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ceases to be warm, we are going to leave home again, and go to the Isle of Wight, to the back of the island, where there is real open sea, and clouds, and cliffs and downs. Papa is not well. A few weeks ago, he had a fall from his horse, and though he did not seem to be much injured at the time, he has never been right since. Sometimes he fears, and the doctor won't say that it is quite a groundless fear, that he must have received some internal injury, which cannot be detected. He is obliged to keep very quiet; and he is certainly very much altered. Even Herbert's presence does not raise his spirits as it used to do. I hope the sea air and the change will do him good; it is sad to see him so low and depressed. As he lay on the sofa, last evening, little Agnes came in to say good night, and to kiss us all before she went to bed ; and she took his hand so gently, and kissed it, and said, “Dear Papa, would it comfort you to hear me say my psalm ? I have just learnt it; it begins, “ The Lord is my Shepherd.”' Unfortunately, the wee one's eyes caught sight of Herbert, who could not keep himself from laughing at the very grave way in which the merry child had said, “would it comfort you ? to Papa. And she was very much offended at Herbert's laughing at her, and turned round sharp, and said, “Be quiet, you naughty boy: it is very wicked of you to laugh at me. Mamma often says it is a comfort to her to hear me say my hymns and psalms; and I won't be laughed at, Sir.' 'Never mind Herbert,' said Papa; 'but go on, my wee maiden.' But no, her spirit was grieved, and her back was up, and she answered, ‘I won't say anything while Herbert is in the room; he always laughs at me, and teazes me, and he is a bad boy.' ‘Hush, my darling, hush!' said Mamma, and come here to me.' She was crying, and so completely upset, that Mother took her out of the room, and we had no psalm. When Mother returned she went up to Herbert, and laying her hands on his shoulders, she said, “Mother has in her heart a picture of a little golden-haired boy, with bright clear eyes, and with a black velvet tunic on, and a falling lace collar—a sweet sweet child, who used to kneel at her knee and say holy words of prayer after her, and to her; and then that child would rise and stand up, and with hands clasped in hers, would repeat hymns and psalms, and would listen to all she had to say to him as though his young heart loved his mother's words and felt them to be true. Where is that child now, Herbert ? is there no link to bind him and the young man together--no echo of past days in his heart? I believe there is, my boy; and that some day the same sweet tones will be heard again.' Herbert was touched, I could see, by Mother's manner; he said nothing, but he kissed her hand and left the room. Papa, who was too far off to hear Mamma's low voice, said to her, “Mamma, what were you saying to Herbert ? why has he left the room ? Surely you don't attach any importance to the fuss made by your little daughter because he chanced to laugh at her.' “None whatever,' said Mother in reply; but I had a word for my son's own ear and own heart, which I said to him—a word which will do him no harm, dear Papa, nor make him love his mother less.' And no more was said, for Uncle Trevor and Edith came in, and we had some music, and Papa cheered up and seemed better.
To-morrow we start for our sea-side trip. I am rejoiced at the thought that Uncle and Aunt Trevor have taken a house within a walk of ours; so Edith and I can see each other daily. And Herbert is pleased at this too; he certainly appreciates Edith more than he used to do, though he is rather chary of his praise--it never comes except by driblets.
I have been made dreadfully unhappy to-day by Tennyson's new poem, Enoch Arden. Edgar Lee, who has just got it, came up this morning on purpose to read it to Mother and me; and though he had read it before to himself and knew what was coming, still he could scarcely get through it. I am not sure whether I like such a sad story. It was so real and simple, too, in its sadness, which makes it all the more touching. I am wanted to read to Papa, so must cease writing
Christmas Day.-It is nearly four months since I have written down anything in this book of mine; but very little of uncommon interest has happened to us these four months—we have gone on much as usual. To-day I must say I do feel a longing desire that Charley was here. It is the first Christmas Day that I can remember passing without seeing him ; but perhaps it may also be the last, for he is nearly sure, he tells me, to be at home next summer : and moreover, though I do miss him sometimes very very much, I am not habitually unhappy or sad, but quite the contrary. I live on hope and glad thoughts, and a happy past and a happy future. I am really anxious, and I see dear Mother is too, about Papa. The sea air seemed to do him good for awhile, but he flagged again almost immediately after our return home. Since then he has been under a first-rate London doctor, and this doctor has no doubt he got an injury in that fall he had in the summer from his horse—an injury which he fears he will feel all his life. He has been obliged to give up riding, and does not walk much, but just drives in a close carriage; he looks so pale, too, and is very thin. I am sure Herbert was very much distressed to see the change in him, when he returned from Oxford last week.
Herbert seems to lead a very merry life at Oxford, and has been hunting a good deal lately, and has no end of rich and great friends ; but how much he studies, or whether at all, I don't know, for he never mentions the subject. Edgar Lee says he is quick, and reads more, perhaps, than he acknowledges, and he thinks he will manage to pull through his examinations; but he is decidedly a pleasure loving youth. Two of his friends are here with him now-pleasant young men enough; and they make the house lively, and our Christmas party gayer than if we were alone. Little Agnes is a wonderful pet with them both; and yesterday Mr. Stewart, the elder of Herbert's two friends, came in so exceedingly amused with the child; for she was running up and down the terrace and playing at ball with Nurse, he joined in the game, and then asked Agnes to take him to see her rabbits, whereupon she gave him her hand to lead him to the rabbit-pen, and turning round to the nursery-maid, she said with such an air, Walk behind us, Mary.' She has certainly a great notion of her own dignity, for Mr. Cust, whom she does not like as much as Mr. Stewart, called her "little Agnes' the other day, upon which she turned sharp round, and looking him full in the face, said, 'Call me Miss Agnes, if you please, Sir.' Of course all the three youths, that is to say, Herbert and his two friends, burst out laughing. I saw Agnes' colour deepening and deepening, and then she walked majestically out of the room, and went up to Mother's boudoir, and told Mother that the young men were so rude to her she could not bear them.' Poor little pet! I do hope she won't be spoiled; but there certainly is a danger of it, for she is so attractive and so pretty: but Nurse is very firm and wise with her, and Mamma tries to be so ; but Mamma is more easily moved by kisses and tears than Nurse is.
To-morrow we are to have a large Christmas party, and some private theatricals. I am rather dreading my part; but Herbert insisted on my taking a share in the performance, and so I must. Edith, on the contrary, delights in the thought of it, for she is a capital actress, and looks so magnificent in her dress, with her bright golden hair loose, and down below her waist. Mr. Stewart said yesterday, when we had a rehearsal, that Edith was splendid ; and so she was. She is staying with us just now ; and I am always so happy when she is here.
I have had a long long letter from my own Charley to-day. And now I must go for a walk, for Herbert is calling me.
(To be continued.)
AN IRISH LADY.
EVERYONE is talking of Ireland now, wbile few seem to know much about it. I therefore give to the public a manuscript relating to an honoured member of my own family, who spent the latter years of his life in a remote part of that country.
It gives an answer to the question which excited my curiosity for many a year, and which I heard reiterated like a lesson on emphasis-Why did he go to Ireland ? Why, for what possible reason, did he, of all men in the world, go to Ireland, of all places in the world?
To me, first as a school-boy, and afterwards as a man glad to escape from city work and city thoughts, my dear uncle's Irish glebe, on the shore of the Atlantic, with its arbutes and hydrangias growing to the water's edge, its fuschia hedges and myrtle trees, its delicate flora and its rugged mountains, was always a paradise; and I should never have wondered at a man like myself escaping from the restraints of society to this beautiful retreat ; but it did seem unaccountable that he, whose profound learning was his smallest merit in the sight of his equals, should leave his English parsonage, in the midst of congenial society and admiring friends, to bury himself in the wilds ; still more that he should leave a congregation who fully appreciated him, to devote himself to a flock of peasants for whom he was perpetually obliged to stoop and limit his intellect. This last is not alluded to in his letter, so I may give his own brief explanation of it: • My successor in my English parish was at least as capable as I was of occupying that place; while no one could understand or love these poor people as I do; therefore I chose to live among them. And true it was; though, of course, they could not appreciate his learning and his intellect, they were proud of it as their own possession ; they boasted that 'their Rector wrote books that nobody could understand,' and gloried in his being a real gentleman, like those that went before him ; and there was always a perfect understanding between him and his people, a sympathy with full consciousness of disparity and dissimilarity, which made them as anxious to please him as he was to serve them.
Times and manners have greatly changed within the last few years, so that the picture of Irish clerical life, which may be gathered from his narrative, rather depicts what was than what is; the people do not trust and look up to those above them as they used to do, and they have nearly lost that which is the noblest trait in any character, and which formerly was remarkable in theirs, a glorying in a superior, with an admiration and reverence that sweeps self away.
An Irish democrat loses all that is most valuable in the national character. But, indeed, I have no cause to complain; for when I visited the parish, since his death, I found it full of loving recollections, and I received a cordial welcome for his sake, and was still to them the Master George,' for whom, in former years, boats and fishing-rods and guns were put in requisition.
My dear uncle's reticence arose partly from the shyness produced by early seclusion, and partly from a sensibility that shrunk like a sensitive plant from a rough touch; but never from distrust of his fellow-creatures; and he was therefore glad to put me in possession of his private history when he was no longer present to be conscious that I knew it; and therefore I do not feel that I betray his confidence in permitting others to see what is to me so interesting; there are no survivors of those concerned in it.
The manuscript, addressed to me, was found in the desk at which he habitually wrote; and which contained some relics meaningless to any but the possessor. There was also a small box, which he desired to be placed in his grave, the contents of which no one saw.
I COMPLY, my dear nephew, with your desire to know the history of my life; and I shall employ these winter evenings in writing it for you, although I cannot let you have it until you find it among my papers after I am gone; I could not be at ease in your society if you had this key to my inner self, to unlock the past at your pleasure; I should always fear allusions to what is buried so deep in my heart ; but my principal reason for withholding it is, that there is an image which I could not bear to connect in your mind with an old man like me, until death has thrown over me the softening veil which will make the association less incongruous.
You have always known me as an old parish clergyman, and I never was a young one. I do not remember at any period the freshness and lightness of early youth. My early days, from the time I lost my mother and with her my home, were devoted to study; knowledge was my aim and end, without any view to using it as a power ; and the line of research which suited both my abilities and my taste (which was never youthful) required a close investigation and pursuit of truth for its own sake, with a quick and sharp detection of falsehood, which had the effect of satisfying my moral perceptions without nourishing or enlarging them. When I detected a fallacy or misrepresentation, or brought to light some fact that was hidden under exaggeration, no doubt there was so much gained on the side of truth; but truth was none the more lovely for the victory. Mine was a hard, dry, accurate mind, with here and there some poetic thought or fancy breaking forth like a fresh leaf out of the rugged brown stem ; my life was monotonous and cold and selfish, yet it was rather a happy and satisfied one. The esteem in which I was held within and beyond the walls of my College was satisfactory evidence that my labours were useful, and I found among literary men as much interchange of thought and of good will as I desired. I had never been brought into contact with much of either joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure, and having no occasion either to give or receive sympathy, had formed no close or intimate friendships. I truly loved my only sister, your dear mother, but it was in a cold dry way; I would have done much for her welfare had she required it; but I cannot say I had much sympathy with her pursuits, her nursery, her gardens, or her charities; and I confess I thought the demonstrative affection of her babies an ordeal from which I was glad to escape to my den and my papers.
I had taken holy orders, as a matter of course, at a certain stage in my university career ; and was quite content to bear the title of Reverend and to officiate at divine service in my turn; preaching faithfully and honestly whenever I was required to preach; without ever considering the vows I had taken to feed the flock of Christ and to fulfil to them the duties of a pastor; I had no flock to feed, no disciples to educate, though I had pupils to instruct in one branch of ecclesiastical learning; and the Ordination Office was to me a dead letter. Suddenly the excitement, then at its height, about Church principles, aroused me. I read the vows of