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As we passed from the chapel into the quadrangle, the Master was still standing in conversation with one of the tutors. The sad tones of his voice reached me, and I said to my companion, “Sir, had you no word of comfort for the Master as well as for the musician ??
St. Andrew smiled. One stands with him,' he said, 'whom you see not. I passed him but now on his way from Paradise, whither he had conducted the soul of the boy for whom they mourn. He is an angel of light, and the consoler of many.
'I would ask one more question if I might. You spoke to the organist of his ministry ?'
And such it is,' he replied. “For true music is the voice of God, the very breath of the Lord to the souls of men. It is indeed a ministry; but how few are its faithful priests! Alas! that men should occupy themselves with the noises of earth, and drown the harmonies of Heaven with the clanging discords of their own jealousies and conceits !
As he said this, the whole scene faded from my view, and we seemed to stand in the ward of a hospital, where most of the patients were asleep. The door opened noiselessly, and a young nurse entered, shading with her hand the lamp she carried. She made her way to a bed by the window, where an old man was lying awake.
"Not asleep yet, Joseph ? she said, speaking in a low voice so as not to disturb the other sick men.
‘Nay, it's no sleeping I'll do to-night,' he said, trying to smile; but what art thee up for, Sister Alice it's not thy night ?'
'It is not very late yet,' she said, 'though it's later than I thought. To-morrow is Advent Sunday, and I got thinking—but you must have your draught, and try and sleep.'
He shook his head. “Was't about t coming of the Lord thee were thinking but now?' he said.
“Nay, I cannot tell,' she replied; ““ but whether He cometh at evening or morning, or the cock-crowing, blessed are those servants, whom when He cometh He shall find watching." You are not afraid of that day? she added.
“Nay, I can't say I b'aint a bit that way,' he replied; but still I seems to have a comfortable hope too. The Lord has taken such a sight o' trouble wi' me, and waited that long for me, that I'm off of thinking He'll be the One to cast me out. But do 'ee go to bed now,' he continued, you're main young for this sort of work. Come when He will, I knows the Master will find thee ready. And now,' he added intreatingly, “if thee'll only draw back ť screen so I can see the sky and that girt star t corner, I'll lie and watch for thee and me; that's what I can do.'
The Sister smiled, and did as he asked.
She bent over him, and said in a low voice the Collect anciently appointed for the early Communion on Christmas Day,
'God, which maketh us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of Thy only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive Him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold Him when He shall come to be our Judge.'
Ah, that'll do! he said, with a grateful smile; and Sister Alice, bidding him good-night, quitted the room as the night-nurse entered it; and it seemed to me, that as she moved the Cross of light went with her.
So old Joseph was left keeping his Advent watch, with his face towards the stars.
The next thing I became conscious of was, that we stood at the door of a cottage, built high on the cliff of a very rocky coast.
More than once have I been here,' said my companion. “Here a woman watches. Five years ago her husband was lost at sea; but she never ceased to wait for his return-has never allowed to herself that it was his boat that went down in the storm. Night after night a lamp burns in her window to light him home if he should come, and perhaps to warn others of the dangerous coast; but he has never appeared. Still she does not despair, and there has even been joy mixed with her sorrow;
for the love and longing she has had for him has been to her the type of that which she should bear to her Heavenly Lord and Master; and while disappointed of her earthly hope, she has found the Life of her soul, and “is at rest in Him.”:
The widow was kneeling as we entered. A few embers glowed on the hearth, and gave a faint flush to the wan face that yet could hardly be called sad. The clasped hands seemed still strong; and there was almost a smile on her lip as she said her last prayer for the night, beneath the soft gleaming of St. Andrew's Cross. At length she rose and went to the window. The lamp burned brightly, but she trimmed it once more before going to rest, as seemed her custom, drew back the bolt of the house door, that should he come during the night, her husband might find easy access to his home.
She had hardly finished these arrangements, when suddenly but noiselessly the door opened, and a hand was placed on hers. Perhaps it was not strange that for an instant she seemed unable to believe in that for which she had so faithfully hoped, and that fear should in that first moment prevail over joy. Yet it was indeed her husband's arm that was round her, and his voice that said,
‘Lassie, lassie, I ha' cam' hame to thee at last; but an it hadna been for thy light and thy face in the window, I hadna ventured in this night.'
Then, when she did not speak, he took her hand, and looked into her eyes to try and discover if she believed him. Hast no word for me,
my wife?' he said, with something like reproach in his voice; "wouldst rather I hadna come ?!
The words roused her, and with a cry of joy she gave him welcome; and amid her happy tears I thought I heard her say, 'O David, David ! may the good Lord, when He cometh in His glory, find us twa watching for Him as I have watched for thee, lad !'
They were kneeling together as we left the house and stood once again on the shore. The moon was up, and silvering the crests of the long line of waves that broke with a quiet plash on the white sands.
“And now,' I said, 'let me go back to my work, for it seems to me I could keep a truer vigil.
Again St. Andrew's Cross flashed its star of light on my forehead as I knelt to receive his blessing. “Farewell, my child,' were his last words. “May the beloved Master when He cometh find thee ready. Watch with Him in all thy griefs; watch for Him in all thy joys; and let thy love pass through all things earthly, pausing not, nor resting until it rests in Him.'
His voice died away. Sea and shore and sky faded from my sight, and I awoke from my dream as the distant church bell was tolling in the morning of Advent Sunday.
CAMEOS FROM ENGLISH HISTORY.
THE LOSS OF NORMANDY.
The truce that had been made on the King's marriage did not result in the peace that had been so much desired. No doubt Henry VI. sincerely wished for it, but he possessed little command over his own great nobles, and could not enforce the fulfilment of the conditions; while on the other hand France was every hour rallying, and could only look for advantage in a renewal of the contest.
Yet the court of France was in a strange divided state. The father and son, Charles VII. and Louis the Dauphin, could not live together. All went well indeed while Louis was in command of an expedition against the Swiss, in which he was brilliantly successful, but no sooner had he returned than his restlessness, his keen-edged bitterness of spirit, and impatience of all that controlled him, began to make life at court intolerable both to him and to all who came in contact with him.
No one was more to be pitied than his young wife, Margaret of Scotland. She had been married to him when he was sixteen and she twelve years of age; and she seems, poor-thing, to have inherited in no small measure the intellect and poetical temperament of her father, James I. She would have been happier, it may be, if, like her sister Isabel, she could have been pronounced perfect indeed in form, but as to mind or understanding, without a particle.' Such was really the description of Isabel Stewart brought home by the commissioners who were sent by John V., Duke of Brittany, to choose a wife for his son, François, among the many daughters of the murdered James I. The old Duke replied, 'Bring her by all means. I want no woman who will meddle in state affairs. It is enough if a wife have wit enough to know her husband's shirt from bis ruffle. Poor Margaret was no meddler in politics, but her intellect brought her only misery.
Neglected by her husband, or stung by his irony, the young girl lived in a world of her own, and such a world as befitted the first-born child of the minstrel King and his nightingale of Windsor. She delighted in those who could relate to her adventures of chivalry, or describe noble achievements; and when she found that Louis only scoffed at such sentiments, her sensitive vehemence led her to follow her impulses unchecked. At a tournament she singled out a poor knight adventurer in shabby armour and equipments, and sent him from her own purse three hundred crowns. And when one day she saw the King's secretary, the poet Alain Chartier, asleep on a couch, she bent down and kissed his lips, saying to the ladies who rebuked her that she kissed not the man, but the mouth that had uttered such lovely words. She took long walks, and used to sit up half the night writing ballads and rondeaux; but the same pleasures that had been the solace of her father at Windsor, were fatal to her at Bourges.
The King and Queen both loved her tenderly, as did her younger ladies; but she, in her own words, 'feared the Dauphin more than any other being on earth. No children were born to her; and when she was in her twentieth year, a cruel intrigue-probably excited by her husbandwas prepared to ruin her reputation, and lead to a divorce.
Jamet de Tillay, Bailli de Vermandois, was the ostensible mover. He found her one erening at nine o'clock, among all the ladies, lying on a couch by the light of a large fire, conversing with two gentlemen, one of whom, named De Blainville, was leaning against the couch. It was no doubt a thoughtless act of indecorum, but De Tillay rudely and coarsely rebuked him, and from that time set forth injurious accusations against the Dauphiness, endeavouring to poison the Queen's mind against her, spreading rumours throughout the court, and so much distressing the poor lady herself, that she 'started as if at the sight of a snake, if she did but hear his voice in the outer room.'
These machinations bad not, however, led to any open result, when one hot day in the summer of 1445, Margaret walked from the Bishop's palace at Chalons to the Cathedral, and was immediately after taken ill. The physicians said that she had some grief on her heart. which
fatally aged an inquing accuse
was shortening her life, and as she became worse she sighed piteously for her Scottish home, and complained of the slanderous tongues that had done her to death. Pierre de Brezé, Seneschal of Normandy, who came in to see her, went away with great compassion, crying aloud, “Ah! ribald, 'tis thou that hast been the death of her.'
I take God and my Baptism to witness,' she said, striking her breast, that I have never done any wrong to my lord.'
And when she was told that she must forgive her enemies, especially De Tillay, she cried out vehemently, 'No, no, I have not forgiven him! I have not forgiven him ! repeating the words, till the priest told her that unless she pardoned every injury, she could not herself receive forgiveness; when at length with a great effort she gasped out, “Then I forgive him from my heart.'
When someone tried to cheer her with hopes of life, she only said, Fie upon life, talk to me of it no more;' and so ended her brief tragedy. . Thus died this gifted young girl, at the age of twenty, all her best qualities -in such hands as those of Louis-only serving to point the doom of the Stewarts more fatally against her. After her death, Charles VII., who really loved her, caused an inquiry to be made into the reports against her. De Tillay denied having accused her, and offered to challenge anyone who should declare that he had ever defamed her; but evidences of his malice were not wanting, and poor Margaret Stewart stood acquitted of all, save of being too young, too sensitive, and too unguarded, to live in a hard world and be stung to death as the wife of Louis of Valois. Her two sisters, Eleanor and Joan, arrived a few days after her death to pay a visit to her; and Charles VII. much wished Joan to have become Louis's wife, but neither Pope nor Dauphin would consent.
He meantime being convinced that the kingdom would be much better in his hands than in the incompetent ones of his father, was constantly intriguing against him. He spoke scornfully of the King's measures for reorganizing the army, and specially despised Pierre de Brezé, the best of the royal ministers; he behaved with open insolence to his father's favourite, Agnes Sorel, the Dame de Beauté, and was even said to have given her a blow on the face; and moreover, he tampered with the archers of the Scottish guard, hoping, as it was believed, by their means to have the King seized and secluded from government.
One day in 1446, when looking out of window with Antoine de Chabannes, Count de Dammartin, as he saw one of the archers of the Scottish guard passing by, he said, “There goes one of the masters of France.' Thus regarding them like a sort of Prætorian guard, he began to tamper with their captain, Cunningham, and arranged an intrigue against his father. So declared Dammartin, who related the whole conspiracy to the King. Where the truth was is not certain, for Dammartin and the Dauphin were equally false, Cunningham denied the whole, and both he and Louis challenged the accuser. No combat, however, took
given bescottish guard, hoping from gov