Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

ܕܕ

the patient “prisoners' chaplain,” from | as if they were, like the grove in whose lips so many hapless beings had | Dante's “ * Inferno," the abode of his heard their last words of comfort and personal friends, and specially did he consolation. His best epitaph is to be grieve if the axe smote them in sumfound in Wesley's journal: “On the mer time. I well remember his gazing 20th of December, 1778, I buried what long upon a horse-chestnut that had was mortal of honest Silas Told. For continued to put forth flowers days many years he attended the malefactors after it had been felled to the earth. in Newgate without fee or reward ; “ Look at it,” he said, “ stretching out and I suppose no man for this hun- a beseeching arm, and blossoming ou, dred years has been so successful in its blooms unfolding in all their beauty, that melancholy office. God had given quite unconscious that they can never him peculiar talents for it, and he had turn to fruitage. How like they are to amazing success therein. The greatest some men, who appear blooming outpart of those whom he attended died in wardly, and think that they are living, peace, and many of them in the triumph whilst they are already dead within.'' of faith." AUSTIN DOBSON. My uncle loved to talk of Arthur

Hallam, and other friends of his youth, but he never descended to any trivial

details concerning them, and he used From The Contemporary Review.

to say : TALKS WITH TENNYSON.

I cannot imagine why people should be THOUGH only my uncle by marriage, so curious about all the petty incidents of no mother's brother could have been my life. I never cared to know about the more loving to me through life than daily minutive of great men's lives, which was my guardian, Lord Tennyson. Of never interested me in the least. I rememlate years our homes had lain far apart, from which she said

ber when Mrs. Langton showed me a glass

Johnson used to and my opportunities of meeting him

drink lemonade, stirring it with fingers were rare, but precious to me is the which were, I am sorry to say, not too memory of those days of my youth, clean," I thought she had much better have when we used to take cross-country omitted such details. walks over hedge and ditch, or ramble

There was one incident in his life together over the breezy downs, and when he opened to me the treasure

that Tennyson knew had often been house of his mind and heart.

misunderstood, and he most solemnly

laid Everything we came across interested

upon me the charge that I who, he him, and he could see something to ad- said, could best undertake the task, mire even in a raw-boned old hack should let all the world know. "how

great a sacrifice(these were his very grazing by the wayside :

words, uttered in a tone of intense earYou would scarcely call that poor beast nestness) he had practised in yielding beautiful [he exclaimed], with his ribs to Mr. Gladstone's pressing entreaties almost sticking through his skin, but he is

that he should take the peerage. certainly picturesque as he stands shivering on the common, his meagre tail blowing in

Tennyson was by no means blind to

the darker side of nature. She will the wind. It seems to me that the picturesque is generally associated with age, or never teach men morality,” he would the commencement of decay; for, take a say, “ and her ravening tooth is a cruel cottage that when newly built seemed com- one. Indeed, it was the observed crumonplace enough, and pull down some of elty of nature that gave rise to the cult its thatch, then break the windows, and of the Khonds, with their human sacintroduce a baby clad in rags, sprawling rifices." across the threshold, and you have at once

You could not learn to know the higher a picturesque subject for the artist.

attributes of God from nature she continHis sympathy with nature led him to ued] even with the aid of science. In fact, mourn over the cutting down of trees, I when I think how much more important

[ocr errors]

64

[ocr errors]

the world must have seemed when men be- sive reader thereof. It used to be a heved it the centre of the universe, I am treat to me to hear him recite one of sometimes half-disposed to regret the dis- his new poems, in that grand, sonorous coveries of astronomy, because they have in voice of his, but it was a still greater no wise exalted men's conception of God's power

, since they had already conceived of delight to listen to his reading of a him as Almighty, and all is comprehended

chapter of Isaiah, for then, so thorin that term. But how amazing astronomy oughly did he send his whole soul forth is. I am overwhelmed with awe when Î with his words, that one was reminded think that in a space of the heavens that of Bunsen's remark on F. D. Maulooks smaller than the palm of my hand, rice's reading of the Church service, there are sixty thousand suns ; yet, did you “Such reading is in itself a sermon. ever reflect on the not less wonderful fact He could not find words strong enough that the whole starry heavens are retained to express his love of and reverence for on your retina ?

the sacred volume, and when his picHe looked upon astronomy and geol- ture of old age, in the “ Ancient Sage,' ogy as the greatest of the sciences, and was said to be like that by Solomon in was never weary of dwelling upon the Ecclesiastes, “I only wish it were,” he marvels they unfold :

replied, “I never could equal that de

scription." When I think she used to say] of the im

Yet surely that sublime poem is well mensity of the universe, I am filled with the sense of my own utter insignificance, worthy to have been written by the and am ready to exclaim with David : author of Ecclesiastes, and it must be "What is man that Thou art mindful of studied attentively by all who desire to him !" The freedom of the human will enter into the mind of Tennyson, for, and the starry heavens are the two greatest from what he used to tell me when marvels that come under our observation, thinking it into being, I can testify that and when I think of all the mighty worlds the “ Ancient Sage" sets forth his own around us, to which ours is but a speck, I views more fully than any of his other feel what poor little worms we are, and ask myself, what is greatness ? I do not like poems. How like a clarion his voice such a word as design to be applied to the rang forth in these lines, which are a Creator of all these worlds, it makes him very gospel of hopefulness :seem a mere artificer. A certain amount of Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt anthropomorphism must, however, neces- And cling to Faith beyond the forms of sarily enter into our conception of God, Faith ! because, though there may be infinitely She reels not in the storm of warring words, higher beings than ourselves in the worlds She brightens at the clash of “Yes” and lieyond ours, yet to our conception man is

No," the highest form of being.

She sees the Best that glimmers thro' the Vatter, time, and space are all illusions, but above and beyond them all is God, who she feels the Sun is hid but for a night,

no illusion. Time has no absolute exist. She spies the summer thro’ the winter bud, enice, and we can as little conceive of space She tastes the fruit before the blossom falls, being finite as of its being infinite. We can She hears the lark within the songless egg, mally understand the existence of spirit She finds the fountain where they wailed much better than that of matter, which is

“Mirage. in me far more incomprehensible than spirit. We see nothing as it really is,

I asked my uncle whether he agreeck Dot even our fellow-creatures ; and perhaps with Bacon's dictum that Pilate's questhen we see each other as we really are, tion, “. What is truth ?" was put jest. Te shall no more know each other than ingly :duys do their masters in the path or on the

No (he unhesitatingly answered) it was

in no spirit of jesting he uttered those Jly uncle always seemed to like best words. They may have been accompanied is talk about spiritual matters, and no with a shrug of the shoulder, and spoken in cierzyman ever a more earnest a cynical tone, but I rather believe they rudent of the Bible, or a more impres- I were wrung from the depths of a heart that

ܕ ܕ

Worst,

is

[ocr errors]

was

A TRUE STORY.

says there

had learnt that there was no truth in the

From Blackwood's Magazine. religious systems then in vogue, and knew THE SEARCH AFTER CULTURE. not where to seek it. Alas ! that we should hear this cry repeated in our own age, and that men should fail to find their soul's

It was a hot May day at Florence. craving for truth satisfied by Christianity. The sun's rays poured on the pavement The great spread of Agnosticism and unbe- of the street, which reflected a fierce lief of all kinds seems to me to show that glare that simmered in the distance, there is an evil time close at hand. Sometimes I feel as if it would not surprise me

but they played about the Campanile to see all things perish. I firmly believe till its old marbles almost lived beneath that if God were to withdraw himself from

the glow.

As I wandered along, lookthe world around us, and from within us, ing for a place where coolness might for but one instant, every atom of creation, help the digestion of lunch, the deep both animate and inanimate, would come shade of the Via Calzaioli beyond the utterly to naught, for in him alone do all burning Piazza del Duomo appeared beings and things exist. He can and does refreshing, so passing across the interanswer every earnest prayer, as I know vening space I entered almost the first from my own experience. E

restaurant. Small things hang upon is something higher than God. If there be, small things as well as on great. If it then it must be God. Whatever is the

had not been exceedingly warm for the highest of all must be the Deity, call it by what name you will. Wherever life is,

time of year, it would not have occurred there God is, specially in the life of man.

to me to seek the shelter of the CalWe are all sons of God, but one alone is zaioli, and the following characteristic worthy to be called the Son of Man, the story would never have been heard. representative of the whole of humanity.

With the thermometer registering That to my mind is the diviner title of the summer heat, it was natural to desire two, for none dare apply to himself this elbow-room, to select an unoccupied title save Christ, who is the representative table ; and having ordered my lunch, of the whole human race.

including a small flask of Chianti, I I believe that beside our material body leant back against the long, red-cushwe possess an immaterial body, something ioned seat lining the wall, and gazed like what the ancient Egyptians called the

around. Ka. I do not care to make distinctions between the soul and the spirit, as men did

Presently an American girl of twentyin days of old, though perhaps the spirit is three or four approached. She was the best word to use of our higher nature, dressed in plain black, had no gloves, that nature which I believe in Christ to wore an unfashionable brown hat, and have been truly divine, the very presence carried a Baedeker in her hand. She of the Father, the one only God, dwelling looked like a tourist doing the sights in the perfect man. Though nothing is of London - an intelligent, observant such a distress of soul to me as to have this tourist. Not at all a fin dui siècle young divinity of Christ assailed, yet I feel we woman, with a head full of crude ideas must never lose sight of the unity of the but an unsophisticated American very Godhead, the three persons of the Trinity much of the world as it is on her own being like three candles giving together one light. I love that hymn, “Holy, holy, holy,

continent among the travelling class Lord God Almighty," and should like to yet not of the world at large. Sho write such a one.

scanned every one, pondering a second We shall have much to learn in a future or two. Instinctively a feeling arose .world, and I think we shall all be children the object of her consideration was the to begin with when we get to heaven, what-vacant seat at the table. Instinctivelever our age when we die, and shall grow also I felt, having some knowledge a on there from childhood to the prime of the United States, that she had the vir life, at which we shall remain forever. My tues and faults of her race. It was to idea of heaven is to be engaged in perpetual hot a day to be drawn into conversa ministry to souls in this and other worlds.

tion, to hear that America was th AGNES GRACE WELD. greatest nation on earth, that Bott

[ocr errors]

a

and I gave

a

celli's pictures were “just lovely," or smiling, at the same time casting forth that Europe would be bankrupt if it glances of surprise, it was impossible to were not for American travel ; so, sum- continue quietly eating as if she were moning to my aid whatever amount of not there, so I said, “If you have no British indifference might naturally be objection I will be glad to order your mine, I happily succeeded, as I thought, lunch." in impressing on her mind the disagree- A smile lit up her face. Her clear ableness of being my vis-à-vis, by a brown eyes — noticed briefly, seemed sort of occult, electrical communication childishly innocent- were full of exwhich frequently exists between two pression. She thanked me, individuals near to each other, but may the necessary orders. possibly yet be scientifically established We relapsed again into silence, but as a telegraphic, spirit-intercourse be- she quickly broke it by saying, “ I'm in tween individuals apart, that will widen great trouble ! Will you help me ?" knowledge and explain psychical ex- Now, had the girl been English, I periences. She passed by the chair, might probably have recommended her hesitated a moment at another table, to apply to the British chaplain, as the and then sat down. The next moment, fittest man to examine the troubles of however, she stood up, turned round, stray young females about a foreign and walking in my direction, deliber- town. As it was, however, my Amerately took the empty place.

ican memories bade me wait. I knew 6 Confound her!” I said to myself, that, to a certain degree, it was the cusas a certain undefinable shadow of com- tom for an American girl or woman of ing fate crept over me, dissimilar from the middle classes to claim aid from a what I had expected, and the quick strange man if occasion arose,

much as eyes of all the Italians began to study if he were a brother or a kinsman, and the situation. At the same instant the to expect to receive it without a thought waiter brought my lunch and handed of anything else on either side. It is the menu to the American.

an old-fashioned New World bit of With a glum look I immediately dived chivalry, perfectly comprehended by into the humble Tuscan dish called the people of the United States. Be“ Tortorelli,” and unavoidably saw that sides, happening to be a believer in the the Italian phraseology was to her so future of the Anglo-Saxon race, in the much double-Dutch. She turned over union of Englishmen all over the world, the pages of Baedeker, tried to discover I felt secretly pleased to think, notwithamid the meagre list of Italian words a standing the failure of my efforts to be name corresponding with another on alone on a warm day, that we two the menu,

and then said in English to strangers could thoroughly judge each the waiter, “I want something to eat, other directly, could arrive at what was but don't understand Italian."

The good or bad in each other by the natural waiter smiled the smile of him who ex- inheritance of a common tongue. I pects a tip, and tendered again the bill therefore rapidly scrutinized her hands, of fare.

face, dress, everything. The accent of Until then she had been as indiffer- her voice sounded as a genuine appeal, ent toward me as I had been toward and she modestly stood my almost ofher, and if silent demonstration has a fensively critical examination. As a meaning, she must have observed I precaution, nevertheless, I said, “ Have wished her a thousand miles away. I you no friends ? Florence is full of had heard, too, expressions of that kind Americans !

Where are

you staybefore ; bad seen an American woman ing ?She replied she had no friends thumping on the counter of a Tirolese in Europe, very few even in the United shop, loudly demanding “brass nails,” States, and had gone to an hotel not far and finally getting them ; but when she off, the name of which was familiar. could not succeed in making herself Seeing me half hesitate, and doubtless understood, when the waiter kept on feeling herself the subject of close

[ocr errors]

a

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

my mind.

you ? »

a

scrutiny, she remarked, “Ah! I see "You're not an American !” she you don't care to help me.”

remarked. “Not so," I said, having made up ' No," I answered. • What is there I can do for “You hurt my feelings just now by

asking if I had no friends, and where I She then told me she feared a friend lived, but we do things differently in at Chicago must be very ill, as no letter America.” had come for a month, though the “Oh yes, I am aware of that, and friend was aware of her address ; that beg to apologize.” she had cabled to inquire, had received “Doubtless, to you, it may have the answer, but was afraid to read it. sounded stranger. Still, I had only Would I read it for her and find out if three days to see Florence. I'm workthe news were good ? If so, it might ing like a horse, and if the news had be divulged. If it were båd, I was not been bad I couldn't have gone on, but I to let her know the extent of its bad- felt it must be done. I'm engaged to ness, must answer in such a way that be married to an American gentleman. she could still have hope.

He's a splendid fellow ; there's nobody At the conclusion she put her hand like him. He speaks all the lauguages, upon the table, holding there the tele- and I must make myself worthy of gram. Involuntarily I fastened my him. I learned French after a six eyes on her fingers. She wore merely months' residence at a Paris pension, a small gold ring, with a black guard then went to London, saw everything ring as if scooped out from a gutta- there, and finding I had just two hunpercha button, - a curious transatlantic dred dollars left, came out to Genoa fashion long ago prevalent among from Southampton in a steamer of the schoolboys of advanced years. I asked Norddeutscher line as a steerage pasif there was no American woman at senger for two pounds. Oh, it was an the hotel who could have done this for awful experience! I can hardly realher.

ize it, or tell any one what it was. "No," she replied, “there was no Now, however, it is over. I did it for one, only the porter, who did not speak him. He's been through these places, English."

knows the art, is highly cultured. I “Well, then," I answered, “let me had to know it too. In order to help have it ;” and taking it up I began to him I must know even more than he open the envelope. She drew herself does. I've seen Genoa and Florence together into an attitude of intense er- pretty well, am going on to Venice topectation, saying at the same time, night, and so northward towards home. “Remember! It must not be bad.”' What else is there to do here ? I've

With some curiosity I read the con- been to several churches and the galtents, simply the word “ Yes.” I im- leries, as well as to San Marco, which I mediately therefore inquired, what was visited this morning. The picture at her cable to Chicago.

the Pitti of 66 Judith and Holofernes" “Are you well ? '

has attracted me most." " Ali, then,” I said, feeling relieved, As this tale proceeded, I congratuit's all right. Whoever it is, is quite lated myself on not having acted haswell."

tily under preconceived impressions This evidently gave her great satis- from the fear of being bored, upon havfaction ; she smiled happily, leaned ing a slight acquaintance with American back in the chair and thanked me, yet customs, for the recital was evidently it seemed as if a shade of disappoint- giving her relief. Her whole soul en. ment lightly passed over her. At the tered into the narration, and she spoke same minute her lunch appeared, and con amore. My interest deepened in constraint being broken, we both com- the girl. I forgot the heat, the restaumenced to chat as if we were old rant, the quick eyes of the Italians, and friends.

grieved that a self-sacrificing heart was

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »