Citation
Parables from nature

Material Information

Title:
Parables from nature
Series Title:
[Gatty's parables]
Creator:
Gatty, Alfred, 1809-1873
Bell and Daldy ( Publisher )
R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Bell and Daldy
Manufacturer:
R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
173, [2] p., [4] leaves of plates : ill. ; 13 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcshac )
Nature -- Juvenile fiction ( lcshac )
Children -- Juvenile fiction ( lcshac )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1871 ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1871 ( rbgenr )
Parables -- 1871 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1871
Genre:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
Parables ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

Summary:
A series of short stories about children and nature containing Christian moral and doctrinal lessons.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mrs. Alfred Gatty.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
002230222 ( ALEPH )
ALH0570 ( NOTIS )
47913223 ( OCLC )

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Full Text



















































































































































.2p





'ne Baldwin Ubraq
U-i-sity
MBFI-f
















Xp
I'/





















PARABLES FRONT NATURE.

FIFTH SERIES.



















(i

-2, :/

---4;"


1ere goes! houted-the stone as he left the hand of the scoolboy and cleftthe air.
Consequences. pa-e 3


,::c~ :i:"







PARABLES FROM NATURE.



FIFTH SERIES.







BY

MRS. ALFRED GATTY,
AUTHOR OF "AUNT JUDY'S TALES," ETC.








LONDON:

BELL AND DALDY,

YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
M. DCCC. LXXI.


[Thle right of Translation is reserved.l































LONDON.'
it.'CLAY, SONS, AND TAYLOR, PRINTERS,

BREAD STREET HILL.













CONTENTS.



PAGE
CONSEQUENCES . . . THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER OF TIE CAUSE. 7 GHOSTS . . . . . 45 A VISION .5.57 "THESE THREE " . . 75

UNOPENED PARCELS . . 93 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. . . 149 SEE-SAW . . . . 167

















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

DRAWN BY J. H. E.




PAG19
"THESE THREE . . . . .75 UNOPENED PARCELS . . .93 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE . 149

SEE-SAW . . o . 167



















CONSEQUENCES.















CONSEQUENCES.



"Behold, how great a matter a little fire kille16.
Jaiee6 iii*. 5.

"HERE goes !" shouted the stone as he left the hand of the school-boy and cleft the air. And " There an end! " he added, as he splashed through the water to the bottom of the pond.
But though he stuck fast in the mud himself when he got there, that was by no means the end of the affair.
At the spot where he dropped in, some 'of the water was displaced by the shock, and driven back in a circular undulation or wave; and this -formed a beautiful ring-like pattern on the smooth surface of the pond.
And the first wave pressed the water behind it into a second, and there camera second circle, 3 B2







4 CONSEQUENCES

little bigger than the first;- and this caused another, and this another, and so on, after the manner of waves; till half the pond was moving and marked over with circles, which got wider and w-,der, but feebler and flatter, the further they spread.
Now it was evening, and the sun was setting in ruby and gold ; and each circle of water, as it formed itself, caught the glow on its edge, and was tipped with colour and light ; and the school-boy stood on the bank looking at it all. The first circles glittered most, perhaps, because their edges were, highest and sharpest ; but the further ones rolled over like molten ore, till, as they' stretched :out feebler and flatter, the gleams seemed to die 'out gradually altogether, and the pond became pale a-nd smooth, and the boy had seen all that Was to be seen.
Then he too shouted " There an end! and ran away.
But though the boy could see no mor .e, and had gone home, that was not the end of the matter either.





CONSEQUENCES. 5

When the driven-back water formed the first circle on the pond, it did something else as well: it pressed against the air above it-; and the air gave way. And the second circle did the same, and so the next, and so the next ; till the air was full of pressure-circles, whether morW eyes could distinguish them or not. And the pressure went backwards and backwards, up into ether, till, for anything I know to the contrary, it went right round the world.
If you are wiser, however, and can say where it stopped, you may shout "There an end!" yourself ; and there N ll be an end to my story as well.
Otherwise, perhaps not. A child can throw a pebble into the water, but the wisest man cannot say where the waves it sets in motion shall be stilled. It is a light matter to fling off actions and words into the world, but a hard one to kno vv where their influence shall cease to act.



















THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER

OF THE CAUSK










THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER

OF THE CAUSE.



"Be ye sure that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath mnsde
us, and not we ourselves. " 1seama e. 3.

"DECIDEDLY dead, gentlemen V"
Such was Dr. Earwig's verdict upon the body of a fine young moth which had been found prostrate and motionless at the foot of an orchis plant in full flower. And Dr. Earwig was a professor, and knew what he was about-had, moreover, walked to and fro over the moth's body-touched it with his feelers, nipped it with his pincers-and it had not twitched once. Besides it was stiff and cold. The professor was shy by nature, but learning gives confidence, and he spoke his mind boldly when be spoke it at all.








10 TILE CLUSE AND THE CAUSER.
"Decidedly dead, gentlemen ! has been dead, in fact, for hours."
" So far, so good !" remarked the sitting magistrate of the occasion-a splendidly band-marked snail, whose horns were extended to their uttermost as he watched Dr. Earwig from the shelter of a hart's-tongue fern. He was there with a party of bumble-bee barristers overhead, bent on discovering what could have happened to reduce so fine a moth to such a condition in the prime of youth; and moreover, who was answerable for it
--there being some little consolation under misfortune in finding fault even if you camot punish.
"You have cleared the case up to this point very satisfactorily, sir," he continued. " Now we must trouble you a little further, if you please. Be so good as to examine into the cause of the death. Can't be a natural one, you know, doctor, at deceased's age and surrounded with food. So keep your eyes open and your feelers alive. I shall be out again by the time you've finished. I wish to think a little just now."
It is a golden maxim with snails that the les s






THE CAUSE AND THlE CAUSER. 1


you see the more you think So the sitting
magistrate of the occasion drew 'in his horns, and retired into his shell.


It was one of those very hot days of the early year which occasionally take all nature by surprise. On the southern side of the grassy slope which led up to the ruined castle overlooking the sea, the sunshine lay in an unbroken sheet of light. The north-eastern bank was steeper and had more shadows. Gorse and bramble-bushes and ferns and primroses and orchis plants greW there, and it was there the inquiry on the dead moth's body was being held.
Humanly speaking, indeed, not a sound broke the stillness of the summer air, save the lazy plashing of waves on the sand at the foot of the cliff, or the cawing or twittering of a passing bird. But this humanly speaking only. Human ears, whatever human beings may think of them, take in but a few octaves of the great gamut of the universe. To all below and above these, they are


I I





12 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.
insensible, and hence often -speak of, silence when the silence exists only for themselves.
Had a score of men, women, or children been wandering over the castle bank that day, do you think any one of them would have heard Dr. Earwig's remarks or the sitting magistrate's reply I fancy not.
I % %
Meanwhile Dr. Earwig betook himself to his work., and, to do him justice, performed it conscientiously. He ran up and down and round and round the dead moth's body a dozen times, to, see what he could see--touched it in every corner, pinched it all over, but no injury could he find. He examined the wings very carefully, but there was no flaw in them. The feather scales were not rubbed off ; the membrane was not torn; its nervures were unbroken. The legs, too, were as sound as legs could be.
At last-" Halloo ! " cried the professor with a shout. He was in front of the creature's bead, and suddenly discovered that its proboscis, instead of being curled up neatly in the proper place, was






MHE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 1


lying half untwisted on the grass. He had drawn his feelers along, it, but came against something which stopped the way.
The shout was excusable, as surprise had startled him, but it brought the sitting magistrate's thinking nap to a sudden en41. He appeared at the door of his shell, and inquired if Dr. Earwigs had discovered anything worth disturbing him for, so soon?
Dr. Earwig thought he had. He had at any rate discovered an all-suficient cause of death, whether deceased had died of it or not. He had fonnd a foreign body-several foreign bodies, in fact, attached to the creature's proboscis; and, so loaded, a proboscis could scarcely enter-much less comfortably dip into-the delicate flowerpouches for food. Sooner or later, therefore, its owner must-starve!
"Dreadful !" shuddered the. sitting magistrate, with difficulty resisting the impulse to shut himself up and think. " But our friend shall niot die unavenged ! Professor, who is to blame? "
The professor replied they had not reached that


13






14 THE CAUSE AXD THE CAUSER.

part of the subject yet. In order to do so they must ascertain what the foreign bodies attached to the proboscis were, and where they came from.
" Try to use simple language for the benefit of our unlearned ears," exposti4ated Sir Helix (that was the sitting magistrate's family name). " What do you mean here by a foreign body, for instance, doctor ? I own to not knowing myself, and I doubt if my bumble-bee brothers are better informed on the point than I am."
The bumbles protested they were not.
" And if by attached you mean stuck fast," continued Sir Helix, "why not say so ?" The sitting magistrate was getting impatient.
"1Excuse me, gentlemen," replied Dr. Earwig, with a wriggle of fun; " we should get on very badly in the world without professional terms, I assure you!1 By a 'foreign body' I mean a lump Of something or other which does not naturally belong to the person or place where it is found.
But that takes a long time to say, you observe, tand if it came to be repeated would both confuse and delay what one had to explain."





THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.


15


11 There's sense in that," interposed the sitting niagistrate, " and I give way accordingly. Brother Bumbles, we will call what the professor has found an the moth's proboscis foreign bodies, if you please. You're sure they're not a disease by-thew , Y, professor ? "
" Can't be, Sir Helix, can't be, 2 stammered Dr Earwig, hastily (it was only when flurried he called the sitting magistrate by his family name). " Never met with such a case in all my experience.))
"Call the widow 1 " said Sir Helix, authoritatively, and a couple of bumbles immediately fetched her, from the top of an orchis spike, whence she was - watching proceedings. Be so good
madam, as to observe the foreign bodies on your deceased husband's proboscis. M friend Dr. Earwig will point them out to you." Which Dr. Earwig did as soon as he could persuade the poor lady to flutter over the corpse and look.
" Has your husband been suffering from these long?" That was the way the sitting magistrate put the inquiry.






16 THE CAUSE ATMD THE CAUSER.

The' widow was indignant. Did the sitting magistrate or the bumbling barristers or Dr. Earwig mean to insinuate that her poor dear husband had grown those nasty things? They were very much mistaken if they thought so! His proboscis was as clean and polished at twilight of the previous day, when they flew out together, aswell, as one of the sitting magistrate's horns when fresh from its socket. Of that she was certain. But being cross- questioned by the bland professor,, who had a remarkable knack of insinuating himself into corners and confidence, she admitted that she had once or twice before seen one of those nasty things(Foreign bodies !"interposed Sir Helix, with a chuckle.
"Nasty things," persistedl the widow.)-on her husband's proboscis ; but they had always got rubbed off after a time. " Besides," added she, with a toss of her head, " other creatures can pick them up too. For instance, there was one on the head of one of the bumbling barristers who came to fetch me just now."






17


THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.


This announcement caused general confusion. The sitting magistrate himself was for once excited, and gave orders to " catch the bumble with the foreign body on his head," in rather an impetuous tone. The rush and buzzing were immense, Every one protested with all his might that there was no foreigD body on his head, a few almost ready to assert tbay had no heads for foreign bodies ,to be on ; and all whirled about, looking at each other's faces in angry disturbance. At last a party of them laid hold of a stranger fresh from an orchis flower, on whom, as he flew past, they noticed something, and when they had secured him, the something proved to be it. They led him at once to where the sitting magistrate sat, and placed him on the ground, where he lay
buzzing dismally, while they compared his foreign body with the foreign bodies on the moth's proboscis, and discovered they were exactly alike. I
" Do you feel nothing, my poor friend?" asked Sir Helix, almost tenderly, for he had a heaft as well as a shell.






18 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.

" Nothing," hummed the bumble, in the most subdued of voices.
" Have you no notion 'where you picked up this most extraordinary thing?" (Sir Helix was eyeing it from the tips of both horns as he spoke.) "Try to think, brother," he added, persuasively, " where you have been this morning. Into some dirty Shed among cobwebs and old baskets? Into some stick heap or thatched roof ? Eli? The thing looks like a twig of wood with a bud at the end of it, only I never saw one so small."
Nhe had done nothing but fly about sipping his breakfast in the usual places; except, indeed, that stupid visit he had paid the orchis flower. Why he went there he scarcely knew, they were such useless things.
" Professor !"interrupted Sir Helix, with a shout as if he had made a sudden discovery-" are there foreign bodies in orchis flowers ? Reflect upon it, they had both been in'them !" After s~aying which, and without waiting for an answer, hie drew up his horns and retired into his shell once mno-re.






THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.


19


Now no one present knew anything of the inside of orchis flowers (one does not notice everything one sees, you know), but as they were aware Sir Helix would expect an answer when be came out of his thinking nap, they felt they must exert themselves. The difficulty was that after what had happened every one was shy of going into an orchis flower at all. No one wanted a foFeign body on his own bead!
" Suppose we begin," suggested the professor, by examining what the foreign body really is. If we find that out, we can perhaps, decide where it comes from, without dangerous personal experi, ments."
The proposal was received with acclaTtnatjon, and the afflicted bumble pressed forward eagerly, anxious to have his foreign body removed for the experiment. But this was more easily talked of than done. Even Dr. Earwig's surgical skill in twitching, pinching, and pulling failed. The foreign body resisted his efforts. Attached does c 2






20 THE CAUSE AND THE1 CAUSER.

maean stuck fast in this case I think, professor," chuckled a bumble who was trying to help.
" And very much attached too," giggled the professor in reply. Just then, however, he gained his point. By dint of leverage he succeeded in raising the thing from the bumble's head ;-at the expense of a few hairs to the bumble, it must be owned, to say nothing of the nervous shock consequent upon all operations. The poor fellow bounced grumbling into the air, while the professor and half a dozen bumbles rolled the foreign body about to discover what it was, if possible.
It was about the length of one joint of a bee's leg, and was in appearance like a miniature ogre's club or policeman's life-preserver, only the knob part was as long as the stalk. And the stalk seemed to come out of a tiny ball which was covered with something as sticky as glue. Hence whatever it touched it fastened. itself to, and very fast indeed. What could it be?
" If one only lived in a shell now," remarked another bumble with a humorous hum, " this would be just the moment for reti-ring inside to -- "





TIE CAUSE AND THE CAUSE.


"Atchew !" A sneeze from the professor
drowned the last word.
"It must be that horrible flower-dust in those horrible packets-atchew !" sneezed the professor.
"It certainly is the horrible flower-dust in those horrible packets-atchew !" sneezed the assistant bumble in echo.
"What packets? What flower-dust ?" asked the solemn voice of Sir Helix, whom the sneezing had disturbed once more.
"The knob of the foreign body, Sir Helix," explained Dr. Earwig. "It turns out to be a mass of flower-dust packets. I was poking at them too close and snuffed up some of the nasty flowerdust, you know-p-ah !"
"But I don't know-how should I ?" responded the sitting magistrate.
"Ah ! that is because you do not visit the flowers as you do the leaves," observed the assistant bumble. "If you went among them as we do, you would soon see plenty of flower-dust - generally loose on the top of stalks where you can shake it off as you go by--not done up in stupid little packets


21






22 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.

like these. Our cousins the hive-bees, who flnd out pretty nearly everything, have a tradition that no flower-seeds can grow without it, and I believe them. Certainly it commonly falls on some sticky surface or stalk just over where the, seeds lie. Why there's flower-dust enough in a single white lily to colour you bright yellow from. horns to shell, Sir Helix ! If you'll come up into one with me some day I will show you."
" I had rather take the fact on trust from my learned brother," rejoined the sitting magistrate. " Meantime, while I am thinking the matter over, surely you gentlemen who are so constantly inside the flowers will not have much difficulty in finding, out which of them grows these (as you say) unusual flower-dust bundles. Adieu! Buzz into my shell when you can answer my question."
He was gone, and the assistant bumble, a little disconcerted at the result of his interference, began to call for the professor to tell them what to do next. But the professor was gone too

People talk of the courage of the lion, but me.






23


THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.


thinks it is easy to be courageous when you know you can eat your enemy up. Commend me to the courage of a shy being who dares an experiment in the face of an indefinite risk!
The professor had wearied of so much talking and the bandying backwards and forwards of small witticisms. It's the bumble's vocation," thought he to himself, " and I suppose they must practise for it, but it brings one no nearer the mark, and that's where I want to ' be. I go in for discovery and honour. Perhaps that's a professor's vocation."
Perhaps it is. Certainly it was a great moment for Dr. Earwig, when, in piirsu ' ance of his determination to " do and dare," he ran up the spike of an orchis plant and wriggled himself on to the tongue-like lip of one of the flowers, in. order to peep inside. The tiny chamber was dark enough at first, but by degrees he could discern objects, and perceived in front of him, but quite above his head, a roundish protuberance or shelf overhanging the entrance to the throat-like flower-pouch (called iiectaxy), in which insects find their food. And upon this shelf (how the professor's heart glowed





24 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.
at the sight!) stood. two shapes side by side, evidently foreign bodies, but partially concealed by membranous covers. And. they were evidently not "foreign bodies" here, but formed part and. parcel - of the flower. The seer.et-where foreign bodies came from -was out then, but how bad the bumble and the moth got at them-that was the difficulty. Had the things given themselves or been taken away? The professor was guilty
of wishing the flower would. turn into an insect and tell him the truth about it. For you must know the flowers speak in too low a whisper for even insects to hear them, so the two worlds do not communicate. Dr. Earwig could only wish and wonder, therefore, for he was not daring enough to climb up and. touch the shapes himself, when suddenly he became aware of a flutter of wings, and had only just time to squeeze on one side when a gay young butterfly lighted on the flower-lip where he had been but a second before; uncoiled and dipped her delicate proboscis into the nectary-paused awhile, then drew it up and, flew away. Dr. Earwig scuttled back to his






THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 2


post at once and took another peep---but all'was as before. The shapes stood still in th~o same place. They bad neither given themselves nor been taken away-there was no fresh light on the subject. What was to be done? The professor began to face the idea that he must examine them himself. Suppose he laid hold of one with his pincers, for instance ?-In that case it could not, at any rate, fastens itself on Ihis head !-Just then, however, there was another fanning of the air, announcing another visitor. Another butterfly was in search of food, another proboscis plunged into the nectary.
Was the creature larger or more active than the last ? Had its proboscis more strength, or did it uncoil wi*th more heedless violence? Who shall s-ay? Certain it is that in the process it struck upwards against the round protuberance ; there was a jar and crack in the delicate machinery, and out came a foreign body with its sticky ball.
The professor had seen part of the process and surmised the rest. lie would make sure, however. When the butterfly was about to fly off, therefore,


25






26 THE CAUSE AND TE CAUSER.

she found Dr. Earwig in the way, who, under pretence of apologizing for his accidental presence there, took the opportunity of eyeing her proboscis very carefully. And there assuredly was the foreign hody exactly like those he had seen before
-only not in the same position. Those on the 1, ee and the moth had lain in a very nearly horizontal line-this stood as nearly upright. Stop hough ! it was upright when he first looked at it, but now moment hy moment it was lowering itself. "It's falling, off! Attached does not mean stuck fast in this case," thought the professor to hiimself. But no ! it only went on lowering till it lay in an almost horizontal line like the others. Then it stopped.
"Allow re, Madam, cried iDr. Earwigr in sheer desperation. "kA little something has fallen on your proboscis, I think," and he whisked a feeler against the foreign hody as he spoke. He might as well. have whisked it against a rock.
~You see double this morning I fear, doctor" smiled the butterfly. "My proboscis has only dipped into a few nectaries of these charmingr





THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 2 "s

orchids. Nothing can have dropped on it froin them. A bright day to you and clear eyes ! "
" She does not know she has taken it then)" mused the professor, "so she, is not to blame, pretty creature The flowers have much to answer for in loading her if they know what they are about. Ab. well ! I must look into the matter a little further." Saying which he went on to visit several other flowers of the spike, but observed nothing new in them, until at last he came to one where was a different state of things indeed! The shelf on which the foreign bodies usually stood was there, but no foreign bodies were upon it. Dr. Earwig grew bold in consequence. He would take a " good look round," he thought, and did so, peeping into the dark entrance of the nectary, though he did not venture down, being uncertain what he might find at the bottoni. Pat in gazing across the opening he perceived that the back wall
-that below the protuberance-had a sticky surface like those on which flower-dust is commonly shed;. and what was that in one corner-a patch of flower-dust ? was it possible? how could it have






28 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.


got there ? It was impossible the flower should have dusted itself.
At this moment there was another flutter of wings, and, slipping into the nectary backwards (his only chance), the professor saw the entrance of his old friend the butterfly, with the foreign body on her proboscis. This she at once uncoiled, and in doing so the knob of the foreign body hit the sticky surface of the wall, several flower-dust packets came off, and the wall received several fresh patches in consequence.
"Do you know-" shouted Dr. Earwig, greatly excited. But the butterfly had at the same instant become aware of a really " foreign body " in the nectary-Dr. Earwig himself, namely; and without stopping to answer questions she drew up her proboscis and was gone.

An hour afterwards the whole bumble company were buzzing outside the sitting magistrate's shell.
"Well?" he asked from within.
"I have come back," answered theprofessor, who stood by awaiting the reawakening of his friend.






THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 2


" I hear by your voice that you bring news, doctor. Say on. I can listen as I am," said Sir Helix, coming to the door. And the following dialogue passed between them.
D,., Earwig. " There are foreign bodies in orchis 'flowers, Sir Helix. They are part of the flower. They hold the flower-dust."
Sir Helix. " What business have the insects to take them away then? People must expect to come to grief who meddle with what does not belong to them."
Dr. Earwig. "But they don't take them; at least they don't know that they do."
Sir -Helix. ""You refine, doctor, 'You refine. They must either take them or let them alone."
Dr. Earwig. " No, it is drawing too straight lines to say so. They visit orchis flowers for food, and sometimes as they dive into a nectary a foreign body drops on their proboscis or head. You can't call that their taking it, can you ?"
Sir -Helix. " Is it the flower's doing then ?"
Dr. Earwig. "They cannot be said to do it either. The fact is, it happens. The entrance to


29






30 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.
the nectary is very narrow in one place. It is partially, blocked up by an overhanging protuberance on which the foreign bodies kaild. A probosci's is very apt to hit it in dropping into the nectary. And when it is hit, some delicate machinery is disturbed and cracked, and lets - the sticky balls of one if not both foreign bodies touch whatever is below: the proboscis in the case of a moth ; the head in the case of a bee. If I were to touch it with my pincers the foreign bodies would adhere to them."
Sir -Helix. "How badly the flower must be constructed doctor; we shall find the fault there, I believe."
Dr. Earwig. " Excuse my repeating 'No' so often. But I must say it here. The flower is a masterpiece of ingenious contrivance."
Sir Helix. "Is dropping. the flower-dust receptacle which it wants- for itself upon the heads of insects who don't want it and can make no use of it a proof thereof, eb, doctor?"
Dr. Earwig. " Well really, yes. The insects don't want it for themselves certainly, but they






THE CAUSE AND TEE CAUSER. 3


can and do use it for others. The flower-dust receptacles are so far off the sticky surface which requires dusting, that the flower cannot dust itself as other flowers do. Hence the seed would come to nothing anid. the race die out but for-what do you think ?"
Sir Helix. " I am not fairly in miy shell. and do not choose to think."
Dr. Earwig. " Well then-but for these extraordinary accidents of insects carrying away the flower-dust. Away they go afterwards into other flowers--the foreign body knob foremost, you understand, so that it strikes the sticky surface which happens to lie just in its way at the entrance of the nectary. Whereupon off come one or two flower-dust packets and the deed is done! The sticky surface is scattered over with dust, the seeds vivify, the race goes on!"
Sir Helix. " And the insect gets no credit for what it has done ?U'
Dr. Earwig. " It has earned none. It was helping itself to food in both cases-nothing more."
Sir -Hlelix. "The flower then?"


31






32 THlE CAUSE AND THE CAL SER.

Dr. Earwig. " Has done nothing intentionally. Cannot help the blow of the proboscis- cannot know what the insect will do with the flower-dust when it goes away. The races do not communicate."
Sir Helix. " You call all these cases 'extraordinary accidents'? "
Dr. Earwig. " Careless language, Sir Helix. I only profess to have collected the facts. It is for you and our learned friends to draw conclusions."
Here ended the evidence. It now remained for the bumhlingr barristers to give their opinions, and the sitting magistrate to pronounce judgment.
~ il. ie *
By this time the day was wearing fast to sunset, and a rich glow was stealing into the air and tinting the old walls of the ruined castle on the cliff. Out at sea the sails were heginsning to be

.darken'd in the west
And rosed in the east;

and even in the discussions which followed the





THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 3


consideration of the evidence, the gentler hour brought a gentler tone into the buzz of the argument.
Still the Bumbles had their opinions, and bumbled freely what they thought. Bumble major, for instance, was an " accidentalist," and smiled with benign contempt at the fuss everybody was making about a few common-place facts. As to attempting to explain everything that existed or happened, he wished any one patience and a long life who attempted it. He found so many things puzzling and contradictory, that he had come to the conclusion that everything happened by accident, and might have happened five hundred other ways if it had so happened it had. Consequently, it was a mere waste of time to theorize about facts, as if any sort of body or being had either the credit or the blame of causing them. Chance had caiised them-it caused everything. With this simple solution in his mind it had amused him much-in spite of the sad occasion which had brought them together-(here the widow sighed audibly)-to observe the tendency everybody seemed to have to discover something beyond


33






34 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.

what was discoverable-some causer of causes, or rather of accidents. Why, the notion was laughable-was a contradiction in itself.
Bumble minor, on the other hand, was a "'naturalistic." He insisted that nature, modified by circumstances, did everything, and accounted for everything. He called it race-experience. By race-experience, flowers, liable to be injured by rain, closed against rain ; and insects sought food in flowers. By race-experience the sitting magistrate shrank into his shell from danger, or when he needed repose of body or mind. By race-experecalso, no doubt, everything had happened which Dr. Earwig had observed. He did not see how, exactly (Bumble minor was candour itself); but that was no matter, he was sure of the theory. By race-experience everything which had existence did the best it could for itself. Race-experience was therefore that causer of causes whose rvery existence the accidentalists denied. There was only one thing it could not account for, and that was the strangely illogical opinion held by his learned brother, Bumble major.





THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.


35


Such was the substance of some very long speeches which were made on the occasion, but which it is unnecessary to give in detail. Bumble major wound up by proposing a verdict of " Accidental death " on the poor moth. Bumble minor suggested, " Died from natural causes," as the more correct way of putting it; and the learned brothers were beginning to argue the point rather quarrelsomely, when the sitting magistrate came fully out of his shell, looked every one into silence, and began- -%
" It is a maxim with us snails, gentlemen, as you know, that the less you see, the more you think ; but I have found to-day that the converse of the statement is equally true-that the more you think, the less you see ; that is, the more you think, the more you find out how little you are able to see. When we met this morning to consider our poor friend's case, I believed that all we needed for ascertaining, not only the cause of his death, but who was answerable for it, was an accurate knowledge of facts; but here we are this evening with all thefacts before us, so little. wiser





36 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.

than when we started, that two of my learned brothers are ready to fight for two quite opposite opinions, and I myself hold a third. The truth is, facts do not always explain themselves, but sometimes let in just light enough to show us we are in darkness. . . Yes! I hear your dissentient -murmurs at this, but the evidence has been placed before. you-judge for yourselves. We know now that the moth died from an overcharge of foreign bodies on its proboscis; that foreign bodies fall on insects who seek food in orchis flowers, whenever they hit a particular place in a particular way, which very often happens; that, passing thence to other orchis flowers, the foreign body hits them. in another place, thereby scattering dust upon them, which fertilizes the seeds below; that but for this process the orchis race must have died out with its first flowers, since orchis flowers cannot dust themselves. And that yet, nevertheless, neither insect nor flower is conscious of doing anything in the matter; that as far as they are concerned the whole process each time it happens is an accident. Such are the facts of the case, and,






THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 37

indeed, of more than this particular case, for they open up the much larger inquiry, Who is answerable for this ingenious scheme for preserving the orchis race from perishing, to which this one particular moth has fallen a victim? Who is answerable, gentlemen ? who is answerable ? Our friend Bumble major says, I No one,' -because everything that happens, happens by accident. But if a process perpetually repeated, and perpetually working -out the same means by the same end, is to be called an accident, how are we ever to distinguish accidents from things done on purpose-planned and arranged beforehand, as I venture to pronounce this exquisite scheme to be ? "
At this point of his speech Sir Helix paused, and great disturbance arose. Bumble major expressed his contempt for the magistrate's conviction, in no measured tones, and parties in favour of the different views began to collect in groups.
Meanwhile Dr. Earwig was whispering further information to Sir Helix, who, when he had heard it out, lifted himself up and silenced the din by telling the Bumbles, be had not yet finished his






38 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSED.

speech, and they must on no account begin to fight till he had. He then continued"But Bumible maj or's is not the only explanation of these difficult facts before us. Bumble minor has another and a far more ingenious one. He holds that everything in the world has a tendency, whether conscious or not, to work out its own good. He calls it race-experience, and thinks it accounts for all that either insect or flowers can do ; and of the existence and importance of such a power there can be no doubt. But Bumble minor is honest ; he does not pretend to tell us how the race-experience of a flower can make it acquainted, with the habits of an insect; only, being confident of his theory, he is sure it will explain everything somehow. Gentlemen, let us face this matter, then, for ourselves. How can a moth's raceexperience ever make it advantageous to him to carry about foreign bodies on his proboscis ? He may be unconscious of the presence of one or two perhaps, but the presence of many insures his death, as we have seen to-day, and the presence of several must be at any rate incon-





THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 3


venient. An advantage to the moth they cana never, he, except that, hy assisting to perpetuate the race of orchids, he is assisting to perpetuate the supply of food for himself and future generations. But such a calculation as this im-nplies foresight, not race-experience ; and I doubt if Bumble minor himself attributes foresight to the moths of his acquaintance.
" Then as to the flower: it is not an agent at aill. Whether it lets down the foreign body on the insect or not, depends upon whether the insect hits it sufficiently or not. It has no choice in the matter. But supposing it had, and could let the foreign body down at will, what amount of raceexperience can teach it that it is for its advantage to do so ?To know this the flower also must be gifted with foresight, and a race-experience besides its own, for it must anticipate what the insect is likely to do. And will even Bumble minor assert this of any flower?
"This is not all, however. There is one part of the process which our friend the professor has just communicated to me which introduces a quite


39





40 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER,
iiew feature into the case. The foreign body as dropped by the flower, and as received by the insect, would be of no use whatever could
actually never hit the sticky surface where it is wanted, but would knock against other places where the flower-dust would be wasted if scattered, and do no good. To effect its purpose in the world, it must change its position, and from being nearly upright it must lower itself to a particular slope, in which posture, and which only, it will on entering another flower strike the appointed spot. This extraordinary movement on the part of the foreign body the acute professor witnessed with his own eyes, ascertaining, also, that when once the requisite position was gained, the foreign body resisted all further efforts at displacement. What think you of this, gentlemen? Who is answerable? again I ask. The insect, the flower, or-shall. we say-the foreign body itself ? For-who knows, my friends ?-perhaps among my bumbling brothers some Dumble minimum may be found who will tell us foreign bodies also are gifted with race-experience, foresight, and a knowledge






T HE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.


41


of the race-experieDce of other races besides their own
Jesting apart, it is for you to judge whether accident, as Bumble major would say, or the separate race-experience of either flower or insect, as Bumble minor holds, or of the foreign body itself, is accountable for the marvellous facts we have been considering ; or whether, as I venture to assert" (here Sir Helix lifted his head off the ground as if he would fain creep upwards by the air), " the- whole interesting, most complex process does -not force us upon faith in the contriving intelligence of some agent beyond either insect or flower in power, and acquainted equally with the race-experience of both."
A tumult of mingled dissent and assent here interrupted the sitting magistrate's speech ; and it was only after a considerable time, and amidst much lingering disturbance, he got a hearing again.
" Gentlemen, I have heard but too plainly the ridicule cast upon me for asserting my belief in a power I cannot see, and 'of which I know little 7 but that (judging by what it accomplishes) it






42 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.
MUST have existence. So irresistible, however,
appears to me the evidence for this, that I will tell you another of my convictions. It is only a false pride which prevents your acknowledging it as I do. You refuse to be baffled. You roam the air and think you must compass all things. I retire into my shell and discover that we do but see in part and do well to admit it. , The creed may be humiliating, but what do your leaders offer instead ? Explanations far more incredible, because contradictory to reason and unworthy of faith :-just consider them-eitber a constantly recurring series of accidents constantly working to one end, or races of beings which never communicate, immemorially endowed with foresiorht into each other's race-experience No ! I have never been bard of faith, but on such irrational dogmas as these I must remain a sceptic for ever.
I pronounce the verdict, then, on our lamented friend, I Died from an accidental overcharge of foreign bodies? I grant thus much to my learned friend Bumble major, and if you like to add,






43


THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER.


C acquired in 'a natural search after food,' Bumble major is welcome to the admission. In the larger matter opened by this inquiry, you must each judge for himself. I have done so. Henceforth I live and die and think in the faith of the Great Unknown Intelligence who planned what I call, as Dr. Earwig did the flower, a masterpiece of ingenious contrivance, the scheme for the fertilization of orchids."

0 years that come and go, you have left the ruined castle and the cliffs still standing. Sunshine lights up the same bank-tbe same races of orchids flourish. Let the strollers on the grassy slope move softly, or perchance sit down and sleep. Then in a vision they may chance to hear the Bumbles still arguing the old questions, and observe the snail under the hart's-tongue fern still confident in his faith, the professor sure of his facts by the side. Let no one disturb either, for I say to all who would do so, You have nothing but darkness to offer them in exchange for their light.



















GHOSTS.
















GHOSTS.



9C It is easier and safer, and more pleasant, to live in obedience,
than to be at our own disposing."-JERmY TAYOR.

TIIERE was nobody in the room; for, though it was the night of the yearly ball, the company had just gone down to supper. The walls were beautifully decorated from top to bottom. Bright pink calico, in alternate plain and plaited stripes, formed a-soft covering over the dark flock paper; and bunches of artificial flowers held up festoons of the same material here and there. White muslin curtains hung gracefully round the mirrored shutters, and made the long side wall look like one sheet of glass, interrupted only by drooping




48


GHOSTS.


drapery-folds. Not a corner was left uncovered. The very floor was carpeted with holland. Nothing could be more satisfactory, from the glass chandelier whose tinted wax-lights threw a mellow 'illumination over the whole, down to the polished fire-irons, which caught the reflection and sent it out again in a thousand fantastic gleams.
And the fire in the shining grate grew hotter and hotter, for the servants had piled up coals upon wood, and wood upon coals, and left them to burn as they pleased. The air, too, being clear and frosty (for it was winter-time), the draught which swept through the large empty space from the opened window at the farther end was just of the kind to produce a blaze. " Flare up ! " it seemed to be saying to the fire. And the fire flared accordingly, till the flames ran right round the wooden logs, so that they crackled -and spit, and sent 'out sparks, which went up with the general roar of the burning into the dark, black chimney.
You have heard the fire roar often enough, I dare say, dear reacler; but have you ever wondered








why it roared ? That is by no means so certain. Would you like to know why it roars, however, now ? I suspect you would; so stoop down, and. I will whisper you a secret. There are ghosts in it!
Nay, do not be frightened-only, as there are ghosts in the fire, and very powerful ones too, you need not be surprised that it cannot be trifled with, nor that it is always struggling to have~ its own way, and makes a good deal of noise inl the world. Moreover, our particular fire was less manageable than usual onl that particular night; because it had grown so huge, the ghosts were quite uproarious,-a-nd then the draught from the window was so irritating!
For, to whisper another secret-there are ghosts In the air, too, and the rascals enjoy nothing more than to lash up a small fire till it becomes a big one, and has consumed all before it; after which the ghosts go off' together.,
Now, across the front of the splendid grate hung a brass crinoline guard. That was to prevent the fire-ghosts from. laying hold of the young ladies'


GHOSTS.


49





0


GHOSTS.


dresses as they whirled by in the waltz, and might otherwise have whisked their gossamer skirts against the bars. One touch was enough; no need to. wait for a second. Those fire-ghosts are keen as Indians after their prey; when once they lay hold, they won't let go ; and woe betide the young ladies then!
So the brass guard was hung across the grate, and did all it could to keep the fire within bounds. That was its business also. It had not only to keep the young ladies' dresses off the bars, but to prevent even. the least scrap of burning coal or wood from bursting out and getting into the room
-a dignified employment enough for the guard, but a mortifying restraint to a rollicking fire.
" Why dont you get rid of the fellow?" puffed the Draught. " Here is an opportunity of a thousand for a frolic, and you axe letting it slip hour after hour. I should scorn to be controlled without an effort ! "
11 Blow him aside yourself, if you can," roared the Fire. "Do you think I like a gaoler better than you do ?






GHOSTS. 51
"It is your business, not mine," whistled the Draught. I can take care of myself."
But he only said this because he felt his puffing to be in -vain, and did not care to own his inefficiency. The hook which held up the crinoline guard on one of the sides at any rate was quite firm, and he had no power against it.
" But I am not at liberty as you are," expostulated the Fire. t
" More shame for you!" whistled the Draugbt. What have you got powers for, if you can't use them V
But I can't," bellowed the Fire.
Because you truckle to other people's convenience, and let yourself be controlled," persisted the Draught.
"Be controlled repeated a musical echo from.,
above. " It is safest and pleasantest-look at us!" It was the wax-light ghosts in the chandelier that spoke. As fire, you know, they bad their ghosts like other people ; only these were well-regulated ghosts, who lived happy under guidance, and never tried to set up for rulers.
E 2








But their soft remark passed unnoticed. Their friends below were too hot and noisy to hear anybody but themselves. Besides, the Draught was talking all the time.
"The powers I possess are mine to use," cried he, in a sort of fine indignation. "It is a natural right, and as such I claim it."
" And I too-I too," moaned the Fire. "'It's a natural right, and I claim it-only--" Only you can't get it acknowledged," jeered the Draught.
" That's it I " shrieked the Fire.
" Then make it felt by main force," hissed the Draught. "Assert it as others do. Did any one ' control' the crowds who were here just now, think you ? Didn't they fling about, and swing hither and thither just as they pleased-ay, and enjoy their liberty right in the face of-let me speak the truth for once-you, their slave ?"
"I am slave to no one," burst out the Fire, more fiercely than ever. "A workman I may be, but no slave!I"
" Use your powers to the full, and I will believe


r I Q
tJ AW


GHOSTS.





GHOSTS.


53


you," shouted the Draug.,ht. "Frolic with-me now round the room ; you have the right, if you have the power. But to stick in that narrow grateyou, who might rule the world; to stick in that narrow grate-merely to do good to others
" Do good to others," echoed the ghosts from above. " There is no other security for yourself." They were such conservative ghosts, you see, and bad such peculiar ideas about freedom! But, as before, no one listened, for the D-raught was still talking.
"It's a disgrace to your nature," was the concluding remark ; and it lashed the poor Fire into a frenzy.
The heat of the room, too, was becoming insufferable, and everything seemed bursting. The woodwork had much ado not to warp; the metals felt ready to melt, and the glass mirrors to crack when, lo! there came a crash and a dull blow on the ground. A charred log had given way, and fallen against a lump of coal which was but lightly balanced on the upper bar of the grate. A gust from the window had helped them as they came in





64 GHOSTS.

collision, and sent them spinning against the crinoline guard. It was the side where the hook was not fast., and it gave way, and -the burning fuel came floundering on the floor.
The floor? Yes! but it was covered with holland, and. this the fire-ghosts laid hold of at once : ran along it like a stream, devouring it as they went. Then up, up, up, among the stripes and folds of pink calico, making mouthfuls of the flower festoons wherever they found them; swinging here, flying out there, just as the crowds of dancers had . done before, wherever they pleased.
And so on and on round the room, till nothing was left of the white muslin curtains but a few light ashes, which eddying draughts carried up to the ceiling. At last the fire-ghosts had danced
-over everything, and the mild little wax-lights had inelted away in grief.
Now at last I have asserted my rights," said the Fire; " now at last I am using my powers fully and for myself ; now comes my turn to be master "








He never was more mistaken ! The Smoke had
-aid from the first he would tell tales, but nobodly believed him. He meant what he said, however, stole quietly downstairs, made his way into the supper-room, and told everybody there, as plain as any words could have spoken it, that the ball-room. was on fire.
There was a terrible commotion, as you may suppose. All the guests jumped up from their chairs, and wore rushing for to see what was to be seen. But some sensible man stopped the ladies, and kept them quiet downstairs. The fire-ghosts would have had them all otherwise. Meanwhile barrels of water from the pond were being poured upon the flames. And if the fire and air ghosts had been noisy before, what do you think happened now, when water-ghosts joined in the mdelee? Well, hissing was added to roaring ; for between fire and water the struggle is always deadly, and no quarter is given ; one or other must perish.
What beame~ of the~ Fire, then, do you ask? The Water got the better and put him out; so, instead of his being master, there was an end of


55


GHOSTS.





56 GHOSTS.
him altogether. Let us write his epitaph ; it is all that remains for us to do.
He claimed a natural right to the unrestrained use of his natural powers-had his way-and perished in consequence." It will fit a good many graves besides his.
As to what became of the ghosts, I dare not venture to say. But if you don't like to call them ghosts, call them elementary principles, ind8compoundable substances-'gases, even, if you please., The name is not very important, in the matter. And be patient if some old grandmother tells you this -is nonsense-that fire and air are elements ; that is, simple substances made up of nothing but themselves ; so ihat all I have said about ghosts being in them is simply impossible. She speaks as she was taught in the days of her youth; so be patient with the good old soul; but do not limit your ideas of possibility by an old grandmother's limited means of judging. The ghosts are there, though her strongest spectacles will not enable her to see them.


















A VISION.
















A VISION.



In time of service seal up both thine eies,
And senid then to thine heart."
The Church-Perch.
ITwas a lovely spring morning; lovely beyond .the power of description, in one 'of the undisturbed, Countrified, southern counties of England. So beautiful indeed, that the sense of enjoyment produced was disturbing from its very excess. One wanted' to do something-go some where-spread out wings, as it were, and get away into the length and breadth of the land, to take in the wonders of nature to a wider extent, and more fully, than any single horizon-bound spot could admit of.
But it was Sunday, and even a common "outing" to the nearest lionizing place in the neighbourhood







was out of the question. Not for worlds would 1 have dared to miss the offering of prayer and praise in God's appointed House on such a day as this !I, one of the world's " High Priests " (as George Herbert calls mankind), appointed to send up in intelligent language the adoration which is ever struggling in so many imperfect utterances in the lower creation around us. No! such a dereliction of duty would have turned the blue heaven into brass over my head, and soured my spirit for the day-even on such a day as this. No! I must go to church, if I did nothing else, on that sweet, serene, fragrant spring morning. " All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father Everlasting." I would not willingly exclude myself.
But there was a choice. There was the little old whitewashed building, of just sufficient size for the few inhabitants of the quiet village in which I was just then resident ; and there was, within a walk, though a longish one, the large church in the watering-place on the coast, beautifully restored from. its once-dilapidated state by the rich congrregation which frequented it


60


A VISION.






A VISION.


61


I was not in the habit of wandering on frivolous pretences-believing, as I did, that God's grace works sometimes by very imperfect means, and that we are not always the best choosers for ourselves ; but on this particular Sunday, I could not resist the restlessness which was upon me. Here was something to do which I was justified in doing, even on that day. It was not like deserting my own parish church at home, either. I might go where I pleased in this land where I did but sojourn as a stranger. Moreover, I had driven more than once along the pretty lanes that led from the village to the watering-place, and had observed the little pathway which went to it across the fields. I remembered too, that only a short time before, I bad seen budding almond-trees in villa gardens outside the town. They were not common in my own country, and they must all be out in flower now, I thought ; and this decided me. I would go and see them that very day.
Breakfasting early therefore, I set out, Prayerbook in hand, along the pleasant pathway through the fields; but being beforehand with time, I did






62


A VISION.


but saunter at first ; and presently, having ascended from a narrow dell to the top of a grassy hill from which the blue sea-line was visible, I sat down on a stile to enjoy the view before me.
Birds were carolling over my head, the fresh odours of the young, morning were brought to me by the breeze, white sails speckled the distant blue, while between me and it rose the tops of churches and houses in the watering-place on the shore. I was soon aware too of the tinkling of church bells in more than one direction.
I got up and gathered a few primroses in the hedge-row, found a violet or two, then sat down on the grass under an eastward-blown oak. Watched a lark as he rose higher and higher into ether, carrying his song with him up to heaven, till, first, my eye ceased to see him and then my ear to hear. After which, though my sight was half blinded, I arose and went on.
Down over other pleasant meadows, till a cross pathway diverged 'Into a lane which led to the villa outskirts; and this I followed. I had wanted to see the almond-trees in their beauty, and was






63


A VISION.


not disappointed. There they stood-the clear pink of their full-blown flowers looking deeper than it really was, because seen in relief against the white houses near which they grew. They were even lovelier than I had expected ; yet it was not till, as I moved, my eye caught them with the cloudless blue sky behind them, that I took in the full measure of their delicate splend.our. Few sights are more beautiful ; that pink and that blue
-the flowers of earth and the depths of heavenlying so softly against each other, as it seems to those who look up at them ; so near and yet so distant : so curiously unbending, yet the contrast so harmonious, that one might dream them created to set off each other's beauty I stood gazing till I feared to cause remark.
Gazing, and thinking of the exquisite yet calm loveliness of inanimate creation. Thinking of it as the one straight bright pathway, opening up everywhere from. earth to the very throne of God Himself. On all sides limitless beauty, through all the beauty limitless power. Limitless on the one hand by a vastness our minds are too con-






64


A VISION.


traced to grasp ; on the other by a minute perfection our senses are too coarse to follow.
Wonderful, thought I to myself, that there should be any one living who can look on these things and not admire ; or admiring, rest in admiration, and not go on to adore! " All Thy works praise Thee, 0 Lord, and Thy Saints give thanks unto Thee."
But by this time the bells were ringing loudly in my ears, and I hurried on. Yet with a desperate sigh ; for I had not ceased to think. And now as I walked forward I went on thinking still. Thinking with pain of the contrast between that inanimate creation and the animate life of which I was conscious in myself.
Perfection there--such imperfection here ! Peace in the one-discord in the other ; and this not in my individual case only, but in that of all the animate nature of the world : the discord greater and more difficult of solution (in the musical sense of restoration to harmony) the higher the scale of life: in the human race most difficult of all! But for the written word of Revelation, in fact, there






65


A VISION.


would. be no relief to the darkness around us; no key to the mystery of such contrasts. The calm of the natural world, so soothing now as confirminu the announcement of God's tender mercy, would then but mock us in our deficiency, adding. confusion to confusion. Thanks be to God, then, for the anchor by which we hold through the storm. "The Holy Church throughout all the world cloth acknowledge Thee." Redeemer as well as Maker, Comforter as well as Redeemer !
Now, whether I had not thoroughly kno-v -n, or in iny hurry had accidentally missed, the way to the restored church, I cannot say : but I have a recollection of -getting confused among the streets, of making several inquiries of people who did not seem to comprehend me (perhaps because in my fear of being too late I gave them too little time to answer) ; and, finally, of coming, by a sharp turn of the street, suddenly and unexpectedly upon the porch.
I stepped hastily in, and had almost entered the building itself under the disagreeable impression that the service must have begun, but at the inner








door was met by a verger in a flowing black gown, ornamented with velvet tags : his grey hair arranged in curls like a wig round his head, and a staff of office in his hand.
There are times when the brain can take in strongly but one idea at once, and such was my case now. I was just conscious of a feeling of surprise at sight of the old-fashioned churchservitor; but the sensation ,was hazy, and I paid no attention to it. The man's keen investigating look, too, as I encountered him, merely caused me to follow him obediently when he mnarshalled me to the strangers' quarter in'the church : which he did, as soon as he had discovered by his scrutiny that I did not bl dong to the usual congregation.
It was not till I had risen from my knees, after the customary prayer, that I discovered I had made two mistakes. First, this was not the church I had meant to come to. Secondly, so far from being too late, I was evidently much too early; very few people having as yet taken their. seats, and the -monotonous chiming of the bell still continuing.


66


A VISION.








Looking round, 1, found myself behind the read ing-desk, and nearly facing a transept ; but by a turn of the head I could take in almost the whole length of the church, as it stretched away from the chancel to the western entrance : its long line of pillars and arches apparently descending as they retreated one beyond another, while the woodwork of the pews seemed running upward to meet them, in that far-off -visionary point where all perspective lines converge.
But oh that woodwork! those dreadful pewlines ! how they grated on my feelings ! how they disturbed my temper ! 1, fresh from the beautiful harmonies of the outer world ! 1, as a student of Nature, so keenly alive to such influences! It was a disappointment with aggravation too, for I had intended to worship that day in an aesthetically restored church: a church where, among other returns to the more refined style and better taste of our forefathers, carved oaken finials headed the d iv isions of the open sittings, and brought modern woodwork into accordance with the ancient architecture of the building.


A VISITON.


67








But here, where I had so unluckily come by accident, the arches and pillars, though scarcely less venerable than those others, were disfigured by "1daubings " of " untempered mortar," and overlaid with memorial tablets of every shape and size, dlisturbi ng the uniformity of the perspective, and leading the mind away to earthly memories ; while the hideous straight lines of conventicle -like pews with their buttoned-np doors, seemed fixed there as if in mfockery of the ecclesiastical character which had so clearly once belonged to the edifice
I had made a vexatious mistake, and felt fretted; besides dreading still more the character of the services and singing in store ;when Suddenly it occurred to me that I was a free agent, and need not stay! Who constrained me? Accordingly, I raised myself half -up, and laid my hand gently on the outside button that held the pew-door, 'with a view to slipping quietly out ; but just at that moment my friend, the verger, came sweeping by, conducting a family party to some other pew. As he passed he glanced at my arm, then at my face, and our eyes met. This was enough. I withdrew


68


A VISION.





A VISION.


69


my hand instinctively, and sat down again, irritated by the detection, and flushed by something like shame. And then my mind drifted into a train of self-inquiry and reproach, as so often happens when one is excited and tired. And vexed at being where I was, yet vexed with myself for being vexed, I had a sensation of being doubly in the wrong.
Who and what was I, to take umbrage about trifles in a house hallowed to the service of God; one, too, where generations had worshipped Him in the faith of His dear Son long ages before I was born? The very monuments which had just off-ended me, now reproached me by their Christian acknowledgment ' s. For were they not records of those who had from time to time departed to their rest in the faith ! The place had been good enough for them then; and where did I expect to be in the great Hereafter, that it was not good enough for me ?
il too, to be so Very particular ; to set myself up above my fellows 'tl ose congregations already laid to sleep, as well as that now pouring into the








building on every side !I, who so lately, under .the almond-trees, had mourned over the disturbance, disorder, and unsatisfactoriness, not only of human life in general, but of my own inward life in particular, as compared with the absolute perfection-let inquiry be pushed to its uttermost limits -of the inanimate world ! I, who had to own to a whole body of sin, warring with, and bringing into confusions, a nlature intended for better things: and even when honestly warred against in return, with difficulty and imperfectly overcome. I-this I-to scandalize the congregatilon-hundreds of them, beyond a doubt, a thousand times better than myself-by leaving the church as if nut worthy of my worship!
I bowed my head in repentance for such a thought, and crouched in one corner of the ugly old-fashioned pew, thankful that it hid me from sight. And then I fell into one of those trances which sometimes take possession of men's minds. As has been known to happen to drowning or otherwise dying persons, my whole lifetime passed in review before me, in what seemed to me then


70


A VISION.







its full details. Yes! even more vividly than under the almond-trees, pressed upon me the sense of my unworthiness as a human being born to an immortal destiny, gifted with immortal capabilities ; and then for a moment or two of excited thought, which at the time seemed an age in duration, I suffered, as I suppose those suffer, who, in the first moment of disembodiment, discover they have lost their own souls, whether' or no they have gained the whole world.
It was a terrible fancy; and I shrank lower and lower as it pressed on me-when, all at once, a voice broke on my ear, and rang along the length of the church-loud, distinct, intelligible" When the wicked man turneth away from the wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is h4wfql and right, he shall save his soul alive."
In an instant I had sprung to my feet and opened my Prayer-book-and there, in black and white. stood the blessed words before my eyes.
"4When the wicked man " (and no limit as to time. It might be earlier or it might be later, so


A VISION.


71





72 A VISION.

that it be) " turneth away from the wickedness that he hath committed" (and no reservation as to amount), " he shall save his soul alive." (Amen0 God- dear-mierciful-om-nipotent !)
There needed no more. The painful delusion was over. It had passed like a cloud. I drew a long, heavy breath of freedom as I stood gazing at the words. I had been shivering a minute before, but now the warm moisture broke over me like a restoration to life.
Thus this brief trite sentence, so often heard without emotion, had come charged to me now with the salvation of a world. How was this, or how was it I had not so felt it before ?
The answer was easy. In my vision of suffering I had realized that need of my nature to which -this declaration was the answer. The burden of sin had been felt ; and what wonder that my soul leapt at the promise of relief, as I listened to the concluding words of the Exhortation! Here was the call ; here the explanation of this gathering of ourselves together-of the directions how rightly to use the blessing : and for once I






A VIS10N.


7 3


was prepared to obey. And when I sank on my knees for confession, a nd the wholesome rain of tears overflowed my cheeks, still, even amidst the choked utterances of each acknowledgment. my spirit "rejoiced in God my Saviour."
True, indeed, the mystery with which I started remained a mystery still-the perfection of the lower, the perversion of the higher natures. But those who have recognized with keenness their personal responsibility for some, at any rate, of the evil which exists, care but little to theorize about its origin. What the soul yearns for then is a remedy, and, God be praised, that is never wanting wherever the Gospel of the Redeemer is known.
Under this thought the contrasts which had seemed so painful before, ceased to, distress me. As I returned, I looked at the almond-trees and the blue sky, and read in the perfection of the lower nature the assurance that God wills the perfection of the higher, while the consciousness of present evil was absorbed in the joy of the mercy by which it is remedied.
If I went to church that morning with less






74


A VISION.


worthy feelings, - the providence of God had reproved me through my own reflections ; and often since in the sanctuary of prayer and praise I have restrained wandering thoughts and impertinent criticisms by recalling the feelings of that day,, and my just self-condemnation. In the
heartfelt attention which ever followed this effort, hearing, as all honest Christians must do-yea, through all the imperfections of human utterances
-the Voice of God, speaking to them from the words of that simple yet majestic Service, to which no one, I believe, ever listened earnestly, intelligently, and hunibly, without bringing away a blessing.

















"THESE THREK "


























































So the poor good fols- were not quite IopgoLutn.
These three.Page 3'


~ ~"


--~--- m
--li
f
r^~ 1

-4,h
I C














" THESE THREE."


Tf we, God's conscious creatures, knew
But half your faith in our decay,
We should not tremble as we do
When summoned clay to clay. "-Mortal tty.
By the Author of "John HaZifax, Gentleman."

"By your leave," whispered the Moss ; but so gently as to disturb nobody-" by your leave
It was beginning to creep up an old broken red flower-pot, which stood on a rickety tea-box turned topsy-turvy under a shed. The broken flower-pot did not object, of course. Indeed, if it had had a heart to answer at all, it would have said, 11 By all means, " and perhaps, " Thanks." As it was it
stood still and said nothing, and the moss went on creeping.





78 "THESE THREE."


It had been in honour once, that poor old, broken-down flower-pot. It had stood in a handsome green. stand in a drawig-room window, and people had come up to it and said, " How beautiful! !" But that was a long time ago, and because it held in 'side a lovely yellow rose in full flower, and the " How beautiful ! " was meant for the rose.
Still, next to being admired oneself, comes having something to do with those who are, especially if one can be of use to them ; and the flower-pot was as proud of supporting the tea-rose in its bosom as a flower-pot can be of anything.
Well, either the gardener was careless as well as Old, or else the severe winter alone was to blame ; hut certainly one day the yellow rose died, and the old lady of the house (everybody was old about the place) said to the servants, " Take it away at once ; I cannot bear the sight of it !I"
So they carried it out of the room, and the gardener wheeled it down to the shed in the corner of the paddock, and set it upright on the tea-box to wait till he could " attend to it," as he said.
Now the shed was almost as old as the people


78





(C THESE THREE. )I


79


about the place ; quite as old, in fact, in proportion. The thatch was full of broken-in holes on ,.one side, and within was loaded with cobwebs ; .but as it had nothing to protect but rubbish, that mattered but little. Its contents, besides the yellow rose, were the cracked tea-box, some fragments of hampers, a mouldy piece of matting, one or two worm-eaten beams of wood, and here and there potsherds a-nd dried earth. Now and then, indeed, the gardener would slip in a few flowerpots in which tulips, crocuses, or other bulbs bad died down, to wait till. he could " attend to them," as he said of the rose. As he always said, in fact; meaning that he intended, some day, to empty them, stow away the bulbs, and put in fresh soil, and plants fit for the season. But that day of being 4 attended to" seldom came. Atanyratethe pots were generally broken, and the bulbs decayed or lost before it arrived, which was nobody's fault, of course ; only an unfortunate accident. I And this was what happened to the yellow rosepot. Days and months went on (I do not care to say how many), and at last it got a blow on its






80 THESE THREE."Y


side-nobody knew how-and out tumbled a large three-cornered piece upon the tea-box. Then followed a handful of earth; then the whole rosetree, stem and root. And there they all lay together till the soil turned white as dust. Only the broken flower-pot stood upright as before.
For how long, do you ask ? Let us measure time by events ? It stood till the moss on the wall at the upper end of the paddock had scattered its seed-dust so many years that it had reached the farther end where the shed was, got into it, climbed over the worm-eaten beams, up the side of the tea-box, just over the Chinese sign vouching for the fine flavour of the leaves within, and so up till it touched the broken flower-pot itself, and made the deferential remark, " By your leave."
It had said so all along its journey, poor little dear !-for the kindest creatures always -are the most modest-but there was no need for apology mxnywhere.
" I'm sure you're welcome," smiled the old Wall; and he might well be pleased. The moss had filled up his worn crevices, covered his roughnesses,


80





Cc THESE THREE. ))


81


and tightened his- loose mortar. He could stand his ground now twice as well as before.
" You make me young again," blushed the worm-eaten Beam (beinor wood, you know, he must needs blush green).
" This - was just the tint of my, fine-fla-voured leaves! " sighed the Tea-box to himself, though he could not have had a very good eye for colour to have said so. "' I wonder what the thing i's ! "
He wouldn1 ask., you see, because he came from the Celestial empire, and declined intercourse with his inferiors.
So the moss was welcome everywhere, even to those who would not acknowledge it; even to the flower-pot, though it said nothing. It was troubled with a sort of " As you please " feeling, -.that was the fact. Indifference as to what any one could do, or that could possibly happen henceforth for ever.
Meanwhile the days rolled after each other as before, and the moss reached the broken side of the pot.
44 This is bad indeed," it whispered; but crept on steadily all the same, stealing over the sharp,





ccTHESE THREE. )P


82


irregular edges, till it had hidden them under its soft green velvet cover. " Never mind ; the wound can be healed," it kept saying as it spread.
And it said well. The spring-time came and the moss grew greener than ever where it spread, but there was enough red flower-pot left. to form a beautiful contrast. It stood upright now with as warm a heart as before. Somebody was caring for it. This was almost' better than carrying the y ellow rose in its bosom. Something nearer, dearer to itself.
"You will not leave me, I hopeI" it said.
"Not of my own accord, ever," answered the Moss.
"I am not so bright always as now, you know, but never mind; spring always returns."
Even when spring was there, however, the gardener took no notice of either of them, which was perhaps lucky, as he might otherwise have " attended" to them too much.
-The old lady of the house noticed them though, as she was strolling one day arm-in-arm with her old husba-lid, the rector, along the garden walk






cc THESE THREE. 1


83


outside the paddock. But then she had come out with her " distance " spectacles on.
" What's that in the shed' yonder, looking so bright and pretty, my dear?" asked she.
"In the shed, Mary? There can be nothing!" was his decisive reply.
There must be something, John,,or I shouldn't see it," persisted she.
" We will go and look then, my love," said he, gently.
For whether he had been a patient man all his life one can-not say, but he had grown into it now.
So the old couple toddled through the gate to the shed, and be stepped aside and peeped in.
It's only a bit of fresh moss covering up a broken flower-pot, love," remarked he. It's
young, and it's bright, and it shines."
49 1 see, said the wife ; and they stood still and looked together.
" What a contrast to the old rubbish round it I murmured the old man. " Life in death, as it
were. Let us go home, dear 1
So they went.
G 2






C4 "THESE THREE."1


By and by came another along the garden walk, and she saw it too. She was a bird of passage at the rectory, the old folks' granddaughter.
" It's perfect ! " cried she, clapping her hands when she had rushed through the gate to see what was to be seen in the shed.
And it certainly was the most striking bit of stilll life " she had ever seen since her master had ,set her to colour such things. In general, you know, people have to make a picturesque disorder for themselves. They must fetch a pan from the kitchen, a broken jar from. the scullery, a torn napkin from the linen closet, and a stained hat from the garden scarecrow, and arrange them as carelessly as they can. But here there was a group ready made ; she had only to fetch her paper and sketch it down-which she did. The shadow at the back of the shed threw out the teabox and flow-er-pot in bold relief, and the sunshine tipped the moss with an emerald fire. It was so in the scene, and she put it so on the paper. It was beautiful.
"Very beautiful !" exclaimed the grandmother


.84






6b THESE THREE. ))


85


when she, saw it: "Life in death, dear, as you said," she added, handing it to her husband. That should be written underneath." " But there will soon be nothing but life," laughed the girl. "The moss has come all the way down the field, and is hard at work in the shed-covering up all the miserable old rubbish; you untidy old grandfather, for leaving it there!"
"Write 'Charity' underneath, then," cried he, turning his face to her with a gentle smile.
" I shall write both," murmured the girl, for something had touched her feelings. So she
took out a pencil and wrote "Life in Death. CHARITY." But she printed the last word in capitals.

"By your leave," whispered the Moss again. This time it was creeping from the moist edge of the lawn on to the terrace walk iu front of the house. " By your leave."
And nobody objected; only the old Gravel kept groaning to himself, I have such memories! Ah me ! such memories !






86


CC THESE THREE. ))


"I will guard them and keep them fresh," whispered the Moss; and crept in among the old stony memories. till nobody would have known them again.
Had t he old lady of the house been about with eyes to see indeed, she would have called to the gardener, and bidden him scrape the moss off the walk, lest some one should fall; she bad -done so often enough before, of late years. One can't allow sentiment everywhere, you know. But nobody interfered now. The old lady was sick, and so was her old husband the rector, and the sound of footsteps had ceased along the old terrace walk. Alas ! the memories it groaned under told a very different tale. Heaps of little feet, as well as the parents', had pattered on it once, and the moss had kept its place in the grass. And when the little feet grew bigger, and trod it oftener and firmer still, the moss still held back. Then by and by they dropped off-one pair after anothertill the old people's steps sounded alone on the gravel, and the walk must be scraped from time to time or it would have been overgrown and slip-




Full Text

PAGE 1

112 UNOPENED PARCELS. all the different sorts of learning and information we are trying to pack into its chambers while memory is young and vigorous, are by no means so many modes of torture devised for the particular annoyance of children, but, on.the contrary, so many 'unopened parcels,' the contents of which will one day be the delight of their possessors, however little they may believe this till the time comes when the strings are untied. When that will be in any particular case no one can tell, as no one can foresee the circumstances of .his future life. Some of the parcels may not be wanted for years-others never-some directly-almost as soon as stowed away. French verbs, geography, history-every one of these horrors may be wanted and called out in turn: and all that parents can do is to get as many such valuable parcels stowed away in a child's brain as the child can be persuaded to admit. Ah, Honor some the children are apt to think most useless and uninteresting of all, because most difficult of comprehension, may one day prove to them the greatest treasures of all -fountains of living waters,' continued my



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The Baldwin Library f Unierait Rm(B f Rm Rmo~ds





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134 UNOPENED PARCELS. and striking the table a heavy blow as I spoke, 'you are guilty of a heinous sin.' "' What in the world do you mean he asked; but at last he was looking up. "L I mean that it is downright sin not to be thankful to God for having been able to lead the life you have done for years past; restraining yourself, and setting an example the value of which will never be known to you till the day of judgment.' .. "I broke down here, for I thought of the help it had been to myself. My dear friend !' exclaimed he,-and then he broke down too. I had prevailed. "And now, Honor," resumed my father, "if you were to guess for a hundred years, you could never guess what this trouble of my hero's was. It was no laughing matter, and yet I know you will smile when I tell you that he had when a child deceived his family by pretending to see ghosts, and had never undeceived them up to that moment." Oh, but why?" was my natural exclamation.



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56 GHOSTS. him altogether. Let us write his epitaph; it is all that remains for us to do. "He claimed a natural right to the unrestrained use of his natural "powers-had his way-and perished in consequence." It will fit a good many graves besides his. As to what became of the ghosts, I dare not venture to say. But if you don't like to call them ghosts, call them elementary principles, indecompoundable substances-gases, even, if you please. The name is not very important, in the matter. And be patient if some old grandmother tells you this is nonsense-that fire and air are elements; that is, simple substances made up of nothing but themselves ; so that all I have said about ghosts being in them is simply impossible. She speaks as she was taught in the days of her youth; so be patient with the good old soul; but do not limit your ideas of possibility by an old grandmother's limited means of judging. The ghosts are there, though her strongest spectacles will not enable her to see them.



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER OF THE CAUSE. "Be ye sure that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves."-Plsaha c. 3. DECIDEDLY dead, gentlemen !" Such was Dr. Earwig's verdict upon the body of a fine young moth which had been found prostrate and motionless at the foot of an orchis plant in full flower. And Dr. Earwig was a professor, and knew what he was about-had, moreover, walked to and fro over the moth's body-touched it with his feelers, nipped it with his pincers-and it had not twitched once. Besides it was stiff and cold. The professor was shy by nature, but learning gives confidence, and he spoke his mind boldly when he spoke it at all.



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I2 GHOSTS. But their soft remark passed unnoticed. Their friends below were too hot and noisy to hear anybody but themselves. Besides, the Draught was talking all the time. "The powers I possess are mine to use," cried he, in a sort of fine indignation. "It is a natural right, and as such I claim it." "And I too-I too," moaned the Fire. It's a natural right, and I claim it-only-" Only you can't get it acknowledged," jeered the Draught. That's it!" shrieked the Fire. Then make it felt by main force," hissed the Draught. Assert it as others do. Did any one 'control' the crowds who were here just now, think you? Didn't they fling about, and swing hither and thither just as they pleased-ay, and enjoy their liberty right in the face of-let me speak the truth for once-you, their slave ?" I am slave to no one," burst out the Fire, more fiercely than ever. "A workman I may be, but no slave !" "Use your powers to the full, and I will believe



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118 UNOPENED PARCELS. My father smiled. "If that puzzles you, Honor, bring me a walnut. We had some at dessert." I did so, and, after splitting it neatly in two, he showed me the tiny pear-shaped germ lying in a tiny hollow between the two halves at the lower end. "If I were to tell you that every time yod eat a common walnut you eat a wal'nut-tree complete, you would laugh at me, I suppose, Honor ; and yet you eat what might have been a walnut-tree, had you not interfered. Yes there in that tiny germ are all the specific walnut-tree materials, wanting nothing to bring their life into activity, but common earth, common water, common air, and common sunshine-things, all of them, so common that we do not trouble ourselves to ask what they do for us; and yet they effect what we should call miracles, were they not so common! So in their hands that minikin germ would develop into a big tree, -aye, and a walnut-tree, and no other sort -its bark, its wood, its leaves, its sap, its flowers, its fruit, the seed within itself after its kind.





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174 SEE-SAW. "Have you anything to say at last inquired the oak, who had had long experience of Sir Helix's wisdom. "I have," answered the snail. "You don't know your own value, that's all." Ask the see-sawers my value exclaimed the prostrate tree, bitterly. "One up at the stars, another beyond the world! What am I doing meanwhile ? " Holding them both up, which is more than they can do for themselves," muttered the snail turning round to go back to the grass. But-but-stop a moment, dear Sir Helix; the see-sawers don't think that," argued the tree. "They're all light-minded together, and don't think," sneered the snail. Up in the sky one minute, down in the dust the next. Never you mind that. Everybody can't play at high jinks with comfort, luckily for the rest of the world. Sit fast, do your duty, and have faith. While they are going flightily up and down, your steady balance is the saving of both."



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAG(E 183 of a boundless prosperity-the light of her physical eyes had gone from her. Having once seen, she now saw no longer, and bitterly felt what she had lost. Beauty of colour, grace of form, grandeur of architecture, loveliness of earth in its. daily and yearly changes, from all these she was shut out, and, more grievous still, from the smiles of husband and child. And it was by her window the Nightignale sang next. And as he sang, tears gathered in her sightless eyes, for the past came upon her in a vision. Her boy, as she had last beheld him, a ruddy child, So, even so, didst thou sing to us in the happy days as yet undarkened, thou messenger of, the past. And yet not thou, but another like to thee." "The same sun by day, the same moon by night -light ever returning," sang the bird. "Love restoring all things." "True, true," smiled the mother; and as the bird sang on, pictures-beautiful pictures-passed before her, not only of husband and ruddy boy, as they had been when last her eyes, beheld them, but of ivhat they were naw, and what they wou4 S2



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 11 you see the more you think. So the sitting magistrate of the occasion drew in his horns, and retired into his shell. It was one of those very hot days of the early year which occasionally take all nature by surprise. On the southern side of the grassy slope which led up to the ruined castle overlooking the sea, the sunshine lay in an unbroken sheet of light. The north-eastern bank was steeper and had more shadows. Gorse and bramble-bushes and ferns and primroses and orchis plants grew there, and it was there the inquiry on the dead moth's body was being held. Humanly speaking, indeed, not a sound broke the stillness of the summer air, save the lazy plashing of waves on the sand at the foot of the cliff, or the cawing or twittering of a passing bird. But this humanly speaking only. Human ears, whatever human beings may think of them, take in but a few octaves of the great gamut of the universe. To all below and above these, they are



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40 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. xew feature into the case. The foreign body as dropped by the flower, and as received by the insect, would be of no use whatever -could actually never hit the sticky surface where it is wanted, but would knock against other places where the flower-dust would be wasted if scattered, and do no good. To effect its purpose in the world, it must change its position, and from being nearly upright it must lower itself to a particular slope, in which posture, and which only, it will on entering another flower strike the appointed spot. This extraordinary movement on the part of the foreign body the acute professor witnessed with his own eyes, ascertaining, also, that when once the requisite position was gained, the foreign body resisted all further efforts at displacement. What think you of this, gentlemen ? Who is answerable ? again I ask. The insect, the flower, or-shall we say-the foreign body itself ? For-who knows, my friends ?-perhaps among my bumbling brothers some Bumble minimus may be found who will tell us foreign bodies also are gifted with race-experience, foresight, and a knowledge



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UNOPENED 1ARCELS. 133 "'We read the Scriptures quite differently,' I observed, quietly. 'When it tells us scarlet sins shall be white as snow, I don't expect a pink stain to remain. You do. I believe the truth of the assurance, though it is spoken metaphor-wise. You do not. I even choose to apply another text to the same subject. Though ye have lien among the pots, yet ye shall be as the wings of a dove that is covered with silver wings and her feathers like gold."' "'It won't do,' he murmured, moving his head uneasily, but not looking up. "'It will not do for you to call yourself my friend on these terms,' cried I warmly. 'If you had committed murder, I could understand it ; but here for some trumpery nonsense or other you are shutting me out from confidence and yourself from comfort.' 'You don't know that it is nonsense,' said he. "' It is time I knew the truth,' I answered. "'You would despise me as much as I despise myself,' he objected. If you despise yourself,' cried I vehemently



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S LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. DRAWN BY J. H. E. PAGE THESE THREE .E .. ......75 UNOPENED PARCELS ......... 93 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE ..... 149 SEE-SAW ........ 167



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PARABLES FROM NATURE. FIFTH SERIES. BY MRS. ALFRED GATTY, AUTHOR OF "AUNT JUDY'S TALES," ETC. LONDON: BELL AND DALDY, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN. M.DCCC. LXXI. [T1ie right of Translation is reserved.!



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 113 father, lowering his voice, "'springing up to everlasting life.'" "Papa," said I, "I guess what you mean: things like the Church Catechism, which one cannot understand" "The Catechism is a special instance, I think," said my father. "But you speak vaguely when you say you cannot understand it. Not all of.it, of course, for, like most good things, its meaning opens more and more upon one as one's own experience ripens; but a great part of it is intelligible to any attentive child, who can learn it by heart and listen to an explanation. But whether understood or not at the time, my cry will always be, Learn it by heart. The parcel will open some day. I can tell you a story in point." I was pleased at the prospect of a story of any kind, and my father began. He told of an old man he had once known, on the verge of eighty, and nearly blind, who had been a churchgoer all his life, and even teacher at a Sunday School in his day, but from mistaken scruples had stayed away from the holiest of all rites, the



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SEE-SAW. 173 me as branches, drinking in life from the life I gave. Oh miserable me! miserable, despised, useless!" Now there may be plenty of animals to be found with more brilliant abilities and livelier imagination than the snail, but for gravity of demeanour and calmness of nerve who is his equal ? and if a sound judgment be not behind such outward signs, there is no faith to be put in faces! Accordingly, Sir Helix Hortensis-so let us call him-made no answer at first to the wailings of the oak. Three times he crawled round it, leaving three fresh traces of his transit, before he spoke, his horns turning hither and thither as those wonderful eyes at the end strove to take in the full state of the case. And his are not the eyes, you know, which waste their energies in scatterbrained staring. He keeps them cool in their cases till there is something to be looked at, and then turns them inside out to their destined work. And thus he looked, and he looked, and he looked, while the children went on shouting, and the plank went on see-sawing, and the tree went on groaning ; and as he looked, he considered.



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 137 and, staring into the half-darkness of early dawn was ready to fancy anything that might suggest itself. Accordingly, when ordered to be quiet and go to sleep, he shrieked out, between his sobs, that he couldn't, for he saw something. "Then followed the fact-which, child as he was, he detected in an instant-that these words changed the whole tone of nurse's behaviour. No more scolding now, but petting and coaxing. It was, 'Oh, Master Tommy dear' (we will call him Tommy for the present), 'don't say so, please. There can't be anything, you know; don't fancy such things, there's a good boy,' &c. Neveitheless she hustled out of bed and struck a light, which she carried triumphantly into every corner of the room to prove to him (and perhaps herself, too) that there really was nothing there. "But the 'good boy' could not be pacified so easily. The night-terrors of children, being the result of physical sensations, cannot often be reasoned away. He still felt disturbed, and cried accordingly, calling out now from time to time that he saw something. They had furnished this



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CONSEQUENCES. 5 When the driven-back water formed the first circle on the pond, it did something else as well: it pressed against the air above itfand the air gave way. And the second circle did the same, and so the next, and so the next; till the air was full of pressure-circles, whether mortal eyes could distinguish them or not. And the pressure went backwards and backwards, up into ether, till, for anything I know to the contrarr, it went right round the world. If you are wiser, however, and can say where it stopped, you may shout "There an end !" yourself ; and there ll be an end to my story as well. Otherwise, perhaps not. A child can throw a pebble into the water, but the wisest man cannot say where the waves it sets in motion shall be stilled. It is a light matter to fling off actions and words into the world, but a hard one to know where their influence shall cease to act.



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20 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. mean stuck fast in this case I think, professor," chuckled a bumble who was trying to help. And very much attached too," giggled the professor in reply. Just then, however, he gained his point. By dint of leverage he succeeded in raising the thing from the bumble's head ;-at the expense of a few hairs to the bumble, it must be owned, to say nothing of the nervous shock consequent upon all operations. The poor fellow bounced grumbling into the air, while the professor and half a dozen bumbles rolled the foreign body about to discover what it was, if possible. It was about the length of one joint of a bee's leg, and was in appearance like a miniature ogre's club or policeman's life-preserver, only the knob part was as long as the stalk. And the stalk seemed to come out of a tiny ball which was covered with something as sticky as glue. Hence whatever it touched it fastened itself to, and very fast indeed. What could it be? If one only lived in a shell now," remarked another bumble with a humorous hum, "this would be just the moment for retiring inside to-"



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A VISION. In time of service seal up both thine eies, And send them to thine heart." The Church-Porch. IT was a lovely spring morning; lovely beyond .the power of description, in one of the undisturbed, countrified, southern counties of England. So beautiful indeed, that the sense of enjoyment produced was disturbing from its very excess. One wanted to do something-go somewhere-spread out wings, as it were, and get away into the length and breadth of the land, to take in the wonders of nature to a wider extent, and more fully, than any single horizon-bound spot could admit of. But it was Sunday, and even a common "outing" to the nearest lionizing place in the neighbourhood



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12 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. insensible, and hence often speak of silence when the silence exists only for themselves. Had a score of men, women, or children been wandering over the castle bank that day, do you think any one of them would have heard Dr. Earwig's remarks or the sitting magistrate's reply ? I fancy not. Meanwhile Dr. Earwig betook himself to his work, and, to do him justice, performed it conscientiously. He ran up and down and round and round the dead moth's body a dozen times, to see what he could see--touched it in every corner, pinched it all over, but no injury could he find. He examined the wings very carefully, but there was no flaw in them. The feather scales were not rubbed off; the membrane was not torn; its nervures were unbroken. The legs, too, were as sound as legs could be. At last-" Halloo !" cried the professor with a shout. He was in front of the creature's head, and suddenly discovered that its proboscis, instead of being curled up neatly in the proper place, was



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 35 Such was the substance of some very long speeches which were made on the occasion, but which it is unnecessary to give in detail. Bumble major wound up by proposing a verdict of Accidental death" on the poor moth. Bumble minor suggested, "Died from natural causes," as the more correct way of putting it; and the learned brothers were beginning to argue the point rather quarrelsomely, when the sitting magistrate came fully out of his shell, looked every one into silence, and began"It is a maxim with us snails, gentlemen, as you know, that the less you see, the more you think ; but I have found to-day that the converse of the statement is equally true-that the more you think, the less you see ; that is, the more you think, the more you find out how little you are able to see. When we met this morning to consider our poor friend's case, I believed that all we needed for ascertaining, not only the cause of his death, but who was answerable for it, was an accurate knowledge of facts; but here we are this evening with all the facts before us, so little wiser D2



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A VISION. 63 not disappointed. There they stood-the clear pink of their full-blown flowers looking deeper than it really was, because seen in relief against the white houses near which they grew. They were even lovelier than I had expected; yet it was not till, as I moved, my eye caught them with the cloudless blue sky behind them, that I took in the full measure of their delicate splendour. Few sights are more beautiful; that pink and that blue -the flowers of earth and the depths of heavenlying so softly against each other, as it seems to those who look up at them; so near and yet so distant : so curiously unblending, yet the contrast so harmonious, that one might dream them created to set off each other's beauty I stood gazing till I feared to cause remark. Gazing, and thinking of the exquisite yet calm loveliness of inanimate creation. Thinking of it as the one straight bright pathway, opening up everywhere from earth to the very throne of God Himself. On all sides limitless beauty, through all the beauty limitless power. Limitless on the one hand by a vastness our minds are too con1i



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CONSEQUENCES. B





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"Here goes!'houtedthe stone as he left the hand of the scool-bbo and cleft the air. Consequences.page 3.



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98 UNOPENED PARCELS. I call this a beautiful sight. Others may fancy that the children must be greedy or covetous because they fix their eyes so longingly on the unopened parcel, and handle it so carefully as they make a few vain efforts to act on the "waste not, want not" principle, by untying the knots of the string. But to me the recollection of the scene brings quite a different train of thought, and makes me wish, in the depths of my heart, that we grown-up people could retain childhood's reliance in unopened parcels. For look you how the matter always ended. Not once in a hundred times did any one of the children find inside the parcel any one of the four different things they most wished for in the. world on the four different flights of stairs; and yet not once in a hundred times did any one of them express dissatisfaction or feel it. No; they took what actually came, as a thousand times better than anything they could possibly have thought of-as no doubt it was; for besides knowing what the children fancied they should like, the grandmother, or whoever it might be, had a sort of witch-like insight as to what





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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 23 thinks it is easy to be courageous when you know you can eat your enemy up. Commend me to the courage of a shy being who dares an experiment in the face of an indefinite risk! The professor had wearied of so much talking and the bandying backwards and forwards of small witticisms. "It's the bumble's vocation," thought he to himself, and I suppose they must practise for it, but it brings one no nearer the mark, and that's where I want to be. I go in for discovery and honour. Perhaps that's a professor's vocation." Perhaps it is. Certainly it was a great moment for Dr. Earwig, when, in pursuance of his determination to do and dare," he ran up the spike of an orchis plant and wriggled himself on to the tongue-like lip of one of the flowers, in order to peep inside. The tiny chamber was dark enough at first, but by degrees he could discern objects, and perceived in front of him, but quite above his head, a roundish protuberance or shelf overhanging the entrance to the throat-like flower-pouch (called nectary), in which insects find their food. And upon this shelf (how the professor's heart glowed



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138 UNOPENED PARCELS. text themselves. Both nurses were up now, and at last one of them asked What he saw ?' and then came the unhappy answer (also suggested by their chatter) that he saw papa. "The noise had by this time awakened one of the other children, and a little half-roused girl was told confidentially by the younger nurse that 'Master Tommy had seen his poor dear papa, and it would break missus's heart.' 'Poor dear papa!' was all the child answered at the time, for she dropped to sleep again at once; but the next morning Tommy found himself installed in all the privileges and prestige of a ghost-seer, though the fact was only spoken of in whispers in the nursery, for little Missy was warned she would make her mamma quite ill if she said one word to her about it. "This was the beginning of the evil, Honor," continued my father. "Do, not expect me to account for its continuance, only observe how easy it is to get entangled in wrong-doing. He might have forgotten the night adventure, perhaps, but that the honour of having seen a ghost being thrust



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LONDON: l.'CLAY, SONS, AND TAYLOR, PRINTERS, BREAD STREET HILL. a



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142 UNOPENED PARCELS. most ready to confess a fault, the one whose word could be most implicitly relied upon, she would have named him we have called 'Tommy,' the little rascally ghost-seer of the nursery. 'And I hated myself for being such a hypocrite' exclaimed my poor friend, after telling me that such was his mother's conviction. Can you guess my answer, Honor ? You ought almost to be able," said my father. I told him that what he called hypocrisy was repentance-the truest of all repentance-not a mere expression of regret, but an entire change of mind-such an actual dislike of the old infirmity that the faintest approach to it had become detestable. How a man of his reasoning powers had missed recognizing the commonplace truths he now heard from me as a hitherto undiscovered consolation, I cannot imagine. Perhapm justice was better satisfied-perhaps his character was ripened more effectually-by the pain he went through: pain and annoyance too. Imagine him, for instance, with his keenly awakened sensitiveness, exposed to being reminded, sometimes jestingly, sometimes seriously,



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CO NTENTS. PAGE CONSEQUENCES ...... .1 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER OF THE CAUSE. 7 GHOSTS ........... ..45 A VISION ...... .....57 "THESE THREE" ..........75 UNOPENED PARCELS ......... 93 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE ...... .149 SEE-SAW ........167



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162 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. how or whence, and fell asleep before the strain had ended, to dream of guardian angels walking with men. The other listened and pondered till reliance and hope overruled fear. For this was what was brought to her mind: "So insignificant, and yet so gifted ; so humble, and yet so cared for; our life so secret from others, yet not one of us forgotten before God! So ignorant, yet teaching you. this lesson: How much more are ye better than the fowls, O ye of little faith?'" Remembering which, rest came to the mother too; but whether it was brought to her by her own reflection, or the song of the bird, she did not inquire. ... Beyond the cottage villa lay the Park, and within the Park stood the mansion of its owners. The young man here had no need to go out in the world to battle for his fortune, for fortune was his inheritance, and other blessings had followed. His mother had never shed tears for her favoured son, but-there was a "but" even here amidst the smiles



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24 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSEt. at the sight!) stood two shapes side by side, evidently foreign bodies, but partially concealed by membranous covers. And they were evidently not "foreign bodies" here, but formed part and parcel. of the flower. The secret-where foreign bodies came from -was out then, but how had the bumble and the moth got at them-that was the difficulty. Had the things given themselves or been taken away? The professor was guilty of wishing the flower would turn into an insect and tell him the truth about it. For you must know the flowers speak in too low a whisper for even insects to hear them, so the two worlds do not communicate. Dr. Earwig could only wish and wonder, therefore, for he was not daring enough to climb up and touch the shapes himself, when suddenly he became aware of a flutter of wings, and had only just time to squeeze on one side when a gay young butterfly lighted on the flower-lip where he had been but a second before; uncoiled and dipped her delicate proboscis into the nectary-paused awhile, then drew it up and flew away. Dr. Earwig scuttled back to his



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GHOSTS. 55 He never was more mistaken The Smoke had said from the first he would tell tales, but nobody believed him. He meant what he said, however, stole quietly downstairs, made his way into the supper-room, and told everybody there, as plain as any words could have spoken it, that the ball-room was on fire. There was a terrible commotion, as you may suppose. All the guests jumped up from their chairs, and were rushing for to see what was to be seen. But some sensible man stopped the ladies, and kept them quiet downstairs. The fire-ghosts would have had them all otherwise. Meanwhile barrels of water from the pond were being poured upon the flames. And if the fiie and air ghosts had been noisy before, what do you think happened now, when water-ghosts joined in the me'le? Well, hissing was added to roaring ; for between fire and water the struggle is always deadly, and no quarter is given ; one or other must perish. What became of the Fire, then, do you ask The Water got the better and put him out; so, instead of his being master, there was an end of



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136 UNOPENED PARCELS. women were themselves the cause that they could not be obeyed. They had left the door which divided the nurseries a little bit open after they put him to bed, and through it he had seen their two heads-one young, one old-'nodding together' (vizier-like) over their candle on the worktable, as they sat mending socks, and chattering. Not planning weddings, however, but unluckily telling half-fledged ghost stories of 'warnings, 'appearances,' 'knockings,' and so forth; all in connection, of course, with 'poor master's death.' That the child heard what they said very imperfectly did not mend matters. He fell asleep with the sounds of smothered exclamations in his ears: 'Awful, ain't it?' 'You don't say so:' Makes me all of a shake,' &c., his last sight being the glimmer of the candlelight on the younger girl's wide-opened eyes, as she stared, respectfully astonished at the nonsense her old goose of a companion was talking. No wonder that from a sleep so begun, saddened, too, by the mention of his poor father, my poor friend awoke disturbed and apprehensive,



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SEE-SAW. Turning to scorn with lips divine The falsehood of extremes."-TEJNNYSON. THE felled oak in the corner of the timber yard lay groaning under the plank, which a party of children had thrown across him to play see-saw upon. Not that the plank was so heavy even with two or three little ones sitting on each end, nor that the oak was too weak to hold it up-though, of course, the pressure was pretty strong just at the centre, where the plank balanced. But it was such a use to be put to! The other half of the tree had been cut into beautiful even planks, some time before, but this was the root end, and his time had not yet come, and he was getting impatient.



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32 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. Dr. Earwig. Has done nothing intentionally. Cannot help the blow of the proboscis-cannot know what the insect will do with the flower-dust when it goes away. The races do not communicate." Sir Helix. You call all these cases 'extraordinary accidents' ?" Dr. Earwig. "Careless language, Sir Helix. I only profess to have collected the facts. It is for you and our learned friends to draw conclusions." Here ended the evidence. It now remained for the bumbling barristers to give their opinions, and the sitting magistrate to pronounce judgment. *^ 3(* *%* By this time the day was wearing fast to sunset, and a rich glow was stealing into the air and tinting the old walls of the ruined castle on the cliff. Out at sea the sails were beginning to be ... "darken'd in the west And rosed in the east;" and even in the discussions which followed the



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"THESE THREE." 89 It had made its way this time into the churchyard, and had reached the foot of a tombstone, up which it was beginning to creep. "I belong to Death," said the Tombstone, haughtily, as he stood upright in the cold light of the moon ; and the letters which formed the record came out dark on the surface from the shadows which fell within them. "I belong to Death," he kept repeating all along. But the moss took no notice, and went on creeping. "I belong to Death," persisted the Tombstone long afterwards, though the winter had passed away, and the moss was beginning to show green in a fresh spring. What age the stone was at that time I cannot say. But it recorded the deaths of an old rector and his wife, who had only been parted a few days. Weather beat upon it-crawling things passed over it-lichens discoloured it,-it was very old aid grey; but still the moss crept on. On and upwards, till it got into the letters of the record where the shadows had fallen before.



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66 A VISION. door was met by a verger in a flowing black gown, ornamented with velvet tags: his grey hair arranged in curls like a wig round his head, and a staff of office in his hand. There are times when the brain can take in strongly but one idea at once, and such was my case now. I was just conscious of a feeling of surprise at sight of the old-fashioned churchservitor; but the sensationwas hazy, and I paid no attention to it. The man's keen investigating look, too, as I encountered him, merely caused me to follow him obediently when he marshalled me to the strangers' quarter in the church: which he did, as soon as he had discovered by his scrutiny that I did not belong to the usual congregation. It was not till I had risen from my knees, after the customary prayer, that I discovered I had made two mistakes. First, this was not the church I had meant to come to. Secondly, so far from being too late, I was evidently much too early; very few people having as yet taken their seats, and the monotonous chiming of the bell still continuing.



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 129 same odd little bit of reserve remained. The old joke, 'A penny for your thoughts,' brought a frown instead of a smile to his face on those occasions. At the University I found my hero utterly unchanged, except as regarded advance of mind. The delicate high-mindedness and scrupulous truthfulness (not over-common qualities in boy or man) which had been the subject of my profound admiration at school, were equally strongly marked now. They commanded the same respect from old and young. "And now comes the kernel of my story, Honor," observed my father, who evidently began to think I must be tired of hearing of his model of perfection. "All I have said hitherto was to interest you in the individual. You could not otherwise have cared for what is coming. "It was the year that 'In Memoriam' came out, and the volume was in the hands of most thinking young men, but, oddly enough, I came across it sooner than my friend did, for it was sent to me during the time I was at school without him, and I had been completely carried away in wonder K



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"r THESE THREE." 79 about the place; quite as old, in fact, in proportion. The thatch was full of broken-in holes on one side, and within .was loaded with cobwebs; but as it had nothing to protect but rubbish, that mattered but little. Its contents, besides the yellow rose, were the cracked tea-box, some fragments of hampers, a mouldy piece of matting, one or two worm-eaten beams of wood, and here and there potsherds and dried earth. Now and then, indeed, the gardener would slip in a few flowerpots in which tulips, crocuses, or other bulbs had died down, to wait till he could attend to them," as he said of the rose. As he always said, in fact; meaning that he intended, some day, to empty them, stow away the bulbs, and put in fresh soil, and plants fit for the season. But that day of being ''attended to" seldom came. At any rate the pots were generally broken, and the bulbs decayed or lost before it arrived, which was nobody's fault, of course; only an unfortunate accident. And this was what happened to the yellow rosepot. Days and months went on (I do not care to say how many), and at last it got a blow on its



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I, 'fil -f. "Apaii from Oie oldhome dears" TIakened parcels.Page 96.



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146 UNOPENED PARCELS. father's reply, "let the world say what it will; for he could not have been a great man otherwise. Clever men without honesty are charlatans, and are sure to break down in some way or other at last. It is a glorious thing-far past all other glories in this world-to be trustworthy in every word and action of your life, child !" "We were silent for a few moments; then, It's quite a romance," was my conclusion. "And something more," put in my father. "Every true story of humanity has a moral wrapped up in it, whether people care to extract it or not. If the good people are made happy at last, we are encouraged to follow their example. If they suffer wrongfully with patience, they add so many more to the hosts of witnesses who, 'for the joy set before them,' have 'despised' earthly shame and sorrow. Now, Honor, open this parcel of mine, and tell me what is to be seen inside it. What do you think my story of Uncle Frederick teaches ?" I thought about it a few minutes, and then blundered out my ideas.



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 143 by his brothers and sisters, of the abhorred hoax as if it had been truth The very mention of the word 'ghosts,' he assured me, filled him with horror in those days, living in dread as he did of some personal allusion. 'By-the-bye, Tommy, you're the one to tell us all about ghosts. I wonder why yours has left off coming,' &c. His only resource, and it was a miserable one, was to turn angry, and bid them not talk nonsense. In this way he did succeed at last in checking these allusions, but it was pain and grief to him, a burden upon his spirit, young and happy as he was otherwise. Yet, by God's grace, he rose instead of sinking under it, though he suffered what I should be sorry to hear of any one dear to me suffering again. St. Augustine's ladder is a hard one to climb by, Honor. Thrice happy those to whom the steps are not so steep as they were to my dear friend! The great fact remains, however, that up them he reached a scrupulousness of conscience he might not have aimed at but for the hateful sense of the infirmity by which he had once fallen.



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* Y ^ I A -<^v, d(i^



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. Patience and abnegation of self, and devotion to others-This was the lesson a life of trial and sorrow had taught her. So was her love diffused, but, like to some odorous spices,, Suffered no wasi nor loss, though filling the air with aroma." LONGFELLOW'S Evangeline. THE Nightingale had a secret. His father and grandfather had had it before him, and because they had kept it, he kept it too; for they were an old-fashioned family, and held respectfully to the customs of their ancestors. "Where do you go to when you leave off singing ?" asked the Poets; but the Nightingale only answered them by a trill which told nothing they could understand, and was so beautiful they forgot



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80 THESE THREE." side-nobody knew how-and out tumbled a large three-cornered piece upon the tea-box. Then followed a handful of earth; then the whole rosetree, stem and root. And there they all lay together till the soil turned white as dust. Only the broken flower-pot stood upright as before. For how long, do you ask? Let us measure time by events ? It stood till the moss on the wall at the upper end of the paddock had scattered its seed-dust so many years that it had reached the farther end where the shed was, got into it, climbed over the worm-eaten beams, up the side of the tea-box, just over the Chinese sign vouching for the fine flavour of the leaves within, and so up till it touched the broken flower-pot itself, and made the deferential remark, "By your leave." It had said so all along its journey, poor little dear!-for the kindest creatures always are the most modest-but there was no need for apology %nywhere. I'm sure you're welcome," smiled the old Wall; and he might well be pleased. The moss had filled up his worn crevices, covered his roughnesses,



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82 THESE THREE." irregular edges, till it had hidden them under its soft green velvet cover. Never mind; the wound can be healed," it kept saying as it spread. And it said well. The spring-time came and the moss grew greener than ever where it spread, but there was enough red flower-pot left to form a beautiful contrast. It stood upright now with as warm a heart as before. Somebody was caring for it. This was almost better than carrying the yellow rose in its bosom. Something nearer, dearer to itself. You will not leave me, I hope ?" it said. "Not of my own accord, ever," answered the Moss. "I am not so bright always as now, you know, but never mind; spring always returns." Even when spring was there, however, the gardener took no notice of either of them, which was perhaps lucky, as he might otherwise have "attended" to them too much. The old lady of the house noticed them though, as she was strolling one day arm-in-arm with her old husband, the rector, along the garden walk



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132 UNOPENED PARCELS. 'That men may rise through sinning, or something like it,' he answered, gruffly. A man may repent, of course, and that for a lifetime, and he may rise in spite of it; but it is always a dead weight drawing him back.' "' I differ with you,' said I; conceit-that is, self-esteem-is perhaps the widest-spread of all the vices, and, like drunkenness, opens the door to a thousand others. Now suppose the consciousness of some weak point in one's character, or even of sonie weak yielding to it wrongly, burnt humility into one's heart, would not that be a rise ? Besides, the having stumbled may make one keep one's foot more diligently. God's mercy is far beyond man's conception of it. I believe the words fully.' ": I wish I could,' said he, in a wearyfvcice. "And then a sudden thought struck me that my dear friend was troubled personally-that, blameless, exalted even, for a lad, as his life had been for years, some old recollection was rankling in his mind. I became composed myself at once.



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74 A VISION. worthy feelings, the providence of God had reproved me through my own reflections; and often since in the sanctuary of prayer and praise I have restrained wandering thoughts and impertinent criticisms by recalling the feelings of that day, and my just self-condemnation. In the heartfelt attention which ever followed this effort, hearing, as all honest Christians must do-yea, through all the imperfections of luman utterances -the Voice of God, speaking to them from the words of that simple yet majestic Service, to which no one, I believe, ever listened earnestly, intelligently, and humbly, without bringing away a blessing. I



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110 UNOPENED PARCELS. at sea, you know,, if the Queen passed an Act of Parliament forbidding the use of nasty arithmetic to her loving subjects. No more cockatoos, no more stories of monkeys, no more fans, no more edible birds' nests--" Oh, don't papa, please !" cried I; "besides, surely ships could go sailing on still." "Ay, sailing on, child," mused my father, "sailing on without knowing whither-without a compass, without a chart, without any use from sun and stars -sailing on -say drifting rather, to certain destruction, from accidents or starvation. Is it possible you don't know, Honor, that ships are guided over the trackless oceans by that very faculty of calculation we have been talking about ? It is by a cumulative set of such little simple propositions as take three from four and one remains, add two and two together and they make four, that men make their way over the literally pathless water, as if it were mapped out for them (ay, and they make maps of it afterwards); calculate how far they have come in so many hours, and which way they have come, the mysterious magnet



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34 TTHE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. what was discoverable-some causer of causes, or rather of accidents. Why, the notion was laughable-was a contradiction in itself. Bumble minor, on the other hand, was a "naturalistic." He insisted that nature, modified by circumstances, did everything, and accounted for everything. He called it race-experience. By race-experience, flowers, liable to be injured by rain, closed against rain ; and insects sought food in flowers. By race-experience the sitting magistrate shrank into his shell from danger, or when he needed repose of body or mind. By race-experience, also, no doubt, everything had happened which Dr. Earwig had observed. He did not see how, exactly (Bumble minor was candour itself); but that was no matter, he was sure of the theory. By race-experience everything which had existence did the best it could for itself. Race-experience was therefore that causer of causes whose very existence the accidentalists denied. There was only one thing it could not account for, and that was the strangely illogical opinion held by his learned brother, Bumble major.



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rHE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 13 lying half untwisted on the grass. He had drawn his feelers along it; but came against something which stopped the way. The shout was excusable, as surprise had startled him, but it brought the sitting magistrate's thinking nap to a sudden ent. He appeared at the door of his shell, and inquired if Dr. Earwig had discovered anything worth disturbing him for, so soon ? Dr. Earwig thought he had. He had at any rate discovered an all-sufficient cause of death) whether deceased had died of it or not. He had found a foreign body-several foreign bodies, in fact, attached to the creature's proboscis; and, so loaded, a proboscis could scarcely enter-much less comfortably dip into-the delicate flowerpouches for food. Sooner or later, therefore, its owner must-starve "Dreadful !" shuddered the sitting magistrate, with difficulty resisting the impulse to shut himself up and think. But our friend shall not die unavenged! Professor, who is to blame ?" The professor replied they had not reached that



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156 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. has reddened my cheeks, uncared for and unknown." The same sun by day, the same moon by night, stars watching above," sang the Nightingale, as before. Clouds drift and pass, the blue heaven lies ever behind. Love wide as the world, hopes common to all, joys shared together, one home at last, ours, ever ours." But still it was only the end of his song. And just then the moon broke out, and looked down upon the garden; and stars peeped at it too. And the foreigners whispered for once in concert. "The singer is right; here is the moon he talked of. There is but one garden then, after all. We are but moved to another corner. We are not so far from home all the time. These are friends around us, of course ;" saying which they took courage, and settled down peapefully in their beds, prepared to work out the ends of their being in comfort. And so the French Beans and Marrows put in their word, for like the others they heard the voice as if from their native land; and the Marrow crept an inch or two further over the hotbed, say-



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GHOSTS.





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UNOPENED PARCELS. 111 assisting them; and so judge again which way to steer. And thus come trade and civilization and the power of travelling and seeing the wonders of the world. Have I not sometimes heard a little girl named Honoria say she hoped she might see many foreign countries before she died? not to speak of an albatross like that which the miserable ancient mariner shot. "Oh, yes! and I do hope so !" exclaimed I. Well, then, when you are on board your first ship, Honor, off on your first voyage, say to yourself in memory of this conversation, 'I have to thank nasty arithmetic for this privilege :' not arithmetic only, of course, dear ; but unless there were good little boys in the. world to learn that two and two make four, you could certainly not be enjoying the pleasure of a sea-voyage." I'm so sorry, papa !" cried I. "I will never call it nasty again !" "Don't, Honor," answered he, laying his hand on my head and stroking my hair. "Every power of this dear little noddle comes from above, and was not given to lie dormant and unused. And



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122 UNOPENED PARCELS. Now papa was no gardener, as we all knew, and his giving his opinion at all about tulips and crocuses made me laugh. Besides, I couldn't think what the Lord Mayor's Show could have to do with our flowers, and said so. But when I rested my flowerpot on a chair to hear his answer, he would give no explanation of the how and the why, only repeated that it was so : he didn't know the inside of all the unopened parcels in the world, he said. On which I laughed again, and ran away to my garden and its easier thoughts. Two years later grandmamma's parcel contained for me a copy of Longfellow's poems, and before many days were over I had come across his "Ladder of St. Augustine," and the old memories revived as fresh in my mind as a Californian rock rose in water :-the walnut,-the long evening with my father,-his warning the following day. I ran downstairs to my happy haunt, the library, and rushed in regardless of ceremony. "Do you remember, papa ?" I cried, proud to remember so well myself, and pointed triumphantly to the open page of the book-" there's something about it



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" THESE THREE." 87 pery. But now, though no foot had passed over it for weeks, neither master nor mistress came to say it must be cleaned; the old gardener sat whimpering over his pipe in the toolhouse, and the moss went on creeping over the gravel. And the days rolled after each other as before, till one came when the front doors were re-opened, and life seemed to break out again on the terrace walk. A procession was coming along, and the footsteps were more than firm-they fell heavy on the moss over which they trod, as if some burthen weighed them down. The moss had covered the terrace walk quite over by this time, and made it a pathway of tender green. There was no groaning now from the gravel; the new life and the old memories mingled so sweetly together. The very bearers noticed it, as they bent under the coffins they carried, for they felt to be stepping on velvet. The procession was a funeral. They were carrying the old couple to their next home in the churchyard close by. The two had only been parted a few days ; she went first, he after; and



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GHOSTS. 49 why it roared? That is by no means so certain. Would you like to know why it roars, however, now ? I suspect you would; so stoop down, and. I will whisper you a secret. There are ghosts in it! Nay, do not be frightened-only, as there are ghosts in the fire, and very powerful ones too, you need not be surprised that it cannot be trifled with, nor that it is always struggling to have its own way, and makes a good deal of noise in the world. Moreover, our particular fire was less manageable than usual on that particular night; because it had grown so huge, the ghosts were quite uproarious,-and then the draught from the window was so irritating! For, to whisper another secret-there are ghosts "in the air, too, and the rascals enjoy nothing more than to lash up a small fire till it becomes a big one, and has consumed all before it; after which the ghosts go off together. Now, across the front of the splendid grate hung a brass crinoline guard. That was to prevent the fire-ghosts from. laying hold of the young ladies' E



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE.



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30 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. the nectary is very narrow in one place. It is partially, blocked up by an overhanging protuberance on which the foreign bodies stand. A proboscis is very apt to hit it in dropping into the nectary. And when it is hit, some delicate' machinery is disturbed and cracked, and lets the" sticky balls of one if not both foreign bodies touch whatever is below: the proboscis in the case of a moth; the head in the case of a bee. If I were to touch it with my pincers the foreign bodies would adhere to them." Sir Helix. "How badly the flower must be constructed, doctor; we shall find the fault there, I believe." Dr. Earwig. "Excuse my repeating 'No' so often. But I must say it here. The flower is a masterpiece of ingenious contrivance." Sir Helix. "Is dropping the flower-dust receptacle which it wantsfor itself upon the heads of insects who don't want it and can make no use of it a proof thereof, eh, doctor ?" Dr. Earwig. Well really, yes. The insects don't want it for themselves certainly, but they



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 39 venient. An advantage to the moth they can never be, except that, by assisting to perpetuate the race of orchids, he is assisting to perpetuate the supply of food for himself and future generations. But such a calculation as this implies foresight, not race-experience; and I doubt if Bumble minor himself attributes foresight to the moths of his acquaintance. Then as to the flower: it is not an agent at all. Whether it lets down the foreign body'on the insect or not, depends upon whether the insect hits it sufficiently or not. It has no choice in the matter. But supposing it had, and could let the foreign body down at will, what amount of raceexperience can teach it that it is for its advantage to do so ? To know this the flower also must be gifted with foresight, and a race-experience besides its own, for it must anticipate what the insect is likely to do. And will even Bumble minor assert this of any flower ? "This is not all, however. There is one part of the process which our friend the professor has just communicated to me which introduces a quite



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36 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. than when we started, that two of my learned brothers are ready to fight for two quite opposite opinions, and I myself hold a third. The truth is, facts do not always explain themselves, but sometimes let in just light enough to show us we are in darkness. ..Yes I hear your dissentient 'murmurs at this, but the evidence has been placed before you-judge for yourselves. We know now that the moth died from an overcharge of foreign bodies on its proboscis; that foreign bodies fall on insects who seek food in orchis flowers, whenever they hit a particular place in a particular way, which very often happens; that, passing thence to other orchis flowers, the foreign body hits them in another place, thereby scattering dust upon them, which fertilizes the seeds below; that but for this process the orchis race must have died out with its first flowers, since orchis flowers cannot dust themselves. And that yet, nevertheless, neither insect nor flower is conscious of doing anything in the matter; that as far as they are concerned the whole process each time it happens is an accident. Such are the facts of the case, and,



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102 UNOPENED PARCELS. Honor," said my father, peeping at me over the newspaper once more, unopened parcels must be examined, if people want to know what is inside them." "I will fetch the crackers then," said I pettishly. "Crackers are not needed," remarked my father. "Make your eyes see what they are looking at, Honor." Now I knew my father never spoke without a meaning, and began to wonder if there was more in the walnut than I had thought. And so, at last, I really looked, and soon detected that the walnut-shell must have been opened before, for in two or three places where the sides met, I could have got in the point of a pin between them. A little effort soon separated them, and there, behold within the convolutions of each half of the shell lay, not the crisp kernel I knew so well, but white leather neatly tucked in. I laid hold of a little corner bit, and pulled out an exquisitely soft fine French kid glove, ornamented with starry spots.



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92 THESE THREE." Not because he had known him, of course, since the dead man had lived back into the ages. But every one sees his own future when he looks at a moss-covered tombstone ; or may do so, if he stops to think. For those who only stop to stare there is nothing, certainly, but an old stone and some moss. But we are not talking of such people. The text the rector wrote was, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;" not a word more or less. What was said in the sermon I cannot tell. If I ever knew, I have forgotten, as, alas one so often does. Each person may imagine it, however, for himself. All I can remember are the last words ; those are written on my brain, I trust, for ever: Believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Whether the new rector had the old tombstone cleared of the moss afterwards, I often wonder. Very likely he had. One cannot allow sentiment everywhere, you know, as I have said twice before already.



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10 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. "Decidedly dead, gentlemen! has been dead, in fact, for hours." "So far, so good !" remarked the sitting magistrate of the occasion-a splendidly band-marked snail, whose horns were extended to their uttermost as he watched Dr. Earwig from the shelter of a hart's-tongue fern. He was there with a party of bumble-bee barristers overhead, bent on discovering what could have happened to reduce so fine a moth to such a condition in the prime of youth; and moreover, who was answerable for it --there being some little consolation under misfortune in finding fault even if you cannot punish. "You have cleared the case up to this point very satisfactorily, sir," he continued. "Now we must trouble you a little further, if you please. Be so good as to examine into the cause of the death. Can't be a natural one, you know, doctor, at deceased's age and surrounded with food. So keep your eyes open and your feelers alive. I shall be out again by the time you've finished. I wish to think a little just now." It is a golden maxim with snails that the less



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. 159 took flight, and the next place he paused at was a flower garden skirted by elm-trees and a brook. Now within the garden palings stood a cottagevilla bleached white in the rays of the moon. And within the villa at an open window in an upper chamber sat a young lad almost as white. To-morrow he must leave the home of his childhood, and begin life in earnest for himself. To-morrow this room would be his room no more. His place must be far away among strangers.-Dismantled walls and bookshelves, ye can shed no tears, though ye bring many, and look down on broken hearts like cruel ghosts of the past !-But the lad in the upper chamber could not weep, for hard, unreasoning sorrow stiffened his heart. "The room is yours for ever while we live," his mother had said in vain an hour before. I shall put other pictures up against you come home !" the little sister had whispered to no purpose before she went to bed. "Home, home !" murmured the unceasing sorrow within. "Thou hast a home here no longer.



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSBR. 17 This announcement caused general confusion. The sitting magistrate himself was for once excited, and gave orders to catch the bumble with the foreign body on his head," in rather an impetuous tone. The rush and buzzing were immense, Every one protested with all his might that there was no foreign body on his head, a few almost ready to assert th y had no heads for foreign bodies to be on; and all whirled about, looking at each other's faces in angry disturbance. At last a party of them laid hold of a stranger fresh from an orchis flower, on whom, as he flew past, they noticed something, and when they had secured him, the something proved to be it. They led him at once to where the sitting magistrate sat, and placed him on the ground, where he lay buzzing dismally, while they compared his foreign body with the foreign bodies on the moth's proboscis, and discovered they were exactly alike. Do you feel nothing, my poor friend ?" asked Sir Helix, almost tenderly, for he had a heart as well as a shell. C I



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 27 orchids. Nothing can have dropped on it from them. A bright day to you and clear eyes !" "She does not know she has taken it then," mused the professor, so she is not to blame pretty creature The flowers have much to answer for in loading her if they know what they are about. Ah, well! I must look into the matter a little further." Saying which he went on to visit several other flowers of the spike, but observed nothing new in them, until at last he came to one where was a different state of things indeed! The shelf on which the foreign bodies usually stood was there, but no foreign bodies were upon it. Dr. Earwig grew bold in consequence. He would take a good look round," he thought, and did so, peeping into the dark entrance of the nectary, though he did not venture down, being uncertain what he might find at the bottom. Pat in gazing across the opening he perceived that the back wall -that below the protuberance-had a sticky surface like those on which flower-dust is commonly shed; and what was that in one corner-a patch of flower-dust ? was it possible ? how could it have



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. t@ future joined themselves together in the old man's mind, the spring of the second youth flooded his soul, and patient endurance ripened into happy hope. "There is no death: what seems so is transition," murmured he, quoting the long-loved line; and then he fell asleep and dreamt that the Nightingale's song was welcoming him into Paradise. And do not fancy such thoughts beyond his condition in life. I did not say whose servant he was, remember. ..Now then, if you want to be a comfort to your fellow-creatures, learn the universal language. So alone can you help forward the course of that mysterious love which, in spite of and beyond the darkest dispensations, rules the Universe. For the Word that came down from Heaven, and Love, are one.



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68 A VISION. But here, where I had so unluckily come by accident, the arches and pillars, though scarcely less venerable than those others, were disfigured by daubings of untempered mortar," and overlaid with memorial tablets of every shape and size, disturbing the uniformity of the perspective, and leading the mind away to earthly memories ; while the hideous straight lines of conventicle-like pews with their buttoned-up doors, seemed fixed there as if in mockery of the ecclesiastical character which had so clearly once belonged to the edifice I had made a vexatious mistake, and felt fretted; besides dreading still more the character of the services and singing in store; when suddenly it occurred to me that I was a free agent, and need not stay! Who constrained me ? Accordingly, I raised myself half up, and laid my hand gently on the outside button that held the pew-door, with a view to slipping quietly out; but just at that moment my friend, the verger, came sweeping by, conducting a family party to some other pew. As he passed he glanced at my arm, then at my face, and our eyes met. This was enough. I withdrew



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26 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. she found Dr. Earwig in the way, who, under pretence of apologizing for his accidental presence there, took the opportunity of eyeing her proboscis very carefully. And there assuredly was the foreign body exactly like those he had seen before -only not in the same position. Those on the ) ee and the moth had lain in a very nearly horizontal line-this stood as nearly upright. Stop ihough it was upright when he first looked at it, but now moment by moment it was lowering itself. "It's falling off Attached does not mean stuck fast in this case," thought the professor to himself. But no it only went on lowering till it lay in an almost horizontal line like the others. Then it stopped. "Allow me, madam," cried Dr. Earwig in sheer desperation. A. little something has fallen on your proboscis, I think," and he whisked a feeler against the foreign body as he spoke. He might as well have whisked it against a rock. You see double this morning I fear, doctor," smiled the butterfly. "My proboscis has only dipped into a few nectaries of these charming



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER OF THE CAUSE.



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62 A VISION. but saunter at first; and presently, having ascended from a narrow dell to the top of a grassy hill from which the blue sea-line was visible, I sat down on a stile to enjoy the view before me. Birds were carolling over my head, the fresh odours of the young morning were brought to me by the breeze, white sails speckled the distant blue, while between me and it rose the tops of churches and houses in the watering-place on the shore. I was soon aware too of the tinkling of church bells in more than one direction. I got up and gathered a few primroses in the hedge-row, found a violet or two, then sat down on the grass under an eastward-blown oak. Watched a lark as he rose higher and higher into ether, carrying his song with him up to heaven, till, first, my eye ceased to see him and then my ear to hear. After which, though my sight was half blinded, I arose and went on. Down over other pleasant meadows, till a cross pathway diverged into a lane which led to the villa outskirts; and this I followed. I had wanted to see the almond-trees in their beauty, and was



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"60 A VISION. was out of the question. Not for worlds would 1 have dared to miss the offering of prayer and praise in God's appointed House on such a day as this I, one of the world's "High Priests" (as George Herbert calls mankind), appointed to send up in intelligent language the adoration which is ever struggling in so many imperfect utterances in the lower creation around us. No! such a dereliction of duty would have turned the blue heaven into brass over my head, and soured my spirit for the day-even on such a day as this. No! I must go to church, if I did nothing else, on that sweet, serene, fragrant spring morning. All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father Everlasting." I would not willingly exclude myself. But there was a choice. There was the little old whitewashed building, of just sufficient size for the few inhabitants of the quiet village in which I was just then resident; and there was, within a walk, though a longish one, the large church in the watering-place on the coast, beautifully restored from its once-dilapidated state by the rich congregation which frequented it



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100 UNOPENED PARCELS. waited ,ome time for my turn, and now, for once in my l* e on such an occasion, was disappointed. I did not speak, however, but a silence so unusual -we all being in the habit of shouting over our gifts, much as lions roar over their food-attracted my father's attention, who, seated in his chair on the other side of the rug, was reading the newspaper. He looked over the top of this now, and asked, "Honor, what is it ?" "Only a walnut, papa," said I, as indifferently as I could, though ready to cry all the time. You may have it, if you like," I added, crossing the rug, and offering it to him. "I will go and fetch the crackers." You see, I wanted to get out of the room, for then, at any rate, I could have cried or stamped a little without being observed. But my father, who had dropped his newspaper when he took the walnut from my hand, now laid hold of me round the waist with the other arm, and drew me towards him. I felt to dread being looked at, but my father would look. Nay, he set me right before him, and gazed full into my eyes. It was



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A VISION. 61 I was not in the habit of wandering on frivolous pretences-believing, as I did, that God's grace works sometimes by very imperfect means, and that we are not always the best choosers for ourselves; but on this particular Sunday, I could not resist the restlessness which was upon me. Here was something to do which I was justified in doing, even on that day. It was not like deserting my own parish church at home, either. I might go where I pleased in this land where I did but sojourn as a stranger. Moreover, I had driven more than once along the pretty lanes that led from the village to the watering-place, and had observed the little pathway which went to it across the fields. I remembered too, that only a short time before, I had seen budding almond-trees in villa gardens outside the town. They were not common in my own country, and they must all be out in flower now, I thought; and this decided me. I would go and see them that very day. Breakfasting early therefore, I set out, Prayerbook in hand, along the pleasant pathway through the fields ; but being beforehand with time, I did



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 119 What do you say now Remember this when you are inclined to talk of the common walnut one eats as if it was commonplace, and grow rapturous over the little bit of human ingenuity displayed in stuffing a very soft piece of leather neatly into the convolutions of an empty walnut-shell. I wonder, by the way, Honor, how many walnuttrees you have eaten up in the course of your short life !" The abrupt joke seemed to lighten the seriousness of my surprise, and my father concluded with a farewell kiss :-" These germs are among the thousands of unopened parcels in the natural world, and they shadow out the others !"



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90 THESE THREE." "I will cover them up," it whispered softly, "and the poor, good folks will seem to be alive again : people will not know they ever died." People knew and cared but little about it; but, from time to time, the churchyard was cleaned, and the old tombstones scraped. Then they picked out the moss from the letters, and thought they had done a good deed. And perhaps they had. As I said before, one cannot allow sentiment everywhere. But the clearance was never complete. Nature is mightier than man. The seed-dust of the moss escaped their sight. I belong to Death," boasted the Tombstone once more, as he stood up, freshly cleaned, in the winter moonlight, unconscious of the life-germs left upon his surface. But with spring they budded and broke forth. And the days rolled after each other as before, and again the record of death was overgrown. The little moss had not been beaten.. Once again it had filled the letters; once again it broke out afresh under the touch of a new spring. I belong to Death," repeated the Tombstone, but very faintly.



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38 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. speech, and they must on no account begin to fight till he had. He then continued"But Bumble major's is not the only explanation of these difficult facts before us. Bumble minor has another and a far more ingenious one. He holds that everything in the world has a tendency, whether conscious or not, to work out its own good. He calls it race-experience, and thinks it accounts for all that either insect or flowers can do; and of the existence and importance of such a power there can be no doubt. But Bumble minor is honest; he does not pretend to tell us how the race-experience of a flower can make it acquainted with the habits of an insect; only, being confident of his theory, he is sure it will explain everything somehow. Gentlemen, let us face this matter, then, for ourselves. How can a moth's raceexperience ever make it advantageous to him to carry about foreign bodies on his proboscis? He may be unconscious of the presence of one or two perhaps but the presence of many insures his death, as we have seen to-day, and the presence of several must be at any rate incon-



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28 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. got there? It was impossible the flower should have dusted itself. ... At this moment theie was another flutter of wings, and, slipping into the nectary backwards (his only chance), the professor saw the entrance of his old friend the butterfly, with the foreign body on her proboscis. This she at once uncoiled, and in doing so the knob of the foreign body hit the sticky surface of the wall, several flower-dust packets came off, and the wall received several fresh patches in consequence. "Do you know" shouted Dr. Earwig, greatly excited. But the butterfly had at the same instant become aware of a really "foreign body" in the nectary-Dr. Earwig himself, namely; and without stopping to answer questions she drew up her proboscis and was gone. *x. X-* *An hour afterwards the whole bumble company were buzzing outside the sitting magistrate's shell. "Well ?" he asked from within. I have come back," answered the.professor, who stood by awaiting the reawakening of his friend.



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 103 Oh the shame that mixed with the joy of that moment! I ran across the rug, hid my face against my father, and cried. I begged his pardon, and grandmamma's too; but my father would only laugh. Only mind, Honor," said he, "' that you never again distrust an unopened parcel, when you know the hand it comes from." And I promised I never would ; for in one's youth one does not know how hard some promises are to keep. But this was not all. When, according to custom, we had taken nurse her parcel (grandmamma forgot nobody), and had shown her our own, the one-she was most of all struck with was my glovewalnut. Toys and books of every conceivable sort, size, and beauty she had seen again and again; but, as it so happened, a walnut with gloves inside-never She put on her spectacles to examine it, and her exclamations were endless. "It's wonderful, Miss, it's wonderful! If it wasn't that seeing is believing, I couldn't believe it,-I really couldn't !" My respect for the gloves and the walnut rose higher and higher. I sat with it on my lap all tea-time, and when I went to kiss



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170 SEE-SAW. Here we go up, up, up !" cried the children, as the plank rose into the sky on one side. I shall catch the tree-tops-no the church steeple-no the stars." Or, "Here we go down, down, down !" cried the others. Safe and snug on the ground-no right through the world-no out at the other side. Ah steady there, stupid old stump This was because the plank had swerved, not the tree. And so the game went on; for the ups and downs came in turns, and the children shrieked with delight, and the poor tree groaned loudly all the time. And I am to sit here, and bear not only their weight but their blame, and be called stupid and be told to keep steady, when it is they who are giddy and can't be depended upon ; and to be contented, while they do nothing but play pranks and enjoy themselves," said he; but he said it to himself, for he did not know which to complain to-the children or the plank. As he groaned, however, he thought of the time when he was king of the little



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108 UNOPENED PARCELS. "Well, Honor," replied he, "don't you see there was first the road along which the dog had traced his master; then the two roads at which he snuffed where his master had not been. Take these three from the four and you perceive there was only one road left, which the master could have gone. Because, take three from four and but one remains. You do perceive that, don't you ?" "Yes, papa." But the question is whether the dog perceived it--whether he calculated as you and I have done who have learnt or are learning our subtraction table. Coleridge says not. He says, either the story must have been untrue, or a breeze brought the master's track down the fourth road to the dog's nose without giving him the trouble of stooping to snuff-anything, in short, rather than believe the almost miraculous fact that even the most sagacious of all animals could have calculated arithmetically-take three from four and one remains." What do you think, papa ?" was my next idea.



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 19 Now no one present knew anything of the inside of orchis flowers (one does not notice everything one sees, you know), but as they were aware Sir Helix would expect an answer when he came out of his thinking nap, they felt they must exert themselves. The difficulty was that after what had happened every one was shy of going into an orchis flower at all. No one wanted a foreign body on his own head! "Suppose we begin," suggested the professor, "by examining what the foreign body really is. If we find that out, we can perhaps decide where it comes from, without dangerous personal experiments." The proposal was received with acclamation, and the afflicted bumble pressed forward eagerly, anxious to have his foreign body removed for the experiment. But this was more easily talked of than done. Even Dr. Earwig's surgical skill in twitching, pinching, and pulling failed. The foreign body resisted his efforts. "Attached does "c2





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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 43 'acquired in 'a natural search after food,' Bumble major is welcome to the admission. In the larger matter opened by this inquiry, you must each judge for himself. I have done so. Henceforth I live and die and think in the faith of the Great Unknown Intelligence who planned what I call, as Dr. Earwig did the flower, a masterpiece of ingenious contrivance, the scheme for the fertilization of orchids." 0 years that come and go, you have left the ruined castle and the cliffs still standing. Sunshine lights up the same bank-the same races of orchids flourish. Let the strollers on the grassy slope move softly, or perchance sit down and sleep. Then in a vision they may chance to hear the Bumbles still arguing the old questions, and observe the snail under the hart's-tongue fern still confident in his faith, the professor sure of his facts by the side. Let no one disturb either, for I say to all who would do so, You have nothing but darkness to offer them in exchange for their light.



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50 GHOSTS. dresses as they whirled by in the waltz, and inight otherwise have whisked their gossamer skirts against the bars. One touch was enough; no need to wait for a second. Those fire-ghosts are keen as Indians after their prey; when once they lay hold, they won't let go ; and woe betide the young ladies then! So the brass guard was hung across the grate, and did all it could to keep the fire within bounds. That was its business also. It had not only to keep the young ladies' dresses off the bars, but to prevent even the least scrap of burning coal or wood from bursting out and getting into the room -a dignified employment enough for the guard, but a mortifying restraint to a rollicking fire. Why don't you get rid of the fellow ?" puffed the Draught. "Here is an opportunity of a thousand for a frolic, and you are letting it slip hour after hour. I should scorn to be controlled without an effort !" Blow him aside yourself, if you can," roared the Fire. "Do you think I like a gaoler better than you do ?"



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r



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UNOPENED FARCELS. 147 "Well, of course, to begin with, it teaches what Mr. Tennyson says, you know, papa-' That men,' and all that ; because Uncle Frederick turned his -if you please let me call it fault-he was so very little !-into a ladder of St. Augustine." Papa made no reply, perhaps guessing from my voice that I had something else to say. But I could ncvt say it where I was. I got up and, big as I was, slipped on his knee, put my arms round his neck, and whispered in his ear" And then I ought to try to do the same: and I intend, papa-I do indeed. When I am going to be very cross I shall try and remember how hottempered I have been, and that if I watch against it very hard, perhaps I may be actually goodtempered some day, and then I shall have got up by my ladder.". By the grace of God you will," answered my father, as he returned my embrace. "And now we have got both moral and application to our story." Just one thing more, papa," I whispered, a L2



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A VISTON. 67 Looking round, I. found myself behind the reading-desk, and nearly facing a transept ; but by a turn of the head I could take in almost the whole length of the church, as it stretched away from the chancel to the western entrance : its long line of pillars and arches apparently descending as they retreated one beyond another, while the woodwork of the pews seemed running upward to meet them, in that far-off visionary point where all perspective lines converge. But oh that woodwork those dreadful pewlines how they grated on my feelings how they disturbed my temper I, fresh from the beautiful harmonies of the outer world I, as a student of Nature, so keenly alive to such influences It was a disappointment with aggravation too, for I had intended to worship that day in an Testhetically restored church: a church where, among other returns to the more refined style and better taste of our forefathers, carved oaken finials headed the divisions of the open sittings, and brought modern woodwork into accordance with the ancient architecture of the building.



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PARABLES FROM NATURE. FIFTH SERIES.



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128 UNOPENED PARCELS. see I was turning fast into an old fogie. And now that we came into closer contact there was one thing in my hero that puzzled me. Occasionally his thoughts seemed to drift away out of the range of anything or anybody present, and a painful, anxious look came into his eyes, which always reminded me of his face as I saw it on the water. Before I knew him I had noticed this mood, and attributed it to his brain being fixed on some profound and weighty subject of thought. Now it struck me differently. Now I fancied there was some trouble at work within ; but there was a reasonable clue to this, perhaps, in the fact that his mother was a widow left with a large young family to guide and see provided for. "The fit of abstraction always passed over quickly, and as unexpectedly as it had come on; and if one asked in what dreamland he had been wandering for the last few minutes, a smile or a joke turned aside the inquiry. It is a trifle to mention, but it acted as an effectual, though slight, bar to complete intimacy ; and when I joined him at college a year after he had left me at school, the



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18 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. "Nothing," hummed the bumble, in the most subdued of voices. "Have you no notion 'where you picked up this most extraordinary thing?" (Sir Helix was eyeing it from the tips of both horns as he spoke.) "Try to think, brother," he added, persuasively, where you have been this morning. Into some dirty shed among cobwebs and old baskets ? Into some stick heap or thatched roof? Eh? The thing looks like a twig of wood with a bud at the end of it, only I never saw one so small." No, he had done nothing but fly about sipping his breakfast in the usual places; except, indeed, that stupid visit he had paid the orchis flower. Why he went there he scarcely knew, they were such useless things. "Professor !" interrupted Sir Helix, with a shout as if he had made a sudden discovery-" are there foreign bodies in orchis flowers ? Reflect upon it, they had both been in them !" After saying which, and without waiting for an answer, he drew up his horns and retired into his shell once more.



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70 A VISION. building on every side !-I, who so lately, under the almond-trees, had mourned over the disturbance, disorder, and unsatisfactoriness, not only of human life in general, but of my own inward life in particular, as compared with the absolute perfection-let inquiry be pushed to its uttermost limits-of the inanimate world I, who had to own to a whole body of sin, warring with, and bringing into confusion, a nature intended for better things: and even when honestly warred against in return, with difficulty and imperfectly overcome. I-this I-to scandalize the congregation-hundreds of them, beyond a doubt, a thousand times better than myself-by leaving the church as if not worthy of my worship! I bowed my head in repentance for such a thought, and crouched in one corner of the ugly old-fashioned pew, thankful that it hid me from sight. And then I fell into one of those trances which sometimes take possession of men's minds. As has been known to happen to drowning or otherwise dying persons, my whole lifetime passed in review before me, in what seemed to me then



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 135 "Chiefly, because not having done it at the first right moment," answered my father, he delayed till he couldn't endure to revert to the subject. Sometimes, as he told me, the whole affair seemed such a trifle as not to be worth speaking about, especially after every one else appeared to have forgotten it. At other times it felt to him too dreadful to be spoken of at all In short, although life went on as usual-and with all young people the enjoyment of life is so strong that it overrules reflection-my poor hero was, as it were, haunted by his own imaginary ghost." But, papa, how could he do such a thing ?" I asked. "It arose thus," began my father: he was a nervous, imaginative child, and very restless at night; a very troublesome quality in a nursery, and one which was often getting him into scrapes. One night, not very long after his poor father's death, he awoke in a confused, half-conscious condition as usual, and, as usual, began to cry. As usual, too, came the nurses' remonstrance and orders to be quiet and go to sleep ; but these





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84 THESE THREE." By and by came another along the garden walk, and she saw it too. She was a bird of passage at the rectory, the old folks' granddaughter. It's perfect! cried she, clapping her hands when she had rushed through the gate to see what was to be seen in the shed. And it certainly was the most striking bit of still life she had ever seen since her master had set her to colour such things. In general, you know, people have to make a picturesque disorder for themselves. They must fetch a pan from the kitchen, a broken jar from the scullery, a torn napkin from the linen closet, and a stained hat from the garden scarecrow, and arrange them as carelessly as they can. But here there was a group ready made; she had only to fetch her paper and sketch it down-which she did. The shadow at the back of the shed threw out the teabox and flower-pot in bold relief, and the sunshine tipped the moss with an emerald fire. It was so in the scene, and she put it so on the paper. It was beautiful. "Very beautiful!" exclaimed the grandmother



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86 THESE THREE." "I will guard them and keep them fresh," whispered the Moss; and crept in among the old stony memories, till nobody would have known them again. Had the old lady of the house been about with eyes to see indeed, she would have called to the gardener, and bidden him scrape the moss off the walk, lest some one should fall; she had done so often enough before, of late years. One can't allow sentiment everywhere, you know. But nobody interfered now. The old lady was sick, and so was her old husband the rector, and the sound of footsteps had ceased along the old terrace walk. Alas! the memories it groaned under told a very different tale. Heaps of little feet, as well as the parents', had pattered on it once, and the moss had kept its place in the grass. And when the little feet grew bigger, and trod it oftener and firmer still, the moss still held back. Then by and by they dropped off-one pair after anothertill the old people's steps sounded alone on the gravel, and the walk must be scraped from time to time or it would have been overgrown and slip-



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. 155 beautiful gardens, that crystal river, the purple mountains, the glorious city-I know them all! Your song transports me there once more. It is the Tagus I hear rushing, as it pours from hills and woods to water the gardens on its banks Oh, waters of comfort and refreshment-oh, gardens of delight! why am I banished among strangers, insensible and dull of heart ?" The same sun by day, the same moon by night, stars watching above," sang the Nightingale in reply. "Fountains flowing for all, hopes that comfort all, love all-embracing, joy for ever in store, one home at last, ours, ever ours." Now this was merely the end of his song. "What he had said besides, only his listeners can tell you. "How our country must miss you!" sighed another (the Tomata, who had lately been planted out), but how could you leave it ? Who brought you away? Shall you ever go back ? If you do, take me with you. Back, back to the sunny fields where we grew together in beauty by thousands. Here I feel I must perish before the sun



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. 157 ing, I must return, I must return, this isolation is worse than solitude !" and the Bean got about as much higher up his pole for the same purpose; but when they heard the conclusion, The same sun by day, the same moon by night, &c.," the native land seemed merged into a common land, and the garden felt a world instead of a small enclosure. "Good, good, very good," cried they therefore at last. If this be true, there is no need to wander further." It was well perhaps they came to this conclusion, for the efforts they had begun to make would not have carried them far on the road to India, or even France Then beside all the smaller plants (of whom I have given but an instance or two), there were the fruit trees just in the same state. These were settlers, and you might have thought had got used to the country which had adopted them. But no, unless people were very tender over them, and gave them a warm wall and saved their roots from getting into ungenial soil, they got terribly out of sorts, and bore no fruit. There was the Peach, for instance; his case was a very trying one. He



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106 UNOPENED PARCELS. morning, for being as useless to young ladies aslet me see-as grandmamma's walnut." "Oh, papa !" I exclaimed. I said not a word more, but, no doubt, my voice sounded very doleful. I had argued hotly with my g-verness that morning that it was a great waste of time for me to learn arithnetic, "as I was not going to be a shop-girl." Never mind, Honor," said my father, "sit still and be happy ; we won't mention arithmetic again as you dislike it so much, though for my own part I own I feel an interest in the faculty which is supposed to distinguish a man from his dog-the faculty of calculation, I mean." "How, papa?" I asked, for I did not half understand what he meant, only as I was very fond of animals, and of dogs particularly, I wanted to do so if I could. Coleridge-" began my father ; but then he stopped, and looked inquiringly at me. "Yes, papa, I do know that !" I answered triumphantly. "Coleridge is the man who wrote the Ancient Mariner."



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42 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. MT;ST have existence. So irresistible, however, appears to me the evidence for this, that I will tell you another of my convictions. It is only a false pride which prevents your acknowledging it as I do. You refuse to be baffled. You roam the air and think you must compass all things. I retire into my shell and discover that we do but see in part and do well to admit it. The creed may be humiliating, but what do your leaders offer instead? Explanations far more incredible, because contradictory to reason and' unworthy of faith :-just consider them-either a constantly recurring series of accidents constantly working to one end, or races of beings which never communicate, immemorially endowed with foresight into each other's race-experience No I have never been hard of faith, but on such irrational dogmas as these I must remain a sceptic for ever. "I pronounce the verdict, then, on our lamented friend, 'Died from an accidental overcharge of foreign bodies.' I grant thus much to my learned friend Bumble major, and if you like to add,



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 107 It was my favourite poem, and I knew a great deal of it by heart. Very good," said my father; "well, then, Coleridge, who, as you know from the poem, loved animals as dearly as you do, tells a story he had heard of a dog who lost his master, and, after tracing him down a certain lane, came at last to a place where four roads met. The statement was that the dog hereupon put his nose to the ground, and snuffed two of the three roads he had come up to, but not finding his master's track on either, dashed down the third road without examination." This raised my interest completely. "Did he really, papa ?" I asked, almost interrupting him. That is the very point in dispute," said my father. "Coleridge thought not. The dog had certainly not learnt his subtraction table, you know, Honor-happy dog! eh ?-and therefore could not know from it that when you take three from four only one remains." My father paused till I said, "I don't understand. papa."



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158 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. could trace back his pedigree to Persia, and probably thought the Romans very presumptuous for ever transporting him to Italy; and here he was now, in cold, grey England. And he felt his whole being soften as he listened to the Nightingale's song. "It is the country of my ancestors you sing of," cried he passionately ; "I must have heard you before in dreams! Sing on, Bird of the East! Sing on, friend of the blushing rose gardens : You waft me to paradise. All is over for me, so long exiled in cold and darkness. Yet sing on of the fresh-falling fountains, and suns that never go down, and I shall go on dreaming the beautiful dream of the past." "The same sun by day, the same moon by night, stars watching above," trilled the 'Nightingale, as usual. "Love the ever-fresh fountain, love the undying flower, love the eternal sunshine, ours, ever ours." "I am content," sighed the Peach-tree, peacefully, and went on blossoming in hope. It is needless to go on. The Nightingale now



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 25 post at once and took another peep-but all was as before. The shapes stood still in the same place. They had neither given themselves nor been taken away-there was no fresh light on the subject. What was to be done? The professor began to face the idea that he must examine them himself. Suppose he laid hold of one with his pincers, for instance ?-In that case it could not, at any rate, fasten itself on his head !-Just then, however, there was another fanning of the air, announcing another visitor. Another butterfly was in search of food, another proboscis plunged into the nectary. Was the creature larger or more active than the last ? Had its proboscis more strength, or did it uncoil with more heedless violence ? Who shall say ? Certain it is that in the process it struck upwards against the round protuberance; there was a jar and crack in the delicate machinery, and out came a foreign body with its sticky ball. The professor had seen part of the process and surmised the rest. He would make sure, however. When the butterfly was about to fly off, therefore,



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CONSEQUENCES. "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindfleth. James iii. 5. "HERE goes !" shouted the stone as he left the hand of the school-boy and cleft the air. And There an end!" he added, as he splashed through the water to the bottom of the pond. But though he stuck fast in the mud himself when he got there, that was by no means the end of the affair. At the spot where he dropped in, some of the water was displaced by the shock, and driven back in a circular undulation or wave; and this formed a beautiful ring-like pattern on the smooth surface of the pond. And the first wave pressed the water behind it into a second, and there camni second circle, a B2



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172 SEE-SAW. him on the bark wherever he moved. It was his constitutional stroll, and he had continued it all the season, pursuing his morning reflections without interruption, and taking his nap in the grass afterwards, as regularly as the days came round. But napping through such lamentation was impossible, and accordingly he once more began to crawl up the side of the felled oak, his head turning now to one side, now to the other, his horns extended to the utmost, that, if possible, he might see what was the matter. But he could not make out, though he kept all his eyes open, in the strict sense of the words; so by and by he made the inquiry of his old friend the tree. What is the matter, do you ask ?" groaned the oak more heavily than ever-" you who can change your position and act independently when you wish; you who are not left a useless log as I am, the scorn and sport of my own kith and kin ? Yes, the very planks who balance themselves on my body, and mock me by their activity, have probably come from my own bosom, and once hung on



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22 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. like these. Our cousins the hive-bees, who find out pretty nearly everything, have a tradition that no flower-seeds can grow without it, and I believe them. Certainly it commonly falls on some sticky surface or stalk just over where the seeds lie. Why there's flower-dust enough in a single white lily to colour you bright yellow from horns to shell, Sir Helix If you'll come up into one with me some day I will show you." I had rather take the fact on trust from my learned brother," rejoined the sitting magistrate. Meantime, while I am thinking the matter over, surely you gentlemen who are so constantly inside the flowers will not have much difficulty in finding out which of them grows these (as you say) unusual flower-dust bundles. Adieu! Buzz into my shell when you can answer my question." He was gone, and the assistant bumble, a little disconcerted at the result of his interference, began to call for the professor to tell them what to do next. But the professor was gone too People talk of the courage of the lion, but me.



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. 153 how or other, when he sang everybody felt their own hearts touched; and if that is not a proof he spoke the universal language, there can be no such thing as a universal language in the world. Accordingly, when our Nightingale came out of the copse, near a magnificent kitchen-garden, one still midnight, and perched on an apple-tree bough and sang, everything that was alive and growing roused up to listen and converse. Now it was a very choice kitchen-garden, and there were a great many foreigners in it. Tomatas; Portugal Onions, French Marrows and Beans, for instance; American Cress, New Zealand Spinach, and ever so many more besides whose names I can't remember. And as plants are liable to be home-sick, like men, these occasionally bewailed themselves, wished themselves back at home, and treated with silent contempt the common cabbages, turnips, and even celery, who, as well as the weeds, called the garden their native land. Some of the foreigners had become naturalized, it is true, by long residence, and these took the matter easier; among them the Jerusalem Artichoke and



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"THESE THREE." 83 outside the paddock. But then she had come out with her distance spectacles on. "What's that in the shed yonder, looking so bright and pretty, my dear ?" asked she. "In the shed, Mary ? There can be nothing !" was his decisive reply. " There must be something, John, or I shouldn't see it," persisted she. We will go and look then, my love," said he, gently. For whether he had been a patient man all his life one cannot say, but he had grown into it now. So the old couple toddled through the gate to the shed, and he stepped aside and peeped in. "It's only a bit of fresh moss covering up a broken flower-pot, love," remarked he. It's young, and it's bright, and it shines." I see," said the wife ; and they stood still and looked together. "What a contrast to the old rubbish round it !" murmured the old man. "Life in death, as it were. Let us go home, dear !" So they went. a2



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"THESE THREE." It we, God's conscious creatures, knew But half your faith in our decay, We should not tremble as we do When summoned clay to clay."-Mortality. By the Author of "John Halifax, Gentleman." "BY your leave," whispered the Moss; but so gently as to disturb nobody-" by your leave" It was beginning to creep up an old broken red flower-pot, which stood on a rickety tea-box turned topsy-turvy under a shed. The broken flower-pot did not object, of course. Indeed, if it had had a heart to answer at all, it would have said, "By all means," and perhaps, "Thanks." As it was it stood still and said nothing, and the moss went on creeping.





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UNOPENED PARCELS. 97 every turn of the staircase; so that there would be some difficulty in discovering what they really expected by the time they get to the bottom. For, supposing the nursery to be high up in the house, and there to be four flights of stairs down to the drawing-room, each child would have guessed four different delightful things as part of the contents; and when you come to think of a family of six or eight children, you must admit it must be a very big parcel to satisfy them all. Not necessarily, however. There it stands, unopened, in the centre of the large round table, as the children enter the drawing-room with bated breath. Papa standing in front-for he always opened the parcels-mamma. not far off, ready to unpack it when opened; not a string touched yet, and the direction staring in the face of all who can read: The Masters and Misses-, Somewhere Villa, Some County, England. H



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SEE-SAW. 171 wood, where he had grown up from the acorn days of his babyhood, and it broke his heart to be so insignificant now. Why have they not cut me into plank like the rest ?" continued he, angrily. "I might have led the see-saw myself then, as this fellow does, who leans so heavily on my back, without a thought that I am as good or better than himself. Why have they not given me the chance of enjoying myself like these others-up in the sky at one end, down on the ground at the other, full of energy and life ? The whole timber-yard, but myself, has a chance. Position and honour, as well as pleasure, are for everybody except me. But I am to stick in a corner merely for others to steady themselves upon -unthought of or despised, made a tool of-merely that.-Miserable me !" Now this groaning was so dreadful, it woke the large garden snail in the grass hard by, whose custom it was to come out from his haunt under the timber-yard wall every morning at sunrise, and crawl round and round the felled oak, to see the world come to life, leaving a slimy track behind



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48 GHOSTS. drapery-folds. Not a corner was left uncovered. The very floor was carpeted with holland. Nothing could be more satisfactory, from the glass chandelier, whose tinted wax-lights threw a mellow "illumination over the whole, down to the polished fire-irons, which caught the reflection and sent it out again in a thousand fantastic gleams. And the fire in the shining grate grew hotter and hotter, for the servants had piled up coals upon wood, and wood upon coals, and left them to burn as they pleased. The air, too, being clear and frosty (for it was winter-time), the draught which swept through the large empty space from the opened window at the farther end was just of the kind to produce a blaze. "Flare up !" it seemed to be saying to the fire. And the fire flared accordingly, till the flames ran right round the wooden logs, so that they crackled and spit, and sent out sparks, which went up with the general roar of the burning into the dark, black chimney. You have heard the fire roar often enough, I dare say, dear reader; but have you ever wondered



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 29 "I hear by your voice that you bring news, doctor. Say on. I can listen as I am," said Sir Helix, coming to the door. And the following dialogue passed between them. Dr. Earwig. There are foreign bodies in orchis "flowers, Sir Helix. They are part of the flower. They hold the flower-dust." Sir Helix. What business have the insects to take them away then? People must expect to come to grief who meddle with what does not belong to them." Dr. Earwig. "But they don't take them; at least they don't know that they do." Sir Helix. "You refine, doctor, you refine. They must either take them or let them alone." Dr. Earwig. "No, it is drawing too straight lines to say so. They visit orchis flowers for food, and sometimes as they dive into a nectary a foreign body drops on their proboscis or head. You can't call that their taking it, can you ?" Sir Helix. Is it the flower's doing then ?" Dr. Earwig. "They cannot be said to do it either. The fact is, it happens. The entrance to



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UNOPENED PARCELS.



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GHOSTS. It is easier and safer, and more pleasant, to live in obedience, than to be at our own disposing."--JEREMY TAYLOR. THERE was nobody in the room; for, though it was the night of the yearly ball, the company had just gone down to supper. The walls were beautifully dbcorated from top to bottom. Bright pink calico, in alternate plain and plaited stripes, formed a-soft covering over the dark flock paper ; and bunches of artificial flowers held up festoons of the same material here and there. White muslin curtains hung gracefully round the mirrored shutters, and made the long side wall look like one sheet of glass, interrupted only by drooping



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 31 can and do use it for others. The flower-dust receptacles are so far off the sticky surface which requires dusting, that the flower cannot dust itself as other flowers do. Hence the seed would come to nothing and. the race die out but for-what do you think ?" Sir Helix. I am not fairly in my shell and do not choose to think." Dr. Earwig. Well then-but for these extraordinary accidents of insects carrying away the flower-dust. Away they go afterwards into other flowers-the foreign body knob foremost, you understand, so that it strikes the sticky surface which happens to lie just in its way at the entrance of the nectary. Whereupon off come one or two flower-dust packets and the deed is done! The sticky surface is scattered over with dust, the seeds vivify, the race goes on !" Sir Helix. "And the insect gets no credit for what it has done ? Dr. Earwig. It has earned none. It was helping itself to food in both cases-nothing more." Sir Helix. "The flower then ?"



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A VISION. 71 its full details. Yes! even more vividly than under the almond-trees, pressed upon me the sense of my unworthiness as a human being born to an immortal destiny, gifted with immortal capabilities; and then for a moment or two of excited thought, which at the time seemed an age in duration, I suffered, as I suppose those suffer, who, in the first moment of disembodiment, discover they have lost their own souls, whether or no they have gained the whole world. It was a terrible fancy; and I shrank lower and lower as it pressed on me-when, all at once, a voice broke on my ear, and rang along the length of the church-loud, distinct, intelligible"When the wicked man turneth away from the wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive." In an instant I had sprung to my feet and opened my Prayer-book-and there, in black and white, stood the blessed words before my eyes. When the wicked man" (and no limit as to time. It might be earlier or it might be later, so



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96 UNOPENED PARCELS. infancy, and are dear to children as a colonist's parcels are to him. For at the old home live all that are left of the older generation, and among them there is sure to be some one-a grandmother, an uncle, or an aunt-who knows the turns of each little heart in the distant younger household; and has listened to all manner of small confidences about likes and dislikes, and what every child would do and have, if it but could. So when papa shouts at the foot of the stairs, "A parcel from the old home, dears !" the rush of ecstasy that follows is overpowering. No one can get down the stairs half fast enough, and yet they keep chattering all the way as they run, and all at once; so that there is nobody left to listen but the nursemaid, who is following with the youngest in her arms; and she, I am sure, would not allow she had heard a single word, through the hubbub of so many tongues. Nevertheless, they have talked to some purpose ; all being persuaded that the thing they most wish for in the world has come in that parcel; only they probably change their minds as to what that particular thing is, at



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"THESE THREE." 81 and tightened his loose mortar. He could stand his ground now twice as well as before. "You make me young again," blushed the worm-eaten Beam (being wood, you know, he must needs blush green). This was just the tint of my fine-flavoured leaves! sighed the Tea-box to himself, though he could not have had a very good eye for colour to have said so. I wonder what the thing is !" He wouldn't ask, you see, because he came from the Celestial empire, and declined intercourse with his inferiors. So the moss was welcome everywhere, even to those who would not acknowledge it; even to the flower-pot, though it said nothing. It was troubled with a sort of As you please" feeling,-that was the fact. Indifference as to what any one could do, or that could possibly happen henceforth for ever. Meanwhile the days rolled after each other as before, and the moss reached the broken side of the pot. This is bad indeed," it whispered; but crept on steadily all the same, stealing over the sharp, G





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72 A VISION. that it be) "turneth away from the wickedness that he hath committed" (and no reservation as to amount), he shall save his soul alive." (AmenO God-dear-merciful-omnipotent!) There needed no more. The painful delusion was over. It had passed like a cloud. I drew a long heavy breath of freedom as I stood gazing at the words. I had been shivering a minute before, but now the warm moisture broke over me like a restoration to life. Thus this brief trite sentence, so often heard without emotion, had come charged to me now with the salvation of a world. How was this, or how was it I had not so felt it before ? The answer was easy. In my vision of suffering I had realized that need of my nature to which this declaration was the answer. The burden of sin had been felt; and what wonder that my soul leapt at the promise of relief, as I listened to the concluding words of the Exhortation!' Here was the call; here the explanation of this gathering of ourselves together-of the directions how rightly to use the blessing: and for once I



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" THESE THREE." 85 when she saw it: "Life in death, dear, as you said," she added, handing it to her husband. "That should be written underneath." "But there will soon be nothing but life," laughed the girl. "The moss has come all the way down the field, and is hard at work in the shed-covering up all the miserable old rubbish; you untidy old grandfather, for leaving it there !" "Write 'Charity' underneath, then," cried he, turning his face to her with a gentle smile. "I shall write both," murmured the girl, for something had touched her feelings. So she took out a pencil and wrote "Life in Death. CHARITY." But she printed the last word in capitals. * 3(** "By your leave," whispered the Moss again. This time it was creeping from the moist edge of the lawn on to the terrace walk in front of the house. "By your leave." And nobody objected; only the old Gravel kept groaning to himself, "I have such memories Ah me such memories !"



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88 THESE THREE." then the house was left desolate till new owners should come. There had been crowds to see the funeral, of *course. Curiosity and respectmingle on such occasions, and people peered through the gate or wandered about the grounds. At last came one who stood gazing till he could see nothing for tears. He looked up at the empty house where he once had friends to bid him welcome, then down at the green pathway to the grave over which they had passed for ever, and then through the trees to the church beyond: and then he took out his tablets and wrote. It is very odd. Though I believe he wrote a poem, I cannot recall the words. But the title at the top I see before me yet. It was the same the girl had written under the sketch: "Life in Death." Only after it, as the poet sat dreaming, he traced four capital letters, and these were not the same as had been written on the sketch, for the four letters spelt Hope." "By your leave," whispered the Moss once more.



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A VISION. 65 would be no relief to the darkness around us; no key to the mystery of such contrasts. The calm of the natural world, so soothing now as confirming the announcement of God's tender mercy, would then but mock us in our deficiency, adding confusion to confusion. Thanks be to God, then, for the anchor by which we hold through the storm. "The Holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Thee." Redeemer as well as Maker, Comforter as well as Redeemer Now, whether I had not thoroughly known, or in my hurry had accidentally missed, the way to the restored church, I cannot say: but I have a recollection of getting confused among the streets, of making several inquiries of people who did not seem to comprehend me (perhaps because in my fear of being too late I gave them too little time to answer) ; and, finally, of coming, by a sharp turn of the street, suddenly and unexpectedly upon the porch. I stepped hastily in, and had almost entered the building itself under the disagreeable impression that the service must have begun, but at the inner F



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 141 had pronounced. "Looking back upon the past with the self-reproach of a later intelligence," continued my father, my friend took a terrible estimate of his early transgression; one that would have satisfied even you, Honor. Let that suffice. Our interest in the matter is to know what followed-what effect was left upon his mind. Hundreds of well-meaning people in the world, I know, would tell you that there could be but one answer to such a question; that he must have turned out ill. What happened really? A few more years, better health-continued Christian training--fitting companionship-turned a puny baby into a strong boy, sound in body as in mind : what came then of the one dark corner in his heart ? Because he had been deceitful once, and had not even yet the courage to own it, was he therefore to go on being deceitful more and more ? Was the evil to spread like a leprosy over his whole nature? Quite otherwise; quite the reverse even! If his mother had been asked which, of all her children, was, during the years of his intelligent boyhood, the most conscientious, the



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 139 upon him by nurse, and he not disclaiming it at once-he in point of fact accepted it. After which retreat was difficult. He invented no particulars, and never talked about it, it is true, but he never denied it. When his little sister (who had her misgivings) inquired if he had really seen anything, and what-his one answer was that 'he had seen papa.' It was the only account he ever gave. "Thus weeks passed over, ard as the child did not fall ill and die, as the nurses expected, the affair of the ghost-seeing was almost forgotten, and nursery discipline going on as before, when suddenly the scene was repeated. Again a restless sleep, again an agitated waking, and again Master Tommy saw something. Only on this occasion the disturbance happened before the family were in bed, and the child having got up and rushed into the front nursery screaming after his papa, the noise brought his mother to the door. "This was the moment," continued my father, "for which my friend could never forgive himself. He allowed his mother to be deceived "The mere sight of her face, he assured me,,



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A VISION.



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 127 of my hero, for the presumption of having attempted certain sketches of his face on the backs of some exercises. And if unintentional caricaturing deserved punishment, I was rightly served. "By and by invitations came to him from my father and mother, which one day he accepted; but though, while a visitor among us, the courtesies due from a visitor to his host's family went on in the usual way, our relations on our return to school resumed their old footing. He was unusually forward, I backward, beyond what I ought to have been. The gulf was very wide between us, as my father told me when he parted from me, adding with his last kiss the warning assurance, 'If you want that boy's friendship, you will have to deserve it.' And to cut a long story short, this was what I tried for; and I was so far successful that a day came when my hero and I were associates and I may say friends. "By that time, though-mournful to relatethe egouement had so far subsided into rational appreciation that I would no longer have sworn black was white because he said it.' So you



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104 UNOPENED PARCELS. my father at night, I had it still in my hand. "That's right," said he; "you will never forget that walnut as long as you live, Honor." As I listened, I opened it out before him, to give him a last peep at its contents. It's wonderful, papa, isn't it ?-quite wonderful 1" exclaimed I, rather proud of entering into nurse's grown-up feelings. "Wonderful ? Hm !" murmured he; "not half as wonderful as when the walnut was insid, Honor." He said this rather oddly, I thought. But I concluded he was joking, so I laughed myself. "The idea of the wonderfulness of a conmmon walnut which one eats !" cried I. "It's being common and your eating it, does not prevent its being wonderful, little Honor," was his reply; "there are many unopened parcels in the world to tell you that, if you do but look into them. There, go to sleep now, and dream of what they can possibly be !" I think I never went to bed so much puzzled before.



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 121 as long as you live think that, my child. I never meant it." No, papa," was all I could answer. Only," he continued, to human beings who are liable to sin every day of their lives it is a comfort unspeakable to believe that even that evil may be turned to good; that sin really repented of and borne in our minds as a warning may make us more specially watchful on that special point than we might otherwise have been. That is all, and it is a great deal, but I hope you did not think I meant more than that." "Papa, I don't think I thought much about it at all afterwards," was my lucid reply to this appeal, as he has often since told me. He said, Quite right, Honor," at the time, and smiled, and bade me go and murder my bulbs as fast as I pleased. Whereupon I protested, and he went on to assure me that Lord Mayor's .day, November 9, was the only proper day in the year for the setting of bulbs, and if I persisted in putting them in the ground several weeks earlier-well, he would not be answerable for the consequences.



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 33 consideration of the evidence, the gentler hour brought a gentler tone into the buzz of the argument. Still the Bumbles had their opinions, and bumbled freely what they thought. Bumble major, for instance, was an accidentalist," and smiled with benign contempt at the fuss everybody was making about a few common-place facts. As to attempting to explain everything that existed or happened, he wished any one patience and a long life who attempted it. He found so many things puzzling and contradictory, that he had come to the conclusion that everything happened by accident, and might have happened five hundred other ways if it had so happened it had. Consequently, it was a mere waste of time to theorize about facts, as if any sort of body or being had either the credit or the blame of causing them. Chance had caused them-it caused everything. With this simple solution in his mind it had amused him much-in spite of the sad occasion which had brought them together-(here the widow sighed audibly)-to observe the tendency everybody seemed to have to discover something beyond D



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" THESE THREE." 91 "And I to Life," murmured the Moss. "I like the stone where the people's names grow green," said the children as they passed; and sometimes they went up to it, and touched the soft letters with their fingers, and laughed. Sometimes, indeed, they read them aloud, and clapped their hands at the mighty feat. So the poor good folks were not quite forgotten. One day came by a new rector, and stopped. It was early morning, and the eastern sunshine lay upon the stone-upon the stone and the mossy letters; and the rector stood still and read. A shower had just fallen and bedewed them, and they glittered in green and silver before his eyes. Then the rector went home and wrote a sermon (I must have seen it in my dreams, I think). The superscription was Life in Death," and a word in capital letters followed, but it was not the same as either of those I had seen before. It was blotted too, or I might have told you more about it ; and, only that men seldom cry, I could have fancied the rector had given a tear to his ancient predecessor before writing his text.



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54 GHOSTS. collision, and sent them spinning against the crinoline guard. It was the side where the hook was not fast, and it gave way, and the burning fuel came floundering on the floor. The floor ? Yes but it was covered with holland, and this the fire-ghosts laid hold of at once : ran along it like a stream, devouring it as they went. Then up, up, up, among the stripes and folds of pink calico, making mouthfuls of the flower festoons wherever they found them; swinging here, flying out there, just as the crowds of dancers had done before, wherever they pleased. And so on and on round the room, till nothing was left of the white muslin curtains but a few light ashes, which eddying draughts carried up to the ceiling. At last the fire-ghosts had danced -over everything, and the mild little wax-lights had melted away in grief. Now at last I have asserted my rights," said the Fire; "now at last I am using my powers fully and for myself; now comes my turn to be master"



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A VISION. 73 was prepared to obey. And when I sank on my knees for confession, and the wholesome rain of tears overflowed my cheeks, still, even amidst the choked utterances of each acknowledgment, my spirit "rejoiced in God my Saviour." True, indeed, the mystery with which I started remained a mystery still-the perfection of the lower, the perversion of the higher natures. But those who have recognized with keenness their personal responsibility for some, at any rate, of the evil which exists, care but little to theorize about its origin. What the soul yearns for then is a remedy, and, God be praised, that is never wanting wherever the Gospel of the Redeemer is known. Under this thought the contrasts which had seemed so painful before, ceased to distress me. As I returned, Ilooked at the almond-trees and the blue sky, and read in the perfection of the lower nature the assurance that God wills the perfection of the higher, while the consciousness of present evil was absorbed in the joy of the mercy by which it is remedied. If I went to church that morning with less



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 145 the world as a truth he believed in, my hero was convinced: a fact I discovered most conclusively by his turning the tables on me and pretending to be amused at my eagerness. And then there broke over his face that happy smile, the like of which I never saw on human face but his" "You forget Uncle Frederick's, papa," said I here, interrupting him. "No," replied my father, "I do not. It is your Uncle Frederick I am thinking of at this moment. My dear friend and your dear uncle are one and the same person." I almost shrieked with amazement. "And it was Uncle Frederick who saved you from drowning, and married your sister ?" I asked. My father assented by a nod. "And was that the way he became a great man ?'I I asked next. By marrying my sister ?" inquired my father, smiling. "6No, papa: by fighting so hard to be honest and true, I meant." "I shall say 'Yes' to that, Honor," was my L



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 101 too much. They filled at once with tears, and I felt my lips trembling with distress. Still my father only smiled. Little Honor," said he, in a whisper, "you are too impatient. You have not half opened your parcel yet." e The paper in which the walnut had been wrapped was lying on the floor. I picked it up and held it before him inside and out, to show him his mistake. I should have said, I have opened it quite, papa," if I had been able to speak at all. "Oh nonsense !" papa went on, but still with a smile; "that's only the outside paper, child! Listen, little Honor, your parcel is still unopened -do you hear? Take it back; look at it for yourself." I took it from his hand and sat down, and I turned the walnut round and round, and looked at it, but only as one looks at things from which one expects nothing, and dislikes the sight of. My eyes merely wandered over it, that is to say ; all my heart and attention were given to the one thought, "Why had grandmamma been so cruel as to send me only a walnut ....



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160 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. When once thou goest forth, thou art seeking it elsewhere-not here." The lad buried his face in his hands, and groaned aloud. Then suddenly the Nightingale's song rang through the still, clear air; and the young man started to his feet. As of old, no doubt, and often heard, but yet with some new feeling now, fell the sounds on his troubled ear, and he was ,roused from the lassitude of despair. "So, so, yes, so, I have heard you before; but, alas how often with indifference, and now you torture my brain You tell me of the home I must leave, and all the happiness that is over for ever. Who will care for me so much again? Yet who will regret me if they know I am well elsewhere ? /I hate life and successeverythingand you, for you break my heart! Be silent, and leave me alone !" But the Nightingalesang on. "The same sun by day, the same moon by night, stars watching above; love uniting all; grief



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GHOSTS. 51 "It is your business, not mine," whistled the Draught. "I can take care of myself." But he only said this because he felt his puffing to be in vain, and did not care to own his inefficiency. The hook which held up the crinoline guard on one of the sides at any rate was quite firm, and he had no power against it. But I am not at liberty as you are," expostulated the Fire. "More shame for you !" whistled the Draught. "What have you got powers for, if you can't use them ?" "But I can't," bellowed the Fire. "Because you truckle to other people's convenience, and let yourself be controlled," persisted the Draught. P "Be controlled !" repeated a musical echo from above. "It is safest and pleasantest-look at us !" It was the wax-light ghosts in the chandelier that spoke. As fire, you know, they had their ghosts like other people; only these were well-regulated ghosts, who lived happy under guidance, and never tried to set up for rulers. E2



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116 UNOPENED PARCELS. I did not speak, for although I thought it an interesting story about old John, I could not all at once reconcile myself to the thought of those tedious answers in the Catechism that had so long been my Sunday's dread. My father broke the silence. "And there are yet other unopened parcels, Honor; but I do not like to say too much about them. Only this. As I talk to you now, so I was once talked to myself; but I was impatient, more so than you, my child, a thousand times; and it was not till the hand of death came between me and my poor mother that I thought seriously of anything she had said. I loved her, however, and my grief was almost indignation, it was so stormy. That was a dark, heavy burden, Honor, but it opened at last into light. My bitter regret for past indifference helped it to do so, perhaps. I taxed my memory to recall what I could never hear again. I got up many a time in the night to put down on paper any words which occurred suddenly to my mind ; and much that I have said to you is but an echo of those old memories. And



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114 UNOPENED PARCELS. one as specially ordained as baptism-the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. This old man, John" by name, went up to his clergyman one day after morning service was over, and announced that he should like to come next Sunday to the Holy Communion, if he might. But would the clergyman be so good as to tell him what to do, he was so afraid of coming unworthily, or of doing wrong, and so making himself worse ? I see the old man now," said my father, "as he stood in his Welsh wig before the clergyman, lifting very nearly sightless eyes to where he thought his pastor's face might be. And what do you think the clergyman did, Honor? He had not been in the place long, so he knew but little of the old man personally, and he might have said, Come to my house and tell me all about yourself, and your past life, and I will explain the responsibilities you incur by approaching the Lord's Table ;' and the two might have met there accordingly, and argued up and down the mysterious question of fitness and spiritual condition, till the one was hopelessly confused and the other disap-



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126 UNOPENED PARCELS. pointment. Everybody, as well as myself, thought him a fine fellow, and respected him. With how good reason you may suppose, when I tell you they do so still." My father paused, and I half jumped from my seat in surprise. Then he was alive; wouldn't papa tell me who it was; did I know him? &c. I begged very hard, but in vain, and my father continued his account. "You have heard enough of schools, Honor, to know that whatever feelings of this, I suppose, romantic character I entertained, I had to keep to myself. Anything like friendly intercourse with him was out of the question. His only reception of my stammered thanks the day after the accident was, 'Don't be such a little fool again,' accompanied by a grim smile as he turned on his heel. All this was en regle, and I knew it, but not the less did I think and sometimes dream of the powerful face with the anxious, earnest eyes. as I had seen them in my extremity above that terrible water. ...Nay, one day I was punished by a heavy box on the ear from a friend



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148 UNOPENED PARCELS. few minutes afterwards. "What did his mother say when he told her ?" "Oh, haven't I mentioned that ?" cried my father. She said, 'I have suspected as much for years. Now I know it. Kiss me, my darling." Then she was not angry a bit, papa ?" "How could she be, with such a son, Honor ? That he was what he was, was enough for her-is always enough for a parent. Out of which fact comes the 'larger hope,' that such love is but the adumbration of the love and mercy of the Father in heaven."





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CUNOPENED PARCELS. 131 'It is perfectly orthodox,' I cried, and quoted the translation of an ancient hymn in which the same expression occurs. He nodded assent, smiling, and went on, never hesitating again, though he stopped many times to utter admiration or better to understand the sense, which often required careful re-reading. One's brain was warm in those days," continued my father, and by the time we had ended and discussed the introductory poem, an hour had elapsed, and we were both worked up to a high state of mental excitement. Then we went on, he reading as before : 'I hold it truth with him who sings To one clear harp in divers tones, "That men may rise on stepping-stones Of their dead selves to higher things.' When, what was my surprise to see my friend fling the book down, lay his arm on the table, and bury his face upon it! I called him by name and asked what was the matter. "' Do you believe it ?' said he. "' It ? what' ? cried I, for I was too much bewildered about him to be thinking of the book. S2



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16 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. The widow was indignant. Did the sitting magistrate or the bumbling barristers or Dr. Earwig mean to insinuate that her poor dear husband had grown those nasty things? They were very much mistaken if they thought so! His proboscis was as clean and polished at twilight of the previous day, when they flew out together, aswell, as one of the sitting magistrate's horns when fresh from its socket. Of that she was certain. But being cross-questioned by the bland professor, who had a remarkable knack of insinuating himself into corners and confidence, she admitted that she had once or twice before seen one of those nasty things(" Foreign bodies!" interposed Sir Helix, with a chuckle. "Nasty things," persisted the widow.)on her husband's proboscis ; but they had always got rubbed off after a time. "Besides," added she, with a toss of her head, other creatures can pick them up too. For instance, there was one on the head of one of the bumbling barristers who came to fetch me just now."





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4 CONSEQUENCES little bigger than the first; and this caused another, and this another, and so on, after the manner of waves; till half the pond was moving and marked over with circles, which got wider and wider, but feebler and flatter, the further they spread. Now it was evening, and the sun was setting in ruby and gold; and each circle of water, as it formed itself, caught the glow on its edge, and was tipped with colour and light; and the school-boy stood on the bank looking at it all. The first circles glittered most, perhaps, because their edges were. highest and sharpest; but the further ones rolled over like molten ore, till, as they stretched out feebler and flatter, the gleams seemed to die out gradually altogether, and the pond became pale and smooth, and the boy had seen all that was to be seen. Then he too shouted There an end !" and ran away. But though the boy could see no more, and had gone home, that was not the end of the matter either.



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7I. Sn ~Ii-/ l---.L--,-( I So the poor good folks w'ere not quite IborgoLt n. Theose three.Fae 9.



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GHOSTS. 53 you," shouted the Draught. "Frolic with me now round the room ; you have the right, if you have the power. But to stick in that narrow grateyou, who might rule the world; to stick in that narrow grate-merely to do good to others--" "Do good to others," echoed the ghosts from above. There is no other security for yourself." They were such conservative ghosts, you see, and had such peculiar ideas about freedom But, as before, no one listened, for the Draught was still talking. "It's a disgrace to your nature," was the concluding remark ; and it lashed the poor Fire into a frenzy. The heat of the room, too, was becoming insufferable, and everything seemed bursting. The woodwork had much ajdo not to warp; the metals felt ready to melt, and the lass mirrors to crack; when, lo there came a crash and a dull blow on the ground. A charred log had given way, and fallen against a lump of coal which was but lightly balanced on the upper bar of the grate. A gust from the window had helped them as they came in



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120 UNOPENED PARCELS. PART III. Two years! it sounds a long time to write of, but oh how soon it slips away when the little daily details of life go on uninterrupted by any startling joy or sorrow Yes; it was really two years before my father and I spoke again on the subject of our last conversation, and yet when we did, it came back upon me like a recollection of yesterday. We had had a few more words about it the very next morning, it is true, but I do not call that conversation. I was running through the hall after lessons, with a flowerpot in one hand and a rake in the other, when the library-door opened, and my father's voice called me in. I felt in a terrible hurry, and he saw it, but laid a hand on each of my shoulders to enforce attention. "One-moment, Honor," said he; "just this one! I have been half afraid that I puzzled you last night, and made you suppose I thought it almost better to have done wrong, if one only xepented, than to have 'kept innocency.' Never



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UNOPENED PARIELC .117 thus you see, Honor, the words of the poet are no fiction. And it is possible, that 'men may rise on stepping-stones Of their dead selves to higher things; that even a fault repented of may lead us to a deeper feeling of right and wrong than we had before." "Do you really think so, papa ?" I asked; for the doctrine seemed to me rather different from the tendency of many pretty story-books I had read. I hope so, at any rate, Honor," said my father; "but it is too large a subject to begin now. We have sat the fire out.. Let us go up to mamma to tea." "After all, there is one thing you have not explained, papa," said I, breaking a silence just before bidding good-night. "When I called the walnut-shell with the gloves inside 'wonderful? the first night, you said, H'm! not so wonderful as when the walnut was there.' Do you remember



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64 A VISION. tracted to grasp ; on the other by a minute perfection our senses are too coarse to follow. Wonderful, thought I to myself, that there should be any one living who can look on these things and not admire; or admiring, rest in admiration, and not go on to adore "All Thy works praise Thee, O Lord, and Thy Saints give thanks unto Thee." But by this time the bells were ringing loudly in my ears, and I hurried on. Yet with a desperate sigh; for I had not ceased to think. And now, as I walked forward, I went on thinking still. Thinking with pain of the contrast between that inanimate creation and the animate life of which I was conscious in myself. Perfection there--such imperfection here Peace in the one-discord in the other; and this not in my individual case only, but in that of all the "animate nature of the world: the discord greater and more difficult of solution (in the musical sense of restoration to harmony) the higher the scale of life: in the human race most difficult of all! But for the written word of Revelation, in fact, there



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SEE-SAW.



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 15 "There's sense in that," interposed the sitting magistrate, and I give way accordingly. Brother Bumbles, we will call what the professor has found on the moth's proboscis foreign bodies, if you please. You're sure they're not a disease by-theway, professor ?" Can't be, Sir Helix, can't be," stammered Dr Earwig, hastily (it was only when flurried he called the sitting magistrate by his family name). "Never met with such a case in all my experience." "Call the widow !" said Sir Helix, authoritatively, and a couple of bumbles immediately fetched her from the top of an orchis spike, whence she was watching proceedings. "Be so good madam, as to observe the foreign bodies on your deceased husband's proboscis. My friend Dr. Earwig will point them out to you." Which Dr. Earwig did as soon as he could persuade the poor lady to flutter over the corpse and look. "Has your husband been suffering from these long ?a That was the way the sitting magistrate put the inquiry.



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 105 PAR,T II. An evening or two afterwards I went down to the library in the "gloaming" for a book. It was on the table by the fire-place, and when I got there, I saw my father in his arm-chair, sitting alone, looking into the firelight. As was our wont in those happy days, when we had yet a father-king and priest-to look up to. I went up to him and kissed his forehead. He took my hand in his, but still sat looking into the fire. Then a sudden thought struck me. "Papa," said I, don't you think you could tell me something about those other unopened parcels you talked about ? I've so often wondered what they were." To be sure !" cried he, rousing up completely. Sit down, Honor, and I will count you up a dozen at once." I was on the stool at his feet instantly, my hand still in his. To begin with," pursued he, there is arithmetic, which I heard you abusing so angrily this



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144 UNOPENED PARCELS. "The oddest thing of all," pursued my father, was, that up to almost the last moment of giving me this account my hero was perfectly unconscious of this part of the lesson it taught. I literally had to 'point the moral and adorn the tale' myself by asserting its glorious confirmation of those words of Tennyson, which he had begun by disputing Nor can I ever forget the triumphant delight with which I first saw his old view of himself waver and fall. "'But how am I to shake off the black dog who will jump on my back when I think of it he objected. "'Turn him a beautiful sky-blue,' cried I (alluding to a story of a witty child who said he had done so when he recovered his temper), 'by telling your mother.' His countenance fell for one brief moment. 'What will she think of me ? That's dreadful.' 'What do I think of you,' cried I, 'who am only your friend The argument was unanswerable, and when that was settled, and I had boldly told him he stood before me a living example of what Tennyson had proclaimed to all



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A VISION. .69 my hand instinctively, and sat down again, irritated by the detection, and flushed by something like shame. And then my mind drifted into a train of self-inquiry and reproach, as so often happens when one is excited and tired. And vexed at being where I was, yet vexed with myself for being vexed, I had a sensation of being doubly in the wrong. Who and what was I, to take umbrage about trifles in a house hallowed to the service of God; one, too, where generations had worshipped Him in the faith of His dear Son long ages before I was born? The very monuments which had just offended me, now reproached me by their Christian acknowledgments. For were they not records of those who had from time to time departed to their rest in the faith The place had been good enough for them then; and where did I expect to be in the great Hereafter, that it was not good enough for me ? I, too, to be so very particular; to set myself up above my fellows-those congregations already laid to sleep, as well as that now pouring into the



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UNOPENED PARCELS. "*Judge not the play before the play is done."-F. QUARLES. PART I. OH, the charm of an unopened parcel! and oh, for childhood's measureless faith in its contents I do not speak here, of course, of those dull packages which come to order, and have a "goods bill" as well as goods inside-so many pounds of tea, or so many cheeses, or the like. But I am thinking of those delightful parcels-love-parcels, let us call them-of which no one has too many in his lifetime; which come to us fresh from the kind hands that have both furnished and packed them. These are the "Old Home Parcels" of one's



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164 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. be when she should once more look upon them within the golden gates-pictures too of a glory to be revealed there, compared to which earthly glories are poor shadows; and she bade the bird sing on, for, said she, More is given even now than is taken away." In another dwelling sat an aged servant over a feeble expiring fire. I go out like it," mused he sadly. When lo! the Nightingale's voice struck even his dull ear, and aroused him to thought. But it distressed him. Oh cease," he cried: do n ot bring round me the visions of my youthof those days of power and activity, when the eye never wearied of seeing, nor the ear of hearingthe days of aspiring enjoyment. Now, crippled and weary, useless, cumbering the ground, leave me to patient endurance; let me at least forget the past." "The same sun by day, the same moon by night," sang the Nightingale. The past a type of the future. Life ever returning. Love the eternal renewer." And as the song went on, past and



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 123 here, too; saying which I pushed the volume into his hand. ITe took it and read, and as he did so a strange feeling seized me of how near the distant past, of whichjI had not thought for so long, had come to the present. It was like having that other evening over again, only I was conscious of understanding so much better and caring so much more now. Certainly I had not grown into my teens without a change. But I sat on the same seat, in the same place, and the same voice spoke at my side: "This is the true elixir of hope for poor weak humanity, Honor, if one could but administer it where it is needed. Men need' to be saved from self-contempt as well as guilt, or they easily drop from fallibility to recklessness; and no argument could be so effectual as this-that sin repented of may be the stepping-stone to a more stable holiness than the untried innocence even of another Adam, were that to be had. May be is all I dare to say, remember. Whether it shall be rests with each individual himself. It is a great truth, and I wish I could spread faith in it to the four quarters of the globe-



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152 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. to ask any more questions, but began to write verses about it instead. What becomes of you when you have hatched your eggs and reared your young ones ?" growled the Naturalists. But the Nightingale piped his answer over their heads, and that let out no more than the trill had done. Yet he kept friendly with all creation, and contrived to communicate with all. Indeed, it was generally thought he came from everybody's country, for he understood all languages; or rather, I ought to say, himself spoke the universal language which all creatures understand without learning. Certain it is he was a general favourite, and welcome wherever he went, as any one is sure to be who knows the universal language, and consequently can feel what his neighbour feels-that is, sympathise with him. Only in the Nightingale's case nobody could quite make out whether they were sympathising with him or he with them. Not that it mattered which, perhaps; and the truth was, there was a mixture of both. Some-



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124 UNOPENED PARCELS. SThat men may rise on stepping-stones Of their dead selves to higher things.' And those are the words whicr state it most forcibly to my mind, besides being intimately connected with a very interesting case which I should like to tell you about." I edged my stool closer than ever to my father, and he began: "When I was a boy at school my life was saved by a lad a year older than myself, and far out of reach of my acquaintance in school. A party of us were out bathing, and I hadsillily struck out beyond our appointed boundsto peep round a rock or some such nonsense-when an unexpected current carried me away. I battled against it as long as I could alone, for I was ashamed to call for help; but presently cramp seized me, and then, as you may suppose,J shouted pretty lustily. No one.had noticed my disappearance, and they had some difficulty at first in finding out where the cry came from; but at last the lad I speak of saw me, and swam at once to my rescue. Before he could reach me I was almost exhausted, and



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 115 pointed at the impossibility of getting an old man of eighty to follow a train of thought. But no a better way suggested itself to the clergyman. "' John,' said he, 'you know your Catechism ?' "'Known it, sir, boy and man, these seventy years,' said old John. "' Listen then, John. What is required of them who come to the Lord's Supper ?' John lifted even his Welsh cap off his bald pate, and answered at once :-' To examine themselves, whether they repent them truly of their former sins, steadfastly purposing to lead a new life; have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death; and be in charity with all men.' The parcel had been shut up a long time useless, Honor, but it came open at last. Old John went home without a misgiving. He could say 'Amen' heartily to all those requirements ; and not a bishop in the land could tell him more was necessary. He came to the Lord's Supper the next Sunday, and continued an habitual communicant till he died." 12





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78 THESE THREE." It had been in honour once, that poor old, broken-down flower-pot. It had stood in a handsome green stand in a drawing-room window, and people had come up to it and said, How beautiful !" But that was a long time ago, and because it held inside a lovely yellow rose in full flower, and the How beautiful !" was meant for the rose. Still, next to being admired oneself, comes having something to do with those who are, especially if one can be of use to them; and the flower-pot was as proud of supporting the tea-rose in its bosom as a flower-pot can be of anything. Well, either the gardener was careless as well as old, or else the severe winter alone was to blame ; but certainly one day the yellow rose died, and the old lady of the house (everybody was old about the place) said to the servants, "Take it away at once ; I cannot bear the sight of it So they carried it out of the room, and the gardener wheeled it down to the shed in the corner of the paddock, and set it upright on the tea-box to wait till he could attend to it," as he said. Now the shed was almost as old as the people







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154 THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. Potato, though the former steadily refused to flower under a sun so little to be depended upon for its appearance; and the ancestral dissatisfaction at being exiles still lingered in the natures of both, and would break out from time to time; a fact which sufficiently accounts for the potato disease. As to those obtained year by year from abroad, of course they were aliens altogether, and what communion could they possibly have either with the natives, or the settlers who had been inhabitants so long that their origin was almost forgotten ? At any rate they had none, and the nearest neighbours stood aloof and unloving, as if there was no common nature among them. What wonder, then, that when the Nightingale opened his warbling in that universal language of his, a thousand voices saluted him with welcomes! "Go on, lovely musician, dear friend, kind countryman !" wept one (it was the Portugal Onion). At last I can open my heart. Tell me more of my own bright land and people. Those



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 37 indeed, of more than this particular case, for they open up the much larger inquiry, Who is answerable for this ingenious scheme for preserving the orchis race from perishing, to which this one particular moth has fallen a victim ? Who is answerable, gentlemen ? who is answerable ? Our friend Bumble major says, 'No one,' because everything that happens, happens by accident. But if a process perpetually repeated, and perpetually working out the same means by the same end, is to be called an accident, how are we ever to distinguish accidents from things done on purpose-planned and arranged beforehand, as I venture to pronounce this exquisite scheme to be?" At this point of his speech Sir Helix paused, and great disturbance arose. Bumble major expressed his contempt for the magistrate's conviction, in no measured tones, and parties in favour of the different views began to collect in groups. Meanwhile Dr. Earwig was whispering further information to Sir Helix, who, when he had heard it out, lifted himself up and silenced the din by telling the Bumbles he had not yet finished his



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V/ /11



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130 UNOPENED PARCELS. and admiration. Of course in reading anything so noble and great my first thought was of him who could appreciate it so thoroughly. Of course too, as I read, I fancied a strong resemblance between my hero and the subject of Tennyson's lament. Consequently, In Memoriam' was one of our first themes of conversation after we met again, and we agreed to go through it together. "Some days in one's life seem to begin and end in gloom. I do not mean grief, but a sort of mental gloom, matching the cloudy day of the physical world on which nothing looks bright. On such days jestings, however innocent, feel out of place, and every train of thought, wherever begun, ends in seriousness. On such a day my friend and I sat down, late in the evening, to the study of 'In Memoriam,' he reading aloud by my request; my wish being to watch its effect upon his mind. "And certainly the plan succeeded. At the very first line of the introductory poem, he stopped and hesitated. Strong Son of God, immortal Love-' "Here he turned to me with an inquiring look.



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 99 would amuse them longest and best. And this the children got to feel by degrees, and so always laid aside their fancies in favour of grandmamma's reality. I, however, made the hundredth exception once in my life. -For once I lost my faith, and you shall hear how. The old home parcels contained heaps of lesser parcels inside; each of which had its outside paper neatly tied round with string, and duly addressed with the name, in full, of the child for whom it was intended; and of these there were often two or three a-piece. On one occasion a great many other parcels had been taken out before one came for me. At last my mother, who, as I said before, always managed the unpacking, called out in a clear voice, "'Miss Honora Eleanor -.' Here, Honor dear, this is for you." It was a small, roundish little packet, and I took it to a stool by the fire, and sat down to open and enjoy it. Then I broke the seal, unfastened the string, and removed the paper from-a common walnut! unless my eyes deceived me. I had H 2



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 125 yet there is no image more vividly pictured on my brain even now than that of his face as I saw it in that supreme moment when the sound of his breath was in my ears and I felt his strong arm stretched out to save me. Of what followed I know nothing, but I was told afterwards that it was fortunate for us both that he was unusually powerful; that otherwise our chances of life would have been small. It will not surprise you, f dare say, Honor," continued my father, to hear that after this adventure I was taken with a fit of hero-worship for my preserver. Such attacks-engouements the French call them-are not so common among schoolboys as young ladies. Still even schoolboys are not all formed internally to one model, however rigidly they may conform to a style in externals, and my hero-worship was, I assure you, as ardent as any girl's could be. In my eyes its object was the personification of everything great and noble, both in mind and body, and there was foundation enough for the faith in fact to prevent the charm ever being broken by any rude shock of disap-



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14 THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. part of the subject yet. In order to do so they must ascertain what the foreign bodies attached to the proboscis were, and where they came from. Try to use simple language for the benefit of our unlearned ears," expostulated Sir Helix (that was the sitting magistrate's family name). "What do you mean here by a foreign body, for instance, doctor? I own to not knowing myself, and I doubt if my bumble-bee brothers are better informed on the point than I am." The bumbles protested they were not. "And if by attached you mean stuck fast," continued Sir Helix, "why not say so The sitting magistrate was getting impatient. "Excuse me, gentlemen," replied Dr. Earwig, with a wriggle of fun; "we should get on very badly in the world without professional terms, I assure you By a 'foreign body' I mean a lump of something or other which does not naturally belong to the person or place where it is found. But that takes a long time to say, you observe, and if it came to be repeated would both confuse and delay what one had to explain."





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"Here we go up )pup! "cried ihe children. See-saw. Pae 170.



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 21 "Atchew!" A sneeze from the professor drowned the last word. "It must be that horrible flower-dust in those horrible packets-atchew !" sneezed the professor. It certainly is the horrible flower-dust in those horrible packets-atchew !" sneezed the assistant bumble in echo. "What packets? What flower-dust ?" asked the solemn voice of Sir Helix, whom the sneezing had disturbed once more. "The knob of the foreign body, Sir Helix," explained Dr. Earwig. "It turns out to be a mass of flower-dust packets. I was poking at them too close and snuffed up some of the nasty flowerdust, you know-pah !" But I don't know-how should I ?" responded the sitting magistrate. "Ah that is because you do not visit the flowers as you do the leaves," observed the assistant bumble. If you went among them as we do, you would soon see plenty of flower-dust -generally loose on the top of stalks where you can shake it off as you go by-not done up in stupid little packets



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THE CAUSE AND THE CAUSER. 41 of the race-experience of other races besides their own! "Jesting apart, it is for you to judge whether accident, as Bumble major would say, or the separate race-experience of either flower or insect, as Bumble minor holds, or of the foreign body itself, is accountable for the marvellous facts we have been considering; or whether, as I venture to assert" (here Sir Helix lifted his head off the ground as if he would fain creep upwards by the air)," the whole interesting, most complex process does not force us upon faith in the contriving intelligence of some agent beyond either insect or flower in power, and acquainted equally with the race-experience of both." A tumult of mingled dissent and assent here interrupted the sitting magistrate's speech ; and it was only after a considerable time, and amidst much lingering disturbance, he got a hearing again. Gentlemen, I have heard but too plainly the ridicule cast upon me for asserting my belief in a power I cannot see, and of which I know little, but that (judging by what it accomplishes) it



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UNOPENED PARCELS. 109 "All manner of things at different.times," said he, smiling. "Dogs calculate practically though not arithmetically; and I have come at last to the belief that it is not possible to lay down definitions between reason and instinct. The absence of the power of communicating by speech and writing is hardly sufficiently considered by philosophers. But certainly animals who cannot be taught their arithmetic tables cannot rank as high among reasonable beings as those who are able to exercise that noble and important" That will do, papa," cried I, jumping up, and laying my hand over his mouth, for I saw a smile coming into the corners of his lips as he said "noble and important" in very sonorous tones. That will do, papa. You said you wouldn't say a word more about that nasty arithmetic, and here you've brought it all back again through the dog!" "Well, if I was to begin with a ship I couldn't help doing the same thing, Honor." Once more I felt curious, but scarcely liked to own it. We should never hear again from your uncle





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"THESE THREE."



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140 UCNOPENED PARCELS. woke him, young as he was, to a sense that he was acting deceitfully, which he had never fully realized before. He could never have said the thing to her, he added. Nevertheless, when nurse came forward and gave her version of all 'the poor dear child' had seen and said, he stood by helplessly sobbing till his mother folded him in her arms and consoled him: and so the evil went on ... "There! that is the worst !" cried my father, interrupting himself here, and returning the rather vehement hand-squeeze with which I expressed my indignation at his hero's behaviour. "Now you know how he became a make-believe ghostseer, Honor. Condemn the offence as much as yoti please, but let us have no inhuman human judgments upon the offender. Only the One to whom all hearts are open can judge of individual guilt, because He only can measure the amount of conscious responsibility. Who can guess at it even, in the case of a child ?" I relaxed my hold of my father's hand here, and stooped to kiss it in silent apology for the unspoken judgment my heart



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THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE, 161 fleeting as a shadow; hope gilding the future; one heaven surrounding; one home at last." This was but the end of the song as usual, and the young man did not understand a word of what it meant, any more than what had been said before. But words are not necessary to the universal language. It makes itself felt, instead. And the young man covered his face with his hands again, but now because he had burst into tears. And if he presently acknowledged himself a fool for despairing, and owned it was weak-hearted to cling too closely to "beggarly elements," and then rose to higher hopes and resolves,-what right hast thou to smile, O reader ? Well for thee if thou hast no greater weaknesses to correct! Well for thee if thy heart is still so pure that the sympathies of the lower creation can touch it! Nor was it to the young lad only the Nightingale sang. The little sister heard him as she lay weeping on her pillow for the brother who would not be comforted. The mother, too, heard him as she mused ini'the night watches over the future of her son. And the one was soothed, she knew not M