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´╗┐Title: Yeast: a Problem
Author: Kingsley, Charles, 1819-1875
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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YEAST: A PROBLEM



PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION



This book was written nearly twelve years ago; and so many things 
have changed since then, that it is hardly fair to send it into the 
world afresh, without some notice of the improvement--if such there 
be--which has taken place meanwhile in those southern counties of 
England, with which alone this book deals.

I believe that things are improved.  Twelve years more of the new 
Poor Law have taught the labouring men greater self-help and 
independence; I hope that those virtues may not be destroyed in them 
once more, by the boundless and indiscriminate almsgiving which has 
become the fashion of the day, in most parishes where there are 
resident gentry.  If half the money which is now given away in 
different forms to the agricultural poor could be spent in making 
their dwellings fit for honest men to live in, then life, morals, 
and poor-rates, would be saved to an immense amount.  But as I do 
not see how to carry out such a plan, I have no right to complain of 
others for not seeing.

Meanwhile cottage improvement, and sanitary reform, throughout the 
country districts, are going on at a fearfully slow rate.  Here and 
there high-hearted landlords, like the Duke of Bedford, are doing 
their duty like men; but in general, the apathy of the educated 
classes is most disgraceful.

But the labourers, during the last ten years, are altogether better 
off.  Free trade has increased their food, without lessening their 
employment.  The politician who wishes to know the effect on 
agricultural life of that wise and just measure, may find it in Mr. 
Grey of Dilston's answers to the queries of the French Government.  
The country parson will not need to seek so far.  He will see it (if 
he be an observant man) in the faces and figures of his school-
children.  He will see a rosier, fatter, bigger-boned race growing 
up, which bids fair to surpass in bulk the puny and ill-fed 
generation of 1815-45, and equal, perhaps, in thew and sinew, to the 
men who saved Europe in the old French war.

If it should be so (as God grant it may), there is little fear but 
that the labouring men of England will find their aristocracy able 
to lead them in the battle-field, and to develop the agriculture of 
the land at home, even better than did their grandfathers of the old 
war time.

To a thoughtful man, no point of the social horizon is more full of 
light, than the altered temper of the young gentlemen.  They have 
their faults and follies still--for when will young blood be other 
than hot blood?  But when one finds, more and more, swearing 
banished from the hunting-field, foul songs from the universities, 
drunkenness and gambling from the barracks; when one finds 
everywhere, whether at college, in camp, or by the cover-side, more 
and more, young men desirous to learn their duty as Englishmen, and 
if possible to do it; when one hears their altered tone toward the 
middle classes, and that word 'snob' (thanks very much to Mr. 
Thackeray) used by them in its true sense, without regard of rank; 
when one watches, as at Aldershott, the care and kindness of 
officers toward their men; and over and above all this, when one 
finds in every profession (in that of the soldier as much as any) 
young men who are not only 'in the world,' but (in religious 
phraseology) 'of the world,' living God-fearing, virtuous, and 
useful lives, as Christian men should:  then indeed one looks 
forward with hope and confidence to the day when these men shall 
settle down in life, and become, as holders of the land, the leaders 
of agricultural progress, and the guides and guardians of the 
labouring man.

I am bound to speak of the farmer, as I know him in the South of 
England.  In the North he is a man of altogether higher education 
and breeding:  but he is, even in the South, a much better man than 
it is the fashion to believe him.  No doubt, he has given heavy 
cause of complaint.  He was demoralised, as surely, if not as 
deeply, as his own labourers, by the old Poor Law.  He was 
bewildered--to use the mildest term--by promises of Protection from 
men who knew better.  But his worst fault after all has been, that 
young or old, he has copied his landlord too closely, and acted on 
his maxims and example.  And now that his landlord is growing wiser, 
he is growing wiser too.  Experience of the new Poor Law, and 
experience of Free-trade, are helping him to show himself what he 
always was at heart, an honest Englishman.  All his brave 
persistence and industry, his sturdy independence and self-help, and 
last, but not least, his strong sense of justice, and his vast good-
nature, are coming out more and more, and working better and better 
upon the land and the labourer; while among his sons I see many 
growing up brave, manly, prudent young men, with a steadily 
increasing knowledge of what is required of them, both as 
manufacturers of food, and employers of human labour.

The country clergy, again, are steadily improving.  I do not mean 
merely in morality--for public opinion now demands that as a sine 
qua non--but in actual efficiency.  Every fresh appointment seems to 
me, on the whole, a better one than the last.  They are gaining more 
and more the love and respect of their flocks; they are becoming 
more and more centres of civilisation and morality to their 
parishes; they are working, for the most part, very hard, each in 
his own way; indeed their great danger is, that they should trust 
too much in that outward 'business' work which they do so heartily; 
that they should fancy that the administration of schools and 
charities is their chief business, and literally leave the Word of 
God to serve tables.  Would that we clergymen could learn (some of 
us are learning already) that influence over our people is not to be 
gained by perpetual interference in their private affairs, too often 
inquisitorial, irritating, and degrading to both parties, but by 
showing ourselves their personal friends, of like passions with 
them.  Let a priest do that.  Let us make our people feel that we 
speak to them, and feel to them, as men to men, and then the more 
cottages we enter the better.  If we go into our neighbours' houses 
only as judges, inquisitors, or at best gossips, we are best--as too 
many are--at home in our studies.  Would, too, that we would 
recollect this--that our duty is, among other things, to preach the 
Gospel; and consider firstly whether what we commonly preach be any 
Gospel or good news at all, and not rather the worst possible news; 
and secondly, whether we preach at all; whether our sermons are not 
utterly unintelligible (being delivered in an unknown tongue), and 
also of a dulness not to be surpassed; and whether, therefore, it 
might not be worth our while to spend a little time in studying the 
English tongue, and the art of touching human hearts and minds.

But to return:  this improved tone (if the truth must be told) is 
owing, far more than people themselves are aware, to the triumphs of 
those liberal principles, for which the Whigs have fought for the 
last forty years, and of that sounder natural philosophy of which 
they have been the consistent patrons.  England has become Whig; and 
the death of the Whig party is the best proof of its victory.  It 
has ceased to exist, because it has done its work; because its 
principles are accepted by its ancient enemies; because the 
political economy and the physical science, which grew up under its 
patronage, are leavening the thoughts and acts of Anglican and of 
Evangelical alike, and supplying them with methods for carrying out 
their own schemes.  Lord Shaftesbury's truly noble speech on 
Sanitary Reform at Liverpool is a striking proof of the extent to 
which the Evangelical leaders have given in their adherence to those 
scientific laws, the original preachers of which have been called by 
his Lordship's party heretics and infidels, materialists and 
rationalists.  Be it so.  Provided truth be preached, what matter 
who preaches it?  Provided the leaven of sound inductive science 
leaven the whole lump, what matter who sets it working?  Better, 
perhaps, because more likely to produce practical success, that 
these novel truths should be instilled into the minds of the 
educated classes by men who share somewhat in their prejudices and 
superstitions, and doled out to them in such measure as will not 
terrify or disgust them.  The child will take its medicine from the 
nurse's hand trustfully enough, when it would scream itself into 
convulsions at the sight of the doctor, and so do itself more harm 
than the medicine would do it good.  The doctor meanwhile (unless he 
be one of Hesiod's 'fools, who know not how much more half is than 
the whole') is content enough to see any part of his prescription 
got down, by any hands whatsoever.

But there is another cause for the improved tone of the Landlord 
class, and of the young men of what is commonly called the 
aristocracy; and that is, a growing moral earnestness; which is in 
great part owing (that justice may be done on all sides) to the 
Anglican movement.  How much soever Neo-Anglicanism may have failed 
as an Ecclesiastical or Theological system; how much soever it may 
have proved itself, both by the national dislike of it, and by the 
defection of all its master-minds, to be radically un-English, it 
has at least awakened hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cultivated men 
and women to ask themselves whether God sent them into the world 
merely to eat, drink, and be merry, and to have 'their souls saved' 
upon the Spurgeon method, after they die; and has taught them an 
answer to that question not unworthy of English Christians.

The Anglican movement, when it dies out, will leave behind at least 
a legacy of grand old authors disinterred, of art, of music; of 
churches too, schools, cottages, and charitable institutions, which 
will form so many centres of future civilisation, and will entitle 
it to the respect, if not to the allegiance, of the future 
generation.  And more than this; it has sown in the hearts of young 
gentlemen and young ladies seed which will not perish; which, though 
it may develop into forms little expected by those who sowed it, 
will develop at least into a virtue more stately and reverent, more 
chivalrous and self-sacrificing, more genial and human, than can be 
learnt from that religion of the Stock Exchange, which reigned 
triumphant--for a year and a day--in the popular pulpits.

I have said, that Neo-Anglicanism has proved a failure, as 
seventeenth-century Anglicanism did.  The causes of that failure 
this book has tried to point out:  and not one word which is spoken 
of it therein, but has been drawn from personal and too-intimate 
experience.  But now--peace to its ashes.  Is it so great a sin, to 
have been dazzled by the splendour of an impossible ideal?  Is it so 
great a sin, to have had courage and conduct enough to attempt the 
enforcing of that ideal, in the face of the prejudices of a whole 
nation?  And if that ideal was too narrow for the English nation, 
and for the modern needs of mankind, is that either so great a sin?  
Are other extant ideals, then, so very comprehensive?  Does Mr. 
Spurgeon, then, take so much broader or nobler views of the 
capacities and destinies of his race, than that great genius, John 
Henry Newman?  If the world cannot answer that question now, it will 
answer it promptly enough in another five-and-twenty years.  And 
meanwhile let not the party and the system which has conquered boast 
itself too loudly.  Let it take warning by the Whigs; and suspect 
(as many a looker-on more than suspects) that its triumph may be, as 
with the Whigs, its ruin; and that, having done the work for which 
it was sent into the world, there may only remain for it, to decay 
and die.

And die it surely will, if (as seems too probable) there succeeds to 
this late thirty years of peace a thirty years of storm.

For it has lost all hold upon the young, the active, the daring.  It 
has sunk into a compromise between originally opposite dogmas.  It 
has become a religion for Jacob the smooth man; adapted to the 
maxims of the market, and leaving him full liberty to supplant his 
brother by all methods lawful in that market.  No longer can it 
embrace and explain all known facts of God and man, in heaven and 
earth, and satisfy utterly such minds and hearts as those of 
Cromwell's Ironsides, or the Scotch Covenanters, or even of a Newton 
and a Colonel Gardiner.  Let it make the most of its Hedley Vicars 
and its Havelock, and sound its own trumpet as loudly as it can, in 
sounding theirs; for they are the last specimens of heroism which it 
is likely to beget--if indeed it did in any true sense beget them, 
and if their gallantry was really owing to their creed, and not to 
the simple fact of their being--like others--English gentlemen.  
Well may Jacob's chaplains cackle in delighted surprise over their 
noble memories, like geese who have unwittingly hatched a swan!

But on Esau in general:--on poor rough Esau, who sails Jacob's 
ships, digs Jacob's mines, founds Jacob's colonies, pours out his 
blood for him in those wars which Jacob himself has stirred up--
while his sleek brother sits at home in his counting-house, enjoying 
at once 'the means of grace' and the produce of Esau's labour--on 
him Jacob's chaplains have less and less influence; for him they 
have less and less good news.  He is afraid of them, and they of 
him; the two do not comprehend one another, sympathise with one 
another; they do not even understand one another's speech.  The same 
social and moral gulf has opened between them, as parted the 
cultivated and wealthy Pharisee of Jerusalem from the rough fishers 
of the Galilaean Lake:  and yet the Galilaean fishers (if we are to 
trust Josephus and the Gospels) were trusty, generous, affectionate-
-and it was not from among the Pharisees, it is said, that the 
Apostles were chosen.

Be that as it may, Esau has a birthright; and this book, like all 
books which I have ever written, is written to tell him so; and, I 
trust, has not been written in vain.  But it is not this book, or 
any man's book, or any man at all, who can tell Esau the whole truth 
about himself, his powers, his duty, and his God.  Woman must do it, 
and not man.  His mother, his sister, the maid whom he may love; and 
failing all these (as they often will fail him, in the wild 
wandering life which he must live), those human angels of whom it is 
written--'The barren hath many more children than she who has an 
husband.'  And such will not be wanting.  As long as England can 
produce at once two such women as Florence Nightingale and Catherine 
Marsh, there is good hope that Esau will not be defrauded of his 
birthright; and that by the time that Jacob comes crouching to him, 
to defend him against the enemies who are near at hand, Esau, 
instead of borrowing Jacob's religion, may be able to teach Jacob 
his; and the two brothers face together the superstition and anarchy 
of Europe, in the strength of a lofty and enlightened Christianity, 
which shall be thoroughly human, and therefore thoroughly divine.

C. K.
February 17th, 1859.



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION



This little tale was written between two and three years ago, in the 
hope that it might help to call the attention of wiser and better 
men than I am, to the questions which are now agitating the minds of 
the rising generation, and to the absolute necessity of solving them 
at once and earnestly, unless we would see the faith of our 
forefathers crumble away beneath the combined influence of new 
truths which are fancied to be incompatible with it, and new 
mistakes as to its real essence.  That this can be done I believe 
and know:  if I had not believed it, I would never have put pen to 
paper on the subject.

I believe that the ancient Creed, the Eternal Gospel, will stand, 
and conquer, and prove its might in this age, as it has in every 
other for eighteen hundred years, by claiming, and subduing, and 
organising those young anarchic forces, which now, unconscious of 
their parentage, rebel against Him to whom they owe their being.

But for the time being, the young men and women of our day are fast 
parting from their parents and each other; the more thoughtful are 
wandering either towards Rome, towards sheer materialism, or towards 
an unchristian and unphilosophic spiritualism.  Epicurism which, in 
my eyes, is the worst evil spirit of the three, precisely because it 
looks at first sight most like an angel of light.  The mass, again, 
are fancying that they are still adhering to the old creeds, the old 
church, to the honoured patriarchs of English Protestantism.  I wish 
I could agree with them in their belief about themselves.  To me 
they seem--with a small sprinkling of those noble and cheering 
exceptions to popular error which are to be found in every age of 
Christ's church--to be losing most fearfully and rapidly the living 
spirit of Christianity, and to be, for that very reason, clinging 
all the more convulsively--and who can blame them?--to the outward 
letter of it, whether High Church or Evangelical; unconscious, all 
the while, that they are sinking out of real living belief, into 
that dead self-deceiving belief-in-believing, which has been always 
heretofore, and is becoming in England now, the parent of the most 
blind, dishonest, and pitiless bigotry.

In the following pages I have attempted to show what some at least 
of the young in these days are really thinking and feeling.  I know 
well that my sketch is inadequate and partial:  I have every reason 
to believe, from the criticisms which I have received since its 
first publication, that it is, as far as it goes, correct.  I put it 
as a problem.  It would be the height of arrogance in me to do more 
than indicate the direction in which I think a solution may be 
found.  I fear that my elder readers may complain that I have no 
right to start doubts without answering them.  I can only answer,--
Would that I had started them! would that I was not seeing them 
daily around me, under some form or other, in just the very hearts 
for whom one would most wish the peace and strength of a fixed and 
healthy faith.  To the young, this book can do no harm; for it will 
put into their minds little but what is there already.  To the 
elder, it may do good; for it may teach some of them, as I earnestly 
hope, something of the real, but too often utterly unsuspected, 
state of their own children's minds; something of the reasons of 
that calamitous estrangement between themselves and those who will 
succeed them, which is often too painful and oppressive to be 
confessed to their own hearts!  Whatever amount of obloquy this book 
may bring upon me, I shall think that a light price to pay, if by it 
I shall have helped, even in a single case, to 'turn the hearts of 
the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the 
parents, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come,'--as 
come it surely will, if we persist much longer in substituting 
denunciation for sympathy, instruction for education, and Pharisaism 
for the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

1851.



CHAPTER I:  THE PHILOSOPHY OF FOX-HUNTING



As this my story will probably run counter to more than one fashion 
of the day, literary and other, it is prudent to bow to those 
fashions wherever I honestly can; and therefore to begin with a 
scrap of description.

The edge of a great fox-cover; a flat wilderness of low leafless 
oaks fortified by a long, dreary, thorn capped clay ditch, with sour 
red water oozing out at every yard; a broken gate leading into a 
straight wood ride, ragged with dead grasses and black with fallen 
leaves, the centre mashed into a quagmire by innumerable horsehoofs; 
some forty red coats and some four black; a sprinkling of young-
farmers, resplendent in gold buttons and green; a pair of sleek drab 
stable-keepers, showing off horses for sale; the surgeon of the 
union, in Mackintosh and antigropelos; two holiday schoolboys with 
trousers strapped down to bursting point, like a penny steamer's 
safety-valve; a midshipman, the only merry one in the field, bumping 
about on a fretting, sweating hack, with its nose a foot above its 
ears; and Lancelot Smith, who then kept two good horses, and 'rode 
forward' as a fine young fellow of three-and-twenty who can afford 
it, and 'has nothing else to do,' has a very good right to ride.

But what is a description, without a sketch of the weather?--In 
these Pantheist days especially, when a hero or heroine's moral 
state must entirely depend on the barometer, and authors talk as if 
Christians were cabbages, and a man's soul as well as his lungs 
might be saved by sea-breezes and sunshine; or his character 
developed by wearing guano in his shoes, and training himself 
against a south wall--we must have a weather description, though, as 
I shall presently show, one in flat contradiction of the popular 
theory.  Luckily for our information, Lancelot was very much given 
to watch both the weather and himself, and had indeed, while in his 
teens, combined the two in a sort of a soul-almanack on the 
principles just mentioned--somewhat in this style:--

'Monday, 21st.--Wind S.W., bright sun, mercury at 30.5 inches.  Felt 
my heart expanded towards the universe.  Organs of veneration and 
benevolence pleasingly excited; and gave a shilling to a tramp.  An 
inexpressible joy bounded through every vein, and the soft air 
breathed purity and self-sacrifice through my soul.  As I watched 
the beetles, those children of the sun, who, as divine Shelley says, 
"laden with light and odour, pass over the gleam of the living 
grass," I gained an Eden-glimpse of the pleasures of virtue.

'N.B.  Found the tramp drunk in a ditch.  I could not have degraded 
myself on such a day--ah! how could he?

'Tuesday, 22d.--Barometer rapidly falling.  Heavy clouds in the 
south-east.  My heart sank into gloomy forebodings.  Read Manfred, 
and doubted whether I should live long.  The laden weight of destiny 
seemed to crush down my aching forehead, till the thunderstorm 
burst, and peace was restored to my troubled soul.'

This was very bad; but to do justice to Lancelot, he had grown out 
of it at the time when my story begins.  He was now in the fifth act 
of his 'Werterean' stage; that sentimental measles, which all clever 
men must catch once in their lives, and which, generally, like the 
physical measles, if taken early, settles their constitution for 
good or evil; if taken late, goes far towards killing them.  
Lancelot had found Byron and Shelley pall on his taste and commenced 
devouring Bulwer and worshipping Ernest Maltravers.  He had left 
Bulwer for old ballads and romances, and Mr. Carlyle's reviews; was 
next alternately chivalry-mad; and Germany-mad; was now reading hard 
at physical science; and on the whole, trying to become a great man, 
without any very clear notion of what a great man ought to be.  Real 
education he never had had.  Bred up at home under his father, a 
rich merchant, he had gone to college with a large stock of general 
information, and a particular mania for dried plants, fossils, 
butterflies, and sketching, and some such creed as this:--

That he was very clever.

That he ought to make his fortune.

That a great many things were very pleasant--beautiful things among 
the rest.

That it was a fine thing to be 'superior,' gentleman-like, generous, 
and courageous.

That a man ought to be religious.

And left college with a good smattering of classics and mathematics, 
picked up in the intervals of boat-racing and hunting, and much the 
same creed as he brought with him, except in regard to the last 
article.  The scenery-and-natural-history mania was now somewhat at 
a discount.  He had discovered a new natural object, including in 
itself all--more than all--yet found beauties and wonders--woman!

Draw, draw the veil and weep, guardian angel! if such there be.  
What was to be expected?  Pleasant things were pleasant--there was 
no doubt of that, whatever else might be doubtful.  He had read 
Byron by stealth; he had been flogged into reading Ovid and 
Tibullus; and commanded by his private tutor to read Martial and 
Juvenal 'for the improvement of his style.'  All conversation on the 
subject of love had been prudishly avoided, as usual, by his parents 
and teacher.  The parts of the Bible which spoke of it had been 
always kept out of his sight.  Love had been to him, practically, 
ground tabooed and 'carnal.'  What was to be expected?  Just what 
happened--if woman's beauty had nothing holy in it, why should his 
fondness for it?  Just what happens every day--that he had to sow 
his wild oats for himself, and eat the fruit thereof, and the dirt 
thereof also.

O fathers! fathers! and you, clergymen, who monopolise education! 
either tell boys the truth about love, or do not put into their 
hands, without note or comment, the foul devil's lies about it, 
which make up the mass of the Latin poets--and then go, fresh from 
teaching Juvenal and Ovid, to declaim at Exeter Hall against poor 
Peter Dens's well-meaning prurience!  Had we not better take the 
beam out of our own eye before we meddle with the mote in the 
Jesuit's?

But where is my description of the weather all this time?

I cannot, I am sorry to say, give any very cheerful account of the 
weather that day.  But what matter?  Are Englishmen hedge-gnats, who 
only take their sport when the sun shines?  Is it not, on the 
contrary, symbolical of our national character, that almost all our 
field amusements are wintry ones?  Our fowling, our hunting, our 
punt-shooting (pastime for Hymir himself and the frost giants)--our 
golf and skating,--our very cricket, and boat-racing, and jack and 
grayling fishing, carried on till we are fairly frozen out.  We are 
a stern people, and winter suits us.  Nature then retires modestly 
into the background, and spares us the obtrusive glitter of summer, 
leaving us to think and work; and therefore it happens that in 
England, it may be taken as a general rule, that whenever all the 
rest of the world is in-doors, we are out and busy, and on the 
whole, the worse the day, the better the deed.

The weather that day, the first day Lancelot ever saw his beloved, 
was truly national.  A silent, dim, distanceless, steaming, rotting 
day in March.  The last brown oak-leaf which had stood out the 
winter's frost, spun and quivered plump down, and then lay; as if 
ashamed to have broken for a moment the ghastly stillness, like an 
awkward guest at a great dumb dinner-party.  A cold suck of wind 
just proved its existence, by toothaches on the north side of all 
faces.  The spiders having been weather-bewitched the night before, 
had unanimously agreed to cover every brake and brier with gossamer-
cradles, and never a fly to be caught in them; like Manchester 
cotton-spinners madly glutting the markets in the teeth of 'no 
demand.'  The steam crawled out of the dank turf, and reeked off the 
flanks and nostrils of the shivering horses, and clung with clammy 
paws to frosted hats and dripping boughs.  A soulless, skyless, 
catarrhal day, as if that bustling dowager, old mother Earth--what 
with match-making in spring, and fetes champetres in summer, and 
dinner-giving in autumn--was fairly worn out, and put to bed with 
the influenza, under wet blankets and the cold-water cure.

There sat Lancelot by the cover-side, his knees aching with cold and 
wet, thanking his stars that he was not one of the whippers-in who 
were lashing about in the dripping cover, laying up for themselves, 
in catering for the amusement of their betters, a probable old age 
of bed-ridden torture, in the form of rheumatic gout.  Not that he 
was at all happy--indeed, he had no reason to be so; for, first, the 
hounds would not find; next, he had left half-finished at home a 
review article on the Silurian System, which he had solemnly 
promised an abject and beseeching editor to send to post that night; 
next, he was on the windward side of the cover, and dare not light a 
cigar; and lastly, his mucous membrane in general was not in the 
happiest condition, seeing that he had been dining the evening 
before with Mr. Vaurien of Rottenpalings, a young gentleman of a 
convivial and melodious turn of mind, who sang--and played also--as 
singing men are wont--in more senses than one, and had 'ladies and 
gentlemen' down from town to stay with him; and they sang and played 
too; and so somehow between vingt-un and champagne-punch, Lancelot 
had not arrived at home till seven o'clock that morning, and was in 
a fit state to appreciate the feelings of our grandfathers, when, 
after the third bottle of port, they used to put the black silk 
tights into their pockets, slip on the leathers and boots, and ride 
the crop-tailed hack thirty miles on a winter's night, to meet the 
hounds in the next county by ten in the morning.  They are 'gone 
down to Hades, even many stalwart souls of heroes,' with John Warde 
of Squerries at their head--the fathers of the men who conquered at 
Waterloo; and we their degenerate grandsons are left instead, with 
puny arms, and polished leather boots, and a considerable taint of 
hereditary disease, to sit in club-houses, and celebrate the 
progress of the species.

Whether Lancelot or his horse, under these depressing circumstances, 
fell asleep; or whether thoughts pertaining to such a life, and its 
fitness for a clever and ardent young fellow in the nineteenth 
century, became gradually too painful, and had to be peremptorily 
shaken off, this deponent sayeth not; but certainly, after five-and-
thirty minutes of idleness and shivering, Lancelot opened his eyes 
with a sudden start, and struck spurs into his hunter without due 
cause shown; whereat Shiver-the-timbers, who was no Griselda in 
temper--(Lancelot had bought him out of the Pytchley for half his 
value, as unrideably vicious, when he had killed a groom, and fallen 
backwards on a rough-rider, the first season after he came up from 
Horncastle)--responded by a furious kick or two, threw his head up, 
put his foot into a drain, and sprawled down all but on his nose, 
pitching Lancelot unawares shamefully on the pommel of his saddle.  
A certain fatality, by the bye, had lately attended all Lancelot's 
efforts to shine; he never bought a new coat without tearing it 
mysteriously next day, or tried to make a joke without bursting out 
coughing in the middle . . . and now the whole field were looking on 
at his mishap; between disgust and the start he turned almost sick, 
and felt the blood rush into his cheeks and forehead as he heard a 
shout of coarse jovial laughter burst out close to him, and the old 
master of the hounds, Squire Lavington, roared aloud--

'A pretty sportsman you are, Mr. Smith, to fall asleep by the cover-
side and let your horse down--and your pockets, too!  What's that 
book on the ground?  Sapping and studying still?  I let nobody come 
out with my hounds with their pocket full of learning.  Hand it up 
here, Tom; we'll see what it is.  French, as I am no scholar!  
Translate for us, Colonel Bracebridge!'

And, amid shouts of laughter, the gay Guardsman read out,--

'St. Francis de Sales:  Introduction to a Devout Life.'

Poor Lancelot!  Wishing himself fathoms under-ground, ashamed of his 
book, still more ashamed of himself for his shame, he had to sit 
there ten physical seconds, or spiritual years, while the colonel 
solemnly returned him the book, complimenting him on the proofs of 
its purifying influence which he had given the night before, in 
helping to throw the turnpike-gate into the river.

But 'all things do end,' and so did this; and the silence of the 
hounds also; and a faint but knowing whimper drove St. Francis out 
of all heads, and Lancelot began to stalk slowly with a dozen 
horsemen up the wood-ride, to a fitful accompaniment of wandering 
hound-music, where the choristers were as invisible as nightingales 
among the thick cover.  And hark! just as the book was returned to 
his pocket, the sweet hubbub suddenly crashed out into one jubilant 
shriek, and then swept away fainter and fainter among the trees.  
The walk became a trot--the trot a canter.  Then a faint melancholy 
shout at a distance, answered by a 'Stole away!' from the fields; a 
doleful 'toot!' of the horn; the dull thunder of many horsehoofs 
rolling along the farther woodside.  Then red coats, flashing like 
sparks of fire across the gray gap of mist at the ride's-mouth, then 
a whipper-in, bringing up a belated hound, burst into the pathway, 
smashing and plunging, with shut eyes, through ash-saplings and 
hassock-grass; then a fat farmer, sedulously pounding through the 
mud, was overtaken and bespattered in spite of all his struggles;--
until the line streamed out into the wide rushy pasture, startling 
up pewits and curlews, as horsemen poured in from every side, and 
cunning old farmers rode off at inexplicable angles to some well-
known haunts of pug:  and right ahead, chiming and jangling sweet 
madness, the dappled pack glanced and wavered through the veil of 
soft grey mist.  'What's the use of this hurry?' growled Lancelot.  
'They will all be back again.  I never have the luck to see a run.'

But no; on and on--down the wind and down the vale; and the canter 
became a gallop, and the gallop a long straining stride; and a 
hundred horsehoofs crackled like flame among the stubbles, and 
thundered fetlock-deep along the heavy meadows; and every fence 
thinned the cavalcade, till the madness began to stir all bloods, 
and with grim earnest silent faces, the initiated few settled 
themselves to their work, and with the colonel and Lancelot at their 
head, 'took their pleasure sadly, after the manner of their nation,' 
as old Froissart has it.


'Thorough bush, through brier,
Thorough park, through pale;'


till the rolling grass-lands spread out into flat black open 
fallows, crossed with grassy baulks, and here and there a long 
melancholy line of tall elms, while before them the high chalk 
ranges gleamed above the mist like a vast wall of emerald enamelled 
with snow, and the winding river glittering at their feet.

'A polite fox!' observed the colonel.  'He's leading the squire 
straight home to Whitford, just in time for dinner.'

* * * * *

They were in the last meadow, with the stream before them.  A line 
of struggling heads in the swollen and milky current showed the 
hounds' opinion of Reynard's course.  The sportsmen galloped off 
towards the nearest bridge.  Bracebridge looked back at Lancelot, 
who had been keeping by his side in sulky rivalry, following him 
successfully through all manner of desperate places, and more and 
more angry with himself and the guiltless colonel, because he only 
followed, while the colonel's quicker and unembarrassed wit, which 
lived wholly in the present moment, saw long before Lancelot, 'how 
to cut out his work,' in every field.

'I shan't go round,' quietly observed the colonel.

'Do you fancy I shall?' growled Lancelot, who took for granted--poor 
thin-skinned soul! that the words were meant as a hit at himself.

'You're a brace of geese,' politely observed the old squire; 'and 
you'll find it out in rheumatic fever.  There--"one fool makes 
many!"  You'll kill Smith before you're done, colonel!' and the old 
man wheeled away up the meadow, as Bracebridge shouted after him,--

'Oh, he'll make a fine rider--in time!'

'In time!'  Lancelot could have knocked the unsuspecting colonel 
down for the word.  It just expressed the contrast, which had 
fretted him ever since he began to hunt with the Whitford Priors 
hounds.  The colonel's long practice and consummate skill in all he 
took in hand,--his experience of all society, from the prairie 
Indian to Crockford's, from the prize-ring to the continental 
courts,--his varied and ready store of information and anecdote,--
the harmony and completeness of the man,--his consistency with his 
own small ideal, and his consequent apparent superiority everywhere 
and in everything to the huge awkward Titan-cub, who, though 
immeasurably beyond Bracebridge in intellect and heart, was still in 
a state of convulsive dyspepsia, 'swallowing formulae,' and daily 
well-nigh choked; diseased throughout with that morbid self-
consciousness and lust of praise, for which God prepares, with His 
elect, a bitter cure.  Alas! poor Lancelot! an unlicked bear, 'with 
all his sorrows before him!'--

'Come along,' quoth Bracebridge, between snatches of a tune, his 
coolness maddening Lancelot.  'Old Lavington will find us dry 
clothes, a bottle of port, and a brace of charming daughters, at the 
Priory.  In with you, little Mustang of the prairie!  Neck or 
nothing!'--

And in an instant the small wiry American, and the huge Horncastle-
bred hunter, were wallowing and staggering in the yeasty stream, 
till they floated into a deep reach, and swam steadily down to a low 
place in the bank.  They crossed the stream, passed the Priory 
Shrubberies, leapt the gate into the park, and then on and upward, 
called by the unseen Ariel's music before them.--Up, into the hills; 
past white crumbling chalk-pits, fringed with feathered juniper and 
tottering ashes, their floors strewed with knolls of fallen soil and 
vegetation, like wooded islets in a sea of milk.--Up, between steep 
ridges of tuft crested with black fir-woods and silver beech, and 
here and there a huge yew standing out alone, the advanced sentry of 
the forest, with its luscious fretwork of green velvet, like a 
mountain of Gothic spires and pinnacles, all glittering and steaming 
as the sun drank up the dew-drops.  The lark sprang upward into 
song, and called merrily to the new-opened sunbeams, while the 
wreaths and flakes of mist lingered reluctantly about the hollows, 
and clung with dewy fingers to every knoll and belt of pine.--Up 
into the labyrinthine bosom of the hills,--but who can describe 
them?  Is not all nature indescribable? every leaf infinite and 
transcendental?  How much more those mighty downs, with their 
enormous sheets of spotless turf, where the dizzy eye loses all 
standard of size and distance before the awful simplicity, the 
delicate vastness, of those grand curves and swells, soft as the 
outlines of a Greek Venus, as if the great goddess-mother Hertha had 
laid herself down among the hills to sleep, her Titan limbs wrapt in 
a thin veil of silvery green.

Up, into a vast amphitheatre of sward, whose walls banked out the 
narrow sky above.  And here, in the focus of the huge ring, an 
object appeared which stirred strange melancholy in Lancelot,--a 
little chapel, ivy-grown, girded with a few yews, and elders, and 
grassy graves.  A climbing rose over the porch, and iron railings 
round the churchyard, told of human care; and from the graveyard 
itself burst up one of those noble springs known as winter-bournes 
in the chalk ranges, which, awakened in autumn from the abysses to 
which it had shrunk during the summer's drought, was hurrying down 
upon its six months' course, a broad sheet of oily silver over a 
temporary channel of smooth greensward.

The hounds had checked in the woods behind; now they poured down the 
hillside, so close together 'that you might have covered them with a 
sheet,' straight for the little chapel.

A saddened tone of feeling spread itself through Lancelot's heart.  
There were the everlasting hills around, even as they had grown and 
grown for countless ages, beneath the still depths of the primeval 
chalk ocean, in the milky youth of this great English land.  And 
here was he, the insect of a day, fox-hunting upon THEM!  He felt 
ashamed, and more ashamed when the inner voice whispered--'Fox-
hunting is not the shame--thou art the shame.  If thou art the 
insect of a day, it is thy sin that thou art one.'

And his sadness, foolish as it may seem, grew as he watched a brown 
speck fleet rapidly up the opposite hill, and heard a gay view-
halloo burst from the colonel at his side.  The chase lost its charm 
for him the moment the game was seen.  Then vanished that mysterious 
delight of pursuing an invisible object, which gives to hunting and 
fishing their unutterable and almost spiritual charm; which made 
Shakespeare a nightly poacher; Davy and Chantrey the patriarchs of 
fly-fishing; by which the twelve-foot rod is transfigured into an 
enchanter's wand, potent over the unseen wonders of the water-world, 
to 'call up spirits from the vasty deep,' which will really 'come if 
you do call for them'--at least if the conjuration be orthodox--and 
they there.  That spell was broken by the sight of poor wearied pug, 
his once gracefully-floating brush all draggled and drooping, as he 
toiled up the sheep-paths towards the open down above.

But Lancelot's sadness reached its crisis, as he met the hounds just 
outside the churchyard.  Another moment--they had leaped the rails; 
and there they swept round under the gray wall, leaping and yelling, 
like Berserk fiends among the frowning tombstones, over the cradles 
of the quiet dead.

Lancelot shuddered--the thing was not wrong--'it was no one's 
fault,'--but there was a ghastly discord in it.  Peace and strife, 
time and eternity--the mad noisy flesh, and the silent immortal 
spirit,--the frivolous game of life's outside show, and the terrible 
earnest of its inward abysses, jarred together without and within 
him.  He pulled his horse up violently, and stood as if rooted to 
the place, gazing at he knew not what.

The hounds caught sight of the fox, burst into one frantic shriek of 
joy--and then a sudden and ghastly stillness, as, mute and 
breathless, they toiled up the hillside, gaining on their victim at 
every stride.  The patter of the horsehoofs and the rattle of 
rolling flints died away above.  Lancelot looked up, startled at the 
silence; laughed aloud, he knew not why, and sat, regardless of his 
pawing and straining horse, still staring at the chapel and the 
graves.

On a sudden the chapel-door opened, and a figure, timidly yet 
loftily stepped out without observing him, and suddenly turning 
round, met him full, face to face, and stood fixed with surprise as 
completely as Lancelot himself.

That face and figure, and the spirit which spoke through them, 
entered his heart at once, never again to leave it.  Her features 
were aquiline and grand, without a shade of harshness; her eyes 
shone out like twain lakes of still azure, beneath a broad marble 
cliff of polished forehead; her rich chestnut hair rippled downward 
round the towering neck.  With her perfect masque and queenly 
figure, and earnest, upward gaze, she might have been the very model 
from which Raphael conceived his glorious St. Catherine--the ideal 
of the highest womanly genius, softened into self-forgetfulness by 
girlish devotion.  She was simply, almost coarsely dressed; but a 
glance told him that she was a lady, by the courtesy of man as well 
as by the will of God.

They gazed one moment more at each other--but what is time to 
spirits?  With them, as with their Father, 'one day is as a thousand 
years.'  But that eye-wedlock was cut short the next instant by the 
decided interference of the horse, who, thoroughly disgusted at his 
master's whole conduct, gave a significant shake of his head, and 
shamming frightened (as both women and horses will do when only 
cross), commenced a war-dance, which drove Argemone Lavington into 
the porch, and gave the bewildered Lancelot an excuse for dashing 
madly up the hill after his companions.

'What a horrible ugly face!' said Argemone to herself, 'but so 
clever, and so unhappy!'

Blest pity! true mother of that graceless scamp, young Love, who is 
ashamed of his real pedigree, and swears to this day that he is the 
child of Venus!--the coxcomb!

* * * * *

[Here, for the sake of the reader, we omit, or rather postpone a 
long dissertation on the famous Erototheogonic chorus of 
Aristophanes's Birds, with illustrations taken from all earth and 
heaven, from the Vedas and Proclus to Jacob Boehmen and Saint 
Theresa.]

'The dichotomy of Lancelot's personality,' as the Germans would call 
it, returned as he dashed on.  His understanding was trying to ride, 
while his spirit was left behind with Argemone.  Hence loose reins 
and a looser seat.  He rolled about like a tipsy man, holding on, in 
fact, far more by his spurs than by his knees, to the utter 
infuriation of Shiver-the-timbers, who kicked and snorted over the 
down like one of Mephistopheles's Demon-steeds.  They had mounted 
the hill--the deer fled before them in terror--they neared the park 
palings.  In the road beyond them the hounds were just killing their 
fox, struggling and growling in fierce groups for the red gobbets of 
fur, a panting, steaming ring of horses round them.  Half a dozen 
voices hailed him as he came up.

'Where have you been?'  'He'll tumble off!'  'He's had a fall!'  'No 
he hasn't!'  ''Ware hounds, man alive!'  'He'll break his neck!'

'He has broken it, at last!' shouted the colonel, as Shiver-the-
timbers rushed at the high pales, out of breath, and blind with 
rage.  Lancelot saw and heard nothing till he was awakened from his 
dream by the long heave of the huge brute's shoulder, and the 
maddening sensation of sweeping through the air over the fence.  He 
started, checked the curb, the horse threw up his head, fulfilling 
his name by driving his knees like a battering-ram against the 
pales--the top-bar bent like a withe, flew out into a hundred 
splinters, and man and horse rolled over headlong into the hard 
flint-road.

For one long sickening second Lancelot watched the blue sky between 
his own knees.  Then a crash as if a shell had burst in his face--a 
horrible grind--a sheet of flame--and the blackness of night.  Did 
you ever feel it, reader?

When he awoke, he found himself lying in bed, with Squire Lavington 
sitting by him.  There was real sorrow in the old man's face, 'Come 
to himself!' and a great joyful oath rolled out.  'The boldest rider 
of them all!  I wouldn't have lost him for a dozen ready-made spick 
and span Colonel Bracebridges!'

'Quite right, squire!' answered a laughing voice from behind the 
curtain.  'Smith has a clear two thousand a year, and I live by my 
wits!'



CHAPTER II:  SPRING YEARNINGS



I heard a story the other day of our most earnest and genial 
humorist, who is just now proving himself also our most earnest and 
genial novelist.  'I like your novel exceedingly,' said a lady; 'the 
characters are so natural--all but the baronet, and he surely is 
overdrawn:  it is impossible to find such coarseness in his rank of 
life!'

The artist laughed.  'And that character,' said he, 'is almost the 
only exact portrait in the whole book.'

So it is.  People do not see the strange things which pass them 
every day.  'The romance of real life' is only one to the romantic 
spirit.  And then they set up for critics, instead of pupils; as if 
the artist's business was not just to see what they cannot see--to 
open their eyes to the harmonies and the discords, the miracles and 
the absurdities, which seem to them one uniform gray fog of 
commonplaces.

Then let the reader believe, that whatsoever is commonplace in my 
story is my own invention.  Whatsoever may seem extravagant or 
startling is most likely to be historic fact, else I should not have 
dared to write it down, finding God's actual dealings here much too 
wonderful to dare to invent many fresh ones for myself.

Lancelot, who had had a severe concussion of the brain and a broken 
leg, kept his bed for a few weeks, and his room for a few more.  
Colonel Bracebridge installed himself at the Priory, and nursed him 
with indefatigable good-humour and few thanks.  He brought Lancelot 
his breakfast before hunting, described the run to him when he 
returned, read him to sleep, told him stories of grizzly bear and 
buffalo-hunts, made him laugh in spite of himself at extempore comic 
medleys, kept his tables covered with flowers from the conservatory, 
warmed his chocolate, and even his bed.  Nothing came amiss to him, 
and he to nothing.  Lancelot longed at first every hour to be rid of 
him, and eyed him about the room as a bulldog does the monkey who 
rides him.  In his dreams he was Sinbad the Sailor, and Bracebridge 
the Old Man of the Sea; but he could not hold out against the 
colonel's merry bustling kindliness, and the almost womanish 
tenderness of his nursing.  The ice thawed rapidly; and one evening 
it split up altogether, when Bracebridge, who was sitting drawing by 
Lancelot's sofa, instead of amusing himself with the ladies below, 
suddenly threw his pencil into the fire, and broke out, a propos de 
rien--

'What a strange pair we are, Smith!  I think you just the best 
fellow I ever met, and you hate me like poison--you can't deny it.'

There was something in the colonel's tone so utterly different from 
his usual courtly and measured speech, that Lancelot was taken 
completely by surprise, and stammered out,--

'I--I--I--no--no.  I know I am very foolish--ungrateful.  But I do 
hate you,' he said, with a sudden impulse, 'and I'll tell you why.'

'Give me your hand,' quoth the colonel:  'I like that.  Now we shall 
see our way with each other, at least.'

'Because,' said Lancelot slowly, 'because you are cleverer than I, 
readier than I, superior to me in every point.'

The colonel laughed, not quite merrily.  Lancelot went on, holding 
down his shaggy brows.

'I am a brute and an ass!--And yet I do not like to tell you so.  
For if I am an ass, what are you?'

'Heyday!'

'Look here.--I am wasting my time and brains on ribaldry, but I am 
worth nothing better--at least, I think so at times; but you, who 
can do anything you put your hand to, what business have you, in the 
devil's name, to be throwing yourself away on gimcracks and fox-
hunting foolery?  Heavens!  If I had your talents, I'd be--I'd make 
a name for myself before I died, if I died to make it.'  The colonel 
griped his hand hard, rose, and looked out of the window for a few 
minutes.  There was a dead, brooding silence, till he turned to 
Lancelot,--

'Mr. Smith, I thank you for your honesty, but good advice may come 
too late.  I am no saint, and God only knows how much less of one I 
may become; but mark my words,--if you are ever tempted by passion, 
and vanity, and fine ladies, to form liaisons, as the Jezebels call 
them, snares, and nets, and labyrinths of blind ditches, to keep you 
down through life, stumbling and grovelling, hating yourself and 
hating the chain to which you cling--in that hour pray--pray as if 
the devil had you by the throat,--to Almighty God, to help you out 
of that cursed slough!  There is nothing else for it!--pray, I tell 
you!'

There was a terrible earnestness about the guardsman's face which 
could not be mistaken.  Lancelot looked at him for a moment, and 
then dropped his eyes ashamed, as if he had intruded on the 
speaker's confidence by witnessing his emotion.

In a moment the colonel had returned to his smile and his polish.

'And now, my dear invalid, I must beg your pardon for sermonising.  
What do you say to a game of ecarte?  We must play for love, or we 
shall excite ourselves, and scandalise Mrs. Lavington's piety.'  And 
the colonel pulled a pack of cards out of his pocket, and seeing 
that Lancelot was too thoughtful for play, commenced all manner of 
juggler's tricks, and chuckled over them like any schoolboy.

'Happy man!' thought Lancelot, 'to have the strength of will which 
can thrust its thoughts away once and for all.'  No, Lancelot! more 
happy are they whom God will not allow to thrust their thoughts from 
them till the bitter draught has done its work.

From that day, however, there was a cordial understanding between 
the two.  They never alluded to the subject; but they had known the 
bottom of each other's heart.  Lancelot's sick-room was now pleasant 
enough, and he drank in daily his new friend's perpetual stream of 
anecdote, till March and hunting were past, and April was half over.  
The old squire came up after dinner regularly (during March he had 
hunted every day, and slept every evening); and the trio chatted 
along merrily enough, by the help of whist and backgammon, upon the 
surface of this little island of life,--which is, like Sinbad's, 
after all only the back of a floating whale, ready to dive at any 
moment.--And then?--

But what was Argemone doing all this time?  Argemone was busy in her 
boudoir (too often a true boudoir to her) among books and 
statuettes, and dried flowers, fancying herself, and not unfairly, 
very intellectual.  She had four new manias every year; her last 
winter's one had been that bottle-and-squirt mania, miscalled 
chemistry; her spring madness was for the Greek drama.  She had 
devoured Schlegel's lectures, and thought them divine; and now she 
was hard at work on Sophocles, with a little help from translations, 
and thought she understood him every word.  Then she was somewhat 
High-Church in her notions, and used to go up every Wednesday and 
Friday to the chapel in the hills, where Lancelot had met her, for 
an hour's mystic devotion, set off by a little graceful asceticism.  
As for Lancelot, she never thought of him but as an empty-headed 
fox-hunter who had met with his deserts; and the brilliant accounts 
which the all smoothing colonel gave at dinner of Lancelot's 
physical well doing and agreeable conversation only made her set him 
down the sooner as a twin clever-do-nothing to the despised 
Bracebridge, whom she hated for keeping her father in a roar of 
laughter.

But her sister, little Honoria, had all the while been busy messing 
and cooking with her own hands for the invalid; and almost fell in 
love with the colonel for his watchful kindness.  And here a word 
about Honoria, to whom Nature, according to her wont with sisters, 
had given almost everything which Argemone wanted, and denied almost 
everything which Argemone had, except beauty.  And even in that, the 
many-sided mother had made her a perfect contrast to her sister,--
tiny and luscious, dark-eyed and dark-haired; as full of wild simple 
passion as an Italian, thinking little, except where she felt much--
which was, indeed, everywhere; for she lived in a perpetual April-
shower of exaggerated sympathy for all suffering, whether in novels 
or in life; and daily gave the lie to that shallow old calumny, that 
'fictitious sorrows harden the heart to real ones.'

Argemone was almost angry with her sometimes, when she trotted whole 
days about the village from school to sick-room:  perhaps conscience 
hinted to her that her duty, too, lay rather there than among her 
luxurious day-dreams.  But, alas! though she would have indignantly 
repelled the accusation of selfishness, yet in self and for self 
alone she lived; and while she had force of will for any so-called 
'self-denial,' and would fast herself cross and stupefied, and quite 
enjoy kneeling thinly clad and barefoot on the freezing chapel-floor 
on a winter's morning, yet her fastidious delicacy revolted at 
sitting, like Honoria, beside the bed of the ploughman's consumptive 
daughter, in a reeking, stifling, lean-to garret, in which had slept 
the night before, the father, mother, and two grown-up boys, not to 
mention a new-married couple, the sick girl, and, alas! her baby.  
And of such bedchambers there were too many in Whitford Priors.

The first evening that Lancelot came downstairs, Honoria clapped her 
hands outright for joy as he entered, and ran up and down for ten 
minutes, fetching and carrying endless unnecessary cushions and 
footstools; while Argemone greeted him with a cold distant bow, and 
a fine-lady drawl of carefully commonplace congratulations.  Her 
heart smote her though, as she saw the wan face and the wild, 
melancholy, moonstruck eyes once more glaring through and through 
her; she found a comfort in thinking his stare impertinent, drew 
herself up, and turned away; once, indeed, she could not help 
listening, as Lancelot thanked Mrs. Lavington for all the pious and 
edifying books with which the good lady had kept his room rather 
than his brain furnished for the last six weeks; he was going to say 
more, but he saw the colonel's quaint foxy eye peering at him, 
remembered St. Francis de Sales, and held his tongue.

But, as her destiny was, Argemone found herself, in the course of 
the evening, alone with Lancelot, at the open window.  It was a 
still, hot, heavy night, after long easterly drought; sheet-
lightning glimmered on the far horizon over the dark woodlands; the 
coming shower had sent forward as his herald a whispering draught of 
fragrant air.

'What a delicious shiver is creeping over those limes!' said 
Lancelot, half to himself.

The expression struck Argemone:  it was the right one, and it seemed 
to open vistas of feeling and observation in the speaker which she 
had not suspected.  There was a rich melancholy in the voice;--she 
turned to look at him.

'Ay,' he went on; 'and the same heat which crisps those thirsty 
leaves must breed the thunder-shower which cools them?  But so it is 
throughout the universe:  every yearning proves the existence of an 
object meant to satisfy it; the same law creates both the giver and 
the receiver, the longing and its home.'

'If one could but know sometimes what it is for which one is 
longing!' said Argemone, without knowing that she was speaking from 
her inmost heart:  but thus does the soul involuntarily lay bare its 
most unspoken depths in the presence of its yet unknown mate, and 
then shudders at its own ABANDON as it first tries on the wedding 
garment of Paradise.

Lancelot was not yet past the era at which young geniuses are apt to 
'talk book' at little.

'For what?' he answered, flashing up according to his fashion.  'To 
be;--to be great; to have done one mighty work before we die, and 
live, unloved or loved, upon the lips of men.  For this all long who 
are not mere apes and wall-flies.'

'So longed the founders of Babel,' answered Argemone, carelessly, to 
this tirade.  She had risen a strange fish, the cunning beauty, and 
now she was trying her fancy flies over him one by one.

'And were they so far wrong?' answered he.  'From the Babel society 
sprung our architecture, our astronomy, politics, and colonisation.  
No doubt the old Hebrew sheiks thought them impious enough, for 
daring to build brick walls instead of keeping to the good old-
fashioned tents, and gathering themselves into a nation instead of 
remaining a mere family horde; and gave their own account of the 
myth, just as the antediluvian savages gave theirs of that strange 
Eden scene, by the common interpretation of which the devil is made 
the first inventor of modesty.  Men are all conservatives; 
everything new is impious, till we get accustomed to it; and if it 
fails, the mob piously discover a divine vengeance in the mischance, 
from Babel to Catholic Emancipation.'

Lancelot had stuttered horribly during the latter part of this most 
heterodox outburst, for he had begun to think about himself, and try 
to say a fine thing, suspecting all the while that it might not be 
true.  But Argemone did not remark the stammering:  the new thoughts 
startled and pained her; but there was a daring grace about them.  
She tried, as women will, to answer him with arguments, and failed, 
as women will fail.  She was accustomed to lay down the law a la 
Madame de Stael, to savants and non-savants and be heard with 
reverence, as a woman should be.  But poor truth-seeking Lancelot 
did not see what sex had to do with logic; he flew at her as if she 
had been a very barrister, and hunted her mercilessly up and down 
through all sorts of charming sophisms, as she begged the question, 
and shifted her ground, as thoroughly right in her conclusion as she 
was wrong in her reasoning, till she grew quite confused and 
pettish.--And then Lancelot suddenly shrank into his shell, claws 
and all, like an affrighted soldier-crab, hung down his head, and 
stammered out some incoherencies,--'N-n-not accustomed to talk to 
women--ladies, I mean.  F-forgot myself.--Pray forgive me!'  And he 
looked up, and her eyes, half-amused, met his, and she saw that they 
were filled with tears.

'What have I to forgive?' she said, more gently, wondering on what 
sort of strange sportsman she had fallen.  'You treat me like an 
equal; you will deign to argue with me.  But men in general--oh, 
they hide their contempt for us, if not their own ignorance, under 
that mask of chivalrous deference!' and then in the nasal fine 
ladies' key, which was her shell, as bitter brusquerie was his, she 
added, with an Amazon queen's toss of the head,--'You must come and 
see us often.  We shall suit each other, I see, better than most 
whom we see here.'

A sneer and a blush passed together over Lancelot's ugliness.

'What, better than the glib Colonel Bracebridge yonder?'

'Oh, he is witty enough, but he lives on the surface of everything!  
He is altogether shallow and blase.  His good-nature is the fruit of 
want of feeling; between his gracefulness and his sneering 
persiflage he is a perfect Mephistopheles-Apollo.'

What a snare a decently-good nickname is!  Out it must come, though 
it carry a lie on its back.  But the truth was, Argemone thought 
herself infinitely superior to the colonel, for which simple reason 
she could not in the least understand him.

[By the bye, how subtly Mr. Tennyson has embodied all this in The 
Princess.  How he shows us the woman, when she takes her stand on 
the false masculine ground of intellect, working out her own moral 
punishment, by destroying in herself the tender heart of flesh, 
which is either woman's highest blessing or her bitterest curse; how 
she loses all feminine sensibility to the under-current of feeling 
in us poor world-worn, case-hardened men, and falls from pride to 
sternness, from sternness to sheer inhumanity.  I should have 
honoured myself by pleading guilty to stealing much of Argemone's 
character from The Princess, had not the idea been conceived, and 
fairly worked out, long before the appearance of that noble poem.]


They said no more to each other that evening.  Argemone was called 
to the piano; and Lancelot took up the Sporting Magazine, and read 
himself to sleep till the party separated for the night.

Argemone went up thoughtfully to her own room.  The shower had 
fallen, and the moon was shining bright, while every budding leaf 
and knot of mould steamed up cool perfume, borrowed from the 
treasures of the thundercloud.  All around was working the infinite 
mystery of birth and growth, of giving and taking, of beauty and 
use.  All things were harmonious--all things reciprocal without.  
Argemone felt herself needless, lonely, and out of tune with herself 
and nature.

She sat in the window, and listlessly read over to herself a 
fragment of her own poetry:--


SAPPHO

She lay among the myrtles on the cliff;
Above her glared the moon; beneath, the sea.
Upon the white horizon Athos' peak
Weltered in burning haze; all airs were dead;
The sicale slept among the tamarisk's hair;
The birds sat dumb and drooping.  Far below
The lazy sea-weed glistened in the sun:
The lazy sea-fowl dried their steaming wings;
The lazy swell crept whispering up the ledge,
And sank again.  Great Pan was laid to rest;
And mother Earth watched by him as he slept,
And hushed her myriad children for awhile.

She lay among the myrtles on the cliff;
And sighed for sleep, for sleep that would not hear,
But left her tossing still:  for night and day
A mighty hunger yearned within her heart,
Till all her veins ran fever, and her cheek,
Her long thin hands, and ivory-channell'd feet,
Were wasted with the wasting of her soul.
Then peevishly she flung her on her face,
And hid her eyeballs from the blinding glare,
And fingered at the grass, and tried to cool
Her crisp hot lips against the crisp hot sward:
And then she raised her head, and upward cast
Wild looks from homeless eyes, whose liquid light
Gleamed out between deep folds of blue-black hair,
As gleam twin lakes between the purple peaks
Of deep Parnassus, at the mournful moon.
Beside her lay a lyre.  She snatched the shell,
And waked wild music from its silver strings;
Then tossed it sadly by,--'Ah, hush!' she cries,
'Dead offspring of the tortoise and the mine!
Why mock my discords with thine harmonies?
'Although a thrice-Olympian lot be thine,
Only to echo back in every tone,
The moods of nobler natures than thine own.'


'No!' she said.  'That soft and rounded rhyme suits ill with 
Sappho's fitful and wayward agonies.  She should burst out at once 
into wild passionate life-weariness, and disgust at that universe, 
with whose beauty she has filled her eyes in vain, to find it always 
a dead picture, unsatisfying, unloving--as I have found it.'

Sweet self-deceiver! had you no other reason for choosing as your 
heroine Sappho, the victim of the idolatry of intellect--trying in 
vain to fill her heart with the friendship of her own sex, and then 
sinking into mere passion for a handsome boy, and so down into self-
contempt and suicide?

She was conscious, I do believe, of no other reason than that she 
gave; but consciousness is a dim candle--over a deep mine.

'After all,' she said pettishly, 'people will call it a mere 
imitation of Shelley's Alastor.  And what harm if it is?  Is there 
to be no female Alastor?  Has not the woman as good a right as the 
man to long after ideal beauty--to pine and die if she cannot find 
it; and regenerate herself in its light?'

'Yo-hoo-oo-oo!  Youp, youp!  Oh-hooo!' arose doleful through the 
echoing shrubbery.

Argemone started and looked out.  It was not a banshee, but a 
forgotten fox-hound puppy, sitting mournfully on the gravel-walk 
beneath, staring at the clear ghastly moon.

She laughed and blushed--there was a rebuke in it.  She turned to go 
to rest; and as she knelt and prayed at her velvet faldstool, among 
all the nicknacks which now-a-days make a luxury of devotion, was it 
strange if, after she had prayed for the fate of nations and 
churches, and for those who, as she thought, were fighting at Oxford 
the cause of universal truth and reverend antiquity, she remembered 
in her petitions the poor godless youth, with his troubled and 
troubling eloquence?  But it was strange that she blushed when she 
mentioned his name--why should she not pray for him as she prayed 
for others?

Perhaps she felt that she did not pray for him as she prayed for 
others.

She left the AEolian harp in the window, as a luxury if she should 
wake, and coiled herself up among lace pillows and eider blemos; and 
the hound coiled himself up on the gravel-walk, after a solemn 
vesper-ceremony of three turns round in his own length, looking 
vainly for a 'soft stone.'  The finest of us are animals after all, 
and live by eating and sleeping:  and, taken as animals, not so 
badly off either--unless we happen to be Dorsetshire labourers--or 
Spitalfields weavers--or colliery children--or marching soldiers--
or, I am afraid, one half of English souls this day.

And Argemone dreamed;--that she was a fox, flying for her life 
through a churchyard--and Lancelot was a hound, yelling and leaping, 
in a red coat and white buckskins, close upon her--and she felt his 
hot breath, and saw his white teeth glare. . . .  And then her 
father was there:  and he was an Italian boy, and played the organ--
and Lancelot was a dancing dog, and stood up and danced to the tune 
of 'C'est l'amour, l'amour, l'amour,' pitifully enough, in his red 
coat--and she stood up and danced too; but she found her fox-fur 
dress insufficient, and begged hard for a paper frill--which was 
denied her:  whereat she cried bitterly and woke; and saw the Night 
peeping in with her bright diamond eyes, and blushed, and hid her 
beautiful face in the pillows, and fell asleep again.

What the little imp, who managed this puppet-show on Argemone's 
brain-stage, may have intended to symbolise thereby, and whence he 
stole his actors and stage-properties, and whether he got up the 
interlude for his own private fun, or for that of a choir of brother 
Eulenspiegels, or, finally, for the edification of Argemone as to 
her own history, past, present, or future, are questions which we 
must leave unanswered, till physicians have become a little more of 
metaphysicians, and have given up their present plan of ignoring for 
nine hundred and ninety-nine pages that most awful and significant 
custom of dreaming, and then in the thousandth page talking the 
boldest materialist twaddle about it.

In the meantime, Lancelot, contrary to the colonel's express 
commands, was sitting up to indite the following letter to his 
cousin, the Tractarian curate:--

'You complain that I waste my time in field-sports:  how do you know 
that I waste my time?  I find within myself certain appetites; and I 
suppose that the God whom you say made me, made those appetites as a 
part of me.  Why are they to be crushed any more than any other part 
of me?  I am the whole of what I find in myself--am I to pick and 
choose myself out of myself?  And besides, I feel that the exercise 
of freedom, activity, foresight, daring, independent self-
determination, even in a few minutes' burst across country, 
strengthens me in mind as well as in body.  It might not do so to 
you; but you are of a different constitution, and, from all I see, 
the power of a man's muscles, the excitability of his nerves, the 
shape and balance of his brain, make him what he is.  Else what is 
the meaning of physiognomy?  Every man's destiny, as the Turks say, 
stands written on his forehead.  One does not need two glances at 
your face to know that you would not enjoy fox-hunting, that you 
would enjoy book-learning and "refined repose," as they are pleased 
to call it.  Every man carries his character in his brain.  You all 
know that, and act upon it when you have to deal with a man for 
sixpence; but your religious dogmas, which make out that everyman 
comes into the world equally brutish and fiendish, make you afraid 
to confess it.  I don't quarrel with a "douce" man like you, with a 
large organ of veneration, for following your bent.  But if I am 
fiery, with a huge cerebellum, why am I not to follow mine?--For 
that is what you do, after all--what you like best.  It is all very 
easy for a man to talk of conquering his appetites, when he has none 
to conquer.  Try and conquer your organ of veneration, or of 
benevolence, or of calculation--then I will call you an ascetic.  
Why not!--The same Power which made the front of one's head made the 
back, I suppose?

'And, I tell you, hunting does me good.  It awakens me out of my 
dreary mill-round of metaphysics.  It sweeps away that infernal web 
of self-consciousness, and absorbs me in outward objects; and my 
red-hot Perillus's bull cools in proportion as my horse warms.  I 
tell you, I never saw a man who could cut out his way across country 
who could not cut his way through better things when his turn came.  
The cleverest and noblest fellows are sure to be the best riders in 
the long run.  And as for bad company and "the world," when you take 
to going in the first-class carriages for fear of meeting a swearing 
sailor in the second-class--when those who have "renounced the 
world" give up buying and selling in the funds--when my uncle, the 
pious banker, who will only "associate" with the truly religious, 
gives up dealing with any scoundrel or heathen who can "do business" 
with him--then you may quote pious people's opinions to me.  In 
God's name, if the Stock Exchange, and railway stagging, and the 
advertisements in the Protestant Hue-and-Cry, and the frantic 
Mammon-hunting which has been for the last fifty years the peculiar 
pursuit of the majority of Quakers, Dissenters, and Religious 
Churchmen, are not The World, what is?  I don't complain of them, 
though; Puritanism has interdicted to them all art, all excitement, 
all amusement--except money-making.  It is their dernier ressort, 
poor souls!

'But you must explain to us naughty fox-hunters how all this agrees 
with the good book.  We see plainly enough, in the meantime, how it 
agrees with "poor human nature."  We see that the "religious world," 
like the "great world," and the "sporting world," and the "literary 
world,"


"Compounds for sins she is inclined to,
By damning those she has no mind to;"


and that because England is a money-making country, and money-making 
is an effeminate pursuit, therefore all sedentary and spoony sins, 
like covetousness, slander, bigotry, and self-conceit, are to be 
cockered and plastered over, while the more masculine vices, and no-
vices also, are mercilessly hunted down by your cold-blooded, soft-
handed religionists.

'This is a more quiet letter than usual from me, my dear coz, for 
many of your reproofs cut me home:  they angered me at the time; but 
I deserve them.  I am miserable, self-disgusted, self-helpless, 
craving for freedom, and yet crying aloud for some one to come and 
guide me, and teach me; and WHO IS THERE IN THESE DAYS WHO COULD 
TEACH A FAST MAN, EVEN IF HE WOULD TRY?  Be sure, that as long as 
you and yours make piety a synonym for unmanliness, you will never 
convert either me or any other good sportsman.

'By the bye, my dear fellow, was I asleep or awake when I seemed to 
read in the postscript of your last letter, something about "being 
driven to Rome after all"? . . .  Why thither, of all places in 
heaven or earth?  You know, I have no party interest in the 
question.  All creeds are very much alike to me just now.  But allow 
me to ask, in a spirit of the most tolerant curiosity, what possible 
celestial bait, either of the useful or the agreeable kind, can the 
present excellent Pope, or his adherents, hold out to you in 
compensation for the solid earthly pudding which you would have to 
desert? . . .  I daresay, though, that I shall not comprehend your 
answer when it comes.  I am, you know, utterly deficient in that 
sixth sense of the angelic or supralunar beautiful, which fills your 
soul with ecstasy.  You, I know, expect and long to become an angel 
after death:  I am under the strange hallucination that my body is 
part of me, and in spite of old Plotinus, look with horror at a 
disembodiment till the giving of that new body, the great perfection 
of which, in your eyes, and those of every one else, seems to be, 
that it will be less, and not more of a body, than our present one. 
. . .  Is this hope, to me at once inconceivable and contradictory, 
palpable and valuable enough to you to send you to that Italian 
Avernus, to get it made a little more certain?  If so, I despair of 
your making your meaning intelligible to a poor fellow wallowing, 
like me, in the Hylic Borboros--or whatever else you may choose to 
call the unfortunate fact of being flesh and blood. . . .  Still, 
write.'



CHAPTER III:  NEW ACTORS, AND A NEW STAGE



When Argemone rose in the morning, her first thought was of 
Lancelot.  His face haunted her.  The wild brilliance of his 
intellect struggling through foul smoke-clouds, had haunted her 
still more.  She had heard of his profligacy, his bursts of fierce 
Berserk-madness; and yet now these very faults, instead of 
repelling, seemed to attract her, and intensify her longing to save 
him.  She would convert him; purify him; harmonise his discords.  
And that very wish gave her a peace she had never felt before.  She 
had formed her idea; she had now a purpose for which to live, and 
she determined to concentrate herself for the work, and longed for 
the moment when she should meet Lancelot, and begin--how, she did 
not very clearly see.

It is an old jest--the fair devotee trying to convert the young 
rake.  Men of the world laugh heartily at it; and so does the devil, 
no doubt.  If any readers wish to be fellow-jesters with that 
personage, they may; but, as sure as old Saxon women-worship remains 
for ever a blessed and healing law of life, the devotee may yet 
convert the rake--and, perhaps, herself into the bargain.

Argemone looked almost angrily round at her beloved books and 
drawings; for they spoke a message to her which they had never 
spoken before, of self-centred ambition.  'Yes,' she said aloud to 
herself, 'I have been selfish, utterly!  Art, poetry, science--I 
believe, after all, that I have only loved them for my own sake, not 
for theirs, because they would make me something, feed my conceit of 
my own talents.  How infinitely more glorious to find my work-field 
and my prize, not in dead forms and colours, or ink-and-paper 
theories, but in a living, immortal, human spirit!  I will study no 
more, except the human heart, and only that to purify and ennoble 
it.'

True, Argemone; and yet, like all resolutions, somewhat less than 
the truth.  That morning, indeed, her purpose was simple as God's 
own light.  She never dreamed of exciting Lancelot's admiration, 
even his friendship for herself.  She would have started as from a 
snake, from the issue which the reader very clearly foresees, that 
Lancelot would fall in love, not with Young Englandism, but with 
Argemone Lavington.  But yet self is not eradicated even from a 
woman's heart in one morning before breakfast.  Besides, it is not 
'benevolence,' but love--the real Cupid of flesh and blood, who can 
first


'Touch the chord of self which, trembling,
Passes in music out of sight.'


But a time for all things; and it is now time for Argemone to go 
down to breakfast, having prepared some dozen imaginary dialogues 
between herself and Lancelot, in which, of course, her eloquence 
always had the victory.  She had yet to learn, that it is better 
sometimes not to settle in one's heart what we shall speak, for the 
Everlasting Will has good works ready prepared for us to walk in, by 
what we call fortunate accident; and it shall be given us in that 
day and that hour what we shall speak.

Lancelot, in the meantime, shrank from meeting Argemone; and was 
quite glad of the weakness which kept him upstairs.  Whether he was 
afraid of her--whether he was ashamed of himself or of his crutches, 
I cannot tell, but I daresay, reader, you are getting tired of all 
this soul-dissecting.  So we will have a bit of action again, for 
the sake of variety, if for nothing better.

Of all the species of lovely scenery which England holds, none, 
perhaps, is more exquisite than the banks of the chalk-rivers--the 
perfect limpidity of the water, the gay and luxuriant vegetation of 
the banks and ditches, the masses of noble wood embosoming the 
villages, the unique beauty of the water-meadows, living sheets of 
emerald and silver, tinkling and sparkling, cool under the fiercest 
sun, brilliant under the blackest clouds.--There, if anywhere, one 
would have expected to find Arcadia among fertility, loveliness, 
industry, and wealth.  But, alas for the sad reality! the cool 
breath of those glittering water-meadows too often floats laden with 
poisonous miasma.  Those picturesque villages are generally the 
perennial hotbeds of fever and ague, of squalid penury, sottish 
profligacy, dull discontent too stale for words.  There is luxury in 
the park, wealth in the huge farm-steadings, knowledge in the 
parsonage:  but the poor? those by whose dull labour all that luxury 
and wealth, ay, even that knowledge, is made possible--what are 
they?  We shall see, please God, ere the story's end.

But of all this Lancelot as yet thought nothing.  He, too, had to be 
emancipated, as much as Argemone, from selfish dreams; to learn to 
work trustfully in the living Present, not to gloat sentimentally 
over the unreturning Past.  But his time was not yet come; and 
little he thought of all the work which lay ready for him within a 
mile of the Priory, as he watched the ladies go out for the 
afternoon, and slipped down to the Nun's-pool on his crutches to 
smoke and fish, and build castles in the air.

The Priory, with its rambling courts and gardens, stood on an island 
in the river.  The upper stream flowed in a straight artificial 
channel through the garden, still and broad, towards the Priory 
mill; while just above the Priory wall half the river fell over a 
high weir, with all its appendages of bucks and hatchways, and eel-
baskets, into the Nun's-pool, and then swept round under the ivied 
walls, with their fantastic turrets and gables, and little loopholed 
windows, peering out over the stream, as it hurried down over the 
shallows to join the race below the mill.  A postern door in the 
walls opened on an ornamental wooden bridge across the weir-head--a 
favourite haunt of all fishers and sketchers who were admitted to 
the dragon-guarded Elysium of Whitford Priors.  Thither Lancelot 
went, congratulating himself, strange to say, in having escaped the 
only human being whom he loved on earth.

He found on the weir-bridge two of the keepers.  The younger one, 
Tregarva, was a stately, thoughtful-looking Cornishman, some six 
feet three in height, with thews and sinews in proportion.  He was 
sitting on the bridge looking over a basket of eel-lines, and 
listening silently to the chat of his companion.

Old Harry Verney, the other keeper, was a character in his way, and 
a very bad character too, though he was a patriarch among all the 
gamekeepers of the vale.  He was a short, wiry, bandy-legged, 
ferret-visaged old man, with grizzled hair, and a wizened face 
tanned brown and purple by constant exposure.  Between rheumatism 
and constant handling the rod and gun, his fingers were crooked like 
a hawk's claws.  He kept his left eye always shut, apparently to 
save trouble in shooting; and squinted, and sniffed, and peered, 
with a stooping back and protruded chin, as if he were perpetually 
on the watch for fish, flesh, and fowl, vermin and Christian.  The 
friendship between himself and the Scotch terrier at his heels would 
have been easily explained by Lessing, for in the transmigration of 
souls the spirit of Harry Verney had evidently once animated a dog 
of that breed.  He was dressed in a huge thick fustian jacket, 
scratched, stained, and patched, with bulging, greasy pockets; a 
cast of flies round a battered hat, riddled with shot-holes, a dog-
whistle at his button-hole, and an old gun cut short over his arm, 
bespoke his business.

'I seed that 'ere Crawy against Ashy Down Plantations last night, 
I'll be sworn,' said he, in a squeaking, sneaking tone.

'Well, what harm was the man doing?'

'Oh, ay, that's the way you young 'uns talk.  If he warn't doing 
mischief, he'd a been glad to have been doing it, I'll warrant.  If 
I'd been as young as you, I'd have picked a quarrel with him soon 
enough, and found a cause for tackling him.  It's worth a brace of 
sovereigns with the squire to haul him up.  Eh? eh?  Ain't old Harry 
right now?'

'Humph!' growled the younger man.

'There, then, you get me a snare and a hare by to-morrow night,' 
went on old Harry, 'and see if I don't nab him.  It won't lay long 
under the plantation afore he picks it up.  You mind to snare me a 
hare to-night, now!'

'I'll do no such thing, nor help to bring fake accusations against 
any man!'

'False accusations!' answered Harry, in his cringing way.  'Look at 
that now, for a keeper to say!  Why, if he don't happen to have a 
snare just there, he has somewhere else, you know.  Eh?  Ain't old 
Harry right now, eh?'

'Maybe.'

'There, don't say I don't know nothing then.  Eh?  What matter who 
put the snare down, or the hare in, perwided he takes it up, man?  
If 'twas his'n he'd be all the better pleased.  The most 
notoriousest poacher as walks unhung!'  And old Harry lifted up his 
crooked hands in pious indignation.

'I'll have no more gamekeeping, Harry.  What with hunting down 
Christians as if they were vermin, all night, and being cursed by 
the squire all day, I'd sooner be a sheriff's runner, or a negro 
slave.'

'Ay, ay! that's the way the young dogs always bark afore they're 
broke in, and gets to like it, as the eels does skinning.  Haven't I 
bounced pretty near out of my skin many a time afore now, on this 
here very bridge, with "Harry, jump in, you stupid hound!" and 
"Harry, get out, you one-eyed tailor!"   And then, if one of the 
gentlemen lost a fish with their clumsiness--Oh, Father! to hear 'em 
let out at me and my landing-net, and curse fit to fright the devil!  
Dash their sarcy tongues!  Eh!  Don't old Harry know their ways?  
Don't he know 'em, now?'

'Ay,' said the young man, bitterly.  'We break the dogs, and we load 
the guns, and we find the game, and mark the game,--and then they 
call themselves sportsmen; we choose the flies, and we bait the 
spinning-hooks, and we show them where the fish lie, and then when 
they've hooked them, they can't get them out without us and the 
spoonnet; and then they go home to the ladies and boast of the lot 
of fish they killed--and who thinks of the keeper?'

'Oh! ah!  Then don't say old Harry knows nothing, then.  How nicely, 
now, you and I might get a living off this 'ere manor, if the 
landlords was served like the French ones was.  Eh, Paul?' chuckled 
old Harry.  'Wouldn't we pay our taxes with pheasants and grayling, 
that's all, eh?  Ain't old Harry right now, eh?'

The old fox was fishing for an assent, not for its own sake, for he 
was a fierce Tory, and would have stood up to be shot at any day, 
not only for his master's sake, but for the sake of a single 
pheasant of his master's; but he hated Tregarva for many reasons, 
and was daily on the watch to entrap him on some of his peculiar 
points, whereof he had, as we shall find, a good many.

What would have been Tregarva's answer, I cannot tell; but Lancelot, 
who had unintentionally overheard the greater part of the 
conversation, disliked being any longer a listener, and came close 
to them.

'Here's your gudgeons and minnows, sir, as you bespoke,' quoth 
Harry; 'and here's that paternoster as you gave me to rig up.  
Beautiful minnows, sir, white as a silver spoon.--They're the ones 
now, ain't they, sir, eh?'

'They'll do!'

'Well, then, don't say old Harry don't know nothing, that's all, 
eh?' and the old fellow toddled off, peering and twisting his head 
about like a starling.

'An odd old fellow that, Tregarva,' said Lancelot.

'Very, sir, considering who made him,' answered the Cornishman, 
touching his hat, and then thrusting his nose deeper than ever into 
the eel-basket.

'Beautiful stream this,' said Lancelot, who had a continual longing-
-right or wrong--to chat with his inferiors; and was proportionately 
sulky and reserved to his superiors.

'Beautiful enough, sir,' said the keeper, with an emphasis on the 
first word.

'Why, has it any other fault?'

'Not so wholesome as pretty, sir.'

'What harm does it do?'

'Fever, and ague, and rheumatism, sir.'

'Where?' asked Lancelot, a little amused by the man's laconic 
answers.

'Wherever the white fog spreads, sir.'

'Where's that?'

'Everywhere, sir.'

'And when?'

'Always, sir.'

Lancelot burst out laughing.  The man looked up at him slowly and 
seriously.

'You wouldn't laugh, sir, if you'd seen much of the inside of these 
cottages round.'

'Really,' said Lancelot, 'I was only laughing at our making such 
very short work of such a long and serious story.  Do you mean that 
the unhealthiness of this country is wholly caused by the river?'

'No, sir.  The river-damps are God's sending; and so they are not 
too bad to bear.  But there's more of man's sending, that is too bad 
to bear.'

'What do you mean?'

'Are men likely to be healthy when they are worse housed than a 
pig?'

'No.'

'And worse fed than a hound?'

'Good heavens!  No!'

'Or packed together to sleep, like pilchards in a barrel?'

'But, my good fellow, do you mean that the labourers here are in 
that state?'

'It isn't far to walk, sir.  Perhaps some day, when the May-fly is 
gone off, and the fish won't rise awhile, you could walk down and 
see.  I beg your pardon, sir, though, for thinking of such a thing.  
They are not places fit for gentlemen, that's certain.'  There was a 
staid irony in his tone, which Lancelot felt.

'But the clergyman goes?'

'Yes, sir.'

'And Miss Honoria goes?'

'Yes, God Almighty bless her!'

'And do not they see that all goes right?'

The giant twisted his huge limbs, as if trying to avoid an answer, 
and yet not daring to do so.

'Do clergymen go about among the poor much, sir, at college, before 
they are ordained?'

Lancelot smiled, and shook his head.

'I thought so, sir.  Our good vicar is like the rest hereabouts.  
God knows, he stints neither time nor money--the souls of the poor 
are well looked after, and their bodies too--as far as his purse 
will go; but that's not far.'

'Is he ill-off, then?'

'The living's worth some forty pounds a year.  The great tithes, 
they say, are worth better than twelve hundred; but Squire Lavington 
has them.'

'Oh, I see!' said Lancelot.

'I'm glad you do, sir, for I don't,' meekly answered Tregarva.  'But 
the vicar, sir, he is a kind man, and a good; but the poor don't 
understand him, nor he them.  He is too learned, sir, and, saving 
your presence, too fond of his prayer-book.'

'One can't be too fond of a good thing.'

'Not unless you make an idol of it, sir, and fancy that men's souls 
were made for the prayer-book, and not the prayer-book for them.'

'But cannot he expose and redress these evils, if they exist?'

Tregarva twisted about again.

'I do not say that I think it, sir; but this I know, that every poor 
man in the vale thinks it--that the parsons are afraid of the 
landlords.  They must see these things, for they are not blind; and 
they try to plaster them up out of their own pockets.'

'But why, in God's name, don't they strike at the root of the 
matter, and go straight to the landlords and tell them the truth?' 
asked Lancelot.

'So people say, sir.  I see no reason for it except the one which I 
gave you.  Besides, sir, you must remember, that a man can't quarrel 
with his own kin; and so many of them are their squire's brothers, 
or sons, or nephews.'

'Or good friends with him, at least.'

'Ay, sir, and, to do them justice, they had need, for the poor's 
sake, to keep good friends with the squire.  How else are they to 
get a farthing for schools, or coal-subscriptions, or lying-in 
societies, or lending libraries, or penny clubs?  If they spoke 
their minds to the great ones, sir, how could they keep the parish 
together?'

'You seem to see both sides of a question, certainly.  But what a 
miserable state of things, that the labouring man should require all 
these societies, and charities, and helps from the rich!--that an 
industrious freeman cannot live without alms!'

'So I have thought this long time,' quietly answered Tregarva.

'But Miss Honoria,--she is not afraid to tell her father the truth?'

'Suppose, sir, when Adam and Eve were in the garden, that all the 
devils had come up and played their fiends' tricks before them,--do 
you think they'd have seen any shame in it?'

'I really cannot tell,' said Lancelot, smiling.

'Then I can, sir.  They'd have seen no more harm in it than there 
was harm already in themselves; and that was none.  A man's eyes can 
only see what they've learnt to see.'

Lancelot started:  it was a favourite dictum of his in Carlyle's 
works.

'Where did you get that thought, my friend'

'By seeing, sir.'

'But what has that to do with Miss Honoria?'

'She is an angel of holiness herself, sir; and, therefore, she goes 
on without blushing or suspecting, where our blood would boil again.  
She sees people in want, and thinks it must be so, and pities them 
and relieves them.  But she don't know want herself; and, therefore, 
she don't know that it makes men beasts and devils.  She's as pure 
as God's light herself; and, therefore, she fancies every one is as 
spotless as she is.  And there's another mistake in your charitable 
great people, sir.  When they see poor folk sick or hungry before 
their eyes, they pull out their purses fast enough, God bless them; 
for they wouldn't like to be so themselves.  But the oppression that 
goes on all the year round, and the want that goes on all the year 
round, and the filth, and the lying, and the swearing, and the 
profligacy, that go on all the year round, and the sickening weight 
of debt, and the miserable grinding anxiety from rent-day to rent-
day, and Saturday night to Saturday night, that crushes a man's soul 
down, and drives every thought out of his head but how he is to fill 
his stomach and warm his back, and keep a house over his head, till 
he daren't for his life take his thoughts one moment off the meat 
that perisheth--oh, sir, they never felt this; and, therefore, they 
never dream that there are thousands who pass them in their daily 
walks who feel this, and feel nothing else!'

This outburst was uttered with an earnestness and majesty which 
astonished Lancelot.  He forgot the subject in the speaker.

'You are a very extraordinary gamekeeper!' said he.

'When the Lord shows a man a thing, he can't well help seeing it,' 
answered Tregarva, in his usual staid tone.

There was a pause.  The keeper looked at him with a glance, before 
which Lancelot's eyes fell.

'Hell is paved with hearsays, sir, and as all this talk of mine is 
hearsay, if you are in earnest, sir, go and see for yourself.  I 
know you have a kind heart, and they tell me that you are a great 
scholar, which would to God I was! so you ought not to condescend to 
take my word for anything which you can look into yourself;' with 
which sound piece of common-sense Tregarva returned busily to his 
eel-lines.

'Hand me the rod and can, and help me out along the buck-stage,' 
said Lancelot; 'I must have some more talk with you, my fine 
fellow.'

'Amen,' answered Tregarva, as he assisted our lame hero along a huge 
beam which stretched out into the pool; and having settled him 
there, returned mechanically to his work, humming a Wesleyan hymn-
tune.

Lancelot sat and tried to catch perch, but Tregarva's words haunted 
him.  He lighted his cigar, and tried to think earnestly over the 
matter, but he had got into the wrong place for thinking.  All his 
thoughts, all his sympathies, were drowned in the rush and whirl of 
the water.  He forgot everything else in the mere animal enjoyment 
of sight and sound.  Like many young men at his crisis of life, he 
had given himself up to the mere contemplation of Nature till he had 
become her slave; and now a luscious scene, a singing bird, were 
enough to allure his mind away from the most earnest and awful 
thoughts.  He tried to think, but the river would not let him.  It 
thundered and spouted out behind him from the hatches, and leapt 
madly past him, and caught his eyes in spite of him, and swept them 
away down its dancing waves, and let them go again only to sweep 
them down again and again, till his brain felt a delicious dizziness 
from the everlasting rush and the everlasting roar.  And then below, 
how it spread, and writhed, and whirled into transparent fans, 
hissing and twining snakes, polished glass-wreaths, huge crystal 
bells, which boiled up from the bottom, and dived again beneath long 
threads of creamy foam, and swung round posts and roots, and rushed 
blackening under dark weed-fringed boughs, and gnawed at the marly 
banks, and shook the ever-restless bulrushes, till it was swept away 
and down over the white pebbles and olive weeds, in one broad 
rippling sheet of molten silver, towards the distant sea.  Downwards 
it fleeted ever, and bore his thoughts floating on its oily stream; 
and the great trout, with their yellow sides and peacock backs, 
lounged among the eddies, and the silver grayling dimpled and 
wandered upon the shallows, and the may-flies flickered and rustled 
round him like water fairies, with their green gauzy wings; the coot 
clanked musically among the reeds; the frogs hummed their ceaseless 
vesper-monotone; the kingfisher darted from his hole in the bank 
like a blue spark of electric light; the swallows' bills snapped as 
they twined and hawked above the pool; the swift's wings whirred 
like musket-balls, as they rushed screaming past his head; and ever 
the river fleeted by, bearing his eyes away down the current, till 
its wild eddies began to glow with crimson beneath the setting sun.  
The complex harmony of sights and sounds slid softly over his soul, 
and he sank away into a still daydream, too passive for imagination, 
too deep for meditation, and


'Beauty born of murmuring sound,
Did pass into his face.'


Blame him not.  There are more things in a man's heart than ever get 
in through his thoughts.

On a sudden, a soft voice behind him startled him.

'Can a poor cockney artist venture himself along this timber without 
falling in?'

Lancelot turned.

'Come out to me, and if you stumble, the naiads will rise out of 
their depths, and "hold up their pearled wrists" to save their 
favourite.'

The artist walked timidly out along the beams, and sat down beside 
Lancelot, who shook him warmly by the hand.

'Welcome, Claude Mellot, and all lovely enthusiasms and symbolisms!  
Expound to me, now, the meaning of that water-lily leaf and its 
grand simple curve, as it lies sleeping there in the back eddy.'

'Oh, I am too amused to philosophise.  The fair Argemone has just 
been treating me to her three hundred and sixty-fifth philippic 
against my unoffending beard.'

'Why, what fault can she find with such a graceful and natural 
ornament?'

'Just this, my dear fellow, that it is natural.  As it is, she 
considers me only "intelligent-looking."  If the beard were away, my 
face, she says, would be "so refined!"  And, I suppose, if I was 
just a little more effeminate and pale, with a nice retreating 
under-jaw and a drooping lip, and a meek, peaking simper, like your 
starved Romish saints, I should be "so spiritual!"  And if, again, 
to complete the climax, I did but shave my head like a Chinese, I 
should be a model for St. Francis himself!'

'But really, after all, why make yourself so singular by this said 
beard?'

'I wear it for a testimony and a sign that a man has no right to be 
ashamed of the mark of manhood.  Oh, that one or two of your 
Protestant clergymen, who ought to be perfect ideal men, would have 
the courage to get up into the pulpit in a long beard, and testify 
that the very essential idea of Protestantism is the dignity and 
divinity of man as God made him!  Our forefathers were not ashamed 
of their beards; but now even the soldier is only allowed to keep 
his moustache, while our quill-driving masses shave themselves as 
close as they can; and in proportion to a man's piety he wears less 
hair, from the young curate who shaves off his whiskers, to the 
Popish priest who shaves his crown!'

'What do you say, then, to cutting off nuns' hair?'

'I say, that extremes meet, and prudish Manichaeism always ends in 
sheer indecency.  Those Papists have forgotten what woman was made 
for, and therefore, they have forgotten that a woman's hair is her 
glory, for it was given to her for a covering:  as says your friend, 
Paul the Hebrew, who, by the bye, had as fine theories of art as he 
had of society, if he had only lived fifteen hundred years later, 
and had a chance of working them out.'

'How remarkably orthodox you are!' said Lancelot, smiling.

'How do you know that I am not?  You never heard me deny the old 
creed.  But what if an artist ought to be of all creeds at once?  My 
business is to represent the beautiful, and therefore to accept it 
wherever I find it.  Yours is to be a philosopher, and find the 
true.'

'But the beautiful must be truly beautiful to be worth anything; and 
so you, too, must search for the true.'

'Yes; truth of form, colour, chiaroscuro.  They are worthy to occupy 
me a life; for they are eternal--or at least that which they 
express:  and if I am to get at the symbolised unseen, it must be 
through the beauty of the symbolising phenomenon.  If I, who live by 
art, for art, in art, or you either, who seem as much a born artist 
as myself, am to have a religion, it must be a worship of the 
fountain of art--of the


"Spirit of beauty, who doth consecrate
With his own hues whate'er he shines upon."'


'As poor Shelley has it; and much peace of mind it gave him!' 
answered Lancelot.  'I have grown sick lately of such dreary tinsel 
abstractions.  When you look through the glitter of the words, your 
"spirit of beauty" simply means certain shapes and colours which 
please you in beautiful things and in beautiful people.'

'Vile nominalist! renegade from the ideal and all its glories!' said 
Claude, laughing.

'I don't care sixpence now for the ideal!  I want not beauty, but 
some beautiful thing--a woman perhaps,' and he sighed.  'But at 
least a person--a living, loving person--all lovely itself, and 
giving loveliness to all things!  If I must have an ideal, let it 
be, for mercy's sake, a realised one.'

Claude opened his sketch-book.

'We shall get swamped in these metaphysical oceans, my dear dreamer.  
But lo, here come a couple, as near ideals as any in these 
degenerate days--the two poles of beauty:  the milieu of which would 
be Venus with us Pagans, or the Virgin Mary with the Catholics.  
Look at them!  Honoria the dark--symbolic of passionate depth; 
Argemone the fair, type of intellectual light!  Oh, that I were a 
Zeuxis to unite them instead of having to paint them in two separate 
pictures, and split perfection in half, as everything is split in 
this piecemeal world!'

'You will have the honour of a sitting this afternoon, I suppose, 
from both beauties?'

'I hope so, for my own sake.  There is no path left to immortality, 
or bread either, now for us poor artists but portrait-painting.'

'I envy you your path, when it leads through such Elysiums,' said 
Lancelot.

'Come here, gentlemen both!' cried Argemone from the bridge.

'Fairly caught!' grumbled Lancelot.  'You must go, at least; my 
lameness will excuse me, I hope.'

The two ladies were accompanied by Bracebridge, a gazelle which he 
had given Argemone, and a certain miserable cur of Honoria's 
adopting, who plays an important part in this story, and, therefore, 
deserves a little notice.  Honoria had rescued him from a watery 
death in the village pond, by means of the colonel, who had revenged 
himself for a pair of wet feet by utterly corrupting the dog's 
morals, and teaching him every week to answer to some fresh 
scandalous name.

But Lancelot was not to escape.  Instead of moving on, as he had 
hoped, the party stood looking over the bridge, and talking--he took 
for granted, poor thin-skinned fellow--of him.  And for once his 
suspicions were right; for he overheard Argemone say--

'I wonder how Mr. Smith can be so rude as to sit there in my 
presence over his stupid perch!  Smoking those horrid cigars, too!  
How selfish those field-sports do make men!'

'Thank you!' said the colonel, with a low bow.  Lancelot rose.

'If a country girl, now, had spoken in that tone,' said he to 
himself, 'it would have been called at least "saucy"--but Mammon's 
elect ones may do anything.  Well--here I come, limping to my new 
tyrant's feet, like Goethe's bear to Lili's.'

She drew him away, as women only know how, from the rest of the 
party, who were chatting and laughing with Claude.  She had shown 
off her fancied indifference to Lancelot before them, and now began 
in a softer voice--

'Why will you be so shy and lonely, Mr. Smith?'

'Because I am not fit for your society.'

'Who tells you so?  Why will you not become so?'

Lancelot hung down his head.

'As long as fish and game are your only society, you will become 
more and more morne and self-absorbed.'

'Really fish were the last things of which I was thinking when you 
came.  My whole heart was filled with the beauty of nature, and 
nothing else.'

There was an opening for one of Argemone's preconcerted orations.

'Had you no better occupation,' she said gently, 'than nature, the 
first day of returning to the open air after so frightful and 
dangerous an accident?  Were there no thanks due to One above?'

Lancelot understood her.

'How do you know that I was not even then showing my thankfulness?'

'What! with a cigar and a fishing-rod?'

'Certainly.  Why not?'

Argemone really could not tell at the moment.  The answer upset her 
scheme entirely.

'Might not that very admiration of nature have been an act of 
worship?' continued our hero.  'How can we better glorify the worker 
than by delighting in his work?'

'Ah!' sighed the lady, 'why trust to these self-willed methods, and 
neglect the noble and exquisite forms which the Church has prepared 
for us as embodiments for every feeling of our hearts?'

'EVERY feeling, Miss Lavington?'

Argemone hesitated.  She had made the good old stock assertion, as 
in duty bound; but she could not help recollecting that there were 
several Popish books of devotion at that moment on her table, which 
seemed to her to patch a gap or two in the Prayer-book.

'My temple as yet,' said Lancelot, 'is only the heaven and the 
earth; my church-music I can hear all day long, whenever I have the 
sense to be silent, and "hear my mother sing;" my priests and 
preachers are every bird and bee, every flower and cloud.  Am I not 
well enough furnished?  Do you want to reduce my circular infinite 
chapel to an oblong hundred-foot one?  My sphere harmonies to the 
Gregorian tones in four parts?  My world-wide priesthood, with their 
endless variety of costume, to one not over-educated gentleman in a 
white sheet?  And my dreams of naiads and flower-fairies, and the 
blue-bells ringing God's praises, as they do in "The story without 
an End," for the gross reality of naughty charity children, with 
their pockets full of apples, bawling out Hebrew psalms of which 
they neither feel nor understand a word?'

Argemone tried to look very much shocked at this piece of bombast.  
Lancelot evidently meant it as such, but he eyed her all the while 
as if there was solemn earnest under the surface.

'Oh, Mr. Smith!' she said, 'how can you dare talk so of a liturgy 
compiled by the wisest and holiest of all countries and ages!  You 
revile that of whose beauty you are not qualified to judge!'

'There must be a beauty in it all, or such as you are would not love 
it.'

'Oh,' she said hopefully, 'that you would but try the Church system!  
How you would find it harmonise and methodise every day, every 
thought for you!  But I cannot explain myself.  Why not go to our 
vicar and open your doubts to him?'

'Pardon, but you must excuse me.'

'Why?  He is one of the saintliest of men!'

'To tell the truth, I have been to him already.'

'You do not mean it!  And what did he tell you?'

'What the rest of the world does--hearsays.'

'But did you not find him most kind?'

'I went to him to be comforted and guided.  He received me as a 
criminal.  He told me that my first duty was penitence; that as long 
as I lived the life I did, he could not dare to cast his pearls 
before swine by answering my doubts; that I was in a state incapable 
of appreciating spiritual truths; and, therefore, he had no right to 
tell me any.'

'And what did he tell you?'

'Several spiritual lies instead, I thought.  He told me, hearing me 
quote Schiller, to beware of the Germans, for they were all 
Pantheists at heart.  I asked him whether he included Lange and 
Bunsen, and it appeared that he had never read a German book in his 
life.  He then flew furiously at Mr. Carlyle, and I found that all 
he knew of him was from a certain review in the Quarterly.  He 
called Boehmen a theosophic Atheist.  I should have burst out at 
that, had I not read the very words in a High Church review the day 
before, and hoped that he was not aware of the impudent falsehood 
which he was retailing.  Whenever I feebly interposed an objection 
to anything he said (for, after all, he talked on), he told me to 
hear the Catholic Church.  I asked him which Catholic Church?  He 
said the English.  I asked him whether it was to be the Church of 
the sixth century, or the thirteenth, or the seventeenth or the 
eighteenth?  He told me the one and eternal Church which belonged as 
much to the nineteenth century as to the first.  I begged to know 
whether, then, I was to hear the Church according to Simeon, or 
according to Newman, or according to St. Paul; for they seemed to me 
a little at variance?  He told me, austerely enough, that the mind 
of the Church was embodied in her Liturgy and Articles.  To which I 
answered, that the mind of the episcopal clergy might, perhaps, be; 
but, then, how happened it that they were always quarrelling and 
calling hard names about the sense of those very documents?  And so 
I left him, assuring him that, living in the nineteenth century, I 
wanted to hear the Church of the nineteenth century, and no other; 
and should be most happy to listen to her, as soon as she had made 
up her mind what to say.'

Argemone was angry and disappointed.  She felt she could not cope 
with Lancelot's quaint logic, which, however unsound, cut deeper 
into questions than she had yet looked for herself.  Somehow, too, 
she was tongue-tied before him just when she wanted to be most 
eloquent in behalf of her principles; and that fretted her still 
more.  But his manner puzzled her most of all.  First he would run 
on with his face turned away, as if soliloquising out into the air, 
and then suddenly look round at her with most fascinating humility; 
and, then, in a moment, a dark shade would pass over his 
countenance, and he would look like one possessed, and his lips 
wreathe in a sinister artificial smile, and his wild eyes glare 
through and through her with such cunning understanding of himself 
and her, that, for the first time in her life, she quailed and felt 
frightened, as if in the power of a madman.  She turned hastily away 
to shake off the spell.

He sprang after her, almost on his knees, and looked up into her 
beautiful face with an imploring cry.

'What, do you, too, throw me off?  Will you, too, treat the poor 
wild uneducated sportsman as a Pariah and an outcast, because he is 
not ashamed to be a man?--because he cannot stuff his soul's hunger 
with cut-and-dried hearsays, but dares to think for himself?--
because he wants to believe things, and dare not be satisfied with 
only believing that he ought to believe them?'

She paused, astonished.

'Ah, yes,' he went on, 'I hoped too much!  What right had I to 
expect that you would understand me?  What right, still more, to 
expect that you would stoop, any more than the rest of the world, to 
speak to me, as if I could become anything better than the wild hog 
I seem?  Oh yes!--the chrysalis has no butterfly in it, of course!  
Stamp on the ugly motionless thing!  And yet--you look so beautiful 
and good!--are all my dreams to perish, about the Alrunen and 
prophet-maidens, how they charmed our old fighting, hunting 
forefathers into purity and sweet obedience among their Saxon 
forests?  Has woman forgotten her mission--to look at the heart and 
have mercy, while cold man looks at the act and condemns?  Do you, 
too, like the rest of mankind, think no-belief better than 
misbelief; and smile on hypocrisy, lip-assent, practical Atheism, 
sooner than on the unpardonable sin of making a mistake?  Will you, 
like the rest of this wise world, let a man's spirit rot asleep into 
the pit, if he will only lie quiet and not disturb your smooth 
respectabilities; but if he dares, in waking, to yawn in an 
unorthodox manner, knock him on the head at once, and "break the 
bruised reed," and "quench the smoking flax"?  And yet you 
churchgoers have "renounced the world"!'

'What do you want, in Heaven's name?' asked Argemone, half 
terrified.

'I want YOU to tell me that.  Here I am, with youth, health, 
strength, money, every blessing of life but one; and I am utterly 
miserable.  I want some one to tell me what I want.'

'Is it not that you want--religion?'

'I see hundreds who have what you call religion, with whom I should 
scorn to change my irreligion.'

'But, Mr. Smith, are you not--are you not wicked?--They tell me so,' 
said Argemone, with an effort, 'And is that not the cause of your 
disease?'

Lancelot laughed.

'No, fairest prophetess, it is the disease itself.  "Why am I what I 
am, when I know more and more daily what I could be?"--That is the 
mystery; and my sins are the fruit, and not the root of it.  Who 
will explain that?'

Argemone began,--

'The Church--'

'Oh, Miss Lavington,' cried he, impatiently, 'will you, too, send me 
back to that cold abstraction?  I came to you, however presumptuous, 
for living, human advice to a living, human heart; and will you pass 
off on me that Proteus-dream the Church, which in every man's mouth 
has a different meaning?  In one book, meaning a method of 
education, only it has never been carried out; in another, a system 
of polity,--only it has never been realised;--now a set of words 
written in books, on whose meaning all are divided; now a body of 
men who are daily excommunicating each other as heretics and 
apostates; now a universal idea; now the narrowest and most 
exclusive of all parties.  Really, before you ask me to hear the 
Church, I have a right to ask you to define what the Church is.'

'Our Articles define it,' said Argemone drily.

'The "Visible Church," at least, it defines as "a company of 
faithful men, in which," etc.  But how does it define the 
"Invisible" one?  And what does "faithful" mean?  What if I thought 
Cromwell and Pierre Leroux infinitely more faithful men in their 
way, and better members of the "Invisible Church," than the 
torturer-pedant Laud, or the facing bothways Protestant-Manichee 
Taylor?'

It was lucky for the life of young Love that the discussion went no 
further:  Argemone was becoming scandalised beyond all measure.  
But, happily, the colonel interposed,--

'Look here; tell me if you know for whom this sketch is meant?'

'Tregarva, the keeper:  who can doubt?' answered they both at once.

'Has not Mellot succeeded perfectly?'

'Yes,' said Lancelot.  'But what wonder, with such a noble subject!  
What a grand benevolence is enthroned on that lofty forehead!'

'Oh, you would say so, indeed,' interposed Honoria, 'if you knew 
him!  The stories that I could tell you about him!  How he would go 
into cottages, read to sick people by the hour, dress the children, 
cook the food for them, as tenderly as any woman!  I found out, last 
winter, if you will believe it, that he lived on bread and water, to 
give out of his own wages--which are barely twelve shillings a week-
-five shillings a week for more than two months to a poor labouring 
man, to prevent his going to the workhouse, and being parted from 
his wife and children.'

'Noble, indeed!' said Lancelot.  'I do not wonder now at the effect 
his conversation just now had on me.'

'Has he been talking to you?' said Honoria eagerly.  'He seldom 
speaks to any one.'

'He has to me; and so well, that were I sure that the poor were as 
ill off as he says, and that I had the power of altering the system 
a hair, I could find it in my heart to excuse all political 
grievance-mongers, and turn one myself.'

Claude Mellot clapped his white woman-like hands.

'Bravo! bravo!  O wonderful conversion!  Lancelot has at last 
discovered that, besides the "glorious Past," there is a Present 
worthy of his sublime notice!  We may now hope, in time, that he 
will discover the existence of a Future!'

'But, Mr. Mellot,' said Honoria, 'why have you been so unfaithful to 
your original? why have you, like all artists, been trying to soften 
and refine on your model?'

'Because, my dear lady, we are bound to see everything in its ideal-
-not as it is, but as it ought to be, and will be, when the vices of 
this pitiful civilised world are exploded, and sanitary reform, and 
a variety of occupation, and harmonious education, let each man 
fulfil in body and soul the ideal which God embodied in him.'

'Fourierist!' cried Lancelot, laughing.  'But surely you never saw a 
face which had lost by wear less of the divine image?  How 
thoroughly it exemplifies your great law of Protestant art, that 
"the Ideal is best manifested in the Peculiar."  How classic, how 
independent of clime or race, is its bland, majestic self-
possession! how thoroughly Norse its massive squareness!'

'And yet, as a Cornishman, he should be no Norseman.'

'I beg your pardon!  Like all noble races, the Cornish owe their 
nobleness to the impurity of their blood--to its perpetual loans 
from foreign veins.  See how the serpentine curve of his nose, his 
long nostril, and protruding, sharp-cut lips, mark his share of 
Phoenician or Jewish blood! how Norse, again, that dome-shaped 
forehead! how Celtic those dark curls, that restless gray eye, with 
its "swinden blicken," like Von Troneg Hagen's in the Niebelungen 
Lied!'

He turned:  Honoria was devouring his words.  He saw it, for he was 
in love, and young love makes man's senses as keen as woman's.

'Look! look at him now!' said Claude, in a low voice.  'How he sits, 
with his hands on his knees, the enormous size of his limbs quite 
concealed by the careless grace, with his Egyptian face, like some 
dumb granite Memnon!'

'Only waiting,' said Lancelot, 'for the day-star to arise on him and 
awake him into voice.'

He looked at Honoria as he spoke.  She blushed angrily; and yet a 
sort of sympathy arose from that moment between Lancelot and 
herself.

Our hero feared he had gone too far, and tried to turn the subject 
off.

The smooth mill-head was alive with rising trout.

'What a huge fish leapt then!' said Lancelot carelessly; 'and close 
to the bridge, too!'

Honoria looked round, and uttered a piercing scream.

'Oh, my dog! my dog!  Mops is in the river!  That horrid gazelle has 
butted him in, and he'll be drowned!'

Alas! it was too true.  There, a yard above the one open hatchway, 
through which the whole force of the stream was rushing, was the 
unhappy Mops, alias Scratch, alias Dirty Dick, alias Jack Sheppard, 
paddling, and sneezing, and winking, his little bald muzzle turned 
piteously upward to the sky.

'He will be drowned!' quoth the colonel.

There was no doubt of it; and so Mops thought, as, shivering and 
whining, he plied every leg, while the glassy current dragged him 
back and back, and Honoria sobbed like a child.

The colonel lay down on the bridge, and caught at him:  his arm was 
a foot too short.  In a moment the huge form of Tregarva plunged 
solemnly into the water, with a splash like seven salmon, and Mops 
was jerked out over the colonel's head high and dry on to the 
bridge.

'You'll be drowned, at least!' shouted the colonel, with an oath of 
Uncle Toby's own.

Tregarva saw his danger, made one desperate bound upward, and missed 
the bridge.  The colonel caught at him, tore off a piece of his 
collar--the calm, solemn face of the keeper flashed past beneath 
him, and disappeared through the roaring gate.

They rushed to the other side of the bridge--caught one glimpse of a 
dark body fleeting and roaring down the foam-way.  The colonel leapt 
the bridge-rail like a deer, rushed out along the buck-stage, tore 
off his coat, and sprung headlong into the boiling pool, 'rejoicing 
in his might,' as old Homer would say.

Lancelot, forgetting his crutches, was dashing after him, when he 
felt a soft hand clutching at his arm.

'Lancelot!  Mr. Smith!' cried Argemone.  'You shall not go!  You are 
too ill--weak--'

'A fellow-creature's life!'

'What is his life to yours?' she cried, in a tone of deep passion.  
And then, imperiously, 'Stay here, I command you!'

The magnetic touch of her hand thrilled through his whole frame.  
She had called him Lancelot!  He shrank down, and stood spell-bound.

'Good heavens!' she cried; 'look at my sister!'

Out on the extremity of the buck-stage (how she got there neither 
they nor she ever knew) crouched Honoria, her face idiotic with 
terror, while she stared with bursting eyes into the foam.  A shriek 
of disappointment rose from her lips, as in a moment the colonel's 
weather-worn head reappeared above, looking for all the world like 
an old gray shiny-painted seal.

'Poof! tally-ho!  Poof! poof!  Heave me a piece of wood, Lancelot, 
my boy!'  And he disappeared again.

They looked round, there was not a loose bit near.  Claude ran off 
towards the house.  Lancelot, desperate, seized the bridge-rail, 
tore it off by sheer strength, and hurled it far into the pool.  
Argemone saw it, and remembered it, like a true woman.  Ay, be as 
Manichaean-sentimental as you will, fair ladies, physical prowess, 
that Eden-right of manhood, is sure to tell upon your hearts!

Again the colonel's grizzled head reappeared,--and, oh joy! beneath 
it a draggled knot of black curls.  In another instant he had hold 
of the rail, and quietly floating down to the shallow, dragged the 
lifeless giant high and dry on a patch of gravel.

Honoria never spoke.  She rose, walked quietly back along the beam, 
passed Argemone and Lancelot without seeing them, and firmly but 
hurriedly led the way round the pool-side.

Before they arrived at the bank, the colonel had carried Tregarva to 
it.  Lancelot and two or three workmen, whom his cries had 
attracted, lifted the body on to the meadow.

Honoria knelt quietly down on the grass, and watched, silent and 
motionless, the dead face, with her wide, awestruck eyes.

'God bless her for a kind soul!' whispered the wan weather-beaten 
field drudges, as they crowded round the body.

'Get out of the way, my men!' quoth the colonel.  'Too many cooks 
spoil the broth.'  And he packed off one here and another there for 
necessaries, and commenced trying every restorative means with the 
ready coolness of a practised surgeon; while Lancelot, whom he 
ordered about like a baby, gulped down a great choking lump of envy, 
and then tasted the rich delight of forgetting himself in admiring 
obedience to a real superior.

But there Tregarva lay lifeless, with folded hands, and a quiet 
satisfied smile, while Honoria watched and watched with parted lips, 
unconscious of the presence of every one.

Five minutes!--ten!

'Carry him to the house,' said the colonel, in a despairing tone, 
after another attempt.

'He moves!'  'No!'  'He does!'  'He breathes!'  'Look at his 
eyelids!'

Slowly his eyes opened.

'Where am I?  All gone?  Sweet dreams--blessed dreams!'

His eye met Honoria's.  One big deep sigh swelled to his lips and 
burst.  She seemed to recollect herself, rose, passed her arm 
through Argemone's, and walked slowly away.



CHAPTER IV:  AN 'INGLORIOUS MILTON'



Argemone, sweet prude, thought herself bound to read Honoria a 
lecture that night, on her reckless exhibition of feeling; but it 
profited little.  The most consummate cunning could not have baffled 
Argemone's suspicions more completely than her sister's utter 
simplicity.  She cried just as bitterly about Mops's danger as about 
the keeper's, and then laughed heartily at Argemone's solemnity; 
till at last, when pushed a little too hard, she broke out into 
something very like a passion, and told her sister, bitterly enough, 
that 'she was not accustomed to see men drowned every day, and 
begged to hear no more about the subject.'  Whereat Argemone 
prudently held her tongue, knowing that under all Honoria's 
tenderness lay a volcano of passionate determination, which was 
generally kept down by her affections, but was just as likely to be 
maddened by them.  And so this conversation only went to increase 
the unconscious estrangement between them, though they continued, as 
sisters will do, to lavish upon each other the most extravagant 
protestations of affection--vowing to live and die only for each 
other--and believing honestly, sweet souls, that they felt all they 
said; till real imperious Love came in, in one case of the two at 
least, shouldering all other affections right and left; and then the 
two beauties discovered, as others do, that it is not so possible or 
reasonable as they thought for a woman to sacrifice herself and her 
lover for the sake of her sister or her friend.  Next morning 
Lancelot and the colonel started out to Tregarva's cottage, on a 
mission of inquiry.  They found the giant propped up in bed with 
pillows, his magnificent features looking in their paleness more 
than ever like a granite Memnon.  Before him lay an open Pilgrim's 
Progress, and a drawer filled with feathers and furs, which he was 
busily manufacturing into trout flies, reading as he worked.  The 
room was filled with nets, guns, and keepers' tackle, while a well-
filled shelf of books hung by the wall.

'Excuse my rising, gentlemen,' he said, in his slow, staid voice, 
'but I am very weak, in spite of the Lord's goodness to me.  You are 
very kind to think of coming to my poor cottage,'

'Well, my man,' said the colonel, 'and how are you after your cold 
bath?  You are the heaviest fish I ever landed!'

'Pretty well, thank God, and you, sir.  I am in your debt, sir, for 
the dear life.  How shall I ever repay you?'

'Repay, my good fellow?  You would have done as much for me.'

'May be; but you did not think of that when you jumped in; and no 
more must I in thanking you.  God knows how a poor miner's son will 
ever reward you; but the mouse repaid the lion, says the story, and, 
at all events, I can pray for you.  By the bye, gentlemen, I hope 
you have brought up some trolling-tackle?'

'We came up to see you, and not to fish,' said Lancelot, charmed 
with the stately courtesy of the man.

'Many thanks, gentlemen; but old Harry Verney was in here just now, 
and had seen a great jack strike, at the tail of the lower reeds.  
With this fresh wind he will run till noon; and you are sure of him 
with a dace.  After that, he will not be up again on the shallows 
till sunset.  He works the works of darkness, and comes not to the 
light, because his deeds are evil.'

Lancelot laughed.  'He does but follow his kind, poor fellow.'

'No doubt, sir, no doubt; all the Lord's works are good:  but it is 
a wonder why He should have made wasps, now, and blights, and 
vermin, and jack, and such evil-featured things, that carry spite 
and cruelty in their very faces--a great wonder.  Do you think, sir, 
all those creatures were in the Garden of Eden?'

'You are getting too deep for me,' said Lancelot.  'But why trouble 
your head about fishing?'

'I beg your pardon for preaching to you, sir.  I'm sure I forgot 
myself.  If you will let me, I'll get up and get you a couple of 
bait from the stew.  You'll do us keepers a kindness, and prevent 
sin, sir, if you'll catch him.  The squire will swear sadly--the 
Lord forgive him--if he hears of a pike in the trout-runs.  I'll get 
up, if I may trouble you to go into the next room a minute.'

'Lie still, for Heaven's sake.  Why bother your head about pike 
now?'

'It is my business, sir, and I am paid for it, and I must do it 
thoroughly;--and abide in the calling wherein I am called,' he 
added, in a sadder tone.

'You seem to be fond enough of it, and to know enough about it, at 
all events,' said the colonel, 'tying flies here on a sick-bed.'

'As for being fond of it, sir--those creatures of the water teach a 
man many lessons; and when I tie flies, I earn books.'

'How then?'

'I send my flies all over the country, sir, to Salisbury and 
Hungerford, and up to Winchester, even; and the money buys me many a 
wise book--all my delight is in reading; perhaps so much the worse 
for me.'

'So much the better, say,' answered Lancelot warmly.  'I'll give you 
an order for a couple of pounds' worth of flies at once.'

'The Lord reward you, sir,' answered the giant.

'And you shall make me the same quantity,' said the colonel.  'You 
can make salmon-flies?'

'I made a lot by pattern for an Irish gent, sir.'

'Well, then, we'll send you some Norway patterns, and some golden 
pheasant and parrot feathers.  We're going to Norway this summer, 
you know, Lancelot--'

Tregarva looked up with a quaint, solemn hesitation.

'If you please, gentlemen, you'll forgive a man's conscience.'

'Well?'

'But I'd not like to be a party to the making of Norway flies.'

'Here's a Protectionist, with a vengeance!' laughed the colonel.  
'Do you want to keep all us fishermen in England? eh? to fee English 
keepers?

'No, sir.  There's pretty fishing in Norway, I hear, and poor folk 
that want money more than we keepers.  God knows we get too much--we 
that hang about great houses and serve great folks' pleasure--you 
toss the money down our throats, without our deserving it; and we 
spend it as we get it--a deal too fast--while hard-working labourers 
are starving.'

'And yet you would keep us in England?'

'Would God I could!'

'Why then, my good fellow?' asked Lancelot, who was getting 
intensely interested with the calm, self-possessed earnestness of 
the man, and longed to draw him out.

The colonel yawned.

'Well, I'll go and get myself a couple of bait.  Don't you stir, my 
good parson-keeper.  Down charge, I say!  Odd if I don't find a 
bait-net, and a rod for myself, under the verandah.'

'You will, colonel.  I remember, now, I set it there last morning; 
but the water washed many things out of my brains, and some things 
into them--and I forgot it like a goose.'

'Well, good-bye, and lie still.  I know what a drowning is, and more 
than one.  A day and a night have I been in the deep, like the man 
in the good book; and bed is the best of medicine for a ducking;' 
and the colonel shook him kindly by the hand and disappeared.

Lancelot sat down by the keeper's bed.

'You'll get those fish-hooks into your trousers, sir; and this is a 
poor place to sit down in.'

'I want you to say your say out, friend, fish-hooks or none.'

The keeper looked warily at the door, and when the colonel had 
passed the window, balancing the trolling-rod on his chin, and 
whistling merrily, he began,--

'"A day and a night have I been in the deep!"--and brought back no 
more from it!  And yet the Psalms say how they that go down to the 
sea in ships see the works of the Lord!--If the Lord has opened 
their eyes to see them, that must mean--'

Lancelot waited.

'What a gallant gentleman that is, and a valiant man of war, I'll 
warrant,--and to have seen all the wonders he has, and yet to be 
wasting his span of life like that!'

Lancelot's heart smote him.

'One would think, sir,--You'll pardon me for speaking out.'  And the 
noble face worked, as he murmured to himself, 'When ye are brought 
before kings and princes for my name's sake.--I dare not hold my 
tongue, sir.  I am as one risen from the dead,'--and his face 
flashed up into sudden enthusiasm--'and woe to me if I speak not.  
Oh, why, why are you gentlemen running off to Norway, and foreign 
parts, whither God has not called you!  Are there no graves in 
Egypt, that you must go out to die in the wilderness!'

Lancelot, quite unaccustomed to the language of the Dissenting poor, 
felt keenly the bad taste of the allusion.

'What can you mean?' he asked.

'Pardon me, sir, if I cannot speak plainly; but are there not 
temptations enough here in England that you must go to waste all 
your gifts, your scholarship, and your rank, far away there out of 
the sound of a church-going bell?  I don't deny it's a great 
temptation.  I have read of Norway wonders in a book of one Miss 
Martineau, with a strange name.'

'Feats on the Fiord?'

'That's it, sir.  Her books are grand books to set one a-thinking; 
but she don't seem to see the Lord in all things, does she, sir?'

Lancelot parried the question.

'You are wandering a little from the point.'

'So I am, and thank you for the rebuke.  There's where I find you 
scholars have the advantage of us poor fellows, who pick up 
knowledge as we can.  Your book-learning makes you stick to the 
point so much better.  You are taught how to think.  After all--God 
forgive me if I'm wrong! but I sometimes think that there must be 
more good in that human wisdom, and philosophy falsely so called, 
than we Wesleyans hold.  Oh, sir, what a blessing is a good 
education!  What you gentlemen might do with it, if you did but see 
your own power!  Are there no fish in England, sir, to be caught? 
precious fish, with immortal souls?  And is there not One who has 
said, "Come with me, and I will make you fishers of men?"'

'Would you have us all turn parsons?'

'Is no one to do God's work except the parson, sir?  Oh, the game 
that you rich folks have in your hands, if you would but play it!  
Such a man as Colonel Bracebridge now, with the tongue of the 
serpent, who can charm any living soul he likes to his will, as a 
stoat charms a rabbit.  Or you, sir, with your tongue:--you have 
charmed one precious creature already.  I can see it:  though 
neither of you know it, yet I know it.'

Lancelot started, and blushed crimson.

'Oh, that I had your tongue, sir!'  And the keeper blushed crimson, 
too, and went on hastily,--

'But why could you not charm all alike!  Do not the poor want you as 
well as the rich?'

'What can I do for the poor, my good fellow?  And what do they want?  
Have they not houses, work, a church, and schools,--and poor-rates 
to fall back on?'

The keeper smiled sadly.

'To fall back on, indeed! and down on, too.  At all events, you rich 
might help to make Christians of them, and men of them.  For I'm 
beginning to fancy strangely, in spite of all the preachers say, 
that, before ever you can make them Christians, you must make them 
men and women.'

'Are they not so already?'

'Oh, sir, go and see!  How can a man be a man in those crowded 
styes, sleeping packed together like Irish pigs in a steamer, never 
out of the fear of want, never knowing any higher amusement than the 
beer-shop?  Those old Greeks and Romans, as I read, were more like 
men than half our English labourers.  Go and see!  Ask that sweet 
heavenly angel, Miss Honoria,'--and the keeper again blushed,--'And 
she, too, will tell you.  I think sometimes if she had been born and 
bred like her father's tenants' daughters, to sleep where they 
sleep, and hear the talk they hear, and see the things they see, 
what would she have been now?  We mustn't think of it.'  And the 
keeper turned his head away, and fairly burst into tears.

Lancelot was moved.

'Are the poor very immoral, then?'

'You ask the rector, sir, how many children hereabouts are born 
within six months of the wedding-day.  None of them marry, sir, till 
the devil forces them.  There's no sadder sight than a labourer's 
wedding now-a-days.  You never see the parents come with them.  They 
just get another couple, that are keeping company, like themselves, 
and come sneaking into church, looking all over as if they were 
ashamed of it--and well they may be!'

'Is it possible?'

'I say, sir, that God makes you gentlemen, gentlemen, that you may 
see into these things.  You give away your charities kindly enough, 
but you don't know the folks you give to.  If a few of you would but 
be like the blessed Lord, and stoop to go out of the road, just 
behind the hedge, for once, among the publicans and harlots!  Were 
you ever at a country fair, sir?  Though I suppose I am rude for 
fancying that you could demean yourself to such company.'

'I should not think it demeaning myself,' said Lancelot, smiling; 
'but I never was at one, and I should like for once to see the real 
manners of the poor.'

'I'm no haunter of such places myself, God knows; but--I see you're 
in earnest now--will you come with me, sir,--for once? for God's 
sake and the poor's sake?'

'I shall be delighted.'

'Not after you've been there, I am afraid.'

'Well, it's a bargain when you are recovered.  And, in the meantime, 
the squire's orders are, that you lie by for a few days to rest; and 
Miss Honoria's, too; and she has sent you down some wine.'

'She thought of me, did she?'  And the still sad face blazed out 
radiant with pleasure, and then collapsed as suddenly into deep 
melancholy.

Lancelot saw it, but said nothing; and shaking him heartily by the 
hand, had his shake returned by an iron grasp, and slipped silently 
out of the cottage.

The keeper lay still, gazing on vacancy.  Once he murmured to 
himself,--

'Through strange ways--strange ways--and though he let them wander 
out of the road in the wilderness;--we know how that goes on--'

And then he fell into a mixed meditation--perhaps into a prayer.



CHAPTER V:  A SHAM IS WORSE THAN NOTHING



At last, after Lancelot had waited long in vain, came his cousin's 
answer to the letter which I gave in my second chapter.

'You are not fair to me, good cousin . . . but I have given up 
expecting fairness from Protestants.  I do not say that the front 
and the back of my head have different makers, any more than that 
doves and vipers have . . . and yet I kill the viper when I meet him 
. . . and so do you. . . .  And yet, are we not taught that our 
animal nature is throughout equally viperous? . . .  The Catholic 
Church, at least, so teaches. . . .  She believes in the corruption 
of human nature.  She believes in the literal meaning of Scripture.  
She has no wish to paraphrase away St. Paul's awful words, that "in 
his flesh dwelleth no good thing," by the unscientific euphemisms of 
"fallen nature" or "corrupt humanity."  The boasted discovery of 
phrenologists, that thought, feeling, and passion reside in this 
material brain and nerves of ours, has ages ago been anticipated by 
her simple faith in the letter of Scripture; a faith which puts to 
shame the irreverent vagueness and fantastic private interpretations 
of those who make an idol of that very letter which they dare not 
take literally, because it makes against their self-willed theories. 
. .

'And so you call me douce and meek? . . .  You should remember what 
I once was, Lancelot . . . I, at least, have not forgotten . . . I 
have not forgotten how that very animal nature, on the possession of 
which you seem to pride yourself, was in me only the parent of 
remorse., . .  I know it too well not to hate and fear it.  Why do 
you reproach me, if I try to abjure it, and cast away the burden 
which I am too weak to bear?  I am weak--Would you have me say that 
I am strong?  Would you have me try to be a Prometheus, while I am 
longing to be once more an infant on a mother's breast?  Let me 
alone . . .  I am a weary child, who knows nothing, can do nothing, 
except lose its way in arguings and reasonings, and "find no end, in 
wandering mazes lost."  Will you reproach me, because when I see a 
soft cradle lying open for me . . . with a Virgin Mother's face 
smiling down all woman's love about it . . .  I long to crawl into 
it, and sleep awhile?  I want loving, indulgent sympathy . . .  I 
want detailed, explicit guidance . . .  Have you, then, found so 
much of them in our former creed, that you forbid me to go to seek 
them elsewhere, in the Church which not only professes them as an 
organised system, but practises them . . . as you would find in your 
first half-hour's talk with one of Her priests . . . true priests . 
. . who know the heart of man, and pity, and console, and bear for 
their flock the burdens which they cannot bear themselves?  You ask 
me who will teach a fast young man? . . . I answer, the Jesuit.  Ay, 
start and sneer, at that delicate woman-like tenderness, that subtle 
instinctive sympathy, which you have never felt . . . which is as 
new to me, alas, as it would be to you!  For if there be none now-a-
days to teach such as you, who is there who will teach such as me?  
Do not fancy that I have not craved and searched for teachers . . .  
I went to one party long ago, and they commanded me, as the price of 
their sympathy, even of anything but their denunciations, to ignore, 
if not to abjure, all the very points on which I came for light--my 
love for the Beautiful and the Symbolic--my desire to consecrate and 
christianise it--my longing for a human voice to tell me with 
authority that I was forgiven--my desire to find some practical and 
palpable communion between myself and the saints of old.  They told 
me to cast away, as an accursed chaos, a thousand years of Christian 
history, and believe that the devil had been for ages . . . just the 
ages I thought noblest, most faithful, most interpenetrated with the 
thought of God . . . triumphant over that church with which He had 
promised to be till the end of the world.  No . . . by the bye, they 
made two exceptions--of their own choosing.  One in favour of the 
Albigenses . . . who seemed to me, from the original documents, to 
have been very profligate Infidels, of whom the world was well rid . 
. . and the Piedmontese . . . poor, simple, ill-used folk enough, 
but who certainly cannot be said to have exercised much influence on 
the destinies of mankind . . . and all the rest was chaos and the 
pit.  There never had been, never would be, a kingdom of God on 
earth, but only a few scattered individuals, each selfishly intent 
on the salvation of his own soul--without organisation, without 
unity, without common purpose, without even a masonic sign whereby 
to know one another when they chanced to meet . . . except 
Shibboleths which the hypocrite could ape, and virtues which the 
heathen have performed . . .  Would YOU have had me accept such a 
"Philosophy of History"?

'And then I went to another school . . . or rather wandered up and 
down between those whom I have just described, and those who boast 
on their side prescriptive right, and apostolic succession . . . and 
I found that their ancient charter went back--just three hundred 
years . . . and there derived its transmitted virtue, it seemed to 
me, by something very like obtaining goods on false pretences, from 
the very church which it now anathematises.  Disheartened, but not 
hopeless, I asked how it was that the priesthood, whose hands 
bestowed the grace of ordination, could not withdraw it . . . 
whether, at least, the schismatic did not forfeit it by the very act 
of schism . . . and instead of any real answer to that fearful 
spiritual dilemma, they set me down to folios of Nag's head 
controversies . . . and myths of an independent British Church, now 
represented, strangely enough, by those Saxons who, after its wicked 
refusal to communicate with them, exterminated it with fire and 
sword, and derived its own order from St. Gregory . . . and 
decisions of mythical old councils (held by bishops of a different 
faith and practice from their own), from which I was to pick the one 
point which made for them, and omit the nine which made against 
them, while I was to believe, by a stretch of imagination . . . or 
common honesty . . ., which I leave you to conceive, that the Church 
of Syria in the fourth century was, in doctrine, practice, and 
constitution, like that of England in the nineteenth? . . .  And 
what was I to gain by all this? . . .  For the sake of what was I to 
strain logic and conscience?  To believe myself a member of the same 
body with all the Christian nations of the earth?--to be able to 
hail the Frenchman, the Italian, the Spaniard, as a brother--to have 
hopes even of the German and the Swede . . . if not in this life, 
still in the life to come?  No . . . to be able still to sit apart 
from all Christendom in the exclusive pride of insular Pharisaism; 
to claim for the modern littleness of England the infallibility 
which I denied to the primaeval mother of Christendom, not to 
enlarge my communion to the Catholic, but excommunicate, to all 
practical purposes, over and above the Catholics, all other 
Protestants except my own sect . . . or rather, in practice, except 
my own party in my own sect. . . .  And this was believing in one 
Catholic and Apostolic church! . . . this was to be my share of the 
communion of saints!  And these were the theories which were to 
satisfy a soul which longed for a kingdom of God on earth, which 
felt that unless the highest of His promises are a mythic dream, 
there must be some system on the earth commissioned to fulfil those 
promises; some authority divinely appointed to regenerate, and rule, 
and guide the lives of men, and the destinies of nations; who must 
go mad, unless he finds that history is not a dreary aimless 
procession of lost spirits descending into the pit, or that the 
salvation of millions does not depend on an obscure and controverted 
hair's breadth of ecclesiastic law.

'I have tried them both, Lancelot, and found them wanting; and now 
but one road remains. . . .  Home, to the fountain-head; to the 
mother of all the churches whose fancied cruelty to her children can 
no more destroy her motherhood, than their confest rebellion can. . 
. .  Shall I not hear her voice, when she, and she alone cries to 
me, "I have authority and commission from the King of kings to 
regenerate the world.  History is a chaos, only because mankind has 
been ever rebelling against me, its lawful ruler . . . and yet not a 
chaos . . . for I still stand, and grow rooted on the rock of ages, 
and under my boughs are fowl of every wing.  I alone have been and 
am consistent, progressive, expansive, welcoming every race, and 
intellect and character into its proper place in my great organism . 
. . meeting alike the wants of the king and the beggar, the artist 
and the devotee . . . there is free room for all within my heaven-
wide bosom.  Infallibility is not the exclusive heritage of one 
proud and ignorant Island, but of a system which knows no 
distinction of language, race, or clime.  The communion of saints is 
not a bygone tale, for my saints, redeemed from every age and every 
nation under heaven, still live, and love, and help and intercede.  
The union of heaven and earth is not a barbaric myth; for I have 
still my miracles, my Host, my exorcism, my absolution.  The present 
rule of God is still, as ever, a living reality; for I rule in His 
name, and fulfil all His will."

'How can I turn away from such a voice?  What if some of her 
doctrines may startle my untutored and ignorant understanding? . . .  
If she is the appointed teacher, she will know best what truths to 
teach. . . .  The disciple is not above his master . . . or wise in 
requiring him to demonstrate the abstrusest problems . . . spiritual 
problems, too . . . before he allows his right to teach the 
elements.  Humbly I must enter the temple porch; gradually and 
trustfully proceed with my initiation. . . .  When that is past, and 
not before . . . shall I be a fit judge of the mysteries of the 
inner shrine.

'There . . .  I have written a long letter . . . with my own heart's 
blood. . . .  Think over it well, before you despise it. . . .  And 
if you can refute it for me, and sweep the whole away like a wild 
dream when one awakes, none will be more thankful--paradoxical as it 
may seem--than your unhappy Cousin.'


And Lancelot did consider that letter, and answered it as follows:--


'It is a relief to me at least, dear Luke, that you are going to 
Rome in search of a great idea, and not merely from selfish 
superstitious terror (as I should call it) about the "salvation of 
your soul."  And it is a new and very important thought to me, that 
Rome's scheme of this world, rather than of the next, forms her 
chief allurement.  But as for that flesh and spirit question, or the 
apostolic succession one either; all you seem to me, as a looker on, 
to have logically proved, is that Protestants, orthodox and 
unorthodox, must be a little more scientific and careful in their 
use of the terms.  But as for adopting your use of them, and the 
consequences thereof--you must pardon me, and I suspect, them too.  
Not that.  Anything but that.  Whatever is right, that is wrong.  
Better to be inconsistent in truth, than consistent in a mistake.  
And your Romish idea of man is a mistake--utterly wrong and absurd--
except in the one requirement of righteousness and godliness, which 
Protestants and heathen philosophers have required and do require 
just as much as you.  My dear Luke, your ideal men and women won't 
do--for they are not men and women at all, but what you call 
"saints" . . .  Your Calendar, your historic list of the Earth's 
worthies, won't do--not they, but others, are the people who have 
brought Humanity thus far.  I don't deny that there are great souls 
among them; Beckets, and Hugh Grostetes, and Elizabeths of Hungary.  
But you are the last people to praise them, for you don't understand 
them.  Thierry honours Thomas a Becket more than all Canonisations 
and worshippers do, because he does see where the man's true 
greatness lay, and you don't.  Why, you may hunt all Surius for such 
a biography of a mediaeval worthy as Carlyle has given of your Abbot 
Samson.  I have read, or tried to read your Surius, and Alban 
Butler, and so forth--and they seemed to me bats and asses--One 
really pitied the poor saints and martyrs for having such blind 
biographers--such dunghill cocks, who overlooked the pearl of real 
human love and nobleness in them, in their greediness to snatch up 
and parade the rotten chaff of superstition, and self-torture, and 
spiritual dyspepsia, which had overlaid it.  My dear fellow, that 
Calendar ruins your cause--you are "sacres aristocrates"--kings and 
queens, bishops and virgins by the hundred at one end; a beggar or 
two at the other; and but one real human lay St. Homobonus to fill 
up the great gulf between--A pretty list to allure the English 
middle classes, or the Lancashire working-men!--Almost as charmingly 
suited to England as the present free, industrious, enlightened, and 
moral state of that Eternal City, which has been blest with the 
visible presence and peculiar rule, temporal as well as spiritual, 
too, of your Dalai Lama.  His pills do not seem to have had much 
practical effect there. . . .  My good Luke, till he can show us a 
little better specimen of the kingdom of Heaven organised and 
realised on earth, in the country which does belong to him, soil and 
people, body and soul, we must decline his assistance in realising 
that kingdom in countries which don't belong to him.  If the state 
of Rome don't show his idea of man and society to be a rotten lie, 
what proof would you have? . . . perhaps the charming results of a 
century of Jesuitocracy, as they were represented on a French stage 
in the year 1793?  I can't answer his arguments, you see, or yours 
either; I am an Englishman, and not a controversialist.  The only 
answer I give is John Bull's old dumb instinctive "Everlasting No!" 
which he will stand by, if need be, with sharp shot and cold steel--
"Not that; anything but that.  No kingdom of Heaven at all for us, 
if the kingdom of Heaven is like that.  No heroes at all for us, if 
their heroism is to consist in their being not-men.  Better no 
society at all, but only a competitive wild-beast's den, than a sham 
society.  Better no faith, no hope, no love, no God, than shams 
thereof."  I take my stand on fact and nature; you may call them 
idols and phantoms; I say they need be so no longer to any man, 
since Bacon has taught us to discover the Eternal Laws under the 
outward phenomena.  Here on blank materialism will I stand, and 
testify against all Religions and Gods whatsoever, if they must 
needs be like that Roman religion, that Roman God.  I don't believe 
they need--not I.  But if they need, they must go.  We cannot have a 
"Deus quidam deceptor."  If there be a God, these trees and stones, 
these beasts and birds must be His will, whatever else is not.  My 
body, and brain, and faculties, and appetites must be His will, 
whatever else is not.  Whatsoever I can do with them in accordance 
with the constitution of them and nature must be His will, whatever 
else is not.  Those laws of Nature must reveal Him, and be revealed 
by Him, whatever else is not.  Man's scientific conquest of nature 
must be one phase of His Kingdom on Earth, whatever else is not.  I 
don't deny that there are spiritual laws which man is meant to obey-
-How can I, who feel in my own daily and inexplicable unhappiness 
the fruits of having broken them?--But I do say, that those 
spiritual laws must be in perfect harmony with every fresh physical 
law which we discover:  that they cannot be intended to compete 
self-destructively with each other; that the spiritual cannot be 
intended to be perfected by ignoring or crushing the physical, 
unless God is a deceiver, and His universe a self-contradiction.  
And by this test alone will I try all theories, and dogmas, and 
spiritualities whatsoever--Are they in accordance with the laws of 
nature?  And therefore when your party compare sneeringly Romish 
Sanctity, and English Civilisation, I say, "Take you the Sanctity, 
and give me the Civilisation!"  The one may be a dream, for it is 
unnatural; the other cannot be, for it is natural; and not an evil 
in it at which you sneer but is discovered, day by day, to be owing 
to some infringement of the laws of nature.  When we "draw bills on 
nature," as Carlyle says, "she honours them,"--our ships do sail; 
our mills do work; our doctors do cure; our soldiers do fight.  And 
she does not honour yours; for your Jesuits have, by their own 
confession, to lie, to swindle, to get even man to accept theirs for 
them.  So give me the political economist, the sanitary reformer, 
the engineer; and take your saints and virgins, relics and miracles.  
The spinning-jenny and the railroad, Cunard's liners and the 
electric telegraph, are to me, if not to you, signs that we are, on 
some points at least, in harmony with the universe; that there is a 
mighty spirit working among us, who cannot be your anarchic and 
destroying Devil, and therefore may be the Ordering and Creating 
God.'


Which of them do you think, reader, had most right on his side?



CHAPTER VI:  VOGUE LA GALERE



Lancelot was now so far improved in health as to return to his 
little cottage ornee.  He gave himself up freely to his new passion.  
With his comfortable fortune and good connections, the future seemed 
bright and possible enough as to circumstances.  He knew that 
Argemone felt for him; how much it seemed presumptuous even to 
speculate, and as yet no golden-visaged meteor had arisen portentous 
in his amatory zodiac.  No rich man had stepped in to snatch, in 
spite of all his own flocks and herds, at the poor man's own ewe-
lamb, and set him barking at all the world, as many a poor lover has 
to do in defence of his morsel of enjoyment, now turned into a mere 
bone of contention and loadstone for all hungry kites and crows.

All that had to be done was to render himself worthy of her, and in 
doing so, to win her.  And now he began to feel more painfully his 
ignorance of society, of practical life, and the outward present.  
He blamed himself angrily for having, as he now thought, wasted his 
time on ancient histories and foreign travels, while he neglected 
the living wonderful present, which weltered daily round him, every 
face embodying a living soul.  For now he began to feel that those 
faces did hide living souls; formerly he had half believed--he had 
tried, but from laziness, to make himself wholly believe--that they 
were all empty masks, phantasies, without interest or significance 
for him.  But, somehow, in the light of his new love for Argemone, 
the whole human race seemed glorified, brought nearer, endeared to 
him.  So it must be.  He had spoken of a law wider than he thought 
in his fancy, that the angels might learn love for all by love for 
an individual.  Do we not all learn love so?  Is it not the first 
touch of the mother's bosom which awakens in the infant's heart that 
spark of affection which is hereafter to spread itself out towards 
every human being, and to lose none of its devotion for its first 
object, as it expands itself to innumerable new ones?  Is it not by 
love, too--by looking into loving human eyes, by feeling the care of 
loving hands,--that the infant first learns that there exist other 
beings beside itself?--that every body which it sees expresses a 
heart and will like its own?  Be sure of it.  Be sure that to have 
found the key to one heart is to have found the key to all; that 
truly to love is truly to know; and truly to love one, is the first 
step towards truly loving all who bear the same flesh and blood with 
the beloved.  Like children, we must dress up even our unseen future 
in stage properties borrowed from the tried and palpable present, 
ere we can look at it without horror.  We fear and hate the utterly 
unknown, and it only.  Even pain we hate only when we cannot KNOW 
it; when we can only feel it, without explaining it, and making it 
harmonise with our notions of our own deserts and destiny.  And as 
for human beings, there surely it stands true, wherever else it may 
not, that all knowledge is love, and all love knowledge; that even 
with the meanest, we cannot gain a glimpse into their inward trials 
and struggles, without an increase of sympathy and affection.

Whether he reasoned thus or not, Lancelot found that his new 
interest in the working classes was strangely quickened by his 
passion.  It seemed the shortest and clearest way toward a practical 
knowledge of the present.  'Here,' he said to himself, 'in the 
investigation of existing relations between poor and rich, I shall 
gain more real acquaintance with English society, than by dawdling 
centuries in exclusive drawing-rooms.'

The inquiry had not yet presented itself to him as a duty; perhaps 
so much the better, that it might be the more thoroughly a free-will 
offering of love.  At least it opened a new field of amusement and 
knowledge; it promised him new studies of human life; and as he lay 
on his sofa and let his thoughts flow, Tregarva's dark revelations 
began to mix themselves with dreams about the regeneration of the 
Whitford poor, and those again with dreams about the heiress of 
Whitford; and many a luscious scene and noble plan rose brightly 
detailed in his exuberant imagination.  For Lancelot, like all born 
artists, could only think in a concrete form.  He never worked out a 
subject without embodying it in some set oration, dialogue, or 
dramatic castle in the air.

But the more he dreamt, the more he felt that a material beauty of 
flesh and blood required a material house, baths, and boudoirs, 
conservatories, and carriages; a safe material purse, and fixed 
material society; law and order, and the established frame-work of 
society, gained an importance in his eyes which they had never had 
before.

'Well,' he said to himself, 'I am turning quite practical and auld-
warld.  Those old Greeks were not so far wrong when they said that 
what made men citizens, patriots, heroes, was the love of wedded 
wife and child.'

'Wedded wife and child!'--He shrank in from the daring of the 
delicious thought, as if he had intruded without invitation into a 
hidden sanctuary, and looked round for a book to drive away the 
dazzling picture.  But even there his thoughts were haunted by 
Argemone's face, and


   'When his regard
Was raised by intense pensiveness, two eyes,
Two starry eyes, hung in the gloom of thought,
And seemed, with their serene and azure smiles,
To beckon him.'


He took up, with a new interest 'Chartism,' which alone of all Mr. 
Carlyle's works he had hitherto disliked, because his own luxurious 
day-dreams had always flowed in such sad discord with the terrible 
warnings of the modern seer, and his dark vistas of starvation, 
crime, neglect, and discontent.

'Well,' he said to himself, as he closed the book, 'I suppose it is 
good for us easy-going ones now and then to face the possibility of 
a change.  Gold has grown on my back as feathers do on geese, 
without my own will or deed; but considering that gold, like 
feathers, is equally useful to those who have and those who have 
not, why, it is worth while for the goose to remember that he may 
possibly one day be plucked.  And what remains?  "Io," as Medea 
says. . . .  But Argemone?' . . .  And Lancelot felt, for the 
moment, as conservative as the tutelary genius of all special 
constables.

As the last thought passed through his brain, Bracebridge's little 
mustang slouched past the window, ridden (without a saddle) by a 
horseman whom there was no mistaking for no one but the immaculate 
colonel, the chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, dared to go about 
the country 'such a figure.'  A minute afterwards he walked in, in a 
student's felt hat, a ragged heather-coloured coatee, and old white 
'regulation drills,' shrunk half-way up his legs, a pair of 
embroidered Indian mocassins, and an enormous meerschaum at his 
button-hole.

'Where have you been this last week?'

'Over head and ears in Young England, till I fled to you for a 
week's common sense.  A glass of cider, for mercy's sake, "to take 
the taste of it out of my mouth," as Bill Sykes has it.'

'Where have you been staying?'

'With young Lord Vieuxbois, among high art and painted glass, spade 
farms, and model smell-traps, rubricalities and sanitary reforms, 
and all other inventions, possible and impossible, for "stretching 
the old formula to meet the new fact," as your favourite prophet 
says.'

'Till the old formula cracks under the tension.'

'And cracks its devotees, too, I think.  Here comes the cider!'

'But, my dear fellow, you must not laugh at all this.  Young England 
or Peelite, this is all right and noble.  What a yet unspoken poetry 
there is in that very sanitary reform!  It is the great fact of the 
age.  We shall have men arise and write epics on it, when they have 
learnt that "to the pure all things are pure," and that science and 
usefulness contain a divine element, even in their lowest 
appliances.'

'Write one yourself, and call it the Chadwickiad.'

'Why not?


'Smells and the Man I sing.


There's a beginning at once.  Why don't YOU rather, with your 
practical power, turn sanitary reformer--the only true soldier--and 
conquer those real devils and "natural enemies" of Englishmen, 
carbonic acid and sulphuretted hydrogen?'

'Ce n'est pas mon metier, my dear fellow.  I am miserably behind the 
age.  People are getting so cursedly in earnest now-a-days, that I 
shall have to bolt to the backwoods to amuse myself in peace; or 
else sham dumb as the monkeys do, lest folks should find out that 
I'm rational, and set me to work.'

Lancelot laughed and sighed.

'But how on earth do you contrive to get on so well with men with 
whom you have not an idea in common!'

'Savoir faire, O infant Hercules! own daddy to savoir vivre.  I am a 
good listener; and, therefore, the most perfect, because the most 
silent, of flatterers.  When they talk Puginesquery, I stick my head 
on one side attentively, and "think the more," like the lady's 
parrot.  I have been all the morning looking over a set of drawings 
for my lord's new chapel; and every soul in the party fancies me a 
great antiquary, just because I have been retailing to B as my own 
everything that A told me the moment before.'

'I envy you your tact, at all events.'

'Why the deuce should you?  You may rise in time to something better 
than tact; to what the good book, I suppose, means by "wisdom."  
Young geniuses like you, who have been green enough to sell your 
souls to "truth," must not meddle with tact, unless you wish to fare 
as the donkey did when he tried to play lap-dog.'

'At all events, I would sooner remain cub till they run me down and 
eat me, than give up speaking my mind,' said Lancelot.  'Fool I may 
be, but the devil himself shan't make me knave.'

'Quite proper.  On two thousand a year a man can afford to be 
honest.  Kick out lustily right and left!--After all, the world is 
like a spaniel; the more you beat it, the better it likes you--if 
you have money.  Only don't kick too hard; for, after all, it has a 
hundred million pair of shins to your one.'

'Don't fear that I shall run a-muck against society just now.  I am 
too thoroughly out of my own good books.  I have been for years 
laughing at Young England, and yet its little finger is thicker than 
my whole body, for it is trying to do something; and I, alas, am 
doing utterly nothing.  I should be really glad to take a lesson of 
these men and their plans for social improvement.'

'You will have a fine opportunity this evening.  Don't you dine at 
Minchampstead?'

'Yes.  Do you?'

'Mr. Jingle dines everywhere, except at home.  Will you take me over 
in your trap?'

'Done.  But whom shall we meet there?'

'The Lavingtons, and Vieuxbois, and Vaurien, and a parson or two, I 
suppose.  But between Saint Venus and Vieuxbois you may soon learn 
enough to make you a sadder man, if not a wiser one.'

'Why not a wiser one?  Sadder than now I cannot be; or less wise, 
God knows.'

The colonel looked at Lancelot with one of those kindly thoughtful 
smiles, which came over him whenever his better child's heart could 
bubble up through the thick crust of worldliness.

'My young friend, you have been a little too much on the stilts 
heretofore.  Take care that, now you are off them, you don't lie 
down and sleep, instead of walking honestly on your legs.  Have 
faith in yourself; pick these men's brains, and all men's.  You can 
do it.  Say to yourself boldly, as the false prophet in India said 
to the missionary, "I have fire enough in my stomach to burn up" a 
dozen stucco and filigree reformers and "assimilate their ashes into 
the bargain, like one of Liebig's cabbages."'

'How can I have faith in myself, when I am playing traitor to myself 
every hour in the day?  And yet faith in something I must have:  in 
woman, perhaps.'

'Never!' said the colonel, energetically.  'In anything but woman?  
She must be led, not leader.  If you love a woman, make her have 
faith in you.  If you lean on her, you will ruin yourself, and her 
as well.'

Lancelot shook his head.  There was a pause.

'After all, colonel, I think there must be a meaning in those old 
words our mothers used to teach us about "having faith in God."'

The colonel shrugged his shoulders.

'Quien sabe? said the Spanish girl, when they asked her who was her 
child's father.  But here comes my kit on a clod's back, and it is 
time to dress for dinner.'

So to the dinner-party they went.

Lord Minchampstead was one of the few noblemen Lancelot had ever met 
who had aroused in him a thorough feeling of respect.  He was always 
and in all things a strong man.  Naturally keen, ready, business-
like, daring, he had carved out his own way through life, and opened 
his oyster--the world, neither with sword nor pen, but with steam 
and cotton.  His father was Mr. Obadiah Newbroom, of the well-known 
manufacturing firm of Newbroom, Stag, and Playforall.  A stanch 
Dissenter himself, he saw with a slight pang his son Thomas turn 
Churchman, as soon as the young man had worked his way up to be the 
real head of the firm.  But this was the only sorrow which Thomas 
Newbroom, now Lord Minchampstead, had ever given his father.  'I 
stood behind a loom myself, my boy, when I began life; and you must 
do with great means what I did with little ones.  I have made a 
gentleman of you, you must make a nobleman of yourself.'  Those were 
almost the last words of the stern, thrifty, old Puritan craftsman, 
and his son never forgot them.  From a mill-owner he grew to coal-
owner, shipowner, banker, railway director, money-lender to kings 
and princes; and last of all, as the summit of his own and his 
compeer's ambition, to land-owner.  He had half a dozen estates in 
as many different counties.  He had added house to house, and field 
to field; and at last bought Minchampstead Park and ten thousand 
acres, for two-thirds its real value, from that enthusiastic 
sportsman Lord Peu de Cervelle, whose family had come in with the 
Conqueror, and gone out with George IV.  So, at least, they always 
said; but it was remarkable that their name could never be traced 
farther back than the dissolution of the monasteries:  and 
Calumnious Dryasdusts would sometimes insolently father their title 
on James I. and one of his batches of bought peerages.  But let the 
dead bury their dead.  There was now a new lord in Minchampstead; 
and every country Caliban was finding, to his disgust, that he had 
'got a new master,' and must perforce 'be a new man.'  Oh! how the 
squires swore and the farmers chuckled, when the 'Parvenu' sold the 
Minchampstead hounds, and celebrated his 1st of September by 
exterminating every hare and pheasant on the estate!  How the 
farmers swore and the labourers chuckled when he took all the 
cottages into his own hands and rebuilt them, set up a first-rate 
industrial school, gave every man a pig and a garden, and broke up 
all the commons 'to thin the labour-market.'  Oh, how the labourers 
swore and the farmers chuckled, when he put up steam-engines on all 
his farms, refused to give away a farthing in alms, and enforced the 
new Poor-law to the very letter.  How the country tradesmen swore, 
when he called them 'a pack of dilatory jobbers,' and announced his 
intention of employing only London workmen for his improvements.  
Oh! how they all swore together (behind his back, of course, for his 
dinners were worth eating), and the very ladies said naughty words, 
when the stern political economist proclaimed at his own table that 
'he had bought Minchampstead for merely commercial purposes, as a 
profitable investment of capital, and he would see that, whatever 
else it did, it should PAY.'

But the new lord heard of all the hard words with a quiet self-
possessed smile.  He had formed his narrow theory of the universe, 
and he was methodically and conscientiously carrying it out.  True, 
too often, like poor Keats's merchant brothers,--


'Half-ignorant, he turned an easy wheel,
Which set sharp racks at work to pinch and peel.'


But of the harm which he did he was unconscious; in the good which 
he did he was consistent and indefatigable; infinitely superior, 
with all his defects, to the ignorant, extravagant do-nothing Squire 
Lavingtons around him.  At heart, however, Mammoth-blinded, he was 
kindly and upright.  A man of a stately presence; a broad, honest 
north-country face; a high square forehead, bland and unwrinkled.  I 
sketch him here once for all, because I have no part for him after 
this scene in my corps de ballet.

Lord Minchampstead had many reasons for patronising Lancelot.  In 
the first place, he had a true eye for a strong man wherever he met 
him; in the next place, Lancelot's uncle the banker, was a stanch 
Whig ally of his in the House.  'In the rotten-borough times, Mr. 
Smith,' he once said to Lancelot, 'we could have made a senator of 
you at once; but, for the sake of finality, we were forced to 
relinquish that organ of influence.  The Tories had abused it, 
really, a little too far; and now we can only make a commissioner of 
you--which, after all, is a more useful post, and a more lucrative 
one.'  But Lancelot had not as yet 'Galliolised,' as the Irish 
schoolmaster used to call it, and cared very little to play a 
political ninth fiddle.

The first thing which caught his eyes as he entered the drawing-room 
before dinner was Argemone listening in absorbed reverence to her 
favourite vicar,--a stern, prim, close-shaven, dyspeptic man, with a 
meek, cold smile, which might have become a cruel one.  He watched 
and watched in vain, hoping to catch her eye; but no--there she 
stood, and talked and listened--

'Ah,' said Bracebridge, smiling, 'it is in vain, Smith!  When did 
you know a woman leave the Church for one of us poor laymen?'

'Good heavens!' said Lancelot, impatiently, 'why will they make such 
fools of themselves with clergymen?'

'They are quite right.  They always like the strong men--the 
fighters and the workers.  In Voltaire's time they all ran after the 
philosophers.  In the middle ages, books tell us, they worshipped 
the knights errant.  They are always on the winning side, the 
cunning little beauties.  In the war-time, when the soldiers had to 
play the world's game, the ladies all caught the red-coat fever; 
now, in these talking and thinking days (and be hanged to them for 
bores), they have the black-coat fever for the same reason.  The 
parsons are the workers now-a-days--or rather, all the world expects 
them to be so.  They have the game in their own hands, if they did 
but know how to play it.'

Lancelot stood still, sulking over many thoughts.  The colonel 
lounged across the room towards Lord Vieuxbois, a quiet, truly high-
bred young man, with a sweet open countenance, and an ample 
forehead, whose size would have vouched for great talents, had not 
the promise been contradicted by the weakness of the over-delicate 
mouth and chin.

'Who is that with whom you came into the room, Bracebridge?' asked 
Lord Vieuxbois.  'I am sure I know his face.'

'Lancelot Smith, the man who has taken the shooting-box at Lower 
Whitford.'

'Oh, I remember him well enough at Cambridge!  He was one of a set 
who tried to look like blackguards, and really succeeded tolerably.  
They used to eschew gloves, and drink nothing but beer, and smoke 
disgusting short pipes; and when we established the Coverley Club in 
Trinity, they set up an opposition, and called themselves the 
Navvies.  And they used to make piratical expeditions down to Lynn 
in eight oars, to attack bargemen, and fen girls, and shoot ducks, 
and sleep under turf-stacks, and come home when they had drank all 
the public-house taps dry.  I remember the man perfectly.'

'Navvy or none,' said the colonel, 'he has just the longest head and 
the noblest heart of any man I ever met.  If he does not distinguish 
himself before he dies, I know nothing of human nature.'

'Ah yes, I believe he is clever enough!--took a good degree, a 
better one than I did--but horribly eclectic; full of mesmerism, and 
German metaphysics, and all that sort of thing.  I heard of him one 
night last spring, on which he had been seen, if you will believe 
it, going successively into a Swedenborgian chapel, the Garrick's 
Head, and one of Elliotson's magnetic soirees.  What can you expect 
after that?'

'A great deal,' said Bracebridge drily.  'With such a head as he 
carries on his shoulders the man might be another Mirabeau, if he 
held the right cards in the right rubber.  And he really ought to 
suit you, for he raves about the middle ages, and chivalry, and has 
edited a book full of old ballads.'

'Oh, all the eclectics do that sort of thing; and small thanks to 
them.  However, I will speak to him after dinner, and see what there 
is in him.'

And Lord Vieuxbois turned away, and, alas for Lancelot! sat next to 
Argemone at dinner.  Lancelot, who was cross with everybody for what 
was nobody's fault, revenged himself all dinner-time by never 
speaking a word to his next neighbour, Miss Newbroom, who was 
longing with all her heart to talk sentiment to him about the 
Exhibition; and when Argemone, in the midst of a brilliant word-
skirmish with Lord Vieuxbois, stole a glance at him, he chose to 
fancy that they were both talking of him, and looked more cross than 
ever.

After the ladies retired, Lancelot, in his sulky way, made up his 
mind that the conversation was going to be ineffably stupid; and set 
to to dream, sip claret, and count the minutes till he found himself 
in the drawing-room with Argemone.  But he soon discovered, as I 
suppose we all have, that 'it never rains but it pours,' and that 
one cannot fall in with a new fact or a new acquaintance but next 
day twenty fresh things shall spring up as if by magic, throwing 
unexpected light on one's new phenomenon.  Lancelot's head was full 
of the condition-of-the-poor question, and lo! everybody seemed 
destined to talk about it.

'Well, Lord Vieuxbois,' said the host, casually, 'my girls are 
raving about your new school.  They say it is a perfect antiquarian 
gem.'

'Yes, tolerable, I believe.  But Wales has disappointed me a little.  
That vile modernist naturalism is creeping back even into our 
painted glass.  I could have wished that the artist's designs for 
the windows had been a little more Catholic.'

'How then?' asked the host, with a puzzled face.

'Oh, he means,' said Bracebridge, 'that the figures' wrists and 
ankles were not sufficiently dislocated, and the patron saint did 
not look quite like a starved rabbit with its neck wrung.  Some of 
the faces, I am sorry to say, were positively like good-looking men 
and women.'

'Oh, I understand,' said Lord Minchampstead; 'Bracebridge's tongue 
is privileged, you know, Lord Vieuxbois, so you must not be angry.'

'I don't see my way into all this,' said Squire Lavington (which was 
very likely to be true, considering that he never looked for his 
way).  'I don't see how all these painted windows, and crosses, and 
chanting, and the deuce and the Pope only know what else, are to 
make boys any better.'

'We have it on the highest authority,' said Vieuxbois, 'that 
pictures and music are the books of the unlearned.  I do not think 
that we have any right in the nineteenth century to contest an 
opinion which the fathers of the Church gave in the fourth.'

'At all events,' said Lancelot, 'it is by pictures and music, by art 
and song, and symbolic representations, that all nations have been 
educated in their adolescence! and as the youth of the individual is 
exactly analogous to the youth of the collective race, we should 
employ the same means of instruction with our children which 
succeeded in the early ages with the whole world.'

Lancelot might as well have held his tongue--nobody understood him 
but Vieuxbois, and he had been taught to scent German neology in 
everything, as some folks are taught to scent Jesuitry, especially 
when it involved an inductive law, and not a mere red-tape 
precedent, and, therefore, could not see that Lancelot was arguing 
for him.  'All very fine, Smith,' said the squire; 'it's a pity you 
won't leave off puzzling your head with books, and stick to fox-
hunting.  All you young gentlemen will do is to turn the heads of 
the poor with your cursed education.'  The national oath followed, 
of course.  'Pictures and chanting!  Why, when I was a boy, a good 
honest labouring man wanted to see nothing better than a halfpenny 
ballad, with a wood-cut at the top, and they worked very well then, 
and wanted for nothing.'

'Oh, we shall give them the halfpenny ballads in time!' said 
Vieuxbois, smiling.

'You will do a very good deed, then,' said mine host.  'But I am 
sorry to say that, as far as I can find from my agents, when the 
upper classes write cheap publications, the lower classes will not 
read them.'

'Too true,' said Vieuxbois.

'Is not the cause,' asked Lancelot, 'just that the upper classes do 
write them?'

'The writings of working men, certainly,' said Lord Minchampstead, 
'have an enormous sale among their own class.'

'Just because they express the feelings of that class, of which I am 
beginning to fear that we know very little.  Look again, what a 
noble literature of people's songs and hymns Germany has.  Some of 
Lord Vieuxbois's friends, I know, are busy translating many of 
them.'

'As many of them, that is to say,' said Vieuxbois, 'as are 
compatible with a real Church spirit.'

'Be it so; but who wrote them?  Not the German aristocracy for the 
people, but the German people for themselves.  There is the secret 
of their power.  Why not educate the people up to such a standard 
that they should be able to write their own literature?'

'What,' said Mr. Chalklands, of Chalklands, who sat opposite, 'would 
you have working men turn ballad writers?  There would be an end of 
work, then, I think.'

'I have not heard,' said Lancelot, 'that the young women--LADIES, I 
ought to say, if the word mean anything--who wrote the "Lowell 
Offering," spun less or worse cotton than their neighbours.'

'On the contrary," said Lord Minchampstead, 'we have the most noble 
accounts of heroic industry and self-sacrifice in girls whose 
education, to judge by its fruits, might shame that of most English 
young ladies.'

Mr. Chalklands expressed certain confused notions that, in America, 
factory girls carried green silk parasols, put the legs of pianos 
into trousers, and were too prudish to make a shirt, or to call it a 
shirt after it was made, he did not quite remember which.

'It is a great pity,' said Lord Minchampstead, 'that our factory 
girls are not in the same state of civilisation.  But it is socially 
impossible.  America is in an abnormal state.  In a young country 
the laws of political economy do not make themselves fully felt.  
Here, where we have no uncleared world to drain the labour-market, 
we may pity and alleviate the condition of the working-classes, but 
we can do nothing more.  All the modern schemes for the amelioration 
which ignore the laws of competition, must end either in 
pauperisation'--(with a glance at Lord Vieuxbois),--'or in the 
destruction of property.'

Lancelot said nothing, but thought the more.  It did strike him at 
the moment that the few might, possibly, be made for the many, and 
not the many for the few; and that property was made for man, not 
man for property.  But he contented himself with asking,--

'You think, then, my lord, that in the present state of society, no 
dead-lift can be given to the condition--in plain English, the 
wages--of working men, without the destruction of property?'

Lord Minchampstead smiled, and parried the question.

'There may be other dead-lift ameliorations, my young friend, 
besides a dead-lift of wages.'

So Lancelot thought, also; but Lord Minchampstead would have been a 
little startled could he have seen Lancelot's notion of a dead-lift.  
Lord Minchampstead was thinking of cheap bread and sugar.  Do you 
think that I will tell you of what Lancelot was thinking?

But here Vieuxbois spurred in to break a last lance.  He had been 
very much disgusted with the turn the conversation was taking, for 
he considered nothing more heterodox than the notion that the poor 
were to educate themselves.  In his scheme, of course the clergy and 
the gentry were to educate the poor, who were to take down 
thankfully as much as it was thought proper to give them:  and all 
beyond was 'self-will' and 'private judgment,' the fathers of 
Dissent and Chartism, Trades'-union strikes, and French Revolutions, 
et si qua alia.

'And pray, Mr. Smith, may I ask what limit you would put to 
education?'

'The capacities of each man,' said Lancelot.  'If man living in 
civilised society has one right which he can demand it is this, that 
the State which exists by his labour shall enable him to develop, 
or, at least, not hinder his developing, his whole faculties to 
their very utmost, however lofty that may be.  While a man who might 
be an author remains a spade-drudge, or a journeyman while he has 
capacities for a master; while any man able to rise in life remains 
by social circumstances lower than he is willing to place himself, 
that man has a right to complain of the State's injustice and 
neglect.'

'Really, I do not see,' said Vieuxbois, 'why people should wish to 
rise in life.  They had no such self-willed fancy in the good old 
times.  The whole notion is a product of these modern days--'

He would have said more, but he luckily remembered at whose table he 
was sitting.

'I think, honestly,' said Lancelot, whose blood was up, 'that we 
gentlemen all run into the same fallacy.  We fancy ourselves the 
fixed and necessary element in society, to which all others are to 
accommodate themselves.  "Given the rights of the few rich, to find 
the condition of the many poor."  It seems to me that other 
postulate is quite as fair:  "Given the rights of the many poor, to 
find the condition of the few rich."'

Lord Minchampstead laughed.

'If you hit us so hard, Mr. Smith, I must really denounce you as a 
Communist.  Lord Vieuxbois, shall we join the ladies?'

In the drawing-room, poor Lancelot, after rejecting overtures of 
fraternity from several young ladies, set himself steadily again 
against the wall to sulk and watch Argemone.  But this time she 
spied in a few minutes his melancholy, moonstruck face, swam up to 
him, and said something kind and commonplace.  She spoke in the 
simplicity of her heart, but he chose to think she was patronising 
him--she had not talked commonplaces to the vicar.  He tried to say 
something smart and cutting,--stuttered, broke down, blushed, and 
shrank back again to the wall, fancying that every eye in the room 
was on him; and for one moment a flash of sheer hatred to Argemone 
swept through him.

Was Argemone patronising him?  Of course she was.  True, she was but 
three-and-twenty, and he was of the same age; but, spiritually and 
socially, the girl develops ten years earlier than the boy.  She was 
flattered and worshipped by gray-headed men, and in her simplicity 
she thought it a noble self-sacrifice to stoop to notice the poor 
awkward youth.  And yet if he could have seen the pure moonlight of 
sisterly pity which filled all her heart as she retreated, with 
something of a blush and something of a sigh, and her heart 
fluttered and fell, would he have been content?  Not he.  It was her 
love he wanted, and not her pity; it was to conquer her and possess 
her, and inform himself with her image, and her with his own; though 
as yet he did not know it; though the moment that she turned away he 
cursed himself for selfish vanity, and moroseness and conceit.

'Who am I to demand her all to myself?  Her, the glorious, the 
saintly, the unfallen!  Is not a look, a word, infinitely more than 
I deserve?  And yet I pretend to admire tales of chivalry!  Old 
knightly hearts would have fought and wandered for years to earn a 
tithe of the favours which have been bestowed on me unasked.'--

Peace! poor Lancelot!  Thy egg is by no means addle; but the chick 
is breaking the shell in somewhat a cross-grained fashion.



CHAPTER VII:  THE DRIVE HOME, AND WHAT CAME OF IT



Now it was not extraordinary that Squire Lavington had 'assimilated' 
a couple of bottles of Carbonel's best port; for however abstemious 
the new lord himself might be, he felt for the habits, and for the 
vote of an old-fashioned Whig squire.  Nor was it extraordinary that 
he fell fast asleep the moment he got into the carriage; nor, again, 
that his wife and daughters were not solicitous about waking him; 
nor, on the other hand, that the coachman and footman, who were like 
all the squire's servants, of the good old sort, honest, faithful, 
boozing, extravagant, happy-go-lucky souls, who had 'been about the 
place these forty years,' were somewhat owlish and unsteady on the 
box.  Nor was it extraordinary that there was a heavy storm of 
lightning, for that happened three times a-week in the chalk hills 
the summer through; nor, again, that under these circumstances the 
horses, who were of the squire's own breeding, and never thoroughly 
broke (nothing was done thoroughly at Whitford), went rather wildly 
home, and that the carriage swung alarmingly down the steep hills, 
and the boughs brushed the windows rather too often.  But it was 
extraordinary that Mrs. Lavington had cast off her usual primness, 
and seemed to-night, for the first time in her life, in an exuberant 
good humour, which she evinced by snubbing her usual favourite 
Honoria, and lavishing caresses on Argemone, whose vagaries she 
usually regarded with a sort of puzzled terror, like a hen who has 
hatched a duckling.

'Honoria, take your feet off my dress.  Argemone, my child, I hope 
you spent a pleasant evening?'

Argemone answered by some tossy commonplace.

A pause--and then Mrs. Lavington recommenced,--

'How very pleasing that poor young Lord Vieuxbois is, after all!'

'I thought you disliked him so much.'

'His opinions, my child; but we must hope for the best.  He seems 
moral and well inclined, and really desirous of doing good in his 
way; and so successful in the House, too, I hear.'

'To me,' said Argemone, 'he seems to want life, originality, depth, 
everything that makes a great man.  He knows nothing but what he has 
picked up ready-made from books.  After all, his opinions are the 
one redeeming point in him.'

'Ah, my dear, when it pleases Heaven to open your eyes, you will see 
as I do!'

Poor Mrs. Lavington!  Unconscious spokeswoman for the ninety-nine 
hundredths of the human race!  What are we all doing from morning to 
night, but setting up our own fancies as the measure of all heaven 
and earth, and saying, each in his own dialect, Whig, Radical, or 
Tory, Papist or Protestant, 'When it pleases Heaven to open your 
eyes you will see as I do'?

'It is a great pity,' went on Mrs. Lavington, meditatively, 'to see 
a young man so benighted and thrown away.  With his vast fortune, 
too--such a means of good!  Really we ought to have seen a little 
more of him.  I think Mr. O'Blareaway's conversation might be a 
blessing to him.  I think of asking him over to stay a week at 
Whitford, to meet that sainted young man.'

Now Argemone did not think the Reverend Panurgus O'Blareaway, 
incumbent of Lower Whitford, at all a sainted young man, but, on the 
contrary, a very vulgar, slippery Irishman; and she had, somehow, 
tired of her late favourite, Lord Vieuxbois; so she answered tossily 
enough,--

'Really, mamma, a week of Lord Vieuxbois will be too much.  We shall 
be bored to death with the Cambridge Camden Society, and ballads for 
the people.'

'I think, my dear,' said Mrs. Lavington (who had, half unconsciously 
to herself, more reasons than one for bringing the young lord to 
Whitford), 'I think, my dear, that his conversation, with all its 
faults, will be a very improving change for your father.  I hope 
he's asleep.'

The squire's nose answered for itself.

'Really, what between Mr. Smith, and Colonel Bracebridge, and their 
very ineligible friend, Mr. Mellot, whom I should never have allowed 
to enter my house if I had suspected his religious views, the place 
has become a hotbed of false doctrine and heresy.  I have been quite 
frightened when I have heard their conversation at dinner, lest the 
footmen should turn infidels!'

'Perhaps, mamma,' said Honoria, slyly, 'Lord Vieuxbois might convert 
them to something quite as bad.  How shocking if old Giles, the 
butler, should turn Papist!'

'Honoria, you are very silly.  Lord Vieuxbois, at least can be 
trusted.  He has no liking for low companions.  HE is above joking 
with grooms, and taking country walks with gamekeepers.'

It was lucky that it was dark, for Honoria and Argemone both blushed 
crimson.

'Your poor father's mind has been quite unsettled by all their 
ribaldry.  They have kept him so continually amused, that all my 
efforts to bring him to a sense of his awful state have been more 
unavailing than ever.'

Poor Mrs. Lavington!  She had married, at eighteen, a man far her 
inferior in intellect; and had become--as often happens in such 
cases--a prude and a devotee.  The squire, who really admired and 
respected her, confined his disgust to sly curses at the Methodists 
(under which name he used to include every species of religious 
earnestness, from Quakerism to that of Mr. Newman).  Mrs. Lavington 
used at first to dignify these disagreeables by the name of 
persecution, and now she was trying to convert the old man by 
coldness, severity, and long curtain-lectures, utterly 
unintelligible to their victim, because couched in the peculiar 
conventional phraseology of a certain school.  She forgot, poor 
earnest soul, that the same form of religion which had captivated a 
disappointed girl of twenty, might not be the most attractive one 
for a jovial old man of sixty.

Argemone, who a fortnight before would have chimed in with all her 
mother's lamentations, now felt a little nettled and jealous.  She 
could not bear to hear Lancelot classed with the colonel.

'Indeed,' she said, 'if amusement is bad for my father, he is not 
likely to get much of it during Lord Vieuxbois's stay.  But, of 
course, mamma, you will do as you please.'

'Of course I shall, my dear,' answered the good lady, in a tragedy-
queen tone.  'I shall only take the liberty of adding, that it is 
very painful to me to find you adding to the anxiety which your 
unfortunate opinions give me, by throwing every possible obstacle in 
the way of my plans for your good.'

Argemone burst into proud tears (she often did so after a 
conversation with her mother).  'Plans for my good!'--And an 
unworthy suspicion about her mother crossed her mind, and was 
peremptorily expelled again.  What turn the conversation would have 
taken next, I know not, but at that moment Honoria and her mother 
uttered a fearful shriek, as their side of the carriage jolted half-
way up the bank, and stuck still in that pleasant position.

The squire awoke, and the ladies simultaneously clapped their hands 
to their ears, knowing what was coming.  He thrust his head out of 
the window, and discharged a broadside of at least ten pounds' worth 
of oaths (Bow Street valuation) at the servants, who were examining 
the broken wheel, with a side volley or two at Mrs. Lavington for 
being frightened.  He often treated her and Honoria to that style of 
oratory.  At Argemone he had never sworn but once since she left the 
nursery, and was so frightened at the consequences, that he took 
care never to do it again.

But there they were fast, with a broken wheel, plunging horses, and 
a drunken coachman.  Luckily for them, the colonel and Lancelot were 
following close behind, and came to their assistance.

The colonel, as usual, solved the problem.

'Your dog-cart will carry four, Smith?'

'It will.'

'Then let the ladies get in, and Mr. Lavington drive them home.'

'What?' said the squire, 'with both my hands red-hot with the gout?  
You must drive three of us, colonel, and one of us must walk.'

'I will walk,' said Argemone, in her determined way.

Mrs. Lavington began something about propriety, but was stopped with 
another pound's worth of oaths by the squire, who, however, had 
tolerably recovered his good humour, and hurried Mrs. Lavington and 
Honoria, laughingly, into the dog-cart, saying--

'Argemone's safe enough with Smith; the servants will lead the 
horses behind them.  It's only three miles home, and I should like 
to see any one speak to her twice while Smith's fists are in the 
way.'

Lancelot thought so too.

'You can trust yourself to me, Miss Lavington?'

'By all means.  I shall enjoy the walk after--:' and she stopped.  
In a moment the dog-cart had rattled off, with a parting curse from 
the squire to the servants, who were unharnessing the horses.

Argemone took Lancelot's arm; the soft touch thrilled through and 
through him; and Argemone felt, she knew not why, a new sensation 
run through her frame.  She shuddered--not with pain.

'You are cold, Miss Lavington?'

'Oh, not in the least.'  Cold! when every vein was boiling so 
strangely!  A soft luscious melancholy crept over her.  She had 
always had a terror of darkness; but now she felt quite safe in his 
strength.  The thought of her own unprotected girlhood drew her 
heart closer to him.  She remembered with pleasure the stories of 
his personal prowess, which had once made her think him coarse and 
brutal.  For the first time in her life she knew the delight of 
dependence--the holy charm of weakness.  And as they paced on 
silently together, through the black awful night, while the servants 
lingered, far out of sight, about the horses, she found out how 
utterly she trusted to him.

'Listen!' she said.  A nightingale was close to them, pouring out 
his whole soul in song.

'Is it not very late in the year for a nightingale?'

'He is waiting for his mate.  She is rearing a late brood, I 
suppose.'

'What do you think it is which can stir him up to such an ecstasy of 
joy, and transfigure his whole heart into melody?'

'What but love, the fulness of all joy, the evoker of all song?'

'All song?--The angels sing in heaven.'

'So they say:  but the angels must love if they sing.'

'They love God!'

'And no one else?'

'Oh yes:  but that is universal, spiritual love; not earthly love--a 
narrow passion for an individual.'

'How do we know that they do not learn to love all by first loving 
one?'

'Oh, the angelic life is single!'

'Who told you so, Miss Lavington?'

She quoted the stock text, of course:--'"In heaven they neither 
marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels."'

'"As the tree falls, so it lies."  And God forbid that those who 
have been true lovers on earth should contract new marriages in the 
next world.  Love is eternal.  Death may part lovers, but not love.  
And how do we know that these angels, as they call them, if they be 
really persons, may not be united in pairs by some marriage bond, 
infinitely more perfect than any we can dream of on earth?'

'That is a very wild view, Mr. Smith, and not sanctioned by the 
Church,' said Argemone, severely.  (Curious and significant it is, 
how severe ladies are apt to be whenever they talk of the Church.)

'In plain historic fact, the early fathers and the middle-age monks 
did not sanction it:  and are not they the very last persons to whom 
one would go to be taught about marriage?  Strange! that people 
should take their notions of love from the very men who prided 
themselves on being bound, by their own vows, to know nothing about 
it!'

'They were very holy men.'

'But still men, as I take it.  And do you not see that Love is, like 
all spiritual things, only to be understood by experience--by 
loving?'

'But is love spiritual?'

'Pardon me, but what a question for one who believes that "God is 
love!"'

'But the divines tell us that the love of human beings is earthly.'

'How did they know?  They had never tried.  Oh, Miss Lavington! 
cannot you see that in those barbarous and profligate ages of the 
later empire, it was impossible for men to discern the spiritual 
beauty of marriage, degraded as it had been by heathen brutality?  
Do you not see that there must have been a continual tendency in the 
minds of a celibate clergy to look with contempt, almost with spite, 
on pleasures which were forbidden to them?'

Another pause.

'It must be very delicious,' said Argemone, thoughtfully, 'for any 
one who believes it, to think that marriage can last through 
eternity.  But, then, what becomes of entire love to God?  How can 
we part our hearts between him and his creatures?'

'It is a sin, then, to love your sister? or your friend?  What a 
low, material view of love, to fancy that you can cut it up into so 
many pieces, like a cake, and give to one person one tit-bit, and 
another to another, as the Popish books would have you believe!  
Love is like flame--light as many fresh flames at it as you will, it 
grows, instead of diminishing, by the dispersion.'

'It is a beautiful imagination.'

'But, oh, how miserable and tantalising a thought, Miss Lavington, 
to those who know that a priceless spirit is near them, which might 
be one with theirs through all eternity, like twin stars in one 
common atmosphere, for ever giving and receiving wisdom and might, 
beauty and bliss, and yet are barred from their bliss by some 
invisible adamantine wall, against which they must beat themselves 
to death, like butterflies against the window-pane, gazing, and 
longing, and unable to guess why they are forbidden to enjoy!'

Why did Argemone withdraw her arm from his?  He knew, and he felt 
that she was entrusted to him.  He turned away from the subject.

'I wonder whether they are safe home by this time?'

'I hope my father will not catch cold.  How sad, Mr. Smith, that he 
will swear so.  I do not like to say it; and yet you must have heard 
him too often yourself.'

'It is hardly a sin with him now, I think.  He has become so 
habituated to it, that he attaches no meaning or notion whatsoever 
to his own oaths.  I have heard him do it with a smiling face to the 
very beggar to whom he was giving half-a-crown.  We must not judge a 
man of his school by the standard of our own day.'

'Let us hope so,' said Argemone, sadly.

There was another pause.  At a turn of the hill road the black 
masses of beech-wood opened, and showed the Priory lights twinkling 
right below.  Strange that Argemone felt sorry to find herself so 
near home.

'We shall go to town next week,' said she; "and then--You are going 
to Norway this summer, are you not?'

'No.  I have learnt that my duty lies nearer home.'

'What are you going to do?'

'I wish this summer, for the first time in my life, to try and do 
some good--to examine a little into the real condition of English 
working men.'

'I am afraid, Mr. Smith, that I did not teach you that duty.'

'Oh, you have taught me priceless things!  You have taught me beauty 
is the sacrament of heaven, and love its gate; that that which is 
the most luscious is also the most pure.'

'But I never spoke a word to you on such subjects.'

'There are those, Miss Lavington, to whom a human face can speak 
truths too deep for books.'

Argemone was silent; but she understood him.  Why did she not 
withdraw her arm a second time?

In a moment more the colonel hailed them from the dog-cart and 
behind him came the britschka with a relay of servants.

They parted with a long, lingering pressure of the hand, which 
haunted her young palm all night in dreams.  Argemone got into the 
carriage, Lancelot jumped into the dog-cart, took the reins, and 
relieved his heart by galloping Sandy up the hill, and frightening 
the returning coachman down one bank and his led horses up the 
other.

'Vogue la Galere, Lancelot?  I hope you have made good use of your 
time?'

But Lancelot spoke no word all the way home, and wandered till dawn 
in the woods around his cottage, kissing the hand which Argemone's 
palm had pressed.



CHAPTER VIII:  WHITHER?



Some three months slipped away--right dreary months for Lancelot, 
for the Lavingtons went to Baden-Baden for the summer.  'The waters 
were necessary for their health.' . . .  How wonderful it is, by the 
bye, that those German Brunnen are never necessary for poor people's 
health! . . . and they did not return till the end of August.  So 
Lancelot buried himself up to the eyes in the Condition-of-the-Poor 
question--that is, in blue books, red books, sanitary reports, mine 
reports, factory reports; and came to the conclusion, which is now 
pretty generally entertained, that something was the matter--but 
what, no man knew, or, if they knew, thought proper to declare.  
Hopeless and bewildered, he left the books, and wandered day after 
day from farm to hamlet, and from field to tramper's tent, in hopes 
of finding out the secret for himself.  What he saw, of course I 
must not say; for if I did the reviewers would declare, as usual, 
one and all, that I copied out of the Morning Chronicle; and the 
fact that these pages, ninety-nine hundredths of them at least, were 
written two years before the Morning Chronicle began its invaluable 
investigations, would be contemptuously put aside as at once 
impossible and arrogant.  I shall therefore only say, that he saw 
what every one else has seen, at least heard of, and got tired of 
hearing--though alas! they have not got tired of seeing it; and so 
proceed with my story, only mentioning therein certain particulars 
which folks seem, to me, somewhat strangely, to have generally 
overlooked.

But whatever Lancelot saw, or thought he saw, I cannot say that it 
brought him any nearer to a solution of the question; and he at last 
ended by a sulky acquiescence in Sam Weller's memorable dictum:  
'Who it is I can't say; but all I can say is that SOMEBODY ought to 
be wopped for this!'

But one day, turning over, as hopelessly as he was beginning to turn 
over everything else, a new work of Mr. Carlyle's, he fell on some 
such words as these:--

'The beginning and the end of what is the matter with us in these 
days is--that WE HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD.'

Forgotten God?  That was at least a defect of which blue books had 
taken no note.  And it was one which, on the whole--granting, for 
the sake of argument, any real, living, or practical existence to 
That Being, might be a radical one--it brought him many hours of 
thought, that saying; and when they were over, he rose up and went 
to find--Tregarva.

'Yes, he is the man.  He is the only man with whom I have ever met, 
of whom I could be sure, that independent of his own interest, 
without the allurements of respectability and decency, of habit and 
custom, he believes in God.  And he too is a poor man; he has known 
the struggles, temptations, sorrows of the poor.  I will go to him.'

But as Lancelot rose to find him, there was put into his hand a 
letter, which kept him at home a while longer--none other, in fact, 
than the long-expected answer from Luke.


'WELL, MY DEAR COUSIN--You may possibly have some logical ground 
from which to deny Popery, if you deny all other religions with it; 
but how those who hold any received form of Christianity whatsoever 
can fairly side with you against Rome, I cannot see.  I am sure I 
have been sent to Rome by them, not drawn thither by Jesuits.  Not 
merely by their defects and inconsistencies; not merely because they 
go on taunting us, and shrieking at us with the cry that we ought to 
go to Rome, till we at last, wearied out, take them at their word, 
and do at their bidding the thing we used to shrink from with 
terror--not this merely but the very doctrines we hold in common 
with them, have sent me to Rome.  For would these men have known of 
them if Rome had not been?  The Trinity--the Atonement--the 
Inspiration of Scripture.--A future state--that point on which the 
present generation, without a smattering of psychological science, 
without even the old belief in apparitions, dogmatises so narrowly 
and arrogantly--what would they have known of them but for Rome?  
And she says there are three realms in the future state . . . 
heaven, hell, and purgatory . . .  What right have they to throw 
away the latter, and arbitrarily retain the two former?  I am told 
that Scripture gives no warrant for a third state.  She says that it 
does--that it teaches that implicitly, as it teaches other, the very 
highest doctrines; some hold, the Trinity itself. . . .  It may be 
proved from Scripture; for it may be proved from the love and 
justice of God revealed in Scripture.  The Protestants divide--in 
theory, that is--mankind into two classes, the righteous, who are 
destined to infinite bliss; the wicked, who are doomed to infinite 
torment; in which latter class, to make their arbitrary division 
exhaustive, they put of course nine hundred and ninety-nine out of 
the thousand, and doom to everlasting companionship with Borgias and 
Cagliostros, the gentle, frivolous girl, or the peevish boy, who 
would have shrunk, in life, with horror from the contact. . . .  
Well, at least, their hell is hellish enough . . . if it were but 
just. . . .  But I, Lancelot, I cannot believe it!  I will not 
believe it!  I had a brother once--affectionate, simple, generous, 
full of noble aspirations--but without, alas! a thought of God; 
yielding in a hundred little points, and some great ones, to the 
infernal temptations of a public school. . . .  He died at 
seventeen.  Where is he now?  Lancelot! where is he now?  Never for 
a day has that thought left my mind for years.  Not in heaven--for 
he has no right there; Protestants would say that as well as I. . . 
. Where, then?--Lancelot! not in that other place.  I cannot, I will 
not believe it.  For the sake of God's honour, as well as of my own 
sanity, I will not believe it!  There must be some third place--some 
intermediate chance, some door of hope--some purifying and redeeming 
process beyond the grave. . . .  Why not a purifying fire?  Ages of 
that are surely punishment enough--and if there be a fire of hell, 
why not a fire of purgatory? . . .  After all, the idea of purgatory 
as a fire is only an opinion, not a dogma of the Church. . . .  But 
if the gross flesh which has sinned is to be punished by the matter 
which it has abused, why may it not be purified by it?'

'You may laugh, if you will, at both, and say again, as I have heard 
you say ere now, that the popular Christian paradise and hell are 
but a Pagan Olympus and Tartarus, as grossly material as Mahomet's, 
without the honest thorough-going sexuality, which you thought made 
his notion logical and consistent. . . .  Well, you may say that, 
but Protestants cannot; for their idea of heaven and ours is the 
same--with this exception, that theirs will contain but a thin band 
of saved ones, while ours will fill and grow to all eternity. . . . 
I tell you, Lancelot, it is just the very doctrines for which 
England most curses Rome, and this very purgatory at the head of 
them, which constitute her strength and her allurement; which appeal 
to the reason, the conscience, the heart of men, like me, who have 
revolted from the novel superstition which looks pitilessly on at 
the fond memories of the brother, the prayers of the orphan, the 
doubled desolation of the widow, with its cold terrible assurance, 
"There is no hope for thy loved and lost ones--no hope, but hell for 
evermore!"

'I do not expect to convert you.  You have your metempsychosis, and 
your theories of progressive incarnation, and your monads, and your 
spirits of the stars and flowers.  I have not forgotten a certain 
talk of ours over Falk Von Muller's Recollections of Goethe, and how 
you materialists are often the most fantastic of theorists. . . .  I 
do not expect, I say, to convert you.  I only want to show you there 
is no use trying to show the self-satisfied Pharisees of the popular 
sect--why, in spite of all their curses, men still go back to Rome.'


Lancelot read this, and re-read it; and smiled, but sadly--and the 
more he read, the stronger its arguments seemed to him, and he 
rejoiced thereat.  For there is a bad pleasure--happy he who has not 
felt it--in a pitiless reductio ad absurdum, which asks tauntingly, 
'Why do you not follow out your own conclusions?'--instead of 
thanking God that people do not follow them out, and that their 
hearts are sounder than their heads.  Was it with this feeling that 
the fancy took possession of him, to show the letter to Tregarva?  I 
hope not--perhaps he did not altogether wish to lead him into 
temptation, any more than I wish to lead my readers, but only to 
make him, just as I wish to make them, face manfully a real awful 
question now racking the hearts of hundreds, and see how they will 
be able to answer the sophist fiend--for honestly, such he is--when 
their time comes, as come it will.  At least he wanted to test at 
once Tregarva's knowledge and his logic.  As for his 'faith,' alas! 
he had not so much reverence for it as to care what effect Luke's 
arguments might have there.  'The whole man,' quoth Lancelot to 
himself, 'is a novel phenomenon; and all phenomena, however 
magnificent, are surely fair subjects for experiment.  Magendie may 
have gone too far, certainly, in dissecting a live dog--but what 
harm in my pulling the mane of a dead lion?'

So he showed the letter to Tregarva as they were fishing together 
one day--for Lancelot had been installed duly in the Whitford trout 
preserves'--Tregarva read it slowly; asked, shrewdly enough, the 
meaning of a word or two as he went on; at last folded it up 
deliberately, and returned it to its owner with a deep sigh.  
Lancelot said nothing for a few minutes; but the giant seemed so 
little inclined to open the conversation, that he was forced at last 
to ask him what he thought of it.

'It isn't a matter for thinking, sir, to my mind--There's a nice 
fish on the feed there, just over-right that alder.'

'Hang the fish!  Why not a matter for thinking?'

'To my mind, sir, a man may think a deal too much about many matters 
that come in his way.'

'What should he do with them, then?'

'Mind his own business.'

'Pleasant for those whom they concern!--That's rather a cold-blooded 
speech for you, Tregarva!'

The Cornishman looked up at him earnestly.  His eyes were 
glittering--was it with tears?

'Don't fancy I don't feel for the poor young gentleman--God help 
him!--I've been through it all--or not through it, that's to say.  I 
had a brother once, as fine a young fellow as ever handled pick, as 
kind-hearted as a woman, and as honest as the sun in Heaven.--But he 
would drink, sir;--that one temptation, he never could stand it.  
And one day at the shaft's mouth, reaching after the kibble-chain--
maybe he was in liquor, maybe not--the Lord knows; but--'

'I didn't know him again, sir, when we picked him up, any more than-
-' and the strong man shuddered from head to foot, and beat 
impatiently on the ground with his heavy heel, as if to crush down 
the rising horror.

'Where is he, sir?'

A long pause.

'Do you think I didn't ask that, sir, for years and years after, of 
God, and my own soul, and heaven and earth, and the things under the 
earth, too?  For many a night did I go down that mine out of my 
turn, and sat for hours in that level, watching and watching, if 
perhaps the spirit of him might haunt about, and tell his poor 
brother one word of news--one way or the other--anything would have 
been a comfort--but the doubt I couldn't bear.  And yet at last I 
learnt to bear it--and what's more, I learnt not to care for it.  
It's a bold word--there's one who knows whether or not it is a true 
one.'

'Good Heavens!--and what then did you say to yourself?'

'I said this, sir--or rather, one came as I was on my knees, and 
said it to me--What's done you can't mend.  What's left, you can.  
Whatever has happened is God's concern now, and none but His.  Do 
you see that as far as you can no such thing ever happen again, on 
the face of His earth.  And from that day, sir, I gave myself up to 
that one thing, and will until I die, to save the poor young fellows 
like myself, who are left now-a-days to the Devil, body and soul, 
just when they are in the prime of their power to work for God.'

'Ah!' said Lancelot--'if poor Luke's spirit were but as strong as 
yours!'

'I strong?' answered he, with a sad smile; 'and so you think, sir.  
But it's written, and it's true--"The heart knoweth its own 
bitterness."'

'Then you absolutely refuse to try to fancy your--his present 
state?'

'Yes, sir, because if I did fancy it, that would be a certain sign I 
didn't know it.  If we can't conceive what God has prepared for 
those that we know loved Him, how much less can we for them of whom 
we don't know whether they loved Him or not?'

'Well,' thought Lancelot to himself, 'I did not do so very wrong in 
trusting your intellect to cut through a sophism.'

'But what do you believe, Tregarva?'

'I believe this, sir--and your cousin will believe the same, if he 
will only give up, as I am sore afraid he will need to some day, 
sticking to arguments and doctrines about the Lord, and love and 
trust the Lord himself.  I believe, sir, that the judge of all the 
earth will do right--and what's right can't be wrong, nor cruel 
either, else it would not be like Him who loved us to the death, 
that's all I know; and that's enough for me.  To whom little is 
given, of him is little required.  He that didn't know his Master's 
will, will be beaten with few stripes, and he that did know it, as I 
do, will be beaten with many, if he neglects it--and that latter, 
not the former, is my concern.'

'Well,' thought Lancelot to himself, 'this great heart has gone down 
to the root of the matter--the right and wrong of it.  He, at least, 
has not forgotten God.  Well, I would give up all the Teleologies 
and cosmogonies that I ever dreamt or read, just to believe what he 
believes--Heigho and well-a-day!--Paul! hist?  I'll swear that was 
an otter!'

'I hope not, sir, I'm sure.  I haven't seen the spraint of one here 
this two years.'

'There again--don't you see something move under that marl bank?'

Tregarva watched a moment, and then ran up to the spot, and throwing 
himself on his face on the edge, leant over, grappled something--and 
was instantly, to Lancelot's astonishment, grappled in his turn by a 
rough, lank, white dog, whose teeth, however, could not get through 
the velveteen sleeve.

'I'll give in, keeper!  I'll give in.  Doan't ye harm the dog! he's 
deaf as a post, you knows.'

'I won't harm him if you take him off, and come up quietly.'

This mysterious conversation was carried on with a human head, which 
peeped above the water, its arms supporting from beneath the 
growling cur--such a visage as only worn-out poachers, or trampling 
drovers, or London chiffonniers carry; pear-shaped and retreating to 
a narrow peak above, while below, the bleared cheeks, and drooping 
lips, and peering purblind eyes, perplexed, hopeless, defiant, and 
yet sneaking, bespeak THEIR share in the 'inheritance of the kingdom 
of heaven.'--Savages without the resources of a savage--slaves 
without the protection of a master--to whom the cart-whip and the 
rice-swamp would be a change for the better--for there, at least, is 
food and shelter.

Slowly and distrustfully a dripping scarecrow of rags and bones rose 
from his hiding-place in the water, and then stopped suddenly, and 
seemed inclined to dash through the river; but Tregarva held him 
fast.

'There's two on ye!  That's a shame!  I'll surrender to no man but 
you, Paul.  Hold off, or I'll set the dog on ye!'

'It's a gentleman fishing.  He won't tell--will you, sir?'  And he 
turned to Lancelot.  'Have pity on the poor creature, sir, for God's 
sake--it isn't often he gets it.'

'I won't tell, my man.  I've not seen you doing any harm.  Come out 
like a man, and let's have a look at you.'

The creature crawled up the bank, and stood, abject and shivering, 
with the dog growling from between his legs.

'I was only looking for a kingfisher's nest:  indeed now, I was, 
Paul Tregarva.'

'Don't lie, you were setting night-lines.  I saw a minnow lie on the 
bank as I came up.  Don't lie; I hate liars.'

'Well indeed, then--a man must live somehow.'

'You don't seem to live by this trade, my friend,' quoth Lancelot; 
'I cannot say it seems a prosperous business, by the look of your 
coat and trousers.'

'That Tim Goddard stole all my clothes, and no good may they do him; 
last time as I went to gaol I gave them him to kep, and he went off 
for a navvy meantime; so there I am.'

'If you will play with the dogs,' quoth Tregarva, 'you know what you 
will be bit by.  Haven't I warned you?  Of course you won't prosper:  
as you make your bed, so you must lie in it.  The Lord can't be 
expected to let those prosper that forget Him.  What mercy would it 
be to you if He did let you prosper by setting snares all church-
time, as you were last Sunday, instead of going to church?'

'I say, Paul Tregarva, I've told you my mind about that afore.  If I 
don't do what I knows to be right and good already, there ain't no 
use in me a damning myself all the deeper by going to church to hear 
more.'

'God help you!' quoth poor Paul.

'Now, I say,' quoth Crawy, with the air of a man who took the whole 
thing as a matter of course, no more to be repined at than the rain 
and wind--'what be you a going to do with me this time?  I do hope 
you won't have me up to bench.  'Tain't a month now as I'm out o' 
prizzum along o' they fir-toppings, and I should, you see--' with a 
look up and down and round at the gay hay-meadows, and the fleet 
water, and the soft gleaming clouds, which to Lancelot seemed most 
pathetic,--'I should like to ha' a spell o' fresh air, like, afore I 
goes in again.'

Tregarva stood over him and looked down at him, like some huge 
stately bloodhound on a trembling mangy cur.  'Good heavens!' 
thought Lancelot, as his eye wandered from the sad steadfast dignity 
of the one, to the dogged helpless misery of the other--'can those 
two be really fellow-citizens? fellow-Christians?--even animals of 
the same species?  Hard to believe!'

True, Lancelot; but to quote you against yourself, Bacon, or rather 
the instinct which taught Bacon, teaches you to discern the 
invisible common law under the deceitful phenomena of sense.

'I must have those night-lines, Crawy,' quoth Tregarva, at length.

'Then I must starve.  You might ever so well take away the dog.  
They're the life of me.'

'They're the death of you.  Why don't you go and work, instead of 
idling about, stealing trout?'

'Be you a laughing at a poor fellow in his trouble?  Who'd gie me a 
day's work, I'd like to know?  It's twenty year too late for that!'

Lancelot stood listening.  Yes, that wretch, too, was a man and a 
brother--at least so books used to say.  Time was, when he had 
looked on a poacher as a Pariah 'hostem humani generis'--and only 
deplored that the law forbade him to shoot them down, like cats and 
otters; but he had begun to change his mind.

He had learnt, and learnt rightly, the self-indulgence, the danger, 
the cruelty, of indiscriminate alms.  It looked well enough in 
theory, on paper.  'But--but--but,' thought Lancelot, 'in practice, 
one can't help feeling a little of that un-economic feeling called 
pity.  No doubt the fellow has committed an unpardonable sin in 
daring to come into the world when there was no call for him; one 
used to think, certainly, that children's opinions were not 
consulted on such points before they were born, and that therefore 
it might be hard to visit the sins of the fathers on the children, 
even though the labour-market were a little overstocked--"mais nous 
avons change tout cela," like M. Jourdain's doctors.  No doubt, too, 
the fellow might have got work if he had chosen--in Kamschatka or 
the Cannibal Islands; for the political economists have proved, 
beyond a doubt, that there is work somewhere or other for every one 
who chooses to work.  But as, unfortunately, society has neglected 
to inform him of the state of the Cannibal Island labour-market, or 
to pay his passage thither when informed thereof, he has had to 
choose in the somewhat limited labour-field of the Whitford Priors' 
union, whose workhouse is already every winter filled with abler-
bodied men than he, between starvation--and this--.  Well, as for 
employing him, one would have thought that there was a little work 
waiting to be done in those five miles of heather and snipe-bog, 
which I used to tramp over last winter--but those, it seems, are 
still on the "margin of cultivation," and not a remunerative 
investment--that is, to capitalists.  I wonder if any one had made 
Crawy a present of ten acres of them when he came of age, and 
commanded him to till that or be hanged, whether he would not have 
found it a profitable investment?  But bygones are bygones, and 
there he is, and the moors, thanks to the rights of property--in 
this case the rights of the dog in the manger--belong to poor old 
Lavington--that is, the game and timber on them; and neither Crawy 
nor any one else can touch them.  What can I do for him?  Convert 
him? to what?  For the next life, even Tregarva's talisman seems to 
fail.  And for this life--perhaps if he had had a few more practical 
proofs of a divine justice and government--that "kingdom of heaven" 
of which Luke talks, in the sensible bodily matters which he does 
appreciate, he might not be so unwilling to trust to it for the 
invisible spiritual matters which he does not appreciate.  At all 
events, one has but one chance of winning him, and that is, through 
those five senses which he has left.  What if he does spend the 
money in gross animal enjoyment?  What will the amount of it be, 
compared with the animal enjoyments which my station allows me daily 
without reproach!  A little more bacon--a little more beer--a little 
more tobacco; at all events they will be more important to him than 
a pair of new boots or an extra box of cigars to me.'--And Lancelot 
put his hand in his pocket, and pulled out a sovereign.  No doubt he 
was a great goose; but if you can answer his arguments, reader, I 
cannot.

'Look here--what are your night-lines worth?'

'A matter of seven shilling; ain't they now, Paul Tregarva?'

'I should suppose they are.'

'Then do you give me the lines, one and all, and there's a sovereign 
for you.--No, I can't trust you with it all at once.  I'll give it 
to Tregarva, and he shall allow you four shillings a week as long as 
it lasts, if you'll promise to keep off Squire Lavington's river.'

It was pathetic, and yet disgusting, to see the abject joy of the 
poor creature.  'Well,' thought Lancelot, 'if he deserves to be 
wretched, so do I--why, therefore, if we are one as bad as the 
other, should I not make his wretchedness a little less for the time 
being?'

'I waint come a-near the water.  You trust me--I minds them as is 
kind to me'--and a thought seemed suddenly to lighten up his dull 
intelligence.

'I say, Paul, hark you here.  I see that Bantam into D * * * t'other 
day.'

'What! is he down already?'

'With a dog-cart; he and another of his pals; and I see 'em take out 
a silk flue, I did.  So, says I, you maunt be trying that ere along 
o' the Whitford trout; they kepers is out o' nights so sure as the 
moon.'

'You didn't know that.  Lying again!'

'No, but I sayed it in course.  I didn't want they a-robbing here; 
so I think they worked mainly up Squire Vaurien's water.'

'I wish I'd caught them here,' quoth Tregarva, grimly enough; 
'though I don't think they came, or I should have seen the track on 
the banks.'

'But he sayed like, as how he should be down here again about 
pheasant shooting.'

'Trust him for it.  Let us know, now, if you see him.'

'And that I will, too.  I wouldn't save a feather for that 'ere old 
rascal, Harry.  If the devil don't have he, I don't see no use in 
keeping no devil.  But I minds them as has mercy on me, though my 
name is Crawy.  Ay,' he added, bitterly, ''tain't so many kind turns 
as I gets in this life, that I can afford to forget e'er a one.'  
And he sneaked off, with the deaf dog at his heels.

'How did that fellow get his name, Tregarva?'

'Oh, most of them have nicknames round here.  Some of them hardly 
know their own real names, sir.'  ('A sure sign of low 
civilisation,' thought Lancelot.)  'But he got his a foolish way; 
and yet it was the ruin of him.  When he was a boy of fifteen, he 
got miching away in church-time, as boys will, and took off his 
clothes to get in somewhere here in this very river, groping in the 
banks after craw-fish; and as the devil--for I can think no less--
would have it, a big one catches hold of him by the fingers with one 
claw, and a root with the other, and holds him there till Squire 
Lavington comes out to take his walk after church, and there he 
caught the boy, and gave him a thrashing there and then, naked as he 
stood.  And the story got wind, and all the chaps round called him 
Crawy ever afterwards, and the poor fellow got quite reckless from 
that day, and never looked any one in the face again; and being 
ashamed of himself, you see, sir, was never ashamed of anything 
else--and there he is.  That dog's his only friend, and gets a 
livelihood for them both.  It's growing old now; and when it dies, 
he'll starve.'

'Well--the world has no right to blame him for not doing his duty, 
till it has done its own by him a little better.'

'But the world will, sir, because it hates its duty, and cries all 
day long, like Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?"'

'Do you think it knows its duty?  I have found it easy enough to see 
that something is diseased, Tregarva; but to find the medicine 
first, and to administer it afterwards, is a very different matter.'

'Well--I suppose the world will never be mended till the day of 
judgment.'

'In plain English, not mended till it is destroyed.  Hopeful for the 
poor world!  I should fancy, if I believed that, that the devil in 
the old history--which you believe--had had the best of it with a 
vengeance, when he brought sin into the world, and ruined it.  I 
dare not believe that.  How dare you, who say that God sent His Son 
into the world to defeat the devil?'

Tregarva was silent a while.

'Learning and the Gospel together ought to do something, sir, 
towards mending it.  One would think so.  But the prophecies are 
against that.'

'As folks happen to read them just now.  A hundred years hence they 
may be finding the very opposite meaning in them.  Come, Tregarva,--
Suppose I teach you a little of the learning, and you teach me a 
little of the Gospel--do you think we two could mend the world 
between us, or even mend Whitford Priors?'

'God knows, sir,' said Tregarva.

* * * * *

'Tregarva,' said Lancelot, as they were landing the next trout, 
'where will that Crawy go, when he dies?'

'God knows, sir,' said Tregarva.

* * * * *

Lancelot went thoughtful home, and sat down--not to answer Luke's 
letter--for he knew no answer but Tregarva's, and that, alas! he 
could not give, for he did not believe it, but only longed to 
believe it.  So he turned off the subject by a question--

'You speak of yourself as being already a member of the Romish 
communion.  How is this?  Have you given up your curacy?  Have you 
told your father?  I fancy that if you had done so I must have heard 
of it ere now.  I entreat you to tell me the state of the case, for, 
heathen as I am, I am still an Englishman; and there are certain old 
superstitions still lingering among us--whencesoever we may have got 
them first--about truth and common honesty--you understand me.--

'Do not be angry.  But there is a prejudice against the truthfulness 
of Romish priests and Romish converts.--It's no affair of mine.  I 
see quite enough Protestant rogues and liars, to prevent my having 
any pleasure in proving Romanists, or any other persons, rogues and 
liars also.  But I am--if not fond of you--at least sufficiently 
fond to be anxious for your good name.  You used to be an open-
hearted fellow enough.  Do prove to the world that coelum, non 
animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt.'



CHAPTER IX:  HARRY VERNEY HEARS HIS LAST SHOT FIRED



The day after the Lavingtons' return, when Lancelot walked up to the 
Priory with a fluttering heart to inquire after all parties, and see 
one, he found the squire in a great state of excitement.

A large gang of poachers, who had come down from London by rail, had 
been devastating all the covers round, to stock the London markets 
by the first of October, and intended, as Tregarva had discovered, 
to pay Mr. Lavington's preserves a visit that night.  They didn't 
care for country justices, not they.  Weren't all their fines paid 
by highly respectable game-dealers at the West end?  They owned 
three dog-carts among them; a parcel by railway would bring them 
down bail to any amount; they tossed their money away at the public-
houses, like gentlemen; thanks to the Game Laws, their profits ran 
high, and when they had swept the country pretty clean of game, why, 
they would just finish off the season by a stray highway robbery or 
two, and vanish into Babylon and their native night.

Such was Harry Verney's information as he strutted about the 
courtyard waiting for the squire's orders.

'But they've put their nose into a furze-bush, Muster Smith, they 
have.  We've got our posse-commontaturs, fourteen men, sir, as'll 
play the whole vale to cricket, and whap them; and every one'll 
fight, for they're half poachers themselves, you see' (and Harry 
winked and chuckled); 'and they can't abide no interlopers to come 
down and take the sport out of their mouths.'

'But are you sure they'll come to-night?'

'That 'ere Paul says so.  Wonder how he found out--some of his 
underhand, colloguing, Methodist ways, I'll warrant.  I seed him 
preaching to that 'ere Crawy, three or four times when he ought to 
have hauled him up.  He consorts with them poachers, sir, uncommon.  
I hope he ben't one himself, that's all.'

'Nonsense, Harry!'

'Oh?  Eh?  Don't say old Harry don't know nothing, that's all.  I've 
fixed his flint, anyhow.'

'Ah!  Smith!' shouted the squire out of his study window, with a 
cheerful and appropriate oath.  'The very man I wanted to see!  You 
must lead these keepers for me to-night.  They always fight better 
with a gentleman among them.  Breeding tells, you know--breeding 
tells.'

Lancelot felt a strong disgust at the occupation, but he was under 
too many obligations to the squire to refuse.

'Ay, I knew you were game,' said the old man.  'And you'll find it 
capital fun.  I used to think it so, I know, when I was young.  Many 
a shindy have I had here in my uncle's time, under the very windows, 
before the chase was disparked, when the fellows used to come down 
after the deer.'

Just then Lancelot turned and saw Argemone standing close to him.  
He almost sprang towards her--and retreated, for he saw that she had 
overheard the conversation between him and her father.

'What!  Mr. Smith!' said she in a tone in which tenderness and 
contempt, pity and affected carelessness, were strangely mingled.  
'So! you are going to turn gamekeeper to-night?'

Lancelot was blundering out something, when the squire interposed.

'Let her alone, Smith.  Women will be tender-hearted, you know.  
Quite right--but they don't understand these things.  They fight 
with their tongues, and we with our fists; and then they fancy their 
weapons don't hurt--Ha! ha! ha!'

'Mr. Smith,' said Argemone, in a low, determined voice, 'if you have 
promised my father to go on this horrid business--go.  But promise 
me, too, that you will only look on, or I will never--'

Argemone had not time to finish her sentence before Lancelot had 
promised seven times over, and meant to keep his promise, as we all 
do.

About ten o'clock that evening Lancelot and Tregarva were walking 
stealthily up a ride in one of the home-covers, at the head of some 
fifteen fine young fellows, keepers, grooms, and not extempore 
'watchers,' whom old Harry was marshalling and tutoring, with 
exhortations as many and as animated as if their ambition was 
'Mourir pour la patrie.'

'How does this sort of work suit you, Tregarva, for I don't like it 
at all!  The fighting's all very well, but it's a poor cause.'

'Oh, sir, I have no mercy on these Londoners.  If it was these poor 
half-starved labourers, that snare the same hares that have been 
eating up their garden-stuff all the week, I can't touch them, sir, 
and that's truth; but these ruffians--And yet, sir, wouldn't it be 
better for the parsons to preach to them, than for the keepers to 
break their heads?'

'Oh?' said Lancelot, 'the parsons say all to them that they can.'

Tregarva shook his head.

'I doubt that, sir.  But, no doubt, there's a great change for the 
better in the parsons.  I remember the time, sir, that there wasn't 
an earnest clergyman in the vale; and now every other man you meet 
is trying to do his best.  But those London parsons, sir, what's the 
matter with them?  For all their societies and their schools, the 
devil seems to keep ahead of them sadly.  I doubt they haven't found 
the right fly yet for publicans and sinners to rise at.'

A distant shot in the cover.

'There they are, sir.  I thought that Crawy wouldn't lead me false 
when I let him off.'

'Well, fight away, then, and win.  I have promised Miss Lavington 
not to lift a hand in the business.'

'Then you're a lucky man, sir.  But the squire's game is his own, 
and we must do our duty by our master.'

There was a rustle in the bushes, and a tramp of feet on the turf.

'There they are, sir, sure enough.  The Lord keep us from murder 
this night!'  And Tregarva pulled off his neckcloth, and shook his 
huge limbs, as if to feel that they were all in their places, in a 
way that augured ill for the man who came across him.

They turned the corner of a ride, and, in an instant, found 
themselves face to face with five or six armed men, with blackened 
faces, who, without speaking a word, dashed at them, and the fight 
began; reinforcements came up on each side, and the engagement 
became general.


'The forest-laws were sharp and stern,
   The forest blood was keen,
They lashed together for life and death
   Beneath the hollies green.

'The metal good and the walnut-wood
   Did soon in splinters flee;
They tossed the orts to south and north,
   And grappled knee to knee.

'They wrestled up, they wrestled down,
   They wrestled still and sore;
The herbage sweet beneath their feet
   Was stamped to mud and gore.'


And all the while the broad still moon stared down on them grim and 
cold, as if with a saturnine sneer at the whole humbug; and the 
silly birds about whom all this butchery went on, slept quietly over 
their heads, every one with his head under his wing.  Oh! if 
pheasants had but understanding, how they would split their sides 
with chuckling and crowing at the follies which civilised Christian 
men perpetrate for their precious sake!

Had I the pen of Homer (though they say he never used one), or even 
that of the worthy who wasted precious years in writing a Homer 
Burlesqued, what heroic exploits might not I immortalise!  In every 
stupid serf and cunning ruffian there, there was a heart as brave as 
Ajax's own; but then they fought with sticks instead of lances, and 
hammered away on fustian jackets instead of brazen shields; and, 
therefore, poor fellows, they were beneath 'the dignity of poetry,' 
whatever that may mean.  If one of your squeamish 'dignity-of-
poetry' critics had just had his head among the gun-stocks for five 
minutes that night, he would have found it grim tragic earnest 
enough; not without a touch of fun though, here and there.

Lancelot leant against a tree and watched the riot with folded arms, 
mindful of his promise to Argemone, and envied Tregarva as he hurled 
his assailants right and left with immense strength, and led the van 
of battle royally.  Little would Argemone have valued the real proof 
of love which he was giving her as he looked on sulkily, while his 
fingers tingled with longing to be up and doing.  Strange--that mere 
lust of fighting, common to man and animals, whose traces even the 
lamb and the civilised child evince in their mock-fights, the 
earliest and most natural form of play.  Is it, after all, the one 
human propensity which is utterly evil, incapable of being turned to 
any righteous use?  Gross and animal, no doubt it is, but not the 
less really pleasant, as every Irishman and many an Englishman knows 
well enough.  A curious instance of this, by the bye, occurred in 
Paris during the February Revolution.  A fat English coachman went 
out, from mere curiosity, to see the fighting.  As he stood and 
watched, a new passion crept over him; he grew madder and madder as 
the bullets whistled past him; at last, when men began to drop by 
his side, he could stand it no longer, seized a musket, and rushed 
in, careless which side he took,--


'To drink delight of battle with his peers.'


He was not heard of for a day or two, and then they found him stiff 
and cold, lying on his face across a barricade, with a bullet 
through his heart.  Sedentary persons may call him a sinful fool.  
Be it so.  Homo sum:  humani nihil a me alienum puto.

Lancelot, I verily believe, would have kept his promise, though he 
saw that the keepers gave ground, finding Cockney skill too much for 
their clumsy strength; but at last Harry Verney, who had been 
fighting as venomously as a wild cat, and had been once before saved 
from a broken skull by Tregarva, rolled over at his very feet with a 
couple of poachers on him.

'You won't see an old man murdered, Mr. Smith?' cried he, 
imploringly.

Lancelot tore the ruffians off the old man right and left.  One of 
them struck him; he returned the blow; and, in an instant, promises 
and Argemone, philosophy and anti-game-law prejudices, were swept 
out of his head, and 'he went,' as the old romances say, 'hurling 
into the midst of the press,' as mere a wild animal for the moment 
as angry bull or boar.  An instant afterwards, though, he burst out 
laughing, in spite of himself, as 'The Battersea Bantam,' who had 
been ineffectually dancing round Tregarva like a gamecock spurring 
at a bull, turned off with a voice of ineffable disgust,--

'That big cove's a yokel; ta'nt creditable to waste science on him.  
You're my man, if you please, sir,'--and the little wiry lump of 
courage and conceit, rascality and good humour, flew at Lancelot, 
who was twice his size, 'with a heroism worthy of a better cause,' 
as respectable papers, when they are not too frightened, say of the 
French.

* * * * *

'Do you want any more?' asked Lancelot.

'Quite a pleasure, sir, to meet a scientific gen'lman.  Beg your 
pardon, sir; stay a moment while I wipes my face.  Now, sir, time, 
if you please.'

Alas for the little man! in another moment he tumbled over and lay 
senseless--Lancelot thought he had killed him.  The gang saw their 
champion fall, gave ground, and limped off, leaving three of their 
party groaning on the ground, beside as many Whitford men.

As it was in the beginning, so is it to be to the end, my foolish 
brothers!  From the poacher to the prime minister--wearying 
yourselves for very vanity!  The soldier is not the only man in 
England who is fool enough to be shot at for a shilling a day.

But while all the rest were busy picking up the wounded men and 
securing the prisoners, Harry Verney alone held on, and as the 
poachers retreated slowly up the ride, he followed them, peering 
into the gloom, as if in hopes of recognising some old enemy.

'Stand back, Harry Verney; we know you, and we'd be loth to harm an 
old man,' cried a voice out of the darkness.

'Eh?  Do you think old Harry'd turn back when he was once on the 
track of ye?  You soft-fisted, gin-drinking, counter-skipping 
Cockney rascals, that fancy you're to carry the county before you, 
because you get your fines paid by London-tradesmen!  Eh?  What do 
you take old Harry for?'

'Go back, you old fool!' and a volley of oaths followed.  'If you 
follow us, we'll fire at you, as sure as the moon's in heaven!'

'Fire away, then!  I'll follow you to--!' and the old man paced 
stealthily but firmly up to them.

Tregarva saw his danger and sprang forward, but it was too late.

'What, you will have it, then?'

A sharp crack followed,--a bright flash in the darkness--every white 
birch-stem and jagged oak-leaf shone out for a moment as bright as 
day--and in front of the glare Lancelot saw the old man throw his 
arms wildly upward, fall forward, and disappear on the dark ground.

'You've done it! off with you!'  And the rascals rushed off up the 
ride.

In a moment Tregarva was by the old man's side, and lifted him 
tenderly up.

'They've done for me, Paul.  Old Harry's got his gruel.  He's heard 
his last shot fired.  I knowed it 'ud come to this, and I said it.  
Eh?  Didn't I, now, Paul?'  And as the old man spoke, the workings 
of his lungs pumped great jets of blood out over the still heather-
flowers as they slept in the moonshine, and dabbled them with 
smoking gore.

'Here, men,' shouted the colonel, 'up with him at once, and home!  
Here, put a brace of your guns together, muzzle and lock.  Help him 
to sit on them, Lancelot.  There, Harry, put your arms round their 
necks.  Tregarva, hold him up behind.  Now then, men, left legs 
foremost--keep step--march!'  And they moved off towards the Priory.

'You seem to know everything, colonel,' said Lancelot.

The colonel did not answer for a moment.

'Lancelot, I learnt this dodge from the only friend I ever had in 
the world, or ever shall have; and a week after I marched him home 
to his deathbed in this very way.'

'Paul--Paul Tregarva,' whispered old Harry, 'put your head down 
here:  wipe my mouth, there's a man; it's wet, uncommon wet.'  It 
was his own life-blood.  'I've been a beast to you, Paul.  I've 
hated you, and envied you, and tried to ruin you.  And now you've 
saved my life once this night; and here you be a-nursing of me as my 
own son might do, if he was here, poor fellow!  I've ruined you, 
Paul; the Lord forgive me!'

'Pray! pray!' said Paul, 'and He will forgive you.  He is all mercy.  
He pardoned the thief on the cross--'

'No, Paul, no thief,--not so bad as that, I hope, anyhow; never 
touched a feather of the squire's.  But you dropped a song, Paul, a 
bit of writing.'

Paul turned pale.

'And--the Lord forgive me!--I put it in the squire's fly-book.'

'The Lord forgive you!  Amen!' said Paul, solemnly.

Wearily and slowly they stepped on towards the old man's cottage.  A 
messenger had gone on before, and in a few minutes the squire, Mrs. 
Lavington, and the girls, were round the bed of their old retainer.

They sent off right and left for the doctor and the vicar; the 
squire was in a frenzy of rage and grief.

'Don't take on, master, don't take on,' said old Harry, as he lay; 
while the colonel and Honoria in vain endeavoured to stanch the 
wound.  'I knowed it would be so, sooner or later; 'tis all in the 
way of business.  They haven't carried off a bird, squire, not a 
bird; we was too many for 'em--eh, Paul, eh?'

'Where is that cursed doctor?' said the squire.  'Save him, colonel, 
save him; and I'll give you--'

Alas! the charge of shot at a few feet distance had entered like a 
bullet, tearing a great ragged hole.--There was no hope, and the 
colonel knew it; but he said nothing.

'The second keeper,' sighed Argemone, 'who has been killed here!  
Oh, Mr. Smith, must this be?  Is God's blessing on all this?'

Lancelot said nothing.  The old man lighted up at Argemone's voice.

'There's the beauty, there's the pride of Whitford.  And sweet Miss 
Honor, too,--so kind to nurse a poor old man!  But she never would 
let him teach her to catch perch, would she?  She was always too 
tender-hearted.  Ah, squire, when we're dead and gone,--dead and 
gone,--squire, they'll be the pride of Whitford still!  And they'll 
keep up the old place--won't you, my darlings?  And the old name, 
too!  For, you know, there must always be a Lavington in Whitford 
Priors, till the Nun's pool runs up to Ashy Down.'

'And a curse upon the Lavingtons,' sighed Argemone to herself in an 
undertone.

Lancelot heard what she said.

The vicar entered, but he was too late.  The old man's strength was 
failing, and his mind began to wander.

'Windy,' he murmured to himself, 'windy, dark and windy--birds won't 
lie--not old Harry's fault.  How black it grows!  We must be gone by 
nightfall, squire.  Where's that young dog gone?  Arter the larks, 
the brute.'

Old Squire Lavington sobbed like a child.

'You will soon be home, my man,' said the vicar.  'Remember that you 
have a Saviour in heaven.  Cast yourself on His mercy.'

Harry shook his head.

'Very good words, very kind,--very heavy gamebag, though.  Never get 
home, never any more at all.  Where's my boy Tom to carry it?  Send 
for my boy Tom.  He was always a good boy till he got along with 
them poachers.'

'Listen,' he said, 'listen!  There's bells a-ringing--ringing in my 
head.  Come you here, Paul Tregarva.'

He pulled Tregarva's face down to his own, and whispered,--

'Them's the bells a-ringing for Miss Honor's wedding.'

Paul started and drew back.  Harry chuckled and grinned for a moment 
in his old foxy, peering way, and then wandered off again.

'What's that thumping and roaring?'  Alas! it was the failing 
pulsation of his own heart.  'It's the weir, the weir--a-washing me 
away--thundering over me.--Squire, I'm drowning,--drowning and 
choking!  Oh, Lord, how deep!  Now it's running quieter--now I can 
breathe again--swift and oily--running on, running on, down to the 
sea.  See how the grayling sparkle!  There's a pike!  'Tain't my 
fault, squire, so help me--Don't swear, now, squire; old men and 
dying maun't swear, squire.  How steady the river runs down?  Lower 
and slower--lower and slower:  now it's quite still--still--still--'

His voice sank away--he was dead!

No! once more the light flashed up in the socket.  He sprang upright 
in the bed, and held out his withered paw with a kind of wild 
majesty, as he shouted,--

'There ain't such a head of hares on any manor in the county.  And 
them's the last words of Harry Verney!'

He fell back--shuddered--a rattle in his throat--another--and all 
was over.



CHAPTER X:  'MURDER WILL OUT,' AND LOVE TOO



Argemone need never have known of Lancelot's share in the poaching 
affray; but he dared not conceal anything from her.  And so he 
boldly went up the next day to the Priory, not to beg pardon, but to 
justify himself, and succeeded.  And, before long, he found himself 
fairly installed as her pupil, nominally in spiritual matters, but 
really in subjects of which she little dreamed.

Every day he came to read and talk with her, and whatever objections 
Mrs. Lavington expressed were silenced by Argemone.  She would have 
it so, and her mother neither dared nor knew how to control her.  
The daughter had utterly out-read and out-thought her less educated 
parent, who was clinging in honest bigotry to the old forms, while 
Argemone was wandering forth over the chaos of the strange new age,-
-a poor homeless Noah's dove, seeking rest for the sole of her foot 
and finding none.  And now all motherly influence and sympathy had 
vanished, and Mrs. Lavington, in fear and wonder, let her daughter 
go her own way.  She could not have done better, perhaps; for 
Providence had found for Argemone a better guide than her mother 
could have done, and her new pupil was rapidly becoming her teacher.  
She was matched, for the first time, with a man who was her own 
equal in intellect and knowledge; and she felt how real was that 
sexual difference which she had been accustomed to consider as an 
insolent calumny against woman.  Proudly and indignantly she 
struggled against the conviction, but in vain.  Again and again she 
argued with him, and was vanquished,--or, at least, what is far 
better, made to see how many different sides there are to every 
question.  All appeals to authority he answered with a contemptuous 
smile.  'The best authorities?' he used to say.  'On what question 
do not the best authorities flatly contradict each other?  And why?  
Because every man believes just what it suits him to believe.  Don't 
fancy that men reason themselves into convictions; the prejudices 
and feelings of their hearts give them some idea or theory, and then 
they find facts at their leisure to prove their theory true.  Every 
man sees facts through narrow spectacles, red, or green, or blue, as 
his nation or his temperament colours them:  and he is quite right, 
only he must allow us the liberty of having our spectacles too.  
Authority is only good for proving facts.  We must draw our own 
conclusions.'  And Argemone began to suspect that he was right,--at 
least to see that her opinions were mere hearsays, picked up at her 
own will and fancy; while his were living, daily-growing ideas.  Her 
mind was beside his as the vase of cut flowers by the side of the 
rugged tree, whose roots are feeding deep in the mother earth.  In 
him she first learnt how one great truth received into the depths of 
the soul germinates there, and bears fruit a thousandfold; 
explaining, and connecting, and glorifying innumerable things, 
apparently the most unlike and insignificant; and daily she became a 
more reverent listener, and gave herself up, half against her will 
and conscience, to the guidance of a man whom she knew to be her 
inferior in morals and in orthodoxy.  She had worshipped intellect, 
and now it had become her tyrant; and she was ready to give up every 
belief which she once had prized, to flutter like a moth round its 
fascinating brilliance.

Who can blame her, poor girl?  For Lancelot's humility was even more 
irresistible than his eloquence.  He assumed no superiority.  He 
demanded her assent to truths, not because they were his opinions, 
but simply for the truth's sake; and on all points which touched the 
heart he looked up to her as infallible and inspired.  In questions 
of morality, of taste, of feeling, he listened not as a lover to his 
mistress, but rather as a baby to its mother; and thus, half 
unconsciously to himself, he taught her where her true kingdom lay,-
-that the heart, and not the brain, enshrines the priceless pearl of 
womanhood, the oracular jewel, the 'Urim and Thummim,' before which 
gross man can only inquire and adore.

And, in the meantime, a change was passing upon Lancelot.  His 
morbid vanity--that brawl-begotten child of struggling self-conceit 
and self-disgust--was vanishing away; and as Mr. Tennyson says in 
one of those priceless idyls of his, before which the shade of 
Theocritus must hide his diminished head,--


'He was altered, and began
   To move about the house with joy,
And with the certain step of man.'


He had, at last, found one person who could appreciate him.  And in 
deliberate confidence he set to work to conquer her, and make her 
his own.  It was a traitorous return, but a very natural one.  And 
she, sweet creature! walked straight into the pleasant snare, 
utterly blind, because she fancied that she saw clearly.  In the 
pride of her mysticism, she had fancied herself above so commonplace 
a passion as love.  It was a curious feature of lower humanity, 
which she might investigate and analyse harmlessly as a cold 
scientific spectator; and, in her mingled pride and purity, she used 
to indulge Lancelot in metaphysical disquisitions about love and 
beauty, like that first one in their walk home from Minchampstead, 
from which a less celestially innocent soul would have shrunk.  She 
thought, forsooth, as the old proverb says, that she could deal in 
honey, without putting her hand to her mouth.  But Lancelot knew 
better, and marked her for his own.  And daily his self-confidence 
and sense of rightful power developed, and with them, paradoxical as 
it may seem, the bitterest self-abasement.  The contact of her 
stainless innocence, the growing certainty that the destiny of that 
innocence was irrevocably bound up with his own, made him shrink 
from her whenever he remembered his own guilty career.  To remember 
that there were passages in it which she must never know--that she 
would cast him from her with abhorrence if she once really 
understood their vileness?  To think that, amid all the closest 
bonds of love, there must for ever be an awful, silent gulf in the 
past, of which they must never speak!--That she would bring to him 
what he could never, never bring to her!--The thought was 
unbearable.  And as hideous recollections used to rise before him, 
devilish caricatures of his former self, mopping and mowing at him 
in his dreams, he would start from his lonely bed, and pace the room 
for hours, or saddle his horse, and ride all night long aimlessly 
through the awful woods, vainly trying to escape himself.  How 
gladly, at those moments, he would have welcomed centuries of a 
material hell, to escape from the more awful spiritual hell within 
him,--to buy back that pearl of innocence which he had cast 
recklessly to be trampled under the feet of his own swinish 
passions!  But, no; that which was done could never be undone,--
never, to all eternity.  And more than once, as he wandered 
restlessly from one room to another, the barrels of his pistols 
seemed to glitter with a cold, devilish smile, and call to him,--

'Come to us! and with one touch of your finger, send that bursting 
spirit which throbs against your brow to flit forth free, and 
nevermore to defile her purity by your presence!'

But no, again:  a voice within seemed to command him to go on, and 
claim her, and win her, spite of his own vileness.  And in after 
years, slowly, and in fear and trembling, he knew it for the voice 
of God, who had been leading him to become worthy of her through 
that bitter shame of his own unworthiness.

As One higher than them would have it, she took a fancy to read 
Homer in the original, and Lancelot could do no less than offer his 
services as translator.  She would prepare for him portions of the 
Odyssey, and every day that he came up to the Priory he used to 
comment on it to her; and so for many a week, in the dark wainscoted 
library, and in the clipt yew-alleys of the old gardens, and under 
the brown autumn trees, they quarried together in that unexhausted 
mine, among the records of the rich Titan-youth of man.  And step by 
step Lancelot opened to her the everlasting significance of the 
poem; the unconscious purity which lingers in it, like the last rays 
of the Paradise dawn; its sense of the dignity of man as man; the 
religious reverence with which it speaks of all human ties, human 
strength and beauty--ay, even of merely animal human appetites, as 
God-given and Godlike symbols.  She could not but listen and admire, 
when he introduced her to the sheer paganism of Schiller's Gods of 
Greece; for on this subject he was more eloquent than on any.  He 
had gradually, in fact, as we have seen, dropped all faith in 
anything but Nature; the slightest fact about a bone or a weed was 
more important to him than all the books of divinity which Argemone 
lent him--to be laid by unread.

'What DO you believe in?' she asked him one day, sadly.

'In THIS!' he said, stamping his foot on the ground.  'In the earth 
I stand on, and the things I see walking and growing on it.  There 
may be something beside it--what you call a spiritual world.  But if 
He who made me intended me to think of spirit first, He would have 
let me see it first.  But as He has given me material senses, and 
put me in a material world, I take it as a fair hint that I am meant 
to use those senses first, whatever may come after.  I may be 
intended to understand the unseen world, but if so, it must be, as I 
suspect, by understanding the visible one:  and there are enough 
wonders there to occupy me for some time to come.'

'But the Bible?' (Argemone had given up long ago wasting words about 
the 'Church.')

'My only Bible as yet is Bacon.  I know that he is right, whoever is 
wrong.  If that Hebrew Bible is to be believed by me, it must agree 
with what I know already from science.'

What was to be done with so intractable a heretic?  Call him an 
infidel and a Materialist, of course, and cast him off with horror.  
But Argemone was beginning to find out that, when people are really 
in earnest, it may be better sometimes to leave God's methods of 
educating them alone, instead of calling the poor honest seekers 
hard names, which the speakers themselves don't understand.

But words would fail sometimes, and in default of them Lancelot had 
recourse to drawings, and manifested in them a talent for thinking 
in visible forms which put the climax to all Argemone's wonder.  A 
single profile, even a mere mathematical figure, would, in his 
hands, become the illustration of a spiritual truth.  And, in time, 
every fresh lesson on the Odyssey was accompanied by its 
illustration,--some bold and simple outline drawing.  In Argemone's 
eyes, the sketches were immaculate and inspired; for their chief, 
almost their only fault, was just those mere anatomical slips which 
a woman would hardly perceive, provided the forms were generally 
graceful and bold.

One day his fancy attempted a bolder flight.  He brought a large 
pen-and-ink drawing, and laying it silently on the table before her, 
fixed his eyes intensely on her face.  The sketch was labelled, the 
'Triumph of Woman.'  In the foreground, to the right and left, were 
scattered groups of men, in the dresses and insignia of every period 
and occupation.  The distance showed, in a few bold outlines, a 
dreary desert, broken by alpine ridges, and furrowed here and there 
by a wandering watercourse.  Long shadows pointed to the half-risen 
sun, whose disc was climbing above the waste horizon.  And in front 
of the sun, down the path of the morning beams, came Woman, clothed 
only in the armour of her own loveliness.  Her bearing was stately, 
and yet modest; in her face pensive tenderness seemed wedded with 
earnest joy.  In her right hand lay a cross, the emblem of self-
sacrifice.  Her path across the desert was marked by the flowers 
which sprang up beneath her steps; the wild gazelle stept forward 
trustingly to lick her hand; a single wandering butterfly fluttered 
round her head.  As the group, one by one, caught sight of her, a 
human tenderness and intelligence seemed to light up every face.  
The scholar dropt his book, the miser his gold, the savage his 
weapons; even in the visage of the half-slumbering sot some nobler 
recollection seemed wistfully to struggle into life.  The artist 
caught up his pencil, the poet his lyre, with eyes that beamed forth 
sudden inspiration.  The sage, whose broad brow rose above the group 
like some torrent furrowed Alp, scathed with all the temptations and 
all the sorrows of his race, watched with a thoughtful smile that 
preacher more mighty than himself.  A youth, decked out in the most 
fantastic fopperies of the middle age, stood with clasped hands and 
brimming eyes, as remorse and pleasure struggled in his face; and as 
he looked, the fierce sensual features seemed to melt, and his flesh 
came again to him like the flesh of a little child.  The slave 
forgot his fetters; little children clapped their hands; and the 
toil-worn, stunted, savage woman sprung forward to kneel at her 
feet, and see herself transfigured in that new and divine ideal of 
her sex.

Descriptions of drawings are clumsy things at best; the reader must 
fill up the sketch for himself by the eye of faith.

Entranced in wonder and pleasure, Argemone let her eyes wander over 
the drawing.  And her feelings for Lancelot amounted almost to 
worship, as she apprehended the harmonious unity of the manifold 
conception,--the rugged boldness of the groups in front, the soft 
grandeur of the figure which was the lodestar of all their emotions-
-the virginal purity of the whole.  And when she fancied that she 
traced in those bland aquiline lineaments, and in the crisp ringlets 
which floated like a cloud down to the knees of the figure, some 
traces of her own likeness, a dream of a new destiny flitted before 
her,--she blushed to her very neck; and as she bent her face over 
the drawing and gazed, her whole soul seemed to rise into her eyes, 
and a single tear dropped upon the paper.  She laid her hand over 
it, and then turned hastily away.

'You do not like it!  I have been too bold,'--said Lancelot, 
fearfully.

'Oh, no! no!  It is so beautiful--so full of deep wisdom!  But--but-
-You may leave it.'

Lancelot slipped silently out of the room, he hardly knew why; and 
when he was gone, Argemone caught up the drawing, pressed it to her 
bosom, covered it with kisses, and hid it, as too precious for any 
eyes but her own, in the farthest corner of her secretaire.

And yet she fancied that she was not in love!

The vicar saw the growth of this intimacy with a fast-lengthening 
face; for it was very evident that Argemone could not serve two 
masters so utterly contradictory as himself and Lancelot, and that 
either the lover or the father-confessor must speedily resign 
office.  The vicar had had great disadvantages, by the bye, in 
fulfilling the latter function; for his visits at the Priory had 
been all but forbidden; and Argemone's 'spiritual state' had been 
directed by means of a secret correspondence,--a method which some 
clergymen, and some young ladies too, have discovered, in the last 
few years, to be quite consistent with moral delicacy and filial 
obedience.  John Bull, like a stupid fellow as he is, has still his 
doubts upon the point; but he should remember that though St. Paul 
tells women when they want advice to ask their husbands at home, yet 
if the poor woman has no husband, or, as often happens, her 
husband's advice is unpleasant, to whom is she to go but to the next 
best substitute, her spiritual cicisbeo, or favourite clergyman?  In 
sad earnest, neither husband nor parent deserves pity in the immense 
majority of such cases.  Woman will have guidance.  It is her 
delight and glory to be led; and if her husband or her parents will 
not meet the cravings of her intellect, she must go elsewhere to 
find a teacher, and run into the wildest extravagances of private 
judgment, in the very hope of getting rid of it, just as poor 
Argemone had been led to do.

And, indeed, she had, of late, wandered into very strange paths:  
would to God they were as uncommon as strange!  Both she and the 
vicar had a great wish that she should lead a 'devoted life;' but 
then they both disdained to use common means for their object.  The 
good old English plan of district visiting, by which ladies can have 
mercy on the bodies and souls of those below them, without casting 
off the holy discipline which a home, even the most ungenial, alone 
supplies, savoured too much of mere 'Protestantism.'  It might be 
God's plan for christianising England just now, but that was no 
reason, alas! for its being their plan:  they wanted something more 
'Catholic,' more in accordance with Church principles (for, indeed, 
is it not the business of the Church to correct the errors of 
Providence!); and what they sought they found at once in a certain 
favourite establishment of the vicar's, a Church-of-England 
beguinage, or quasi-Protestant nunnery, which he fostered in a 
neighbouring city, and went thither on all high tides to confess the 
young ladies, who were in all things nuns, but bound by no vows, 
except, of course, such as they might choose to make for themselves 
in private.

Here they laboured among the lowest haunts of misery and sin, 
piously and self-denyingly enough, sweet souls! in hope of 'the 
peculiar crown,' and a higher place in heaven than the relations 
whom they had left behind them 'in the world,' and unshackled by the 
interference of parents, and other such merely fleshly 
relationships, which, as they cannot have been instituted by God 
merely to be trampled under foot on the path to holiness, and cannot 
well have instituted themselves (unless, after all, the Materialists 
are right, and this world does grind of itself, except when its 
Maker happens to interfere once every thousand years), must needs 
have been instituted by the devil.  And so more than one girl in 
that nunnery, and out of it, too, believed in her inmost heart, 
though her 'Catholic principles,' by a happy inconsistency, forbade 
her to say so.

In a moment of excitement, fascinated by the romance of the notion, 
Argemone had proposed to her mother to allow her to enter this 
beguinage, and called in the vicar as advocate; which produced a 
correspondence between him and Mrs. Lavington, stormy on her side, 
provokingly calm on his:  and when the poor lady, tired of raging, 
had descended to an affecting appeal to his human sympathies, 
entreating him to spare a mother's feelings, he had answered with 
the same impassive fanaticism, that 'he was surprised at her putting 
a mother's selfish feelings in competition with the sanctity of her 
child,' and that 'had his own daughter shown such a desire for a 
higher vocation, he should have esteemed it the very highest 
honour;' to which Mrs. Lavington answered, naively enough, that 'it 
depended very much on what his daughter was like.'--So he was all 
but forbidden the house.  Nevertheless he contrived, by means of 
this same secret correspondence, to keep alive in Argemone's mind 
the longing to turn nun, and fancied honestly that he was doing God 
service, while he was pampering the poor girl's lust for singularity 
and self-glorification.

But, lately, Argemone's letters had become less frequent and less 
confiding; and the vicar, who well knew the reason, had resolved to 
bring the matter to a crisis.

So he wrote earnestly and peremptorily to his pupil, urging her, 
with all his subtle and refined eloquence, to make a final appeal to 
her mother, and if that failed, to act 'as her conscience should 
direct her;' and enclosed an answer from the superior of the 
convent, to a letter which Argemone had in a mad moment asked him to 
write.  The superior's letter spoke of Argemone's joining her as a 
settled matter, and of her room as ready for her, while it lauded to 
the skies the peaceful activity and usefulness of the establishment.  
This letter troubled Argemone exceedingly.  She had never before 
been compelled to face her own feelings, either about the nunnery or 
about Lancelot.  She had taken up the fancy of becoming a Sister of 
Charity, not as Honoria might have done, from genuine love of the 
poor, but from 'a sense of duty.'  Almsgiving and visiting the sick 
were one of the methods of earning heaven prescribed by her new 
creed.  She was ashamed of her own laziness by the side of Honoria's 
simple benevolence; and, sad though it may be to have to say it, she 
longed to outdo her by some signal act of self-sacrifice.  She had 
looked to this nunnery, too, as an escape, once and for all, from 
her own luxury, just as people who have not strength to be temperate 
take refuge in teetotalism; and the thought of menial services 
towards the poor, however distasteful to her, came in quite prettily 
to fill up the little ideal of a life of romantic asceticisms and 
mystic contemplation, which gave the true charm in her eyes to her 
wild project.  But now--just as a field had opened to her cravings 
after poetry and art, wider and richer than she had ever imagined--
just as those simple childlike views of man and nature, which she 
had learnt to despise, were assuming an awful holiness in her eyes--
just as she had found a human soul to whose regeneration she could 
devote all her energies,--to be required to give all up, perhaps for 
ever (and she felt that if at all, it ought to be for ever);--it was 
too much for her little heart to bear; and she cried bitterly; and 
tried to pray, and could not; and longed for a strong and tender 
bosom on which to lay her head, and pour out all her doubts and 
struggles; and there was none.  Her mother did not understand--
hardly loved her.  Honoria loved her; but understood her even less 
than her mother.  Pride--the pride of intellect, the pride of self-
will--had long since sealed her lips to her own family. . . .

And then, out of the darkness of her heart, Lancelot's image rose 
before her stronger than all, tenderer than all; and as she 
remembered his magical faculty of anticipating all her thoughts, 
embodying for her all her vague surmises, he seemed to beckon her 
towards him.--She shuddered and turned away.  And now she first 
became conscious how he had haunted her thoughts in the last few 
months, not as a soul to be saved, but as a living man--his face, 
his figure, his voice, his every gesture and expression, rising 
clear before her, in spite of herself, by day and night.

And then she thought of his last drawing, and the looks which had 
accompanied it,--unmistakable looks of passionate and adoring love.  
There was no denying it--she had always known that he loved her, but 
she had never dared to confess it to herself.  But now the 
earthquake was come, and all the secrets of her heart burst upward 
to the light, and she faced the thought in shame and terror.  'How 
unjust I have been to him! how cruel! thus to entice him on in 
hopeless love!'

She lifted up her eyes, and saw in the mirror opposite the 
reflection of her own exquisite beauty.

'I could have known what I was doing!  I knew all the while!  And 
yet it is so delicious to feel that any one loves me!  Is it 
selfishness?  It is selfishness, to pamper my vanity on an affection 
which I do not, will not return.  I will not be thus in debt to him, 
even for his love.  I do not love him--I do not; and even if I did, 
to give myself up to a man of whom I know so little, who is not even 
a Christian, much less a Churchman!  Ay! and to give up my will to 
any man! to become the subject, the slave, of another human being!  
I, who have worshipped the belief in woman's independence, the hope 
of woman's enfranchisement, who have felt how glorious it is to live 
like the angels, single and self-sustained!  What if I cut the 
Gordian knot, and here make, once for all, a vow of perpetual 
celibacy?'

She flung herself on her knees--she could not collect her thoughts.

'No,' she said, 'I am not prepared for this.  It is too solemn to be 
undertaken in this miserable whirlwind of passion.  I will fast, and 
meditate, and go up formally to the little chapel, and there devote 
myself to God; and, in the meantime, to write at once to the 
superior of the Beguines; to go to my mother, and tell her once for 
all--What?  Must I lose him?--must I give him up?  Not his love--I 
cannot give up that--would that I could! but no! he will love me for 
ever.  I know it as well as if an angel told me.  But to give up 
him!  Never to see him! never to hear his voice! never to walk with 
him among the beech woods any more!  Oh, Argemone!  Argemone! 
miserable girl! and is it come to this?'  And she threw herself on 
the sofa, and hid her face in her hands.

Yes, Argemone, it is come to this; and the best thing you can do, is 
just what you are doing--to lie there and cry yourself to sleep, 
while the angels are laughing kindly (if a solemn public, who 
settles everything for them, will permit them to laugh) at the 
rickety old windmill of sham-Popery which you have taken for a real 
giant.

At that same day and hour, as it chanced, Lancelot, little dreaming 
what the said windmill was grinding for him, was scribbling a hasty 
and angry answer to a letter of Luke's, which, perhaps, came that 
very morning in order to put him into a proper temper for the 
demolishing of windmills.  It ran thus,--


'Ay, my good Cousin,--So I expected--


'Suave mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis
E terra magnum alterius spectare laborem . . .


Pleasant and easy for you Protestants (for I will call you what you 
are, in spite of your own denials, a truly consistent and logical 
Protestant--and therefore a Materialist)--easy for you, I say, to 
sit on the shore, in cold, cruel self-satisfaction, and tell the 
poor wretch buffeting with the waves what he ought to do while he is 
choking and drowning. . . .  Thank Heaven, the storm has stranded me 
upon the everlasting Rock of Peter;--but it has been a sore trouble 
to reach it.  Protestants, who look at creeds as things to be 
changed like coats, whenever they seem not to fit them, little know 
what we Catholic-hearted ones suffer. . . .  If they did, they would 
be more merciful and more chary in the requirements of us, just as 
we are in the very throe of a new-born existence.  The excellent 
man, to whose care I have committed myself, has a wise and a tender 
heart . . . he saw no harm in my concealing from my father the 
spiritual reason of my giving up my curacy (for I have given it up), 
and only giving the outward, but equally true reason, that I found 
it on the whole an ineligible and distressing post. . . .  I know 
you will apply to such an act that disgusting monosyllable of which 
Protestants are so fond.  He felt with me and for me--for my horror 
of giving pain to my father, and for my wearied and excited state of 
mind; and strangely enough--to show how differently, according to 
the difference of the organs, the same object may appear to two 
people--he quoted in my favour that very verse which you wrest 
against me.  He wished me to show my father that I had only changed 
my heaven, and not my character, by becoming an Ultramontane-
Catholic . . . that, as far as his esteem and affection were founded 
on anything in me, the ground of it did not vanish with my 
conversion.  If I had told him at once of my altered opinions, he 
would have henceforth viewed every word and action with a perjudiced 
eye. . . .  Protestants are so bigoted . . . but if, after seeing me 
for a month or two the same Luke that he had ever known me, he were 
gradually informed that I had all the while held that creed which he 
had considered incompatible with such a life as I hope mine would 
be--you must see the effect which it ought to have. . . . I don't 
doubt that you will complain of all this. . . .  All I can say is, 
that I cannot sympathise with that superstitious reverence for mere 
verbal truth, which is so common among Protestants. . . . It seems 
to me they throw away the spirit of truth, in their idolatry of its 
letter.  For instance,--what is the use of informing a man of a true 
fact but to induce a true opinion in him?  But if, by clinging to 
the exact letter of the fact, you create a false opinion in his 
mind, as I should do in my father's case, if by telling him at once 
of my change, I gave him an unjust horror of Catholicism,--you do 
not tell him the truth. . . .  You may speak what is true to you,--
but it becomes an error when received into his mind. . . . If his 
mind is a refracting and polarising medium--if the crystalline lens 
of his soul's eye has been changed into tourmaline or Labrador spar-
-the only way to give him a true image of the fact, is to present it 
to him already properly altered in form, and adapted to suit the 
obliquity of his vision; in order that the very refractive power of 
his faculties may, instead of distorting it, correct it, and make it 
straight for him; and so a verbal wrong in fact may possess him with 
a right opinion. . . .

'You see the whole question turns on your Protestant deification of 
the intellect. . . .  If you really believed, as you all say you do, 
that the nature of man, and therefore his intellect among the rest, 
was utterly corrupt, you would not be so superstitiously careful to 
tell the truth . . . as you call it; because you would know that 
man's heart, if not his head, would needs turn the truth into a lie 
by its own corruption. . . .  The proper use of reasoning is to 
produce opinion,--and if the subject in which you wish to produce 
the opinion is diseased, you must adapt the medicine accordingly.'


To all which Lancelot, with several strong curses, scrawled the 
following answer:--


'And this is my Cousin Luke!--Well, I shall believe henceforward 
that there is, after all, a thousand times greater moral gulf fixed 
between Popery and Tractarianism, than between Tractarianism and the 
extremest Protestantism.  My dear fellow,--I won't bother you, by 
cutting up your charming ambiguous middle terms, which make reason 
and reasoning identical, or your theory that the office of reasoning 
is to induce opinions--(the devil take opinions, right or wrong--I 
want facts, faith in real facts!)--or about deifying the intellect--
as if all sound intellect was not in itself divine light--a 
revelation to man of absolute laws independent of him, as the very 
heathens hold.  But this I will do--thank you most sincerely for the 
compliment you pay us Cismontane heretics.  We do retain some dim 
belief in a God--even I am beginning to believe in believing in Him.  
And therefore, as I begin to suppose, it is, that we reverence 
facts, as the work of God, His acted words and will, which we dare 
not falsify; which we believe will tell their own story better than 
we can tell it for them.  If our eyes are dimmed, we think it safer 
to clear them, which do belong to us, than to bedevil, by the light 
of those very ALREADY DIMMED eyes, the objects round, which do not 
belong to us.  Whether we are consistent or not about the 
corruptness of man, we are about the incorruptness of God; and 
therefore about that of the facts by which God teaches men:  and 
believe, and will continue to believe, that the blackest of all 
sins, the deepest of all Atheisms, that which, above all things, 
proves no faith in God's government of the universe, no sense of His 
presence, no understanding of His character, is--a lie.

'One word more--Unless you tell your father within twenty-four hours 
after receiving this letter, I will.  And I, being a Protestant (if 
cursing Popery means Protestantism), mean what I say.'


As Lancelot walked up to the Priory that morning, the Reverend 
Panurgus O'Blareaway dashed out of a cottage by the roadside, and 
seized him unceremoniously by the shoulders.  He was a specimen of 
humanity which Lancelot could not help at once liking and despising; 
a quaint mixture of conceit and earnestness, uniting the shrewdness 
of a stockjobber with the frolic of a schoolboy broke loose.  He was 
rector of a place in the west of Ireland, containing some ten 
Protestants and some thousand Papists.  Being, unfortunately for 
himself, a red-hot Orangeman, he had thought fit to quarrel with the 
priest, in consequence of which he found himself deprived both of 
tithes and congregation; and after receiving three or four Rockite 
letters, and a charge of slugs through his hat (of which he always 
talked as if being shot at was the most pleasant and amusing feature 
of Irish life), he repaired to England, and there, after trying to 
set up as popular preacher in London, declaiming at Exeter Hall, and 
writing for all the third-rate magazines, found himself incumbent of 
Lower Whitford.  He worked there, as he said himself, 'like a 
horse;' spent his mornings in the schools, his afternoons in the 
cottages; preached four or five extempore sermons every week to 
overflowing congregations; took the lead, by virtue of the 'gift of 
the gab,' at all 'religious' meetings for ten miles round; and 
really did a great deal of good in his way.  He had an unblushing 
candour about his own worldly ambition, with a tremendous brogue; 
and prided himself on exaggerating deliberately both of these 
excellences.

'The top of the morning to ye, Mr. Smith.  Ye haven't such a thing 
as a cegar about ye?  I've been preaching to school-children till me 
throat's as dry as the slave of a lime-burner's coat.'

'I am very sorry; but, really, I have left my case at home.'

'Oh! ah! faix and I forgot.  Ye mustn't be smokin' the nasty things 
going up to the castle.  Och, Mr. Smith, but you're the lucky man!'

'I am much obliged to you for the compliment,' said Lancelot, 
gruffly; 'but really I don't see how I deserve it.'

'Desarve it!  Sure luck's all, and that's your luck, and not your 
deserts at all.  To have the handsomest girl in the county dying for 
love of ye'--(Panurgus had a happy knack of blurting out truths--
when they were pleasant ones).  'And she just the beautifulest 
creature that ever spilte shoe-leather, barring Lady Philandria 
Mountflunkey, of Castle Mountflunkey, Quane's County, that shall be 
nameless.'

'Upon my word, O'Blareaway, you seem to be better acquainted with my 
matters than I am.  Don't you think, on the whole, it might be 
better to mind your own business?'

'Me own business!  Poker o' Moses! and ain't it me own business?  
Haven't ye spilte my tenderest hopes?  And good luck to ye in that 
same, for ye're as pretty a rider as ever kicked coping-stones out 
of a wall; and poor Paddy loves a sportsman by nature.  Och! but 
ye've got a hand of trumps this time.  Didn't I mate the vicar the 
other day, and spake my mind to him?'

'What do you mean?' asked Lancelot, with a strong expletive.

'Faix, I told him he might as well Faugh a ballagh--make a rid road, 
and get out of that, with his bowings and his crossings, and his 
Popery made asy for small minds, for there was a gun a-field that 
would wipe his eye,--maning yourself, ye Prathestant.'

'All I can say is, that you had really better mind your own 
business, and I'll mind my own.'

'Och,' said the good-natured Irishman, 'and it's you must mind my 
business, and I'll mind yours; and that's all fair and aqual.  Ye've 
cut me out intirely at the Priory, ye Tory, and so ye're bound to 
give me a lift somehow.  Couldn't ye look me out a fine fat widow, 
with an illigant little fortune?  For what's England made for except 
to find poor Paddy a wife and money?  Ah, ye may laugh, but I'd buy 
me a chapel at the West-end:  me talents are thrown away here 
intirely, wasting me swateness on the desert air, as Tom Moore says' 
(Panurgus used to attribute all quotations whatsoever to Irish 
geniuses); 'and I flatter meself I'm the boy to shute the Gospel to 
the aristocracy.'

Lancelot burst into a roar of laughter, and escaped over the next 
gate:  but the Irishman's coarse hints stuck by him as they were 
intended to do.  'Dying for the love of me!'  He knew it was an 
impudent exaggeration, but, somehow, it gave him confidence; 'there 
is no smoke,' he thought, 'without fire.'  And his heart beat high 
with new hopes, for which he laughed at himself all the while.  It 
was just the cordial which he needed.  That conversation determined 
the history of his life.

He met Argemone that morning in the library, as usual; but he soon 
found that she was not thinking of Homer.  She was moody and 
abstracted; and he could not help at last saying,--

'I am afraid I and my classics are de trop this morning, Miss 
Lavington.'

'Oh, no, no.  Never that.'  She turned away her head.  He fancied 
that it was to hide a tear.

Suddenly she rose, and turned to him with a clear, calm, gentle 
gaze.

'Listen to me, Mr. Smith.  We must part to-day, and for ever.  This 
intimacy has gone on--too long, I am afraid, for your happiness.  
And now, like all pleasant things in this miserable world, it must 
cease.  I cannot tell you why; but you will trust me.  I thank you 
for it--I thank God for it.  I have learnt things from it which I 
shall never forget.  I have learnt, at least from it, to esteem and 
honour you.  You have vast powers.  Nothing, nothing, I believe, is 
too high for you to attempt and succeed.  But we must part; and now, 
God be with you.  Oh, that you would but believe that these glorious 
talents are His loan!  That you would but be a true and loyal knight 
to him who said--"Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and 
ye shall find rest unto your souls!"--Ay,' she went on, more and 
more passionately, for she felt that not she, but One mightier than 
herself was speaking through her, 'then you might be great indeed.  
Then I might watch your name from afar, rising higher and higher 
daily in the ranks of God's own heroes.  I see it--and you have 
taught me to see it--that you are meant for a faith nobler and 
deeper than all doctrines and systems can give.  You must become the 
philosopher, who can discover new truths--the artist who can embody 
them in new forms, while poor I--And that is another reason why we 
should part.--Hush! hear me out.  I must not be a clog, to drag you 
down in your course.  Take this, and farewell; and remember that you 
once had a friend called Argemone.'

She put into his hands a little Bible.  He took it, and laid it down 
on the table.

For a minute he stood silent and rooted to the spot.  
Disappointment, shame, rage, hatred, all boiled up madly within him.  
The bitterest insults rose to his lips--'Flirt, cold-hearted pedant, 
fanatic!' but they sank again unspoken, as he looked into the 
celestial azure of those eyes, calm and pure as a soft evening sky.  
A mighty struggle between good and evil shook his heart to the 
roots; and, for the first time in his life, his soul breathed out 
one real prayer, that God would help him now or never to play the 
man.  And in a moment the darkness passed; a new spirit called out 
all the latent strength within him; and gently and proudly he 
answered her,--

'Yes, I will go.  I have had mad dreams, conceited and insolent, and 
have met with my deserts.  Brute and fool as I am, I have aspired 
even to you!  And I have gained, in the sunshine of your 
condescension, strength and purity.--Is not that enough for me?  And 
now I will show you that I love you--by obeying you.  You tell me to 
depart--I go for ever.'

He turned away.  Why did she almost spring after him?

'Lancelot! one word!  Do not misunderstand me, as I know you will.  
You will think me so cold, heartless, fickle.--Oh, you do not know--
you never can know--how much I, too, have felt!'

He stopped, spell-bound.  In an instant his conversation with the 
Irishman flashed up before him with new force and meaning.  A 
thousand petty incidents, which he had driven contemptuously from 
his mind, returned as triumphant evidences; and, with an impetuous 
determination, he cried out,--

'I see--I see it all, Argemone!  We love each other!  You are mine, 
never to be parted!'

What was her womanhood, that it could stand against the energy of 
his manly will!  The almost coarse simplicity of his words silenced 
her with a delicious violence.  She could only bury her face in her 
hands and sob out,--

'Oh, Lancelot, Lancelot, whither are you forcing me?'

'I am forcing you no whither.  God, the Father of spirits, is 
leading you!  You, who believe in Him, how dare you fight against 
Him?'

'Lancelot, I cannot--I cannot listen to you--read that!'  And she 
handed him the vicar's letter.  He read it, tossed it on the carpet, 
and crushed it with his heel.

'Wretched pedant!  Can your intellect be deluded by such barefaced 
sophistries?  "God's will," forsooth!  And if your mother's 
opposition is not a sign that God's will--if it mean anything except 
your own will, or that--that man's--is against this mad project, and 
not for it, what sign would you have?  So "celibacy is the highest 
state!"  And why?  Because "it is the safest and the easiest road to 
heaven?"  A pretty reason, vicar!  I should have thought that that 
was a sign of a lower state and not a higher.  Noble spirits show 
their nobleness by daring the most difficult paths.  And even if 
marriage was but one weed-field of temptations, as these miserable 
pedants say, who have either never tried it, or misused it to their 
own shame, it would be a greater deed to conquer its temptations 
than to flee from them in cowardly longings after ease and safety!'

She did not answer him, but kept her face buried in her hands.

'Again, I say, Argemone, will you fight against Fate--Providence--
God--call it what you will?  Who made us meet at the chapel?  Who 
made me, by my accident, a guest in your father's house!  Who put it 
into your heart to care for my poor soul?  Who gave us this strange 
attraction towards each other, in spite of our unlikeness?  
Wonderful that the very chain of circumstances which you seem to 
fancy the offspring of chance or the devil, should have first taught 
me to believe that there is a God who guides us!  Argemone! speak, 
tell me, if you will, to go for ever; but tell me first the truth--
You love me!'

A strong shudder ran through her frame--the ice of artificial years 
cracked, and the clear stream of her woman's nature welled up to the 
light, as pure as when she first lay on her mother's bosom:  she 
lifted up her eyes, and with one long look of passionate tenderness 
she faltered out,--

'I love you!'

He did not stir, but watched her with clasped hands, like one who in 
dreams finds himself in some fairy palace, and fears that a movement 
may break the spell.

'Now, go,' she said; 'go, and let me collect my thoughts.  All this 
has been too much for me.  Do not look sad--you may come again to-
morrow.'

She smiled and held out her hand.  He caught it, covered it with 
kisses, and pressed it to his heart.  She half drew it back, 
frightened.  The sensation was new to her.  Again the delicious 
feeling of being utterly in his power came over her, and she left 
her hand upon his heart, and blushed as she felt its passionate 
throbbings.

He turned to go--not as before.  She followed with greedy eyes her 
new-found treasure; and as the door closed behind him, she felt as 
if Lancelot was the whole world, and there was nothing beside him, 
and wondered how a moment had made him all in all to her; and then 
she sank upon her knees, and folded her hands upon her bosom, and 
her prayers for him were like the prayers of a little child.



CHAPTER XI:  THUNDERSTORM THE FIRST



But what had become of the 'bit of writing' which Harry Verney, by 
the instigation of his evil genius, had put into the squire's fly-
book?  Tregarva had waited in terrible suspense for many weeks, 
expecting the explosion which he knew must follow its discovery.  He 
had confided to Lancelot the contents of the paper, and Lancelot had 
tried many stratagems to get possession of it, but all in vain.  
Tregarva took this as calmly as he did everything else.  Only once, 
on the morning of the eclaircissement between Lancelot and Argemone, 
he talked to Lancelot of leaving his place, and going out to seek 
his fortune; but some spell, which he did not explain, seemed to 
chain him to the Priory.  Lancelot thought it was the want of money, 
and offered to lend him ten pounds whenever he liked; but Tregarva 
shook his head.

'You have treated me, sir, as no one else has done--like a man and a 
friend; but I am not going to make a market of your generosity.  I 
will owe no man anything, save to love one another.'

'But how do you intend to live?' asked Lancelot, as they stood 
together in the cloisters.

'There's enough of me, sir, to make a good navigator if all trades 
fail.'

'Nonsense! you must not throw yourself away so.'

'Oh, sir, there's good to be done, believe me, among those poor 
fellows.  They wander up and down the land like hogs and heathens, 
and no one tells them that they have a soul to be saved.  Not one 
parson in a thousand gives a thought to them.  They can manage old 
folks and little children, sir, but, somehow, they never can get 
hold of the young men--just those who want them most.  There's a 
talk about ragged schools, now.  Why don't they try ragged churches, 
sir, and a ragged service?'

'What do you mean?'

'Why, sir, the parsons are ready enough to save souls, but it must 
be only according to rule and regulation.  Before the Gospel can be 
preached there must be three thousand pounds got together for a 
church, and a thousand for an endowment, not to mention the thousand 
pounds that the clergyman's education costs:  I don't think of his 
own keep, sir; that's little enough, often; and those that work 
hardest get least pay, it seems to me.  But after all that expense, 
when they've built the church, it's the tradesmen, and the gentry, 
and the old folk that fill it, and the working men never come near 
it from one year's end to another.'

'What's the cause, do you think?' asked Lancelot, who had himself 
remarked the same thing more than once.

'Half of the reason, sir, I do believe, is that same Prayer-book.  
Not that the Prayer-book ain't a fine book enough, and a true one; 
but, don't you see, sir, to understand the virtue of it, the poor 
fellows ought to be already just what you want to make them.'

'You mean that they ought to be thorough Christians already, to 
appreciate the spirituality of the liturgy.'

'You've hit it, sir.  And see what comes of the present plan; how a 
navvy drops into a church by accident, and there he has to sit like 
a fish out of water, through that hour's service, staring or 
sleeping, before he can hear a word that he understands; and, sir, 
when the sermon does come at last, it's not many of them can make 
much out of those fine book-words and long sentences.  Why don't 
they have a short simple service, now and then, that might catch the 
ears of the roughs and the blowens, without tiring out the poor 
thoughtless creatures' patience, as they do now?'

'Because,' said Lancelot,--'because--I really don't know why.--But I 
think there is a simpler plan than even a ragged service.'

'What, then, sir?'

'Field-preaching.  If the mountain won't come to Mahomet, let 
Mahomet go to the mountain.'

'Right, sir; right you are.  "Go out into the highways and hedges, 
and compel them to come in."  And why are they to speak to them only 
one by one?  Why not by the dozen and the hundred?  We Wesleyans 
know, sir,--for the matter of that, every soldier knows,--what 
virtue there is in getting a lot of men together; how good and evil 
spread like wildfire through a crowd; and one man, if you can stir 
him up, will become leaven to leaven the whole lump.  Oh why, sir, 
are they so afraid of field-preaching?  Was not their Master and 
mine the prince of all field-preachers?  Think, if the Apostles had 
waited to collect subscriptions for a church before they spoke to 
the poor heathens, where should we have been now?'

Lancelot could not but agree.  But at that moment a footman came up, 
and, with a face half laughing, half terrified, said,--

'Tregarva, master wants you in the study.  And please, sir, I think 
you had better go in too; master knows you're here, and you might 
speak a word for good, for he's raging like a mad bull.'

'I knew it would come at last,' said Tregarva, quietly, as he 
followed Lancelot into the house.

It had come at last.  The squire was sitting in his study, purple 
with rage, while his daughters were trying vainly to pacify him.  
All the men-servants, grooms, and helpers, were drawn up in line 
along the wall, and greeted Tregarva, whom they all heartily liked, 
with sly and sorrowful looks of warning,

'Here, you sir; you--, look at this!  Is this the way you repay me?  
I, who have kept you out of the workhouse, treated you like my own 
child?  And then to go and write filthy, rascally, Radical ballads 
on me and mine!  This comes of your Methodism, you canting, sneaking 
hypocrite!--you viper--you adder--you snake--you--!'  And the 
squire, whose vocabulary was not large, at a loss for another 
synonym, rounded off his oration by a torrent of oaths; at which 
Argemone, taking Honoria's hand, walked proudly out of the room, 
with one glance at Lancelot of mingled shame and love.  'This is 
your handwriting, you villain! you know it' (and the squire tossed 
the fatal paper across the table); 'though I suppose you'll lie 
about it.  How can you depend on fellows who speak evil of their 
betters?  But all the servants are ready to swear it's your 
handwriting.'

'Beg your pardon, sir,' interposed the old butler, 'we didn't quite 
say that; but we'll all swear it isn't ours.'

'The paper is mine,' said Tregarva.

'Confound your coolness!  He's no more ashamed of it than--Read it 
out, Smith, read it out every word; and let them all hear how this 
pauper, this ballad-singing vagabond, whom I have bred up to insult 
me, dares to abuse his own master.'

'I have not abused you, sir,' answered Tregarva.  'I will be heard, 
sir!' he went on in a voice which made the old man start from his 
seat and clench his fist but he sat down again.  'Not a word in it 
is meant for you.  You have been a kind and a good master to me.  
Ask where you will if I was ever heard to say a word against you.  I 
would have cut off my right hand sooner than write about you or 
yours.  But what I had to say about others lies there, and I am not 
ashamed of it.'

'Not against me?  Read it out, Smith, and see if every word of it 
don't hit at me, and at my daughters, too, by--, worst of all!  Read 
it out, I say!'

Lancelot hesitated; but the squire, who was utterly beside himself, 
began to swear at him also, as masters of hounds are privileged to 
do; and Lancelot, to whom the whole scene was becoming every moment 
more and more intensely ludicrous, thought it best to take up the 
paper and begin:--


'A ROUGH RHYME ON A ROUGH MATTER.

'The merry brown hares came leaping
   Over the crest of the hill,
Where the clover and corn lay sleeping
   Under the moonlight still.

'Leaping late and early,
   Till under their bite and their tread
The swedes, and the wheat, and the barley,
   Lay cankered, and trampled, and dead.

'A poacher's widow sat sighing
   On the side of the white chalk bank,
Where under the gloomy fir-woods
   One spot in the ley throve rank.

'She watched a long tuft of clover,
   Where rabbit or hare never ran;
For its black sour haulm covered over
   The blood of a murdered man.

'She thought of the dark plantation,
   And the hares and her husband's blood,
And the voice of her indignation
   Rose up to the throne of God.

'"I am long past wailing and whining--
   I have wept too much in my life:
I've had twenty years of pining
   As an English labourer's wife.

'"A labourer in Christian England,
   Where they cant of a Saviour's name,
And yet waste men's lives like the vermin's
   For a few more brace of game.

'"There's blood on your new foreign shrubs, squire;
   There's blood on your pointer's feet;
There's blood on the game you sell, squire,
   And there's blood on the game you eat!"'


'You villain!' interposed the squire, 'when did I ever sell a head 
of game?'


'"You have sold the labouring man, squire,
   Body and soul to shame,
To pay for your seat in the House, squire,
   And to pay for the feed of your game.

"'You made him a poacher yourself, squire,
   When you'd give neither work nor meat;
And your barley-fed hares robbed the garden
   At our starving children's feet;

'"When packed in one reeking chamber,
   Man, maid, mother, and little ones lay;
While the rain pattered in on the rotting bride-bed,
   And the walls let in the day;

'"When we lay in the burning fever
   On the mud of the cold clay floor,
Till you parted us all for three months, squire,
   At the cursed workhouse door.

"'We quarrelled like brutes, and who wonders?
   What self-respect could we keep,
Worse housed than your hacks and your pointers,
   Worse fed than your hogs and your sheep?"'


'And yet he has the impudence to say he don't mean me!' grumbled the 
old man.  Tregarva winced a good deal--as if he knew what was coming 
next; and then looked up relieved when he found Lancelot had omitted 
a stanza--which I shall not omit.


'"Our daughters with base-born babies
   Have wandered away in their shame;
If your misses had slept, squire, where they did,
   Your misses might do the same.

"'Can your lady patch hearts that are breaking
   With handfuls of coals and rice,
Or by dealing out flannel and sheeting
   A little below cost price?

"'You may tire of the gaol and the workhouse,
   And take to allotments and schools,
But you've run up a debt that will never
   Be repaid us by penny-club rules.

'"In the season of shame and sadness,
   In the dark and dreary day
When scrofula, gout, and madness,
   Are eating your race away;

"'When to kennels and liveried varlets
   You have cast your daughters' bread;
And worn out with liquor and harlots,
   Your heir at your feet lies dead;

"'When your youngest, the mealy-mouthed rector,
   Lets your soul rot asleep to the grave,
You will find in your God the protector
   Of the freeman you fancied your slave."

'She looked at the tuft of clover,
   And wept till her heart grew light;
And at last, when her passion was over,
   Went wandering into the night.

'But the merry brown hares came leaping
   Over the uplands still,
Where the clover and corn lay sleeping
   On the side of the white chalk hill.'


'Surely, sir,' said Lancelot, 'you cannot suppose that this latter 
part applies to you. or your family?'

'If it don't, it applies to half the gentlemen in the vale, and 
that's just as bad.  What right has the fellow to speak evil of 
dignities?' continued he, quoting the only text in the Bible which 
he was inclined to make a 'rule absolute.'  'What does such an 
insolent dog deserve?  What don't he deserve, I say?'

'I think,' quoth Lancelot, ambiguously, 'that a man who can write 
such ballads is not fit to be your gamekeeper, and I think he feels 
so himself;' and Lancelot stole an encouraging look at Tregarva.

'And I say, sir,' the keeper answered, with an effort, 'that I leave 
Mr. Lavington's service here on the spot, once and for all.'

'And that you may do, my fine fellow!' roared the squire.  'Pay the 
rascal his wages, steward, and then duck him soundly in the weir-
pool.  He had better have stayed there when he fell in last.'

'So I had, indeed, I think.  But I'll take none of your money.  The 
day Harry Verney was buried I vowed that I'd touch no more of the 
wages of blood.  I'm going, sir; I never harmed you, or meant a hard 
word of all this for you, or dreamt that you or any living soul 
would ever see it.  But what I've seen myself, in spite of myself, 
I've set down here, and am not ashamed of it.  And woe,' he went on 
with an almost prophetic solemnity in his tone and gesture--'woe to 
those who do these things! and woe to those also who, though they 
dare not do them themselves, yet excuse and defend them who dare, 
just because the world calls them gentlemen, and not tyrants and 
oppressors.'

He turned to go.  The squire, bursting with passion, sprang up with 
a terrible oath, turned deadly pale, staggered, and dropped 
senseless on the floor.

They all rushed to lift him up.  Tregarva was the first to take him 
in his arms and place him tenderly in his chair, where he lay back 
with glassy eyes, snoring heavily in a fit of apoplexy.

'Go; for God's sake, go,' whispered Lancelot to the keeper, 'and 
wait for me at Lower Whitford.  I must see you before you stir.'

The keeper slipped away sadly.  The ladies rushed in--a groom 
galloped off for the doctor--met him luckily in the village, and, in 
a few minutes, the squire was bled and put to bed, and showed 
hopeful signs of returning consciousness.  And as Argemone and 
Lancelot leant together over his pillow, her hair touched her 
lover's, and her fragrant breath was warm upon his cheek; and her 
bright eyes met his and drank light from them, like glittering 
planets gazing at their sun.

The obnoxious ballad produced the most opposite effects on Argemone 
and on Honoria.  Argemone, whose reverence for the formalities and 
the respectabilities of society, never very great, had, of late, 
utterly vanished before Lancelot's bad counsel, could think of it 
only as a work of art, and conceived the most romantic longing to 
raise Tregarva into some station where his talents might have free 
play.  To Honoria, on the other hand, it appeared only as a very 
fierce, coarse, and impertinent satire, which had nearly killed her 
father.  True, there was not a thought in it which had not at some 
time or other crossed her own mind; but that made her dislike all 
the more to see those thoughts put into plain English.  That very 
intense tenderness and excitability which made her toil herself 
among the poor, and had called out both her admiration of Tregarva 
and her extravagant passion at his danger, made her also shrink with 
disgust from anything which thrust on her a painful reality, which 
she could not remedy.  She was a staunch believer, too, in that 
peculiar creed which allows every one to feel for the poor, except 
themselves, and considers that to plead the cause of working-men is, 
in a gentleman, the perfection of virtue, but in a working-man 
himself, sheer high treason.  And so beside her father's sick-bed 
she thought of the keeper only as a scorpion whom she had helped to 
warm into life; and sighing assent to her mother, when she said, 
'That wretch, and he seemed so pious and so obliging! who would have 
dreamt that he was such a horrid Radical?' she let him vanish from 
her mind and out of Whitford Priors, little knowing the sore weight 
of manly love he bore with him.

As soon as Lancelot could leave the Priory, he hastened home to find 
Tregarva.  The keeper had packed up all his small possessions and 
brought them down to Lower Whitford, through which the London coach 
passed.  He was determined to go to London and seek his fortune.  He 
talked of turning coal-heaver, Methodist preacher, anything that 
came to hand, provided that he could but keep independence and a 
clear conscience.  And all the while the man seemed to be struggling 
with some great purpose,--to feel that he had a work to do, though 
what it was, and how it was to be done, he did not see.

'I am a tall man,' he said, 'like Saul the son of Kish; and I am 
going forth, like him, sir, to find my father's asses.  I doubt I 
shan't have to look far for some of them.'

'And perhaps,' said Lancelot, laughing, 'to find a kingdom.'

'May be so, sir.  I have found one already, by God's grace, and I'm 
much mistaken if I don't begin to see my way towards another.'

'And what is that?'

'The kingdom of God on earth, sir, as well as in heaven.  Come it 
must, sir, and come it will some day.'

Lancelot shook his head.

Tregarva lifted up his eyes and said,--

'Are we not taught to pray for the coming of His kingdom, sir?  And 
do you fancy that He who gave the lesson would have set all mankind 
to pray for what He never meant should come to pass?'

Lancelot was silent.  The words gained a new and blessed meaning in 
his eyes.

'Well,' he said, 'the time, at least, of their fulfilment is far 
enough off.  Union-workhouses and child-murder don't look much like 
it.  Talking of that, Tregarva, what is to become of your promise to 
take me to a village wake, and show me what the poor are like?'

'I can keep it this night, sir.  There is a revel at Bone-sake, 
about five miles up the river.  Will you go with a discharged 
gamekeeper?'

'I will go with Paul Tregarva, whom I honour and esteem as one of 
God's own noblemen; who has taught me what a man can be, and what I 
am not,'--and Lancelot grasped the keeper's hand warmly.  Tregarva 
brushed his hand across his eyes, and answered,--

'"I said in my haste, All men are liars;" and God has just given me 
the lie back in my own teeth.  Well, sir, we will go to-night.  You 
are not ashamed of putting on a smock-frock?  For if you go as a 
gentleman, you will hear no more of them than a hawk does of a covey 
of partridges.'

So the expedition was agreed on, and Lancelot and the keeper parted 
until the evening.

But why had the vicar been rambling on all that morning through 
pouring rain, on the top of the London coach?  And why was he so 
anxious in his inquiries as to the certainty of catching the up-
train?  Because he had had considerable experience in that wisdom of 
the serpent, whose combination with the innocence of the dove, in 
somewhat ultramontane proportions, is recommended by certain late 
leaders of his school.  He had made up his mind, after his 
conversation with the Irishman, that he must either oust Lancelot at 
once, or submit to be ousted by him, and he was now on his way to 
Lancelot's uncle and trustee, the London banker.

He knew that the banker had some influence with his nephew, whose 
whole property was invested in the bank, and who had besides a deep 
respect for the kindly and upright practical mind of the veteran 
Mammonite.  And the vicar knew, too, that he himself had some 
influence with the banker, whose son Luke had been his pupil at 
college.  And when the young man lay sick of a dangerous illness, 
brought on by debauchery, into which weakness rather than vice had 
tempted him, the vicar had watched and prayed by his bed, nursed him 
as tenderly as a mother, and so won over his better heart that he 
became completely reclaimed, and took holy orders with the most 
earnest intention to play the man therein, as repentant rakes will 
often do, half from a mere revulsion to asceticism, half from real 
gratitude for their deliverance.  This good deed had placed the 
banker in the vicar's debt, and he loved and reverenced him in spite 
of his dread of 'Popish novelties.'  And now the good priest was 
going to open to him just as much of his heart as should seem fit; 
and by saying a great deal about Lancelot's evil doings, opinions, 
and companions, and nothing at all about the heiress of Whitford, 
persuade the banker to use all his influence in drawing Lancelot up 
to London, and leaving a clear stage for his plans on Argemone.  He 
caught the up-train, he arrived safe and sound in town, but what he 
did there must be told in another chapter.



CHAPTER XII:  THUNDERSTORM THE SECOND



Weary with many thoughts, the vicar came to the door of the bank.  
There were several carriages there, and a crowd of people swarming 
in and out, like bees round a hive-door, entering with anxious 
faces, and returning with cheerful ones, to stop and talk earnestly 
in groups round the door.  Every moment the mass thickened--there 
was a run on the bank.  An old friend accosted him on the steps,--

'What! have you, too, money here, then?'

'Neither here nor anywhere else, thank Heaven!' said the vicar.  
'But is anything wrong?'

'Have not you heard?  The house has sustained a frightful blow this 
week--railway speculations, so they say--and is hardly expected to 
survive the day.  So we are all getting our money out as fast as 
possible.'

'By way of binding up the bruised reed, eh?'

'Oh! every man for himself.  A man is under no obligation to his 
banker, that I know of.'  And the good man bustled off with his 
pockets full of gold.

The vicar entered.  All was hurry and anxiety.  The clerks seemed 
trying to brazen out their own terror, and shovelled the rapidly 
lessening gold and notes across the counter with an air of indignant 
nonchalance.  The vicar asked to see the principal.

'If you want your money, sir--' answered the official, with a 
disdainful look.

'I want no money.  I must see Mr. Smith on private business, and 
instantly.'

'He is particularly engaged.'

'I know it, and, therefore, I must see him.  Take in my card, and he 
will not refuse me.'  A new vista had opened itself before him.

He was ushered into a private room:  and, as he waited for the 
banker, he breathed a prayer.  For what?  That his own will might be 
done--a very common style of petition.

Mr. Smith entered, hurried and troubled.  He caught the vicar 
eagerly by the hand, as if glad to see a face which did not glare on 
him with the cold selfish stamp of 'business,' and then drew back 
again, afraid to commit himself by any sign of emotion.

The vicar had settled his plan of attack, and determined boldly to 
show his knowledge of the banker's distress.

'I am very sorry to trouble you at such an unfortunate moment, sir, 
and I will be brief; but, as your nephew's spiritual pastor--'  (He 
knew the banker was a stout Churchman.)

'What of my nephew, sir!  No fresh misfortunes, I hope?'

'Not so much misfortune, sir, as misconduct--I might say frailty--
but frailty which may become ruinous.'

'How? how?  Some mesalliance?' interrupted Mr. Smith, in a peevish, 
excited tone.  'I thought there was some heiress on the tapis--at 
least, so I heard from my unfortunate son, who has just gone over to 
Rome.  There's another misfortune.--Nothing but misfortunes; and 
your teaching, sir, by the bye, I am afraid, has helped me to that 
one.'

'Gone over to Rome?' asked the vicar, slowly.

'Yes, sir, gone to Rome--to the pope, sir! to the devil, sir!  I 
should have thought you likely to know of it before I did!'

The vicar stared fixedly at him a moment, and burst into honest 
tears.  The banker was moved.

''Pon my honour, sir, I beg your pardon.  I did not mean to be rude, 
but--but--To be plain with a clergyman, sir, so many things coming 
together have quite unmanned me.  Pooh, pooh,' and he shook himself 
as if to throw off a weight; and, with a face once more quiet and 
business-like, asked, 'And now, my dear sir, what of my nephew?'

'As for that young lady, sir, of whom you spoke, I can assure you, 
once for all, as her clergyman, and therefore more or less her 
confidant, that your nephew has not the slightest chance or hope in 
that quarter.'

'How, sir?  You will not throw obstacles in the way?'

'Heaven, sir, I think, has interposed far more insuperable 
obstacles--in the young lady's own heart--than I could ever have 
done.  Your nephew's character and opinions, I am sorry to say, are 
not such as are likely to command the respect and affection of a 
pure and pious Churchwoman.'

'Opinions, sir?  What, is he turning Papist, too?'

'I am afraid, sir, and more than afraid, for he makes no secret of 
it himself, that his views tend rather in the opposite direction; to 
an infidelity so subversive of the commonest principles of morality, 
that I expect, weekly, to hear of some unblushing and disgraceful 
outrage against decency, committed by him under its fancied 
sanction.  And you know, as well as myself, the double danger of 
some profligate outbreak, which always attends the miseries of a 
disappointed earthly passion.'

'True, very true.  We must get the boy out of the way, sir.  I must 
have him under my eye.'

'Exactly so, sir,' said the subtle vicar, who had been driving at 
this very point.  'How much better for him to be here, using his 
great talents to the advantage of his family in an honourable 
profession, than to remain where he is, debauching body and mind by 
hopeless dreams, godless studies, and frivolous excesses.'

'When do you return, sir?'

'An hour hence, if I can be of service to you.'

The banker paused a moment.

'You are a gentleman' (with emphasis on the word), 'and as such I 
can trust you.'

'Say, rather, as a clergyman.'

'Pardon me, but I have found your cloth give little additional cause 
for confidence.  I have been as much bitten by clergymen--I have 
seen as sharp practice among them, in money matters as well as in 
religious squabbles, as I have in any class.  Whether it is that 
their book education leaves them very often ignorant of the plain 
rules of honour which bind men of the world, or whether their zeal 
makes them think that the end justifies the means, I cannot tell; 
but--'

'But,' said the vicar, half smiling, half severely, 'you must not 
disparage the priesthood before a priest.'

'I know it, I know it; and I beg your pardon:  but if you knew the 
cause I have to complain.  The slipperiness, sir, of one staggering 
parson, has set rolling this very avalanche, which gathers size 
every moment, and threatens to overwhelm me now, unless that idle 
dog Lancelot will condescend to bestir himself, and help me.'

The vicar heard, but said nothing.

'Me, at least, you can trust,' he answered proudly; and honestly, 
too--for he was a gentleman by birth and breeding, unselfish and 
chivalrous to a fault--and yet, when he heard the banker's words, it 
was as if the inner voice had whispered to him, 'Thou art the man!'

'When do you go down?' again asked Mr. Smith.  'To tell you the 
truth, I was writing to Lancelot when you were announced! but the 
post will not reach him till to-morrow at noon, and we are all so 
busy here, that I have no one whom I can trust to carry down an 
express.'

The vicar saw what was coming.  Was it his good angel which prompted 
him to interpose?

'Why not send a parcel by rail?'

'I can trust the rail as far as D--; but I cannot trust those 
coaches.  If you could do me so great a kindness--'

'I will.  I can start by the one o'clock train, and by ten o'clock 
to-night I shall be in Whitford.'

'Are you certain?'

'If God shall please, I am certain.'

'And you will take charge of a letter?  Perhaps, too, you could see 
him yourself; and tell him--you see I trust you with everything--
that my fortune, his own fortune, depends on his being here to-
morrow morning.  He must start to-night, sir--to-night, tell him, if 
there were twenty Miss Lavingtons in Whitford--or he is a ruined 
man!'

The letter was written, and put into the vicar's hands, with a 
hundred entreaties from the terrified banker.  A cab was called, and 
the clergyman rattled off to the railway terminus.

'Well,' said he to himself, 'God has indeed blessed my errand; 
giving, as always, "exceeding abundantly more than we are able to 
ask or think!"  For some weeks, at least, this poor lamb is safe 
from the destroyer's clutches.  I must improve to the utmost those 
few precious days in strengthening her in her holy purpose.  But, 
after all, he will return, daring and cunning as ever; and then will 
not the fascination recommence?'

And, as he mused, a little fiend passed by, and whispered, 'Unless 
he comes up to-night, he is a ruined man.'

It was Friday, and the vicar had thought it a fit preparation for so 
important an errand to taste no food that day.  Weakness and hunger, 
joined to the roar and bustle of London, had made him excited, 
nervous, unable to control his thoughts, or fight against a 
stupifying headache; and his self-weakened will punished him, by 
yielding him up an easy prey to his own fancies.

'Ay,' he thought, 'if he were ruined, after all, it would be well 
for God's cause.  The Lavingtons, at least, would find no temptation 
in his wealth:  and Argemone--she is too proud, too luxurious, to 
marry a beggar.  She might embrace a holy poverty for the sake of 
her own soul; but for the gratification of an earthly passion, 
never!  Base and carnal delights would never tempt her so far.'

Alas, poor pedant!  Among all that thy books taught thee, they did 
not open to thee much of the depths of that human heart which thy 
dogmas taught thee to despise as diabolic.

Again the little fiend whispered,--

'Unless he comes up to-night, he is a ruined man.'

'And what if he is?' thought the vicar.  'Riches are a curse; and 
poverty a blessing.  Is it not his wealth which is ruining his soul?  
Idleness and fulness of bread have made him what he is--a luxurious 
and self-willed dreamer, battening on his own fancies.  Were it not 
rather a boon to him to take from him the root of all evil?'

Most true, vicar.  And yet the devil was at that moment transforming 
himself into an angel of light for thee.

But the vicar was yet honest.  If he had thought that by cutting off 
his right hand he could have saved Lancelot's soul (by canonical 
methods, of course; for who would wish to save souls in any other?), 
he would have done it without hesitation.

Again the little fiend whispered,--

'Unless he comes up to-night he is a ruined man.'

A terrible sensation seized him.--Why should he give the letter to-
night?

'You promised,' whispered the inner voice.

'No, I did not promise exactly, in so many words; that is, I only 
said I would be at home to-night, if God pleased.  And what if God 
should not please?--I promised for his good.  What if, on second 
thoughts, it should be better for him not to keep my promise?'  A 
moment afterwards, he tossed the temptation from him indignantly:  
but back it came.  At every gaudy shop, at every smoke-grimed 
manufactory, at the face of every anxious victim of Mammon, of every 
sturdy, cheerful artisan, the fiend winked and pointed, crying, 'And 
what if he be ruined?  Look at the thousands who have, and are 
miserable--at the millions who have not, and are no sadder than 
their own tyrants.'

Again and again he thrust the thought from him, but more and more 
weakly.  His whole frame shook; the perspiration stood on his 
forehead.  As he took his railway ticket, his look was so haggard 
and painful that the clerk asked him whether he were ill.  The train 
was just starting; he threw himself into a carriage--he would have 
locked himself in if he could; and felt an inexpressible relief when 
he found himself rushing past houses and market-gardens, whirled 
onward, whether he would or not, in the right path--homeward.

But was it the right path? for again the temptation flitted past 
him.  He threw himself back, and tried to ask counsel of One above; 
but there was no answer, nor any that regarded.  His heart was 
silent, and dark as midnight fog.  Why should there have been an 
answer?  He had not listened to the voice within.  Did he wish for a 
miracle to show him his duty?

'Not that I care for detection,' he said to himself.  'What is shame 
to me?  Is it not a glory to be evil-spoken of in the cause of God?  
How can the world appreciate the motives of those who are not of the 
world?--the divine wisdom of the serpent--at once the saint's 
peculiar weapon, and a part of his peculiar cross, when men call him 
a deceiver, because they confound, forsooth, his spiritual subtlety 
with their earthly cunning.  Have I not been called "liar," 
"hypocrite," "Jesuit," often enough already, to harden me towards 
bearing that name once again?'

That led him into sad thoughts of his last few years' career,--of 
the friends and pupils whose secession to Rome had been attributed 
to his hypocrisy, his 'disguised Romanism;' and then the remembrance 
of poor Luke Smith flashed across him for the first time since he 
left the bank.

'I must see him,' he said to himself; 'I must argue with him face to 
face.  Who knows but that it may be given even to my unworthiness to 
snatch him from this accursed slough?'

And then he remembered that his way home lay through the city in 
which the new convert's parish was--that the coach stopped there to 
change horses; and again the temptation leapt up again, stronger 
than ever, under the garb of an imperative call of duty.

He made no determination for or against it.  He was too weak in body 
and mind to resist; and in a half sleep, broken with an aching, 
terrified sense of something wanting which he could not find, he was 
swept down the line, got on the coach, and mechanically, almost 
without knowing it, found himself set down at the city of A--, and 
the coach rattling away down the street.

He sprang from his stupor, and called madly after it--ran a few 
steps--

'You might as well try to catch the clouds, sir,' said the ostler.  
'Gemmen should make up their minds afore they gets down.'

Alas! so thought the vicar.  But it was too late; and, with a heavy 
heart, he asked the way to the late curate's house.

Thither he went.  Mr. Luke Smith was just at dinner, but the vicar 
was, nevertheless, shown into the bachelor's little dining-room.  
But what was his disgust and disappointment at finding his late 
pupil tete-a-tete over a comfortable fish-dinner, opposite a burly, 
vulgar, cunning-eyed man, with a narrow rim of muslin turned down 
over his stiff cravat, of whose profession there could be no doubt.

'My dearest sir,' said the new convert, springing up with an air of 
extreme empressement, 'what an unexpected pleasure!  Allow me to 
introduce you to my excellent friend, Padre Bugiardo!'

The padre rose, bowed obsequiously, 'was overwhelmed with delight at 
being at last introduced to one of whom he had heard so much,' sat 
down again, and poured himself out a bumper of sherry; while the 
vicar commenced making the best of a bad matter by joining in the 
now necessary business of eating.

He had not a word to say for himself.  Poor Luke was particularly 
jovial and flippant, and startlingly unlike his former self.  The 
padre went on staring out of the window, and talking in a loud 
forced tone about the astonishing miracles of the 'Ecstatica' and 
'Addolorata;' and the poor vicar, finding the purpose for which he 
had sacrificed his own word of honour utterly frustrated by the 
priest's presence, sat silent and crestfallen the whole evening.

The priest had no intention of stirring.  The late father-confessor 
tried to outstay his new rival, but in vain; the padre deliberately 
announced his intention of taking a bed, and the vicar, with a heavy 
heart, rose to go to his inn.

As he went out at the door, he caught an opportunity of saying one 
word to the convert.

'My poor Luke! and are you happy?  Tell me honestly, in God's sight 
tell me!'

'Happier than ever I was in my life!  No more self-torture, physical 
or mental, now.  These good priests thoroughly understand poor human 
nature, I can assure you.'

The vicar sighed, for the speech was evidently meant as a gentle 
rebuke to himself.  But the young man ran on, half laughing,--

'You know how you and the rest used to tell us what a sad thing it 
was that we were all cursed with consciences,--what a fearful 
miserable burden moral responsibility was; but that we must submit 
to it as an inevitable evil.  Now that burden is gone, thank God.  
We of the True Church have some one to keep our consciences for us.  
The padre settles all about what is right or wrong, and we slip on 
as easily as--'

'A hog or a butterfly!' said the vicar, bitterly.

'Exactly,' answered Luke.  'And, on your own showing, are clean 
gainers of a happy life here, not to mention heaven hereafter.  God 
bless you!  We shall soon see you one of us.'

'Never, so help me God!' said the vicar; all the more fiercely 
because he was almost at that moment of the young man's opinion.

The vicar stepped out into the night.  The rain, which had given 
place during the afternoon to a bright sun and clear chilly evening, 
had returned with double fury.  The wind was sweeping and howling 
down the lonely streets, and lashed the rain into his face, while 
gray clouds were rushing past the moon like terrified ghosts across 
the awful void of the black heaven.  Above him gaunt poplars groaned 
and bent, like giants cowering from the wrath of Heaven, yet rooted 
by grim necessity to their place of torture.  The roar and tumult 
without him harmonised strangely with the discord within.  He 
staggered and strode along the plashy pavement, muttering to himself 
at intervals,--

'Rest for the soul? peace of mind?  I have been promising them all 
my life to others--have I found them myself?  And here is this poor 
boy saying that he has gained them--in the very barbarian 
superstition which I have been anathematising to him!  What is true, 
at this rate?  What is false?  Is anything right or wrong? except in 
as far as men feel it to be right or wrong.  Else whence does this 
poor fellow's peace come, or the peace of many a convert more?  They 
have all, one by one, told me the same story.  And is not a religion 
to be known by its fruits?  Are they not right in going where they 
can get peace of mind?'

Certainly, vicar.  If peace of mind be the summum bonum, and 
religion is merely the science of self-satisfaction, they are right; 
and your wisest plan will be to follow them at once, or failing 
that, to apply to the next best substitute that can be discovered--
alcohol and opium.

As he went on, talking wildly to himself, he passed the Union 
Workhouse.  Opposite the gate, under the lee of a wall, some twenty 
men, women, and children, were huddled together on the bare ground.  
They had been refused lodging in the workhouse, and were going to 
pass the night in that situation.  As he came up to them, coarse 
jests, and snatches of low drinking-songs, ghastly as the laughter 
of lost spirits in the pit, mingled with the feeble wailings of some 
child of shame.  The vicar recollected how he had seen the same 
sight at the door of Kensington Workhouse, walking home one night in 
company with Luke Smith; and how, too, he had commented to him on 
that fearful sign of the times, and had somewhat unfairly drawn a 
contrast between the niggard cruelty of 'popular Protestantism,' and 
the fancied 'liberality of the middle age.'  What wonder if his 
pupil had taken him at his word?

Delighted to escape from his own thoughts by anything like action, 
he pulled out his purse to give an alms.  There was no silver in it, 
but only some fifteen or twenty sovereigns, which he that day 
received as payment for some bitter reviews in a leading religious 
periodical.  Everything that night seemed to shame and confound him 
more.  As he touched the money, there sprang up in his mind in an 
instant the thought of the articles which had procured it; by one of 
those terrible, searching inspirations, in which the light which 
lighteth every man awakes as a lightning-flash of judgment, he saw 
them, and his own heart, for one moment, as they were;--their blind 
prejudice; their reckless imputations of motives; their wilful 
concealment of any palliating clauses; their party nicknames, given 
without a shudder at the terrible accusations which they conveyed.  
And then the indignation, the shame, the reciprocal bitterness which 
those articles would excite, tearing still wider the bleeding wounds 
of that Church which they professed to defend!  And then, in this 
case, too, the thought rushed across him, 'What if I should have 
been wrong and my adversary right?  What if I have made the heart of 
the righteous sad whom God has not made sad?  I! to have been 
dealing out Heaven's thunders, as if I were infallible!  I! who am 
certain at this moment of no fact in heaven or earth, except my own 
untruth!  God! who am I that I should judge another?'  And the coins 
seemed to him like the price of blood--he fancied that he felt them 
red-hot to his hand, and, in his eagerness to get rid of the 
accursed thing, he dealt it away fiercely to the astonished group, 
amid whining and flattery, wrangling and ribaldry; and then, not 
daring to wait and see the use to which his money would be put, 
hurried off to the inn, and tried in uneasy slumbers to forget the 
time, until the mail passed through at daybreak on its way to 
Whitford.



CHAPTER XIII:  THE VILLAGE REVEL



At dusk that same evening the two had started for the village fair.  
A velveteen shooting-jacket, a pair of corduroy trousers, and a 
waistcoat, furnished by Tregarva, covered with flowers of every 
imaginable hue, tolerably disguised Lancelot, who was recommended by 
his conductor to keep his hands in his pockets as much as possible, 
lest their delicacy, which was, as it happened, not very remarkable, 
might betray him.  As they walked together along the plashy turnpike 
road, overtaking, now and then, groups of two or three who were out 
on the same errand as themselves, Lancelot could not help remarking 
to the keeper how superior was the look of comfort in the boys and 
young men, with their ruddy cheeks and smart dresses, to the worn 
and haggard appearance of the elder men.

'Let them alone, poor fellows,' said Tregarva; 'it won't last long.  
When they've got two or three children at their heels, they'll look 
as thin and shabby as their own fathers.'

'They must spend a great deal of money on their clothes.'

'And on their stomachs, too, sir.  They never lay by a farthing; and 
I don't see how they can, when their club-money's paid, and their 
insides are well filled.'

'Do you mean to say that they actually have not as much to eat after 
they marry?'

'Indeed and I do, sir.  They get no more wages afterwards round 
here, and have four or five to clothe and feed off the same money 
that used to keep one; and that sum won't take long to work out, I 
think.'

'But do they not in some places pay the married men higher wages 
than the unmarried?'

'That's a worse trick still, sir; for it tempts the poor thoughtless 
boys to go and marry the first girl they can get hold of; and it 
don't want much persuasion to make them do that at any time.'

'But why don't the clergymen teach them to put into the savings 
banks?'

'One here and there, sir, says what he can, though it's of very 
little use.  Besides, every one is afraid of savings banks now; not 
a year but one reads of some breaking and the lawyers going off with 
the earnings of the poor.  And if they didn't, youth's a foolish 
time at best; and the carnal man will be hankering after amusement, 
sir--amusement.'

'And no wonder,' said Lancelot; 'at all events, I should not think 
they got much of it.  But it does seem strange that no other 
amusement can be found for them than the beer-shop.  Can't they 
read?  Can't they practise light and interesting handicrafts at 
home, as the German peasantry do?'

'Who'll teach 'em, sir?  From the plough-tail to the reaping-hook, 
and back again, is all they know.  Besides, sir, they are not like 
us Cornish; they are a stupid pigheaded generation at the best, 
these south countrymen.  They're grown-up babies who want the parson 
and the squire to be leading them, and preaching to them, and 
spurring them on, and coaxing them up, every moment.  And as for 
scholarship, sir, a boy leaves school at nine or ten to follow the 
horses; and between that time and his wedding-day he forgets every 
word he ever learnt, and becomes, for the most part, as thorough a 
heathen savage at heart as those wild Indians in the Brazils used to 
be.'

'And then we call them civilised Englishmen!' said Lancelot.  'We 
can see that your Indian is a savage, because he wears skins and 
feathers; but your Irish cottar or your English labourer, because he 
happens to wear a coat and trousers, is to be considered a civilised 
man.'

'It's the way of the world, sir,' said Tregarva, 'judging carnal 
judgment, according to the sight of its own eyes; always looking at 
the outsides of things and men, sir, and never much deeper.  But as 
for reading, sir, it's all very well for me, who have been a keeper 
and dawdled about like a gentleman with a gun over my arm; but did 
you ever do a good day's farm-work in your life?  If you had, man or 
boy, you wouldn't have been game for much reading when you got home; 
you'd do just what these poor fellows do,--tumble into bed at eight 
o'clock, hardly waiting to take your clothes off, knowing that you 
must turn up again at five o'clock the next morning to get a 
breakfast of bread, and, perhaps, a dab of the squire's dripping, 
and then back to work again; and so on, day after day, sir, week 
after week, year after year, without a hope or a chance of being 
anything but what you are, and only too thankful if you can get work 
to break your back, and catch the rheumatism over.'

'But do you mean to say that their labour is so severe and 
incessant?'

'It's only God's blessing if it is incessant, sir, for if it stops, 
they starve, or go to the house to be worse fed than the thieves in 
gaol.  And as for its being severe, there's many a boy, as their 
mothers will tell you, comes home night after night, too tired to 
eat their suppers, and tumble, fasting, to bed in the same foul 
shirt which they've been working in all the day, never changing 
their rag of calico from week's end to week's end, or washing the 
skin that's under it once in seven years.'

'No wonder,' said Lancelot, 'that such a life of drudgery makes them 
brutal and reckless.'

'No wonder, indeed, sir:  they've no time to think; they're born to 
be machines, and machines they must be; and I think, sir,' he added 
bitterly, 'it's God's mercy that they daren't think.  It's God's 
mercy that they don't feel.  Men that write books and talk at 
elections call this a free country, and say that the poorest and 
meanest has a free opening to rise and become prime minister, if he 
can.  But you see, sir, the misfortune is, that in practice he 
can't; for one who gets into a gentleman's family, or into a little 
shop, and so saves a few pounds, fifty know that they've no chance 
before them, but day-labourer born, day-labourer live, from hand to 
mouth, scraping and pinching to get not meat and beer even, but 
bread and potatoes; and then, at the end of it all, for a worthy 
reward, half-a-crown a-week of parish pay--or the workhouse.  That's 
a lively hopeful prospect for a Christian man!'

'But,' said Lancelot, 'I thought this New Poor-law was to stir them 
up to independence?'

'Oh, sir, the old law has bit too deep:  it made them slaves and 
beggars at heart.  It taught them not to be ashamed of parish pay--
to demand it as a right.'

'And so it is their right,' said Lancelot.  'In God's name, if a 
country is so ill-constituted that it cannot find its own citizens 
in work, it is bound to find them in food.'

'Maybe, sir, maybe.  God knows I don't grudge it them.  It's a poor 
pittance at best, when they have got it.  But don't you see, sir, 
how all poor-laws, old or new either, suck the independent spirit 
out of a man; how they make the poor wretch reckless; how they tempt 
him to spend every extra farthing in amusement?'

'How then?'

'Why, he is always tempted to say to himself, "Whatever happens to 
me, the parish must keep me.  If I am sick it must doctor me; if I 
am worn out it must feed me; if I die it must bury me; if I leave my 
children paupers the parish must look after them, and they'll be as 
well off with the parish as they were with me.  Now they've only got 
just enough to keep body and soul together, and the parish can't 
give them less than that.  What's the use of cutting myself off from 
sixpenny-worth of pleasure here, and sixpenny-worth there.  I'm not 
saving money for my children, I'm only saving the farmers' rates."  
There it is, sir,' said Tregarva; 'that's the bottom of it, sir,--
"I'm only saving the farmers' rates.  Let us eat and drink, for to-
morrow we die!"'

'I don't see my way out of it,' said Lancelot.

'So says everybody, sir.  But I should have thought those members of 
parliament, and statesmen, and university scholars have been set up 
in the high places, out of the wood where we are all struggling and 
scrambling, just that they might see their way out of it; and if 
they don't, sir, and that soon, as sure as God is in heaven, these 
poor fellows will cut their way out of it.'

'And blindfolded and ignorant as they are,' said Lancelot, 'they 
will be certain to cut their way out just in the wrong direction.'

'I'm not so sure of that, sir,' said Tregarva, lowering his voice.  
'What is written'?  That there is One who hears the desire of the 
poor.  "Lord, Thou preparest their hearts and Thine ear hearkeneth 
thereto, to help the fatherless and poor unto their right, that the 
man of the earth be no more exalted against them."'

'Why, you are talking like any Chartist, Tregarva!'

'Am I, sir?  I haven't heard much Scripture quoted among them 
myself, poor fellows; but to tell you the truth, sir, I don't know 
what I am becoming.  I'm getting half mad with all I see going on 
and not going on; and you will agree, sir, that what's happened this 
day can't have done much to cool my temper or brighten my hopes; 
though, God's my witness, there's no spite in me for my own sake.  
But what makes me maddest of all, sir, is to see that everybody sees 
these evils, except just the men who can cure them--the squires and 
the clergy.'

'Why surely, Tregarva, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of 
clergymen and landlords working heart and soul at this moment, to 
better the condition of the labouring classes!'

'Ay, sir, they see the evils, and yet they don't see them.  They do 
not see what is the matter with the poor man; and the proof of it 
is, sir, that the poor have no confidence in them.  They'll take 
their alms, but they'll hardly take their schooling, and their 
advice they won't take at all.  And why is it, sir?  Because the 
poor have got in their heads in these days a strange confused fancy, 
maybe, but still a deep and a fierce one, that they haven't got what 
they call their rights.  If you were to raise the wages of every man 
in this country from nine to twelve shillings a-week to-morrow, you 
wouldn't satisfy them; at least, the only ones whom you would 
satisfy would be the mere hogs among them, who, as long as they can 
get a full stomach, care for nothing else.'

'What, in Heaven's name, do they want?' asked Lancelot.

'They hardly know yet, sir; but they know well what they don't want.  
The question with them, sir, believe me, is not so much, How shall 
we get better fed and better housed, but whom shall we depend upon 
for our food and for our house?  Why should we depend on the will 
and fancy of any man for our rights?  They are asking ugly questions 
among themselves, sir, about what those two words, rent and taxes, 
mean, and about what that same strange word, freedom, means.  Eight 
or wrong, they've got the thought into their heads, and it's growing 
there, and they will find an answer for it.  Depend upon it, sir, I 
tell you a truth, and they expect a change.  You will hear them talk 
of it to-night, sir, if you've luck.'

'We all expect a change, for that matter,' said Lancelot.  'That 
feeling is common to all classes and parties just now.'

Tregarva took off his hat.

'"For the word of the Lord hath spoken it."  Do you know, sir, I 
long at times that I did agree with those Chartists?  If I did, I'd 
turn lecturer to-morrow.  How a man could speak out then!  If he saw 
any door of hope, any way of salvation for these poor fellows, even 
if it was nothing better than salvation by Act of Parliament!'

'But why don't you trust the truly worthy among the clergy and the 
gentry to leaven their own ranks and bring all right in time?'

'Because, sir, they seem to be going the way only to make things 
worse.  The people have been so dependent on them heretofore, that 
they have become thorough beggars.  You can have no knowledge, sir, 
of the whining, canting, deceit, and lies which those poor miserable 
labourers' wives palm on charitable ladies.  If they weren't angels, 
some of them, they'd lock up their purses and never give away 
another farthing.  And, sir, these free-schools, and these penny-
clubs, and clothing clubs, and these heaps of money which are given 
away, all make the matter worse and worse.  They make the labourer 
fancy that he is not to depend upon God and his own right hand, but 
on what his wife can worm out of the good nature of the rich.  Why, 
sir, they growl as insolently now at the parson or the squire's wife 
if they don't get as much money as their neighbours, as they used to 
at the parish vestrymen under the old law.  Look at that Lord 
Vieuxbois, sir, as sweet a gentleman as ever God made.  It used to 
do me good to walk behind him when he came over here shooting, just 
to hear the gentle kind-hearted way in which he used to speak to 
every old soul he met.  He spends his whole life and time about the 
poor, I hear.  But, sir, as sure as you live he's making his people 
slaves and humbugs.  He doesn't see, sir, that they want to be 
raised bodily out of this miserable hand-to-mouth state, to be 
brought nearer up to him, and set on a footing where they can shift 
for themselves.  Without meaning it, sir, all his boundless 
charities are keeping the people down, and telling them they must 
stay down, and not help themselves, but wait for what he gives them.  
He fats prize-labourers, sir, just as Lord Minchampstead fats prize-
oxen and pigs.'

Lancelot could not help thinking of that amusingly inconsistent, 
however well-meant, scene in Coningsby, in which Mr. Lyle is 
represented as trying to restore 'the independent order of 
peasantry,' by making them the receivers of public alms at his own 
gate, as if they had been middle-age serfs or vagabonds, and not 
citizens of modern England.

'It may suit the Mr. Lyles of this age,' thought Lancelot, 'to make 
the people constantly and visibly comprehend that property is their 
protector and their friend, but I question whether it will suit the 
people themselves, unless they can make property understand that it 
owes them something more definite than protection.'

Saddened by this conversation, which had helped to give another 
shake to the easy-going complacency with which Lancelot had been 
used to contemplate the world below him, and look on its evils as 
necessaries, ancient and fixed as the universe, he entered the 
village fair, and was a little disappointed at his first glimpse of 
the village-green.  Certainly his expectations had not been very 
exalted; but there had run through them a hope of something 
melodramatic, dreams of May-pole dancing and athletic games, 
somewhat of village-belle rivalry, of the Corin and Sylvia school; 
or, failing that, a few Touchstones and Audreys, some genial earnest 
buffo humour here and there.  But there did not seem much likelihood 
of it.  Two or three apple and gingerbread stalls, from which 
draggled children were turning slowly and wistfully away to go home; 
a booth full of trumpery fairings, in front of which tawdry girls 
were coaxing maudlin youths, with faded southernwood in their 
button-holes; another long low booth, from every crevice of which 
reeked odours of stale beer and smoke, by courtesy denominated 
tobacco, to the treble accompaniment of a jigging fiddle and a 
tambourine, and the bass one of grumbled oaths and curses within--
these were the means of relaxation which the piety, freedom, and 
civilisation of fourteen centuries, from Hengist to Queen Victoria, 
had devised and made possible for the English peasant!

'There seems very little here to see,' said Lancelot, half 
peevishly.

'I think, sir,' quoth Tregarva, 'that very thing is what's most 
worth seeing.'

Lancelot could not help, even at the risk of detection, investing 
capital enough in sugar-plums and gingerbread, to furnish the 
urchins around with the material for a whole carnival of stomach-
aches; and he felt a great inclination to clear the fairing-stall in 
a like manner, on behalf of the poor bedizened sickly-looking girls 
round, but he was afraid of the jealousy of some beer-bemuddled 
swain.  The ill-looks of the young girls surprised him much.  Here 
and there smiled a plump rosy face enough; but the majority seemed 
under-sized, under-fed, utterly wanting in grace, vigour, and what 
the penny-a-liners call 'rude health.'  He remarked it to Tregarva.  
The keeper smiled mournfully.

'You see those little creatures dragging home babies in arms nearly 
as big as themselves, sir.  That and bad food, want of milk 
especially, accounts for their growing up no bigger than they do; 
and as for their sad countenances, sir, most of them must carry a 
lighter conscience before they carry a brighter face.'

'What do you mean?' asked Lancelot.

'The clergyman who enters the weddings and the baptisms knows well 
enough what I mean, sir.  But we'll go into that booth, if you want 
to see the thick of it, sir; that's to say, if you're not ashamed.'

'I hope we need neither of us do anything to be ashamed of there; 
and as for seeing, I begin to agree with you, that what makes the 
whole thing most curious is its intense dulness.'

'What upon earth is that?'

'I say, look out there!'

'Well, you look out yourself!'

This was caused by a violent blow across the shins with a thick 
stick, the deed of certain drunken wiseacres who were persisting in 
playing in the dark the never very lucrative game of three sticks a 
penny, conducted by a couple of gipsies.  Poor fellows! there was 
one excuse for them.  It was the only thing there to play at, except 
a set of skittles; and on those they had lost their money every 
Saturday night for the last seven years each at his own village 
beer-shop.

So into the booth they turned; and as soon as Lancelot's eyes were 
accustomed to the reeking atmosphere, he saw seated at two long 
temporary tables of board, fifty or sixty of 'My Brethren,' as 
clergymen call them in their sermons, wrangling, stupid, beery, with 
sodden eyes and drooping lips--interspersed with more girls and 
brazen-faced women, with dirty flowers in their caps, whose whole 
business seemed to be to cast jealous looks at each other, and 
defend themselves from the coarse overtures of their swains.

Lancelot had been already perfectly astonished at the foulness of 
language which prevailed; and the utter absence of anything like 
chivalrous respect, almost of common decency, towards women.  But 
lo! the language of the elder women was quite as disgusting as that 
of the men, if not worse.  He whispered a remark on the point to 
Tregarva, who shook his head.

'It's the field-work, sir--the field-work, that does it all.  They 
get accustomed there from their childhood to hear words whose very 
meanings they shouldn't know; and the older teach the younger ones, 
and the married ones are worst of all.  It wears them out in body, 
sir, that field-work, and makes them brutes in soul and in manners.'

'Why don't they give it up?  Why don't the respectable ones set 
their faces against it?'

'They can't afford it, sir.  They must go a-field, or go hungered, 
most of them.  And they get to like the gossip and scandal, and 
coarse fun of it, while their children are left at home to play in 
the roads, or fall into the fire, as plenty do every year.'

'Why not at school?'

'The big ones are kept at home, sir, to play at nursing those little 
ones who are too young to go.  Oh, sir,' he added, in a tone of deep 
feeling, 'it is very little of a father's care, or a mother's love, 
that a labourer's child knows in these days!'

Lancelot looked round the booth with a hopeless feeling.  There was 
awkward dancing going on at the upper end.  He was too much sickened 
to go and look at it.  He began examining the faces and foreheads of 
the company, and was astonished at the first glance by the lofty and 
ample development of brain in at least one half.  There were 
intellects there--or rather capacities of intellect, capable, 
surely, of anything, had not the promise of the brow been almost 
always belied by the loose and sensual lower features.  They were 
evidently rather a degraded than an undeveloped race.  'The low 
forehead of the Kabyle and Koord,' thought Lancelot, 'is compensated 
by the grim sharp lip, and glittering eye, which prove that all the 
small capabilities of the man have been called out into clear and 
vigorous action:  but here the very features themselves, both by 
what they have and what they want, testify against that society 
which carelessly wastes her most precious wealth, the manhood of her 
masses!  Tregarva! you have observed a good many things--did you 
ever observe whether the men with the large foreheads were better 
than the men with the small ones?'

'Ay, sir, I know what you are driving at.  I've heard of that new-
fangled notion of scholars, which, if you'll forgive my plain 
speaking, expects man's brains to do the work of God's grace.'

'But what have you remarked?'

'All I ever saw was, that the stupid-looking ones were the greatest 
blackguards, and the clever-looking ones the greatest rogues.'

Lancelot was rebuked, but not surprised.  He had been for some time 
past suspecting, from the bitter experience of his own heart, the 
favourite modern theory which revives the Neo-Platonism of 
Alexandria, by making intellect synonymous with virtue, and then 
jumbling, like poor bewildered Proclus, the 'physical understanding' 
of the brain with the pure 'intellect' of the spirit.

'You'll see something, if you look round, sir, a great deal easier 
to explain--and, I should have thought, a great deal easier to cure-
-than want of wits.'

'And what is that?'

'How different-looking the young ones are from their fathers, and 
still more from their grandfathers!  Look at those three or four old 
grammers talking together there.  For all their being shrunk with 
age and weather, you won't see such fine-grown men anywhere else in 
this booth.'

It was too true.  Lancelot recollected now having remarked it before 
when at church; and having wondered why almost all the youths were 
so much smaller, clumsier, lower-brained, and weaker-jawed than 
their elders.

'Why is it, Tregarva?'

'Worse food, worse lodging, worse nursing--and, I'm sore afraid, 
worse blood.  There was too much filthiness and drunkenness went on 
in the old war-times, not to leave a taint behind it, for many a 
generation.  The prosperity of fools shall destroy them!'

'Oh!' thought Lancelot, 'for some young sturdy Lancashire or Lothian 
blood, to put new life into the old frozen South Saxon veins!  Even 
a drop of the warm enthusiastic Celtic would be better than none.  
Perhaps this Irish immigration may do some good, after all.'

Perhaps it may, Lancelot.  Let us hope so, since it is pretty nearly 
inevitable.

Sadder and sadder, Lancelot tried to listen to the conversation of 
the men round him.  To his astonishment he hardly understood a word 
of it.  It was half articulate, nasal, guttural, made up almost 
entirely of vowels, like the speech of savages.  He had never before 
been struck with the significant contrast between the sharp, 
clearly-defined articulation, the vivid and varied tones of the 
gentleman, or even of the London street-boy when compared with the 
coarse, half-formed growls, as of a company of seals, which he heard 
round him.  That single fact struck him, perhaps, more deeply than 
any; it connected itself with many of his physiological fancies; it 
was the parent of many thoughts and plans of his after-life.  Here 
and there he could distinguish a half sentence.  An old shrunken man 
opposite him was drawing figures in the spilt beer with his pipe-
stem, and discoursing of the glorious times before the great war, 
'when there was more food than there were mouths, and more work than 
there were hands.'  'Poor human nature!' thought Lancelot, as he 
tried to follow one of those unintelligible discussions about the 
relative prices of the loaf and the bushel of flour, which ended, as 
usual, in more swearing, and more quarrelling, and more beer to make 
it up--'Poor human nature! always looking back, as the German sage 
says, to some fancied golden age, never looking forward to the real 
one which is coming!'

'But I say, vather,' drawled out some one, 'they say there's a sight 
more money in England now, than there was afore the war-time.'

'Eees, booy,' said the old man; 'but ITS GOT INTO TOO FEW HANDS.'

'Well,' thought Lancelot, 'there's a glimpse of practical sense, at 
least.'  And a pedlar who sat next him, a bold, black-whiskered 
bully, from the Potteries, hazarded a joke,--

'It's all along of this new sky-and-tough-it farming.  They used to 
spread the money broadcast, but now they drills it all in one place, 
like bone-dust under their fancy plants, and we poor self-sown chaps 
gets none.'

This garland of fancies was received with great applause; whereat 
the pedlar, emboldened, proceeded to observe, mysteriously, that 
'donkeys took a beating, but horses kicked at it; and that they'd 
found out that in Staffordshire long ago.  You want a good Chartist 
lecturer down here, my covies, to show you donkeys of labouring men 
that you have got iron on your heels, if you only know'd how to use 
it.'

'And what's the use of rioting?' asked some one, querulously.

'Why, if you don't riot, the farmers will starve you.'

'And if we do, they'd turn sodgers--yeomanry, as they call it, 
though there ain't a yeoman among them in these parts; and then they 
takes sword and kills us.  So, riot or none, they has it all their 
own way.'

Lancelot heard many more scraps of this sort.  He was very much 
struck with their dread of violence.  It did not seem cowardice.  It 
was not loyalty--the English labourer has fallen below the 
capability of so spiritual a feeling; Lancelot had found out that 
already.  It could not be apathy, for he heard nothing but complaint 
upon complaint bandied from mouth to mouth the whole evening.  They 
seemed rather sunk too low in body and mind,--too stupefied and 
spiritless, to follow the example of the manufacturing districts; 
above all, they were too ill-informed.  It is not mere starvation 
which goads the Leicester weaver to madness.  It is starvation with 
education,--an empty stomach and a cultivated, even though 
miscultivated, mind.

At that instant, a huge hulking farm-boy rolled into the booth, 
roaring, dolefully, the end of a song, with a punctuation of his own 
invention--


'He'll maak me a lady.  Zo .  Vine to be zyure.
And, vaithfully; love me.  Although; I; be-e; poor-r-r-r.'


Lancelot would have laughed heartily at him anywhere else; but the 
whole scene was past a jest; and a gleam of pathos and tenderness 
seemed to shine even from that doggerel,--a vista, as it were, of 
true genial nature, in the far distance.  But as he looked round 
again, 'What hope,' he thought, 'of its realisation?  Arcadian 
dreams of pastoral innocence and graceful industry, I suppose, are 
to be henceforth monopolised by the stage or the boudoir?  Never, so 
help me, God!'

The ursine howls of the new-comer seemed to have awakened the spirit 
of music in the party.

'Coom, Blackburd, gi' us zong, Blackburd, bo'!' cried a dozen voices 
to an impish, dark-eyed gipsy boy, of some thirteen years old.

'Put 'n on taable.  Now, then, pipe up!'

'What will 'ee ha'?'

'Mary; gi' us Mary.'

'I shall make a' girls cry,' quoth Blackbird, with a grin.

'Do'n good, too; they likes it:  zing away.'

And the boy began, in a broad country twang, which could not 
overpower the sad melody of the air, or the rich sweetness of his 
flute-like voice,--


'Young Mary walked sadly down through the green clover,
   And sighed as she looked at the babe at her breast;
"My roses are faded, my false love a rover,
   The green graves they call me, 'Come home to your rest.'"

'Then by rode a soldier in gorgeous arraying,
   And "Where is your bride-ring, my fair maid?" he cried;
"I ne'er had a bride-ring, by false man's betraying,
   Nor token of love but this babe at my side.

'"Tho' gold could not buy me, sweet words could deceive me;
   So faithful and lonely till death I must roam."
"Oh, Mary, sweet Mary, look up and forgive me,
   With wealth and with glory your true love comes home;

'"So give me my own babe, those soft arms adorning,
   I'll wed you and cherish you, never to stray;
For it's many a dark and a wild cloudy morning,
   Turns out by the noon-time a sunshiny day."'


'A bad moral that, sir,' whispered Tregarva.

'Better than none,' answered Lancelot.

'It's well if you are right, sir, for you'll hear no other.'

The keeper spoke truly; in a dozen different songs, more or less 
coarsely, but, in general, with a dash of pathetic sentiment, the 
same case of lawless love was embodied.  It seemed to be their only 
notion of the romantic.  Now and then there was a poaching song; 
then one of the lowest flash London school--filth and all--was 
roared in chorus in presence of the women.

'I am afraid that you do not thank me for having brought you to any 
place so unfit for a gentleman,' said Tregarva, seeing Lancelot's 
sad face.

'Because it is so unfit for a gentleman, therefore I do thank you.  
It is right to know what one's own flesh and blood are doing.'

'Hark to that song, sir! that's an old one.  I didn't think they'd 
get on to singing that.'

The Blackbird was again on the table, but seemed this time 
disinclined to exhibit.

'Out wi' un, boy; it wain't burn thy mouth!'

'I be afeard.'

'O' who?'

'Keeper there.'

He pointed to Tregarva; there was a fierce growl round the room.

'I am no keeper,' shouted Tregarva, starting up.  'I was turned off 
this morning for speaking my mind about the squires, and now I'm one 
of you, to live and die.'

This answer was received with a murmur of applause; and a fellow in 
a scarlet merino neckerchief, three waistcoats, and a fancy 
shooting-jacket, who had been eyeing Lancelot for some time, sidled 
up behind them, and whispered in Tregarva's ear,--

'Perhaps you'd like an engagement in our line, young man, and your 
friend there, he seems a sporting gent too.--We could show him very 
pretty shooting.'

Tregarva answered by the first and last oath Lancelot ever heard 
from him, and turning to him, as the rascal sneaked off,--

'That's a poaching crimp from London, sir; tempting these poor boys 
to sin, and deceit, and drunkenness, and theft, and the hulks.'

'I fancy I saw him somewhere the night of our row--you understand?'

'So do I, sir, but there's no use talking of it.'

Blackbird was by this time prevailed on to sing, and burst out as 
melodious as ever, while all heads were cocked on one side in 
delighted attention.


'I zeed a vire o' Monday night,
   A vire both great and high;
But I wool not tell you where, my boys,
   Nor wool not tell you why.
The varmer he comes screeching out,
   To zave 'uns new brood mare;
Zays I, "You and your stock may roast,
   Vor aught us poor chaps care."

'Coorus, boys, coorus!'

And the chorus burst out,--

'Then here's a curse on varmers all
   As rob and grind the poor;
To re'p the fruit of all their works
   In **** for evermoor-r-r-r.

'A blind owld dame come to the vire,
   Zo near as she could get;
Zays, "Here's a luck I warn't asleep
   To lose this blessed hett.

'"They robs us of our turfing rights,
   Our bits of chips and sticks,
Till poor folks now can't warm their hands,
   Except by varmer's ricks."
      'Then, etc.'


And again the boy's delicate voice rung out the ferocious chorus, 
with something, Lancelot fancied, of fiendish exultation, and every 
worn face lighted up with a coarse laugh, that indicated no malice--
but also no mercy.

Lancelot was sickened, and rose to go.

As he turned, his arm was seized suddenly and firmly.  He looked 
round, and saw a coarse, handsome, showily-dressed girl, looking 
intently into his face.  He shook her angrily off.

'You needn't be so proud, Mr. Smith; I've had my hand on the arm of 
as good as you.  Ah, you needn't start!  I know you--I know you, I 
say, well enough.  You used to be with him.  Where is he?'

'Whom do you mean?'

'He!' answered the girl, with a fierce, surprised look, as if there 
could be no one else in the world.

'Colonel Bracebridge,' whispered Tregarva.

'Ay, he it is!  And now walk further off, bloodhound! and let me 
speak to Mr. Smith.  He is in Norway,' she ran on eagerly.  'When 
will he be back?  When?'

'Why do you want to know?' asked Lancelot.

'When will he be back?'--she kept on fiercely repeating the 
question; and then burst out,--'Curse you gentlemen all!  Cowards! 
you are all in a league against us poor girls!  You can hunt alone 
when you betray us, and lie fast enough then?  But when we come for 
justice, you all herd together like a flock of rooks; and turn so 
delicate and honourable all of a sudden--to each other!  When will 
he be back, I say?'

'In a month,' answered Lancelot, who saw that something really 
important lay behind the girl's wildness.

'Too late!' she cried, wildly, clapping her hands together; 'too 
late!  Here--tell him you saw me; tell him you saw Mary; tell him 
where and in what a pretty place, too, for maid, master, or man!  
What are you doing here?'

'What is that to you, my good girl?'

'True.  Tell him you saw me here; and tell him, when next he hears 
of me, it will be in a very different place.'

She turned and vanished among the crowd.  Lancelot almost ran out 
into the night,--into a triad of fights, two drunken men, two 
jealous wives, and a brute who struck a poor, thin, worn-out woman, 
for trying to coax him home.  Lancelot rushed up to interfere, but a 
man seized his uplifted arm.

'He'll only beat her all the more when he getteth home.'

'She has stood that every Saturday night for the last seven years, 
to my knowledge,' said Tregarva; 'and worse, too, at times.'

'Good God! is there no escape for her from her tyrant?'

'No, sir.  It's only you gentlefolks who can afford such luxuries; 
your poor man may be tied to a harlot, or your poor woman to a 
ruffian, but once done, done for ever.'

'Well,' thought Lancelot, 'we English have a characteristic way of 
proving the holiness of the marriage tie.  The angel of Justice and 
Pity cannot sever it, only the stronger demon of Money.'

Their way home lay over Ashy Down, a lofty chalk promontory, round 
whose foot the river made a sudden bend.  As they paced along over 
the dreary hedgeless stubbles, they both started, as a ghostly 'Ha! 
ha! ha!' rang through the air over their heads, and was answered by 
a like cry, faint and distant, across the wolds.

'That's those stone-curlews--at least, so I hope,' said Tregarva.  
'He'll be round again in a minute.'

And again, right between them and the clear, cold moon, 'Ha! ha! 
ha!' resounded over their heads.  They gazed up into the cloudless 
star-bespangled sky, but there was no sign of living thing.

'It's an old sign to me,' quoth Tregarva; 'God grant that I may 
remember it in this black day of mine.'

'How so!' asked Lancelot; 'I should not have fancied you a 
superstitious man.'

'Names go for nothing, sir, and what my forefathers believed in I am 
not going to be conceited enough to disbelieve in a hurry.  But if 
you heard my story you would think I had reason enough to remember 
that devil's laugh up there.'

'Let me hear it then.'

'Well, sir, it may be a long story to you, but it was a short one to 
me, for it was the making of me, out of hand, there and then, 
blessed be God!  But if you will have it--'

'And I will have it, friend Tregarva,' quoth Lancelot, lighting his 
cigar.

'I was about sixteen years old, just after I came home from the 
Brazils--'

'What! have you been in the Brazils?'

'Indeed and I have, sir, for three years; and one thing I learnt 
there, at least, that's worth going for.'

'What's that?'

'What the Garden of Eden must have been like.  But those Brazils, 
under God, were the cause of my being here; for my father, who was a 
mine-captain, lost all his money there, by no man's fault but his 
own, and not his either, the world would say, and when we came back 
to Cornwall he could not stand the bal work, nor I neither.  Out of 
that burning sun, sir, to come home here, and work in the levels, up 
to our knees in warm water, with the thermometer at 85 degrees, and 
then up a thousand feet of ladder to grass, reeking wet with heat, 
and find the easterly sleet driving across those open furze-crofts--
he couldn't stand it, sir--few stand it long, even of those who stay 
in Cornwall.  We miners have a short lease of life; consumption and 
strains break us down before we're fifty.'

'But how came you here?'

'The doctor told my father, and me too, sir, that we must give up 
mining, or die of decline:  so he came up here, to a sister of his 
that was married to the squire's gardener, and here he died; and the 
squire, God bless him and forgive him, took a fancy to me, and made 
me under-keeper.  And I loved the life, for it took me among the 
woods and the rivers, where I could think of the Brazils, and fancy 
myself back again.  But mustn't talk of that--where God wills is all 
right.  And it is a fine life for reading and thinking, a 
gamekeeper's, for it's an idle life at best.  Now that's over,' he 
added, with a sigh, 'and the Lord has fulfilled His words to me, 
that He spoke the first night that ever I heard a stone-plover cry.'

'What on earth can you mean?' asked Lancelot, deeply interested.

'Why, sir, it was a wild, whirling gray night, with the air full of 
sleet and rain, and my father sent me over to Redruth town to bring 
home some trade or other.  And as I came back I got blinded with the 
sleet, and I lost my way across the moors.  You know those Cornish 
furze-moors, sir?'

'No.'

'Well, then, they are burrowed like a rabbit-warren with old mine-
shafts.  You can't go in some places ten yards without finding 
great, ghastly black holes, covered in with furze, and weeds, and 
bits of rotting timber; and when I was a boy I couldn't keep from 
them.  Something seemed to draw me to go and peep down, and drop 
pebbles in, to hear them rattle against the sides, fathoms below, 
till they plumped into the ugly black still water at the bottom.  
And I used to be always after them in my dreams, when I was young, 
falling down them, down, down, all night long, till I woke 
screaming; for I fancied they were hell's mouth, every one of them.  
And it stands to reason, sir; we miners hold that the lake of fire 
can't be far below.  For we find it grow warmer, and warmer, and 
warmer, the farther we sink a shaft; and the learned gentlemen have 
proved, sir, that it's not the blasting powder, nor the men's 
breaths, that heat the mine.'

Lancelot could but listen.

'Well, sir, I got into a great furze-croft, full of deads (those are 
the earth-heaps they throw out of the shafts), where no man in his 
senses dare go forward or back in the dark, for fear of the shafts; 
and the wind and the snow were so sharp, they made me quite stupid 
and sleepy; and I knew if I stayed there I should be frozen to 
death, and if I went on, there were the shafts ready to swallow me 
up:  and what with fear and the howling and raging of the wind, I 
was like a mazed boy, sir.  And I knelt down and tried to pray; and 
then, in one moment, all the evil things I'd ever done, and the bad 
words and thoughts that ever crossed me, rose up together as clear 
as one page of a print-book; and I knew that if I died that minute I 
should go to hell.  And then I saw through the ground all the water 
in the shafts glaring like blood, and all the sides of the shafts 
fierce red-hot, as if hell was coming up.  And I heard the knockers 
knocking, or thought I heard them, as plain as I hear that 
grasshopper in the hedge now.'

'What are the knockers?'

'They are the ghosts, the miners hold, of the old Jews, sir, that 
crucified our Lord, and were sent for slaves by the Roman emperors 
to work the mines; and we find their old smelting-houses, which we 
call Jews' houses, and their blocks of tin, at the bottom of the 
great bogs, which we call Jews' tin; and there's a town among us, 
too, which we call Market-Jew--but the old name was Marazion; that 
means the Bitterness of Zion, they tell me.  Isn't it so, sir?'

'I believe it is,' said Lancelot, utterly puzzled in this new field 
of romance.

'And bitter work it was for them, no doubt, poor souls!  We used to 
break into the old shafts and adits which they had made, and find 
old stags'-horn pickaxes, that crumbled to pieces when we brought 
them to grass; and they say, that if a man will listen, sir, of a 
still night, about those old shafts, he may hear the ghosts of them 
at working, knocking, and picking, as clear as if there was a man at 
work in the next level.  It may be all an old fancy.  I suppose it 
is.  But I believed it when I was a boy; and it helped the work in 
me that night.  But I'll go on with my story.'

'Go on with what you like,' said Lancelot.

'Well, sir, I was down on my knees among the furze-bushes, and I 
tried to pray; but I was too frightened, for I felt the beast I had 
been, sir; and I expected the ground to open and let me down every 
moment; and then there came by over my head a rushing, and a cry.  
"Ha! ha! ha!  Paul!" it said; and it seemed as if all the devils and 
witches were out on the wind, a-laughing at my misery.  "Oh, I'll 
mend--I'll repent," I said, "indeed I will:" and again it came 
back,--"Ha! ha! ha!  Paul!" it said.  I knew afterwards that it was 
a bird; but the Lord sent it to me for a messenger, no less, that 
night.  And I shook like a reed in the water; and then, all at once 
a thought struck me.  "Why should I be a coward?  Why should I be 
afraid of shafts, or devils, or hell, or anything else?  If I am a 
miserable sinner, there's One died for me--I owe him love, not fear 
at all.  I'll not be frightened into doing right--that's a rascally 
reason for repentance."  And so it was, sir, that I rose up like a 
man, and said to the Lord Jesus, right out into the black, dumb 
air,--"If you'll be on my side this night, good Lord, that died for 
me, I'll be on your side for ever, villain as I am, if I'm worth 
making any use of."  And there and then, sir, I saw a light come 
over the bushes, brighter, and brighter, up to me; and there rose up 
a voice within me, and spoke to me, quite soft and sweet,--"Fear 
not, Paul, for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles."  And 
what more happened I can't tell, for when I woke I was safe at home.  
My father and his folk had been out with lanterns after me; and 
there they found me, sure enough, in a dead faint on the ground.  
But this I know, sir, that those words have never left my mind since 
for a day together; and I know that they will be fulfilled in me 
this tide, or never.'

Lancelot was silent a few minutes.

'I suppose, Tregarva, that you would call this your conversion?'

'I should call it one, sir, because it was one.'

'Tell me now, honestly, did any real, practical change in your 
behaviour take place after that night?'

'As much, sir, as if you put a soul into a hog, and told him that he 
was a gentleman's son; and, if every time he remembered that, he got 
spirit enough to conquer his hoggishness, and behave like a man, 
till the hoggishness died out of him, and the manliness grew up and 
bore fruit in him, more and more each day.'

Lancelot half understood him, and sighed.

A long silence followed, as they paced on past lonely farmyards, 
from which the rich manure-water was draining across the road in 
foul black streams, festering and steaming in the chill night air.  
Lancelot sighed as he saw the fruitful materials of food running to 
waste, and thought of the 'over-population' cry; and then he looked 
across to the miles of brown moorland on the opposite side of the 
valley, that lay idle and dreary under the autumn moon, except where 
here and there a squatter's cottage and rood of fruitful garden gave 
the lie to the laziness and ignorance of man, who pretends that it 
is not worth his while to cultivate the soil which God has given 
him.  'Good heavens!' he thought, 'had our forefathers had no more 
enterprise than modern landlords, where should we all have been at 
this moment?  Everywhere waste?  Waste of manure, waste of land, 
waste of muscle, waste of brain, waste of population--and we call 
ourselves the workshop of the world!'

As they passed through the miserable hamlet-street of Ashy, they saw 
a light burning in window.  At the door below, a haggard woman was 
looking anxiously down the village.

'What's the matter, Mistress Cooper?' asked Tregarva.

'Here's Mrs. Grane's poor girl lying sick of the fever--the Lord 
help her! and the boy died of it last week.  We sent for the doctor 
this afternoon, and he's busy with a poor soul that's in her 
trouble; and now we've sent down to the squire's, and the young 
ladies, God bless them! sent answer they'd come themselves 
straightway.'

'No wonder you have typhus here,' said Lancelot, 'with this filthy 
open drain running right before the door.  Why can't you clean it 
out?'

'Why, what harm does that do?' answered the woman, peevishly.  
'Besides, here's my master gets up to his work by five in the 
morning, and not back till seven at night, and by then he ain't in 
no humour to clean out gutters.  And where's the water to come from 
to keep a place clean?  It costs many a one of us here a shilling a 
week the summer through to pay fetching water up the hill.  We've 
work enough to fill our kettles.  The muck must just lie in the 
road, smell or none, till the rain carries it away.'

Lancelot sighed again.

'It would be a good thing for Ashy, Tregarva, if the weir-pool did, 
some fine morning, run up to Ashy Down, as poor Harry Verney said on 
his deathbed.'

'There won't be much of Ashy left by that time, sir, if the 
landlords go on pulling down cottages at their present rate; driving 
the people into the towns, to herd together there like hogs, and 
walk out to their work four or five miles every morning.'

'Why,' said Lancelot, 'wherever one goes one sees commodious new 
cottages springing up.'

'Wherever you go, sir; but what of wherever you don't go?  Along the 
roadsides, and round the gentlemen's parks, where the cottages are 
in sight, it's all very smart; but just go into the outlying 
hamlets--a whited sepulchre, sir, is many a great estate; outwardly 
swept and garnished, and inwardly full of all uncleanliness, and 
dead men's bones.'

At this moment two cloaked and veiled figures came up to the door, 
followed by a servant.  There was no mistaking those delicate 
footsteps, and the two young men drew back with fluttering hearts, 
and breathed out silent blessings on the ministering angels, as they 
entered the crazy and reeking house.

'I'm thinking, sir,' said Tregarva, as they walked slowly and 
reluctantly away, 'that it is hard of the gentlemen to leave all 
God's work to the ladies, as nine-tenths of them do.'

'And I am thinking, Tregarva, that both for ladies and gentlemen, 
prevention is better than cure.'

'There's a great change come over Miss Argemone, sir.  She used not 
to be so ready to start out at midnight to visit dying folk.  A 
blessed change!'

Lancelot thought so too, and he thought that he knew the cause of 
it.

Argemone's appearance, and their late conversation, had started a 
new covey of strange fancies.  Lancelot followed them over hill and 
dale, glad to escape a moment from the mournful lessons of that 
evening; but even over them there was a cloud of sadness.  Harry 
Verney's last words, and Argemone's accidental whisper about 'a 
curse upon the Lavingtons,' rose to his mind.  He longed to ask 
Tregarva, but he was afraid--not of the man, for there was a 
delicacy in his truthfulness which encouraged the most utter 
confidence; but of the subject itself; but curiosity conquered.

'What did Old Harry mean about the Nun-pool?' he said at last.  
'Every one seemed to understand him.'

'Ah, sir, he oughtn't to have talked of it!  But dying men, at 
times, see over the dark water into deep things--deeper than they 
think themselves.  Perhaps there's one speaks through them.  But I 
thought every one knew the story.'

'I do not, at least.'

'Perhaps it's so much the better, sir.'

'Why?  I must insist on knowing.  It is necessary--proper, that is--
that I should hear everything that concerns--'

'I understand, sir; so it is; and I'll tell you.  The story goes, 
that in the old Popish times, when the nuns held Whitford Priors, 
the first Mr. Lavington that ever was came from the king with a 
warrant to turn them all out, poor souls, and take the lands for his 
own.  And they say the head lady of them--prioress, or abbess, as 
they called her--withstood him, and cursed him, in the name of the 
Lord, for a hypocrite who robbed harmless women under the cloak of 
punishing them for sins they'd never committed (for they say, sir, 
he went up to court, and slandered the nuns there for drunkards and 
worse).  And she told him, "That the curse of the nuns of Whitford 
should be on him and his, till they helped the poor in the spirit of 
the nuns of Whitford, and the Nun-pool ran up to Ashy Down.'"

'That time is not come yet,' said Lancelot.

'But the worst is to come, sir.  For he or his, sir, that night, 
said or did something to the lady, that was more than woman's heart 
could bear:  and the next morning she was found dead and cold, 
drowned in that weir-pool.  And there the gentleman's eldest son was 
drowned, and more than one Lavington beside.  Miss Argemone's only 
brother, that was the heir, was drowned there too, when he was a 
little one.'

'I never heard that she had a brother.'

'No, sir, no one talks of it.  There are many things happen in the 
great house that you must go to the little house to hear of.  But 
the country-folk believe, sir, that the nun's curse holds true; and 
they say, that Whitford folks have been getting poorer and wickeder 
ever since that time, and will, till the Nun-pool runs up to Ashy, 
and the Lavingtons' name goes out of Whitford Priors.'

Lancelot said nothing.  A presentiment of evil hung over him.  He 
was utterly down-hearted about Tregarva, about Argemone, about the 
poor.  The truth was, he could not shake off the impression of the 
scene he had left, utterly disappointed and disgusted with the 
'revel.'  He had expected, as I said before, at least to hear 
something of pastoral sentiment, and of genial frolicsome humour; to 
see some innocent, simple enjoyment:  but instead, what had he seen 
but vanity, jealousy, hoggish sensuality, dull vacuity? drudges 
struggling for one night to forget their drudgery.  And yet withal, 
those songs, and the effect which they produced, showed that in 
these poor creatures, too, lay the germs of pathos, taste, melody, 
soft and noble affections.  'What right have we,' thought he, 'to 
hinder their development?  Art, poetry, music, science,--ay, even 
those athletic and graceful exercises on which we all pride 
ourselves, which we consider necessary to soften and refine 
ourselves, what God has given us a monopoly of them?--what is good 
for the rich man is good for the poor.  Over-education?  And what of 
that?  What if the poor be raised above "their station"?  What right 
have we to keep them down?  How long have they been our born thralls 
in soul, as well as in body?  What right have we to say that they 
shall know no higher recreation than the hogs, because, forsooth, if 
we raised them, they might refuse to work--FOR US?  Are WE to fix 
how far their minds may be developed?  Has not God fixed it for us, 
when He gave them the same passions, talents, tastes, as our own?'

Tregarva's meditations must have been running in a very different 
channel, for he suddenly burst out, after a long silence--

'It's a pity these fairs can't be put down.  They do a lot of harm; 
ruin all the young girls round, the Dissenters' children especially, 
for they run utterly wild; their parents have no hold on them at 
all.'

'They tell them that they are children of the devil,' said Lancelot.  
'What wonder if the children take them at their word, and act 
accordingly?'

'The parson here, sir, who is a God-fearing man enough, tried hard 
to put down this one, but the innkeepers were too strong for him.'

'To take away their only amusement, in short.  He had much better 
have set to work to amuse them himself.'

'His business is to save souls, sir, and not to amuse them.  I don't 
see, sir, what Christian people want with such vanities.'

Lancelot did not argue the point, for he knew the prejudices of 
Dissenters on the subject; but it did strike him that if Tregarva's 
brain had been a little less preponderant, he, too, might have found 
the need of some recreation besides books and thought.

By this time they were at Lancelot's door.  He bid the keeper a 
hearty good-night, made him promise to see him next day, and went to 
bed and slept till nearly noon.

When he walked into his breakfast-room, he found a note on the table 
in his uncle's handwriting.  The vicar's servant had left it an hour 
before.  He opened it listlessly, rang the bell furiously, ordered 
out his best horse, and, huddling on his clothes, galloped to the 
nearest station, caught the train, and arrived at his uncle's bank--
it had stopped payment two hours before.



CHAPTER XIV:  WHAT'S TO BE DONE?



Yes! the bank had stopped.  The ancient firm of Smith, Brown, Jones, 
Robinson, and Co., which had been for some years past expanding from 
a solid golden organism into a cobweb-tissue and huge balloon of 
threadbare paper, had at last worn through and collapsed, dropping 
its car and human contents miserably into the Thames mud.  Why 
detail the pitiable post-mortem examination resulting?  Lancelot 
sickened over it for many a long day; not, indeed, mourning at his 
private losses, but at the thorough hollowness of the system which 
it exposed, about which he spoke his mind pretty freely to his 
uncle, who bore it good-humouredly enough.  Indeed, the discussions 
to which it gave rise rather comforted the good man, by turning his 
thought from his own losses to general principles.  'I have ruined 
you, my poor boy,' he used to say; 'so you may as well take your 
money's worth out of me in bullying.'  Nothing, indeed, could 
surpass his honest and manly sorrow for having been the cause of 
Lancelot's beggary; but as for persuading him that his system was 
wrong, it was quite impossible.  Not that Lancelot was hard upon 
him; on the contrary, he assured him, repeatedly, of his conviction, 
that the precepts of the Bible had nothing to do with the laws of 
commerce; that though the Jews were forbidden to take interest of 
Jews, Christians had a perfect right to be as hard as they liked on 
'brother' Christians; that there could not be the least harm in 
share-jobbing, for though it did, to be sure, add nothing to the 
wealth of the community--only conjure money out of your neighbour's 
pocket into your own--yet was not that all fair in trade?  If a man 
did not know the real value of the shares he sold you, you were not 
bound to tell him.  Again, Lancelot quite agreed with his uncle, 
that though covetousness might be idolatry, yet money-making could 
not be called covetousness; and that, on the whole, though making 
haste to be rich was denounced as a dangerous and ruinous temptation 
in St. Paul's times, that was not the slightest reason why it should 
be so now.  All these concessions were made with a freedom which 
caused the good banker to suspect at times that his shrewd nephew 
was laughing at him in his sleeve, but he could not but subscribe to 
them for the sake of consistency; though as a staunch Protestant, it 
puzzled him a little at times to find it necessary to justify 
himself by getting his 'infidel' nephew to explain away so much of 
the Bible for him.  But men are accustomed to do that now-a-days, 
and so was he.

Once only did Lancelot break out with his real sentiments when the 
banker was planning how to re-establish his credit; to set to work, 
in fact, to blow over again the same bubble which had already burst 
under him.

'If I were a Christian,' said Lancelot, 'like you, I would call this 
credit system of yours the devil's selfish counterfeit of God's 
order of mutual love and trust; the child of that miserable dream, 
which, as Dr. Chalmers well said, expects universal selfishness to 
do the work of universal love.  Look at your credit system, how--not 
in its abuse, but in its very essence--it carries the seeds of self-
destruction.  In the first place, a man's credit depends, not upon 
his real worth and property, but upon his reputation for property; 
daily and hourly he is tempted, he is forced, to puff himself, to 
pretend to be richer than he is.'

The banker sighed and shrugged his shoulders.  'We all do it, my 
dear boy.'

'I know it.  You must do it, or be more than human.  There is lie 
the first, and look at lie the second.  This credit system is 
founded on the universal faith and honour of men towards men.  But 
do you think faith and honour can be the children of selfishness?  
Men must be chivalrous and disinterested to be honourable.  And you 
expect them all to join in universal faith--each for his own selfish 
interest?  You forget that if that is the prime motive, men will be 
honourable only as long as it suits that same self-interest.'

The banker shrugged his shoulders again.

'Yes, my dear uncle,' said Lancelot, 'you all forget it, though you 
suffer for it daily and hourly; though the honourable men among you 
complain of the stain which has fallen on the old chivalrous good 
faith of English commerce, and say that now, abroad as well as at 
home, an Englishman's word is no longer worth other men's bonds.  
You see the evil, and you deplore it in disgust.  Ask yourself 
honestly, how can you battle against it, while you allow in 
practice, and in theory too, except in church on Sundays, the very 
falsehood from which it all springs?--that a man is bound to get 
wealth, not for his country, but for himself; that, in short, not 
patriotism, but selfishness, is the bond of all society.  
Selfishness can collect, not unite, a herd of cowardly wild cattle, 
that they may feed together, breed together, keep off the wolf and 
bear together.  But when one of your wild cattle falls sick, what 
becomes of the corporate feelings of the herd then?  For one man of 
your class who is nobly helped by his fellows, are not the thousand 
left behind to perish?  Your Bible talks of society, not as a herd, 
but as a living tree, an organic individual body, a holy 
brotherhood, and kingdom of God.  And here is an idol which you have 
set up instead of it!'

But the banker was deaf to all arguments.  No doubt he had plenty, 
for he was himself a just and generous--ay, and a God-fearing man in 
his way, only he regarded Lancelot's young fancies as too visionary 
to deserve an answer; which they most probably are; else, having 
been broached as often as they have been, they would surely, ere 
now, have provoked the complete refutation which can, no doubt, be 
given to them by hundreds of learned votaries of so-called commerce.  
And here I beg my readers to recollect that I am in no way 
answerable for the speculations, either of Lancelot or any of his 
acquaintances; and that these papers have been, from beginning to 
end, as in name, so in nature, Yeast--an honest sample of the 
questions, which, good or bad, are fermenting in the minds of the 
young of this day, and are rapidly leavening the minds of the rising 
generation.  No doubt they are all as full of fallacies as possible, 
but as long as the saying of the German sage stands true, that 'the 
destiny of any nation, at any given moment, depends on the opinions 
of its young men under five-and-twenty,' so long it must be worth 
while for those who wish to preserve the present order of society to 
justify its acknowledged evils somewhat, not only to the few young 
men who are interested in preserving them, but also to the many who 
are not.

Though, therefore, I am neither Plymouth Brother nor Communist, and 
as thoroughly convinced as the newspapers can make me, that to 
assert the duties of property is only to plot its destruction, and 
that a community of goods must needs imply a community of wives (as 
every one knows was the case with the apostolic Christians), I shall 
take the liberty of narrating Lancelot's fanatical conduct, without 
execratory comment, certain that he will still receive his just 
reward of condemnation; and that, if I find facts, a sensible public 
will find abhorrence for them.  His behaviour was, indeed, most 
singular; he absolutely refused a good commercial situation which 
his uncle procured him.  He did not believe in being 'cured by a 
hair of the dog that bit him;' and he refused, also, the really 
generous offers of the creditors, to allow him a sufficient 
maintenance.

'No,' he said, 'no more pay without work for me.  I will earn my 
bread or starve.  It seems God's will to teach me what poverty is--I 
will see that His intention is not left half fulfilled.  I have 
sinned, and only in the stern delight of a just penance can I gain 
self-respect.'

'But, my dear madman,' said his uncle, 'you are just the innocent 
one among us all.  You, at least, were only a sleeping partner.'

'And therein lies my sin; I took money which I never earned, and 
cared as little how it was gained as how I spent it.  Henceforth I 
shall touch no farthing which is the fruit of a system which I 
cannot approve.  I accuse no one.  Actions may vary in rightfulness, 
according to the age and the person.  But what may be right for you, 
because you think it right, is surely wrong for me because I think 
it wrong.'

So, with grim determination, he sent to the hammer every article he 
possessed, till he had literally nothing left but the clothes in 
which he stood.  'He could not rest,' he said, 'till he had pulled 
out all his borrowed peacock's feathers.  When they were gone he 
should be able to see, at last, whether he was jackdaw or eagle.'  
And wonder not, reader, at this same strength of will.  The very 
genius, which too often makes its possessor self-indulgent in common 
matters, from the intense capability of enjoyment which it brings, 
may also, when once his whole being is stirred into motion by some 
great object, transform him into a hero.

And he carried a letter, too, in his bosom, night and day, which 
routed all coward fears and sad forebodings as soon as they arose, 
and converted the lonely and squalid lodging to which he had 
retired, into a fairy palace peopled with bright phantoms of future 
bliss.  I need not say from whom it came.

'Beloved!' (it ran) 'Darling! you need not pain yourself to tell me 
anything.  I know all; and I know, too (do not ask me how), your 
noble determination to drink the wholesome cup of poverty to the 
very dregs.

'Oh that I were with you!  Oh that I could give you my fortune! but 
that is not yet, alas! in my own power.  No! rather would I share 
that poverty with you, and strengthen you in your purpose.  And yet, 
I cannot bear the thought of you, lonely--perhaps miserable.  But, 
courage! though you have lost all, you have found me; and now you 
are knitting me to you for ever--justifying my own love to me by 
your nobleness; and am I not worth all the world to you?  I dare say 
this to you; you will not think me conceited.  Can we misunderstand 
each other's hearts?  And all this while you are alone!  Oh! I have 
mourned for you!  Since I heard of your misfortune I have not tasted 
pleasure.  The light of heaven has been black to me, and I have 
lived only upon love.  I will not taste comfort while you are 
wretched.  Would that I could be poor like you!  Every night upon 
the bare floor I lie down to sleep, and fancy you in your little 
chamber, and nestle to you, and cover that dear face with kisses.  
Strange! that I should dare to speak thus to you, whom a few months 
ago I had never heard of!  Wonderful simplicity of love!  How all 
that is prudish and artificial flees before it!  I seem to have 
begun a new life.  If I could play now, it would be only with little 
children.  Farewell! be great--a glorious future is before you and 
me in you!'

Lancelot's answer must remain untold; perhaps the veil has been 
already too far lifted which hides the sanctuary of such love.  But, 
alas! to his letter no second had been returned; and he felt--though 
he dared not confess it to himself--a gloomy presentiment of evil 
flit across him, as he thought of his fallen fortunes, and the 
altered light in which his suit would be regarded by Argemone's 
parents.  Once he blamed himself bitterly for not having gone to Mr. 
Lavington the moment he discovered Argemone's affection, and 
insuring--as he then might have done--his consent.  But again he 
felt that no sloth had kept him back, but adoring reverence for his 
God-given treasure, and humble astonishment at his own happiness; 
and he fled from the thought into renewed examination into the state 
of the masses, the effect of which was only to deepen his own 
determination to share their lot.

But at the same time it seemed to him but fair to live, as long as 
it would last, on that part of his capital which his creditors would 
have given nothing for--namely, his information; and he set to work 
to write.  But, alas! he had but a 'small literary connection;' and 
the entree of the initiated ring is not obtained in a day. . . .  
Besides, he would not write trash.--He was in far too grim a humour 
for that; and if he wrote on important subjects, able editors always 
were in the habit of entrusting them to old contributors,--men, in 
short, in whose judgment they had confidence--not to say anything 
which would commit the magazine to anything but its own little 
party-theory.  And behold! poor Lancelot found himself of no party 
whatsoever.  He was in a minority of one against the whole world, on 
all points, right or wrong.  He had the unhappiest knack (as all 
geniuses have) of seeing connections, humorous or awful, between the 
most seemingly antipodal things; of illustrating every subject from 
three or four different spheres which it is anathema to mention in 
the same page.  If he wrote a physical-science article, able editors 
asked him what the deuce a scrap of high-churchism did in the middle 
of it?  If he took the same article to a high-church magazine, the 
editor could not commit himself to any theory which made the earth 
more than six thousand years old, and was afraid that the public 
taste would not approve of the allusions to free-masonry and Soyer's 
soup. . . .  And worse than that, one and all--Jew, Turk, infidel, 
and heretic, as well as the orthodox--joined in pious horror at his 
irreverence;--the shocking way he had of jumbling religion and 
politics--the human and the divine--the theories of the pulpit with 
the facts of the exchange. . . .  The very atheists, who laughed at 
him for believing in a God, agreed that that, at least, was 
inconsistent with the dignity of the God--who did not exist. . . .  
It was Syncretism . . .  Pantheism. . . .

'Very well, friends,' quoth Lancelot to himself, in bitter rage, one 
day, 'if you choose to be without God in the world, and to honour 
Him by denying Him . . . do so!  You shall have your way; and go to 
the place whither it seems leading you just now, at railroad pace.  
But I must live. . . .  Well, at least, there is some old college 
nonsense of mine, written three years ago, when I believed, like 
you, that all heaven and earth was put together out of separate 
bits, like a child's puzzle, and that each topic ought to have its 
private little pigeon-hole all to itself in a man's brain, like 
drugs in a chemist's shop.  Perhaps it will suit you, friends; 
perhaps it will be system-frozen, and narrow, and dogmatic, and 
cowardly, and godless enough for you.'  . . .  So he went forth with 
them to market; and behold! they were bought forthwith.  There was 
verily a demand for such; . . . and in spite of the ten thousand 
ink-fountains which were daily pouring out similar Stygian liquors, 
the public thirst remained unslaked.  'Well,' thought Lancelot, 'the 
negro race is not the only one which is afflicted with manias for 
eating dirt. . . .  By the bye, where is poor Luke?'

Ah! where was poor Luke?  Lancelot had received from him one short 
and hurried note, blotted with tears, which told how he had informed 
his father; and how his father had refused to see him, and had 
forbid him the house; and how he had offered him an allowance of 
fifty pounds a year (it should have been five hundred, he said, if 
he had possessed it), which Luke's director, sensibly enough, had 
compelled him to accept. . . .  And there the letter ended, 
abruptly, leaving the writer evidently in lower depths than he had 
either experienced already, or expected at all.

Lancelot had often pleaded for him with his father; but in vain.  
Not that the good man was hard-hearted:  he would cry like a child 
about it all to Lancelot when they sat together after dinner.  But 
he was utterly beside himself, what with grief, shame, terror, and 
astonishment.  On the whole, the sorrow was a real comfort to him:  
it gave him something beside his bankruptcy to think of; and, 
distracted between the two different griefs, he could brood over 
neither.  But of the two, certainly his son's conversion was the 
worst in his eyes.  The bankruptcy was intelligible--measurable; it 
was something known and classified--part of the ills which flesh 
(or, at least, commercial flesh) is heir to.  But going to Rome!--

'I can't understand it.  I won't believe it.  It's so foolish, you 
see, Lancelot--so foolish--like an ass that eats thistles! . . .  
There must be some reason;--there must be--something we don't know, 
sir!  Do you think they could have promised to make him a cardinal?'

Lancelot quite agreed that there were reasons for it, that they--or, 
at least, the banker--did not know. . . .

'Depend upon it, they promised him something--some prince-bishopric, 
perhaps.  Else why on earth could a man go over!  It's out of the 
course of nature!'

Lancelot tried in vain to make him understand that a man might 
sacrifice everything to conscience, and actually give up all worldly 
weal for what he thought right.  The banker turned on him with angry 
resignation--

'Very well--I suppose he's done right then!  I suppose you'll go 
next!  Take up a false religion, and give up everything for it!  
Why, then, he must be honest; and if he's honest, he's in the right; 
and I suppose I'd better go too!'

Lancelot argued:  but in vain.  The idea of disinterested sacrifice 
was so utterly foreign to the good man's own creed and practice, 
that he could but see one pair of alternatives.

'Either he is a good man, or he's a hypocrite.  Either he's right, 
or he's gone over for some vile selfish end; and what can that be 
but money?'

Lancelot gently hinted that there might be other selfish ends 
besides pecuniary ones--saving one's soul, for instance.

'Why, if he wants to save his soul, he's right.  What ought we all 
to do, but try to save our souls?  I tell you there's some sinister 
reason.  They've told him that they expect to convert England--I 
should like to see them do it!--and that he'll be made a bishop.  
Don't argue with me, or you'll drive me mad.  I know those Jesuits!'

And as soon as he began upon the Jesuits, Lancelot prudently held 
his tongue.  The good man had worked himself up into a perfect 
frenzy of terror and suspicion about them.  He suspected concealed 
Jesuits among his footmen and his housemaids; Jesuits in his 
counting-house, Jesuits in his duns. . . .

'Hang it, sir! how do I know that there ain't a Jesuit listening to 
us now behind the curtain?'

'I'll go and look,' quoth Lancelot, and suited the action to the 
word.

'Well, if there ain't there might be.  They're everywhere, I tell 
you.  That vicar of Whitford was a Jesuit.  I was sure of it all 
along; but the man seemed so pious; and certainly he did my poor 
dear boy a deal of good.  But he ruined you, you know.  And I'm 
convinced--no, don't contradict me; I tell you, I won't stand it--
I'm convinced that this whole mess of mine is a plot of those 
rascals;--I'm as certain of it as if they'd told me!'

'For what end?'

'How the deuce can I tell?  Am I a Jesuit, to understand their 
sneaking, underhand--pah!  I'm sick of life!  Nothing but rogues 
wherever one turns!'

And then Lancelot used to try to persuade him to take poor Luke back 
again.  But vague terror had steeled his heart.

'What!  Why, he'd convert us all!  He'd convert his sisters!  He'd 
bring his priests in here, or his nuns disguised as ladies' maids, 
and we should all go over, every one of us, like a set of nine-
pins!'

'You seem to think Protestantism a rather shaky cause, if it is so 
easy to be upset.'

'Sir!  Protestantism is the cause of England and Christianity, and 
civilisation, and freedom, and common sense, sir! and that's the 
very reason why it's so easy to pervert men from it; and the very 
reason why it's a lost cause, and popery, and Antichrist, and the 
gates of hell are coming in like a flood to prevail against it!'

'Well,' thought Lancelot, 'that is the very strangest reason for 
it's being a lost cause!  Perhaps if my poor uncle believed it 
really to be the cause of God Himself, he would not be in such 
extreme fear for it, or fancy it required such a hotbed and 
greenhouse culture. . . .  Really, if his sisters were little girls 
of ten years old, who looked up to him as an oracle, there would be 
some reason in it. . . .  But those tall, ball-going, flirting, 
self-satisfied cousins of mine--who would have been glad enough, 
either of them, two months ago, to snap up me, infidelity, bad 
character, and all, as a charming rich young roue--if they have not 
learnt enough Protestantism in the last five-and-twenty years to 
take care of themselves, Protestantism must have very few 
allurements, or else be very badly carried out in practice by those 
who talk loudest in favour of it. . . .  I heard them praising 
O'Blareaway's "ministry," by the bye, the other day.  So he is up in 
town at last--at the summit of his ambition.  Well, he may suit 
them.  I wonder how many young creatures like Argemone and Luke he 
would keep from Popery!'

But there was no use arguing with a man in such a state of mind; and 
gradually Lancelot gave it up, in hopes that time would bring the 
good man to his sane wits again, and that a father's feelings would 
prove themselves stronger, because more divine, than a so-called 
Protestant's fears, though that would have been, in the banker's 
eyes, and in the Jesuit's also--so do extremes meet--the very reason 
for expecting them to be the weaker; for it is the rule with all 
bigots, that the right cause is always a lost cause, and therefore 
requires--God's weapons of love, truth, and reason being well known 
to be too weak--to be defended, if it is to be saved, with the 
devil's weapons of bad logic, spite, and calumny.

At last, in despair of obtaining tidings of his cousin by any other 
method, Lancelot made up his mind to apply to a certain remarkable 
man, whose 'conversion' had preceded Luke's about a year, and had, 
indeed, mainly caused it.

He went, . . . and was not disappointed.  With the most winning 
courtesy and sweetness, his story and his request were patiently 
listened to.

'The outcome of your speech, then, my dear sir, as I apprehend it, 
is a request to me to send back the fugitive lamb into the jaws of 
the well-meaning, but still lupine wolf?'

This was spoken with so sweet and arch a smile, that it was 
impossible to be angry.

'On my honour, I have no wish to convert him.  All I want is to have 
human speech of him--to hear from his own lips that he is content.  
Whither should I convert him?  Not to my own platform--for I am 
nowhere.  Not to that which he has left, . . . for if he could have 
found standing ground there, he would not have gone elsewhere for 
rest.'

'Therefore they went out from you, because they were not of you,' 
said the 'Father,' half aside.

'Most true, sir.  I have felt long that argument was bootless with 
those whose root-ideas of Deity, man, earth, and heaven, were as 
utterly different from my own, as if we had been created by two 
different beings.'

'Do you include in that catalogue those ideas of truth, love, and 
justice, which are Deity itself?  Have you no common ground in 
them?'

'You are an elder and a better man than I. . . .  It would be 
insolent in me to answer that question, except in one way, . . . 
and--'

'In that you cannot answer it.  Be it so. . . .  You shall see your 
cousin.  You may make what efforts you will for his re-conversion.  
The Catholic Church,' continued he, with one of his arch, deep-
meaning smiles, 'is not, like popular Protestantism, driven into 
shrieking terror at the approach of a foe.  She has too much faith 
in herself, and in Him who gives to her the power of truth, to 
expect every gay meadow to allure away her lambs from the fold.'

'I assure you that your gallant permission is unnecessary.  I am 
beginning, at least, to believe that there is a Father in Heaven who 
educates His children; and I have no wish to interfere with His 
methods.  Let my cousin go his way . . . he will learn something 
which he wanted, I doubt not, on his present path, even as I shall 
on mine.  "Se tu segui la tua stella" is my motto. . . .  Let it be 
his too, wherever the star may guide him.  If it be a will-o'-the-
wisp, and lead to the morass, he will only learn how to avoid 
morasses better for the future.'

'Ave Maris stella!  It is the star of Bethlehem which he follows . . 
. the star of Mary, immaculate, all-loving!' . . .  And he bowed his 
head reverently.  'Would that you, too, would submit yourself to 
that guidance! . . .  You, too, would seem to want some loving heart 
whereon to rest.' . . .

Lancelot sighed.  'I am not a child, but a man; I want not a mother 
to pet, but a man to rule me.'

Slowly his companion raised his thin hand, and pointed to the 
crucifix, which stood at the other end of the apartment.

'Behold him!' and he bowed his head once more . . . and Lancelot, he 
knew not why, did the same . . . and yet in an instant he threw his 
head up proudly, and answered with George Fox's old reply to the 
Puritans,--

'I want a live Christ, not a dead one. . . .  That is noble . . . 
beautiful . . . it may be true. . . .  But it has no message for 
me.'

'He died for you.'

'I care for the world, and not myself.'

'He died for the world.'

'And has deserted it, as folks say now, and become--an absentee, 
performing His work by deputies. . . .  Do not start; the blasphemy 
is not mine, but those who preach it.  No wonder that the owners of 
the soil think it no shame to desert their estates, when preachers 
tell them that He to whom they say, all power is given in heaven and 
earth, has deserted His.'

'What would you have, my dear sir?' asked the father.

'What the Jews had.  A king of my nation, and of the hearts of my 
nation, who would teach soldiers, artists, craftsmen, statesmen, 
poets, priests, if priests there must be.  I want a human lord, who 
understands me and the millions round me, pities us, teaches us, 
orders our history, civilisation, development for us.  I come to 
you, full of manhood, and you send me to a woman.  I go to the 
Protestants, full of desires to right the world--and they begin to 
talk of the next life, and give up this as lost!'

A quiet smile lighted up the thin wan face, full of unfathomable 
thoughts; and he replied, again half to himself,--

'Am I God, to kill or to make alive, that thou sendest to me to 
recover a man of his leprosy?  Farewell.  You shall see your cousin 
here at noon to-morrow.  You will not refuse my blessing, or my 
prayers, even though they be offered to a mother?'

'I will refuse nothing in the form of human love.'  And the father 
blessed him fervently, and he went out. . . .

'What a man!' said he to himself, 'or rather the wreck of what a 
man!  Oh, for such a heart, with the thews and sinews of a truly 
English brain!'

Next day he met Luke in that room.  Their talk was short and sad.  
Luke was on the point of entering an order devoted especially to the 
worship of the Blessed Virgin.

'My father has cast me out . . .  I must go to her feet.  She will 
have mercy, though man has none.'

'But why enter the order?  Why take an irrevocable step?'

'Because it is irrevocable; because I shall enter an utterly new 
life, in which old things shall pass away, and all things become 
new, and I shall forget the very names of Parent, Englishman, 
Citizen,--the very existence of that strange Babel of man's 
building, whose roar and moan oppress me every time I walk the 
street.  Oh, for solitude, meditation, penance!  Oh, to make up by 
bitter self-punishment my ingratitude to her who has been leading me 
unseen, for years, home to her bosom!--The all-prevailing mother, 
daughter of Gabriel, spouse of Deity, flower of the earth, whom I 
have so long despised!  Oh, to follow the example of the blessed 
Mary of Oignies, who every day inflicted on her most holy person 
eleven hundred stripes in honour of that all-perfect maiden!'

'Such an honour, I could have thought, would have pleased better 
Kali, the murder-goddess of the Thugs,' thought Lancelot to himself; 
but he had not the heart to say it, and he only replied,--

'So torture propitiates the Virgin?  That explains the strange story 
I read lately, of her having appeared in the Cevennes, and informed 
the peasantry that she had sent the potato disease on account of 
their neglecting her shrines; that unless they repented, she would 
next year destroy their cattle; and the third year, themselves.'

'Why not?' asked poor Luke.

'Why not, indeed?  If God is to be capricious, proud, revengeful, 
why not the Son of God?  And if the Son of God, why not His mother?'

'You judge spiritual feelings by the carnal test of the 
understanding; your Protestant horror of asceticism lies at the root 
of all you say.  How can you comprehend the self-satisfaction, the 
absolute delight, of self-punishment?'

'So far from it, I have always had an infinite respect for 
asceticism, as a noble and manful thing--the only manful thing to my 
eyes left in popery; and fast dying out of that under Jesuit 
influence.  You recollect the quarrel between the Tablet and the 
Jesuits, over Faber's unlucky honesty about St. Rose of Lima? . . .  
But, really, as long as you honour asceticism as a means of 
appeasing the angry deities, I shall prefer to St. Dominic's cuirass 
or St. Hedwiga's chilblains, John Mytton's two hours' crawl on the 
ice in his shirt, after a flock of wild ducks.  They both endured 
like heroes; but the former for a selfish, if not a blasphemous end; 
the latter, as a man should, to test and strengthen his own powers 
of endurance. . . .  There, I will say no more.  Go your way, in 
God's name.  There must be lessons to be learnt in all strong and 
self-restraining action. . . .  So you will learn something from the 
scourge and the hair-shirt.  We must all take the bitter medicine of 
suffering, I suppose.'

'And, therefore, I am the wiser, in forcing the draught on myself.'

'Provided it be the right draught, and do not require another and 
still bitterer one to expel the effects of the poison.  I have no 
faith in people's doctoring themselves, either physically or 
spiritually.'

'I am not my own physician; I follow the rules of an infallible 
Church, and the examples of her canonised saints.'

'Well . . . perhaps they may have known what was best for 
themselves. . . .  But as for you and me here, in the year 1849. . . 
.  However, we shall argue on for ever.  Forgive me if I have 
offended you.'

'I am not offended.  The Catholic Church has always been a 
persecuted one.'

'Then walk with me a little way, and I will persecute you no more.'

'Where are you going?'

'To . . .  To--' Lancelot had not the heart to say whither.

'To my father's!  Ah! what a son I would have been to him now, in 
his extreme need! . . .  And he will not let me!  Lancelot, is it 
impossible to move him?  I do not want to go home again . . . to 
live there . . .  I could not face that, though I longed but this 
moment to do it.  I cannot face the self-satisfied, pitying looks . 
. . the everlasting suspicion that they suspect me to be speaking 
untruths, or proselytising in secret. . . .  Cruel and unjust!'

Lancelot thought of a certain letter of Luke's . . . but who was he, 
to break the bruised reed?

'No; I will not see him.  Better thus; better vanish, and be known 
only according to the spirit by the spirits of saints and 
confessors, and their successors upon earth.  No!  I will die, and 
give no sign.'

'I must see somewhat more of you, indeed.'

'I will meet you here, then, two hours hence.  Near that house--even 
along the way which leads to it--I cannot go.  It would be too 
painful:  too painful to think that you were walking towards it,--
the old house where I was born and bred . . . and I shut out,--even 
though it be for the sake of the kingdom of heaven!'

'Or for the sake of your own share therein, my poor cousin!' thought 
Lancelot to himself, 'which is a very different matter.'

'Whither, after you have been--?'  Luke could not get out the word 
home.

'To Claude Mellot's.'

'I will walk part of the way thither with you.  But he is a very bad 
companion for you.'

'I can't help that.  I cannot live; and I am going to turn painter.  
It is not the road in which to find a fortune; but still, the very 
sign-painters live somehow, I suppose.  I am going this very 
afternoon to Claude Mellot, and enlist.  I sold the last of my 
treasured MSS. to a fifth-rate magazine this morning, for what it 
would fetch.  It has been like eating one's own children--but, at 
least, they have fed me.  So now "to fresh fields and pastures 
new."'



CHAPTER XV:  DEUS E MACHINA



When Lancelot reached the banker's a letter was put into his hand; 
it bore the Whitford postmark, and Mrs. Lavington's handwriting.  He 
tore it open; it contained a letter from Argemone, which, it is 
needless to say, he read before her mother's:--

'My beloved! my husband!--Yes--though you may fancy me fickle and 
proud--I will call you so to the last; for were I fickle, I could 
have saved myself the agony of writing this; and as for pride, oh! 
how that darling vice has been crushed out of me!  I have rolled at 
my mother's feet with bitter tears, and vain entreaties--and been 
refused; and yet I have obeyed her after all.  We must write to each 
other no more.  This one last letter must explain the forced silence 
which has been driving me mad with fears that you would suspect me.  
And now you may call me weak; but it is your love which has made me 
strong to do this--which has taught me to see with new intensity my 
duty, not only to you, but to every human being--to my parents.  By 
this self-sacrifice alone can I atone to them for all my past 
undutifulness.  Let me, then, thus be worthy of you.  Hope that by 
this submission we may win even her to change.  How calmly I write! 
but it is only my hand that is calm.  As for my heart, read 
Tennyson's Fatima, and then know how I feel towards you!  Yes, I 
love you--madly, the world would say.  I seem to understand now how 
women have died of love.  Ay, that indeed would be blessed; for then 
my spirit would seek out yours, and hover over it for ever!  
Farewell, beloved! and let me hear of you through your deeds.  A 
feeling at my heart, which should not be, although it is, a sad one, 
tells me that we shall meet soon--soon.'

Stupefied and sickened, Lancelot turned carelessly to Mrs. 
Lavington's cover, whose blameless respectability thus uttered 
itself:--

'I cannot deceive you or myself by saying I regret that providential 
circumstances should have been permitted to break off a connection 
which I always felt to be most unsuitable; and I rejoice that the 
intercourse my dear child has had with you has not so far undermined 
her principles as to prevent her yielding the most filial obedience 
to my wishes on the point of her future correspondence with you.  
Hoping that all that has occurred will be truly blessed to you, and 
lead your thoughts to another world, and to a true concern for the 
safety of your immortal soul,

'I remain, yours truly,

'C.  LAVINGTON.'

'Another world!' said Lancelot to himself.  'It is most merciful of 
you, certainly, my dear madame, to put one in mind of the existence 
of another world, while such as you have their own way in this one!' 
and thrusting the latter epistle into the fire, he tried to collect 
his thoughts.

What had he lost?  The oftener he asked himself, the less he found 
to unman him.  Argemone's letters were so new a want, that the 
craving for them was not yet established.  His intense imagination, 
resting on the delicious certainty of her faith, seemed ready to 
fill the silence with bright hopes and noble purposes.  She herself 
had said that he would see her soon.  But yet--but yet--why did that 
allusion to death strike chilly through him?  They were but words,--
a melancholy fancy, such as women love at times to play with.  He 
would toss it from him.  At least here was another reason for 
bestirring himself at once to win fame in the noble profession he 
had chosen.

And yet his brain reeled as he went upstairs to his uncle's private 
room.

There, however, he found a person closeted with the banker, whose 
remarkable appearance drove everything else out of his mind.  He was 
a huge, shaggy, toil-worn man, the deep melancholy earnestness of 
whose rugged features reminded him almost ludicrously of one of 
Land-seer's bloodhounds.  But withal there was a tenderness--a 
genial, though covert humour playing about his massive features, 
which awakened in Lancelot at first sight a fantastic longing to 
open his whole heart to him.  He was dressed like a foreigner, but 
spoke English with perfect fluency.  The banker sat listening, quite 
crestfallen, beneath his intense and melancholy gaze, in which, 
nevertheless, there twinkled some rays of kindly sympathy.

'It was all those foreign railways,' said Mr. Smith pensively.

'And it serves you quite right,' answered the stranger.  'Did I not 
warn you of the folly and sin of sinking capital in foreign 
countries while English land was crying out for tillage, and English 
poor for employment?'

'My dear friend' (in a deprecatory tone), 'it was the best possible 
investment I could make.'

'And pray, who told you that you were sent into the world to make 
investments?'

'But--'

'But me no buts, or I won't stir a finger towards helping you.  What 
are you going to do with this money if I procure it for you?'

'Work till I can pay back that poor fellow's fortune,' said the 
banker, earnestly pointing to Lancelot.  'And if I could clear my 
conscience of that, I would not care if I starved myself, hardly if 
my own children did.'

'Spoken like a man!' answered the stranger; 'work for that and I'll 
help you.  Be a new man, once and for all, my friend.  Don't even 
make this younker your first object.  Say to yourself, not "I will 
invest this money where it shall pay me most, but I will invest it 
where it shall give most employment to English hands, and produce 
most manufactures for English bodies."  In short, seek first the 
kingdom of God and His justice with this money of yours, and see if 
all other things, profits and suchlike included, are not added unto 
you.'

'And you are certain you can obtain the money?'

'My good friend the Begum of the Cannibal Islands has more than she 
knows what to do with; and she owes me a good turn, you know.'

'What are you jesting about now?'

'Did I never tell you?  The new king of the Cannibal Islands, just 
like your European ones, ran away, and would neither govern himself 
nor let any one else govern; so one morning his ministers, getting 
impatient, ate him, and then asked my advice.  I recommended them to 
put his mother on the throne, who, being old and tough, would run 
less danger; and since then everything has gone on smoothly as 
anywhere else.'

'Are you mad?' thought Lancelot to himself, as he stared at the 
speaker's matter-of-fact face.

'No, I am not mad, my young friend,' quoth he, facing right round 
upon him, as if he had divined his thoughts.

'I--I beg your pardon, I did not speak,' stammered Lancelot, abashed 
at a pair of eyes which could have looked down the boldest mesmerist 
in three seconds.

'I am perfectly well aware that you did not.  I must have some talk 
with you:  I've heard a good deal about you.  You wrote those 
articles in the --- Review about George Sand, did you not?'

'I did.'

'Well, there was a great deal of noble feeling in them, and a great 
deal of abominable nonsense.  You seem to be very anxious to reform 
society?'

'I am.'

'Don't you think you had better begin by reforming yourself?'

'Really, sir,' answered Lancelot, 'I am too old for that worn-out 
quibble.  The root of all my sins has been selfishness and sloth.  
Am I to cure them by becoming still more selfish and slothful?  What 
part of myself can I reform except my actions? and the very sin of 
my actions has been, as I take it, that I've been doing nothing to 
reform others; never fighting against the world, the flesh, and the 
devil, as your Prayer-book has it.'

'MY Prayer-book?' answered the stranger, with a quaint smile.

'Upon my word, Lancelot,' interposed the banker, with a frightened 
look, 'you must not get into an argument:  you must be more 
respectful:  you don't know to whom you are speaking.'

'And I don't much care,' answered he.  'Life is really too grim 
earnest in these days to stand on ceremony.  I am sick of blind 
leaders of the blind, of respectable preachers to the respectable, 
who drawl out second-hand trivialities, which they neither practise 
nor wish to see practised.  I've had enough all my life of Scribes 
and Pharisees in white cravats, laying on man heavy burdens, and 
grievous to be borne, and then not touching them themselves with one 
of their fingers.'

'Silence, sir!' roared the banker, while the stranger threw himself 
into a chair, and burst into a storm of laughter.

'Upon my word, friend Mammon, here's another of Hans Andersen's ugly 
ducks!'

'I really do not mean to be rude,' said Lancelot, recollecting 
himself, 'but I am nearly desperate.  If your heart is in the right 
place, you will understand me! if not, the less we talk to each 
other the better.'

'Most true,' answered the stranger; 'and I do understand you; and 
if, as I hope, we see more of each other henceforth, we will see if 
we cannot solve one or two of these problems between us.'

At this moment Lancelot was summoned downstairs, and found, to his 
great pleasure, Tregarva waiting for him.  That worthy personage 
bowed to Lancelot reverently and distantly.

'I am quite ashamed to intrude myself upon you, sir, but I could not 
rest without coming to ask whether you have had any news.'--He broke 
down at this point in the sentence, but Lancelot understood him.

'I have no news,' he said.  'But what do you mean by standing off in 
that way, as if we were not old and fast friends?  Remember, I am as 
poor as you are now; you may look me in the face and call me your 
equal, if you will, or your inferior; I shall not deny it.'

'Pardon me, sir,' answered Tregarva; 'but I never felt what a real 
substantial thing rank is, as I have since this sad misfortune of 
yours.'

'And I have never till now found out its worthlessness.'

'You're wrong, sir, you are wrong; look at the difference between 
yourself and me.  When you've lost all you have, and seven times 
more, you're still a gentleman.  No man can take that from you.  You 
may look the proudest duchess in the land in the face, and claim her 
as your equal; while I, sir,--I don't mean, though, to talk of 
myself--but suppose that you had loved a pious and a beautiful lady, 
and among all your worship of her, and your awe of her, had felt 
that you were worthy of her, that you could become her comforter, 
and her pride, and her joy, if it wasn't for that accursed gulf that 
men had put between you, that you were no gentleman; that you didn't 
know how to walk, and how to pronounce, and when to speak, and when 
to be silent, not even how to handle your own knife and fork without 
disgusting her, or how to keep your own body clean and sweet--Ah, 
sir, I see it now as I never did before, what a wall all these 
little defects build up round a poor man; how he longs and struggles 
to show himself as he is at heart, and cannot, till he feels 
sometimes as if he was enchanted, pent up, like folks in fairy 
tales, in the body of some dumb beast.  But, sir,' he went on, with 
a concentrated bitterness which Lancelot had never seen in him 
before, 'just because this gulf which rank makes is such a deep one, 
therefore it looks to me all the more devilish; not that I want to 
pull down any man to my level; I despise my own level too much; I 
want to rise; I want those like me to rise with me.  Let the rich be 
as rich as they will.--I, and those like me, covet not money, but 
manners.  Why should not the workman be a gentleman, and a workman 
still?  Why are they to be shut out from all that is beautiful, and 
delicate, and winning, and stately?'

'Now perhaps,' said Lancelot, 'you begin to understand what I was 
driving at on that night of the revel?'

'It has come home to me lately, sir, bitterly enough.  If you knew 
what had gone on in me this last fortnight, you would know that I 
had cause to curse the state of things which brings a man up a 
savage against his will, and cuts him off, as if he were an ape or a 
monster, from those for whom the same Lord died, and on whom the 
same Spirit rests.  Is that God's will, sir?  No, it is the devil's 
will.  "Those whom God hath joined, let no man put asunder."'

Lancelot coloured, for he remembered with how much less reason he 
had been lately invoking in his own cause those very words.  He was 
at a loss for an answer; but seeing, to his relief, that Tregarva 
had returned to his usual impassive calm, he forced him to sit down, 
and began questioning him as to his own prospects and employment.

About them Tregarva seemed hopeful enough.  He had found out a 
Wesleyan minister in town who knew him, and had, by his means, after 
assisting for a week or two in the London City Mission, got some 
similar appointment in a large manufacturing town.  Of the state of 
things he spoke more sadly than ever.  'The rich cannot guess, sir, 
how high ill-feeling is rising in these days.  It's not only those 
who are outwardly poorest who long for change; the middling people, 
sir, the small town shopkeepers especially, are nearly past all 
patience.  One of the City Mission assured me that he has been 
watching them these several years past, and that nothing could beat 
their fortitude and industry, and their determination to stand 
peaceably by law and order; but yet, this last year or two, things 
are growing too bad to bear.  Do what they will, they cannot get 
their bread; and when a man cannot get that, sir--'

'But what do you think is the reason of it?'

'How should I tell, sir?  But if I had to say, I should say this--
just what they say themselves--that there are too many of them.  Go 
where you will, in town or country, you'll find half-a-dozen shops 
struggling for a custom that would only keep up one, and so they're 
forced to undersell one another.  And when they've got down prices 
all they can by fair means, they're forced to get them down lower by 
foul--to sand the sugar, and sloe-leave the tea, and put--Satan only 
that prompts 'em knows what--into the bread; and then they don't 
thrive--they can't thrive; God's curse must be on them.  They begin 
by trying to oust each other, and eat each other up; and while 
they're eating up their neighbours, their neighbours eat up them; 
and so they all come to ruin together.'

'Why, you talk like Mr. Mill himself, Tregarva; you ought to have 
been a political economist, and not a City missionary.  By the bye, 
I don't like that profession for you.'

'It's the Lord's work, sir.  It's the very sending to the Gentiles 
that the Lord promised me.'

'I don't doubt it, Paul; but you are meant for other things, if not 
better.  There are plenty of smaller men than you to do that work.  
Do you think that God would have given you that strength, that 
brain, to waste on a work which could be done without them?  Those 
limbs would certainly be good capital for you, if you turned a live 
model at the Academy.  Perhaps you'd better be mine; but you can't 
even be that if you go to Manchester.'

The giant looked hopelessly down at his huge limbs.  'Well!  God 
only knows what use they are of just now.  But as for the brains, 
sir--in much learning is much sorrow.  One had much better work than 
read, I find.  If I read much more about what men might be, and are 
not, and what English soil might be, and is not, I shall go mad.  
And that puts me in mind of one thing I came here for, though, like 
a poor rude country fellow as I am, I clean forgot it a thinking of-
-Look here, sir; you've given me a sight of books in my time, and 
God bless you for it.  But now I hear that--that you are determined 
to be a poor man like us; and that you shan't be, while Paul 
Tregarva has ought of yours.  So I've just brought all the books 
back, and there they lie in the hall; and may God reward you for the 
loan of them to his poor child!  And so, sir, farewell;' and he rose 
to go.

'No, Paul; the books and you shall never part.'

'And I say, sir, the books and you shall never part.'

'Then we two can never part'--and a sudden impulse flashed over him-
-'and we will not part, Paul!  The only man whom I utterly love, and 
trust, and respect on the face of God's earth, is you; and I cannot 
lose sight of you.  If we are to earn our bread, let us earn it 
together; if we are to endure poverty, and sorrow, and struggle to 
find out the way of bettering these wretched millions round us, let 
us learn our lesson together, and help each other to spell it out.'

'Do you mean what you say?' asked Paul slowly.

'I do.'

'Then I say what you say.  Where thou goest, I will go; and where 
thou lodgest, I will lodge.  Come what will, I will be your servant, 
for good luck or bad, for ever.'

'My equal, Paul, not my servant.'

'I know my place, sir.  When I am as learned and as well-bred as 
you, I shall not refuse to call myself your equal; and the sooner 
that day comes, the better I shall be pleased.  Till then I am your 
friend and your brother; but I am your scholar too, and I shall not 
set up myself against my master.'

'I have learnt more of you, Paul, than ever you have learnt of me.  
But be it as you will; only whatever you may call yourself, we must 
eat at the same table, live in the same room, and share alike all 
this world's good things--or we shall have no right to share 
together this world's bad things.  If that is your bargain, there is 
my hand on it.'

'Amen!' quoth Tregarva; and the two young men joined hands in that 
sacred bond--now growing rarer and rarer year by year--the utter 
friendship of two equal manful hearts.

'And now, sir, I have promised--and you would have me keep my 
promise--to go and work for the City Mission in Manchester--at 
least, for the next month, till a young man's place who has just 
left, is filled up.  Will you let me go for that time? and then, if 
you hold your present mind, we will join home and fortunes 
thenceforth, and go wherever the Lord shall send us.  There's work 
enough of His waiting to be done.  I don't doubt but if we are 
willing and able, He will set us about the thing we're meant for.'

As Lancelot opened the door for him, he lingered on the steps, and 
grasping his hand, said, in a low, earnest voice:  'The Lord be with 
you, sir.  Be sure that He has mighty things in store for you, or He 
would not have brought you so low in the days of your youth.'

'And so,' as John Bunyan has it, 'he went on his way;' and Lancelot 
saw him no more till--but I must not outrun the order of time.

After all, this visit came to Lancelot timely.  It had roused him to 
hope, and turned off his feelings from the startling news he had 
just heard.  He stepped along arm in arm with Luke, cheerful, and 
fate-defiant, and as he thought of Tregarva's complaints,--

'The beautiful?' he said to himself, 'they shall have it!  At least 
they shall be awakened to feel their need of it, their right to it.  
What a high destiny, to be the artist of the people! to devote one's 
powers of painting, not to mimicking obsolete legends, Pagan or 
Popish, but to representing to the working men of England the 
triumphs of the Past and the yet greater triumphs of the Future!'

Luke began at once questioning him about his father.

'And is he contrite and humbled?  Does he see that he has sinned?'

'In what?'

'It is not for us to judge; but surely it must have been some sin or 
other of his which has drawn down such a sore judgment on him.'

Lancelot smiled; but Luke went on, not perceiving him.

'Ah! we cannot find out for him.  Nor has he, alas! as a Protestant, 
much likelihood of finding out for himself.  In our holy church he 
would have been compelled to discriminate his faults by methodic 
self-examination, and lay them one by one before his priest for 
advice and pardon, and so start a new and free man once more.'

'Do you think,' asked Lancelot with a smile, 'that he who will not 
confess his faults either to God or to himself, would confess them 
to man?  And would his priest honestly tell him what he really wants 
to know? which sin of his has called down this so-called judgment?  
It would be imputed, I suppose, to some vague generality, to 
inattention to religious duties, to idolatry of the world, and so 
forth.  But a Romish priest would be the last person, I should 
think, who could tell him fairly, in the present case, the cause of 
his affliction; and I question whether he would give a patient 
hearing to any one who told it him.'

'How so?  Though, indeed, I have remarked that people are perfectly 
willing to be told they are miserable sinners, and to confess 
themselves such, in a general way; but if the preacher once begins 
to specify, to fix on any particular act or habit, he is accused of 
personality or uncharitableness; his hearers are ready to confess 
guilty to any sin but the very one with which he charges them.  But, 
surely, this is just what I am urging against you Protestants--just 
what the Catholic use of confession obviates.'

'Attempts to do so, you mean!' answered Lancelot.  'But what if your 
religion preaches formally that which only remains in our religion 
as a fast-dying superstition?--That those judgments of God, as you 
call them, are not judgments at all in any fair use of the word, but 
capricious acts of punishment on the part of Heaven, which have no 
more reference to the fault which provokes them, than if you cut off 
a man's finger because he made a bad use of his tongue.  That is 
part, but only a part, of what I meant just now, by saying that 
people represent God as capricious, proud, revengeful.'

'But do not Protestants themselves confess that our sins provoke 
God's anger?'

'Your common creed, when it talks rightly of God as one "who has no 
passions," ought to make you speak more reverently of the 
possibility of any act of ours disturbing the everlasting equanimity 
of the absolute Love.  Why will men so often impute to God the 
miseries which they bring upon themselves?'

'Because, I suppose, their pride makes them more willing to confess 
themselves sinners than fools.'

'Right, my friend; they will not remember that it is of "their 
pleasant vices that God makes whips to scourge them."  Oh, I at 
least have felt the deep wisdom of that saying of Wilhelm Meister's 
harper, that it is


"Voices from the depth of NATURE borne
Which woe upon the guilty head proclaim."


Of nature--of those eternal laws of hers which we daily break.  Yes! 
it is not because God's temper changes, but because God's universe 
is unchangeable, that such as I, such as your poor father, having 
sown the wind, must reap the whirlwind.  I have fed my self-esteem 
with luxuries and not with virtue, and, losing them, have nothing 
left.  He has sold himself to a system which is its own punishment.  
And yet the last place in which he will look for the cause of his 
misery is in that very money-mongering to which he now clings as 
frantically as ever.  But so it is throughout the world.  Only look 
down over that bridge-parapet, at that huge black-mouthed sewer, 
vomiting its pestilential riches across the mud.  There it runs, and 
will run, hurrying to the sea vast stores of wealth, elaborated by 
Nature's chemistry into the ready materials of food; which proclaim, 
too, by their own foul smell, God's will that they should be buried 
out of sight in the fruitful all-regenerating grave of earth:  there 
it runs, turning them all into the seeds of pestilence, filth, and 
drunkenness.--And then, when it obeys the laws which we despise, and 
the pestilence is come at last, men will pray against it, and 
confess it to be "a judgment for their sins;" but if you ask WHAT 
sin, people will talk about "les voiles d'airain," as Fourier says, 
and tell you that it is presumptuous to pry into God's secret 
counsels, unless, perhaps, some fanatic should inform you that the 
cholera has been drawn down on the poor by the endowment of Maynooth 
by the rich.'

'It is most fearful, indeed, to think that these diseases should be 
confined to the poor--that a man should be exposed to cholera, 
typhus, and a host of attendant diseases, simply because he is born 
into the world an artisan; while the rich, by the mere fact of 
money, are exempt from such curses, except when they come in contact 
with those whom they call on Sunday "their brethren," and on week 
days the "masses."

'Thank Heaven that you do see that,--that in a country calling 
itself civilised and Christian, pestilence should be the peculiar 
heritage of the poor!  It is past all comment.'

'And yet are not these pestilences a judgment, even on them, for 
their dirt and profligacy?'

'And how should they be clean without water?  And how can you wonder 
if their appetites, sickened with filth and self-disgust, crave 
after the gin-shop for temporary strength, and then for temporary 
forgetfulness?  Every London doctor knows that I speak the truth; 
would that every London preacher would tell that truth from his 
pulpit!'

'Then would you too say, that God punishes one class for the sins of 
another?'

'Some would say,' answered Lancelot, half aside, 'that He may be 
punishing them for not demanding their RIGHT to live like human 
beings, to all those social circumstances which shall not make their 
children's life one long disease.  But are not these pestilences a 
judgment on the rich, too, in the truest sense of the word?  Are 
they not the broad, unmistakable seal to God's opinion of a state of 
society which confesses its economic relations to be so utterly 
rotten and confused, that it actually cannot afford to save yearly 
millions of pounds' worth of the materials of food, not to mention 
thousands of human lives?  Is not every man who allows such things 
hastening the ruin of the society in which he lives, by helping to 
foster the indignation and fury of its victims?  Look at that group 
of stunted, haggard artisans, who are passing us.  What if one day 
they should call to account the landlords whose coveteousness and 
ignorance make their dwellings hells on earth?'

By this time they had reached the artist's house.

Luke refused to enter. . . . 'He had done with this world, and the 
painters of this world.'  . . .  And with a tearful last farewell, 
he turned away up the street, leaving Lancelot to gaze at his slow, 
painful steps, and abject, earth-fixed mien.

'Ah!' thought Lancelot, 'here is the end of YOUR anthropology!  At 
first, your ideal man is an angel.  But your angel is merely an 
unsexed woman; and so you are forced to go back to the humanity 
after all--but to a woman, not a man?  And this, in the nineteenth 
century, when men are telling us that the poetic and enthusiastic 
have become impossible, and that the only possible state of the 
world henceforward will be a universal good-humoured hive, of the 
Franklin-Benthamite religion . . . a vast prosaic Cockaigne of steam 
mills for grinding sausages--for those who can get at them.  And all 
the while, in spite of all Manchester schools, and high and dry 
orthodox schools, here are the strangest phantasms, new and old, 
sane and insane, starting up suddenly into live practical power, to 
give their prosaic theories the lie--Popish conversions, Mormonisms, 
Mesmerisms, Californias, Continental revolutions, Paris days of June 
. . . Ye hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky, and yet ye 
cannot discern the signs of this time!'

He was ushered upstairs to the door of his studio, at which he 
knocked, and was answered by a loud 'Come in.'  Lancelot heard a 
rustle as he entered, and caught sight of a most charming little 
white foot retreating hastily through the folding doors into the 
inner room.

The artist, who was seated at his easel, held up his brush as a 
signal of silence, and did not even raise his eyes till he had 
finished the touches on which he was engaged.

'And now--what do I see!--the last man I should have expected!  I 
thought you were far down in the country.  And what brings you to me 
with such serious and business-like looks?'

'I am a penniless youth--'

'What?'

'Ruined to my last shilling, and I want to turn artist.'

'Oh, ye gracious powers!  Come to my arms, brother at last with me 
in the holy order of those who must work or starve.  Long have I 
wept in secret over the pernicious fulness of your purse!'

'Dry your tears, then, now,' said Lancelot, 'for I neither have ten 
pounds in the world, nor intend to have till I can earn them.'

'Artist!' ran on Mellot; 'ah! you shall be an artist, indeed!  You 
shall stay with me and become the English Michael Angelo; or, if you 
are fool enough, go to Rome, and utterly eclipse Overbeck, and throw 
Schadow for ever into the shade.'

'I fine you a supper,' said Lancelot, 'for that execrable attempt at 
a pun.'

'Agreed!  Here, Sabina, send to Covent Garden for huge nosegays, and 
get out the best bottle of Burgundy.  We will pass an evening worthy 
of Horace, and with garlands and libations honour the muse of 
painting.'

'Luxurious dog!' said Lancelot, 'with all your cant about poverty.'

As he spoke, the folding doors opened, and an exquisite little 
brunette danced in from the inner room, in which, by the bye, had 
been going on all the while a suspicious rustling, as of garments 
hastily arranged.  She was dressed gracefully in a loose French 
morning-gown, down which Lancelot's eye glanced towards the little 
foot, which, however, was now hidden in a tiny velvet slipper.  The 
artist's wife was a real beauty, though without a single perfect 
feature, except a most delicious little mouth, a skin like velvet, 
and clear brown eyes, from which beamed earnest simplicity and arch 
good humour.  She darted forward to her husband's friend, while her 
rippling brown hair, fantastically arranged, fluttered about her 
neck, and seizing Lancelot's hands successively in both of hers, 
broke out in an accent prettily tinged with French,--

'Charming!--delightful!  And so you are really going to turn 
painter!  And I have longed so to be introduced to you!  Claude has 
been raving about you these two years; you already seem to me the 
oldest friend in the world.  You must not go to Rome.  We shall keep 
you, Mr. Lancelot; positively you must come and live with us--we 
shall be the happiest trio in London.  I will make you so 
comfortable:  you must let me cater for you--cook for you.'

'And be my study sometimes?' said Lancelot, smiling.

'Ah,' she said, blushing, and shaking her pretty little fist at 
Claude, 'that madcap! how he has betrayed me!  When he is at his 
easel, he is so in the seventh heaven, that he sees nothing, thinks 
of nothing, but his own dreams.'

At this moment a heavy step sounded on the stairs, the door opened, 
and there entered, to Lancelot's astonishment, the stranger who had 
just puzzled him so much at his uncle's.

Claude rose reverentially, and came forward, but Sabina was 
beforehand with him, and running up to her visitor, kissed his hand 
again and again, almost kneeling to him.

'The dear master!' she cried; 'what a delightful surprise! we have 
not seen you this fortnight past, and gave you up for lost.'

'Where do you come from, my dear master?' asked Claude.

'From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in 
it,' answered he, smiling, and laying his finger on his lips, 'my 
dear pupils.  And you are both well and happy?'

'Perfectly, and doubly delighted at your presence to-day, for your 
advice will come in a providential moment for my friend here.'

'Ah!' said the strange man, 'well met once more!  So you are going 
to turn painter?'

He bent a severe and searching look on Lancelot.

'You have a painter's face, young man,' he said; 'go on and prosper.  
What branch of art do you intend to study?'

'The ancient Italian painters, as my first step.'

'Ancient? it is not four hundred years since Perugino died.  But I 
should suppose you do not intend to ignore classic art?'

'You have divined rightly.  I wish, in the study of the antique, to 
arrive at the primeval laws of unfallen human beauty.'

'Were Phidias and Praxiteles, then, so primeval? the world had 
lasted many a thousand years before their turn came.  If you intend 
to begin at the beginning, why not go back at once to the garden of 
Eden, and there study the true antique?'

'If there were but any relics of it,' said Lancelot, puzzled, and 
laughing.

'You would find it very near you, young man, if you had but eyes to 
see it.'

Claude Mellot laughed significantly, and Sabina clapped her little 
hands.

'Yet till you take him with you, master, and show it to him, he must 
needs be content with the Royal Academy and the Elgin marbles.'

'But to what branch of painting, pray,' said the master to Lancelot, 
'will you apply your knowledge of the antique?  Will you, like this 
foolish fellow here' (with a kindly glance at Claude), 'fritter 
yourself away on Nymphs and Venuses, in which neither he nor any one 
else believes?'

'Historic art, as the highest,' answered Lancelot, 'is my ambition.'

'It is well to aim at the highest, but only when it is possible for 
us.  And how can such a school exist in England now?  You English 
must learn to understand your own history before you paint it.  
Rather follow in the steps of your Turners, and Landseers, and 
Standfields, and Creswicks, and add your contribution to the present 
noble school of naturalist painters.  That is the niche in the 
temple which God has set you English to fill up just now.  These 
men's patient, reverent faith in Nature as they see her, their 
knowledge that the ideal is neither to be invented nor abstracted, 
but found and left where God has put it, and where alone it can be 
represented, in actual and individual phenomena;--in these lies an 
honest development of the true idea of Protestantism, which is 
paving the way to the mesothetic art of the future.'

'Glorious!' said Sabina:  'not a single word that we poor creatures 
can understand!'

But our hero, who always took a virtuous delight in hearing what he 
could not comprehend, went on to question the orator.

'What, then, is the true idea of Protestantism?' said he.

'The universal symbolism and dignity of matter, whether in man or 
nature.'

'But the Puritans--?'

'Were inconsistent with themselves and with Protestantism, and 
therefore God would not allow them to proceed.  Yet their 
repudiation of all art was better than the Judas-kiss which Romanism 
bestows on it, in the meagre eclecticism of the ancient religious 
schools, and of your modern Overbecks and Pugins.  The only really 
wholesome designer of great power whom I have seen in Germany is 
Kaulbach; and perhaps every one would not agree with my reasons for 
admiring him, in this whitewashed age.  But you, young sir, were 
meant for better things than art.  Many young geniuses have an early 
hankering, as Goethe had, to turn painters.  It seems the shortest 
and easiest method of embodying their conceptions in visible form; 
but they get wiser afterwards, when they find in themselves thoughts 
that cannot be laid upon the canvas.  Come with me--I like striking 
while the iron is hot; walk with me towards my lodgings, and we will 
discuss this weighty matter.'

And with a gay farewell to the adoring little Sabina, he passed an 
iron arm through Lancelot's, and marched him down into the street.

Lancelot was surprised and almost nettled at the sudden influence 
which he found this quaint personage was exerting over him.  But he 
had, of late, tasted the high delight of feeling himself under the 
guidance of a superior mind, and longed to enjoy it once more.  
Perhaps they were reminiscences of this kind which stirred in him 
the strange fancy of a connection, almost of a likeness, between his 
new acquaintance and Argemone.  He asked, humbly enough, why Art was 
to be a forbidden path to him?

'Besides you are an Englishman, and a man of uncommon talent, unless 
your physiognomy belies you; and one, too, for whom God has strange 
things in store, or He would not have so suddenly and strangely 
overthrown you.'

Lancelot started.  He remembered that Tregarva had said just the 
same thing to him that very morning, and the (to him) strange 
coincidence sank deep into his heart.

'You must be a politician,' the stranger went on.  'You are bound to 
it as your birthright.  It has been England's privilege hitherto to 
solve all political questions as they arise for the rest of the 
world; it is her duty now.  Here, or nowhere, must the solution be 
attempted of those social problems which are convulsing more and 
more all Christendom.  She cannot afford to waste brains like yours, 
while in thousands of reeking alleys, such as that one opposite us, 
heathens and savages are demanding the rights of citizenship.  
Whether they be right or wrong, is what you, and such as you, have 
to find out at this day.'

Silent and thoughtful, Lancelot walked on by his side.

'What is become of your friend Tregarva?  I met him this morning 
after he parted from you, and had some talk with him.  I was sorely 
minded to enlist him.  Perhaps I shall; in the meantime, I shall 
busy myself with you.'

'In what way,' asked Lancelot, 'most strange sir, of whose name, 
much less of whose occupation, I can gain no tidings.'

'My name for the time being is Barnakill.  And as for business, as 
it is your English fashion to call new things obstinately by old 
names, careless whether they apply or not, you may consider me as a 
recruiting-sergeant; which trade, indeed, I follow, though I am no 
more like the popular red-coated ones than your present "glorious 
constitution" is like William the Third's, or Overbeck's high art 
like Fra Angelico's.  Farewell!  When I want you, which will be most 
likely when you want me, I shall find you again.'

The evening was passed, as Claude had promised, in a truly Horatian 
manner.  Sabina was most piquante, and Claude interspersed his 
genial and enthusiastic eloquence with various wise saws of 'the 
prophet.'

'But why on earth,' quoth Lancelot, at last, 'do you call him a 
prophet?'

'Because he is one; it's his business, his calling.  He gets his 
living thereby, as the showman did by his elephant.'

'But what does he foretell?'

'Oh, son of the earth!  And you went to Cambridge--are reported to 
have gone in for the thing, or phantom, called the tripos, and taken 
a first class! . . .  Did you ever look out the word "prophetes" in 
Liddell and Scott?'

'Why, what do you know about Liddell and Scott?'

'Nothing, thank goodness; I never had time to waste over the crooked 
letters.  But I have heard say that prophetes means, not a 
foreteller, but an out-teller--one who declares the will of a deity, 
and interprets his oracles.  Is it not so?'

'Undeniably.'

'And that he became a foreteller among heathens at least--as I 
consider, among all peoples whatsoever--because knowing the real 
bearing of what had happened, and what was happening, he could 
discern the signs of the times, and so had what the world calls a 
shrewd guess--what I, like a Pantheist as I am denominated, should 
call a divine and inspired foresight--of what was going to happen.'

'A new notion, and a pleasant one, for it looks something like a 
law.'

'I am no scollard, as they would say in Whitford, you know; but it 
has often struck me, that if folks would but believe that the 
Apostles talked not such very bad Greek, and had some slight notion 
of the received meaning of the words they used, and of the absurdity 
of using the same term to express nineteen different things, the New 
Testament would be found to be a much simpler and more severely 
philosophic book than "Theologians" ("Anthropo-sophists" I call 
them) fancy.'

'Where on earth did you get all this wisdom, or foolishness?'

'From the prophet, a fortnight ago.'

'Who is this prophet?  I will know.'

'Then you will know more than I do.  Sabina--light my meerschaum, 
there's a darling; it will taste the sweeter after your lips.'  And 
Claude laid his delicate woman-like limbs upon the sofa, and looked 
the very picture of luxurious nonchalance.

'What is he, you pitiless wretch?'

'Fairest Hebe, fill our Prometheus Vinctus another glass of 
Burgundy, and find your guitar, to silence him.'

'It was the ocean nymphs who came to comfort Prometheus--and 
unsandalled, too, if I recollect right,' said Lancelot, smiling at 
Sabina.  'Come, now, if he will not tell me, perhaps you will?'

Sabina only blushed, and laughed mysteriously.

'You surely are intimate with him, Claude?  When and where did you 
meet him first?'

'Seventeen years ago, on the barricades of the three days, in the 
charming little pandemonium called Paris, he picked me out of a 
gutter, a boy of fifteen, with a musket-ball through my body; mended 
me, and sent me to a painter's studio. . . .  The next sejour I had 
with him began in sight of the Demawend.  Sabina, perhaps you might 
like to relate to Mr. Smith that interview, and the circumstances 
under which you made your first sketch of that magnificent and 
little-known volcano?'

Sabina blushed again--this time scarlet; and, to Lancelot's 
astonishment, pulled off her slipper, and brandishing it daintily, 
uttered some unintelligible threat, in an Oriental language, at the 
laughing Claude.

'Why, you must have been in the East?'

'Why not!  Do you think that figure and that walk were picked up in 
stay-ridden, toe-pinching England? . . .  Ay, in the East; and why 
not elsewhere?  Do you think I got my knowledge of the human figure 
from the live-model in the Royal Academy?'

'I certainly have always had my doubts of it.  You are the only man 
I know who can paint muscle in motion.'

'Because I am almost the only man in England who has ever seen it.  
Artists should go to the Cannibal Islands for that. . . .  J'ai fait 
le grand tour.  I should not wonder if the prophet made you take 
it.'

'That would be very much as I chose.'

'Or otherwise.'

'What do you mean?'

'That if he wills you to go, I defy you to stay.  Eh, Sabina!'

'Well, you are a very mysterious pair,--and a very charming one.'

'So we think ourselves--as to the charmingness. . . . and as for the 
mystery . . . "Omnia exeunt in mysterium," says somebody, somewhere-
-or if he don't, ought to, seeing that it is so.  You will be a 
mystery some day, and a myth, and a thousand years hence pious old 
ladies will be pulling caps as to whether you were a saint or a 
devil, and whether you did really work miracles or not, as 
corroborations of your ex-supra-lunar illumination on social 
questions. . . .  Yes . . . you will have to submit, and see Bogy, 
and enter the Eleusinian mysteries.  Eh, Sabina?'

'My dear Claude, what between the Burgundy and your usual 
foolishness, you seem very much inclined to divulge the Eleusinian 
mysteries.'

'I can't well do that, my beauty, seeing that, if you recollect, we 
were both turned back at the vestibule, for a pair of naughty 
children as we are.'

'Do be quiet! and let me enjoy, for once, my woman's right to the 
last word!'

And in this hopeful state of mystification, Lancelot went home, and 
dreamt of Argemone.

His uncle would, and, indeed, as it seemed, could, give him very 
little information on the question which had so excited his 
curiosity.  He had met the man in India many years before, had 
received there from him most important kindnesses, and considered 
him, from experience, of oracular wisdom.  He seemed to have an 
unlimited command of money, though most frugal in his private 
habits; visited England for a short time every few years, and always 
under a different appellation; but as for his real name, habitation, 
or business, here or at home, the good banker knew nothing, except 
that whenever questioned on them, he wandered off into Pantagruelist 
jokes, and ended in Cloud-land.  So that Lancelot was fain to give 
up his questions and content himself with longing for the 
reappearance of this inexplicable sage.



CHAPTER XVI:  ONCE IN A WAY



A few mornings afterwards, Lancelot, as he glanced his eye over the 
columns of The Times, stopped short at the beloved name of Whitford.  
To his disgust and disappointment, it only occurred in one of those 
miserable cases, now of weekly occurrence, of concealing the birth 
of a child.  He was turning from it, when he saw Bracebridge's name.  
Another look sufficed to show him that he ought to go at once to the 
colonel, who had returned the day before from Norway.

A few minutes brought him to his friend's lodging, but The Times had 
arrived there before him.  Bracebridge was sitting over his untasted 
breakfast, his face buried in his hands.

'Do not speak to me,' he said, without looking up.  'It was right of 
you to come--kind of you; but it is too late.'

He started, and looked wildly round him, as if listening for some 
sound which he expected, and then laid his head down on the table.  
Lancelot turned to go.

'No--do not leave me!  Not alone, for God's sake, not alone!'

Lancelot sat down.  There was a fearful alteration in Bracebridge.  
His old keen self-confident look had vanished.  He was haggard, 
life-weary, shame-stricken, almost abject.  His limbs looked quite 
shrunk and powerless, as he rested his head on the table before him, 
and murmured incoherently from time to time,--

'My own child!  And I never shall have another!  No second chance 
for those who--Oh Mary!  Mary! you might have waited--you might have 
trusted me!  And why should you?--ay, why, indeed?  And such a 
pretty baby, too!--just like his father!'

Lancelot laid his hand kindly on his shoulder.

'My dearest Bracebridge, the evidence proves that the child was born 
dead.'

'They lie!' he said, fiercely, starting up.  'It cried twice after 
it was born!'

Lancelot stood horror-struck.

'I heard it last night, and the night before that, and the night 
before that again, under my pillow, shrieking--stifling--two little 
squeaks, like a caught hare; and I tore the pillows off it--I did; 
and once I saw it, and it had beautiful black eyes--just like its 
father--just like a little miniature that used to lie on my mother's 
table, when I knelt at her knee, before they sent me out "to see 
life," and Eton, and the army, and Crockford's, and Newmarket, and 
fine gentlemen, and fine ladies, and luxury, and flattery, brought 
me to this!  Oh, father! father! was that the only way to make a 
gentleman of your son?--There it is again!  Don't you hear it?--
under the sofa cushions!  Tear them off!  Curse you!  Save it!'

And, with a fearful oath, the wretched man sent Lancelot staggering 
across the room, and madly tore up the cushions.

A long postman's knock at the door.--He suddenly rose up quite 
collected.

'The letter!  I knew it would come.  She need not have written it:  
I know what is in it.'

The servant's step came up the stairs.  Poor Bracebridge turned to 
Lancelot with something of his own stately determination.

'I must be alone when I receive this letter.  Stay here.'  And with 
compressed lips and fixed eyes he stalked out at the door, and shut 
it.

Lancelot heard him stop; then the servant's footsteps down the 
stairs; then the colonel's treading, slowly and heavily, went step 
by step up to the room above.  He shut that door too.  A dead 
silence followed.  Lancelot stood in fearful suspense, and held his 
breath to listen.  Perhaps he had fainted?  No, for then he would 
have heard a fall.  Perhaps he had fallen on the bed?  He would go 
and see.  No, he would wait a little longer.  Perhaps he was 
praying?  He had told Lancelot to pray once--he dared not interrupt 
him now.  A slight stir--a noise as of an opening box.  Thank God, 
he was, at least, alive!  Nonsense!  Why should he not be alive?  
What could happen to him? And yet he knew that something was going 
to happen.  The silence was ominous--unbearable; the air of the room 
felt heavy and stifling, as if a thunderstorm were about to burst.  
He longed to hear the man raging and stamping.  And yet he could not 
connect the thought of one so gay and full of gallant life, with the 
terrible dread that was creeping over him--with the terrible scene 
which he had just witnessed.  It must be all a temporary excitement-
-a mistake--a hideous dream, which the next post would sweep away.  
He would go and tell him so.  No, he could not stir.  His limbs 
seemed leaden, his feet felt rooted to the ground, as in long 
nightmare.  And still the intolerable silence brooded overhead.

What broke it?  A dull, stifled report, as of a pistol fired against 
the ground; a heavy fall; and again the silence of death.

He rushed upstairs.  A corpse lay on its face upon the floor, and 
from among its hair, a crimson thread crept slowly across the 
carpet.  It was all over.  He bent over the head, but one look was 
sufficient.  He did not try to lift it up.

On the table lay the fatal letter.  Lancelot knew that he had a 
right to read it.  It was scrawled, mis-spelt--but there were no 
tear-blots on the paper:--

'Sir--I am in prison--and where are you?  Cruel man!  Where were you 
all those miserable weeks, while I was coming nearer and nearer to 
my shame?  Murdering dumb beasts in foreign lands.  You have 
murdered more than them.  How I loved you once!  How I hate you now!  
But I have my revenge.  YOUR BABY CRIED TWICE AFTER IT WAS BORN!'

Lancelot tore the letter into a hundred pieces, and swallowed them, 
for every foot in the house was on the stairs.

So there was terror, and confusion, and running in and out:  but 
there were no wet eyes there except those of Bracebridge's groom, 
who threw himself on the body, and would not stir.  And then there 
was a coroner's inquest; and it came out in the evidence how 'the 
deceased had been for several days very much depressed, and had 
talked of voices and apparitions;' whereat the jury--as twelve 
honest, good-natured Christians were bound to do--returned a verdict 
of temporary insanity; and in a week more the penny-a-liners grew 
tired; and the world, too, who never expects anything, not even 
French revolutions, grew tired also of repeating,--'Dear me! who 
would have expected it?' and having filled up the colonel's place, 
swaggered on as usual, arm-in-arm with the flesh and the devil.

Bracebridge's death had, of course, a great effect on Lancelot's 
spirit.  Not in the way of warning, though--such events seldom act 
in that way, on the highest as well as on the lowest minds.  After 
all, your 'Rakes' Progresses,' and 'Atheists' Deathbeds,' do no more 
good than noble George Cruikshank's 'Bottle' will, because every one 
knows that they are the exception, and not the rule; that the 
Atheist generally dies with a conscience as comfortably callous as a 
rhinocerous-hide; and the rake, when old age stops his power of 
sinning, becomes generally rather more respectable than his 
neighbours.  The New Testament deals very little in appeals ad 
terrorem; and it would be well if some, who fancy that they follow 
it, would do the same, and by abstaining from making 'hell-fire' the 
chief incentive to virtue, cease from tempting many a poor fellow to 
enlist on the devil's side the only manly feeling he has left--
personal courage.

But yet Lancelot was affected.  And when, on the night of the 
colonel's funeral, he opened, at hazard, Argemone's Bible, and his 
eyes fell on the passage which tells how 'one shall be taken and 
another left,' great honest tears of gratitude dropped upon the 
page; and he fell on his knees, and in bitter self-reproach thanked 
the new found Upper Powers, who, as he began to hope, were leading 
him not in vain,--that he had yet a life before him wherein to play 
the man.

And now he felt that the last link was broken between him and all 
his late frivolous companions.  All had deserted him in his ruin but 
this one--and he was silent in the grave.  And now, from the world 
and all its toys and revelry, he was parted once and for ever; and 
he stood alone in the desert, like the last Arab of a plague-
stricken tribe, looking over the wreck of ancient cities, across 
barren sands, where far rivers gleamed in the distance, that seemed 
to beckon him away into other climes, other hopes, other duties.  
Old things had passed away--when would all things become new?

Not yet, Lancelot.  Thou hast still one selfish hope, one dream of 
bliss, however impossible, yet still cherished.  Thou art a changed 
man--but for whose sake?  For Argemone's.  Is she to be thy god, 
then?  Art thou to live for her, or for the sake of One greater than 
she?  All thine idols are broken--swiftly the desert sands are 
drifting over them, and covering them in.--All but one--must that, 
too, be taken from thee?

One morning a letter was put into Lancelot's hands, bearing the 
Whitford postmark.  Tremblingly he tore it open.  It contained a few 
passionate words from Honoria.  Argemone was dying of typhus fever, 
and entreating to see him once again; and Honoria had, with some 
difficulty, as she hinted, obtained leave from her parents to send 
for him.  His last bank note carried him down to Whitford; and, calm 
and determined, as one who feels that he has nothing more to lose on 
earth, and whose torment must henceforth become his element, he 
entered the Priory that evening.

He hardly spoke or looked at a soul; he felt that he was there on an 
errand which none understood; that he was moving towards Argemone 
through a spiritual world, in which he and she were alone; that, in 
his utter poverty and hopelessness, he stood above all the luxury, 
even above all the sorrow, around him; that she belonged to him, and 
to him alone; and the broken-hearted beggar followed the weeping 
Honoria towards his lady's chamber, with the step and bearing of a 
lord.  He was wrong; there were pride and fierceness enough in his 
heart, mingled with that sense of nothingness of rank, money, chance 
and change, yea, death itself, of all but Love;--mingled even with 
that intense belief that his sorrows were but his just deserts, 
which now possessed all his soul.  And in after years he knew that 
he was wrong; but so he felt at the time; and even then the strength 
was not all of earth which bore him manlike through that hour.

He entered the room; the darkness, the silence, the cool scent of 
vinegar, struck a shudder through him.  The squire was sitting half 
idiotic and helpless, in his arm-chair.  His face lighted up as 
Lancelot entered, and he tried to hold out his palsied hand.  
Lancelot did not see him.  Mrs. Lavington moved proudly and primly 
back from the bed, with a face that seemed to say through its tears, 
'I at least am responsible for nothing that occurs from this 
interview.'  Lancelot did not see her either:  he walked straight up 
towards the bed as if he were treading on his own ground.  His heart 
was between his lips, and yet his whole soul felt as dry and hard as 
some burnt-out volcano-crater.

A faint voice--oh, how faint, how changed!--called him from within 
the closed curtains.

'He is there!  I know it is he!  Lancelot! my Lancelot!'

Silently still he drew aside the curtain; the light fell full upon 
her face.  What a sight!  Her beautiful hair cut close, a ghastly 
white handkerchief round her head, those bright eyes sunk and 
lustreless, those ripe lips baked, and black and drawn; her thin 
hand fingering uneasily the coverlid.--It was too much for him.  He 
shuddered and turned his face away.  Quick-sighted that love is, 
even to the last! slight as the gesture was, she saw it in an 
instant.

'You are not afraid of infection?' she said, faintly.  'I was not.'

Lancelot laughed aloud, as men will at strangest moments, sprung 
towards her with open arms, and threw himself on his knees beside 
the bed.  With sudden strength she rose upright, and clasped him in 
her arms.

'Once more!' she sighed, in a whisper to herself, 'Once more on 
earth!'  And the room, and the spectators, and disease itself faded 
from around them like vain dreams, as she nestled closer and closer 
to him, and gazed into his eyes, and passed her shrunken hand over 
his cheeks, and toyed with his hair, and seemed to drink in magnetic 
life from his embrace.

No one spoke or stirred.  They felt that an awful and blessed spirit 
overshadowed the lovers, and were hushed, as if in the sanctuary of 
God.

Suddenly again she raised her head from his bosom, and in a tone, in 
which her old queenliness mingled strangely with the saddest 
tenderness,--

'All of you go away now; I must talk to my husband alone.'

They went, leading out the squire, who cast puzzled glances toward 
the pair, and murmured to himself that 'she was sure to get well now 
Smith was come:  everything went right when he was in the way.'

So they were left alone.

'I do not look so very ugly, my darling, do I?  Not so very ugly? 
though they have cut off all my poor hair, and I told them so often 
not!  But I kept a lock for you;' and feebly she drew from under the 
pillow a long auburn tress, and tried to wreathe it round his neck, 
but could not, and sunk back.

Poor fellow! he could bear no more.  He hid his face in his hands, 
and burst into a long low weeping.

'I am very thirsty, darling; reach me--No, I will drink no more, 
except from your dear lips.'

He lifted up his head, and breathed his whole soul upon her lips; 
his tears fell on her closed eyelids.

'Weeping?  No.--You must not cry.  See how comfortable I am.  They 
are all so kind--soft bed, cool room, fresh air, sweet drinks, sweet 
scents.  Oh, so different from THAT room!'

'What room?--my own!'

'Listen, and I will tell you.  Sit down--put your arm under my head-
-so.  When I am on your bosom I feel so strong.  God! let me last to 
tell him all.  It was for that I sent for him.'

And then, in broken words, she told him how she had gone up to the 
fever patient at Ashy, on the fatal night on which Lancelot had last 
seen her.  Shuddering, she hinted at the horrible filth and misery 
she had seen, at the foul scents which had sickened her.  A madness 
of remorse, she said, had seized her.  She had gone, in spite of her 
disgust, to several houses which she found open.  There were worse 
cottages there than even her father's; some tradesmen in a 
neighbouring town had been allowed to run up a set of rack rent 
hovels.--Another shudder seized her when she spoke of them; and from 
that point in her story all was fitful, broken, like the images of a 
hideous dream.  'Every instant those foul memories were defiling her 
nostrils.  A horrible loathing had taken possession of her, 
recurring from time to time, till it ended in delirium and fever.  A 
scent-fiend was haunting her night and day,' she said.  'And now the 
curse of the Lavingtons had truly come upon her.  To perish by the 
people whom they made.  Their neglect, cupidity, oppression, are 
avenged on me!  Why not?  Have I not wantoned in down and perfumes, 
while they, by whose labour my luxuries were bought, were pining 
among scents and sounds,--one day of which would have driven me mad!  
And then they wonder why men turn Chartists!  There are those 
horrible scents again!  Save me from them!  Lancelot--darling!  Take 
me to the fresh air!  I choke!  I am festering away!  The Nun-pool!  
Take all the water, every drop, and wash Ashy clean again!  Make a 
great fountain in it--beautiful marble--to bubble and gurgle, and 
trickle and foam, for ever and ever, and wash away the sins of the 
Lavingtons, that the little rosy children may play round it, and the 
poor toil-bent woman may wash--and wash--and drink--Water! water!  I 
am dying of thirst!'

He gave her water, and then she lay back and babbled about the Nun-
pool sweeping 'all the houses of Ashy into one beautiful palace, 
among great flower-gardens, where the school children will sit and 
sing such merry hymns, and never struggle with great pails of water 
up the hill of Ashy any more.'

'You will do it! darling!  Strong, wise, noble-hearted that you are!  
Why do you look at me?  You will be rich some day.  You will own 
land, for you are worthy to own it.  Oh that I could give you 
Whitford!  No!  It was mine too long--therefore I die! because I--
Lord Jesus! have I not repented of my sin?'

Then she grew calm once more.  A soft smile crept over her face, as 
it grew sharper and paler every moment.  Faintly she sank back on 
the pillows, and faintly whispered to him to kneel and pray.  He 
obeyed her mechanically. . . .  'No--not for me, for them--for them, 
and for yourself--that you may save them whom I never dreamt that I 
was bound to save!'

And he knelt and prayed . . . what, he alone and those who heard his 
prayer, can tell. . . .

* * * * *

When he lifted up his head at last, he saw that Argemone lay 
motionless.  For a moment he thought she was dead, and frantically 
sprang to the bell.  The family rushed in with the physician.  She 
gave some faint token of life, but none of consciousness.  The 
doctor sighed, and said that her end was near.  Lancelot had known 
that all along.

'I think, sir, you had better leave the room,' said Mrs. Lavington; 
and followed him into the passage.

What she was about to say remained unspoken; for Lancelot seized her 
hand in spite of her, with frantic thanks for having allowed him 
this one interview, and entreaties that he might see her again, if 
but for one moment.

Mrs. Lavington, somewhat more softly than usual, said,--'That the 
result of this visit had not been such as to make a second 
desirable--that she had no wish to disturb her daughter's mind at 
such a moment with earthly regrets.'

'Earthly regrets!'  How little she knew what had passed there!  But 
if she had known, would she have been one whit softened?  For, 
indeed, Argemone's spirituality was not in her mother's language.  
And yet the good woman had prayed, and prayed, and wept bitter 
tears, by her daughter's bedside, day after day; but she had never 
heard her pronounce the talismanic formula of words, necessary in 
her eyes to ensure salvation; and so she was almost without hope for 
her.  Oh, Bigotry!  Devil, who turnest God's love into man's curse! 
are not human hearts hard and blind enough of themselves, without 
thy cursed help?

For one moment a storm of unutterable pride and rage convulsed 
Lancelot--the next instant love conquered; and the strong proud man 
threw himself on his knees at the feet of the woman he despised, and 
with wild sobs entreated for one moment more--one only!

At that instant a shriek from Honoria resounded from the sick 
chamber.  Lancelot knew what it meant, and sprang up, as men do when 
shot through the heart.--In a moment he was himself again.  A new 
life had begun for him--alone.

'You will not need to grant my prayer, madam,' he said, calmly:  
'Argemone is dead.'



CHAPTER XVII:  THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH



Let us pass over the period of dull, stupefied misery that followed, 
when Lancelot had returned to his lonely lodging, and the excitement 
of his feelings had died away.  It is impossible to describe that 
which could not be separated into parts, in which there was no 
foreground, no distance, but only one dead, black, colourless 
present.  After a time, however, he began to find that fancies, 
almost ridiculously trivial, arrested and absorbed his attention; 
even as when our eyes have become accustomed to darkness, every 
light-coloured mote shows luminous against the void blackness of 
night.  So we are tempted to unseemly frivolity in churches, and at 
funerals, and all most solemn moments; and so Lancelot found his 
imagination fluttering back, half amused, to every smallest 
circumstance of the last few weeks, as objects of mere curiosity, 
and found with astonishment that they had lost their power of 
paining him.  Just as victims on the rack have fallen, it is said, 
by length of torture, into insensibility, and even calm repose, his 
brain had been wrought until all feeling was benumbed.  He began to 
think what an interesting autobiography his life might make; and the 
events of the last few years began to arrange themselves in a most 
attractive dramatic form.  He began even to work out a scene or two, 
and where 'motives' seemed wanting, to invent them here and there.  
He sat thus for hours silent over his fire, playing with his old 
self, as though it were a thing which did not belong to him--a suit 
of clothes which he had put off, and which,


'For that it was too rich to hang by the wall,
It must be ripped,'


and then pieced and dizened out afresh as a toy.  And then again he 
started away from his own thoughts, at finding himself on the edge 
of that very gulf, which, as Mellot had lately told him, Barnakill 
denounced as the true hell of genius, where Art is regarded as an 
end and not a means, and objects are interesting, not in as far as 
they form our spirits, but in proportion as they can be shaped into 
effective parts of some beautiful whole.  But whether it was a 
temptation or none, the desire recurred to him again and again.  He 
even attempted to write, but sickened at the sight of the first 
words.  He turned to his pencil, and tried to represent with it one 
scene at least; and with the horrible calmness of some self-
torturing ascetic, he sat down to sketch a drawing of himself and 
Argemone on her dying day, with her head upon his bosom for the last 
time--and then tossed it angrily into the fire, partly because he 
felt just as he had in his attempts to write, that there was 
something more in all these events than he could utter by pen or 
pencil, than he could even understand; principally because he could 
not arrange the attitudes gracefully enough.  And now, in front of 
the stern realities of sorrow and death, he began to see a meaning 
in another mysterious saying of Barnakill's, which Mellot was 
continually quoting, that 'Art was never Art till it was more than 
Art; that the Finite only existed as a body of the Infinite; and 
that the man of genius must first know the Infinite, unless he 
wished to become not a poet, but a maker of idols.'  Still he felt 
in himself a capability, nay, an infinite longing to speak; though 
what he should utter, or how--whether as poet, social theorist, 
preacher, he could not yet decide.  Barnakill had forbidden him 
painting, and though he hardly knew why, he dared not disobey him.  
But Argemone's dying words lay on him as a divine command to labour.  
All his doubts, his social observations, his dreams of the beautiful 
and the blissful, his intense perception of social evils, his new-
born hope--faith it could not yet be called--in a ruler and 
deliverer of the world, all urged him on to labour:  but at what?  
He felt as if he were the demon in the legend, condemned to twine 
endless ropes of sand.  The world, outside which he now stood for 
good and evil, seemed to him like some frantic whirling waltz; some 
serried struggling crowd, which rushed past him in aimless 
confusion, without allowing him time or opening to take his place 
among their ranks:  and as for wings to rise above, and to look down 
upon the uproar, where were they?  His melancholy paralysed him more 
and more.  He was too listless even to cater for his daily bread by 
writing his articles for the magazines.  Why should he?  He had 
nothing to say.  Why should he pour out words and empty sound, and 
add one more futility to the herd of 'prophets that had become wind, 
and had no truth in them'?  Those who could write without a 
conscience, without an object except that of seeing their own fine 
words, and filling their own pockets--let them do it:  for his part 
he would have none of it.  But his purse was empty, and so was his 
stomach; and as for asking assistance of his uncle, it was returning 
like the dog to his vomit.  So one day he settled all bills with his 
last shilling, tied up his remaining clothes in a bundle, and 
stoutly stepped forth into the street to find a job--to hold a 
horse, if nothing better offered; when, behold! on the threshold he 
met Barnakill himself.

'Whither away?' said that strange personage.  'I was just going to 
call on you.'

'To earn my bread by the labour of my hands.  So our fathers all 
began.'

'And so their sons must all end.  Do you want work?'

'Yes, if you have any.'

'Follow me, and carry a trunk home from a shop to my lodgings.'

He strode off, with Lancelot after him; entered a mathematical 
instrument maker's shop in the neighbouring street, and pointed out 
a heavy corded case to Lancelot, who, with the assistance of the 
shopman, got it on his shoulders; and trudging forth through the 
streets after his employer, who walked before him silent and 
unregarding, felt himself for the first time in his life in the same 
situation as nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand of 
Adam's descendants, and discovered somewhat to his satisfaction that 
when he could once rid his mind of its old superstition that every 
one was looking at him, it mattered very little whether the burden 
carried were a deal trunk or a Downing Street despatch-box.

His employer's lodgings were in St. Paul's Churchyard.  Lancelot set 
the trunk down inside the door.

'What do you charge?'

'Sixpence.'

Barnakill looked him steadily in the face, gave him the sixpence, 
went in, and shut the door.

Lancelot wandered down the street, half amused at the simple test 
which had just been applied to him, and yet sickened with 
disappointment; for he had cherished a mysterious fancy that with 
this strange being all his hopes of future activity were bound up.  
Tregarva's month was nearly over, and yet no tidings of him had 
come.  Mellot had left London on some mysterious errand of the 
prophet's, and for the first time in his life he seemed to stand 
utterly alone.  He was at one pole, and the whole universe at the 
other.  It was in vain to tell himself that his own act had placed 
him there; that he had friends to whom he might appeal.  He would 
not, he dare not, accept outward help, even outward friendship, 
however hearty and sincere, at that crisis of his existence.  It 
seemed a desecration of its awfulness to find comfort in anything 
but the highest and the deepest.  And the glimpse of that which he 
had attained seemed to have passed away from him again,--seemed to 
be something which, as it had arisen with Argemone, was lost with 
her also,--one speck of the far blue sky which the rolling clouds 
had covered in again.  As he passed under the shadow of the huge 
soot-blackened cathedral, and looked at its grim spiked railings and 
closed doors, it seemed to him a symbol of the spiritual world, 
clouded and barred from him.  He stopped and looked up, and tried to 
think.  The rays of the setting sun lighted up in clear radiance the 
huge cross on the summit.  Was it an omen?  Lancelot thought so; but 
at that instant he felt a hand on his shoulder, and looked round.  
It was that strange man again.

'So far well,' said he.  'You are making a better day's work than 
you fancy, and earning more wages.  For instance, here is a packet 
for you.'

Lancelot seized it, trembling, and tore it open.  It was directed in 
Honoria's handwriting.

'Whence had you this?' said he.

'Through Mellot, through whom I can return your answer, if one be 
needed.'

The letter was significant of Honoria's character.  It busied itself 
entirely about facts, and showed the depth of her sorrow by making 
no allusion to it.  'Argemone, as Lancelot was probably aware, had 
bequeathed to him the whole of her own fortune at Mrs. Lavington's 
death, and had directed that various precious things of hers should 
be delivered over to him immediately.  Her mother, however, kept her 
chamber under lock and key, and refused to allow an article to be 
removed from its accustomed place.  It was natural in the first 
burst of her sorrow, and Lancelot would pardon.'  All his drawings 
and letters had been, by Argemone's desire, placed with her in her 
coffin.  Honoria had been only able to obey her in sending a 
favourite ring of hers, and with it the last stanzas which she had 
composed before her death:--


'Twin stars, aloft in ether clear,
   Around each other roll away,
Within one common atmosphere
   Of their own mutual light and day.

'And myriad happy eyes are bent
   Upon their changeless love alway;
As, strengthened by their one intent,
   They pour the flood of life and day,

'So we, through this world's waning night,
   Shall, hand in hand, pursue our way;
Shed round us order, love, and light,
   And shine unto the perfect day.'


The precious relic, with all its shattered hopes, came at the right 
moment to soften his hard-worn heart.  The sight, the touch of it, 
shot like an electric spark through the black stifling thunder-cloud 
of his soul, and dissolved it in refreshing showers of tears.

Barnakill led him gently within the area of the railings, where he 
might conceal his emotion, and it was but a few seconds before 
Lancelot had recovered his self-possession and followed him up the 
steps through the wicket door.

They entered.  The afternoon service was proceeding.  The organ 
droned sadly in its iron cage to a few musical amateurs.  Some 
nursery maids and foreign sailors stared about within the spiked 
felon's dock which shut off the body of the cathedral, and tried in 
vain to hear what was going on inside the choir.  As a wise author--
a Protestant, too--has lately said, 'the scanty service rattled in 
the vast building, like a dried kernel too small for its shell.'  
The place breathed imbecility, and unreality, and sleepy life-in-
death, while the whole nineteenth century went roaring on its way 
outside.  And as Lancelot thought, though only as a dilettante, of 
old St. Paul's, the morning star and focal beacon of England through 
centuries and dynasties, from old Augustine and Mellitus, up to 
those Paul's Cross sermons whose thunders shook thrones, and to 
noble Wren's masterpiece of art, he asked, 'Whither all this?  
Coleridge's dictum, that a cathedral is a petrified religion, may be 
taken to bear more meanings than one.  When will life return to this 
cathedral system?'

'When was it ever a living system?' answered the other.  'When was 
it ever anything but a transitionary makeshift since the dissolution 
of the monasteries?'

'Why, then, not away with it at once?'

'You English have not done with it yet.  At all events, it is 
keeping your cathedrals rain-proof for you, till you can put them to 
some better use than now.'

'And in the meantime?'

'In the meantime there is life enough in them; life that will wake 
the dead some day.  Do you hear what those choristers are chanting 
now?'

'Not I,' said Lancelot; 'nor any one round us, I should think.'

'That is our own fault, after all; for we were not good churchmen 
enough to come in time for vespers.'

'Are you a churchman then?'

'Yes, thank God.  There may be other churches than those of Europe 
or Syria, and right Catholic ones, too.  But, shall I tell you what 
they are singing?  "He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and 
hath exalted the humble and meek.  He hath filled the hungry with 
good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away."  Is there no 
life, think you, in those words, spoken here every afternoon in the 
name of God?'

'By hirelings, who neither care nor understand--'

'Hush.  Be not hasty with imputations of evil, within walls 
dedicated to and preserved by the All-good.  Even should the 
speakers forget the meaning of their own words, to my sense, 
perhaps, that may just now leave the words more entirely God's.  At 
all events, confess that whatever accidental husks may have 
clustered round it, here is a germ of Eternal Truth.  No, I dare not 
despair of you English, as long as I hear your priesthood forced by 
Providence, even in spite of themselves, thus to speak God's words 
about an age in which the condition of the poor, and the rights and 
duties of man, are becoming the rallying-point for all thought and 
all organisation.'

'But does it not make the case more hopeless that such words have 
been spoken for centuries, and no man regards them?'

'You have to blame for that the people, rather than the priest.  As 
they are, so will he be, in every age and country.  He is but the 
index which the changes of their spiritual state move up and down 
the scale:  and as they will become in England in the next half 
century, so will he become also.'

'And can these dry bones live?' asked Lancelot, scornfully.

'Who are you to ask?  What were you three months ago? for I know 
well your story.  But do you remember what the prophet saw in the 
Valley of Vision?  How first that those same dry bones shook and 
clashed together, as if uneasy because they were disorganised; and 
how they then found flesh and stood upright:  and yet there was no 
life in them, till at last the Spirit came down and entered into 
them?  Surely there is shaking enough among the bones now!  It is 
happening to the body of your England as it did to Adam's after he 
was made.  It lay on earth, the rabbis say, forty days before the 
breath of life was put into it, and the devil came and kicked it; 
and it sounded hollow, as England is doing now; but that did not 
prevent the breath of life coming in good time, nor will it in 
England's case.'

Lancelot looked at him with a puzzled face.

'You must not speak in such deep parables to so young a learner.'

'Is my parable so hard, then?  Look around you and see what is the 
characteristic of your country and of your generation at this 
moment.  What a yearning, what an expectation, amid infinite 
falsehoods and confusions, of some nobler, more chivalrous, more 
godlike state!  Your very costermonger trolls out his belief that 
"there's a good time coming," and the hearts of gamins, as well as 
millenarians, answer, "True!"  Is not that a clashing among the dry 
bones?  And as for flesh, what new materials are springing up among 
you every month, spiritual and physical, for a state such as "eye 
hath not seen nor ear heard?"--railroads, electric telegraphs, 
associate-lodging-houses, club-houses, sanitary reforms, 
experimental schools, chemical agriculture, a matchless school of 
inductive science, an equally matchless school of naturalist 
painters,--and all this in the very workshop of the world!  Look, 
again, at the healthy craving after religious art and ceremonial,--
the strong desire to preserve that which has stood the test of time; 
and on the other hand, at the manful resolution of your middle 
classes to stand or fall by the Bible alone,--to admit no 
innovations in worship which are empty of instinctive meaning.  Look 
at the enormous amount of practical benevolence which now struggles 
in vain against evil, only because it is as yet private, desultory, 
divided.  How dare you, young man, despair of your own nation, while 
its nobles can produce a Carlisle, an Ellesmere, an Ashley, a Robert 
Grosvenor,--while its middle classes can beget a Faraday, a 
Stephenson, a Brooke, an Elizabeth Fry?  See, I say, what a chaos of 
noble materials is here,--all confused, it is true,--polarised, 
jarring, and chaotic,--here bigotry, there self-will, superstition, 
sheer Atheism often, but only waiting for the one inspiring Spirit 
to organise, and unite, and consecrate this chaos into the noblest 
polity the world ever saw realised!  What a destiny may be that of 
your land, if you have but the faith to see your own honour!  Were I 
not of my own country, I would be an Englishman this day.'

'And what is your country?' asked Lancelot.  'It should be a noble 
one which breeds such men as you.'

The stranger smiled.

'Will you go thither with me?'

'Why not?  I long for travel, and truly I am sick of my own country.  
When the Spirit of which you speak,' he went on, bitterly, 'shall 
descend, I may return; till then England is no place for the 
penniless.'

'How know you that the Spirit is not even now poured out?  Must your 
English Pharisees and Sadducees, too, have signs and wonders ere 
they believe?  Will man never know that "the kingdom of God comes 
not by observation"? that now, as ever, His promise stands true,--
"Lo!  I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"?  How 
many inspired hearts even now may be cherishing in secret the idea 
which shall reform the age, and fulfil at once the longings of every 
sect and rank?'

'Name it to me, then!'

'Who can name it?  Who can even see it, but those who are like Him 
from whom it comes?  Them a long and stern discipline awaits.  Would 
you be of them, you must, like the Highest who ever trod this earth, 
go fasting into the wilderness, and, among the wild beasts, stand 
alone face to face with the powers of Nature.'

'I will go where you shall bid me.  I will turn shepherd among the 
Scottish mountains--live as an anchorite in the solitudes of 
Dartmoor.  But to what purpose?  I have listened long to Nature's 
voice, but even the whispers of a spiritual presence which haunted 
my childhood have died away, and I hear nothing in her but the 
grinding of the iron wheels of mechanical necessity.'

'Which is the will of God.  Henceforth you shall study, not Nature, 
but Him.  Yet as for place--I do not like your English primitive 
formations, where earth, worn out with struggling, has fallen 
wearily asleep.  No, you shall rather come to Asia, the oldest and 
yet the youngest continent,--to our volcanic mountain ranges, where 
her bosom still heaves with the creative energy of youth, around the 
primeval cradle of the most ancient race of men.  Then, when you 
have learnt the wondrous harmony between man and his dwelling-place, 
I will lead you to a land where you shall see the highest spiritual 
cultivation in triumphant contact with the fiercest energies of 
matter; where men have learnt to tame and use alike the volcano and 
the human heart, where the body and the spirit, the beautiful and 
the useful, the human and the divine, are no longer separate, and 
men have embodied to themselves on earth an image of the "city not 
made with hands, eternal in the heavens."'

'Where is this land?' said Lancelot eagerly.

'Poor human nature must have its name for everything.  You have 
heard of the country of Prester John, that mysterious Christian 
empire, rarely visited by European eye?'

'There are legends of two such,' said Lancelot, 'an Ethiopian and an 
Asiatic one; and the Ethiopian, if we are to believe Colonel 
Harris's Journey to Shoa, is a sufficiently miserable failure.'

'True; the day of the Chamitic race is past; you will not say the 
same of our Caucasian empire.  To our race the present belongs,--to 
England, France, Germany, America,--to us.  Will you see what we 
have done, and, perhaps, bring home, after long wanderings, a 
message for your country which may help to unravel the tangled web 
of this strange time?'

'I will,' said Lancelot, 'now, this moment.  And yet, no.  There is 
one with whom I have promised to share all future weal and woe.  
Without him I can take no step.'

'Tregarva?'

'Yes--he.  What made you guess that I spoke of him?'

'Mellot told me of him, and of you, too, six weeks ago.  He is now 
gone to fetch him from Manchester.  I cannot trust him here in 
England yet.  The country made him sad; London has made him mad; 
Manchester may make him bad.  It is too fearful a trial even for his 
faith.  I must take him with us.'

'What interest in him--not to say what authority over him--have 
you?'

'The same which I have over you.  You will come with me; so will he.  
It is my business, as my name signifies, to save the children alive 
whom European society leaves carelessly and ignorantly to die.  And 
as for my power, I come,' said he, with a smile, 'from a country 
which sends no one on its errands without first thoroughly 
satisfying itself as to his power of fulfilling them.'

'If he goes, I go with you.'

'And he will go.  And yet, think what you do.  It is a fearful 
journey.  They who travel it, even as they came naked out of their 
mother's womb--even as they return thither, and carry nothing with 
them of all which they have gotten in this life, so must those who 
travel to my land.'

'What?  Tregarva?  Is he, too, to give up all?  I had thought that I 
saw in him a precious possession, one for which I would barter all 
my scholarship, my talents,--ay--my life itself.'

'A possession worth your life?  What then?'

'Faith in an unseen God.'

'Ask him whether he would call that a possession--his own in any 
sense?'

'He would call it a revelation to him.'

'That is, a taking of the veil from something which was behind the 
veil already.'

'Yes.'

'And which may therefore just as really be behind the veil in other 
cases without its presence being suspected.'

'Certainly.'

'In what sense, now, is that a possession?  Do you possess the sun 
because you see it?  Did Herschel create Uranus by discovering it; 
or even increase, by an atom, its attraction on one particle of his 
own body?"

'Whither is all this tending?'

'Hither.  Tregarva does not possess his Father and his Lord; he is 
possessed by them.'

'But he would say--and I should believe him--that he has seen and 
known them, not with his bodily eyes, but with his soul, heart, 
imagination--call it what you will.  All I know is, that between him 
and me there is a great gulf fixed.'

'What! seen and known them utterly? comprehended them?  Are they not 
infinite, incomprehensible?  Can the less comprehend the greater?'

'He knows, at least, enough of them to make him what I am not.'

'That is, he knows something of them.  And may not you know 
something of them also?--enough to make you what he is not?'

Lancelot shook his head in silence.

'Suppose that you had met and spoken with your father, and loved him 
when you saw him, and yet were not aware of the relation in which 
you stood to him, still you would know him?'

'Not the most important thing of all--that he was my father.'

'Is that the most important thing?  Is it not more important that he 
should know that you were his son?  That he should support, guide, 
educate you, even though unseen?  Do you not know that some one has 
been doing that?'

'That I have been supported, guided, educated, I know full well; but 
by whom I know not.  And I know, too, that I have been punished.  
And therefore--therefore I cannot free the thought of a Him--of a 
Person--only of a Destiny, of Laws and Powers, which have no faces 
wherewith to frown awful wrath upon me!  If it be a Person who has 
been leading me, I must go mad, or know that He has forgiven!'

'I conceive that it is He, and not punishment which you fear?'

Lancelot was silent a moment. . . .  'Yes.  He, and not hell at all, 
is what I fear.  He can inflict no punishment on me worse than the 
inner hell which I have felt already, many and many a time.'

'Bona verba!  That is an awful thing to say:  but better this 
extreme than the other. . . .  And you would--what?'

'Be pardoned.'

'If He loves you, He has pardoned you already.'

'How do I know that He loves me?'

'How does Tregarva?'

'He is a righteous man, and I--'

'Am a sinner.  He would, and rightly, call himself the same.'

'But he knows that God loves him--that he is God's child.'

'So, then, God did not love him till he caused God to love him, by 
knowing that He loved him?  He was not God's child till he made 
himself one, by believing that he was one when as yet he was not?  I 
appeal to common sense and logic . . . It was revealed to Tregarva 
that God had been loving him while he was yet a bad man.  If He 
loved him, in spite of his sin, why should He not have loved you?'

'If He had loved me, would He have left me in ignorance of Himself?  
For if He be, to know Him is the highest good.'

'Had he left Tregarva in ignorance of Himself?'

'No. . . .  Certainly, Tregarva spoke of his conversion as of a 
turning to one of whom he had known all along, and disregarded.'

'Then do you turn like him, to Him whom you have known all along, 
and disregarded.'

'I?'

'Yes--you!  If half I have heard and seen of you be true, He has 
been telling you more, and not less, of Himself than He does to most 
men.  You, for aught I know, may know more of Him than Tregarva 
does.  The gulf between you and him is this:  he has obeyed what he 
knew--and you have not.' . . .

Lancelot paused a moment, then--

'No!--do not cheat me!  You said once that you were a churchman.'

'So I am.  A Catholic of the Catholics.  What then?'

'Who is He to whom you ask me to turn?  You talk to me of Him as my 
Father; but you talk of Him to men of your own creed as The Father.  
You have mysterious dogmas of a Three in One.  I know them . . . I 
have admired them.  In all their forms--in the Vedas, in the Neo-
Platonists, in Jacob Boehmen, in your Catholic creeds, in Coleridge, 
and the Germans from whom he borrowed, I have looked at them, and 
found in them beautiful phantasms of philosophy, . . . all but 
scientific necessities; . . . but--'

'But what?'

'I do not want cold abstract necessities of logic:  I want living 
practical facts.  If those mysterious dogmas speak of real and 
necessary properties of His being, they must be necessarily 
interwoven in practice with His revelation of Himself?'

'Most true.  But how would you have Him unveil Himself?'

'By unveiling Himself.'

'What?  To your simple intuition?  That was Semele's ambition. . . .  
You recollect the end of that myth.  You recollect, too, as you have 
read the Neo-Platonists, the result of their similar attempt.'

'Idolatry and magic.'

'True; and yet, such is the ambition of man, you who were just now 
envying Tregarva, are already longing to climb even higher than 
Saint Theresa.'

'I do not often indulge in such an ambition.  But I have read in 
your Schoolmen tales of a Beatific Vision; how that the highest good 
for man was to see God.'

'And did you believe that?'

'One cannot believe the impossible--only regret its impossibility.'

'Impossibility?  You can only see the Uncreate in the Create--the 
Infinite in the Finite--the absolute good in that which is like the 
good.  Does Tregarva pretend to more?  He sees God in His own 
thoughts and consciousnesses, and in the events of the world around 
him, imaged in the mirror of his own mind.  Is your mirror, then, so 
much narrower than his?'

'I have none.  I see but myself, and the world, and far above them, 
a dim awful Unity, which is but a notion.'

'Fool!--and slow of heart to believe!  Where else would you see Him 
but in yourself and in the world?  They are all things cognisable to 
you.  Where else, but everywhere, would you see Him whom no man hath 
seen, or can see?'

'When He shows Himself to me in them, then I may see Him.  But now--
'

'You have seen Him; and because you do not know the name of what you 
see--or rather will not acknowledge it--you fancy that it is not 
there.'

'How in His name? What have I seen?'

'Ask yourself.  Have you not seen, in your fancy, at least, an ideal 
of man, for which you spurned (for Mellot has told me all) the 
merely negative angelic--the merely receptive and indulgent 
feminine-ideals of humanity, and longed to be a man, like that ideal 
and perfect man?'

'I have.'

'And what was your misery all along?  Was it not that you felt you 
ought to be a person with a one inner unity, a one practical will, 
purpose, and business given to you--not invented by yourself--in the 
great order and harmony of the universe,--and that you were not 
one?--That your self-willed fancies, and self-pleasing passions, had 
torn you in pieces, and left you inconsistent, dismembered, 
helpless, purposeless?  That, in short, you were below your ideal, 
just in proportion as you were not a person?'

'God knows you speak truth!'

'Then must not that ideal of humanity be a person himself?--Else how 
can he be the ideal man?  Where is your logic?  An impersonal ideal 
of a personal species! . . .  And what is the most special 
peculiarity of man?  Is it not that he alone of creation is a son, 
with a Father to love and to obey?  Then must not the ideal man be a 
son also?  And last, but not least, is it not the very property of 
man that he is a spirit invested with flesh and blood?  Then must 
not the ideal man have, once at least, taken on himself flesh and 
blood also?  Else, how could he fulfil his own idea?'

'Yes . . .  Yes . . .  That thought, too, has glanced through my 
mind at moments, like a lightning-flash; till I have envied the old 
Greeks their faith in a human Zeus, son of Kronos--a human Phoibos, 
son of Zeus.  But I could not rest in them.  They are noble.  But 
are they--are any--perfect ideals?  The one thing I did, and do, and 
will believe, is the one which they do not fulfil--that man is meant 
to be the conqueror of the earth, matter, nature, decay, death 
itself, and to conquer them, as Bacon says, by obeying them.'

'Hold it fast;--but follow it out, and say boldly, the ideal of 
humanity must be one who has conquered nature--one who rules the 
universe--one who has vanquished death itself; and conquered them, 
as Bacon says, not by violating, but by submitting to them.  Have 
you never heard of one who is said to have done this?  How do you 
know that in this ideal which you have seen, you have not seen the 
Son--the perfect Man, who died and rose again, and sits for ever 
Healer, and Lord, and Ruler of the universe? . . .  Stay--do not 
answer me.  Have you not, besides, had dreams of an all-Father--from 
whom, in some mysterious way, all things and beings must derive 
their source, and that Son--if my theory be true--among the rest, 
and above all the rest?'

'Who has not?  But what more dim or distant--more drearily, 
hopelessly notional, than that thought?'

'Only the thought that there is none.  But the dreariness was only 
in your own inconsistency.  If He be the Father of all, He must be 
the Father of persons--He Himself therefore a Person.  He must be 
the Father of all in whom dwell personal qualities, power, wisdom, 
creative energy, love, justice, pity.  Can He be their Father, 
unless all these very qualities are infinitely His?  Does He now 
look so terrible to you?'

'I have had this dream, too; but I turned away from it in dread.'

'Doubtless you did.  Some day you will know why.  Does that former 
dream of a human Son relieve this dream of none of its awfulness?  
May not the type be beloved for the sake of its Antitype, even if 
the very name of All-Father is no guarantee for His paternal pity! . 
. .  But you have had this dream.  How know you, that in it you were 
not allowed a glimpse, however dim and distant, of Him whom the 
Catholics call the Father?'

'It may be; but--'

'Stay again.  Had you never the sense of a Spirit in you--a will, an 
energy, an inspiration, deeper than the region of consciousness and 
reflection, which, like the wind, blew where it listed, and you 
heard the sound of it ringing through your whole consciousness, and 
yet knew not whence it came, or whither it went, or why it drove you 
on to dare and suffer, to love and hate; to be a fighter, a 
sportsman, an artist--'

'And a drunkard!' added Lancelot, sadly.

'And a drunkard.  But did it never seem to you that this strange 
wayward spirit, if anything, was the very root and core of your own 
personality?  And had you never a craving for the help of some 
higher, mightier spirit, to guide and strengthen yours; to regulate 
and civilise its savage and spasmodic self-will; to teach you your 
rightful place in the great order of the universe around; to fill 
you with a continuous purpose and with a continuous will to do it?  
Have you never had a dream of an Inspirer?--a spirit of all 
spirits?'

Lancelot turned away with a shudder.

'Talk of anything but that!  Little you know--and yet you seem to 
know everything--the agony of craving with which I have longed for 
guidance; the rage and disgust which possessed me when I tried one 
pretended teacher after another, and found in myself depths which 
their spirits could not, or rather would not, touch.  I have been 
irreverent to the false, from very longing to worship the true; I 
have been a rebel to sham leaders, for very desire to be loyal to a 
real one; I have envied my poor cousin his Jesuits; I have envied my 
own pointers their slavery to my whip and whistle; I have fled, as a 
last resource, to brandy and opium, for the inspiration which 
neither man nor demon would bestow. . . .  Then I found . . . you 
know my story. . . .  And when I looked to her to guide and inspire 
me, behold! I found myself, by the very laws of humanity, compelled 
to guide and inspire her;--blind, to lead the blind!--Thank God, for 
her sake, that she was taken from me!'

'Did you ever mistake these substitutes, even the noblest of them, 
for the reality?  Did not your very dissatisfaction with them show 
you that the true inspirer ought to be, if he were to satisfy your 
cravings, a person, truly--else how could he inspire and teach you, 
a person yourself!--but an utterly infinite, omniscient, eternal 
person?  How know you that in that dream He was not unveiling 
Himself to you--He, The Spirit, who is the Lord and Giver of Life; 
The Spirit, who teaches men their duty and relation to those above, 
around, beneath them; the Spirit of order, obedience, loyalty, 
brotherhood, mercy, condescension?'

'But I never could distinguish these dreams from each other; the 
moment that I essayed to separate them, I seemed to break up the 
thought of an absolute one ground of all things, without which the 
universe would have seemed a piecemeal chaos; and they receded to 
infinite distance, and became transparent, barren, notional shadows 
of my own brain, even as your words are now.'

'How know you that you were meant to distinguish them?  How know you 
that that very impossibility was not the testimony of fact and 
experience to that old Catholic dogma, for the sake of which you 
just now shrank from my teaching?  I say that this is so.  How do 
you know that it is not?'

'But how do I know that it is?  I want proof.'

'And you are the man who was, five minutes ago, crying out for 
practical facts, and disdaining cold abstract necessities of logic!  
Can you prove that your body exists?'

'No.'

'Can you prove that your spirit exists?'

'No.'

'And yet know that they both exist.  And how?'

'Solvitur ambulando.'

'Exactly.  When you try to prove either of them without the other, 
you fail.  You arrive, if at anything, at some barren polar notion.  
By action alone you prove the mesothetic fact which underlies and 
unites them.'

'Quorsum haec?'

'Hither.  I am not going to demonstrate the indemonstrable--to give 
you intellectual notions which, after all, will be but reflexes of 
my own peculiar brain, and so add the green of my spectacles to the 
orange of yours, and make night hideous by fresh monsters.  I may 
help you to think yourself into a theoretical Tritheism, or a 
theoretical Sabellianism; I cannot make you think yourself into 
practical and living Catholicism.  As you of anthropology, so I say 
of theology,--Solvitur ambulando.  Don't believe Catholic doctrine 
unless you like; faith is free.  But see if you can reclaim either 
society or yourself without it; see if He will let you reclaim them.  
Take Catholic doctrine for granted; act on it; and see if you will 
not reclaim them!'

'Take for granted?  Am I to come, after all, to implicit faith?'

'Implicit fiddlesticks!  Did you ever read the Novum Organum?  
Mellot told me that you were a geologist.'

'Well?'

'You took for granted what you read in geological books, and went to 
the mine and the quarry afterwards, to verify it in practice; and 
according as you found fact correspond to theory, you retained or 
rejected.  Was that implicit faith, or common sense, common 
humility, and sound induction?'

'Sound induction, at least.'

'Then go now, and do likewise.  Believe that the learned, wise, and 
good, for 1800 years, may possibly have found out somewhat, or have 
been taught somewhat, on this matter, and test their theory by 
practice.  If a theory on such a point is worth anything at all, it 
is omnipotent and all-explaining.  If it will not work, of course 
there is no use keeping it a moment.  Perhaps it will work.  I say 
it will.'

'But I shall not work it; I still dread my own spectacles.  I dare 
not trust myself alone to verify a theory of Murchison's or Lyell's.  
How dare I trust myself in this?'

'Then do not trust yourself alone:  come and see what others are 
doing.  Come, and become a member of a body which is verifying, by 
united action, those universal and eternal truths, which are too 
great for the grasp of any one time-ridden individual.  Not that we 
claim the gift of infallibility, any more than I do that of perfect 
utterance of the little which we do know.'

'Then what do you promise me in asking me to go with you?'

'Practical proof that these my words are true,--practical proof that 
they can make a nation all that England might be and is not,--the 
sight of what a people might become who, knowing thus far, do what 
they know.  We believe no more than you, but we believe it.  Come 
and see!--and yet you will not see; facts, and the reasons of them, 
will be as impalpable to you there as here, unless you can again 
obey your Novum Organum.'

'How then?'

'By renouncing all your idols--the idols of the race and of the 
market, of the study and of the theatre.  Every national prejudice, 
every vulgar superstition, every remnant of pedantic system, every 
sentimental like or dislike, must be left behind you, for the 
induction of the world problem.  You must empty yourself before God 
will fill you.'

'Of what can I strip myself more?  I know nothing; I can do nothing; 
I hope nothing; I fear nothing; I am nothing.'

'And you would gain something.  But for what purpose?--for on that 
depends your whole success.  To be famous, great, glorious, 
powerful, beneficent?'

'As I live, the height of my ambition, small though it be, is only 
to find my place, though it were but as a sweeper of chimneys.  If I 
dare wish--if I dare choose, it would be only this--to regenerate 
one little parish in the whole world . . . To do that, and die, for 
aught I care, without ever being recognised as the author of my own 
deeds . . . to hear them, if need be, imputed to another, and myself 
accursed as a fool, if I can but atone for the sins of . . .

He paused; but his teacher understood him.

'It is enough,' he said.  'Come with me; Tregarva waits for us near.  
Again I warn you; you will hear nothing new; you shall only see what 
you, and all around you, have known and not done, known and done.  
We have no peculiar doctrines or systems; the old creeds are enough 
for us.  But we have obeyed the teaching which we received in each 
and every age, and allowed ourselves to be built up, generation by 
generation--as the rest of Christendom might have done--into a 
living temple, on the foundation which is laid already, and other 
than which no man can lay.'

'And what is that?'

'Jesus Christ--THE MAN.'

He took Lancelot by the hand.  A peaceful warmth diffused itself 
over his limbs; the droning of the organ sounded fainter and more 
faint; the marble monuments grew dim and distant; and, half 
unconsciously, he followed like a child through the cathedral door.



EPILOGUE



I can foresee many criticisms, and those not unreasonable ones, on 
this little book--let it be some excuse at least for me, that I have 
foreseen them.  Readers will complain, I doubt not, of the very 
mythical and mysterious denouement of a story which began by things 
so gross and palpable as field-sports and pauperism.  But is it not 
true that, sooner or later, 'omnia exeunt in mysterium'?  Out of 
mystery we all came at our birth, fox-hunters and paupers, sages and 
saints; into mystery we shall all return . . . at all events, when 
we die; probably, as it seems to me, some of us will return thither 
before we die.  For if the signs of the times mean anything, they 
portend, I humbly submit, a somewhat mysterious and mythical 
denouement to this very age, and to those struggles of it which I 
have herein attempted, clumsily enough, to sketch.  We are entering 
fast, I both hope and fear, into the region of prodigy, true and 
false; and our great-grandchildren will look back on the latter half 
of this century, and ask, if it were possible that such things could 
happen in an organised planet?  The Benthamites will receive this 
announcement, if it ever meets their eyes, with shouts of laughter.  
Be it so . . . nous verrons . . . In the year 1847, if they will 
recollect, they were congratulating themselves on the nations having 
grown too wise to go to war any more . . . and in 1848?  So it has 
been from the beginning.  What did philosophers expect in 1792?  
What did they see in 1793?  Popery was to be eternal:  but the 
Reformation came nevertheless.  Rome was to be eternal:  but Alaric 
came.  Jerusalem was to be eternal:  but Titus came.  Gomorrha was 
to be eternal, I doubt not; but the fire-floods came. . . .  'As it 
was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of 
Man.  They were eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage; 
and the flood came and swept them all away.'  Of course they did not 
expect it.  They went on saying, 'Where is the promise of his 
coming?  For all things continue as they were from the beginning.'  
Most true; but what if they were from the beginning--over a 
volcano's mouth?  What if the method whereon things have proceeded 
since the creation were, as geology as well as history proclaims, a 
cataclysmic method?  What then?  Why should not this age, as all 
others like it have done, end in a cataclysm, and a prodigy, and a 
mystery?  And why should not my little book do likewise?

Again--Readers will probably complain of the fragmentary and 
unconnected form of the book.  Let them first be sure that that is 
not an integral feature of the subject itself, and therefore the 
very form the book should take.  Do not young men think, speak, act, 
just now, in this very incoherent, fragmentary way; without methodic 
education or habits of thought; with the various stereotyped systems 
which they have received by tradition, breaking up under them like 
ice in a thaw; with a thousand facts and notions, which they know 
not how to classify, pouring in on them like a flood?--a very Yeasty 
state of mind altogether, like a mountain burn in a spring rain, 
carrying down with it stones, sticks, peat-water, addle grouse-eggs 
and drowned kingfishers, fertilising salts and vegetable poisons--
not, alas! without a large crust, here and there, of sheer froth.  
Yet no heterogeneous confused flood-deposit, no fertile meadows 
below.  And no high water, no fishing.  It is in the long black 
droughts, when the water is foul from lowness, and not from height, 
that Hydras and Desmidiae, and Rotifers, and all uncouth pseud-
organisms, bred of putridity, begin to multiply, and the fish are 
sick for want of a fresh, and the cunningest artificial fly is of no 
avail, and the shrewdest angler will do nothing--except with a gross 
fleshly gilt-tailed worm, or the cannibal bait of roe, whereby 
parent fishes, like competitive barbarisms, devour each other's 
flesh and blood--perhaps their own.  It is when the stream is 
clearing after a flood, that the fish will rise. . . .  When will 
the flood clear, and the fish come on the feed again?

Next; I shall be blamed for having left untold the fate of those 
characters who have acted throughout as Lancelot's satellites.  But 
indeed their only purpose consisted in their influence on his 
development, and that of Tregarva; I do not see that we have any 
need to follow them farther.  The reader can surely conjecture their 
history for himself. . . .  He may be pretty certain that they have 
gone the way of the world . . . abierunt ad plures . . . for this 
life or for the next.  They have done--very much what he or I might 
have done in their place--nothing.  Nature brings very few of her 
children to perfection, in these days or any other. . . .  And for 
Grace, which does bring its children to perfection, the quantity and 
quality of the perfection must depend on the quantity and quality of 
the grace, and that again, to an awful extent--The Giver only knows 
to how great an extent--on the will of the recipients, and therefore 
in exact proportion to their lowness in the human scale, on the 
circumstances which environ them.  So my characters are now--very 
much what the reader might expect them to be.  I confess them to be 
unsatisfactory; so are most things:  but how can I solve problems 
which fact has not yet solved for me?  How am I to extricate my 
antitypal characters, when their living types have not yet 
extricated themselves?  When the age moves on, my story shall move 
on with it.  Let it be enough, that my puppets have retreated in 
good order, and that I am willing to give to those readers who have 
conceived something of human interest for them, the latest accounts 
of their doings.

With the exception, that is, of Mellot and Sabina.  Them I confess 
to be an utterly mysterious, fragmentary little couple.  Why not?  
Do you not meet with twenty such in the course of your life?--
Charming people, who for aught you know may be opera folk from 
Paris, or emissaries from the Czar, or disguised Jesuits, or 
disguised Angels . . . who evidently 'have a history,' and a strange 
one, which you never expect or attempt to fathom; who interest you 
intensely for a while, and then are whirled away again in the great 
world-waltz, and lost in the crowd for ever?  Why should you wish my 
story to be more complete than theirs is, or less romantic than 
theirs may be?  There are more things in London, as well as in 
heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.  If you but 
knew the secret history of that dull gentleman opposite whom you sat 
at dinner yesterday!--the real thoughts of that chattering girl whom 
you took down!--'Omnia exeunt in mysterium,' I say again.  Every 
human being is a romance, a miracle to himself now; and will appear 
as one to all the world in That Day.

But now for the rest; and Squire Lavington first.  He is a very fair 
sample of the fate of the British public; for he is dead and buried:  
and readers would not have me extricate him out of that situation.  
If you ask news of the reason and manner of his end, I can only 
answer, that like many others, he went out--as candles do.  I 
believe he expressed general repentance for all his sins--all, at 
least, of which he was aware.  To confess and repent of the state of 
the Whitford Priors estate, and of the poor thereon, was of course 
more than any minister, of any denomination whatsoever, could be 
required to demand of him; seeing that would have involved a 
recognition of those duties of property, of which the good old 
gentleman was to the last a staunch denier; and which are as yet 
seldom supposed to be included in any Christian creed, Catholic or 
other.  Two sermons were preached in Whitford on the day of his 
funeral; one by Mr. O'Blareaway, on the text from Job, provided for 
such occasions; 'When the ear heard him, then it blessed him,' etc. 
etc.:  the other by the Baptist preacher, on two verses of the 
forty-ninth Psalm--

'They fancy that their houses shall endure for ever, and call the 
lands after their own names.

'Yet man being in honour hath no understanding, but is compared to 
the beasts that perish.'

Waiving the good taste, which was probably on a par in both cases, 
the reader is left to decide which of the two texts was most 
applicable.

Mrs. Lavington is Mrs. Lavington no longer.  She has married, to the 
astonishment of the world in general, that 'excellent man,' Mr. 
O'Blareaway, who has been discovered not to be quite as young as he 
appeared, his graces being principally owing to a Brutus wig, which 
he has now wisely discarded.  Mrs. Lavington now sits in state under 
her husband's ministry, as the leader of the religious world in the 
fashionable watering-place of Steamingbath, and derives her notions 
of the past, present, and future state of the universe principally 
from those two meek and unbiased periodicals, the Protestant Hue-
and-Cry and the Christian Satirist, to both of which O'Blareaway is 
a constant contributor.  She has taken such an aversion to Whitford 
since Argemone's death, that she has ceased to have any connection 
with that unhealthy locality, beyond the popular and easy one of 
rent-receiving.  O'Blareaway has never entered the parish to his 
knowledge since Mr. Lavington's funeral; and was much pleased, the 
last time I rode with him, at my informing him that a certain 
picturesque moorland which he had been greatly admiring, was his own 
possession. . . .  After all, he is 'an excellent man;' and when I 
met a large party at his house the other day, and beheld dory and 
surmullet, champagne and lachryma Christi, amid all the glory of the 
Whitford plate . . . (some of it said to have belonged to the altar 
of the Priory Church four hundred years ago), I was deeply moved by 
the impressive tone in which, at the end of a long grace, he prayed 
'that the daily bread of our less favoured brethren might be 
mercifully vouchsafed to them.' . . .  My dear readers, would you 
have me, even if I could, extricate him from such an Elysium by any 
denouement whatsoever?

Poor dear Luke, again, is said to be painting lean frescoes for the 
Something-or-other-Kirche at Munich; and the vicar, under the name 
of Father Stylites, of the order of St. Philumena, is preaching 
impassioned sermons to crowded congregations at St. George's, 
Bedlam.  How can I extricate them from that?  No one has come forth 
of it yet, to my knowledge, except by paths whereof I shall use 
Lessing's saying, 'I may have my whole hand full of truth, and yet 
find good to open only my little finger.'  But who cares for their 
coming out?  They are but two more added to the five hundred, at 
whose moral suicide, and dive into the Roman Avernus, a quasi-
Protestant public looks on with a sort of savage satisfaction, 
crying only, 'Didn't we tell you so?'--and more than half hopes that 
they will not come back again, lest they should be discovered to 
have learnt anything while they were there.  What are two among that 
five hundred? much more among the five thousand who seem destined 
shortly to follow them?

The banker, thanks to Barnakill's assistance, is rapidly getting 
rich again--who would wish to stop him?  However, he is wiser, on 
some points at least, than he was of yore.  He has taken up the flax 
movement violently of late--perhaps owing to some hint of 
Barnakill's--talks of nothing but Chevalier Claussen and Mr. 
Donellan, and is very anxious to advance capital to any landlord who 
will grow flax on Mr. Warnes's method, either in England or Ireland. 
. . .  John Bull, however, has not yet awakened sufficiently to 
listen to his overtures, but sits up in bed, dolefully rubbing his 
eyes, and bemoaning the evanishment of his protectionist dream--
altogether realising tolerably, he and his land, Dr. Watts' well-
known moral song concerning the sluggard and his garden.

Lord Minchampstead again prospers.  Either the nuns of Minchampstead 
have left no Nemesis behind them, like those of Whitford, or a 
certain wisdom and righteousness of his, however dim and imperfect, 
averts it for a time.  So, as I said, he prospers, and is hated; 
especially by his farmers, to whom he has just offered long leases, 
and a sliding corn-rent.  They would have hated him just the same if 
he had kept them at rack-rents; and he has not forgotten that; but 
they have.  They looked shy at the leases, because they bind them to 
farm high, which they do not know how to do; and at the corn-rent, 
because they think that he expects wheat to rise again--which, being 
a sensible man, he very probably does.  But for my story--I 
certainly do not see how to extricate him or any one else from 
farmers' stupidity, greed, and ill-will. . . .  That question must 
have seven years' more free-trade to settle it, before I can say 
anything thereon.  Still less can I foreshadow the fate of his 
eldest son, who has just been rusticated from Christ Church for 
riding one of Simmon's hacks through a china-shop window; especially 
as the youth is reported to be given to piquette and strong liquors, 
and, like many noblemen's eldest sons, is considered 'not to have 
the talent of his father.'  As for the old lord himself, I have no 
wish to change or develop him in any way--except to cut slips off 
him, as you do off a willow, and plant two or three in every county 
in England.  Let him alone to work out his own plot . . . we have 
not seen the end of it yet; but whatever it will be, England has 
need of him as a transition-stage between feudalism and * * * * ; 
for many a day to come.  If he be not the ideal landlord, he is 
nearer it than any we are like yet to see. . . .

Except one; and that, after all, is Lord Vieuxbois.  Let him go on, 
like a gallant gentleman as he is, and prosper.  And he will 
prosper, for he fears God, and God is with him.  He has much to 
learn; and a little to unlearn.  He has to learn that God is a 
living God now, as well as in the middle ages; to learn to trust not 
in antique precedents, but in eternal laws:  to learn that his 
tenants, just because they are children of God, are not to be kept 
children, but developed and educated into sons; to learn that God's 
grace, like His love, is free, and that His spirit bloweth where it 
listeth, and vindicates its own free-will against our narrow 
systems, by revealing, at times, even to nominal Heretics and 
Infidels, truths which the Catholic Church must humbly receive, as 
the message of Him who is wider, deeper, more tolerant, than even 
she can be. . . And he is in the way to learn all this.  Let him go 
on.  At what conclusions he will attain, he knows not, nor do I.  
But this I know, that he is on the path to great and true 
conclusions. . . .  And he is just about to be married, too.  That 
surely should teach him something.  The papers inform me that his 
bride elect is Lord Minchampstead's youngest daughter.  That should 
be a noble mixture; there should be stalwart offspring, spiritual as 
well as physical, born of that intermarriage of the old and the new.  
We will hope it:  perhaps some of my readers, who enter into my 
inner meaning, may also pray for it.

Whom have I to account for besides?  Crawy--though some of my 
readers may consider the mention of him superfluous.  But to those 
who do not, I may impart the news, that last month, in the union 
workhouse--he died; and may, for aught we know, have ere this met 
Squire Lavington . . . He is supposed, or at least said, to have had 
a soul to be saved . . . as I think, a body to be saved also.  But 
what is one more among so many?  And in an over-peopled country like 
this, too. . . .  One must learn to look at things--and paupers--in 
the mass.

The poor of Whitford also?  My dear readers, I trust you will not 
ask me just now to draw the horoscope of the Whitford poor, or of 
any others.  Really that depends principally on yourselves. . . .  
But for the present, the poor of Whitford, owing, as it seems to 
them and me, to quite other causes than an 'overstocked labour-
market,' or too rapid 'multiplication of their species,' are growing 
more profligate, reckless, pauperised, year by year.  O'Blareaway 
complained sadly to me the other day that the poor-rates were 
becoming 'heavier and heavier'--had nearly reached, indeed, what 
they were under the old law. . . .

But there is one who does not complain, but gives and gives, and 
stints herself to give, and weeps in silence and unseen over the 
evils which she has yearly less and less power to stem.

For in a darkened chamber of the fine house at Steamingbath, lies on 
a sofa Honoria Lavington--beautiful no more; the victim of some 
mysterious and agonising disease, about which the physicians agree 
on one point only--that it is hopeless.  The 'curse of the 
Lavingtons' is on her; and she bears it.  There she lies, and prays, 
and reads, and arranges her charities, and writes little books for 
children, full of the Beloved Name which is for ever on her lips.  
She suffers--none but herself knows how much, or how strangely--yet 
she is never heard to sigh.  She weeps in secret--she has long 
ceased to plead--for others, not for herself; and prays for them 
too--perhaps some day her prayers will yet he answered.  But she 
greets all visitors with a smile fresh from heaven; and all who 
enter that room leave it saddened, and yet happy, like those who 
have lingered a moment at the gates of paradise, and seen angels 
ascending and descending upon earth.  There she lies--who could wish 
her otherwise?  Even Doctor Autotheus Maresnest, the celebrated 
mesmeriser, who, though he laughs at the Resurrection of the Lord, 
is confidently reported to have raised more than one corpse to life 
himself, was heard to say, after having attended her professionally, 
that her waking bliss and peace, although unfortunately 
unattributable even to autocatalepsy, much less to somnambulist 
exaltation, was on the whole, however unscientific, almost as 
enviable.

There she lies--and will lie till she dies--the type of thousands 
more, 'the martyrs by the pang without the palm,' who find no mates 
in this life . . . and yet may find them in the life to come., . .  
Poor Paul Tregarva!  Little he fancies how her days run by! . . .

At least, there has been no news since that last scene in St. Paul's 
Cathedral, either of him or Lancelot.  How their strange teacher has 
fulfilled his promise of guiding their education; whether they have 
yet reached the country of Prester John; whether, indeed, that 
Caucasian Utopia has a local and bodily existence, or was only used 
by Barnakill to shadow out that Ideal which is, as he said of the 
Garden of Eden, always near us, underlying the Actual, as the spirit 
does its body, exhibiting itself step by step through all the 
falsehoods and confusions of history and society, giving life to all 
in it which is not falsehood and decay; on all these questions I can 
give my readers no sort of answer; perhaps I may as yet have no 
answer to give; perhaps I may be afraid of giving one; perhaps the 
times themselves are giving, at once cheerfully and sadly, in 
strange destructions and strange births, a better answer than I can 
give.  I have set forth, as far as in me lay, the data of my 
problem:  and surely, if the premises be given, wise men will not 
have to look far for the conclusion.  In homely English I have given 
my readers Yeast; if they be what I take them for, they will be able 
to bake with it themselves.

And yet I have brought Lancelot, at least--perhaps Tregarva too--to 
a conclusion, and an all-important one, which whoso reads may find 
fairly printed in these pages.  Henceforth his life must begin anew.  
Were I to carry on the thread of his story continuously he would 
still seem to have overleaped as vast a gulf as if I had re-
introduced him as a gray-haired man.  Strange! that the death of one 
of the lovers should seem no complete termination to their history, 
when their marriage would have been accepted by all as the 
legitimate denouement, beyond which no information was to be 
expected.  As if the history of love always ended at the altar!  
Oftener it only begins there; and all before it is but a mere 
longing to love.  Why should readers complain of being refused the 
future history of one life, when they are in most novels cut short 
by the marriage finale from the biography of two?

But if, over and above this, any reader should be wroth at my having 
left Lancelot's history unfinished on questions in his opinion more 
important than that of love, let me entreat him to set manfully 
about finishing his own history--a far more important one to him 
than Lancelot's.  If he shall complain that doubts are raised for 
which no solution is given, that my hero is brought into 
contradictory beliefs without present means of bringing them to 
accord, into passive acquiescence in vast truths without seeing any 
possibility of practically applying them--let him consider well 
whether such be not his own case; let him, if he be as most are, 
thank God when he finds out that such is his case, when he knows at 
last that those are most blind who say they see, when he becomes at 
last conscious how little he believes, how little he acts up to that 
small belief.  Let him try to right somewhat of the doubt, 
confusion, custom-worship, inconsistency, idolatry, within him--some 
of the greed, bigotry, recklessness, respectably superstitious 
atheism around him; and perhaps before his new task is finished, 
Lancelot and Tregarva may have returned with a message, if not for 
him--for that depends upon him having ears to hear it--yet possibly 
for strong Lord Minchampstead, probably for good Lord Vieuxbois, and 
surely for the sinners and the slaves of Whitford Priors.  What it 
will be, I know not altogether; but this I know, that if my heroes 
go on as they have set forth, looking with single mind for some one 
ground of human light and love, some everlasting rock whereon to 
build, utterly careless what the building may be, howsoever contrary 
to precedent and prejudice, and the idols of the day, provided God, 
and nature, and the accumulated lessons of all the ages, help them 
in its construction--then they will find in time the thing they 
seek, and see how the will of God may at last be done on earth, even 
as it is done in heaven.  But, alas! between them and it are waste 
raging waters, foul mud banks, thick with dragons and sirens; and 
many a bitter day and blinding night, in cold and hunger, spiritual 
and perhaps physical, await them.  For it was a true vision which 
John Bunyan saw, and one which, as the visions of wise men are wont 
to do, meant far more than the seer fancied, when he beheld in his 
dream that there was indeed a land of Beulah, and Arcadian Shepherd 
Paradise, on whose mountain tops the everlasting sunshine lay; but 
that the way to it, as these last three years are preaching to us, 
went past the mouth of Hell, and through the valley of the Shadow of 
Death.





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