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the lottery-drawing was expected, the following paragraph appeared in the newspaper with which Mr Blank was connected.
"By private accounts from London, we understand that 984 and 1757 are the numbers drawn in the present lottery for the two £20, 000 prizes. We know not if any of these lucky numbers have been disposed of in this quarter."
Poor Robin came for his newspaper at the usual time, and in his usual manner. He got his customary glass, but missed his customary " bother" with Mr Blank, who chose for the present to be out of the way. Home he trudged, carrying the newspaper, the harbinger of his fortune, in the crown of his hat—placed himself on his stool—drew out his spectacles—and began to read, as usual, from the beginning of the first page. It was some time before he reached the paragraph big with his fate. When he saw it, he gave a gasp—took off his spectacles, and began to rub them, as if doubtful that they had deceived him—placed them again deliberately on his nose—read the passage over again, slowly and surely—then quietly laying his hand on a shoe which he had been mending, and which contained a last, made it in a momeut spin through the window, carrying casement with it, and passing barely the head of a fishwife who was toiling along with her creel. His wife, Janet, was not at home, so, rushing out of doors, he made way to his old howff, at the sign of the Sheep's Head. The landlady held up her hands at his wild look.
"Send for barber Hughie," he cried, "and Neil the tailor: and I say, Luckie, bring in—let me see— a Gallon O' your best; and some cheese—a Hail Cheese—nane o' your halfs and quarters."
"Guide us, Robin! What bee's this in your bonnet? The man's gyte!"
"Look there, woman, at the papers. I've gotten a prize. A twenty thousand pounder. What's the sixteenth o' that, think ye?"
"A prize and nae blank! Eh, wow, Robin, gie's a shake o' your hand. I aye said ye wad come to something. Isy, you slut, rin for the barber,—and Neil—if he's sober—and bring the gudeman too. The mae the merrier."
Robin was soon surrounded by all his cronies of the village; for the news of his good fortune spread with the rapidity of scandal. Innumerable were the shakings of hands, and the pledges of good will and assistance. The Sheep's Head soon became too hot for the company; the village itself was in an uproar; and as halloo followed halloo, Mr Blank inwardly "shrunk at the sound himself had made." Meanwhile, to have the truth of the statement confirmed, a superannuated lawyer had been despatched on an old blood horse to the ottery Office at Edinburgh; and his return, with the intelligence that all was a hoax, spread dismay over the faces of the carousers, and made Robin's heart sink with grief and shame.
A speedy change took place in the conduct of those fair-weather friends who had flocked around the poor cobbler. From being the admired of all beholders, he became an object of scorn and laughter, till unable to stand their mocks and jibes, he rushed from their presence, and sought shelter under his own bed-clothes. The only one who stood true was Neil the tailor. He followed Robin to his own house—took him by the hand, and said, "Robin, my man, I promised you a suit o' clothes, o' the best. I ken ye wad hae befriended me had ye got the cash—and —lottery or no lottery—by Jove! Vll keep my word."
Mr Blank took care to discharge the debt incurred at the Sheep's Head, and endeavoured, by proffers of money and otherwise, to comfort Robin, and atone in some measure for the injury which he had secretly done him. But Robin turned himself in his bed, and would not be comforted. Three days he lay in this plight, when authentic information arrived of the drawing of the lottery. Robin's number was, after all, in reality a lucky one—not, indeed, twenty thousand, but five thousand pounds. The sixteenth of even this was a little fortune to him, and he received it with a sober satisfaction, very different from the boisterous glee which he had formerly displayed. "I'll seek naneo' them this time," he said to his wife, Janet—"except Neil the tailor: he, puir body, was the only truehearted creature amang them a'. I've learn't a lesson by what has taken place. / ken wha to trust."
THE SEA CAVE.
Haadlv we breathe, although the air be free.
THE LOSS OF THE ABEONA.*
One night, when returning from the house of a friend, with whom I had sat late at supper, to my own lodging, in the city of Glasgow, where at that time my lot was cast, I was passing along the darkest part, commonly called the How, of the Gallowgate, and in the midst of the deep silence I heard a heavy footstep approaching me. We passed close to each other, when instantly the man stopped short, named my name, and took hold of my hand. Somewhat startled, but nothing alarmed, I said, "Who are you, friend, and where are you going at this hour of the night?" He
answered, "I am James , and am going to the Broomielaw
to catch the first steam-boat in the morning, to take me down to the Abeona, which sails to-morrow for the Cape." This brought at once to my recollection one of our parishioners, whom, along with the elder of his district, I had visited some few days before, to converse and pray with him and his wife before their departure as stttiers for Algoa Bay, in South Africa. "Well, James," said I, "and is this the last of you that I am to see in this world?" "I fear it, sir," said James; "for my wife is already at the Broomielaw, and 1 have just settled all our little matters, and parted with my friends, and we sail to-morrow. But, oh, sir, I am glad to see you, and count it good luck that you should be the last man in the parish to shake me by the hand and bid God bless me." "Well, James," I said, "grant it may be so; fear His name, be kind to your wife, be honest and true, and fear no evil." And so, after lingering a while as loth to part, and having no interruption at that quiet and dark hour, we took our several ways, little knowing what should fall out before we met again.
Towards the end of the same week I had occasion to visit a friend and brother-minister, at the mouth of the Clyde. While the steamboat waited, to set out and take in passengers at Greenock, whom should I see standing upon the quay, witha little child in each hand, but my friend James: the instant I recognized him, I stepped out, and right glad were we to meet again. "I did not expect to have seen you again, James, when we parted that dark night in the How of the Gallowgate." "The ship has been detained," said he, "waiting for passengers, who were to meet us here from different parts of the country; but we sail tho next tide." "And whose children are these?" for I knew that he had no family of his own. "They are," said he, "amongst the youngest of a very large family
* From "Recollections and Observations of a Scottish Clergyman," in
from the townhead of Glasgow, who are going out along with us. There are eight of them, besides their father 'uid mother. It is a great charge; and while their mother and my wife are gone into the town to purchase some small articles before we sail, I have taken the charge of them." "Poor dear children," I said, and took them in my arms, and gave them some little money, which their mother might layout for their comfort, "Poor things," said James, "they little know what is before them." And never spake he a truer word; for there was before them, in a few weeks, the loss of father and mother, and brother and sister. Oh, it grieves me still, whenever I think upon it, to remember what I have seen in all parts of Scotland, and what I that day saw upon the quay of Greenock, the heavy-hearted emigrants loitering about with such cheerless looks, with all the little store of their cottages lying in confusion around them. I question whether aught can make up to their coun try the loss of such a peasantry as I have seen depart by ship-loads from her shores.
At the interval of many months, on a Sabbath night, after preaching to the people, when they were all dismissed and scattered on their several ways, as I was coming from the Session House, I observed a man standing by the wall of the church, as it were to speak to me, who stopped me, and said, taking my hand, " Oh, how glad I am to see you again, sir! Much, much has passed since we parted." In a moment I recollected my old friend, whom, since the accounts had arrived that the Abeona was burned at sea, I had never expected to meet again. I answered, " If you be glad to see me, how much gladder should I be to see you, James, in the land of the living and the place of hope: and your wife?"—" Ah, sir, sheisnomore: andhe was proceeding to tell me the taleof his calamity, and his wife's tragical end, when I interrupted him, saying, "Be of good comfort, James: but this is both too long and too sore a matter for street conversation. Come with me into my lodging; take some refreshment, and then you will tell it me at your leisure. It is the best night in the week for conversing of such an awful providence, and no time so fit as now, when we have been worshipping together in His house." So we went our way.
As we'walked together through one or two streets, which lay between the church and my abode, I asked him when he had arrived, and what he had been doing since he came home. "I came but yesterday," said he, "and went directly to Mr F 's, the
elder's, to tell him what had befallen me; and now, sir, I thought it better not to say any thing to you till the duties of the Sabbath were over, lest you might have been discomposed by what I have to tell you." I made no reply; but thought within myself what a noble tribute this is to the office of a Scottish elder, and to the character of that indefatigable man of God, the elder, of the proportion in which James and his wife had lived, that a forlorn, cast-away, shipwrecked man should seek his first shelter and consolation in his house. It was the custom of that elder, and I believe it is so still, to leave the business of the world, and spend some hours of every day in ministering instruction, and consolation, and help to the people, whose overseer the church had appointed him to be. Whilst these reflections were passing through my mind, we had arrived at my humble habitation, when, after James had refreshed himself with meat, he pro ceeded with his narrative, which I shall relate as nearly in his own words as at this distance of nine or ten years I can remember, and certainly to these particulars I shall not venture to add any thing.
"We sailed," said James, " the very next tide after you parted with me and the little children upon the quay of Greenock, and, though I am not superstitious, I wish my wife and the rest of the Barrys had been there to receive your blessing as well as we: for, sir, they perished in that fearful night, while 1 and these two little children were preserved. When we had got clear of the narrow seas and looked our last farewell to the land of our fathers, we had fine weather and favourable winds, and were making great speed upon our voyage. Our sickness had worn off, we had got reconciled to our narrow quarters, and were proceeding full of cheerfulness and hope. After breakfast, it was our custom all to meet upon the deck and talk together of our home and friends, and lay plans for the management of our little colony when we should be landed at Algoa Bay. The sailors were very kind, and communicative of all they knew concerning foreign parts; and the children running about the deck gave an innocent liveliness to the whole scene. Our wives, after they had sorted our cabins, would come and take their work in their hand; and every thing wore a pleasant and even joyful aspect."
"Little do we know, James," said I, " what is before us: in the midst of life we are in death. It is a kind providence which hath hidden from us the future; and that is a good word, " sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." You will excuse my interrupting you, but I cannot repress my emotion; and you know it is my office to interpret and improve the events of Divine Providence. Now proceed with your story, and be as particular and circumstantial as you can, for I wish to know it all."
"Well, sir," continued he, " when we were got a third way on our voyage, and were now in the midst of the wide Atlantic, many days' sail from any land, one morning, when the full complement of our people, passengers and all were upon the deck, enjoying the cool breeze and the fresh sea, our ears were stunned and our hearts