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But of this mournful event, how shall I speak? Alas! that the clutching gripe of inordinate, inexorable toil should snatch away our loved one; that envious fate should hurl him headlong from life, who was dealing such prostrating blows to the strongholds of ignorance; that a scion from the tree of life should be lopped off, when it had only begun to proffer the richest of fruit; that the brightest star in the galaxy of science, should be quenched in unending night; that Hugh Miller should die! But it is the com. mon course of nature; we may not lament !
"'T is ever thus — 't is ever thus,
With all that's best below:
Are always first to go:
The vine that crowns the rock,
The flower of the flock.
“T is ever thus - 't is ever thus
With beings heavenly fair,
More earthly natures bear.
Blest ministers of love,
And soar away above.' It is now conceded that he died by his own hand ; that in a moment of mental aberration, he committed suicide. Be it so: yet I feel happy in one blessed thought. Life is the peculiar interlinking of body and soul :
'How, no one knows,
Nor can tell.' When the couplings of these two dissimilar elements become disordered or disarranged, our actions take on an abnormal cast, and we are said to be insane. In the days of former years, I have known those who have endeared themselves to me by all gentleness, amiability, and loveliness; and shall I suspect for a moment, that their souls, their divine, imperishble part, the efflux from DEITY, shall decay, or be changed from their pristine beauty, merely because their temporary tabernacles may have been paralyzed by the thousand ills which flesh is heir to?' No, no; let the bonds which link our mortal to our immortal natures be sundered ; let these clayey tenements fester within the pale of church-yard mould, yet must I conceive the soul to exist in amaranthine beauty and loveliness ; and capable, far away from the confines of earth, afar from this revolted province of God's celestial empire, of enjoying a degree of happiness commensurate with the power and goodness of the INVISIBLE. Thus, although we lament the sudden and untimely death of Hugh Miller, we 'mourn not as those without hope.'
For I'm thinking of thee, love! I'm thinking of thee,
And of days that are gone forever;
In bonds that no power can sever.
The halycon days of our childhood's prime
Come rushing before my view,
Of memory's dropping dew.
The mighty pendulum of years
Ticks slowly to-and-fro,
And joys that have ceased to flow :
But each note the strain to the heart endears,
From the shores of 'Long Ago.'
Of the sweet, rose-tinted past;
And its shadow is o'er me cast;
Too bright and too sweet to last.
Perhaps we never again may meet,
Till we meet in yonder heaven:
The rest for the spirit given :
Where its ties shall no more be riven.
Oh! would thou wert with me, beauty mine!
To-night on this lonely river:
Where the struggling moon-beams quiver;
The hearts that are joined forever.
We would talk of the past, of its blissful hours,
When our souls were unfettered and free: We would dream of the joys that may yet be ours, We would build, for the future, immortal bowers, And wreathe them with garlands of fadeless flowers
From the gardens of memory.
But it may not be, it cannot be,
I must wander on alone :
Ere the promised goal be won.
Ere its battling strife is done,
My beautiful! my own!
And I know there is one who will breathe a prayer
From her heart of hearts for me,
To the throne of its DEITY.
And I know thou art thinking, even now,
Of the wanderer, beauty mine!
Binds my soul to-night with thine.
Then fare thee 'well! I must journey on,
How long, time alone can tell ;
Is to sigh this last farewell!
Five weeks have elapsed since the date of the last extract from this journal. During this period, the Ferozepore Brigade have remained encamped at that place, while the main army have taken up a position farther down the river, opposite to the Seik forces, now congregated in and around the village of Sabroan, where they (the Seiks) have, on British territory, constructed a strongly fortified camp, abutting upon the river Sutledge. No demonstration has been made by the British forces, owing to an insufficiency of artillery, both as to number of guns and weight of metal. The Seiks muster more
than ninety thousand strong, with eighty pieces of cannon. The British heavy siege-train is expected up from Delhi daily.
Ferozepore, February first, 1846.- Orders have come for us to strike our tents, and join the rest of the army. The long expected siege-train it is supposed is now about to arrive.
Camp Nihalkee, February second. - Arrived here an hour since, after a dusty march of twenty-four miles. The gloom of Ferozepore is here happily contrasted: all is life and animation. Our troops amount to eighteen thousand men. The bustle and turmoil continually going on, together with the change of scene, will, I hope, counteract that gloomy depression under which I at present labor.
February third — There joined our regiment this morning this morning, a welcome reïnforcement of four officers, who on their road up country, had fallen in with Sir Harry Smith's division, and were engaged in the action of Ariwal on the eighteenth of January.
February fourth. — Not being on duty to-day, have had leisure to stroll round and examine our position. About one mile and a quarter of dusty glacis extends between the two camps. We have many advanced posts; most of which are vacated at sun-set. The Seik troops occupy both sides of the
river, having, beside a ford, a well-constructed bridge of boats. The territory of the Punjaub looks quite as sterile a waste as our own. We have many captured Seik prisoners in the camp; two fresh ones were brought in just now. They are both Akalis, an independent sect of religious fanatics : tall, hirsute specimens of humanity, above the ordinary height of Europeans, literally armed cap a pie. One musket, three
a swords, two bows, and a whole chevauz de frise of dirks and pistols, formed part of the defensive equipment of each. On their heads they wore the high pointed leather caps, on which were strung, graduating up from a large size to a small, the sharp quoits, which they know how to use with such deadly effect. They were quickly stripped of all this gear, and were marching off under guard, when Colonel C called them back, and placing in the hands of one of them a quoit, bade him throw it. The fellow at first refused ; but upon being twitted by a native Soubidar as to his ability to do so, the desire to vindicate his prowess quickly overcame his determination : seizing the quoit in his right hand, and inserting the fore-finger as an axis on which to revolve it, he caused it to rotate rapidly over his head, looking round at the same time for an appropriate mark. Sixty yards off, on a small mound, stood Colonel e- -’s favorite milch goat; another instant, and the quoit had quitted the Akali’s finger, and the goat lay quivering in death, nearly decapitated; while, with a grin of malice at the dismayed c -, the Seik faced to the right-about, and marched off with his captors.
Four o'clock. - Have just read in the order-book the not very gratifying intelligence, that H. M. - Regiment will furnish the company for the Watch Tower to-morrow, which they will take possession of one hour before sun-rise, and vacate one hour after ditto. Regimental Memo. Lt. H. and company are detailed for the above duty. Pleasant look out, certainly.
February fifth, eight o'clock P.M.— Returned safe and sound. Turned out this morning at four o'clock. Inspected company, and with native guide made off in the dark for the Watch Tower. Half-an-hour's rapid march put us quietly in possession. It consisted of about an acre of ground, strongly entrenched, having in the centre a mud-tower of twenty feet in height, loop-holed and turreted. After placing the men under cover in the trenches, there was nothing to be done but wait in silence for day-light. The Seiks are evidently not very early risers; for it was seven o'clock before any signs of their being awake were manifested.