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and bare hill. By degrees, however, as this path descended, and winded round the hill-side, trees began to appear, at first singly, stunted, and blighted, with locks of wool upon their trunks, and their roots hollowed out into recesses, in which the sheep love to repose themselves—a sight much more gratifying to the eye of an admirer of the picturesque than to that of a planter or forester. By and by the trees formed groups, fringed on the edges, and filled up in the middle by thorns and hazel bushes; and at length these groups closed so much together, that, although a broad glade opened here and there under their boughs, or a small patch of bog or heath occurred which had refused nourishment to the seed which they sprinkled round, and consequently remained open and waste; the scene might, on the whole, be termed decidedly woodland. The sides of the valley began to approach each other more closely; the rush of a brook was heard below, and between the intervals afforded by openings in the natural wood, its waters were seen hurling clear and rapid under their silver canopy.
Oldbuck now took upon himself the full authority of Ciceroni, and anxiously directed the company not to go a foot-breadth off the track which he pointed out to them, if they wished to enjoy in full perfection what they came to see. "You are happy in me for a guide, Miss Wardour," exclaimed the veteran; waving his hand and head in cadences, he repeated with emphasis—
I know each lane, and every alley green,
—Ah! deuce take it!—that spray of a bramble has demolished all Caxon's labours, and nearly canted my wig into the stream—so much for recitations, hors de propos.
"Never mind, my dear sir," said Miss Wardour, "you have your faithful attendant ready to repair such a disaster when it happens; and when you appear with it, as restored to its original splendour, I will carry on the quotation :—
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, And yet anon repairs his drooping head, And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore Flames on the forehead."—
"O, enough, enough!" answered Oldbuck; "I ought to have known what it was to give you the advantage over me—But here is what will stop your career of satire, for you are an admirer of nature, I know." In fact, when they had followed him through a breach, in a low, ancient, and ruinous wall, they came suddenly upon a scene equally unexpected and interesting.
They stood pretty high upon the side of a glen, which had suddenly opened into a sort of amphitheatre to give room for a pure and profound lake of a few acres extent, and a space of level ground around it. The banks then rose every where steeply, and in some places were varied by rocks; in others, covered with the copse which run up, feathering their sides lightly and irregularly, and breaking the uniformity of the green pasture ground. Beneath, the lake discharged itself into the huddling and tumultuous brook, which had been their companion since they had entered the glen. At the point at which it issued from "its parent lake," stood the ruins which they had come to visit. They were not of great extent; but the singular beauty, as well as wild and sequestered character of the spot on which they were situated, gave them an interest and importance superior to that which attaches itself to architectural remains of greater consequence, but placed near to ordinary houses, and possessing less romantic accompaniments. The eastern window of the church remained entire, with all its ornaments and tracery work; and the sides, upheld by light flying buttresses, whose airy support, detached from the wall against which they were placed, and ornamented with pinnacles and carved work, gave a variety and lightness to the building. The roof and western end of the church were completely ruinous; but the latter appeared to have made one side of a square, of which the ruins of the conventual buildings formed other two, and the gardens a fourth. The side of these buildings, which overhung the brook, was partly founded on a steep and precipitous rock; for the place had been occasionally turned to military purposes, and had been taken with great slaughter during Montrose's wars. The ground formerly occupied by the garden was still marked by a few orchard trees. At a greater distance from the buildings were detached oaks, and elms, and chestnuts, growing singly, which had attained great size. The rest of the space between the ruins and the hill was a close-cropped sward, which the daily pasture of the sheep kept in much finer order than if it had been subjected to the scythe and broom. The whole scene had a repose, which was still and affecting, without being monotonous. The dark deep basin, in which the clear blue lake reposed, reflecting the water-lilies which grew on its surface, and the trees which here and there threw their arms from the banks, was finely contrasted with the haste and tumult of the brook, which broke away from the outlet, as if escaping from confinement, and hurried down the glen, wheeling around the base of the rock on which the ruins were situated, and brawling in foam and fury with every shelve and stone which obstructed its passage. A similar contrast was seen between the level green meadow, in which the ruins were situated, and the large timber trees which were scattered over it, compared with the precipitous banks which arose at a short distance around, partly fringed with light and feathery underwood, partly rising in steeps clothed with purple heath, and partly more abruptly elevated into fronts of gray rock, chequered with lichen, and with those hardy plants which find root even in the most arid crevices of the crags. Sir w. Scott.
THE BATTLE OF COHUNNA AND DEATH OF SIR JOHN MOOEE.
The preparations for embarking were completed on the morning of the sixteenth, and the general gave notice, that he intended, if the French did not move, to begin embarking the reserve at four in the afternoon. This was about mid-day. He mounted his horse, and set off to visit the outposts: before he had proceeded far, a messenger came to tell him that the enemy's line were getting under arms; and a deserter arriving at the same moment confirmed the intelligence. He spurred forward. Their light troops were pouring rapidly down the hill on the right wing of the British, and the advanced picquets were already beginning to fire. Lord William Bentinck's brigade, consisting of the fourth, forty-second, and fiftieth regiments, maintained this post. It was a bad position, and yet, if the troops gave way on that point, the ruin of the army was inevitable. The guards were in their rear. General Paget was ordered to advance with the reserve, and support Lord William. The enemy opened a cannonade from eleven heavy guns, advantageously planted on the hills. Two strong columns, one advancing from a wood, the other skirting its edge, directed their march towards the right wing. A third column approached the centre: a fourth advanced slowly upon the left: a fifth remained half way down the hill, in the same direction. Both in number and weight of guns they had a decided superiority; and they fired with such effect from the commanding situation which they had chosen, that the balls in their bounding reached the British reserve, and occasioned some loss there.