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land, or a farthing to spare, am sometimes mad with spirits, and must talk, laugh, or burst." In 1828, when he had given up fermented liquors, and was exulting over the benefit he felt from such abstinence, he remarked: "Only one evil ensues from it: I am in such extravagant spirits that I must lose blood, or look out for some one who will bore and depress me." Nor did age freeze up the source of these frolicsome spirits. As late as 1843 he writes to Lord Murray: "I am getting very old in years, but do not feel that I am become so in constitution. My locomotive powers at seventy-three are abridged, but my animal spirits do not desert me." At seventy-three he is still amusing the more venerable Berrys with anti-episcopal jokes, and quizzing Dr. Whewell about his Vice-Chancellorship, and hammering at geological jests with Sir Roderick Murchison, and inventing merry conceits to excuse himself from dining with Lord Mahon, and vivaciously rallying Mrs. Grote, and sending epigrammatic billets doux to the Countess Grey and to Lady Dufferin, and flings at the Americans to Milnes and Dickens, and unique bulletins to his children, and funny messages to his grandchildren.

His grand talent pour le "nonsense" he made it a point of conscience to cultivate. Mrs. Marcet writes, during a visit at Foston: "Mr. Smith was talking after breakfast with Dr. Marcet in a very impressive and serious tone, on scientific subjects, and I was admiring the enlarged and philosophic manner in which he discoursed on them, when suddenly starting up, he stretched out his arms and said, 'Come, now let us talk a little nonsense.' And then came such a flow of wit, and joke, and anecdote, such a burst of spirits, such a charm and freshness of manner, such an irresistible laugh, that Solomon himself would have yielded to the infection, and called out, Nonsense for ever!" (Who shall deny imagination to "strong-minded" Mrs. Marcet, after this picture of Solomon, waving (as it were) his turban, spinning about in ecstasy, and shouting Vive la bagatelle!) Johnson resolved to withstand the infection of Foote's mirth-provoking powers; but, sir, the dog was so comical that the great moralist was fairly bit, and sunk back in his chair, bellowing out magnificent guffaws. Similarly, in Sydney Smith's case, the Queen of Tragedy, grave and self-restrained Sarah Siddons, determined to maintain her tragic gravity and self-restraint in spite of his reverence; "but after a vain struggle yielded to the general infection:" S. S. masculine was too much for S. S. feminine; the inspirations of Thalia mastered the reserve of Melpomene; and the Siddons "flung herself back in her chair, in such a fearful paroxysm of laughter, and of such long continuance, that it made quite a scene, and all the company were alarmed." If laugh she must, the great actress was at least consistent in so laughing as to alarm the company, in a "fearful paroxysm," strange and wild enough to "make quite a scene"-as imposing, thrilling, and altogether awful as last night's Lady Macbeth.

No wonder if the reputation Sydney Smith acquired for unlimited power to "make you laugh," was unfavourable to his professional advancement. We find him protesting against the impressions rife in some quarters to his prejudice in this respect, in a letter to Lord John Russell, on the subject of his preferment: "I defy to quote one single passage of my writing contrary to the doctrines of the Church. I defy him to mention a single action of my life which he can call immoral,

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The only thing he could charge me with would be high spirits, and much innocent nonsense." He had no liking for your mere triflers, who jest out of season, as well as in season, and whose jesting then becomes identical with that foolish talking which is not convenient. He writes on one occasion to Lady Grey: "I met Mr. in town. I have never joined in the general admiration for this person. I think his manners rude and insolent. His conversation is an eternal persiflage, and is therefore wearisome. It seems as if he did not think it worth his while to talk sense or seriousness before his company, and that he had a right to abandon himself to any nonsense which happened to come uppermost." We are told of the death of Dugald Stewart being announced at a large dinner-party, when the news was received with so much levity by a lady of rank who sat next to Sydney, that, turning round, he said, Madam, when we hear of the death of a man like Mr. Dugald Stewart, it is usual, in civilised society, to look grave for the space of at least five seconds." His affectionate biographer informs us that she has been charged with hardly doing justice to the more serious part of his character. "If this be so," she remarks, "I have indeed done him grievous wrong; for this was the foundation, or rather storehouse, from which all his wit and imagination sprang, and which gave them such value in the eyes of the world. The expression of my father's face when at rest was that of sense and dignity; and this was the picture of his mind in the calmer and graver hours of life: but when he found (as we sometimes do) a passage that bore the stamp of immortality, his countenance in an instant changed and lighted up, and a sublime thought, sight, or action, struck on his soul at once, and found a kindred spark within it." And as a set-off to Mrs. Marcet's sketch of his rapid transition from sense to nonsense, Lady Holland appends one, equally abrupt, from gay to grave, from the tears that come of Laughter holding both his sides, to the tears that are sigh

born and sad.

Her notice of him as a clergyman is to this effect: that, having "entered the Church" from a "sense of duty," he made duty his guide through life; honouring his profession, and honoured in it by those who had the best opportunities of observing him;-" that, ever ready to perform its humblest duties, he gathered (as he says) from the study of the Bible, that the highest duty of a clergyman was to calm religious hatreds, and spread religious peace and toleration ;-that in this labour of love he exerted himself from the time of his entering the Churcht to the hour of his death;-and that he dreaded as the greatest of all evils, that the 'golden chain' which he describes as 'reaching from earth to heaven,' should be injured either by fanaticism or scepticism." Filial love would

* This philosopher was alive to the presence of other than comic powers in Sydney Smith. He exclaimed, after hearing him preach: "Those original and unexpected ideas gave me a thrilling sense of sublimity never before awakened by any other oratory."

How much longer is this phrase, "entering the Church," thus twice met with in the same paragraph, to be applied to taking Orders? Sydney Smith's Church teaches that he "entered" it at a much earlier period, and by quite a different rite.

Though eminently a free-speaker, Sydney Smith was no free-thinker, in the technical sense. Speaking in the name of his children, Lady Holland says: "The tenderest mother could not have been more anxious and careful as to the religious tendency of any books we read, and often has he taken books out of my hands

fain identify him, in his curacy on Salisbury Plain, with his own portraiture of a curate, as "the poor working-man of God-a learned man in a hovel, good and patient-a comforter and a teacher-the first and purest pauper of the hamlet; yet showing that, in the midst of worldly misery, he has the heart of a gentleman, the spirit of a Christian, and the kindness of a pastor." It may surprise some, who regard Sydney Smith from one angle only, to hear that he, the wit, the giggling and making-giggle diner-out, the habitué of Holland House, the rival of Luttrell, the founder of the Edinburgh Review, was also a popular preacher. Little as he might have in common with a Hugh M'Neile of Liverpool, a Hugh Stowell of Manchester, a Francis Close of Cheltenham, or a Capel Molyneux of London, this he had,-pulpit popularity. Berkeley Chapel had been deserted before he became its morning preacher: in a few weeks every morning service was what little Robert Southey (under Miss Tyler's philo-dramatic auspices) would have called a full house-every seat being occupied, and the aisles filled with listeners of both sexes, who stood, all attention.* At Bristol, the cathedral, "whenever he was to preach (though previously almost deserted), was filled to suffocation. A crowd collected round the doors long before they were opened, and the heads of the standers in the aisles were so thick-set you could not have thrust in another; and I saw the men holding up their hats above their heads, that they might not be crushed by the pressure." Mrs. Austin describes him preaching at St. Paul's: "The moment he appeared in the pulpit, all the weight of his duty, all the authority of his office, were written on his countenance; and without a particle of affectation (of which he was incapable), his whole demeanour bespoke the gravity of his purpose. Perhaps, indeed, it was the more striking to one who had till then only seen him delighting society by his gay and overflowing wit. As soon as he began to speak, the whole choir, upon which I looked down,

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which I had ignorantly begun, with strict injunctions to consult him about my studies. He regarded it as the greatest of all evils to produce doubt or confusion in a youthful mind on such subjects; indeed he has said, in his sermons, that he 'would a thousand times prefer that his child should die in the bloom of youth, rather than it should live to disbelieve.' In some of his early letters to Jeffrey, he "not only deprecates the injury to the Edinburgh Review by the admission of irreligious opinions, but declares his determination, if this were not avoided, of separating himself from a work of which he had felt hitherto so justly proud." "You must be thoroughly aware," he presses on the Editor, "that the rumour of infidelity decides not only the reputation, but the existence of the Review”—“I must beg the favour of you to be explicit on one point. Do you mean to take care that the Review shall not profess infidel principles? Unless this is the case, I must absolutely give up all connexion with it." To a publisher who had sent him a work of irreligious tendency, after a dignified rebuke for so doing, he writes: "I hate the insolence, persecution, and intolerance, which so often pass under the name of religion, and, as you know, have fought against them; but I have an unaffected horror of irreligion and impiety, and every principle of suspicion and fear would be excited in me by a man who professed himself an infidel."

"The concise, bold raciness of his style," says Lady Holland, "was singularly calculated to stir up a lazy London congregation, accustomed to slumber over their weekly sermon; and the earnestness of his manner, I have reason to believe, caused many to think who never thought before." She adds in a note, that her father had the satisfaction more than once of receiving letters of gratitude, assuring him that his preaching had not been in vain, and had stopped the writer in a course of guilt and dissipation.-See Memoir, i. 80.

† Ibid. p. 218.

exhibited one mass of upraised, attentive, thoughtful faces. It seemed as if his deep, earnest tones were caught with silent eagerness.' Another witness remarks: "Remembering him in St. Paul's crowded cathedral, and looking at him in the little village church [Combe Florey], filled with peasantry, I was pleased to see him always the same.” "I can't bear," he somewhere says, "to be imprisoned in the true orthodox way in my pulpit, with my head just peeping above the desk-I like to look down upon my congregation,-to fire into them. The common people say I am a bould preacher, for I like to have my arms free, and to thump the pulpit."* Inviting Mrs. Grote to come and hear him at St. Paul's, he warns her: "But do not flatter yourself with the delusive hope of a slumber; I preach violently, and there is a strong smell of sulphur in my sermons."†

But he was something more and better than a popular preacher. He was, at least at one period in his career, a working priest. He was not only a benevolent, but a beneficent, pastor; caring for his flock with painstaking zeal, visiting them in plague and sickness, seeing them righted, boldly rebuking their faults, gently dealing with their foibles, heartily seconding their good endeavours. It is a pleasant picture we have of him in his rectory-home,-not without quaint accessories and piquant reliefs. He took kindly to its rural associations, but London was, after all, the place he loved perhaps not wisely, and too well;-not wisely, for his clerical conscience; too well, for his clerical character. "The summer and the country," he writes in 1838, "have no charms for me. I look forward anxiously to the return of bad weather, coal fires, and good society in a crowded city. I have no relish for the country; it is a kind of healthy grave. I am afraid you are not exempt from the delusions of flowers, green turf, and birds; they all afford slight gratification, but not worth an hour of rational conversation: and rational conversation is only to be had from the congregation of a million of people in one spot." To the Countess Grey he writes: "Nothing can make the country agreeable to me. It is bad enough in summer, but in winter is a fit residence only for beings doomed to such misery, for misdeeds in another state of existence." There spoke the spoilt child of West-End drawing-rooms-a blasé clergyman (not to say simply man) of the world. Again, to Sir G. Philips: "I shall not be sorry to be in town. I am rather tired of simple pleasures, bad reasoning, and worse cookery." To Lord Hatherton: "Not that I am gulled by the sight of green fields and the sound of singing-birds,-I am too old for that. To my mind there is no verdure in the creation like the green of 's face, and Luttrell talks more sweetly than birds can sing." And, once more, to Mrs. Meynell: "You may laugh, dear G., but, after all, the country is most dreadful! The real use of it is to find food for cities; but as for a resi dence of any man who is neither butcher nor baker, nor food-grower in any of its branches, it is a dreadful waste of existence and abuse of life."§ These London longings seem to have grown upon him with age and habits of luxurious indolence; we hear little of them when he was busy,

* Memoir, i. pp. 308, 317, 399. To Miss Georgina Harcourt.

Letters, p. 420.

Letters, pp. 410, 415, 416, 440, 457.

in his prime, among his farm-labourers, stock, implements, and inventions. Inventions he prided himself upon, in his active days-and he was once very active, whether digging vigorously in his garden, or carrying on Chapter business, or galloping in hot haste post-haste through the pages of a book, or rattling off a manuscript of which it was left for his wife to dot the i's and cross the t's;-he had always some experiment going on; a system of little tin lamps for burning the fat of his own sheep instead of candles, was at one time his hobby; at another, an ingenious cure for smoking chimneys; his visitors were amused by his "universal scratcher," or sharp-edged pole, adapted to every height, from a horse to a lamb, whereat his four-footed dependents might scratch their dorsal columns ad libitum, without injury to their master's gates and palings; or by his "patent Tantalus," devised to incite his gaunt steed Calamity to step out, in hungry pursuit of an ever equi-distant sieve of corn, planted just before his nose; or by his patchwork blinds of glazed cotton, the glory of Foston and Combe Florey; or by his patent fireplaces, the envy of all good fire-worshippers; or by his rheumatic armour," patent tin shoulders, stomach tins, stomach pumps,* tin slippers, &c. "I am a great doctor,' he would tell his visitors; would you like to hear some of my medicines?" "Oh yes, Mr. Sydney.' There is the Gentle-jog, a pleasure to take it, the Bull-dog, for more serious cases, Peter's puke,-Heart's delight, the comfort of all the old women in the village,—Rub-a-dub, a capital embrocation,-Dead-stop, settles the matter at once,-Up-with-it-then needs no explanation; and so on.” He infused something of Sydney Smith into dull domestic realities, and could not, his daughter declares, order even a dose of physic for his carter but there was fun and originality in the act.

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His enjoyment of a process of mystification grew with the degree of credulity in his victims, some of whom appear to have been credulous to his heart's content. One of the stories in the Memoirs is about a country cousin of Sydney's, "a simple, warm-hearted rustic," who was occasionally a guest at those pleasant little weekly suppers of his, which Mackintosh and others relished so supremely,-and who used to come up to him and whisper, "Now, Sydney, I know these are all very remarkable men; do tell me who they are.' "Oh, yes," would be the town (and gown) cousin's answer; "that is Hannibal" (pointing to Mr. Whishaw), "he lost his leg in the Carthaginian war; and that is Socrates" (pointing to Luttrell); "and that is Solon" (pointing to Francis Horner); "you have heard of Solon ?" The girl, we are told, opened her ears, eyes, and mouth with admiration, half-doubting, halfbelieving that Sydney was making fun of her; but perfectly convinced that if they were not the individuals in question, they were something quite as great.†

*"Lord John Russell comes here to-day," he informs the Countess Grey (1830). "His corporeal anti-part, Lord N- is here. Heaven send he may not swallow John! There are, however, stomach pumps, in case of accident."

†To one of these suppers Sir James Mackintosh brought with him a "raw Scotch cousin, an ensign in a Highland regiment." The biographer tells us that on hearing the name of his host, this gallant gentleman suddenly turned round, and, nudging Sir James, said in an audible voice, "Is that the great Sir Sudney?" (with whom, by the way, the Reverend Sydney was, at home and abroad, very

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