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66 The

“NOTHING

TO DO."

sand spectators assembled within these arena below, which had been so often walls, arrayed in the splendour of Roman wet with blood. I felt that I realized costume, and ranged in five concentric the scene, and could appreciate the sentiers of seats, rising one above another, timent of a former traveller. from the podium to the gallery. From clear blue sky in calm repose above those vomitories, still visible, issued the our heads breathed its serenity into our wild beasts, brought from some African, minds; the glorious sun shed its beams Parthian, or Dalmatian forest. In one of brightness on all the surrounding obcorner a group of human victims, stood jects with undiminished splendour; natrembling, consisting of captives, slaves, ture was unchanged; but we stood and early Christians. Apart by them- amidst the ruins of that proud fabric selves stalked forth the volunteer gladia- which man had destined for eternity. tors, accoutred for the fight, and scowl. All had passed away-the conquerors, ing a look of proud defiance upon the the victims, the imperial tyrants, the vomitories now opening to let out the slavish multitudes all the successive roaring lion and the fierce tiger. As these generations that had rejoiced and trisavage beasts appear, growling, snuffing umphed, and bled and suffered here. in the air, and looking wildly round Their name, their language, their reupon their prey, the whole heavens ring, ligion had vanished; theirinhumansports and the air is rent with shouts of ap- were forgotten, and they were in the plause; and then the work of blood and dust."-Rev. J. A. Clark. destruction commences! Oh the very picture which imagination draws is enough to sicken the heart ! This is GREENWICH HOSPITAL; OR, the kind of happiness which they seek who have no Bible to guide them, who My first visit to the metropolis was depend merely upon the light of learning in company with my uncle Barnaby and and science to direct their feet in the cousin Frank. The former kindly deway of happiness and peace.

termined that we should be gratified by The interior of the Colosseum presents visiting most of the objects of curiosity many marks of desolation. By means and interest in London, not then quite of broken staircases, I was enabled to numerous as at the present day. climb up to a considerable height, and Some of these I have since often seen, found myself at length almost lost in some of them never ; but of all I rethe labyrinth of ruins, It is said, if tain a very distinct and vivid recolviewed by moonlight from one of these lection. I think, with a very slight effort points, when the shattered fragments of of memory, I could now write a jourstone and the shrubs which grow upon nal of the whole month—from the them are seen in alternations of light morning when Mrs. Rogers tied the and shade, the mind receives impres- silk handkerchiefs round our necks, and sions of gratification and melancholy furnished us with ginger cakes to keep which, perhaps, no other prospect in out the cold on our journey, and rethe world could produce. I was, how- peated her charge to us to be sure and ever, too much of an invalid to make not lose sight of my uncle in the streets, the experiment, especially as the even- lest we should lose our way, and get ings in February and March are very taken away by kidnappers, or gipsies-damp in Italy. The first time I visited to the evening when we again drove into the Colosseum was a bright, sunny morn- the grounds; and I felt as though I could *ing. The whole scene was very im- have kissed the grass, for very joy to posing, and the view from the top of see the country once more. this gigantic structure was exceedingly We spent a long morning in Westgrand. While traversing the circling minster Abbey, surveying the archicorridors of this immense structure to tectural beauties of that venerable pile, gain the highest practicable part, I was and the monuments of the illustrious enabled to catch through the opening dead. A vast deal of time and money arches, now and then, glimpses of the are spent in vain on sights, especially ruins that lay strewn around me, and with the professed intention of gratialso of the dark pines and purple hills fying children ; and that, not because of the distant country. The whole Co- the objects are in themselves void of losseum seemed like one vast solitude. interest, but because they are not The grass had grown thickly over the rendered interesting by being made in

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telligible. Often have I pitied the chil- ever, intended taking us to Greenwich dren taken out for “a day's pleasure,” that afternoon; so we left the interand dragged with wearisome indifference esting Abbey, with feelings that were through halls, and libraries, by pictures pensive, yet far remote from the weaand statues, and painted windows, of riness of indifference. which they knew nothing, nor

We took a boat at Westminster bridge, likely to learn anything from the show- and gliding down the majestic stream, man's monotonous gabble about gothic surveyed with admiration many of the arches, tessellated pavements, and com- buildings of the great metropolis ; and posite pillars, and the celebrated sir then the trading vessels of every deChristopher Wren, or the famous sir scription, bearing into its port the comGodfrey Kneller. How gladly, if it merce of the globe. Alas! we saw too had not been for the name of the thing, (for it was during the time of the revowould such a day's pleasure have been lutionary war with France) some vesexchanged for a ramble in the woods, sels of war preparing to go forth on or the fields, to fly the kite, or gather the errand of destruction. It was picowslips, or do whatever else they teous to think, that of the brave men pleased!

then embarking, perhaps not one half Sights seen in my uncle's company would revisit their native shores; and were never uninteresting. He had such that even the victory and glory for a happy art of awakening the curiosity | which they panted, if attained, must be of young people, keeping up their at- purchased at the price of human misery tention, and storing their memory by and human blood. How would my anecdotes connected with the objects good uncle, who then so feelingly lathey beheld. Westminster Abbey has mented the horrors of war, have rebeen called a dull sight for children; joiced to see, as in the present day, and it is so, if they have a dull con- British vessels go forth freighted with ductor. My early visit there with uncle Bibles and missionaries, to spread over Barnaby, imparted a reality to the per- the globe those benignant principles of sons and events there mentioned, more the gospel of peace, under the influence vivid and interesting than I should have of which the fulfilment of prophecy is acquired in seven years by reading Eng. to be effected, that “nation shall not lish history as a school task, and commit- lift up sword against nation, neither ting to memory chronologicaltables. From shall they learn war any more," Isa. that day, I took delight in the study ii. 4. We could scarcely pass a vessel of history; and so identified it with my of any considerable size, but the old relative, and Westminster Abbey, that waterman who rowed us claimed her whenever I met with a name that I as an old acquaintance, and had some recollected as recorded there, I inva- story to tell of her captain and of his riably went to my kind uncle to make gallant crew, until the appearance of further inquiries about that person as the domes and colonnades of Greenwich of a common acquaintance.

Hospital cut short one of his “long Frank was particularly interested in yarns. every thing connected with naval his- “What a noble pile !" exclaimed tory; I think I have heard that he had Frank, as we came in front, so as to once some notion of entering the navy, take a full view. ** Yes," replied my but relinquished it in compliance with uncle, “it is one of the finest speci. the wish of his mother. We staid long, mens of architectural magnificence that and with deep but melancholy interest, England affords ; but few of her nobles, before the tombs of sir Cloudesley or even her princes, possess palaces Shovell and admiral Kempenfelt, while equal in splendour to this stately edi. my uncle related to us the affecting loss fice, assigned as the tribute of national of these two brave men and their com- gratitude to the wounded and worn-out panions. He repeated to us Cowper's sailor.” We landed, and surveyed every beautiful verses on “the loss of the part of the building, usually shown to Royal George. I do not know whether strangers, and some to which we had that did not rouse my spirit to relish access as a special privilege, my uncle poetry as much as my uncle's anecdotes having an introduction from his friend, gave me a relish for English history; admiral I could have staid all day to listen to Most of the rooms are occupied in the melancholy dirge. My uncle, how-'common; but each sailor has à cabin

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exclusively his own. Almost every one | old men had planned their own lot, it of these bore some distinguishing mark could not have been, in every respect, of the individual character of the pro- more eligible.” prietor. Many had models or drawings “No; nor do I by any means accuse of ships, some more neatly, and some them of complaining. I believe almost more coarsely executed; generally the every one of them, should you dissect vessel in which the old seaman had the the arrangements of the establishment, honour to sail, with such or such a com- and present them to him one by one, mander, which was victorious in so would express himself satisfied with many battles, and brought home such every item; and would say that altoand such French, or Spanish vessels. gether he had nothing to complain of. Some displayed the picture of a long And yet I think that most of them are lost wife; some exhibited their own, strangers to that kind of satisfaction, taken in early life; some had a few which the labouring man enjoys when foreign curiosities; some a grotesque he comes, weary with his day's toil, tumbler, or pair of nutcrackers, or to a home far less commodious, and a perhaps a ludicrous print, or a naval table far less liberally spread than that ballad. In a few instances, the long of the Greenwich pensioner ; but for forgotten attachments of childhood had which he depends on his own daily exrevived, and the cabin window of the ertions, and which he shares with those veteran mariner exhibited pots or boxes he loves. Such a man has the stiof mignonette, stocks, or carnations ; | mulus of hope, fear, and contrivance, and in a few, the well-worn Bible, the which to man, constituted as he is, book of devotion, or the treatise on eter- forms a large portion of enjoyment. In nity, on repentance, or faith, or the short, many of them are unhappy, be“sweet fiction and sweet truth" of the cause they have nothing to do.'” heavenly “ Pilgrim," indicated the spirit- 6. That I can easily conceive," obual taste of the inhabitant of the little do- served my uncle. “I know that the micile. Equally various were the occu- most uncomfortable moments of my pations in which we saw the old pension- own existence have been when obliged ers engaged. Some were reading; some to remain for a time without employnetting; some shaping models of vessels ; ment. I was once, when a young man, some cutting notches in sticks, apparently sent by my father with his phaeton to without any design, except as a mere pas- meet a friend, who was to come by time; some sauntering about with an un- coach to a certain point in the road, comfortable expression of countenance ; three or four miles from our house. and some lying on the benches, chewing I reached the road, as was fitting, a tobacco.

few minutes before the coach might be The gentleman who accompanied us expected, and paced backwards and fortold my uncle the particulars of their wards very contentedly until it came allowance, which is in every respect up; but our friend was not there. Anliberal, and amply provides for every other coach would pass in half an hour, comfort they can desire. My uncle and he would probably come by that: expressed great delight with the kind there was another coach, too, that came and munificent arrangements, and re- a different road, but would arrive at joiced to think that such an asylum was that point at the same time, and he provided for worn-out British seamen, might come by that. At all events, I in which they might comfortably and must wait, and the time seemed an intoprofitably pass the closing years of their lerable burden on my hands. I had mortal existence.

not a book, nor a pencil with which to “I regret to say," observed our con- amuse myself. I could not get down, ductor, that the old men are not in and botanize, for my father had charged general characterized by a cheerful, con- me not to leave the horses a moment, tented spirit. Those that are so, are nor could I even ride about, lest, losing rather the exceptions than the general sight of either road, I might miss the standard."

coach. It was a trivial circumstance; “ To what can this be attributed ?" but it so impressed on my mind a sense asked my uncle. "Certainly not to any of the wretchedness of having nothing want of regard to their comfortable pro- to do, that I have never since failed vision, nor to any irksome restriction

carry
about

my person something or confinement. I should think, if the that would furnish me with interesting

to

employment for leisure time, that might After taking leave of this gentleman, be unexpectedly thrown upon my hands. who had showed us much polite atTwo gentlemen of my acquaintance,' tention, we rambled awhile in the park, continued my uncle,

on a tour of plea- and fell into conversation with several of sure, were driven, by a heavy fall of the old men, whose remarks fully consnow, to seek a night's lodging at a firmed all he had said. Some of them we little obscure cottage in Wales. During found very cheerful, contented, and hapthe night, the snow continued, and by py; they were uniformly busy, benevomorning had risen to such a height as lently busy. One was writing a letter to completely to imprison the inmates of his aged mother, and enclosing in it a one the cottage. Retreat was impracticable, pound note, saved from his weekly aland there they were obliged to remain Iowance for tobacco. The tears filled for several days without employment, his eyes, as he spoke of her; she had without a book to beguile the tedious been a good mother to him. He told hours, without even a spade or pick- us of her early instructions ; her exeraxe, with which to attempt their liber- tions to fit him out decently; her anxation; the very toil of which would ieties and her prayers on his behalf; have been incomparably preferable to her joy at once more welcoming him the wretchedness of having nothing to to his native shores, though with mudo. At length, one of them having a tilated limbs : and now his gratitude most active mind, devised for himself for having a comfortable asylum for an amusement, by making the poker himself, which he seemed chiefly to red hot, and with its point burning value as enabling him to contribute to figures in the wooden settle. Before the comfort of her old age. Another their imprisonment terminated, he suc- was making a chain of cherry stones ; ceeded in sketching a tolerable likeness and displayed for sale little grottoes of of his friend, and has since carried on sea shells, and several other little inhis newly discovered art to a consider- genious and beautiful articles. A fine able degree of perfection. I can easily little boy of five or six years old was imagine that the more active and ener- endeavouring to assist the old man in getic of the Greenwich pensioners would his work. The affection that evi. devise for themselves some kind of in- dently subsisted between them seemed teresting, though perhaps mischievous almost like that of parent and child. employment, according to their several We learned, however, that the little feltastes; and those of a more indolent low was the orphan child of an old messcast would become gloomy and diseased, mate; and that the veteran devoted the for want of stimulus and exertion.” produce of his ingenuity and his mer

“I wonder,” said Frank, “that some chandize, in assisting the widow to supkind of employment is not furnished port and educate her children. There to them by the institution."

one interesting little group, con“ That,” replied my uncle, “would sisting of three old men;

two of be quite improper; it would entirely them, hale and hearty; the third had alter its character, and defeat its object. been much shattered. His companions There must be nothing that could be had placed him on a bench in the construed into degradation or compul- shade; he was reading aloud to them in sion, or the retreat would at once lose Doddridge's “Rise and Progress.” One the character of an honourable and well- of the two sat with his elbows lodged earned reward for the British veteran, on his knees, both hands supporting his and assume that of a workhouse." head, and his eyes eagerly fixed on the

· No, no; that would never do," re- reader. He was deaf; but seemed to joined our conductor ; "they must be listen with his eyes, watching, every left free to choose their own employ- motion of the lips, and so assisting the ment. However much it may be re- dull ear to guess at the sound conveyed. gretted that any of them should adopt The other listened not with less attena course of listless indolence, which we tion, but with less difficulty ; he was know to be most unfriendly to hap- at the same time netting. When the piness, we cannot compel them to chapter closed, each brushed away a "be happy. Liberally to furnish them tear from his weather-beaten cheek; with the means of comfort, is all that and the two, with admirable dexterity can be done; the rest must depend on and tenderness, assisted their crippled themselves.”

comrade in changing his position. My

was

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uncle took the opportunity of entering , ness of having nothing to do.

6. Have into conversation with the hoary tars, you ever thought, my boys,” said my and congratulated them on the pleasures uncle, “how much our happiness deof Christian friendship, which they were pends on having something to do, and evidently enjoying. It was truly plea- doing it?" We both acknowledged sant to find how they were mutually that we had never before been so forciserviceable to each other, and how each bly struck with that sentiment, as on found his own happiness in promoting the present occasion ; but even our own that of others. The cripple spoke grate- short experience and limited observfully of the kindness of his comrades. ation would serve to corroborate it. He said they were always at hand to I recollected seeing my little brother attend to his wants and help him about look very unhappy, and asked him into an easy position ; and they did it what was the matter ; he replied, “I with the skill of a surgeon, and the have got nothing to do.” Mrs. Harris, tenderness of a nurse. The other two the superintendent of our nursery, imold men were equally prompt in their mediately said,

" Come to me, dear, expressions of obligation to their dis- and I will give you a nice raspberry abled comrade. One complained of hav- tart.” Employment was what he wanting in his youth had no opportunity of ed, not food; of course, the tart pleased acquiring a knowledge of reading; the him just as long as he was eating it, other owned that he had then no sense and no longer. He soon relapsed into of its value ; but “Jack, here,” they his former discontented mood. both agreed, was a fine reader; he had “Yes,” said my uncle, “and thus learning enough for a chaplain : and it often is that children acquire habits by their joint savings they had pur- of indolence, discontent, and gluttony. chased some choice books, which, by They are made to eat when they are Jack's plain reading, they could well not hungry, to save the lazy nurses the understand, and found them right com- trouble of finding them employment. fortable to their poor ignorant souls." I do think parents should consider it The produce of the netting we found an imperative duty to see that their was devoted, together with a portion children are furnished with suitable emof their weekly allowance, to the pur- ployment, such as will agreeably stimuchase of a valuable Commentary on the late them to constant activity." Holy Scriptures, then coming out in My poor mamma,” I said, numbers. It appeared evident that the attend to that as much as ever her pious reading, in which they took so health will allow; and so does papa, inuch delight, had been made really when he is at home. We are never profitable to their minds. They had dull for want of employment, when we become acquainted with Him whom can be with them.” My uncle, I am certo know is life eternal, and they were tain, had not intended to convey any rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. unkind reflection on my parents. In These men were happy, and verified their case, it was unavoidable, much the remark of the gentleman who had more so than it usually is, for children accompanied us through the establish- to be left to the care of servants. I felt ment, that if the whole community at the moment grieved by my uncle's “could be brought impartially to ex- remark; but I afterwards felt convinced hibit the degrees of happiness which that this was one of the many evils prevail amongst them, we should find resulting from that arrangement. My that he was the most happy man, who uncle observed, that a physician who was laying by the greater portion of his had lately been visiting at his home, little pittance for a heart that he loved, when speaking of the beneficial effects and was building up his own happiness of activity in promoting health and by a preparation for eternity; while he cheerfulness, had said that gentlemen's was the most miserable who was most coachmen and porters were often unexempt, in the common acceptation, healthy, and assigned this reason for from care, and who had acquired as it, “They suffer from excess of noumuch passing gratification as he could rishment, they eat more than they work. obtain."

Having often to wait for their masters, On our way back to town, the topic they fill up their time by filling up the of our conversation was the happiness of stomach.' þeing well employed, and the wretched- “Uncle," said Frank, “ do you think

66 does

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