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into the composition, and show, in still more glaring colours, your absurdity in supposing yourself to be in solitude. The “Silent People” are around you at every step. You may not see them—for they are dressed in invisible green ; but they see you, and that unaccountable whispering and buzzing sound one often hears in what we call the wilderness, what is it, or what can it be, but the fairies making merry at your expense, pointing out to each other the extreme silliness of your meditative countenance, and laughing like to split at your fond conceit of being alone among a multitude of creatures far wiser than yourself.
But should all this fail to convince you, that you are never less alone than when you think yourself alone, and that a man never knows what it is to be in the
very heart of life till he leaves London, and takes a walk in Glen-Etive—suppose yourself to have been leaning with your back against that knoll, dreaming of the far-off race of men, when all at once the support gives way inwards, and you tumble head over heels in among a snug coterie of kilted Celts, in the very act of creating Glenlivet in a great warlock's caldron, seething to the top with the Spirit of Life!
Such fancies as these, among many others, were with us in the Still. But a glimmering and a humming and a dizzy bewilderment hangs over that time and place, finally dying away into oblivion. Here are we sitting in a glade of a birch-wood in what must be Gleno—some miles from the Still. Hamish asleep, as usual, whenever he lies down, and all the dogs yowffing in dreams,
and Surefoot standing with his long beard above ours, almost the same in longitude. We have been more, we suspect, than half-seas over, and are now lying on the shore of sobriety, almost a wreck. The truth is, that the new spirit is even more dangerous than the new light. Both at first dazzle, then obfuscate, and lastly darken into temporary death. There is, we fear, but one word of one syllable in the English language that could fully express our late condition. Let our readers solve the enigma. Oh! those quechs ! By
6 What drugs, what spells, What conjurations, and what mighty magic' was Christopher overthrown! A strange confusion of sexes, as of men in petticoats and women in breechesgowns transmogrified into jackets—caps into bonnetsand thick naked hairy legs into slim ankles decent in hose_all somewhere whirling and dancing by, dim and obscure, to the sound of something groaning and yelling, sometimes inarticulately, as if it came from something instrumental, and then mixed up with a wild gibberish, as if shrieking, somehow or other, from living lips, human and brute—for a dream of yowling dogs is over all—utterly confounds us as we strive to muster in recollection the few last hours that have passed tumultuously through our brain—and then a wide black moor, sometimes covered with day, sometimes with night, stretches around us, hemmed in on all sides by the tops of mountains, seeming to reel in the sky. Frequent flashes of fire, and a whirring as of the wings of birdsbut sound and sight alike uncertain-break again upon
our dream. Let us not mince the matter—we can afford the confession—we have been overtaken by liquor—sadly intoxicated-out with it at once! Frown not, fairest of all sweet-for we lay our calamity, not to the charge of the Glenlivet circling in countless quechs, but at the door of that inveterate enemy to sobriety—the Fresh Air.
But now we are as sober as a judge. Pity our misfortune—rather than forgive our sin. We entered that Still in a State of innocence before the Fall. Where we fell, we know not—in divers ways and sundry places-between that magic cell on the breast of Benachochie, and this glade in Gleno. But,
“ There are worse things in life than a fall among heather.” Surefoot, we suppose, kept himself tolerably soberand O'Bronte, at each successive cloit, must have assisted us to remount—for Hamish, from his style of sleeping, must have been as bad as his master; and, after all, it is wonderful to think how we got here-over hags and mosses, and marshes and quagmires, like those in which armies whole have sunk.” But the truth is, that, never in the whole course of our lives—and that course has been a strange one—did we ever so often as once lose our way. Set us down blindfolded on Zahara, and we will beat the caravan to Timbuctoo. Something or other mysteriously indicative of the right direction touches the soles of our feet in the shape of the ground they tread; and even when our souls have gone soaring far away, or have sunk within us, still have our feet pursued the shortest and the safest path that leads to the
bourne of our pilgrimage. Is not that strange? But not stranger surely than the flight of the bee, on his first voyage over the coves of the wilderness to the far-off heather-bells or of the dove that is sent by some Jew stockjobber, to communicate to Dutchmen the rise or fall of the funds, from London to Hamburgh, from the clear shores of silver Thames to the muddy shallows of the Zuyder-Zee.
FLIGHT FOURTH-DOWN RIVER AND UP LOCH.
Let us inspect the state of Brown Bess. Right barrel empty— left barrel — what is the meaning of this ?-crammed to the muzzle 1 Ay, that comes of visiting Stills. We have been snapping away at the coveys and single birds all over the moor, without so much as a pluff, with the right-hand cock—and then, imagining that we had fired, have kept loading away at the bore to the left, till, see! the ramrod absolutely stands upright in the air, with only about three inches hidden in the hollow ! What a narrow miraculous escape has the world had of losing Christopher North! Had he drawn that trigger instead of this, Brown Bess would have burst to a moral certainty, and blown the old gentleman piecemeal over the heather. “In the midst of life we are in death !” Could we but know one in a hundred of the close approachings of the skele