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his right hand, and we have seldom read any passage in a Romance, with a more intense and throbbing interest, than that which contains the disclosure of Eachin's fatal, and in his situation, almost monstrous weakness.
We are now in sight of the dénoument. Rothsay, who upon the false accusation of Bonthron, had been committed to a sort of imprisonment, at the residence of the Lord High Constable, Errol, became impatient of the restraint, and, moreover, very naturally longed for the society of Ramorny, to which he had been so long accustomed. He, therefore, sent him a summons to meet him in the Constable's garden, just at the very moment that the treacherous knight (who was now become an instrument of Albany's ambition) was meditating with the Pottingar, some means of getting access to the unfortunate Prince. They prevail upon him to accompany them to Falkland Castle, where they promise him the pleasure of seeing the Fair Maid of Perth, who was now on her way thither with the expectation of finding refuge in the family of the Lady Marjory Douglas. By another contrivance, however, of Albany, the Dutchess was not there, and when Catharine arrived, she was introduced into the society of the profligate Rothsay and his companions. Her behaviour to him is characterised by all the proud honor and courage that belong to a virtuous woman in such circumstances, and she is dismissed by the Prince unharmed. She has a presentiment of what is going to happen, and warns him to escape. The gleewoman, whom Rothsay had met on his way to Falkland Castle, was now her only companion. The apprehensions of Catharine were too soon realized. It was given out, that the Prince, who had not made his appearance for some days, was dangerously ill. But he had been conveyed, while insensible from a potion administered by Henbane Dwining, to the lowest dungeon of the castle, where the fate of Ugolino awaited him. Bonthron was the executioner of this barbarous cruelty.
"This wretch revisited the dungeon at the time when the Prince's lethargy began to wear off, and when awaking to sensation, he felt himself deadly cold, unable to inove, and oppressed with fetters, which scarce permitted him to stir from the dank straw on which he was laid. His first idea was, that he was in a fearful dream-his next brought a confused augury of the truth. He called, shouted-yelled at length in frenzy-but no assistance came, and he was only answered by the vaulted roof of the dungeon. The agent of Hell heard these agonizing screams, and deliberately reckoned them against the taunts and reproaches with which Rothsay had expressed his instinctive aversion to When, exhausted and hopeless, the unhappy youth remained silent, the savage resolved to present himself before the eyes of his
prisoner. The locks were drawn, the chain fell; the Prince raised himself as high as his fetters permitted-a red glare, against which he was fain to shut his eyes, streamed through the vault; and when he opened them again, it was on the ghastly form of one whom he had reason to think dead. He sunk back in horror. I am judged and condemned!' he exclaimed; and the most abhorred fiend in the infernal regions is sent to torment me!'
'I live, my lord,' said Bonthron; and that you may live and enjoy life, be pleased to sit up and eat your victuals.'
'Free me from these irons,' said the Prince-release me from this dungeon—and, dog as thou art, thou shalt be the richest man in Scotland.'
'If you would give me the weight of your shackles in gold,' said Bonthron, I would rather see the iron on you than have the treasure myself!-But look up-you were wont to love delicate fare-behold how I have catered for you.' The wretch, with fiendish glee, unfolded a piece of raw hide covering the bundle which he bore under his arm, and, passing the light to and fro before it, showed the unhappy Prince a bull's head recently hewn from the trunk, and known in Scotland as the certain signal of death. He placed it at the foot of the bed, or rather lair, on which the Prince lay. 'Be moderate in your food,' he said; it is like to be long ere thou get'st another meal.'
'Tell me but one thing, wretch,' said the Prince.
know of this practice.' 'How else hadst thou been decoyed hither? Poor woodcock, thou art snared!' answered the murderer.
With these words the door shut, the bolts resounded, and the unhappy Prince was left to darkness, solitude and despair. 'Oh my father-my prophetic father!-The staff I leaned on has indeed proved a spear We will not dwell on the subsequent hours, nay days, of bodily agony and mental despair.
But it was not the pleasure of Heaven that so great a crime should be perpetrated with impunity." pp. 191–192.
The glee-maiden going in quest of pot-herbs or flowers into the small garden appertaining to the castle, discovered his dreadful situation.
'Is the Duke of Rothsay dead?'
'Worse! they are starving him alive.'
"She re-entered her apartment in the tower with a countenance pale as ashes, and a frame which trembled like an aspen-leaf. Her terror instantly extended itself to Catharine, who could hardly find words to ask what new misfortune had occurred.
'No, no, no, no!' said Louise, speaking under her breath, and huddling her words so thick upon each other, that Catharine could hardly catch the sense. I was seeking for flowers to dress your potage, because you said you loved them, yesterday-my poor little dog, thrusting himself into a thicket of yew and holly bushes that grow out
of some old ruins close to the castle wall, came back whining and howling. I crept forward to see what might be the cause-and, oh! I heard a groaning as of one in extreme pain, but so faint, that it seemed to arise out of the very depth of the earth. At length, I found it proceeded from a small rent in the wall, covered with ivy; and when I laid my ear close to the opening, I could hear the Prince's voice distinctly say 'It cannot now last long;' and then it sunk away in something like a prayer.
'Gracious Heaven!-did you speak to him?'
'I said, 'Is it you my lord?' and the answer was, 'Who mocks me with that name?'-I asked him if I could help him, and he answered with a voice I shall never forget- Food!-food!—I die of famine!' So I came hither to tell you. What is to be done? Shall we alarm the house?-'
'Alas! that were more likely to destroy than to aid him,' said Catharine." Vol. ii. p. 194.
They continued for some days to administer to him such scanty supplies of food as could be admitted through the narrow crevice in the wall, and as they could take with them to the spot without being observed, until the glee-maiden found means of escaping in disguise through the castle gate, and calling in assistance from the people of the neighbouring country. Her absence excited some alarm in Ramorny, who questioned Catharine about it, but only received for answer, that she could not be supposed acquainted with the movements of a professed wanderer.
"The hour of dinner alone afforded a space, when, all in the Castle being occupied with that meal, Catharine thought she had the best opportunity of venturing to the breach in the wall, with the least chance of being observed. In waiting for the hour, she observed some stir in the Castle, which had been silent as the grave ever since the seclusion of the Duke of Rothsay. The portcullis was lowered and raised; and the creaking of the machinery was intermingled with the tramp of horse, as men-at-arms went out and returned with steeds hard ridden and covered with foam. She observed, too, that such domestics as she casually saw from her window were in arms. All this made her heart throb high, for it augured the approach of rescue; and besides, the bustle left the little garden more lonely than ever. At length, the hour of noon arrived; she had taken care to provide, under pretence of her own wishes, which the pantler seemed disposed to indulge, such articles of food as could be the most easily conveyed to the unhappy captive.She whispered to intimate her presence-there was no answer-she spoke louder, still there was silence.
"He sleeps'-she muttered these words half aloud, and with a shuddering which was succeeded by a start and a scream, when a voice replied behind her,
Yes, he sleeps-but it is for ever.'
She looked round-Sir John Ramorny stood behind her in complete armour, but the visor of his helmet was up, and displayed a countenance more resembling one about to die than to fight. He spoke with a grave tone, something between that of a calm observer of an interesting event, and of one who is an agent and partaker in it.
He is dead-you
'Catharine,' he said, all is true which I tell you. have done your best for him-you can do no more.'
'Heaven be mer
'I will not-I cannot believe it,' said Catharine. ciful to me! it would make one doubt of Providence, to think so great a crime has been accomplished.'
'Doubt not of Providence, Catharine, though it has suffered the profligate to fall by his own devices. Follow me-I have that to say which concerns you. I say follow (for she hesitated) unless you prefer being left to the mercies of the brute Bonthron, and the mediciner Henbane Dwining.'
'I will follow you,' said Catharine.
You cannot do more to me
than you are permitted.'
He led the way into the tower, and mounted staircase after staircase, and ladder after ladder.
Catharine's resolution failed her. 'I will follow no farther,' she said. Whither would you lead me ?-If to my death, I can die here.'
'Only to the battlements of the castle, fool,' said Ramorny, throwing wide a barred door which opened upon the vaulted roof of the castle, where men were bending mangonels, as they called them (military engines, that is, for throwing arrows or stones) getting ready cross-bows, and piling stones together. But the defenders did not exceed twenty in number, and Catharine thought she could observe doubt and irresolution amongst them.
'Catharine,' said Ramorny, 'I must not quit this station, which is necessary for my defence; but I can speak with you here as well as elsewhere.'
'Say on,' answered Catharine,-' I am prepared to hear you.'
'You have thrust yourself, Catharine, into a bloody secret. Have you the firmness to keep it?'
'I do not understand you, Sir John,' answered the maiden.
'Look you. I have slain-murdered, if you will-my late master, the Duke of Rothsay. The spark of life which your kindness would have fed was easily smothered. His last words called on his father.You are faint-bear up-you have more to hear. You know the crime, but you know not the provocation. See! this gauntlet is empty-I lost my right hand in his cause; and when I was no longer fit to serve him, I was cast off like a worn-out hound, my loss ridiculed, and a cloister recommended, instead of the halls and palaces in which I had my natural sphere! Think on this-pity and assist me.'
'In what manner can you require my assistance?' said the trembling maiden; 'I can neither repair your loss, nor cancel your crime.'
'Thou canst be silent Catharine, on what thou hast seen and heard in yonder thicket. It is but a brief oblivion I ask of you, whose word will, I know, be listened to, whether you say such things were or were not. That of your mountebank companion, the foreigner, none will
hold to be of a pin-point's value. If you grant me this, I will take your promise for my security, and throw the gate open to those who now approach it. If you will not promise silence, I defend this Castle till every one perishes, and I fling you headlong from these battlements. Ay, look at them-it is not a leap to be rashly braved. Seven courses of stairs brought you up hither with fatigue and shortened breath; but you shall go from the top to the bottom in briefer time than you can breathe a sigh! Speak the word, fair maid; for you speak to one unwilling to harm you, but determined in his purpose. "Vol. ii. pp. 199–201.
Catharine is relieved from this terrible situation by the appearance of the Pottingar; he announces that the castle is about to be attacked, and that Ramorny is deserted by his men, who absolutely refuse to fight. In a moment, a body of horsemen advance at full gallop, and the pennon of the Black Douglas is distinguished at their head. The castle is surrenderedthe dead body of the Prince emaciated with hunger, brought up out of the dungeon, the spurs of Ramorny hacked off his heels, and he, Bonthron and the corpse of the Pottingar (he had poisoned himself) hung upon the castle wall. The remarks of the latter upon the cowardice of Ramorny, whose courage forsook him in his last moments, are very characteristic and striking, and he makes some amends for his villainy by bequeathing his ill-gotten wealth to our heroine. The use that is made of it, is to distribute it among several monasteries, so as to secure their intercession for her, and make her peace with the church, and the whole story winds up in the marriage of the fighting Smith of the Wynd and the Fair Maid of Perth. Meanwhile, however, the former had covered himself with glory in the combat between the Clans on the North Inch of Perth, where he volunteered his services in the place of the absent Champion of the Clan Chattan, and where his personal enemy Conachar survives all his followers, and flying ingloriously away, throws himself afterwards into the Tay, and is drowned. The description of this bloody combat is executed in the most interesting manner, but our quotations have already been so immoderate, that we must resist our inclination to extract it.
Upon the whole, this Novel, although not equal to some of the earlier productions of Sir Walter Scott, bears throughout it the stamp of his extraordinary genius. The character of Ramorney is what strikes us most as an original and powerful conception. The idea of a poisoning apothecary is not new, and although as the instrument and companion of Ramorny, Henbane Dwining is a personage by no means to be overlooked, yet there is something grotesque, and withal unsatisfactory in the execution of this part. The devotion of Old Torquil of the Oak