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“Oh, no; I never felt so humbled. I told him I did not deserve it, that I was unworthy of him every way,—you are not very angry? Oh, I thought you would be so angry, and he was so grieved, -and, after all, what did it matter, as I could never be happy again, whether I was unhappy there or here ?-only" "Only-?"
Only, thank God, some words of Arthur's that night you and he quarrelled so sadly, flashed into my mind about 'keeping innocency,' and doing the thing that was right,' at all costs—even that of losing your love, I needn't add, and home, as he did, because you won't be very angry this time ?—you won't turn me out, will
“No, my darling," and he laid his hand upon her head, “my good, dutiful daughter,--sweet and lovely' truly, and no wonder, in other men's eyes as well as mine." There was a few minutes' pause, then he added, "I too have been wondering if I ought to make a confession,—only to you, my love,—don't let any shadow come over the girls' lives,”—Dulcibella looked up alert and alarmed. “I do not like to cloud even yours.
Had I still a wife, not one of you should have known, but it mustn't take you too much by surprise whenever it does come. I have once or twice felt a strange pain of late,-yesterday I asked Carter about it, but with no real alarm, I am still a young man compared to the age at which my parents and grandparents were stricken down. To-day I went up and found Davies almost more than I expected-at home, and at leisure ; he examined me, and carefully. Well, my love, he can't tell without another visit a week or two hence what progress the disease is making,—was more cheering than Carter, and gave me years rather than months only to live, still he cannot tell,—and at the last it will be very sudden. Never mind, darling," and he pressed her trembling hands in his, “ it is only for all of you I mind; and then we all—even my foolish, flippant-tongued little Freda-believe, at heart, in the same merciful God of the fatherless. I am sure I have found Him so of the widowed. When I think of your mother, my
first-born son, and many another whom you can hardly remember, I cannot be loath to go to them even from this blessed earthly home and all my remaining dear sons and daughters. That is, if found meet to join those gone before,” and he bowed his head over her ; pray for me, dear, that I may do my best to set my house in order, and no longer to neglect mine
own vineyard as I fear I have been doing since I lost your mother's aid and example,—and not only the vineyard of my parish but that of my home. Such a lot as mine, so blessed, so smooth, so happy, even so comfortable, has its own special trials ; and luxuries, and beauties, and the ease of life can choke the good seed as well as its actual cares and pleasures. That is all, dear," and he loosed her, “good night."
“Good night, father,” her tongue refused to say more.
“ And if I've overpressed Macdonald's suit, so as to give you pain, forgive me: I liked the fellow, was sorry for him; and could
have liked him also, this home might yet have been kept together, and given shelter to those five poor younger girls for a time,-as long as it had pleased him and you to give it. George cannot come into possession for three years at the least, and better not even then, still inexperienced as he will be. Now, of course you must all go-when I go. But after all what is Brayscombe to the younger ones? Nothing to what it is to you or me.”
“Now go to bed and sleep away care: it may be years before the blow really comes,—death may even come some other way. but purblind creatures at the best, but I cannot be sorry, for my own part, to keep you with me still in whatever shape it comes ; and though it will now make no difference to those poor children at my death, I shall still, this very night, write a memorandum expressing the hope that Macdonald will be put in to fill the gap. I could trust my poor Brayscombe better with him than with
I know.” So they parted, and the old man was soon sleeping peacefully. His daughter lay long awake, feeling, surely, she had never, after all, really known true sorrow until now; certainly never until now really known her father. Never had he spoken directly to her of religion since her confirmation day twelve years ago; such was the sweet old-fashioned reserve in which the good men of his date and style of up-bringing hid their deepest feelings, hoping thereby at least to save their Master's name dishonour from their own inconsistency, with any
louder or more frequent professions of adherence to His Banner. But their few words were golden seed. That ten minutes' talk twelve years ago, -so rare, so awe-inspiring to the young girl at the time,-had already borne, was still bearing, precious fruit. At least one tender vine in George Erle's home-vineyard had not been neglected; one daughter he might well trust, would ever be ready, and through his shy teach
ing, his honest if it might also be, too often halting example, to lay her life, her soul, her all at her Saviour's feet, ready to follow the way, howsoever dark or howsoever lonely, of His divine appointing, “For since Thou dost it, we are dumb.”
“This is My Beloved Son: hear Him."-S. Mark ix. 7.
With radiance overspread the sapphire sky,
As viewless Angels thronged the mountain high.
The Aureole around His Sacred Head-
Unearthly whiteness o'er His Figure shed.
Far up the lonely mountain's hoary side,
Transfigured stood, before them Glorified.
While that mysterious awful Vision shone-
JEHOVAH's Voice His Gracious Will made known :-
Pealed o’er the utmost bounds of land and sea,
Was traced on tablets of Eternity.
The tender and the true-Whose Voice is Love :-
Our treasures here, to garner them above ?
Faith still discerns, though senses fail to see-
C. A. M. W.
“Stranger of Heaven! I bid thee hail,
Shred from the pall of glory riven,
The Ettrick Shepherd. The people of old beheld with great terror those blazing wonders we call Comets. As late as the year 1456, when the Turks achieved the conquest of Constantinople while a comet was amazing the inhabitants of the earth, we read that the Christians round about the fallen city, prayed to be delivered from “ the Turks, the evil one, and the comet.”
All is different now; we may feel, it is true, awe-struck as we behold what is so luminous and of such enormous magnitude; but the torment of fear has gone, and this deliverance we owe to the steady work of astronomers and other scientific men who have counted and named these fiery travellers of the sky; and moreover have written their histories as far as their histories can be known to the dwellers on our planet : they have besides studied the nature of their light and the ways in which they move; in other words, their orbits, as they flash within our sight, and then disappear for centuries, rushing far beyond the reach of mortal
eye till again they are with us as our own to gaze upon, for weeks or months together.
Comets were occasionally hailed as harbingers of good : probably however, our forefathers trembled as they rejoiced. A comet that appeared in 1811 was believed by those who were not better in. structed, to have killed wasps, blinded the flies, and to have brought with it a most abundant harvest; moreover to have ripened the grapes, rendering them so sweet and plentiful that the wines of that autumn being proudly called " the comet wines,” were long treasured as almost priceless. Astronomers tell us now that comets do nothing for the harvests or the vintage; indeed what their work is in the grand plan of nature is as yet a mystery. The word comet comes from the Greek kómé, hair, and means a hairy star,” which name might have arisen from the appearance of these heavenly bodies; we generally see
a central light, a dark ring, and a plume or fringe of fainter light which is called the tail, the nucleus or central light with the ring being called the head; thus we have something like fiery hair encircling a shining head,—"a hairy star.” Since the first year of the Christian era more than six hundred comets have been recorded.
Some comets move entirely within our own solar system : others visit us at vast intervals of time; others flash upon us for once, and disappear from our sight for ever, wandering far, far beyond all knowledge, or measurable distance.
All comets have not the nucleus, the dark ring and the fiery tail ; this is the appearance of those that are visible to the naked eye ; the greater number of comets, (that is to say, those seen through the telescope,—" telescopic comets”) —seem to us as shadowy masses of vapour, faintly shining, with little or no central light, and without tails; while others have a distinct nucleus or central light, so bright as to be visible in the day-time. When Julius Cæsar was killed, there was in the sky a comet so blazing that the terrified Romans said it was the soul of their murdered emperor shining down upon them. There was a comet too, which astonished all with its exceeding brightness, in March, 1442 : it was not lost sight of in the blaze of the noon-day sun ; at least it is so recorded ; and in the summer of that same year, another appeared which was seen some hours before sunset. Again, we read that in sunny Italy, in the beautiful city of Milan, the people were surprised in the year 1532 by what they thought a star in broad daylight; this it is supposed was a comet.
Comets travel swiftly, dashing and glittering through space at an incalculable rate. A comet of 1680 swept around the sun at a million of miles an hour; it went so near to that enormous fiery globe, that Sir Isaac Newton reckoned when it was nearest, it must have been blazed upon with a heat two thousand times greater than that of red-hot iron. This comet which appeared in 1680 is still rushing onwards making its grand journey which it has travelled over again and again for we know not how long : it will come to us again, it is reckoned, in the year 2255. It is very sad that astronomers rarely live to see their prophecies fulfilled ; certain as they feel that they have reckoned correctly, they are too often compelled to leave to others the satisfaction of proving the truth of their astronomical calculations.