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THE LILY OF THE VALLEY.
THE ROSE IN JANUARY.
THE SOUL'S ERRAND,
What piles of wealth hath he accumulated
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The Selected Beauties of Literature.
From “ Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life."
A SOLÍTARY pedestrian was roaming over the glens and mountains in a wild district of the northern Highlands of Scotland when a Rainbow began to form itself over part of the magnificent landscape. He was, not without reason, a melancholy and grief-haunted man; and the growing beauty of that apparition insensibly touched his heart with a delighted happiness to which he had for a considerable time been a stranger. As the varied brightness of the arch, which as yet was scarcely united, but showed only several glowing fragments, gradually became more vivid, his whole being felt a sympathetic exhilaration ; despondency and sorrow faded away, and he once more exulted in the natural freedom of the prime of life. While he was gazing, the Rainbow became perfect, and bound the earth and heaven together in a span of joy. The glory illụminated two mountains, and the glen between them opening up beneath, that effulgence appeared to be a majestic entrance into an. other and more magnificent world. The sides of these two mountains, rent with chasms and tumbling torrents, were steeped in the beautiful stains of the arch, so that the rocks seemed clothed with purple, and the waterfalls to roll down in gold. As the Rainbow began to dissolve, the summit of the arch gave way, and the gorgeous colours, forsaking the sky, embodied themselves in a mass of splendour in each side of that wide glen. For a few moments the edge of each mountain was vailed and hidden in that radiance; but it gradually melted away into colourless air, the atmosphere was again open, and a few showery clouds seen hanging opposite the sun, were all that remained to tell of the vanished Rainbow. But all the green fields and all the woods were glittering in freshened beauty,—the birds were singing,—the cattle lowing on the hills,-and the raven and the kite were aloft in heaven. There was a jubilee, and the lonely man who had been sitting on a rock, entranced in that vision, rose up and inwardly said, “ Let my way lie up that glen, whose glorious portal has vanished let me walk beneath what was like a triumphal arch but a moment ago, into the solitary magnificence of nature."
The eremite pursued his way up the wooded bank of a stony torrent; and on reaching the summit of the cliffs, saw before him a long expanse of black sullen moor—which he crossed and a beautiful vale suddenly expanded below his feet, with cultivated fields, woods, and groves, and among many huts sprinkled about like rocks, one mansion to which they all seemed to appertain, and which without any grandeur, yet suited in its unpretending and venerable solemnity the character of that lonely and lovely place. He descended into the vale, and happy he knew not why, walked along the widening stream, till he found himself in a lawn, and close by the mansion which he had discerned from the hill above, but which had till now been concealed by a grove. At this moment, just as he was about to turn back, two ladies stood close beside him, and with a slight embarrassment the stranger explained to them how unconsciously he had been led to intrude upon their privacy, and after that salutation, was about to retire. But the impression which elegant and cultivated minds make on each other in a moment, when unexpectedly brought together in a situation calculated to shew something of their character, now prevented so sudden a parting, and they who had thus casually met, having entered into conversation, began in a few minutes to feel almost like friends. The stranger, who had been led into this vale by a sort of romantic impulse, could not help feeling as if this meeting were almost an adventure. And it was no doubt an impressive thing to a young Englishman, wandering among the Highland mountains, to form an acquaintance in this way with two such persons as those with whom he was now engaged in pleasant conversation. They seemed to be mother and daughter ;_and when, after about half an hour's walk, the stranger found himself in a spacious and elegant room, the guest of a high-bred and graceful lady in a widow's weeds, and apparently with one beau. tiful daughter in her retirement, he could scarcely help thinking that the vague imagination which had led him thither under the Rainbow's arch, might have some influence even on the complexion of his future life. He had long been a melancholy man ; and minds of that character are often the most apt to give way to sudden emotions of gladness. He closed up all remembrance of one fatal incident in his life under a heap of fresh-springing and happy thoughts and feelings ; and animated by the novelty of his situation, as well as by the interesting character of those whose hospitality he was now sharing, never had he felt so free from anxiety and sorrow, and so like his former self, nor so capable of the enjoying of life, and every thing around him that was beautiful and enlivening. As the evening drew on, his heart was sad to think, that as he had come a stranger, so like a stranger must he be departing; but these few hours had sunk into his heart, and he would remember them as long as he lived, and in the remotest parts of the earth.
Does it require long time, days, weeks, months, and years, to enable human beings to love one another ? Does the human heart slowly and suspiciously lay up one kind thought after another, till the measure of its affection be full ? May gentle words and kindling smiles pass from the lips, and yet the heart remain cold and untouched, and willing to lose sight of, and to forget the object of its transitory tenderness ? It may be