« PreviousContinue »
BY THE AUTHOR OF «WAVERLEY.»
'Tis said that words and signs have power
Lay of the Last Minstrel.
PUBLISHED BY P. DIDOT, SENIOR, RUE DU PONT-DE-LODI,
AND A. AND W. GALIGNANI, 18, RUE VIVIENNE.
M DCCC XXI.
Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
And merrily bend the stile a;
Let the reader conceive to himself a clear frosty November morning, the scene an open heath, having for the back ground that huge chain of mountains in which Skiddaw and Saddleback are pre-eminent ; let him look along that blind road, by which I mean that track so slightly marked by the passengers' footsteps, that it can but be traced by a slight shade of verdure from the darker heath around it, and, being only visible to the eye when at some distance, ceases to be distinguished while the foot is actually treading it -- along this faintly-traced path advances the object of our present narrative. His
firm step, his erect and free carriage, have a military air, which corresponds well with his wellproportioned limbs, and stature of six feet high. His dress is so plain and simple that it indicates nothing as to rank-it may be that of a gentleman who travels in this manner for his pleasure, or of an inferior person of whom it is the proper and usual garb. Nothing can be on a more reduced scale than his travelling equipment. A volume of Shakespear in one pocket, a small bundle with a change of linen in the other, an oaken cudgel in his hand, complete our pedestrian's accommodations, and in this equipage we present him to our readers.
Brown had parted that morning from his friend Dudley, and begun his solitary walk towards Scotland.
The first two or three miles were rather melancholy, from want of the society to which he had of late been accustomed. But this unusual mood of his mind soon gave way to the influence of his natural good spirits, excited by the exercise and the brącing effects of the frosty air. He whistled as he went along, not « from want of thought,» but to give vent to those buoyant feel, ings which he had no other mode of expressing. For each peasant whom he chanced to meet, he bad a kind greeting or a good-humoured jest; the hardy Cumbrians grinned as they passed, and said, « That's a kind heart, God bless un ! » and the market-girl looked more than once over her shoulder at the athletic form which corre,