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A MONTHLY REVIEW
EDITED BY JAMES KNOWLES.
No. 92, OCTOBER 1884.
I. Daily Life in a Modern Monastery. By the Rev. FATHER CODY, O.S.B.
530 III. Charles Reade. By ALGERNON C. SWINBURNE IV. A Farm that Pays. By LADY CATHERINE MILNES GASKELL
V. Our Deaf and Dumb. By ELISABETH BLACKBURN
611 VIII. An Experiment. By C. KEGAN PAUL .
619 IX. The Classification of Literature. By J. Taylor KAY
X. Progress and Wages : a Workman's View. By JAMES G. HUTCHINSON. 630 XI. The Art Treasures of Prussia. By J. BEAVINGTON ATKINSON
639 XII. Lord Beaconsfield's Irish Policy. By Sir J. POPE HENNESSY
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, & CO., LONDON.S
PARIS: LIBRAIRIE GALIGNANI, 224 RUE DE RIVOLI.
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OCT 1 1 1884
No. XCII.—OCTOBER 1884.
IN A MODERN MONASTERY,
It is the 13th of February, 1884, the hour between half-past twelve and one P.M. Two lines of black-robed Benedictine monks are seated at tables on either side of a room about sixty feet long and twenty-four wide, high, with panelled ceiling, and plain-coloured walls relieved by two or three large portraits of ancient abbots or priors. A wooden wainscot, perhaps eight feet high, reminding one in its design of the Hall of Magdalen College, Oxford, runs all round this room, and on two sides, the east and north, nearly reaches the deep sloping sills of more than a dozen double-lighted windows filled with heraldic glass, in whose brilliant maze of colours the adept may read the blazoned arms of many a noble family, the founders and benefactors of the establishment. There, over the head of the prior, who sits alone at a small table on a raised daïs against the east wall, are the ancient devices and noble insignia of a Norfolk, a Bute, and a Ripon. There are the Highland red deer supporting the baronial shield of Lovat, and next to it the · Lumen in Colo' of Leo XIII., side by side with the lions rampant of Mastai-Ferretti. Further down, on the north side, you may decipher the unmistakable Scottish arms of Buccleugh, Herries, and. Gordon, but they are mixed up with the English Denbighs, Staffords, and Howards, and a host of others which perhaps it would require more than a diligent study of Burke to comprehend.
It is the refectory, and the monks are at dinner. That figure with VOL. XVI.—No. 92.
a white-and-blue check apron over his monastic habit, moving noiselessly about with jugs and dishes in his hands, is the cellarer—not that it is the cellarer's special duty to wait at table, but this week it happens to be his turn : it was the sub-prior's the week before ; and if you are curious to know what the fare is which he is placing before each on the clothless tables, it is salmon, caught by the novices the day previously in the magnificent loch at whose head the abbey stands. The monks are not vegetarians, but there is no meat to-day.
The meal proceeds in silence, for no conversation is ever allowed in the refectory; but in a stone pulpit projecting from the wall on the south side sits one of the brethren reading. He has finished the daily chapter of the sacred scriptures, and taken up a copy of the Nineteenth century. It is the number for January, 1884, and he proceeds to continue an interesting article commenced a day or two ago. It is headed Daily Life in a Mediæval Monastery,' and seems ---so said the librarian, who suggested its being read in public—to be the work of a man who knows more about the subject than the generality of English writers. They have listened with much interest to the very fair account of the arrangement of a monastery, and the general course of its daily routine. There has been some goodhumoured smiling at the pardonable blunders the author bas occasionally made in his estimation of the duties and motives of action of monastic officers, and some nearer approach to laughter at such things as the writer's “confession' that 'the greatest of all delights to the thirteenth-century monks was eating and drinking,' or his equally naïve statement that there was one element of interest which added great zest to conventual life, in the quarrels that were sure to arise.'
But suddenly a row of faces is turned up to the reader, eyes open a little wider than usual, and a curious smile appears on the lips of their owners as the following words fall upon their ears : If desolation were to come upon our homes, where could we hide the stricken head and broken heart? To that question-a morbid question if you will—I have never found an answer. The answer was possible once,
but it was in an age which has passed away.' The monks look at each otber, but they must not speak. The reader goes on very deliberately; a beautifully poetic outburst follows the last statement, and then comes this: “Let the dead bury their dead. Meanwhile the successors of the thirteenth-century monasteries are rising up around us, each after their kind; Pall Mall swarms with them, hardly less splendid than their progenitors, certainly not less luxurious. Our modern monks look out at the windows of the Carlton and the Athenæum, with no suspicion that they are at all like the monks of old. Nor are they.
'No, indeed!' thinks each one as he looks at the bare deal table before him, and the sbaven faces and rough habits at each side; “no wonder they have no such suspicion. But what does it all mean?' To this question no answer can be given just now, for the brethren