« PreviousContinue »
admiration of these wild rocks was blended with familiar love, derived from early association. Despite iny Dutch education, a blue hill to me is as a friend, and a roaring torrent like the sound of a domeslic song that has soothed my infancy. I never felt the impulse so strongly as in this land of lakes and mountains, and nothing grieves me so much as that the duty prevents your being with me in my numerous excursions among its recesses. Some drawings I have attempted, but I succeed vilely -Dudley, on the contrary, draws delightfully, with that rapid touch which seems like magic, while I labour and botch, and make this too heavy, and that too light, and produce at last a base caricature. I must stick to the flageolet, for music is the only one of the fine arts which deigns to acknowledge me. .“ Did you know that Colonel Mannering was a draughtsman ?-I believe not, for he scorned to display his accomplishments to the view of a subaltern. Ile draws
beautifully however, Since he and Julia left Mervyn Hall, Dudley was sent for there. The squire, it seems, wanted a set of drawings made up, of which Mannering had done the first four, but was interrupted, by his hasty departure, in his purpose of completing them. Dudley says he has seldom seen any thing so masterly, though slight, and each had attached to it a short poetical description. Is Saul, you will say, among the prophets? Colonel Mannering write poetry!- Why surely this man must have taken all the pains to conceal his accomplishments that others do to display theirs. How proud and unsociable he appeared among us“ how little disposed to enter into any conversation which could become generally interesting ?-And then his attachment to that unworthy Archer, so much below him in every respect, and all this, because he was the brother of Viscount Archerfield, a poor Scottish peer! I think if Archer had longer survived the wounds in the af.
fair of Cuddyboram, he would have told something that might have thrown light upon the inconsistencies of this singular man's character. He repeated to me more than once, I have that to say which will alter your hard opinion of our late colonel.' But death pressed him too hard; and if he owed me any atonement, which some of his expressions seemed to imply, he died before it could be made.
"I propose to make a farther excursion through this country while this fine frosty weather serves, and Dudley, almost as good a walker as myself, goes with me for some part of the way. We part on the borders of Cumberland, when he must return to his lodging in Marybone, up three pair of stairs, and labour at what he calls the commercial part of his profession. There cannot, he says, be such a difference betwixt any two portions of existence, as between that in which the artist, if an enthusiast, collects the subjects of his drawings, and that which must necessari
ly be dedicated to turning over his portfolio, and exhibiting them to the provoking indifference, or more provoking criticism, of fashionable amateurs. “ During the summer of my year, says Dudley, 'I am as free as a wild Indian, enjoying myself at liberty amid the grandest scenes of nature; while, during my winters and springs, I am not only cabbined, cribbed, and confined in a miserable garret, but condemned to as intolerable subservience to the humour of others, and to as indifferent company, as if I were a literal galley-slave.' I have promised him your acquaintance, Delaserre; you will be delighted with his specimens of art, and he with your Swiss fanaticism for mountains and torrents.
“When I lose Dudley's company, I am informed that I can easily enter Scotland by stretching across a wild country in the upper part of Cumberland; and that route I shall follow, to give the colonel time to pitch his camp ere I reconnoitre his posi