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spot,' she had said, smilingly, to Mrs. Sackville. You have noticed, I dare say, one's tendency to be restless sometimes, if the thoughts are very busy and the attitude one of
But here mind and body progress together; the measured step calms the spirit, the nimble spirit finds some vent in the active motion; the attention is not distracted by fresh objects, yet ear and eye are amused by the light, the flowers, the birds—as the child you carry may be soothed and diverted by the sunshine and the breeze, whilst your heart is busy with its secret meditations.'
'But, dear Jane, half the benefit of exercise is lost to you; the senses gather no fresh objects, the mind no change of food. It will kill you in time. I have read somewhere that the heart is like a mill-stone-if it has nothing else to grind, it grinds itself away.'
‘But my heart finds a good deal to grind belonging to its neighbours, as well as itself. Seriously, the saying is not applicable to me in the least. I have a constant call to look out of myself. As long as that is spared to me, all is well. If it is withdrawn, I am forewarned of the danger of ever falling into the state you describe, and must pray to be preserved from it. Meantime, don't pity me-don't try to teach me to pity myself. Once listen to the suggestions of others, or its own puling voice pleading that self is injured, or self is desolate, and the tyranny of that same querulous self will become intolerable.'
You don't give self much time or thought, Jane.'
* The less the better, if self would be healthy or happy.
That's the best way of denying self and following after Him who gave himself for us, rely upon it.
Sackcloth and ashes, and stripes, and fasting, were only an ingenious device of self to attract attention and secure notice at all hazards, revived when it felt its empire slipping away.'
So the solitary walks and cogitations continued, in spite of Mrs. Sackville's entreaties; and the anxious friend distrusted them less after a time, when, came she late or early, there was to be seen the same sweet sincerity on Jane's brow, as if the cool, calm peace of the dawning hour were shining on it still. If, on the morning in question, the step was unduly perturbed, it was more on account of others than herself. She had heard by accident that Mordaunt was at Whitefield, and Eve and
her fate were vividly recalled to her thoughts. She had been married now nearly a year.
'I have seen him but little since then.
He rarely comes to her.'
But the words are scarcely framed in her brain when, turning in her walk, she descries Mr. Daresford approaching. She has time, before they meet, to control her features, and to note every minute change in his appearance. Yes, he is changed again, but it is for the better. He is not nearly so thin, and the tall figure is erect again, and commanding. The face grave, but not careworn as it used to ·be, nor yet so stern. When he speaks she sees another change, or fancies it. The self-control may be as great or greater than ever, but it has become more habitual. The battle is won, and he has leisure to look out of himself, and watch for the joys and griefs of others.
She rejoices at the healthy symptom, even whilst it thrills her with a new kind of fear of him, and of herself. She had grown used to the preoccupation, which asked no home questions, and suspected nothing, and shrank a little from the eyes which seemed more earnestly than for years past to inform themselves of her health and peace of aspect.
'I need our many years of acquaintance to excuse my early visit,' he said, smiling ; ' but I
go back to town after breakfast, and I could not resist the chance of finding you in the middle walk.'
*Your stay is short, and your visits rare,' Jane replied. 'Must you breakfast at Whitefield, or will you be my guest ??
' No, thank you ; I must return to Sir Mark. How is Mr. Carisbroke?'
'No better-certainly no better—especially in mind. He speaks of you often, but I doubt if he would recognize you.'
But he knows you ?'
'Yes, most happily; there has never been a question of that. And when I talk to him of things, he is clear enough. With others it is not so. It is curious your coming just now, for I was thinking of you all. I am glad to see that you have no complaints to make.'
You do see that You must be a good physiognomist. I believe it is so. I don't feel sure, however, that the change is so much in outward circumstances. Things often seem very tangled yet.'
‘But I fancy you are learning to trust more that the tangled web will yet be made smooth, even when you can't perceive any remedy. You are firmer in yourself; and if the wind blows ever so rudely, you do not sway with it. I have found years, and perhaps something else, work this change in me. I think I see also that it has come to you.'
'Or is it not rather, that we are each so isolated now, that chances and changes affect only ourselves, and we therefore care less for them ?'
How could that be so, Jane asked, unless we ceased entirely to feel for others, or could be always assured of their happiness ?'
But we know we are not able to control the evils which befall them; and so, perforce, we learn patience.'
"There's not much perforce in the matter,' Jane replied. I don't think weakness necessarily teaches patience; nor do I believe that it is less trying to watch the sorrows of those we love, but cannot aid, than it is to battle and endure for one's self. No, Mordaunt, I know only one anchor for the soul in every storm.'
They turned again to retrace their steps.
'Do you remember, Jane, your coming to us one evening, soon after your return to England, and giving me some good advice as you were going away ?
Very likely. I believe I am too apt to sermonize.'