« ZurückWeiter »
A FATHER'S FUNERAL.
Each friend, by fate snatch'd from us, is a plume
The enlivening beams of a May morning sun greeted me as I opened the shutters of my bed-room window. The sky was clear and cloudless, and the crowds, who paced the streets, seemed to do so with a step more than usually buoyant. Nature, in fact, was in all the brightness and brilliancy of her spring-tide beauty, and Man appeared to have imbibed somewhat of her gaiety and elasticity. What a sad and solemn contrast did the exterior objects of that morning afford to the interior aspect of our household, and to my own individual feelings! All,without, betokened life and light-heartedness—all, within, spoke of death and sorrowing. My father, the best and most indulgent of parents, who, but a few days before, was seen in all the vigour of manly healthfulness—who was the idol of his children and the beloved among his associates—at that moment lay cold and still in the coffin which was destined, in a few hours, to be carried to its last lone resting place. My poor heart-broken sisters had risen only to pour out, anew, the tears which the soother of humanity had dried up during the few short fleeting hours of night, while, on turning my eye from the window upon the suit of sables and deep-craped hat which lay upon my table, I felt, more forcibly than ever, the emphatic and terrible truth, that I was now, indeed, an Orphan! How lonely, how chilling was the thought to one who had scarcely entered upon his fourteenth year, and who had just acquired so much knowledge of the world as to feel that the family, all of whom were younger than their brother, had now no one to look to but himself for solace and protection. Oh, if there ever be a time in which the soul eschews more than another the pride of humanity, and the vanity of all worldly joys, and in which the heart more effectually feels the weakness of human foresight and human power, it is when the strippling, not yet beyond the boundaries of boyhood, and deprived of the light of a mother's countenance and a mother's counsel, is required to douse himself in those outward habiliments of woe which custom has declared necessary for a father's funeral! I may at least say, that never was a moment in my whole history in which I felt so utter a distrust in the power of man, and so utter a contempt for his pride and presumption, as on the morning of my father's funeral, nor do I remember any one period of my whole existence in which I felt more irresistibly impelled to throw myself on my knees, and most earnestly to implore the aid of Him who has declared himself the father of the fatherless and the stay of the orphan.
On entering the parlour, I found my sisters all congregated, for the first time since our father had breathed his last. The arm-chair, which our beloved parent had been in the custom of occupying, had been, as usual, placed by the servant at the table, and touchingly reminded us at its wonted occupant. The female mind
is so peculiarly alive to such things, that I had scarcely made the usual morning enquiries, ere my elder sister pointed to the vacant chair; and, while a tear stole down her cheek, she softly whispered, " My dear Henry, you must occupy that place note; and, oh! may it be the will of Heaven that you occupy it long! It is to thee alone, my dear brother, that your poor orphan sisters now look for protection!" I felt the tender, the impressive appeal; and, taking my father's chair, poured forth, in secret, a short orison for the guidance and the support of God in the trying situation I was called, by his providence, to occupy.
When the heart is sad, the eye clouded, and the light of hope has, for a season, eschewed the temple of the soul, it is, almost invariably, to beings similarly circumstanced that we turn for consolation; and, from tasting of their cup of sorrow, are led to experience some alleviation to the bitterness of our own. The breakfast hour was, on this occasion, at least, spent chiefly in thinking and speaking of those who, like ourselves, were feeling the deprivation of a mother's anxieties and a father's protection, while we fondly tried to find, in their situation, R solace to our own woe and our own melancholy. The breakfast over, and the usual portion of the Divine Record being read, my sisters retired, and I was left alone to attend to several matters which demanded my immediate attention. Thus occupied, the forenoon flew over, and, ere I had altogether completed the list of melancholy epistles to friends of the family at a distance, whose interest in our welfare demanded something more than a mere ordinary announcement of my parent's demise, I was roused from my mournful business by the heavy tread and the noisy bustle of
The sable tribe, that painful watch
The undertaker, in a few minutes, slowly opened the parlour door, and intimated that it was now nearly the hour appointed for the assembling of the friends invited to the funeral. I immediately rose, and, having made the necessary preparations, entered the yet solitary dining room, which had been prepared for the reception of those who might attend the obsequies. Simple though the ceremonial of our funereal rites may be in Scotland, it may safely be affirmed that there is no people in the world among whom the last offices, which man is called to bestow upon his fellow, are more affectionately paid, or more solemnly performed, than in this country. Honourable is it, indeed, in the very highest degree, to the character of our countrymen, that, as yet, they are exempted from that high pitch of heartless refinement which commands the remains of our best and dearest friend to be consigned to the dust by the hands of strangers, or to be wept for by the wretched mockery of hired mourners. Happy is it for our land, that nature is still permitted to plead her own cause, and to follow her own tender sympathies, and that most of our countrymen, as yet, feel that to assist at the sad obsequies of a friend, and to follow his mortal remains to their last lone restingplace, is the most sacred debt due to affection and friendship—the most solemn demonstration he can give of affectionate respect for the memory of his departed companion. ■ ■ ■
At the precise hour appointed for meeting, my father's friends and companions, almost all, simultaneously arrived. There were few of these who did not meet my mournful welcome of them with a more than ordinary air of sympathy. Each successive squeeze of the hand was more tender and affectionate than another, and, ere the clergyman was requested to pour forth a prayer to Him who is eternal and unchangedable, I felt convinced that there was not an individual within the apartment whose heart did not bleed for the loss of him, who, as it were, but yesterday, was the most active among them, and who was, at that moment, laid out for the tomb.
I shall never, never forget the breathless stillness which prevailed, when the tender feelings of the clergyman, who had been the intimate friend of both my parents, so far got the better of his equanimity as to cause him to burst into tears when alluding to theorphan condition of our family. I had, till then, succeeded in concealing my own grief from those who looked on me, but, when the moving tones of the impassioned suppliant fell upon my ear, art could no longer dissemble, and I fairly poured out my woe in tears and sobbing.
On the announcement that all was ready, I rose from my chair, and, almost unconsciously, made my way to the door of a now fatherless habitation. There stood the pall in all its mournful trappings—a sight, under any circumstances, of an affecting description, but, to the eye of an orphan, most assuredly replete with the bitterest anguish. When the undertaker placed in my hand the chief-mourner's ribbon, I thought my heart would have burst, and, when the melancholy cortege moved slowly on towards the church-yard, and the knell of the city bells struck upon my ear, I felt as if life were a burden to me, and wished myself as silent and insensible as my father. The blind and the wicked idea was, however, immediately put to flight, when I remembered my sisters. "Oh, heaven!" breathed I, "forgive this captious, selfish thought, and preserve me to be their comfort and protector I"
The cemetery was not far distant, hence it was not long before we entered the ciueral depot which already contained the ashes of my mother, and was about to receive all that remained of her once honoured husband. The pall was soon uncovered, and the coffin was borne into the railed enclosure. Placed above the simple grave, the friends took the different stations that were assigned to them. At that moment, the corner of my mother's coffin, which met my eye as I gazed into the last narrow cradle of humanity, made me start, and summoned up the whole crowd of melancholy circumstances associated with my former sad visit to the cemetery. I imagined myself again kneeling at my mother's bedside, when she breathed her last sigh in pouring out a blessing on my head. The four years that had since elapsed, appeared to me a blank —my Christian parent's death-bed the only milestone on memory's waste! Alas I there was now another mournful monument about to be reared on the desert of my existence! As the recollection of my mother swept athwart my brain, the remains of my father was lowered down to their last resting-place. The company raised their hats, as the outward token of a last farewell to their departed friend. I long stood holding the cord which had lowered my father's head into the grave, and when, at length, I was obliged, reluctantly, to relinquish it, I felt my lips irresistibly murmur, "Now, father, we are separated for ever!" I gave a fearful shudder as the first shovelful of earth struck upon the coffin—the hollow sound which ascended from the grave was more touching and more eloquent than a sermon of Sherlocke—it reached my heart, and a flood of tears fell into the sepulchre of both my parents!
How long I stood in the cemetery I know not, but, I recollect I was roused from my reverie by a relative, who suggested the propriety of my returning imme
diately to comfort my sisters. The undertaker having promised to see every thing in order, I hastened homewards, and soon found myself at the entrance to the drawing room, where, I was told, my sisters were waiting my arrival. On opening the door, I summoned up all the fortitude I could well muster, but, I must honestly confess, I could scarcely command my feelings, when, as soon as I had entered, they all with one accord ran towards me, and, weeping, kissed me. What a sympathetic feeling of desolation and of woe pervaded each and all of our bosoms at that first meeting, after the world had closed over the mortal coil of our parent! The tongue refused to do its office, or to tell the mental suffering of the moment, till the eyes of our silent group simultaneously fell upon our father's picture, which, smiling from above the mantel-piece, broke the spell which, for a moment, sealed their lips. The first accents which each faultered out, were directed by the impulse of nature—" Now, we are Orphans indeed;" but, the second was directed by the spirit of our hallowed religion, and these were, that "God would be our shield and our stay through this bleak pilgrimage, and would, moreover, be our guide to the blessed world which is to come!"
There is something so peculiarly beautiful in the nature of Truth, that the more we engage in the pursuit of it, the greater is our admiration; but it is not our object at present to develope the features, or to discuss their beauty, symmetry, and mute convincing eloquence, so much as to demonstrate the eminent advantages that will necessarily result, from the application of Truth, as a governing principle, to the business of life. Truth is the basis of human prosperity and happiness, and consequently has a superior claim to our regard and obeisance; it is the lever that must put in motion the whole machinery in the theatre of life, and the fulcrum upon the solidity and stability of which its order and security depends; it is the amalgamating power that unites the whole family of nature in one illustrious society, and diffuses harmony, prosperity and religion throughout its wide extended empire. Dissimilar to most of the subjects which occupy our thoughts, we run no hazard of its ultimately proving unprofitable and visionary; for it is the invaluable peculiarity of Truth that it cannot suffer by mutation or perversion, and its most noble prerogative, that no limits can be assigned to its operations, nor to our investigations into its usefulness. If these observations be admitted, how important is the duty we have to perform? and how imperative our rigid observance of it? Mankind seems ever to have been insensible to its results, and what a black catalogue of crime consequently does the pages of history display? What misery is there recorded —what brutality—what idolatry mark every era of a world's existence j it is a panorama in which nothing is beautiful, all is hideous, and we cannot refrain from dropping a tear of sorrow over the ruins of what should be anything but divine in its character. Had Alexander sat submissively at the feet of Aristotle, and put in practice the admonitions and precepts of that great philosopher, Macedon would not have been the seat of ambition—Greece of distention—Persia and remote India of war. But why do we reflect upon an age antiquated by B lapse of more than two thousand years? Does not Europe present a picture not less melancholy, attributable solely to an Indifference to Truth. Ay, but whence doth this proceed? Is it from a natural hatred to every thing pure and upright? Is it from an invincible propensity to sacrifice truth at the altars of sensuality and selfishness? No, the fault lies not in these. A deficiency in_our moral education is the parent of these formidable evils. Were parents properly to instil into the susceptible minds of their children, a desire to make truth the only guide for their conduct, this desire would soon become a principle. To succeed eminently in anything, we must have a corresponding inclination for it. A contempt or ignorance of these rules is a great obstacle to our acquaintance with truth. There is a prepossession that gives a bias to the minds of many, and tells them, that it is neither necessary nor incumbent upon them to give truth more than a general attention. They are content with second causes, and will obtain their knowledge of these very thankfully
second-band. If their prejudices are wrought upon they are an easy conquest: they think not for themselves, they do not make experience the standard of their anticipations. The evils they have suffered from inattention and hatred to truth would, upon reflection, induce, nay constrain then to venerate and follow it. But such is the thoughtless character of the multitude, that yesterday is to them in the sepulchre of oblivion, to-day is a period of inexperience, and to-morrow is beyond the limits of their comprehension. Falsehood is clothed by ignorance, adorned by superstition, and perpetuated by inveterate dislike to personal inquiry.
If it should be asked who is sufficient to stem or weaken the torrent of moral irregularity? We may reply, that next to a sense of the value of truth is the Industry and example of the schoolmaster. To him the sacred charge is committed- -tbe improvement of the youthful mind. His labours are to determine its future importance. Hehas not only to give Instruction and to sanctify precept by practice; but he should make virtue be believed for its own sake, and he should consider that In unfolding the qualities, and enlarging the capacities of his pupils, his talents and virtues will be hallowed in their remembrance and actions. If such views were entertained by instructors universally; what a magnificent change would be the consequence? A revolution such as the world has never witnessed would be attained—a happiness, such as it has not experienced, would be disseminated through all its ramifications, and the I age, instead of being passed, would only be commenc
The following epistle we willingly insert, from the conviction that the annoyances complained of exist to a very great extent not only here, but throughout Scotland, and that if the writer's hints were taken, the services of the Scottish sanctuary would be more in character with the solemnity of that pure faith which is professed.
To the Editor of The Dir.
s, a,—Your Saturday's papers have been very acceptable to a large portion of your readers. There is a peculiar propriety in bearing the attention away from the engrossing cares of the week, to the coming enjoyments of the sanctuary, and of announcing, in the ears of your readers, that "the Sabbath draweth nigh."
In this letter I intend to make a few animadversions on several small annoyances which fret and disturb those who wish to profit by their attendance in the House of God, and to which it perhaps does not befit the dignity of the pulpit so well to advert. The first class of annoyances I would notice, is that which :—» from your noisy entrants. Such individuals march up the s of the church with as much vigour as if they were on the , thumping most lustily with their heels, while their feet "discourse sweet music." And then what a slamming of doors and upsetting of umbrellas and hats! It is like a small hurricane before these individuals are quietly seated.
Another class of annoyances arises from what may be called the grunter*. These persons are destitute of all ear for harmony, but yet sing they will, though it should be an octave below the air. If they would sing bass I would excuse them, but the hoarse groans of such persons are quite insufferable. Let such be advised to muse His praise!
Nearly allied to this class, is that of the nose blowers. It is only in church that this gift is to be heard exercised to perfection. You have seen a rude fellow drawing a mighty inspiration, elevating the shoulder*, heaving up the breast, and sending forth a volume of sound that makes the walls re-echo. Surely, a little feeling for the comfort of others, might prevent this in
description of grievances arises from your coughers. Far be it from me to I orb id, to the invalid, the enjoyment of God's house, or to desire such to stay back for any frivolous reason. B ut I am sure that you must often have observed people there who ought to have been in bed, and who, while they received little benefit themselves from the services, prevented many around them from profiting by them. I may add, on this head, that many, who have slight colds, might greatly modify and suppress their coughs, if they were properly alive to the comfort of their neighbours- In this, as well as all the preceding cause* of complaint, the rule should be, to make it a part pf our religion not to disturb the religion of others.
'There are a few other grievances of the same sort, of them I shall name only two. The first is, the want of ordinary polite
ness in gentlemen marching into church, without uncovering, till seated in their pews. The second is that of strangers going early to churches where they have no sittings, and, without ceremony, pre-occupying the seats of the regular hearers.
I must own that these miseries are chiefly committed by our own sex. Females, in general, deport themselves with more propriety in church. Permit me one other observation. Our southern neighbour! shew us an excellent example of that decorous gravity that should be exhibited in a religious assembly. In our fear of paying respect to sacred edifices, as they have been called, and of being thought guilty of a superstitious veneration for a collection of stone and lime, we have, perhaps, run to the other extreme of forgetting those decencies of behaviour that are due to one another in our public religious assemblages, and that reverential feeling and demeanour that become those who profess to be peculiarly in the presence of the Almighty.—I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A new edition of Paley's Evidences of Christianity, by a Member of the University of Cambridge, will shortly appear.
A new edition of Fordyce's Sermons to Young Women is in the press.
A Sermon on the Transitory Character of God's Te Blessing, by tbe Rev. W. Jay, is about to be published.
THE THREE LEAVES
Of the ancient tree by the old church wall;
And patiently waiting their time to fall.
They lie by the lofty and holy door
Of a Christian church, close, close by it laid,
Of the door of eternal death afraid;
But the door is shut, and the angry wind
Peels the bare boughs of the ancient tree;
And open the door to the shivering three-
The first is my father—O, Mercy Divine!
Open the door of the blest narrow way;
O, do not let her in hopelessness pray!
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
We are sorry that we cannot insert the communication of our friend " Marcius." Poorly as we think of the Owehites, we do not suppose they are quite so bad as he would represent them. We feel obliged by his kindness, but it will readily occur to him that we must be somewhat select in the papers which we admit into " The Day." He would do well to re-consider, and re-write.
The Article entitled " The Colosseum," will appear on Monday.
Several other Articles, also in type, stand over till next week.
*,* In order to insure this Publication being on the Breakfast
Table every morning, it is requested that intending Subscribers will leave their names and addresses at the Publisher's
PoaTBArrs.—I prefer portraits, really interesting, not only to landscape painting, but to history. A landscape is, we will say, an exquisite distribution of wood and water, and buildings. It is excellent—we pass on, and it leaves not one trace in the memory. In historical painting there may be sublime deception—but it not only always falls short of the idea, but is always false; that is, has the greatest blemish incidental to history. It is commonly false in the costume; generally in the portraits; always in the grouping and attitudes, which the painter, if not present, cannot possibly delineate as they really were. Call it fabulous painting, and I have no objection. — But a real portrait we know is truth itself: and it calls up so many collateral ideas, as to fill an intelligent miud more than any other speoies.—- Walpole.
While the wanderer threads his weary way, or the shepherd pursues his daily track along the steep sides of the lofty mountain of Ben Sahimore, in Mull, he there may see a dark blue wreath of smoke curling over the crags and rocks which encompass the summit; and as he, at length, reaches and surmounts these natural barriers, he finds himself treading on a smooth amphitheatre of glossy grass. Upon closer inspection he will perceive a cave in the rocks on the south side. Within that cave is the abode of the Smuggler.
It was in the summer of the year 1ft—, that being in that part of the island on a tour, and hearing of the secluded abode of the Smuggler, I instantly formed a strong wish to visit it. Having, with some difficulty, procured a guide, I proceeded to accomplish my desire.
It was a lovely morning. The light mist was just beginning to disappear in graceful wreaths over the tops of the mountains. The sea was so calm and still, that the neighbouring hills and rocks were reflected on its bosom as if in a mirror; while, ever and anon, its surface was disturbed by the heavy roll of the porpoise in pursuit of his prey, or the bound of the delicate trout as it nimbly sprung into the air. As we journeyed on our way, we were enlivened by the cheering call of the partridge, and the lively song of the lark, mingled with the fierce roaring of the rapid stream which tumbled foaming down a rocky channel; and, upon nearing the summit of the hill, we heard the loud whir of the heath-fowl, and the triumphant crow of the grouse, as they severally flew harmlessly away from us. After a pleasant succession of changes in the scenery, we reached the rocks, and the Highlander who was with me having pointed out the way, we climbed these natural obstacles, and quickly stood beside the home of the Smuggler.
I saw before me a middle-sized man advanced in years, whose hair and beard were apparently blanched with exposure to the weather. He was sitting at a fire, on which was a large pot and boiler, whilst two children lay sleeping on the smooth turf beside him. Near them was a dog of the old Highland deer-hound breed, whose rest we had disturbed, and who now sprung up, and saluted us with a fearful growL "Down, Kilbuck," was the old man's expression, while he rose and greeted us with a hospitable salutation. Upon this, Donald, the guide, stepped forward and spoke to him in Gaelic, which had a very successful effect; for the old man immediately addressed me, and said, "Sir, you are welcome to what poor cheer my home can afford you." I thanked him in return, and having told the guide to produce the provisions I had brought with me, I proceeded to look about till the repast was ready. The spot on which I stood was a small round plot of luxuriant turf, surrounded on all sides with steep but not lofty rocks ; and, as I was admiring this curious scene, the old man came up to me and said, pointing to an opening in the rock, " This, Sir, is my dwelling." At his invitation, I entered by a small aperture, and found myself in a spacious cave—the work of nature, but adorned with much neatness and comfort. In one corner were placed two humble couches of dried heather and an old chair, together with two wooden stools; and a few barrels lay scattered along the ground, whilst round the walls hung some culinary utensils, and a bright musket and sword. On seeing me gazing on the last-mentioned articles, the old man grew restless, and announced breakfast to be ready. We then repaired to the turf, where, on a clean white napkin, were spread some cold meat and bread which I had brought along with me, with the addition of a little of the old man's goat-milk cheese, and a jug of his homebrewed usquebaugh. Out of these materials we made a very good meal; and, when it was finished, the children and my guide removed the remnants and retired, leaving the old man alone with myself. Thinking this a good opportunity of learning a little of his history, I was going to make some inquiry, when he stopped me, and said with a sigh, "This day completes my fifteenth year of retirement, an exile from the world." "Unhappy man !" I exclaimed, " what can have induced you to take such a step?" "*Tis a long story," he replied, "and it would but weary a stranger."
"But who are these children—your companions?" I asked
"Have you no wife, or no child, to comfort and take care of you ia your old age?" « I had both," he answered; but there—
there they all lie, (pointing to a grassy knoll below a rock,) except the two whom you saw; 'the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.'" While he said this the tears stole silently down his rugged cheeks; but, instantly aware of his emotion, he dashed them off, and exclaimed, *' Nature will out!" Poor fellow! there was something mysterious in his manner, and I was determined to try and sift it. I therefore asked the reason of bis having a military musket and sword? On hearing which, his face assumed a dark expression; and, tearing open his thread-bare coat, he said, "Behold!" On turning round I observed with astonishment, medals and marks of military service, and said, " You were a soldier—you have been in battle?" "Yes;" he answered in a loud hoarse voice, " I have borne the brunt of many a battle, and gained to myself honours such as these; (pointing to two medals which he wore;) but by one rash act I blasted my reputation and my fortune? I am a Deserter /"—He had no sooner pronounced the word, than he sunk back on the ground speechless. I instantly dashed a jug of water in his face, and poured a little whisky into his mouth, upon which he recovered. Fearing to touch upon the subject again, I took a small Bible out of my pocket, and read a chapter of it aloud, by which he seemed to be greatly composed. When I had finished, I observed him eye the book most wistfully; and, asking him if he had a copy of the word of God, I was astonished when he answered in the negative. I then asked him if he would use one if I gave it to him; and, upon his promising to do so, I put that from which I was reading into his hands; and offering up a prayer to the Almighty, that he would sanctify his spirit, and cause him to understand what he read, I took my departure, promising, at his urgent request, that I would return soon and see him.
I had a melancholy walk home; for I could not help thinking of the unfortunate outlaw whom I had found without the means of religious consolation. For the space of a week my thoughts were continually running upon him; till, putting my promise in execution, I set off on a second visit. In the course of three hours I had almost reached his habitation, and was climbing up the rocks which surrounded the cave, when my ears were struck with the sound of children wailing. I quickened my steps, and, bounding over the remaining rocks, I leaped on the turf, and hurried to the cavern. But, alas ! on my way I observed the fire black and deserted. I saw the old hound whining and howling at the entrance of the cave, and, rushing in, the first thing that presented itself to my sight was the two children crying at the side of one of the heather-beds, upon which, to my sorrow, I found the old man—dead! There he lay in the sleep of death; and, oh! never will I forget the poor children who screamed out to me when I approached, "Daddy'il no waken!" I went up to the body, and found, to my unspeakable satisfaction, the Bible lying open on his breast. I knelt down, and offered up a sapplication to the Lord to protect the poor helpless orphans before me. I then took a note of the few things in the dwelling, and taking the children with me, followed by old Kilbuck, the hound, I proceeded homewards. It is needless to add that the children taken care of, and that the remains of the old man we interred in the parish churchyard, where a green mound marks his lonely grave.
HIGH WATER AT THE BKOOMIELAW.
Saturday, Monday, Tuesday,— W eduesday Thursday,
GLASGOW: Published every Morning, Sunday cepted, by John Wyue, at the British and Foreign Library, 97, Argyle Street, Glasgow.. Stiixies Brothers, Librarians, High Street, and Thos. Stevenson, Edinburgh: David Dick, Bookseller, Paisley: John Hislop, Greenock; and J. Glass, Bookseller, Rot/isuy.—And Printed by John Graham, Melville Place.
A MORNING JOURNAL OF LITERATURE, FINE ARTS, FASHION, &c
GLASGOW, MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 1832.
THE YOUNG KNIGHTfi RETURN.
After the repast which had been provided for the travellers had been concluded, the good father, accompanied by Lady Lyll, proceeded to the aged knight's apartment, and Eleanor and her brother were left in the large hall, to communicate with each other, and to confer on the events which had occurred at Upper Newton, during the years of Allan's absence.
"Didst thou not say, Eleanor, that my poor father had had an interview with Guthbert Allison, on the eve preceding his illness?"
"I did say as much, dear brother, and it seems to me, that the barking of that heretical car was one cause of his malady. That man and his daughter, somehow or other, exert a strange influence over the destinies of the members of the house, though I am not sever enough to discover why it should be so."
"Thou'rt no fatalist," I see said Allan, somewhat discomposed by the remark, and the manner which accompanied its utterance—" thou'rt no fatalist, Eleanor, or thou might'st resolve this seeming paradox, with an example of the inevitable concatenation of incidents which the holders of this belief discover, in the moral government of the universe. But what could this visit relate to, think'st thou, Eleanor?"
"I know what it related to, right well, and though it may be in some measure, a breach of confidence, I will put thee in possession of the truth. It would seem as if my father had entertained but a poor opinion of your wisdom, in the choice of a wife; for the object of the interview was to persuade the old churl to carry proposals of marriage, between thee and the daughter of Sir John Ogilvie of Pitscoggie, in the north."
"Eleanor, thy wit is sharp, but I would not have thee, for many reasons, take advantage of thy brother's ignorance of recent domestic occurrences. More depends on thine honesty, in this particular, than thou art aware of."
44 Grammercy, young 8ir, thou'rt the very impersonation of suspicion. Honesty, forsooth! who gave thee right to question my veracity, an' it please thee to vouchsafe an answer?"
"Eleanor, dear Eleanor! be calm for heaven's sake. Thou'rt the only friend, save my poor mother, whom I have in this land of feuds and factions, and I confess to thee, that I would fain make thee my confidante, in more things than thou wottest of; but, for mercy's sake, be calm, and take not offence at an unguarded word."
"Then it would become thee, Master Allan, to be more cautious of speech; for, though an untravelled maiden, I brook not rudeness from any one, much less from a young knight, who should be the very mirror of chivalric courtesy. As to confidence, Sir, thou'rt the best judge of the extent thou shouldst go in that matter with every one, not even excepting thy sister, who may know or suspect more of thy proceedings than thou wouldst be willing to believe. Besides, there be some things in this said world, of which a wise woman would choose to remain ignorant."
There was in the ungracious reply, both in manner and matter, that which pierced Allan to the heart's core. For a moment he looked on the diminutive
form of his sister, with an air of surprise and indignation, but when he caught the gaze of her cold and brilliant eye, he saw that there lurked under the unnatural calmness which sat upon her fine and expressive features, indications of that high resolve, and fixety of purposes, which are seldom found in connexion with the gentler emotions of the heart.
"When I left thee, Eleanor," said he, "thou wert a shy and distrustful child, but now thy tongue wags with more speed than a dancing dervice's legs. Where didst thou pick up all this superfluous wisdom; and canst thou find nothing better to welcome thy brother to the home of his fathers, than the oracular raving of a sybil?"
"Nay, Sir Knight, be not offended if my wisdom should exceed thine own a little. There has been a lack of wit in the family of late, and, I fear me, thou wilt scarcely add to the amount of it. Perchance, however, thou wouldst find some relief from thy sister's petulance, in a passage of the Romance of Real Life. If so, the western turret may afford thee the means; for, I take it, that by the lively imagination of a youthful aspirant for errant glory, a hind's daughter at her knitting, may be readily converted into an imprisoned princess, of peerless beauty"—and, casting a look of mingled scorn and defiance at her astonished brother, she glided out of the apartment. . v Thour't an imp of mischief, by all the saints in heaven," exclaimed Allan aloud, " but I will be at the bottom of the mystery;" and, with the impetuosity of youth, he darted forth in the direction of the tower where Rose Allison sat, meditating on the strange events of her life, and alternately condemning her own imprudence in fostering a hopeless passion, and her lover's tardiness in not making his appearance. She had become weary of her solitary occupation, and, ere retiring to rest, had placed herself close by the small table on which the lamp stood, and was surveying, for the thousandth time, the miniature which was suspended from her neck, when the door was abruptly opened, and before the precious gift could be consigned to its resting place, Allan stood in her presence. Nothing could exceed the surprise of both parties, for Rose, whatever her rebellious heart might have whispered, did not expect a clandestine visit from Allan, while he, in his return, had as little hope of finding Rose in any part of the castle, though he had considered it right to thread out the mysterious insinuations of his sister. This, however, was not the moment for explanation. A look of joy, not unmingled with surprise— a faint scream, and the rapid play of contending colours over her beautiful face, were the only indications which Rose exhibited, of her consciousness of Allah's presence. It was not the season for speech, and none was exchanged. For an instant, she stood confounded, and the next, they were locked in each other's arms.
The bliss of that moment in which a lover, after the absence of years, presses the object of his affection to his heart, can never be recalled. It stands alone, in the ocean of living emotions, by which man is surrounded, as the one which is extatic, faultless, pure! It may be the subject of memory, but it never can be felt again. Life may present occasions for joy, more lasting in its impressions, and more durable in its character; but a joy so sinless and disinterested—so much removed from