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Catherine Furze by Mark Rutherford

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"No, I don't."

"There, now, you are one of those horrid creatures, I know you are,
who never WILL understand, and do it on purpose. It is so

"Well, but you said he was not a gentleman, and yet that he was a

"You ARE provoking. I say he is a gentleman--but don't some
gentlemen keep a carriage?--and his father is in business. Isn't
that plain? You know all about it as well as I do."

"I still do not quite comprehend."

Catharine took a little pleasure in forcing people to be definite,
and Miss Arden invariably fell back on "you understand" whenever she
herself did not understand. In fact, in exact proportion to her own
inability to make herself clear to herself, did she always insist
that she was clear to other people.

"I cannot help it if you don't comprehend. He's lovely, and I adore

Next morning, being Sunday, the Limes was, if possible, still more
irreproachable; the noise of the household was more subdued; the
passions appeared more utterly extinguished, and any indifferent
observer would have said that from the Misses Ponsonby down to the
scullery-maid, a big jug had been emptied on every spark of illegal
fire, and blood was toast and water. Alas! it was not so. The
boots were cleaned overnight to avoid Sunday labour, but when the
milkman came, a handsome young fellow, anybody with ears near the
window overhead might have detected a scuffling at the back door
with some laughter and something like "Oh, don't!" and might have
noticed that Elizabeth afterwards looked a little rumpled and
adjusted her cap. Nor was she singular, for many of the young women
who were supposed to be studying a brief abstract of the history of
the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, in parallel columns, as arranged
by the Misses Ponsonby, were indulging in the naughtiest thoughts
and using naughty words as they sat in their bedrooms before the
time for departure to church. At a quarter-past ten the girls
assembled in the dining-room, and were duly marshalled. They did
not, however, walk two-and-two like ordinary schools. In the first
place, many of them were not children, and, in the second place, the
Misses Ponsonby held that even walking to church was a thing to be
taught, and they desired to turn out their pupils so that they might
distinguish themselves in this art also as well-bred people. It was
one of the points on which the Misses Ponsonby grew even eloquent.
How, they said, are girls to learn to carry themselves properly if
they march in couples? They will not do it when they leave the
Limes, and will be utterly at fault. There is no day in the week on
which more general notice is taken than on Sunday; there is no day
on which differences are more apparent. The pupils therefore walked
irregularly, the irregularity being prescribed. The entering the
church; the leaving the pews; the loitering and salutations in the
churchyard; the show, superior saunter homewards were all the result
of lecture, study, and even of practice on week-days.
"Deliberation, ease," said Miss Ponsonby, "are the key to this, as
they are to so much in our behaviour, and surely on the Sabbath we
ought more than on any other day to avoid indecorous hurry and

Catharine's curiosity, after what Miss Arden had said, was a little
excited to know what kind of a man Mr. Cardew might be, and she
imagined him a young dandy. She saw a man about thirty-five with
dark brown hair, eyes set rather deeply in his head, a little too
close together, a delicate, thin, very slightly aquiline nose, and a
mouth with curved lips, which were, however, compressed as if with
determination or downright resolution. There was not a trace of
dandyism in him, and he reminded her immediately of a portrait she
had seen of Edward Irving in a shop at Eastthorpe.

He stood straight up in the pulpit reading from a little Testament
he held in his hand, and when he had given out his text he put the
Testament down and preached without notes. His subject was a
passage in the life of Jesus taken from Luke xviii. 18 -

18. And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Master, what shall
I do to inherit eternal life?

19. And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? None is
good, save one, that is God.

20. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not
kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness ,Honour thy father and

21. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

22. Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, Yet
lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast and distribute unto
the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow

Mr Cardew did not approach this theme circuitously or indifferently,
but seemed in haste to be on close terms with it, as if it had dwelt
with him and he was eager to deliver his message.

"I beseech you," he began, "endeavour to make this scene real to
you. A rich man, an official, comes to Jesus, calls Him Teacher--
for so the word is in the Greek--and asks Him what is to be done to
inherit eternal life. How strange it is that such a question should
be so put! how rare are the occasions on which two people approach
one another so nearly! Most of us pass days, weeks, months, years
in intercourse with one another, and nothing which even remotely
concerns the soul is ever mentioned. Is it that we do not care?
Mainly that, and partly because we foolishly hang back from any
conversation on what it is most important we should reveal, so that
others may help us. Whenever you feel any promptings to speak of
the soul or to make any inquiries on its behalf, remember it is a
sacred duty not to suppress them.

"This ruler was happy in being able to find a single authority to
whom he could appeal for an answer. If anybody wishes for such an
answer now, he can find no oracle sole and decisive. The voices of
the Church, the sects, the philosophers are clamorous but
discordant, and we are bewildered. And yet, as I have told you over
and over again in this pulpit, it is absolutely necessary that you
should have one and one only supreme guide. To say nothing of
eternal salvation, we must, in the conduct of life, shape our
behaviour by some one standard, or the result is chaos. We must
have some one method or principle which is to settle beforehand how
we are to do this or that, and the method or principle should be
Christ. Leaving out of sight altogether His divinity, there is no
temper, no manner so effectual, so happy as His for handling all
human experience. Oh, what a privilege it is to meet with anybody
who is controlled into unity, whose actions are all directed by one
consistent force!

"Jesus, as if to draw from this ruler all that he himself believed,
tells him to keep the Law. The Law, however, is insufficient, and
it is noteworthy that the ruler felt it to be so. To begin with, it
is largely negative: there are three negatives in this twentieth
verse for one affirmative, and negations cannot redeem us. The law
is also external. As a proof that it is ineffectual, I ask, Have
you ever REJOICED in it? Have you ever been kindled by it? Have
all its precepts ever moved you like one single item in the story of
the love of Jesus? Is the man attractive to you who has kept the
law and done nothing more? Would not the poor woman who anointed
our Lord's feet and wiped them with her hair be more welcome to you
than the holy people who had simply never transgressed?

We are struck with the magnitude of the demand made by Jesus on this
ruler. To obtain eternal life he was to sell all he had, give up
house, friends, position, respectability, and lead a vagrant life in
Palestine with this poor carpenter's son. Alas! eternal life is not
to be bought on lower terms. Beware of the damnable doctrine that
it is easy to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is to be obtained
only by the sacrifice of ALL that stands in the way, and it is to be
observed that in this, as in other things, men will take the first,
the second, the third--nay, even the ninety-ninth step, but the
hundredth and last they will not take. Do you really wish to save
your soul? Then the surrender must be absolute. What! you will
say, am I to sell everything? If Christ comes to you--yes. Sell
not only your property, but your very self. Part with all your
preferences, your loves, your thoughts, your very soul, if only you
can gain Him, and be sure too that He will come to you in a shape in
which it will not be easy to recognise Him. What a bargain, though,
this ruler would have made! He would have given up his dull mansion
in Jerusalem, Jerusalem society, which cared nothing for HIM, though
it doubtless called on him, made much of him, and even professed
undying friendship with him; he would have given this up, nothing
but this, and he would have gained those walks with Jesus across the
fields, and would have heard Him say, 'Consider the lilies!' 'Oh,
yes, we would have done it at once!' we cry. I think not, for
Christ is with us even now.'

Curiously enough, the conclusion was a piece of the most commonplace
orthodoxy, lugged in, Heaven knows how, and delivered monotonously,
in strong contrast to the former part of the discourse.--M. R.

These notes, made by one who was present, are the mere ashes, cold
and grey, of what was once a fire. Mr. Cardew was really eloquent,
and consequently a large part of the effect of what he said is not
to be reproduced. It is a pity that no record is possible of a
great speaker. The writer of this history remembers when it was his
privilege to listen continually to a man whose power over his
audience was so great that he could sway them unanimously by a
passion which was sufficient for any heroic deed. The noblest
resolutions were formed under that burning oratory, and were kept,
too, for the voice of the dead preacher still vibrates in the ears
of those who heard him. And yet, except in their hearts, no trace
abides, and when they are dead he will be forgotten, excepting in so
far as that which has once lived can never die.

Whether it was the preacher's personality, or what he said,
Catharine could hardly distinguish, but she was profoundly moved.
Such speaking was altogether new to her; the world in which Mr.
Cardew moved was one which she had never entered, and yet it seemed
to her as if something necessary and familiar to her, but long lost,
had been restored. She began now to look forward to Sunday with
intense expectation; a new motive for life was supplied to her, and
a new force urged her through each day. It was with her as we can
imagine it to be with some bud long folded in darkness which,
silently in the dewy May night, loosens its leaves, and, as the sun
rises, bares itself to the depths of its cup to the blue sky and the


The Misses Ponsonby speedily came to a conclusion about Catharine,
and she was forthwith labelled as a young lady of natural ability,
whose education had been neglected, a type perfectly familiar,
recurring every quarter, and one with which they were perfectly well
able to deal. All the examples they had had before were ticketed in
exactly the same terms, and, so classed, there was an end of further
distinction. The means taken with Catharine were those which had
been taken since the school began, and special attention was devoted
to the branches in which she was most deficient, and which she
disliked. Her history was deplorable, and her first task,
therefore, was what were called dates. A table had been prepared of
the kings and queens of England--when they came to the throne, and
when they died; and another table gave the years of all the battles.
A third table gave the relationship of the kings and queens to each
other, and the reasons for succession. All this had to be learned
by heart. In languages, also, Catharine was singularly defective.
Her French was intolerable and most inaccurate, and of Italian she
knew nothing. Her dancing and deportment were so "provincial," as
Miss Adela Ponsonby happily put it, that it was thought better that
the dancing and deportment teacher should give her a few private
lessons before putting her in a class, and she was consequently
instructed alone in the rudiments of the art of entering and leaving
a room with propriety, of sitting with propriety on a sofa when
conversing, of reading a book in a drawing-room, of acknowledging an
introduction, of sitting down to a meal and rising therefrom, and in
the use of the pocket-handkerchief. She had particularly shocked
the Misses Ponsonby on this latter point, as she was in the habit of
blowing her nose energetically, "snorting," as one of the young
ladies said colloquially, but with truth, and the deportment
mistress had some difficulty in reducing them to the whisper, which
was all that was permitted in the Ponsonby establishment, even in
cases of severe cold. On the other hand, in one or two departments
she was far ahead of the other girls, particularly in arithmetic and

It was the practice on Monday morning for the girls to be questioned
on the sermons of the preceding Sunday, and a very solemn business
it was. The whole school was assembled in the big schoolroom, and
Mr. Cardew, both the Misses Ponsonby being present, examined viva
voce. One Monday morning, after Catharine had been a month at the
school, Mr. Cardew came as usual. He had been preaching the Sunday
before on a favourite theme, and his text had been, "So then with
the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law
of sin," and the examination at the beginning was in the biography
of St. Paul, as this had formed a part of his discourse. No fault
was to be found with the answers on this portion of the subject, but
presently the class was in some difficulty.

"Can anybody tell me what meaning was assigned to the phrase, 'The
body of this death'?"

No reply.

"Come, you took notes, and one or two interpretations were discarded
for that which seemed to be more in accordance with the mind of St.
Paul. Miss Arden"--Miss Arden was sitting nearest to Mr. Cardew--
"cannot you say?"

Miss Arden shook her ringlets, smiled, and turned a little red, as
if she had been complimented by Mr. Cardew's inquiries after the
body of death, and, glancing at her paper, replied--"The death of
this body."

"Pardon me, that was one of the interpretations rejected."

"This body of death," said Catharine.

"Quite so."

Mr. Cardew turned hastily round to the new pupil, whom he had not
noticed before, and looked at her steadily for a moment.

"Can you proceed a little and explain what that means?"

Catharine's voice trembled, but she managed to read from her paper:
"It is strikingly after the manner of St. Paul. He opposes the two
pictures in him by the strongest words at his command--death and
life. One IS death, the other IS life, and he prays to be delivered
from death; not the death of the body, but from death-in-life."

"Thank you; that is very nearly what I intended."

Mr. Cardew took tea at the Limes about once a fortnight with Mrs.
Cardew. The meal was served in the Misses Ponsonby's private room,
and the girls were invited in turn. About a fortnight after the
examination on St. Paul's theory of human nature, Mr. and Mrs.
Cardew came as usual, and Catharine was one of the selected guests.
The company sat round the table, and Mrs. Cardew was placed between
her husband and Miss Furze. The rector's wife was a fair-haired
lady, with quiet, grey eyes, and regular, but not strikingly
beautiful, features. Yet they were attractive, because they were
harmonious, and betokened a certain inward agreement. It was a
sane, sensible face, but a careless critic might have thought that
it betokened an incapability of emotion, especially as Mrs. Cardew
had a habit of sitting back in her chair, and generally let the
conversation take its own course until it came very chose to her.
She had a sober mode of statement and criticism, which was never
brilliant and never stupid. It ought to have been most serviceable
to her husband, because it might have corrected the exaggeration
into which his impulse, talent, and power of pictorial
representation were so apt to fall. She had been brought up as an
Evangelical, but she had passed through no religious experiences
whatever, and religion, in the sense in which Evangelicalism in the
Church of England of that day understood it, was quite
unintelligible to her. Had she been born a few years later she
would have taken to science, and would have done well at it, but at
that time there was no outlet for any womanly faculty, much larger
in quantity than we are apt to suppose, which has an appetite for
exact facts.

Mr. Cardew would have been called a prig by those who did not know
him well. He had a trick of starting subjects suddenly, and he very
often made his friends very uncomfortable by the precipitate
introduction, without any warning, of remarks upon serious matters.
Once even, shocking to say, he quite unexpectedly at a tea-party
made an observation about God. Really, however, he was not a prig.
He was very sincere. He lived in a world of his own, in which
certain figures moved which were as familiar to him as common life,
and he consequently talked about them. He leaned in front of his
wife and said to Catherine -

"Have you read much, Miss Furze?"

"No, very little."

"Indeed! I should have thought you were a reader. What have you
read lately? any stories?"

"Yes, I have read 'Rasselas.'"

"'Rasselas'! Have you really? Now tell me what you think of it."

"Oh! I cannot tell you all."

"No; it is not fair to put the question in that way. It is
necessary to have some training in order to give a proper account of
the scope and purpose of a book. Can you select any one part which
struck you, and tell me why it struck you?"

"The part about the astronomer. I thought all that is said about
the dreadful effects of uncontrolled imagination was so wonderful."

"Don't you think those effects are exaggerated?"

She lost herself for a moment, as we have already seen she was in
the habit of doing, or rather, she did not lose herself, but
everything excepting herself, and she spoke as if nobody but herself
were present.

"Not in the least exaggerated. What a horror to pass days in
dreaming about one particular thing, and to have no power to wake!"

Her head had fallen a little forward; she suddenly straightened
herself; the blood rose in her face, and she looked very confused.

"I should like to preach about Dr. Johnson," said Mr. Cardew.

"Really, Mr. Cardew," interposed the elder Miss Ponsonby, "Dr.
Johnson is scarcely a sacred subject."

"I beg your pardon; I do not mean preaching on the Sabbath. I
should like to lecture about him. It is a curious thing, Miss
Ponsonby, that although Johnson was such a devout Christian, yet in
his troubles his remedy is generally nothing but that of the Stoics-
-courage and patience."

Nobody answered, and an awkward pause followed. Catharine had not
recovered from the shock of self-revelation, and the Misses Ponsonby
were uneasy, not because the conversation had taken such an unusual
turn, but because a pupil had contributed. Mrs. Cardew, distressed
at her husband's embarrassment, ventured to come to the rescue.

"I think Dr Johnson quite right: when I am in pain, and nothing
does me any good, I never have anything to say to myself, excepting
that I must just be quiet, wait and bear it."

This very plain piece of pagan common sense made matters worse. Mr.
Cardew seemed vexed that his wife had spoken, and there was once
more silence for quite half a minute. Miss Adela Ponsonby then rang
the bell, and Catharine, in accordance with rule, left the room.

"Rather a remarkable young woman," carelessly observed the rector.

"Decidedly!" said both the Misses Ponsonby, in perfect unison.

"She has been much neglected," continued Miss Ponsonby. "Her
manners leave much to be desired. She has evidently not been
accustomed to the forms of good society, or to express herself in
accordance with the usual practice. We have endeavoured to impress
upon her that, not only is much care necessary in the choice of
topics of conversation, but in the mode of dealing with them. I
thought it better not to encourage any further remarks from her, or
I should have pointed out that, if what you say of Dr. Johnson is
correct, as I have no doubt it is, considering the party in the
church to which he belonged, it only shows that he was unacquainted
experimentally with the consolations of religion."

"Isn't Mr. Cardew a dear?" asked Miss Arden, when she and Catharine
were together.

"I hardly understand what you mean, and I have not known Mr. Cardew
long enough to give any opinion upon him."

"How exasperating you are again! You DO know what I mean; but you
always pretend never to know what anybody means."

"I do NOT know what you mean."

"Why, isn't he handsome; couldn't you doat on him, and fall in love
with him?"

"But he's married."

"You fearful Catharine! of course he's married; you do take things
so seriously."

"Well, I'm more in the dark than ever."

"There you shall stick," replied Miss Arden, lightly shaking her
curls and laughing. "Married!--yes, but they don't care for one
another a straw."

"Have they ever told you so?"

"How very ridiculous! Cannot you see for yourself?"

"I am not sure: it is very difficult to know whether people really
love one another, and often equally difficult to know if they
dislike one another."

"What a philosopher you are! I'll tell you one thing, though: I
believe he has just a little liking for me. Not for his life dare
he show it. Oh, my goodness, wouldn't the fat be in the fire!
Wouldn't there be a flare-up! What would the Ponsonbys do? Polite
letter to papa announcing that my education was complete! That's
what they did when Julia Jackson got in a mess. They couldn't have
a scandal: so her education was complete, and home she went. Now
the first time we are out for a walk and he passes us and bows, you

Miss Julia Arden went to sleep directly she went to bed, but
Catharine, contrary to her usual custom, lay awake till she heard
twelve o'clock strike from St. Mary, Abchurch. She started, and
thought that she alone, perhaps, of all the people who lay within
reach of those chimes had heard them. Why did she not go to sleep?
She was unused to wakefulness, and its novelty surprised her with
all sorts of vague terrors. She turned from side to side anxiously
while midnight sounded, but she was young, and in ten minutes
afterwards she was dreaming. She was mistaken in supposing that she
was the only person awake in Abchurch that night. Mrs. Cardew heard
the chimes, and over her their soothing melody had no power. When
she and her husband left the Limes he broke out at once, with all
the eagerness with which a man begins when he has been repeating to
himself for some time every word of his grievance -

"I don't know how it is, Jane, but whenever I say anything I feel
you are just the one person on whom it seems to make an impression.
You have a trick of repetition, and you manage to turn everything
into a platitude. If you cannot do better than that, you might be

He was right so far, that it is possible by just a touch to convert
the noblest sentiment into commonplace. No more than a touch is
necessary. The parabolic mirror will reflect the star to a perfect
focus. The elliptical mirror, varying from the parabola by less
than the breadth of a hair, throws an image which is useless. But
Mr. Cardew was far more wrong than he was right. He did not take
into account that what his wife said and what she felt might not be
the same; that persons, who have no great command over language, are
obliged to make one word do duty for a dozen, and that, if his wife
was defective at one point, there were in her whole regions of
unexplored excellence, of faculties never encouraged, and an
affection to which he offered no response. He had not learned the
art of being happy with her: he did not know that happiness is an
art: he rather did everything he could do to make the relationship
intolerable. He demanded payment in coin stamped from his own mint,
and if bullion and jewels had been poured before him he would have
taken no heed of them.

She said nothing. She never answered him when he was angry with
her. It was growing dark as they went home, and the tears came into
her eyes and the ball rose in her throat, and her lips quivered.
She went back--does a woman ever forget them?--to the hours of
passionate protestation before marriage, to the walks together when
he caught up her poor phrases and refined them, and helped her to
see herself, and tried also to learn what few things she had to
teach. It was all the worse because she still loved him so dearly,
and felt that behind the veil was the same face, but she could not
tear the veil away. Perhaps, as they grew older, matters might
become worse, and they might have to travel together estranged down
the long, weary path to death. Death! She did not desire to leave
him, but she would have lain down in peace to die that moment if he
could be made to see her afterwards as she knew she was--at least in
her love for him. But then she thought what suffering the
remembrance of herself would cost him, and she wished to live. He
felt that she moved her hand to her pocket, and he knew why it went
there. He pitied her, but he pitied himself more, and though her
tears wrought on him sufficiently to prevent any further cruelty, he
did not repent.


Mrs. Cardew met Catharine two or three times accidentally within the
next fortnight. There were Dorcas meetings and meetings of all
kinds at which the young women at the Limes were expected to assist.
One afternoon, after tea, the room being hot, two or three of the
company had gone out into the garden to work. Catharine and Mrs.
Cardew sat by themselves at one corner, where the ground rose a
little, and a seat had been placed under a large ash tree. From
that point St. Mary's spire was visible, about half a mile away in
the west, rising boldly, confidently, one might say, into the sky,
as if it dared to claim that it too, although on earth and finite,
could match itself against the infinite heaven above. On this
particular evening the spire was specially obvious and attractive,
for it divided the sunset clouds, standing out black against the
long, narrow interspaces of tender green which lay between. It was
one of those evenings which invite confidence, when people cannot
help drawing nearer than usual to one another.

"Is it not beautiful, Miss Furze?"

"Beautiful; the spire makes it so lovely."

"I wonder why."

"I am sure I do not know; but it is so."

"Catharine--you will not mind my calling you by your Christian name-
-you can explain it if you like."

Catharine smiled. "It is very kind of you, Mrs. Cardew, to call me
Catharine, but I have no explanation. I could not give one to save
my life, unless it is the contrast."

"You cannot think how I wish I had the power of saying what I think
and feel. I cannot express myself properly--so my husband says."

"I sympathise with you. I am so foolish at times. Mr. Cardew, I
should think, never felt the difficulty."

"No, and he makes so much of it. He says I do not properly enjoy a
thing if I cannot in some measure describe my enjoyment--articulate
it, to use his own words."

He had inwardly taunted her, even when she was suffering, and had
said to himself that her trouble must be insignificant, for there
was no colour nor vivacity in her description of it. She did not
properly even understand his own shortcomings. He could pardon her
criticism, so he imagined, if she could be pungent. Mistaken
mortal! it was her patient heroism which made her dumb to him about
her sorrows and his faults. A very limited vocabulary is all that
is necessary on such topics.

"I am just the same."

"Oh, no, you are not; Mr. Cardew says you are not."

"Mr. Cardew?--he has not noticed anything in me, I am certain, and
if he has, why nobody could be less able to talk to him than I am."

Catharine knew nothing of what had passed between husband and wife--
one scene amongst many--and consequently could not understand the
peculiar earnestness, somewhat unusual with her, with which Mrs.
Cardew dwelt upon this subject. We lead our lives apart in close
company, with private hopes and fears unknown to anybody but
ourselves, and when we go abroad we often appear inexplicable and
absurd, simply because our friends have not the proper key.

"Do you think, Catharine--you know that, though I am older than you
and married, I feel we are friends." Here Mrs. Cardew took
Catharine's hand in hers. "Do you think I could learn how to talk?
What I mean is, could I be taught how to say what is appropriate? I
DO feel something when Mr. Cardew reads Milton to me. It is only
the words I want--words such as you have."

"Oh, Mrs. Cardew!"--Catharine came closer to her, and Mrs. Cardew's
arm crept round her waist--"I tell you again I have not so many
words as you suppose. I believe, though, that if people take pains
they can find them."

"Couldn't you help me?"

"I? Oh, no! Mr. Cardew could. I never heard anybody express
himself as he does."

"Mr. Cardew is a minister, and perhaps I should find it easier with
you. Suppose I bring the 'Paradise Lost' out into the garden when
we next meet, and I will read, and you shall help me to comment on

Catharine's heart went out towards her, and it was agreed that
"Paradise Lost" should be brought, and that Mrs. Cardew would
endeavour to make herself "articulate" thereon. The party broke up,
and Catharine's reflections were not of the simplest order. Rather
let us say her emotions, for her heart was busier than her head.
Mrs. Cardew had deeply touched her. She never could stand unmoved
the eyes of her dog when the poor beast came and laid her nose on
her lap and looked up at her, and nobody could have persuaded her of
the truth of Mr. Cardew's doctrine that the reason why a dog can
only bark is that his thoughts are nothing but barks. Mrs. Cardew's
appeal, therefore, was of a kind to stir her sympathy; but--had she
not heard that Mr. Cardew had observed and praised her? It was
nothing--ridiculously nothing; it was his duty to praise and blame
the pupils at the Limes; he had complimented Miss Toogood on her
Bible history the other day, and on her satisfactory account of the
scheme of redemption. He had done it publicly, and he had pointed
out the failings of the other pupils, she, Catharine herself, being
included. He had reminded her that she had not taken into account
the one vital point, that as we are the Almighty Maker's creatures,
His absolutely, we have no ground of complaint against Him in
whatever way He may be pleased to make us. Nevertheless, just those
two or three words Mrs. Cardew reported were like yeast, and her
whole brain was in a ferment.

The Milton was produced next week. Since Catharine had been at the
Limes she had read some of it, incited by Mr. Cardew, for he was an
enthusiast for Milton. Mrs. Cardew was a bad reader; she had no
emphasis, no light and shade, and she missed altogether the rhythm
of the verse. To Catharine, on the other hand, knowing nothing of
metre, the proper cadence came easily. They finished the first six
hundred lines of the first book.

"You have not said anything, Catharine."

"No; but what have you to say?"

"It is very fine; but there I stick; I cannot say any more; I want
to say more; that is where I always am. I can NOT understand why I
cannot go on as some people do; I just stop there with 'very fine.'"

"Cannot you pick out some passage which particularly struck you?"

"That is very true, is it not, that the mind can make a heaven of
hell and a hell of heaven?"

"Most true; but did you not notice the description of the music?"

Catharine was fond of music, but only as an expression of her own
feelings. For music as music--for a melody of Mozart, for example--
that is to say, for pure art, which is simply beauty, superior to
our personality, she did not care. She liked Handel, and there was
a choral society in Eastthorpe which occasionally performed the

"Don't you remember what Mr. Cardew said about it--it was remarkable
that Milton should have given to music the power to chase doubt from
the mind, doubt generally, and yet music is not argument?"

"Oh, yes, I recollect, but I do not quite comprehend him, and I told
him I did not see how music could make me sure of a thing if there
was not a reason for it."

"What did he say then?"


Mr. Cardew called that evening to take his wife home. He was told
that she was in the garden with Miss Furze, and thither he at once

"Milton!" he exclaimed. "What are you doing with Milton here?"

"Miss Furze and I were reading the first book of the 'Paradise Lost'

Mrs. Cardew looked at her husband inquiringly, and with a timid
smile, hoping he would show himself pleased. His brow, however,
slightly wrinkled itself with displeasure. He had told her to read
Milton, had said, "Fancy an Englishwoman with any pretensions to
education not knowing Milton!" and now, when she was doing exactly
what she was directed to do, he was vexed. He was annoyed to find
he was precisely obeyed, and perhaps would have been in a better
temper if he had been contradicted and resisted. Mrs. Cardew turned
her head away. What was she to do with him? Every one of her
efforts to find the door had failed.

"What has struck you particularly in that book, Miss Furze?"

Catharine was about to say something, but she caught sight of Mrs.
Cardew, and was arrested. At last she spoke, but what she said was
not what she at first had intended to say.

"Mrs. Cardew and I were discussing the lines about doubt and music,
and we cannot see what Milton means. We cannot see how music can
make us sure of a thing if there is not good reason for it."

Catharine used the first person plural with the best intention, but
her object was defeated. The rector recognised the words at once.

"Yes, yes," he replied, impatiently; "but, Miss Furze, you know
better than that. Milton does not mean doubt whether an
arithmetical proposition is true. I question if he means
theological doubt. Doubt in that passage is nearer despondency. It
is despondency taking an intellectual form and clothing itself with
doubts which no reasoning will overcome, which re-shape themselves
the moment they are refuted." He stopped for a moment. "Don't you
think so, Miss Furze?"

She forgot Mrs. Cardew, and looked straight into Mr. Cardew's face
bent earnestly upon her.

"I understand."

Mrs. Cardew had lifted her eyes from the ground, on which they had
been fixed. "I think," said she, "we had better be going."

"We can go out by the door at the end of the garden, if you will go
and bid the Misses Ponsonby good-bye."

Mrs. Cardew lingered a moment.

"I have bidden them good-bye," said her husband.

She went, and Miss Ponsonby detained her for a few minutes to
arrange the details of an important quarterly meeting of the Dorcas
Society for next week.

"What do you think of the subject of the 'Paradise Lost.' Miss

"I hardly know; it seems so far away."

"Ah! that is just the point. I thought so once, but not now.
Milton could not content himself with a common theme; nothing less
than God and the man--mortal feud between Him and Satan would
suffice. Milton is representative to me of what I may call the
heroic attitude towards existence. Mark, too, the importance of man
in the book. Men and women are not mere bubbles--here for a moment
and then gone--but they are actually important, all-important, I may
even say, to the Maker of the universe and his great enemy. In this
Milton follows Christianity, but what stress he lays on the point!
Our temptation, notwithstanding our religion, so often is to doubt
our own value. All appearances tend to make us doubt it. Don't you
think so?"

Catharine looked earnestly at the excited preacher, but said

"I do not mean our own personal worth. The temptation is to doubt
whether it is of the smallest consequence whether we are or are not,
and whether our being here is not an accident. Oh, Miss Furze, to
think that your existence and mine are part of the Divine eternal
plan, and that without us it would be wrecked! Then there is Satan.
Milton has gone beyond the Bible, beyond what is authorised, in
giving such a distinct, powerful, and prominent individuality to
Satan. You will remember that in the great celestial battle -

"'Long time in even scale
The battle hung.'

But what a wonderful conception that is of the great antagonist of
God! It comes out even more strongly in the 'Paradise Regained.'
Is it not a relief to think that the evil thought in you or me is
not altogether yours and mine, but is foreign; that it is an
incident in the war of wars, an attack on one of the soldiers of the
Most High?"

Mr. Cardew paused.

"Have you never written anything which I could read?"

"Scarcely anything. I wrote some time ago a little story of a few
pages, but it was never published. I will lend you the manuscript,
but you will please remember that it is anonymous, and that I do not
wish the authorship revealed. I believe most people would not think
any the better of me, certainly as a clergyman, if they knew it was

"That is very kind of you."

Catharine felt the distinction, the confidence. The sweetest homage
which can be offered us is to be entrusted with something which
others would misinterpret.

"I should like, Miss Furze, to have some further talk with you about
Milton, but I do not quite see" (musingly) "how it is to be

"Could you not tell us something about him when you and Mrs. Cardew
next have tea with us at the Limes?"

"I do not think so. I meant with you, yourself. It is not easy for
me to express myself clearly in company--at any rate, I should not
hear your difficulties. You seem to possess a sympathy which is
unusual, and I should be glad to know more of your mind."

"When Mrs. Cardew comes here, could you not fetch her, and could we
not sit out here together?"

He hesitated. They were walking slowly over the grass towards the
gate, and were just beginning to turn off to the right by the side
path between the laurels. At that point, the lawn being levelled
and raised, there were two stone steps. In descending them
Catharine slipped, and he caught her arm. She did not fall, but he
did not altogether release her for at least some seconds.

"Mrs. Cardew has no liking for poetry."

Catharine was silent.

"It is quite a new thing to me, Miss Furze, to find anybody in
Abchurch who cares anything for that which is most interesting to

"But, Mr. Cardew, I am sure I have not shown any particular
capacity, and I am very ignorant, for I have read very little."

"It does not need much to reveal what is in a person. It would be a
great help to me if we could read a book together. This self-
imprisonment day after day and self-imposed reticence is very
unwholesome. I would give much to have a pupil or a friend whose
world is my world."

To Catharine it seemed as if she was being sucked in by a whirlpool
and carried she knew not whither. They had reached the gate, and he
had taken her hand in his to bid her good-bye. She felt a distinct
and convulsive increase of pressure, and she felt also that she
returned it. Suddenly something passed through her brain swift as
the flash of the swiftest blazing meteor: she dropped his hand,
and, turning instantly, went back to the house, retreating behind
the thick bank of evergreens.

"Where is Miss Furze?" said Mrs. Cardew, who came down the path a
minute or two afterwards.

"I do not know: I suppose she is indoors."

"A canting, hypocritical parson, type not uncommon, described over
and over again in novels, and thoroughly familiar to theatre-goers."
Such, no doubt, will be the summary verdict passed upon Mr. Cardew.
The truth is, however, that he did not cant, and was not a
hypocrite. One or two observations here may perhaps be pertinent.
The accusation of hypocrisy, if we mean lofty assertion, and
occasional and even conspicuous moral failure, may be brought
against some of the greatest figures in history. But because David
sinned with Bathsheba, and even murdered her husband, we need not
discredit the sincerity of the Psalms. The man was inconsistent, it
is true, inconsistent exactly because there was so much in him that
was great, for which let us be thankful. Let us take notice too, of
what lies side by sidle quietly in our own souls. God help us if
all that is good in us is to be invalidated by the presence of the
most contradictory evil.

Secondly it is a fact that vitality means passion. It does not mean
avarice or any of the poor, miserable vices. If David had been a
wealthy and most pious Jerusalem shopkeeper, who subscribed largely
to missionary societies to the Philistines, but who paid the poor
girls in his employ only two shekels a week, refusing them ass-hire
when they had to take their work three parts of the way to
Bethlehem, and turning them loose at a minute's warning, he
certainly would not have been selected to be part author of the
Bible, even supposing his courtship and married life to have been
most exemplary and orthodox. We will, however, postpone any further
remarks upon Mr. Cardew: a little later we shall hear something
about his early history, which may perhaps explain and partly
exculpate him. As to Catharine, she escaped. It is vexatious that
a complicated process in her should be represented by a single act
which was transacted in a second. It would have been much more
intelligible if it could have written itself in a dramatic
conversation extending over two or three pages, but, as the event
happened, so it must be recorded. The antagonistic and fiercely
combatant forces did SO issue in that deed, and the present
historian has no intention to attempt an analysis. One thing is
clear to him, that the quick stride up the garden path was urged not
by any single, easily predominating impulse which had been enabled
to annihilate all others. Do not those of us, who have been
mercifully prevented from damming ourselves before the whole world,
who have succeeded and triumphed--do we not know, know as we know
hardly anything else, that our success and our triumph were due to
superiority in strength by just a grain, no more, of our better self
over the raging rebellion beneath it? It was just a tremble of the
tongue of the balance: it might have gone this way, or it might
have gone the other, but by God's grace it was this way settled--
God's grace, as surely, in some form of words, everybody must
acknowledge it to have been. When she reached her bedroom she sat
down with her head on her hands, rose, walked about, looked out of
window in the hope that she might see him, thought of Mrs. Cardew;
forgot her; dwelt on what she had passed through till she almost
actually felt the pressure of his hand; cursed herself that she had
turned away from him; prayed for strength to resist temptation, and
longed for one more chance of yielding to it.

The next morning a little parcel was left for Miss Furze. It
contained the promised story, which is here presented to my

"Did he Believe?

"Charmides was born in Greece, but about the year 300 A.D. was
living in Rome. He had come there, like many of his countrymen, to
pursue his calling as sculptor in the imperial city, and he
cherished a great love for his art. He knew too well that it was
not the art of the earlier days of Athens, and that he could never
catch the spirit of that golden time, but he loved it none the less.
He was also a philosopher in his way. He had read not only the
literature of Greece, but that of his adopted land, and he was
especially familiar with Lucretius and his pupil Virgil. His
intellectual existence, however, was not particularly happy. Rome
was a pleasant city; his occupation was one in which he delighted;
the thrill of a newly noticed Lucretian idea or of a tender touch in
Virgil were better to him than any sensual pleasure, but his
dealings with his favourite authors ended in his own personal
emotion, and it was sad to think that the Hermes on which he had
spent himself to such a degree should become a mere decoration to a
Roman nobleman's villa, valued only because it cost so much, and
that nobody who looked at it would ever really care for it. Once,
however, he was rewarded. He had finished a Pallas Athene just as
the sun went down. He was excited, and after a light sleep he rose
very early and went into the studio with the dawn. There stood the
statue, severe, grand in the morning twilight, and if there was one
thing in the world clear to him, it was that what he saw was no
inanimate mineral mass, but something more. It was no mere mineral
mass with an outline added. Part of the mind which formed the world
was in it, actually in it, and it came to Charmides that intellect,
thought, had their own rights, that they were as much a fact as the
stone, and that what he had done was simply to realise a Divine idea
which was immortal, no matter what might become of its embodiment.
The weight of the material world lifted, an avenue of escape seemed
to open itself to him from so much that oppressed and deadened him,
and he felt like a man in an amphitheatre of overhanging mountains,
who should espy in a far-off corner some scarcely perceptible track,
and on nearer inspection a break in the walled precipices, a
promise, or at least a hint, of a passage from imprisonment to the
open plain. It was nothing more than he had learned in his Plato,
but the truth was made real to him, and he clung to it.

Rome at the end of the third century was one of the most licentious
of cities. It was invaded by all the vices of Greece, and the
counterpoise of the Greek virtues was absent. The reasoning powers
assisted rather than prevented the degradation of morals, for they
dissected and represented as nothing all the motives which had
hitherto kept men upright. The healthy and uncorrupted instinct
left to itself would have been a sufficient restraint, but sophistry
argued and said, WHAT IS THERE IN IT?--and so the very strength and
prerogative of man hired itself out to perform the office of making
him worse than a beast. Charmides was unmarried, and it is not to
be denied that though his life as a whole was pure, he had yielded
to temptation, not without loathing himself afterwards. He did not
feel conscious of any transgression of a moral law, for no such law
was recognised, but he detested himself because he had been drawn
into close contact with a miserable wretch simply in order to
satisfy a passion, and in the touch of mercenary obscenity there was
something horrible to him. It was bitter to him to reflect that,
notwithstanding his aversion from it, notwithstanding his philosophy
and art, he had been equally powerless with the uttermost fool of a
young aristocrat to resist the attraction of the commonest of
snares. What were his books and fine pretensions worth if they
could not protect him in such ordinary danger? Thus it came to pass
that after a fall, when he went back to his work, it was so unreal
to him, such a mockery, that days often elapsed before he could do
anything. It was a mere toy, a dilettante dissipation, the
embroidery of corruption. Oh, for a lawgiver, for a time of
restraint, for the time of Regulus and the republic! Then, said
Charmides to himself, my work would have some value, for heroic
obedience would he behind it. He was right, for the love of the
beautiful cannot long exist where there is moral pollution. The
love of the beautiful itself is moral--that is to say, what we love
in it is virtue. A perfect form or a delicate colour are the
expression of something which is destroyed in us by subjugation to
the baser desires or meanness, and he who has been unjust to man or
woman misses the true interpretation of a cloud or falling wave.

"One night Charmides was walking through the lowest part of the
city, and he heard from a mere hovel the sound of a hymn. He knew
what it was--that it was the secret celebration of a religious rite
by the despised sect of the Jews and their wretched proselytes. The
Jews were especially hateful to him and to all cultured people in
Rome. They were typical of all the qualities which culture
abhorred. No Jew had ever produced anything lovely in any
department whatever--no picture, statue, melody, nor poem. Their
literature was also barbaric: there was no consecutiveness in it,
no reasoning, no recognition in fact of the reason. It was a mere
mass of legends without the exquisite charm and spiritual intention
of those of Greece, of bloody stories and obscure disconnected
prophecies by shepherds and peasants. Their god was a horror, a
boor upon a mountain, wielding thunder and lightning. Aphrodite was
perhaps not all that could be wished, but she was divine compared
with the savage Jehovah. It was true that a recent Jewish sect
professed better things and recognised as their teacher a young
malefactor who was executed when Tiberius was emperor. So far,
however, as could be made out he was a poor crack-brained demagogue,
who dreamed of restoring a native kingdom in Palestine. What made
the Jews especially contemptible to culture was that they were
retrograde. They strove to put back the clock. There is only one
path, so culture affirmed, and that is the path opened by Aristotle,
the path of rational logical progress from what we already know to
something not now known, but which can be known. If our present
state is imperfect, it is because we do not know enough. Every
other road, excepting this, the king's highway, heads into a bog.
These Jews actually believed in miracles; they had no science, and
thought they could regenerate the world by hocus-pocus. They ought
to be suppressed by law, and, if necessary, put to death, for they
bred discontent.

"Nevertheless, Charmides decided to enter the hovel. He was in idle
mood, and he was curious to see for himself what the Jews were like.
He pushed open the door, and when he went in he found himself in a
low, mean room very dimly lighted and crowded with an odd medley of
Greeks, Romans, tolerably well-dressed persons, and slaves. The
poor and the shaves were by far the most numerous. The atmosphere
was stifling, and Charmides sat as near the door as possible. Next
to him was a slave-girl, not beautiful, but with a peculiar
expression on her face very rare in Rome at that time. The Roman
women were, many of them, lovely, but their loveliness was cold--the
loveliness of indifference. The somewhat common features of this
slave, on the contrary, were lighted up with eagerness: to her
there was evidently something in life of consequence--nay, of
immense importance. There were few of her betters in Rome to whom
anything was of importance. A hymn at that moment was being sung,
the words of which Charmides could not catch, and when it was
finished an elderly man rose and read what seemed the strangest
jargon about justification and sin. The very terms used were in
fact unintelligible. The extracts were from a letter addressed to
the sect in Rome by one Paul, a disciple of that Jesus who was
crucified. After the reading was over came an address, very wild in
tone and gesture, and equally unintelligible, and then a prayer or
invocation, partly to their god, but also, as it seemed, to this
Jesus, who evidently ranked as a daemon, or perhaps as Divine,
Charmides was quite unaffected. The whole thing appeared perfect
nonsense, not worth investigation, but he could not help wondering
what there was in it which could so excite that girl, whom he could
hardly conclude to be a fool, and whose earnestness was a surprise
to him. He thought no more about the affair until some days
afterwards when he happened to visit a friend. Just as he was
departing he met this very slave in the porch. He involuntarily
stopped, and she whispered to him.

"'You will not betray us?'

"'I? Certainly not.'

"'I will lend you this. Read it and return it to me.' So saying,
she vanished.

"Charmides, when he reached home, took out the manuscript. He
recognised it as a copy of the letter which he had partly heard at
the meeting. He was somewhat astonished to find that it was written
by a man of learning, who was evidently familiar with classic
authors, but surely never was scholarship pressed into such a
service! The confusion of metaphor, the suddenness of transition,
the illogical muddles were bad enough, but the chief obstacle to
comprehension was that the author's whole scope and purpose, the
whole circle of his ideas, were outside Charmides altogether. He
was not attracted any more than he was at the meeting, but he was a
little piqued because Paul had certainly been well educated, and he
determined to attend the meeting again. This time he was late, and
did not arrive till it was nearly at an end. His friend was there,
and again he sat down next to her. When they went out it was dark,
and he walked by her side.

"'Have you read the letter?'

"'Yes, but I do not understand it, and I have brought it back.'

"'May Christ the Lord open your eyes!'

"'Who is this Christ whom you worship?'

"'The Son of God, He who was crucified; the man Jesus; He who took
upon Himself flesh to redeem us from our sins; in whom by faith we
are justified and have eternal life.'

"It was all pure Hebrew to him, save the phrase 'Son of God,' which
sounded intelligible.

"'You are Greek,' he said, for he recognised her accent although she
spoke Latin.

"'Yes, from Corinth: my name is Demariste;' and she explained to
him that, although she was a slave, she was partly employed in
teaching Greek to the children of her mistress.

"'If you are Greek and well brought up, you must know that I cannot
comprehend a word of what you have spoken. It is Judaism.'

"'To me, too,' she replied, speaking Greek to him, 'it was
incomprehensible, but God by the light which lighteth every man hath
brought me into His marvellous light, and now this that I have told
you is exceedingly clear--nay, clearer than anything which men say
they see.'

"'Tell me how it happened.'

"'When I first came to Rome I had a master who desired to make me
his concubine, and I hated him; but what strength had I?--and I was
tempted to yield. My parents were dead; I had no friends who cared
for me--what did it matter! I had read in my books of the dignity
of the soul, but that was a poor weapon with which to fight, and,
moreover, sin was not exceeding sinful to me. By God's grace I was
brought amongst these Christians, and I was convinced of sin. I saw
that it was not only transgression against myself, but against the
eternal decrees of the Most High, against those decrees which, as
one of our own poets still dear to me has said -

"'?? y?? t? ??? ye ?a??e?, a??' ae? p?te
?? ta?ta, ???de?? ??de? e? ?t?? f???.' {1}

"'I saw that all art, all learning, everything which men value, were
as straw compared with God's commandments, and that it would be well
to destroy all our temples, and statues, and all that we have which
is beautiful, if we could thereby establish the kingdom of God
within us, and so become heirs of the life everlasting. Oh, my
friend, my friend in Christ, I hope, believe me, Rome will perish,
and we shall all perish, not because we are ignorant, but because we
have not obeyed His word. But how was I to obey it? Then I heard
told the life of Christ the Lord: how God the Father in His
infinite pity sent His Son into the world; how He lived amongst his
and died a shameful death upon the cross that we might not die: and
all His strength passed into me and became mine through faith, and I
was saved; saved for this life; saved eternally; justified through
Him; worthy to wait for Him and meet Him at His coming, for He shall
come, and I shall be for ever with the Lord.'

"Demariste stood straight upright as she spoke, and the light in her
transfigured her countenance as the sun penetrating a grey mass of
vapour informs it with such an intensity of brightness that the eye
can scarcely endure it. It was a totally new experience to
Charmides, an entire novelty in Rome. He did not venture to look in
her face directly, for he felt that there was nothing in him equal
to its sublime, solemn pleading.

"'I do not know anything of your Jesus,' he said at last, timidly;
'upon what do you rest His claims?'

"'Read His life. I will lend it to you; you will want no other
evidence for Him. And was He not raised from the dead to reign for
ever at His Father's right hand? No, keep the letter for a little
while, and perhaps you will understand it better when you know upon
what it is based.'

"A day or two afterwards the manuscript was sent to him secretly
with many precautions. He was not smitten suddenly by it. The
Palestinian tale, although he confessed it was much more to his mind
than Paul, was still RUDE. It was once more the rudeness which was
repellent, and which almost outweighed the pathos of many of the
episodes and the undeniable grandeur of the trial and death.
Moreover, it was full of superstition and supernaturalism, which he
could not abide. He was in his studio after his first perusal, and
he turned to an Apollo which he was carving. The god looked at him
with such overpowering, balanced sanity, such a contrast to
Christian incoherence and the rhapsodies of the letter to the
Romans, that he was half ashamed of himself for meddling with it.
He opened his Lucretius. Here was order and sequence; he knew where
he was; he was at home. Was all this nought, were the accumulated
labour and thought of centuries to be set aside and trampled on by
the crude, frantic inspiration of clowns? The girl's face, however,
recurred to him; he could not get rid of it, and he opened the
biography again. He stumbled upon what now stand as our twenty-
third and twenty-fourth chapters of Matthew, containing the
denunciation of the Pharisees, and the prophecy of the coming of the
Son of Man. He was amazed at the new turn which was given to life,
at the reasons assigned for the curses which were dealt to these
Jewish doctors. They were damned for their lack of mercy, judgment,
faith, for their extortion, excess, and because they were full of
hypocrisy and iniquity. They were fools and blind, but not through
defects which would have condemned them in Greece and Rome at that
day, but through failings of which Greece and Rome took small
account. Charmides pondered and pondered, and saw that this Jew had
given a new centre, a new pivot to society. This, then, was the
meaning of the world as nearly as it could be said to have a single
meaning. Read by the light of the twenty-third chapter, the twenty-
fourth chapter was magnificent. 'For as the lightning cometh out of
the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall the coming of the
Son of Man be.' Was it not intelligible that He to whom right and
wrong were so diverse, to whom their diversity was the one fact for
man, should believe that Heaven would proclaim and enforce it? He
read more and more, until at last the key was given to him to unlock
even that strange mystery, that being justified by faith we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Still it was idle for
him to suppose that he could ever call himself a Christian in the
sense in which those poor creatures whom he had seen were
Christians. Their fantastic delusions, their expectation that any
day the sky might open and their Saviour appear in the body, were
impossible to him; nor could he share their confidence that once for
all their religion alone was capable of regenerating the world. He
could not, it is true, avoid the reflection that the point was not
whether the Christians were absurd, nor was it even the point
whether Christianity was not partly absurd. The real point was
whether there was not more certainty in it than was to be found in
anything at that time current in the world. Here, in what Paul
called faith, was a new spring of action, a new reason for the
blessed life, and, what was of more consequence, a new force by
which men might be enabled to persist in it. He could not, we say,
avoid this reflection; he could not help feeling that he was bound
not to wait for that which was in complete conformity with an ideal,
but to enlist under the flag which was carried by those who in the
main fought for the right, and that it was treason to cavil and
stand aloof because the great issue was not presented in perfect
purity. Nevertheless, he was not decided, and could not quite
decide. If he could have connected Christianity with his own
philosophy; if it had been the outcome, the fulfilment of Plato, his
duty would have been so much simpler; it was the complete rupture--
so it seemed to him--which was the difficulty. His heart at times
leaped up to join this band of determined, unhesitating soldiers; to
be one in an army; to have a cause; to have a banner waving over his
head; to have done with isolation, aloofness, speculation ending in
nothing, and dreams which profited nobody: but even in those
moments when he was nearest to a confession of discipleship he was
restrained by faintness and doubt. If he were to enrol himself as a
convert his conversion would be due not to an irresistible impulse,
but to a theory, to a calculation, one might almost say, that such
and such was the proper course to take.

He went again to the meeting, and he went again and again. One
night, as he came home, he walked as he had walked before, with
Demariste. She was going as far as his door for the manuscript
which he had now copied for his own use. As they went along a man
met them who raised a lantern, and directed it full in their faces.

"'The light of death,' said Demariste.

"'Who is he?'

"'I know him well; he is a spy. I have often seen him at the door
of our assembly.'

"'Do you fear death?'

"'I? Has not Christ died?'

"Charmides hath fallen in love with this slave, but it was love so
different from any love which he had felt before for a woman, that
it ought to have had some other name. It was a love of the soul, of
that which was immortal, of God in her; it was a love too, of no
mere temporary phenomenon, but of reality outlasting death into
eternity. There was thus a significance, there was a grandeur in it
wanting to any earthly love. It was the new love with which men
were henceforth to love women--the love of Dante for Beatrice.

"She waited at the door while he went inside to fetch in the
parchment. He brought it out and gave it to her, and as he stood
opposite to her he looked in her face, and her eyes were not
averted. He caught her hand, but she drew back.

"''Tis but for a day or two,' she said; 'a week will see the end.'

"'A week!' he cried! 'Oh, my Demariste, rather a week with thee
than an age with anything less than thee!'

"'You will have to die too. Dare you die? The spirit may be
willing, but the flesh may be weak.'

"'Death? Yes, death, if only I am yours!'

"'Nay, nay, my beloved, not for me, but for the Lord Jesus!'

"He bent nearer to her; his head was on her neck, and his arms were
round her body. Oh, son and daughter of Time! oh, son and daughter
of Eternity!

"He had hardly returned to his house, when he was interrupted by his
friend Callippus, just a little the worse for wine.

"'What new thing is this?' said Callippus. 'I hear you have
consorted with the Jews, and have been seen at their assembly.'

"'True, my friend.'

"True! By Jupiter! what is the meaning of it? You do not mean to
say that you are bitten by the mad dog?'

"'I believe.'

"'Oh, by God, that it should have come to this! Are you not ashamed
to look him in the face?' pointing to the Apollo statue. 'Ah! the
old prophecy is once more verified! -

"'Tutemet a nobis iam quovis tempore vatum
terriloquis victus dictis desciscere quaeres.' {2}

But I must be prudent. I saw somebody watching your house on the
other side of the street. If I am caught they will think I belong
to the accursed sect too. Farewell."

"The morning came, and about an hour after Charmides had risen two
soldiers presented themselves. He was hurried away, brought before
the judges, and examined. Some little pity was felt for him by two
or three members of the court, as he was well known in Rome, and one
of them condescended to argue with him and to ask him how he could
become ensnared by a brutal superstition which affirmed, so it was
said, the existence of devil-possessed pigs, and offered sacrifices
to them.

"'You,' said he, 'an artist and philosopher--if it be true that you
are a pervert, you deserve a heavier punishment than the scum whom
we have hitherto convicted.'

"'For Christ and His Cross!' cried Charmides.

"'Take him away!'

"The next day Charmides and Demariste met outside the prison gates.
They were chained together in mockery, the seducer, Demariste, and
the seduced, Charmides. They were marched through the streets of
Rome, the crowd jeering them and thronging after them to enjoy the
sport of their torments and death. Charmides saw the eyes of
Demariste raised heavenward and her lips moving in prayer.

"'He has heard me,' she said, 'and you will endure.'

"He pressed her hand, and replied, with unshaken voice, 'Fear not.'

"They came to the place of execution, but before the final stroke
they were cruelly tortured. Charmides bore his sufferings in
silence, but in her extremest agony the face of Demariste was
lighted with rapture.

"'Look, look, my beloved, there, there!' trying to lift her mangled
arm, 'Christ the Lord! One moment more and we are for ever with

"Charmides could just raise his head, and saw nothing but Demariste.
He was able to turn himself towards her and move her hand to his
lips, the second, only the second and the last kiss.

"So they died. Charmides was never considered a martyr by the
Church. The circumstances were doubtful, and it was not altogether
clear that he deserved the celestial crown."


The school broke up next week for the summer holidays, and Catharine
went home. Her mother was delighted with her daughter. She was
less awkward, straighter, and her air and deportment showed the
success of the plan. The father acquiesced, although he did not
notice the change till Mrs. Furze had pointed it out. As to Mrs.
Bellamy, she declared, when she met Catharine in the street the
first market afternoon, that "she had all at once become a woman
grown." Mrs. Furze's separation from her former friends was now
complete, but she had, unfortunately, not yet achieved admission
into the superior circle. She had done so in a measure, but she was
not satisfied. She felt that these people were not intimate with
her, and that, although she had screwed herself with infinite pains
into a bowing acquaintance, and even into a shaking of hands, they
formed a set by themselves, with their own secrets and their own
mysteries, into which she could not penetrate. Their very
politeness was more annoying than rudeness would have been. It
showed they could afford to be polite. Had she been wealthy, she
could have crushed all opposition by sheer weight of bullion; but in
Eastthorpe everybody's position was known with tolerable exactitude,
and nobody was deluded into exaggerating Mr. Furze's resources
because of the removal to the Terrace. Eastthorpe, on the contrary,
affirmed that the business had not improved, and that expenses had

When Catharine came home a light suddenly flashed across Mrs.
Furze's mind. What might not be done with such a girl as that! She
was good-looking--nay, handsome; she had the manners which Mrs.
Furze knew that she herself lacked, and Charlie Colston, aged
twenty-eight, was still disengaged. It was Mrs. Furze's way when
she proposed anything to herself, to take no account of any
obstacles, and she had the most wonderful knack of belittling and
even transmuting all moral objections. Mr. Charlie Colston was a
well-known figure in Eastthorpe. He was an only son, about five
feet eleven inches high, thin, unsteady on his legs, smooth-faced,
unwholesome, and silly. He had been taken into his father's
business because there was nothing else for him, and he was a mere
shadow in it, despised by every cask-washer. There was nothing
wicked recorded against him; he did not drink, he did not gamble, he
cared nothing for horses or dogs; but Eastthorpe thought none the
better of him for these negative virtues. He was not known to be
immoral, but he was for ever playing with this girl or the other,
smiling, mincing, toying, and it all came to nothing. A very
unpleasant creature was Mr. Charlie Colston, a byword with women in
Eastthorpe, even amongst the nursery-maids. Mrs. Furze knew all
about his youth; but she brought out her philosopher's stone and
used it with effect. She did not intend to mate Catherine with a
fool, and make her miserable. If she could not have persuaded
herself that the young man was everything that could be desired she
would have thought no more about him. The whole alchemical
operation, however, of changing him into purest gold occupied only a
few minutes, and the one thought now was how to drop the bait. It
did cross her mind that Catharine herself might object; but she was
convinced that if her daughter could have a distinct offer made to
her, all opposition might somehow be quenched.

Fate came to her assistance, as it does always to those who watch
persistently and with patience. One Sunday evening at church it
suddenly began to rain. The Furze family had not provided
themselves with umbrellas, but Mrs. Furze knew that Mr. Charlie
Colston never went out without one. Her strategy, when the service
was over, was worthy of Napoleon, and, with all the genius of a
great commander, she brought her forces into exact position at the
proper moment. She herself and Mr. Furze detained the elder Mr.
Colston and his wife, and kept them in check a little way behind, so
that Catharine and their son were side by side when the entrance was
reached. Of course he could do nothing but offer Catherine his
umbrella, and his company on the way homewards, but to his utter
amazement, and the confusion of Mrs. Furze, who watched intently the
result of her manoeuvres, Catharine somewhat curtly declined, and
turned back to wait for her parents. Mr. Charlie rejoined his
father and mother, who naturally forsook the Furzes at the earliest
possible moment in such a public place as a church porch. In a few
minutes the shower abated. Mrs. Furze could not say anything to her
daughter; she could not decently appear to force Charlie on her by
rebuking her for not responding to his generosity, but she was
disappointed and embittered.

On the following morning Catharine announced her intention of going
to Chapel Farm for a few days. Her mother remonstrated, but she
knew she would have to yield, and Catharine went. Mrs. Bellamy
poured forth the pent-up tale of three months--gossip we may call it
if we wish to be contemptuous; but what is gossip? A couple of
neighbours stand at the garden gate on a summer's evening and tell
the news of the parish. They discuss the inconsistency of the
parson, the stony-heartedness of the farmer, the behaviour of this
young woman and that young man; and what better could they do? They
certainly deal with what they understand--something genuinely within
their own circle and experience; and there is nothing to them in
politics, British or Babylonian, of more importance. There is no
better conversation than talk about Smith, Brown, and Harris, male
and female, about Spot the terrier or Juno the mare. Catharine had
many questions to answer about the school, but Mr. Cardew's name was
not once mentioned.

One afternoon, late in August, Catharine had gone with the dog down
to the riverside, her favourite haunt. Clouds, massive, white,
sharply outlined, betokening thunder, lay on the horizon in a long
line; the fish were active; great chub rose, and every now and then
a scurrying dimple on the pool showed that the jack and the perch
were busy. It was a day full of heat, a day of exultation, for it
proclaimed that the sun was alive; it was a day on which to forget
winter with its doubts, its despairs, and its indistinguishable
grey; it was a day on which to believe in immortality. Catharine
was at that happy age when summer has power to warm the brain; it
passed into her blood and created in her simple, uncontaminated
bliss. She sat down close to an alder which overhung the bank. It
was curious, but so it was, that her thoughts suddenly turned from
the water and the thunderclouds and the blazing heat to Mr. Cardew,
and it is still more strange that at that moment she saw him coming
along the towing-path. In a minute he was at her side, but before
he reached her she had risen.

"Good morning, Miss Furze."

"Mr. Cardew! What brings you here?"

"I have been here several times; I often go out for the day; it is a
favourite walk."

He was silent, and did not move. He seemed prepossessed and
anxious, taking no note of the beauty of the scene around him.

"How is Mrs. Cardew?"

"She is well, I believe."

"You have not left home this morning, then?"

"No; I was not at home last night."

"I think I must be going."

" I will walk a little way with you."

"My way is over the bridge to the farmhouse, where I am staying."

"I will go as far as you go."

Catharine turned towards the bridge.

"Is it the house beyond the meadows?"


It is curious how indifferent conversation often is just at the
moment when the two who are talking may be trembling with passion.

"You should have brought Mrs. Cardew with you," said Catharine,
tearing to pieces a water lily, and letting the beautiful white
petals fall bit by bit into the river.

Mr. Cardew looked at her steadfastly, scrutinisingly, but her eyes
were on the thunderclouds, and the lily fell faster and faster. The
face of this girl had hovered before him for weeks, day and night.
He never for a moment proposed to himself deliberate love for her--
he could not do it, and yet he had come there, not, perhaps,
consciously in order to find her, but dreaming of her all the time.
He was literally possessed. The more he thought about her, the less
did he see and hear of the world outside him, and no motive for
action found access to him which was not derived from her. Of
course it was all utterly mad and unreasonable, for, after all, what
did he really know about her, and what was there in her to lay hold
of him with such strength? But, alas! thus it was, thus he was
made; so much the worse for him. Was this a Christian believer? was
he really sincere in his belief? He was sincere with a sincerity,
to speak arithmetically, of the tenth power beyond that of his
exemplary churchwarden Johnson, whose religion would have restrained
him from anything warmer than the extension of a Sunday black-gloved
finger-tip to any woman save "Mrs. J." Here he was by the riverside
with her; he was close to her; nobody was present, but he could not
stir nor speak! Catharine felt his gaze, although her eyes were not
towards him. At last the lily came to an end and she tossed the
naked stalk after the flower. She loved this man; it was a perilous
moment: one touch, a hair's breadth of oscillation, and the two
would have been one. At such a crisis the least external
disturbance is often decisive. The first note of the thunder was
heard, and suddenly the image of Mrs. Cardew presented itself before
Catharine's eyes, appealing to her piteously, tragically. She faced
Mr. Cardew.

"I am sorry Mrs. Cardew is not here. I wish I had seen more of her.
Oh, Mr. Cardew! how I envy her! how I wish I had her brains for
scientific subjects! She is wonderful. But I MUST be going; the
thunder is distant; you will be in Eastthorpe, I hope, before the
storm comes. Good-bye," and she had gone.

She did not go straight to the house, however, but went into the
garden and again cursed herself that she had dismissed him. Who had
dismissed him? Not she. How had it been done? She could not tell.
She crept out of the garden and went to the corner of the meadow
where she could see the bridge. He was still there. She tried to
make up an excuse for returning; she tried to go back without one,
but it was impossible. Something, whatever it was, stopped her; she
struggled and wrestled, but it was of no avail, and she saw Mr.
Cardew slowly retrace his steps to the town. Then she leaned upon
the wall and found some relief in a great fit of sobbing.
Consolation she had none; not even the poor reward of conscience and
duty. She had lost him, and she felt that, if she had been left to
herself, she would have kept him. She went out again late in the
evening. The clouds had passed away to the south and east, but the
lightning still fired the distant horizon far beyond Eastthorpe and
towards Abchurch. The sky was clearing in the west, and suddenly in
a rift Arcturus, about to set, broke through and looked at her, and
in a moment was again eclipsed. What strange confusion! What
inexplicable contrasts! Terror and divinest beauty; the calm of the
infinite interstellar space and her own anguish; each an undoubted
fact, but each to be taken by itself as it stood: the star was
there, the dark blue depth was there, but they were no answer to the
storm or her sorrow.

She returned to Eastthorpe on the following day and immediately told
her mother she should not go back to the Misses Ponsonby.


The reader has, doubtless, by this time judged with much severity
not only Catharine, but Mr. Cardew. It is admitted to the full that
they are both most unsatisfactory and most improbable. Is it likely
that in a sleepy Midland town, such as Eastthorpe, knowing nothing
but the common respectabilities of the middle of this century, the
daughter of an ironmonger would fall in love with a married
clergyman? Perhaps to their present biographer it seems more
remarkable than to his readers. He remembers what the Eastern
Midlands were like fifty years ago and they do not. They are
thinking of Eastthorpe of the present day, of its schoolgirls who
are examined in Keats and Shelley, of the Sunday morning walks
there, and of the, so to speak, smelling acquaintance with sceptical
books and theories which half the population now boasts. But
Eastthorpe, when Mr. Cardew was at Abchurch, was totally different.
It knew what it was for parsons to go wrong. It had not forgotten a
former rector and the young woman at the Bell. What talk there was
about that affair! Happily his friends were well connected: they
exerted themselves, and he obtained a larger sphere of usefulness
two hundred miles away. Mr. Cardew, however, was not that rector,
and Catharine was not the pretty waitress, and it is time now to
tell the promised early history of Mr. Cardew.

He was the son of a well-to-do London merchant, who lived in
Stockwell, in a large, white house, with a garden of a couple of
acres, shaded by a noble cedar in its midst. There were four
children, but he was the only boy. His mother belonged to an old
and very religious family, and inherited all its traditions of
Calvinistic piety and decorum. Her love for this boy was boundless,
and she had a double ambition for him, which was that he might
become a minister of God's Word, and in due time might marry Jane
Berdoe, the only daughter of the Reverend Charles Berdoe, M.A., and
Euphemia, her dearest friend. Mrs. Cardew had heard so much of the
contamination of boys' schools that Theophilus was educated at home
and sent straight from home to Cambridge. At the University he
became a member of the ultra-evangelical sect of young men there,
and devoted himself entirely to theology. He thus passed through
youth and early manhood without any intercourse with the world so
called, and he lacked that wholesome influence which is exercised by
healthy companionship with those who differ from us and are not
afraid to oppose us. Of course he married Jane Berdoe. His mother
was always contriving that Jane should be present when he was at
home; he was young; he had never known what it was to go astray with
women, and he was unable to stand at a distance from her and ask
himself if he really cared for her. He fell in love with himself,
married himself, and soon after discovered that he did not know who
his wife was. After his marriage he became wholly unjust to her,
and allowed her defects to veil the whole of her character.

The ultra-evangelical school in the Church preserved at that time
the religious life of England, although in a very strange form.
They believed and felt certain vital truths, although they did not
know what was vital and what has not. They had real experience, and
their roots lay, not upon the surface, but went deep down to the
perennial springs, and the articles of their creed became a vehicle
for the expression of the most real emotions. Evangelicalism,
however, to Mr. Cardew was dangerous. He was always prone to self-
absorption, and the tendency was much increased by his religion. He
lived an entirely interior life, and his joys and sorrows were not
those of Abchurch, but of another sphere. Abchurch feared wet
weather, drought, ague, rheumatism, loss of money, and, on Sundays,
feared hell, but Mr. Cardew's fears were spiritual or even spectral.
His self-communion produced one strange and perilous result, a habit
of prolonged evolution from particular ideas uncorrected by
reference to what was around him. If anything struck him it
remained with him, deduction followed deduction in practice
unfortunately as well as in thought, and he was ultimately landed in
absurdity or something worse. The wholesome influence of ordinary
men and women never permits us to link conclusion to conclusion from
a single premiss, or at any rate to act upon our conclusions, but
Mr. Cardew had no world at Abchurch save himself. He saw himself in
things, and not as they were. A sunset was just what it might
happen to symbolise to him at the time, and his judgments upon
events and persons were striking, but they were frequently judgments
upon creations of his own imagination, and were not in the least
apposite to what was actually before him. The happy, artistic,
Shakespearean temper, mirroring the world like a lake, was
altogether foreign to him.

When he saw Catharine a new love awoke in him instantaneously. Was
it legitimate or illegitimate? In many cases of the same kind the
answer would be that the question is one which cannot be put. No
matter how pure the intellectual bond between man and woman may be,
it is certain to carry with it a sentiment which cannot be explained
by the attraction of mere mental similarity. A man says to a man,
"Do you really believe it?" and, if the answer is "yes," the two
become friends; but if it is a woman who responds to him, something
follows which is sweeter than friendship, whether she be bound or
free. It cannot be helped; there is no reason why we should try to
help it, provided only we do no harm to others, and indeed these
delicate threads are the very fairest in the tissue of life. With
Mr. Cardew it was a little different. Undoubtedly he was drawn to
Catharine because her thoughts were his thoughts. St. Paul and
Milton in him saluted St. Paul and Milton in her. But he did not
know where to stop, nor could he look round and realise whither he
was being led. Any other person in six weeks would have noticed the
milestones on the road, and would have determined that it was time
to turn, but he gaily walked forward with his head in the clouds.
If anybody at that particular moment when he left the bridge could
have made him comprehend that he was making love to a girl; that
what he was doing was an ordinary, commonplace criminal act, or one
which would justifiably be interpreted as such, he not only would
have been staggered and confounded, but would instantly have drawn
back. As it was, he was neither staggered nor confounded, and went
home to his wife with but one image in his brain, that of Catharine

Catharine was one of those creatures whose life is not uniform from
sixteen to sixty, a simple progressive accumulation of experiences,
the addition of a ring of wood each year. There had come a time to
her when she had suddenly opened. The sun shone with new light, a
new lustre lay on river and meadow, the stars became something more
than mere luminous points in the sky, she asked herself strange
questions, and she loved more than ever her long wanderings at
Chapel Farm. This phenomenon of a new birth is more often seen at
some epochs than at others. When a nation is stirred by any
religious movement it is common, but it is also common in a
different shape during certain periods of spiritual activity, such
as the latter part of the eighteenth century and the first half of
the nineteenth in England and Germany. Had Catharine been born two
hundred years earlier, life would have been easy. All that was in
her would have found expression in the faith of her ancestors, large
enough for any intellect or any heart at that time. She would have
been happy in the possession of a key which unlocks the mystery of
things, and there would have been ample room for emotion. How
impatient she became of those bars which nowadays restrain people
from coming close to one another! Often and often she felt that she
could have leaped out towards the person talking to her, that she
could have cried to him to put away his circumlocutions, his forms
and his trivialities, and to let her see and feel what he really
was. Often she knew what it was to thirst like one in a desert for
human intercourse, and she marvelled how those who pretended to care
for her could stay away so long: she could have humiliated herself
if only they would have permitted her to love them and be near them.
Poor Catharine! the world as it is now is no place for people so
framed! When life runs high and takes a common form men can walk
together as the disciples walked on the road to Emmaus. Christian
and Hopeful can pour out their hearts to one another as they travel
towards the Celestial City and are knit together in everlasting
bonds by the same Christ and the same salvation. But when each man
is left to shift for himself, to work out the answers to his own
problems, the result is isolation. People who, if they were
believers, would find the richest gift of life in utter confidence
and mutual help are now necessarily strangers. One turns to
metaphysics; another to science; one takes up with Rousseau's theory
of existence, and another with Kant's; they meet; they have nothing
to say; they are of no use to one another in trouble; one hears that
the other is sick; what can be done? There is a nurse; he does not
go; his old friend dies, and as to the funeral--well, we are liable
to catch cold. Not so Christian and Hopeful! for when Christian was
troubled "with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits, even on
the borderland of Heaven--oh, Bunyan! Hopeful kept his brother's
head above water, and called upon him to turn his eyes to the Gate
and the men standing by it to receive him." My poor reader-friend,
how many times have you in this nineteenth century, when the billows
have gone over you--how many times have you felt the arm of man or
woman under you raising you to see the shining ones and the glory
that is inexpressible?

Had Catharine been born later it would have been better. She would
perhaps have been able to distract herself with the thousand and one
subjects which are now got up for examinations, or she would
perhaps. have seriously studied some science, which might at least
have been effectual as an opiate in suppressing sensibility. She
was, however, in Eastthorpe before the new education, as it is
called, had been invented. There was no elaborate system of needle
points, Roman and Greek history, plain and spherical trigonometry,
political economy, ethics, literature, chemistry, conic sections,
music, English history, and mental philosophy, to draw off the
electricity within her, nor did she possess the invaluable privilege
of being able, after studying a half-crown handbook, to unbosom
herself to women of her own age upon the position of Longland as an
English poet.

Shakespeare or Wordsworth might have been of some use to her, but to
Shakespeare she was not led, although there was a brown, dusty, one-
volume edition at the Terrace; and of Wordsworth nobody whom she
knew in Eastthorpe had so much as heard. A book would have turned
much that was vague in her into definite shape; it would have
enabled her to recognise herself; it would have given an orthodox
expression to cloud singularity, and she would have seen that she
was a part of humanity in her most extravagant and personal
emotions. As it was, her position was critical because she stood by
herself, affiliated to nothing, an individual belonging to no
species, so far as she knew. She then met Mr. Cardew. It was
through him the word was spoken to her, and he was the interpreter
of the new world to her. She was in love with him--but what is
love? There is no such thing: there are loves, and they are all
different. Catharine's was the very life of all that was Catharine,
senses, heart, and intellect, a summing-up and projection of her
whole selfhood. He was more to her than she to him--was any woman
ever so much to a man as a man is to a woman? She was happy when
she was near him. When she was in ordinary Eastthorpe society she
felt as a pent-up lake might feel if the weight of its waters were
used in threading needles, but when Mr. Cardew talked to her, and
she to him, she rejoiced in the flow of all her force, and that
horrible oppression in her chest vanished.

Nevertheless, the fear, the shudder, came to her and not to him; the
wrench came from her and not from him. It was she and not he who
watched through the night and found no motive for the day, save a
dull, miserable sense that it was her duty to live through it.


It was a fact, and everybody noticed it, that since the removal to
the Terrace, and the alteration in their way of living, Mr. Furze
was no longer the man he used to be, and seemed to have lost his
grasp over his business. To begin with, he was not so much in the
shop. His absences in the Terrace at meal-times made a great gap in
the day, and Tom Catchpole was constantly left in sole charge. Mr.
Bellamy came home one evening and told his wife that he had called
at Furze's to ask the meaning of a letter Furze had signed,
explaining the action of a threshing-machine which was out of order.
To his astonishment Furze, who was in his counting-house, called for
Tom, and said, "Here, Tom, this is one of your letters; you had
better tell Mr. Bellamy how the thing works."

"I held my tongue, Mrs. Bellamy, but I had my thoughts all the same,
and the next time I go there, IF I go at all, I shall ask for Tom."

Mr. Furze was aware of Tom's growing importance, and Mrs. Furze was
aware of it too. The worst of it was that Mr. Furze, at any rate,
knew that he could not do without him. It is very galling to the
master to feel that his power is slipping from him into the hands of
a subordinate, and he is apt to assert himself by spasmodic attempts
at interference which generally make matters worse and rivet his
chains more tightly. There was a small factory in Eastthorpe in
which a couple of grindstones were used which were turned by water-
power at considerable speed. One of them had broken at a flaw. It
had flown to pieces while revolving, and had nearly caused a serious
accident. The owner called at Mr. Furze's to buy another. There
were two in stock, one of which he would have taken; but Tom, his
master being at the Terrace, strongly recommended his customer not
to have that quality, as it was from the same quarry as the one
which was faulty, but that another should be ordered. To this he
assented. When Mr. Furze returned Tom told him what had happened.
He was in an unusually irritable, despotic mood. Mrs. Furze had
forced him to yield upon a point which he had foolishly made up his
mind not to concede, and consequently he was all the more disposed
to avenge his individuality elsewhere. After meditating for a
minute or two he called Tom from the counter.

"Mr. Catchpole, what do you mean by taking upon yourself to promise
you would obtain another grindstone?"

"Mean, sir! I do not quite understand. The two out there are of
the same sort as the one that broke, and I did not think them safe."

"Think, sir! What business had you to think? I tell you what it
is, you are much too fond of thinking. If you would only leave the
thinking to me, and do what you are told, it would be much better
for you."

Tom's first impulse was to make a sharp reply, and to express his
willingness to leave, but for certain private reasons he was silent.
Encouraged by the apparent absence of resistance, Mr. Furze
continued -

"I've meant to have a word or two with you several times. You seem
to have forgotten your position altogether, and that I am master
here, and not you. You, perhaps, do not remember where you came
from, and what you would have been if I had not picked you up. Let
there be no misunderstanding in future."

"There shall be none, sir. Shall I call at the factory and explain
your wishes about the grindstone? I will tell them I was mistaken,
and that they had better have one of those in stock."

"No, you cannot do that now; let matters remain as they are; I must
lose the sale of the stone and put up with it."

Tom withdrew. That evening, after supper, Mr. Furze, anxious to
show his wife that he possessed some power to quell opposition, told
her what had happened. It met with her entire approval. She hated
Tom. For all hatred, as well as for all love, there is doubtless a
reason, but the reasons for the hatreds of a woman of Mrs. Furze's
stamp are often obscure, and perhaps more nearly an exception than
any other known fact in nature to the rule that every effect must
have a cause.

"I would get rid of him," said she. "I think that his not replying
to you is ten times more aggravating than if he had gone into a

"You cannot get rid of him," said Catharine.

"Cannot! What do you mean, Catharine--cannot? I like that! Do you
suppose that I do not understand my own business--I who took him up
out of the gutter and taught him? Cannot, indeed!"

"Of course you CAN get rid of him, father; but I would not advise
you to try it."

"Now, do take MY advice," said Mrs. Furze: "send him about his
business, at once, before he does any further mischief, and gets
hold of your connection. Promise me."

"I will," said Mr. Furze, "to-morrow morning, the very first thing."

Morning came, and Mr. Furze was not quite so confident. Mrs. Furze
had not relented, and as her husband went out at the door she
reminded him of his vow.

"You will, now? I shall expect to hear when you come home that he
has had notice."

"Oh, certainly he shall go, but I am doubtful whether I had better
not wait till I have somebody in my eye whom I can put in his

"Nonsense! you can find somebody easily enough."

Mr. Furze strode into his shop looking and feeling very important.
Instead of the usual kindly "Good morning," he nodded almost
imperceptibly and marched straight into his counting-house. It had
been his habit to call Tom in there and open the letters with him,
Tom suggesting a course of action and replies. To-day he opened his
correspondence in silence. It happened to be unusually bulky for a
small business, and unusually important. The Honourable Mr. Eaton
was about to make some important alterations in his house and
grounds. New conservatories were to be built, and an elaborate
system of hot-water warming apparatus was to be put up both for
house and garden. He had invited tenders to specification from
three houses--one in London, one in Cambridge, and from Mr. Furze.
Tom and Mr. Furze had gone over the specification carefully, but Tom
had preceded and originated, and Mr. Furze had followed, and, in
order not to appear slow of comprehension, had frequently assented
when he did not understand--a most dangerous weakness. To his
surprise he found that his tender of 850 pounds was accepted. There
was much work to be done which was not in his line, but had been put
into his contract in order to save subdivision, and consequently
arrangements had to be made with sub-contractors. Materials had
also to be provided at once, and there was a penalty of so much a
day if the job was not completed by a certain time. He did not know
exactly where to begin; he was stunned, as if somebody had hit him a
blow on the head, and, after trying in vain to think, he felt that
his brain was in knots. He put the thing aside; looked at his other
letters, and they were worse. One of his creditors, a blacksmith,
who owed him 55 pounds for iron, had failed, and he was asked to
attend a meeting of creditors. A Staffordshire firm, upon whom he
had depended for pipes, in case he should obtain Mr. Eaton's order,
had sent a circular announcing an advance in iron, and he forgot
that in their offer their price held good for another week. He was
trustee under an old trust, upon which no action had been taken for
years; he remembered none of its provisions, and now the solicitors
had written to him requesting him to be present at a most important
conference in London that day week. There was also a notice from
the Navigation Commissioners informing him that, in consequence of
an accident at one of their locks, it would be fully a fortnight
before any barge could pass through, and he knew that his supply of
smithery coal would be exhausted before that date, as he had
refrained from purchasing in consequence of high prices. To crown
everything a tap came at the door, and in walked his chief man at
the foundry to announce that he would shortly leave, as he had
obtained a better berth. Mr. Furze by this time was so confused
that he said nothing but "Very well," and when the man had gone he
leaned his head on his elbows in despair. He looked through the
glass window of the counting-house and saw Tom quietly weighing some
nails. He would have given anything if he could have called him in,
but he could not. As to dismissing him, it was out of the question
now, and yet his sense of dependence on him excited a jealousy
nearly as intense as his wife's animosity. When a man cannot submit
to be helped he dislikes the benevolent friend who offers assistance
worse than an avowed enemy. Mr. Furze felt as if he must at once
request Tom's aid, and at the same time do him some grievous bodily

The morning passed away and nothing was advanced one single step.
He went home to his dinner excited, and he was dangerous. It is
very trying, when we are in a coil of difficulty, out of which we
see no way of escape, to hear some silly thing suggested by an
outsider who perhaps has not spent five minutes in considering the
case. Mrs. Furze, knowing nothing of Mr. Eaton's contract, of the
blacksmith's failure, of the advance in iron, of the trust meeting,
of the stoppage of the navigation, and of the departure of the
foundryman, asked her husband the moment the servant had brought in
the dinner and had left the room -

"Well, my dear, what did Tom say when you told him to go?"

"I haven't told him."

"Not told him, my dear! how is that?"

"I wish with all my heart you'd mind your own affairs."

"Mr. Furze! what is the matter? You do not seem to know what you
are saying."

"I know perfectly well what I am saying. I wish you knew what YOU
are saying. When we came up here to the Terrace--much good has it
done us--I thought I should have no interference with my business.
You understand nothing whatever about it, and I shall take it as a
favour if you will leave it alone."

Mrs. Furze was aghast. Presently she took out her pocket-
handkerchief and retreated to her bedroom. Mr. Furze did not follow
her, but his dinner remained untouched. When he rose to leave,
Catharine went after him to the door, caught hold of his hand and
silently kissed him, but he did not respond.

During the dinner-hour Tom had looked in the counting-house and saw
the letters lying on the table untouched. Mr. Eaton's steward came
in with congratulations that the tender was accepted, but he could
not wait. As Mr. Furze passed through the shop Tom told him simply
that the steward had called.

"What did he want?"

"I do not know, sir."

Mr. Furze went to his papers again and shut the door. He was still
more incapable of collecting his thoughts and of determining how to
begin. First of all came the contract, but before he could settle a
single step the navigation presented itself. Then, without any
progress, came the rise in the price of iron, and so forth. In
about three hours the post would be going, and nothing was done. He
cast about for some opportunity of a renewal of intercourse with
Tom, and looked anxiously through his window, hoping that Tom might
have some question to ask. At last he could stand it no longer, and
he opened the door and called out -

"Mr. Catchpole"--not the familiar "Tom." Mr. Catchpole presented

"I wish to give you some instructions about these letters. I have
arranged them in order. You will please write what I say, and I
will sign in time for the post to-night. First of all there is the
contract. You had better take the necessary action and ask the
Staffordshire people what advance they want."

"Yes, sir, but"--deferentially--"the Staffordshire people cannot
claim an advance if you accept at once: you remember the

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