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On this (lay, in 1781, the French made a sudden descent on St. Helier, the capital of Jersey, took the town, and made the Governor prisoner; bat they were gallantly repulsed by Major Pearson, a brave young officer, who fell in the moment of victory.
The 21st of January was dedicated by the Romish Church to St. Agnes, a beautiful young virgin who perished in the Diocletian persecution. On the Eve of St. Agnes, various superstitions were formerly practised by young females of all rants. They must retire to bed supperless and silent, observing at the same time other mystic rites, and St. Agnes would appearto them in their dreams, and inform them to whom they would be married. Keats has immortalized "St. Agnes' Eve," in his beautiful poem of that name.
On the 21st of January, 1793, the unhappy Louis XVI of France was guillotined, in the 39th year of his age; and on the 30th, until a very recent period, the Established Church of this realm commemorated the violent death of King Charles the First, whom some call the Martyr, and some the Traitor. He was beheaded on the 30th of January, 1649, before the palace of Whitehall. "The Form of Prayer, with Fasting," is now discontinued by authority.
Septuagesima Sunday falls this year on the 28th of January; it cannot occur earlier than the 18th; it may be as late as the 22nd of February. It is always the ninth Sunday before Easter, which movable feast fixes all the others, before and afterwards, during the whole ecclesiastical year.
On the 19th of January, the sun enters the zodaical sign " Aquarius, the Water-bearer," hence Spenser's allusion, doubtless:—
"Upon an huge great earth-pot steane he stood."
And now before closing these Memoranda of January, may we not inquire what is the teaching which some of them suggest? We often hear of "sermons in stones;" may we not then, on occasion, take for our text the heathen Janus, with his two faces, the one solemnly gazing
on the Past, the other contemplating the future,
Shall not we, too, standing on the threshold of the New Year, yet casting back a last fond lingering gaze upon the Old Year, stand still awhile, and hold converse with our own hearts concerning "the days that are no more?"
How shall we look upon the past? Not hopelessly, nor repiningly, nor sentimentally. But calmly, solemnly, yet cheerfully, and always thankfully. It may be that some who were with us on last New Year's Day, have passed away from earth; they will not see the pure cold snow melt from the lonely mountain-tops; they will not pluck the snowdrops from their sheltered nook; the wintry blast will rouse them never more, nor the first breathings of the spring awake their hearts to gladness! Such partings must be; but if the lost ones were the children of the • Lord Jesus Christ; if they loved Him, who first loved them, and washed them from their sins in His own blood, all is well!
And our loss is their exceeding gain.
The only beautiful, that change no more,
the dwellers on the shore
Of Spring fulfilled!"
They that breathe purer air, that feel, that know things wrapt from us!
They also, who behold the King in His beauty, and Berve him perfectly, and see His face!
So let us leave them; the precious dust, safe in angel's keeping till the Resurrection morning; the unbound spirit in the kingdom of eternal bliss. Only let us who remain, take heed lest we persist through unbelief, lest refusing to enter in by the only Way, the One appointed Door we fail to find " the rest which remaineth—for the people of God !"
So, let us give one long earnest gaze at the past that is fading from us even as we gaze, and beholding its sins, its sorrows, its weaknesses, and its mercies, which are more in number than we can ever know, turn to the dim and shadowy future, and steadfastly contemplating the long
vista of the unborn days, rejoice in hope, knowing that our Heavenly Father has all things at His disposal, and will " order" every step we take, and make all joy, all pain, all discipline work together for our good, if we love Him, and trust His faithfulness!
And in temporal matters shall we not be stronger and more diligent; patiently and diligently doing the work to which Providence has called us, for this also is the will of God.
"Whatsoever thy hand fmdeth to do, do it with thy might." Only be sure that you find that which is lawful: that which a Christian honourably may do, asking God's blessing as he rises every Monday morning to his six days' toil. If you cannot say, " God bless this work of mine, and aid me in it's doing," it is no work for you, and must be relinquished at any cost. • So, labouring, waiting, trusting,
hoping, we may rejoice with true gladness of heart over the New Year's birth, and with the poet says, —
"Oh, New Year, teach us faith! The road of life is hard, When our feet bleed, and scourging winds ns scathe,
Point thou to Him whose visage was more
Than any man's; who saith, 'Make straight paths for your feet;' and to
the opprest,— 'Come unto Me, and I will give you—
Yet hang some lamp-like hope Above this unknown way. Kind year, to give our spirits freer scope. And our hands strength to work while it is day.
But if that way must slope Tombward,—0, bring before our fading eyes
The Lamp of life, the Hope that never dies.
Friend! come thou like a friend, And whether bright thy face, Or dim with clouds we cannot comprehend, We'll hold out patient hands, each in his place,
And trust thee to the end, Knowing thou leadest onward to those spheres
Where there are neither days, nor months, nor years."
"TILL DEATH us DO PART."
Ah! a shadow dims the brightness
Of that bridal train,
In the hallowed fane;
In Life's holiest bond,
From tho far Beyond.
For the vow so sweet, so holy,
Ends in words of pain; Truest life-bond, but one brittle
Link is in the chain. Clinging earth-love clasps it closely,
And with shrinking heart Reads the frail link's solemn warning,
"Till Death us do part."
But a holy love doth hold it
As a blessed seal
One through woe and weal;
Passes on before, Holier ties than earth have made them
One, for evermore.
Ay! for ever; Love is lasting
As the eternal years:
Till the Morn appears;
Only that of clay.
Why then mourn wo o'er the closing
Of that solemn vow?
For its cadence, low.
And the shadows throng, It may melt into the music
Of Heaven's ceaseless song.
"Till Death us do part j" 0 warning
Mingling with our life!
Conqueror of strife.
We may see its end!
Meet wo foe, or, friend?
THE PRIDE OF 7
BT TFIE AUTHOR OF CEDAR CREEK,""
THE OWNER OF KYLE.
There was a grand entrance to Kyle. A baronial gateway, after the pattern of those erected long ago by Norman counts, as introductory to moated keep, and with primary reference to the probabilities of assault and battery from their neighbours; but very superfluously strong for its present position as entrance to a demesne in an inland Irish county. Admission was had through ironstudded doors, which the old man who filled the post of porter could barely push open. An acid-tempered retainer was he; partly from this ever-recurrent hardship about the weight of the gates, perchance from the dismal conformation of his residence in the baronial archway, which was lit only by certain slits high in the wall, each two inches wide, as befitted its era; and this mediaevalconstruction bestowed three hours' twilight daily on the interior about noon.
But a very imposing effect had the baronial entrance, seen from a little distance—as imposing as the Latymer family itself,—until one came into closer neighbourhood. Then one saw that there was something of sham about even the solidity of the stone-work; and the iron-studded doors were worn at the base, and had been clumsily mended with patches of timber, the latest of which had not yet been painted to suit the rest. Likewise that the acid-tempered retainer, had on this cold November day, fenced off some of the atmospheric inclemency by stuffing rags into one of the eyelet-holes which wanted glass.
None of these discrepancies escaped the observation of a keenlooking gentleman driving up to the baronial entrance on an outside car, while his servant knocked for admittance with the huge knotted knob of iron that hung in the midst. Had he also noted the kindred discre
FROM DAWN TO DARK IN ITALY," ETC.
pancics between pretension and reality in the Latymer family'? He passed along an ill-kept avenue, where sheep and cattle pastured on the stubbly grass, and the trees had an ominous look of being thinned beyond the requirements of landscape gardening, and soon (much sooner than the magnitude of the baronial entrance would lead one to expect* came in sight of a long straggling white house, with some unfinished buildings at one end.
Also he came in sight of a young man walking rapidly in the same direction. The second glance told him that this foot-passenger was a clergyman,—slender, neatly dressed, with a handsome face looking out over his snowy neckerchief. "The new curate of the parish," thought Mr. Etough, who was himself an attorney, and wore his profession quite as distinctly on his personal appearance as did the Rev. Oriel Chetwynd.
Arriving at the hall-door some moments earlier than the curate, he saw no more of him; for Mr. Etough, having come by appointment, was ushered into the library, an apartment at one side of the vestibule, where sat the owner of Kyle. A tall military-looking man rose with expressions of courtesy from a table covered with papers tied and ticketed, and requested the attorney to be seated in a leathern arm-chair, the converse of his own, at the opposite side of the fire-place.
"Cold day, Mr. Etough. I have been so busy," — glancing at the papers,—" that I was unable to get out, though I perceive that the afternoon is dry."
"Fine day over the stubbles, sir; thought I saw the smoke of Mr. Lancelot's gun near the pheasantry. Ah. sir, it's that sort of thing makes us town-bred folk envy you country gentlemen your territorial possessions!"
Mr. Etough rubbed his hands softly together as he glanced at the half-avertedcountenanceof his patron, who was looking steadfastly into the fire with folded palms, receiving the implied superiority as his due.
"You are good enough, sir, to say so; but now to business, Mr. Etough."
He arose quite majestically (nearly all Mr. Latymer's movements had somewhat of this air), and placed his hand on a formidable bundle of papers.
"You have come about this fresh mortage?"
The real man of business produced from his black bag a set of documents about a fourth of the size of Mr. Latymer's, and ten times as much to the point; and, in his deferential way, stooping very much (as was his custom), and making considerable use of an eminently smooth forefinger, tipped with a filbert nail of perfect shape,—he laid down both law and fact for the benefit of the owner of Kyle. He might have taken lessons in deportment from that eminent master of the art Sir Pertinax MacSycophant, who, by dint of "booing an' booing," made his fortune.
But when the business was all done, and the inexperienced Mr. Latymer (despite his formidable array of documents) brought over to Mr. Etough's views, believing them his own, and he had deferentially sipped a glass of wine to the health and prosperity of his employer,—the humiliated curve disappeared from his shoulders, and the submissive shamble from his gait. These adornments were strictly professional,—a part of Mr. Etough's stock-in-trade.
And so he stood on the hall-door steps, waiting for what he called his "trap" to come round: a tolerably upright man on the whole, with the little black baginhis hands, in which he had (more than metaphorically) imprisoned that splendid-looking personage, the owner of Kyle, who stood beside him. Mr. Latymer had once been the handsomest man in his county; the boldest rider, the best shot. His boast (but he was too gentlemanly ever to boast) might have been that he tried nothing in which he did not excel. And still his appearance (like that of the family and the baronial entrance) was
truly imposing at first sight. A stature more than the common, a bearing of inflexible dignity, the courtliest manners, — these distinguished the owner of Kyle. But his grey hair clustered above a narrow brow, and covered a narrow brain; and his courtliness was the varnish upon a cold heart.
"I see you have suspended the works for the winter, Mr. Latymer," said the attorney, pointing to the unfinished wing of the house, which bore evidence of " magnificent intentions" at least. Did Mr. Etough know very well that the building had been lying thus for years—in fact, since the baronial gateway had been planned and executed as a beginning?
The slightest possible colour ascended to the face of the owner of Kyle as he said, " Oh, nothing has been done there for some time. It was for that I thought of—of the little matter I mentioned to you,"— which signified a loan. "A nice bit of horseflesh, Etough."
In the shafts of the attorney's car was a very elegant little brown mare, looking the thoroughbred at every point as she came prancing round from the stables, alive in all her inches.
"Well enough, well enough, Mr. Lat3rmer; but nothing to your own. I don't forget Bayard, sir. But I'm free to confess it's my weakness,— rather absurd for a poor man, you'll say."
"Bayard!" The name of his favourite hunter lifted him over a large gulf of years — placed him amid his bright and prosperous youth again. He was an imaginative man; memories were with him very real things.
Back in his library, he mused awhile in his leathern arm - chair; then he drew from a shelf-one of his favourite poets, and read something about " immortal youth," which is of all things the most mortal. Finally, he wrote something in a handsome, morocco - covered note-book. Here was what he wrote:—
"Walked aside from the hard dusty pathway of common life into the shaded world of Books; and there met the undying spirits that for ever dwell in that glorified cosmos of intellect; from the Adam of a Lost Paradise, to the latest idol of the poet-soul. What glorious power has the literary student! he can wander in a life as various as the cloud-shapes that cover a summer heaven.''
The pen paused; he read over what he had written, and was pleased —too much pleased, for the value of the effusion. He was in the habit of writing these sentimental sketches of his feelings, and had a remote intention that some day they should be found and published. Literature was an aspiration of his; he had already printed " Faults in Shakespeare," and was deep in researches that should issue in a work which he meditated naming "Blemishes of Bacon." The alliteration rather pleased his ear; and then, one stands on such a vantage-ground when spying out the shortcomings of greater men, whether in conduct or composition. Perhaps it is not the highest order of astronomical ability that concerns itself solely with spots on the sun.
His tied and ticketed papers had been left in wondrous confusion after the conference. Without touching a single document, Mr. Etouglx had contrived to scatter their order to the winds. And the owner of Kyle would probably spend a day or two in restoring the pristine dead-letter methodism, which he deemed to be a business of great importance, and was in fact "the hard dusty pathway of common life," whereof he had written anon.
"The question is, my dear Berry, whether we shall visit these people at all," said Mrs. Latymer.
They were sitting in that lady's dressing-room, and were both engaged in some employment concerning a black silk gown,—which employment had a division of labour, thus: Mrs. Latymer gave directions
from her sofa, and her daughter Beresford worked them out.
"You see," continued that lady, lying in a contemplative attitude, "they are in a position altogether beneath us in some respects."
"Papa says that Mr. Charley was made a magistrate lately," said the girl, raising her intelligent face for a moment.
"That has long ceased to be any criterion of respectability, I regret to say," rejoined her mother. "Money seems to be the only tiling required now-a-days; a butcher or a bagman can get to be a justice of the peace, if he just has enough of what Lancelot calls ' tin.'"
"And I think Lancelot would say he must have 'brass' likewise, mamma," said Beresford, quite gravely, as she quelled her silk.
"I believe there is no doubt that this Mr. Charley made all his money by a great drapery establishment in the North," continued Mrs. Latymer. "And I cannot see the propriety of mixing with such persons, and encouraging them to step out of their proper position. It was injudicious conduct like this which led to the first French Revolution, my dear, with all its dreadful excesses."
Her daughter looked up quickly, as if about to speak — perhaps to impugn the parental views of history; but again she bent her eyes on her work, saying nothing.
"I mean the confusion of ranks, Berry; it has never worked any good since the time of the Tower of Babel. Mr. Charley gave a sufficient proof of his plebeian education and habits the other day in a note he wrote your father, about some pettysessions' business, when he actually spelled 3Tour father's name wrongly in the superscription. Papa was quite annoyed,—you know how particular he is about the family name."
"But, mamma, it was hard for Mr. Charley, a stranger in the neighbourhood, to know that we spell Latymer with 'y instead of' i.'
"He might have inquired. There were fifty ways of his finding out. Every one in the county," said Mrs. Latymer, with a daring breadth of observation, knows that the 'i' marks