« PreviousContinue »
his plaid. The stranger advanced towards the earl, and looking cautiously round to see if Donald had left the room, said in a hurried tone, " The Stuart claims protection from a Stuart—the blood-hounds of England are in full chase of me; I know, my Lord of Bute, that you are a staunch friend of the Brunswicker, but as an honourable enemy, I call upon you to give Charles Stuart the shelter of your hospitable walls for one night."
As the prince ended, he shook back the large plaid that enveloped his person, and stood with keen eye surveying the silent earl, who sate agitated, and irresolute how to act. A look of contemptuous bearing slightly curved the prince's lip. “ You cannot aid me," said. he, breaking silence; "fear has sealed up your heart, my lord, against the true descendant of your native kings, and I am betrayed.”
“Oh! no, indeed,” said Lady Jane, with animation, and blushing at the same time at her own temerity, (for in those days young
ladies rarely played the orator, like our modern belles.) “Oh! no, indeed, my lord, my brother is the last to betray you to your enemies; he is only perplexed how to act consistently both with his duty and your safety."
The prince fixed his brilliant eyes upon Lady Jane with a softened expression. “Lovely lady, I am bound to thank you, but I must take my answer from other lips,” glancing at the earl as he spoke.
“ Take it then from mine," said Lord Bute, suddenly changing his look of irresolution to one of a more decisive character ; “happen what may, my lord, you are safe--you have put yourself in my power, and shall neither lack security nor the rights of hospitality in this castle, where your ancestors have found both, till to-morrow. I pledge myself for your safety, but beyond that I dare not.”
“ Be it so, then,” said the prince, throwing off his highland plaid, which had hitherto concealed his elegant person ; upon which Lady Jane gazed with youthful admiration. Her's was the age of romance and feelings unimpaired by commerce with a selfish world ; and the sight of a young and beautiful prince flying in his father-land from merciless pursuers, awakened all those warm sympathies that are too impulsive in woman to calculate upon danger to be incurred in the performance of a generous action.
Even the cold-looking visage of the earl seemed to warm into something like feeling, as his eye rested for a brief moment on the fugitive prince. Charles Stuart was then in the bloom of youth, and the Aush of manly beauty; he was “ six feet in height, of an erect and dignified carriage ; his dress was a highland garb, of fine silk tartan, red velvet breeches, and a blue velvet bonnet, with gold lace round it, and a white rose carelessly stuck in the band. On his breast sparkled a large jewel, with St. Andrew's cross appended.”
After the prince had satisfied the claims of appetite, to which the cold breezes on the water had given unwonted sharpness, Lady Jane filled a silver tassie, and handed it with blushing grace to their noble guest, who, with a smile, and expressive inclination of the head, drank to the health of his fair Ganymede.
“Do you imagine, my lord," said the earl, addressing the prince, " that the troops are really on their way to Bute ?"
“ 'Tis more than probable," answered Charles.
“And what shall we do if they come ?” said the earl, thoughtfully pressing his hand to his brow ; “ if my English servants know that a stranger is within these walls, they will betray it to the troops, and so give a handle to my enemies—to—to
“ I understand you,” said the prince ; “there are those who will be glad to denounce you to your master George, as having saved the life of Charles Stuart.”
There was a long pause, painful to Lady Jane, who, with the instinctive delicacy which belongs to fine natures, felt the awkward situation in which the prince was placed. The cold formality of the earl's manner, and the fears he did not hesitate to express, seemed almost to bid the unfortunate Charles depart again, rather than rest in peace upon the pledge so recently given.
“My dear brother," said she, at last breaking silence, “you have forgotten old Donald ; he can be safely trusted with the secret of the prince's concealment here."
“ You are right, Jane,” said the earl, starting from the reverie in which he had been plunged ; “ Donald is the only one on whose fidelity we can depend.”
Accordingly, Donald was summoned, and the rank and situation of the stranger being disclosed to him, the old man entered heart and soul into the plan for the prince's preservation, and though withheld by his lord's presence from giving full vent to the delight he felt in looking upon the living representative of that royal race, whom his father, a devoted Jacobite, had taught him to love and reverence in the green days of youthful feeling, still the glistening of his moist eye, and reverential bend of his grey head, told the unfortunate Charles what his broken fortune could alone tell him, that the hearts most zealous in his cause lay hidden not beneath the robe of the noble, nor the armour of the chieftain, but the well-worn gray of the peasant, and the homely garb of the humble dependant.
(To be continued.)
LETTERS TO BROTHER JOHN.1_No. IV.
Γνωθι σεαυτον. .
15th April, 1836. MY DEAR JOHN, I am now to speak to you of certain laws or circumstances, by which the SENSIBILITY of the body is materially influenced.
I have elsewhere noticed that it is by means of the organs of our senses, that a proper relation is established between ourselves and the various natural objects with which we are surrounded. It is by means of these that we are able to appreciate the value of these objects, and their power of affecting us, whether injuriously or beneficially. It is by these organs that we are able to discover the means of avoiding whatever is hurtful, and of selecting and securing whatever is necessary to our comfort and well-being. The eye warns us of the approach of danger from before; the ear from behind; while the senses of smell, taste, and touch, enable us to decide upon the qualities of whatever matters are presented to us for food. But the medium through which these organs are enabled to render us these important offices, is their SENSIBILITY. For if the eye were insensible to light, we could not see—the ear to sound, we could not hear—the nose to odours, we could not smell— the tongue to flavours, we could not taste-the skin to touch, we could not feel. In literal fact, then, you see it is sensibility, after all, which establishes this necessary relation, of which I have spoken, between ourselves and surrounding objects-the organs being no more than the instruments by which SENSIBILITY exerts its influence. SENSIBILITY then is our guardian angel-it is, like the sailor's “sweet little cherub," an invisible agent that for ever watches over
our lives and safeties all."
Every organ has a kind of peculiar sensibility of its own. Thus the sensibility of the eye is not affected by the stimulus of sound ; nor can the sensibility of the ear take cognizance of the stimulus of light. The nose is insensible to the stimulus of flavours, and the tongue knows nothing of odours. From this it follows that the sensibility of each organ is adapted to be properly affected by certain stimuli only. All others than these will either not affect it at all, or affect it painfully and injuriously. Thus sound being a stimulus proper to the ear, but improper to the eye, will affect the ear properly, but the eye not at all. Again, salt is a stimulus proper to the stomach, and when it comes in contact with the membrane which lines that organ, it affects its sensibility agreeably and healthily ; but if you blow salt into your eye it will produce the most violent pain, yet the membrane lining the stomach is as delicate in its texture as that covering the eye. Thus, again, there are certain medicines which exert their influence only on certain organs. Some will act on the stomach, some on the bowels only; some the kidneys, some the brain, some the liver. If you rub belladonna into the skin of your leg, it will not affect your leg; but you will wake some fine morning and be astonished to discover that you have suddenly become blind. This once occurred to a patient who was under the care of the late Mr. Abernethy for a sore leg; Mr. Abernethy having ordered the sore to be dressed with the extract of belladonna. The man, however, recovered his sight. Mr. Abernethy never dressed sore legs with belladonna again. I heard him relate this circumstance myself.
i Continued from vol. xv. p. 387.
Every organ, therefore, has a peculiar SENSIBILITY of its own, and can be properly affected by certain stimuli only-all others, if they affect it at all, affecting it injuriously; and the evidence of the impropriety of a stimulus is the pain or the other inconvenience produced. Hence arises a corollary, viz. that whatever stimulus produces pain or other inconvenience, is an improper stimulus. The pain, for instance, produced by blowing salt into the eye is sufficient proof that salt is a stimulus not proper to that organ, and cannot, therefore, be applied to it without injuring it.
This peculiar, distinctive, or eclectic or natural sensibility, is impaired by over stimulation. Thus we may be deafened by excess of sound, and blinded by excess of light. Every body knows, too, that snuff will produce, in persons not accustomed to it, violent and painful sneezing ; while those who have been industriously stimulating their nostrils with it for some time, can take the strongest kinds without its affecting them at all. Again, persons who have never smoked, will generally be sick when they first begin; but, after a short time, can smoke pipe after pipe without inconvenience. If a person, not accustomed to drink any thing stronger than water, were to swallow a glass of whisky, it would almost choke him; while a Scottish Highlander will toss off glass after glass, not only without inconvenience, but with a most pleasant gusto.
Now what have these persons done? these snuff-takers, pipesmokers, and dram-drinkers ? Why, as far as the organs in question are concerned, they have, by blunting their sensibility, actually thrown dust into the eyes, and partially blinded that very “ cherub” whose sole business it is to watch over their safety? Is not this madness? Is it not the same thing as though a man should wilfully disable the arm that was only raised to protect him ?
When a man, for the first time, swallows a glass of raw spirit, his guardian angel, SENSIBILITY, tells him—not indeed in a language that can be heard—but in one far more impressive-a language that can be felt-tells him, I say, as plainly as pain can speak, that raw spirit is an injurious stimulant. Yet what does the fool do? Why, turns a deaf ear to the intimation which could be by possibility no other than a friendly one, and obstinately perseveres till the voice that warned him warns him no more —and then, with a folly scarcely less than idiotic, and an impudent hardihood scarcely less than blasphemous, he exclaims :-“ Behold ! it does me no harm ! it gives me no pain! it causes me no inconvenience !" Thus appealing, in his defence, to the silence of that voice which he had himself forcibly silenced. This is abominable. Let every man drink what poison he pleases. Of this I do not complain. But let him not go about to defend the practice ; for this is to allure others into the same trap which is already closing its iron teeth upon his own hapless person.
But, luckily for us frail mortals, when this natural SENSIBILITY has been only impaired—not utterly destroyed—it can be restored by Test, and only by rest ; that is, by ceasing to stimulate it. A few common and well-known facts will be sufficient to prove this. If a man has taken snuff for ten years, and then leave it off for ten years, should he be fool enough to begin again he will be as much affected by it as he was at first. If a man spend an hour in the belfry of a church, while the bells are ringing, when he comes down he will be almost deaf for a time. Shortly, however, he will recover his hearing. If a man look at the sun for a minute or two, when he first looks aside he will not be able to distinguish objects. He will, however, presently recover accurate vision. If a man has drunk spirit till the lining of his throat has no more sensibility than the lining of a copper kettle, let him desist for a few months and it will be restored. If a man have fed on highly-seasoned soups, piquant ragouts, and other French abominations, until he can discover no flavour in dry bread, let him be sent to Brixton tread-mill for a month, and he will discover that a penny loaf is a delicious morsel. But I need not multiply instances your own recollection will furnish you with abundant proofs that the way to restore impaired sensibility is to allow it to remain for a time unstimulated.
Another peculiarity of general sensibility is, that it can be accumulated in one organ-drawn from all other parts of the body, and concentered, as it were, in one. The insensibility of pain (I mean, of course, comparatively) which madmen possess is well known, and several remarkable proofs of this are given by Dr. Hibbert, in his Philosophy of Apparitions—a book which you and every body else ought to read. We know, too, that persons under the influence of engrossing attention may be spoken to, and even pulled by the skirt" plucked by the ear,” as Horace says—without their perceiving it. There are irresistible proofs of this to be drawn from natural history, but it would be improper to mention them in a letter like this. We know, too, that when any one part of the body is in great pain, the rest of the body is insensible to lesser pain. This fact has given rise to a curious operation for the cure of traumatic locked-jaw. It consists in inflicting on the wretched patient, in one part of his body, a pain, the anguish of which shall be greater and more inconceivably excruciating than the tetanic agony. Thus, as it were, restoring the equilibrium of the sensibility; and subduing a great pain by inflicting, for a time, a much greater. The operation is said to have been successful. But the operators complain that they can get few patients to submit to it. Sensibility then can be drawn from one part of the body, and concentered in another.
Another curious circumstance connected with SENSIBILITY is symPATHY. All the organs of the body appear to sympathize with one another. That the brain and stomach have a strong sympathy with