In Search of the Castaways
In Search of the Castaways
A NOBLE RESOLVE.
"Good! good! my dear Edward!" said Lady Glenarvan; "and if these unfortunates see their native country again, they will owe this happiness to you."
"And they shall see it again," replied Glenarvan. "This document is too explicit, too clear, too certain, for Englishmen to hesitate. What has been done for Sir John Franklin, and so many others, will also be done for the shipwrecked of the Britannia."
"But these unfortunates," answered Lady Helena, "have, without doubt, a family that mourns their loss. Perhaps this poor Captain Grant has a wife, children--"
"You are right, my dear lady; and I charge myself with informing them that all hope is not yet lost. And now, my friends, let us go on deck, for we must be approaching the harbor."
Indeed, the Duncan had forced on steam, and was now skirting the shores of Bute Island. Rothesay, with its charming little village nestling in its fertile valley, was left on the starboard, and the vessel entered the narrow inlets of the frith, passed Greenock, and, at six in the evening, was anchored at the foot of the basaltic rocks of Dumbarton, crowned by the celebrated castle.
Here a coach was waiting to take Lady Helena and Major MacNabb back to Malcolm Castle. Lord Glenarvan, after embracing his young wife, hurried to take the express train for Glasgow. But before going, he confided an important message to a more rapid agent, and a few moments after the electric telegraph conveyed to the Times and Morning Chronicle an advertisement in the following terms:
"For any information concerning the brig Britannia of Glasgow, Captain Grant, address Lord Glenarvan, Malcolm Castle, Luss, County of Dumbarton, Scotland."
THE CAPTAIN'S CHILDREN.
THE GLENARVAN ANCESTRY.
The castle of Malcolm, one of the most romantic in Scotland, is situated near the village of Luss, whose pretty valley it crowns. The limpid waters of Loch Lomond bathe the granite of its walls. From time immemorial it has belonged to the Glenarvan family, who have preserved in the country of Rob Roy and Fergus MacGregor the hospitable customs of the ancient heroes of Walter Scott. At the epoch of the social revolution in Scotland, a great number of vassals were expelled, because they could not pay the great rents to the ancient chiefs of the clans. Some died of hunger, others became fishermen, others emigrated. There was general despair.
Among all these the Glenarvans alone believed that fidelity bound the high as well as the low, and they remained faithful to their tenants. Not one left the roof under which he was born; not one abandoned the soil where his ancestors reposed; all continued in the clan of their ancient lords. Thus at this epoch, in this age of disaffection and disunion, the Glenarvan family considered the Scots at Malcolm Castle as their own people. All were descended from the vassals of their kinsmen; were children of the counties of Stirling and Dumbarton, and honestly devoted, body and estate, to their master.
Lord Glenarvan possessed an immense fortune, which he employed in doing much good. His kindness exceeded even his generosity, for one was boundless, while the other was necessarily limited. The lord of Luss, the "laird" of Malcolm, represented his fellows in the House of Lords; but with true Scottish ideas, little pleasing to the southrons, he was disliked by many of them especially because he adhered to the traditions of his ancestors, and energetically opposed some dicta of modern political economy.
He was not, however, a backward man, either in wit or shrewdness; but while ready to enter every door of progress, he remained Scotch at heart, and it was for the glory of his native land that he contended with his racing yachts in the matches of the Royal Thames Yacht Club.