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The Days of Bruce Vol 1 A Story from Scottish History   By: (1816-1847)

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First Page:

[Illustration: p. 148.]

The

DAYS OF BRUCE

BY

GRACE AGUILAR

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.

THE

DAYS OF BRUCE;

A Story

FROM

SCOTTISH HISTORY.

BY

GRACE AGUILAR,

AUTHOR OF "HOME INFLUENCE," "THE MOTHER'S RECOMPENSE," "WOMAN'S FRIENDSHIP," "THE VALE OF CEDARS" ETC. ETC.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

NEW YORK: D. APPLETON & CO., 90, 92 & 94 GRAND ST. 1871.

PREFACE.

As these pages have passed through the press, mingled feelings of pain and pleasure have actuated my heart. Who shall speak the regret that she, to whom its composition was a work of love, cannot participate in the joy which its publication would have occasioned who shall tell of that anxious pleasure which I feel in witnessing the success of each and all the efforts of her pen?

THE DAYS OF BRUCE must be considered as an endeavor to place before the reader an interesting narrative of a period of history, in itself a romance, and one perhaps as delightful as could well have been selected. In combination with the story of Scotland's brave deliverer, it must be viewed as an illustration of female character, and descriptive of much that its Author considered excellent in woman. In the high minded Isabella of Buchan is traced the resignation of a heart wounded in its best affections, yet trustful midst accumulated misery. In Isoline may be seen the self inflicted unhappiness of a too confident and self reliant nature; while in Agnes is delineated the overwhelming of a mind too much akin to heaven in purity and innocence to battle with the stern and bitter sorrows with which her life is strewn.

How far the merits of this work may be perceived becomes not me to judge; I only know and feel that on me has devolved the endearing task of publishing the writings of my lamented child that I am fulfilling the desire of her life.

SARAH AGUILAR.

May , 1852.

THE DAYS OF BRUCE.

CHAPTER I.

The month of March, rough and stormy as it is in England, would perhaps be deemed mild and beautiful as May by those accustomed to meet and brave its fury in the eastern Highlands, nor would the evening on which our tale commences bely its wild and fitful character.

The wind howled round the ancient Tower of Buchan, in alternate gusts of wailing and of fury, so mingled with the deep, heavy roll of the lashing waves, that it was impossible to distinguish the roar of the one element from the howl of the other. Neither tree, hill, nor wood intercepted the rushing gale, to change the dull monotony of its gloomy tone. The Ythan, indeed, darted by, swollen and turbid from continued storms, threatening to overflow the barren plain it watered, but its voice was undistinguishable amidst the louder wail of wind and ocean. Pine trees, dark, ragged, and stunted, and scattered so widely apart that each one seemed monarch of some thirty acres, were the only traces of vegetation for miles round. Nor were human habitations more abundant; indeed, few dwellings, save those of such solid masonry as the Tower of Buchan, could hope to stand scathless amidst the storms that in winter ever swept along the moor.

No architectural beauty distinguished the residence of the Earls of Buchan; none of that tasteful decoration peculiar to the Saxon, nor of the more sombre yet more imposing style introduced by the Norman, and known as the Gothic architecture.

Originally a hunting lodge, it had been continually enlarged by succeeding lords, without any regard either to symmetry or proportion, elegance or convenience; and now, early in the year 1306, appeared within its outer walls as a most heterogeneous mass of ill shaped turrets, courts, offices, and galleries, huddled together in ill sorted confusion, though presenting to the distant view a massive square building, remarkable only for a strength and solidity capable of resisting alike the war of elements and of man.

Without all seemed a dreary wilderness, but within existed indisputable signs of active life... Continue reading book >>




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