Page images

and urgently enforced by the word of God. I will give an outline of our intercourse for one day, and my reader's shall judge what is the defect to which I allude.


Our party met at breakfast-the weather was mentioned: the probability or improbability of a fine day was discussed. "It is always so,” said one, we have bad weather whenever we wish it were fair-it is really vexatious." I thought the speaker must have forgotten, who it is that causes the showers to fall, and commands or forbids the sun to enliven the earth.

As soon as breakfast was over, we, who were females, took our work-the brothers read the papers, and what they perused there relative to the Catholic claims naturally became the subject of general conversation. So ranging ourselves on our respective sides, we argued the subject as warmly and fully as though the real issue of the question rested upon our decision.

From this we turned to the various topics which the columns of a newspaper usually afford, and the marriage of an indivividual, with whom most of us were acquainted, being recorded, we amused ourselves for a considerable time, with observations on the choice she had made, and her prospects for future happiness. Her equipment, new abode, &c. were all investigated with great earnestness, though I know not that our friend was at all happier or better for our anxious solicitude.

About this time some visitors entered, and we shortly after dispersed. Some of us equipped ourselves for a walk.

Notwithstanding our melancholy forebodings in the morning the weather proved very favourable. It was one of Nature's gala days, the buds were unfolding to sip the balmy air, and every thing at the call of Spring, was waking into life and beauty.

I knew that my companions were students and admirers of nature. I believed they looked "through nature up to nature's God; and though I had been disappointed in the morning, my hopes revived, and I confidently looked for improvement and gratification. We walked through scenes on which the lover of natural beauty might have gazed with delight, and where the botanist might have found subjects for study and useful remark; but no allusion was made in our party to these subjects, for aught I could see we might as well have been traversing

a desert. My friends seemed bent on completely engrossing our attention on the subjects of which they spoke, indifferent to the scenes by which we were surrounded. Jane, the elder, was busily engaged in describing her class at the Sunday school, the number, names, and ages of her pupils, their various dispositions, and the plan she pursued with each of them. Sophia, who was just returned from school, was relating her struggles for the prize, her joy at obtaining it, the commendations bestowed on her by her teachers, the sorrow of her companions at her departure-subjects in themselves perfectly rational and innocent, but more suited for fire-side discourse, than for a period when we might have enjoyed the benefits which the contemplation of rural beauty usually affords, had we not been thus engaged.

At dinner our party was much enlarged, and I considered myself fortunate in being seated near a gentleman, recently returned from the classic scenes of Greece and Italy. He was a man of taste and observation, possessing an ability and disposition to communicate information. During the evening, conversation became highly interesting and instructive; one and another joined our party, and my expectations appeared about to be answered. But soon, I observed, with a degree of perturbation, that the young ladies of the family were whispering and consulting with some of their guests, and then they repaired to the piano, opened the music books, and asked if music would be agreeable; politeness forbade us to decline. Some replied in the affirmative, otliers (myself among the number,) acquiesced in silence. The performance commenced, the execution was excellent, the strain waxed louder, conversation was interrupted, continued narration was at an end. I am a lover of music, when it is kept within due bounds, when it serves not as an interruption to rational discourse, but an occasional relaxation from it. That evening, however, I listened, but not to enjoy. I had been gazing in imagination on the city of the seven hills, with its Coliseum and Parthenon, in spirit. I had been visiting the lofty Acropolis and the hill of Mars, at Athens, and my mind was too full of broken pillars and magnificent ruins, to hear with delight, the wildest strains of Beethoven, or the martial airs of Der Freischutz. After this

I know not of any thing that passed worthy of notice, our conversation was desultory, carried on in small groups. I need not describe it. Every one knows what it is to be one of a large party, to sit by an insipid companion who is filling your ear with tales in which you are perfectly uninterested while the next circle are talking on subjects to which you could gladly listen, if you might have the opportunity.

In due time I retired to my room, to meditate on the events of the day, to attempt to discover how it was, when every thing had seemed to accord with my wishes, when all had been kind and agreeable, that I had been so much disappointed, 'and on the whole had gained so little improvement.


After duly weighing the subject, I decided (as my readers perhaps have done before me,) that the fault was partly my own, and partly that of others. We had talked much and long, but we had not spoken with care. Our intercourse might be termed quite innocent, but it was defective. We had not laboured as we ought, by our words to honour God, to gain benefit ourselves, or to improve others. When in any instance instruction had been flowing from the lips of the speaker, we had not cherished the effort so diligently as we might have done. I thought of that passage of Sacred Writ : For every idle word that man shall speak, shall he give account at the day of judgment." I looked back with a conviction of my own deficiencies. I turned to behold Him to whose image the Christian should daily seek to be conformed. I thought of his converse with man as he passed in sinless purity through our world, and while the view deeply humbled, I hope it benefitted me. It led me to look to Him, who can not only cleanse the thoughts of the heart, but purify and hallow our daily converse; and if any reader, in gazing on the picture I have placed before him, should discern a likeness to his own errors, and desire to rectify them, to such I would say, "Be continually looking to His bright and perfect example, think how he spake, how he conversed, and with the impression of this habitually in your memory, it is more than possible, nay, if you seek His aid it is certain, that your words will acquire something of the simplicity, the gentleness, the sobriety, and the dignity which characterized the converse of your Lord."



"THESE disturbers of the peace," said Arundel to his friend Percy, "how much mischief they create!"

"But whom do you design by this term?" rejoined Percy, interrupting his reverie, "Do you allude to any persons who have recently engaged in a public riot?"

"Oh! no, there are other characters who are not exactly so notorious, but quite as injurious to the comfort and harmony of society."


[ocr errors]

You excite my curiosity," said Percy, are they numerous?"

"So much so, that they are spread all over the world-they are found in every climate. Not a kingdom, not a metropolis, not a city, nor even a village, is exempt. They are known by their very looks, and their speech betrays them."

"Now then, Arundel, for your definition of the species, which I long to hear."


They are found in churches and chapels, in families, in parlours, in shops, and in kitchens."

"But the definition-"

"First, there are the TATLERS, who go from house to house, attentive to the business of others, but neglecting their own. They report publicly what they hear in confidence, and, what is worse, they publish with additions and notes and comments -and by insinuations and inuendoes, altogether groundless, créate disturbances among friends and relatives. Next come the WILLERS-a species of character obstinate and perverse. Determined to accomplish their object, they oppose every person and thing that militate against it, and sooner than they would relinquish it, they would calmly see the ruin of the family, the society, the kingdom, the world! Oh what disturbances have they excited in this country! and how many christian societies have been torn and rent by their unhallowed conduct! Of this family was Henry VIII, of whom Wolsey said, that' rather than he would miss or want any part of his will, he would endanger one half of his kingdom.'

"A third species are the CONCEITED, whose little knowledge has filled them with vanity and pride, and who have so much of

the organ of self esteem, as phrenologists would say, that they are for ever on the watch for holes and blemishes, and lapsus linguæ. They wear convex glasses when they look at others, and concave glasses when they survey themselves. They mark the mote in the eye of their neighbour, but cannot discern the beam in their own. So wise and understanding are they, that although they cannot read with propriety, nor write grammatically, nor spell correctly, nor conduct their own affairs prudently, yet they can give good advice to every one else! They know more of the sermon than the minister who preaches it, and can tell what he should have said and what he should not have introduced; but pay no regard to what he has said, except to find fault and to ridicule. Like children, fond of a new toy, every thing pleases them that is wonderful and strange, pleases them for a time, a very short time, they still want something new! Poor creatures! they have the form of religion, but not its power; eccentric throughout; weathercocks ever changing; clouds without water; wandering stars; vessels without compass, driven to and fro and tossed about by every wind; their creed uncertain, their hope presumptuous, their faith unfounded, their prospects fallacious. Did they but know how contemptible they appear to others, they would keep silence, and not venture to broach their puerile opinions.


Among the group may be discovered the STRAIGHTFORWARD, who must speak their mind-with what they term honest bluntness,' by which is meant a licence to express themselves insolently and impertinently. They affect to soften down the most offensive remarks by- you will excuse me, Sir, for I always speak my mind.' How many delicate, modest individuals, have had to endure the most mortifying rebuffs from these unfeeling counsellors, these uncourtly Catos. Let them remember the advice, Swift to hear, slow to speak.'"


"Your observations, my friend Arundel, are too true. You have not however touched upon one class which may indeed be styled, Disturbers of the peace.'


"You mean the DIOTROPHESIANS."

[ocr errors]

"The same," said Percy. "Men of power, who having been raised to authority in the church, chapel, or state, lord it over others, and usurp their office.-Such men talk of liberty,

« PreviousContinue »