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visitors the fragments he had brought away from them, nothing pleased him better than to have a listener who cared to hear his description of their form and character.

“Sir,” he used to say, “the temple of Salsette is a most wonderful work -most wonderful; and, all things considered, I believe it to be superior to that of Aboo Simbel itself. The portico and area are fifty-one feet deep, and the temple beyond is ninety feet long and thirty-cight wide, and of a proportionable height, the whole being hewn out of the solid rock, so as to form an oblong square, with a fluted concave roof; the area is divided into three aisles in regular colonnades, and two rows of columns form the spacious area in the centre, leaving a narrow walk between the columns and the wall. Some of the pillars are sculptured in a masterly style, but there are no idols. The only figures being elephants and other animals, or flowers and fruits. Then, going away from this rock-work, up winding stairs in all directions, the explorer is led to smaller cell-like excavations, which I have been told were places in which the priests resided.”

That “I have been told” always came to his aid when any difficulty existed. He scarcely ever spoke positively upon such topics, and for the obvious reason, that he never devoted himself with sufficient diligence to solve any of the curious problems connected with the remarkable places he visited. He never thought it a trouble to go one or two hundred miles out of his way in order to visit a great work of art, or a miracle of nature; and when he had arrived, he sat down to enjoy the scene with all the wonder and joy of innocent childhood.

He asked himself why they were as he saw them, what their origin and value, and doubtless found an answer which satisfied himself

, but this was rarely communicated to others. He shrunk from saying, "I know this or that," and was content, after describing what he had seen, to give the solution of the riddle which had been furnished by others.

This was so, too, even when, having made up his mind upon the point, he disagreed with the common opinion, which was indicated by the tone in which he cited it. Thus, when describing the famous temple of Elephanta, situated, as he told his listeners, about two leagues from Bombay, he was wont to say, “Yes, that temple, with the adjoining apartments, measures 220 feet in length and 150 in breadth; but it is too low for its length-much too low. There are four rows of massive columns cut out of the solid rock, uniform in their order, and placed at regular distances, so as to form three magnificent avenues from the principal entrance to the grand idol, which terminates the middle vista. The central image is composed of three colossal heads, reaching nearly from the floor to the roof, a height of fifteen feet. It represents the threefold deity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, in their mythological garbs, as creator, preserver, and destroyer, and the faces are faithful to the indicated characters. And yet, Sir," he would exclaim to his listener,

they say that it is a Buddhist temple.” Evidently he did not believe the statement, but when pressed to state what he believed of its antiquity and original use, he usually declined, and observed, “it is a question upon which

am not prepared to speak;” though upon one occasion he advised a chronological sermon-builder to go to Ellora and Elephanta, before preparing another discourse.

But although he pryed so diligently into all the secret, sacred, and wonderful places, he failed not in performing his duties as a soldier. His introduction to the military life was a rough one, for it was that of going through the war with Mysore, followed by that with the Mahrattas. It was the good


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fortune of this young officer to serve under Colonel Wellesley, and he dia with spirit, both with sword and tongue. There were many who dcclaiu iu against making war upon Tippoo Saib, but he invariably cut them short by saying, "I don't understand the politics of India, nor, indeed, those of any other country, but I know that all the great guns cast by Tippoo are ornamented with representations of a tiger devouring an Englishman, and I don't want to hear any farther proofs to satisfy me that he is our bitter enemy. This one fact, full of meaning and unmistakable, was conclusive evidence for himself and for others; nor can it be wondered at that, even in our own time, it is the grand overt act cited by historians against the ruler of Mysore. Lester dashed into the city of Seringapatam, when Baird, mounting the parapet of the siege works said, “Come, my brave fellows, follow me, and prove yourselves worthy the name of British soldiers ” ; he was with the foremost when, in presence of that terrible cannonade, they crossed the river, leapt the ditch, mounted the breach, and planted their colours on its summit; neither did he shrink from the terrible duties of the day until, standing before the palace, he perceived the two boy princes delivered to General Baird as prisoners, and knew that their father, Tippoo, was dead.

Even here his characteristic features were displayed, for, while the army was busy looking for plunder, Lester was “hunting after something worth preserving," and when he obtained “ a portion of the dress in which Tippoo was slain,” he felt far prouder of the rag than his companions were of their rupees, and other costly spoil they had gathered together.

When the Mahratta war opened he was still serving with Wellesley, but being severely wounded in the battle of Assaye, he had to undergo the annoyance of being long away from the sphere of action. Fortunately it was no worse, as so many feared it would be. He had a long rest on the sick-list, and at length returned to England. It was through that wound he enjoyed the opportunity of taking part in the Napoleonic wars of Europe; he was engaged in the Peninsula, and was present at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. But although he had distinguished himself on several occasions, he never rose higher than Colonel, and for the simple reason that being of a proud spirit he would neither purchase nor beg. He maintained, with more of logical force than was common in his speeches, as well as with more than his usual warmth, that it was the duty of the superior officer to discover who deserved promotion; and that none save those who were thus designated should be exalted. Many a battle of words and letters he fought in defending that opinion; when, as a rule, the old officers who had risen by service were usually upon his side, and the young ones, who had purchased in, were found on the opposite. On one occasion, when he had recommended a brave noncommissioned officer as being worthy of a commission, which, with mavy apologies, was refused, and a beardless, useless puppy was sent, he, which was rare with him, broke out into swearing about the curse of the purchase system, and protested that as soon as he could honourably do so, he would retire from the service.

This threat was shortly afterwards carried into effect, and in the year 1816 Colonel Lester, having inconsistently “sold out,” was free to go up and down the world as he pleased. Fortunately he was an excellent linguist, and being essentially a closely-observing man, he was capable of undertaking offices of trust and secrecy connected with Government missions. He was employed by the Government at the time when he made his voyage up the Nile, and brought away, among other things, a fragment of sculptured stone from the sacred island of Philæ, pieces of a broken column from El Karnac, and a curious pitcher from Memphis. When in China, although, so far as he was permitted to see them, deeply interested in the manners and customs of that curious people, he betrayed the most anxious desire to obtain pieces of the oldest porcelain, and, judging from his satisfied air when exhibiting his treasures, his collection in this particular was priceless; but they who were more familiar with that curious country always shook their heads incredulously, and spoke mysteriously of his having found John Chinaman too much for him.

Years passed away and still he was a wanderer; he had crossed the Himalayas and had gone as far up the Andes as the most adventurous traveller ; he had visited the land of Montezuma, and explored the caves of Kentucky; he had seen the wild waters dashing over the rocky ledges of Niagara, hunted through the chief part of a Canadian winter, and had explored the untrodden portions of Iceland. Here and there had he explored and gathered treasure, not even omitting a fair share of the yellow gold which the world values so highly; yet it must be confessed that, with all his real and imaginary wealth, there was a void in his heart. A profound sense of dissatisfaction crept over him when, from a rocky ledge in Switzerland, he one day looked down npon the quiet village below, where, in the sunshine, fathers were at play with their little ones, or mothers were busy performing their domestic labours. “And I,” said he mournfully and half aloud, “I have none to love me. I am alone!'

From that hour his passion for travel subsided, and in its place there came the desire to settle down and “enjoy the fruits of all his labours.” Years before, when on the sick-list he had reached England from India, he had worshipped at a shrine, but dared not then speak of setting up his rest. The fair face he had looked upon came oft to visit him his dreams. Y curiously enough, never once had he fairly asked himself the question, whether there was any likelihood of his being able to add that face to his treasures. Now, however, it was difficult to find him engaged in any other occupation than that of trying to solve the problem, “if Ella Marston was married, and if not, then, was it probable she would consent to become Mrs. Lester ? " Within a fortnight he was in England, and had done the wisest act of his life, he had seen the lady, and obtained her answer to the question.

Ella Marston was the daughter of a good country clergyman, whose decease, some eleven months before Colonel Lester returned to England, had left her not in poverty, but still with only an annuity of £130 a-year, which, in consequence of a deathbed charge upon it, was little enough to meet her actual wants. She was a most accomplished woman, and had she been endowed with fortune, the proudest in the land would have felt flattered in making her his duchess-bride. The absence of wealth made all the difference, although not in the number of her admirers. Lordly ones who could not so far violate the law of gain as to make her a wife, allowed themselves to dwell upon the thought of possessing her in a more questionable form; but none of them ever found sufficient courage to advance far enough to hint their thoughts. There was something about her, a certain purity and dignity of character and mien, which compelled even the more practised in the art of winning favour to refrain from expressing the thoughts of their hearts ; and thus she had succeeded in passing so far through life without being called



forth that scorn of baseness which constituted one of the chief features in her character,

upon to

Lester and Ella had met upon the Welsh mountains, where he was recruiting his health, she staying on a visit with a friend. He was regularly introduced, and they, being both from Hampshire, became companions. He spake not of love, but told of India and what he had seen ; she listened to his narratives with the real interest of one who loves to gather information, and when the time came that he resolved upon going to the wars, she first became aware of how deeply her heart was engaged. Still neither by word nor sign did she treat him as being anything more than a valued friend, but it was with unfeigned pleasure she heard of his intent to send her occasional notices of what he had seen, and the places he visited. For some time he did so, and his letters were duly answered ; but as both shifted their residences, the letters miscarried, when mutually they arrived at the conclusion that some tender passion had interfered to break up the correspondence. Such was the first conviction, but on her part there was a strong disinclination to believe it. She heard twice of his being in England, still unmarried ; and, although unuttered, the idea was in her mind that at some future time they twain would meet again.

At the time when Colonel Lester returned, fully resolved to settle down and become a family man, she was spending a few weeks near Hastings, with a female relative, who had recently married an officer, with whom Lester had some slight acquaintance. He was not long in discovering her whereabouts, and within six months from that date in the year 1820) Ella Marston had become Mrs. Lester. Immediately he had her consent, as his friend was returning to his Southampton residence, Lester proceeded thither, obtained a lease of the house to which the reader has already been introduced, and resolved upon arranging the history of his life upon the walls of his sleeping apartment. He worked at it from morning till night, and would not accept any assistance. That and the organ were the only pieces of work of his own designing he ever really completed. He began poems, histories, novels, and other works, but never completed them. Satisfied with the design when finally arranged in his own mind, he lacked the plodding perseverance required for working it out upon paper. At any time he would rather ride ten miles to carry a message than sit down to write and direct a letter containing its purport. Still, when commanded to perform any duty, no man ever obeyed with nicer exactness or greater completeness.

Colonel Lester was in his thirty-second year, and Ella Marston in her twenty-sixth, when they married. In this instance, the custom of adding a Lester to the family every year was violated, for the addition was biennial, so that when their last son, George, was born, in the year 1829, they looked around upon a family of three sons, and exactly the same number of daughters. During the early years of their married life they were comparatively rich, but having lost a considerable sum in the panic of 1825, and more some time after in consequence of it, and not wishing to reduce their establishment, Colonel Lester invested all his property in purchasing annuities for each member of his family. This was effected in the year 1827, shortly after their son William was born, and at a time when both parents imagined they had counted the last of their children. As is not uncommonly the case, this proved to be incorrect; and then, as the Colonel used to say of George, boy, he was born into a world-in which there was nothing for him.” The parents, however, found consolation in the idea that, by husbanding their income, enough could be saved to fit him out equally with the rest ; but, as fate would have it, in the year 1833 fever entered the house, and succeeded

« Poor

S care.

in depriving it of four beautiful children, leaving none but Ella and George. At the same time, his friends the Paysons died, leaving their daughter to Lester's The poor Colonel never recovered the shock these losses gave to his system, for, although he lived up to the year 1842, he was gradually declining, and then died of bronchitis. Mrs. Lester carefully husbanded her small means, and had been so successful that she accumulated a fund more than large enough to enable her son George to attend the University, where, as she said, she hoped he would incline to enter the Church. One of her reasons, that which she assigned when dying, the reader is already acquainted with, but another was the promise from an old friend of a good living in his gift when it became vacant. She had dwelt upon this, also, because of the fact that the Colonel had once ventured some remarks about religion and the clergy which deeply pained her. She saw what was in his mind, and feared for her sons, as if freethought were a contagious disease. But she died in peace upon that score, and now it remains for us to show what George Lester endured in the endeavour to observe the pledge he had given.


WYCLIFFE AS THE REFORMER, The fact that the doctrines promulgated by Wycliffe, in reference to the authority of priests, and the wealth of the Church, were of a popular character, naturally gained him many followers in a time when a strong democratic feeling was growing up in the English mind, afterwards to find expression in Wat Tyler and Jack Straw insurrections, and to be crushed by fire and sword, when, as erelong was the case, Kingcraft and Priestcraft entered into league against the people. As yet, however, this unholy alliance had not been effected—in England at least—and Wycliffe was supported no less by the policy of the Court than by the love of the people. Thousands accompanied him on the occasion of his attendance at Lambeth, in obedience to the citation of the Archbishop, and surrounded the Chapel. Large numbers forced their

way into it after him, and did not fail to let the assembled priests know that they had better deal gently with the accused. What the upshot would have been we know not, for, ere long, a message arrived from the Court ordering them to put an end to their proceedings, and let Wycliffe depart in peace. Walsingham, the monkish chronicler, cannot restrain his indignation at this, and records how“ they trembled as shaken reeds before the wind;" how “their speech became softer than oil; to the public loss of their own dignity " and the damage of the whole Church ;” and how they became " that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.” Yes, even so; and for this time the intended victim of priestly wrath became the victor.

So Wycliffe departed, not however, without strict injunctions from the Archbishop, that he should henceforth desist from his teachings. How he obeyed this injunction we have now to see. He had not failed to see how successful the itinerant preachings of the Mendicants had been in spreading error among the people; and he determined to put in force machinery of a similar kind, for the spread of truth. In his capacity of University Professor, he had been enabled to exercise a great influence over a large number of young men; many of these, on account of their profession of Wycliffe's views, but more of them from a conscientious objection to resort to the means usually adopted to obtain benefices, were without livings, and without

as a man

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