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self with its lifelike smile; but a sudden dark- guilty of such ingratitude. “The Lord giveth, ness in the room, and a sudden stillness, most and the Lord taketh away-blessed be the dreadful both, convinced their unbelieving name of the Lord !" were the first words they hearts at last, that it was death.
had spoke by that bedside ; during many, many All the parish, it may be said, attended her long years of weal or wo, duly every morning funeral--for none stayed away from the kirk and night, these same blessed words did they that Sabbath-though many a voice was un- utter when on their knees together in prayer able to join in the Psalm. The little grave -and many a thousand times besides, when was soon filled up-and you hardly knew that they were apart, she in her silent hut, and he the turf had been disturbed beneath which she on the hill-neither of them unhappy in their lay. The afternoon service consisted but of a solitude, though never again, perhaps, was prayer-for he who ministered, had loved her his countenance so cheerful as of yore--and with love unspeakable-and, though an old though often suddenly amidst mirth or sungrayhaired man, all the time he prayed he shine their eyes were seen to overflow. Hapwept. In the sobbing kirk her parents were py had they been—as we mortal beings ever sitting, but no one looked at them- and when can be happy—during many pleasant years the congregation rose to go, there they re- of wedded life before she had been born. And mained sitting-and an hour afterwards, came happy were they—on to the verge of old age out again into the open air, and parting with -long after she had here ceased to be. Their their pastor at the gate, walked away to their Bible had indeed been an idle book—the Bible hut, overshadowed with the blessing of a thou- that belonged to the Holy Child,”—and idle sand prayers.
all their kirk-goings with “the Holy Child," And did her parents, soon after she was bu- through the Sabbath-calm-had those interried, die of broken hearts, or pine away dis-mediate years not left a power of bliss beconsolately to their graves? Think not that hind them triumphant over death and the they, who were Christians indeed, could be grave.
NATURE must be bleak and barren indeed to l towns and cities called dreary, composed; but possess no power over the young spirit daily the composition itself—as well might we hope expanding on her breast into new suscepti- thus to show it to your soul's eye, as by a few bilities, that erelong are felt to fill life to over-extracts however fine, and a few criticisms flowing with a perpetual succession-an infi- however exquisite, to give you the idea of a nite series of enjoyments. Nowhere is she perfect poem. destitute of that power-not on naked sea- But we have not given you more than a sinshores-not in central deserts. But our boy-gle hint of a great part of oui Parish—the hood was environed by the beautiful-its home Moor. It was then ever so many miles long, was among moors and mountains, which peo- and ever so many miles broad, and nobody ple in towns and cities called dreary, but thought of guessing how many miles roundwhich we knew to be the cheerfullest and most but some twenty years ago it was absolutely gladsome parish in all braid Scotland and measured to a rood by a land-louper of a landwell it might be, for it was in her very heart. surveyor- distributed -- drained - enclosedMountains they seemed to us in those days, utterly ruined for ever. No, not for ever. Nathough now we believe they are only hills. But ture laughs to scorn acts of Parliament, and we such hills !—undulating far and wide away till predict that in a quarter of a century she will the highest'even on clear days seemed to touch resume her management of that moor. We the sky, and in cloudy weather were verily a rejoice to hear that she is beginning already part of heaven. Many a valley, and many a to take lots of it into her own hands. Wheat glen-and many a hollow that was neither has no business there, and should keep to the valley nor glen-and many a flat, of but a
In spring she takes him by the braird few green acres, which we thought plains- till he looks yellow in the face long before his and many a cleft waterless with its birks and time-in summer, by the cuff of the neck till brechans, except when the rains came down, he lies down on his back and rots in the rain and then they all sang a new song in merry --in autumn, by the ears, and rubs him against chorus—and many a wood, and many a grove, the grain till he expires a's fushionless as the for it takes no great number of trees to make winnlestraes with which he is interlaced-in a wood, and four firs by themselves in a lone- winter, she shakes him in the stook till he is some place are a grove—and many a single left but a shadow which pigeons despise. See sycamore, and many a single ash, kenned afar-him in stack at Christmas, and you pity the poor off above its protected cottage--and many an straw. Here and there bits of bear or big, and indescribable spot of scenery, at once pastoral barley, she permits to flourish-nor is she loth and agricultural and silvan, where if house to see the flowers and shaws.and applis on there was, you hardly knew it among the the poor man's plant, the life-sustaining potato rocks :-50 was Our Parish, which people in which none but political economists hate and all Christians love. She is not so sure about | blackamoors before your very feet, and as you turnips, but as they are a green crop she stumbled over them in the dark, throttling as leaves them to the care of the fly. But where as if they sought to strangle you, and then have her gowans gone? There they still are leaving you at your leisure to wipe from your in flocks, which no cultivation can scatter or mouth the mire by the light of a straggling eradicate-inextinguishable by all the lime star;-sunbeams that wrestled with the sha. that was ever brought unslokened from all the dows in the gloom--sometimes clean flung, kilns that ever glowed by all the dung that and then they cowered into the heather, and was ever heaped up fresh and fuming from all insinuated themselves into the earth; somethe Augean stables in the land. Yet her heart times victorious, and then how they capered burns within her to behold, even in the midst in the lift, ere they shivered away-not always of what she abhors, the large dew-loved heads without a hymn of thunder-in behind the of clover whitening or reddening, or with their clouds, lo refresh themselves in their taberrival colours amicably intermingled, a new nacle in the sky. birth glorious in the place of reedy marish or
be done with this Moor, you mofen where the catspaws nodded—and them nomaniac? Not for yet a little while-for we she will retain unto herself when once more see Kitty North all by himself in the heart of she shall rejoice in her Wilderness Restored. it, a boy apparently about the age of twelve,
And would we be so barbarous as to seek and happy as the day is long, though it is the to impede the progress of improvement, and Longest Day in all the year. Aimless he to render agriculture a dead letter? We are seems to be, but all alive as a grasshopper, and not so barbarous nor yet so savage. We love is leaping like a two-year-old across the hags. civilized life, of which we have long been one Were he to tumble in, what would become of of the smaller but sincerest ornaments. But the personage whom Kean’s Biographer would agriculture, like education, has its bounds. It call “the future Christopher the First.” But is, like it, a science, and wo to the country no fear of that-for at no period of his life did that encourages all kinds of quacks. Cultivate he ever overrate his powers—and he knows a moor! educate a boor! First understand now his bound to an inch. Cap, bonnet, hat, the character of Clods and Clodhoppers. To he has none; and his yellow hair, dancing on say nothing of the Urbans and Suburbansa his shoulders like a mane, gives him the look perilous people--yet of great capabilities; for of a precocious lion's whelp. Leonine too is to discuss that question would lead us into his aspect, yet mild withal; and but for a lanes; and as it is a long lane that has never certain fierceness in his gambols, you would a turning, for the present we keep in the open not suspect he was a young creature of prey. air, and abstain from wynds. We are no ene- A fowling-piece is in his left hand, and in his mies to poor soils, far less to rich ones igno- right a rod. And what may he be purposing rantly and stupidly called poor, which under to shoot? Any thing full-fledged that may proper treatment effuse riches; but to expect play whirr or sugh. Good grouse-ground this; to extract from paupers a return for the expen- but many are yet in the egg, and the rest are diture squandered by miserly greed on their but cheepers little bigger than the small reluctant bottoms, cold and bare, is the in- brown moorland bird that goes burling up with sanity of speculation, and such schemers de- its own short epithalamium, and drops down serve being buried along with their capital in on the rushes still as a stone. Them he harms quagmires. Heavens! how they--the quag- not on their short flight-but marking them mires-suck in the dung! You say they don't down, twirls his piece like a fugleman, and suck it in-well, then, they spew it out-it thinks of the Twelfth. Safer methinks wilt evaporates—and what is the worth of weeds ? thou be a score or two yards further off, o Lime whitens a moss, that is true, but so does Whawp! for though thy young are yet callow, snow. Snow melts-what becomes of lime Kit is beginning to think they may shift for 110 mortal knows but the powheads--them it themselves; and that long bill and that long poisons, and they give up the ghost. Drains neck, and those long legs and that long body are dug deep now-a-days--and we respect Mr. -the tout-ensemble so elegant, so graceful, and Johnstone. So are gold mines. But from so wild—are a strong temptation to the trigger; gold mines that precious metal-at a great -click-clack-whizz-phew-fire--smoke expense, witness its price is exterred; in and thunder--head-over-heels topsy-turvy goes drains, that precious metal, witness wages, is the poor curlew-and Kit stands over him interred, and then it becomes squash. Stirks leaning on his single-barrel, with a stern but starve—heifers are hove with windy nothing somewhat sad aspect, exulting in his skill, yet --with oxen frogs compete in bulk with every sorry for the creature whose wild cry will be prospect of a successful issue, and on such heard no more. pasturage where would be the virility of the 'Tis an oasis in the desert. That green spot Bulls of Bashan?
is called a quagmire-an ugly name enoughIf we be in error, we shall be forgiven at but itself is beautiful; for it diffuses its own least by all lovers of the past, and what to the light round about it, like a star vivifying its elderly' seems the olden time. Oh, misery for halo. The sward encircling it is firm-and that Moor! Hundreds, thousands, loved it as Kit lays him down, heedless of the bird, with weli as we did; for though it grew no grain, eyes fixed on the oozing spring. How fresh many a glorious crop it bore-shadows that the wild cresses! His very eyes are drinking! glided like ghosts--the giants stalked—the His thirst is at once excited and satisfied by dwarfs crept;-yet sometimes were the dwarfs looking at the lustrous leaves-composed of were formidable than the giants, lying like cooling light without spot or stain. What
ails the boy? He covers his face with his clear the way for the callant, Kit's coming!" hands, and in his silence sighs. A small white cries Ebenezer Brackenrigg, the Elder, a douce hand, with its fingers spread, rises out of the man now, but a deevil in his youth, and like spring, as if it were beckoning to heaven in “a waff o’lichtnin'” past their een, Kit clears prayer—and then is sucked slowly in again the barrows a foot beyond Souple Tam, and out of sight with a gurgling groan. The at the first fly is declared victor by acclamation. spring so fresh and fair-so beautiful with its Oh, our unprophetic soul! did the day indeed cresses and many another water-loving plant dawn-many long years after this our earliest beside is changed into the same horrid quag- great conquest yet traditional in the parish mire it was that day—a holyday-three years -that ere nightfall witnessed our defeat by ago-when racing in her joy Amy Lewars -a tailor! The Flying Tailor of Etterickblindly ran into it, among her blithe com- the Lying Shepherd thereof-would they had panions, and suddenly perished. Childhood, never been born—the one to triumph and the they say, soon dries its tears, and soon forgets. other to record that triumph;—yet let us be God be praised for all his goodness! true it is just to the powers of our rival—for though all that on the cheek of childhood tears are dried the world knows we were lame when we leapt up as if by the sunshine of joy stealing from him, long past our prime, had been wading all on high-but, God be praised for all his good day in the Yarrow with some stones-weight in ness ! false it is that the heart of childhood has our creel, and allowed him a yard, not a long memory, for in a moment the “Great must I call him, for he vanquish'd ME." mournful past revives within it-as often as What a place at night was that Moor! At the joyful-sadness becomes sorrow, sorrow night! That is a most indeterminate mode of grief, and grief anguish, as now it is with the expression, for there are nights of all sorts and solitary boy seated by that ghastly spot in the sizes, and what kind of a night do we mean? middle of the wide moor.
Not a mirk night, for no man ever walked that Away he flies, and he is humming a tune. moor on a mirk night, except one, and he, But what's this? A merry-making in the though blind-fou, was drowned. But a night moor? Ay, merry-making; but were you to may be dark without being mirk, with or withtake part in it, you would find it about the out stars; and on many such a night have we, hardest work that ever tried the strength of but not always alone--who was with us you your spine. 'Tis a party of divotflaughters. shall never know-threaded our way with no The people in the parish are now digging their other clue than that of evolving recollections, peats, and here is a whole household, provident originally notices, across that wilderness of of winter, borrowing fuel from the moss. labyrinths, fearlessly, yet at times with a beatThey are far from coals, and wood is intended ing heart. Our companion had her clue too, by nature for other uses; but fire in peat she one in her pocket, of blue worsted, with which dedicated to the hearth, and there it burns all she kept in repair all the stockings belonging over Scotland, Highland and Lowland, far and to the family, and one in her memory, of green near, at many a holy altar. 'Tis the mid-day ethereal silk, which, finer far than any spider's hour of rest. Some are half-asleep, some yet web, she let out as she tript along the moor, eating, some making a sort of under-voiced, and on her homeward-way she felt
, by some under-hand love. “Mr. North! Mr. North! spiritual touch, the invisible lines, along which Mr. North!" is the joyful cry—horny-fists first she retript as safely as if they had been moon-downy-fists next-and after heartiest greet- beams. During such journeyings we never ing, Master Kitty is installed, enthroned on a saw the moor, how then can you expect us to knowe, Master of the Ceremonies--and in good describe it? time gives them a song. Then “galliards cry But oftener we were alone. Earthquakes a hall, a hall," and hark and lo! preluded by abroad are dreadful occurrences, and blot out six smacks three foursome reels!
“Sic the obituary. But here they are so gentle that hirdum-dirdum and sic din," on the sward, to the heedless multitude never feel them, and on a strathspey frae the fiddle o' auld blin' Hugh hearing you tell of them, they incredulously Lyndsay, the itinerant musicianer, who was stare. That moor made no show of religion, noways particular about the number of his but was a Quaker. We had but to stand still strings, and when one, or even two snapped, for five minutes or so, no easy matter then, for used to play away at pretty much of the same we were more restless than a wave, or to lie tune with redoubled energy and variations. down with our ear to the ground, and the spirit He had the true old Niel-Gow yell, and had he was sure to move the old Quaker, who forth played on for ever, folk would have danced on with began to preach and pray and sing for ever till they had all, one after'the other, Psalms. How he moaned at times as if his dropped down dead. What steps !
heart were breaking! At times, as if some “Who will try me,” cries Kit, “ at loup-the old forgotten sorrow were recalled, how he barrows ?” “I will,” quoth Souple Tam. The sighed! Then recovering his self-possession, barrows are laid-how many side by side we as if to clear his voice, he gave a hem, and fear to say—for we have become sensitive on then a short nasty cough like a patient in a our veracity--on a beautiful piece of springy- consumption. Now all was hush, and you turf, an inclined plane with length sufficient might have supposed he had fallen asleep, for for a run; and while old and young line both in that hush you heard what seemed an intersides of the lane near the loup, stript to the mitting snore. When all at once, whew, whew, sark and the breeks, Souple Tam, as he fondly whew, as if he were whistling, accompanied thinks, shows the way to win, and clears them with a strange rushing sound as of diving all like a frog or a roebuck. “ Clear the way, I wings. That was in the air—but instantly
after you heard something odder still in the cozy bields in wildest weather, and some into bog. And while wondering, and of your won- which the snow was never known to drift, der finding no end, the ground, which a mo- green all the winter through-perennial nests. ment before had felt firm as a road, began to Such was the nature of the region where lay shrink, and sink, and hesitate, and hurry, and our Four Lochs. They were some quarter of crumble, and mumble all around you, and close a mile-some half mile-and some whole mile up to your very feet-the quagmires gurgling -not more-asunder; but there was no great as if choked-and a subterranean voice dis- height-and we have a hundred times climbed tinctly articulating Oh! Oh! Oh!
the highest-from which they could be all seen We have heard of people who pretend not at once-so cannily were they embosomed, so to believe in ghosts-geologists who know how needed not to be embowered. the world was created; but will they explain The LITTLE Loch was the rushiest and reedi that moor? And how happened it that only est little rascal that ever rustled, and he was by nights and dark nights it was so haunted on the very edge of the Moor. That he had Beneath a wakeful moon and unwinking stars fish we all persisted in believing, in spite of it was silent as a frozen sea. You listened all the successless angling of all kinds ihal then, and heard but the grass growing, and from time immemorial had assailed his sullen beautiful grass it was, though it was called depths—but what a place for powheads! One coarse, and made the sweetest-scented hay. continued bank of them while yet they were What crowds of bum-bees' bykes-foggies but eyes in the spawn—encircled it instead of did the scythe not reveal as it heaped up the water lilies; and at “the season of the year," heavy swathes—three hundred stone to the by throwing in a few stones you awoke a acre--by guess--for there was neither weigh- croaking that would have silenced a rookery. ing nor measuring there then-a-days, but all In the early part of the century a pike had was in the lump-and there the rush-roped been seen basking in the shallows, by eyestacks stood all the winter through, that they measurement about ten feet long—but fortumight be near the “eerie outlan cattle," on nately he had never been hooked, or the conplaces where cart-wheel never circled, nor sequences would have been fatal. We have axle-tree creaked-nor ever car of antique seen the Little Loch alive with wild-ducks; make trailed its low load along—for the horse but it was almost impossible by position to get would have been laired. We knew not then a shot at them--and quite impossible, if you at all--and now we but imperfectly know---the did, to get hold of the slain. Fro himself-the cause of the Beautiful. Then we believed the best dog that ever dived-was baffled by the Beautiful to be wholly extern; something we multiplicity of impediments and obstructions nad nothing to do with but to look at, and lo! -and at last refused to take the water--sat t shone divinely there! Happy creed if false down and howled in spiteful rage. Yet Im---for. in it, with holiest reverence, we blame-agination loved the Little Loch, and so did essly adored the stars. There they were in Hope. We have conquered it in sleep both millions as we thought-every one brighter with rod and gun—the weight of bag and basthan another, when by chance we happened to ket has wakened us out of dreams of murder fix on any individual among them, that we that never were realized-yet once, and once might look through its face into its heart. All only, in it we caught an eel, which we skinned, above gloriously glittering, all below a blank. and wore the shrivel for many a day round our Our body here, our spirit there-how mean ankle--nor is it a vain superstition—to preour birth-place, our death-home how magnifi- serve it from sprains. We are willing the cent!"Fear God and keep his command- Little Loch should be drained; but you would ments,” said a small still voice and we felt have to dig a fearsome trench, for it used to that if He gave us strength to obey that law, have no bottom. A party of us—six-ascerwe should live for ever beyond all those stars. tained that fact, by heaving into it a stone
But were there no Lochs in our parish? which six-and-thirty schoolboys of this degeneYea-Four. The Little Loch-othe White rate age could not have lifted from its mossLoch-the Black Loch-and the Brother Loch. bed and though we watched for an hour not Not a tree on the banks of any one of them, a bubble rose to the surface. It used someyet he had been a blockhead who called them times to boil like a pot on breathless days, for bare. Had there been any need for trees, Na- events happening in foreign countries disturbture would have sown them on hills she so ed the spring, and the torments it suffered dearly loved. Nor sheep nor cattle were ever thousands of fathoms below, were manifested heard to complain of those pastures. They above in turbulence that would have drowned bleated and they lowed as cheerily as the moor- a schoolboy's skiff. land birdies sang-and how cheerily that was
The WHITE Loch-so called from the silver nobody knew who had not often met the morn- sand of its shores-had likewise its rushy and ing on the brae, and shaken hands with her the reedy bogs; but access to every part of the rosy-fingered like two familiar friends. No main body was unimpeded, and you waded want of loun places there, in which the crea- into it, gradually deeper and deeper, with such tures could lie with wool or hair unruffled a delightful descent, that up to the arm-pits among surrounding storms. For the hills had and then to the chin, you could keep touching been dropt from the hollow of His hand who the sand with your big-toe, till you floated “ tempers the wind to the shorn lamb”—and away off at the pail
, out of your depth, without even high up, where you might see tempest- for a little while discovering that it was incumstricken stones--one of them like pillars—but bent on you, for sake of your personal safety, placed not there by human art--there were to take to regular swimming--and then how
buoyant was the milk-warm water, without a once left it with dreappointed hopes of enjoywave but of your own creating, as the ripples ment. It was the nearest
, and therefore most went circling away before your breast or your within our power, so that we could gallop to it breath! It was absolutely too clear—for with on shank's naiggie, well on in the afternoon, out knitting your brows you could not see it on and enjoy what seemed a long day of delight, bright airless days—and wondered what had swift as flew the hours, before evening-prayers. become of it--when all at once, as if it had Yet was it remote enough to make us always been that very moment created out of nothing, feel that our race thither was not for every day there it was! endued with some novel beauty and we seldom returned home without an --for of all the lochs we ever knew-and to adventure. It was the largest too by far of the be so simple too—the White Loch had surely Four-and indeed its area would have held the greatest variety of expression--but all the waters of all the rest. Then there was a within the cheerful-for sadness was alien charm to our heart as well as our imagination altogether from its spirit, and the gentle Mere in its name—for tradition assigned it on acfor ever wore a smile. Swans—but that'was count of three brothers that perished in its but once-our own eyes had seen on it-waters—and the same name for the same reaand were they wild or were they tame swans, son belongs to many another loch---and i one certain it is they were great and glorious and pool on almost every river. But above all it lovely creatures, and whiter than any snow. was the Loch for angling, and we long kept to No house was within sight, and they had no- perch. What schools! Not that they were thing to fear-nor did they look afraid-sail- of a very large size-though pretty well-but ing in the centre of the loch-nor did we see hundreds all nearly the same size gladdened them fly away-for we lay still on the hillside our hearts as they lay, at the close of our till in the twilight we should not have known sport, in separate heaps on the greenswardwhat they were, and we left them there among shore, more beautiful out of all sight than your the shadows seemingly asleep. In the morn- silver or golden fishes in a glass-vase, where ing they were gone, and perhaps making love one appears to be twenty, and the delusive in some foreign land.
voracity is all for a single crumb. No bait so The Black Loch was a strange misnomer killing as cowshairn-mawks, fresh from their for one so fair--for black we never saw him, native bed, scooped out with the thumb. He except it might be for an hour or so before must have been a dear friend to whom in a thunder. If he really was a loch of colour the scarcity, by the water-side, when the corks original taint had been washed out of him, and were dipping, we would have given a mawk. he might have shown his face among the purest No pike. Therefore the trout were allowed to waters of Europe. But then he was deep; gain their natural size--and that seemed to be and knowing that, the natives had named him, about five pounds--adolescents not unfrequent in no unnatural confusion of ideas, the Black swam two or three--and you seldom or never Loch. We have seen wild-duck eggs five saw the smaller fry. But few were the days fathoms down so distinctly that we could count " good for the Brother Loch.” Perch rarely them--and though that is not a bad dive, we failed you, for by perseverance you were sure have brought them up, one in our mouth and to fall in with one circumnatatory school or one in each hand, the tenants of course dead other, and to do murderous work among them nor can we now conjecture what sank them with the mawk, from the schoolmaster himthere; but ornithologists see unaccountable self inclusive down to the little booby of the sights, and they only who are not ornitholo- lowest form. Not so with Trout. We have gists disbelieve Audubon and Wilson. Two angled ten hours a-day for half a-week, (during features had the Black Loch which gave it to the vacance,) without ever getting a single our eyes a pre-eminence in beauty over the rise, nor could even that be called bad sport, other three--a tongue of land that half divided for we lived in momentary expectation, minit, and never on hot days was without some gled with fear, of a monster. Better far from cattle grouped on its very point, and in among sunrise to sunset never to move a fin, than oh! the water--and a cliff on which, though it was me miserable! to hook a huge hero with not very lofty, a pair of falcons had their nest. shoulders like a hog--play him till he coines Yet in misty weather, when its head was hid- floating side up close to the shore, and then to den, the shrill cry seemed to come from a great feel the feckless fly leave his lip and begin height. There were some ruins too-tradition gamboling in the air, while he wallops away said of some church or chapel-that had been back into his native element, and sinks utterly ruins long before the establishment of the Pro- and for evermore into the dark profound. testant faith. But they were somewhat re- Life loses at such a moment all that makes mote, and likewise somewhat imaginary, for life desirable--yet strange! the wretch lives stones are found lying strangely distributed, on--and has not the heart to drown himself, and those looked to our eyes not like such as as he wrings his hands and curses his lot and builders use, but to have been dropped there the day he was born. But, thank Heaven, that most probably from the moon.
ghastly fit of fancy is gone by, and we imagine But the best beloved, if not the most beauti- one of those dark, scowling, gusty, almost temful, of them all was the BROTHER Locil. It pestuous days, “prime for the Brother Loch.” mattered not what was his disposition of ge- No glare or glitter on the water, no reflection nius, every one of us boys, however different of fleecy clouds, but a black-blue undulating might be our other tastes, preferred it far be- swell, at times turbulent-with now and then yond the rest, and for once that we visited any a breaking wave--that was the weather in of them we visited it twenty times, nor ever which the giants fed, showing their backs like