Page:Traditional Tales of the English and Scottish Peasantry - 1887.djvu/260
256 TRADITIONAL TALES.
visionary drink, such as a drouthie body has dished out to his lips in a dream ; nor is it shadowy and unsubstantial, like the vessels they sail in, which are made out of a cockel-shell or a cast-off slipper, or the paring of a seaman's right thumb- nail. I once got a hansel out of a witch's quaigh myself auld Marion Mathers, of Dustiefoot, whom they tried to bury in the old kirkyard of Dunscore ; but the cummer raise as fast as they laid her down, and naewhere else would she lie but in the bonnie green kirkyard of Kier, among douce and sponsible fowk. So I'll vow that the wine of a witch's cup is as fell liquor as ever did a kindly turn to a poor man's heart ; and be they fiends, or be they witches, if they have red wine asteer, I'll risk a drouket sark for ae glorious tout on't.' ' Silence, ye sinners,' said the minister's son of a neighbouring parish, who united in his own person his father's lack of devotion with his mother's love of liquor. 'Whist! speak as if ye had the fear of something holy before ye. Let the vessels run their own way to destruction : who can stay the eastern wind, and the current of the Solway sea? I can find ye Scripture warrant for that; so let them try their strength on Blawhooly rocks, and their might on the broad quicksand. There's a surf running there would knock the ribs together of a galley built by the imps of the pit, and commanded by the Prince of Darkness. Bonnilie and bravely they sail away there, but before the blast blows by they'll be wrecked ; and red wine and strong brandy will be as rife as dyke water, and we'll drink the health of bonnie Bell Blackness out of her left-foot slipper.'
"The speech of the young profligate was applauded by several of his companions, and away they flew to the bay of Blawhooly, from whence they never returned. The two vessels were observed all at once to stop in the bosom of the bay, on the spot where their hulls now appear ; the mirth and the minstrelsy waxed louder than ever, and the forms of maidens, with instruments of music and wine-cnps in their hands, thronged the decks. A boat was lowered ; and the same shadowy pilot who conducted the ships made it start towards the shore with the rapidity of lightning, and its head knocked against the bank where the four young men stood who longed for the unblest drink. They leaped in with a laugh, and with a laugh were they welcomed on deck ; wine- cups were given to each, and as they raised them to their lips the vessels melted away beneath their feet ; and one