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of friend. My heart sickened to see the hollowness of what is called friendship. Splendour of genius, warmth of feeling, beauty of person,—all these, joined in one for whom they professed interest, and cut off in the bloom of years, could not for one short hour suspend the thoughts of their shallow and frivolous pursuits,-even when they were gathered, as I may say, around his corpse !
These feelings were more strengthened than interrupted by the entrance of the undertaker to furnish us with scarves and hat-bands. He was a busy, bustling ani. mal, whose désouci look, and mercenary simper, shewed plainly that all he did was “ in the way of business.” We have no right to expect grief from an hireling, but there is something revolting in seeing the trappings of woe borne by a being whose mind is engrossed by the paltry pounds which he can make by their display.
The village of Woollaston, where Lyal is buried, is is about five miles from his father's house; and thither we proceeded in mourning coaches, and, of course, at a foot's pace. I never remember to have seen a day of greater gloom. The earth was bound in one of the severest frosts I have ever witnessed, one of that kind and degree which casts a shade of blackness over the whole atmosphere. Even in our sorrow we are physical beings; and the slowness of our pace, and the intense cold which I suffered, added, I confess, to my sadness and depression. They, perhaps, contributed also to make me feel still more indignant at the indifference of my companions. There were three others in the coach with me, who, like myself, had been early friends of him whom we were attending to the grave. From their conversation and manners who would have thought that coach to be a mourning one! One of these young men
was fond of hunting, and hoped the frost might break up; another preferred skating, and wished it to continue. The third was an Oxonian, and occupied three miles of our foot-pace journey with the detail of a plan which a stage-coachman had communicated to him of a new way of rough-shoeing horses in a frost !-And these were the mourners at the burial of the young, the feeling, and the gifted!
When we reached Woollaston, we quitted the carriages at the church-gate; and here, for the first time, I saw the father. He was leaning on the arm of a relation, and tottered up the pathway next after the coffin into the church. A portion of the service was performed here ; and this, perhaps, was the most mournful part of the whole. It was on a week day, so that the church, which was large, was empty except ourselves. The piercing cold struck to the very bones, from the effect of the stone-pavement of the church, and its vast unin
The measured and sonorous tones of the clergyman echoed through the void of the large building with a sadness and solemnity which went to the soul; and, at every pause of his voice, was heard the father's deep sob of half-suppressed agony. At a certain period in the service, we went out to the grave. A few stragglers of the village had gathered round it, to gaze on the finery of the funeral show. Some few appeared to look on it with feeling and compassion, but the greater part seemed to regard it merely as a sight; while others, with gaping mouth and staring eyes, gave no clue by which to trace on their wooden countenance what ideas the solemnity might cause.
There was one woman with a wailing infant, which she was striving to hush. Its cries attracted my notice ;-and commencement and the close of life being thus brought into
VOL. I. PART I.
immediate opposition caused, perhaps, the deepest feeling which I experienced during that melancholy day.
The sinking the coffin into the grave is the most impressive part of the ceremony of burial. It is then that the dead seem finally cut off from all connection with the world; it is then that we lose sight of them for ever! At the moment that the coffin sounded on the bottom of the grave, I looked towards the father. His face at that moment is indelibly graven on my memory; but I cannot embody its expression in words. It made me right well understand why the painter of old evaded the picturing of parental agony. These visitations, indeed, are far beyond all painting, whether of the pencil or the pen.
I have been twice since to the tomb of Francis Lyal. The simple inscription I have cited is all that remains to tell of one who, had he lived, would, probably, have made his name known in the four corners of the earth. He now moulders unknown and unremembered in the church-yard of a distant and obscure village ; and the passer-by, who carelessly reads the legend on his headstone, attaches to it no higher idea than is excited by those of the numberless graves around it. With the exception of his father-his mother never could—I am, perhaps, the only person who ever has visited his tomb. I had been thrown but little into contact with him, but I loved him much, and his fate has left a deep impression on my heart and mind. I never go to that part of the country without making a visit to his grave.