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raising the eye from the surface of the water to the blue summit of the ridge, a perpendicular height of twelve hundred and fifty feet, the question forcibly occurs, was this wonderful work the effect of an inward convulsion of nature, or was it occasioned by the irresistible pressure of water, ages before the European dreamed of the existence of a western world ?
After gazing and reflecting for some time on the wonders of nature, thus suddenly spread before me, I resumed my journey. The music, which still continued, proceeded, as I found, from a band of soldiers drawn up in the main street of the village, surrounded by their friends and families who had evidently assembled for the purpose of taking a melancholy farewell. I descended the mountain by the circuitous path, and rode up to the inn before which the crowd had gathered, but they were. all too busily engaged with their own feelings to notice the arrival of a stranger. Wives were listening to the last injunction of their husbands, the widowed mother to the voice of her valued son, the prop of her declining years, and many a bashful maiden lent her ear to the protestations of eternal affection, which, at that time, sounded tenfold sweeter as they flowed from the lips of the warlike lover. The shrill fife was playing, the drum beating, and amid the jargon of voices, the corporal was heard swearing like a trooper, in order to keep up the dignity of his station. The little bandy-legged drummer beat with uncommon earnestness ; it was uncalled for at the time, and I was at a loss to account for his making such a deafening noise, when I perceived a shrewish looking beldame at his elbow, whose shrill voice satisfied me that he would find comparative tranquillity in the field of battle, to being within its appalling influence. The
fifer, out of compassion, lent the aid of his shrill music to relieve his friend from this last unpleasant lecture.
Removed from the crowd, I observed a young man, an officer of the corps, in conversation with a young woman, who did not strive to conceal her sorrow on the occasion. Health, beauty, and innocence, were strongly depicted in her countenance, and her rustic garb concealed a form, even thus decorated, far more attractive than many
who move, for a season, the constellation of a ball-room, and imagine they have attained the extent of worldly ambition. The young man's face was animated, yet in the enthusiasm of the moment, he could not conceal the sadness of his heart, while gazing on the lovely being standing in tears beside him ; the order was given to march ; he embraced her, imprinted a fervent kiss upon her pale forehead, placed her in the arms of an aged woman, who stood hard by, and hurried to the ranks. The soldiers left the village followed by a troop of little urchins, who were either pleased with the parade, or were desirous of prolonging the melancholy moment of separating from a parent or brother. The women remained in the street watching them as they slowly ascended the mountain path, until they were out of sight, and then returned to their lonely cottages : one only lingered on the spot until the last sound of the distant drum was no longer repeated by the echo of the mountains.
I inquired of the innkeeper concerning the young woman just mentioned, who informed me that her name was Lucy Gray, the only child of a poor widow, who in former days had been in more prosperous circumstances: that she had been betrothed to Hugh Cameron, the young soldier, from their childhood, and that their nuptials were to have been celebrated in a few weeks, but as he
was draughted for the frontiers, prudence obliged them to postpone the ceremony until the campaign should be over.
Mine host was as loquacious as most village landlords, and as he was familiar with the life, birth, and parentage of every individual in the village, it was not long before I received a full account of the young officer, who, to use the narrator's own words, “ had gained the good will of all the gray heads and green hearts on that side of the Blue Mountain.”
Hugh Cameron had been protected from his infancy by his grandmother, who was a native of the Highlands of Scotland, and whose mind was strongly imbued with the numerous superstitions of the uneducated of her country. He was the child of her only daughter, who had fallen a victim to unlimited confidence in him she loved, and finally expiated her offence by a broken heart. Hugh soon learned the history of his mother's shame from his playmates, who upon the slightest offence would remind him of it, in derision, for man appears determined most religiously to adhere to the law, as laid down in Deuteronomy, where it is written, that the unfortunate in birth, “even to his tenth generation, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”
The taunts of his schoolmates, preyed upon the mind of the boy; he avoided them and sought seclusion. What time was allowed from study, was passed in the deepest recesses of the mountain, or on the giddy precipice, where the eagle made his eyry. Often was he seen by the astonished villagers, apparently hanging in mid air, by some projecting rock, hitherto untrodden by mortal foot, shouting with joy at the affrighted birds of prey, as they wildly dashed in circling flight around his head. They had nothing to fear from the approach of
the daring boy, for his was not a heart, wantonly to inflict a wound upon the humblest of God's creatures. His feelings were acute, and his imagination vivid. For hours he would listen to the tales of his grandmother, of warlocks, witchcraft, omens, and prognostics of death. With her, not a breeze agitated the woods or the river ; not a drop of rain fell, nor an insect moved, but for a special purpose. He never became weary of listening to her, nor she of relating, the wonderful legends with which her mind was stored.
The village schoolmaster was also every way calculated to give a freshness of colouring to the rude narratives of the old crone, and increase their fascination with the semblance of reality. He had lived long and seen much of the world : a Hungarian, a classical scholar and fond of that lore which too frequently destroys the worldly hopes, and enervates the mind of the possessor. He fed on thriftless verse until his mind sickened at the realities of life. His reading had been various and profound, but that which was speculative and visionary, possessed more charms for his mind, than that which partook of earthly matter. He was an accomplished musician, and many a time at midnight was his solitary flute heard in the deep recesses of the mountain, and on the surface of the river.
He was an isolated man, and imagined no earthly being possessed a feeling in unison with his own. When he discovered the wildness and delicate texture of his pupil's mind, they became almost inseparable compan
. The youth improved rapidly under his guidance, not only in literature and music, but in the facility of creating theories, which, at the time they expanded and enlarged his mind, involved it in an ocean of difficulty and doubt, without a compass to guide it to a haven,
With years, the feelings of the youth became more sensibly alive to the charms of nature. For hours he would contemplate the rolling river, and as wave succeeded wave, the Hungarian would discover some analogy to human life, which served to illustrate his visionary theories. The hollow moan of the forest, at midnight, which foretold the coming storm, was music to their ears, and those hours which the wearied villagers devoted to repose, were passed by the old man and his pupil in gazing at the stars. The Hungarian fancied he had ascertained the star of his nativity, and for years, whenever visible, he regularly rose at the hour of twelve, to note its station in the heavens. He had made his calculations and predicted the day of his death. He communicated the time to his pupil, who, though a convert to his opinions, and fearful that the prediction would be verified, treated it lightly, and endeavoured to remove the impression from his mind. The attempt was fruitless. The night preceding his death, at the hour of twelve, he called at Hugh Cameron's cottage, awoke him, and they proceeded to the grave-yard together in silence, for the Hungarian's mind was so engrossed with thought, that Hugh did not venture to break the chain of reflection.
They paused beneath the tall cypress that stood in the eastern corner of the yard : the old man examined the position of the star upon whose movements, he said, depended his destiny, and then turning to his companion, added
“ It is a weakness to feel any concern about the disposition of the body when life is extinct, for, though the dust, of which this frail tenement is composed, be scattered to the four corners of the earth, there is that magnetism inseparable from each particle which at one day