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hills; the earth's great altars were around me. For incense there was the pure, sweet summer air, laden with a subtle fragrance of wild thyme and heather; for chant and anthem there was the solemn music of the mountain torrents, and the deep, ceaseless murmur of the wind among the rocks, sounding like the great diapasons of a mighty organ; and over all was the broad crystal dome of sky, that presently would be lit up with myriads of golden lamps. Lake and valley, mountain peak and craggy ravines, rippling streams and rushing torrents, azure heaven and fleecy cloud, seemed all joining in one vast ringing chorus-Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest, for ever and for evermore. Amen.
All this while I had happily forgotten myself, I was recalled to my usual unprofitable theme of reflection by a thought which suddenly crossed my mind,-how must the sea look in such an hour as this? Ab, what must the sea be like! If I could only look upon it in a storm, such as I had read of, or watch it in its treacherous calms, or walk along the shore that people talked about while the waves curled and danced around my feet, and the white-winged ships went sailing by, far, far away into that illimitable distance of sea and sky! And thinking of the sea and ships, my mind naturally reverted to my dead father, to the Captain Vassall who was buried in the Indian Ocean, and to my unknown mother, of whose existence I had never even heard. Thinking of these mysterious beings to whom I owed my life,-my life that was beginning to be a sort of burden to me with its sirangeness and its perplexities,,I felt a thrill of something beyond wonder that shook my boyish heart. It was a yearning for I knew not what, a kind of blind, aimless groping and stretching out of feeble hands into the far futurity that seemed even now to whisper of unknown things in a language which I could not comprehend; it was a vain longing, an intense yet nearly unrecognised love for the father and mother whom I had never seen. I had never missed any care, or any kindness; but now I wept because I was an orphan, and subtle links, invisible and undefinable, seemed to exist between me and these unknown personages, who would have been all the world to me had they still been living.
I began to wish to leave quiet Eaglesmere to go out into the wide world beyond the mountains, into the world whose faintest echoes seldom reached our solitary dale. I wanted to live my life, not to dream it away; I felt that I should pine without more action than that which could be possible to a dweller in the “corners of the earth.” Suddenly I had grown older and more restless, and I longed for change. Little did I think how great a change was at hand, and how near it was ; little did I imagine as
and the line
I sat there watching the last yellow line of light paling on the western heights, that soon, very soon, peaceful Eaglesmere would be but a memory of the past.
(To be continued.)
A GOSSIP CONCERNING THE PEOPLE OF GOTHAM.
BY THE REV. E. PAXTON HOOD. And perhaps some reader will say, Where is Gotham ? and who are its people? and what have they done to make them worthy of the distinction of such a gossip as we propose to hold in the course of the following few pages? Yet the “Merry Tales of the Madmen of Gotham,” gathered together in 1630, is not an uncelebrated book. Most countries seem to have had some region which has been set apart as famous for folly : Phrygia, in Asia ; Abdera, in Thrace; and Boeotia, in Greece; with us, Gotham, in Lincoln. shire--though we believe Sussex has claimed the honour of giving birth to those wise men whose deeds, through the “ Merry Tales " we have referred to above, are so well known. It seems a soft and gentle way of expressing that prevalent disease, folly, to describe a man as a citizen of Gotham. The stupid people have always been a fine harvest for satire; and a long string of proverbs might be quoted in which laughter has indulged itself at their expense. The French say, “Men learn to shave on the chin of a fool;" and again, “ To wash an ass's head is a loss of soapsuds.” The Germans also, “ Asses sing badly, because they pitch their voices too high.” " Fool" is a rough, strong word, but even in Scripture it is of very common occurrence; it designates a very large family, in which there are many varieties. It is a descriptive designation for want of consideration ; and folly is more or less culpable according to the difference involved in the moral character. When our Lord says, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that Scripture hath spoken,” it is a gentle rebuke, compared with that strong expression of scorn, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God;” but, in both instances, want of consideration is the fault of the character. It is the inconsiderate man of whom it is reported, “ He saith to every one that he is a fool ;” “A fool's tongue is long enough to cut his own throat.” By consideration, of course, we ought to understand the power of reasoning and comparison, the ability to look at things side by side. There are those who seem to be entirely stupid and utterly unable to derive the true impression from things; as the maxim has it, “Some men will make a pound while others are turning over a shilling.” The twentysixth chapter of the Book of Proverbs is full of axioms about fools. “ As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, 80 honour is not seemly for a fool ; ” that is, it sits badly upon him; he neither deserves it, nor does he know how to use it. It is quite out of season and out of place; therefore, “As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool ;” or, as another reading gives it, “ As he that putteth a jewel in a heap of stones,"—that is, give honour to a fool, it will be used as a stone to strike; or, on the other hand, it is honour altogether thrown away. Such were the wise men of Gotham.
“ The Merry Tales of the Madmen of Gotham” do not make a very large book, but in them folly is very ludicrously satirised, as
the following Good Friday was to do with
“When that Good Friday was come, the men of Gotham did cast their heads together what to do with their white herrings, their red herrings, their sprats, and salt fish. One consulted with the other, and agreed that such fish should be cast into their pond or pool (the which was in the middle of the town), that it might increase against the next year ; and every man that had any fish left did cast them into the pool. The one said, 'I have thus many white herrings ;' another said, 'I have thus many sprats ;' and the other said, “I have thus many salt fishes. Let all go together into the pool or pond, and we shall fare like lords the next Lent.' At the beginning of the next Lent following the men did draw the pond to have their fish, and there was nothing but a great eel. "Ah!' said they all, a mischief on this eel, for he hath eaten up all our fish. What shall we do with him?' said the one to the other. *Kill him,' said one of them. “Chop him all to pieces,' said another. “No, not so,' said the other ; let us drown him.' 'Be it so,' said all. They went to another pool or pond by, and did cast the eel into the water. 'Lie there,' said they, 'and shift for thyself, for no help thou shalt have of us. And there they left the eel to be drowned."
The same veracious book furnishes us with another instance :
“ On a certain time there were twelve men of Gotham that did go a fishing, and some did wade in the water, and some stood upon dry land, and when they went homeward one said to the other, • We have ventured wonderful hard this day in wading; I pray God that none of us that did come from home be drowned.' `Marry,' said the one to the other, let us see that, for there did twelve of us come out.' And they told themselves, and every man did tell eleven, and the twelfth man did never tell himself. “Alas !' said the one to the other, “there is one of us drowned.' They went back
to the brook where they had been fishing, and sought up and down for him that was drowned, and did make great lamentation. A courtier did come riding by, and he did ask what it was they did seek, and why they were so sorry. 'Oh,' said they, 'this day we went to fish in this brook, and there did come out twelve of us, and one is drowned.' Why,' said the courtier, 'tell how many be of you.' And the one told eleven, and he did not tell himself. 'Well,' said the courtier, 'what will you give, and I will find out twelve men?' 'Sir,' said they, 'all the money that we have.' "Give me the money,' said the courtier ; and he began with the first, and did give him a recombendibus over the shoulders that he groaned, and said, 'There is one.' So he served all, that they groaned on the matter. When he did come to the last, he paid him a good blow, saying, 'Here is the twelfth man.' 'God's blessing on your heart, said all the company, that you have found out our neighbour.'”
It was the men of Gotham who, wanting to hear the cuckoo sing the whole year through, caught one and made a hedge round it, but then leaving it, the bird flew away. “Ah!” said they, “ we did not build that hedge high enough.” He was a man of Gotham who, riding to market on his horse with two bushels of wheat, and, thinking them too heavy for his horse, put one upon his own back that he might lighten his horse's burden. Such things have been said of the inhabitants of this very mythological town, and in some such way men have for many ages been fond of putting folly in a strong light. So we have also the Cumæan who, when purchasing window frames ready-made, inquired if he could have them to look towards the south; and that other, who, when questioned as to where some neighbour dwelt, replied, “If you'll mind my shop I'll come and show you.” A man of note of Cumæ being dead, some one went up and asked the mourners who the dead man was. One of them, turning round, with a wave of the hand exclaimed, “The person who lies on the bier.” A naturalist bought a crow for the express purpose of ascertaining whether that bird would live a hundred years; and in a shipwreck, while some clung to broken fragments of the vessel or to rafts, one acute observer secured his safety by causing himself to be lashed to the anchor. Such stories are truly innumerable, they are to be found in most countries and counties, and in such singular fancies men have sought to hold up to humour the idiosyncrasies of that remarkable but very common creature in natural history, the Fool.
Real life supplies very often instances almost as ludicrous as the extravagances attributed to our famous wise men. It is not long since we heard in real truth of an interesting worthy who ought to have belonged to Gotham, but who really resided at Braintree, in Essex. Thence he wrote a letter to his brother at Coggeshall, arranging to meet him at Blackwater, about half-way between the two towns. Thither he repaired on the appointed day, and sat the whole afternoon on a well-known stile, marvelling much that his brother did not come up, when by chance, turning to his pocket, he found in that domestic receptacle his own letter, unposted and of course undelivered.
One characteristic describes this whole order. It is the want of consideration ; even if this in some instances appears insufficient, it is still sufficiently descriptive. “Even a rogue,” said Coleridge, “is only a roundabout fool-a fool in circumbendibus.” And surely we have had innumerable proofs of this in the astonishing instances of roguery with which the last few years have abounded. In general, however, it is sufficient to find want of consideration to be the chief mark of the whole race of Gotham.
“ The legs of the lame are not equal, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.” Bishop Patrick says, “ A wise saying doth as ill become a fool as dancing doth a cripple.” He must have put his sermon together very badly who, when preaching, could be so transparent that his auditors said, “That's Butler, that's Paley, that's Taylor, that's Barrow," and at last “ that's his own!” The parables of the wise men were in the mouth of the fool, and when he came to his own little affair the difference was instantly perceived; he was a lame preacher, and verifies and realises the other proverb, “ As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.” It does harm to himself. So far from serving his cause it only shows him to be “a workman who needs” to “be ashamed.” The spectacle of wealth in the hands of folly must have been sometimes surprising to the wise man. “Why is a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom ?” “ A fool hath no delight in understanding.” “A fool's mouth is his destruction.” “Every fool will be meddling." Folly is often painfully incurable, as indeed the Spanish proverb says, “ It is the one disease for which there is no doctor.” Or, as the wise man says, “ As the dog returnetl to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” No matter what sickness or what sorrow, what pain or disappointment, may have befallen him, when the occasion is past he turns back again to the old spring whence oozed forth the causes of his misery. Seldom can it be said of these children of folly what the great poet has said of the reformed Henry V.:
“ Consideration, like an angel, came
To envelope and contain celestial spirits." Where this change is possible the character is transformed, and folly and Gotham are left far in the rear. We said just now that the varieties of folly are many, this want of consideration being the
eties of folare left far in the character is