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The girl before me seemed spring and sweet womanhood personified. Her slim figure was clad in a simple clinging dress of grey-green, the shade of aspen leaves, or that cool color one sees at the back of an incoming wave on a cloudy day; and in her face, with its drooping eyelids, tender curve from brow to chin, and pale forehead, a little compressed, like Pompilia's, with the weight of an invisible crown, that strange radiance I had noticed in the others seemed to have reached its greatest intensity; and when at last she raised her eyes, blue and shining like a summer sky, she appeared to my dazzled gaze a veritable star.
above all, no music-not a sound; there | joiced, with an artist's joy, in supreme was absolute silence- -a silence of the loveliness, that impersonal delight which senses, of the faculties, of the very inner- is art's most precious gift. most being, as well as of the lips; and this silence, in which no music raised the soul to God, no glory of color, or wealth of carving, or fragrance of incense, or impressive rites and noble liturgies, worked on the feelings, seemed fitted for pure spirit alone. The very whiteness and clearness of the little room itself, with its windows facing the hills, where, above a glory of purple and green, the lovely cloud-shadows drifted before a lazy wind, and the intangible sense of remoteness, of distance, were carefully calculated to lay no finger of earthly thought, or emotion, upon the flight of that spirit - the very silence itself seemed consciously waiting; and as the Friends drifted quietly in, the women no longer in outward garb "like rows of lilies," but yet each face a living flower, in its calm sweetness and lily-like purity of expression, and the men, for the most part of a noble type, tall, slight, regularly featured and blue-eyed, with a grave dignity and courteous grace in their whole appearance, a kind of awe fell upon me, a sort of half-frightened awakening from the careless agnosticism, neither happy nor miserable, with which I had hitherto regarded everything in life, or death, or eternity.
The room was presently about half-full of people quiet figures, who might have been carved in stone, for they never moved a muscle, or turned ever so slightly at each fresh entrance. Clad in black or grey, or some shade that scarcely broke the prevailing sombreness, they sat with clasped hands, gazing straight before them with a far-off, intent look, and a kind of white radiance in their faces, which I had never seen before; and I watched, inly marvelling, for it seemed as though the soul of each had conquered the flesh, and made the body a mere vehicle for its own revelation.
My fascinated gaze wandered from face to face, while outwardly I sat as moveless as the rest, until it reached one, and desired to go no farther, for this face was the most beautiful I had ever seen, or dreamed of. Now I realized Charles Lamb's description of a Quakeress; now I knew what I had been seeking in my troubled dream. As I looked, I understood that the mysterious whisperings of the poplar leaves, the rapture of the robin's song, the pure beauty of the white roses, and the subtle fragrance of the mignonette, were fitting heralds to this presence; and I re
I could scarcely breathe; I could not have spoken, I think, if my life had depended on a word; I could only look, and look, at the lovely unconscious face, and feel that I had never lived until that moment. It was not love, in its usual sense, that I felt, but something far deeper, something utterly impersonal, which, through this visible beauty, as through a glass, gave me a glimpse of that eternal "beauty of holiness" which all religions strive to teach, and is only brought near to us, made recognizable, through the strongest instincts of our nature. With me, as an artist, every visible fairness, whether of color, or form, or word, or tone, seemed but a broken shadow of some fairer reality; and thus this girl's beauty filled my soul with the rapture of a sudden realization of the unspeakable beauty of God beyond and behind it; and surely this is the object and end of all loveliness, of all genius, to raise and purify the spirit until it has won strength to unite itself with the Eternal Source of all beauty and truth.
At last, after what seemed a brief moment in time but a century in emotion, the slim, grey figure knelt down, and, with clasped hands and raised eyes, began to pray, in a voice soft as the coo of a dove at eventide, yet clear as a silver bell; and, as she prayed, a wonderful light seemed to shine upon the problems of life and death.
She spoke of the Light of the World, I remember; she prayed that he would shine clearly in all hearts that morning, and brighten all spirits, whether meeting together, like ourselves, or under other rules of worship, or wandering in the darkness of unbelief. She spoke of Holman Hunt's great picture, wherein the artist
had recognized, and shown forth for all time, the Master's love in seeking for these wanderers; then unconsciously, as it seemed, the pleading voice fell into rhythm, and described the marvellous picture's echo in her own heart.
My dreamful hills, purple with heather flowers, Wax radiant 'neath the passing of his feet;
And God's dear sunshine, amber-clear, and sweet,
Clings to his blown gold hair: from cool green bowers
Wing the small birds, athrill with song that dowers
The sapphire day: how shall my wan lips
This mighty Lord whose eyes I fear to My soul, will he in sooth heed word of ours? Master and King, and tenderest Comforter,
Is he, who loveth heather-flower and bird, Blue sky, sweet sunshine, and least things that be!
No meanest soul but he hath died for her No faintest prayer but this Crowned One hath heard
Love is his name, love only asketh he!
She paused a moment after the last line, and then added, with greatest fervor, "And in each of us, dear friends, the Light of the World is dawning to-day. If we listen with our souls, we shall hear his blessed voice; yea, and even now, methinks, my spirit's eyes can see him, standing on yonder hills, as once he stood on the hills of Galilee, the sunshine falling like a crown on his gracious brows, the lights and shadows flitting round him, like angels' wings, and each flower lifting its delicate head to kiss his feet, or the hem of his garment, as he passes. He comes slowly towards us, the Flower whose seed is in every soul, as its root is in God himself; waiting to reveal his blessed presence, as that inner light which will guide us safely through all sorrow, and temptation, yea, even through the darkness of sin, to his own land of everlasting peace. One prayer only is necessary from man to God: Lighten our darkness!' Let that prayer be in every heart, on every lip, this morning. A wise and beautiful spirit, which left earth darker at its flitting, once said, Truth can never be told so as to be understood without being believed,' and, therefore, Lighten our darkness' should be the burden of every prayer, the cry of every soul."
While she spoke, with long pauses between the clearness of her phrases, her face, with its great innocent blue eyes, became more and more "as it had been
the face of an angel!" At last, with a deep sigh, she was silent; presently she rose from her knees, and sat down as before, her head slightly bent forward, her hands clasped together. I remember nothing more of that morning meeting; around me, indeed, and the silent people, I sat there as in a trance, the white walls for no one spoke afterwards; but the solid building seemed to have become as bright and clear as glass, through whose transparent surface I could see the distant Cleveland Hills basking in the golden sunshine, the purple cloud-shadows throwing into strange and vivid relief the patches of the highest peak, stood a gracious, of grass at their feet, while, on the summit white-robed figure, with extended hands, as though preparing to descend into the valley, and come down into the little white room to bless the silent worshippers.
By and by the people began to move quietly out, and, still in a dream, I rose and followed them. An old man standing by the door held out his hand, with a grave "Good-morning!" and then, once again, I found myself in the fragrant air, saw the white roses clustering over the walls, the poplar leaves softly swaying to and fro, and the robin still singing in their cool dimness; everything exactly as I had seen it an hour before, and yet how different it all seemed to me! A subtle radiance suffused the world; and wherever my eyes fell, they met softly shining ones smiling a greeting back, with the far-away gleam of stars. I turned down to the sands, and wandered on, until gradually the people from the various churches, taking their orthodox little walk, neatly sandwiched between devotion and dinner, were left behind, and I was alone amongst the benthills, great waves of sand piled up into hiMocks by gradual seas, and held loosely together by strange grasses, - elymus and psamma stretched their long, attenuated, blue-green blades thickly over the yielding surface, until they seemed phantom waters, forever flowing softly on. Here and there, in the hollows sheltered from the sea, the ground was covered by the flushed pink flowers and slender, wild-rose-like leaves of the small rest-harrow, or by patches of the golden orange bird's-foot trefoil; and, more rarely, the wide yellow eyes of the potentilla repens smiled up at me, while the little pinkish-mauve flowerets of the sea-rocket crept cautiously along the slippery sand, and the sedum anglicum dotted itself about at intervals, its quaint stiff little personality giving a suggestion of strength and permanence, not warranted
by the fragility of its habit, or by the un- | akin to this silence of the meeting-house, certainty of its environment. wherein the whole congregation is, as it Noting these details half-unconsciously, were, the Beloved, and Jesus the Lover, I sat down on one of the hillocks, and so that gradually we grow to understand opening my sketch-book, let my heart the mystical communion of the Saviour guide my fingers into a rough sketch of and his Church. the scene I had just left; the kneeling While I sat there, seeing the people girl, with the spiritual radiance in her around me, indeed, with my bodily eyes, eyes, piercing the solid white walls, and but my spiritual ones piercing into the springing forth to meet the Light of the mysteries of God, a sense of inexpressible World. If only our realized work could peace and thankfulness filled my heart, be like the ideal presentment of our minds, and I lifted up perhaps the first real prayer what an added glory the rapture of crea of my life. Many moods have influenced tion would possess! But, alas! that is me since then; hours of doubt, of coldimpossible; the star that lights up our ness, of distrust, have wearied and sadsoul, the vision of perfect art, fades before dened my soul; hours when I have wearily the clumsy hand striving to copy its fair-plodded on through thick darkness, hardly ness, into a mere earthly rushlight. Still believing in the light at the end. Yet once the vision has been seen, the rush- never since that first Sunday when I enlight is precious because it recalls, how-tered the little Redcar meeting-house, and ever faintly, the immortal beauty of the gods.
That evening found me again at the door of the little meeting-house; and as I passed beneath the clustering white roses, which seemed visible images of the silent prayers offered up by the Friends inside, one half-blown flower blew against my lips, as though in welcome, and I sat down in what I had already begun to consider my "old place."
The girl who had prayed in the morning was there, peaceful and fair; but this even ing she was silent. I longed inexpressibly to hear her voice again; to listen to words of hope and comfort; to be calmed, and strengthened, and guided; to feel the light gradually dawning in my awakened spirit; and it seemed to me that for the first time I understood the living truth of Carlyle's words, "loving obedience in return for true guidance.' Amid the deep silence, at last an old man rose, and, opening a Bible he had brought with him, read the fourteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel: "Let not your heart be troubled. . . I will not leave you desolate ... My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." Everyone knows the tender, beautiful words; and he read them quite simply, yet as though each one found its echo in his own heart. And then followed another spell of that wonderful, inexpressibly soothing, silence. In the presence of a company of people, silence is usually embarrassing; the sweet silence which falls at intervals between a lover and his beloved, or between two friends whose spirits are set in the same key, a silence which implies an invisible presence uniting the two beings more closely than by chains of speech, is the only thing at all
heard the clear voice which guided me to the Light of the World, has that vision quite left me; and the blessed speech, and even more blessed silence, have but grown dearer and more expressive with each fresh experience.
As I went out, the stillness which heralds sunset and dawn lay upon the world, as though the messenger of God were flying across the earth, hushed to listen to his tidings. The fading light lay in small bright patches on the hillsides, almost swallowed up by the deep grey and purple shadows, which crept noiselessly, with long, stealthy strides, over the pale green fields, whose white daisies faintly glimmered amid the feathery heads of the tall grasses. Behind Hartlepool rose a broad stretch of sky, flooded with gorgeous crimson and gold, whose reflection made a wide path of yellow light across the quietly murmuring waters, and the curving sands were shining and glittering, as though sprinkled with star-dust.
My dazzled eyes turned southward; but there also the magic of sunset had worked a transformation, for the cliffs, stretching away beyond Saltburn, usually outlined in pale tints, were gleaming in rose-pinks, and yellow, and bright purples, melting into vivid greens, as the distant woods met, and lost themselves in the glory of color!
It was indeed a marvellously fair world to awaken in, and find one's soul waiting to interpret the all-pervading Deity; my spirit seemed to put forth wings like a dove, and to fly away swiftly through the sunset's golden gate into the land of heart's desire, wherein God is himself moon and sun, the Enlightening radiance revealing life and death, no longer tragical
mysteries, but twin-angels leading us to his feet.
During the day that followed I wandered about in my usual desultory fashion; but neither the quaintness nor actual beauty of many places I discovered, and sketched, could dim the spiritual charm of the ugly little grey town of Redcar, and 1 always came back to it with a feeling that it was my home. It is strange how that sweetest word in our language stamps itself indelibly, and in the passing of a flash of light, on some narrow space of earth, where, carelessly drifting through life, on a sudden our forgotten soul meets us face to face, and we start back af frighted, or spring forward joyously, at the revelation, and never again tread the old path without sin. The place of the vision will always be home to us, how soever far behind in the unresting journey of life we leave it; for what is home in its true sense but the gate of Heaven-the ladder by whose gradual climbing we reach God-the sheltered garden wherein we cultivate the precious flowers of love, and trust, and self-sacrifice, and patience, and truth, which, springing in the soil of our passing lives, grow purer and fairer with each day's tendance, until at last death sets them in God's own garden,
amid the eternal stars?
But the heart's home is not always the home of the spirit; and it is well, in these days of blatant speech, of noisy drum and trumpet voices, proclaiming their various gospels amid a deafening din of clashing arguments, to have one temple sacred to silence one place wherein the wearied spirit may creep quietly to the feet of God, with a voiceless prayer and an unuttered yearning. It is well, as a great bishop of our national church has beautifully said, to remember that "Beyond
From Murray's Magazine. GLIMPSES OF BYRON,
WITH SOME REFLECTIONS ON THEM.
BY THE REV. HENRY HAYMAN, D.D.
AN elderly friend of my youth, since gone his way to "the great majority," was born in the same year as Lord Byron, the poet, and made the academic course concurrently-or nearly so with him. Among incidents of his college days he vividly recalled the poet's pet bear that "rough customer" for the dons, but especially for
Unlucky Tavell! doomed to daily cares
It is uncertain to what particular incidents of scapegrace mischief the above couplet refers; but obviously the two plurals, "pupils " and "bears," are plurals of generality merely; and one sees that the bard himself in boxing-gloves, and made grotesque in cap and gown-a forhis shaggy protégé in native fur, or perhaps midable "cub" (as pupils were termed)
for a nervous tutor-are alone intended.
Did the bear paw-mark the sacred gravel of the great court? Was he imported into Mr. Tavell's staircase in a sedan-chair? Did he in an unguarded moment usurp a seat in the porter's lodge? These are questions that cannot now be answered. But my old friend distinctly remembered the personality of the animal, kept at livery in the stable-yard of an inn, which, probably rebuilt and enlarged, was still standing when I first knew Cambridge nearly forty years ago, and was, I think, The Castle and Falcon, or known by some have followed off the road the stage-coach similar title. Probably it may since then teams which it once sheltered; in one of lieved (but academic youth believe easily), which coaches, as academic youth bethat journey was performed, in which two travellers, booked as "Lord Byron and Mr. Bruin," occupied vis-à-vis corner seats from London to Cambridge- in fact the the former being brought up by the latter bear aforesaid and the noble bear-leader; ostensibly "to sit for a fellowship." My old friend had several times seen the bear (to whom landlord, ostler, and helps all acted as valets de chambre), on chain indeed, but unmuzzled, gambolling in the inn yard, and rolling sometimes into and out of the big tub which served him for a cubicle. The eccentric owner would take
these crowded thoroughfares which bewilder us, these crushing palaces of commerce which overwhelm us, this sordid glare which dazzles and saddens us, rises before the believer the holy city, pure and still." And I think there are times, under whatsoever special banner we wage the Lord's war against darkness and sin, when, to all of us, the silence of spiritual communion which the quiet of a Friends' Meeting-House offers would be useful and blessed; setting in many a life the seed of noble work and fruitful effort, and shining, amid a halo of tender remembrance, like a green isle in a stormy sea, in all lives which have experienced its remote and spiritual charm.
"Hints from Horace," where a note records the position of the Rev. G. T. Tavell as contemporary fellow and tutor of Trinity College, Cambridge.
him out to witness a cock-fight, or a time- | expedient to fish something up, if it be
And yet Byron was not without a genuine enthusiasm for animal life. "Have a care, or that monkey will fly at you!" was his caution to Moore, when visiting him much later in Italy, as he showed his future biographer to the door. One may also remember his engaging in a roadside quarrel in the same region "with a fellow who was impudent to my horse;" and his love for dogs culminates in his well-known epitaph on "Boatswain," which, commenting on the word "friend" as applied in human experience, concludes with:
Byron's athletic preferences were estab. lished in favor of boxing and swimming, chiefly by the unfortunate infirmity of his feet. Amateur rowing was at this period yet in the future, or his natural outlet would have been the college eight-oar, and much good its discipline would probably have done him; while his well-formed arms and shoulders would have certainly made him a very efficient oarsman, the malformation referred to not being such as to impede the use of the stretcher. As it was, he had nothing but the native muscle to rely on, and therefore boxed and swam. But later at Venice we hear of his sculling in the lagoon daily to the Armenian convent, with a preference for days of wilder weather, as if derived from his grandfather the admiral, known in the navy as "foul-weather Jack."
I never knew but one- and here he lies; the exaggerated misanthropy of which arose probably from some pique-or Again, at a later period, nearly twenty mere desire to add piquancy at the mo-years ago, it was my lot to make in a ment. On his dog-friends (or one of them), however, I shall have something to add further on. To return for the moment to his Cantab period. He records a pool at a mill-dam above Cambridge, where he used to dive, and cling at the bottom round the stump of one of the posts, and "wonder how the I got there." This quaint expression of wonder illustrates happily the groping sense of novel surroundings which the youthful diver experiences at a much less depth than "full fathom five." 66 Something new and strange," as Ariel sings, takes possession of one for the nonce, while the necessity of holding one's breath, involving the non-aëration of the blood, reacts on the brain, and imparts a dreaminess to the whole experience, which makes it seem
foreign capital the acquaintance of the probably last survivor of the circle who remembered Byron; one indeed belonging to a family, some of whose members had intimate relations with him. He had been at Harrow as a junior boy when Byron was still there as a senior; was indeed, I think, his fag, at any rate remembered him as sharing the "monitorial" authority which is mostly committed to upper boys. I gathered from him that Byron, as a "monitor" (if that is the correct Harrovian designation), was not only far from being a pillar of discipline, but equally remote from a wholesome personal example. His attitude towards authority, I gathered, was that of an impatient chafing on the curb, tempered by a reserve of personal loyalty to the headmaster; but for