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• him ? and how justly am I punished by Heaven • for letting my thoughts dwell upon him!"'-Ivanhoe, vol. ii. ch. 15.
But of all the dramatic scenes in which this writer has depicted female manners and character, there is none perhaps so purely natural and irresistibly pathetic as the first interview of Jeanie Deans with her imprisoned sister in the presence of Ratcliffe: a piece of writing which alone might entitle its author to sit down at the feet of Shakspeare. I cannot forego the pleasure of adorning this unworthy page with an extract, though it is almost profanation to dismember so beautiful a scene.
“O, if ye had spoken a word,' again sobbed Jeanie,—' if I were free to swear that ye
had said • but ae word of how it stude wi' ye, they couldna 6 hae touched your life this day.'
5. Could they na?" said Effie, ' with something like awakened interest--for life is dear even to those who feel it as a burthen— Wha tauld ye that, Jeanie?
6. It was ane that kenn'd what he was saying ' weel aneugh,' replied Jeanie, who had a natural “ reluctance at mentioning even the name of her sister's seducer.
6. Wha was it? I conjure ye to tell me,' said Effie, seating herself upright.-Wha could tak • interest in sic a cast-bye as I am now ?-Was it
-was it him?
"Hout,' said Ratcliffe, what signifies keeping • the poor lassie in a swither?-I’se uphaud it's been Robertson that learned ye that doctrine when ye saw him at Muschat's Cairn.'
""Was it him ?' said Effie, catching eagerly at his words-was it him, Jeanie, indeed ?-0, I see it was him-poor lad, and I was thinking his • heart was as hard as the nether mill-stane. And • him in sic danger on his ain part-poor George !!
* Somewhat indignant at this burst of tender feeling towards the author of her misery, Jeanie could not help exclaiming, 'O, Effie, how can ye speak that gate of sic a man as that ?'
"We maun forgi'e our enemies, ye ken,' said poor Effie, with a timid look and a subdued voice, <for her conscience told her what a different character the feelings with which she still regarded her seducer bore, compared with the Christian charity under which she attempted to veil it.
"And ye hae suffered a' this for him, and ye can think of loving him still ?' said her sister, in ( a voice betwixt pity and blame.
6. Love him ?' answered Effiem. If I hadna loved as seldom woman loves, I hadna been within these
wa's this day; and trow ye that love sic as mine ' is lightly forgotten ? Na, na-ye may hew down
the tree, but ye canna change its bend. And O, * Jeanie, if ye wad do good to me at this moment,
tell me every word that he said, and whether he was sorry
Effie or no.' • What needs I tell ye ony thing about it,' said Jeanie. "Ye
be sure he had ower muckle to • do to save himsell, to speak lang or muckle about ony body beside
"That's no true, Jeanie, though a saunt had said it,' replied Effie, with a sparkle of her former • lively and irritable temper.— But ye dinna ken,
though I do, how far he pat his life in venture to save mine.' And looking at Ratcliffe, she checked ' herself and was silent.'—Heart of Mid Lothian, vol. ii. ch. 8.
The colloquial felicity of these writers is shewn not only in their skilful adaptation of discourse to the natural varieties of age, sex, and disposition, but in the wonderful address and versatility with which they suit it to all acquired habits and peculiarities, whether national or professional, the effect of accident or result of education. If we look into the poems, the gentle Fitz-Eustace and the sworn horse-courser' Harry Blount*, the rough English soldier John of Brent, and his pert but courtly captain t, are marked and obvious instances; and the manners and circumstances of every personage
* See, particularly, Marmion, Canto V. St. 31.-VI, St. 16, 21,
+ Lady of the Lake, Canto VI. St. 7 to 11.
in the Lay of the Last Minstrel are as vividly pictured in his language as in the description by which the poet introduces him. For example:
“ Now loud the heedful gate-ward cried —
• Prepare ye all for blows and blood !
I think 'twill prove a warden-raid.'
Thus to the Ladye did Tinlinn show
Black John of Akeshaw, and Fergus Græme,
Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto IV. St. 4, 6.
The speech of Deloraine over Richard Musgrave's body * is equally poetical, and even more characteristic.
If we turn to the prose romances, examples offer themselves in perplexing abundance. I select one, which recommends itself by a congeniality in spirit, if not a resemblance in details, to the passage of which the last extract forms a part : "Are we to stand here a' day, sirs,' exclaimed
young man, and look at the burnt wa's of our kinsman's house ? Every wreath of the reek is a blast of shame upon us! Let us to
horse, and take the chase.--Who has the nearest · blood-hound ?'
"It's young Earnscliff,' answered another, and he's been on and away wi' six horse lang syne, to
if he can track them.' 6. Let us follow him then, and raise the country, and make mair help as we ride, and then have at
* Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto V. St. 29.