CHAPTER III—THE NEW PRINCIPLE
’And wilt thou show no more, quoth he,
Than doth thy duty bind?
I well perceive thy love is small.’
On the Sunday evening which followed Eleanor’s wedding, Lilias was sitting next to Emily, and talking in very earnest tones, which after a time occasioned Claude to look up and say, ’What is all this about? Something remarkably absurd I suspect.’
‘Only a new principle,’ said Emily.
‘New!’ cried Lily, ’only what must be the feeling of every person of any warmth of character?’
‘Now for it then,’ said Claude.
’No, no, Claude, I really mean it (and Lily sincerely thought she did). I will not tell you if you are going to laugh.’
‘That depends upon what your principle may chance to be,’ said Claude. ’What is it, Emily? She will be much obliged to you for telling.’
’She only says she cannot bear people to do their duty, and not to act from a feeling of love,’ said Emily.
‘That is not fair,’ returned Lily, ’all I say is, that it is better that people should act upon love for its own sake, than upon duty for its own sake.’
‘What comes in rhyme with Lily?’ said Claude.
‘Don’t be tiresome, Claude, I really want you to understand me.’
‘Wait till you understand yourself,’ said the provoking brother, ’and let me finish what I am reading.’
For about a quarter of an hour he was left in peace, while Lily was busily employed with a pencil and paper, under the shadow of a book, and at length laid before him the following verses:-
’What is the source of gentleness,
The spring of human blessedness,
Bringing the wounded spirit healing,
The comforts high of heaven revealing,
The lightener of each daily care,
The wing of hope, the life of prayer,
The zest of joy, the balm of sorrow,
Bliss of to-day, hope of to-morrow,
The glory of the sun’s bright beam,
The softness of the pale moon stream,
The flow’ret’s grace, the river’s voice,
The tune to which the birds rejoice;
Without it, vain each learned page,
Cold and unfelt each council sage,
Heavy and dull each human feature,
Lifeless and wretched every creature;
In which alone the glory lies,
Which value gives to sacrifice?
’Tis that which formed the whole creation,
Which rests on every generation.
Of Paradise the only token
Just left us, ’mid our treasures broken,
Which never can from us be riven,
Sure earnest of the joys of Heaven.
And which, when earth shall pass away,
Shall be our rest on the last day,
When tongues shall fail and knowledge cease,
And throbbing hearts be all at peace:
When faith is sight, and hope is sure,
That which alone shall still endure
Of earthly joys in heaven above,
‘Tis that best gift, eternal Love!’
‘What have you there?’ said Mr. Mohun, who had come towards them while Claude was reading the lines. Taking the paper from Claude’s hand, he read it to himself, and then saying, ’Tolerable, Lily; there are some things to alter, but you may easily make it passable,’ he went on to his own place, leaving Lilias triumphant.