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same placid smile. The worthy ladies pictured to him "chimeras dire," sufficient to have abated the zeal of any other individual. But that gentleman quieted their fears, by appealing to the power "that tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," with a countenance as lamb-like as could be imagined. And he departed singing—
"At home, or abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy wants may demand, shall thy strength ever be."
They watched him, until his portly person and horse grew dim in the distance, and turned away sighing that such a good man should fall into the hands of that monster, the blacksmith.
Forgeron had heard of his new victim, and rejoiced that his size and appearance furnished a better subject for his vengeance than the attenuated frame of the late parson. Oh! what a nice beating he would give him! He had heard, too, that some Methodist preachers were rather spirited, and he hoped that this one might prove so, that he might j provoke him to fight. Knowing that the clergyman must pass on Saturday in the afternoon, he gave his striker holiday, and, reclining on a bench, regaled himself on the beauties of Tom Paine, awaiting the arrival of the preacher.
It was not over an hour, before he heard the words—
"How happy are they, who their Saviour obey,
sung in a full clear voice; and soon the vocalist, turning the angle of a rock, rode leisurely up, with a contented smile on his face.
"How are you, old slab-sides? Get off your horse and join in my devotions," said the blacksmith.
"I have many miles to ride," answered the preacher, "and havn't time, my friend: I'll call as I return."
"Your name is Stubbleworth, and you are the hypocrite the Methodists have sent here, eh?"
"My name is Stubbleworth," he replied, meekly. x
"Didn't you know that my name was Ned Forgeron, the blacksmith, what whips every Methodist preacher that goes through this gap?" was asked, with an audacious look. "And how dare you come here?"
The preacher replied that he had heard Forgeron's name, but presumed that he did not molest well-behaved travellers.
"You presumed so! Yes, y,ou are the most presumptuous people, you Methodists, that ever trod shoe-leather any how. Well, what will you do, if I don't whip you this time, you beef-headed disciple you?"
Mr. Stubbleworth professed his willingness to do anything reasonable to avoid such penance.
"Well, there's three things you have to do, or I'll maul you into a jelly. The first is, you are to quit preaching; the second is, you must wear this last will and testament of Thomas Paine next to your heari, read it every day, and believe every word you read; and the third is, you are to curse the Methodists in every crowd you get into."
The preacher looked on during these novel propositions, without a line of his face being moved, and at the end, replied that the terms were unreasonable, and he would not submit to them.
"Well, you have got a whaling to submit to then. I'll larrup you like blazes! I'll tear you into doll-rags, corner ways! Get down, you long-faced hypocrite."
The preacher remonstrated, and Forgeron walked up to the horse, and threatened to tear him off, if he did not dismount; whereupon the worthy man made a virtue of necessity and alighted.
"I have but one request to make, my friend; that is that you won't beat me with this overcoat on. It was a present from the ladies of my last circuit, and I do not wish to have it torn."
"Off with it, and that suddenly, you basinfaced imp, you."
The Methodist preacher slowly drew off his surtout, as the blacksmith continued his tirade of abuse on himself and his sect, and as he drew his right hand from the sleeve, and threw the garment behind him, he dealt Mr. Forgeron a tremendous blow between his eyes, which laid that person at full length on the ground, with the testament of Thomas Paine beside him. The Rev. Air. Stubbleworth, with the tact of a connoisseur in such matters, did not wait for his adversary to rise, but mounted him with the quickness of a cat and bestowed his blows with a bounteous hand, about the head and face of the blacksmith, continuing his song where he had left off, on his arrival at the smithy—
"Tongue cannot express the sweet comfort and peace, Of a soul in its earliest love,"—
until Mr. Forgeron, from having experienced "first love," or some other sensation equally new to him, responded lustily, "'Nough! 'nough! 'nough! Take him off!" But, unfortunately, there was no one by to perform that kind office, except the old roan, and he munched a bunch of grass, and looked on as quietly as if his master was "happy," at a camp-meeting.
"Now," said Mr. Stubbleworth, " there are three things you must promise me, before I let you up."
"What are they ?" asked Forgeron, eagerly
"The first is that you will never molest a Methodist preacher again." Here Ned's pride rose, and he hesitated.; and the reverend gentleman, with his usual benign smile on his face, renewed his blows, and sung—
"I rode on the sky, freely justified t,
This oriental language overcame the blacksmith! Such bold figures, or something else, caused him to sing out, " Well, I'll do it—I'll do it!"
"You are getting on very well," said Mr. Stubbleworth—" I think I can make a decent man of you yet, and perhaps a Christian."
"The second thing I require of you, is, to go to Pumpkinvine Creek Meeting house, and hear me preach to-morrow."
Ned attempted to stammer some excuse— "I 1 that is"
When the divine resumed his devotional hymn and kept time with the music, striking him over the face with the fleshy part of the hand—
"My soul mounted higher, on a chariot of fire,
Ned's promise of punctuality caused the parson's exercise to cease, and the words, redolent of gorgeous imagery, died away in echoes from the adjacent crags.
"Now the third and last demand I make of you is peremptory." Ned was all attention, to know what would come next. "You are to promise to seek religion, day and night, and never rest until you obtain it at the hands of a merciful Redeemer." The fallen man looked at the declining sun, and then at the parson, and knew not what to say, when the latter individual began to raise his voice in song once more, and Ned knew what would come next.
"I'll do my "best," he said, in a humbled voice.
"Well, that's a man," Mr. Stubbleworth said. "Now get up and go down to the spring and wash your face, and dust your clothes, and tear up Mr. Paine's testament, and turn your thoughts on high."
Ned arose with feelings he had never experienced before, and went to obey the lavatory injunction of the preacher, when that gentleman mounted his horse, took Ned by the hand, and said:—'Keep your promises and I'll keep your counsel. Good evening, Mr. Forgeron,—I'll look for you to- morrow;" and off he rode with the same imperturbable countenance, Einging so loud as to scare the eagles from their eyrie, in the overhanging rocks.
Well, thought Ned, this is a nice business! What would people say if they knew Edward Forgeron was whip't before*his own door in the gap, and by a Methodist preacher, too? But his musings were "more in sorrow than in anger."
The disfigured countenance of Forgeron was of course the subject of numerous questions that night, among his friends, to which he replied with a stern look they well understood, and the vague remark that he had met with an accident. Of course, they never dreamed of the true cause. Forgeron looked in the glass, and perhaps compared the changing hues of his " black eye from a recent scuffle," to the rainbow shipwreck scene—" blending every color into one." Or, perhaps, he had never read that story, and only muttered to himself, "Ned Forgeron whipped by a Methodist preacher!"
His dreams that night were of a confused and disagreeable nature; and waking in the morning, he had an indistinct memory of something unpleasant having occurred. At first he could not recollect the cause of his feelings, but the bruises on his face and body, soon called them to mind, as well as the promise. He mounted his horse in silence and went to redeem it.
From that time, his whole conduct manifested a change of feeling. The gossips of the neighborhood observed it, and whispered that Ned was silent and serious, and had gone to meeting every Sunday since the accident. They wondered at his burning the books he used to read so much. Strange stories were circulated as to this metamorphose of the jovial, dare devil blacksmith into a gloomy and taciturn man. Some supposed, very sagely, that a "spirit" had enticed him into the mountains, and after giving him a glimpse into the future, had misled him to a crag, where he had fallen and bruised his face. Others gave the prince of darkness the credit of the change ; but none suspected the Methodist preacher, and as the latter gentleman had no vanity to gratify, the secret remained with Ned.
This gloomy state of mind continued until Forgeron visited a camp-meeting. The Rev. Mr. Stubbleworth preached a sermon that seemed to enter his soul, and relieve it of a burden, and the song of '' How happy are they, who their Saviour obey,"
was only half through, when he felt like a new man. Forgeron was from that time "a shouting method ist." At a love-feast, a short time subsequent, he gave in his experience, and revealed the mystery of his conviction and conversion to his astonished neighbors. The Rev. Simon Stubbleworth, who had faithfully kept the secret until that time, could contain no longer, but gave vent to his feelings in convulsive peals of laughter, as the burning tears of heart-felt joy coursed their way down his cheeks. "Yes, my brethren," he said, "it's all a fact: I did maul the grace into his unbelieving soul, there's no doubt."
The blacksmith of the mountain pass became a happy man, and a Methodist preacher.— Olive Branch.
DECORATING THE GRAVE WITH FLOWERS.
There is a kind of pathos and touching tenderness of expression in the sweet and fragrant emblems of affection, which language cannot reach, and which is calculated to perpetuate a kind of soothing sympathy between the living and the dead. They speak of cords of love, too strong for even the grave to break asunder. The practice, no doubt, gave rise to the ancient custom which prevailed in the East of burying in gardens, and is one which conduces to the gratification of the best feelings of our nature. It prevailed generally in and about the Holy City, and also among the Medes, Persians, Grecians and Romans. The Persians adopted it from the Medes, the Grecians from the Persians. In Rome persons of distinction were buried in gardens or fields near the public roads. Their monuments were decorated with chaplets and garlands of flowers.
The tomb of Achilles was decorated with amaranth; the grave of Sophocles with roses and ivy; that of Anacreon with ivy and flowrets. Baskets of lilies, violets and roses, were placed in the graves of husbands and wives, and roses in those of unmarried females. In Java, the inhabitants scatter flowers over the dead bodies of their friends. In China, the custom of planting flowers on the graves of their friends is of very ancient date and still prevails. The natives of Surat strew fresh flowers on the graves of their Saints every year.
In Tripoli, the tombs are decorated with garlands of roses, of Arabian jessemine, and orange, and myrtle flowers.
In Schwytz, a village in Switzerland, there is a beautiful little church-yard, in which almost every grave is covered with pinks. In the elegant church-yard at Wirfin, in the valley of Salza, in Germany, the graves are covered with little oblong boxes, which are planted with perennial shrubs, or renewed with annual flowers, and others are so dressed
'on fete days. Suspended from the ornaments jof recent graves, are little vases filled with !water, in which the flowers are preserved
fresh. Children are often seen thus dressing 'the graves of their mothers—and mothers
wreathing garbmds for the graves of their j children.
A late traveller, on going early in the morning into one of the church-yards in the village of Wirfm, saw six or seven persons decorating the graves of their friends, and of some who had been buried twenty years. What a delightful and profitable school for the affection would such scenes afford the visitors of cemeteries in this country! This custom also prevails in Scotland, and North and South Wales. An epitaph there says:—
"Tbe village maidens to her grave shall bring
In Wales, children have snow-drops, primroses, violets, hazel-bloom, and sallow blossoms on their graves. Persons of mature years have tansy, box and rue. In South Wales, no flowers are permitted to be planted on graves but those which are sweet scented. Pink, polyanthos, sweet-williams, gilliflowers, carnations, mignionette, thyme, hyssop, camomile, and rosemary are used. The red roses are appropriated to the graves of good and benevolent persons.
In Easter week, most graves are newly dressed and covered with fresh earth. la Whitsuntide holydays, they are again dressed, weeded, and, if necessary, replanted. No person ever breaks or disturbs flowers thus planted. It is considered sacrilege. To the shame of some depraved wretches, it seems it is not so in some parts of our country.
In Cabul, burying grounds are held in great veneration, and called Cities of the Silent. The Jews called them Houses of the Dead. The Egyptians visited the graves of their friends twice a week, and strewed sweet Bazil on them and do to this day.
While the custom of decorating graves and grave-yards with flowers and ornamented trees and shrubs, has prevailed so long and extensively among ancient and modern civilized nations, some of the American aborigines will not permit a weed or blade of grass, nor any other vegetable to grow upon the graves of their friends. With few exceptions, there has hitherto been in our country a strange remissness on this subject which would surprise the heathen. Graves and church-yards are left to the course of gradual dilapidation and decay, which ever follow in the train of moral degradation.—New Haven Palladium.