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to reconcile themselves to the God of all power and might, through the means which his mercy had provided.
There were few of those awakening and individual appeals which are peculiar to evangelical preaching; but though it was not the kind of sermon that Henry had expected to hear, it had interested him greatly; and he determined to pay a second visit to the chapel the following week. This time the preacher was a blind man; and his subject-a very extraordinary one for a man who had been blind from his infancy-was the Glories of Solomon's Temple.
The congregation presented a very different aspect, both in numbers and in station, from that which had attended Dr. Clarke; and Henry was shown into an unoccupied pew.
In the pew next but one before him sat a widow and three of her family, all in the deepest mourning; and, with the clear sight of youth, he read, in gold letters upon the books before them, Thomas Redpyne, Mary Redpyne, Alice Redpyne, Sarah Redpyne.
But his attention was now attracted to the pulpit. The preacher who occupied it seemed peculiarly susceptible of cold. He was wrapped up very much like the drivers of what were formerly called fast coaches; and he began the labours of the day by first taking off a shawl-neckcloth, which he laid over the side of the pulpit. Then followed numerous silk handkerchiefs of various colours; and this brought him to the unstarched white, which was peculiar to dissenting ministers. Having carefully arranged the others side by side, he commenced his discourse.
Sundry sighs and "Yes, yeses," uttered by the widow during the extraordinary sermon to which Henry had to listen, did not give him a very favourable opinion of Mrs. Redpyne's intellect. He could himself scarcely "sit with sad civility."
After a weary interval, however, the glories of Solomon's Temple were finished, and he followed the party of mourners towards the door.
Mrs. Redpyne, with the awkwardness of a feeble person, dropped one of her books, which he picked up, and very respectfully presented to her; and he gracefully bowed as they separated.
There was an announcement on the door that the following Sunday the congregation would be addressed by Brother Arblaster, the sergeanttrumpeter of a regiment of dragoons that was on its way to Ireland: and Henry Pigott again attended.
The occasion seemed to be more attractive than the glories of Solomon's Temple, and there was now a crowded congregation. He made his way, with some difficulty, towards his former locality; was offered a place in her pew by Mrs. Redpyne, and occupied himself, before the service began, with observations upon herself and her daughters.
Mrs. Redpyne was evidently constitutionally feeble; her features were rather pleasing, and her complexion of hectic delicacy.
Mary, who was the child of a former wife, was not tall, but there was a decision and elasticity in her movements which gave an impression of some energy of character. She had a profusion of dark hair, clear dark eyes, shaded by exquisite lashes, and a smile peculiarly expressive.
Alice and Sarah were twins, seven years younger than their sister, as nearly as possible ugly, and very decidedly in weak health.
After the usual prayers, Brother Arblaster mounted the pulpit in full
uniform, with his trumpet slung across his shoulders; and taking a familiar text, he proceeded in a strain that strongly resembled what has been recorded of the early preachers of Methodism, though it was more calculated to rouse a flock of unawakened colliers to repentance than to satisfy an intellectual audience.
Mrs. Redpyne had heard from a friend that Henry was the confidential clerk of her late husband's executor; and as they left the chapel she invited him to spend the evening at her house on the following Wednesday.
He was not usually so early a riser as to anticipate the prescribed office hours; but the next morning saw him first in attendance; and before many minutes had elapsed, he had opened the ledger at the page where his entries had been almost mechanically made, and there read charges for various powers of attorney for receipt of dividends from "those martyr'd saints the Five per Cents.," and for payments to one Jabez Smith on account of a contract for building certain houses in Codringtoncrescent, which were, altogether, indicative of a large amount of property. He then opened the folding-doors of a set of "pigeon-holes," and, from under the letter R, took out a paper marked "Copy of the Will of the late Thomas Redpyne."
This he very eagerly read, and found that it bequeathed to the widow, during her life, a thousand a year; to each of the children for maintenance and education, while living with the mother, two hundred and fifty pounds a year; and on their respectively attaining the age of twenty-one, a third share of the then remaining property, together with the whole of their own respective accumulations, but all to remain in trust for their separate use and benefit. In the event of any of them dying unmarried or childless, her property was to be divided amongst the survivors.
With this information very strongly impressed upon his mind, he went to his engagement at Mrs. Redpyne's.
There was only one visitor besides himself, and this was a stout, middle-aged, and pasty-complexioned person, dressed in glossy, coarse black, with as much of an unstarched white cravat as his short, thick neck would admit of his wearing.
Henry was introduced to him as their excellent minister, Mr. Guthrie. In the arrangements of the tea-table, of which the service was of massive silver, there was only one peculiarity, which consisted of a large plate of buttered toast, piled some height, and not very unlike a model of one of the smaller pyramids.
When they had drawn round the table, and after a few words of constrained conversation, "My soul longs, Mr. Guthrie," said Mrs. Redpyne, "for our young friend's conversion."
"Well, my dear sister," said Mr. Guthrie, "you know from your own experience that there is but one way. We can do nothing of ourselves. What are we? The filth and offscouring of the world: depraved into an image of the devil at our birth."
"Mere dust and ashes," sighed Mrs. Redpyne.
"A mixture of beast and Satan," exclaimed Mr. Guthrie. "Sinful and lost creatures," added Mrs. Redpyne.
"Apt only for damnation," continued Mr. Guthrie.
"And yet," Henry Pigott ventured to suggest, "I think I have known persons who had, naturally, good hearts."
"Good hearts!" cried Mr. Guthrie, with a look of horror. heart! alas!
of foul decay "young friend, what is it but a den of corruption? a pit
"And desperately wicked," said Mrs. Redpyne.
"Earthly, sensual, devilish, corrupt, and abominable," responded Mr. Guthrie; and then they both groaned.
All these exclamations, however, had not very seriously interrupted the enjoyment of the meal before them.
"What are the things of this life?" said Mr. Guthrie, swallowing a large piece of the toast, and wiping the glittering moisture from his lips "What are the things of this life ?" with a white linen handkerchief. —and again he laid his hand upon the pyramid-" Entirely beneath our consideration. Another lump of sugar would be agreeable, if not too troublesome."
As soon as the table was cleared, Henry inquired from Mr. Guthrie what hope there was for any man, if human nature was so depraved and degraded as he had described it.
"Ah! young man, the remedy is easy," said Mr. Guthrie, "and the is clear."
pages He then entered upon subjects too serious and solemn for such these. Much that he asserted had the warrant of eternal truth; but it was made repulsive by the coarseness and violence with which it was enforced.
"Pray," said the young widow, turning to Mr. Guthrie, "do you think there is any hope for him?"
"I am afraid," replied the minister, "that at present he is too much Those offsprings of Hell, mystic under the influence of human reason. subtlety and worldly prudence, have too much hold upon his heart. Oh! that I could put a stab into that heart!"
Henry began to look about him.
"Oh!" continued Mr. Guthrie, "that Satan would tear him to pieces! that his sorrows might be enlarged! that he might be pricked and groaning for peace! That he might be seized with strong pangs! and constrained to roar aloud! Oh! for a sudden and sharp awakening!"
Here Mrs. Redpyne groaned audibly, and the whole party looked exceedingly lugubrious, except Mary, in whose eyes there was a wicked twinkle, which their long dark lashes scarcely concealed.
From this time Henry became a frequent visitor; and on Wednesday evenings he had generally to endure Mr. Guthrie's commentaries.
But the only change that seemed to have been wrought in his spiritualities was that he had determined irrevocably that Mary Redpyne should be the goddess of his idolatry; and, in the language of the debatingroom, he congratulated himself that, in place of having to worship a golden calf, he should have been so fortunate as to have found an angel with golden wings.
cheered the dulness of their domestic circle, and was more agreeable than the greedy pinguosity of Mr. Guthrie; but Mary had many misgivings, for occasionally there were manifestations of her lover's character which excited both doubt and apprehension.
BY SIR NATHANIEL.
No. XXXIII.-LIFE AND LETTERS OF SYDNEY SMITH.
Two right hands have been employed in the production of these volumes, and each what the gallant Antony calls a lady's white hand. Vol. I. consists of the Memoirs, compiled by the lady-wife of Sir Henry Holland, and daughter of the "incomparable Sydney." Vol. II. of a selection of Letters, between five and six hundred in number, and distinguished not only by intrinsic wit, but by that extrinsic circumstance which a great authority tells us is the soul of wit,-brevity; as may be supposed from the quantity inserted in some five hundred pages of large type: these are arranged by the care of Mrs. Austin, a valued old friend of the family, and, let us add, of the public. "Though it is to be regretted," she says, "that a task which might have worthily employed the most vigorous pen has devolved on female hands, it is by them, perhaps, that this tribute of respect, affection, and gratitude is most fitly paid." For, from Sydney Smith's Lectures at the Royal Institution Mrs. Austin dates a new era in the moral and intellectual condition of women, and maintains that within our times no man has done so much to obtain for them toleration for the exercise of their understandings and for the culture of their talents to induce them to acquire some substitutes for beauty, some resources against old age, some power of commanding attention and respect when the victorious charms of youth (whose influence and_value, however, he was not the man to deny) have taken their flight.
The "queer subject" of the Memoir was born at Woodford, in Essex, in 1771, the second of four brothers, of whom the eldest was the celebrated Bobus Smith. Their father was a "character," sagacious, inquisitive, and frolicsome, who, "on becoming early his own master," contracted a marriage with a beautiful girl, from whom (à la Southey) he parted at the church-door, and proceeded to wander over the world for many years,-a vagrant habit which still possessed him when he returned to "settle" in England, for his granddaughter records how he spent his time and wasted his substance in "buying, altering, spoiling, and then selling about nineteen different places in England, till, in his old age, he at last settled at Bishop's Lydiard, in Somersetshire, where he died," in a green old age, fourscore and upwards. Sydney inherited something of this restless disposition. "You never seem tired of Howick," he writes, when himself (1842) en route towards fourscore, to the Countess Grey : "I tire of Combe Florey after two months, and sigh for a change, even for the worse. This disposition in me is hereditary; my father lived, within my recollection, in nineteen different places." He often expressed his regret that the power of travelling had been denied him till his body had become almost unequal to the fatigue of doing so. "He was ever most eager to see and to hear; but with the same rapidity that characterised
A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith. By his daughter, Lady Holland. With a Selection from his Letters, edited by Mrs. Austin. Two vols. London : Longman and Co. 1855.
his thoughts, he only liked first impressions, and never dwelt ten minutes together on the same scene or picture; declared he had mastered the Louvre in a quarter of an hour, and could judge of Talma's powers in ten minutes."
Bobus was sent to school at Eton; Sydney to Winchester, where he is said to have "suffered many years of misery and positive starvation," the remembrance of which would make him shudder in old age, but where he rose in due time to be captain of the school, and distinguished himself by mechanical ingenuity and mischief of a versatile sort. At New College, Oxford, he gained a scholarship, and then the fellowship which for some time was all he had to depend upon. Anon we find him a curate in the midst of Salisbury Plain.*
It was to the Bar that his own wishes tended, but his father insisted on his taking orders. Lady Holland is urgent that this compliance with a pressure from without should not be forgotten, in reviewing his clerical career; and that fit allowance should be made for one who, in his passage through life," had often to exercise control over himself, and to make a struggle to do that which is comparatively easy to those who have embraced their profession from taste and inclination alone." The reminder is not uncalled for-although it may not go far to satisfy those who would demur to the propriety of conciliating an earthly sire by a forced subscription to ordination vows.
From that sire he inherited those exuberant animal spirits which made him the delight of some circles and the scandal of others. A little of his constitutional gaiety he used to attribute to the infusion of French blood on his mother's side. A perpetual flow of spirits he owned by nature, and disciplined with art,-often thanking Heaven for it, as one of its choicest gifts. During his early residence in London, according to his daughter's description, his spirits were "more like the joyousness and playfulness of a clever schoolboy than the sobriety and gravity of the father of a family,”—and nothing, she adds, could withstand the contagion of that ringing, joy-inspiring laugh, which seemed to spring from the fresh, genuine enjoyment he felt at the multitude of unexpected images which sprang up in his mind, and succeeded each other with a rapidity that hardly allowed his hearers to follow him, but left them panting and exhausted with laughter,† to cry out for mercy. "I often thank God," said he, "for my animal spirits;" and, contrasting himself with his rich friend and neighbour B- whom he found one day moping and melancholy-mad about the "state of his roads," he winds up the antithesis with a cheery "whilst I, who have never had a house, or
"Once a week a butcher's cart came over from Salisbury; it was then only he could obtain any meat, and he often dined, he said, on a mess of potatoes, sprinkled with a little ketchup. Too poor to command books, his only resource was the Squire, during the few months he resided there; and his only relaxation, not being able to keep a horse, long walks over those interminable plains."Memoir, p. 11.
†This reminds us of a passage in Moore's Diary (April, 1832): "Left Lord John's with Sydney and Luttrell; and when we got to Cockspur-street (having laughed all the way) we were all three seized with such convulsions of cachinnation at something (I forget what) which Sydney said, that we were obliged to separate, and reel each his own way with the fit.”—Memoirs, &c., of Thomas Moore, vol. iv.