Imatges de pÓgina
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and thick was the atmosphere of this small room, that a considerable time elapsed ere I was able to perceive any object which could gratify my eager search. At length, a transient gleam from the expiring flames on the hearth, discovered to my sight the figure of a man, extended at his length upon an old couch. A few worn

out implements of husbandry were lying upon the ground near his feet, and a shepherds staff rested against the wall.

I approached him, and for a moment contemplated his face and figure, as he lay bu. ried in those profound and sweet slumbers which alone attends the nightly couches of health and innocence, and of those few happy mortals that are yet unacquainted with the bitter gall of dependance, and whose peace

is yet undisturbed by the stings of an offended conscience.

I do not recollect that I have ever seen so fine, so dignified a man as was this lowly High. lander. His stature was tall, remarkably well proportioned, and truly god-like; his face was expressive of all the nobler qualities of the mind, and exhibited not one of those marks of villainy, without some of which I have seldom seen an

inhabitant of any of the public walks of society; and a degree of native independence, beamed in his countenance, that appeared incapable of suffering the smallest shackle or controul.

He was in his clothes (such as they were) ready to rise with the earliest dawn, and by him stood his dog, the faithful companion of all his toils, who had slunk scowling back to his master's side, upon my entrance, appearing much dissatis. fied with my behaviour. Wishing to have my anxiety removed as soon as possible, I took the sleeping inhabitant of this lonely hut by the arm, and shaking him violently, I awoke him.

Some moments passed before he was sufficiently awake to comprehend the meaning of an interview, which appeared to him more like the effects of a dream, than a reality ; but he had no sooner learnt that I was alone, benighted, and had lost my way, than he with all that generosity which ever accompanies a great and uncorrupted mind, offered to conduct me to my journey's end,

Never was an offer so axceptable to me, and I promised to reward him equal to his services; but when I wished him to take a small some of

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it would be of little or no use to him who could not spend it if it was in his possession, and he therefore declined receiving it.

After some parley we sat out together for the Fort ; I rode on horseback, while he walked by my side leading my mare. From the conversation which I held with this honest man, I found that I had wandered full five miles out of my proper road, and that we had seven more to traverse ere we reached the Fort. We continued an almost silent journey for about an hour and an half, when having ascended an high hill, my guide pointed to the lights of the Fort, that dimly twinkled through the misty vapours which almost perpetually hang over the lake, upon whose margin this building and small town is erected.

Our decent was now gradual for a very considerable distance, until we arrived at the bottom of the mountain, from which a wooden bridge, of an amazing length, is thrown across a broad arm of the lake, and by which the Fort is entered from that side. Like most of the bridges in that part of Scotland, this is raised. to a vast height above the surface of the water below, and is moreover extremely dangerous. to pass along in the night, on account of the want of railing at the sides, where there is nothing put to prevent the traveller from falling into the lake.

It was about the hour of midnight when we attempted to cross this fatal bridge, and the night was unusually dark and silent; no sounds were heard save the gentle murmurs of the lake below, and the hollow tramps of my mare's feet, as she paced the rotten boards of the bridge, which indeed produced a rumbling noise, that at any other time might not have been unpleasant, but which then conveyed to my mind the terrible idea that the bridge would inevitably give way, and this painful sensation was much augmented by the actual shaking of that frall building:

About the mid-way over, my mare made a sudden stand, and all the whipping and spurring I could make use of had no effect in making her proceed. Thinking this dead pause very strange, I called to my guide, who had insensibly slunk back, to come forward and examine into the cause of her fright. He did so, and to the latest hour of my life I can never forget the emphatic " O God!" accompanied by a slipping noise, that struck my ear as he passed my mare's head, and which was almost instantaneously succeeded by a loud splash in the lake, at a dreadful depth below my feet.

Horror seized my whole frame; and tremb. ling with unspeakable anguish, when I endea. voured to speak, the faultering accents hung upon my lips, and could gain no utterance; whilst at intervals the mingled sounds of splashing, stifled groans, and thrilling cries for help, pierced the sky with unavailing woe; and ere I could give an atterance to my grief, the last hollow splash, the last groan, and the last throb, had died away into awful silence, and the unhappy victim had sunk to rise more. Then it was my frenzied thoughts broke out into loud shouts of despair, which rung through the vast concave of the heavens, and awakened the mountain echoes in their retreat, from whence they answered me in their most horrid mockery

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-Though I kill him not, I am the cause, “ His death was so effected : better 'twere,

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