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Lost Hearts Full Text. Date Format Short story. Document Item Type Metadata Text It was, as far as I can ascertain, in September of the year that a post-chaise drew up before the door of Aswarby Hall, in the heart of Lincolnshire.
The little boy who was the only passenger in the chaise, and who jumped out as soon as it had stopped, looked about him with the keenest curiosity during the short interval that elapsed between the ringing of the bell and the opening of the hall door. He saw a tall, square, red-brick house, built in the reign of Anne; a stone-pillared porch had been added in the purer classical style of ; the windows of the house were many, tall and narrow, with small panes and thick white woodwork.
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A pediment, pierced with a round window, crowned the front. There were wings to right and left, connected by curious glazed galleries, supported by colonnades, with the central block. These wings plainly contained the stables and offices of the house.
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Each was surmounted by an ornamental cupola with a gilded vane. An evening light shone on the building, making the window-panes glow like so many fires. Away from the Hall in front stretched a flat park studded with oaks and fringed with firs, which stood out against the sky. The clock in the church-tower, buried in trees on the edge of the park, only its golden weather-cock catching the light, was striking six, and the sound came gently beating down the wind.
It was altogether a pleasant impression, though tinged with the sort of melancholy appropriate to an evening in early autumn, that was conveyed to the mind of the boy who was standing in the porch waiting for the door to open to him. The post-chaise had brought him from Warwickshire, where, some six months before, he had been left an orphan.
Now, owing to the generous offer of his elderly cousin, Mr Abney, he had come to live at Aswarby. The offer was unexpected, because all who knew anything of Mr Abney looked upon him as a somewhat austere recluse, into whose steady-going household the advent of a small boy would import a new and, it seemed, incongruous element.
The Professor of Greek at Cambridge had been heard to say that no one knew more of the religious beliefs of the later pagans than did the owner of Aswarby. In the marble-paved hall stood a fine group of Mithras slaying a bull, which had been imported from the Levant at great expense by the owner. He was looked upon, in fine, as a man wrapped up in his books, and it was a matter of great surprise among his neighbours that he should ever have heard of his orphan cousin, Stephen Elliott, much more that he should have volunteered to make him an inmate of Aswarby Hall.
The moment the front-door was opened he darted out of his study, rubbing his hands with delight.
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How old are you? Eleventh of September, eh?
Mrs Bunch was the most comfortable and human person whom Stephen had as yet met at Aswarby. She made him completely at home; they were great friends in a quarter of an hour: and great friends they remained. Consequently, if anyone knew the ins and outs of the house and the district, Mrs Bunch knew them; and she was by no means disinclined to communicate her information. Certainly there were plenty of things about the Hall and the Hall gardens which Stephen, who was of an adventurous and inquiring turn, was anxious to have explained to him.
Who was the old man whose picture hung on the staircase, sitting at a table, with a skull under his hand? There were others, however, of which the explanations furnished were less satisfactory. I know master brought her back with him from his walk one day, and give orders to Mrs Ellis, as was housekeeper then, as she should be took every care with. Returnd from Babylon by leave of Kings Thir Lords, whom God dispos'd , the house of God They first re- edifie , and for a while [ ] In mean estate live moderate, till grown In wealth and multitude, factious they grow; But first among the Priests dissension springs, Men who attend the Altar, and should most Endeavour Peace: thir strife pollution brings [ ] Upon the Temple it self: at last they seise The Scepter, and regard not Davids Sons, Then loose it to a stranger , that the true Anointed King Messiah might be born Barr'd of his right; yet at his Birth a Starr [ ] Unseen before in Heav'n proclaims him com , And guides the Eastern Sages , who enquire His place, to offer Incense, Myrrh, and Gold; His place of birth a solemn Angel tells To simple Shepherds, keeping watch by night; [ ] They gladly thither haste, and by a Quire Of squadrond Angels hear his Carol sung.
He ceas'd , discerning Adam with such joy Surcharg'd , as had like grief bin dew'd in tears, Without the vent of words, which these he breathd. O Prophet of glad tidings, finisher [ ] Of utmost hope! Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise Expect with mortal paine : say where and when Thir fight, what stroke shall bruise the Victors heel [ ].
Dream not of thir fight, As of a Duel, or the local wounds Of head or heel: not therefore joynes the Son Manhood to God-head, with more strength to foil Thy enemie ; nor so is overcome [ ] Satan , whose fall from Heav'n , a deadlier bruise, Disabl'd not to give thee thy deaths wound: Which hee , who comes thy Saviour , shall recure, Not by destroying Satan , but his works In thee and in thy Seed: nor can this be, [ ] But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, Obedience to the Law of God, impos'd On penaltie of death, and suffering death, The penaltie to thy transgression due, And due to theirs which out of thine will grow: [ ] So onely can high Justice rest appaid.
The Law of God exact he shall fulfill Both by obedience and by love , though love Alone fulfill the Law; thy punishment He shall endure by coming in the Flesh [ ] To a reproachful life and cursed death, Proclaiming Life to all who shall believe In his redemption, and that his obedience Imputed becomes theirs by Faith, his merits To save them, not thir own, though legal works.
So spake th' Archangel Michael , then paus'd , As at the Worlds great period; and our Sire Replete with joy and wonder thus repli'd. O goodness infinite, goodness immense! That all this good of evil shall produce, [ ] And evil turn to good; more wonderful Then that which by creation first brought forth Light out of darkness! But say, if our deliverer up to Heav'n Must reascend, what will betide the few [ ] His faithful, left among th' unfaithful herd, The enemies of truth; who then shall guide His people, who defend? Be sure they will, said th' Angel; but from Heav'n [ ] Hee to his own a Comforter will send, The promise of the Father, who shall dwell His Spirit within them, and the Law of Faith Working through love, upon thir hearts shall write, To guide them in all truth, and also arme [ ] With spiritual Armour , able to resist Satans assaults, and quench his fierie darts, What Man can do against them, not affraid , Though to the death, against such cruelties With inward consolations recompenc't , [ ] And oft supported so as shall amaze Thir proudest persecuters: for the Spirit Powrd first on his Apostles, whom he sends To evangelize the Nations, then on all Baptiz'd , shall them with wondrous gifts endue [ ] To speak all Tongues, and do all Miracles, As did thir Lord before them.
Thus they win Great numbers of each Nation to receave With joy the tidings brought from Heav'n : at length Thir Ministry perform'd , and race well run , [ ] Thir doctrine and thir story written left, They die; but in thir room, as they forewarne , Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous Wolves , Who all the sacred mysteries of Heav'n To thir own vile advantages shall turne [ ] Of lucre and ambition, and the truth With superstitions and traditions taint, Left onely in those written Records pure, Though not but by the Spirit understood.
Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names, [ ] Places and titles, and with these to joine Secular power, though feigning still to act By spiritual, to themselves appropriating The Spirit of God, promisd alike and giv'n To all Beleevers ; and from that pretense, [ ] Spiritual Lawes by carnal power shall force On every conscience; Laws which none shall finde Left them inrould , or what the Spirit within Shall on the heart engrave.
He ended; and thus Adam last reply'd. How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest , Measur'd this transient World, the Race of time, Till time stand fixt : beyond is all abyss, [ ] Eternitie , whose end no eye can reach. Greatly instructed I shall hence depart. Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill Of knowledge, what this Vessel can containe ; Beyond which was my folly to aspire. To whom thus also th' Angel last repli'd : This having learnt , thou hast attained the summe [ ] Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs Thou knewst by name, and all th' ethereal Powers, All secrets of the deep, all Natures works, Or works of God in Heav'n , Aire , Earth, or Sea, And all the riches of this World enjoydst , [ ] And all the rule, one Empire; onely add Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith , Add vertue , Patience, Temperance, add Love, By name to come call'd Charitie , the soul Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath [ ] To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess A Paradise within thee, happier farr.
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Let us descend now therefore from this top Of Speculation; for the hour precise Exacts our parting hence; and see the Guards, [ ] By mee encampt on yonder Hill, expect Thir motion, at whose Front a flaming Sword, In signal of remove, waves fiercely round; We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve ; Her also I with gentle Dreams have calm'd [ ] Portending good, and all her spirits compos'd To meek submission: thou at season fit Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard, Chiefly what may concern her Faith to know, The great deliverance by her Seed to come [ ] For by the Womans Seed on all Mankind.
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