« VorigeDoorgaan »
Dick Tinto, when he wrote himself artist, was u une By cauk and keel to win your bread,
to derive his origin from the ancient family of Tinto, Wi' whigmaleeries for them wha need,
of that ilk, în Lanarkshire, and occasionally hinted Whilk is a gentle trade indeed
that he had somewhat derogated from his gentle To carry the gaberlunzie on.
blood, in using the pencil for his principal means of
support. But if Dick's pedigree was correct, some of Few have been in my secret while I was compiling his ancestors must have suffered a more heavy dehese narratives, nor is it probable that they will ever clension, since the good man his father executed the become public during the life of their author. Even necessary, and, I trust the honest, but certainly no. were that event to happen, I am not ambitious of the very distinguished employment, of tailor in ordinary honoured distinction, digito monstrarier. I confess, to the village of Langdirdum in the west. Under his that, were it safe to cherish such dreams at all, humble roof was Richard born, and to his father's should more enjoy the thought of remaining behind humble trade was Richard, greatly contrary to his inthe curtain unseen, like the ingenious manager of chination, early indentured. Old Mr. Tinto had, howPunch and his wife Joan, and enjoying the astonish-ever, no reason to congratulate himself upon having ment and conjectures of my audience. Then might compelled the youthful genius of his son to forsake its I, perchance, hear the productions of the obscure Pe natural bent. He fared like the schoolboy, who atter Pattieson praised by the judicious, and admired tempts to stop with his finger the spout of a water by the feeling, engrossing the young, and attracting cistern, while the stream, exasperated at this comeven the old, while the critic traced their fame up to pression, escapes by a thousand unealculated spirts, some name of literary celebrity, and thequestion when, and wets him all over for his pains. Even so fared and by whom, these tales were written, filled up the the senior Tinto, when his hopeful apprentice not pause of conversation in a hundred circles and cote- only exhausted all the chalk in making sketches upon ries. This I may never enjoy during my lifetime; but the shopboard, but even executed several caricatures farther than this, I am certain, my vanity should of his father's best customers, who began loudly to never induce me to aspire.
murmur, that it was too hard to have their perons de I am too stubborn in habits, and too little polished formed by the vestments of the father, and to be at in manners, to envy or aspire to the honours assigned the same time turned into ridicule by the pencil of the to my literary, contemporaries. I could not think a son. This led to discredit and loss of practice, until the whit more highly of myself, were I even found worthy old tailor, yielding to destiny, and to the entreaties of 10 " come in place as a lion," for a winter in the great his son, permitted him to attempt his fortune in a line metropolis. I could not rise, turn round, and show for which he was better qualified. WIRIO all my honours, from the shaggy mane to the tufted There was about this time, in the village of Lang. tail, roar you an 'twere any nightingale, and so lie dirdum, a peripatetic brother of the brush, who
exerdown again like a well-behaved beast
of show, and cised his vocation sub Jove frigido, the object of adall at the cheap and easy rate of a cup of coffee, and a miration to all the boys of the
village, but especially slice of bread and butter as thin as a wafer. And I to Dick
Tinto. The age had not yet adopted, amongst could ill stomach the fulsome flattery with which the other unworthy retrenchments, that illiberal measure lady of the evening indulges her show-monsters on of economy, which, supplying by written characters such occasions, as she crams her parrots with sugar- the lack
of symbolical representation, closes one open plums, in order to make them talk before company and easily accessible avenue of instruction and emoluI cannot be tempted to come aloft" for these marks ment against the students of the fine arts. It was. of distinction, and, like imprisoned Sampson, I would not yet permitted to write
upon the plastered
door-way rather remain-if such must be the alternative-all of an alehouse, or the suspended sign of an inn, "The my life in the mill-house, grinding for my very bread, Old Magpie," or "The Saracen's Head," substituting than be brought forth to make sport for the Philistine that cold description for the lively effigies of the lords and ladies. This proceeds from no dislike, real plumed chatterer, or the turban'd frown of the terrific or affected, to the aristocracy of these realms. But soldan. That early and more simple age considered they have their place, and I have mine; and, like the alike the necessities of all ranks, and depicted the iron and earthen vessels in the old fable, we can symbols of good cheer so as to be obvious to all cascarce come into collision without my being the suf- pacities; well judging, that a man, who could not ferer in every sense. It may be otherwise with the read a syllable, might nevertheless love a pot of good sheets which I am now writing. These may be open- ale as well as his better-educated neighbours, or even ed and laid aside at pleasure; by amusing themselves as the parson himself. Acting upon this liberal prinwith the perusah , the great will excite po false hopes; ciple
, publicans as yet hung forth the painted emblems by neglecting or condemning them, they will inflict of their calling, and sign-painters, if they seldom no pain; and how seldom can they converse with feasted, did not at least absolutely starve. *hose whose minds have toiled for their delight, with- To a worthy of this decayed profession, as we have out doing either the one or the other.
already intimated, Dick Tinto became an assistant; In the better and wiser tone of feeling, which Ovid and thụs, as is not
unusual among heaven-born geonly expresses in one line to retract in that which fol- niuses in this department of the fine arts, began to lows, I can address these quires
paint before he had any notion of drawing. Parve, nec invideo, sine me, lider, bis in urbem.
His talent for observing nature soon induced him Nor do I join the regret of the illustrious
exile, that to rectify the errors, and soar above the instructions, he himself could not in person accompany the volume of his teacher, He particularly shone in painting which he sent forth to the mart of literature, pleasure, horses, that being a favourite sign in the Scottish viland luxury. Were there not a hundred similar in- lages; and, in tracing his progress, it is beautiful to stances
on record, the fate of my poor friend and observe, how by degress he learned to shorten the school-fellow, Dick Tinto, would be sufficient to warn backs, and prolong the legs, of these noble animals, me against seeking happiness, in the celebrity which until they came to look less like crocodiles,
and more attaches itself to a successful cultivator of the fine arts. I like nags. Detraction, which always pursues mer
with strides proportioned to its advancement, ḥas in-, wife and daughters, in the style of Rubens, which deed alleged, that Dick once upon a time painted a suddenly appeared in the best parlour, it was evident horse with five legs instead of four. I might have that Dick had found some mode of bartering art for rested his defence upon the license allowed to that the necessaries of life. branch of his profession, which, as it permits all sorts Nothing, however, is more precarious than reof singular and irregular combinations, may be allowed sources of this nature. It was observed, that Dick to extend itself so far as to bestow a limb supernu- became in his turn the whetstone of mine host's
wit, merary on a favourite subject. But the cause of a without venturing either at defence or retaliation deceased friend is sacred ; and I disdain to bottom it that his easel was transferred to a garret-room, in so superficially. I have visited the sign in question, which there was scarce space for it to stand upright; which yet swings exalted in the village of Langdir- and that he no longer ventured to join the weekly Jum; and I am ready to depone upon oath, that what club, of which he had been once the life and soul. has been idly mistaken or misrepresented as being the In short, Dick Tinto's friends feared that he had fifth leg of the horse, is, in fact, the tail of that quad-acted like the animal called the sloth, which, having ruped, and, considered with reference to the posture eaten up, the last green leaf upon the tree where it in which he is delineated, forms a circumstance, in has established itself, ends by tumbling down from troduced and managed with great and successful, the top, and dying of inanition. I ventured to hint though daring art. The nag being represented in a this to Dick, recommended his transferring the exer. rampant or rearing posture, the tail, which is pro- cise of his inestimable talent to some other sphere, longed till it touches the ground, appears to form a and forsaking
the common which he might be said to point d'appui, and gives the firmness of a tripod to have eaten bare. the figure, without which it would be difficult to con- “There is an obstacle to my change of residence, ceive, placed as the feet are, how the courser could said my friend, grasping my hand with a look of maintain his ground without tumbling backwards. solemnity. This bold conception has fortunately
fallen into the "A bill due to my landlord, I am afraid ?" replied custody of one by whom it is duly valued; for, when I, with heartfelt sympathy; "if any part of my slenDick, in his more advanced state of proficiency, be- der means can assist in this emergence"came dubious of the propriety of so daring a deviation "No, by the soul of Sir Joshua!" answered the from the established rules of art, and was desirous to generous youth, "I
involve a friend in the execute a picture of the publican himself in exchange consequences of my own misfortune. There is a for this juvenile production, the courteous offer was mode by which I can regain my liberty, and to creep declined by his judicious employer, who had observed, even through a common sewer, is better than to it seems that when his ale failed to do its duty in con- remain
in prison." ciliating his guests, one glance at his sign was sure to I did not perfectly understand what my friend put them in good humour.
meant. The muse of painting appeared to have It would be foreign to my present purpose to trace failed him, and what other goddess he could invoke the steps by which Dick Tinto improved his touch, in his distress, was a mystery to me. We parted, and corrected, by the rules of art, the luxuriance of a however, without further explanation, and I did not fervid imagination. The scales fell from his eyes on again see him until three days after, when he sumviewing the sketches of a contemporary, the Scottish moned me to partake of the foy with which his landTeniers, as Wilkie has been deservedly styled. He lord proposed to regale him ere his departure for threw down the brush, took up the crayons, and, Edinburgh. amid hunger and toil, and suspense and uncertainty, I found Dick in high spirits, whistling while he pursued the path of his profession under better aus- buckled the small knapsack, which contained his pices than those of his original master. Still the first colours, brushes, pallets, and clean shirt. That he rude emanations of his genius (like the nursery rhymes parted on the best terms with mine host, was obvious of Pope, could these be recovered) will be dear to the from the cold beef set forth in the low parlour, companions of Dick Tinto's youth. There is a tankard Aanked by two mugs of admirable brown stout; and and gridiron painted over the door of an obscure I own my curiosity was excited concerning the change-house in the Back-wynd of Gandercleugh- means through which the face of my friend's affairs But I feel I must tear myself from the subject, or had been so suddenly improved. I did not suspect dwell on it too long. INT
Dick of dealing with the devil, and by what earthly Amid his wants and struggles, Dick Tinto bad means he had extricated himself thus happily, I was recourse, like his brethren, to levying that tax upon at a total loss to conjecture. the vanity of mankind which he could not extract He perceived my curiosity, and took me by the from their taste and liberality--in a word, he painted hand. "My friend," he said, "fain would I conceal, portraits. It was in this more advanced state of pro- even from you, the degradation to which it has been ficiency, when Dick had soared above his original line necessary to submit, in order to accomplish an of business, and highly disdained any allusion to it, honourable retreat from Gandercleugh. But what that, after having been estranged for several years avails attempting to conceal that, which must needs we again met in the village of Gandercleugh, I hold betray itself even by its superior excellence ? All the ing my present situation, and Dick painting copies of village-all the parish-all the world will soon disthe human face divine at a guinea per head. This cover to what poverty has reduced Richard Tinto." was a small premium, yet, in the first burst of busi- A sudden thought here struck me-1 had observed ness, it more than sufficed for all Dick's moderate that our landlord wore, on that memorable morning, lace Inn, cracked his tested with impuning atehe wote a pair of bran new velveteens, instead of his anciens mine host himself, and lived in respect and observ- "What," said I, drawing my nght hand, with the ance with the chambermaid, hostler, and waiter. fore-finger and thumb pressed together, nimbly
from Those halcyon days were too serene to last long.. my right halinch to my left shoulder, "you have conWhen his honour the Laird of Gandereleugh, with descended to resume the paternal arts to which you his wife and three daughters, the minister, the gauger, were first bred-long stitches, ha, Dick ?" mine esteemed patron Mr. Jedediah Cleishbotham, He repelled this unlucky conjecture with a frown and some round dozen of the feuars and farmers, had and a pshaw, indicative of indignant contempt, and oeen consigned to immortality by Tinto's orush, cus- leading me into another room, showed me, resting tom began to slacken, and it was impossible to wring against the wall
, the majestic head of Sir William more than crowns and half-crowns from the hard Wallace, grim as when severed from the trunk by hands of the peasants, whose ambition led them to the orders of the felon Edward. Dick's painting-room.
The painting was executed on boards of a substanStill, though the horizon was overclouded, no tial thickness, and the top decorated with irons, for storm for some time ensued. Mine host had Chris- suspending the honoured effigy upon a sign-post. tian faith with a lodger,
who had been a good pay- "There," he said, "my friend, stands the honour master as long as he had the means. And from a of Scotland, and my shame-yet not so-rather the portrait of our landlord himself, grouped with his shame of those, who, instead of encouraging at in
its proper sphere, reduce it to these unbecoming and nish, a well-known printseller, had still on hand a unworthy extremities."
very few drawings and paintings by Richard Tinto, I endeavoured to smooth the ruffled feelings of my Esquire, which those of the nobility and gentry, who misused and indignant friend. I reminded him, that might wish to complete their collections of modern he ought not, like the stag in the fable, to despise
the art, were invited to visit without delay. So ended quality which had extricated him from difficulties, in Diek Tinto! a lamentable proof of the great truth, which his talents, as a portrait or landscape painter, that in the fine arts mediocrity is not permitted, and had been found unavailing. Above all, I praised the that he who cannot ascend to the very top of the execution, as well as conception of his painting, and ladder, will do well not to put his foot upon it at all. reminded him, that far from feeling dishonoured by The memory of Tinto is dear
to me, from the recol so superb a specimen of his talents being exposed to lection of the many conversations which we have the general view of the public, he ought rather to had together, most of them turning upon my present congratulate himself upon the angmentation of his task. He was delighted with my progress, and celebrity, to which its public exhibition must neces- talked of an ornamented and illustrated edition, with sarily give rise.
heads, vignettes, and culs de lampe, all to be de"You are right, my friend you are right," replied signed by his own patriotic and friendly
pencil. He poor Dick, his eye kindling with enthusiasm; why prevailed upon an old sergeant of invalids to sit to should I shun the name of an--an":-(he hesitated him in the character of Both well
, the life-guard's for a phrase), an out-of-doors artist? Hogarth man of Charles the Second, and the bell-man of has introduced himself in that character in one of his Gandercleugh in that of David Deans. But while he best engravings--Domenichino, or somebody else, in thus proposed to unite his own powers with mine for ancient times-Moreland in our own, have exercised the illustration of these narratives, he mixed many
a their talents in this manner. And wherefore limit to dose of salutary criticism with the panegyrics which the rich and higher classes alone the delight which my composition was at times so fortunate as to cali the exhibition of works of art is calculated to inspire forth. into all classes? Statues are placed in the open air, "Your characters," he said, "my dear Pattieson, why should Painting be more niggardly in displaying make too much use of the gob-box : they patter too her master-pieces than her sister Sculpture ? And much an elegant phraseology, which' Dick had yet, my friend, we must part suddenly; the carpenter learned while painting the scenes of an itinerant is coming in an hour to put
up the the emblem; and company of players)--there is nothing in whole pages truly, with all my philosophy, and your consolatory but mere chat and dialogue.". encouragement to boot, I would rather wish to leave The ancient philosopher," said I in reply," was Gandercleugh before that operation commences." wont to say, Speak, that I may know thee;' and
We partook of our genial host's parting banquet, how is it possible for an author to introduce his per and I escorted Dick on his walk to Edinburgh. We sona dramatis to his
readers in a more interesting parted about a mile from the village, just as we heard and effectual manner, than by the dialogue in which the distant cheer of the boys which accompanied the each is represented as supporting his own appropriate mounting of the new symbol of the Wallace-Head. character ?" Dick Tinto mended his pace to get out of hearing "It is a false conclusion," said Tinto; "I hate it, STlittle had either early practice or recent philosophy Peter, as I hate an unfilled cann. I will grant you. reconciled him to the character of a sign-painter. indeed, that speech is a faculty of some value in the
In Edinburgh, Dick's talents were discovered and intercourse of humən atfairs, and I will not even appreciated, and he received dinners and hints from insist on the doctrine of that Pythagorean toper, several distinguished judges of the fine arts. But who was of opinion, that over á bottle, speaking these gentlemen dispensed their criticism more will. spoiled conversation. But I will not allow that a ingly than their cash, and Dick thought he needed professor of the fine arts has occasion to embody the cash more than criticism. He therefore sought Lon idea of his scene in language, in order to impress don, the universal mart of talent, and where, as is upon the reader its reality and its effect. On the conusual in general marts of most descriptions, much trary, I will be judged by most of your readers, Peter, more of each commodity is exposed to sale than can should these tales ever become public, whether you ever find purchasers.
have not given ns a page of talk for every single idea Dick, who, in serious earnest, was supposed to which two words might have communicated, while have considerable natural talents for his profession, the posture, and manner, and incident, accurately and whose vain and sanguine disposition never per drawn, and brought out by appropriate colouring, mitted him to doubt for a moment of ultimate suc- would have preserved all that was worthy of precess, threw himself headlong into the crowd which servation, and save these everlasting said he's and jostled and struggled for notice and preferment. He said she's, with which it has been your pleasure to elbowed others, and was elbowed himself; and encumber your pages." finally, by dint of intrepidity, fought his way into I replied, that he confounded the operations of the some notice, painted for the prize at the Institution, pencil and the pen; that the serene and silent art, as had pictures at the exhibition at Somerset-house, painting has been called by one of our first living and damned the hanging
committee. But poor Dick poets, necessarily appealed to the eye, because it had was doomed to lose the field he fought so gallantly, not the organs for addressing the ear; whereas In the fine arts, there is scarce an alternative betwixt poetry, or that species of composition which apdistinguished success and absolute failure; and as proached to it, lay under the necessity of doing absoDick's zeal and industry were unable to ensure the lutely the reverse, and addressed itself to the ear, for first, he fell into the distresses, which, in his condi- the purpose of exciting that interest which it could tion, were the natural consequences of the latter not attain through the medium of the eye." alternative. He was for a time patronized by one or Dick was not a whit staggered by my argument, two of those judicious persons who make a virtue of which he contended was founded on misrepresentabeing singular, and of pitching their own opinions tion. "Description," he said, was to the author of against those of the world in matters of taste and a romance exactly what drawing and ținting were criticism. But they soon tired of poop Tinto, and to a painter; words were his colours, and, if properly laid him down as a load, upon the principle on which employed, they could not fail to place the scene a spoilt child
throws away its plaything. Misery, I which he wished to conjure up, as effectually before fear, took him up, and accompanied him to a prema- the mind's eye, as the tablet or canvass presents it to ture grave, to which he was carried from an obscure the bodily organ. The same rules," he contended, lodging in Swallow-street, where he had been danned applied to bo:h, and an exuberance of dialogue, in by his landlady, within doors, and watched by bailiff's the former case, was a verbose and laborious made without, until death came to his relief. A corner of of composition which went to confound the proper tne Morning Post noticed his death, generously add-art of fictitious narrative with that of the drama, a ing, that his manner displayed considerable genius, widely different species of composition, of which diathough his style was rather sketchy, and referred to logue was the very essence, because all, excepting the o advertisement, which announced that Mr. Varianguage to be made us of
, was presented to the eve Vol. III.
by the dresses, and persons, and actions of the per- these creeping twilight details of yours, that voy formers upon the stage. But as nothing," said Dick, are become incapable of receiving that instant and "can be more dull than a long narrative written vivid flash of conviction, which darts on the mind upon the plan of a drama, so where you have ap- from seeing the happy and expressive combinaproached most near to that species of composition, tions of a single scene, and which gathers from the by indulging in prolonged scenes of mere conversa position, attitude, and countenance of the moment, tion, the course of your story has become chill and not only the history of the past lives of the personages constrained, and you have lost the power of arresting represented, and the nature of the business on which the attention and exciting the imagination, in which they are immediately engaged, but lifts even the veil upon other occasions you may be considered as of futurity, and affords a shrewd guess at their future having succeeded tolerably well."
fortunes. .. I made my bow in requital of the compliment, "In that case," replied I, “Painting excels the Ape which was probably thrown in by way of placebo, of the renowned Gines de Passamont, which only and expressed myself willing at least to make one meddled with
the past and the present; nay, she trial of a more straight-forward style of composition, excels that very Nature who affords her subjects; for in which my actors should do more, and say less, I protest to you, Dick, that were I permitted to peep han in my former attempts of this kind. Dick gave into that Elizabeth-chamber, and see the persons you me a patronising and approving nod, and observed, have sketched conversing in flesh and blood, I should that, finding me so docile, he would communicate not be a jot nearer guessing the nature of their busifor the benefit
of my muse, a subject which he had ness, than I am at this moment while looking, a studied with a view to his own art.
your sketch. Only generally, from the languishing * The story," he said, "was, by tradition, affirmed look of the young lady, and ine
care you have taken to be truth, although, as upwards of a hundred years to present a very handsome leg on the part of the had passed away since the events took place, some gentleman, I presume there is some reference to a doubts upon the accuracy of all the particulars might love affair between them." be reasonably entertained."
"Do you really
presume to form such a bold When Dick Tinto had thus spoken, he rummaged conjecture?" said Tinto. "And the indignant ear. his portfolio for the sketch from which he proposed nestness with which you see the man urge his suit one day to execute a picture of fourteen feet by eight. --the unresisting and passive despair of the younger The sketch, which was cleverly executed, to use the female-the stern air of inflexible determination in appropriate phrase, represented an ancient hall, fitted the elder woman, whose looks express at once con up and furnished in what we now call the taste of sciousness that she is acting wrong, and a firm deQueen Elizabeth's age. The light, admitted from the termination to persist in the course she has adoptupper part of a high casement, fell upon a female ed"figure of exquisite beauty, who, in an attitude of "If her looks express all this, my dear Tinto," speechless terror, appeared to watch the issue of a replied I, interrupting him, "your pencil rivals the debate betwixt two other persons. The one was a dramatic art of Mr. Puls in the Critic, who crammed young man, in the Vandyke dress common to the a whole complicated sentence into the expressive time of Charles I.
, who, with an air of indignant shake of Lord Burleigh's head." pride, testified by the manner in which he raised his "My good friend, Peter,” replied Tinto, "I observe head and extended his arm, seemed to be urging a you are perfectly incorrigible; however, I have comclaim of right rather than of favour, to a lady, whose passion on your dulness, and am unwilling you shoul age, and some resemblance in their features, pointed be deprived of the pleasure of understanding my her out as the mother of the younger female, and who picture, and of gaining, at the same time, a subject appeared to listen with a mixture of displeasure and for your own pen. You must know then, last impatience.
summer, while I was taking sketches on the coast of T'into pmduced his sketch with an air of mysterious East Lothian and Berwickshire, I was seduced into triumph, and gazed on it as a fond parent looks upon the mountains of Lammermoor by the account 1 a hopeful child, while he anticipates the future figure received of some remains of antiquity in that district. he is to make in the world, and the height to which Those with which
I was most struck, were the ruins he will raise the honour of his family. He held it at of an ancient castle in which that Elizabeth-chamber arm's length from me, --he held it closer,--he placed as you call it, once existed. I resided for two or it upon the top of a chest of drawers, closed the lower three days at a farin-house in the neighbourhood, shutters of the casement, to adjust a downward and where the aged goodwife was well acquainted with favourable light,-fell back to the due distance, drag- the history of the castle, and the events which had ging me after him, -shaded his face with his hand, taken place in it. One of these was of a nature so as if to exclude all but the favourite object--and interesting and singular, that my attention was ended by spoiling a child's copy book, which he divided between my wish to draw the old ruins in rolled up so as to serve for the darkened tube of an landscape, and to represent, in a history-piece, the amateur. I fancy my expressions of enthusiasm had singular events which have taken place in it. Here not been in proportion to his own, for he presently are my notes of the tale," said poor Dick, handing a exclaimed with vehemence, " Mr. Pattieson, I used parcel of loose scraps, partly scratched over with his to think you had an eye in your head.".
pencil, partly with his pen, where outlines of cari, I vindicated my claim to the usual allowance of catures, sketches of turrets, mills, old gables, and visual organs.
dovecots, disputed the ground with his written memo" Yet, on my honour," said Dick, "I would swear randa. you had been born blind, since you have failed at the I proceeded, however, to decipher the substance of first glance to discover the subject and meaning of the manuscript as well as I could, and wove it, into that sketch. I do not mean to praise my own per- the following Tale, in which, following in part
, formance, I leave these arts to others; I am sensible though not entirely, my friend Tinto's advice, i of my deficiencies, conscious that my drawing and endeavoured to render my narrative rather descriptive colouring may be improvec by the time I intend to than dramatic. My favourite properisity, however, dedicate to the art. But the conception-the expres- has at tiines overcome me, and my persons, like many sion---the positions-these tell the story to every one other in this talking world, sponk now and then i who looks at the sketch; and if I can finish the picture great deal more than they ac. without diminution of the original conception, the name of Tinto shall no more be smothered by the mists of envy and intrigue."
CHAPTER II. I replied, "That I admired the sketch exceed
Well, lords, we have not got that which we hora; ingly;
but that to understand its full merit, I felt "Tis not enough our foes are this time fled, it absolutely necessary to be informed of the sub- Being opposites of such repairing nature. ject."
Second Part of Henry VI. That is the very tning I complain of," answered In the gorge of'a pass or mountain glen, ascending. Tinto: you have accustomed yourself so much to from the fertile plains of East Lothian, there stonci s former times an extensive castle, of which only the picions. "In those days there was no king in Israel." ruins are now visible. Its ancient proprietors were a Since the departure of James VI. to assume the richer race of powerful and warlike barons, who bore the and more powerful crown of England,
there had exsame name with the castle itself, which was Ravens- isted in Scotland contending parties, formed among wood. Their line extended to a remote period the aristocracy, by whom, as their intrigues at the of antiquity, and they had intermarried with the court of St. James's chanced to prevail
, the delegated Douglasses, Humes, Swintons, Hays, and other powers of sovereignty were alternately swayed. The families of power and distinction in the same coun-evils attending upon this system of government, retry. Their history was frequently involved in that semble those which afflici che tenants of an Irish of Scotland itself, in whose annals their feats are estate, the property of an absentee. There was no recorded. The Castle of Ravenswood, occupying, supreme power, claiming and possessing a general and in some measure commanding, a pass betwixt interest with the community at large, to whom the Berwickshire or the Merse, as the south-eastern pro- oppressed might appeal from subordinate tyranny, vince of Scotland is termed, and the Lothians, was of either for justice or for mercy, Let a monarch: be as importance both in times of foreign war and domestic indolent, as selfish, as much disposed to arbitrary discord. It was frequently besieged with ardour, and power as he will still, in a free country, his own inte defended with obstinacy, and, of course, its owners rests are so clearly connected with those of the public played a conspicuous part in story. But their house at large, and the evil consequences to his own authohad its revolutious, like all sublunary things; it be- rity are so obvious and imminent when a different came greatly declined from its splendour about the course is pursued, that common policy, as well as middle of the 17th century; and towards the period of conmon feeling, point to the equal distribution of the Revolution, the last proprietor of Ravenswood justice, and to the establishment of the throne in righCastle saw himself compelled
to part with the ancient teousness. Thus, even sovereigns, remarkable for family seat, and to remove himself to a lonely and usurpation and tyranny, have been found rigorous in sea-beaten tower, which, situated on the bleak shores the administration of justice among their subjects, in between Saint Abb's Head and the village of Eye- cases where their own power and passions were not mouth, looked out on the lonely and boisterous Ger; compromised. man Ocean. A black domain of wild pasture-land It is very different when the powers of sovereignty surrounded their new residence, and formed the re-are delegated to the head of an aristocratic faction, mains of their property
rivalled and pressed closely in the race of ambition Lord Ravenswood, the heir of this ruined family, by an adverse leader. His brief and precarious enjoywas far from bending his mind to his new condition ment of power must be employed in rewarding his of life. In the civil war of 1689, he had espoused the partisans, in extending
his influence, in oppressing and sinking side, and although he had escaped without crushing his adversaries. Even Abon Hassan, the the forfeiture of life or land, his blood had been at: most disinterested of all viceroys, forgot not,
during tainted, and his title abolished. He was now called his caliphate of one day, to send a douceur of one Lord Ravenswood only in courtesy.
thousand pieces of gold to his own household; and This forfcited nobleman inherited the pride and tur- the Scotuish
vicegerents, raised to power by the bulence, though not the fortune of his house, and, as strength of their faction, failed not to embrace the he imputed the final declension of his family to a par- same means of rewarding them. ticular individual, he honoured that person with his The administration of justice, in particular, wae infull portion of hatred. This was the very man who fccted by the most gross partiality. A case of importhad now become, by purchase, proprietor of Ravens- ance scarcely occurred, in which there was not some wood, and the domains of which the heir of the
house ground for bias or partiality on the part of the judges now stood dispossessed. He was descended of a who were so little able to withstand the temptation family much less ancient than that of Lord Ravens- that the adage, "Show me the man, and I will show wood, and which had only risen to wealth and politi- you the law," became as prevalent as it was scandacal importance during the great civil wars. He him-lous. One corruption led the way to others still more self had been bred to the bar, and had held high gross and profligate. The judge who lent his sacred offices in the state, maintaining through life the cha- authority in one case to support a friend, and in anracter of a skilful fisher in the troubled waters of a other to crush an enemy, and whose decisions were state divided by factions, and governed by delegated founded on family connexions, or political relations, authority; and of one who contrived to amass con- could not be supposed inaccessible to direct personal siderable sums of money in a country where there motives; and the purse of the wealthy was too often was but little to be gathered, and who equally knew believed to be thrown into the
scale to weigh down the value of wealth, and the various means of aug. the cause of the poor litigant. The subordinate offimenting it, and using it as an engine of increasing his cers of the law affected little scruple concerning power and influence.
bribery. Pieces of plate, and bags of money, w Thus qualified and gifted, he was a dangerous anta- sent in presents to the king's counsel, to influence gonist to the fierce and imprudent Ravenswood. their conduct, and poured forth, says a contemporary Whether he had given him good cause for the enmity writer, like billets of wood upon their floors, without with which the Baron regarded him, was a point on even the deceney of concealment. which men spoke differently. Some said the quarrel In such times, it was not over uncharitable to suparose merely from the vindictive spirit and envy of pose, that the statesman, practised in courts of law, Lord Ravenswood, who could not patiently behold and a powerful member of a triumphant cabal, might another, though by just and fair purchase, become find and use means of advantage over his less skilful the proprietor of the estate and castle of his fore- and less favoured adversary; and if it had been supfathers. But the greater part of the public, prone to posed that Sir William Ashton's conscience had been slander the wealthy in their absence, as to flatter them too delicate to profit by these advantages, it was in their presence, held a less charitable opinion. They believed that his ambition and desire of extending said, that the Lord Keeper (for to this height Şir his wealth and consequence, found as strong a stimuWilliam Ashton had ascended) had, previous to the lus in the exhortations of his lady, as the daring aim final purchase of the estate of Ravenswood, been of Macbeth in the days of yore. concerned in extensive pecuniary transactions with Lady Ashton was of a family more distinguished the former proprietor; and, rather intimating what than that of her lord, an advantage which she did not was probable, than affirming any thing positively, fail to use to the uttermost, in maintaining and ex. they asked which party was likely to have the advan- tending her husband's influence over others, and. tage in stating and enforcing the claims arising out unless she was greatly belied, her own over him. She of these complicated affairs, and more than hinted the had been beautiful, and was stately and majestic in advantages which the cool lawyer and able politician her appearance. Endowed by nature with strong must necessarily possess over she hou
, fiery, and im- powers and violen: passions, experience had taught prudent
character, whom he had involved in legal her to employ the one, and to conceal, if not to modo toils and pecuniary snares.
rate, the other. She was a severe and strict observer The character of the times aggravated these sus-1 of the external forms, at least, of devotion: har