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never count tact among the Four Cardinal Virtues, asked my Worker whether he might not learn a Catholic lesson or so from a Calabrian monk-which he thought a very funny suggestion : whereas a brilliant young Jesuit on the other side of him seemed to think there might be something in it.
Perhaps the sunny memory of Valle Crucis lay like a shaft of clear and serene light across my mind; at all events I was sure, and am still, that the old monks have done more for God and man than most of us, with all our rush and tumble of energy, do now.
The Catholic Church we hear folk say must fit herself to the times: must she ? Is it not rather true that God has already fitted her for all times, because she reflects His unvexed changelessness Who is Eternal, and Time's Master. They shall perish : but Thou remainest : and all of them shall grow old like a garment, but Thou art always the self-same.” Shall a weary world, sick of vulgar novelty and noise, turn herself for rest to a Church as novelty-crazed as she is, a Church whose hard brilliance shall coldly reflect, in a million facets, the million fancies of an age that, in place of the Church's perennial, tender, and sane charity for man
(with a soul as well as a body), has taken up the mere hobby of philanthropy and can see nothing in man behind his troubled bones and blood ?
FERNANDO'S FIRST HOME
BEFORE I tell how Fernando's mother removed herself and her children from Llanberwyn, I must say a word about her home there, the first home he remembers. It was a lodging, but homely and pleasant, not at all like a lodging-house. There were other lodgers, and all the best rooms were given up to Mrs. Burscough and her boys.
There was a small flower-garden, reached by many steps from the road-it was hardly a street-and the front-door, half of glass, opened from the garden into a large cool hall; the drawing-room, which was our diningroom, and nursery, too, in winter; and the dining-room where we sometimes had our meals in summer—when it did not mean an extra fire. The room that was really ours had two windows, one looking into the garden, the other over the street, which seemed to me very far below---perhaps twenty feet. It was a pleasant cheerful room, and made homely by a few framed water-colours painted by my mother's beloved elder sister. One was of the site of the Battle of the Alma, and there were in it tall and melancholy Lombardy poplars, under which was the grave of a dear friend of the artist's and of my mother : not that my aunt had ever been there; she made the picture from a little sketch, on the inside of an envelope, sent to her by a brother officer of the young hero who never came home by sea, but went straight there from that distant place.
The other door in the hall led into our landlord's kitchen-in our part of the house he was never seen, only his wife and 'Liza, their niece and maid-of-all-work. But I knew Mr. Roberts very well, and liked him, when he didn't kiss me: he was a large, loose-jointed man, with iron-grey hair and bright dark eyes, full of lazy mischief, and he only shaved on Sundays—that, and reading Lloyd's Weekly News was his substitute for Divine Service. By the middle of the week he was very bristly, and it was then that he would specially enjoy kissing me, with a horrible assurance that his "whisker-seed” would cause me to come out “all over hair
on my cheeks and forehead. Loudly and passionately I wept, unrelieved by Mrs. Roberts's reminder that he had often kissed her in his day, and that she had no whiskers on her forehead. Except for this blemish, Mr. Roberts was an agreeable companion ; and he constantly gave me
“browis" -a luxury achieved by pouring boiling water into a mug filled with stale bread-crusts wellbuttered, peppered and salted; a sort of liquid savoury. He also made his wife give me another lunch of hot mealy potatoes with buttermilk over them. While I sat on a three-legged stool consumirg these dainties, he combined instruction with pleasure by teaching me to count in Welsh up to twentynine ; beyond that I never got, and Welsh phrases I flatly refused to learn after he had taught me one which proved to mean Kiss me, please, and rub the bristles in,” an invitation on which he traitorously acted. Our Mr. Roberts never wore a coat indoors except on Sundays (and not then while reading his Sunday murders), but sat on the “settle” in his shirt-sleeves, and, after six p.m, in his “stocking-feet.” The stockings were blueish grey, and Mrs. Roberts knitted them, and he abstained from boots