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"So I can
except when it proves me | better off than if we had only kept pace with
in the wrong," she replied, with a sly glance, them!
Of course we stopped for a chat. If Mr. Marten had been alone, I think he would have bowed and passed on; but as he was with us, he remained to speak. Ruth's first inquiry was for Agnes.
"But because your descent proves that honesty and industry may prosper apart from mere luck,'" I remarked, "it does not disprove that, in other cases, the will of God may set obstacles between the same qualities and success. Doubtless, if you review your family history, you will remember many instances where the well-being of the Herberts might have been damaged or destroyed, or at least hindered, by one of those commonplace misfortunes which happen every day to somebody. There are the M'Cullums-high-principled people - who were prosperous after the frugal fashion of "Mr. Garrett and I are consulting about their country, and yet, through no fault of some church alterations," said the rector, as their own, they were forced to forego all an apology for declining the invitation. the advantages of old neighbourhood and Well, can't you talk in our parlour?" ancient respectability, and to begin a strugreturned Mr. Herbert. "I guess Mr. Gar-gle for bare existence under new conditions rett can, and I suppose you are not talking in a strange landsecrets, are you?
"She's somewhere in the house," answered her uncle. "If you will step inside, Miss Garrett, I will call her. Gentlemen, will you follow?" he added, with a slight hesitation.
"Oh dear, no," I said, "we shall be very glad to include you all in our consultation; " and with this I stepped up to the gardenpath, and the rector followed in silence.
"There! "exclaimed Mr. Herbert enthusiastically, slapping my shoulder, "that's what I always say! Good blood like good wine needs no blush. It speaks for itself. I knew that Ewen was above the common. He never said so; because he knew if the mettle was in him, it would not need his recommendation. But he did his work, so that he never needed to be told that I was his master. I'm glad the yeoman blood is in him, sir. The best blood in the world. It made Great Britain what she is, sir."
The worthy farmer was evidently in happy ignorance of any difference between the Celtic and Saxon races, and I fear none of us was sufficiently well informed on the subject to care to begin his education in that
"A fine old place, to my mind, ma'am, though it's rough and old-fashioned," said our host, walking beside Ruth, and doing the honours. "But I've a right to say so. I was born in this house, and my father, and his father, and his grandfather, were born here before me. And our family has lived on the spot for two centuries, only the old house was burnt down, and the present one was built in my great-great-grandfather's time. But don't you fancy we belong to the gentry; we're only a good old yeoman stock - there isn't a better in the three nearest particular. counties. And don't you fancy I'm proud "Well, so long as any blood, whether of it. I'm no more proud of it, Mr. Gar-gentle' or simply good,' is never boasted, rett, than you are of your money. You use but quietly proved by deeds, the wildest your fortune to buy up all the hearts in the Radical will scarcely complain," said Mr. village by the kindness you do with it. Marten; "but certainly descent' is oftenThat's your way. So I use my good old est on the lips of those who themselves forEnglish blood; I keep 'em in their place by getit.
Bless you, if I let go that hold over 'em, I haven't got another."
"Wouldn't it be better, sir," I said, “if you used it to show them how successive honest and industrious generations, without any chance helps of fortune, lift their family above the low level of its fellows?"
Mr. Herbert gave his good-humoured, coarse laugh.
"Let them find that out for themselves," said he. "If one does it, that's quite enough. I suppose my ancestor made it out for himself, and I'm glad his neighbours weren't enlightened on the matter. If they had kept pace with us, we should be no
he changes that blessing into a curse," said the rector.
most secular art on earth to adorn the House of God?"
"So he does," observed Mr. Herbert, with "I don't quite agree with you," remarked sudden gravity; "but, to tell you the truth, Ruth. "An escutcheon is a family possesI hate to hear about degenerate families.' sion as much as a purse, and as a man may Let every respectable family be considered pour the one into God's treasury, so he may extinct on the death of its last worthy rep-set up the other in God's temple, purely in the spirit of dedication, -I and my house, we will serve the Lord."
“True enough," responded Mr. Marten;
Certainly not," said Ruth.
"But some people have strange notions of worth," began Mr. Marten, but he was interrupted, for, as our host uttered his last" only I fear that spirit is somewhat scarce. dogma, Agnes joined us, entering the great But, at least, you do not think heraldry apdining-room by one door, as we reached it propriate to a chancel window?" by another. She looked a little scared, just as she had done on my first visit to the Great Farm, and she glanced from one to another as if she wondered what we were talking about. Her entrance broke the conversation, and presently Mr. Marten introduced the subject of our previous discussion - the coloured window of St. Cross.
I say, Mr. Garrett, can't you let well was the farmer's bluff query. Any old thing is better than a new one, I'll engage."
What is Miss Herbert's opinion?" asked the rector.
"I shall be sorry if it be taken away," she answered;" and yet I wish it had never
Others may not be in our case," I replied. "In many churches there are several painted windows. In such our objection to this design does not hold good."
"Ah, I see that," assented Mr. Marten. "Then what shall you have?" asked the farmer. "Your coat-of-arms, eh, Mr. Garrett ?"
"Do you think we shall have to order a window, Mr. Garrett ?" inquired the rector. "I don't think so," I answered. "St. Cross' window is by no means unusually large, and many of the London ecclesiastical warehouses have coloured glasses which can be made to fit it by using wider or narrower borders."
"And who is to survey these warehouses and make the selection?" asked Mr. Marten, rather blankly.
You and I," I replied, laughing. "We will take the trip together."
"O dear," said he, "I wish I could get rid of the responsibility! What device do you think most suitable, Miss Garrett?"
"Well, certainly not two or three thin monks, each in a separate shrine, turning up his eyes, as if that promoted God's glory," returned my practical sister.
Monks, Ruth?" I exclaimed. "I think you mistake. Surely they are intended for apostles?"
"If so, they are libels," she retorted. "Apostles indeed! The apostles were all honest working men, and what reason have we to suppose they were so foolish as to wear pink and blue trailing robes, with embroidered edges?"
"I think some incident from the life of our Saviour would be far better," I remarked.
"Not with the usual treatment," Ruth replied. "There is scarcely one picture taken from our Lord's life which is not a LIE. Can their smooth, pink, feminine faces give any idea of One who wrought hard work, and lived in sun and wind? Are their delicate draperies consistent with the fact that He had not where to lay his head?"
"But I suppose art must have some li"Our family has never troubled the Her-cense in these things," I observed. "You alds' College," I answered, drily, for I was see a painted window must be a thing of rather affronted by his hint of self-glorifica- beauty.' tion.
"I think heraldry out of place in churches," said the rector. "Need we take the
Truth first-and then as much beauty as you like," said Ruth.
"So say I," joined Mr. Herbert, hearti
ly. "But that is not the fashion now-a- | the long room, and closed the shutters of days, madam." the end window with his own hands.
But there are subjects which admit of beautiful form and colour without any clashing with facts," said the rector. "I know a splendid window with emblematical figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity."
"And I'll engage the artist has painted them so that the most worthless women who ever enter the church, are most like them! " answered Ruth.
"I confess I prefer scriptural subjects for church windows," I remarked.
“Certainly, if they are so treated as to convey God's truth," responded my sister; "for then they may be as useful as the ser
Yes, that they do," replied Ruth; "and as they are lessons which Christ set in stories, it does not seem inappropriate that we should set them in pictures. But they are not very common, are they, Edward?
"I have seen them in some city churches, I believe," I answered. "In St. Stephen's, Walbrook, for instance."
Have you any orders, sir?"
"Now, you know all about it, Sarah," replied her bluff master; "only don't be long."
"I think we must say good-night, Ruth," I said, rising.
'No, you shan't," said the farmer in his peremptory way, "there's some ham coming in presently. Sarah will spread supper in a minute, Miss Garrett. She won't keep you waiting. She's an invaluable woman. Been in this house thirty years. Came here as my mother's maid. Found she liked the place, and concluded she would stay. Never was any danger of her sweethearts drinking up the ale in the kitchen. The only trouble she ever made was that she frightened all the men-servants away."
"Well, Mr. Herbert," observed Ruth, "But I don't like any great figures in a with some asperity, "considering what window," said the rector. "One cannot specimens of womankind one sees in the see anything else. If you will recall any bonds of matrimony, nobody can suppose ancient cathedral, you will remember there that any woman is obliged to remain single is nothing obtrusive about its coloured win-on account of any ugliness, or even wickeddows. They warm the light, and rest theness." eye, but they never stare one out of countenance."
"Well, I daresay we could divide the St. Cross window into three parts," I said, " and about the centre of each part place a medallion representing a striking parable, and then fill in the ground with minute and richly-coloured devices."
"And what parables shall you select?" asked Ruth.
"We must choose those which can best be illustrated," I answered. "I fear it would be hard to make the parable of the labourers' tell its own story in a picture."
At this instant, Mrs. Irons, carrying the supper-tray, and followed by a young attendant damsel, entered the room. While the elder servant spread the cloth, the girl arranged five chairs about the table, and Mr. Herbert and his niece took their seats at either end. Mr. Marten chanced to overlook this arrangement, and so drew up his own chair, and as Ruth and I sat down side by side, an empty seat remained between him and Agnes. When he perceived this he pointed to it, and said, laughingly
Look, Miss Herbert, the ghost's seat!" He had scarcely uttered the words before I saw he wished he could recall them. And yet they seemed harmless enough. But Agnes' face quivered, and she glanced nervously at her uncle, while she gave the obnoxious chair a little ineffectual push. Mr. Herbert's face crimsoned, and he threw a fierce glance at the rector; it was only a flash-next instant he turned round on his chair, and shouted in a voice of thunderSarah, come back and take this
"I don't know why we're sitting in the dark," said he; "I'm getting quite sleepy, I think he was about to utter a word begging the company's pardon for saying so. which our presence forbade, and, as he Ah, here comes Mrs. Irons with lights." checked himself in that particular, he also And our worthy host stamped firmly down | paused in his command. He got up, and
himself removed the chair, for Mr. Marten | where I unfortunately offended them. How sat perfectly still, as if afraid that any move- otherwise can I account for the active animent on his part would only make bad mosity of the lady on my right, or the pasworse. Our host had scarcely returned to his seat, when the door opened, and the dry, sour voice inquired
Did you call me, sir?"
Yes, Sarah, I did," he answered, in quite a propitiatory tone; "but I made a mistake. Nothing is wanted, thank you,
sive contempt of the gentleman opposite? Sometimes, during the course of a journey, I contrive to propitiate them, but generally it is not easy. Nevertheless, I always do my best. So, on this occasion, as there was a newspaper in the hands of one of our party, a red-faced, important person-one of those who always suggest the idea of an intimate relationship with our national grandmother in Threadneedle Street-I presently ventured to inquire if there were any important telegrams from a certain foreign country, upon which the whole world was then intently gazing.
"No, sir," he answered, suddenly lowering the crackling sheet, and confounding me with the Gorgon gaze of stony grey eyes: "no, sir, there is not." And then up again went the closely-printed page, and down went my hopes of any reconciliation in that quarter.
Opposite sat a fair damsel of fifty, who seemed uneasy at finding herself the sole representative of her sex. I fear she thought I admired her, for I confess my eyes would wander in her direction, simply because I could not help wondering what she could possibly have been in her girlhood, and what she might eventually become before her career closed. I have heard of a great man, who would not seek an interview with an
HAVING once arrived at the conclusion that we must take a journey to London, Mr. Marten and I were not long in making the necessary arrangements. I wished Ruth to be of the party, but she would not "trouble us," as she called it, and so we were fain to go alone. And we started on the third morning after our visit to the Herberts, with nothing to take charge of except our-early love in her middle age, because he selves and a portmanteau, and two messages and one parcel, sent by Mr. M'Callum and Alice to Ewen.
wished to preserve her youthful memory. I always thought that strange, a sacrifice of feeling to sentiment. But I don't wonder Ruth drove with us to the railway station, at it, if he had learned to associate middleand when I saw her standing on the plat-age with looks like that lady's. I think she form as we were whirled away, it seemed had worn the bloom from her soul by fearalmost a revival of our old parting scene on ing lest it was wearing from her face, and Mallowe Common. But it was a revival her spirits seemed quite exhausted by her with many improvements. vain contest with Time. I cannot think why any should fear his touches, when once they feel them. They may shrink a little beforehand, for unknown change is always sad. As the white marble is fair, so is the smooth young brow; but even as the one is ennobled by the sculptor's chisel, so is the other by the tracings of a good life. There is a beauty of dimples, and a beauty of crows' feet. We may put summer fruit on our winter table, as a surprise and a rarity, but we do not choose it for our Christmas dinner. For all things there is a season, and what is seasonable is best.
The rector had asked, "By which class shall we travel?" And it struck me that he would not have put this question had he not wished to go second-class himself. So I gave him the answer I thought he wanted. And as the day was fine and warm, I found our second-class carriage exceedingly comfortable, and could not help reflecting that such men as Shakespeare and Dante would have esteemed it the height of luxury to travel in a vehicle now despised by many a paltry dandy, who is only kept in the flesh by his father's allowance.
During the earlier part of our journey we As for our third passenger, I can only dehad three fellow-passengers. When I en- scribe him as a pair of checked trousers, ter a train or an omnibus, it often seems to one straw-coloured glove, a black frock me that I must have known my fellow-trav-coat, a little reddish hair, and a low-crowned ellers in some former stage of existence, hat. I never saw more of him. He looked
out of window with the greatest assiduity. judge them, as I fear they do, by the revePerhaps he was shy. Perhaps he had been lations of the Divorce Court. If you take crossed in love. Perhaps he was in trouble. up any commonplace aristocratic fiction, I shall never know. When our train stopped at a certain station he slipped from the carriage. The stout gentleman gave a sonorous cough, got up, threw down his paper-it was the Standard-and also alighted. The lady half rose, and then sat down, and then rose again; but when Mr. Marten, kindly thinking to relieve her uncertainty, repeated the name of the station, she only answered with a freezing glance, and, gathering up a sea of fluffy frills and fringes, hastily quitted the carriage, leaving us alone.
As we moved on again, Mr. Marten pointed to the newspaper, and laughingly remarked
found one or two reviews, and sundry items of political interest, and our discussions over these beguiled our time until the broad horizon narrowed, and knots of trim villas betokened the outskirts of the great city. Then gradually the fields vanished, and soon the newly-planted trees of suburban gardens also disappeared, and the train dashed on its resolute way amid a forest of houses. On and on it went, cutting through the narrow unknown arteries of our giant London, and the houses crowded close upon its path and upon each other, for it was the dreadful East End, where space is valuable -more valuable than life! As we crossed the railway bridges we saw the people swarming like insects in the streets below. Through open windows, staring on the dreary lines, we caught glimpses of sundry household arrangements, patchwork quilts, boiling kettles, and spread tables.
Here every room is a home," I re
"Don't say 'home,'" said Mr. Marten, dismally shaking his head.
"Yes, I will say home,' ,"" I replied, "for more are homes than the reverse. The upper and middle classes are too prone to judge the very poor by what they read in the police reports. They have no reason to complain if, in return, the very poor
you are sure to find the conventional labourer, who gets drunk, beats his wife, and starves his children, and only exists to be converted by the angelic efforts of the young ladies from the Hall. And if you buy any of the badly-printed penny serials sold in the streets beneath us, you will be equally sure to find the conventional nobleman, whose mansion is a very charnel house, and who deceives and seduces every girl he sees, until he is finally induced to abandon his wickedness that he may deserve the hand of some peerless village damsel, whose virtue has resisted force and fraud alike. Now, one picture is as true as the other, or rather as false. I readily grant that in real life there are more illconducted labourers than wicked lords, because there are more labourers than noblemen. But unfortunately each class judges the other by the bad specimens, which, like all evil weeds, come into undue prominence."
"I did not make my remark in any depreciation of the poor," observed the rector; "only it seems to me that to keep one's mind pure and healthy and heavenward amid influences such as these, must be so hard as to be nearly impossible."
Mr. Marten," I said, "the modern school of sentimental philanthropists appear to forget that when Christ gave his opinion on the subject, He said, 'How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!' Do not think I deny that this wretchedness is an evil, but I believe it does more harm to the soul of the rich man who allows it to be endured, than to the soul of the poor man who must endure it."
Just then the train stopped; it was not yet the terminus, but only a little eastern station, where many of the third-class passengers alighted. Close behind the parapet rose a tall old house. Its wide, low garret window overlooked the end of the platform. At this window stood a young woman trimming a laurel in a red pot. She was a pretty girl in a coarse linsey dress. Presently a young railway guard came down the platform whistling, and when he saw her he laughed and nodded, and then stopped, leaning over the parapet. They could easily exchange a few words, but they had to raise their voices a little, and so I could hear what they said.
"Don't forget this evening, Maggie," said he. "No, indeed," said she. Shall you get away in time, Tom?"