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world with a knowledge of no single principle in moral or physical science ; profoundly ignorant of nearly everything but Latin-which, however, not one in ten would have been able to write with fluency or elegance. Disconcerted with what he felt to be the general tone and tendencies of society—by no means charmed with the blending of sectarian prejudice and narrow circumstances with the straining after fashion which distinguished Edinburgh life-he determined to pay a visit to his sister, whom he had not yet seen since his coming home. Communicating his wish to his father and Susan, they, on the return of spring, set off to the residence of the farmer, with the view of passing some weeks with him and his wife, and seeing the adjacent country.
Every Scotsman who makes a fortune abroad, seems to be possessed with a strong desire to return home and settle as a proprietor of lands. In the case of our friend Drysdale there was no exception to the rule. Purchasing the small estate of Fauldslie, in the neighbourhood of his brother-in-law's residence, he there may be said to have settled down for the remainder of his days.
It was now that the important branches of Drysdale's early instruction came usefully and smilingly to his aid. His geometrical and mathematical knowledge enabled him not only to lay out his pleasure-ground with judgment and correctness, but to construct his house and offices with convenience and taste. From his knowledge in drawing and perspective, exclusive of the pleasure it afforded him, he was also enabled to sketch various plans to give ornament and additional effect to surrounding scenery; and, in particular, to the formation of a new garden, which, for singularity and beauty, attracted the notice of all the neighbourhood. On each side of a small stream or brook grew a number of trees of various kinds, and on the north bank, a rising slope occupied a portion of rich arable ground belonging to one of his farms. To the southward of the brook, an uncultivated marsh and a deep moss terminated an opposite slope, which, while it was productive of nothing beneficial, was particularly offensive to the eye. After having first effectually drained the marsh, and judiciously intermixed argillaceous earth and lime with the remaining moss, Drysdale set about forming a garden, orchard, and shrubbery walks in one. For this purpose he enclosed a portion of the rich arable land on the north slope, facing the south, for his garden, with a good wall, sufficient in length to contain a variety of the best fruit-trees; and on the south side of the brook he enclosed another portion of the improved moss-land with a thorn hedge and a deep drain, that conveyed the superabundant water from the adjacent grounds. Here he planted a number of fruit-trees for his orchard, interspersed and ornamented with gravel-walks, shrubberies, flower-pots, and arbours, which, corresponding with the windings of the stream, afforded, during the heat of the summer season, a delightful retreat for meditation and
retirement. But the principal effect produced was by the concealment of the adjacent objects, in consequence of the trees that intervened, and by your being suddenly and unexpectedly transported from one kind of scenery to another, by means of rustic bridges judiciously placed across the stream. What added considerably to this ingenious contrivance were the different approaches, the one entering by a shady walk along the rivulet to the orchard' and shrubbery, the other at the opposite end into the garden, so as to produce, in either direction, the unexpected and pleasing effect of contrast already mentioned.
In the course of a few years Drysdale was visited by his friend Cochran, who had also retired with a competency from the duties of his profession, and increased his happiness by uniting himself with a lady every way worthy of his regard. Cochran, after some time, also settled in the country, and though at some distance from Fauldslie, he contrived occasionally to see one to whom he owed so deep a debt of gratitude.
The last time we heard of Drysdale, he was busily engaged in establishing a society for mutual improvement among the young men of the neighbourhood, and in performing other public services consistent with the benevolence of his character. Fully competent to the expense of his undertakings and that of his establishment, he, without show or ostentation, lived liberally and consistently; saw his friends frequently, and visited them in return; while the genuine worth of his character, and the unassuming sweetness and gentleness of his Susan, who was the benefactress of all the poor around, insured the esteem and affection of the whole neighbourhood.
ENEATH the shadow of the old and venerable castle
of Rosenthal, on the beauteous river Rhine, there lived some years ago a humble husbandman with his family, the cultivators of a small patch of ground, whence they
drew the meagre means of support. Hans Ruysdael, as this obscure tiller of the fields was named, and Greta his wife, though poor and hard wrought, though rising early and lying down late, were contented with the lot which Providence had assigned them, and the only heavy sigh they ever uttered was when a thought as to the rearing of their numerous children passed through their minds.
Besides requiring much labour, the grounds which Hans cultivated bore precarious crops. They were principally laid out for vines; and some seasons, from the effects of blighting winds and rains, these yielded scarcely any harvest. It was sometimes in vain that Greta would toilsomely carry earth from the low grounds to the higher, and lay it at the roots of the plants where the soil was the thinnest; or that the elder children would be set to pick the dead leaves from the drooping stalks ; or that Hans himself would turn up the ground with his powerful mattock, so as to expose it to the
In a single night a blighting wind would rush up the valley, and at a blow disconcert the toils and plans of a whole summer. 'It is clear, Greta,' said Hans Ruysdael to his wife one day, after
the occurrence of a calamity of this kind it is clear that at least one of the boys must leave us, and perhaps more than one. The family cannot all live in this wretched spot, and in such circumstances it is wisdom to disperse. What do you say, Greta, to our beginning with Walter? He is too feeble for this toilsome and precarious profession, and would do better as an artisan in Strasbourg or some other large town.'
'I have had many sad thoughts on that score, dear Hans,' replied Greta. 'I should not by any means like to part with even one of them; but God's will be done. Let Walter go. He may become a great man.'
'I care nothing for that,' rejoined the husband and father. "What I desire is to see my sons grow up honest men, diligent in their calling, whatever it may be. I say that a man, though ever so hard working and obscure, if he be honest and happy in his own mind, is a great man--greater far than the overbearing and sinful barons who used to live in the proud old tower up yonder'
'No doubt of it, Hans; yet Walter is an aspiring child, and who knows to what height he may push himself ?'
Walter was delighted with the notion of going to Strasbourg, to which it was arranged he should be taken, and placed under the charge of his uncle, the head worker in one of the principal watchmaking establishments of that city. Ever since he had seen the watch of a passing stranger, he had formed a fancy for mechanical pursuits, and took a pleasure in making wheels and other little objects with his knife--all which he exhibited to his twin-sister Margaret, who admired them as prodigies of ingenuity.
Influenced by necessity, as well as by what he perceived to be his boy's inclinations, Hans applied to his brother, who promised, at the first vacancy, to place his nephew in a situation in the same employment with himself. A vacancy occurring when Walter was about fourteen years of age, and the master watchmaker being willing to gratify his foreman, Hans had the pleasure of learning that as soon as he could bring Walter to Strasbourg, his brother would take charge of the boy, and set him to a good line of business.
Walter scarcely knew how or where he stood with joy and pride when his father told him the good news. Choking with emotion, he ran to the old tower, where his sister was at the time employed, and there poured out to her his full and happy heart. They sat down together on a stone bench, and when Walter had finished speaking, she looked up in his face with her large tearful eyes. She thought how lonely she would be without him ; but she remembered it was for his good, and she took his hand between hers and smiled. The brother and sister sat late that evening ; but no one called them away, for they knew it would be their last evening together for many years--perhaps for ever. Walter talked of his projects for the future, and Margaret already fancied she saw him the great man which he wished to be. He promised her a watch of his own manufacture one day, and they counted the months and weeks which would elapse before they met again. Margaret scarcely liked to see him so glad to part with her, but she did not say so; and she talked to him of next Christmas, and her hopes that he would be allowed to come and see them then, and that they should all be very happy. Walter, however, was too full of his new greatness to think of returning so soon home ; and his sister already thought she saw her brother was extinguishing affection in ambition. Her heart was heavy as they entered their father's dwelling, and tears forced themselves unbidden into her eyes.
The next morning was bright and beautiful as a May morning could be. Margaret had helped her mother to put up Walter's little bundle of clothes long before daybreak, and prepared breakfast for him and her father. It had been arranged that they should travel by one of the barges employed in passing up and down the Rhine ; for at this time no steam-vessels navigated the river. The only conveyances were these barges, a clumsy kind of boats, partly moved by oars and sails, but chiefly by means of horses yoked one after the other to long rope passing from a mast in the barge to the shore. Hans's occupation near the banks of the river had made him acquainted with many of the barge owners, and by some of them he was occasionally carried to Mayence and other places on the river to which his business led him. He had never, however, gone as far as Strasbourg with any of them. That was a long way up the river, and few barges went to such a remote distance. On the present occasion, he expected the passage upwards of an old acquaintance, whose profession was the conducting of large rafts of timber from the Black Forest, on the borders of Switzerland, down the Rhine all the way to Dort in Holland, and who therefore passed Strasbourg in his voyage. Having performed his duty of conductor of the raft, and consigned it to the timber-merchants who waited its arrival, Ludwig, as this pilot was called, was in the habit of returning up the Rhine in a barge along with the men under his charge.
Old and trustworthy Ludwig was now bending his way homewards to the Black Forest after one of these excursions. His barge had been perceived toiling its way up the strait of the Lurli, and was expected to pass the village and old tower of Rosenthal on the following morning.
By early morn, as we have said, everything was prepared for the departure of Walter and his father as soon as Ludwig should make his appearance. In a state of agitation, Margaret would one moment run out to see if the towing-horses were yet in sight at the nearest turn of the river, and the next she would rush into the cottage and again busy herself about Walter and his bundle, saying