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PAGE 2

Dorsetshire
by [?]

What a strange fabric of history, memory, and tradition is here unrolled, of old unhappy far-off things! How bewildering to think of the horrible agonies of fear, the helpless, stupefied creatures lying bound there, the smoke sweeping over them and the flames crackling nearer, while their victorious foes laughed and exulted round them, and the priests performed the last hideous rites. And all the while God watched the slow march of days from the silent heaven, and worked out his mysterious purposes! And yet, surveying the quiet valley to-day, it seems as though there were no memory of suffering or sorrow in it at all.

We climbed the down; and there at our feet the world lay like a map, with its fields, woods, hamlets and church-towers, the great rich plain rolling to the horizon, till it was lost in haze. How infinitely minute and unimportant seemed one’s own life, one’s own thoughts, the schemes of one tiny moving atom on the broad back of the hills. And yet my own small restless identity is almost the only thing in the world of which I am assured!

There came to me at that moment a thrill of the spirit which comes but rarely; a deep hope, the sense of a secret lying very near, if one could only grasp it; an assurance that we are safe and secure in the hand of God, and a certainty that there is a vast reality behind, veiled from us only by the shadows of fears, ambitions, and desires. And the thought, too, came that all the tiny human beings that move about their tasks in the plain beneath–nay, the animals, the trees, the flowers, every blade of grass, every pebble–each has its place in the great and awful mystery. Then came the sense of the vast fellowship of created things, the tender Fatherhood of the God who made us all. I can hardly put the thought into words; but it was one of those sudden intuitions that seem to lie deeper even than the mind and the soul, a message from the heart of the world, bidding one wait and wonder, rest and be still.