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with that dread of anticipated pain, which is a common condition of sensibility and genius, he put him off with a note from yours unfaithfully, W. M. T.” He went out on Wednesday for a little, and came home at ten. He went to his room, suffering much, but declining his man's offer to sit with him. He hated to make others suffer. He was heard moving, as if in pain, about twelve, on the eve of
« That the happy morn,
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,
Then all was quiet, and then he must have died in a moment. Next morning his man went in, and opening the windows found his master dead, his arms behind his head, as if he had tried to take one more breath. We think of him as of our Chalmers,— found dead in like manner; the same childlike, unspoiled open face; the same gentle mouth; the same spaciousness and softness of nature; the same look of power. What a thing to think of, his lying there alone in the dark, in the midst of his own mighty London; his mother and his daughters asleep, and, it may be, dreaming of his goodness. God help them, and us all! What would become of us, stumbling along this our path of life, if we could not, at our utmost need, stay ourselves on him ?
Long years of sorrow, labor, and pain had killed him before his time. It was found after death how little life he had to live. He looked always fresh with that abounding, silvery hair, and his young, almost infantine face, but he was worn to a shadow, and his hands wasted as if by eighty years. With him it is the end of Ends; finite is over, and infinite begun. What we all felt and feel can never be so well expressed as in his own words of sorrow for the early death of Charles Buller:
« Who knows the inscrutable design ?
Blest be he who took and gave!
Be weeping at her darling's grave?
That darkly rules the fate of all,
That's free to give, or to recall.”
Complete. MARY DUFF'S LAST HALF-CROWN
JUGH MILLER, the geologist, journalist, and man of genius, was N sitting in his newspaper office late one dreary winter night.
The clerks had all left and he was preparing to go, when a quick rap came to the door. He said «Come in,” and in looking towards the entrance, saw a little ragged child all wet with sleet. "Are ye Hugh Miller ?» «Yes.” “Mary Duff wants ye.” “What does she want?» «She's deeing.” Some misty recollection of the name made him at once set out, and with his well-known plaid and stick he was soon striding after the child, who trotted through the now deserted High Street into the Canongate. By the time he got to the Old Playhouse Close, Hugh had revived his memory of Mary Duff; a lively girl who had been bred up beside him in Cromarty. The last time he had seen her was at a brother mason's marriage, where Mary was «best maid" and he « best man.” He seemed still to see her bright, young, careless face, her tidy shortgown, and her dark eyes, and to hear her bantering, merry tongue.
Down the close went the ragged little woman, and up an outside stair, Hugh keeping near her with difficulty. In the passage she held out her hand and touched him; taking it in his great palm, he felt that she wanted a thumb. Finding her way like a cat through the darkness, she opened a door, and saying, “That's her!» vanished. By the light of a dying fire he saw lying in the corner of the large, empty room something like a woman's clothes, and on drawing nearer became aware of a thin, pale face and two dark eyes looking keenly but helplessly up at him. The eyes were plainly Mary Duff's, though he could recognize no other feature. She wept silently, gazing steadily at him. “Are you Mary Duff ?” “It's a' that's o' me, Hugh.” She then tried to speak to him, something plainly of great urgency, but she couldn't; and seeing that she was very ill, and was making herself worse, he put half a crown into her feverish hand and said he would call again in the morning. He could get no information about her from the neighbors; they were surly or asleep.
When he returned next morning, the little girl met him at the stairhead, and said, “She's deid.” He went in and found that it was true; there she lay, the fire out, her face placid, and the likeness of her maiden self restored. Hugh thought he would have known her now, even with those bright black eyes closed as they were, in æternum.
Seeking out a neighbor, he said he would like to bury Mary Duff, and arranged for a funeral with an undertaker in the close. Little seemed to be known of the poor outcast, except that she was a “licht,” or as Solomon would have said, a strange woman.” “Did she drink ?” “Whiles.”
On the day of the funeral one or two residents in the close accompanied him to the Canongate churchyard. He observed a decent-looking little old woman watching them, and following at a distance, though the day was wet and bitter. After the grave was filled, and he had taken off his hat, as the men finished their business by putting on and slapping the sod, he saw this old woman remaining; she came up and curtsying, said, “Ye wad ken that lass, sir ? » « Yes; I knew her when she was young.” The woman then burst into tears, and told Hugh that she keepit a bit shop at the close-mooth, and Mary dealt wi’ me, and aye paid reglar, and I was feared she was dead, for she had been a month awin' me half a crown”; and then with a look and voice of awe, she told him how on the night he was sent for, and immediately after he had left, she had been awakened by some one in her room; and by her bright fire—for she was a bein well-to-do body - she had seen the wasted dying creature, who came forward and said, “Wasn't it half a crown?» « Yes.” « There it is,” and putting it under the bolster, vanished !
Poor Mary Duff, her life had been a sad one since the day when she had stood side by side with Hugh at the wedding of their friends. Her father died not long after, and her mother supplanted her in the affections of the man to whom she had given her heart. The shock made home intolerable. She fled from it blighted and embittered, and, after a life of shame and misery, crept into the corner of her room to die alone.
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
From «Horæ Subsecivæ.» RAB AND THE GAME CHICKEN
POUR-AND-THIRTY years ago, Bob Ainslie and I were coming F up Infirmary Street from the Edinburgh High School, our
heads together, and our arms intertwisted, as only lovers and boys know how, or why.
When we got to the top of the street, and turned north, we espied a crowd at the Tron Church. “A dog fight! » shouted Bob, and was off; and so was I, both of us all but praying that it might not be over before we got up! And is not this boy. nature ? and human nature too ? and don't we all wish a house on fire not to be out before we see it? Dogs like fighting; old Isaac says they “delight » in it, and for the best of all reasons; and boys are not cruel because they like to see the fight. They see three of the great cardinal virtues of dog or man — courage, endurance, and skill — in intense action. This is very different from a love of making dogs fight, and enjoying, and aggravating, and making gain by their pluck. A boy, be he ever so fond himself of fighting, if he be a good boy, hates and despises all this, but he would have run off with Bob and me fast enough; it is a natural, and a not wicked interest, that all boys and men have in witnessing intense energy in action.
Does any curious and finely ignorant woman wish to know how Bob's eye at a glance announced a dog fight to his brain ? He did not, he could not, see the dogs fighting; it was a flash of an inference, a rapid induction. The crowd round a couple of dogs fighting is a crowd masculine mainly, with an occasional active, compassionate woman, fluttering wildly round the outside, and using her tongue and her hands freely upon the men, as so many “brutes ”; it is a crowd annular, compact, and mobile; a crowd centripetal, having its eyes and its heads all bent downwards and inwards to one common focus.
Well, Bob and I are up, and find it is not over; a small, thoroughbred, white bull-terrier is busy throttling a large shepherd's dog, unaccustomed to war, but not to be trifled with. They are hard at it; the scientific little fellow doing his work in great style, his pastoral enemy fighting wildly, but with the sharpest of teeth and a great courage. Science and breeding, however, soon had their own; the Game Chicken, as the premature Bob called him, working his way up, took his final grip of poor Yarrow's throat, -and he lay gasping and done for. His master, a brown, handsome, big young shepherd from Tweedsmuir, would have liked to have knocked down any man, would « drink up Esil, or eat a crocodile,” for that part, if he had a chance: it was no use kicking the little dog; that would only make him hold the closer. Many were the means shouted out in mouthfuls, of the best possible ways of ending it. “Water!” but there was none near, and many cried for it who might have got it from the well at Blackfriars Wynd. “Bite the tail!” and a large, vague, benevolent, middle-aged man, more desirous than wise, with some struggle got the bushy end of Yarrow's tail into his ample mouth, and bit it with all his might. This was more than enough for the much-enduring, much-perspiring shepherd, who, with a gleam of joy over his broad visage, delivered a terrific facer upon our large, vague, benevolent, middle-aged friend, who went down like a shot.
Still the Chicken holds; death not far off. «Snuff! a pinch of snuff!” observed a calm, highly-dressed young buck, with an eyeglass in his eye. «Snuff, indeed!” growled the angry crowd, affronted and glaring. «Snuff! a pinch of snuff!” again observes the buck, but with more urgency; whereon were produced sev. eral open boxes, and from a mull which may have been at Culloden, he took a pinch, knelt down, and presented it to the nose of the Chicken. The laws of physiology and of snuff take their course; the Chicken sneezes, and Yarrow is free!
The young pastoral giant stalks off with Yarrow in his arms, - comforting him.
But the bull terrier's blood is up, and his soul unsatisfied; he grips the first dog he meets, and discovering she is not a dog, in Homeric phrase, he makes a brief sort of amende, and is off. The boys, with Bob and me at their head, are after him: down Niddry Street he goes bent on mischief; up the Cowgate like an arrow,— Bob and I, and our small men, panting behind.
There, under the single arch of the South Bridge, is a huge mastiff, sauntering down the middle of the causeway, as if with his hands in his pockets; he is old, gray, brindled, as big as a little Highland bull, and has the Shakespearean dewlaps shaking as he goes.
The Chicken makes straight at him and fastens on his throat. To our astonishment, the great creature does nothing but stand still, hold himself up and roar,– yes, roar; a long, serious,