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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 468 pages of information about Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood.
crawling on to the sweep it made out of sight just where Mr Brownrigg’s farm began to come down to its banks.  Then I looked to the left, and there stood my old church, as quiet in the dreary day, though not so bright, as in the sunshine:  even the graves themselves must look yet more “solemn sad” in a wintry day like this, than they look when the sunlight that infolds them proclaims that God is not the God of the dead but of the living.  One of the great battles that we have to fight in this world—­for twenty great battles have to be fought all at once and in one—­is the battle with appearances.  I turned me to the right, and there once more I saw, as on that first afternoon, the weathercock that watched the winds over the stables at Oldcastle Hall.  It had caught just one glimpse of the sun through some rent in the vapours, and flung it across to me, ere it vanished again amid the general dinginess of the hour.

CHAPTER XXV.

Two parishioners.

I have said, near the beginning of my story, that my parish was a large one:  how is it that I have mentioned but one of the great families in it, and have indeed confined my recollections entirely to the village and its immediate neighbourhood?  Will my reader have patience while I explain this to him a little?  First, as he may have observed, my personal attraction is towards the poor rather than the rich.  I was made so.  I can generally get nearer the poor than the rich.  But I say generally, for I have known a few rich people quite as much to my mind as the best of the poor.  Thereupon, of course, their education would give them the advantage with me in the possibilities of communion.  But when the heart is right, and there is a good stock of common sense as well,—­a gift predominant, as far as I am aware, in no one class over another, education will turn the scale very gently with me.  And then when I reflect that some of these poor people would have made nobler ladies and gentlemen than all but two or three I know, if they had only had the opportunity, there is a reaction towards the poor, something like a feeling of favour because they have not had fair play—­a feeling soon modified, though not altered, by the reflection that they are such because God who loves them better than we do, has so ordered their lot, and by the recollection that not only was our Lord himself poor, but He said the poor were blessed.  And let me just say in passing that I not only believe it because He said it, but I believe it because I see that it is so.  I think sometimes that the world must have been especially created for the poor, and that particular allowances will be made for the rich because they are born into such disadvantages, and with their wickednesses and their miseries, their love of spiritual dirt and meanness, subserve the highest growth and emancipation of the poor, that they may inherit both the earth and the kingdom of heaven.

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