Page images

that my want of scientific knowledge was a sad drawback PROGRESS OF SCOTCH AGRICULTURE.
to me in my trade, I resolved to attend the lectures of Pro-
fessor in the University of Edinburgh. This most
excellent man did all he could to encourage me in my stu-

During the first half of the last century agriculture was in dies, and I soon found that

the most miserable state throughout Scotland; but after the KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

Union many of the most active spirits of the country being reI was now able to undertake work of a much more pro, aggrandizement brought to an end by that event, turned their

lieved from political turmoils, and their ambitious schemes of fitable kind than what I could have done, before I received the instructions of that most excellent Professor, who also attention to agriculture. Among these Fletcher of Salton and did all in his power to recommend me as a tradesman to Lord Belhaven, both of whom bad eagerly opposed the Union, his acquaintances. By these means I soon made as much distinguished themselves by their example and by their writings, as enabled me to retire from all concern with business. In 1733 the society of improvers was formed in Edinburgh,

Let me add that feasting, drinking, gaming, or company- who exerted themselves to introduce the modes of culture then keeping were never included in my pursuits. I therefore practised in the Low Countries and in England. The turnip busat an advanced age enjoy excellent health and spirits, and bandry, the first and most important of the improvements in walk about at my ease. the reach of every workman, if he will only abstain from modern agriculture, had been introduced into Norfolk by Lord ale, porter, whisky, &c. What a contrast this is to the Townsend from Hanover, whither he had accompanied George generality of workmen when age overtakes them. Even at 1. But the unsettled state of Scotland, the discontents about 40 or 50, do we not find them generally useless for any the malt tax, which broke out into open insurrection in 1725, good purpose. Both body and mind enfeebled by the al- and the rebellions of 1715 and 1745, impeded all the efforts of most constant use of that accursed beverage, whisky. I beg the society. Although, therefore, the practice of draining, ento add, that while I was a journeyman, I was made to suf- closing, the cultivation of artificial grasses, turnips, and potafer all the petty persecution possible from my shop-mates, toes had been introduced by the middle of the last century to because I would not join them in their debasing pursuits. I am now the only one alive out of 23 journeymen who

a limited extent in the south-east part of the kingdom, on the were in that work in 1788–9. Thus I have had a good estates of some of the land proprietors who paid attention to reward for having in time avoided that vile practice of agriculture, their example was not followed by the tenantry drinking and idling; and having accustomed myself to hard generally, who laboured under a great deficiency of capital, and labour when young, I found as I advanced in life that it who were unwilling to adopt changes till they saw them was no hardship at the age of 60 to do the hardest work succeed when tried by men in their own rank. Green in my line.

crops being almost unknown, fresh animal food could not

be obtained during one half of the year. Each family THE CORN LAWS, alias THE BREAD TAX. salted in October or November its supply of beef till WhitBesides prohibiting duties, there are the Corn Latvs, for sunday: If the cattle were alive in the spring, and able to the protection of what is called the agricultural interest, or, in the west of Scotland agriculture was in a still more back

go to the pastures without assistance, it was thought sufficient. in plain parlance, for swelling the rental of the landlord.

ward state. When Wight visited Wigtonshire, he found, as It appears from the resolutions submitted to the House of life as 1777, that the rotation of crops, and the beneficial Commons by Lord Milton, that the average price of wheat effects of the intervention of green crops among those of corn, in England, in the year ending February, 1830, had been were utterly unknown. The system there practised was to raise 64s. 2d. per quarter. The average price on the Continent crops of oats and bear in perpetual succession; or, in order to and in America, during the same period, had beeu 46s. 3d. avoid the thirlage on oats, from which the bear was exempted, per quarter. Now, if there were no restrictions on the im- one crop of oats, and three or four crops of bear were raised in portation of corn, the price in England would be nearly succession. Io Dumfries-shire there was only one road in the same as in Poland or the United States ; but, in conse

1774, that from Dumfries to Portpatrick, which had been made quence of the boroughmongering tax, the price is about for military purposes fifteen years before that period. Wheat 20s. per quarter higher : so that if the annual consumption

was then little cultivated : it was very rare in many districts of corn by the community be 48 millions of quarters, they &c. In the county of Kirkcudbright bear was grown on the

well fitted for its cultivation, as Clackmananshire, Forfarsbire, pay exactly so many pounds additional taxes, in order to

same land in perpetual succession. On the outfield land a reswell the rents of the landowners. This tax, be it observ

turn of three for one was considered a fair crop of oats, and ed, is chiefly borne by those who are least able to bear it-three bolls of oats only produced one boll of meal. The barley by that class which has been so long disfranchised, and whose was so mixed with the seeds of noxious weeds, that the ale consequent poverty now prevents them from availing them- made from it produced a narcotic effect on persons pot accusselves of the privileges with which the Reform Bill would tomed to drink it. Ayrshire, where the management of the otherwise invest them. It has been often and justly ob- dairy is at present so well understood, is thus described, in served, that a tax upon bread is the most oppressive and 1750 : “ The farm-houses are mere hovels, having an open unjust that could be imposed upon the industrious classes. heartb, a fire place in the middle of the floor, the dunghills at The hard-working mechanic, that slaves from morning to

the door, the cattle starving, the pevple wretched. There are night for a scanty support, consumes as much bread, indi. vidually, as the Marquess of Westminster, or the Duke of

no fallows, no green crops, no artificial grass, no carts, or

When the Bucclench, with his 130,000l. per annum; and the trades. waggons, and hardly a potato or esculent root." man's family when he can support them, eat more bread late Mr. Barclay succeeded to the estate of Ury, in Kincardinethan the same number in the family of the wealthiest peer. shire, in 1760, there was no road upon it, and consequently,

neither carts nor wheel carriages in use. The use of lime, as How VANITY QUICKENETH THE SENSE OF HEARING.--An old naval officer, had lost the hearing of

a manure, was unknown. In the Highland districts, matterg one ear by the bursting of a cannon near him during an

were still worse. The land was scourged by a repetition of grainaction, yet would the faintest echo of an encomium, de.

crops, till it refused to bear any longer. Weeds and natural signed for himself, strike upon the drum of the other, and grasses were then allowed to accumulate for a qumber of years, awakın his attention as acutely as the sound of a salute till the ground gained such beart, as fitted it for a renewal of the from the port.guns of a foreign power.

former exhausting process. The uatural pastures, which were

free to all the community, were, at the same time, overstocked lument. Order being now restored throughout the country, with catcle, and numerous deaths were thus occasioned and justice impartially administered in every district by the every winter.

Farms were

let to the whole body of King's judges, a change rapidly took place in the moral chatenants in each town or village in run-rig. The subdi- racter of the people. The laziness, the want of industry, and visions or ridges of the firm passing into the hands of the of business habits of the Scotch, are remarked by the English joiat tegants in succession, each person had only a temporary travellers at the end of the 17th century. Things seem to have interest in the portion which he happened to hold, and had no been much in the same state as they are in Ireland at present. prospective benefit to induce him to aineliorate it. Agricul- The industry, perseverance, and many of the other good qualities ture, in short, was unknown, and a few black cattle roamed for which the Scotch character is now distinguished, only date over extensive districts which now bring ample revenues to their from the middle of the last century. The chief cause of the beneproprietors. Troops of banditti infested the Highland districts, ficial change of character, must be principally sought in the estaand the counties adjoining. It was usual to pay a sum of blishment of parochial schools. The first effectual provision for money annually to the leaders of these bands for the protection that object had been made during the usurpation by a statute in which the government was too weak to afford. The exacting the year 1646. It authorized a compulsory assessment on the of blackmail

, for so the payment was called, was soon convert heritors of each parish, for the building of a school-house, and ed into a means of extortion and rapine; and though an act the providing of a salary to Schoolmaster. On the restoraexisted rendering the paying as well as taking of it a capital tion, however, this excellent statute was repealed, together with crime, yet the practice continued. There is still extant all the other laws passed during the Commonwealth, and it was a contract of Blackmail, dated as late as June, 1741, drawn not until the year 1696, that it was re-enacted. Its etfects on out on stamped paper, in good formal style, and attested with the national character may be coasidered to have commenced all the solemnities of law, between James and John Grahame, at the union, though it was nearly half a century later till its elder and younger of Glengyle, and tea gentlemea of the coun- beneficial influence was fully felt. The seeds of agricultural ties of Perth, Stirling, and Dumbarton. By this deed the prosperity had been already sown by the Society of Improvers, Grabanes engage, ou receiving notice of the theft or robbery of and only' required cultivation. This was not long wanting. any cattle, within 48 hours after the robbery, and in considera. Many Scotch officers had served in the army under the Duke of tion of an annual payment of L.4 for every L. 100 of the valued Cumberland, in the low countries, and had there an opportunity rents of the lands subscribed for, either to restore the cattle of learning improved modes of agriculture. On their return within six months, or to pay their value to the owners. The home after the peace of 1718, many of them betook themselves deed is drawn with much precision, and the manuer of giving to farming, an art with which some of thein had been acquaintiotimation of the thefts, and the places where it is to be given, ed before entering the army; and they introduced the imare distinctly specified. It was, however, only intended to pro- proved system. Their example was followed much more readily vide against robberies on the great scale, for it is provided that than when it had been given by the landed proprietors. But the Grahames were not to be liable for pickeries, and the dis- the tenantry had not the stimulus which an increasing price of tinction between a theft and a pickery is accurately defined. corn is so much calculated to bestow. For a century and a “ Declaring that one borse or black cattle stolen within or with half, the prices had been singularly uniform. We have accurate out doors, or any number of sheep above six, shall be construed accounts of the prices of corn in Scotland, since the year 1627, to be a theft and not pickery."

when the Sheriff Fiars, a system of judicially ascertaining the Meantime, Various attempts had been made to encourage in average prices for the year, by the examination of witnesses, dustry, and to furnish the capital necessary for its successful before the Sheriff of the county, and a jury, was introduced. exertion; but some of these attempts had, at first, an injarious The prices so ascertained, are called the Fiars. From the year effect. The Royal Bank was established in 1727, but the dis- 1627, to the year 1699, a period of 73 years, the average tiar putes wbich immediately arose between it and the Bank of price of wheat, in East Lothian, was 15s. 61d. per boll, conScotland were attended with the most disastrous consequences. tainlog almost exactly half a Winchester quarter. From the Duocan Forbes of Culloden, then Lord Advocate, in writing year 1700, to the year 1735, the average is 14s. 54d. From to the Duke of Newcastle, 26th June, 1728, says, “ At present, 1736, to 1770, 14s. 6.d. The account of the prices at the credit is run so low by a struggle between the two banks, that Windsor market exbibit a similar result, the fall from the year money can scarcely be found to go to market with." In 1731 1616 to 1770, amounting to about 20 per cent. The rents of another attempt was made by the Bank of Scotland to settle land did not, therefore, increase in any appreciable degree, durbranches at Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, and Berwick, but ing the first half of the last century. As an example, I have they were all recalled in 1733. Such was the miserable state access to know that one large farm in the Lothians, was let in of manufactures and commerce, that imperfect as the state of the year 1728, at a rent payable in victual, with L. 100 Scots, agriculture was, Scotland then exported corn, and the expor- or L.8. 6s. 80. of money; and converting the former at the tation increased from 23,000 quarters in 1707 to 50,000 quiar- prices of these times, the whole amounted to L.430, a large ters in 1743. This fact shews that the cultivation of the soil rent in those days. In 1718, the lease was renewed with an had been somewhat improved ; for the population of the country addition to the money rent of L.2 12s. 6d., but with oo other had increased about one-fifth, and the price of corn had rather addition; and lastly, on the expiry of this lease, without any fallen. The fall in the price of grain may, however, also be account increase of rent whatever;, and inany other instances to the ed for by a rise in the value of the precious metals during the tirst same effect might be given.' half of the last century, as supposed by Dr. Adain Smith ; who Between the years 1760 and 1777, however, it appears from shows that a fall in the price of grain had taken place in other Wight's Agricultural Surveys, that most of the improvements of countries, where no improvement in agriculture appears to have the Norfolk and Flemnish Husbandry had been introduced into been made.

the south-eastern counties. From the great demand for agriculThe rebellion of 1745, though attended with inuch imme- tural produce occasioned by the increase of our population, and diate evil, proved ultimately of great benefit to Scotland. Be- of the wealth, and consequently of the consumption of the fore that event the English statesınen had overlooked Scotland, country, poorer soils were brought into cultivation, and the despising it as a poor barren country, hardly worthy of their amount of the rental of the southern counties, and probably of attention. The Rebellion showed, that it at least contained ma the other parts of the kingdom, doubled in the period between terials of a highly dangerous nature, which it was absolutely 1774 and 1794. Decessary to watch narrowly, and a:tention was thus directed This increase of the rents of land could only be occasioned to the means of turning the energies of the country to useful by the great improvement of cultivation, for the rise in the purposes. Among the evils which it was necessary speedily to price of grain was very inconsiderable. Thus the average price eradicate, was the great power exercised over the lower orders of wheat at Windsor market in the ten years ending with 1775 by the proprietors of land. This is a circumstance remarked was L.2 lls. 31d. per quarter; and in the ten years ending by many of the English travellers in the early part of the last with 1795, only 38. higher. It will be observed this great century; and it was occasioned by the remains of the feudal rise took place before the passing of the Bank Restriction Act system, and by many of the pobility and gentry possessing heri. in 1797. It is well to remark this fact, because many writers table jurisdictions, by which they were enabled, under colour of now hold out, that the Restriction Act, by enabling the law, to oppress the lower orders. After much hesitation and Bank of England to issue their notes in great quantities opposition these jurisdictions were abolished in 1717 ; but not and depreciate the currency, and consequently to raise until their owners had exacted L. 150,000 sterling from the the prices of grain, was the great cause of the rapid publie reveque, for giving up their right. At present it is ne progress of agriculture. After this period the price of corn concessary to pay judges to adminster the law, and we may judge tinued rapidly to increase,-wheat rose repeatedly in England what was the nature of the justice dealt out by these hereditary to L.6 per quarter, and the average of the eight years, ending jadzes, when they considered their tribunals an object of emo- with 1813, is L.5, 1s. 9d. ln cousequence of this great rise,

combined with the improvements of agriculture, the rent of provement which has taken place in the agriculture of the couo. land continued rapidly to increase. This iocrease, in the six. try, is that which has been effected on the country-seats of the heen years ending with 1811, cannot, in the corn counties, be landed proprietors. Almost every gentleman's house has been estimated at less than 100 per cent. upon the rental of 1795. enlarged or rebuilt ; new kitchen gardens have been formed, Thus the rental of Berwickshire, which was estimated at and the pleasure grounds altered; the number of hot-houses is L. ] 12,000 in 1795, appeared from the property tax returns, to increased, at least a hundred told, and lodges, winding apbe L.231,973 in 1811. The county of Renfiew had advanced proaches, and scattered timber trees are now substituted for comfrom L.67,000, to L. 127,068 ; Edinburghshire, from inon-place roads, gatex, and grass fields ; the latter either naked, L. 134,575, to L. 277,827. We thus see that in less than forty or displaying only a few rouud clumps. All the towns have been years, the rental of the farms in Scotland had been augmented more or less increased in size ; the new buildings are larger, of fourfold. “ On one of the largest estutts in East Lothian, ex

an improved architecture, and the streets are wider."* In tensive farms, of a very mixed quality, which had been let on

consequence of these improvements, the quantity of grain must lease, ata rack-rent in 1793, were re-let in 1612 on leases of 21

have been greatly increased, but we have no meaus either of years, and the rule by which the new rents were fixed, was 24 estimatiog the increase accurately, or the quantity of land of the old." In six years, from 1806, to 1813, the rental of brought into cultivation. Kirkcudbrightshire, rose from L. 167,125, to above L.200,000,

(To be continued.) or 25 per cent. But the increase of the value of stock farms, was still more extraordinary. The rental of Argyleshire was

THE SEA SERPENT. under L. 20.000 in 1751. It had risen to L. 89,000 in 1793,

SOLUTION.- The public were amused for some time, and to L. 192,000 in 1811. In Caithness there were many instances of farms bringing, in 1809, eight times the rent they had

a few years ago, by the tales of brother Jonathan, respectyielded in 1762. In Dumbartonshire, the increase on many existence of creatures of that nature in the ocean, I have

ing the huge sea serpent. Without at all disputing the farms was tenfold. To the period between 1667, when the valued rent of Scotland was taken, and 1811, the land rental of little doubt that a sight I witnessed, in a royage to the the whole kingdom increased fifteen fold; but the rental of In- West Indies, was precisely such as some of the Americans verness, in the same period, was augmented thirty fold. Mr. had construed into a “sea serpent, a mile in length," agreeSmith, in his Agricultural Survey of Galloway, published ing, as it did, with one or two of the accounts given. This about twenty years ago, asserts, “ that a variety of iostances

was nothing more than a tribe of black porpoises in one might be adáured, where the present rents of farms are equal to line, extending fully a quarter of a mile, fast asleep! The the prices paid for them in the memory of persous still living.' The great increase in the value of stock farms arose in a

appearance, certainly, was a little singular, not unlike a great degree from the introduction of sheep instead of the rear.

raft of puncheons, or a ridge of rocks ; but the moment it ing of black cattle. The rental of the estate of Chisholm in was seen some one exclaimed (I believe the Captain), Strathglass was L. 700 in 1783, and in 1827. L.5000. The

“ Here is a solution of Jonathan's enigma !" and the res rental of the Glengary estates increased from L.800 in 1788 to semblance to his “sea serpent” was at once striking. A L. 6000 or L. 7000 in 1827. The improvements in agriculture, good many years ago, an account appeared in the newsand the large capitals which had been acquired by the tenantry, papers of a veritable sea serpent, seen between Coll and by enabling them to farm in the best manner, and to ameliorate Eigg, by the Rev. Niell Maclean, minister of Small Isles. the soil, greatly contributed to the increase of rents. The bank This imagined monster of the deep may be often seen in the restriction also, by continually raising the prices of grain, and by Hebridean seas, if a congregation of grampuses pass for enabling the bankers to lend large sums of money to the ten

him. A voyager, who committed ro mistake, gives the antry, had a great effect. The value of estates, particularly in the Highlands, rose enormously. In 1779, the estate of Castle following account of a herd : “ In the

summer of 1821, hill, in Inverness-shire, was sold judicially for L.8000. In 1804 in sailing from the island of Lewis to the opposite coast of it brought L.60,000. In 1787, the barony of Lentran was sold Ross-shire, we passed through an immense drove of gramfor L.2500-in 1802, for L. 20,000. In 1781, the rental of the puscs, passing slowly southwards into the Minch. These estate of Glenelg, in laverness-shire, was L.600;-it was ex- animals, of which there were probably two hundred, were posed, towards the close of the last century, at L.30,000. In scattered over an extent of about a square mile. They were 1811, it was sold for L.100,000. In 1789, the lands of Ardna- of all sizes, from about 30 to 10 feet in length. The sea grask were purchased at a judicial sale for L. 1200, the rental

was smooth, with a slight breeze, and the sun shone glorithen being L.30; in 1825, they were sold for L.6000. The ously on the waters estate of Fairburn, in Ross shire, in 1787, yielded a rental of only deep were of the most interesting, I shall not say ludicrous,

The gambols of these monsters of the L. 700 sterling ; between 1791 and 1824, it was sold in lots, description. Sometimes one of them suddenly rushed up and brought in all L.80,000 sterling. In 1790, the property of Redcastle, in the same county, was sold by judicial sale for from the deep, raising himself, bolt upright in the air, until L. 25,000, the rental being L.1000: in 1824, it was purchased three-fourths of his length were above the surface, and then by Sir William Fettes, Baronet, for L. 135,000 sterling. There fell with a noise like thunder, splashing the foam around was no district, however wild, which did not participate in the to a great distance. Some of them even leapt entirely out inprovement, and the rental of the remote isles of Orkney, of the water, as one often sees a salmon do. Sometimes has increased from L. 19,704 in 1798 to L.65,000 at present. two or three of them would chase each other at the surface,

The following account of the change in the south-west with astonishing velocity. At other times they would counties of Scotland, is from the pen of a very competent almost all disappear of a sudden, and their rise again was judge in such matters, Mr. Loudon, the author of the En. marked by a hundred jets of steam, which they emit from cyclopedia of Agriculture :-“ The progress which the tract in question has made since we passed through it in 1805, their blow-holes. These animals are of a dark colour, and is no less gratifying than it is astonishing. Good lines of at a distance, on emerging from the water, they seem jet roud are now for ned, where the roads were formerly hilly, black. The sun glancing upon their polished sides as they circuitous, and always in bad order. Extensive tracts of rose in promiscuous succession, had a most singular effect." country which, in 1805, were open waste; for instance, about MAGIC OF A NAME.-Sir WALTER SCOTT.- Perhaps Lochmaben, in Dumfries.shire, Castle Douglas, in Kirkcud- the finest compliment ever paid Sir Walter Scott, was at brightsbire, and Galston, in Ayrshire, are now enclosed, drained, the time of the late coronatiou. The streets were sheltered by plantations, studded with farm-houses, and coto

crowded so densely, that he could not make his way from tages, and subjected to a regular rotation of crops. Many thou: Charing-cross down to Rose's, in Abingdon Street, though sands of acres of roeky surface have been planted, and of the he elbowed ever so stoutly. He applied for help to a serstecp sides of hills, where aration could not be practised, we think we may safely state. that for every ten acres of planta: jeant of the Scotch Greys, whose regiment lined the streets. tion, which existed in 1805, there are a thousand in 1831. “ Countryman,” said, the soldier, “ I am sorry I cannot Almost all the farm-houses and farm-yards of the country have help you," and made no exertion. Scott whispered his beep renewed since the former period, and these now present name-- the blood rushed to the soldier's brow--he raised a most regular and comfortable appearance. A great many of his bridle-hand, and exclaimed—“Then, Sir, you shall go the labourers' cottages have also been rebuilt in a more sub- down—Corporal Gordon, here- see this gentleman safely stantial style, though not, as we shall hereafter show, with that

to Abingdon Street, come what will!” It is needless to attention to the comfort, decency, and cleanliness of the inhabiBults, which bas taken place in farm-housey. Next to the im- say how well the order was obeyed.

• Loudon's Magazine, January, 1832.



glance and the cutting jest, to which poor Ellen's want of

presence of mind frequently exposed her,--somethmg from ELLEN.

which she shrank into the very earth. He was a good man,

too, and a kind father,—at least he meant to be so,-attelCHARLOTTE and ELLEN Page were the twin daughters tive to her health and comfort, strictly impartial in favours of the Rector of N., a small town in Dorsetshire. They and presents, in pocket-money and amusements, making were his only children, having lost their mother shortly no difference between the twins, except that which he could after their birth; and as their father was highly connected, not help, the difference in his love. But, to an apprehenand still more highly accomplished, and possessed good sive temper, and an affectionate heart, that was everything; church preferment, with a considerable private fortune, they and, whilst Charlotte Aourished and blossomed like a rose were reared and educated in the most liberal and expensive in the sunshine, Ellen sickened and withered like the same style. Whilst mere infants, they had been uncommonly plant in the shade. beautiful, and as remarkably alike, as occasionaly hap Mr. Page lost much enjoyment by this unfortunate parpens with twin sisters, distinguished only by some orna- tiality ; for he had taste enough to have particularly vament of dress. Their very nurse, as she used to boast, could lued the high endowments which formed the delight of the hardly tell her pretty “couplets” apart, so exactly alike few friends to whom his daughter was intimately known. were the soft blue eyes, the rosy cheeks, the cherry lips, To them not only her varied and accurate acquirements, and the curly light hair. Change the turquoise necklace but her singular richness of mind, her grace and propriety for the coral, and nurse herself would not know Charlotte of expression, and fertility of idea, joined to the most perfect from Ellen. This pretty puzzle, this inconvenience, of ignorance of her own superiority, rendered her an object which mammas, and aunts, and grandmammas love to com- of as much admiration as interest. In poetry, especially, plain, did not last long. Either from a concealed fall, or her justness of taste and quickness of feeling were almost from original delicacy of habit, the little Ellen faded and unrivalled. She was no poetress herself, never, I believe, drooped almost into deformity. There was no visible de- even ventured to compose a sonnet; and her enjoyment of fect in her shape, except a slight and almost imperceptible high literature was certainly the keener for that wise ablameness when in quick motion ; but there was the mark- stinence from a vain competition. Her admiration was ed and peculiar look in the features, the languor and debi- really worth having. The tears would come into her eyes, Liy, and above all, the distressing consciousness attendant the book would fall from her hand, and she would sit lost upa imperfect formation ; and, at the age of twenty years, in ecstacy over some noble passage, till praise, worthy of the contrast between the sisters was even more striking the theme, would burst in unconscious eloquence from her than the likeness had been at two.

lips. Charlotte was a fine, robust, noble-looking girl, rather But the real charm of Ellen Page lay in the softness of above the middle height. Her eyes and complexion sparkled her heart, and the generosity of her character; no human kid glowed with life and health, her rosy lips seemed to be being was ever so free from selfishness in all its varied and made for smiles, and her glossy brown hair played in na- clinging forms. She literally forgot herself in her pure and tural ringlets round her dimpled face. Her manner was a hap- ardent sympathy with all whom she loved, or all to whom py mixture of the playful and the gentle : frank, innocent, she could be useful. There were no limits to her indulgence, and fearless, she relied with a sweet confidence on every body's no bounds to her candour. Shy and timid as she was, she kindness, was ready to be pleased, and secure of pleasing. forgot her fears to plead for the innocent, or the penitent, Her artlessness and naïveté had great success in society, es or even the guilty. She was the excuser-general of the pecially as they were united with the most perfect good neighbourhood, turned every speech and action the sunny breeding, and considerable quickness and talent. Her mu- side without, and often, in her good-natured acuteness, hit ucal powers were of the most delightful kind; she sang ex on the real principle of action, when the cunning, and the quisitely, joining, to great taste and science, a life, and free- wordly-wise, and the cynical, and such as look only for bad din, and buoyancy, quite unusual in that artificial per motives, had failed. She had, too, that rare quality, a gepage, a young lady. Her clear and ringing notes bad the nuine sympathy, not only with the sorrowful, (there is a etect of a milk-ınaid's song, as if a mere ebullition of animal pride in that feeling, a superiority,—we have all plenty of prits; there was no resisting the contagion of Charlotte's that,) but with the happy. She could smile with those who glee. She was a general favourite, and, above all, a favourite smiled, as well as weep with those who wept, and rejoice in at home, the apple of her father's eye, the pride and orna a success to which she had not contributed, protected from meat of his house, and the delight and comfort of his life. every touch of envy no less by her noble spirit than by her The two children had been so much alike, and born so pure humility: she never thought of herself. Szarly together, that the precedence in age had never been So constituted, it may be imagined that she was, to all deinitively settled; but that point seemed very early to de- who really knew her, an object of intense admiration and cide itself. Unintentionally, as it were, Charlotte took the love. Servants, children, poor people, all adored Miss had, are invitations, received visiters, sate at the head of Ellen. She had other friends in her own rank of life, who luz tavle, became, in fact and in name Miss Page, while had found her out-many ; but her chief friend, her prinher sister continued Miss Ellen.

cipal admirer, she who loved her with the most entire affecPuer Ellen! she was short, and thin, and sickly, and tion, and looked up to her with the most devoted respect, pale

, with no personal charm but the tender expression of was her sister. Never was the strong and lovely tie of * blue eyes and the timid sweetness of her countenance. twin-sisterhood more closely knit than in these two charmThe neemblance to her sister had vanished altogether, ex-ing young women. Ellen looked on her favoured sister ept when, very rarely, some strong emotion of pleasure, with a pure and unjealous delight that made its own happi. a word of praise, or a look of kindness from her father, ness, a spirit of candour and of justice that never permitted would bring a smile and a blush at once into her face, and her to cast a shade of blame on the sweet object of her kotan it up like a sunbeam. Then for a passing moment, she father's partiality: she never indeed blamed him, it seemed Tas like Charlotte, and even prettier, there was so much to her so natural that every one should prefer her sister. nk mind, of soul, in the transitory beauty. In manner she Charlotte, on the other hand, used all her influence for Ellen, 3 wchangeably gentle, and distressingly shy, shy even protected and defended her, and was half-tempted to murbarkwardness. Shame and fear clung to her like her mur at an affection which she would have valued more, if kalov. In company she could neither sing, nor play, nor shared equally with that dear friend. Thus they lived in prak, without trembling, especially when her father was peace and harmony, Charlotte's bolder temper and higher break; her awe of him was inexpressible. Mr. Page was spirits leading and guiding in all common points, whilst, on

an of considerable talent and acquirement, of polished the more important, she implicitly yielded to Ellen's judg2 elegant manners, and great conversational power,— ment. But, when they had reached their twenty-first year, quick, ready, and sarcastic. He never condescended to a great evil threatened one of the sisters, arising (strange to's there ; but was something very formidable in the keen to say) from the other's happiness. Charlotte, the reign

ing belle of an extensive and affluent neighbourhood, had least in the world, of Sir Charles Grandison.

He certainly had almost as many suitors as Penelope ; but, light-hearted, did excel rather too much in the mere forms of politeness, happy at home, constantly busy and gay, she had taken no in clokings and bowings, and handings down stairs ; bui thought of love, and always struck me as a very likely sub- then he was, like both his prototypes, thoroughly imbued ject for an old maid : yet her time came at last. A young with its finer essence—considerate, attentive, kind, in the man, the very reverse of herself, pale, thoughtful, gentle most comprehensive sense of that comprehensive word. 1 manlike, and melancholy, wooed and won our fair Euphro- have certainly known men of deeper learning and more syne. He was the second son of a noble house, and bred to original genius, but never any one whose powers were bet. the church ; and it was agreed between the fathers, that, ter adapted to conversation, who could blend more happily as soon as he should be ordained, (for he still wanted some the most varied and extensive knowledge with the most months of the necessary age,) and settled in a family-living playful wit and the most interesting and amiable character. held for him by a friend, the young couple should be married. Fascinating was the word that seemed made for him. His

In the meanwhile Mr. Page, who had recently succeeded conversation was entirely free from trickery and displayto some property in Ireland, found it necessary to go thither the charm was (or seemed to be) perfectly natural : be for a short time ; and, unwilling to take his daughters was an excellent listener : and when he was speaking to with him, as his estate lay in the disturbed districts, he in- any eminent person—orator, artist, or poet-I have some dulged us with their company during his absence. They times seen a slight hesitation, a momentary diffidence, came to us in the bursting spring-time, on the very same attractive as it was unexpected. It was this astonishing day with the nightingale; the country was new to them, and evidence of fellow-feeling, joined to the gentleness of his chey were delighted with the scenery and with our cottage life. tone, the sweetness of his smile, and his studied avoidance We, on our part, were enchanted with our young guests. of all particular notice or attention, that first reconciled Charlotte was certainly the most amiable of enamoured dam- Ellen to Colonel Falkner. His sister, too, a charming sels, for love with her was but a more sparkling and smiling young woman, as like him as Viola to Sebastian, began * form of happiness ;-all that there was of care and fear in this understand the sensitive properties of this shrinking and attachment, fell to Ellen's lot ; but even she, though sigh- delicate flower, which, left to itself, repaid their kind seg ing at the thought of parting, could not be very miserable lect by unfolding in a manner that surprised and delighted whilst her sister was so happy.

us all. Before the spring had glided into summer, EIA A few days after their arrival, we happened to dine with was as much at home at Holly-grove as with us ; talked our accomplished neighbours, Colonel Falkner and his and laughed and played and sang as freely as Charlott! sister. Our young friends of course accompanied us ; and she would indeed break off, if visibly listened to, eithe a similarity of age, of liveliness, and of musical talent, when speaking or singing ; but still the ice was broken speedily recommended Charlotte and Miss Falkner to each that rich, low, mellow voice, unrivalled in pathes and other. They became immediately intimate, and were soon sweetness, might be heard every evening, even by the almost inseparable. Ellen at first hung back. “ The house lonel, with little more precaution, not to disturb her was too gay, too full of shifting company, of titles, and of praise or notice, than would be used with her fellow-wartais strange faces. Miss Falkner was very kind; but she took the nightingale. too much notice of her, introduced her to lords and ladies, She was happy at Holly-grove, and we were delighud talked of her drawings, and pressed her to sing :—she would but so shifting and various are human feelings and wishe rather, if I pleased, stay with me, and walk in the coppice, that, as the summer wore on, before the hay-making us or sit in the arbour, and one might read Spenser whilst over in its beautiful park, whilst the bees were still in i the other worked—that would be best of all. Might she lime-trees, and the golden beetle lurked in its white rose stay ?"_“ Oh surely! But Colonel Falkner, Ellen, II began to lament that she had ever seen Holly-grore, a thought you would have liked him ?" __“ Yes !"_“ That known its master. It was clear to me, that, unintentie yes sounds exceedingly like no.”—“ Why, is he not almost ally on his part, unwittingly on hers, her heart was gorge too clever, too elegant, too grand a man ? Too mannered, -and, considering the merit of the unconscious postes as it were ? Too much like what one fancies of a prince- probably gone for ever, She bad all the pretty mark ! of George the Fourth for instance—too high and too con- love at that happy moment when the name and nature a descending ? These are strange faults,” continued she the passion are alike unsuspected by the victim. To h laughing ; “ and it is a curious injustice that I should dis- there was but one object in the whole world, and that us like a man merely because he is so graceful, that he makes was Colonel Falkner : she lived only in his present me feel doubly awkward—s0 tall, that I am in his presence hung on his words; was restless, she knew not why, ja i a conscious dwarf-s0 alive and eloquent in conversation, absence ; adopted his tastes and opinions, which difers that I feel more than ever puzzled and unready. But so it from hers as those of clever men so frequently do fra is. To say the truth, I am more afraid of him than of any those of clever women; read the books he praised, ai human being in the world, except one. I may stay with praised them too, deserting our old idols, Spenser you—may 1 not? and read of Una and of Britomart—that Fletcher, for his favourites, Dryden and Pope ; sang a prettiest scene where her old nurse sooths her to sleep? I may songs he loved as she walked about the house; drev his ti stay 5" And for two or three mornings she did stay with tures instead of Milton's, in a portrait which she was copyi me ; but Charlotte's influence and Miss Falkner's kindness for me of our great poet--and finally wrote his name speedily drew her to Holly-grove, at first shily and reluc- the margin. She moved as in a dream-a dream as inn tantly, yet so with an evident, though quiet enjoyment; and cent as it was delicious !- but oh, the sad, sad waking! we, sure that our young visitors could gain nothing but made my heart ache to think of the misery to which, u good in such society, were pleased that they should so vary fine and sensitive mind seemed to be reserved. Ellen the humble home-scene.

formed for constancy and suffering -it was her first ) Colonel Falkner was a man in the very prime of life, of and it would be her last. I had no hope that her affet. that happy age which unites the grace and spirit of youth was returned. Young men, talk as they may of me: with the firmness and vigour of manhood. The heir of a attractions, are commonly the slaves of personal char large fortune, he had served in the peninsular war, fought Colonel Falkner, especially, was a professed admire: in Spain and France, and at Waterloo, and, quitting the beauty. I had even sometimes fancied that he was car. arny at the peace, had loitered about Germany and Italy by Charlotte's, and had therefore taken an opportunity and Greece, and only returned on the death of his father, communicate her engagement to his sister.

Certainly two or three years back, to reside on the family estate, paid our fair and blooming guest extraordinary atten 1, where he had won “golden opinions from all sorts of peo- any thing of gallantry or compliment was always add ple.” He was, as Ellen truly described him, tall and grace to her, and so for the most part was his gay and capti ful, and well-bred almost to a fault; reminding her of that ing conversation; whilst his manner to Ellen, thou beau ideal of courtly elegance, George the Fourth, and me, quisitely soft and kind, seemed rather that of an als (pray, reader, do not tell!) me, a little, a very little, the late brother. I had no hopes,

« PreviousContinue »