"On concluding this fearful prediction, Janet Morison walked away to her cottage-agile and erect-mingled wrath and desire of revenge supplied her with unusual strength.-I stood one moment looking on this aged and singular being-and then on the young lord, who seemed lost for a moment in that pondering and bewildering stupor of a criminal who hearkens his doom— a brace of dogs that had whined and cowered at his feet-laying their heads on the ground, as if expecting correction, while the mantled maiden remained, leaped up now, caressing and fawning on their master, and evidently par taking, with a kind of brute instinctive sympathy, in the anguish of his feelings.

Doomed,' said he, 'to the rack, the axe, and the hound, and that for shooting her damned ravens-and doing something that she counts as bad-if there's faith in flint and powder, I shall have a shot at another raven, and binder her from croaking my death note;' and he began to re-load his carbine, whistling the while, though his band shook, and his whole frame was disordered.-I was revolving in my own mind how I should interpose to prevent the mischief I saw he was meditating, and had fairly resolved to argue the matter with tongue and with timber— an ancient custom in Scotland—when, on having loaded his piece, he looked, and something met his eye, which changed his resolution and his hue at once.-He turned his head away— gave no second glance-and, diving into the groves of holly, disappeared, but the rapid crashing of the boughs betokened the anxiety of one too hurried to select his steps.

"Though something very mysterious and boding hung over all that I had heard and witnessed, I felt no desire to be gone, and so firmly was I possessed of the belief of Janet Morison's evil influence and power, that like him who wanders on a haunted road, I thought it more dangerous to return than proceed. Into the cottage I walked-not by a step and a stride-but silently and slow, inch after inch-moving as the shadow moves on a dial plate. The

not without some feelings of astonish-
ment and fear that I saw the place emp-
ty on which the young and beautiful
maiden stood but a moment before
she must have melted upon the spot, or
sunk into the ground-but it was evi-
dent the youth observed her departure,
for he strained his eyes like one gazing
on a distant and dim object, and gradu-
ally regained his usual tranquillity of
look. The old woman seemed con-
scious of some unusual thing, for she
suddenly veiled her eyes with her
hands, and muttered words that sound-
ed like rhymes, and seemed the reliques
of some ancient and half-forgotten form
of blessing and invocation. Janet
Morison,' said the youth, assuming his
usual imperious tone of voice, and evi-
dently relieved from the presence of
something that had agonized him, thou
shalt have that withered brow stamped
with the iron stamp of good Saint An-
drew, for these cursed cantrips of thine


thy brood of blood ravens hae haunted me these three days and nights and the very children called aloud, 'see! -there'll be something seen him.'-I shall teach thee to bring the shadows of the dead back !-home nor habitation shall be thine by to-morrow's sun-rise. On him "looked the old woman with a face of inimitable composure-and she even began to smile-I pray never to behold such a smile again

for death and judgment were in it, and she addressed him in a voice gentle and affectionate as that of a mother who condoles with the babe of her bosom. Fair fall thee for thy benison, my bonny lad!-and did my brood of blood ravens croak for a piece of the innocent lamb ?-gowks that they were -they'll never taste a morsel of thy dainty limbs--Na! Na! the rack, the headsman's axe, and the hungry hound maun, and shall be served before all the fowls of heaven. And I am to be turned out of hame and haddin ?-But, my bonny bairn, the dust of Auld Janet Morison shall sleep sound and sound under the gowany turf, when the town dogs are toolying for thy bosom banes! -Now gang yere ways, and if ony ane ask ye, say I said it.'

something opposite, that gave her pain. I now looked around from gazing on the old woman, and it was not without fear that I beheld seated on the square seat of stone, the same beautiful maiden I had found in possession of it before. She sat completely shrouded from head to foot in her sable drapery, and her sighings and sobbings were again renewed. Thrice were words of condolence and cheer on my tongue, and as often was I stayed from addressing her by the altering looks of Janet Morison, who broke out at last with a voice that made me shudder. Mark Macrabin, yere ane of a fearless race; but if ye want to be ane auld man and ane honoured, speak in this house to nothing but me.' It might have been the beaming of the sun through two small panes of coarse green glass which dazzled my sight, and made me see imperfectly, but I really imagined I saw the form of the maiden melting into something like a pillar of impure and mottled light, such as the sun throws



* But in the battle, when shafts flew thickest, And the Morisons' sword fell sheering quickestBut in the church, when prayers were longest,

And the Morisons' voice prayed loud and strongest through the unwashen window of a se

But in the field when the lilies were springing-
When the bridal bells were bedward ringing-
When the hunters' horns were merriest blowing-

pulchre. This fearful thing lingered
against the wall in shadowy outline,

When the ladies' bosoms were heaving and glowing- and gradually waxed dimmer and dim

In court-in camp--in church or hame
An ancient curse still clung to their name.-


mer, like sunshine over which an increasing cloud is passing, till it vanished entirely away, and neither shadow or substance were left in the room save Janet Morison and me.

beautiful maiden who wore the black mantle was departed—but there sat the old woman herself-on the old square stone-her broad palms spread and clutched on her knees, her head declined on her breasts, and crooning in a low and mournful voice a broken and disjointed ballad-some of the lines seem ed old-some seemed new, but they all related to her family name. I can only charge my remembrance with forgetting

ope verse.



• From Burnswark top to deep Glenae,
Carlaverock bank to Drumlanrig brae,
A bauld race ruled-the Morisons brave,
They travelled the earth,and they stemmed the wave,
They bore the red cross-they barefoot trod
Jerusalem's sands, and they gallantly rode
In the ranks of war, when the sword had trust
Of the Church's fame and the martyrs' dust-
It is rife in tale and in minstrel story,
The Morisons' might and the Morisons' glory.

It is sad to hear-though it's brief to tell,

How the curse that maun cling to their name befel-
It came with a lass-it maun gang wi' a lass,
In sorrow and shame!--and away let it pass-
This throbbing heart, and this eye in sorrow-
Shall be mute and be dry ere the sun-rise of morrow,
And she that sings this sang o' their shame
Is the last of the Morisons' lineage and name-
But rife in tale and the minstrel story
Is the Morisons' might and the Morisons' glory.'

"Her voice, mournful and low at the commencement of the ballad, waxed full and flowing as she proceeded, but sunk all at once into a kind of hollow and murmuring tone at the last verse, and she evidently laboured under some overmastering emotion. So intent was I in listening to, and learning this rude and traditional rhyme, that I took little notice of the old woman's altered mood and manner towards the close of the song. She sat upright-her looks changing as an April sky from brightness to gloom, and she looked as if she saw

"What all this might be or bode I had little time to examine; the old woman arose, and I arose also; I had a kind of dread of being alone in this sable chamber with its shadowy guest, tho', as I had never heard that spectres were visible in sunshine, I thought all appearances might be accounted for without supernatural aid. She came, and taking me by the hand,said "Come wi' me, my bonny lad, yere come in pleasant time for me; for muckle need have I to be cheered with the presence of some kindly flesh and blood beingand it may be pleasant for thee too--it will sober down the flightiness of youth to have a last lang look of a dying creature.' I looked acquiescence, and sh led me out of the smoky and sooty spence into a lesser chamber, furnished

and kept in a much more comfortable plight. A clear peat fire sparkled on the hearth; a cat sat purring in concert with innumerable crickets, and a clean copper pan glanced on the fire, full of new-milked milk, to make porridge, the common and delicious breakfast of the farmers of Scotland. A bed, netted and roofed, of long and beautifully plaited straw, and hung in the front with curtains bleached among the daisies, as white as driven snow, occupied a kind of recess, and formed a comfortable place of repose: a large oak chest stood full of meal-a broad chimney front hung full of dried hams and kipper'd salmon, and a cupboard showed besides a noble ewe-milk cheese, the heads of sundry bottles, the imported contents of which were thought worthy of wearing a seal. Besides all these infallible tokens of substantial comfort, I observed the ends of webs of fine linen-part of the patriachal portions of the thrifty maidens of Scotland-and webs of barley-pickle napery-equal almost in beauty to the unrivalled labours of the Cameronian loom of James Macgee-long may he move the foot and the hand to the comfort and delight of the maidens and matrons of the Vale of Nith!

among the ivy, while a slender spring ran, or rather trickled, through the pebbles at its entrance. A circular screen of witch-tree and holly, both red with their glowing bunches of berries, was wound about the top of this fiery root; and between the eye and this sweet scene, a slender branch of the river, having lost its way in the crevices of the rock above, found a passage to the pinnacle of a projecting crag, and finally, leaped from this vantage ground past the window to join its fellow stream below-forming, in its descent, a long rainbow line of light, pure as a starbeam. Beautiful as the scene was, it spoke more of past than of present grandeur, and nature, in all this remarkable place, seemed fast hastening to resume her dominion from the power of man. I connected, as I gazed forth, the song of Janet Morison with the landscape, and my heart began fast to sympathize with the bitter feelings in which she sung the former glory and present wretchedness of her doomed name. "Mark Macrabin, my good lad," said Janet, laying her hand on my shoulder, "that's a bonny, bonny field; and mony a bonny chield of Morison blood has laid aside his plumed helmet to give his brow the dewy air of that sweet nook, and mony a lovely dame of the Morison's name has dandled her baby on her knee, and loot its feckless hands play with the long strings of blossomed honey-suckle that hang sae greenly down from the upper sward. Even I, withered, and worn, and frail as I am now-fed by the ravens, as I may say, and the bountith of honest shepherds-the last of the bauld and the manly Morisons,—have dandled my ain sweet boy on my knee in that sweet nook, and anither crea ture, sweeter and dearer still, wha has dreed and fulfilled the ancient curse that clung to our name, and sae to the mools we maun gang."-Even as she spoke, I observed something beginning to darken in the scene before me, and in the glancing of an eye, the beautiful maiden, dressed from head to foot in her sable mantle, occupied, as a statue does a pedestal, one of the seats.

"The window, which threw its eastern light on all these rustic treasures, looked on a scene of limited extent, but of unequalled and particular beauty. Beneath, and perpendicular as a plummet would drop, the natural rock receded; its seams and crevices had been garnished in spring with knots of primroses, and at the bottom of the rock rushed the river, so swift and so strong to take its second leap, that a common sized pebble, thrown on its surface, would not have sunk to the bottom. On the other side of the stream, nature had amused herself in elbowing out a deep recess on the freestone rock, and had seated it round with pieces of stone, over which the moss, and the ivy, and the honey-suckle, had each, in their turn, thrown their verdure and their blossom. On the crest of the crag above, the remains of an ancient stronghold were visible, and beneath, the mouth of a cavern appeared, half hid



The old woman's glance grew dark as he looked, and, in a half sigh and whisper she said, "Sweet, sweet, and hapless being! I shall soon be with thee sad was the sentence that decreed thy lovely face and youthfu' blood to bear shame and ruin for sins of auld date." Here Janet Morison looked on me with an eye moist in tears, and seeing that I strove to prevent the ready tears from escaping to my cheek, said, in a tone of composure, a cauld dowie den to look upon after a', and I'me'en thinking ye might slip something less welcome atween your teeth than a good horn spoon reeking with rich milk parrith;" and with ready Scottish hospitality, that asks one to have, and presents the viands at the same time, she placed me at a kind of sideboard, set a goan of porridge before me, laying an ample spoon in the vicinity of this tempting dish, and motioning me to the undisturbed enjoyment of a rural breakfast in her chamber. I had scarcely finished my meal, and resumed my bonnet, when I heard a footstep, heavy and slow, approach the door. Presently a gentle rap was given, and the latch was lifted, while a voice, naturally rough, but softened down for the occasion to something between a whisper and a ballo, said, "Peace be here! douce and cannie cummer! Peace be here!" and having paved the way by this preparatory introduction, in floundered a moorland rustic, bearing an enormous cheese in the nook of his shepherd maud. On seeing, instead of an old, and, to use his own words, a douce and cannie cummer, a sapling youth, somewhere between a boy and a man, the man of the mountains stepped back, protruding his hand behind him to grope for the door, and exclaiming, in the broad dialect of Annandale, "Eh! lord, I'se rad! I'se rad!"—"Rad! for what, Sandie Macbirn?" said Janet Morison, entering and laying her hand on the retrograding person of the rustic. At this unexpected intrusion behind, he leaped perpendicularly from the floor the height of an ellwand, and then at 3A ATHENEUM VOL. 7.

tempted to run three separate ways, none of which presented an outlet for escape. The old woman gave a grim smile, and said, " Here's the door, man; dinna ding down bigget wa's."

"Eh! praise be blest, auld cannie cummer, and this is you?" said the man of Annandale; " and what should I be rad for? Conscience, cummer! I thought this Cameronian chip was wark o' thine! and I wad rather grip by the neck the boordliest child e'er a Cameronian gat, than face a creature o' thy raising!-else may I be hounded up Dryfsedale and down Ae, by a' the hungry town tykes of Loughmaben-dom me if I wadna !"

"And what brings thee here?" said the dame, in a tone harsh and forbidding; for she evidently wished to repel the intrusive familiarity of her assistant. "Brings me here!" said Sandie Macbirn, in a tone sufficiently humble; “ yeay weel spier that," unwinding, as he spoke, a large cheese from the corner of his plaid. "Conscience! ye see, cummer, I shall e'en tell ye, and syne crave your helping hand. I hae sax kye-Hawk, Pawk, Paddie Whawk, Cherry, and Brown Mag, and ane that answers when ye cry Hurleydodie-a' as famous milkers as e'er striddled a goan, but now as yell as my pikestaff. Now I needna tell ye, cummer, what I want wi' them. Gie me back my rich milk and my gowden butter. Aweel

I hae forbye a hirsel of sheep, hairy hippet limmers, black-faced and broket-nae mair to be compared to the auld stock o' Tinwald, or the gimmers of the Cheviot, than a sow's left lug to a lappet of velvet. Now, cummer, gin ye wad make thae creatures, that are no worth twal shillings the day, worth thirty white shillings by the Rood-Fair o' Dumfries, ye wad be a dainty ane!-it's little to thee, but a great deal to me."-The remainder of the sentence, which should have expressed the extent of the bribe for this singular good service, was neither speech or action-but both-he made a full pause, looked in her face, which grew exceeding dubious and dark, turning

"Mair to ask! faith have I; but I need hardly ask for others, when I speed sae ill myself. There's Johnnie Macgorlin of Gowkstane, sent our cannie cummer a message as I came past; his yellow corn's shaking owre ripe on its legs-and deil a' ane will whet a sickle for't since he forsweare Kirstin Smackagain's sweet armfu' of a lad wean, and broke the lassie's heart. I was sae vexed with Jock's disaster mysel, that I laid on our muckle pot wi my pikestaff till it gade owre ringing. Now, cummer, gin ye wad oblige Jock, e'en ca' in the tempests, and sober down thae sair winds."

the large cheese round and round, and
having thus displayed the merits of the
alluring sample, he said, "I hae twa
mae at Hirselcleugh that lang to keep
this ane company-and shall too, gin
cummer be kindly-dom me, if they
denna!" "Hast thou ony maer to ask,"
said the dame, in a tone from which
no one could either augur promise or
denial. "Mair!" echoed Sandie,
ony mair! muckle mair-for sairly
I want the helping hand o' some cannie
body like thysell.I hae e'en put the
plough to the swaird-but there's either
a great internal machine turning up the
stanes in the bosom of the earth, or
else Hirselcleugh's the very riddlings
o' the creation!-its a ringing jingle;
I clapped my yoke to the only kindly
spot about it-the auld church-yard
i' the Chapel-croft, an' at the first tug
a cursed tombstane brake my coulter
in twa, and what should this be but
the grave o ane o' thae auld dour
deevils the Morisons. I kenned it by
the figure of a mailed man wi' a cross
hilted brand, and a raven fluttering at
his feet, and aneath was written, Ro-
NALD MORISON, and the gear o' gude
was a gear I never heard o' before
sae I think the hale was nonsense, and
sae I saired it, for I smashed it into
seven pieces, and causeyed my byre
door wi't. Its better there than lying
deep i' the cauld grund amang moudies
and shank banes." "Lay the sculp-
tured stane, broken and dishonored
as it is, on the brave man's dust
again," said Janet Morison, darkening
down her brows as she spoke ;-and,
at your peril, touch that burial-ground
again with spade or with plough-it
is dangerous to meddle with a Mori-
son living-it is thrice as dangerous
to disgrace their dust-limb and limb
must meet again and he that scatters
man's dust wantonly, has much to
answer for. Hast thou ought more to
ask?" The man of the Moorlands was
humbled in his hopes by this unlucky
adventure with the tombs of the Mori-
sons; he looked at the old woman, and
he looked at his cheese, with a look
that said, "I bave offered thee in vain."
At last mustering resolution, he said,

"Janet Morison's whole face, since she heard of the disturbed dust of her fathers, had waxed cloudier and cloudier; and now, on hearing this application for the perjured portioner of Gowkstane, her whole wrath came rushing to her The applicacountenance at once. tion, though made in a manner abundantly submissive, trode rudely on her wounded bosom-strings, and agitated those injured feelings, the nearest and dearest to the human heart."Sweet armfu' of a lad wean, and broke the maiden's heart!" echoed Janet, leaping from her seat, and striding up to simple Sandie Macrabin like a warrior hastening to do battle for his home and his kindred. She lifted her right hand like one who wishes to make a mortal thrust with a weapon-her large grey eyes shining with the fires of the fiercest anger


and her whole frame quivering like that of a falcon when it clutches its prey. Sir! Sir-said she, with a voice like a trumpet-if all the blood of your name flowed in your veins and that of all the Morison's lineage in mine, I should spill it all on the earth for the dogs to lap, sooner than endure a shame like this-to ruin and break the heart of my bonnie Nannie, my only hope and stay. Eh, lord, hear till ber! hear till her!' said the shepherd-I break the heart o' sweet Nannie Morison!the warld kens it was our sweet young Lord-deil pyke his banes in the lowest heugh for't.' The poor wildered woman heeded him not—her brain was

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