« 上一頁繼續 »
are redolent still of freedom and poetry, and beauty nothing so much as tearing off any delusions in which and heroic war.
they might be enveloped. Arriving at Missolonghi a Byron was no great reader of Aristophanes, other- few days after Byron's death, he went to the house in wise, as he drew towards Missolonghi, he might have which the body lay. "No one,' he says, 'was in the been scared by the resemblance of its vicinity to the house but Fletcher, of which I was glad. As if he bogs and fens of Acheron. Mr Trelawny describes knew my wishes, he led me up a narrow stair into a the spot with picturesque felicity. All around the small room, with nothing in it but a coffin standing city, he says, marshes, lagunes, and slime spread a on trestles. No word was spoken by either of us; he belt of death. No language could be more correct. withdrew the black pall and the white shroud, and But Mr Trelawny was not with Byron when he took there lay the embalmed body of the pilgrim-more the fatal resolution of setting up his tabernacle on beautiful in death than in life. The contraction of that pestilential spot. No one indeed was with him the muscles and skin had effaced every line that time who could exercise the slightest influence over his or passion had ever traced on it; few marble busts movements; and it appears incontestably from Mr could have matched its stainless white, the harmony Trelawny's Recollections, as well as from many other of its proportions, and perfect finish; yet he had been sources, that the author of Childe Harold and Don dissatisfied with that body, and longed to cast its Juan was not at that time in a state of mind which slough. How often I had heard him curse it! He qualified him to take proper care of himself. What was jealous of the genius of Shakspeare—that might ever may have been the causes that brought about well be; but where had he seen the face or form such a result, he had reached that degree of exhaus- worthy to excite his envy? I asked Fletcher to bring tion in which men become sensible of the tediousness me a glass of water. On his leaving the room, to of life, and begin slowly to make up their minds to confirm or remove my doubts as to the cause of his escape from it. Shelley was anxious to have always lameness, I uncovered the pilgrim's feet, and was at hand a swift poison, to which he might have answered—the great mystery was solved. Both his recourse when the condition of his mind should feet were clubbed, and his legs withered to the knee become unendurable. To this he evidently looked -the form and features of an Apollo, with the feet forward undoubtingly. He reckoned confidently and legs of a silvan satyr. This is exaggerated. upon its coming some day or another; and already Byron was neither so classically moulded nor so at the age of twenty-nine became conscious, through deformed that is, no more like an Apollo than he various symptoms, of its approach. Byron cultivated was like Thersites. He was a good, handsome the habit of sleeping always with the Bible and a Englishman, with a face illumined by genius, full pair of loaded pistols on a chair by his bedside. of emotion, and all the varying phenomena of intellect.
These facts suggest very gloomy ideas, and at the When Fletcher returned, he drew the shroud and same time force us into the conviction that a life of pall carefully over the feet of his master's corpse ; systematic excitement, whether literary or otherwise, he was very nervous, and trembled as he did so. is not good. The thinkers of old times, at all events, After carefully reading these Recollections, what is eschewed it as among the worst of evils. There the impression left upon the mind? Is it favourable was another thing, also, which they eschewed with to any one? Do we rise from the perusal with a still greater care-namely, the practice of living by better idea of the writer, or of the individuals written opinion, of referring all your actions to the criterion about? This, however, it may be said, is not the set up by the world's estimate. They thought it point—the question ought to be, Is our conception of best to judge for themselves, since if any one thing Byron or Shelley rendered truer or more complete ? can be said to belong to a man more than another, it We think not. Some slight information may be is his own happiness.
gleaned about certain habits of both poets; but the No one need be surprised to find that Byron, like general effect seems to be to unsettle and mystify the all other men, had weaknesses ; but it is surprising to mind. The scenes over which the narrative carries make the discovery which has long ago been made, us are often vividly depicted in parts, with off-hand though Mr Trelawny supplies some fresh illustrations dashes here and there; but even the Morea, with the of it-that Byron was goaded almost to madness by frowning grandeur of its wild coast, fails to betray dwelling perpetually on his club-feet.
Mr Trelawny into drawing a regular picture. He It would be ridiculous affectation to pretend that passes through the most extraordinary places with there ever existed a man who would not have been the indifference of a muleteer; but his fancy wakes vexed at being misshapen like Byron, but there up now and then, and casts a startling and brilliant have perhaps been few who would have taken it to light upon some gray crag or lonely glen. It is much heart as he did. By way of carrying on the contest the same with his characters. A few of their points with nature, which he commenced in an evil hour, he are shewn us, but in a manner too unconnected to aimed throughout life at distinguishing himself by render the exhibition of much use. The only value athletic exercises, which, on account of his deformity, of such books is, that they may by chance awaken caused him so much pain, suffering, and loss of animal the curiosity of some readers, and induce them to spirits, that he may almost be said to have been a seek for more satisfactory information than the writer martyr to the cause of his own feet. So far did he himself supplies. carry this feeling that it was among the uppermost in his mind even in death. Mr Trelawny knew of the existence of this strange sensitiveness, but treated it
THE GUINEA-PIGS. with as little respect as Moore did his much nobler WHEN 'term' begins in London, everybody, especially kind of sensitiveness-about the way in which his everybody who dwells within reasonable limits of the memory would be cherished by posterity. The one inns of court, is immediately made aware of it. There destroyed his impassioned pleading in his own behalf, are a number of phenomenal indications which peep thus defrauding equally the poet and the world; the out of lone entries, start up in third-rate shop-windows, other lifted the veil, or rather the shroud, from his or cluster round wine-vaults in paved courts, or procorporeal imperfection, and made known what Byron's menade the streets with lordly stride-all of which vanity took much greater pains to conceal than any proclaim that interesting fact even to the most careflaw in his moral character.
less observer. Not only do the retired and mouidy On this point, however, we shall allow Mr Trelawny retreats, where the lawyers affect to resort, pucker to speak for himself. He is peculiarly at home in up their brows and wake out of their long sleepwhatever concerns dead bodies, and appears to enjoy not only does Pump Court once more resound with the echoes of hasty feet, and Gray's, Lincoln's, and uncommonly like an oblong bed of cauliflowers planted Clement's put on the aspect of boná-fide thorough- in rows and in full blow. There he bubbles forth his fares, with clients rushing in and out, and backwards interminable plea—the judges resigning themselves and forwards all day long—but Chancery Lane, with to fate in their easy-chairs, with a patience and all its fringe of flagged closes and bottomless alleys, fortitude only to be accounted for by reference to Cook’s Court and Carey Street, with their tons of those quarterly thousands paid out of Her Majesty's brief-paper and red tape—the remotest purlieus of exchequer, which compensate the weariness of office. the Temple, and the loftiest garrets of the quill- His learned brethren doze on their benches-the driving hacks, are all galvanised into a state of sudden newspaper reporters doze in their boxes—the casual activity, which knows nor pause nor subsidence day spectators who have crept in to slake their curiosity, or night.
find themselves yawning before they know what they Now it is that the costume of wigs, and gowns, and are about, and sneak out again for a refresher in the violet-coloured bags comes into fashion, and crops open air. Numbers, you remark, come in to see and out suddenly in wonderful profusion in the region hear; some take their seats on the rising benches of Temple Bar. Now the white-aproned messengers open to the public, some merely lounge against the are at their wits' end, and flurried with the harvest wall—but very few of them stand it, or sit it, many of sixpences which rain a silver shower, run hither minutes before they are off again out of reach of that and thither laden with missives verbal and written, somnolent voice. and only too liappy if they escape the perpetration of • Not so,' say you; "there are some forty or fifty some fatal exchange in the delivery. Now is Mrs people on those upper benches, who, 60 far from Jones, the laundress, plagued out of her life with the moving, seem to be regular fixtures, and never move everlasting tintinnabulation of twenty bells at once, at all.' and reduced to the necessity of administering impar- Ah, my friend, those are the guinea-pigs—those are tial justice by answering none of them. Now is the identical natural curiosities we have come in search little Twister, the barber of Poppin's Corner, who of, and you cannot do better than to note them well. has just achieved his first professional wig, praying During the whole of the period of term those upper devoutly that his patron, Mr Augustus Grinder, who benches are the habitat of the judicial guinea-pig. ate his way to the bar with such exemplary fervour, Mark how still, stolid, and statue-like they sit, how may get his virgin brief, in which case he has pledged persistently they do not listen to anything that goes himself to purchase Twister's virgin wig. Now are forward, and how thoroughly they ignore each other. the law-stationers up to their eyes in business, or Gregarious as these strange creatures are, it is an buried in it over head and ears; now do all the unquestionable fact that they are never known to hangers-on who yield to a magnetic attraction in the fraternise in the slightest degree. Indeed, it is fiat of judge and jury, crowd to the judicial arena; rumoured that they hate one another like grim death, and now does the Guinea-pig, starting from his and that the greatest windfall that could happen sleep, make his appearance on the field of action, and to any one of them would be to see a dozen or two of address himself to the mission of his existence.
his comrades knocked on the head. An ill-natured * And, pray, who is the guinea-pig?'
story is current, to the effect that when that old The guinea-pig, my friend, is not the animal men- gentleman yonder in the corner—he with the frayed tioned under that name by Buffon, neither did Gold- black stock and iron-moulded linen-was seized with smith put him down in his Animated Nature, though a fit of paralysis, and fell to the ground, not one of the observant and genial Goldy, it is more than them could be got to move a finger in his aid, and probable, knew the species well enough. Who is the the police had to bestir themselves to get him out; guinea-pig, do you ask ? Favour us with your com- and that when he came back on the following term, pany for a few moments, and we will discover for all the welcome he met with was a growl of disapyou this choice specimen of natural history.
pointment that the attack had not carried him off. Here we are, then, at Westminster Hall. That You will observe that they are all distinguished by door to the left, flanked by that branching maypole two things—a peculiar seediness of raiment which rigged with blind gas-burners, is the members' makes convulsive efforts to assume respectability, entrance to the House of Commons; and this one and a still more peculiar cast of countenance, which opposite, to the right, is the entrance to the Court it is far easier to recognise when once seen than it is of Queen's Bench. In the lobby within sits an old to describe with accuracy. woman dispensing apples and oranges, to exhausted! Those ranks of silent, self-concentered statues, then, witnesses and feverish clients, at a penny apiece; are the guinea-pigs; and if you ask what they are and in the lofty square apartment which serves as doing there, the answer is—they are waiting for their the court beyond, Lord Campbell is sitting at this guinea. Whenever the court sits-no matter whether moment dispensing justice at not quite so cheap a at Westminster or at the Guildhall—the guinea-pigs rate. His lordship, as you see, has a couple of sit along with it—and they will inevitably make brother-judges with him on the elevated dais, and their appearance with all the regularity and far all three look mightily grand in their huge long- greater punctuality than either judge or advocate. tailed wigs, resting like epaulets on their shoulders, For their description, we can give it only in part, for their crimson robes of office and their broad ermine there is a mystery about them which the keenest trimmings. The court is crowded in every part, and observer has not been able to penetrate entirely, very still- not a sound is heard but the deep double and of all bipeds they are reckoned the most close bass of Counsellor Bulbous, who has been on his and taciturn, almost equalling in these qualities their legs this hour, and is likely to buzz on for two four-footed and tailless prototypes. They are, however hours longer-being engaged on the famous suit of -for so they must be to qualify them for the post Slinker versus Slime, touching the repairs of Mud- they seek to adorn-housekeepers and rate-payers; bury Dyke. The buzz-uzz-oozle-woozle-snuffle of they have contrived, by some means, to get their the worthy counsellor, like the song of the blue- names enrolled on the list of jurymen to the Queen's bottle after dinner on a summer's afternoon, has Bench Court, and to keep them there; and the grand produced a soporific influence traceable on the whole business, the only business of their lives during the two hundred or so of auditors who represent the continuance of term, is to shift themselves, by hook British public. There he stands in that oblong or by crook, by urgent solicitation in the right pit below the dais, which, dotted as it is in every quarter, or by patient waiting, into the jury-box, in part with round white wigs all motionless, looks order that they may be entitled to the guinea with which the liberality of the court will reward their- frogs, coming no man knows whence, and departing labour, we were going to say, but that term would be no man knows whither or to those curious travellers a misnomer-tlieir inertia.
the land-crabs of the West Indies, which overrun But what is that? As sure as fate, Bulbous has certain territories at certain seasons, and then sudcome to a deadl-lock : his lordship, whom we all denly and miraculously vanish away. What is agreed supposed to be dozing, las pulled him up on a point upon on all hands appears to be the fact, that the of law, and the interminable plea has come to an guinea pig is altogether an undiscoverable biped at unexpected halt. Lo! the cauliflowers resolve them all or any of those seasons when the law-courts are selves into a committee of legal gentlemen-half the not sitting. Where he spends his long vacation, wigs turn their facial side this way--the white heads nobody seems to liave even the remotest idea. The are all bobbing and whispering together-there is the wildest conjectures are hazarded as to his modes and hasty scratching of quilis upon foolscap-and while means of life. It is computed that at the utmost he Counsellor Bulbous is vigorously ramming documents cannot realise more than from fifteen to twenty guineas into his bag, with the air of a check-mated chess-player, a year by hanging on to the skirts of the judges: the jury-box is suddenly vacated, and the deputy how, then, does he get the rest of the income which clerk of the court begins bawling over the names of constitutes him a housekeeper and a rate-payer, and the list of jurymen, in order to swear in a new jury a good man and true ?' for the immediate trial of a new cause.
We can hazard no reply to this question. We have Look at the guinea-pigs now-they are no longer heard the satirical wits of the court taunt this fraterthe still, stolid, unimpressible creatures you took nity with questions of various kinds—as to the conthem for. See how every man of them bristles up- dition of a hypothetic mangle, for instance, or the how the eyes twinkle, and the lips part, and the neck real ownership of a paletot suspiciously glossy; but cranes forward in the attitude of attention, as name these sarcasms point to nothing definite, and leave after name is called.
the real question in all its uncertainty. According John Brown!' bawls the clerk. ‘Here!' and to all appearances, the mission of the guinea-pig is John Brown, buttoning his seedy overcoat, pulling to compass as often as he can an easy guineaup his collar, and unearthing from his thread bare and beyond that we can declare nothing positive cuff's a clean pair of wristbands, rises with a self-concerning him. satisfied smirk, and glides into the jury-box as silently as the guinea, by and by, will glide into his
CRA G-FAST. pocket.
"Thomas Robinson !' Here!' and Robinson, with We have lived so long, my brother Frank and I, an air of dignified complacency, follows in the wake in the grand hill-country of the north, that its great of Brown.
gray giants have long ceased to be held by us in awe; * James Jones!' bawls the clerk. There is a dead our reverence for them is not one whit diminished, silence-no answering ‘Here!' and in a few moments but our fear is filed. Their crowns, hidden in cloud, the clerk shouts “James Jones!' a second time with their huge fern-covered shoulders, their mighty girdles redoubled emphasis. Still there is no reply ; James Jones is evidently not forthcoming, though the pause of melancholy pine, are our glory still, but are no is prolonged before the third time of asking. * The more threatening than their slopes of pasture-land, third appeal produces the same non-result as to Mr and woods that stray down to the margin of the lakes. James Jones; but now a little man who has been Even in winter-time, unless the hill-fog be hanging wriggling on his seat and fussily rising and sitting thickly, or the blinding snow be whirling, we should down again for the last few minutes, breaks the not hesitate to cross the highest gap in Westmoreland, silence.
Cornelius Jones is here,' he calls out suggestively or find our way to Keswick by the Felis. From our to the clerk.
nearest mountain-top we can see the road to it, and This unwarrantable interpolation on the part of track it almost all the way, bridging the rivers and Mr Cornelius acts like a firebrand among the whole fording the rills, and winding round mere after mere, herd of guinea-pigs; and in defiance of the sanctity until, a thin white streak, it climbs the furthest of the place, their resentment bursts forth in a series ridge, and comes, we know, unawares on the little of grunts and sneers and bitter objurgations launched town. As the crow flies, we are not ten miles from at the liead of the offender with a fierceness all the it; but a man cannot reach it in eighteen miles, nor more fierce that it has to be uttered sub voce and out a horse in twenty-eight. Many a time, since Harry of ear-shot of the bench.
left us, have Frank and I gone thither and returned • It won't do, Corny,' growls one.
in the same day, partly to get little luxuries that are "Wait your turn, snatchbody!' hisses a second. not in our far-away mountain home; partly from Betsy Prig!' snarls a third.
the exceeding beauty of the way itself; and partly, it And furious eyes are turned on the delinquent, may be, to keep his memory green who is no longer who, being accustomed to that sort of fire, does not with us. wince under it, but preserves an enviable equanimity A score of summers have brought bird and butterfly until the storm has blown over.
into our happy valley, and set the bee roaming on By the time the whole twenty-four jurymen are the hills since last our Harry took that walk with collected, the ranks of the guinea-pigs are consider- us--but we do not forget it. The fair June morn, ably thinned. There is an evident expression of the quarter which the gentle breeze blew from, the disappointment in some of the remaining faces, but coombs wherein the shadows of the clouds lay-we that is tempered with some satisfaction too, because, remember all. Harry was beautiful, which we are though they have not yet won their prospective prize, far from being, kind and accomplished almost as a they are nearer to the winning-post by four-and- girl; but he was weak in liealth, and had to battle twenty names, and feel that they are at no great for dear life through every winter. Supple of limb distance from the inevitable one pound one.
when well, and strong in spirit whether well or ill, he But the question, Who is the guinea-pig?' is not wanted care, and we were not good nurses. We did answered yet, and, in truth, it is not one of easy not lack in love, but in the reason firm, the tempersolution. There are various theories afloat touching ate will,' which have been so often found of late in the the physiology of the creature. Speculators on this gentler sex, soothing, controlling, saving so many of abstruse subject have likened his tribe to a shower of their soldier brethren. What our poor brother fixed
his wishes on, we had no heart to refuse. He was, we therefore in store for him. On we went, mile after mile, felt, and every body but himself knew well, but for a over the dry morasses, where the streams no longer little while on earth, and not, therefore, to be denied pushed their sluggish way through the black mould, a pleasure lightly. He would walk to Keswick, and the tufts of heath were withering. We lay down that he had determined on-the next time Fred and often under some huge crag, from which the goat fled, Frank went, and designing there to sleep that night, scared, or the rock-raven slowly oared herself away we suffered liim one day to go with us. We chose on mighty lustrous wings—for the heat had become our time during a series of unbroken fine weather; intense--to rest. Panting on the short brown grass, no rain had fallen for weeks throughout the district with our faces heavenward, was as good as lotus
—fair' said the shepherd's weather-glass, and 'fair' eating; the warmth of noon and the quiet of night said Michael Gwain, the shepherd, when we started reigned jointly upon these lofty heights, where the that morning, we two with knapsacks, and Harry murmur of the bee alone seemed to thread the silence. with his alpenstock, up the bed of the empty beck. Here we passed strange-shaped crags, which once, It had been rifled of its silver treasure by the sun, the legend went, were mortal men tranced by wizard and the crags stood out bare and smooth where the spell; here, rock-rent chasms, where the fiend was waters had roamed at will. Silence had usurped said to dwell in winter-time; and here we came upon the seat of song; and the stones that had held their some desolate tarn, needing not romance to heighten summits highest above the strise, like many a human its lonely terrors—where Solitude seemed sister to head that proudly lifts itself above the battle of the Despair. Meanwhile, the faint air had no breath save world, displayed their stubborn breasts, riven and that which came in fitful feverish gasps, and died worn enough. Two deep-cut channels alone marked away; the blue sky became islanded above us by a the spot where the twin torrents had lately met; and huge black cloud, and our thirst grew insupportable. a little tree that overhung it, and was wont to be After a rest somewhat longer than usual, we caught kept green by the rainbow-tinted spray, was dying the glimmer of a falling stream, some half-mile off, fast; the mighty stepping-stones, fit each to cover but separated from us by uneven and rugged ground. a hero's grave, were useless, and felt no footsteps. And Who drinks first?' exclaimed Harry; and 'I,' It was dry even beneath the little bridge where the and 'I,' we answered, and each took his own way trout were used to make their ceaseless circles in the with a cheer, and started at racing speed for the pool; the dead fish were lying on either side in their welcome gill. beautiful armour, never more to slumber in the brown By this time the last wandering cloud had joined depths, or to wag a lazy fin upon the surface; they the threatening mass that hung swollen and dark had trusted to have escaped the evil eye of the sun. above us, like an impersonation of wrath ; and one One by one, the sheep wandered up and down with instant the sunlight gleamed over the landscape, and piteous bleat, and we ourselves, with head inclined the next, the shadow overcast it, as fever flushes a and hollowed hand, could find no drop of water. sick man's brow. Mountain-top could not be dis
Our progress up the broken way was slow, and on cerned from cloud, and the blackness of night was the steep path beside it the parching earth was hot gathering, when on a sudden the heaven burst into beneath our feet; and the fern, the moss-knots, and flame, and the earth glared and reddened to meet it. the heather, crumbled into dust within our grasp. The pent-up thunder broke forth at the same instant, One of us has reached the summit; that shout of and rolled out again and again before the first echoes triumph carried over the hills about proclaims it, and had died away upon the hills. A few big drops fell that one is Harry; because he had less breath to lose on my forehead, and then a living wall of rain moved than any of us, he must of course needs scramble up swiftly against me. It fairly beat my breath out, the first, and hollo. And indeed there is something and I could hardly raise my eyes to see the glory of glorifying in having gained the top of a high hill; the tempest, the sheet after sheet of lightning which when the breeze of the mountain first blows on a seemed to wrap the dead earth round, while the man's brow, one may generally know it by other signs thunder hymned its terrible requiem. than a mere ruddy cheek; the voice is more still than Faint, weary, and wet as I was, a great joy usual, but what beauty or wisdom it has to speak we seemed to depart when the storm ceased, which it seem to get there above all places; the freshness that did almost at once. Never had I seen Dame Nature falls on the senses sheds dew on the heart, and the in a more awful mood; scarce ever, too, under a thoughts that lie deepest spring up and blossom into more lovely aspect than when the sun smote through speech; the world's cares and crosses seem all left the cloud-rack, throwing broad veils of silver over below, and fade away far in the distance, while the green hillsides, and setting great crowns of pearls beneath us is spread the glory of the earth. When upon their heads; intertwining the hair of the to us the town lies in silence, and the sail turns pine-woods with strings of diamonds, and awakening not on the hill-when the spade, the pick, and the a thousand becks which ran straight to the valleys in clanging factory send up no murmur-when the song. Frank was already at the goal, and welcomed glancing river moves not on, and the oar of the me with shouts of triumph. He had taken across sailor is dumb, and thronged city and desolate sea the marsh as I had done, but by a securer track. alike give forth no sound: from the Isle of Man Harry, who had chosen the outer edge of the tablein the far westward, and along the open sparkling land, along the cliffs, had not yet come. We waited sea, our eyes came back to the dear valley at our for some time impatiently, for the afternoon was by feet, the tranquil lake with its green-wooded islets, this time far advanced ; and when we went back to wherein another heaven seemed to smile, another sun seek for him, it was with beating hearts. Neither to shine; the rich low meadows round it sprinkled whispered to the other his secret fear; but we read it thickly with cattle, the farms of dazzling white- plainly enough in each other's eyes. What if that glad ness, the low-roofed cottages of unmortared stone, laugh-music should be never heard again? if those and the vane of the gray old church beaming above noble eyes should be glazed in death, and the beautithe slumbrous yews like fire. All men may not ful face be marred by those cruel cliffs? and with the be moved so, but I think it is thus with most of thought arose the look of his fond mother in the us who think; and it was so certainly on that day hour when we should bring her lifeless darling home! with our dear Harry: never was he so animated, Not till we had peered down every cliff and gill, and enthusiastic, eloquent as then; we might have almost searched over the treacherous bog in vain, did Frank, known, had we been long enough in the old north with a face I shall never quite forget, approach the country to imbibe its creeds, that mischief was verge of the precipice. If our Harry had fallen there,
indeed all hope was over. But no; thank God, there It was arranged that many smaller ropes should be was no terrible thing in that green valley-no one taken down with the rescuer, in case they needed dread spot, such as I once have seen, whereon the eye both to be secured to the cables. We twisted three is riveted at once-a knot of clothes, with the evil of these last, for greater security, into one. No one birds clanging around it. We took the same perilous opposed my natural entreaty to be permitted to be path which the lost boy had taken, where the height lowered first; but I saw the shepherds shaking their above and the depth below were a burden to our heads, as if they doubted my being of much service. brain, and presently we found the narrow footway | Ten or a dozen attached themselves to the end of broken down before us. It must have been a daring the tether, and I was fastened to the other, in a loop, foot that would trust itself to leap to the other side, which formed a sort of seat. A long staff was given and but a slight form whose weight could have there me to keep myself off the face of the precipice, and alighted in safety. A few feet further on, the goat- then they let me drop downward. Lower and lower, track-for it was nothing more—was resumed, and and out of their sight, I sank slowly, but not without rounded, out of our sight, an enormous rock. Frank much motion. It required all my attention to prevent was foremost, and leaped the chasm without an dashing against the crags : if I pushed off gently, I instant's thought. No courage, no self-sacrifice, could hit them again at once; if I gave a bold thrust, I have induced any man to do so who had hesitated for was turned round, and flung upon them backwards.
The ground gave way with him, and he Presently, I sank below the level of the rock under fell his whole length down, still clinging by his hands, which my brothers lay, and saw them. Harry was however, to the firmer part. Agile and wary as a resting in the other's lap, with a corpse-like face, and panther, he had done his best to guard against this quite motionless, as one to whom no hurt could danger by coming down on all-fours. I hid my eyes happen more, and whom no power could save. Frank in terror as he clung spasmodically for a few seconds, kept his eyes toward the stone and away from the and collected all liis strength for a spring upwards; dizzy height, and he did but glance at me for an and when I looked again, he was in comparative instant, and then resumed his position. safety. There was an impassable barrier of some ‘Get back, Frederick; get back, for the love of eighteen feet of sheer precipice between him and me; Heaven. Let the best shepherd amongst them take he rounded the point before him, and a cry of glad- your place; and even then, I fear we two shall never ness assured me that he had at least found Harry see home again. And indeed it required far more alive. I clambered back again with difficulty, to see skill than I could boast of to get such a momentum whether I could get down to them from above, but it as might carry me into the crevice, and still less was not to be attempted. The great rock jutted out could I have snatched a hold that might have susright over them, and there was no pathway round it tained me there. I gave the signal to haul up, and from the other side at all. Whether the track had told the men how matters stood. ever been continued further, I could not tell, but "Was Mr Frank sufficiently master of himself, it now led clearly into a complete cul de sac, from and safely situated, to draw a man in by one of which there was no escape unless by wings.
the lesser ropes, if such could be thrown to him?' To be starved to death, or to be dashed down the they asked. I answered 'No,' and it seemed greatly steep by the first wind, seemed to be the inevitable to disconcert them. The lightest and most agile fate of my poor brothers. Frank's voice came up of the party, however, volunteered to do his best, from the abyss, and somewhat calmed me. 'Harry and over he went, as I had done. He required has fainted with terror,' he said ; 'I have no doubt much more rope this time, in order to get a sufficient his head failed him at this spot. We cannot round swing on it for his purpose ; and those who were not the rock again from hence, but there is room enough engaged in holding fast could see him strike out and to stand, and even to sit here, for both of us. Do return to the face of the cliff quite clearly. After you, Fred, go down to Borrowdale at once, before it one or two tremendous strains, the rope suddenly gets dark, and bring up with you at daylight half-a- slackened, and we knew that he had found foothold dozen strong men, and all the sheep-ropes you can somewhere underneath. I don't pretend to say how get together; and pray Heaven send us a calm night, it was done, for it seems to me to this day to have and that our Harry may be yet preserved to us.' been a miracle of mercy: I only know that the next
With a heart-felt injunction to the brave fellow to haul of ours brought up the shepherd with Harry, be of good courage, and to rely on me, I started on yet alive, within his arms; and again, that the fine my errand of life and death. A frantic anxiety fellow was let down, and came up with my good, urged me to fly like the wind, and the most dan- brave Frank in safety. He was not much less gerous paths seemed to have lost all their terrors ; changed to look at than his charge. Anxiety and but one false step, or even a slip to sprain an ankle, despair had done, it seemed, the work of years with would be, I knew, destruction to those dear ones on him; and we had to carry the one, and lead the the steep; so I chose my way with caution, and did other's uncertain footsteps home. not reach the valley till dusk. The greatest eager- Weeks passed away before the strong man grew ness and sympathy were at once manifested; we himself again; and for the delicate boy, a sick-room collected plenty of the great cables used to extricate was his prison for months. The exposure to the the crag-fast sheep, and came up with the earliest night-air after the pelting storm, had overtasked his streaks of light in a great company. We could see lungs, and his sleep was long disturbed by what he the rock plainly enough from Borrowdale, but not had suffered ; his thin white fingers would clutch at the two figures crouching under it; no heath-flower empty air, in dreams, and his brows grow damp at bloomed above it, nor bush nor tree over its stern the imaginary abyss that seemed to yawn beneath seamed visage, and its wrinkled brows seemed to him. The events of that awful time indeed, haunted overhang the height with a consciousness of cruel | his memory by day and night to the last; but he power. It was not so easy, however, to find it from never recalled them without the deepest thankfulabove ; and having omitted to leave a man below to ness. 'I die amongst you all,' he said, 'safe-safe, direct us, we wasted some precious minutes. At last dear Frank, at home.' And he left us before the we came upon the spot, and heard brother Frank winter came, when all beautiful things were decaying cry out to us in a sad voice: 'He is alive, for he and about to perish likewise. For us, although we still breathes ; but that is all.'
yield to none, by this time, in tracking the wild fox The dreadful hours passed in company with his to his lair, and the raven to her lofty nest, we never poor charge had evidently shaken even his fortitude. pass that' rock upon the Fells without some awe;