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No. XI.-SATURDAY, 21st APRIL, 1827.
THE EMIGRANTS OF AVONDALE.
A TRUE STORY. THEY deeply wrong the humble peasant and the struggling artizan, who deem these incapable, from their situation in life, of feeling some of the finer sympathies of human nature-love among the number with the same degree of intensity and delicacy as those whom fortune has placed in more elevated, though not more useful stations in society. Not merely beneath the straw-roofed cot-as every poet has sung-but in the midst of the crowded and gloomy lanes of a large city, and the smoky purlieus of its manufacturing suburbs—is there felt and seen the refining and ennobling influence of that virtuous passion in frequent and enduring operation.
It is from neither of these extremes of humble life, however, that I mean to select my present illustration of the supremacy of those emotions of the heart which can elevate the most lowly above even the sordid operation of the first of human impulses—that of self-preservation. Not amid the crowded haunts of a manufacturing metropolis, nor yet in the more solitary and comfortless suburban retreats of indigence and toil, were the loves of Annie Finlay and Robert Gray, kindled in their young bosoms, and nurtured in their maturer hearts. They lived in one of those little towns or hamlets which lie thickly scattered over the fair and fertile surface of the three Wards of the shire of Lanark, uniting in themselves the beauty and healthfulness of a purely rural residence, with some of the combinations and conveniences only to be attained where men do congregate; and in the persons of their inhabitants the simplicity and virtue to be found among those uncontaminated with the vices, together with that intelligence, the result of the social intercourse peculiar to larger communities. In the agricultural and the commercial interests were more fairly balanced than in some more important assemblages, for almost every dweller there, while he depended upon manufactures for
much of his income, relied upon the fertility and produce of his little potato-plot and cabbage-garden for that humble supply of vegetable necessaries which are fast becoming the only staff of life our “ lower orders” can attain; and on the fatness of their annual pig for the only butcher meat they ever tasted.
They were the children of near neighbours, and in childhood they loved. Robert was bred a weaver; and when the distressful times of 1826 arrived, he was but escaped from his teens. Annie was a year younger. In the sweet evening walks which it was the wont (when the remuneration for toil was such as to permit a cessation from it beyond the mere moments given to meals and sleep) for the lovers to take, there never entered into their communings the idea of uniting themselves by other ties than vows of enduring truth, till they should arrive at an age when they could leave their brothers and sisters to provide for themselves, or aid their parents—the fatal peculiarity of the trade of cotton-weaving being, that the father must rear his children to his own ill-paid employment, to eke out from their early labours the means of bare subsistence. Besides, it was the anxious wish and hope of Robert to follow some other occupation previous to becoming the father of a family, which necessity must compel him to rear as he himself had been bred. Yet in the mind's eye of both the day was seen, if in the distance, which was to make them one, and happier auspices seemed to gild it, in proportion as it was near to the horizon of their hopes, rather than within the ken of their immediate anticipations. But I must not linger in my tale.
The wretchedness which Robert's family and himself endured during the bright and sunny summer of 1826 its brightness was but seen at earliest dawn betwixt the hard bed and the weary loom, and its sunniness hardly lightened the gloom of the damp and decaying workshop to which necessity had driven them-bitter as it was, was endurable, in comparison of what in winter visited them in the guise of cold, and fever, and famineaye, famine—for the scanty and half-cooked meal that generates disease, rather than sustains nature, but protracts famine in its work of paling bright cheeks and withering manly limbs! Too proud to seek for charity while the labour of two hands for every, even the youngest, mouth of the family, for sixteen hours a day, could procure enough of oil to keep the lamp of existence twinkling—the dreary days of a winter of unparalleled gloom and sternness were courageously sustained by all of them, save one, in the hope that had been held out to many, as it appeared, by authority, that on the return of spring, the country which could no longer pay them for their toil would transport them to a soil which waited but for industry to call forth its slumbering, or direct its wasted fertility. That one was Robert. To him there was nothing inspiring in the thought of leaving Scotland -for, with that idea he had connected the possibility of being for a time compelled to leave his Annie--and of her forgetting him who was beyond the Atlantic many a weary mile. Her mother had died in harvest-time, and her father had carried his children to another part of the country. To be still near to her sweetheart, she had procured the situation of an under domestic servant in a family in Glasgow. To marry her before emigrating with his father's family, was, he thought, impossible-or almost as much so as to leave her; and to forsake his father's family at the time when they most needed his manly arm to aid either in carrying them up to the woods of Canada, or felling there the trees that were to shelter them, was what he would himself have despised if he could have thought of it.
It is a month since they sold their little all of furniture and implements that they could not carry with them to America. The proceeds they devoted to pay their passage money and to lay in provision for the voyage. The bounty of Government they only looked for in the shape of a grant of land upon the other side of the St. Lawrence. The vessel that was to bear them was taking in her cargo, and yet Robert was in all the agony of irresolute suspense, where honour and pride drag a man one way, and love-almighty love-compels him to lean another. The former prevailed, at length. He communicated his anxieties to his Annie; and she heroically counselled him to go, while she promised-fondly promised -to wait-aye, if it were till death—for the message that was to bring her to him. This was enough. It was last week that the disconsolate and yet hoping family party embarked at the Broomielaw for Greenock. It was Robert that superintended every thing—and was every where. Tears there were shed as the vessel left the city which they almost reckoned their home-for it was Annie's and Robert's eye was not the dryest, but yet he was sustained, for she was at his side. She had obtained leave of absence to see her friends embark. On the following day the vessel was to be under weigh, and she was to
return. Neither took place. It is needless to go farther. Robert and his Annie could not part or if they did, it would have been to die. They tried it, but it was in vain, and life was fast giving way to the struggle in Annie's bosom. She consented to be his in every peril, and in every toil. He returned to Glasgow-obtained her freedom and her clothes—and on the day they were to have been at sea, an indulgent captain permitted them to receive the blessing of the priest, and for one night to be man and wife in the country of their nativity and their love. The next-and they were upon the distant waters. God speed them! So prays
THE HERMIT OF THE WEST.
SPECIMENS OF A SERIES OF NEW READINGS
IN BAILEY AND JOHNSON.-No. VI. Bachelor.—A fellow that is happy without knowing of it. Backbiting.–A diversion that is popular with old women
in breeches as in petticoats-a generous arrangement
of other people's duties and affairs. Bad-in-age.--. thing as the name expresses it, which becomes improper the moment a man is turned of
seventy, and a woman of — Bagpipe. -An ancient machine for making a noise-the
forerunner of some modern journals, being filled with puffs; a barbarous instrument men are positively rewarded by some for still playing upon. Balaam.- What we must fill eighty-two of our pages
with, if we had a hundred in each number, Balcony.- A place for flower-pots to stand upon-roman
tic damsels to lean over-and lovers to climb up. Ball.- A thing that can turn round-men and women's
heads, by making them kick at their heels. Balloon.—A silk bag with gas in its belly, and an ass at
its tail. Ballot.-A method of throwing upon chance, or upon
others, the onus of decisions which we are afraid to make, or ashamed to avow. Balm.- The dew of a woman's lip, and the name of a
pleasant lie. Baltic.--Something or other that must be always drunk,
if comparisons be not odious. Banditti.-Harmless, well-dressed figures, for adorning
“ Letters from Italy,” “Pictures of the Apennines," and Mrs. Radcliffe's romances.
Bamboozle.—To address compliments to a jury, a plain
woman, or a rich fool. Banister.—A disused name for stair-railing—and a much missed one in play-bills.
The Local Epigrammatist. No. II.
Glasgow, my venerable mother!
That thick head of your's to be cut-Eh, my chap ?"
But, though ill, to prove to him her learning,
Ou the sage while her symptoms discerning, And minced out, “ Oh, Doctor! tis only the ague." “ Why," he cried, “ would you wish, Madam, that 'twere the
DIARY OF A SIGHT SEE-ER.-No. II.
Tuesday.--Mr. Kean re-appeared here to-night, before an audience that was as crowded and as respectable as it is possible for any assemblage to be where dear womankind is but “ thinly sprinkled to make up a show.” What the deuce can keep them away from Mr. Kean, and crowd to feast their eyes on the paw paw Miss Foote? Memo. More materials for my long contemplated Essay on Female Consistency. Richard was hardly himself again-His limbs are shrunk, and his voice is weakened. Sey