Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Bibi
Podl.

ROB ROY AND THE CLAN MACGREGOR.

he says,

[ocr errors]

OHNSON published which he wrote on the 25th of September 1754 to his chief, Macgregor of Bohaldie. " All that I have carried here,”

is about thirteen livres; and I have taken a room at my old quarters in Hotel St Pierre, Rue de Cordier. All I want, he adds, “is, if it was possible, you could contrive how I could be employed without going to entire beggary. This, probably, is a difficult point, yet you might think nothing of it, as your long head can bring about matters of much more difficulty and consequence than this. If you'd disclose this matter to your friend Mr Butler, it's possible he might have some employ wherein I could be of use, as I pretend to know as much of breeding and riding of horses as any in France. You may judge my reduction, as I propose the meanest things to lend a turn till better cast up.” The postscript to the letter is extremely affecting :-“If you'd send your pipes by the bearer," says the poor exile, “and all the other little trinkims belonging to it, I would put them in order, and play some melancholy tunes, which

may now do with safety and real truth.” He died about a week after writing this letter.

CONCLUSION. We now draw to a conclusion the history of this remarkable clan. For five hundred years the Macgregors had been exposed to a succession of dire misfortunes, deprived of their lands, threatened with extirpation, constantly at war with their neighbours, often on the verge of starvation, accustomed to see more of their number die annually by violent means than by disease or old age, and denied even the use of their name; and yet they survived, and, like the goaded beast of the chase, made themselves objects of terror to their persecutors. Lamenting their errors, it is equally impossible to restrain our pity for their misfortunes, or admiration for their courage and power of endurance. This power was at length rewarded with a cessation of persecution; and yet, to the discredit of the British legislature, how tardy was this act of justice and mercy! It cannot but appear a curious revelation of a bygone state of things to mention, that not until 1774 were the laws proscribing the Macgregors repealed. When in that year their disabilities were legally removed, hundreds of persons cast off their assumed names of Gregory, Graham, Campbell, Murray, Buchanan, Drummond, &c. and gloried once more in the name of their royally-descended ancestors. To complete the reorganisation of the clan, eight hundred and twenty-six persons of the name of Macgregor signed a deed calling upon John Murray of Lanrick, afterwards Sir John Macgregor, the descendant of the principal chieftain-family then remaining, to assume the title and honours of the chief of the clan. In the present day, and in an entirely altered state of society, who could be named as more loyal or peaceful subjects than the descendants of the once-persecuted race of Macgregor?

32

[graphic][merged small]

A TALE OF LIFE-ASSURANCE, BY MRS S. C. HALL.

DO not tell you whether the village of Repton, where the two brothers John and Charles Adams originally resided, is near or far from London: it is a pretty

village to this day; and when John Adams, some five-and-thirty years ago, stood on the top of Repton Hill, and looked down upon the houses—the little church, whose simple gate was flanked by two noble yew-trees, beneath

whose branches he had often sat—the murmuring river, in which he had often fished—the cherry orchards, where the ripe fruit hung like balls of coral; when he looked down upon all these dear domestic sights—for so every native of Repton considered them—John Adams might have been supposed to question if he had acted wisely in selling to his brother Charles the share of the well-cultivated farm, which had been equally divided at their father's death. It extended to the left of the spot on which he was standing, almost within a ring fence; the meadows fresh shorn of their produce, and fragrant with the perfume of new hay; the crops full of promise; and the lazy cattle laving themselves in the standing pond of the abundant farm-yard. In a

* This interesting little story appeared originally in Chambers's Edinburgh Joumal, for which it was written by the amiable and gifted authoress. It has been issued in the present convenient form, for the purpose of universal distribution by all who are anxious to promote that most desirable practice—the insuring of lives for the benefit of surviving families.

No. 118.

என் கண்கள்

1

paddock, set apart for his especial use, was the old blind horse his father had bestrode during the last fifteen years of his life: it leant its sightless head upon the gate, half upturned, he fancied, towards where he stood. It is wonderful what small things will sometimes stir up the hearts of strong men, ay, and, what is still more difficult, even of ambitious men. Yet he did not feel at that moment a regret for the fair acres he had parted with; he was full of the importance which the possession of a considerable sum of money gives a young man, who has been fagging almost unsuccessfully in an arduous profession, and one which requires a certain appearance of success to command success - for John Adams even then placed M.D. after his plain name; yet still, despite the absence of sorrow, and the consciousness of increased power, he continued to look at poor old Ball until his eyes swam in tears.

With the presence of his father, which the sight of the old horse had conjured up, came the remembrance of his peculiarities, his habits, his expressions; and he wondered, as they passed in review before him, how he could ever have thought the dear old man testy or tedious. Even his frequent quotations from "Poor Richard” appeared to him, for the first time, the results of common prudence; and his rude but wise rhyme, when, in the joy of his heart, he told his father he had absolutely received five guineas as one fee from an ancient dame who had three middleaged daughters (he had not, however, acquainted his father with that fact), came more forcibly to his memory than it had ever done to his ear

“For want and age save while you may;

No morning sun shines all the day." He repeated the last line over and over again, as his father had done ; but as his morning sun” was at that moment shining, it is not matter of astonishment that the remembrance was evanescent, and that it did not make the impression upon him his father had desired long before.

A young, unmarried, handsome physician, with about three thousand pounds in his pocket, and a good expectations,” might be excused for building « des châteaux en Espagne.” A very wise old lady once said to me, “Those who have none on earth, may be forgiven for building them in the air; but those who have them on earth should be content therewith.” Not so, however, was John Adams; he built and built, and then by degrees descended to the realities of his position. What power would not that three thousand pounds give him! He wondered if Dr Lee would turn his back upon him now, when they met in consultation; and Mr Chubb, the county apothecary, would he laugh, and ask him if he could read his own prescriptions ? Then he recurred to a dream-for it was so vague at that time as to be little more—whether it would not be better to abandon altogether

2

*

country practice, and establish himself in the metropolis London. A thousand pounds, advantageously spent, with a few introductions, would do a great deal in London, and that was not a third of what he had. And this great idea banished all remembrance of the past, all sense of the present-the young aspirant thought only of the future.

Five years have passed. Dr John Adams was 66 settled” in a small “ showy” house in the vicinity of Mayfair; he had, the world said, made an excellent match. He married a very pretty girl,“ highly connected,” and was considered to be possessed of personal property, because, for so young a physician, Dr Adams lived in it a superior style.” His brother Charles was still residing in the old farm-house, to which, beyond the mere keeping it in repair, he had done but little, except, indeed, adding a wife to his establishment-a very gentle, loving, yet industrious girl, whose dower was too small to have been her only attraction. Thus both brothers might be said to be fairly launched in life.

It might be imagined that Charles Adams—having determined to reside in his native village, and remain, what his father and grandfather had been, a simple gentleman farmer, and that rather on a small than a large scale-was altogether without that feeling of ambition which stimulates exertion and elevates the mind. Charles Adams had quite enough of this—which may be said, like fire, to be a good servant, but a bad master"_but he made it subservient to the dictates of prudence-and a forethought, the gift, perhaps, that above all others we should most earnestly covet for those whose prosperity we would secure. To save his brother's portion of the freehold from going into the hands of strangers, he incurred a debt; and wisely-while he gave to his land all that was necessary to make it yield its increase—he abridged all other expenses, and was ably seconded in this by his wife, who resolved, until principal and interest were discharged, to live quietly and carefully. Charles contended that every appearance made beyond a man's means was an attempted fraud upon the public; while John shook his head, and answered that it might do very well for Charles to say so, as no one expected the sack that brought the grain to market to be of fine Holland, but that no man in a profession could get on in London without making an appearance.". At this Charles shrugged his

shoulders, and thanked God he lived at Repton.

The brothers, as years moved rapidly on-engaged as they were by their mutual industry and success in their several fields of action-met but seldom. It was impossible to say w of the two continued the most prosperous. Dr Adams made several lucky hits; and having so obtained a position, was fortunate in having an abundance of patients in an intermediate sort of state

—that is, neither very well nor very ill. Of a really bland and courteous nature, he was kind and attentive to all, and it was certain that such of his patients as were only in moderate circumstances, got well long before those who were rich. His friends attributed this to his humanity as much as to his skill; his enemies said he did not like “poor patients.” Perhaps there was a mingling of truth in both statements. The money he had received for his portion of the land was spent, certainly, before his receipts equalled his expenditure; and, strangely enough, by the time the farmer had paid off his debt, the doctor was involved, not to a large amount, but enough to render his “appearance” to a certain degree fictitious. This embarrassment, to do him justice, was not of long continuance; he became the fashion; and before prosperity had turned his head by an influx of wealth, so as to render him careless, he got rid of his debt, and then his wife agreed with him “that they might live as they pleased.”.

It so happened that Charles Adams was present when this observation was made, and it spoke well for both the brothers that their different positions in society had not in the smallest degree cooled their boyhood's affection; not even the money transactions of former times, which so frequently create disunion, had changed them; they met less frequently, but they always met with pleasure, and separated with regret.

“Well!” exclaimed the doctor triumphantly, as he glanced around his splendid rooms, and threw himself into a chaise longuethen à new luxury—“well, it is certainly a charming feeling to be entirely out of debt.”

“ And yet,” said his wife," it would not be wise to confess it in our circle."

“Why?” inquired Charles. “ Because it would prove that we had been in it,” answered the

At all events,” said John, “ now I shall not have to reproach myself with every extra expense, and think I ought to pay my debts first; now I may live exactly as I please.”

“I do not think so,” said Charles.

“Not think so !” repeated Mrs Adams in a tone of astonishment.

“ Not think so !” exclaimed John. “Do I not make the money myself?” “Granted, my dear fellow; to be sure you do,” said Charles.

“Then why should I not spend it as pleases me best? Is there any reason why I should not?"

As if to give the strongest dramatic effect to Charles's opinion, the nurse at that moment opened the drawing-room door, and four little laughing children rushed into the room.

“There—are four reasons against your spending your income exactly as you please; unless, indeed, part of your plan be to provide for them," answered Charles very seriously.

I am sure,” observed Mrs Adams with the half-offended air of a weak woman when she hears the truth, “John need not be

lady:

« AnteriorContinuar »