« PreviousContinue »
THE WANDERER'S RETURN.
the weaknesses of good people, who perhaps had afternoons grew sensibly shorter and the evenings come through more than they told, seeing it was longer. The play had been given out for sonie common with persons in their way of life not to time, and the schoolmaster was growing stronger let others know all their straits. Although the with his leisure. The harvest was early, and pronew family came among us unexpectedly, that was mised to be good, so that the meal had already owing to the habit of their aunts, in keeping become cheaper, and everybody seemed to be their own secrets; and then in the end because pleased; for the farmers round there, being mostly the coach came late to the town; and it was "well to do” in the world, were not greedy for some time before they could get a conveyance to dearth; when the travellers returned, and brought Kirkhowe, and so every house was quiet when with them a pleasant-looking aged man, not so Mrs. Ferrie, with her boy and girl, returned to bent as the doctor, nor so ruddy as the minister ; her native place.
but with very white hair and deep lines over his face. He was alone in life, and in all his long voyage from India, he expected not to be alone
when he arrived here. It was not easy to tell CHAPTER X.
the wanderer, returned after a long service in the THE WANDERER'S RETURN.
East, that he had none of his own to welcome For some time the current of our life ran smooth, him back. The wife of his youth died beside him, and scarcely a ripple appeared on the waters, and was buried beneath the palm tree. One by although we were all hurrying on to the great sea one their children dropped away and perished not less quickly than when troubles were in the among the flowers of India, except that one who way. We seemed like the deep and pleasant came to us. Her father resembled the man with Forth as I have seen it often, winding out and in, only one lamb, of whom the Prophet told the or coiling around its meadows or corn fields, so Eastern king; but there was this difference, that quiet and still that we could scarcely tell whether for nearly twelve years he liad only cherished the it was going on to Leith or back to Stirling. The remembrance of that lamb, and God took her, but corn grew through all these days and nights, and not man. It was not easy to tell him after the the sun had become hot, and even the nights were ship came up the London river, and he had landed warm, so that patches of barley began to lose once more on the soil of his own country that, their green lue, and turn to yellow. Then, upon there was no young person to bid him welcome ; an afternoon, there came a carriage to the manse, but that was all passed long ere he came to Blinkand some bags were put into it and a small trunk. bonnie and Kirkhowe. The former place was out It then drove round to Dr. More's, and a great of order in some measure, for the work was number of bags and two trunks were placed in or stopped after the accident, and the old gentleman upon it. The minister followed the carriage, de- for a time lived with the Mores. At first he did mure and dowie in his look. He went not into not wish to come to Scotland ; then he thought Dr. More's, for the afternoon was very fine, and he that he would like to see even her grave, and to sauntered up to the knowe among the flowers live occasionally where she lived, and walk where before the door, and looked through the trees, she had walked ; and his friends encouraged this down the water, to Blinkbonnie; and it might run of thought in his mind, and the lady even said have been that the sun's rays hurt his eyes, for that nobody else could do her work; but yet he they were so bright that the upper windows of might help to finish part of what she had comthat house which we could just see, shone like a menced; and that thought struck him more than furnace fire, although I knew nothing then of the any other, they said, as a reason for coming home, great furnaces in the iron districts, where the since, after all, he had no home but Blinkbounie; stones are melted down with fervent heat, and the and so sometime after that return we read in the boiling metal is most beautiful to look upon; but papers that the Hon. Mr. Rose, E.I.C.S., was to at any rate his eyes did seem watery and weak, take up his abode at Blinkbonnie, which he had when Dr. More and Mrs. More came out accoutred purchased before the untimely death by accident as if they were going upon a far journey. So the of his only then living daughter.
. Something more lady gave me the little parcel which I had been was said of her character, often said when not sent for to carry up to Widow Robbs; and she quite true. said that they were going far away to London, and Mr. Rose was a wonderfully placid man in would not be back for a long time, only she had the midst of sorrow, and he spoke most kindly to left messages concerning the school with Mr. all the neighbours, and especially to the boys at Green who was still there, helping Mr. Petrie, the school, so that it appeared as if affliction had because he waxed frailer as the year grew older ; mellowed his character, and that alone, and childand she thought they would all be back before the less, he could yet be in some measure happy. A harvest vacancy was done, which was not com- tall marble column was placed against the menced then, nor even spoken or thought of, so wall of the church, at the
top of his the carriage rolled away, and Kirkhowe seemed daughter's grave. It
beautiful duller ; but I delivered my parcel.
then, and is beautiful yet, although the roses have The summer faded into the early autumn. The twined round the top and shed many leaves in
autumn at its foot and over her carnations. It neyed to Edinburgh, by the bridge of Stirling—not was said to be erected by J. R. Rose, of Blink- altogether both a cheap and an easy task, in those bonnie, in memory of Agnes Fletcher, his wife, days; and he got there, and was made most wel. who died at Madras, on the 8th of June, 1816 ; come, for his coming was opportune, since Mr. and of their children, whose births, and deaths, Rose had obtained an appointment in India, and and names it gave ; two daughters and one son, Miss Agnes was to marry him, aad leave for that who all died where they were born, in the land of land, stranger then than now, in a short time. their parents’ sojourn ; and of Nancy Rose, who Mr. Fletcher was a young man then of strong was drowned, and the date and place were added, good sense, and well guided by the influences from and was buried in this spot, * Aged 21 Years.” on high. So, although this was to him a comThen followed, by what coincidence I cannot say, plete casting down of the castles he had been that very text on which old Samuel Coutts, from building in the air above the mause of Kinaber; the Upper Burn, had spoken on the Sabbath after yet he tried to be composed, for he knew that he her death, when there was no preaching in the could not blame Miss Agnes, and as little could kirk. (Malachi iii., 17.) A space was left for one he be offended with Mr. Rose; who had only, as name ; and it has been long since filled up, so that it were, shown the same discernment as himself. the family record is complete on that one marble. He did nothing very romantic, therefore, but bore
his pain in his own breast, well hidden, and dealt with his fair cousin as if he bad come up just to propose--as his sister was married, and Miss Agnes
was to be married, and as he did not expect ever CHAPTER XI.
to see it to be his duty to take a wife-that old THE MINISTER'S TRIALS.
Mrs. Fletcher should not be left alone in the I NEVER mentioned before that the minister's world, but should reside with him at Kinabers; name was Fletcher. He belonged in a distant and this was agreed to, more readily, perhaps, on link to the Fletchers of Burnside, who had a small the old lady's part, that she really needed no more estate; and even the minister himself was than sympathy in the world, and their relative, heritor in another parish, where Burnside stood ; the young minister of Kinabers, was not likely to but he had only one small farm, and the land was divert away her property from the straight line, cold and thin. When he was a very young man while his home would look more minister-like with be went to study in Edinburgh, I believe; and he such a respectable lady dwelling there. So this stopped in the house of a relative, who had one marriage occurred, and Mr. Fletcher was necessidaughter, and only one, and she was the Agnes tated to take therein a subordinate place, instead Fletcher mentioned on the marble slab in our kirk of the principal, to which he had aspired-unknown yard. Mr. Fletcher had always been a man of to her who alone could have given him that preretiring habits, and he did not even make that sentation ; and the young
and old, both sorrowing, close acquaintance with many of his friends that parted from the young, whose joy no doubt was other people would have done. In addition to his coloured and tinged by grief at parting with one natural diffidence, Miss Agnes was an only child, whom they could no more expect to see on and comfortable in the world, while he had only his earth ; and the aged and the young went northsmall piece of cold upland, and himself, and he ward to quiet Kinabers, and their friends to the also bad bis sister to portion off the farm-for gorgeous East. When a few years came and went, they were orphans. So Mr. Fletcher, while it Mrs. Fletcher died, and Mr. Fletcher, who had cannot be questioned, as I came to know for cer- been to her as a son, in writing of her death, told tain, that he was deeply in love with this Miss bis own secret to Mr. Rose, leaving to his disAgnes, thought that he could not speak to her on cretion whether it should be communicated to Mrs. the subject of settling in the world, seeing he was Rose, whom it could in no way help to hear bad no better than a probationer of ordinary parts, tidings. Then Mr. Fletcher added that his siswhen he was advised to go back to his own neigh- ter bad become a widow, and with her son and bourhood on some assistantship.
two daughters, was to reside with him in the He remained there for well nigh two years, be
The years that followed were happy and fore he heard that Mr. Rose, who had called some- useful at Kinabers; but death came into the little times before, had become extremely intimate with circle, and first the minister's sister died, and then his second cousin ; although they wrote once in her daughters, one after another, as they grew two or three months. By some influence he had into youth, followed her into the grave, dying of got the presentation to a small parish more among consumption--the plague of our changeable chithe hills than our own; and probably Kinabers mate. It was then that some of his friends, when had a smaller stipend than Kirkhowe. So he our parish became vacant, managed to obtain his thought the time might be come when he could transference to it, away a little from a house of speak to his second cousin in perfect consistence mourning, and it was then, also, or soon after, with the prudence and sobriety that became his that Mr. and Mrs. Rose suggested to him the station. Accordingly, notwithstanding that he charge of their young daughter, after others had had heard indirectly of this Mr. Rose, he jour- faded in that land where European families have
been hitherto but truly pilgrims and strangers by his own people, and the other hanging on, as it the way. When he came down to Kirkhowe, as were, at the very outskirts of civilisation for a has been said, he continued every person and long lifetime; and yet their devious roads met at thing in its place, so far as was possible, and his last
, beside a grave which held the latest object of home grew cheerier when the young Indian girl their inner life's love and thought. The roads and her governess came to dwell there ; and his came together in the kirkyard of Kirkhowe. But heart would naturally get very warm to the little one person among the young charges of the minis. thing that ran out and in among his trees and ter is unacconnted for. Death had all the others walks ; and so when she grew up, and somehow in its keeping. Once he thought it might have been rather went before him in doing good, and had to well if death had taken that one also in store ; but draw him into her plans, and looked so very like men often think erroneously. This was his sister's the Miss Agnes of his college days and his pro- son, who left him long before he left Kinabers ; bationship, it may be supposed, without thinking not so much that he was then more than thoughtanything out of the way in the shape of romance, less; but when he went into a large town, and was that the old man's affections, which for a quiet to learn all that was necessary for his future man, who never travelled far from home, had been career in life, he rather learned other things, and sorely seared and tried, and driven as it were, into fell into bad company, and into debt, which his himself
, again looked forth, and clustered round uncle could pay, and into drink which that friend his young charge. And even when her father could not cure; and he was a deep grief at the wrote that he was to return, the minister manse, the more especially when word came that rejoiced, although Blinkbonnie out of he had left his lodgings and gone no one knew his parish, that it was near his home, and where, nor with whom, nor for what purpose, that Mr. Cairns bad been able to buy it at the nor even if he was still alive. Being such a recko exact time when it was needed; so that, although less boy, and this happening on the back of his the manse might be again dark and dull, yet Miss younger sister's death, just upon her grave, as it Nancy would be near to him, and all the little were, ere even the sods had joined, it looked like works which she had commenced to do. Thus it the heaping up of sorrow upon trouble. will be seen that over and above the ordinary | Wilson did not die, however, but he was long in a “trabels " and tribulations of his professional life, hard state, and with a hard heart--for many years this man bad a hidden spring of grief that ran passed away before word came of him to the man deep and long, for a time; and then came more whom he had helped to sadden. Nevertheless, it easily seen woes; and, last of all, the sad shock was well that he did not die and perish from the that seemed to say that he must die alone, with earth like the rest of his family. And yet it was none of the young for whom he bad cared to close not written that the uncle and nephew were ever his eyes on the things of time. It is true, that to meet again in our world. Their roads separated the minister's life bad in it nothing very exciting ; from the time that the boy flung himself into the but yet it gave a curious illustration of the manner stormiest currents of life, and was tossed so long whereby men's roads through the world cross each among its breakers, down its rapids, and past its other, go far round, and meet at last. The lines rocks, that he seemed never likely more to reach of these two old gentlemen outwardly presented a the plain course of duty; and when he did, it singular contrast ; one working on at home among
never floated him back to our land.
GLEANINGS AND FRAGMENTS.
watch for representatives who may be considered The member for Sheffield would be a more for tea and coffee proof. Mr. Roebuck in his speech, midable agitator than he is, if he had better health and in reference to military life, said, by the reand strength; but he is formidable. At Liverpool, port we have read, that from the days of Marlduring the last month, he bas been endeavouring borough to those of Wellington, we had no great to instruct the members of the Financial Associa- General, although several great Admirals arose ; tion, between whom and the Administrative Re- and he explained the curiosity by ascribing miliform Association of London he wishes to form an tary power entirely to the aristocracy, whereas alliance. At one meeting he ennmerated the plebeian genius had more scope in the naval detemptations that assail honest members of Parlia- partment. Mr. Roebuck must have forgotten the ment, of which the most dangerous are the smiles names of Wolfe, of Clive, of Abercromby, of of aristocratic and fair ladies. The watchdogs of Ouchterlony, of Baird, of Lake, and Moore. They the people were, he said, led astray by the mere are the names of able and great Generals; the roll commonplace civilities of soirees, or what we might be largely increased, especially from the should call vulgarly evening parties. At the next Eastern service. Abercrombie, who died a victor elections, therefore, the voters must keep a sharp in Egypt, Moore who finished his life and his
THE CRIMEAN COMMISSION-TIE PRUSSIAN MANIFESTO.
celebrated retreat in victory, at Corunna, Wolfe, writer warns us to return into good old Toryism, who died while victor at Quebec, did not belong and worse, verily worse, to something like the to the aristocratic classes--or to the higher aris-continental system, otherwise a coalition of nations tocracy. Clive founded an aristocratic family, but will be formed against us. The quotations promade his own fortune. Lake's victories in India fessedly made fromthe pamphlet savour of too much were even more complete and decisive, if possible, champagne. They all read like “ tenth tumbler than those of Wellington. Our military system sentences.” Our press is a disgrace to ourselves appears to be more indebted to au official coterie for its licentiousness; and our Palmerstonian than to the aristocracy for its failures. The late foreign politics are a nuisance to Europe; which Commander-in-Chief Viscount Hardinge, was not they threaten. We hope that person an aristocrat's, but a clergyman's son. Sir George has passed a clever trick on some other perBrown, who is a brave man, although he is con- son in respect to the extracts ; but one coalition sidered a strong drill and pipe-clay soldier, belongs is advisable in the circumstances, namely a coalito the middle classes. Sir Colin Campbell begap tion, if the story be true, not to vote any dowry his march with his commission and his sword, to the British Princess who is to marry a Prussian although we admit that the same services would Prince, until the work be condemned in its natihave placed him long years ago in a higher position vity, even if its pages have been inspired by than he yet occupies, in any other service. It Royalty. As to coalitions against us, our Posen may be said that Abercrombie and Moore did not and Rhenish provinces are not much in Europe's achieve on land the results wrought by Duncan way. and Nelson at sea, or Marlborough before, or
THE FRENCH ALLIANCE. Wellington after them, but they had not equal A NUMBER of French generals met last month means. We were in their days not a great mili- to pay a personal compliment to Prince Napoleon, tary but a great naval power.
in reference to the Crimean war. The Prince left
in bad health before the winter, and knew nothing THE CRIMEAN COMMISSION.
personally of what passed then. Because at that Sir John M`Neill and Colonel Tulloch have by meeting in respect to a French Prince, nothing different means expressed their displeasure with was said regarding the British army and its work, the manner in which the Chelsea Board of Generals therefore one set of alarmists said the alliance was dealt by their report upon the state of the army falling to pieces ; and others said, “ Think of that in the Crimea. They both consider the conduct Redan; this rocky, stupid Redan again.” The of the Government and of the Horse Guards cal revival of these calumnies is ungenerous ; and the culated to prevert the success of similar com- only remedy that we can see is to ask the gentlemissions hereafter. The Liverpool people, in a men who make them also to take pickaxe in hand very proper spirit, have addressed the two Com- and show us how to make a trench through a missioners on the subject. Sir John M'Neill is rock. According to Admiral Houston Stewart's unfortunately able to say that their address is the version of the matter, as represented to his old first public acknowledgment of his labours that he friends at Greenock, during the mouth, the British has received. We complain of the Parliament. had either to trench through a rock, which they What of the people? They can do what they could not do, or make an open race at the Redan please when they please to do it. And if the for several hundred yards ; while the French could efficiency and honour of the army were as dear to and did cut through a soft soil to the guns of the them as ninepence in the pouud, December and Malakhoff. This is, we presume, an adequate January last teach us what they could accomplish, explanation of the matter-which yet will have If these two Commissioners, who bravely and to be repeated agaiu and again during the current honestly shook the official board of mismanage year. It does not explain, however, how the Briment to its foundations, cannot be publicly thanked tish always had the rocks, and our allies the sand; by the Parliament on account of the Government, how they marched over the Alma under the shelter who cannot be frank on account of the Court, the of guns from the sea; and our people had to take people can do that business without the fear of the inland journey ; how we had the exposed port any consequences except those of neglecting it. of Balaklava and they the safer landing at
Kamiesch ; how we had to guard the long lines THE PRUSSIAN MANIFESTO.
of Inkermann while they were comparatively If some of the newspapers have not been the sub- sheltered from attack—but we fancy that all these jects of a very odious hoax, a pampblet has been things came of the alliance which is in no danger published in Berlin, which is the most impudent whatever from any cause, so long as it is useful prodnction of its kind and of the times. The to both nations, and will not last a day beyond that writer is supposed to be in concert with the Court: time. The comfort regarding it is, that we have Some of the passages very much resemble the no policy to promote which can in any way cross “inspirited” poetics of the King's speeches. In the purposes of France, so long as the latter are Berlin at any rate, a violent attack upon Great confined to the peace of its people, and the ad. Britain and its institutions could not appear with vancement of their material wealth and political out the indirect sanction of the authorities. The freedom.
A few sammers back I was making a pedestrian | Titanic shadows than immense masses of earth and tour of South Wales, when, in one of my solitary stone. One then caught the brilliant glow upon rambles, I fell in with a very interesting companion. the quiet river, that was meandering through the The similarity of tastes which we discovered in our valley, blashing like a fair virgin with her lover's first interview, led to a further intimacy, and we last kiss at parting on her brow. Having exhausted soon became fast friends- intimate, indeed, that all our powers of description upon the scenery, we Mr. Arthur Mostyn (such was my companion's determined, as we began to feel fatigued, to rest name), invited me to spend the remainder of the for a time at the little inn that stood by the roadsummer at a little cottage he owned near Brecon. side.
I was not over-burdened with worldly cares. I We were shown into a snug little parlour, and had neither wife, child, uor business to cause me left to ourselves. As the evening was rather any anxiety; so I cheerfully accepted the invitation chilly, our host accommodated us with a fire, aud so heartily given, and in a day or two was regu. refreshing ourselves with a jug of his home-brewed, larly domiciled with my new friend. He was a we chatted till it grew quite dark. young man about thirty, well educated, and accom. My companion was evidently quite tired-for I plished ; a first-rate artist--for many of his found, on launching out into some flowery descripsketches and drawings would have done no dis- tion of foreign scenes, and comparing them with credit to a professional hand. There were, how- Wales, I received no answer or comment from him. ever, many peculiarities in his manner which had I looked up, and found he was fast asleep; so my not appeared in our first interview, and these I only resource was to stir the fire, and as books could not help noticing a: I was more in his com- were out of the question in a neighbourhood like pany. He spoke French with a purity of accent this, to draw my chair nearer to it, and give myself that I had never remarked in any other English- up to reflection till my companion should be rested man. I accounted for this by supposing that he sufficiently to walk home. Sitting by the firelight, had resided for some time on the continent; but I am very apt to lose myself in imaginative dreams. on my remarking his perfection in the language, In these abstracted moods, the ordinary objects of he became silent and reserved for the remainder of the room often mingle strangely with my reveries, the day. It was evident that I had touched upon a and assist the illusions of the fancy. It was parjarring chord, and as my only object in keeping ticularly the case at this moment. All was so his company was the enjoyment of his intellectual quiet and subdued that the mind was insensibly taste, and the gratification of my love of the pic. carried away to the past. Old faces seemed to turesque, I did not seek to know more of him than flash upon me in the flickering firelight; old hopes he chose to tell me. I had noticed that everything and aspirations came fresh to my meinory from the relating to France, if but slightly touched upon, long years that were gone ; sweet tones that had produced in bim a fit of melancholy; so I carefully touched my heart in those days seemed now to avoided any reference to that subject. But a cir. echo faintly in my ears; bright looks and sunny cunstance occurred in one of our excursions that smiles that had long ago been quenched in the aroused my curiosity in a great degree. We fre- grave came vividly to the mind's eye. quently look very long walks in the mountainous It was growing late, but siill Arthur slept. The districts in the neighbourhood of Brecon, and one moon rose above the Brecon Beacons, and shone fine evening, as the sun was setting, we found full upon the exquisite landscape, and into the ourselves at the little village of Llaubamlach, some apartment where we sat. I went to the window, two or three miles from that town. This village and looked out on the beautiful scene. Then I is one of the best specimens of South Wales went back again to my chair by the fireside. I scenery. Lying in the midst of a lovely valley had not been sitting long, when it struck me that watered by the Usk, we thought, as we now gazed
a faint and unusual shadow seemed to be cast upon it illuminated by the setting sun, that it across the room from the direction of the window. would be difficult indeed to find a more beautiful I was almost asleep, as well as my companion, and picture. We sat upon a gate by the road side, did not at first turn round to notice it; but in a and were soon lost in delicious reveries, broken minute or two I recalled my faculties from the only by some murmured exclamatiou as a change abysses of my reveries, and glanced directly toward in the aspect of the gorgeously tinted clouds awoke the window. The object, whatever it was that had in us such admiration that we could no longer keep obstructed the moonlight, vanished instantly; but silent. Then, breaking into raptures, we vied with it appeared to me, in the indistinct light and the each other who could discover the greatest beau- momentary glance I caught, to be the face of a ties. One pointed to the darkened outline of the female. So sudden was the disappearance from little church spire, that stood directly in the crim- the window, and so shadowy were my recollections son glow of the sunlight. The other remarked the of the features, that I fancied for some time it purpling tint of the distant mountains, that formed could not bave been a reality—that I had been the background of the picture, looking more like dreaming, or had conjured up the sweet phan