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bear their proper color, the other half a deep purple hue, and yet all be perfectly natural; and how the young man resolved the riddle and gained his mistress, by introducing a transparent purple vase into the picture, and making the light pass through it on the flowers that were drooping over the edge. I returned to the quarry, convinced that a very exquisite pleasure may be a very cheap one, and that the busiest employments may afford leisure enough to enjoy it. The gunpowder had loosened a large mass in one of the inferior strata, and our first employment, on resuming our labors, was to raise it from its bed. I assisted the other workmen in placing it on edge, and was much struck by the appearance of the platform on which it had rested. The entire surface was ridged and furrowed like a bank of sand that had been left by the tide an hour before. I could trace every bend and curvature, every cross hollow and counter ridge of the corresponding phenomenon ; for the resemblance was no half resemblance-it was the thing itself, and I had observed it a hundred and a hundred times when sailing my little schooner in the shallows left by the ebb. But what had become of the waves that had thus fretted the solid rock, or of what element had they been composed? I felt as completely at fault as Robinson Crusoe did on his discovering the print of a man's foot on the sand. The evening furnished me with still further cause of wonder. We raised another block in a different part of the quarry, and found that the area of a circular depression in the stratum below was broken and flawed in every direction, as if it had been the bottom of a pool recently dried up, which had shrunk and split in the hardening. Several large stones came rolling down from the diluvium in the course of the afternoon. They were of different qualities from the sandstone below,
and from one another, and, what was more wonderful still, they were all rounded and water-worn, as if they had been tossed about in the sea, or the bed of a river, for hundreds of years. There could not, surely, be a more conclusive proof that the bank which had enclosed them so long, could not have been created on the rock on which it rested. No workman ever manufactures a half-worn article, and the stones were all half-worn! And, if not the bank, why, then, the sandstone underneath? I was lost in conjecture, and found that I had food enough for thought that evening without once thinking of the unhappiness of a life of labor."
That company of quarrymen on the banks of the Cromarty Frith, on that fine spring morning, had been a sight worth seeing. Nothing, probably, would have struck us as we marked the group going out in the morning. Nothing would have arrested our attention in the somewhat lank, bushy-headed, quiet-looking lad, who worked hard, but seemed somewhat of a novice, as we watched them at their toil. But, when we observed, at the hour of noon, that while the others went to lounge, or smoke, or doze, this young man found his rest and pleasure in gazing upon that sublime panorama, where, in the west, Wyvis presides among the mountains, and the glassy Frith lies lake-like at his feet, reminding one of the fine lines in which an American poet describes a great mountain, looking down in the pride of a monarch,
"While far below the lake in bridal rest
Sleeps with his glorious picture on her breast;
when we observed that his eye brightened with the glow of pure delight, and continued to rest on the scene until every feature was pencilled out and hung in the hall of
memory; we might have begun to suspect that there was something unusual in this mason. We might have begun to surmise, that nature had twined around his heart some of those finer threads of sympathy which draw her favored child away from the crowd to her own breast. We might have ventured to predict, that the man before us would not die in his present capacity. And then, when we returned with him to the quarry, and noted that, while the others who toiled with him, as they turned up stone after stone, found no sermons therein for them, and felt no questionings arise in their minds, his eye kindled with the quick piercing gleam of curiosity, and he could not resist the impulse to question, and examine, and infer; we might again have ventured to affirm, that nature had here a son who would one day know her well, and perhaps reveal her to men.
We should not have erred in our surmisings. The inquisitive look and cautious glance of that quarryman were signs of the presence of one of the finest observational capacities of the age. The training of the faculty had begun in early youth; its exercise was the solace of years of toil, and the ultimate guide to a brilliant and world-wide reputation. By the shores of the Friths of Cromarty and Moray, under the direction of Uncle Sandy, young Hugh had learned to watch the habits of the crab and the lobster, to admire the tints of the sea-moss, to wonder at the organization of the sea-hare and cuttle-fish. His life as a mason furnished admirable opportunities for the gratification of his curiosity, and the exercise of his observational powers. He was, he tells us, an explorer of caves and ravines a loiterer along sea-shores-a climber among rocks." Surrounded by the deep silence of a workman's life, in the seclusion of tastes unshared, of powers unknown, of ambition unawakened, he pursued, calmly,
steadily, accurately, his course of observation. Living a life in reality apart, strengthening and expanding his general powers by the study of philosophy and poetry he did not permit his observation to degenerate into a childish storing up of isolated facts. He combined a generalizing power of a high order, with that of minute, unfailing observation. He learned to unite the broad glance of the geographer, with the microscopic inspection of the mineralogist. He could chronicle every tint of hue, every line of form, in the scale embedded in the rock; while by wide philosophic induction, he could ascertain precisely what contribution was made by that scale to the geological history of the planet.
Traversing Scotland from the German Ocean to the Atlantic, from Pentland Frith to the Cheviots, living now among the craggy valleys of Argyllshire, now upon the sandy flats of Moray, his eye became accustomed to every form of landscape. He came speedily to know his country with that profound knowledge, which recognizes the anatomy under the form, and which can predict the form from the anatomy. Possessing also that delicate sensibility to beauty, and that familiar acquaintance with the descriptive stores of English poetry, to which we have already alluded, he was able to cast exquisite lights of fancy over those landscapes which science first revealed to him in their rugged and literal truth. His descriptions of nature were of a kind not merely to instruct and delight the man of science, but to afford intense gratification to the artist, and whoever had a soul open to the enjoyment of nature's beauty. We refer at present to a quality of description deeper than mere style. It relates to the exhibition of nature's facts, which must first be known, and that in a peculiar manner, before the effect can be produced. Miller's descriptions of natural scenes may be compared with those of Ruskin. FIRST SERIES. 30
He, as well as the great pictorial critic, produces pictures, clear, definite, visible, which one can hang up in the chambers of his mind, and gaze on with unsated pleasure. Hugh Miller and Ruskin started from different points. The latter set out from beauty. He looked over nature for the Beautiful. Had scientific accuracy proved inconsistent with beauty, he would have discarded scientific accuracy, and wrapped himself in a garb of fantasy. But as he looked over nature through the glass of beauty, he discerned, as he believed, that the loveliness of truth was greater than the loveliness of fantasy. So science became for him the handmaid of beauty; his imagination smiled most brightly beside the homely fires of fact. Miller started from the side of science. He sought for, he described, bare truth. He desired to know and show what the world was, making no postulate in favor of beauty. He opened his eyes and looked. He followed the lines, and imitated the colors, of reality. He held up the page, and lo! the result was beauty. Ruskin set out with poetry, and met science: Hugh Miller set out with science, and met poetry.
A parallel might be instituted, also, between Ruskin and Miller in this, That each attracted to his particular subject of study, a large audience of those previously repelled. Ruskin, by expounding Art on broader principles and in a more eloquent manner than had been formerly done, by freeing it of encumbering technicalities and allying it to general human sympathy, drew a vast miscellaneous audience to listen to essentially profound and accurate artistic teaching. Miller, by arraying science in that garb of beauty which belongs to all the visible forms of nature, allured a similar audience to receive scientific instruction of a kind correspondingly deep and exact.
As a geologist, Hugh Miller stands in the highest of all