Christians, to attend public worship.”

“And what of amusements?”

“I would say of them, as of all kinds of work, whatever is innocent on

a week-day, is innocent on Sunday, provided it does not interfere with

the duties of the day.”

“Then you would allow children to play on Sunday?”

“Certainly I should. Why make the day irksome to their restless natures?”

“I have a letter somewhere,” said Lady Muriel, “from an old friend,

describing the way in which Sunday was kept in her younger days.

I will fetch it for you.”

“I had a similar description, viva voce, years ago,” Arthur said when

she had left us, “from a little girl. It was really touching to hear

the melancholy tone in which she said ‘On Sunday I mustn’t play with my

doll! On Sunday I mustn’t run on the sands! On Sunday I mustn’t dig

in the garden!’ Poor child! She had indeed abundant cause for hating


“Here is the letter,” said Lady Muriel, returning.

“Let me read you a piece of it.”

“When, as a child, I first opened my eyes on a Sunday-morning,

a feeling of dismal anticipation, which began at least on the Friday,

culminated. I knew what was before me, and my wish, if not my word,

was ‘Would God it were evening!’ It was no day of rest, but a day of

texts, of catechisms (Watts’), of tracts about converted swearers,

godly charwomen, and edifying deaths of sinners saved.

“Up with the lark, hymns and portions of Scripture had to be learned by

heart till 8 o’clock, when there were family-prayers, then breakfast,

which I was never able to enjoy, partly from the fast already undergone,

and partly from the outlook I dreaded.

“At 9 came Sunday-School; and it made me indignant to be put into the

class with the village-children, as well as alarmed lest, by some

mistake of mine, I should be put below them.

“The Church-Service was a veritable Wilderness of Zin. I wandered in

it, pitching the tabernacle of my thoughts on the lining of the square

family-pew, the fidgets of my small brothers, and the horror of knowing

that, on the Monday, I should have to write out, from memory, jottings

of the rambling disconnected extempore sermon, which might have had any

text but its own, and to stand or fall by the result.

“This was followed by a, cold dinner at 1 (servants to have no work),

Sunday-School again from 2 to 4, and Evening-Service at 6.

The intervals were perhaps the greatest trial of all, from the efforts I

had to make, to be less than usually sinful, by reading books and

sermons as barren as the Dead Sea. There was but one rosy spot, in the

distance, all that day: and that was ‘bed-time,’ which never could come

too early!”

“Such teaching was well meant, no doubt,” said Arthur; “but it must

have driven many of its victims into deserting the Church-Services


“I’m afraid I was a deserter this morning,” she gravely said. “I had

to write to Eric. Would you–would you mind my telling you something

he said about prayer? It had never struck me in that light before.”

“In what light?” said Arthur.

“Why, that all Nature goes by fixed, regular laws–Science has proved

that. So that asking God to do anything (except of course praying for

spiritual blessings) is to expect a miracle: and we’ve no right to do

that. I’ve not put it as well as he did: but that was the outcome of

it, and it has confused me. Please tell me what you can say in answer

to it.”

“I don’t propose to discuss Captain Lindon’s difficulties,” Arthur

gravely replied; “specially as he is not present. But, if it is your

difficulty,” (his voice unconsciously took a tenderer tone)

“then I will speak.”

“It is my difficulty,” she said anxiously.

“Then I will begin by asking ‘Why did you except spiritual blessings?’

Is not your mind a part of Nature?”

“Yes, but Free-Will comes in there–I can choose this or that; and God

can influence my choice.”

“Then you are not a Fatalist?”

“Oh, no!” she earnestly exclaimed.

“Thank God!” Arthur said to himself, but in so low a whisper that only

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92

Categories: Carroll, Lewis