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"I am very fond of Alice. But why she should leave so delightful a home-" Perhaps a home is not all she thinks of in marrying! exclaimed Ordronnaux. "Well," he added quickly, as if to cover the outburst, "I asked him to bring Alice and Louise here for Christmas; and I suppose Louise will like to have Colonel Greve invited-a match, I imagine, though I have not seen him yet."

"They have never been in a hill country in winter," answered Emilia, as if to make it evident that she considered it no affair of hers who came or went, in that house.

"Nor have you either, Emilia." "No," she said, in a tone as cool as the season she spoke of.

"I chose that time," said Ordronnaux, "because I shall be going and coming a good deal till then, if not afterward also, off and on, with business. I hope you will not be more lonesome than usual."

"Not in the least," said Emilia. And if there were any sarcasm in his hope, there was as much in her assurance.

nothing but the April weather of her moods, in which now every day there came storms and showers; perhaps the letter she had just read perplexed her or incensed her. Whatever it was, she had the day for second thoughts.

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"By the Lord, this is a happy home!" cried Ordronnaux, stalking from the room himself. These poles shall be changed for better or worse by spring!" And he did not return till twilight.

When he did come home, though, the air was serene again. A fire of unhewn logs, such as, later in the season, blazed everywhere through the house, rolled its flames in the great chimney-place, and diffused warmth across the premature chill of the stormy night; and Emilia sat beneath the lamp, as beautiful as any dream. No stranger gazing through the pane could have conjectured how hollow a simulacrum of a home was the charming scene.

"By the way," said Ordronnaux, after a while, closing his book, "I neglected to say yesterday,-not, of course, that it matters to me now, but after our guests arrive, it will give me pleasure if you-will wear- -"He paused. Whether you are careless of giving offense or not, it is difficult to command a person to wear your gifts that have been scorned.

"Oh, certainly," said Emilia, looking up lightly. "All my splendor is at their service. I should not think of anything else." The graciousness of air and tone might have been disconcerting to Ordronnaux a little while ago.

Yet Emilia could have given you no reason for her graciousness. Only her heart was something lighter than it had been, if her brain was bewildered. When she ran up into her sitting-room that morning, she had opened the letter crumpled in her hand and glanced at it again, as if to make sure it was no fairy paper to turn into withered leaves-perhaps to make sure that any one dared so address her. It was a brief letter, as the eyes of the portrait reading over her shoulder might have seen:

But in the compassion that so frequently overcame his sternest resolves,—and that, when he was a boy, and had trapped any little wild animal, always made him give it one chance for its life, the next morning, after the servants had left the room, and Ordronnaux and his wife had returned to the perusal of the letters they had opened as usual and laid down again beside their breakfast plates, he glanced up from a long "I had hoped there would be no trouble document and said: "I have been think-in your lot. But I saw you walking in the ing that you will find so little to amuse you while I am gone, that really you had better accompany me.

"Do not concern yourself about me," she cried tartly, with a deep flush on her cheek and a sparkle in her eye, and escaped from the room quickly. Perhaps it was

wood, and you were weeping; I have seen it many times. Has sorrow so early cast her shadow across you? Can you not step into the sunshine, and let the shadow stay where it belongs-on me? Is sympathy of value to you? Can you find comfort in the thought that one is near you, not a

stranger, even though the tie is nothing more than a dead white rose?"

As Emilia read those concluding lines some sound made her turn her head, and she encountered the eyes of that portrait. She crushed the paper together under the convicting glance, without an idea why she did so, and hurriedly went away. But all day she carried the note about with her, and read it and re-read it; and by nightfall a curious exultation filled her, as she thought there was one person in the world she might call friend. Father and mother had sacrificed her; Alice, Louise, and her companions had but hastened on the sacrifice; here was, perhaps, one friend whom she might really call her own! And as she sat under the lamp that evening, sheltered as her face was with her fan, Ordronnaux or another could but have admired the half smile playing round the lip and the dreamy light in the eye.

Emilia felt the secret of her discontent safe with one who cared to make it less, and valued his commiseration above her pride. She was extremely young; she was at variance with everybody; she knew nothing of the world; she needed a friend sorely. She remembered but very dimly the halfglimpsed face of the hero who had laid the flower on her book-yet not a face, she was sure, ever to wear a stain of dishonor, the possibility not occurring to her, only the impossibility. She was not sorry when, two days later, there came another note, craving forgiveness if the first one had been in error, asking if she could think that her wonderful beauty had impelled him, rather than the beautiful soul behind it, suggesting that, if she valued the writer's friendship, she should wear, as she walked upon the terrace that day, a white rose.

Ordronnaux happened to be in the greenhouse when she came in, for roses had long since done blossoming outside. As she passed him, he himself gathered a flower and some fragrant leaves, and hand

Did Emilia, with reflection, if not with instinct, resent this intrusion? Did she feel any outrage upon her as a wife, any insult as a woman? Not after that first bewilder-ed them to her, with a mute glance of his ment, the first shrinking, the first blush. All her wrongs she carried over to the account of Ordronnaux; it was owing to his false step that she could be the recipient of such a letter. Should she answer it? Oh, no, of course not. Nor could she, by the way; there was no address-a punctilio that pleased her. Yet, after all, it was not unpleasant to have had it; it was not unpleasant to feel a reserve of strength in that unknown ally. An older woman might have been wroth with the writer; but

dark eyes. She hesitated, but it was the only white rose in the place; and as she took it, though it was without a word, the act of hypocrisy crimsoned her face. Perhaps the romantic consciousness of her new and viewless friend looking at her from some mysterious coign of vantage compensated Emilia. Ordronnaux turned on his heel, flicking off with his stick, to the gardener's round-eyed scandal, the heads of a whole row of Japan lilies as he walked away.

(To be concluded in the October number).


No winged feet has she with which to climb
The white, far battlements of things sublime;
She only walks the ways
Trodden by working days.

Hers are no dainty fingers, soft and long,
Handmaids of art or ministers of song,
But worn with daily toil
And hardened by the soil.

She knows the story of a life which strives For broken portions dropped by ampler lives, Of harsh degrading care

Whose praise is only prayer.

Can such as she be mirthful in her mood
Or hope to be in all things understood?—
Her heaven a patch of sky

Between walls bare and high.

The weariness and weakness hedge her in And city streets oppress her with their din; Her heart is faint and sad

When other hearts are glad.

Her birds are caged, her voices of the night Falser perchance for artificial light;

She treads no sweet soft grass

Nor hears the rabbit pass.

Then blame her not if she may never teach
In common methods of accustomed speech:
If there are notes of hers
Other than Nature stirs.

Think only of the crying of a soul
Out of the depths where many billows roll,
And reach a helping hand

If thou dost understand.

Literary Style.


WE have Dr. Johnson's authority for the statement that "whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison." There is, undoubtedly, much to be gained by the writer through familiarity with pure models of style. The recognized classics of all languages, ancient and modern, assist in the direction and discipline of taste, for they yield instruction in certain common qualities, without which no style can be good, however strongly flavored by attractive individuality. Simplicity, directness, perspicacity and perspicuity form the basis of all good style, but a man may exhibit all these qualities in his literary performances without having any style at all. One can hardly be said to have a style who apprehends all things uncolored by imagination, and aims to record and interpret them with literal exactness. Dr. Johnson himself did what it would have been impossible for

Noah Webster to do he carried style into his dictionary. The man who could say: "I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven," was undoubtedly injured as a lexicographer by an imagination which made him the author of a style still recognized as "Johnsonian." We have not unquestioning faith in Dr. Johnson's prescription. A style may be corrected, chastened and modified in various ways by a familiarity with models, especially with models with which the writer finds himself in sympathy; but we do not believe that a good style was ever "attained" by conscious or unconscious imitation. Fish is good, but fishy is always bad. Nothing is more offensive than the coloring that a weak writer always receives from the last strong man he has read. Every possessor of a positive style, provided he be a valued writer, produces a school of imitators, who try to do their little things in the way in which he does his large ones, and make themselves ridiculous, of A worthy style must be the fitting expres


sion of worthy thought. Chesterfield calls style "the dress of thoughts," and to have dressed Chesterfield's thoughts in Johnson's or Addison's style would have been the most absurd masquerading. The same may be said of almost any other man. Washington Irving might have received great good, in his early life, by giving "his days and nights to the volumes of Addison," because his was a cognate genius; but Carlyle could no more have clothed his thoughts in the style of Addison than he could have fenced or boxed in a straight-jacket. Style, that is not the outgrowth of a man's individuality, is, of course, without significance or value in the expression of his thought. It is never thoroughly formed until character is formed, and until the expression of thought has become habitual.

No man of power can do himself a greater wrong than to make an attempt to acquire the style of another man, under the impression that that style will fit his thought. He might as well have his clothes made to his neighbor's measure. There is not one chance in a thousand of a fit, unless it be a fit of disappointment or disgust. The sensitiveness of language to the impulses and characteristics of the spirit that sits behind and utters it, is one of the marvels of the world. Its flexibility in shaping itself to every variety of thought and every form of imagination, its power to transmit an atmosphere or an aroma which no analysis of word or expression betrays, and the ease with which it is made either puerile or majestic, in accordance with the spirit of its maker, show that style, unborn of the individual, is an utterly valueless attainment. We can imagine no good to come from “attaining " a style by studying other men, except, perhaps, to cover up the literary coxcombry of such writers as Willis, the rhythmical follies of such men as Poe, or the affected barbarisms of-Mr. Emerson knows who, because he once did the world great mischief by praising him.

All direct aims at the acquisition of a style, for the style's sake, are always, in some sense or another, failures. We beg the lady's pardon for mentioning it, but Gail Hamilton's incisive, brusque and forceful style,-sometimes saucy, always clear, though often redundant, and strong beyond the average feminine quality,-has done, without any premeditated guilt, a great deal of harm to the lower grade of literary women in America. The weaker woman, undertaking to speak through such a style, is simply and insipidly pert. She lacks the strong common sense and the hight and breadth of imagination of her model, and so appears as ridiculous as if she were to "assist" at a New York party in an old dress of Queen Elizabeth or the soldier-clothes of Jean d'Arc.

Some years ago Mr. Congdon was a writer on "The New York Tribune." He reduced sarcasm, irony, -we had almost said blackguardism,-to a fine art. He could abuse a political opponent, or a social or literary pretender, by ingenuities of badinage so

brilliant as to attract and delight every reader, and, at the same time, leave the object of his attacks hopelessly floundering in the public contempt. The efforts that have been made in the newspaper world from that day to this, by editorial writers and sensational correspondents, to repeat his performances, have been pitiful. No one has equalled him, and the attempt to fight with another man's weapons has drawn upon the clumsy thief of the old lance the punishment of public contempt which he sought to inflict. Mr. Headley, in the hey-dey of his literary career, had some sins to answer for, even if he were not a sufferer for the sins of others; for it is almost impossible to believe that the writer of the exquisite "Letters from Italy" was also the author of the florid and forced periods of "Napoleon and His Marshals."


As a fair illustration of the absolute impossibility of one man writing in the style of another, take the two great poets of England now living, and let Browning and Tennyson undertake to acquire each the style of the other. It would absolutely ruin both. All writers who are good for anything have a style of their own. It can no more be transmitted "attained" than the powers and qualities in which it had its birth; and a man who is so strongly impressed, or magnetized, by the style of another, that he finds himself trying to work in his way, has his own weakness and lack of individuality demonstrated to him. It follows that most of the criticisms of style are equally without common sense and common justice-so far, at least, as they are made with the idea that there is such a thing as a standard of style. There is abundant wealth of literary style in the world which has no characteristic similarity to Addison's ; and the young writers who fancy that they must shape their style upon some approved or popular model, would do well to abandon the effort at once. A good style is always the natural offspring of a good literary mind. It is polished and chastened by self-criticism, and is a growth from the center. A style thus formed is the only legitimate representative of a literary man. No lack of heart, or brains, or culture, or marked and large individuality, can be hidden by adopting another man's literary dress and presentment. If a man has no style of his own, he has no literary calling whatsoever.

The Average Prayer-Meeting.

THE prayer-meeting constitutes so important a part of the Christian social life of this country, and is so much a thing of the people that it is legitimately a topic for the examination and discussion of laymen. We approach the subject with abundant reverence for the time-honored estimate of its usefulness, and only with a wish for the advancement of its efficiency as an agency for spiritual culture. That it is in any respect the boon that it should be, to the hundreds of thousands who attend upon and

participate in its exercises, no one pretends. That it is the lamest and most nearly impotent of any of the agencies employed by the church, in perhaps two cases out of every three, is evident to all. Let us see if we can present a fair picture of the average prayer-meeting.

In a church of, say two hundred and fifty members, there is an average attendance of fifty persons. These are made up, so far as the men are concerned, of the principal church officials-the deacons, elders, &c. The remainder are womenthe best women of the church, and such of their families as they can induce to accompany them. The clergyman, overworked, and discouraged by the small number in attendance, is there to lead. He gives out his hymn, prays, reads the Scriptures, and, with a few remarks, "throws open the meeting" to the laymen for prayer or exhortation. There is a long period of silence. The deacons, who suspect that their voices have been heard too often, or that they may be in the way of others, remain silent. At last, either one of them is called upon by the pastor, or some poor man, under the spur of a sense of duty, rises and utters, as well as he can, the words of a prayer. Everybody sees that he is in a struggle, and that he is so little at home that he is only anxious to get through without breaking down. The audience is, of course, sympathetic, and, instead of being led in prayer, becomes as anxious for him as he is for himself. And so, with long patches of embarrassing and painful silence, interspersed with dreary platitudes of prayer and speech, unrefreshing and lacking spontaneity to a sad degree, the meeting goes on to the end, which comes when the chapel clock shows that an hour has been spent in the service. To suppose that any great good comes from the spending of an hour in this way, is to offer an insult to common sense.

It would be instructive, if the facts could be ascertained, to know how many of those who attend the average prayer-meeting do so because they truly delight in it, how many because they wish to stand by and encourage their pastor, and how many because they think it is, or may be, their duty. It would also be instructive, if the facts could be ascertained, to know how many men are kept away by the fear of being called upon to engage actively in the exercises, and how many remain at home because they have learned by experience that the average prayer meeting is a dreary place to weary men-one which bores without benefiting them. We fear that, if the facts were known as they relate to these two points, the average prayer-meeting would find itself in very sorry standing. When men go to a religious meeting, of any sort, they go to be reinforced, or refreshed, or instructed. How much of any one of these objects can be realized in such a meeting as we have described? How much of the still higher object of spontaneous, joyous worship can be secured, by listening to the painful blundering of some pious and conscientious layman?

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Is it not the truth that the average prayer-meeting is a sad mockery of both God and man?

Can it be possible that the Almighty Father of us all is pleased with an offering so little spontaneous, so far from joyous, so painful in its exercises, and so unprofitable in its counsels as this? If, once a week, a whole church would come together joyfully, and sing their songs, and pray their prayers, and speak their thoughts, and commune with one another on the great topic which absorbs them, that would be a meeting worth having. But how would such a meeting compare with the dead drag of the average prayer-meeting? It would compare as life compares with death, as beauty with deformity. So utterly valueless, to all human apprehension, are the prayer-meetings carried on by some churches, that it may well be questioned whether they are not rather a detriment than an advantage, a harm rather than a help, to the regular work of the pastors, and the spiritual prosperity of those whom they lead and teach.

There is something to be said for the layman in this connection, which will leave his piety unimpugned. In the first place he labors at an absorbing employment. He goes to the meeting utterly weary, and without the slightest preparation of heart or brain for any active participation in its exercises. He needs help, and does not feel capable of offering any. He is empty of his vitality, and needs to be refreshed, and diverted from the currents of thought in which his trade or profession holds him. Again, as a rule, he is unused to public speech of any sort. It is impossible for him to lose the consciousness that he is speaking; and, becoming critical upon himself, his spontaneity, and all the good that comes of it, are lost. He sinks to his seat at last, humbled into the dust in the conviction that he has been engaged in a performance, in regard to whose success or failure he feels either gratification or mortified pride. It does him no good, and what is thus fruitless to him is, by force of its nature, fruitless of good to others.

Shall the prayer-meeting be dropped when it ceases hopelessly to be the vivifying, spontaneous agency of worship and communion that it ought to be? Can any change be made in its methods that will work a reformation?. Can it be modified so as to avoid the evils we have indicated? These are questions that we cannot answer, but it is not hard to see that a meeting conducted entirely by the pastor is a thousand times better than a poor prayer-meeting, and that, if a prayer-meeting must be had, it is better to conduct it after some liturgical form than to trust to the blind and blinding leadings of ignorant and half distracted men. Spontaneous lay prayers in public are very nice in theory, but in practice, in the main, they are apples that break into ashes on the tongue. The opinion seems reasonable to us that any pastor, or body of pastors, who will present to the American churches a liturgy for social use, so genial, so hearty, so full

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