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• The chaps were uncommon small this morning, father; andand—so's the minister.'
Now look here, Bob, my lad,' said Woodford, which that don't concern you. 'Twould not be manners to go off in a moment of time without giving your school a trial, and if so be that in a month or so you find it's not what you're accustomed to, I'll speak to Mr. Anson, and ask him to recommend a Bible-class or such that you can attend. But liberty, which means pipes, is what at your age on a Sunday afternoon I don't hold with, nor,' he added, “expect to see.'
Bob subsided entirely, and Esther abstained from repeating Polly Mason's strictures on the Sunday-school, so that the whole party started off in excellent time after dinner.
They were consoled by observing a group of much bigger girls than had attended in the morning standing about at the foot of the stairs, while two or three little boys rushed noisily down as they went up to take their places. There was some delay in beginning, and Alice talked a little to a neat trim damsel, who told her she was in service and allowed out in the afternoon, and when Miss Walters appeared, and after the hymn sat down to teach them, she looked so kindly at her new scholars, that Alice's soft little heart began to warm to her, though she was considerably astonished at being praised for remembering clearly which of the Evangelists were also Apostles. What would Miss Alice have said if she had forgotten such a simple thing as that?
And how could Miss Walters allow those two big girls to talk to each other while the Catechism was being repeated. Why, they did not leave off when she said, with the most extraordinary mildness, • Don't, my dears, I cannot hear the lessons !' Alice was sure they were at least thirteen.
Quiet was restored when a story was read aloud of rather a more secular character than the Woodfords were used to in Sunday-school; but then, as one girl said, “We shan't listen, teacher, unless it makes us laugh, perhaps that was inevitable.
Alice felt dismal as she walked home, and Esther remarked
· Well, I'd like to see that Ellen Durham, or whatever her name is, at Roseberry.'
Their brother had had a more comfortable lesson, the class was small, and as, of course, Mr. Anson had plenty to say when he was allowed to say it, the excellent Robert could not feel that he was wasting his time.
Alfred found himself in front of a gentle-looking lady, who wore spectacles. Alfred, with the sharpness of the son of a gentleman's servant, detected at once that she did not occupy quite the same position as the ladies that he was accustomed to, and perceived also that she had no power whatever of keeping fifteen unruly boys in order. She had several little sheets of paper inside her Bible, and began to give a carefully-prepared lesson. Alfred was a clever child
and the description of the habits of Eastern shepherds interested him ; but he speedily found that it was not the fashion to attend to Miss Brown. Nobody listened, nobody answered, the boys made dashes into other classes, and when Miss Brown, for about the twentieth time, remonstrated, a daring voice called out, 'We'll go up to Mr. Clegg's next Sunday.
Alfred held his breath. Roseberry boys were not so immaculate as that burrs, cliders, and green apples did not occasionally appear there; but never had he seen these objects, or the behaviour which accompanied them, meet with any toleration at all. Instant confiscation, and a very unpleasant interview with some authority after school, had always resulted, and when Miss Brown only said, with extra mildness: 'I am sure—I am sure, Tom Peek, that you have too much attachment to your church to do that,' Alfred conceived a contempt for her, in his foolish little heart. She was fair game.
Little Jem meanwhile was one of a large class of little boys, who seemed to be rolling about the gallery, more like caterpillars than children, while their teacher, who was young, and looked, as she well might, rather cross, walked about and made occasional dashes at them.
Alfred was certainly not going to be the one weak-minded boy, who submitted to a weak teacher. If day-school was like this!
But it was not at all like it. Alfred found himself among an immense number of boys, some of whom were rough enough, but who were all under strict discipline, and had to work hard at their standards, and Tom Peek might be seen doing sums with lamb-like meekness. Alfred found himself of no account whatever, and not likely to be noticed unless he fell into disgrace.
The girls, too, found that the arrival of new scholars did not seem at all astonishing to Mrs. Trapp, the mistress. There were, indeed, several others, and no one took much trouble even to stare at them. They fell into their places, and found that their performances were similar enough to those of the other girls to pass without remark.
None of the family were very happy during those first weeks at Dulworth, and perhaps the father found the new life the hardest of all.
It was a great change to live away from the garden where he worked, instead of in it. He felt a stranger there, although he had a man and boy to work under him, was allowed to spend almost what he liked, and found his new master prepared to believe in his views, and to let him have his own way. But his heart was not yet in his work.
If I had only had the half of that there manure at home,' he thought, 'what a crop the old garden would have turned out! Old master, he were constantly mistook about the plants; but Mr. Clavering, he don't know enough to go wrong about them. Well, VOL. 14.
master's got no garden up in London, and he don't complain; but all the glass here don't make up for it, nor two men, and a donkey to pull the machine.
Woodford, moreover, disliked St. Michael's Church with all the loyalty of his country conservatism. He disapproved of the few particulars in which it went ahead of the older fashioned Roseberry standard, and he despised it for the many ways in which its struggling poverty showed itself. But the same loyalty made him believe it his duty to stick to it; and there he sat Sunday after Sunday, till Mr. Anson really believed that his sermons were exactly suited to that excellent fellow, Woodford.'
A MODERN MAIDEN.
While the father of the family slowly began to feel a personal interest in the vines and flower-beds of Glenrosa, and the children gradually shook down into their places at school, Mrs. Woodford still felt herself, as she expressed it, ‘fairly bore off her feet' by the ways of Dulworth, and though, had she been a more ignorant woman, she might have fretted and pined more after the familiarity of home, she would not have been nearly so much disturbed and puzzled by the novelties, which she appreciated enough to dislike. When Miss Goodall, five-and-twenty years before, had met among her Roseberry scholars, with that rare creature, a girl with a responsive mind, she had poured out upon her all her own young enthusiasm, had made her read the books and the poetry which she loved herself, had taught her to believe in her own watch words, to worship her own heroes, and had, in short, provided her with an ideal, and a very high one. Neither girl had had enough experience to know how far the utterly unfamiliar teaching could be really assimilated; but they learned to love each other with a life-long affection, and when life taught them both to feel the reality of the truths which they had admired together, the teacher felt how much beyond herself had been the truths which she had taught; the scholar was grateful for having been taught to reverence what she now experienced.
When Beatrice Goodall had been laughed at for making the village girl, whose spelling was doubtful, and whose grammar was faulty, read and admire the Christian Year,' she had still further provoked ridicule by saying that Susan Lifford might be a very St. Margaret among her equals in Roseberry, and, far-fetched and romantic as was the comparison, it was not altogether untrue. She did guide her less-educated husband to a greater degree of refinement and a clearer sense of religion; she did bring up her children to something of her own superiority; she did set up a standard, and gave all the help of a good example in the gradual raising and pulling up of the tone of the village. There are many such women in England, whose lives and examples will count high if ever Sunday-school teaching, and all the influence that has accompanied it, are paid for by results.'
Mrs. Woodford had rather a more intellectual turn than is common, and so had been able to receive and to pass on the form, as well as the spirit, of her young lady's teaching; but, of course, her knowledge could but be a path of light amid surrounding dimness, as far as her intellectual training was concerned ; while her practical life had been particularly retired and simple. She had helped in the village school, learned a little of the village dressmaker, spent a few years in service at the Rectory, married the Rector's gardener, and had hardly passed a fortnight out of Roseberry in her life. She knew very well how to be a good Church woman, a discreet wife, a careful mother in her own village; but in Dulworth the application of her principles was very difficult.
In the first place, after a person has enjoyed a perfectly fixed social position on whatever level, it is perplexing to find it disturbed. Mrs. Woodford, like other mothers, wanted to cultivate the best society open to her for her children, and she was in the habit of thinking that people who earned good and regular wages, or were in small trade, were likely to afford it; but she was so dissatisfied with “the ways of all her neighbours, than she discouraged her girls from making acquaintances, and made them refuse the friendly overtures of their new companions. But over her niece, Lily, she had less control, and during the first weeks at Dulworth was nearer quarrelling with her than had ever been the case before.
Lily was a clever girl, and, belonging to a later generation, was, much less rustic than her aunt in appearance and accent, could speak and write better English, and had, outwardly, assimilated more to the class above her. As she had been very carefully trained, she had more than is common of religious knowledge, performed her religious duties regularly, and, since she had been in Dulworth, had set up some religious opinions. But she was not made of the same quality of stuff as Mrs. Woodford, and she could not help being rather shallow. But a shallow brook may be bright and clear, and Lily had always been as good as she knew how to be. Was she to be swamped and swallowed up in the rush of many waters of the town life? On the same Sunday that the children first went to school, Lily announced that she couldn't put up with that St. Michael's twice a day, she should go to St. Augustine’s.
''Tis the fashion, you know, aunt, and oh my! the lights and the singing are first-rate.'
But, Lily, it's a mile down the town; you can't come back in the dark by yourself.'
Why, aunt, I come back in the dark every night.' *More's the pity. But that's not the same thing, Lily. The
numbers of idle young fellows I see trooping up and down the road of a Sunday is beyond belief; and it don't look nice to see a girl all by herself among them—no, nor two girls—even if you do call for Miss Dawson.'
* Aunt Susan, that's downright ridiculous. Every girl in Dulworth goes out by herself on a Sunday, and I'm not one to behave so as to be spoken to. I can take care of myself, and I've no friend at present I care to walk with, though—with a toss of her pretty head—'there's some that mightn't object to walking with me.'
Oh, Lily, I hope you're careful!'
Careful, aunt? Yes, indeed. I never make acquaintance out of doors, nor go out walking with those as are strangers-never.'
'I should hope not, indeed. But, Lily, besides the walking thero don't seem to me to be any principle in picking and choosing where you go.'
• Principle, Aunt Susan? I have principles. I was brought up to church, and I never go to other places. And I like the high. I'm Ritualistic. That's a principle.'
“My dear, I should leave the calling of names to those as understand it.'
*But I do understand, Aunt Susan. Ritualists have flowers and crosses and singing and banners in church, and men and women sit different sides, and think a deal of going to Communion, as I'm sure, Aunt Susan, you brought us up to.'
"Oh, Lily, Lily, 'twasn't flowers nor banners that we were brought to think of with that at Roseberry.
No,' said Lily; I know it was different outside, but I believe the Rector was a Ritualist inside, as you'd say, if you heard the Vicar at St. Augustine's. He do move one, and make one want to come to church regular. And all our young ladies that are church go to hear him. Unless, to be sure, they think different altogether, and then they attend St. Peter's, which is a black gown, and young ladies to sing in the gallery ; and you know, aunt, the Rector didn't like girls in the choir, nor to sing so as to be noticed.'
Mrs. Woodford was silent. Certainly Lily had never showed so much interest in church going at Roseberry, and she did not know how to express even to herself her feeling that there was irreverence, in all this surface chatter, however correct the principles might be which it expressed. How well she remembered the effort, the awfulness of her own first Communion, and how, when the number of Celebrations had been largely increased at Roseberry, how she bad been afraid of coming often, for fear the only motive should be to please Miss Goodall.
But she could not express herself; and Lily certainly had the best of it in words; besides, nobody could say that the services at St.
Augustine's did not do the girl good. As time went on she certainly - took a great deal of trouble to attend them, and attached herself to a