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AM I TO HAVE A FAVOURABLE ANSWER, ANNIE ?”

115

WHO OR WHAT COULD HAVE UTTERED THAT

AGONISED CRY?".

157

MR. SHERLOCK WELCOMING MRS. CLYVE.

173

WATCHING STANDING BY THE ORCHARD-GATE

193

WAVE UPON WAVE,

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

[graphic]

T is an October day, fair and still as

any day of that Indian summer which precedes the sharp winters

of the New World. Scarcely a breath of wind is stirring: the trees, yellow, and buff, and brown, stand motionless against the soft blue sky. On those low hills there is a hazy purple

bloom, spreading and deepening as the day wanes. From that little cottage, hiding in the hollow, ascends a straight spiral column of smoke, which lingers in the quiet air. It is one of the calmest afternoons I have ever known.

I bring my ramble to an end, and turn towards the house, walking slowly up the winding lane. Russet berries are lying

about, as if Autumn had broken her rosary, and the brown beads were scattered here and there: reaching the gate, I pause to glance over the furrowed uplands, where the sowers are sowing wheat; and then I think of the dreary winter months that are drawing near-the dark days that must come and go while that seed lies buried underground. The rain-mist and the snow-shroud must cover the earth before the first tender blade appears. The husbandman hath indeed “long patience for it.” But Faith looks ever onward and upward ; and while she sows the seed, she hears from the far-off future a distant echo of the harvest song.

On this day it has been suggested to me that I should begin to write the story of my own life. At first, be it understood, that I utterly rejected the idea. Of what use, I asked, could such an autobiography be to any one ? What interest can the annals of such an uneventful existence possibly excite? But it has been said, that the history of any human life, clearly and plainly told, would make a readable book : there is infinitely more variety in the real than in the unreal. Fiction repeats itself with wearisome monotony, while truth is ever fresh and versatile. One other argument has been used, and it seems to me a weighty one; I am reminded that the narrative of my struggles and sorrows may be a help to some who are even now tossing upon “the waves of this troublesome world.” The same Hand that steered

my

bark safely over rough seas can bring them also into “ the haven where they would be :" the same eternal love

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