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ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, DEVIZES. DEVIZES is a borough town in Wiltshire, twentytwo miles N.W. by N. from Salisbury, nineteen E. by S. from Bath, and eighty-nine W. by S. from London. It stands nearly in the centre of the county, on an elevation rising from a rich plain, watered by the river Avon and its tributary streams. It was anciently called Devisæ, or Divisio; because it is said to have been divided between the king and the bishop.
A strong castle was built here by Roger, bishop of Salisbury, in the time of Henry I., which sustained a notable siege in the ensuing reign. King Stephen had arrested Roger, and his nephew, the bishop of Lincoln, in 1139, and seized their castles of Newark, Salisbury, Sherburne, and Malmesbury. But Nigel, bishop of Ely, another nephew of Roger, fled to Devizes castle, and held out against the king. Stephen, determined to gain possession of the fortress, swore that the bishop of Salisbury should taste no food till Nigel yielded, which was not till the third day of his uncle's compelled fast. The castle was dismantled in the time of Edward III., and its remains by degrees disappeared.
There are here two ancient churches-St. John's, and St. Mary's.
St. John's church is a spacious structure, partly in the Norman and partly in the later style of English architecture. The following is Britton's description of this edifice :
"St. John's church is one of the most interesting parochial churches to the architectural antiquary in Great Britain It exhibits in its present form no fewer than four or five distinct styles, characteristic of the taste and science prevalent at the different periods of its construction. Its several parts are a nave, two side aisles, a transept, a chancel, two private chantries or chapels, and a tower. Of these divisions of the church, the oldest are the chancel, tower, and transept, which were
most probably built about the same time with the castle, and at the expense and under the direction of its celebrated founder. Their masonry is executed with a firmness and substantiality that reflects the highest credit on the artizans employed. Even at the present day it appears as square and solid as when first erected, and fully justifies the eulogium passed upon the works of bishop Roger by his contemporary, William of Malmesbury. The chancel is arched over with bold ribs, springing from clustered capitals at the sides; and in the northern wall is still displayed one of the original windows with a semicircular arch, and ornamented with the zigzag moulding. The other windows in this part of the church are modern insertions. The tower is peculiarly curious, both with respect to form and ornament; the east and west arches by which it is supported being semicircular, and the north and south ones pointed, though evidently built at the same time and in the same style of architecture. The whole of these arches and their supporting columns are adorned with representations of foliage, and zigzag mouldings; and on the great arch connecting the tower with the nave is another ornament, which we believe to be unique, that is a series of about forty-eight basso-relievo figures, representing a peculiar sort of bottle running round the arch; and in the centre is a keystone, with an angel's head and thistles sculptured on it. The abacus, &c., of the capitals is figured with triangular indentations, like the impression of the point of a trowel on clay or mortar. The entrance to the belfry is now from the outside, up a circular turret connected with the north-west angle of the tower; but formerly a staircase led to it through the north-west pier. This turret is embattled at the top, and is terminated by a small spire. The elevation of the tower on the eastern front is divided into two compartments, separated by a cable and plain string moulding. In the lower division are two semicircular-headed windows, with a central mullion and cinque and quatrefoil
dressings; and in the higher, a series of five semicircular arches, only two of which appear to have been intended as windows. The other portions of this church are of comparatively modern date; and almost every part of it has undergone a certain degree of alteration at different periods. The chapel on the south side of the chancel, which probably belonged to the Hungerford family, was most likely built in the reign of Henry VIII.; for the buttresses, pinnacles, and a niche over the eastern window are all highly decorated. The other chantry was built by William Coventry; and at the time of dissolving the smaller monastic establishments, its incumbent, Thomas Hancock, was charged with an early revenue of six pounds."
There are among the monuments in this church several to different members of the Sutton and Heathcote families.
house is neither picturesque nor pretty: a square, red-brick house, with small windows and rather staring green shutters, cannot well be either. But, those windows are always so clean and bright, the steps before the door are so purely white, the prim little garden is ever so free from weeds, and, in the season, so gay with flowers, and the large farm-yard is so well stocked and so well tended, that one quickly forgets that the house is not pretty, and only thinks how cheerful and thriving_all within and around it appears. Yes, Elm End farm, to my eye, always looks like a home; an English, aye, and a happy home; and sure enough, when I first became curate of Elford St. Mary, such a home it most surely was! Farmer Kyle and his wife had been married nearly ten years without being blessed by the birth of a child; and they began to fear that a childless old age was to be their trial; for they had no other. Their lot was cast in pleasant places, and they were a fondly
The market cross at Devizes was erected about thirty years ago at the expense of the late lord Sid-attached couple. But they knew not the counsels mouth. It is of Bath stone, and was executed by Benjamin Wyatt. On one of its sides is the following remarkable inscription:
of the Most High: he saw fit to send them other temptations and other sorrows, and with them unexpected joys. The long looked-for "gift from "The mayor and corporation of Devizes avail the Lord" did at length come, in the person of a themselves of the stability of this building to fine healthy little girl; and then the mother's heart transmit to future times the record of an awful overflowed with grateful pleasure; and the father event which occurred in this market-place in the declared he had now no earthly wish ungratified. year 1753; hoping that such record may serve as As a blessing the child was hailed; and a blessing a salutary warning against the danger of impiously she proved for many a long year to her fond invoking divine vengeance, or of calling on the parents; but not sufficiently as a holy trust, a holy name of God to conceal the devices of false- talent to be improved, a "loan to be rendered back hood and fraud. On Thursday, the 25th of January, with interest" was the immortal spirit shrined in 1753. Ruth Pierce, of Potterne, in this county, that little "earthly tabernacle" received; and, inagreed with three other women to buy a sack of stead of the precious young one's leading their wheat in the market, each paying her due propor- thoughts still more to him by whom she was sent, tion towards the same: one of these women, in col- she became a temptation to them to fix their affeclecting the several quotas of money, discovered a tions on a thing of this earth. Into the temptation deficiency, and demanded of Ruth Pierce the sum those too fond parents fell; when, therefore, the which was wanting to make good the amount. Ruth time came for rendering an account of their Pierce protested that she had paid her share, and stewardship, could they render it with joy? But said she wished she might drop down dead if she I must not anticipate. As an infant the little Kitty had not. She rashly repeated this awful wish; was the object of her father's and mother's most when, to the consternation and terror of the sur-tender solicitude and care; and, as reason was rounding multitude, she instantly fell down and developed, and she passed into the interesting expired, having the money concealed in her hand." stage of childhood, she became their pet, their No comment need be made on this solemn fact: companion, and their plaything. Day by day she it is not for us to sit in judgment on our fellow-entwined herself more closely around the hearts of creatures. But surely we may say with the psalmist: "Verily, there is a reward for the righteous: verily, he is a God that judgeth in the earth" (Ps. lviii. 11).
The population of Devizes, it may be added, at the last census was 4,631.
THE OLD MAN'S CHILD.
the good farmer and his wife; and by her innocent prattle, lively spirits, and endearing ways, did this child of their old age smooth the many roughnesses of daily life. With Kitty on his knee, Kyle could forget that crops were light or servants unfaithful, that his turnips wanted rain or his hay-harvest fine weather; and by her reading to him, or talking or laughing with him, the evenings were whiled away, which before had often been passed by him with his account-book at his side, his knees in the fire, and his thoughts brood
"A babe in a house is a well-spring of pleasure, a mes-ing moodily over the troubles and vexations which senger of peace and love;
"A resting-place for innocence on earth; a link between angels and men ;
Yet it is a talent of trust, a loan to be rendered back with
TUPPER'S "PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY."
ELM End farm is a pleasant place; a place on which, whenever the sun does shine, it seems to shine more brightly than elsewhere. And yet the
from time to time must necessarily mar the serenity of a farmer's life. By her mother Kitty was no less beloved: to her mother she was no less valuable; and with her child skipping by her side, as she went about her daily avocations, the old lady would declare she felt quite young again.
When I first knew Kitty she was rather more than nine years old; and a pretty little rosy-cheeked maiden, with large black eyes and laughing
mouth, she was. As an especial favourite of Mr. Morton, she was frequently asked to the rectory to tea; and many and many a chase did the lively child lead me through the winding shrubberywalks, and over the velvet-lawn; whilst the kind rector looked on with a smile, encouraging her innocent mirth, and telling his daughter that she had been once as gay as that. Those were happy days! Old as I am, I still look back to them with pleasure; a melancholy pleasure certainly it is, for changes great and sad have taken place since Kitty and I were playfellows: still it is a pleasure to recall times of peacefulness, and to dwell on the bright memory even of that which one feels can never return. O how faithful is he that hath promised, "Even to hoar hairs will I carry thee!" for, besides the peace which cometh from above to tranquillize the old man's heart, there is a pleasure provided for him in the exercise of fond and vivid recollection, of which the young man knows but little. Mine has been no unchequered lot: trouble, disappointed hopes, and many bereavements have taught me that below we have "no abiding city," that this world "is no place of rest;" still many are the bright spots on my "path of sorrow," to which I look back with grateful pleasure, and on the memory of which I dwell with almost unmixed joy. Yes, sometimes the long intervals of sadness are forgotten, and the old man is once again in fancy the happy boy, or the no less happy young man, the almost member of the rector's family; and then the inmost language of his heart (no less of time past than of the present) is, "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all his benefits." Most true it is that the "old man's home" need be no dreary place: even though uncheered by the presence of wife or child, "unblest by the fond charities" of kindred ties, it may yet be peaceful, yet be happy; for he, whose heart is the temple of the Most High, cannot feel alone; and he, whose trust is in the sure mercies of his God, cannot but be "always rejoicing." Let not the young then look forward with repugnance to the time, which, if they are spared, must be the lot of all: let them not think that the happiness of youth is the only happiness which this world affords, nor regard with dismay the fast fleeting years, as though they were swiftwinged messengers bearing that happiness away Let them be assured that the bright summer sun is not more cheering than are the rays of the autumnal sun, when they shed their soft radiance on the "dwellings of the just."
But to return from too long a digression. It was thought time, when Kitty Kyle had completed her tenth year, to send her to school; and her mother accordingly placed her under the care of a kind and judicious person, living at the neighbouring market-town, who, from altered circumstances, was obliged to receive boarders into her house, and to turn her abilities to account by teaching. Thither Kitty was duly conveyed every Monday morning; and, regularly as Saturday came, her father made his appearance in his tidy taxed-cart to claim his darling to spend at home the happy day of rest. Never did farmer Kyle feel so happy or so proud as when driving through the crowded market with his pretty Kitty
by his side; and his looks plainly told that he was both. If any one had a favour to ask, that was the time to ask it; for, if Kitty put in her word to support a claim (and that word was always ready for the weaker side) it was sure to be allowed, And many is the Sunday dinner that was promised or the shilling given during the Saturday drive between and Elm End farm; for the little girl had a quick eye to perceive, and a soft heart to feel for, the wants or the woes of others; and, if she noticed the languid gait or pale face of a poor neighbour toiling along the road, as she and her father jogged cheerily by, she was quite sure to remark it; and his answer was generally much the same: 'Well, old Betty does look weary: a good dinner would set her up;" or, "Well, child, that pale face is different from yours, is'nt it? but, maybe, if she had good beef and mutton as you have, it might be rosy too : suppose we tell her to come to the farm for a dinner to-morrow?" And then the kind old man would draw in old Tidy's rein, and wish the poor walker a hearty good day; and, turning to his child, would laughingly ask her what she had to say, as she had asked him to stop. And then Kitty would laugh too-such a ringing, merry laugh her's was !-and, with a bright colour in her cheek, would say: "Father thinks a good dinner would do you good, you look so tired; so he says you may come up to Elm End about one tomorrow." And, when thanks were showered for the promised gift, he always exclaimed: "No, no! no thanks to me, my friend: it was all her own thought." And with a joyful tear glistening in his eye, and a throb of gratified pride at his heart, he listened to the blessings called down upon her "pretty face;" and, looking at her soft dimpled cheek, and sparkling eye, he thought she deserved them all, for "she was the prettiest lass in all the county; and a better never lived ;" and often, too often, he told her so. Ah! farmer Kyle, that child is your idol: she "stands between you and heaven" such love as you bear her must bring its own punishment in this world or the next.
Meanwhile years rolled on. Kitty grew to be a woman: the drives to and from school ceased; and she became the constant inmate of her home. If the child had been beloved, how much more so was the young and handsome woman! if the one had been petted, how much more so was the other! if the one had been an idol, how much more was the other adored! Alas! for the depravity of our hearts, that they are so "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;" that even their best affections, if uncurbed, become sin; and the feelings implanted for our blessing there by our Creator, if unrestrained, turn to "enmity against God." Baneful as was the influence of the undue affection cherished by Kyle and his wife for their only child upon their own characters, hardly less was the effect upon her's. True, her naturally sweet temper and generous disposition saved her from suffering to the extent that most girls of her age would have suffered from the excessive fondness manifested towards her, and the unhesitating indulgence to which it gave rise. Still, as the wise man of old has declared, "A man cannot take fire into his bosom.
and not be burned," and though Kitty continued to be open-hearted and generous, yet it became painfully evident to those who took an interest in her welfare that the seeds of self-will and obstinacy were being sown in her heart by the hand of those whose chief care should have been to have eradicated thence all noxious weeds, and that, on the first occasion of her wishes being thwarted, they would doubtless spring up, and bring forth their bitter fruits. Such an occasion was unthought of by her parents; they had ever considered her unmindful of herself, and most moderate in her wishes and demands; and that she should ever ask for anything which duty would forbid them to grant, appeared to them a thing impossible. "We know not what a day may bring forth," has been received as an undoubted truth from time immemorial; yet how few realize the force of it in their own case! how very few act as though on the morrow their own experience might be another testimony in proof of its authenticity!
Kitty Kyle had passed two happy years in the enjoyment of home comforts, and of those pleasures which to the young appear so delightful, when she received an invitation from her father's only surviving brother to visit his family. The Kyles were by birth and descent Irish; and, Kitty's uncle being the eldest son of the family, had received the few paternal acres,” on which he resided; whilst his brothers had left their native land to seek their fortunes either in England, like her father, or in the sultry tropics, where her other uncles had already made their graves. It was therefore to the shores of "the Emerald Isle" that Kitty was invited; and the idea of crossing the sea, and beholding new scenes, new faces, and new relations, quite "led captive" the imagination of the highspirited girl, and she at once declared her wish and intention of going. Meanwhile her father shook his head, and her mother heaved many a sigh, as they gave their consent to a separation from their darling. Fain would they on any plea have withheld that consent; but Kitty's heart was set upon seeking adventure, and for every objection urged she had volleys of replies. Did her father aver the distance to which she would be removed from them and her home, "she wanted change of air, and that would ensure her having it." Did her mother advert to the dangers likely to be encountered on so long a journey; "her uncle had himself promised to be her escort, so surely no fears need be entertained for her safety." In short, Kitty had made up her mind to go; so of course the invitation was accepted.
"Thou hast left us all alone
In the radiant summer-time:
Tearful eyes and aching hearts did pretty Kitty Kyle leave behind her as she drove away from her childhood's home. The farmer and his wife watched the coach which bore her and her uncle swiftly away, until the winding of the road hid it from their sight. Aye, and long after that, they strained their eyes to catch one more glimpse of the waving handkerchief, which they very well knew it was quite impossible they could see again; for they
had not courage to re-enter their now cheerless home. At length, in moody silence, Kyle turned quick on his heel, went to his "farm and his merchandize," and strove to drown care in action; whilst the mother went sadly to her child's little room. Why or wherefore she herself hardly knew; she said it was to see that nothing had been left behind. O how selfish does continual indulgence render even the sweetest character! Gradually, almost unconsciously, the web is woven which impedes the working of the heart's noblest functionself-renunciation; and that "seeking not her own," but "looking to the things of others,' which characterizes the spirit attuned to the service of God by the inward working of heavenly love or charity. Imperceptible at first, or sometimes even graceful and pretty, does the web woven by indulgence, and fostered by too fond affection, appear; but it is no less dangerous than the "snare of the fowler," and no less destructive to the life (the spiritual life) of all who become entangled in its toils. Poor Kitty Kyle! she would not have been intentionally selfish or unkind for the world; but so accustomed had she been from her very cradle to have every wish instantly gratified, that on no occasion did it occur to her to consider whether her wishes were reasonable, or whether the gratification of them must be obtained at the cost of the comfort, convenience, or happiness of others. Her's was a butterfly existence: she fluttered in the gay sunshine of prosperity; and pretty, happy, thoughtless, and gay, she was in love with the world, fond of everybody, ready to oblige when it cost her no self-sacrifice to do so; sorry, yet surprised, when she saw others in sorrow: she was assured that she was good and loving, a perfect daughter, and quite religious enough, and she hoped that it was all true. Such, then, was Kitty Kyle, the "old man's child," who, without giving one thought to the grief she was causing, left her happy home to seek excitement and pleasure among new and unknown scenes.
"Who knows, when he to go from home
Or when or how he back shall come,
Weeks and weeks passed by, and Kitty still spoke of the happiness she was enjoying, without even alluding to the time of her return. Mr. Morton often joked good-naturedly with her parents, on her long absence; and told them he was sure she was gone for good and all; and at first Kyle had entered into the joke, and had laughed too; but as time wore away, bringing no prospect of his soon seeing his darling again, he began to think the matter too serious for jesting, and would only shake his head, and gravely answer "that for his part he did not know what had come to the child; but he hoped no harm would happen, that was all."
One morning, early in the autumn, about three months after Kitty's departure, I was walking my horse leisurely along the lane leading from Elford Woodside to Elm End, when a cart came upon us so suddenly, and passed so rapidly as to make the animal start on one side; which prevented my seeing who was driving it. A moment afterwards, however, I heard it stop; and, turning round, I saw
farmer Kyle, in his taxed-cart, looking as though desirous of speaking to me. I accordingly turned my horse's head, with the intention of going up to him; but as soon as I had approached near enough to hear him speak, he said quickly: "You'll excuse my troubling you, sir; but my wife would be glad if you would have the kindness just to step in." And then, touching his hat, he drove away, leaving me not a little astonished at the unusual abruptness of his address. True, it was possible he might be in a hurry, which would partly account for it; still I could not but feel that something was amiss; and, hardly knowing what to expect or what to fear, and wishing to put an end to uncertainty, which is always painful, I trotted on quickly towards the farm.
Having, as usual, thrown my horse's bridle over the bright green palings, I walked through the tidy garden, and was admitted into the house. Not, as was generally the case though, by the mistress herself, but by one of the maids, who showed me into the snug back parlour, in which Kyle and his wife usually sat, because it overlooked the cheerful farm-yard." There, to my surprise, I found Mrs. Kyle (who at that early hour was generally bustling about her house) sitting with pen, ink, and paper before her, and two or three open letters lying by her side.
"Well Mrs. Kyle," I said, as she rose to receive me, "how do you do? I'm astonished to find you
sitting down quietly at this time of day: it is something quite unusual."
"So it is, sir; and it's something more than common that makes me. Have you seen Kyle ?" "Yes: I met him in the lane, and he asked me to call."
"Did he tell you, sir?"
"I don't know to what you allude; however, he told me nothing; but I am afraid you are in trouble. No bad news from Ireland, I hope?" "O sir, but we have-we have indeed had bad news: Kitty" and she stopped.
"Is not ill, I trust!"
"No sir, not ill; but she-she is going to be
"Married!" I exclaimed, greatly relieved, and hardly able to repress a smile at the foolish excess of sorrow, into which I supposed the inordinate love which she bore her child had thrown her, at the approach of an event which must cause a separation between them. "Married! is that all? Why some mothers are only too anxious to get their daughters married."
"So they are, sir; and I should like well enough to see Kitty settled, and to love her little ones as I've loved her; but—”
"But still you dread her running the risk which all must run who link their fate with another: is it so? But you know it is said: 'He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.' We must not look too much to the issues of things, but only to the things themselves; and, if they be lawful and right, we must take them in hand, leaving the rest to God. 'Do well, and trust,' should be our motto; and, as matrimony is a holy state, and was ordained of God, if it be entered, as we trust Kitty will enter it, in accordance with his will and under
his protection, it is not regarding him as our common Father to fear too much the troubles which may assail her. But what is the name of Kitty's intended?"
Ryan McHale, sir."
A real Irish name. Well, and he-" "Is a papist, sir-a papist !" she repeated with emphasis, and then the poor woman's pent-up feelings found vent in a flood of tears. Presently, however, she so far overcame her emotion as to say, "No good will come of it; no good can come of it; do you think there can, sir?"
"Well, Mrs. Kyle," I replied, "I cannot comfort you by saying that I think the marriage of two people thinking so very differently on the most important of all subjects can be productive of happiness to either party, for conscience forbids my doing so. And, indeed, to speak the plain truth, it appears to me that, acting as she is from impulse and inclination only, instead of from principle, Kitty cannot, must not expect God's blessing on her future life."
"O sir, don't say so; don't say so; may-be I've thought something like it myself, but it sounds so hard, so awful from you."
"I am very sorry to add to your grief, Mrs. Kyle, very sorry; but my duty is to set before you the case in its proper light, that you may yourself clearly understand it in all its bearings, and all your influence in the right direction, to induce be able to state it plainly to your child, and to use
her to view it in the same light. Again, therefore, in life without honouring her father and mother I say that, if Kitty takes the most important step by asking their consent and approbation, and without listening to the voice of God in the whispers of her conscience, she must no longer hope for his protection and blessing. She wilfully acts independently of her heavenly Father, and cannot expect, in the course she chooses contrary to his will, still to be watched over for good: she makes her own choice, and she will herself have to abide the consequences." I paused; but Mrs. Kyle did not speak; so I went on, trying as I did so, to assume a more cheerful tone. "But are you sure," I asked, "that every thing is finally settled between Kitty and McHale? May she not have ac cepted him conditionally, the condition being your approval?"
The mother shook her head. "She does not seem even to doubt our giving our consent, sir. She says she knows our only wish is to make her happy; and sure enough that's true."
"Too true, I fear, Mrs. Kyle. Had your wish and prayer and endeavour been to make your child obedient, good, and pious, rather than what you call happy, by which I believe you mean, having no wish, no want, no fancy ungratified, she would have been more truly happy, and this would never have occurred. But tell me, have you yet tried what your influence, what your parental authority may effect?"
"No, sir; we hav'nt, that is true;" and her face brightened up. "We only got Kitty's letter this morning; and maybe, if I wrote to her, she might
but, dear me, sir, I'm afraid she has set her heart upon the marriage."
"Well, Mrs. Kyle, and suppose if you and I had set our hearts upon any thing, which we were