Obrazy na stronie

property from the hands of the spoilers. Severe, too, thing is so or not, mankind take upon themselves to prowas the contest betwixt his apprehensions for his family, nounce that it cannot be; that it is contrary to established and theirs for him--they insisting on sharing his dan- systems and theories-systems and theories erected in the ger, and he protesting against such a perilous act of de- dark on the most hollow foundations; or inconsistent votion; for, amongst the horrors detailed, it was stated, with the laws of nature, which they presumptuously prethat the dead, dying, and wounded, were lying about the tend to have ascertained; they sit in judgment on the streets in all directions; that the kennels were running wisdom of the Almighty, refuse to hear counsel for the with blood; that all the enormities usually inflicted on suitor; and without further inquiry or investigation, they sacked cities were in active perpetration; and that in one pronounce the advocate mad, his arguments visionary, charge of the soldiery, five hundred of the insurgents had and dismiss the cause. been driven into the basin.

Perhaps, after the suppression of years, another apostle Undoubtedly, the mischief done was considerable; a arises to be martyred like the first; another and another; few persons were wounded, and a very few killed; a till, at length, by dint of dunning truth into their ears, good many houses were burned, and a good deal of pro- men are brought to listen to its voice and accept its bene- || perty destroyed on the immediate site of the struggle, fits. But how many have been for ever lost in the interval! which, however, was confined to a very small section of a How much has civilization been retarded! How many very large city; but the most eager curiosity-the most ills have been endured that might have been cured! The anxious inspection of the excited travellers, as they drove Marquis of Worcester found one of the early discoverers through the strects, could detect no stains of blood upon of the power of steam in the Bicêtre, and was laughed at, the stones no tinge of it in the kennels-no dead or and pronounced well nigh as mad as the philosopher, for i wounded met their view-no women tearing their hair suggesting that there might be meaning in his madness. nor beating their breasts, bewailing their murdered hus- How many heartaches might be counted which would bands, or their slaughtered infants; and of the five hun- have been spared, had the world but listened to that man! dred wretches driven into the basin, if they ever were How many eyes have closed in sadness, because the in it, they are indubitably there still, for we believe not adverse winds refused to waft the beloved one to the a single one was ever taken out of it. But what is most desired shore! How many needless privations have the curious is, that, for a long time afterwards, these five poor endured! How many are they still enduring—for hundred unfortunate victims continued to furnish the how many years are we in arrear of the point we might thread of conversation amongst all the lovers of marvels ere this have reached! How much sorrow, how much where the riots were discussed. Nobody in their hearts suffering had been avoided, could that poor captive of the believed it, yet every body continued to assert it. It could Parisian madhouse have obtained a hearing! not be denied that the bodies bad disappeared from the Well, but the truth prevails at last; and when it is streets, nor that the kennels ran water; the five hundred evident and undeniable, and mankind are in the full enmurdered wretches in the basin made no attempt at prov- joyment of the benefits it confers, how we laugh at the ing an alili ; and although they never appeared to assert blindness of those who rejected it! How we wonder at their wrongs, yet, as they never came forward to deny their obstinacy, despise their ignorance, contemn their them, the world felt itself at liberty to take advantage injustice ! of their silence, as long as there was interest enough * But, hold! see there; tell me, who is that melanattached to the subject to make it worth while.

choly looking man in a faded black suit, sitting in the In all such specimens of exaggerated rumour, the first corner?' Oh, that? Ha! ha! ha! that's a fellow that seed must be sown by an individual. Sometimes malice says he has made some wonderful discovery that is to may be the incentive; but nine times in ten the dissemi- supersede all the motive forces that have yet been tried; nator means no harm in the world; he is actuated by the enormous power, great velocity, small expense, do danmere love of excitement; never stopping to weigh the ger! In short, it's to perform miracles, and we're to fly consequences, and indeed foreseeing none; but the story through the air like griffins, I believe !''. But has it ever passes from mouth to mouth, acquiring breath and been proved !! Proved! No, to be sure; nor ever vill! weight in every transmission; the original disseminator be. He has ruined himself in trying to bring it to perfet is soon lost sight of; and should it, in the course of its tion, and now he's breaking his heart, because, just as be progress, be inquired by some unusually sceptical hearer, was on the eve of success, he's stopped for want of funds.

Who says so ?' The ready answer is . Every body!'-every Mad, sir; quite mad!' And that gentleman there vith body, in these instances, being usually the representatives a lean and studious air—who is he?: Why, that's another of some thoughtless or malignant chatterer; some idle of your new-fangled philosophers. He, forsooth, basi apprentice, or gossipping old woman; of the baker's boy, found out a new philosophy of mind. According to him, who was just passing when the thing happened; or of the the human brain is divided into compartments, and each laundress, who was actually acquainted with the kitchen- faculty is shut up in a little box of its own, and so forth; maid, who has a sister that lives in the family.

and all our old metaphysicians, from the beginning of the In most remarkable contrast to this readiness of man- world, have been talking nonsense. Poor man, I'm really kind to yield implicit belief to idle rumours, is their ex- sorry for him. He's a sensible man enough upon other traordinary unwillingness to lend their faith to any that things, but get him astride of his theory, and he's as mad may be useful to them. Whilst every disseminator of a as a March hare!" lie, be it ever so preposterous, finds the world not only And is it not thus we receive the apostles that arise ready to listen to him, but eager to spare him the trouble to teach ourselves ? Laughing them to scorn, combating of propagating his information by taking the office on their arguments with disingenuous sophistries; seizing themselves, the greatest benefactors of mankind-those eagerly on the weak points of a theory which has not had who come forward with something to tell them of the time to reach perfection, and condemning the whole for last importance to their well-being and prosperity-can the defect of a part; maligning its advocates, and retardrarely gain a hearing. The minds of too many men seeming its progress. Blind as our ancestors, forgetting that as impervious to the rays of a useful truth as glass to the we are yet but upon the threshold of nature's storehouse, rays of a coal fire; but give them an extravagant lie, and we presume to measure possibilities with God; and as as the pores of the glass admit and transmit the bright one by one, his stupendous secrets are disclosed to us, beams of the sun, so will they lend their ears to welcome each more wonderful than the last, we turn from the it, and their tongues to help it on its way. The useful exhibitor, whom the Almighty has endowed with facultrutb, the blessed discovery, that has perhaps cost years ties to discern, perseverance to unfold, and courage to of anxious toil and laborious study, is received with scorn proclaim, and cry contemptuously, · The thing's imposand contumely, whilst the unfortunate discoverer is pro- sible! The teacher's mad!' nounced a fool or a madman, or, at the best, a weak Doubtless, as the truth prevails at last, so does the lie enthusiast; and without pausing to ascertain whether the l expire ; but whilst countless benefits have been for ever

[ocr errors]

lost by the suppression of the first, how many irretriev- necessitated, from the poverty of his parents, to engage able mischiefs have accrued from the existence of the last! during the summer in the rural occupation of herding. What an aggregate of evil from both sources might be But although, partly from this cause, and still more from spared, would mankind but allow their credulity and in- ill health, he was irregular in his attendance at school, he credulity to change their directions! If they would be did not neglect himself, but embraced every opportunity, slow to credit that which is ill or idle-things which it is by reading, conversation, and thinking, to improve his desirable should not be true, and the belief of which can mind. only create mischief and sorrow while it prerails, too When he returned to school, at the beginning of winter, often leaving traces, when it has passed away, which, his class-fellows had never to wait for him; he was as however lamented, can never be eifaced : and if, on the well prepared as if he had not been absent. Before a other hand, they would but lend a more patient ear to fortnight had elapsed he was uniformly at the top of that which may haply prove of incalculable benefit to the class. In the school-room Bruce had nearly as themselves and to their race; if they would listen humbly, much authority as the teacher : his presence put a stop investigate calmly, suspending their judgments till time to all quarrels; the injured never appealed to him and experiment have decided questions, which to decide in vain for help; and by him were the weak protected without them seems an instance of insanity, far more against the strong. Ilis gentle yet firm manners were glaring than that of the wildest speculator or the most in all probability the cause of this deference. Already he extravagant theorist. If they would, in fine, open their began to display individuality of character, and might ears and their hearts, and give an honest welcome to that have served as the prototype of Beattie's 'Minstrel.' At which may prove useful and good, remembering that all home as much deference was paid to him as at school : established theories, systems, and discoveries, were once he was present at all family councils; he was consulted new, and that nearly all have had their period of struggle in all emergencies; and his whole family looked up to and difficulty to contend with-each appearing, in its him as one in whose sagacity they might confide. At day, as absurd and monstrous to the understandings of this time he was very delicate, and his appearance inthose to whom it was first presented, as do those which dicated a consumptive tendency. It is thus described are now first presented to ours; and if they would bring by one of his biographers: “He was slenderly made, with themselves to look upon these new-born lights as what a long neck and narrow chest; his skin was white and they probably are—the earliest rays of invaluable truths, shining; his cheeks tinged with red, rather than ruddy ; as yet below the horizon of our comprehension ; whilst, his hair yellowish, and inclined to curl. He was cherished to things evil and idle, which are probably false, which by his friends as one peculiarly valuable; one, alas! in may be mischievous, and cannot be good, let theni 'turn whom the seeds of death had been sown from his infancy, the cold shoulder;' receiving them with a degree of cau- and one whom they were in danger of losing.' tion no less exemplary than that recorded of a certain Like most boys of genius, Bruce was passionately fond Tuscan resident at the court of Oliver Cromwell, who of reading, and had, when yet very young, read all the wrote to his own government, “Some say that the Pro- books that were within his reach; and his father, to entector is dead, some say that he is not-but, for my part, courage this taste, bought or borrowed for him every book I believe neither the one nor the other.'

that came in his way. Michael, while at school, had many frierds. Among these, although one of the most humble,

was David Pearson, an apprentice to Bruce's father, and BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

our poet's bedfellow; a lad of strong parts, and of a

serious contemplative turn of mind, who, like his friend, MICHAEL BRUCE.

improved himself by diligent reading. He had little The amiable and unfortunate Michael Bruce, the author education, but, like Bruce, had a natural taste for poetry, of · Locblecen and other Poems, with whose name so and was also a poet, although he could not rbyme well. many tender recollections are associated, was the son of Another of Bruce's friends was Mr John Birrel. This parents in a very humble rank in life. His father, young gentleman was a few years the junior of Bruce and Alexander Bruce, an intelligent and pious person, was a Pearson, but was on terms of great intimacy with them weaver at Kinnesswood, in the parish of Portmoak, both. Mr Birrel was, in later years, a contributor to the Kinross-shire. It is to him his son refers in his poem of Edinburgh Magazine,' and various other periodicals. He Lochleren,' when he says :

died in the year 1836. To William Arnot, another of his I knew an aged swain whoso hoary heal

schoolfellows, our poet was in particular warmly attached. Was bent with years, the village chronicle,

He was a son of the proprietor of Portmoak, and died while Who much had seen, and from the former times

yet a youth at school. His death gave a severe shock to Much had received. He, hanging o'er the hearthi In winter evenings, to the caping swaing

Bruce's feelings, and was the first of many, which, during And children circling round the fire, would tell

his too brief life, he received, and which threw a tinge of Stories of old, and tales of other times.'

sadness over his gaiety and natural cheerfulness. Some His mother's maiden name was also Bruce. Our poet years after this, while revisiting the spot where his youthful was the fifth son in a family of eight children, and was friend was interred, he wrote some lines to his memory. born on the 27th of March, 1746. His early childhood Arnot's father was one of Bruce's earliest patrons, and was little different from that of other children in his his sole confidant and adviser: to him he applied in all his rank in life. He was an amiable, attractive, docile, and difficulties; and we believe that this gentleman was one engaging child, and a great favourite with all the mem- from whom a noble mind would willingly accept an oblibers of his family. The first elements of his education gation. were received from his parents ; and before being sent to When Michael had reached his fifteenth year he was school had made such progress as to be able to read the ready for college, and proceeded to the University of Scriptures with fluency. Michael was sent to school when Edinburgh in the year 1762. There is much reason to only four years old ; and we find him making his first ap- believe that our poet, from excessive modesty in stating pearance with the Bible for his class-book, instead of the his wants to his parents, was subjected to many privations Shorter Catechism, which, at that period, was the while attending his classes ; and although some of his first reading-book in all our country schools. His fellow-students, who were aware of his limited means, teacher, we are told, rated in no measured terms the often offered to share with him the hospitality of their stupidity of his parents in thus equipping him; and he was tables, these invitations were always politely declined, for proceeding to demonstrate this to the boy himself, when he could not bear the idea of being fed out of pity. Bruce he was agreeably astonished to hear young Bruce read a remained at collere four years, and his exertions there fev verses with perfect accuracy. Like most others of the were such as miglit have been expected from his previous humble sons of Scotland, Bruce could not, in his younger career at school. But, alas! the place to which he had years, get much of what is called school education, being so long looked forward with hope, only served as a nur

[ocr errors]

sery to ripen those seeds of disease which were fatally the end of the year, his ill health, exaggerated by the inimplanted in his constitution.

digence of his situation, and the want of those comforts and 11 When Bruce first commenced to write poetry cannot be conveniences which might have fostered a delicate frame exactly ascertained, but it must have been at a very early to maturity and length of days, terminated in a deep period of his life. His poetical talents were well known consumption.' to his fellow-students; and they used frequently to ask The last days of our poet were now rapidly approachhim to write verses in praise or in censure of acquaint- ing. The winter of 1766 passed away, and then came ance. With none of these requests, however, did he ever spring—the spring in which Bruce died. He lived to comply, except on one occasion, when he ridiculed in see the woods and fields grow green once more-to see verse a conceited coscomb, who boasted that his own style the flowers burst into blossom again, in all the freshness of composition was much superior to that of the best of the of new life. He had now returned to the huinble home of British essayists. It was during his first winter's residence his parents; and it was in the contemplation of his early in Edinburgh that he composed his poem on The Last death that he wrote his beautiful • Elegy on Spring':Day. It was written instead of an essay, and read to a

* Now spring returns, but not to me retums literary society of which he was a member. Bruce did

The vennal joy my better years have known; not feel over-happy whilst residing among, though not in,

Dim in my breast life's dying taper burns, the gay society of Edinburgh, and often gave way to fits

And all the joys of life with health are flown' of sadness and melancholy.

In this last illness all his sorrows were forgotten, and his At the termination of his third session at college, he early cheerfulness returned to him. He died with the opened a school at Gairney Bridge, near Kinross, for the hope of a Christian, on the 6th July, 1767, at the early education of the children of some farmers in the neigh- age of twenty-one. Under bis pillow was found his Bible, bourhood, who agreed to allow him inis board and a small in which this passage was marked— Now my days are salary. It was in these intervals of cessation from the passed away as the swift ships.' severer studies of the college that much of his poetry was Bruce's poems are few in number, and go into very little written. Although he always returned to the country much bulk. The most complete edition of them is that edited exhausted by application, his health, under the salubrity by MKelvie, and published in Edinburgh in 1837, which of his native air, speedily recruited. Besides writing poetry contains twenty-four pieces in verse and two in prose. The in these intervals, he also read a great deal. He had longest poem in the volume before us is · Lochleven ;' and twenty-eight scholars whom he taught in a miserable little although we do not find in it any striking originality of hovel; and it is mentioned as a proof of the gentleness of thought, it is nevertheless an elaborately and very pleashis nature, that he never used the rod in correcting his ingly written poem. It is in blank verse, and, as may pupils. His emoluments were very small-about £il a- be surmised from its title, is chiefly of a local pature; year. While residing at this place he entertained some but, although it bears the title of Lochleven,' the loch thoughts of giving to the world a volume of poetry; but itself comes in for a very small share of his description : although often urged by his relations and college friends the natural features of the surrounding localities being i to do so, his modesty would not allow him to appear in the chiefly dwelt on. It is to be regretted, also, that he has character of an author. In the winter of 1765-6 he at- not made the slightest allusion to the unfortunate Queen tended the divinity class of the Burgher section of the Mary, although he speaks of the past and present state Secession. After completing his first session there, he

Of high Lochleven castle, famous oncewent again to Gairney Bridge to resume his school; but

The abode of heroes of the Bruce's line.' soon quitted it for another near Alloa, at a place called In the poem now under consideration, there is much Forest Mill. This new school promised him greater ad appropriate description and some fine imagery. Perhaps vantages and more remuneration than he had hitherto en- in the whole range of English poetry there are few more joyed. He wrote, upon the occasion of his leaving this beautiful pictures than that briefly presented in the folplace, a song in imitation of Lochaber no more,' in which lowing lines :he tenderly records his affection for Miss Magdalene

'Behold the village rise Grieve, a young lady of modest appearance and agreeable

In rural pride, 'mong intermingled trees manners, with a large portion of natural good sense. She

Above whose nged tops the joyiul swains, was the daughter of the person with whom Bruce lived

At eventide descending from the hill,

With eye enamour'd mark the many wreaths at Gairney Bridge.

Of pillar'd smoke bigh curling to tlie clouds ! At Forest Mill he wrote his longest poem, 'Lochleven:' it closes with the following very affecting lines :

Our poet has availed himself of most circumstances that

could with propriety be introduced to decorate his verse. • Thus sung the youth, amid unfertile wilds And nameless deserts, unpoetic ground:

As an example of this, we present the following lines: Far from his friends be stray'd, recording thus

they are natural, striking, and among the most original The dear remembrance of his native fielts,

in the poem :
To cheer the tedious night; while slow disease
Prey'd on his pining vitals, and the blasts

• Behold the man of sorrows hail the light,
Of dark December shook his humble cot.'

New risen from the bed of pain; where late,

Tosed to and fru upon & couch of thorns, We find from a letter to his friend and correspondent

He waked the long dark night and wished for morn! Pearson, that while at Forest Mill Bruce was very un

Soon as he feels the quickening beard of beaven, happy ; struggling against a growing disease, and much

And balmy breat of May, among the fields

And tlowers he inkes bis morning walk : his heart in want of comfort and friendly consolation. Part of the

Beats with new life; his eye is bright and blithe; letter is as follows :- I lead a melancholy kind of life

Health stress her roses o'er his cheek, renewd in this place. I am not fond of company; but it is not

In youth and beauty; his unbidden tongue

Pours native harmony and sings to Heaven.' good that a man be still alone : and here I can have no company but what is worse than solitude. If I had not a But beautiful though we consider this poem to be, it is lively imagination, I believe I should fall into a state of not without its blemishes; the worst of which are a too stupidity and delirium. I have some evening scholars ; great redundancy of thought, and in some of the passages the attending on whom, though few, so fatigues me that an evident carelessness in the composition. Yet amid so the rest of the night I am quite dull and low-spirited. many excellences it were hypercritical to point out trifling Yet I have some lucid intervals, in the time of which I faults. can study pretty well.'

* The Last Day,' another of Bruce's pieces, is also At the end of the year 1766, Dr Anderson, another of written in klank verse. It is inferior to · Lochleven;' but Bruce's biographers, says :— His constitution—which was even there, we find much of that gracefulness and warmtb ill calculated to encounter the austerities of his native of feeling by which all his poems are marked. climate, the exertions of daily labour, and the rigid fru- His • Elegy written in Spring' is so well known, and so gality of humble life-began visibly to decline. Towards universally admired, that it would be superfluous in us to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


notice it. We cannot, however, resist the temptation to any respect to their allies, it was in that obstinate and quote the following beautiful verses :

unconquerable hardihood, which, without incurring the * Starting and shivering in the inconstant wind,

reproach of national vanity, we may fairly claim as being Meagre and pale, the ghost of what I was

peculiar to Britons. Beneath some blasted tree I lie reclined,

Among the individuals who accepted rank and comAnd count the silent momenis as they pass

mand in the Portuguese army, few were more distinThe winged moments, whose instaying speed

guished for bravery and determined zeal than Norman No art can stop or in their course arrest; Whose flight shall shortly connt me with the dead,

M‘Leod. Norman was, as the name may suggest, a native And lay me down in peace with them that rest.

of the Highlands of Scotland. Descended from a long ont morning dreams presage approaching fate ;

line of warlike ancestors, himself indeed the son of a And morning dreams, as poets tell, are true;

gallant soldier, whose name had obtained an honourable Led by pale ghosts, I enter death's dnrk gate, And bid the realms of life and light atlieu.'

place in the gazette on a variety of occasions, and finally

swelled the list of the brave who fell on the plain of In the autumn of the year in which Bruce died, his Aboukir, Norman may fairly be considered as born to college friend, John Logan, came to Kinnesswood, and the profession of arms; at least we cannot wonder if from received from our poet's parents and other friends the his childhood he entertained no ideas of human happiness whole of his papers and manuscripts, with a view to edit apart from the acquisition of military renown. Nor were ing and publishing his poems, together with a life of their his feelings on this score in any degree at variance with author. Accordingly, in 1770, three years after the the feelings of her to whom his early education was inpapers had been delivered over to Logan, there appeared trusted; for his mother's disposition, though tender and a volume, containing nineteen poems, purporting to be affectionate in the extreme, partook not slightly of the 'on several occasions, by Michael Bruce. Although the disposition of the Roman matrons. She had married title-page bore that the poems were by Bruce, it was Norman's father, in preference to other and more wealthy stated in the preface that only a portion of them were suitors, because he was a soldier; and when he died, she written by him, without its being said who was the author bore his loss with equanimity, because he died where a of the others. In this volume appeared the celebrated soldier ought to die, in the field of battle and in defence "Ode to the Cuckoo,' some Scripture paraphrases, and of his country. Brought up under the guidance of such other pieces, which were afterwards claimed by Logan, a parent, Norman was taught to consider all fame as and regarding which there has been so much controversy worthless except that which is earned amid scenes of vioin the literary world. We believe that the great body lence and bloodshed; and the lesson thus early taught of evidence collected by M‘Kelvie, and published in his the events of his future life never permitted him to edition, has now virtually settled the question.


Norinan was an only son; indeed, an only child; yet

he went with his mother's hearty benediction, at the early NORMAN M LEO D."

age of fifteen, to join the army. Gifted by nature with

a constitution capable of enduring the severest hardships, The reader has doubtless not forgotten, that the move

and accustomed, even from the nurse's arms, to be abroad ments of the French army, and his own want of adequate others sank were to him as nothing. He would wrap him

in all weathers and at all hours, privations under which means to prosecute the siege to a successful issue, compelled Lord Wellington, in the night of the 20th of Octo- self in his cloak, in the coldest night, and sleep as soundly ber, 1812, to break up from before Burgos, and to com- upon the frozen earth, and under the canopy of heaven, mence his retreat towards the Douro. The weather of a palace. If provisions were scanty, no one appeared

as if he rested upon a bed of down and within the walls chanced to be remarkably inclement for the season, heavy showers of rain continually falling, and cold blasts his insufficient meal. On the longest march, Norman

to suffer less their scantiness, or digested in better humour of wind prevailing: the roads were deep and rutty ; few magazines of provisions lay along the line of mareh, and it was his ordinary custom to lighten by turns such of the

was never known to knock-up or fall into the rear, indeed the ordinary supplies of the country were entirely ex- soldiers as exhibited most manifest symptoms of weakhausted; the troops, accordingly, began their journey in no very comfortable tone of mind. Nor were the appre- knapsacks; and then when it came to the final issue,

ness, by carrying their arms and occasionally even their hensions which they entertained relative to the hardships and privations that awaited them by any means ill-founded. when man was opposed to man, and all the pomp and cirPerhaps the British army nerer suffered more from cold, cumstance of war were abroad, Norman was in his element. exposure to damp, absolute hunger and fatigue, than it himself never forgot the real duties of an officer; his

Cool and undaunted whilst he cheered others forward, he suffered during the retreat from Burgos to the Portuguese frontier; nor did sickness erer prevail to a more alarm

senses were under no circumstances confounded; nor did ing degree, than in some divisions at least it did prevail he ever suffer the enthusiasm of the moment so far to after the different corps had established themselves in gain the ascendency as to cause a neglect, on his part, of

à single precaution which the circumstances of the case It is well known that at this period of the war the seemed to require. Portuguese infantry had acquired so high a degree of dis far as military qualities are concerned in forming a cha

Such was the general character of Norman M‘Leod, as cipline, as to be not unworthy of fighting in the same rauks with the English. For this a very suficient reason

He was a complete soldier, or as the despatches may be assigned: more humble, though not perhaps inore

express themselves, 'an officer of great promise, respected zealous, than their neighbours of Spain, the Portuguese by the profession in general, and an ornament to his consented to learn the rudiments of the military art from majesty's service.' But Norman was something more British masters; and admitted British officers, not only than a soldier. Endowed with principles of the strictest to subordinate stations in their army, but to the command and most unbending honour, Norman was likewise generof whole divisions, brigades, anil battalions. Their Caça- ous, frank, liberal, and open-hearted. His brother offidores, that is the Portuguese light infantry, in particular,

cers loved as well as looked up to him; the private soldiers were chiefly committed to the guidance of British ofi adored him. There was not a man in his corps who would cers; and the writer of these pages can testify, from per- have refused to follow when he led, or who would not have sonal observation, that a finer body of men never entered cheerfully put his own life in the most imminent hazard

And Norman well the field. They were brave, obedient, and patient of in order to ensure Norman’s safety. fatigue in no ordinary degree; indeed, if they yielded in deserved all this. His manners were at once manly and

gentle; he never employed a harsh expression to attain - Extracted from the writings of the Rev. G. GLEIG, author of

an object where a mild expression would arail; and he 'The Subaltern,' &c.

found, as those who act upon his theory will always find,

winter quarters.


that he was much more readily attended to, and much at the battle of Salamanca he had attained to the rank of more faithfully obeyed, than others who thought fit to major by brevet. To this was soon afterwards added a follow a different course.

lieutenant-colonelcy in the Portuguese service; and when It can hardly be expected that Norman was either a the allied army removed from its ground at Alba de Torprofessed scholar or a very accomplished gentleman. He mes, Norman M‘Leod found himself in command of a had entered the army at an age too early to permit his battalion of Caçadores inferior in point of discipline, equipattaining to the first of these characters; and he had ment, and gallantry, to none which took part in the Pe embarked upon active service too soon afterwards to give ninsular war. leisure for his acquiring the last. But Norman was At the head of this battalion, Norman took his fall neither ignorant nor unpolished. His natural abilities share in the various operations which conducted the alliei were of a high order, and what he once read he never troops by way of Valladolid, Cuellar, Segovia, and Madrid, forgot. Nature had, moreover, gifted him with a turn and again tbrough Valladolid towards Burgos. In the for music and drawing; both of these arıs he sedulously assault upon the hill of St Michael he particularly discultivated as often as circumstances would allow, and in tinguished himself; and, perhaps, had the attack on the both he accordingly made considerable progress. With south-west front of the castle been intrusted to him and the French language he was familiarly acquainted from his gallant Caçadores, the result might have been very his childhood ; and he had good sense enough to apply different from that which actually occurred. Be that himself, as soon as he reached the Peninsula, to the study however as it may, one thing at least is certain, that the of the Portuguese and Spanish. For the practical branch reputation which he had previously acquired suffered no of mathematics again, that branch which was connected diminution by his conduct before Burgos; and at last, with the science of his profession, he entertained an ex- when to abandon further attempts upon that place was treme fondness. He never passed through a strange judged prudent, he and his regiment were especially country without examining it with an officer's eye, and selected to form part of the rear-guard, and as such to taking sketches of such districts as appeared to him cover the retreat of the rest of the army. adapted for the prosecution of military operations; of It consists not with the plan of my present narratire to every fortified place near which he chanced to be sta- offer even a brief sketch of the progress of that retreat, tioned he failed not to provide himself with an accurate by marking out so much as the different routes alcoz plan; whilst during the inactive season of winter, it prored which the allied troops defiled; enough is done when I one of his favourite amusements to construct redoubts, state in general terms that, after a variety of morements after the fashion of Uncle Toby, in the sand, to open on both sides, a good deal of skirmishing, and here and trenches before them, and to go through the whole pro- there a little cannonading, the British army, with the cess of a siege. But a soldier who is so far master of exception of Sir Rowland Hill's corps, which withdrer three foreign languages as to speak them with ease and southward into Estremadura, established itself, on the fluency, who is well versed in the mathematics, not un- 24th of November, above the Tormes. The position was acquainted with the history of Europe, and a tolerable a convenient one, and the advanced season of the year proficient in music and landscape-painting, is not, as men rendered it desirable not to change it. But it was nerergo, to be accounted an ignorant person.

theless necessary that a communication should be kept up Is the reader desirous to know something of Norman's with other parts of the country, and for this purpose a external appearance? He shall be gratified. Norman few corps were detached from both flanks, considerably was by no means a handsome man; that is to say, bis beyond the line, to serve as chains of connexion and to features were not regular, neither was his figure a piece do the duty of pickets of observation. On this perilous of absolute symmetry. His hair was a light brown-when and important service Norman was employed. He tock an infant it had been flaxen; his eyes were blue, quick, post at a place called Alanjuez, a village or rather hamlet penetrating, and expressive; his complexion, originally about a couple of leagues from the right of the allied canfair, had become tanned through frequent exposure to tonments; and there, in a manner more delightful than the sun; but the principal charm of his countenance con- often falls to the lot of soldiers upon active service, he sisted, after all, in a general air of good humour, high passed the winter. courage, and great intelligence, which overspread it. In The hamlet of Alanjuez consists of about a dozen neat like manner, though tall, full-chested, and well-formed, cottages, built at considerable intervals the one from the it is probable that the connoisseur in manly beauty would other, with a large casa or chateau in the rear; the latter have pronounced him striking and soldier-like rather than being the residence of Don Fernando Navarette, whose elegant. Perhaps his absolute indifference to points usu- ancestors for many generations back have owned considerally esteemed important among young men may account able tracts of the surrounding country, and extended to the for this; Norman was neither a fop in his dress nor a inmates of these cottages the protection of feudal chiefpetit maître in his carriage. Yet with all his personal tains. By some fortunate accident or another, Alanjuez defects, and they were many, Norman M‘Leod was per- had never, though lying but a short space out of the line haps better calculated to make an impression upon the of hostile operations, been visited, up to the period of fair sex than ninety-nine out of a hundred carpet knights,' Norman's arrival, by soldiers from either of the contendwhose bravery is for the most part exhibited in their ing armies. The consequence was, that Norman found attire, and whose synimetry arises at least as much from matters here in a condition widely different from that in the skill of their tailor as from the operations of Dame which he was elsewhere accustomed to find them. The Nature.

chateau stood at the base of a steep hill, concealed in a It by no means follows in the army, more than in other great degree from observation amid groves of orange and professions, that those whose acquirements best entitle olive trees; a long straight avenue of chestnuts led to it them to success are invariably successful. Many a Wel- from the village, which had suffered no injury; the garlington, doubtless, pines away his youth and his manhood den was not laid waste; its doors, windows, and roof, were in a subordinate situation ; exactly as many an Eldon, for in perfect preservation; the very lawn in front of it bore want of opportunities to make himself known, lives and no traces of violence; and the flower-beds exhibited dies a briefless barrister. But of the number of those symptoms of care lately bestowed upon them. Nor bad doomed to undeserved neglect Norman M‘Leod was not the habitations of the peasantry been subjected to other one. The reputation of his father did something for him; or worse treatment than that which befel the abode of it induced those in power at least to fix their eyes upon their lord. They were all of them entire, and the little him; and his own talents and enthusiastic love of his spots of ground about them, their orange-groves, videprofession, speedily confirmed them in the favourable yards, mulberry-plantations, and fields of Indian corn, opinion which they were disposed to form of him. His presented the same appearances which, at a similar season rise was rapid. At the battle of Vimiera he bore a lieu of the year, they are likely to present now, or rather did tenant's commission in one of the Highland regiments; ' present previous to the French invasion.


« PoprzedniaDalej »