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business I want to settle. It is really true that there is no one
I go to see whom I regard more than the friends I shall be leaving

Sir Anthony blushed hotly over this avowal, but his unsuspicious
host only saw in it the shamefacedness with which a man, and
especially a young man, makes a display of his feelings.

"Now, that is kind of you," he said, looking at his pupil
benignantly. "I am sure our Christmas will be dull without you. Do
the girls know you are going? They won't like it, eh? And they will
be disappointed that you will not be here for the Vandaleur affair."

"I am coming back for that, sir."

"I am glad. It is really the children's first outing. It is a dull
enough affair for young people, but then they will wear their pretty
frocks and see strange faces. We are such quiet people, Trevithick,
that even Vandaleur's big dinner and reception, which comes off
regularly whenever there is a general election in sight" - Mr.
Graydon broke off to laugh and rub his hands - "is an event for us.
But we are forgetting our Tacitus, my boy. Let us get back to the
old fellow."

At that moment there was the sound of a horn, and, with the shout of
a boy, Mr. Graydon was up.

"Come along, Trevithick," he cried, rushing away, hatless and
coatless. "We shall get a glimpse of them. What a day for a scent!
They are sure to find at Larry's Spinney."

His words came back to his pupil, who was getting under weigh more

"Dear old boy!" he muttered to himself. "It's not surprising my
father never forgot him. I wonder why the mater regards him with so
deadly a hatred, though?"

At lunch Mr. Graydon announced that Sir Anthony was going home for
Christmas. There was a shrill expostulation from Sylvia, and even a
mild protest from Mary, but Pamela said nothing. Perhaps it was not
news to Pamela.

"You will not be here for the skating," said Sylvia aggrievedly;
"that is, if there's going to be any. And I've promised them at
the Rectory that you'd recite at their penny reading and give away
the presents at the Christmas-tree, besides managing the magic
lantern. And, oh!" - the magnitude of the misfortune coming full upon
her - "you're not surely going to miss the Vandaleur dinner?"

"No, Miss Sylvia, I shall be here for it certainly. I wouldn't
miss it for anything; but I object to your engagements for me with
the Rectory people. I'd rather be shot than recite, and - the other
things are beyond me," laughing.

"Never mind, then," said the young lady airily. "Lord Glengall will
do just as well. I shall like to see him distributing the articles.
Besides, he will please the people better than a 'baronite,' and be
of the rale ould blood, too."

"Sylvia!" said her father, with a rebuke in his voice.

"Never mind, papa dear. Sir Anthony understands all about his being
only a 'baronite.' Bridget told him the other day that if the master
had his rights 'tisn't teaching a 'Sir' he'd be."

"So she did," said Sir Anthony.

Mr. Graydon laughed.

"Ah, well, my boy! you mustn't tell your mother what odd people
you've found among the wild Irish - will you?"

"She wouldn't understand a bit, but I'll tell her what dear friends
I have found and made at Carrickmoyle."

He blushed again, and Mr. Graydon thought how well his modesty
became him.

"Ah, well!" he said, "I suppose we must make up our minds to spend
Christmas without you. What are you going to do this afternoon?"

"I'm going to Maher's to see the mare, and put her through her
paces. I'd like to have her stabled here as soon as possible. If
she's ready, she can come at once."

"To be sure. There's stabling for twenty horses here, though the
stalls are bare - worse luck! But we won't let Sheila starve. Shall
we, girls? I'll go bail these children will make a fine pet of her,

"I shall be all the fonder of her, sir, though I'm well pleased with
her at present."

"She's a sweet little bit of horseflesh," assented Mr. Graydon. "I
think I shall come with you, if you don't object to my company. I've
a bit of business with Johnny myself."

When they returned in time for the afternoon cup of tea, they found
an old yellow barouche standing before the door.

"Ah, Miss Spencer is here," said Mr. Graydon. "She's rather an
oddity, my boy, so prepare to meet one."

"I heard her story from Miss Pamela. It is very sad."

"When I was a boy of thirteen or fourteen I remember her a
brilliantly lovely young woman. That was before that scoundrel came
in her way."

When they entered the drawing-room Miss Spencer was sitting with her
back to them, almost hidden in a deep armchair. The three girls were
sitting or standing about her, all evidently much interested.

"Here is papa, and our guest with him, Miss Spencer," said Mary.

The little old woman came out of her chair with a sudden darting
movement like that of a bird. Her gaze went from Mr. Graydon to the
younger man.

"Oh!" she cried. "Whom did you say?"

She looked at the stranger for a moment with an agony of expectation
in her yet bright eyes, while she fumbled nervously for the
long-handled glasses at her side. When she had found them she peered
at him through them; then dropped them, the expression of her face
changing to indifference.

"I beg your pardon, sir," she said. "I am expecting a friend, and
for a moment I thought you were he."

"How do you do, Miss Spencer?" broke in Mr. Graydon. "I see you have
Stella under the barouche again. I'm glad she has recovered from her

"The foot has come all right, thank you," said Miss Spencer,
assuming quite an ordinary manner. "You weren't hunting to-day?"

"No; I must wait till Glengall sets up his stables."

"Ah, Glengall is coming home soon?"

"He expects to reach Plymouth on the eighteenth. He will be at home
for Christmas."

"There'll be nothing in order for him in that old barrack of his."

"He'll stay here while he's getting things straight. He is going
to make a grand place of Glengall. He has plenty of money, and the
heart to spend it, and the practical wit to direct it."

"What will he do with it then? He has neither chick nor child."

"There is always time, Miss Spencer."

The slightly mad, brooding look came back to the little wizened
white face.

"Yes, of course, there is time," she said, dreamily. "I remember
someone - who was it? - who knew Glengall when she was a young woman
and he was a little boy. Glengall can't be old, of course, and any
day people may return - mayn't they?"

"Why, to be sure they may. Glengall did, though he was twenty years
out of the reach of civilisation."

"Oh, I wasn't thinking of Glengall. It was of someone much younger,
someone about the age of that young gentleman there."

Trevithick stood in the background and watched her with honest eyes
of wonder and pity. She was smoothing the pink silk of her gown,
while her eyes watched the fire as if she saw something very happy
in it. Her skin was waxen white, and her features sharpened, but the
brilliant eyes kept their beauty, and her little old hands, covered
with rings, were delicately shaped. Her hair was half-white through
the original black, and very oddly her pink bonnet, with its wreath
of roses inside, sat on the streaked hair and over the white face.
She had thrown off a large sable cloak on to the back of her chair.

[Illustration: Trevithick watched her with wonder and pity.]

Sylvia now broke in on Miss Spencer's half-mad mood. She touched one
of the hands tenderly. Trevithick, as he noticed it, thought that
it was the first time he had seen Sylvia's face really soft; and
wonderfully the new expression completed the girl's beauty. So she
will look, he thought, some day, when she is in love, like - like
Pamela. But Pamela's serious face was hidden from him now with a
fire-screen she held in her hand. He had noticed of late that she
seldom looked at him, nor was he displeased. He knew the secret she
was afraid to reveal.

"We are all going to the Vandaleur affair, Miss Spencer," Sylvia
was saying. "It will be on the thirtieth. There are to be great
doings - acres of marquees for the diners, and the winter garden lit
by electricity, and I don't know what besides."

Miss Spencer came back to every-day life with a start.

"To the Vandaleur affair, child! Why, who is going to take you?"

"Papa, of course. He loves a little outing, though he won't admit
it. He says he'd rather stay at home and have a quiet night's work
at his book, and get some hot tea ready for us by the time we come

"Why shouldn't I take you?" said the old lady. "I'm hardly old
enough for a chaperon, of course, still I've the carriage, and
I'd enjoy the function. I haven't been at one since the time Tom
Charteris was master of the hounds. How long ago is that?"

Mr. Graydon, to whom she spoke, answered her without looking at her.

"A goodish few years ago."

"It can't be," said the old lady; "not more than four or five at the
outside. I wore white satin and pearls. That reminds me: what are
you going to wear, minx?"

This to Sylvia, at the same time softly pulling her ear.

"We've got pattern-books of silk stuffs from Dublin. They're
dirt-cheap; but the dressmaking will be the bother. However, I
daresay we'll manage. Mrs. Collins' Nancy, who is a lady's-maid, is
expected home for Christmas. She'll cut the frocks out, and we'll
sew them ourselves. She'll know the fashions."

[Illustration: "I must go, to unravel a tangled skein."]

"Stuff and nonsense, child! Your first public appearance, too."

"It's Pam's also. But you'll see we'll look very nice. I shouldn't
be surprised if the prince fell in love with me."

"What prince? Oh, I see, Cinderella's. But Cinderella went
magnificently to her evening party - not in cheap and nasty stuffs
cobbled up anyhow."

"The prince wouldn't see that. He'd be disconsolate when I
disappeared at twelve o'clock, and he'd send all over the country to
find the fit of my glass slipper, and Molly and Pam would cry tears
of rage because it wouldn't even fit on their toes."

"You're not ball-going, minx."

"It will be just as good. There'll be a beautiful dinner, and
everyone in the county there, and afterwards there will be acres of
beautiful things to see. It is a thousand pities Mr. Vandaleur is an

"If he wasn't, he wouldn't have to remind you of his existence now,"
said the old lady cynically. "But am I to be chaperon?"

"Well, I'll tell you what, Miss Spencer," said Mr. Graydon. "If
you'd take charge of these children, I'd be greatly obliged to
you. The fact is that I've to attend a sort of unofficial meeting
of Vandaleur's supporters in the afternoon, and he has hospitably
offered me a bed. So I thought I'd take my bag over and dress there
after the meeting."

"And stay all night? I knew it," cried Sylvia. "Papa pretended it
was such a bother, and all the time he was longing to be in for
every bit of it. Only he didn't know what to do with us."

Mr. Graydon laughed.

"Maybe you wouldn't like it yourself. I shall be button-holed by
Musgrave and Frost and Clitheroe, and every man in the county who
thinks he has a head for politics and wants a patient listener."

"And you will go at it hammer and tongs with the best of them, and
forget you have daughters. I don't suppose you'll even remember at
dinner-time to see whether anyone is asking us if we've an appetite."

"The young fellows will do that. Every boy in the county will be
there, including the 300th from Dangan Barracks."

"I daresay," said Sylvia: "you're always ready to shift your
responsibilities. Never mind, Miss Spencer; I daresay we shall be
able to find someone who will look after us, if it's only a waiter."

"Oh, indeed, you'll find someone to befriend you, never fear. And so
will Pam. And so shall I. But what about Molly?"

"Never mind me, Miss Spencer," said Mary. "It would never do to have
you chaperoning three girls, and I shouldn't enjoy it a bit. I shall
stay up and have tea for you after your cold drive."

"I don't know what girls are coming to," said Miss Spencer; "I
shouldn't like to have to stay at home myself."

"We don't mind Molly," cried her sisters; "she really likes to stay
at home and write her perpetual letters."

"I shouldn't mind having the three of you," went on Miss Spencer;
"we'd pass for four sisters."

"We should never look as lovely as you in that white satin and
pearls," said Sylvia, fondly.

"I was much admired," said Miss Spencer, complacently. "But now I
must be going. I've letters to write before dinner: I don't want to
lose my beauty-sleep sitting up to write them."

When Sir Anthony came into the drawing-room before dinner, he found
only Pamela stretching her hands to the wood fire in the low grate.

The lover stooped down and kissed them.

"Have you been out?" he asked in a whisper.

"Only to the stables with Sylvia. Your Sheila has come. She is a
dear thing."

"You like her, Pam?"

"Who could help it? She looks so wild and shy, and she is so gentle
at the same time."

"Do you like her because she is mine, Pam? Do you, just a little
because of that? Say you do, Pam."

"Just a little," whispered Pam.

"Why, if you like, she shall be yours, when - when everything has
come right. I think she would carry a lady beautifully. What do you
say, Pam? Would you like her, _then_?"

"Yes," said Pamela, with her eyes very bright.

"You didn't seem to mind my going away at Christmas, Pam. You were
the only one who didn't protest."

"I know you wouldn't go if you could help it."

"Wise little woman. I must go, darling - to unravel a tangled skein.
Afterwards it will be paradise, Pam. I will come back as soon - as
soon as ever I can. I shall be in a fury of impatience till I come

"And I," said Pam, lifting her eyes to her lover, and flooding him
with their light.

"Sweetheart! you were a coquette when I knew you first, Pam. Now you
don't try me as many girls try their lovers."

"I have only love for you now. Ah! what should I do if you did not
come back?"

"I will come back, 'though 'twere ten thousand mile.' I shall be
here for your great function. Do you think I would have you go
without me?"

"I shouldn't care for it without you."

"There will be other men there, Pamela, to see how beautiful you
are. I must be there to guard my own."

"There is no need for that."

"I believe you, my love, you are as much mine as if you were my
wife. And I am as much yours."

"Love can only mean that."

"Ah, my darling! how sweet you are! You wouldn't care for the
admiration of other men, Pam?"

"Only for one."

"It is hard to be wise, Pam, when I am with you. You are too sweet.
It is fortunate I am going."

"When you come back it will be different."

"Yes; you will have to make up to me for my prudence all these
months. I have been good, Pam; I have never asked you for a kiss."

"Yes, you have been good."

"And you, you are a girl in ten thousand. You have never asked me
what stood between us - a shadowy barrier, Pam, but even that must go
before I claim you, my queen. When I come back, Pam! Ah, when I come

"Here is Molly," said Pam, in a low voice, as her sister entered the





By the Rev. A. R. Buckland, M.A., Morning Preacher at the Foundling

December is a month of great names. On December 21st, 1117,
according to some authorities, there was born, in a house that stood
on the site of the Mercers' Chapel in Cheapside, Thomas à Becket.
Whether men side with Church or State, and are for or against
Becket, they will hardly deny him the right to be remembered as an
outstanding figure in our history. On the last day of the month died
another great Englishman; like Becket, an Oxford man, and a potent
factor in the religious development of our nation. On December 31st
there passed away at Lutterworth John Wycliffe. His bones, thirteen
years after burial, were dragged from their resting-place and cast
into the River Swift. Thomas Fuller turns that shameful act of
ecclesiastical malice to good use. "Thus," he says, "this brook did
convey his ashes into the Avon, the Avon into the Severn, the Severn
into the narrow sea, and this into the wide ocean. And so the ashes
of Wycliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which is now dispersed
all the world over." On the 13th of the month, many generations
later, there came into the world Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, an
ecclesiastic of still another type. No modern dean ever identified
himself with his cathedral as Stanley did with Westminster Abbey.
Its national character was always present to his mind. His simple
piety, his good works, his sympathy with Nonconformists, all helped
to make the Dean himself rather a national possession than merely an
ecclesiastic. He died in 1881.

[Illustration: JOHN WYCLIFFE.

(_From the Portrait at King's College._)]

We have had the Church, let us come to the State. It is a rich
month that claims the birth both of William Ewart Gladstone
(December 29th) and of his great rival, Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of
Beaconsfield (December 20th). They began their careers under very
different auspices. Eton and Oxford prepared the one for immediate
entry, under favouring circumstances, into Parliamentary life. The
other was educated privately, designed for the law, and first caught
the public eye as an author when he burst upon the world with the
novel, "Vivian Grey." Mr. Gladstone survived his rival seventeen

[Illustration: DEAN STANLEY.

(_Photo: The London Stereoscopic Co._)]

There died on December 14th one whom the British nation can only
number amongst its own worthies by adoption. The death of the Prince
Consort in the prime of life, and just when his very considerable
powers and great devotion were beginning to be understood by those
who at first regarded him with doubt because he was a foreigner,
plunged our Queen into sorrow which long darkened the life of the
Court and was felt by the whole nation. The pure, unblemished life
of the Prince Consort, his sincere desire to advance the welfare of
the people, his ready promotion of the arts and sciences, as well
as his tender devotion to the Queen, have long been understood and
valued by the nation which he served.

[Illustration: JOHN MILTON.

(_From the Miniature by Samuel Cooper._)]

To come to other fields: there was born in London on December 9th,
1608, John Milton. Educated at Cambridge, he early gave free play to
the powers which in their issue have made his name familiar wherever
the English language is spoken. Few remember him as a writer of
polemical treatises on affairs of the State and the Church, or even
as Latin Secretary to Cromwell; but he was an old man and blind when
he gave the world "Paradise Lost."

On the 12th there died Robert Browning, a poet who spoke to his
age as few men have ever done, and spoke of God and the soul, of
the here and the hereafter, with a clearness of faith which was as
distinct as the robust manliness of his character.


(_From the Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller._)]

December 28th is given as the date upon which Westminster Abbey was
consecrated in 1065; and on December 2nd that other minster, St.
Paul's Cathedral, was opened in 1697. Legend says that the same
King Sebert who founded the original St. Paul's also founded the
Abbey at Westminster, whilst another story invokes the aid of King
Offa. There is, however, clear testimony to the establishment of
a Benedictine abbey at Westminster in the time of Edgar; that is
antiquity respectable enough to satisfy most of us. A cathedral
on this site is mentioned by the Venerable Bede as early as 604;
but the actual fabric of St. Paul's has, according to Mr. Loftie,
undergone greater vicissitudes than that of any other cathedral in
England. The present St. Paul's was begun in 1675 and finished in
1710. Its cost was £736,752. Sir Christopher Wren, its architect,
received for his services £200 a year. What were then called "the
new ball and cross" on the cathedral were completed in this same
month in 1821.

[Illustration: ROBERT BROWNING.

(_Photo: Cameron and Smith, Mortimer Street, W._)]

An old calendar assures me that on the 15th of this month, in the
year 1802, "societies for abolishing the common method of sweeping
chimneys" were instituted.

On the 20th of this month, in the year 1814, Samuel Marsden landed
in New Zealand - a missionary anniversary worth recalling.

[Illustration: W. E. GLADSTONE

Photo: Samuel Walker.


Photo: Hughes-Mullins, Ryde. I.W.


[Illustration: The Limits of Human Genius]

The Limits of Human Genius

_Pulpit at Gloucester Cathedral._

A Sermon Preached by the Very Rev. H. Donald M. Spence, D.D., Dean
of Gloucester, at the Opening Service of the September (1898)
Meeting of the Three-Choirs Festival in Gloucester Cathedral.

"As for Wisdom, what she is, and how she came up, I will tell
you, and will not hide mysteries from you, but will seek her
out from the beginning of her nativity, and bring the knowledge
of her into Light, and will not pass over Truth."

The surroundings of a custodian of a mediæval cathedral, beautiful
though they are, at the same time are unutterably pathetic. They
tell him, do the pages of the old solemn Book of Stone he is never
weary of turning over and of pondering upon, that the genius of
man has its limits, which it may never pass; that the story of
human progress to higher and ever higher levels is often a delusive
one; that in past ages his forefathers were perhaps as noble and
chivalrous - aye, nobler, more chivalrous than the men of his own
generation - that their imagination was more brilliant and their
hands more cunning; that if in some respects progress is visible, in
others the movement is retrograde.

Again, a great mediæval cathedral like our own glorious Gloucester,
inimitable in its fadeless beauty and matchless strength, surely
deals a very heavy blow to human pride, and it teaches humility to
the most competent and ablest of our number, for it is a conception
belonging to a past age. A great gathering, however, like the
present, numbering some six or seven thousand persons, is for varied
reasons an inspiring one and bids us be trustful - even hopeful.

Dwell we a brief while first on our surroundings. Of all works
devised by human ingenuity and carried on by human skill, the
triumphs of architecture are among the most enduring, afford the
most genuine and purest delight to the greater number of men and
women, are confessedly the most attractive, perhaps the most
instructive, as they are among the most enduring of human creations.
The glories of Luxor and Karnak, which for several thousand years
have been mirrored in the grey-green Nile; the white and gleaming
shrines of Athens the bright and happy, the mighty ruins of Eternal
Rome, are splendid instances.

But perhaps the conspicuous examples of this architecture, the
most loved of human arts and crafts, are, after all, the mediæval
cathedrals. The first object of interest for the modern traveller in
search of health or rest is a cathedral. All sorts and conditions
of men find delight in its contemplation. The delight, of course,
is varied, but the strange and witching beauty appeals to them all.
This appeal to the higher and devotional side of our nature speaks
to every soul, to the unlearned as to the learned, to the mill-hand
as to the scholar. The wanderer from the New World beyond the seas
at once seeks them out, conscious that in them he will find a
beauty and a joy such as he will never see or feel outside their
charmed walls.

I have said that to the custodian of such a cathedral the
surroundings are, if not sad, at least pathetic, for these
magnificent and loved creations of human genius belong to a somewhat
remote past, and, as far as these exquisite buildings are concerned,
save for purposes of necessary repair - repair simply to arrest the
ravages of time - for nearly four hundred years the clink of trowel
and pickaxe has been hushed.

It is scarcely an exaggerated statement which speaks of
architecture, in its noblest sense, as a lost art. Very significant
are the words of one of the greatest of modern architects, who,
after dwelling on the decadence of his loved art, tells us how "It
is a somewhat saddening reflection - but there is no escaping from

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