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and, besides, you get the best view of the
Abbey by going that way.'

'Is that tower we see part of the Abbey?'

'Yes, Ma'am,' answered the girl, 'and the
vicarage is just the other side of it.'

Armed with these instructions, as soon as
we had finished our breakfast we started
across the fields, and after a pleasant walk
of twenty minutes we found ourselves in
an old churchyard, amongst a cluster of the
most picturesque ruins we had ever seen.
With the exception of the grey tower, which
we had espied from the inn, and which had
doubtless been the belfry, the remains were
not considerable. There was the outer wall
of the chancel, and the broken step that had
led to the high altar, and there were sections
of aisles, and part of a cloister, all gracefully
festooned with mosses and ivy; whilst mingled
with the grass-grown graves of the prosaic
dead, there were the massive tombs of the
Dame Margerys and the Sir Hildebrands of
more romantic periods. All was ruin and
decay; but such poetic ruin! such picturesque
decay! And just beyond the tall grey tower,
there was the loveliest, smiling, little garden,
and the prettiest cottage, that imagination
could picture. The day was so bright, the
grass so green, the flowers so gay, the air so
balmy with their sweet perfumes, the birds
sang so cheerily in the apple and cherry trees,
that all nature seemed rejoicing.

'Well,' said my friend, as she seated herself
on the fragment of a pillar, and looked around
her, 'now that I see this place, I understand
the sort of people the Lovells were.'

'What sort of people were they?' said I.

'Why, as I said before, interesting people.
In the first place, they were both extremely

'But the locality had nothing to do with
their good looks, I presume,' said I.

'I am not sure of that,' she answered;
'when there is the least foundation of taste or
intellect to set out with, the beauty of external
nature, and the picturesque accidents that
harmonise with it, do, I am persuaded, by
their gentle and elevating influences on the
mind, make the handsome handsomer, and the
ugly less ugly. But it was not alone the good
looks of the Lovells that struck me, but their
air of refinement and high breeding, and I
should say high birththough I know nothing
about their extractioncombined with their
undisguised poverty and as evident contentment.
Now, I can understand such people
finding here an appropriate home, and being
satisfied with their small share of this world's
goods; because here the dreams of romance
writers about Love in a Cottage might be
somewhat realised; poverty might be graceful
and poetical here; and then, you know, they
have no rent to pay.'

'Very true,' said I; 'but suppose they had
sixteen daughters, like a half-pay officer I
once met on board a steam-packet?'

'That would spoil it certainly,' said Mrs.
Markham; 'but let us hope they have not.
When I knew them they had only two
children, a boy and a girl, called Charles and
Emily; two of the prettiest creatures I ever

As my friend thought it yet rather early
for a visit, we had remained chattering in this
way for more than an hour, sometimes seated
on a tombstone, or a fallen column; sometimes
peering amongst the carved fragments
that were scattered about the ground, and
sometimes looking over the hedge into the
little garden, the wicket of which was
immediately behind the tower. The weather being
warm, most of the windows of the vicarage
were open and the blinds were all down; we
had not yet seen a soul stirring, and were just
wondering whether we might venture to
present ourselves at the door, when a strain
of distant music struck upon our ears.
'Hark!' I said, 'how exquisite! It was the
only thing wanting to complete the charm.'

'It's a military band, I think,' said Mrs.
Markham, 'you know we passed some
barracks before we reached the Inn.'

Nearer and nearer drew the sound, solemn
and slow; the band was evidently approaching
by the green lane that skirted the fields
we had come by. 'Hush,' said I, laying my
hand on my friend's arm, with a strange
sinking of the heart; 'they are playing the
Dead March in Saul! Don't you hear the
muffled drums? It's a funeral, but where's
the grave?'

'There!' said she, pointing to a spot close
under the hedge where some earth had been
thrown up; but the aperture was covered
with a plank, probably to prevent accidents.

There are few ceremonies in life at once so
touching, so impressive, so sad, and yet so
beautiful, as a soldier's funeral! Ordinary
funerals with their unwieldy hearses and
feathers, and the absurd looking mutes, and
the 'inky cloaks' and weepers, of hired
mourners, always seem to me like a mockery
of the dead; the appointments border so
closely on the grotesque; they are so little
in keeping with the true, the only view
of death that can render life endurable!
There is such a tone of exaggerated
forced, heavy, over-acted gravity about the
whole thing, that one had need to have a
deep personal interest involved in the scene,
to be able to shut one's eyes to the burlesque
side of it. But a military funeral, how
different! There you see death in life and life
in death! There is nothing over-strained,
nothing overdone. At once simple and
solemn, decent and decorous, consoling, yet
sad. The chief mourners, at best, are generally
true mourners, for they have lost a brother
with whom 'they sat but yesterday at meat;'
and whilst they are comparing memories,
recalling how merry they had many a day been
together, and the solemn tones of that sublime
music float upon the air, we can imagine the
freed and satisfied soul wafted on those