgallantregiment,I
observe,isamorefavouritethemewithbothMissCatherineandherbrother
thanwithmyoldfriend,whopresentlylookedathiswatch,andsaidsomething
significantlytoMr.Jamesaboutofficehours.Theyouthgotupwiththeeaseofa
youngsterthatwouldbethoughtamanoffashionratherthanofbusiness,and
endeavoured,withsomesuccess,towalkoutoftheroom,asifthelocomotion
wasentirelyvoluntary;MissCatherineandhersistersleftusatthesametime,
andnow,thoughtI,mytrialcomeson.
Reader,didyouever,inthecourseofyourlife,cheatthecourtsofjusticeand
lawyers,byagreeingtoreferadubiousandimportantquestiontothedecisionof
amutualfriend?Ifso,youmayhaveremarkedtherelativechangewhichthe
arbiterundergoesinyourestimation,whenraised,thoughbyyourownfree
choice,fromanordinaryacquaintance,whoseopinionswereofaslittle
consequencetoyouasyourstohim,intoasuperiorpersonage,onwhose
decisionyourfatemustdependprotanto,asmyfriendMr.Fairscribewouldsay.
Hislooksassumeamysteriousifnotaminatoryexpression;hishathasaloftier
air,andhiswig,ifhewearsone,amoreformidablebuckle.
Ifelt,accordingly,thatmygoodfriendFairscribe,onthepresentoccasion,had
acquiredsomethingofasimilarincreaseofconsequence.Butaweeksince,he


had,inmyopinion,beenindeedanexcellent-meaningman,perfectlycompetent
toeverythingwithinhisownprofession,butimmured,atthesametime,among
itsformsandtechnicalities,andasincapableofjudgingofmattersoftasteasany
mightyGothwhatsoever,oforbelongingtotheancientSenate-Houseof
Scotland.Butwhatofthat?Ihadmadehimmyjudgebymyownelection;andI
haveoftenobserved,thatanideaofdecliningsuchareference,onaccountofhis
ownconsciousnessofincompetency,is,asitperhapsoughttobe,thelastwhich
occurstotherefereehimself.Hethathasaliteraryworksubjectedtohis
judgmentbytheauthor,immediatelythrowshismindintoacriticalattitude,
thoughthesubjectbeonewhichheneverbeforethoughtof.Nodoubttheauthor
iswellqualifiedtoselecthisownjudge,andwhyshouldthearbiterwhomhe
haschosendoubthisowntalentsforcondemnationoracquittal,sincehehas
beendoubtlesspickedoutbyhisfriend,fromhisindubitablerelianceontheir
competence?Surely,themanwhowrotetheproductionislikelytoknowthe
personbestqualifiedtojudgeofit.
Whilstthesethoughtscrossedmybrain,Ikeptmyeyesfixedonmygoodfriend,
whosemotionsappearedunusuallytardytome,whileheorderedabottleof
particularclaret,decanteditwithscrupulousaccuracywithhisownhand,caused
hisolddomestictobringasaucerofolives,andchipsoftoastedbread,andthus,
onhospitablethoughtsintent,seemedtometoadjournthediscussionwhichI
longedtobringon,yetfearedtoprecipitate.
“Heisdissatisfied,”thoughtI,“andisashamedtoshowit,afraiddoubtlessof
hurtingmyfeelings.WhathadItodototalktohimaboutanythingsave
chartersandsasines?—Stay,heisgoingtobegin.”
“Weareoldfellowsnow,Mr.Croftangry,”saidmylandlord;“scarcelysofitto
takeapoorquartofclaretbetweenus,aswewouldhavebeeninbetterdaysto
takeapint,intheoldScottishliberalacceptationofthephrase.Maybeyou
wouldhavelikedmetohavekeptJamestohelpus.Butifitisnotaholydayor
so,Ithinkitisbestheshouldobserveofficehours.”
Herethediscoursewasabouttofall.Irelieveditbysaying,Mr.Jameswasatthe
happytimeoflife,whenhehadbetterthingstodothantositoverthebottle.“I
suppose,”saidI,“yoursonisareader.”
“Um—yes—Jamesmaybecalledareaderinasense;butIdoubtthereislittle
solidinhisstudies—poetryandplays,Mr.Croftangry,allnonsense—theysethis


heada-gaddingafterthearmy,whenheshouldbemindinghisbusiness.”
“Isuppose,then,thatromancesdonotfindmuchmoregraceinyoureyesthan
dramaticandpoeticalcompositions?”
“Deilabit,deilabit,Mr.Croftangry,norhistoricalproductionseither.Thereis
toomuchfightinginhistory,asifmenonlywerebroughtintothisworldtosend
oneanotheroutofit.Itnourishesfalsenotionsofourbeing,andchiefand
properend,Mr.Croftangry.”
Stillallthiswasgeneral,andIbecamedeterminedtobringourdiscoursetoa
focus.“Iamafraid,then,Ihavedoneveryilltotroubleyouwithmyidle
manuscripts,Mr.Fairscribe;butyoumustdomethejusticetoremember,thatI
hadnothingbettertodothantoamusemyselfbywritingthesheetsIputinto
yourhandstheotherday.Imaytrulyplead—
‘Ileftnocallingforthisidletrade.’”
“Icryyourmercy,Mr.Croftangry,”saidmyoldfriend,suddenlyrecollecting
—“yes,yes,Ihavebeenveryrude;butIhadforgottenentirelythatyouhad
takenaspellyourselfatthatidleman’strade.”
“Isuppose,”repliedI,“you,onyourside,havebeentoobusyamantolookat
mypoorChronicles?”
“No,no,”saidmyfriend,“Iamnotsobadasthatneither.Ihavereadthembit
bybit,justasIcouldgetamoment’stime,andIbelieve,Ishallverysoonget
throughthem.”
“Well,mygoodfriend?”saidI,interrogatively.
And“Well,Mr.Croftangry,”criedhe,“Ireallythinkyouhavegotoverthe
groundverytolerablywell.Ihavenoteddownheretwoorthreebitsofthings,
whichIpresumetobeerrorsofthepress,otherwiseitmightbealleged,perhaps,
thatyoudidnotfullypaythatattentiontothegrammaticalrules,whichone
woulddesiretoseerigidlyobserved.”
Ilookedatmyfriend’snotes,which,infact,showed,thatinoneortwogrossly
obviouspassages,Ihadleftuncorrectedsuchsolecismsingrammar.


“Well,well,Iownmyfault;but,settingapartthesecasualerrors,howdoyou
likethematterandthemannerofwhatIhavebeenwriting,Mr.Fairscribe?”
“Why,”saidmyfriend,pausing,withmoregraveandimportanthesitationthanI
thankedhimfor,“thereisnotmuchtobesaidagainstthemanner.Thestyleis
terseandintelligible,Mr.Croftangry,veryintelligible;andthatIconsiderasthe
firstpointineverythingthatisintendedtobeunderstood.Thereare,indeed,
hereandtheresomeflightsandfancies,whichIcomprehendedwithdifficulty;
butIgottoyourmeaningatlast.Therearepeoplethatarelikeponies;their
judgmentscannotgofast,buttheygosure.”
“Thatisaprettyclearproposition,myfriend;butthenhowdidyoulikethe
meaningwhenyoudidgetatit?orwasthatlikesomeponies,toodifficultto
catch,and,whencaught,notworththetrouble?”
“Iamfarfromsayingthat,mydearsir,inrespectitwouldbedownrightuncivil;
butsinceyouaskmyopinion,Iwishyoucouldhavethoughtaboutsomething
moreappertainingtocivilpolicy,thanallthisbloodyworkaboutshootingand
dirking,anddownrighthanging.IamtolditwastheGermanswhofirstbrought
insuchapracticeofchoosingtheirheroesoutofthePorteousRoll;[Footnote:
Listofcriminalindictments,sotermedinScotland.]but,bymyfaith,wearelike
tobeupsideswiththem.Thefirstwas,asIamcrediblyinformed,Mr.Scolar,as
theycallhim;ascholar-likepieceofworkhehasmadeofit,withhisrobbers
andthieves.”
“Schiller,”saidI,“mydearsir,letitbeSchiller.”
“Schiller,orwhatyoulike,”saidMr.Fairscribe;“IfoundthebookwhereIwish
Ihadfoundabetterone,andthatis,inKate’swork-basket.Isatdown,and,like
anoldfool,begantoread;butthere,Igrant,youhavethebetterofSchiller,Mr.
Croftangry.”
“Ishouldbeglad,mydearsir,thatyoureallythinkIhaveapproachedthat
admirableauthor;evenyourfriendlypartialityoughtnottotalkofmyhaving
excelledhim.”
“ButIdosayyouhaveexcelledhim,Mr.Croftangry,inamostmaterial
particular.Forsurelyabookofamusementshouldbesomethingthatonecan
takeupandlaydownatpleasure;andIcansayjustly,Iwasneverattheleast
losstoputasidethesesheetsofyourswhenbusinesscameintheway.But,faith,


thisSchiller,sir,doesnotletyouoffsoeasily.Iforgotoneappointmenton
particularbusiness,andIwilfullybrokethroughanother,thatImightstayat
homeandfinishhisconfoundedbook,which,afterall,isabouttwobrothers,the
greatestrascalsIeverheardof.Theone,sir,goesneartomurderhisownfather,
andtheother(whichyouwouldthinkstillstranger)setsabouttodebauchhis
ownwife.”
“Ifind,then,Mr.Fairscribe,thatyouhavenotastefortheromanceofreallife—
nopleasureincontemplatingthosespirit-rousingimpulses,whichforcemenof
fierypassionsupongreatcrimesandgreatvirtues?”
“Why,astothat,Iamnotjustsosure.Butthentomendthematter,”continued
thecritic,“youhavebroughtinHighlandersintoeverystory,asifyouwere
goingbackagain,velisetremis,intotheolddaysofJacobitism.Imustspeakmy
plainmind,Mr.Croftangry.IcannottellwhatinnovationsinKirkandStatemay
nowbeproposed,butourfatherswerefriendstoboth,astheyweresettledatthe
gloriousRevolution,andlikedatartanplaidaslittleastheydidawhitesurplice.
IwishtoHeaven,allthistartanfeverbodewelltotheProtestantsuccessionand
theKirkofScotland.”
“Bothtoowellsettled,Ihope,inthemindsofthesubject,”saidI,“tobeaffected
byoldremembrances,onwhichwelookbackasontheportraitsofour
ancestors,withoutrecollecting,whilewegazeonthem,anyofthefeudsby
whichtheoriginalswereanimatedwhilealive.ButmosthappyshouldIbeto
lightuponanytopictosupplytheplaceoftheHighlands,Mr.Fairscribe.Ihave
beenjustreflectingthatthethemeisbecomingalittleexhausted,andyour
experiencemayperhapssupply”–“Ha,ha,ha!—myexperiencesupply!”interruptedMr.Fairscribe,withalaughof
derision;—“why,youmightaswellaskmysonJames’sexperiencetosupplya
case”aboutthirlage.No,no,mygoodfriend,Ihavelivedbythelaw,andinthe
law,allmylife;andwhenyouseektheimpulsesthatmakesoldiersdesertand
shoottheirsergeantsandcorporals,andHighlanddroversdirkEnglishgraziers,
toprovethemselvesmenoffierypassions,itisnottoamanlikemeyoushould
come.Icouldtellyousometricksofmyowntrade,perhaps,andaqueerstoryor
twoofestatesthathavebeenlostandrecovered.But,totellyouthetruth,Ithink
youmightdowithyourMuseofFiction,asyoucallher,asmanyanhonestman
doeswithhisownsonsinfleshandblood.”


“Andhowisthat,mydearsir?”
“SendhertoIndia,tobesure.ThatisthetrueplaceforaScottothrivein;andif
youcarryyourstoryfiftyyearsback,asthereisnothingtohinderyou,youwill
findasmuchshootingandstabbingthereaseverwasinthewildHighlands.If
youwantrogues,astheyaresomuchinfashionwithyou,youhavethatgallant
casteofadventurers,wholaiddowntheirconsciencesattheCapeofGoodHope
astheywentouttoIndia,andforgottotakethemupagainwhentheyreturned.
Then,forgreatexploits,youhaveintheoldhistoryofIndia,beforeEuropeans
werenumerousthere,themostwonderfuldeeds,donebytheleastpossible
means,thatperhapstheannalsoftheworldcanafford.”
“Iknowit,”saidI,kindlingattheideashisspeechinspired.“Irememberinthe
delightfulpagesofOrme,theinterestwhichminglesinhisnarratives,fromthe
verysmallnumberofEnglishwhichareengaged.Eachofficerofaregiment
becomesknowntoyoubyname,nay,thenon-commissionedofficersand
privatesacquireanindividualshareofinterest.Theyaredistinguishedamong
thenativesliketheSpaniardsamongtheMexicans.WhatdoIsay?Theyarelike
Homer’sdemigodsamongthewarringmortals.Men,likeCliveandCaillaud,
influencedgreatevents,likeJovehimself.InferiorofficersarelikeMarsor
Neptune;andthesergeantsandcorporalsmightwellpassfordemigods.Then
thevariousreligiouscostumes,habits,andmannersofthepeopleofHindustan,
—thepatientHindhu,thewarlikeRajahpoot,thehaughtyMoslemah,thesavage
andvindictiveMalay—Gloriousandunboundedsubjects!Theonlyobjectionis,
thatIhaveneverbeenthere,andknownothingatallaboutthem.”
“Nonsense,mygoodfriend.Youwilltellusaboutthemallthebetterthatyou
knownothingofwhatyouaresaying;andcome,we’llfinishthebottle,and
whenKatie(hersistersgototheassembly)hasgivenustea,shewilltellyouthe
outlineofthestoryofpoorMenieGray,whosepictureyouwillseeinthe
drawing-room,adistantrelationofmyfather’s,whohad,however,ahandsome
partofcousinMenie’ssuccession.Therearenonelivingthatcanbehurtbythe
storynow,thoughitwasthoughtbesttosmotheritupatthetime,asindeedeven
thewhispersaboutitledpoorcousinMenietoliveveryretired.Imindherwell
whenachild.Therewassomethingverygentle,butrathertiresome,aboutpoor
cousinMenie.”
Whenwecameintothedrawing-room,myfriendpointedtoapicturewhichI
hadbeforenoticed,without,however,itshavingattractedmorethanapassing


look;nowIregardeditwithmoreattention.Itwasoneofthoseportraitsofthe
middleoftheeighteenthcentury,inwhichartistsendeavouredtoconquerthe
stiffnessofhoopsandbrocades;bythrowingafancydraperyaroundthefigure,
withloosefoldslikeamantleordressinggown,thestays,however,being
retained,andthebosomdisplayedinamannerwhichshowsthatourmothers,
liketheirdaughters,wereasliberaloftheircharmsasthenatureofthedress
mightpermit.Tothis,thewell-knownstyleoftheperiod,thefeaturesandform
oftheindividualadded,atfirstsight,littleinterest.Itrepresentedahandsome
womanofaboutthirty,herhairwoundsimplyaboutherhead,herfeatures
regular,andhercomplexionfair.Butonlookingmoreclosely,especiallyafter
havinghadahintthattheoriginalhadbeentheheroineofatale,Icouldobserve
amelancholysweetnessinthecountenancethatseemedtospeakofwoes
endured,andinjuriessustained,withthatresignationwhichwomencananddo
sometimesdisplayundertheinsultsandingratitudeofthoseonwhomtheyhave
bestowedtheiraffections.
“Yes,shewasanexcellentandanillusedwoman,”saidMr.Fairscribe,hiseye
fixedlikemineonthepicture—“Sheleftourfamilynotless,Idaresay,thanfive
thousandpounds,andIbelieveshediedworthfourtimesthatsum;butitwas
dividedamongthenearestofkin,whichwasallfair.”
“Butherhistory,Mr.Fairscribe,”saidI—“tojudgefromherlook,itmusthave
beenamelancholyone.”
“Youmaysaythat,Mr.Croftangry.Melancholyenough,andextraordinary
enoughtoo—But,”addedhe,swallowinginhasteacupoftheteawhichwas
presentedtohim,“Imustawaytomybusiness—wecannotbegowflingallthe
morning,andtellingoldstoriesalltheafternoon.Katieknowsalltheoutsand
theinsofcousinMenie’sadventuresaswellasIdo,andwhenshehasgivenyou
theparticulars,thenIamatyourservice,tocondescendmorearticulatelyupon
datesorparticulars.”
Well,herewasI,agayoldbachelor,lefttohearalovetalefrommyyoung
friendKatieFairscribe,who,whensheisnotsurroundedbyabevyofgallants,
atwhichtime,tomythinking,sheshowslesstoadvantage,isaspretty,wellbehaved,andunaffectedagirlasyouseetrippingthenewwalksofPrince’s
StreetorHeriotRow.Oldbachelorshipsodecidedasminehasitsprivilegesin
suchatete-a-tete,providingyouare,orcanseemforthetime,perfectlygoodhumouredandattentive,anddonotapethemannersofyouryoungeryears,in


attemptingwhichyouwillonlymakeyourselfridiculous.Idon’tpretendtobe
soindifferenttothecompanyofaprettyyoungwomanaswasdesiredbythe
poet,whowishedtositbesidehismistress—
—“Asunconcern’daswhenHerinfantbeautycouldbegetNorhappinessnor
pain.”
Onthecontrary,Icanlookonbeautyandinnocence,assomethingofwhichI
knowandesteemthevalue,withoutthedesireorhopetomakethemmyown.A
youngladycanaffordtotalkwithanoldstagerlikemewithouteitherartificeor
affectation;andwemaymaintainaspeciesoffriendship,themoretender,
perhaps,becauseweareofdifferentsexes,yetwithwhichthatdistinctionhas
verylittletodo.
Now,Ihearmywisestandmostcriticalneighbourremark,“Mr.Croftangryisin
thewayofdoingafoolishthing,Heiswelltopass—OldFairscribeknowstoa
pennywhatheisworth,andMissKatie,withallherairs,mayliketheoldbrass
thatbuysthenewpan.IthoughtMr.Croftangrywaslookingverycadgywhen
hecameintoplayarubberwithuslastnight.Poorgentleman,IamsureI
shouldbesorrytoseehimmakeafoolofhimself.”
Spareyourcompassion,dearmadam,thereisnottheleastdanger.Thebeaux
yeuxdemacasettearenotbrilliantenoughtomakeamendsforthespectacles
whichmustsupplythedimnessofmyown.Iamalittledeaf,too,asyouknow
toyoursorrowwhenwearepartners;andifIcouldgetanymphtomarryme
withalltheseimperfections,whothedeucewouldmarryJanetMcEvoy?and
fromJanetMcEvoyChrystalCroftangrywillnotpart.
MissKatieFairscribegavemethetaleofMenieGraywithmuchtasteand
simplicity,notattemptingtosuppressthefeelings,whetherofgriefor
resentment,whichjustlyandnaturallyarosefromthecircumstancesofthetale.
Herfatherafterwardsconfirmedtheprincipaloutlinesofthestory,andfurnished
mewithsomeadditionalcircumstances,whichMissKatiehadsuppressedor
forgotten.Indeed,Ihavelearnedonthisoccasion,whatoldLintotmeantwhen
hetoldPope,thatheusedtopropitiatethecriticsofimportance,whenhehada
workinthepress,bynowandthenlettingthemseeasheetoftheblottedproof,
orafewleavesoftheoriginalmanuscript.Ourmysteryofauthorshiphas
somethingaboutitsofascinating,thatifyouadmitanyone,howeverlittlehe
maypreviouslyhavebeendisposedtosuchstudies,intoyourconfidence,you


willfindthatheconsidershimselfasapartyinterested,and,ifsuccessfollows,
willthinkhimselfentitledtonoinconsiderableshareofthepraise.
Thereaderhasseenthatnoonecouldhavebeennaturallylessinterestedthan
wasmyexcellentfriendFairscribeinmylucubrations,whenIfirstconsulted
himonthesubject;butsincehehascontributedasubjecttothework,hehas
becomeamostzealouscoadjutor;andhalf-ashamed,Ibelieve,yethalf-proudof
theliterarystock-company,inwhichhehasgotashare,henevermeetsme
withoutjoggingmyelbow,anddroppingsomemysterioushints,as,“Iamsaying
—whenwillyougiveusanymoreofyon?”—or,“Yon’snotabadnarrative—I
likeyon.”
PrayHeaventhereadermaybeofhisopinion.

THESURGEON’SDAUGHTER.

CHAPTERTHEFIRST.

WhenfaintingNaturecall’dforaid,AndhoveringDeathpreparedtheblow,
Hisvigorousremedydisplay’dThepowerofartwithouttheshow;InMisery’s
darkestcavernsknown,Hisusefulcarewasevernigh,WherehopelessAnguish
pour’dhisgroan,AndlonelyWantretiredtodie;Nosummonsmock’dbycold
delay,Nopettygainsdisclaim’dbypride,ThemodestwantsofeverydayThe
toilofeverydaysupplied.SAMUELJOHNSON.
TheexquisitelybeautifulportraitwhichtheRamblerhaspaintedofhisfriend
Levett,welldescribesGideonGray,andmanyothervillagedoctors,fromwhom
Scotlandreapsmorebenefit,andtowhomsheisperhapsmoreungratefulthanto
anyotherclassofmen,exceptingherschoolmasters.
Sucharuralmanofmedicineisusuallytheinhabitantofsomeprettyboroughor
village,whichformsthecentralpointofhispractice.But,besidesattendingto
suchcasesasthevillagemayafford,heisdayandnightattheserviceofevery
onewhomaycommandhisassistancewithinacircleoffortymilesindiameter,


untraversedbyroadsinmanydirections,andincludingmoors,mountains,rivers,
andlakes.Forlateanddangerousjourneysthroughaninaccessiblecountryfor
servicesofthemostessentialkind,renderedattheexpense,orriskatleast,ofhis
ownhealthandlife,theScottishvillagedoctorreceivesatbestaverymoderate
recompense,oftenonewhichistotallyinadequate,andveryfrequentlynone
whatever.Hehasnoneoftheampleresourcespropertothebrothersofthe
profession.inanEnglishtown.TheburgessesofaScottishboroughare
rendered,bytheirlimitedmeansofluxury,inaccessibletogout,surfeits,andall
thecomfortablechronicdiseaseswhichareattendantonwealthandindolence.
Fouryears,orso,ofabstemiousness,enablethemtostandanelectiondinner;
andthereisnohopeofbrokenheadsamongascoreortwoofquietelectors,who
settlethebusinessoveratable.Therethemothersofthestatenevermakeapoint
ofpouring,inthecourseofeveryrevolvingyear,acertainquantityofdoctor’s
stuffthroughthebowelsoftheirbelovedchildren.Everyoldwoman,fromthe
TownheadtotheTownfit,canprescribeadoseofsalts,orspreadaplaster;andit
isonlywhenafeverorapalsyrendersmattersserious,thattheassistanceofthe
doctorisinvokedbyhisneighboursintheborough.
Butstillthemanofsciencecannotcomplainofinactivityorwantofpractice.If
hedoesnotfindpatientsathisdoor,heseeksthemthroughawidecircle.Like
theghostlyloverofBurger’sLeonora,hemountsatmidnightandtraversesin
darkness,pathswhich,tothoselessaccustomedtothem,seemformidablein
daylight,throughstraitswheretheslightestaberrationwouldplungehimintoa
morass,orthrowhimoveraprecipice,ontocabinswhichhishorsemightride
overwithoutknowingtheylayinhisway,unlesshehappenedtofallthroughthe
roofs.Whenhearrivesatsuchastatelyterminationofhisjourney,wherehis
servicesarerequired,eithertobringawretchintotheworld,orpreventonefrom
leavingit,thesceneofmiseryisoftensuch,that,farfromtouchingthehardsavedshillingswhicharegratefullyofferedtohim,hebestowshismedicinesas
wellashisattendance—forcharity.IhaveheardthecelebratedtravellerMungo
Park,whohadexperiencedbothcoursesoflife,rathergivethepreferenceto
travellingasadiscovererinAfrica,thantowanderingbynightanddaythewilds
ofhisnativelandinthecapacityofacountrymedicalpractitioner.Hementioned
havingonceuponatimerodefortymiles,satupallnight,andsuccessfully
assistedawomanunderinfluenceoftheprimitivecurse,forwhichhissole
remunerationwasaroastedpotatoandadraughtofbuttermilk.Buthiswasnot
theheartwhichgrudgedthelabourthatrelievedhumanmisery.Inshort,thereis
nocreatureinScotlandthatworksharderandismorepoorlyrequitedthanthe
countrydoctor,unlessperhapsitmaybehishorse.Yetthehorseis,andindeed


mustbe,hardy,active,andindefatigable,inspiteofaroughcoatandindifferent
condition;andsoyouwilloftenfindinhismaster,underanunpromisingand
bluntexterior,professionalskillandenthusiasm,intelligence,humanity,courage,
andscience.
Mr.GideonGray,surgeoninthevillageofMiddlemas,situatedinoneofthe
midlandcountiesofScotland,ledtherough,active,andill-rewardedcourseof
lifewhichwehaveendeavouredtodescribe.Hewasamanbetweenfortyand
fifty,devotedtohisprofession,andofsuchreputationinthemedicalworld,that
hehadbeenmorethanonce,asopportunitiesoccurred,advisedtoexchange
Middlemasanditsmeagrecircleofpractice,forsomeofthelargertownsin
Scotland,orforEdinburghitself.Thisadvicehehadalwaysdeclined.Hewasa
plainbluntman,whodidnotloverestraint,andwasunwillingtosubjecthimself
tothatwhichwasexactedinpolitesociety.Hehadnothimselffoundout,nor
hadanyfriendhintedtohim,thataslighttouchofthecynic,inmannerand
habits,givesthephysician,tothecommoneye,anairofauthoritywhichgreatly
tendstoenlargehisreputation.Mr.Gray,or,asthecountrypeoplecalledhim,
DoctorGray,(hemightholdthetitlebydiplomaforwhatIknow,thoughheonly
claimedtherankofMasterofArts,)hadfewwants,andthesewereamply
suppliedbyaprofessionalincomewhichgenerallyapproachedtwohundred
poundsayear,forwhich,uponanaverage,hetravelledaboutfivethousand
milesonhorsebackinthecourseofthetwelvemonths.Nay,soliberallydidthis
revenuesupporthimselfandhisponies,calledPestleandMortar,whichhe
exercisedalternately,thathetookadamseltoshareit,JeanWatson,namely,the
cherry-cheekeddaughterofanhonestfarmer,whobeingherselfoneoftwelve
childrenwhohadbeenbroughtuponanincomeoffourscorepoundsayear,
neverthoughttherecouldbepovertyinmorethandoublethesum;andlooked
onGray,thoughnowtermedbyirreverentyouththeOldDoctor,asavery
advantageousmatch.Forseveralyearstheyhadnochildren,anditseemedasif
DoctorGray,whohadsooftenassistedtheeffortsofthegoddessLucina,was
nevertoinvokeherinhisownbehalf.Yethisdomesticroofwas,ona
remarkableoccasion,decreedtobethescenewherethegoddess’sartwas
required.
Lateofanautumneveningthreeoldwomenmightbeobservedplyingtheiraged
limbsthroughthesinglestreetofthevillageatMiddlemastowardsthehonoured
door,which,fencedofffromthevulgarcauseway,wasdefendedbyabroken
paling,enclosingtwoslipsofground,halfarable,halfoverrunwithanabortive
attemptatshrubbery.ThedooritselfwasblazonedwiththenameofGideon


Gray,M.A.Surgeon,&c.&c.Someoftheidleyoungfellows,whohadbeena
minuteortwobeforeloiteringattheotherendofthestreetbeforethedoorofthe
alehouse,(forthepretendedinndeservednobettername,)nowaccompaniedthe
olddameswithshoutsoflaughter,excitedbytheirunwontedagility;andwith
betsonthewinner,asloudlyexpressedasiftheyhadbeenlaidatthestarting
postofMiddlemasraces.“HalfamutchkinonLuckieSimson!”—“AuldPeg
Tamsonagainstthefield!”—“Mairspeed,AlisonJaup,ye’lltakthewindoutof
themyet!”—“Cannyagainstthehill,lasses,orwemayhaveabursternauld
earlineamangye!”These,andathousandsuchgibes,renttheair,withoutbeing
noticed,orevenheard,bytheanxiousracers,whoseobjectofcontentionseemed
tobe,whichshouldfirstreachtheDoctor’sdoor.
“Guideus,Doctor,whatcanbethematternow?”saidMrs.Gray,whose
characterwasthatofagood-naturedsimpleton;“Here’sPegTamson,Jean
Simson,andAlisonJaup,runningaraceonthehiestreetoftheburgh!”
TheDoctor,whohadbutthemomentbeforehunghiswetgreat-coatbeforethe
fire,(forhewasjustdismountedfromalongjourney,)hasteneddownstairs,
arguingsomenewoccasionforhisservices,andhappy,that,from,thecharacter
ofthemessengers,itwaslikelytobewithinburgh,andnotlandward.
HehadjustreachedthedoorasLuckieSimson,oneoftheracers,arrivedinthe
littleareabeforeit.Shehadgotthestart,andkeptit,butattheexpense,forthe
time,ofherpowerofutterance;forwhenshecameinpresenceoftheDoctor,
shestoodblowinglikeagrampus,herloosetoyflyingbackfromherface,
makingthemostviolentefforttospeak,butwithoutthepowerofutteringa
singleintelligibleword.PegThompsonwhippedinbeforeher.
“Theleddy,sir,theleddy!”
“Instanthelp,instanthelp!”—screechedratherthanuttered,AlisonJaup;while
LuckieSimson,whohadcertainlywontherace,foundwordstoclaimtheprize
whichhadsetthemallinmotion.
“AndIhope,sir,youwillrecommendmetobethesick-nurse;Iwashereto
bringyouthetidingslangbeforeonyo’thaelazyqueans.”
Loudwerethecounter-protestationsofthetwocompetitors,andloudthelaugh
oftheidleloonswholistenedatalittledistance.


“Holdyourtongue,yeflytingfools,”saidtheDoctor;“andyou,yeidlerascals,
ifIcomeoutamongyou.”Sosaying,hesmackedhislong-lashedwhipwith
greatemphasis,producingmuchtheeffectofthecelebratedQuosegoof
NeptuneinthefirstAEneid.—“Andnow,”saidtheDoctor,“where,orwho,is
thislady?”
Thequestionwasscarcenecessary;foraplaincarriage,withfourhorses,came
atafoot’spacetowardsthedooroftheDoctor’shouse,andtheoldwomen,now
moreattheirease,gavetheDoctortounderstand,thatthegentlemanthoughtthe
accommodationoftheSwanInntotallyunfitforhislady’srankandcondition,
andhad,bytheiradvice,(eachclaimingthemeritofthesuggestion,)broughther
here,toexperiencethehospitalityofthewestroom;—aspareapartment,in
whichDoctorGrayoccasionallyaccommodatedsuchpatients,ashedesiredto
keepforaspaceoftimeunderhisowneye.
Thereweretwopersonsonlyinthevehicle.Theone,agentlemaninariding
dress,sprungout,andhavingreceivedfromtheDoctoranassurancethatthe
ladywouldreceivetolerableaccommodationinhishouse,helentassistanceto
hiscompaniontoleavethecarriage,andwithgreatapparentsatisfaction,sawher
safelydepositedinadecentsleepingapartment,andundertherespectablecharge
oftheDoctorandhislady,whoassuredhimoncemoreofeveryspeciesof
attention.Tobindtheirpromisemorefirmly,thestrangerslippedapurseof
twentyguineas(forthisstorychancedinthegoldenage)intothehandofthe
Doctor,asanearnestofthemostliberalrecompense,andrequestedhewould
sparenoexpenseinprovidingallthatwasnecessaryordesirableforapersonin
thelady’scondition,andforthehelplessbeingtowhomshemightimmediately
beexpectedtogivebirth.Hethensaidhewouldretiretotheinn,wherehe
beggedamessagemightinstantlyacquainthimwiththeexpectedchangeinthe
lady’ssituation.
“Sheisofrank,”hesaid,“andaforeigner;letnoexpensebespared.We
designedtohavereachedEdinburgh,butwereforcedtoturnofftheroadbyan
accident.”Oncemorehesaid,“Letnoexpensebespared,andmanagethatshe
maytravelassoonaspossible.”
“That,”saidtheDoctor,“ispastmycontrol.Naturemustnotbehurried,andshe
avengesherselfofeveryattempttodoso.”
“Butart,”saidthestranger,“candomuch,”andheprofferedasecondpurse,


whichseemedasheavyasthefirst.
“Art,”saidtheDoctor,“mayberecompensed,butcannotbepurchased.You
havealreadypaidmemorethanenoughtotaketheutmostcareIcanofyour
lady;shouldIacceptmoremoney,itcouldonlybeforpromising,byimplication
atleast,whatisbeyondmypowertoperform.Everypossiblecareshallbetaken
ofyourlady,andthataffordsthebestchanceofherbeingspeedilyabletotravel.
Now,goyoutotheinn,sir,forImaybeinstantlywanted,andwehavenotyet
providedeitheranattendantforthelady,oranurseforthechild;butbothshall
bepresentlydone.”
“Yetamoment,Doctor—whatlanguagesdoyouunderstand?”
“LatinandFrenchIcanspeakindifferently,andsoastobeunderstood;andI
readalittleItalian.”
“ButnoPortugueseorSpanish?”continuedthestranger.
“No,sir.”
“Thatisunlucky.ButyoumaymakeherunderstandyoubymeansofFrench.
Takenotice,youaretocomplywithherrequestineverything—ifyouwant
meanstodoso,youmayapplytome.”
“MayIask,sir,bywhatnametheladyistobe”—
“Itistotallyindifferent,”saidthestranger,interruptingthequestion;“Youshall
knowitatmoreleisure.”
Sosaying,hethrewhisamplecloakabouthim,turninghimselfhalfroundto
assisttheoperation,withanairwhichtheDoctorwouldhavefounditdifficultto
imitate,andwalkeddownthestreettothelittleinn.Herehepaidanddismissed
thepostilions,andshuthimselfupinanapartment,orderingnoonetobe
admittedtilltheDoctorshouldcall.
TheDoctor,whenhereturnedtohispatient’sapartment,foundhiswifeingreat
surprise,which,asisusualwithpersonsofhercharacter,wasnotunmixedwith
fearandanxiety.
“ShecannotspeakawordlikeaChristianbeing,”saidMrs.Gray.


“Iknowit,”saidtheDoctor.
“Butshethreepstokeeponablackfause-face,andskirlsifweoffertotakeit
away.”
“Wellthen,letherwearit—Whatharmwillitdo?”
“Harm,Doctor!”Waseverhonestwomanbroughttobedwithafause-faceon?”
“Seldom,perhaps.But,Jean,mydear,thosewhoarenotquitehonestmustbe
broughttobedallthesameasthosewhoare,andwearenottoendangerthe
poorthing’slifebycontradictingherwhimsatpresent.”
Approachingthesickwoman’sbed,heobservedthatsheindeedworeathinsilk
mask,ofthekindwhichdosuchuncommonserviceintheeldercomedy;suchas
womenofrankstillworeintravelling,butcertainlyneverinthesituationofthis
poorlady.Itwouldseemshehadsustainedimportunityonthesubject,forwhen
shesawtheDoctor,sheputherhandtoherface,asifshewasafraidhewould
insistonpullingoffthevizard.
Hehastenedtosay,intolerableFrench,thatherwillshouldbealawtothemin
everyrespect,andthatshewasatperfectlibertytowearthemasktillitwasher
pleasuretolayitaside.Sheunderstoodhim;forshereplied,byaveryimperfect
attempt,inthesamelanguage,toexpresshergratitudeforthepermission,asshe
seemedtoregardit,ofretainingherdisguise.
TheDoctorproceededtootherarrangements;and,forthesatisfactionofthose
readerswhomayloveminuteinformation,werecord,thatLuckieSimson,the
firstintherace,carriedasaprizethesituationofsick-nursebesidethedelicate
patient;thatPegThomsonwaspermittedtheprivilegeofrecommendingher
good-daughter,BetJamieson,tobewet-nurse;andanoe,orgrandchild,of
LuckieJaupwashiredtoassistintheincreaseddrudgeryofthefamily;the
Doctorthus,likeapractisedminister,dividingamonghistrustyadherentssuch
goodthingsasfortuneplacedathisdisposal.
AboutoneinthemorningtheDoctormadehisappearanceattheSwanInn,and
acquaintedthestrangergentleman,thathewishedhimjoyofbeingthefatherof
ahealthyboy,andthatthemotherwas,intheusualphrase,aswellascouldbe
expected.


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