« ElőzőTovább »
One worthy lady, after having recorded her name below that of her departed husband's as, “ Also of A. B., his affectionate Wife, who only lived to deplore his Loss until the
year of her Age," so far recovered herself as to enter again into the holy banns of matrimony. There is no necessity for these rash resolutions : and we are told the only obstacle the new wooer had to surmount, was
what would the people say when they saw her record on the monument?" The lady was a foreigner. Again we think, unless with the very aged or very infirm indeed, these are rash and unnecessary resolves. Grief is a shy, retiring creature ; every one respects her solitude, and all are glad when she again“ makes sunshine in a shady place." True sorrow is too sacred to be trifled with ; and if it will run into the very extreme, as in the above instance, it is not the less to be pitied. We are too fond of judging upon matters as they are, without properly weighing and looking at what they once were ; forgetting that human nature, in its most perfect state, is never without a portion of the old leaven of human weakness.
In one compartment of the catacombs we saw a small brass plate, fastened in the front of the bars; and on it was engraved the name of the inhabitant who slept within. The plate looked as if it had been removed from the door of the house where the dead had once dwelt. difference in those two houses! No postman, with inquiring eye, compares the address with the engraved name now. The busy maid-servant has long missed it “ from its accustomed place;” it reflects her shining face no longer. The owner cares not what visiters may think now; dim, dull, and tarnished, it tells how altered is the inhabitant, though still always " at home."
A strange effect do those catacombs underground on the hill-side produce on such as have never before visited them. At the end of the long, dark gateway, the sunshine streams down beyond the wide passage
which you traverse, with its gloomy doorways,—all occupied, or ready prepared for the dead. Your path lies between the houses of the dead, all up hill, shadowy, steep, and silent. It is like passing through the grave; and the sunshine that brightens beyond, looks as if it belonged to another world. The difference between these and the higher range on the utmost summit, is very striking; for there you can command a view of the wide, open country, and feel the free air blowing cheerfully upon your cheek. Here you might fancy yourself amongst those subterraneous tombs where the bandaged mummies of Egypt sleep. No one can now say that
“The rich, the poor, the base, the brave,
In death without distinction lie."
The distinction between the base and the brave rests not with man to decide ; but between the rich and the poor there needs but a glance, and an inquiry as to fees, to satisfy any one, that the poor will be a long time before they are admitted into these “high places.” But still we trust the day is near at hand, when Rural Cemeteries will be looked upon in a very different light to what they now are; that it will be thought necessary to take better care of the dead, in order to improve the health of the living; that however much opposition there may be to the allotment system amongst us now, we shall not begrudge that common allotment which will allow six feet of earth for the dead ; that they who never had a freehold whilst living, may at last inherit one undisturbed, nor be called upon to resign their
claim until they have mingled “clay with clay.” Monuments they could not afford ; nor would this be needed if the hillocks were ranged in even rows; and, counting from the first, each was numbered, and an entry made in some large solemn-looking, and strongly-bound book. Something like this, and conveyances at little more than our hackney-coach fares, will soon silence the crying evil about crowded and unhealthy city churchyards. The wild Indians show more respect for the bones of their dead than we do; let us no longer need such an example. Had there been no lack of cheap Rural Cemeteries, the public would have been spared many of those revolting details which have shocked even the unthinking portion of mankind. But this is an evil that a few acres of land may for ever remedy; and we trust that, in a country so renowned for improvements as England, every town will soon have its cheap RURAL CEMETERY.
We have often wished, when visiting the various exhibition rooms in London, that there were (in place of the many portraits, which too often occupy the best places and the largest space) a few more pictures of English scenery. Railroads are rapidly cutting up the face of the country, and in the course of a few more years, many a picturesque spot, that
now ornaments the landscape, will be swept away, the manners and customs of the old fashioned villages will be changed, and objects which have, time-out-of-mind, stood out like the bold bluff headlands that dot our coast, will disappear for
Nor do such scenes transferred to canvas stand out alone like “green spots in the desert waste," delighting only ourselves; but if well done, they multiply in engravings, and bring pleasant memories to a thousand hearths, carrying future generations back to the days of their “ rude forefathers," and awakening many a dear remembrance, which but for them would have slumbered until the day of death in the dark chambers of forgetfulness. Such pictures call up images of repose, and beauty, and love; some of us were familiar with them in the earlier years of childhood.—What poetical touches time hath given! How rich and mellow are the tints that memory throws over the whole landscape !—the winding road is filled with portraits, and we look calmly on that great gallery of the dead! This is but the imagination aroused while looking upon the sketch of a well-known scene. A portrait alone could not awaken such recollections !
Many of our fine old English rivers abound in beautiful pictures, not of landscape alone, but of scenes that come and go, like the shifting effects of sunshine, cloud-coloured: where but a minute before we saw every object as if cut out in gold, the next changes to a dim bronze, and then shuts all in under a cover of dusky green. Under such a sky as this (when sun and shade come down to play with one another on the earth), what can look more picturesque than a large flat-bottomed old ferry-boat, creeping, as if half-afraid, from the further shore of the river, and throwing into the water, clear-shadowed, images of sheep and oxen, the red cloak of an old market-woman, the blue smock frock of some shep