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paroxysms, and his soul, kindling over the recollections of his long life, was anxious to hold communion till the very last, with those whose fathers he had remembered children. His was a long look back through the noise and the silence of several generations. "Great changes, they say, are going on all over the world now. I have seen some myself in my day—but oh my heart is sad, to think on the changes in the Highlands themselves! Glens that could once have sent out a hundred bayonets, belong entirely now to some fat Lowland grazier. Confound such policy, says auld Lewis Cameron." With these words he fell back, and lay exhausted on his heather-bed. "Hamish Fraser, take the pipes, and gang out on the green, and play 'Lochiel's awa' to France.' That tune made many a bluidy hand on that day—the Highlanders were broken—when Donald Fraser, your grandfather, blew up 'Lochiel's awa' to France.'— He was sitting on the ground with a broken leg, and och but the Camerons were red wud with shame and anger, and in a twinkling there was a cry that might have been heard frae this to the top of Ben-Nevis, and five hundred bayonets were brought down to the charge, till the Mounseers cried out for quarter. But we gi'ed them nane—for our souls were up, and we were wet-shod in bluid. I was among the foremost wi' my broad-sword, and cut them down on baith sides o' me like windlestraes. A broad-sword was ance a deadly weapon in these hands, but they are stiff now, and lying by my side just like the stone image o' that man in Elgin church-yard on a tombs!;ilie."
Hamish Fraser did as he was desired—and the wild sound of that martial instrument filled the great glen from stream to sky, and the echoes rolled round and round the mountain-tops, as if the bands of fifty regiments were playing a prelude to battle. "Weel blawn and weel fingered baith," quoth old Lewis; "the chield plays just like his grandfather."
The music ceased, and Hamish Fraser, on coming back into the Shealing, said, "I see two men on horseback coming up the glen— one is on a white horse." "Aye—blessed be God, that is the good priest—now will I die in peace. My last earthly thoughts are gone by—he will show me the Salvation of Christ—the road that leadeth to eternal life. My dear son—good Mr Gordon—I felt happy in your prayers and exhortations. But the minister of my own holy religion is at hand—and it is pleasant to die in the faith of one's forefathers. When he comes—you will leave us by ourselves—even my little Flora will go with you into the air for a little. The rain —is it not over and gone? And I hear no wind—only the voice of streams."
The sound of horses' feet was now on the turf before the door of
the Shealing—and Mr Macdonald came in with a friend. The dying man looked towards his Priest with a happy countenance, and blessed him in the name of God—of Christ—and of his blessed Mother the undefiled Virgin. He then uttered a few indistinct words addressed to the person who accompanied him—and there was silence in the Shealing.
"I was from home when the messenger came to my house—but he found me at the house of Mr Christie, the clergyman of the English church at Fort William, and he would not suffer me to come up the glen alone—so you now see himalong with me, Lewis.' The dying man said, "This indeed is Christian charity. Here in a lonely Shealing, by the death-bed of a poor man, are standing three ministers of God—each of a different persuasion—a Catholic —an Episcopal—and a Presbyter.—All of you have been kind to me for several years—and now you are all anxious for the salvation of my soul. God has indeed been merciful to me a sinner."
The Catholic Priest was himself an old man—although thirty years younger than poor Lewis Cameron—and he was the faithful shepherd of a small flock. He was revered by all who knew him for the apostolical fervour of his faith, the simplicity of his manners, and the blamelessness of his life. A humble man among the humble, and poor in spirit in the huts of the poor. But he had one character in the Highland glens, where he was known only as the teacher and comforter of the souls of his little flock—and another in the wide world, where his name was not undistinguished among those of men gifted with talent and rich in erudition. He had passed his youth in foreign countries—but had returned to the neighbourhood of his birth-place as his life was drawing towards a close, and for several years had resided in that wild region, esteeming his lot, although humble, yet high, if through him a few sinners were made repentant, and resignation brought by his voice to the dying bed.
With this good man had come to the lonely Shealing Mr Christie, the Episcopalian clergyman, who had received his education in an English University, and brought to the discharge of his duties in this wild region a mind cultivated by classical learning, and rich in the literature and philosophy of Greece and Rome. Towards him, a very young person, the heart of the old Priest had warmed on their very first meeting; and they really loved each other quite like father and son. The character of Mr Gordon, although unlike theirs in almost all respects, was yet not uncongenial. His strong native sense, his generous feelings, his ardent zeal, were all estimated by them as they deserved; and while he willingly bowed to their superior talents and acquirements, he maintained an equality with them both, in that devotion to his sacred duties, and Christian care of the souls of his flock, without which a minister can neither be respectable nor happy. In knowledge of the character, customs, modes of thinking and feeling, and the manners of the people, he was greatly superior to both his friends; and his advice, although always given with diffidence, and never but when asked, was most useful to them in the spiritual guidance of their own flock.
This friendly and truly Christian intercourse having subsisted for several years between these three ministers of religion, the blessed effects of it were visible, and were deeply and widely felt in the hearts of the inhabitants of this district. All causes of jealousy, dislike, and disunion, seemed to vanish into air, between people of those different persuasions, when they saw the true regard which they whom they most honoured and revered thus cherished for one another; and when the ordinary unthinking prejudices were laid aside, from which springs so much embitterment of the very blood, an appeal was then made, and seldom in vain, to deeper feelings in the heart, and nobler principles in the understanding, which otherwise would have remained inoperative. Thus the dwellers in the glens and on the mountains, without ceasing to love and delight in their own mode of worship, and without a single hallowed association that clung to the person of the minister of God, to the walls of the house in which he was worshipped, to the words in which the creature humbly addressed the Creator, or to the ground in which they were all finally to be laid at rest, yet all lived and died in mutual toleration and peace. Nor could there be a more affecting example of this than what was now seen even in the low and lonely Shealing of poor old Lewis Cameron. His breath had but a few gasps more to make—but his Shealing was blessed by the presence of those men whose religion, different as it was in many outward things, and often made to be so fatally different in essentials too, was now one and the same, as they stood beside that death-bed, with a thousand torrents sounding through the evening air, and overshadowed in their devotion by the gloom of that stupendous mountain.
All but the grey-haired Priest now left the Shealing, and sat down together in a beautiful circlet of green, inclosed with small rocks most richly ornamented by nature, even in this stormy clime, with many a graceful plant and blooming flower, to which the art of old Lewis and his Flora had added blossoms from the calmer gardens at the Fort. These and the heather perfumed the air—for the rain, though dense and strong, had not shattered a single spray, and every leaf and every bloom lifted itself cheerfully up begemmed with large quivering diamond drops. There sat the silent party—while death was dealing with old Lewis, and the man of God giving comfort to his penitent spirit. They were waiting the event in peace—and even little Flora, elevated by the presence of these holy men, whose office seemed now so especially sacred, and cheered by their fatherly kindness to herself, sat in the middle of the groupe, and scarcely shed a tear.
In a little while, Mr Macdonald came out from the Shealing, and beckoned on one of them to approach. They did so, one after the other, and thus singly took their last farewell of the ancient man. His agonies and strong convulsions were all over—he was now blind i—but he seemed to hear their voices still, and to be quite sensible. Little Flora was the last to go in—and she staid the longest. She came out sobbing, as if her heart would break, for she had kissed his cold lips, from which there was no breath, and his eyelids that fell not down over the dim orbs. "He is dead—he is dead !" said the child; and she went and sat down, with her face hidden by her hands, on a stone at some distance from the rest, a little birch tree hanging its limber spray over her head, and as the breeze touched them, letting down its clear dew-drops on her yellow hair. As she sat there, a few goats, for it was now the hour of evening when they came to be milked from the high cliffy pastures, gathered round her; and her pet-lamb, which had been frisking unheeded among the heather, after the hush of the storm, went bleating up to the sobbing shepherdess, and laid its head on her knees.
The evening had sunk down upon the glen, but the tempest was over, and though the torrents had not yet begun to subside, there was now a strong party, and no danger in their all journeying homewards together. One large star arose in heaven—and a wide white glimmer over a breaking mass of clouds told that the moon was struggling through, and, in another hour, if the upper current of air flowed on, would be apparent. No persuasion could induce little Flora to leave the Shealing—and Hamish Fraser was left to sit with her all night beside the dead. So the company departed—and as they descended into the great glen, they heard the wild wail of the pipe, mixing with the sound of the streams and the moaning of cliffs and caverns. It was Hamish Fraser pouring out a lament on the green before the Shealing—a mournful but martial tune which the old soldier had loved, and which, if there were any superstitious thoughts in the soul of him who was playing, might be supposed to soothe the spirit yet lingering in the dark hollow of his native mountains.
THE VETERAN TAR.
A Maaines, whom fate compell'd to make his home ashore,
He placed yon vane upon the roof to mark how stood the wind;
And in his spot of garden ground all ocean plants were met—
Models of cannon'd ships of war, rigged out in gallant style;
And there were charts and soundings, made by Anson, Cook, and Bligh;
Old Simon had an orphan been, no relative had he;
Even from his childhood was he seen a haunter of the quay;
So, at the age of raw thirteen, he took him to the sea.
Four years on board a merchantman he sail'd—a growmg lad,
But sterner life was in his thoughts, when, mid the sea-fights jar,
Through forty years of storm and shine, he plough'd the changeful deep,
I recollect the brave old man—methinks upon my view
He comes again—his varnish'd hat, striped shirt, and jacket blue;
Ilia bronzed and weather-beaten cheek, keen eye, and plaited queue.
Yon turfen bench the veteran loved beneath the threshold tree
And lighted up his faded face, when, drifting in the gale,
Oft would he tell how, under Smith, upon the Egyptian strand,