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I think, that did it. I will not be satisfied now till I become a great public speaker. I have gone to Calvert, our elocutionist, and am studying the art of speaking and reading, and mean to educate myself regularly for a lecturer. The field of good here open for me is immense : I see no bound to it. My intention is to free myself altogether from the bondage of the paper, and get to preach real poetry and eloquence. A bold cast for an erect soul, looking not down upon slavish paper! This is the problem that possesses and vexes me now.
Let me bellow my pedagogic thunders grandly!
Busy with his translation of the Odes of Horace, with his diagrams, views of Rome, and historical lectures, with the varied devices by which he sought to rouse minds dulled by grammar and the tawse, he won some return at last, and in the end of January was able to write :
My boys in the first class, who began with 50, now read 120 lines in an hour quite fluently; that's something ! Progress!
Special studies filled the hours at leisure from his classes, and these seemed to have been more particularly the translation of 'Æschylus' into English verse, a review of poetical measures, and an investigation into the whole question of Scottish education.
The first session came to a close at the end of March, and his marriage was fixed for April 19.
A BRIDAL SONG.
In February Mr Wyld came to Drummond Place and took his daughter home. The family had returned to 32 Royal Terrace. They had now consented to the inevitable, and Mr Wyld, from the moment of his surrender, treated Eliza with the utmost tenderness. He gave her a handsome sum of money for her preparations, which were now in full swing.
The Professor left Aberdeen on April 4, bent on walking off the oppression accumulated by seven months of constant work. He carried out his plan, and walked by Banchory and Braemar to Coupar-Angus, where he took coach to Edinburgh. The journey thus prolonged took about a week, but refreshed him thoroughly. From the manse of Banchory, where he rested the first night, he sent his bride a lyric :
Wherefore now, nor song nor sonnet
Write I thee, Eliza dear?
Rhyme, child of the vernal year.
Therefore now, nor song nor sonnet
Ever, as I would be chiming
Pretty, pointed lines to thee,
And it reasons thus with me:
“Fool, why wilt thou still be prating?
Therefore I nor song nor sonnet
It was the fashion in those days to celebrate Edinburgh weddings in the evening, and at seven o'clock on April 19, Mr Glover united John Stuart Blackie and Eliza Wyld in the bonds of holy matrimony. A large party was assembled to honour the occasion, and amongst them were the bridegroom's friends, Mr Theodore Martin, Sir William Hamilton, Lord Cunninghame, Mr Robert Horn, and Dr John Brown. The minister of Banchory was not able to be present, but Mr Andrew Jamieson filled the post of “best man,” and the bride was attended by three bride-maidens, her special friends. After the rites, the two made man and wife left the company and drove to Midealder, about eleven miles from Edinburgh. There had been much cogitation about the “jaunt,” which had to be accomplished in ten days; for on the last day of April they were due in Aberdeen, in time for certain summer labours which began with May. So a few days at Midcalder and at Peebles fulfilled the term of their honeymoon, but they were
peace after struggle. Joy quickened the beat of John Blackie's poetic pulse, and we owe to
these days at Peebles two of his best and bestknown poems. One is the “Benedicite,” beginning
Praise ye, praise ye, God the Lord ! This beautiful hymn has been since included in many Hymnals, and notably in that of the Jewish Church. It was metrically arranged to be sung to the German air of “Alles Schweige.”
The other song is even better known. Walking one day along the river-path which skirts the Tweed between the bridge and Neidpath Castle, he gave utterance to a natural expression of strong Scottish feeling in the song of “ Jenny Geddes ”—“the valiant Jenny Geddes, that flung the three-legged stool.” At this time he had not studied the Hundred Years' War of the Scottish Church, nor was he acquainted with more than its popular history. The incidents in high relief upon that gallant record were, however, in strong accord with his enthusiasm for the “poetry of conduct,” and the courage, combativeness, selfassertion, and heroism which marked the Scottish resistance, found each an echo in his character. The song took shape accordingly, and when his instinctive impressions were confirmed by a full acquaintance with the history of the period, it lay ready to hand as a rally to the flag of the Scottish Church, when in after-days the tide of southern fashion, setting northwards with Episcopalianism on its crest, rippled into every nook and corner of his country.
Professor and Mrs Blackie went by coach to Aberdeen at the end of April, and set agoing their home-life in the little house in Dee Street. Here they found awaiting them a delightful letter from Baron Bunsen, wishing them “Heil! Heil! Heil !”
The Professor began his summer class at once, and this too was the earnest of a movement which it took thirty years to make practical throughout both England and Scotland, and fifty years to guide to its natural and logical issue. In his class-room in Marischal College assembled about a dozen ladies-amongst them his young wife-on the morning of May 1, to receive lessons in the German language. It was a new thing for the ladies of Aberdeen to receive instruction from a Professor, and the lessons went on briskly till the end of June.
Early in July the Professor and his wife abandoned work for rest, and went to Banchory-Ternan, where they spent three months in a cottage shared