Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

A SOLDIER'S GRATITUDE

And this is woman's fate :-
And all her aflections are called into life
By winning flatteries, and then thrown back
Upon themselves to perish, and her heart,
Her trusting heart, filled with weak tenderness,
Is left to bleed or break.

L. E. L.

[ocr errors]

No, by the memory of my fore- the earth. Where have the rebels

fathers,” exclaimed Sir Henry taken up their quarters ?” Macdonald, “I will show no mercy. 66 To the right of the pass of GlenWhat! shall the loyal house of Mac- amure, and flanked by the woods of donald be reproached with succouring St. Auleyn.” Jacobites ? Spare none-give no quar “Well, there we'll give them welter, whatever. They—the merciless come, and a warm one too, I peradveninvaders of the crown and constitution ture.” of their country, seek for refuge in the

It was about noon day when the bosom of its staunch defenders !"

contendiug foes met. The loyalists “ From their appearance, Sir Henry were greatly superior, both in regard I should consider they came rather in to numbers, ammunition, and discian hostile, than a suppliant charac- pline, to the enthusiastic adherents of ter,” replied the young Evan Dou- the pretender. The latter seemed to glass.

be actuated by the feeling, that on the “ They! a scanty handful—a beg. issue of that skirmish depended all garly epitome of a regiment.--coming their hope of future prosperity. The with hostile intentions ! In sooth, situation they had chosen was by no perhaps to put to fight our gallant means favourable, and everything adherents—drive off what little cattle seemed to go against them from the they have left us,--and perhaps take first, and yet the contest remained for you, with Flora and myself

, prisoners a considerable time extremely doubtof war! Do you not tremble already, ful. The followers of James knew Evan ?"

that death was the worst that could be“ The gambler, Sir Henry, will not fall them, as the chances of escape led give up the last stake, till he finds the to a punishment far more terrible, board cleared and bis pocket empty. while the hope of victory animated And thus it is with them : their cause

every nerve, and made each so bold in is already lost, and were it not for the imaginary strength, that they met the infatuation that blinds their eyes, foe with incredible alacrity. And they would see there was not a hope well they might-for they felt the die remaining."

was about to be thrown, on which their 66 The rebel scouts ! more true blood only hope depended.

66 Let us conhas been lost through their wilful quer or perish,” said one to the other; folly, than ever bled for the noblest and they dealt with all around them cause that strung the nerves of a sol- with a desperation so heightened by dier! Yes, Allan James, 'tis not a despair, as to confound and terrify the father's weakness, that mourns for thy enemy. memory- for his greatest pride was, But all their bravery and determinathat

ye

both should die in the cause of tion could not compete against superiyour country. That hope, God or numbers. Their ammunition had knows, has been gratified. But why been long expended, and they had nostand we here—their blood-no, the thing but their broadswords to wield cause of our king demands that all who against the powerful artillery of the participated in their-- our country's royalists. Incompatible as their weawrongs, should be exterminated from pons were, they made terrific havoc in

[ocr errors]

the enemy's ranks. But it was to no over him, when he fell, apparently lifepurpose--not a discharge took place, less, from his horse, he hoped to clear but a chasm followed in their little undetected. army, till they were reduced to so small He had passed the confines of the a number, that it was suicide to at- wood, and had reached the domains of tempt any further resistance. The two Sir Henry Macdonald, when, in consefirst in command had already fallen, quence of the severe exercise, and the and one field officer, quite a youth, irritation of his mind, his wounds beonly remained out of the number that gan to bleed afresh: no longer able to entered the field. Desperate as his support himself he fell headlong from situation was, he at first determined to his horse, and there remained without throw himself on the enemy's sabre, sense or motion. till the remembrance that he still might

It happened that this spot was a be of service in the cause of his sover- wild and romantic glen, the favourite eign, animated him with the hope of ramble of Flora Macdonald, the only escape, and accordingly, though faint remaining child of Sir Henry. She ing from the loss of blood, be pricked had lost her mother during her inthe sides of his jaded steed, and re- fancy, and had chiefly resided under treated towards the wood with what the care of a maiden aunt in the Highof the company were able to follow lands of Scotland, till she approached him.

towards womanhood; when her father, The loyalists pursued, and offered during the few intermissions of war, terms of capitulation-a

fresh attack requiring the solace of society, she joywas the only reply. This was the fully consented to take the managelast burst of their fury-it was like ment of his household. She was of a goading the tiger in his den. Encom- singular, yet most amiable temper. passed by their foes, disdaining every Unaccustomed from her infancy to any offer of clemency, though bending un- restraint in her edocation, and being der their last ebb of strength, they fell the very idol of her aunt, she indulged victims of their own lion-beartedness, in all the eccentricities of her mind. It which, reckless as it was, had it been was her delight to shun the society of employed in a more noble, or a more those the best adapted for her years, reasonable cause,

would have been and ramble amidst the wild scenery of sufficient to carry down their names in the Western Highlands, and listen to the stream of immortality.

the legendary lore of their superstitious The young officer, Colonel Macfar- inhabitants. Her nind, naturally of a lane, still escaped, though not without romantic turn, became there imbued a fresh wound, which, added to the with wilder feelings. Her delight was many he had already received,rendered to collect the ballads and traditions of him careless of his fate. He felt assur- the ancient bards; and, associated as ed, from the great loss of blood, that they were with the he could not live long; and as his life around her, her soul was more than orwas no longer a blessing to himself, or dinarily susceptible of the gentler feelof service in the cause of his sovereign, ings of our nature, whose fine edges he cared not how soon the mortal strife are too frequently blunted by a prowas ended.

miscuous commerce with the world. As the enemy had left him for dead, Evan Douglass had been from her he lay in this deplorable situation for infancy, her chosen companion in all a considerable time, till either a return her romantic rambles. He was the of strength, or the powerful energies of son of a brother warrior of her father, his mind, would not permit him to re- who felt a secret satisfaction at the main longer in a state of inactivity. growing intimacy of the young people. With some difficulty he succeeded in Evan was of a noble family, bad ammounting his favourite steed, and en- ple possessions, was open and couradeavoured to gain the border of the geous, and possessed of every quality wood, which, with the help of a cloak that could ornament the soldier and the that a warm-hearted loyalist had spread man. She was accustomed from her

wild scenery

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

a

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

childhood to view him as her brother, of his fancy. Indeed it was too bright
and she loved him with all the disin- for reality-too beautiful to belong to
terested affection of a sister : her in- the world.
nocent heart knew no other feeling, The light steps of Flora quickly
while that of Evan's glowed with one brought her to her father's mansion;
more passionate. His affection for the breathlessly she entered the room,
lovely girl was not to be annihilated where he was engaged in writing
by time or distance: it “grew with despatches of the memorable events of
his growth and strengthened with his the day. “Why, how now, ye frolic-
strength, and he ardently looked for- some kid! What ails you."

66 Oh! ward to the conclusion of the war, father, rise, quick. Where's Evan when the rites of the church were to there's a cavalier bleeding to death in make her solely his.

the glen; he appears as if he had been The young officer remained on the engaged in the horrid encounter of spot upon which he fell for above an Glenamure." hour, when his senses, though unac The brave heart of the knight did companied by his vigour, partially re- not suffer him to wait till he heard turned.

whether he was a jacobite or On his opening his languid eyes, loyalist, but instantly prompted him the first object that presented itself tó to sally out with Evan and their beauthem was that of a young and beau- tiful guide, and offer succour and protiful female bending over him in a tection. compassionate attitude.

Her look,

As soon as the two had arrived at her smile was that of a superior race the glen, they found the Colonel inof beings, and as the white robes, so sensible, and to all appearance dead. carelessly thrown over her, floated in 66 Alas !" sobbed Flora, 6 we are too the wind, he imagined he was either late, he must have died since I left in the world of spirits, or that Provi- him, for he has moved from the spot dence bad sent one of her ministers to where I placed his head.” “ By his succour him in his belplessness. He cloak I perceive he is a loyalist,” said was however soon convinced of her Evan, there is one more stout heart mortality, by her gently placing his added to the heavy list.” head on a mound of earth, and gliding my worthy Douglass, I hope that he quickly froin the spot. He strained may still recover, and by the help of his aching eyes for the last glimpse of Flora's nursing bé yet a staunch deher sylph-like form, as it bounded fender of his king and country. But through the glen, and when it was to- who can he be? These features are tally out of sight did he only feel emo- too noble to belong to an individual of tions of hope and fear which he could an inferior station, and are too striking by no means account for. Were they and handsome to escape our notice if inspired by the melting look of tender- he was at Glenamure.”

66 There was ness, the soft sigh which swelled her an officer of the Pretender's party who gentle bosom when he first beheld her, fought as if heaven and earth dethe thrilling touch of her small white pended on his sword, and these feahand, as she placed his head on the tures strongly remind me of him," bank, or the exquisite expression of replied Evan. Before they had time pity and sensibility that animated her for any further examination, Ellen, beautiful countenance when she left who had flown back to the house, rehim? “ Is this a being of earth, or a turned with a host of servants bearing spirit of heaven ?” he mentally ex a couch, on which the body of the sol claimed. His memory told him he dier was conveyed to a chamber in had wandered much, and as he had her father's hospitable mansion. besides but an indistinct remembrance In those dangerous times, when of the events of the preceding hours, Scotland was but thinly populated, and he thought the figure was more the frequent encounters diminished its than a frail, though beautiful creation inhabitants, it may be supposed that

40 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.

56 Not yet,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

no

medical assistance was difficult to be sented to hold some communication procured. Evan had had his arm with his guest, when with a mixture of dressed by the military surgeon, who satisfaction and regret, he discovered immediately joined the remnant of the that he was the son of one of his father's victorious army to head-quarters. He friends and companions; and who therefore very confidently placed him. had formerly fought side by side in the self under the care of his beautiful same glorious cause, and under the mistress, who had now two objects same standard—that of Prince Rupert, for the exercise of her medical know- at the memorable Marston Moor. ledge.

The invalid, as he increased in the The stranger for a while did not good opinion of his host, improved in seem likely to require any more assis- his health and good looks, to the untance on earth, but by close attention concealed satisfaction of his romantic he partially recovered his senses, to the guardian. She evidently entertained manifest delight of his young nurse. feelings of a more enthusiastic turn In the meantime, from his uniform it than those of mere benevolence and was discovered, to the visible disap- philanthropy. No wonder that the pointinent of Sir Henry, that he be- unsophisticated mind of the girl should longed to the opposite party. To har- be so engrossed by its object. The situbour a rebel in his house-to make it ation in which he first engaged her ata receptacle for an enemy to his king, tention, when pity, sympathy, and felwas to the loyal heart of Sir Henry, as low-feeling were awakened in his faheinous a crime as any in the calendar. vour, the gratitude seemingly blended It was treason by the laws of this with the warmest affection, which country to afford refuge to a red rebel, beamed from his eyes whenever he but yet it was repugnant to the laws of turned them towards her—bis person, his Maker, and those of social life, to which to her enthusiastic judgment turn a fellow-being adrift in his then was the beau ideal of chivalry and ropitiable situation. Honour and con- mance, all combined to create for him science had a severe struggle, but the the liveliest emotion, and before she feelings of humanity triumphed over herself was aware of it, she loved him the artificial bonds of authority; for with all the enthusiasm and tenderness how could his daughter's prayers and that was inherent in her disposition, the young soldier's wounds be replied and which a woman can display in the to in the language of royal proclama- impulses of her first affection. tion, or quotations from acts of parlia It is scarcely possible to imagine a ment?

He at last determined to give feeling more innocent and refined what assistance he could to the officer, than that which seemed the life-spring ill he should be sufficiently recovered of every action of her heart. Had o seek another asylum. In the mean- she but a moment reflected on the prostime the improving appearance of the pect of their future felicity, she would brave sufferer, gradually repaid the have endeavoured to fortify her heart, beautiful eyes of his anxious watcher; rather than abandon it to the contemwho witnessed his recovery with a plation of an object it could never obheartfelt and deeply breathing interest. tain. She thought not of the likeliAs the energies of his mind gradually hood of their union, or the probabilideveloped, he became to her more and ties of their separation, the heavenly more engaging. Her soul, that first delight of the present was all to her; clung to him from the impulse of all and love is not a miser, who foregoes the warmer feelings of a woman's na- the fleeting happiness of the present ture, became fully tempered to receive moment in the anticipation of future a feeling equally intellectual and re- misery. As he gradually gained fined. His large dark eyes gradually strength, her heart gladdened in innoassumed their wonted brilliancy, and cent gaiety. Oh! it was to her a sight his lovely attendant watched with un- the most joyful on earth, to see that conscious delight the returning glow to form, which was but lately like a tree his cheek. Sir Henry at length con- rooted up by the winds, lying weak

and defenceless as a new-born babe; evidence against me, should I ever now firm and erect-proud in the con- prove cold or ungrateful.” She glancsciousness of superiority; to behold ed a look of conscious belief and unthe brow froni which she had so late- conscious affection, and listened with a ly removed the clammy dews of glow of anxious feeling, when he said, sickness, now flushed with hope and in a tone between gaiety and gravity, glowing with returning vigour. When “ that there was one, that however she witnessed these effects of her care weak he might be in expressing his and tenderness—the proud being, that sense of her kindness, would not rehad it not been for her would have main silent or ungrateful, as the followbeen a tenant of the tomb, moving a ing day would testify." Who can this living ornament to the earth, she felt a one be, thought the agitated girl? he secret glow of satisfaction-a feeling of bas seldom or never spoke of his famipride she was hitherto a stranger to ; ly, but rather avoided the topic. He and she blessed Providence for ordain- had mentioned that he had a father ing her as the agent of his benevo- and a mother doatingly fond of him. lence. But this flow of affection was Ab! it must be his mother; for who, not to remain unruffled. Evan had she thought, was so likely to feel gratirepeatedly urged to her and her parent tude for the preserver of life, as she the impropriety of the stranger re- who first nourished it. He had spokmaining in his present asylum. He en of a sister too, on whose happiness spoke of the probability that the hand his very life depended. “Oh!" she which was now clasped in friendship thought to herself, “how sweet, how within that of his host, must shortly enchanting would it be for his own sisbe raised against his life. How would ter to clasp me in her arms, thank me they that had associated in the com with her own voice. How delicious munion of brotherly love, meet in the thought, to weep the full reward of the field of battle, where all private her bosom!" feeling must be sacrificed in the cause

In rapturous expectation she countof mankind.

ed the slow minutes, till the arrival of These arguments came home to the the dearly anticipated being was anbaronet's breast, but did not cause his nounced. When the hour did approach guest's immediate absence. The lat- how high her heart beat-when the ter was now able to leave his room ; noise of a carriage pronounced the exwhose arm could support him now so pected arrival. Macfarlane was prewell as that which bore the hand that sent, and although she did not perhad so often smoothed his thorny pil- ceive that overwhelming expression of low ? Flora therefore gladly consent- delight in his features, she thought he ed to become the companion of his seemed restless and impatient. At rambles.

length the door opened-she looked It was on one evening when their forward expecting to behold an aged steps had wandered to the very glen, matron, when a young and lovely fe. where she first saw him faint and help- male rushed into the room, and exless, that he seemed more than usually claiming Edward, threw herself in the enthusiastic. He spoke of the ever arms of the young soldier.

66 It is his lasting obligations he was under to her, sister-his own sister-how I long to first in pleading on his behalf, and clasp her to my heart.” The young watching with unremitting attention, lady had disengaged herself from the regardless of fatigue and confinement; Colonel's embrace, and as the happy and for all those attentions that a stran- enthusiast sprung forward to embrace ger, not to mention an enemy, could her, with a firm and graceful spring, not even expect, even when no kindred he in the same deep and tender tone or affectionate hand were near to per- that first won her heart, exclaimform the same kind offices. 6 Can I ed, 6 Miss Flora Macdonald,-my ever forget them, no! The vows of wife.” His wife !she uttered with gratitude I have made are registered a piercing shriek. 6 His wife !" and in Heaven, where they will remain in gazing on him with a look fraught with

« ПредишнаНапред »