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proper hospitality to a friend, I am happy to say that, with one exception, all debts are paid, and that my
husband died creditor and not debtor to his parish.
My eldest boy, nearly eighteen years old, is, in the eyes of his perhaps doating mother, a very promising youth, and likely to do credit to the education bestowed on him by his dear father. Friends who are capable of judging pronounce him a superior Greek and Latin scholar, with considerable mathematical acquirements. That he is pleasing and gentlemanly in his manners, kind, obliging, and affectionate in his disposition, and a most dutiful son, I must be allowed myself to testify. My husband was extremely anxious that this son (whose Christian names are John Calvin) should take a degree at the university of Cambridge, and afterwards proceed as a candidate to holy orders. For this we have all been looking, and for this purpose out of our small income have been able to lay aside 5001., which, though little enough for a University education, would I believe be increased by the kindness of a friend, one of the Fellows of College, and a schoolfellow of my dear husband ; at least that good gentleman, knowing the circumstances of the case,
promised that if John Calvin applies himself closely to his studies at the University, and does credit to the excellent education given him by his father, he shall not miss a degree for want of funds.
I now come to the trying part of my letter. Mr. Screw has sent me information by letter that the dilapidations on the vicarage are valued at 4731. 14s. 9d., and that I am debtor to you to that amount. This astounding intelligence has quite overpowered me; by some oversight of my dear husband we had never contemplated this demand, for though he once did mention dilapidations it was in some passing conversation which failed to fix my attention. I am quite a stranger to these matters, and take it for granted that it is all right in law, but I need not tell you how serious a prospect this debt opens to me in my present circumstances. I do not conceal that I am able to pay the sum of money, but when paid all my hopes of sending my son to Cambridge must be renounced, to my unspeakable grief, and his most bitter disappointment.
I am therefore made so bold by the hard position in which I find myself as to petition you to relinquish this demand, for though I doubt not it is correct in law, yet I am sure its equity is questionable, for if you take into consideration that we built a new kitchen ard wash-house with a nursery over them, and, to my apprehension, always kept the vicarage very clean and neat, and the roof in good repair, it seems wonderful that the valuers can make me your debtor to the amount of a sixpence.
I must, however, entirely cast myself upon your
mercy; mine is the distress of a widow, and whether you grant my petition or refuse it, you shall always have the widow's prayer. That your ministry may be made abundantly useful in Tuddington, and that you may be a bright light of the Gospel, is the most earnest wish of,
* N. B. The date of this letter precedes the publication of the “Golden” sermon.
The Reverend RABSHAKEH GATHERCOAL to
I have duly received your favour of the
of this month, and without any phrases, reply that I do not think it expedient to forego my lawful claim for dilapidations. I have no right or even wish to interfere in your concerns; but I cannot help remarking that, with your
small income, it seems to me out of place to run into the expense of a University education for your son.
My ministry will doubtless be useful in Tuddington, though the labour is not small; for where so much has to be done and so much to be undone, the task is greater than usually falls to clergymen in these days.
I am, Madam,
From OBADIAH CRABTREE to the Reverend
I am of the Society of Friends, and therefore use very plain language. I have seen a copy of the letter written to thee by Charlotte Thompson, widow of thy predecessor, touching the dilapidations of the vicarage house; I have seen thy reply to Charlotte Thompson, and am much grieved at the spirit displayed in thy reply, as well as in thy published sermon. The devil seems to be sifting thee thoroughly, and it so happens that we have as yet seen nothing but the chaff. Thou must be in a great delusion to think that thy present conduct can make the people of Tuddington embrace thy foolish notions about Apostolical succession, for if the Apostles were like thee, it would be very tempting for all thy parishioners to turn Turks or Jews sooner than belong to such a religion as thine. I have, however, read much, and know full well that priests, when once they give way to high notions about their order, are the most foolish as well as the most mischievous creatures upon earth. William Laud, the Archbishop