“I feel I must speak one word before I leave you, even if it be out of season. With the recollection of last night still so fresh, even the serious things of life seem trifles, far more its small conventionalities. Mr. Lyndsay, your friend has made his choice, but you are dallying between belief and unbelief. Oh, do not dally long! We need no spirit from the dead to tell us life is short. Do we not feel it passing quicker and quicker every year? The one thing that is serious in all its shows and delusions is the question it puts to each one of us, and which we answer to our eternal loss or gain. Many different voices call to us in this age of false prophets, but one only threatens as well as invites. Would it not be only wise, prudent even, to give the preference to that? Mr. Lyndsay, I beseech you, accept the teaching of the Church, which is one with that of conscience and of nature, and believe that there is a God, a Sovereign, a Lawgiver, a Judge.”
He was gone, and I still stood thinking of his words, and of his gaze while he spoke them.
The mists were all gone, now, leaving behind them in shimmering dewdrops an iridescent veil on mead and copse and garden; the river gleamed in diamond curves and loops, while in the covert near me the birds were singing as if from hearts that over-brimmed with joy.
And slowly, sadly, I repeated to myself the words—Sovereign, Lawgiver, Judge.
I was hungering for bread; I was given a stone.
MRS. MOLYNEUX’S GOSPEL
“The room is all ready now,” said Lady Atherley, “but Lucinda has never written to say what train she is coming by.”
“A good thing, too,” said Atherley; “we shall not have to send for her. Those unlucky horses are worked off their legs already. Is that the carriage coming back from Rood Warren? Harold, run and stop it, and tell Marsh to drive round to the door before he goes to the stables. I may as well have a lift down to the other end of the village.”
“What do you want to do at the other end of the village?”
“I don’t want to do anything, but my unlucky fate as a landowner compels me to go over and look at an eel-weir which has just burst. Lindy, come along with me, and cheer me up with one of your ghost stories. You are as good as a Christmas annual.”
“And on your way back,” said Lady Atherley, “would you mind the carriage stopping to leave some brandy at Monk’s? Mr. Austyn told me last night he was so weak, and the doctor has ordered him brandy every hour.”
Atherley was disappointed with what he called my last edition of the ghost; he complained that it was little more definite than the Canon’s.