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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 companions. 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
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 cypress 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 house 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