Mrs. Person lay beside him, yielding him, stout as she
was, a good half of the little Italian bed. She scarcely
slept for excitement and fear of smothering him.
The Porsons were honest people, and for all their desire
to possess the child, made no secret of how and where
they had found him, or of as much of his name as he could
tell them, which was only Clare.
But they never heard
of inquiry after him. On the gunboat at Genoa they
56 A ROUGH SHAKING.
knew nothing of their commander's purposes, or where to
seek him. Days passed before they began to be uneasy
about him, and when they did make what search for him
they could, it was fruitless.
HIS NEW HOME.
place to which the good people carried the gift of
the earthquake carried him with much anxiety
and more exultation had no very distinctive features. It
had many fields in grass, many in crop, and some lying
fallow all softly undulating. It had some trees, and
everywhere hedges dividing fields whose strange shapes
witnessed to a complicated history, of which few could
tell anything. Here and there in the hollows between
the motionless earth-billows, flowed, but did not seem to
flow, what they called a brook. But the brooks there
were like deep soundless pools without beginning or end.
There was no life, no gaiety, no song in them, only a
sullen consent to exist. That at least is how they im-
press one accustomed to real brooks, lark-like, always on
the quiver, always on the move, always babbling and
gabbling and gamboling, always at their games, always
tossing their pebbles about, and telling them to talk. A
man that loved them might say there was more in the
silence of these, than in the speech of those; but what
silence can be better than a song of delight that we are,
that we were, that we are to be! The stillness may be
full of solemn fish, mysterious as itself, and deaf with
HIS NEW HOME. 57
secrets; but blessed is the brook that lets the light of its
Dull as the place must seem in this my description,
it was the very country for the boy. He would come
into more contact with its modest beauty in a day than
some of us would in a year. Nobody quite knows the
beauty of a country, especially of a quiet country, except
one who has been born in it, or for whom at least child-
hood and boyhood and youth have opened door after
door into the hidden phases of its life. There is no
square yard on the face of the earth but some one can in
part understand what God meant in making it; while
the same changeful skies canopy the most picturesque
and the dullest landscapes; the same winds wake and
blow over desert and pasture land, making the bosoms of
youth and age swell with the delight of their blowing.
The winds are not all so full as are some of delicious
odours gathered as they pass from gardens, fields, and
hill- sides; but all have their burden of sweetness. Those
that blew upon little Clare were oftener filled with the
smell of farmyards, and burning weeds, and cottage-fires,
than of flowers; but never would one of such odours
revisit him without bringing fresh delight to his heart.
Its mere memorial suggestion far out on the great sea
would wake the old child in the man. The pollards
along the brooks grew lovely to his heart, and were not
the less lovely when he came to understand that they
were not so lovely as God had meant them to be. He
was one of those who, regarding what a thing is, and not
comparing it with other things, descry the thought of
God in it, and love it; for to love what is beautiful is as
natural as to love our mothers.
58 A ROUGH SHAKING.
The parsonage to which his new father and mother
brought him was like the landscape humble. It was
humble even for a parsonage which has no occasion to
be fine. For men and women whose business it is to teach
their fellows to be true and fair, and not covet fine things,
are but hypocrites, or at best intruders and humbugs, if
they want fine things themselves. Jesus Christ did not
care about fine things. He loved every lovely thing that
ever his father made. If any one does not know the
difference between fine things and lovely things, he does
not know much, if he has all the science in the world at
One good thing about the parsonage was, that it was
Did, and the swallows had loved it for centuries. That
way Clare learned to love the swallows and they are
worth loving. Then it had a very old garden, nearly as
old-fashioned as it was old, and many flowers that have
almost ceased to be seen grew in it, and did not enjoy
their lives the less that they were out of fashion. All
the furniture in the house was old, and mostly shabby;
it was possible, therefore, to love it a little. Who on
earth could be such a fool as to love a new piece of
furniture! One might prize it; one might admire it;
one might like it because it was pretty, or because it was
comfortable; but only a silly woman whose soul went to
bed on her new sideboard, could say she loved it. And
then it would not be true. It is impossible that any but
an old piece of furniture should be loved.
His father and mother had a charming little room
made for him in the garret, right up among the swallows,
who soon admitted him a member of their society an
honorary member, that is, who was not expected to fly
HIS NEW HOME. 59
with them to Africa except he liked. His new parents
did this because they saw that, when he could not be
with them, he preferred being by himself; and that
moods came upon him in which he would steal away
even from them, seized with a longing for loneliness. In
general, next to being with his mother anywhere, he
liked to be with his father in the study. If both went
out, and could not take him with them, he would either
go to his own room, or sit in the study alone. It was a
very untidy room, crowded with books, mostly old and
dingy, and in torn bindings. Many of them their owner
never opened, and they suffered in consequence; a few of
them were constantly in his hands, and suffered in conse-
quence. All smelt strong of stale tobacco, but that
hardly accounts for the fact that Clare never took to
smoking. Another thing perhaps does that he was
always too much of a man to want to look like a man by
imitating men. That is unmanly. A boy who wants
to look like a man is not a manly boy, and men do not
care for his company. A true boy is always welcome to
a true man, but a would-be man is better on the other
side of the wall
His mother oftenest sat in a tiny little drawing-room,
which smelt of withered rose-leaves. I think it must smell
of them still. I believe it smelt of them a hundred years
before she saw the place. Clare loved the smell of the
rose-leaves and disliked the smell of the tobacco; yet he
preferred the study with its dingy books to the pretty
drawing-room without his mother.
There was a village, a very small one, in the parish,
and a good many farm-houses.
Such was the place in which Clare spent the next few
60 A ROUGH SHAKING.
years of his life, and there his new parents loved him
heartily. The only thing about him that troubled them,
besides the possibility of losing him, was, that they could
not draw out the tiniest smile upon his sweet, moonlight-
WHAT DID DRAW OUT HIS FIRST SMILE.
MR. PORSON was a man about five and forty; his
wife was a few years younger. His theories of
religion were neither large nor lofty; he accepted those
that were handed down to him, and did not trouble him-
self as to whether they were correct. He did what was
better: he tried constantly to obey the law of God,
whether he found it in the Bible or in his own heart. Thus
he was greater in the kingdom of heaven than thousands
that knew more, had better theories about God, and
could talk much more fluently concerning religion than
he. By obeying God he let God teach him. So his
heart was always growing; and where the heart grows,
there is no fear of the intellect; there it also grows, and
in the best fashion of growth. He was very good to his
people, and not foolishly kind. He tried his best to help
them to be what they ought to be, to make them bear
their troubles, be true to one another, and govern them-
selves. He was like a father to them. For some, of
course, he could do but little, because they were locked
boxes with nothing in them ; but for a few he did much.
Perhaps it was because he was so good to his flock that
God gave him little Clare to bring up. Perhaps it was
WHAT DID DRAW OUT HIS FIRST SMILE. 61
because he and his wife were so good to Clare, that by
and by a wonderful thing took place.
About three years after the earthquake, Mrs. Person
had a baby-girl sent her for her very own. The father
and mother thought themselves the happiest couple on
the face of the earth and who knows but they were!
If they were not, so much the better! for then, happy as
they were, there were happier yet than they; and who, in
his greatest happiness, would not be happier still to know
that the earth held happier than he !
When Clare first saw the baby, he looked down on her
with solemn, unmoved countenance, and gazed changeless
for a whole minute. He thought there had been another
earthquake, that another church-dome had fallen, and
another child been found and brought home from the
ruin. Then light began to grow somewhere under his
face. His mother, full as was her heart of her new
child, watched his countenance anxiously. The light
under his face grew and grew, till his face was radiant.
Then out of the midst of the shining broke the heavenliest
smile she had ever seen on human countenance a smile
that was a clearer revelation of God than ten thousand
books about him. For what must not that God be, who
had made the boy that smiled such a smile and never
knew it! After this he smiled occasionally, though it
was but seldom. He never laughed that is, not until
years after this time; but, on the other hand, he never
looked sullen. A quiet peace, like the stillness of a long
summer twilight in the north, dwelt upon his visage,
and appeared to model his every motion. Part of his
life seemed -away, and he waiting for it to come back.
Then he would be merry!
62 A ROUGH SHAKING.
He was never in a hurry, yet always doing something
always, that is, when he was not in his own room.
There his mother would sometimes find him sitting
absolutely still, with his hands on his knees. Nor was
she sorry to surprise him thus, for then she was sure of
one of his rare smiles. She thought he must then be
dreaming of his own mother, and a pang would go
through her at the thought that he would one day love
her more than herself. "He will laugh then!" she said.
She did not think how the gratitude of that mother
would one day overwhelm her with gladness.
He never sought to be caressed, but always snuggled
to one that drew him close. Never once did he push any
one away. He learned what lessons were set him not
very fast, but with persistent endeavour to understand.
He was greatly given to reading, but not particularly
quick. He thus escaped much, fancying that he knew
when he did not know a quicksand into which fall so
many clever boys and girls. Give me a slow, steady boy,
who knows when he does not know a thing! To know
that you do not know, is to be a small prophet. Such a
boy has a glimmer of the something he does not know,
or at least of the place where it is; while the boy who
easily grasps the words that stand for a thing, is apt to
think he knows the thing itself when he sees but the
wrapper of it thinks he knows the church when he has
caught sight of the weather- cock. Mrs. Person could see
the understanding of a thing gradually burst into blos-
som on the boy's face. It did not smile, it only shone.
Understanding is light; it needs love to change light into
There was something in the boy that his parents hardly
WHAT DID DRAW OUT HIS FIRST SMILE. 63
hoped to understand; something in his face that made
them long to know what was going on in him, but made
them doubt if ever in this life they should. He was not
concealing anything from them. He did not know that
he had anything to tell, or that they wanted to know
anything. He never doubted that everybody saw him
just as he felt himself; his soul seemed bare to all the
world. But he knew little of what was passing in him:
child or man never knows more than a small part of that.
When first he was allowed to take the little one in his
arms, he sitting on a stool at his mother's feet, it was almost
a new start in his existence. A new confidence was born
in his spirit. Mrs. Person could read, as if reflected in
his countenance, the pride and tenderness that composed
so much of her own conscious motherhood. A certain
staidness, almost sternness, took possession of his face as
he bent over the helpless creature, half on his knees, half
in his arms the sternness of a protecting divinity that
knew danger not afar. He had taken a step upward in
being; he was aware in himself, without knowing it, of
the dignity of fatherhood. Even now he knew what so
many seem never to learn, that a man is the defender of
the weak; that, if a man is his brother's keeper, still more
is he his sister's. She belonged to him, therefore he was
hers in the slavery of love, which alone is freedom. So
reverential and so careful did he show himself, that soon
his mother trusted him, to the extent of his power, more
than any nurse.
By and by she made the delightful discovery that,
when he was alone with the baby, the silent boy could
talk. Where was no need or hope of being understood,
his words began to flow with a rhythmical cadence that
64 A ROUGH SHAKING.
seemed ever on the verge of verse. When first his
mother heard the sweet murmur of his voice, she listened;
and then first she learned what a hold the terrible thing
that had given him into her arms had upon him. For
she heard him half singing, half saying
"Baby, baby, do not grow. Keep small, and lie on
my lap, and dream of walking, but never walk; for when
you walk you will run, and when you run you will go
away with father and mother away to a big place
where the ground goes up to the sky ; and you will go up
the ground that goes up to the sky, and you will come to
a big church, and you will go into the church; and the
ground and the church and the sky will go hurr, hurr,
hurr; and the sky, full of angels, will come down with a
great roar; and all the yards and sails will drop out of
the sky, and tumble down father and mother, and hold
them down that they cannot get up again; and then you
will have nobody but me. I will do all I can, but I am
only brother Clare, and you will want, want, want mother
and father, mother and father, and they will be always
coming, and never be come, not for ever so long! Don't
grow a big girl, Maly! "
The mother could not think what to say. She went in,
and, in the hope of turning his thoughts aside, took the
baby, and made haste to consult her husband.
" We must leave it," said Mr. Person. " Experience
will soon correct what mistake is in his notion. It is not
so very far wrong. You and I must go from them one
day: what is it but that the sky will fall down on us,
and our bodies will get up no more ! He thinks the time
nearer at hand than for their sakes I hope it is; but
nobody can tell."
CI.ARE IS HEARD TALKING TO MAI.Y
CLARE AND HIS BROTHERS. 65
Clare never associated the church where the awful
thing took place, with the church to which he went on
Sundays. The time for it, he imagined, came to every-
body. To Clare, nothing ever happened. The way out
of the world was a church in a city set on a hill, and
there an earthquake was always ready.
The heart of his adoptive mother grew yet more tender
toward him after the coming of her own child. She was
not quite sure that she did not love him even more than
Mary. She could not help the feeling that he was a child
of heaven sent out to nurse on the earth ; and that it was
in reward for her care of him that her own darling was
sent her. That their love to the boy had something to
do with the coming of the girl, I believe myself, though
what tha.t something was, I do not precisely understand.
She left him less often alone with the child. She would
not have his thoughts drawn to the church of the earth-
quake; neither would she have the mournfulness of his
sweet voice much in the ears of her baby. He never
sang in a minor key when any one was by, but always
and solely when the baby and he were alone together.
CLARE AND HIS BROTHERS.
AFTER a year or two, Mr. Person became anxious lest
the boy should grow up too unlike other boys
lest he should not be manly, but of a too gently sad
behaviour. He began, therefore, to take him with him
about the parish, and was delighted to find him show
66 A ROUGH SHAKING.
extraordinary endurance. He would walk many miles,
and come home less fatigued than his companion. To be
sure, he had not much weight to carry; but it seemed to
Mr. Porson that his utter freedom from thought about
himself had a large share in his immunity from weari-
ness. He continued slight and thin which was natural,
for he was growing fast; but the muscles of his little
bird-like legs seemed of steel. The spindle-shanks went
striding, striding without a check, along the roughest
roads, the pale face shining atop of them like a sweet
calm moon. To Mr. Person's eyes, the moon, stooping, as
she sometimes seems to do, downward from the sky,
always looked like him. The child woke something new
in the heart and mind of every one that loved him, but
was himself unconscious of his influence. His company
was no check to his father when meditating, after his habit
as he walked, what he should say to his people the next
Sunday. For the good man never wrote or read a sermon,
but talked to his people as one who would meet what
was in them with what was in him. Hence they always
believed " the parson meant it." He never said anything
clever, and never said anything unwise; never amused
them, and never made them feel scornful, either of him
or of any one else.
Instead of finding the presence of Clare distract his
thoughts, he had at times a curious sense that the boy
was teaching him that his sermon was running before,
or walking sedately on this side of him or that. For
Clare could run like the wind, and did run after butter-
flies, dragon-flies, or anything that offered a chance of
seeing it nearer; but he never killed, and seldom tried to
catch anything, if but for a moment's examination. The
CLARK MAKES FRIENDS DURING MR. PORSON's ABSENCE
CLARE AND HIS BROTHERS. 67
swiftest run would scarcely heighten the colour of his
He soon came to be known in the farm-houses of the
parish. The farmer-families were a little shy of him at
first, fancying him too fine a little gentleman for them;
but as they got to know him, they grew fond of him.
They called him " the parson's man," which pleased Clare.
But one old woman called him " the parson's cherubim."
One day Mr. Person was calling at the house of the
largest farm in the parish, the nearest house to the par-
sonage. The farmer's wife was ill, and having to go to
her room to see her, he said to the boy
" Clare, you run into the yard. Give my compliments
to any one you meet, and ask him to let you stay with
When the time came for their departure, Mr. Person
went to find him. He did not call him ; he wanted to see
what he was about. Unable to discover him, and coming
upon no one of whom he might inquire, for it was hay-
time and everybody in the fields, he was at last driven to
use his voice.
He had not to call twice. Out of the covered part of
the pigsty, not far from which the parson stood, the boy
came creeping on all fours, followed by a litter of half-
grown, grunting, gamboling pigs.
"Here I am, papa!" he cried.
" Clare," exclaimed his father, " what a mess you have
made of yourself!"
" I gave them your compliments," answered the boy, as
he scrambled over the fence with his father's assistance,
" and asked them if I might stay with them till you were
ready. They said yes, and invited me in. I went in; and
68 A ROUGH SHAKING.
we've been having such games! They were very kind
His father turned involuntarily and looked into the
sty. There stood all the pigs in a row, gazing after the
boy, and looking as sorry as their thick skins and bony
snouts would let them. Their mother rose in a ridge
behind them, gazing too. Mr. Skymer always spoke of
pigs as about the most intelligent animals in the world.
I do not know when or where or how his love of the
animals began, for he could not tell me. If it began with
the pigs, it was far from ending with them.
The next day he asked his father if he might go and
call upon the pigs.
" Have you forgotten, Clare," said his mother, " what a
job Susan and I had with your clothes? I wonder still
how you could have done such a thing! They were quite
filthy. When I saw you, I had half a mind to put you in
a bath, clothes and all. I doubt if they are sweet yet!"
"Oh, yes, they are, indeed, mamma!" returned Clare;
" and you know I shall be careful after this ! I shall not
go into their house, but get the farmer to let them out.
I've thought of a new game with them!"
His mother consented; the farmer did let the pigs out;
and Clare and they had a right good game together
among the ricks in the yard.
His growing nature showed itself in a swiftly widening
friendship for live things. The spreading ripples of his
affection took in the cows and the horses, the hens and
the geese, and every creature about the place, till at length
it had to pull up at the moles, because he could not get at
them. I doubt if he would have liked them if he had
seen one eat a frog! He called the pigs little brothers,
CLARE AND HIS BROTHERS. 69
and the horses and cows big brothers, and was perfectly
at home with them before people knew he cared for their
company. I think his absolute simplicity brought him
near to the fountain of life, or rather, prevented him
from straying from it; and this kept him so alive him-
self, that he was delicately sensitive to all life. He felt
himself pledged to all other life as being one with it.
Its forms were therefore so open to him as to seem familiar
from the first. He knew instinctively what went on in
regions of life differing from his own knew, without
knowing how, what the animals were thinking and feel-
ing; so was able to interpret their motions, even the
sudden changes in their behaviour.
There was one dangerous animal on the place a bull,
of which the farmer had often said he must part with
him, or he would be the death of somebody. One morn-
ing he was struck with terror to find Clare in the stall
with Nimrod. The brute was chained up pretty short,
but was free enough for terrible mischief: Clare was strok-
ing his nose, and the beast was standing as still as a bull of
bronze, with one curved and one sharp, forward-set, wicked-
looking horn in alarming proximity to the angelic face.
The farmer stood in dismay, still as the bull, afraid to
move. Clare looked up and smiled, but his delicate little
hand went on caressing the huge head. It was one of
God's small high creatures visiting with good news of
hope one of his big low creatures a little brother of
Jesus Christ bringing a taste of his father's kingdom to
his great dull bull of a brother. The farmer called him.
The boy came at once. Mr. Goodenough told him he
must not go near the bull; he was fierce and dangerous.
Clare informed him that he and the bull had been friends
70 A ROUGH SHAKING.
for a long time ; and to prove it ran back, and before the
farmer could lay hold of him, was perched on the animal's
shoulders. The bull went on eating the grass in the
manger before him, and took as little heed of the boy as
if it were but a fly that had lighted on him, and neither
tickled nor stung him.
By degrees he grew familiar with all the goings on at
the farm, and drew nearer to a true relation with the
earth that nourishes all. Where the soil was not too
heavy, the ploughman would set him on the back of the
near horse, and there he would ride in triumph to the
music of the ploughman's whistle behind. His was not
the pomp of the destroyer who rides trampling, but the
pomp of the saviour drawing forth life from the earth.
In the summer the hayfield knew him, and in the autumn
the harvest-field, where busily he gathered what the