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engraving appears below, is higher up the hill. Mr. Adams laid its first stone, June 24, 1847, but did not live to see its completion. He also contributed largely to its cost, and gave the ancient chair within the communion rails ; while the font is a tribute to his memory, presented by his father, Mr. Serjeant Adams. The church books and the west window were the gift of the Rev. W. Sewell and his sisters, the elder of whom usually officiates at the organ. The church consists of a nave, chancel, and north transept, and is a plain but effective building in the Norman style. Its graveyard, with its undulating lawns, rocky fragments, shrubs, hawthorns, flowers, and trees, is well nigh as picturesque as that of the old church ; and the background to the view is nobly supplied by the grand proportions of the Downs. No one should leave Bonchurch without climbing these Downs, and enjoying the magnificent prospect from the Wishing Well and the Pulpit Rock. And if anyone desired to preach a sermon from this rocky pulpit, beneath the wooden cross placed there by Sir W. Heathcote, he could scarcely select a fitter text than that verse which Miss Sewell (in “Ursula") says would often come to her mind when she was thinking of Bonchurch and the Undercliff, “It is a land which the Lord thy God careth for . . . . the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”
THE MAYSTOKE CHORISTER.
CHAPTER 1.—THE SWEET SINGER.
I am the danghter of a clergyman who formerly held a small living in
-shire, and who, if he was proud of anything, was proud of his finely-trained choir. Finely trained--that is, for a little place like Maystoke, where nothing but native talent was available. There is an exception, however, to every rule; and so it came to pass that Maystoke happened on one occasion to receive a stranger into its musical ranks. It is about this stranger that my story is written. One Sunday, during the afternoon service, I was astonished, when we began the anthem, to hear a most beautiful voice, which I did not recognize, joining, evidently only by ear, in even the most difficult parts. It seemed to come from just below me; but as the anthem was almost new, I did not like to raise my eyes from the book till it was finished. Then, on looking at the spot where I concluded he must be, I saw a head which almost startled me with its extraordinary crop of bright red hair. He had entered by the chancel door, and our servant had motioned him to a seat beside her. The hymn that followed the anthem proved that the owner of the hair and the voice were the same person. My father, I could see, bad also found him out, for his face was turned towards him with an expression of evident delight, as he, quite unconscious of the effect he was producing, sang out of our maid's hymn-book. As soon as the sermon was over, my father was unusually quick in leaving the pulpit, and instead of going into the vestry direct, he stept up to the sweet-voiced stranger, who was on the point of leaving the church, and asked him to wait a minute, as he wished to speak to him. He had a bold intelligent face, though rather uncouth and strange, while his eyes were of that peculiarly colourless kind that sometimes accompanies reddish hair - very bright though, and starting so far out of his head that my father afterwards used often to joke about them, and say that he was sure he must sleep with his eyes half open, for his eyelids were like our curtains in the drawing-room, that could never be made to meet.
As I suspected, my father's eagerness was attributable to the desire of obtaining, if possible, the addition of such a beautiful voice to his choir. Rufus looked quite pleased at the idea when it was suggested to him, but he said he was afraid the distance at which he lived, some five miles off, at the nearest town, would prevent his attending regularly, as he knew no one in the village with whom he could spend the day. At this my father bit his lips, and, I could see, was very
loth to give it up. After some consultation with my mother, my father came forward with a smile on his face, and said to our queer-looking friend, “I have talked the matter over with my wife, and we have agreed that if the inquiries we mean to make about you are satisfactory -as you say you know no one in the village--you can spend the time between morning and afternoon service with our servants, and thus get a good dinner to walk home upon.” Jones, for that was his name, seemed quite taken aback, as well he might be, at this liberal offer, and dug quite a little grave in scraping his acknowledgments; but as for saying anything except "Thank you kindly," which came out in pieces at each scrape, it was purely beyond his power.
We learnt, on inquiry, that David Jones was the son of a carrier, who travelled between Maystoke and London, and had a high character for sobriety and honesty, which had descended on his son, who did a smaller trade in a smaller way, with a smaller horse and cart, over a smaller district. And so the matter was settled ; and each succeeding Sunday, for many a year, David used to come regularly to church, and dine with the servants. We never had any occasion to regret his admission to the household but once ; and that was, that he took from us the best servant we ever had. Her name was Mary, and she was the girl who had first introduced him into the choir. I had often thought, and even hoped, that such a marriage might be brought about, as they were very well suited to each other; and one day as I was giving her her
wages she all of a sudden burst out crying, and said-
"Nothing, miss-that is, miss, David's been and made me an offer, and please, miss, we're going to be married.”
"Well, Mary,” I said, “I wish you joy; you have, I think, made a very good choice."
“ Thank you, miss; please, miss, what do you think of David ?"
"I think him a very excellent young man, Mary; but if you want my opinion as to his looks, I'am afraid I can't say I think him handsome.”
"Oh, don't you, miss ?” she said, apparently quite surprised; “I do."
It was now my turn to be surprised; but I became of her opinion years afterwards. Now, she was very good-looking herself, so the next time I saw David I congratulated him on having obtained the affections of the best and prettiest girl in the village.
“ Lor! miss,” he said, “ do you think her pretty ?” “Very; don't
?" “Well! to tell you the truth, miss, I've never thought about it; but she's good, that she is !"
And I don't believe he had; and his is not the only case of a man being almost ignorant of his sweetheart's personal peculiarities.
Shortly after this, David's father died. I shall never forget the manner in which he told me of the sad news; for those words form the key of his whole life and character. He said, in his sweet voice, and his eyes hid in a mist of tears
"Oh, Miss Herbert! God has taken away my father, but He is very good. I have never known Him take away anything from me yet without giving me another blessing in its place. It has pleased Him to deprive me of a father, but He has given me Mary for my wife.”
When a decent time had elapsed he married Mary, and they both went to live at Maystoke. Having now the large cart, and the long distance to Lordon to go, he was not able to come to our church except on rare occasions. All the village missed him, but I think that we missed him more than all. The many little kindnesses which he did for us-sometimes walking over that long five miles to do a bit of gardening for us; sometimes bringing us a remarkably fine sample of celery or other vegetables out of his own skilfully managed garden ; as well as his many ways of amusing the little ones, as my brothers and sisters were then-had endeared him to all of us; and the tears shed at his wedding with our maid, who was even a greater favourite, were not all from the eyes of their relations or themselves.
CHAPTER II.-RESIGNATION AND INDEPENDENCE.
It was about a year and a half after this, about a month after we had heard of the birth of their first child, that our servant told me that Mary was below and wished to see me. I heard her come up stairs very slowly, stopping occasionally, but took no particular notice of it at the time, thinking she was weak after her late confinement; and when she came in, too pleased to see her to spend much time in looking at her first, I said
“How do you do, Mary? I am glad to see you out again."
“Thank you, miss,” she said, faintly; and then, bursting into tears, exclaimed, Oh, miss, such trouble !-such trouble !"
“What is the matter, Mary? speak! not the baby, I hope ?" “No, miss—David-he's met with such a fearful accident."
I let her have her cry out, not knowing exactly what to do, and very much frightened.
“Oh!" she said, at last, “he's got a new horse that's rather wilíul, and last night but one, just as he was setting off, the horse started he was standing in front. Whether the horse threw him down or not, I can't say; but—before I knew where I was—he was down, the horse ran away, and the wheel went over his thigh, and crushed it. Oh dear! The doctor says he'll never be able to go to London any more.”
And she rocked herself to and fro, moaning.
THE BEGINNING OF SORROW.
I tried to soothe her as well as I could, which was but badly, I fear. But she was braver than I, and soon dried her tears.
"And he would be so pleased, miss, if you'd come and see him.” “That I will,” I said ;“ but is there nothing else I can do for you ?”
"Thank you kindly, miss; no. We have been careful, and have got a tidy bit in bank, and we shall get on, please God; only come and see us.”
This was on Friday. On Saturday I had so many things to do that I was not able to spare time to go; but on Sunday afternoon-there being no service, as my father was doing duty for a sick friend
I mounted my pony, and taking some wine and a few little things? thought might be useful to them, I set off.
The gun was shedding its waning rays on their cottage when I reached Maystoke. Tying my pony to the gate, I entered the garden. I had not gone many steps before I heard soft strains of music rising melodiously through the air. I soon recognized the voices of David and his wife: they were singing the evening hymn. I paused, not wishing to disturb them. Slowly the last notes of the doxology died away; and knocking gently, I entered. She was seated by his side, and the feeling of what they had just concluded had not as yet passed
VOL. 1.—NO. III.