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wreath of smoke is always a feature of such a scene in description ; but here there is now none, for probably the whole household are at work in the open air, and the fire, since fuel is not to be wasted, has been wisely suffered to expire on the hearth. No. There is a volume of smoke, as if the chimney were in flame-a tumultuous cloud pours aloft, straggling and broken, through the broad slate stones that defend the mouth of the vomitory from every blast. The matron within is doubtless about to prepare dinner, and last year's rotten pea-sticks have soon heated the capacious gridiron. Let the smoke-wreath melt away at its leisure, and do you admire along with me, the infinite variety of all those little shelving and sloping roofs. Dear -dear is the thatch to the eyes of a son of Caledonia, for he remembers the house in which he was born ; but what thatch was ever so beautiful as that slate from the quarry of the white moss ? Each one-no-not each one-but almost each one of these little overhanging roofs seems to have been slated, or repaired at least, in its own separato season, so various is the lustre of lichens that bathes the whole, as richly as ever rock was bathed fronting the sun on the mountain's brow. Here and there is seen some small window, before unobserved, curtained perhaps-for the statesman, and the statesman's wife, and the statesman's daughters, have a taste-a taste inspired by domestic happiness, which, seeking simply comfort, unconsciously creates beauty, and whatever its homely hand touches, that it adorns. There would seem to be many fireplaces in Braithwaite-Fold, from such a number of chimneypillars, each rising up to a different altitude from a different base, round as the bole of a tree-and elegant, as if shaped by Vitruvius. To us, we confess there is nothing offensive in the most glaring white roughcast, that ever changed a cottage into a patch of sunny snow. Yet here that grayish tempered unobtrusive hue does certainly blend to persection with roof, rock, and sky. Every instrument is in tune. Not even in sylvan glade, nor among the mountain rocks, did wanderer's eye ever behold a porch of meeting tree-stems, or reclining cliffs, more gracefully festooned, than the porch from which now issued the fairest of Westmeria's daughters. With one arm crossed before her eyes in a sudden burst of sunshine, with the other Ellinor Inman waves to her little brother and sisters among the bark-peelers in the Rydal woods. The graceful signal is repeated till seen, and in a few minutes a boat steals twinkling from the opposite side of the lake, each tug of the youthful rowers distinctly heard through the hollow of the vale. A singing voice is heard—but it ceases—as if the singer were watching the echo--and is not now the picture complete ? So too is our article.
A MIDSUMMER-DAY'S DREAM.
(Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1828.)
We have no idea of what is thought of us in the fashionable world. Most probably we are looked on as a pretty considerable quiz. Our external, or personal appearance, is, we cheerfully confess, somewhat odd, both face and figure. It is not easy for you to pass us by on the streets without a stare at our singularity, or to help turning round, as soon as you think you are out of reach of our crutch, which, by the by, we sometimes use as a missile, and can throw almost as far as that celebrated gymnast of the Six Foot Club can swing the thirteen pound sledgehammer; while, with a placid smile of well-pleased surprise, you wonder if that can indeed be the veritable and venerable Christopher North.
Such is our natural and acquired modesty, that so far from being flattered by these proofs of public esteem and popular favour, they fret and annoy us more than we care to express. The truth is, we can seldom, on such occasions, help feeling as if there were a hole in our black silk stocking, the white peeping through like a patch of snow-a shoe minus a silver buckle—a button off some part of our dress—the back part of our hat in front-the half-expanded white rose-bud-tie of our neckcloth, of which we are alike proud and particular, dissolved into two long slips, which more than any thing else appertaining to a man's habiliments, give your person the impress of a weaver expert at the treddle and Ay-shuttle-or, to us who keep a regular barber on the chin establishment, with a salary of £80, worst suspicion of all, and if verified to the touch, death to that day, a beard! A beard ! VOL. I.
fair reader, as rough as the brush-naughty little mer. maid- with which you keep combing your glossy locks in that mirror-no, you do not think it flatters—both before you “ lie down in your loveliness," and after you rise up in it,-alarmed by the unexpected and apparently endless ringing of the breakfast bell.
Yet, we are not so very much of a quiz, aster all; and considering how the storms of many seasons have beat against us, it is astonishing how well we wear, both in root, branch, and stem. We cannot help-in our pride Heaven forgive and pity us!-sometimes likening our. selves to an old ash beside a church. There stands the tree, with bark thick as cork, and hard as iron--hoary arms overshadowing with a pleasant glimmer-for his leaves are beautiful as those of some little plant, come late and go early, and are never so umbrageous as to exclude the blue sky-overshadowing with a pleasant glimmer a whole family of tombstones,—a stem with difficulty circled by the united arm-lengths of some halfdozen schoolboys, never for a day satisfied, without, during a pause of their play, once more measuring the giant,-roots, many of them visible like cables along the gravel-walk leading from the kirkyard-gate, where on Sabbath stands the elder beside the plate, and each Christian passing by droppeth in the tinkling charity, from rich man's gold to widow's mite—and many of them hidden, and then reappearing far off from among the graves - while the tap-root, that feeds and upholds all the visible glory, hath for ages struck through the very rock-foundation of that humble house of the Most High ! Solemn inage! and never to be by us remembered, but through a haze of tears! How kindred the nature of mirth and melancholy! What resemblance seemeth that tree now to have to a poor, world-wearied, and almost lise-sick old man! For in a few short years more, we shall have passed away like a shadow, and shall no more be any where found ; but thou, many and many a midsummer, while centuries run their course, wilt hang thy pensive, “thy dim religious light”-over other and other generations, while at that mystic and awful table, whiter than the unstained mountain snow, sit almost in the open
air, for the heavens are seen in their beauty through the open roof of that living temple, the children of the hamlet and the hall, partaking of the sacrament,-or, ere that holiest rite be solemnised in simplicity, all listening to the eloquence of some gray headed man inspired by his great goodness, and with the Bible open before him, making, feeble as he seemed an hour ago before he walked up into the tent, the hearts of the whole congregation to burn within them, and the very circle of the green hills to ring with joy!
What a blessed order of Nature it is, that the footsteps of Time are “ inaudible and noiseless," and that the seasons of life are like those of the year, so indistinguishably brought on, in gentle progress, and impercepti. bly blended the one with the other, that the human being scarcely knows, except from a faint and not unpleasant feeling, that he is growing old! The boy looks on the youth, the youth on the man, the man in his prime on the gray-headed sire, each on the other, as on a separate existence in a separate world. It seems sometimes as if they had no sympathies, no thoughts in common, that each smiled and went on account of things for which the other cared not, and that such smiles and tears were all foolish, idle, and most vain; but as the hours, days, weeks, months and years.. go by, how changes the one into the other, till, without any violence, lo! as if close together at last, the cradle and the grave! In this how Nature and man agree, pacing on and on to the completion of a year-of a life! The spring how soft and tender indeed, with its buds and blossoms, and the blessed. ness of the light of heaven so fresh, young, and new, a blessedness to feel, to hear, to see, and to breathe! Yet the spring is often touched by frost-as if it had its own winter, and is felt to urge and be urged on upon that summer, of which the green earth, as it murmurs, seems to have some secret forethought. The summer, as it lies on the broad blooming bosom of the earth, is yet faintly conscious of the coming-on of autumn with “sere and yellow leaf,” the sunshine owns the presence of the shade
and there is at times a pause as of melancholy amid the transitory mirth! Autumn comes with its full or