The father we may not dismiss so hastily. He was—but, before attempting the portraiture of his character, we will, to the best of our ability, sketch his person.
Let the reader fancy an old man of about sixty, possessed of that comfortable amplitude of person which is the result rather of a mind at peace with itself, and undisturbed by worldly care, than of any marked indulgence in indolent habits. Let him next invest this comfortable person in a sort of Oxford gray, coarse capote, or frock, of capacious size, tied closely round the waist with one of those parti-colored worsted sashes, we have, on a former occasion described as peculiar to the bourgeois settlers of the country. Next, suffering his eye to descend on and admire the rotund and fleshy thigh, let it drop gradually to the stout and muscular legs, which he must invest in a pair of closely fitting leathern trowsers, the wide-seamed edges of which are slit into innumerable small strips, much after the fashion of the American Indian. When he has completed the survey of the lower extremities, to which he must not fail to subjoin a foot of proportionate dimensions, tightly moccasined, and, moreover, furnished with a pair of old English hunting spurs, the reader must then examine the head with which this heavy piece of animated machinery is surmounted. From beneath a coarse felt hat, garnished with an inch-wide band or ribbon, let him imagine he sees the yet vigorous grey hair, descending over a forehead not altogether wanting in a certain dignity of expression, and terminating in a beetling brow, silvered also with the frost of years, and shadowing a sharp, grey, intelligent eye, the vivacity of whose expression denotes its possessor to be far in advance, in spirit, even of his still active and powerful frame. With these must be connected a snub nose—a double chin, adorned with grisly honors, which are borne, like the fleece of the lamb, only occasionally to the shears of the shearer—and a small, and not unhandsome, mouth, at certain periods pursed into an expression of irresistible humour, but more frequently expressing a sense of lofty independence. The grisly neck, little more or less bared, as the season may demand—a kerchief loosely tied around the collar of a checked shirt—and a knotted cudgel in his hand,—and we think our sketch of Sampson Gattrie is complete.
Nor must the reader picture to himself this combination of animal properties, either standing, or lying, or walking, or sitting; but in a measure glued, Centaur-like, to the back of a noble stallion, vigorous, active, and of a dark chesnut color, with silver mane and tail. In the course of many years that Sampson had resided in the neighbourhood, no one could remember to have seen him stand, or lie, or walk, or sit, while away from his home, unless absolutely compelled. Both horse and rider seemed as though they could not exist while separated, and yet Silvertail (thus was the stallion named) was not more remarkable in sleekness of coat, soundness of carcase, and fleetness of pace, than his rider was in the characteristics of corpulency and joviality.