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lugubrious ballad, beginning, “All alone I am pining," and then she gave us in adagio time and con espressione, Go, forget me!” From her choice of songs I argued that she had suffered from some kind of unrequited or blighted attachment, though at the same time I could not wonder at anybody forgetting her, if he possibly could do so. The other sisters, I afterwards discovered, were pretty and lively, and had married before they were well out of their teens; no wonder that poor Lavinia should object to be “left pining alone" in the comfortable, sombre, Bedford Square mansion.
The next day Mr. Merriton took me down into his private office, which was snug and cosy, but very close and dark. There was light enough, however, for me to read my own name in large white letters on a square japanned tin box, placed on a shelf immediately opposite my chair. My whole name, too—“Hugh Travis Vassall ! ” I supposed the box must be mine, but I knew nothing about it.
“Now, Mr. Travis," began Mr. Merriton ; “let us have a little quiet talk. In the first place, let me observe that I know your real name to be Vassall, and that I know also all the reasons why you are known only by the two names given you by your godfathers and godmother in your baptism; I know more about you than you know about yourself.”
“I am not sure of that," I replied, quickly; “I know my own strange history, Mr. Merriton." He looked sharply at me.
“From whom did you learn it, pray ? from the marchioness ?” “ By no means; neither was it from the Wrays, nor from
old tutor at Eaglesmere. A stranger, from Rosthwaite, in Cumberland, told me the whole story.”
“ Indeed! Well, then, there is nothing more to be said, and please do not tell me the story, or any portion of it.”
“May I not ask you a few questions?”
“Not as regards the history to which you have just alluded; I could not answer them.”
“And yet I am told that you are my legal adviser !”
“Precisely; and as your legal adviser, and being in possession of all the facts of the case, I counsel you to keep silence on the subject in question."
“But you will at least admit
“ I admit nothing, young gentleman. On principle, I never make admissions ; they are unprofessional and imprudent.”
" Then what is the use of a lawyer ? ” I asked, quite angrily,“ if one may not ask bim questions concerning one's self, and if he distinctly refuses to make admissions even ?”
Mr. Merriton smiled, "Have patience, Mr. Vassall. If you do really
know the story of your infancy—you could not help suspecting it, matters have been so wildly, so insanely managed-you must feel that it is wisest, that it is a duty you owe to one person in particular, to let it rest. You are not a child, and you must perceive the force of what I say. I cannot answer any questions referring to the past; but if you wish for information as regards your present position, and your future prospects, I am at your service.”
“I beg pardon if I spoke hastily," I replied. “I am afraid my temper is none of the most even, and I am sure you mean only kindness to myself and to others concerned. The marchioness said I might fully trust you." “And you may, young man.
I thank God the man or woman lives not who has cause to repent trusting Richard Merriton. May I ask you if your allowance is sufficient? that is, do you make it sufficient?"
“It was ample while I was at Heidelberg; during my sojourn in Paris I was foolish enough to overrun the constable.”
“ Then you are at present in debt?”
“I am happy to say I am not. The marchioness kindly paid all I owed, and I have promised her that a similar necessity shall not recur.”
“Very good. Now, Mr. Vassall, her ladyship has written to me, proposing that I should increase your allowance to 5001. a year. It rests with me entirely, for she has no power over your income, always remember that! Now I think her ladyship is scarcely wise in making this proposition ; 5001. per annum is more than a young fellow like you ought to wish to spend. I disapprove entirely of extravagant habits, and they are so easily acquired.”
“May I ask what money I really have ? ”
“You may, and I will tell you, for you have a right to know. You have a clear income of 1,0001. a year—it was less once, but it has been judiciously managed. By the time you attain your majority it will be, I doubt not, 1,2001. per annum, even if your allowance be at once increased to five hundred !”
“May I ask to whom I am indebted for this income, sir? I know that my father left literally nothing when he died.”
“You may not ask; I told you not to question me about the past. Only be sure that the money is honestly and honourably yours,
you need not scruple to make use of it. Have you any thought of selecting a profession ? "
“I have thought of it, Mr. Merriton, and I should be glad to discuss the subject with you. I had thought of my father's profession, but I believe I am too old for that?
“You are. Should you like to enter the Church ?” “I think not; I have scruples about subscription."
“Would the army suit you ? "
By no means; I have not the smallest military enthusiasm." “My own profession, then ? How should you like to be a lawyer -a barrister, that is to say ?”
“I think I should like it very well. I have no wish to be idle because I happen to have 1,0001. a year."
“We will think it over. The Marchioness would not disapprove, I know.”
And we did think it over, and the result was that ar.angements were made for my entering upon the necessary studies immediately, though I was to keep my terms at Heidelberg for yet another year.
“But if I had had my own way, young man,” said Mr. Merriton, grimly, “I should have entered you for the Civil Service, and got you shipped off for India as soon as possible. I am convinced that would have been best for all parties.”
I was glad that Mr. Merriton had not had his own way, for expatriation, however honourable, was scarcely to my taste.
(To be continued.)
A CAMP MEETING IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND.
It is to the praise of Primitive Methodism that it flourishes best in the great counties of Yorkshire, Northumberland, and Durham, and has its most splendid moral trophies in the midst of populations where rude sports on the one hand, and self-cultivated minds on the other, largely prevail. But to see Primitive Methodism in its glory we must attend a camp meeting, and, above all, a camp meeting in a popular locality where good singers, fiery preachers, and mighty "praying men" are expected. Such a meeting did we once attend long, long ago, and its memory is sweet and verdant still. A sketch of the day as genial and literal as we can make it may, perhaps, be acceptable to our readers, especially those in the "north countries."
The meeting, then, is held in a green field within sight of a colliery, and not far from the valley of the Tyne. Long rows of pitmen's cottages run along the side of the hill on which the colliery stands, and at the end of these rows is the Primitive Methodist Chapel. At the bottom of the meadow, under the shade of some trees, is a large waggon, “the preaching-stand” for the day, and here are gathering processions of Primitives from Newcastle, Blaydon, Winlaton, Ballast Hills, Grecnside, Walbottle, and many other places famous for eloquent local preachers and class leaders full of faith and holy fire. On they come, the men in black clothes cut like a Quaker's, wearing white neck-cloths and broad-brimmed hats, and carrying umbrellas to shelter them from sun or rain. On they come, the women in light dresses and semi-Quaker bonnets. On they come, young men and maidens blithe and good, and radi. ant with love both human and Divine. On they come, crowds of “all sorts” from near and far, poachers, quoit players, dog-fighters, wrestlers, bowlers, ploughmen, tradesmen, drunkards, reformed drunkards, farmers and their families, and artisans from the engine factory, all hastening to what they improperly call “the Ranters' camp meeting.”
Many of the Primitives approach the rendezvous singing some favourite hymn. Here, see, is a procession headed by the famous Primitive singer, Richard Raine, the beau ideal of a Primitive choir master, and as they troop through the gate into the field Richard
“The Gospel ship along is sailing,
Bound for Canaan's peaceful shore;
Yet there's room for millions more.”
“Glory, glory, Hallelujah!
All our sailors loudly cry;
Opens to each longing eye.” But it is half-past ten o'clock, and time to begin. William Towler, the superintendent preacher, a fine, tall, polished, pleasantlooking man—but, mark you, one who can at times excite a congregation into a religious furore-ascends the waggon, followed by Robert Foster, of Newcastle ; Thomas Waller, of Scotswood; George Bailey, of West Moor; William Leighton, of Ballast Hills; George Charlton, the circuit steward ; and Richard Raine, who is to lead the singing. William Towler announces the hymn
“Blow ye the trumpet! blow!
The gladly solemn sound;
The year of jubilee is come:
Return, ye ransomed sinners, home." Up stands Richard Raine, and in a fine, clear, inspiriting voice commences the tune, and, in a moment more, hill, dale, river, and sky resound to the mighty song of the people. Two prayers follow -such prayers! They are not genteel whispers, not formal petitions. No, they are audible, fervent, holy prayers, and the kneeling multitude respond with loud “ Amens” and shouts of “Praise the Lord.” William Towler, evidently roused by the prayers, announces the second hymn in an impassioned voice
“ Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore,
Full of pity, love, and power ;
He is ahle, He is willing, doubt no more.” Richard Raine is now like a prophet-singer. His eyes closed in rapture, his face twitches all over with religious feeling, his voice rings out like a silver trumpet, and the people join in the strain until they come to the words
Agonising in the garden,
Lo! your Saviour prostrate lies;
Hear Him cry before He dies,
It is finished! Sinners, will not this suffice ?" And then strong men and feeble women alike may be seen ceasing to sing that they may weep. Then the following words are sung softly :
“ Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and ruined by the fall;
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, sinners Jesus came to call." And then is heard an exultant burst of song, Richard Raine pouring out his soul in wondrous tones :
“ Lo! the incarnate God ascended
Pleads the merits of His blood;
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good.” Robert Foster, a middle-sized man, grave, earnest, and Auent, delivers the first sermon from the words, “ The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” It is a model sermon. Brief, clear, solemn, and forcible, it brings men's thoughts into harmony with things that are eternal. Another sermon by George Bailey, and then “two praying circles" are formed—that is, the crowd divides into two parts, one led by a pious brickmaker, and another by a Newcastle tradesman, and, having walked a short distance from the waggon, singing as they go
“ Press forward, press forward, the prize is in view,
A crown of bright glory is waiting for you,” the praying men kneel down in a circle, and the al fresco prayer meetings begin. How these men pray! They cry aloud for God. They invoke the Saviour with tears, groans, and passionate supplications. Some, like good Robert Simpson, throw the people into a tumult of feeling by crying out: “Save souls, Lord, save souls. I believe! I do believe! Glory! I do believe. Hallelujah, praise