Page:Lippincotts Monthly Magazine-94.pdf/14

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4
Northborough Cross


Directly opposite the window, a white causeway led between high walls, to a flight of steps, above which a pair of wooden doors opened beneath an archway upon the Cathedral graveyard. One door was open, and the black oblong yawned beneath the snowy trees that overhung the archway from the further side. Beyond, the twin towers of the Cathedral

glimmered, snow-encrusted, against myriad flashing stars. “I wonder,” thought Uncle Dick, “what I have come six thousand miles to find in this ancient, frozen city. Well, well, things will be as they must, men will drive and strive, and God help the hindmost, I say.” And with that he went to bed. Lancelot took his uncle out for a walk a few days after the arrival

of that prospective benefactor.

The wind blew sharply through the

narrow streets of the old, steep city and the beaten snow in the roads and footways made a mottled, slippery surface.

They followed round the stone wall, some fifteen feet high, once the city wall, which closed in Mrs. Warrilow's garden, and turned up the steep hill to the right. Keeping still upon the right hand, you may turn into the north door of the Cathedral; or, if you turn to the left,

the High Street leads you curving up to the Market-place. Thus, the shortest way from Saint Catherine's Gate to the High Street lay not round by the road but up the steps and through the doorway upon which Uncle Dick had looked out upon the night of his arrival, thence through the south door and the Cathedral itself. When they returned from an exploration of the town, Lance guided

his uncle around by the Deanery. The Dean, a slender, gaitered gentle man, with a large hat nestling upon a profusion of black and curling

locks, was carefully closing the nail-studded door in the high wall behind him as the uncle and nephew approached. “Ah, Mr. Thornhaigh,” said the Dean affably, offering his hand as

he spoke, to Uncle Dick, whose acquaintance he had already made. “I trust, sir, that you are experiencing no ill effects from your extended sea-voyage. We are a chilly city and a bleak and windy city, sir,” went on Mr. Dean volubly, without noticing Uncle Dick's politely murmured reply, “but, though we are cold without, we are warm within—the northern characteristic, Mr. Thornhaigh, the northern characteristic!”

Mr. Thornhaigh was understood to observe that such a characteristic was, on the whole, the best of all characteristics. “Have you seen our Cathedral yet?” continued Mr. Dean, turning to the huge cliff of building that towered immediately above them. “We consider our Cathedral to be one of the most interesting and marvellous monuments bequeathed to us by those wonderful mediaeval

times so grossly miscalled the Dark Ages. If that was darkness, then I should pray, Give us more of that darkness,” said Mr. Dean, with

surprising energy. “I don’t know if you care for the relics of antiquity,