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of a chapel near the house, which the family use as a place of interment. A deep gloom and silence rest on this building, the walls of which are mantled with ivy, while two or three narrow lanceolated window-spaces seem formed expressly as haunts for melancholy night-birds. In the interior, the sod shews a few mounds, betokening sepulture at no remote date ; and in particular two, which lie along in one line, and are more notable than the rest. A plain stone informs us that the upper grave contains the remains of Mrs Anne Murray Keith, in whom some readers will be prepared to recognise the Mrs Bethune Baliol of Scott, though that fancy portraiture fails, I am assured, to realise the singular intelligence, spirit, and grace of the old lady's character. Mrs Keith and the dowagercountess of Balcarres (mother of Lady Anne) being the children of twin-sisters, lived together for many years in the greatest harmony, calling each other playfully husband and wife. Time saw them at length deposited together in this spot, having died within little more than two years of each other, both at an advanced age. The grave of Anne Keith certainly adds about six feet of classic ground to the already hallowed precincts of Balcarres. She from whom our modern Ariosto derived the bases of many of his most romantic fictions— in her own phrase, she “knew her ain groats among other folks' kail'—the sister of the elegant Ambassador Keith-accomplished up to the intellectual level of some of the best minds of her time-was no ordinary person. It is worth while to extract the description that has been given of her personal appearance in another novel, in which she prominently figures under the appellation of Mrs Sydney Hume :
• A lady of benign and motherly aspect, whom want of height could not rob of dignity, though it was tempered with a benevolence and cordiality quite calculated to put a stranger at once at his ease. But as a stranger she evidently did not intend to regard me—she walked up with an air of the most winning frankness, and, with the loveliest smile that ever graced the lip of age, held out her hand to me.
'I was so struck by her serene and benevolent aspect, and the maternal kindness of her reception, that I could have almost revived the fashion of her day, and kissed the hand I held, I believe, a moment longer than courtesy demanded. I looked, I am sure, with more than civil earnestness in her face, and with more than ordinary admiration on the beautiful curls of the finest ivory (not silver) which were ranged in an order younger locks might have studied with advantage, round her open commanding brow—under a cap whose mingled taste and simplicity rendered it the meetest covering ever ancient lady's head was crowned withal. The upper part of the face beneath it—the lofty brow, and a nose which must have been somewhat too strong for feminine beautyspoke an intellect of no common order, and certainly inspired, when vice or folly came athwart her path, a good deal of uncomfortable awe. But the large, mild blue eye -the most intelligent I ever remember seeing of so peculiarly light a shade-and a mouth around which smiles of good-humour and genuine enjoyment usually mantled, softened the manlier conformation of the other features ; and, joined to the pale, though not sickly hue of the once delicately fair skin, gave altogether an aspect at once feminine and interesting to Mrs Sydney Hume.' *
It is greatly to be lamented—though I am perhaps too much of an enthusiast on such points—that Lady Anne was not placed for her last repose in a scene associated with the history of her beautiful ballad. The course of life bore her far from Balcarres. Having, in 1793, married Mr Barnard, son of the bishop of Limerick, she accompanied her husband to the Cape of Good Hope, to which he had the appointment of secretary ; and there Lady Anne spent nine years. Afterwards she dwelt in London till the close of her days, only once or twice revisiting the scenes of her youth. A relative has stated a few particulars about her, which may be read with interest. The journals of her voyage to the Cape, and of
* Probation : a Tale. By the author of Selwyn in Search of a Daughter.
her residence there, and excursions into the interior of the country, illustrated with drawings and sketches of the scenes described, are preserved among the family manuscripts. To the family taste, as she called it, of “ spinning from the brain in the sanctum of the closet, leaving to posterity to value the web or not, as it pleased,” Lady Anne owed the chief amusement of a serene, placid, and contented old age, prolonged, like that of several of her family, beyond the threescore-and-ten usually allotted to human life, but enlivened to the close by the proverbial cheerfulness of the “light Lindsays," and unimpaired vigour of mind and imagination. Her stores of anecdote on all subjects and all persons, her rich fancy, original thought, and ever ready wit, rendered her conversation delightful to the last ; while the kindness of her heart-a very fountain of tenderness and lovealways overflowing, and her sincere but unostentatious piety, divested that wit of keenness that might have wounded : it flashed, but it was summer lightning.' *
We have a delightful picture of her latter life from her own pen, with a short prose essay, which, while possessed of independent merits, as illustrating an important truth in the economy of human life, has an additional interest as the composition of one known only for one happy poetical effort. And now,' she says, “having for the present closed all that it is necessary to say of kings and courts, I return to the haunts of my heart, like the traveller who has been long away, gleaning from other countries what may amuse the dear circle at home; grieving with tenderness over chasms in that circle never to be supplied, but grateful for what remains of friendship and affection still on earth to cheer the evening of life.
Of my sister's society I have all that I can in reason expect from the avocations which, as a mother and a grandmother to four families, multiply themselves upon her every day, My brothers rally round me with kindness, when business calls them to town; but it is in the
* I here quote from a privately printed book, Lives of the Lindsays. By Lord Lindsay. Wigan. 1840.
affection of my two nephews I find the tenderness so unusual in young men ! which is ever ready to fly to be my prop and support when I feel a want of it. All is liberty and equality here, untaxed by restraint : it is granted by them to me, and by me to them: even their wives permit me to steal into my own den (my drawing - room of forty feet long, surrounded with papers and drawings), and employ myself all the morning, without thinking themselves ill-used by my absence ; but never do I refuse the tête-à-tête, which has a useful purpose in view, to any one: I make no selfish monopoly of my time to Anne Barnard, but lay aside the page, in which perhaps my whole heart is engaged, to listen to the anxiety of some other person, though the idea occupying my pen vanishes with the moment, perhaps never to return; and this, at times, I really feel an act of virtue, anxious as I am to finish the labours of the mind while it possesses a part of its powers, though the strength of the body does not always prop it up.
“Oh! blest retirement, friend to life's decline !" how little am I disposed to change thee for the bustle of this busy town! how I should be throwing away the little portion of life that remains, to seek abroad for the contentment, which at my time of life is best found at home! My friends press me to go out to amuse myself, but I should go without any interest beyond the charm of getting home again ; by the side of my fire, I have got into the habit of living in other days with those I loved, reflecting on the past, hoping in the future, and sometimes looking back with a sorrowful retrospect where I fear I may have erred :-together with these mental employments, I have various sources of amusement; I compile and arrange my memorandums of past observations and events; I retouch some sketches, and form new ones from souvenirs taken on the spot: sometimes I employ an artist to finish these, but all is first traced accurately with my own pencil, so impossible do I find it to get any one to enter exactly into the spirit of my
subject. With such entertainment for my mornings, and a house full of nephews and nieces, together with the near connections of my dear Barnard, all tenderly attached to me, I have great-great reason to bless God, who, in taking much from me, has left me so much!
* Talking of occupation-amongst my " vagrant scraps," where thoughts are marked down in order to introduce them here (which I generally forget to do), I find a page on this subject, which seems addressed to contemporaries, who will, I think, understand it.
Occupation.—When living by myself, which I do not a little, I fancy I make discoveries in human nature, which, I daresay, are (to use a vulgar phrase) only mares' nests, but I make hobby-horses of them, on which I gallop off with much alacrity.
When people say of others who are advancing in life --namely, growing old and ugly—that they are cross, that nothing pleases them, that they are crabbed, and that they have lost their relish for the world, it is all nearly true, with a little alteration. They are crossed, nobody is pleased with them, they find things go backwards -namely, crabbed—and that the world has lost its relish for them ; the young and gay find themselves in no affinity with them, and contemporaries are angry when they look in the face of fifty or sixty—it is a sort of mirror which reflects their own wrinkled visages. While gay and pretty contemporaries involuntarily dress themselves in smiles to meet us, conversation is full of openness, good-will, and confidence; but draw the veil of thirty years over the same person, and the manners of every creature will be changed. Where lies the blame? nowhere; the complaint is cutaneous, belonging to the skin only : but let no one suppose himself in fault for this. I have heard a poor old desponder say : “I am grown quite stupid and good for nothing ;” but were it possible to remove the veil I have alluded to, and see the rosebuds and lilies where they were before, the effects they would produce on the beholder would soon reanimate the manner, and, with his new skin, Richard