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will cause re-union; yet it is natural that the mind at parting from the body, should feel some interest in its future destiny, and I have often marked spots where I fancied the sleep of the dead would be more undisturbed than in others; and this is one of them. I make but one request; when the few sands which yet linger of my life are run, see that my remains be decently interred beneath this
tree. This is all I ask of you in this world.”
Hugh replied that he hoped he would live long, to command many a service of a less melancholy nature.
The old man continued in a solemn tone ; “ Do you see that star ; it is already low in the west, and its rays are fitful and feeble. When the first gray light of the morning shall have extinguished it, my light will also be extinguished. I have predicted it for years, and at this moment there are too many omens concurring to leave a doubt of the accuracy of my calculation. At times the mind is so delicately attuned as to shrink instinctively from unseen approaching danger, without the slightest sound or touch to communicate it to the outward senses, and such is the present state of my feelings. My life has been a long one; not altogether unprofitably, and I humbly trust, harmlessly spent. My basket and my store' are not quite empty, and to you I bequeath the gleanings of my life. Among my papers you will find one to this effect. I have not much to leave, but what little there is will be of consequence to one whose mind is constituted like yours." He struck his cane into the earth, and added ; “remember this spot, Hugh Cameron; here let my head lie. Come, my last request is made.”
He left his stick where he had planted it, and they returned in silence to the village. When they came in
front of Hugh's cottage, they parted. It was a parting under a full conviction of meeting no more in this world. Much time elapsed before Cameron could compose his troubled mind to sleep, and when finally exhausted, he slumbered in a state of consciousness. He arose about two hours after the sun, and hurried towards the residence of his friend. His heart felt like a lump of lead in his bosom, as he discovered at a distance the shutters of his chamber window bowed. The chamber was on the ground floor of the cottage, and opered into a little flower-garden, the cultivation of which was the Hungarian's chief delight. He was curious in flowers, and had acquired the art of varying their colours by the application of minerals to the root. Hugh crossed the garden, and with trembling hands, pulled open the shutters. He stood for a moment transfixed with grief, then shrunk from the sight that presented itself.
On a broad board supported by chairs, lay the mortal remains of his friend already clad in the garments of the grave. He silently closed the window, and on entering the horise learnt, that as the Hungarian had not appeared at his usual hour of rising, the family had entered the room, apprehensive that he was ill, and discovered him lying in bed, his body already stiff and cold. Upon a small table, near the head of the bed, a lamp was still burning, though broad daylight, and his clenched hands still held his bible, which rested upon his bosom ; the book still open at the page he was last reading. Every circumstance proved that his death was as calm as the sleep of the spotless infant. He was buried in the place pointed out the preceding night, and all the villagers, from infancy to age, followed him in sorrow to the grave. On examining his papers his will was found, in which he
bequeathed his little possessions exclusively to his pupil, Hugh Cameron.
This is briefly the substance of the prolix narrative of mine host. My horse being refreshed, I mounted and pursued my journey, reflecting upon how frail a thread human happiness depends. As I passed along the street all was silent and dejected; not even a dog stirred to bark at me, but as the village gradually receded from my view, other thoughts engrossed my mind, and the lovely Lucy Gray and her sorrows were forgotten.
Shortly after the peace, business obliged me to take a similar journey. The sun was about setting as I found myself upon the summit of the Blue Mountain, and the welcome village in the deep valley, again presented itself. My jaded horse leisurely descended, carefully kicking every stone out of the way that lay in his rugged path. When half way down the height, I paused to rest the weary animal. A young woman suddenly emerged from a cluster of blooming laurels and wild honeysuckles, which grew round the base of a large projecting rock. Her dark hair was luxuriant, and bound with neatness and simplicity ; her face lovely and blooming, yet slightly overcast with sadness, and the matchless symmetry of her small and elastic frame, was heightened by the uncommon neatness of her rustic apparel. On one ärm hung a basket, well stored with rich and various mountain flowers, while the other was extended, to assist a young man to rise who was seated at a short distance from the rock, and upon whose enfeebled frame the hand of death pressed heavily. He was a cripple, deprived of his right arm, and his manly forehead was difigured by a wound. He rose with difficulty, and stood silent, absorbed in thought.
« I fear," said Lucy, for it was the widow's child, 6 we have extended our walk too far. The mountain path was too rugged for you yet. You are fatigued, but in a few weeks you will be strong enough to revisit the haunt you loved so when a boy.”
“ No, Lucy, no,” he replied in a hollow, tremulous voice," I shall never again clamber to the rugged brow of yonder ridge, upon which the beams of the setting sun are now dancing. It would give a new impulse to my heart to be for a moment there, and the flagging stream of life would flow more freely ; but I shall never again gaze upon the setting sun from that loved spot; never again listen to the roar of the torrent that dashes down that precipice.”
They disappeared behind the rock and struck into another path ; I urged my horse forward, and as I descended, the drowsy tinkling of bells was heard, as the sheep boy, whistling, leisurely, followed his charge to the fold. The village boys were driving the herds to water; some were paddling the light canoe across the river, while others, more idle, were busied with their childish sports upon the lawn. Several women were at work with their wash-tubs on the bank, and, as I drew nigh a momentary cessation from labour ensued. One of them in particular was calculated to attract notice. She was tall and meagre; her visage was sharp, swarth, and wrinkled, and every line of it denoted that the family, into which it was the fate of Socrates to wed, had not become extinct even to the present age.
My eyes were turned upon her, and I fancied I recognised her countenance. I accosted her, and she no sooner gave loose to her inharmonious tongue, than my doubts vanished. It was impossible to forget the sound having once heard it. It
was the voice of the village shrew, the bandy-legged drummer's wife.
“ And are you the stranger," she exclaimed, drawing her skinny arms from the suds in which they were immersed, and placing them akimbo ; “ Are you the stranger, who baited at our village years agone, when our husbands and our sons were marching to the wars in the Canadas ?"
66 I am the same.
“ Well, my old eyes have not failed me yet, in spite of all my sorrow. That was a woful day to many of us, and many a woful day did it bring after it.” I inquired after the fate of her husband. 6. Good man,” she continued, “ he has gone to a more peaceful world than this. He was a hard-working man, and well to do, and never wronged another of the value of that suds, and that is more than some can say that ride in their gilt coaches. But he has now gone where honesty will turn to better account, than all the gold and dross of this world. If he were but back again, I should not be slaving here like a galley slave as I
am, find bread for his poor dear orphan boy. Gilbert !” she cried in a shrill tone, and continued : “but I will train him up in the right path, and he will not depart from it. Gilbert !” she again cried with increased energy.
66 He is the comfort of my age, the joy of my widowed heart. Gilbert, you Gilbert," she shrieked, “which way can the brat have gone ?" She espied the luckless little ragged urchin hard by, laughing aloud and wrestling with a water dog, dripping wet from the river. “ I'll change your note, you undutiful hound, take that,” she exclaimed, at the same time suiting the action to the word. The boy made a hasty retreat, crying, and the dog ran after him, barking, and