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was so young when she died that her image is very faint in my mind. I cannot call back any feature but her eyes.”
“You have but to look in your glass, Mistress Alice, and you will see what your mother once was. I was struck with the like. ness the moment you entered the library.”
Alice shook her head, and answered, artlessly, “Nay, then, sir, your memory plays you false, for my mother was counted to be exceedingly beautiful. I may hope to resemble her in some things ; but my father
says he has never seen a face so fair as hers." Mistress Lister had, indeed, been famed for her beauty; and it seemed to Alice that it was wrong done to her mother to compare her to herself. But she wondered and blushed at her own boldness as soon as the words were spoken; her shyness returned, and she felt much relieved when the lamps were brought in and Ralph bade her good night.
Janet came into the room soon afterwards; she was going her usual rounds to inspect the bolts and bars, and advised Alice to go to bed.
“I shall wait until my father returns. I can't rest until I have seen him again," said Alice.
“ You will see him to-morrow. If he is late it will just vex bim to find you up," replied Janet, crossly, who was tired herself, and rather ruffled in temper. She often forgot that her young mistress was no longer a child, and treated her sometimes as if she were eight instead of eighteen years of age.
“Tell Lucy not to wait for me,” replied Alice, gently. She never resented the housekeeper's sharp words; she knew they came from a really kind heart.
When the house was settled down into stillness, she crept back into the library, where the fire still burned, and waited there for the step most welcome to her. She drew the curtains closer, piled more wood upon the fire, and sat down on a cushion before her father's great chair, and then fell to thinking. She thought how she had sat there as a child listening to stories about Hull; of the visits of King Henry VIII., how he stayed at the Manor Palace (then his property), and how Royal a place it was; and of Queen Catherine Howard's brief sojourn there, just before her disgrace and fall. And then, when Alice grew older, how she had entertained the Colonel by her music and singing, when he came home weary from hunting or hawking. Looking back, they seemed to be days and years of unclouded happiness; but during the last twelvemonths a change had been working, and she feared those dear times had gone away, never to return. Public cares were weighing upon her father ; every one who came to the house was talking about the war with Scotland, and the oppressive taxes in England. Colonel Lister seldom hunted now; his days were more often spent at home, sometimes pacing up and down the room, lost in thought, while Alice read to herself or watched his restless movements. Sometimes he was closeted for hours with strange people, who came and went without ceremony, but with an air of mystery. Sometimes he was inditing long letters ; and this was, perhaps, the most laborious work the soldier could undertake. He could wield the sword and pike more confidently than the pen; and he would sigh and look up at his daughter, telling her, for the fortieth time, that authors must have the patience of Job to write out the contents of a whole volume.
Sitting alone before the fire, the maiden regretfully glanced back upon the past, and half shrunk from the future. The wind had risen since the sun went down, and was now moaning round the house in a dreary fashion; and Alice, not wholly uninfluenced by the superstitions of her age, fancied that it was the cry of a lost spirit, that had been suffered to wander abroad in the world. Again she replenished the fire and trimmed the lamp; the clock in the hall struck eleven, and the sound roused up Fawn, the Colonel's pet hound, who had been sleeping in a corner on her inaster's riding cloak. Fawn shook herself, and came to lie down on the rug beside Alice, pushing her beautiful head into the maiden's lap, and looking up wistfully into her face. The wind steadily rose, and weariness began to weigh down the fair watcher's eyelids, when Fawn suddenly pricked up her ears and sprang to her feet, and in a moment the soldier's heavy tread crossed the hall. The Colonel came straight to the library, and did not chide Alice, as she expected, for sitting up so late. Without a word he sat down and looked into the fire, as she had been doing, softly stroking the hand she laid upon his knee. She saw he was very much depressed, and feared to ask what he thought of Sir John's state ; but he continued silent so long, and seemed so to have quite forgotten her presence, that she whispered softly, “Well, father?”
“My dear," he said sorrowfully, “I wish I could have come back sooner; but that was impossible. Poor John! I don't think there is any hope for him; the doctor says there was no chance of his recovery from the day he was taken ill.”
“Oh, father !” said Alice, as soon as she could speak. “Will and I always felt sure he would get better, though aunt did not think so; but you know she is ever ready to despond.”
“She has had good cause to fear this time, and she looks quite worn and old with anxiety. This will be bad news in London, unless we can get another member for Hull of your uncle's experience and way of thinking. Such great interests are now at stake in the country, that I can hardly think of our private loss; and John has always been a good brother and friend. He was dozing when I left; your aunt will send for me if there is any change, so I shall not go to bed.”
Alice expostulated, and begged her father to let Jenkyn sit up, and call him if necessary, but he would not bear. “Nonsense,” said he; "what does an old soldier care about a little fatigue ?-as if a cloak and this settle were not luxuries to one who has often slept the night with nothing but the sky above and the hard earth beneath.
But”-holding his daughter at arm's length—“it is more than time for a maiden like you to be within her curtains.”
“You have been so long away, father,” replied Alice coaxingly, with her arms round his neck. “I could not sleep till I had seen you again, and made sure with my eyes and hands that you really had come home. Oh, it has been a lonely time!”
“ I feared it would be so, dear heart. But you have not any doubts left, I hope, about my being here, body and spirit, too? Mr. Marvel was with your uncle when I went to-night; there never was a more faithful shepherd. Your uncle tried to tell me of his goodness, and asked me to thank him when he was gone.”
Alice said that she also had seen the minister that afternoon, and began to relate a variety of home incidents, until the Colonel lovingly bade her begone; so she left him to rest, with Fawn lying at his feet.
(To be continued.)
PORTRAITS OF THE PATRIARCHS.
BY MRS. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.
VI.-DEBORAH, POET AND PROPHETESS. The Book of Judges is the record of a period of history which may be called the Dark Ages of the Jewish Church, even as the mediæval days were called the Dark Ages of Christianity. In both cases a new system of purity and righteousness, wholly in advance of any. thing the world had ever before known, had just been inaugurated by the visible power of God--the system of Moses and the system of Christ. But this pure system seems in each case to have been allowed to struggle its own way through the mass of human ignorance and sin. The system given through Moses was that of an ultra-democratic community, so arranged that perforce there must be liberty, fraternity, and equality. There was no chance for overgrown riches or abject poverty. Real estate could not be alienated
from a family for more than a generation; after that period it returned again to its original possessor. The supreme law of the land was love. Love, first, to the God and Father, the Invisible Head of all; and, second, towards the neighbour, whether a Jewish brother or a foreigner and stranger. The poor, the weak,
, the enslaved, the old, the deaf, the blind, were protected by solemn and specific enactments. The person of woman was hedged about by restraints and ordinances which raised her from the degradation of the tool of sensuality into the honoured position of wife and mother. Motherhood was exalted into special honour, and named as equal with fatherhood, in the eye of God. “Ye shall fear, every man, his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths. I am the Lord." (Lev. xix. 3.)
Refinement of feeling, personal cleanliness, self-restraint, order and purity, were taught by a system of ordinances and observances which intertwined through all the affairs of life, so that the Jew who lived up to his law must of necessity rise to a noble manhood. But this system, so ideally perfect, encountered an age of dark
Like all beautiful ideals, the theocratic republic of Moses suffered under the handling of coarse human fingers. Without printed books, or printing, or any of the thousand modern means of perpetuating ideas, the Jews were constantly tempted to lapse into the customs of the heathen tribes around. The question whether Jehovah or Baal were God was kept open for discussion and sometimes for long periods idolatry prevailed.
Then came the subjugation and the miseries of a foreign yoke, aud the words of Moses were fulfilled :-“ Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve the enemy whom the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things; and he shall put a yoke of iron on thy neck, till he have destroyed thee.”
The history of the Jewish nation in the Book of Judges presents, a succession of these periods of oppression, and of deliverance by a series of divinely-inspired leaders, sent in answer to repentant prayers. It is entirely in keeping with the whole character of the Mosaic institutions, and the customs of the Jewish people, that one of these inspired deliverers should be a woman. We are not surprised at the familiar manner in which it is announced as a thing quite in the natural order that the chief magistrate of the Jewish nation, for the time being, was a woman divinely ordained and gifted.
Thus the story is introduced :
“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord when Ehud was dead, and the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin, King of Canaan, that reigned in Hasor, the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord; for he had nine hun. dred chariots of iron, and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel. And Deborah, the prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel, in Mount Ephraim, and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak, the son of Abinoim, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel said, Go, draw towards Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Zebulon and the children of Napthali? And I will draw unto thee at the river Keshon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with bis chariots and his multitude, and I will deliver him into thy hands. And Barak said, If thou wilt go with me, I will go; but if thou wilt not go with me, I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee; notwithstanding, the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour, for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”
In all this we have a picture of the reverence and confidence with which, in those days, the inspired woman was regarded. The palm-tree which shaded her house becomes a historical monument, and is spoken of as a well-known object. The warlike leader of the nation comes to her submissively, listens to her message as to a Divine oracle, and obeys. He dares not go up to battle without her, but if she will go he will follow her. The prophetess is a wife, but her husband is known to posterity only through her. Deborah was the wife of Lapidoth, and therefore Lapidoth is had in remembrance even down to our nineteenth century.
This class of prophetic and inspired women appear to have been the poets of their time. They were, doubtless, possessed of that fine ethereal organisation, fit to rise into the higher regions of ecstasy, wherein the most exalted impressions and enthusiasms spring, as birds and flowers under tropic sunshine. The Jewish woman was intensely patriotic. She was a living, breathing impersonation of the spirit of her nation; and the hymn of victory chanted by Deborah, after the issue of the conflict, is one of the most spirited specimens of antique poetry. In order to sympathise with it fully, we must think of the condition of woman in those days, when, under the heel of the oppressor, all the respects, the barriers, and protections which the laws of Moses threw around them inspired in the Jewish woman a sense of self-respect and personal dignity which rendered the brutal outrages which were awarded to captives yet more intolerable. The law of Moses com. manded the Jewish warrior, who took a captive woman, to respect