With five of the exhausted survivors the boat returned to the Longstone; and two of the men went back with William Darling for the other four. All were safely housed in the lighthouse and tended by the noble family of the Darlings; but the storm raged for several days longer, and made it impossible for them to be put ashore. When at length they returned to their homes, and the story of the rescue was made known, the whole country was moved by it; and presents of all kinds, money, and offers of marriage poured in upon Grace, who remained quite unmoved by it all, and was still the gentle unassuming girl that she had always been. She refused to leave her home, though she was offered twenty pounds a night at the Adelphi if she would consent merely to sit in a boat for London audiences to gaze upon her. Sad to say, she died of consumption about two years afterwards, after having tried in vain to arrest the course of her sickness by change of air at Wooler and Alnwick; and she sleeps in Bamburgh churchyard, within sound of the sea by which she had spent her short life.
“East and west and south acclaim
her queen of England’s maids.
Star more sweet than all their stars, and flower than all their flowers.”
The actual boat in which the gallant deed was performed was long preserved at Newton Hall, Stocksfield; but the owners have lately presented it to the Marine Laboratory at Cullercoats.
BALLADS AND POEMS.
The ballads of Northumberland, as all true ballads should do, partake of the characteristics of the district which is their home. As we should expect, they treat chiefly of warlike themes, of the chieftain’s doughty deeds, the moss-trooper’s daring and skill, of the knight’s courtesies and gallant feats of arms, and the feuds of rival clans; in fact, they portray for us vividly the time of which they treat, and in a few graphic touches bring before us the very spirit of the period. In direct and simple phrases the narrative proceeds, giving with rare power just the necessary expression to the tale.
These ballads fall naturally into three main divisions. The historical ballad is at its best in the famous “Chevy-Chase,” which has been the delight of gentle and simple for centuries; and the oft-quoted declaration of Sir Philip Sidney concerning it still finds an echo in our own day.
Of the two best known versions of the ballad, the one here given is the more poetical by far; the other, however, contains the account of the courage of Hugh Widdrington which has made the gallant squire immortal.
The latter version is as evidently English as the former is Scottish; or rather, each has grown to its present form as the reciters exercised their art to please an English or a Scottish audience. In the one version it is Douglas who takes the offensive, and challenges Percy, waiting for him at Otterbourne; in the other we are told that