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apparently more warmth of affection than any of her little brothers. This was Lucy. With her ruddy cheeks and hazel eyes, and light sunny curls she was as pretty a little nymph as one could look upon. A wild little imp too was Lucy, always doing a great many tricks at other people's expense. Yet being the only girl in the family, we were never very severe upon the culprit, who, to do her justice, when fairly taxed with her misdeeds, never denied that of which she knew she was really guilty. This was a beautiful trait in her then embryo character, which, developing itself in after life, made her the very personification of truthfulness, a virtue beautiful in all, but priceless and incomparable in
Then she was not childish ; she had a courage and fortitude far above her years ; nor selfish, for she would have shared any or everything with her playmates; nor capricious, for her friendship and love were steady and unchanging. Although a slight feeling of jealousy might occasionally spring up in our little breasts, at any marked, and as we might have supposed, uncalled for attention bestowed on Lucy, the cloud soon passed away, leaving the horizon purer and brighter than before. We all loved Lucy; her father tenderly and dearly; and, although then a mere girl, I have often detected his eyes following her every movement in our romping games, and when not missed by the others, have seen her seated on his knee, his hard bony fingers playing with her waving curls, while a low voice would tenderly whisper,—“My ain Lucy.”
“ Two circumstances which occurred in my girlhood, served indelibly to impress on my mind the features and expression of Lucy, circumstances which I will doubtless often recall in after life, as mementoes of early years. We had all planned a blaeberry excursion for a Saturday in the latter end of July, to the Hunter Hill which you see rising yonder immediately behind the farm of Airniefoul. It was a lovely morning when we all mustered on the green meadow beside the Mill, with our burnished flagons to contain the united proceeds of our individual gatherings. After receiving sundry admonitions to keep well together, and not fall out by the way, and having been duly marshalled in regular marching order by the goodnatured miller, we began our journey in the highest spirits.
“Over the burn we crossed, and away among the lofty pines we rambled, shouting loudly as we went to the no small
, amazement of honest Reynard, who, thinking a pack of hounds had got on his track, broke cover in fine style, and bounded away with swift, yet stealthy steps across the hill. Even a majestic deer would now and then start from the brushwood in affright, but discovering the puny foes with whom he imagined he had to contend, would, in utter contempt, kick his heels in the air, and walk leisurely and proudly away till lost to sight by the thick entangling brushwood. All the while, little Lucy kept close by my side as her legitimate protector, for I had promised to her parents to be her faithful guide, and to return her to them in safety. She was only then seven years
and as she toddled by my side, occasionally looking up slyly into my face with an expression of gratitude and happiness, I felt my young heart beat with excusable pride, that such a dear little lovely sylph had been committed to my care and keeping. As we wandered on, now in a deep mossy dell, anon on a high broomy knoll, I would gather for her the tallest and most beautiful of the blue and purple bells, or pluck the variegated ferns to adorn her sunny ringlets, or quickly pull a few of the wild raspberries which temptingly hung around our path, till we at last became very good friends indeed, so much so that no inducements could entice her to leave my side even for an instant. Sometimes, as the great lofty pines overhead shook their farstretching branches in the breeze, now tremulous and faint as the notes of distant music, then loud and boisterous like the voice of approaching thunder, she would suddenly stop and gaze upwards with an expression of fear and awe till reassured by some gentle word, she would tremblingly take my hand, and move onwards as before. Often since then have I con
jectured, what were the thoughts that passed through the mind of that timid child as these giant old harpers struck their thundering harps. To my own soul their notes were ever as the music of the spheres, suggestive of spiritual influences, and visions of glory. Did the tender strings of her little heart vibrate in sympathetic unison with mine? Was a passing glimpse of spiritual existence vouchsafed to her startled soul as she intently gazed on the azure sky far beyond, and above these harping pines ?
“Loud shoutings and clapping of hands from the vanguard of our troop now announced the joyful intelligence that the blaeberry ground had been reached at last, and, sure enough, there were the bright green bushes hanging thick with the much prized purple fruit, at sight of which little Lucy forgot her gravity, and clapped her little hands in excess of joy. We again marshalled our forces, sending some to the right, and some to the left, while a few went forward as pioneers of the unexplored regions beyond. As for Lucy I judged it the safer plan to give her a very limited boundary wherein to range about for the exercise of her exploring propensities ; so placing her down on a knoll in a sunny opening of the wood where the berries were ripe and plentiful, assigning to her a certain fixed limit, over the verge of which she was not to pass, and giving her the tiniest vessel to fill against our return, I cheerily pushed along among the pioneers, not however before announcing that our ultimate rendezvous was to be the ‘Fiery Pans,' a well known spot on the top of the hill.
“The berries were ripe to perfection, and the crop luxuriantly large, so that with the shouting of captains in battle we filled our capacious flagons to overflowing, having at the same time made a rich feast to ourselves as we gathered ; for, while we
. kept one eye steadily on the vessel, we as steadily kept the other on our own pleasure, ever remembering, no doubt with great self-satisfaction, that the workman is worthy of his hire. The word was given—" To the Fiery Pans,' and as the feast of blaeberries, instead of allaying, had rather increased our
hunger, and with our luxurious picnic, of bread and cheese and milk, in prospect, to the Fiery Pans assuredly we scampered, not by any means in regular file, but in strangely crooked and zigzag movements resembling rather the straggling of an army beating a retreat, than victorious conquerors announcing a victory. The last straggler had appeared on the summit of the hill, and our little party sat down without any ceremony, eager to discuss our wallets. The cakes and milk had just been introduced, when, as with one voice, we all exclaimed* Lucy! Lucy! where is Lucy?' Like one demented I rushed down the hill not knowing whither I went or where to go; my conscience smote me so violently, that filled with remorse and grief, I hardly knew what I was doing. The rest of our party following with anxious and hasty steps, immediately saw the necessity for decisive and active measures being instantly taken, for the sun was declining in the west; and the shadows of the trees fell heavily on the ground. Our little party was now organized and speedily on our different routes, shouting and hallooing at the top of our voices, if so be the lost Lucy-now dearer than ever-might hear and answer our cries. What agony I endured, what remorse I felt since
my cruel and inexcusable neglect had been the cause of this grief; and how it might end, I was afraid to contemplate,
Ι the image of the little lost Lucy ever rising reproachfully before me, goading me on to despair. For hours we continued to search every dell and hollow, every rising knoll and opening of the wood. Our voices were now hoarse with shouting, and our eyes were dim with tears, and I shall never forget the look of blank and hopeless despair which overshadowed every face of our little group as we all again met without having obtained the object of our search. In my despair I gave her up for lost, and walking slowly and sadly on, we came suddenly upon an opening in the wood, which we had not hitherto explored. I looked anxiously down from the hill on which we stood and to my amazement and great joy remembered this as the place where I had left Lucy, and perceived the coloured handkerchief, which, as a mark by which I might know the place again, I had tied to the highest branches of the bushes, still hanging where I had left it. Frantic with joy, I shouted 'Lucy' and bade them follow, and down the hill, and over the hollow we rushed, when, breathless with anxiety, we stood at last beside the very spot where I had left her. Beckoning them to be quiet, and remain where they were, I cautiously advanced, and there, in a little mossy hollow between some blaeberry bushes, lay the form of the little lost one, reclining sweetly in the arms of sleep. My heart palpitated with exulting joy as I gazed on the lovely sleeper, and felt my anxiety and grief for her sake were now over.
She seemed to have scrupulously obeyed my injunctions, not to wander from the prescribed limits; her little flagon was full of fruit, and it would seem she had awaited our return, till, overpowered by the heat, she had fallen asleep. And there she lay, dear, sweet little elf, a bunch of moss for her pillow, her head reclining gently on her hand, her golden ringlets flowing dishevelled over her shoulders, and her plump cheeks well besmeared with the purple juice of the blaeberry. I need not tell you what a joyful awakening it was to Lucy, nor how merrily we threaded our homeward way among the still sighing pines, nor with what pride and joy I delivered over my little pet lamb to the safe fold of her doting parents.
“And what was the other incident, Kate ?”
“ The other circumstance to which I alluded, occurred when Lucy was eleven
years age. It was a dreary day in winter, dark scowling clouds were driving through the sky chasing each other like demons intent on mischief; and the wild blustering winds howled and bellowed along the glen, shaking the bending trees with resistless power and fury. I had gone up the hill as usual to spend the Saturday afternoon in Adam's cottage, and felt sorry my little favourite Lucy was absent, having gone to Kinnettles on some necessary household duties. We romped and gambolled about as usual, but sadly missed the fairy form, and ringing silvery voice of our little favourite.