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CHAPTER XXVIII.

MAULESDEN.

Sunny memories come again,
Mellowing present grief and pain ;
Hark! the well-known early strain-

A long time ago !

We are now entering the gateway to Maulesden. How fresh you feel the balmy air, redolent with the glad music of the happy birds, in this the spring-flush of their joyous life of love and song. Disporting on the green sward on either side, the young lambs playfully usher in their happy yet, alas ! precarious and short existence. There are lowings of kine in the valleys, and bleatings of sheep on the hills; and to complete the grand diapason of Nature's resurrection anthem of praise, comes softly, like an angel's song, the low sweet hymning of the musical Esk, as it now flows in winding beauty at our feet.

As we delightedly wander from terrace to terrace, with their trimmed beds of beautiful flowers, and rare rose-trees at appreciative intervals, and casting our eye in every direction, could we imagine any scene so limited in extent, combining in such a high degree of excellence, every element of the soft, the romantic, and the beautiful. Here, stately river, luxuriant valley, wooded hill, blend in almost unparalleled beauty to form one of those natural pictures of peaceful repose, on which the eye loves to linger, and the memory to dwell.

The Burghal hills immediately opposite, though not of great height, are finely wooded to their summits, with variegated green fields peeping out cheerfully and hopefully between The beautiful Esk comes musically out amongst the foliage on our right, flowing like a line of beauty, peacefully and lovingly by and disappearing quietly on our left beneath the one-arched Stannochy Bridge. Very beautiful the many winding walks along the banks of the Esk terminating often in those quiet foliage-shrouded, cozy nooks, shut out from the cares and toils of the busy world without, and surrounded with a balmy atmosphere of song, which lovers in the exuberance of their

, imaginative desires, so often vainly picture in their dreams, but which all true poets, ever in their reality, so goldenly value, and rapturously love so well. The murmuring burns in the wooded dens musically meet in the picturesque ornamental pond with its fountain and waterfall, and finally fall into the Esk in a miniature cascade of great beauty.

Some splendid specimens of fir adorn the terraces and walks. Near to the house on the east, you observe, is one specimen marked "1851, Abies Douglass ii. : 200 feet:”—meaning, doubtless, that this is the probable height to which the tree may grow.

The original house of Maulesden was built about the latter end of the last century. It was soon afterwards acquired by Mr Binny, who made some additions to the old pile, which did not, however, add much to its beauty. It was then acquired by the Honourable William Maule about 1854, who built the present fine mansion, in the old Scotch Baronial Style after elaborate designs by Mr Bryce of Edinburgh. The estate came into the possession of the present proprietor, Thomas Hunter Cox, Esq., of Duncarse in 1871. Mr Cox is at present President of the Dundee Chamber of Commerce, and is one of the members of the well-known firm of Messrs Cox Brothers, of Dundee and Calcutta. This family can trace an unbroken connection with the staple trade of Forfarshire for the last two hundred years, being very much farther back in point of time, than any traces of other county mercantile pedigrees extend.

The mansion-house of Maulesden is one of those pleasing and graceful structures which one likes the better the longer

the eye is accustomed to its quiet, unpretending beauty. The gardens, sloping gently down to the river on the south, are extensive, and laid out with great artistic skill and natural effect.

When a student at the Academy of Montrose, I often visited this neighbourhood where I had some near and dear relations, and spent amongst its romantic surroundings, some of the happiest days of my youth. On re-visiting these scenes in 1859, after an absence of many years, I could not forbear, while standing once more on the Stannochy Bridge, beneath which flowed softly as of yore, my favourite Esk, to give vent to the mingled feelings of pain and pleasure, which then alternately agitated and soothed my troubled breast :

THE BELL IN THE OLD BRECHIN TOWER STRUCK ONE.

The bell in the old Brechin tower struck one,

Like a chime from th' eternal shore,
As away in the golden bright sunshine,

I rambled in days of yore.
A-down the long straggling Tenements grim,

Or high up the dark-wooded ridge,
Along by the banks of the bonnie South Esk,

Where spans the high Stannochy bridge.

Or musing in mystic fond dreamings

In the old churchyard of Albar,
With no care, or sorrow, or weeping,

The joy of my young heart to mar.
While happy loved voices soft chiming,

Filled the air with melodious sweet joy,
Tumultuously joyous ! O, happy ! how happy!

The free, fair, and bright poet boy !

The bell in the old grey tower strikes one,

Alas ! on a far southern shore,
Its well-known soft chimes came fond in my dreamings,

As I heard them in days of yore.
And the voices I loved vibrated the ear,

Like distant music sweet;
Yes! I heard the old silvery laughter clear,

And the pattering of restless feet.

In an atmosphere blest of bright young love,

The songs of my youth I sang,
Along by the banks of the musical Esk,

The wild-wood echoes rang.
The bell in the old grey tower strikes one,

And I wander, how happy ! once more,
Along by the one-arched high Stannochy bridge,

My heart e'en as green as of yore.
And I gaze on the scenes so touchingly beautiful,

Maulesden, the uplands, the stream,
And feel that I see in reality true,

And not through a mystic wild dream.
But where, Oh ! where gone those voices so joyous,

That tuned my young heart-strings to love ?
The woodland, the river, the birds soft reply,

In a musical chorus-“ Above !"

Oh, God ! have I lived e'en too long, and all sadly,

Now reckoning the slow fleeting hours ? Hush ! hush, widowed soul, live on, they're all happy gone

To a better world than ours.

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE RECOGNITION.

Since young life's morn all crimsoned gay

With hues of rosy gold,
When fairy dreams of splendour rich

The future bright unrollid;

I've roamed afar, but now return,

My wanderings to bewail ;
For oh ! there's not a spot on earth,

Like my own native vale.

“The world appears all bright and beautiful to you now; what will be its aspect twenty years hence? Dark and troubled days will come when least expected. You cannot always walk amidst the golden sunshine, in blissful and untroubled joy. May the Most High be your hiding-place from the storm, and your covert from the tempest. In all your trials and sorrows may He temper the wind to the shorn lamb. Fare-thee-well !"

Such were the solemn and impressive words uttered feelingly by the venerable Dr Lyon, our parish minister, as he bade me an affectionate adieu at the gateway of the manse of Glamis, when I left, in early youth, my native Howe, to push my fortune in the great, seething, restless world beyond.

Twenty years very quickly passed away. It was dreary day in December 18, the snow falling fast, that landed from the steamer at Dundee, and, being anxious to proceed immediately on my journey homeward, I started on foot late in the afternoon, no railways then, or now, existing

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