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manufacturing town, where, in times past, the Church's work has been utterly neglected, and the people have lived without a faith, and died with no more of hope than the beasts that perish. When, by God's blessing on the work of some one of His devoted servants, the system and machinery of the Church are brought into full play among a population heretofore sunk in ignorance and vice, and thereupon follows, (as invariably does follow, where do worldly agitators seek to make their market by impeding it,) a vast developement and revival of Church principles, and religious life, we can hardly find a happier phrase to express the change, than that which calls up an image of a bleak and arid desert, transmuted into “a garden of the LORD,” bright with hues which His hand has painted, perfuming the air with odours which done but He could call into existence.

But it is a very noticeable fact that under such circumstances the metaphor, so to speak, becomes a reality; in other words, the once brutalized population becomes so humanized and refined in its habits, that low tastes altogether disappear, pure and simple pleasures are substituted for grosser enjoyments, and, (as one instance of this among many,) the ragged, untidy plot of ground that once bore nothing but stunted cabbages, is now filled with flowers and fruits.

Come with me, gentle reader, into the bleak moorlands of Staffordsbire, and you shall have an instance of what I mean.

Not many years since, a devoted servant of his LORD, a man of singular gifts and qualifications for the office of the Christian Priesthood,-(one who never knew him may venture on this eulogium, for the sight of it is never likely to meet his eyes, and pain his modest nature, -he is now the Principal of Codrington College, Barbadoes,) found himself in charge of a parish with a population of four thousand people, at one extremity of which was an isolated hamlet, which is said to have been the very refuge of all that was lawless. Here flourished the private still which set the excise at defiance. Here lurked the poacher whom no constable dared to arrest. Here was to be found the witness who was ready to swear to anything which the unscrupulous briber might desire. Such was once the hamlet of Free Hay, standing high above the town of Cheadle, an inaccessible, roadless spot, on the wild moor, the very type of a moral wilderness.

Go to it now, and you will see that this pastor, who followed “good S. Chad,” in his zeal to reclaim a heathen people, has, in S. Chad's, Free Hay, reared an edifice which, for durability and beauty, seems the pattern of what a parochial chapel ought to be. Enter its walls, and you will see a singularly devout and attentive congregation. Listen to its choral service, and you will hear that which, if it be found in S. Chad's Cathedral, is of recent growth, the singing God's praises with sweetness and reverence, as unto God, and as in God's presence. Quit the Church for the graveyard, and no headstones unworthy of Christians will pain your sight. Pass on, and you will go through a lovely flower garden, to a school in which the admirable construction of the building corresponds with the admirable system of teaching therein to be found.

How much of all this was effected by Mr. Rawle, and how much by his successor, the writer of these linies does not know. If Paul planted, most assuredly has Apollos watered, and two masterminds have been united in one labour of love.

Oh that the waverers, the desponding, the folks who talk about the inelasticity of the Church.system, and her inability to adapt herself to changing times, and revolutions in the thoughts and habits of the people, would take a lesson (albeit it suits them ill to be humble learners in any science,) from the daily work at Free Hay. Summer and winter, rain or shine, on it goes, the same care bestowed, the same attention devoted ; no eclat atiends it; very few talk about it; nobody thinks it worth while to spit forth venom at it. It is too real. It is God's work quietly done, and He is blessing it. “ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” God is in it, and with it.

I had often longed to be at the Free Hay School Feast, which is held annually at the time of the Cheadle wake, -no doubt with the two-fold object of keeping the scholars out of harm's way, and of showing them how Christians may rejoice, and yet not forget God. I was fortunate enough this year io procure a ticket, and had the privilege of being present. But I shall not describe it, for in their general character these sort of festivals are very much the sarne everywhere, and the happy faces, the sight of which constitutes their chief enjoyment to those who are not children, cannot, unluckily, be transferred to paper.

We began, as all Church Festivals should begin, with Divine service,-Evensong : and then there was tea, and plum-cake, and after tea, sports of all kinds, swings and see-saws, climbing poles, and running races, and more fun than I can think of or recall; for truth to tell, I was all the while less observant of details, than eager to see how the system on which these children are taught would develope itself when the children were left quite free from restraint. And the conclusion I came to was this—hear it, Eton ! hear it, Harrow! that gentlemen's sons in the play-ground of public schools are not nearly as gentlemanlike as were these lads—the future ploughboys of this district. I watched narrowly, I heard not one rough or bad word, I could see no selfish rudeness, no unmannerly roughness, no tyranny, no meanness, no greediness. These boys had been trained : they were better taught than clothed, better taught than fed. They were perfectly respectful to their teachers, and perfectly at ease with them. The master-hating days are, it is to be hoped, fast passing from all our schools.

But I began with an allusion to Aowers, and to that I must return. Half the pleasure of a feast consists in the excitement of preparation; and Free Hay is no exception to the rule. On the Monday before their festival (which fell on a Thursday) the children began to decorate their school. And on that day their nimble fingers had woven no less than a hundred and seventy yards of wreaths. Before the dawn of Thursday seven hundred yards of like materials were ready for suspension on roof and walls! And beautiful was the finished work. From rafter to rafter, vertically and horizontally, athwart and athwart, above and below, with all the intricacy, and yet with all the regularity of a spider's web, was the whole interior of the high-pitched roof covered with this living network. It is a land of heather and mountain ash, and the blended colours of the green leaves and scarlet-berries of the latter, with the lilac flowers of the former, made an exquisite contrast with the simpler wreathings of variegated ivy. At intervals along the walls were knots and bows of dahlias and other flowers of brilliant hues. Round every window were pendant, trailing runners of various climbing plants, so light and delicate, that none but tiny fingers could have so disposed them.

At intervals, suspended from the ridge-piece of the roof were hoops of flowers, so contrived as to form coronæ for candles of the most tasteful description.

O why is it that in our superstition or our cowardice we shrink from using flowers as regularly on the other festivals of the Church, as we use holly and ivy at Christmas ? Why is it, that because Puritanism draws its prejudices with cords of bitterness, and nonsense, as it were, with a cart rope, we grudge God His own ornaments in His own house? Whom can the lilies of the field corrupt? what false doctrine lurks beneath the petals of the rose ? It is a comfort to think that a generation is rearing who have better and truer thoughts. The children who now wreath garlands for their schools, will find no stumbling-block when they see their children decking the sanctuary with like ornaments. O come the day!

When evening closed in, we left the play-ground, and on reentering the school, found that all the tables which, a few hours before, had borne their load of tea and cake, had been removed, and by some magic a gallery of seats had been raised from the floor to the roof. In front of this was spread a sheet, through which were displayed a series of dissolving views, while at intervals the choir sung songs appropriate to the scenes which were flitting over the curtain.

But to the children of larger growth the sight of sights was reserved for the last. When the last slide (a portrait of the Queen) had been removed from the magic lantern, the sheet was removed, and we who till that moment had been behind the scenes, then

saw a sight, such as those who saw it will not readily forget,—three hundred and fifty happy, merry faces of delighted children and parents, tier above tier, from floor to ceiling.

In a few moments the candles in the coronæ were lighted, and “God save the Queen,” was sung in full chorus. It has been said that the great Duke has intimated his belief that if ten thousand men were turned into Hyde Park, there are very few generals living who would know how to get them out again. How three hundred and fifty people were so managed as to induce them to sit for two hours in utter darkness, in so orderly and quiet a manner as that nobody would have guessed that there was an audience of more than twenty people, was, we own, a riddle to us; but it was solved when we saw, under the kind, gentle direction of their pastor, (who never deemed it necessary to raise his voice,) the whole of that assembly disperse with infinitely more of good manners, and infinitely less of crushing than attends the break up of a rout in Belgravia. “There is something more,

we thought to ourselves, “than mere generalship in this,” as we followed the sleeping child borne out in the one policeman's arms; and as the door of the schoolroom of S. Chad's, Free Hay, closed upon us, we earnestly breathed the prayer, in which many a reader will join, “ May this scene inspire me to try and do likewise !"

M.O. L. E.

THE FLOWER BASKET:

CHAPTER II.

MARY AT THE CASTLE

One lovely morning in the beginning of May, Mary had been cutting from the neighbouring wood some willow and hazel branches, out of which her father, when he had nothing to do in the garden, plaited the most elegant little baskets. There she found the first lilies of the valley, and plucking some, formed two little bouquets, one for her father, the other for herself. As she walked along the narrow foot-path through the flowery meadow towards home, she met the Countess of Eichberg and her daughter Amelia. They generally resided in town, but had come to pass a few days at their castle at Eichberg.

Mary stepped somewhat aside, as soon as she perceived the two ladies dressed in white, with green parasols, made room for them to pass, and remained respectfully standing.

"o, what beautiful lilies of the valley !” cried the young Countess, who preferred these flowers to all others.

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Mary immediately offered the ladies a bouquet, which they accepted graciously, and the Countess drew out her purple coloured purse, and was going to give Mary some money, but she said, “O, no, no; I cannot take anything. Do allow me the pleasure of presenting the flowers to your ladyship, from whom I have received so much kindness. Pray do not reward me!”

The Countess, smiling kindly, said, “ You must often bring Amelia lilies.”

Mary did so every morning, as long as they were in flower, and so went daily to the castle. Amelia was more and more charmed with Mary's good sense, her joyous, cheerful disposition, and her artless, modest demeanour. The young Countess constantly had her with her long after the lilies had ceased to bloom, and frequently gave her to understand that she wished to take her into her service.

Amelia's birthday was now approaching, and Mary set her heart on making her a little rural present; but a bouquet she had so often given her. A thought, however, flashed across her mind. During the previous winter, her father had formed some very beautiful little work-baskets for young ladies, the prettiest of which he had given to his child. He had procured the design from town, and had been particularly successful in its work manship. She determined to fill it with Aowers, and present it to Amelia on her birthday. The old man, willingly yielding toʻhis daughter's wish, embellished it with Amelia's name and family arms, which he wove in with much taste and artistic skill.

On the birthday morning, Mary, gathering the sweetest roses, wall-flowers, pinks, and other beautiful flowers of various tints, together with some evergreens, arranged them in the basket, so that the colours might prettily contrast with each other. Round the sides she twined a garland of rose-buds and moss, but Amelia's name she encircled with a wreath of forget-me-nots. The fresh rose-buds, the tender green moss, and the blue vergissmeinnicht, looked truly elegant on the white lattice-work; the tout ensemble was perfectly charming. Even the serious old man praised Mary's idea, and with a smile

of satisfaction said, as she was going to take “ Leave it here a little while, that I may longer examine it."

Mary took it to the castle, and gave it to Amelia, expressing heartfelt wishes for her happiness. The young Countess, who was at her toilette, (her maid dressing her hair for the fête,) was quite delighted, and could not find words to express her admiration, first of the beautiful flowers, and then of the elegant basket.

“Good child,” said she, “ you have quite robbed your little garden, in giving me so many sweet flowers! And your father, too, how charmingly he works with so much taste! I never saw anything prettier! O, come with me to mamma !"

it away,

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