外语教育网
您的位置:外语教育网 > 英语文化视窗 > 文学与艺术 > 小说 正文
  • 站内搜索:

The Broad Highway(Book1,Chapter28)

2006-08-28 22:46

  Book One Chapter XXVIII. The Highland Piper

  "Who are you?" said I, in no very gentle tone.

  "Donal's my name, sir, an' if ye had an e'e for the tartan, ye'd ken I was a Stuart."

  "And what do you want here, Donald Stuart?"

  "The verra question she'd be askin' ye'sel'——wha' gars ye tae come gowkin' an' spierin' aboot here at sic an hour?"

  "It is my intention to live here, for the future," said I.

  "Hoot toot! ye'll be no meanin' it?"

  "But I do mean it," said I.

  "Eh, man! but ye maun ken the place is no canny, what wi' pixies, an' warlocks, an' kelpies, forbye——"

  "Indeed, they told me it was haunted, but I determined to see for myself."

  "Weel?"

  "Well, I am glad to find it haunted by nothing worse than a wandering Scots piper."

  The Highlander smiled his wry smile, and taking out a snuff-box, inhaled a pinch, regarding me the while.

  "Ye're the first as ever stayed——after they'd heard the first bit squeakie, tae find out if 't were a real bogle or no."

  "But how in the world did you make such awful sounds?"

  "I'm thinkin' it's the bit squeakie ye'll be meanin'?" he inquired.

  "Yes; how did you do it?"

  "Oh, it's juist the pipes!" he answered, patting them affectionately, "will I show ye the noo?"

  "Pray do," said I. Hereupon he set the mouthpiece to his lips, inflated the bag, stopped the vents with his fingers, and immediately the air vibrated with the bubbling scream I have already attempted to describe.

  "Oh, man!" he exclaimed, laying the still groaning instrument gently aside, "oh, man! is it no juist won'erful?"

  "But what has been your object in terrifying people out of their wits in this manner?"

  "Sir, it's a' on account o' the snuff."

  "Snuff!" I repeated.

  "Juist that!" he nodded.

  "Snuff," said I again; "what do you mean?"

  The Piper smiled again——a slow smile, that seemingly dawned only to vanish again; it was, indeed, if I may so express it, a grave and solemn smile, and his nearest approach to mirth, for not once in the days which followed did I ever see him give vent to a laugh. I here also take the opportunity to say that I have greatly modified his speech in the writing, for it was so broad that I had much ado to grasp his meaning at times.

  The Piper smiled, then, and, unwinding the plaid from his shoulder, spread it upon the floor, and sat down.

  "Ye maun ken," he began, "that I hae muckle love for the snuff, an' snuff is unco expenseeve in these parts."

  "Well?" said I.

  "Ye maun ken, in the second place, that ma brither Alan canna' abide the snuff."

  "Your brother Alan!" said I wondering.

  "Ma brither Alan," he nodded gravely.

  "But what of him, what has he to do with——"

  "Man, bide a wee. I'm comin' tae that."

  "Go on, then," said I, "I'm listening."

  "Weel, I'd hae ye tae ken I'm a braw, bonnie piper, an' ma brither Alan, he's a bonnie piper too——no sic a fair graund piper as me, bein' somewhat uncertain wi' his 'warblers,' ye ken, but a bonnie piper, whateffer. Aweel, mebbe a year syne, I fell in love wi' a lassie, which wad ha' been a' richt if ma brither Alan hadna' fallen in love wi' her too, so that she, puir lassie, didna' ken which tae tak'. 'Donal,' says Alan, 'can ye no love anither lassie; she can no marry the twa o' us, that's sure!' 'Then, Alan,' says I, 'we'll juist play for her.' Which I think ye'll own was a graund idee, only the lassie couldna' juist mak' up her mind which o' us piped the best. So the end of it was we agreed, ma brither Alan an' I, to pipe oor way through England for a year, an' the man wha came back wi' the maist siller should wed the lassie."

  "And a very fair proposal," said I, "but——"

  "Wheest, man! juist here's where we come to the snuff, for, look ye, every time I bought a paper o' snuff I minded me that ma brither Alan, not takkin' it himself, was so much siller tae the gude——an'——oh, man! it used tae grieve me sair——till, one day, I lighted on this bit hoosie."

  "Well?" said I.

  "What, d'ye no see it?"

  "No, indeed," I answered.

  "Eh, man! ma brither Alan doesna' buy the snuff, but he must hae a roof tae shelter him an' a bed tae lie in o' nights, an' pay for it too, ye ken, fourpence, or a bawbee, or a shillin', as the case may be, whiles here I hae baith for the takkin'. An', oh, man! many's the nicht I've slept the sweeter for thinkin' o' that saxpence or shillin' that Alan's apartin' wi' for a bed little better than mine. So, wishfu' tae keep this bit hoosie tae mysel'——seein' 't was haunted as they ca' it——I juist kep' up the illusion on account o' trampers, wanderin' gypsies, an' sic-like dirty tykes. Eh! but 'twas fair graund tae see 'em rinnin' awa' as if the de'il were after them, spierin' back o'er their shoulders, an' a' by reason of a bit squeakie o' the pipes, here. An' so, sir, ye hae it."

  I now proceeded to build and relight the fire, during which the Scot drew a packet of bread and cheese from his sporran, together with a flask which, having uncorked, he held out to me with the one word, "Whuskey!"

  "Thank you, Donald, but I rarely drink anything stronger than ale," said I.

  "Aweel!" said he, "if ye winna', ye winna', an' there's but a wee drappie left, tae be sure." Whereupon, after——two or three generous gulps, he addressed himself to his bread and cheese, and I, following his example, took out the edibles Simon had provided.

  "An' ye're minded tae bide here, ye tell me?" he inquired after a while.

  "Yes," I nodded, "but that need not interfere with you——two can live here as easily as one, and, now that I have had a good look at you, I think we might get along very well together."

  "Sir," said he solemnly, "my race is royal——I am a Stuart——here's a Stuart's hand," and he reached out his hand to me across the hearth with a gesture that was full of a reposeful dignity. Indeed, I never remember to have seen Donald anything but dignified.

  "How do you find life in these parts?" I inquired.

  "Indeefferent, sir——vera indeefferent! Tae be sure, at fairs an' sic-like I've often had as much as ten shillin' in 'ma bonnet at a time; but it's juist the kilties that draw em; they hae no real love for the pipes, whateffer! A rantin' reel pleases 'em well eneugh, but eh! they hae no hankerin' for the gude music."

  "That is a question open to argument, Donald," said I; "can any one play real music on a bagpipe, think you?"

  "Sir," returned the Scot, setting down the empty flask and frowning darkly at the fire, "the pipes is the king of a' instruments, 'tis the sweetest, the truest, the oldest, whateffer!"

  "True, it is very old," said I thoughtfully; "it was known, I believe, to the Greeks, and we find mention of it in the Latin as 'tibia utricularia;' Suetonius tells us that Nero promised to appear publicly as a bagpiper. Then, too, Chaucer's Miller played a bagpipe, and Shakespeare frequently mentions the 'drone of a Lincolnshire Bagpipe.' Yes, it is certainly a very old, and, I think, a very barbarous instrument."

  "Hoot toot! the man talks like a muckle fule," said Donald, nodding to the fire.

  "For instance," I continued, "there can be no comparison between a bagpipe and a——fiddle, say."

  "A fiddle!" exclaimed Donald in accents of withering scorn, and still addressing the fire. "Ye can juist tell him tae gang tae the de'il wi' his fiddle."

  "Music is, I take it, the expression of one's mood or thought, a dream translated into sound," said I thoughtfully, "therefore——"

  "Hae ye ever heard the pipes?"

  "Why, yes, but long ago."

  "Then," said Donald, "ye shall juist hear 'em again." So saying, he wiped his mouth, took up his instrument, and began slowly inflating it.

  Then, all at once, from drones and chanter there rushed forth such a flood of melody as seemed to sweep me away upon its tide.

  First I seemed to hear a roar of wind through desolate glens, a moan of trees, and a rush of sounding waters; yet softly, softly there rises above the flood of sound a little rippling melody which comes, and goes, and comes again, growing ever sweeter with repetition. And now the roar of wind is changed to the swing of marching feet, the tread of a mighty host whose step is strong and free; and lo! they are singing, as they march, and the song is bold and wild, wild, wild. Again and again, beneath the song, beneath the rhythm of marching feet, the melody rises, very sweet but infinitely sad, like a silver pipe or an angel's voice tremulous with tears. Once again the theme changes, and it is battle, and death, sudden, and sharp; there is the rush and shock of charging ranks, and the surge and tumult of conflict, above whose thunder, loud and clear and shrill, like some battle-cry, the melody swells, one moment triumphant, and the next lost again.

  But the thunder rolls away, distant and more distant——the day is lost, and won; but, sudden and clear, the melody rings out once more, fuller now, richer, and complete; the silver pipe has become a golden trumpet. And yet, what sorrow, what anguish unspeakable rings through it, the weeping and wailing of a nation! So the melody sinks slowly, to die away in one long-drawn, minor note, and Donald is looking across at me with his grave smile, and I will admit both his face and figure are sadly blurred.

  "Donald," said I, after a little, "Donald, I will never speak against the pipes again; they are indeed the king of all instruments——played as you play them."

  "Ou ay, I'm a bonnie piper, I'll no deny it!" he answered. "I'm glad ye like it, for, Sassenach though ye be, it proves ye hae the music. 'Tis a bit pibroch I made tae Wullie Wallace——him as the damned Sassenach murtiered——black be their fa'. Aweel! 'twas done afore your time or mine——so——gude-nict tae ye, Southeron!" Saying which, he rose, saluted me stiffly, and stalked majestically to bed.

相关热词:小说
栏目相关课程表
科目名称 主讲老师 课时 免费试听 优惠价 购买课程
英语零起点 郭俊霞 30课时 试听 150元/门 购买
综艺乐园 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
边玩边学 ------ 10课时 试听 60元/门 购买
情景喜剧 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
欢乐课堂 ------ 35课时 试听 150元/门 购买
趣味英语速成 钟 平 18课时 试听 179元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语预备级 (Pre-Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语一级 (Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语二级 (Movers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语三级 (Flyers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
初级英语口语 ------ 55课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
中级英语口语 ------ 83课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
高级英语口语 ------ 122课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
基础英语辅导课程
郭俊霞 北京语言大学毕业,国内某知名中学英语教研组长,教学标兵……详情>>
郭俊霞:零基础英语网上辅导名师
钟平 北大才俊,英语辅导专家,累计从事英语教学八年,机械化翻译公式发明人……详情>>
钟平:趣味英语速成网上辅导名师

  1、凡本网注明 “来源:外语教育网”的所有作品,版权均属外语教育网所有,未经本网授权不得转载、链接、转贴或以其他方式使用;已经本网授权的,应在授权范围内使用,且必须注明“来源:外语教育网”。违反上述声明者,本网将追究其法律责任。
  2、本网部分资料为网上搜集转载,均尽力标明作者和出处。对于本网刊载作品涉及版权等问题的,请作者与本网站联系,本网站核实确认后会尽快予以处理。本网转载之作品,并不意味着认同该作品的观点或真实性。如其他媒体、网站或个人转载使用,请与著作权人联系,并自负法律责任。
  3、联系方式
  编辑信箱:for68@chinaacc.com
  电话:010-82319999-2371