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Wilson's Border Tales
The Leveller
Chapter 1


How far the term, "A LEVELLER," is provincial, or confined to the Borders, I am not certain; for before I had left them, to become as a pilgrim of the earth, the phrase had fallen into disuse, and the events, or rather the cause which brought it into existence, had passed away. But, twenty-five, or even twenty years ago, in these parts, there was no epithet more familiar to the lips of every schoolboy, than that of a Leveller. The juvenile lovers of mirth and mischief displayed their loyalty by "smeeking" the houses, or burning the effigies of the Levellers; and he was a good subject, and a perfect gentleman, who, out of his liberality and patriotism, contributed a shilling to purchase powder to make the head of the effigy go off in a rocket, and its fingers start away in squibs. Levellers were persecuted by the young, and suspected by the old. Every town and village in the kingdom had its coterie of Levellers. They did not congregate together; for, as being suspected individuals, their so doing would have been attended with danger; but there was a sympathy, and a sort of brotherhood amongst those in the same place, and they met in twos and threes, at the corners of the streets, in the fields, or the workshop, and not unfrequently at the operating rooms of the barber, as though there had been a secret understanding in the growth of their beards. Some of them were generally seen waiting the arrival of the mail, and running across the street, or the highway, as the case might be, eagerly inquiring of the guard—"What news?" But if, on the approach of the vehicle, they perceived it decorated with branches, or a flag displayed from it, away turned the Levellers from the unwelcome symbols of national rejoicing, and condoled one with another, in their own places of retirement. They were seldom, or never, found amongst rosy-faced country gentlemen, who walked in the midst of their fellow-mortals, as if measuring their acres. Occasionally they might be found amongst tradesmen; but they were most frequently met with at the loom, or amongst those who had learned the art and mystery of a cordwainer. The Leveller, however, was generally a peaceful and a moral man, and always a man of much reading, and extensive information. Many looked upon the Leveller as the enemy of his country, and as wishing the destruction of its institutions: I always regarded them with a more favourable eye. Most of them I have met with were sincerely attached to liberty, though they frequently took strange methods of showing it. They were opposed to the war with France, and they were enthusiastic admirers, almost worshippers, of Napoleon and his glories. They could describe the scene of all his victories—they could repeat his speeches and his bulletins by heart. But the old Jacobins of the last century, the Levellers of the beginning of this, are a race rapidly becoming extinct.

I shall give the history of one of them, who was called James Nicholson, and who resided in the village of T—. James was by trade a weaver—a walking history of the wars, and altogether one of the most remarkable men I ever met with. He had an impressive and ready utterance; few could stand before him in an argument, and of him it might have been truly said—

"In reasoning, too, the parson owned his skill,
And, though defeated, he could argue still."

He possessed also a bold imagination, and a masculine understanding, and both had been improved by extensive reading. With such qualifications, it is not a matter of wonder that he was looked up to as the oracle, the head, or king, of the Levellers in T—(if, indeed, they admitted the idea of a king). For miles around, he was familiarly known by the designation of Jemmy the Leveller; for though there were others of the name of James who held similar sentiments in the village and neighbourhood, he was Jemmy par excellence. But in order that the reader may have a correct representation of James before him, I shall describe him as I saw him, about five-and-twenty years ago. He then appeared a man approaching to sixty years of age. His shoulders were rather bent, his height about five feet eleven, and he walked with his eyes fixed upon the ground. His arms were generally crossed upon his breast, and he stalked, with a long and slow step, like a shepherd toiling up a hill. His forehead was one that Spurzheim would have traveled a hundred miles to finger—it was both broad and lofty; his eyebrows were thick, of a deep brown colour, and met together; his eyes were large, and of a dark greyish hue; his nose appertained to the Roman, his mouth was rather large, and his hair was mixed with grey. His figure was spare and thin. He wore a very low-crowned, and a very broad-brimmed hat, a short brown coat, a dark striped waistcoat, with a double breast, corduroy breeches, which buckled at the knees, coarse blue stockings, and strong shoes, or rather brogues, neither of which articles had been new for at least three years; and around his body he wore a coarse, half-bleached apron, which was stained with blue, and hung loose before him. Such was James Nicholson, as he first appeared to me. For more than forty years, he had remained in a state of single blessedness; but whether this arose from his heart having continued insensible to the influence of woman’s charms—from his never having met with one whom he thought he could safely take "for better, for worse"—or whether it arose from the maidens being afraid to risk their future happiness, by uniting themselves with such a strange and dangerous character as Jemmy the Jacobin, I cannot tell. It is certain, however, that he became convinced, that a bachelor’s life was at best a dowis one; and there was another consideration that had considerable weight with him. He had nobody to "fill his pirus" or "give inhis webs;" but he had to hire and pay people to do these things, and this made a great drawback on his earnings, particularly when the price of weaving became low. James, therefore, resolved to do as his father had done before him, to take unto himself a wife. He cast his eyes abroad, and they rested on a decent spinster, who was beginning to be what is called a "stayed lass"—that is, very near approaching the years, when the phrase, a "stayed 1ass," is about to be exchanged for that of an old maid. In a word, the object of his choice was but a very few years younger than himself. Her name was Peggy Purves, and it is possible she was inclined to adopt the language of the song, and say—

"O mother, ony body!"

for when James made his proposal, she smirked, and blushed—said she "didna ken what to say till’t" —took the corners of her apron in her fingers—hung her head— smiled well-pleased, and added, she "would see!" but within three months became the wife of Jemmy the Leveller.

James became the father of two children, a son and daughter; and we may here notice a circumstance attending the baptism of the son. About three weeks after the birth of the child, his mother began to inquire—

"What shall we ca’ him, James?—do ye think we should ca’ him Alexander, after your faither and mine?"

"Haud yer tongue, woman," replied James, somewhat testily; "goodness me! where’s the use in everlastingly yatter yattering about what I will ca’ him? The bairn shall hae a name—a name that will be like a deed o’ virtue and greatness engraven on his memory as often as he hears it."

"O James! James!" returned Peggy, "ye’re the strangest and perversest man that ever I met wi’ in my born days. I’m sure ye’ll ne’er think o’ gien ony o’ yer heathenish Jacobin names to my bairn?"

"Just content yersel’, Peggy," replied he, "just rest contented, if ye please—I’ll gie the bairn a name that neither you nor him will ever hae cause to be ashamed o’."

Now, James was a rigid Dissenter, and caused the child to be taken to the meeting-house; and he stood up with him in his arms, in the midst of the congregation, that his infant might publicly receive baptism.

The minister inquired, in a low voice—"What is the child’s name?"

His neighbours were anxious to hear the answer; and, in his deep, sonorous tones, he replied aloud—"GEORGE WASHINGTON!"

There was a sort of buzz and a movement throughout the congregation, and the minister himself looked surprised.

When her daughter was born, the choice of the name was left to Peggy, and she called her Catherine, in remembrance of her mother.

Shortly after the birth of his children, the French revolution began to lower in the political horizon, and James Nicholson, the weaver, with a fevered anxiety, watched its progress.

"It is a bursting forth o’ the first seed o’ the tree o’ liberty, which the Americans planted and George Washington reared," cried James with enthusiasm; "the seeds o’ that tree will spread owre the earth, as if scattered by the winds o’ heaven—they will cover it as the waters do the sea—they will take root—they will spring up in every land; beneath the burning sun o’ the West Indies, on the frozen deserts o’ Siberia, the slave and the exile will rejoice beneath the shadow o’ its branches, an’ their hearts be gladdened by its fruits."

"Ay, man, James, that’s noble!" exclaimed some brother Leveller, who retailed the sayings of the weaver at second hand—"Losh! if ye hadna a head-piece that wad astonish a Privy Council!"

But, when the storm burst, and the sea of blood gushed forth like a deluge, when the innocent and the guilty were butchered together, James was staggered, his eyes became heavy, and his countenance fell. At length, he consoled his companions, saying—

"Weel, it’s a pity—it’s a great pity—it is bringing disgrace and guilt upon a glorious cause. But knives shouldna be put into the hands o’ bairns till they ken how to use them. If the sun were to rise in a flash o’ unclouded glory and dazzling brightness in a moment, succeeding the heavy darkness o’ midnight, it wad be nae wonder if, for a time, we groped more blindly than we did in the dark! Or, if a blind man had his sight restored in a moment, and were set into the street, he would strike upon every object he met more readily than he did when he was blind; for he had neither acquired the use o’ his eyes, nor the idea o’ distance. So is it wi’ our neighbours in France; an instrument has been put into their hands before they ken how to use it—the sun o’ liberty has burst upon them in an instant, without an intermediate dawn. They groaned under the tyranny o’ blindness; but they hae acquired the power o’ sight without being instructed in its use. But hae patience a little--the storm will gie place to sunshine, the troubled waters will subside into a calm, and liberty will fling her garment o’ knowledge and mercy owre her now uninstructed worshippers."

"Weel! that’s grand, James!—that’s really famous!" said one of the coterie of Levellers to whom it was delivered; "odd! ye beat a’thing—ye’re a match for Wheat-bread himsel’."

"James," said another, "without meaning to flatter ye, if Billy Pitt had ye to gie him a dressing, I believe he wad offer ye a place the very next day, just to keep yer tongue quiet."

James was one of those who denounced, with all the vehemence and indignation of which he was capable, Britain’s engaging in a war with France. He raised up his voice against it. He pronounced it to be an unjust and an impious attempt to support oppression, and to stifle freedom in its cradle.

"But in that freedom they will find a Hercules," cried he, "which in its very cradle will grip tyranny by the throat, an’ a’ the kings in Europe winna be able to slacken its grasp."

When the star of Napoleon began to rise, and broke forth with a lustre which dazzled the eyes of a wondering world, the Levellers of Britain, like the Republicans of France, lost sight of their love of liberty, in their admiration of the military glories and rapid triumphs of the hero. James Nicholson was one of those who became blinded with the fame, the splendid success, and the daring genius of the young Corsican. Napoleon became his idol. His deeds, his capacity, his fame, were his daily theme. They became the favourite subject of every Leveller. They neither saw in him one who laughed at liberty, and who made it his plaything, who regarded life as stubble, whose ambition circled the globe, and who was the enemy of Britain—they saw in him only a hero, who had burst from obscurity as a meteor from the darkness of night—whose glory had obscured the pomp of princes, and his word consumed their power.

The threatened invasion, and the false alarm, put the Leveller’s admiration of Napoleon, and his love of his native land, to a severe trial; but we rejoice to say, for the sake of James Nicholson, that the latter triumphed, and he accompanied a party of volunteers ten miles along the coast, and remained an entire night, and the greater part of a day, under arms, and even he was then ready to say—

"Let foe come on foe, like wave upon wave,
We’ll gie them a welcome, we’ll gie them a grave."

But, as the apprehension of the invasion passed away, his admiration of Napoleon’s triumphs, and his reverence for what he termed his stupendous genius, burned with redoubled force.

"Princes are as grasshoppers before him," said James; "nations are as spiders’ webs. The Alps became as a highway before his spirit—he looked upon Italy, and the land was conquered."

I might describe to you the exultation and the rejoicings of James and his brethren, when they heard of the victories of Marengo, Ulm, and Austerlitz; and how, in their little parties of two and three, they walked a mile farther together in the fields, or by the sides of the Tweed, or peradventure indulged in an extra pint with one another, though most of them were temperate men; or, I might describe to you, how, upon such occasions, they would ask eagerly—"But what is James saying to it?" I, however, shall dwell only upon his conduct when he heard of the battle of Jena. He was standing with a brother Leveller at a corner of the village, when the mail arrived, which conveyed the important tidings. I think I see him now, as he appeared at that moment. Both were in expectation of momentous information—they ran to the side of the coach together. "What news?—what news?" they inquired of the guard at once. He stooped down, as they ran by the side of the coach, and informed them. The eyes of James glowed with delight—his nostrils were dilated.

"Oh! the great, the glorious man!" he exclaimed, rubbing his hands in ecstacy, and turning away from the coach; "the matchless! — the wonderful! — the great Napoleon!—there is none like him—there never was—he a sun among the stars—they cannot twinkle in his presence."

He and his friends received a weekly paper amongst them—it was the day on which it arrived; they followed the coach to the post-office to receive it—and I need not tell you with what eagerness the contents of that paper were read. James was the reader; and after he had read an account of the battle, he gave his hearers a dissertation upon it.

He laid his head upon his pillow, with his thoughts filled with Napoleon and the battle of Jena; and, when on the following morning, he met two or three of his companions at the corner of the village, where they were wont to assemble for ten minutes after breakfast, to discuss the affairs of Europe, James, with a look of even more than his usual importance and sagacity, thus began:—

"I hae dreamed a marvellous dream. I saw the battle o’ Jena—I beheld the Prussians fly with dismay before the voice of the conqueror. Then did I see the great man, arrayed in his robes of victory, bearing the sword of power in his hand, ascend a throne of gold and of ivory. Over the throne was a gorgeous canopy of purple, and diamonds bespangled the tapestry as a firmament. The crowns of Europe lay before him, and kings, and princes, and nobles, heeled at his feet. At his nod, he made kings and exalted nations. Armies fled and advanced at the moving of his finger—they were machines in his hand. The spirits of Alexander and of Caesar—all the heroes of antiquity— gazed in wonder upon his throne; each was surrounded by the halo of his victories and the fame of ages; but their haloes became dim before the flash of his sword of power, and the embodiment of their spirits became as a pale mist before the majesty of his eyes, and the magnificence of his triumphs. The nations of the earth were also gathered around the throne, and as with one voice, in the same language, and at the same moment, they waived their hands, and cried, as peals of thunder mingle wi’ each other—‘Long live the great Emperor!’ But, while my soul started within me at the mighty shout, and my eyes gazed with wonder and astonishment on the glory and the power of the great man, darkness fell upon the throne, troubled waters dashed around it, and the vision of might and vastness—the Emperor, the kneeling kings, the armies, and the people, were encompassed in the dark waves—swallowed as though they had not been; and, with the cold perspiration standing on my forehead, I awoke, and found that I had dreamed."

"It is a singular dream," said one.

"Sleeping or waking, James is the same man," said another, "aye out o’ the common run. You and me wad hae sleeped a twelvemonth before we had dreamed the like o’ that."

But one circumstance arose which troubled James much, and which all his admiration, yea, all his worship of Napoleon could not wholly overcome. James, as we have hinted, was a rigid Presbyterian, and the idea of a man putting away his wife, he could not forgive. When, therefore, Napoleon divorced the gentle Josephine, and took the daughter of Austria to his bed— "He hath done wrong," said James; "he has erred grievously. He has been an instrument in humbling the Pope, the instrument foretold in the Revelation; and he has been the glorious means o’ levelling and destroying the Inquisition—but this sin o’ putting away his wife, and pretending to marry another, casts a blot upon a’ his glories; and I fear that humiliation, as a punishment, will follow the foul sin. Yet, after a’, as a man, he was subject to temptation; and, as being no common man, we maunna judge his conduct by common rules."

"Really, James," said the individual he addressed, ‘wi’ a’ my admiration o’ the great man, and my respect for you. I’m no just clear upon your last remark—when the Scripture forbade a man to put away his wife, there was nae exception made for kings or emperors."

"True," said James—"but"— James never finished his "but." His conscience told him that his idol had sinned; and when the disastrous campaign to Russia shortly after followed, he imagined that he beheld in its terrible calamities the punishment he had predicted. The sun of Napoleon had reached its meridian, the fires of Moscow raised a cloud before it, behind which it hastened to its setting. In the events of that memorable invasion and retreat, James Nicolson took an eager aud mournful interest. Thoughts of it haunted him in his sleep; and he would dream of Russian deserts which presented to the eye an unbounded waste of snow; or start, exclaiming, "The Cossacks!--the Cossacks!" His temper too, became irritable, and his family found it hard to bear with it.

This, however, was not the only cause which increased the irritability, and provoked the indignation, of James the Leveller; for, as the glory of Napoleon began to wane, and the arms of the British achieved new victories in the Peninsula, he and his brethren in principle became the objects of almost nightly persecution. Never did the mail arrive, bearing tidings of the success of the British or their allies, but as surely was a figure, intended to represent one or another of the Levellers, paraded through the village, and burned before the door of the offender, amidst the shouts, the groans, and laughter, of some two or three hundred boys and young men. The reader may be surprised to hear that one of the principal leaders of these young and mischief-loving loyalists was no other than George Washington, the only son of our friend James Nicolson. To turn him from conduct, and the manifestation of a principle, so unworthy of his name, James spared neither admonition, reproof, nor the rod of correction. But George was now too old for his father to apply the latter, and his advice and reproof in this matter was like throwing water in the sea. The namesake of the great President never took a part in such exhibitions of his father, and in holding his principles up to execration and contempt; on the contrary, he did all in his power to prevent them, and repeatedly did he prevent them—but he entered with his whole heart, into every proposal to make a mock spectacle of others. The young tormentors knew little or nothing of the principles of the men they delighted to persecute—it was enough for them to know that they were Levellers, that they wished the French to win; and although James Nicolson was known to be, as I have already said, the very king and oracle of the levelling party in the neighbourhood, yet, for his son’s sake, he frequently escaped the persecution intended for him, and it was visited upon the heads of more insignificant characters.

One evening, James beheld his son heading the noisy bands in a crusade against the peace of a particular friend; moreover, George bore a long pole over his shoulder, to the top of which an intended resemblance of his father’s friend was attached. James further saw his hopeful son and the crowd reach his friend’s house, he beheld him scale the walls (which were but a single storey in height), he saw him stand upon the roof—the pole, with the effigy attached to it, was again handed to him, and, amidst the shouts of his companions, he put the pole down the chimney, leaving the figure as a smoke-doctor on its top.

James could endure no more. "Oh, the villain!—the scoundrel!" he cried—"the-the"—but he could add no more from excess of indignation. He rushed along the street—he dashed through the crowd—he grasped his son by the throat, at the moment of his springing from the roof. He shook with rage. He struck him violently. He raised his feet and kicked him.

"What is a’ this for!"’ said George, sullenly, while he suffered even more from shame than his father’s violence.

"What is it for!" cried James, half choked with passion "ye rascal!—ye disgrace!—ye profligate!—how can ye ask what is it for?" and he struck him again.

"Faither," said George, more sullenly than before, "I wad advise ye to keep yer hands to yersel’—at least on the street and before folk."

"Awa wi’ ye! ye reprobate!" exclaimed the old man "and never enter my door again—never while ye breathe —ye thankless!"—

"Be it sae," said George.

James returned to his house, in sorrow and in anger. He was out of humour with everything. He found fault with his daughter—he spoke angrily to his wife. Chairs stools, tables, and crockery, he kicked to the right and left. He flung his supper behind the fire when it was set before him. He was grieved at his son’s conduct; but he was also angry with himself for his violence towards him.

A sergeant of a Highland regiment had been for some time in the village, on the recruiting service. He was to leave with his recruits, and proceed to Leith, where they were immediately to embark on the following morning. Amongst the recruits, were many of the acquaintances of George and his companions. After the affair of the effigy they went to have a parting glass with them. George was then about nineteen. He had not yet forgiven his father for the indignity he had openly offered to him—he remembered he had forbidden him his house. One of his companions jestingly alluded to the indignation of the old man—he "wondered how George stood it." The remark made his feelings more bitter. He felt shame upon his face. Another of his companions enlisted; in the excitement of the moment, George followed his example, and, before sunrise on the following morning, was on his road to Leith with the other recruits.

Old James arose and went to his loom, unhappy and troubled in his spirit. He longed for a reconciliation with his son—to tell him he was sorry for the length to which his temper had led him, and also calmly to reason with him on the folly, the unreasonableness, and the wickedness, of his own conduct in running, with a crowd at his heels about the street, persecuting honest men, and endangering both the peace of the town. and the safety of property. But he had been an hour at the loom, and George took not his place at his (for he had brought him up to his own trade); another hour passed and breakfast time arrived, but the shuttle which had been driven by the hand of his son, sent forth no sound.

"Where is George?" inquired he, as he entered the house; "wherefore has he no been ben at his wark?"

"Ye ken best," returned Peggy, who thought it her time to be out o humour "for it lies between ye; but ye’ll carry on yer rampaging fits o’ passion till ye drive baith the bairns an’ me frea ‘bout the house. Ye may seek for George whar ye saw him last; but there is his bed untouched, as I made it yesterday morning, and ye see what ye’ve made o’ yer handy-wark."

"Oh, haud yer tongue, ye wicked woman, ye," said James,"for it wad clip clouts. Had Job been afflicted wi’ yer tongue, he wad needed nae other trial!"

"My tongue!" retorted she; "ay, gude truly! but if ony woman but mysel’ had to put up wi’ yer temper, they wad ken what it is to be tried."

"Puir woman! ye dinna ken yer born!" replied James and, turning to his daughter, added, "rin awa out, Katie an’ see if yer brother is wi’ ony o’ his acquaintances—he’ll hae been sleeping wi’ some o’ them. Tell him to come hame to his breakfast."

She left the house, and returned in about ten minutes, weeping, sobbing, wringing her hands, and exclaiming--

"George is listed and awa!—he’s listed and awa my poor George!"

"Listed!" exclaimed James, and he fell back against the wall, as though a bullet had entered his bosom.

"Listed! my bairn—my darling bairn listed!" cried Peggy; "O James! James!—ye cruel man! See what ye’ve done!—ye hae driven my bairn to destruction!"

"Woman! woman!" added he, "dinna torment me beyond what I am able to endure; do ye no think I am suffering enough, and muir than enough, without you aggravating my misery? Oh! the rash, the thoughtless callant! Could he no forgie his faither for ae fault?—a faither that could lay down his life for him. Haste ye, Katie, get me my stick and my Sunday coat, and I’ll follow him—he canna be far yet—I’ll bring him back. Wheesht now, Peggy," he added, "let us hae nae muir reflections— just compose yersel’—George shall be hame the night, and we’ll let byganes be byganes."

"Oh, then, James, rin every foot," said Peggy, whose ill-humour had yielded to her maternal anxiety; "bring him back whether he will or no; tell him how ill Katie is, and that if he persists in being a sodger, he will be the death o’ his mother?"

With a heavy and an anxious heart, James set out in pursuit of his son; but the sergeant and his recruits had taken the road six hours before him. On arriving at Dunbar, where he expected they would halt for the night, he was informed, that the sergeant, being ordered to push forward to Leith with all possible expedition, as the vessel in which they were to embark was to sail with the morning tide, had, with his recruits, taken one of the coaches, and would then be within a few miles of Edinburgh. This was another blow to James. But after resting for a space, not exceeding five minutes, he hastened forward to Leith.

It was midnight when he arrived, and he could learn nothing of his son, or the vessel in which he was to embark; but, weary as he was, he wandered along the shore and the pier till morning. Day began to break—the shores of the Firth became dimly visible; the Bass, like a fixed cloud, appeared on the distant horizon; it was more than half-tide, and, as he stood upon the pier, he heard the yo-heave-o! of seamen, proceeding from a smack which lay on the south side of the harbour, by the lowest bridge. He hastened towards the vessel—but, before he approached it, and while the cry of the seamen yet continued, a party of soldiers and recruits issued from a tavern on the shore. They tossed their caps in the air, they huzzaed, and proceeded towards the smack. With a throbbing heart, James hurried forward, and in the midst of them, through the grey light, he beheld his son.

"O George!" cried the anxious parent, "what a journey ye hae gien yer faither!"

George started at his father’s voice and for a moment he was silent and sullen, as though he had not yet forgiven him.

"Come, George," said the old man, affectionately, "let us forget and forgie—come awa hame again, my man, an’ I’ll pay the smart money. Dinna persist in bringing yer mother to her grave—in breaking yer sister’s heact, puir thing, and in making me miserable."

"O faither! Faither!" groaned George, grasping his father’s hand, "its owre late—its owre late now. What’s done canna be undone!"

"Why for no, bairn?" cried James, "an’ how is it owre late? The ship’s no sailed, and I’ve the smart-money in my pocket."

"But I’ve ta’en the bounty, faither—I’m sworn in!" replied the son.

"Sworn in!" exclaimed the unhappy father, "Oh mercy me! what’s this o’t!" My happiness is destroyed for ever. "O George! George, man! what is this that ye’ve done? How shall I meet yer poor wretched mother without ye?"

George laid his head upon his father’s shoulder and wrung his hand. He was beginning to experience what hours, what years of misery may proceed from the want of a minute’s calm reflection. The thought of buying him off could not be entertained. The vessel was to sail within an hour—men were needed; but even had no other obstacles attended the taking of such a step, there was one that was insurmountable—James Nicholson had never in his life been possessed of half the sum necessary to accomplish it, nor could he have raised it by the sale of his entire goods and chattels; and his nature forbade him to solicit a loan from others, even to redeem a son.

They were beginning to haul off the vessel; and poor George, who now felt all the bitterness of remorse, added to the anguish of parting from a parent, thrust his hand into his pocket, and, as he bade him farewell, attempted to put his bounty-money in his father’s hand. The old man sprung back, as if a poisonous snake had touched him. The principles of the Leveller rose superior to the feelings of the father.

"George!" he cried, "George! can my ain son insult me, an’ in a moment like this? Me tak yer blood-money!—me!—me! Ye dinna ken yer faither! Before I wad touch money gotten in such a cause, I wad starve by a dyke-side. Fling it into the sea, George!—fling it into the sea!—that’s the only favour ye can confer upon yer faither." But, again, the parent gained the ascendancy in his heart, and he added—"But, poor chield, ye meant it kindly. Fareweel, then, my man!—Oh, fareweel, George! Heaven be wi’ my misguided bairn! Oh! what shall I say to yer poor mother? Fareweel, lad!—fareweel!"

The vessel was pulled off—and thus parted the father and his son. I shall not describe the feelings of James on his solitary journey homewards, nor dwell upon the grief of his wife and daughter, when they beheld that he returned alone, and that George "was not."


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