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ness that greatly confirmed the opinion of his possessing preternatural skill. The querists usually left some offering upon a stone, at a distance from his dwelling; if it was money, or any article which did not suit him to accept, he either threw it away, or suffered it to remain where it was without making use of it. On all occasions his manners were rude and unsocial; and his words, in number, just sufficient to express his meaning as briefly as possible, and he shunned all communication that went a syllable beyond the matter in hand. When winter had passed away, and his garden began to afford him herbs and vegetables, he confined himself almost entirely to those articles of food. He accepted, notwithstanding, a pair of she-goats from Earnscliff, which fed on the moor, and supplied him with milk.
When Earnscliff found his gift had been received, he soon afterwards paid the hermit a visit. The old man was seated on a broad flat stone near his garden-door, which was the seat of science he usually occupied when disposed to receive his patients or clients. The inside of his hut, and that of his garden, he kept as sacred from human intrusion as the natives of Otaheite do their Morai; —apparently he would have deemed it polluted by the step of any human being. When he shut himself up in his habitation, no entreaty could prevail upon him to make himself visible, or to give audience to any one whomsoever.
Earnscliff had been fishing in a small river at some distance. He had his rod in his hand, and his basket,filled with trout at his shoulder. He sat down upon a stone nearly opposite to the Dwarf, who, familiarized with his presence, took no farther notice of him than by elevating his huge misshapen head for the purpose of staring at him, and then again sinking it upon his bosom, as if in profound meditation. Earnscliff looked around him, and observed that the hermit had increased his accommodations by the construction of a shed for the reception of his goats.
.' You labour hard, Elshie," he said, willing to lead this singular being into conversation.
"Labour," re-echoed the Dwarf, " is the mildest evil of a lot so miserable as that of mankind; better to labour like me, than sport like you."
"I cannot defend the humanity of our ordinary rural sports, Elshie, and yet"
"And yet," interrupted the Dwarf, " they are better than your ordinary business; better to exercise idle and wanton cruelty on mute fishes than on your fellow-creatures. Yet why should I say so 9 Why should not the whole human herd butt, gore, and gorge upon each other, till all are extirpated but one huge and over-fed Behemoth, and he, when he had throttled and gnawed the bones of all his fellows—he, when his prey failed him, to be roaring whole days for lack of food, and, finally, to die inch by inch of famine—it were a consummation worthy of the race!"
"Your deeds are better, Elshie, than your words," answered Earnscliff; " you labour to preserve the race whom your misanthropy slanders."
"I do; but why %—Hearken. You are one on whom I look with the least loathing, and I care not, if, contrary to my wont, I waste a few words in compassion to your infatuated blindness. If I cannot send disease into families, and murrain among the herds, can 1 attain the same end so well as by prolonging the lives of those who can serve the purpose of destruction as effectually 1—If Alice of Bower had died in winter, would young Ruthwin have been slain for her love the last spring 1—Who thought of penning their cattle beneath the tower when the Red Riever of Westburnflat was deemed to be on his deathbed 1—My draughts, my skill recovered him. And, now, who dare leave his herd upon the lea without a watch, or go to bed without unchaining the sleuth-hound?"
"I own," answered Earnscliff, "you did little good to society by the last of these cures. But, to balance the evil, there is my friend Hobble, honest Hobbie of the 4* Vol. l
Heugh-foot, your skill relieved him last winter in a fever that might have cost him his life."
"Thus think the children of clay in their ignorance," said the Dwarf, smiling maliciously, " and thus they speak in their folly. Have you marked the young cub of a wild-cat that has been domesticated, how sportive, how playful, how gentle,—but trust him with your game, your lambs, your poultry, his inbred ferocity breaks forth; he gripes, tears, ravages, and devours."
"Such is the animal's instinct," answered Earnscliff; "but what has that to do with Hobbie V
"It is his emblem—it is his picture," retorted the Recluse. "He is at present tame, quiet, and domesticated, for lack of opportunity to exercise his inborn propensities ; but let the trumpet of war sound—let the young blood-hound snuff blood, he will be as ferocious as the wildest of his border ancestors that ever fired a helpless peasant's abode. Can you deny, that even at present he often urges you to take bloody revenge, for an injury received when you were a boy V—Earnscliff started; the Recluse appeared not to observe his surprise, and proceeded—" The trumpet will blow, the young blood-hound will lap blood, and I will laugh and say, For this I have preserved thee!" He paused, and continued,—" Such are my cures ;—their object, their purpose, perpetuating the mass of misery, and playing even in this desert my part in the general tragedy. Were you on your sick bed, I might, in compassion, send you a cup of poison."
"I am much obliged to you, Elshie, and certainly shall not fail to consult you with so comfortable a hope from your assistance."
"Do not flatter yourself too far," replied the Hermit, "with the hope that I will positively yield to the frailty of pity. Why should I snatch a dupe, so well fitted to endure the miseries of life as you are, from the wretchedness which his own visions, and the villany of the world, are preparing for him 1 Why should I play the compassionate Indian, and, knocking out the brains of the captive with my tomahawk, at once spoil the three days' amusement of my kindred tribe, at the very moment when the brands were lighted, the pincers heated, the caldrons boiling, the knives sharpened, to tear, scorch, seethe, and scarify the intended victim V
"A dreadful picture you present to me of life, Elshie, but I am not daunted by it," returned Earnscliff. "We are sent here, in one sense, to bear and to sutler; but, in another, to do and to enjoy. The active day has its evening of repose; even patient sufferance has its alleviations where there is a consolatory sense of duty discharged."
"1 spurn at the slavish and bestial doctrine," said the Dwarf, his eyes kindling with insane fury,—" I spurn at it as -worthy only of the beasts that perish ; but 1 will waste no more words with you."
He rose hastily ; but ere he withdrew into the hut, he added, with great vehemence, " Yet, lest you still think my apparent benefits to mankind flow from the stupid and servile source, called love of our fellow-creatures, know, that were there a man who had annihilated my soul's dearest hope—who had torn my heart to mammocks, and seared my brain till it glowed like a volcano, and were that man's fortune and life in my power as completely as this frail potsherd," (he snatched up an earthen cup which stood beside him,) " I would not dash him into atoms thus—" (he flung the vessel with fury against the wall)— "No!" (he spoke more composedly, but with the utmost bitterness,) " I would pamper him with wealth and power to inflame his evil passions, and to fulfil his evil designs; he should lack no means of vice and villany; he should be the centre of a whirlpool that itself should know neither rest nor peace, but boil with unceasing fury, while it wrecked every goodly ship that approached its limits 1 he should be an earthquake capable of shaking the very land in which he dwelt, and rendering all its inhabitants friendless, outcast, and miserable—as I am!"
The wretched being rushed into his hut as he uttered these last words, shutting the door with furious violence, and rapidly drawing two bolts, one after another, as if to exclude the intrusion of any one of that hated race, who had thus lashed his soul to frenzy. Earnscliff left the moor with mingled sensations of pity and horror, pondering what strange and melancholy cause could have reduced to so miserable a state of mind, a man whose language argued him to be of rank and education much superior to the vulgar. He was also surprised to see how much particular information a person who had lived in that country so short a time, and in so recluse a manner, had been able to collect respecting the dispositions and private affairs of the inhabitants.
"It is no wonder," he said to himself, "that with such extent of information, such a mode of life, so uncouth a figure, and sentiments so virulently misanthropic, this unfortunate should be regarded by the vulgar as in league with the Enemy of Mankind."
The bleakest rock upon the loneliest heath
Feels, in its barrenness' some touch of spring;
And, in the April dew, or beam of May,
Its moss and lichen freshen and revive;
And thus the heart, most sear'd to human pleasure.
Melts at the tear, joys in the smile,of woman.
As the season advanced, the weather became more genial, and the Recluse was more frequently found occupying the broad flat stone in the front of his mansion. As he sat there one day, about the hour of noon, a party of gentlemen and ladies, well mounted, and numerously attended, swept across the heath at some distance from his dwelling. Dogs, hawks, and led-horses, swelled the retinue, and the air resounded at intervals with the cheer of the hunters, and the sound of horns blown by the attendants. The Recluse was about to retire into his mansion at the