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the patients more good than all their medicine did them; he was a lively, contented, good-hearted fellow, and I never felt so much inclined to quarrel with Fate as I did on the night he was killed. When in hospital, he suffered as much as any of the patients, but the fellow always managed to forget himself when he could do good to others. I remember going late one evening into the ward where he lay, and found him busy reading some old book to four chaps who couldn't sleep, and when I remonstrated with him, saying that he should take care of his own health, he told me that he was never better or freer from pain than when he was trying to kill pain in others. Your brave father always said, that man was the best soldier in the service, and I know that he was the best philosopher.'

Lester, much moved by this rough address, rose and rapidly paced the room ; at length becoming calmer, he stood over against the speaker and said, “ Yes, Doctor, you are right, for if not selfish as a rule, I have acted somewhat selfishly in this. And yet who can justly condemn me when they learn what I know of the greatness of my loss? Just at the moment when my life-prospects were flowering, this sudden blight descends to strip and plunder me of my strength and guidance. Here, upon the threshold of life, I am singled out from others to drink the cup of bitterness to the lees; and yet while thus plunged into misery, and made to submit to wrong, I am espected to console others. It may be philosophical to ask it, but I fear I have too much of the human clinging to me to be able to grant the request.”

“And pray, Sir, what do you mean when you speak of being robbed, plundered, and made to drink to the lees of bitterness? Do you imagine that George Lester has been singled out by Nature to bear some unequalled burden ? Would there be any proper cause to complain even if she had done this ? You speak as if by right you could claim happiness. What have you done to deserve it? Nature pays all her workmen to the last fraction. Bring in your account for labour done, and the reward will not be far off. What have you achieved to compensate for what you have already received ? You have been nursed, fed, housed, warmed, clothed, educated, loved, and protected ; and I challenge you to say that, in all this, you have not been more than overpaid for what you have already done, if, indeed, you have done anything. I fear no contradiction in saying that although your loss is great, still you are in debt both to Nature and Society. That, liowever, is but one side of the account. You have still to consider the effect of this morbid sklence upon yourself. Give way to this morose feeling, and you will be a cripple through life ; rise above it, and you will become strong. Sorrow as much as you please, I shall not take you to task for that ; but I bid you to find your work in the world, set your heart bravely to the doing of it, and then if Nature does not pay even more than you deserve in the current coin of happiness, I shall allow you to declare me ignorant of what belongs to the truest enjoyment."

Lester was about to reply, but the other rose to depart, saying, kindly, No, George, no, above all things, we will not discuss that matter just now: I have merely told you a bit of my mind; moreover, you are fresh from Oxford ; your logic-edge is likely to be a little too sharp, for mine is sadly rusted. And you know I never allow any one to interfere in my practice. Just leave your logic and use your. eyes, and then you will find the measure of truth in what I have said, which you stand in need of. It is sharp, I know, but not unkindly; and blisters must be applied when necessary. Let the blister rise, and then, probably, I shall find some healing ointment. Till then, remember your duty to the girls. Farewell.”

The morning came when the deceased was to be borne away, but before the coffin was finally closed, the door of the room of death opened, and George entered, leading his cousin. They had been bound to each other from their childhood, and by mutual confession of love for about two years ; but here, where the dear one lay, they seemed almost as strangers to one another, neither caressing nor looking their thoughts of love. Their minds were occupied by the dead and the greatness of their loss. Mary bent over the coffined clay to print kisses on that marble brow of her“ more than mother.” It was the second time that, in bitterness of heart, she had looked into a mother's coffin. And if she lingered after Lester had given the signal for departure,

. it was only mentally, in presence of the dead, to register à vow in heaven to devote herself to the task of making happy him who was the idol of her young heart, and the son of one who had shown her so much kindness.

The door again opened for Lester to lead in his sister, and Jane, who followed, closed it behind them. It was a sad sight to see those two young souls tossed on the wild sea of sorrow. True it is, as the Doctor had said, there is mourning in the land, and it is a grand fact that man can mourn ; as it is also true that sorrow is a wave upon whose crest the noblest are raised to greater heights of thought and action than they would otherwise have reached. They who look on can see the advancing legions of brethren, whom they who are engaged in the battle descry not; and they who have had experience in the world of grief may perceive advantages which, through the thickness of the tear-mist, are hidden from the sight of those who yet mourn. Still, what man is he who has led an orphaned sister to kiss, for the last time, the face of their coftined mother, without feeling an intense desire to deny the justice of the course of Nature, and to take up arms against that inexorable Fate which has so directed the current of events? The philosopher may know that sorrows are as good for the soul as storms are for the earth and atmosphere ; but who can remember his philosophy when the sisterly orphaned hand is convulsively clutched by his own, and the pressure of grief seems great enough to wring the last drop of hope out of the orphaned heart? It is then that the sea of human emotion rises into tempest to smite the very heavens themselves; for the question irresistibly comes, if there be good in it, could it not all have been achieved in some other way?

Jane was the first to speak, and the orphans heard her with mingled feel. ings of joy and astonishment.

Yes, Master George and Miss Ella, it is hard, terrible hard, to bear; but

you will lore one another! I know you will, you must; for nobody who has lived long with that blessed angel can help it. You keep on calling her your dear mother, but you don't know that she was mine too. Often have I wanted to tell of her goodness, and she wouldn't let me. She found me sunk in the pit, found me in the deep mire, and raised me up to make my heart rejoice. When the cruel world hated, and cursed, and hissed at the unfortunate girl left behind by the soldiers—when they said that I was given over to sin and wickedness as a child of the devil, she came to me with her sunny face and soft voice, and took the babe out of my poor weak arms, and fed it, and washed it, and kissed it, with her innocent lips, and then, sitting down by the bed in which she had laid me, she spoke so softly and kindly about the good Father God, and looked so much like the angels I had heard and dreamt about when I was a child, that it seemed as if she could not be a woman, but

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was one of the spirits of heaven sitting by my side. I felt myself again and again, to make sure that I was alive, and that it was no dream ; and when I

l found it was all real, I kissed my baby, and fell to sleep, as I had never slept before. And when the Cold IIand came and touched my baby Johnny, and it died on my breast, she watched over the dead babe and the mad mother, and saved me from flying in the face of Providence, by causing the death I should have died. Ah, children, you know not how good she was to me, and how she healed me with love and tenderness. But, thank God, after many years, though it was only to die, John came back from the wars, bringing the paper we had both signed, showing that we had not married because he was a Catholic, and his Colonel wouldn't give leave. I was glad he had this for her sake, to show that I had not been so bad as the world said. She never believed it of me, never ; and when I took her the paper, she said, “If you had been the worst living, it was my duty to try and save you; for if I did not forgive, how could I hope to be forgiven ?' I never could see that she did anything to need forgiveness. But that was her way, and she did more good by it than all the preachers ever I heard. All the long years I lived with her, she never upbraided, never spoke unkindly to me. It was from her lips I heard the first words of mercy, and to the last I heard no other. But before she goes to the grave, tell me, Master George, tell me, Miss Ella, that you'll never send me away. I've lost her, but while you live, and will let me be near you, I have something to live for, and somebody to love."

In a few meaning words, she received the assurances, and then Lester turned to his sister, to whom he spoke neither of philosophy nor of fate, but only of the future. It was the first time since the blow had descended that he seemed to have recovered the use of his natural powers. Silently he supported Ella, and was glad to see the overcharged heart relieved by a flow of tears, which he said nothing to check. But after the lapse of some minutes, in a rich tone, and with much emotion, he spoke.

*Ella, she loved with more than a mother's love, and to gladden her spirit in another sphere, we must be devoted to each other as she was devoted to

Were it only in reverence to her, neither coldness, doubt, nor difficulty must ever be permitted to have power to separate us.

Just now I am but a child in the ways of the world. I have been living in a dream, wherein I looked for every one to work for my happiness. But I am awake now. Doctor Moule, in a few words of friendly bitterness, taught me a more valuable lesson than I had previously learnt; making me feel how aimless, how little worthy of praise my life has hitherto been, and showing me that happiness, worthy of the name, comes alone through noble effort after the right and self-sacrifice. Up to this hour, I have been no brother to you, but only a source of anxiety and trouble; but henceforth I will be what I should be. Forgive my past errors, and rely upon me in the future. To you I shall tell my hopes and plans; and whenever you have care upon your mind, come to me; for, the good God above helping, I will labour to compensate for all that you have lost. I will endeavour to be father, mother, and brother in one.”'

There was no mistaking the earnestness of the speaker, nor that Ella gave him credit for all that he had said ; still she could make no answer, but only cling to him with a convulsive fondness. At length, dropping upon her knees, her heart found utterance. . . . . Oh, God, I thank Thee, that Thou hast not left me alone ; grant Thou that we may be all in all to each other.'

The door closed behind them, and they went forth into the world. Time and Passion were now to test the vows so solemnly pledged to each other.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF THE REFORMATION.-XXIII.

PARLIAMENT AND CONVOCATION. With his embassy to Avignon, a new era commences in the life of Wycliffe. Doubtless, the seeds of what now found expression in thought and action had been gradually deposited in his mind during many thoughtful years. He had for a considerable time previously to his journey to France, “publicly professed

divinity, and read lectures in it, which he did with very great applause, · having such authority in the schools that whatever he said was received as “an oracle.” It was in this capacity that he had formerly kept up a continual warfare against the Mendicants, with occasional references to the temporal power of the Pope. But on his return from the Papal Court, his lectures soon assumed a different shape; he began now to attack the hierarchy on the score of their immorality. This he had not hesitated to do when it lay in his way before, but now he goes out of his way to do it, and, moreover, he adds an altogether new element, in the shape of attacks on the spiritual authority of the Pope, and on the right of the Church to own property.

His position was unassailable. He declared that ecclesiastical endowments had no Christian sanction, that the moneys claimed by the Church were not due, and that men could be saved without paying tithes to the priest. It is amusing to note the ways in which the Church historians and others, writing from a priestly point of view, seek to explain away Wycliffe's plain language on this point, and, while striving to show that he was a Reformer in the orthodox sense of the term, ignore that which he taught more strenuously than any other thing, namely, the duty of poverty on the part of those who pretended to be followers of him who knew not where to lay his head. In all that we know of him as the parish priest, we find that this was no mere theory with him—he practised what he preached. Christ and the Apostles, he said, were the great exemplars of the true priesthood; and the incumbents of fat benefices, the bishops with their immense revenues, and the Pope, with his pomp, and a treasury full to repletion of the offerings of the faithful, were no true followers of theirs. Speaking of these doctrines, Baxter, the Church of England historian, says: "Sentiments which his most judicious " friends must admit to need qualification and apology, could hardly fail of “ being denounced by his enemies as revolutionary.” Of course, a "judicious" man cannot possibly admit that it is wrong to pay or receive tithes ! Wycliffe, however, declared as much, and, in so doing, set himself in opposition to all Priestcraft; in this, no less than in much else that he said and did, showing himself the true champion of religious freedom.

There were many “judicious men of the Baxter stamp in those days, and these lent no small assistance to the enemies of Wycliffe, of whom such teaching as this made him many. Accordingly we find that Convocation, composed of "judicious" men who thought Wycliffe's sentiments needed apology, and of those who were inimical to him, summoned him to attend in St. Paul's Cathedral to answer for his reputed misdemeanours. Now it happened that Wycliffe was not without friends. His connection with the Court had brought him acquainted with "old John of Gaunt, time-honoured "Lancaster," then, however, in the prime of life, and in the zenith of his power (the old king being in the last stage of debility), and, ere long, to become the protector of the young king, Richard II. He, and the EarlMarshal, Lord Percy, determined to attend as Wycliffe's friends and protectors.

At the same time, however, that Convocation assembled, Parliament, the

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first of the new reign, met; and the state of feeling on the part of the noble and wealthy classes is shown by the proceedings of that Parliament, while the name, that of “the good Parliament,” given to it by the people, shows that a feeling of approbation of those proceedings pervaded the public mind. It was in consequence of the action taken by this Parliament that the three great limitary statutes of Mortmain, of Provisors, and of Præmunire took their perfect shape, forming together the “Great Charter of English liberties " against the Church.” The first, Mortmain, set an impassable bound to the all-absorbing acquisitions of the Church, and the severance of the land into one sacred, and one common territory, the sacred slowly encroaching till it threatened to swallow up the other. The second, Provisors, wrested away the Papal power of disposing at least of all the benefices in the patronage of spiritual persons. The third, Præmunire, boldly and openly vindicated the right of the State of England to prohibit the admission or the execution of all Papal Bulls or Briefs within the realm, a virtual prophetic, premonitory, declaration of the king's supremacy.* The Parliament, being desirous in their dealings with the Pope, rendered necessary by the passing of these statutes, to have the authority of one of the Doctors of the Church for refusing to obey the Pope's provisions, and for stopping the payment out of the realm of the revenues of the sees held by foreigners, referred the matter to Wycliffe, and he declared, in his reply, that the Parliament were fully empowered to prevent the exercise of any such jurisdiction as the Pope claimed within the realm. So, while Convocation summoned him, Parliament consulted him. In this we have an indication of the different estimation in which Wycliffe was held by priests and by the people.

The day at length arrived on which Wycliffe was to appear in answer to the summons, the 19th day of February, 1377. The St. Paul's of that date was a larger building than the present Cathedral, and built in the old Norman style, and the space around it was also larger than the space now found. The Church dignitaries of various ranks who formed the clerical parliament (the ghost of which still, under the same name of Convocation, gibbers amongst us) were all assembled. The Bishop of London, Courtney by name, the son of the powerful noble, Hugh Courtney, Earl of Devonshire, will preside. As men looked along the ranks and saw assembled there the chief men among the powerful hierarchy of the Church, that Church whose spiritual supremacy had never yet been questioned in England, and to doubt whose holiness had been one of those things which men looked on as simply impossible, they felt that he must be a bold man who will dare to withstand them. In judging of such scenes as this we are too apt to forget that the age in which they occurred was very different from this. In this instance it is very doubtful whether any man but Wycliffe would have dared as much, nor is it to impugn his courage to suppose that he would not have dared, unless he had had the good swords of John of Gaunt and Earl Percy to depend upon in case of need. They will see fair play, while he defeats the priests in argument.

The crowd is dense within and without, the priests are assembled, and they wait the coming of Wycliffe. Look! up Ludgate Hill you see the cavalcade approach, and presently the mailed tramp of John of Gaunt and the bold Percy, with their men-at-arms, is heard on the stone floor of the Church. Make way, good people, make way! 'Tis not so easy, for the crowd is dense. But John of Gaunt and Earl Percy are not the men to

* Milman, Hist, of Latin Christianity, vol. vi. p. 100,

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