Littell's Living Age/Volume 128/Issue 1653/The Dilemma - Part XVIII
From Blackwood's Magazine.
Starting from Calcutta on his homeward voyage with wounds barely healed, and still suffering from the lassitude induced by fever and weakness, Yorke was at first more disposed to indulge in his habitual mood of dwelling on the disappointments of the past than to find enjoyment in anticipations of the future. And yet there was room for satisfaction as well as regrets in a retrospect of the twelve years since he had last seen the sea. How short the time seemed to look back upon, and yet how much had happened in it! Then he was landing in India a friendless cadet; now he was a lieutenant-colonel, decorated, commanding a crack cavalry regiment — an object of admiration, as he thought with not unnatural complacency, to all the younger officers of the army — and with every prospect of attaining to the command of a division before he got to middle age. Truly, if the Mutiny had brought desolation to many it had made a career for the survivors: pluck and luck had done it in his case; with some more of the latter commodity to help, what might not be possible in the future? What a tremendous personage I used to consider a lieutenant-colonel and C.B. in my young days! To be sure, lieutenant-colonels used to be very old fellows then, and C.B.'s rarer than they are now; but still, even according to present lights, it is not a bad grade to have reached before one is thirty. And yet," thought he, "the change is not altogether for the better. I was fresh and ingenuous then, a believer in men and women, and one dream of my youth at any rate has not been realized. It is not success which has made me hard and cynical — if I am so, as people say — but disappointment and humiliation. Men call me the lucky colonel, and think me greatly to be envied; they little know that I have failed to get the one thing I ever really tried for — that the woman on whom I had set my heart held me of no account, and while trifling with me, was offering her own to any one else to take who wanted it!" Yet notwithstanding that his hopes in this matter were dissipated forever, the young man still found a sort of melancholy pleasure in remaining constant to the one idea which had so completely possessed him. For him, he thought with bitter satisfaction, love was gone forever; let him rather feed on the memory of his first and only passion, than find a debasing consolation in some lower standard of affection.
But although still brooding on his disappointment, and spending many solitary hours in vain conjectures about the fate of Olivia, of whom and her husband nothing had been heard since their flight, youth will still assert itself; with returning health this artificial dejection gave way to a more natural frame of mind; and Yorke sometimes felt angry with himself to find that he was not hugging his passion as he intended to do, but was looking forward like all his fellow-passengers with pleasurable excitement to the prospect of returning to England, his spirits rising daily and his appetite improving as the steamer clove her way into cooler latitudes. But an incident occurred on the voyage which turned back forcibly for a time the current of his thoughts into the old channel.
A party of the homeward-bound passengers had taken advantage of a two-days delay in the transit through Egypt to stop at Cairo; and Yorke, who was of the party, not feeling strong enough yet to join the rest in an excursion to the Pryamids, was standing at the window of the hotel in the early morning, after the others had set out, watching the beginning of a Cairo day, when a couple of regiments of Egyptian cavalry came by on their way to exercise on the plain beyond the city. To Yorke the sight was sufficiently interesting; and as they passed by he noted their appearance with critical eye, admitting with scrupulous fairness the superiority of the horses to those of the Indian cavalry, but concluding with much satisfaction that the latter were vastly superior in the physique and appearance of the men. How my old regiment would ride these fellows down, to be sure, or my new one either! he said to himself. The colonel of the leading regiment, too, apparently a foreigner, was a portly-looking middle-aged man, who sat his horse like a sack. "I don't fancy that worthy gentleman would have a long tether of office if he came under the orders of Sir Hugh," ejaculated Yorke mentally; "one can't expect much from a regiment with such an old muff at the head of it." The officer who rode at the head of the second regiment was, however, a very different sort of man; and Yorke's eye was caught at once by his erect, soldier-like figure, and the splendid horse he rode — still more, as he came near, by his handsome, resolute face. The officer was so dark-complexioned that Yorke was puzzled at first to guess whether he was a European, but suddenly was struck by the resemblance to well-known features. Except for the long black beard, the man looked the very double of Kirke; nay, surely it must be Kirke himself, — and Yorke hurried out of the room, and ran along the corridor and down the staircase; but by the time he reached the entrance-door of the hotel the rear of the regiment was passing by, and the leading files were hidden from view.
The hotel-manager was standing at the entrance smoking an early cigar, and nodded affably to his visitor. "A fine sight that, isn't it?" he observed, as if the cavalry reflected considerable credit on the hotel and himself; "but I suppose you have seen a good deal of the same sort of thing in your part of the world?"
Yorke asked him if some of the officers were not Europeans.
Oh yes, was the answer, "the pacha employs a lot of Europeans in all kinds of ways, army and everything else. That was a European who rode at the head of the second regiment, which had just gone by leastways — an American, which was the same thing — a Colonel Wood.
An American! repeated Yorke, wondering whether he could be mistaken; how did the manager know that?
Why, because he gave himself out as such, to be sure; the manager knew him well enough; he kept himself to himself pretty much, but he often came to the hotel to dine or lunch, at times when there were no Indian travellers going through.
Did the manager know how long he had been in the Egyptian service? Yes, to be sure he did; about two years. Was he married? No, certainly not; at any rate he had left his wife in America, added the manager with a laugh. Cairo wasn't much of a place for European ladies, he reckoned, nor American ones neither. The colonel was living in lodgings by the barracks, and used to get his wine from them [meaning the hotel], and there was no lady living with him, that was quite certain. "But you seem interested about the gentleman," continued the manager, looking at Yorke curiously; there are some rum customers in the Egyptian army, I can tell you;" and Yorke hastened to turn the conversation.
The parade-ground was said to be too far off for a convalescent to walk there under a Cairo sun, and Yorke went up to his room to await the return of the regiments. They must, however, have chosen another route for the march back, for they did not come past the hotel again; but Yorke felt no doubt that it was Kirke he had seen. No American of that stamp would be idling at Cairo with a tremendous war going on at home; the time, too, of his appearance in the country coincided with Kirke's flight from India; besides, although his face was altered, there could be no mistaking that figure and seat on horseback; he could have recognized him among a thousand. And Yorke's thoughts flew back to the time when Falkland and he first made out Kirke from the residency roof — on the eventful day of Falklands death — riding in front of his men on the plain beyond the trees; and he thought how clearly Kirke's appearance was stamped on his recollection, as he rode up to the residency on the same evening, flushed yet cool, while the excited members of the garrison pressed round him to grasp his hand, — and his measured manner of speaking as he announced the sad news that Falkland had fallen — Falkland, whose death at the moment of relief had so dimmed the joy of victory. But although eager to speak with his old comrade, and still more to hear some news of his wife, Yorke abstained from seeking him out; Kirke probably still regarded him as an enemy, and certainly would not wish to be recognized. And Yorke started that evening with his companions for Alexandria with ample food for his thoughts during the rest of the voyage — old sensations of joy and pain aroused again which had been almost laid to rest.
If unalloyed happiness is ever realized by mortals, it is surely experienced by the Anglo-Indian who returns home in reasonably good health, just when England is clothed in the fresh garb of early summer, after an exile long enough to create the strong desire for revisiting his native land, but still young enough to be open to new impressions, and to be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. To Yorke, who had left England a boy, and whose experience of English society had been limited to such as could be furnished by a country parsonage, the first glimpse of London life which he got on arrival afforded unadulterated pleasure; the bustle and brilliancy of a fine London afternoon in the height of the season seemed perfectly delightful; and dining with some military fellow-passengers at the club to which he had been elected just before coming home, and joining them afterwards in a box at the opera, followed by a snug supper-party, he felt quite ashamed of himself as he went back to his hotel for feeling in such high spirits. But after giving a day to ordering the different articles, including a complete fit-out from the tailor, necessary for bringing the exile within the pale of civilization, he hurried down by the express to Wiltonbury, where lived his mother, and his only sister, married about six years before to the Reverend William Morgan; feeling as he drew near to his destination a mingled sensation of anxiety and excitement. The associations connected with his mother were all agreeable — although in the recollection of early life at the old parsonage near Wiltonbury his father occupied the chief place — and until of late they had maintained a fairly regular correspondence during his absence; but while his mother's letters were duly filled with all the gossip of Wiltonbury, whither she had moved on his father's death, about a set of people of whom he knew nothing, he had become sensible by degrees that the details of his life with which his own letters had been filled at first were not readily understood, and only created a simulated interest, and so gradually his letters had become briefer and more silent about himself, as well as more infrequent, and thus a sort of barrier of indifference had grown up between them, arising out of the want of common sympathies. But the yearning for home love and home life was strong within him. His mother and sister, at any rate, would think him worth loving in return; and when, as the train ran into the station, and he recognized his mother in the graceful, well-preserved lady standing on the platform, and stepping out of the carriage, was caught at once in her embrace, he felt for the moment an assuagement of the hunger for sympathy which had so long remained unsatisfied.
"My dearest son!" exclaimed Mrs. Yorke through her veil, clasping him in a gentle embrace; and then recovering herself quickly added, "but you must look after your luggage, my dearest Arthur, for the train will be off again in a moment; I lost a carpet-bag on this very platform only three years ago."
"Dearest Arthur!" said Mrs. Yorke with fervour, holding his hand in hers as, the baggage duly secured, they drove off in a fly; "and so I have really got my precious son home again! Oh, my dear boy! it has seemed sometimes as if I could hardly bear your absence; and then to think of all the dangers you have been exposed to! No words can describe what your mother has gone through in her anxiety about her son."
"It seems to have agreed very well with you, mother, notwithstanding," said her son, smiling; "I declare you look hardly a day older than when I went away."
"Ah, my dear Arthur, I see you are a flatterer, like the rest of your sex," said the lady, tapping him on the cheek; "have you come back to laugh at your poor old mother?" But Mrs. Yorke simpered as if evidently pleased at the compliment; and indeed it might have been difficult to believe that the handsome, still young-looking lady, whose tasteful half-mourning just indicated a suspicion of widowhood, was the mother of the bronzed soldier of thirty sitting by her side. "But here we are at home," she continued, adding in a whisper as he assisted her to alight, "it is two shillings for the fly, and sixpence for the driver."
"Here is my little cot, you see," said Mrs. Yorke, as they stood in the passage; "a humble affair, no doubt, after the palaces you are accustomed to in India; but it suffices for my simple wants. Here, Susan," she said to the neat little maid who opened the door, "take the colonel's portmanteau up-stairs, and then bring luncheon." But Yorke, who had not yet become accustomed to the sight of young Englishwomen performing men's work, thereon shouldered his trunk himself, and followed the servant upstairs.
"My dear," said his mother when he returned to the dining-room, "you might have let Susan carry your luggage; or cook would have helped her, for the matter of that. These girls are as strong as horses; they have no nerves, happy creatures! And now let me give my precious son another kiss. I should have known you anywhere by the likeness to the photograph you sent me home two years ago. And yet there is something different — ah, I know what it is! You were taken in a beard. Oh, dearest Arthur, what has become of it? It did look so military."
"Yes, indeed, I came home with a beard as long as my arm; but I found all the fellows in town were not wearing any — I mean all the fellows in the army; so I went to Truefitt's this morning and had mine taken off, so as to look respectable."
"Respectable, my dear Arthur! and beards are so fashionable now; every clergyman in the Close wears one — except the dean, and he, you know, is quite elderly, and so could not be expected to begin at his time of life. But here is luncheon — let us sit down; you must be hungry after your journey, and the express comes at such a pace, too."
"But where is Rebecca, mother? I have been looking to see her on arrival. I ought not to be sitting down quietly to eat and drink till I have seen her."
"Rebecca cannot go out just now, you know, or I am sure she would have come to the station with me; but I have made an engagement for you to dine at St. Clement's this evening. I daresay William Morgan will be looking in presently, however; he is very busy, of course, but he will make a point of calling on my colonel, I am sure. Only to think of your being a colonel, and it is just twelve years since I lost your poor father! Ah, what a position was that to be left in! left to struggle on in the world all alone, for you had gone to India, and Rebecca was but a child. What wine will you take, my dear Arthur? This is very nice sherry, I am told, although I don't know anything about wine myself: and this is some dinner-claret which Canon Rogers recommends very highly."
Mr. Morgan called before luncheon was over, and after shaking hands with his brother-in-law, took his seat at table; a stoutish man of middle height, with a voluble mouth and double chin, inclined to be bald and grey. He, too, appeared to have lately joined the beard movement, his chin being covered with a short stubble. "Not anything, thank you, my dear madam," he said, waving away with his hand Mrs. Yorke's offer of a cutlet; "you know that I never take anything at this time. Well, my dear Arthur, for so I hope I may venture to call you, and so we have met in the flesh at last. Well, well, I trust that our communion together may be mutually blessed to us. We in the ministry must not be above gaining edification from the laity. It is indeed a great privilege to be connected with so distinguished an officer. I assure you I consider it so indeed."
"Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Yorke; "and a very proud mother I feel, I can assure you."
"I must always feel a very deep interest in India," continued Mr. Morgan ——
"And think, William," interrupted the lady, "what my feelings must be as a mother! Oh, Arthur dear, I have so much to ask you about the wonderful scenes you have passed through! We must have such long talks over it together."
"I was very nearly going to India myself," continued Mr. Morgan, "in a missionary capacity; but things were providentially ordered otherwise." Mr. Morgan here alluded to the fact of his having obtained the snug preferment he now held.
"I should think you found quite enough to do in that way at home," observed his brother-in-law. "Even from the short glimpse of English life that I have had, there appears ample room for missionary work in England."
"Ah, but to preach the glad gospel tidings to the benighted heathen, what a blessed privilege that must be!"
"You may travel through the length of India without meeting such an unmitigated heathen as the London rough."
"Ay, but to think that they should worship dumb idols and stocks and stones."
"Better that than to worship the devil."
"My dear Arthur," said his mother in a gently protesting voice, "this is not a mess-table, that you should talk in this shocking way."
When Mr. Morgan got up to go, it was settled that Mrs. Yorke and her son should not come down to the vicarage till a little before dinner; "for you know, William," said the lady, "I have so much to talk about with my dear boy, my prodigal son who has come back again; so you must spare him to his fond mother for a while."
Mrs. Yorke's house was in a quiet street leading into the Close, small, but with a quaint exterior suited to the locality, neat and comfortable within. At the back was a garden, bounded by the high wall of the deanery, neatly kept, and with a trim lawn just large enough for croquet. And when she led the way into the garden, in order that they might "enjoy comfortably a long talk about India," the sight of the croquet-hoops set her off in explanation of the mysteries of that fascinating game, just then coming to fashion; and on learning that Arthur had no practical acquaintance with it, she would fain have made a beginning of teaching him then and there, proposing to send Susan round to the precentor and one of the minor canons, who were devoted to the pastime, to make up a party. But just then some callers arrived, and were succeeded by others; and when all had left it was time to set out for the vicarage, up to which period Mrs. Yorke had successfully restrained her burning curiousity to hear all about India.
Yorke and his mother walked down to St. Clement's in the fine May afternoon, a little boy who had been chartered by Susan to carry the box of presents he had brought with him following in the rear; and Mrs. Yorke exchanged greetings with various acquaintances by the way, to each of whom he was introduced as "my son the colonel from India, you know, so distinguished — a C. B. and Victoria Cross, you know; "while the person addressed, generally a middle-aged lady, would reply: "Dear me, you don't say so! how proud you must feel! very gratified and honoured to make your acquaintance, colonel, I am sure," — or words to that effect, till Yorke became quite ashamed of hearing the formula repeated, and hardly knew whether to be cross or amused. Arrived at the vicarage, a newly-built substantial house on the outskirts of the town, hard by a conventicle-looking building of hideous elevation, plastered white, the servant who opened the door said that mistress was in her bedroom, would they please step up there; and accordingly Arthur followed his mother up the stairs to that apartment.
His sister, who was sitting in an easy-chair by a fire, although the afternoon was a warm one, rose as he came in, and her affectionate greeting as she embraced him with tears in her eyes seemed a measure of compensation for any disappointment he might so far have felt. Then sitting down again, but still holding his hand, she looked up, and smiling through her tears, said, in a fervent and yet languid way, "This is indeed a blessed moment!"
"Our dearest Arthur looks well, does he not?" said Mrs. Yorke; "who would think that he had been through such perils?"
"Yes, indeed," said Rebecca. "Ah, my dearest brother, you can have no idea what anxiety we suffered on your account during that dreadful time."
"Yes, truly," echoed Mrs. Yorke, "it was a dreadful time for all those who had friends in India. And only think, Rebecca, of his taking off his beard, and yesterday, too, of all days! So naughty of him, for I do admire beards for gentlemen."
"He looks very well as he is," said Rebecca, still holding his hand and looking up smiling; "but you have not seen the children yet. Mother, would you ring the bell for them? I have made inquiries about that under-nurse," she continued while Mrs. Yorke performed the office in question, "and here is Mrs. Jones's answer. Satisfactory generally, except that she wants ten pounds; but I say I will not give more than eight, and all found."
"And quite right too," said her mother, with more energy of manner than was usual with her. "There is no good in giving servants high wages; they only spend it in dress and nonsense."
"That is just what William says," continued Rebecca, "that it is our bounden duty to discourage extravagance among those around us. He says I ought not to give beer-money, or beer either, and I am sure they would be better without it."
The conversation was interrupted at this interesting point by the entry of the nurses and children — Rebecca, aged five, Maria four, Georgina not quite three, and Arthur Yorke, the youngest, in the nurse's arms. Presentations to their uncle followed, while the litter producing his parcel of Indian toys at once achieved a temporary popularity. But the children became so noisy in their raptures at the spectacle of the Benares bricks and lacquered elephants opened to their delighted view, that their mamma was unable to endure their presence any longer, and they were ordered back to the nursery, whither their uncle followed them, while the ladies remained to settle the important question whether beer or its equivalent should be included among the attractions to be offered to the candidate for the vacant appointment.
The children being so well occupied with their new toys as no longer to notice the stranger, Yorke soon beat a retreat to the drawing-room, and the opening of the hall-door shortly afterwards announced the arrival of the master of the house, who came in at once to greet him.
"Welcome to our humble home," said the proprietor, shaking hands with him again; "I am sure we are all very proud and very delighted to receive you among us. Excuse my not having been here to meet you, but the minister must be about his work, you know, instant in season. Have you seen Rebecca yet? Up-stairs, I suppose: yes, the nurse is in the house; the affair may come off at any moment, you know. It is quite an unexpected thing, to be sure, after having been married to my last poor dear wife for so many years without having any family, to find the little people coming upon me so fast, and it is a great responsibility placed on us."
Mr. Morgan made this observation as though regarding the arrival of his young family much as a gardener might view the sudden appearance of a crop of mushrooms on his lawn — a phenomenon, as it were, for which he was in no way responsible. "However," he added, "all these things are ordered for the best. But your sister will come down to dinner, I hope. Dear me, it is close on the time! I will just go and wash my hands, and join you directly."
Mrs. Morgan descended to the drawing-room shortly afterwards, leaning on her mother's arm, and then the servant announced dinner.
"We are quite alone, you see," said the vicar as they sat down; "we should have liked to ask a few friends to meet you, but of course that is impossible just now. Rebecca, my love, I hope you will be able to make a good dinner. How are all the children? I have really seen nothing of them to-day, I have been so busy."
There was plenty to be told of the children's doings, to which their father gave as much of his attention as could be spared from the serious business of the meal; for if the vicar did not eat luncheon he made up for it at dinner, encouraging his wife by example as well as precept. The meal was good and well served, although a parlour-maid was the only attendant. And Mr. Morgan seemed anxious to play the host well, but somehow the party was not a lively one. He was evidently accustomed to be looked up to and made much of, in his own house as well as out of doors; and although disposed to give the first place to his wife just at present, in view of her interesting situation, he did not fit well into the second place. Rebecca had lost for the time the energy needed for playing up to her husband's self-love, her brother could not come quickly into the allusions to parish politics and infantine joys and sorrows which made up the conversation, and Mrs. Yorke was evidently oppressed by her son-in-law's presence, while the latter, although treating her with outward respect, extended at the most a sort of condescending tolerance to the good lady's remarks, as if anything she might say was not worth serious attention. In fact, Mr. Morgan could hardly be said to listen when either of the ladies spoke; and as Rebecca's share of the conversation was limited pretty much to saying across the table at intervals, "Dearest Arthur!" accompanying the remark with a languid smile, there was not indeed very much to listen to.
"Ah yes," said Mr. Morgan, waking up from one of his little fits of absence, when the wine had been placed on the table after dinner; "Rebecca, my dear, will you take a glass of port wine' before you go? No? Are you quite sure it would not do you good? It is no good asking you, ma'am, I know," he continued to his mother-in-law, helping himself at the same time, and passing the bottles to Yorke. "Are you going to have the children in this evening, my dear? Better let them play in the garden a bit, I should think, the evening is so fine. The colonel and I will join you, I daresay, before the little folks are in bed;" and the ladies, taking the hint, withdrew.
"What sort of men have you in the ministry in India?" said Mr. Morgan presently, filling his glass again and holding it up to the light.
Yorke replied that he supposed they had their faults very much like other people, but that they were not a bad set of fellows on the whole.
"I did not mean that exactly," said his brother-in-law, in a tone as if slightly offended; "but have they gifts of preaching, for example?"
"I don't know about gifts, exactly. Some of them have the gift of preaching very short sermons, without prejudice to quality. There is Padre Blunt, for example — we always call them padres in India, you know — makes a point of never going beyond ten minutes, at any rate during the hot weather. That is a very useful gift when the thermometer stands at ninety-five."
"It is not everybody, of course, who has these gifts" — and Yorke understood him to imply by his tone that the article in question was to be found in the speaker — " but every man can at least testify to the truth. I hope they do that?"
"Why, of course; they all belong to the Church of England. There are some Roman Catholic chaplains too, but they keep to the soldiers, and one does not see much of them. Very excellent men they are for the most part — not highly educated, perhaps, but devoted to their work, and ready to face any danger."
"Ah, indeed! well, I am glad to hear it," observed the vicar, who nevertheless spoke as if he were very sorry to hear it.
"Yes, our chaplains and they work very well together. There is a very good feeling between them generally; they have the same end in view, you see, and both classes are servants of government."
"Indeed!" observed Mr. Morgan. "Well, I suppose the climate tends to laxity of doctrine."
"I don't know much about the doctrine, but there is no laxity in practice when the call is made. There was Martin, for example; I daresay you never heard of him" — the vicar shook his head compassionately — "well, if ever there was a saint on earth it was that man, and he was what you would call a strong evangelical; but he used to be always capital friends with the Roman Catholic priest. They both died, poor fellows, while attending the sick in the European hospital at Haizapoor in the great cholera year, when my regiment was stationed there."
"Well," said the vicar, "things have not yet come to that pass in England, although we are sorely beset by wolves going about in sheep's clothing; but there is one flock at least which I hope is safely folded from the danger," and the speaker smiled complacently, with obvious reference to the whitewashed building next door.
"Our good colonel tells me," said Mr. Morgan, standing before the fireplace, when the gentlemen came into the drawing-room, in which a fire had been lighted on Rebecca's account, which was after the children had gone to bed, "that the government actually has Papist priests in its pay in India. This is surely grievous tidings."
"It is objected to by some people, certainly," observed his brother-in-law, "as the money has to come from the people of the country, who are neither Protestants nor Catholics; but I never could see the force of the objection. You must have soldiers of some sort, and it is better to make them religious if you can, than to leave them utterly uncared for."
"And do you call it making them religious, my dear sir, to strengthen them in all their Popish practices? Only to think," said Mr. Morgan, turning up his eyes and nodding his chin, "that a government which calls itself a Christian government should actually spend its money in the spread of idolatrous practices!"
"A Christian government! You speak as if Roman Catholics were not Christians. Why, out in India we look on Roman Catholics as being the very next thing to ourselves in point of faith."
Yorke, it will be seen, was but a simple young fellow, and his brother-in-law evidently thought him so, for he did not care to pursue the argument, but looking before him as if addressing the company in general, said, after a pause, "Ah, well, well, I fear the state of things among our erring countrymen in the East must be indeed grievously lax."
"I don't know about that," said Yorke, taking him up. "You see, when the next faith you come in contact with is that of a Mussulman or a Hindoo, one gets to look on a Roman Catholic as something very close indeed."
"That is surely a very shocking, state of things. I fear Papist errors must be working their insidious way in India as rapidly as here. This laxity of thought is evidently a device of Satan to ensnare our weaker brethren.""It is a laxity which you do not appear to be in danger from here at any rate, judging from my short experience. The drum ecclesiastic seems to be beaten freely down in these parts. People are apparently not likely to go wrong for want of being called hard names."
"True Christians, my dear colonel," said the incumbent, with an air of superiority, "must be instant in prayer and labour for the true doctrine delivered unto them, in season and out of season."
"It seems to me, with all deference, that you are all so busy quarrelling with those Christians who don't agree exactly with yourselves, that you have no time to bestow on the very large number who are not Christians at all. Yet they are the people who stand most in need of your ministrations. If a man is truly religious, it is surely of comparative insignificance whether he is a religious Protestant or a religious Roman Catholic, or whether he is a Churchman or a Dissenter, still less whether he is a High or Low Churchman. Why don't you let him go to heaven his own way, and turn your theological weapons on the large and increasing class who don't believe in Christianity at all, or rather who have never taken the trouble ever to so much as think about heaven or hell?"
"That is very shocking," observed Mrs. Yorke; "but, my dear Arthur, you military men use very strong language."
"Dearest Arthur always was so impulsive," said Rebecca, languidly, from her easy-chair; "but here comes the tea; perhaps you will make it, mamma."