The Heart of Mid-Lothian
Wilt thou go on with me?
The moon is bright, the sea is calm,
And I know well the ocean paths . . .
Thou wilt go on with me!
The fatigue and agitation of these various scenes had agitated Jeanie so much,
notwithstanding her robust strength of constitution, that Archibald judged it
necessary that she should have a day's repose at the village of Longtown. It was
in vain that Jeanie protested against any delay. The Duke of Argyle's man of
confidence was of course consequential; and as he had been bred to the medical
profession in his youth (at least he used this expression to describe his having,
thirty years before, pounded for six months in the mortar of old Mungo
Mangleman, the surgeon at Greenock), he was obstinate whenever a matter of
health was in question.
In this case he discovered febrile symptoms, and having once made a happy
application of that learned phrase to Jeanie's case, all farther resistance became
in vain; and she was glad to acquiesce, and even to go to bed, and drink water-
gruel, in order that she might possess her soul in quiet and without interruption.
Mr. Archibald was equally attentive in another particular. He observed that the
execution of the old woman, and the miserable fate of her daughter, seemed to
have had a more powerful effect upon Jeanie's mind, than the usual feelings of
humanity might naturally have been expected to occasion. Yet she was obviously
a strong-minded, sensible young woman, and in no respect subject to nervous
affections; and therefore Archibald, being ignorant of any special connection
between his master's prote'ge'e and these unfortunate persons, excepting that
she had seen Madge formerly in Scotland, naturally imputed the strong
impression these events had made upon her, to her associating them with the
unhappy circumstances in which her sister had so lately stood. He became
anxious, therefore, to prevent anything occurring which might recall these
associations to Jeanie's mind.
Archibald had speedily an opportunity of exercising this precaution. A pedlar
brought to Longtown that evening, amongst other wares, a large broad-side
sheet, giving an account of the "Last Speech and Execution of Margaret
Murdockson, and of the barbarous Murder of her Daughter, Magdalene or Madge
Murdockson, called Madge Wildfire; and of her pious conversation with his
Reverence Archdeacon Fleming;" which authentic publication had apparently
taken place on the day they left Carlisle, and being an article of a nature
peculiarly acceptable to such country-folk as were within hearing of the