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our dream. Let us not mince the matter—we can afford the confession—we have been overtaken by liquor—sadly intoxicated-out with it at once! Frown not, fairest of all sweet-for we lay our calamity, not to the charge of the Glenlivet circling in countless quechs, but at the door of that inveterate enemy to sobriety—the Fresh Air.
But now we are as sober as a judge. Pity our misfortune- rather than forgive our sin. We entered that Still in a State of innocence before the Fall. Where we fell, we know not—in divers ways and sundry places—between that magic cell on the breast of Benachochie, and this glade in Gleno. But,
“ There are worse things in life than a fall among heather."
Surefoot, we suppose, kept himself tolerably soberand O'Bronte, at each successive cloit, must have assisted us to remount—for Hamish, from his style of sleeping, must have been as bad as his master; and, after all, it is wonderful to think how we got here—over hags and mosses, and marshes and quagmires, like those in which “armies whole have sunk.” But the truth is, that, never in the whole course of our lives—and that course has been a strange one—did we ever so often as once lose our way. Set us down blindfolded on Zahara, and we will beat the caravan to Timbuctoo. Something or other mysteriously indicative of the right direction touches the soles of our feet in the shape of the ground they tread; and even when our souls have gone soaring far away, or have sunk within us, still have our feet pursued the shortest and the safest path that leads to the
bourne of our pilgrimage. Is not that strange? But not stranger surely than the flight of the bee, on his first voyage over the coves of the wilderness to the far-off heather-bells—or of the dove that is sent by some Jew stockjobber, to communicate to Dutchmen the rise or fall of the funds, from London to Hamburgh, from the clear shores of silver Thames to the muddy shallows of the Zuyder-Zee.
FLIGHT FOURTH-DOWN RIVER AND UP LOCH.
Let us inspect the state of Brown Bess. Right barrel empty- left barrel — what is the meaning of this ? —crammed to the muzzle ! Ay, that comes of visiting Stills.
We have been snapping away at the coveys and single birds all over the moor, without so much as a pluff, with the right-hand cock—and then, imagining that we had fired, have kept loading away at the bore to the left, till, see! the ramrod absolutely stands upright in the air, with only about three inches hidden in the hollow ! What a narrow miraculous escape has the world had of losing Christopher North! Had he drawn that trigger instead of this, Brown Bess would have burst to a moral certainty, and blown the old gentleman piecemeal over the heather. “In the midst of life we are in death !” Could we but know one in a hundred of the close approachings of the skele
ton, we should lead a life of perpetual shudder. Often and often do his bony fingers almost clutch our throat, or his foot is put out to give us a cross-buttock. But a saving arm pulls him back, ere we have seen so much as his shadow. We believe all this—but the belief that comes not from something steadfastly present before our eyes, is barren; and thus it is, since believing is not seeing, that we walk hoodwinked nearly all our days, and worst of all blindness is that of ingratitude and forgetfulness of Him whose shield is for ever over us, and whose mercy shall be with us in the world beyond the grave.
By all that is most beautifully wild in animated nature, a Roe! a Roe ! Shall we slay him where he stands, or let him vanish in silent glidings in among
his native woods ? What a fool for asking ourselves such a question ! Slay him where he stands to be sure
-for many pleasant seasons hath he led in his leafy lairs, a life of leisure, delight, and love, and the hour is come when he must sink down on his knees in a sudden and unpainful death—fair silvan dreamer ! We have drawn that multitudinous shot and both barrels of Brown Bess now are loaded with ball—for Hamish is yet lying with his head on the rifle. Whiz! wbiz! one is through lungs, and another through neck—and seemingly rather to sleep than die, (so various are the many modes of expiration !)
“ In quietness he lays him down
Gently, as a weary wave
Ay—Hamish—you may start to your feet-and see realized the vision of your sleep. What a set of distracted dogs! But O'Bronte first catches sight of the quarry-and clearing, with grashopper spangs, the patches of stunted coppice, stops stock-still beside the roe in the glade, as if admiring and wondering at the beauty of the fair spotted creature! Yes, dogs have a sense of the beautiful. Else how can you account for their loving so to lie down at the feet and lick the hands of the virgin whose eyes are mild, and forehead meek, and hair of placid sunshine, rather than act the same part towards ugly women, who, coarser and coarser in each successive widowhood, when at their fourth husband are beyond expression hideous, and felt to be so by the whole canine tribe? Spenser must have seen some dog like O'Bronte lying at the feet and licking the hand of some virgin-sweet reader, like thyself — else never had he painted the posture of that Lion who guarded through Fairyland
“ Heavenly Una and her milkwhite lamb."
A divine line of Wordsworth's, which we shall never cease quoting on to the last of our inditings, even to our dying day!
But where, Hamish, are all the flappers, the mawsies, and the mallards? What! You have left them—hare, grouse, bag, and all, at the Still! We remember it now --and all the distillers are to-night to be at our Tent, bringing with them feathers, fur, and hide — ducks, pussy, and deer. But take the roe on your stalwart