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It was full morning now, and from the east came not only the light but the sunlight; uncertain, watery, flickering. Yet, still it was the sun, and some of its rays fell on the pastor's white hair as he looked out, and he said, "Thanks be to God!"
He took his hat and went on to the cliff. With shawls strained round them, or may be none at all, their hair loose and blown aside by the wind, and their scanty gowns fluttering, stood the women who had gone to church last night to pray for those at sea. Here was one with a baby in her arms, and perhaps another pulling at her skirts, while another rocked herself to and fro, and cried.
Madge was there with a handherchief tied over her head, standing alone with a look of dumb agony on her face-so white, so set, her attitude such despair that the clergyman's pity was terrible for her; so young for such intense misery; tears and sorrow she might have known, but not this.
"Madge," he said, "God is very merciful; have you thought of that?" She turned her eyes to him.
Go to them-not to me."
He went, for he could not bear her agony in its awful blankness, and he knew he could not help her; the prayers of last night had done something, but not all. God only could help a soul so tortured with passionate love, fierce self-condemnation, and the anxiety which was thrilling through every nerve and making her tremble. The crying of the others he could soothe and still; he sent some of them back for their shawls, he sent for bread for the children; but when he looked at Madge he felt he dare not speak to her.
He was gazing across the sea, flecked here and there with a patch of sunlight, or sullenly shadowed by some heavy cloud, when he felt a hand on his arm. Madge could not speak; through her parted lips came only gasps for breath; the handkerchief had fallen off her hair, her eyes flashed with excitement, and the blood had rushed to her cheeks-she pointed to as far as one could see.
"A boat-a boat!" cried some of the women. Who could advise or exhort at such a moment; the good old clergyman could not, for every pulse within him throbbed as did theirs.
Madge shrank apart again, and the blood coursed back from her cheeks, and the gleam died out of her eyes. One boat only, and so many had set sail, the women were crazed with suspense, there was a lingering conviction of bereavement, and a lingering hope that theirs were spared. It was humanity wrought to a pitch of intense suffering; each moment came and went, sharpening the terror on each face, adding to the frenzy of the wringing hands and the passionate tears.
The boat was coming nearer, struggling as if in its death throes,
for it bore an exhausted freight. They saw it beneath them some way from the shore; some laughed madly, and waved a handkerchief or apron; some hugged their babies, and sobbed "Daddy's coming!"
Then, a wild, disordered band, they tore down a narrow path to the sands-screaming, crying, beside themselves. Madge sank, an inert heap, upon the wet heather on the cliff. The pastor could not leave her so.
'Madge, come with me to the beach."
She brushed her hair off her forehead, and her eyes were vacant; the mental torture flaring up for an instant at the sight of the boat had worn itself out, and she was barely capable of thought or deed. He gently raised her, and repeated, "Come
vith me." She rose, staggered, and blindly followed him.
The boat was very near now; on the top of a wave you could almost discern the faces-now lost again in the trough-nearer nearer the keel grated on the shingle. You lost it all again, and only saw the women you had seen on the cliff, for they closed round it and hid it. Some wild cries, and one after another they broke away, widowed-childless!
"Madge, come with me."
The girl leant against a boulder, as if not understanding anything; but she knew her pastor's voice and mechanically obeyed him.
"She don't take on," said one woman.
"An' what for should she?" muttered another. the chap, an' I'll be bound don't want to see him agen."
Fixed, stony, she followed the clergyman.
"Thank God for His mercies!" he said, as she stooped over Will Henderson, lying on the sand. She stooped, and knelt, and raised his head in her arms. A glory swept over her face; careless of every bystander, she passionately kissed him, laid her cheek to his, and he woke
Don't," he said, feebly; "I'd as soon die."
That triumphant happiness was killed in an instant; the clergyman was kneeling over the prostrate man, loosening his things, and chafing his hands; and he saw Madge, not in rigid despair as before, but cowering as if death had come.
"A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise, ,'" he murmured, ceasing his tending, and turning away to minister to some one else.
Madge's tears fell on Will's cheek; and she took his hand, trembling. His consciousness was returning, and he said, "Is it thee, Madge?"
She had heard him say that before, in the sunny courting days, when she had perhaps come upon him unawares, and he
would whisper-what matter if an extra flush rose to his tanned face?" Is it thee?"
She knew the old sweet words, and bowed her head,—" Aye, Will-it's me."
When that day closed the evening sun shone on the headstone of the grave under the church window; the window where the spray dashed sometimes, the headstone on which the salt rain trickled sometimes. The pastor leant on the stone as he had leant last night, had thought of all that happened since then; he thought of the souls that had gone to God, and he thought of the weeping at home; he thought of the sorrowful sea, and he thought of Madge's bitter passion; he thought of the calm that had come, and of the glory he had seen in her face; and then he conned over the text on the tombstone, so fair in the setting sun.
"Beautiful-but God's will is always beautiful, though the sun is not always shining on it. For the sun never goes away; it is only hidden sometimes, and will come out again if we only wait."
Madge had not had long to wait, but he he thought of his wife in Heaven. "Thy will be done," and he went slowly home.
A MAY-DAY LEGEND.
Gambrinus est un roi mythique dont l'existence remonte à plus de 1700 ans avant Jesus-Christ. Il était fils du roi allemand Marcus, et, outre qu'il a inventé la bière, il a fondé Hambourg (en latin Gambrivium) et Cambrai, où jadis on le promenait sous la figure d'un géant. Selon la tradition franconienne, Gambrinus assiste au banquet fantastique que les rois de l'ancienne France ou Francouie donnent chaque année, le 1er mai, à minuit, au Teufelstisch (table du diable), près de Groefenberg.
(In the Constitutionnel of April 1, 1875.)
GAMBRINUS, teetotallers' foeman,
Long ages before Dionysos
Extracted the juice from the vine,
And in the old Frankish tradition,
At midnight, and drank till next day.
They circled the table Satanic,
Their tutelar monarch to sing.
Look up, then, ye publicans, brewers,
The old Flemish King who built Hamburg,
Give me old Gambrinus's beer.
Then fill me a frothing tankard,
And so, as I moisten my clay,
EDWARD BULWER LYTTON.
BY 'S. U. M.
FOR the comparative neglect with which the late Lord Lytton was treated it would be difficult to assign a sufficient cause. His late works, of course, had an immense circulation, and were eagerly read by tens of thousands of people. But, in this reading age, even third-rate writers, who catch the public fancy, are certain to be popular. But the great writer expects and claims something more brilliant than ephemeral popularity. He demands to be acknowledged, by those most competent to judge, a master in the walk of literature he is following. The most generous praise and the greatest fame may fall to a writer's lot, and his right to rank high may be unchallenged; but he may not achieve popularity, that is to say his works, from some reason or another, may only have a limited circulation. On the other hand, great success may be obtained by an author who does not receive credit for, and may not possess learning, ability, or wisdom of the first order. With the causes of this state of things I have nothing to do, except so far as the discussion of them might throw light on Lytton's failure to attain signal success.
I may be mistaken, but I do not think that justice was ever done to the author of "My Novel," nor were his talents as much admired as they deserved to be, and certainly he never was as popular as he should have been. It is difficult to give one's reasons for thinking that he was comparatively neglected, but, I ground them on the following considerations: In nearly all the works on English literature, with which I am acquainted, two writers, are pointedly referred to as the greatest English novelists of the present age, they are Dickens and Thackeray. Of course, when reference is made to the greatest novelists of the century, Scott is added. In magazine and newspaper articles, in reviews, in conversation, Dickens and Thackeray naturally go together; Lytton is kept more in the background. When Lytton died, in many of the obituary notices which I read he was spoken of as inferior to the two great novelists whose rival he had been for popular fame. Once, only, did I see him spoken of as on a par In the course of conversation with friends I have found few disposed to give Lytton quite so high a place as it seemed to me he merited.