« ElőzőTovább »
whatten wull be ť end thereof? I'll tell ye, Hughy, though I'll no live to see it mysel', but when it comes to pass, then bethink ye of what I tell to ye this day. When folk hae gotten used to bein' wi’out their parish clerks, they'll say, 'Let's do wi’out parson !' an' bit by bit t' office o' t' sacred ministry 'll fa' under rebuke ; it 'll be like as it is noo wi' t clerks; there'll be ane here, an'ane there, to be lookit on as curiosities, an' ca’ed 'abuses,' yes, abuses! that was t word as Mr. Drew said, when he told how t' holy an' time-out-o'-mind honoured office o'clerk had been debolished i' this sinfu' parish o' Dovercourt! Mark my words, Hugh Vassall, that is to say, Hugh Travis, it's t'thin end o' wedge that's gotten in by ť enemies o' Mother Church, an' 'twull be her downfa’! Yes! clerks is gane, or weel-nigh gane; parsons 'll gang next; then kirks, an' o' course kirk-ganging, then t' grand auld Kirk-I mean Church o' England--will fa'; there'll be nae Establishit Kirk onywhere, an' ungodliness an' infidelity 'll come in like a flood, an' owerflow this onfaithfu' land, or else ť Papists 'll rise, sword i' hand, and ť' Pope o' Rome 'll come ower wi' a great army o' priests an' soldiers, an' the bluidy days o Queen Mary 'll be revived, an' there'll be the Inquisition in t' Tower o' London, where them torturing things be kept, an' t' fires o' Smithfield will be rekindled, an' t' Mass set oop, an' images worshipped ; an' t' Lord 'ull gie t' counthry ower to her ain ways, an' she sall be desolate, and the nations say of her, “Ichabod ! Ichabod ! for the glory is departed.' Mind my words, Hugh, laddie! for a' this, an' mair na this, 'll come upon delooded England afore mony years be past gin she gangs na' back to her auld parish clerks, an' keeps na' oop t' Establishit Church in a' her power and glory! I'll be in my grave then, Hughy, wi' my ten taes turned oop to t' daisies, but ye mebbe 'll be i' t' land o' the leevin'; an' then, when anarchy, an' bluidshed, an' infidelity abound an' rampage, an' t abomination that maketh desolate be set oop in t' high places—that is when t' Pope o' Rome says High Mass at St. Paul's Cathedral in London town, an' t Mother o' Harlots, the gret Scarlet Whore o' t' Seven Hills, clad in purple and decket wi' a' precious stanes, shall sit i’ Westminster Abbey, drunken wi' ť bluid o' saints--for that's whatten t' Prophet meant by t'abomination that meketh desolate' being set oop, as a' knowledgable persons ken weel—then, Hugh, laddie, think on what tauld parish clerk says to ye this day!”
After that we had family prayers, and Martin read the twelfth chapter of the prophet Daniel, and the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of the Revelation, as being appropriate to the exordium he had just delivered. And departing from his usual custom of using only portions of the Church prayers, he offered up a series of very remarkable supplications, mixed, I am afraid, with solemn denunciations which evidently interested Rebecca and exasperated Margery, who was very sleepy and did not approve of prolonged devotions at so late an hour.
Martin made a sort of apology, when we all rose up very tired, very stiff in the knees, and by no means edified.
“It was just t occasion,” he pleaded, seeing Margery ready to give tongue in spite of her fatigue. “I wanted to wrestle for this ungodly land an' this impious generation also; I wanted to build oop this laddie as is gangin out into a warld o'errors an' temptations in the holy faith i' which he has bin reared. I thocht as it was ony reight that ance mair he suld hear sound docthrine."
“Sund docthrine d'ye ca’ that?” cried Margery, resentfully. "I ca' it a' din o' words—words o’yer ain wi' plenty o' sound in 'em and varie little sense. Not that I wad spake ill o' t' Holy Scripters, but ye’ve nae reight to string texts togither i' that fashion. Ye may turn onything topsy-turvy i' that way, and prove onything ye like i' Scripter language. But it's wrang, it's a'togither wrang, if no' blasphemious.”
“An' ye say that to me—to me that hev been parish clerk sae lang? Tek heed, woman, an' restreen thy tangue, for there's a law o'tland against contempt o' t' clergy."
“ Whisht!" said Margery, contemptuously. “Contempt o'clergy an' contempt o' parish clerks is varie diffrint, I trow; ony way, I her' a great contempt o' parish clerks; them that I've known wur sich fules, sae eaten oop wi' silly pride an' vain glory. An' it's a reight gude thing they're bein' dune awa' wi', sin' a' they ever did was to bawl, ‘ Amen' an' drawl t words after t parson wi' half a growl an' half a snuffle like. They wur abuses, an' they wur corruptions, as Mr. Drew said. I've larned a sight o' things sin' I cam' South. As for t Pope o' Rome comin' to ť big kirk i London, I wonder at ye for telling sich lees, an' fillin' oop t'laddie's mind wi' sich nonsense an' reight down foolishness. An' then to gang discoorsin about the Scarlet Woman, an' ca’ing her by names as ought niver to be said afore lads and lassies. I wonder at ye; oh, I wonder at ye, but ye niver had much sense. Ye've found t' fine words an' made t grand orations, an' I've found t' common sense evir sin' we were wed, or I dinna ken wha' we wad her' been. But gin ye talk ony mair about whores an' harlots i' my ears, whether they be o' Rome, or o' Babylon, or o Westminster, or onywheres i' a' the wide world, for they suldna be naewheres ;—I'll jist oop wi' t' pitchers, or t' porringers, or whattern comes convenient to hand, an' I'll jist skirl 'em at yer fulish head that owt to ken better wi' a' its hairs turned grey.”
"I ony used Bible language," said Martin, terribly disconcerted. The temporary afflatus had deserted him, and he was beginning to feel ashamed of the unwonted excitement into which he had been betrayed. He began also to have suspicions that his high-sounding and long-winded prayer contained a good deal of nonsense, which, indeed, was the truth. He really had, as Margery said, strung texts together anyhow, mixing up Jericho and Rome, Solomon's Temple and Westminster Abbey in most inextricable confusion.
And Margery replied, “ Angin ye did, what then? Some of Bible words are no' for every-day use, an' ye might have respected the Holy Scripters mair than to use 'em for uphanding o' yer ain mad clavers. There, git to bed. I'm jist ashamed on ye, auld man. I'll say nae mair now, but let's hev' prayers oot o' Beuk next time. I dinna like to hear cursin' and ravin' ca’ed prayin'. An' ťlassie Becca there on her knees too. Gang a' to bed, I tell
But Rebecca, being thus appealed to, answered rather pertly, “Indeed I thought it was a very fine prayer, and I like a change sometimes ! It was just like the praying and preaching of Job Merrick, the pig-sticker, at Frimley, the village across the great Down, you know. He's of the Methodist persuasion, and they have got no regular minister at Frimley, so Job prays and expounds; and he does preach such fine sermons, and his prayers are fit to lift the roof off! You may hear them a mile off, which makes it much nicer to be outside the chapel than inside. And Mester's prayer to-night reminded me very much of Job's; just the same sort of language that stirs you up, whether you understand it or not! They would be very glad of your help, Mester, at Frimley ; they would welcome their prayer-meetings anyhow, for you've got the gift, and no mistake! And there are some very stirring people among the Methodists, and I must say they have done good at Frimley, which was a heathen sort of place before they came. Not that I hold with Methodists--only there's good in all persuasions, and there are openings out of the Church that you can't get in it. You might preach the very next Sunday at the Methodist chapel, Mester, and I would be proud to come and hear you. You would have to give them your experience, and evidences, and all that, because they don't let unconverted people, if they know it, into their pulpits, as we do sometimes, when there's a family living to be given away, and a scapegrace son or nephew to be provided for."
Martin looked dumbfoundered ; Margery was both wrathful and elate.
“There !” she cried ; “ that's what it's come to! To be counted alang wi' Methodies, an' Quakers, an' Baptises, and sech-like cattle ! as ou't to be shut up fast in th' innermost prison, till they give oop their wrang notions, an' com back humbly to t’ Kirk ! I'd root a' religions but my ain religion out o' t' land, an I wur Queen Victoria !”
With which Catholic sentiment Mrs. Wray retired into the privacy of her conjugal chamber, Martin slowly following. What happened to him afterwards of course I do not know; but next morning he came down in a very subdued frame of mind, looking so downcast and meek that I did not like the idea of leaving him for five whole days. Margery looked triumphant; she had reduced her liege lord to at least temporary submission. I am afraid she celebrated her victory rather tyrannically.
Mr. Duckett drove me to Stoketon, and put me down at Dr. Richardson's door. I was kindly received, and I liked my companion ; but-oh! my prophetic soul-I found myself next morn. ing at the very bottom of the lowest form!
(To be continued.)
LIFE, SOCIAL, ECCLESIASTICAL, AND POLITICAL, IN
BY THE REV. W. M. STATHAM.
YORKSHIRE is a grand old county. There is a ripe flavour about its very name. It reminds us of days long gone by, when a generation that sleeps now in the dear English country churchyards used to coach it, all the way, down to Boroughbridge or Bolton Abbey! Days? yes, and nights too—when the passengers used to come tumbling down from the top of coaches in the Christmas season, very lobster-like in the expression of their countenances, and in a state of such complete frigidity that nothing but the fire of a Yorkshire inn-kitchen could thaw them properly. In they used to flock, beating their breasts and blowing hard their frostbitten fingers, and performing all sorts of extraordinary antics. Elephantine-like, indeed, these antics were when “ Sam's father," with his capacious frost-clad hat and his magnificently buttoned great-coat, came up the yard with the thunder of his step shaking off the snow, and with the smile of his countenance reminding you that he, at all events, was ready for the breakfast-time onslaught.
Yes, onslaught indeed it was I know no better designation. A breakfast at the old Yorkshire inn in the coaching days was no social joke, no mere complimentary meal, I can tell
you. had been hurry enough on the road, and you must take it easy &
The horses had come up the inn yard with steaming
sides and with clattering hoofs to their corn and chaff breakfast, and it was but fair that the civilised humanity, who for the last dozen miles or so had sat behind them, should take their turn at the well-provisioned table of the hostelry.
Even at this day a regular Yorkshire breakfast or tea is a remarkable phenomenon in the sphere of dietetics ; but what is now-a-days to then-a-days? And if ever a tempting repast could be spread for hungry mortals, I guess that the Yorkshire maids had in the olden times an unsurpassable ability in placing tongue, hams, chickens, eggs, &c., in all sorts of green surrounding garnitures, most temptingly on the snow-white cloth! The frost had got the better of you for some time, but now-good luck to it-you had got the better of the frost ; you had his head in “ chancery” just then, and you meant to give it to him roundly and soundly. You pelted him with eggs, you made a scourge of stripes with the ruddy ham, and what with a roaring fire and the excellent viands, you got the better of winter splendidly; but the musical clatter, clatter on the flint-paved yard said here the horses come, and there appeared forthwith the fresh team, their harness spick and span, with its polished brass sparkling in the sun, and a fresh whip too, which the ostler was playing with like an experienced troutfisher whipping the stream. The call “ Ready, gentlemen,” roused all the passengers, and now winter once again—if the pugilistic figure may be forgiven-was about to get our heads into chancery, and have a turn at the more prominent features of the outsiders. Inside, if you could put up with a sense of general stuffiness, you might, by the abnegation of mental comfort, insure, at all events, some physical warmth, only two to one there was a specimen of elderly nervousness inside who would take it out of you in mental worry. Trains and telegraphs have altered all this—not that people travel by the latter, but their thoughts do, which in some cases is something more manageable than the sending themselves. However, these old days, with their light and dark sides (and they, of course, had both), were rich in experiences of English comfort, and in observation of English character. We like to think of these days now, and all we heard about them; many a kind heart that now sleeps in the clods of the valley has brightened our evening hours by tales of Yorkshire in the olden time, and often enough we have had side-shaking laughter at the dialect, so strange in these days to the London citizens' ears. What, Mary, you're making some cakes for the travellers, are you?” said an old friend of mine to a girl who was putting some“ pasties” into the inn-kitchen oven. " I'm deen a lė'el as ’longs t’l'em,” she said. Alas! who could at first translate that into “ I'm doing a little as belongs to them"?