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Dainty feet shall tread upon it,
Not a peasant e'er shall don it;
Not a beggar e'er shall bless it
For its warmth, or child caress it.
              Twine the thread, twist the twine,
              Whose proud labour equals mine?


Twist the hempen: thou shalt deck,
Pretty cord, a felon's neck;
Be thou hard, and rough, and long,
And (be sure of 't) very strong;
If thou show'st a failing thread,
Poor man, he may bruise his head.
               Felon's twine's the honest twine,
               What are all your deeds to mine?


IS it an intention of excessive private joviality,
of much quiet feasting and fun which will never
be heard of up in town, that leads me on this
Christmas-eve, of all days in the year, to
absent myself from my domestic hearth, the
roast chestnuts, steaming punch, blindman's-buff,
lady's trencher, how when and where, general
hilarity, unmitigated fatigue, and long night's
rest? Is this visit which I am about to pay to
a lone monastery, situated far away in a
desolate part of the country, dictated by a natural
curiosity, a proper and commendable thirst for
information, or have I been beguiled by the
entrancing lyric of the bacchanalian poet? Have
I any unuttered hopes that the monks with whom
I am about to spend my Christmas-eve will be
legitimate successors of the monastics of old;
will they laugh "Ha! ha!" shall I see them
quaff "Ha! ha!" (whatever beverage that may
be); and shall I partake of the merriest cheer?
Will the meek abbot with his sleek form take
his seat with a smiling face at the summons of
the refection bell, will they indulge in perpetual
bouts at quarter-staff like so many Friar Tucks,
and will their larder be filled with such noble
game as Sir Edwin Landseer has pictorially
assured me was kept in stock at Bolton Abbey?
Will my annual revel on this festive night be
exchanged for one even more jovial, and more
intensely exciting, because, hitherto, entirely
unknown and unexpected? I cannot say,
but another twenty-four hours will enable me
satisfactorily to answer the question, so,
speed thee, Hansom cabman, haste thee to
posit me at Euston-square, the starting-point
of my journey, my destination being Out of the

Not out of the world on the railway platform,
where the din is louder, the confusion is greater,
the porters are hotter, the guards more irritable,
the luggage-barrows more heavily laden, the
male passengers more ravenous for newspapers,
the female passengers more helplessly imbecile,
than on any of the other three hundred and
sixty-four days of the year; where rosy-cheeked,
home-going schoolboys, with fingers already
knuckle-deep in the trenches of pork pie,
although only bound for Wolverton, persist in
occupying carriages distinctly labelled for Leeds;
and where the perspiring face of the luggage-
inspector alone is seen above the gabions and
counterscarps of oyster barrels with which he
is surrounded. Not out of the world on the
road down to Buffborough; not out of the world
at Buffborough itself; at which station I
alight, and where I am received by a young
man dressed from head to foot in sombre black,
of the ordinary cut, who suggests the
advisability of my dining at the Bull's Head,
before we start on our eight miles journey
across country. Utterly ordinary and unexciting
the dinner at the said inn, where convivial
farmers are "keeping it up" in the room overhead,
clinking glasses, roaring out their orders,
and singing such long choruses as only are
heard in similar places. All my adventures
hitherto had been of the most common-place
description; when should I achieve the object I
had in view, when should I feel myself really
Out of the World?

I have been speculating during dinner as to
what sort of vehicle will be provided to carry
me to the monastery. I expect something quaint,
odd, curious; a tumbril, perhaps, driven by a
novice, and drawn by a fat, lazy, do-nothing
horse. I am disappointed when, my sombre-
clad friend telling me that all is ready, and
ushering me to the door, I find there a very neat
phaeton, hired from the inn, and driven by the
stereotyped flyman of my infancy, who talks of the
horse's pedigree and performances, how he'd been
out all night a'most, waiting for a party at a ball
at the Grange, where they did keep it up, sure-ly;
and how, when young Lord Stampfoot were in
the county, he du allays dry-aive this grey in
a team of fower, and how also he kep' it up,

I begin to grow a little more romantic when
we turn out of the main road, and proceed along
what is little better than a bridle-path, worn by
the long-continued rain, and intersected with
deep ruts; high on either side rise green banks
topped with a few scattered shrubs, bending
mournfully in the wind which now blows across
the dreary landscape in fitful gusts. Twilight
has deepened into dark, when, on gaining the
brow of a hill, my conductor points out to me a
building, known as St. Joseph's House, and
used for the reception of guestswhen, as is
occasionally the case, the monastery is filled.
I begin to feel that my journey has not been
in vain, when we drive through a private gate
along a path where the evergreens form a
continuous arch above our headswhen I catch a
glimpse of a huge mass of rock surmounted
by a tall crosswhen we finally draw up
before a heavy Gothic building, in the large
porch of which stands a monk, a bonรข fide
monk, with close-cropped hair, long white
flannel robe and cowl, dark scapulary, and
all monastic appurtenances fitting. He
welcomes me warmly, offers me refreshment,
and then, ushering me to my bedroom, leaves
me to get rid of the dust accumulated in the