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Chapter 13


--The time was that I hated thee,
And yet it is not that I bear thee love.
Thy company, which erst was irksome to me,
I will endure--
But do not look for further recompense.
As You Like It.


Miss Isabella Wardour's complexion was considerably heightened, when,
after the delay necessary to arrange her ideas, she presented herself in
the drawing-room.

"I am glad you are come, my fair foe," said the Antiquary greeting her
with much kindness, "for I have had a most refractory, or at least
negligent auditor, in my young friend here, while I endeavoured to make
him acquainted with the history of Knockwinnock Castle. I think the
danger of last night has mazed the poor lad. But you, Miss Isabel,--why,
you look as if flying through the night air had been your natural and
most congenial occupation; your colour is even better than when you
honoured my _hospitium_ yesterday. And Sir Arthur--how fares my good old
friend?"

"Indifferently well, Mr. Oldbuck; but I am afraid, not quite able to
receive your congratulations, or to pay--to pay--Mr. Lovel his thanks for
his unparalleled exertions."

"I dare say not--A good down pillow for his good white head were more
meet than a couch so churlish as Bessy's-apron, plague on her!"

"I had no thought of intruding," said Lovel, looking upon the ground, and
speaking with hesitation and suppressed emotion; "I did not--did not mean
to intrude upon Sir Arthur or Miss Wardour the presence of one who--who
must necessarily be unwelcome--as associated, I mean, with painful
reflections."

"Do not think my father so unjust and ungrateful," said Miss Wardour. "I
dare say," she continued, participating in Lovel's embarrassment--"I dare
say--I am certain--that my father would be happy to show his gratitude
--in any way--that is, which Mr. Lovel could consider it as proper to
point out."

"Why the deuce," interrupted Oldbuck, "what sort of a qualification is
that?--On my word, it reminds me of our minister, who, choosing, like a
formal old fop as he is, to drink to my sister's inclinations, thought it
necessary to add the saving clause, Provided, madam, they be virtuous.
Come, let us have no more of this nonsense--I dare say Sir Arthur will
bid us welcome on some future day. And what news from the kingdom of
subterranean darkness and airy hope?--What says the swart spirit of the
mine? Has Sir Arthur had any good intelligence of his adventure lately in
Glen-Withershins?"

Miss Wardour shook her head--"But indifferent, I fear, Mr. Oldbuck; but
there lie some specimens which have lately been sent down."

"Ah! my poor dear hundred pounds, which Sir Arthur persuaded me to give
for a share in that hopeful scheme, would have bought a porter's load of
mineralogy--But let me see them."

And so saying, he sat down at the table in the recess, on which the
mineral productions were lying, and proceeded to examine them, grumbling
and pshawing at each which he took up and laid aside.

In the meantime, Lovel, forced as it were by this secession of Oldbuck,
into a sort of tete-a'-tete with Miss Wardour, took an opportunity of
addressing her in a low and interrupted tone of voice. "I trust Miss
Wardour will impute, to circumstances almost irresistible, this intrusion
of a person who has reason to think himself--so unacceptable a visitor."

"Mr. Lovel," answered Miss Wardour, observing the same tone of caution,
"I trust you will not--I am sure you are incapable of abusing the
advantages given to you by the services you have rendered us, which, as
they affect my father, can never be sufficiently acknowledged or repaid.
Could Mr. Lovel see me without his own peace being affected--could he see
me as a friend--as a sister--no man will be--and, from all I have ever
heard of Mr. Lovel, ought to be, more welcome but"--

Oldbuck's anathema against the preposition _but_ was internally echoed by
Lovel. "Forgive me if I interrupt you, Miss Wardour; you need not fear my
intruding upon a subject where I have been already severely repressed;
--but do not add to the severity of repelling my sentiments the rigour of
obliging me to disavow them."

"I am much embarrassed, Mr. Lovel," replied the young lady, "by your--I
would not willingly use a strong word--your romantic and hopeless
pertinacity. It is for yourself I plead, that you would consider the
calls which your country has upon your talents--that you will not waste,
in an idle and fanciful indulgence of an ill-placed predilection, time,
which, well redeemed by active exertion, should lay the foundation of
future distinction. Let me entreat that you would form a manly
resolution"--

"It is enough, Miss Wardour;--I see plainly that"--

"Mr. Lovel, you are hurt--and, believe me, I sympathize in the pain which
I inflict; but can I, in justice to myself, in fairness to you, do
otherwise? Without my father's consent, I never will entertain the
addresses of any one, and how totally impossible it is that he should
countenance the partiality with which you honour me, you are yourself
fully aware; and, indeed"--

"No, Miss Wardour," answered Lovel, in a tone of passionate entreaty; "do
not go farther--is it not enough to crush every hope in our present
relative situation?--do not carry your resolutions farther--why urge what
would be your conduct if Sir Arthur's objections could be removed?"

"It is indeed vain, Mr. Lovel," said Miss Wardour, "because their removal
is impossible; and I only wish, as your friend, and as one who is obliged
to you for her own and her father's life, to entreat you to suppress this
unfortunate attachment--to leave a country which affords no scope for
your talents, and to resume the honourable line of the profession which
you seem to have abandoned."

"Well, Miss Wardour, your wishes shall be obeyed;--have patience with me
one little month, and if, in the course of that space, I cannot show you
such reasons for continuing my residence at Fairport, as even you shall
approve of, I will bid adieu to its vicinity, and, with the same breath,
to all my hopes of happiness."

"Not so, Mr. Lovel; many years of deserved happiness, founded on a more
rational basis than your present wishes, are, I trust, before, you. But
it is full time, to finish this conversation. I cannot force you to adopt
my advice--I cannot shut the door of my father's house against the
preserver of his life and mine; but the sooner Mr. Lovel can teach his
mind to submit to the inevitable disappointment of wishes which have been
so rashly formed, the more highly be will rise in my esteem--and, in the
meanwhile, for his sake as well as mine, he must excuse my putting an
interdict upon conversation on a subject so painful."

A servant at this moment announced that Sir Arthur desired to speak to
Mr. Oldbuck in his dressing-room.

"Let me show you the way," said Miss Wardour, who apparently dreaded a
continuation of her tete-a-tete with Lovel, and she conducted the
Antiquary accordingly to her father's apartment.

Sir Arthur, his legs swathed in flannel, was stretched on the couch.
"Welcome, Mr. Oldbuck," he said; "I trust you have come better off than
I have done from the inclemency of yesterday evening?"

"Truly, Sir Arthur, I was not so much exposed to it--I kept _terra
firma_--you fairly committed yourself to the cold night-air in the most
literal of all senses. But such adventures become a gallant knight better
than a humble esquire,--to rise on the wings of the night-wind--to dive
into the bowels of the earth. What news from our subterranean Good Hope!
--the _terra incognita_ of Glen-Withershins?"

"Nothing good as yet," said the Baronet, turning himself hastily, as if
stung by a pang of the gout; "but Dousterswivel does not despair."

"Does he not?" quoth Oldbuck; "I do though, under his favour. Why, old
Dr. H--n* told me, when I was in Edinburgh, that we should never find
copper enough, judging from the specimens I showed him, to make a pair of
sixpenny knee-buckles--and I cannot see that those samples on the table
below differ much in quality."

* Probably Dr. Hutton, the celebrated geologist.

"The learned doctor is not infallible, I presume?"

"No; but he is one of our first chemists; and this tramping philosopher
of yours--this Dousterswivel--is, I have a notion, one, of those learned
adventurers described by Kirchner, _Artem habent sine arte, partem sine
parte, quorum medium est mentiri, vita eorum mendicatum ire;_ that is to
say, Miss Wardour"--

"It is unnecessary to translate," said Miss Wardour--"I comprehend your
general meaning; but I hope Mr. Dousterswivel will turn out a more
trustworthy character."

"I doubt it not a little," said the Antiquary,--"and we are a foul way
out if we cannot discover this infernal vein that he has prophesied about
these two years."

"_You_ have no great interest in the matter, Mr. Oldbuck," said the
Baronet.

"Too much, too much, Sir Arthur; and yet, for the sake of my fair foe
here, I would consent to lose it all so you had no more on the venture."

There was a painful silence of a few moments, for Sir Arthur was too
proud to acknowledge the downfall of his golden dreams, though he could
no longer disguise to himself that such was likely to be the termination
of the adventure. "I understand," he at length said, "that the young
gentleman, to whose gallantry and presence of mind we were so much
indebted last night, has favoured me with a visit--I am distressed that I
am unable to see him, or indeed any one, but an old friend like you, Mr.
Oldbuck."

A declination of the Antiquary's stiff backbone acknowledged the
preference.

"You made acquaintance with this young gentleman in Edinburgh, I
suppose?"

Oldbuck told the circumstances of their becoming known to each other.

"Why, then, my daughter is an older acquaintance, of Mr. Lovel than you
are," said the Baronet.

"Indeed! I was not aware of that," answered Oldbuck somewhat surprised.

"I met Mr. Lovel," said Isabella, slightly colouring, "when I resided
this last spring with my aunt, Mrs. Wilmot."

"In Yorkshire?--and what character did he bear then, or how was he
engaged?" said Oldbuck,--"and why did not you recognise him when I
introduced you?"

Isabella answered the least difficult question, and passed over the
other--"He had a commission in the army, and had, I believe, served with
reputation; he was much respected, as an amiable and promising young
man."

"And pray, such being the case," replied the Antiquary, not disposed to
take one reply in answer to two distinct questions, "why did you not
speak to the lad at once when you met him at my house? I thought you had
less of the paltry pride of womankind about you, Miss Wardour."

"There was a reason for it," said Sir Arthur with dignity; "you know the
opinions--prejudices, perhaps you will call them--of our house concerning
purity of birth. This young gentleman is, it seems, the illegitimate son
of a man of fortune; my daughter did not choose to renew their
acquaintance till she should know whether I approved of her holding any
intercourse with him."

"If it had been with his mother instead of himself," answered Oldbuck,
with his usual dry causticity of humour, "I could see an excellent reason
for it. Ah, poor lad! that was the cause, then, that he seemed so absent
and confused while I explained to him the reason of the bend of bastardy
upon the shield yonder under the corner turret!"

"True," said the Baronet, with complacency--"it is the shield of Malcolm
the Usurper, as he is called. The tower which he built is termed, after
him, Malcolm's Tower, but more frequently Misticot's Tower, which I
conceive to be a corruption for _Misbegot._ He is denominated, in the
Latin pedigree of our family, _Milcolumbus Nothus;_ and his temporary
seizure of our property, and most unjust attempt to establish his own
illegitimate line in the estate of Knockwinnock, gave rise to such family
feuds and misfortunes, as strongly to found us in that horror and
antipathy to defiled blood and illegitimacy which has been handed down to
me from my respected ancestry."

"I know the story," said Oldbuck, "and I was telling it to Lovel this
moment, with some of the wise maxims and consequences which it has
engrafted on your family politics. Poor fellow! he must have been much
hurt: I took the wavering of his attention for negligence, and was
something piqued at it, and it proves to be only an excess of feeling. I
hope, Sir Arthur, you will not think the less of your life because it has
been preserved by such assistance?"

"Nor the less of my assistant either," said the Baronet; "my doors and
table shall be equally open to him as if he had descended of the most
unblemished lineage."

"Come, I am glad of that--he'll know where he can get a dinner, then, if
he wants one. But what views can he have in this neighbourhood? I must
catechise him; and if I find he wants it--or, indeed, whether he does or
not--he shall have my best advice." As the Antiquary made this liberal
promise, he took his leave of Miss Wardour and her father, eager to
commence operations upon Mr. Lovel. He informed him abruptly that Miss
Wardour sent her compliments, and remained in attendance on her father,
and then, taking him by the arm, he led him out of the castle.

Knockwinnock still preserved much of the external attributes of a
baronial castle. It had its drawbridge, though now never drawn up, and
its dry moat, the sides of which had been planted with shrubs, chiefly of
the evergreen tribes. Above these rose the old building, partly from a
foundation of red rock scarped down to the sea-beach, and partly from the
steep green verge of the moat. The trees of the avenue have been already
mentioned, and many others rose around of large size,--as if to confute
the prejudice that timber cannot be raised near to the ocean. Our walkers
paused, and looked back upon the castle, as they attained the height of a
small knoll, over which lay their homeward road; for it is to be supposed
they did not tempt the risk of the tide by returning along the sands. The
building flung its broad shadow upon the tufted foliage of the shrubs
beneath it, while the front windows sparkled in the sun. They were viewed
by the gazers with very different feelings. Lovel, with the fond
eagerness of that passion which derives its food and nourishment from
trifles, as the chameleon is said to live on the air, or upon the
invisible insects which it contains, endeavoured to conjecture which of
the numerous windows belonged to the apartment now graced by Miss
Wardour's presence. The speculations of the Antiquary were of a more
melancholy cast, and were partly indicated by the ejaculation of _cito
peritura!_ as he turned away from the prospect. Lovel, roused from his
reverie, looked at him as if to inquire the meaning of an exclamation so
ominous. The old man shook his head. "Yes, my young friend," said he, "I
doubt greatly--and it wrings my heart to say it--this ancient family is
going fast to the ground!"

"Indeed!" answered Lovel--"you surprise me greatly."

"We harden ourselves in vain," continued the Antiquary, pursuing his own
train of thought and feeling--"we harden ourselves in vain to treat with
the indifference they deserve, the changes of this trumpery whirligig
world. We strive ineffectually to be the self-sufficing invulnerable
being, the _teres atque rotundus_ of the poet;--the stoical exemption
which philosophy affects to give us over the pains and vexations of human
life, is as imaginary as the state of mystical quietism and perfection
aimed at by some crazy enthusiasts."

"And Heaven forbid that it should be otherwise!" said Lovel, warmly
--"Heaven forbid that any process of philosophy were capable so to sear
and indurate our feelings, that nothing should agitate them but what
arose instantly and immediately out of our own selfish interests! I
would as soon wish my hand to be as callous as horn, that it might
escape an occasional cut or scratch, as I would be ambitious of the
stoicism which should render my heart like a piece of the nether
millstone."

The Antiquary regarded his youthful companion with a look half of pity,
half of sympathy, and shrugged up his shoulders as he replied--"Wait,
young man--wait till your bark has been battered by the storm of sixty
years of mortal vicissitude: you will learn by that time, to reef your
sails, that she may obey the helm;--or, in the language of this world,
you will find distresses enough, endured and to endure, to keep your
feelings and sympathies in full exercise, without concerning yourself
more in the fate of others than you cannot possibly avoid."

"Well, Mr. Oldbuck, it may be so;--but as yet I resemble you more in your
practice than in your theory, for I cannot help being deeply interested
in the fate of the family we have just left."

"And well you may," replied Oldbuck. "Sir Arthur's embarrassments have of
late become so many and so pressing, that I am surprised you have not
heard of them. And then his absurd and expensive operations carried on by
this High-German landlouper, Dousterswivel"--

"I think I have seen that person, when, by some rare chance, I happened
to be in the coffee-room at Fairport;--a tall, beetle-browed,
awkward-built man, who entered upon scientific subjects, as it appeared
to my ignorance at least, with more assurance than knowledge--was very
arbitrary in laying down and asserting his opinions, and mixed the terms
of science with a strange jargon of mysticism. A simple youth whispered
me that he was an _Illumine',_ and carried on an intercourse with the
invisible world."

"O, the same--the same. He has enough of practical knowledge to speak
scholarly and wisely to those of whose intelligence he stands in awe;
and, to say the truth, this faculty, joined to his matchless impudence,
imposed upon me for some time when I first knew him. But I have since
understood, that when he is among fools and womankind, he exhibits
himself as a perfect charlatan--talks of the _magisterium_--of sympathies
and antipathies--of the cabala--of the divining-rod--and all the trumpery
with which the Rosicrucians cheated a darker age, and which, to our
eternal disgrace, has in some degree revived in our own. My friend
Heavysterne know this fellow abroad, and unintentionally (for he, you
must know, is, God bless the mark! a sort of believer) let me into a good
deal of his real character. Ah! were I caliph for a day, as Honest Abon
Hassan wished to be, I would scourge me these jugglers out of the
commonwealth with rods of scorpions. They debauch the spirit of the
ignorant and credulous with mystical trash, as effectually as if they had
besotted their brains with gin, and then pick their pockets with the same
facility. And now has this strolling blackguard and mountebank put the
finishing blow to the ruin of an ancient and honourable family!"

"But how could he impose upon Sir Arthur to any ruinous extent?"

"Why, I don't know. Sir Arthur is a good honourable gentleman; but, as
you may see from his loose ideas concerning the Pikish language, he is by
no means very strong in the understanding. His estate is strictly
entailed, and he has been always an embarrassed man. This rapparee
promised him mountains of wealth, and an English company was found to
advance large sums of money--I fear on Sir Arthur's guarantee. Some
gentlemen--I was ass enough to be one--took small shares in the concern,
and Sir Arthur himself made great outlay; we were trained on by specious
appearances and more specious lies; and now, like John Bunyan, we awake,
and behold it is a dream!"

"I am surprised that you, Mr. Oldbuck, should have encouraged Sir Arthur
by your example."

"Why," said Oldbuck, dropping his large grizzled eyebrow, "I am something
surprised and ashamed at it myself; it was not the lucre of gain--nobody
cares less for money (to be a prudent man) than I do--but I thought I
might risk this small sum. It will be expected (though I am sure I cannot
see why) that I should give something to any one who will be kind enough
to rid me of that slip of womankind, my niece, Mary M'Intyre; and perhaps
it may be thought I should do something to get that jackanapes, her
brother, on in the army. In either case, to treble my venture, would have
helped me out. And besides, I had some idea that the Phoenicians had in
former times wrought copper in that very spot. That cunning scoundrel,
Dousterswivel, found out my blunt side, and brought strange tales (d--n
him) of appearances of old shafts, and vestiges of mining operations,
conducted in a manner quite different from those of modern times; and
I--in short, I was a fool, and there is an end. My loss is not much worth
speaking about; but Sir Arthur's engagements are, I understand, very
deep, and my heart aches for him and the poor young lady who must share
his distress."

Here the conversation paused, until renewed in the next chapter.

Sir Walter Scott

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