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A Pedestrian Tour

9.1828.

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W. Jenkinson, 12, Denton Street, Somers' Town.

PREFACE.

AFTER a long correspondence, of which the following letters form only a small part, I determined to visit my singular friend in exile, for his latter letters had been like "angel visits, few and far between." They also exhibited a coldness and indifference, which I thought personal, but found it arose from causes over which we ourselves have little control; namely, a state of melancholy abstraction, verging towards stoicism, or morbid indiffer

ence.

I will not say whether his sorrows were be yond the medicinal influence of philosophy and religion, for it is difficult to apportion the doses of moral restraint from our own feelings, to passions out of the ordinary course of nature, and under circumstances, too, which we ourselves never experienced; for man is the toy of circumstance, and in its maddening or frenzied games, we ought to judge the moral resistance of the toy by its fitness, and to forbear

where we must doubt. Mere dulness can have no merit in resistance! He always was a man of gloomy sensibility and morose integrity, yet social withal, and it is hard to say, how far his persecution, and the consequent anticipation of dependence and want, which are not very favourable to those notions of moral right and truth which he frequently advocated with violence, might have tended to sink his sensibility into indifference, upon moral ground; and physically, too, as he himself seems to think by his letters, his coarse fare and privation in his outlandish exile, has produced a corresponding feeling. Byron, too, thought that famine would make wolves of us; of this I am sure, that there can be little happiness without health, and there can be little health without wholesome food, which he certainly could not get among the mountain-herdsmen. Happiness, to be sure, is at relative term, and may not be so much missed where it never has been felt. But the principal cause of his morbid indifference, was the change from active walking exercise, and change of scene, to a state of rest.

I visited my exiled friend, in his hiding place, partly from friendship, and partly to gain his consent to the publication of these letters, for his financial amelioration, since I had taken the opinion of some "master hands" upon them,

who pronounced them possessed of a strange merit, notwithstanding their fitful and unlettered style. On my approach, he was sitting at the door of a miserable hut at the south-east end of Loch Arkeg, where it approaches the great Glen of Caledonia, but, alas, so changed in look, and dress, I scarcely knew him! His garments were the very remnants of the "broken down" gentleman, and vamped and patched with partycoloured plaids of the different clans amongst which he had lived, and his beard was of many a day unshorn; which, together with his marked features and muscular form, made him a being to be feared from first impression. He did not perceive my approach, for he was in fixed thought, or lost consciousness: nor did he exhibit much surprise when I took him by the hand, but, as remembrance dawned through the stupor of his morbid brain, a tear trickled down his sun-burnt cheek, whilst the re-action of the feeling woke within a mixed passion of mortified pride and self-command: he turned his head, as if unperceived, to wipe the tear away. Our conversation was fitful, for the effort of thought required more continuous energy than he possessed, and he relapsed after it into a vacancy, below rumination, which, in his more reflecting moments, he knew must render him an object of pity, if not contempt, even to the peasantry around; and hence, by a sort of instinctive

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