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philosophy cannot explain, a kind of mental resuscitation of the buried feelings of years of yore.
My tale may indeed be denominated trite; and much do I wish that such a charge were less correct than it is. I should then have the advantage of affording more pleasure, although of a painful kind, and enjoy myself more gratification, in the conviction that fewer incidents of the same painful character were in being, than are now known to exist.
But what avails mere wishes,
In consequence of a degree of indisposition under which I was labouring, during my visit at a friend's, I was induced to accept the pressing invitation of the gentleman and his charming family, to prolong my stay at his hospitable habitation bevond the period I had intended. In order to afford me an opportunity of seeing the surrounding country, and at the same time advantage my health, he proposed, after we had taken breakfast one morning, a ride on horseback, to the parsonage house of a village a few miles distant. I had before heard of the venerable person who resided there, and felt glad that an opportunity was now
offered me, to be introduced to his acquaintance. I accordingly expressed my readiness to join my friend in his ride. Orders were immediately given for our horses, and in a short time, the noble animals were caparisoned, and pawing the earth, and tossing their heads proudly, seemed as if impatient to be crossed by their riders, and commence their pleasant exercise.
It was as cheerful a morning as ever our world has been visited by, since man's “first disobedience” infected universal nature with its deadly evil, when
“Earth felt the wound, and nature from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe,
That all was lost.” The fairy hand of spring had thrown her manycoloured mantle over creation. The time of the
singing of birds” had fully come, and in many a happy note—from the monotonous chirp of the sparrow, to the lofty song of the mounting sky-birdwere the praises of the glorious Being, who "maketh the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice," poured forth. The hedge rows were adorned with every charm of wild beauty which imagination could conceive, composed of honeysuckles, wild roses, May-flowers, et-cetera. The sides of the road were decorated with the productions of unassisted nature, of almost every hue, while the trees of the orchards and gardens were beautifully garlanded with blossom, which hung in graceful festoons upon the pendant boughs. The busy cultivations of the land were afield : some guided the delving plough, or tended the cleansing harrow, rendering the hills and valleys vocal with their cheerful voices, while others were busily engaged strewing the precious grain over such portions of the earth has had already been prepared.
A rich diversity of scenery, and various topics of conversation, gave to our animal spirits a buoyancy, which extended its influence to every part of the system, and produced a frame of mind of the most happy and tranquilised order. My friend's acquaintance with the venerable person we were about to visit, had been of long standing; hence his estimations were founded on a knowledge of his character, and were of the most exalted kind; and therefore he found a pleasure, which I was happy to profit by, in furnishing an interesting and detailed account of him. At every reference made to his character, his views and exhibition of truth, his zeal and humility, his regards and attention to the interests of his flock, and the affectionate respect in which he was held by all who knew him, my anxiety increased to meet him, and unconsciously, I put my horse into quicker motion, and then again reined him in, to keep even with my friend.
The interesting and happy description of a Country Clergyman, which Goldsmith has given, in his “Deserted Village," naturally entered my mind, and in almost all its characteristic traits, it seemed to find its counterpart, or fac-simile, in the person to whose brief history I was listening.
“A man he was to all the country dear,”
beautifully applied, but happily the following line did not :
“And passing rich, with forty pounds a year.”
Yet even this scanty stipend, little as it was, exceeded, by four times ten pounds, what too many of those who now fill the same office, should possess;those play-going, fox-hunting, card playing, race of patronised incumberers, and palmer-worms to our country. His stipend, of whom I write, did not reach the exorbitant sum of tens of thousands, nor tens of hundreds a year, and yet it was sufficient, not only to place him (as all who fill the ministerial office should be placed) above anxiety of mind, concerning the things of this world, but enabled him to exhibit, practically, the spirit applied to such by the Apostle"given to hospitality.”
Presently the tower of the village church appeared to rise from out a thick cluster of majestic trees, by which it was surrounded. Soon we gained the entrance into the village, and as we rode along, I imagined I could discover the influence of the pious pastor, even in the appearance of the people and things which I noticed, and, mentally, I exclaimed, “O that all the ministers of the sanctuary in our land were of the same description; then would murmuring and dissatisfaction cease; the sacred office would no longer be the butt of ridicule, or the theme of profane execration; then
God, even our own God, would bless us,' and all the people would turn unto him."
This soliloquy would, perhaps, have been extended, had not a quick turn in the road changed our view; for suddenly to our sight
“ The village preacher's modest mansion rose.” It was a neat thatched building, of Anti-Babel elevation, its loftiest apartments being its airy chambers : upon every part of it, comfort and contentment seemed visibly impressed. It stood back about thirty yards from the road side : a gravelled path-way ran along the whole width of the building, to a distance of somewhat more than four feet from the windows. From the centre of this path, and leading directly from the door-way to the little palisade-formed gate, was another of similar dimensions, while the intermediate space, on either side, was laid out tastefully in flowerbeds. On the south side of the dwelling were a few acres of pasture land, in which the suppliers of his dairy fed and fattened ; and in a corner of it were accommodations for his cows and a little galloway,
Having dismounted, and secured our horses, we walked up to the house, and received a courteous salutation from Mrs. Goodall, the worthy lady of the vicar.
It is a delicate thing, and sometimes not quite grateful to the party concerned, to guess even at a lady's age, and therefore, as Mrs. Goodall's is of