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walking down to the Hope to see if the
furniture's all right, and they'll tak' possession
at the end of the week."


"THE clouds are fleeting by, father,
Look in the shining west,
The great white clouds sail onward
Upon the sky's blue breast.
Look at a snowy eagle,
His wings are tinged with red,
And a giant dolphin follows him,
With a crown upon his head!"

The father spake no word, but watch'd
The drifting clouds roll by;
He traced a misty vision too
Upon the shining sky:
A shadowy form, with well-known grace
Of weary love and care,
Above the smiling child she held,
Shook down her floating hair.

"The clouds are changing now, father,
Mountains rise high and higher!
And see where red and purple ships
Sail in a sea of fire!"
The father press'd the little hand
More closely in his own,
And watch'd a cloud-dream in the sky
That he could see alone.
Bright angels carrying far away
A white form, cold and dead,
Two held the feet, and two bore up
The flower-crown'd drooping head.

"See, father, see! a glory floods
The sky, and all is bright,
And clouds of every hue and shade
Burn in the golden light.
And now, above an azure lake
Rise battlements and towers,
Where knights and ladies climb the heights,
All bearing purple flowers."

The father look'd, and, with a pang
Of love and strange alarm,
Drew close the little eager child
Within his sheltering arm;
From out the clouds the mother looks
With wistful glance below,
She seems to seek the treasure left
On earth so long ago;
She holds her arms out to her child,
His cradle-song she sings:
The last rays of the sunset gleam
Upon her outspread wings.

Calm twilight veils the summer sky,
The shining clouds are gone;
In vain the merry laughing child
Still gaily prattles on;
In vain the bright stars, one by one,
On the blue silence start,
A dreary shadow rests to-night
Upon the father's heart.


THERE is a golden mean, doubtlessa right
medium between two extremesa middle
course from which divergence is perilin
fact, a Juste Milieu. From the days of Pha√ęton
to our own, medio tutissimus ibis has been
sound advice; whether as to physical or moral
progression. The man who can be generous
without prodigality, and thrifty without
avarice; brave without rashness and cautious
without fear; tender without weakness and
firm without severity; trusting without
blindness and vigilant without suspicion, is
a being so common in fiction and so rare in
life, as to prove the value we set upon the
Golden Mean as an idea, and also the difficulty
of realising it. How deeply the human
mind is possessed by this grand abstraction
we may further learn from our ready
acceptance of its counterfeitscounterfeits,
indeed, which are far more popular than the
reality could hope to be.

We call the Golden Mean, advisedly, a grand
abstraction. It charms us in romance or in
history, but, alas, only there. Brought into
the sphere of actual life, amid our personal
interests, keen competitions, and class
sympathies, it shall have sorry welcome. It finds
the world split into cliques, with some good
in allall good in none. Let Hoskins,
in an election speech, denounce Sir Mark
Obsolete as a ruthless vampire, nourished
by the blood of the poor: Golden Mean
rises to remind the orator of the
percentage which, in hard times, Sir Mark
returned upon his rents, and of the beef and
flannel which Lady Obsolete so liberally
dispenses at Christmas. If, however, Sir
Mark, mistaking his defender for an ally,
should urge him in the name of the constitution
to put down popular incendiaries, it is
likely enough that Golden Mean will advise
the repeal of some glaring abuse, and suggest
that one good method of abating fire is to
withhold the fuel.

It is thus to the end of the chapter. Golden
Mean has the vexatious peculiarity of agreeing
with most men to some extent, and
thoroughly with very few. I have known
him so repel a narrow creed, as to ravish a
German professor enamoured of a paramount
nothing, and rebuke with equal emphasis the
sneers of that luminary at the faculty of
belief. I have heard him plead with a mill
owner that some leisure for thought and
imagination is the due of all whom God
had endowed with souls, and I have heard
him sternly enforce on a morbid poetaster
the moral benefit accruing from a severe
course of manual labour. Now, what fate
can reasonably be predicted for poor Golden
Mean? What party can befriend him who
will devote himself to none? He loves freedom
too well to fawn upon authority, and order
too well to flatter licence; he is too charitable
for the bigot and too reverend for the scoffer;
too poetical to think man a mere machine,
too practical to think him a mere rhapsodist.
What can be his fate, except to be rejected
by the sects which chiefly make up the world?
Let us grant, however, that the picture has
its bright side. Like all good and brave men,
our hero draws round him a circle of believing
hearts. He inspires thinkers who will, in