Page images
PDF
EPUB

Yet not while Walter liv'd-for, though their Parents
Lay buried side by side as now they lie,
The old Man was a father to the boys,
Two fathers in one father : and if tears
Shed, when he talk'd of them where they were not,
And hauntings from the infirmity of love,
Are aught of what makes up a mother's heart,
This old Man in the day of his old age
Was half a mother to them. If you weep, Sir,
To hear a stranger talking about strangers,
Heaven bless

you
when
you are among your

kindredi Aye. You may turn that way-it is a grave Which will bear looking at.

LEONARD.

These Boys I hope They lov'd this good old Man

PRIEST.

They did—and truly, But that was what we almost overlook'd,

They were such darlings of each other. For
Though from their cradles they had liv’d with Walter,
The only kinsman near them in the house,
Yet he being old, they had much love to spare,
And it all went into each other's hearts.
Leonard, the elder by just eighteen months,
Was two years taller : 'twas a joy to see,
To hear, to meet them ! from their house the School
Was distant three short miles, and in the time
Of storm and thaw, when every water-course
And unbridg’d stream, such as you may have notic'd
Crossing our roads at every hundred steps,
Was swoln into a noisy rivulet,
Would Leonard then, when elder boys perhaps
Remain'd at home, go staggering through the fords
Bearing his Brother on his back.—I've seen him,
On windy days, in one of those stray brooks,
Aye, more than once I've seen him mid-leg deep,
Their two books lying both on a dry stone
Upon the hither side :-and once I said,

Vol. II.

[ocr errors]

с

As I remember, looking round these rocks
And hills on which we all of us were born,
That God who made the great book of the world
Would bless such piety-

LEONARD,

It
may

be then

PRIEST.

Never did worthier lads break English bread :
The finest Sunday that the Autumn saw,
With all its mealy clusters of ripe nuts,
Could never keep these boys away from church,
Or tempt them to an hour of sabbath breach.
Leonard and James ! I warrant, every corner
Among these rocks and every hollow place
Where foot could come, to one or both of them
Was known as well as to the flowers that

there. Like roe-bucks they went bounding o'er the hills: They play'd like two young ravens on the crags : Then they could write, aye and speak too, as well

grew

As many of their betters and for Leonard !
The very night before he went away,
In my own house I put into his hand
A Bible, and I'd wager twenty pounds,
That, if he is alive, he has it yet.

LEONARD.
It seems, these Brothers have not liv'd to be
A comfort to each other.

PRIEST.

That they might
Live to that end, is what both old and young
In this our valley all of us have wish'd,
And what, for my part, I have often pray'd :
But Leonard

LEONARD.

Then James still is left among you

PRIEST.

"Tis of the elder Brother I am speaking :

They had an Uncle, he was at that time
A thriving man, and traffick'd on the seas :
And, but for this same Uncle, to this hour
Leonard had never handled rope or shroud.
For the Boy lov'd the life which we lead here;
And, though a very Stripling, twelve years old;
His soul was knit to this his native soil.
But, as I said, old Walter was too weak
To strive with such a torrent; when he died,
The estate and house were sold, and all their sheep,
A pretty flock, and which, for aught I know,
Had clothed the Ewbanks for a thousand years.
Well-all was gone, and they were destitute.
And Leonard, chiefly for his brother's sake,
Resolv'd to try his fortune on the seas.
'Tis now twelve years since we had tidings from him.
If there was one among us who had heard
That Leonard Ewbank was come home again,

« PreviousContinue »