George MacDonald.

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to the syntax, I made the sentences themselves teach
him that. Now I know that, as an end, all this was
of no great value ; but as a beginning, it was invaluable,
for it made and kept him hungry for more ; whereas, in
most modes of teaching, the beginnings are such that
without the pressure of circumstances, no boy, especially
alter an interval of cessation, will return to them. Such


is not Nature's mode, for the beginnings with her are
as pleasant as the fruition, and that without being less
thorough than they can be. The knowledge a child
gains of the external world is the foundation upon which
all his future philosophy is built. Every discovery he
makes is fraught with pleasure that is the secret of his
progress, and the essence of my theory : that learning
should, in each individual case, as in the first case, be
discovery bringing its own pleasure with it. Nor is
this to be confounded with turning study into play. It
is upon the moon itself that the infant speculates, after
the moon itself that he stretches out his eager hands
to find in after years that he still wants her, but that in
science and poetry he has her a thousand-fold more than
if she had been handed him down to suck.

So, after all, 1 have bored my reader with a shadow
of my theory, instead of a description. After all, again,
the description would have plagued him more, and that
must be both his and my comfort

So through the whole of that summer and the follow-
ing winter, I went on teaching Tom Weir. He was a
bd of uncommon ability, else he could not have effected
what I say he had within his first three months of Latin,
let my theory be not only perfect in itself, but true as
well true to human nature, I mean. And his father,
though his own book-learning was but small, had enough
of insight to perceive that his son was something out of
the common, and that any possible advantage he might
lose by remaining in Marshmallows was considerably
more than counterbalanced by the instruction he got


from the vicar. Hence, I believe, it was that not a
word was said about another situation for Tom. And
I was glad of it ; for it seemed to me that the lad had
abilities equal to any profession whatever.



the next Sunday but one which was sur-
prising to me when I considered the manner
of our last parting Catherine Weir was in
church, for the second time since I had come
to the place. As it happened, only as Spenser says

" It chanced eternal God that chance did guide,"

and why I say this, will appear afterwards I had, in
preaching upon, that is, in endeavouring to enforce the
Lord's Prayer by making them think about the meaning
of the words they were so familiar with, come to the pe-
tition, " Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors ;"
with which I naturally connected the words of our
Lord that follow: "For if ye forgive men their tres-
passes, your heavenly Father will also forgive you ; but
if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your
Father forgive your trespasses." I need not tell my


reader more of what I said about this, than that I tried
to show that even were it possible with God to forgive
an unforgiving man, the man himself would not be able
to believe tor a moment that God did forgive him, and
therefore could get no comfort or help or joy of any
kind from the forgiveness; so essentially does hatred, or
revenge, or contempt, or anything that separates us from
man, separate us from God too. To the loving soul alone
does the Father reveal Himself; for love alone can under-
stand Him. It is the peace-makers who are His children.

This I said, thinking of no one more than another of
my audience. But as I closed my sermon, I could not
help fancying that Mrs Oldcastle looked at me with more
than her usual fierceness. I forgot all about it, however,
for I never seemed to myself to have any hold of, or
relation to, that woman. I know I was wrong in being
unable to feel my relation to her because I disliked her.
But not till years after did I begin to understand how she
felt, or recognize in myself a common humanity with her.
A sin of my own made me understand her condition. I
can hardly explain now ; I will tell it when the time
conies. When I called upon her next, after the inter-
view last related, she behaved much as if she had for-
gotten all about it, which was not likely.

In the end of the week after the sermon to which I
have alluded, I was passing the Hall-gate on my usual
Saturday's walk, when Judy saw me from within, as she
came out of the lodge. She was with me in a moment

" Mr Walton," she said, " how could you preach at
Grannie as you did last Sunday?"


" I did not preach at anybody, Judy."

"Oh, Mr Walton!"

" You know I didn't, Judy. You know that if I had,
I would not say I had not."

" Yes, yes ; I know that perfectly," she said, seriously.
" But Grannie thinks you did."

" How do you know that J"

" By her face."

"That is all, is it?"

" You don't think Grannie would say so ? w

" No. Nor yet that you could know by her face what
she was thinking."

" Oh ! can't I just ? I can read her face not so well
as plain print ; but, let me see, as well as what Uncle
Stoddart calls black-letter, at least. I know she thought
you were preaching at her ; and her face said, ' I shan't
forgive you, anyhow. I never forgive, and I won't for
all your preaching.' That's what her face said."

" I am sure she would not say so, Judy," I said, really
not knowing what to say.

" Oh, no ; she would not say so. She would say, ' I
always forgive, but I never forget.' That's a favourite
saying of hers."

" But, Judy, don't you think it is rather hypocritical of
you to say all this to me about your grandmother when
she is so kind to you, and you seem such good friends
with her?"

She looked up in my face with an expression of sur-

" It is all true, Mr Walton," she said


" Perhaps. But you are saying it behind her back."

" I will go home and say it to her face directly."

She turned to go.

" No, no, Judy. I did not mean that," I said, taking
her by the arm.

" I won't say you told me to do it. I thought there
was no harm in telling you. Grannie is kind to me, and
I am kind to her. But Grannie is afraid of my tongue,
and I mean her to be afraid of it. It 's the only way to
keep her in order. Darling Aunt Winnie ! it 's all she 's
got to defend her. If you knew how she treats her some-
times, you would be cross with Grannie yourself, Mr
Walton, for all your goodness and your white surplice."

And to my yet greater surprise, the wayward girl burst
out crying, and, breaking away from me, ran through the
gate, and out of sight amongst the trees, without once
looking back.

I pursued my walk, my meditations somewhat discom-
posed by the recurring question : Would she go home
and tell her grandmother what she had said to me 1
And, if she did, would it not widen the breach upon the
opposite side of which I seemed to see Ethelwyn stand,
out of the reach of my help 1

I walked quickly on to reach a stile by means of which
I should soon leave the little world of Marshmallows
quite behind me, and be alone with nature and my
Greek Testament. Hearing the sound of horse-hoofs
on the road from Addicehead, I glanced up from my
pocket-book, in which I had been looking over the
thoughts that had at various moments passed through


my mind that week, in order to choose one (or more, if
they would go together) to be brooded over to-day for
my people's spiritual diet to-morrow I say I glanced
up from my pocket-book, and saw a young man, that is,
if I could call myself young still, of distinguished ap-
pearance, approaching upon a good serviceable hack.
He turned into my road and passed me. He was pale,
with a dark moustache, and large dark eyes ; sat his horse
well and carelessly ; had fine features of the type com-
monly considered Grecian, but thin, and expressive
chiefly of conscious weariness. He wore a white hat
with crape upon it, white gloves, and long, military-
looking boots. All this I caught as he passed me ; and
I remember them, because, looking after him, I saw him
stop at the lodge of the Hall, ring the bell, and then
ride through the gate. I confess I did not quite like
this ; but I got over the feeling so far as to be able to
turn to my Testament when I had reached and crossed
the stile.

I came home another way, after one of the most de-
lightful days I had ever spent. Having reached the
river in the course of my wandering, I came down the
side of it towards Old Rogers's cottage, loitering ami
looking, quiet in heart and soul and mind, because I
had committed my cares to Him who careth for us.
The earth was round me I was rooted, as it were, in.
it, but the air of a higher life was about me. I was
swayed to and fro by the motions of a spiritual power ;
feelings and desires and hopes passed through me,
passed away, and returned ; and still my head rose into


the truth, and the will of God was the regnant sunlight
upon it I might change my place and condition ; new
feelings might come forth, and old feelings retire into
the lonely corners of my being; but still my heart
should be glad and strong in the one changeless thing,
in the truth that maketh free ; still my head should rise
into the sunlight of God, and I should know that be-
cause He lived I should live also, and because He was
true I should remain true also, nor should any change
pass upon me that should make me mourn the decad-
ence of humanity. And then I found that I was gazing
over the stump of an old pollard, on which I was lean-
ing, down on a great bed of white water-lilies, that lay
in the broad slow river, here broader and slower than
in most places. The slanting yellow sunlight shone
through the water down to the very roots anchored in
the soil, and the water swathed their stems with cool-
ness and freshness, and a universal sense, I doubt not,
of watery presence and nurture. And there on their
lovely heads, as they lay on the pillow of the water,
shone the life-giving light of the summer sun, filling all
the spaces between their outspread petals of living silvei
with its sea of radiance, and making them gleam with
the whiteness which was born of them and the sun.
And then came a hand on my shoulder, and, turning, I
saw the gray head and the white smock of my old friend
Rogers, and I was glad that he loved me enough not to
be afraid of the parson and the gentleman.

" I 've found it, sir, I do think," he said, his brown
furrowed old face shining with a yet lovelier light than


that which shone from the blossoms of the water-lilies,
though, after what 1 had been thinking about them, it
was no wonder that they seemed both to mean the same-
thing, both to shine in the light of His countenance.

" Found what, Old Rogers ? " I returned, raising my-
self, and laying my hand in return on his shoulder.

" Why He was displeased with the disciples for not
knowing "

" What He meant about the leaven of the Pharisees,"
I interrupted. " Yes, yes, of course. Tell me then."

" I will try, sir. It was all dark to me for days. For
it appeared to me very nat'ral that, seeing they had no
bread in the locker, and hearing tell of leaven which
they weren't to eat, they should think it had summat to
do with their having none of any sort. But He didn't
seem to think it was right of them to fall into the blun-
der. For why then ? A man can't be always right. He
may be like myself, a foremast-man with no schoolin'
but what the winds and the waves puts into him, and
I 'm thinkin' those fishermen the Lord took to so
much were something o' that sort. ' How could they
help it ? ' I said to myself, sir. And from that I came
to ask myself, 'Could they have helped it?' If they
couldn't, He wouldn't have been vexed with them.
Mayhap they ought to ha' been able to help it. And
all at once, sir, this mornin', it came to me. I don't
know how, but it was give to me, anyhow. And I flung
down my rake, and I ran in to the old woman, but she
wasn't in the way, anil so I went back to my work again.
I3ut when I saw you, sir, a readin' upon the lilies o' the


field, leastways, the lilies o' the water, I couldn't help
runnin* out to tell you. Isn't it a satisfaction, sir, when
yer dead reckonin' runs ye right in betwixt the cheeks
of the harbour ? I see it all now."

" Well, I want to know, old Rogers. I 'm not so old
as you, and so I may live longer ; and every time I read
that passage, I should like to be able to say to myself,
' Old Rogers gave me this.' "

" I only hope I'm right, sir. It was just this : their
heads was full of their dinner because they didn't know
where it was to come from. But they ought to ha' known
where it always come from. If their hearts had been
full of the dinner He gave the five thousand hungry men
and women and children, they wouldn't have been un-
comfortable about not having a loaf. And so they
wouldn't have been set upon the wrong tack when He
spoke about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees;
and they would have known in a moment what He
meant. And if I hadn't been too much of the same sort,
I wouldn't have started saying it was but reasonable to
be in the doldrums because they were at sea with no
biscuit in the locker."

"You're right; you must be right, old Rogers. It's
as plain as possible," I cried, rejoiced at the old man's
insight. " Thank you. I '11 preach about it to-morrow.
I thought I had got my sermon in Foxborough Wood,
but I was mistaken : you had got it."

But I was mistaken again. I had not got my sermon

I walked with him to his cottage and left him, after a


greeting with the " old woman." Passing then through
the village, and seeing by the light of her candle the
form of Catherine Weir behind her counter, I went in.
I thought old Rogers's tobacco must be nearly gone,
and I might safely buy some more. Catherine's manner
was much the same as usual. But as she was weighing
my purchase, she broke out all at once :

" It's no use your preaching at me, Mr Walton. I
cannot, I will not forgive. I will do anything f>nl for-
give. And it 's no use."

" It is not I that say it, Catherine. It is the Lord

I saw no great use in protesting my innocence, yet I
thought it better to add

" And I was not preaching at you. I was preaching
to you, as much as to any one there, and no more."

Of this she took no notice, and I resumed :

" Just think of what He says, not what I say."

" I can't help it. If He won't forgive me, I must go
without it. I can't forgive."

I saw that good and evil were fighting in her, and felt
that no words of mine could be of further avail at the
moment. The words of our Lord had laid hold of her ;
that was enough for this time. Nor dared I ask her any
questions. I had the feeling that it would hurt, not
help. All I could venture to say, was .

" I won't trouble you with talk, Catherine. Our Lord
wants to talk to you. It is not for me to interfere. But
please to remember, if ever you think I can serve you
in any way, you have only to send for me."


She murmured a mechanical thanks, and handed me
my parcel. I paid for it, bade her good night, and left
the shop.

" O Lord," I said in my heart, as I walked away,
" what a labour Thou hast with us all ! Shall we ever,
some day, be all, and quite, good like Thee ? Help me.
Fill me with Thy light, that my work may all go to bring
about the gladness of Thy kingdom the holy house-
hold of us brothers and sisters all Thy children."

And now I found that I wanted very much to see my
friend Dr Duncan. He received me with his stately
cordiality, and a smile that went farther than all his
words of greeting.

" Come now, Mr Walton, I am just going to sit down
to my dinner, and you must join me. I think there will
be enough for us both. There is, I believe, a chicken
a-piece for us, and we can make up with cheese and a
glass of would you believe it 1 my own father's port.
He was fond of port the old man though I never saw
him with one glass more aboard than the registered
tonnage. He always sat light on the water. Ah, dear
me ! I 'm old myself now."

"But what am I to do with Mrs Pearson?" I said.
" There 's some chef-d'wivre of hers waiting for me by
this time. She always treats me particularly well on
Saturdays and Sundays."

" Ah ! then, you must not stop with me. You will
fare better at home."

* ! But I should much prefer stopping with you. Couldn't
you send a message for mel"


"To be sure. My boy will run with it at once."

Now, what is the use of writing all this? I do not
know. Only that even a tltt-H-tetc dinner with an old
friend, now that I am an old man myself, has such a
pearly halo about it in the mists of the past, that every
little circumstance connected with it becomes interest-
ing, though it may be quite unworthy of record. So,
kind reader, let it stand.

We sat down to our dinner, so simple and so well-
cooked that it was just what I liked. I wanted very
much to tell my friend what had occurred in Catherine's
shop, but I would not begin till we were safe from in-
terruption ; and so we chatted away concerning many
things, he telling me about his seafaring life, and I tell-
ing him some of the few remarkable things that had
happened to me in the course of my life-voyage. There
is no man but has met with some remarkable things
that other people would like to know, and which would
seem stranger to them than they did at the time to the
person to whom they happened.

At length I brought our conversation round to my
interview with Catherine Weir.

"Can you understand," I said, "a woman finding it
so hard to forgive her own father ? "

"Are you sure it is her father?" he returned.

" Surely she has not this feeling towards more than
one. That she has it towards her father, I know."

" I don't know," he answered. " I have known re-
sentment preponderate over every other feeling and
passion in the mind of a woman too. I once heard


of a good woman who cherished this feeling against a
good man because of some distrustful words he had
once addressed to herself. She had lived to a great
age, and was expressing to her clergyman her desire
that God would take her away : she had been waiting a
long time. The clergyman a very shrewd as well as
devout man, and not without a touch of humour, said :
'Perhaps God doesn't mean to let you die till you've

forgiven Mr .' She was as if struck with a flash of

thought, sat silent during the rest of his visit, and when

the clergyman called the next day, he found Mr

and her talking together very quietly over a cup of tea.
And she hadn't long to wait after that, I was told, but
was gathered to her fathers or went home to her chil-
dren, whichever is the better phrase."

" I wish I had had your experience, Dr Duncan," I

" I have not had so much experience as a general
practitioner, because I have been so long at sea. But
I am satisfied that until a medical man knows a good
deal more about his patient than most medical men
give themselves the trouble to find out, his prescriptions
will partake a good deal more than is necessary of hap-
hazard. As to this question of obstinate resentment, I
know one case in which it is the ruling presence of a
woman's life the very light that is in her is resentment.
I think her possessed myself."

" Tell me something about her."

" I will. But even to you I will mention no names.
Not that I have her confidence in the least. But I think


it is better not. I was called to attend a lady at a house
where I had never yet been."

" Was it in ?" I began, but checked myself. Dr

Duncan smiled and went on without remark. I could
see that he told his story with great care, lest, I thought,
he should let anything slip that might give a clue to the
place or people.

" I was led up into an old-fashioned, richly-furnished
room. A great wood-fire burned on the hearth. The
bed was surrounded with heavy dark curtains, in which
the shadowy remains of bright colours were just visible.
In the bed lay one of the loveliest young creatures I had
ever seen. And, one on each side, stood two of the most
dreadful-looking women I had ever beheld. Still as
death, while I examined my patient, they stood, with
moveless faces, one as white as the other. Only the eyes
of both of them were alive. One was evidently mistress,
and the other servant. The latter looked more self-con-
tained than the former, but less determined and possibly
more cruel. That both could be unkind at least, was
plain enough. There was trouble and signs of inward
conflict in the eyes of the mistress. The maid gave no
sign of any inside to her at all, but stood watching her
mistress. A child's toy was lying in a corner of thj

I may here interrupt my friend's story to tell my
reader that I may be mirgling some of my own conclu-
sions with what the good man told me of his. For he
will see well enough already that I had in a moment
attached his description to persons I knew, and. as it


turned out, correctly, though I could not be certain about
it till the story had advanced a little beyond this early
stage of its progress.

" I found the lady very weak and very feverish a
quick feeble pulse, now bounding, and now intermitting
and a restlessness in her eye which I felt contained
the secret of her disorder. She kept glancing, as if in-
voluntarily, towards the door, which would not open for
all her looking, and I heard her once murmur to herself
for I was still quick of hearing then ' He won't
come !' Perhaps I only saw her lips move to those words
I cannot be sure, but I am certain she said them in
her heart. I prescribed for her as far as I could venture,
but begged a word with her mother. She went with me
into an adjoining room.

" ' The lady is longing for something,' I said, not
wishing to be so definite as I could have been.

" The mother made no reply. I saw her lips shut
yet closer than before.

" 'She is your daughter, is she not?'

" ' Yes/ very decidedly.

" ' Could you not find out what she wishes?'

u ' Perhaps I could guess.

" ' I do not think I can do her any good till she has
what she wants.'

" ' Is that your mode of prescribing, doctor ?' she said,

" ' Yes, certainly,' I answered ' in the present case.
Is she married 1'

" ' Yes.'


" * Has she any children ? '

" ' One daughter.'

" ' Let her see her, then.'

" ' She does not care to see her.'

" ' Where is her husband ? '

" ' Excuse me, doctor ; I did not send for you to ask
questions, but to give advice.'

" ' And I came to ask questions, in order that I might
give advice. Do you think a human being is like a
clock, that can be taken to pieces, cleaned, and put to-
gether again 1 ?'

" ' My daughter's condition is not a fit subject for

" ' Certainly not. Send for her husband, or the un-
dertaker, whichever you please,' I said, forgetting my
manners and my temper together, for I was more irri-
table then than I am now, and there was something so
repulsive about the woman, that I felt as if I was talking
to an evil creature that for her own ends, though what I
could not tell, was tormenting the dying lady.

" ' I understood you were a. gentleman of experience
and breeding.'

" ' I am not in the question, madam. It is your

" ' She shall take your prescription.'

" ' She must see her husband if it be possible. 1

" ' It is not possible.'


" ' I say it is not possible, and that is enough. Good


" I could say no more at that time. I called the next
day. She was just the same, only that I knew she
wanted to speak to me, and dared not, because of the
presence of the two women. Her troubled eyes seemed
searching mine for pity and help, and 1 could not tell
what to do for her. There are, indeed, as some one
says, strongholds of injustice and wrong into which no
law can enter to help.

" One afternoon, about a week after my first visit, I
was sitting by her bedside, wondering what could be

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