Always cheerful and beneficent, Scott seemed to the common eye in like measure prosperous and happy, up to the last years, and the chair in which, under the pressure of the sorrows which led to his death, he was propped up to write when brain and eye and hand refused their aid, the product remaining only as a guide to the speculator as to the workings of the mind in case of insanity or approaching imbecility, would by most persons be viewed as the only saddening relic of his career. Yet when I recall some passages in the Lady of the Lake, and the Address to his Harp, I cannot doubt that Scott had the full share of bitter in his cup, and feel the tender hope that we do about other gentle and generous guardians and benefactors of our youth, that in a nobler career they are now fulfilling still higher duties with serener mind. Doubtless too they are trusting in us that we will try to fill their places with kindly deeds, ardent thoughts, nor leave the world, in their absence,
“A dim, vast vale of tears,
Vacant and desolate.”
NEWCASTLE.—DESCENT INTO A COAL-MINE.—YORK
WITH ITS MINSTER.—
SHEFFIELD.—CHATSWORTH.—WARWICK CASTLE.—LEAMINGTON AND
MARTINEAU.—W.J. FOX.—W.H. CHARMING AND THEODORE PARKER.—LONDON
We crossed the moorland in a heavy rain, and reached Newcastle late at night. Next day we descended into a coal-mine; it was quite an odd sensation to be taken off one’s feet and dropped down into darkness by the bucket. The stables under ground had a pleasant Gil-Blas air, though the poor horses cannot like it much; generally they see the light of day no more after they have once been let down into these gloomy recesses, but pass their days in dragging cars along the rails of the narrow passages, and their nights in eating hay and dreaming of grass!! When we went down, we meant to go along the gallery to the place where the miners were then at work, but found this was a walk of a mile and a half, and, beside the weariness of picking one’s steps slowly along by the light of a tallow candle, too wet and dirty an enterprise to be undertaken by way of amusement; so, after proceeding half a mile or so, we begged to be restored to our accustomed level, and reached it with minds slightly edified and face and hands much blackened.
Passing thence we saw York with its Minster, that dream of beauty realized. From, its roof I saw two rainbows, overarching that lovely country. Through its aisles I heard grand music pealing. But how sorrowfully bare is the interior of such a cathedral, despoiled of the statues, the paintings, and the garlands that belong to the Catholic religion! The eye aches for them. Such a church is ruined by Protestantism; its admirable exterior seems that of a sepulchre; there is no correspondent life within.