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same manner as you may have seen a ing, smile that such things should 80 lazy and unconscious nag flinch from conyulse the “
poor sons of a day!" his draught when the stimulating ap- The contemplation of the calm, plaplication of the whip was withdrawn; cid, or sublime scenery of nature, so that I have again and again had the soothes the monotony of our existmortification to perceive vacancies fill- ence. The slow, winding sweep of the ed up by others, where I had good river, as it rolls on incessantly amid grounds to expect a preference myself, its thick-wooded banks, is a more pleaI have thus been so long accustomed sing object than the full tide of cheto endure the “ bitterness of hope de quered existence pouring along the ferred," that I have at last alniost cramped and polluted streets of a city, ceased to entertain any expectations of and the distant soothing roar of the further preferment, and have discipli- mountain cataract, more congenial ned my mind to the more manly and than the yell and clamour of an agiChristian feeling of resignation and tated multitude. contentment. Indeed, after all, I have But there is society here also-simgrounds of satisfaction which are suffiple and primitive, no doubt, though, cient to gratify any reasonable man. I to the eye of taste, rude and ineleam second to only one in the circle in gant; not without the original imperwhich I move, and am looked up to fections of humanity, though, I will by the whole parish with respect and venture to say, more fresh from the admiration, bating a few little person- hands of nature, their good qualities al and professional animosities, which less adulterated, and their evil less no individual or situation can escape, complicated and enormous, than those and which shall be duly and faithfully of a crowded and more refined neighnarrated in their proper place. My bourhood. I have always been of the classical erudition, though it can only opinion of those who think that manbe understood by my brethren of the kind is the same throughout, and only birch, commands for me more general modified by situation, society, and and unanimous praise and wonder, education. In my long, intimate, and than if I were surrounded by a whole varied intercourse with my fellow-pauniversity of learned scholars. I have rishioners, I have marked gleaming a pride in perceiving that I am the forth, even from amid the obscuring oracle of the country round. Often is cloud of universal ignorance, such my abode visited by those who wish symptoms and indications of a divermy advice to direct their conduct, sity of peculiar character, talent, and solve their difficulties, or conduct their propensity, as convinces me of the acimportant concerns; and, when I walk curacy of Gray's beautiful and wellout in an evening after dismissing my known supposition in his elegy:scholars, I am often to be seen seated on a stone, or broken-down pailing, some heart once pregnant with celestial
“ Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid surrounded by a circle of eager and delighted listeners. I have the satis
Hands that the rod of empire might have faction of thinking, too, that I have
sway'd, been the means of training up many Or waked to ecstasy the living lyregenerations of youth in the
Some village Hampden, that with dauntdiscipline of truth, virtue, and classi
less breast cal erudition; and, indeed, seldom has The little tyrant of his fields withstood; anything been more gratifying to me Some mute inglorious Milton here may than to receive a visit and the thanks
rest, of my quondam pupils, after they have Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's grown up to the years of discretion ; blood.” the which I have repeatedly done from several who have arisen to some con- It is to the sages, the humourists, sequence in the world.
and the wits of the parish, that I am We live here in a calm and seclu- now about to introduce the reader. ded quiet, far removed from the stir He will find a motley group assembled and bustle of the great Babel.” All together, for it is my practice to cona that agitates, enfuriates, and debases verse freely with all men who come society, is removed far from us. We within my sphere; and I have found, only hear of wars, tumults, party- by experience, the truth of an excelstrife, impiety, and folly; and, heare lent observation, that there are few,
if any, from whose conversation you stranger, the wanderer, or the diswill not reap either some amusement, tressed. In a lonely and secluded раinstruction, or advantage. I have also rish, and in the long solitude of a a great predilection for the conversa- winter night, even the entrance of a tion of originals, or what the world beggar has been hailed with joy; and, calls naturals, whether it be, as some seated at my warm hearth, and partamay be ill-natured enough to remark, king of my simple fare, he has rethat their ideas may be more conge- warded my hospitality with many a nial with my own, I cannot say, but I tale of his wanderings, with the ochave often much greater amusement currences of the world, or news of the from the company of a fool than from country round, which then, perhaps, that of many who think themselves for the first time, had reached my wise men. My door has been ever open, and my fireside ever free, to the
The Sexton of Knockbrae.
" Has this fellow no feeling of his business ? he sings at grave-making."
Or this romantic parish, Saunders his face; and, indeed, the state of Macknockie was, for many years, bea- Knockie's chin was so familiar to all dle and grave-digger, and a true spe- the parish, and associated with so cimen of the profession he was, a bro- much rustic wit, that any alteration ther, in so far as mirth and humour of the whole man would have been to are concerned, to the laughter-loving the worse, at least in the estimation of grave-digger in Hamlet. His mental all who knew him. His clothes were and physical constitutions were hap- of a light grey colour, for the sake of pily united to one another. His mind economy, for he was under-miller to and body expressed nothing but the Charlie Clapper. At the funerals, Judicrous. A jest leered in his eye, it however, of the richer part of the pacurled at hiş lip, it mantled and diffu- rish, he was generally arrayed in black, sed itself over his whole visage. He that is to say, a suit that had once been was about four feet eight inches high, black, for it had acquired a brownish and about as much in breadth, firmly colour, from long exposure to sun and compacted and knit together in the rain. It is hardly possible to convey and sinew, lith and limb. He had to modern understandings a just consmall sparkling eyes, of a greyish hue, ception of the shape of these mourna full round face, which in colouring vestments; suffice it to say, that might be compared to the purple of they were originally made for a stern the rosy-fingered morn, when the king Cameronian, who prided himself on of day rises from his bed of waters, or the largeness of his buttons, and the to the back of a lobster, when par- length and breadth of the skirts of his boiled. His chin was always covered coat. with a profusion of grisly hairs, which These lugubrious weeds, when they on Sunday appeared as if an attempt covered the outward man of the sexhad been made to reap them; but ei- ton of Knockbrae, were by no means ther the skill of the operator-viz. the sign-posts of inward grief and himself-for a barber was never seen trouble of spirit; on the contrary, his in the parish of Knockbrae, or the in- face, on such occasions, had infused strument employed, had been at fault, into it a double portion of the ludifor these porcupine quills had kept crous, which became more conspicutheir settlements unmoved and unsub- ous by the effort which he was forced dued for more than fifty years. The to make in order to lengthen it out to hebdomadal cuts and slashes which a becoming degree of longitude. In garnished his chin on the first day fine, had the Knockbraeans been heaof the week, showed, however, that thens instead of Christians, certes their an attempt had been made to smooth sexton had been deified. He would have been the laughter-loving Momus the bottom of the grave such a loud, of the hills, and his image would have and long, and hearty laugh, that the snuffed up the incense of
minister stood with utter amazement, “Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles, like one petrified ; and it was not tili Nods, and becks, and wrcathed smiles,"
Knockie had fairly exhausted himself,
that Mr Langtext could find utterance and all the et cætera of broad grins to rebuke this thoughtless beadle for that ever disturbed the face of man.
his unscasonable mirth. The levity of this sexton was, how- “ I have told you again and again, ever, a stumbling-block of offence to Saunders Macknockie, of the danger to the more serious part of the parish; which you are exposed, by leading a and indeed it was a wonder to all, life of sic thoughtlessness and profathat he who had walked hand in hand uity; but exhortation and warning with death for so many years, should
are thrown away upon you. If your have never thought, that
heart were not utterly callous and “Soon some faithful brother of the tra le seared over, it would long ere now Would do for him what he had done for have been impressed with some serious thousands."
thoughts of your own frailty and The worthy Mr Langtext had made mortality. Think, you grey-headed many attempts to impress on his mind sinner, that your present seat will soon some serious thoughts, but with no be your dwelling-place to the end of great success. As that deep divine was time-Oh, think where you are now one day walking in the churchyard, sitting, and repent you of the evil of conning over, memoriter, the argu
your ways." ments and illustrations of a sermon- " Wi' your leave, most reverend for the reading of sermons was never and learned sir,” replied the sexton, heard of in those days-his attention “ your advice comes an inkling too was suddenly roused by a grumbling late at present, for ye ken weel eneugh sort of noise, followed by loud bursts that there is no repentance in the of laughter, that seemed to issue from grave'-the very words were your text a new-made grave at a distance. Ap- last Sunday, and a good sermon it proaching it gently, he perceived the Oh, you handled it brawly-sexton sitting in the grave, and look and you kept close to your text, for ing with a mixed expression of anger you came over it at the end of every and humour on the fragments of a paragraph, which every minister, El spade which he had just broken. spet Groandeep says, should do; and
“ The deil oʻsic trash o’ spades as she's a great judge, and a powerfu' they mak noo," muttered the old man, scripture woman, for I saw her once “ did I ever see. It's nae sax ooks beat Elder Teuchbouy at prolemics, I since I gae twa lily-white shillings to think she ca’d them. There's nane that rascal, Tam Carnoch the mer- that comes up wi' you, sir, except perchant, for that mussel-shell there- haps that great man frae Helgy, Mr dearenough, in conscierice, even though Rantoul; wow! was not that a noble they hae risen 10 per cent per annum holding forth that he gave us on the at London, as he says. He tauld me afternoon o' the last occasion and it was the ace o' spades; but wae be- was he no sweet on that glorious word, tide me if he dinna soon ken to his Mesopotamia ? Dootless, it was nac cost, that he's the knave o' hearts, as sae weel as you yourself wad hae done, sure as my name's Saunders Macknoc- but surely it was far frae deservin the kie. Pretty trash o'wark tools that censure which your auld hoosekeeper they mak noo! It's nae a fortnight (I dinna like the woman, she scrimps since I brake aff the end o' my pick, me o' my milk) passed upon it, videby striking against the skull o' Geor. licet, as the Dominie says, that ane o' dy Greetlang-a dour loon the Domi- her maister's lang oh's was worth an ‘nie says he was, for his tawse could acre, Scotch measure, oʻsic cauld, lifenever mak ony impression on his head less, fooshionless, threadbare discour-oh, that I could hae tauld the same tale about my pick ! But I should hae By thus administering the cup of drawn a lesson from hence, not to hae flattery, which few can refuse to swalcome in contack wi' sic hard mate- low, the sexton averted the storm that rial.”
was about to burst on him, for punUpon this, the sexton sent up from ning on the minister's text. “A hopé
less case,” said the good man, and dendi-the causæ prædisponentes, &c. wheeled away;
and his mind will pass from one pro. The grave-digger in the tragedy of fessional subject to another ; till at Hamlet, and his brother in “Blair's length it dwell on that sweetest of Grave,' a poem which approaches conceptions-a fee. His constant sanearer to the manner and language of tellites, the sexton and undertaker, can Shakspeare, than any other in the think of nothing else but the fee. wide range of our literature, are re- The same event, then, will suggest a presented by these great writers as a different train of thought to different pair of the most jovial humourists; individuals, which will be regulated and most authors, indeed, when they by their various professions, habits, describe the characters of those whose education, and a thousand other cirprofessions bring them much in con- cumstances. The power of habit over fact with the scenes of death and mor- the human mind, seems in many cases tality, have generally invested them to be in proportion to the difficulty with habits and feelings altogether dif
which it has to overcome its repugferent from those which we naturally nancy to what is naturally disagreethink they should acquire from consi- able to it. In this it resembles the dering the circumstances in which external sense of taste. Opium, ardent they are so frequently placed. This spirits, tobacco, and the like, are nais a curious exhibition of human na- turally very disagreeable ; but when a ture, but it is a true one. The pic- liking to them is once acquired, they tures which the mighty writers alrea- become absolutely necessary to one's dy mentioned have drawn, are not the existence. Such is the effect of cus“ airy nothings” of their own imagi- tom, in modifying our thoughts and nations—they have “ à local habita- sensations. We need not wonder then tion” in this world of ours; they are that grave-diggers are not found to be characters of every-day occurrence. soft-visaged, weeping sentimentalists. An explanation of this phenomenon They are familiar with death, they has been given by the great dramatist, walk hand in hand with the king of "custom hath made it a property terrors-his skeleton form and his forof easiness ;” to which we may add, midable dart, are to them objects of the natural antipathy which the hu- indifference; the rank weeds that coman mind has to dwell on the gloomy ver the sod of the churchyard--the thoughts of death and the grave. The broken coffin-the ghastly skull and physician, the undertaker, and the unsightly bones, proclaim to them no sexton, are, perhaps, the persons, of mighty warning that sin and death all others, who think least on such are abroad among the children of men. subjects. To the physician, a death. They pursue their accustomed toil, bed scene will suggest thoughts of the undamped by thought, and even“ sing nature of the disease--the ratio me- at grave-making.
MR BLANCO WHITE'S EVIDENCE AGAINST THE CATHOLICS.* We have already had occasion to the Spanish clergy were and are, a allude to some particulars in the sin- prey to infidelity. This involved him gularly interesting personal history of in the deepest misery; but the intolethe author of the well-known work, rance of the country, the cruelty of its entitled, “ Doblado's Letters from Inquisition, then in full force, and the Spain.” That strange and instructive political state of the continent in gestory has now been told by Mr Blanco neral, rendered it absolutely impossiWhite himself, as fully, perhaps, as, ble for him to emancipate himself. while he lives, we can expect to be put Ten years, the unhappy prime of bis. in possession of it. He has introduced, life, were spent in this condition. He with this narrative, a book which, but took the opportunity of Buonaparte's for such an introduction, could scarce- invasion, and inade his escape to Eng. ly have been rendered intelligible land. He arrived here an utter inand which, in its absence, must, at fidel, and expected to find us a naall events, have been infinitely less va- tion of infidels. He, to his astonishluable on the score of authority, than ment, discovered that here the highwe now conceive it to be. As it stands, est mental faculties and attainments we have no hesitation in avowing our to be found in conjunction opinion, that this is by far the most with deliberate belief and devotion. important volume which has come He inquired farther, and found that from the British press, in consequence what had disgusted him with the reof the late agitation of what is called ligion in which he was bred, had been the Catholic Question, in the Parlia- things added to the Christian system ment and among the people of this of the Bible by the devices of men, empire. And such being our opinion, He investigated the subject with zeal we must, at whatever risk, lose no time and diligence. The result was, that his in endeavouring to bring its character intelligent mind obtained conviction ; fully and distinctly before our readers. he became a member of the ProtestIn doing so, we shall not weary them ant Church of England; and after a with any repetition of anything that has time, he resumed his holy orders, and been said, either here or elsewhere. If devoted himself to her service. All this ever there was a book which treated of story he now tells in a most candid, a hackneyed question in a newma sincere, and simple tone. totally new manner-this is such an Mr White perceived that, in the late one. And we shall, of course, take discussions of the Catholic Question, care to limit ourselves, as strictly as the Catholic writers were opposed by possible, to that array of novel argu- Protestants who really did not, in ments, and, above all, of novel facts, many instances, understand precisely which, if it does not (as how should and minutely the facts of the case. He it?) occupy the whole space in these found that great advantage was taken pages, gives them, most unquestion- of these little slips by the Catholic ably, their peculiar and distinctive advocates, who, whenever they had character and importance.
discovered some trivial inaccuracy Mr Blanco White was born in Se- about a date, or a document, immediville, being the grandson of an Irish ately held up their adversaries as pergentleman who had settled in that city. sons who were either totally uninHis mother was a Spanish lady. He formed as to the character of the was, in early youth, destined to the Catholic Faith, or capable of wilful. service of the Spanish church, and at- ly misrepresenting it. He perceived tained considerable preferment in it. the artful method in which certain of He became, as he distinctly says al- the Catholic writers and speakers here, most all his acquaintances among the were softening down and explaining higher and more educated portion of away the most offensive dogmas as
* Practical and Internal Evidence against Catholicism, with occasional Strictures on Mr Butler's Book of the Roman Catholic Church : in Six Letters, addressed to the impartial among the Roman Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland. By the Rev. Joseph Blanco White, M. A. B.D. London. John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1825.