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RECREATIONS

OF

CHRISTOPHER NORTH.

THE MOORS.

PROLOGUE.

ONCE we knew the Highlands absolutely too wellnot a nook that was not as familiar to us as our brown study. We had not to complain of the lochs, glens, woods, and mountains alone, for having so fastened themselves upon us on a great scale that we found it impossible to shake them off; but the hardship in our case was, that all the subordinate parts of the scenery, many of them dull and dreary enough, and some of them intolerably tedious, had taken it upon themselves so to thrust their intimacy upon us, in all winds and weathers, that without giving them the cut direct there was no way of escaping from the burden of their friendship. To

VOL. II.

A

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courteous and humane Christians, such as we have always been both by name and nature as far back as we can recollect, it is painful to cut even an impudent stone, or an upsetting tree that may cross our path uncalled for, or obtrude itself on our privacy when we wish to be alone in our meditations. Yet, we confess, they used sometimes sorely to try our temper. It is all very well for

you, our good sir, to say in excuse for them that such objects are inanimate. So much the worse. Were they animate, like yourself, they might be reasoned with on the impropriety of interrupting the stream of any man's soliloquies. But being not merely inanimate but irrational, objects of that class know not to keep their own place, which indeed, it may be said in reply, is kept for them by nature. But that Mistress of the Ceremonies, though enjoying a fine green old age, cannot be expected to be equally attentive to the proceedings of all the objects under her control. Accordingly, often when she is not looking, what more common than for a huge hulking fellow of a rock, with an absurd tuft of trees on his head, who has observed you lying half-asleep on the greensward, to hang eavesdropping, as it were, over your most secret thoughts, which he whispers to the winds, and they to all the clouds! Or for some grotesque and fantastic ash, with a crooked back, and arms disproportionately long, like a giant in extreme old age dwindling into a dwarf, to jut out from the hole in the wall, and should your leaden eye chance at the time to love the ground, to put his mossy fist right in your philosophical countenance ! In short, it is very possible to

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