صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

rendered Percy Chapel as celebrated for its execution of glorious music, as it is for the preaching talents of its Incumbent.

And the mental developement of Mr. Montgomery is not less striking than what he would call the moral. However unjust was the bitter invective which the fluent pen of a Macaulay indited, however uncalled for some of the keen satire and round abuse which Mr. Monte gomery received, we do think that both from his titles and style, some amount of criticism was provoked by the youthful bard. The loftier the theme that is bandled, the more likely is it to awaken a spirit of examination, and most deservedly so. That the subject of these remarks did not consider himself invulnerable, and that he was not so proud, or encased so strongly in love of self as not to be benefited by any judicious observations, is shown by the fact, that one of the poems has been so altered, as almost to lay claim to be considered as a new work. We think, however, that Mr. Montgomery might have allowed Mr. Macaulay to rest in peace now,

and not have produced any allusions to his criticisms, as the writer of the Romance of the History of England, however vast his powers may be, is now himself judged by others according to merit, as an honest critic, and impartial, trustworthy historian. He might rather have contented himself with the notices of a Wordsworth, a Wilson, and a Bowles, and others, who may justly claim to know as much about Poetry as even Mr. Macaulay, though he did write a Prize poem at Cambridge, and has produced some “ Lays of Ancient Rome,”—which are equalled by those of "S. M.,” and Mr. Bode's stirring versions of Herodotus.

We have said thus much by way of clearing the ground for copious extracts from this handsome volume in our next number, as we cannot afford space to do justice now to such a work.

62

The Children's Corner.

THE STEP-FATHER: OR, “ CAN I BE A

MARTYR ?”:1

CHAPTER VII. (Continued from page 312, Vol. VI.) TIIREE years had passed away, leaving many a trace of change and sorrow on Clairton. Old homes had been broken up by death; new homes made by marriage, the counterpart of death. Still, the place looked the same, and seemed to be the same. The Abbey bells rang out for morning and evening prayer, which the same Priests offered in the same form ; but many who once worshipped together were now " absent in the body."

Of these, few perhaps bad been missed more than little Annie, who, both for her mother's sake and her own, had been beloved by the whole village. For some time no tidings could be gathered as to what had become of her; and therefore various surmises were afloat by no means 'honourable to her step-father. On inquiry at the house nobody could imagine whither she had gone. Madge only cried bitterly and shook her head, declaring “she must, like a wilful thing as she was, have run away and killed herself.” Master Grimman, pretending the utmost consternation and grief, caused the whole neighbourhood to be diligently searched, and offered a large reward for her recovery. When day after day, and month after month passed, bringing no trace nor tidings of the lost favourite, the neighbours mournfully agreed that she must be dead. Meanwhile there was one who could not be brought to share the general belief, and that was her old companion and cousin on the mother's side, Walter

i [We shall now be able to give our readers the remainder of this tale, which has been delayed from unavoidable circumstances.]

Lacy. Long after, when Annie's name was mentioned, his cheek would flush with emotion and, with eyes full of tears, he would turn a menacing look towards Master Grimman's house. Nor did he hesitate on some occasions to speak out his indignant conviction that “ that wicked old man knew a great deal more than he dared to tell.”

“Hush! Walter Lacy, boy!" remonstrated on one occasion an old grandame, who was hobbling home from the Abbey ; “ 'Tis an ill business judging a neighbour so harshly, however bad he may be. We have all long ago settled about that. Surely the boy would not be laying murder at the man's door with his other sins.”

“Murder is not the worst of old Grimman's sins, I should think, Mistress Limp. He is bad enough for anything. If ever the devil had a faithful servant upon earth, there he lives in that dark old house. 'Oh! how I hate that"

“ Fie! fie!” cried several voices at once. “Yonder comes good Father Austin; he will give the hot-headed lad a proper talking to."

a Father Austin was the superior Priest, or, as he was called since the dissolution of religious houses, the Rector of Clairton Abbey. He was a venerable old man of threescore years and ten, yet withal erect and firm, active and energetic as a younger man.

He had survived and consistently worked through all the changes and trials of thirty eventful years' spiritual oversight of Clairton; therefore he was revered and loved by all classes. With the young

Father Austin's rebuke was ever a shameful penalty,--and no undertaking was held to promise well without his blessing. He came now attended by his faithful servant, the old door-keeper of whom we have spoken in our earliest pages. It would have been difficult to find two men of more influential appearance than they.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“Walter, my son," said Father Austin kindly, but with something of a shadow on his brow," thou usest too high words and hasty for the ears of an aged woman, and one who serveth God, like holy Anna, night and day in the Temple. And yet, thou art a good lad, and promisest to do valiantly when the LORD calleth thee to His work. Only thou lackest somewhat of meekness, my son. Pray God to keep thy soul low even as the soul of a child, and let thy words be gentle as we know thy heart is. Nay, answer not, my son ; we heard enough to know that the 'fie upon thee' of the neighbours, was justly spoken.”

Walter was about to enter upon some justification of his intemperate speech ; but, reading well the gathering rebuke of his Pastor, he only turned away, with tearful eyes, towards Master Grimman's house. Here, however, lay his trial, and he knew it. So, suddenly throwing off the bitter thoughts that had lately haunted him, he broke forth into a boyish whistle and skipped across the green homewards. And what a home was Walter Lacy's! It stood about half way up the hill on the north-east of Clairton, separated by two or three fields from Master Grimman’s, upon which it seemed to look down like a jealous watcher, and yet in beautiful contrast with it. For Walter's father, though nothing but a farmer, was a man in very prosperous circumstances, and took great pains to improve and beautify his little estate. Hence the garden was a perfect picture of order and luxuriant fertility. The house, half covered with roses and creeping flowers, looked radiant with homely comforts and hospitable welcome. There every pilgrim was sure to find a shelter and a kindly greeting at the supper table. There the old door-keeper of the Abbey, Brother Ambrose, spent his sunniest hours, and seldom returned

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

without sundry little delicacies and gifts for the sick and afflicted in the village.

Walter was an only child, and all that the most indul. gent parents could give was his. How to love him and show their love seemed the study of their lives. He was never disappointed, never crossed by them. Hardly would they suffer him to attend the village school, for fear he should be treated with severity. Poor Walter! had it not been for his generous heart and Brother Ambrose's instruction and advice, he must have been ruined. As it was he was sometimes intractably self-willed, to the great sorrow of those who loved him so well.

“Alas ! my son," observed his kind old instructor one day, after severely reproving the youth's besetting fault; " thy heart is too noble to be lost. The Blessed Redeemer will one day lay His Cross upon it and then, when broken and contrite, thou wilt give Him it all.”

One evening they were all sitting round the blazing hall fire, Walter on a low stool between his father and mother, Brother Ambrose in the warm corner, which was his usual place after supper, when two strangers were led in by a servant, whose dress and general appearance plainly showed they were of a higher class than the pilgrims who more commonly claimed hospitality at the Grange. They said they had lost their way in the deep mist that had gathered up since sunset, and having heard of Master Lacy's kindness to strangers, they, for particular reasons, preferred his house, if he would grant them a night's hospitality, to the village hostelry. Almost before their request was uttered, supper had been reproduced, of which they partook full gratefully, and soon were in the midst of deep and earnest conversation with Father Ambrose on the spiritual state of Clairton.

“ Your dress is that of an ecclesiastic,” remarked one,

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »