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derstood her meaning, and laughing, made a motion as if he would bestride the dog.
New clothes are still among Mitchell's greatest sources of delight. After his measure had been taken, it would seem that every hour is full of anxiety until the new suit is in his possession. Nothing else appears to occupy his mind. He literally persecutes the tailor or the shoemaker, until his shoes or his coat is finished. He is their guest morning, noon, and night, until the last stitch is drawn.
Before leaving Ardclach, I took an opportunity of conversing very fully with Miss Mitchell relative to her brother's conduct at the period of his father's death. Her answers to my inqui ries on this point, corresponded exacty with the information she was so kind as to communicate to me through my friend Mr. Lauder Dick of Relugas, in March last, and which I transmitted to you immediately on receiving it. She told me, that when her brother was permitted, by her direction, to touch his father's dead body, he shrunk from it with surprise, but without expressing the slightest signs of sorrow. She assures me also, that he felt the body after it was placed in the coffin, but without betraying any emotions of grief. On the evening, however, after her father's funeral, she herself saw him go down to the grave, and pat the turf with both his hands; but whether he did this from affection, or intended it merely as an imitation of beating down the turf, she feels unable to decide, as she was not near enough to him to discern the expression of his countenance. For several days afterwards, it would appear that he returned repeatedly to the grave; but gradually discontiued his visits. It is worthy of remark, however, that he has regularly attended every funeral that has since taken place in the same church-yard. The report, therefore, which I have stated at the conclusion of the supplement to Professor Glennie's Account, of his having shed tears over his father's grave, seems entirely without foundation. Miss Mitchell authorizes me to say, that neither on this nor on any other occasion, has she herself seen her brother show any unequivocal marks of sorrow for his father's death. Yet her friend, the Reverend Mr. Campbell of Ardersier, lately informed her, that he saw her brother standing in the porch shedding tears, immediately after quitting the apartment in which his father's body was lying, previous to the funeral.
On the whole, however, I have not been able to discover the slightest reason for altering the opinion I have always entertained respecting the state of young Mitchell's feelings on the day of the funeral. It was my strong conviction of the truth of
this opinion, and thinking that Professor Glennie might have been furnished with the materials of his Account from some one who had not enjoyed the same opportunity of judging as myself, that led me in the supplement to that Account, to doubt in some degree the accuracy of his information on this point. I have since found, however, that the whole of Professor Glennie's memoir was communicated by my friend Mr. Macfarlane, who was present, as well as myself, on that melancholy occasion. I would now observe, therefore, that though I am sorry to differ in opinion from a gentleman who has written so able a detail of some other parts of Mitchell's history, my perfect knowledge of his candour and liberality embolden me to say, that I think he is mistaken in this particular; and that he has interpreted into expressions of grief in young Mitchell, what were merely expressions of curiosity. On this subject I have. communicated with my friends Mr. Lauder Dick of Relugas, Mr. Smyth of Earlsmill, and the medical attendant of the family, Mr. Straith, surgeon at Forres,-gentlemen who also were present at the funeral, and who are more familiar even than I am with young Mitchell's countenance and expression; and I find, that their opinion coincides exactly with mine. His motions at the coffin were equally visible to us all. But we did not attribute his placing his arms around it, to any emotion of sorrow, of which there appeared to us not the slightest trace in his countenance, but to the same motive that led him, the very next moment, to trip lightly towards us, and smilingly feel our clothes all over-the pleasure he experienced in the examination of objects that were new to him. My friend Mr. Lauder Dick, who has accompanied me in all my visits to Ardclach, and whose interest in the family, and kindness towards them, have been equally great, has favoured me with a few remarks, in a letter on this subject, which appear to me so just, that I shall take the liberty to quote them. "From my observations," he writes, "made at the time, with all the attention which an "extreme interest in the boy could excite, my opinion certain"ly is, that he was occupied with the coffin merely as being a "body of a shape and surface different from any thing he had "before met with; and that he betrayed no emotions of grief. "When the procession moved onwards, all his gestures seemed
more those of a playful boy in good spirits, than those of an "afflicted youth, conscious of the awful change which had taken "place upon his parent. As it is certain that he had never felt "a dead body, nor had any opportunity of learning the object "of burial before; it appears to me, that we cannot imagine "him to have experienced any emotion of grief at his father's
"funeral, without also supposing him to have had an innate "idea of death.
"I am, my dear Sir, with great regard, yours truly,
Before sending you this letter, I transmitted a copy of it to Miss Mitchell, for her perusal and correction; and I have much pleasure in adding the following extracts from her very obliging and satisfactory reply.
"Agreeably to your request, I have read your letter to Mr. "Stewart with as much attention as the short time it has been "in my possession would admit of; and I certainly think you "have stated those facts I informed you of, respecting my bro"ther, most correctly.
"My brother seems to be very well pleased with his change "of residence,* and goes on much in the same way he did at "Ardelach; that is to say, wandering for several miles round "the small town we live in, or amusing himself by visiting "the different carpenters' or other tradesmens' shops within "his reach, and handling their implements, or trying to disco"ver what they are engaged about. He has not yet discover"ed any anxiety to return to Ardclach, and is, I think, quite "as happy as when there."
WHILE employed in revising this concluding sheet, I had the pleasure of receiving the following letter from my friend Sir James Mackintosh. It is unnecessary for me to mention the satisfaction I feel in attracting that notice to the subject of my Memoir which his name cannot fail to ensure.
Letter from Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH to Mr. STEWART.
My dear Sir,
Edinburgh, 5th November 1812.
In consequence of our conversation at Kinneil in August, I called on Mrs. Mitchell after my arrival in Nairnshire, and on the 9th of October I had an interview with James Mitchell, and his sister Miss Mitchell, which lasted for several hours. I directed my inquiries to every point which seemed important,
* Mrs. Mitchell and her family have within these few months left Ardclach to reside at Nairn.
in the corporeal or mental state of this unfortunately interesting young man.
The result, however, is little more than a needless corroboration of the accounts which you have already received; especially those from Dr. Gordon, who seems to have conducted his observations with much philosophical discernment and accuracy.
During the vacancy in his father's parish, the parishioners assembled on Sunday for public worship and mutual instruction, and one of the elders prayed with a loud and shrill voice, which was observed to give great uneasiness to Mitchell. This occurred several times, so that there appears no reason to consider it as an accidental coincidence.
Though his ordinary conduct be decorous, it seems to be influenced by habit and instruction rather than by feelings of delicacy. When the females of his family are undressing, he has been observed to turn aside. There are no males in the house. But in an opportunity which has lately occurred, he has been thought to show a similar disposition in the case of males.
I have seldom seen an imperfection of the senses attended by so little an air of defect in the countenance. Singular as it may seem, I should even venture to call his features intelligent. He handled every part of the room in which we sat, with indications of an inquisitive mind.
His sister is a young woman of most pleasing appearance and manners, distinguished by a very uncommon degree of modesty, caution, and precision, in her accounts of him; and probably one of the most intelligent, as well as kindest companions, that ever guided a being doomed to such unusual, if not unexampled privations.
You will not think me fantastic for adding, that the habitual exercise of ingenious benevolence seems to me to have left its traces on her countenance, and to have bestowed on her naturally agreeable features, an expression more delightful than beauty. Her aversion from exaggeration, and her singular superiority to the pleasure of inspiring wonder, make it important to the purposes of Philosophy as well as of Humanity, that she should continue to attend her brother. Separation from her would indeed be an irreparable calamity to this unfortunate youth. By her own unaided ingenuity, she has conquered the obstacles which seemed for ever to preclude all intercourse between him and other minds; and what is still more important, by the firm and gentle exertion of her well-earned ascendant over him, she spares him much of the pain which he must otherwise have suffered from the occasional violences of
a temper irritated by a fruitless struggle to give utterance to his thoughts and wishes; disturbed still farther by the vehemence of those gestures which he employs to supply the deficiency of his signs, and released from that restraint on anger which we experience when we see and hear its excesses disapproved by our fellow-creatures.
I am, my dear Sir, with the truest esteem,
Supplement to the History of JAMES MITCHELL. Sept. 12,
Some time after this Appendix was sent to press, it occurred. to me that it might be desirable to obtain some information with respect to James Mitchell's present condition; and if possible an outline of his history since the last intelligence transmitted by the late Dr. Gordon. With this view I requested my friend Mr. Macvey Napier to apply to Sir Thomas Dick Lauder for any particulars concerning Mitchell he might think it worth while to communicate. From the deep interest which that gentleman has always taken in the Mitchell family, and from his well known habits of philosophical observation, I thought him more likely than any other person to whom I had access, to be acquainted with the circumstances which I was most anxious to learn. I was unwilling to address myself directly to Miss Mitchell, lest she should have felt it painful to write again on so distressing a subject. Of the obliging readiness with which Sir Thomas has complied with my request, the following communications (for which I beg leave to return both to him and to Miss Mitchell my most grateful acknowledgments) are flattering proofs.
Letter from SIR T. DICK LAUDER of Fountainhall, Bart. to Mr. Professor NAPIER.
My Dear Napier, Relugas, 31st August 1826. IN obedience to Mr. Stewart's wish, I hasten to convey to you all the information I can procure regarding the very interesting youth James Mitchell; and having just received a very clear and satisfactory letter from his amiable sister, in reply to some queries which I addressed to her immediately on receipt of yours, I think I should be doing injustice to her, as well as the subject, were I to alter or abridge it in any way. I therefore copy it at length for Mr. Stewart's information.