Imágenes de páginas

thing but a single character, on whom ledge of her own mother's offence the whole interest, or nearly so, is con- and the stain of her birth hangs like centrated ;-and a few of the very a weight upon a breast too noble for finest things in the book have the ap-

BW Bb pearance of being detached scenes and In process of time, the brother of fragments from some work of a more Constance Beaumont comes home, falls extensive order. We could scarcely in love with Helen-and tells her his pretend to tell almost any of the au- love. She loves the youth, and cona thor's stories more shortly than he has fesses her love; but she is too proud told them himself, but if we were to enter a family who may despise her called upon to say to what stories of origin, and she will not marry Beaua any former writer they bear most re- mont unless all his family are to rem semblance, we rather think we should ceive her which she has no hope they say, that they put us more in mind of will ever do like an equal. The feel some of the beautiful little sketches of ings of the good but proud mother of Italian life in Boccaccio's pathetic no- Beaumont, form an obstacle that neivels, than of any thing else with which ther she nor her lover hope to overwe had previously been acquainted. come. wala na DOVA Now and then scenes from the tradi- Mrs Montgomery dies, and Con tional history of the country are in- stance and old Mrs Beaumont visit troduced ; and this also is the case in Helen in her filial affliction. While Boccaccio. But the likeness lies in no. they are all deeply moved-passionthing so much as in the power of pro. ately occupied with thoughts of comducing a pathetic effect, by the use of mon sorrow, young Beaumont enters the simplest images in the most sim. the chamber. He falls on his knees d ple and unaffected manner possible. before his mother, and a few words of

Take for example, the tale of HELEN eloquence, such as nature and virtued Eyre, which being the last in the alone could prompt, sweep all before book, is the freshest on our fancy. A them. The high aged lady folds Head young English officer dies, and leaves len to her maternal bosom,—and they behind him in a small Scottish town, are one family. 111679msg sed disymatosa (Kelso, we think, is indicated,) a not Now, here is a story perfectly simas innocent, but yet young, gentle, beau- ple; perhaps few could believe on tiful creature-one that ought to have seeing the outline, that in the book it been his wifeone whose sorrow is has all the appearance of being perblended with a strange, deep, and pas- fectly natural. Yet it is so ; and it is sionate feeling of anguish, arising out just in the skill with which difficulof her sense, that she cannot, in her ties of this sort are overcome, without brokenness of heart, claim even the even the slightest semblance of art or slender consolation of being called the preparation, or exaggeration, that this widow of her only lover. This poor author displays his greatest and most drooping creature is mother of one girl, peculiar power. In spite of much en. an infant. She languishes for a few thusiastic description-in spite of pas. weeks after hearing of her lover's sion, that is nothing but the highest death, and dies there among strangers, sort of poetry-in spite of language in a strange land. So the child is all often elevated to the sublime-thean orphan--but not all deserted. A story of Helen Eyre is one which now high-born, high-bred Scottish lady-body who reads it, could ever suspect an old widow, Mrs Montgomery, had to be any thing

but a true picture of visited, from compassionate motives, real events. The contrasts between the penitent mother on her death-bed; the subdued feelings of the girl loving, and she takes home the child, and but not hoping, because the sense of a treats Helen Eyre as if she had been foreign shame presses on her soul her own daughter. Helen grows up, and the buoyant feelings of a proud virtuous, beautiful, accomplished, lover sacrificing all to bis love, and unshe gains friends, above all she is conscious that he is making any salike a sister to Constance Beaumont, crifice, on the one hand ; and between a young lady of her own age, of an the meek affections of the young lady, ancient and honourable family, in the and the high spirit of the old lady on same neighbourhood. But kindly as the other; and the manner in which she is treated by almost all about her, four persons, all feeling so differently, Helen has been forced into the knows are made to blend their hearts toge

[ocr errors]

ther, under the inspiration of one ge- in a little green bower, which a few hazels, nerous impulse these are things which mingling with one tall weeping birch, had none but a master could have dared to of themselves framed; a place where they meddle with—which none but a very where they had first spoken of a wedded

had often met before Allan was blind, and great genius could have drawn out, life. Fanny could have almost wept to see

and delineated to the full in a few sim- the earth, and the sky, and the whole day, È ple pages, as the author before us has

so beautiful, now that Allan's eyes were done.

dark; but he whispered to her, that the There would be no end of it, if we smell of the budding trees, and of the prim. were to go into the many little pieces roses that he knew were near his feet, was here composed of materials not unsi- pleasant indeed, and that the singing of all milar to these, and managed in a style the little birds made his heart dance withof equal mastery. But we must make in him—so Fanny sat beside her blind loa few extracts, to give some notion of ver in serene happiness, and felt strengththe author's way of writing; and these ened in her conviction that it was her duty

to become his wife. shall be from a tale in the middle of

“ Allan- I love you so entirely--that the volume, which is one of our chief

to see you happy is all that I desire on favourites,--that of BLIND ALLAN.

earth. Till God made you blind, Allan, Allan Bruce, a worthy young man, I knew not how my soul could be knit into betrothed to Fanny Raeburn, a kind; yours I knew not the love that was in good-hearted girl, has the terrible mis my heart. To sit by you with my workfortune to become quite blind; and to lead you out thus on pleasant Sabbaths he, for he is above all selfishness, lis- to take care that your feet do not stumble tens to the voice of all the friends on and that nothing shall ever offer violence both sides, who represent to him how to your face to suffer no solitude to surfoolish and imprudent a thing it would round youbut that you may know, in be for him, condemned to blindness your darkness, that mine eyes, which God

still permits to see, are always open upon and helplessness, to marry Fanny Raeburn. She, too, in so far listens to the you for these ends, Allan, will I marry

thee, my beloved-thou must not say nay, same not unkind suggestions--but for God would not forgive me if I became at length her generous heart teaches not thy wife.' And Fanny fell upon his her what is her duty.

neck and wept. “ She was willing to obey them in all “There was something in the quiet tone things in which it was her duty to obey- of her voice something in the meek fold but here she knew not what was her duty. of her embrace--something in the long To give up Allan Bruce was a thought far weeping kiss that she kept breathing tenworse to her than to give up life. It was derly over his brow and eyes that justito suffer her heartstrings to be hourly torn fied to the Blind Man his marriage with up by the roots. If the two were willing such a woman. Let us be married, Fanny, to be married, why should any one else in- on the day fixed before I lost my sight. terfere ? If God had stricken Allan with Till now I knew not fully either your heart blindness after their marriage, would any or my own-now I fear nothing. Would, one have counselled her to leave him? Or my best friend, I could but see thy pitied her because she had to live with her sweet face for one single moment now own blind husband ? Or would the fear of but that can never be !'-'All things are poverty have benumbed her feelings ? Or possible to God and although to human rather would it not have given new alacrity skill your case is hopeless—it is not atterto her hands, and new courage to her heart? ly so to my heart_yet if ever it becoinès So she resolved, meekly and calmly, to tell so, Allan, then will I love thee better even Allan that she would be his wife, and that than I do now, if indeed my heart can conshe believed that such was, in spite of this tain more affection than that with which it infliction, the will of God.

now overflows.' “ Allan Bruce did not absent himself, “ Allan Bruce and Fanny Raeburn were in his blindness, from the House of God. married. And although there was felt, by One Sabbath, after divine service, Fanny the most careless heart, to be something went up to him in the church-yard, and sad and solemn in such nuptials, yet Allan putting her arm in his, they walked away made his marriage-day one of sober cheer. together, seemingly as cheerful as the rest fulness in his native village. Fanny wore of the congregation, only with somewhat her white ribbands in the very way that slower and more cautious steps. They pro- used to be pleasant to Allan's eyes; and ceeded along the quiet meadow-fields by blind as he now was, these eyes kindled the banks of the stream, and then across with a joyful smile, when he turned the the smooth green braes, till they gently de- clear sightless orbs towards his bride, and scended into a holm, and sat down together saw her within his soul arrayed in the sim. VOL. XI.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ple white dress which he heard all about by Addison, and its consequences, who him saying so well became her sweet looks. is there that can be insensible to the Her relations and his own partook of the softness, beauty, and wisdom, of the marriage-feast in their cottage-- there was following passage ?. , , the sound of music and dancing feet on the little green plat at the foot of the garden; joy in the soul of Allan Bruce when once

* There was no uncontrollable burst of by the river's side-the bride's youngest sister, who was henceforth to be an in.

more a communication was opened between

it and the visible 'world. For he had learnmate in the house, remained when the party

ed lessons of humility and temperance in went away in the quiet of the evening and peace, contentment, and loye, folded

all his emotions during ten years of blind.

ness, in which the hope of light was too their wings together over that humble

faint to deserve the name. He was almost dwelling.

Their married life is happy far be afraid to believe that his sight was restored. yond what they themselves could

have Grateful to him was its first uncertain and expected on their bridal-day. Allan is wavering glimmer,' as a draught of water

to a wretch in a crowded dungeon. But favoured by his neighbours, and music, he knew not whether it was to ripen into that gift of Heaven to the blind, fur- the perfect day, or gradually to fade back nishes him with the means of support again in the depth of his former darkness. ing his wife and the children that “ But when his Fanny--she on whom grow up, one after another beside his he had so loved to look when she was a knees. There is a beautiful passage maiden in her teens, and who would not describing the blind man's feelings, forsake him in the first misery of that great which we must extract.

affliction, but had been overjoyed to link “Whatever misgivings of mind Alan the sweet freedom of her prime to one sitBruce might have experienced whatever ting in perpetual dark when she, nowa faintings and sickenings and deadly swoons

staid and lovely matron, stood before him of despair might have overcome his heart, in the floodlike tears of an unsupportable

with a face pale in bliss, and all drenched it was not long before he was a freedman happiness then truly did he feel what a from all their slavery. He was not im- heaven it was to see! And as he took her mured, like many as worthy as he, in an asylum ; he was not an incumbrance upon that he might devour with his eyes that be

to his heart, he gently bent back her head, a poor father, sitting idle and in the


of others, beside an ill-fed fire, and a scanty smiled upon him unbehéld, and which now

nign beauty which had for so many years board; he was not forced to pace step by that he had seen once more, he felt that he step along the lamp-lighted streets and could even at that very moment die in squares of a city, forcing out beautiful mu

peace. sic, to gain a few pieces of coin from


" In came with soft steps, one after anoby, entranced for a moment by sweet sounds, plaintive or jocund; he was not a boy-led ther, his five loving children, that for the beggar along the high-way under the sick- first time they might be seen by their faan abject hat abjectly protruded with a cold while the boys went boldiy up to his side, ening sunshine or the chilling sleet, with ther. The girls advanced timidly, with

blushing cheeks and bright shining hair, heart for colder charity ; but he was, als and the eldest, looking in his face, exclaim. though he humbly felt and acknowledged ed with a shout

of joy, "Our father sees! that he was in nothing more worthy than - these, a man loaded with many blessings,

-our father sees !'-and then checking bis warmed by a constant ingle, laughed round had Allan Bruce framed to himself of the

rapture, burst into tears. Many a vision by a flock of joyful children, love-tended and love-lighted by a wife who was to him face and

figure of one and all of his chil

dren. One, he had been told, was like at once music and radiance while his house stood in the middle of a village of himself, another the image of its mother

, which all the inhabitants were his friends, likeness of them both. But now he looked

and Lucy, he understood, was 'a blended and of all whose hands the knock was

them with the confused and bewilderknown when it touched his door, and of all ed joy of parental love, seeking to know whose

voices the tone was felt when it kind and distinguish in the light the separate ly accosted him in the wood, in the field, objects towards whom it yearned ; and not in the garden, by the river's side, by the till they spoke did he know their Christian hospitable board of a neighbour, or in the church-yard assemblage before entering in- faces of all his children seem, to his eyes,

But soon, soon, did the sweet to the House of God.

to answer well, each in its different loveli. The end of the story is the recovery ness, to the expression of the voices so long of Allan's sight by means of couching, familiar to his heart. and remembering, as we all must do ** Pleasant, too, no doubt, was that experfectly well, the inimitable descrip- pansion of heart, that followed the sight of tiou of the first operation of the kind so many old friends and acquaintances, all




of whom, familiar as he had long been with now felt that his blindness had been to him, them in his darkness, one day's light now in many respects, a blessing. It had touch. seemed to bring farther forward in his af- ed all hearts with kindness towards him and fection. They came towards him now with his wife when they were poor—it had kept brighter satifaction and the happiness of his feet within the doors of his house, or his own soul gave a kinder expression to within the gate of his garden, often when their demeanour, and represented them all they might otherwise have wandered into as a host of human beings rejoicing in the less happy and innocent places--it turned joy of one single brother. Here was a to him the sole undivided love of his sweet young man, who, when he saw him last, contented Fanny—it gave to the filial tenwas a little school-boy-here a man be derness of his children something of fond. ginning to be bent with toil, and with a est passion--and it taught him moderation thoughtful aspect, who had been one of his in all things, humility, reverence, and perown joyous and laughing fellow-labourers fect resignation to the Divine

Will. It may, in field or at fair-here a man on whom, therefore, be truly said, that when the ten years before, he had shut his eyes in blameless man once more lifted up his see advanced but vigorous life, now sitting, ing eyes, in all things he beheld God. with a white head, and supported on a "Soon after this time, a small Nurserystaff all this change he knew before, but garden between Roslin and Lasswade, now he saw it; and there was thus a some- bank sloping down gently to the Esk-was what sad, but an interesting, delightful, on sale, and Allan Bruce was able to purand impressive contrast and resemblance chase it. Such an employment seemed pebetween the past and the present, brought culiarly fitted for him, and also compatible immediately before him by the removal of with his other profession. He had acquired, a veil. Every face around him-every fi. during his blindness, much useful inforgure-was instructive as well as pleasant; mation from the readings of his wife or and humble as his sphere of lite was, and children ; and having been a gardener in limited its range, quite enough of chance his youth, among his many other avocaand change was now submitted to his me- tions, he had especially extended his knowditation, to give his character, which had ledge respecting flowers, shrubs, and trees. long been thoughtful, a still more solemn Here he follows that healthy, pleasant, and cast, and a temper of still more homely intelligent occupation. Among his other and humble wisdom.

assistant Gardeners there is one man with “ Nor did all the addition to his happia a head white as snow, but à ruddy and ness come from human life. Once more cheerful countenance, who, from his selfhe saw the heavens and the earth. By importance, seems to be the proprietor of men in his lowly condition, nature is not the garden. This is Allan's Father, who looked on very often perhåps with poetical lives in a small cottage adjoining-takes eyes. But all the objects of nature are in care of all the garden-tools-and is master themselves necessarily agreeable and des of the bee-hives. His old mother, too, is lightful; and the very colours and forms sometimes seen weeding; but oftener with he now saw filled his soul with bliss. Not her grandchildren, when in the evenings, for ten dark years had he seen a cloud, after school, they are playing on the green and now they were piled up like castles in plat by the Sun Dial, with flowers garlanded the summer heaven. Not for ten dark found their heads, or feeding the large years had he seen the vaulted sky, and trout in the clear silvery well near the roots chere it was now bending majestically in of the celebrated Pear Tree." its dark, deep, serene azure, full of tender- From “ the Hour in the Manse," ness, beauty, and power. The green earth, “the Forgers,” Simon Gray," and vawith all its flowers, was now visible be- rious other tales in the volume, we neath his feet

. A hundred gardens blos- could easily quote passages enough to someda hundred hedge-rows ran across the meadow and up the sides of the hills shew that the awful, the terrible, the the dark grove of sycamore, shading the dark parts of man and his nature, are village church on its mount, stood tinged as much within the grasp of our auwith a glitter of yellow light-and from thor, as the passages we have now quoone extremity of the village to the other, ted shew the pathetic and the beauti· calm, fair, and unwavering, the smoke ful to be. But we despair of being able

from all its chimneys went up to heaven to quote any passages from the tales on the dewy morning-air. He felt all this of that class, without in some measure just by opening his eye-lids. And in his injuring the after effect of what we gratitude to God he blessed the thatch of only wish to introduce to our readers his own humble house, and the swallows notice. We shall therefore make but that were twittering beneath its eaves.".'.

Such, perhaps, were some of the feelings. one extract more, and it shall be from : which Alan Bruće experienced on being a story that stands almost alone in the restored to sight. But faint and imperfect book-a fragment from the noble tramust be every picture of man's inner soul. ditional History of the days of religiThis, however, is true, that Allan Bruce ous persecution in Scotland--the me

« AnteriorContinuar »