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and noble step; their voices were refined and had no coarse or vulgar intonation; and in the expression of their fine faces there was nothing mean or sly, but rather a peculiar gravity and graciousness, made more interesting by a dash of mystery. The men were something more conventional, and, though they were anything but unkempt tramps, there was in their furtively alert eyes a raffish expression; but we hardly spoke to any of them. I plead guilty only to having in "Dromina " translated into romance real memories; of course, the "prophecies were no part of those memories; they were invented by the author who fulfilled them, who was content in such a matter to follow afar off the example of the great master of modern romance, Sir Walter Scott, whom none can imitate, whom none but the foolish and presumptuous would try to imitate, but who, if the new romancists would but read him more faithfully and learn of him more admiringly, would teach them to weave a cleaner web, more wholesome, more enthralling, and more romantic because more true to the unchanging realities of life. In another place I have ventured to say what I repeat here, that of the Catholic Church Sir Walter
was profoundly ignorant; and that ignorance is continually disconcerting to his most devout admirers when he writes of periods in which constant allusion to Catholic doctrines and Catholic practice is inevitable: his abbots and monks, his friars and nuns, his priests and prelates, must rouse in us a resentful protest; and he often makes us smile at the absurd inaccuracies that Macaulay's awful schoolboy would not have been guilty of. But when every protest is made, it remains true that Sir Walter's romance is never unwholesome, never mean; he has no sordid ugliness, no squalid "realism" and life, as he paints it, is not a foul or dismal business, but honest and loyal; and its prizes he gives to the sincere and courageous, to fidelity and truth. In much of his unfairness to those whom I must say he has libelled, he imagined himself to be merely condescending to human weakness: he himself thought not a penny the worse of his abbots and friars for the frailties he fits to them; only he knew nothing of what human weakness can become hand in hand with grace Divine; what it had become among those whose caricatures he sketched at secondhand, whose portraits he could not paint
because the originals were unknown to him, because he had not the colours on his palette, and because the inspiration to conceive of such an ideal was not given to him and was never sought by him.
CHRISTMAS AND COUSIN SAM
ODDLY enough I can remember nothing which people would call worth remembering, no public event, before the marriage of our late King, then Prince of Wales, in March, 1863, while we still lived at Llanberwyn, and when I was just five years old. There were all sorts of village festivities which Peveril and Fernando were taken to see, and the most remarkable of which, to Fernando, was a very tall pole, like a mast, plentifully greased, with live geese, ducks and chickens at the top; enterprising lads and boys swarmed up, and each of them who managed to reach the top came down with one of the fowls as his prize.
We all wore medals with the portraits of the Prince and Princess, and carried little flags with the conjoined standards of England and Denmark on them. The last time I saw Queen Alexandra I was standing near her for over an hour, and it seemed hard to realize
that she had been old enough to be married nearly half a century before.
Most of my recollections of the Llanberwyn days are of very little and trivial thingsas the reader must have gathered already.
Particularly there remains vividly in my mind the memory of the Christmas of 1862I am writing this on Christmas Eve, 1913, fifty-one years later. A big box arrived, early in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, from a cousin of our mother's, rich then, though he outlived all his wealth and died saddened by the ruin of his fortune, in which others were involved. All sorts of things came out of the box, and some we were allowed to see at once others were left in their wrappings, and we could only thrill with wonder as to what might be inside them. The packages we saw opened immediately contained crackers (not biscuits, but what new-fangled wretches call bon-bons) real bon-bons, almonds, raisins, figs, dates, and West Indian and crystallized fruits-Cousin Sam owned ships. in the Jamaica trade, and others that went to Portugal, the Canaries and the Azores. The things seemed much more interesting because they had been brought over the great mysterious ocean on purpose for us though