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through the recesses of this valley and the surrounding hills; she goes singing her little roundelays over the whole wilderness, and there is scarcely a rock, a cave, or a precipice, which has not echoed to her song.' "Forgive me (said I), if I ask whether you are a native of this valley; your conversation would lead me to think not." "Alas, sir! (replied the matron,) I saw many years of sorrow before I came to this solitude. My husband was an officer of distinction in the army-but, hush! (said she, putting her finger to her lips,) Lilian is coming;-and I think it but fair to keep the canker from the bud, let the old tree decay as it will," added she, forcing a smile as her daughter approached.

At the end of the arbour where I sat, the foliage was sufficiently thick to conceal me, yet not so dense as to prevent my seeing what might pass without; receiving a significant smile from the widow, I withdrew myself farther into the shade, just as the girl had reached the foot of the bridge. When she came to the middle where the water was deepest, she stopped, and clasping her hands, while she drew them to her neck with that natural grace which belongs to the period of extreme youthfulness, at the same time bending her aërial form into the attitude of one supplicating inwardly, she looked at her mother with an intensity of expression, which denoted more heartful feelings than words could possibly convey. This beautiful apparition seemed to have but just escaped the age of childhood; or rather, extreme innocence had prolonged that portion of her life beyond its due period; her figure was small, but exquisitely proportioned, as was evident from her delicate arms bare almost to the

shoulder, and her tiny feet and ancles which the mountain dress she wore was not calculated to conceal. Her hair was of a glossy fairness, and her complexion of that fine bloom which arises from health and purity of blood. Considerably heightened by exercise, the glow of her cheek was only surpassed by the bright redness of her mouth, which seemed indeed the very bed of sweetness. Eyes, with which we are inclined to imagine angels, heavenly blue and liquid from the overflowing of a tender and sensitive heart. A simple white wrapper of very thin muslin, showing off the harmony and gracefulness of her figure to the greatest advantage, and more like a mist than a garment, shrouded this little goddess; and as the foam of the cataract curled to her foot, or burst in a thousand frothy shapes around her, she stood like the Naiad of the River, which thundered in unruly joy at receiving her amongst its billows.

In this attitude she advanced, brightening as she approached her mother, and mincing her steps with girlish sportiveness, till she came within a few paces of the bower; then unclasping her hands and spreading her arms, as if to embrace her anxious parent, like a spirit at play, she began a kind of fantastic dance; and as her nimble fairy feet twinkled on the green turf, and her thin garb floated on her shoulders like wings, I thought the veritable Ariel swam before my sight. Fondly tantalizing her delighted mother, who sat with outstretched arms to receive her, while tears of joy trickled from her eyes, the playful girl still continued, without actually touching, to hover round her, accompanying her fantastic movements with a little song of the wildest sweetest cadency.

I've been roaming! I've been roaming!
Where the meadow dew is sweet,
And I'm coming! and I'm coming!
With its pearls upon my feet.

I've been roaming! I've been roaming!

O'er red rose and lily fair,

And I'm coming! and I'm coming!

With their blossoms in my hair.

I've been roaming! I've been roaming!

Where the honeysuckle creeps,

And I'm coming! and I'm coming!
With its kisses on my lips.

Here the fairy threw herself into her mother's breast, and was covered with kisses, as fervently repaid.

The favourite goat, which had been her companion, now presented itself at the entrance of the bower, having a little basket of light osier suspended from one of its horns, and containing a profusion of flowers which its mistress had gathered in her excursions. In rising from her mother's lap to relieve her companion from its charge, my figure met her view. A blush, at the recollection that she had been seen by a stranger, overspread her whole face, bosom, and even her arms, with the deepest crimson. When the good woman presented her to me as her daughter, with her cheek half averted, she made me a simple curtsey, and retired almost like a child behind her mother. In a little time we went to breakfast in the arbour, and the business of the scene was a relief to her embarrassment, but she remained in total silence, whilst at every turn of my head the blood mantled involuntarily to her cheek and bosom. In this secluded valley, where perhaps no one of my sex above the grade of a peasant had ever appeared, and from which society was naturally excluded, neither her bashfulness nor her reserve surprised me, especially when I considered her extreme youth; but that such a beautiful creation could exist upon earth, without drawing the world to adore it as the symbol of heavenly perfection, was to me totally inexplicable.

Sensations which I never had experienced before, sensations under which my entire frame trembled with an agitation at once excessive and pleasurable, now took possession of my soul; I seemed to have plunged into a new world, a world of superior purity, where the softness of the air, and the brightness of the verdure, had exalted my feelings to a height of enthusiasm and intense sensitiveness, which we attribute to the inhabitants of our visionary vales of eternal blessedness. Shut in from the common occurrences of life which might destroy the illusion, placed amid scenery so romantic, so melancholy, so lovely, it was no wonder if to one of my fervid imagination, his nature should seem to be exalted by the place, rather than the beauty of the scene to be exaggerated by his en

thusiastic disposition. I forgot the actual world,-forgot that I was in it, and gave myself wholly up to the dreams of fancy. The sylvan Goddess, or spirit of this place, had now become familiar, and as she hovered around my path, pointing out the freshest spots where I might recline while she sung me into slumber, and showing me the various flowery treasures of her enchanted garden, I thought of Eden, of Elysium, of Paradise, fancied I had already by some forgotten means been transported to one of these delightful abodes, and her own angelic airy form confirmed the delusion. In fact, this singular girl had a character of mind and frame which was quite preternatural; she was a perfect, I had almost said real, Wood-nymph; her form, her actions, her thoughts, were those that belong to such a being. She seemed to have imbibed the very spirit of germination which pervaded the wild productions of her native valley; the tenderness and diminutive symmetry of its herbage, had imparted a like delicacy and grace to her form; the purity and fineness of its elements had infused themselves into her blood; the wildness of its imagery, its sublimity, and its beauty, had assimilated the disposition of her mind to themselves. She was something between earthly and celestial; she had the form of a mortal, but the habits of a spirit.

For the first two or three days which I spent in the Vale of the Waterfalls (as it was called), Lilian was distant and reserved, but when a little habituated to my presence, with the freedom which we see in childhood when fear has subsided, she became affectionate and familiar, nor was there ever in her manners that coyness which generally distinguishes maidenhood; she seemed to be totally unconscious that it was necessary, and gave herself to my society as she would to that of a brother.

I became her inseparable companion. She would lead me through the devious paths of the wilderness, and bring me to the several grottos and fountains, and fresh rolling streams, with which this solitude abounded; she would guide my steps over little hillocks blooming with the loveliest flowers, and glades of the sweetest verdure; then having em

bosomed me among these inextricable recesses, disappear like a wraith in some dell or hollow, and start up again when I least expected her. One day as I sat alone under the shade of a rock, I felt something rustle softly in my bosom, and looking round perceived the girl skipping down from the rock, with the ribband which had first seduced me to this valley in her hand, and laughing

gaily as she waved it round her head. She had silently mounted the rock behind me, and snatched the ribband from my breast, where I had preserved it. I attempted to recover it, but she escaped me like a shadow before I had run a dozen paces. In a short time she re-appeared, and coming up to me, threw a little knot of blue flowers into my bosom, singing

Sweet blue-bells we,

Mid flowers of the lea The likest in hue to heaven, Our bonnets so blue

Are tinged with the dew.

That drops from the sky at Even.

Our bloom more sweet

'Than dark violet,

Or tulip's purple stain,
At every return

Of the dew-breathing morn, Grows brighter and brighter again!

A very remakarble circumstance attending my acquaintance with this creature was, that, except on the above occasion, I never knew what it was to feel her touch; and even here, the sensation was more that of a breeze rustling in my bosom, than of a mortal hand. Though perfectly familiar and unsuspicious, whenever I approached within the possibility of touching her, she seemed to flit from me by imperceptible degrees, so that I could not at this moment assert, except from the evidence of sight and reasoning, that she was actually corporeal. Indeed all her habits and actions partook of another nature. She spoke little; expressing herself mostly by gestures or inarticulate modulations of voice. When she did utter words, they were breathed in a kind of recitative or cadence, or, as was most generally the case, her sentiments were conveyed in the form of a song. I have given a few specimens of these; and although simplicity is their principal attribute, when aided by her angelic voice and expressive gestures, they were the wildest and sweetest imaginable. In fact she had a natural turn for poetry; education had nothing to do with it; both her poetry and the music with which she accompanied it, were irregular and inartificial, like the song of a bird, the murmur of a brook, or the sigh of a tree-more the involuntary emanations than the premeditated combina

tions of sounds. Such of her songs as I can recall to memory-for as she sung from momentary impulse it was extremely difficult to find her repeating the same words except on similar occasions-such of these as I could collect on the instant will appear in order, whilst I endeavour to give some notion of this extraordinary girl, with whom the happiest, if not the most rational moments of my life were spent.

Her mother has often told me that she did not know how Lilian subsisted. She would never sit down to a regular meal, but would sometimes take a morsel of bread with her when she purposed a distant excursion, and even this would be found strewed on some pathway for the birds who might happen to light there. She was impatient of confinement; and often when her mother had seen her to bed, on going into her room an hour after, it would be found empty, and Lilian escaped unseen to wander by moonlight in the valley. This happened frequently during my resi dence there; and once being excited by curiosity, I went out in search of her and found her in the bottom of a dell-drinking dew out of the cups of flowers. "Lilian," said I, "why have we lost you?" "My sisters! my sisters!" answered she impatiently. "What sisters?" "Look! look!" said she, pointing to some fantastic shapes into which the spray of the distant cataract were formed by the reflection of

the moon. "I see nothing but the river foam dancing in the moonbeams." "These," she replied, "these are my sisters, the only sisters Lilian ever knew; Listen! do they not speak to each other?' "Come, you are too romantic, Lilian; the water as it falls murmurs indistinctly, and at this distance misleads you." "Nearer then!" said the girl, "I must hear what they say." And before I could interpose, she rushed to the brow of the cata

ract and disappeared. Uttering a cry of terror I followed, and just as I had reached the spot where she vanished, her mother came to tell me that Lilian had returned to the cottage. I retired to my chamber, lost in astonishment at this singular occurrence. In the morning, when her mother expostulated with Lilian about the imprudence of wandering in the night air, she replied in a roundelay.

The wren hath her nest at the root of a tree,
And the tufted moss is the couch of the bee,
Where rain nor cold hath power to harm her;
The bed of the eagle is built in the sky,
And the bittern in rushes doth nightly lie;
Then why should Lilian's bed be warmer?

Her senses were incontestably more acute than belongs to the nature of mortality. She would often stop in the midst of our conversation, to listen, as she said,—to the wind walking over the flowers; and accordingly in a little time I would perceive the breeze to swell into a transient gust as it passed by the place where we stood. Whether in some instances her romantic imagination might not have suggested ideal murmurs I will not decide, but her de

Hear! hear!

licate perceptions of sound were mostly verified by fact. I remember sitting with her one sunny day on the river bank in a sequestered part of the vale, when, after a fit of contemplative silence, upon my addressing myself to break it, she raised her head, and motioning me to be still, began in a low tremulous voice, scarcely distinguishable from the mixed murmur which rises from the breast of the woodland in summer time, a kind of irregular chaunt

How the vale-bells tinkle all around
As the sweet wind shakes them-hear!
What a wild and sylvan sound!
Hear! hear!

How the soft waves talk beneath the bank,
And rush sighs to willow-hear!

Most reeds sigh to willow dank!

Hear! hear!

How the blue fly hizzes in the air
With his voice in his tiny wings-hear!
He sings at his flowery fare!
Hear! hear!

How the wood-bird murmurs in the dark,
And the distant cuckoo chimes-hear!
From the sun-cloud trills the lark!

She could discriminate accurately between the scents of flowers of the same species, so as to name them blindfold. Her sight was so fine that she would detect the minnows lying on the bed of a stream, in the darkest weather, when to me they were indistinguishable from the slimy pebbles of the bottom; on putting down a straw to the place she pointed out, they flitted. Her other senses were equally discriminative.

But in what she chiefly resembled

our notions of a spirit, was the lightness, grace, and peculiar swiftness of her motion. Something between flying and dancing. Her movements were so rapid that sometimes it required no great stretch of superstition to believe that she actually vanished into the air. The wild and restless life she led, wandering over hill, dell, rock, and precipice, had given an elasticity to her foot, which made her seem to tread on air; whilst the slightness of

her limbs, formed on the most delicate model of beauty and grace, appeared by the tremulous instability which they gave to her frame, to indicate a necessity for perpetual and ever-varying motion. I had often dreamed of Attendant Spirits, Sylphs, Houris, Semi-deities, and imagined beings partaking of a double nature, the spiritual and corporeal, beings of an intermediate class, whose outlines and figures were human, but whose form was insubstantial; whose actions, habits, and thoughts were not preternatural, nor supernatural wholly, but such as human actions, habits, and thoughts, would be when refined by some celestial alchemy which would clear them of their grossness without divesting them of their specific essence: with such visionary beings had my waking dreams been peopled, but never until now were these conceptions apparently realized. This creature adequately represented my preconceived notion of an intermediate being.

The surface of the Vale of the Waterfalls was not uniform, but was broken into numberless hillocks and dells in miniature, interspersed with the several varieties of rock, cleft, grove, glade, and declivity. Amid these romantic solitudes was Lilian ever straying; every singular or characteristic point of the Vale, was to her in place of a companion; hillocks, rocks, shrubs, and flowers, the people of the wilderness, were to her in place of society. I have frequently wandered for the whole day in search of her, and perhaps found her at length in a shady nook singing to the wild flowers, or on a sunny bank dancing round a knot of cowslips, or hovering on the brink of the torrent chaunting her mystic verses to its monotonous numbers. Sometimes I have accompanied her from the cottage door, while she rambled like a wild bee from bank to dell, and from shrub to flower, conversing with her by snatches, but never finding it possible to confine her either to one subject or one place. The character of her thoughts was wildness mingled with deep tenderness and melancholy; but she was at times gay and playful. A high strain of sublimity would often convert the sylph into a sybil, when the changes in the face of nature gave a gloomy colour to

her mind; for her wildness, melancholy, gaiety, and sublimity of imagination, were nothing but the transcripts of those passions which seem to animate the system of natural things. A wild rock or a solitary cave attracted her notice, she grew romantic or melancholy: a sunny flower or a darkly-waving pine caught her eye, she became gay or gloomy accordingly. But as the predomi nating features of the solitude even in its most charming dress were melancholy and wildness, so the general characteristics of her thoughts were sadness and romance.

We sat one evening on the river side, just at the foot of the princi pal cataract, where the waves plunging from on high down into a rocky basin, shook the very bank we sat on by their fall, and drowning each other in the pool, raised a continual din and echo by their struggles and tumultuous contentions. The wind had swept in frequent gusts through the vale during the latter part of the day, but as night approached the old trees began to groan with a heavier blast, and the wild birds flew with fearful screams to the groves; the small flowers closed up their breasts rapidly, and committed themselves to the storm, whilst the river seemed to foam and swell under the chafing wing of the tempest. In a few minutes the rack began; thunder broke in tremendous peals over our heads, leaves flew in eddies through the air, the shrill reed whistled, and the swinging pine moaned loudly in the night wind, whilst the caves and narrow passages between rocks swelled the terrific chorus by their hollow voices. Shuddering, I turned to Lilian. She had risen, and was hanging over the brink of the whirlpool, muttering something which, by its wildness and incoherence, resembled an incantation. Her delicate white arms were crossed upon her bosom, her long hair flew over her shoulders on the wind, and her little cheek grew pale as she uttered her mystic numbers to the roar of the torrent. "Lilian," said I, "come away, the night grows terrific." She answered not, but elevating her voice till it nearly reached a scream, and mingled with the noise of the waves like the cry of one drowning, she chaunted a wild rhapsody, her eye almost lighted to frenzy, and her cheek whitening every moment

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