——”With dispatchful looks, in haste
She turned, on hospitable thoughts intent,”
was somewhat suggestive of Eve; her movements were grand and simple; there was a welcome in her face that dimpled in and out with every current topic; a Miltonic grandeur in her air, whether she walked or waited. I could not help but admire her, as I do everything else noble and easily understood. Mrs. Red-Cap was a splendid woman; the wife of a fisherman, with an unaffected grace beyond the reach of art, and poor old Louisburgh was something to speak of. Picton expressed his admiration in stronger and profaner language.
We were not the only guests at Red-Cap’s. The lighthouse keeper, Mr. Kavanagh, a bachelor and scholar, with his sister, had come down to take a moonlight walk over the heather; for in new Scotland as in old Scotland, the bonny heather blooms, although not so much familiarized there by song and story. But we shall visit lighthouse Point anon, and spend some hours with the two Kavanaghs. Forthright, into the teeth of the harbor, the wind is blowing: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou nearest the sound therof, but canst[Pg 150] not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.” How long the “Balaklava” may stay here is yet uncertain. So, with a good-night to the Red-Caps and their guests, we once more bear away for the cabin of the schooner and another night’s discomfort.
As I have said before in other words, this province is nothing more than a piece of patchwork, intersected with petty boundary lines, so that every nation is stitched in and quilted in spots, without any harmony, or coherence, or general design. The people of Louisburgh are a kind, hospitable, pleasant people, tolerably well informed for the inhabitants of so isolated a corner of the world; but a few miles further off we come upon a totally different race: a canting, covenanting, oat-eating, money-griping, tribe of second-hand Scotch Presbyterians: a transplanted, degenerate, barren patch of high cheek-bones and red hair, with nothing cleaving to them of the original stock, except covetousness and that peculiar cutaneous eruption for which the mother country is celebrated. But we shall soon have enough of these Scotsmen, good reader. Our present visit is to Lighthouse Point, to look out upon the broad Atlantic, the rocky coast, and the island battery, which a century since gave so much trouble to our filibustering fathers of New England.[Pg
151] As we walked towards the lighthouse over the pebbly beach that borders the green turf, Picton suddenly starts off and begins a series of great jumps on the turf, giving with every grasshopper-leap a sort of interjectional “Whuh! whuh!” as though the feat was not confined to the leg-muscles only, but included also a necessary exercise of the lungs. And although we shouted at the traveller, he kept on towards the lighthouse, uttering with every jump, “Heather, heather.” At last he came to, beside a group of evergreens, and grew rational. The springy, elastic sod, the heather of old Scotland, reproduced in new Scotland, had reminded him of reels and strathspeys, “for,” said he, “nobody can walk upon this sort of thing without feeling a desire to dance upon it. Thunder and turf! if we only had the pipes now!”
And sure enough here was the heather; the soft, springy turf, which has made even Scotchmen affectionate. I do not wonder at it; it answers to the foot-step like an echo, as the string of an instrument answers its concord; as love answers love in unison. I do not wonder that Scotchmen love the heather; I am only surprised that so much heather should be wasted on Scotchmen.
We had anticipated a fine marine view from the lighthouse, but in place of it we could only see a[Pg 152] sort of semi-luminous vapor, usually called a fog, which enveloped ocean, island, and picturesque coast. We could not discover the Island Battery opposite, which had bothered Sir William in the siege of ’45; but nevertheless, we could judge of the difficulty of reaching it with a hostile force, screened as it was by its waves and vapors. The lighthouse is striped with black and white bars, like a zebra, and we entered it. One cannot help but admire such order and neatness, for the lighthouse is a marvel of purity. We were everywhere—in the bed-rooms, in the great lantern with its glittering lamps, in the hall, the parlor, the kitchen; and found in all the same pervading virtue; as fresh and sweet as a bride was that old zebra-striped lighthouse. The Kavanaghs, brother and sister, live here entirely alone; what with books and music, the ocean, the ships, and the sky, they have company enough. One could not help liking them, they have such cheerful faces, and are so kind and hospitable. Good bye, good friends, and peace be with you always! On our route schooner-ward we danced back over the heather, Picton with great joy carrying a small basket filled with his national fruit—a present from the Kavanaghs. What a feast we shall have, fresh fish, lobster, and above all—potatoes![Pg 153]
It is a novel sight to see the firs and spruces on this stormy sea-coast. They grow out, and not up; an old tree spreading over an area of perhaps twenty feet in diameter, with the inevitable spike of green in its centre, and that not above a foot and a half from the ground. The trees in this region are possessed of extraordinary sagacity; they know how hard the wind blows at times, and therefore put forth their branches in full squat, just like country girls at a pic-nic.
On Sunday the wind is still ahead, and Picton and I determine to abandon the “Balaklava.” How long she may yet remain in harbor is a matter of fate; so, with brave, resolute hearts, we start off for a five-mile walk, to McGibbet’s, the only owner of a horse and wagon in the vicinity of Louisburgh. Squirrels, robins, and rabbits appear and disappear in the road as we march forwards. The country is wild, and in its pristine state; nature everywhere. Now a brook, now a tiny lake, and “the murmuring pines and the hemlocks.” At last we arrive at the house of McGibbet, and encounter new Scotland in all its original brimstone and oatmeal.
A Blue-Nosed Pair of the most Cerulean Hue—Prospects of a Hard Bargain—Case of Necessity—Romantic Lake with an Unromantic Name—The Discussion concerning Oatmeal—Danger of the Gasterophili—McGibbet makes a Proposition—Farewell to the “Balaklava”—A Midnight Journey—Sydney—Boat Excursion to the Mic Macs—Picton takes off his Mackintosh.
Some learned philosopher has asserted that when a person has become accustomed to one peculiar kind of diet, it will be expressed in the lineaments of his face. How much the constant use of oatmeal could produce such an effect, was plainly visible in the countenances of McGibbet and his lady-love. Both had an unmistakable equine cast; McGibbet, wild, scraggy, and scrubby, with a tuft on his poll that would not have been out of place between the ears of a plough-horse, stared at us, just as such an animal would naturally over the top of a fence; while his gentle mate, who had more of the amiable draught-horse in her aspect, winked at us with both eyes from under a close-crimped frill, that bore a marvellous resemblance to a head-stall. The pair had[Pg 155] evidently just returned from kirk. To say nothing of McGibbet’s hat, and his wife’s shawl, on a chair, and his best boots on the hearth (for he was walking about in his stockings), there was a dry preceese air about them, which plainly betokened they were newly stiffened up with the moral starch of the conventicle, and were therefore well prepared to drive a hard bargain for a horse and wagon to Sydney. But what surprised me most of all was the imperturbable coolness of Picton. Without taking a look scarcely at the persons he was addressing, the traveller stalked in with an—”I say, we want a horse and wagon to Sydney; so look sharp, will you, and turn out the best thing you have here?”
The moral starch of the conventicle stiffened up instantly. Like the blacksmith of Cairnvreckan, who, as a professor, would drive a nail for no man on the Sabbath or kirk-fast, unless in a case of absolute necessity, and then always charged an extra saxpence for each shoe; so it 佛山夜生活地址 was plain to be seen that McGibbet had a conscience which required to be pricked both with that which knows no law, and the saxpence extra. He turned to his wife and addressed her in Gaelic! Then we knew what was coming.
Mrs. McGibbet opened the subject by saying that they were both accustomed to the observance of the[Pg 156] Sabbath, and that “she didn’t think it was right for man to transgress, when the law was so plain”——
Here McGibbet broke in and said that—”He was free to confess he had commeeted a grreat menny theengs kwhich were a grreat deal worse than Sabbath-breaking.”
Upon which Mrs. McG. interrupted him in turn with a few words, which, although in Gaelic, a language we did not understand, conveyed the impression that she was not addressing her liege lord in the language of endearment, and again continued in 佛山桑拿去哪里好 English: “That it was held sinful in the community to wark or do anything o’ the sort, or to fetch or carry even a sma bundle”——
“For kwich,” said McGibbet, “is a fine to be paid to the meenister, of five shillins currency”——
Here Picton stopped whistling a bar of “Bonny Doon,” and observed to me: “About a dollar of your money. We’ll pay the fine.”
“Yes,” chimed in McGibbet, “a dollar”——and was again stopped by his wife, who raised her eyebrows to the borders of her kirk-frill and brought them down vehemently over her blue eyes at him.
“Or to travel the road,” she said, “even on foot, to say nothing of a wagon and horse.”
“But,” interrupted Picton, “my dear madam, we must get on, I tell you; I must be in[Pg 157] Sydney to-morrow, to catch the steamer for St. John’s.”
At this observation of the traveller the pair fell back upon their Gaelic for a while, and in the meantime 佛山夜生活 Picton whispered me: “I see; they want to raise the price on us: but we won’t give in; they’ll be sharp enough after the job by and by.”
The pair turned towards us and both shook their heads. It was plain to be seen the conference had not ended in our favor.
“Ye see,” said the gude-wife, “we are accustomed to the observance of the Sabbath, and would na like to break it, except”—
“In a case of necessity; you are perfectly right,” chimed in Picton; “I agree with you myself. Now this is a case of necessity; here we are; we must get on, you see; if we don’t get on we miss the steamer to-morrow for St. John’s—she only runs once a fortnight there—it’s plain enough a clear case of necessity; it’s like,” continued Picton, evidently trying to corner some authority in his mind, “it’s like—let me see—it’s like—a—pulling—a sheep out of a ditch—a—which they always do on the Sabbath, you 佛山桑拿按摩网论坛 know, to a—get us on to Sydney.”
Both McGibbet and his wife smiled at Picton’s ingenuity, but straightway put on the equine look[Pg 158] again. “It might be so; but it was clean contrary to their preenciples.”
“I’ll be hanged,” whispered Picton, “if I offer more than the usual price, which I heard at Louisburgh was one pound ten, to Sydney, and the fine extra. I see what they are after.”
There was an awkward pause in the negotiations. McGibbet scratched his poll, and looked wistfully at his wife, but the kirk-frill was stiffened up with the moral starch, as aforesaid.
Suddenly, Picton looked out of the window. “By Jove!” said he, “I think the wind is changed! After all, we may get around in the ‘Balaklava.'”
McGibbet looked somewhat anxiously out of the window also, and grunted out a little more Gaelic to his love. The kirk-frill relented a trifle.
“Perhaps the gentlemen wad like a glass of milk after thae long walk? and 佛山桑拿浴服务价格 Robert” (which she pronounced Robbut), “a bit o’ the corn-cake.”
Upon which Robbut, with great alacrity, turned towards the bed-room, from whence he brought forth a great white disk, that resembled the head of a flour-barrel, but which proved to be a full-grown griddle cake of corn-meal. This, with the pure milk, from the cleanest of scoured pans, was acceptable enough after the long walk.
We had observed some beautiful streams, and[Pg 159] blue glimpses of lakes on the road to McGibbet’s, and just beyond his house was a larger lake, several miles in extent, with picturesque hills on either side, indented-with coves, and studded with islands, sometimes stretching away to distant slopes of green turf, and sometimes reflecting masses of precipitous rock, crowned with the spiry tops of spruces and firs. Indeed, all the country around, both meadow and upland, was very pleasing to the sight. A low range of hills skirted the northern part of what seemed to be a spacious, natural amphitheatre, while on the south side a diversity of 佛山桑拿按摩网 highlands and water added to the whole the charm of variety.
“You have a fine country about you, Mr. McGibbet,” said I.
“Ay,” he replied.
“And what is it called here?”
“We ca’ it Get-Along!” said Robbut, with an intensely Scotch accent on the “Get.”
“And yonder beautiful lake—what is the name of that?” said I, in hopes of taking refuge behind something more euphonious.
“Oh! ay,” replied he, “that’s just Get-Along, too. We doan’t usually speak of it, but whan we do, we just ca’ it Get-Along Lake, and it’s not good for much.”
I thought it best to change the subject. “Do[Pg 160] you like this as well as the oat-cake?” said I, with my mouth full of the dry, husky provender.
“Nae,” said McGibbet, with an equine shake of the head, “it’s not sae fellin.”
Not so filling! Think of that, ye pampered minions of luxury, who live only upon delicate viands; who prize food, not as it useful, but as it is tasteful; who can even encourage a depraved, sensual appetite so far as to appreciate flavor; who enjoy meats, fish, and poultry, only as they minister to your palates; who flirt with spring-chickens and trifle with sweet-breads in wanton indolence, without a thought of your cubic capacity; without a reflection that you can live just as well upon so many square inches of oatmeal a day as you can upon the most elaborate French kickshaws; nay, that you can be elevated to the level of a scientific problem, and work out your fillings, with nothing to guide you but a slate and pencil!