AT MONASTERY GATES

No woman has ever crossed the inner threshold, or shall ever cross it, unless a queen, English or foreign, should claim her privilege. Therefore, if a woman records here the slighter things visible of the monastic life, it is only because she was not admitted to see more than beautiful courtesy and friendliness were able to show her in guest-house and garden.

The Monastery is of fresh-looking Gothic, by Pugin —the first of the dynasty: it is reached by the white roads of a limestone country, and backed by a young plantation, and it gathers its group of buildings in a cleft high up among the hills of Wales. The brown habit is this, and these are the sandals, that come and go by hills of finer, sharper, and loftier line, edging the dusk and dawn of an Umbrian sky. Just such a Via Crucis climbs the height above Orta, and from the foot of its final crucifix you can see the sunrise touch the top of Monte Rosa, while the encircled lake below is cool with the last of the night. The same order of friars keep that sub-Alpine Monte Sacro, and the same have set the Kreuzberg beyond Bonn with the same steep path by the same fourteen chapels, facing the Seven Mountains and the Rhine.

Here, in North Wales, remote as the country is, with the wheat green over the blunt hill-tops, and the

-120-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Winds and Waters 1
  • Ceres' Runaway 3
  • Wells 7
  • Rain 12
  • The Tow Path 15
  • The Tethered Constellations 19
  • Rushes and Reeds 22
  • In a Book Room 27
  • A Northern Fancy 29
  • Pathos 35
  • Anima Pellegrina! 38
  • A Point of Biography 43
  • The Honours of Mortality 48
  • Composure 50
  • The Little Language 55
  • A Counterchange 61
  • Harlequin Mercutio 67
  • Commentaries 71
  • Laughter 73
  • The Rhythm of Life 78
  • Domus Angusta 82
  • Innocence and Experience 86
  • The Hours of Sleep 89
  • Solitude 93
  • Decivilized 99
  • Wayfaring 103
  • The Spirit of Place 105
  • Popular Burlesque 110
  • Have Patience, Little Saint 114
  • At Monastery Gates 120
  • The Sea Wall 126
  • Arts 133
  • Tithonus 135
  • Symmetry and Incident 142
  • The Plaid 152
  • The Flower 156
  • Unstable Equilibrium 159
  • Victorian Caricature 161
  • The Point of Honour 165
  • The Colour of Life 169
  • The Colour of Life 171
  • The Horizon 176
  • In July 181
  • Cloud 184
  • Shadows 188
  • Women and Books 193
  • The Seventeenth Century 195
  • Mrs. Dingley 201
  • Prue 207
  • Mrs. Johnson 213
  • Madame Roland 219
  • The Darling Young 225
  • Fellow Travellers with a Bird 227
  • The Child of Tumult 235
  • The Child of Subsiding Tumult 242
  • The Unready 247
  • That Pretty Person 252
  • Under the Early Stars 259
  • The Illusion of Historic Time 262
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