« ForrigeFortsett »
as this! I declare it bewilders my poor head. I feel the addition in letters equally golden, None of which every time a horse puts his foot on my shadow as if I was erer paid by his trustees. must cry out. Isn't it silly? It's all my big head I will tell you who the worshippers were. There -it's not me, you know, miss."
was the housekeeper in a neighbouring warehouse, Lucy could not yet make the remark, and there who had been in a tumult all the day, and at nightfore I make it for her-how often we cry out when fall thought of the kine-browsed fields of her childsomething steps on our shadow, passing yards hood, and went to church. There was an old man away from ourselves! There is not a phenomenon of who had once been manager of a bank, and had disease—not even of insanity--that has not its managed it ill both for himself and his company; and counterpart in our moral' miseries, all springing from having been dismissed in consequence, had first got Fant of faith in God." At least, so it seems to me. weak in the brain, and then begun to lay up treasure That will account for it all, or looks as if it would; in heaven. Then came a brother and two sisters, and nothing else does. Dit
none of them under seventy. The former kept shiftIt seems to me, too, that in thinking of the miseries ing his brown wig and taking snuff. the whole of the and wretchedness in the world we seldom think of service, and- the latter two wiping, with yellow silk the other side. We hear of an event in association handkerchiefs, brown faces inlaid with coal-dust. with some certain individual, and we say "How They could not agree well enough to live together, for dreadful! How miserable!” And perhaps we say their father's will was the subject of constant quarrel. "Is there--can there be a God 'in the earth when They therefore lived in three lodgings at considerable such a thing can take place?". * But we do not see distances apart. But every night in the week they into the region of actual suffering or conflict. We met at this or that church similarly endowed, sat or do not see the heart where the shock' falls. We knelt or stood in holy silence or sacred speech for an neither see the prond bracing of energies to meet hour and a half, walked together to the end of the the ruin that threatens, nor the gracious faint in which lane discussing the sermon, and then separated till the weak escape from writhing. We do not see the the following evening. Thus the better parts in abatement of pain which is paradise to the tortured; them made a refuge of the house of God, where they we do not see the gentle upholding in sorrow that came near to each other, and the destroyer kept a comes even from the ministrations of nature-not to little aloof for the season. These, with the beadle and speak of human nature to delicate' souls. In a his wife, and Lucy and Mattie, made up
congreFord, we do not see, and the sufferer himself does not gation. understand, how God is present every moment, com- Now when they left the lane there was no sun to be forting, upholding, heeding that the pain shall not be seen; but when they entered the church, there he was. more than can be bornie, making the thing possible —his last rays pouring in through a richly-stained and not hideous. I say nothing of the peaceable window, the only beauty of the building. This window fruits that are to spring therefrom; and who shall -a memorial one—was placed in the northern side dare
' to say where they shall not follow upon such of the chancel, whence a passage through houses, chimtearing up of the soil? Even those long shadows neys, and churches led straight to the sunset, down gave Lucy some unknown comfort, flowing from Na- which the last rays I speak of came speeding for one ture's recognition of the loss of her lover; and she brief moment ere all was gone, and the memorial as clasped the little hand more tenderly, as if she would faded and grey as the memory of the man to whom thus return her thanks to Nature for the kindness it was dedicated. received.
This change from the dark lane to the sun-lighted To get out of the crowd on the pavement Lucy turned church, laid hold of Lucy's feelings. She did not aside into a lane. She had got half-way down it before know what it made her feel, but it aroused her with she discovered that it was one of those through which some vague sense of that sphere of glory which she had passed the night before when she went with enwraps all our lower spheres, and she bowed her Thomas to the river. She turned at once to leave it. knees and her head, and her being worshipped, if her As she turned, right before her stood an open church- thoughts were too troubled to go upwards. The i door. It was one of those sepulchral city churches, prayers had commenced ; and as she kneeled, the ', where the voice of the clergyman sounds ghostly, and words “ He pardoneth and absolveth,” were the first
seems as if the dead below were more real in their that found luminous entrance into her soul; and with presence than the half-dozen worshippers scattered them came the picture of Thomas, as he left the court among the pews.
with the man of the bad countenance. Of him, and On this occasion, however, there were seven present what he might be about, her mind was full; but when Lucy and Mattie entered and changed the every now and then a flash of light, in the shape of mystical number to the magical.
words, broke through the mist of her troubled It was a church named outlandishly after a Scan- thoughts, and testified of the glory-sphere beyond; dinavian saint. Some worthy had endowed a week till at length her mind was so far calmed that she evening sermon there after better fashion than another became capable of listening a little to the discourse bad endowed the poor of the parish. The name of of the preacher. the latter was recorded in golden letters upon a black He was not a man of the type of Mr. Potter of tablet in the vestibule, as the donor of £200, with St. Jacob's, who considered himself possessed of worldly privileges in virtue of a heavenly office not “ Thank you, sister. You're very polite, as usual. one of whose duties he fulfilled in a heavenly fashion. But, after all, where should we have been but for the Some people considered Mr. Fuller very silly for trifle we've got in the bank ?” believing that he might do good in a church like this, “You two might ha' been living together like and with a congregation like this, by speaking that sisters, instead of quarrelling like two cats, if the which he know, and testifying that which he had seen. money had gone as it ought to," said the old man, But he did actually believe it. Somehow or other who considered that the whole property belonged of I think because he was so much in the habit of looks right to him. ing up to the Father—the prayers took a hold of him By this time they had reached the end of the lane, once more every time he read them; and he so de- and, without a word to each other, they separated. lighted in the truths he saw that he rejoiced to set “Syne," said Mattie, significantly. Syne was evithem forth-was actually glad to talk about them to dently her evil incarnation. Lucy did not reply, but any one who would listen. When he confessed his hastened home with her, anxious to be alone. She feeling about congregations, he said that he preferred did not leave the child, however, before she had put twelve people to a thousand. This he considered a her to bed, and read again the hymn that had taken weakness, however; except that he could more easily her fancy before they went out. let his heart out to the twelve.
I will now show my reader how much of the He took for his text the words of our Lord: “Come sermon remained upon Lucy's mind. She sat a few unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.” minutes with her grandmother, and then told her that He could not see the faces of the strangers, for they she felt better, but would like to go to bed. So she sat behind a pillar, and therefore he had no means of took her candle and went. As soon as she had closed discovering that each of them had a heavy-laden her door, she knelt down by her bedside, and said heart: Lucy was not alone in trouble, for Syne had something like this--more broken, and with long been hard upon Mattie that day. He addressed him- pauses between-but like this:-self especially to the two old women before him, of “O Jesus Christ, I come. I don't know any other whose story he knew nothing, though their faces way to come. I speak to thee. Oh, hear me.
I ain were as well known to him as the pillars of the woary and heavy laden. Give me rest. Help me to church. But the basin into which the fountain of his put on the yoke of thy meekness and thy lowliness speech flowed was the heart of those girls.
of heart, which thou sayest will give rest to our No doubt presented itself as to the truth of what souls. I cannot do it without thy help. Thou couldst the preacher was saying; nor could either of them do it without help. I cannot. Teach me. . Give me have given a single argument from history or criti- thy rest. How am I to begin? How am I to take cism for the reality of the message upon which the thy yoke on me? I must be meek. I am very preacher founded his exhortation. The truth is not troubled and vexed. Am I angry? Am I unfordependent upon proof for its working. Its relation giving? Poor Thomas! Lord Jesus, have merey to the human being is essential, is in the nature of upon Thomas. He does not know what he is doing. things; so that if it be but received in faith--that is, I will be very patient. I will sit with my hands acted upon-it works its own work, and needs the folded, and bear all my sorrow, and not vex Grannie buttressing of no arguments any more than the true with it; and I won't say an angry word to Thomas. operation of a healing plant is dependent upon a But, O Lord, have mercy upon him, and make him knowledge of Dioscorides. My reader must not, there- meek and lowly of heart. I have not been sitting at fore, suppose that I consider doubt an unholy thing; thy feet and learning of thee. Thou canst take on the contrary, I consider spiritual doubt a far more all my trouble away by making Thomas good. I precious thing than intellectual conviction, for it ought to have tried hard to keep him in the way springs from the awaking of a deeper necessity than his mother taught him, and I have been idle and any that can be satisfied from the region of logic. self-indulgent, and taken up with my music and But when the truth has begun to work its own in- dresses. I have not looked to my heart to see fluence in any heart, that heart has begun to rise out whether it was mcek and lowly like thine. O Lord, of the region of doubt.
thou hast given me everything, and I have not When they came from the church, Lucy and Mattie thought about thee. I thank thee that thou hast walked hand in hand after the sisters and brother, made me miserable, for now I shall be thy child. and heard them talk.
Thou canst bring Thomas home again to thee. “ He's a young one, that!" said the old man. Thou canst make him meck and lowly of heart, and “He'll know a little botter by the time he's as old as give rest to his soul. Amen." I am."
Is it any wonder that she should have risen from Well, I did think he went a little too far when her knees comforted ? I think not. She was already he said a body might be as happy in the work'us as --gentle and good as she had always been--more with thousands of pounds in the Bank of England.” meek and lowly. She had began to regard this
“I don't know,” interposed the other sister. “He meekness as the yoke of Jesus, and therefore to will said it depended on what you'd got inside you. Now, it. Already, in a measure, she was a partaker of his if you've got a bad temper inside you, all you've got peace. won't make you happy."
Worn out by her suffering, and soothed by her
prayer, she fell asleep the moment she laid her head could be the same, for things could not to all eternity upon the pillow. And thus Lucy passed the night. be the same again : they must be infinitely better
and more beautiful, or cease altogether.
Thomas gave a look for one moment full in Lucy's CHAPTER XXI.MORE SHUFFLING.
eyes, and then dropped his own, holding her still Tox went home the next night with a racking by the consenting hand. headache. Gladly would he have gone to Lucy to “Will you forgive me, Lucy?” he said, in a voice comfort him, but he was too much ashamed of his partly choked by feeling, and partly by the presence behaviour to her the night before, and too uneasy in of Mrs. Boxall, who, however, could not hear what his conscience. He was, indeed, in an abject con- passed between them, for she sat knitting at the dition of body, intellect, and morals. He went at other end of the large room. once to his own room and to bed ; fell asleep; woke
“Oh, Tom !" answered Lucy, with a gontle presin the middle of the night miserably gnawed by sure of his hand. "Don Worm, the conscience;" tried to pray, and Now, as all that Tom wanted was to be reinstated found it did him no good; turned his thoughts to in her favour, he took the words as the seal of the
Lucy, and burst into tears at the recollection of desired reconciliation, and went no farther with any | how he had treated her, imagining over and over confession. words, however, meaning simply
twenty scenes in which he begged her forgiveness, that she loved him and wanted to love him, ought to till he fell asleep at last, dreamed that she turned her have made Tom the more anxious to confess all-not back upon him, and refused to hear him, and woke merely the rudeness of which he had been guilty and in the morning with the resolution of going to see which had driven her from the room, but the wrong her that night, and confessing everything.
he had done her in spending the evening in such His father had come home after he went to bed, company; for surely it was a grievous wrong to a and it was with great trepidation that he went pure girl like Lucy to spend the space between the down to breakfast, almost expecting to find that he last and the next pressure of her hand in an atmosknew already of his relation to Lucy. But Richard phere of vice. But the cloud cleared from his brow, Bosall was above that kind of thing, and Mr. Wor- and, with a sudden reaction of spirits, he began to boise was evidently free from any suspicion of the be merry. To this change, however, Lucy did not
He grected his son kindly, or rather frankly, respond. The cloud seemed rather to fall more and soemed to be in good spirits.
heavily over her countenance. She turned from him, “Our friends are well down the channel by this and went to a chair opposite her grandmother. Tom time, with such a fair wind,” he said. “ Boxall's a followed, and sat down beside her. He was sympalucky man to be able to get away from business like thetic enough to see that things were not right that. I wish you had taken a fancy to Mary, Tom. between them after all. But he referred it entirely She's sure to get engaged before she comes back to her uneasiness at his parents' ignorance of their Shipboard's a great place for getting engaged. Some engagement. hungry fellow, with a red coat and an empty breeches- Some of my readers may think that Lucy too was pocket, is sure to pick her up. You might have to blame for want of decision; that she ought to had her if you had liked. However, you may do as have refused to see Thomas even once again, till he well çet; and you needn't be in a hurry now. It's had made his parents aware of their relation to each not enough that there's as good fish in the sea: they other. But knowing how little sympathy and help must come to your net, you know."
he had from those parents, she felt that to be severe Tom laughed it off, went to his office, worked the upon him thus would be like turning him out into a weary day through, and ran round to Guild Court snowstorm to find his way home across a desolate the moment he left business.
moor; and her success by persuasion would be a Lucy had waked in the night as well as Tom; but better thing for Thomas than her success by compulshe had waked to the hope that there was a power sion. No doubt, if her rights alone had to be consomewhere—a power working good, and upholding sidered, and not the necessities of Thomas's moral them that love it; to the hope that a thought lived nature, the plan she did not adopt would have been all through the dark, and would one day make the the best. But no one liveth to himself-not even darkness light about her; to the hope that a heart a woman whose dignity is in danger--and Lucy did of love and help was at the heart of things, and would not think of herself alone. Yet, for the sake of show itself for her need. When, therefore, Tom both, she remained perfectly firm in her purpose knocked-timidly almost-at the door, and opened it that Thomas should do something. inquiringly, she met him with a strange light in “Your uncle has said nothing about that unfortuher pale face, and a smile flickering about a lip that nate rencontre, Lucy,” said Tom, hoping that what trembled in sympathy with her rain-clouded eyes. had relieved him would relieve her. “My father She held out her hand to him cordially, but neither came home last night, and the paternal brow is all offered to embrace - Thomas from shame, and Lucy serene.” from a feeling of something between that had to “Then I suppose you said something about it, be removed before things could be as they were-or Tom?” said Lucy, with a faint hope dawning in rather before their outward behaviour to each other her heart.
“Oh! there's time enough for that. I've been and was a delicately gifted man. But whose was the thinking about it, you sec, and I'll soon convince music, except it was his own, I do not know. And as you,” he added, hurriedly, seeing the cloud grow she sang the words, Lucy perceived for the first time deeper on Lucy's face. “I must tell you something how much they meant, and how they belonged to which I would rather not have mentioned."
her; for in singing them she prayed both for herself “Don't tell me, if you ought not to tell me, and for Thomas. Tom," said Lucy, whose conscience had grown more delicate than ever, both from the turning of her own
1 I am so weary with the burden old
Of foregone faults, and power of custom base, face towards the light, and from the growing feeling That much I fear to perish from the ways, that Tom was not to be trusted as a guide.
And fall into my enemy's grim hold. “There's no reason why I shouldn't,” returned
A mighty friend, to free me, though self-sold,
Came, of bis own ineffable high grace, Tom. “It's only this--that my father is vexed with
Then went, and from my vision took his face. me because I wouldn't make love to your cousin Him now in vain I weary to behold. Mary, and that I have let her slip out of my reach
But still his voice comes echoing belowing now; for, as he says, somebody will be sure to snap
O ye that labour! see, here is the gatel om
Come unto me--the way all open lies! her up before she comes back. So it's just the worst What heavenly grace will—what love-or what fatetime possible to tell him anything unpleasant, you The glad wings of a dove on me bestow, know. I really had far better wait till the poor girl
That I may rest, and from the earth arise ? *} is well out to sea, and off my father's mind; for I
Her sweet tones, the earnest music, and the few assure you, Lucy, it will be no joke when he does phrases he could catch here and there, all had their know. He's not in any mood for the news just now, influence upon Tom. They made him feel, And I can tell you. And then my mother's away, too, with that, as usual, he was content. Lucy herself and there's nobody to stand between me and him."
had felt as she had never felt before, and, therefore, Lucy made no reply to this speech, uttered in the cagerness with which a man, seeking to defend a bad astonished to find that her voice had such power over
sung as she had never sung before. And Tom was position, sends one weak word after another, as if the him, and began to wonder how it was that he had accumulation of poor arguments would make up for not found it out before. He went home more the lack of a good one. She sat for a long minute solemn and thoughtful than he had ever been. looking down on a spot in the carpet-the sight of
Still he did nothing..
“I've done all I can."
Thus things went on for the space of about three and he began again to make his position good.
weeks. Tom went to see Lucy almost every night, “I tell you what, Lucy,” he said ; "I give you
and sometimes stayed late; for his mother was still my promise that before another month is over-that from home, and his father was careless about his is to give my father time to get over his vexation-hours so long as they were decent. Lucy's face I will tell him all about it, and take the conse
continued grave, but lost a little of its trouble; quences."
for Tom often asked her to sing to him now, and she Lucy sighed once more, and looked dissatisfied. But thought she was gaining more of the influence over again it passed through her mind that if she were to him which she so honestly wished to possess. As insist farther, and refuse to see Thomas until he had the month drew towards a close, however, the look complied with her just desire, she would most likely of anxiety began to deepen upon her countenance. so far weaken, if not break, the bond between them,
One evening, still and sultry, they were together as to take from him the only influence that might as usual. Lucy was sitting at the piano, where she yet work on him for good, and expose him entirely had just been singing, and Tom stood 'beside her. to such influences as she most feared. Therefore The evening, as the Italian poets' would say, had she said no more. But she could not throw the grown brown, and Mrs. Boxall was just going to weight off her, or behave to Thomas as she had be- light the candles, when Tom interposed a request for haved hitherto. They sat silent for some time continued twilight. Thomas troubled before Lucy, Lucy troubled about
“Please, grannie," he said—for he too called her Thomas. Then, with another sigh, Lucy rose and grannie—“do not light the candles yet. It is so went to the piano. She had never done so before sweet and dusky-just like Lucy here." when Thomas was with her, for he did not care much
“All very well for you,” said Mrs. Boxall; “but I about her music. Now she thought of it as the only what is to become of me? My love-making was way of breaking the silence. But what should she over long ago, and I want to see what I'm about play?
now. Ah! young people, your time will come next. Then came into her memory a stately, sweet song
Make hay while the sun shines.” her father used to sing. She did not know where he
“While the candle's out, you mean, grannie," said got either the words or the music of it. I know that Tom, stealing a kiss from Lucy. the words are from Petrarch. Probably her father 'd translated them, for he had been much in Italy,
* Petrarch's sixtieth Sonnet.
CHAPTER XXII.-A COMING EVENT.
1 ,1 ای
"I hear more than you think for," said the cheery sense of our own comfort into a complacent satisfac-
lightning, but the howling of the wind tortured her “How close it is!” said Lucy. Will you open —that is, drew discords from the slackened strings the window a little wider, Tom. Mind the flowers," of the human instrument—her nerves ; made“ broken She came near the window, which looked down on music in her sides.” She reaped this benefit, howthe little stony desert of Guild Court, and sank into that such h, winds always drove her to her a high-backed chair that stood beside it."
prayers. On the wings of the wind itself, she “I can hardly drag one foot after another, she hastened her escape " from the windy, storm and said, "I feel so oppressed and weary," "* 1960' tempest." When at last she fell asleep, it was to
" And I,” said Tom, who had taken his place be- dream that another flash of lightning-when or where hind her, leaning on the back of her chair," "am as appearing she did not know-revealed Thomas casthappy as if I were in Paradise.?
ing dice with Molken, and then left them lapt in the "There must be thunder in the air,” said Lucy. darkness of a godless world. She woke weeping, "I fancy I smell the lightning already. Toh dear!” fell asleep again, and dreamed that she stood in the
" Are you afraid of lightning then?" asked darkness once more, and that somewhere near Thomas Thomas.
was casting dice with the devil for his soul, but "I do not think I am exactly; but it shakes me she could neither see him nor cry to him, for the like a false tone on the violin. No, that's not it. I was laid upon her head, and she heard the words, can't tell that it is like.".1
not in her ears, but in her heart—"Be of good cheer, A fierce flash broke in' upon her words. Mrs. my daughter.” It was only a dream ; but I doubt if Boxall gave a scream.
-I must not name names, lest I should be in« The Lord be about us from harm!” she cried. - terpreted widely from my, meaning-the greatest Lucy sat trembling.
positivist alive could have helped waking with some Thomas did not know how much she had to make comfort from that dream, nay, could have helped her tremble. * It is wonderful what can be seen in deriving a faint satisfaction from it, if it happened a single moment under an intense light. In that to return upon him during the day. “But in no one flash Lucy had seen Mr. Molken and another man such man would such a dream arise," my reader seated at a table, casting dice, with the eagerness of may object. "Ah, well,” I answer, because I have hungry fiends upon both their faces."' 1
nothing more to say. And perhaps even in what I A few moments after the first flash, the wind began have written 1 may have been doing or hinting some to rise, and as flash followed flash, with less and less of wrong to some of the class. It is dreadfully difficult an interval, the wind rose till it blew a hurricane, roar- to be just. It is far easier to be kind than to be fair. ing in the chimney, and through the archway as if It was not in London or the Empire only that that it were a wild beast caged in Guild Courty and storm raged that night. From all points of the comwanting to get out.
pass came reports of its havoc. Whether it was the . When the second flash came, Lucy saw that the same storm, however, or another on the same night, I blind of Mr. Molken's window was drawn down. cannot tell; but on the next morning save one, a vessel All night long the storm raved about London., passing one of the rocky islets belonging to the Cape Chimney-pots clashed on the opposite pavements. Verde group, found the fragments of a wreck floating One crazy old house, and one yet, more crazy new on the water. The barque had parted amidships, for, one, were blown down. Even the thieves and burglars on sending a boat to the island, they found her stern retreated to their dens. But before it had reached lying on a reef, round which little innocent waves its worst. Thomas had gone home. He lay awake were talking like human children. And on her stern for some time listening to the tamult and rejoicing they read her name, Ningpo, London. On the narrow in it, for it roused his imagination and the delight strand they found three bodies; one, that of a young that comes of beholding danger from a far-removed woman, vestureless and broken. They buried them safety-a selfish pleasure, and ready to pass from a as they could.