But the essential and vital part of the mystery is not what the soul asks of it, but the signals which it makes to the soul. And here I am but recording my own experience when I say that the lights and gleams of sunset, its golden inlets and cloud-ripples, the dusky veil it weaves about the world, is for my own spirit the solemnity which effects for me what I believe that the mass effects for a devoted Catholic—the unfolding in hints and symbols of the mysteries of God. An unbeliever may look on at a mass and see nothing but the vesture and the rite, a drama of woven paces and waving hands, when a believer may become aware of the very presence of the divine. And the sunset has for me that same unveiling of the beauty of God; it illumines and transfigures life; it shows me visibly and sacredly that beauty pure and stainless runs from end to end of the universe, and calls upon me to adore it, to prostrate myself before its divine essence. The fact that another may see it carelessly and indifferently makes no difference. It only means that not thus does he perceive God. But, for myself, I know no experience more wholly and deeply religious than when I pass in solitude among deep stream-fed valleys, or over the wide fenland, or through the familiar hamlet, and see the dying day flame and smoulder far down in the west among cloudy pavilions or in tranquil spaces of clear sky. Then the well-known land whose homely, day-long energies I know seems to gather itself together into a far and silent adoration, to commit itself trustfully and quietly to God, to receive His endless benediction, and in that moment to become itself eternal in a soft harmony of voiceless praise and passionate desire.
THE HOUSE OF PENGERSICK
There are days—perhaps it is well that they are not more common— when by some singular harmony of body and spirit, every little sound and sight strikes on the senses with a peculiar sharpness and distinctness of quality, has a keen and racy savour, and comes as delightfully home to the mind as cool well-water to thirsty lips. Everything seems in place, in some well-designed combination or symphony of the senses; and more than that—the sound, the sight, whatever it be, sets free a whole train of far-reaching and mysterious thoughts, that seem to flash the secret of life on the spirit—or rather hint it in a tender, smiling way, as a mother nods a delighted acquiescence to the eager questions of a child face to face with some happy surprise. That day of January was just such a day to me, as we drove along the dreary road from Marazion to Helston, by ruined mine-towers with their heaps of scoriae, looking out to the sea on the one hand, and on the other to the low, monotonous slopes of tilth and pasture, rising and falling like broad-backed waves, with here and there a wild and broken wood of firs, like the forest of Broceliande, or a holt of wind-brushed, fawn-coloured ash-trees, half empurpled by the coming of spring, in some rushy dingle by the stream side.