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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 arm 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, “ 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 ?”
“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. "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, to 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. “ 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
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. mer, died.
6 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 ?"
6She 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