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took the opportunity of telling them your own account like this. Is there also what he thought of them.

no policeman where you come from?" At last the time arrived for the case Murdo said he họped he had not to come on. Alastair Mackenzie, Neil come so low yet as to be taken in Maclean, and the policeman went away charge by a policeman. "He went "like gentle folks” on the mail-coach, away on the mail,” he explained, “with but poor Murdo, not having the money Alastair Mackenzie and Neil Maclean." to spare, had to set off walking to At this the young men seemed to have the court, which was forty-five miles some ado again to keep sober faces. away. He had gone a little more than They were very kind to Murdo.. half that distance, and was crossing When they came to an inn they gave a bleak tract of moorland many miles him a fine dinner with themselves, and from any human habitation, and feel- at Aldarn they brought him to nice ing very

weary and down-hearted, quiet lodgings, where they said he need when a great piece of good fortune be- not pay anything, as the landlady was fell him. He heard the noise of car- a friend of their own. Murdo was riage-wheels, and presently was over- quite overcome by all this, and was taken by a waggonette in which two much cheered, and felt strong to face or three young gentlemen were sitting. tbe ordeal that was before him. As Hardly had it passed than it drew up, for the young gentlemen, they all lived and one of the young men called to in Aldarn, and one of them was Murdo and asked him if he would like lawyer, and that night they told the a drive.

story of Murdo to such purpose that "I would like it indeed,” said Murdo next day the court was quite packed thankfully. “It's the first thing I with people who came to hear the would wish for."

case. "Come along, then," said the gentle- The lawyer who was the minister's man, and Murdo put his stick and friend met the old man there and told small red bundle into the carriage be him to keep up a good courage, and fore him, and climbed up after them that he would do everything for him very gladly.

that could be done. He talked to him The young fellows seemed in very for a little, and said that he had regood irits, and were laughing and ceived a long letter about him from talking a great deal. They asked him the minister, and that in it a very good where he was going, and being a sim- character had been given him. ple old man, he told them the whole "I would like to keep that characstory of his journey and the reason ter," Murdo said solemnly. He had he had to make it. They were extraor- never been away from home before, dinarily interested in everything he and the whole place seemed very said, and every now and then they strange and imposing to him,-the gave a little shout of laughter.

judge on the bench, and the lawyers “I am very backward with the Eng- and clerks, and the clever busy look of lish," said Murdo, not without some everything. His case did not come on dignity. "But I am speaking with the at once, so he sat listening to some best words I have, though there may others, and as he listened his confibe comicality in them.”

dence oozed away. The judge was The young men apologized in a very very severe, and the whole thing-takgentlemanly way for their mirth. ing the oath and on-was very "You are a queer criminal,” said one formal and awful. He saw Alastair of them, smiling. “Going on to jail on Mackenzie and Neil Maclean looking

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at everything with interest and curios- lawyer as if he thought he could not ity. He thought they did not appear be quite sane. very easy either.

He soon changed his mind, however, At last Murdo's own case came on. about that. Everything was against him at first. There were not many questions put The young lawyer beside him did not to the policeman, and they were chiefly say a word except one that surprised about Murdo's character and reputahim very much.

tion for honesty in his native place; "Guilty or not guilty;" said the also they brought out how Alastair judge, and Murdo, who had been wait- and Neil had broken down the old . ing for that, shook all over and was bridge before Murdo's house, and inabout to say “Guilty" (seeing that he stead of beginning to build the new could not prove he had not taken the one, had been busy ever since at wood, and thinking the truth would their own harvest-work. be best), when, before he could get the Alastair Mackenzie was then called word out, the young lawyer beside him in, and he felt himself in a very cried out, “Not guilty, my lord!"

strange position as a witness for the Murdo did not know what to make defence. He was very sure he would of it. He thought it very friendly of not be that. The lawyer asked him a the gentleman, but he could not think few questions that did not seem very it very wise.

important one way or another. The case went on against him, and “What was the value," he asked the old man saw that things looked then, “of the piece of wood that is in very black.

It was brought out in a dispute ?" very clear way that on the evening of Alastair hesitated. Put in that way, the sixteenth day of the previous he did not really think there was any month he, Murdo, had taken from the value in the wood, for it was old and quarry where Alastair Mackenzie and worm-eaten. He thought for a while, Neil Maclean had been at work a large and then said there would not be any piece of wood belonging to them, and great value in it. had used it for making a bridge to his “Would it be worth fifteen shillings?" own house.

said the lawyer. Murdo did not see how he could "No," said Alastair slowly, “it would overturn that, and he was trying to not be worth that.” collect his thoughts so that he might “Would it be worth ten shillings?” make the best explanation he could of Alastair admitted with reluctance what he had done, when the witnesses that it would not. for the defence were called. “None," “Now," said the lawyer, leaning for. said poor Murdo to himself, -"none at ward, "you are upon your oath, reall but the minister's letter.” But all member. Would you say upon oath at once the young lawyer called out that the piece of wood was worth five that his witnesses were Alastair Mac- shillings or-nothing?" kenzie and Neil Maclean and James Alastair looked very uneasy.

He Kerr the policeman, and he asked was an honest kind of man, and he that the policeman should be called was very much afraid of saying the first.

wrong thing "upon oath." After waitAlastair and Neil were then put out ing awhile the lawyer repeated the of the court, and it would be difficult question. to say whether they or Murdo was the Alastair replied that he could not more astonished. Murdo stared at the say.

There was a little titter through the there was something in the lawyer's court at this. Alastair was very much voice that warned him to be cautious. put out.

He was willing enough also to shift re“Did this piece of wood belong to sponsibility. you?" the lawyer asked then. He had "No," he said; "it did not belong to received a good deal of information me." from his friend the minister.

"To whom, then, did it belong ?”! "No," said Alastair, who had not set "To Alastair-my neighbor." eyes on the wood till he saw Neil using And now there were roars of laughit.

ter all over the court. Order was "To whom did it belong?"

called, and Neil was told that would "To Neil, my neighbor."

do. He did not understand at first "That will do," said the lawyer; and what the joke could be, and how the now Neil was called in, and he too people semed quite overcome with did not feel very comfortable as a wit- mirth. ness for the defence.

"You go home without a stain upon The young lawyer put to Neil the your character," said the judge to sa me question about the value of the Murdo. wood that he had just put to Alastair, Murdo did not know what to say. and Neil, not knowing what the other He was quite overcome. The next bad said and being very well aware of day was beautiful and warm. The the worm-eaten condition of the block, policeman, Alastair, Neil and Murdo all declined, after some beating about the went home together on the mail. If bush, to say on oath that it was worth anything consoled the plaintiffs for the anything. He, too, was very much way things had turned out, it was the put out, and he thought this kind of thought of the unpleasant reception questioning very queer and unfair. they would have got in their native

"Did this piece of wood belong to parish if they had left Murdo in jail. you?" said the lawyer, speaking very They put the best face they could upon sternly and solemnly. "Remember you the matter, but the conversation on the are upon oath."

mail was chiefly about the weather. Neil was silent, thinking what an- And so ended the famous criminal swer he should give. As a matter of case against Murdo, the son of the cat. fact, the wood was driftwood, and echist. some boys had taken it up to him from As for the piece of wood, someone the shore about a year previously. He picked it up after the new bridge was had found it useful all summer when made and used it in making a hen-roost. making the road. He could not be cer- And the people of the parish are still tain, but he thought it was Alastair's a good deal like the ancient Christians boys who had brought it to him. He about having things in common. made up his mind to this hastily, for

Lydia Miller Mackay. Blackwood's Magazine.

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THE CHARM OF AUTUMN.

With the shortening days and the scarcely seems its heir. All nature is great cloud-islanded skies of August awake once more with something of the and early September comes a world so way of Spring. The birds that the late different to the summer world that it Summer touched with the heavy mace LIVING AGE. VOL. XLI.

2132

of silence are again full of music. But life of every beholder. The harshness there is neither the wistfulness nor the of Winter does not hide its charm. unrest of Spring in the air. A sense There are days in Winter when the of accomplishment attunes everything, sense of preparation is almost overthe music, the landscape, the field, the whelming, when the mystic elder tree, fold, the flowers and the fruits, all is which is never done with life, puts ripe to harvest and all creatures are forth tiny sprays of unexpected green, harvesting. A certain freshness in when we feel the world is sleeping and the air proclaims the evening and the not dead, when the watchful lark, soarmorning of the first day of Autumn. ing in the brief sunlight, makes a The Autumn harvests are at hand and melody for nature's dreams, when the all things are now ready. The trans- plough, with steaming horses, cleaves lators of the psalms must have had in its ridges on the upland fields and their minds an English landscape as draws the robin, the field-fare and the they wrote: “Thou visitest the earth, rook to unfamiliar feasts. The charm and blessest it; thou makest it very of Spring is the sense of the awakening plenteous. , . . Thou crownest the year for which we and all nature have been with thy goodness; and thy clouds drop waiting for so long, the sense that even fatness. They shall drop upon the in mid-winter stirred the little aconite dwellings of the wilderness; and the to push its golden flower into an inlittle hills shall rejoice on every side. clement world, and has made the elder The folds shall be full of sheep; the tree and the bramble and many a valleys also shall stand so thick with woodland flower try conclusions with corn that they shall laugh and sing." the old enemy, Time. As the day These Autumn harvests differ so en- lengthens the cold strengthens, but with tirely from the Summer harvests that it strengthens the sense of new life, We feel in a different land. The Sum- the passion for resurrection, for immer fields cocked with hay give one no mortality. The oak may be wise in sense of Autumn with the long Winter .closing his buds so long and keeping to follow. The lustiness of growth is them warm with the dull golden dead still apparent on all sides and the leaves of last year. But who would groaning, creaking wagon with its be wise in Spring? Let the life-blood sweet-scented burden seems an accom- beat, if it be but once a year. plishment of the Spring that all the birds can welcome. The completed

In country meadows pearld with dew,

And set about with lillies, stack, shapely and golden, is a serene

There, filling maunds with cowslips, monument in the Autumn landscape,

you but the piling up of the green-brown

May find your Amaryllis. newly made hay is the work of late June in southern England, when there is And Summer's charm! No one writes a thrush trilling from every bush, when about Summer; it is best to live it. the skylark mounts the illimitable blue But when all the charms of all the with tireless aspiration, when the dog.

are counted and reckoned rose glorifies the hedges whose green somehow the mind turns to the Autumn is quick with life, when the nightingale with a sense of love that belongs to no bridges with melody the quiet, brief other season. We are so soon to lose pause between glowing sunset and it, lose it and its infinite range of color, glowing sunrise.

its deep rich drapery of green, its blaze Every season has its own peculiar of imperial purple in leaf and flower charm, its own subtle relation to the and fruit, its gold from innumerable

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mints—the mint of the evening prim- the pleasant hillside folds down and out rose, the mint of the harvested grain, of sight and past its latest fold the the mint of the rose, the apple and the fields begin, the neat trim harvested peach, the mint of late gorze, unprofita. fields, gleaned and ready for the Winbly gay, the mint of indescribable sun

ter sleep. When one looks at it in the sets slowly sinking into purple haze morning will cry with Robert to lose in the autumnal sense the long Browning:white winding roads, the twinkling streams and placid pools and fresh Oh, good gigantic smile o' the brown green meadows where the cattle are.

old earth, Another charm of Autumn is its mar

This Autumn morning! How he sets his

bones vellous variety, its delicate detail, its

To bask i' the sun, and thrusts out painted shadows and plashing lights,

knees and feet coming and going amid the myriad For the ripple to run over in its mirth. leaves, red and gold and gray and black, the infinite care of the great Ar- But in the evening it is different. tist spread over an infinite field. Who The exhilaration of the Autumn mornwould not wake early in the morning ing has passed away. Looking downfor the pleasure of watching the bridal ward we see the quiet Autumn fields veils of spider web covering the hedge- and gather from them the sense of com. rows and glistening with dewy dia- pletion, the idea of rest, the feeling of monds that catch and give again compensation for all the toil and tears shafts of delicate light? The dewberry

of the long year. Up here on the with its bloom, the honeysuckle, fra- height the evening has not yet come, grant and delicate beyond the use of but in the hollow, lights are beginning English flowers, the lush grass silvered to glimmer from the homesteads, the with wet, the myriad creatures seeking cheery lights of home. But as the eye their morning meat from God, the call passes on, other lights attract the imfrom the hill as the stately cattle wend agination; the great sleeping pool, a away to pasture, the sudden burst of lake of many acres, holds up to the the sun from above a bosky wood and sky its pure silver face; near it a its embosomed meadows, the matronal wooded hill is ablaze still with the last glory of the awakened world. And rays of sunlight striking the scarlet evening too, come, watch the Autumn leaves with a purple glory. The evenevening from some height that domi- ing gives a strange and even mystic nates a vasty weald where all the beau- ` distinctness and distinction to the ties of England lie gathered, as it were,

whole landscape. It picks out the catin some mighty palm! The sense of tle, the sheep, the cottage, the far sadness is present, for will not this hedgerow, the line of elms, the massed rare panorama soon yield everything remains of the ancient forests of the up to Winter's inevitable call? Far weald, the growing shadows, the off one thinks to catch a final cloud- meadows half hidden in the woods. line that is the sea. Here at the feet Against a sky-line far away rows of are rolling hills that men, before his- pines like an army with lifted spears tory was, ridged and escarped against march, eternally march, and no enemy some feared and familiar foe. Green hindereth them. Last scene of all is now, all of it, hiding the passions of the clear view to the south-west where ten thousand years; green save where

the sun has plunged with reluctant patches of heather memorialize the splendor into the sea. His after-math bloodshed of far-off, ancient days. So of glory imitates and reproduces all

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