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of a real conversation with you; for, were I to tell you all in my letters, I would have nothing new and strange to talk about when we meet, as I hope we yet may, though I cannot guess when.
After a very comfortable night's rest I continued my journey, but without meeting my companion of the preceding day: on I went, however, alone, and something "dowie;" often looking back upon the retiring hills of my dear native land, becoming fainter and fainter, and forward upon the lofty Cambrian mountains, becoming gradually more and more distinct. The morning was beautiful, calm, and mildly sunny; the wind just strong enough to be heard whispering and breathing through the young green unfolding buds of the earlier trees; the lark sung loud, clear, and melodious, high among the purple-streaked clouds; and the jolly Cambrian "hynd" was raising his rude strain in a ruder voice as he followed his plough. The day passed on, the sun reached the middle of the sky, and shone warm and strong, when I came at last in view of C and stopped on a height to take a survey of it at leisure; but my powers of description are completely inadequate to give you any thing like an idea of its appearance. From the place where I stood, the first object that attracted my attention was the majestic and beautiful flow of the E-, winding past the city with a gentle bend, spanned by a newly-built and stately bridge. The banks of the river on the north side are adorned with a number of elegant mansions; the south bank, in one part, bristles with a variety of houses, lanes, and streets, of all dimensions, but all disorderly, dirty, and apparently inconvenient; in another, the grey battlements of the castle, and the narrow windows of the prison, frown "grim and horrible ;" over all floated a dark mass of smoky vapour, penetrated in a few places by the spires of a church or a cathedral. In the distance appeared the mighty forms of Skiddaw and Saddleback, huge and high. Turning round, behind me, I beheld the hills of Rshire, and the neighbouring part of D-shire, mellowed and
obscured by the distance; yet Burnswark was distinctly visible, lifting his singular, and, as it were, artformed brow above the rest, and farther west my own Criffel, which raising its giant size above the Solway, met my view, and awoke the fondest feelings of my heart. I gazed upon it till my eyes grew dim, my bosom heaved deeply, and my head swam with a sickening and confused pain; then drawing a long farewell sigh, I broke off my reverie, and bent my steps toward the town. I was not then in a capacity to make any impartial remarks, therefore you must not look for any at this time. My heart panted, my whole frame shuddered, and the blood burned o'er my cheek and brow, when I entered the Scotch-gate, where formerly the heads of my gallant, though misled countrymen, blackened in the sun and storm. I did not make any stop in the town,-I could not,-it was not a place for me; but as I was struggling through the crowd in the market-place, my ear was assailed by the well-known sound of a bagpipe. I instantly drew near, and saw and heard an old man in tartan dress, with a true weather-beaten Highland face, playing "Lochaber no more." I stood as if petrified; a thousand burning recollections flashed across my brain, rousing me to frenzy; then the long wailing fall smote upon my heart, till my blood chilled with the agony of woe. The eyes of the old man cast a supplicating glance around the crowd; the unfeeling brutes heeded it not; his strain quivered, sunk, and changed; threw something into his hat, held by a little boy, grasped my stick firmly in hand, and rushed through the crowd like a maniac, scarcely able to restrain my maddened feelings from venting themselves in furious words and frantic actions.
Nothing worth mentioning occurred to me after leaving C till I reached my present residence; and as I imagine you are by this time more than satisfied with the length of my packet, (for it is more than a letter,) I shall reserve the description of the place, its inhabitants, and those in particular with whom I am more immediately connected, till another opportunity.
THERE are few who have reached their grand climacteric without ha ving renounced many of their early opinions, and viewed men and things in a very different light from that in which they appeared to the juvenile mind; and there are perhaps still fewer, at that stage of life, who, were it in their power to retrace their steps, would pursue exactly the same track on the journey. But that knowledge which we derive from experience comes generally too late to be applied to any efficient purpose; our choice of a profession, or a business, has been made, and it is too late to change; and our habits have been so long formed, that, in the quaint style of the proverb, they have become second nature. Although it must be confessed that too many adopt. no plan, but pass recklessly forward, or rather allow themselves to be impelled by their passions, which are often excited by trivial circumstances; yet it must also be admitted, that specious theories for the regu lation of our conduct, however plausible they may appear, and however obstinately they may be maintained, often fail in producing the expected result. The effeminate slave of Pleasure, and the mad votary of Ambition, often find the paths which they tread lead to objects very different from those which were anticipated. Mark Antony, in the arms of Cleopatra, thought not of suicide, after being betrayed and deserted by those in whom he had confided. Did Charles V., when dictating to the Sovereigns of Europe, calculate upon closing life by counting his beads in a cloister? Buonaparte, when leading five hundred thousand warriors into Russia, never imagined that he was pursuing the direct road to an insulated rock in the Indian Ocean, where he was to be doomed to writhe under the petty insults and caprice of a satellite of power, who, a short while before, would have reckoned
it a high honour to have been permitted to appear in his presence.
Still more uncertain are our schemes for promoting the happiness of our posterity; the father starves himself, that his son may die of a surfeit ;the mother destroys her daughter's health by empirical cosmetics, to improve her beauty ;-Mary Queen of Scots was left heiress to a crown which conducted her to the scaffold;
the Earl of Chesterfield wrote four large volumes for the instruction of his son, whom the fond father expected to see the most accomplished gentleman of his age, and the disappointed parent had the mortification to find him turn out a fool. So true is the couplet of Burns
The best-laid schemes of mice and men Gang aft a-gley.
These reflections occurred to me, when glancing over the obituary of an old Magazine, in which the death of my friend, the Reverend Andrew Baxter, was recorded. Of this man I think myself warranted in saying, that whatever might be his foibles, they were the errors of the head, rather than of the heart. Andrew had, from his earliest years, a most insatiable thirst for learning; he was an excellent classic at twelve, and went to College in his fifteenth year, where he pursued his studies with unremitted assiduity, and almost unrivalled success. Early in the first session he formed an acquaintance with Francis Halliday, a student, also in his noviciate. Ás both were intended for the church, there was much similarity in their studies: Francis was at least two years older than Andrew, and of course had reflected more upon his future progress in life. Both, like race-horses nearly matched, pressed hard on each other in their progressive studies; but they were generous rivals, influenced by no passion less dignified than a laudable emulation.
Yet although both seemed to pur sue the same path, the objects they had in view were essentially different. Andrew courted Knowledge, because he sincerely loved her; Francis prized Learning, only as the ladder by which he might climb to wealth and honour in the world. Still, with these incongruities in their disposi tions, a growing intimacy took place between them; they visited each other during the vacation, and at the commencement of next Session took lodgings together.
Their professional studies were now less fatiguing, and they had more leisure for excursions in the regions of fancy, or in disputing with each other, for which they had an ample field; as they not only differed from each other on many topics, but on some subjects held opinions diametrically opposite. For instance, Andrew held the Latin adage of poëta nascitur non fit, in its most unlimited sense, considering it as of universal application. Had the system of Gall and Spurzheim been then broached, he would have been among the first proselytes, and would have beat the Baronet and the Lecturer hollow, both with arguments and illustrations; although the system has so direct a tendency to materialism, that he would have found some difficulty in reconciling it to the general orthodoxy of his creed. But amidst his abstract spe culations, it never occurred to him, that genius could be made palpable, and the fingers could decide on the properties of the mind; but one little circumstance seems to have escaped the observation of Phreno logists, although known to every old woman in the country, namely, that a child's head is very often rubbed and pressed, till it assumes another shape; this is particularly the case with a hollow which runs across the crown, often very large in young children; and where it continues so through life, it is generally affirmed that the arch of wisdom has been neglected in infancy; this is surely doing violence to Nature; and how shall the disciples of Spurzheim judge whether she or the nurse has filled up the worse than barren cavities in the skull? But this is digressing; let me return.
Andrew, although most fully convinced that man was formed by Nature for some particular study or pursuit, knew no better way of discovering her intentions, than by waiting till they developed themselves, not by bumps on the pericranium, but by the slow progress of youth displaying a liking and decisive partiality for some one particular pursuit. From this doctrine Francis differed in toto; for he maintained, that unless when some of the physical organs were defective, there were very few instances where Nature had not imparted powers, requiring only persevering application, to attain a proficiency, even arrive at excellence, in any art or science. He affirmed, in the most unqualified manner, that for any thing that Nature had to do in the business, Shakespeare and Newton might have changed places, that Wolfe might have compiled Johnson's Dictionary, and the Lexicographer triumphed at Quebec. These opposite opinions led to many a long argument, but never produced conviction; for Andrew would exclaim with Pope,
One science only will one genius fit; So vast is art, so narrow human wit; and would then add, that we might as well plant the weeping willow on the highest ridge of Arthur's Seat, and the English oak in the middle of the moss of Kincardine, as do violence to Nature, by attempting to make a philosopher of him whom she had destined for a hero, and vice versâ.
To this Francis replied, that poetry was not proof, and similes were sophistical arguments; yet to answer him in his own way, it was not long ago since that exotic and beautiful tree, the larch, was reared in a greenhouse, being imagined too delicate for our climate; but we now find it in rich luxuriance on the hill and in the vale, as if it were indigenous to the soil; and he closed his argument thus, that what we reckoned innate propensity in boys, was nothing more than the effect of early and accidental associations; as boys in seaporttowns often become sailors, while those in the interior of the country never think of it.
To this Andrew would reply, that
Pope "lisped in numbers;" and that Sir Richard Arkwright, originally a barber, even after his marriage, would leave a gentleman in the suds, lay down his razor, and draw diagrams and wheels with chalk on the pannels of his shaving-shop, till his wife, concluding that he was going out of his senses, and taking counsel with her next-door neighbour, a prudent, pains-taking tailor, he, like the curate with Don Quixote, advised her to take away the cause, and the effect would cease. In compliance with this sage advice, all the barber's wheels and models were, one morning before he got up, blazing in a bonfire, when, instead of losing time in scolding or beating his rib, he patiently and perseveringly set to work till the whole were replaced. These, and many other instances of the triumphs of genius, were urged by Andrew, who concluded by affirming, that, should he ever have a son, he would allow him to make his own choice of the path he was to follow through life. Francis, with equal information, and not less obstinacy, adhered to his former opinion; and declared his fixed resolve, that should he ever be a father, he would determine what business his son should follow while the child was in leading-strings, and make him pursue that course of education best adapted to qualify him for his destined employment.
Their opinions about love and marriage were not less opposed to each other; Andrew affirmed, that love was wholly an affair of the heart; that there was a delicacy and purity in a first love that no subsequent passion could inspire; and that in marriage, every consideration about future happiness, founded on the cold, calculating principles of what was often named prudence, was no other than mean, selfish cunning, unworthy of the name of love, and never found a place in the heart glowing with that passion in its genuine and spotless purity. In a word, the heart and feelings only should be consulted: if worldly wisdom were allowed to interfere, it operated like a blighting frost, or a worm in the rose, withering the bud before it had expanded into blossom. Opposed to this romantic theory, Francis argued,
that such a love was the fever of the brain, the child of Fancy nursed by Folly; and that the chances were an hundred to one, that a union, founded on such a visionary basis, would never produce domestic happiness. That, in as far as he was capable of judging, every love, or liking, not sanctioned by prudence, ought to be considered as a disease, and cured as speedily as possible. That if the seat of Wisdom were allowed to be in the head, and that of Feeling in the heart, the qualities which might attract a lover were often very different from those which would continue to please a husband. Courtship might be an affair of feeling; but in marriage, the judgment and common sense should always be consulted. Human life, not being an elysium of uninterrupted felicity, but a shifting scene of cares and rational enjoyments, woman was not to be considered as a toy, to smile, fondle, and talk sentimental nonsense, but to perform the more important duties of a prudent housewife and careful mother. Hence, marriage was an act which required cool and cautious deliberation; for which reason, a prudent man would avoid falling in love, as he would shun the contagion of an infectious fever. He who resolved to marry, would look around him for a woman of plain common sense, of a good, or at least respectable family; and although fortune was not to be considered as a sine qua non, yet it should form a very desirable appendage. A match thus founded would produce esteem, the only soil in which that rational love could spring the fruit of which was domestic happiness.
Andrew heard all this with indifference, bordering on contempt; for his imagination was soaring in airy dreams, as far elevated above the region of common sense as the other was sunk below the true dignity of man, in the mire of grovelling selfishness.
During the last session that Andrew attended college, he boarded in a family consisting of a widow and her daughter. The mother had a small annuity, her daughter was a milliner and fashionable dress-maker; and, as an addition to their income, they received one or two respectable
boarders. Miss Lindsay had received a fashionable education, and Nature had endowed her with a handsome stature and fine face: she sung with delicate feeling, and played on the spinnet with good taste, (piano-fortes were not then in fashion.) From the nature of her business, she had occasion to see several ladies above her own rank, and caught many of their amiable weaknesses, with a tolerable share of sentimental affectation, which rendered her still more attractive in the eyes of Andrew, whose imagination had always invested a woman worthy of being beloved with a fascinating delicacy and refined sensibility, resembling what Miss Lindsay now exhibited; and before the close of the session he was deeply in love. It was the first attack, and his mind was so susceptible, that it tingled in every vein. His enthusiasm shed around it a halo of such imaginary purity and transporting ecstacy, that his heart was intoxicated with an ideal and volup tuous draught of his own creation. Although his every look and action plainly indicated the state of his heart, he had not ventured to whis per the tender tale; for he held her virgin delicacy in such esteem, or rather such idolatrous adoration, that he shrunk from the disclosure. But Miss Lindsay was not blind, nor was her heart invulnerable; it also was wounded, although not so deeply; and it depended on contingencies whether the wound admitted of cure. However, she contrived to give Andrew a fair opportunity, and soon led him to an explicit declaration of his sentiments, to which she replied with fascinating blushes and maidenly modesty, which gave new virulence to the poison, and, without kindling hope, had no tendency to nurse despair. It was only when he was about to leave town, that, as he fondly pressed her trembling hand, she acknowledged a respect for him, which might probably in time ripen into a softer and more delicate feeling, but she was inclined to keep both her heart and hand disengaged as long as possible.
Soon after being licensed, Andrew was engaged as tutor in a gentleman's family, where he continued three years. Faithful to his first love,
he had visited Miss Lindsay every year, and she continued to fan the flame, but prudently avoided coming under any promise to one whose future establishment in life was so precarious. However, the tutor had given such complete satisfaction to his employer, that the incumbent of a parish of which he had the patronage dying, the tutor received a presentation to the kirk. No sooner was he settled, than, "faithful to his former fires," the now Reverend Andrew Baxter flew on the wings of love, and again, with respectful tenderness, but greater confidence, pressed his suit. To reward such welltried and unshaken constancy, Miss Lindsay, now, with delicate sensibility,
Smil'd, sigh'd, and blush'd, as willing to be woo'd;
And in a languid whisper breathed con
I saw the happy couple, as they visited at my father's during the honey-moon. He had a manly and graceful air; she was slender, but beautifully elegant in form and stature, with a mild but melting lustre in her eye, and a blush of winning softness suffusing her cheek; and they seemed a couple mutually loving and beloved.
Fortune, although a little more tardy in conferring her favours, had not forgotten Halliday, who, in about a year after the settlement of his friend, obtained a crown presentation to a charge in a country town within a few miles of the manse occupied by his former College chum. From what has been already stated of Francis, it will not be supposed that his heart was very susceptible of the tender passion; indeed, he was too prudent to entangle himself in the toils of Love. However, now that he was sure of a competency for life, it was necessary to have a housekeeper, and he believed no one would act so faithfully as one who had an interest in the economy and prosperity of his establishment, and that must be a wife. But as it was probable that this appendage to his household would also bring the addition of other claimants on their protection, he deemed it prudent, if possible, to obtain a partner whose fortune, added to his stipend, might enable them to