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* but nothing like my ain house; give me one turn more." He was gentle as an infant, and allowed himself to be put to bed again the moment we told him that we thought he had had enough for one day.
Next morning he was still better. After again enjoying the Bath chair for perhaps a couple of hours, he desired to be drawn into the library and placed by the central window, that he might look down upon the Tweed. Here he expressed a wish that I should read to him; and when I asked from what book, he said, “Need you ask? There is but one.” I chose the fourteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel; he listened with mild devotion, and said, when I had done, “Well, this is a great comfort; I have followed you distinctly, and I feel as if I were yet to be myself again.” In this placid frame he was again put to bed, and had many hours of soft slumber.
On the third day Mr. Laidlaw and I again wheeled him about the small piece of lawn and shrubbery in front of the house for some time; and the weather being delightful, and all the richness of summer around him, he seemed to taste fully the balmy influences of nature. The sun getting very strong, we halted the chair in a shady corner, just within the verge of his verdant arcade around the court wall; and breathing the coolness of the spot, he said, “ Read me some amusing thing; read me a bit of Crabbe.” I brought out the first volume of his old favorite that I could lay hand on, and turned to what I remembered as one of his most favorite passages in it—the description of the arrival of the players in the borough. He
listened with great interest, and also, as I soon perceived, with great curiosity. Every now and then he exclaimed, “ Capital
-excellent—very good— Crabbe has lost nothing;” and we were too well satisfied that he considered himself as hearing a new production.
On the morning of Sunday, the 15th, he was again taken out into the little pleasure-ground, and got as far as his favorite terrace walk between the garden and the river, from which he seemed to survey the valley and the hills with much satisface tion. On reëntering the house he desired me to read to him from the New Testament, and after that he again called for a little of Crabbe; but whatever I selected from that poet seemed to be listened to as if it made part of some new volume published while he was in Italy. He attended with this sense of novelty even to the tale of Phebe
awson, which not many months before he could have repeated every line of, and which I chose for one of these readings, because, as is known to every one, it had formed the last solace of Mr. Fox's death bed. On the contrary, his recollection of whatever I read from the Bible appeared to be lively; and in the afternoon, when we made his grandson, a child of six years, repeat some of Dr. Watts's hymns by his chair, he seemed also to remember them perfectly. That evening he heard the church service, and when
was about to close the book, said, “Why do you omit the Visitation for the Sick?” which I added accordingly.
On Monday he remained in bed, and seemed extremely feeble; but after breakfast on Tuesday, the 17th, he appeared revived somewhat, and was again wheeled about on the turf. Presently he fell asleep in his chair, and after dozing for perhaps half an hour, started awake, and shaking the plaids we had put about him from off his shoulders, said, “ This is sad idleness. I shall forget what I have been thinking of if I don't set it down now. Take me into my own room, and fetch the keys of my desk.” He repeated this so earnestly that we could not refuse; his daughters went into his study, opened his writing desk, and laid paper and pens in the usual order, and I then moved him through the hall and into the spot where he had always been accustomed to work. When the chair was placed at the desk, and he found himself in the old position, he smiled and thanked us, and said, “Now give me my pen, and leave me for a little to myself.” Sophia * put the pen
into his hand, and he endeavored to close his fingers upon it, but they refused their office; it dropped on the paper. He sank back
* Sophia was Mrs. Lockhart, Scott's eldest daughter.
Among his pillows, silent tears rolling down his cheeks; but composing himself by and by, motioned to me to wheel him out of doors again. Laidlaw met us at the porch, and took his turn of the chair. Sir Walter, after a little while, again dropped into slumber. When he was awaking, Laidlaw said to me, “ Sir Walter has had a little repose.” “No, Willie,” said he, “no repose for Sir Walter but in the grave.” The tears again rushed from his eyes. “Friends,” said he, “don't let me expose myself; get me to bed ---that's the only place.”
With this scene ended our glimpse of daylight. Sir Walter never, I think, left his room afterwards, and hardly his bed, except for an hour or two in the middle of the day; and after another week he was unable even for this.
After this he declined daily, but still there was great strength to be wasted, and the process was long. He seemed, however, to suffer no bodily pain, and his mind, though hopelessly obscured, appeared, when there was any symptom of consciousness, to be dwelling, with rare exceptions, on serious and solemn things; the accent of the voice grave, sometimes awful, but never querulous, and very seldom indicative of any angry or resentful thoughts. Now and then he imagined himself to be administering justice as sheriff; and once or twice he seemed to be ordering Tom Purdie * about trees.
Commonly whatever we could follow him in was a fragment of the Bible, (especially the Prophecies of Isaiah and the Book of Job;) or some petition in the litany; or a verse of some psalm, in the old Scotch metrical version; or of some of the magnificent hymns of the Romish ritual, in which he had always delighted, but which probably hung on his memory now in connection with the church services he had attended while in Italy.
All this time he continued to recognize his daughters, Laidlaw, and myself, whenever we spoke to him, and received every attention with a most touching thankfulness.
Tom Purdie was a much valued servant.
Clarkson, too, was always saluted with the old courtesy, though the cloud opened but a moment for him to do so.
Most truly might it be said that the gentleman survived the genius.
As I was dressing on the morning of Monday, the 17th of September, Nicolson came into my room, and told me that his master had awoke in a state of composure and consciousness, and wished to see me immediately. I found him entirely himself, though in the last extreme of feebleness. His eye was · clear and calm, every trace of the wild fire of delirium extinguished. “Lockhart,” he said, “I may have but a minute to speak with you. My dear, be a good man; be virtuous ; be religious; be a good man. Nothing else will give you any comfort when you come to lie here.” * He paused, and I said, “Shall I send for Sophia and Anne ?” of “No," said he, “ don't disturb them. Poor souls ! I know they were up all night. God bless you all.” With this he sank into a very tranquil sleep, and, indeed, he scarcely afterwards gave any sign of consciousness, except for an instant on the arrival of his sons. They, on learning that the scene was about to close, obtained anew leave of absence from their posts, and both reached Abbotsford on the 19th. About half past one, P. M., on the 21st of September, Sir Walter breathed his last, in the presence of all his children.
It was a beautiful day; so warm that every window was wide open, and so perfectly still that the sound of all others most delicious to his ear, the gentle ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles, was distinctly audible as we knelt around the bed, and his eldest son kissed and closed his eyes.
* These are remarkable words. Here was a man who had won the highest prizes of life; had gained the most splendid literary reputation; had been honored, flattered, and caressed as few men have ever been; and yet, at the last moment, falls back for support on moral worth and religious faith
that possession which all may earn. Let the young ponder upon the lesson.
+ Anne was his second daughter,
XL. – THE THREE MIGHTY.
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
[The incidents on which these lines are founded is related in the twenty-third chapter of the Second Book of Samuel, and also in the eleventh chapter of the Fint Book of Coronicles.]
WATCHFIRES are blazing on hill and plain ;
The Philistine hath fixed his encampment here;
His tents are placed where the waters flow;
In the cave of Adullam King David lies,
Though a crownéd king, in that painful hour
But no cooling cup from river or spring