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fore the most difficult in the present state of the question. "We shall protect worship in its different forms," he declared at Palermo in 1883, "because we deem that a society cannot exist without religion." But he distinguishes very decidedly the temporal from the spiritual power. "It would be a mistake," he continued, after having made Rome our capital, after having reduced the Pope's temporal power to merely his sacerdotal functions, to allow it to be re-established under another name. Since 1870 the Pope

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is no longer a temporal sovereign, but only the supreme chief of the spiritual authority of the Church." That eventually, as education spreads and time heals the wounds not yet closed, the solution of the difficulty will be in the direction here pointed out by Crispi can hardly be doubted; but he can scarcely hope to see it. On October 4 he entered on his seventy-second year. His long public career has brought him the keenest pleasure possible to statesmen, and yet one more usually enjoyed by their children and grandchildren than by the statesmen themselves. He has had the satisfaction of witnessing the steady diffusion, and in many cases final victory, of the principles which he has persistently advocated ever since his entrance into the Chamber. When, two years ago, Mr. Gladstone visited Italy he found there "a free press, free speech, free worship, and freedom of person, with every sign of a vigorous municipal life replacing the stagnant uniformity of a despotism both local and central." It is thus that Francesco Crispi has written his individuality across the life of his country.

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WHEN am off this mortal coil obituary paragraphs regarding

'HEN a man of wealth or the holder of a distinguished name

him are inserted in the newspapers, and the public is supposed to take an interest in the facts of his life. Yet most frequently it happens that these recorded facts, displayed to their utmost advantage, appear no more than the tritest array of commonplaces, the truth being that the wealth itself and the social position which gave the dead man a claim to regard have raised him above exactly those troubles and vicissitudes which make a life interesting. The history of the family in the castle, it is true, probably contains interest enough if one goes sufficiently far back for it, back to the days of its early risks and struggles and first emergence from obscurity. But under every second thatch-roof of the village in the glen below, the elements of romance lie closer to hand. There the real tragedy and comedy of life are being acted at the present hour. The folk live closer to hope and fear; their paths are less safe-guarded and secure ; and a step aside either way is enough to alter the aspect, perhaps to bring about the catastrophe, of a life. Only a little patience is needed in most cases to discover dramatic point, frequently strange and thrilling enough, in the life-history of each individual. In such a spot every gable-end, hedge-nook, and turn of a wall has its story, one presently begins to find out. Το the grey-beards of the village, it appears, hardly a dyke-corner or a coppice-end is without its pregnant memory, so many are the tellable events which accumulate in a quiet backwater of life even within the recollection of a single generation. An illustration of this fact is seen in the passage in "Tam o' Shanter" in which every bush-clump, ford, and heap of stones passed by the homeward-galloping roysterer is made to bring to mind a weird story. Frequently all that remains to chronicle the long tragedy of a life-time is some such mute monument; and a curious and true light upon the virtues and vices of humble life is thrown sometimes by its deciphering.

A memorial of this sort, overlooking the lochside strath which once belonged to his race, is all that is left now of old John C

His cottage stood too near to a pheasant covert to be trusted to unknown tenants; hardly therefore had the old man been laid to rest in the quiet kirkyard of the parish when the laird of the surrounding estate got the small freehold into his own hands, and now all that remains of the little thatched dwelling is a scattered heap of stones. A humble enough little dwelling it was; no more than a "but and ben," with a diminutive bedroom which had once been a milk-house, and a narrow byre for the keeping of a cow. But there was a pathetic interest about it, memories of quiet love and sorrow, the associations of patient years; and it is difficult to look now upon the desolate spot without a vague feeling of regret. The scattered stones themselves are eloquent with memories. Was not every one of them carried up from the bed of the burn below by John himself, sixty odd years ago, when he was building the cottage for his home? A labour of delight it was, with a tender thought in every lift ; for, when the cosy nest should be finished, was he not to bring hither a certain gentle sweetheart, a maid at mention of whom the old men of the village shake their heads thoughtfully yet? Often, they say, she came here shyly and watched him at his work. The spot is secluded and hidden from prying eyes. Long quiet talks, like the happy twitterings of the nesting blackbirds in the coppice near, there must have been between the two over the house-building. What were the words of their talk? As well ask what the blackbirds' happy twitterings are about as the nest-making goes forward so busily under the spruce-branches. Day after day the work grew, and day after day she came and watched its progress, till the nook already, that pleasant May-time sixty years ago, must have grown full of memories for them. In the evening, it is still remembered, they used to go away together down the field-path, under the high beech hedges and through the yellow-flowering whin, to the village, where her people lived; and lover-like enough they seemed, and loth to part, as the gloaming deepened and their steps grew slower together at the foot of the hill. Yet she did not marry him after all.

The story is unforgotten yet in the village, and the other day, when the old man was buried, among the little knots of people coming home from the kirkyard it was spoken about once more.

The cottage had just been finished: the last sheaf of thatch had been laid on and trimmed, and John was seeing after the necessary furniture to put inside, and digging the well, when an eastern epidemic, like a destroying angel, passed over the face of the country. The cities, with their evil atmosphere and jaded population, naturally

suffered most, but the rural districts were not exempt, and of those who succumbed in the neighbourhood here were John's grandfather and his two uncles. The grandfather had been something of a miser and curmudgeon, living like the meanest hind, and grudging every farthing he was forced to spend; but he was come of an ancient yeoman stock, who had held property in the place for centuries, and by his death and that of his two eldest sons John suddenly found himself the representative of his family and master of some two thousand acres of the best land in the parish. A strange turn of fortune for the humble cottage-builder, and one to make searching proof of his qualities. Alas! of the demands of his new position only one was made, and that was at once crucial and fatal.

A decent interval for mourning had been allowed to elapse, and the new heir, making suitable provision for the rest of his family, was about to enter on possession of the roomy farmhouse, which had been the residence of the old laird, and to install there as mistress his gentle betrothed, when a tragic circumstance occurred. It was a quiet Saturday night. John and his future bride had wandered in the still of the evening for an hour together among the fields, and as the dusk fell and the stars were coming out he had "seen" her home. He was lingering in his mother's doorway, loth to enter while the spell of the night was still upon him, when suddenly, turning into the cottage garden from the road below, appeared his brother Robert.

The two brothers had always presented a contrast. Much slighter in build, in place of the blue eyes and warm brown skin of his elder brother, Robert was pale of complexion and had eyes of jet black. Taking by inclination to the smartness and diplomacy of city life, he had within the last few months, by his brother's newly-acquired influence, become accountant of a bank in town. Since then his graphic accounts of the reliance placed upon him by his superiors had impressed the village with a general idea that he was on the high-road to success. This, with the general air of man of the world which he affected, and a reputation (which he did not discourage) for being looked on with favour by the other sex, had got him among the folk of the countryside the name of "the King"-" King C." But this night, as he came up the garden walk, his accustomed air of sprightliness was gone. He was like a fine bird with draggled feathers; his shoulders were bent like those of an old man, and it was apparent that something was wrong. Some of the villagers had met him on the road, and had noticed thus much; but this was all that they knew.

Nothing was ever told of the scene by the fireside in the little

wayside cottage that night-of the miserable confession which there must have been, the horror and fear as the full extent and consequence of the misdeed became known. Never a word was spoken on the subject by one of the family, and the matter was too painful to be made the topic of curious inquiry. It leaked out only long afterwards from other sources, as these things are apt to do, that the young man had committed a crime which placed him in danger of his life. It was a startling story which must have been revealed to the little family circle of simple folk. A considerable speculation in which "the King's" confident savoir faire had involved him had turned out disastrous. To give himself time to recover the losses made, to "turn round," as he himself put it, he had signed bills for a large amount. The later ventures into which he had plunged had proved equally disastrous; the money was, every penny, irretrievably lost, and now the bills were coming due, and the names upon them-the miserable secret had to come out-the names upon the bills were forged.

Here was one of the cases in which tragedy, like some evil monster, may suddenly rise under the shining surface of life; may come so near as to make the flesh creep and the heart stop, and yet pass away without the world hearing a sound or seeing a twitch of the nerves of the threatened victim. No word, as has been said, of the scene round the cottage hearth that night was ever spoken outside; but as one after another, in crushing succession, the fatal bills came due they were punctually met and paid, till the last weight was cleared off, the last bit of incriminating paper destroyed, and the guilty one breathed free. The incident made little difference after all to him, though naturally he did not return to his situation at the bank. But John never entered upon the occupation of his broad inheritance. The cottage he had built, he said, would be enough for him after all. It had been sufficient for the ambition of his betrothed and himself before greater fortune came to them, and they would be no less happy there together now.

But even this dream of modest happiness was not destined to come true.

After the release from his terrible predicament "the King" did not at once go away. He remained about the village apparently without either plans or spirit ; and it was noticed at first that he wore something of a furtive and dejected air. Very soon, however, as he found that the village folk knew nothing definite regarding his escapade, and as the thought of it, which had never oppressed him greatly apart from the bodily risk involved, became easier to get rid

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