The Heart of Mid-Lothian
Sweet sister, let me live!
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Nature dispenses with the deed so far,
That it becomes a virtue.
Measure for Measure.
Jeanie Deans was admitted into the jail by Ratcliffe. This fellow, as void of shame
as of honesty, as he opened the now trebly secured door, asked her, with a leer
which made her shudder, "whether she remembered him?"
A half-pronounced and timid "No," was her answer.
"What! not remember moonlight, and Muschat's Cairn, and Rob and Rat?" said
he, with the same sneer;--"Your memory needs redding up, my jo."
If Jeanie's distresses had admitted of aggravation, it must have been to find her
sister under the charge of such a profligate as this man. He was not, indeed,
without something of good to balance so much that was evil in his character and
habits. In his misdemeanours he had never been bloodthirsty or cruel; and in his
present occupation, he had shown himself, in a certain degree, accessible to
touches of humanity. But these good qualities were unknown to Jeanie, who,
remembering the scene at Muschat's Cairn, could scarce find voice to acquaint
him, that she had an order from Bailie Middleburgh, permitting her to see her
"I ken that fa' weel, my bonny doo; mair by token, I have a special charge to stay
in the ward with you a' the time ye are thegither."
"Must that be sae?" asked Jeanie, with an imploring voice.
"Hout, ay, hinny," replied the turnkey; "and what the waur will you and your tittie
be of Jim Ratcliffe hearing what ye hae to say to ilk other? --Deil a word ye'll say
that will gar him ken your kittle sex better than he kens them already; and
another thing is, that if ye dinna speak o' breaking the Tolbooth, deil a word will I
tell ower, either to do ye good or ill."
Thus saying, Ratcliffe marshalled her the way to the apartment where Effie was
Shame, fear, and grief, had contended for mastery in the poor prisoner's bosom
during the whole morning, while she had looked forward to this meeting; but
when the door opened, all gave way to a confused and strange feeling that had a
tinge of joy in it, as, throwing herself on her sister's neck, she ejaculated, "My