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Pavilion and Deeside—of his utter seclusion-he was doing penance in the Swiss Giantess—a severe sojourn.
NORTH. A Good Temper, friends—not a good Conscience—is the Blessing of Life.
BULLER. Shocked to hear you say so, sir. Unsay it, my dear sir-unsay it-pernicious doctrine. It may get abroad.
NORTH. THE SULKS!-the CELESTIALS. The Sulks are hell, sirs—the Celestials, by the very name, heaven. I take temper in its all-embracing sense of Physical, Mental, and Moral Atmosphere. Pure and serene—then we respire God's gifts, and are happier than we desire! Is not that divine? Foul and disturbed-then we are stifled by God's gifts--and are wickeder than we fear! Is not that devilish? A good Conscience and a bad Temper! Talk not to me, Young Men, of pernicious doctrine--it is a soul-saving doctrine6 millions of spiritual creatures walk unseen” teaching it-men's Thoughts, communing with heaven, have been teaching it-surely not all in vain-since Cain slew Abel.
SEWARD. The Sage!
NORTH. Morose! Think for five minutes on what that word means—and on what that word contains-and you see the Man must be an Atheist. Sitting in the House of God morosely! Bright, bold, beautiful boys of ours, ye are not morose-heaven's air has free access through your open souls-a clcar conscience carries the Friends in their pastimes up the Mountains.
SEWARD, And their fathers before them.
NORTH. And their great-grandfather-I mean their spiritual great-grandfathermyself-Christopher North. They are gathering up-even as we gathered up-images that will never die. Evanescent! Clouds-lights-shadows--glooms -the falling sound-the running murmur—and the swinging roar--as cataract, stream, and forest all alike seem wheeling by-these are not evanescent--for they will all keep coming and going--before their Imagination-all life-long at the bidding of the Willor obedient to a Wish! Or by benign Law, whose might is a mystery, coming back from the far profound-remembered apparitions!
SEWARD. Dear sir.
NORTH. Even my Image will sometimes reappear—and the Tents of Cladich-the Camp on Lochawe-side.
NORTH. I wonder when they sleep. Each has his own dormitory—the cluster forming the left wing of the Camp-but Deeside is not seldom broad awake till midnight ; and though I am always up and out by six at the latest, never once have I caught a man of them napping, but either there they are each more blooming than the other, getting ready their gear for a start;-or, on sweeping the Loch with my glass, I see their heads, like wild-ducks-swimming-round Rabbit Island as some wretch has baptised Inishail-or away to Inistrynish-or, for anything I know, to Port-Sonachan-swimming for a Medal given by the Club! Or there goes Gutta Percha by the Pass of Brandir, or shooting away into the woods near Kilchurn. Twice have they been on the top of Cruachan-once for a clear hour, and once for a dark day--the very next morning, Marmaduke said, they would have - some more mountain," and the Four Cloud-compellers swept the whole range of Ben-Bhuridh and BeinLurachan as far as the head of Glensrea. Though they said nothing about it, I heard of their having been over the hills behind us, t'other night, at Cairndow, at a wedding. Why, only think, sirs, yesterday they were off by daylight to try their luck in Loch Dochart, and again I heard their merriment soon after we had retired. They must have footed it above forty miles. That Cornwall Clipper will be their death. And off again this morning-all on foot-to the Black Mount.
BULLER. For what?
NORTI. By permission of the Marquis, to shoot an Eagle. She is said to be again on egg-and to cliff-climbers her eyrie is within rifle-range. But let us forget the Boys—as they have forgot us.
SEWARD. The Loch is calmer to-day, sir, than we have yet seen it; but the calm is of a different character from yesterday's—that was serene, this is solemn-I had almost said austere. Yesterday there were few clouds; and such was the prevailing power of all those lovely woods on the islands, and along the mainland shores—that the whole reflexion seemed sylvan. When gazing on such a sight, does not our feeling of the unrealities-the shadows-attach to the realities—the substances ? So that the living trees-earth-rooted, and growing upwards—become almost as visionary as their inverted semblances in that commingling clime? Or is it that the life of the trees gives life to the images, and imagination believes that the whole, in its beauty, must belong, by the same law, to the same world ?
NORTH. Let us understand, without seeking to destroy, our delusions—for has not this life of ours been wisely called the dream of a shadow!
SEWARD. To-day there are many clouds, and aloft they are beautiful ; nor is the light of the sun not most gracious; but the repose of all that downward world affects me-I know not why-with sadness-it is beginning to look almost gloomy-and I seem to see the hush not of sleep, but of death. There is not the unboundaried expanse of yesterday-the loch looks narrower-and Cruachan closer to us, with all his heights.
NORTH. The drop was not from his nose, Seward, for here are three-and clear, pure drops too--on my Milton. I should not be at all surprised if we were to have a little rain.
SEWARD. Odd enough. I cannot conjecture where it comes from. It must be dew.
BULLER. Thermometer 85. Barometer I can say nothing about—but that it is very low indeed. A long way below Stormy.
NORTH. What colour would you call that Glare about the Crown of Cruachan ? Yellow?
SEWARD. You may just as well call it yellow as not. I never saw such a colour before-and don't care though I never see such again-for it is horrid. That is a-Glare.
NORTH. Cowper says grandly,
“ A terrible sagacity informs
The Poet's heart: he looks to distant storms;
He hears the thunder ere the tempest lowers.", He is speaking of tempests in the moral world. You know the passageit is a fine one-80 indeed is the whole Epistle-Table-Talk. I am a bit of a Poet myself in smelling thunder. Early this morning I set it down for midday-and it is mid-day now.
BULLER. Liker Evening
Dimmish and darkish, certainly—but unlike Evening. I pray you look at the Sun.
BULLER. What about him?
NORTH. Though unclouded-he seems shrouded in his own solemn light-expecting thunder.
BULLER. There is not much motion among the clouds.
NORTH. Not yet. Merely what in Scotland we call a carry-yet that great central mass is double the size it was ten minutes ago the City Churches are crowding round the Cathedral-and the whole assemblage lies under the shadow of the Citadel-with battlements and colonnades at once Fort and Temple.
NORTH. Weather-wise wizard—we are. That mutter was thunder. In five seconds you will hear some more. One-two-three-four—there; that was a growl. I call that good growling-sulky, sullen, savage growling, that makes the heart of Silence quake.
SEWARD. And mine.
NORTH. What? Dying away! Some incomprehensible cause is turning the thanderous masses round towards Appin.
SEWARD. And I wish them a safe journey.
NORTH. All right. They are coming this way-all at once-the whole Thunderstorm. Flash-roar.
“ Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
For ere thou canst report I will be there,
The thunder of my cannon shall be heard." Who but Willy could have said that?
SEWARD. Who said what?
NORTH. How ghastly all the trees!
BULLER. I gave him my handkerchief--for at this moment I know his head is like to rend. I wish I had kept it to myself; but no use—the lightning is seen through lids and hands, and would be through stone walls.
NORTH. Each flash has, of course, a thunder-clap of its own-if we knew where to look for it ; but, to our senses, all connexion between cause and effect is lost -such incessant flashings—and such multitudinous outbreaks-and such a continuous roll of outrageous echoes !
BULLER. Coruscation-explosion-are but feeble words. .
NORTH. The Cathedral's on Fire.
BULLEP.. I don't mind so much those wide flarings among the piled clouds, as these gleams- oh!
NORTH. Where art thou, Cruachan! Ay-methinks I see thee-methinks I do not-thy Three Peaks may not pierce the masses that now oppress theebut behind the broken midway clouds, those black purple breadths of solid earth are thine-thine those unmistakeable Cliffs--thine the assured beauty of that fearless Forest-and may the lightning scathe not one single tree!
BULLER. Nor man.
NORTH. This is your true total Eclipse of the Sun. Day, not night, is the time for thunder and lightning. Night can be dark of itself-nay, cannot help it; but when Day grows black, then is the blackness of darkness in the Bright One terrible ;-and terror-Burke said well—is at the heart of the sublime. The Light, such as it is, sets off the power of the lightning-it pales to that flashing-and is forgotten in Fire. It smells of hell.
NORTH. Give way to gasping-and lie down-nothing can be done for you. The danger is not
SEWARD. I am not afraid -I am faint.
NORTH. You must speak louder, if you expect to be heard by ears of clay. Peals is not the word. “Peals on peals redoubled" is worse. There never was—and never will be a word in any language-for all that.
NORTH. Buller, you may count ten individual deluges-besides the descent of three at hand-conspicuous in the general Rain, which without them would be Rain sufficient for a Flood. Now the Camp has it—and let us enter the Payilion. I don't think there is much wind here-yet far down the black Loch is silently whitening with waves like breakers; for here the Rain alone rules, and its rushing deadens the retiring thunder. The ebbing thunder! Still louder than any sea on any shore-but a diminishing loudness, though really vast, seems quelled; and, losing its power over the present, imagination follows it not into the distant region where it may be raging as bad as ever. Buller ?
SEWARD. Much better. It was very, very kind of you, my dear sir, to carry me in your arms, and place me in your own Swing-chair. The change of atmosphere has revived me-but the Boys!
NORTH. The Boys-why, they went to the Black Mount to shoot an eagle, and see a thunder-storm, and long before this they have had their heart's desire. There are caves, Seward, in Buachail-Mor; and one recess I know-not a care-but grander far than any cave-near the Fall of Eas-a-Bhrogich-far down below the bottom of the Fall, which in its long descent whitens the sable cliffs. Thither leads a winding access no storm can shake. In that recess you sit rock-surrounded—but with elbow-room for five hundred menand all the light you have-and you would not wish for more-comes down upon you from a cupola far nearer heaven than that hung by Michael Angelo.
SEWARD. The Boys are safe.
NORTH. Orthe lone House of Dalness has received them-hospitable now as of yoreor the Huntsman's hut-or the Shepherd's shieling-that word I love, and shall Ilse it now—though shieling it is not, but a comfortable cottage-and the dwellers there fear not the thunder and the lightning-for they know they are in His hands—and talk cheerfully in the storm.
NORTH. In the Forests of the Marquis and of Monzie, the horns of the Red-deer are again in motion. In my mind's eye-HarryI see one
man enormous fellowbigger than the big stag of Benmore himself—and not to be so easily brought to perform, by particular desire, the part of Moriens-giving himself a shake of his whole huge bulk, and a caive of his whole wide antlery--and then leading down from the Corrie, with Platonic affection, a herd of Hinds to the greensward islanded among brackens and heather-a spot equally adapted for feed, play, rumination, and sleep. And the Roes are glinting through the glades—and the Fleece are nibbling on the mountains' glittering breast-and the Cattle are grazing, and galloping, and lowing on the hills--and the furred folk, who are always dry, come out from crevices for a mouthful of the fresh air ; and the whole four-footed creation are jocund- are happy!
BULLER. What a picture!
NORTH. And the Fowls of the Air-think ye not the Eagle, storm-driven not unalarmed along that league-long face of cliff, is now glad at heart, pruning the wing that shall carry him again, like a meteor, into the subsided skies?
BULLER. Not possible. Strictly entailed.