I Say No
Book VII. The Clink
Chapter 58. A Council Of Two
Early in the last century one of the picturesque race of robbers and murderers,
practicing the vices of humanity on the borderlands watered by the river Tweed,
built a tower of stone on the coast of Northumberland. He lived joyously in the
perpetration of atrocities; and he died penitent, under the direction of his priest.
Since that event, he has figured in poems and pictures; and has been greatly
admired by modern ladies and gentlemen, whom he would have outraged and
robbed if he had been lucky enough to meet with them in the good old times.
His son succeeded him, and failed to profit by the paternal example: that is to
say, he made the fatal mistake of fighting for other people instead of fighting for
In the rebellion of Forty-Five, this northern squire sided to serious purpose with
Prince Charles and the Highlanders. He lost his head; and his children lost their
inheritance. In the lapse of years, the confiscated property fell into the hands of
strangers; the last of whom (having a taste for the turf) discovered, in course of
time, that he was in want of money. A retired merchant, named Delvin (originally
of French extraction), took a liking to the wild situation, and purchased the tower.
His wife--already in failing health--had been ordered by the doctors to live a quiet
life by the sea. Her husband's death left her a rich and lonely widow; by day and
night alike, a prisoner in her room; wasted by disease, and having but two
interests which reconciled her to life--writing poetry in the intervals of pain, and
paying the debts of a reverend brother who succeeded in the pulpit, and
prospered nowhere else.