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very singular object. The sides of this i. were so steep and lofty, that they ardly admitted sight enough to discover the course of a streatn, more noisy than deep, which ran among broken rocks under natural arches. A narrow unfrequented road led into the depths of the valley, where a grey horse was quietly grazing, and at a little distance a man in black sat on one of the stones in the middle of the brook in a composed and meditative attitude. A position so extraordinary attracted the sportsman's attention, and he enquired, in a courteous accent, if the place afforded good sport for an angler. The solitary student raised his hat, and replied, in a peculiar tone of gravity, “Sir, I am discriminating.”—His observer hazarded a remark on the inconvenience of his seat, for the water was now flowing rather above the stones, but the man in black answered, “You are mistaken, sir!—any place is fit for discrimination – If you were a lawyer, sir, you would know, that on all occasions it is fitting and necessary to discriminate — If you are a trustee, and the estate is charged with debts—let the creditors wait: – if you have an executorship, and the legatees are clamorous, keep the funds while you discriminate—for a few years. Now the business in question is an assignment—Certain heritors in this country have assigned, granted, deponed, and made over sundry lands, teinds, tenements, and annual rents, to a certain person for the bencfit of certain aforesaids; and now, sir, auld Mahoun is in it if this person cannot keep this estate himself all his life, provided he takes a man of business into keeping too, and discriminates properly.”— “ Pardon me,” said the young sportsman, laughing, “ if I think the most interesting point just now is how to discriminate properly between a wet coat and a dry one—and I have not the honour of knowing the person you call Auld Mahoun.”—“ If that bag which you carry was a bag of briefs,” replied the gentleman in the brook, “ I flatter myself you would be very well acquainted with him. In South Britain, sir, his usual cognomine is Nicholas or Harry senior, and, as old Bishop Latimer truly said, he is the best lawyer of us all, for he never misses his business.” Though the young stranger could not determine whether his new ac

quaintance was influenced by wine or insanity, there was something so ridi. culously contrasted in the gravity of his discourse and the seat he had chosen, that he thought the sport of shooting well exchanged for this scene Per. ceiving his attentive air, the black gemtleman resumed his oration : “ In the church of St. Benigmas, at Dijon, there is the statue of a queen with one foot resembling a goose's ; and one of my merry clients, sir, wrote under it—“ this is the Law’—but as three such statues may be found in France, the jest might be extended to other professions.”—“Sir,” answered the youth, bowing, “ when a client jests, his lawyer must be an honourable one.”— “Very true, young gentleman, a merry client is a rarity; but heirs and executors never joke so well with law. yers as with physicians, because our mistakes are above ground, and a physician's are under it—Sir, you look as if you thought mine were likely to be under water, but this brook is a copy of my bill in chancery—always running —running-running on ; and I am where I chuse to be, among troubled .”—Before he could articulate the word, he fell from his seat o the water, and remained motioness. The stranger stood aghast at this tragical conclusion of the farce, and made fruitiess attempts to raise the body, which cramp or spasms had distorted. He succeeded, however, in drawing it out of the stream whose chillness had probably occasioned the disaster ; and |..."; the grey horse saddled and ridled as if it had befonged to this unfortunate man, he mounted him, aud leaving his dog to guard the body, rode to the town of K– , about two miles distant, to seek assistance. It was still a very early hour in the mornirg, and the master of an obscure inn, with two or three iabourers, rose to accoupany him back. Much time was lost hy their hesitation, and when they reached Glencraig, the stranger's body was soue, and the dog lay dead beside the brook. Grief and astonishment were the young man's only feelings, but his coupanions viewed and questioned hio with evident suspicion. The brook pidly through the glen, deepeat growing broader till it reached near K. where the small ri joins the western sea. One of t tators followed its course, and


wered a pocket-book floating, and not i. entirely moistened. Its contents ad probably been rifled, as it now contained only the rough draft of an assignment, in which blanks were left for dates and the names of persons and places. There was much agitation in the youth's features when he saw this document, and his seeming anxiety to keep it in his own possession increased the wary Scotch innkeeper's suspicions. He conveyed him instantly to the Provost of K. whose questions were answered with obvious confusion and incoherence, His name, he said, was Evan M'Querie, and his place of abode a small farm on the neighbouring coast, which he had tenanted a few weeks. He could not, or would not, give any references for his character; and the steward of the nobleman whose land he held, only knew that he came from England, and had paid a half year's rent in advance. If he was acquainted with more, he did not venture to communicate it, and a most suspicious obscurity gathered round Evan. The ambiguity and reserve of his statements respecting his family and former life, his sullenness and ill-concealed anxiety, justified the prejudice which rose against him. He imputed the stains on his apparel to the sport he had pursued on that fatal morning, but bills of large amount on the Bank of Scotland were found upon him, and the lost stranger's pocketbook had in its inner recess a pencilled list of bills, whose dates and value appeared to have been hastily effaced. And a silver penknife which tallied with the dog's morial wound, was found in Glencraig, with the initials E. M.– Evan professed that his house had been robbed a few nights before by two of the privileged mendicants still frequent in Scotland, and begged the magistrate to observe, that the collar of his dog had beco stolen since he left it near the brook. availed little, had not the most rigorous search been insufficient to recover the body and the stranger's death being thus rendered uncertain, the suspected risoner was released after a long delay, }. not without whispered hints of bribery, which pursued him to the obscure dwelling where he lived with only one servant in abhorred solitude. I returned, about the close of the eighteenth century, from a long absence in the West Indies, and found myself charged with some professional

But this excuse would have

duties which required my presence in Scotland. One of these duties was to ascertain the truth of some mysterious rumours respecting a wreck said to have happened on the western coast; and my visit to a nobleman in that neighbourhood enabled me to begin enquiries. He informed me, that Evan M“Querie had purchased from him the land he formerly tenanted, and was considered wealthy, though his mode of life was sordid and laborious. Part of his wealth was generally ascribed to the mysterious affair of Glencraig, and part to the wreck of a small trading vessel on the coast which his estate bordered. Advertisements in provincial papers had offered large rewards for a certain trunk supposed to contain the jewels and purse of a young English heiress, who had sailed in that unfortunate vessel to join the unknown adventurer she had married clandestinely. The crew and passengers had perished; but Evan M'Querie, who was supposed to visit the coast nightly at that period in expectation of contraband consignments, had probably found the chest among less valuable articles which the waves had thrown on shore, Very soon after, he became proprietor instead of farmer ; and strange rumours were whispered of the cautious and deep solitude he seemed to seek. The event of the wreck had long since ceased to be a subject of conversation, and no enquiries had been pursued ; therefore the elder neighbours surmised that the Laird M'Querie had begun to relax in his precautions, as his female servant had been seen at kirk and market in remnants of yellow lace and silk gloves, which were decmed a part of the spoils found in the lost bridal chest. My curiosity was excited by these details, and my friendly host supplied me with a pretext to visit the suspected man in his own mansion. It stood at the foot of an unshapely hill, half cncircled by a rude plantalion of dwarf firs, in a hollow, sloping towards the o cove celebraied in the legends of shipwrecks. The swampy and neglected grass-plat before the door, fenced on one side by an irregular peat stack, and on the other by a half-ruined tenement for poultry, indicatcd the squalid habits of its master. He opened the door himself, fearing perhaps to trust, a stranger with the decret it female who officiated as his only domestic and finding that I came on manoria - - from his neighbour, he conducted me into a room fit for the residence of a man who hated because he feared his fellowcreatures. Evan now appeared in more than his fortieth year ; and though his

erson was grown broad, and robust, o height was greatly diluinished by the constant stoop of his head and the contraction of his chest. The dark brown acquired by labour in the sun and wind, could not entirely cover a greenish sallowness in his complexion; and his thick black hair was streaked with grey. Shunned by his few neighbours, he had adopted the clownish dress and hoarse accent of his dependents; and a kind of scornful fierceness mingled with the anxiety which I could perceive in his eyes when he viewed me askance. My dog, who had followed me reluctantly into this gloomy house, after scenting the wooden pannel of its owner's close bed, and looking wistfully at the oat-cakes and fish hung over the smoked ingle, couched himself with great caution on the hearth. The Laird glauced at his collar, and asked leave to examine its inscription—“ Mec deficit aller.”—“...That, as you may perceive by the initials,” ...]. “is not the motto of my family; and if it was changed into “ Meck deficit haller,” it would be more appropriate, perhaps, to the real owner.”‘the blue gloom of Evan's eyes threat: ened lightning at this speeeh, but I had considered my purpose and pursued it. –“ My business in Scotland is to enquire if any traces have been preserved of the wreck which occurred here more than sixteen years since. the daughter of a Northumbrian, baronet is supposed to have perished on this coast, and her father before his death assigned his estates to me in trust for her benefit, and for his distant relatives in the event of her decease without offspring. A provision is also allotted to her husband if he survives her ; but it seems most probable that he shared her fate in the foundered sloop. I am authorized to give an ample recompense to , any one who can trace or restore the chest which

accompanied her.”—The Laird's com

plexion changed, and his, agitation strongly resembled guilt.—“Mr. M'Querie,” I continued, in a stern tone, “this silver knife is Elieu Maxwell's—perhaps you found it among the relics of the wreck "–He grew paler, but his eye became more intrepid, and he seemed

collecting his strength for a desperate effort—“ This,” said he, after a long pause, “is another result of the cruel prejudice against me. That knife was mine long before the wreck, and was in the hands of a magistrate on an occasion even more melancholy. I am innocent of both the crimes imputed to me.” —This ready consciousness of suspicion implied more than innocence, and I again offered a premium for the surrender of the jewels, adding that I saw the chest itself under the pannels of his bed. He rose, and advanced towards me with a startling suddenness.“Though you have entered my house to disturb my reputation, you will not find it so easy to disturb my property. Chance threw that chest into my "...}; and I keep it by the right of a husban Ellen Maxwell was my wife.” This unexpected confession deranged all the gravity of my professional face, and I shook him cordially by the hand, with a smile which, I suppose, recalled the youthful expression of my features. He gave a cry of transport, and embraced me. It was not easy for me to recover voice enough to tell him, that when my stupor of intoxication and epilepsy had induced him to leave me in Glencraig, I had been found by two vagrant beggars, who probably destroyed the dog before they robbed me. I recovered my senses in sufficieut time to see them hastening down the glen ; but having no recollection of the place where iny horse had been left, or of any thing that had passed before my trance, I made haste to reach the town of K. where I found the vessel in which my passage to Liverpool was secured on the point of sailing. Her boat received me before I entered the town, and I left Great Britain for the West Indies without leisure or inclination to enquire after the robbers, and without any memorial of the adventure except the collar of the faithful dog who had died in my defence. “You see,” concluded I, “my old habit of discriminating remains ; and as your father-in-law died lately without revoking his assignment, it will enable me to shew my gratitude for the hazard you incurred in Glencraig, which I never knew till to-day and to prove that a lawyer may love justice, though he may be found sometimes among troubled waters.” Evan M*Querie soon surnished me with documents sufficient to certify his marriage with the lady I have named. He had hired the small farm house of Glencraig for her reception when he came incognito to Scotland, and her untimely death on the coast where she had hoped to meet him, added to the disgraceful prejudice raised against him, occasioned the deep seclusion to which he retired. He emerged from it with a retrieved name and an ample competence, which atoned for undeserved sufferings, and proved the fallibility of circumstantial evidence. For myself, I must confess, that on the eventful morning which began this narrative, my imagination was bewildered by the splendid profits derivable from the assignment. My narrow escape from death arrested and chastised my wandering thoughls with a force which would have been doubly awful had I then discovered that I owed it to the man whose property I was tempted to infringe. Since that period, though the law has guarded the instrument called an assigninent with infinite formalities and precautions, I have never considered it in the course of my professional career, without wishing that such a warning may befall every man who executes or receives a deed of

trust. W. (To be continued.) —oTHE SEVEN AGES OF MAN. No. II.

“And then the schoolboy with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school.”

E". of the stages of human life is "A accompanied by its peculiar and appropriate pleasures and pains, which happily counterbalance each other, and render it difficult to determine what part of our journey is the most agreeable or the most irksome. The imbecility of infancy is attended by an incapacity for reflection, which makes it unconscious of its pitiable condition. The numerous little troubles and disappointments of childhood are amply compensated by that gaiety of disposition which derives amusement from every trifle. The impetuous ardour of youth meets a salutary check in the necessary, though galling, subjection to the parent's, the tutor's, and the master's authority. The oppressive cares and burdensome anxieties of manhood are delightfully relieved by those social

endearments which are exclusively its own, and those intellectual pleasures which the indocility of infancy, the immaturity of childhood, and the frivolity of youth, are unable to appre: cite or enjoy. The infirmity of old age is greatly alleviated by a calm serenity which quells each turbulent passion, a deadened sensibility which blunts the keenest edge of affliction, a venerable dignity which commands attention and excites respect, and in no small degree by that characteristic egotism which increases self-importance at a time when the least interest is taken in the concerns of others. Those agreeable and unpalatable ingredients, which are thus o: incorporated in the composition of human life, preserve a due equilibrium in the mind, preventing the dangerous repose of uninterrupted ease on the one hand, and the gloomy depression of desponding melancholy on the other. But it is only when we disencumber ourselves of present impressions, and rising superior to the contracted prospect of the passing hour, we take a comprehensive survey of the whole extent of human existence from the cradle to the grave—it is only at such a time that we can view with unbiassed feelings the smiling and frowning aspect which each of the seasons of revolving life alternately presents. Men in general are so perversely opposed to their own happiness, that, disregarding the enjoyments which every day consers, or might be made to contribute, they waste the former part of their lives in sanguine expectations of future good, and consume the latter in fruitless sorrow for disappointed hopes and blasted comforts. Present pains and anticipated pleasures are seen through an equally magnifying medium, while pleasure in possession and pain in retrospect are viewed through a proportionably diminishing one. The child kooks forward with eager emulation, and longs to assume all the fancied honours of manhood ; the man looks back with wishful regret, and sighs for the happy unimportance of childhood. He who has a mind too indolent for exercise, or too impure to derive satisfaction from its own operations, loathes his existence, and falsely ascribing the effects of his own weakness or depravity to a combination of untoward circumstances, he imagines every situation and every period is life to be more eligible than his own. But this sentiment is in some measure apparent in those also who can be suspected of no such failing ; good men and great men, the philosopher and the divine, observing the giddy sports and unmeaning merriment of childhood, put on the same serious countenance, and exclaim together—“ Delightful days of innocence and peace when the soul is inflamed by no unhallowed passion, and the heart tormented by no corroding care”—But would they divest their minds of all those pleasing asso; ciations which Poetry, more fruitful in fancy than experience, has connected with the very name of childhood, and merely recollect what were their own feelings at this envied age, their estimate of its comparative charins would not only be lowered, but would probably be altogether different. Did they ever credit the assertion, when their fathers gravely told them, “that those were their happiest hours ?” And would they not, in spite of this foreboding, have gladly emerged from the insiguificance of boys to the consequence of men Was not the controul to which they were obnoxious a continual source of vexation ? And did they not aspire after that independence which should emancipate them from its restraints One of the greatest impediments to happiness is that of possessing the power of volition, and at the same time to be denied the privilege of free-agency. But such is necessarily the condition of childhood ; for its perverse inclinations are constantly desiring what is either improper or impossible ; and what discreet parent would not rather disappoint the wishes of his son by a prudent denial, than injure his health or his morals by an indulgent and silly compliance What though our pleasures are at this age the least tarnished by care our troubles are also the least mitigated by soothing reflection. “The joy of grief” may attach to manly sorrow, but this beautiful allusion would appear ridiculous when applied to the sobbings of a fretful child. The statesman, full of anxiety for the success of his plans, or pining with remorse at their frustration : the author, poring over the midnight lamp till his spirits and his thoughts are both exhausted, or smarting under the cruel lash of malicious criticism ; the tradesmau, exerting all his cfforts to support a

numerous family by the labour of his hands, or seeing that family suddenly

..ruined by his misfortune ; may sar

castically smile at the mention of scholastic toils, or the sorrows of the nursery. But their industry is not to be despised whose limited faculties are as yet incapable of persevering and vigorous application ; nor is their grief to be derided, though excited by the most trivial accident. We should not estimate the difficulty of a task, nor measure the severity of distress, by the ease with which we ourselves could perform the one, or sustain the other; but by the capacity of him to whom that task is allotted, or upon whom that distress has fallen. It must be a more laborious exercise for the child to learn its alphabet, or the schoolboy his accidence, than for the matheimatician to solve an intricate problein, the lawyer to decide a moot-case, or the linguist to acquire a foreign tongue. It must be as painful a disappointment for the child to be deprived of its bawble, or the school-boy to lose his station in the class, as for the avaricious man to be robbed of a part of his hoarded treasure, or the ambitious man to see an office or an honour transferred from himself to another. The inimitable Bard whose words we have adopted for our motto, and whose acquaintance with character is undisputed and unrivalled, in some measure supports the preceding remarks by the epithet and the simile he has introduced in his concise description of that season of life to which we now more particularly allude; and he has dislayed his accustoned discrimination in selecting the principal source of the evils which usually attend it. It is melancholy to observe how considerably the improvement of youth is retarded by a slothfulness o, an aversion to mental application, a preference of idle pastimes, and au indifference to its own advancement. Entreaty or correction is constauily demanded to excite or accelerate its progress, for an impulse is almost as necessary to give motion to mind as to matter. The attainments of a schoolboy are generally forced upon him by the infliction of punishment, or reluctantly acquired through the dread of it, rather than from any urgent desire; after iutellectual endowments, or from any congeniality, between such pur no suits and his habits or his feelias; b.

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