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to give the world a history of his “Schools and Schoolmasters," and had he confined himself to the genteel, we had probably never possessed his autobiography; his experiences of the conventionally genteel, especially in early life, being of the very slenderest kind. All honour to thee, brave one, for thy perfect unreserve on this matter ! Now that public attention is being gradually awakened to this colossal social wrong, by which nearly every usage of civilized life is held in abeyance, and man almost reverts to the savage state, thy views are worth a waggon-load of the grandiloquence of sentimental philanthropists, who find in talking about the grievances of labour a cheap mode of establishing a reputation as the poor man's friends. Of old, the workman required to be warned against demagogues of his own order: now he stands in nearly equal, if not greater danger from demagogues of the genteeler sort, who affecting a great interest in his well-being, are in point of fact only making his grievances, real or supposed, the rostrum from which to acquire the little passing personal notoriety they are silly enough to mistake for fame.
We left Hugh Miller enjoying his winter holidays with William Ross. The holiday season is now over. Winter with its moonlight walks and moody reveries is gone, and spring has come again, bringing with it its round of labour-quarrying, building, and stone-cutting. But before midsummer work has failed uncle David, his squad is thrown out of employment, and after a most vexatious interregnum, the old man, now during more than a quarter of a century an employer of labour, is reluctantly compelled to become a journeyman. Misery, it is said, makes man acquainted with strange bed-fellows, and this misfortune of his master, whom Hugh was too loyal to leave in the hour of adversity, first brought him into contact with that degrading form of social life known as the bothy system. It was at some twenty miles' distance on the Conon shore, one of those lovely spots where, as Heber has it, “every prospect pleases, and only man is vile,” that he entered this new and noisy school. Despite the criticism of Foster, there is much if there be not even absolute truth in the poet's aphorism, “the proper study of mankind is man;" and here certainly man might be studied to very great advantage by the competent student. In old and settled societies like our own, nearly all of character and peculiarity is either taken out of the mass of the population, or is veiled with so thick a crust of conventionalism that it is well nigh impossible to discover its original features. The liberalizing influence of travel springs mainly from its power to counteract this sinister result of an old civilization. The wanderer in foreign parts gets emancipated from the tyrannic power of custom, the edge is taken off his overweening admiration of the conventional, and he is enabled to contemplate his fellow-man without those accessories through which alone many deign to look at him at all. Very graphically has John Kitto described this influence. “Oh! how it has delighted me,” says Kitto,“ to take a man distinguished from his brother man by a thousand outward circumstances, which make him appear at the first view almost as another creature; and after knocking off his strange hat, his kullah, or his turban; after helping him off with his broadcloths, his furs, or his muslins; after clipping his beard, his pigtail, or his long hair; after stripping away his white, black, brown, red, or yellow skin, to come at last to the very man, the very son of Adam, and to recognize by one touch of nature, one tear, one laugh, one sigh, one upward or downward look, the same old, universal heart—the same emotions, feelings, passions, which have animated every human being, from the equator to the poles, ever since that day on which the first man was sent forth from Paradise.” Hugh Miller had not seen foreign parts, had not mingled with men of many nations, tongues, and peoples; the turbaned and pigtailed sons of the Orient were known to him only by report; but his peculiar experiences in the bye-paths of social life at home, taught him nearly as much as most men learn abroad. The minuteness of his acquaintance with Scottish life, especially in its lowlier forms, was probably never surpassed. In collecting his Border minstrelsy, Scott had indeed made himself pretty familiar with that life in even its humblest walks; its "lights and shadows" have been painted, as Christopher North alone could paint their glory and their gloom. Burns knew its every aspect, from its most exalted to its most abject phase; and whether in the halls of the noble, carrying duchesses off their feet, or careering on the crest of riot in the rag-castle of Poosie Nancy, seemed equally at home. But neither Scott, Wilson, nor Burns, was ever the victim of that most vicious of all social arrangements, the barrack life; in Miller's youth only in its infancy, but unhappily now too generally diffused over Scotland. The impression which that life produced upon the prudent, studious, contenplative youth was far from pleasant; and though the bothy was not destitute of a certain amount of boisterous hilarity, life in such circumstances was in reality sad. May we hope that Hugh Miller's experiences upon this topic will be duly weighed and pondered by the friends of social reform, and that the remembrance of such a man having been for a time the victim of so atrocious a system, will stimulate their efforts in its destruction ?
From reason's earliest dawn until reason was no more,
Hugh Miller seems to have been encompassed with a strange machinery of the wild and supernatural. Go where he would, he was perpetually meeting some ministrant to that element of the mysterious, which so often sheathes in clouds and darkness the flame of reason, leaving man the prey of gorgons, spectres, and chimeras dire. It might have been supposed that bothy-life was not likely to bring the young mason in contact with anything more than the riotous glee and practical joking of the barrack; but it was not so. He had repaired to a hayloft, the only place of shelter he could find on the first night passed in this new school; and flinging himself down in his clothes on a heap of straw, was soon fast asleep: but unaccustomed to so rough a couch, he awoke about midnight, and took his station at a small window that looked out upon a dreary moor, a ruinous chapel, and solitary burying-ground. The evening was calm and still, but dark for the season; when to the great astonishment of the solitary tenant of the loft, a light flickered among the grave-stones and ruinsm-now seen -now hid, like the revolving lantern of a light-house; and what seemed a continuous screaming was distinctly heard. The light, quitting the churchyard, came downwards across the moor in a straight line, though tossed with many a wave and flourish. In a moment one of the servant girls of the mansion-house came rushing out half-dressed, and awakening the workmen, summoned them immediately to rise,—“mad Bell had broken out again.” The men instantly arose, and as they appeared at the door, were joined by the solitary watcher from above; but on striking out a few paces into the moor, the maniac was found in the custody of a couple of men