페이지 이미지

sionary of the Chamberlain of Orkney and Zetland, a speculative person, who designed, through the medium of Triptolemus, to introduce into the ultima Thule of the Romans a spirit of improvement, which at that early period was scarce known to exist in Scotland itself.

At length, and with much difficulty, Mordaunt reached the house of this worthy agriculturist, the only refuge from the relentless storm which he could hope for several miles; and going straight to the door, with the most undoubting confidence of instant admission, he was not a little surprised to find it not merely latched, which the weather might excuse, but even bolted, a thing which, as Magnus Troil has already intimated, was almost unknown in the Archipelago. To knock, to call, and finally to batter the door with staff and stones, were the natural resources of the youth, who was rendered alike impatient by the pelting of the storm, and by the most unexpected and unusual obstacles to instant admission. As he was suffered, however, for many minutes to exhaust his impatience in noise and clamour,

[blocks in formation]

without receiving any reply, we will employ them in informing the reader who Triptolemus Yellowley was, and how he came by a name so singular.

Old Jasper Yellowley, the father of Triptolemus, (though born at the foot of RoseberryTopping,) had been come over by a certain noble Scottish Earl, who, proving too far north for caöny Yorkshire, had persuaded him to accept of'a farm in the Mearns, where, it is unnécessary to add, that he found matters very different from what he expected. It was in vain that the stout farmer set manfülly to work, to counterbalance, by superior skill, the inconveniences arising from a cold soil and a weepmg climate. These might have been probably overcome, but his neighbourhood to the Grampians exposed him eternally to that species of visitation from the plaided gentry who dwelled within their skirts, which made young Norval a warrior and a hero, but only converted Jasper Yellowley into a poor man. This was, indeed, balanced in some sort by the impression which his ruddy cheek and robust form had the fortune to make upon Miss Barbara Clinkscale,

daughter to thé. umquhile, and sister to the then existing Clinkscale of that ilk.

This was thought a horrid and unnatural union in the neighbourhood, considering that the house of Clinkscale had at least as great a share of Scottish pride as of Scottish parsimony, and were amply endowed with both. But Miss Babie had her handsome fortune of two thousand merks at her own disposal, was a woman of spirit who had been major and sui juris, (as the writer who drew the contract assured her,) for full twenty years; so she set consequences and commentaries alike at defiance, and wedded the hearty Yorkshire yeoman. Her brother and her more wealthy kinsmen drew off in disgust, and almost disowned their degraded relative. But the house of Clinkscale was allied (like every other family in Scotland at the time) to a set of relations who were not so nice-tenth and sixteenth cousins, who not only acknowledged their kinswoman Babie after her marriage with Yellowley, but even condescended to eat beans and bacon (though the latter was then the abomination of the Scots as much as of the Jews) with her husband, and would will


[ocr errors]

ingly have cemented the friendship by borrowing a little cash from him, had not his good lady (who understood trap as well as any woman in the Mearns) put a negative on this advance to intimacy. Indeed, she knew how to make young Deelbelicket, old Dougald Baresword, the Laird of Bandybrawl, and others,

for the hospitality which she did not think proper to deny them, by rendering them useful in her negociations with the light-handed lads beyond the Cairn, who, finding their late object of plunder was now allied to “ kend folks, and owned by them at kirk and market," became satisfied, on a moderate yearly composition, to desist from their depredations,

This eminent success reconciled Jasper to the dominion which his wife began to as: sume over him; and which was much confirmed by her proving to be let me see-what is the prettiest mode of expressing it?-in the family way. On this occasion, Mrs Yellowley had a remarkable dream, as is the usual pracțice of teeming mothers previous to the birth of an illustrious offspring. She “ was a-dreamed," as her husband expressed it, that she was safely delivered of a plough, drawn by three yoke of Angus-shire oxen; and being a mighty investigator into such portents, she sate herself down with her gossips, to consider what the thing might mean. Honest Jasper ventured, with much hesitation, to intimate his own opinion, that the vision had reference rather to things past than things present, and might have been occasioned by his wife's nerves having been a little startled by meeting in the loan above the house his own great plough with the six oxen, which were the pride of his heart. But the good cummers raised such a hue and cry against this exposition, that Jasper was fain to put his fingers in his ears, and to run out of the apartment,

“ Hear to him," said an old whigamore carline—"hear to him, wi' his owsen, that are as an idol to him, even as the calf of Bethel ! Na, na-its nae pleugh of the flesh that the bonnie lad bairn-for a lad it sall be-shall e'er striddle between the stilts o'—its the pleugh of the spirit --and I trust mysell to see him wag the head o' him in a pu’pit; or, at the warst, on a hillside."

« 이전계속 »