“There is a bed of lilies that dear grandmother used to love to watch, and Amelia and I thought it interesting when we had had this picture put up to observe that its eyes seemed to fall on the same place. They were not friends, my grandmother and her brother, and no doubt after his death my grandmother laid their frequent quarrels to heart, for she could never bear to mention him, though she had a beautiful monument put up to his memory. You must go and see it, Mr. Brandon. We have lately had it cleaned, and dear grandmother’s name added under his.”
“I will,” said Brandon.
“Even as the sparrow
findeth an house, and the swallow a nest for
herself where she may lay her young, so I seek thine altars, O Lord
of Hosts, my King and my God.”—Psalm lxxxiv., Marginal Translation.
Rising early the next morning, Brandon found that he had an hour to spare before breakfast, and sallied forth for an early walk. A delicate hoarfrost still made white the shade, and sparkled all over the sombre leaves of some fine yew-trees that grew outside the garden wall.
Walking up a little rise, he saw the weathercock and one turret of a church tower peering over the edge of a small steep hill, close at hand, and turning toward it he went briskly on, under the lee of a short fir plantation, all the grass being pure and fresh with hoar-frost, which melted in every hollow and shadow as fast as the sun came round to it.
The house was too large and pretentious for the grounds it stood in, these being hardly extensive enough to be called a park; they consisted of finely varied wood and dell, and were laid out in grass and fed off by sheep.
He passed through a gate into the churchyard, which had a very little valley all to itself, the land rising on every side so as to make a deep nest for it. Such a venerable, low, long church! taking old age so quietly, covering itself with ivy and ferns, and having a general air of mossiness, and subsidence into the bosom of the earth again, from whence its brown old stones had been quarried. For, as is often the case with an old burial-place, the soil had greatly risen, so that one who walked between the graves could see the whole interior of the place through the windows. The tiled roof, sparkling and white with the morning frost, was beginning to drip, and dew shone on the melting rime, while all around the enclosure orchards were planted, and the trees leaned over their boughs.
A woman, stepping from a cottage on the rise, held up a great key to him, and he advanced, took it, and told her he would return it.