“And so I come to the contents of your own letter. You say you marvel that these wretched people you visited do not, in a wild burst of insurrection, overthrow all social order, and seize for themselves a fair share of the world’s goods. I marvel also;—all the more that their very teachers in religion seem to lay such stress on the joys of life. And yet what profit would a real Christian preacher draw for them from this very misery of their existence! He would teach them that herein lay their supreme blessing, not their curse; that in their poverty and nakedness lay means of grace and salvation such as the rich can scarcely by any means attain to; that they should proudly, devoutly, accept their heritage of woe, and daily thank God for depriving them of all that can make life dear. Only awaken the spirit in these poor creatures, and how near might they be to the true Kingdom of Heaven! And surely such a preacher will yet arise, and there will be a Reformation very different from the movement we now call by that name. But I weary you, perhaps. It may be you have no interest in all this. Yet I think you would wish me to write from what I am.
“It would interest me to hear your further experiences in the new work. Believe me to be your sincere friend,
Waymark read, and thought, and wondered.
Then it was time to go and collect his rents.
UP THE RIVER
Here is an extract from a letter written by Julian Casti to Waymark in the month of May. By this time they were living near to each other, but something was about to happen which Julian preferred to communicate in writing.
“This will be the beginning of a new life for me. Already I have felt a growth in my power of poetical production. Verse runs together in my thoughts without effort; I feel ready for some really great attempt. Have you not noticed something of this in me these last few days? Come and see me to-night, if you can, and rejoice with me.”
This meant that Julian was about to be married. Honeymoon journey was out of the question for him. He and his wife established themselves in the lodgings which he was already occupying. And the new life began.
Waymark had made Harriet’s acquaintance a couple of weeks before; Julian had brought her with him one Sunday to his friend’s room. She was then living alone, having quitted Mrs. Ogle the day after that decisive call upon Julian. There was really no need for her to have done so, Mrs. Ogle’s part in the comedy being an imaginary one of Harriet’s devising. But Julian was led entirely by his cousin, and, as she knew quite well, there was not the least danger of his going on his own account to the shop in Gray’s Inn Road; he dreaded the thought of such an interview.
Waymark was not charmed with Miss Smales; the more he thought of this marriage, the more it amazed him; for, of course, he deemed it wholly of his friend’s bringing about.