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Saint Lucy Of The Eyes
by [?]

[ Taken from the Journals of Travel written by Stephen

Douglas, sometime of Culsharg in Galloway
.]

I.

O mellow rain upon the clover tops;

O breath of morning blown o’er meadow-sweet;

Lush apple-blooms from which the wild bee drops

Inebriate; O hayfield scents, my feet

Scatter abroad some morning in July;

O wildwood odours of the birch and pine,

And heather breaths from great red hill-tops nigh,

Than olive sweeter or Sicilian vine
;–

Not all of you, nor summer lands of balm–

Not blest Arabia,

Nor coral isles in seas of tropic calm.

Such heart’s desire into my heart can draw
.

II.

O scent of sea on dreaming April morn

Borne landward on a steady-blowing wind;

O August breeze, o’er leagues of rustling corn,

Wafts of clear air from uplands left behind
,

And outbreathed sweetness of wet wallflower bed,

O set in mid-May depth of orchard close,

Tender germander blue, geranium red;

O expressed sweetness of sweet briar-rose
;

Too gross, corporeal, absolute are ye,

Ye help not to define

That subtle fragrance, delicate and free,

Which like a vesture clothes this Love of mine
.

Heart’s Delight.”

CHAPTER I

THE WOMAN OF THE RED EYELIDS

It was by Lago d’Istria that I found my pupil. I had come without halt from Scotland to seek him. For the first time I had crossed the Alps, and from the snow-flecked mountain-side, where the dull yellow-white patches remained longest, I saw beneath me the waveless plain of Lombardy.

The land of Lombardy–how the words had run in my dreams! Surely some ancestor of mine had wandered northwards from that gracious plain. On one side of me, at least, I was sib to the vineyards and the chestnut groves. For strange yearnings thrilled me as I beheld white-garlanded cities strung across the plain, the blue lakes grey in the haze, like eyes that look through tears.

Yet hitherto a hill-farm on the moors of Minnigaff had been my abiding-place. There I had played with the collies and the grey rabbits. There I had listened to the whaup and the peewits crying in the night; and save the cold, grey, resonant spaces of Edinburgh, whither I had gone to study, this was all my eyes had yet known. But when Giovanni Turazza, exile from the city of Verona, paused in his reading of the sonorous Italian to rebuke my Scots accent, and continued softly to give me illustrations of the dialects of north and south, something moved within me that sickened me to think of the Lombard plain sleeping in the gracious sunshine–which I might never see.

Yet I saw it. I trod its ways and stood by its still waters. And already they are become my life and my home.

Now, I who write am Stephen Douglas, of the moorland stock of the northern Douglases–kin to Douglaswater, and on the wrong side of the blanket to Drumdarroch himself. It has been the custom that one of the Douglases should in every generation be sent to the college to rear for the kirk.

For the hand of the Douglas has ever been kind to kin; and since patronage came back–in law or out law, the Douglases have managed to put their man into Drumdarroch parish and to have a Douglas in the white manse by the Waterside. And so it is like to be when, as they say, the rights of patron shall again pass away.