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its height. At the bottom of this rocky basin grow marine plants, some of which tower high beneath the water, and cast a shadow in the sunshine. Small fishes dart to and fro, and hide themselves among the sea-weed; there is also a solitary crab, who appears to lead the life of a hermit, communing with none of the other denizens of the place; and likewise several five-fingers—for I know them by no other name than that which children give them. If your imagination be at all accustomed to such freaks, you may look down into the depths of this pool, and fancy it the mysterious depth of ocean. But where are the hulks and scattered timbers of sunken ships ?-where the treasures that old ocean hoards ?—where the corroded cannon ?--where the corpses and skeletons of seamen, who went down in storm and battle?
On the day of my last ramble, (it was a September day, yet as warm as summer,) what should I behold as I approached the above described basin, but three girls sitting on its margin, and -yes, it was veritably so—having their snowy feet in the sunny water! These, these are the warm realities of those three visionary shapes that flitted from me on the beach. Hark! their merry voices, as they toss up the water with their feet! They have not seen me. I must shrink behind this rock, and steal away again.
In honest truth, vowed to solitude as I am, there is something in this encounter that makes the heart flutter with a strangely pleasant sensation. I know these girls to be realities of flesh and blood, yet, glancing at them so briefly, they mingle like kindred creatures with the ideal beings of my mind. It is pleasıınt likewise, to gaze. down from some high crag, and watch a group of children, gathering pebbles and pearly shells, and playing with the surf, as with old ocean's heary head. Nor does it infringe upon my seclusion, to see yonder boat at anchor off the shore, swinging dreamily to and fro, and rising and sinking with the alternate swell; while the crew-four gentlemen in round-about jackets-are busy with their fishing lines. But, with an inward antipathy and a headlong flight, do I eschew the presence of any meditative stroller like myself, known by his pilgrim staff, his sauntering step, his shy demeanour, his observant yet abstracted eye. From such a man, as if another self had scared me, I scramble hastily over the rocks, and take refuge in a nook which many a secret hour has given me a right to call my own. I would do battle for it even with the churl that should produce the title-deeds. Have not my musings melted into its rocky walls and sandy floor, and made them a portion of myself?
It is a recess in the line of cliffs, walled round by a rough, high precipice, which almost encircles and shuts in a little space of sand. In front the sea appears as between the pillars of a portal. In the rear the precipice is broken and intermixed with earth, which gives nourishment, not only to clinging and twining shrubs, but to trees, that gripe the rock with their naked roots, and seem to struggle hard for footing and for soil enough to live upon. These are fir trees; but oaks hang their heavy branches from above, and throw down acorns on the beach, and shed their withering foliage upon the waves. this autumnal season the precipice is decorated with variegated splendor; trailing wreaths of scarlet flaunt from the summit downward ; tufts of yellow flowering shrubs, and rose bushes, with their reddened leaves and glossy seed berries, sprout from each crevice; at every glance I detect some new light or shade of beauty, all contrasting with the stern, gray rock. A rill of water trickles down the cliff and fills a little cistern near the base. I drain it at a draught, and find it fresh and pure. This recess shall be my dining hall. And what the feast? A few biscuits, made savory by soaking them in sea water, a tuft of samphire gathered from the beach, and an apple for the dessert. By this time the little rill has filled its reservoir again; and, as I quaff it, I thank God more heartily than for a civic banquet, that He gives me the healthful appetite to make a feast of bread and water.
Dinner being over, I throw myself at length on the sand, and basking in the sunshine, let my mind disport itself at will. The walls of this my hermitage have no tongue to tell my follies, though I sometimes fancy that they have ears to hear them, and a soul to sympathize. There is magic in this spot. Dreams haunt its precincts, and fit around me in broad sunlight, nor require that sleep shall blindfold me to real objects, ere these be visible. Here I can frame a story of two lovers, and make their shadows live before me, and be mirrored in the tranquil water, as they tread along the sand, leaving no footprints. Here, should I will it, I can summon up a single shade, and be myself her lover. Yes, dreamer, but your lonely heart will be the colder for such fancies. Sometimes, too, the past comes back, and finds me here, and in her train come faces which were gladsome, when I knew them, yet seem not gladsome now. Would that my hiding place were lonelier, so that the past might not find me! Get ye all gone, old friends, and let me listen to the murmur of the sea,-a melancholy voice, but less sad than yours. Of what mysteries is it telling? Of sunken ships, and whereabouts they lie? Of islands afar and
undiscovered, whose tawny children are unconscious of other islands and of continents, and deem the stars of heaven their nearest neighbors ? Nothing of all this. What then? Has it talked for so many ages, and meant nothing all the while? No: for those ages find utterance in the sea's unchanging voice, and warn the listener to withdraw his interest from mortal vicissitudes, and let the infinite idea of eternity pervade his soul. This is wisdom; and, therefore, will I spend the next half hour in shaping little boats of drift-wood, and launching them on voyages across the cove, with the feather of a sea-gull for a sail. If the voice of ages tell me true, this is as wise an occupation as to build ships of five hundred tons, and launch them forth upon the main, bound to “far Cathay." Yet, how would the merchant sneer at me!
And, after all, can such philosophy be true? Methinks I could find a thousand arguments against it. Well, then, let yonder shaggy rock, mid-deep in the surf-see! he is somewhat wrathful—he rages and roars and foams—let that tall rock be my antagonist, and let me exercise my oratory like him of Athens, who bandied words with an angry sea and got the victory. My maiden speech is a triumphant one; for the gentleman in sea-weed has nothing to offer in reply, save an immitigable roaring. His voice, indeed, will be heard a long while after mine is hushed. Once more I shout, and the cliffs reverberate the sound. Oh, what joy for a shy man to feel himself so solitary, that he may lift his voice to its highest pitch without hazard of a listener! But, hush !—be silent, my good friend !—whence comes that stifled laughter? It was musical,—but how should there be such music in my solitude ? Looking upwards, I catch a glimpse of three faces, peeping from the summit of the cliff, like angels between me and their native sky.—Ah, fair girls, you may make yourselves merry at my eloquence-but it was my turn to smile when I saw your white feet in the pool! Let us keep each other's secrets.
The sunshine has now passed from my hermitage, except a gleam upon the sand just where it meets the sea. A crowd of gloomy fantasies will come and haunt me, if I tarry longer here, in the darkening twilight of these grey rocks. This is a dismal place in some moods of the mind. Climb we, therefore, the precipice, and pause a moment on the brink, gazing down into that hollow chamber by the deep, where we have been, what few can be, sufficient to our own pastime-yes, say the the word outright!-self-sufficient to our own happiness.How lonesome looks the recess now, and dreary too,-like all other spots where happiness has been. There lies my shadow
in the departing sun-shine with its head upon the sea. I will pelt it with pebbles. A hit! a hit! I clasp my hands in triumph, and see my shadow clapping its unreal hands, and claiming the triumph for itself. What a simpleton must I have been all day, since my own shadow makes a mock of my fooleries !
Homeward! homeward! It is time to hasten home. It is time; it is time; for as the sun sinks over the western wave, the sea grows melancholy, and the surf has a saddened tone. The distant sails appear astray, and not of earth, in their remoteness amid the desolate waste. My spirit wanders forth afar, but finds no resting place, and comes shivering back. It is time that I were hence. But grudge me not the day that has been spent in seclusion, which yet was not solitude, since the great sea has been my companion, and the little sea-birds my friends, and the wind has told me his secrets, and airy shapes have flitted around me in my hermitage. Such companionship works an effect upon a man's character, as if he had been admitted to the society of creatures that are not mortal. And when, at noontide, I tread the crowded streets, the influence of this day will still be felt; so that I shall walk among men kindly and as a brother, with affection and sympathy, but yet shall not melt into the indistinguishable mass of human kind. I shall think my own thoughts, and feel my own emotions, and possess my individuality un violated. But it is good, at the eve of such a day, to feel and know that there are men and women in the world. That feeling and that knowledge are mine, at this moment; for, on the shore, far below me, the fishing party have landed from their skiff, and are cooking their scaly prey by a fire of drift-wood, kindled in the angle of two rude rocks. The three visionary giris are likewise there. In the deepening twilight, while the surf is dashing near their hearth, the ruddy gleam of the fire throws a strange air of comfort over the wild cove, bestrewn as it is with pebbles and sea-weed, and exposed to the melancholy main. Moreover, as the smoke climbs up the precipice, it brings with it a savory smell from a pan of fried fish, and a black kettle of chowder, and reminds me that my dinner was nothing but bread and water, and a tuft of samphire, and an apple. Methinks the party might find room for another guest, at that flat rock which serves them for a table; and if spoons be scarce, I could pick up a clam-shell on the beach. They see me now; andthe blessing of a hungry man upon him!-one of them sends up a hospitable shout--hallo, Sir Solitary! come down and sup with us! The ladies wave their handkerchiefs. Can I decline? No; and be it owned, after all my solitary joys, that this is the sweetest moment of a day by the sea shore.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER.
In Lockhart's Life of Walter Scott, we have an interesting description of the closing hours of the life of this great and good man. For some weeks before his death his mind seemed utterly lost and exhausted—its silver cord loosed and its golden bowl broken. But one morning, just before his departure, he awoke in his perfect mind and called for his son-in-law."Lockhart," said he, after intimating that this was probably the last opportunity he had to speak to him, “ be a good manbe religious—be a good man. That only will give you satisfaction when you come to lie here.”
In the Sunday School in Northborough, Mass. was a child, a female, of twelve years of age. She possessed a lovely spirit, and was an obedient and docile pupil. In Providence, she was overtaken by a violent, short, and fatal disease. Her mind was in exercise to the last hour. She saw no terror in death, but looked for happiness beyond it from living with her savior. In some of her last moments she was visited by her young friends; received them with a smile, and sent by them to her school mates this message, “Tell them from me, that if they would die happy they must be good.”
The mighty enchanter of the intellectual world, whose words used to be watched and waited for by tens of thousands, had no more precious legacy of wisdom io leave behind than this simple Sunday School scholar. How striking the fact, and what reflections does it suggest! The impartial love of the Most High, who, while He gives to some vast intellectual gifts, confers the most important truths on all who hear the gospel. So that the babe and suckling may say, I have more understanding than my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation." What an illustration also of the value of Sabbath Schools, by which the wisdom to which Scott clung in his dying hour, is imparted with equal strength to the spirit of an infant. What a lesson to us all, not to think so much as we do of new and striking views of truth, but to try instead to realize more the familiar, trite, ancient truths of piety and righteousness. The word is very nigh thee in thy mouth and thy heart, that thou mayst hear it and do it. By these, my son, be admonished-of making many books there is no end, and much study is weariness to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, love God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.