« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
The golden day is on the hill,
As cherub childhood sleeping;
Sir Roger de Coverley at Church.
AM always very well pleased with a country Sunday, and think, if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human institution, it would have been the best method that could have been thought of for the polishing and civilising of mankind.
It is certain the country people would soon become a kind of savages and bar
barians were there not such frequent returns of a stated time, in which the whole village meet together with their best faces and in their cleanest habits, to converse with one another upon ordinary subjects, hear their duties explained to them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being.
Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week. A country fellow distinguishes himself as much in the churchyard as a citizen does upon change, the whole parish politics being generally discussed in that place, either after sermon or before the bell rings.
As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps them in very good order, and will suffer nobody to sleep in it besides himself ; for, if by chance he has been surprised into a short nap at sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands
and looks about him, and, if he sees anybody else nodding, either wakes them himself, or sends his servant to them.
Several other of the old knight's oddities break out upon these occasions. Sometimes he will be lengthening out a verse in the singing psalms half a minute after the rest of the congregation have done with it. Sometimes, when he is pleased with the matter of his devotion, he pronounces A men three or four times to the same prayer, and sometimes stands up when everybody else is upon their knees to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are missing.
I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Matthews to mind what he was about, and not disturb the congregation. This John Matthews, it seems, is remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion.
As soon as the sermon is finished nobody presumes to stir till Sir Roger is gone out of the church. The knight walks down from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, who stand bowing to him on each side. Every now and then he inquires how such an one's wife, or mother, or son, or father do, whom he does not see at church, which is understood as a magret reprimand to the person that is absent.
The chaplain has often told me that, upon a catechising day, when Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given him next day for his eveouragement, and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year to the clerk’s place; and that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the Church service, has promised, on the death of the present clerk, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.
Willie Morden; or, a Young Scholar's Difficulties
next few days do not offer any subject of special
to twelve; and then during the last hour he always kept wishing it was time to go home. He felt restless and irritable ; and was not nearly so well able to attend to his book as he was 'when he first went in.
Sometimes, too, the pupil-teacher looked as if he were tired, and then he let the boys do pretty much as they liked. He looked at their slates once or twice, but it was very quickly; and if the writing was done badly, he did not stop to correct it. In the arithmetic lesson, after the boys had worked the sums, he called out to each boy that was right to hold up his hand, and many boys held up theirs who had got the sum wrong. In the reading lesson, he often seemed to try and see how soon it could be got through, and then hastily collected the books and placed them on one side.
All this appeared to Willie somewhat strange and puzzling. He had come to school with an idea that everything would be perfectly smooth and right, and he did not yet know that nothing in the world is altogether smooth and right. For several days he did his writing in a very careless manner, because he saw that the other boys did theirs in the same way. He was equally careless whether his sum was right or wrong. The teacher did not seem to mind, and so . neither did he mind. Instead of getting better in his learning, he was rather getting worse, and besides was falling into a careless way of working, which, like the moth fretting a garment, eats into the human mind, and destroys all its vigour and energy.
Willie Morden did not think that whether anybody else does their duty or not, our own duty remains the same. He was not old enough to see that it was for his own interest that he should do the best he was able, without minding how other boys acted. It is of no use giving up all interest in our work because we cannot do it exactly as we wish; if we cannot do it well, at least
;; let us do it as well as we can to-day, and perhaps we shall be able to do it better to
morrow. If we have wasted the morning, it is no reason why we should waste the afternoon and evening ; if the afternoon, too, is gone, the evening is yet remaining. Day by day the hours glide silently by ; it is vain to regret the past, equally vain to rely too much on the future. The one short hour that is now with us, that is in our power; clearly we may do with that as we think proper.
In one of these days we are speaking of, the master, who took all the classes of the school in turn, came to give a morning's instruction to that in which Willie was. The boys did their work quietly and pleasantly ; instead of being harder, the work was less. For as we well know, the hardest work of all is half work, neither altogether working nor altogether playing. Each boy read his best, wrote his best, ciphered his best ; and when twelve o'clock came, Willie had not thought it was eleven. The reason things went so different this morning was, because the master exerted a power that the pupil-teacher did not possess. And yet no boy was punished. No boy seemed to be afraid, but all worked merrily on in a way Willie had not seen them work before. And, as Willie noticed, the next few days after, James Turner, the pupil-teacher, took more interest in his work, and looked after the boys better than he had done before. He seemed to think, “I will try and govern my class the same way as master does ;” and to some extent he succeeded, as we all succeed when we really try. Willie now began to take an interest in his school for other
He had learned to play at marbles at home, but somehow it was not nearly so pleasant at home as at school. He always found, too, that the harder he worked at school, the more he enjoyed his game in the playground ; a fact which all young scholars will find, if they will make the experiment.
The Wandering Yew.
N the Middle Ages, a story was current that a person who acted as porter for Pontius Pilate had struck Jesus as they were dragging him out of the door of the judgment-hall, saying, “Go faster, go faster; why dost thou linger ?” Upon which Jesus looked at him with a frown, and said, “I indeed am going, but thou
shalt tarry till I come.” The common people believed that this man was still alive on the earth; and several impostors appeared, at different times, assuming the character of “The Wandering Jew.” The whole story is false from beginning to end ; but as it obtained belief during many hundred years, the old ballad relating it will be of interest to our young readers.
When, as in fair Jerusalem,
Our Saviour Christ did live,
His own dear life did give,
The wicked Jews with scoffs and scorns
Did daily Him molest,
Our Saviour could not rest.
And scourged Him in disgrace,
Unto His dying place,
Beheld Him pass along,
That pitied this His wrong.
As in the street He went,
By every one's consent :
(A burden far too great),
With blood and water sweat.
And thereupon he thrust Him thence,
At which our Saviour said, “I sure will rest, but thou shalt walk,
And have no journey stayed.” With that this curséd shoemaker,
For offering Christ this wrong, Left wife and children, house and all,
And went from thence along.
Of Jesus Christ thus shed,
Away with speed he fled,
Unto his dwelling-place,
A runagate most base.