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culations. The poor fellow admits to a little touch of jealousy at the thought of the number of new suitors her good fortune might bring around her, and that on that account alone was he anxious for the renewal of the pledge. He acknowledges that in this thought he was not doing her justice, and in the midst of his misery asks her pardon for such a thought ever having crossed his mind. He thus concludes, embittered into a fierce determination to keep what he justly thought was his own:

her affections, but, on the contrary, made | for their living in. She had wronged him them more lasting, whatever might be the cruelly in what she said about her money. opinion of her parents. He seems to It had never for moment been in his calhave wished to make himself perfectly certain of this, and one night pressed her to give a direct answer as to whether she would still marry him; when she replied, "I mean to say yes, but will you allow me a little time?' He said, "Certainly; as much as you choose: it is nothing new. You have thought of it before, and something may intervene." She replied, Nothing could possibly intervene; wish no time. I am yours for ever." This was on the 4th of May. Next day she received letters from her uncle's executors, telling her of some more money which, as residuary legatee, she inherited, and of some West Indian property of which she was to be heiress. On the 6th she wrote Beattie :

66

:

"I cannot give you back your vow, or rather I should say vows. I cannot give you back your letters-justice, honour, truth forbid it; the use of these letters must now be regulated by circumstances. I will renounce no claim, but maintain and defend them to the last. There is something so peculiar in this business that I fear cannot refrain taking steps to justify myself to your parents and the world. It grieves me to the heart to write in this style, but I cannot help it. Unfit as I am for the task, I must take a copy of this before dispatching it. Wishing you more happiness than you have left me in possession of, and improvement in your health, I have still more to say, but cannot now pro

"Can you, will you forgive me if I ask you to give me back that promise, which I gave you on Sunday? I then asked for a few hours' consid-I eration had you given me that it would have saved me this to-day. I then boldly declared that my mother's consent was of small consequence, but that is not the case, and she will never, I fear, consent; but you know I never mentioned your last letter, and I hope this correspondence may be kept as quiet. That this will give you pain I do not doubt, but better give it now than afterwards; and believe me, you have little to regret in the want of a nearer connection with me, unless my money, and that is not one-tenth of what they call it at Montrose. ... I shall only add that there breathes not the man in Europe I at present prefer to you, but still I consider we may be better apart.”

ceed further."

To this Miss Gibson replies as follows:

"I own the justice and truth of all you have written, and now ask your forgiveness. I had not any idea of the pain my letter has given you; but on that head we are now "quits.” May God forgive you for the harshness of yours; This letter caused her lover much pain. but I would require to take care what I write, In the statement he drew up during the as you are a man of law, and therefore not two last years of his life, he tells us that fairly match; however, I hope you will answer at first he could scarcely credit his senses; me by the servant, and tell me whether you will then that he thought it must be a jeu or can forgive me, and believe I shall endeavour d'esprit to vex him. He soon, however, not to hurt your feelings again. I allow it was began to view the matter in the light in unguarded and highly unfeeling, and I am sor which it was intended, and he wrote her ay to say I have no excuse for myself. I have long letter in reply, telling her that she only one thing more to add : if you still wish me to become your bride, I beg that previous to knew little of his feelings when she simply quitting my father's home, all letters that have said that her letter would give him pain; passed betwixt us may be destroyed." that no language could express his state of mind: he did not think it possible she In an ecstasy of happiness, the quick recould have asked anything he could not bound from the deep grief he had been have granted, if it had been in his power. suffering, which would not allow him to He now saw he had been fatally mistaken. detect certain marks of stratagem apparHe could much sooner part with his ex-ent to another eye, he writes: istence than give her back her promise, "MY DEAR MISS GIBSON,I have this mocome what would. He recapitulates the history of their meetings and love for the last two years. He reminds her of the day in which she pointed out the house which she wished to be purchased or taken

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ment received your letter. I am too happy not to forget and forgive what has passed. The trial was severe. You are an angel still. God Almighty bless you. My already enervated frame tells me I could not live without you; you

must therefore be my bride. Make of your fortune what you please; personally, I neither wish control over nor the slightest benefit from it in any shape, and it will be the happiest moment of my life when I can formally renounce it. I only want Miss Gibson, and she knows I could have begged my bread with her. Adieu, &c. I am yours for ever."

She will submit to any thing rather than to go into a court of law. She begs him to make no more complaints to her father, as his health was too feeble to permit of his being agitated. She begs him to return all the letters she has ever written him. On his part he says that he wrote the statement of facts in despair. It was sent off in a moment. He need not say if he repented it. He is so overwhelmed with misery that he attempts to fall upon expedients with a view to temporary relief, and in the next instant all appears like a dream. He appeals to his affection for her. He asks her to tell him to go to the uttermost parts of the earth, anything, rather than give her up. He cannot do business, he cannot read a sheet while this misery lasts. To send back her letters, he says, would be like closing the very tomb on himself; and again he breaks out that he cannot permit the engagement on her part to be evaded without seeking every redress in his power. He assures her that he is very unwilling to trouble her with his complaints: he wishes it were possible to suffer in silence. Notwithstanding every exertion he gets worse and worse. No effort of reason or attempt to laugh away his misery has the least effect. He talks of the possibility of something happening to him, in case of which he locks away her letters, with written instructions that they should be delivered to her. He was lately one of the happiest beings in existence, now he is the most miserable.

Soon after writing this he met her on the old terms and "all that had occurred of a disagreeable nature was completely buried in oblivion." She told him that she had made the request only to try him, and laughed at the idea of his having taken up this idea so seriously. She voluntarily took a most solemn oath that she would punctually and faithfully fulfil her engagements with him, and never think of retracting them, while she drew breath. She wished to live a short time at the home of Kinnaber, to which she had just gone, but that after that, as soon as the arrangements were made, their marriage was to take place. One of the numerous admirers that poor Beattie's jealousy had conjured up, now appeared in the person of a Mr. William Smart, a partner in a firm of corn merchants. Beattie was not slow to perceive that she received this gentleman's advances with anything but reluctance, and he suffered accordingly. Some time afterwards she met him, and even she was struck with his looking so unwell. "I made no immediate answer," he says, "and I confess I was a good deal affected, as she looked poorly herself. Miss Gibson then burst into tears, and said she could It now became generally understood in never forgive herself, for having latterly the county that Miss Gibson had abanacted towards me as she had done. . . doned Beattie and that she was going to She asked me to come back as soon as pos- marry Mr. Smart. A Mr. A- called sible, and said we both would be in high upon Beattie and attempted to get back spirits at next meeting." This, however, her letters, but in vain. As the approachseemed only a momentary fit of compunc- ing marriage began to be talked of Beattion, for she goes on continuing to receive tie's misery deepened. He began to be and return Mr. Smart's attentions and sets apprehensive he could not survive the day, off on a visit to Edinburgh without ac- for on the 8th of August he makes a will, quainting Beattie of the circumstance; and fearful that she should marry within when afterwards upbraided by him she the sixty days necessary to constitute its tells him that she has been ordered on legality, he writes to her praying her to many excursions for her health, and that postpone the marriage. He tells her that this information must suffice for one and all if she marries within the sixty days, his of her absences. This grieves Beattie very brother and sister will be left unprovided . much, and in despair he draws up what he for. After that date she may marry, for calls a statement of facts, which he sends he will be no more. "O do not do anyto her father. Miss Gibson obtained this thing to hasten it!" he bursts out, “not statement from her father, and a corre- upon my own account, but on account of spondence ensues betwixt Beattie and her- those who are dependent on me and never self on the subject, in which she refers have offended you; I never intended to do again to her fortune with a twitting cruel- so - but I do not know myself. Will you ty. "I find my fortune has too many yet offer my best respects to your parents. charms for you," she writes "and you are I will never see any of you again, nor determined to prosecute me or have it." the garden, &c.; it is better I should not,

the MS. frequent interruptions, showing
that it was written at different periods,
the new paragraphs generally beginning
with some such sentence as this, "After
an interval of suffering, I have again taken
up my pen. I find no improvement in the
state of my mind." Then he passes into
fresh explanation of his own conduct,
and fresh attempts to comprehend hers.
He cannot get rid of a deep and indelible,
sense of the wrongs done him. He quotes
Campbell's lines written on the grave of a
suicide:-

"Ah! once perhaps the social passion glowed
That smote its kindred heart, might yet be prone
In thy devoted bosom; and the hand
To deeds of mercy. Who may understand
Thy many woes, poor suicide unknown?
He, who thy being gave, shall judge of thee

alone."

it would only make me worse. These They will not be left destitute here." He recollections are bitter. Will you pray tells us he has not slept many hours in the for me?" This letter is answered by her course of two months. He could not read, father, who, in his rough way, attempts he could not bear to think. He looks some consolation, telling him there is as back over a dreary desert, all black and good fish in the sea as ever came out of it, damp with mists, to the happy days when and asking him to come and see them he used to take delight in simple pleasagain as usual. Miss Gibson's own con-ures, the seeking for birdsnests and the duct seems to have been very harsh and playing with children. There occurs in unnatural. She returned him no answer to his letter. She is even said to have made public his last appeal for delay, and in other ways to have made his feelings a subject of mockery. We get a glimpse of two scenes, which are painfully vivid in the light of the days that were to come shed upon them. The one is of a little noisy provincial theatre, boasting a small stage, and a set of third-rate actors. In a conspicuous position, not so much enjoying the acting as listening to the talk of the people around her, and especially that of one gentleman, sits Miss Gibson, the centre of a group of admirers. Not very far off in a darkened parlour sits a lonely figure, as if beaten down by some great sorrow, his head resting on his arm, all drawn together, as if he would have escaped from any light still lingering in the room. He has just come from his office and has heard from a friend where she, of whose cruelty He describes the fact of Miss Gibson's he is dying, is, and what she is doing. accusing him of having designs against her Poor man, the light will soon all be gone; property as sickening his very soul. He is the darkness of night will soon settle over sorry that under his sufferings he should him. But he has to sit there many a have threatened to go into a court of law. weary hour still, waiting till those sixty That he could there have obtained damdays expire, and writing those tragic last ages he had no doubt; but he would words of his which he has left us, in what sooner have coined his heart's blood than he himself entitles The Last. He speaks of raised money by such means. He tries to a dreadful cloud having hung over him for reason himself out of his miserable state of some days, and he fears he shall never mind. He has still the beautiful world again enjoy the sunshine of the world. around him, the delight of his solitary Again and again does he recur to the sub-walks, his troop of friends. He recognizes ject uppermost in his mind; again and all this. Al! these objects still exist; but again does he indulge in the most minute they are not the same to him. He sees introspection. He trusts that although he them through a totally different medium. finds himself deficient in many respects," The smooth mirror of my mind, which and though he dies the death of a wretched suicide, he will be happy, having a firm confidence in the unbounded goodness and mercy of God. He would like to mention his friends and acquaintances, but he is afraid in the agitation of his mind he may forget some of them. "I meant to have written a separate letter to my parents; this, however, I cannot do. I can only think of them with that dreadful degree of agony, that the perspiration falls in drops from the tips of my fingers on the paper. I die as I lived, their loving, dutiful and affectionate son We will all meet in a better world. I have one consolation.

formerly reflected all objects in such a
pleasing and agreeable manner, and which
was a continual source of happiness to me,
is now broken and ruffled, and reflects
everything distorted, hideous, and disgust-
ful. I am a different being from my for-
mer self, and support a different and painful
existence." Once again he turns to her
who has wronged him, and assures her
that she has his full forgiveness. Then he
makes some little bequests.
He remem-
bers all the poor people around about him,
and leaves a pound to a "poor man, nearly
blind, who often sits on the churchyard
brae." His thoughts drew once more to

about what she wished. She is at full liberty to laugh at me. I suppose few, after all-bad as the world is will envy her of her sport. It is not in all cases the extent of the wrong, but the reflection of by whom it is inflicted, that plants the sting. When Cæsar saw Brutus stab at him he offered no resistance - his heart burst, and, muffing up his face in a mantle, he fell at the base of Pompey's statue. All is now over. I die in perfect goodwill towards every human being. If my feelings may have led me to say anything offensive respecting Miss G., I am sorry for it. She has my entire forgiveness. If I have erred in anything, I hope she will forgive me, and it will be wise in her to forget what may have passed betwixt us. If I could have done this I would have been happy. There is no use in repining. I never did so before."

Miss Gibson, and then to his kindred. "It is awful to think that I cannot live and cannot die without shocking my relatives. They have not been out of my mind for a moment for a very long time. It is a dreadful alternative. I will make it as little shocking as possible. I will lay down the burden, which I can no longer bear, in some sequestered place; I think in that solemn, sacred, silent spot where iny bones will be deposited." The only thing that gives him consolation is the fact that he is not suffering from any wrong he has himself committed. It is not remorse he is suffering from, nor anything like it. He deplores the fact that the agonies of his mind do not hurt his bodily frame. He is perfectly assured of his sanity. He could wish to live, if he could only forget the past; but that he cannot do. Although he has gone about all his ordinary pursuits and mixed in society, he has never forgot- He was fully bent on suicide. He went ten for a moment of time the awful situa- all the way to Aberdeen to buy a pistol. tion in which he was placed. He feels the It appears that the first one he bought did scene is closing over him. He feels no re- not please him, and he returned and purpugnance at the thought of death. On chased another. It is believed he went to the contrary, if it had been an honourable his native village, St. Cyrus, and tested one he would have been perfectly happy. the pistol on the door of a salmon fishNothing could have had the effect on him house. On the morning of Monday, the that this had. "Perpetual imprisonment, 29th of September, he looked out of his with all the squalor carceris and torture it- office, and said there would be rain. He self, would not have reduced me to my sent some one to the Kirkbrae, where the present state. Under all this the spirit distant sky could clearly be seen, and and the mind would have remained unsub- found it did not look much like rain. He dued. When these are deeply wounded, then went in and dressed himself, with unall is over. When the heart is sickened to usual care, in his best suit. As he was gothe core there is no remedy. The varie- ing out, his sister spoke of preparing gated fields that used to delight me now something for his dinner, and he answered, pall upon my sight, and the changing foli-"No, Kate, ye'll not do that. I am going age affords me no delight. I have no ref- to the country, and I'll maybe no be back uge, but in the silent and peaceful grave." to dinner, and I can get something-if I Once more he dwells, with a low wail of come, if I come," which he repeated twice. pain, on the old days of mutual vows of af- Going out, he turned back twice and spoke fection betwixt them. "Miss Gibson cannot about rain. He proceeded to the links, have forgotten, at least ought not to forget, and eat an apple or two from a ship that how we anticipated the happiness we had in had just come in. The sun shone merrily, prospect, and how we imagined ourselves and life was going on as usual about him. in the possession of all the happiness and The golfers were playing on the links, the enjoyments of the state in which we were tradesmen at their usual work, the reapers to enter that we hoped to be blessed binding up the yellow corn, the ships sailwith pledges of our affection; and Missing out on the great sea. He passed the Gibson spoke with pleasure of my fondness for children. Can this be forgotten?" He had thus been at the very gates of the Paradise he had conjured up for himself had looked into it, and found it exceeding fair; and while he looked, a cruel wind came from within the garden itself, and brought desolation around. The last paragraph he wrote is as follows: the lines in italics having been erased from his MS. :

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"Well, she has succeeded in bringing

woods of Kinnaber, where he had "birdnested" with her who had been so faithless to him. He crosses the North Esk, and hastens to the braes of St. Cyrus, where he had spent his childhood. Amid these scenes he had begun the life he now longed to end. How different is be now to then! Then a happy child, with the world before him, and a brave heart to wrestle with it; now a maimed soldier, returning from the battle with a heart's

wound. We lose sight of him altogether | fate of its author. It has been well called after this. No one saw him entering the a sort of amplified and localized Tam o' churchyard where he was found next morn- Shanter. The original of the hero of the ing; no one heard the fatal shot, nor knew story is a certain John Finlay, a native of whether the deed was done while the sun the little village of Arnhaul. He was was yet high in the heavens, or after it had town's officer in Montrose, and a wellgone down in the lurid grandeur of the known character. A local Munchausen, storm that came on that night. Next he used to tell endless stories, of which he morning he was found by a herd-boy and was always the hero, many of which he two salmon-fishers, lying near the grave of used to preface with, "When I was in the his sister, in the exact spot where he is army," although he had never served all now buried. "His hands were resting on his life. It is true, as Beattie tells us, his breast, the pistol lay with the muzzle resting on his lip near his mouth, and the thumb of the right hand close to the trigger." His face was not touched in the slightest degree by the powder, and he must have put the pistol as far back into his mouth as he could. Beside him lay a letter addressed to his brother David. It is written in his usual clear and regular handwriting. It is most affectionate, but simply tells him the reason of his suicide, and the provisions he had made for him and his sister.

A few days afterwards he was buried where he was found; and a year later a marble tablet was erected to his memory, containing a lengthy tribute to the benevolence of his disposition, the firmness and independence of his principles, and the force and pathos of his genius. The tomb is enclosed with a railing, round which a wild honeysuckle has twined itself, and where it blooms and is fragrant. And so died this little commonplace-looking man, with the power of inexhaustible love in his heart and the fire of genius in his brain. And some say he was mad, and others that he died of a broken heart.

Of Miss Gibson's feelings about the matter we are not informed. After some interval of time she married Mr. Smart, with whom, it is said, she did not live happily. On their returning from their marriage trip the populace of Montrose, remembering Beattie's wrongs, rose up against them, and they had to take shelter in a neighbouring inn. But this state of feeling did not last. The people got used to see her back among them; and it was only when a stranger was walking with a townsman, and a fine-looking woman, very tall, very pale, and defiant in her air, passed, that the townsman would whisper, "That's Miss Gibson!" She lived seventeen years after Beattie's suicide.

We have not left ourselves much space to speak of Beattie's poetry. The principal of these is John o' Arnha', the wild stirring humour and the rollicking fun of which is in strange contrast to the tragic

"That it had been his happy lot,

Five times to tie the nuptial knot." He was once asked which of all his wives he liked best. He replied that he "aye liket the livin' ane." During the reign of his fifth and last wife, some one suggested that he had now come to the end of his matrimonial tether. "Na, he kent o' anither dainty body if Maidie dee'd," was his reply. Some one remarked that he must be a rich man; some of his many wives must have brought him money. "Na," said he, "it was little he made by them, for they all cam' wi' an auld kist and went and ga'ed awa' wi' a new." Such are some of the stories told about the original John. According to Beattie, one fine May morning,

"When dewie draps refreshed the corn, And tipt ilk stem wi' crystal bead, That glistened o'er the spangelt inead Like gleam o' sword in fairy wars," he came to a Fair at Montrose, and worsted the doughty Horner, a celebrated Montrose beagle, in single combat; with the original of whom John Finlay had had many a combat with words. Of this beagle there is told a story about his employing a man to write a letter to some of his friends, announcing the death of his wife. There was some difficulty about the way in which his feelings were to be described. The Horner assures him it must be something very lamentable, and asks him what he would suggest. The man asks him if he shall say, "He is like a dove mourning for its mate." That was not considered strong enough. "Like a sparrow on the housetop alone," is next suggested. That was better, but not quite the thing. On the man proposing "like a bear bereft of her whelps," he exclaimed," Ay, put that down, it's the very thing." There is a story told about a neighbour of his, which may find a place here. A worthy man, with a little capital set up a wool mill. Coming home one evening at the end of the first year he appeared in great good-humour, and meet

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