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house with trees and a rookery too much idleness and conalbeit in the precincts of Can- viviality among the well-born ongate—where Dugald Stew- young men into whose circle art received distinguished guests Scott, with his liveliness, comeand his wife was mother and liness, good-humour, and variety inspiration to the scion of of knowledge was admitted. English Whig houses who Drinking bouts were still a boarded with them. The talk fashion, and that his hard was probably excellent, the head permitted him to see hospitality graceful and sin- all his companions under the cere, at those evening parties, table was a matter, not for where the guests sat in the jesting, but for the exercise firelight because the philoso- of Jane Anne's incomparable pher found that pleasant twi- talent for plain speaking. But, light restful to the brain and that excepted, she fostered his favourable to talk. But the life in all directions-opened wit, one cannot help thinking, social doors for him, divined was brighter, the laughter more and stimulated his genius, agiinfectious, the poetry older, tated herself over his fruitthe criticism newer at the less passion for Williamina little supper parties in the Stuart Belches of Fettercairn, modest flat in Frederick Street, and, above all, made him ride. where Miss Jane Anne Cran- “I was always riding,” she stoun kept house for her brother said of herself; and that is George, and entertained that an example of the universal select company of young advo- experience that people, howcates self-named the ‘Brother- ever badly off, will always by hood of the Mountain.'... The some means contrive to indulge two sisters may be said to have in a ruling passion. But it shared between them the de- was obvious that those who votion of all the distinguished wished for much of her comyoung men in Edinburgh." panionship must sbare her rides;
And the young man whose and Walter Scott had a further devotion to Miss Cranstoun incentive to horsemanship, too, was most lively, whose affec- for the Duke of Buccleuch was tion for her was lifelong, and raising a regiment of Volunteer who became the most famous of Cavalry, and all the young the Brotherhood, was, of course, men of ton in Edinburgh were Walter Scott.
joining it. His lameness handiThe story of their friendship capped his martial ambitions, has often been told, and there but, thanks to Jane Anne and is no need to repeat the detail his own pluck, Scott had a of it—of how Miss Cranstoun very firm seat a horse, interfered in his life for his and the Corps made him Paygood in every direction. For master, Quartermaster, Secreall their ambitions and their tary and Regimental bard, and talents, there was a vast deal dubbed him 'Earl Walter.'
“ Is it then true, my God, of questions ; but the philothat Earl Walter is a Benedick sophers, completely forgetting and I am in Styria ! Well ! their breeding in their absorpbless us all, prays the departed tion, threw her but impatient from her brethren-J. A. P.," and fragmentary answers as writes Countess von Purgstall, they strode on over the knolls when she hears of his marriage of the Links; so, not choosing to Sophy Carpenter.
to be ignored, the lady slipped But outdoor exercise in Edin- from between them, dropped burgh did not consist only of behind, and paced after them in long unfettered rides in the silence and the companionship country lying between the Pent- of her own reflections. But lands and the sea, nor were
the twilight grew apace. Now its festivities confined to hil- Miss Cranstoun was aware that arious gatherings of the young both men, singularly enough, men as yet unknown to fame, were afflicted with an optical but believing heartily in one weakness called 'twilight blindanother and more fitfully in ness,' so that what followed themselves. There were also amused her intensely but did decent walks taken in the not surprise her. company of one's elders, and
“Presently Mr Stewart, tea - parties in respectable slackening his pace, drew to houses; and it is impossible my side and remarked that the to omit the story of Jane golf-players had quite destroyed Anne and her escort home on the Links for a lady's walking, an evening when she had been and that unless I took his arm drinking tea in the house of I might put my foot into one the Rev. Dr Alison on Brunts- of the holes used in the aforefield Links. The sun was set- said game. As I found none ting when, with her brother- of the inconvenience to which in-law Dugald Stewart on one he referred, I begged him not side and Sir James Hall of to disturb his philosophical Dunglass, the President of the tête-d-tête on my account. But Royal Society of Edinburgh, on he continued to press me to the other, she left the doctor's take his arm. Sir James, who doorstep, and before they had as yet saw quite well, had no gone half a dozen paces her idea what Mr Stewart was two companions recommenced, maneuvring about, and tried hammer and tongs, the meta- all he could, being deeply inphysical discussion which the terested in the discussion, to party had been engaged in attach the blind lecturer's atround the teacups. Miss Cran- tention from me to himself. stoun, quite able to take, at About five minutes afterwards, the least, an intelligent in- however, I was much amused terest in metaphysics, seems to when Sir James also offered have tried to assert her own me his arm, expressed in like existence by the interjection manner a wonderful anxiety about my safety and comfort, out its arm, and she found and, as Mr Stewart had done herself lifted and set down before him, insisted on en- again breathless in the midst cumbering me with help in of the splendours and terrors which I stood no sort of need. of Central Europe. The laws It became truly a task of some which govern destiny are undifficulty to lead these two discoverable—or at least ungentlemen, for as neither of discovered, but the ruminative them could see an inch before observer cannot deny that there him, I was obliged to act as seems to be some attraction guide to both. They, on the between the storm - centres of other hand, as soon as they the world and certain unfethad regained their confidence tered spirits; and that just through the agency of my as Diana Vernon could have pilotage, forgot their sudden no other setting but that of a fit of gallantry, and once more Jacobite rising, so must Jane recommenced their disquisi- Anne Cranstoun be drawn no tions
across my very nose, less unhesitatingly into the and without once seeming to maëlstrom of her own era. recollect that such an indi- In 1796, partly in order to vidual as their female protector relieve the Austrian pressure was in existence.'
on the Rhine, and partly to What was Jane Anne Cran- intimidate the Pope, the French stoun's secret feeling about this Directory assumed the offensive partly academic, partly fashion- on the Alpine frontier, and able, partly Bohemian life of young General Buonaparte was hers in the northern capital ? appointed by Carnot to the She lived it whole-heartedly command of the army in Italy. because of the fundamental By the beginning of 1797 prachonesty of her nature, and she tically all Italy was either subwould have had nothing but jugated or in alliance with self-derision for any pose of France, and Napoleon, who spiritual aloofness from it. But within a few months had risen beyond her beauty, her health, from being a soldier of fortune her intellect, and her spirit, to become the terror of empires, none of the gifts of life had was sweeping through Carinthia fallen to her share, and, as into Styria to encamp under birthday succeeded birthday, the walls of Vienna. it might well be that the Wenzel Johann Gottfried von paving - stones of Edinburgh Purgstall, Count of the Holy grew harder and harder, and Roman Empire and Chamberperhaps her courage began to lain to the Emperor, was a flag-who knows! And then, great Styrian landowner and in her thirty-eighth year, with lord of the castles of Riegerskaleidoscopic suddenness, Fate, berg, Radkersberg, and Hainstalking her invisibly from feld. He was an only child, laughing childhood, stretched his father had died when he
was twelve years old, and since view of relations is not conthe age of seventeen he had ceivable. The disparity in age, travelled extensively in Europe, the diversity of religion, the making friends with men of delicacy of the health of the light and leading wherever he suitor — everything that was went; for his talents and en- reasonable must have been thusiasms were all for the Arts urged. But Jane Anne Cranand the Humanities. He was stoun and Wenzel von Purgin Denmark when Napoleon stall had been swept from the made his lightning march into moorings of reason. ImaginaStyria, and return to Austria tive passion had engulfed them; being for the time impossible, for them was neither space nor he set off, with all the ardour time; and all words were a of the young idealist and the mere beating of the air. patriot, for that island where These things happen. Rob the spiritual and political con- Roy paints for us the quality ceptions of the eighteenth cen- of the bride; and the beauty tury were beginning to bear of person, the simplicity and practical fruit. Agriculture, persuasion of manner, and the popular education, and prison intellectual gifts of the bridereform were his watchwords, groom are portrayed by his and from Liverpool he made his biographer, Herr von Hammer. way to Edinburgh laden with
innocent creature,” an introduction (among others) growled Thomas Thomson ; and to Dugald Stewart, and also one realises the injured aston(we may be sure) to Mrs Anne ishment of the Brotherhood Murray Keith in George Street Jane Anne was deserting them —she whose brother, Sir Robert, to become the guardian spirit had been Ambassador in Vienna of this guileless idealist who for twenty years, and who had had, 80 unnecessarily, been kept open house there for his blown across her path. countrymen.
It all happened more than The Austrian grandee's diary a century ago, but the intensity comes an abrupt ending of happiness which had come when he reaches Edinburgh. to Jane Anne Cranstoun, and And every single person which translated her into Nina to whom exclamatory letters von Purgstall, still warms the should have been written was heart. She was ardently in provokingly on the spot as love. That was everythingonlooker, and was exclamatory and then to everything was with the tongue only. There added immense riches, a very is no scrap of script of any great position, and castles set sort extant to tell us the detail in the midst of the most of all that went before the romantic scenery in Europe. amazing marriage which took “Surely there is no vanity in place in June 1797. That Jane saying that earth has no mounAnne was denied the points of tains like ours," she writes from Riegersberg. She was to with them, whether they were know that joy in the earth captivated or no, is a safe and all that pertains to it assertion. Perhaps she was which keeps man and woman not very patient with Zurich, for ever new created. She was perhaps she was impatient to not from henceforth to be gain- reach the kingdom which lay said. Both her sense of what on the farther side of the has been called “devoted pos- stupendous mountains. And at session” and her responsiveness last there was the setting forth, to adventure were to have play. and the wonderful journey to
The treaty of Campo Formio, thefrontiers of Hungary through signed in October, enabled the the valleys and the passes of the newly married pair to set out Tyrol and of the Styrian Alps. for Austria, and their first halt Walter Scott kept all the was at Paris, where the reaction letters Countess von Purgstall from the Reign of Terror had wrote him. There was once just set in. It must have been a great sealed package of them arousing for the bride to dis- at Abbotsford. They exist no cover real danger there in the longer. Sir Walter was, in fact of her husband's friendship her own land, the soul to whom with Barthélemy—but provok- she most readily imparted emoing too. For it is certain that tions, and it would be enthralthe Countess had soon made a ling to have from her flowing humorous diagnosis of an Edin- and emphatic pen a descripburgh trousseau in relation to tion of the semi-royal progress her new rôle-provoking the of the last miles of the journey compelled evacuation of a city through the Purgstall territory, where lavish spending on the and all the ritual of the arrival apparelling of the person could at the great fortress castle of be classed legitimately as the Riegersberg. encouragement of art! But The Purgstall family was into the saddle postilions must one of the most ancient in hurriedly get themselves, and Central Europe, and for seven when the cortège clattered pres- hundred years this home had ently into Zurich, disappoint- been an impregnable one. Inment had long evaporated in vading Mongols and conquerlaughter.
ing Turks had always given up Zurich did not hold the its capture in despair. Partly hazards of Paris, but was it cut out of the rock, the gigantic not perhaps a little too like pile towered over the rolling Edinburgh to be very stimu- and wooded country and over lating? What did Lavater the village, and the church make of the wife of his friend, where generations of Purgstalls and she of him ? Were Pesta- were buried. Within the walls lozzi and Goëthe (who was stay. were mingled grandeurs and ing near-by) captivated by inconveniences. Banqueting her ?
That she held her own halls, withdrawing rooms, pres