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‘No, I cannot stay; I have only brought you a little parcel My sisters
left for you. I think it contains a colour-box, pencils, and paper.’ I
approached to take it: a welcome gift it was. He examined my face,
I thought, with austerity, as I came near: the traces of tears were
doubtless very visible upon it.

‘Have you found your first day’s work harder than you expected?’
he asked.

‘Oh, no! On the contrary, I think in time I shall get on with my
scholars very well.’ ‘But perhaps your accommodations-your
cottage-your furniture-have disappointed your expectations?
They are, in truth, scanty enough; but-’ I interrupted‘My cottage is
clean and weather-proof; my furniture sufficient and commodious.
All I see has made me thankful, not despondent. I am not
absolutely such a fool and sensualist as to regret the absence of a
carpet, a sofa, and silver plate; besides, five weeks ago I had
nothing-I was an outcast, a beggar, a vagrant; now I have
acquaintance, a home, a business. I wonder at the goodness of God;
the generosity of my friends; the bounty of my lot. I do not repine.’
‘But you feel solitude an oppression? The little house there behind
you is dark and empty.’ ‘I have hardly had time yet to enjoy a
sense of tranquillity, much less to grow impatient under one of
loneliness.’ ‘Very well; I hope you feel the content you express: at
any rate, your good sense will tell you that it is too soon yet to
yield to the vacillating fears of Lot’s wife. What you had left before
I saw you, of course I do not know; but I counsel you to resist
firmly every temptation which would incline you to look back:
pursue your present career steadily, for some months at least.’ ‘It is
what I mean to do,’ I answered. St. John continued‘It is hard work
to control the workings of inclination and turn the bent of nature;
but that it may be done, I know from experience. God has given us,
in a measure, the power to make our own fate; and when our
energies seem to demand a sustenance they cannot get-when our
will strains after a path we may not follow-we need neither starve
from inanition, nor stand still in despair: we have but to seek
another nourishment for the mind, as strong as the forbidden food
it longed to taste-and perhaps purer; and to hew out for the
adventurous foot a road as direct and broad as the one Fortune has
blocked up against us, if rougher than it.

‘A year ago I was myself intensely miserable, because I thought I
had made a mistake in entering the ministry: its uniform duties
wearied me to death. I burnt for the more active life of the world-
for the more exciting toils of a literary career-for the destiny of an
artist, author, orator; anything rather than that of a priest: yes, the
heart of a politician, of a soldier, of a votary of glory, a lover of
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