صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

inns and gentlemen's houses in the bounds, but no accounts of them could be learned. One solitary dog only returned, and he was wounded and maimed. The alarm spread-a number of people rose, and in the utmost consternation went to search for their friends among the mountains. When they reached the fatal bothydreadful to relate! they found the dead bodies of the whole party lying scattered about the place! Some of them were considerably mangled, and one nearly severed in two. Others were not marked with any wound, of which number I think it was said the major was one, who was lying flat on his face. It was a scene of woe, lamentation, and awful astonishment, none being able to account for what had happened; but it was visible that it had not been effected by any. human agency. The bothy was torn from its foundations, and scarcely a vestige of it left-its very stones were all scattered about in different directions; there was one buge corner stone in particular, which twelve men could scarcely have raised, that was tossed to a considerable distance, yet no marks of either fire or water were visible. Extraordinary as this story may appear, and an extraordinary story it certainly is, I have not the slightest cause to doubt the certainty of the leading circumstances; with regard to the rest, you have them as I had them. In every mountainous district in Scotland, to this day, a belief in supernatural agency prevails, in a greater or less degree. Such an awful dispensation as the above was likely to rekindle every lingering spark of it.


в в


OPTIMUS and Pessimus were brothers—but brothers in blood alone, not in disposition. Optimus, even in his swaddling clothes, was seldom or never known to cry; and though they came into the world on the same day, Optimus smiled many weeks before his brother. Mothers, who know how truly engaging are the smiles of an infant, will not be surprised at the early preference the mother of these twins gave to Optimus ; though she loved Pessimus also with a very tender affection, which indeed he seemed to require ; for he was always crying, and she imagined he could not be in health.

In childhood, the same difference of disposition continued. Optimus was delighted with every new plaything, and seemed to receive amusement from every circumstance that occurred. A look of hilarity continually animated his face ; he, never seemed to make any particular search after pleasure, but she came of her own accord, and presented herself to him. Pessimus, on the contrary, was seldom diverted, and never delighted ; he looked on his playthings with scorn, threw them away with disgust; and then, seeing how happy his brother was with them, cried to have them back again.

The parents of these boys both dying, their maternal grandfather, a man who had been a sailor, and who was pleased with the gay honesty of Optimus, adopted him, and declared his intention to provide for him. The old man was not

rich, but the father of Optimus had died quite poor : it was therefore a fortunate circumstance for the boy. Pessimus, however, was still more fortunate. An uncle, who had made a large fortune in a very respectable mercantile line, and who had no children, took Pessimus into his house, initiated him into the mysteries of commerce, and, charmed with his serious and reflecting turn, so unusual in a young man, gave him every reasonable hope that he would make him his heir. Optimus, whom his grandfather could not support in idleness, went to sea, and had very few opportunities of cultivating much friendship with his brother, who, indeed, attended so closely to business, that he gave himself very little concern about any thing that passed beyond the Royal Exchange. His uncle died, and all his mercantile concerns, all his extended interest devolved upon Pessimus. Riches flowed in upon him from every quarter of the world. He married a lovely and accomplished woman, who brought him a fine family of promising children. He had a noble house in London, and a charming villa and paddock about twenty miles from it. No man was held in higher estimation on Change than Pessimus; every bargain of consequence was offered to him-every disputed cause was willingly submitted to his arbitration. Nothing, in short, seemed wanting to his happiness : every thing smiled~except Pessimus.

He one summer took his whole family into the west of England, to a beautiful and romantic watering place, where they were all delighted with the adjacent country; and as Pessimus


could not spare so much time from business as his wife and children wished to pass in this delightful spot, he left them there, with a promise to return and fetch them at a stated period.

The sudden influx of some unexpected business, however, detained him in town longer than the appointed time, and the weather was become gloomy, and occasionally stormy before his return. The very night of his arrival there was a terrible storm, and the morning brought with it an account that a ship had been wrecked on the rocks, and that the wretched crew had just escaped with their lives, and were coming on shore in the different boats that had gone out to their assist

All the inhabitants and all the strangers in the place flocked to the shore to see the land. ing of these unfortunate people, and amongst the rest Pessimus and his family. He was making a serious and melancholy harangue on the vanity and instability of human pursuits, intermingled with many pathetic reflections on the lamentable situation of these poor sailors, which drew tears from the eyes of his auditors, when the first boatfull landed. Exclamations of joy and gladness resounded on all sides; the drenched seamen were taken to different houses—the publicans tapped their best ale, and a general holiday seemed to prevail.

“ What insensible, unfeeling mortals !” cried Pessimus; “ how is my pity thrown away on wretches who are not awakened to their own misery.”

He was proceeding in his philippic, when a second boatfull reached the shore; and as he surveyed the countenances of the individuals as they landed, one of them flew towards him with an exclamation of joy, saying to his comrades, “ Did not I tell you I was a lucky dog ?”

Pessimus gazed for a moment, and then opened his arms to receive his brother! A shower of sympathizing tears fell from his eyes at the condition in which he beheld Optimus—stripped to his checked shirt and trowsers, and apparently nothing saved from the wreck. He expressed his commiseration in the most pathetic terms, till Optimus interrupted him by saying—" Ah, you are the same Pessimus still! Reserve your pity for those who want it; for my part, brother, I am happy; and if you could but feel the delight of being safe on shore, when you had expected to be drowned, you would own I rather deserve congratulation than pity !”

“ Thou art the strangest fellow !” exclaimed Pessimus; “ hast thou not lost every thing ?”

“ Let's discuss that at the inn,” cried Optimus; " I feel I have not lost my appetite ; I have not eaten these sixteen hours.”

Pessimus lifted up his hands and eyes, accompanied his brother and his fellow sailors to the inn, saw them fall to most heartily on a cold round of beef, and heard them express their happiness at their safety in so many different ways, that he felt something like the sensation of envy arise in his bosom. After the hunger and thirst of the jovial crew were satisfied, Pessimus took his brother home with him to his own lodgings, accommodated him with some of his own apparel, and desired to bear his story.

“ Nay,” said Optimus, “ tell me first what

« السابقةمتابعة »