the roaring gate.
They rushed to the other side of the bridge
caught one glimpse of a dark body fleeting and
roaring down the foam-way. The colonel leapt
the bridge-rail like a deer, rushed out along the
buck-stage, tore off his coat, and sprung head-
long into the boiling pool, "rejoicing in his
might," as old Homer would say.
Lancelot, forgetting his crutches, was dashing
after him, when he felt a soft hand clutching at
"Lancelot! Mr. Smith!" cried Argemone.
" You shall not go ! You are too ill weak "
"A fellow-creature's life ! "
" What is his life to yours ? " she cried, in a
tone of deep passion. And then, imperiously,
" Stay here, I command you ! "
The magnetic touch of her hand thrilled through
New Actors, and a New Stage 67
his whole frame. She had called him Lancelot !
He shrank down, and stood spell-bound.
"Good heavens!" she cried; "look at my
sister ! "
Out on the extremity of the buck-stage (how
she got there neither they nor she ever knew)
crouched Honoria, her face idiotic with terror,
while she stared with bursting eyes into the foam.
A shriek of disappointment rose from her lips, as
in a moment the colonel's weather-worn head
reappeared above, looking for all the world like
an old gray shiny-painted seal.
" Poof ! tally-ho ! Poof ! poof ! Heave me a
piece of wood, Lancelot, my boy ! " And he dis-
They looked round, there was not a loose bit
near. Claude ran off towards the house. Lance-
lot, desperate, seized the bridge-rail, tore it off
by sheer strength, and hurled it far into the
pool. Argemone saw it, and remembered it, like
a true woman. Ay, be as Manichaean-sentimental
as you will, fair ladies, physical prowess, that
Eden-right of manhood, is sure to tell upon your
Again the colonel's grizzled head reappeared,
and, oh joy! beneath it a draggled knot of
black curls. In another instant he had hold of
the rail, and quietly floating down to the shallow,
dragged the lifeless giant high and dry on a patch
Honoria never spoke. She rose, walked quietly
back along the beam, passed Argemone and
Lancelot without seeing them, and firmly but
hurriedly led the way round the pool-side.
Before they arrived at the bank, the colonel
had carried Tregarva to it. Lancelot and two or
three workmen, whom his cries had attracted,
lifted the body on to the meadow.
Honoria knelt quietly down on the grass, and
watched, silent and motionless, the dead face,
with her wide, awe-struck eyes.
" God bless her for a kind soul ! " whispered
the wan weather-beaten field drudges, as they
crowded round the body.
"Get out of the way, my men!" quoth the
colonel. "Too many cooks spoil the broth."
And he packed off one here and another there for
necessaries, and commenced trying every restora-
tive means with the ready coolness of a practised
surgeon ; while Lancelot, whom he ordered about
like a baby, gulped down a great choking lump
of envy, and then tasted the rich delight of for-
getting himself in admiring obedience to a real
But there Tregarva lay lifeless, with folded
hands, and a quiet satisfied smile, while Honoria
watched and watched with parted lips, uncon-
scious of the presence of every one.
Five minutes ! ten !
" Carry him to the house, " said the colonel, in
a despairing tone, after another attempt.
"He moves!" "No!" "He does!" "He
breathes ! " " Look at his eyelids ! "
Slowly his eyes opened.
"Where am I? All gone? Sweet dreams
blessed dreams ! "
His eye met Honoria's. One big deep sigh
swelled to his lips and burst. She seemed to
recollect herself, rose, passed her arm through
Argemone's, and walked slowly away.
AN "INGLORIOUS MILTON"
ARGEMONE, sweet prude, thought herself
bound to read Honoria a lecture that
night, on her reckless exhibition of feeling; but
it profited little. The most consummate cunning
could not have baffled Argemone's suspicions
more completely than her sister's utter simplicity.
She cried just as bitterly about Mops's danger as
about the keeper's, and then laughed heartily at
Argemone's solemnity ; till at last, when pushed a
little too hard, she broke out into something very
like a passion, and told her sister, bitterly enough,
that " she was not accustomed to see men drowned
every day, and begged to hear no more about the
subject." Whereat Argemone prudently held her
tongue, knowing that under all Honoria's tender-
ness lay a volcano of passionate determination,
which was generally kept down by her affections,
but was just as likely to be maddened by them.
And so this conversation only went to increase the
unconscious estrangement between them, though
they continued, as sisters will do, to lavish upon
each other the most extravagant protestations of
affection vowing to live and die only for each other
and believing honestly, sweet souls, that they
felt all they said ; till real imperious Love came in,
in one case of the two at least, shouldering all
other affections right and left; and then the two
beauties discovered, as others do, that it is not so
possible or reasonable as they thought for a
woman to sacrifice herself and her lover for the
sake of her sister or her friend.
Next morning Lancelot and the colonel started
out to Tregarva's cottage, on a mission of inquiry.
They found the giant propped up in bed with
pillows, his magnificent features looking in their
paleness more than ever like a granite Memnon.
Before him lay an open Pilgrim's Progress, and a
drawer filled with feathers and furs, which he was
busily manufacturing into trout flies, reading as he
worked. The room was filled with nets, guns, and
keepers' tackle, while a well-filled shelf of books
hung by the wall.
" Excuse my rising, gentlemen," he said, in his
slow, staid voice, " but I am very weak, in spite of
the Lord's goodness to me. You are very kind to
think of coming to my poor cottage."
" Well, my man," said the colonel, " and how are
you after your cold bath? You are the heaviest
fish I ever landed ! "
" Pretty well, thank God, and you, sir. I am in
your debt, sir, for the dear life. How shall I ever
"Repay, my good fellow? You would have
done as much for me."
" May be ; but you did not think of that when
you jumped in; and no more must I in thanking
you. God knows how a poor miner's son will
ever reward you ; but the mouse repaid the lion,
says the story, and, at all events, I can pray for
you. By the by, gentlemen, I hope you have
brought up some trolling-tackle?"
An "Inglorious Milton " 71
" We came up to see you, and not to fish," said
Lancelot, charmed with the stately courtesy of the
" Many thanks, gentlemen ; but old Harry Verney
was in here just now, and had seen a great jack
strike, at the tail of the lower reeds. With this
fresh wind he will run till noon ; and you are sure
of him with a dace. After that, he will not be up
again on the shallows till sunset. He works the
works of darkness, and comes not to the light,
because his deeds are evil."
Lancelot laughed. " He does but follow his
kind, poor fellow."
" No doubt, sir, no doubt ; all the Lord's works
are good : but it is a wonder why He should have
made wasps, now, and blights, and vermin, and
jack, and such evil-featured things, that carry spite
and cruelty in their very faces a great wonder.
Do you think, sir, all those creatures were in the
Garden of Eden?"
" You are getting too deep for me," said Lance-
lot. "But why trouble your head about fishing?"
" I beg your pardon for preaching to you, sir.
I 'm sure I forgot myself. If you will let me, I '11
get up and get you a couple of bait from the stew.
You '11 do us keepers a kindness, and prevent sin,
sir, if you '11 catch him. The squire will swear
sadly the Lord forgive him if he hears of a
pike in the trout-runs. I '11 get up, if I may
trouble you to go into the next room a minute."
" Lie still, for Heaven's sake. Why bother your
head about pike now? "
" It is my business, sir, and I am paid for it, and
I must do it thoroughly ; and abide in the call-
ing wherein I am called," he added, in a sadder tone.
" You seem to be fond enough of it, and to
know enough about it, at all events," said the
colonel, " tying flies here on a sick-bed."
"As for being fond of it, sir those creatures
of the water teach a man many lessons ; and when
I tie flies, I earn books."
" I send my flies all over the country, sir, to
Salisbury and Hungerford, and up to Winchester,
even ; and the money buys me many a wise book
all my delight is in reading; perhaps so much
the worse for me."
"So much the better, say," answered Lancelot,
warmly. " I '11 give you an order for a couple of
pounds' worth of flies at once."
"The Lord reward you, sir," answered the
" And you shall make me the same quantity,"
said the colonel. "You can make salmon-flies?"
" I made a lot by pattern for an Irish gent, sir."
" Well, then, we '11 send you some Norway
patterns, and some golden pheasant and parrot
feathers. We 're going to Norway this summer,
you know, Lancelot "
Tregarva looked up with a quaint, solemn
" If you please, gentlemen, you '11 forgive a
" But I 'd not like to be a party to the making
of Norway flies."
" Here 's a Protectionist, with a vengeance ! w
laughed the colonel. " Do you want to keep all
us fishermen in England? eh? to fee English
keepers ? "
An "Inglorious Milton" 73
" No, sir. There 's pretty fishing in Norway, I
hear, and poor folk that want money more than we
keepers. God knows we get too much we that
hang about great houses and serve great folks'
pleasure you toss the money down our throats,
without our deserving it; and we spend it as we
get it a deal too fast while hard-working
laborers are starving."
" And yet you would keep us in England ? "
" Would God I could ! "
"Why then, my good fellow?" asked Lancelot,
who was getting intensely interested with the calm,
self-possessed earnestness of the man, and longed
to draw him out.
The colonel yawned.
" Well, I '11 go and get myself a couple of bait.
Don't you stir, my good parson-keeper. Down
charge, I say ! Odd if I don't find a bait-net, and
a rod for myself, under the verandah."
"You will, colonel. I remember, now, I set it
there last morning; but the water washed many
things out of my brains, and some things into
them and I forgot it like a goose."
" Well, good-bye, and lie still. I know what a
drowning is, and more than one. A day and a
night have I been in the deep, like the man in the
good book ; and bed is the best of medicine for a
ducking ; " and the colonel shook him kindly by
the hand and disappeared.
- ^Lancelot sat down by the keeper's bed.
" You '11 get those fish-hooks into your trousers,
sir ; and this is a poor place to sit down in."
" I want you to say your say out, friend, fish-
hooks or none."
The keeper looked warily at the door, and when
the colonel had passed the window, balancing the
trolling-rod on his chin, and whistling merrily, he
" ' A day and a night have I been in the deep ! '
and brought back no more from it ! And yet
the Psalms say how they that go down to the sea
in ships see the works of the Lord ! If the Lord
has opened their eyes to see them, that must
" What a gallant gentleman that is, and a valiant
man of war, I '11 warrant, and to have seen all
the wonders he has, and yet to be wasting his spaa
of life like that!"
Lancelot's heart smote him.
" One would think, sir You '11 pardon me
for speaking out." And the noble face worked, as
he murmured to himself, " When ye are brought
before kings and princes for my name's sake. I
dare not hold my tongue, sir. I am as one risen
from the dead," and his face flashed up into
sudden enthusiasm, " and woe to me if I speak
not. Oh, why, why are you gentlemen running
off to Norway, and foreign parts, whither God has
not called you ! Are there no graves in Egypt,
that you must go out to die in the wilderness ? "
Lancelot, quite unaccustomed to the language
of the Dissenting poor, felt keenly the bad taste of
" What can you mean? " he asked.
" Pardon me, sir, if I cannot speak plainly ; but
are there not temptations enough here in England
that you must go to waste all your gifts, your
scholarship, and your rank, far away there out of
the sound of a church-going bell ? I don't deny
An " Inglorious Milton " 75
it's a great temptation. I have read of Norway
wonders in a book of one Miss Martineau, with a
" Feats on the Fiord ? "
" That 's it, sir. Her books are grand books to
set one a-thinking ; but she don't seem to see the
Lord in all things, does she, sir?"
Lancelot parried the question.
" You are wandering a little from the point."
"So I am, and thank you for the rebuke.
There's where I find you scholars have the ad-
vantage of us poor fellows, who pick up knowl-
edge as we can. Your book-learning makes you
stick to the point so much better. You are taught
how to think. After all God forgive me if I'm
wrong ! but I sometimes think that there must be
more good in that human wisdom, and philosophy
falsely so called, than we Wesleyans hold. Oh,
sir, what a blessing is a good education ! What
you gentlemen might do with it, if you did but see
your own power ! Are there no fish in England,
sir, to be caught? precious fish, with immortal
souls? And is there not One who has said,
* Come with me, and I will make you fishers of
''Would you have us all turn parsons?"
" Is no one to do God's work except the parson,
sir? Oh, the game that you rich folks have in your
hands, if you would but play it! Such a man as
Colonel Bracebridge now, with the tongue of the
serpent, who can charm any living soul he likes
to his will, as a stoat charms a rabbit. Or you,
sir, with your tongue: you have charmed one
precious creature already. I can see it: though
neither of you know it, yet I know it"
7 6 Yeast
Lancelot started, and blushed crimson.
" Oh, that I had your tongue, sir ! " And
the keeper blushed crimson, too, and went on
" But why could you not charm all alike ? Do
not the poor want you as well as the rich?"
" What can I do for the poor, my good fellow?
And what do they want? Have they not houses,
work, a church, and schools, and poor-rates to
fall back on?"
The keeper smiled sadly.
" To fall back on, indeed ! and down on, too.
At all events, you rich might help to make Chris-
tians of them, and men of them. For I 'm begin-
ning to fancy strangely, in spite of all the preachers
say, that, before ever you can make them Chris-
tians, you must make them men and women."
"Are they not so already? "
" Oh, sir, go and see ! How can a man be a
man in those crowded styes, sleeping packed
together like Irish pigs in a steamer, never out of
the fear of want, never knowing any higher amuse-
ment than the beershop ? Those old Greeks and
Romans, as I read, were more like men than half
our English laborers. Go and see! Ask that
sweet heavenly angel, Miss Honoria," and the
keeper again blushed, "and she, too, will tell
you. I think sometimes if she had been born and
bred like her father's tenants' daughters, to sleep
where they sleep, and hear the talk they hear, and
see the things they see, what would she have been
now? We mustn't think of it." And the keeper
turned his head away, and fairly burst into tears.
Lancelot was moved.
" Are the poor very immoral, then?"
An "Inglorious Milton'* 77
"You ask the rector, sir, how many children
hereabouts are born within six months of the wed-
ding-day. None of them marry, sir, till the devil
forces them. There's no sadder sight than a
laborer's wedding nowadays. You never see the
parents come with them. They just get another
couple, that are keeping company, like themselves,
and come sneaking into church, looking all over
as if they were ashamed of it and well they
may be ! "
"Is it possible?"
" I say, sir, that God makes you gentlemen,
gentlemen, that you may see into these things.
You give away your charities kindly enough, but
you don't know the folks you give to. If a few
of you would but be like the blessed Lord, and
stoop to go out of the road, just behind the hedge,
for once, among the publicans and harlots ! Were
you ever at a country fair, sir? Though I suppose
I am rude for fancying that you could demean
yourself to such company."
" I should not think it demeaning myself," said
Lancelot, smiling ; " but I never was at one, and I
should like for once to see the real manners of the
" I 'm no haunter of such places myself, God
knows ; but I see you 're in earnest now will
you come with me, sir, for once ? for God's sake
and the poor's sake ? "
" I shall be delighted."
" Not after you 've been there, I am afraid."
" Well, it 's a bargain when you are recovered.
And, in the meantime, the squire's orders are, that
you lie by for a few days to rest ; and Miss Hono-
ria's, too ; and she has sent you down some wine."
" She thought of me, did she ? " and the still sad
face blazed out radiant with pleasure, and then
collapsed as suddenly into deep melancholy.
Lancelot saw it, but said nothing ; and shaking
him heartily by the hand, had his shake returned
by an iron grasp, and slipped silently out of the
The keeper lay still, gazing on vacancy. Once
he murmured to himself:
" Through strange ways strange ways and
though he let them wander out of the road in the
wilderness ; we know how that goes on "
And then he fell into a mixed meditation-
perhaps into a prayer.
A SHAM IS WORSE THAN NOTHING
AT last, after Lancelot had waited long in vain f
came his cousin's answer to the letter which
I gave in my second chapter.
" You are not fair to me, good cousin , . . but I have
given up expecting fairness from Protestants. I do not.
say that the front and the back of my head have different
makers, any more than that doves and vipers have . . .
and yet I kill the viper when I meet him . . . and so do
you. . . . And yet, are we not taught that our animal
nature is throughout equally viperous ? . . . The Catho-
lic Church, at least, so teaches. . . . She believes in
the corruption of human nature. She believes in the
literal meaning of Scripture. She has no wish to para-
phrase away St. Paul's awful words, that "in his flesh
dwelleth no good thing," by the unscientific euphemisms
of " fallen nature " or " corrupt humanity." The boasted
discovery of phrenologists, that thought, feeling, and pas-
sion reside in this material brain and nerves of ours, has
ages ago been anticipated by her simple faith in the letter
of Scripture ; a faith which puts to shame the irreverent
vagueness and fantastic private interpretations of those
who make an idol of that very letter which they dare
not take literally, because it makes against their self-
willed theories. . . .
"And so you call me douce and meek? . . . You
should remember what I once was, Lancelot . . . I,at
least, have not forgotten ... I have not forgotten how
that very animal nature, on the possession of which you
seem to pride yourself, was in me only the parent of
remorse. ... I know it too well not to hate and fear it.
Why do you reproach me, if I try to abjure it, and cast
away the burden which I am too weak to bear? I am
weak Would you have me say that I am strong?
Would you have me try to be a Prometheus, while I am
longing to be once more an infant on a mother's breast?
Let me alone . . . I am a weary child, who knows
nothing, can do nothing, except lose its way in arguings
and reasonings, and ' find no end, in wandering mazes
lost.' Will you reproach me, because when I see a
soft cradle lying open for me . . > with a Virgin Mother's
face smiling down all woman's love about it ... I long
to crawl into it, and sleep awhile? I want loving, in-
dulgent sympathy ... I want detailed, explicit guid-
ance . . . Have you, then, found so much of them in
our former creed, that you forbid me to go to seek them
elsewhere, in the Church which not only professes them
as an organized system, but practises them ... as you
would find in your first half-hour's talk with one of her
priests . . . true priests . . . who know the heart of
man, and pity, and console, and bear for their flock the
burdens which they cannot bear themselves ? You ask
me who will teach a fast young man ? . . . I answer, the
Jesuit. Ay, start and sneer, at that delicate woman-like
tenderness, that subtle instinctive sympathy, which you
have never felt . . which is as new to me, alas, as it
would be to you ! For if there be none nowadays to
teach such as you, who is there who will teach such as
me ? Do not fancy that I have not craved and searched
for teachers ... I went to one party long ago, and
they commanded me, as the price of their sympathy,
even of anything but their denunciations, to ignore, if
not to abjure, all the very points on which I came for
A Sham is Worse than Nothing 81
light my love for the beautiful and the symbolic
my desire to consecrate and Christianize it my longing
for a human voice to tell me with authority that I was
forgiven my desire to find some practical and palpable
communion between myself and the saints of old. They
told me to cast away, as an accursed chaos, a thousand
years of Christian history, and, believe that the devil had
been for ages . . . just the ages I thought noblest, most
faithful, most interpenetrated with the thought of God
. . . triumphant over that church with which He had
promised to be till the end of the world. No ... by
the by, they made two exceptions of their own
choosing. One in favor of the Albigenses . . . who
seemed to me, from the original documents, to have been
very profligate Infidels, of whom the world was well rid
. . . and the Piedmontese . . . poor, simple, ill-used
folk enough, but who certainly cannot be said to have
exercised much influence on the destinies of mankind
. . . and all the rest was chaos and the pit. There
never had been, never would be, a kingdom of God on
earth, but only a few scattered individuals, each selfishly
intent on the salvation of his own soul without organ-
ization, without unity, without common purpose, without
even a masonic sign whereby to know one another when
they chanced to meet . . . except Shibboleths which
the hypocrite could ape, and virtues which the heathen
have performed . . . Would you have had me accept
such a " Philosophy of History " ?
" And then I went to another school ... or rather
wandered up and down between those whom I have just
described, and those who boast on their side prescriptive
right, and apostolic succession . . . and I found that
their ancient charter went back just three hundred
years . . . and there derived its transmitted virtue, it
seemed to me, by something very like obtaining goods
on false pretences, from the very church which it now
E Vol. V
anathematizes. . Disheartened, but not hopeless, I asked
how it was that the priesthood, whose hands bestowed
the grace of ordination, could not withdraw it ...
whether, at least, the schismatic did not forfeit it by the
very act of schism . . . and instead of any real answer to
that fearful spiritual dilemma, they set me down to folios
of Nag's head controversies . . . and myths of an inde-
pendent British Church, now represented, strangely
enough, by those Saxons who, after its wicked refusal to
communicate with them, exterminated it with fire and
sword, and derived its own order from St. Gregory . . .
and decisions of mythical old councils (held by bishops
of a different faith and practice from their own), from
which I was to pick the one point which made for them,
and omit the nine which made against them, while I was
to believe, by a stretch of imagination ... or common
honesty . . . which I leave you to conceive, that the
Church of Syria in the fourth century was, in doctrine,
practice, and constitution, like that of England in the
nineteenth? . . . And what was I to gain by all this?
. . . For the sake of what was I to strain logic and con-
science ? To believe myself a member of the same body
with all the Christian nations of the earth ? to be able
to hail the Frenchman, the Italian, the Spaniard, as a
brother to have hopes even of the German and the
Swede ... if not in this life, still in the life to come ?
No ... to be able to sit apart from all Christendom in