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The story may be shortly given. It opens with the death of the wife of Adam Blair, who is left in the fullness of youth a widowed and almost broken-hearted man. He mourns and withers in solitude till, at last, he is visited by a cousin of his wife, by whom he had, in early youth, been secretly beloved. The character of Mrs. Campbell (the cousin) is very finely touched. The effect of an ill-assorted marriage on a woman of keen feelings and buoyant disposition, is admirably given ; and her wanderings are glanced at with the utmost delicacy and skill. The progress of her attachment to Blair, and the temptations under which he sinks, are portrayed with a truth and beauty inferior only to the terrible representation of the workings of remorse on the fallen man's mind. Nothing, indeed, can be finer than the development of indomitable passion in a man in whom it had always lain dormant, from its never before having been directed towards a forbidden object. His guilt becomes known, partly from his own confession ; and he is, according to the strict laws of Scotch church-government, removed from his parish. Mrs. Campbell dies ;-and he seeks to expiate his crime by becoming a “ hewer of wood and drawer of water," in the village of which he once had the charge, and among the people who once looked to him as a teacher and a model. After ten years spent in the utmost severity of toil and self-denial, the clergymen of his Presbytery conceive his “ tears to have washed his guilt away," and he is finally replaced in his ancient ministry.

From this very imperfect sketch, it would be unfair to judge of the story; though that is by no means the excelling part of the book. It is in the truth and fearful vigour of the delineations of suffering, of the workings

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of the soul in sorrow and in passion, that this writer has his mighty power. Our extracts must necessarily be short, and we scarcely know where to cull among the manifold beauties of this volume. The following is part of the description of Blair's state immediately on his wife's death.

“ Perhaps an hour might have passed before Mr. Blair opened the window of the room in which his wife had died. His footstep had been heard for some time hurriedly traversing and re-traversing the floor; but at last he stopped where the nearly fastened shutters of the window admitted but one broken line of light into the chamber. He threw every thing open with a bold hand, and the uplifting of the window produced a degree of noise, to the like of which the house had for some time been unaccustomed; he looked out, and saw the external world bright before him, with all the rich colourings of a September evening. The sun had just sunk behind the distant screen of the Argyll and Dumbartonshire hills; the outline of huge Benlomond glowed like a blood-red jewel against the wide golden sky beyond; a thick and hazy cloud of mist had gathered over the rich valleys to the westward, through which, here and there, some far-off bending of the river Aashed for a moment in a streak of reflected crimson ; near at hand, the tall elms that surround the village church-yard stood, with all their brown leaves whispering in the faint breeze of the twilight; a fine herd of cattle were passing along the neighbouring “ green loaning," in a long deliberate line; the hum of the village sent an occasional echo through the intervening hedge-rows; all was quiet and beautiful above and below; the earth seemed to be clothed all over with sights and sounds of serenity; and the sky, deepening into darker and darker blue overhead, shewed the earliest of its stars intensely twinkling, as if ready to harbinger or welcome the coming moon.

“The widowed man gazed for some minutes in silence upon the glorious calm of nature, and then turned with a sudden start to the side of the room where the wife of his bosom had so lately breathed ;-he saw the pale dead face; the black ringlets parted on the brow; the marble hand extended upon the sheet; the unclosed glassy eyes; and the little girl leaning towards her mother in a gaze of half-horrified bewilderment; the tears dried up in

their

young fountains, by the instinctive awe of life in the immediate atmosphere and presence of death.”—Pp. 5–7.

In the agony of his grief he becomes almost delirious. The tumultuous visions of his troubled spirit are thus powerfully given.

“ All the past things of life floated before him, distinct in their lineaments, yet twined together, the darkest and the gayest, into a sort of union, that made them all appear alike dark. The mother that had nursed his years of infancy-the father, whose hairs he had long before laid in the grave-sisters, brothers, friends, all dead and buried--the angel forms of his own early-ra. vished offspring—all crowded round and round him, and then rushing away, seemed to bear from him, as a prize and a trophy, the pale image of his expiring wife. Again she returned, and she alone was present with him-not the pale expiring wife, but the young radiant woman-blushing, trembling, smiling, panting on his bosom, whispering to him all her hopes, and fears, and pride, and love, and tenderness, and meekness, like a bride; and then again all would be black as night. He would start up and gaze around, and see nothing but the sepulchral gloom of the wood, and hear nothing but the cold blasts among the leaves. In a moment, it seemed as if

years

and
years

had intervened since he . had become a widower. Every thing looked distant, chill, remote, uncertain, cut off from him as if for ages, by the impassable wide gulf of death. Down he lay again, and covering his face with his hands, struggled to overcome the strength of delusions, with which all his soul was surrounded. Now boiling with passions, now calm as the dead, fearing, hoping, doubting, believing, lamenting, praying, and cursing—yes, cursing all in succession.Oh! who can tell in one brief hour what ages of agony may roll over one bruised human spirit!”. - Pp. 9–10.

His gradual restoration to serenity, and his occasional relapses into deep gloom, are given with the hand of a master. Our limits, however, will permit us to extract but little. We pass on to the arrival of Mrs. Campbell at the Manse.

“ The night closed, and all expectations being at last given up, the family were assembled in the usual manner for the purposes of social devotion. The psalm had been sung, the chapter read, and the prayer commenced, when a carriage stopt at the door of the Manse unheard and unheeded. Mrs. Campbell alighting and entering the house, heard Mr. Blair's voice, and immediately comprehended what was going forward. She gently opened the door of the well known parlour, and stepping in, knelt down beside one of the servants,--all so quietly, that Mr. Blair, being at the other end of the room with his back turned towards the door, and, of course, deeply occupied with his devotional duty, had not the least suspicion of what had happened.

“ He continued, therefore, to go on with his prayer as if no stranger had been hearing it; and perhaps the effect of what he uttered might have been less powerful, had he been speaking in the knowledge of her presence. More powerful, under any circumstances, it could scarcely have been; for his mild, subdued, chastened spirit, poured itself forth in free, unrestrained, gushing earnestness, and all the humble aspirations of the man rose to, and were overshadowed in, the sublimity of his religion. The voice of affliction was re-toned in that sacred moment, and trembled with all the fervid eagerness of unbroken faith, while the affections of a father, a guardian, and a priest, flowed forth altogether in one full, soft, and soothing stream of supplication.

" He who after being brought up in a house where the ancient Scottish system of family worship was regularly followed, has wandered abroad in the world, and lived among people ignorant, careless, or scomful of such things; and then, perhaps, returned after a lapse of many years to the paternal fire-side, there to witness once more those old and venerable observances of village piety, the effect of which has probably never entirely departed from his mind, however little their salutary influence might, at times, be visible on the surface of his conversation and his conduct -such a man, and, I am sure, there must be inany such, will have no difficulty in sympathizing with the emotions which rose and struggled within Mrs. Campbell's heart, while she listened to this evening service of Cross-Meikle Manse. She, indeed, had not enjoyed the happiness of being born and reared beneath the shadow of habitual godliness; but she had, in her early days, been often domesticated for a time in pious families, and above all, she had spent the last of her truly happy summers under the roof of her cousin and Mr. Blair. Throughout all the years of wandering that had intervenedamidst her gaicties and revellings, her follies and her frailties,—the picture of those quiet and gladsome summer months had remained-obscured but not obliterated-at the bottom of her heart; and not seldom, when sleep brought the luxury which waking thoughts durst not harbour, had her dreaming fancy recalled all the fresh calmness of that happy and innocent life-the sweet sounds of its Christian psalm, and the grave simplicity of its domestic prayers.

“ Mr. Blair rose from his knee, and was made aware of her being in the room, by Sarah pulling his skirts, and saying, “ Papa, papa, you're no seeing the lady.” He had scarcely time to give more than a look, ere Mrs. Campbell had rushed into his arms. He held her back, and gazing upon her once familiar features, altered, as they of course were, in the lapse of ten long years of an eventful history, he could scarcely for the first moment, believe that it was indeed the same Charlotte whom he had known. He had heard enough of changes in her—and he had witnessed changes enough in every thing about him; but her image had remained on his memory as it was first imprinted, and it had not occurred to him that he was to see any thing but the same rosy cheeks and sparkling, laughing eyes, which all men liked to look upon in the young and virgin days of Charlotte Bell. Instead of that bright personification of maiden loveliness and maiden glee, a pale face met his view—a pale, thoughtful, melancholy face-a faint serious smile struggling upon the surface of a pair of white and quivering lips-cheeks fallen in upon the bone-and soft eyes streaming with irrepressible tears. A thousand, and a thousand thoughts rushed into his mind, and gladly would he have suffered his tears to have their way also, and mingled his whole soul with hers in one agony of lamentation. But eyes were upon him, and he commanded himself. The water stood in his eyes, but was not permitted to overflow the sockets. After a moment, he could say, “ God bless you, Charlotte !" in a scarcely faltering voice; and saluting her like a long-parted brother, he turned to his child, and bade Sarah come near to be kissed by one that must not be reckoned a stranger at Cross-Meikle. Sarah drew back and blushed, but Mrs. Campbell caught her up, and folding her to her bosom, rained a shower of mingled tears and kisses upon

the face and neck of the beautiful orphan, who, in her turn was not slow to weep, for company's sake, although she could have but

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