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tor in trouble—not to say a young man like you as is a credit to the connection, and the best preacher I may say as I ever have heard in Salem," said Tozer, with effusion, returning the grasp; "but we aint agoing a step till you've had your breakfast. Your good mother, Mrs. Vincent, as is a real lady, sir, and would never advise you different from what I would myself, being for your own interests, would have little opinion of me if I took you out on a Monday mornin' after your labors without so much as a bit o' breakfast to sustain you. I'll sit by you while you're a-eating of your bacon. There's a deal to consider of concerning Salem as I couldn't well bring before you as long as you were in such trouble. Them were uncommon sermons, sir, yesterday; I don't know as I ever heard anything as was just to be compared with the mornin' discourse, and most of the flock was of my opinion; but what is thj good of standing up for the pastor—1 ask you candid, Mr. Vincent—when he'll not take no paina to keep things square? I'm speaking plain, for you can't mistake me as it's anything but your own interests I am a-thinking of. We was nil marching in, deacons and committee and all, to say as we was grateful to you for your instructions, and wishing you well out of your trouble—and I was in great hopes as matters might have been made up—when behold, what we finds was the vestry empty and the pastor gone! Now, I aint a-finding fault. Them news would explain anything; but I don't deny as Pigeon and the rest was put out; and if you'll be guided by me, Mr. Vincent, when you've done our business as is most important of all, you'll go and make some visits, sir, and make yourself agreeable, if you'll excuse me. It aint with no selfish thoughts as I speak," said Tozer, energetically; "it's not like asking of you to come a-visiting to me, nor setting myself forward as the minister's great friend — though we was remarking as the pastor was unknown in our house this fortnight and more—but it's for peace and union, Mr. Vincent, and the good of the flock, sir, and to keep—as your good mother well knows aint easy in a congregation — all things straight."
When this little peroration was delivered, Vincent was seated at table, making what he could of the breakfast, in which both his
mother and Tozer had interested themselves. It was with a little effort that the young man accepted this advice as the character and intentions of his adviser deserved. He swallowed what was unpalatable in the counsel, and received the suggestion "in as sweet a frame of mind as I could wish to see," as Tozer afterwards described. ••
"I will go and make myself agreeable," said the your.g minister, with a. smile. "Thank Heaven ! it is not so impossible today as it might have been yesterday; I left the chapel so hurriedly, because"
"I understand, sir," said Tczer, benevolently interposing as Vincent paused, finding explanation impossible. "Pigeon and the rest was put out, as I say, more nor I could see was reasonable—not as Pigeon is a man that knows his own mind. It's the women as want the most managing. Now, Mr. Vincent, I'm ready, sir, if you are, and we wont lose no time."
Before going out, however, Vincent went to his sister's room. She was lying in an utter quietness which went to his heart ;— silent, no longer uttering the wild fancies of a disordered brain, recovering, as the doctor tho^ht; but stretched upon her white couch, marble white, without any inclination apparently to lift the heavy lids of her eyes, or to notice anything that passed before her —a very sad sight to see. By her sat her mother, in a very different condition, anxious, looking into Arthur's eyes, whispering counsels in his cars. "O my dear boy, be very careful," said Mrs. Vincent; "your dear papa always said that a minister's flock was his first duty; and now that Susan is getting better, O Arthur! you must not let people talk about your sister—and have patience, oh, have patience, dear!" This was said in wistful whispers, with looks which only half confidenI in Arthur's prudence; and the widow sank into her chair when he left her, folding her hands in a little agony of self-restraint and compulsory quietness. She felt equal for it herself, if she had been at liberty to go out upon the flock once more in Arthur's cause; but who could tell how he might commit himself, he wrho was a young man, and took his own way, and did not know, as Tozer said, how to keep all things straight? When Mrs. Vincent thought of her son in personal conflict with Mrs. Pigeon, she lost faith in Arthur. She herself might have conquered that difficult adversary, but what weapons had he to bring forth against the deacon's wife, he who was only a minister and a man?
"And now that's settled as far as we can settle itgtow," said Tozer, as they left the magistrate's office, where John Brown, the famous Carlingford solicitor, had accompanied them, " you'll go and see some of the chapel folks, Mr. Vincent? It'll be took kind of you to lose no time, especially if you'd say a word just as it's all over, and let them know the news is true."
"I will go with you first," said Vincent, who contemplated the butterman's shop at that moment through a little halo of gratitude and kindness. He went in to the back parlor with the gratified deacon, where Mrs. Tozer sat reading over again the same Gazette in which poor Susan's history was summed up and ended. It seemed like a year to Vincent since he had dined with his mother at this big table, amid the distant odors of all the bacon and cheese. Mrs. Tozer put down the paper, and took off her spectacles as her visitor came in. "It's 3ft. Vincent, Phoebe," she said, with a little exclamation. "Dear, dear, I never thought as the pastor would be such a strange sight in my house —not as I was meaning nothing unkind, Tozer, so there's no occasion to look at me. I'm as glad as ever I can be to see the minister; and what a blessing as it's all settled, and the poor dear getting well too. Phoebe, you needn't be a-hiding behind me, child, as if the pastor was thinking of how you was dressed. She has on her morning wrapper, Mr. Vincent, as she was helping her mother in, and we didn't expect no visitors. Don't be standing there, as if it was any matter to the minister how you was dressed."
"O ma, as if I ever thought of such a thing!" said Phoebe, extending a pink uncovered arm out of the loose sleeve of her morning-dress to Vincent, and averting her face; "but to see Mr. Vincent is so like old times—and everything has seemed so different—and it i.i so pleasant to feel as if it were all coming back again. O ma, to imagine that I ever supposed Mr. Vincent could notice my dress, or think of poor me!" added Phoebe, in a postscript under her breath. The minister heard the latter
THIBD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 941
words quite as well as the first. After he had shaken the pink, plump hand, he sat down on the opposite side of the table, and saw Phoebe, relieved against the light of the window, wiping a tender tear from her eye. All at once out of the darker and heavier trials which had abstracted him from common life, the young Nonconformist plunged back into the characteristic troubles of his position. As usual, he made no response to Phoebe, found nothing civil to say, but turned with desperation to Mrs. Tozer, who was luckily about to speak.
"Don't pay no attention to her, Mr. Vincent; she's a deal too feelin'. She oughtn't to be minded, and then she'll learn better," said Mrs. Tozer. "I am sure it wasn't no wish of ours as you should ever stop away. If we had been your own relations we couldn't have been more took up; and where should a minister seek for sympathy if it isn't in his own flock? There aint nobody so safe to put your trust in, Mr. Vincent, as Salem folks. There's a many fine friends a young man may have when he's in a prosperous way, but it aint to be supposed they would stand by him in trouble; and it's then as you find the good of your real friends," continued Mrs. Tozer, looking with some significance at her husband. Tozer, for his own part, rubbed his hands and stationed himself with his back to the fire, as is the custom of Englishmen of all degrees. The husband and wife contemplated Vincent with complacence. With the kindest feelings in the world, they could not altogether restrain a little triumph. It was impossible now that the minister could mistake who were his true friends.
But just then, strangely enough, a vision of a tender smile, a glance up in his face, the touch of a soft hand, came to Vincent's mind. His fine friends! he had but one, and she had stood by him in his trouble. From Tozer's complacence the minister's mind went off with a bound of relief to that sweet, fruitless sympathy which was dearer than help. From her soft, perfumy presence to Mrs. Tozer's parlor, with that pervading consciousness in it of the shop hard by and its store of provisions, what a wonderful difference! It was not so easy to be grateful as he had at first thought.
"Mr. Tozer has been my real friend indeed, and a moat honest and thorough one," said Vincent. "But I don't think I have any other in Salem so sure and steady," added the minister, after a little pause, half gratefully, half in bitterness. This sentiment was not, however, resented by the assembled family. Phoebe leaned over her mother's chair, and whispered, "O ma, dear! didn't I always say he was full of feeling ?" somewhat to the discomfiture of the person commented on; while Tozer himself beamed upon the minister from before the blazing fire.
"I said as we'd pull you through," said Tozer, "and I said as I'd stand by you; and both I'll do, sir, you take my word, if you'll but stick to your duty; and as for standing bail in a hundred pound or two," continued the butterman, magnanimously, "for a poor young creature as couldn't be nothing but innocent, I don't mind that, nor a deal more than that, to keep all things straight. It's nothing but my duty. When a man is a responsible man, and well known in a place, it's his business to make use of his credit, Mr. Vincent, sir, and his character for the good of his friends."
"It may be your duty, but you know there aint a many as would have done it," said his straightforward wife, "as Mr. Vincent sees himself, and no need for nobody a-telling of him. There aint a many as would have stood up for the pastor, right and wrong, and finished off with the likes of this, and the minister don't need us to say so. Bear, dear, Mr. Vincent, you aint a-going away already, and us hasn't so much as seen you for I can't tell how long? I made sure you'd stop and take a bit of dinner at least, not making no ceremony," said Mrs. Tozer, "for there's always enough for a friend, and you can't take us wrong."
Vincent had risen hurriedly to his feet, under the strong stimulant of the butterman's self-applause. Conscious as he was of all that Tozer had really done, the minister found it hard to listen and echo, with due humility and gratitude, the perfect satisfaction of the pair over their own generosity. He had no thanks to say when thus forestalled. "O ma, how can you make so much of it?" cried Phoebe. "The minister will think us so selfish ; and, oh, please, Mr. Vincent, when you go home, will you speak to your mother, and ask her to let me come and help with her nursing? I should do what
ever she told me, and try to be a comfort to her — oh, I should indeed," said Phoebe, clasping those pink hands. ,, Nobody could be more devoted than I should be." She cast down her eyes, and stood the image of maidenly devotedness between Vincent and the window. She struck him dumb, as she always did. He never was equal to the emergency where Phoebe was (flhcerned. He took up his hat in his hands, and tried to explain lamely how he must go away— how he had visits to make—duties to do— and would have stuck fast, and lost Mrs. Tozer's favor finally and forever, had not the butterman interposed.
"It's me as is to blame," said the worthy deacon. "If it hadn't have been as the pastor wouldn't pass the door without coming in, I'd not have had him here to-day; and if you women would think, you'd see. We're stanch — and Mr. Vincent aint no call to trouble himself about us; but Pigeon and them, you see, as went off in a huff yesterday—that's what the minister has got to do. You sha'n't be kep' no longer, sir, in my i house. Duty afore pleasure, that's my , maxim. Good-mornin', and I hope as you wont meet with no unpleasantness; but if you should, Mr. Vincent, don't be disheartened, sir—we'll pull you through."
With this.encouraging sentiment, Vincent was released from Mrs. Tozer's parlor. He drew a long breath when he got out to the fresh air in the street, and faced the idea of the Pigeons and other recusants whom he was now bound to visit. While he thought of them, all so many varieties of Mrs. Tozer's parlor, without the kindness which met him there, the heart of the young Nonconformist failed him. Nothing but gratitude to Tozer could have sent him forth at all on this mission of conciliation; but now on the threshold of it, smarting from even Tozer's wellintentioned patronage, a yearning for a little personal comfort seized upon Vincent's mind. It was his duty to go nway towards Grove Street, where the poulterer's residence was; but his longing eyes strayed towards Grange Lane, where consolation dwelt. And, besides, was it not his duty to watch over the real criminal, for whose mysterious wickedness poor Susan had suffered? It was not difficult to foresee how that argument would conclude. He wavered for a few minutes opposite Masters' shop, gave a furtive glance back towards the butterman's, and then, starting forward with sudden resolution, took his hasty way to Lady Western's door; only for a moment; only to sec that all was safe, and his prisoner still in custody. Vincent sighed over the thought with an involuntary quickening of his heart. To be detained in such custody, the young man thought, would be sweeter than heaven ; and the wild hope which cnme and went like a meteor about his path, sprang up with sudden intensity, and took the breath from his lips, and the color from his cheek, as he entered at that green garden door.
Lady Western was by herself in the drawing-room—that room divided in half by the closed doors which Vincent remembered so well. She rose up out of the low chair in which she reposed, like some lovely swan amid billows of dark silken drapery, and held out her beautiful hand to him—both her beautiful hands — with an effusion of kindness and sympathy. The poor young Nonconformist took them into his own, and forgot the very existence of Salem. The sweetness of the moment took all the sting out of his fate. He looked at her without saying anything, with his heart in his eyes. Consolation! It was all he had come for. He could have gone away thereafter and met all the Pigeons in existence; but more happiness still was in store for him—she pointed to a chair on the other side of her work-table. There was nobody else near to break the charm. The silken rustle of her dress, and that faint perfume which she always had about her pervaded the rosy atmosphere. Out of purgatory, out of bitter life beset with trouble, the young man had leafed for one moment into paradise; and who could wonder that he resigned himself to the spell?
"I am so glad you have come," said Lady Western. "I am sure you must have hated me, and everything that recalled my name; but it was impossible for any one to be more grieved than I was, Mr. Vincent. Now, will you tell me about Rachel? She sits by herself in her own room. When I go in she gives me a look of fright which I cannot understand. Fright! Can you imagine Rachel frightened, Mr. Vincent—and of me?"
"Ah, yes. I would not venture to come into the presence of the angels if I had guilt on my hands," said Vincent, not very well knowing what he said.
"Mr. Vincent! what can you mean? You alarm me very much," said the young Dowager; "but perhaps it is about her little girl. I don't think she knows where her daughter is. Indeed," said Lady Western, with a cloud on her beautiful face, "you must not think I ever approved of my brother's conduct; but when he was so anxious to have his child, I think she might have given in to him a little—don't you think so? The child might have done him good perhaps. She is very lovely, I hear. Did you see her? O Mr. Vincent, tell me about it. I cannot understand how you are connected with it all. She trusted in you so much, and now she is afraid of you. Tell me how
1 it is. Hush! she is ringing her bell. She has seen you come into the house."
"But I don't want to see Mrs. — Mrs. Mildmav," said Vincent, rising up. "I don't know why I came at all, if it were not to see the sun shining. It is dark down below where I am," said the young man, with an involuntary outhurst of the passion which at that moment suddenly appeared to him in, all its unreasonableness. "Forgiveme. It was only a longing I had to see the light."
Lady Western looked up with her sweet eyes in the minister's face. She was not ignorant of the condition of mind he was in, but she was sorry for him to the bottom of her heart. To cheer him a little could not harm any one. "Come back soon," she said, again holding out her hand with a smile. "I am so sorry for your troubles; and if we can do anything to comfort you, come back soon again, Mr. Vincent." When the poor Nonconformist came to himself after these words, he was standing outside the garden door, out of paradise, his heart throbbing, and his pulse beating in a kind of sweet delirium. In that very moment of delight he recognized, with a thrill of exaltation and anguish, the madness of His dream. No matter. What if his heart broke after? Now, at least, he could take the consolation. But if it was hard to face Mrs. Pigeon before, it may well be supposed that it was not easy now, with all this world of passionate fancies throbbing in his brain, to turn away from his elevation and encounter Salem and its irritated deacons. Vincent went slowly up Grange Lane, trying to make up his mind to his inevitable duty. When he was nearly opposite the house of Dr. Marjoribanks, he paused to look back. The garden door was again open, and somebody else was going into the enchanted house. Somebody else; —a tall, slight figure, in a loose, light-colored dress, which he recognized instinctively with an agony of jealous rage. A minute before he had_ allowed to himself, in an exquisite despair, that to hope was madness; but the sight of his rival awoke other thoughts in the mind of the minister. With quick eyes he identified the companion of his midnight journey—he in whose name all Susan's wretchedness had been wrought— he whom Lady Western could trust "with life—to death." Vincent went back at the sight of him, and found the door now close shut, through which his steps had passed. Close shut—enclosing the other—shutting him out in the cold external gloom. He forgot all he had to do for himself and his friends — he forgot his duty, his family, everything in the world but hopeless love and passionate jealousy, as he paced up and down before Lady Western's door.
From The North British Review.
1. Essays from "The Quarterly Review."
By James Hannny. London: Hurst and Blackett. 1861.
2. Nugce Critical: Occasioned Papers written
at the Seaside. By Shirley. Edmonston and Douglas, Edinburgh. 1862.
3. The Recreations of a Country Parson.
(A.K.H.B.) London: John W. Parker and Son, West Strand. 1859.
4. Leisure Hours in Tovm. By the Author
of " Recreations of a Country Parson." London: John W. Parker and Son, West Strand. 1862.
5. Essays in History and Art. By K. H.
Patterson. William Blackwood and
6. Essays, Historical and Critical. By
Hugh Miller. A. and C. Black, Edinburgh. 1862.
Every now and again it is asserted that our literature is being destroyed by the periodicals. Some hold that, under their baneful influence, we are losing all concision and polish of style, as well as all capacity for serious thought. Others, admitting that there may be as much intellectual wealth current now as there was forty or a hundred years ago, contend that as the intellectual wealth of the former time was represented by a thousand gold coins, and the wealth of the present day by a million copper ones, the unprecedented distribution of pieces, the sordid material of which they are composed, the excess of bulk and weight, form serious deductions from the value actually in possession. The assertion that magazines and reviews are at present hurting literature, is one which, in virtue of being half truth and half falsehood, is likely to enjoy a long life. You cannot trample it quite out, on account of the truth resident in it; you have an uneasy suspicion of its falsehood even while asserting it most loudly. Every household in tho country has its periodical. Henry of Navarre longed for the time when every Frenchman should have a hen in his pot. That he conceived a better sign of the prosperity of a country than certain big feasts in certain big castles. The magazines bring literature into every home, just as aqueduct and pipe bring the water of Loch Katrine into the homes of the Glasgow citizens. It is quite true, that the water occasionally tastes of iron, and wears a rusty stain; quite true that a perfectly pure draught may always be had at the legendary lake in the
shadow of the hills; but the water is flowing in every house, and that, after all, is the important matter.
And, to carry out the illustration, the water is often as pure in the basin of the citizen as beneath the trembling sedges that the wild duck loves. The fact that so many of our books, and so many of our best books too, are reprints from periodicals, proves that not only are periodicals extensively read, but that they absorb much of our best thinking and writing. The best-written magazine naturally attracts the largest number of readers; and this number of readers enables it to maintain its level of excellence, and to draw to its service the best men who may from time to time arise. W hen we say that our best periodicals are extensively read, we are simply saying that our best periodicals are attractive. No man who wishes to be amused will pay his money for dulness. No man who appreciates style will habitually peruse what cannot minister to his literary delight. The people who purchase the Cornhill may be presumed to be tolerably contented with the literature of the Cornhill. Their ordinary thinking is not quite up tAhe level of the thinking of the writers in that serial; the articles it contains occasionally present them with a new fact, or with a new view of a fact already known; and their ordinary conversation or correspondence does not exhibit the play of fancy and aptness of illustration which distinguish the writings of Mr. Thackeray and Mr. Lewes. So long as periodicals are read, we assume that they serve a very important purpose—that they amuse, instruct, and refine. Whenever they cease to do so, they will die as the annuals did. Nor does this same literature nfTect writers in any very disastrous way. It is frequently said that periodical writing fritters away a man's intellectual energy—that, instead of concentrating himself on some congenial task, devoting a whole lifetime to it, and leaving it as a permanent possession of the race, a man is tempted to write hastily and without sufficient meditation; that in fact we have articles now, more or less brilliant, whereas, under different circumstances, we might have had books. All this kind of conjecture is exceedingly unprofitable. Doubtless, under different circumstances, the results of a man's working would have been different