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as she sprung from her bed with a wild, wild shriek for help, the canse of it all flashed upon her with agonizing, relentless force. The letter! She had flung it, as she thought, into the grate—but it must have fallen short, and lodged where it had slowly ignited some of the woodwork. The little room was completely a prey to the flames now; they had burnt their way to the window, and she could hear the panes of glass shivering under the force of the heat, and falling in a shower of pieces into the garden beneath. Alas, poor Susy! She was no heroine, after all. The

very

instinct of self-preservation seemed struck dormant, for the time. She could think of nothing--do nothing, but shriek -- shriek with the shrillness and persistency of despair. Help-help-help-oh help! If they heard her they might be in time to save her. But the rooms occupied by the rest of the family were separated from hers by that long corridor, her room forming the end of that wing of the house. Gradually, these facts occurred to her, and she recognized the possibility that they might perhaps never hear her, never discover the fire-till too late.

And then she nerved herself to make one effort to go through the blinding smoke and near the terrible flames to the door. Frantically she caught the large quilt from her bed, and wrapped it round her, with the vague idea that it would shield her in some sort. She would escape-she must escape ; and she plunged forward as into a deadly sea, and tried to force her way through the dense smoke and scorching heat. In vain. Nearly fainting, sick with suffocation, and exhausted besides, with screaming - poor unheroic Susy !-she was driven back, almost without her own volition, to the only safe space in the room -that corner where the bed stood. The way was yet open for the window-the oriel; but escape was not possible that way: the height above the garden was so great that it offered only an exchange from one destruction to another. It was in the impotence of sheer desperation that she rushed to it and flung it wide open, and hurled her shrieks anew into the frosty star-lit quiet. And then, with what mocking distinctnoss every trivial detail forced itself on her perception. She saw how pale and strange the solemn stars looked beside the fierce unnatural light that glared redly within the room. She noticed that the birds which had built in some trees close by the window of the burning room, were scared from their nests by the flames that leapt out every now and then upon the darkness, and fluttered about with faint, quivering, frightened cries; and a waning noon, notilong risen, seemed to be standing watchfully just over the peaceful-looking ricks and stately elms belonging to Hillside—all looking so still, and calm, and safe. While within the room-oh, it was horrible !--horrible! to see and hear the rushing roaring demon that was gaining ground with every minute, and to know herself so absolutely defenceless and helpless against the unsparing foe. Surely it was better to throw herself out-to die so even! But no-courage failed her--she could not; and soon she was driven from the windowback-back to the small space—the tiny haven of refuge, wherein she could just breathe and keep her senses. Utterly exhausted, even despair could lend her no more strength now, and she leaned against the bed, while murmured prayers took the place of the wild useless shrieks. For the little space was growing narrower and narrowerfast-fast, as the fire rushed headlong on its way, and the smoke increased in volume and in heat. She almost felt the tongues of flame touch her now, and the atmosphere grew more and more stifling. Other images than those the fire illumined began to dance before her eyes ; other sounds than its roaring and hissing made strange music in her ears.

She sank down on her knees instinctively. Death seemed coming very near.

Was it a real sound, or imagined—of loud shouts beneath the orie! window? Was that her mother's agonized voice, and that again- her father's hoarse commanding call ; or were these, also, delirious dreams? But no! there was another voice yet-a familiar voice too; and it came nearer and nearer—forcing its reality upon her recognition. “ Courage, courage !" it cries ; " there's help coming! Bear up, bear up for a minute, Susy!" It was no dream.

She saw clearly in the lurid light, the wellknown face-Michael's face. It was at the window, with such a look of passionate, agonizing doubt and dread as Susy never forgot. Then he called over again, as he leapt into the room—“Susy! Susy! are

you safe?"

“ Here!” she cried, with the last effort of her strength; and throug!? the clouds of smoke, scarcely escaping the driving flames-fighting his way, inch by inch, he came nearer—nearer-nearer. She felt him clasp her close-half-unconscious and incapable of motion as she was; she knew that he covered her face with damp cloths to keep hier unharmed through the desperate passage; she heard his suffocating gasps as lie plunged into the smoke again. It seemed an eternity of dread and difli. culty as he struggled to the window once more; but it was gained at last. She felt the blessed air come coldly on her face, she heard murmured shouts below-her mother's shriek of joy, and the great sob that was heaved from the farmer's strong breast; and then-no more. Poor little Susy had fulfilled romantic regulations in one respect at leastshe had fainted.

It was some time before either the preserver or the preserved recovered from the effects of that night. Michael Barton, indeed, will bear to his death a certain scar on the forehead, where a fragment of

PRESERVER AND PRESERVED.

75

blazing wood struck him, either in entering or retreating from the burning room. As for Susy, her first illness since childhood was one not unnatural sequence of her terrible trial. To go on with the catalogue of consequences.

Of course that end of the south wing of Westlands was wholly destroyed; but the exertions of the farmer and his men were successful in saving the rest of the house. The cause of the fire always remained a favourite mystery with the country people round about. Only Susy's father and mother, and, ultimately, Michael Barton, were made acquainted with the truth. Mr. Augustus Brown—whose nerves would seem to have been greatly shaken by the excitement of the event, and by the news that the farmer had lost all his property, and poor Susy all her beauty, in that conflagration-went back to London straightway, and never knew how much he had to answer for in the matter. But the most remarkable and lasting result of all, perhaps, consisted in the changed state of mind that Susy evinced in many respects, from thenceforward; and especially the decided re-action that set in from certain former predilections of hers. It

may be safely asserted that she never tried, or even wished, to be a heroine again. And somehow, her correspondence with Amelia Jones fell off, and never came on any more.

Nothing could be less romantic, or at any rate less like a scene in a romance, than the first meeting, after the fire, between Susy and Michael Barton. She could only look at his scarred face, and cry; and he-well, he had a great deal to say, and it was all ready in his mind but for some time could not be got past some sort of obstruction in his throat. Finally, it was in a very awkward bungling fashion that he made Susy understand that he loved her too well to bear that she should marry him out of gratitude-or-or to please her parents-or -or anything except - A dead pause. · If you can't like me,” suddenly he began again, quite firmly and clearly, and intending to go on and express courage, and resignation, and so forth, in that event; but the throat rebelled anew, and while he stopped a minute to reduce it to subjection, Susy hid her face, and sobbed out

" But I do Mke you. I-I nev-never

In fact, she never finished the sentence. Still, it may be supposed that somehow or other, without the aid of eloquence, or of any grammar worth mentioning, these two managed to make themselves not only intelligible but satisfactorily so, to each other on this occasion. For, after all, Mrs. Rushbrook's programme was duly fulfilled, and the marriage took place the next Michaelmas.

TROLLOPE AND THE CLERGY.

Ir is interesting to consider how fully the social life of England has been written in our works of fiction. In the eighteenth century the aristocracy was an object of universal reverence and envy; and we rarely see a novel of the period in which a member of that order does not play a prominent part. During the great war, and for some years afterwards, every grade of the army leaped up to a height of public favour which not even the most distinguished regiments had known before, and, accordingly, in a large majority of the novels written within the first quarter of this century the favourite hero is a soldier. The long peace, permitting men's minds to ponder on our institutions, and to devote themselves more eagerly to commerce, has pushed forward the clergyman and the merchant to a front place in English society. And sure enough twenty years ago the clergy began to figure very largely in the pages of fiction; and were speedily challenged in the race for popularity by millowners and mechanics. The question, then, which we now invite our readers to consider is this—are the pictnres like ? Are the clergymen--for to them the present article is confined—whom we meet with in novels fair representatives of the clergy of this time, and does the tone in which they are commonly spoken of, convey a just impression of the state of public feeling towards them ?

When we couple together the words clergyman and novel, we have, we confess, no other novelist in view than Mr. Trollope. There may be others whom we should have to include were we writing an article upon clerical novels in general. But Mr. Trollope's treatment of the subject is quite peculiar enough, able enough, and interesting enough to warrant a separate criticism; while it has, at the same time, the great recommendation of being amenable to our laws of space.

Before, however, we proceed further, it may be well to remind our readers of the leading facts and characters in those particular novels of Mr. Trollope, in which the incidents are chiefly clerical. “ The Warden" was the first of the series; and, in the opinion of many, it is the best novel which he has written. “The Warden,” however, is too short and too sketchy to deserve this praise. But it contains certain “scenes of clerical life,” which, as they are the germ of Mr. Trollope's future successes, so, judged by a totally distinct, we would not say a lower, standard, are they quite equal to the celebrated "scenes” of George Elliott. Barchester, we are told, is a pretty, quiet cathedral town in the West of England. Dr. Grantley, a scholarly, refined, gentle old man of the good old High Church school, was the Bishop. His son,

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less gentle, but more high and dry, an honest, able, and genial clergyman, who loved port wine and whist and would fight to the death for the temporal rights of the Church of England, was the Archdeacon of Barchester. In Barchester stood an ancient and wellendowed hospital, an almshouse for the reception of twelve poor men, called Hiram's Hospital; and of this the revenues had increased so largely in modern times, that when each of the old men had been paid his one and fourpence a-day, the sum specified in the founder's will, there still remained £800 a-year for the Warden : and the Warden at the opening of the story was the Rev. Septimus Harding, in manner, disposition, and principles, the exact counterpart of the Bishop. Not to enter into unnecessary details, we may say that an agitation is commenced at Barchester against the existing distribution of the hospital funds, on the plea that it was not the intention of John Hiram that the Warden should receive by himself nearly three times as much as all the bedesmen put together. In support of this view a petition was to be presented to Parliament, and the Dean, Chapter, and Bishop, to say nothing of the Warden himself, were aghast at this impudent, yet it seemed dangerous, interference. It is in the contrast between the behaviour of the Bishop, the Archdeacon, and the most interested person in the case, namely, the Warden himself, with regard to this momentous question, that Mr. Trollope's skill in character painting is pre-eminently conspicuous. The Archdeacon is resolute and confident in maintaining what he conceives to be the vested rights of the Church. The Wardenship is in the gift of the Bishop-the revenues are indirectly Ecclesiastical revenues, and the Church is responsible to no man for the administration of them. Besides the cry against the Hiram trust is in his eyes only part of a general system of abuse designed to level with the ground our whole Ecclesiastical establishment and ancient Anglican hierarchy. He, therefore, resists it in limine, and being satisfied with the soundness of his general principle, will not stay his action to examine the details of any particular case. His mind is filled with the duty of resistance, to the entire exclusion of any other considerations. Mr. Harding, the Warden, is the exact contrary of the Archdeacon. The support of any great general principle is beyond bis strength. It is sufficient for him that he recognizes a fragment of injustice straight under his own eyes. In what way the existence of that fragment is necessary to the stability of some great and noble edifice, founded mainly on justice and righteousness, he has not the ability to determine. His duty is plain. He does think that the Warden has been taking too much; he would, therefore, at ono time have been willing to give up haif his income to the bedesmen. But before he could carry out this purpose, he had been held up to the scorn and indignation of the public in the columns of the “ Times."

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