her affections, but, on the contrary, made them more lasting, whatever might be the opinion of her parents. He seems to have 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 :

for their living in. She had wronged him cruelly in what she said about her money. It had never for moment been in his calculations. 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:

should say vows. I cannot give you back your "I cannot give you back your vow, or rather I letters-justice, honour, truth forbid it; the use of these letters must now be regulated by circumstances. I will renounce no claim, but "Can you, will you forgive me if I ask you to maintain and defend them to the last. There is give me back that promise, which I gave you on something so peculiar in this business that I fear Sunday? I then asked for a few hours' consid- I cannot refrain taking steps to justify myself eration had you given me that it would have to your parents and the world. It grieves me saved me this to-day. I then boldly declared to the heart to write in this style, but I cannot that my mother's consent was of small conse- help it. Unfit as I am for the task, I must take quence, but that is not the case, and she will a copy of this before dispatching it. Wishing never, I fear, consent; but you know I never you more happiness than you have left me in mentioned your last letter, and I hope this cor- possession of, and improvement in your health,. respondence may be kept as quiet. That this I have still more to say, but cannot now prowill give you pain I do not doubt, but better ceed further." 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."

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 ment received your letter. I am too happy not history of their meetings and love for the to forget and forgive what has passed. The last two years. He reminds her of the trial was severe. You are an angel.still. God day in which she pointed out the house Almighty bless you. My already enervated which she wished to be purchased or taken frame tells me I could not live without you; you

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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 ef fect. 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,


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 the MS. frequent interruptions, showing to his letter. She is even said to have that it was written at different periods, made public his last appeal for delay, and the new paragraphs generally beginning in other ways to have made his feelings a with some such sentence as this, — * After subject of mockery. We get a glimpse of an interval of suffering, I have again taken two scenes, which are painfully vivid in the up my pen. I find no improvement in the light of the days that were to come shed state of my mind.” Then he passes into upon them. The one is of a little noisy fresh explanation of his own conduct, provincial theatre, boasting a small stage, and fresh attempts to comprehend hers. and a set of third-rate actors. In a con- He cannot get rid of a deep and indelible, spicuous position, not so much enjoying sense of the wrongs done him. He quotes the acting as listening to the talk of the Campbell's lines written on the grave of a people around her, and especially that of suicide :one gentleman, sits Miss Gibson, the centre of a group of admirers. Not very far in thy devoted bosom; and the hand

“Ah ! once perhaps the social passion glowed off in a darkened parlour sits a lonely fig- That'smote its kindred heart, might yet be prone ure, as if beaten down by some great sor. To deeds of mercy. Who may understand row, his head resting on his arm, all drawn Thy many woes, poor suicide unknown ? together, as if he would have escaped from He, who thy being gave, shall judge of thee any light still lingering in the room. He

alone." 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 surrshine 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. All 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 formerly reflected all objects in such a suicide, he will be ha'py, having a firm pleasing and agreeable manner, and which confidence in the unbounded goodness and was a continual source of happiness to me, mercy of God. He would like to mention is now broken and ruffled, and reflects his friends and acquaintances, but he is everything distorted, hideous, and disgustafraid in the agitation of his mind he may ful. I am a different being from my forforget some of them. “I meant to have mer self, and support a different and painful written a separate letter to my parents; existence.” Once again he turns to her this, however, I cannot do. I can only who has wronged him, and assures her think of them with that dreadful degree of that she has his full forgiveness. Then he agony, that the perspiration falls in drops makes some little bequests. He rememfrom the tips of my fingers on the paper. bers all the poor people around about him, I die as I lived, their loving, dutiful and and leaves a pound to a “poor man, nearly affectionate son'... We will all meet in a blind, who often sits on the churchyard better world. I have one consolation. Ibrae.” His thoughts drew once more to


Miss Gibson, and then to his kindred. “It about what she wished. She is at full lib-
is awful to think that I cannot live and erty to laugh at me. I suppose few, after
cannot die without shocking my relatives. all - bad as the world is — will envy her
They have not been out of my mind for a of her sport. It is not in all cases the ex-
moment for a very long time. It is a tent of the wrong, but the reflection of by
dreadful alternative. I will make it as lit- whom it is inflicted, that plants the sting.
tle shocking as possible. I will lay down When Cæsar saw Brutus stab at him he
the burden, which I can no longer bear, in offered no resistance - his heart burst,
some sequestered place; I think in that and, muflng up his face in a mantle, he
solemn, sacred, silent spot where iny bones fell at the base of Pompey's statue. All
will be deposited.” The only thing that is now over. I die in perfect goodwill to-
gives him consolation is the fact that he is wards every human being. If my feelings
not suffering from any wrong he has him- may have led me to say anything offensive
self committed. It is not remorse he is respecting Miss G., I am sorry for it. She
suffering from, nor anything like it. He de- has my entire forgiveness. If I have erred
plores the fact that the agonies of his mind in anything, I hope she will forgive me,
do not hurt his bodily frame. He is per- and it will be wise in her to forget what
fectly assured of his sanity. He could may have passed betwixt us. If I could
wish to live, if he could only forget the have done this I would have been happy.
past; but that he cannot do. Although There is no use in repining. I never did so
he has gone about all his ordinary pursuits before."
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 pur-
pugnance 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 fish-
Nothing 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 un-
all is over. When the heart is sickened to usual care, in his best suit. As he was go-
the 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 sail-
with pledges of our affection; and Miss ing out on the great sca. He passed the
Gibson spoke with pleasure of my fond- woods of Kinnaber, where he had “bird-
ness for children. Can this be forgotten?" nested" with her who had been so faith-
He had thus been at the very gates of the less to him. He crosses the North Esk,
Paradise he bad conjured up for himself and hastens to the braes of St. Cyrus,
had looked into it, and found it exceeding where he had spent his childhood. Amid
fair; and while he looked, a cruel wind these scenes he had begun the life he now
came from within the garden itself, and longed to end. How different is be now
brought desolation around. The last par- to then! Then a happy child, with the
agraph he wrote is as follows: the lines in world before him, and a brave heart to
italics having been erased from his MS. : wrestle with it; now a maimed soldier, re-

“Well, she has succeeded in bringing turning from the battle with a heart's

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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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