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Hugh Deverel, and dealt him a blow in the face before the latter could release his engaged arm or prepare a defence.
The cowardly, stinging blow set Hugh Deverel's blood on fire. He would have punished De l'Orme then and there, as he deserved, but for Violet's clinging clasp and beseeching voice, both of which restrained his angry impulse as effectively as fetters would have withheld his arm. While De l'Orme scowled upon his rival, and Hugh inanfully strove for the mastery of his temper in deference to the presence of Violet, Lord Haig, followed by several of his guests, entered from the conservatory.
“What is the matter? De l'Orme, Deverel, explain!”
“ The matter is this,” said Hugh Deverel, passing his hand over his bruised face. “I was strolling in the conservatory when I heard this lady's voice raised in demand for release from some one or something. I rushed to her assistance at once, as I felt myself in duty bound to do, and found her writhing in the grasp of this cowardly bully."
“Be careful what you say !” ejaculated two livid lips.
“I repeat it. This cowardly bully,” said Hugh Deverel, as though he felt some satisfaction in the liberty of his lips since his hands were chained. “You shall hear it again, and yet again. None but a craven would have dared to detain a lady against her will, as you detained Miss Trevor.”
“Calm yourself, Deverel," said Lord Haig, soothingly; "there is some mistake, some misconception here, that a few minutes' cool reflection will get all right. My friend De l'Orme would never intentionally offend a lady beneath my roof."
Hugh Deverel's eyes flashed ominously. Though the smart of the pain from the blow of De l'Orme was hardly felt by him in that moment of intense excitement, the sting of the insult given in Violet's presence, and for that cause unavenged, was maddening.
Lord Haig laid his hand upon his arm.
"Now do, there's a good fellow, conduct Miss Trevor to her friends. Can you not see that this room just now is no place for her? You will find Lady Trevor in the music-room; do not let her be alarmed.”
So speaking, Lord Haig roused Hugh by the only appeal that just then could have had any effect upon him. He led Violet away by the means of egress afforded by the conservatory.
Lord Haig made as light of this scene as he possibly could to those of his guests who had accompanied him there. When he had dismissed them he laid his firm grasp upon the arm of De l'Orme and led him passively away.
(To be continued.)
“ ROBINSON CRUSOE” AND MISSIONS.
BY REV. J. S. BRIGHT.
In early life books like “Robinson Crusoe" and Bunyan's “ Pilgrim's Progress” are read with avidity and delight. The young inind is too eager in following the succession of romantic adventures to wait for criticism, which, as it involves comparison and judgment, is usually reserved for later years and calmer states of mind. De Foe has been a benefactor to his country by the production of his admirable tale, which has a wholesome influence upon the young, and has incidentally fostered that love of the sea which has replenished our navy and commercial marine with brave and enthusiastic sailors. After the remains of this attractive writer had lain for many years in Bunhill Fields burying ground without any memorial worthy of his name, a suitable monument is to be reared by the contributions of his ardent admirers, among which the young are the most generous and active. The air of reality which pervades the work may be traced to its simple, unaffected style, which closely resembles that of the old travellers, the mention of dates, the changes of the weather, the numbers killed and wounded in any encounter with savages, the naturalness and good sense of Crusoe, and the conduct of his Man Friday, whose mind gradually opens to the superior wisdom of the European.
It has supplied many scenes for the illustrator's talent, and both Stothard and Cruikshank have admirably delineated some of its most striking details. As a poet's words are sometimes set to music, so an author's scenes are presented to the eye by some kin. dred genius, and the amusing and pathetic incidents of Robinson Crusoe are by Cruikshank made immensely more entertaining.
After a life of turmoil, occasional imprisonment, poverty, and vicissitude, he retreated from the stormy region of politics to enter the calmer and more attractive sphere of fiction, and Robinson Crusoe was the fruit of his intellectual activity; in which fact we trace some resemblance to the history of Milton, who left the same dusty and turbulent arena, in sacred silence to build and adorn with marble from the hills, cedar from Lebanon, gold from Ophir, and purple from Tyre, and precious things from all antiquity, the enduring fabric of the “ Paradise Lost.” Two such examples fortify the position we have often maintained, that imagination reaches its highest power in the later periods of life.
There is one feature of this work which deserves some attention. It is the interest De Foe takes in missionary movements, and that at a time (A.D. 1719) when it may be said scarcely any Protestant
missionary societies existed. It would be hardy to say that this or any other topic was introduced for special prominence in a work which is too rich and human for any such restraint; but it may be affirmed that it is frequently and warmly commended to the notice of its readers. The mention of this feature in conversation has sometimes awakened an innocent doubt, and the subject has been pleasantly shelved with a genial, incredulous smile. Recently, however, the Rev. W. M. Blake, a missionary in India, writes home the following paragraph, with a note of admiration, as if it were one of the wonders of his varied experience :-“The manager of some estates has been interested in the subject of religion. It may seem strange that the reading of a Hindu translation of * Robinson Crusoe' evidently led to inquiry about Christianity.” This may have been one of the manifold aims of Defoe in his work.
With pre-eminent wisdom Defoe represents all the religious movements of Crusoe as springing from his personal experience, since when he lands on the island he puts his misfortunes and his mercies over against each other in true book-keeping style, and finds that he is a gainer; he melts into thankfulness at the unexpected discovery of some grain, ripe and ready for use; is awakened in his desolateness to prayer by the agency of a dream ; draws his prayer from the Bible, which is, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver, and thou shalt glorify Me;" and after his convictions that he had not glorified God, he opens the Bible again and reads, “He is exalted a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and to give remission;" upon which he adds, “I threw down the book, and with my heart as well as my hand lifted up to heaven, in a kind of ecstasy of joy, cried out aloud, ‘Jesus, Thou Son of David ! Jesus, Thou exalted Prince and Saviour, give me repentance!'” Other passages of Scripture become, in his solitude and danger, a pillar of cloud and fire to direct his way and assure him of Divine presence and protection.
The fidelity and goodness of his Man Friday, who was a savage, lead Crusoe to consider the mysterious fact of the unequal distribution of the Gospel in the world, and the possible future of those who never enjoyed its light and help. He escapes from this awful problem into the fixed assurance of the Divine righteousness. After Friday has learned a little English, Robinson Crusoe asks him about his religion, the account of which is sufficiently grotesque. Friday hears of Satan, and wonders why he is permitted to live in the prospect of judgment, why men are forgiven, and rushes to the idea of universalism, exclaiming, “So you, I, devil, all wicked, all preserve, repent, God pardon all.” After which, Robinson Crusoe confesses that a Divine light alone can guide a man to know God in Christ. When Friday became a believer through his teaching, he remarks, “When I reflected upon all these things a secret joy ran through every part of my soul, and I frequently rejoiced that ever I was brought to this place, which I had often thought the most dreadful affliction that could possibly have befallen me.” Afterwards, when the idea of getting back to the Continent from which Friday came was mentioned, the poor fellow desires to become a missionary to his tribe, and said, “ Friday tell them to live good, tell them to pray God, tell them to eat cornbread, cattle-flesh, milk-eat no man again." He urges his master to go chiefly to evangelise the savage and cannibal tribes, and remarks, “ You tell them know God, pray God, and live new life.”
On Robinson Crusoe's second return to the island he saves several persons from a ship on fire at sea, among whom is a Catholic priest of such a noble spirit and such exceptional charity that he assists in bringing several mutineers who had landed and several savage women into the honourable state of marriage. The priest glows with missionary zeal, and is anxious to instruct this remarkable colony. Robinson Crusoe promises to oblige them to give heed to what he says to them. The priest replies, “As to that, we must leave them to the mercy of Christ, but it is our business to assist them, encourage them, and instruct them, and if you will give me leave, and God His blessing, I do not doubt but the poor, ignorant souls shall be brought home into the great circle of Christianity, if not into the particular faith that we all embrace, and that while you stay here.”
The chief attraction of this part of the work consists of the affecting dialogue between Will Atkins and his heathen wife, to whom the husband must become a missionary. The astonishment of the poor woman at the truths he unfolds, and the perplexing mysteries which entangle her at every step, discover the genius of De Foe, and hint at the difficulties of dealing with minds so deplorably ignorant. In England these truths dawn upon us gently; “ his going forth is prepared as the morning," and it is hard for any around us to escape some tincture of religious knowledge; but heathens have occasionally to confront a blaze of truth which often partially blinds by dazzling their weak and untrained vision. Through instruction Friday's wife becomes a Christian, and is baptised by the name of Mary. Will Atkins gains, at length, a Bible whose truths he had learnt in early life, and whose precepts he had long and wickedly slighted. Now he feels the Divine force of the lessons received in childhood, and De Foe's remarks are such that we cordially recommend them to the attention of parents and Sunday-school teachers, wbo sometimes look wearily over the wide and dreary furrows of their labour without the sight of growing corn or tender blade to encourage further toil. He observes " that parents should never give over to teach and instruct, or ever despair of the success of their endeavours, let the children be ever so obstinate, refractory, or, to appearance, insensible to instruction; for if ever God in His providence touches the consciences of such, the force of their education returns upon them, and the early instruction of parents is not lost, though it may have been many years laid asleep, but some time or other they may find the benefit of it."
In the course of Crusoe’s voyage to the East De Foe notices the cruelties of the people of Madagascar, who are now distinguished for the martyrs they have furnished to the cause of Christ and the happy and rapid diffusion of evangelical truth among all classes of the population. The missionary priests of Macao attract his notice, and the civility of the people of the island of Formosa is ascribed to surviving effects of Dutch Protestant missionary labour. When he lands in China he remarks of the labours and converts of some Romish priests, “We thought they made poor work of it, and made them but very sorry Christians when they had done.”
In his return to England over land through Tartary and Muscovy, Robinson Crusoe is indignant at the worship of idols, and upon the description of one of these monsters he lavishes all the resources of his invention to make it unspeakably disgusting and hideous. With the assistance of a Scotchman the priests of the idol are bound and the image is burnt. He is indignant that the precious incense of human trust, love, and adoration should be offered to a senseless form. Having performed this feat, they are obliged to escape from the fury of the idolaters. Whether De Foe intended by this narrative to intimate that it was beginning at the wrong end to destroy the idol and leave the worshippers under the cloud of ignorance and delusion, or that, as all means and opportunities of instruction were a-wanting, the destruction of the idol might show its powerlessness and send some wholesome doubts into their souls, must be left undetermined. It appears, then, from the touching narratives of his personal experience, the fine, luminous zeal of the priest, the pathetic conversation between Will Atkins and his wife, the anxiety to trace the effect of missionary exertion in various parts of the world, and the romantic history of the idol in Tartary, conspire to prove our position and make us thankful that a book of such undecaying interest for the young should contain, as in a sunlit atmosphere, such a glow of Christian philanthropy. The spirit of the work is best expressed in his own language ; "for true religion is naturally communicative, and he that is once made a Christian will never leave a pagan behind him if he can help it.”