Friday, December 19, 2008

14Jun1863, Paradise and Heaven

CLIVEDEN, 2nd Sunday after Trinity, June 14th, 1863.
—Hot with soft rain ; lovely afternoon, but felt thundery. My experience hitherto of peculiarly grand country places (and this is grand, though not large) certainly gives me no favourable impression of their churchums. Some of the party went to Cookham, and most to S. George's, Windsor, in the aftn ; but Agnes and I were doomed twice to a dreary bare room where service goes on pending the restoration of Hedzor Church : no chanting, a barrel-organ, laborious, longwinded, and truly dreadful hymn-singing, and in the morning no sermon owing to the poor clergyman's being ill. The aftn sermon, however, was good, on Watching and Praying. A. and I walked down to the river afterwards, views peaceful and lovely. Also we capped Sunday verses, and read aloud a good sermon of Jebb's. The Duchess of Argyll's wonderful cleverness is delightful to listen to ; and most gracefully it sits upon her, as she looks up with her shining eyes, and in that low gentle voice comes out with such knowledge of books, events, and politics. Meanwhile the perfect taste, refinement, and luxury of the place almost oppresses me. When one lives in Paradise, how hard it must be to ascend in heart and mind to Heaven !

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