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THE ROADS THROUGH THE WORLD.
The founders of our bamlet planted it at the meeting of these waters, which were not very large,
but they were very noisy, as if they had important Our village had few attractions to strangers, and business to do in the world ; and so they had, too, many to "its own." The population of its twenty, for they fed the fairest trout we had ever caught, five or twenty-six houses were intimately acquainted or that any of us will ever see, and by the help of all with each, and each with all. It was the the miller and his mill, they ground the corn. centre of our parish, but the noisy town, a short so they did not sing away their lives uselessly, three miles' walk from us, carried away the trade. under the shade of trees, so large that the stem Our business was, therefore, upon a small scale ; was on one bank and the branches over the other, except the grave digger's, the session clerk's, and
or rushing round green nooks, making little pethe minister's. The graveyard was a little bill ninsulas, as they made islands and gulss, to formed by the dust of many generations. The illustrate our geographies. church was old, yet it stood near the top of this We had five slated houses and three roofed with solemn mound, which in parts rose more than four tiles in our community, all the others were feet over its foundation. Thus we learned that a thatchd, for many reasons, but with results more long time is required to make a pyramid of the favourable to the busy sparrows and the twittering dead, and of the grass that grows on graves, and swallows, than any other animals, for their families fading, withers away again above them. The
were very numerous, and they could not make for grass of our churchyard was not cropped, for we themselves bomesteads on easier terms than in a held it sacred, after a peculiar fashion. Around
corner of our cottage eaves. Every house had its the place of the dead stood aged elms, in a stately | plot of ground, and each was called a garden ; Tow, like sentinels.
They must have been older famous gardens they were for all edible vegetables, than the oldest house around them; and nobody and some of the fruits and flowers. Our honeyremembered to have seen any chauge in their form suckle was unrivalled, our thyme was thick and or size. They had outlived the days of many flowery-myrtle rose in sweet smelling branches, families, and their roots, far beneath the grass, that scented all the air--and we had many beds of were twining in and out among the light brown marjory and mignionette-and roses that crept up dust of those who had planted them. Few persons among the ivy to the chimney-tops ; while all the erer examine human dust carefully, yet it is summer days, ten thousand busy bees gave thanks curiously fine and soft, having a colour of its own, as they laboured, hymning, while they wrought, of such a rich brown that uo fuller on earth can
sweet gratitude for the profuse provision made for imitate. The softness is like that of the silk, and them; not that anything was secured to the idle, its dye is unlike anything else whatever, when it but everything to the industrious, for the bees are is seen unmixed with the reinains of collins and
a strange people, with very radical notions, although common earth-never consecrated by the habita. they are the creatures on all the earth farthest from tion of a soul, even for a very short scason, and socialist opinions. the longest life is a span, in comparison even to years
that are needed to make this handful of refined earth—more precious by much that cannot be calculated or told, than the gold of Ophir, or
CHAPTER II. the precious stones of Havillah.
Our houses stood in the bottom of a wide bowl. Its upper edges were green and jagged with Dr. More's house was at the extreme end of the tall pines, that spread out their broad arms in a village to the west. It was a large house, with a door gallant phalanx of leaves, to shelter us from all flanked by two windows on each side on the lower winds. The sides of the bowl consisted of little floor, and three on the second flat, with two on heights and howes, as if it had not been quite the roof; and it had four on each gable, and four fiuished ; and they were all divided into fields, full at the back—one of wbich was a very long stairof farming wealth, and very rich in corn and case window. cattle; but we, who were but boys, best liked the It was thought that Mrs. More paid a ransom narrow paths, for the hedges and their flowers. | for air and light in these days, when the Chancellor We could see nothing beyond the tops of our hills, of the Exchequer charged the consumers of heaven's and there might have been two miles between direct gift, for leave to breathe and look about them on any side, as a crow would fly, and many them. may be deemed strange that in our a crow did fly, so quickly that young fulks often retirement the Chancellor of the Exchequer should wislied for wings to chase them. The birds, have been a recognised power ;
but the fact taking a bird's eye view of us, could not see a chink originated in this way-stray newspapers even in the bowl, but there were three, and the waters from London came amongst us, after they had been crept in and out by them.
read repeatedly in various families; yet we placed
minister's man, two women servants, who had completely, with a most loveable authority. What been there since the minister came to the place, a world of woe has come upon this earth since and for years before that day, as they were these days, and a great multitude of those who servants in the old family, who were out of my were strong and young then, have gone away to recollection, seeing, indeed, they had left for the her country; and many more to that land where her town before my arrival in the world.
The manse home cannot be. And through various changes, was not an extremely attractive place by itself; some thick with gloom, and others light with hope, and the character of its principal inmate seemed to through far lands and strange people have my own make garden and all dark—even in the sunshine; feet wandered since then, yet that memory is fresh, because we understood him not. All the apples like the green emerald that never fades, and warm upon one large tree, the best bearer in the garden, at my heart, like a July evening as the sun goes were sent regularly to the old family, for, according down behind Cairndhu, and colours all its darkness to the minister's man, that tree belonged originally with the deep purple of a summer day's death to the lady of the manse; yet it was curious that among the heather. No human being walks in some seasons it alone ład fruit, and all the through the world in a struggle against his own others missed either from the frosts in May, or sin and its temptations, without meeting green
fields the worms in June, or some other cause, not so in the waste, and where fields are green there are casily known. Few alterations were ever made in those who till them. Some believe the poet who the garden. By iuches yearly the standard trees wrote that "the darkest night is not all dark," stretched and swelled, and such other changes and others, that happiness in life is distributed occurred as nature effected; but there was no equally, which I believe not. So it has been to overturving or reforming in a general way, for the me, however, that the cloud has been followed by walks ran where they had originally been struck; the blink, and the shower by the sunshine. Yet, and very nearly the same place was occupied by having seen the strong become weak, and the the flowrets and herbs then that they had filled countenance of friends changed, the bright eye twenty years before. Beneath the cold stern look closed, the red cheek turn to wan, and the ruddy of the minister the heart was warm, and he could lip wax white very many times, it seems strange not bear to put man or vegetable out of an old place. that this one memory should be brighter and more This current of hidden kindness was compared, by like life than all the others.
Multitudes carry David Petrie, to the wells of the desert, although down to the grave two or three memories in that as I, in after years, understood, the simile was not way, so very clear that the lost come up to the characterised by the usual accuracy of Mr. Petrie's mind more vivid than the liting, who were parted illustrations, forasmuch as the desert streamlets run from but one half-hour. Chiefly they belonged to deep, and take bard coaxing and digging to draw the dreamer's family, or to the early loved, and may to the light; whereas, the minister's good-hearted.be lost. It was morally impossible that I had been ness was close to the surface, and breaking through in love with Miss Nancy, who was not then nearly continually, so that, if the comparison had been through with my first seven years, and had taken up altogether true, the desert would have been with Betsy Martin, who helped my mother, and was blossoming before the patriarch's time. Still, this well over thirty years, as my prime favourite, for fact did not keep us from thinking that the man substantial reasons, which it might be a shame to servant was cross, both the women servants confess, except to clear away that other suspicion, crabbed, the master dour-like, and the manse a since they were altogether selfish, and originated darksome, dull place, where nobody was to laugh in faggots of bread, with occasional additions. or sing, and such a thing as play was never
Still, as the straw bonnet of a chipped pattern, heard of, so that all the school crept quietly past black and white, in which the colours fell into each and round the garden wall, and held their breath other like the teeth of a saw; the skyblue velvet, for a time, not from any particularly nervous narrow, like a ribbon, that bound it; the grey cloak, affection, but only the atmosphere of the place. not more than half the usual length, according to One circumstance gave heart to the manse, and the fashion of Kirkhowe ; the hood with its lining character among the school children to the minister, of crimson silk; the little basket; the braided fair for they could not help loving anybody who lived hair, the deep blue eyes, the placid face, of which near to Nancy Rose, and she was the light of the we thought not whether it were or were not minister's dwelling.
beautiful, for it was always smiling—are remembered like the things of yesterday-the owner must have been very loveable.
She was then always known as Miss Nancy, and CHAPTER IV.
at this spring time she had been for ten years a resident of Kirkbowe, to which she was brought
from one of the Indies, while a very little girl, in It is not a digression, but in the common course her tenth year or thereby, although of that I reof my narrative, that I should tell out her member nothing. To me she seemed always fair story here, and the reasons why she swayed the and tall, and not like a person connected in any school in some measure, and the village childhood I way with the Indies. She had neither brother nor
sister-and of her family and parents we heard | making a warning. Moreover, Miss Nancy was as nothing. The post-master sent our letters to Mrs. good as a bursary, so to speak, or an endowment Grey's, who was no connexiou to the Grey family to the school, for she gave the children little teaalready named; and she remarked that large let drinkings in the winter, and fruit and nuts in ters came to Miss Nancy from foreign parts, for summer, and books and pictures at all times, which which more money than the day's wages of a she called prizes, only we all gained prizes tradesman was charged; and the address of some somehow, all the village infancy, at any rate. She of them was in a very neat female land, like those also taught us occasionally, and sometimes she sent away by Mrs. More, or others that came to would read the Bible lesson to us, and it seemed the Place.
easy when she read, for she had a way of speaking Thereafter the letters liad very deep black on that made the words be understood. the edge of the paper, but no black sealing wax, Upon the Sabbath mornings, before the bell for they were never fastened in that way, and those rang, she collected a class in her own room, in the of the beautiful female hand came no At house, of girls—and then, in the afternoons, she that time Miss Nancy went into very deep mourn had a younger class of boys in the room at the ing, and the lady, her governess, lest soon after church, to which I belonged, being rather under wards and never returned—for her pupil's educa- the age of Mr. Green's class in the school on that tion was completed ; but after a long period, she day. Kirkhowe was indebted to our Indian visitor had forsaken gradually her raiment of woe, which for these innovations, as they were once considered, I cannot clearly recollect ; and I only gathered ap and for its pre-eminence in education over all the these facts, as they were told, at different times, in other parishies around, and even the town. A the ordinary course of idle conversation in which stout wrestle occurred between the new and the old people engage, often supposing that the old world before these changes were homologated young cannot understand their secrets. The by the authorities. We lived in dangerous times, minister always wore black clothes, and as and it was the opinion of Mr, McDonald, who it was not common then to put servants in mourn- was the Laird's grieve, that all alterations saing when a bereavement occurred, nothing was voured of Radicalism. This was his view, and known in that way respecting his connexion with Mr. Buttry's also, who was supposed to speak for the far-travelled letters.
the whole Place. A meeting of the heads of the parislı, being the two officials aforesaid, the schoolmaster, three elders, and the minister, with Dr. More, occurred to consider the critical position of
affairs; and, on account of the weakness of the CHAPTER V.
Doctor, who could neither walk far nor fast, it was
held in his drawing-room, to the profit of Mr. Miss Nancy was a great help to Mrs. More, Green, who being a discreet young man, often took in dealings with the sick and the young; for that tea with Mrs. More and any of her young friends lady could not understand the young so well, in that little back parlour, which looked by a bow because a long time had passed since she had been window to the north-west, and was comfortable in at school. It was no doubt true that Mrs. More summer time, when the sun was going down. It had also taught the younger lady many things, and chanced that he was there that afternoon, not by sometimes they went from home together, for only way of eaves-dropping, which, of course, would not a few days. It would have been a serious business have been permitted by Mrs. More; but they if anything uncommon bad occurred then—for could not avoid hearing what was loudly spoken, David Petrie had a strong conviction of the value and neither could Miss Rose, who complained that of his strop, as a system, though he was a good-na- she was in an improper positiou; but except by the tured man, and Mr. Green was only his occasional window, and that was one flat from the ground, assistant, and had not overmuch authority. I have there was no way out unless through the great read in books often since then of the law of room. By this means Mr. Green was able to rekindness, but it differed little in any way from the late in after times nearly all that was spoken, but transactions of Miss Nancy with her young friends, as Dr. More cut all arguments very short, and was as sbe called us, although David Petrie grumbled clear for his wife's side, the discussion did not last sometimes when she sought pardon for a careless very long, and the substance was that lie pressed boy, and especially for a girl who had displeased the Mr. McDonald and Mr. Buttry for the reason of master; and which he could not well refuse, she their interference, and whether they had or had being, as it were, in the place of a daughter to the not any letters from Mr. Augustus Blacker minister, and he had none other ; but the master Eustace Cochrane upon the subject, and they had spoke to himself always on these occasions of none. Then it appeared that the Doctor bad, and revolutions and frieuds of the people, saying that he read from them that in Mr. A. B. E. Cochrane's Miss Nancy was "a friend of the people ”—and it opinion, no harm could possibly come from reading would not do to let over much with her; and he the Bible, and if any young ladies could be found used to argue with Mr. Green on the subject, who willing to teach the children, they were, in his was always for giving good advice instead of view of the matter, occupying their time in a most
THE LAW OF KINDNESS.
praiseworthy manner. So the Place was settled. Grahams, being the last of that stock, whereat, Mr. McDonald indeed added that "a little learning Mr. McDonald only said that the old families of was a dangerous thing," and should be seen after; the country were going very fast to ruin, and that but that split the party, for Mr. Petrie, conscious no such levelling work was ever contemplated in that for more than forty years he had been teach the good old days of Mr. Graham. ing only a little learning to the scholars of Kirk. Soon afterwards, a local library was established, howe—took the line in a personal sense, and called although some of the books were not better than it a downright heresy, and an insult to the wisdom tracts; but they had among them useful works, of the church, that had instituted schools as well and they afforded a variety in the parocbial readas colleges. “Besides,” said Mr. Smith, who for ing, chiefly in that of the village, because we were a farmer, was an acute, well-read man, and well near to the library. For myself, some change was knew how to stir up the wrath of his friends in necessary; as, except the writings of Mr. Willison, the session, "it's borrowed from ane Pope.” “Frae some works by Philip Doddridge-Time, and the the Pope,” said the elder next him, " do you hear End of Time - Watt's Sermons—the Fourfold State that, James ?”—and James, who was the third -the Hind let Loose—the Cloud of Witnesses~ elder, said he did, and also “ that to all things and some volumes of profane history, my opsavourin' o' Popery they should be opposed, and portunities of reading were confined to dry and would only be safe on the clean opposite road;" heavy books, such as the Assembly's Catechism, and and Dr. More appealed to the minister, who knew finally, with the view of beginning Latin, a gramwell that Pope the poet was not Pope the priest ; mar in that unknown tongue, to which Grey's but he did not correct the error, and only took Arithmetic might be added. refuge under Gamaliel, the great Jewish teacher ; Soon after its commencement, the business of and so the conference ended in the discomfiture of the library devolved upon Mr. David Petrie, in an the opponents of parochial reforms, and the triumph unforeseen manner; for Mr. Green, although a of their promoters.
youth of parts and promise, was also a young man After the opposite party had left, along with of poverty, who aspired to the pulpit, without any the elders who had far to travel, except Mr. Smith, visible means of meeting his expenses, and he was for it was only a short mile to the Rackets, the tea obliged to teach by the way. He was suddenly was set forth in a stately manner, in the drawing taken away to classes in Edinburgh ; and it was room, with Mrs. More's very best china cups, even said, as I remember well, that Nancy Rose which were only used upon great specialities, along was concerned therein, but it might bave been Mrs. with the set of old silver spoons, very massive, More, or even the minister, who never liked to that were heir-looms of the Pitgowan family; and hear, or to let others hear, of any good he did; David Petrie, although not altogether favourable, for, as I have since thought, it would not have being an influential man as the schoolmaster, had been altogether seemly for a young lady, turning been taken into the library to look at some Hindoo into the twenties, to pay for classes, and food, and manuscript or Persian parchment by the Doctor ; | lodging, to a young man of nearly the same age, or so that Miss Nancy seemed to have called for the a little more, although he was very discreet. minister and Mr. Green to have looked in by So many institutions and reforms in Kirkhowe accident, as it were—although no accidents really caused the Presbytery, at a half-yearly meeting, to occur in nature-when the party were all gathered take cognizance of the case, and especially as our round the tea table.
minister had been known for a quiet philosophic A long supplement to the ante-tea conference man; but Mr. Smith, of the Rackets, bad been occurred then, and the issue was the formation of bold enough to take a seat in that reverend court, a clothing society-a new idea, attributable to the a step without precedent, looking to his position, English lady ; of which Mr. Petrie was the only male being only a working elder, and neither a laird official, it being necessary to keep him in employ. nor a lawyer ; and he spoke so long upon the ment, and to have the services of some one skilled laws of the church, and also the Bible, that the in accounts. At that time, we had no families in moderator approved of leaving the business over utter rags in the parish, yet the times were very until a future day, and he afterwards forgot to do hard, and seeing the number of orphans was not more than privately admonish concerning the dansmall, and the Sunday collections were not large, ger of all novelties in times of change, and great it was thought that their distribution might be excitement, also of Radicalism. husbanded and improved in that way, which Mr. The withdrawal of Mr. Green for a season, as Smith believed would be also a great relief to the his place was not filled, and that being in the winter duties of the eldership; and they were very much month, when the school was full, cast more than of a monetary description.
usual work on Mr. Petrie, and the Miss Birnies, This matter was found to be so easy that, a with whom he had been a lodger for thirty-five short time afterwards, a thing altogether unknown years, could not but see that he was failing fast; in that quarter of the country was done, in the so the minister looked in often, and did all the institution of a Bible society, which commenced in clerking work, and Mrs. More helped Miss Nancy the gift of a dozen of bibles, in large types, from with what might have been called the juvenile Mrs. Cochrane, who was the heiress of the 1 classes ; they teaching all the lessons in the little
THE DARK CLOUD.
room at the kirk, while he had still the fees, which Few changes occurred in our quiet life, for, notwere not fully a shilling by the quarter, for those withstanding reports and rumours of Radical who did not count.
risings, Kirkhowe did not rise, but pursued the Miss Nancy was the best teacher that we even tenor of its way, and the ordinary course of had, and yet we were all afraid of her, for she was its business. One afternoon in spring, Mr. Green curiously opposed to some of our plans, and set was noticed walking round to John Dow's, where fights between the boys went out altogether. he lodged, and weary and footsore as he was, Kirkbowe always bred great flocks of birds, from everybody was delighted that he had come back the number of its trees, where they got food and again, for somehow he had gotten great applause shelter, and the boys were given to hunting them from the masters at Edinburgh, for his learning, with stones, knowing that the laird shot them with and the Miss Birnies both said that they knew guns ; although Miss Nancy often called it cruel, what would happen from the onerous care that and even sinful, and spoke so to Mr. Petrie on the David Petrie bestowed upon the young man's les. subject that be read to us for half an hour from a Mr. Green's return was a good help to Mr. large book on the construction of birds, and the Petrie, and a relief to Miss Nancy and Mrs. More, nature of feathers, showing that they could derive who were able to be more attentive to their disno advantage from being stoned, without, however, pensary, as Dr. More had named the little room convincing the audience that they should abandon behind the diving-room, which corresponded to the their former babits. As this lecture produced 110 small room behind the drawing-room. more good than might have been expected, Miss Rose one morning handed round copies of another lecture on the subject, more suited to our comprehension. The verses were beautifully written, but
CHAPTER VI. whether they were copied from a book, were de. vised for the occasion, or were ever published before I cannot tell, but they stand as I have copied The winter had been hard upon the poor labourers' them, in a very neat band, clear and plain :- families. The frost went deep into the earth, and I like the bonnie birdies,
the snow lay deep above it. The meal rose to I loo' them ane an'a',
close upon two pounds for the boll, a price at which When glinting in the sun beams,
I heard many say the bairnies could not get one Or fluttering through the spaw.
good diet for each day. The work was stopped Singing in the morning's youth,
for a month at once, by reason of the snow, and Ere yet the sun be high,
with the work the earnings ended, and it was a Cheerie notes o trustful truth, Far up in the blue sky;
very hard time. After famine comes fever, more Singing in the evening's hour,
or less vehement, in proportion to the want. That In beech or birken shaw,
rule obtains in the country as in the town; and I like the bonnie birdies,
fevers are often more fatal in the open field than I loo' them ane an' a'.
in the crowded and fenced cities. The spring was The mavis on the pine tree,
one of much sickness in the parish, and Dr. Groom The lark upon the sod,
ordered nourishing diet for his patients, more than Or mounting in its wild glee, For up the angel's road.
usual, as people said when they had sometimes to The blackbird on the May thorn,
do without any diet; and many healthy persons The linnet on the lea,
made proof of their affection, as was well known, The craick amang the young corn,
for the ailing, by going without anything for them. The swallow o'er the sea,
selves in order that the Doctor's prescription might That comes afore the blythe fiowers, Which hide the garden wa',
be observed, and to impose by a make-believe mode I like the bonnie birdies,
of working on the neighbours, lest they should I loo' them anean' a'.
think that they were poorer than they were. The
dispensary was very busy then, and the assistants The robins in the cold hours,
had more work than usual. At the same time, That crumple a' the leaves, The finches in the green bowers,
Miss Nancy was full of preparations for some That gladsome summer weaves,
friends who were coming home ; and it was said Are fed by God in kindness,
that they had bought or taken the house of BlinkAn' richly clad by Him;
bonnie, which stood not more than half a mile from To tell us of our blindness, When Faith an' Hope are dim.
the manse, above the water, where it crept through Oh! never stane the wee birds
the little hills away from us, and out into the world In sport frae coť or ha,
again. The land belonging to it was no more than For if you kill the sparrow,
one very large, or two ordinary, farms, of one to Our Father sees it fa'.
two hundred acres each, or thereby—for the lairds The birds had good times for that spring, from had been spendthrifts for generations, and the last, the verses, which we sung to merry airs; and who had long left the neighbourhood, was the worst fewer birds' nests were stolen that season at Kirk- of all. The possession was therefore desolate in bowe than in any year since the forty-five. appearance, and the large gardens-for Blinkbonnie