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receive and arrange them, and while I was examining with my pocket microscope one she gave to me, * I saw and heard the merry group.
"O Miss Ellie,' said a tall girl, with a deprecating glance at her torn pinafore, and her feet cased in black mud, 'I had to go ever so far into the bog for this bog-bean ; won't you wear it in your hair?'
'I shall keep it in water, Maggie; it is too lovely for dress.'
‘Not too beautiful for you, Miss Ellie, darling! replied the girl, with a look of intense admiration.
‘And perhaps, Maggie, I shall paint its likeness and show it to you.'
'And, Miss Ellie, I had a great race after this red milk-wort,' said another; 'won't you keep them, and think who got them for you?
'I shall take as many as I can carry,' she replied, “and with the rest I crown my little girl that takes such care of her poor granny;' and hastily twining the flowers into a garland, she placed it on the head of a little one who looked the poorest and most ragged of the group, and who ran away laughing, followed by the whole party, over sand-banks and rocks.
Do you teach them botany, Miss Mansell ?' I inquired in my dry way.
‘Oh no, poor things ! she replied ; but we want them to enjoy all the lovely things God has spread around them.'
And now we came to a hovel, sunk below the level of the path, into which, after asking me to excuse her absence for a few minutes, she dived, and was received with a yell of welcome. I heard the loud voices within, and her own gentle tones, all speaking a language unknown to me; and she soon emerged, amid clouds of peat smoke, having deposited the basket she had carried all the way; and followed by yells in the same unknown tongue, which the gesticulations of the speaker showed to be blessings and thanks.
'I beg your pardon for leaving you,' she said, “but there is typhus fever in that house.'
And have you no fear of infection ?' * None,' she replied ; 'but if I had, there is no choice; for they are, unfortunately, such very bad people that none of their neighbours care for them, and we have to do everything. One of the men has lately been imprisoned in the county jail.'
"For what crime?' I asked.
For burning our bay-stack and killing our sheep,' she replied, with some hesitation, and a blush as if she had done it herself.
And would they injure you now?'
'I hope not; but they are very wicked and totally ignorant. However, there is a great improvement; they used to throw stones at me, to frighten me from going to that school, and now they send one of their own children-that pretty blue-eyed child, who gave me the milkwort.'
* In the writer's pocket-book was found a Pinguicula, carefully pressed, and inscribed, 'My first walk in Ireland.'
You speak their language-Gaelic? I observed.
Irish,' she replied, correcting me with a look, something like displeasure at any slight to her country. “Irish; my native language.'
'Is it not very difficult to acquire ?' I asked.
• Not much more difficult than German, if one had the same helps ; but I found it necessary to give up German, so as to give my whole attention to it.'
* Was not that a great sacrifice ?
'I confess it was,' she replied; but there are hundreds here who speak no other language, and while we are ignorant of theirs we cannot be their friends and comforters; so I had no choice.'
Wherever duty spoke she always felt she had no choice, and her conception of the extent or demands of duty never was limited by her own taste or convenience. If a sacrifice was to be made she did not deny that it was a sacrifice, though she made it cheerfully and without hesitation; but, generally speaking, the master-passion of her pure and enthusiastic benevolence, caused her own inclination and preference to coincide with any effort to which she was called for the good of others; including in that idea of their good, all service, from the drawing a sinner from his evil way, or saving a life, down to relieving an old man of his burden, or turning a child from tears to smiles.
Until she knew me well enough to cease to fear me, she fancied was too learned and too abstracted to be conscious of what was passing around me, so that while I looked at a book, or bid behind a sheet of The Times, all went on as if I were not in the room; as she afterwards said, I had the happy art of letting myself be forgotten; and thus I could observe their pleasant household ways, and hear their discursive talk, and see her innocent playfulness with her mother, unchecked by the presence of a stranger; and sometimes, when I was shut up in the study, her merry laugh, or a joyous gush of song, would reach me from the garden beneath like a breath of suminer air rustling the leaves of an old book.
I see I have omitted to mention the companions of her walks and out-of-door occupations, yet I cannot recall her figure in field or garden, or on the sea-shore, without the accompaniment of her dogs, who at first caused her much care lest they should offend my evident distaste to their society; every animal seemed to love her, and in everyone she seemed to have, or rather she had, for there was no seeming in her, a peculiar interest; she studied their instincts and habits, not as a scientific naturalist, but as a friend who wished to gratify them.
I must try to describe the first Sunday. The morning service did not commence till noon; but there was a Sunday school two hours earlier, in which I was requested to take the Rector's class; it consisted of young people of both sexes, and again I was alike surprised and gratified by the intelligence and knowledge of Holy Scripture which they displayed ; though I afterwards found that some of them were sorely puzzled by my 'foreign'accent, and asked, "Was it Welch or French the gentleman was talking ? Lady Eleanor taught about a dozen of the younger children ; while her daughter's pupils were those of any age who could not read; there were in her class aged men and women, with their grandchildren on their knees, all listening with intelligent eagerness to what she told them, and putting in their own questions and observations, to which she gave respectful attention ; a few of the ragged morning levée were among them, but there were many respectable and venerable figures, all looking to their young teacher with affectionate earnestness, while her whole face and manner (I did not hear her words) expressed a total oblivion of self, and intense interest in those she spoke to.
The interior of the church startled me; it was like a white-washed barn, divided into square compartments; no font, no chancel, and the pulpit placed in front of the communion table; not only was there no attempt at ornament, but it was studiously avoided ; everything as plain, as dingy, and in fact as ugly, as possible. Lady Eleanor and some others never ceased to connect this bald plainness and absence of all attraction, with the idea of a spiritual worship; and I have no doubt would look with regret on the church which now replaces that unseemly building; and though Ellie's views very soon altered, and she became keenly alive to the privilege of dedicating our best to the service of the Sanctuary, yet at that time she had never perceived the deficiency; she, who so intensely appreciated natural beauty as an instrument of praise and thanksgiving; whose spirit rose in devotion with every fresh perception of created loveliness, bad never associated with such feelings thé harmony of form and colour produced by art; even music was to her scarcely an element of devotion ; and of the significance of ecclesiastical architecture she had never thought.
I mention this, because now, when we are so fully, and perhaps too keenly, alive to all the value of artistic beauty in the service of religion, we are disposed to condemn unjustly those who do not see as we do; as though they were unwilling to consecrate of their fairest unto the Lord, whereas they do not see that it is a suitable offering; the taste or feeling requires to be educated, if not created. In Ellie's mind it was lying dormant, though capable, as was afterwards shown, of the finest cultivation, while in Lady Eleanor's it never existed.
There were two or three empty square pews, decently furnished, which belonged to the absent proprietors of the parish, and were kept sacred to their use or non-use ; and the congregation, with the exception of the rector's and doctor's households and some coast-guards and policemen, consisted of yeomen and farmers with their families, and those of a yet lower grade. Most of the women wore great blue cloaks, with hoods over their white caps, and I saw, for the first time, bare feet within the walls of a church ; yet, as I looked at the uplifted faces, full of intelligence, I had no fear that the dullness of my auditory would cause a difficulty in instructing their ignorance; and I had reason afterwards to know that not one thought was wasted on heedless ears. These people had been well instructed by their pastor, not only from the pulpit, but in his daily visitation from house to house; and I found among them as much intelligence, and more knowledge of Holy Scripture, than among any rural congregation I have since met. The Bible was their one book, and the constant subject of their study and their conversation. But I must finish that first Sunday. The afternoon service did not commence until six o'clock; and I was making some uncharitable remarks in my own mind on the long space between the hours of worship, when I discovered that, by some at least, the interval had not been wasted. The aged poor who lived at a distance, were fed at the glebe, attended by the ladies, to save the servants trouble on the day of rest, and then Miss Mansell disappeared until she took her place at the evening service; and I found she had been to read the Psalms and Lessons at a distant hamlet, where the Rector always held an afternoon service, which they had thought too much for me.
It was in the course of that first week, that I one morning shut myself up to complete a manuscript on which I was engaged; but my attention was irresistibly attracted by a boat which sailed early towards the island. There was no church there at that time, and the light-house being the only conspicuous building, I had thought of it only as a picturesque mass of rock rising abruptly out of the waves that dashed and raved around it. After some hours the boat re-appeared, and having watched its progress througlı those tremendous billows, (you know what the swell is even in the calmest weather,) I went to see its arrival at the landingplace, where I was surprised to find Lady Eleanor waiting, she said, to meet her daughter. I exclaimed, 'Is it possible she is in that boat! what a fearful risk!' There was some haughtiness in her tone as she replied, “There is no danger in so calm a day as this. Miss Mansell is not imprudent; the old boatman is experienced and skilful. My maid (formerly her own nurse) accompanies her in all these expeditions.' There was nothing Lady Eleanor disliked more than being supposed to do anything uncommon, or out of the routine of society, so that my observation and evident surprise annoyed her; but in a moment, she added earnestly, ‘But if there was some danger, and if there was some hardship, I would not forbid it; in the cause of charity I would see my daughter encounter difficulty, just as I saw her father go to battle. As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we have not only to resist the enemy within our own hearts; we must contend against the misery and darkness which sin has produced around us. In this instance, however, there is no cause for anxiety.'
As she sprung from the boat on the beach she was welcomed in her mother's embrace as if after a long separation; and as they walked towards the house, I gathered from their conversation the object of the excursion.
Were the young women at the light-house pleased with the last books ?'
Quite interested ; and they talked of what they had read, and asked for more ; and the seeds are coming up nicely in that hopeless little garden between the rocks, so that they quite take pleasure in it; and they have begun to teach those poor children, and quite gladly undertook to make the orphan's clothes—they are very good girls.'
Well, I hope they are improving, poor things! And the coastguard ?'
. They promise to bring the baby next Sunday for baptism, and will all come to church to hear the English gentleman ;' (with a shy smile to me;) 'and, Mamma, I have promised that you and Nurse will be sponsors for the baby, as they have no friends in Ireland.'
• Were the strawberries acceptable to the sick girl ?'
"Well, as she had never seen any before, I had to eat one first, to re-assure her, and she and I nearly enacted the scene of Robinson Crusoe and Friday and the salt—but she enjoyed the tea and the white loaf. I asked about oranges, but she had heard tell they were bad kind of a lily flower," and she would have nothing to do with them. And, Mamma, the light-house girls and the coast-guard's wife went to see her twice, and promise to be kind to her-was not that good of them?'
Was your rope approved of?'
Here the bright face was overcast; and in a subdued tone she answered, O Mamma, darling! I wish I had thought of it sooner! Only yesterday, a boy was nearly killed by the cord giving way just as he reached the sea-fowl's nest, down the face of the cliff; but he clung to a projecting rock till help came; so you can imagine how glad they were to get that fine strong rope.'
“And how was the Irish Scripture-reader received ?'
If he had gone alone, they would have driven him off the island; but I begged of them in Irish) just to let him read them a bit of the story of peace; and when I left the island, he was sitting on the rocks, reading the last chapters of St. Matthew to four fishermen; and they asked him to remain the night to finish it.'
• You will think us very wild Irish people, Mr. Barton,' said her mother, when she had left us, when I tell you that this expedition takes place every week in fine weather. The island is part of my son's parish; at times it is inaccessible, and no boat can cross to or from it for several days, occasionally a whole month; but when it is possible, he visits there regularly, and his sister accompanies him. During his absence, she promised to continue her part.'
'It does seem a severe life for a young girl.'
'Severe ? Yes,' she repeated thoughtfully, severe; but not harsh or painful ; never was a young creature more perfectly happy.'
It was indeed true; she seemed ever to exult in a joyous sense of existence, an overflowing vitality and happiness, that communicated itself to all around her. Every eye brightened as it met hers; and all kindly