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After wandering about a good many years he settled in a her. mitage, in a place not far from the castle, called Guy's Cliff, and when his lady distributed food to beggars at the castle gate, was in the habit of coming among them to receive alms, without making himself known to her. It states, moreover, that two days before his death an angel informed him of the time of his departure, and that his lady would die a fortnight after him, which happening accordingly, they were both buried in the grave together. A romantic cavern, at the place called Guy's Cliff, is shown as the dwelling of the recluse. The story is a curious relic of the religious ideas of the times.
On our way from the castle we passed by Guy's Cliff, which is at present the seat of the Hon. C. B. Percy. The establishment looked beautifully from the road, as we saw it up a long avenue of trees; it is one of the places travellers generally examine, but as we were bound for Kenilworth we were content to take it on trust. It is but a short drive from there to Kenilworth. We got there about the middle of the after
Kenilworth has been quite as extensive as Warwick, though now entirely gone to ruins. I believe Oliver Cromwell's army have the credit of finally dismantling it. Cromwell seems literally to have left his mark on his generation, for I never saw a ruin in England when I did not hear that he had something to do with it. Every broken arch and ruined battlement seemed always to find a sufficient account of itself by simply enunciating the word Cromwell. And when we see how much the Puritans arrayed against themselves all the æsthetic principles of our nature, we can somewhat pardon those who did not look deeper than the surface, for the prejudice with which they regarded the whole movement; a move ment, however, of which we, and all which is most precious to as, are the lineal descendants and heirs.
We wandered over the ruins, which are very extensive, and which Scott, with his usual vivacity and accuracy, has restored and repeopled. We climbed up into Amy Robsart's chamber; we scrambled into one of the arched windows of what was formerly the great dining hall, where Elizabeth feasted in the midst of her lords and ladies, and where every stone had rung to the sound of merriment and revelry. The windows are broken out; it is roofless and floorless, waving and rustling with pendent ivy, and vocal with the song of hundreds of little birds.
We wandered from room to room, looking up and seeing in the walls the desolate fireplaces, tier over tier, the places where the beams of the floors had gone into the walls, and still the birds continued their singing every where.
Nothing affected me more than this ceaseless singing and rejoicing of birds in these old gray ruins. They seemed so perfectly joyous and happy amid the desolations, so airy and fanciful in their bursts of song, so ignorant and careless of the deep meaning of the gray desolation around them, that I could not but be moved. It was nothing to them how these stately, sculptured walls became lonely and ruinous, and all the weight of a thousand thoughts and questionings which arise to us is never even dreamed by them. They sow not, neither do they reap, but their heavenly Father feeds them; and so the wil. derness and the desolate place is glad in them, and they are glad in the wilderness and desolate place.
It was a beautiful conception, this making of birds. Shelley calls them “imbodied joys;" and Christ says, that amid the vaster ruins of man's desolation, ruins more dreadfully suggestive than those of sculptured frieze and architrave, we can get live a bird's life of unanxious joy; or, as Martin Luther beautifully paraphrases it, “We can be like a bird, that sits singing on his twig and lets God think for him."
The deep consciousness that we are ourselves ruined, and that this world is a desolation more awful, and of more sublime material, and wrought from stuff of higher temper than ever was sculptured in hall or cathedral, this it must be that touches such deep springs of sympathy in the presence of ruins. We, too, are desolate, shattered, and scathed; there are traceries and columns of celestial workmanship; there are heaven-aspiring arches, splendid colonnades and halls, but fragmentary all. Yet above us bends an all-pitying Heaven, and spiritual voices and callings in our hearts, like these little singing birds, speak of a time when almighty power shall take pleasure in these stones, and favor the dust thereof.
We sat on the top of the strong tower, and looked off into the country, and talked a good while. Some of the ivy that mantles this building has a trunk as large as a man's body, and throws out numberless strong arms, which, interweaving, embrace and interlace half-falling towers, and hold them up in a living, growing mass of green.
The walls of one of the oldest towers are sixteen feet thick. The lake, which Scott speaks of, is dried up and grown over with rushes. The former moat presents only a grassy hollow. What was formerly a gate house is still inhabited by the family who have the care of the building. The land around the gate house is choicely and carefully laid out, and has high, clipped hedges of a species of variegated holly.
MY DEAR H.:
After leaving Kenilworth we drove to Coventry, where we took the cars again.' This whole ride from Stratford to Warwick, and on to Coventry, answers more to my ideas of old England than any thing I have seen ; it is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the kingdom. It has quaint old houses, and a certain air of rural, picturesque quiet, which is very charming.
Coventry is old and queer, with narrow streets and curious houses, famed for the ancient legend of Godiva, one of those beautiful myths that grow, like the mistletoe, on the bare branches of history, and which, if they never were true in the letter, have been a thousand times true in the spirit.
The evening came on raw and chilly, so that we rejoiced to find ourselves once more in the curtained parlor by the bright, sociable fire.
As we were drinking tea Elihu Burritt came in. It was the first time I had ever seen him, though I had heard a great deal of him from our friends in Edinburgh. He is a man in middle life, tall and slender, with fair complexion, blue eyes, an air of delicacy and refinement, and manners of great gentleness. My ideas of the “ Learned Blacksmith” had been of something altogether more ponderous and peremptory. Elihu has been, for some years, operating in England and on the continent in a movement which many, in our half-Chris