« السابقةمتابعة »
hensions infinitely finer than any human Elizabeth's breast a thousand recollecbeings, and are well acquainted with tions of the earth, of her home, and all the mysteries of nature. They are her dear parents, and the playmates of besides exceedingly industrious, and her childhood,—of the flowers of spring work the metals with a minuteness that and the winter's fireside. Her heart can be only equalled by the texture of was full; she fell upon the bosom of the blossom or the flower.
her lover, wetting his cheek with her Amongst all his companions in the tears, while for a time the words died school, ihe one he best loved was a away upon her lips. At length her little fair-complexioned maiden, called passion found language for its expres. Elizabeth, who came from his own vil- sion. " It is beautiful here below, and lage, and wasthe pastor's daughter. With the little race are kind and gentle, but her he passed his childhood in brotherly yet my heart is not at home here, and affection, without any thought of the never can be. This is not a life for earth or its inhabitants, till at length he human beings : every night I dream had reached his eighteenth, and she of my parents, and of the church, and her sixteenth, year, when this affec-of the Sunday crowds waiting around tion ripened into love. The dwarts
The dwarfs my father ; and ihen-oh! then my saw this with pleasure, for their great heart throbs to be with them, and join desire is to rule, and they hoped to in Christian prayer to God and the host enslave him by means of his passion of heaven. Here, too, we can never for Elizabeth : but in this they were be man and wife, for here is no priest mistaken; he had learnt from his at- to marry us, and we must grow old and tendant, that he who was master of one grey in singleness. Think of this and dwarf was master of them all, and contrive some means for our departure.” could command the utmost exertions of And Hans answered his betrothed,
“ You advise me rightly, dear Eliza-' The affection of the lovers increased beth. It was to me also as if I heard with the lapse of time, and every even- in that cry the voice of Christ calling ing was spent in lonely twilight walks ; out in love,— Ascend, my children, for in the hours that darkness was upon from the abodes of sorcery and blindthe earth, the lustre of the diamond ness! ascend to the world of the sun, would wax dim here below: an artific and walk like the other children of cial night then succeeded, not dark in the earth. Yes, Elizabeth, for the first deed, but pale as the evening glimmer time my heart is heavy. I will not in the aisles of some antiquated abbey. stay here a day longer, for they dare On such occasions, Hans was ever not keep me. I am their master.". At pleased and cheerful, but Elizabeth these last words Elizabeth came pale would often think of the life above, as death ; they reminded her of what where men dwell beneath the changing she had too lightly forgotten, of her orbs of heaven Still, however, this servitude, and its necessary duration was but a passing shadow of the mo- for fifty years before she could revisit ment; in listening to him she loved, all earth. 6 Alas,” she said, this is well else was speedily forgotten.
for you who have a power above that It once happened that they walked of the dwarfs ; but a cruel law holds farther than was their custom, till they me to this place for fifty years. What at last found themselves beneath the have I to do on earth, when my father very spot where the mountain opened to and mother are dead, and the playlet out the dwarfs into the upper world. fellows of my youth are old and grey ? On a sudden they heard the crowing of Age will be upon your head also, and many cocks from the earth above, a what then will it avail me that I am sound that had not reached them for young, and only in my twentieth year, twelve long years; with it awoke in ' Poor, poor Elizabeth.”
Hans felt the truth of what she had few paces of their noxious enemy, than spoken ; but he pressed her hand to his its influence acted upon them like an heart, and promised never to leave that electric shock. They fell to the earth place of middle earth, until he could convulsed, shivering, shrieking, and leave it with his Elizabeth. With this writhing like half-bruised serpents
. they parted, sad and almost hopeless. Every hand was stretched forth to pray
The whole night through Hans me- for mercy, and every voice was lond in ditated upon the way of freeing his promises. Hans, feeling that the power beloved : when morning broke he sum- was now with himself, told them he moned to him the six chief dwarfs, with should depart that night, between the whom he always sat at dinner. Much hours of eleven and twelve, with his as they were astonished at this call, they Elizabeth, and ordered them to load were forced to obey it, and when all five waggons with the riches of their were present, he demanded of them kingdom,-their books, their gold, their his Elizabeth. This was at once re- emeralds, and their diamonds. To this fused; upon which Hans, in great they promised assent, and even to his wrath, exclaimed, “ You can and shall wish, that all their servants should be give up Elizabeth. You know my or- free, who, according to earthly reekonders I entreat no more let me see ing, were more than twenty years of you again with the morrow.
age. And the morrow came, but with it It was an hour after midnight; the came no alteration in the resolves of the mountain opened, and they stood again little people. Hans, therefore, began upon the earth, and for the first time to shew his power, by employing them for twelve long years they saw the red in breaking and dragging huge stones, of morning glimmering in the east. and in other hard work, that martyred The dwarfs swarmed like bees about their tender limbs as if they had been the waggons ; all were busy, though stretched
the rack. Still all was in silence, for the hand of their master in vain. He made them mangle each lay heavy on them ; it looked like the other with iron scourges, till the blood breaking up of their kingdom. And poured down in torrents—but he got now Hans took the brown cap from no nearer to his object. At last he his head, waved it thrice in the air, and could no longer bear the sight of their fung it amongst the crowd. In an intorments, and, ceasing to plague them, stant all had vanished; nothing was he separated himself from their society, to be seen but a few bushes ;—nothing and lived almost as a hermit.
to be heard but the whispers of the grass In one of his lonely walks, he was that waved in the morning wind like breaking the stones against each other the gentle rise of ocean when it swells for want of occupation, when suddenly but no wave breaks its surface. The a toad sprang from a piece of rock that clock from Rambin church struck two. he had just shivered At this sight All fell down upon their knees, and the tales of the old cowherd flashed gave praised unto heaven. upon his memory, and he exclaimed, Great was the surprise of the whole “Now, then, Elizabeth is mine; the village, when this singular cavalcade malicious dwarfs could endure the appeared before the cottage of Jacob scourge, but here is an enemy, whose Dietrich. But wonder was soon lost sight will sting them worse than the in joy when the tale was told : the old sting of iron, or the bite of scorpions." man and the pastor blessed their chilWith this he inclosed the creature in a dren, and at their wedding danced forty vase of silver, and again summoned the maidens in their shoes of glass, a thing little people to his presence.
unheard of since the marriage of Hans No sooner had they come within a Dietrich with the fair Elizabeth.
The romantic vale of Corriewater, good folk,” and continue to tell, that in Annandale, is regarded by the in- in the ancient of days the fairies danced habitants, a pastoral and unmingled on the hill, and revelled in the glen, people, as the last border refuge of and shewed themselves like the mysthose beautiful and capricious beings terious children of the deity of old the fairies. Many old people, yet living, among the sons and daughters of men. imagine they have had intercourse of Their visits to the earth were periods of good words and good deeds with the joy and mirth to mankind, rather than
of sorrow and apprehension. They aim, and a spark to powder. Yes, played on musical instruments of won- alas ! too true, Elphin Irving came not derful sweetness and variety of note, into the world like the other sinful inspread unexpected feasts, the superna- habitants of earth, and he went not tural favour of which overpowered on from it like one." many occasions the religious scruples When Elphin Irving and his sister of the Presbyterian shepherds, per- Phemie were in their sixteenth year, formed wonderful deeds of horseman- for tradition says they were twins, their ship, and marched in midnight proces- father was drowned in Corriewater, atsions, when the sound of their elfin tempting to save his sheep from a sudminstrelsy charmed youths and maidens den swell, to which all mountain streams into love for their persons and pursuits ; are liable; and their mother, on the and more than one family of Corrie- day of her husband's burial, laid down? water have augmented the numbers of her head on the pillow, from which, the elfin chivalry. Faces of friends on the seventh day, it was lifted to be and relatives, long since doomed to the dressed for the same grave. The inbebattle trench, or the deep sea, have ritance left to the orphans may be briefly been recognized by those who dared to described : seventeen acres of plough and gaze on the fairy march. The maid pasture land, seven milk cows, and has seen her lost lover, and the mother seven pet sheep, (many old people her stolen child ; and the courage to take delight in odd numbers) ; and to plan and achieve their deliverance has this
may be added, seven bonnet pieces been possessed by, at least, one border of Scottish gold, and a broad sword and maiden. In the legends of the people spear, which their ancestor had wielded of Corrievale there is a singular mixture with such strength and courage in the of elfin and human adventure, and the battle of Dryfe-sands, that the minstrel traditional story of the Cupbearer to
of that deed of arms, ranked the Queen of the Fairies appeals alike him only second to the Scotts and to our domestic feelings and imagina- Johnstones. tion.
The youth and his sister grew in In one of the little green loops, or stature and in beauty. The brent bright bends, on the banks of Corriewater, brow, the clear blue eye, and frank and mouldered walls, and a few stunted blythe deportment of the former, gave wild plum-trees, and vagrant roses, still him some influence among the young point out the scite of a cottage and gar- women of the valley; while the latter den. A well of pure spring-water leapis was no less the admiration of the young out from an old tree-root before the men, and at fair and dance, and at door, and here the shepherds, shading bridal, happy was he who touched but themselves in summer from the influence her hand, or received the benediction of the sun, tell to their children the of her eye. Like all other Scottish wild tale of Elphin Irving, and his beauties, she was the theme of many sister Phemie ; and, singular as the a song; and while tradition is yet busy story seems, it has gained full credence with the singular history of her brother, among the people where the scene is song has taken all the care that rustic laid.
minstrelsy can of the gentleness of Even at that this day when a stran- her spirit, and the charms of her perger enquires of an old inhabitant of son. Corriewater, respecting the truth of But minstrel skill, and true love tale, this tale, his answer will invariably be, seemed to want their usual influence, : True ! -Aye, I ken the place weel, when they sought to win her attention ; and the tale's as true as a bullet to its she was only observed to pay most
respect to those youths who were most, when flocks, tempted by the sweet beloved by her brother; and the same dawy grass, are known to browze eagerly hour that brought these twins into the that he might guard them from the fox, world, seemed to have breathed through and lead them to the choicest herbage. them a sweetness and an affection of In these nocturnal watchings he someheart and mind which nothing could times drove his flock over the water of divide.
If, like the virgin queen of Corrie, for the fords were hardly ankle the immortal poet, she walked “ in deep, or permitted his sheep to cool înaiden meditation fancy free,” her themselves in the stream, and taste the brother, Elphin, seemed alike untouch- grass which grew along the brink. All ed with the charms of the fairest virgins this time not a drop of rain fell, nor did in Corrie. He ploughed his field, he a cloud appear in the sky, reaped his grain, he leaped, he ran, One evening, during her brother's and wrestled, and danced, and sang, absence with the flock, Phemie sat at with more skill, and life, and grace, her cottage door, listening to the bleatthan all other youths of the district; ings of the distant folds, and the lessen-, but he had no twilight and stolen in- ed murmur of the water of Corrie, now, terviews: when all other young men scarcely audible beyond its banks., Her had their loves by their side he was eyes, weary with watching along the single, though not unsought; and his accustomed line of road for the return joy seemed never perfect, save when of Elphin, were turned on the pool his sister was near him. If he loved to beside her, in which the stars were share his time with her, she loved to glimmering fitful and faint. As she share her time with him alone, or with looked she imagined the water grew the beasts of the field, or the birds of brighter and brighter ; a wild illuminathe air. She watched her little flock tion presently shone upon the pool, and late, and she tended it early ; not for leaped from bank to bank, and sudthe sordid love of the fleece, unless it denly changing into a human form, aswas to make mantles for her brother, cended the margin, and passing her, but with the look of one who had joy glided swiftly into the cottage. The in its company. The very wild crea- visionary form was so like her brother tures, the deer and the hares, seldom in shape and air, that starting up she sought to shun her improach, and the few into the house, with the hope of bird forsook not its nest, nor stinted its finding him in his customary seat. She song, when die drew nigh; such is the found him not, and impressed with the confidence which maiden innocence terror which a wraith or apparition seland beauty inspire.
dom fails to inspire, she uttered a shriek It happened one summer, about three so loud and so piercing as to be heard years after they became orphans, that at Johnstone bank, on the other side of rain had been for awhile withheld from the vale of Corrie. the earth, the bill-sides began to parch, It is hardly known, how long Phethe grass in the vales to wither, and the mie Irving continued in a state of stream of Corrie was diminished be- insensibility. The morning was far tween its banks to the size of an ordi- advanced, when a neighbouring maiden nary rill. The shepherds drove their found her seated in an old chair, as flocks to marsh lands, and lake and white as monumental marble; her hair, tarn had their reeds invaded by the about which she had been solicitous, scythe, to supply the cattle with food. loosened from its curls, and hanging The sheep of his sister were Elphin's disordered over her neck and bosom, constant care; he drove them to the her hands and forehead ; the maiden moistest pastures during the day, and touched the one and kissed the other, he often watched them at midnight, they were as cold as snow: and her