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habitual contemplations, his opportunity for preparation had been most inconsiderable, for the argument of his accomplished opponent had been concluded but the day before the reply was to be made. 5 I sat an hour and a half with Mr. Webster the evening before this great effort. The impassioned parts of his speech, and those in which the personalitiesof his antagonist were retorted, were hardly indicated in his prepared brief.
10 So calm and tranquil was he, so entirely at ease, and free from that nervous excitement which is almost unavoidable, so near the moment which is to put the whole man to the proof, that I was tempted, absurdly enough, to think him not sufficiently aware of the magnitude of the
15 occasion. I ventured even to intimate to him, that what he was to say the next day would, in a fortnight's time, be read by every grown man in the country. But I soon perceived that his calmness was the repose of conscious power. The battle had been fought and won within, upon
20 the broad field of his own capacious mind; for it was Mr. Webster's habit first to state to himself his opponent's argument in its utmost strength, and having overthrown it in that form, he feared the efforts of no other antagonist. Hence it came to pass that he was never taken by sur
25 prise, by any turn of the discussion.
Besides, the moment and the occasion were too important for trepidation. A surgeon might as well be nervous, who is going to cut within a hair's-breadth of a great artery. He was not only at ease, but sportive and full of
30 anecdote; and, as he told the senate playfully the next day, he slept soundly that night on the formidable assault of his accomplished adversary. So the great Conde slept on the eve of the battle of Rocroi; so Alexander slept on the eve of the battle of Arbela; and so they awoke
SO to deeds of immortal fame.
As I saw him in the evening, (if I may borrow an illustration from his favorite amusement,) he was as unconcerned and as free of spirit as some here have seen him, while floating in his flshing-boat along a hazy shorf, gently rocking on the tranquil tide, dropping his line here and 5 there, with the varying fortune of the sport.
The next morning he was like some mighty admiral, dark and terrible, casting the long shadow of his frowning tiers far over the sea, that seemed to sink beneath him; his broad pendant streaming at the main, the stars and 10 stripes at the fore, the mizzen, and the peak; and bearing down like a tempest upon his antagonist, with all his canvas strained to the wind, and all his thunders roaring from his broadsides.
XCVIL —THE WIDOW OF GLENCOE. Aytoun. [In the month of February, 1692, a number of persons of the clan of Maodonald, residing in Glencoe, a glen on the western coast of Scotland, were cruelly and treacherously put to death, on the ground that their chief had not taken the oath of allegiance to the government of King William within the time prescribed by his proclamation. A full and interesting account of the massacre may be found in Macaulay's " History of England." The following poem is supposed to be spoken by the widow of one of the victims. The captain of the company of soldiers by whom the massacre was perpetrated, was Campbell of Glenlyon. "The dauntless Graeme *' was the Marquis of Montrose.]
Do not lift him from the bracken, leave him lying where he fell—
Nay — ye should not weep, my children! leave it to the faint and weak;Sobs are but a woman's weapons—tears befit a maiden's cheek.
And I left them with their dearest—dearest charge had every one—
Woman's weakness shall not shame me — why should I have tears to shed?Could I rain them down like water, O my hero! on thy head —
XCVIIL — THE SWISS PATRIOT.
[james Sheridan Knowles was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1784, and died In 1862. He was the author of " The Hunchback," " Virginius," "William Tell," " The Wife," and several other plays, some of which have been highly successful. He was originallyan actor and teacher of elocution, but in his latter years he was a zealous and eloquent preacher of the Baptist denomination.
The following extract is from " William Tell," a play founded on the leading
Incidents in the life of the Swiss patriot of that name. Gesler, (pronounced GeVler,) is the Austrian governor of Switzerland, and Sarnem one of hia officers.]
[WILLIAM TELL, ALBERT, AND GESLER.]!
Gesler. What is thy name?Tell. My name?
Ges. What! he so famed 'bove all his countrymen
Exquisite vengeance ! — Mark! I 'll spare thy life—
A trial of your skill with that same bow
Tell. Name the trial you
As though instinctively you guessed it.
Tell. Look upon my boy! What mean you? Look upon My boy as though I guessed it! — Guessed the trial You'd have me make ! — Guessed it 25 Instinctively! You do not mean — no — no — You would not have me make a trial of My skill upon my child ! — Impossible! I do not guess your meaning. Ges. I would see 30 Thee hit an apple at the distance of A hundred paces.
Tell. Is my boy to hold it?