Imagens das páginas

efforts, except those which tend to an rage, hatred, horror, and despair. ascetic and mystical isolation. What Here sat an old man, once a wealthy interest they excited in him arose farmer, whom drunkenness had inade from his habit of regarding them, not a pauper, and whose only child, a as men, but as embryo angels. He daughter, had been betrayed by po. did not speak their language, nor en verty into fatal corruption, and had ter into, though he compassionated, died an outcast. He looked down. their struggles and sufferings. The ward with dim, inflamed eyes, still ocgross and violent heard his exhorta. cupied by the vision of an intoxicat. tions like a faint aerial music, sweet ing draught which he could no longer and sublime, but remote from all procure. There the widow of a shopwhich they valued or dreaded. The keeper, whom her fierce passions and better and more thoughtful were be- self-will had goaded to the grave, sat wildered, by feeling that they did not in sullen dignity, dressed with some understand or sympathize with him, pretension to superior refinement, and and that all which they found in reli- brooding on the injustice of the fate gion of present support and comfort which confined her to such society. for their practical life, was to him but Scoff's and fury, when she happened to worthless, if compared to his ideal speak, were the burthen of all her longings and meditative communion language. She had hoarded for twenwith heaven.

ty years a single pound to purchase a After another day or two, he visit handsomer funeral and better attend. ed the poor-house, where he found a ance than were provided at the exmotley collection of young and old, pense of the parish. Among those all more or less in some perverse or about her were the worn-out drudges unhealthy state. Old age in all va- who had toiled as the wives of labourrieties of feeble, fretful imbecility; dis- ers now dead; and the men whose eases of many and hopeless kinds, choicest recollections were of years palsy, deafness, dumbness, blindness, long gone by, when they enjoyed the idiocy; the maimed, the ulcered, the night of poaching and the ale-house bed-ridden, the deformed, the doting; riot. There was the cobbler, disabled orphans, whom love had never ap. by incurable headach, and half-crazed proached; widows, from whom it had by ill-health and fanaticism, whose forever fled away; the broken in for- sense of the woful present was every tune, once rich; the loathsome, once now and then brightened by a tlashing beautiful; the relics, rags, ashes, and dream of a golden and vermilion New garbage of our human life, still in Jerusalem, and by the assurance of his vested with ghastly human semblances, ownimmeasurable spiritual superiority all decayed and worn out; and se to those who required moral conduct of pulchral shadows of what once was a Christian, and who had ever been at man, all stunted, abortive, and despi- school. For he was a self-taught theolosed modes of young existence; all gian, and was even ingenious in his abthese were here ; and each a melan. surdity. Beside him sat the soldier, with choly portion of a hideous whole. The one leg and one arm, whose gayest old and infantile were mixed together, phantasms were of the town he once but the aged received no duteous re- helped to sack, and of unstinted branverence, and the children were re- dy. Children, moping over some heartgarded with no tender watchfulness. cankered attempt at free and happy There was a certain dull tranquillity sport, slunk in corners and made enforced by power; a chill orderly their presence known chiefly by an sufficiency of physical necessaries pro- occasional quarrel and shriek. One vided by routine; a discipline and eco. woman, of seventy, who had apnomy directed to no higher than an peared since ten years old destitute outward end, and animated by no af- of every faculty, but the purely animal fection. The whole was an image of ones, now at last, while the clergyman evil of all kinds, compressed, indeed, was reading a chapter of the Seripand frozen, and benumbed by mere tures, suddenly woke up at the names superficial pressure, leaving only the of Ruth and Naomi, and began to consciousness of unrest and pain, but mutter, in language which she had not ready, had the weight been removed, used for more than half a century, an and the machinery for a moment reaccount of the last gleaning in which - laxed, to burst out in explosions of she had shared as a child with her mother. She died before she could vault of night, a single candle in the be carried into another room. In the largest, deepest mine, is not more midst, however, of this strange and ineffectual. Some, indeed, derived, disordered society, some members of from his soft and delicate ministrait appeared to enjoy all the happiness tions, a purblind sense of something of which their poor mutilated natures like good-will towards them existing were now capable, and some eyes of somewhere ; and even this was a blessthe lighter and more joyous tempera. ing. But he felt himself a wanderer ments twinkled with unquenchable into a region which he did not undergood-humour.

stand, and where he had no hope of In this dreary confusion, where it ever finding a solid resting-place for seemed that Orpheus might have his foot. The butterfly among the sung, and almost that Moses might rocks of Caucasus might as well have have legislated, in vain, the benevo, dreamt of sweeping down before its lence and faith of Musgrave glanced silken wings the crag on which the by and vanished without a trace. Titan groaned in vain, One glow-worm under the coal-black

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Musgrave had twice seen Elizabeth, advantage to you to have such a the daughter of farmer Wilson, in the friend.” first week after her return, and now « Oh! indeed it is so, sir. I think towards the close of the second he sat she has done me more good than any again beside her bed. Maria Lascelles, one I ever knew. She sees so well who was now no longer a visitor at what kind of help I want, and she Sir Charles Harcourt's, but living at always tries to make me feel how real her uncle's house, a good deal further and awful our sins are, and then points off, had found out the dying woman, out how great is the blessing of being and was with her when Musgrave relieved from the burthen of them. entered, but then rose and went away. Oh! she is a good young lady!”. He found the sufferer penitent, re- Musgrave listened with much insigned, and hopeful, and he felt that terest, but thought it right to turn the she comprehended him better than conversation more directly on Elizamost of those whom he conversed beth's own state. He expatiated on with. She had grown rapidly weaker, the happiness of a future life, the and nearer to her end, and he expeet perfect freedom from sorrow and ed her very speedy departure from trial, and the luminous and ethereal the body. She was propped up by kind of existence which is all we can pillows in the bed, and her mother imagine of a perfectly spiritualized sat beside her at the opposite side life in the unclouded presence of God. from the clergyman, and attended to She listened with some pleasure. all her wants. Musgrave had his But, though checked in expressing back to the window, through which herself, as the poor so often are, by the a bright evening light flowed in and fear of differing from their superiors, fell upon her wasted haggard face, she felt in her heart that what she and upon the shrunken hand that lay chiefly wanted was not encouragenear him on the bed-clothes, She ment of this kind, but that which spoke to him of Maria, and said, should strengthen in her the sense of “ That lady is a great blessing to me; present victory even in this life over she reads and talks to me for hours, the pain of actual sinfulness, and the and her visits are like those of a young sharp remembrance of many previous prophetess. She enters strangely into offences. So only she guessed, but all I feel, though she can never have hardly dared to say even to herself, had any thing like it in herself. And could she look forward cheerfully and when I say any thing of this kind to on sure grounds to a better and her, she only answers, that we have nobler existence hereafter. She took all much the same things in our minds the first opportunity which Musgrave's if we would attend to them properly." remarks offered of referring to her

“ It must be a great pleasure and husband, and looked at him while she did so with earnest eyes, and spoke to-day, if you are well enough, and with trembling words. Musgrave we ought not to keep him." had known him, but they had never " Oh, yes, mother, quite well been at all intimate. Her mother enough for that. I shall be very left the room to procure some drink glad." for her, and while she was gone, The mother called in the others of Elizabeth took from under her pillow the family, except James, who was a little packet of papers which she away at work, and they all partook looked at fondly for some seconds, devoutly of the sacred rite. In ad. and then held out to Musgrave, saying, ministering it to Elizabeth, Musgrave “ Take these and read them, they may felt as if it were a meeting in a world be of some use to you, for it is neces. of disembodied spirits. In her a new sary to your work that you should life seemed for a moment awakened, understand the thoughts and hearts of and she looked more intelligent and men. There are things among them lovelier than he had ever seen her. that you will perhaps make out better When the others were departing, she even than I, who so well knew the signed to them not to go, and looked writer. It is very sore for me to steadily at each of their faces. She part with them, now that I am so near then cast a long gaze round the room the last ; but if they can do any good at all the things she knew so well, it is much better so. You will see the cupboard, and the chest of drawthat they are much frayed and stained, ers, and the looking-glass that had so for I have read them over and over, often reflected her girlish face; and and have never had them away from then at the apple-tree seen through my bed. Oh! sir, before he died, he the window, and the bright evening had far better faith and hope than sky beyond. Her eyes turned again you will find written there. Indeed to Musgrave, as if thanking him, and indeed-with all his faults he was reminding him of the papers; and very good, and at the last when he then again fixed on her mother, had suffered so much, and was so closed, opened, and turned once more anxious about me—and our-baby- to the same wrinkled face, over which he was able, he told me, to trust that the tears were now falling. She said, all was, and would be for the best, « Dear mother and father, and all, and and was content to do and suffer James too, if he were here, I wish I whatever might be the will of God. could tell you how I love you all, and But I beg your pardon, sir, for trou- how happy I am in the thought that bling you in this way-only I know you love me, and will learn more and you are very kind, and none of them more to love God." The flush deephere can understand such things as ened over her cheeks_faded-rehe thought of_Oh! no, they never turned-faded. again—and her eyes could. He taught me so much, so grew dim, and her lips white-but many_many things, that I never they still murmured, " I wish I could should have known but for him, and spread my arms and take up the with all my faults, he has made me whole world, and bring them to sce every thing so differently, some. Christ." She ceased to look or speak; how as if it were so much larger and but soon again opened her eyes on brighter than it used to be just as her mother. « Kiss me, mother, I candifferent as the inside of a book full of not speak, but I am quite happy, beautiful writing and pictures is from quite. I am going to my busband, the cover outside of it. Oh! my own and my poor baby, and God who is poor Henry!”

all in all. Good-by, dear friends She now closed her eyes, exhausted good-good-by. I shall never see and in tears. Her mother came back Burntwood again--but"-and she was and said, “ You know, dear, Mr Mus. gone from earth. grave is to give you the sacrament

Chapter VI.

Henry's Papers.

How hard a work is life! The blank solitude. The enthusiasm of system of things which I live in lays youthful hope and belief, kindled in on me certain unceasing tasks, but the awakening consciousness by the gives me no sufficient strength to ful. shapes of Life and Reality, never fil them. The strong zladiator drags finds a future adequate to its demands. me into the arena of struggle that we It but enlarges the heart to hold a call the world, and then and there it larger portion of disappointment. strikes and bruises me, and compels Now that I am a man, I have facul. me to fight, yet with the certainty that ties, indeed, which enable me to discern I must be overcome and die. This the principles of things, and to embody very system awakens in me the feel. these in lively images, and to devise ing that I am fit for something better. lines of extensive action. But my It gives me a sense of peace, which it heart is wearied and saddened by ill will not let me realise. Like a divine success ; I want a field of movement; muse, it sings into my heart a song of and languish without sympathy from mercy and hope, and at the same time, those around me. I have a pupil with the talons of a fury, rends and whom I must teach, but who will strangles me.

hardly learn ; and employers or pa

trons who regard me but as the menial I have been twenty-three years in groom of their favourite and costly this visible world. For seven, partly horse. They would not give a shil. from the foolish affection of others, ling to save the servant's life ; but a partly from their selfish carelessness, hundred pounds to rescue that of the I suffered evils that I did not under- animal. stand, and my gratifications were slight and baseless. Yet, in looking Verily it seems to me that the Life back even on this early part, it wears we know is all a delusion. We somea certain brightness which it never times pierce the covering, and find had in the reality ; pleasures, that were blackness and hollowness within. We trivial in the enjoyment, seem in the are told, indeed, that inside this, in retrospect sublime. Whence, then, turn, there is I know not what treacomes the sublimity? It must be sure—a gem, a light, an eye, a magical from my present self, from the crea- remedy. But may not this, too, be a tive power of my feelings and imagi. delusion? Who knows? I have seen nation. Yet this grandeur, which I a French sugar-plum-box with a picam able to extend over the images of ture of a watch upon the cover, to in. the past, when I would grasp and dicate that there was a watch within ; embody it as an actual good, fades but, on opening it, the watch was and vanishes ; only the Distant shines, found to be of painted and gilt sugar, the Near is pale and gloomy. Thus, all as false as the outward image.' It is we see of beauty and bliss is but the the cry of moralists, and the curse of feast of Tantalus, which melts when our nature, that all fair things seen by we approach in the infernal air. My man turn into clay, and lastly he himboyhood was a time of strong and self. conscious growth. But I had the pains of the process, and never have. The adaptation, so often trumpeted, known the peaceful fruits of it. I of man to the system of nature, is, I then enlarged my knowledge of Na- think, at best but as the relation of a ture and its forms, and increased my line to its parallel. Their very paral. love of them. But that passion, ardent lelism secures that they shall never and tender at the first, and yielding meet. Man works on wheels, but many delightful hopes, has always these will not fit the grooves they seem ended in sorrow. The Nymphs have designed for, and can only move outall in turn shrunk beneath their side of them in the irregular rut which waters and into their caves, and left they have broken for themselves. the enamoured boy to stare at the VOL. XLIV. NO. CCLXXVIII,

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Human life has evidently desires proceed from; and even if they were, that human life can never satisfy they would go to establish a system What is the remedy for this evil ? which, from the inconformity of my Apparently, none is possible. The mind to its principles, leaves me an very terms seem to involve a hopeless outcast or makes me a victim. contradiction. It is indeed said, that faith in God helps us out of the diffi. I cannot recognise myself or my culty, and raises man above himself. experience of life in the Sacred ReBut when I ask my teacher what he cords. When I read them I find mymeans by the Deity, I receive either self travelling in an enchanted region no answer or worse than none. One that has almost nothing in common says, the Creator of all things. But with my accustomed country. There this tells me nothing of the kind of is little in it that joins on to any thing Being who created all. The rat that pre-existent in me. I acknowledge, lurks in the crannies of a castle, and indeed, here a rich and profuse beauty, is hunted and laid wait for daily, learns as in fairy pictures; there, a dreary little to gratify its soul if told that the awful power, as in Druidical or Egyparchitect of the castle formed the rat- tian remains; wonders, again, as unholes no less than the rat-traps, and prepared and incoherent as those of even took pains to stock them with dreams; lastly, gushes of human feel. his progenitors. Another talks to me ing and strains of thought which really of the Life and Ground of all things. seem to belong to the same nature as But this gives me scanty help ; for of mine, but which stand in no close or all things I best know myself. It is, necessary relation to the loftier, stran. therefore, by looking within that I can ger, more oracular portions. I can as find the most intelligible specimen and little enter into the old Hebrew's views example of that all of which I am re- of divine and human things as he, ferred to the Cause and the Vital Prin- could he now revive, would compreciple. From this quarter, then,-name- hend my feelings as to nature, art, and ly, my own consciousness of myself,-I man. His world is, indeed, a land of must derive my view of the character of marvels, many of them lovely and the Primordial Power. Now, it is my many expressive, but all shut up withown consciousness which is sick, suf. in a circuit of huge walls. It seems fering, plague-stricken; and it is from to me the chief of all confounding paits miseries that I am directed to take radoxes that so many millions of men, refuge in that Divine Idea which is in times and modes so different from yet so plainly shown to be itself these, should fancy the grey and thunwounded with the same weapon and dering cloud of that old Eastern Theoinfected by the same poison. It is the cracy can remain built up like a Cy. very malady and desperation of all clopian wall in our freer calmer sky. within me which leads me to seek help from something outward. If that Out- In the family I live in there is no ward be but a repetition of the Inte- one who has the smallest notion that my rior Existence, magnified in the con. opinions differ at all from their own cave mirror of the Universe, all its and from those of the clergyman of distortions and scars, its blood and the parish. There is no one of them tears and steel-spiked crown, are also who could ever be brought to underreflected and enlarged there. If, again, stand the least portion of my views. I am sent to the Bible, I see, indeed, Now if, as I cannot but suppose, there clearly enough that what I will not are many other instances of the same call the Jupiter of that Iliad, but the entire misconception as to the characFate of that high Hebrew Tragedy, ters and thoughts of those we live with would condemn and punish me for not daily, what a world of secret and unbeing other than I am. But how I guessed life must be concealed within shall become other, how be fashioned that which is palpable and commonby that standard, seems to me as vain place! How many hidden-treasure an enquiry as how the flying-fish can chambers, forgotten graves, buried change itself into the dolphin which habitations, and inurned yet beating pursues it, and so find refuge in the hearts, must lie under the soil which waters. Finally, miracles are no evie the feet of busy men hourly and so dence to him who has no clear con. heedlessly travel over! Perhaps the ception of the Being they are said to world would gain were it to unknow

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