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Brussels. It might be that, after long association with some of the brightest and kindest of my race; after having met with unbought affection and unexpected kindness in a strange land; after having found one sweet oasis in the midst of life's great desert, and bound myself to the spot by a thousand endearing ties—that every link had been broken—that I was again upon the world alone, like a solitary voyager in a shattered bark, ploughing the wide and threatening waves of existence;—and I knew not then that the wind would waft me to a brighter fate and a happier shore. However, the night had passed away in hot feverish fits of sleepthe only repose to be met in a diligence; and this short refreshment had been disturbed every instant by the noise and irritable peevishness of a little girl on the other side of the coach, who was travelling with her mother (a poor, honest countrywoman) to the fair city of Lisle. I had begun by wishing the child at the devil, for her fidgetting, and going on to wish the mother after her, for trying to keep her quiet (which made more noise than all), I was in a fair way of wishing myself there too, for my crossness, when the carriage stopped at St. Quentin, and admitted a new traveller. He was a man of about forty-five, with a clear blue eye, shining good humouredly through a deep sun-burnt skin. The moment he entered the vehicle, he seemed to come as a friend amongst those it contained. It was not vulgar familiarity—for there was much of gentleman-like calmness in the suavity of his manners—but it appeared a kind of benevolent cheerfulness, which made him pleased with the happiness of those around, and anxious to promote it. His first advances were towards the child, and, in five minutes, he was the most intimate friend she had on earth. He submitted to all her humours, permitted her placing on his fingers the piece of string with which she was playing at cat’s-cradle, and at all his blunders in the complicated machinery of the cradle, joined in her innocent laugh, and wondered at his own stupidity.
66 Whenever I am far from home,” said he, turning towards me, “ I love to meet with a child. It puts me in mind of those I have left behind.” And the warm, kind smile that beamed from his eye,
and played round his lip, would have warmed the coldest heart. His good humour made me ashamed of my crossness, and I was glad of an opportunity to throw it off. He was a native of Brussels, I discovered, and I asked many questions about that town, which I had then never seen. The conversation soon turned upon the events of the late war.
To prevent any mistake, I told that I was an EnglishHe bowed, and said that he had never liked the English till the battle of Waterloo. “ The French,” said he, “had circulated amongst us, so many tales of your avarice and your cruelty towards your prisoners, especially on board the Pontons (which I have since found to be either false or greatly exaggerated) that I confess my mind was unfavourably impressed towards your nation. On the arrival of your troops, however, I found that, though they had not the excessive liveliness and amusing loquacity of the French, they had a degree of frank good humour, and orderly integrity, that more than compensates; and many circumstances afterwards tended to make me equally love and esteem your countrymen.”
He then went on to give me a great many anecdotes of the British army at Waterloo, and of that great commander, who, after having constantly defeated every French general opposed to him, at length met and conquered the conqueror of one half of Europe. What he related of the Duke of Wellington I shall paes, as it only tended to record that same cool determined judgment, and heroic calmness in all situations, to which every foot of the Peninsula could equally bear witness. But one anecdote of an English officer interested me not a little.
“ As no one could tell,” said he,“ which way the course of events might turn, the citizens of Brussels formed a guard amongst themselves, for the defence of their property—the privates being all tradesmen, and the officers merchants. The battle of Waterloo soon removed every doubt as to which party would gain the ascendancy, and many of the French prisoners were delivered into the hands of the national guard of Brussels, to be conveyed to the places assigned for their reception. “I commanded a company, continued he, “which was actively employed on the occasion, and I found that one principal difficulty of the service consisted in securing the prisoners from the exasperated vengeance of the Prussians, who would willingly have bayonetted their ancient enemies, the French, even amongst the ranks of our soldiers. After my duty was done, and I had been relieved, I rode out of the town to see what service could be rendered to the wounded left on the field of battle, when the first object which attracted my attention on the road was one of your countrymen. He was an officer, and had a severe cut on the head, which was bound with a silk handkerchief He had also received a wound in the leg, which caused him to walk with difficulty; nevertheless, he was limping on towards the city on foot. Not that he had not a horse, for its bridle was passed over his arm, but he had appropriated it to a nobler use. Tied on its back, for he was too weak to keep his seat, was a wounded French officer; and every now and then, the Englishman, as he walked on, and as his own wounds pained him, turned round to see how the other bore up, and tried to cheer him with a word or two of broken French."
Prithee, what is Charity ?
Though she treads the darkest scene,
Trust me,-this is Charity.
MY LAST PUPIL.- À TALE.
It was before I became a real gentleman and independent portioner of Balgownie Brae, in the west of Scotland, and when I was nothing but an obscure Dominie (although a licensed minister of the kirk of Scotland), and earning my bit of bread by communicating the rudimants of that learning, whiclyneyer was the making of my own fortune, to young men for the making of theirs, that the first part of may experience was obtained in the ways of this wicked world.
At that time the obtaining of a good and respectable pupil, who could pay the school wages punctually at the quarter's endmor even the half year—was, as may be supposed, always a pleasant and comforting event to me; and I not only laboured diligently to pre
VOL. II. NO. VIII.
pare the minds of my young friends for the mighty world, with which they were one day destined to grapple-but it was my way to follow them, after I had dispensed them from my hands, with eyes of interest and affection, wherever I could trace them throughout the various prosperities and adversities which it is the lot of man to encounter on this side of time. If were to tell all the stories that I could narrate of my pupils—and how the world tossed them to and fro, during my own life and how some of them became good, and some declined into evil, notwithstanding all the godly precepts that I delivered to them—the world would be much instructed thereby. But, as the world cares little for instruction, but only for the pleasure and amusement, I will withhold them all, excepting only the history of my “last pupil;" in whose fate, indeed, it is quite likely that no one will take half so much interest as myself.
Well—one long afternoon, when my head was quite moidered with the weary din of the school, I was so confused and stupified, that I never so much as heard the noise of a carriage, which, with prancing horses and real postillion, actually stopped at my poor door. Down went the steps, with a clatter that made all my scholars run to the windows, in spite of my utmost authority, and out came a fine lady and an elderly gentleman; and after them a smart lad hopped from the coach, whom native sagaciły at once led me to apprehend to be my own trysted pupil.
The preliminaries were settled between the parents and myself in five minutes after we had been all convened in
best apartment. But, with the mere pounds and particulars, my business was not quite ended ; and I began to look in the face of the pupil and of those who accompanied him. I was not so ignorant of this world's vanity as not to know that there must have been some other reason besides the fame of my character and qualifications that should bring such grand people to my country domicile. My surmise was justified by further appearances. There is something painful to the eye
in all incongruities. The lady was not yet more than five and twenty, and I scarce ever had seen a prettier woman. Thę gentleman bordered on fifty, but his look indicated a mixture of sensuality, Scottish greed, good-nature, and imbecility. Yet, though the lady was pretty, even to fascination, I could not say that she commended herself wholly to my approval. I knew not then whether it were natural levity, or a sort of broken-hearted recklessness, that infiuenced her, as if from the habitual consciousness of having thrown away by one act all life's happiness, and most of its virtue: but the manner in which she handed over her child to my care, though affectionate to extravagance, was not such as I should expect from a staid and sensible parent. With all this, there was, about the carriage and the habiliments, something that bespoke the motives which had chiefly brought them to my obscure seminary, and that without indicating what ought to have accompanied them. As for the boy, Henry, I was not wrong in judging him to be the best of the group. He was as pretty as his mother, and more manly than his father-what need I dwell on particulars? he became my pride, and the pride of my school.
How I instructed my dear and interesting pupil, Henry Fairly, for the several years that he sojourned in my humble dwelling, and how I taught him all manner of heathen learning—as is the fashion --and delivered to him many counsels regarding the affairs of the world into which he was about to enter-as is not the fashion and how I talked with him, in the field and by the way, of all that men should aim at in the perplexities of this world, and all that they should eschew in the midst of its temptations, and how the thoughtful youth hung upon my words and reciprocated my inferences—it is not for me with any boasting to detail. But, before he had quite finished his time with me, behold, a letter came hastily to my hands ordering him home with all speed, for that all things there were in great disorder, and his mother in a dying state. I saw that the time was now come when he was to go forth to the world, being the real prop and hope of his family, and that all my counsels were to be put to the proof. Why need I tell how we parted, or with what blessings I blessed him at the little green end before my door? My pupils have always been to me the promised seed of my pains-taking and my purposes,
may say, of the wishes of my heart—albeit, that I ne'er had a child of my own.
It did not fall in my way to learn aught authentically of Henry Fairly for some considerable time. At length I journeyed to the city where he had gone to live, but the house to which I had been directed was all shut
and altered. I could hear nothing regarding him such as I wanted to know, and, just as I was stepping into the coach to leave the town, a broken-down-looking man, in deep mourning, passed me, leading two pale girls, in the same sombre dress, the former of whom I scarcely recognized as the gentleman, who, with a beautiful young wife by his side, had visited me in his own carriage not five years before. What had happened to cut off so young and so light-hearted a creature, I knew not; but she was now above a year dead : everything had gone wrong-yet, in the meantime, Henry Fairly, from the abilities he had shown, had been sent out a midshipman in a King's ship to bring home a fortune for his father and sisters.
Time still passed on, and nought was heard of Henry or his ship, nor did the world take any notice of the sorrows of his eldest sister Eliza, who silently bore the weight of her father's afflictions and her own, as she mourned the absence of the hope and prop of the family at their desolate fire-side. But the truth soon came out; for, it being then war-time, while men were slaughtering each other abroad, and rejoicing for it at home, Henry Fairly's ship had been taken on the high seas, and he was then lying in a French prison,
I now heard something more of the history of this unfortunate family. Henry's mother was the daughter of a man of good family, and, when she first came to this part of the country, was accounted