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after a luxurious lunch with a few privileged mothers in the convent, he requested somebody to fetch me. The nuns did not fail to impress the full measure of this honour upon me, and when I came into the refectory, where the bishop was enthroned like a prince, I caught a reassuring beam from my dear friend, Mother Aloysius!
The bishop pushed back his chair and held out both arms to me. I was a singularly pretty child, I know. My enemy, Sister Esmeralda, had even said that I was like an angel with the heart of a fiend. A delicate, proud, and serious little visage, with the finish, the fairness, the transparency of a golden-haired doll, meant to take the prize in an exhibition. But this would hardly explain explain the the extraordinary distinction conferred on me by a man who has passed into history,—a grave and noble nature, with as many cares as a Prime Minister, a man who saw men and women in daily battalions, and to whom a strange little girl of nine he had never spoken to, could scarcely seem a more serious creature in life than a rabbit or a squirrel.
He had a kind and thoughtful face, deeply lined and striking. I liked his smile at once, and went up to him without any feeling of shyness.
He lifted me on to his knee, kissed my forehead, and looked steadily and long into my steady eyes. Then he kissed me again, and called for a big slice of plum-cake, which Mother Aloysius, smiling delightedly at me, was quick to hand him. He
took it from the plate, and placed it in my willing grasp.
"A fine and most promising little face," I distinctly heard him say to the superioress. "But be careful of her. A difficult and dangerous temperament. All nerves and active brain, and a fearful suffering little heart within. Manage her, manage her. I tell you there's the stuff of a great saint or a great sinner here, if she should see twenty-one, which I doubt."
Alas! I have passed twentyone years and years ago, with difficulty, it is true, with ever the haunting shadow of death about me, and time has revealed me neither the saint nor the sinner, just a creature of ordinary frailty and our common level of virtue. If I have not exactly gone to perdition-an uncheerful proceeding my sense of humour would always guard me from-I have not scaled the heights. I have lived my life, by no means as well as I had hoped in the days we are privileged to hope and to dream, not as loftily, neither with distinction nor success; but I have not accomplished any particular villany, or scandal, or crime that would justify my claiming an important place in the rank of sinners. I have had a good deal more innocent fun, and known a great deal more suffering, than fall to the common lot; and I have enjoyed the fun with all the intensity of the mercurial Irish temperament, and endured the other with what I think I may proudly call the courage of my race. have not injured or cheated a human being, though I have
been greatly injured and cheated by more than I could now enumerate. There ends my scaling of the hill of virtues.
Of my sins it behoves me not to speak, lest I should fall into the grotesque and delightful attitude of the sailor I once heard in London make his public confession to a Salvation Army circle.
"My brothers, I am a miserable sinner. In Australia I murdered a man; I drank continually, I thieved, I ran after harlots, and led the life of debauchery. Oh, my friends, pray for me, for now I am converted and know Jesus. I am one of the just, may I remain so. But wicked and debauched and drunken as I was, there were lots more out there much worse than I." In summing up our errors and frailties, it is always a kindly comfort offered our conceit to think that there are on all sides of us "lots more much worse than we." Unless our pride chooses to take refuge in the opposite reflection, so we prefer to glory in being much worse than others.
And so ends my single interview with an eminent ecclesiastic. He kissed me repeatedly, and stroked my hair while I munched my plum-cake on his knee. He questioned me, and discovered my passionate interest in Napoleon and Josephine
and the Queen of Prussia, the King-maker and the children in the Tower. And then, having prophesied my early death and luminous or lurid career, he filled my two small hands with almond-drops and toffee, and sent me away, a being henceforth of something more than common clay.
From that hour my position in Lysterby was improved. I was never even slapped again, though I had had the stupendous good luck to see, unseen myself, the lay sister who had flogged me go into a cupboard on the staircase, whose door, with the key on the outside, opened outward, and crawling along on hands and knees, reached the door in time to lock her in. I was also known to have climbed fruit-trees, when I robbed enough unripe fruit to make all the little ones ill. Yet nobody beat me, and I was let off with a sharp admonishment. I went my unruly way, secretly protected by the bishop's admiration.
If I did not amend, and loved none the more my tyrants, their rule being less drastic, I had less occasion to fly out at them. Besides, semi - starvation had subdued me for the while. suffered continually from abscesses and earache, and spent most of my time in the infirmary, dreaming and reading.
(To be continued.)
MEN WHO HAVE KEPT A DIARY.
"Velut minuta magno
Deprensa navis in mari vesaniente vento.'
"THERE is nothing, sir, too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible." This pronouncement by the most complete hero of the most complete diarist known strikes the keynote of all memorable diaries. "The great thing to be recorded," observes Dr Johnson on another occasion, "is the state of your own mind, and you should write down everything that you remember, for you cannot judge at first what is good and bad." These unpremeditated self-confidences -the confessions of individuality-form the charm of "men who have kept a diary," the spell of
"The little great, the infinite small thing"
the appeal of Truth en déshabillé. "In this glass," preached Atterbury of Lady Cutt's Diary, "she every day dressed her mind." It is just this "dressing of the mind" that makes diaries such interesting human documents. But, when we particularise, we find that very few surviving publications wholly fulfil these conditions of privacy and candour. Boswell himself was recommended by his dictator to retain some posthumous friend for the cremation of his own diary. There are diarists
who, during their daily toilet before the glass, are more concerned with the reflections of the room than of themselves. There are, again, set diarists who masquerade in domino. There are diarists for a purpose, and diarists for no purpose. There are diarists, once more, of "Mémoires à servir," mainly interesting from their opportunities. In perusing such we may well remember the saying of George Eliot that "curiosity becomes the more eager from the incompleteness of the first information." To such curiosity anecdotal remembrancers, from the weightier type of armchair historian to the lighter specimen of after-dinner raconteur, inherently respond. For good anecdote is to good literature what wit is to wisdom, repartee to conversation, and bouquet to wine. It is at once condensed and indicative. It interprets life while it exhibits the bric-àbrac of mannerism and manners. The main qualification for every diarist none the less remains that of the legal witness. His evidence must be first-hand and absolutely sincere. And through all the varieties of tendency and form runs, even if subconsciously, the psychological thread. For us the workings of the diarist's own mind exercise a paramount fascination and restrict our choice, so that in this regard we shall
afterwards instance two collec- are among his redeeming feat
tions of correspondence which signally reveal character,-informal diaries before whose "glass" the letter-writer truly "dresses" his own soul. Did space permit, we might have mounted higher. For all annalists and essayists are born diarists or the reverse. Herodotus is a diarist by nature; so, if less primitively, is Tacitus; so eminently are Froissart and Burnet; so, after his manner, is Macaulay. Not so are Thucydides or Clarendon or Gibbon. Montaigne is a diarist; Bacon, the opposite. It is a difference of temperaments-the difference between the authors of the 'Spectator' and the author of the 'Rambler,' between Goldsmith and Smollett, Sterne and Fielding. Rousseau is a diarist even in his so-called 'Philosophy'; Voltaire, a "Philosopher" even in his 'Notes sur les Anglois.'
If ever a man was designed to keep a diary, it was Pepys. He is naïve and communicative to a fault. Seated in his own confessional, he unbosoms his memory and absolves his conscience. The journal was composed in cipher. Mrs Pepys could have made nothing of it; it was never apparently meant for perusal. This typical bourgeois of his day, fussy and pompous, petty and busybodying, regular in his irregularities as in his expenditure, thrifty, vain, and passionately inquisitive, would retire into his sanctum, produce the treasured pages, and find his relief in the truthful industry of his chronicle. For truth and industry
ures. "With my eyes mighty weary and my head full of care how to get my accounts and business settled against my journey, home to supper and bed," he writes in the face of his infirmity. So is fortitude. There is a genuine pathos in the words which close the diary when blindness was threatening the little Secretary to the Admiralty with its terrors. From henceforth he "must be contented to set down no more than is fit for them and all the world to know; or if there be anything, I must endeavour to keep a margin in my book open, to add here and there a note in shorthand with my own hand. And so I betake myself to that course which is almost as much as to see myself go into my grave: for which, and all the discomforts that will accompany my being blind, the good God prepare me!" Sturdy, stoical-nay, in a sense pious— petit maître, for all his foibles and frailties! His periodical headache of repentance is followed by the periodical draught of peccadillo. Though he has no deep sense of life's mystery, he does realise his accountability to God-a prosaic accountability like those official audits that so so taxed his diligence. He never whimpers or makes excuse.
Nor does he brave it out, like that German colonel whom Königsmarck suborned to stab Mr Thynne, and who averred, as he marched to execution, that he did not care for death a rush, and that he hoped "God would treat him like a gentleman." No, Pepys only regrets
the tone of society from your earliest years, and it is only by a steady practice of the art of dancing that you may hope to acquire it. Practice, young ladies, makes perfect-remember that."
Ever afterwards, his first question, before beginning each week's lesson, was: "What does practice do, young ladies?" and we were all expected to reply in a single ringing voice: "Makes perfect, Mr Parker." Children are heartless satirists, and the follies of poor little Mr Parker filled us with wicked glee.
I see him still, unconscious tiny clown, gathering up in a delicate grasp the tails of his black coat to show us how a lady curtseyed in the remote days of Queen Anne. And mincing across the polished floor, he would say, as he daintily picked his steps: "The lady enters the ball-room on the tip of her toes-so!" Picture, I pray you, the comic appear ance of any woman who dared to enter a ball-room as Mr Parker walked across our dancinghall! Society would stand still to gape. He minced to right, he minced to left, he minced in and out of the five positions, and then with eyes ecstatically closed, he would seize his violin, and play the homely air of "Nora Creina," as he chasséed up and down the floor for our delectation, singing the while "Bend and rise-a-Nora Creina,
Rise on your toes-a-Nora Creina, Chassez to the right-a--Nora Creina, And then to the left-a-Nora Creina."
In his least inspired moments, he addressed us in the first posi
tion; but whenever he soared aloft on the wings of imagination, he stood in the glory of the fifth. In that position he never failed to recite to us the imposing tale of his successes in the "reception halls" of the Duchess of Leamington and the Marchioness of Stoke. Once he went so far as to exhibit to us a new dance he had composed expressly for his illustrious friend the duchess.
"My dears, that dance will be all the rage next spring in London, you will see."
He was quite aware that we never would see, having nothing on earth to do with the London season. But the assertion mystified us, and enchanted him.
"Thus my hand lightly reposes on the waist of her Grace, her fingers just touch my shoulders, and, one, two, three — boom!" he was gliding round the room, clasping lightly an imaginary duchess in his arms, in beatific unconsciousness of the exquisite absurdity of his appearance and action, and we children followed his circumvolutions with glances magnifiedand brightened by mirth and wonderment.
The irresistible Mr Parker had a knavish trick of keeping us on our good behaviour by a delusive promise persistently unfulfilled. Every Tuesday, after saluting us in the fashion of the eighteenth century and demanding from us an immense simultaneous curtsey of Queen Anne, holding our skirts in an travagant semicircle and trailing our little bent bodies backward and upward upon the most pointed of toes, he would rap the