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rubbing his wet skin on the green sward, in the fulness of joy, which can hardly be attributable to the lad's misfortune.
I inquired of the virago how her husband, the drum
“ Like a soldier on the frontiers. He was shot with a musket ball, and fell by the side of Hugh Cameron, who, heaven bless him, was at the same time maimed, and made a cripple for life. See, yon he goes, leaning on the arm of Lucy Gray. Poor souls, their only joy is to be together, but that joy will not last long. I have lived a goodly time, and have seen many, but never a pair like them. Their troth was plighted before the wars; he loved Lucy more than life from the time he was a boy, and used to break the hush of the mountains with the sound of his flute at midnight, with him who now rests under the big cypress tree. Yet when he found himself a cripple, and unable to support his Lucy by the labour of his hands, he sent a letter from the hospital where he was lying, many a long mile from this, releasing Lucy from her vows, and making her quite free to marry another if she fancied him.”
“ It was nobly done on his part : what answer return ed Lucy ?”
“ She wrote to him, that as Hugh Cameron was no longer able to work for Lucy Gray, she was able and willing to work for Hugh Cameron. He no sooner received the letter than he left the hospital, and travelled homewards, for he was impatient to see her that he now loved more than ever. He travelled far and fast, night and day, which brought on a fever, and when he arrived at last, he looked like the shadow of what he was. He lay on his sick bed for weeks ; the fever was cured, but it left behind a disease which no medicine can cure.”
Lucy and the invalid had by this time entered the village ; I felt a curiosity to see more of them, and taking an abrupt leave of thc loquacious widow, I rode up to the inn, and was cordially welcomed by my quondam host. I lost no time in directing my steps towards the widow Gray's cottage. As I approached, the unceasing hum of the widow's wheel denoted that she was at her station. I entered, and on making myself known as an early acquaintance of her husband, she recognised me, though her features had escaped my memory.
The room was uncommonly neat. The fragrance of the wild flowers, culled by Lucy, was perceptible. They were placed in water upon a bureau, in front of a looking glass, in a well polished mahogany frame. Lucy and the young soldier were in the garden. We passed into it through the back door of the cottage, shaded by an arbour, over which the vines were already gradually stealing. The lovely girl was at the extremity of the little garden, bending over a flower that required her attention.
“ Every evening it is thus," said the widow, “whenever she can spare an hour from her labour, she devotes it to the garden, and really the care she takes, adds much to the appearance of our dwelling.”
“ Truly,” I observed," her labour has not been idly spent."
“A blessing,” continued the widow, “ appears to attend all she does."
The invalid appeared intent upon what Lucy was doing, but the praise which escaped the widow's lips, did not escape him. He turned towards us and said
“True, mother, even the drooping narcissus revives at her touch, your aged heart grows glad in her presence, and the weight of years is forgotten ; nay, even I dream
of coming happiness when I see her smile, but the narcissus will bloom only for a few days longer, then wither and sink to the earth.” “But the flower will revive again in spring,” said Lucy,
beautiful than at the time it faded." “ All things look glad in spring,” he continued, “ the notes of the various birds are more melodious, the buds burst forth, the mountain trees put on their rich attire, the flowers of the valley dispense their hidden fragrance, the ice-bound brook is freed from its fetters, and every breeze is fresh with fragrance; but I, amid this general revival, must fade and die alone. I would the autumn were already arrived, and the leaves were falling, for then to die would be natural, and I should leave the world with less regret.”
We returned to the cottage, and the widow resumed her station at the wheel, while Lucy prepared the teatable, which was covered with fine bleached linen, which the widow mentioned with an air of pride, was the product of her hands. The humble meal was soon ready, and was eaten with thankfulness and delight by the cottagers, a joy unknown to those who have not by their own labour, first produced the sustenance of life.
The meal being over, the widow returned to her wheel, and recounted the occurrences of former days, until the sadness of the present was forgotten in the remembrance of the past. The brow of the invalid became more cheerful, and Lucy's spirits resumed their natural buoyancy from the transient gleam of sunshine that lit up the face of her lover. She sang.
Her voice was sweet, and there was a heart-thrilling wildness in it, seldom to be found in those more refined and cultivated. It was powerful and spirit-stirring. Hugh Cameron dwelt upon
each note with intense interest. His fea
tures became animated, and he mingled his voice with her's. The widow stopped her incessant wheel and lifted her head to listen. The invalid suddenly raised his voice, and cried, “that note again, Lucy, that note again."
She repeated it with so full a tone, and so clearly that the glasses in the window, and on the cupboard, vibrated with the sound.
“ Hush ; that is the note, I know it well. Now listen.” He attempted to imitate the note, but he failed, for his voice was too feeble. He then added, “ Not yet, Lucy, not yet ; my time is not come yet.” The cheerfulness of the poor girl was suddenly changed to sadness; she ceased to sing ; the widow's countenance fell, and she resumed her labour in silence.
The evening was now considerably advanced, and I arose to take my departure. The invalid accompanied me towards the inn. I expressed my curiosity to know what he meant by his observation, when he failed to imitate the note.
66 That,” said he, 6 was the note to which the heavenly spheres were attuned, when concord prevailed throughout creation; when the mighty plan was first set in motion, and God pronounced all good.”
I looked at him with astonishment. He continued, "I have heard that note at midnight, proceed from the voice of my dog, as he howled beneath my chamber window at the moon. It was ominous. I have heard it in the voice of the screech-owl, while perched on the large cypress tree in the church-yard. I have heard it in the echoes of the mountains when I have shouted; in the howling of the tempest, in the murmuring of the waters, and the rustling of the trees ; for every thing, both animate and inanimate, retains that sound, to which univer
As we ap
sal harmony will again be attuned by the master-hand. And when that sound proceeds from this voice, I shall cease to think of earthly matters. I perceive you doubt the truth of my theory. If you suspend a piece of metal or glass by a thread, and strike the note which lies dormant therein, upon a musical instrument, you will draw it forth; the substance will respond ; and when the heavenly harps are attuned, and their notes are permitted to extend to the numberless spheres, all created things, both animate and inanimate, will join in the concord ; the discordant particles will be reconciled and all be harmony again. All things partake of heaven. Even the daisy of the valley and the wild flowers of the mountain, retain and diffuse a portion of the aromatic atmosphere, which prevails in purer regions than this. proach death, the sense of smelling becomes more acute and delicate ; so much so, that I can already discover in the flowers of the season, that fragrance which belongs to this world, and that which is ethereal. There are numberless omens in nature, which warn the wise man of approaching change, and they are not to be idly slighted.” With these remarks we arrived at the inn; he pressed my hand at parting, and slowly retraced his steps to the widow's cottage.
I arose early the succeeding morning, and continued my journey towards the border line of New York. I was absent about two weeks from the village, and it was a calm evening as I again approached it, through the valley formed by the Delaware. Before the village appeared, I heard the solemn tolling of a church bell, which grew louder and fainter, as the breeze that swept up the valley rose and died away. Every hill responded to the knell. I quickened my pace, and as I drew nigh to the village, it appeared quite deserted. I rode up to the tavern, but