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falls once more upon the prospect, and there dawns yet another morrow—the morrow of God's rest—that Divine Sabbath in which there is no more creative labour, and which, “ blessed and sanctified” beyond all the days that had gone before, has as its special object the moral elevation and final redemption of man. And over it no evening is represented in the record as falling, for its special work is not yet complete. Such seems to have been the sublime panorama of creation exhibited in the vision of old to
“The shepherd who first taught the chosen seed,
Rose out of chaos; and, rightly understood, I know not a single scientific truth that militates against even the minutest or least prominent of its details.
Hugh MILLER. Midian Desert.—The name given to the peninsula of Sinai,
in the lonely recesses of which Moses spent forty years, and during which he may be supposed to have written the book of Genesis.
THE ESCAPE ON THE CLIFFS.
THEY were now near the centre of a deep but narrow bay, or recess, formed by two projecting capes of high and inaccessible rock, which shot out into the sea like the horns of a crescent; and neither durst communicate the apprehension which each began to entertain, that, from the unusually rapid advance of the tide, they might be deprived of the power of proceeding by doubling the promontory which lay before them, or of retreating by the road which brought them thither.
As they pressed forward, longing doubtless to exchange the easy curving line, which the sinuosities of the bay compelled them to adopt, for a straighter and more expeditious path, though less conformable to the line of beauty, Sir Arthur observed a human figure on the beach advancing to meet them. “Thank God,” he exclaimed, “we shall get round Halket-head! that person must have passed it;" thus giving vent 'to the feeling of hope, though he had suppressed that of apprehension.
"Thank God indeed!" echoed his daughter, half audibly, half internally, as if expressing the gratitude which she strongly felt.
The figure which advanced to meet them made many signs, which the haze of the atmosphere, now disturbed by wind and by a drizzling rain, prevented them from seeing or comprehending distinctly. Some time before they met, Sir Arthur could recognise the old blue-gowned beggar, Edie Ochiltree. It is said that even the brute creation lay aside their animosities and antipathies when pressed by instant and common danger.
The beach under Halket-head, rapidly diminishing in extent by the encroachments of the spring-tide and a north-west wind, was in like manner à neutral field, where even a justice of peace and a strolling mendicant might meet upon terms of mutual forbearance.
“Turn back! turn back !” exclaimed the vagrant; why did ye not turn when I waved to you
?" “We thought," replied Sir Arthur, in great agitation, we thought we could get round Halket-head.”
“Halket-head! the tide will be running on Halkethead by this time like the Fall of Fyers! It was a’ I could do to get round it twenty minutes since—it was coming in three feet abreast.
We will maybe get back by Bally-burgh Ness Point yet. The Lord help us ! it's our only chance. We can but try.”
“My child !”—“My father, my dear father!" exclaimed the parent and daughter, as, fear lending them strength and speed, they turned to retrace their steps, and endeavoured to double the point, the projection of which formed the southern extremity of the bay,
“I heard ye were here, frae the bit callant ye sent to meet your carriage," said the beggar, as he trudged stoutly on a step or two behind Miss Wardour, “and I couldna bide to think o' the dainty young leddy's peril, that has aye been kind to ilka forlorn heart that cam' near her. Sae I lookit at the lift and the rin o' the tide, till I settled it that if I could get down time enough to gie you warning, we wad do weel yet. But I doubt, I doubt, I have been beguiled, for what mortal ee ever saw sic a race as the tide is rinning e'en now? See, yonder 's the Ratton's Skeary—he aye held his neb abune the water in my day—but he's aneath it now.”
Sir Arthur cast a look in the direction in which the old man pointed. A huge rock, which in general, even in spring-tides, displayed a hulk like the keel of a large vessel, was now quite under water, and its place only indicated by the boiling and breaking of the eddying waves which encountered its submarine resistance.
“Mak' haste, mak' haste, my bonny leddy," continued the old man, “mak’ haste, and we may do yet! Take haud o' my arm,-an old and frail arm it's now, but it's been in as sair stress as this is yet. Take haud o' my arm, my winsome leddy! D’ye see yon wee black speck amang the wallowing waves yonder? This morning it was as high as the mast o’a brig—it's sma' eneugh now—but, while I see as muckle black about it as the crown o' my hat, I winna believe but we'll get round the Bally-burgh Ness, for a' that's come and gane yet.”
Isabella, in silence, accepted from the old man the assistance which Sir Arthur was less able to afford her. The waves had now encroached so much upon the beach, that the firm and smooth footing which they had hitherto had on the sand must be exchanged for a rougher path close to the foot of the precipice, and in some places even raised upon its lower ledges. It would have been utterly impossible for Sir Arthur Wardour and his daughter to have found their way along these shelves without the guidance and encouragement of the beggar, who had been there before in high tides, though never, he acknowledged, “in sae awsome a night as this."
It was indeed a dreadful evening. The howling of the storm mingled with the shrieks of the sea-fowl, and sounded like the dirge of the three devoted beings who, pent between two of the most magnificent, yet most dreadful objects of nature—a raging tide and an unsurmountable precipice-toiled along their painful and dangerous path, often lashed by the spray of some giant billow, which threw itself higher on the beach than those that had preceded it. Each minute did their enemy gain ground perceptibly upon them! Still, however, loath to relinquish the last hopes of life, they bent their eyes on the black rock pointed out by Ochiltree. It was yet distinctly visible among the breakers, and continued to be so, until they came to a turn in their precarious path, where an intervening projection of rock hid it from their sight.
Deprived of the view of the beacon on which they had relied, they now experienced the double agony of terror and suspense. They struggled forward, however; but when they arrived at the point from which they ought to have seen the crag, it was no longer visible. The signal of safety was lost among a thousand white breakers, which, dashing upon the point of the promontory, rose in prodigious sheets of snowy foam, as high as the mast of a first-rate man-of-war, against the dark brow of the precipice.
The countenance of the old man fell. Isabella gave a faint shriek, and “ God have mercy upon us !” which her guide solemnly uttered, was piteously echoed by Sir Arthur—“My child ! my child !—to die such a death !”
My father! my dear father!” his daughter exclaimed, clinging to him ; “and you too, who have lost your own life in endeavouring to save ours !”
“That's not worth the counting," said the old man. “I hae lived to be weary of life ; and here or yonder —at the back o' a dyke, in a wreath o' snaw, or in the wame o' a wave, what signifies how the auld gaberlunzie dies ?” “Good man,” said Sir Arthur,
can you think of nothing ?-of no help? I'll make you rich—I'll give you a farmI'll
“Our riches will be soon equal,” said the beggar, looking out upon the strife of the water; “they are sae already, for I hae nae land, and you would give your fair bounds and barony for a square yard of rock that would be dry for twal hours.”
While they exchanged these words, they paused upon the highest ledge of rock to which they could attain; for it seemed that any further attempt to move forward could only serve to anticipate their fate. Here, then, they were to await the sure though slow progress of the raging element, something in the situation of the martyrs of the early church, who, exposed by heathen tyrants to be slain by wild beasts, were compelled for a time to witness the impatience and rage by which the animals were agitated, while awaiting the signal for undoing their grates, and letting them loose upon the victims.
Yet even this fearful pause gave Isabella time to collect the powers of a mind naturally strong and courageous, and which rallied itself at this terrible juncture. “Must we yield life," she said, “without a struggle? Is there no path, however dreadful, by which we could climb the crag, or at least attain some height above the tide, where we could remain till morning, or till help comes? They must be aware of our situation, and will raise the country to relieve us."
Sir Arthur, who heard, but scarcely comprehended, his daughter's question, turned, nevertheless, instinctively and eagerly to the old man, as if their lives were in his gift. Ochiltree paused. “I was a bauld craigs