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lest it should lead him astray from the interpretation she put upon it. She did not understand that nothing can convince of sin but the vision of holiness ; that to draw near to the Father is to leave self behind ; that the Son of God appeared that by the sight of Himself He might convince the world of sin. But then hers was a life that had never broken the shell, while through the shell the worm of suffering had eaten, and was boring into her soul. Have pity and not contempt, reader who would not be like her. She did not believe in her own love even as from God, and therefore she restrained it before the lad. So he had no idea of how she loved him. If she had only thrown her arms about him, and let her heart out towards him, which surely it is right to do sometimes at least, how differently would he have listened to what she had to say ! His heart was being withered on the side next his mother for lack of nourishment: there are many lives ruined because they have not had tenderness enough. Kindness is not tenderness. She could not represent God to the lad. If, instead of constantly referring to the hell that lies in the future, she had reminded him of the beginnings of that hell in his own bosom, appealing to himself whether there was not a faintness there that indicated something wrong, a dull pain that might grow to a burning agony, a consciousness of wrong-doing, thinking, and feeling, a sense of a fearful pit and a miry clay within his own being, from which he would gladly escape, a failing even from the greatness of such grotesque ideals as he loved in poetry, a meanness, paltriness, and at best insignificance of motive and action,-and then told him that out of this was God stretching forth the hand to take and lift him, that he was waiting to exalt him to a higher ideal of manhood than anything which it had entered into his heart to conceive, that he would make him clean from the defilement which he was afraid to confess to himself because it lowered him in his own esteem,—then perhaps the words of his mother, convincing him that God was not against him but for him, on the side of his best feelings and against his worst, might have sunk into the heart of the weak youth, and he would straightway have put forth what strength he had, and so begun to be strong. For he who acts has strength, is strong, and will be stronger. But she could not tell him this : she did not know it herself. Her religion was something there, then, not here, now. She would give Mr. Simon a five-pound note for his scripture-reading amongst the poor, and the moment after refuse the request of her needlewoman from the same district who begged her to raise her wages from eighteenpence to two shillings a day. Religion-the bond between man and God-had nothing to do with the earnings of a sister, whose pale face told of “penury and pine," a sadder story even than that written upon the countenance of the invalid, for to labour in weakness, longing for rest, is harder than to endure a good deal of pain upon a sofa. Until we begin to learn that the only way to serve God in any real sense of the word, is to serve our neighbour, we may have knocked at the wicket-gate, but I doubt if we have got one foot across the threshold of the kingdom.
Add to this condition of mind a certain uncomfortable effect produced upon the mother by the son's constantly reminding her of the father whom she had quite given up trying to love, and I think my reader will be a little nearer to the understanding of the relation, if such it could well be called, between the two. The eyes of both were as yet unopened to the poverty of their own condition. The mother especially said that she was “rich, and had need of nothing," when she was “ wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” But she had a hard nature to begin with, and her pain occupied her all the more that she neither sought nor accepted sympathy. And although she was none the less a time-server and a worldly-minded woman, that she decried worldliness and popery, and gave herself to the saving of her soul, yet the God who makes them loves even such people and knows all about them; and it is well for them that he is their judge and not we.
Let us now turn to another woman, Mrs. Morgenstern. I will tell you what she was like. She was a Jewess and like a Jewess. But there is as much difference between Jewesses as there is between Englishwomen. Is there any justice in fixing upon the lowest as the type ? How does the Scotchman like to have his nation represented by the man outside the tobacco-shop? or by the cantankerous logician and theologian so well known to some of us ? There is a Jewess that flaunts in gorgeous raiment and unclean linen ; and there is a Jewess noble as a queen, and pure as a daisy
-fit to belong to that nation of which Mary the mother was born. Mrs. Morgenstern was of the latter class—tall, graceful, even majestic in the fashion of her form and carriage. Every feature was Jewish, and yet she might have been English, or Spanish, or German just as well. Her eyes were dark-black, I would say, if I had ever seen black eyes—and proud, yet with a dove-like veil over their fire. Sometimes there was even a trouble to be seen in them, as of a rainy mist amidst the glow of a southern sky. I never could be quite sure what this trouble meant. She was rich, therefore she had no necessity; she was not avaricious, and therefore she had no fear of dying in the workhouse. She had but one child, therefore she was neither wearied with motherhood, nor a sufferer from suppresssd maternity, moved by which divine impulse so many women take to poodles instead of orphans. Her child was healthy and active, and gave her no anxiety. That she loved her husband, no one who saw those eastern eyes rest upon him for a moment could doubt. What then could be the cause of that slight restlessness, that gauzy change, that pensive shadow ? I think that there was more love in her yet than knew how to get out of her. She would look round sometimes-it was a peculiar movement
just as if some child had been pulling at her skirts. She had lost a child, but I do not think that was the cause. And whether it was or was not, I do believe that nothing but the love of God will satisfy the power of love in any woman's bosom. But did not Rebecca- they loved their old Jewish names, that family-did not Rebecca Morgenstern love God ? Truly I think she did—but not enough to satisfy herself. And I venture to say more : I do not believe she could love him to the degree necessary for her own peace till she recognized the humanity in him. But she was more under the influences emanating from the story of the humanity of God than she knew herself. At all events she was a most human and lovely lady, full of grace and truth, like Mary before she was a Christian ; and it took a good while, namely all her son's life and longer, to make her one. Rebecca Morgenstern never became a Christian. But she loved children, whether they were Christians or not. And she loved the poor whether they were Christians or not; and, like Dorcas, made and caused to be made coats and garments for them. And, for my part, I know, if I had the choice, whether I would appear before the Master in the train of the unbelieving Mrs. Morgenstern or that of the believing Mrs. Worboise. And as to self-righteousness, I think there is far less of that amongst those who regard the works of righteousness as the means of salvation, than amongst those by whom faith itself is degraded into a work of merit-a condition by fulfilling which they become fit for God's mercy; for such is the trick which the old Adam and the Enemy together are ready enough to play the most orthodox, in despite of the purity of their creed.
ALTHOUGH Mrs. Boxall, senior, was still far from well, yet when the morning of Mrs. Morgenstern's gathering dawned, lovely even in the midst of London, and the first sun-rays, with green tinges and rosy odours hanging about their golden edges, stole into her room, reminding her of the old paddock and the feeding cows at Bucks Horton, in Buckinghamshire, she resolved that Lucy should go to Mrs. Morgenstern's. So the good old lady set herself to feel better in order that she might be better, and by the time Lucy, who had slept in the same room with her grandmother since her illness, awoke, she was prepared to persuade her that she was quite well enough to let her have a holiday.
“But how am I to leave you, grannie, all alone?” objected Lucy. “Oh! I daresay that queer little Mattie of yours will come in
and keep me company. Make haste and get your clothes on, and go and see.”
Now Lucy had had hopes of inducing Mattie to go with her, as I indicated in a previous chapter ; but she could not press the child after the reason she gave for not going. And now she might as well ask her to stay with her grandmother. So she went round the corner to Mr. Kitely's shop, glancing up at Mr. Spelt's nest in the wall as she passed, to see whether she was not there.
When she entered the wilderness of books she saw no one ; but peeping round one of the many screens, she spied Mattie sitting with her back towards her, and her head bent downward. Looking over her shoulder, she saw that she had a large folding plate of the funeral of Lord Nelson open before her, the black shapes of which, with their infernal horror of plumes-the hateful flowers that the buried seeds of ancient paganism still shoot up into the pleasant Christian fields—she was studying with an unaccountable absorption of interest.
“ What have you got there, Mattie ?” asked Lucy.
“Well, I don't ezackly know, miss," answered the child, looking up, very white-faced and serious.
“ Put the book away, and come and see grannie. She wants you to take care of her to-day, while I go out.”
“Well, miss, I would with pleasure ; but you see father is gone out, and has left me to take care of the shop till he comes back.”
“But he won't be gone a great while, will he?"
“ No, miss. He knows I don't like to be left too long with the books. He'll be back before St. Jacob strikes nine—that I know."
“Well, then, I'll go and get grannie made comfortable ; and if you don't come to me by half.past nine, I'll come after you again.”
“Do, miss, if you please ; for if father ain't come by that time -my poor head—”.
“ You must put that ugly book away,” said Lucy, “and take a better one.”
“Well, miss, I know I oughtn't to have taken this book, for there's no summer in it; and it talks like the wind at night.”
“Why did you take it then?”
“ Because Syne told me to take it. But that's just why I oughtn't to ha' taken it.”.
And she rose and put the book in one of the shelves over her head, moving her stool when she had done so, and turning her face towards the spot where the book now stood. Lucy watched her uneasily.
“What do you mean by saying that Syne told you ?" she asked. “Who is Syne ?”
“Don't you know Syne, miss ? Syne is—You know 'Lord Syne was a miserly churl'-don't you ?”
Then before Lucy could reply, she looked up in her face, with a smile hovering about the one side of her mouth, and said,
“ But it's all nonsense, miss, when you're standing there. There isn't no such person as Syne, when you're there. I don't believe there is any such person. But,” she added with a sigh, “when you're gone away—I don't know. But I think he's upstairs in the nursery now," she said, putting her hand to her big forehead. “No, no, there's no such person.
And Mattie tried to laugh outright, but failed in the attempt, and the tears rose in her eyes.
“ You've got a headache, dear," said Lucy.
“ Well, no," answered Mattie. “I cannot say that I have just a headache, you know. But it does buzz a little. I hope Mr. Kitely won't be long now.”
“I don't like leaving you, Mattie ; but I must go to my grand. mother," said Lucy, with reluctance.
“ Never mind me, miss. I'm used to it. I used to be afraid of Lord Syne, for he watched me, ready to pounce out upon me with all his men at his back, and he laughed so loud to see me run. But I know better now. I never run from him now. I always frown at him, and take my own time, and do as I like. I don't want him to see that I'm afraid, you know. And I do think I have taught him a lesson. Besides, if he's very troublesome, you know, miss, I can run to Mr. Spelt. But I never talk to him about Syne, because when I do he always looks so mournful. Perhaps he thinks it is wicked. He is so good himself, he has no idea how wicked a body can be."
Lucy thought it best to hurry away, that she might return the sooner ; for she could not bear the child to be left alone in such a mood. And she was sure that the best thing for her would be to spend the day with her cheery old grandmother. But as she was leaving the shop, Mr. Kitely came in, his large, bold, sharp face fresh as a north wind without a touch of east in it. Lucy preferred her request about Mattie, and he granted it cordially.
“ I'm afraid, Mr. Kitely," said Lucy, “the darling is not well. She has such strange fancies."
“Oh, I don't know," returned the bookseller, with mingled concern at the suggestion and refusal to entertain it. “ She's always been a curious child. Her mother was like that, you see, and she takes after her. Perhaps she does want a little more change. I don't think she's been out of this street now all her life. But she'll shake it off as she gets older, I have no doubt.”
So saying, he turned into his shop, and Lucy went home. In half an hour she went back for Mattie, and leaving the two together, of whom the child, in all her words and ways, seemed the older, set out for the West End, where Mrs. Morgenstern was anxiously hoping for her appearance, seeing she depended much upon her assistance in