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phis, had existence, dwell there still, and, shielded by the fastnesses of their mountains, the sword will not slay them, neither will the fire burn.
Every where it is the same. If we turn our observation to the west:—the plains of Guiana, and Brazil, and Mexico, and Peru, and Chili, and Paraguay have been rendered up to the grasping hand of conquest; and, because of the gold and the silver they contain, the thickly-serried Andes have been held by the skirts; but the red Indian is still in his mountain dwelling; and in spite of all that fanaticism and avarice, yet more fell, have been able to accomplish, in the very passion and intoxication of their daring (and they have been dreadful in those sunny lands), Chimborazo looks down, from his lofty dwelling among the earthquakes, on the huts of his primeval inhabitants; and Orizaba yet mingles his smoke with that of fires kindled by the descendants of those, whose ancestors tenanted his sides before Mexico was a city, or the Atzec race had journeyed into central America.
Now, whenever the globe speaks in unison from every point of its surface, and history brings testimony from its every page, we may rest assured that there is more than common instruction in the tale; and, therefore, we should read and meditate upon it with more than ordinary attention.
And why is it, that man not only clings with the greatest pertinacity to those places of the earth to which, as we would say, nature has been the least bountiful, but also loves them with the most heartfelt affection, and acquires an elevation of mind, a determinedness of purpose, and a joyance of spirit in them, more than in places which abound far more in the good things of this world?. The facts are certain and absolute; for there is not one exception to them; and therefore the lesson that they teach us must be wisdom. It is wisdom, too, which bears directly upon our present object; and it is wisdom which is soon learned.
It is simply this: that in those wild and, as we would call them, barren places, man's chief occupation and converse are with nature: whereas, in richer places, where there is more to tempt worldly ambition and worldly enterprise, art is his chief occupation, and becomes by habit his chief enjoyment.
Almost all the people in the parish were leading in their meadow-hay on the same day of midsummer, so drying was the sunshine and the wind, -and huge heaped-up carts, that almost hid from view the horses that drew them along the sward, beginning to get green with second growth, were moving in all directions toward the snug farm-yards. Never had the parish seemed before so populous.
Jocund was the balmy air with laughter, whistle, and song. But the tree-gnomons threw the shadow of one o'clock 'on the green dial-face of the earth—the horses were unyoked, and took instantly to grazing-groups of men, women, lads, lasses, and children, collected under grove and bush, and hedge-row, -graces were pronounced, and the great Being who gave them that day their daily bread, looked down from his eternal throne, well-pleased with the piety of his thankful creatures.
The great Golden Eagle, the pride and the pest of the parish, stooped down, and flew away with something in his talons. One single, sudden female shriek-and then shouts and outcries as if a church-spire had tumbled down on a congregation at a sacrament! Hannah Lamond's bairn! Hannah Lamond's bairn!' was the loud, fast-spreading cry. • The eagle's ta’en off Hannah Lamond's bairn!' and many hundred feet were in another instant hurrying towards the mountain.
Two miles of hill, and dale, and copse, and shingle, and many intersecting brooks lay between; but in an incredibly short time, the foot of the mountain was alive with people. The eyrie was well known, and both old birds were visible on the rock-ledge. But who shall scale that dizzy cliff, which Mark Stuart the sailor, who had been at the storming of many a fort, attempted in vain?
All kept gazing, weeping, wringing of hands in vain, rooted to the ground, or running back and forwards, like so many ants in discomfiture. What's the use—what's the use o' any poor human means? We have no power but in prayer!' and many knelt down-fathers and mothers, thinking of their own children, as if they would force the deaf heavens to hear!
Hannah Lamond had all this while been sitting on a rock, with a face perfectly white, and eyes like those of a mad person, fixed on the eyrie. Nobody had noticed her; for strong as all sympathies with her had been at the swoop of the eagle, they were now swallowed up in the agony of eyesight. 'Only last Sabbath was my sweet little one baptized:' and on uttering these words, she flew off through the brakes and over the huge stones, up-up-up-faster than hu itsman ran in to the death, -fearless as a goat playing among precipices.
No one doubted, no one could doubt, that she would soon be dashed to pieces. But have not people who walk in their sleep, obedient to the mysterious guidance of dreams, climbed the walls of old ruins, and found footing, even in decrepitude, along the edge of unguarded battlements and down dilapidated staircases, deep as draw-wells or coal-pits, and returned with open, fixed, and unseeing eyes, unharmed to their beds, at midnight?
It is all the work of the soul, to whom the body is a slave; and shall not the agony of a mother's passion-who sees her infant hurried off by a demon to a hideous death-bear her limbs aloft wherever there is dust to dust, till she reach that devouring den, and fiercer and more furious far, in the passion of love, than any bird of prey that ever bathed its beak in blood, throttle the fiends, that with their heavy wings would fain flap her down the cliffs, and hold up her child in deliverance before the eye of the all-seeing God?
No stop--no stay--she knew not that she drew her breath. Beneath her feet Providence fastened every loose stone, and to her hands strengthened every root.
How was she ever to descend? That fear, then, but once crossed her heart, as up-up-up to the little image made of her own flesh and blood. • The God who holds me now from perishing—will not the same God save me when my child is on my bosom?' Down came the fierce rushing of the eagles' wings—each savage bird dashing close to her head, so that she saw the yellow of their wrathful eyes.
All at once they quailed, and were cowed. Yelling, they flew off to the stump of an ash jutting out of a cliff, a thousand feet above the cataract, and the Christian mother falling across the eyrie, in the midst of bones and blood, clasped her child-dead-dead-dead, no doubt,—but unmangled and untorn, and swaddled up just as it was when she laid it down asleep among the fresh hay, in a nook of
the harvest field. Oh! what pang of perfect blessedness transfixed her heart, from that faint feeble cry—It livesmit lives—it lives!' and baring her bosom, with loud laughter and eyes dry as stones, she felt the lips of the unconscious innocent once more murmuring at the fount of life and love!
The same Continued.
WHERE, all this while, was Mark Stuart, the sailor? Half way up the cliffs. But his eye had got dim, and his head dizzy, and his heart sick; and he who had so often reefed the top-gallant-sail, when at midnight the coming of the gale was heard afar, covered his face with his hands, and dared look no longer on the swimming heights. And who will take care of my poor bed-ridden mother,' thought Hannah, whose soul, through the exhaustion of so many passions, could no more retain in its grasp that hope which it had clutched in despair. A voice whispered God.'
She looked round expecting to see an angel, but nothing moved except a rotten branch, that under its own weight, broke off from the crumbling rock. Her eye, hy some secret sympathy of her soul with the inanimate object, watched its fall; and it seemed to stop, not far off on a small platform. Her child was bound within her bosom-she remembered not how or when—but it was safe—and scarcely daring to open her eyes, she slid down the shelving rocks, and found herself on a small piece of firm root-bound soil, with the tops of bushes appearing below.
With fingers suddenly strengthened into the power of iron, she swung herself down by briar and broom, and heather, and dwarf birch. There a loosened stone lept over a ledge, and no sound was heard, so profound was its fall. There, the shingle rattled down the screes, and she hesitated not to follow. Her feet bounded against the huge stone that stopped them, but she felt no pain. Her body was callous as the cliff.
Steep as the wall of a house was now the side of the precipice. But it was matted with ivy, centuries old—long ago dead, and without a single green leaf—but with thousands of arm-thick stems petrified into the rock, and cover
ing it as with a trellis. She bound her babe to her neck, and with hands and feet clung to that fearful ladder. Turning round her head, and looking down, lo! the whole population of the parish, so great was the multitude, on their knees! and hush, the voice of psalms-a hymn, breathing the spirit of one united prayer! Sad and solemn was the strain—but nothing dirge-like-breathing not of death, but deliverance.
Often had she sung that tune, perhaps the very words, in her own hut—she and her mother-or in the kirk, along with all the congregation. An unseen hand seemed fastening her fingers to the ribs of ivy, and in sudden inspiration, believing that her life was to be saved, she became almost as fearless as if she had been changed into a winged creature. Again her feet touched stones and earth—the psalm was hushed—but a tremulous sobbing voice was close beside her, and lo! a she-goat, with two little kids at her feet! • Wild heights,' thought she, 'do these creatures climb, but the dam will lead down her kid by the easiest paths; for O, even in the brute creatures, what is the holy power of a mother's love!' and turning round her head, she kissed her sleeping baby, and for the first time she wept.
Overhead frowned the front of the precipice, never touched before by human hand or foot. No one had ever dreamt of scaling it; and the golden eagles knew that well in their instinct, as, before they built their eyrie, they had brushed it with their wings. But all the rest of this part of the mountain side, though seamed, and chasmed, was yet accessible—and more than one person in the parish had reached the bottom of the Glead's Cliff.
Many were now attempting it, and ere the cautious mother had followed her dumb guides a hundred yards through, among dangers that, although enough to terrify the stoutest heart, were traversed by her without a shudder, the head of one man appeared, and then the head of another, and she knew that God had delivered her and her child in safety, into the care of their fellow creatures.
Not a word was spoken-eyes said enough-she hushed her friends with her hands, and with uplifted eyes pointed to the guides sent to her by heaven. Small green plats, where those creatures nibble the wild flowers, became now more frequent trodden lines, almost as easy as sheep-paths, showed that the dam had not led her young into danger; and now the brushwood dwindled away into straggling shrubs,