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honor, springing from the fast root of virtue, did but grow the thicker and more beautiful for all their endeavors to cut it off. He was as free from avarice as from ambition and pride. Nerer had any man a more contented and thankful beart for the estate that God had given, but it was a very narrow compass for the exercise of his great heart. He loved hospitality as much as he hated riot : le could contentedly be without things beyond his reach, though he took very much pleasure in all those noble delights that exceeded not his faculties. In those things that were of mere pleasure, he loved not to aim at that he could not attain : he would rather wear clothes absolutely plain, than pretending to gallantry, and would rather choose to have none than mean jewels or pictures, and such other things as were not of absolute necessity: he would rather give nothing than a base reward or present; and, upon that score, lived very much retired, though his nature was very sociable, and delighted in going into and receiving company, because his fortune would not allow him to do it in such a noble manner as suited with his mind. He was so truly magnanimous, that prosperity could never lift him up in the least, nor give him any tincture of pride or vain glory, nor dimin. ish a general affability, courtesy, and civility, that he had always to all persons. When he was most exalted, he was most merciful and compassionate to those that were humbled. At the samo time that he vanquished any enemy, he cast away all his ill will to him, and entertained thoughts of love and kindness as soon as he ceased to be in a posture of opposition. He was as far from meanness as from pride, as truly generous as humble, and showed his noble spirit more in adversity than in his prosperous condition: he vanquished all the spite of his enemies by his manly suffering, and all the contempts they could cast upon him were their, not his, shame.
329.—THE RISING OF THE WATERS.
Galt, (John Galt, a man of decided genius, though very unequal in his efforts, was born in Ayrshire in 1779. He died in 1839. It was late in life before
he discovered the proper direction of his talents—that of quiet fiction, founded upon a faithful observation of the domestic characteristics of the humblet classes of his own countrymen. "The Annals of the Parish,'—the work which at once established his reputation, -was published in 1821.–Lawrie Todd,' from which the following is an extract, appeared in 1830, after Mr. Galt's return from an official station in Canada. As a picture of the Scotchman in America, there is nothing superior in homely truth and quaint humor.)
About daybreak it began to rain, and continued to pour with increasing violence all the morning; no one thought of stirring abroad who could keep within shelter. My boys and I had for task only to keep the fire at the door of the shanty brisk and blazing, and to notice that the pools which began to form around us did not become too large; for sometimes, besides the accumulation of the rain, little streams would suddenly break out, and, rushing towards us, would have extinguished our fire, had we not been vigilant.
The site I had chosen for the shanty was near to a little brook, on the top of the main river's bank. In fine weather, no situation could be more beautiful; the brook was clear as crystal, and fell in a small cascade into the river, which, broad and deep, ran be. neath the bank with a swift but smooth current.
The forest up the river had not been explored above a mile or two; all beyond was the unknown wilderness. Some vague rumors of small lakes and beaver dams were circulated in the vil. lage, but no importance was attached to the information : save but for the occasional little torrents with which the rain sometimes hastily threatened to extinguish our fires, we bad no cause to dread inundation.
The rain still continued to fall incessantly: the pools it formed in the hollows of the ground began, towards noon, to overflow their banks, and to become united. By and by something like a slight current was observed passing from one to another; but, thinking only of preserving our fire, we no farther noticed this than by occasionally running out of the shanty into the shower, and scraping a channel to let the water run off into the brook or the river.
It was hoped that about noon the rain would slacken; but in this we were disappointed. It continued to increase, and the
ground began to be so flooded while the brook swelled to a river, that we thought it might become necessary to shift our tent to a higher part of the bank. To do this we were, however, reluctant, for it was impossible to encounter the deluge without being almost instantly soaked to the skin; and we had put the shanty up with more care and pains than usual, intending it should serve us for a home until our house was comfortably furnished.
About three o'clock the skies were dreadfully darkened and overcast. I had never seen such darkness while the sun was above the horizon, and still the rain continued to descend in cataracts, but at fits and intervals. No man, who had not seen the like, would credit the description.
Suddenly a sharp flash of lightning, followed by an instantaneous thunder-peal, lightened up all the forest; and almost in the same moment the rain came lavishing along as if the windows of heaven were opened ; anon another flash, and a louder peal burst upon us, as if the whole forest was rending over and around us.
I drew my helpless and poor trembling little boys under the skirts of my great coat.
Then there was another frantic flash, and the roar of the thunder was augmented by the riven trees that fell, cloven on all sides in a whirlwind of splinters. But though the lightning was more terrible than scimiters, and the thunder roared as if the vaults of heaven were shaken to pieces and tumbling in, the irresistible rain was still more appalling than either. I have said it was as if the windows of heaven were opened. About sunset, the ground floods were as if the fountains of the great deep were breaking up.
I pressed my shivering children to my bosom, but I could not speak. At the common shanty, where there had been for some time an affectation of mirth and ribaldry, there was now silence : at last, as if with one accord, all the inhabitants rushed from below their miserable shed, tore it into pieces, and ran with the fragments to a higher ground, crying wildly, “The river is rising !"
I had seen it swelling for some time, but our shanty stood so far above the stream, that I had no fear it would reach us. Scarcely, however, had the axemen escaped from theirs, and planted themselves on the crown of a rising ground nearer to us, where they were hastily constructing another shed, when a tremendous crash and roar was heard at some distance in the woods, bigher up the stream. It was so awful, I had almost said so omnipotent, in the sound, that I started on my feet, and shook my treasures from me. For a moment the Niagara of the river seemed almost to pause-it was but for a moment-for, instantly after, the noise of the rending of weighty trees, the crashing and the tearing of the rooted forest, rose around. The waters of the river, troubled and raging, came hurling with the wreck of the woods, sweeping with inconceivable fury everything that stood within its scope ;-a lake had burst its banks.
The sudden rise of the waters soon, however, subsided; I saw it ebbing fast, and comforted my terrified boys. The rain also began to abate. Instead of those dreaded sheets of waves which fell upon us as if some vast ocean behind the forest was heaving over its spray, a thick continued small rain came on; and, about an hour after sunset, streaks and breaks in the clouds gave some token that the worst was over;—it was not, however, so, for about the same time a stream appeared in the hollow, between the rising ground to which the axemen had retired, and the little knoll on which our shanty stood; at the same time the waters in the river began to swell again. There was on this occasion no abrupt and bursting noise; but the night was fast closing upon us, and a horse muttering and angry sound of many waters grew louder and louder on all sides.
The darkness and increasing rage of the river, which there was just twilight enough to show was rising above the brim of the bank, smote me with inexpressible terror. I snatched my children by the hand, and rushed forward to join the axemen; but the torrent between us rolled so violently that to pass was impossible, aud the waters still continued to rise.
I called aloud to the axemen for assistance; and, when they heard my desperate cries, they came out of the shed, some with burning brands and others with their axes glittering in the flames; but they could render no help; at last, one man, a fearless backwoodsman, happened to observe, by the firelight, a tree on the bank of the torrent, which it in some degree overhung, and he called for others to join him in making a bridge. In the course of a few minutes the tree was laid across the stream, and we scrambled over, just as the river extinguished our fire and swept our shanty away.
This rescue was in itself so wonderful, and the scene had been so terrible, that it was some time after we were safe before I could rouse myself to believe I was not in the fangs of the nightmare. My poor boys clung to me as if still not assured of their security, and I wept upon their necks in the ecstasy of an unspeakable passion of anguish and joy.
About this time the mizzling rain began to fall softer; the dawn of the morn appeared through the upper branches of the forest, and here and there the stars looked out from their windows in the clouds. The storm was gone, and the deluge assuaged; the floods all around us gradually ebbed away, and the insolent and unknown waters which had so swelled the river shrunk within their banks, and, long before the morning, had retired from the scene.
Need I say that anthems of deliverance were heard in our camp that night ? Oh, surely no! The woods answered to our psalms, and waved their mighty arms; the green leaves clapped their hands; and the blessed moon, lifting the veil from her forehead, and looking down upon us through the boughs, gladdened our solemn rejoicing.
330.-Hymn on the Nativity.
This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of heaven's eternal King,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,