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friend or jot ?

A SEQUEL TO “OLIVER RAYMOND.”
BY E. JOSEPH AXTON.

CHAPTER VIII.-WHISPERS.

THAT night was a painful one for Elsie. For an hour or two, feeling unable to sleep, she sat up, alone in the moonlight, watching, and thinking, and weeping. Then she went to bed—but still only to watch and weep and think; to toss and turn in agony of spirit; to hear again and again that strange, dreadful laugh; and to condemn herself with ever-increasing vehemence, as the main cause of the horrible thing she had seen. And so the night passed, until at length the dawn broke, with that grey, cold, cheerless aspect which early morning ever has to the unsleeping eyes of grief. Then, almost exhausted from want of rest, with head and heart aching, and eyes swollen with the many tears they had shed, she arose, shed more tears—passionate, burning tears!—as she poured out a long and earnest prayer, and descended to wait for Oliver. He would not be as he was last night, and she would again humble herself—yes, to the very dust!—if she could but atone in some degree for her folly, and— and—help to turn him out of the terrible course he was pursuing. “My God! give me power over my pride,” she moaned, as she busied herself in the breakfast-room, where Mary had just lit the fire. Mr. Bradford had not of late come down to breakfast, on account of his foot, and Oliver had many times since the quarrel gone straight off to business, or had merely taken a hasty cup of coffee, intending to get the meal at the warehouse or on the way thither. Elsie, on this occasion, thinking he would most likely hurry away, after last night, with greater precipitancy than ever— cooked him a nice chop with her own hands, and when his light footstep sounded at last on the stairs, there was a beautiful breakfast awaiting him. “Oliver, you will stay this morning, won't you? It is late, I know, but breakfast is quite ready.” He was out in the hall, putting on his topcoat; she had come up from the breakfast-room, and was speaking to him so gently, in a way so unlike her late one, that Oliver turned and looked hard at her. He had cause to be surprised, not only because of the change in her manner. Her eyes were not wont to be so red and swollen, her cheeks were not usually so pale and wan. And she, too, as she returned his gaze for a moment, had ample reason to share his wonder. Where was the old bright, frank face she had known in the past? Surely this one, with its dark, almost shrinking expression, which seemed to be hiding some secret that must never be discovered—surely this was not Oliver's faces Surely these haggard lines in it, these bloodshot eyes, were not his. It was only by an effort that she suppressed the impulse to shrink away from him. “I shall not stay this morning, thank you,” Oliver answered, coldly, and placed his hat on his head. “At least come downstairs, Oliver,” Elsie returned—pleadingly now—“I want to speak to you.” “Oh, certainly.” They descended to the breakfast-room. “Why not stay ? It is quite ready—” Elsie was about to ring for Mary, when Oliver put up his hand. “Is that what you have to say? I shall get my breakfast at the warehouse.” Elsie burst into tears. “Why are you so cruel to me, Oliver! You know I am sorry for what I have done—you know I want you to forgive me!” The words broke from her—she did not stay to consider them. But Oliver only looked coldly on, not softened by the pretty head bowed in grief and penitence. Surely, no man, unless restrained by a sense of guilt or an absence of love, could have remained so cold in presence of such pleading and beautiful sorrow. And what man could plead absence of love in such a presence?

Elsie looked up again, the tears streaming down her face.

FRIEND OR FOE?

303

“Let the past be forgotten,” she said, her lips tremulous with feeling, her eyes yearning for peace. Again she would have fallen on his breast, and been as humble as a little child, had he shown her the least encouragement. But he stood silent, looking anywhere but into her eyes. And as he stood so, he thought of Helena and her fascinating beauty, of Rearden's words, of—what else ? That was only known to himself. But if it was anything pleasant, it is strange that he should have almost scowled as he turned on his heel impatiently.

“The past can never be forgotten,” he said.

“It can, Oliver-it can, if we try. My sin quickly bore its bitter fruit in last night, but

I do not need reminding of last night,” he interrupted, turning towards her haughtily.

“Forgive me, Oliver-I meant not to refer to it. But I should think you would need no reminding if you lived for a thousand years." Flesh and blood could not suffer it; all her good resolutions were scattered to the winds by that haughty glance, and again pride gleamed out from those clear blue eyes.

At this moment Mr. Bradford entered the room; they had been so engrossed in each other that his approach had been quite unheard.

“Most extraordinary!” the new-comer cried, with a jolly expression on his face—“gout almost entirely gone again. Look here!” And by way of illustrating his words, Mr. Bradford marched several times up and down the room, with the mere ghost of his old halt. “What do you think of that, eh? But”-stopping and looking at Elsie and Oliver-"you have not been quarrelling again have you ? What a curious pair you are. Come, come !-" He seized a hand of each, and would have joined them, had not both been hastily and firmly withdrawn. Mr. Bradford looked at the young people in surprise, seeming to realize for the first time that their difference, whatever it was, was a really serious one. “Well, well,” he said, turning away and ringing the bell, “ If you will have it out you will, I suppose. But you're both very silly.”

“I shall come up to the city by-and-by," he said, as Oliver-still refusing to stay to breakfast—was about to go, "and I shall see what tricks you've been up to, lately. So beware!” Did Oliver turn pale? No one could have said, for, with a faint attempt to smile, and some remark about being glad to see him there again, he said good morning, and was gone.

“What have you being doing with him of late, eh, Elsie ?” Mr. Bradford asked, as he and his neice, for the first time for a long while, together sat over their breakfast. “There's certainly something come over him lately, which I cannot understand at all. He seems to brood. You don't mean to say you have had a really serious quarrel, do you? Why-what's the matter with the child ! what's the matter, Elsie ? "

No answer-only heavy subs, that shook the bowed figure opposite, and seemed to come from a breaking heart.

“Elsie, my darling!”—he rose, and almost with the gentleness of a woman took the pretty head between his hands—“Elsie! what is it? Come, tell your old uncle, my dear. What's the matter? Has Oliver been unkind to you ?”

Elsie suddenly rose, and breaking into a wild passion of grief, buried her head in her uncle's breast. “Oh, uncle, it's all my fault-my fault!” she cried, between her sobs. “I drove him to it, and now, now it is too late. He will not listen to me, and I deserve it."

Mr. Bradford thought he saw what she meant. ** There, there!” he said, gently patting her head, “put away your fears, my dear. I'll see that it comes right. You've shown a little temper, and of course he doesn't like it. But leave him to me-leave him to me. I'll bring him round, depend on it.” Elsie made a great effort to master her emotion, and succeeded in some mea

Whatever she did, she must not tell of last night, even if she should be misunderstood. So she dried her tears for the time, repressed all indication that her principal dread was not for herself but for Oliver, and began to wonder at this second mysterious disappearance of her uncle's gout, and to rejoice with him.

On the evening of that day there might have been heard strange whisperings amongst the assistants at the warehouse. For weeks and months the vans with • Bradford and Co., wholesale grocers,” written on them, had gone up and

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304 THE DECAY OF PREACHING.

down that ancient Black Swan Yard in Bishopsgate, without the master being there to direct them; for weeks and months the warehouse—two or three private houses, bought cheap at the suggestion of smart Amos Rearden, and altered so as to be as well fitted to the needs of the business as the finest building erected on purpose—had not known the tread of the head of the firm. But at last his round, kind, British face had appeared there again—all the jollier, some said, for the long absence. Coming in the afternoon, he had walked about, as if proud of being able to do so again, with only a slight limp ; had smiled round on his hands, and kindly greeted them as they, almost every one, expressed their pleasure at seeing him there once more; had talked with one or two customers who happened to drop in on business; had gone over with them to the old-fashioned tavern opposite—three hundred years old, some said that tavern was—to take a glass of ale, and talk over trade; and at last had entered the counting-house, where Mr. Raymond was—still with that dark, brooding look on his face, which had made him, this last week or so, so different from what he had always been. Then, all at once, a change seemed to come over things, like the change that comes over a sunny landscape when heavy clouds suddenly come up. Mr. Bradford, after some time, came out of the counting house again, with an angry frown on his face. “Where is Mr. Rearden?” he asked, in a stern tone. Mr. Rearden, who was superintending the loading of two vans, quickly came forward, and with his chief, returned to the office. Then, as one or two of the assistants could see, something unpleasant went on ; Mr. Bradford spoke angrily, and in a high voice, and was evidently directing his anger against his nephew, while he pointed to the books and asked: “What do you mean by letting them get into this confusion ?” Then a long and gloomy discussion had taken place, in lower tones, so that those outside could not hear what was being said, while Rearden seemed to be trying to prevent a quarrel between the nephew and uncle. Finally, Mr. Bradford had come out in a passion, and, saying he would put the books into the hands of a firm of auditors to-morrow, for he might be on the brink of bankruptcy for all he knew, went home.

What did all this mean? What had the manager being doing P No one knew, no one could guess. But the whispers and the questions went about that evening, and everyone, remembering Raymond’s late goings on, was prepared for something strange.

Üht ottag of §ttaching.

THE Chicago Advance devotes a leader to Mr. MAHAFFY's book on “The Decay of Modern Preaching,” and says:—

“The burden of this Dublin Professor's charge, that the day for preaching has mostly gone by, is stuff and nonsense. Never, since the world began bearing on its bosom beneath the infinitely pitying eye of God its burden of immortal human souls, was there ever greater need of, or more inspiring opportunities for true preaching, by the living voice of the men of God, than there is to-day; and that, too, in poor distracted Ireland as well as in this vast America. Modern society has not outgrown, it is not likely to outgrow, the sacred Preacher. Times have changed, no doubt; but not so as to leave less necessity for that consecrated personal leadership, instruction, argument, appeal, instant enforcement, the inspiration and propulsion of the many under the oratorical spell of one man whose heart and brain and entire nature shall be set burning with God’s own thought, presence, love and communicated power, in the supreme sacrament of true gospel preaching, which transforms truth into character. Say that the preacher's calling is more exacting than ever; granted; but so is the popular need of it. The only thing that is true in the book referred to is, that the preaching of the time should be suited to the time. And in demanding this, on the part of our theological seminaries, and then of the ministers themselves, however exactingly, there will be no injustice. Only, let it be remembered, the main part of our religious necessities are such as are common to all ages, to all days, and to men in all places.”

france and

England; Madagascar and the

Suez Canal.

*

Nothing impressed us more strongly, in our recent travels in France, than the signs of impatient haste on the part of the French people to create a Colonial Empire rivalling that of Great Britain. The topic recurred with startling frequency in the daily papers, not only of Paris, but of Lyons, Marseilles, and Nice, and received considerable impulse from the speech of M. Leon Say. If an Englishman suggested possibilities of peril he was told that the conquerors of India and the rulers of Australia have no right to speak. The retort is largely deserved. We have had our rage for annexation, and are not yet wholly free of it; but we are the better, and not the worse qualified to utter a warning word. Few nations, even the most civilized, give a high rank to conscience in their political enterprises, and France is least of all likely to accord it imperial sway. France is "Romanized,” and Romanism is weakest in the direction of the conscience. Romanism does not lack money or music, eloquence or æstheticism, policy or philanthropy; but it never has created a high cunscientiousness either in individual or public life. Events in Tunis, on the Congo, and now, alas ! in Madagascar, show that France has little conscience to hold her back from unjust methods of colonization. Tamatave has been bombarded and seized, and it is to be feared violations of international law have been committed. The response of the French Minister, so far, is all that could be desired, and the appointment of M. Waddington as the French Minister to England is itself a pledge that so far as the ministry of M. Jules Ferry is concerned we have nothing to fear. But, we are sure, it is of the utmost urgency that our Government should watch the colonial department of France, and not be satisfied with plausible words, but strenuously resist any satisfaction of the present national passion for annexation at the expense of justice to other nations, and the rights of inferor races. We must not be jealous, nor even sensitive, but we ought to infuse, as far as we can, a spirit of fairness and brotherhood into the efforts of the French people to extend their colonial activity.

The difficulty of discharging this important mission is not diminished, but seriously increased, by the questions which have arisen about a

SECOND SUEZ CANAL. Our, position in this matter is instructive. In the days of Palmerstonian idolatry, practical England poured contempt on the project of M. de Lesseps, and refused to be bamboozled by a scheme so palpably absurd as that projected by M. de Lesseps. We are a practical people, a most practical people! French idealists must not imagine that we are to be caught by their dreams of Channel Tunnels and Suez and Panama Canals! As in our churches we suffer stagnation and corruption for want of a little far-seeing sympathy and courageous venture, so we have tied our hands by our folly in reference to the first Suez Canal.

But have we? Has M. de Lesseps possession of the monopoly he claims ? That is the first question, and it is a question on which we cannot get a satisfactory answer. The Law Officers of the Crown and the Chancellor of the Exchequer hold that he has, and that therefore is our wisdom to make the best terms we can get, and be content. Sir Hardinge Giffard disputes the French engineer's claim. So the lawyers differ. They must differ. Their occupation is gone, or nearly so, when differences cease to be possible or plausible. We hope the Government lawyers are wrong; but if they are right we had better suffer in our commerce, in our prestige, in our influence, than attempt in the slightest degree to force the hand of M. de Lesseps. At this juncture in the history of France it is of unspeakable importance we should not suffer our actions to bear the slightest taint of injustice.

We need not be apprehensive of collision with France. Germany, Austria, and Italy are one, and though they do not " menace” France, their unity pro

* Cf. G. B. Mag., 1883, p: 186.

306 SGRAPS FROM THE EDITOR'S WASTE BASKET.

claims her “isolation.” Republic.

Russia is not likely to seek an alliance with the With England, therefore, France will seek to be on good terms;

and if our present Government is retained in its place, and will exert its whole influence in favour of justice and right and native races, peace and good-will may be maintained; but if so great a calamity is in store for us as the return of the Conservatives to power, then—well, then l—the deluge!

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I. OUR YEAR Book.-Our friends who were not able to attend the Bradford Association are looking anxiously for the “Year Book;” for, valuable as are the reports in the papers, and the summary in our Magazine, we are not content till we have “read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested” the authoritative statements of the churches, the figures in the statistical and financial columns, the “cases submitted,” and the resolutions passed in our Annual Assembly. Nor does attendance at the “Association” weaken desire to see ourselves “in print;” therefore, we are glad to say, from the advance sheets just to hand, that the record is capitally rendered by our Secretary, the Rev. W. Dyson, both in that which is new and that which is old. We have glanced at it with a joy that whets desire to know its full significance as an index to our “state,” as a denomination, in 1883.

II. CUTTING THE LEAVEs of THE MAGAZINE.-A. B. C., a “shrewd man of business,” we suspect, who has made his fortune two or three times over, and is arranging to give large sums to our denominational societies, instead of committing the unforgivable sin of leaving his property to be an offence and a snare to those who follow him, writes to us to say, “One thing thou lackest, viz., that of seeing the necessity of cutting the leaves of the G. B. Magazine.” We wish that any one of the “units,” even the highest, fairly represented what we know to be “lacking;” but, alas! we must ascend to the “tens,” and even beyond, to set out in figures our editorial defects. This, at least, may be said, that many years ago we attempted to arrange for the cutting of the leaves of the Magazine, but were assured, on good authority, that for the sake of those who bind the Magazine— not a small number by any means—it was desirable to leave the pages uncut, so that the work, when bound, might not be robbed of a proper margin. Yet so desirous are we of being “read” rather than being seemly when “bound,” that we will make a fresh attempt, so as, in the words of our friend and well-wisher, to

“remove every hindrance out of the way, so that such a good twopenny worth may have an additional inducement of being read.” We are truly grateful to A. B. C., and beg to assure him that if his wish is not complied with, it will be only because it is found better for the majority of the readers, to act otherwise. III. OUR SENIOR STUDENT.-We are glad to report that Mr. F. Cunliffe, the “Senior” in our College, has just passed the Matriculation Examination in the London University, and is thereby entitled to the benefits of the Pegg Scholarship. He is in the first class. We heartily. congratulate him, the College which has nourished him, and the Todmorden Church, and hereby bid him, in the name of many, a cheering “God speed.” IV. CRITICISM DISARMED.—Our Home Mission Secretary, Rev. J. Fletcher, writes:—“A member of the Home Mission Committee sends a handsome personal subscription “to meet the criticism of those who think that all members of the Committee should belong to subscribing churches.' We commend this as a most admirable way of meeting criticism, and at the same time of meeting the urgent heeds of the Home Mission.” W. ANNUITY FUND FOR REv. GILES HESTER.—Our readers are referred to a notice in the advertising sheet of this month's Magazine. The decision arrived at in the Association renders it very desirable that “the Fund” should be made as large as possible. Every additional contribution now forthcoming, will go towards securing Mr. Hester a further share in the Baptist Union Annuity Fund. As soon as the account is closed a dulyaudited balance sheet will appear in these pages, according to the resolution passed at Bradford. WI. THE LATE REv. W. GRIFFITHS.— At the beginning of the “fifties” great was the talk amongst young Christians in the midlands, as well as elsewhere, concerning the famous Methodist Three —“DUNN, EveRETT, and GRIFFITHs.” They were fighting a good fight, and creating the movements in favour of Re

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