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discussed subject discussed again. In the same manner I shall desist from sobering the conclusion of my letter with any solemn reflections on the events of the day,-you have the mind to reflect for yourself, if this Ale.candrine of a letter will allow you the time. Do not fail to tell me how you all “like the play," and to what extent
have envied me. I think I see Mrs. struck calmly mad at the profusion of satin.
I am, &c. July, 1821.
P. S. If you covet the dolphin, I will send it to you; but it is a curiosity you must keep from children. I wish I could pack you up a Knight of the Bath in all his glory; but I fear he would not bear the carriage.
Art. VIII.-Eleanor Selby and the Spectre-Horseman of Soutra.
And she stretched forth her trembling hand,
she reached, and ay she stretched,
Of films and sulphry wind,
James Hogg « A Bright fire, a clean floor, and a pleasant company,” is one of the proverbial wishes of domestic comfort among the wilds of Cumberland. The moorland residence of Randal Rode, exhibited the first and second portions of the primitive wish, and it required no very deep discernment to see that around the ample hearth we had materials for completing the proverb. In each face was reflected that singular mixture of gravity and humour, peculiar I apprehend to the people of the north. Before a large fire-which it is reckoned ominous ever to extinguish, lay half a dozen sheep dogs spreading out their white bosoms to the heat, and each placed opposite to the seat of its owner. The lord or rather portioner of Fremmet-ha himself lay apart on a large couch of oak antiquely carved, and ornamented like some of the massive furniture of the days of the olden church, with beads, and crosses, and pastoral crooks. This settee was bedded deep with sheepskins--each retaining a fleece of long white wool. At each end lay a shepherd's dog-past its prime like its master, and like him enjoying a kind of half ruminating and drowsy leisure peculiar to old age. Three or four busy wheels, guided by as many maidens, manufactured wool into yarn for rugs, and mauds, and mantles. Three other maidens, with bared arms, prepared curds for cheese, and their hands rivalled in whiteness the curdled milk itself. Under the light of a large candlestick several youths pursued the amusement of the popular game of draughts. This piece of rude furniture ought not to escape particular description. It resembled an Etruscan candelbra, and was composed of a shaft, capable of being depressed or ele· vated by means of a notched groove, and sunk in a secure block of wood at the floor, terminated above, in a shallow cruse or plate, like a three cocked hat, in each corner of which stood a large candle, which rendered the spacious hall where we sat as light as day. On this scene of patriarchal happiness, looked my old companion Eleanor Selby contrasting, as she glanced her eye in succession o'er the tokens of shepherds' wealth in which the house abounded, the present day with the past—the times of the fleece, the shears, and the distaff, with those of broils and blood, and mutual inroad and invasion, when the name of Selby stood high in the chivalry of the north. One might observe in her changing looks the themes of rustic degradation and chivalrous glory on which she broodedand the present peaceful time suffered by the comparison-as the present always does in the contemplation of old age. The constant attention of young Maudline Rode, who ministered to the comfort of her ancient and wayward relative, seemed gradually to soothe and charm down the demon of proud ancestry who maintained rule in her breast; and after interchanging softer and softer looks of acknowledgment and kindness with her fair young kinswoman, she thus proceeded to relate some of the adventures she had witnessed in the time of her youth. These she poured out in a very singular manner-unconscious, apparently, at times of the presence of others-and often addressing herself to the individuals whom her narrative recalled to life, as if they stood life-like, and breathing before her.
“When I was young, like thee, Maudline Rode, a marvel happened, which amazed many—it is, and will be a lasting tale, and a wonder-for it came even as a vision, and I beheld it with these eyes. In those days, the crown of this land, which now stands so sure and so shining on the brows of him who rules us, was held as one of ambition's baubles that might be transferred by the sword to some adventurous head; and men of birth and descent were ready with trumpet and with brand to do battle for the exiled branch of the house of Stuart. Rumours of rebellions and invasions were as frequent as the winds on our heaths-and each day brought a darker and more varied tale-of risings in the east, and risings in the west—for the king abroad, and for the king at home -and each relator gave a colour and a substance to his tidings even as his wishes were. The shepherd went armed to the pas. turage of his flocks--the lover went armed to the meeting with his mistress--those who loved silver and gold sought the solitary and silent place, and buried their treasure; the father and mother gazed at their sons and their daughters, and thought on the wrongs of war and the children armed with hazel rods for spears and swords of lath, carried a mimic and venturous war with one another under the hostile banners of the lion and the bonnie white rose. Those who still loved the ancient church, were dreaded by those who loved the new; and the sectarians hated both, and hoped for the day when the jewelled mitre, would be plucked off the prelate's head -and austerity that denies itself, yet giveth not to others-and zeal, which openeth the gates of mercy, but for a tithe of mankind -should hold rule and dominion in the land. Those who had broad lands and rich heritages, wished for peace—those who had little to lose, hoped acquisitions by a convulsion-and there were many of the fiery and intractable spirits of the land who wished for strife and commotion, for the sake of variety of pursuit-and because they wished to see coronets and crowns staked on the issue of a battle. Thus, hot discussion and sore dispute, divided the people of this land. It happened on a fine summer evening, that I stopped at the dwelling of David Forester, of Wiltonhall, along with young Walter Selby of Glamora, to refresh myself after a stag hunt, on the banks of Derwent water. The mountain air was mild and balmy, and the lofty and rugged out
line of Soutra-fell, appeared on a canopied back ground of sky so pure, so blue, and so still, that the earth and heaven seemed blended together. Eagles were visible, perched among the moonlight, on the peaks of the rocks; ravens roosted at a vast distance below, and where the greensward joined the acclivity of rock and stone, the flocks lay in undisturbed repose, with their fleeces shining in dew, and reflected in a broad deep lake at the bottom, so pure and so motionless, that it seemed a sea of glass. The living, or rather human portion of the picture, partook of the same silent and austere character, for inanimate nature often lends a softness, or a sternness to man-the meditative melancholy of the mountain, and the companionable garrulity of the vale, have not escaped proverbial observation. I had alighted from my horse, and seated on a little green hillock before the house, which the imagination of our mountaineers had not failed to people at times with fairies and elves-tasted some of the shepherds' curds and cream-the readiest and the sweetest beverage which rustic hospitality supplies; Walter Selby had seated himself at my feet, and behind me, stood the proprietor of Wilton-hall and his wife, awaiting my wishes with that ready and respectful frankness, which those of birth and ancestry always obtain among our mountain peasantry. A number of domestics, shepherds and maidens, stood at a distance-as much for the purpose of listening to our conversation as from the desire to encumber us with their assistance in recommencing our journey. Young lady,' said David Forester, have you heard tidings of note from the north or from the south? The Selbys are an ancient and renowned race, and in days of old held rule from sunny Carlisle to the vale of Keswick-a day's flight for a hawk. They are now lordless and landless, but the day may soon come, when to thee I shall go hat in hand, to beg a boon, and find thee lady of thy lands again, and the noble house of Laner. cost risen anew from its briers and desolation.” I understood better than I wished to appear, this mysterious address of my entertainer-and was saved from the confusion of a reply, either direct or oblique, by the forward tongue of his wife. Marry, and God forbid,” said she, “that ever old lady Popery should hold rule in men's homes again—not that I wholly hate the old dame either, she has really some good points in her character, and if she would
put fat flesh in her pot o’ Fridays, and no demand oʻone a frank confession of failings and frailties, she might hold rule i’ the land again for aught I care; though, I cannot say I think well of the doctrine that denies nourishment to the body in the belief of bettering the soul. That's a sad mistake in the nature of us moorland people-if a shepherd lacks a meal a minute beyond the sounding of the horn all the house hears on't-it's a religion, my lady, that will never take root again in this wild place, where men scorn the wheat and haver food and make for lack o' kitchenthe fat mutton eat the lean.” The good woman of the house was interrupted in her curious speech by the arrival of one of those personages, who with a horse and pack, distribute the luxuries and the comforts of the city over the mountainous regions of the provinces. His horse, loaded with heavy panniers, came foremost, anxious for a resting place, and behind came the owner, a middle aged man, tall and robust, with hair as black as the raven, curled close beneath a very broad bonnet, and in his hand one of those measuring rods of root grown oak, piked with iron at the under end, and mounted with brass at the upper—which seemed alike adapted for defending or measuring his property. He advanced to the spot where we were seated, like an old acquaintance, asked for, and obtained lodgings for the evening, and having disposed of his horse, he took out a small box, resembling a casket, which he placed on the grass, and seating himself beside it, assumed one of those looks of mingled gravity and good humour-prepared alike for seriousness or mirth. He was not permitted to remain long in silence. · Ye come from the north, Simon Packpin,” said one of the menials—one can know that by yere tongue—and as ye are a cannie lad at a hard bargain, ye can tell us in yere own sly and cannie way, if it be true, that the Highland gentlemen are coming to try if they can set with targe and clayınore the crown of both lands on the brow it was made for." I looked at the per. son of the querist-a young man of the middle size, with a firm limb, and a frank martial mien, and something in his bearing which bespoke a higher ambition than that of tending flocks-his face too I thought I had seen before-and under very different circumstances. •Good sooth, Wattie Graeme,' said another of the menials, ‘ye might as well try to get back butter out o’ the black