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Between it and his dwelling-house, a stonopaved passage led down to his stables, and to his flour-mill, built on a promontory stretching out into the river. Over this roadway, in the top storey of all, the two houses were connected by a loft, built probably for the convenience of ladies-in-waiting, when the place had been an extemporised palace. It was well roofed, but roughly floored,-so roughly that here and there one could look down through gaps between the planks, and see horses and waggons passing below.

Long years ago, when a large family were growing up in that old house, two of the top rooms of the warehouse had been given to the sons for a workshop and laboratory where they could make litter, and explosions too, to their hearts' content. Afterwards, when the household scattered, and only the eldest son and his mother were left in the old home, an old family pensioner and his wife had been placed in those rooms, on pretext of acting as caretakers where none were needed. Since the death of both, the rooms had stood empty, forgotten by all but the sage men and matrons who had frolicked there in their time, and who seldom failed to visit the old haunts, for the sake of "Auld lang syne," when they came to stay with their bachelor brother. On one of these occasions Mr. Brough had noticed signs of leakage in the roof. Gundry was employed to repair it, and the housekeeper, in want of scope for her energies when the visitors were gone, had cleaned out the place after the workmen, "to leave it all sweet," as she said. To these rooms, where the old oak beams had rung to so many merry peals of laughter, Gundry was bringing his lost love to die.

The cart stopped at Mr. Brough's door. He opened it himself and stood in the doorway; beside him, his housekeeper, known as Mrs. Keren, a tall woman with bright little dark eyes, fresh colour, and well-marked features, wearing a large black silk apron, and a black cap with purple bows. A neat young housemaid stood behind them, looking pitifully at the new


"Safe, so far, Gundry?" asked Mr. Brough. "I hope so, sir. You said you had something we could lay her on?"

"This," said Mr. Brough, pointing to a kind of stretcher which had been used for carrying one of his own family after an accident. "Leave your boy with the horse. I will help you take her up."

Gundry would rather have had Chris, who was subject to him; but he soon saw that this was not Mr. Brough's first turn at that stretcher. With the skill of experience, the sufferer was lifted on to it, borne into the house and up long flights of broad, easy, uncarpeted oaken stairs, dimly lighted, for the staircase windows overlooked the covered passage-way between the two houses, and stained glass half filled the lowest one, where, in the deep embrasure, stood a marble bust of Shakespeare, gazing white and cold on the procession filing slowly by,-the men with their sad burden, the women following with the

tiny household gear, and the little child. On the third landing, the bearers paused; here the oaken staircase ended, and a narrow, crooked stair led up to the topmost floor.

"We can't get up there together, sir," said Gundry, "I must take her."

Since she had been lifted from the cart, the woman had lain absolutely passive, with closed eyes. If she was conscious, she gave no sign.

Keren came forward, wrapped the covering more closely round the helpless form, and held the end of the stretcher which the builder relinquished, while Gundry raised its burden in his arms. He did it firmly. Love itself, and memory, were in subjection to the extremity of the hour, the desperate need of accomplishing this last step without adding to the sufferer's distress. Steady and slow he bore her up the stairs, across the loft and through a small, narrow room beyond it, to a large low room under the rafters; and there a little bed stood in readiness, and he laid her down.

Keren bent over her, and the child came hurrying to place the pillows. At her familiar touch, the mother opened her eyes and looked round the room. A small fire burned in the grate; a kettle stood on the hob, and near the bed a round table was drawn out and neatly spread for tea. The mother's eyes rested on it, and then upon her child, with unspeakable relief.

"That will do, dear," she whispered. comfortable. Have your tea now."



Gundry strode out of the room; the pent up agony of these hours overcame him at last. He stood in the loft alone, his strong frame convulsed, his tears falling like great drops of thunder rain upon the floor. Chris was sent up with something which had been left below, and paused in the doorway, aghast, awe-struck, thus to see his father weep. As softly as he could, he crept down the narrow stair again, and waited at the foot.

The storm was quickly spent. The strong man refrained himself and girt the bands of Necessity once more about him tight.

Why, Chris!" he said, surprised to see the boy, as he came downstairs.

"Mr. Brough sent me up with this," said Chris, indicating a heavy leathern case which Alcie had been specially careful to see safely into the cart.

"Take it through," said Gundry, pointing over his shoulder with his thumb as he went on downwards. He met Mr. Brough coming up.

"Have you anything more for me to do, sir?" he asked, stopping.

"Not at present; but if you can step round in an hour or two, the doctor will have been, and I should be glad to see you.

"Thank you, sir," said Gundry earnestly, and added, "Whatever expense you are at, sir, I hope you'll be good enough to let me settle it."

"I will," said Mr. Brough; and he kept his word; it was the only comfort he had to give. He held out his hand, and Gundry took it in a grasp that hurt.

"I can never thank you, sir," he said, huskily.


"Tut, tut," said Mr. Brough, and went on up the stairs.

Chris followed his father down.

"Take the straw back to the stable, my boy," said Gundry, “and then go home and tell mother Mr. Brough wants to see me soon, and I shan't be home to tea."


Yes, father," said Chris. Measured by use, those two words made up two-thirds of his whole vocabulary, to his father's ears.

Beyond No. 1 King's Buildings, gardens were laid out between the high road and the river. They were usually closed, except to subscribers, but to-day, men happened to be at work there, repairing damage done by the recent flood, and the farther gates were open. Gundry turned in, and sat where he could see the back of the Buildings. A stone parapet hid the windows of the large upper room from an observer so far below, but he could see the open window of the little room, and the unglazed eyelet in the loft. He saw figures pass the window, and repass again. That must be the doctor coming and going; and still Gundry sat on, till the workmen left, and the gates were closed; and then he took a turn round, till he thought Mr. Brough would be ready to see him. The busy, humming life of the city streets went on as usual. He was used, instinctively, to feel at home in it—a normal part of the whole. Now it seemed far away-a thing that did not know him. He was Gundry the builder, to it, and there was another Gundry, crying as the boy-heart had cried all those years. ago, "Alice, Alice, Alice." He was back in the buttercup meadows, and saw his love in all her flashing beauty, with the gold flowers in her raven hair. And then he was beside her in the hovel, and that man upon the floor.

In the large upper chamber, all was very still. The little weary watcher, fed, and comforted by seeing her mother also take a few spoonfuls of liquid food, was fast asleep on a rug, with her head upon a pillow. Keren had washed the tea-things and put them away, and now sat quietly knitting beside the bed. The sick woman lay half dozing, or waking into what seemed to her a peaceful dream. The comforts of her bed, of the delicate food tasted, and the sweet pure air in this large room, above all, the sense of being cared for, and having strong, skilled hands to tend her in her extremity of weakness-all seemed very wonderful and good; a rest to the weary pilgrim, before she stepped on again towards the last long rest. She knew that must be near, but just now she was too weak for the knowledge to make any impression on her mind. The pains of death had brought their own comforter: she had not vitality enough left to suffer.

The sound of men's footsteps in the loft roused her suddenly into eager yet half fearful expectation. Mr. Brough entered with the doctor, and the eager look faded away.

The doctor's visit was short. He asked few questions and disturbed the patient as little as possible, refusing to have the child-nurse awakened to give her report. Keren followed him into the outer room, where Mr. Brough was


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My dear, trust the Lord with it all,-all," said old Keren. "He will see to it."

"I have trusted-and waited-long," said the dying woman. "Lord, hear now."

She folded her hands and lay still, her eyes fixed on the strip of sky she could see, now turning to a darker blue as the twilight approached. Keren drew back out of sight, keeping her silent watch between the dying mother and the sleeping child; and it seemed to her that the presence of the Lord came and filled the chamber. She, too, was praying, but with car alert for one sound which the watcher by many a death-bed knows well. If she could help it, these two should not be sundered without a parting word.

It came, that change in the short, audible breathing. Keren bent over little Alcie.

"Wake up, dearie," she said; and as the child started up in alarm, she added reassuringly, "Never fear, dearie; only I want you to run down and ask Mr. Brough to come up, because I can't leave your mamma. Come back directly."

The child set off, still half asleep. She would be awake by the time she came back, and then she must be told all; but the mother's face was changing so rapidly, the minutes were an age to Keren, before returning steps were heard.

Gundry had just come in. Mr. Brough had told him the doctor's verdict, and was on the point of asking where the husband could be found, when Alcie flew downstairs, and entering out of breath, said

"Please, Mrs. Keren wants you to come."

She was off again instantly, and the two men hurried after her without a word. Keren met them in the outer room.

"One minute. Let 'em be alone a minute," she said.

They stood waiting, hearing faint murmurs from within, till startled by a child's sudden cry of "Mother."

All rushed in. The mother had fallen back

unconscious, but she was breathing still, and restoratives brought her back to life, and full clearness of mind. She looked from one to another. Again that searching, seeking look rested upon Gundry, and she saw him quiver under it.

"Joseph," she whispered, trying to move her hand.

He knelt down beside her and took it in his. The faint, feeble shadow of a smile touched the stiffening lips.

"My love to old friends," she whispered.

He bowed his head in acquiescence. Her eyes closed. He laid her hand gently on the coverlet again, and rose. The child crept to her old place by her mother's pillow. So they remained in silence for a little space, the only sound to be heard, the feeble, catching breath.

Suddenly the mother opened her eyes with an eager look. She had caught the sound of footsteps in the loft. Gundry thought it would be the doctor again. No, that shuffling, uneven step! Who-?

The door, which stood ajar, was pushed open, and his own son entered, leading the wreck of him whom he had known as Claude Langdale twenty years ago. At the sight, little Alcie sprang from the bed, and ran to take her father's hand and guide him to her mother's side.

Dazed and dizzy, the unhappy man yet had clearness enough to read the writing on his wife's face. Death was in the eyes that welcomed him. With a groan of anguish, he sank on his knees beside the bed.

Slowly, with panting breath, his wife moved her hand to his, and, as his head sank down upon it, she said in a clear voice, “Dearest."

It was the last flicker of expiring life. Her breathing grew slower, deeper. She looked at her child, at Gundry, and at the child again.

"I will take care of her," he said, one deep throb of joy smiting through him.

Again, and more beseechingly, her eyes turned to her husband, and then back to Gundry's face. The man's soul revolted. A deathly shudder seized him. She knew not what she asked.

Still those dying eyes waited, intent upon his face.

"I will," he uttered.

She heard, she understood; he saw it; but it was in the very act of mortality. A few more lingering breaths, and she was gone.

For a moment Alcie stood paralysed. Then, as she saw what they were doing, she threw herself upon the bed in an agony of grief.

At the sound, her father lifted his head, raised himself with difficulty, and drew her into his


Mr. Brough touched Gundry. "Come with me," he said, "We can do no more now." They left the room, Chris following them. No one spoke till they reached the entrance hall; then Mr. Brough asked, "How did the man get here?"

"Laurence Ryan brought him," said Chris, surprised to hear the tremor in his own voice. It was his first sight of death: no wonder he shock and trembled.

"Laurence followed the cart-I saw him," he continued, "and just now, when I was outside, he came with the man. I couldn't stop to find you, father, and ask you what to do," said the boy, his tears rising. "I asked at the door, and she said she was dying. And I knew where she was. I thought

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"You thought right, my boy," said Mr. Brough kindly. "Thank God you did it."

Chris looked up in amazement and relief, to find not only that had he done right, but that some one else thought so, in the first important step he had ever taken on his own responsibility. Mr. Brough drew Gundry into the parlour. "Will you see to the funeral?" he asked. “I can't leave the women alone in the house, with that man on their hands."

Gundry was thankful for any further need of action he wanted not to stop and think, yet. He took his orders, and coming out again, found that Chris sat waiting for him in the hall. The boy had stolen out to tell Laurence that all was over, and come back again.

"Would you like to go home, my boy, or to come with me?" asked Gundry.

"I'd like to stop with you, father," said Chris wistfully. The father laid his arm heavily on his shoulders for a moment. He was weak tonight, this strong man-craving for some one to cling to, some near affection, even from a child.

If souls were wont to show out their depths in act, the boy would have knelt down and passionately kissed his hands-his heart was so full when he remembered what he had seen in the loft; but he only walked on stolidly, looking straight before him. The idea that any expression of his feelings could be valued was so utterly outside his mind, he did not even long for power to make it. But he was pleased to be allowed to bear his father company, and Gundry liked to have him. Both shrank from going home. When every needful order had been given, they went up a long hill to the doctor's, to let him know that his patient was no more.

Two hours had passed before they came again. to King's Buildings, Gundry with white flowers in his hand.


Keren opened the door. "Oh, sir, you must take them up yourself," she exclaimed. You should see her as she lies. You won't disturb nobody. I have laid her in the outer room, and they're both asleep inside. The poor little dear's worn out she'll sleep till morning; and he," lowering her voice, he's got to sleep it off yet."

"Would you like to come too, my boy?" asked Gundry.

Chris trembled, but he said "Yes."

They went up together. When they reached the dark upper staircase, the father put out his hand for his child's, and held it as they climbed the stair and crossed the dark weird loft, where the night wind blew in through the eyelet, and their footsteps sounded strangely on the slender floor. The boy had gone through much that day, he remembered.

A light shone from the chamber of death.


Already some kind hand had placed white lilies there, and primulas, their scent filling the room. Keren had composed the wasted form, and dressed it in the fair white garments she had been keeping, as lone women of her class often do, in readiness for her own last earthly wear. The hands still told their tale of illness, but from the face, every token of distress was gone, and in its place had come a look of regal calm, of absolute, unsullied triumph. Those eyes "so softly sealed," the long dark lashes resting on the marble cheek-those eyes would never again open with a piercing "Why, oh why?" She was satisfied.

Long the watchers stood still and silent by her; then Gundry placed the flowers. He put a rosebud into the cold hands, and gave Chris white camellias to lay upon her breast.

"Now go on, and wait for me below," he said. Chris obeyed, turning at the door for one lingering look at the white, still face. Gundry heard him cross the loft, then he shut the door, and stood alone with the dead. He had one thing more to do, one vow to register by Alice Langdale's side.

He knelt down, and in silence vowed his vow. Then, as he felt how utterly it was beyond his power to keep, he uttered solemnly a prayer which he had read, he thought, in the Bible.

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put on youth eternal, and even the poor mortal frame had caught a reflex light. It was hard to leave her. He lingered on and on, till the thought of patient Chris below compelled him to force himself away. He bent down and left one kiss upon the marble hand-then went, to see her no more till they should be as the angels of God in heaven.

The night deepened to midnight and waned again towards the day. The morning star hung in the east, the pale dawn was stealing into that still chamber, when the inner door opened softly, and a grey, haggard, ghastly face appeared. Langdale had awakened himself-such a self as his own deeds had made him. He could not stay away, but he came shrinking, shuddering, to look on the beloved face as he last remembered it, with death stamped there. He paused in wonder. A scent of lilies filled the air. Alice lay at rest among the flowers, and her face, when his trembling hand removed the covering, bore still that wondrous look which Gundry and Chris had seen the evening before.

The peace, the beauty, were a knell to him: they were nought of his. His were the marks of agony-last night's. He had gone on writing, writing, those deathly lines, till God's hand interposed and laid her there, beyond his cruel touch. Those eyes would weep no more, because they would never again light up with the love which he had made her anguish. There were flowers laid upon her breast, but not by himnot by the one whom with her latest breath she had called "Dearest."



(Inscription on Dean Alford's tomb in St. Martin's Churchyard, Canterbury.)

WHAT is called an inn, an hostelry, or hotel,

WHAT an an

among the Greeks by two words which are remarkable for the peculiar turns of meaning which their structure presents. One of these words-κaтáλvua-apparently implies that an inn is a place where the yoke is undone, the girdle unloosed; the other-wavdoкeîov-that there anyone, no matter what his name or condition, is received. These two terms thus give us two pictures of Eastern life. In the one, we behold the belated traveller arriving at the inn, we behold the staying of the tired teams in the yard, the freeing of them from the cart-pole, the turning of the traveller into the house, the spreading of his mat, the unbinding of his girdle, the stretching of his weary limbs, the giving of himself to sleep. In the other word, we are shown the motley gathering which is within the walls; the merchant is there, we see, and the shepherd, the rich man and the poor man, the wise man and

the simple, the honest man and the thief. As surely as weariness has come upon them all, as surely as night has overtaken them all, so surely for every one of them is there room in the inn. There is another inn of which more really than of any eastern inn, both these things are true; there is another inn, from which no traveller was ever turned away; and in which the girdle-rope is unbound, never to be bound again; the sandals unloosed never again to go on the weary feet; for what hospitality was ever so wide as the hospitality of death? what disentanglement from the trammels of life, what freedom from life's cares and life's concerns was ever so complete? The inscription on Dean Alford's tomb describing it as "the inn of a traveller going to Jerusalem," is conceived in this spirit.

There is something in this later autumn season, which seems particularly congenial to the topic of this discourse. The harvest has been reaped and gathered in, and the field lies dead and fallow.

The woods, indeed, have clothed themselves in the garments of their richest pomp; but this is because these garments are about to be laid aside. Nature, so to speak, has reached the Inn which lies at the end of her yearly journey, and she prepares herself for the repose of the winter.

In the speech of almost all the races of mankind, is to be found a mass of thoughts and sentiments which, being always and everywhere recognised as true, have never been taught by any particular revelation. Men have picked them up in the converse of the market and the schools; they have used them and tested them there; their common experience has impressed them with the stamp of worth and truth. Of such natural thoughts and sentiments, as we might call them, the proverbs of a nation are wholly composed. The Bible is full of these wise words. The value of the Book of Proverbs consists in these. The Book of the Preacher contains scarcely anything else. It required, for example, no prophet to declare that "He that sleepeth in harvest, is a son that causeth shame," and that "The sleep of a labouring man is sweet." It required no inspired pen to tell that "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity," nor that "Better is a dry morsel with quietness than an house full of sacrifices with strife." These are words of a natural, homely philosophy which men learned and tested in their dealings with their fellows in the house, the street, and the field. And as they had these words, words which had to do with the business and intercourse of life, so also had they words of a sadder, although no less natural wisdom. It needed no especial message to teach men the lesson of mutability and decay, that lesson they read in the waning woods, in the chafing stream, in the wasting of the sea. It needed no finger of God to write upon their sundials the words of the ancient legend:-"Shadows we are, and like shadows depart; " the sun itself wrote it there in the silent shadows of the passing years. It needed no voice from heaven, indeed, to warn men that life was short, and that death was inevitable; they soon learned to call life a span, a vapour that vanisheth away, and to look on death as the very type of certainty. And taking these lessons of wisdom from their heart and their experience men set themselves to shape their days and their hours in accordance with their instruction, and their days and their hours they shaped to two very different results. Some of them learned from it but a sorry conduct. Life is short, they said, and death is sure and dark, therefore let us have what pleasures we may. Against the strength of death, they said, there is no herb in any garden, therefore let us pluck the flowers of life while they are sweet to us and pleasant. He sits, "the Arch Fear," at the chamber door waiting for us until we leave the feast, therefore, let us have a skeleton at the table, let us crown it with garlands, let us make with it our merriest jest. Let us eat, drink, and be merry, they said, for to-morrow we die. And often these men, sick of the emptiness of their

pursuits, tired of the monotony of their lives, have pulled back with their own hands, the curtain which hides the unseen, and have gone out thus into the dark. But there have been others of a sterner sort to whom this natural wisdom taught a different practice. That life is short, and that death is dark and certain, was a black shadow, indeed, to their thought; but it bred in them the nobler purpose to live that life well, and to front that death bravely. From the darkness of the heathen world there have arisen proudly and nobly, men to whom none will deny the name of the virtuous, upon whose cheek we can scarcely discern the pallor of death's terrors. Socrates, Antoninus, Zeno, Seneca, Epictetus, stand grandly and fearlessly up, and the voice of their wisdom concerning death sounds from the distance unto us, like the words of a modern poet: "So live," they tell us

"That when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

These lines have been considered sufficiently untouched by Christian sentiment to be repeated over a secular grave in a London cemetery; and their natural wisdom sounds hollow enough in comparison with the words of life and immortality which the gospel brought to light. They stand, indeed, to the fuller words of revelation, as one of those heathen philosophers himself would appear by the saints of God. Defiant to life and its ills, defiant to death and its fears, with its bare cold morality drawn around it, defiant even to its gods, was the best of the heathen philosophy; but to the followers of Jesus there is no defiance, and there comes to be no fear. St. Francis, in that strange companionship into which he had entered with all nature, was wont to call death his sweet sister; and there was this, surely, of tender beauty in the term, that it was this sister Death who, at length, would lead him by the hand to his Saviour, to be with Him for

ever more.

Death, to return at the close of this short essay to the notion with which it began, Death standing out in the light which Christianity sheds upon it, seems, indeed, to be like an eastern inn; to it all men are journeying, in it all the concerns of this life must be laid aside and folded up; but it is only an inn, and not a dwellingplace, and from it the children of God, who have gone to their rest, trusting in His love and His mercy, awake after the manner of the weariest travellers, and with the morning light in their faces, go forth into that world where they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.


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