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of one of the side-windows in the thick wall of the chancel, wondering at the massive strength which had for so many years withstood the rough breezes of the southern seas, my eye was caught by a few Latin words traced in red chalk upon the stone window-sill. I called my brother to look, and as he repeated them in English, “LORD, remember the souls of Thy glorious Saints here buried," our hearts responded to the prayer, and we were glad to think that some wanderer, like ourselves, had in all probability recently visited the spot, and thus recorded his pious recollection of the holy dead.
It was late in the day ere we returned to our home, and from that time forward the hours of matins and evensong found us daily with our brother, and dear spiritual friend, in that sacred place. Once or twice, two or three of the village children watched us at a distance, but no other signs of human existence ever disturbed the silent solemnity of our devotions, or broke in upon the low hollow murmur of the distant sea, chanting a mysterious undersong of gratitude and praise.
The ruined church became my favourite retreat at all hours of the day, and while my brother and sister took long rambles together in the beautiful neighbourhood of Kingsleigh, I spent hours with my book or work under the shadow of its dear venerable walls. One very sultry day my companions determined to take their walk after, instead of before our evening prayers, leaving me in our old sanctuary to read or muse till the waning daylight warned me home. It was just the hour for meditation, and my book soon dropped unnoticed from my hand, nor did I wake from my reverie till my brother and sister looking in as they returned from their walk, hurried me home with many exclamations at my carelessness in sitting so long on the damp grass. In my haste I forgot my book—a small Latin edition of S. Thomas à Kempis, and when we returned to early prayer on the following morning, I found, to my infinite annoyance, that it had disappeared. I knew of no one besides ourselves who ever visited those ruins, and could only conjecture that it had been picked up by some chance visitant, and was lost to me for ever. It was just possible that one of the
children who occasionally peeped in upon us might have seen the book lying on the stones, and carried it home with them, and in this hope I was turning my steps towards the little cluster of cottages at the top of the cliff, when I met two or three children descending the steep path, and stopped to make my inquiries of them. They listened, with the peculiarly blank countenances country children often exhibit on any similar occasion, and I was turning hopelessly away when one little rosy-cheeked girl, who, while I spoke, had seemed more intent on examining my dress than answering my questions, exclaimed, "If the lady left her book in the old churchyard," (so they always called the ruins,) "I daresay the foreign young lady has taken it home with her. I saw her going down the cliff after the moon was up." "What foreign young lady ?" I asked with some curiosity. "She that lives up yonder," answered a bluff looking boy, with his finger in his mouth. After some. further inquiries on my part, I learned that a young girl, a foreigner, had for more than a year past occupied one. of the more distant cottages. She lived alone; once or twice only, the children said, a man with long beard and moustache, whom they supposed to be her brother, had visited her, and they had talked much and earnestly in some strange foreign language, and after he left the young lady had seemed for a long time very sad. They saw little of her in the village unless any one were sick or in trouble, and then the foreign lady, they said, was sure to find it out, and do something to help them, though the children thought she was very poor, for, wonderfully clever as she was in preparing nice dishes at little cost for those who were sick and needed nourishment, they believed she had scarcely any food cooked for herself, and no one ever entered her cottage or gave her the least assistance in her domestic duties.
My curiosity was not a little excited by this strange history, and although I expected to find that one-half of it at least was simple exaggeration, I was not sorry that the loss of my book supplied me with an excuse for a visit, which might lead to further acquaintance. I was proceeding towards the cottage when I beheld her slowly
advancing to meet me with the lost book in her hand. "She was tall and slight, and wore a dark dress of simple shape, and very common material. Her countenance,
although very youthful, was calm and pale, as of one who had known sorrow, and to whom suffering had brought something of that peace which "passeth understanding."
"I will not apologize," said she, in English, but with a decidedly foreign accent, "for having carried away your book; it would have suffered more from being exposed to the heavy dew than passing the night in my cottage, even had I been less delighted to meet with an old friend that reminded me of happier days." She offered me the book as she spoke, but I drew back. "Pray keep it longer if it gives you any pleasure," I said. "You will doubtless have an opportunity of returning it to me before I leave this neighbourhood." "Thank you, thank you," she answered, adding sadly, "those only, who, after a long separation, meet with such a friend as this know all the value of the recovered treasure; but I fear I shall be depriving you of it ?" "No, indeed;" I exclaimed with. an earnestness which was perfectly sincere; "I am too glad to have been the means, even accidentally, of giving you so much pleasure, and you can easily return it to me, as I seldom pass a day without coming here." "I know it," she answered, slightly blushing, as if fearful that I should suppose she had been watching our movements. "When first I saw you in those dear old ruins, which no one except myself has ever seemed to visit, I was almost tempted, except that I feared to be intrusive, to join you in your prayers. I am so lonely here, and I thought none, except Catholics, would have cared to pray in a building built and consecrated by men of a faith which English people now despise and condemn."
"We are Catholics," I answered; adding, as I observed the gleam of satisfaction which lighted up her features, "Anglo-Catholics; members of a true branch of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." "I am a Roman Catholic," she answered coldly, yet with a touch of sadness in her voice, as if she still longed for sympathy even from us; and we walked on for some time in silence. I offered her my hand at parting. "I wish that you
could have joined in our prayers," I said, "but we will not forget that you are a stranger here, and lonely, and if there is any way in which I can possibly be of service to you, or any other book you would like to borrow, do not hesitate to ask for it.' She thanked me, and we parted, with a real wish, on my part at least, that we might soon meet again.
The fair foreign girl, and my romantic adventure, as my brother and sister persisted in styling our meeting, afforded us a topic of conversation for several days. met afterwards, occasionally, and sometimes sat together in the beautiful old church; where, as she told me, she had often passed entire days before we came there; and I found out that it was she who had so carefully cleared the chancel from weeds, and trained the ivy round the window-shafts and broken arches. A few days had passed without our meeting, when the little rosy-cheeked girl who had first sent me to the cottage in quest of my book, came running to tell me that the poor foreign young lady had sent to beg that I would pay her a short visit: the child had seen her only for a moment, but she said the young lady had been crying, and she thought she must be ill. I accompanied her little messenger with feelings of redoubled interest and anxiety, and on entering the cottage, I was struck with the total absence of all ordinary comfort which it displayed. A small crucifix of black and white marble stood on one side of the narrow room; and an uncurtained bed, a couple of tables, a few books, and one or two chairs, formed the sole remaining furniture. The young girl rose from before the crucifix, as I entered, holding out her hand to welcome me, and I was shocked at the change which so short a time had made in her countenance. She was deadly pale, and there were dark lines around her eyes, and finely-chiselled mouth, which could have been traced only by severe mental or bodily suffering.
"You are ill," I exclaimed, 66 or in sorrow ?" "Well in body," she replied, "but sick-oh! sick to death at heart" and for a moment she turned away from me, and hid her face in her hands; stifling her sobs with a quiet, patient endurance, such as is rarely met with in
one so young.
My own eyes ran down with tears, my voice faltered, as I earnestly implored her to tell me if there were nothing I could do to comfort her. "It was for that I sent for you," said she, in a voice that was calmer than my own; I will make no excuse for doing so, because I believe that your words were not idly spoken, and that I may confide fully in your sympathy and kindness." "You may, indeed," I answered, “as far as my power to help extends: but I fear you will find it very limited."
She raised my hand to her lips, with a mute expression of gratitude; and as we sat at the foot of the crucifix, which had been so long her sole companion and treasure, she told me all the sad history of her short, but melancholy life.
(To be continued.)
YE BUTTERFLIE. (A FABELLE.)
A MOTHE bedycked in colores faire and brite
Nowe hee wolde wantonne wyth a modefte flowerre
Nowe hee wolde hoverre oer a sparklying streame
At lafte ye daye 'gan wayne away apace
Eftfoone ye twylite graye bedimmed ye scene,