Puslapio vaizdai
[blocks in formation]





UPON the very eve of the session, Ministers have tried their strength against each other. The proposal of an expedition to Portugal was the subject of dispute ; but the reports respecting the part taken by the leading Ministers are various and unintelligible. It was said that Lords Grey and Palmerston insisted on the armed interference; but the project is abandoned, and Lord Grey remains in office: which the Premier could hardly do, after a defeat in a pitched battle, the noise of which indicates its heat and obstinacy. The chief cannot yield like another Minister; he is virtually deposed when his guidance is rejected; and Lord Grey is surely too haughty a man to suffer any abatement of his authority, or to brook the opposition of his creatures.

The two ministerial morning papers were on opposite sides-The Chronicle against the armed interference, The Times for it; and the latter reproaches the party with whose policy it concurs, for yielding,-charges it almost with a pusillanimous dereliction of duty, and concludes, "The active aid which was recommended in the case of Portugal can have been, and has been resisted, only upon Tory and Holy Alliance views." We think this highly probable; and though the act of war would, in our opinion, have been unjustifiable, we can easily believe that it was opposed by the Tory portion of the Government, not because the armed interference was disapproved, but because it was proposed in behalf of the juster cause, against the tyranny secretly dear to them.

It has been curious to watch the contradictions of the rumours of schism and rupture by the ministerial press. We have here seen displayed, in great perfection, the art of denying facts which

VOL. 1.—NO. I.

are untrue, so as to appear to deny the whole, including facts which could not be specifically contradicted without flagrant falsehood. For example, the report is that Ministers have had a serious difference as to an armed interference in the contest in Portugal, and that Lord Grey and some others have sent in their resignations. Well, The Globe, in its cock-a-whoop style, states that the whole is idle talk, not worth a serious notice; for no armed interference is intended, and no resignation has been tendered by Earl Grey. This is, however, no denial of the differences that have been, no denial that an expedition was proposed, and that the dispute ran so high as to embroil the Cabinet, though the frightful extremity of resignation was avoided. Thus, after the quarrel of Peachum and Lockit, a Globe of the prig order might assert, that there was the utmost harmony between that worthy couple, that no question existed as to Ned Clincher's execution, and that Peachum had not laid any information against Lockit. After such strifes things are patched up by a "Brother, brother! we are both in the wrong. "Tis our mutual interest-'tis for the interest of the world we should agree."

The maxim is so well understood, that a house divided cannot stand, that the partisans of Ministers are vehemently anxious to make it appear that no dissension exists, or has existed, in the Cabinet; but their evidences of harmony are so far-fetched, and so flimsy, as to tell against the object for which they are adduced. Thus, The Globe says,—

"The Lord Chancellor has, at the solicitation of the Right Hon. E. G. Stanley, presented the Rev. Samuel Lang, who married Lady Louisa

as this. And what does it prove?-any thing, we say, but what it is produced to prove. Had the Chancellor been the worst enemy of Mr. Stanley, he could not have given better effect to his ill-will, than by signalizing Mr. Stanley's glut

Emily Smith Stanley, a grand-daughter of the Earl of Derby, and sister to the Secretary for the Colonies, to the valuable living of Woodmansteane, &c. &c., a circumstance in itself negativing the reports so sedulously propagated by the Tory press, as to a misunderstanding between the no-tonous appetite for Church jobbing, by granting ble and learned Lord and the right honourable Secretary."

The house of Derby is one of the very richest in Church Patronage; and what must have been the distress of a partisan who seized upon this instance of Mr. Stanley's grasping? discovering, at the same time, the undue motives which govern the dispensation of Church preferment! Hard pressed, indeed, must the advocate be, who attempts to avail himself of such injurious evidence.

him the boon he solicited. To cover a public man with the disgrace of such a favour as this, is no sign of friendship. This is the vengeance of the heathen gods, who punished in granted prayers. Had the Chancellor turned a deaf ear to the solicitations of Mr. Stanley, the public would not have known what he was capable of asking, in addition to the abundance of good things in the gift of his wealthy house.

THE SABBATH NIGHT'S SUPPER. BY THE AUTHOR OF 66 NIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE," &c. &c. THEY misconceive the character of this northern land who imagine of its people as a cold, sullen, and ungenial race, shut up from the social charities, and encrusted with self-conceit, spiritual pride, and gloomy bigotry; but they do Scotland, and their own understandings, worse wrong who imagine that this unsocial and forbidding national temper is derived from that highhearted reformed faith, which has ever allied itself with the spirit of independence, and the sternest assertion of the principles of civil liberty, which has disdained to truckle to expediency, and braved every peril in maintaining the charter wherewith God has made man free. The Sabbatical observances of Scotland especially, have been misrepresented and ridiculed by those who are so inconsistent in their boasted liberality as to contend that the Scotsman, by constitution a man of staid deportment and serious thought, however warm or enthusiastic his inward feelings may be, is a bigot and a fanatic, who would blot the sun from the firmament, and enshroud the face of nature with universal gloom; because he will not demonstrate his high enjoyment of the Day of Rest by frisking or carousing, cricketing with the peasant of England, or capering under the green trees with the Frenchman. They will not pause to consider that, to him, the highest enjoyment of leisure, independently of religious feelings altogether, may be, "to commune with his own heart, and be still;" or, the season of public worship past, to live apart in unbroken communion with those to whom his heart is knit by the strongest ties of duty, and the sweetest claims of affection. The gay Sunday of the theatre and the Boulevards, and the more boisterous mirth of the tea-garden and the skittle-ground, would, to many a native of Scotland, prove as joyless and burdensome on any day of the seven, as indecent and profane on the Sabbath, which he consecrates to retirement and

meditation, or restricts to family intercourse and pious and intellectual exercises; regarding it as time redeemed to the self-examination and inward thought which his moral and religious discipline have enabled him to employ aright, and enjoy profoundly. Nor is it easy to say why liberal politicians and philosophers should almost force the People on modes of enjoyment, on their one day of leisure, which they would consider quite unworthy of their own higher mental cultivation and pursuits.

One Sabbath for the rich, and another for the poor-restraint upon the scanty enjoyments of the hard-toiling many, and impunity and bounty to the luxurious pleasures of the wealthy few-is, at the same time, so directly subversive of the plainest precepts and injunctions of that religion which recognises man's complete equality in civil rights and in moral obligation, that we have not one word to say for restraints that must press unequally. These remarks detain us too long from our story, which we meant to preface by the assertion, that the types of neither the Scottish Presbyterian, nor the English Puritan, were of the austere, sullen, and cynical character their enemies have feigned. John Knox himself kept a cellar of good wine, and knew how to use as not abusing it. From the "Memoirs of Colonel Hutchison," and many other sources, we learn that the Puritans were, in domestic life, accomplished and enjoying, as well as learned persons. Those who insist that our national Sabbath must be gloomy, because, in despite of nature, we do not, like Grimm's German Baron, keep jumping over chairs and tables all day, "to make ourselves lively," are but shallow philosophers.-One redeeming social feature even they might see in our Day of Rest,-THE SABBATH NIGHT's Supper.

This family re-union, and stated feast, was at first almost a necessary consequence of long

journeys to distant kirks, while the population of the country was thin and scattered, and of those preposterous and interminable diets of sermonizing, which made Sunday literally a fast-day, until the evening. Then, indeed, the fires were lighted up, then the flesh-pots seethed and diffused a savoury steam, or the broche spun round in the rural Manse, and in all the bien ha'-houses in the parish, or comfortable dwellings "within brugh." At the close of his hard day's work, the reverend labourer was entitled to his social meal, of better than ordinary fare-" a feast of fat things"-hospitably shared with the chance guest, the modest young helper, or the venerable elder. Nor was there wanting, if such were the taste and temper of the reverend presider at the banquet, the zest of the clerical joke that promoted blameless hilarity and easy digestion. The manse set the custom to the parish. Now, to have insisted that the douse minister, with his family, or the decent farmer, with his lads and lasses, should, to shew their holiday feelings, first scamper here and there all day-any way far enough from home-and then go out of doors, to frisk, like so many young maukins, in the moonlight, would be about as intolerant as to compel the champagne-loving Gallician to swallow, for his especial enjoyment, the smokyflavoured Glenlivet toddy with which the Scotsman soberly crowned the banquet of the Sabbath Night.

In the family of Adam Hepburn of the Fernylees, the Sabbath night's supper had been a standing family festival for several generations. The little quiet bustle of preparation among the women, the better fare, the more inspirited looks, the expanding social hearts, had become a thing of regular custom, following the solemnities of family worship as regularly as the observance of that domestic ordinance. The venerable head of the house would then talk of the times when Cargil, and Renwick, and Rutherford, and other potent divines of the evil times, Fathers and Mighty men in Israel, burning and shining lights in a darkened land, had, when fleeing before the bloody and persecuting house of Stuart,from whom the curse would never depart! by their blessings and their prayers hallowed the hospitalities which they shared; and that although the then indwellers in the Fernylees had been proscribed and often severely mulcted, for harbouring the men of God, their substance had rather increased than diminished, under this oppression, which they felt, not for themselves, but for the faithful of the land, and the afflicted Church of Scotland tried in the furnace.

No one had ever listened with more attention to these noble tales, of doing and daring for conscience' sake, than Charles Hepburn, the youngest son of the family of Fernylees, who was born to admire with enthusiasm, but not yet to emulate the virtues of those heroic sufferers.

The elderly female servant who superintended Adam Hepburn's household, had been more than

| usually provident of the creature-comforts destined to cover his board on the particular night, on which our story opens. The circumstances of the family made it a time of more than ordinary tenderness and solemnity. The following morning was to witness the final breach and disruption of all that now remained to be taken away of the young props of the roof-tree of the house of Fernylees. The elder daughter, who had borne the chills of celibacy, ten years after her three sisters were married, was to leave the home of her youth to sojourn, as her old father in his prayer expressed it, in the allusion he made to her circumstances as a bride, in the tents of strangers. But it was the going forth into the evil, unknown, and dreaded world, of one who from infancy had, by his fascinations and his very errors, excited far more of fear and of hope, one over whom his father's heart yearned while his spirit travailed, that the old man dwelt, in his devotions, with a touching and simple pathos, and poured forth his feelings in that Scriptural language and imagery familiar to his lips, replied too by the low, involuntary sob of a married sister of the youth who was the object of these fervent petitions, and by the sympathetic chord touched in the staid bosom of Tibby Elliott, the elderly serving-lass. The contagion even spread to old Robin, the shepherd. When the worshippers rose from their knees, and turned to the neatly-spread table, on which was already laid the apparatus for the feast, the aged father sinking in his high-backed chair, shaded his thin temples with his hand; and remained silent, as if his spirit were yet within the veil. Charles Hepburn retired to the porch with his married sister-they were silently, hand in hand, standing, looking out upon the stars-when the ancient maid-servant appeared :—and "O Charlie, my man," was the whisper of the motherly Tibby, as drying her eyes with her apron, she passed out into the kitchen, in a wing of the tenement, "My man, Charlie, if ye be not a good bairn now."-She had gone on before Charles could reply, if he had been inclined or able to speak.

Tibby Elliott was on this night a woman cumbered with many cares. "Gie ye the broche a twirl, Robin," was her first cry.-"I would no like, nor you either, but to see things right and mensfu' in the Ha' House o' the Fernylees, and a son and a daughter going in one day frae under its roof-tree.-Fetch down that bowen o' eggs, Robin; we'se have a drappit egg in the eerocks, the breed o' Charlie's sprangled game hens he was so proud of lang syne, poor callant. But, oh, man! heard ye ever the auld Master sae powerfu' in intercession as this. night. It's weel to be seen who lies next his heart's kernel-his motherless son!-And no other wonder; for, with all his faults-and they are neither few nor far to seek a better-hearted youth, of the name, never crossed the door-step of the Fernylees in all its generations."

“Gie him a' his ain way, and keep his pouches routh o' siller," said the shepherd, who was of the

species of dry humourists not rare in Scotland, and the prospects of the cadet, with the freedom in his condition.

"And what for should he no' have his ain gait, and gowd in gowpens?" cried Tibby, who, by the way, was in general much less indulgent to the faults of Charles than her friend the shepherd, who had loved him from the days of fishing with a crooked pin, and shooting with bourtree guns, though he knew, what indeed was no longer a secret, that the youth possessed a fatal facility and unsteadiness of disposition, already yielded to to an extent that alarmed those who loved him best, for his rectitude as much as for his worldly prosperity.

But at

It is not uncommon to find in a large family one gifted child, to endow whom nature seems to have robbed the others of genius, beauty, and attractiveness. Charles Hepburn, by seven years the youngest, was "the flower of the flock of Fernylees," loved, indulged, spoiled, as far as a gracious temper, and a generous heart will spoil; and that, alas, was in his case far enough. He had been the caressed plaything, the petted child, the pampered school-boy of his brothers, but particularly of his younger sisters. the age of twenty-four, the overweening affection of his aged father alone remained unimpaired, increased, deepened by the very causes which alienated other hearts. He who had the most suffered, still loved the most. Nor to a stranger did this seem wonderful. Look in the open, ge.. nial, and handsome countenance of Charles, and his besetting sins could not be imagined great transgressions; spend with him a quietly social, or brightly convivial hour, and all error or defects of character had disappeared before the charm of his manner, and were forgotten or denied to exist. Yet their undeniable existence had crushed and grieved the spirit of his venerable father, and fallen hard on the shortened means that were to sustain his old age in humble independence. Nor was Charles unaware of any part of this; and the reproaches of his elder brother, a man of quite opposite temper, or the affectionate remonstrances of his married sister, were less severe than his own frequent bitter self-upbraidings. Now he stood on the threshold of a new life. Hope was once more dawning upon him, after repeated disappointment, not the less afflictive that it was selfcaused; and his sanguine, bold, and happy temper, rose to meet the joyful crisis.

Charles had received what is usually termed a good education. But it could not have been the wisest, for its early fruits were not soulnurture, nor wisdom and peace. He had been highly distinguished at the University of Glasgow; and his father, who had in his own heart early devoted him to the service of the altar, secretly rejoiced in the hope of seeing him an ornament of the Church. But his natural abili ties and advantages of education had not yet been improved even to any worldly purpose.

"To throw all his lear to the cocks, and leave us!" said the old shepherd, while Tibby and himself discussed the circumstances of the family

assumed by all menials, and justifiable in old attached domestics," It is grieving."

"And would ye have had him play the hypocrite-pretend to a gift and a call to preach the Gospel-when its ower weel kent Rob Burns' ballands aye came far readier to Charlie than the Psalms of David in metre," cried Tibby Elliott, honest indignation giving energy to her tones, as on her knees she ladled or fished up the salted goose and greens, that were to act

vis-a-vis to her eerocks.

"Houts, tuts, woman; ye are owerly straitlaced for this day o' the warld; what would have ailed Chairlie to have grained away among the auld leddies till he had gotten the CALL, and the patron's presentation too, and a good sappy down-sitten, when, I daursay, he could have seen the wisdom o' being a wee bit twa-faced, like his neighbours, and on his peremptors before folk, ony way. With fourteen or fifteen chalder, a new Manse, and a piece gude glebe-land, its no sae dooms difficult to be a douce minister, as ye trow Tibby. Gi'e our young Chevalier a gown and Geneva ban's, and let him alane for a year or twa to settle down, and I'll wad he's turn out a great gun o' the Gospel."

"Ye profane knave!" cried Tibby, shaking her fist in the face of her old friend, between jest and earnest : "Have ye been reading Tam Pen, ye that spake sae lightly o' ministers! Mr. Charles, with all his backslidings, is no sae far left to himself as to lay a rash, uncalled hand on the Ark, and the Lord will bless him for it. He is the bairn, as I can testify, o' many a secret prayer. I do not misdoubt to see him the grandest merchant in a' Liverpool yet. Sore trial as it has been to the kind, gude, auld master, crossed in his pride, and spulzied in his purse, to see Charles stick in the wark o' the ministry. But redde the gait there till I carry ben the supper."

"Ye like a to make a sicker bargain you unco-gude folks, Tibby. A sappy foretaste here, and a

"Now Robin, ye Radical, hold the profane tongue o' ye :—would ye see the Maister scrimpit o' his Sabbath night's supper, wi' a' his bairns happy about him ?”

"That would I not, lass; though I might just as weel like the auld time when rent was light, though woo' less by the stane, and when the Man and the Woman sat at the master's boardend. I wish the auld Master no scant measure o' a' good things. May blessings be multiplied on him and his. May the upper and the nether springs be his portion! and his also, who lies heavy on his spirit, this night!"-the old man reverently lifted the bonnet off his silvered head as he uttered these good wishes for his master, to which the friendship and daily intercourse of three-score years gave the fervour of a prayer.

In a lighter tone, Robin added, nearly as much ashamed of strong, or deep emotion, as if he had been a man of the world instead of a shepherd of the Border hills,-" We can a' take precious

« AnkstesnisTęsti »