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of committees, a getter of majorities, an earwigger of men in power; in short, an ecclesiastical trickster; however good his ends, I can regard with no feeling short of loathing. Yet Presbytery conduces to the development of such. As for Episcopacy, there may be the bishop governed by his wife or daughter: Sydney Smith knew of Aven a butler-bishop. And it is a sorry sight, the dropping-downdeadness of manner of some clerics before their diocesan. Apart from his dignity, he has so much to give away! A poor man, with a large family, cannot but think how grand a thing it would be to have seven hundred and fifty pounds a year added to his income. And a bishop can make canons, and bestow livings.
My subject is to be handled briefly. But the conclusion of the whole matter is, that in the ideal National Church, there should be as little governing as possible, unless by appeal to that law of the land which is open to all; and that what governing is needful should be exercised by a hierarchy. A republican church must lose in an aristocratic country. Unquestionably, a republican church is the more rational and defensible institution; but in this very imperfect state, something must be yielded to the prejudices of poor humanity. We know the race. A certain number of clergymen, with incomes of from five to fifteen thousand a year, each living in a palace, and maintaining something of baronial style, will make the institution more respected.
An exceptional man here and there may despise the fourpennypiece all the more that it is stamped a guinea. But we cannot legislate for exceptional men. We must legislate for the mass of mankind, more or less silly and snobbish; and so amenable to considerations which would have weight only with snobbish and silly folk.
A wise and eloquent writer describes a certain parish clergyman as preaching to his parishioners with all the weight of a man who kept his carriage-and-pair. A poor incumbent, with a hundred a year, told me but yesterday, with manifest pride, that the new rector of a certain parish had seven thousand a year of private means. What was that to him ? one thought; but plainly it was much to him. If a man arrives at the door of a country church to preach, having walked five miles on a hot summer day, dusty and deliquescent, no matter how able and eloquent he may be, he will be somewhat cheaply estimated by rich and poor in that congregation that day. If he drive up in a handsome trap, drawn by a pair of well-bred animals; if a staid and well-fed manservant carry the bag with his robes to the vestry; the weight of his good counsels is much increased. You may refer, no doubt, to the instance of the Apostles. But things are entirely changed since then.
I trust no one supposes I am speaking cynically, or otherwise than in entire sincerity and good faith. And I conclude what I have to say at present with an extract from a speech once made in the General Assembly by that great and good man, Chalmers :
It is quite ridiculous to say that the worth of the clergy will suffice to keep them up in the estimation of society. This worth must be combined with importance. Give both worth and importance to the same individual, and what are the terms employed in describing him? 'A distinguished member of society, the ornament of a most respectable profession, the virtuous companion of the great, and a generous consolation to all the sickness and poverty around him.' These, Moderator, appear to me to be the terms peculiarly descriptive of the appropriate character of a clergyman, and they serve to mark the place which he ought to occupy. But take
away the importance, and leave only the worth, and what do make of him ?—what is the descriptive term applied to him now? Precisely the term which I often find applied to many of my brethren, and which galls me to the very bone every moment I hear it,—' a fine body;' a being whom you may like, but whom I defy you to esteem: a mere object of endearment: a being whom the great may at times honour with the condescension of a dinner, but whom they will never admit as a respectable addition to their society. Now all that I demand from the Court of Tiends is, to be raised, and that as speedily as possible, above the imputation of being 'a fine body'; that they would add importance to my worth, and give splendour and efficacy to those exertions which have for their object the most exalted interests of the species."
By G. J. WHYTE-MELVILLE, AUTHOR OF 'KATE COVENTRY,"
'DIGBY GRAND,' ETC.
A PEARL OF PRICE.
“ WELL, I'm sure! One would suppose you were a young girl, my dear, waiting for a lover. That's the fourth time you've fidgetted to the window. And I think you teach your husband very bad manners, bringing his slippers into the drawing-room, as if you were going to pull his boots off yourself.”
The speaker was Mrs. Dennison, sitting severe and grim under a stupendous hat plumed like a hearse, in a pretty little chamber, half study, half boudoir, opening on a garden of roses and looking over euch a vale of smiling pasture, rich corn-land, wood, water, and double hedgerows, as could only be seen in the very heart of merry England.
The lady thus rebuked turned a handsome happy face on her visitor and answered with a smile :
“I can't spoil him enough, Emily. If you only knew how good and kind he is ! I feel like some draggled old ship that has been tossed and torn and buffeted, and got safe into harbour at last.”
Mrs. Algernon Lexley (late Miss Blair) certainly looked neither torn nor draggled nor buffeted. Her commanding beauty seemed only enhanced by the unfailing cosmetics of early hours, tranquillity, and good health. She was more careful too than ever in her dress and appointments, which, without extravagance, were in style if pot in fabric those of a great lady rather than a country pastor's wife. With all her pride, Laura was enough of a coquette to know how such details set off the charms of a handsome woman in her own home, and she had determined that the man who so worshipped her, who had married her so purely and entirely for love, should never, while she could prevent it, be subjected to that first disillusion which wakens the dreamer, and is too surely “the beginning of the end."
Hitherto the parson's wife was a success. At the flower show, at the races, at croquet parties, cricket matches, and such festive gatherings, the county magnates never tired of asking each other, " But have you seen Mrs. Lexley?" And those who had seen Mrs. Lexley were loud in their praises of her eyes, her hair, her figure, her walk, and everything that was hers. The young squires felt flattered by her cold, stately recognition; their elders compared her to the Empress of the French, Mary Queen of Scots-all the celebrated beauties they had never set eyes on; and the Lord-Lieutenant himself, an old reprobate with one foot in the grave, affirmed (on oath) she was the only woman in the county who knew how to wear a shawl-and here he spoke loud enough to be overheard-or who had more manners than one of his own dairymaids.
And when the buzz of admiration was at its highest—when this gentleman held her parasol, another her gloves, and the representative of the Sovereign proffered a feeble arm to help her into her basket carriage—she would beckon to her husband with that rare smile of hers and turn on him the light of her deep grey eyes with a look that assured him she cared for nobody's homage but his, and that her drive home with him in the little basket carriage was worth all the gaieties and triumphs of the day. She delighted him beyond measure on one occasion, when, returning from an archery meeting through deep leafy lanes in the balmy summer's evening, she broke a silence that had lasted for a mile with the following complimentary remark:
“I really think, dear, that next to you I like Peter better than anybody in the world.”
Peter was a wilful grey pony, in shape resembling a pig, of considerable trotting ability, then plodding merrily home under Laura's guidance. Algernon Lexley, looking on its broad grey back, felt his eyes fill with tears as he thanked the heaven that bad given him this peerless woman for his very own, and wondered what he had ever done to deserve to be so happy.
He could scarcely believe sometimes that this life of intense unbroken enjoyment was anything but a dream, from which he dreaded to awake. Every day as it passed steeped him deeper and deeper in that engrossing devotion which is not love but idolatry, and convinced him more and more that before he discovered this paragon his existence must have been a blank, as without her it would be a torture. From the hour in which she consented to marry him Laura Blair had turned all the resources of her mind, all the attractions of her person, to the one object of making her husband madly in love with her; and the tall parson, with his university education and simple clerical habits, was utterly helpless in such hands as hers. His experience of the other sex had been limited as yet to a couple of his own ungainly sisters, to the dean's daughters-aged respectively forty-seven and forty-five-to the doctor's wife at Middleton, to half-a-dozen redcheeked damsels of the clothing-club pattern, and to pretty Miss Dennison, at whose feet, indeed, he had been quite prepared to fall; but of a real skilful, well-dressed, practised woman of the world be knew no more than he did of an Indian squaw or a Parisian lorette.
The grand manner, the gracious gestures, the cool fresh toilette, the calm, severe beauty that dominated alike senses, intellect, and heart; the trenchant remarks on friends and neighbours, sarcastic if not scornful; the implied approval of himself never openly expressed, and withheld just long enough to be ardently desired and exquisitely prized; even the mere details of dress and ornament; all combined to bring him into that state of slavish subserviency at which & man feels how the greatest folly is perfectly compatible with the greatest happiness.
And now Mrs. Dennison, having driven over to pay one of those morning visits in which she delighted, while complaining vehemently that such taxes on time and trouble should be levied by the
usages society, sat in her friend's drawing-room, and in her usual outspoken manner took that friend seriously to task for the indulgence she lavished on her husband.
“Safe into harbour !" she repeated with something of scorn. “Safe enough, no doubt, though I don't see that you were in any peril before. And as for the harbour, there's not much amiss with that either. This is a pretty room, though I can't admire your chintz; and the house is good enough when the chimneys don't smoke. Ah, my dear, you haven't spent a winter here yet! The wind comes up that valley fit to cut you in two. Still, Laura, you have done very fairly in my opinion, and you've got me to thank for it.”
It is possible that Mrs. Lexley, catching a glimpse of her own handsome person in an opposite mirror, may have thought that the rich hair, the deep eyes, and the clear, fair face, rather than any exertions of her former patroness, were what she had to "thank for it;" but she answered, with perfect good-humour,
“It's all far better than I deserve. I never could have believed, Emily, while I was drudging away at those music lessons in London, that I should one day receive you in my own house—and such a nice house as this. That reminds me I haven't rung for tea; I generally wait till Mr. Lexley comes in. I can't think what makes him so late.”
She called him Mr. Lexley, never Algernon, to other people, and only on rare occasions to himself. All creatures are best tamed by being kept hungry. Sometimes, once in a week or so, when she whispered “Algy” in his ear, the man's strong frame fairly shivered with delight.
" That's very absurd,” replied practical Mrs. Dennison. “In a small establishment like yours you should never wait for anybody. How can you make servants punctual if you don't set them the example? And now, Laura, tell me the truth. Are you as happy as you expected ?"
Mrs. Lexley stole another glance at the mirror. “I think you need only look at me," she said, "for an answer to that question."