During all this time, when his visits to Lucy were so much interrupted
by her attendance upon Mattie, Thomas had not been doing well. In fact,
he had been doing gradually worse. His mother had, of course, been at
home for a long time now, and Mr. Simon’s visits had been resumed. But
neither of these circumstances tended to draw him homeward.

Mrs. Worboise’s health was so much improved by her sojourn at
Folkestone, that she now meditated more energetic measures for the
conversion of her son. What these measures should be, however, she
could not for some time determine. At length she resolved that, as
he had been a good scholar when at school–proved in her eyes by his
having brought home prizes every year–she would ask him to bring his
Greek Testament to her room, and help her to read through St. Paul’s
Epistle to the Romans with the fresh light which his scholarship would
cast upon the page. It was not that she was in the least difficulty
about the Apostle’s meaning. She knew that as well at least as the
Apostle himself; but she would invent an innocent trap to catch a soul
with, and, if so it might be, put it in a safe cage, whose strong wires
of exclusion should be wadded with the pleasant cotton of safety. Alas
for St. Paul, his mighty soul, and his laboring speech, in the hands of
two such! The very idea of such to read him, might have scared him from
his epistle–if such readers there could have been in a time when the
wild beasts of the amphitheatre kept the Christianity pure.

“Thomas,” she said, one evening, “I want you to bring your Greek
Testament, and help me out with something.”

“O, mother, I can’t. I have forgotten all about Greek. What is it you
want to know?”

“I want you to read the Romans with me.”

“Oh! really, mother, I can’t. It’s such bad Greek, you know.”

“Thomas!” said his mother, sepulchrally, as if his hasty assertion with
regard to St. Paul’s scholarship had been a sin against the truth St.
Paul spoke.

“Well, really, mother, you must excuse me. I can’t. Why don’t you ask
Mr. Simon? He’s an Oxford man.”

To this Mrs. Worboise had no answer immediately at hand. From the way
in which Thomas met her request my reader will see that he was breaking
loose from her authority–whether for the better or the worse does not
at this point seem doubtful, and yet perhaps it was doubtful. Still he
was not prepared to brave her and his father with a confession, for
such it appeared to him to be, of his attachment to Lucy.

Since he could see so little of her, he had spent almost all the time
that used to be devoted to her with Molken. In consequence, he seldom
reached home in anything like what he had been accustomed to consider
decent time. When his mother spoke to him on the subject he shoved it
aside with an “Ah! you were in bed, mother,” prefacing some story, part
true, part false, arranged for the occasion. So long as his father took
no notice of the matter he did not much mind. He was afraid of him
still; but so long as he was out of bed early enough in the morning,
his father did not much care at what hour he went to it: he had had
his own wild oats to sow in his time. The purity of his boy’s mind and
body did not trouble him much, provided that, when he came to take his
position in the machine of things, he turned out a steady, respectable
pinion, whose cogs did not miss, but held–the one till the other
caught. He had, however, grown ambitious for him within the last few
days–more of which by and by.

In the vacancy of mind occasioned by the loss of his visits to
Lucy–for he had never entered heartily into any healthy pursuits in
literature, art, or even amusement–Thomas had, as it were, gradually
sauntered more and more into the power of Mr. Molken; and although
he had vowed to himself, after his first experience, that he would,
never play again, himself not being to himself a very awe-inspiring
authority, he had easily broken that vow. It was not that he had any
very strong inclination to play–the demon of play had not quite
entered into him: it was only that whatever lord asserted dominion
over Thomas, to him Thomas was ready to yield that which he claimed.
Molken said, “Come along,” and Thomas went along. Nor was it always to
the gambling-house that he followed Molken; but although there was
one most degrading species of vice from which his love to Lucy–for he
loved Lucy with a real though not great love–did preserve him, there
were several places to which his _friend_ took him from which he could
scarcely emerge as pure as he entered them. I suspect–thanks to what
influence Lucy had with him, to what conscience he had left in him, to
what good his mother and Mr. Simon had taught him, in a word, to the
care of God over him–Mr. Molken found him rather harder to corrupt
than, from his shilly-shally ways, he had expected. Above all, the love
of woman, next to the love of God, is the power of God to a young man’s
salvation; for all is of God, everything, from first to last–nature,
providence, and grace–it is all of our Father in Heaven; and what God
hath joined let not man put asunder.

His gambling was a very trifle as far as money went: an affair of all
but life and death as far as principle was concerned. There is nothing
like the amount of in-door gambling that there used to be; but there is
no great improvement in taking it to the downs and the open air, and
making it librate on the muscles of horses instead of on the spinning
power of a top or the turning up of cards. And whoever gambles, whether
at _rouge-et-noir_ or at Fly-away _versus_ Staywell, will find that the
laws of gambling are, like those of the universe, unalterable. The laws
of gambling are discontent, confusion, and loss upon everyone who seeks
to make money without giving moneys worth. It will matter little to the
grumbler whether the retribution comes in this world, he thinking, like
Macbeth, to “skip the life to come,” or in the next. He will find that
one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as
one day.

But for Thomas, the worst thing in the gambling, besides the bad
company it led him into, was that the whole affair fell in so with his
natural weakness. Gambling is the employment fitted for the man without
principles and without will, for his whole being is but, as far as he
is concerned, the roulette-ball of chance. The wise, on the contrary,
do not believe in Fortune, yield nothing to her sway, go on their own
fixed path regardless “of her that turneth as a ball,” as Chaucer
says. They at least will be steady, come to them what may. Thomas got
gradually weaker and weaker, and, had it not been for Lucy, would soon
have fallen utterly. But she, like the lady of an absent lord, still
kept one fortress for him in a yielded and devastated country.

There was no newspaper taken in at Mr. Worboise’s, for he always left
home for his office as soon as possible. So, when Thomas reached the
counting-house, he had heard nothing of the sad news about his late
master and his family. But the moment he entered the place he felt that
the atmosphere was clouded. Mr. Wither, whose face was pale as death,
rose from the desk where he had been sitting, caught up his hat, and
went out. Thomas could not help suspecting that his entrance was the
cause of Mr. Wither’s departure, and his thoughts went back to last
night, and he wondered whether his fellow-clerks would cut him because
of the company he had been in. His conscience could be more easily
pricked by the apprehension of overt disapprobation than by any other
goad. None of them took any particular notice of him; only a gloom as
of a funeral hung about all their faces, and radiated from them so as
to make the whole place look sepulchral. Mr. Stopper was sitting within
the glass partition, whence he called for Mr. Worboise, who obeyed with
a bad grace, as anticipating something disagreeable.

“There!” said Mr. Stopper, handing him the newspaper, and watching him
as he read.

Thomas read, returned the paper, murmured something, and went back with
scared face to the outer room. There a conversation arose in a low
voice, as if it had been in the presence of the dead. Various questions
were asked and conjectures hazarded, but nobody knew anything. Thomas’s
place was opposite the glass, and before he had been long seated he saw
Mr. Stopper rake the key of the door of communication from a drawer,
unlock the door, and with the _Times_ in his hand walk into Mrs.
Boxall’s house, closing the door behind him. This movement was easy to
understand, and set Thomas thinking. Then first the thought struck him
that Lucy and her grandmother would come in for all the property. This
sent a glow of pleasure through him, and he had enough ado to keep the
funeral look which belonged to the occasion. Now he need not fear to
tell his father the fact of his engagement–indeed, he might delay the
news as long as he liked, sure that it would be welcome when it came.
If his father were pleased, he did not care so much for his mother.
But had he known how much she loved him, he could not have got so far
away from her as he was now. If, on the other hand, he had fallen in
with her way of things, she would have poured out upon him so much
repressed affection that he would have known it. But till he saw as she
saw, felt as she felt, and could talk as she talked, her motherhood
saw an impervious barrier between her and him–a barrier she labored
hard to remove, but with tools that could make no passage through an
ever-closing mist.

I cannot help thinking that if he had told all now, the knowledge of
his relation to Lucy would have been welcomed by his father, and would
have set everything right. I cannot but believe that Mr. Worboise’s
mind was troubled about the property. With perfect law on his side,
there was yet that against him which all his worldliness did not quite
enable him to meet with coolness. But the longer the idea of the
property rested upon his mind, the more, as if it had been the red-hot
coin of the devil’s gift, it burned and burrowed out a nest for itself,
till it lay there stone-cold and immovably fixed, and not to be got rid
of. Before many weeks had passed he not only knew that it was his by
law, but felt that it was his by right–his own by right of possession,
and the clinging of his heart-strings around it–his own because it
was so good that he could not part with it. Still it was possible that
something adverse might turn up, and there was no good in incurring
odium until he was absolutely sure that the fortune as well as the
odium would be his; therefore he was in no haste to propound the will.

But, as I have said, he began to be more ambitious for his son,
and the more he thought about the property, the more he desired to
increase it by the advantageous alliance which he had now no doubt
he could command. This persuasion was increased by the satisfaction
which his son’s handsome person and pleasing manners afforded him;
and a confidence of manner which had of late shown itself, chiefly,
it must be confessed, from the experience of the world he had had in
the company he of late frequented, had raised in his father’s mind a
certain regard for him which he had not felt before. Therefore he began
to look about him and speculate. He had not the slightest suspicion of
Thomas being in love; and, indeed, there was nothing in his conduct or
appearance that could have aroused such a suspicion in his mind. Mr.
Worboise believed, on the contrary, that his son was leading a rather
wild life.

It may seem strange that Thomas should not by this time have sunk far
deeper into the abyss of misery; but Molken had been careful in not
trying to hook him while he was only nibbling; and, besides, until he
happened to be able to lose something worth winning, he rather avoided
running him into any scrape that might disgust him without bringing
any considerable advantage to himself.

There was one adverse intelligence, of whom Mr. Worboise knew nothing,
and who knew nothing of Mr. Worboise, ready to pounce upon him the
moment he showed his game. This was Mr. Sargent. Smarting, not under
Lucy’s refusal so much as from the lingering suspicion that she had
altogether misinterpreted his motives, he watched for an opportunity
of proving his disinterestedness; this was his only hope; for he saw
that Lucy was lost to him. He well knew that in the position of her and
her grandmother, it would not be surprising if something with a forked
tongue or a cloven foot should put its head out of a hole before very
long, and begin to creep toward them; and therefore, as I say, he kept
an indefinite but wide watch, in the hope which I have mentioned. He
had no great difficulty in discovering that Mr. Worboise had been Mr.
Boxall’s man of business, but he had no right to communicate with him
on the subject. This indeed Mr. Stopper, who had taken the place of
adviser in general to Mrs. Boxall, had already done, asking him whether
Mr. Boxall had left no will, to which he had received a reply only
to the effect that it was early days, that there was no proof of his
death, and that he was prepared to give what evidence he possessed at
the proper time–an answer Mrs. Boxall naturally enough, with her fiery
disposition, considered less than courteous. Of this Mr. Sargent of
course was not aware, but, as the only thing he could do at present, he
entered a _caveat_ in the Court of Probate.

Mr. Stopper did his best for the business in the hope of one day
having not only the entire management as now, but an unquestionable as
unquestioned right to the same. If he ever thought of anything further
since he had now a free entrance to Mrs. Boxall’s region, he could not
think an inch in that direction without encountering the idea of Thomas.

It was very disagreeable to Thomas that Mr. Stopper, whom he detested,
should have this free admission to what he had been accustomed to
regard as his _peculium_. He felt as if the place were defiled by
his presence, and to sit as he had sometimes to sit, knowing that
Mr. Stopper was overhead, was absolutely hateful. But, as I shall
have to set forth in the next chapter, Lucy was not at home; and that
mitigated the matter very considerably. For the rest, Mr. Stopper
was on the whole more civil to Thomas than he had hitherto been, and
appeared even to put a little more confidence in him than formerly.
The fact was, that the insecurity of his position made him conscious of
vulnerability, and he wished to be friendly on all sides, with a vague
general feeling of strengthening his outworks.

Mr. Wither never opened his mouth to Thomas upon any occasion or
necessity, and from several symptoms it appeared that his grief, or
rather perhaps the antidotes to it, were dragging him down hill.

Amy Worboise was not at home. The mother had seen symptoms; and much
as she valued Mr. Simon’s ghostly ministrations, the old Adam in her
rebelled too strongly against having a curate for her son-in-law. So
Amy disappeared for a season, upon a convenient invitation. But if she
had been at home, she could have influenced events in nothing; for,
as often happens in families, there was no real communication between
mother and sister.

I now return to resume the regular thread of my story.

I do not know if my reader is half as much interested in Mattie as
I am. I doubt it very much. He will, most probably, like Poppie
better. But big-headed, strange, and conceited as Mattie was, she
was altogether a higher being than Poppie. She thought; Poppie only
received impressions. If she had more serious faults than Poppie, they
were faults that belonged to a more advanced stage of growth; diseased,
my reader may say, but diseased with a disease that fell in with,
almost belonged to, the untimely development. All Poppie’s thoughts, to
speak roughly, came from without; all Mattie’s from within. To complete
Mattie, she had to go back a little, and learn to receive impressions
too; to complete Poppie; she had to work upon the impressions she
received, and, so to speak, generate thoughts of her own. Mattie led
the life of a human being; Poppie of a human animal. Mattie lived;
Poppie was there. Poppie was the type of most people; Mattie of the

Lucy did not intend, in the sad circumstances in which she now was, to
say a word to her grandmother about Mrs. Morgenstern’s proposal. But
it was brought about very naturally. As she entered the court she met
Mattie. The child had been once more to visit Mr. Spelt, but had found
the little nest so oppressive that she had begged to be put down again,
that she might go to her own room. Mr. Spelt was leaning over his door
and his crossed legs, for he could not stand up, looking anxiously
after her; and the child’s face was so pale and sad, and she held her
little hand so pitifully to her big head, that Lucy could not help
feeling that the first necessity among her duties was to get Mattie

After the fresh burst of her grandmother’s grief at sight of her was
over, after Mr. Stopper had gone back to the counting-house, and she
had fallen into a silent rocking to and fro, Lucy ventured to speak.

“They’re gone home, dear grannie,” she said.

“And I shan’t stay long behind them, my dear,” grannie moaned.

“That’s some comfort, isn’t it, grannie?” said Lucy, for her own heart
was heavy, not for the dead, but for the living; heavy for her own
troubles, heavy for Thomas, about whom she felt very despondent, almost

“Ah! you young people would be glad enough to have the old ones out
of the way,” returned Mrs. Boxall, in the petulance of grief. “Have
patience, Lucy, have patience, child; it won’t be long, and then you
can do as you like.”

“Oh, grannie, grannie!” cried Lucy, bursting into tears. “I do
everything I like now. I only wanted to comfort you,” she sobbed. “I
thought you would like to go too. _I_ wish I was dead.”

“_You_, child!” exclaimed Mrs. Boxall; “why should you wish you was
dead? You don’t know enough of life to wish for death.” Then, as Lucy
went on sobbing, her tone changed–for she began to be concerned at her
distress. “What _is_ the matter with my darling?” she said. “Are you
ill, Lucy?”

Then Lucy went to her and kissed her, and knelt down, and laid her head
in the old woman’s lap. And her grannie stroked her hair, and spoke
to her as if she had been one of her own babies, and, in seeking to
comfort her, forgot her own troubles for the moment.

“You’ve been doing too much for other people, Lucy,” she said. “We must
think of you now. You must go to the sea-side for awhile. You shan’t go
about giving lessons any more, my lamb. There is no need for that any
more, for they say all the money will be ours now.”

And the old woman wept again at the thought of the source of their
coming prosperity.

“I should like to go to the country very much, if you would go too,

“No, no, child, I don’t want to go. I don’t want any doing good to.”

“But I don’t like to leave you, grannie,” objected Lucy.

“Never mind me, my dear. I shall be better alone for awhile. And I dare
say there will be some business to attend to.”

And so they went on talking, till Lucy told her all about Mrs.
Morgenstern’s plan, and how ill poor Mattie looked, and that she would
be glad to go away for a little while herself. Mrs. Boxall would
not consent to go, but she even urged Lucy to accept the proposed
arrangement, and proceeded at once to inquire into her wardrobe, and
talk about mourning.

Two days after, Lucy and Mattie met Mrs. Morgenstern and Miriam at
the London Bridge railway station. Mattie looked quite dazed, almost
stupid, with the noise and bustle; but when they were once in motion,
she heaved a deep sigh, and looked comforted. She said nothing,
however, for some time, and her countenance revealed no surprise.
Whatever was out of the usual way always oppressed Mattie–not excited
her; and, therefore, the more surprising anything was, the less did
it occasion any outward shape of surprise. But as they flashed into
the first tunnel, Lucy saw her start and shudder ere they vanished
from each other in the darkness. She put out her hand and took hold of
the child’s. It was cold and trembling; but as she held it gently and
warmly in her own, it grew quite still. By the time the light began to
grow again, her face was peaceful, and when they emerged in the cutting
beyond, she was calm enough to speak the thought that had come to her
in the dark. With another sigh–

“I knew the country wasn’t nice,” she said.

“But you don’t know what the country is yet,” answered Lucy.

“I know quite enough of it,” returned Mattie. “I like London best. I
wish I could see some shops.”

Lucy did not proceed to argue the matter with her. She did not tell
her how unfair she was to judge the country by what lay between her
and it. As well might she have argued with Thomas that the bitterness
of the repentance from which he shrank was not the religion to which
she wanted to lead him; that religion itself was to him inconceivable;
and could but be known when he was in it. She had tried this plan with
him in their last interview before she left. She had herself, under the
earnest teaching of Mr. Fuller, and in the illumination of that Spirit
for which she prayed, learned many a spiritual lesson, had sought
eagerly, and therefore gained rapidly. For hers was one of the good
soils, well prepared beforehand for the seed of the redeeming truth of
God’s love, and the Sonship of Christ, and his present power in the
human soul. And she had tried, I say, to make Thomas believe in the
blessedness of the man whoso iniquities are pardoned, whose sins are
covered, to whom the Lord imputeth not his transgressions; but Thomas
had replied only with some of the stock phrases of assent. A nature
such as his could not think of law and obedience save as restraint.
While he would be glad enough to have the weight of conscious
wrong-doing lifted off him, he could not see that in yielding his own
way and taking God’s lay the only _freedom_ of which the human being,
made in the image of God, is capable.

Presently Mattie found another argument upon her side, that is, the
town-side of the question. She had been sitting for half an hour
watching the breath of the snorting engine, as it rushed out for a
stormy flight over the meek fields, faltered, lingered, faded, melted,
was gone.

“I told you so,” said Mattie: “nothing lasts in the country.”

“What are you looking at now?” asked Lucy, bending forward to see.

“Those white clouds,” answered Mattie. “I’ve been expecting them to do
something for ever so long. And they never do anything, though they
begin in such a hurry. The green gets the better of them somehow. They
melt away into it, and are all gone.”

“But they do the grass some good, I dare say,” returned Lucy–“in hot
weather like this especially.”

“Well, that’s not what they set out for, anyhow,” said Mattie. “They
look always as if they were just going to take grand shapes, and make
themselves up into an army, and go out and conquer the world.”

“And then,” suggested Lucy, yielding to the fancy of the child, “they
think better of it, and give themselves up, and die into the world to
do it good, instead of trampling it under their feet and hurting it.”

“But how do they come to change their minds so soon?” asked Mattie,
beginning to smile; for this was the sort of intellectual duel in which
her little soul delighted.

“Oh, I don’t think they do change their minds. I don’t think they
ever meant to trample down the world. That was your notion, you know,

“Well, what do you think they set out for? Why do they rush out so
fiercely all at once?”

“I will tell you what I think,” answered Lucy, without perceiving more
than the faintest glimmering of the human reality of what she said, “I
think they rush out of the hot place in which they are got ready to do
the fields good, in so much pain, that they toss themselves about in
strange ways, and people think they are fierce and angry when they are
only suffering–shot out into the air from a boiling kettle, you know,

“Ah! yes; I see,” answered Mattie. “That’s it, is it? Yes, I dare say.
Out of a kettle?”

Miriam had drawn near, and was listening, but she could make little of
all this, for her hour was not yet come to ask, or to understand such

“Yes, that great round thing in front of us is just a great kettle,”
said Lucy.

“Well, I will look at it when we get out. I thought there wasn’t much
in the country. I suppose we shall get out again, though. This isn’t
all the country, is it?”

Before they reached Hastings, Mattie was fast asleep. It was the
evening. She scarcely woke when they stopped for the last time. Lucy
carried her from the carriage to a cab, and when they arrived at the
lodgings where they were expected, made all haste to get her to bed and

But she woke the earlier in the morning, and the first thing she was
aware of was the crowing of a very clear-throated cock, such a cock as
Henry Vaughan must have listened to in the morning of the day when he

“Father of lights! what sunnie seed,
What glance of day hast thou confined
Into this bird? To all the breed
This busie Ray thou hast assigned;
Their magnetisme works all night,
And dreams of Paradise and light.”

She could not collect her thoughts for some time. She was aware that
a change had taken place, but what was it? Was she somebody else?
What did they use to call her? Then she remembered Mr. Spelt’s shop,
and knew that she was Mattie Kitely. What then had happened to her?
Something certainly had happened, else how could the cock crow like
that? She was now aware that her eyes were open, but she did not know
that Lucy was in another bed in the same room watching her–whence
afterward, when she put Mattie’s words and actions together, she
was able to give this interpretation of her thoughts. The room was
so different from anything she had been used to, that she could not
understand it. She crept out of bed and went to the window. There was
no blind to it, only curtains drawn close in front.

Now my reader must remember that when Mattie went to the window of
her own room at home she saw into Guild Court. The house in which
they now were was half way up one of the hills on the sides of which
great part of Hastings is built. The sun was not shining upon the
window at this hour of the morning, and therefore did not obstruct
the view. Hence when Mattie went between the curtains she saw nothing
but that loveliest of English seas–the Hastings sea–lying away out
into the sky, or rather, as it appeared to her unaccustomed gaze,
piled up like a hill against the sky, which domed it over, vast and
blue, and triumphant in sunlight–just a few white sails below and a
few white clouds above, to show how blue the sea and sky were in this
glory of an autumn morning. She saw nothing of the earth on which she
was upheld; only the sea and the sky. She started back with a feeling
that she could never describe; there was terror, and loneliness, and
helplessness in it. She turned and flew to her bed, but instead of
getting into it, fell down on her knees by the side of it, clutched
the bed-clothes, and sobbed and wept aloud. Lucy was by her side in
a moment, took her in her arms, carried her into her own bed, and
comforted her in her bosom.

Mattie had been all her life sitting in the camera-obscura of her own
microcosm, watching the shadows that went and came, and now first she
looked up and out upon the world beyond and above her. All her doings
had gone on in the world of her own imaginings; and although that
big brain of hers contained–no, I cannot say _contained_, but what
else am I to say?–a being greater than all that is seen, heard, or
handled, yet the outward show of divine imagination which now met her
eyes might well overpower that world within her. I fancy that, like
the blind to whom sight is given, she did not at first recognize the
difference between herself and it, but felt as if it was all inside
her and she did not know what to do with it. She would not have cried
at the sight of a rose, as Poppie did. I doubt whether Mattie’s was
altogether such a refined nature as Poppie’s–to begin with: she would
have rather patronized the rose-tree, and looked down upon it as a
presuming and rather unpleasant thing because it bore dying children;
and she needed, some time or other, and that was now, just such a sight
as this to take the conceit out of her. Less of a vision of the eternal
would not have been sufficient. Was it worth while? Yes. The whole
show of the universe was well spent to take an atom of the self out of
a child. God is at much trouble with us, but he never weighs material
expense against spiritual gain to one of his creatures. The whole
universe existed for Mattie. There is more than that that the Father
has not spared. And no human fault, the smallest, is overcome, save
by the bringing in of true, grand things. A sense of the infinite and
the near, the far yet impending, rebuked the conceit of Mattie to the
very core, and without her knowing why or how. She clung to Lucy as a
child would cling, and as, all through her illness, she had never clung

“What is the matter with you, Mattie, dear?” asked Lucy, but asked in
vain. Mattie only clung to her the closer, and began a fresh utterance
of sobs. Lucy therefore held her peace for some time and waited. And in
the silence of that waiting she became aware that a lark was singing
somewhere out in the great blue vault.

“Listen to the lark singing so sweetly,” she said at length. And Mattie
moved her head enough to show that she would listen, and lay still a
long while listening. At length she said, with a sob:

“What is a lark? I never saw one, Miss Burton.”

“A bird like a sparrow. You know what a sparrow is, don’t you, dear?”

“Yes. I have seen sparrows often in the court. They pick up dirt.”

“Well, a lark is like a sparrow; only it doesn’t pick up dirt, and
sings as you hear it. And it flies so far up into the sky that you
can’t see it–you can only hear the song it scatters down upon the

“Oh, how dreadful!” said Mattie, burying her head again as if she would
shut out hearing and sight and all.

“What is it that is dreadful? I don’t understand you, Mattie.”

“To fly up into that awful place up there. Shall we have to do that
when we die?”

“It is not an awful place, dear. God is there, you know.”

“But I am frightened. And if God is up there, I shall be frightened
at him too. It is so dreadful! I used to think that God could see me
when I was in London. But how he is to see me in this great place, with
so many things about, cocks and larks, and all, I can’t think. I’m so
little! I’m hardly worth taking care of.”

“But you remember, Mattie, what Somebody says–that God takes care of
every sparrow.”

“Yes, but that’s the sparrows, and they’re in the town, you know,” said
Mattie, with an access of her old fantastic perversity, flying for
succor, as it always does, to false logic.

Lucy saw that it was time to stop. The child’s fear was gone for the
present, or she could not have talked such nonsense. It was just as
good, however, as the logic of most of those who worship the letter and
call it the word.

“Why don’t you speak, Miss Burton?” asked Mattie at length, no doubt
conscience-stricken by her silence.

“Because you are talking nonsense now, Mattie.”

“I thought that was it. But why should that make you not speak? for I
need the more to hear sense.”

“No, Mattie. Mr. Fuller says that when people begin to talk falsely, it
is better to be quite silent, and let them say what they please, till
the sound of their own nonsense makes them ashamed.”

“As it did me, Miss Burton, as soon as you wouldn’t speak any more.”

“He says it does no good to contradict them then, for they are not only
unworthy to hear the truth–that’s not it–if they would hear it–but
they are not fit to hear it. They are not in a mood to get any good
from it; for they are holding the door open for the devil to come in,
and truth can’t get in at the same door with the devil.”

“Oh, how dreadful! To think of me talking like Syne!” said Mattie. “I
won’t do it again, Miss Burton. Do tell me what Somebody said about
God and the sparrows. Didn’t he say something about counting their
feathers? I think I remember Mr. Spelt reading that to me one night.”

“He said something about counting your hairs, Mattie.”


“Well, he said it to all the people that would listen to him. I dare
say there were some that could not believe it because they did not care
to be told it.”

“That’s me, Miss Burton. But I won’t do it again. Well–what more?”

“Only this, Mattie: that if God knows how many hairs you have got on
your head–”

“My big head,” interrupted Mattie. “Well?”

“Yes, on your big head–if God knows that, you can’t think you’re too
small for him to look after you.”

“I will try not to be frightened at the big sky any more, dear Miss
Burton; I will try.”

In a few minutes she was fast asleep again.

Lucy’s heart was none the less trustful that she had tried to increase
Mattie’s faith. He who cared for the sparrows would surely hear her cry
for Thomas, nay, would surely look after Thomas himself. The father
did not forget the prodigal son all the time that he was away; did
not think of him only when he came back again, worn and sorrowful. In
teaching Mattie she had taught herself. She had been awake long before
her, turning over and over her troubled thoughts till they were all in
a raveled sleeve of care. Now she too fell fast asleep in her hope, and
when she awoke, her thoughts were all knit up again in an even resolve
to go on and do her duty, casting her care upon Him that cared for her.

And now Mattie’s childhood commenced. She had had none as yet. Her
disputatiousness began to vanish. She could not indulge it in the
presence of the great sky, which grew upon her till she felt, as many
children and some conscience-stricken men have felt–that it was the
great eye of God looking at her; and although this feeling was chiefly
associated with awe at first, she soon began to love the sky, and to be
sorry and oppressed upon cloudy days when she could no longer look up
into it.

The next day they went down to the beach, in a quiet place, among
great stones, under the east cliff. Lucy sat down on one of them, and
began to read a book Mr. Fuller had lent her. Miriam was at a little
distance, picking up shells, and Mattie on another stone nearer the
sea. The tide was rising. Suddenly Mattie came scrambling in great
haste over all that lay between her and Lucy. Her face was pale,
scared, and eager.

“I’m so frightened again!” she said; “and I can’t help it. The sea!
What does it mean?”

“What do you mean, Mattie?” returned Lucy, smiling.

“Well, it’s roaring at me, and coming nearer and nearer, as if it
wanted to swallow me up. I don’t like it.”

“You must not be afraid of it. God made it, you know.”

“Why does he let it roar at me, then?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps to teach you not to be afraid.”

Mattie said no more, stood a little while by Lucy, and then scrambled
back to her former place.

The next day, they managed with some difficulty to get up on the East
Hill; Mattie was very easily worn out, especially with climbing. She
gazed at the sea below her, the sky over her head, the smooth grass
under her feet, and gave one of her great sighs. Then she looked

“I feel as if I hadn’t any clothes on,” she said.

“How is that, Mattie?”

“Well, I don’t know. I feel as if I couldn’t stand steady–as if I
hadn’t anything to keep me up. In London, you know, the houses were
always beside to hold a body up, and keep them steady. But here, if it
weren’t for Somebody, I should be so frightened for falling down–I
don’t know where!”

Lucy smiled. She did not see then how exactly the child symbolized
those who think they have faith in God, and yet when one of the
swaddling bands of system or dogma to which they have been accustomed
is removed, or even only slackened, immediately feel as if there were
no God, as if the earth under their feet were a cloud, and the sky over
them a color, and nothing to trust in anywhere. They rest in their
swaddling bands, not in God. The loosening of these is God’s gift to
them that they may grow. But first they are much afraid.

Still Mattie looked contemptuously on the flowers. Wandering along
the cliff, they came to a patch that was full of daisies. Miriam’s
familiarity with the gorgeous productions of green-house and hot-house
had not injured her capacity for enjoying these peasants of flowers.
She rushed among them with a cry of pleasure, and began gathering them
eagerly. Mattie stood by with a look of condescending contempt upon her
pale face.

“Wouldn’t you like to gather some daisies too, Mattie?” suggested Lucy.

“Where’s the use?” said Mattie. “The poor things’ll be withered in no
time. It’s almost a shame to gather them, I do think.”

“Well, you needn’t gather them if you don’t want to have them,”
returned Lucy. “But I wonder you don’t like them, they are so pretty.”

“But they don’t last. I don’t like things that die. I had a little talk
with Mr. Fuller about that.”

Now Mr. Fuller had told Lucy what the child had said, and this had
resulted in a good deal of talk. Mr. Fuller was a great lover of
Wordsworth, and the book Lucy was now reading, the one he had lent her,
was Wordsworth’s Poems. She had not found what she now answered, either
in Wordsworth’s poems or in Mr. Fuller’s conversation, but it came from
them both, mingling with her love to God, and her knowledge of the
Saviour’s words, with the question of the child to set her mind working
with them all at once. She thought for a moment, and then said:

“Listen, Mattie. You don’t dislike to hear me talk, do you?”

“No, indeed,” answered Mattie.

“You like the words I say to you, then?”

“Yes, indeed,” said Mattie, wondering what would come next.

“But my words die as soon as they are out of my mouth.”

Mattie began to see a glimmering of something coming, and held her
peace and listened. Lucy went on.

“Well, the flowers are some of God’s words, and they last longer than

“But I understand your words. I know what you want to say to me. And I
don’t know the meaning of _them_.”

“That’s because you haven’t looked at them long enough. You must
suppose them words in God’s book, and try to read them and understand

“I will try,” said Mattie, and walked soberly toward Miriam.

But she did not begin to gather the daisies as Miriam was doing. She
lay down in the grass just as Chaucer tells us he used to do in the
mornings of May for the same purpose–to look at the daisy–“leaning on
my elbow and my side”; and thus she continued for some time. Then she
rose and came slowly back to Lucy.

“I can’t tell what they mean,” she said. “I have been trying very hard,

“I don’t know whether I understand them or not, myself. But I fancy we
get some good from what God shows us even when we don’t understand it

“They are such little things!” said Mattie. “I can hardly fancy them
worth making.”

“God thinks them worth making, though, or he would not make them. He
wouldn’t do anything that he did not care about doing. There’s the lark
again. Listen to him, how glad he is. He is so happy that he can’t
bear it without singing. If he couldn’t sing it would break his heart,
I fancy. Do you think God would have made his heart so glad if he did
not care for his gladness, or given him such a song to sing–for he
must have made the song and taught it to the lark–the song is just
the lark’s heart coming out in sounds–would he have made all the lark
if he did not care for it? And he would not have made the daisies so
pretty if their prettiness was not worth something in his eyes. And if
God cares for them, surely it is worth our while to care for them too.”

Mattie listened very earnestly, went back to the daisies, and lay down
again beside a group of them. Miriam kept running about from one spot
to another, gathering them. What Mattie said, or what Miriam replied,
I do not know, but in a little while Mattie came to Lucy with a red
face–a rare show in her.

“I don’t like Miss Miriam,” she said. “She’s not nice at all.”

“Why, what’s the matter?” asked Lucy, in some surprise, for the
children had got on very well together as yet. “What has she been

“She doesn’t care a bit for Somebody. I don’t like her.”

“But Somebody likes her.”

To this Mattie returned no answer, but stood thoughtful. The blood
withdrew from her face to its fountain, and she went back to the
daisies once more.

The following day she began to gather flowers as other children do,
even to search for them as for hidden treasures. And if she did not
learn their meaning with her understanding, she must have learned it
with her heart, for she would gaze at some of them in a way that showed
plainly enough that she felt their beauty; and in the beauty, the
individual loveliness of such things, lies the dim lesson with which
they faintly tincture our being. No man can be quite the same he was
after having _loved_ a new flower.

Thus, by degrees, Mattie’s thought and feeling were drawn outward. Her
health improved. Body and mind reacted on each other. She grew younger
and humbler. Every day her eyes were opened to some fresh beauty on
the earth, some new shadowing of the sea, some passing loveliness in
the heavens. She had hitherto refused the world as a thing she had not
proved; now she began to find herself at home in it, that is, to find
that it was not a strange world to which she had come, but a home;
not, indeed, the innermost, sacredest room of the house where the
Father sat, but still a home, full of his presence, his thoughts, his
designs. Is it any wonder that a child should prosper better in such a
world than in a catacomb filled with the coffined remains of thinking
men? I mean her father’s book-shop. Here, God was ever before her in
the living forms of his thought, a power and a blessing. Every wind
that blew was his breath, and the type of his inner breathing upon the
human soul. Every morning was filled with his light, and the type of
the growing of that light which lighteth every man that cometh into the
world. And there are no natural types that do not dimly work their own
spiritual reality upon the open heart of a human being.

Before she left Hastings, Mattie was almost a child.

Between Mr. Spelt’s roost and the house called No. 1 of Guild Court
there stood a narrow house, as tall as the rest, which showed by the
several bell-pulls, ranged along the side of the door, that it was
occupied by different households. Mr. Spelt had for some time had his
eye upon it, in the hope of a vacancy occurring in its top chambers,
occupying which he would be nearer his work, and have a more convenient
home in case he should some day succeed in taming and capturing Poppie.
Things had been going well in every way with the little tailor. He had
had a good many more private customers for the last few months, began
in consequence to look down from a growing hight upon slop-work, though
he was too prudent to drop it all at once, and had three or four pounds
in the post-office savings-bank. Likewise his fishing had prospered.
Poppie came for her sweets as regularly as a robin for his crumbs in
winter. Spelt, however, did not now confine his bait to sweets; a fresh
roll, a currant bun, sometimes–when his longing for his daughter had
been especially strong the night before, even a Bath bun–would hang
suspended by a string from the aerial threshold, so that Poppie could
easily reach it, and yet it should be under the protection of the
tailor from chance marauders. And every morning as she took it, she
sent a sweet smile of thanks to the upper regions whence came her
aid. Though not very capable of conversation, she would occasionally
answer a few questions about facts–as, for instance, where she had
slept the last night, to which the answer would commonly be, “Mother
Flanaghan’s;” but once, to the tailor’s no small discomposure, was
“The Jug.” She did not seem to know exactly, however, how it was that
she got incarcerated: there had been a crowd, and somebody had prigged
something, and there was a scurry and a running, and she scudded as
usual, and got took up. Mr. Spelt was more anxious than ever to take
her home after this. But sometimes, the moment he began to talk to her
she would run away, without the smallest appearance of rudeness, only
of inexplicable oddity; and Mr. Spelt thought sometimes that he was not
a single step nearer to the desired result than when he first baited
his hook. He regarded it as a good omen, however, when, by the death
of an old woman and the removal of her daughter, the topmost floor of
the house, consisting of two small rooms, became vacant; and he secured
them at a weekly rental quite within the reach of his improved means.
He did not imagine how soon he would be able to put them to the use he
most desired.

One evening, just as the light was fading and he proceeded to light a
candle to enable him to go on with his work, he heard the patter of
her bare feet on the slabs, for his ear was very keen for this most
pleasant of sounds, and looking down, saw the child coming toward him,
holding the bottom of her ragged frock up to her head. He had scarcely
time to be alarmed before she stopped at the foot of his shop, looked
up pale as death, with a dark streak of blood running through the
paleness, and burst into a wail. The little man was down in a moment,
but before his feet reached the ground Poppie had fallen upon it in a
faint. He lifted the child in his arms with a strange mixture of pity
and horror in his big heart, and sped up the three stairs to his own
dwelling. There he laid her on his bed, struck a light, and proceeded
to examine her. He found a large and deep cut in her head, from which
the blood was still flowing. He rushed down again, and fortunately
found Dolman on the point of leaving. Him he sent for the doctor, and
returned like an arrow to his treasure. Having done all he could, with
the aid of his best Sunday shirt, to stop the bleeding, he waited
impatiently for the doctor’s arrival, which seemed long delayed. Before
he came the child began to revive; and, taught by the motion of her
lips, he got some water and held to them. Poppie drank and opened
her eyes. When she saw who was bending over her, the faintest ghost
of a smile glimmered about her mouth, and she closed her eyes again,
murmuring something about Mother Flanaghan.

As far as he could gather from piecing together what the child said
afterward, Mr. Spelt came to the conclusion that Mrs. Flanaghan had
come home a little the worse for “cream of the valley,” and wanted
more. Poppie happened to be alone in her room when she came, for we
have seen that she sometimes forgot to lock the door, if, indeed,
there was a lock on it. She had nothing to care for, however, but her
gin-bottle; and that she thought she hid safely enough. Whether she
had left it empty or not, I do not know, but she found it empty when
she neither desired nor expected to find it so; and coming to the
hasty and stupid conclusion that poor Poppie was the thief–just as
an ill-trained child expends the rage of a hurt upon the first person
within his reach–she broke the vile vessel upon Poppie’s head with the
result we have seen. But the child had forgotten everything between
that and her waking upon Mr. Spelt’s bed.

The doctor came and dressed her wound, and gave directions for her

And now Mr. Spelt was in the seventh heaven of delight–he had a little
woman of his own to take care of. He was thirty-nine years of age;
and now, for the first time in his life, saw a prospect of happiness
opening before him. No–once before, when he led the splendid Mrs.
Spelt home from church, he had looked into a rosy future; but the next
morning the prospect closed, and had never opened again till now. He
did not lie down all that night, but hovered about her bed, as if she
had been a creature that might any moment spread out great wings and
fly away from him forever. Sometimes he had to soothe her with kind
words, for she wandered a good deal, and would occasionally start up
with wild looks, as if to fly once more from Mother Flanaghan with the
gin-bottle bludgeon uplifted in her hand; then the sound of Mr. Spelt’s
voice would instantly soothe her, and she would lie down again and
sleep. But she scarcely spoke; for at no time was Poppie given to much

When the light came, he hurried down-stairs to his shop, got his work
and all his implements out, carried them up, and sat with them on the
floor where he could see Poppie’s face. There he worked away busily
at a pair of cords for a groom, every now and then lifting his eyes
from his seam to look down into the court, and finding them always met
by the floor. Then his look would go up to the bed, seeking Poppie’s
pale face. He found he could not get on so fast as usual. Still he made
progress; and it was a comfort to think that by working thus early he
was saving time for nursing his little white Poppie.

When at length she woke, she seemed a little better; but she soon grew
more feverish, and soon he found that he must constantly watch her, for
she was ready to spring out of bed any moment. The father-heart grew
dreadfully anxious before the doctor came; and all that day and the
next he got very little work done, for the poor child was really in
danger. Indeed it was more than a week before he began to feel a little
easy about her; and ten days yet passed before she was at all able to
leave her bed.

And herein lay the greatest blessing both for Spelt and Poppie. I
doubt if anything else could have given him a reasonable chance, as we
say, of taming the wild animal. Her illness compelled her into such a
continuance of dependent association with him, that the idea of him
had time to grow into her heart; while all her scudding propensities,
which prevented her from making a quiet and thorough acquaintance
with anybody, were not merely thwarted, but utterly gone, while she
remained weak. The humanity of the child had therefore an opportunity
of developing itself; obstructions removed, the well of love belonging
to her nature began to pulse and to flow, and she was, as it were,
compelled to love Mr. Spelt; so that, by the time old impulses returned
with returning health, he had a chance against them.

Mr. Fuller’s main bent of practical thought was how to make his
position in the church as far as possible from a sinecure. If the
church was a reality at all, if it represented a vital body, every
portion of it ought to be instinct with life. Yet here was one of its
cells, to speak physiologically, all but inactive–a huge building of
no use all the week, and on Sundays filled with organ sounds, a few
responses from a sprinkling of most indifferent worshipers, and his
own voice reading prayers and crying “with sick assay” sometimes–to
move those few to be better men and women than they were. Now, so far
it was a center of life, and as such well worthy of any amount of
outlay of mere money. But even money itself is a holy thing; and from
the money point alone, low as that is, it might well be argued that
this church was making no adequate return for the amount expended upon
it. Not that one thought of honest comfort to a human soul is to be
measured against millions of expense; but that what the money did might
well be measured against what the money might do. To the commercial
mind such a church suggests immense futility, a judgment correct in so
far as it falls short of its possibilities. To tell the truth, and a
good truth it is to tell, Mr. Fuller was ashamed of St. Amos’s, and was
thinking day and night how to retrieve the character of his church.

And he reasoned thus with himself, in the way mostly of question and

“What is a Sunday?” he asked, answering himself–“A quiet hollow
scooped out of the windy hill of the week.” “Must a man then go for
six days shelterless ere he comes to the repose of the seventh? Are
there to be no great rocks to shadow him between?–no hiding-places
from the wind to let him take breath and heart for the next struggle?
And if there ought to be, where are they to be found if not in our
churches?–scattered like little hollows of sacred silence scooped
out of the roar and bustle of our cities, dumb to the questions–What
shall we eat? what shall we drink? and wherewithal shall we be
clothed?–but, alas! equally dumb to the question–Where shall I find
rest, for I am weary and heavy-laden? These churches stand absolute
caverns of silence amid the thunder of the busy city–with a silence
which does not remind men of the eternal silence of truth, but of
the carelessness of heart wherewith men regard that silence. Their
work is nowhere till Sunday comes, and nowhere after that till the
next Sunday or the next saint’s day. How is this? Why should they not
lift up the voice of silence against the tumult of care? against the
dissonance of Comus and his crew? How is it that they do not–standing
with their glittering, silent cocks and their golden, unopening keys
high uplifted in sunny air? Why is it that their cocks do not crow,
and their keys do not open? Because their cocks are busy about how
the wind blows, and their keys do not fit their own doors. They may
be caverns of peace, but they are caverns without entrance–sealed
fountains–a mockery of the thirst and confusion of men.” “But men
do not want entrance. What is the use of opening the doors of our
churches so long as men do not care to go in? Times are changed now.”
“But does not the very word Revelation imply a something coming from
heaven–not certainly before men were ready for it, for God cannot be
precipitate–but before they had begun to pray for it?” Mr. Fuller
remembered how his own father used always to compel his children to eat
one mouthful of any dish he heard them say at table that they did not
like–whereupon they generally chose to go on with it. “But they won’t
come in.” “How can you tell till you try, till you fulfill the part of
the _minister_ (good old beautiful Christian word), and be ‘the life
o’ the building?'” “Presumption! Are not the prayers everything?” “At
least not till you get people to pray them.” “You make too much of the
priest.” “Leave him for God, and the true priest has all the seal of
his priesthood that he wants.” At least so thought Mr. Fuller. “What is
the priest?” he asked, going on with the same catechism. “Just a man
to be among men what the Sunday is among the work-days of the week–a
man to remind you that there is a life within this life, or beyond
and about it, if you like that mode better–for extremes meet in the
truest figures–that care is not of God, that faith and confidence
are truer, simpler, more of common sense than balances at bankers’
or preference shares. He is a protest against the money-heaping
tendencies of men, against the desire of rank or estimation or any kind
of social distinction. With him all men are equal, as in the Church
all have equal rights, and rank ceases on the threshold of the same,
overpowered by the presence of the Son of Mary, who was married to a
carpenter–overpowered by the presence of the God of the whole earth,
who wrote the music for the great organ of the spheres, after he had
created them to play the same.” Such was the calling of the clergyman,
as Mr. Fuller saw it. Rather a lofty one, and simply a true one. If
the clergyman cannot rouse men to seek his God and their God, if he
can only rest in his office, which becomes false the moment he rests
in it, being itself for a higher end; if he has no message from the
infinite to quicken the thoughts that cleave to the dust, the sooner he
takes to grave-digging or any other honest labor, the sooner will he
get into the kingdom of heaven, and the higher will he stand in it. But
now came the question–from the confluence of all these considerations,
“Why should the church be for Sundays only? And of all places in the
world, what place wanted a week-day reminder of truth, of honesty,
of the kingdom of heaven, more than London? Why should the churches
be closed all the week, to the exclusion of the passers-by, and open
on the Sunday to the weariness of those who entered? Might there not
be too much of a good thing on the Sunday, and too little of it on a
week-day?” Again Mr. Fuller said to himself, “What is a parson?” and
once more he answered himself, that he was a man to keep the windows of
heaven clean, that its light might shine through upon men below. What
use, then, once more, could he make of the church of St. Amos?

And again, why should the use of any church be limited to the Sunday?
Men needed religious help a great deal more on the week-day than on
the Sunday. On the Sunday, surrounded by his family, his flowers, his
tame animals, his friends, a man necessarily, to say the least of it,
thinks less of making great gains, is more inclined to the family
view of things generally; whereas, upon the week-day, he is in the
midst of the struggle and fight; it is catch who can, then, through
all the holes and corners, highways and lanes of the busy city: what
would it not be then if he could strike a five minutes’–yea, even
a one minute’s–silence into the heart of the uproar? if he could
entice one vessel to sail from the troubled sea of the streets,
shops, counting-houses, into the quiet haven of the church, the doors
of whose harbor stood ever open? There the wind of the world would
be quiet behind them. His heart swelled within him as he thought of
sitting there keeping open door of refuge for the storm-tossed, the
noise-deafened, the crushed, the hopeless. He would not trouble them
with many words. There should be no long prayers. “But,” thought he,
“as often as one came in, I would read the collect for the day; I would
soothe him with comfort out of Handel or Mendelssohn, I would speak
words of healing for the space of three minutes. I would sit at the
receipt of such custom. I would fish for men–not to make churchmen
of them–not to get them under my thumb”–(for Mr. Fuller used such
homely phrases sometimes that certain fledgling divines feared he was
vulgar)–“not to get them under the Church’s thumb, but to get them out
of the hold of the devil, to lead them into the presence of Him who is
the Truth, and so can make them free.”

Therefore he said to himself that his church, instead of accumulating a
weary length of service on one day, should be open every day, and that
there he would be ready for any soul upon which a flask of silence had
burst through the clouds that ever rise from the city life and envelop
those that have their walk therein.

It was not long before his cogitations came to the point of action;
for with men of Mr. Fuller’s kind all their meditations have action
for their result: he opened his church–set the door to the wall, and
got a youth to whom he had been of service, and who was an enthusiast
in music, to play about one o’clock, when those who dined in the city
began to go in search of their food, such music as might possibly
waken the desire to see what was going on in the church. For he said
to himself that the bell was of no use now, for no one would heed it;
but that the organ might fulfill the spirit of the direction that “the
curate that ministereth in every parish church shall say the morning
and evening prayer–where he ministereth, and shall cause a bell to be
tolled thereunto a convenient time before he begins, that the people
may come to hear God’s word and to pray with him.”

Over the crowded street, over the roar of omnibuses, carts, wagons,
cabs, and all kinds of noises, rose the ordered sounds of consort.
Day after day, day after day, arose the sounds of hope and prayer;
and not a soul in the streets around took notice of the same. Why
should they? The clergy had lost their hold of them. They believed
that the clergy were given to gain and pleasure just as much as they
were themselves. Those even of the passers-by who were ready to
acknowledge worth where they saw it, were yet not ready to acknowledge
the probability of finding it in the priesthood; for their experience,
and possibly some of their prejudices, were against it. They were
wrong; but who was to blame for it? The clergy of the eighteenth
century, because so many of them were neither Christians nor gentlemen;
and the clergy of the present century, because so many of them are
nothing but gentlemen–men ignorant of life, ignorant of human needs,
ignorant of human temptations, yea, ignorant of human aspirations;
because in the city pulpits their voice is not uplifted against city
vices–against speculation, against falsehood, against money-loving,
against dishonesty, against selfishness; because elsewhere their voices
are not uplifted against the worship of money and rank and equipage;
against false shows in dress and economy; against buying and not
paying; against envy and emulation; against effeminacy and mannishness;
against a morality which consists in discretion. Oh! for the voice of
a St. Paul or a St. John! But it would be of little use: such men
would have small chance of being heard. They would find the one-half of
Christendom so intent upon saving souls instead of doing its duty, that
the other half thought it all humbug. The organ sounded on from day to
day, and no one heeded.

But Mr. Fuller had the support of knowing that there were clergymen
east and west who felt with him; men who, however much he might differ
from them in the details of belief, yet worshiped the Lord Christ, and
believed him to be the King of men, and the Saviour of men whose sins
were of the same sort as their own, though they had learned them in the
slums, and not at Oxford or Cambridge. He knew that there were greater
men, and better workers than himself, among the London clergy; and he
knew that he must work like them, after his own measure and fashion,
and not follow the multitude. And the organ went on playing–I had
written _praying_–for I was thinking of what our Lord said, that men
ought always to pray, and not to faint.

At last one day, about a quarter past one o’clock, a man came into the
church. Mr. Fuller, who sat in the reading-desk, listening to the music
and praying to God, lifted up his eyes and saw Mr. Kitely.

The bookseller had been passing, and, having heard the organ, thought
he would just look in and see what was doing in the church. For this
church was a sort of link between him and his daughter now that she was

The moment he entered Mr. Fuller rose, and knelt, and began to read the
collect for the day, in order that Mr. Kitely might pray with him. As
soon as his voice arose the organ, which was then playing very softly,
ceased; Mr. Kitely knelt, partly, it must be allowed, out of regard for
Mr. Fuller; the organist came down and knelt beside him; and Mr. Fuller
went on with the second and third collects. After this he read the
Epistle and the Gospel for the foregoing Sunday, and then he opened his
mouth and spoke–for not more than three minutes, and only to enforce
the lesson. Then he kneeled and let his _congregation_ depart with a
blessing. Mr. Kitely rose and left the chapel, and the organist went
back to his organ.

Now all this was out of order. But was it as much out of order as
the omission of prayer altogether, which the Church enjoins shall be
daily? Times had changed: with them the order of prayer might possibly
be changed without offense. At least Mr. Fuller was not such a slave
to the letter as to believe that not to pray at all was better than
to alter the form by choice of parts. And although in the use of
prayers the Church had made great changes upon what had been first
instituted, he did not care to leave present custom for the sake
merely of reverting to that which was older. He had no hope of getting
business men to join in a full morning service–even such as it was at
first–upon any week-day.

Mr. Kitely dropped in again before long, and again Mr. Fuller read the
collect and went through the same form of worship. Thus he did every
time any one appeared in the church, which was very seldom for the
first month or so. But he had some friends scattered about the city,
and when they knew of his custom they would think of it as they passed
his church, until at length there were very few days indeed upon which
two or three persons did not drop in and join in the collects, Epistle,
and Gospel. To these he always spoke for a few minutes, and then
dismissed them with the blessing.