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"An' Miss Berry, she'd ha' given the world to come an' help in nursin' you, honey, ^but she wouldn't be lot. ''Tisn't no house for the likes of my daughter to stop in,' se/. the missus, very grand in herself. • They're only shopkeepers an' people in trade,' sez she, ' such as we ought never to consort with,' sez she, which its very right, in course, the rale ould quality should keep away from: but there's a young lady down stairs, an' indeed an' indeed she's just fit to be the daughter of the Queen, so she is— so sweet-spoken an' so lovely in herself!"
A faint colour tinged poor Lancelot's pale, half-averted face as he inquired—"what became of the fawn?"
"• Oh, thin, it's wishiu' the same fawn far enough I am," was the reply, " an' you mostly to lose yer life by the maues of it! Truth, its below, wid a blue ribbin round its neck, an' made a pet of like a young child. Sure, Phil, the huntsman, brained a couple o' the dogs before they'd let it go. An' here," producing a wineglass, "here's a draught you was to take the minit you woke."
A highly inflammatory proceeding was all this conversation, but happily the patient was none the worse for it; having fallen into a deep sleep, he continued so for many hours, until the shaded candle had given place to shaded daylight; until the doctors had quietly come and quietly gone, stealthily counted his pulse, and listened on the landing to nurse's discreet account of the night (which omitted a good deal of irrelevant matter, such as the above conversation), and assured Mr. Charley that nothing could be more favourable than the state of the patient; wrote some hieroglyphics, nevertheless, on note-paper, with an intention (whether well or ill-founded, shall the homreopathists judge ?) of making him still better, and so departed.
The first object on which Lancelot's waking eyes lighted was that most unusual figure for any apartment he inhabited—a man kneeling. It was Mr. Charley, who rose after a few moments.took his outstretched
hand, and breathed fervently, "Thank God, the hearer of prayer!"
Young Latymer tried to utter a few words of gratitude. "Don't think of it, my dear sir, don't think of it! It's the very least we could do. Hurt yourself in trying to save Dora's pet, too! That showed the amiable heart I like to see in youth —feeling for the dumb creatures. No thanks, no thanks, my dear young gentleman. There now—you see I positively have to go away.'' And he looked back from the door to charge Nurse that he should not talk or excite himself.
"Misther Lancelot," said she in a whisper—" there's what he's been doin' every single day since you come, prayin' for you at the bedside as reglar as the mornin'. Sorra sich a religious man ever I see, ban-in' a priest: sure his soul must be made long ago'.'"
Of enjoyment in the exercises of religion—of praying because he knew he was listened to by a living God, and because he loved to speak to his Almighty Friend ; of being a Christian not in order to be saved, but because he was already saved with Christ's everlasting salvation; of these peculiarities in Mr.Charley's character and conduct, this Romanist and this nominal Protestant could equally understand nothing. Lancelot lay wondering that he had not a very long face and sour aspect, and did not speak with a drawl through his nose.
Wearisome days were appointed for Lancelot thenceforth during a little space. At first he did not chafe, being too weak; he dozed and dreamed through the hours of light quietly enough, after the couple of events of his morning—the physician's visit, and that of his kind host, who, the next day after Lancelot had been pronounced out of danger, drew forth his pocket Bible, and said, "I thought a few words of this might do you no harm, my dear young friend: I find it the greatest comforter and soother whenever I've anything the matter with me in mind, body, or estate:" and with no more preliminaries of leave, he read a few verses from one of the Gospels, embodying a miracle done by our blessed Lord. What struck Lancelot about the reading was this: that the simple earnestness of utterest belief sounded in every word.
•' And if you'd like to know the link that holds you, who lie here on your sick bed, to that miracle wrought so long ago, my dear young friend, I'll give it you: 'Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.' That's what we've to do with it; it shows us what He is, living in heaven at this hour, and what sort of heart He has."
The reader's annotations were never longer nor more abstruse than this. And young Latymer certainly began to think more than he had ever done about the universe of invisible things opened up to us in the Bible—that interpreter of the Unseen into the actual aud tangible. But it is a solemn truth that the soul must hunger before it can be filled with the bread from heaven, and thirst ere it can be satisfied with the water from the wells that spring up unto everlasting life; and so, on the whole, the listener deemed these readings stupid and tedious enough, as was to be expected.
Another incident of his day was the visit from his father. There never had been much companionsliip between them: the illness of one of the parties could not alter this. Mr. Latymer would sit in an arm-chair facing the recumbent figure of his son, and endeavour to make interesting talk for him, occasionally solacing himself by taking snuff in his superb manner, out of a gold box with all the quarterings on the lid. The petty dabbling in literature which was Mr. Latymer's chief pursuit, was almost as unintelligible to his son as it Would have been to his hunter Blue-bottle. Having never read a line of Bacon in his life, all the "blemishes" escaped him as well as the beauties. Round Towers another favorite subject of essay with his father, on which he had long been making notes and emendations, were to him simply objects in a landscape, not objects of archieolqgical disquisition; for truly he cared not a
bawbee who built them, but was content to accept them as an established fact. Consequently he lacked sympathetic feeling when he was told—
"A fact of real importance has come to light, my dear Lancelot: I have at. last found the key to the round towers."
"I didn't know that any of them had doors remaining, sir," was the reply, uttered in real good faith. "I thought they were all ruins."
"That figurative expression means," said Mr. Latymer, becoming very stately, " the solution to their architecture, their style, their period. Clearly Cyclopean: the same sort of masonry as is to be seen in the walls of Argos and Messene."
•' Indeed, sir!" said Lancelot, thinking that adverb safe not to betray his ignorance.
"Yes: do you see how it bears upon the migrations of the LidoEuropean races '.' Establishes a distinct relationship between the Celts and the primitive Hellenes, you perceive. The train of reasoning is minute and delicate: when you are sufficiently recovered—"
"I am to be moved to the library to-morrow, father."
"These excellent people seem to make you very comfortable. Never met with a more excellent man than Mr. Charley:" (now had he considered the latter to be of his own rank, he would have used the surname alone: but as he was far from such equalisation he was punctilious about the "Mr.") "A little too religious for a man of the world, to bo sure—persons of his class are so liable to carry matters to extremes: but still a most excellent man. I was remonstrating with him only this morning about his refusal to subscribe to the race ball.' Prejudices apart,' I said, * why don't you do it as a matter of policy? You are here amongst us as a novus homoit's expected from a man in your position, a magistrate and a landholder. You can't expect to be popular without making such—we'll say, sacrifices.' Then he said something about not wanting to be popular. Now I happen to know that there was some difficulty made in the managing committee about applying to him at all; two or three of the more blue-blooded would have nothing to do with a retired tradesman. I interfered personally:" and even Lancelot's small imagination could picture the ineffable grandeur with which that interference was effected. "I said, 'Mr. Charley is my friend, a most worthy kindhcarted. excellent person as ever lived !'" (We fear it was said with a loftiness and condescension suitable to a declaration of character for steward or servant.) "And you see. under the circumstances, and after my having thus stood sponsor for him, as it were, his refusal to have anything to do with the races or the ball, places me in an awkward—to say the least of it, an awkward position."
But as he tapped the gold box in his grand way, it was easy to know that he did not believe in any possible awkwardness besetting a Latymer of Kyle.
Mr. Charley had told Mr. Latymer that he could not subscribe to the races, or to the ball that would follow, because he did not believe that either scene was such as a Christian man should encourage by his money or his presence.
"But, my dear sir, it will be considered so singular if you act upon such ideas!"
"AndI must even dare to be singular for my Master's sake, who has given me the charge. 'Be not conformed unto this world.'"
The conference broke up here. Mr. Charley found generally that conferences did break up at a straightforward avowal of his Christian principles.
THE OLD OLD STORY.
With what longing does a convalescent look forward to that great event, the leaving of the sick room for some room where nobody has been sick, but everything savours of that common health which now seems happiness! How is the day spied from afar, and marked with a red letter by anticipation, and those
reckoned enviously in a black list which intervenes! Lancelot relieved himself by saying hard things of the doctor.
"Faix, yer fairly gottin' so cross that I'll have to turn you out." said Mrs. O'Leary, gazing at her nurseling with eyes of brimming affection. "O my honey, but it's I that's thankful to have ye cantankerous—there's no finer sign of gettin' well."
And after he had gone downstairs —somewhat gaunt and unsteady on this occasion,—the poor woman indulged in a private cry of joy over the empty nest where she had lovingly tended him so long.
What R charming room was that library! Mr. Charley was no great reader, and so the apartment could scarcely be so-called from the number of books it contained. One side was a miniature crystal palace of flowers, a conservatory which weighed the air with perfumes blended like harmonious music. Some little hope had the convalescent when he perceived, the flowers, that he might perhaps see a lady in their sweet company.
But I doubt that the lady was Mrs. Charley, though she came in shortly with her soft kind manner and placid face to express her pleasure at his recover}-, or even Miss Margaret Charley, who echoed it all, and on whom his eyes lingered because of a certain likeness to anyother person. They were very cordial, but where was Miss Dora? The conscious blood rushed to his forehead at the bare idea of asking for her. The fact is, that he had thought a great deal too much about her during his solitude upstairs; and considering that he never saw or heard her, the pertinacity of her little image was surprising. Verily he had thought himself into some sort of fantastic affection for her— being by no means the first that has learned (without a teacher) Love-inIdleness.
"All the family was well." Mrs. Charley had said; and these few words saved him no end of conjectures subsequently as to Dora's being ill. "Then she didn't choose to come and see me—she stared
away on purpose," was his last jealous cogitation. "And I think she owed me some little politeness after my risking my neck to save her pet. I'll put her out of my head altogether, the little witch!" After which, he of course thought about her harder than ever.
It was the evening, subsequently to a day full of visitors, but never the one he wanted; when her father entered the room, bringing her on
could see that her beautiful eyes trembled with tears—"I cannot bear you should think me ungrateful!" and she extended her little hand a second time. "I thank you with all my heart, only I am sorry you have suffered so much on our account—very sorry."
Whereupon Lancelot uttered something incoherent (and untrue at a cooler period) about rather enjoying the suffering. He really felt (just at present i as if he should have little objection to another fling from Bluebottle in the same cause. But the young lady vouchsafed no explanation whatever of her nonappearance in the middle of the day.
No matter — she had appeared now; and he would cavil at nothing with that fact facing him. Who was happier than Lancelot, as he presently lay listening to her delicious voice, singing (after short preface of chords) the Crusader's Hymn—the quaint music of which seems yet to echo with the tramp of multitudes marching eastwards to the " Holy Places."
'• Mr. Latymer, this little girl of mine sings for me most evenings to that harmonium in the corner; she says she fears you may not like it: I say you'll have no objection. Shall she go away?"
Lancelot had risen from his sofa to greet her, scarlet with a glow which might have been combined action from the lire and the crimson hangings. "What!" said Mr. Charley, "didn't she come with her mother to thank you this morning? o Dora, that was very bad manners on your part, when you remember his kindness about your pet!"
"Indeed, papa, I am greatly obliged. O, Mr. Latymer! "—and he
"Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
"Fair are the meadows—fairer still the woodlands,
u Fair is the sunshine—fairer still the moonlight,
Than all the angels Heaven can boast."
"That's the sort of hymn I like," His glory; not about our miserable observed her father. "Exalt our selves and our feelings. Lord Jesus—sing about Him and
"'Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
repeated Mr. Charley, with more Afterwards came the glorious old
than a crusader's fervour. "Sing it "Martyrdom'' tune, bearing aloft the
again, my love; we cannot have immortal words of Cowper, which
too much of the subject, at all have showed to so many the way of
"There is a fountain filled with blood."
Why had Lancelot always thought hymns must needs be stupid and ugly? Perhaps because his best
remembered sample of them was Mr. Chetwynd's Gregorian music. He wondered whether Beresford
could not learn such as these. His very heart's core was thrilled; and not altogether because of the voice that sang.
Certainly the music haunted him. It was repeated the next evening, and the next, with other music likewise; and as he was growing stronger, he mingled more in the family circle. On the mild February days he was in the flower-garden,layingin other lore than the names and natures of the bright blossoms wliich began to gem the ground; helping the ladies in their gentle culture; and dreading more than all things the day that
should see him so fully recovered that he must go home to Kyle.
Yet well he knew that he ought to withdraw from the temptation; he branded himself as a coward (when out of the presence) for not doing so; what pretension had he to the hand of Dora Charley? It will be seen that the pride of the Latymers had got a proper humbling in his spirit; for in this world there is, perhaps, no such abasor of haughtiness as real lin e. He appeared to himself at an inuneasurable distance beneath her sweet simplicity and
"Love took up the harp oflife, and smote on all its chords with might:
And so Lancelot chafed under a sense of his own nothingness and unworthiness. How clumsy he was —how uneducated—how penniless —all these disqualifications filled his heart with gloom.
"My poor mother!"
For lie remembered all her vehement prejudices; her dislike of this family, for no reason but the absence of ancestors; and the utter scorn with which she would receive any hint of an alliance. Even if fill tilings else were favourable, how could he ever hope to get over the family pride of bis parents'.' Dora had not money enough, he know, to buy it down.'
Only when he was out of the presence did these misgivings visit him: in the presence he was simply happier than ever he had been before. No cloud low ered over all the blue sky of his hope. And as happy people generally are seen to advantage, Lancelot was not con
scious of the glorification his own self experienced. But how surprised his sister Beresibrd would have been to witness the refinement, the tact, the thoughtfulness now displayed by her rough diamond of a brother! Sunshine brings out the flower-buds, when sharp winds might blow in vain; and happiness is analogous to sunshine, being equally powerful in eliciting perfections.
"Fool's paradise," does anybody call it? The fashion now-a-days is to laugh at first love, or any love that hath not a foundation of plethoric: money-bags. But here we stand up for the emotion, pure and simple, ns constituting a grand civiliser and ennobler of mankind. He is a i>itiable person, narrow in heart, and probably narrow in brain, who never has himself lingered in the pleasant places of that " fool's paradise," and tasted the utter earthly bliss of loving and being loved.
THE FIRST COMMUNION.
By The Editor.
"The Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner, also, he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."—1 Con. xi. 23—25.
"For this "is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."—Mattii. xxvi. 28.