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mas Dreams-yet dearly do we love the young-yea the young of all animals—the young swallows twittering from their straw-built shed—the young lambs bleating on the lea, the young bees, God bless them, on their first flight away off to the heather—the young butterflies, who, born in the morning, will die of old age ere night—the young salmon-fry glorying in the gravel at the first feeling of their fins—the young adders basking, ere they can bite, in the sun, as yet unconscious, like sucking satirists, of their stings-young pigs, pretty dears, all a-squeak with their curled tails after prolific grumphy—young lions and tigers, charming cubs, like very Christian children, nuzzling in their nurse's breast-young devils—if you will ere Satan hath sent them forth to Sin, who keeps a fashionable boarding school in Hades, and sends up into the world above-ground only her finished scholars.
But lo! North's fair family—all children of his old age! Yes, the offspring they are of his dearest-his chosen-his faithful-his bosom-friends! There, daugh. ters of delight there is a shower of kisses to bedew the beloved heads of you all--and now be seated in a circlelook all as grave as you possibly can for those struggling smiles-no quizzing of our new Christmas wig-and first, and before we begin to distribute,
“Pure healthy children of the God of heaven," in your hearts as in ours, let there be a short silent prayer.
Now for business.
Emily Callander-oldest of the young-and tallest too -for, in truth, thou art as a cedar—for thee have we selected Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life, The Trials of Margaret Lyndsay, and The Foresters. The first is bound-as thy sweet eyes see—in variegated silk—too ornamental as some might haply think-but not so thoufor thou knowest that the barest field in all Scotland is not without its little flowers- daisies, and gowans, and clover, and primroses in their short vernal day—and that her richest fields are all a glow as at evening the western heavens. Margaret Lyndsay, you see, my love, is bound
in satin—but not of the richest sort—the colour is something quakerish—but we know you like that-and the narrow ornaments round the sides you will find to be either flowers or stars—for, in truth, flowers and stars are not dissimilar-for they both have rays—but dew brightens the one while the other it bedims into beauty. The Foresters are bound in green linen—and these yellow trees, emblazoned upon such a ground, as if autumn had tinted them, have a good effect-have they not?-So, sweetest and best-a, kiss of thy forehead-sure a more graceful curtsy was never seen-and it will make the author, who is my very dear friend—whom I love more than I can venture to express, and whom I bave, on that account, placed foremost now—and not for his mere merits-proud and happy, too, to be told with what a smile Emily Callander received his volumes—works we were going to say, but that is too prodigious a word for such effusions—and one smile from her will to him be worth all the chaff and chatter of all the critics in Cock. aigne.
Margaret Wilson !-thou rising star-let thine arms drop from around the necks of these two sweet supporters, and come gliding forth within touch of the old man, that he may lay his withered hand upon the lovely lustre of thy soft-lyraided hair. There-hold them fast to your bosom-and let not one of all the five slip from your embracing arms. Wordsworth's Works! You remember—and never will forget—the mountains at the head of Windermere behind whose peaked summits the sun sets-and Elleray—but why that haze within those eyes ?-"A few natural tears thou sheddest, but wipest them soon”-at the sudden sound of that spell-like home
so let that key remain untouched-ay, there is thy bosom all filled with poetry! with poetry often—" not of this noisy world, but silent and divine,” with happy hymns for sunshine, and mournful elegies for moonlight-with lyrics that might be set to such music as the lark sings high in heaven-with odes that might be fitly chanted to the softened voice of the waterfall-with ballads such as Bessy Bell or Mary Gray might have sung “in their bower on yonder green,”-or Helen Irvine, as she osat upon the banks of Kirtle,”-or thou thyself, sweeter singer than them all, when willing—as I have seen thee -to charm with change thy father's ear, after the Bride's Maid's Chorus. But thou hast wept for Ruth—and for Emmeline—and for that lovely creature,
“Her mute companion, as it lay,
In love and pity at her feet
And I have seen thee shiver with delight, in the beauty of the sudden apparition, when
“Came gliding in with lovely gleam,
Came gliding in serene and slow,
Yes-thou mayest, unblamed, place such poetry on the very same shelf, Margaret, with thy Bible; for the word of God itself is better understood by hearts softened and sublimed by strains inspired into the souls of great poets by devoutest contemplation of his works. Therefore, child,
“ with gentle hand Touch, for there is a spirit in the leaves!"
Fanny Allardyce-do not make me fall in love with envious eyes, by looking so on Margaret's bosom-full of beautiful books-bound as they are in crimson-for that is the light of setting suns; and although William Wordsworth be often but as a lowly pastoral poet piping in the shade, yet as often is he like the blind John Milton, who sung in his glorious darkness of Paradise—and the Courts of Heaven. For here, for thee, my pensive Frances, are the Poetical Works of Edmund Spenser, in five volumes, presented to me by my friend Mr. Pickering of London—and he will not be displeased with me for transferring them to the love of one who is in good truth “ like the heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb." You will find muchand many things in the Fairy Queen, that even your almost fully expanded intellect and imagination will not yet understand—yet little, and few things that your heart nevertheless will not feel-and not the less touchingly, because love will be mixed with wonder, and pity given to what is at once sorrowful and strange. You have already read the Comus of Milton-and love and admire-and would wish to kneel down at her feet—the lady whose spotless innocence preserves her from the fiends of that haunted wood. She and the Una of the Fairy Queen might be sisters ; nor, were such creatures as they ever to walk over our earth, could they turn away their gracious and benignant smiles from such a maiden as thou art-for thou too art without spot or blemish-nor could force nor fraud prevail against thee; for, true it is as words of holy writ, that “a thousand liveried angels lacquey thee,” and that vice and wickedness could not live in an atmosphere purified by the breath of innocence from such lips as thine !
Harriet Brisbane—thou hast a heroic spirit-yet a heart sormed for peace. And thou lookest, with that fine, high, bold brow of thine,-yet perfectly feminine,-and with those large hazel eyes, so mild, yet magnanimous,-and that mass of nearly black hair, that, but for the Christmas roses round it, would seem almost sullen-at least most melancholy,—thou lookest, we say, like what ihou indeed art, a true descendant of now beatified spirits, who, in the old days of persecution, sang hymns of rejoicing when tied to the stake, and their bodies shrivelling in the fire. Dear virgin martyr! take and keep for our sake, the exquisite Roman tale of Valerius. There you will read how one, whom I could fancy like thy very self, in face, figure, and character, a virgin named Athanasia, touched at the soul by the religion of Jesus, did disencumber herself of all the beautiful and imaginative vanities of the old mythological faith, and, fearless of the pitchy fire, and of the ravening lion, did fold the cross unto her bosom, and became transfigured from innocence into piety. The tale will not make these calm eyes of thine shed many, if any tears; but ever and anon as they follow the fortunes of her who hath for. saken the service of idols and salse deities, to become a priestess of the only one, living, and true God, they will be uplisted in thoughts that lie too deep for tears”-slowly and solernnly, and most beautifully—to the heaven of heavens! Thou, too, take—thou high-souled daughter of a high-souled sire—this other book, bound in brightest scarlet-for you have heard, that a blind man once said, that he conceived scarlet 10 be like the sound of a trumpet, -and all emblazoned with the arms of adverse nations, Specimens of Spanish Ballads, celebrating the exploits of the Campeador, and other heroes, against the Saracens; and all the high and wild warfare that, for centuries, made the rivers run red with mingled Castilian and Moorish blood. The old Spanish ballads are like fragments of fine bold martial music, in their own tongue ; but Mr. Lockhart is a poet “of strength and state ;” and in his noble verses, your eyes dazzle at the brightness of the Spanish sword, tempered in the Ebro, and can scarce endure the flashing of the Moorish scymitar. You read his ballads in the same mood of mind with which you hear the music. band of a regiment of cavalry-say the Scots Grayshundreds of heroes following on-on-on-with their glit. tering casques, and each with a sabre, erst red perchance at Waterloo, in his strong right hand.
Aha, Jane! my pretty little rosy-cheeked, dark-eyed, curly-pated Jane-can you control no longer the impa. tience, which, for this last half hour, you have not attempted to conceal ? And are you there unbeckoned upon my knee, and, with uplisted frock, ready to receive into your -lap your destined prize? There, thou imp—thou elf-thou fairy-there is a Christmas-Box for thee, on which thou wilt stare out thine eyes—having first filled them many times and oft—now with sighing, and now with laughing tears. You remember that I gave you last year the nicest of all little books, about the strangest and most curious pranky little beings that ever were born—" Fairy Legends of the South of Ireland ;” and do you know that the Christ. mas-Box is from the same gentleman-you know his name -T. Crofton Croker; and that it is published by that Mr. Ainsworth, now a bookseller in London, who carried you in his arms into the boat, you remember, and kept you there all the time we were sailing about on the lake? but he is a faithless man, and cannot be your husband, as he said he would, for he has married a beautiful wise of his own; and only think of his impudence !-sent you this