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to have enabled their old legs to descend from
it; the rusty churchyard-gate was locked, the
mouldy church was locked. Gravely among
the graves, they made hay, all alone by
themselves. They looked like Time and his wife.
There was but the one rake between them,
and they both had hold of it in a pastorally-
loving manner, and there was hay on the old
woman's black bonnet, as if the old man had
recently been playful. The old man was quite
an obsolete old man, in knee-breeches and
coarse grey stockings, and the old woman
wore mittens like unto his stockings in texture
and in colour. They took no heed of me as I
looked on, unable to account for them. The old
woman was much too bright for a pew-opener,
the old man much too meek for a beadle. On
an old tombstone in the foreground between
me and them, were two cherubim; but for
those celestial embellishments being represented
as having no possible use for knee-breeches,
stockings, or mittens, I should have compared
them with the haymakers, and sought a likeness.
I coughed and awoke the echoes, but the
haymakers never looked at me. They used the rake
with a measured action, drawing the scanty crop
towards them; and so I was fain to leave them
under three yards and a half of darkening sky,
gravely making hay among the graves, all alone
by themselves. Perhaps they were Spectres, and
I wanted a Medium?

In another City churchyard of similar cramped
dimensions, I saw, that self-same summer, two
comfortable charity children. They were making
lovetremendous proof of the vigour of that
immortal article, for they were in the graceful
uniform under which English Charity delights to
hide herselfand they were overgrown, and their
legs (his legs at least, for I am modestly
incompetent to speak of hers) were as much in the
wrong as mere passive weakness of character
can render legs. O it was a leaden churchyard,
but no doubt a golden ground to those young
persons! I flrst saw them on a Saturday evening,
and, perceiving from their occupation that
Saturday evening was their trysting-time, I
returned that evening se'nnight, and renewed the
contemplation of them. They came there to
shake the bits of matting which were spread in
the church aisles, and they afterwards rolled
them up, he rolling his end, she rolling hers,
until they met, and over the two once divided
now united rollssweet emblem!—gave and
received a chaste salute. It was so freshening to
find one of my faded churchyards blooming into
flower thus, that I returned a second time, and
a third, and ultimately this befel:—They had
left the church door open, in their dusting and
arranging. Walking in to look at the church,
I became aware, by the dim light, of him in the
pulpit, of her in the reading-desk, of him looking
down, of her looking up, exchanging tender
discourse. Immediately both dived, and
became as it were non-existent on this sphere.
With an assumption of innocence I turned to
leave the sacred edifice, when an obese form
stood in the portal, puffily demanding Joseph,
or, in default of Joseph, Celia. Taking this
monster by the sleeve, and luring him forth on
pretence of showing him whom he sought, I
gave time for the emergence of Joseph and
Celia, who presently came towards us in the
churchyard, bending under dusty matting, a
picture of thriving and unconscious industry.
It would be superfluous to hint that I have ever
since deemed this the proudest passage in my life.

But such instances, or any tokens of vitality,
are rare indeed in my City churchyards. A
few sparrows occasionally try to raise a lively
chirrup in their solitary treeperhaps, as
taking a different view of worms from that
entertained by humanitybut they are flat and
hoarse of voice, like the clerk, the organ, the
bell, the clergyman, and all the rest of the
Church-works when they are wound up for
Sunday. Caged larks, thrushes, or blackbirds,
hanging in neighbouring courts, pour forth
their strains passionately, as scenting the tree,
trying to break out, and see leaves again before
they die, but their song is Willow, Willowof
a churchyard cast. So little light lives inside
the churches of my churchyards, when the
two are co-existent, that it is often only by an
accident and after long acquaintance that I
discover their having stained glass in some odd
window. The westering sun slants into the
churchyard by some unwonted entry, a few
prismatic tears drop on an old tombstone, and
a window that I thought was only dirty, is for
the moment all bejewelled. Then the light
passes and the colours die. Though even then,
if there be room enough for me to fall back so far
as that I can gaze up to the top of the Church
Tower, I see the rusty vane new burnished, and
seeming to look out with a joyful flash over the
sea of smoke at the distant shore of country.

Blinking old men who are let out of
work-houses by the hour, have a tendency to sit
on bits of coping-stone in these churchyards,
leaning with both hands on their sticks and
asthmatically gasping. The more depressed
class of beggars too, bring hither broken
meats, and munch. I am on nodding terms
with a meditative turncock who lingers in
one of them, and whom I suspect of a turn
for poetry: the rather, as he looks out of
temper when he gives the fire-plug a disparaging
wrench with that large tuning-fork of his
which would wear out the shoulder of his coat,
but for a precautionary piece of inlaid leather.
Fire-ladders, which I am satisfied nobody knows
anything about, and the keys of which were
lost in ancient times, moulder away in the
larger churchyards, under eaves like wooden
eyebrows; and so removed are those corners
from the haunts of men and boys, that once on
a fifth of November I found a " Guy" trusted
to take care of himself there, while his
proprietors had gone to dinner. Of the expression of
his face I cannot report, because it was turned to
the wall; but his shrugged shoulders and his ten
extended fingers, appeared to denote that he had
moralised in his little straw chair on the mystery
of mortality until he gave it up as a bad job.