Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Pavilion and Deeside of his utter seclusion-he was doing penance in the Swiss Giantess—a severe sojourn.

NORTH.

A Good Temper, friends—not a good Conscience—is the Blessing of Life.

BULLER.

Shocked to hear you say so, sir. Unsay it, my dear sir-unsay it-pernicious doctrine. It may get abroad.

NORTH.

THE SULKs !--the CELESTIALS. The Sulks are hell, sirs—the Celestials, by the very name, heaven. I take temper in its all-embracing sense of Physical, Mental, and Moral Atmosphere. Pure and serene—then we respire God's gifts, and are happier than we desire! Is not that divine? Foul and disturbed—then we are stified by God's gifts--and are wickeder than we fear! Is not that devilish? A good Conscience and a bad Temper! Talk not to me, Young Men, of pernicious doctrine--it is a soul-saving doctrine“millions of spiritual creatures walk unseen” teaching it—men's Thoughts, communing with heaven, have been teaching it-surely not all in vain-since Cain slew Abel.

[blocks in formation]

BULLER.

Socrates.

NORTH. Morose! Think for five minutes on what that word means-and on what that word contains-and you see the Man must be an Atheist. Sitting in the House of God morosely! Bright, bold, beautiful boys of ours, ye are not morose—heaven's air has free access through your open souls-a clear conscience carries the Friends in their pastimes up the Mountains.

SEWARD.

And their fathers before them.

NORTH.

And their great-grandfather-I mean their spiritual great-grandfathermyself-Christopher North. They are gathering up-even as we gathered up-images that will never die. Evanescent! Clouds--lights--shadows-glooms --the falling sound—the running murmur--and the swinging roar--as cataract, stream, and forest all alike seem wheeling by-these are not evanescent--for they will all keep coming and going-before their Imagination--all life-long at the bidding of the Will —or obedient to a Wish! Or by benign Law, whose might is a mystery, coming back from the far profound-remembered apparitions!

SEWARD.

Dear sir.

NORTH.

Even my Image will sometimes reappear—and the Tents of Cladich-the Camp on Lochawe-side.

BULLER.

NORTH.

My dear sir-it will not be evanescent

NORTH.
And withal such Devils! But I have given them carte blanche.

SEWARD.
Nor will they abuse it.

I wonder when they sleep. Each has his own dormitory—the cluster forming the left wing of the Camp—but Deeside is not seldom broad awake till midnight; and though I am always up and out by six at the latest, never once have I caught a man of them napping, but either there they are each more blooming than the other, getting ready their gear for a start;-or, on sweeping the Loch with my glass, I see their heads, like wild-ducks-swimming-round Rabbit Island—as some wretch has baptised Inishail-- or away to Inistrynish-or, for anything I know, to Port-Sonachan-swimming for a Medal given by the Club! Or there goes Gutta Percha by the Pass of Brandir, or shooting away into the woods near Kilchurn. Twice have they been on the top of Cruachan-once for a clear hour, and once for a dark day—the very next morning, Marmaduke said, they would have “some more mountain," and the Four Cloud-compellers swept the whole range of Ben-Bhuridh and BeinLurachan as far as the head of Glensrea. Though they said nothing about it, I heard of their having been over the hills behind us, t'other night, at Cairndow, at a wedding. Why, only think, sirs, yesterday they were off by daylight to try their luck in Loch Dochart, and again I heard their merriment soon after we had retired. They must have footed it above forty miles. That Cornwall Clipper will be their death. And off again this morning-all on foot—to the Black Mount.

[graphic]

BULLER. For what?

NORTH. By permission of the Marquis, to shoot an Eagle. She is said to be again on egg—and to cliff-climbers her eyrie is within rifle-range. But let us forget the Boys—as they have forgot us.

SEWARD. The Loch is calmer to-day, sir, than we have yet seen it; but the calm is of a different character from yesterday's—that was serene, this is solemn-I had almost said austere. Yesterday there were few clouds; and such was the prevailing power of all those lovely woods on the islands, and along the mainland shores—that the whole reflexion seemed

When gazing on such a sight, does not our feeling of the unrealities

dows-attach to the realities—the substances ? So that the living h-rooted, and growing upwards—become almost as visionary as

1 sembla in that commingling clime? Or is it that the life o

es life to images, and imagination believes that the whole, i

ust belo by the same law, to the same world? Let us understand, without so

stroy, ou

r has this life of ours been wisely call

of a sha To-day there are many cloud

hey an

is ti light of the sun not most grad

repos

nwar world affects me, I know not w

ess

loo almost gloomy—and I seem to see

f slee

There is not the unboundaried expanse o

e loch

-and Cruachan closer to us, with all his I felt a drop of rain on the back of

SEV It must have been, then, from your But a breath of air there is somewhe vision gone.

NORTI The drop was not from his nose, Seware drops too-on my Milton. I should not be a little rain.

SEWARD.
Odd enough. I cannot conjecture where i

BULLER,
Who ever heard of dew dropping in large fat
mer's day? It is getting very close and salt
Wordsworth says, “Like a Lion's den.” Did y

NORTH.
No. But something did. Look at the quicksils

BULLER. Thermometer 85. Barometer I can say nothing a low indeed. A long way below Stormy.

[ocr errors]

NORTH. What colour would you call that Glare about the Crown of Cruachan ? Yellow?

SEWARD. You may just as well call it yellow as not. I never saw such a colour before-and don't care though I never see such again—for it is horrid. That is a-Glare.

NORTH.
Cowper says grandly,

“ A terrible sagacity informs
The Poet's heart: he looks to distant storms;

He hears the thunder ere the tempest lowers.". He is speaking of tempests in the moral world. You know the passageit is a fine one—so indeed is the whole Epistle—Table-Talk. I am a bit of a Poet myself in smelling thunder. Early this morning I set it down for midday-and it is mid-day now.

BULLER. Liker Evening

NORTH. Dimmish and darkish, certainly—but unlike Evening. I pray you look at the Sun.

BULLER. What about him?

NORTH. Though unclouded—he seems shrouded in his own solemn light—expecting thunder.

BULLER. There is not much motion among the clouds.

NORTH. Not yet. Merely what tland we call a carry-yet that great central mass is double the was ten minutes ago—the City Churches are crowding round the C and the whole assemblage lies under the shadow of the Citadel-wi ents and colonnades at once Fort and emple. "Il some blue sky. No

But some. chan! you are chang

[graphic]

lutter was thunder. In five seconds ee-four—there; that was a growl.

savage growling, that makes the

hensible cause is turning the thun

il at once—the whole Thunderor shooting away into the woods near Kilchurn. Twice have they been on the top of Cruachan-once for a clear hour, and once for a dark day—the very next morning, Marmaduke said, they would have “ some more mountain," and the Four Cloud-compellers swept the whole range of Ben-Bhuridh and BeinLurachan as far as the head of Glensrea. Though they said nothing about it, I heard of their having been over the hills behind us, t'other night, at Cairndow, at a wedding. Why, only think, sirs, yesterday they were off by daylight to try their luck in Loch Dochart, and again I heard their merriment soon after we had retired. They must have footed it above forty miles. That Cornwall Clipper will be their death. And off again this morning-all on foot-to the Black Mount.

BULLER.

For what?

NORTH.

SEWARD.

NORTH.

SEWARD,

By permission of the Marquis, to shoot an Eagle. She is said to be again on egg-and to cliff-climbers her eyrie is within rifle-range. But let us forget the Boys-as they have forgot us.

The Loch is calmer to-day, sir, than we have yet seen it; but the calm is of a different character from yesterday's—that was serene, this is solemn-I had almost said austere. Yesterday there were few clouds; and such was the prevailing power of all those lovely woods on the islands, and along the mainland shores—that the whole reflexion seemed sylvan. When gazing on such a sight, does not our feeling of the unrealities--the shadows-attach to the realities—the substances ? So that the living trees-earth-rooted, and growing upwards--become almost as visionary as their inverted semblances in that commingling clime? Or is it that the life of the trees gives life to the images, and imagination believes that the whole, in its beauty, must belong, by the same law, to the same world?

Let us understand, without seeking to destroy, our delusions—for has not this life of ours been wisely called the dream of a shadow!

To-day there are many clouds, and aloft they are beautiful ; nor is the light of the sun not most gracious; but the repose of all that downward world affects me, I know not why-with sadness-it is beginning to look almost gloomy—and I seem to see the hush not of sleep, but of death. There is not the unboundaried expanse of yesterday—the loch looks narrower—and Cruachan closer to us, with all his heights.

I felt a drop of rain on the back of my hand.

It must have been, then, from your nose. There will be no rain this week. But a breath of air there is somewhere--for the mirror is dimmed, and the vision gone.

The drop was not from his nose, Seward, for here are three-and clear, pure drops too-on my Milton. I should not be at all surprised if we were to have a little rain.

SEWARD.
Odd enough. I cannot conjecture where it comes from. It must be dew.

Who ever heard of dew dropping in large fat globules at meridian on a summer's day? It is getting very close and sultry. The interior must be, as Wordsworth says, "Like a Lion's den.” Did you whisper, sir ?

No. But something did. Look at the quicksilver, Buller.

Thermometer 85. Barometer I can say nothing about—but that it is very low indeed. A long way below Stormy.

G

BULLER

SEWARD.

[ocr errors]

NORTH.

BULLER.

NORTH.

BULLER.

NORTH. What colour would you call that Glare about the Crown of Cruachan ? Yellow?

SEWARD.

You may just as well call it yellow as not. I never saw such a colour before—and don't care though I never see such again—for it is horrid. That is 4-Glare.

NORTH.

Cowper says grandly,

A terrible sagacity informs
The Poet's heart: he looks to distant storms;

He hears the thunder ere the tempest lowers.", He is speaking of tempests in the moral world. You know the passageit is a fine one—so indeed is the whole Epistle—Table-Talk. I am a bit of a Poet myself in smelling thunder. Early this morning I set it down for midday-and it is mid-day now. Liker Evening.

NORTH. Dimmish and darkish, certainly-but unlike Evening. I pray you look at the Sun.

BULLER.

BULLER.

What about him?

NORTH.

Though unclouded-he seems shrouded in his own solemn light-expecting thunder

BULLER.

There is not much motion among the clouds.

NORTH. Not yet.

Merely what in Scotland we call a carry- yet that great central mass is double the size it was ten minutes ago—the City Churches are crowding round the Cathedral—and the whole assemblage lies under the shadow of the Citadel-with battlements and colonnades at once Fort and Temple.

BULLER.
Still some blue sky. Not very much. But some.
Cruachan! you are changing colour.

NORTH.

BULLER

Grim-very.

NORTH.

The Loch's like ink. I could dip my pen in it.

SEWARD. We are about to have thunder.

NORTH. Weather-wise wizard—we are. That mutter was thunder. In five seconds you will hear some more. One-two-three-four-there; that was a growl. I call that good growling-sulky, sullen, savage growling, that makes the heart of Silence quake.

SEWARD. And mine.

NORTH, What? Dying away! Some incomprehensible cause is turning the thunderous masses round towards Appin.

SEWARD. And I wish them a safe journey.

NORTH. All right. They are coming this way, all at once—the whole Thunderstorm. Flash-roar.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »