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our lives, or experience a friendship but for one local set of friends, we would be miserable creatures indeed. The chances would in that case be ten to one against our obtaining a partner in the least agreeable to us: we would probably enjoy both friendship and love only for one brief space in youth, while happening to be at a particular place, far from our eventual residence. All the rest of life—every other part of the world—would to us be a waste. Now, as the case really stands, though the scenes, and the friends, and the mistresses of youth, are perhaps the most permanently endeared, and though it is certainly proper that we should not cast off old attachments with an appearance of indifference or inconstancy, so as to give pain to those we are parting from, we can, nevertheless, find more or less pleasure in all the scenes which fortune has provided for our residence-all the various sets of people among whom we are thrown, from the beginning even to the close of life and each successive woman upon whom our power of affection has chanced to be exerted.

About the end of the last war, a considerable number of the French officers who had been taken prisoners and sent to the depots in Scotland, were liberated upon their word of honour, and permitted to reside in the neighbouring towns, upon a certain small allowance made to them by our government. Amidst a host of dashing fellows who resided on this footing at the ancient burgh of Cairnton, in the south of Scotland, there were a few old personages who had been captured in the earlier years of the war, and almost grown grey in this species of honourable imprisonment. Some of these latter personages were so different in age and habits from the others were so entirely, as it were, of a different generation or fashion of Frenchmen (for every thing about this nation changes in ten years)— that they hardly seemed to belong to the same country. While the gay young officers of the emperor went frolicking about in long surtouts and moustaches, turning the heads of all the girls, and running into as much debt as

possible with all the tradesmen, the ancient subalterns of the Republic and First Consul were a race of quiet, little, old, wind-dried men, with much of the ancien regime about them, wearing, in some cases, even the anti-revolutionary powder, and all of them as inoffensive as if they had been each sensible that he was in his own parish. A particular individual, called Monsieur Mollin, had become so perfectly assimilated with the people of the town, that he was not at all looked on in the light of a stranger. He lived in a small room, which he rented from a poor old "single woman," Lizzie Geddes by name, and nothing could be more simple or irreproachable than the whole tenor of his life. In the morning, before breakfast, he went to the public green, which he traversed in one particular direction exactly ten times. For the ducks which cruised along the neighbouring mill-race, he had a few crumbs: for the servant lasses who spread their washings on the sod, he had a few complaisant observations. If Jamie Forbes, the skoemaker, happened to be leaning over the bottom wall of his kail-yard, Monsieur Mollin would courteously salute him, and express a hope that Madame Forbes (otherwise called Kirsty Robertson) was well. If, in returning to breakfast, a group of weavers were found clustering about the head of the close, the benevolent old gentleman would join their conversazione, and learn perhaps that Napoleon Bonaparte was about to set up a new kingdom, or that John Jamieson had got a new coat. After partaking of his frugal meal (consisting of the usual Scottish fare in humble life, porridge and milk), he would set out for a country walk, and perhaps return about one, with his pockets filled with fir-tops, which he made a practice of gathering in the plantations, in order that they might aid his landlady's little fire. He then ate his slender dinner, in company with Lizzie Geddes and her nephew, and had, it was said, as many polite observances in the matter of second-day's broth and a cold scrag of lamb, as if he had been seated at the table of a sovereign prince. In the evening,

good Monsieur Mollin was to be seen, perhaps, mingling in the clamorous company who amused themselves in the bowling-green, or else enjoying another cool walk beside the mill-race, where, I well recollect, there was a little trodden footway, which I believe to have been solely formed by his own "constant feet," so exclusively, to my childish apprehension, did it seem appropriated to himself.


Lizzie Geddes, in whose humble garret Monsieur Mollin occupied an apartment, was the daughter of a person who had been town-clerk in Cairnton, in an age far beyond the ken of the present generation; and an annuity of ten pounds was all that she could depend upon for her subsistence, the rent of her house being paid by what she got from Monsieur Mollin for his lodging. Though little removed above the condition of a pauper, she had had a good education, and possessed a mind of no vulgar cast. In her old age, she had been burdened with the duty of bringing up an orphan nephew, to which task, however, she applied with a zeal that went far beyond her humble means. the boy showed an aptitude for learning, and as the schoolfees at Cairnton were remarkably cheap, she was tempted to give him a classical education, instead of placing him at some trade by which he might have sooner begun to support himself. There was some hope of patronage from a distant relation, who, holding some inferior public office at Edinburgh, was looked upon at Cairnton as a person of immense consideration. But when application was made to this individual for the means of setting forward the youth at college, all those hopes were found to have been fallacious; and young Geddes, with the refined notions of a classical scholar, and at an age when ambition begins to bud in the human bosom, was obliged to abandon his books and become a shoemaker. Monsieur Mollin, who in all respects treated Miss Geddes as a sister, and took a sincere interest in the prospects of her nephew, was exceedingly chagrined at this sad reverse; but he was so poor himself that he could not help it. "If I ver not one poor pri

sonair," he would say, "if I ver once more in mine own countrie, and had so much money as I once had, your nephew, Mademoiselle Geddes, should not stop till he ver one ministair, putting his head into one pulpit; but I am only one poor prisonair, with six shillings in de veek from your king-and what can I do with that?" The good old man was determined, nevertheless, that the youth should not forget his learning, or sink into the tastes and habits proper to his new condition. So, every evening after Thomas had returned from his work, he caused him to bring forth his books, and heard him execute a translation in Virgil or Livy before going to rest. Sometimes this was varied by other intellectual exercises, such as the reading of a novel from the circulating library. Cœlebs in Search of a Wife, or Thaddeus of Warsaw, or the Farmer of Inglewood Forest, or any other crack book of the year 1812, was borrowed at the cheap and easy price of eighteenpence a quarter, and read by Thomas to his aunt and her lodger, who usually became so much absorbed in the interest of the tale, that they heeded far less the progress of the war then going on in Russia, important as it was to the interests of both French and English, than they did the proceedings of the fictitious hero among a set of characters as shadowy as himself. Thus, while an ordinary person would have been apt to answer the common question of "what news?" by mentioning that Bonaparte had overthrown the Russian army at the Borodino, poor Lizzie Geddes would have been apt to state that Robert Bruce had just made his escape from the English court, with his horse's shoes put on backwards; her mind, in fact, running upon the last chapter she had heard read of the Scottish Chiefs.

For several years this little family lived in humble peace and general affection, with hardly an incident to ruffle the habitual calm. Monsieur Mollin daily exhibited his thin shanks, in white cotton stockings, on the beaten footpath in the green, and every evening enjoyed mental plea

sures beside his landlady's fire. Sunday after Sunday, he was to be seen gallanting Miss Geddes to church; himself rigged out in a clean shirt, exhibiting a profusion of frill, and a large New Testament under his left arm; while she, on her part, tried to look as well as possible in a well-saved cardinal, first put on about forty years ago; Thomas bringing up the rear, in his leather cap and corduroys, with almost as much linen folded over his shoulders and back as what could be supposed to be in contact with his skin. Few persons in Cairnton lived a more blameless life, or were more generally respected.

At length the tranquil contentment of this scene was broken up by the peace of 1814, which afforded to Monsieur Mollin, for the first time since his capture, an opportunity of returning to his native country. Had it been the old man's fate to live on and on a prisoner till death, he would have been perfectly happy in his bonds, for time had so completely reconciled him to the present scene and manner of his existence, that he never formed a wish respecting any other. When it came to pass, however, that a residence in Cairnton was no longer a matter of necessity, when a possibility of returning to France actually arose, that which, in ordinary circumstances, ought to have been hailed as a blessing, became to him a bitterness and a misery. Mademoiselle," said he, "I must leave you-I must go back au ma patrie: your king will give me no longer any money to live upon, and I must see what I can do in mine own countrie. It is tres grand malheur—one great distress; for I do not expect that I vil find any one in France to love as much as you and your nephew. But vat can I do?—how shall I pay my lodging?—how shall I live?" The case was too clear to admit of argument; and Monsieur Mollin, therefore, packed up his baggage in an old satchel that had once held Thomas's books, and prepared to take his leave. In the first place, however, he made two walks each day for a week, to gather fir-tops, of which he was thus able to store up as many as promised to

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