There is always a place leave your common memories

There is always a place

Leave your common memories

Check out these romantic travel destinations

Go and see the beautiful mountains and clear waters together.


There are sacred snow mountains, deep canyons, flying waterfalls, tranquil lakes surrounded by forests, flocks of cattle and sheep squatting on beautiful grasslands, nets like mirrored sky, magnificent temples…


The profound historical and cultural heritage, the beautiful and beautiful water towns and towns, and the fascinating tastes between the hands and feet, how can you not be fascinated? The sun shines on the water, and quietly tastes the ancient scent of the fireworks with the lover.

Guilin Yangshuo

The peaks of the mountains are floating in the mountains, and there is no water in the mountains. Yangshuo is a small town that makes you fall in love with you. You can wake up in the warm sunshine, hold a book, and enjoy the sun on the riverside. You can relax. Take a walk on the bluestone road of the ancient street, find a coffee shop and listen to the song quietly.


The city has taken too many love movies, and it has a texture like a movie. The size of the street scene exudes a romantic atmosphere. Chongqing in the fog is just like fairyland. This kind of Chongqing is so daunting in memory that people can’t stop falling in love with this place.

eCommerce Basis

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Try to put all this away

There was a veiled expression in Peter’s eyes that evening when he met
his mother. Passion was exhausted. He divined already that Miranda was
irrecoverable, that pursuit was useless. He now clearly understood how
and why she had suffered. His late agony in her room she had many times
endured, looking in his letters for a passion not yet illumined, eager
to find that he needed her, but finding always that she lived in a
palace of cloud. He saw now that Miranda’s love had never been the
dreaming ecstasy from which he himself had just awakened. He remembered
and understood what he had merely accepted as characteristic of her
turbulent spirit–sudden fits of petulance, occasions when without
apparent reason she had flung savagely away from him. There were other
things which thrilled him now, as when her arms tightened about his
neck, and she answered his light caress with urgent kisses.

Peter’s mother gave him a note in Miranda’s hand:

“PETER,–We are going to Canada, and I am not going to write to
you. I think, Peter, you are only a boy, and one day you will find
out whether you really loved me. I am older than you. I shall not
come back to you, because you are going to be rich, and your
friends cannot be my friends. If you had answered my last letter,
perhaps I could not have done this. But it is better.”

When Peter had finished reading he saw that his mother was watching him.
He was learning to notice things. His mother, too, he had never really
regarded except in relation to himself. Yet she had seen unfold the tale
of his passion. She, too, had been affected. He passed her the letter,
and waited as she read.

“You know, mother, what this means?” he asked, shyly moved to confide in

“Yes, Peter, I think I do,” she answered, glad of his trust.

Peter bent eagerly towards her. “Can you tell me where they have gone?”

Mrs. Paragon gently denied him:

“No one knows. They left very quickly. Mr. Smith owed some money.”

It pained her so sordidly to touch Peter’s tragedy.

“He ran away?” concluded Peter, squarely facing it.

Mrs. Paragon bent her head. Peter tried to say something. He wanted to
tell his mother how suddenly precious to him was her knowledge and
understanding. But he broke off and his mouth trembled. In a moment she
had taken him as a child.

At last she spoke to him again, wisely and bravely:

“Try to put all this away,” she pleaded. “You are too young. I want you
to be happy with your friends.”

She paused shyly, a little daunted by the thought in her mind. Then she
quietly continued:

“I don’t want you to think yet of women.”

She continued to urge him:

“Life is so full of things. You think now only of this disappointment,
but, Peter dear, I want you to be strong and famous.”

Her words, years afterwards to be remembered, passed over Peter’s head.
He hardly knew what she said. He was conscious only of her
tenderness–his first comfort. It was the consecration of their
discovered intimacy.

Uncle Henry was away from home–not expected for several days. Peter was
grateful for this. He could not have met the rosy man with the
heartiness he required. Peter spent the evening talking to his mother of
Oxford and his new friends. She quietly insisted that he should.

But, when Peter was alone once more in his room, his grief came back the
deadlier for being held away. He sat for half an hour in the dark. Then
he left the room and knocked at his mother’s door.

“Is that you, Peter?”

“I want to talk to you.”

The door was not locked and she called him in. He had a plan to discuss,
but it could have waited. He merely obeyed a blind instinct to get away
from his misery. His mother leaned from the bed on her elbow, and Peter
sat beside her. She raised her arm to his shoulder with a gesture slow
and large. Peter insensibly found comfort in her beauty. He had never
before realised his mother was beautiful. Was it the open calm of her
forehead or her deep eyes?

“Can’t you sleep, dear?” she asked.

“I want to ask you something.”


Mrs. Paragon tranquilly waited.

“I want to go away,” said Peter. “I can’t bear to be so near to

Mrs. Paragon was immediately practical.

“Where do you want to go?” she asked.

“I could spend the vacation in London,” suggested Peter.

“What will your uncle say?”

“Tell him everything.”

Mrs. Paragon smiled at herself explaining Peter’s tragedy to Uncle

eCommerce Basis

“You want to go at once?”


Peter’s mother looked wistfully, with doubt in her heart. Her hand
tightened on his arm.

“I wonder,” she almost whispered. “Can I trust you to go?”

She looked at him with her calm eyes.

“Peter,” she said at last, “you still belong to me. You must come back
to me as my own. Do you understand?”

Peter saw yet deeper into his mother’s heart–the mother he had so long
neglected to know. Her question hung in the air, but he could not trust
his voice. His eyes answered her in an honourable promise. Then suddenly
he bent his head to her bosom. Her arms accepted him.

Scarcely half an hour later Peter was fast sleeping in his room. Already
the torrent of his life was breaking a fresh channel. He had dedicated
himself anew.

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The flutter of his pulse

The interim between the death of Peter’s father and Peter’s ascent into
Oxford was filled with small events which impertinently buzzed about
him. Even his father’s funeral left no deep impression. It was formal
and necessary. Peter was haunted, as the ceremony dragged on, with a
reproachful sense that he was not, as he should, responding to its
solemnity. Passion, of love or grief or adoration, came to Peter by
inspiration. He could not punctually answer. He marvelled how easily at
the graveside the tears of his friends and neighbours were able to flow.
He himself had buried his father upon the night of his father’s death,
and had started life anew. The funeral was for him no more than the
ghost of a dead event.

Next came the removal of Mrs. Paragon into the well-appointed house of
Uncle Henry. Henry had arranged that henceforth his sister should live
with him; that Peter should look to him as a guardian, and think of
himself as his uncle’s inheritor. All these new arrangements passed high
over Peter’s head. They were a background of rumour and confusion to
days of exquisite sensibility and peace. Only one thing really mattered.
Uncle Henry’s house was in the fashionable road that ran parallel to
that in which Peter was born, so that Peter could reach Miranda by way
of the garden, which met hers at the wall’s end.

Adolescence carried him high and far, winging his fancy, giving to the
world forms and colours he had never yet perceived. His passion, unaware
of its physical texture, had almost disembodied him. Miranda focussed
the rays of his soul, and drew his energy to a point. He was pure air
and fire. Standing on the high balcony of his new room, he felt that,
were he to leap down, he must float like gossamer. Or, as he lay in the
grass beside Miranda, staring almost into the eye of the sun, he
acknowledged a kinship with the passing birds, imagined that he heard
the sap of the green world ebb and flow; or, pressing his cheeks to the
cool earth, he would seem to feel it spinning enormously through space.

They talked hardly at all, and then it was of some small intrusion into
their happy silence–the chatter of a bird in distress or the ragged
flying of a painted moth. Only seldom did Peter turn to assure himself
that Miranda was still beside him. He was absorbed with his own vast
content and gratitude for the warm and lovely world, his precious agony
of aspiration towards the inexpressible, his sense of immense,
unmeasured power. Miranda was his precious symbol. Uttered in her, for
his intimate contemplation, he spelled the message with which the air
was burdened, which shivered on the vibrating leaves, and burned in the
summer heat. When, after long gazing into blue distances of air, he
turned to find Miranda, it seemed that the blue had broken and yielded
its secret.

From the balcony of his room at night he saw things so lovely that he
stood for long moments still, as though he listened. The trees, massed
solemnly together, waited sentiently to be stirred. The stars drew him
into the deep. Voices broke from the street. Light shining from far
windows, and the smoke of chimneys fantastically grouped, filled him
with a sense of pulsing, intimate life; a world of energy whose
stillness was the measure of its power, the slumber of a bee’s wing.

One of the far lighted windows belonged to Miranda. He was content to
know she was there, and recalled, clear in his mind’s eye, the lines and
gestures of her face. The beauty he saw there had seemed almost to break
his heart. It wavered upon him alternate with the stars and the dark
trees of the garden. Loveliness and a perpetual riddle delicately lurked
in the corners of her mouth. Sometimes, when they were together, he
would lay his finger very softly on Miranda’s lips.

He rarely kissed her. The flutter of his pulse died under an ecstasy
bodiless as his passion for the painted sky. He did not yet love the
girl who sometimes with a curious ferocity flung her arms about him and
crushed his face against her shabby dress. Rather he loved the beauty of
the world and his inspired ability, through her, to embrace it.

The time had now come for Peter to be removed to Oxford. Amid all the
novelty, the unimagined comfort and dignity, the beginning of new and
exciting friendships, the first encounter with men of learning and
position, Peter kept always a region of himself apart, whither he
retired to dream of Miranda. He wrote her long and impassioned letters,
pouring forth a flood of impetuous imagery wherein her kinship with all
intense and lovely things persisted in a thousand shapes. But gradually,
under many influences, a change prepared.

First, there was his contact with the intellectual life of Gamaliel. His
inquisitive idealism gradually came down from heaven, summoned to
definite earth by the ordered wisdom of Oxford. He had lately striven to
catch, in a net of words, inexpressible beauty and elusive thought. But
his desire to push expression to the limit of the comprehensible; his
gift of nervous, pictorial speech; the crowding truths, half seen, that
filled his brain were now opposed and estimated according to sure
knowledge and the standards which measure a successful examinee. Truth,
for ever about to show her face, at whose unsubstantial robe Peter had
sometimes caught, now appeared formal, severe, gowned, and reading a
schedule. All the knowledge of the world, it seemed, had been reduced
to categories. Style was something that dead authors had once achieved.
It could be ranged in periods and schools, some of which might with
advantage be imitated. Peter found that concerning all things there were
points of view. An acquaintance with these points of view and an ability
rapidly to number them was almost the only kind of excellence his
masters were able to reward.

The result of Peter’s contact with the tidy, well-appointed wisdom of
Gamaliel was disastrous. His imagination, starting adventurously into
the unknown, was systematically checked. This or that question he was
asking of the Sphinx was already answered. He fell from heaven upon a
passage of Hegel or a theory of Westermarck.

eCommerce Basis

Peter quickened his disillusion by the energy and zeal of his reading.
He threw himself hungrily upon his books, and gloried in the ease with
which wisdom could be won and stored for reference. His ardour for
conquest, by map and ruler, of the kingdoms of knowledge lasted well
through his first term. Only obscurely was he conscious of clipped

Hard physical exercise also played a part in bringing Peter to the
ground. He was put into training for the river, and was soon filled with
a keen interest in his splendid thews. Stretched at length in the
evening, warm with triumphant mastery of some theorem concerning the
Absolute First Cause, Peter saw himself as typically a live intellectual
animal. Less and less did he live in outer space. He began athletically
to tread the earth.

Then, too, Peter made many friends–friends who in some ways were older
than he. He thought of Miranda as an elfin girl, but his friends talked
of women in a way Peter had never heard. For Peter sex had been one of
the things which he seemed always to have known. It had not insistently
troubled him. He now encountered it in the conversation of his friends
as something stealthily comic, perturbing and curiously attractive. He
did not actively join in these conversations, but they affected him.

The week slid away, and term was virtually at an end. Peter sat alone in
his room with Miranda’s last letter. In his ears the rhythm of oars and
the hum of cold wet air yet remained, drowning the small noises of the
fire. Miranda’s letter was bitterly reproachful–glowing at the top heat
of a lovers’ quarrel. Miranda felt Peter’s absence more than he could
do. She now had nothing but Peter, and already she was a woman.
Unconsciously she resented Peter’s imaginative ecstasies. She wanted him
to hold and to see. When he answered her from the clouds she was
desolate. Moreover, Peter wrote much of his work and play; and Miranda,
afraid and jealous of the life he was leading in Oxford, was tinder for
the least spark of difference.

The letter Peter held in his hand was all wounded passion. He could see
her tears and the droop of her mouth trembling with anger. He had
neglected a request she had made. He had written instead a description
of the boat he had helped to victory. Something in Miranda’s
letter–something he had not felt before–caught suddenly at a need in
him as yet unknown. He realised all at once that he wanted her to be
physically there. He read again her burning phrases and felt the call to
him of her thwarted hunger–felt it clearly beneath her superficial
estrangement and reproach. He flung himself desperately back into his
chair and remained for a moment still. Then he sprang up and wandered
restlessly in the dim room, at last pausing by the mantelpiece and
turning the lamp upon her photograph. It had caught the full, enigmatic
curve of her mouth, breaking into her familiar sad smile. Peter was
abruptly invaded with a secret wish, his blood singing in his ears, his
heart throbbing painfully, a longing to make his peace possessing him.
He felt curiously weak–almost as if he might fall. The room was
twisting under his eyes. He flexed his muscles and closed his eyes in
pain. Then, in deep relief, he, in fancy, bent forward and kissed her.

He decided to plead with her face to face, and he let pass the
intervening day in a luxury of anticipation. He dwelled, as he had not
before, on her physical grace. He would sweep away all her sorrow in
passionate words uttered upon her lips.

He reached his uncle’s house by an earlier train than was expected. His
mother was not at home, and he went to his room unchallenged. Out on the
balcony the wind roared to him through the bare trees. It was warm for a
December evening, and very dark. He looked towards Miranda’s house–a
darker spot on the dark; for there was no light in the windows. It
thrilled him to see how dark it was; and as he went through the garden
towards her, with the wind about him like a cloak, drawn close and
impeding him, he was glad of the freedom and secrecy it seemed to
promise. He could call aloud in that dark wind, and his words were
snatched away. His lips and face were trembling, but it did not matter,
for the darkness covered them.

At last he stood by the house. The door was half-open. His fancy leaped
at Miranda waiting for him. He had only to enter, and he pressed in her
comfortable arms.

He pushed open the door, and a hollow echo ran into many rooms and died
away upstairs. He was sensible now, in shelter from the wind, of a
stillness he had never known. It shot into him a quick terror. As he
stood and listened, he could hear water dripping into a cistern
somewhere in the roof. The door was blown violently shut, and the report
echoed as in a cavern. The house was empty.

Peter lighted a match, and held it above his head. He saw that the
linoleum had been torn from the floor; that the kitchen was empty of
furniture; that the dust and rubbish of removal lay in the four corners.
The match burnt his fingers and went out. Every sensation died in Peter.
He stood in the darkness, hearing small noises of water, the light
patter of soot dislodged from the chimney, the creak and rustle of a
house deserted.

When his eyes were used to the dark, he moved towards a glimmer from the
hall-door. He could not yet believe what he saw. He expected the silence
of his dream to break. Mechanically he went through the house, standing
at last under the eaves of Miranda’s attic-room. His eyes, straining to
the far corner, traced the white outline of the sloping ceiling. He
stood where Miranda had so often slept, a wall’s breadth from himself.

The water dripped pitilessly in the roof, and Peter, poor model of an
English boy, lay in grief, utterly abandoned, his clenched hands beating
the naked floor.

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In contrast with the warm years

Peter, home after his first important absence, found that his former
life had shrunk. He had seen things on a generous scale. Only for four
days had he been away, but it was an epoch.

He went immediately to find Miranda, trembling with impatience. But he
was struck shy when they met. Peter had imagined this meeting as a
perfect renewal of their last moments together. He had seen himself
thrilling into a passionate welcome, taking up his life with Miranda
where it had abruptly ceased with the arrival of Uncle Henry four days
ago. But at sight of her the current of his eagerness was checked. It
was that curious moment of lovers who have lived through so many
meetings in imagination that the actual moment cannot be fulfilled.

“You’re back,” she said awkwardly, hardly able to look at him.

“I’ve just this moment come.” Peter thought it was the staring daylight
that put this constraint upon them. Then he saw in his fancy the welcome
he had expected–very different from this–and, as though he were acting
something many times rehearsed, he kissed Miranda with an intended joy.

Miranda’s constraint was now broken.

“I have missed you dreadfully,” she whispered.

She held him tight, urged by the piteous memory of four empty days; and
Peter, rising at her passion, strained her truthfully towards him. The
disillusion of meeting fell away from them both.

Soon he was talking to her of Oxford, and the great life he had shared.
He did not realise that a strain of arrogant enthusiasm came into his
tale–a suggestion that in these last four days he had flapped the wings
of his ambition in high air and dazzling sunshine. Miranda was chilled,
feeling she had been in the cold, divining that Peter had a little grown
away from her in the things he recounted with such unnecessary joy. At
last she interrupted him.

“You haven’t missed me, Peter.”

“But I have,” answered Peter, passing in a breath to tell of his
encounter with the dons of Gamaliel. Miranda put her hand into his, but
Peter, graphically intent upon his tale, insensibly removed it for a
necessary gesture.

“I don’t want to hear,” said Miranda suddenly.

She slipped from where they sat, and, killing him with her eyes, walked
abruptly away.

Peter was struck into dismay. Remorse for his selfish intentness upon
glories Miranda had not shared shot him through. But he stayed where she
had left him, sullenly resentful. She need not have been so violent. How
ugly was her voice when she told him she did not want to hear. Peter
noticed in her swinging dress a patched rent, and her dusty shoes down
at the heel. Spitefully he called into his mind, for contrast and to
support him in his resentment, the quiet and ordered beauty of the life
he had just seen. He retired with dignity to the house, and made
miserable efforts to forget that Miranda was estranged.

Mrs. Paragon wanted to hear all that Peter had seen and done. Peter told
again his tale without enthusiasm. Then his father also must hear. Peter
talked of Oxford, wondering, as he talked, where Miranda had gone, and
whether she would forgive him even if he admitted he was to blame. His
experiences now had lost all their charm. He had taken a vain pleasure
in glorifying them to Miranda, but the glory now was spoiled.

Mr. Paragon was delighted to hear Peter describing his first serious
introduction to polite company without seeming violently pleased.
Clearly Oxford was not going to corrupt him. Peter spoke almost with
distaste of his fine friends.

“Well, my boy,” said Mr. Paragon, “you don’t seem to think much of this
high living.”

“It’s all right, father,” answered Peter, absently dwelling on Miranda.

“What did you talk about? Mostly trash, I suppose?”

“Yes, father.” Peter was now at Miranda’s feet, asking her to forgive

A little later Mr. Smith came in, and the time passed heavily away. Mr.
Smith was trying to dissuade Mr. Paragon from taking part in an angry
demonstration of railway men who had struck work in the previous week.
Already there had been rioting. To-night Mr. Paragon was to address a
meeting in the open air, and his talk was loud and bitter. Peter heard
all this rhetoric with faint disgust. He was at that time in all things
his father’s disciple. But to-night his brain was dancing between a
proud girl, with eyes that hurt, swinging away from him in her patched
frock and dusty shoes, and a long, low-lit table elegant with silver and
glass. He could not listen to these foolish men; and when Mr. Smith had
reached the summit of his theme in a call to “shoot them down,” and when
his father was clearly making ready utterly to destroy his enemy, Peter
went impatiently from the room.

Mrs. Paragon made ready her husband for the meeting without regarding
Mr. Smith’s gloomy fears of disorder and riot. It had always been Mr.
Paragon’s amusement to speak in public, and she had decided that
politics could have no serious results. For a few minutes she watched
him diminish up the long street, and then returned to the kitchen where
Mr. Smith, balancing on his toes, talked still of the dark necessities
of blood and iron.

Two hours later Peter’s father was brought home dead, with a bullet in
his brain.

eCommerce Basis

Peter sat stonily where Miranda left him earlier in the day. It was now
quite dark, the evening primrose shining in tall clusters, very pale,
within reach of his hand. Since a cab had jingled into hearing, stopped
beside the house, and jingled away, hardly a sound had broken into his
thoughts. Each rustle of the trees or lightest noise of the garden
raised in him a riot of excitement; for he felt that Miranda would come,
and he lived moment by moment intensely waiting. He was sure she would
not be able to sleep without making her peace.

Several times he moaned softly, and asked for her aloud. Once he was
filled with bitterest anger, and started to go back into the house. He
hated her. His brilliant future should not be linked with this rude and
shabby girl. Then, in sharp remorse, he asked to be forgiven. Tears of
self-pity had followed tears of anger and tears of utter pain, and had
dried on his cheeks as he rigidly kept one posture on the narrow bench.
He felt to-night that he had the power to experience and to utter all
the sorrow of the world, and mixed with his pain there were sensations
of the keenest luxury.

At last a footstep sounded. He began to tremble unendurably; but in the
next instant he knew it was not Miranda. He had not recovered from his
disappointment when his mother stood beside him.

He looked at her vaguely, not yet recalled from his raging thoughts. She
called his name, and there was something in her voice that startled him.
The moon which was now coming over the house poured its light upon her
face. Swiftly Peter was aware of some terrible thing struggling for
expression. His mother’s eyes were clouded as though she was dazed from
the effect of some hard and sudden blow. Her lips were drawn tight as
though she suffered. She stood for a moment, and once or twice just
failed to speak.

“Peter,” she said at last, “I have to tell you something.”

Peter stared at her, quickly beginning to fear.

“Don’t be frightened, dear boy.” Peter saw the first tears gather and

“Mother, you are hurt.”

Her tears now fell rapidly as she stooped and strained Peter towards
her. She could not bear to see his face as she told him.

“Something terrible has happened. There has been a fight in the streets
and father—-”

Her arms tightened about him. Peter knew his father was dead.

“We are alone, Peter,” she said at last.

Then she rose, and there were no more tears. Erect in the moonlight,
she seemed the statue of a mourning woman.

“He is lying in our room, Peter. Won’t you come?”

Peter instinctively shuddered away. Then, feeling as though a weight had
just been laid on him, he asked:

“Can I help you, mother? Is there anything to do?”

“Uncle Henry is here. Come when you can.”

Peter watched her move away towards the house. Self died outright in him
as, filled with worship, he saw her, grave and beautiful, going to the
dead man.

Soon he wondered why, now that trouble had really come, he could not so
easily be moved. The tears, which so readily had started from his eyes
as he had brooded on his quarrel with Miranda, would not flow now for
his father. His imagination could not at once accept reality. He sat as
his mother had left him, sensible of a gradual ache that stole into his
brain. Time passed; and, at last, as the ache became intolerable, he
heard himself desperately repeating to himself the syllables:

“Never, Never.”

He would never again see his father. Then his brain at last awoke in a
vision of his father, an hour ago or so, confronting Mr. Smith. Peter’s
emotion first sprang alive in a sharp remorse. He had that evening found
his father insufferable.

Peter could no longer sit. He walked rapidly up and down the garden,
giving rein to self-torment. He had always thought of his father, and
now remembered him most vividly, as one who had read with him the books
which first had opened his mind. His father shone now upon Peter crowned
with all the hard, bright literature of revolt.

A harsh cry suddenly broke up the silence of the garden. A newsboy ran
shrieking a special edition, with headlines of riot and someone killed.

The cry struck Peter motionless. He had realised so far that his father
was dead. Now he remembered the riot. The newsboy had shouted of a
charge of soldiers.

Why had Peter not accepted his father’s gospel? Why had he not stood
that evening by his father’s side? The enemies of whom his father had so
often talked to Peter were real, and had struck him down. All the idle
rhetoric that had slept unregarded in Peter’s brain now rang like a
challenge of trumpets. He saw his father as one who had tried to teach
him a brave gospel of freedom, who had resisted tyranny, and died for
his faith.

Peter cursed the oppressor with clenched hands. In the tumble of his
thoughts there intruded pictures, quite unconnected, of the life he had
known at his first school–encounters with the friendly roughs, their
common hatred of the police, the comfortable, oily embrace of the woman
who had picked him from the snow. He felt now that he was one of these
struggling people, that he ought that night to have stood with his
father. In contrast with the warm years in which he had gloried in the
life of his humbler school his later comparative solitude coldly
emphasized his kinship with the dispossessed.

Scarcely twenty-four, hours ago Peter had feasted with the luxurious
enemies of the poor. He had come from them, vainglorious and eager to
claim their fellowship. For this he had been terribly punished. Peter
felt the hand of God in all this. It seemed like destiny’s reward for
disloyalty to all his father had taught.

He went into the house, and soon was looking at the dead man. His mother
moved about the room, obeying her instinct to put all into keeping with
the cold severity of that still figure. Peter looked and went rapidly
away. He felt no tie of blood or affection. He was looking at death–at
something immensely distant.

Nevertheless, as he went from the oppressive house, this chill vision of
death consecrated in his fancy the figure, legendary now, of a martyred
prophet of revolt. By comparison he hardly felt his personal loss of a

As he passed into the garden, he saw into the brilliantly lighted room
next door. Mr. Smith sprawled with his head on the table, sobbing like a
child. Peter, in a flash, remembered him as he had stood not two hours
ago beside his father, shrilly repeating an hortation to shoot them
down. In that moment Peter had his first glimpse of the irony of life.
He felt impulsively that he ought to comfort that foolish bowed figure
whose babble had been so rudely answered.

Then, as Mr. Smith was seen to wipe his watery eyes with a spotted
handkerchief, Peter grew impatient under that sting of absurdity which
in life pricks the holiest sorrow. He turned sharply away, and in the
path he saw Miranda.

She put out her arm with a blind gesture to check the momentum of his
recoil from the lighted window. He caught at her hand, but his fingers
closed upon the rough serge of her sleeve. His passion leaped instantly
to a climax. It was one of those rare moments when feeling must find
pictured expression; when every barrier is down between emotion and its
gesture. Miranda stood before him, the reproach of his disloyalty, a
perfect figure of the life he must embrace. His hand upon her dress shot
instantly into his brain a memory of that mean moment when he had nursed
his wrongs upon her homeliness. A fierce contrition flung him without
pose or premeditation on his knees beside her. As she leaned in wonder
towards him, he caught the fringe of her frayed skirt in his hands, and,
in a moment of supreme dedication, kissed it in a passion of worship.

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The fumes of the evening were blown away

Miranda was at the window as Peter drove off next morning in a
hansom-cab. The sun was shining, the earth green after rain. Peter was
starting on his first unaccompanied journey in his first hansom-cab, and
he was unable to feel as miserable as he should. Miranda gave him a
smile that struggled to be free of sadness at losing him for four days,
and of envy at his adventure. Peter knew how she felt, and he was angry
with himself for being happy.

The miles flew quickly by. Peter soon began to wonder in pleasant
excitement what Oxford was like.

At Oxford station he was immediately sensible of the advantages of a
town where a great many people live only to anticipate the wishes of
young gentlemen. In Hamingburgh only people with great presence of mind
can succeed in being attended to by the men who in that independent city
put themselves, as cabmen, porters, and shop assistants, into positions
of superiority to the public. Peter was amazed at the deference with
which his arrival upon the platform was met. The whole town seemed only
anxious that he should reach his lodgings as quickly and as comfortably
as possible.


Peter’s impressions thereafter were fierce and rapid. His four days
were a wonderful round of visits. He perused the colleges, the gardens,
and the river. He called upon old schoolfellows for whom the life of
Oxford was already commonplace; who had long since forgotten that they
were living in one of the loveliest of mediæval towns; who blindly
perambulated the cloisters, weighing the issues of a Test Match. He
visited professors by invitation, and listened for the first time in his
life to after-dinner conversation incredibly polite. After his papers
were written for the day, he could make a quiet meal and issue
adventurously into the streets, eagerly looking into the career at whose
threshold he had arrived.

Peter was in a city of illusion. He constructed the life, whose outward
activities he so curiously followed, from the stones of Oxford, and saw,
as it seemed to him, an existence surrendered to lovely influences of
culture and the awful discipline of knowledge. With reverence he
encountered in the quadrangle of the college whose hospitality he was
seeking, a majestic figure, silver-haired, of dreaming aspect, passing
gravely to his pulpit of learning. This was that famous Warden, renowned
in Europe as the author of many books wherein the mightiest found
themselves corrected.

Later in the day he enviously saw the inhabitants of this happy world,
who in the morning had followed the Warden in to his lecture to get
wisdom, issue from their rooms (whose windows opened within rustle of
the trees and prospect of a venerable lawn) dressed for the field or
river. It particularly impressed Peter that in this attire they should
take their way unconcerned through the streets of the town. No one would
have dared, in Hamingburgh, to be thus conspicuous. How debonair and
free was life in this heavenly city!

At evening Peter walked in the streets and quadrangles, getting precious
glimpses of an interior studiously lit, with groups, as he fancied them,
of sober scholars in grave debate upon their studies of the morning; or,
perhaps, in pleasant reminiscence of their games of the afternoon.
Sometimes Peter would hear a burst of laughter or see through the panes
of a college window a group of men deep in poker or bridge. Peter then
remembered wild tales of the license of young bloods, and was not
displeased. It added a zest to his meditations.

Peter’s last evening focussed his impressions. It was the agreeable
habit of the dons of Gamaliel College to invite their candidates to
dinner when the trial was over. Peter accepted the invitation with
dismay. It was the first time he had ever proposed to take an evening
meal by way of dinner; he was afraid.

Nevertheless, the reality was quite pleasant. His first impression of
the dons of Gamaliel was of their kindly interest in himself. He seemed
to be specially selected for attention. The Warden in his welcome looked
perusingly at him. Peter’s instinct, quick to feel an atmosphere,
warned him, as they talked, that he was being tactfully drawn. He
noticed also the smiles that occasionally passed when he plunged into
some vigorous opinion about the books he hated or loved. Insensibly he
grew more cautious, and, as the dinner advanced, he was amazed to hear
himself, as though he were listening to someone else, saying things in a
new way. Peter was beginning to acquire the Oxford manner. His old life
was receding. He caught vaguely at a memory of Miranda, but she lived in
another world. Here he sat a king of the earth. A beautifully spoken,
white-haired servant at his elbow filled his glass with golden wine, and
as he accepted regally of delicate meats from dishes respectfully
offered, he heard himself, in tones already grown strangely in tune with
those of his companions, contributing discreet opinions.

Peter, too, was drinking. He discovered how easy it was to talk at ease,
to sparkle, to throw out, in grand disorder, the thronging visions of
his brain. Far from shrinking in diffidence from the necessity to assert
himself and to be prominent, he began now actively to intervene.

Peter never remembered how first they came to talk of bees. But he did
not for years forget the dramatic circumstances of this conversation. He
never lost the horror with which he realised immediately after the event
that he had contradicted the Reverend Warden, and that the whole table
was waiting for him to make his contention good.

“Well, Mr. Paragon, how do you explain all this?”

The room had suddenly become silent. All the little conversations had
gone out. For the first time Peter felt that an audience was hanging
upon him. He flushed, set his teeth, and talked. He talked with
enthusiasm, tempered instinctively with the Oxford manner. His
enthusiasm delighted the dons of Gamaliel, to whom it was very strange,
and his experience interested them. Peter loved his bees and handled
them well. When he had ended his account, all kinds of questions were
asked. More than ever he felt elated and sure of himself. He emptied yet
another glass of the golden wine.

“I’m becoming quite brilliant,” he thought.

Then he saw that the Warden was speaking into an ear of the white-haired
servant, glancing with ever so slight a gesture at Peter’s empty glass.
This time the servant in passing round the table omitted Peter.


Peter was quick to understand. He arrested himself in the act of saying
something foolish. Clearly the wine had gone into his head. He wondered
whether he would be able to stand up when the time came. He sank
suddenly into himself, answering when he was appealed to directly, but
otherwise content to watch the table. He thought with remorse of
Miranda, almost forgotten amid the excitement of these last days. He saw
again the garden as it looked on the evening of his farewell. He wanted
to be away from these strange people, from the raftered hall, the table
soft-lit, beautiful with silver and glass. The voices went far-off. Only
when his neighbour touched him on the shoulder did he notice that his
companions were moving.

The Warden bade him a cordial good-bye. He smiled at Peter in a way that
made his heart leap with a conviction that he had been successful.

“I wonder,” Peter said to himself as he walked back to his rooms–“I
wonder if I am really drunk?” He had never felt before quite as he did
to-night. Now that he was in the open, he wanted to leap and to sing.

The municipal band was playing as he turned into the street. Round it
were gathered in promenade an idle crowd of young shopkeepers, coupled,
or desirous of being coupled, with girls of the town.

Peter noticed a handsome young woman at the edge of the crowd, hanging
upon the arm of a young man. She was closely observing him as he came
up. It seemed to Peter that she mischievously challenged him. Her
companion was staring vacantly at the bandsmen. Peter paused
irresolutely, flushed a burning red, and passed hastily away.

He was astonished and humiliated at his physical commotion. The music
sounded hatefully the three-four rhythm of surrender. He was yet able to
hear it as he stood under the window of his room. He saw again the
enigmatic eyes of the girl, the faint welcome of her smile, so slight as
to be no more than a shadow, the coquettish recoil of her shoulders as
he paused.

He turned into his lodgings, and ten o’clock began to strike on the
Oxford bells. He waited for several minutes till the last had sounded.
Oxford, for Peter, was to the end a city of bells. He never lost the
impression of his first night as he lay, too excited for sleep, his
thoughts interrupted with the hours as they sounded, high and low, till
the last straggler had ended. It always profoundly affected him, this
converse at night between turret and turret of the sleeping stones. It
came at last to emphasize his impression of Oxford as a place whose
actual and permanent life was in the walls and trees, whose men were

To-night the bells invited Peter to look into the greater life he
expected to lead in this place. The scattered glimpses of a beautiful
world at whose threshold he stood were now united in a hope that soon he
would permanently share it within call of the hours as melodiously in
this grey city they passed.

The fumes of the evening were blown away; the band in the street was no
longer heard. Peter, awake in bed, heard yet another striking of the
hour. He was looking back to his last evening with Miranda. How did she
come into this new life? He thought of her sleeping, parted by a wall’s
breadth from his empty room at home, and was invaded with a desire to be
near her greater than his envy of anything that sounded in the striking

“Miranda.” He repeated the syllables to himself as the bells were
striking, and fell asleep upon her name.

Continue Reading

He could flatter himself

Peter in common daylight carefully examined his face in the
looking-glass. His left eye was a painter’s palette. He ruefully
remembered that the fight had yet to be finished. He was bound to offer
his adversary an opportunity of completing the good work, and he
distinctly quailed. Peter was this morning upon solid earth. The crisis
was past. He knew now that he had quickly to be a man, to get knowledge
and wealth and power.

Boys at Peter’s branch of the foundation of King Edward VI could no
higher ascend into knowledge than the binomial theorem. Peter, not yet
fifteen, was already head of the school–the favourite pupil of his
masters, easily leading in learning and cricket. Already it was a
question whether he should or should not proceed to the High School
where Greek and the Calculus were to be had.

Peter’s career was already a problem. Mr. Paragon inclined to believe
that the best thing for a boy of fifteen was to turn into business,
leaving Greek to the parsons. Mrs. Paragon had different views. Peter
was yet unaware of this discussion, nor had he wondered what would
happen when the time came for leaving his first school.

Peter’s company raised a chorus when they beheld him. They explained to
Peter what his face was like. They were proud of it. A terrible and
bloody fellow was their captain.

When Peter met his adversary each noted with pleasure that the other was
honourably marked.

The handsome rough thrust out a large red hand.

“Take it or leave it,” he said.

Peter took it. The bells were calling in a final burst, and he passed
rapidly on with his company. It was peace with honour.

Peter was in a resolute grapple with the binomial theorem when a call
came for him to go into the headmaster’s room. Peter, delicately feeling
his battered face, followed the school-porter with misgiving.

“Paragon,” said the headmaster, “I don’t like your face. It isn’t

Peter writhed softly, aware that he was ironically contemplated.

“This fighting in the streets,” continued the headmaster, “is becoming a
public nuisance. I should be sorry to believe that any of our boys
provoked it. I hope it was self-defence.”

“Mostly, sir,” said Peter.

“I rely upon you, Paragon, to avoid making the school a nuisance to the

“I realise my responsibility, sir.”

Peter was quite serious, and the headmaster did not smile.

“Now, Paragon,” he said, “I want to talk to you about something else. I
have just written to your father. Do you know what you would like to do
when you leave school?”

“No, sir,” said Peter.

Peter had, in fancy, invented posts for himself that would tax to the
fullest extent his complicated genius. He had lived a hundred lives.
Nevertheless, bluntly asked whether he had thought about his future, he
as bluntly answered “No,” and knew in a moment that the answer was
dreadfully true. His cloud cuckooland of battle and success, magnificent
with pictures of himself in all the great attitudes of history, vanished
at a simple question. He was rapidly growing old.

The headmaster continued, pitilessly sensible.

“I want you to go on with your education,” he said. “You have done very
well with us here. I have written to your father urging him to send you
to the High School where it will be possible for you to qualify for the
University. I want you, before you see your father, to make up your mind
what you want to do.”

Peter left the headmaster’s room with a sense of loss. The glamour had
gone out of life. His future, vast and uncertain, had in a moment
narrowed to a practical issue. Should he go on to another school, or
into some office of the town? These were dreary alternatives. Already he
was fifteen years old, and he had somehow to be the most famous man in
the world within the next five years.

Peter’s father went that day to visit his brother-in-law.

Henry Prout, Peter’s uncle and godfather, had at this time retired from
the retailing of hardware. He was wealthy, an alderman of the town, and
a bachelor. He took a father’s interest in his nephew. There was a
tacit, very indefinite assumption that in all which nearly concerned his
sister’s son Henry had a right to be consulted.

When Peter heard his father had gone round to his uncle’s house he knew
his career was that evening to be decided.

Henry Prout was a copy in gross of his sister. Mrs. Paragon was queenly
and fair. Henry was large and florid. Mrs. Paragon was amiable and full
of peace. Henry was genial and lazy. Mrs. Paragon equably accepted life
from a naturally perfect balance of character, Henry from a naturally
perfect confidence in the inclinations of his rosy and abundant flesh.

Uncle Henry had one large regret. He had had no education, and he
greatly envied the people who had. His admiration for the results of
education was really a part of his indolence. He admired the readiness
and ease with which educated people disposed of problems which cost him
painful efforts of the brain. Education was for Uncle Henry a royal way
to the settlement of every difficult thing. If you had education, life
was an arm-chair. If you had it not, life was a necessity to think
things laboriously out for yourself.

Uncle Henry had made up his mind that Peter should have the best
education money could buy. Peter, he determined, should learn Greek.

“Well, George,” he said in his comfortable thick voice, “what’s it going
to be?”

He was not yet alluding to Peter’s career, but to some bottles on the
little table between them.

“Half and half,” said George.

“Help yourself,” said Henry, adding, as Mr. Paragon portioned out his
whisky, “How’s sister?”

“Up to the mark every time.”

“She’s all right. There’s not a more healthy woman in England than

Henry paused a little in reflection upon the virtues of Mrs. Paragon. He
then continued.

“How’s the boy?”

“I’ll tell you what,” said Mr. Paragon, “he’s growing up.”

“Fifteen next December.”

“Old for his age,” said Mr. Paragon, nodding between the lines.

Uncle Henry thoughtfully compressed his lips.

“Well,” he said, “I suppose the boy will have to find out what he’s made

“He’s very thick next door,” suggested Mr. Paragon with a meaning eye.

“I’ve noticed her, George. She’ll soon be finding out a thing or two for

“There’s a handsome woman there,” said Mr. Paragon.

“Well enough.”

They paused again in contemplation of possibilities in Miranda.

“I’ve had a letter,” said Mr. Paragon at last. The headmaster’s sheet
was handed over, and carefully deciphered.

“Writes a shocking hand,” said Uncle Henry. “That’s education. Peter’s
hand,” he added contentedly, “is worse. I can’t make head or tail of
what Peter writes.”

Henry mixed himself another whisky. “They seem to think a great lot of
him,” he said thoughtfully. “That about the Scholarships, for instance.
They say he’ll get the £30. Then he goes to the High School and gets
£50, and £80 at the University. Think of that, George.”

“I don’t hold with it,” Mr. Paragon broke out.

“Education,” Henry began.

“Education yourself,” interrupted Mr. Paragon. “What’s the good of all
that second-hand stuff?”

“It helps.”

“Yes. It helps to make a nob of my son. It’s little he’ll learn at the
University except to take off his hat to people no better than himself.”

“Can’t you trust him?”

“Peter’s all right,” Mr. Paragon jealously admitted.

“There’s no harm in a bit of Greek. You talk as if it was going to turn
him straight off into a bishop.”

Uncle Henry paused, and, desiring to make a point, took the hearthrug.

“I can’t understand you,” he continued, with legs well apart. “If Peter
is going to have my money, he’s got to learn how to spend it. Look at
myself. I have had sense to make a bit of money, but I’ve got no more
idea of spending it than a baby. I want Peter to learn.”

“That’s all right,” said Mr. Paragon. “But what’s going to happen to
Peter when he gets into the hands of a lot of doctors?”

“Peter must take his chance.”

“It’s well for you to talk. You’re as blue as they’re made, and a
churchwarden of the parish.”

Uncle Henry solemnly put down his glass. “George,” he said, “it does not
matter to a mortal fool what I am, nor what you are. Peter’s got to find
things out for himself. He’ll get past you and me; and, whether he comes
out your side or mine, he’ll have more in his head.”

Uncle Henry ended with an air of having closed the discussion, and,
after some friendly meditation, whose results were flung out in the
fashion of men too used to each other’s habit of thought to need
elaborate intercourse, Mr. Paragon rose and went thoughtfully home.

By the time he reached the Kidderminster Road he had definitely settled
the question of Peter’s career. Peter should get knowledge. He should
possess the inner fortress of learning. He should be the perfect knight
of the oppressed people, armed at all points. Thus did Mr. Paragon
reconcile his Radical prejudices with his fatherly ambition.

Arrived home, he showed the headmaster’s letter to Mrs. Paragon.

She read it with the pride of a mother who knows the worth of her boy,
but nevertheless likes it to be acknowledged.

Mr. Paragon watched her as she read.

“Yes,” he said, answering her thoughts, “Peter’s all right.”

Mrs. Paragon handed back the letter.

“I suppose,” suggested Mr. Paragon, airily magnificent, “he had better
go on with his education?”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Paragon.

Mr. Paragon knew at once that if he had persisted in taking Peter from
school he would have had to persuade his wife that it was right to do
so. He also knew that this would have been very difficult.

Fortunately, however, he had decided otherwise. He could flatter himself
now that he had settled this grave question himself. It was true, in a
sense, that he had. Mr. Paragon had not for nothing lived with his wife
for nearly seventeen years.

Peter was not happy at the High School. It is disconcerting, when you
have been First Boy and a Captain, to be put among inferior creatures to
learn Greek. Peter had risen with his former friends from the lowest to
the highest; they had grown together in sport and learning. Now he found
himself in a middle form, an interloper among cliques already
established. Moreover, the boys at the High School, where education for
such as could not obtain a foundation scholarship was more expensive
than at the lower branches, were of a superior quality, with nicer
manners and a more delicate way of speaking. He was a stranger.

At sixteen Peter was almost a man. His father had always met him upon an
intellectual equality. They had talked upon the gravest matters. Peter
had voraciously read a thousand books which he did not altogether
understand. It needed only physical adolescence to show him how far he
had outstripped the friends of his age.

The lot of a precocious boy is not a happy one, and Peter paid the
penalty. He made not a single friend during his two years at the new
school. He lived gravely after his own devices, quiet, observant,
superficially accessible to the kind advances of his masters and
classfellows, but profoundly unaffected.

Nevertheless these years were the most important of Peter’s life,
wherein he learned all that his father was able to teach him. Peter,
years after he had outlived much of his early wisdom, yet looked back
upon this time as peculiarly sacred to his father. From him he learned
to accept naturally the perplexing instincts that now were arisen within
him. Peter escaped the usual unhappy period of surmise and shamefast

More particularly these were the glorious years of Peter and Miranda.
Peter found in Miranda the perfect maid, and Miranda, eager for
knowledge and greedy of adoration, reaching after the life of a woman
with the mind and body of a girl, found in Peter the pivot of the world.
In these years were laid the foundations of an incredible intimacy.
Daily they grew in a perpetual discovery of themselves. Peter opened to
Miranda the store of his knowledge. There was perfect confidence. At an
age when the secrets of life are the subject of uneasy curiosity at
best, and at worst of thoughtless defamation, Peter and Miranda talked
of them as they talked of their bees (Peter’s latest craze); of the
stars; of the poets they loved (Miranda was not yet altogether a woman:
she loved the poets); of the life they would lead in the friendly world.

Miranda was the more thrown upon Peter as neither of her parents was
able to direct her. Her mother was entirely unimaginative. Her fierce
affection for Miranda showed itself in a continual insistence that she
should “behave”; read and eat only what was good for her; and be as
well, if not better, dressed than the children of her neighbours. For
her father Miranda had some affection, but she could not respect him.
She saw him continually overridden by her mother, and already she
overtopped him in stature by a head.

The months went quickly by, and soon it was the eve of Peter’s journey
to Oxford as the candidate for an open scholarship. Peter was nervously
excited. Every little detail, in his heightened sensibility, seemed
important. It was late summer, a warm night, the room filling rapidly
with shadows. Miranda sat by the window, her face to the fallen sun.

The men were talking politics. Their lifted voices grated upon Peter’s
thoughts. It was a time of strikes and rioting. Mr. Paragon, as an
orator, was urgently requested in the streets of Hamingburgh. He was
full of his theme, and extremely angry with Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith was an
entirely amiable little man, but he delighted in the phrases of battle.
He talked politics in a soldier’s terms. He was perpetually storming the
enemy’s position or turning his rear. The English political situation
was in Mr. Smith’s view never far removed from war and revolution. He
delighted in images of violence. The mildest of small men, whose nerves
were shattered by an unexpected noise, he was always ready to talk of
the prime duty of governments to stamp out rebellion in blood. Mr. Smith
could not pull a cracker at Christmas without shutting his eyes and
getting as far as possible from the explosion; but, politically, he was
a Prussian.

“Shoot them down!”

Mr. Smith was repeating a formula by now almost mechanical.

To Peter it was desperately familiar. The men’s voices every now and
then were overborne by Mrs. Smith in one of her perpetual
recommendations to Miranda.

“Take your elbows off the sill, Miranda.”

“Yes, mother.”

Miranda answered with the mechanical obedience of a child who makes

She turned at the same time into the room, full of the contrast between
the beauty of the garden and the two absurd figures in dispute upon the
hearthrug. She looked over to Peter in the shadow.

His eyes were full of her, burning with delight.

Miranda, meeting his look, felt suddenly too glad for endurance. She
burst from her seat.

Her mother’s voice, thin and penetrating, was plainly heard above the
ground-bass of political argument.

“Where are you going, Miranda?”

“Into the garden, mother,” patiently answered Miranda, and with never a
look at Peter she went.

The men talked on. Peter quietly followed Miranda into the garden,
unnoticed except by his mother.

Mrs. Paragon had read the lines of her son’s face. She sighed as he
slipped away, knowing that at that moment the world held for Peter but
one thing really precious. She smiled, not bitterly, but with
indulgence, upon the talking fathers.

Peter and Miranda sat for many minutes without a word. The evening was
perfect, the shining of stars in a violet sky mocked on earth with the
shining of great clusters of evening primrose. How full the night
seemed! The stars were very secret, but the secret waited to be told.

“I shall not be able to bear it,” said Miranda suddenly.

“Four days,” said Peter.

“But after that.”

“Eight weeks at a time.”

But Miranda’s heart sank at the eternity of eight weeks.

Protesting with her, Peter at last said:

“I’m always with you, Miranda.”

She turned and found he was looking where Mirza glittered with its
companion star. He had written her a poem in which he had likened Mirza
to himself, eternally passing through heaven with his tiny friend.

Miranda felt to-night how empty was this fancy.

“You are going away,” she said, “and you have never—-” She stopped,
frightened and ashamed. She wished to run from the place, and she was
glad of the dark.

The feeling passed, and she lifted her head, looking at Peter. Her eyes
were full of challenge and of fear, of confession, of reserve–the
courage of a maid–proud to be as yet untouched, but happy in surrender.

“All that I have–and how beautiful it is!–is yours,” was what Peter

The tears rushed into her eyes. They both were crying as Peter kissed
her. It was the first kiss of lovers two years old, the first delicate
breach of their chastity.

Miranda lifted her head upon Peter’s arm.

“I want to be with you always,” she said. “I cannot bear you to go

Footsteps intruded. Uncle Henry had come, God-speeding his nephew. Peter
had been missed, and Uncle Henry was coming to find him. Peter felt as
if the world were advancing to rob him of something too precious to be
lawfully his. He wanted to save Miranda from this intrusion.

“Good-bye, darling!” he whispered.

She understood.

“Hold me near to you, Peter,” she said. They kissed a second time,
lingering on the peril of discovery. She ran lightly away as Uncle Henry
parted the bushes and thrust his great head towards the seat.

“Hullo, Peter, my boy, is that you?”

“Yes, Uncle.”

“I thought I would look round to wish you luck.”

“Thank you, Uncle.”

“Somebody did not want to see me,” said Uncle Henry, crossly following
Miranda with his eyes.

Peter flashed an indignant look upon his uncle. He could not tell him
why Miranda had gone away; how she was too precious to suffer the
contact of dull earth.

They walked into the house. For Peter the rest of the evening passed in
a dream. He made his plans for an early breakfast, received the last
advice as to his trains and the disposition of his money, and went as
soon as possible to his bedroom under the eaves.

Continue Reading

He repeated the question to himself

Mr. Paragon was intended for a gardener. Had he been put upon the land
at an early age he would neither have read books nor misread men:
missing these opportunities for cynicism. He might have given his name
to a chrysanthemum; and in ripe age have been full of meditated wisdom.

That Mr. Paragon at this time should sensibly have softened from the
bitterness of his youth, was as much due to his large garden as to the
influence of his wife and the effect of his prosperity. In his oldest
and toughest clothes, working as English labourers worked before they
had lost the secret, Mr. Paragon in no way resembled himself as member
of the Labour church and a popular orator. The land absorbed him. He
handled his spade in an indescribable, professional manner. You
recognised the connoisseur who gathers in his palms the rarest china.
You trust the man who by mere handling of an object can convey to you a
sense of its value. In the same way you trusted Mr. Paragon with a
spade. When Mr. Paragon took a cutting it always struck. When he
selected seeds they always were fruitful. When he built a bank or
rounded the curve of a plot the result was always pleasing; and it came
of itself, without reflection or difficulty. His gift was from nature.
He had read no literature of gardening, and he had had no instruction.
It was his charming privilege that a garden naturally blossomed under
his hands.

Mrs. Paragon encouraged in every possible way her husband’s love of the
soil. Instinctively she divined that here he was best, and that here he
was nearest herself. She was rarely without some of his flowers upon her
table or pinned in her dress; and when on free days Mr. Paragon spent
absorbed and laborious hours in the garden, Mrs. Paragon brought him
cheese and beer, or tea and muffins, waiting at his elbow, interested
and critical, while he discussed his plans, and asked her for advice
which he never regarded. Had Mrs. Paragon neglected to feed him on these
occasions he would not have noticed it, for he lost all count of time,
and did not remember he was hungry till darkness came.

The most striking event of the year for Mr. Paragon and his house was
the disposal of the season’s rubbish. For twelve months it accumulated
in a large hole, rotting in the rain and sun. Mr. Paragon dug it
carefully into the soil at the end of the year, using it as a foundation
for beds and banks. Usually the whole family assisted at the carting of
the rubbish, with a box on wheels.

Peter was master of the convoy for carting the rubbish, and this was a
military enterprise. Miranda harassed his operations to the best of her
ability. There were ambuscades, surprises, excursions and alarms.

Mr. Smith looked upon these operations with delight. He liked to see Mr.
Paragon at work in the garden. He was proud of his successful neighbour,
and took real pleasure in his competence. Moreover, he delighted in
Peter’s lively and interesting pretences. He would himself have led the
attack upon Peter’s convoy had he been free of Mrs. Smith’s critical and
contemptuous survey from the back-parlour window. Once he had actively
taken part, and Mrs. Smith discovered him on all fours among the
gooseberries, whence he had intended to create a diversion in Peter’s
rear. The rational frigidity with which she had come from the house to
inquire what he imagined himself to be doing effectually prevented a

This afternoon there was a sharp encounter. This was a great moment in
Peter’s life owing to a brief, almost instantaneous, passage. Miranda
met Peter’s onslaught in her manly fashion, and soon they were locked in
a desperate embrace. Suddenly Peter saw Miranda, as it seemed to him
afterwards, for the first time. Her head was flung back, her cheeks
crimsonly defiant, eyes shining, and hair scattered. For Peter it was a
vision. He saw with uneasy terror that Miranda was beautiful. He had a
quailing instinct to release her. It passed; but Miranda met the look
that came into his eyes and understood.

Who can say how softly and insensibly the change had been prepared? The
books they had read; the strange couples that walked in the evening,
curiously linked; the half-thoughts and surmises; queer little impulses
of cruelty or tenderness that had passed between them–all were suddenly
gathered up.

Peter realised the difference in his life that this moment had made for
him in the late evening when Mr. Paragon was showing him a transit of
Jupiter’s third moon. Astronomy was a passion with Mr. Paragon.
Astronomy overthrew Genesis and confounded religion. He had picked up
cheap a six-inch reflecting telescope, and very frequently on fine
evenings he probed the heavens for uninspected nebulæ, resolved double
stars, mapped the surface of the moon, followed the fascinating mutation
of the variables. Peter was very soon attracted and absorbed into his
father’s pastime. It had a breathless appeal for him. Awed and excited,
he would project his mind into the measureless dark spaces. It was an
adventure. Sometimes they would rise after midnight, and these were the
times Peter loved best. The extreme quiet of the hour; loneliness upon
earth giving a keener edge to the loneliness of heaven; the silence of
the sleeping street lending almost a terror to the imagined silence of
space; the secret flavour which crept into the enterprise from the mere
fact of waking while the world was asleep–all this gave to the
situation, for Peter, an agreeable poignancy. Already he had discovered
the appeal of Shelley, and he would repeat, pleasantly shuddering,
passages of his favourite story:

“I have made my bed
In charnels and on coffins, where black death
Keeps record of the trophies won from thee,
Hoping to still these obstinate questionings
Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost,
Thy messenger, to render up the tale
Of what we are.”

The contrast was striking at these times between Peter and his father.
For Mr. Paragon every double star resolved was a nail in the coffin of
the Established Church; every wonder of the skies, inspected and
verified, was a confirmation that society was built on stubble. But for
Peter these excursions were food for fancy, the stuff of his dreams. He
soared into space, not as Mr. Paragon intended, to discover the fraud of
priests and kings, but to voyage with Shelley’s Mab through the
beautiful stars.

To-night the adventure had lost its edge. Nothing could be more exciting
than a transit of Jupiter’s third moon. The gradual approach of the tiny
moon to the edge of the planet; its momentary extinction; the slow
passage of the little shadow on the cloud-bright surface–the loveliness
of this miniature play was sharpened for Peter by knowledge of its
immensity. Mr. Paragon gave up the telescope to Peter, and waited for
breathless exclamation. But Peter was silent.

“Well,” said Mr. Paragon, “can’t you see it?”

“Yes,” answered Peter indifferently.

“Perhaps the focus isn’t quite right,” suggested Mr. Paragon. He looked
anxiously at Peter. Peter’s indifference was unusual.

“It’s all right, father, I can see it well. It’s a black spot, and it’s
moving across.”

“Wonderful!” said Mr. Paragon. “Think of it, Peter. Jupiter to-night is
60,000,000 miles away. It would easily hold 1300 of us, and it’s got
five moons. Looks as if it were made for lighting people to bed, don’t

“Yes, father,” said Peter without interest.

Peter’s fancy had suddenly flown to a passage in _Romeo and Juliet_,
hitherto passed as absurd–something about cutting up Romeo into little
stars. Peter smelled the wet earth and remembered Miranda. His
imagination to-night refused the cold voyage into space. His father’s
figures, after which his mind had so often adventurously strained, were

His attention fell suddenly asleep at the telescope.

He realised that his father was asking him whether the transit was
finished. He started into watchfulness and replied, still indifferently,
that it was.

Mr. Paragon was mortified. He showed Peter the wonders of the universe
with a sort of proprietary satisfaction. He was proud of the size of
Jupiter. He was personally exalted that the distance between the earth
and the moon should be 240,000 miles. He had the pride of a
conscientious cicerone; of the native who does the honours of his town.
Peter to-night was disappointing.

“Well,” said Mr. Paragon desperately, “what do you think of it?”

“It was very clear,” Peter dutifully answered.

“There’s not many lads your age,” grumbled Mr. Paragon, “that have seen
a transit of Jupiter’s third moon.”

“I know,” said Peter, trying to feel excited and grateful. He had been
looking forward to this evening for weeks. Why was he unable to enjoy

He repeated the question to himself as, half an hour later, he lay
peacefully in bed. Then he found himself trying to remember the exact
phrase about Romeo and the little stars.

Peter went daily to school in a dirty quarter of the town at least two
miles from home. The house of the Paragons was upon the borders of the
western or fashionable suburb of Hamingburgh. The school barely escaped
the great manufacturing district to the east and south. It was a branch
school of the great local foundation of King Edward VI. In the phrase of
the local roughs, through whose courts and alleys he passed, Peter was a

He was supposed to go to school by the main road, where he was more or
less under the protection of the police. For between the roughs and the
grammar-cats was perpetual war; and to take the shorter route through
the courts and alleys was an act of provocation. But Peter hankered
after the forbidden road. His father, showing him the way to school, had
stopped at a certain corner:

“This,” he said, “is the shortest way; but you had better go round by
the main road.”

“Why?” Peter had asked.

“It’s a nasty neighbourhood,” said Mr. Paragon.

From that moment the shortest route became for Peter a North-West
Passage. He would stand at the fatal corner, looking up the street with
its numberless small entries. Then, on a memorable day, he plunged.

First he had a soaring sense of his audacity. He felt he had left the
laws behind. To win through now must entirely depend on his personal
resource. At the doors of an immense factory men, women, and boys stood
in line, waiting for the signal to blow them into work. Peter felt with
a sinking at the stomach that he was an object of curiosity. He indeed
looked strangely out of place in his neat suit of a small tar, with a
sailor’s knot foppishly fastened at the breast. The curious eyes of the
waiting group followed him up the street. He was painfully aware, as he
passed, that jocular remarks in sleepy midland slang were freely
exchanged upon his apparition. Higher up the street a little rough
stopped for a moment and stared, then started into an alley screaming.

The street was suddenly alive. Peter, flinging self-respect to the
winds, started to run. A stone caught him smartly on the heel, and he
thought he was lost. But another cry was almost immediately sounded. The
helmet of a policeman came glinting up the street.

The roughs vanished as quickly as they had appeared.

Peter did not again venture into this district alone. At least a dozen
of his school friends lived in the western suburb. He formed them into
a company, which daily took the forbidden way to school. Such was the
origin of a feud whose deeds and passages would fill a chronicle.
Peter’s company was long remembered.

He soon made some striking discoveries. You cannot fight with a
persistent enemy, even though his methods are not your methods, without
touching his good points. It soon became evident that he and the roughs
were less bitterly opposed than either of them was to the police. It was
also clear that the men and women of the factory were “sports.” They
encouraged the boys quite impartially, and saw fair play.

Peter particularly remembered one morning of snow and dirt outside the
big factory, when he slipped and fell, squirming with bitter pain of a
snowball hard as ice in his ear. A stalwart woman with naked arms grimed
with lead, picked him up and pressed him in a comfortable and friendly
way against her bosom. She was in that dark hour an angel of strength
and solace. The incident always lived in Peter’s memory along with the
faint smell in his nostrils of the factory grime.

On the morning after the transit of Jupiter’s third moon Peter was late.
His company had not waited. Peter had to pass his enemies alone.

He still wondered at the change which had come over him yesterday.
Nothing that morning seemed of the least importance save a curious
necessity to be still and inquire of himself what had happened.

He thought only of Miranda, wondering why he saw her now at a distance.

A company of roughs lay between Peter and his friends. He was cut off;
but it did not seem to matter. Everything that morning was unreal. He
walked quite indifferently towards them. They seemed so remote that, had
they vanished into air, he would not have been surprised.

Peter pushed loftily past a handsome young rough.

“Now then,” said the fellow.

“Let me pass,” said Peter, curiously pedantic beside the other.

“Not so fast.”

“Let go of my arm,” said Peter.

“Not much,” said the enemy.

Peter flew into a rage.

“Funk,” he said, without point or reason.

“Say it again.”


“Who’s a funk?”

“You are.”

“Are you calling me a funk?”


“Say it again.”


There was a deadlock. Peter must try something else.

“See this face?” he inquired with deadly offensiveness, thrusting
forward his countenance for exhibition.

“Take it away,” said the other.

“Hit it,” said Peter.

“I shall if you don’t take it away.”

“Just you hit it.”

Peter’s enemy did hit it. Immediately a ring was formed. Peter fell back
into his mood of indifference to the world. This fight was a nuisance,
but it had to go on.

They fought three vigorous rounds. From every court and alley spectators
poured. Windows were flung up.

Then a policeman was seen, and in ten seconds the street was empty
again. Peter jogged off to the main road. The roughs scattered into

Peter, late for school, came up for inspection with a swollen lip and an
eye which became more remarkable as time went on. But pain this morning
meant as little to Peter as reproof. He was unable to take things
seriously. He felt curiously above them.

Home at midday he avoided his family. He felt a necessity to be alone,
to dream and to exult over something that had neither shape nor name. He
went into a secret passage.

This secret passage was intimately bound up with his life of adventure.
The gardens of Peter’s road met at the bottom the gardens of a parallel
highway. The two rows were parted by a line of trees and a wall. On the
farther side of the wall a thick hedge, planted a few feet from the foot
of the wall, had been trained to meet it overhead. After many years it
formed a natural green tunnel between the gardens. This tunnel, cleared
of dead shoots and leaves, was large enough for Peter and Miranda to
crawl from end to end of the wall’s foot, and gave them access, after
pioneering, to the trees which rose regularly from the midst of the

Peter to-day climbed into the secret passage, not for adventure but to
be alone. The old life seemed very remote. Could he really have believed
that the tree against which he leaned was a fortress that had cost him
ten thousand men?

A humble bee bustled into the shade and fell, overloaded with pollen.
Peter watched it closely. Already he found himself seeing little
things–their beauty and a vague impulse in himself to express it.

Peter’s indifference to the impertinent call of the things of yesterday
was quite wonderful.

“Hullo!” said Mr. Paragon at dinner, “you’ve been fighting.”

“Yes, father,” said Peter.

“Goodness gracious!” Mrs. Paragon exclaimed. “Look at Peter’s face!”

“Yes, mother,” said Peter.

“Tell us about it, my boy,” twinkled Mr. Paragon.

“There’s nothing to tell, father.”

“Was he a big boy?” Mr. Paragon asked.


“Did you beat him?”

“No, father.”

“Did he beat you?”

“No, father.”

Mr. Paragon looked at Peter with misgiving.

“Mary,” said Mr. Paragon in the late evening, “Peter’s growing up.”

They were sitting together in the garden, Mr. Paragon smoking a pipe
after supper. It was warm and quiet, with occasional light noises from
the wood and the near houses. It was Mr. Paragon’s moment of peace–a
time for minor meditations, softened by the stars and the flowers,
equally his by right of conquest.

Mrs. Paragon sighed. She divined a coming rift between herself and

“He is very young,” she protested.

“He was always older than his years,” said Mr. Paragon; and, after a
silence, he added: “Don’t lose touch with the boy, Mary. We have got to
help him over these discoveries. Life’s too fine to be picked up

“It’s not easy to keep with the young. There’s so much to understand.”

Mrs. Paragon said this a little sadly, and Mr. Paragon felt bound to
comfort her.

“Peter’s a good boy,” he said.

Meantime Peter in his attic was not asleep. It was his habit, shut in
his room for the night, to climb through the skylight, and sit upon a
flat and cozy space of the roof by the warm chimney. There he was
frequently joined by Miranda from the attic of the next house.

But Peter sat this evening at the window. The garden was quick with
faint play of the wind; and Peter’s ears were sensitive to small noises
of the trees.

There was a faint tapping upon the wall. Peter was instantly alert, and
as instantly amazed at the effect upon himself of this familiar signal.
He had heard it a hundred times. It was thus that he and Miranda
communicated with one another when they went up to their nook by the

He looked into the dark room. The signal was repeated, but he sat by the
window like alabaster, his heart beating in his ears.

The knocking ceased, and for a long while Peter sat still as a stone.
Then he sprang at the cord of the skylight window, opened it and crept
out. Miranda was perched between the chimneys. It was quite dark. Peter
could only see that she was staring away from him.

“Miranda!” His voice trembled and broke, but she did not move.

He knew now he had not been dreaming. Miranda, too, was changed. He felt
it in the poise of her averted face and in her silence.

He waited to say he knew not what, and stayed there, a queer figure
sitting astride the slates. Miranda’s arm lay along the skylight. He
touched her.

She caught her breath, and Peter knew she was crying.

“Miranda,” he called, “why are you crying?”

She turned in the dark and a tear splashed on his hand.

“I’m not crying!” she flashed. “I thought you were never coming,” she
added inconsequently.

It was Peter’s first encounter with a woman. He was for a moment

“Miranda!” he said; and again his voice trembled and broke on the name.
Miranda, in a single day as old as a thousand years, vibrated to the
word half-uttered. She dropped her head into her hands, and wept aloud.

Peter held her tight, speaking now at random.

“I always meant to come,” he quavered. “You know I always meant to come.
Miranda, don’t cry so. I was afraid when first I heard you knocking.”

“You’ll always love me, Peter.”

“For ever and ever.”

Every little sound was exaggerated. There was a low mutter of voices in
the garden below. Peter saw the glow of his father’s pipe. So near it
seemed, he fancied he could smell the tobacco.

Mr. and Mrs. Paragon, talking of Peter, sat later than usual. Before
going to bed, they went into the attic, and stood together for a while.
Peter had fallen happily asleep. Miranda was comforted, and he was
lifted above all the heroes. The shadow of adolescence lay upon him.
His mother saw it, and, as she kissed him, it seemed as if she were
bidding him farewell upon a great adventure.

Continue Reading

Perhaps he does

Peter might justly have complained that his birth was too calmly
received. For Peter’s mother accepted him without demur. Women who nurse
themselves more thoroughly than they nurse their babies will
incredulously hear that Mrs. Paragon made little difference in her life
on Peter’s account until within four hours of his coming. Nevertheless
Peter was a healthy baby, shapeless and mottled.

Mrs. Paragon was tall and fair, with regular features and eyes set well
apart. They looked at you candidly, and you were aware of their friendly
interest. They perfectly expressed the simplicity and peace of her
character. She was mild and immovable; with a strength that was felt by
all who dealt with her, though she rarely asserted it. She had the slow,
deep life of a mother.

Mr. Paragon was at all points contrasted. He was short, and already at
this time he was stout. He had had no teaching; but he was not an
ignorant man. He was naturally of an active mind; and he had read
extensively the literature that suited his habit of reflection.

Mr. Paragon was the son of a small tradesman, and had by the death of
his parents been thrown upon the London streets. After ten years he had
emerged as a managing clerk.

Had Mr. Paragon been well treated he might have reached his fortieth
year sunny and charitable, with a cheerful faith in people and
institutions. But living a celibate life, insufficiently fed, shabbily
clothed, and never doubting his mental superiority to prosperous
employers, he had naturally adopted extremely bitter views of the world.

Surmounting a shelf of Mr. Paragon’s favourite books was a plaster bust
of Bradlaugh. The shelf itself included Tom Paine’s _Rights of Man_,
Godwin’s _Political Justice_, and the works of Voltaire in forty English
volumes. Mr. Paragon talked the language of Godwin’s philosophic day.
Priests, kings, aristocracies, and governments were his familiar bogies.
He went every Sunday to a Labour church where extracts from Shelley and
Samuel Butler were read by the calendar; and he was a successful orator
of a powerful group of rebels among the railwaymen.

Mr. Paragon was more Falstaff than Cassius to the eye. There was
something a little ludicrous in Mr. Paragon, with legs well apart, hands
deep in his trousers, demonstrating that religion was a device of
government for the deception of simple men, and that property was theft.

Mrs. Paragon loved her husband, and ignored his opinions. He on his side
found rest after the bitterness of his early years in the shelter of
her wisdom. His anarchism became more and more an intellectual
indulgence. Gradually the edge was taken from his temper. He began to
enjoy his grievances now that they no longer pinched him. His charity,
in a way that charity has, extended with his circumference. He was
earning £4 a week, and he had in his wife a housekeeper who could make
£4 cover the work of £6. Mrs. Paragon did not, like many of her friends,
overtask an incompetent drudge at £10 a year. She saved her money, and
halved her labour. Ends met; and things were decently in order. Mr.
Paragon was happy; insured against reasonable disaster; with sufficient
energy and spirit left at the end of a day’s work to take himself
seriously as a citizen and a man.

There were times when Mr. Paragon took himself very seriously indeed. On
the evening of the day when Mr. Samuel, curate of the parish, called to
urge Mrs. Paragon to have Peter christened, Mr. Paragon talked so
incisively that only his wife could have guessed how little he intended.

“No priests,” he said. “That’s final.”

He looked in fierce dispute at Mrs. Paragon; but meeting her calm eyes,
looked hastily away at Peter, who was sleeping by the fire in a clothes

Mrs. Paragon was dishing up the evening meal; and Mr. Paragon saw that a
reasonably large pie-dish had appeared from the oven, from which arose a
browned pyramid of sliced potatoes. The kitchen was immediately filled
with a savour only to be associated with Mr. Paragon’s favourite supper.

Mrs. Paragon ignored the eagerness with which he drew to the table.
Shepherd’s pie is a simple thing, but not as Mrs. Paragon made it. Mr.
Paragon, as he spooned generously into the steaming dish, had forgotten
Mr. Samuel till Mrs. Paragon reminded him.

“Mr. Samuel,” she said, “is only doing his duty.”

Mr. Paragon washed down a large mouthful of pie with small beer. Another
mouthful was cooling upon the end of his fork.

“Who made it his duty?” he asked.

Mrs. Paragon never answered these rhetorical questions; and Mr. Paragon
added, after a mouthful:

“There are honest jobs.”

“Yes, dear; but Mr. Samuel believes in christening.”

“Perhaps he does. Mr. Samuel believes that the animals went in two by

There was a long pause. Then Mrs. Paragon left the table to serve a
large suet pudding studded with raisins.

She dealt with it in silence. Mr. Paragon, as always on these occasions
when they were pulling different ways, felt as if he were trying to make
waves in a pool by blowing upon the surface. He could never more than
superficially ruffle the spirit of his wife. He was obscurely aware
that she had inexhaustible reserves.

The meal concluded without further conversation; but, when Mr. Paragon
had eaten more than was good for him, he began to feel that impulsive
necessity to be generous which invariably overtook him sooner or later
in his differences with Mrs. Paragon. He looked at her amiably:

“I see it like this,” he said. “Mr. Samuel thinks he’s right. But he’s
not going to stuff it into my boy. I’m an independent man, and I think
for myself.”

“Yes, dear,” said Mrs. Paragon. “I don’t know whether Mr. Samuel is
right or wrong. I want to do the best for Peter.”

Mr. Paragon looked sharply at his wife. She was sitting comfortably
beside the clothes basket, resting for the first time since seven
o’clock in the morning. There was not the remotest suggestion that she
was resisting him. Nevertheless Mr. Paragon was aware of a passive
antagonism. He was sure she wanted Peter to be christened; he was also
sure that none of his very reasonable views affected her in the least

He was right. Mrs. Paragon liked to hear her husband talk. But logic did
not count in her secure world. She knew only what she wanted and felt.
Calm and unutterable sense was all her genius; and Mr. Paragon felt,
rather than knew, that his books and opinions were feathers in the

“If Peter isn’t christened,” Mrs. Paragon softly pursued, “he’ll be
getting ideas into his head. I want him to start like other boys. Let
him find out for himself whether Mr. Samuel’s right or wrong. If you
keep Peter away from Church he’ll think there’s something wrong with

“Something wrong with it!” exploded Mr. Paragon. “I’ll tell you what’s
wrong with it.”

Mr. Paragon proceeded to do so at some length. Mrs. Paragon was quite
content to see Mr. Paragon spending his force. Mr. Paragon talked for a
long time, ending in firm defiance.

“I don’t see a son of mine putting pennies into the plate for the
clergyman’s Easter Holiday Fund,” he noisily concluded. “When my son is
old enough to read Genesis, he’ll be old enough to read the _Origin of
Species_ and the works of Voltaire.”

Thereafter he sat for the rest of the evening by the kitchen fire
reading his favourite volume of the forty–the adventures of Candide and
of Pangloss.

But for a few moments the reading was interrupted, for Peter suddenly
woke and yelled for food. As Mrs. Paragon sat with the child, Mr.
Paragon had never felt more conscious of her serenity, of her immovable
strength, of her eternity. He watched her over the pages of his book.

When he again looked into the adventures of Candide they had lost
something of their zest. He wondered between the lines whether the
patriarch of Ferney would have written with quite so definite an
assurance and clarity if once he had looked into the eyes of Mrs.

A few days later Peter was christened at the local church.

Miranda was thirteen years old, and she lived in the next house. She was
Peter’s best friend. They had soon discovered that their ideas as to a
good game were similar, and for many years they had played inseparably.
Already Mrs. Paragon and Mrs. Smith had decided to open a way through
the wall that divided the two gardens.

To-day this breach in the wall had been filled in by Miranda with
packing-cases and an old chair. Miranda stood beside her defences of the
breach with sword and shield on the summit of a wall less than nine
inches across.

At the wall’s foot was Peter. He was his favourite hero–Shakespeare’s
fifth Henry.

“How yet resolves the governor of the town?
This is the latest parle we will admit.”

The moment had come for Miranda to descend from the wall and deliver the
keys of the city. But Miranda this morning refused the usual programme.
Peter, hearing that the text of Shakespeare would not on this occasion
be followed, resolved that none of the horrors of war should be spared.

He came to the attack with a battering-ram.

“Saint George! Saint George!” he shouted, and the ram rushed forward.

“France! France!” Miranda screamed, and unexpectedly emptied a pail of
cold water upon Peter’s head.

Peter left the ram and swiftly retreated.

Both parties were by this time lost to respect of consequences. Into
Peter’s mind there suddenly intruded Shakespeare’s vision of himself.

“… And at his heels,
Leashed in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire
Crouch for employment.”

Fire! Obviously this was the retort.

Nothing in the world burns so fiercely as a well-dried bundle of straw.
Within half a minute of the match there was literally a roar of flame,
ascending into the crevices of Miranda’s breach. She rushed into the
smoke, swayed, and leaped blindly into her father’s marrow-bed.

Her father’s marrows had been tenderly nursed to the threshold of
perfection. It was a portion of his routine to come into the garden
after breakfast to inspect, feel, weigh in his hands, and liberally to
discourse upon marrows. But nothing at that moment could sober Miranda.
She did not care.

Peter was for the moment awed into inaction by a fire which burned more
rapidly than he had intended; but he climbed at last upon the wall, saw
Miranda prone among the marrows, and, surging with conquest, leaped
furiously upon her.

Peter was more complicated than Miranda. Miranda did not yet know that
she had ruined her father’s marrows. She was mercifully made to feel and
to know one thing at a time; and at this moment she felt that the only
thing in the world that mattered was to kill Peter.

But Peter realised in mid-air that he, too, would soon be standing amid
extended ruins of the marrow-bed. His moment of indecision was fatal.
Spreading his legs, to avoid a particularly fine vegetable, he fell
headlong. Miranda was swiftly upon him, and they rolled among the shoots
and blossoms. Peter forgot his scruples. He drew the dagger at his belt,
and stabbed.

Triumph was stillborn. He felt himself suddenly lifted from the
marrow-bed, and was next aware of some vigorous blows indelicately

Mrs. Smith had returned from marketing, and looked for her daughter. The
fire was not difficult to perceive; it was roaring to heaven. Nor was
Miranda easily overlooked, for she was in her death-agony.

Miranda calmly stood by, waiting until Mrs. Smith was free to deal with
her. Miranda was always sensible. Her turn would come.

Mrs. Smith suddenly dropped Peter into the marrows, and turned the
garden hose upon Peter’s fire. Peter, scrambling to his feet, watched
her with dry, contemptuous eyes. The fire was furiously crackling,
shooting up spark and flame. It was beautiful and splendid. Peter found
himself wondering in his humiliation how Mrs. Smith could so callously
extinguish it.

“I never saw such children,” said Mrs. Smith. “I don’t know what your
father will say, Miranda.”

Mrs. Smith was a hard-working wife. She had no time for thought or
imagination. She dealt with Miranda, and children generally, by rote.
“Mischief” was something that children loved, for which they were
punished. It was recognised as the sort of thing serious people avoided.

“I don’t know what your father will say, Miranda.” The phrase was
automatic with Mrs. Smith. Miranda knew that her father would say less
than her mother.

“It was my fire,” said Peter, smouldering wickedly; “and they are my

“I wasn’t talking to you,” said Mrs. Smith; “you’d better go away.”

At this point Mrs. Paragon appeared above the wall.

“Peter,” she said, “you might have burned the house down.”

How different, Peter thought, was his mother from Mrs. Smith. His mother
understood. Obviously it was wrong to burn the house down. He saw the
point. His mother hadn’t any theories about mischief.

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Paragon exchanged some sentiments on the waywardness
of children, and the fire being quenched, Miranda was kept indoors for
the rest of the day. Peter wistfully wandered between meals about the
scene of his morning’s adventure. He was burning with a sense of wrong.
He admitted his fault. He had imperilled the house, and he had helped to
destroy his neighbour’s marrows. But he felt that Mrs. Smith’s view of
things was perverse, and that his humiliation had been out of all
proportion to his offence. At the thought of Miranda’s imprisonment he
savagely flushed.

Peter ended the day in a softer mood. In the evening he had seen Mr.
Smith inspecting the ruins of his marrow bed. He knew exactly what Mr.
Smith was feeling. He remembered how he himself had felt when Mrs. Smith
had made him destroy a platform he had built in the chestnut tree at the
foot of the garden.

Peter dashed through the gap in the wall. Mr. Smith, a kind little man
with the temperament of an angel, looked him sorrowfully in the face.
Peter’s contrition was manifest and perfectly understood.

“Bit of a mess, eh!” said Mr. Smith with an affectation that it did not

“I’m sorry,” said Peter. “It’s a shame. I’m awfully sorry.”

“That’s all right,” said Mr. Smith. Then he added cheerfully: “Your
father will put it right.”

Mr. Smith, as a gardener, was the pupil of Mr. Paragon. But though he
had complete confidence in his instructor, his belief that anyone would
ever be able to make anything of the mangled vegetation between them was
obviously pretended for Peter’s sake; and Peter knew this as well as he.

Peter brushed away the necessary tears, and was about to obey an impulse
to grip Mr. Smith’s hand in sympathy, when Mrs. Smith called her husband
sharply to supper.

Peter watched him disappear into the house with a sudden conviction that
life was difficult. Already he heard the voice, thin and penetrating, of
Mrs. Smith, raised in a discourse upon mischief.

Peter went in to his mother to tell her that he had apologised to Mr.
Smith. He knew it would please her, and he also knew that his father,
when he came home, would treat him with justice and understanding.

Continue Reading

Burning of his Papers

MRS. HAWKER was a very accomplished and charming old lady, who
thoroughly understood and appreciated her husband. She was a woman of a
poetical, refined mind, with strong sense of humour, and sound judgment.
The latter quality was of great advantage, as it was an element
conspicuously absent in the composition of her husband.

She translated from the German, with great elegance, the story of Guido
Goerres, the _Manger of the Holy Night_; and it was published by Burns
in 1847. The verses in it were turned with grace and facility. Another
of her books was _Follow Me_, a Morality from the German, published by
Burns in 1844.

The author remembers this charming old lady now many years ago, then
blind, very aged, with hair white as snow, full of cheerfulness and
geniality, laughing over her husband’s jokes, and drawing him out with a
subtle skill to show himself to his best advantage. In his fits of
depression she was invaluable to him, always at his side, encouraging
him, directing his thoughts to pleasant topics, and bringing merriment
back to the eye which had dulled with despondency.

ASH WEDNESDAY, 1853. _My dear Mrs. M.——_,—Among my acts of
self-research to-day one has regarded you, the wife of one of the
very few whom I would really call my friends. Since my days of
sorrow came, and self-abasement, I have shrunk too much into myself,
and too much regarded the breath that is in the nostrils of my
fellows. But what have I not been made to suffer? But—and I have
sworn it as a vow—if my God grants me the life of poor dear
Charlotte, all shall be borne cheerfully. Beyond that horizon I have
not a hope, a thought, a prayer. And now I feel relieved at having
written this. It lifts a load to tell it to you, as I should long
ago to your guileless husband had he been here to listen. But he is
gone to be happier than we, and would wonder, if he read this, why I
grieve. And then how basely have those who vaunted themselves as my
friends dealt with me! All this I unfold to you for my relief. Do
you please not to say a word about … or anything to vex or harass
Charlotte. She is, I thank God, well and quiet. We hardly ever go
out, save for exercise, in the parish. My thoughts go down in MS.,
of which I have drawers full. But I print no more.

The friend to whose widow he thus writes died in 1846. He then wrote to
a relative this note of sympathy:—

Your letter has filled us with deep and sincere sorrow. We feared
that our friend was sincerely ill, but we were not prepared for so
immediate an accession of grief. That he was ready to be dissolved,
I doubt not, and to be with Christ I am equally satisfied. He,
already, I trust, prays for us all effectually.

There was ever a sad undertone in Mr. Hawker’s character. He felt his
isolation in mind from all around him. His best companions were the
waves and clouds. He lived “the ever alone,” as he calls himself in one
of his letters, solitary in the Morwenstow ark, with only the sound of
waters about him. “The Lord shut him in.”

With all his brightness and vivacity, there was constantly “cropping up”
a sad and serious vein, which showed itself sometimes in a curious
fashion. “This is as life seems to you,” he would say, as he bade his
visitor look at the prospect through a pane of ruby-tinted glass, “all
glowing and hopeful. And this is as I see it,” he would add, turning to
a pane of yellow, “grey and wintry and faded. But keep your ruby days as
long as you can.”

He wrote on 2nd Jan., 1868:—

Wheresoever you may be, this letter will follow you, and with it our
best and most earnest prayers for your increased welfare of earthly
and heavenly hopes in this and many succeeding New Years. How solemn
a thing it is to stand before the gate of another year, and ask the
oracles what will this ensuing cluster of the months unfold! But, if
we knew, perhaps it would make life what a Pagan Greek called it, “a
shuddering thing.” We have had, through the approach to us of the
Gulf Stream, with its atmospheric arch of warm and rarefied air, a
sad succession of cyclones, or, as our homely phrase renders it,
“shattering sou’westers,” reminding us of what was said to be the
Cornish wreckers’ toast in bygone days:—

“A billowy sea and a shattering wind,
The cliffs before, and the gale behind,”

but, thank God, no wrecks yet on our iron shore.

The following letter was written to Mrs. Mills, daughter of Sir Thomas
D. Acland, on the death of her father; a letter which will touch the
hearts of many a “West Country man” who has loved his honoured name.

MORWENSTOW, July 27, 1861. _My dear Mrs. Mills_,—The knowledge of
your great anguish at Killerton has only just reached us. How deeply
we feel it, I need not tell: although long looked for, it smote me
like a sudden blow. Yet we must not mourn “for him, but for
ourselves and our children.” “It shall come to pass, at eventide
there shall be light.” The good and faithful servant had borne the
burden and the heat of the day; and at set of sun he laid him down
and slept. My heart and my eyes are too full to write. May his God
and our God bless and sustain yours and you! My poor dear wife, who
is ill, offers you her faithful love; and I shall pray this night
for him who is gone before, and for those who tarry yet a little
while. I am, dear Mrs. Mills, yours faithfully and affectionately,


During his wife’s blindness and the gentle fading away of a well-spent,
God-fearing life, nothing could be more unremitting than the attention
of Mr. Hawker. He read to her a great part of the day, brought her all
the news of the neighbourhood, strove in every way to make up to her for
the deprivation of her sight.

He had a ten-guinea subscription to Mudie’s Library, and whole boxes of
novels arrived at the vicarage; these he diligently read to her as she
sat, her arm-chair wheeled to the window out of which she could no more
see, or by the fireside where the logs flickered.

But though he read with his lips and followed with his eyes, his eager
mind was far away in that wondrous dreamland where his mental life was
spent. After he had diligently read through the three volumes of some
popular novel, he was found to be ignorant of the plot, to know nothing
of the characters, and to have no conception even of the names of hero
and heroine. These stories interested him in no way: they related to a
world of which he knew little, and cared less. Whilst he read, his mind
was following some mystic weaving of a dance, in the air, of gulls and
swallows; tracing parables in the flowers that dotted his sward; or
musing over some text of Holy Scripture. To be on the face of his cliff,
to sit hour by hour in his little hut of wreck-wood, with the boiling
Atlantic before him, sunk in dream or meditation, was his delight. Or,
kneeling in his gloomy chancel, poring over the sacred page, meditating,
he would go off into strange trances, and see sights: Morwenna, gleaming
before him with pale face, exquisitely beautiful, and golden hair, and
deep blue eyes, telling him where she lay, drawing him on to chivalrous
love, like Aslauga in Fouqué’s exquisite tale. Or, he saw angels
ascending and descending in his dark chancel, and heard “a noise of

A gentle sound, an awful light!
Three angels bear the holy Grail.
With folded feet, in stoles of white,
On sleeping wings they sail.

Ah, blessed vision! blood of God!
My spirit beats her mortal bars,
As down dark tides the glory slides,
And star-like mingles with the stars.

We have seen hitherto the sparkling merriment of his life; but this was
the surging of the surface of a character that rolled on its mysterious,
unfathomable way.

To him the spiritual world was intensely real: he had in him the makings
of a mystic. The outward world, the carnal flesh, he looked upon with
contempt, with almost the disgust of a Manichæan. The spiritual life was
the real life: the earthly career was a passing, troubled dream, that
teased the soul, and broke its contemplations. The true aim of man was
to disentangle his soul from the sordid cares of earth, and to raise it
on the wings of meditation and prayer to union with God. Consequently
the true self is the spiritual man: this none but the spiritual man can
understand. The vicar accommodated himself to ordinary society, but he
did not belong to it. His spirit hovered high above in the thin, clear
air, whilst his body and earthly mind laughed, and joked, and laboured,
and sorrowed below. Trouble was the anguish of the soul recalling its
prerogative. The fits of depression which came on him were the moments
when the soul was asserting its true power, pining as the captive for
its home and proper freedom.

It will be seen that nothing but his intense grasp of the doctrine of
the Incarnation saved him from drifting into the wildest vagaries of

He would never open out to any one who he thought was not spiritually

A commonplace neighbouring parson, visiting him once, asked him what
were his views and opinions.

Mr. Hawker drew him to the window. “There,” said he, “is Hennacliff,
there the Atlantic stretching to Labrador, there Morwenstow crag, here
the church and graves: these are my views. As to my opinions, I keep
them to myself.”

The flame, after long flickering in the breast of his dearly loved wife,
went out at length on 2nd Feb., 1863. She died at the age of eighty-one.

He had a grave—a double grave—made outside the chancel, beside the stone
that marks where an ancient priest of Morwenstow lies, and placed over
her a stone with this inscription:—




SHE DIED FEB. 2, 1863.

There is sprung up a light for the righteous, and joyful gladness
for such as are true-hearted.

The text had reference to her blindness.

At the bottom of the stone is a blank space left for his own name, and a
place was made by his own orders at the side of his wife for his own

MORWENSTOW, Oct. 16, 1864. _My dear Mrs. M——_,—I have intended every
day to make an effort, and go down to Bude to see you, and to thank
you for all your kindness to me in my desolate abode; but I am quite
unequal to the attempt. If you return next year, and you will come,
you will find me, if I am alive, keeping watch and ward humbly and
faithfully by the place where my dead wife still wears her ring in
our quiet church. If I am gone, I know you will come and stand by
the stone where we rest. My kindest love to Mr. M—— and your happy
little children.

After the death of Mrs. Hawker, he fell into a condition of piteous
depression. He moped about the cliffs, or in his study, and lost
interest in everything. Sciatica added to his misery; and to relieve
this he had recourse to opium.

He took it into his head that he could eat nothing but clotted cream. He
therefore made his meals, breakfast, dinner and tea, of this. He became
consequently exceedingly bilious, and his depression grew the greater.

He was sitting, crying like a child, one night over his papers, when
there shot a spark from the fire among those strewn at his feet. He did
not notice it particularly, but went to bed. After he had gone to sleep,
his papers were in a flame: the flame communicated itself to a drawer
full of MSS., which he had pulled out, and not thrust into its place
again; and the house would probably have been burnt down, had not a
Methodist minister seen the blaze through the window, as he happened to
be on the hill opposite. He gave the alarm, the inmates of the vicarage
were aroused, and the fire was arrested.

Probably much of his MS. poetry, and jottings of ideas passing through
his head, were thus lost. “Oh, dear!” was his sad cry, “if Charlotte had
been here this would never have happened.”

The vicar had brain fever shortly afterwards, and was in danger; but he
gradually recovered.





A friend tells me that during the time that he was a widower, the
condition he was in was most sad. His drawing-room, which used to be his
delight, full of old oak furniture, and curiosities from every corner of
the world, was undusted and neglected. The servants, no longer
controlled by a mistress, probably did not attend properly to the
comforts of the master.

However, a new interest grew up in his heart. It was fortunate that
matters did not remain long in this condition. It was neither well nor
wise that the old man should linger on the rest of his days without a
“helpmeet for him,” to attend to his comforts, be a companion in his
solitude, and a solace in his fits of depression. The Eastern Church is
very strong against the second marriage of priests. No man who has had a
second wife is admitted by the orthodox communion to holy orders. But
Mr. Hawker was about, and very fortunately for his own comfort, in this
matter to shake off the trammels of his Orientalism.

Previous to the death of his first wife, he had some good stories to
tell of men, who, when the first wife was dead, forgot her speedily for
a second. One belongs to the Cornish moors, and may therefore be here

A traveller was on his way over the great dorsal moorland that runs the
length of Cornwall. He had lost his way. It was a time of autumn
equinoctial storm. The day declined, and nothing was to be seen save
sweeps of moor, broken only by huge masses of granite; not a church
tower broke the horizon, not a dog barked from a distant farm.

After long and despairing wanderings in search of a road or house, the
traveller was about to proceed to a pile of granite, and bury himself
among the rocks for shelter during the night, when a sudden burst of
revelry smote his ear from the other side of the hill. He hasted with
beating heart in the direction whence came the sounds, and soon found a
solitary house, in which all the inhabitants were making merry. He asked
admission and a lodging for the night. He was invited in, and given a
hearty welcome. The owner of the house had just been married, and
brought home his bride. The house, therefore, could furnish him with
plenty of food; saffron cakes abounded: but a bed was not to be had, as
brothers and cousins had been invited, and the only place where the
traveller could be accommodated was a garret. This was better than a bed
on the moor, and the stormy sky for the roof; and he accepted the offer
with eagerness.

After the festivities of the evening were over, he retired to his attic,
and lay down on a bed of hay, shaken for him on the floor. But he could
not sleep. The moon shone in through a pane of glass let into the roof,
and rested on a curious old chest which was thrust away in a corner.
Somehow or other, this chest engrossed his attention, and excited his
imagination. It was of carved oak, and handsome. Why was it put away in
a garret? What did it contain? He became agitated and nervous. He
thought he heard a sigh issue from it. He sat up on the hay, and
trembled. Still the moonbeam streaked the long black box.

Again his excited fancy made him believe he heard a sigh issue from it.
Unable to endure suspense any longer, he stole across the floor to the
side of the garret where stood the box, and with trembling hand he
raised the lid. The moonbeam fell on the face of a dead woman, lying in
her winding-sheet in the chest. He let the lid drop with a scream of
fear, and fainted away. When he came to himself, the bride and
bridegroom, brothers and cousins, surrounded him in the attic, in
somewhat _dégagé_ costume, as they had tumbled from their beds, in alarm
at the shriek which had awakened them.

“What is it? What have you seen?” was asked on all sides.

“In that chest,” gasped the traveller, “I saw a corpse!”

There was a pause. Slowly—for the mind of an agriculturist takes time to
act—the bridegroom arrived at a satisfactory explanation. His face
remained for three minutes clouded with thought, as he opened and
explored the various chambers of memory. At length a gleam of
satisfaction illumed his countenance, and he broke into a laugh and an
explanation at once. “Lor’, you needn’t trouble yourself: its only my
first wife as died last Christmas. You see, the moors were covered with
snow, and the land frozen, so we couldn’t take her to be buried at
Camelford, and accordingly _we salted her in_ till the thaw shu’d come;
_and I’m darned if I hadn’t forgotten all about her_, and the old gal’s
never been buried yet.”

“So, you see,” Mr. Hawker would say, when telling the story, “in
Cornwall we do things differently from elsewhere. It is on record that
the second wife is wedded before the first wife is buried.”

There is a Devonshire version of this story told of Dartmoor; but it
wants the point of the Cornish tale.

The Rev. W. Valentine, vicar of Whixley in Yorkshire, bought Chapel
House, in the parish, in the October of 1863, and, having obtained two
years’ leave of absence from the Bishop of Ripon, came there into
residence. He brought with him, as governess to his children, a young
Polish lady, Miss Kuczynski. Her father had been a Polish noble,
educated at the Jesuit University of Wilna, who, having been mixed up
with one of the periodical revolts against Russian domination, had been
obliged to fly his native country and take refuge in England. He
received a pension from the British Government, and office under the
Master of the Rolls. He married a Miss Newton, and by her had two
children, Stanislaus and Pauline.

On the death of Count Kuczynski, his widow married a Mr. Stevens, an
American merchant. He lost greatly by the war between the Northern and
Southern States, and Miss Kuczynski was obliged to enter the family of
an English clergyman as governess to his children.

Mr. Hawker, as vicar of the parish in which Chapel stands, made the
acquaintance of this lady of birth and education. A sunbeam shone into
his dark, troubled life, and lighted it with hope. He was married to her
in December, 1864, “by a concurrence of events manifestly providential,”
he wrote to a dear friend. “Her first position was in the family of Mr.
Valentine, who so recently arrived in my parish of Morwenstow. There I
saw and understood her character; but it was not her graceful person and
winning demeanour that so impressed me, as her strong intellect, high
principle and similitude of tastes with my own. She won my people before
she won me; and it was a saying among my simple-hearted parishioners:
‘Oh, if Miss Kuczynski would but be mistress at vicarage!’ Her friends,
as was natural, objected to the marriage; but I went to town, saw them,
and returned hither Pauline’s husband.”

His marriage had a good effect on him immediately. He for a time gave up
opium-eating. His spirits rose, and he seemed to be entirely, supremely

In November, 1865, he was given a daughter, to be the light and joy of
his eyes. He says in a letter dated 30th Nov., 1865:—

The kind interest you have taken in us induces me to think that you
may be glad to hear, that, just before midnight on Monday, I was
given a daughter—a fair and gentle child, who has not up to this
time uttered a single peevish sound. As is very natural, I think her
one of the loveliest infants I ever took in my arms. Both child and
mother are going on very well, and the happiness which the event has
brought to my house is indeed a blessing. The baby’s name is to be
Morwenna Pauline.

A second daughter was afterwards given to him, Rosalind; and
then a third, who was baptised Juliot, after a sister of St.
Morwenna, who had a cell and founded a church near Boscastle.
The arrival of these heaven-given treasures, however, filled the
old man’s mind with anxiety for the future. The earth must soon
close over him; and he would leave a widow and three helpless
orphans on the world, without being able to make any provision
for them. This preyed on his mind during the last year or two of
his life. It was a cloud which hung over him, and never was
lifted off. As he walked, he moaned to himself. He saw no
possibility of securing them a future of comfort and a home. He
could not shake the thought off him: it haunted him day and

His church also was fallen into a piteous condition of
disrepair: the wooden shingle wherewith he had roofed it some
years before was rotten, and let in the water in streams. The
pillars were green with lichen, the side of the tower bulged,
and discoloured water oozed forth. A portion of the plaster of
the ceiling fell; storms tore out the glass of his windows.

In 1872 he sent forth the following appeal to all his friends:—

Jesus said: “Ye have done it unto me!”

The ancient church of Morwenstow, on the northern shore of
Cornwall, notwithstanding a large outlay of the present vicar,
has fallen into dilapidation and disrepair. A great part of the
oak shingle roof requires to be relaid. The walls must be
painted anew, and the windows, benches and floor ought to be
restored. To fulfil all these purposes, a sum amounting to at
least £500 will be required. In the existing state of the
Church-rate law, it would be inexpedient and ineffectual to rely
on the local succour of the parishioners, although there is
reason to confide that the usual levy of a penny in the pound
per annum (sixteen pounds), now granted in aid of other
resources, would never be withheld. But this church, from the
interest attached to its extreme antiquity and its striking
features of ecclesiastical attraction, is visited every year by
one or two hundred strangers from distant places, and from Bude
Haven in the immediate neighbourhood. It appears, therefore, to
the vicar and his friends, that an appeal for the sympathy and
the succour of all who value and appreciate the solemn beauty
and the sacred associations of such a scene might happily be
fraught with success. A committee, to consist of the vicar and
churchwardens, of J. Tarratt, Esq., late of Chapel House,
Morwenstow, and W. Rowe, Esq., solicitor, Stratton, will
superintend the disposal of the contributions, under the control
of a competent builder, and account to the subscribers for their

And the benediction of God the Trinity will assuredly requite
every kindly heart and generous hand that shall help to restore
this venerable sanctuary of the Tamar side.

A voluntary rate raised £32; and offertory, £2 2_s._ 10-1/2_d._; and he
had donations of about £150 from various friends.

In 1874 he went to London for his health. He was very much broken then,
suffering in his heart and from sciatica. At the same time he resolved
to preach in such churches as were open to him, for the restoration fund
of St. Morwenna’s sanctuary.

He wrote to me on the subject:—

16 HARLEY ROAD, SOUTH HAMPSTEAD, April 20, 1874. _My dear Sir_,—I am
here in quest of medical aid for my wife and myself. I am so far
better that I can preach, and I am trying to get offertories here
for the restoration of my grand old Morwenstow Church. Only one has
been granted me thus far—last night at St. Matthias, Brompton, where
I won an evening offertory “with my sword and with my bow,”
twenty-two pounds eighteen shillings, whereas the average for two
years at evensong has been under five pounds. But I find the great
clergy shy to render me the loan of their pulpits. Do you know any
one of them? Can you help me? And about St. Morwenna. Cannot I see
your proof sheets of my _Saint’s Life_, or can you in any way help
me in the delivery of her legend to London ears? At all events, do
write. I seem nearer to you here than at home. If you come up, do
find us out. I write in haste.

Yours faithfully,


The previous October he had written to me from his “sick-room, to which
I have been confined with eczema for full two months.” In November he
wrote: “Ten days in bed helpless.” I had been in correspondence with him
about St. Morwenna _not_ being identical with St. Modwenna; his answer
was: “I have twice received supernatural intimation of her identity, by
dream and suggestion.” Such an answer was clearly not that of a man of
well-balanced mind.

16 HARLEY ROAD, HAMPSTEAD, March 10, 1874. _My dear Mrs. M——_,—You
may well be astonished at my address; but our journey hither was a
matter of life or death to both of us, and so far I am the only
gainer. Dr. Goodfellow, after a rigid scrutiny, has pronounced me
free from any perilous organic disease, and is of opinion that with
rest and a few simple remedies, “there is work in me yet”….

Yours faithfully,


But the grand old man was breaking. There was pain of body, and much
mental anxiety about his family. He could not sleep at night: his brain
was constantly excited by his pecuniary troubles, and the sufferings he
endured from his malady. By the advice of his doctor, I believe, it was
that he had recourse to narcotics to allay the pain, and procure him
rest at night. Mr. C. Hawker wrote to me:—

Towards the close of his life, my brother (I am grieved to state it)
renewed a habit he had contracted on the death of his first wife,
but had abandoned—of taking opium. This had a most injurious effect
on his nerves: it violently excited him for a while, and then cast
him into fits of the most profound depression. When under this
influence he wrote and spoke in the wildest and most unreasonable
manner, and said things which in moments of calmer judgment, I am
sure, he bitterly deplored. He would at times work himself into the
greatest excitement about the most trivial matters, over which he
would laugh in his more serene moments.

Whilst Mr. Hawker was in London, he called one day on some very kind
friends, who had a house in Bude, but were then in town. Mrs. M——,
thinking that the old man would be troubled at being away from his
books, very considerately offered to lend him any from her own library
which he might take a fancy to read. But he said: “All I want is a
reference Bible. If I have that I care for no other books.” And he
carried off a Bagster’s Polyglot that lay on the table.

From London Mr. Hawker returned to Morwenstow, to fresh suffering,
disappointment, and anxieties. I give a few of his last letters to one
whom he regarded as his best friend.

MORWENSTOW, Sept. 22, 1874. _My dear Valentine_,—You brought to my
house the solitary blessing of my life. My three daughters came to
me through you, as God’s instrument. I must write to you. You will
not have many more letters from me…. My mind has been so racked
and softened that I shall never be myself again. My health, too, is
gone. My legs are healed, but the long drain has enfeebled me
exceedingly. Money terrors, too, have reached a climax. I have so
many claims upon me, that I cannot regard my home as sure, nor my
roof certain to shelter my dear ones. On the school-building account
I am responsible for seventy pounds odd, more than I have collected
from subscribers…. I have to pay the master twelve pounds ten
shillings quarterly. But there is one thing more—the curate, whom I
must have, for I cannot go on serving both churches as I do now,
with daily service here. T——, and his mother, will give me one-half,
or nearly his salary. But besides Dean Lodge there is no house that
he can live in. Let him rent it until you sell it. I implore you,
grant this last kindness to me whom you once called a friend. My
heart is broken. It is a favour you will not have to grant me long,
as my pausing pulse and my shuddering heart testify. Oh, God bless

Mr. Valentine came to Chapel House, Morwenstow, in October, 1874, and
renewed his old warm friendship with the vicar. Had there been any
change in the views of Mr. Hawker, it would certainly have been made
known to his most intimate friend of many years. But Mr. Valentine found
him the same in faith, though sadly failing in mental and bodily power.

Nov. 13, 1874. _My dear Valentine_,—You will be sorry to hear that
over-anxieties and troubles are incessant. First of all, no curate.
A Mr. H—— came down from Torquay. He had all but agreed to come, but
when he saw Dean Lodge he declined. He thought it too far to walk to
church. I have advertised in three papers, but only one applicant. I
have invited him to come and see for himself, but he has not yet
appeared or written. We are so remote and forlorn that unless a man
be very _sincere and honest_ there is no inducement. No sphere for
strut or grimace, or other vanity. Another trouble that we have is
scarlet and typhus fever both, in several parts of the parish….
And now I am compelled to remind you that you promised me this month
your subscriptions to our charities. I want to pay the schoolmaster,
this next week, his quarter’s salary. This will make the adverse
balance run to nearly fifty pounds against me. It is most ruinous.
Upon the school-building account I am responsible for sixty-eight
pounds beyond the subscriptions….

What a life this is to lead in the flesh! Mine has been indeed a

Nov. 17, 1874. _My dear Valentine_,[42]…. One part of your letter
has troubled our earnest hope. If you would but fulfil your
suggestion, and come to Dean Lodge, the advantages to me would be
incalculable. You would not, I know, object to help me in the church
once a Sunday. I cannot, by any effort, obtain a curate. The
work—thrice a day on Sunday—is killing me, and your presence would
soothe the dreadful depression into which I am sinking fast. Make
any effort, I do entreat you, to come. The cry after your last
appearance in church[43] was, that no sermon had been heard in
church for a long time equal to yours: not very complimentary to me,
but that I don’t mind. Come! anything you want at Dean, that we
have, you are most welcome to have from us. Your presence in the
parish will be ample compensation. Come, I do entreat you, and
gladden us by deciding at once, and telling us so. I shall have hope
then of getting over the winter, which now I cannot realise. My
great terror is that I have all but lost the power of sleep. I
cannot rest in bed quietly above two or three hours. Now, it would
be cruel to awaken hope, and crush it again. You shall have horses
and carriage, and anything you want.

At Christmas he was very ill, and thought that life’s last page was
being turned, and that before the daisies reappeared in Morwenstow
churchyard he would be resting in his long home.

But he got slowly better. On 28th April, 1875, he was still in trouble
about a curate, and wrote to Mr. Valentine, begging him to allow him to
take Dean Lodge, and make it a cottage for his curate. “Write to me at
once,” he said, “to relieve my poor broken mind of one of the
_pressures_ which are now dragging it down. Pray write immediately,
because my second letter must have apprised you how unable I am in my
present shattered state. And mind, I rely on you for standing by me in
these, my last trials.”

In June Mr. Hawker went for change, with his wife and children, and a
lady, the companion of Mrs. Hawker, who was staying with them, to
Boscastle, to visit his brother at Penally.

Did any prevision of what would take place pass before his mind’s eye
ere he left his beloved Morwenstow? Had he any thought that he was
taking his last look at the quiet combe, with its furze and heather
slopes, the laughing, sparkling, blue sea that lashed the giant cliffs
on which St. Morwenna had planted her foot, cross in hand? We cannot
tell. It is certain that it had been all along his wish to lay him down
to rest in his old church. The grave made for his wife was, by his
orders, made double; a space was left on the stone for his name; and he
often, at all events before his second marriage, spoke of his desire to
be laid there, and made a friend promise, that, should he by accident
die away from Morwenstow, he would fetch his body, and lay him there.

When he heard that it was illegal to be buried inside the church, he
pointed out a place under the east wall of his chancel where he wished
to be laid; but he hoped that, owing to the remoteness of Morwenstow, no
difficulty would be raised about his being laid in the grave he had
prepared for himself in the church where he had ministered so long.

However, later on, he often quoted St. Monica’s last prayer: “Lay my
body anywhere—only do not forget to remember me at the altar of God.”

Is it to be wondered at, that now there are Morwenstow people who say,
that, since his death, they have seen the old man standing at the head
of the stone that covers his wife, looking mournfully at the blank space
where he had hoped his name would be cut; and that others, who have not
seen him, aver that they have heard his familiar sighs and moans from
the same spot?

Whilst he was at Boscastle he was neither mentally nor bodily himself.
His brother, Mr. Claud Hawker, wrote to me that he was often in a state
approaching stupor. “When he came down here in August he was very ill,
and certainly broken in his mind, nearly all the time he was here: he
was often in a scarce-conscious state.”

Whilst Mr. Hawker and family were staying at Penally, Mr. Claud Hawker
fell ill, and it was necessary for them to move out of the house. Mr.
Robert Hawker would have returned to Morwenstow, had not the curate been
in the vicarage: then he wished to take lodgings at Boscastle, but was
persuaded by Mrs. Hawker to go to Plymouth.

His brother wrote to me: “Robert came down to see me ill in bed. I was
ill at the time; but I could see he was not like himself in any way, and
it was no act of his to go to Plymouth. He declined to do so for some
time, until at last, most reluctantly, and against his better judgment,
he was persuaded to do so.”

On the other hand, Miss E. Newton says that the visit to Plymouth was a
planned thing, as Mr. Hawker was desirous of medical advice there.

They left on 29th June, and took lodgings in Lockyer Street, Plymouth.
Mr. Robert S. Hawker was still very ill and failing.

The Rev. Prebendary Thynne, rector of Kilkhampton, a near and attached
friend of sixteen years, was in Plymouth not long before the end, and
saw the vicar of Morwenstow. He was then agitated because he had not
been able to be present at the Bishop of Exeter’s visitation at
Stratton, fearing lest the bishop should take it as a slight. The rector
of Kilkhampton quieted him by assuring him that the bishop knew how ill
he was, and that he was away for change of air. Then he brightened up a
little, but he was anything but himself.

The curate of Kilkhampton wrote to me: “Mr. Hawker complained that we
had not invited him to a retreat held by one of the Cowley Missioners in
the same month in which he died. Of course we knew that he could not
have come, and so did not ask him. But surely his making a kind of
grievance of it is hardly consistent with the idea that even at that
time he was in heart a Roman Catholic.”

On Sunday, 1st Aug., Mr. Hawker went with his wife to St. James Church,
Plymouth, for morning service. The service was choral, and he much
enjoyed it. Mrs. Hawker saw him home, and then went on to the Roman
Catholic Cathedral, to high mass; and in the evening he accompanied her
to benediction, and was pleased with the beauty of the service, which to
him had all the attractions of novelty, as he had never travelled
abroad, and so was unfamiliar with Roman Catholic ritual. The church was
very solemn, and nicely cared for; and benediction is one of the most
touching, popular and elastic of services.

He was so pleased, that he said he should be quite happy to spend a
night in the church.

During the week he began to fail rapidly, and on Friday spent the
greater part of the day on his bed. He suffered from great mental
prostration. One evening he was got out of the house as far as to the
Laira, a beautiful creek with the Saltram woods beyond, touching the
water; but he was too weak in body and depressed in mind to go out for
exercise again.

Feeling himself growing weaker, and, as Mrs. Hawker wrote to his niece,
“with the truth really beginning to dawn upon him,” he became nervously
impatient to get away from Plymouth as speedily as possible, and to
return to the home he loved, hallowed by the feet of St. Morwenna, and
rendered dear to him by the associations of more than forty years.

But before he left Plymouth, when all had been ordered to be in
readiness for departure, and notice had been given that the lodgings
would be left the ensuing week, a curious occurrence took place. His
beloved St. Cuthbert’s stole was sent for from Morwenstow, and a
biretta, a distinctively priest’s cap, was borrowed for him—a thing he
never wore himself—and he had himself photographed in cassock, surplice,
stole and biretta, as a priest. It was his last conscious act; and it is
certainly very inconsistent with the supposition that at the time he
disbelieved in his Orders. This photograph was taken on Saturday, 7th
Aug.: on Monday, 9th Aug., he was struck down with paralysis.

His action in this matter was the more extraordinary, as he had at one
time manifested an extreme repugnance to having his likeness taken. He
has told me himself that he would have inscribed on his tombstone: “Here
lies the man who was never photographed.” For a long time he stubbornly
refused the most earnest requests to be taken; and his repugnance was
only overcome, at last, by Mrs. Mills bringing over a photographer from
Bude, in her carriage, to Morwenstow, and insisting on having him stand
to be taken.[44]

It was the old man’s last act, and it was a very emphatic and
significant one. The photograph was taken on the very day on which Mrs.
Hawker represented him as seeing that his end was drawing nigh. Every
preparation was made for departure, the boxes were packed, and all was
ready, on Monday; his impatience to be gone rapidly growing.

Mrs. Hawker wrote to his nephew at Whitstone, eight miles from Stratton,
to say that they would lunch with him on Tuesday, the 10th, on their way
back from Plymouth to Morwenstow, intending to drive the distance in the

He never came, nor was the reason known till it was too late for his
nephew to see him.

On Monday evening, when all was ready for departure on the morrow, about
seven o’clock, Mrs. Hawker saw her husband’s left hand turn dead, white
and cold. Perceiving that he had a paralytic stroke, she sent
immediately for a surgeon. On the morrow, Tuesday, the day on which the
old man’s face was to have been turned homewards, it became evident that
his face was set to go towards a happier and an eternal home.

It was then clear that there was no return for him to Morwenstow; and
the lodgings were taken on for another week, which would probably see
the close of the scene.

On that evening Mrs. Hawker wrote to his sister, Mrs. Kingdon, a very
aged lady at Holsworthy, to tell her that her brother had had a stroke,
and that the medical attendant had “forbid him doing any duty if he goes
back to Morwenstow…. Of course the knowledge that he can be no longer
of use at Morwenstow is a terrible blow to his mind.” She also requested
Mrs. Kingdon to keep his sickness a profound secret from every one. At
Whitstone he was in vain expected, day after day, for lunch. Nor were
his brother and niece at Boscastle aware that his illness was serious,
and that life was ebbing fast away, till all was over.

Mr. Claud Hawker informed me that even on that Tuesday, when he learned
that he must not take duty again in his loved church, he was restless to
be off, and would not have the things unpacked. On that day one of the
arteries of the left arm with the pulse had stopped. On Wednesday the
companion of Mrs. Hawker, who helped to nurse him, was satisfied that he
knew her, and seemed to be pleased with her attentions. His wife
ministered to him with the most devoted tenderness, and would allow no
hired nurse near him, nor even one of the servants of the house to
invade the room, so jealous is love of lavishing all its powers on the
object of affection. On Thursday his pulse was weaker, and consciousness
scarcely manifested itself. His solicitor from Stratton had been
telegraphed for, and arrived on that day: he was informed by Mrs. Hawker
that her husband was quite unconscious, and not fit to see any one.
Understanding that there was no chance of Mr. Hawker recovering
sufficiently to discuss final arrangements of money affairs, and that it
was therefore useless to stay in Plymouth, he returned to Stratton.

Mrs. Hawker and her friend, finding themselves unable to raise the sick
man in bed, sent for his servant-man from Morwenstow; and he arrived on
Friday. His master recognised him, and gave tokens of pleasure at seeing
him at his side. The same evening he knew the medical man who attended
him, and said a word or two to him in a faint whisper; but his brain was
in part paralysed, and he hovered between consciousness and torpor, like
a flickering flame, or the state of a man between sleeping and waking.

On Saturday morning Mrs. Hawker informed him that she was going to send
for the Roman Catholic Canon Mansfield to see him. She believed that he
seemed pleased; and, as so often happens shortly before death, a slight
rally appeared to have taken place. According to her statement she sent
for the priest at his request. Mrs. Hawker, herself, was not, however,
received into the Roman Catholic communion till after his death.

During the day he murmured familiar psalms and the “Te Deum.”[45]

In the evening at half-past eight o’clock he was visited. He was in a
comatose condition; and, if able to recognise his visitor, it was only
that the recognition might fade away instantaneously, and he lapsed
again into a condition of torpor.

It was then clear that Mr. Hawker had not many hours to live. At ten
o’clock at night Canon Mansfield was introduced into the dying man’s
chamber; and the sacraments of baptism, penance, extreme unction and
communion, four in all, were administered in succession.

During the night his groans were very distressing, and seemed to
indicate that he was in great suffering. At eight o’clock next morning
he was lifted up in his bed to take a cup of tea, with bread sopped in
it. A change passed over his face, and he was laid gently back on the
pillow, when his spirit fled.

Youth, manhood, old age, past,
Come to thy God at last!

The funeral took place on Wednesday, 18th August. The body had been
transferred to the Roman Catholic Cathedral the night before. At 10 A.M.
a solemn requiem mass was sung by the Very Rev. Canon Woollet, the
vicar-general of the titular diocese. Around the coffin were six lighted
candles, and a profusion of flowers.

During the playing of the “Dead March in Saul,” and the tolling of the
church bell, the coffin was removed to the hearse, to be conveyed to the
Plymouth cemetery. The coffin was of oak, with a plain brass cross on
it, and bore the inscription:—






It is far from my intention to enter into controversy over the last sad
transaction in the life of him whose memoir I have written. The facts
are as I have stated, and might have been made clearer had I been at
liberty to use certain letters, which I have seen, but am not allowed to

According to Roman Catholic doctrine, there is no salvation for those
who die outside the Church, unless they have remained in ignorance of
Catholic verities. No such plea could be urged in the case of Mr.
Hawker; and therefore, from the point of view of a Romanist, his
damnation was assured.

A Roman Catholic priest is bound by the rules of his Church, and in
doubtful cases by the decisions of eminent canonists. The “Rituale
Romanum” for the baptism of adults provides for the baptism of those who
are unconscious, and even raving mad, on the near approach of death, if
there have appeared in them, when conscious, a desire for baptism;[46]
and the apparent satisfaction expressed by Mr. Hawker’s face on Saturday
morning was sufficient to express acquiescence, passive if not active.
How far he was aware of what was proposed, with his brain partly
paralysed, is open to question. However, in the case of such a sickness,
the patient is regarded in the same light as an infant, and passive
acquiescence is admitted as sufficient to justify the administration of
the sacrament.

Dens, a great authority, in his _Theologia Moralis et Dogmatica_, says
that in the case of those who are out of their mind, with no prospect of
a lucid interval—which would, of course, include the period of
unconsciousness before death—baptism may be administered, if there be
reason to conjecture that the patient desired it when of sound mind.
And, as no proofs are laid down for testing the desire, the rule is a
very elastic one.[47]

Billuart, however, asserts that, for the sacrament of penitence, full
consciousness is necessary, as an act of penitence is an essential part
of it; so that, though a man may be baptised who is insane or
unconscious, such a man cannot be absolved. Marchantius, in his
_Candelabrum Mysticum_, lays down that a man may be baptised when drunk,
as well as when unconscious, or raving mad, if he had before shown a
disposition to receive the sacrament.

Practically, no doubt, moved by desire to assure the salvation of the
patient, Roman Catholic clergy will charitably trust to there being a
disposition, on very slight grounds. The following instance will show
this, communicated to me by a learned English divine: “Some time ago a
lady wrote to me for counsel, on this ground. Her father-in-law, a very
aged man, a Unitarian, had died whilst she was helping to nurse him, and
had been unconscious for some days before his death. A very well-known
and distinguished Roman Catholic wrote a letter to her, which she
forwarded to me to read, blaming her very severely for not having seized
the opportunity for baptising him, on the ground that he _might_ have
changed his views, and _might_ have desired baptism, and that the
sacrament, so administered, would have been his passport to heaven. She
consulted me as to her blameworthiness, and as to whether she had, in
fact, to reproach herself with a failure of duty. I replied in the
negative, and stated that the purely mechanical view of the sacrament
taken by her correspondent was, to say the least, highly untheological.
I do not give the names, but you may cite me as having supplied you with
this fact, which happened this year (1875).”

A case was brought before my notice also, of a man being baptised when
dying in a condition of delirium tremens. To the English mind such a
case is very shocking, but it is one provided for by Marchantius. In
this case it was conjectured that the man had desired baptism into the
Roman communion: he had previously been a member, though an unworthy
one, of the English Church, and had shown no desire of secession.

I cannot dismiss this part of my subject without dealing briefly with an
accusation made against Mr. Hawker by certain correspondents in the
papers. They did not shrink from charging him with having been for many
years a Roman Catholic at heart, only holding on his position of the
Church of England for the sake of the loaves and fishes it offered him.

If I had considered there were grounds for this charge, his life would
never have been written by me.

How far Mr. Hawker was a consenting party to the reception, how far he
had gone towards contemplating such a change when incapacitated by
paralysis from forming a decision, I cannot decide. The testimony is
conflicting. I hesitate to believe that it was his intention to leave
the Church of England before he died. He was swayed this way or that by
those with whom he found himself. He was vehement in one direction one
day, as impetuous in another direction on the day following.

No one who knew Mr. Hawker intimately, not one of his nearest relatives,
his closest friends to whom he opened his heart, can believe that he was
a conscious hypocrite. If there was one quality which was conspicuous in
his character it was his openness. He could not act a part, he could not
retain unspoken a thought that passed through his brain, even when
common judgment would have deemed concealment of the thought advisable.
He was transparent as a Dartmoor stream; and all his thoughts, beliefs
and prejudices lay clearly seen in his mind, as the quartz and mica and
hornblende particles on the brook’s white floor.

If there was one vice which, with his whole soul, he abhorred, it was
treachery in its every form.

Be true to Church, be kind to poor,
O minister, for evermore!

were his lines cut by him over his vicarage door.

In 1873 or 1874 the rector of Kilkhampton was about to go to Exeter to
preach an ordination service in its cathedral. The vicar of Morwenstow
said to him: “Go, and bid the young men entering the holy ministry be
honest, loyal, true.” Is that the exhortation of a man conscious in his
own heart that he is a traitor?

One day, not long ago, he was in Kilkhampton, and entered the house of
an old man, a builder, there.

The old man said to him: “You know, Mr. Hawker, what names you have been
called in your day. They have said you were a Roman Catholic.”

“Hockeridge,” answered Mr. Hawker, standing in the midst of the floor,
and speaking with emphasis, “I am a priest of the Church, of the Church
of God, of that Church which was hundreds of years in Cornwall before a
Pope of Rome was thought of.”

A clergyman in the diocese of London, who knew him well, thus writes:—

I think I never read any announcement with greater surprise than
that the late vicar of Morwenstow had, shortly before his death,
been “received” into the Church of Rome. Mr. Hawker and I were
intimate friends for a number of years, and there were few matters
connected either with himself or those near and dear to him on which
he did not honour me with his confidence. It was just a year ago
that I spent some days with him, shortly after his visit to London,
to collect funds for the restoration of his interesting church,
among the scenes he loved so well; and I feel perfectly assured, had
he then meditated such a step, or had he so much as allowed it to
assume a form in his mind, however indefinite, it would have been
among the subjects of our converse. Nothing, however, was more
contrary to the fact. I am certain that at that time not an idea of
such a thing occurred to him. I received most confidential letters
from him down to a short period before his death; and there is not a
line in them which hints at any change in those opinions which had
not only become part of himself, but which, as opportunity offered,
he was accustomed to defend with no small amount either of logic or
of learning. My friend was a man of profound learning, of very great
knowledge of passing events, and able to estimate aright the present
aspect of the Church and her difficulties. He was also a man of
transparent honesty of purpose, of the nicest sense of honour, and
of bold and fearless determination in the discharge of his duties.
On two matters he was an enthusiast—the scenery and the early
Christian history of his beloved Cornwall, and, which is more to my
purpose, the position and rights of the Church of which he was, in
my most solemn belief, a dutiful and faithful priest. He was never
weary of asserting her claim as the Catholic Church of England,
possessed of orders as good as those of any other branch of the
Sacred Vine, and alone possessed of the mission which could make
their exercise available. His very aspect was that of the master in
Israel, conscious of his indubitable position, and whose mind was
thoroughly made up on questions about which many other men either
have no certain opinions, or at least have no such ground for
holding them as that with which his learning and acuteness at once
supplied him. Such was the late vicar of Morwenstow, one of the very
last men in England to leave the Church of which he gloried to be a
priest, of whose cause he was at all times the most unyielding
defender, and in whose communion it was his hope and prayer to die.

Nevertheless I think it possible, that during the last year or two of
his life, when failing mentally as well as bodily, and when labouring
under the excitement or subsequent depression caused by the opium he ate
to banish pain, he may have said, or written recklessly, words which are
capable of being twisted into meaning a change of views. There can be
little doubt that the taking of narcotics deadens the moral sense, the
appreciation of Truth, and possibly, towards the end, Mr. Hawker may
have had hankerings Romeward. But we must consider the man as he was
when sound in body and in mind, and not when stupified by pain, and the
medicines given to deaden the pain.[48] I have laboured, above all
things, in this book, to give a true picture of the man I describe: I
have not painted an ideal portrait.

And now my work is done. I have written truthfully the life of this most
remarkable man: I have taken care to “nothing extenuate, nor aught set
down in malice.” I cannot more worthily conclude my task than with the
peroration of Mr. Hawker’s visitation sermon, already quoted.

‘The day is far spent, and the night is at hand: the hour cometh
wherein no man can work. A little while, and all will be over.’
‘Their love and their hatred, and their envy, will have perished;
neither will they any longer have a name under the sun.’ The
thousand thoughts that thrill our souls this day, with the usual
interests and the common sympathies of an earthly existence—of all
these there will not, by-and-by, survive in the flesh a single
throb. This, our beloved father in the Church, will have entered
into the joy of his Lord, to prefer, perchance, in another region,
affectionate supplications for us who survive and remain. We, who
are found worthy, shall be gathered to a place and people where the
strifes and the controversies of earth are unnoted and unknown.
“Violence shall no more be heard in that land, wasting nor
destruction within its borders; but they shall call the gates
Salvation and the walls Praise. There the envy of Ephraim shall
depart and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall
not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.”

Nevertheless all will not perish from the earth. That which hath
done valiantly in the host will not glide away into a land where all
things are forgotten. Although the sun may go down while it is yet
day, it shall come to pass that at evening tide there shall be
light. Moses is dead, and Aaron is dead, and Hur is gathered to his
fathers also; but, because of their righteous acts in the matter of
Rephidim, their memorial and their name live and breathe among us
for example and admonition still. So shall it be with this
generation. He, our spiritual lord, whose living hands are lifted up
in our midst to-day—he shall bequeath to his successors and to their
children’s children, the eloquent example and the kindling heritage
of his own stout-hearted name. And we, the lowlier soldiers of the
war—so that our succour hath been manifest and our zeal true—we
shall achieve a share of humble remembrance as the duteous children
of Aaron and of Hur.

They also, the faithful few, who have lapped the waters of dear old
Oxford, and who were the little company appointed to go down upon
the foe with the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, and to
prevail—honour and everlasting remembrance for their fearless names!
If, in their zeal, they have exceeded; if, in the dearth of sympathy
and the increase of desolation, they should even yet more
exceed—nay, but do Thou, O Lord God of Jeshurun, withstand them in
that path, if they should forsake the house of the mother that bare
them for the house of the stranger!

Still let it never be forgotten, that their voices and their volumes
were the signals of the dawn that stirred the heart of a slumbering
people with a shout for the mastery. Verily, they have their reward.
They live already in the presence of future generations; and they
are called, even now, by the voices yet unborn, the giants of those
days, the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown!

Whosoever shall win the war, whatsoever victories may wait hereafter
on the armies of the living God, it shall never fail from the memory
and heart of England, who and what manner of men were they that,
when the morning was yet spread upon the mountains, arose, and went
down to the host, and brake the pitcher, and waved the lamp and blew
the trumpet in the face of Midian!

God Almighty grant that they and their adversaries and we ourselves
also, may look on each other’s faces and be at rest, one day, in the
city of God, among the innumerable company of angels, and the
first-born whose names are written in heaven, and the spirits of
just men made perfect, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant,
through the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than
that of Abel!

Continue Reading

The Weekly Offertory

THE church of Morwenstow was restored by Mr. Hawker in 1849; that is to
say, he removed the pews that had been built about the old carved oak
benches, pulled down the gallery, and put up a new pulpit, and made
sundry other changes in the church.

The roof was covered with oak shingle in the most deplorable condition
of decay. According to the description of a mason who went up the tower
to survey it, “it looked, for all the world, like a wrecked ship thrown
up on the shore.”

Mr. Hawker was very anxious to have the roof reshingled, and this
question was before the vestry during several years. The parish offered
to give the church a roofing of the best Delabole slate, but the vicar
stood out for shingle. The rate-payers protested against wasting their
money on such a perishable material, but the vicar would not yield.

Vestry meeting after vestry meeting was called on this matter; one of
the landowners remonstrated, but all in vain: Mr. Hawker remained
unmoved; a shingle roof he would have, or none at all. A gentleman wrote
to him, quoting a passage from Parker’s _Glossary of Architecture_ to
show that anciently shingle roofs were put on only because more durable
material was not available, and were removed when lead, slate or tiles
were to be had. But Mr. Hawker remained unconvinced. “Our parson du
stick to his maygaims,” said the people shrugging their shoulders. He
was very angry with the opposition to his shingle roof, and quarrelled
with several of his parishioners about it.

He managed to collect money among his friends, and re-roofed the church,
bit by bit, with oak shingle. But old shingle was made from heart of oak
cut down in winter: the shingle he obtained was from oak cut in spring
for barking, and therefore full of sap. The consequence was, that in a
very few years it rotted, and let the water in as through a colander.

Enough money was thrown away on this roof to have put the whole church
in thorough repair.

I pointed out to the vicar some years ago, when he was talking of
repairing his church, that the stones in the arches and in the walls
were of various sorts—some good building-stones, some rotten, some dark,
some light—giving a patchwork appearance to the interior. I advised the
removal of the poorer stones, and the insertion of better ones for the
sake of uniformity. “No, never!” he answered. “The Church is built up of
good and bad, of the feeble and the strong, the rich and the poor, the
durable and the perishable. The material Church is a type of the
Catholic Church, not the type of a sect.”

In many ways Mr. Hawker was before his time, as in other ways he was
centuries behind it.

He was the first to reinstitute ruridecanal synods which had fallen into
disuse in Cornwall; and, when he was rural dean in 1844, he issued the
following citation to all the clergy of the deanery of Trigg-Major:—

In obedience to the desire of many of the clergy, and with the full
sanction of our Right Reverend Father in God, the lord bishop of
this diocese, I propose, in these anxious days of the ecclesiate, to
restore the ancient usage of rural synods in the deanery of
Trigg-Major. I accordingly convene you to appear, in your surplice,
in my church of Morwenstow on the fifth day of March next ensuing,
at eleven o’clock in the forenoon, then and there, after divine
service, to deliberate with your brethren in chapter assembled. I
remain, reverend sir, your faithful servant,


_The Rural Dean_.


Accordingly on 5th March, the clergy assembled in the vicarage, and
walked in procession thence to the church in their surplices. The church
was filled with the laity; the clergy were seated in the chancel. The
altar was adorned with flowers and lighted candles. After service the
laity withdrew, and the doors of the church were closed. The clergy then
assembled in the nave, and the rural dean read them an elaborate and
able statement of the case of rural chapters, after which they proceeded
to business. His paper on Rural Synods was afterwards published by
Edwards & Hughes, Ave Maria Lane, 1844.

It is remarkable that synods, which are now everywhere revived
throughout the Church of England, meeting sometimes in vestries,
sometimes in dining-rooms, were first restored, after the desuetude of
three centuries, in the church of Morwenstow, and with so much gravity
and dignity, over fifty years ago.

The importance of the weekly offertory is another thing now recognised.
The Church seems to be preparing herself against possible
disestablishment and disendowment, by reviving her organic life in
synods, and by impressing on her people the necessity of giving towards
the support of the services and the ministry. But the weekly offertory
is quite a novelty in most places still. Almost the first incumbent in
England to establish it was the vicar of Morwenstow, before 1843.

He entered into controversy on the subject of the offertory with Mr.
Walter of _The Times_.

When the Poor Law Amendment Bill passed in 1834, and was amended in 1836
and 1838, it was thought by many that the need for an offertory in
church was done away with, and that the giving of alms to the poor was
an interference with the working of the Poor Law.

Mr. Hawker published a statement of what he did in this matter in _The
English Churchman_, for 1844. Mr. Walter made this statement the basis
of an attack on the system, and especially on Mr. Hawker, in a letter to
_The Times_.

Mr. Hawker replied to this:—

SIR,—I regret to discover that you have permitted yourself to invade
the tranquillity of my parish, and to endeavour to interrupt the
harmony between myself and my parishioners, in a letter which I have
just read in a recent number of _The Times_. You have done so by a
garbled copy of a statement which appeared in _The English
Churchman_, of the reception and disposal of the offertory alms in
the parish church of Morwenstow.

I say “garbled” because, while you have adduced just so much of the
document as suited your purpose, you have suppressed such parts of
it as might have tended to alleviate the hostility which many
persons entertain to this part of the service of the Church.

With reference to our choice, as the recipients of Church money, of
labourers whose “wages are seven shillings a week,” and “who have a
wife and four children to maintain thereon,” you say, “Here is an
excuse for the employer to give deficient wages!”

In reply to this, I beg to inform you that the wages in this
neighbourhood never fluctuate: they have continued at this fixed
amount during the ten years of my incumbency…. Your argument, as
applied to my parishioners, is this: Because they have scanty wages
in that county, therefore they should have no alms; because these
labourers of Morwenstow are restricted by the law from any relief
from the rate, therefore they shall have no charity from the Church;
because they have little, therefore they shall have no more. You
insinuate that I, a Christian minister, think eight shillings a week
sufficient for six persons during a winter’s week, as though I were
desirous to limit the resources of my poor parishioners to that sum.
May God forgive you your miserable supposition! I have all my life
sincerely, and not to serve any party purpose, been an advocate of
the cause of the poor. I, for many long years, have honestly, and
not to promote political ends, denounced the unholy and cruel
enactments of the New Poor Law….

Let me now proceed to correct some transcendent misconceptions of
yourself and others as to the nature and intent of the offertory in
church. The ancient and modern division of all religious life was,
and is, threefold—into devotion, self-denial and alms. No sacred
practice, no Christian service, was or is complete without the union
of these three. They were all alike and equally enjoined by the
Saviour of man. The collection of alms was therefore incorporated in
the Book of Common Prayer. But it was never held to be established
among the services of the Church for the benefit of the poor alone:
it was to enable the rich to enjoy the blessedness of almsgiving for
their Redeemer’s sake: it was to afford to every giver fixed and
solemn opportunity to fulfil the remembrance, that whatsoever they
did to the poor they did unto Him, and that the least of such their
kindness would not be forgotten at the last day. “Let us wash,” they
said, “our Saviour’s feet by alms”…. But this practice of alms,
whereunto the heavenly Head of the Church annexed a specific
reward—this necessity, we are told, is become obsolete. A Christian
duty become, by desuetude, obsolete! As well might a man infer that
any other religious excellence ceased to be obligatory because it
had been disused. The virtue of humility, for example, which has
been so long in abeyance among certain of the laity, shall no
longer, therefore, be a Christian grace! The blessing on the meek
shall cease in 1844! … Voluntary kindness and alms have been
rendered unnecessary by the compulsory payments enacted by the New
Poor Law! As though the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew had been
repealed by Sir James Graham! As if one of the three conditions of
our Christian covenant was to expire during the administration of
Sir Robert Peel!…

And now, sir, I conclude with one or two parting admonitions to
yourself. You are, I am told, an elderly man, fast approaching the
end of all things, and, ere many years have passed, about to stand a
separated soul among the awful mysteries of the spiritual world. I
counsel you to beware, lest the remembrance of these attempts to
diminish the pence of the poor, and to impede the charitable duties
of the rich, should assuage your happiness in that abode where the
strifes and the triumphs of controversy are unknown, “Because thou
hast done this thing, and because thou hadst no pity”. And lastly, I
advise you not again to assail our rural parishes with such
publications, to harass and unsettle the minds of our faithful
people. We, the Cornish clergy, are a humble and undistinguished
race; but we are apt, when unjustly assailed, to defend ourselves in
straightforward language, and to utter plain admonitions, such as,
on this occasion, I have thought it my duty to address to yourself;
and I remain your obedient servant,


NOV. 27, 1844.

Now there is scarcely a church in England in which a harvest
thanksgiving service is not held. But probably the first to institute
such a festival in the Anglican Church was the vicar of Morwenstow in

In that year he issued a notice to his parishioners to draw their
attention to the duty of thanking God for the harvest, and of announcing
that he would set apart a Sunday for such a purpose.


When the sacred Psalmist inquired what he should render unto the
Lord for all the benefits that He had done unto him, he made answer
to himself, and said: “I will receive the cup of salvation, and call
upon the name of the Lord”. Brethren, God has been very merciful to
us this year also. He hath filled our garners with increase, and
satisfied our poor with bread. He opened His hand, and filled all
things living with plenteousness. Let us offer a sacrifice of
thanksgiving among such as keep Holy Day. Let us gather together in
the chancel of our church on the first Sunday of the next month, and
there receive, in the bread of the new corn,[38] that blessed
sacrament which was ordained to strengthen and refresh our souls. As
it is written, “He rained down manna also upon them for to eat, and
gave them food from heaven.” And again, “In the hand of the Lord
there is a cup, and the wine is red.” Furthermore, let us remember,
that, as a multitude of grains of wheat are mingled into one loaf,
so we, being many, are intended to be joined together into one, in
that holy sacrament of the Church of Jesus Christ. Brethren, on the
first morning of October call to mind the word, that, wheresoever
the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. “Let the
people praise thee, O God, yea, let all the people praise thee! Then
shall the earth bring forth her increase, and God, even our own God,
shall give us His blessing. God shall bless us, and all the ends of
the earth shall fear Him.”



At much expense to himself he built and maintained a school in a central
position in the parish. He called it St. Mark’s School. It stands on a
very exposed spot, and the site can hardly be considered as judiciously
chosen. It is unnecessary here, it could hardly prove interesting, to
quote numberless letters which I have before me, recounting his
struggles to keep this school open, and obtain an efficient master for
it. It was a great tax on his means, lightened, however, by the
donations and subscriptions of landowners in the parish and personal
friends towards the close of his life.

But in 1857 he wrote a letter to a friend, who has sent the letter to
_The Rock_, from which I extract it.

It is said that Mr. Hawker is a very “eccentric” man. Now, I know
not in what sense they may have intended the phrase, nor, in fact,
what they wish to insinuate; so that I can hardly reply. If they
mean to convey the ordinary force of the term, namely, a person out
of the common, I am again at a loss. I wear a cassock, instead of a
broadcloth coat, which is, I know, eccentric; but then, I have paid
my parish school expenses for many years out of the difference
between the usual clergyman’s tailor’s bill and my own cost in
apparel; so that I do not, as they may have meant, feel ashamed or
blush at such eccentricity. My mode of life, again, does differ from
that of most of my clerical neighbours; for while they belong, some
to one party in the Church and some to another, I have always lived
aloof from them all, whether High or Low. And although there exist
clerical clubs of both extremes in this deanery, and I have been
invited to join by each, I never yet was present at a club meeting,
dinner or a local synod. The time would fail me to recount the many
modes and manners wherein I do differ from usual men. Be it enough
that I am neither ashamed nor sorry for any domestic or parochial
habit of life.

In 1845 he issued the following curious notice in reference to his daily
prayer and his school:—


The vicar will say Divine service henceforward every morning at ten
and every evening at four. “Praised be the Lord _daily_, even the
God that helpeth us, and poureth His benefits upon us” (Ps. lxviii.

The vicar will attend at St. Mark’s schoolroom every Friday at three
o’clock, to catechise the scholars, and at the Sunday school at the
usual hour. He will not from henceforth show the same kindness to
those who keep back their children from school as he will to those
who send them. “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk”
(Exod. xxiii. 19).

Mr. Hawker was a High Churchman, but one of an original type, wholly
distinct from the Tractarian of the first period, and the Ritualist of
the second period, of the Catholic revival in the English Church. He
never associated himself with any party. He did not read the
controversial literature of his day, or interest himself in the persons
of the ecclesiastical movement in the Anglican communion.

In November, 1861, he wrote:—

Dr. Bloxham was an ancient friend of mine (at Oxford). One of a
large body of good and learned men, all now gone, and he only left.
How I recollect their faces and words! Newman, Pusey, Ward,
Marriott—they used to be all in the common-room every evening,
discussing, talking, reading. I remember the one to whom I did not
take was Dr. Pusey. He never seemed simple in thought or speech;
obscure and involved. He was the last in all that set—as I now look
back and think—to have followers called by his name.

Mr. Hawker turned his eyes far more towards the Eastern Church than
towards Rome. His mind was fired by Mr. Collins-Trelawney’s
_Peranzabuloe or the Lost Church Found_, the fourth edition of which
appeared in 1839. It was an account of the ancient British chapel and
cell of St. Piran, which had been swallowed up by the sands, but which
was exhumed, and the bones of the saint, some ancient crosses, and early
rude sculpture found. The author of the book drew a picture of the
ancient British Church independent of Rome, having its own local
peculiarities with regard to the observance of Easter, and the tonsure,
etc., and argued that this church, which held aloof from St. Augustine,
was of Oriental origin. He misunderstood the paschal question
altogether, and his argument on that head falls to the ground when
examined by the light which can be brought to bear on it from Irish
sources. The ancient British, Scottish and Irish churches did not follow
the Oriental rule with regard to the observance of Easter; but their
calendar had got out of gear, and they objected to its revision.

However, the book convinced Mr. Hawker that he must look to the East for
the ancestors of the Cornish Church, and not Rome-wards; and this view
of the case lasted through his life, and coloured his opinions.

When Dr. J. Mason Neale’s _History of the Holy Eastern Church_ came out,
he was intensely interested in it; and his Oriental fever reached its
climax, and manifested itself in the adoption of a pink brimless hat,
after the Eastern type. This Eastern craze also probably induced him,
when he adopted a vestment, to put on a cope for the celebration of the
holy communion; that vestment being used by the Armenian Church for the
Divine Mysteries, whereas it is _never_ so used in the Roman Church.

His theology assumed an Oriental tinge, and he expressed his views more
as an Eastern than as a son of the West.

A few of his short notes of exposition on Holy Scripture have come into
my hands, and I insert one or two of them as specimens of the poetical
fancy which played round Gospel truths.

Ὁ μεσίτης. A mediator is not one who prays. Christ’s manhood is the
intermediate thing which stands between the Trinity and man, to link
and blend the natures human and Divine. It is the bridge between the
place of exile and our native land. The presence of God the Son,
standing with his wounds on the right hand of God the Father _is_,
and constitutes, mediation.

His idea is that mediation is not intercession, but the serving as a
channel of intercommunion between God and man. Thus there can be but one
mediator, but every one may intercede for another. There can be no doubt
that he was right.

His views with regard to baptism were peculiar. He seems to have
retained a little of his grandfather’s Calvinistic leaven in his soul,
much as St. Augustine’s early Manichæism clung to him, and discoloured
his later orthodoxy. The Catholic doctrine of the Fall is, that, by the
first transgression of Adam, a discord entered into his constitution, so
that thenceforth, soul and mind and body, instead of desiring what is
good and salutary, are distracted by conflicting wishes, the flesh
lusting against the spirit, and the mind approving that which is
repugnant to the body. The object of the Incarnation is to restore
harmony to the nature of man; and in baptism is infused into man a
supernatural element of power for conciliating the three constituents of
man. Fallen man is, according to Tridentine doctrine, a beautiful
instrument whose strings are in discord; a chime

Of sweet bells jangled, out of tune.

But he is provided with the Conciliator, with One whose note is so clear
and true that he can raise the pitch of all his strings by that, and
thus restore the lost music of the world.

Lutheran and Calvinistic teaching, however, are the reverse of this.
According to the language of the “Formulary of Concord,” man by the Fall
has lost every element of good, even the smallest capacity and aptitude
and power in spiritual things; he has lost the faculty of knowing God,
and the will to do anything that is good; he can no more lead a good
life than a stock or a stone; everything good in him is utterly
obliterated. There is also a positive ingredient of sin infused into the
veins of every man. Sin is, according to Luther, of the essence of man,
Original sin is not, as the Church teaches, the loss of supernatural
grace co-ordinating man’s faculties, and their consequent disorder; it
is something born of the father and mother. The clay of which we are
formed is damnable; the fœtus in the mother’s womb is sin; man, with his
whole nature and essence, is not only a sinner, but sin. Such are the
expressions of Luther, indorsed by Carlstadt. Man, according to Catholic
theology, still bears in him the image of God, but blurred. According to
Melancthon, this image is wholly obliterated by an “intimate, most evil,
most profound, inscrutable, ineffable corruption of our whole nature.”
Calvin clinches the matter by observing that from man’s corrupted nature
comes only what is damnable. “Man,” says he, “has been so banished from
the kingdom of God, that all in him that bears reference to the blessed
life of the soul is extinct.”[39] And if men have glimpses of better
things, it is only that God may take from them every excuse when he
damns them.[40]

Mr. Hawker by no means adopted the Catholic view of the Fall: the
Protestant doctrine of the utter corruption and ruin of man’s nature had
been so deeply driven into his mind by his grandfather, that it never
wholly worked itself out, and he never attained to the healthier view of
human nature as a compound of good elements temporarily thrown in

This view of his appears in papers which are under my eye, as I write,
and in his ballad for a cottage-wall, on Baptism.

Ah! woe is me! for I have no grace
Nor goodness as I ought:
I never shall go to the happy place,
And ’tis all my parents’ fault.

His teaching on the Eucharist he embodied in a ballad entitled
“Ephphatha”. An old blind man sits in a hall at Morwenstow, that of
Tonacombe probably.

He asks, and bread of wheat they bring;
He thirsts for water from the spring
Which flowed of old, and still flows on,
With name and memory of St. John.

Bread and water are given him; and, through the stained windows,
glorious rainbow tints fall over what is set before him. A page looking
on him pities the old man, because—

He eats, but sees not on that bread
What glorious radiance there is shed;
He drinks from out that chalice fair,
Nor marks the sunlight glancing there.

Watch! gentle Ronald, watch and pray!
And hear once more an old man’s lay:
I cannot see the morning poured
Ruddy and rich on this gay board;
I may not trace the noonday light
Wherewith my bread and bowl are bright;
But thou, whose words are sooth, hast said
That brightness falls on this fair bread;
Thou sayest, and thy tones are true,
This cup is tinged with heaven’s own hue:
I trust thy voice, I know from thee
That which I cannot hear nor see.

The application of the parable is palpable. Mr. Hawker appended to the
ballad the following note:—

I have sought in these verses to suggest a shadow of that beautiful
instruction to Christian men, the actual and spiritual presence of
our Lord in the second Sacrament of His Church; a primal and
perpetual doctrine in the faith once delivered to the saints. How
sadly the simplicity of this hath and has been distorted and
disturbed by the gross and sensuous notion of a carnal presence,
introduced by the Romish innovation of the eleventh century![41]

The following passage occurs in one of his sermons:—

If there be anything in all the earth to which our Lord did join a
blessing, and that for evermore, it was the bread and the cup.
Surely of this Sacrament, which the apostles served, it may be said,
He that receiveth you receiveth Me. Now, nothing can be more certain
than that our Lord and Master, before He suffered death, called into
His presence the twelve men, the _equal_ founders of His future
Church. He stood alone with the twelve. There was nobody else there
but those ministers and their Lord. Nothing is more manifest than
that He took bread of corn, and showed the apostles in what manner
and with what words to bless and to break it. Equally clear is it,
that their Lord took into His hands, with remarkable gesture and
deed, the cup, and taught the twelve also the blessing of the wine.
Accordingly, after the Son of man went up, we read that the apostles
took bread, and blessed, and gave it to the Church. Likewise also
they took the cup.

And, although the Romish Dissenters keep it back to this day, the
apostles gave the wine also to the people. St. Paul, who was not one
of the twelve, but a bishop afterwards ordained, writes: “We have an
altar”. He speaks of the bread which he breaks, and the cup he was
accustomed to bless. So we trace from those old apostolic days, down
to our own, an altar-table of wood in remembrance of the wooden
cross, fine white bread, good and wholesome wine, a ministry
descended from the apostles, to be in all ages and in every land the
outward and visible signs of a great event—the eternal sacrifice of
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, nothing can be more plain than that these things, so seen, and
handled, and felt, and eaten, and drunk, were delivered to the
Church to contain and to convey a deep blessing, an actual grace.
They were ordained for this end by Christ Himself: He said of the
bread, This is My body; _i.e._, not a part of My flesh, but a
portion of My spiritual presence, a share of that which is Divine.

Again, Jesus said about the cup, This is My blood; _i.e._, not that
which gushed upon the soldier’s spear, but the life-blood of My
heavenly heart, that which shall be shed on you from on high with
the fruit of the vine—the produce of the everlasting veins of Him
who is on the right hand of God.

So was it understood, so is it explained, by apostolic words. Thus
said St. Paul, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the
communion—the common reception, that is—the communication to
faithful lips of the blood of Christ?”

So we say in our Catechism, that the body and blood of Christ are
verily and indeed taken and received. We confess that our souls are
strengthened and refreshed in the Sacrament of the body and blood of
Christ: we call the bread and wine in our service heavenly food. We
acknowledge that we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink
His blood. We declare that in that Sacrament we join Him, and He us,
as drops of water that mingle in the sea, and that we are, in that
awful hour, very members incorporate in the mystical body of the Son
of God,—words well-nigh too deep to apprehend or to explain.

Mr. Hawker, holding, as has been shown, that mediation was distinct from
intercession, admitted that the dead in Christ could pray for their
brethren struggling in the warfare of life, as really and more
effectually than they could when living. If the souls under the altar
seen by St. John could cry out for vengeance on those upon earth, surely
they could also ask for mercy to be shown them.

He thought that all the baptised had six sponsors, the three on earth
and three in heaven. Those in heaven were the guardian angel of the
child, the saint whose name the child bore, and the saint to whom the
church was dedicated in which the baptism took place; and that, as it
was the duty of earthly sponsors to look after and pray for their
godchildren, so it was the privilege and pleasure of their heavenly
patrons to watch and intercede for their welfare.

He did not see why Christians should not ask the prayers of those in
bliss, as well as the prayers of those in contest; and he contended that
this was a very different matter from Romish invocation of saints, that
invested the blessed ones with all but Divine attributes, and which he
utterly repudiated. He quoted Latimer, Bishop Montague, Thorndike,
Bishop Forbes, in the seventeenth century; and Dean Field, and Morton,
Bishop of Durham, etc., as holding precisely the same view as himself.

Of course his doctrines to some seem to be perilously high. But in the
English Church there are various shades of dogmatism, and the faintest
tinge to one whose views are colourless is a great advance. The slug at
the bottom of the cabbage-stalk thinks the slug an inch up the stalk
very high, and the slug on the stalk regards the slug on the leaf as
perilously advanced, whilst the slug on the leaf considers the snail on
the leaf-end as occupying an equivocal position.

Catholicism and Popery have really nothing necessarily in common. The
first is a system of belief founded on the Incarnation, the advantages
of which it applies to man through a sacramental system; while the
latter is a system of ecclesiastical organisation, which has only
accidentally been linked with Catholicism, but which is equally at home
in the steppes of Tartary with Buddhism.

Popery is a centralisation in matter of Church government: it is
autocracy. A man may be theoretically an Ultramontane without being even
a Christian, for he may believe in a despotism. And a man may be a
Catholic in all his views, without having the smallest sympathy with
Popery. As a matter of fact, the most advanced men in the English Church
are radically liberal in their views of Church government; and if they
strive with one hand to restore forgotten doctrines, and reinstate
public worship, with the other they do battle for the introduction of
Constitutionalism into the organisation of the Church of England, the
element of all others most opposed to Popery.

It is quite possible to distinguish Catholicism from Romanism. Romanism
has developed a system—a miserable system of indulgences and
dispensations on one side, and restraints on the other—all issuing from
the throne of St. Peter, as an impure flood from a corrupt fountain, and
which has sadly injured Christian morals. A student of history cannot
fail to notice that the Papacy has been a blight on Christianity,
robbing it of its regenerating and reforming power, a parasitic growth
draining it of its life-blood. He may love, with every fibre of his
soul, the great sacramental system, the glorious Catholic verities,
common to Constantinople and Rome, to Jerusalem and Moscow; but it is
only to make him bitterly regret that they have been used as a vehicle
for Romish cupidity, so as to make them odious in the eyes of
Protestants. Holding Catholic doctrines, and enjoying Catholic
practices, an English Churchman may be as far removed in temper of soul
from Rome as any Irish Orangeman.

Mr. Hawker held the Blessed Virgin in great reverence. The ideal of
womanhood touched his poetical instincts. Yet he checked his exuberant
fancy, when dealing with this theme, by his conscience of what was right
and fitting. He says, in a sermon on the text: “He stretched forth His
hand towards His disciples, and said, Behold My mother and My brethren;
for whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother and
sister and mother:” “His mother also, whom the angel had pronounced
blessed among women, because on her knees the future Christ should lie,
sought to usurp the influence of nature over the Son Divine. But to
teach that although in the earth He was not all of the earth, and aware
of the blind idolatry which future men would yield unto her who bare
Him, and those to whom His Incarnation in their family gave superior
name, Jesus publicly renounced all domestic claim to His particular
regard. More than once did He remind Mary, His mother, that in His
miraculous nature she did not partake; that in the functions of His
Godhead she had nothing to do with him.”

The Rev. W. Valentine, rector of Whixley, perhaps the most intimate
friend Mr. Hawker had, writes to me of him thus:—

During the first six months of my residence at Chapel House,
Morwenstow, September, 1863, to April, 1864, I and he invariably
spent our evenings together; and although for ten weeks of that
period I took the Sunday morning and evening duties at Stratton
Church, during the illness of the vicar, I always rode round by
Morwenstow vicarage on Sundays to spend an hour with him, at his
urgent request, though it took me some miles out of my way over
Stowe Hill and by Combe. I thus got to know Mr. Hawker thoroughly,
more intimately perhaps, as to character and social habits, than any
other friend ever did; and on two important points no one will ever
shake my testimony, _viz._ (_a_) his desire to be buried by me
beneath the shadow of his own beloved church, “That grey fane, the
beacon of the Eternal Land”; and (_b_) his constant allusions to the
Roman Catholics as “Romish Dissenters”.

But Mr. Hawker was not a theologian, nor was he careful in the
expression of his opinions. He spoke as he thought at the moment, and he
thought as the impulse swayed him. Many of his most intimate friends,
who met him constantly during the last years of his life, and to whom he
opened his heart most fully, are firm in their conviction that he was a
sincere member of the Church of England, believing thoroughly in her
Divine mission and authority. But it is quite possible, that, in moments
of excitement and disappointment, to others he may have expressed
himself otherwise. He was the creature of impulse; and his mind was
never very evenly balanced, nor did his judgment always reign paramount
over his fancies.

Mr. Valentine writes in another letter to me:—

I have only one sermon to send you, but to _me_ it is a deeply
interesting one, as it was delivered more than once just over the
spot where he told me so often to lay him; and I feel assured that
whenever he preached it, his thoughts would wander onward to that
coming day when he himself, as he contemplated, would form one of
that last and vast assemblage which will be gathered in Morwenstow
churchyard and church. Ever since I knew dear old Hawker, and for
years before, he preached _extempore_. His habit was to take a
prayer-book into the pulpit, and expound the Gospel for the day. He
would read a verse or two, and then with a common lead pencil, which
was ever suspended by a string from one of his coat-buttons, mark
his resting-point. Having expounded the passage, he would read
further, mark again, and expound. His clear, full voice was most
mellifluous; and his language, whilst plain and homely, was highly
poetical, and quite enchanting to listen to. He riveted one’s whole
attention. His pulpit MSS. are very rare, because, just before
taking to _extempore_ preaching, “basketsful” of his sermons were
destroyed under the following circumstances, as he used to relate it
to me: A celebrated firm of seedsmen advertised something remarkable
in the way of carrots; and Mr. Hawker, who had long made this root
his especial study, sent for some seed. He was recommended to sow it
with some of the best ashes he could procure, and therefore brought
out all his sermons one morning on to the vicarage lawn, set fire to
the pile, and carefully collected the precious remains. The crop was
an utter failure; but the cause thereof, on reflection was most
palpable. He remembered that a few of old Dr. Hawker’s sermons were
lying amongst his own; and the conclusion forced upon him was, that
his grandfather’s heterodoxy had lost him his crop of carrots.

He refers to this destruction in another letter to Mr. Carnsew:—

DEC. 6, 1857. _My dear Sir_,—To-morrow I send for my last load of
materials for building, the close of a long run of outlay extending
through nearly thirty years. Bude, Whitstone, Trebarrow, Morwenstow,
have been the scenes of my architecture. Anderson writes that he has
bought a cottage of yours. I am glad of it for his wife’s sake. I
wrote to him offering a young pig of mine, and twelve MS. sermons,
for a young boar of the same age; and, do you know, he has taken me
at my word. So I am to send him my MSS. and to fetch the boar. Did I
ever tell you that I once dressed a drill of turnips for experiment
with sermon ashes (I had been burning a large lot), and it was a
complete failure? Barren, all barren, like most modern discourses;
not even posthumous energy.

The sermon that is spoken of by Mr. Valentine was on the general
resurrection, and was preached at the “Revel,” Midsummer Day.

The Revel or Village Feast is—in some places was—a great institution in
Cornwall and West Devon, held on the day of the Saint to whom the church
is dedicated.

One of his sermons which is remembered to this day was on the text, Gen.
xxii. 5: “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder
and worship, and come again to you.”

He pointed out in this sermon how that in Morwenstow and many other
villages, the church is situated at some distance from the congregation.
At Okehampton the church is on a hill, and the town lies below it in the
valley. At Brent-tor it is planted on the apex of a volcanic cone,
rising out of a high table-land; and the cottages of which it is the
parish church lie in combes far away, skirting the moor. At Morwenstow
it stands above the sea, without a house near it save the vicarage and
one little farm. This, said he, was no bit of mismanagement, but was
done purposely, that those who went up to Jerusalem to worship might
have time to compose their thoughts, and frame their souls aright for
the holy services in which they were about to engage.

Is it a trouble to go so far? Does it cost many paces? Yea! but an angel
counts the paces that lead to the house of God and records them all in

“Abide ye here with the ass,” away from the hill of the Lord, from the
place of sacrifice; tarry, dumb ass and hireling, whilst the son goes on
under the guidance of his father. The poor hireling, not one of the
family; the unbaptised, no son; and the coarse, brutal nature, the
ass—they stay away; they have no inclination, no call to go up to the
house of God. “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go
yonder and worship.”

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