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disburdened ourselves of some of our trout, a poor consolation, I fear, for the pain we had occasioned, and took a hasty leave. Disappointed and hungry, I was much inclined to take my friend C. to account, but he vindicated himself from the charge of an exagerated statement of what had passed on the former day; and, in fact, the case was very clear, for the jolly little yeoman had said, no doubt, a thousand civil things in the fulness of his heart, never dreaming of being thus taken by surprise; whilst his chagrin and distress may have had some connection with the existing state of his larder, and his conscious inability therefore to support the character for hospitality which he had acquired. It was an instance of the ingrata (not the grata) superveniens hora, very trying to that state of the nerves peculiar to the British temperament, especially when remote from the attrition of society; but to which the more vivacious Frenchman is an entire stranger. Taken by surprise, he would, under similar circumstances, have condoled with us on the state of the larder, paid us a thousand compliments, compared his mountain-dew to nectar, and the remnant of his haggis to something very inferior to what he could have wished to place before us.
What was now to be done? We had fish in plenty left, but no means of frying them; we had money too in our pockets, and would willingly have put those well-known lines to the test—
"He that hath travelled life's dull round," &c. but no inn of any description was there in these parts; none nearer than our little Tweedside inn, from which we were many a long mile distant, and to which we were little disposed, dinnerless as we were, to shape a direct course. At length C, albeit rather daunted with our recent ill success, had the courage to suggest that we should make one more experiment, in the way of raising supplies, and call at the house of another of the Sheriff's friends, about a mile lower down the vale. It was too late, however, as we conjectured, from past experience, for dinner, and much too early for supper—and we took into consideration likewise, that if we should be in luck, and timed our visit well, we might have a chance of getting beds, as well as board. So we loitered and angled on, with as much spirit as we could muster, till, the evening being sufficiently advanced, we ventured to approach the scene of our second experiment. Here, after a modest knock or two, we were readily admitted into a snug little parlour, and were welcomed by the respectable, but rather hard-featured governor, who, being made of sterner stuff than his neighbour, showed no manner of embarrassment, notwithstanding C. lost no time in opening the purport of our visit. He fully acknowledged our claims, and said he was right glad to show any civilities in his power to strangers, one of whom had been so cordially introduced to him by the Sheriff—so it was quickly arranged that we should sleep, as well as sup, under his roof. But, as we had not resolution enough to confess that, trusting to the hospitality of the Ettrick yeomanry, we had omitted to bring any eatables with us, and, in fact, had tasted nothing but a wee-bit of biscuit for the last ten or
twelve hours, at least an hour elapsed before we were ushered into another parlour, where we were joined by the lady of the house and two bonny lasses, her daughters, and supped and spent the evening very agreeably. We could, I believe, have managed to eat a poached egg or two more, but having pretty well cleared what was set before us, and seeing a breakfast in futuro, we retired to rest with grateful hearts, if not with loaded stomachs.
Nothing could be cleaner or more inviting than our two little beds, in the same room; we never in our lives slept sounder; and we learned a lesson which it has since been our lot and our duty to inculcate, that there is no better security for the morrow than the sound repose which follows moderate repletion, with healthful exercise. Add to this the heather and the breeze, and then indeed does balmy sleep become "tired nature's kind restorer;" the body is alert, the spirits are alike elastic, and there is a charm in life which the sluggard and mere voluptuary can never know.
The following morning, after making an early and a hearty breakfast, we took leave of our hospitable friend and his family, and returned to our temporary home at Clovenford, no longer enlivened and rendered pre-eminently interesting by the company of Walter Scott, who, having completed the business which brought him into that neighbourhood, had returned to Edinburgh. It is out of my power to do justice to the kind attentions which he showed us, during our brief intercourse with him ; and how much has the gratification, great as it was at the time, been enhanced by the circumstances of his subsequent career, and by the numberless recollections which, through so many years, they were perpetually awakening!
"His inexhaustible and captivating power of description has made the lochs, the glens, and mountains of Scotland objects of universal curiosity and admiration, while, by a rare and intuitive faculty of penetrating into the recesses of the human mind, and by possessing the most comprehensive knowledge and masterly views of the history and antiquities of his country, he has unfolded the Scottish character, has exhibited it in all its genuine variety, has dispelled prejudices, and has, with enchanting interest, made it to be familiarly known in every corner of the world."—Abbotsford Subscription.
My recollection of him—his person—his manner of conversation, amusing, instructive, frank, generous, and manly; his every look and gesture indicative of good nature, are still fresh in my memory, after a lapse of forty years. I was, one day, taking a walk with him along the banks of the Tweed, when, after going over the names of many a living and many a departed poet—for poetry seemed to be uppermost in his mind—he asked my opinion of Milton, particularly of his "Paradise Lost;" a question which, to the relief of my critical sagacity, was principally meant to be a prelude to his own immediate declaration— that it was far from being a favourite poem of his. He must have alluded to it abstractedly rather than analytically, or with reference to detached parts, the exquisite beauty, native truth, and pathos of which no one would more highly appreciate.
It may be further said, that, had the mature productions of Milton's Muse, so lovely in its earlier efforts, been unaffected by the events of that momentous and sombre period of our history, which threw a gloom over his mind, and darkened its' strong and deep lineaments, no spirits could be more congenial than Scott's and his. For not only are there many traits of amiability recorded of Milton, but there is an unction in some of his first effusions so delightfully cheerful, and so chastened with pure morality, that it is impossible to suppose that Scott did not derive unmixed pleasure from such sources.
There is no question, notwithstanding the high encomiums passed upon the Paradise Lost by men of the first rank in literature—by Addison, Johnson, and others — who have honoured it by elaborate criticisms, that it has often, when taken in its whole extent, proved wearisome to the reader, and has failed to approach the two unrivalled poems of antiquity in popular estimation or height of fame. When Johnson entered upon his critique of this great work of Milton, he seems to have felt something like the embarrassment arising from awe. He is decidedly not at his ease. A greater work, he says, in quitting the Sonnets, calls for greater care. "I am now to examine Paradise Lost; a poem which, considered with respect to design, may claim the first place; and, with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind." He labours accordingly, throughout the critique,