Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Her powers of observation were won. the Fitful- head, a stormy cliff which derful, aud little interrupted by other this mysterious being had chosen for tones of feeling. The information which

her residence. she acquired by habits of patient attentiou, were indelibly rivetted in a natu- “ Her features were high and welt rally powerful memory. She had also formed, and would have been handsome a high feeling for the solitary and melan. but for the ravages of time, and the choly grandeur of the scenes in which effects of exposure to the severe weashe was placed. The ocean, in all its ther of her country. Age, and perhaps varied forms of sublimity and terror- sorrow, had quenched, in some degree, the tremendous cliffs that resound to the the fire of a dark blue eye; whose hne ceaseless roar of the billows and the almost approached to black, and had clang of the sea-fowl, had for Miona a

sprinkled snow on such part of her charm in almost every state in which tresses as had escaped from under her the changing seasons exhibited them. cap, aud were dishevelled by the rigour With the enthusiastic feelings proper of the storm. Her upper garment, to the romantic race from wbich her which dropped with water, was of a mother descended, the love of natural

coarse dark.coloured stuff, called Wad. objects was to her a passion capable of maral, then much used in the Zetland not only occupying, but at times of agi- islands, as also in Iceland and Norway. tating, ber mind. Scenes opon which But as she threw this cloak back from her sister looked with a sense of tran- her shoulders, a short jacket, of darksient awe or emotion, which vanished blue velvet, stamped with figures, beou her return from witnessing them, came visible; and the vest, which cor. contioned long to fill Minna's imagina. responded to it, was of crimson colour, tion, not ouly in solitude, and in the and embroidered with tarnished silver. silence of the night, but in the lours of Her girdle was plaited with silver orna. society. So that sometimes when she ments, cut into the shape of planetary sat like a beautiful statne, a present signs: her blue apron was embroidered jaember of the domestic circle, her with similar devices, and covered a petthoughts were far absent, wandering ticoat of crimson cloth. Strong thick on the wild sea-shore, and amongst the enduring shoes, of the half.dressed yet wilder mountains of her native leather of the country, were tied with isles. And yet, when recalled to cou

straps like those of the Roman buskins, versation, and mingling in it with in. over her scarlet stockings. She wore terest, there were few to whom her in her belt an ambiguous looking friends were more indebted for enhanc- weapon, which might pass for a sacri. ing its enjoyments; and, although some. ficing knife or dagger, as the imaginathing in her manners claimed defer- tion of the spectator chose to assign to ence (notwithstanding her early youth) the wearer the character of a priestess as well as affection, even her gay, love or of a sorceress. In her hand she held ly, and amiable sister was not more a staff, squared on all sides, and engrav. generally beloved than the more re. ed with Runic characters and figures, tired and pensive Minna.” Vol. I. pr. forining one of those portable and per42-49.

petual calendars which were nsed among Mordaunt Mertoun, having asso

the ancient natives of Scandinavia, and ciated from his childhood with these

which, to a superstitious eye, might

have passed for a divining rod. interesting young persons, felt the

« Such were the appearance, features, attachment of a brother for them

and attire of Norna of the Fitful-head, both; and the islanders, not calcu

upon whom many of the inbabitants of lating sutficiently on the aristocra- the island looked with observance, many tical feelings of the Udaller, thought with fear, and almost all with a sort that he would be welcome to which of veneration. Less pregnant circumof them he should choose in mar- stances of suspicion would, in any other riage, as soon as he could find time part of Scotland, bave exposed her to to determine which lie liked best.

the investigation of those cruel inquiOur readers must now be intro.

sitors, who were then often invested

with the delegated authority of the duced to one personage more, who

privy.council, for the purpose of peracts a conspicuous part in the his. secuting, torturing, and fiually consigntory; we meau Norda, surnamed of ing to the flames, those who were accused of witchcraft or sorcery. Bnt Among other predictions of this superstitions of this nature pass through sybil, all of which fall out correctly, two stages ere they become entirely ob. she foretels a storm, in which a solete. Those supposed to be possessed dismasted vessel, apparently deof supernatural powers are venerated serted by her crew, is seen drifting in the earlier stages of society. As re.

before the wind, and at length is Jigion and knowledge increase, they are first held in hatred and horror, and are

dashed to pieces on the rocky coast. finally regarded as impostors. Scotland One man only emerges from the was in the second state: the fear of wreck, clinging to a spar, whose witchcraft was great, and the hatred life is saved by the intrepidity of against those suspected of it intense. the younger Mertoun. This single Zetland was as yet a little world by it- survivor proves to be CaptainCleve. self, where, among the lower and ruder land, a pirate, who is represented classes, so much of the ancient northern superstition remained, as cherished the

as a young man, bold, handsome, origiual veneration for those affecting and of a pleasing address. Cleve

land supernatural knowledge and power over

soon finds his way to the the elements, which made a constituent Udaller's family, where he obtains part of the ancient Scandinavian creed. a firm footing, carousing with the At least if the natives of Thule admit. father, and amusing the daughters ted that one class of niagicians perform witb nautical adventures. Poor ed their feats by their alliance with Mordaunt Mertoun, now begins to satan, they devoutly believed that others lose favour at Burgh Westra, in dealt with spirits of a different and less odious class—the ancient dwarfs,called consequence of some reports spread in Zetland, Trows or Drows, the modern

to his disparagement by the Pirate. fairies, and so forth.

It had for many years been his “ Among those who were supposed to

custom to be present at an annual be in league with disembodied spirits, festival given by the Udaller, on ibis Norna, descended from, and repre. which and all other occasions, till sentative of a family which had long Cleveland came to the island, he pretended to sucli gifts, was so eminent, had been the most favoured guest. that the name assigued to ber, which The appointed day came round as signifies one of those fatal sisters who usual; but he was not invited. Irweave the web of human fate, had been conferred in honour of her supernatural his gun, and rushed out of the

ritated at the slight, he caught up powers. The name by which she had been actually christened was carefully house of Jarlshof, in a temper of concealed by herself and her parents; mind which is described in the folfor to the discovery they superstitiously lowing extract. annexed some fatal consequences. In those times, the doubt only occurred “ Without exactly reflecting upon whether her snpposed powers were ac. the route which he pursued, Mordaunt quired by lawful means. In our days, it walked briskly on through a conntry would have been questioned whether she where neither hedge, wall, vor inclosure was an impostor, or whether her imagi- of any kiod, interrupts the steps of the nation was so deeply impressed with the wauderer, until he reached a very soli. mysteries of her supposed art, that she tary spot where, embosomed among imight be in some degree a believer in steep heathy hills, which sunk snddenly her own pretensions to supernatural down on the verge of the water, lay one knowledge. Certain it is, that she per- of those small fresh-water lakes which formed her part with such undoubting are common in the Zetland isles, whose confidence, and such striking diguity of outlets form the sources of the small look and action, and evinced, at the brooks and rivulets by which the counsame time, such strength of language, try is watered, and serve to drive the and such energy of purpose, that it little mills which manufacture their would have been difficult for the greatest grain. sceptic to have doubted the reality of “ It was a mild summer day; "the her enthusiasm, though he might smile beams of the sun, as is not nocommon at the pretepsions to which it gave rise." in Zetland, were moderated and shaded Vol. I, pp. 118-122.

by a silvery haze, which filled the atmoshaste in his step, and fire in his eye, Eric the clamorous crowd with a feeling of Scambester, a barpoon in his band, came resentment, which he felt disposed at

phere, and, destroying the strong con- sometimes a little shade of danger contrast of light and shade, gave even to pected with them.-But why should I noon the sober livery of the evening wreak my own vexation on these harmtwilight. The little lake, not three. less sea-gulls ?" he subjoined after a quarters of a mile in circuit, lay in pro. moment's pause : 'they have nothing to fouvd quiet; its surface nndimpled, do with the friends that have forgotten save when one of the numerous water- me.--I loved them all so well, -and to fowl, which glided on its surface, dived be so soon given up for the first stranger for an instant under it. The depth of whom chance threw on the coast!' the water gave the wliole that ceruline “ As he stood resting upon his gun, tint of bluish green, which occasioned and abandoning his mind to the course its being called the Green Loch ; and of these unpleasant reflections, his meat present, it formed so perfect a mir. ditations were unexpectedly interrupted ror to the bleak bills by which it was by some one touching his shoulder. He surrounded, and which lay reflected looked around, and saw Norna of the on its bosom, that it was difficult to dis- Fitful-head, wrapped in her dark and tinguish the water from the land ; nay; ample mantle. She had seen him from in the shadowy uncertainty occasioved the brow of the hill, and bad descended by the thin haze, a stranger could scarce to the lake, through a small ravine which have been sensible that a sheet of water concealed her, uutil she came with noiselay before him. A scene of more com less step so close to him, that he turned plete solitude, having all its peculiarities round at her touck.” Vol.I. pp. 225—229. heightened bythe extreme serenity of the weather, the quiet grey composed tone

After a severe struggle with his of the atmosphere, and the perfect pride and resentment, Mordaunt is silence of the elements, could hardly persuaded by Norna to present himbe imagined. The very aquatic birds, self as usual at the feast of Burgh who frequented the spot in great pum- Westra ; but is coldly received by bers, forbore their usual flight and Magnus Troil and his daughters, screams, and floated in profouud tran. whose minds had been poisoned by quillity upon the silent water.

“ Without taking any deterinined aim the artful Cleveland. On the second -without having any determined pur day of the festival, just when the pose—without almost thinking what he numerous guests were beginning to was about, Mordaunt presented his experience some degree of ennui fowling-piece, and fired across the lake. after the fatiguing revelry of the The large swan-shot dimpled its surface preceding evening, an adventure like a partial shower of hail : the hills occurred which is described with took ap the noise of the report, and great spirit, and, like many other repeated it again, and again, and again, to all their echoes : the water-fowl took parts of the narrative, paints in to wing in eddying and confused wheel, lively colours the inanners of these answering the echoes with a thousand reinote islanders. varying screams, from the deep note of

« Most of the guests were using their the swabie or swartback, to the queru- toothpick, some were beginning to talk lous cry of the tirracke and kittie wake. of what was to be done next, when, with “ Mordaunt looked for a moment ou

to announce to the company, that there the moment to apply to all nature, and was a whale on shore, or nearly so, at all her objects, animate or inanimate, the throat of the voe. Then you might however little concerned with the cause have seen such a joyons, boisterous, and of his internal mortification.

universal bustle, as ovly the love of “ • Ay, ay,' he said, ' wheel, dive, sport, so deeply implanted in our nascream, and clamour as you will, aud all tures, can possibly inspire. A set of because you have seen a strange sight, country squires, abont to beat for the and heard an unusual sound. There is first woodcocks of the season, were a many a one like you in this round world. comparison as peily, in respect to the But you, at least, shall learn;' he added, glee, as in regard to the importance of as he re-loaded bis gun, that strange the object; the battue, upon a strong sights and strange sounds, ay, and cover in Ettrick-forest, for the destrucstrange acquaintances to boot, have tion of the foxes; the insurrection of of The three boats destined for this “ Poor Triptolemus was interrupted perilous service pow approached the in a plan, which he, too, had formed dark mass, which lay like an islet, in against the patience of the Zetlanders, the deepest part of the voe, and sufferand which was to have consisted in a ed them to approach, withont shewing lecture upon the agriculture, and the any sign of animation. Silently, and capabilities of the country, by this sud. with such precaution as the extreme den hubbub, which pnt an end at once delicacy of the operation required, the to Halcro's poetry, and to his no less intrepid adventurers, after the failure of formidable prose. It may be easily ima. their first attempt, and the expenditure gined, that he took very little interest of considerable time, succeeded in eastin the sport which was so suddenly sob, ing a cable around the body of the torpid stituted for his lucubrations; and he monster, and in carrying the ends of it wonld not even have deigned to have ashore, where an hundred hands were looked upon the active scene which was instantly employed in secnring them. about to take place, had be not been Batere this was accomplised, the tide stimulated therennto by the exhorta. began to make fast, and the Udaller in. tions of Mistress Baby. * Pit yoursell formed his assistants, that either the forward, man,' said that provident per. fish must be killed, or at least greaty son, pit yoursell forward-wha kens wounded, ere the depth of water on the whar a blessing may light ?- they say bar was sufficient to float him; or that he that a'men share and share equals-aquals was not uplikely to escape from their in the creature's ulzie, and a pint o't joint prowess. wad be worth siller, to liglit the cruise, “ Wherefore,' said be,! we must in the lang dark nights that they speak set to work, aud the factor shall have of-pit yoursell forward, man—there's the honour to make the first throw. a graip to ye-faint heart never wan “ The valiant Triptolemus caught the fair lady-wha kens but what when it's word; and it is necessary to say that the fresh, it may eat weel enough, and spare patience of the whale, in suffering himbntter?'” Vol. II. pp. 70—72.

the sportsmen of the Lennox, when one of this torpid leviathan, by casting a of the duke's deer gets out from Inch- cable around it, to be made fast by Mirran; nay, the joyous rally of the anchors to the shore, and thns to secure fox.chase itself, with all its blithe ac. against his escape, in case the tide companiments of hound and horn, fall should make before they were able to infinitely short of the animation with dispatch him. Three boats were des. which the gallant sons of Thule set off tined to this delicate piece of service to encounter the monster, whom the sea one of which the Udaller himself prohad sent for their amusement at so op- posed to command, wbile Cleveland and portune a conjuncture.

Mertonn were to direct the two others. “ The multifarious stores of Burgh This being decided, they sat down on Westra were rummaged hastily for all the strand, waiting with impatience, sorts of arms, which could be used on until the naval part of the force should such an occasion. Harpoons, swords, arrive in the voe. It was during this pikes, and halberts, fell to the lot of interval, that Triptolemus Yellowley, some; others contented themselves with after measuring with his eyes the extrahay-forks, spits, and whatever else could ordinary size of the whale, observed, be found that was at once long and that in his poor mind, ' A wain with sharp. Thus hastily equipped, one di. six owsen, or with sixty owsen either, vision, under the command of Captain if they were the ownen of the country, Cleveland, hastened to man the beats could not drag siccen a buge creature which lay in the little baven, while the from the water, where it was now lying, rest of the party hurried by land to the to the sea-beach.'”. Vol. II. pp. 75, 76. scene of action,

self to be noosed without resistance, “ The animal, upwards of sixty feet had abated bis terrors, and very much in length, was lying perfectly still, in a lowered the creature in his opinion. He deep part of the voc into which it bad protested the fish had no more wit, and weltered, and where it seemed to await scarcely more activity, than a black the return of tide, of which it was pro- snail; and, influenced by this updue bably assured by instinct. A council contempt of the adversary, he waited of experienced harpooners was instant- neither for a further signal, nor a better Jy called, and it was agreed that an weapon, nor a more suitable position, effort should be made to poose the tail but, rising in his energy, burled his

graip with all his force against the up. selves to the nttermost, contending who fortunate monster. The boats had not should display most courage in approache yet retreated from him to the distance ing the mouster, so tremendous in its necessary to ensure safety, when this agonies, aud should inflict the most deep injadicious commencement of the war and deadly wound upon its huge bulk. took place.

« The contest seemed at last pretty “ Magnus Troil, who had only jested well over; for althongh the animal conwith the factor, and had reserved the tioned from time to time to make frantic launching the first spear against the exertions for liberty, yet its strength whale to some much more skilful hand, appeared so much exhausted, that, even had just time to exclaim, Mind your with assistance of the tide, which had selves, lads, or we are all swamped,' now risen considerably, it was thought when the monster, roused at once from it could scarce extricate itself. inactivity by the blow of the factor's .“ Magnus gave the signal to venture missile, blew, with a noise resembling upon the whale more nearly, calling out the explosion of a steam-engine, a huge at the same time, ' Close in, lads; she is shower of water into the air, and at the not half so mad now-Now, Mr. Factor, same time began to lash the waves with look for a winter's oil for the two lamps its tail in every direction. The boat in at Harfra-Pull close in, lads.' which Magnus presided received the « Ere his orders could be obeyed, the shower of brine which the animal spout other two boats had anticipated his pured into the air; and the adventurous pose; and Mordaunt Mertoun, eager to Triptolemus, who had a full share of the

distinguish himself above Cleveland, immersion, was so much astonished and had, with the whole strength he pose terrified by the consequences of his own sessed, plunged a balf-pike into the body valorous deed, that he tumbled back of the animal. But the leviathan, like wards amongst the feet of the people, a nation whose resources appear totally who, too busy to attend to him, were exhausted by previous losses and calaactively engaged in getting the boat mities, collected his whole remaining into shoal water, out of the whale's force for an effort, which proved at once reach. Here he lay for some minutes, desperate and successful. The wound trampled on by the feet of the boatmen, last received had probably reached until they lay on their oars to bale, when through his external defences of blob. the Udaller ordered them to pull to shore, ber, and attained some very sensitive and land this spare hand, who had com- part of the system ; for he roared aloud, menced the fishing so inauspiciously. as he sent to the sky a mingled sheet of

" While this was doing, the otber brine and blood, and, spapping the strong boats had also pulled off to safer dis- cable like a twig, overset Mertoun's tance, and now, from there as well as boat with a blow of his tail, shot bimself, from the shore, the unfortunate native by a mighty effort, over the bar, upon of the deep was overwhelmed by all which the tide bad vow risen considerkinds of missiles : harpoons and spears ably, and made out to sea, carrying with flew against him on all sides; guns were him a whole grove of the implements fired, and each various means of annoy. which had been planted in his body, ance plied which could excite him to and leaving behind him, on the waters, exhaust his strength in useless rage.' a dark red trace of his course. When the animal found that he was lock. " " There goes 10 sea your cruise of ed in by shallows on all sides, and be- oil, Master Yellowley,' said Magnus, came sensible, at the same time, of the • and you must consume mutton suet, or strain of the cable on his body, the con- go to bed in the dark.' vulsive efforts which he made to escape, "Operam et oleum perdidi,' muttered accompanied with sounds resembling Triptolemus." Vol. II. pp. 79—84. deep and loud groans, would have moved the compassion of all but a practised This affair gives Cleveland an whale-fisher. The repeated showers opportunity of cancelling his obliwhich he spouted into the air began gation 10 Mordaunt, by risking his now to be mingled with blood, and the

life to save his former deliverer. waves which surrounded him assumed the same crimson appearance. Mean. This gentleman ruffian, it seems, time the attempts of the assailants were

bad some sentimental scruples about redoubled; but Mordaunt Mertoun and quarrelling with Merloun, till he Cleveland, in particular, exerted them. bad repaid bis obligation, which CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 243.

Z

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »