Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sire on earth. Till God made you their own cottage—there was the sound blind, Allan, I knew not how my soul of music and dancing feet on the little could be knit into yours—I knew not green plat at the foot of the garden, by the love that was in my heart. To sit the river's side—the bride's youngest by you with my work to lead you sister, who was henceforth to be an inout thus on pleasant Sabbaths—to take mate in the house, remained when the care that your feet do not stumble- party went away in the quiet of the and that nothing shall ever offer vio evening—and peace, contentment, and lence to your face-to suffer no soli- love, folded their wings together over tude to surround you—but that you that humble dwelling." may know, in your darkness, that

Their married life is happy far bemine eyes, which God still permits to yond what they themselves could have see, are always open upon you--for expected on their bridal-day. Allan these ends, Allan, will i marry thee, is favoured by his neighbours, and mumy beloved-thou must not say nay, sic, that gift of heaven to the blind, for God would not forgive me if I be furnishes him with the means of supí came not thy wife.' And Fanny fell porting his wife and the children that upon his neck and wept.

grow up, one after another beside his “ There was something in the quiet knees. There is a beautiful passage tone of her voice-something in the describing the blind man's feelings, meek fold of her embrace—something which we must extract. in the long weeping kiss that she kept “Whatever misgivings of mind Albreathing tenderly over his brow and lan Bruce might have experienced eyes—that justified to the Blind Man whatever faintings and sickenings and his marriage with such a woman. Let deadly swoons of despair might have us be married, Fanny, on the day fixed overcome his heart,-it was not long before I lost my sight. Till now I before he was freedman from all their knew not fully either your heart or my slavery. He was not immured, like own--now I fear nothing. Would, my many as worthy as he, in an asylum ; best friend, I could but see thy sweet he was not an incumbrance upon à face for one single moment now—but poor father, sitting idle and in the way that can never be !'- All things are of others, beside an ill-fed fire, and a possible to God-and although to hu- scanty board; he was not forced to man skill your case is hopeless—it is pace step by step along the lamp-light not utterly so to my heart--yet if ever ed streets and squares of a city, forcing it becomes so, Allan, then will I love out beautiful music to gain a few pieces thee better even than I do now, if in- of coin from passers by, entranced for a deed my heart can contain more affec- moment by sweet sounds, plaintive or tion than that with which it now over- jocund; he was not a boy-led beggar flows.'

along the high-way under the sickening “ Allan Bruce and Fanny Raeburn sunshine or chilling sleet, with an abwere married. And although there ject hat abjectly protruded with a cold was selt, by the most careless heart, to heart for colder charity ;-but he was, be something sad and solemn in such although he humbly felt and acknowlnuptials, yet Allan made his marriage. edged that he was in nothing more day one of sober cheerfulness in his na- worthy than these, a man loaded with tive village. Fanny wore her white many blessings, warmed by a constant ribbands in the very way that used to ingle, laughed round by a dock of joyful be pleasant to Allan's eyes; and blind children, love-tended and love-lighted as he now was, these eyes kindled with by a wife who was to him at once a joyful smile, when he turned the music and radiance,--while his house clear sightless orbs towards his bride, stood in the middle of a village of and saw her within his soul arrayed in which all the inhabitants were bis the simple white dress which he heard friends, and of all whose hands the all about him saying so well became her knock was known, when it touched his sweet looks. Her relations and his door, and of all whose voices the tone own partook of the marriage feast in was felt when it kindly accosted him in

[ocr errors]

the wood, in the field, in the garden, shining hair, while the boys went boldby the river's side, by the hospitable ly up to bis side, and the eldest lookyard of neighbour, or in the church- ing in his face, exclaimed with a shout yard assemblage before entering into of joy, “Our father sees !-our father the House of God."

sees !--and then checking his rapture, The end of the story is the recovery burst into tears. Many a vision had of Allan's sight by means of couching, Allan Bruce framed to himself of the and remembering, as we all must do face and figure of one and all his chilperfectly well, the inimitable descrip- dren. One, he bad been told, was tion of the first operation of the kind like himself, another the image of its by Addison, and its consequences, who mother, and Lucy, he understood was is there that can be insensible to the a blended likeness of them both. But softness, beauty, and wisdom of the now he looked upon them with the confollowing passage ?

fused and bewildered joy of parental “ There was no uncontrollable burst love, seeking to know and distinguish of joy in the soul of Allan Bruce, when in the light the separate objects 10once more a communication was open- wards whom it yearned; and not till ed between it and the visible world. they spoke did he know their Christian For he had learned lessons of humility names. But soon, soon, did the sweet and temperance in all his emotions du- faces of all his children seem, to his ring ten years of blindnes, in which the eyes, to answer well, each in its differhope of light was too faint to deserve ent loveliness, to the expression of the the name. He was almost afraid to voices so long familiar to his heart. believe that his sight was restored. « Pleasant too, no doubt, was that Grateful to him was his first uncertain expansion of heart, that followed the and wavering glimmer, as a draught of sight of so many old friends and acwater to a wretch in a crowded dun- quaintances, all of whom, familiar as geon. But he knew not whether it he had long been with them in his was to ripen into the perfect day, or darkness, one day's light now seemed gradua!ly to fade back again in the to bring farther forward in his affection. depth of his former darkness.

They came towards him now with “ But when his Fanny--she on brighter satisfaction--and the happiwhom he had so loved to look when ness of his own soul gave a kinder exshe was a maiden in her teens, and pression to their demeanour, and repwho would not forsake him in the first resented them all as a host of human misery of that great affliction, but had beings rejoicing in the joy of one single been overjoyed to link the sweet free- brother. Here was a young inan, who, dom of her prime to one sitting in per- when he saw him last, was a little petual dark--when she, now a staid school boy-here a man beginning to and lovely matron, stood before him be bent with toil, and with a thoughtful with a face pale in bliss, and all drench- aspect, who had been one of his own ed in the floodlike tears of an unsup- joyous and laughing fellow-labourers in portable happiness—then truly did he field or at fair-here a man on whom, feel what a heaven it was to see! And ten years before, he had shut his eyes as he took her to his heart, he gently in advanced but vigorous life, now sitbent back her head, that he might de- ting with a white head, and supported vour with his eyes that benign beauty on a staff—all this change he knew bewhich had for so many years smiled fore, but now he saw it, and there was upon bim unbeheld, and which now thus a somewhat sad, but an interestthat he had seen once more, he felt that ing, delightful, and impressive contrast he could even at that very moment die and resemblance between the past and

the present, brought immediately be“In came with soft steps one after fore him by the removal of a veil. Eranother, his five loving children, thatery face around him-every figure was for the first time they might be seen by instructive as well as pleasant; and their father. The girls advanced tim- humble as his sphere of life was, and idly with blushing cheeks and bright limited its range, quite enough of chance

in peace.

and change was now submitted to his passion—and it taught him moderation meditation, to give his character, which in all things, humility, reverence, and had long been thoughtful, a still more perfect resignation to the Divine Will. solemn cast, and a tempèr of still more It may therefore, be truly said, that homely and humble wisdom.

when the blameless man once more “ Nor did the addition to his happi- lifted up his seeing eyes, in all things he ness come from human life. Once beheld God. more he saw the heavens and the earth. “Soon after this time, a small Nurseby men in his lowly condition, nature ry-garden between Roslin and Lasis not looked on very often perhaps wade-a bank sloping gently down to with poetical eyes. But all the objects the Esk—was on sale, and Allan Bruce of nature are in themselves necessarily was able to purchase it. Such an emagreeable and delightful; and the very ployment seemed peculiarly fitted for colours and forms he now saw filled him, and also compatible with his other his soul with bliss. Not for ten dark professions. He had acquired, during years had be seen a cloud, and now his blindness, much useful information they were piled up like castles in the from the readings of his wife or chilsummer heaven. Not for ten dark dren ; and having been a gardener in years had he seen the vaulted sky, and his youth, among

his
many

other avothere it was now bending majestically cations, he had especially extended his in its dark, deep, serene azure, full of knowledge respecting flowers, shrubs, tenderness, beauty, and power.

The and trees. Here he follows that green earth, with all its flowers, was healthy, pleasant, and intelligent occunow visible beneath his feet. A hun- pation. Among his other assistant dred gardens blossomed—a hundred Gardeners there is one man with a head hedge-rows ran across the meadow and white as snow, but a ruddy and cheerup the sides of the hills—the dark ful countenance, who, from his self-imgrove of sycamore, shading the village portance seems to be the proprietor of church on its mount, stood tinged with the garden. This is Allan's Father, a glitter of yellow light—and from one who lives in a small cottage adjoining extremity of the village to the other, -takes care of all the garden-toolscalm, fair, and unwavering, the smoké and is master of the bee-hives. His from all its chimneys went up to heaven old mother, too, is sometimes seen on the dewy morning-air. "He felt all weeding; but oftener with her grandthis just by opening his eye-lids. And children, when in the evenings, after in his gratitude to God he blessed the school, they are playing on the green thatch of his own humble house, and plat by the Sun Dial, with flowers garthe swallows that were twittering be- landed round their heads, or feeding neath its eaves.

the large trout in the clear silvery well “Sucn, perhaps, were some of the near the roots of the celebrated Pear feelings which Allan Bruce experienced Tree." on being restored to sight. But faint Froin « the Hour in the Manse," and imperfect must be every picture of “the Forgers,” « Simon Gray,” and man's inner soul. This, however, is various other tales in the volume, we true, that Allan Bruce now felt that could easily quote passages enough to his blindness had been in many res- shew that the awful, the terrible dark pects, a blessing. It had touched all parts of man and his nature, are as much hearts with kindness towards him and within the grasp of our author, as the his wife when they were poor—it had passages we have now quoted shew kept his feet within the doors of his the pathetic and the beautiful to be. house, or within the gate of his garden, But we despair of being able to quote often when they might otherwise have any passages from the tales of that wandered into less happy and inno- class, without in some measure injurcent places-it turned to him the sole ing the after effect of what we only undivided love of his sweet contented wish to introduce to our readers' notice. Fanny—it gave to the filial tenderness We shall therefore make but one exof his children something of fondest tract more, and it shall be from a story

55 ATHENEUM VOL. 11.

that stands almost alone in the book — deep murmur, or shrilly shriek. Somea fragment from the noble traditional times a heron would stand erect and History of the days of religious perse- still on some little stone island, or rise cution in Scotland—the memory of up like a white cloud along the black which days is yet fresh in the minds walls of the chasm, and disappear. of our old shepherds and cottage ma- Winged creatures alone could inhabit trons upon the moors of Clydesdale this region. The fox and wild cat and Dumfries-shire.

choose more accessible haunts. Yet After describing at some length the here came the persecuted Christians state of the people at Lanark, at the and worshipped God, whose band time when the Presbyterian worship hung over their heads those inagnificent was not permitted to be celebrated in pillars and arches, scooped out those their parish church, the author introdu- galleries from the solid rock, and laid duces us to the persecuted congrega- at their feet calm water in its transpation assembled in the midst of the sub- rent beauty, in which they could see lime scenery of Cartland Craigs on the themselves sitting in reflected groups, morning of a beautiful summer Sab- with their Bibles in their hands. bath, chiefly for the purpose of having “Here, upon a semicircular ledge of the children, who had been born during rocks, over a narrow chasm, of which the suspension of the public worship of the tiny stream played in a murmuring God in the place, admitted into the waterfall, and divided the congregation body of the church by the rite of bap- into two equal parts, sat about a buntism.

dred persons all devoutly listening to “ The church in which they were their Minister, who stood before them assembled was hewn, by God's hand, on what might well be called a small out of the eternal rocks. A river rolled natural Pulpit of living stone. Up to its way through a mighty chasm of it there led a short flight of steps, and cliffs, several hundred feet high, of over it waved the canopy of a tall gracewhich the one side presented enormous ful birch tree. This pulpit stood on masses,and the other corresponding re- the middle of the channel, directly facesses, as if the great stone had been cing that congregation, and separated rent by a convulsion. The channel from them by the clear deep sparkling was overspread with prodigious frag- pool into which the scarce-heard water ments of rock or large loose stones, poured over the blackened rock. The some of them smooth and bare, others water, as it left the pool, separated into containing soil and verdure in their two streams, and flowed on each side rents and fissures, and here and there of the Altar, thus placing it in an islcrowned with shrubs and trees. The and, whose large mossy stones were eye could at once command a long richly embowered under the golden stretching vista, seemingly closed and blossoms and green tresses of the broom. shut up at both extremities by the coa- Divine service was closed, and a row lescing cliffs. This majestic reach of of maidens, all clothed in purest white, river, contained pools, streams, rushing came gliding off from the congregation, shelves, and waterfalls innumerable; and crossing the stream on some stepand when the water was low, which it ping stones, arranged themselves at the n>w was in the common drought, it foot of the pulpit, with the infants was easy to walk up this scene, with about to be baptized. The fathers of the calm blue sky overhead, an utter the infants, just as if they had been in and sublime solitude. On looking up, their own Kirk, had been sitting there the soul was bowed down by the feels during worship, and now stood up being of that prodigious height of unscale- fore the Minister. The baptismal waable and often overhanging cliff. Be- ter, taken from that pellucid pool, was tween the channel and the sumınit of lying consecrated in a small hollow of far extended precipices were perpetu- one of the upright stones, that formed ally flying rooks and wood-pigeons, one side or pillar of the pulpit, and the and now and then a hawk, filling the holy rite proceeded. Some of the profounc abyss with their wild cawing, younger ones in that semicircle kept

gazing down into the pool, in which out of the gallery into the pit.' But the the whole scene was reflected, and now Shepherd had vanished like a shadow; and then, in spite of the grave looks, or and mixing with the tall green broom admonishing whispers of their elders, and bushes,was making his unseen way letting fall a pebble into the water, that towards a wood. "Satan has saved his they might judge of its depth from the servant ; but come, my lads--follow length of time that elapsed before the me, I know the way down into the bed clear air-bells lay sparkling on the ag- of the stream—and the steps up to Walitated surface. The rite was over, and lace's cave. They are called the “Kittle the religious service of the day closed Nine Stanes.” The hunt's up.–We'll by a Psalm. The mighty rocks hem- be all in at the death. Halloo-my med in the holy sound, and sent it in a boys--halloo !! more compacted volume, clear, sweet, “ The soldiers dashed down a less and strong, up to Heaven. When the precipitous part of the wooded banks, Psalm ceased, an echo like a spirit's a little below the craigs,' and hurried voice, was heard dying away high up up the channel. But when they reachamong the magnificent architecture of ed the altar where the old gray-haired the cliffs, and once more might be no- minister had been seen standing, and ticed in the silence the reviving voice the rocks that had been covered with of the sweet waterfall.

people, all was silent and solitary-not “ Just then a large stone fell from a creature to be seen. Here is a Bible the top of the cliff into the pool, a loud dropt by some of them,' cried a soldier, voice was heard, and a plaid hung over and, with his foot, spun it away into on the point of a Shepherd's staff. the pool. 'Abonnet-a bonnet,'Their watchful Sentinel had descried cried another—now for the pretty danger, and this was his warning. sanctified face that rolled its demure Forthwith the congregation rose. eyes below it. But, after a few jests There were paths dangerous to un- and oaths, the soldiers stood still, eyepractised feet, along the ledges of the ing with a kind of mysterious dread the rocks, leading up to several caves and black and silent walls of the rock that places of concealment. The more ac- hemmed them in, and hearing only the tive and young assisted the elder- small voice of the stream that sent a more especially the old Pastor, and the profound stillness thro' the heart of that women with their infants; and many majestic solitude. "Curse these cowminutes had not elapsed, till not a liv. ardly Covenanters—what, if they tuming creature was visible in the channel bled down upon our heads pieces of of the stream, but all of them hidden, or rock from their hiding-places ? Adnearly so, in the clests and caverns. vance ? Or retrcat ?' There was no

“ The Shepherd who had given the reply. For a slight fear was upon evalarm had laid down again in his plaid ery inan; musket or bayonet could be instantly on the greensward upon the of little use to men obliged to clamber summit of these precipices. A party up rocks, along slender pathss, leading, of soldiers were immediately upon him, they knew not where ; and they were and demanded what signals' he had aware that armed men, now-a-days, been making, and to whom ; when one worshipped God,-men of iron hearts, of them, looking over the edge of the who feared not the glitter of the solcliff

, exclaimed, See, see! Humphrey, dier's arms--neither barrel nor bayonet we have caught the whole Tabernacle ---men of long stride, firm step, and of the Lord in a net at last. There broad breast, who, on the open field, they are, praising God among the stones would have overthrown the marshalled of the river Mouss. These are the line, and gone first and foremost if a Cartland Craigs,

By my soul's salva. city had to be taken by storm. tion, a noble Cathedral ! • Fling the 66 As the soldiers were standing tolying Sentinel over the cliffs. Here is gether irresolute, a noise came upon a cantingCovenanter for you, deceiving their ears like distant thunder, but even honest Soldiers on the very Sabbath- more appalling; and a slight current of day. Over with him, over with him-- air, as if propelled by it, passed whis

« AnteriorContinuar »