LAURENCE had just got to the end of the first sentence, and Mr. Luke at the same time was just reminding Mr. Stockton with some unction how impossible it was for us to value properly that curious mixture of trumpery and elevation, the ‘Apocalypse’ of John, unless we compared it with a very kindred work, the ‘Pastor’ of Hermas, when a servant startled Laurence by announcing in his ear the arrival of the vicar of the parish.

Everyone in dismay looked; and there, standing a pace away in the background, the stranger was. He was an old man, very tall and spare, with an ascetic aspect, but with a carriage dignified though slightly stooping, and with severe, piercing eyes. The sudden embarrassment, however, which his apparition seemed to cause the party was relieved somewhat by Laurence’s taking him aside as if for some private conversation, and also by another arrival of a far more genial nature—that of servants with tea, piles of strawberries, iced coffee, and champagne cup. Mr. Rose at once bought himself golden opinions of Lady Grace by helping her page, a pretty boy with light curling hair, to arrange some tumblers on the grass. Mr. Stockton felt his spirits suddenly rise, and began asking Lady Violet what she thought of their new Republic as far as they had got with it.

‘I don’t know,’ she answered petulantly. ‘As far as I can see, you want everyone to read a great many books and to have only one opinion. For my part, I hate people who do the one, and a society that does the other.’

‘What a charming girl Lady Violet is!’ said Mr. Stockton to Lady Grace, as he stood by the tea table. ‘Such penetration! such vivacity! such originality!’

‘What beautiful sermons he does preach, to be sure!’ murmured Lady Ambrose.

‘Who? Who?’ enquired several voices.

‘Why, Dr. Seydon,’ said Lady Ambrose. ‘Don’t you know him? Have you never heard him in London—the gentleman with Mr. Laurence? See, he is coming back again to have some tea.’

It was indeed but too true. Mr. Luke’s face in especial grew very blank. Mr. Saunders clenched his fist—a small one.

Dr. Seydon’s face, on the contrary, wore what for it was a really gracious smile. He was mindful of how upon his arrival he had overheard the words ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘mystery of Christianity.’

As Laurence introduced him into the circle Lady Ambrose at once claimed acquaintance with him, and made room for him at her side.

‘I am sorry,’ he said, looking round him with a singularly dignified, almost condescending courteousness, ‘to disturb in this way your Sunday’s reading. But I can but stay a few moments. I shall not interrupt you long.’

‘We have been talking a good deal,’ said Laurence, ‘about the signs of the times.’

‘And,’ said Lady Ambrose eagerly, feeling herself near a friend, ‘about all this wicked infidelity and irreligion that is so much about in the world now.’

‘Ah, yes,’ said Dr. Seydon slowly, and with a sudden frown, ‘it is true, unhappily, that there is, or has been, much of that in our century. But what remains is confined, I imagine (and that is sad enough, God knows) to the half educated artisans in our large towns, whom the Church in former years, alas! relaxed her hold on. For I fear I cannot deny that we, in this matter, are not wholly guiltless. The Church, we may depend upon it, has much to answer for.’

‘Perfectly true, my dear sir! perfectly true,’ exclaimed Mr. Luke, who could never resist assenting to this sentiment.

Dr. Seydon darted a quick glance at Mr. Luke, as if he were anything but pleased at finding himself so readily agreed with.

‘But,’ he went on, ‘matters are fast assuming a more satisfactory appearance; and the great advance made in true education, and the liberal spirit that this brings with it, cannot fail to lead to that great change in our position that we so much desiderate.’

‘Quite so,’ said Mr. Luke. ‘The true reading of ecclesiastical history—’

‘Ah!’ exclaimed Dr. Seydon, holding up his forefinger, ‘exactly so. You have hit upon the right thing there.’ (‘Good gracious!’ thought Mr. Luke, astounded at this patronising compliment, ‘I should think I had.’) ‘Could we but get both the parties,’ Dr. Seydon went on, addressing Mr. Luke across Lady Ambrose, ‘to understand fairly the history of the important era, the matter would, I think, be as good as settled. You see,’ he said, turning to Lady Ambrose, ‘if the Easterns will merely face steadily the pregnant fact that Michael Cerularius, in his first letter to Leo IX., in 1053, took absolutely no exception to any one point in Western doctrine, but simply to certain secondary points of discipline, they will see that the gulf that separates us is very slight when viewed by the clearer light of modern thought. I think,’ he added, ‘that I saw Lady Ambrose’s name amongst the subscribers to the Eastern Church Union Association.’

‘Oh yes,’ said Lady Ambrose, ‘certainly. I do so wish that some union could be brought about. For the Greek Church, you know, certainly have the Apostolical Succession; and then, if we were only joined with them, the Roman Catholics could never deny our orders—not,’ she added, with a most cordial smile to Dr. Seydon, ‘that I don’t myself believe implicitly in them, as it is.’

A rapid frown gathered itself on Dr. Seydon’s brow.

‘The denial of them,’ he said severely, ‘hurts the Romanists far more than it does us. As to the Greeks, what I was going to say was this. Let them just cast their eyes so far as the tenth century, and they will see—and pray mark this, all of you,’ he said, holding up his forefinger, and shaking it several times, ‘for this is very important—I say the Greeks will see, unless they are determined to close their eyes, that at the time of the great rupture with the West, they did actually acknowledge the entire soundness of our confession of faith; the main point they objected to, and which they thought fit ground then for separation, being that the Western Church did not sing Alleluiah in Lent, and that it used in the Lord’s Supper unleavened bread, which, Nicetas Pectoratus contended in an elaborate treatise, was dead bread, and could not therefore be either supersubstantial or consubstantial to us. It has been the fault of the Easterns, in fact, to be ever over-subtle, and to fall into those excesses of human wisdom which are foolishness with God. Isaac the Armenian, for instance, wrote a book to prove his countrymen in heresy for twenty-nine different reasons, of which the two most important are these—that they did not blow on baptised persons, and that they made their consecrated oils of rapeseed and not of olives. But two causes seem to me to be now working together, under God, to put the Easterns into a more becoming spirit, and to make them more heartily willing to join us. These are—I have mentioned them in the third volume of my “History of the Filioque Clause”—first, that the genuine Greek blood is becoming daily more adulterated, and the Greek intellect losing therefore its old subtlety; and secondly, that the political disturbance that now seems imminent in the East, will distract them from abusing such subtlety as they still possess. We shall therefore meet on the broad ground of our fundamental agreements; and once let the moral influence of the two churches, the Greek and English, be mutually augmented by an open union, in another five years, I imagine, we shall have heard the last of infidelity, in England at least, or indeed of Romanism either.’

‘Now, that’s the sort of man,’ said Lady Ambrose, as soon as Dr. Seydon had departed, ‘that I should like to have for my clergyman in our new Republic.’

‘Seydon!’ exclaimed Mr. Luke, ‘so that is he, is it? I thought I remembered that face of his. Of course—I remember now, seeing that his college had given this living to him.’

‘It was he,’ said Laurence to Miss Merton, ‘who, some years ago, prevented Dr. Jenkinson being made a bishop, which he said, though it might be a compliment to learning, would be a grievous insult to God.’

‘And so, Lady Ambrose,’ said Mr. Stockton, ‘you would like Dr. Seydon for a clergyman! Well, in our ideal society you would be able to have any clergyman you chose—any religion you chose—any which most satisfied your own conscience.’

‘Oh, very well,’ said Lady Ambrose, ‘if it would not interfere with one’s religion in any way, I think all this culture and enlightenment most delightful.’

‘It will bind us to nothing,’ said Mr. Stockton, ‘except to a recognition of nobleness, of morality, of poetry. What Mr. Laurence has offered to read to us is an account of how all of these are bound up in religion in my sense of the word.’

‘Come, Mr. Laurence,’ said Lady Ambrose, ‘please go on. It is wonderful,’ she added in a solemn whisper, ‘how even bad men, like old Mr. Laurence, know at heart how it is really best to be good, and to believe in true religion.’

As I grow old, my dear Otho,’ Laurence again began to read, ‘I am coming to think over many things that I have hitherto thought too little about, and, amongst others, the great mystery of Christianity. I am coming to see that, from a too superficial way of looking at it, I have done this religion a gross injustice, and have blindly failed to recognise how much of all that we hold most precious in life is dependent on its severe and unbending systems of theology and morals. It will perhaps strike you that it is rather late in the day for me to pay my tribute to these, now that the world at large is theoretically denying the former of them, and is practically forgetting the latter. But it is this very fact that induces me to speak out—the growing licence and the growing scepticism of modern society. I wish to raise my voice against the present state of things, and to warn the world that if it goes on much longer as it is going on now, it will soon have irremediably ruined all the finer and more piquant flavours of life, and that soon there will be actually nothing left to give rational zest to this poor pitiful existence of ours.

‘You know what an admirer I have always been, in many ways, of the ancients, and how, in many ways, I think modern civilisation barbarous as compared with theirs. I have not changed this opinion. I have only come lately to understand what it means. The charm of ancient life lies mainly in its form. In essence, the life open to us is, as I fully see now, infinitely superior. And to what is this superiority due? Simply to Christianity. It came with Christianity, and it will also go with it.

‘I am not mad, Otho. Listen to me a little longer, my boy, and you will see my meaning.

‘To begin, then—just consider the one matter of humour. Compare the ancient humourists with the modern. Think for a moment of Lucian, of Aristophanes, of Plautus, of Petronius, of Horace; then think of Erasmus, Swift, Cervantes, Voltaire, Sterne. Does not the mere memory of the two sets of names bring home to you what a gulf in this matter there is between the ancient world and the modern? Is not the modern humour an altogether different thing from the ancient—broader and deeper beyond comparison or measurement? The humour of the ancients could raise a laugh; true—that is just what it could raise, and a laugh could express all the feelings raised by it. Think of the intolerable vulgarity of Homers gods, who “laughed consumedly” at Vulcan, as he waited on them,—why? because he was lame. The sense of humour on Olympus was about equal to what it would be now in a country lawyer’s Parlour. Think of Horace, who saw in a dull pun on two proper names, a joke so excellent that he wrote a whole satire in honour of it. It is true that Juvenal showed a somewhat finer sense, when he said that when Fortune was pleased to be facetious, she made a nouveau riche; Petronius, perhaps, was even in advance of Juvenal. But ancient humour at its best was a shallow thing. It meant little. It was like the bright sparkle on a brawling stream, hardly ankle-deep But our modern humour is like the silent snake-like lights in a still water, that go coiling down into depths unfathomable, as it lures our thoughts onwards to the contemplation of endless issues. The twinkle in the eyes of a Sterne or a Cervantes seems to hint to us of Eleusinian mysteries with a triumphant solemn treachery; and wakes our souls, as we catch it, into a sudden, thrill of delicious furtive insight. Such humour as this may excite laughter; but no laughter can ease our feelings fully—they also demand tears; and even tears are not enough for us. Of such humour as this the ancients had hardly a notion; it differs from theirs as the man differs from the baby, and seems almost like a new sense, peculiar to the modern world.

‘Now, to what is this development of humour due—this new and exquisite source of pleasure? Simply, as you must see, if you look into the matter, to that much maligned thing, Christianity, and that marvellous system of moral laws and restraints which, although accredited through imposture, elaborated by barbarism, and received by credulity, has entirely changed the whole complexion of life. Think how it has done this. It has slowly permeated and penetrated all man's inner existence. It has given him new unearthly aims; it has given him new unearthly standards by which to measure every action. It has cunningly associated everything with the most awful or the most glittering conceptions with which the imagination can scare or intoxicate itself—with Hell, Heaven, Judgment, and so forth: and thus there is scarcely a single choice or refusal that has been left indifferent, and not more or less nearly connected with the most stupendous issues. The infinitely beautiful, the infinitely terrible, the infinitely hateful meet us everywhere. Everything is enchanted, and seems to be what it is not. The enchantment quite deludes the vulgar; it a little deludes the wise; but the wise are for ever in various ways secretly undoing the spell, and getting glimpses of things as they really are. What a delight these glimpses are to those that get them! Here lies the sense of humour—in the detection of truth through revered and reigning falsehood. Think of the colloquies of Erasmus, and his Laus Stultitiæ—there is an instance for you. Think of Don Quixote—there is another. All its humour is due to Christian dreams of honour, duty and chivalry. Who, again, would have cared for Swift’s showing us that man was hateful, if Christ had not bewitched us into thinking that man was loveable? Gulliver owes its point to the Gospels. Sterne sees everything “big with infinite jest.” But why? Because Christianity has made everything big also with infinite solemnity. A possible moral meaning is secreted over the whole surface of life, like the scented oil in the cells on the surface of an orange skin, The humourist catches the perfume of these volatile oils, as they are crushed out and wasted by our every action.

‘Think, too, by the way, of the kindred subject of wit. I was reading a play of Congreve’s yesterday: and this made me reflect how nearly all the brightest wit of the modern world consists in showing us this one thing—that fidelity in marriage is ridiculous; that is, in showing us what, but for Christianity, no one would ever have doubted. Such wit is, as it were, the forbidden kiss we give to common sense, from which an angry religion has been bent on separating us.

‘Think, too, of that flower of Christian civilisation, the innuendo. That is simply the adroit saying under difficulties of what, but for Christianity, everyone would have taken for granted.

‘Here, then, you see, are the wit, the innuendo, the humour of the world, all owing their existence, or, at any rate, their flavour, to Christianity. And what would life, what would conversation be without these? But it is not these only that we owe to the same source. All our finer pleasures are indebted for their chief taste to it likewise. Love in itself, for instance, is, as everyone knows who has felt it, the coarsest and most foolish of all our feelings. Leave it free to do what it pleases, and we soon cease to care what it does. But Christianity, with a miraculous ingenuity, has confined and cramped it into so grotesque and painful a posture, and set such vigilant guardians to keep it there, that any return to its natural freedom is a rapture, an adventure, and a truimph, which none but the wisest and most skilful can compass with grace or safety, and which wise men, therefore, think worth compassing. It is indeed the same with all the natural and true pleasures of life—poor tasteless things not worth living for, in themselves; but they have been so hidden away from us, and have come to be in such bad odour with the world, that only the wisest—for wisdom is but the detection of falsehood—see that they may be taken, and have the courage to take them; and the wisdom they are conscious of in doing this, forms a delicious sauce piquante—(of which humour, wit, and so on, are some of the flavours)—to these same poor pleasures, that can give us a real zest for them.

‘Such a life of wisdom is, of course, only for the few. The wise must always be few, as the rich must. The poor must make fine food for the rich to eat. The fools must make fine follies for the wise to detect. We cannot all be happy in a rational way. It is at least best that some of us should be. But what I want to point out to you, my boy, is, that if society goes on as it is going on now, nobody will be able soon to be rationally happy at all. It is true that I do not now live much in the world; but I have sufficient means of seeing the course it is taking. I, like Hamlet, have heard of its “paintings,” how it “jigs and ambles and lisps, and nick-names God’s creatures.” I know how fast all Christian moral sentiment is silently dying out of it. Indeed, so rapid do I imagine to be the way in which it is losing all proper feeling, that I should not be surprised were society in another five years, if I am not dead by that time, to receive me back again. Now, as long as Christianity was firmly fixed as a faith, we might amuse ourselves by offending against its morals as much as we liked; for our acts were in no danger of losing their forbidden character. There would always be a persecution, under which pleasure might thrive. But now, since faith is dead, we have only the moral sentiments left to us; and if we once get rid of these by a too reckless violation of them, the whole work of Christianity, which I have been trying to explain to you, will be undone. Wit and humour, love and poetry, will all alike have left us. Life will have lost its seasonings and its sauces: and served up to us au naturel it will only nauseate us. Man, indeed, will then be only separated from the animals by his capacity for ennui.

‘I had once hoped that the middle classes—that vast and useless body, who have neither the skill that produces their wealth, nor the taste that can enjoy it—might have proved themselves at least of some use, by preserving the traditions of a sound, respectable morality; that they might have kept alive the nation’s power of being shocked and scandalised at wit, or grace, or freedom. But no; they too are changed. With awkward halting gait they are waddling in the footsteps of their betters, and they will soon have made vice as vulgar as they long ago made virtue.

‘To me, of course, all this matters little. Such flavours as life has, have lasted me this far; nor will the world’s growing blankness affect me. I shall never look into a woman’s eyes again. One of my own is blind now, and the other is so dim that I doubt if the best-paid beauty could contrive to look into it with more than an ironical tenderness. All this matters nothing to me. But you, my boy—what will be left for you, when I am taken away from the evil that is to come? Your prospect does not seem to me a cheerful one. But alas! I can offer no remedy. I can only beguile my time by warning you. At any rate, it is always good to think a little about the roots of things: so I trust you will be in some way profited by these patruæ verbera linguæ.’

When Laurence closed the book there was a silence of some moments, as if no one knew exactly how to take what had just been read. But at last Donald Gordon exclaimed, in his devoutest of soft whispers: ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’ The words acted like a spell; the ice was broken, and Mr. Herbert, who hitherto had hardly uttered a syllable the whole afternoon, now broke out suddenly in his most emphatic accents.

‘Thank you, my dear Laurence,’ he exclaimed; ‘thank you much, indeed. There is something in what you have just read us that seems to me quite precious and peculiar. Nor do I find any such honesty in any creed sung by priests in churches, as I do in this sardonic confession of that great truth, which the present age as a whole is resolutely bent upon forgetting—that the grand knowledge for a man to know is the essential and eternal difference between right and wrong, between base and noble; that there is a right and a noble to be striven for, not for the sake of its consequences, but in spite of them; and that it is this fact alone which, under countless forms, is the one thing affirmed in all human art and implied in all serviceable learning, Your Cervantes smiles it to you; your Swift curses it to you; your Bernard of Morlaix hymns it to you; your saddened Shakespeare tells it to you in every way. Strange indeed is it, and mournful, that we see a time when the one truth that we live and die by not only needs to be pointed out to us, but asserted passionately in the teeth of those whom we have elected as our wisest teachers.’ Mr. Saunders at once took this to be a special allusion to himself, and his face involuntarily began to array itself in a smile of triumph. ‘However,’ Mr. Herbert went on benignantly, ‘you have truly gone the right way to work in constructing an ideal society, if you make it recognise this before all things, and see how witness is borne to it by every pleasure and every interest of life.’

‘Ah, yes,’ exclaimed Mr. Stockton, ‘it is just this noble discrimination between right and wrong, Mr. Herbert, that modern enlightenment will so preeminently encourage and foster. Morality is quite indispensable to any dream of the future. And as to religion—the motto of the future is freedom—holy awful, individual freedom. We shall each be free to choose or evolve the religion most profoundly suited to us.’

‘Well,’ said Lady Ambrose, ‘as long as I may keep my own religion, I shall be quite satisfied; and about other people, I really don’t think I’m bigoted—not as long, you know, as they belong to some church. But religion is the thing I want. Of course we must have morality. Mustn’t we?’ she added, with a half-puzzled expression, turning to Lady Grace.

‘Must!’ sighed Mrs. Sinclair. ‘It’s very easy to say must.’

‘Of course we must,’ said Lady Grace cheerfully. ‘My dear,’ she went on, with a little kindly laugh towards Mr. Saunders, ‘he doesn’t really doubt it.’

Mr. Saunders sprang to his feet as if an adder had stung him.

‘What!’ he exclaimed, standing in the centre of the group, and looking round him, ‘and do I not really doubt that the degrading practice of prayer, the fetish-worship of celibacy, of mortification, and so forth—do I not doubt that the foul faith in a future life, the grotesque conceptions of the theological virtues, and that preposterous idol of the marketplace, the sanctity of marriage,—do you think I do not really doubt that we must retain these? Do you think, on the contrary, I do not know that they are already doomed? However,’ here Mr. Saunders paused suddenly and again sat down on the grass, ‘there is no need for me at this moment to destroy any cherished illusions; though I shall be happy to show my analysis of them that I spoke about just now to anyone who is not afraid to inspect it. I hear much said about tolerance, as a characteristic of your society. All I ask is, that you have the courage to extend your tolerance to me. Your new Republic may be full of illusions then. The great labour of destroying them will be positively delicious to me.’

‘Well,’ said Mr. Stockton, with a mixture of deference and patronage, ‘and what does Miss Merton think?’

‘Oh,’ said Miss Merton with a slow smile, ‘I am all in favour of toleration. I think that what I consider truth is quite good enough to stand on its own merits, if unprejudiced eyes can only be got to see them. And I honestly do think, that with really high-breeding, and with what we apparently mean by culture, we should have at least one part of the world as good as we could wish it. But yet—’ she added, hesitating a little, ‘we have surely settled only half the question yet. We have said a good deal about this wide and discerning taste that is to guide us, We have not said much yet about the particular things—the occupations, the duties, the pleasures, that it will lead us to choose.’

‘No,’ began Mr. Rose, ‘I should like myself very much to say something as to that—as to the new pleasures that modern culture has made possible for us.’

‘Suppose—’ said Lady Ambrose with one of her most beaming smiles, as she pushed her hat away over the back of her head, ‘suppose we talk of this by-and-by—at dinner, or in the evening. Let us just enjoy a little now. The air now is so truly delicious. It seems quite like a sin, doesn’t it, to think of going in to dinner by-and-by.’

A happy thought struck Lady Grace.

‘Suppose we have dinner out of doors, Otho,’ she said, ‘in the pavilion with the roses round it that you used to call the summer dining-room.’

This proposal was received with what was little short of rapture. ‘That really would be too delightful!’ exclaimed Lady Ambrose. ‘And what place could sound more perfect for us to finish our new Republic in!’ It was arranged accordingly.

‘And now,’ exclaimed Lady Ambrose to Laurence confidentially, as the conversation ceased to be general, ‘I want you to let me have a look at that book of your uncle’s. I have often heard it spoken about. Lord Heartpool had a copy, which he showed my poor father in Paris. Come, Mr. Laurence, you need not hold it back. I’m sure there’s nothing in it that would do me any harm.’

‘Well—no,’ said Laurence; ‘in this volume I don’t think there is.’

‘Because what you read just now,’ said Lady Ambrose, ‘was all really in favour of goodness, though it is true I didn’t quite like the tone of some of it.’

‘What,’ interposed Mr. Rose, ‘is there another volume? I should much like to see that.’

‘I declare, Mr. Laurence,’ said Lady Ambrose, who had now got the book in her hand, ‘here’s something really quite pretty— at least, I’ve only got as far as the first verse yet. It’s a little poem called “To the Wife of an old Schoolfellow.”’

‘Read it out to us—do,’ said Laurence, with a soft smile. ‘It will illustrate very well the letter we had just now.’

‘Do you know, I really think I might manage this,’ she said, ‘although I’m not in the least by way of being a reader out. Listen, then, and please don’t laugh at me.’

Let others seek for wisdom’s way
   In modern science, modern wit,—
I turn to love, for all that these,
   These two can teach, is taught by it.

Yes, all. In that first hour we met
   And smiled and spoke so soft and long, love,
Did wisdom dawn; and I began
   To disbelieve in right and wrong, love.

Then, as love’s gospel clearer grew,
   And I each day your doorstep trod, love,
I learned that love was all in all,
   And rose to disbelieve in God, love.

Yes, wisdom’s book! you taught me this,
   And ere I half had read you through, love,
I learned a deeper wisdom yet—
   I learned to disbelieve in you, love.

So now, fair teacher, I am wise,
   And free: ’tis truth that makes us free, love.
But you—you’re pale! grow wise as I,
   And learn to disbelieve in me, love.

As Lady Ambrose had read on, her voice had grown more and more disapproving, and several times she had shown symptoms of being on the point of stopping.

‘I’ve no doubt it’s all very witty,’ she said, putting down the book, which was eagerly caught up by Mr. Rose, ‘but—but that sort of thing, you know,’ she exclaimed at last, ‘I think is rather better in the smoking-room. However, I saw something next to those verses, that I think would suit Miss Merton. It seemed to be a sort of address to the Virgin Mary.’

Miss Merton looked a little embarrassed; Laurence looked astonished.

‘Let me read it,’ exclaimed Mr. Rose, rapidly turning over the pages. ‘This must be what Lady Ambrose means, I think:—

My own, my one desire,
  Virgin most fair.’

‘Yes,’ said Lady Ambrose, ‘that’s it.’

‘Oh,’ said Laurence, ‘that is not my uncle’s; it is mine. It is the earliest copy of verses I ever wrote. I was seventeen then, and by an odd freak my uncle printed them in the end of his own collection.’

Miss Merton’s embarrassment in a great measure disappeared. She looked interested; and Mr. Rose, in slow, suave tones went on to read:—

  Mine own, my one desire,
    Virgin most fair
  Of all the virgin choir!
Hail, O most pure, most perfect, loveliest one!
    Lo, in my hand I bear,
Woven for the circling of thy long gold hair,
Culled leaves and flowers, from places which the sun
    The spring long shines upon,
Where never shepherd hath driven flock to graze,
    Nor any grass is mown;
But there sound through all the sunny sweet warm days,
    Mid the green holy place,
    The wild bee’s wings alone.
    Yea, and with jealous care
The maiden Reverence tends the fair things there,
And watereth all of them with sprinkling showers
Of pearled grey dew from a clear running river.
Whoso is chaste of spirit utterly,
May gather there the leaves and fruits and flowers—
    The unchaste, never.
But thou, O goddess, and dearest love of mine—

(‘I don’t at all approve of this,’ murmured Lady Ambrose.)

    Take, and about thine hair
    This anadem entwine—
    Take, and for my sake wear,
Who am more to thee than other mortals are,
    Whose is the holy lot
As friend with friend to walk and talk with thee,
Hearing thy sweet mouth’s music in mine ear,
    But thee beholding not.

‘Ah, they are sweet verses,’ said Mr. Rose; ‘a little too ascetic, perhaps, to be quite Greek. They are from Euripides, I see—the address to Artemis of Hippolytus.’

‘Yes,’ said Laurence; ‘I don’t think I ever wrote any original poetry.’

‘It’s exactly like Mr. Laurence—that bit,’ whispered Mrs. Sinclair.

‘And now,’ said Mr. Rose, ‘as I suppose we shall ere long be all going to dress for dinner, I will go, Mr. Laurence, if you will let me, and examine that other volume you spoke of, of your uncle’s Miscellanies.’

Mr. Rose moved slowly away; and as he did so, there came the sound of the distant dressing-bell, which warned the whole party that it was time to be following his example.

1 Eur. Hipp. v. 69—85.