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lost their charms for him. He was a miserable man-an outcast. He applied himself to a fresh study of the lives of David and Gehazi, and wrote seven new sermons on those subjects, but the most careful scrutiny showed him no exactly parallel case in the histories of his favourites. Neither of them appeared, on any occasion, to have been cut out in a love affair by a handsome captain of dragoons. He would have liked very well to have borrowed one hint from David, and had it in his power to get up a great battle, and put Captain George Mortimer in the front to be shot at. After deep and careful consideration, he determined that, as "those who never ventured never won," he would put on a bold front, and demand of Lieutenant Tomkins the hand of his fair daughter in marriage. But in the first place he would, with careful diplomacy, feel his way. He would find out, before making matters worse, how Lieutenant Tomkins stood affected to Captain Mortimer. So he went oftener to Grevavoe, and he induced Lieutenant Tomkins to visit the Manse and give his opinion on some improvements he thought of requesting the heritors to make (which he usually did twice a year), and he sounded the lieutenant. He had the delight of finding very shortly that the lieutenant could easily be won over to his side. The officer had evidently no affection at all for Captain George Mortimer. At first he had made a great fuss about the captain, especially when he had learned from the latter that he was the son of a baronet; but then they had differed once or twice on politics and other little matters. And the lieutenant thought with Mr. M'Candle that the captain was paying his addresses to Miss Tomkins, and he found out from Mr. Eric Sweynson that the young officer had put some cunning questions to him as to whether the Tomkinses were very rich, and that Mr. Sweynson had imprudently let out that Miss Tomkins, he believed, had a good deal of money after her mother. And at the same time the lieutenant thought Captain Mortimer's ideas and habits appeared very extravagant, more so than the supplies of money which he got from home would seem to warrant; and all this induced him to communicate with a friend in England who resided in the neighbourhood of Captain Mortimer's father, and he learned from this friend that though the captain's father was certainly a baronet, he was by no means a very wealthy one; that he had four other sons older than this one, and that "George" had the reputation of being "an extravagant young dog," and people said that if he went on as he had been doing, he would soon have to sell out. Mr. M'Candle found Lieutenant Tomkins by no means desired the captain for a son-in-law, and he then broke to Lieutenant Tomkins his love for Miss Julia, which, indeed, the lieutenant had been aware of for a long time. The lieutenant thought to himself in this fashion: "The man is a fool, but he's in a good position, and she seemed to like him well enough before this scamp came. I don't mean to leave here, and if she marries him I can always have her near me. And he's a quiet economical sort of fellow, and always gives in to one." So, to the delight of Mr. M'Candle, he assured him he should be very glad to have him as a son-in-law, and would do all that lay in his parental power to bring about that desirable arrangement. But Mr. M'Candle "must see they would have to go to work cautiously," which M'Candle certainly did. It was therefore decided that nothing was to be done hastily; they were to bide their time; M'Candle meanwhile to visit Grevavoe frequently, and
use all his arts and blandishments to cut out the dragoon officer. So poor M'Candle sets to work to perform his part of the bargain. But, alas! this was no easy affair.
Whenever M'Candle came to Grevavoe-morning, noon, or evening, wet or dry-he was sure to find Miss Julia in company with, and being amused by the captain in some shape or other. The captain sang beautifully and in various languages, the captain read poetry beautifully, the captain played the piano, the captain drew, and voluntarily executed portraits of the whole Tomkins family separately, Messrs. Bob and Nelson not excluded; and he talked beautifully, and had such a collection of pretty amusing anecdotes, relating principally to fashionable life. And what was much more important than all this, as our readers-particularly our young lady readers-will readily admit, the captain was in personal appearance a very beautiful man; an inch or two taller even than M'Candle, with curly hair, and features almost, if not quite, regular; and such black eyes, and, oh, heavens! such black whiskers! He was popular with everybody, even with the Masters Tomkins, with whom he condescended to go out riding, and go to the "craigs" and the "eela”† with. And as for Julia, why she had fallen in love with him at first sight, long before she knew anything of the singing, the drawing, the anecdotes, and the other accomplishments. The artful girl took pains to assure her correspondents in the south (to whom she now abused the unfortunate M'Candle like a pickpocket) that it was the captain's mind she had fallen in love with; though we are perfectly certain that had Dr. Johnson or Porson happened to have been alive at the time and to have been shipwrecked at Grevavoe instead of Captain George Mortimer, she would never for a moment have dreamed of falling in love with them, despite their genius and learning, but would have described them as "ugly, queer old things."
It was really a most cheerless expedition poor M'Candle had embarked in, and he began to feel it. No one sympathised with him, for although the lieutenant might be said to be favourable to his cause, that gallant officer could never be exactly described as "sympathising" with anybody. The country people seemed all to be the other way. He heard them talking much on the subject:
"Bairns," said Mrs. Laurence Sweynson, in his hearing, to Magnie Smith's mother and some of her other cronies, "bairns, dis Aynglish offisher is sheurely coortin' wi' Miss Tunkins. Kirsty says she kenows he is, an' Messter Ďicky wis tellin' Lawrie it he tinks his mester 'ill shut
himsel' if she winna tak' him."
"Weel," rejoined Mrs. Smith, "he's a weel leukin' laad, wi' bewteefil rid sheeks, and a boannie figger if he wisna' just sae lang."
M'Candle pumped Tammie Sweynson to find out whether any of the people talked of him in connexion with Miss Julia. He felt that if they did, even this would be some little encouragement; it would not make the matter look so very absurd and improbable. He thought he knew Tammie's character, and that the youngster was too innocent to suspect or to repeat anything. The fact was, however, that Master *Craigs-fishing from a rock.
† Eela-fishing from a small boat near the shore. Nov.-VOL, CXXIII. NO. CCCCXCI.
Tammie, notwithstanding his apparent innocence, was entirely the creature of his acute sister Kirsty, who kept him as a sort of spy, and prompted all his words and actions. Consequently Tammie, at Kirsty's instigation, informed M'Candle that "Da fokk onnly spokk o' him an’ Miss Murdoch tagidder, an' windered he didna' go an' mayry her!"—the said Miss Murdoch being a yellow, pimply-faced personage, about twenty years Mr. M'Candle's senior, who was the daughter of the old minister to whom he had first come as assistant and successor, and had always looked upon M'Candle as her lawful property, and become his deadly enemy because he did not see the matter in the same light. M'Candle did not reflect that some people probably looked upon him as an individual quite as unfascinating and impossible to accept as a spouse, as Miss Murdoch appeared to him. But, fallible beings that we are, we never can be got to see ourselves as others see us. This, as wise men have always remarked, has caused more mischief and heart-rendings in the world than anything else.
Still M'Candle, truth to tell, went about his task with a perseverance and moral courage worthy of a better and more hopeful cause; though, poor fellow, the only result of his exertions was that he managed to make himself an object of loathing and a perpetual bore to Miss Julia Tomkins and her new lover, the latter of whom was, indeed, only prevented by the sacred profession of his rival from laying violent hands upon him. The captain, however, upon the whole, took the matter with tolerable coolness; he knew pretty well how he stood with the fair one, and he had no fear of her parent interposing any obstacles. There was no talk as yet of the young dragoon departing southward. He had got his leave of absence extended, on the plea of ill-health, in consequence of the injuries he had sustained in the wreck (which, as Mr. William Dicky said to Kirsty, confidentially, was "all gammon, you know; but never mind that, mum's the word," and Kirsty kept the secret admirably, principally because she hadn't the slightest conception what the words "gammon" and "mum" meant).
Lieutenant Tomkins would have been very well pleased if the captain had taken himself off; but having once invited him to his house, he couldn't, of course, hint to him that he had better go, especially seeing that he was the son of a baronet; so the captain and Mr. William Dicky continued to prolong their stay at Trafalgar Hall, and the people remarked to one another, "Bairns, dey're sheurely gaen' ta bide here fur a' noo!"
About this time, however, Mr. M'Candle obtained a slight addition to his party. The new volunteer was Magnus, otherwise Magnie, or Mansie Smith, Kirsty's lover, to whom we have previously alluded, and the cause of his secession to the M'Candle ranks was-jealousy. He had discovered that Mr. William Dicky was paying attentions to Miss Kirsty. Whether Mr. Dicky's views and intentions were wholly honourable we do not know; we will not take it upon us to say that they were not, but we cannot believe that this gentleman ever seriously contemplated leading to the hymeneal altar, and subsequently introducing to the fashionable society in his native country, of which he must have been such a distinguished ornament, a person of Kirsty's birth and
breeding as his lawful wife. The mildest construction we can put upon his conduct was that he probably felt overwhelmed with ennui, and sought in a little harmless flirtation a cheap and innocent amusement; and we must not conceal the fact-which may further excuse the course pursued by the imprudent and susceptible Dicky-that Kirsty, like most of the young Zetland peasant girls, was very pretty, with regular features, a fine skin and colour, splendid hair and teeth, laughing blue eyes, and a shape which the most cunning article of female dress ever devised by the inventive brain of the Empress Eugenie could in no ways have improved. Be all this as it may, the fact is this, that Mr. William Dicky did unmistakably make love to Kirsty, and, to say the least of it, she did not very strenuously object to his doing so. She certainly once or twice told him, "No ta come sae closs," or "she wid cloot his lugs" (Anglicè, box his ears); but she did not at all object to his following her about on every practicable occasion, or to his informing her that she was an hangel," and that her "heyes were hunmistakably the finest he 'ad ever seen in a 'ed," &c. &c. However, by-and-by Mr. Dicky grew a little bolder, but he was most unfortunate in his choice of a time to offer attentions of a more tender nature.
It was a fine moonlight night, and Mr. Dicky meeting Kirsty all alone outside the garden-wall, and inspired by the beauty of the evening and the strength of his own passion, attempted, after a little preliminary conversation, to snatch a kiss, which Kirsty of course resisted, but with poor chance of ultimately beating off the invader, when, lo and behold! just as opportunely and naturally as if he had belonged to the stage instead of to real life, Mr. Magnie Smith suddenly made his appearance, tore away Kirsty, and knocked Mr. William Dicky heels over head into an adjoining potato-field! Mr. Dicky's "spotless honour" of course demanded, in consequence of this indignity, that it should be granted to him to revenge himself in single combat; which favour he obtained, only he could not be said, except by a strong stretch of imagination, to have "revenged himself" in the smallest degree, as Magnie-who was a famed pugilist and an experienced thrasher, on the street of Lerwick, of the Engglishmen belonging to the Greenland whalers who put into that portbeat Mr. William Dicky to within a few inches of his mortal life, and bunged up both his eyes. Mr. Dicky might have certainly consoled himself with the reflection, that the "satisfaction" usually obtained by duellists, of much higher station than his, is not of a more satisfactory nature than what fell to his lot. And what did Magnie get for his reward? Mark the inconstancy of woman, so proverbial from the earliest times! Nothing but a recommendation to "mind his own business," and a flat refusal to repay him for his championship, even with the small favour which Mr. Dicky had been fighting for, and which Magnie had very often got for nothing at all-and for scarcely the asking-on previous occasions. And not only this, but Miss Kirsty went and complained to Lieutenant Tomkins (who would certainly have found out for himself that something was wrong, from Mr. Dicky's appearance), and the lieutenant ordered Magnie Smith never to come near his premises any more on pain of being immediately incarcerated in Lerwick gaol, and remarked, forcibly, Kissing, indeed! and where's the harm of that? Bless me! I
wonder if I never kissed a girl in my life, without being beat to a jelly in consequence?" Which remark of the officer's must have been made use of in a manner, and adopted as a line of conduct by persons, not at all thought of by him when he spoke it (just as most of our thoughtless remarks are), for very shortly afterwards little Tammie Sweynson asked Mr. M'Candle privately whether "Kissin' leddies wis irreligious ;" and when Mr. M'Candle had--rather in a hesitating manner, for he felt that David could not support him in this emergency-answered in the affirmative, Tammie rejoined, "Weel, dan, Cap'n Murtimer an' Miss Jullia is irreligious, fur wir Joahnie saa dem kissin' een anidder last Foersday night, tro' da parlour window, whin da lootenan wis sleepin' an' da young gantlemen wis oot brakkin' in da mad Faroe mare."
After this bit of information M'Candle felt that matters must be pushed to a crisis. He would rush to Grevavoe, and throw himself at Miss Julia's feet, and pour forth his long pent-up passion in incoherent language. He felt that, at all events, he would succeed in the incoherency if in nothing else. But when he came to Grevavoe on that fine June afternoon, bent on solving the problem, "To be or not to be, that is the question," there was no Miss Julia to be found, for the young lady was at that moment far away up the burn, sitting with the captain under a shady heathery bank, listening to the gentle, quiet murmur of the water stealing over the pebbles on its solitary course to the voe, and listening to the captain's words, as he pretended to try and catch diminutive trouts on a "sillock wand," and watching the little hill spiders spinning their gossamer threads from bank to bank in the bright sunshine. M'Candle wondered-as no doubt the more discreet of our readers will wonder-that Lieutenant Tomkins did not see the vast impropriety of all this; however, he knew there was no use of remonstrating with that officer. Seeing that there was small chance of his finding an opportunity of stating to Miss Tomkins his feelings orally, he resolved on putting his sentiments, hopes, and desires into writing, which he did, filling about three sides of a large sheet of letter paper, and with great difficulty and yet praiseworthy determination, managing to avoid in the epistle all allusion to David and Gehazzi. With a diplomacy which he was surprised to find himself possessed of, yet secretly admired and gloried not a little in, he despatched this letter by the hands of Tammie Sweynson to the principal post-office in the island, situated in a shop at the spot where the mail from the mainland island was landed, and managed it so that it reached the hands of the official there along with the Lerwick letters (which came twice a week), and thus came to Trafalgar Hall without the slightest suspicion being entertained by any one what awful words lay within the folds of that harmless-looking bit of paper. Lord Monteagle could not have opened that mysterious document which announced to him the existence of the gunpowder plot with greater indifference or less suspicion than did Miss Julia Tomkins break the seal of the epistle which contained the protestations and humble prayer of the lovesick M'Candle. But even when she had read it it did not seem to have any particular effect upon her. She made quick work of her reply: "Very sorry, affections otherwise engaged; always looked upon Mr. M'Candle as a valued friend ;"" and all that sort of old deuced humbug,"