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crepit, lame, and humpbacked invalid, tottering along by the aid of a stick, presented himself before him. He threw him a piece of money, and waved his hand as dispensing with his thanks. "May it please your honor," said the supposed beggar, “I am the painter of that picture!” and again he rubbed his
eyes. 24. The tall man was Count Dunkelsback, one of the richest noblemen in Germany. He stopped, took out his pocket-book, tore out a leaf, and wrote on it a few lines. “ Take it, friend,” said he; “it is a check for your money. Adieu."
25. Duhobret finally persuaded himself that it was not a dream. He became the master of a castle, sold it, and resolved to live luxuriously for the rest of his life, and to cultivate painting as a pastime. But, alas, for the vanity of human expectation! He had borne privation and toil; prosperity was too much for him, as was proved soon after, when an indigestion carried him off. His picture remained long in the cabinet of Count Dunkelsback, and afterward passed into the possession of the King of Bavaria.
XVIII.—THE CHINESE PRISONER.
1. A CERTAIN emperor of China, on his accession to the throne of his ancestors, commanded a general release of all *those who were confined in prison for debt. Among that number was an old man, who had fallen an early victim to adversity', and whose days of imprisonment, reckoned by the notches he had cut on the door of his gloomy cell, expressed the annual circuit of more than fifty suns.
2. With trembling hands and faltering steps, he departed from his mansion of sorrow'; his eyes were dazzled with the splendor of light', and the face of nature presented to his view a perfect paradise. The jail in which he had been imprisoned, stood at some distance from Pekin', and to that city he directed his course, impatient to enjoy the caresses of his wife, his children, and his friends.
3. Having with difficulty found his way to the street in which his decent mansion had formerly stood, his heart became more and more elated at every step he advanced. With joy he proceeded, looking eagerly around; but he observed few of the objects with which he had been formerly conversant. A magnificent edifice was crected on the site of the house which he had inhabited'; the dwellings of his neighbors had assumed a new form'; and he beheld not a single face of which he had the least remembrance.
4. An aged beggar, who, with trembling limbs, stood at the gate of an ancient portico, from which he had been thrust by the insolent domestic who guarded it, struck his attention. He stopped, therefore, to give him a small pittance out of the amount of the bounty with which he had been supplied by the emperor', and received, in return, the sad tidings, that his wife had fallen a lingering sacrifice to penury and sorrow'; that his children were gone to seek their fortunes in distant or unknown climes'; and that the grave contained his nearest and most valued friends.
5. Overwhelmed with anguish, he hastened to the palace of his sovereign, into whose presence his hoary locks and mournful visage soon obtained admission'; and, casting himself at the feet of the emperor, “Great Prince',” he cried, “send me back to that prison from which mistaken mercy has delivered' me! I have survived my family and friends', and cven in the midst of this populous city, I find myself in a dreary solitude. The cell of my dungeon protected me from the gazers at my wretchedness'; and while secluded from society, I was the less sensible of the loss of its enjoyments. I am now tortured with the view of pleasure in which I can not participate'; and die with thirst, though streams of delight surround' me.”
XIX.- HIGHLAND FEUD.
HIGHLANDS; the northern part of Scotland, so called because of the mountainous character of that region.
i. A DEADLY feud subsisted, almost from time immemorial, between the families of Macpherson of Bendearg, and Grant of Cairn', and was handed down unimpaired even to the close of the last century'. In the earlier times, the warlike chiefs of these names found frequent opportunities of testifying their mutual animosity'; and few inheritors of the fatal quarrel left the world, without having moistened it with the blood of some of their hereditary enemies. But, in our own day, the progress of civilization, which had reached even these wild countries, the heart of the North Highlands, although it could not extinguish entirely the transmitted spirit of revenge, at least kept it within safe bounds'; and the feud of Macpherson and Grant threatened, in the course of another generation, to die entirely away.
2. It was not, however, without some ebullitions of ancient fierceness, that the flame, which had burned for so many centuries, seemed about to expire. Once, at a meeting of country gentlemen, on a question of privilege arising, Bendearg took occasion to throw out some taunts, aimed at his hereditary foe, which the fiery Grant immediately received as a signal of defiance, and a challenge' was the consequence. The sheriff of the county, however, having got intimation of the affair, put both parties under arrest'; till at length, by the persuasion of their friends,-not friends by Vlood, -and the representations of the magistrate, they shook hands, and each pledged himself to forget the ancient feud of his family.
3. This occurrence, at the time, was the object of much interest in the country-side'; the rather, that it seemed to give the lie to the prophecies, of which every Highland family has an ample stock in its traditionary chronicles, and which expressly predicted, that the enmity of Cairn and Bendearg should not be quenched but in blood. On the seemingly cross-grained circumstance of their reconciliation, some of the young men were seen to shake their heads, as they reflected on the faith and tales of their ancestors'; but the gray-headed seers shook theirs still more wisely, and answered with the motto of a noble house',—“I bide my time.”
4. There is a narrow pass between the mountains, in the neighborhood of Bendearg, well known to the traveler who adventures into these wilds, in quest of the savage
sublimi. ties of nature'. At a little distance, it has the appearance
of an immense artificial bridge thrown over a tremendous chasm, but, on nearer approach, is seen to be a wall of nature's own masonry, formed of vast and rugged bodies of solid rock, piled on cach other as if in the giant sport of the architect. Its sides are, in some places, covered with trees of a considerable size'; and the passenger, who has a head steady enough to look down the precipice, may see the aeries of birds of prey beneath his feet. The path across is so narrow, that it can not admit of two persons passing along-side'; and, indeed, none but natives, accustomed to the scene from infancy, would attempt the dangerous route at all', though it saves a circuit of three miles. Yet it sometimes happens, that two travelers meet in the middle, owing to the curve formed by the pass preventing a view from either side', and, when this is the case, one is obliged to lie down, while the other crawls over his body. 5. One day, shortly after the incident we.
have mentioned, a Highlander was walking fearlessly along the pass; sometimes bending over to watch the flight of wild birds that built below', and sometimes pushing a fragment from the top, to see it dashed against the uneven sides, and bounding from rock to rock, until the echo of its rebound died in faint and hollow murmurs at the bottom. When he had gained the highest part of the arch, he observed another coming leisurely up on the opposite side, and being himself of the patrician order, called out to him to halt and lie down. The person, however, disregarded the command', and the Highlanders met, face to face, on the summit.
6. They were Grant and Macpherson'; the two hereditary enemies, who would have gloried and rejoiced in mortal strife with each other, on a hill-side. They turned deadly pale at this fatal rencounter. “I was first at the top," said Macpherson, "and called out first. Lie down', that I may pass over in peace'." “When the Grant prostrates himself before Macpherson,” answered the other, “it must be with the sword driven through his body." "Turn back', then," said Macpherson, “and repass as you came.” “Go back yourself', if you like it,” replied Grant; "I will not be the first of my name to turn before the Macpherson."
7. This was their short conference', and the result ex
actly as each had anticipated. They then threw their bonnets over the precipice', and advanced, with a slow and cautious pace, closer to each other. They were both unarmed'; and, stretching their limbs like men preparing for à desperate struggle, they planted their feet firmly on the ground, compressed their lips, knit their dark brows, and, fixing fierce and watchful eyes on each other, stood there, prepared for the onset'.
8. They both grappled at the same moment'; but being of equal strength, were unable for some time to shift each other's position, and remained standing fixed on a rock with suppressed breath, and muscles strained to the “top of their bent,” like statues carved out of the solid stone. At length, Macpherson, suddenly removing his right foot, so as to give him a greater purchase, stooped his body, and bent his enemy down with him by main strength, till they both leaned over the precipice, looking downward into the terrible abyss. The contest was as yet doubtful', for Grant had placed his foot firmly on an elevation at the brink, and had equal command of his enemy'; but, at this moment, Macpherson sank slowly and firmly on his knee', and while Grant suddenly started back, stooping to take the supposed advantage, he whirled him over his head into the gulf below. Macpherson himself fell backward, his body hanging partly over the rock'; a fragment gave way beneath him, and he sank further, till, catching with a desperate effort at the solid stone above, he regained his footing. 9. There was
a pause of death-like stillness, and the bold heart of Macpherson felt sick and faint. At length, as if compelled unwillingly by some mysterious feeling, he looked down over the precipice. Grant had caught, with a death-gripe, by the rugged point of a rock'; his enemy was almost within his reach! his face was turned upward, and there were in it horror and despair'; but he uttered no word or cry. The next moment, he loosed his hold'; and the next, his brains were dashed out before the eyes of his hereditary foe. The mangled body disappeared among the trees', and its last heavy and hollow sound arose from the bottom. Macpherson returned home an altered man. He purchased a commission in the army, and fell in the wars of the Pepiusula.