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THE RECLUSE OF THE LAKE. 53

tinguished by its strong, bold, peculiar light; views of the surrounding scenery : — some wild and fearful enough for the pencil of Salvator Rosa, and others, calm, sequestered, and luxuriant, as the spots over which Claude loved to throw his bland, warm coloring ; – a guitar, piano, four or five fine flutes, and a time-piece, of Genevan workmanship, in which the hours with winged feet flew round, offering rose wreaths to each other; all served to give the interior of the mansion something of the magic beauty of fairy land. The neighbors made various ingenious attempts to cxplore a place, of which many a wonderful tale was told ; but Arthur Wandellyn avoided all society with a coldness and hauteur, which at once excited curiosity, and forbade intrusion. A stud of noble horses, a leash of beautiful greyhounds, a fine collection of birds, and one favorite man servant, were his only companions. Yet his disposition was kind, and his feelings social. The buzzing of insects, the twittering of birds, and the ringing laughter of childhood, filled him with delightful sensations. Much of religion, too, entered into his lonely musings; for he read more on earth's fair volume than “philosophy has ever dreamed of.” To the “pure in heart,” the glad melody of nature's voice always speaks of heaven ; and her beaming face reflects much of truth, as well as poetry, on the quiet stream of thought. There is no place where her silent eloquence comes upon the soul so much like celestial music, felt, but not heard, as from the crystal

depths of placid Lake George. There is, as it were, a holiness attached to it, heightened by the recollection, that, for years, a mighty, but declining priesthood, resorted to this baptismal font of the wilderness, to trace their emblem of mysterious faith on the pure brow of infancy; and we feel, as we gaze upon it, that “Lake of the Holy Sacrament” was a fitting name for waters so lucid and so tranquil. Here, at rising and setting sun, might the Recluse be seen, guiding his boat among the numerous Emerald Isles, and dipping his oar almost fearfully, as if he loved not to disturb the sleeping beauty of the scene; and, hour after hour, the light skiff was moored at Diamond Isle, while its wayward owner skipped pebbles in the stream, or searched for the far-famed crystals concealed among the clefts. There was one poor hut upon the island, but Vandellyn had never entered it. His servant told him that the old crone who resided there for the purpose of selling diamonds to travellers, was noted for her asperity of temper; and the fastidious refinement of the young artist, always recoiling from every thing discordant, induced him to avoid this dwelling with more than ordinary caution. The first time he unconsciously approached nearer than usual, he was warned of it by the sharpest voice he ever heard. As he turned his head, he saw that the old woman was scolding at a delicate looking boy, who was endeavor- ing to draw a small boat to the place her finger indicated. Vandellyn, disgusted at the contest, was about to retire abruptly, when a reply came upon his ear in tones so soft and undulating, that it seemed more like aerial music than any human voice.

THE RECLUSE OF THE LAKE. 55

The speaker was a young girl, whose dress, plain and coarse as it was, betrayed much of that simple gentility, which often appears instinctive in woman. Her face was of uncommon, and very peculiar beauty. A profusion of light brown hair drooping about her neck, and the deep fringe which veiled her large blue eyes, gave the upper part of her face an expression of pathetic, almost of melancholy loveliness; but her fair, dimpled cheek, and her laughing lip, rising at one corner, in most captivating archness, seemed like sunshine bursting beneath a summer cloud, and rapidly chasing away its shadow. Her figure, though slender and graceful, possessed the full, round outline of perfect health. Had it been embodied in statuary, one would have imagined the sculptor had half finished a Psyche, when Hebe came bounding along his path, and fascinated him from his purpose. Vandellyn had always shunned the society of women; but his fancy, cultivated as it was to excess, had conjured up many a romantic vision of love and beauty. Years of total seclusion would probably have rendered a less enthusiastic temperament than his, susceptible of sudden passion; therefore, though timidity induced him to retire hastily, it is not surprising that the fair being, so unexpectedly seen, should seem to more than realize his youthful dreams. As he watched the boat, which conveyed her from the shore, he soon perceived that the boy had great difficulty in managing it. Experience had made him thoroughly acquainted with the navigation of Lake George; and he knew that it was frequently rendered dangerous by powerful under

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currents, the irregularity of which puzzles the ablest
pilots. They are probably occasioned by winds rush-
ing from caverns in the earth; for the waters of the
lake are often billowy, when not a leaflet is stirring on
its shores. Wandellyn, while waiting for it to subside,
had sometimes compared it to the human mind,
fretting and foaming from the contradictory influence
of its own strong passions, till the calm majesty of
nature could leave no image there; but he did not
now waste time in poetic revery. With sudden
impulse, he sprang into his own light skiff, and before
the object of his pursuit had reached the middle of
the lake, he was at her side, urging her to trust herself
to his skilful guidance. The astonished girl blushed
exceedingly. She had heard much of the Recluse of
the Lake, and she knew that his present graciousness
of manner was very extraordinary. However, terror
overcame her bashfulness; and she told her little
brother, if the boats could be fastened together, she
should be much obliged to the stranger gentleman for
setting them on shore. The proposal seemed to
relieve the boy from much anxiety; and he evinced
his gratitude by the most assiduous attention to their
conductor.
Vandellyn and his companion were both eager to
speak; but embarrassment kept them silent, and gave
their interview the appearance of a cold, accidental
encounter. However, as the boat was safely drawn
up to the margin of the lake, and the young lady
thanked him for his prompt assistance, she could not
fail to remark the delighted expression of his eye;

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THE RECLUSE OF THE LAKE. 57

and the boy was surprised by an earnest invitation to visit the hermitage the ensuing day. Never did impatient childhood watch for tomorrow with such keen anticipation. The lad could scarcely believe that he was indeed invited into that abode of hidden magnificence ; and, when the remarkable event had in reality happened, he could hardly detail its particulars to his sister, so great was the delirium of his joy and wonder. “Oh, Mary,” exclaimed he, “you don't know, and you can’t guess anything about it. I never was in such a place in all my life. He an’t proud; Mr Wandellyn an’t proud, as they say he is. You don't know how good he was, and how many questions he asked about you. He gave me the handsomest bird-cage in the whole world, and the handsomest bird in it; and he said that I was such a fine boy he must send me to college. I told him your name was Mary Campbell; and that our father was dead; and that we used to be better off than we are now ; and that the woman at Diamond Isle was not our own grandmother, only father's mother-in-law; that we did not live there, but had leave to stay a few weeks, till we could get good places out at service.” “But you should not have told him that, George,” interrupted his sister. “And why not, when he asked me every word?” said the boy. Mary Campbell could hardly answer to her own heart, why Arthur Wandellyn should not be acquainted with her place of residence, as well as her utter poverty. She knew little of a sinful world; but she had read in books that the poor maiden has much to dread from the rich man's love;

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